National - 2017 AUGUST

August 1

Supreme Court no to use of heavy metals in firecrackers
Citing health hazards, the Supreme Court asked firecracker manufacturers not to use heavy metals like lithium, antimony, mercury, arsenic and lead and chemical elements like antimony “in any form whatsoever” in their products.
According to A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Mehta, it was the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure that the order was complied with, including in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu where there were a large number of cracker manufacturers.
Though the compounds of strontium too were cited as hazardous for health, the court sought more clarity on the matter and fixed August 23 for the next hearing. The order came on a 2015 petition by three Delhi children Aarav Bhandari, Arjun Gopal and Zoya Rao Bhasin who requested the court to intervene to regulate the use of crackers and fireworks during festivals like Diwali.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launches Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2" in Mumbai
According to Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Minority Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ,the NDA Government has been working with commitment to “inclusive growth” and “Antyodaya” to ensure prosperity, security and dignity of the last person of the society.
Addressing a large number of people from Parsi community and renowned personalities from various fields at the launch of “Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2” at Mumbai, Parsi community has immense contribution in nation building and Parsi community has been a “role model” for other communities for its culture and traditions. The Parsi community has given so many great people who have been “architects of nation building”.
Even though the Parsi community is a very small minority community in India, there is no doubt that the Parsi community is one of the most liberal, aware towards education and an example of “peace and harmony”.

Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill passed with amendment in Rajya Sabha
The amendment bill seeks to insert Article 338B in the Indian Constitution. This article will list out the structure and functions of the proposed National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.
The commission will have a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and three other members. To hear the grievances of socially and educationally backward classes will be the main task of this commission.Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill passed with amendment in Rajya Sabha.
The amendment bill also seeks to insert a new article 342A which empowers the President to specify the socially and educationally backward classes by public notification.
This bill was passed in Lok Sabha in April 2017, alongside the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 that seeks to repeal the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.

MMR vaccination campaign launched in Kangra
A campaign to protect children from major childhood diseases like measles, mumps and rubella has been started in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh from August 1, 2017.
The campaign has been initiated by Dharamshala Municipal Corporation Mayor Rajni Vyas.
Under the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccination programme, all children between the age of nine months to 15 years shall be vaccinated.
All government and private schools as well as aanganwaadis shall be covered under the programme by well-trained health officials.

PM Modi announces Rs.2,350 crore relief package for floods in North East region
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has announced a package of Rs 2350 crore for relief, rehabilitation and building flood mitigation infrastructure in the flood-affected North-Eastern states including Assam on 1st August 2017.
The PM announced to set up a high-powered committee to find a long-term solution to the flood and erosion problem in the North east region.
Out of the Rs 2350 crore announced by the PM, Rs 1200 crore will be given by the Union.
The Union Government will also provide Rs 100 crore for carrying out the study by the high-powered committee to synergize efforts towards finding time-bound long term solutions to recurrent floods in the region.
The funds will be utilized for repair, maintenance, and strengthening of roads, highways, bridges, and other damaged infrastructure.

August 2

Justice B.N Srikrishna headed committee to study issues related to data protection
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has appointed an expert panel committee that would study various issues relating to data protection in the country and will suggest a draft data protection Bill.
It is a 10 member panel and it is headed by Supreme court Judge (retired) Justice B N Srikrishna.
The panel includes the members from government, academia and industry will study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods to address them.
The committee will design a broader framework which will cover all other kinds of data and ensure that the deliberations on the issue start as soon as possible.

Government Forms Panel To Suggest Data Protection Framework
The government has constituted a 10-member committee to recommend a framework for securing personal data in the increasingly digitised economy as also address privacy concerns and build safeguards against data breaches.
The panel will study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods to address them.
The formation of the panel comes amid concerns over personal information being compromised with increasing use of biometric identifier Aadhaar in an array of services - from filing tax returns to availing government doles.
The committee of experts headed by Justice BN Srikrishna, former judge of Supreme Court, will suggest a draft data protection bill, The panel will make specific suggestions to the government on principles to be considered for data protection in India and "also suggest a draft data protection bill"

Cabinet approves MoU between India and BRICs countries to set up BRICS Agriculture Research Platform
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed among India and various BRICs countries for establishment of the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform (BRICS-ARP).
During the 7th BRICS Summit held on 9thJuly 2015 at Ufa in Russia, Prime Minister Shri Modi proposed to establish BRICS Agriculture Research Centre which will be a gift to the entire world. The Centre will promote sustainable agricultural development and poverty alleviation through strategic cooperation in agriculture to provide food security in the BRICS member countries.
In order to further intensify cooperation among BRICS countries in agricultural research policy, science and technology, innovation and capacity building, including technologies for small¬holder farming in the BRICS countries, an MoU on establishment of the Agricultural Research Platform was signed by the foreign Ministers of BRICS countries in the 8th BRICS Summit held on 16th October, 2016 at Goa.

