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August Current Affairs

Cabinet clears stalled North Koel Reservoir Project in Bihar
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched the "Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali" campaign. The campaign was launched with an aim to reduce adverse environmental conditions especially pollution in the country after post Diwali celebrations due to excessive bursting of crackers which contributes significantly to air and noise pollution.

Government launches Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali Campaign
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched the "Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali" campaign. The campaign was launched with an aim to reduce adverse environmental conditions especially pollution in the country after post Diwali celebrations due to excessive bursting of crackers which contributes significantly to air and noise pollution.

Veteran photographer S Paul passes away
Veteran photographer S Paul passed away in New Delhi. He was 88. Paul was a self-taught photographer who discovered his passion for the art as a teenager. He joined The Indian Express in the 1960s and retired in 1989.

NHAI launches MyFASTag and FASTag Partner mobile apps
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) launched two mobile Apps – MyFASTag and FASTag Partner in to facilitate the availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) project. The mobile apps will ease the process, making it possible to buy or recharge FASTags easier using button.

Navika Sagar Parikrama: Indian Navy's all-woman team to circumnavigate globe A six-member all-woman team of the Indian Navy will set sail to circumnavigate the globe on the sailing vessel INSV Tarini. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-woman crew. The expedition has been aptly titled 'Navika Sagar Parikrama' with an aim to promote women empowerment in the country and ocean sailing by the Indian Navy.

Cabinet approves raising Rs. 9020 crore for Long Term Irrigation Fund The Union Cabinet gave its approval for raising Extra Budgetary Resources of up to Rs, 9,020 crore for Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) during thefinancial year 2017-18. The funds will be raised by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) through the issuance of Bonds at 6% per annum as per requirement.

Cabinet clears stalled North Koel Reservoir Project in Bihar The Union Cabinet approved proposal to complete the balance works of North Koel Reservoir Project in Bihar, stalled since 1993. It also revived the project to address environmental concerns. Under the revived project, storage of water in Mandal dam to be constructed under it will be will be restricted at lower level than envisaged earlier to reduce the submergence and to protect Betla National Park and Palamau Tiger Reserve.

Union Government inks Global Environment Facility Grant Agreement with World Bank The Union Government has inked US $24.64 million Grant Agreement from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank for Ecosystem Service Improvement Project. The Project will be entirely financed by the World Bank out of its GEF Trust Fund. The project's duration is of five years.

Cabinet approves creation non-lapsable Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh.
The Union Cabinet has approved creation of a single corpus fund non-lapsable known as Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK). Under it, all proceeds of secondary and higher education cess will be credited and utilised for the government's schemes in education sector.

NPPA caps prices of orthopaedic knee implants.
The drug price regulator National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the prices of orthopaedic knee implants upto 70% lower than current market rates. It will be valid for all orthopaedic knee implants sold within India – whether domestic or imported. Earlier in February 2017, the NPPA had capped the prices of stents used in cardiac surgery.

CCEA approves procedure and mechanism for Strategic Disinvestment
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved revision in the procedure and mechanism for strategic disinvestment. In this regard, the proposal was forwarded by the Department of Investment and public Asset Management (DIPAM). The approval will help in speedy completion of strategic disinvestment transactions.

Nepal, China sign three pacts to boost energy, economic ties.
China and Nepal have signed three pacts to further boost their ties in power, energy and economic sectors. The agreements signed cover oil and gas resources exploration, economic and technological cooperation and promotion of investment. These agreements were signed after visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang held discussions with Nepal's Deputy Prime Ministers Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and Krishna Bahadur Mahara.

India to host steering committee meeting of TAPI gas pipeline
India is going to host the next steering committee meeting of the proposed 1,814 kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. Decision in this regard was taken at the sixth joint India-Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation.

Scientists develop world's first plant-based Zika vaccine
Scientists from US have developed the world's first plant-based Zika vaccine that may be more effective, safer and cheaper than other vaccines against the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The vaccine was developed using proteins derived from Tobacco plant. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics available to combat Zika.

Indra: India, Russia for first time conduct tri-services exercise
India and Russia for first time are going to conduct Indra tri-services exercise, involving their armies, navies and the air forces in October 2017 to further ramp up military ties. It will be for the first time India will participate in a tri-services exercise with a foreign country with such large scale participation by Army,Navy and Air Force.

India's first online course on Infusion Therapy launched by INS
The Infusion Nurses Society (INS)-India in its 6th National conference launched country's first online course on Infusion Therapy for nurses. INS is global authority in infusion therapy. Under the online course, the INS aims to train over 3000 nurses in the vital medical procedure. The course will enable members to access the various infusion therapy modules and presentations through its website.

