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  • W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 01 June 2019 To 07 June 2019.
    Posted on June 25th, 2019 in Weekly Current Affairs
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    W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 01 June 2019 To 07 June 2019.

    1) The 2nd Global Disability Summit is being held at Buenos Aires, Argentina from 6 June to 8
    June 2019. From India a delegation headed by Union Minister for Social Justice and
    Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot, will be participating in Summit. Union Minister also
    attended ‘1st Global Disability Summit’ held at London, UK in July 2018. Key Highlights of
    Summit- Background: the first-ever Global Disability Summit was held at London, United
    Kingdom (UK) on 24 July 2018. It was hosted by UK Department for International Development
    (UK DFID), along with the co-hosts International Disability Alliance (IDA) and Government of
    Kenya. The summit was attended by global leaders from more than 40 countries (including
    India), who committed to work in direction of economic empowerment of persons with
    disabilities. Objective: To deliberate on issues related to empowerment and inclusion of
    Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) across the world. To work out a mechanism so as to enable
    PwDs to live an independent and dignified life. Significance: The Global leaders attending the
    summit express their commitments towards eliminating stigma and discrimination against
    PwDs and to work towards promoting inclusive education, economic empowerment, technology
    and innovation in assistive devices, data desegregation etc. for them. Way Ahead: After the
    Summit, Indian delegation will also be participating in bilateral discussions with Argentina
    Government for developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between two countries on
    9 June to 10 June 2019.Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 01 June 2019 To 07 June 2019.
    2) Every year World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June globally. It is celebrated to raise
    awareness globally about environmental issues and action that has to be taken to tackle them.
    The day is organized around an annual theme in order to draw attention towards pressing
    environmental issues. World Environment Day- Background: After the Conference on the
    Human Environment, or the Stockholm Conference in June 1972, the United Nation General
    Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution (A/RES/2994 (XXVII)) in December 1972 to designate
    June 5 as World Environment Day. The date 5 June coincides with the first day of landmark
    Stockholm Conference. The day was first celebrated in 1974, and since then it is widely
    celebrated in more than 100 countries and continues to grow to become a global platform for
    public outreach. Theme for the World Environment Day 2019 was ‘Beat Air Pollution’. It has
    been chosen by this year’s host, China. It is a call for action call to combat the global crisis.
    According to United Nation the ‘Air Pollution’ topic invites people to consider how they can
    change their everyday lives to reduce the amount of air pollution and what effect their
    contribution will be towards global warming and on health. Globally 9 out of 10 people are
    exposed to levels of air pollutants that exceed safe levels set by World Health Organization
    (WHO). Celebration in India: On occasion on World Environment Day India reaffirmed its
    commitment to ensure a cleaner and sustainable planet. It accepted that living in harmony with
    nature will lead to a better future. India is committed to address climate change emergency and
    to ensure cleaner, greener planet and eco-friendly habitat to our children. The Environment
    and SDG: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states the need for global effort to
    ensure lasting protection of our planet and its natural resources. Sustainable Development
    Goals, in particular SDG14 and SDG15 focuses on protecting under water and on land
    ecosystems, also to sustainably use marine and terrestrial resources.
    3) Google Maps has announced three India-first public transport navigation features with an aim
    to ease daily commute of users. Starting from 5 June 2019, Google Maps users will be able to
    see bus travel times from live traffic across ten Indian cities, get live train status for Indian
    Railways and even get mixed-mode commute suggestions which now combines auto-rickshaw
    and public transport. About Three New Feature for Commuters- Real-time bus travel
    information: This is first of its kind product feature, launched first in India. It will enable
    commuters to know how long bus trip will take from their starting location to destination, by
    factoring in live traffic conditions. This feature is now live across ten cities in India including
    Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow, Chennai, Mysore, Coimbatore, and
    Surat. Indicators: The bus travel times from live traffic will show results in green (when running
    on time) or red (when delayed). Real-Time train information status for long-distance trains: With
    this India-specific feature Google Maps can now help users know real-time live running status
    of a train and check if it is delayed. This feature it will work only in case of a long distance train
    journey. This feature was developed in partnership with ‘Where is my Train’ app that was
    acquired by the Google in 2018. Mixed-mode navigation Guidance with auto-rickshaw
    recommendation- This new feature will tell users if taking an auto-rickshaw is better or a
    different mode of transport such as metro, local train, or a bus when taking a journey. It will
    indicate from/to which station or stop users should take an auto-rickshaw and their total journey
    time. It will also tell users what station/stop will be the most suitable for switching to other
    means of transport. Users can also see rickshaw meter estimate and departure times for their
    transit connection. Currently this feature will rolled out only in Delhi and Bangalore before being
    available to more cities later.