Cabinet approves construction of doubling of line with electrification between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the construction of double line with electrification between Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
The total length of the line will be 86.56 km. The estimated cost of the Project will be Rs.1431.90 crore and completion cost of Rs.1552.94 crore with 5% escalation per annum.
The project is likely to be completed in four years by 2020-21. The project will generate direct employment during construction for 20.77 lakh mandays.
The project would not only speed up the operation of goods and coaching trains, but also provide additional capacity for meeting the increase in traffic in future.

Trade Related Entrepreneurship Development Assistance Scheme (TREAD) women entrepreneurship programme
Trade Related Entrepreneurship Development Assistance Scheme (TREAD) envisages economic empowerment of women. There is a provision of Govt of India Grant upto 30% of Loan/credit sanctioned subject to maximum ceiling of 30 Lakhs to NGOs as appraised by Lending Institutes/Banks for undertaking capacity building activities such as Training, counselling, Participation in exhibitions, establishment of new SHGs etc and other components as approved by Bank/Steering Committee.
The non-farming activities taken up by women are Tailoring, Handicrafts, Embroidery, Toy making, Readymade garments, Candle making, Agarbatti making, paper cup and plate making, Masala powder making, Saree weaving, Coir mat making, Pickles making, Readymade garments, basketry and brooms making, Jute bag making etc.
The focus of the scheme is to promote self-employment and income generation activities for women mostly from SHG groups in non-farm sector.

Contest for designing of Logo for the prestigious “Women of India Festival”
The Ministry of Women & Child Development has launched a Contest for designing a logo for the prestigious "Women of India Festival' to be held at Dilli Haat in October 2017.
It's an opportunity for designers who aspire to see their creation displayed on a National platform. The Women of India Festival offers the biggest selection of organic products prepared or grown by women.
The event is organised and fully sponsored by Ministry of Women & Child Development, as part of their major initiative of economic empowerment of women. The festival is visited by lakhs of visitors & buyers, both national and international.
The WCD Ministry has wished to engage voluntary contribution of citizens to design a mark of identification for this important event. Details of the contest are available on the Facebook & Twitter accounts of Ministry WCD (@MinistryWCD). Last date to submit entries is August 21, 2017.

August 3

India Permitted To Construct Kishanganga, Ratle Projects: World Bank
India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).
The World Bank's comments came as officials from India; Pakistan concluded the secretary-level talks over the IWT.
Pakistan opposes the construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India in Jammu and Kashmir.

Cabinet to take up scrapping of no-detention policy in schools
States will soon be able to able to conduct exams for students of class 5 and 8 who fail in the annual exams to give them another chance to pass with the Union cabinet likely to take up a proposal of scrapping the ‘no-detention policy’,
States will have the discretion to give another opportunity to these students to pass. Under the proposal, students of classes 5 to 8 who do not pass the examination in March will be given a chance in May or June.
However, they will be detained if they fail again according to the proposal.
In case a student is unable to pass the annual exam in March, he/she will get another opportunity in May or June. Before sitting for the exams once again, the students will be asked to attend ‘remedial classes’.
Once the new system comes into force, the onus would be on the states to decide whether to hold examinations in classes 5 and 8.

CIC reconstitutes bench to hear complaints against political parties
Chief Information Commissioner R.K. Mathur has constituted a larger Bench to hear complaints against six national political parties that they had not adhered to the Central Information Commission (CIC) order bringing them within the ambit of the RTI Act.
The Bench will replace a three-member panel that was hearing the matter since July 22, 2016 for nearly five months until one of its members, Bimal Julka, decided to recuse himself citing workload. After his recusal, Mr. Mathur had put the matter in abeyance till further notice.
Surprisingly, no member of the previous Bench headed by Sridhar Acharyulu has found a place on the new Bench.
Earlier, Mr. Acharyulu was taken off cases pertaining to the Ministry of Human Resource Development after he ordered disclosure of academic records of the B.A. course of Delhi University of 1978, the year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is understood to have passed the examination.

Bills to extend GST to J-K passed by Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha passed two crucial Bills extending the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to Jammu & Kashmir.
The lower house passed the Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir), Bill, 2017 and the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir), Bill, 2017 after a brief discussion.
The two Bills sought to replace ordinances promulgated by the President in July this year.
While the first Bill provides for the extension of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 to Jammu and Kashmir, the other provides for the extension of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax IGST Act, 2017 to the State.

Online tatkal railway tickets: Now you can pay on delivery
People can now pay later for tickets booked under the tatkal quota on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) website, it was announced on Wednesday.
Till now, this service was available only for general reservations. For tatkal bookings, people had to pay first via the standard online payment gateways before the IRCTC portal confirmed their ticket.
For tatkal tickets, IRCTC users will be able to pay via cash, debit card or credit card by opting to have tickets delivered at their doorstep by IRCTC payment provider Anduril Technologies.
IRCTC processes 130,000 Tatkal transactions daily. A majority of these tickets are booked within minutes of the quota opening.
The new feature eliminates the transaction failures as often the money gets debited and the ticket is not issued due to multiple reasons. The refund cycle is of about seven to 15 days.

