Govt merges NCRB with BPRD
On August 4, 2017, Union Home Ministry passed an order to merge the three-decade old National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) with Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD).
♦ Government has taken this decision with an aim to improve administrative efficiency and optimal utilisation of resources.
♦ 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.
About NCRB and BPRD:
i. The NCRB was created in 1986 as the central police organisation to collect crime data, on various parameters, from across all the states of the country.
ii. The BPRD, created in 1970, is the national police organisation to study, research and develop on subjects and issues related to policing.
iii. Both the organisations function under the Union home ministry.
GST council approves hike in luxury car cess
Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and luxury cars, which became cheaper after the rollout 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%.
i. 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.
ii. 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%.
iii. 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.
BANKING & FINANCE
Mastercard, PayPal expand partnership into Asia Pacific
Mastercard and PayPal have announced an extension of their partnership into Asia Pacific for making MasterCard a clear payment option within PayPal.
i. PayPal will add Mastercard as a payment method to their e-wallet and consumers can make it their default payment option.
ii. Card Company will provide tokenization services and will enable mobile payments using PayPal’s digital wallet at more than 6.5 million contactless-enabled merchant locationsacross the globe.
iii. The partnership will also add Master pass as a payment option for merchants that process payments via Braintree.
iv.The partnership will allow consumers and small businesses across Asia Pacific to cash ou t funds held in their PayPal e-wallet to a Mastercard debit card.
♦ PayPal Holdings, Inc. is an American company operating a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like checks and money orders.
♦ PayPal is one of the world’s largest Internet payment companies
♦ Founded on December 1998
♦ HQ: San Jose California U.S.
♦ CEO: Dan Schulman & Chairman: John Donahoe
PNB customers to pay higher charges for non-credit services
PNB customers will have to pay charges for depositing cash above Rs 5,000 in a non-base branch even if it is located in the same city.
i. Currently, the customers of Punjab National Bank (PNB) are levied charges only for depositing cash over Rs 25,000 at a non-base branch within the same city.
ii. A customer will have to pay Re 1 per Rs 1,000 for above Rs 5,000 cash deposit or part thereof with a minimum of Rs 25 per transaction.
iii. It has been decided to revise the non-credit related charges exclusive of GST with effect from 1st of September 2017 for cash deposit above Rs 5,000 at other than base branch within the same city.
iv. The bank has also revised upwards the cheque returning charges for a payment of ab ove Rs 1 crore to Rs 2,000 for first cheque and Rs 2,500 for subsequent bounces.
v. Currently, for a cheque returns of above Rs 1 crore, the charges are Rs 1,000 for first cheque and Rs 1,500 for subsequent instances.
vi .At an outstation branch, cash deposit up to Rs 5,000 will be free of cost from 1st of September, which at present is limited for Rs 25,000.
vii. For above Rs 5,000 cash deposit at outstation branch, the bank will levy Rs 2 per Rs 1,000 or part thereof with a minimum of Rs 25 per transaction.
viii. The locker rent is being raised by 25% for small, medium, large and extra-large sizes to Rs 1,500, Rs 3,500, Rs 5,500 and Rs 10,000 respectively, for metro branches.
ix. PNB will levy a premium of 25% of the locker rent in 22 identified branches, 19 of which are in Delhi, one in Gurgaon and two in Faridabad.
x. All the charges are exclusive of Goods and Services Tax (GST) which came into effect from 1st of July this year and attract a charge of 18% which is 15% from previous tax regime charges.
♦ HQ: New Delhi
♦ Founded on 19th May 1894
♦ Tagline: The name you can Bank upon
♦ MD& CEO: Sunil Mehta
Government forms action plan for easy execution of trade facilitation agreement
Indian government has formulated National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (2017-20), a detailed action plan with timelines for smooth implementation of WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Recommendations made by four working groups on legislative changes, time release study, outreach programme and infrastructure augmentation have been included in this plan.
i. Implementation of the plan, which also includes suggestions of the private sector, has been divided into short term (0-6 months), medium term (6-18 months) and long term (18-36 months).
ii. The short term action plan includes augmentation of storage infrastructure for perishable goods and clearance of such goods within 12 hours of landing for import and 8 hours for export
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.
i. The park would have the largest biscuits manufacturing plant with six lines, along with cake and rusk (rpt) rusk.
ii. The proposed JV plant with Greek company Chipita would also be located there and it would on stream from June 2018.
iii. The company was also planning to set up a diary project at the food park with a capacity of seven lakh litres per day.
iv. Chipita would also be introduced to a new variety of croissants for Indian consumers.
v. The main focus of the company would be investments on new products and cost reduction.
vi. Chairman of Britannia Industries: Nusli Wadia
Temples in Maharashtra:
♦ Babulath Temple: The temple of majestic Baulnath is located in the Mumbai city, at nearly 1000 feet above sea level which is overlooking the Arabian Sea which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
♦ Balaji Temple: The Balaji Temple is situated in Nerul, Navi Mumbai which is built on the lines of Venkateshwara temple at Tirupati.