    4) The Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed a technical assistance agreement with Boeing to
    develop and modernise India’s Air Traffic Management. Key Highlights- Roadmap: Aerospace
    major Boeing entered into a technical assistance pact with AAI to jointly develop a
    comprehensive 10-year roadmap for modernising air traffic management in India. It is expected
    to be developed within 1.5 years (18 months). The roadmap will be undertaken with a grant
    from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). The roadmap so developed
    by Boeing will be used as guidance in the modernisation of the Indian National Airspace
    System (NAS). It will be based on global and local best practices of optimally utilising airspace
    capacity, enhancing communications and also investing in surveillance, navigation and air
    traffic management. Boeing will also analyse current technologies and processes to identify
    efficiency improvements that can be implemented in project undertaken at the same time
    maintaining a practical and safe airspace system. Collaboration: As part of the project Boeing
    will work closely with Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Indian aviation regulator), airlines
    operating in India, airport operators and other airspace stakeholders like US-India Aviation
    Cooperation Program (ACP). Significance: Airports Authority of India (AAI) owns and manages
    around 125 airports across India thus implementation of modern technologies and adoption of
    global practices will allow India to increase its airspace capacity significantly. It will improve
    communications, enable flexible use of airspace in country and will also allow safe processing
    of additional flights using air navigation infrastructure for more efficient skies in India.
    5) The Social networking giant Facebook launched its first interactive game show, titled “Confetti”
    in India on 4 June 2019. The launch announcement was made on sidelines of Facebook’s
    Social Entertainment Summit held in Mumbai, Maharashtra. About Confetti: It is Facebook’s
    first official show in India and will go on air starting 12 June 2019. It will air from Wednesday to
    Sunday on Facebook Watch, Facebook’s dedicated video platform. The interactive game show
    is exclusive to Facebook Watch. Prize: The participants stand a chance to win Rs.3 lakh as
    cash prize everyday on challenge of answering pop culture trivia questions. It seeks to enable
    its users to engage better and bring communities together around exceptional, interactive video
    experiences on Facebook. The interactive game was first launched in the United States (US)
    and is already available in other parts of the world the UK, Mexico, Canada, Vietnam,
    Philippines and Thailand. About Facebook Watch: It is Facebook’s video-on-demand service. It
    was globally rolled out by the social networking giant in 2018, in an attempt to take on its rival
    YouTube. It allows users to enjoy videos from different genres in their personalised Watch
    Feed (carries recent videos collection from pages followed).

    6) Sahara Group recently announced its entry into the automobile sector with plans of launching
    electric vehicles under the brand name ‘Sahara Evols’. The Sahara business group plans to
    offer a wide range of electric vehicles (EVs) along with advanced allied services. The entry into
    electric vehicle business is a move to push adoption in Tier II and III cities. About Sahara
    Evols- Variants: Its product portfolio comprises variants of electric scooters, three-wheelers,
    motorcycles, and cargo vehicles. It will also introduce a network of battery-charging-cum-
    swapping stations. Coverage: Sahara Evols will start from Lucknow and will further establish its
    ecosystem in India’s Tier-II and Tier-III cities by the end of financial year 2019-2020 in a
    phased manner. The company will roll out its products and services pan-India in the next
    financial year (2020-2021). Features: The Sahara Evols electric vehicles are powered by dry
    lithium-ion batteries. Their cost of driving in an average can go as low as 20paise per kilometer
    (against driving cost of Rs.2 per kilometer on petrol vehicles). This will entail direct and
    substantial economic benefits to its users.