Govt inks MoA to set up IRRI’s regional centre in Varanasi
Union Agriculture Ministry signed a memorandum of association (MoA) for setting up a regional centre of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh to develop high- yielding rice varieties.
The MoA was signed between Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Patnaik and IRRI Director General Matthew Morell.
IRRI’s South Asia Regional Centrewill be set up at the campus of National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) in Varanasi.
The proposed centre will operate under the governance of IRRI Board of Trustees, who will appoint an IRRI staff member as Director.Govt inks MoA to set up IRRI's regional centre in Varanasi.
The Centre would have modern and sophisticated laboratory with the capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw.
It will undertake capacity-building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain.
The centre is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the region.

Aadi Perukku festival celebrated in Tamilnadu
Thousands of men and women celebrated ‘Aadi Perukku’ festival at the bathing ghats of the Periyar river in Veerapandi and Uthamapalyam.
Pilgrims began to throng the banks of the river since morning as the flow was good, thanks to discharge of a large quantum of water from Periyar dam in order to improve the storage level in Vaigai dam.
Women performed special pujas to the river and prepared sweet pongal and offered to it. Irrespective of caste and community, both men and women prayed together for rain. Men performed rites for their forefathers. Many took holy bath in the river before offering prayers.
Pilgrims from several parts of the district assembled at Veerapandi for the festival as there was no water in Vaigai river. Devotees gathered at Kumbakarai falls also. With no water in Vaigai Channel at Nilakottai in Dindigul dsitrict, people took part in special pujas at Sri Anjaneyaswamy Temple.

August 4

Haryana bans government school teachers from taking mobile phones to classrooms
The Haryana government barred school teachers from stepping inside the classrooms with mobile phones and decided to hold head of the school “accountable” for violation of this norm.
This restriction of going to the classroom without mobile phones also applies to the head of school.
The education department has directed that all inspecting officers, whether on regular inspection or surprise inspections, will check whether these instructions are being followed in letter and spirit.
Teachers will keep mobile phones in the staff room or in an area earmarked by the head of school.
However, in case of unavoidable reasons the teacher has to take mobile phone to the classroom for “academic use” then prior permission of the head of the school is must.

Maharashtra Government launches two online portals MahaDBT, MahaVASTU
Maharashtra Government launched two online portals MahaDBT and MahaVASTU to streamline the process of direct benefit transfer (DBT).
It is the first state in the country to launch such a system that will provide direct benefits with Aadhaar authentication.
MahaDBT portal: It is an Aadhaar-authenticated electronic mechanism that will enable direct transfer of benefits for over 40 schemes currently implemented.
MahaVASTU portal: It is an online building permission management system, through which construction approvals will be sanctioned with full transparency.

Second AGRI UDAAN program launched in Delhi
In an attempt to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture, Government launched “AGRI UDAAN”- Food and Agribusiness Accelerator 2.0 programme in New Delhi.
The program will be run by ICAR-NAARM Technology Business Incubator (TBI), a-IDEA and Indian Institute of Management Ahmadabad’s Center for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE).
This is a 6 month program in which shortlisted agri startups with promising innovative business models will be mentored & guided to scale up their operations.
AGRI UDAAN will be reaching out to agri-startups across the country with a series of Second AGRI UDAAN program launched in Delhiroad shows in Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore and Kolkata & Hyderabad.
This initiative is backed by Caspian Impact Investments as Platinum Partner, Yes Bank as Banking Partner, NCDEX eMarkets Ltd (NeML) & Marico Innovation Foundation as Silver partners.
AGRI UDAAN has also received support from National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), Agrinnovate as tech transfer partners, and FICCI as outreach partner.

Aadhaar made mandatory for registration of death from October 1
According to the home ministry the Aadhaar number has been made mandatory for the registration of death from 1st of October.
The rule will come into force across the country except Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya.
It will provide an effective method to prevent identity fraud.
Under the new rule,applications for a death certificate would have to provide the Aadhaar number, or enrollment number of the dead person.Aadhaar bill 2016
As per the Home Ministry, in case the person did not have an Aadhaar number, the applicant will have to give a certificate that the dead person did not have an Aadhaar number to the best of his/her knowledge.
If a false declaration given by the applicant relating to the Aadhaar card would be treated as an offence.
The applicant’s Aadhaar number, as well that of the dead person’s spouse and parents would, however, have to be provided.
The use of Aadhaar card will result in ensuring accuracy of the details provided by the relatives or dependents or acquaintances of those who have died.

