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- The National Health Agency (NHA), the apex body for the implementation of Centre’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM), on July 4, 2018 launched a formal process to empanel public and private hospitals to implement AB-NHPM, in order to achieve universal health coverage. The main objective is to improve medical access for the most vulnerable sections of the population and holistically address healthcare by covering prevention, promotion and ambulatory care at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Through the initiative, NHA aims to provide financial protection to 10.74 crore deprived rural families and identified occupational categories of urban workers’ families as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 4, 2018 approved the proposal for expanding the scope of Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) by tasking it to mobilise Rs 1,00,000 crore for Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022. The proposal also called for enhancing the capital base of the Higher Education Financing Agency to Rs 10,000 crore. The Higher Education Financing Agency was set up on May 31, 2018 by the Central Government as a non-profit, Non-Banking Financing Company (NBFC) for mobilising extra-budgetary resources for building crucial infrastructure in the higher educational institutions under the central government.
- Union Minister of Coal, Railways, Finance & Corporate Affairs, Piyush Goyal on July 4, 2018 launched the Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) and Mobile Application “Khan Prahari”. App has been developed by CMPDI, Ranchi, a Subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL) and Bhaskarcharya Institute of Space Application and Geo-informatics (BISAG). The CMSMS is a web based GIS application which helps to report, monitor and take suitable action on unauthorised coal mining activities. The uniqueness of the system is that it uses satellite data as well as public input to capture information on unauthorised coal mining activities and also take appropriate action on them with due transparency.
- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Major General José Eladio Alcain of Uruguayan Army as Head of Mission and Chief Military Observer for UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). He will succeed Major General Per Gustaf Lodin of Sweden, who completed his two-year assignment. UNMOGIP has been established by UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution and started its operations in 1949. UNMOGIP has 44 military observers, 25 international civilian personnel from 10 countries and 47 local civilian staff.
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has scheduled a “pad abort test” of an experimental space crew capsule as an important cog of its plan to send Indians to space one day. The launch pad abort test, or PAT, involves aborting a space capsule at launch to save the inmates. It is slated for 7 a.m. at ISRO’s Sriharikota launch venue, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), in coastal A.P. With the pad abort test, ISRO aims to prove its technology that will safely parachute future astronauts down in case their space vehicle develops snags while taking off.
- Madhya Pradesh Government has launched Sambal Yojana, an outstanding power bill waiver scheme and subsidized power scheme for labourers and poor families with the objective to make sure that all households have power facility in the state. Under this scheme, Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and registered labourers of unorganised sector from the state will be provided electricity at cost of Rs 200 per month. It will benefit more than 88 lakh families in the state. So far, around one crore 83 lakh workers are registered under the scheme.
- The standing committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has recently added four species- Northern River Terrapin, Clouded Leopard, Arabian Sea Humpback Whale and Red Panda into Centre’s Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species. They were added on the recommendation by Wildlife Division of Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC). The progamme is one of the three components of centrally funded scheme, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH) which was started in 2008-09. So far, 17 species were identified under this recovery programme.
- India is preparing to bring back the two helicopters it had gifted to the Maldives, in a sign that it is hoping to use dialogue as the way forward in resolving issues with Male after months of strain in ties, caused by a squeeze on work permits to Indians and unhappiness over the Maldivian election process. The government has in principle decided to withdraw the helicopters, as well as accompanying personnel from two atolls in the Maldives, which has been the consistent demand of the Yameen government for the last few months.
- The rupee slumped to its lowest-ever close as it weakened further against the dollar to end at 68.95. The Indian rupee’s previous closing low was the 68.83 a dollar level it fell to on August 28, 2013, when the currency was in free fall as foreign investors pulled out from emerging markets in what came to be known as the “taper tantrum”. The Indian currency has depreciated about 8% against the dollar making it the worst performing currency in Asia on fears that rising fuel costs could fan inflation and widen the current account deficit. The government’s recent decision to increase minimum support prices for farmers could also add to inflationary pressures.
- The Supreme Court directed the government to constitute a separate wing devoted to create and extend public awareness that leprosy is curable and not contagious. A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra ordered All India Radio and Doordarshan to air programmes nationally as well as regionally in the States.
- The Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of “legal person or entity” to animals in the state, saying “they have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.” A division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Lokpal Singh bestowed the unique status on animal kingdom while issuing a series of directions to prevent cruelty against animals.”…to protect and promote greater welfare of animals including avian and aquatic, animals are required to be conferred with the status of legal entity/ legal person,” the bench said. The court also banned the use of sharp tackle or equipment throughout the state to avoid bruises, swelling, abrasions or severe pain to animals.
- To free the police from political influence, the Supreme Court restricted the choice of State governments in appointment of Directors General of Police (DGPs). Instead, State governments should henceforth send their proposals for DGPs to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) three months before the incumbent is due to retire. The UPSC will prepare a panel of officers fit to be DGP in the State concerned and send them back. The State shall “immediately” appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the UPSC.
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