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India’s services activity shrank in July
- Activity in India’s services industry shrank for a third consecutive month in July 2021, with companies turning the most pessimistic in a year.
- Although the Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (INPMIS=ECI), compiled by IHS Markit, rose to 45.4 in July 2021 from 41.2 in June 2021 it stayed firmly below the 50-level separating growth from contraction for a third month.
Kumar Birla steps down as Chairman of VI
- Billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla on 4 August 2021 stepped down as the Chairman of Vodafone Idea Ltd.
- Birla would cease to be a Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the company.
- He would be replaced by Himanshu Kapania (who was earlier Managing Director and CEO of Birla’s Idea Cellular) as the new Chairman of Vodafone Idea Ltd.
Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy joins Koo App
- Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has joined Koo, a leading Indian micro-blogging and social networking platform that enables users to interact in their mother tongue.
- The app was previously known as the Ku Koo Ku app, and it had also won the government of India’s Aatmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge in August 2020.
Govt, World Bank ink $250 mn loan
- The government has inked a USD 250 million loan pact with the World Bank, and the funds will be used to make the existing dam infrastructure safe in the country.
- The Central Water Commission as well as the government representatives from 10 participating states are also part of the loan agreement.
- The project will encompass around 120 dams across Gujarat, Kerala, Odisha, Manipur etc.
12,001 cybersecurity incidents in H1 2021
- About 12,000 cybersecurity incidents related to government organizations were observed in the first half (H1) of 2021.
- Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has observed a total of 11,58,208 cybersecurity incidents during 2020.
- Out of this, a total number of 54,314 incidents were related to government organizations during the year 2020.
India’s first IAC begins sea trials
- India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant, the largest and most complex warship to be built in the country, began its sea trials on 4 August 2021.
- The warship, which will operate MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, has over 2,300 compartments, including specialized cabins to accommodate women officers.
Meitra hospital announces the launch of RJRS
- Meitra Hospital, Kozhikode announced the launch of the Smith and Nephew CORI robot-assisted joint replacement surgery(RJRS).
- The innovative technology used by robotic surgical tools helps the surgeons devise a customized plan based on the uniqueness of the case and the patient’s anatomy using a 3-D digital real-time model of the joint and then perform the joint replacement surgery.
A stone inscription found at the Yellur temple
- A stone inscription dating back to 1509 AD during the rule of Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya was found at the Yellur Sri Mahathobhara Vishweshwara temple in Udupi district of the State of Karnataka.
- On top of the inscription, there are engravings of the sun, moon, Nandi bull, Nandadeepa (lamp), Shivalinga, Rajakathi (royal sword), and Pushpa (flower).
Dogri writer Padma Sachdev passes away
- Noted author and Padma Shri awardee Padma Sachdev passed away on 4 August 2021.
- She was the first modern woman poet of the Dogri language.
- She authored many books in Dogri and Hindi, and her poetry collections, including ‘Meri Kavita Mere Geet’, won her the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1971.
- She was also awarded the Kabir Samman for poetry for 2007-08 by the Madhya Pradesh government.
CBIC launches Compliance Information Portal
- The Central Board for Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has launched the Indian Customs Compliance Information Portal (CIP) at www.cip.icegate.gov.in/CIP.
- It will provide free access to information on all customs procedures and regulatory compliance for nearly 12,000 customs tariff items.
- Another important feature of CIP is a pan India map showing all the customs seaports, airports, etc.
Retired Justice V M Kanade appointed Lokayukta
- Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari has approved the appointment of retired Bombay high court judge Justice V M Kanade as the new Lokayukta of Maharashtra.
- The previous Lokayukta, (retd) Justice M L Tahaliyani had completed his tenure in August 2020.
- The Lokayukta acts like a watchdog and plays a key role in fighting against corruption and brings transparency.
APEDA inks MoU with UAS
- The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has signed MoU with the University of Agricultural Science (UAS) Bangalore.
- The MoU will help in the development of Agri entrepreneurs, technopreneurs capacity building, robust skill development and focus on building a collaborative approach for promoting export by the creation of product-specific clusters.
Aditya Puri joins Solara as Chairperson
- Former HDFC Bank CEO Aditya Puri has joined the board of pharmaceutical company Solara Active Pharma Sciences as Chairperson.
- Along with the office of Solara board Chairperson, Puri will also head the nomination and remuneration committee of the board.
- The Pharma company has also inducted former IAS officer and Revenue Secretary Vineeta Rai as an Independent Director.
