Delhi Metro becomes world’s first completely ‘green’ Metro system

  • The Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) has become the world’s first completely ‘green’ Metro system for adhering to green building norms for its residential colonies.
  • In this regard, Delhi Metro has secured the platinum rating for adherence to green building norms for its 10 residential colonies from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
  • The Delhi Metro is a metro system serving Delhi and its satellite cities of Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad in National Capital Region (NCR).
  • It is the world’s 12th longest metro system in length and 16th largest in ridership.
  • It is built and operated by DMRC, a state-owned company with equal equity participation from Union Government and Government of Delhi.
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has financed 60% of the project cost in the form of soft loan under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). 

30 July: World Day against Trafficking in Persons

  • The World Day against Trafficking in Persons is observed across the world on 30 July to raise awareness of the plight of victims of human trafficking and to protect their rights.
  • The theme of this year is ‘Act to Protect and Assist Trafficked Persons’.
  • The theme emphasizes one of the most pressing issues of the large mixed migration movements of refugees and migrants.
  • Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 21 million people around the world are victims of forced labour.
  • This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation.

CBDT inks 9 Advance Pricing Agreements

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 9 Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPAs) with Indian taxpayers in July, 2017.
  • With this, total number of APAs signed till date stands at 171 (Bilateral-12 and Unilateral-159).
  • The nine APAs signed pertain to diverse sectors of the economy including Oil & Gas exploration, education, banking, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and IT.
  • They also cover international transactions and provision of software development services, ITES , engineering design services, distribution, contract manufacturing, etc.
  • The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax (IT) Act.
  • It aims to strengthen the Government’s commitment to foster a non-adversarial tax regime. Further, the taxpayer has the option to roll back the APA.
  • CBDT is nodal policy-making body of the Income Tax (IT) department under the Union Finance Ministry.
  • It is a statutory authority established under The Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.
  • It is supreme body in India for framing policies related to direct taxes.
  • The composition of CBDT includes Chairman and six members.

Govt launches Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2 in Mumbai

  • The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has launched Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2 in Mumbai, Maharashtra under the Jiyo Parsi scheme.
  • The Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2 aims at containing the declining trend of population of the Parsi community and reverses it to bring their population above the threshold level.
  • Jiyo Parsi scheme is a Central Sector Scheme for containing population decline of Parsis in India.
  • Its main objective is to reverse the declining trend of Parsi population by adopting a scientific protocol and structured interventions.
  • It aims to stabilize and increase the population of Parsis in India.
  • It has two components: Medical Assistance and Advocacy (Counselling).
  • The first phase of the scheme was launched initiated in 2013.

National Mission for Clean Ganga approves 7 projects

  • The Executive Committee of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in its 4th meeting has approved seven projects in the sector of sewage infrastructure, ghat development and research.
  • Three projects each were approved in sewage sector in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
  • Central Govt will provide operation and maintenance cost for 15 years to all these six projects along with 100% central assistance.
  • NMCG is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council). 

Punjab launches ‘Apni Gaddi Apni Rozgar’ scheme 

  • The Punjab govt announced the launch of its flagship ‘Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar’ scheme by flagging off over 100 uberMOTO bikes.
  • Under the scheme the state govt will be providing commercial two wheelers and four wheelers to unemployed youth at subsidised rates. 
  • Though Uber will be able to operate easily with in Punjab, but it may not have a smooth ride with in the Chandigarh Central Region.
  • Uber and Ola- both have taken up the matter with Monahar Lal led BJP govt. 
  • uberMOTO claims to make the transportation affordable in these cities, with fares as low as Rs 15. 

Canara Bank launches first digital branch in Bengaluru

  • Canara Bank, which has set an ambitious target of moving to ‘paperless’ futuristic banking, launched its first ‘Digital Banking Branch’ at Spencer Towers in MG Road, Bengaluru. 
  • Titled ‘CANDI’, the branch will provide an end-to-end digital experience to customers.
  • The bank, as part of the run-up to its digital foray, has introduced customer-friendly mobile apps which help customers get most of the information related to their accounts from the app without the need to visit the branch.
  • The most attractive feature of the Digital Branch is a humanoid robot that addresses basic queries of customers on banking products and services.
  • This is a first-of-its kind initiative by a public sector bank in the country. 
  • There is also an interactive touchscreen-based ‘Touch Banking’ to enable the customers understand banking products like car loan, home loan, education loan, mutual fund, life/health insurance and apply online for the products.

Operational Guidelines for Planning and Implementation of Family Participatory Care released

  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released Operational Guidelines for Planning and Implementation of Family Participatory Care (FPC) for improving newborn health.
  • The guidelines are for all stakeholders involved in the process of planning and delivering newborn care.
  • They will serve as a guiding document for those intending to introduce FPC in their facility as an integral part of facility based newborn care.
  • FPC has emerged as an important concept of health care as it provides partnership between health care staff and families in care of sick newborns admitted in the Special Newborn Care Units (SNCU). 

