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Evening News Digest 4 July 2018

To appoint DGP, States should consult UPSC: SC


  • State governments should henceforth send their proposals for DGPs to the Union Public Service Commission three months before the incumbent is due to retire.
  • In 2006 reforms were introduced to free the police from political influence, the Supreme Court restricted the choice of State governments in appointment of Directors General of Police (DGPs).
  • Instead, State governments should henceforth send their proposals for DGPs to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) three months before the incumbent is due to retire.
  • The UPSC will prepare a panel of officers fit to be DGP in the State concerned and send them back. The State shall “immediately” appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the UPSC.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra passed a series of directions on an application for the modification of a September 22, 2006 judgment pronounced by the court in a petition filed by former IPS officer Prakash Singh for reforms and transparency in the functioning and appointments in the State police forces.
  • Minimum tenure of two years
  • The court also directed the States to “ensure that DGP is appointed through a merit-based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years.”
  • Attorney General K.K. Venugopal submitted that of 24 States only five — Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Rajasthan — have implemented the 2006 directions.

Indian-origin scientist's neuPRINTSKIN project gets $1.5 mn funding


  • An Indian-origin scientist working on a project to create a robotic hand covered in so-called brainy skin that mimics the human sense of touch has won 1.5 million pounds in funding for the project.
  • Professor Ravinder Dahiya, a faculty at the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering, said the futuristic “thinking skin concept” is inspired by the real skin.
  • The super-flexible, hypersensitive skin may one day be used to make more responsive prosthetics for amputees, or to build robots with a sense of touch.
  • Brainy skin is critical for the autonomy of robots and for a safe human-robot interaction to meet emerging societal needs such as helping the elderly.
  • This electronic thinking skin is made from silicon-based printed neural transistors and graphene — an ultra-thin form of carbon that is only an atom thick, but stronger than steel..
  • The research, dubbed neuPRINTSKIN (Neuromorphic Printed Tactile Skin), received the latest 1.5 million pounds in funding from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).


Koala bear genome decoded for first time


  • The koala is classified as ‘vulnerable’ due to habitat loss and widespread disease
  • The koalas of Australia are not just famous for their cuteness. They have been an unsolved mystery among scientists for their strange eating habits — they enjoy the leaves of eucalyptus that would be toxic or even fatal to most mammals — and their exceptional parental care.
  • An international team of scientists has successfully sequenced the marsupial’s whole genome and answered burning questions about the critter. The study published in Nature Genetics was authored by 54 scientists from seven countries and the whole genome was found to consist of over 26,000 genes.
  • Researchers found expansions within a particular gene family (P450 gene) and reported that these genes help the koala detoxify the eucalyptus leaves.
  • Researchers also found novel lactation proteins in the koala bears. They reported that these proteins protect the young ones in the pouch and help it develop a strong immune system
  • Koala bears are born after just 34-36 days of gestation without an immune system and spend almost six months developing in the pouch.


Tania Sachdev wins Commonwealth Chess Championship


  • About 165 players from a dozen countries flocked to New Delhi, India to take part in the prestigious championships. They included 64 titled players playing for a prize fund of Rs.10,00,000 (approximately $15,000 USD)
  • Unheralded IM P. Karthikeyan of India was the surprising winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Chess Championship while Indian WGM and IM Tania Sachdev won the Commonwealth women's title.


Asia Pacific Trade Agreement comes into effect on July 1, 2018


  • India has agreed to provide tariff concessions on 3,142 products to Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) members, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, from July 1.
  • These duty concessions will be more for least developed countries (LDCs) and less for developing nations.
  • APTA is an initiative under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) for trade expansion through the exchange of tariff concessions among developing country members of the Asia Pacific Region. It is in place since 1975.
  • It is a preferential trade agreement (PTA), under which the basket of items, as well as the extent of tariff concessions, are enlarged during the trade negotiating rounds which are launched from time to time.
  • The six member countries are Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Korea and Sri Lanka.
  • Under a free trade agreement, countries cut or eliminate duties on most number of goods traded between them besides liberalising norms to promote services trade and investments. But under a PTA, duties are eliminated on a certain number of identified items.


Election Commission launches ‘cVigil’ app to report electoral malpractices


  • The Election Commission launched an Android-based mobile application named “cVigil” for citizens to share proof of malpractices by political parties, their candidates and activists when the Model Code of Conduct is in force.
  • The mobile application also facilitates sharing of geo-tagged photographic and video evidence without disclosing the identity of the sender.
  • The uploaded information will be transmitted to the control room, and from there the field units or flying squads, mapped on a Geographic Information System, will be immediately alerted for further action.
  • In case the complainant does not opt for anonymity, the person will also receive an action-taken report within about 100 minutes. The application, whose Beta version has now been released.


MP govt launched outstanding power bill waiver scheme ‘Sambal’


  • In Madhya Pradesh, the government has launched an outstanding power bill waiver scheme and subsidised power scheme ‘Sambal’ for labourers and poor families.
  • Under the scheme, the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families would be provided electricity at a cost of 200 rupees per month.
  • One crore 83 lakh workers registered under Sambal Yojana in the state till now. Under this scheme, outstanding electricity bill worth  five thousand 179 crores  rupees is to be waived off.


US think tank announces India US Fellows Exchange programme


  • A prominent American think tank has announced a fellows exchange programme aimed at enabling India and the US to better harness technology to improve the lives of their citizens.
  • Funded by the Ford Foundation, the programme by New America will bring fellows from India to the United States, and fellows from the United States to India, in order to devise novel technology-based solutions to policy challenges.




Nagpur set to host Maharashtra Legislature monsoon session after 47 years


  • Nagpur, the second capital of Maharashtra, is set to host the Monsoon session of the state Legislature today after a gap of 47 years.
  • This will be the fourth time that the monsoon session of the state Legislature, normally held in Mumbai, will take place in Nagpur, which has been hosting the winter session.
  • Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis hosted a customary tea party for political parties on the eve of the session.
  • According to an official of the Vidhan Bhavan, the monsoon sessions of the state Legislature were earlier held in Nagpur in 1961, 1966 and 1971. As per the Nagpur Pact-1953, one session of the state Legislature to be held in Nagpur every year.       


BSE delist 222 companies from trading on stock exchange


  • Bombay Stock Exchange will delist as many as 222 companies as trading in their shares has remained suspended for over six months.
  • The move comes at a time when authorities are clamping down on shell companies listed as well as unlisted for being allegedly used as conduits for illicit fund flows.
  • Securities and Exchange Board of India, SEBI had directed exchanges to act against 331 suspected shell companies.
  • The government has already deregistered more than 2 lakh firms that have not been carrying out business activities for long.
  • Under the compulsory delisting regulations, the delisted company, its whole-time directors, promoters and group firm would be debarred from accessing the securities market for ten years from the date of compulsory delisting.


Indian Olympic Association announces 524-member Indian athletes contingent for 18th Asian Games


  • The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has announced a 524-member contingent for the upcoming Asian Games, to be held from 18 August to 2 September, this year. The host country will be Indonesia, with venues centred in and around Jakarta and Palembang.
  • The Indian contingent will be smaller than at the previous two Asian Games, and include 277 men and 247 women across 36 disciplines.


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