Compulsory retirement for non-performing teachers and education officials above 50: Bihar Government
The Bihar Government has informed that it has decided to compulsory retirement to the non-performing teachers, head masters and education department officials above the age of 50 years announced on 3rd of August 2017.
The committee is headed by RK Mahajan. The main aim is to improve results in matriculation and intermediate.
The action was taken after the poor show of students in matric and intermediate exams of the state in 2017.
The state government is in process of identifying non-performing institutions and all those responsible for the poor show will be given compulsory retirement.
The decision was taken after the review of the education department by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
As per government norms those teachers having failed thrice in assessment test would be removed or will be given compulsory retirement.
The committee is working to identify such non-performing headmasters, teachers, block education officers or district education officers.
The government has also asked the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) to work out changes with greater emphasis on multiple choice questions.

ASI protected monuments to be declared as Polythene Free Zones
The Archaeological Survey of India has declared all ASI protected Monuments and Archaeological Sites as ‘Polythene Free Zone’ announced on 4th of August 2017.
The national body has directed all of its field offices to take necessary steps to comply with the same order.
The move follows a recommendation by the Ministry of Culture that suggested prohibition on the use of polythene.
The Secretary (Culture) has also issued a Demi-official (D.O) letter to all the Chief Secretaries of States to bring their active cooperation in making all the centrally protected monument sites as polythene free zones.
All the states and Union territories have been directed to issue necessary direction to the local municipal bodies and concerned departments to keep the area approximately 300 metres from the boundary of a protected monument completely polythene free.

August 5

Recommendations of Justice Srikrishna committee to review the Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism
A high level committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice B N Srikrishna set up to review the Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism, has submitted its recommendations to Union Law ministry.
The Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice, on January 13, 2017 constituted a ten Member, High Level Committee under the Chairmanship of Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India, Justice B. N. Srikrishna.
Suresh Chandra Law Secretary was the Member Secretary of the High Level Committee. Recommendations of Justice Srikrishna committee to review the Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism.
Other members of the committee included Justice R.V.Raveendran Retired Judge of Supreme Court of India, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat Judge at High Court of Delhi, K.K.Venugopal – Sr. Advocate and presently Attorney General for India, P.S.Narasimha – Additional Solicitor General of India, Ms. Indu Malhotra – Senior Advocate at Supreme Court of India, Arghya Sengupta – Research Director at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Arun Chawla – Deputy Secretary General of FICCI and Vikkas Mohan – Senior Director of CII.

Tata Memorial ties up with IDA for prevention of oral cancer
According to City-based Tata Memorial Centre, it has joined hands with the Indian Dental Association (IDA) to start India's first digital initiative for prevention and early detection of oral cancer.
Tata Memorial Centre and The Indian Dental Association (IDA) together have launched a special course on "Oral Cancer" on July 27 - the World Head and Neck Cancer Day to create awareness and early detection of oral cancer.
Tata Memorial Centre is a known destination for cancer treatment and its dedication to provide latest treatment technology and multi-disciplinary approach especially towards head and neck cancer.
The IDA is the largest recognised body of dental professionals in India with a presence in 29 states and seven Union Territories and over 450 local branches spread across the country.

Essar arm to build coal terminal at Beira Port
Essar Ports has signed a 30-year concession agreement with the Government of Mozambique to develop a 20 million tons per annum (MTPA) coal terminal at Beira Port as part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project.
More Details about Essar Ports agreement with Mozambique Government for developing Coal Terminal.
The project will be executed through a subsidiary, New Coal Terminal Beira (NCTB), which is a joint venture between Essar and Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM).
Essar will hold 70% stake in the subsidiary and CFM will hold 30% stake.
According to Rajiv Agarwal – CEO and Managing Director of Essar Ports, this project will not only boost coal exports from Mozambique and strengthen its economy, but also deliver significant direct and indirect benefits.
Mozambique is estimated to have reserves of over 23 billion tonnes of coal, which makes the country a major coal exporter that is well placed to cater to the Essar arm to build coal terminal at Beira Portinternational steel and power industries, especially in India, China, Japan and Korea.

AIFF Names Banerjee as Chairman of Transfers Dispute Committee
The AIFF named senior advocate Ushanath Banerjee as the chairman of a special committee that will be dealing with players' transfer disputes.
The Committee entrusted the Chairman to make a detailed and reasoned paper based on the review of the rules and regulations as mentioned above for consideration of the members for a decision thereafter.

