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- Fertiliser major IFFCO, founded in 1967, has entered into joint venture with Congelados De Navarra to set up food processing plant at Ludhiana in Punjab with an investment of Rs 325 crore. With this joint venture, co-operative IFFCO for first time will foray into food processing sector. Congelados De Navarra Company based in Spain is pioneer in quick frozen (IQF) technology. It is into processing of vegetables, fruits, herbs and ready-made pre-cooked dishes.
- The Lok Sabha has passed Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 to help India become hub for domestic and global arbitration for settling commercial disputes. It seeks to amend e Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 which contains provisions to deal with domestic and international arbitration and defines law for conducting conciliation proceedings. The Bill establishes Arbitration Council of India (ACI) as an independent body for promotion of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and other alternative dispute redressal mechanisms.
- Axis Bank became first bank in the country to introduce Iris Scan Authentication feature for Aadhaar-based transactions through its micro ATM tablets. These micro ATM tablets are Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) certified and UIDAI compliant registered devices with completely integrated iris sensors. It will help to boost bank’s financial inclusion efforts by making Aadhaar authentication process hassle-free and offering easier access to digital banking for consumers especially in rural parts of the country.
- Indian Navy has launched Operation Madad, major rescue and relief operation in flood-hit Kerala. Indian Army also has launched Operation Sahyog to rescue people in flood-hit Kerala. Both operations will support rescue and relief efforts of civil administration and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF).
- Former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet (66) was appointed as next United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She was nominated by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and her appointment was approved by UN General Assembly. She will have four year term and shall replace Jordanian diplomat Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein (served a single term, beginning in 2014). Bachelet most recently had served as President (first women) of Chile (from 2014 to2018 and 2006 to 2010). She was first Executive Director of UN-Women between 2010 and 2013. She has also served as Minister of Defence and Minister of Health in Chile.
- The Union Cabinet approved the signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Indonesia on health cooperation. The MoU covers research and development, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and IT-based medical equipment; human resource development; and health services. A Working Group will be set up to further elaborate the details of cooperation and to oversee the implementation of this MoU.
- The Union Cabinet approved the creation of two posts equivalent to Joint Secretary Level in the Interpreters’ cadre of the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The decision will help in augmenting expertise of the Interpreters’ cadre and help meet the specialised requirements for training of the Interpreters. This measure would be important in addressing the increasing requirements for interpretation in the backdrop of significantly enhanced high-level bilateral and multilateral engagements of government.
- The Union Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Korea on Trade Remedy Cooperation. The MoU was signed in July 2018 during the State visit of President of Korea to India. The MoU will promote cooperation between the two countries in the area of trade remedies viz. anti-dumping, subsidy and countervailing and safeguard measures, which will enhance the bilateral trade relations.
- The Union Cabinet was apprised of joint issue of Postage Stamps on India-South Africa on the theme, “20 Years of Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa”. The joint stamps were released in June 2018. The Commemorative Postage Stamps on India-South Africa: Joint Issue depicts image of Deen dayal Upadhyaya and Oliver Reginald Tambo of South Africa. A MoU was signed to this effect between India and South Africa in May 2018.
- The Parliament on August 9, 2018 passed the National Sports University Bill, 2018 that seeks to establish a National Sports University in Manipur as part of a vision to enhance country’s standing in sports. The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports on July 23, 2018. It replaces the National Sports University Ordinance, 2018 that was promulgated on May 31, 2018. The University will undertake research on physical education, strengthen sports training programmes, and collaborate internationally in the field of physical education, among others.
- The Union Cabinet on August 9, 2018 approved a few amendments in the instant triple talaq bill, making it permissible for a magistrate to give bail for the offence. The draft bill, officially called Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, was passed by the LoK Sabha in December 2017. The bill makes instant triple talaq a criminal offence. The bill was prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
- President Ram Nath Kovind on August 11, 2018 gave his assent to the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2018 that seeks to provide constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). It states that the President may specify the socially and educationally backward classes in the various states and union territories in consultation with the Governor of the concerned state. Under the bill’s provisions, all benefits given to the SCs and STs like scholarship will also be extended to the backward classes.
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