The Daily Brief – 19th June 2018


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  1. India has notified World Trade Organisation (WTO) of its decision to impose higher import tariffs (ranging from 20 to 50%) on 30 goods from United States. The proposed increase in import duties is aimed at countering the impact of higher US tariffs on exports of certain Indian steel and aluminium products. India expects around $238.09 million of duty to be collected through the measure imposed on the US.
  2. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 13, 2018 approved the proposal for introduction of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 after wide consultation with leading Indian experts and international experts in the Parliament. The Bill will provide for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning. Under the bill’s provisions, the responsibility of ensuring dam safety will lay on the dam owner.

    The Glonass-M positioning satellite
  3. Glonass-M positioning satellite has been launched by Russia on board of Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from the Plesetsk Space Centre in Mirny, Arkhangelsk Oblast. The satellite is part of GLONASS (Russian acronym for Global Navigation Satellite System) network which provides real-time positioning data for surface, sea and airborne objects around globe, at accuracy reportedly at par with US Global Positioning System (GPS). With this launch, there are now total 26 Glonass satellites in orbit.
  4. The Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism KJ Alphons launched the new “Incredible India” website in New Delhi on June 14, 2018 with an aim to pitch the country as a “must-visit” destination. The website, which has been developed by Tech Mahindra, is mobile-ready and will provide more interactive and personalised experience for the travellers. The Tourism Ministry, with the help of Adobe solution suite, will be able to engage effectively with visitors across the web and social channels and measure engagement to deliver real-time personalised experiences for each visitor, based on their interest and travel personality.
  5. On June 14, 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding was exchanged by the Union Health Minister, J P Nadda with health ministers from 20 states, marking their commitment towards the launch of the Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) at a Health Ministers conclave in New Delhi. “We shall work together, learn together, so that we work with the spirit of cooperative federalism, to perfect this largest health assurance scheme of the world,” JP Nadda said. The scheme will enable cashless and paperless access to services up to Rs 5 lakhs per family per year.
  6. Social Enterprise Development Programme (SEDP) is going to be launched by SAARC Development Fund (SDF), as a part of its social window, with objective of identifying and building social enterprises by using mix of grants and concessional returnable capital. It intends to fund around 80 enterprises across the 8 SAARC member states-Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka-annually.
  7. The indigenously upgraded artillery gun Dhanush has successfully completed final user trials and is ready for induction into the Army. Dhanush is an upgraded version of the Swedish Bofors gun procured by India in the mid-1980s. “This was the third and final phase of user exploitation firings in which six Dhanush guns were fired in battery formation from May 31 to June 7, 2018 at the Pokhran field firing range. A total of 301 rounds were fired from the six guns, including burst fire,” said Dr. Uddipan Mukherjee, public relations officer of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
  8. Initiative to conserve “Devrais”: “Devrais” or “sacred groves” in Maharashtra’s Western Ghats – one of the 34 globally important biodiversity hotspots have been nurtured by local communities residing there, who draw upon traditional knowledge to conserve these patches of forestland. But rising urban migration among the younger generation in these communities have led to a decline in awareness about the importance of preserving these groves. The larger objective of the ‘Devrai’ conservation project is not only to encourage local communities to carry their traditions forward, but to document regional deities in what proposes to be a socio-cultural assessment.
  9. The app “OTS Cabs” which is short for Ottunar Thozhargal Sangam is to be launched in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. As competition to the two big app-based taxi aggregators  Ola and Uber, the entry of OTS Cabs, a local operator, indicating an association of drivers, is set to be launched on the Android and iOS platform. OTS Cabs plans to operate more than 1,800 cars in the city by offering good incentives to drivers who want to associate with it.
  10. The Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, landed in Kashmir to review the security situation, a day after the Union government called off the month-long ceasefire. As full-fledged operations resumed, Army sources said that they expected progress in the coming days as information started flowing in. Gen. Rawat visited slain rifleman Aurangzeb’s village, who was abducted and killed by terrorists last week.
  11. A Collaboration Agreement with Google for flood forecasting has been signed by the Central Water Commission (CWC), India’s apex technical organisation in the field of Water Resources, on June 18, 2018. The agreement involves dissemination of flood related information to the people using the dissemination platforms developed by Google and will also help crisis management agencies to deal extreme hydrological events in a better manner. Under collaborative arrangement, Google will use high resolution Digital Elevation Model and vast computational resources and Artificial Intelligence to generate flood inundation maps utilising the input provided by CWC.

    Today’s Quiz

    1. Which is the 26th GLONASS Satellite launched by Russia?

    2. Which website is launched by the Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism with an aim to pitch the country as "must-visit" destination?

    3. Which programme is going to be launched by SAARC Development Fund (SDF) with objective of identifying and building social enterprises by using mix of grants and concessional returnable capital?

    4. How many member countries are there in SAARC?

    5. According to Dam Safety Bill, 2018, who is responsible for Dam Safety?

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