India is world’s third-biggest beef exporter: OECD-FAO report

  • According to recently released OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026 report, India is the world’s third-biggest exporter of beef.
  • Brazil was ranked as the world’s top beef exporter followed by Australia.
  • The report was released jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD).
  • India exported 1.56 million tonnes of beef in 2016.
  • It is expected to maintain its position as the third-largest beef exporter, accounting for 16% of global exports in 2026 by exporting 1.93 tonnes that year.
  • India imported 363,000 tonnes of beef in 2016 and the amount was projected to stay the same over the decade.
  • The type of beef exported was not specified, but the exported meat appears to be mostly from buffaloes as the report has specified the animal for imports by Myanmar from India.
  • It needs to be clarified whether the report classifies even buffalo meat as beef. 

Sri Lanka, China sign $1.1 billion Hambantota port deal

  • Sri Lanka has signed a US $1.1 billion deal to sell a 70% stake of the strategic Hambantota deep-sea port to China.
  • Hambantota port is a deep-water port in the southern tip of Sri Lanka.
  • It sits close to busy east-west shipping lanes connecting Europe and Asia.
  • The deal was signed between Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and China Merchants Port Holding Co. (CMPort).
  • Under the 99-year lease agreement, CMPort will invest up to US $1.1 billion in the port and marine-related activities.
  • CMPort will be only responsible for commercial operations, while the SLPA will handle port’s operations, security and services.

India’s first unmanned tank, Muntra rolled out by DRDO

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has rolled out Muntra, India’s first unmanned, remotely operated tank at its Chennai lab.
  • It has been launched in three variants Muntra-S, Muntra-M and Muntra-N for surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance in areas with nuclear and biological threats.  
  • It is also likely to be used in Naxal-hit areas.
  • Muntra-S is the country’s first tracked unmanned ground vehicle (tank) developed for unmanned surveillance missions.
  • Muntra-M is for detecting mines and Muntra-N is for operation in areas where there is nuclear radiation or biological weapon risk. 

China successfully produces gas from flammable ice under South China Sea

  • China has successfully produced natural gas from methane hydrate, also known as “flammable ice”, in an experimental project in the South China Sea (SCS).
  • As part of the experiment, a drilling platform had produced a total of 309,000 cubic metres of natural gas from gas hydrate in 60 days.
  • Methane hydrate has been identified as a potential new gas source for China, with the South China Sea thought to contain some of the world’s most promising flammable ice deposits.
  • India, Canada and US are also believed to be looking at hydrates as an alternative energy source.
  • Flammable ice (also known as methane hydrate or methane clathrates) consists of methane trapped within water crystals.
  • It is the world’s largest natural gas resource is trapped beneath permafrost and ocean sediment where low temperature and moderate pressure combine to trap methane in this specific way.

IISER Scientists develop Gelator to remove oil from spills

  • Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Thiruvananthapuram have developed gelator that can suck up oil and congeal it.
  • The gelator is hydrophobic material that has property of oleilophilic (oil-loving) and takes up oil when it comes in contact with it.
  • It can be used to recover marine oil spills with a simple, efficient and cost-effective method.
  • The gelator is developed using a cheap raw material mannitol and cellulose pulp through a one-step process. 

Breakthrough Starshot successfully launch world’s smallest spacecrafts

  • Scientists have announced that the world’s smallest spacecrafts dubbed as Sprites ever launched are successfully travelling in low Earth orbit and communicating with systems on Earth.  
  • The six prototypes of Sprites were launched in June 2017 as part of the Breakthrough Starshot project designed to test technologies that would eventually be used for interstellar missions.
  • They are smallest spacecraft that have managed to establish contact with ground stations.
  • Sprites have been developed by researchers at Cornell University.
  • Each of the mini Sprite spacecrafts are built on a single 3.5*3.5 centimeter circuit board. 

Scientists develop Bio-glue for wound healing

  • Scientists have developed a super strong, flexible Bio-glue for wound healing without causing toxicity.
  • It has been inspired by an adhesive material (glue) secreted by slugs that sticks to biological tissues Slugs naturally secrete a special kind of mucus (adhesive material) in its place when threatened, making it difficult for a predator to pry it off its surface.
  • The bio-glue is double-layered hydrogel consisting of an alginate-polyacrylamide matrix supporting an adhesive layer that has positively-charged polymers protruding from its surface.
  • It bonds to biological tissues via three mechanisms – electrostatic attraction to covalent bonds between neighbouring atoms, negatively charged cell surfaces and physical interpenetration.

Ravi Mittal appointed part-time member on Irdai board

  • Ravi Mittal, who has joined as additional secretary in the Finance Ministry in place of Anil Khachi, is now a part-time member on the board of Irdai.
  • He has replaced N S Rao at Irdai, who is a joint secretary level officer.
  • Former finance secretary Sushma Nath is another part-time member on the Irdai board.

Shiva, Manoj strike gold at Czech boxing tournament

  • Indian boxers packed quite a heavy punch at the 48th Grand Prix Usti Nad Labem, clinching five gold, two silver and one bronze medal at the event in the Czech Republic. 
  • World Championships bronze-medalist Shiva Thapa (60kg), former Commonwealth Games gold-medalist Manoj Kumar(69kg), Amit Phangal (52kg), Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) claimed gold medals after winning their respective summit clashes on Saturday night.
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