President of India Urges Officers and Staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan to rise to The Country’s Expectations by Fulfilling their respective Responsibilities
In a rare gesture, the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind met the President’s Military Wing officers and staff at Rashtrapati Bhavan (August 5, 2017).
This is for the first time that within just a few days of assuming office, the President of India has called a separate meeting to acquaint himself with the President’s Military staff.
Military Secretary to the President introduced the Military Wing of Rashtrapati Bhavan to the President, comprising DMSP, ADCs, Ceremonial Section, Invitation Section, Tour Section, Visitor’s Management Cell, Household Section, Sanitation Section, President’s Bodyguard and Ceremonial Guard Battalion.
This is the first of such meetings scheduled to take place soon with the officers and staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

August 6

Delhi police ties up with Uber to enhance women safety
Commuters can soon access Delhi Police's mobile safety application for women 'Himmat' while travelling in any of cab aggregator Ubers taxis via Uber's mobile application.
Himmat is a mobile application which was launched by the Delhi Police through which women can alert police in case of any emergency.
By joining hands with the cab aggregator, Delhi Police hopes to increase the reach of the application.
Through this initiative, Uber joins hands with the law enforcement agency to add one more layer of safety for women riders using Uber.
In the first phase of the partnership, Uber will develop a permanent in-app access for Himmat app, including a link to download it from the app store.
The second phase will allow users to directly access the Himmat app from within the Uber app.

Assam Government all set to distribute 13 lakh Soil Health cards among farmers
The state government of Assam has decided to distribute 13 lakh Soil Health Cards among farmers.
About 1 lakh 41 thousand cards have already been distributed between April 2016 and June 2017.
Agriculture minister Atul Bora has mentioned that 214 soil test kits are operational for this purpose and that the government would soon be announcing a State Agriculture policy.
The emphasis has been given to successfully implement Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojna in the state.
Under crop insurance the state government has also released a sum of Rs 7.54 Cr as subsidy to farmers.
The govt. has sanctioned 600 crore rupees for Prime Minister AwasYojna Urban scheme in Assam.

Mughalsarai Railway station in Uttar Pradesh renamed after Deen Dayal Upadhyay
The Yogi Adityanath cabinet in Uttar Pradesh has approved a proposal to rename the Mughalsarai railway station near Varanasi after the Jan Sangh leader who died in 1968.
The centre has approved a proposal to rename the Mughalsarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh after RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.
The decision is a part of Adityanath government’s celebrations to mark the centenary of Upadhyay competitions at district and state level.
List of some of the railway stations that have been renamed recently by the government:
a) Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus: The name of the famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai was recently changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus this year by Central Railways.
b) Elphinstone Road: The Western Railways this year has changed the name of Elphinstone Road Station in Mumbai to Prabhadevi.
c) Bangalore city railway station: The Central government has approved the notice to rename Bangalore City Railway station to “Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna” in honour of Karnataka’s 19th century revolutionary freedom fighter in 2015.
d) Mhow railway station: The Central government in July 2016 gave its approval to rename Mhow Railway station in Indore district of Madhya Pradesh after Dalit leader B R Ambedkar.

Grameen Marathon for the youth of rural regions in Delhi
Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports organized the first Grameen Marathon for the youth of rural regions in Delhi. The marathon started from Nizampur village in Delhi with around 11,000 participants.
Arjun Awardee and ace badminton coach Pullela Gopichand was the Chief Guest at the flag off ceremony. He encouraged the young participants.
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Vijay Goel had earlier mentioned that such initiatives would go a long way in providing a platform to talented youngsters to represent India.
Shri Goel had stated that a major chunk of our players come from rural and tribal regions and hence it is vital for us to organize such sporting events that help them grow and provides us chance to train them further so that they represent India.

August 7

Govt merges NCRB with BPRD
The three-decade old National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has been merged with another central police organisation -- the BPRD by the government recently with an aim to improve efficiency of development works related to policing.
The Union home ministry on August 4 issued an order on the merger in order to "improve administrative efficiency and optimal utilisation of resources."
According to The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) chief Meeran C Borwankar, the merger will boost crime data collection and research efforts of the two organisations.
The BPRD Director General (DG) will be the head of the merged new entity, where the NCRB Director, an Additional DG rank post will report to the former.

GST council approves hike in luxury car cess
Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and luxury cars, which became cheaper after the roll out of the goods and services tax (GST) from July 1, 2017, may now cost more as the GST Council, has decided to raise cess on them from 15% now to up to 25%.
After GST was introduced, the total tax incidence on motor vehicles comprising the GST rate and the cess came down compared to the total tax incidence in pre-GST regime.GST council approves hike in luxury car cess.
However, GST Council considered this issue at its 20th meeting on August 5, 2017, and recommended to the Central Government to move legislative amendments required for increasing the maximum ceiling of cess leviable on motor vehicles to 25% instead of present 15%.
The proposal to raise the ceiling of cess covers large motor vehicles with capacity for 10-13 persons, mid segment and large cars, sports utility vehicles, mid segment hybrid cars and other hybrid vehicles, all of which at present attract 15% cess.

FMCG Britannia to set up largest plant in Maharashtra
India’s leading FMCG Britannia Industries would set up its largest plant in Maharashtra in a food park at Ranjangaon announced on 7th August 2017.
The park would have the largest biscuits manufacturing plant with six lines, along with cake and rusk (rpt) rusk.
The proposed JV plant with Greek company Chipita would also be located there and it would on stream from June 2018.
The company was also planning to set up a diary project at the food park with a capacity of seven lakh litres per day.
Chipita would also be introduced to a new variety of croissants for Indian consumers.
The main focus of the company would be investments on new products and cost reduction.