U’khand: 1st to launch earthquake alert app
- Uttarakhand has become the first state to launch an earthquake alert app named ‘Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert’.
- The app was sponsored by the Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority and developed by IIT-Roorkee.
- It will send early warning messages to people before the earthquake and it will also help in tracing the location of people who got stuck during the earthquake.
7.5% reservation for students in courses
- Tamil Nadu govt has decided to introduce 7.5% horizontal reservation for government school students in admission to engineering, agriculture, veterinary and fisheries courses from the coming academic year.
- A similar reservation policy is already being implemented in medical admissions since the academic year 2020-21.
- The cabinet has also decided to present a separate budget for agriculture.
Samagra Shiksha Scheme to be continued
- The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of the Samagra Shiksha Scheme for School Education from 1 Apr’21-March 31, 2026.
- With a financial outlay of Rs 2,94,283.04 crore, the scheme will provide access to quality education with an equitable and inclusive classroom environment.
- Under the National Education Policy 2020 and Samagra Siksha 2.0, formalization of playschool is being done.
Cabinet approves continuation of a scheme
- The Cabinet has approved the continuation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme for fast track special courts for a further two years till 31st March 2023.
- 1,023 fast-track special courts have been given get a two-year extension.
- The central share of the outlay will be funded from the Nirbhaya fund.
- This will provide speedy justice access to justice to victims of sexual crimes.
ISRO to launch Bhutanese satellite in December
- India’s ISRO will be launching a Bhutanese satellite in December 2021.
- The satellite is being built by four Bhutanese engineers who are being trained by ISRO, with the first phase already over.
- India and Bhutan have engagement in space cooperation with a ground Earth station for South Asia Satellite being inaugurated in Thimphu during PM Modi’s August 2019 Bhutan visit.
Bruenei’s Erywan Yusof: Envoy to Myanmar
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers have appointed Brunei’s second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof as Special Envoy to Myanmar.
- He will facilitate mediation among the stakeholders and find a peaceful resolution to the political crisis in the country.
- In April 2021, leaders of ASEAN reached a consensus on 5 points at a summit on the Myanmar crisis.
Prof CR Rao Centenary Gold Medal for Bhagwati
- The Indian Econometric Society (TIES) Trust has conferred the inaugural Prof CR Rao Centenary Gold Medal (CGM) to two distinguished Indian scholars — Dr Jagdish Bhagwati and Dr C Rangarajan.
- The award has been constituted by the TIES to commemorate the contribution of Prof Rao, who is the founder President of the Society, and is the doyen of mathematical statistics.
Alembic Pharma gets approval for a drug
- Alembic Pharmaceuticals has received final approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for Clomipramine Hydrochloride capsules.
- These are used for the treatment of obsessions and compulsions in patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
- The approval is for its abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) for Clomipramine Hydrochloride Capsules in the strengths 25 mg, 50 mg, and 75 mg.
Swiggy partners with Reliance BP Mobility
- Swiggy has signed an agreement with Reliance BP Mobility Limited to build an EV ecosystem and battery-swapping stations for its delivery partners across the country.
- It has announced the commencement of trials that will increase the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) in its delivery fleet.
- Swiggy has committed to cover deliveries spanning 8 lakh kilometers everyday through EVs by 2025.
Human-based models developed to study autism
- Dr. Yogita K Adlakha, an Inspire Faculty Fellow, has developed human-based models to study neuron development and neurodevelopmental disorder such as autism.
- It can help design treatment strategies for such brain disorders.
- She has generated a human-based stem cell model to understand brain development and dysfunction, at the National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, Haryana.
Biomedical waste incinerator inaugurated
- A decentralized biomedical waste incinerator was inaugurated at Buxar Municipality, Bihar, on 4 August 2021.
- The technology developed by Ganesh Engineering Works was selected through the Biomedical Waste Treatment Innovation Challenge launched in June 2020 by the waste to Wealth Mission.
- The pilot installed is a portable, forced draft incinerator capable to handle 50 kg of biomedical waste.
TRIFED to set up Atmanirbhar Corner
- TRIFED is about to set up an Atmanirbhar Bharat corner in 100 Indian Missions/ Embassies across the world.
- The corner will be an exclusive space to promote GI-tagged tribal art and craft products besides natural and organic products.
- Among the missions and embassies contacted, 42 of them have reverted.
- TRIFED stands for Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India.
UNSC to meet on 6 August
- The UN Security Council, under the Presidency of India, will meet on 6 August 2021 to discuss the worsening security situation in Afghanistan.
- The fighting between the Taliban and Afghanistan’s government forces has intensified over the past few months.
