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Evening News Digest 20 July 2018

           Lok Sabha passes Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill


  • The Lok Sabha passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 with the majority of the house supporting it. The bill will now empower authorities to attach and confiscate the properties and assets of economic offenders like loan defaulters who flee the country.
  • Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha has passed amendments to Prevention of corruption act bill (2013).
  • A fugitive economic offender is any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India and who has either left India to avoid criminal prosecution, or who, being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.

What happens if a person is designated a fugitive economic offender?

  • If the special court is satisfied that an individual is a fugitive economic offender, it can direct the Central government to confiscate the proceeds of the crime in India or abroad, whether or not such property is owned by the fugitive economic offender, and any other property or benami property in India or abroad that is owned by the fugitive economic offender.


Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill passed in Rajya Sabha


  • An anti-corruption bill that seeks to punish bribe givers for the first time with imprisonment of up to a maximum of seven years was passed by Rajya Sabha.
  • The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, that amends certain provisions of a 30-year-old anti-corruption law, was passed by the Upper House unanimously with voice vote.
  • Key Provisions:
  • The bill has many provisions to ensure speedy trial of corruption cases besides providing protection to bureaucrats, even after their retirement, from malicious complaints.
  • The Bill will now go to Lok Sabha.
  • For the bribe takers, the bill proposes to increase the punishment to a minimum of three years of imprisonment, which may extend to seven years, besides fine.
  • The bribe givers shall be punished up to seven years of imprisonment or with fine or both, according to the bill. Bribe givers are not covered in any of the domestic legislations to check corruption.
  • Instances of corruption and provisions to punish the guilty are provided in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • The bill proposes a 'shield' for government employees, including those retired, from prosecution by making it mandatory for investigating agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take prior approval from competent authority before conducting any enquiry against them.
  • No police officer shall conduct any enquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant under this Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant in discharge of his official functions or duties, without the previous approval.



India, US to hold first 'two-plus-two dialogue' in New Delhi


  • US State Department has announced that the inaugural 'two-plus-two dialogue' between India and the United States will be held in New Delhi on September 6.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis will travel to India for the dialogue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • India and US will discuss strengthening of strategic, security and defence cooperation as both the nations jointly address challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
  • The dialogue was announced last year during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.
  • The dialogue is seen as a vehicle to elevate the strategic relationship between the two countries.
  • The new format would include External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister from India and their American counterparts Secretary of State and Defence Secretary.



Defence Secretary Reviews Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Project at Kochi


  • The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Project was reviewed by Shri Sanjay Mitra, IAS, the Defence Secretary at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) on 19 Jul 18.
  • During the onboard visit, the Defence Secretary was given a first-hand briefing on the progress of IAC construction by Commodore Cyril Thomas, the Warship Production Superintendent..
  • Make in in India In Defence Secor :
  • The current government in its first year cleared 39 capital procurement proposals, of which 32 proposals worth ₹889 billion (US$13 billion) (or 96% of value of total proposals) were categorized as Buy (Indian) and Buy and Make (Indian)—the top two prioritized domestic industry-centric procurement categories as per the defence procurement procedure (DPP)



CSIR-NPL, HPCL signs MoU for indigenous development of petroleum CRMs


  • CSIR- National Physical laboratory (NPL) has signed a MoU with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) for indigenous development of petroleum certified reference materials (CRMs) under trade name of Bhartiya Niredeshak Dravyas (BNDTM).
  • This will not only ensure maintaining highest  standard quality ecosystem for petroleum products used by all stakeholders including common man but also will save vital foreign exchange through import substitution for CRMs.
  • Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) play a pivotal role for the calibration of laboratory testing equipment for quality assurance. At present the traceability of these CRMs to SI unit is mostly achieved through foreign National Measurement Institutes (NMIs). CSIR-NPL, the National Measurement Institute of India is disseminating SI traceability through indigenous development of Certified Indian Reference Materials with trade name BhartiyaNirdeshakDrvayas(BNDTM).. Recently, CSIR-NPL has developed BNDs for high purity Gold, Coal, and Water & building materials.
  • HPCL, a Navratna PSU under Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG) is a pioneer in producing CRMs in India in the field of petroleum sector under Make in India initiative. CSIR NPL & HPCL have now joined hands to be part of the national initiative for developing BNDs used in Petroleum sector in India.
  • Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) are 'controls' or standards used to check the quality and metrological traceability of products, to validate analytical measurement methods, or for the calibration of instruments. A certified reference material is a particular form of measurement standard.



