GK Update & Current Affairs: 2nd August 2018
1. Government launches Seva Bhoj Yojna
- Union Ministry of Culture launched Seva Bhoj Yojna, a new scheme to provide financial assistance on purchase of specific food items by Charitable Religious Institutions (CRIs) for free distribution among people. Under this scheme, Centre’s share of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Interstate GST charged on raw food materials purchased by the religious institutions will be refunded.
- The scheme aims to reimburse Central Government share of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST) to lessen financial burden of religious and charitable institutions providing food, prasad, langar (Community Kitchen), Bhandara free of cost without any discrimination to public and devotee.
2. 2-Day Indo-US Military Cooperation Meeting Begins in New Delhi
- A two-day Indo-US Military Cooperation Meeting has begun in New Delhi as a prelude to 2 plus 2 Dialogue between the two countries scheduled in September 2018.
- The meeting was co-chaired by Lt Gen Satish Dua, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) and Lt Gen Bryan Fenton, Deputy Commander, Indo-Pacific Command.
- External Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would meet their US counterparts in 2 plus 2 meeting in September in New Delhi. A first such initiative between the two countries that will focus on strengthening defence and strategic ties.
3. Government launches logo, tagline for GI
- Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry has unveiled tricolour logo for geographical indication (GI) certified products. The logo has tagline “Invaluable Treasures of Incredible India” printed below it.
- In the open contest, winning logo was designed by Adri Chatterjee and winning tagline was coined by Akancha Tripathi. The purpose of logo and tagline for GI selected is to increase awareness about intellectual property rights (IPRs) and also and importance of GI products in the country. From now on, GI-registered goods will sport logo and tagline to make them more attractive.
4. IWAI Launches Dedicated Portal FOCAL For Cargo Owners And Shippers
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has launched a dedicated portal to connect cargo owners and shippers with real-time data on the availability of vessels.
- The portal has been named as the Forum of Cargo Owners and Logistics Operators (FOCAL) and it will facilitate responses from the logistics operators against the req uirement raised by cargo owners and vice-versa.
5. China launches high-resolution Earth observation satellite: Gaofen 11
- China successfully launched Gaofen-11, an optical remote sensing satellite, as part of the country’s high-resolution Earth observation project. It was launched on board of Long March 4B rocket from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi Province.
- It was overall 282nd flight mission by Long March carrier rocket.
- Gaofen-11 is sub-meter resolution optical satellite. It was developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). It is the sixth in Gaofen series launched this year, following triplet of Gaofen-1 satellites and larger Gaofen-5 and Gaofen-6, all placed in Sun-synchronous orbits.
- It will become part of China High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS) initiated in 2010 to provide all-weather, all-day coverage by 2020 with optical and synthetic aperture radar satellites, and could also include airborne and near-space systems such as stratospheric balloons.
6. NITI Aayog To Host Investors’ Conference For Development of Islands
- NITI Aayog will host an Investors’ Conference at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra for the Holistic Development of Islands. The Conference will be inaugurated by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog. It will attract investment for the sustainable development of eco-tourism projects in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands.
- The 11 anchor tourism projects are proposed to be implemented with private sector participation under suitable risk-sharing model and through open-competitive bidding.
7. India, Germany Sign Pact On Financial And Technical Cooperation
- India and Germany have signed an agreement on financial and technical cooperation focusing on sustainable urban development and renewable energy. The government-to-government Umbrella Agreement on Financial Cooperation and Technical Co-operation 2017 is worth about 5,000 thousand crore rupees.
- The agreement under the Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation was signed between Joint Secretary in the Finance Ministry, Sameer Kumar Khare, and German Ambassador to India, Martin Ney, in New Delhi.
8. France’s Parliament Signed Into Law, Asylum and Immigration Bill
- France’s Parliament has signed into law a controversial asylum and immigration bill. The bill is designed to accelerate asylum procedures by cutting the maximum processing time from the current 120 days to 90 days after entering France.
- The text was adopted on a final reading by 100 votes in favour to 25 against with 11 abstentions.
- The Senate had rejected the bill, but the Lower House passed the text as President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche party holds a large majority, even if the law has exposed divisions within his own camp.
9. NDA Act 2019 Passed, Capping US Aid To Pakistan To $150 million
- The United States Congress has passed the National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19) which capped its security-related aid to Pakistan to $150 million, significantly below the historic level of more than $ 1 billion to $750 million per year.
- This year’s defence legislation removes certain conditions like action against Haqqani network or Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as was the case in the past few years for disbursement of US aid to Pakistan.
10. Indian-Origin Mathematician Akshay Venkatesh Wins Prestigious Fields Medal
- Akshay Venkatesh, a renowned Indian-Australian mathematician, is one of four winners of mathematics’ prestigious Fields medal, known as the Nobel prize for math.
- New Delhi-born Venkatesh, 36, who is currently teaching at Stanford University, has won the Fields Medal for his profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics.
- Each winner receives a 15,000 Canadian-dollar cash prize. The other three winners are: Caucher Birkar, a Cambridge University professor of Iranian Kurdish origin; Germany’s Peter Scholze, who teaches at the University of Bonn and Alessio Figalli, an Italian mathematician at ETH Zurich.