- The Council also declared that it does “not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate.”
Dhriti: 1st woman Dir. of Zoological Survey
- Dhriti Banerjee has become the first woman to be appointed as Director of the 105-year-old Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
- She has been co-ordinator of ZSI’s Digital Sequence Information Project since 2012.
- ZSI is headquartered in Kolkata with 16 regional centres under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
HCL becomes the fourth-largest IT company
- HCL Technologies Ltd overtook Cognizant Technologies Solutions Corp. on 5 August 2021 to become the fourth-most valuable India-centric information technology (IT) services company.
- Its market capitalization surpassed Cognizant.
- Noida-headquartered HCL Technologies reported a 2.4% growth in the year ended 31 March 2021, on the back of a 15% growth in 2020.
Eurosport appoints John Abraham as ambassador
- Eurosport India, the sports channel from Discovery, has appointed actor John Abraham as the brand ambassador for their flagship motorsport property – MotoGP.
- He will be seen promoting MotoGP to a wider audience base in India through a campaign.
- Prior to the association, the actor has shared the stage with MotoGP legend “The Doctor”-Valentino Rossi and has frequented many MotoGP races.
Delhi govt reduces the rate of RT-PCR tests
- Delhi government has reduced the rate of conventional RT-PCR tests for Covid-19 detection in private hospitals and laboratories to 500 rupees.
- According to the order, RT-PCR test will now cost 300 rupees when samples are collected by the government teams.
- The government has also reduced the prices of the tests in case of home collection of samples from 800 rupees to 700 rupees.
Germany: 5th country to sign ISA agreement
- Germany has become the 5th country to sign the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement after amendments to it entered into force on 8th January 2021.
- Ambassador of Germany to India Walter J. Lindner deposited signed copies of the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement with the Ministry of External Affairs, the depositary of the agreement.
The US approves arms sales to Taiwan
- The United States has approved its first arms sale to Taiwan amid rising tensions with China.
- US State Department has approved an arms deal worth 750 million dollars to Taiwan.
- The decision also allows Taiwan to maintain rock-solid self-defense, regional peace, and stability.
- The move comes at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan are growing.
MoU between IIST and TU Delft approved
- Union Cabinet has approved an MoU between the Indian Institute of Space science and Technology (IIST) and The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands.
- It has signed for carrying out academic programmes and research activities.
- The Parties may exchange students at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level and they will mutually discuss and decide the areas of studies.
Nuclear power capacity to reach 22,480 MW
- India’s nuclear power capacity is expected to reach 22,480 MegaWatts by 2031 from the current 6,780 MegaWatts.
- The share of nuclear power in the total electricity generation in the country is about 3.1 percent in 2020-21.
- There are presently 22 reactors with a total capacity of six thousand 780 MW in operation.
Parliament passes two Bills
- The Parliament has passed the Coconut Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
- The Bill amends the Coconut Development Board Act, 1979.
- Parliament has passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
- The legislation seeks to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.
US Army Chief on a visit to India
- Chief of Staff of US Army General James C McConville arrived in India on 4 August 2021 on a two-day visit.
- He met Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane and discussed issues of mutual interest.
- In October 2020, India and the US had sealed the BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement), the last of four foundational agreements for strategic ties.
EAM Jaishankar on a two-day visit to Iran
- External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar represented India at the swearing-in ceremony of newly-elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran on 5 August 2021.
- He is on a two-day visit to Iran.
- Raisi, known to be close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, won the presidential election in June 2021.
- Iran has been a key country for India in the Gulf region.
Joint exercise INDRA 2021 begins
- The Indo – Russia joint training Exercise INDRA 2021 commenced at Prudboy Ranges, Volgograd in Russia on 4 August 2021.
- Exercise INDRA 2021 will enhance interoperability between the Indian and Russian Armies.
- The aim of the exercise is to facilitate joint training between Indian and Russian Armies to jointly plan and conduct counter-terror operations under the United Nations mandate.
India wins bronze medal in hockey
- Indian men’s hockey team defeated Germany to win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics on 5 August 2021.
- This is India’s first Olympic medal in hockey since they won the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
- This is India’s fourth medal in Tokyo so far.
- Wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya has also confirmed a medal and will compete in the gold medal bout.
India’s first heart failure biobank
- For the first in the country, a heart failure biobank would be soon inaugurated at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences.
- The facility is to store the biospecimens include blood, serum, tissue samples obtained during open-heart surgery, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and genomic DNA collected from heart failure patients for research purposes.