    7) Sahara Group recently announced its entry into the automobile sector with plans of launching
    electric vehicles under the brand name ‘Sahara Evols’. The Sahara business group plans to
    offer a wide range of electric vehicles (EVs) along with advanced allied services. The entry into
    electric vehicle business is a move to push adoption in Tier II and III cities. About Sahara
    Evols- Variants: Its product portfolio comprises variants of electric scooters, three-wheelers,
    motorcycles, and cargo vehicles. It will also introduce a network of battery-charging-cum-
    swapping stations. Coverage: Sahara Evols will start from Lucknow and will further establish its
    ecosystem in India’s Tier-II and Tier-III cities by the end of financial year 2019-2020 in a
    phased manner. The company will roll out its products and services pan-India in the next
    financial year (2020-2021). Features: The Sahara Evols electric vehicles are powered by dry
    lithium-ion batteries. Their cost of driving in an average can go as low as 20paise per kilometer
    (against driving cost of Rs.2 per kilometer on petrol vehicles). This will entail direct and
    substantial economic benefits to its users.
    8) Veteran Malayalam actress Sheela was honoured with prestigious J C Daniel Award for her
    contributions to Malayalam Cinema field. She is only the second woman to win this award after
    Aranmula Ponnamma (in 2005). About J C Daniel Award- It is Kerala government’s highest
    honour for outstanding contribution to Malayalam cinema. It is named after J C Daniel, who is
    credit for making first silent movie in Mollywood (Malayalam Film Industry). Prize: The award
    comprises of a citation, plaque and a cash prize of ₹5 Lakh. The annual award will be given
    away on 27 July 2019 at a function in Kerela. This year’s jury was chaired by renowned
    filmmaker K.S. Sethumadhavan. About Sheela: She is popularly called as Sheelamma by her
    admirers. Veteran actress debuted during early 1960s with Tamil movie Paasam. Later in 1962
    she began her career in Malayalam with movie Bhagyajathakam directed by P. Bhaskaran.
    Since then she has been Malayalam cinema’s sweetheart for a couple of decades.
    Achievements: She scripted history as being first recipient of ‘best actress’ award instituted by
    the Kerala government fir her 1969 movie “Kallichellamma“. She has won State and National
    Awards for the best character artist for for the film Akale in 2004. She holds Guinness book of
    records to her name for acting as Prem Nazir’s heroine in 130 films.
    9) Renowned scientist, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra is appointed as Director-General the India
    Meteorological Department (IMD). His appointment order was issued by the Ministry of
    Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. About Mrutyunjay Mohapatra- The 54-year-old
    cyclone warning specialist is Scientist ‘G’ (grade) in IMD. Prior to joining IMD, he worked at the
    Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory in Chandipur. He is
    appointed as chief of IMD and will assume charge of the post on or after 1 August 2019 for a
    period of five years. He leads the Cyclone Warning Division (CWD) of the IMD and is well
    known as ‘Cyclone Man‘ for his cyclone forecasts. In past six years, CWD has given accurate
    forecasts on cyclones such as Phailin (2013), Hudhud (2014) and Titli (2018) which hit the
    eastern coast. Focus Areas: He seeks to strengthen the IMD’s infrastructure and improve
    dissemination of weather-related information with focus on sector-related forecast and giving
    impact-based prediction in all areas. By sector-related forecasts, IMD intends to give
    predictions on specific areas like information for transport systems (like trains). At present IMD
    gives impact-based predictions only for cyclones. About India Meteorological Department- It is
    an agency of Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. It is responsible for meteorological
    observations, seismology and weather and climate related forecasts for the country. It is
    mandated to warn against severe weather phenomenon like cold and heat-waves, dust storms,
    cyclones, heavy rain and snow and others.