25% growth in number of Income Tax Returns filed in current fiscal Advance Tax (Personal Income Tax) collections up by 41%
As a result of demonetization and Operation Clean Money, there is a substantial increase in the number of Income Tax Returns(ITRs) filed. The number of Returns filed as on 05.08.2017 stands at 2,82,92,955 as against 2,26,97,843 filed during the corresponding period of F.Y. 2016-2017, registering an increase of 24.7% compared to growth rate of 9.9% in the previous year.
The growth in returns filed by Individuals is 25.3% with 2,79,39,083 returns having been received upto 05.08.2017 as against 2,22,92,864 returns in the corresponding period of F.Y. 2016-2017. This clearly shows that substantial number of new tax payers have been brought into the tax net subsequent to demonetization.
The effect of demonetization is also clearly visible in the growth in Direct Tax Collections. Advance Tax collections of Personal Income Tax (i.e. other than Corporate Tax) as on 05.08.2017 showed a growth of about 41.79% over the corresponding period in F.Y. 2016-2017. Personal Income Tax under Self Assessment Tax (SAT) grew at 34.25% over the corresponding period in F.Y. 2016-2017.

GST Council Recommends Increase in Maximum Ceiling of Cess Leviable on Motor Vehicles Falling Under Headings 8702 and 8703 to 25% Instead of Present 15%
The GST Council considered the issue of cess leviable on motor vehicles in its 20th meeting held on the 5th of August 2017 and recommended that Central Government may move legislative amendments required for increasing the maximum ceiling of cess leviable on motor vehicles falling under headings 8702 and 8703 including SUVs, to 25% instead of present 15% .
However, the decision on when to raise the actual cess leviable on the same will be taken by the GST Council in due course.
It was noted that after introduction of GST, the total tax incidence on motor vehicles [GST + Compensation Cess] has come down vis-a-vis the total tax incidence in pre-GST regime.
The Schedule to the Goods and Service Tax (GST) (Compensation to State) Act 2017, specifies the maximum rate at which Goods and Service Tax Compensation Cess may be collected. In respect of motor vehicles, the maximum rate at which Goods and Service Tax Compensation Cess may be collected is 15%.

August 8

Government gives funds to States/UTs under NAM to develop AYUSH System of Medicine
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, Mr. Shripad Yesso Naik, informed that during the year 2016-17, central Government released Rs. 41711.849 lakhs fund to State/UT Governments under National AYUSH Mission (NAM). Abbreviation AYUSH stands for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.
For special Category states (NE States and three hilly States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir), grant-in-aid component is 90% from Govt. of India and remaining 10% is to be the State contribution towards all components under the scheme. For other States/UTs the sharing pattern is 75% : 25%.
Supporting the cultivation of medicinal plants is financed 100% by Central Government in North Eastern State and hilly State of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir where as in other states it is shared in the ratio of 90:10 between Centre and States.

Government launches second phase of Measles-rubella vaccination campaign
In a bid to eliminate measles and curb instances of rubella by 2020, Union Government has rolled out the second phase of its measles-rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in the country.
Measlesis a highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus. It is an airborne disease,which spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of those infected.
Measles affects about 20 million people a year, primarily in the developing areas of Africa and Asia.
Rubella, also known as German measles or three-day measles, is an infection caused by the rubella virus.
Rubella is usually spread through the air via coughs of people who are infected.
Each year about 100,000 cases of congenital rubella syndrome occur.

Centre declares entire Assam as “disturbed area” under AFSPA under another month
The Centre has declared the entire Assam as a “disturbed” area under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the AFSPA for three more months.
According to The Home Ministry, the entire Assam, besides bordering areas of Meghalaya, have been declared “disturbed” under the AFSPA for three months with effect from 3rd of May.
There were 75 incidents of violence in Assam in 2016 in which 33 people, including four security personnel, were killed and 14 others were kidnapped.
There were also nine violent incidents in the state in which four people, including two security personnel, were killed in 2017.
The violence was committed by insurgent groups like ULFA, NDFB and others.
The ministry also declared three districts of Arunachal Pradesh – Tirap, Changlang and Longding – besides areas falling under 16 police stations bordering Assam as “disturbed” area under the AFSPA for three more months.
The AFSPA has been under force in the three Arunachal Pradesh districts since January 2016.

Coconut regains tree status in Goa as Assembly Passes Bill
The Goa Legislative Assembly has passed a bill which regain coconut as a `tree, ensuring legal protection for it on 8th of August 2017.
The Assembly, on the last day of Monsoon session has passed the Goa, Daman and Diu (Preservation of) Trees Act, 1984 to regulate felling of coconut trees and reclassify it as tree.
Goa Forward Party which is a partner in the Manohar Parrikar-led government, had promised to reclassify coconut.Coconut regains tree status in Goa as Assembly Passes Bill
The previous Laxmikant Parsekar-led government had changed classification of coconut tree to a palm.

