India, ADB Sign 100 Million USD Loan Agreement For Cauvery Delta Project In Tamil Nadu

(1) The Union Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a 100 million US dollars loan agreement to strengthen key irrigation and drainage system and improve water management in the Vennar sub-basin of the Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu.

(2) The agreement has been signed by Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. L. B. Sondjaja, Deputy Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission.

(3) The loan from ADB's ordinary capital resources has a 25-year term. The Water Resources Department of the State of Tamil Nadu is responsible for implementing the project, which is expected to be completed by December 2020.

(4) The financing will be used to strengthen embankments of six major irrigation water channels in the Vennar system and rehabilitate 13 irrigation pumping schemes as Cauvery river basin is a critical source of water for agriculture, both within Tamil Nadu and neighboring states.

(5) The flood forecasting and warning systems will also be installed and a flood risks map drawn up to help communities respond more effectively to extreme events.

Government releases Rs 100 cr towards co-contribution in Atal Pension Yojana

(1) The government has released Rs 100 crore towards its co-contribution for Atal Pension Yojana for 2015-16. Under the scheme, individuals who have registered before March 31, 2016, will get a co-contribution from the government, which will be 50 % of the subscriber contribution up to a maximum of Rs 1,000.

(2) The co-contribution will be for 5 years from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

(3) Government of India through Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has released co-contribution for 2015-16 for 16.96 lakh eligible APY subscribers amounting to Rs 99.57 crore.

(4) Government’s co-contribution is payable only when accounts are regular and the admissible co-contribution is paid into the savings bank account of the subscribers.

(5) The government is implementing Atal Pension Yojana (APY) through banks and the Department of Post and total number of subscribers registered under APY as on June 30, 2016, has crossed 30 lakh and every day, nearly 5,000 new subscribers.

NGT Orders To De-Register Over 10-Year Old Diesel Vehicles In Delhi

(1) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave immediate orders to ban diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old in Delhi to deal with pollution in the national capital.

(2) The Regional Transport Office, Delhi was asked to cancel the registration of all diesel vehicles that are older than 10.

(3) The green court also ordered the Delhi regional transport office (RTO) to give the city traffic police a list of vehicles that have to be deregistered.

(4) NGT said that RTO should inform the police about such vehicles for further course of action.

(5)After de-registration, the RTO will issue public notice in this regard and supply the list of such vehicles to Delhi Traffic Police which will take appropriate steps in consonance with directions of tribunal.

WHO Declares India As Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Free

(1) The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared India as Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus free.

(2) In this regard, WHO presented certificates to the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda. (3) Previously, WHO also certified India yaws-free after a team of experts verified interruption of disease transmission in the country.

(4) India is the first country under the 2012 list WHO neglected tropical diseases (NTD) roadmap to eliminate yaws. Yaws is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the skin, bones, and joints, while tetanus, another bacterial infection, leads to muscle spasms that can be fatal.

(5) The Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) has been the result of India's focused approach on making maternal and newborn care accessible to all.

(6) Both yaws and maternal and neonatal tetanus eliminations were achieved using the existing health system and health workforce.

Government Launches Transforming India Portal

(1) Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched a website'Transforming India', a repository for real-time sharing of the impact of various governance initiatives with citizens.

(2) The Transforming India portal will provide information in a user-friendly format enabling citizens to view the content in the form of Infographics, e-books, performance dashboard, videos, daily news corner, and so on.

(3) Viewers can engage with the content by comments and sharing it through social media.

Hospital Train Lifeline Express Completes 25 Years of Service

(1) The Lifeline Express, touted to be the world's first hospital-train, started in 1991 to provide medical aid and relief to far-flung and inaccessible areas, completed 25 years of its operation.
(2) The Lifeline Express is also known as the Magic Train of India. It was launched on 16 July 1991.

(3) The Lifeline Express has the distinction of being the first ever hospital-on-rails in the world.

(4) It is equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities and equipment to cater to the needs of the rural patients.

(5) The train is a flagship social initiative ofImpact India Foundation (IIF) in partnership with the Indian Railways and the Union Health Ministry.


