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Evening News Digest: 10 Aug 2018

World Biofuel Day: 10 August

  • Every year 10th August is observed as World Bio-Fuel Day in a bid to create awareness about non fossil-fuels (Green Fuels).
  • Why it is celebrated?
    • On this day in 1893, Sir Rudalph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil.
    • His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines.
    • Thus to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August.
  • What is biofuel?
    • They are renewable, bio-degradable, sustainable and environment friendly fuel. It can be seen as alternative to conventional fossil fuels.
    • In case of India its promotion and encouragement can play important role in energy security and can help to reduce the import of fossil fuel and also save foreign exchange.

‘Post Matric Scholarship for OBC Students for studying in India’ revised

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its nod for revision and continuation of a centrally-sponsored scheme to provide post-matric scholarship for students belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC) from financial year 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • Revised Scheme:
    • To avail this scheme, the annual income of parents have been increase from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 1.5 lakh.
    • 30% of the allocated funds will be given to girls.
    • 5% of the allocated funds to disabled students.
  • PMS-OBC Scheme:
    • The PMS-OBC, a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has been in operation since 1998-99.
    • It enables approximately 40 lakh OBC students to pursue higher study after class 10 every year.

PM Gram Sadak Yojana to be continued beyond 12th Five Year Plan period

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) beyond the 12th five-year plan period.
  • It will help in connecting 38,412 habitations at an estimated cost of Rs 84,934 crore.
  • In this, the central government will share Rs 54,900 crore and the states' share is Rs 30,034 crore.
  • PM Gram Sadak Yojana:
    • PMGSY fully funded centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2000.
    • It aims to provide single all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in the rural areas with population of 500  persons  and  above  (in plain areas) and 250 persons and above (in Hilly States , desert Areas,  Tribal   areas   and   selected Tribal and Backward Districts.
    • Union Ministry of Rural Development is nodal ministry for implementation of Scheme.
    • For this scheme, 75  paise  per  litre  has  been  earmarked out  of  cess  levied on high speed diesel.
      The scheme encourages use of “Green Technologies” and non-conventional materials (like waste plastic, geo-textiles, fly-ash, iron and copper slag etc).

Union Culture Minister releases 3 books at IGNCA, New Delhi

  • Union Culture Minister has released 3 books at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts:
  • Jewellery by Dr. Gulab Kothari
    • Jewellery making has been a traditional occupation with a finer classification of those who make it in Gold, Silver, Diamond, Pearl, Artificial etc. But in recent times it is also being studied as a specialized stream of knowledge. This is the most significant book for our upcoming generation.
  • Ghats of Banaras’ by Dr. Sachidanand Joshi 
    • The Book “Ghats of Banaras” is derived out of the similar documentation conducted recently at Varanasi. These Ghats situated at the bank of river Ganga in a semi-circular shape (ardhachandrakar), give a spectacular view of the city.
  • Untold Story of Broadcasting’ by Dr. Gautam Chatterjee
    • It is about behind-the-scenes developments during the quit India movement. It gives an authentic account of the secret broadcast which took place during the movement led by shri Ram Manohar Lohia.

RS passed SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018

  • The Rajya Sabha has passed the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, which seeks to overturn a Supreme Court order that struck down the provision for immediate arrest of those booked under the Act.
  • What was SC judgement?
    • On March 20, the Supreme Court had ruled that to arrest those accused of an offence under the said act, an approval of the concerned senior SP will be required.
    • Further, a deputy SP may conduct a preliminary inquiry to find out if prima facie, a case can be made under the act.
  • What has changed now?
    • The new bill eliminates the need for approval for an arrest.
    • It also does away with the preliminary inquiry. Persons booked under the act cannot apply for anticipatory bail.
  • SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018
    • The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is popularly known as POA, the SC/ST Act, the Prevention of Atrocities Act, or simply the Atrocities Act. The SC/ST Act was enacted on September 9, 1989. The rules for the Act were notified on March 31, 1995.
    • According to the SC/ST Act, the protection is provided from social disabilities such as denial of access to certain places and to use customary passage, personal atrocities like forceful drinking or eating of inedible food sexual exploitation, injury etc, and atrocities affecting properties, malicious prosecution, political disabilities and economic exploitation.