    10) The Anti-ship version of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was test fired from the launch
    complex-3 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha. About BrahMos Missile- The
    name BrahMos is formed from names of two rivers i.e. Indian river Brahmaputra and the
    Moskva River of Russia. Manufacturer: The missile is manufactured at BrahMos Aerospace
    Limited which is a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development
    Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM). Strategic Importance: The
    supersonic cruise missile is a strategic asset for India as in case of any possible threats from
    China and Pakistan it would act as deterrence against them. Deployed: It has been
    operationalised in Indian Army, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy. Features: It is often
    described as the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile. It is highly versatile thus can be fired
    from land, sea and air with a high rate of precision and accuracy. In modern-day complex
    battlefields, Brahmos has established itself as a major force multiplier with its impeccable land-
    attack, anti-ship capabilities along with a high rate of precision and accuracy. It also has multi-
    role and multi-platform abilities. Range: The medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile
    has a strike range of about 290 km.
    11) The “Kharga Prahar”, a major training exercise conducted by the Indian Army in Punjab from
    27 May 2019 concluded on 4 June 2019. Key Highlights of Exercise- Kharga Prahar exercise
    was undertaken in plains of Punjab by various units and formations of Army’s Kharga Corps.
    The exercise was successful in validating latest operational concepts which are designed to
    deliver a swift punitive blow to India’s adversary. The exercise brought out valuable lessons
    and also reinforced a high degree of operational preparedness of the Kharga Corps. Joint
    Training: The exercise setting also incorporated joint training aspects as Indian Air Force (IAF)
    components also participated. As part of training para drops from IAF aircraft were carried out
    and simulated battlefield air strikes were conducted in support of ground forces. About Kharga
    Corps: The Indian Army’s II Corps, based in Ambala is known as Kharga Corps. It has been
    stationed at Ambala since 1985. If conflict or war breaks out between India and neighbouring
    Pakistan, in such case it has a mandate to launch offensive attack. Kharga possesses 50% of
    Indian Army’s offensive capabilities and on integration with multiple military formations it has
    proved an effective weapon in various wars. In 1971, Bangladesh Liberation War Khara Corps
    was positioned in West Bengal and helped in division of Pakistan. During the Kargil conflict in
    1999 this elite force was deployed somewhere in the desert sector.
    12) After taking charge of his office, Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship,
    Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey held a first review meeting with senior officials of Ministry of Skill
    Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in which the decision was taken to waive off fee
    for SC/ST candidates joining vocational training under Jan Shikshan Sansthans. Key
    Highlights: As per the decision taken at MSDE’ review meeting, all those SC/ST candidates
    who join vocational training under Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS), which operates under the
    aegis of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) their fees will be waived
    off. Background: In January 2019, comprehensive reforms were brought in for Directorate of
    Jan Shikshan Sansthan (DJSS), which was formerly under Ministry of Human Resources
    Development (MHRD) and was transferred to Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship
    in 2018. This decision follows those recent comprehensive reforms. Objective: to further
    strengthen skill ecosystem so as to benefit those in underprivileged sections of society. About
    Jan Shikshan Sansthans- Background: The Jan Shikshan Santhan (JSS) scheme of was
    initially launched in 1967 as Shramik Vidyapeeth, a multi-faceted adult education institution that
    was aimed at improving vocational skills and quality of life of industrial workers and their family
    members and of migrants workers, coming to urban areas. In April 2000, Shramik Vidyapeeth
    scheme was renamed as Jan Shikshan Sansthan and its focus was also extended to the rural
    areas. Function: JSS imparts vocational skill training programmes and entrepreneurship
    benefits accessible to underprivileged and un-reached sections of society like SCs, STs,
    women and girls, neo-literates, semi-literates, slum dwellers, migrant workers. They do not
    provide just skill development, but also link literacy with vocational skills and technical
    knowledge and provide large doses of Life Enrichment Education (LEE) to the people enrolled.
    At present there are 247 JSSs working across the country.