India-ASEAN Youth Summit begins in Bhopal
The India-ASEAN Youth Summit began in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh to commemorate 25th anniversary of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)–India dialogue partnership in the ongoing year. The first of its kind event was organised by Union Foreign Ministry, Union Sports Ministry, Madhya Pradesh government and India Foundation.

Indian Coast Guard Ship Shaurya commissioned in Goa
Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Shaurya was commission in Vasco, Goa.  ICGS Shaurya is an offshore patrol vessel designed and built indigenously by Goa. Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL). It will be based at Chennai under administrative and operational control of Commander Coast Guard Region (East).

Government launches nationwide campaign Gaj Yatra to protect elephants.
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has launched a nationwide campaign Gaj Yatra to protect elephants. It was launched on the occasion of World Elephant Day observed on August 12. The ministry also released the All India Census 2017 Report on elephants and Agreed Points of Action on Trans-Boundary Conservation of Elephants by India and Bangladesh.

Economic Survey proposes Transparency of Rules Act
The Second volume of Economic Survey 2016-17 has proposed Transparency of Rules Act (TORA), a progressive legislation to end any asymmetry of information regarding rules and regulations faced by an average citizen. The objective of TORA is to help citizens overcome an opaque mesh of complication.

Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume II: Agriculture and Food Management Reforms Measures
The Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume II released recently has taken into consideration various challenges faced by the Agriculture sector in India. It has suggested multi-dimensional Agricultural and Food Management Reforms Measures.

US Scientists develop micropropulsion system based on liquid water
Engineers from Purdue University in US have designed and tested a micropropulsion system called a Film-Evaporation MEMS Tunable Array (FEMTA) thruster Engineers from Purdue University in US have designed and tested a micro propulsion system called a Film-Evaporation MEMS Tunable Array (FEMTA) thrusters that uses liquid water as the propellant for orbital manoeuvring of tiny satellites called CubeSats.

ISRO to develop full-fledged Hyperspectral Imaging Earth observation satellite
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch a full-fledged niche Earth observation (EO) satellite — called the Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS). The HySIS satellite has critical chip called an “optical imaging detector array’” “optical imaging detector array’” indigenously developed by ISRO. Its launch will allow ISRO to enter the domain of operational hyperspectral imaging.

Odisha government and Facebook launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme
Odisha government and social networking giant Facebook has launched ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme to train women entrepreneurs in the state. It was launched in partnership between Odisha’s MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) department and Project Mission Shakti.

MCX gets SEBI approval to launch India’s first gold options contract
Commodity derivatives bourse Multi Commodity Exchange Ltd (MCX) has received markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) approval  to launch India’s first gold options contract. The gold futures contract will have bi-monthly duration. The gold futures contract will have bi-monthly duration. The option will also have the existing gold kilo futures contract as its underlier.

12 August: International Youth Day
The International Youth Day is observed across the world on 12 August to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth. The theme for this year is ‘Youth Building Peace‘. It aims at celebrating young people’s contributions in preventing conflicts and bringing about transformations along with social justice, inclusion and sustainable peace. It also reaffirms the important role youth can play in deterring and resolution.

NCERT launches web portal to supply Textbooks online
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has launched a web portal for supply of textbooks to schools and individuals. The web portal of NCERT will enable schools to place orders for their books online. It will also enable individual buyers to place their orders by logging onto the portal and books will be delivered at their doorstep.

UP Government launches Namami Gange Jagriti Yatra
The Uttar Pradesh Government has launched Namami Gange Jagriti Yatra, an awareness drive along banks of Ganga River to maintain cleanliness. The campaign was flagged off by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from the state capital in Lucknow.

National Cyber Coordination Centre made operational: Government
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has announced that the first phase of National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) has become operational. NCCC has been set up to scan the country’s web traffic to detect cyber security threats. It scans the cyberspace in the country for cyber security threats at metadata level to generate situational awareness.

ISRO to develop full-fledged Hyperspectral Imaging Earth observation satellite
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch a full-fledged niche Earth observation (EO) satellite — called the Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS). The HySIS satellite has critical chip called an “optical imaging detector array’” indigenously developed by ISRO. Its launch will allow ISRO to enter the domain of operational hyperspectral imaging from earth orbit.

India ratifies 2nd commitment period of Kyoto Protocol
India has ratified the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (or Doha Amendment) that commits countries to contain the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). In this regard, India deposited its Instrument of Acceptance of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol. With this, India became the 80th country to accept the amendment relating to the second commitment period (2013- 2020) of the Kyoto Protocol.

