NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Harsimrat Kaur lays foundation of Punjab’s first maize-based food park
On July 7, 2017, Union Food Processing Minister, Harsimrat Kaur Badal laid the foundation stone, of Punjab’s first maize based Food Park at Rehana Jattan village in Kaputhala District of Punjab. Ms. Badal mentioned that there is an urgent need to turn to maize and the government is working relentlessly to make maize as the third viable staple crop of Punjab after wheat and rice.
i. This food park will be set up on 55 acres, at the cost of Rs. 123 crore. The Union government is providing a financial assistance of Rs. 50 crore for the project.
ii. It is being developed by Sukhjit Mega Food Park and Infra Limited and will generate turnover of Rs 450 – 500 crore annually.

Centre allots Rs 100 crore to Goa under Swadesh Darshan scheme 
Tourism minister Manohar Azgaonkar announced on 8th July, 2017 that Goa will be allotted Rs 100 crore by the Union ministry for tourism under phase II of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. The funds will be used for developing the state’s coastal circuit from Panaji to Palolem.
i. This is the second allotment of central financial assistance within one year.
ii. The amount was approved after “A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed by the Goa governments department of tourism under the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) made a presentation before the Monitoring Committee .
iii. The initial allotment of Rs 100 crore under phase I for coastal circuit development is being utilized for developing the coastal belt in North Goa from Sinquerim to Keri.
iv. The phase II allotment of Rs 100 crore will be utilized for developing the South Goa coastline from Panaji to Palolem.

India’s first university only for Dalit students to come up in Hyderabad by 2018
Telangana is the first state to build India’s first university for Dalit students by 2018. It has been announced on 7th of July 2017.
Key Points:
i. The university will be a part of the government’s policy of providing education free of cost to students from weaker sections from kindergarten to post-graduation (KG to PG) level.
ii. The objective of establishing an university for Dalit students is to provide them a comprehensive education, so that they would come out as complete and knowledgeable citizens.
iii. The proposal was bring up by a government arm – Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS).
iv. It runs nearly 268 residential institutions for Dalit students from Class V to under-graduate level and has recently sanctioned 39 non-residential play schools with pre-primary education.
v. At present, there are universities exclusively for women and religious minorities but not for weaker sections.
About Telangana
♦ Capital: Hyderabad
♦ CM: K. Chandrashekhar Rao
♦ Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan

Chhattisgarh tops list of states in issuance of soil health cards
According to the reports Chhattisgarh has topped the list in issuance of soil health cards among all the states in the country. Chhattisgarh has issued over 43 lakh soil health cards (SHCs) to farmers in the past two years.
Key Points:
i. The target of providing 38,90,709 SHCs in the first phase of the scheme between 2015 and 2017 financial years, as many as 43,37,595 SHCs were issued to farmers in the state.
ii. This is the highest number among the states in the country and 7.90 lakh samples of soil were collected and examined during this period.
iii. In the second phase of the scheme the target is to provide 23,46,890 SHCs to farmers out of which 74,211 have been given.
iv. The examination of soil samples is being done at 33 permanent laboratories and 174 mini laboratories.
About Soil Health Cards
♦ The soil health cards contain technical and other key information about the cultivation of the land concerned and details of type of soil and proper crops to be cultivated in it.
♦ SHCs plays a vital role to increase the productivity as well as the income of cultivators.

Govt launches IPR awareness scheme for MSMEs, Startups 
The ministry of commerce and industry has launched a scheme for awareness on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). It was further step to take forward the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy 2016.
i. ‘Scheme for IPR Awareness Creative India; Innovative India’ has been launched by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM).
ii. The scheme aims at raising IPR awareness amongst students, authors, artists, budding inventors.
iii. To conduct over 4,000 IPR awareness workshops in academic institutions including MSMEs and start-ups which will cover international filing procedures, promotion of Geographical Indications and highlighting the ill-effects of piracy and counterfeiting.
iv. To promote innovation and entrepreneurship, IPR awareness could be implemented via partner organisations where the complete details can be viewed on the website of department of industrial policy and promotion.





INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

122 countries adopt global treaty banning nuclear weapons
A global treaty banning nuclear weapons was adopted at the United Nations on 7th July by 122 countries  . But all nuclear states and NATO members have boycotted the negotiations except for the Netherlands.
i. The nine countries that own nuclear weapons such as the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel never took part in the negotiations or cast their vote.
ii. Countries like Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand, 141 countries joined in drafting to increase pressure on nuclear states to take disarmament.