World Record Speed of Chinese Bullet Trains

(1) Two Chinese trains running at world-record speeds in opposite directions crossed each other on parallel tracks, in the latest feat achieved by China in high-speed rail.

(2) Bullet trains ‘Golden Phoenix’ and ‘Dolphin Blue’ passed each on parallel tracks at a striking speed of 420 km per hour in opposite direction setting a world record.

(3) The record was achieved on the railway line between Zhengzhou in central China's Henan Province and Xuzhou in east China's Jiangsu Province.

(4) The experiment set a world-first for trains travelling at such speed, Zhou Li, head of the technological management department of China Railway Corporation.

(5) China has built over 16,000 kms of high-speed train tracks connecting most of the major cities.

NASA's Next Mars Rover Progresses Toward 2020 Launch

(1) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is ready to proceed with the final design and construction of its next Mars rover, targeted to launch in the year 2020, which will probe for evidence of past life on the red planet and help prepare for future manned missions.

(2) Set to arrive on the planet in February 2021, the rover will study a region of Mars where the ancient environment may have been favourable for microbial life.

(3) It will collect samples of soil and rock and cache them on the surface for potential return to Earth by a future mission.

(4) The mission is the first step in a potential multi ­mission campaign to return carefully selected and sealed samples of Martian rocks and soil to Earth.

UNESCO Announces 9 New World Heritage Sites
(1) The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN cultural agency added nine new sites on its World Heritage List.

(2) Decision in this regard was taken at the 40th session of The World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

(3) With these inclusions, the recorded sites on the World Heritage now stand at 981 which include both cultural and natural wonders.

(4) 9 new World Heritage Sites are: Old city of Ani (Turkey), Zuojiang Huashan rock art cultural landscape (China), Qanat (Iran), Nalanda Mahavihara (India), Artificial islets of Nan Madol (Micronesia), Stecci Sites, Ancient Philippi (Spain), Antequera Dolmens (Spain), Gorham’s Cave Complex (Britain).

(5) Presently, Italy with 50 sites is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.

18TH July : Nelson Mandela International Day Observed

(1) Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela's birthday.

(2) The day is aimed at inspiring individuals to take action to help change the world for the better.

(3) The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010. However, other groups began celebrating Mandela Day on 18 July 2009.

(4) The Day recognized Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights.

(5) Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.

(6) The Nobel Peace Prize 1993 was awarded jointly to Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa".


Pema Khandu Sworn In As The 10th Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh

(1) Pema Khandu (36) of Congress Party was sworn in as the 10th Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh.

(2) With this,he became the youngest Chief Minister in the country.

(3) He was administered the oath to office and secrecy by Governor Tathagata Roy at the Rajbhavan in Itanagar.

(4) Besides, Chowna Mein was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister.

(5) Pema Khandu was selected as CM of Arunachal Pradesh after he had staked claim to power on the basis of the support of 45 party MLAs along with 2 independents in the 60-member House with an effective strength of 58.

(6) Now he has to prove his majority in the floor test. He is also supported by the ousted Chief Minister Khaliko Pul, who has returned to the Congress party with 30 dissident Congress MLAs.


RBI Sets Up An Inter-Regulatory Working Group On Fin Tech and Digital Banking

(1) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted an inter-regulatory Working Group (WG) to study the entire gamut of regulatory issues relating to Financial Technology and Digital Banking in India.

(2) The Working Group will be headed by Sudarshan Sen, Executive Director of RBI, and has 12 members including AP Hota, MD and CEO, National Payments Corporation of India, AS Ramasastri, Director, Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology, and Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, Deputy Managing Director and CIO, State Bank of India etc.

(3) The group has been set up in view of the growing significance of Fintech innovations, and their interactions with the financial sector as well as financial sector entities.

(4) It will review and appropriately reorient the regulatory framework, and respond to the dynamics of the rapidly evolving Fintech scenario.

(5) It has been asked to submit its report within six months from the date of its first meeting.

(6) The decision to set up such a Working Group to look into and report on the granular aspects of Fin Tech and its implications has been made earlier in April 2016 at a meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council - Sub-Committee (FSDC - SC).

RBI Asks Banks to Exchange Upto 20 Soiled Notes Free of Charge

(1) The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to exchange up to 20 pieces of soiled currency notes with a maximum value of Rs.5,000 over the counter free of charge in an effort to improve customer service.