75th anniversary of Quit India Movement
The 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement was observed across the country. This year’s theme was “Sankalp se Siddhi- the attainment through resolve”.  Prime Minister Modi in his Mann Ki Baat programme had called for launching the mega campaign Sankalp Se Siddhi and  pledges to build new India by 2022. It calls on everyone to pledge together towards Clean India, Poverty–free India, Corruption-free India, Terrorism-free India, Communalism-free India, Casteism-free India.

Commerce Ministry to shut down DGS&D.
The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has started the process of shutting down Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), over 100-year-old government procurement arm, in this fiscal. Earlier, the Union Cabinet in April 2017 had ordered the DGS&D to wind up operations by October 2017. Now the public procurement of goods and services will be managed by the Government’s e-market platform (GeM).

India ranks 43rd in 2017 Global Retirement Index.
India was ranked last at 43rd position in 2017 Global Retirement Index (GRI) published by French asset management company Natixis Global . The index ranks 43 countries on the basis of four factors viz. material well-being, health, finances and quality of life. The 43 countries include members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Monetary Fund (IMF) advanced economies and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

Government to expand Logistics Data Bank project to South India  
The Union Ministry of Shipping is planning to expand Logistics Data Bank (LDB) project to the country’s southern region. So far, it had covered only the western logistics corridor. The LDB project was launched at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT), Mumbai in July 2016, making it first port in India to provide this service. Later its operations were expanded to the container terminals at Adani Port Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), Mundra and Adani Hazira Port — both in Gujarat.

Government launches Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017
The Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has released Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017, third party survey report to assess the progress Swachh Bharat Mission in rural India  The survey was undertaken by the Quality Council of India (QCI) between May and June 2017 to take into account status of rural sanitation in all States and UTs. The survey covered 4626 villages across all States and Union territories.

 Justice Dipak Misra appointed as 45th Chief Justice of India.
President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Justice Dipak Misra (63), senior-most judge of the Supreme Court as the next Chief Justice of India. He will be 45th CJI and succeeds Justice JS Khehar. He will have tenure of over 13 months till October 2018. He will be the third person from Odisha to be appointed the CJI, after Justices Ranganath Misra and G B Pattanaik.

NITI Aayog partners with 6 states to transform Health & Education sectors.
The NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has announced partnership with three states each to radically transform their Health and Education sectors under its Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) initiative. The shortlisted states for transforming their health sector are Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka. Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha were selected for transforming their education sector.

Government constitute committee to make drugs more affordable. 
The Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers has constituted a committee of joint secretaries for ensuring enhanced affordability, availability and accessibility of drugs for the citizens. The committee will suggest ways to make pricing policy in favour of poor patients.

Entire Assam declared as ‘disturbed’ area under AFSPA for another month.
The Union Home Ministry has declared entire Assam state as a disturbed area under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act for one more month, citing various violent activities by insurgent groups ULFA, NDFB, and others. The Home Ministry also declared 20 km belt along Meghalaya’s border areas adjoining Assam and three districts in Arunachal Pradesh (Tirap, Changlang and Longding) as disturbed under the AFSPA for two more months.

Government merges NCRB with BPRD.
The Union Home Ministry has merged three-decade old National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) with Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD). The merger aims at improving administrative efficiency and optimal utilisation of resources for development works related to policing. It will also boost crime data collection and research efforts.

India to MGC nations: Expand areas of cooperation.
India at 8th Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting held in Manila, Philippines has called for expanding the areas of cooperation among the member countries of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) bloc. MGC countries have proposed to add newer areas of cooperation to the traditional area.

ISRO, NASA working towards realisation of NISAR Mission by 2021.
ISRO and NASA are jointly working on the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission to co-develop and launch a dual frequency synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite by 2021. The satellite will be the world’s most expensive earth-imaging satellite till date, costing around $1.5 billion. It aims to study global environmental change and natural disasters.

Government proposes to set up 14 new AIIMS hospitals under PMSSY 
The Union Government has proposed to establish an additional 14 new AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Science) under various phases of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) in different parts of the country. It was announced by Union Health Minister JP Nadda while replying to supplementary in Lok Sabha on AIIMS and related healthcare system in India.

Parliament passes IIIT (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
Parliament has passed the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017 after the Rajya Sabha approved it. The Lok Sabha has already passed it. The Bill amends the IIIT Act, 2014. The IIIT Act, 2014 declares certain Institutes of Technology as institutions of national importance. It aims to develop new knowledge in information technology and provide manpower of global standards for the information technology industry.