Dahi Handi festival: Children under 14 years of age not allowed to participate
The Bombay High Court has accepted Maharashtra government’s statement that it would not allow children under the age of 14 years to participate in the ‘Dahi Handi’ festival on 7th of august 2017.
According to Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the court that as per the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, children below 14 years of age will not be allowed to participate in the festival.
Since the government had in August last year declared ‘Dahi Handi’ as an adventure sport.
The court heard two petitions filed by city residents, raising concerns over the participation of minors in the festival and lack of safety measures, due to which several unforeseen incidents occur.
In 2014, the high court had passed an order,children below the age of 18 years cannot participate in the festival, and had also imposed a height restriction of 20 feet for the pyramids.

NCRB merged with bureau of police research
In a debatable move, the government merged the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) - which, over the years, has been the principal source of reference by policy makers, police, criminologists, researchers and media - both in India and abroad, with the Bureau of Police Research and Development(BPR&D).
The ministry of home affairs issued an order placing NCRB's functions under the Director General of BPR&D, who will now oversee all the data collection related to Crime in India, Accidental Deaths and Suicides, Prison Statistics and Fingerprints.
Sources say that BPR&D has been given charge of NCRB so that there is more research based and methodological data collection in future as data collection by NCRB as of now was that of taken from states and sometimes inaccurate.
It was felt that if the researchers of BPR&D, which conducts its own researches and commissions many to private institutes/bodies to study the crime patterns, policing and other related aspects, and statisticians of NCRB work together, there will be more accurate and research based data collection.

August 15 to be celebrated as ‘Sankalp Parva’: Govt
The Centre has decided to observe this Independence Day as ‘Sankalp Parva’ and asked the people to dedicate themselves to social causes and share their ideas to make a new India.
Terming ‘Quit India Movement’ as an important milestone, the government has asked people to take a pledge to create a new India that is strong, prosperous and inclusive.
The Quit India Movement or ‘August Kranti’ began on August 9, 1942. “Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, people across India, in every village, city, transcending all barriers came together with a common mission to uproot imperialism.

August 9

NITI Aayog partners with 6 states to transform Health & Education sectors
NITI Aayog announced partnership with six states (with three states for health sector reforms and three states for education sector reforms) under its Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) initiative.
Objective of this program is to identify and build three future ‘role model’ states for health and educations systems.
NITI Aayog along with McKinsey & Company and IPE Global consortium will work in close collaboration with administrative machinery and institutions in the selected states to accomplish the end objectives.
NITI Aayog has selected Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Karnataka to improve healthcare delivery and key outcomes in these States.

Govt forms panel to make drugs more affordable
The government has formed a committee in its bid to make drugs more affordable in the country, Parliament was informed.
According to Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh L. Mandaviya,
Government has constituted a committee of joint secretaries for ensuring enhanced affordability, availability and accessibility of drugs for the citizens, Elaborating on the terms of reference of the committee, it would suggest ways to make pricing policy in favour of poor patients.
The committee would also review the scope of Drugs (Price Control) Order 2013 (DPCO 2013) and suggest ways for strengthening the regulatory provisions of the order.

Logistics Data Bank project to expand to South India
The Logistics Data Bank (LDB) project, unveiled in July 2016 to make India’s logistics sector more efficient through the use of Information Technology, will soon expand operations to the country’s southern region. So far, it had covered only the western logistics corridor.
The facility where every container is attached to a Radio Frequency Identification Tag (RFID) tag and then tracked through RFID reader’s aids importers and exporters in tracking their goods in transit.
This has, in turn, cut the overall lead time of container movement as well as reduced transaction costs that consignees and shippers incur. It is billed as a major ‘ease of doing business’ initiative aimed at boosting India’s foreign trade and ensuring greater transparency.

Govt launches a new scheme to boost agri startups
Joining hands with the IIM Ahmedabad, India's premier farm research institute - Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) launched a central scheme to promote agri startups in the country.
The programme - known as AGRI UDAAN - Food and Agribusiness Accelerator 2.0 - will help select innovative startups to scale up their operations in agri value chain for effective improvement in agriculture.
This is a six month programme in which short-listed agri startups with promising innovative business models will be mentored and guided to scale up their operations.
During this period, the startups will be trained in different aspects of technology commercialization, product validation, business plan preparation, risk analysis, customer engagement, finance management and fund raising.