RBI to issue new 100 Rupee notes with motif of 'Rani Ki Vav'


  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given a lavender wash to the new Rs. 100 note which will be in circulation by next month.
  • The new violet note is part of the revised design series introduced after demonetization in November 2016.
  • The latest variant features Gujarat's 'Rani Ki Vav' (queen's stepwell) along with the Swachh Bharat logo and slogan on its reverse. Gandhi ji's placement remains the same.
  • All the Rs. 100 notes issued by the Reserve Bank in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender.
  • The new note is slightly smaller than the existing one and bigger than the Rs. 10 note. Once the new notes arrive, the banks may have to again recalibrate the ATMs to accommodate the new notes, after settings had to be changed to dispense new notes of Rs. 2,000, 500 and 200 notes in 2016.
  • In 2014, UNESCO had recognised Gujarat's 'Rani-ki-Vav', the 11th-century wonder in Patan, as a World Heritage Site. It will make a grand debut on new Rs. 100 note.
  • The 200-rupee note with a base colour of bright yellow bears the motif of Sanchi Stupa. The chocolate brown Rs. 10 note has Konark Sun Temple on the reverse side. The fluorescent blue Rs. 50 notes features Stone Chariot in Hampi, another world heritage site recognised by UNESCO.

Govt hikes sugarcane price by Rs. 20 per quintal to Rs. 275 rupees

  • The government decided to increase the minimum price sugar mills pay to cane growers by Rs 20 per quintal to Rs 275 per quintal for the next marketing year starting October.
  • The decision to increase the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane for the 2018-19 marketing year was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
  • The government had recently announced a sharp increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of kharif (summer-sown) crops, including paddy.
  • The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) had recommended Rs 20 per quintal hike in the FRP of sugarcane at Rs 275 per quintal for the next season.
  • The FRP, which is the minimum price that sugar mills have to pay to sugarcane farmers, is Rs 255 per quintal for the 2017-18 season.
  • The CACP is a statutory body that advises the government on the pricing policy for major farm produce. Usually, the government accepts the CACP recommendations.
  • Major sugarcane producing states such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana fix their own sugarcane price called 'state advisory prices' (SAPs), which are usually higher than the Centre's FRP.
  • Sugar production in India, the world's second-largest producer after Brazil, is estimated to reach a record 32.25 million tonnes in the current 2017-18 marketing year.(October-September)


Hindi poet Gopal Das Neeraj passes away


  • Doyen of Hindi poetry Gopal Das Neeraj passed away at the AIIMS trauma centre in Delhi. He was 93.
  • A Padma Bhushan awardee, Gopal Das Neeraj had suffered a head injury following a fall at his house in Agra and was undergoing treatment at a hospital there.
  • The poet had also written songs for Bollywood films.
  • Gopal Das Neeraj was awarded Padma Shri in 1991 and Padma Bhushan in 2007.


Formalin found in fish samples in Sambalpur: Official


  • Traces of cancer inducing chemical formalin were found in fish samples collected from Sambalpur town. A joint team of Sambalpur Municipal Corporation and officials of the District Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department while raiding a fish market at Kulutakanhi area conducted an on-spot test on two samples of ‘Khurusia Rohi’ and ‘Kala Bainsi’ fishes and found presence of the chemical in it.
  • The tests were conducted with the help of the CIF kit provided by the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA).
  • The samples will be sent to laboratory in Bhubaneswar for detailed examination.

IOC adds 7 medal events to 2022 Beijing Winter Games program

  • Planning for its next three Olympic Games, the IOC added seven medal events to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, published a 2020 Tokyo Olympics schedule with no agreement on when to race swimming finals, and set a timetable to add new sports to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
  • The next Winter Olympics will now include: women’s monobob, Big Air freestyle skiing for men and women, plus mixed team events in short track speed skating, ski jumping, ski aerials and snow board cross.
  • In an attempt to cut organizing costs, amid recent failures of potential bidders in Europe for the 2026 Winter Games, there should be no additional venues required and 41 fewer athletes in Beijing than the 2,933 competitors at the Pyeongchang Olympics in Feb,2017.
  • Sports losing athletes from their Olympic quota include 41 in skiing disciplines, 26 from skating, and 20 fewer in biathlon.
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC; French: Comité International Olympique, CIO) is a Swiss private non-governmental organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, which is the authority responsible for the modern Olympic Games.
  • Formation - 23 June 1894; 124 years ago
  • Headquarters - Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Membership - 105 active members, 32 honorary members, 2 honour members (Senegal and United States)
  • Official language - French (reference language), English, and the host country's language when necessary

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