The Daily Brief – 21st July, 2016

  • Andhra Pradesh is set to become India’s nuclear power hub. U.S. company Westinghouse’s nuclear power project that had been planned for Gujarat has now been shifted to A.P. Russian company Rosatom, will also built its next phase of six reactors in A.P.
  • The Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Bill is set to be passed in Parliament. The Bill has been long pending and is critical to the disbursement of funds to states to carry out compulsory afforestation programmes. The new law will set up a Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).
  • Prime Minister Modi has carved out a large role for the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to have a say over all policy matters relating to information technology, electronics and the Internet, other than licensing of Internet Service Providers. Under the new rules, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, led by Ravi Shankar Prasad, will have complete jurisdiction over the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and National Informatics Centre.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introducing amendments to the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The Bill seeks to (i) Amend the definition of benami transactions to widen the scope for legal action (ii) Specify penalties for entering into benami transactions and (iii) establish adjudicating authorities and Appellate Tribunal to deal with benami transactions.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 to protect transgenders from discrimination.
  • India and Japan have signed a Social Security Agreement (SSA) and will come into force on 1 October 2016. The SSA will benefit Indian and Japanese professionals and skilled workers working in each other’s country and will also boost bilateral business linkages.
  • The NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with tech giant Intel India to set innovation laboratories. They will be called ‘Atal Tinkering laboratories (ATL)‘, and will be set up under the under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). The aim of Atal Tinkering laboratories is to cultivate adaptive learning and innovation skills among young minds in the country.
  • The Union Cabinet has also approved the signing of the Air Services Agreement between India and Mozambique.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval for installation of Ghatampur Thermal Power Project (GTPP). It will be set up through a Joint Venture Company between the Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLC) and Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (UPRVUNL).
  • The Union Cabinet gave its approval for establishment of a new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. The institute will be established under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).
Advay Ramesh
  • Advay Ramesh, a Class 10 student from Chennai, won the prestigious Google Community Impact Award from Asia, a theme based award part of the Google Science Fair 2016. He bagged the award for creating a device that enhances fishermen’s safety and productivity.
  • The book titled The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable authored by Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh has been released. The book addresses the challenges of representing the complexity of climate change in literature and the responsibility of writers to document the extreme reality. He examines the inability at the level of literature, history and politics to grasp the scale and violence of climate change.
  • Researchers from Laval University based in Quebec City, Canada are going to conduct the world’s first Zika vaccine test on humans. The Zika virus is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The virus is capable of causing serious birth defects such as microcephaly. There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available to treat Zika.
  • Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency in the country. The emergency was declared in response to the failed coup that happened on 15 July 2016.


Today’s Quiz

  1. Which of these countries has recently declared a state of emergency following a failed coup attempt?

2. Who has recently won the Google Community Impact Award from Asia?

3. Who authored the book, 'The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable'?

4. Where is the new AIIMS supposed to be set up?

5. Which country is set to test the world's first Zika vaccine on humans?

6. With which country has India signed the recent air services agreement?

7. Which company has the NITI Aayog recently signed an agreement with, for the setting up of innovation laboratories?

8. What do the amendments to the Benami Transactions Bill seek to do?

9. Which state is set to become India's nuclear power hub?

10. The Parliament is set to pass a new legislation to bolster afforestation programmes across states. What is this new law called?

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