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- The proposal for acquisition of 8 Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) for Indian Coast Guard at an approximate cost of Rs 800 crore has been approved by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It also approved platform specific guidelines for procurement of Naval Utility helicopters. DAC is Defence Ministry’s highest decision-making body on capital procurement of Indian Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force).
- Union Ministry of Earth Sciences has unveiled blueprint of Deep Ocean Mission (DOM). For this mission, Centre has drawn up a five-year, Rs. 8,000 crore plan to explore deep recesses of the ocean. The focus of DOM is on deep-sea mining, ocean climate change advisory services, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics related technologies. Desalination plants powered by tidal energy and submersible vehicle that can explore depths of at least 6,000 metres are the two key projects planned under it. India has been allotted site of 1,50,000 sq. km in Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by United Nations International Sea Bed Authority (UN-ISBA) for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).
- World Day against Trafficking in Persons is observed every year on July 30 to raise awareness of the plight of human trafficking victims, and promote and protect their rights. This year, theme chosen by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is ‘responding to the trafficking of children and young people’. It highlights fact that almost third of trafficking victims are children. It draws attention to issues faced by trafficked children and to possible action initiatives linked to safeguarding and ensuring justice for child victims. Additionally, women and girls comprise 71% of human trafficking victims. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons by adopting resolution A/RES/68/192 in 2013.
- Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved implementation of Strategic Partnership guidelines. It is considered as major step towards boosting private sector participation in domestic defence manufacturing. The policy had come into effect in May 2017. SP model aims to revitalise defence industrial ecosystem and progressively build indigenous capabilities in private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon system for future needs of armed forces. The SP model has four segments — submarines, single engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks which will be specifically opened up for private sector.
- Lok Sabha has passed Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 to provide death penalty to those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years. The Bill replaces ordinance promulgated by President in April 2018 and amends Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Indian Evidence Act. It provides for speedy investigation and trial, which must be completed in two months. It proposes 6 months’ time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases. It has provision for maintaining national database and profile of sexual offenders by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This data will be regularly shared with States/UTs for monitoring, tracking and investigation including verification of antecedents by police.
- India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) is expected to go live with 650 branches in addition to 3,250 access points co-located at post offices in August, 2018 following final clearance from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start. IPPB was incorporated on August 17, 2016 under Companies Act, 2013 as a public limited company with 100% Government of India equity under Department of Posts (Ministry of Communication & Technology). It was the third entity to receive payments bank permit after Airtel and Paytm. Payments bank is new model of banking that allows mobile firms, supermarket chains and others to cater to banking requirements of individuals and small businesses to further enhance financial inclusion.
- United States has designated India as Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) country. This coveted status brings India in par with US’s closest allies and partners such as NATO. STA-1 designation authorizes export, re-export and transfer (in-country) of specified items on Commerce Control List to destinations posing a low risk of unauthorised or impermissible uses. Currently there are 36 countries on STA-1 list. India is only South Asian country to be on the list. Other Asian countries designated as STA-1 are Japan and South Korea.
- Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir informed that the Union Government is planning to bring a bill proposing death penalty for those guilty of the crime of lynching when a delegation of the Nathjogi community called on him in Maharashtra. As per reports, over 69 people have been killed across India in incidents of mob violence. The reasons for such a heinous crime have been reported to be different in different cases. In most cases, people were made victims of lynching on mere suspicion of being robbers, cattle slaughterers and child lifters.
- The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed authorities not to initiate any ‘action’ against 40 lakh persons left out of the draft Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on July 30. The Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman ordered the government, in consultation with State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela, to frame a ‘fair’ standard operating procedure (SOP) to deal with the claims and objections of those who did not find their names in the draft NRC.
- Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi has been chosen for this year’s Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award for promoting communal harmony and peace. The award carries a citation and a cash award of Rs. 10 lakh. The 24th Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana award will be presented on August 20, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It was instituted to “commemorate the lasting contribution made by him to promote peace, communal harmony and fight against violence.”
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