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- The Indian Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on July 12, 2018 launched its first consolidated Bridge Management System (IR-BMS), a web-enabled IT application that will store data on its 1.5 lakh railway bridges. BMS aims to enable meaningful assimilation, analysis and dissemination of information related to various activities about its bridges. The web-based platform will show the bridge master data, works data, information regarding inspection/monitoring and maintenance of the bridges and other essentials.
- The Telecom Commission on July 11, 2018 approved the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) net neutrality recommendations that bar service providers from discriminating against internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access. The decision that aims to ensure open and free Internet in the country was taken at a meeting of the Commission, the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecommunication in New Delhi. Telecom Commission Chairman Aruna Sundararajan said that some critical applications or services like remote surgery and autonomous cars will be kept out of the purview of the net neutrality framework.
- The Supreme Court of India on July 12, 2018 stated that the social stigma and discrimination attached to the LGBTQ community would go if the criminality of consensual gay sex is done away with. The court stated this while maintaining that it would scrutinise the constitutional validity of section 377 of the IPC in detail. A five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra is currently hearing petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the 158-year-old penal law. The section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and states whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.
- The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on July 13, 2018 launched the Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018 (SSG 2018). This year, an independent survey agency will conduct the survey in all districts during August 1- 31, 2018 and the results will be announced in the form of a ranking of all districts and states on the basis of quantitative and qualitative sanitation (Swachhata) parameters. The top performing states and districts will be awarded on October 2, 2018. The SSG 2018 logo and the SSG 2018 brochure detailing essential facts about the initiative were also released.
- Union Finance Ministry has hiked threshold monetary limit for tax departments to file appeals all three levels of appeal Appellate Tribunals, High Courts, and Supreme Court. The move is aimed at significantly decreasing taxpayer greivances and litigation burden of tax departments in courts and tribunals across the country. Tax departments, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) files appeals in ITAT (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) while Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) files appeals in CESTAT (Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal) and also in High Courts and Supreme Courts.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Dharohar Bhawan the new headquarters building of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in New Delhi. ASI is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the country established in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham. ASI regulates all archaeological activities as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It functions under the Ministry of Culture.
- Former careered diplomat Dr. TCA Raghavan was appointed as the Director General (DG) of Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA). He was selected by Governing Body and Governing Council of ICWA headed by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu. The post of DG is equivalent to the rank of Secretary to Government of India. Dr. Raghavan is Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of 1982 batch. He had served as Indias High Commissioner to Islamabad (Pakistan) and Singapore. He has also served in Indian missions in London, Kuwa and Thimphu.
- Scientists from New Zealand have performed worlds first-ever 3-D, colour X-ray on human. It has potential to improve the field of medical diagnostics. The new device is based on the traditional black-and-white X-ray but incorporates particle-tracking technology called Medipix developed by European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). This colour X-ray imaging technique can produce clearer and more accurate pictures and help doctors give their patients more accurate diagnoses.
- A high-level task force under Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha was formed by the Union Government to identify various items and policy interventions to reduce dependence on imports. It will suggest ways to cut import of those items which can be manufactured or explored in the country. The task force includes secretaries from Departments of Commerce, Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Revenue, Skill Development, Defence Production, Petroleum, Steel, Electronics and Telecommunications.
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