Lok Sabha passes NABARD (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The Lok Sabha has passed the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by voice vote. The Bill seeks to amend the NABARD Act, 1981. NABARD is responsible for providing and regulating facilities like credit for agricultural and industrial development in the rural areas.

Economist Rajiv Kumar appointed as Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog.
The Union Government has appointed economist Rajiv Kumar as the new vice-chairman of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. Government also appointed Vinod Paul, head of the Pediatrics department at AIIMS as a member of the NITI Aayog.

Venkaiah Naidu elected 13th Vice President of India.
Former union minister Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu (68) was elected as 13th Vice President of India. He will succeed Hamid Ansari, who held the position for two consecutive terms of 5 years. With this victory, BJP has occupied top three constitutional posts of India- President, Vice-President and  Prime Minister.

Indian Railways signs first EPC contract with L&T to speed up electrification.
The Indian Railways has signed its first EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) contract with Larsen and Turbo (L&T) for electrification of railway lines. The contract valuing Rs 1,050 crore was awarded by Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE) and Konkan Railways for electrification of 781 route kilometres (RKM).

Government to launch AGRI UDAAN-Food and Agribusiness Accelerator 2.0 programme.
The Union Government is going to launch AGRI-UDAAN Food and Agribusiness Accelerator 2.0 programme in an attempt to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture. It will mentor startups and help them connect with potential investors. 

Recommendations: Justice Srikrishna committee on Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism.
A High Level Committee set up to review the Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism in India has submitted its report to the Union Law Ministry. It was headed by Justice (retired) BN Srikrishna. The Union Government is committed for speedy resolution of commercial disputes and to make India an an international hub of Arbitration. So government has decided to look into the recommendations and amended laws according to need.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan  
Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected the 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan by the National Assembly. Abbasi, nominee of ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) secured 221 votes in the House of 342.He succeeds Nawaz Sharif who was disqualified by the Supreme Court over the Panama Papers scandal.
Government launches e-RaKAM portal.
The Union Government has launched e-Rashtriya Kisan Agri Mandi (e-RaKAM) portal to provide a platform for farmers to sell agricultural produce. e-RaKAM is a first of its kind initiative that leverages technology to connect farmers from the smallest villages to the biggest markets of the world through internet.

India can construct Kishanganga, Ratle Hydro Power Plants: World Bank.
World Bank has allowed India to construct Kishanganga, Ratle 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 and Pakistan concluded the secretary-level talks on the technical issues of the IWT in Washington, US.

Government constitutes Committee to study issues related to data protection.
The Union Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) has constituted an expert Committee to study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods for addressing them. The ten-member committee will be headed by Supreme Court Judge (retired) Justice B N Srikrishna and comprise of members from government, academia and Industry.

Lok Sabha passes two key bills for implementation of GST in J&K.
The Lok Sabha has 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.  The first bill provides for the extension of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017 to J&K and the other also provides for the extension of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Act, 2017 to J&K.

Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and Spain on cooperation in renewable energy.
The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Spain on India-Spain Cooperation in renewable energy. The MoU was signed in May 2017 at Spain. The MoU aims at strengthening bilateral cooperation between both countries with the exchange of expertise and networking .

Indian Army develops Humraaz app for soldiers to track promotions, postings.
The Indian Army has developed Humraaz mobile application through which serving soldiers can track details like postings and promotions. The app will also enable soldiers to view their monthly salary slips, Form 16 and also download them.

Parliament passes Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
Parliament has passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017 with Rajya Sabha approving it. Lok Sabha had passed it earlier. The Bill amends the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), 2009 by extending the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment.

India-Bhutan New Trade and Transit agreement come into force
The new bilateral Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan came into force from July 2017. The new agreement aims to further strengthen the bilateral trade relations between both countries.

BSF and NSDC sign MoU on Skill Development
The Border Security Force (BSF) signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The MoU will enable NSDC to provide skill training to retired and retiring BSF personnel, as well as to the population residing in the border areas.

SC bans use of five heavy metals in firecrackers
The Supreme Court has imposed ban on use of five harmful heavy metals like lithium, antimony, mercury, arsenic and lead in the manufacturing of firecrackers as they cause air pollution. The apex court held that it is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance of ban order.
19th RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee Meeting held in Hyderabad
The 19th round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) meetings and other related meetings were held in Hyderabad, Telangana.

Arvind Panagariya resigns as Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog  
Arvind Panagariya (64) has resigned as Vice Chairman of NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog and announced to return to academics in US.. He was appointed as the as Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog in January 2015 and held cabinet minister rank.

Dhrupad maestro Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar passes away
Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, one of the foremost exponents and custodian of the venerable Dhrupad tradition of Hindustani classical music passed away in a Pune. He was 78.