Vietnam renews India oil deal in disputed waters
Vietnam granted Indian oil firm ONGC Videsh a two-year extension to explore oil block 128. This was stated by the state-run company’s managing director Narendra Verma.
i. The part of the oil block 128 is in the U-shaped ‘nine-dash line,’ the area which is claimed by China.
ii. Vietnamese deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh told a forum in New Delhi that India is welcome to play a bigger role in Southeast Asia – and specifically the South China Sea.
iii. India is providing naval patrol boats, satellite cover to monitor Vietnam’s waters and training for its submarines and fighter pilots – more military support than it is giving to any other Southeast Asian country.
iv. Transfers of naval vessels and missiles under a $500 million defense credit line announced last year.
Vietnam :
♦ Capital: Hanoi
♦ Currency: Vietnamese dong

India, Bangladesh to construct bridge along Mizoram border
India and Bangladesh have decided to construct a bridge over Mizoram’s Khawthlangtuipui river to facilitate trade and improve communication between the two neighbours.
Key Points:
i. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had given the approval to construct the bridge and linking roads.
ii. The bridge would improve road connectivity between the two regions and also strengthen the ties between the people of the two countries living both sides of the borders.
iii. It has been proposed that the location of the bridge be made as closer as possible to the nearest land custom station in the Bangladesh side.
iv. Mizoram shares a 318 km unfenced border with Bangladesh.
v. Officials of India and Bangladesh held a meeting on 7th of July at Tlabung town and discussed to speed up the works for the proposed bridge between the two countries across Khawthlangtuipui river.
About Bangladesh
♦ Capital: Dhaka
♦ Currency: Taka
♦ President: Abdul Hamid


BANKING & FINANCE

RBI considering setting up Public Credit Registry in India
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is considering setting up a public credit registry in India to address the twin balance sheet problem of the banking sector and the corporate sector. RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya highlighted the need to set up a public credit registry while delivering the theme talk at the 11th Statistics Day Conference.
i. Reserve Bank celebrated its ‘11th Annual Statistics Day Conference’ on July 04, 2017 on the Theme ‘New Frontiers on Statistical Methods and Information Base for Central Banks’
ii. What is Public Credit Registry?
According to the World Bank Doing Business Project, “Public credit registry coverage reports the number of individuals and firms listed in a public credit registry with current information on repayment history, unpaid debts, or credit outstanding. The number is expressed as a percentage of the adult population.”


BUSINESS

Oracle opens its first Digital Hub in Bengaluru
US tech giant Oracle has announced the opening of its first ‘Digital Hub’ in the Asia Pacific region on 7th of July 2017.
Key Points:
i. It aimed at providing small and mid size businesses (SMBs) access to cloud solutions and resources they need to power digital transformation.
ii. There will be five hubs across the Asia Pacific, but India is the first hub, and the other four Digital Hubs that will come up in the Asia Pacific region will be in Sydney, Singapore, Seoul and Beijing.
iii. Oracle’s Digital Hubs will provide a complete suite of cloud applications, platform, and infrastructure services.
iv
.The new Digital Hub is a part of a global network of best practise centres for SMBs.

v. It will help them leverage Oracle Cloud solutions to streamline operations, boost innovation and gain a platform for growth.
vi. The new facility, one of the five Digital Hubs set to open in Asia Pacific and help in better serving the mid size market in the new cloud economy.
vii. Two hundred people have been hired by the company in the last six months for the Digital Hub India, who will be primarily focusing of sales and pre-sales.
viii. The hub would house Oracle’s new digital sales team and focus on helping more mid size organisations transition to the cloud quickly and easily.





AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Hyderabad-headquartered Water Health wins Unilever Global Development Award
Water Health International (WHI), a US-based company with operating headquarters in Hyderabad, has been awarded the Unilever Global Development Award at the 20th Responsible Business Awards ceremony, held in London on July 4, 2017.
i. WHI has been awarded for its endeavours in providing clean, safe and affordable drinking water to marginalised communities in India, Ghana and Nigeria.
ii. The Unilever Global Development Award recognises companies that demonstrate positive impact in one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)e. Initiatives for tackling poverty, climate change and inequality.

Tata Steel bags PM’s trophy for best integrated steel plant
Tata Steel has won the Prime Minister’s trophy for being the best performing integrated steel plant in the country during 2014-15 and 2015-16. This makes it the third consecutive-year for the firm to be honoured with this award.
i. Tata Steel has been recognised as the best integrated steel plant for 12 times and has won the PM’s Trophy 10
ii. It is the world’s second-most geographically-diversified steel producer, with operations in 26 countries and a commercial presence in over 50 countries.
iii. Tata steel Group is among the top 10 global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity ofmillion tonnes per annum (MTPA) as on March 31, 2017.
♦ Chairman of Tata Steel Board– N Chandrasekaran


APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Former martial arts star Battulga wins Mongolian presidential election
Khaltmaa Battulga, 54, a member of the Democratic Party, won with 50.6 percent of the vote for the presidential election according to  General Election Commission.
i. He was a former martial arts star and businessman 
ii. Tsakhia Elbegdorj will step down as president after finishing his second and final term.
iii. Battulga became familiar as a Mongolian wrestler. His businesses include a hotel, a Genghis Khan-themed amusement park and food companies for baked goods and meats.
iv. Mongolia is a parliamentary democracy. The government is run by a prime minister, but the president has powers to veto legislation and make judicial appointments.
Mongolia
♦ Capital : Ulaanbaatar
♦ Currency : Togrog

WHO appoints Saima Wazed as Goodwill Ambassador
Saima Wazed Hossain has appointed as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in South-East Asia Region on 7th of July 2017.
Key Notes:
i. Saima Wazed Hossain is a globally renowned champion for the cause of autism spectrum disorder.
ii. She has made notable contributions towards creating awareness and to address and elevate sufferings of people affected by autism.
iii. She has appointed for two year period as Goodwill Ambassador.
iv. She facilitated the ‘Thimphu Declaration’ on autism and other neuro developmental disorders at an international conference in Bhutan in April 2017.
v. She will be promoting the Thimphu declaration which emphasizes on accommodating the needs of autism affected people.
vi. She made other important contributions like:
(a) Development of a collaborative framework for implementation of WHO Regional Strategy on autism spectrum disorder.
(b) National action plans for post disaster mental health and psycho-social support.
vii. WHO aims to put autism on top priority on the health agenda of countries in the Region so that it can address this public health challenge effectively.
viiiHossain also honoured her with the Excellence in Public Health Award in September 2014 for advancing autism in her home country Bangladesh.
ixShe was designated as WHO Regional Champion for Autism in May 2016.
WHO Facts:
♦ Formed on 7th April 1948
♦ HQ: Geneva Switzerland


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

First battery-free cellphone makes calls by harvesting ambient power
University of Washington researchers have invented a cellphone that requires no batteries.This battery free cellphone works by  harvesting the few microwatts of power it requires from either ambient radio signals or light.
Key Points:
i. The team has also made Skype calls using its battery-free phone, demonstrating that the prototype made of commercial, off-the-shelf components can receive and transmit speech and communicate with a base station.
ii. It is capable of making voice calls using off-the-shelf components available from most electronics stores.
iii. The new design can sense speech, actuate the earphones, and switch between uplink and downlink communications, all in real time.
iv. The system is developed by researchers from the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

Centre launches GST Rates Finder app to verify accurate tax rate under GST regime
Centre has launched a GST Rates Finder app to verify the accurate tax rate on commodity and services under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. 
Key Points:
i. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has launched the app in New Delhi on 7th of July 2017.
ii. It will help the taxpayers and every citizen of the nation, to find out the correct GST rate on goods and services.
iii. Through this app, user can determine GST rate by entering the name of the commodity or service.
iv. This app can be downloaded on any smart phone and once downloaded it can work in offline mode as well .
v. Under the GST regime Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has taken these initiatives for ease of doing business.
viCBEC has also provided GST rate finder on its portal – cbec-gst.gov.in . It will help taxpayers to know applicable GST rate on their supplies.
vii. According to the Finance Ministry the application has been launched on Android platform, and will soon be available on iOS platform





ENVIRONMENT

Mars soil may be toxic to alien life: study
The study have found that the surface of Mars contains a toxic cocktail of chemicals that can eradicate living organisms. 
Key Notes:
i. According to the study the Mars soil may be toxic to alien life on red planet.
ii. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK investigated the conduct of chemical compounds, called perchlorates, which are found on the surface of Mars.
iii. The study also conclude that the effect of perchlorates can be compounded by two other types of chemicals found on Mars’ surface, iron oxides and hydrogen peroxide.
iv. According to the researchers they found that while exposed to ultraviolet light in environmental condition those on Mars the chemicals that is carried by spacecraft can kill bacteria.
v. Researchers experiments showed that when magnesium perchlorate was exposed to UV radiation similar to that on Mars, it can kill bacteria much more effectively than UV light alone.
vi. As per said Jennifer Wadsworth from Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy said that findings have important implications for the possible contamination of Mars with bacteria.
vii. The latest study suggests that it may contain huge damage to living cells.
Facts about MARS
♦ MARS is the fourth planet from the sun.It is the second smallest planet in the Solar System. It has 2 satellites
♦ It is often referred as Red Planet and it is a terrestial planet.


SPORTS

Harinder Sandhu won South Australian Squash Open title 
Harinder Pal Sandhu won the eighth title at the PSA level on 8th July 2017 and the third this season after winning two in Malaysia in the month of May.
i. The tournament was held at Adelaide,Australia.
ii. He defeated Rhys Dowling of Australia 11-8 12-10 11-4 in the final.
iii. He had reached the quarterfinals of the Asian Individual Squash Championship in Chennai in April.