Cabinet approves release of pulses to States at discounted rate

  • The Union Cabinet has approved release of pulses procured from farmers under Price Support Scheme to States with central subsidy of Rs 15 per Kg.
  • Under this approved Scheme, the States/UT Governments are offered to lift 34.88 lakh MT of Tur, Chana, Masoor, Moong and Urad at discount of Rs 15 per Kg over the prevailing wholesale market price of the sourcing state on first come first serve basis.
  • The State/UTs governments utilize these pulses in their various Welfare Schemes/Programmes like Mid-Day Meal, Public Distribution System, Integrated Child Development Programmes (ICDP) etc.
  • The Minimum Support Prices scheme is for food crops. The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation implements the Price Support Scheme for Oil Seeds and Pulses through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.
  • NAFED is the nodal procurement agency for Oilseeds and pulses, apart from the Cotton Corporation of India.

Lok Sabha clears amendments to CGST, IGST, GST compensation bills

  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill and the Good and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill.
  • The four Bills seek to amend the Goods and Services Tax laws to make return forms simpler and raise the turnover threshold for availing composition scheme to 1.5 crore rupees.
  • Earlier, moving the Bill, Finance Minister said, GST collections are in-line with the budget aim and that the government expects the economy to grow faster than the IMF projections.

Centre asks transport authorities to accept DL, RC through DigiLocker platform

  • The Centre has asked states to accept driving licence, registration certificate or other documents in "electronic form" presented through DigiLocker or mParivahan platforms.
  • The advisory clarifies that the DigiLocker platform of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the mParivahan mobile app of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has the facility to pull a citizen's driving licence or the registration number.

Cabinet approves changes in triple talaq bill

  • The Union Cabinet has given its nod to changes in the legislative proposal against the practice of triple talaq by providing for the grant of bail by a magistrate against the accused.
  • The Muslim Women (Protection of rights on marriage) bill, 2017, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, is awaiting the nod of the Rajya Sabha.
  • What has been changed?
    • The Cabinet has approved the amendment that only a woman or her family members could lodge a complaint against a husband for practising instant talaq.
    • In the case of bail, only a magistrate would be able to grant bail to an offender.

Assistance for Indian women deserted by NRI husbands increased to USD 4000

  • The External Affairs Ministry has increased the amount of legal and financial assistance for Indian women deserted by their NRI husbands in 13 countries to USD 4,000 per case.
  • The Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) Guidelines were revised in September 2017 with an aim to provide financial and legal assistance to distressed women married to NRI spouses by all Missions and Posts.
  • Earlier, the assistance amount was limited to USD 3,000 per case in the developed countries and USD 2,000 per case in the developing countries.

SC approves draft constitution of BCCI with some modifications

  • The Supreme Court has approved the draft Constitution for Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with some modifications.
  • The apex court also granted membership to Saurashtra, Vadodara, Mumbai and Vidarbha cricket associations. 
  • The court also restored full BCCI membership of Railways, Services and Association of Universities, which were cancelled on recommendations of the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel.
  • The court also asked the state cricket associations to adopt BCCI's constitution within a month of the order and intimate the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) regarding the same.
  • The apex court also modified its earlier order on the 'One State, One Vote' policy for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) members.
  • The judgment restored the voting rights of the cricket associations of Gujarat and Maharashtra including Baroda, Saurashtra, Vidarbha and others. 
  • What was Lodha Committee recommendations that has been altered?
    • The ‘One State, One Vote' policy was recommended by the R.M. Lodha Committee. The Lodha panel was formed in January 2015 in the wake of the justice Mukul Mudgal Committee report that called for reforms within the BCCI.
    • Some of the recommendations of the panel have led to disagreement between the Lodha committee and the BCCI. These recommendations were - one vote per state, one person-one post, age cap for office-bearers, and the cooling-off period.


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