UP Cabinet changes name of scheme launched by SP(Samajwadi Party) government
The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet approved renaming of another Samajwadi Party (SP) government-run scheme, and the Samajwadi Sarvhit Kisan Bima Yojna will now on be known as the Mukhymantri Sarvhit Kisan Bima Yojna.
One major rule that has already been done away with vis-a-vis police recruitment is addition of physical test marks in the final results, the marks of physical test will not have any bearing on the final results.
Previously, physical fitness marks were added to the Class X and Class XII marks., the recruitment will be done through a written examination, following which a merit list will be made and the physical test will be conducted later.
The applicants will have to fulfil certain physical test criteria like 4.8 km race, which for women will be 2.4 km.

President of India hosts ‘At Home’ for freedom fighters on the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind hosted an ‘At Home’ reception for freedom fighters on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement (August 9, 2017) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
On the occasion, the President honoured and felicitated 93 freedom fighters from across the country in the presence of the Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari; Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi; Union Minister for Home Affairs Shri Rajnath Singh and other dignitaries.
Each of the freedom fighters was gifted an electric kettle with a personal message from the President.
This small token is our people’s appreciation of your successful struggle against colonialism. I wish you happiness, good health and a long life.
On the occasion, the President also released a set of 8 Commemorative Postage Stamps on 75 years of 1942 Freedom Struggle.

August 10

National Cyber Coordination Centre made operational: Government
According to Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology PP Chaudhary, first phase of National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC), set up to scan the country’s web traffic to detect cyber security threats, has been made operational now
NCCC, a multi-stakeholder body, will be implemented by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) at Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
It derives necessary powers as per provisions of section 69B of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
NCCC will scan internet traffic coming into the country at meta data level to detect real-time cyber threat and alert various organisations as well as internet service providers for timely action.

NGT bans use of non-biodegradable plastic bags in Delhi
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a temporary ban on use of non-biodegradable plastic bags which are less than 50 microns in Delhi.
A bench is headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.
He has also announced an environment compensation of Rs 5,000 on anyone found in possession of such banned plastic.
The tribunal has also directed the Delhi government to seize the entire stock of plastic within one week.
The AAP-ruled city government and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has to file an affidavit by a senior most officer.
They will also direct how waste management in the city were being implemented, particularly in respect to plastics.
The green panel in 2016 banned the use of disposable plastic in Delhi and NCR with effect from 1st January 2017 and directed the city government to take steps to reduce dumped waste.

UP Government launches Namami Gange Jagriti Yatra
The Uttar Pradesh Government has launched a new awareness drive called Namami Gange Jagriti Yatra announced on 10th of August 2017.
The drive will mainly focus on cleanliness along the banks of Ganga river and maintain hygiene.
The campaign was flagged off in the state capital Lucknow by CM Adityanath.
The main objective is to make the river and the banks much more cleaner in the UP Government launches Namami Gange Jagriti Yatra.
The drive has been organised by Uttar Pradesh Home guard volunteers and will help in spreading awareness in about 25 districts situated on the banks of river Ganga in the state.
The drive will be covering a total area of around 1,025 kms.
It will pass through 108 blocks of 25 districts of UP from Bijnore to Ballia alongside the Ganga river.

No renewal of Insurance for vehicles without PUC : SC
The Supreme Court has issued a set of directions including that insurance companies will not renew insurance of a vehicle unless the owner provides pollution under control (PUC) certificate.
A bench is headed by Justice Madan B Loku.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will ensure that all fuel refilling centres in the National Capital Region (NCR) have PUC centres.
The apex court granted four weeks time to the Centre to ensure that there are functional PUC centres in NCR to ensure that vehicles plying have PUC certificate.
The court has considered the suggestions given by Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta way back in 1985 dealing with various aspects of pollution.

1000 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendras to be opened in Uttar Pradesh
Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri Mansukh Lal Mandviya, presided over the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between the Union Government and the State Government of Uttar Pradesh for opening 1000 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendras in the State.
The ceremony took place in the presence of Minister of Health of Uttar Pradesh Shri Siddharth Nath Singh and Minister of State for Health, Dr. Mahendra Singh, in Lucknow .
The Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI), under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, signed the MoU on behalf of Government of India with State Agency for Comprehensive Health and Integrated Services (SACHIS) representing Government of Uttar Pradesh.

Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey launches Indian National Anthem video in sign language.
Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development launched the Indian National Anthem video in sign language at Films Division Auditorium, New Delhi.
The video features Mr Amitabh Bachchan along with children with disability singing the National Anthem in sign language at the backdrop of the Majestic Red Fort.
The film is conceptualised by Satish Kapoor, Founder Director, We Care Film Festival. We Care Film Festival produced the Film under the aegis of Brotherhood, an NGO. It is directed by Govind Nihalani and the music is scored by late Aadesh Shrivastava.

A total of 887 cases registered under PWDVA during 2014 and 2015
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has started collecting data on the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 using Ministry of Home Affairs approved revised proforma of ‘Crime in India’ since 2014.
A total number of 426 cases and 461 cases have been registered under the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 during the year 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The number of cases filed under the Act clearly shows that women are taking the recourse to law to get relief from domestic violence.



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