♦ Dagdusheth Temple: The ShrimantDagdushethHalwaiSarvajanikGanapati Trust based in Pune was established in the year 1893.
♦ Dattatreya Temple: The Dattatreya Temple is situated in Ganganapur Maharashtra.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Indian Philanthropist Firoz Merchant honoured by UAE Govt.
Firoz Merchant, an Indian businessman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who has spent over USD 4 million to help free prisoners languishing in jails due to non-payment of debts, has been honoured with UAE’s prestigious Community Service Medal.
i. UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the UAE, Lt General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, honoured Indian businessman and philanthropist Firoz Merchant with the Community Service Medal on Augsut 7, 2017.
ii. The award, which is given in the form of a medal, was given to Merchant in recognition of his efforts to serve the community in the country and beyond.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Aparna appointed as Executive Director of World Bank
Senior bureaucrat S Aparna, presently Principal Secretary to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, has been appointed as an Executive Director in the World Bank in the US.
i. As the Executive Director at World Bank, Ms. Aparna will represent the constituency of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
ii. Aparna has been appointed in place of S C Garg, who has recently taken over as Secretary, Department
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Infosys to buy London’s Brilliant Basics for Rs 63 crore
Software services firm Infosys would acquire London-based firm Brilliant Basics for Rs 62.76 crore (£7.5 million).
i. The acquisition of the firm that specializes in customer experience and product design and it would also help in expanding design-based technology services in Europe and West Asia.
ii. The acquisition cost included earn-out and employee retention amounts.
iii. The process is likely to be concluded by the end of the July-September quarter.
iv. It has also added ‘Brilliant Basics’ design and customer experience capabilities and has already proven to be invaluable.
v. Brilliant Basics will help to drive digital transformation solutions, which connect our clients’ systems of record to new systems of engagement.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
IISc researchers developed low-cost sensitive carbon monoxide sensor
Indian Institute of Science (IISc)researchers from Bengaluru have developed a highly sensitive, low cost nanometre-scale carbon monoxide (CO) sensor with possible applications in environmental pollution monitoring.
i. The sensor was developed using novel fabrication technique. It also does not involve costly and time consuming lithography technology.
ii. The nanometer-sized sensor was made using zinc-oxide (ZnO) nanostructure on a silicon wafer substrate. Tiny polystyrene beads were also used on the wafer.
iii. These beads were first added on the oxidised silicon wafer arrange themselves into and called a hexagonal close-packed structure.
iv. Reasonable level of vacuum is maintained between the wafer and beads.
v. When a high voltage is applied, it inscribes away the surfaces of the beads until a gap of desired thickness is formed between adjacent beads.
vi. Then ZnO is deposited on the system. This occupies the spaces between the beads, forming a honeycomb like nano-mesh that can function as a nanosenor.
vii. The nanometre-scale CO sensor is able to detect a difference in CO level as low as 500 parts per billion (ppb).
viii. It can selectively respond to CO even in the presence of other gases
NASA’s Hubble detects Exoplanet with glowing water atmosphere
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the strongest evidence for a stratosphere on an enormous planet outside our solar system, WASP-121b.
i. The discovery shows that a common trait of most of the atmospheres in solar system, which is a warm stratosphere, can also be found in the atmospheres of exoplanets WASP-121b with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
ii. The program has been awarded 800 hours to study and compare 20 different exoplanets, representing one of the largest time allocations for a single program in the entire 27 year history of Hubble.
iii. This new research is the smoking gun evidence scientists have been searching for when studying hot exoplanets.
iv. The stratosphere is a layer of atmosphere in which temperature increases with higher altitudes.
v. The discovery was made by an International team of researchers led by the University of Exeter by observing glowing water molecules in WASP-121b’s atmosphere.
vi. The scientists used spectroscopy, in order to study the exoplanet’s stratosphere, to analyse how the planet’s brightness changed at different wavelengths of light.
vii. The Water vapour in the planet’s atmosphere behaves in predictable ways in response to different wavelengths of light, depending on the temperature of the water.
viii. At cooler temperatures, water vapour in the planet’s upper atmosphere blocks light of specific wavelengths radiating from deeper layers towards space.
ix. However at higher temperatures, the water molecules in the upper atmosphere glow at the wavelengths, instead of blocking them.
x. The water molecules in the atmosphere of WASP-121b similarly give off radiation as they lose energy, but it is in the form of infrared light, which is not visible to the naked human eye.
xi. The change in temperature within the stratosphere in the planets within our solar system is typically around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 56 degrees Celsius), on WASP-121b, the temperature in the stratosphere rises by 1,000 degrees (560 degrees Celsius).
xii. Scientists are not yet clear what chemicals are causing the rise in temperature in WASP-121b’s atmosphere.
xiii. The research was published in the August 2017 issue of a leading scientific journal called Nature.
♦ It is located approximately 900 light years from Earth, the exoplanet is a gas giant commonly referred to as a ‘hot Jupiter’.
♦ It has 1.2 times greater mass and 1.9 times greater radius than Jupiter.