(2) However, if the number of notes to be exchanged is more than 20, banks can levy the service charge.

(3) As per RBI, the facility of exchanging mutilated or imperfect notes is available at designated bank branches and also non-chest branches.

(4) In case notes are presented in bulk (where the number exceeds 20 pieces or ₹5,000 in value per day), banks will accept them, against receipt, for value to be credited later.

Tata Advanced Systems Signs Deal With Bell Helicopter

(1) Tata Advanced System (TASL) and Bell Helicopter, a Textron Company have signed an agreement to work together in support of India’s aviation and defense modernization initiatives.

(2) The agreement was inked with an emphasis on ‘Make in India’.

(3) As per the agreement, TASL and Bell Helicopters will join to develop both commercial and government rotary wing markets in India in the light utility and reconnaissance segments.

(4) Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, is the strategic Aerospace and Defence arm of the TATA Group.

(5) TASL is both an operating & a holding company. While, Bell Aircraft Corporation is a Fort Worth, Texas-based helicopter manufacturing company.

Coimbatore-Based Air Carnival Commences Operations

(1) Low cost airline with pink and white themed Air Carnival has launched its operations with its maiden flight from Coimbatore to Chennai.

(2) The airline, which is based in Coimbatore, will focus on short-haul services with ATR72-500 aircraft.

(3) Air Carnival is the subsidiary of Coimbatore Marine College Group (CMC) of Institutions, which was established in 2002 in Coimbatore.

(4) The carrier charged Re 1 for the first flight. It plans to keep the tariff at Rs 999 for the first three months.

(5) Initially, the company will focus on South Indian market for a year and then it plans to expand to other parts of the country.

(6) The airline will have daily service for 10 sectors including 3 daily flights from Chennai to Coimbatore (up and down) and two daily flights from Chennai to Madurai (up and down).

(8) The 70-seater aircraft are more economical for short haul services and they are proven one in India, said Manish Singh, CEO, Air Carnival.

(9) At present, the airline has started operations using only one aircraft. It would add its second aircraft by end of September and a third one by the end of October.

SoftBank to Buy UK Chip Designer ARM For Around $32 Billion

(1) UK based chip designer firm, ARM Holdings PLC has confirmed that it agreed to buyout offer for around $32 billion by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp, marking a significant push for the Japanese telecommunications giant into the mobile internet.

(2) If confirmed, the deal would be one of the largest in European technology to date and SoftBank's largest ever.

(3) Regarding this deal, a report stated that SoftBank will pay 17 pounds in cash for each ARM share.

(4) ARM is the most valuable tech company listed in London and has a major presence in mobile processing, with its processor and graphics technology used by Samsung, Huawei and Apple in their in-house designed microchips.

Dabur and DRDO Unit Tie Up For High Altitude Medicinal Plants

(1) Dabur, a leading ayurvedic FMCG firm has tied up with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO's) unit Defense Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), Leh, to promote sustainable cultivation of high-altitude medicinal plants in Ladakh.

(2) As per this deal, both organizations will educate farmers and help enhance livelihood opportunities in the cold desert area.

(3) As per the DIHAR Director Bhuvanesh Kumar, this is the first step towards the goal of implementing conservation & environmental development benefits in Leh-Ladakh.

(4) Under this tie-up with the unit of DRDO, Dabur will also impart training to the villagers on sustainable cultivation of herbs.

(5) For this, the Jivanti Welfare and Charitable Trust, Dabur's corporate social responsibility arm, had approached DIHAR & Pragya — an NGO operating from Leh-Ladakh, with the primary focus on helping the local community in Leh-Ladakh while also augmenting the population of medicinal herbs in the country.

Terrapin Acquires Yatra Online For $218 Million

(1) The Indian travel agency Yatra Online has been entered into a merger agreement with a Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition firm Terrapin 3 Acquisition Corp (TRTL).

(2) Yatra founded in 2006 had emerged as the fastest growing consumer travel platforms and online travel agents in India with more than 4 million customers.

(3) The transaction values Yatra at an enterprise value of $218 million (Rs 1,458 crore).
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