♦ It orbits around its host star every 1.3 days in very close proximity.♦
♦ The Earth’s stratosphere is warm as ozone gas traps ultraviolet radiation from the sun in this layer raising its temperature and methane is responsible for heating in the stratospheres of Jupiter and Saturn’s moon Titan
ONGC beats Bengaluru Hockey 4-2, wins MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has beaten Bengaluru Hockey Association (BHA) by 4-2 in the final in 91st All-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament on 6th of August 2017.
i. ONGC has also defeated Indian Railways in the semi-finals.
ii. The Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament was scheduled from 27th July to 6th of August 2017.
iii. It was held at Mayor Radhakrishnan stadium , Egmore Chennai.
iv. It took all of three minutes for ONGC to go 1-0 ahead with Diwakar Ram once again scoring from a penalty-corner.
v .The ONGC team received Rs 5, 00,000 prize money while BHA got Rs 2.5 lakh.
vi. Special Prizes has been given to following:
Best forward: Jenjen Singh (Bengaluru HA)
Best mid-fielder: Machaiah (ONGC),
Best goalkeeper-defender: Diwakar Ram
Most promising player: Sanjay Xalxo (Odisha)
Man of the final: Rajkumar Pal (BHA).
vii. Murugappa Group executive chairman A Vellayan gave away the prizes in the presence of MCC president Srivatsan Subramaniyam.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC)
♦ It is an Indian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.
♦ It is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of the Government of India, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
♦ It is India’s largest oil and gas exploration and production company.
♦ Founded: 14th August 1956
♦ HQ: Dehradun, Uttarakhand India
♦ Chairman & MD: DK Sarraf
Ankur Mittal Wins Gold Medal in Asian Shotgun Championship
Indian shooter Ankur Mittal has won the individual as well as the team gold medal in Men’s double trap at the 7th Asian Shotgun Championship on 5th of August 2017.
i. The Asian Shotgun Championship is held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
ii. Mittal shot 71 in the six-man final to finish at the top of the podium.UAEs KhaledAlkaabi (70) won the silver in men’s double trap event, while SaifAlshamsy (53) has won the bronze.
iii. India managed to bag the top prize in the team event with scores of SangramDahiya (43) and Mohammad Asab (34) added to Mittal’s final total.
iv. Mittal, a World Cup gold medallist, shot 137 in the qualification and was behind topper Dahiya (140) as well as Asab (138).
v. In the individual event, Dahiya finished fourth, while Asab had to be managed with the fifth position.
vi. Mittal had won a gold medal at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico in 2016.
vii. He had also won silver in seasons inaugural World Cup in New Delhi.
BCCI ordered to lift lifetime ban on cricketer Sreesanth by Kerela HC
On August 4, 2017, Kerala High Court ordered Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to lift the life ban imposed on Cricketer Sreesanth in the wake of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
i. In 2013, Sreesanth faced allegations on spot-fixing issues in the Indian Premier League and was hence charged with the same alongside fellow cricketers Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.
ii. He soon received a suspension form BCCI.
iii. Delhi Court had cleared his case in 2015 and acquitted him from spot-fixing charges.
iv. In March 2017, Sreesanth had filed a petition to challenge BCCI’s decision to remove off the ban even after Delhi court has cleared his case.
v. According to Sreesanth, not lifting the ban implied going against the constitutional rights of a citizen.
vi. The orders put forth by Kerela HC to lift the ban, came in response to this very petition.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
World’s Shortest Woman Unveils 51-Feet High Book
The world’s shortest woman Jyoti Amge has presented a 51-feet high book at a programme on 6th of August 2017.
i. The book Kadve Vachan is written by Jain saint Acharya TarunSagar Maharaj. It was unveiled by her in the presence of BJP state president Ashok Parnami.
ii. It is the ninth volume of the book written in Hindi.
iii. Amge is considered to be the world’s shortest woman by the Guinness World Records at 62.8 cm.
iv. The book contains various “bitter” discourses about life and guides people for better living
National Handloom Day – August 7 2017
National Handloom Day is being observed on 7th August 2017 to encourage people to use hand-made loom in the country.
i. The main event will be held in Guwahati to celebrate the third National Handloom Day.
ii. It is celebrated every year due to its significance in India’s history, as ‘Swadeshi Movement’ was launched in 1905 on this day.
iii. Over 1000 weavers from North East India are expected to participate in the celebration of the National Handloom day in Guwahati.
iv. Union Minister of state for Textile Ajay Tamta, Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and other senior ministers of the state will be attending the main event in Assam.
v. This event will give a boost to weavers of Assam, who are known for producing Pat and Muga silk.
vi. The Assam government has already announced an ambitious Muga Mission to increase production with a cost of 100 crore rupees.
vii. According to government data, 95% of the world’s hand woven fabric comes from India.
viii. Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani has mentioned that weavers in the northeast would be given several services through Weavers Service Centres.
ix. This sector contributes nearly 15% of the cloth production in the country and It also contributes to the country’s export earnings.
x. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the first National Handloom Day on August 7 in 2015, at a national level function in Chenna