    13) On the eve of World Environment Day, Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar
    launched a people’s campaign called #SelfiewithSapling, urging people to advocate the cause
    on social media. Key Highlights about Campaign: Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash
    Javadekar urged all people to join the campaign and plant a sapling and post selfie with the
    planted sapling on social media. He also stressed that ‘Jan Bhagidari’ (means Peoples
    Participation) is integral towards tackling environmental issues and environment protection has
    to be a people’s movement for achieving success in domain. He also informed that on occasion
    of World Environment Day (celebrated on 5 June) he along with Kapil Dev (renowned cricketer)
    and Jackie Shroff (bollywood actor) will plant sapling in premises of Paryavaran Bhawan
    (India’s first on site net zero building) in New Delhi. Significance: Such initiatives are needed so
    as to create a carbon sink. Also environmental concerns cannot be addressed solely by
    government and has to be a people’s programme. Other Initiatives- Hawa Aane De: Recently,
    the Environment ministry released a music video for World Environment Day 2019′s theme of
    “Air Pollution”, song is titled “Hawa Aane De”. NCAP: In January 2019, National Clean Air
    Programme (NCAP) was launched by Centre government with aim to reduce air pollution by
    2024. According to environment ministry, the committee formed under NCAP has drawn up an
    action plan for 84 of 102 non-attainment cities, i.e. cities that do not meet the National Air
    Quality Standard (NAQS) identified under programme.
    14) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on assuming his office took the very first decision of granting
    approval to major changes in the ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme’ under the National
    Defence Fund. This decision is in line with PM’s vision for India’s safety, security and well-
    being of those who protect the nation. Changes approved by Prime Minister- Scholarship Rate:
    The rates of scholarship have been increased from Rs.2000pm (per month) to Rs.2500pm for
    boys and from Rs.2250pm to Rs.3000pm for girls. Scholarship Extended: The ambit of Prime
    Minister’s Scholarship Scheme is now extended to include the wards of State Police officials
    who are or were martyred during terror or naxal attacks. The new scholarships quota for wards
    of state police officials will be 500 in one year. For the implementation of it the Ministry of Home
    Affairs (MHA) will be the nodal Ministry. Significance: The move of including police personnel
    wards provides recognition to the length of monumental contribution of our police personnel
    who performing their duties with utmost diligence. The availability of scholarship under the
    scheme will enable more youngsters from police families to study and excel in different fields
    and will also have an empowering effect on several bright young minds. The Prime Minister
    took the decision in spirit that it is country’s duty not only to express gratitude but also do things
    towards welfare of police personnel and their families. About National Defence Fund-
    Background: NDF was set up in 1962. It was meant to take charge of voluntary donations (in
    cash and kind) received for promotion of national defence effort, and also to decide on their
    utilisation. National Defence Fund also accepts online voluntary contributions. Purpose: NDF is
    used for welfare of members of Armed Forces, Para Military forces and Railway Protection
    Force, and their dependents. Administration: An Executive Committee chaired by Prime
    Minister and with Defence Ministers, Finance Ministers and Home Ministers as Members
    administers the fund. ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme’ (PMSS) is implemented under
    NDF. PMSS: encourages technical and post-graduate education for widows and wards of
    deceased or ex-service personnel of Armed Forces, Para Military Forces and Railway
    Protection Force (RPF). Scholarships under the scheme are available for education at
    technical institutions such as MBA, MCA, engineering, medical, dental, veterinary, or any other
    equivalent technical professions (with suitable AICTE/UGC approval). Under PMSS new
    scholarships are given every year for about 5500 wards of armed forces (which is controlled by
    Ministry of Defence), 2000 wards of paramilitary forces (by Ministry of Home Affairs) and for
    150 wards of forces (by Ministry of Railways).
    15) Ajit Doval is reappointed as National Security Advisor (NSA) of India for another five year
    tenure. In recognition of his earlier contribution in the national security domain, he has also
    been elevated to rank of Cabinet Minister for this term. During his first term 2014-2019 NSA
    was given rank of Minister of State (MoS). About Ajit Doval: He is a 1968-batch IPS officer. For
    over 33 years he worked as an intelligence officer during which he served in North East,
    Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. The 74 year old Doval had also done several key diplomatic
    assignments in Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK). He headed the Intelligence Bureau’s
    (IB) operations wing for over a decade including serving as Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB)
    from July 2004 to January 2005. Post retirement, he founded Vivekananda International
    Foundation, a public policy think tank headquartered in New Delhi. In May 2014, he was
    appointed as India’s fifth NSA. Under his supervision, Surgical strike was conducted in
    September 2016 (aftermath of Uri terror attack) and Balakot airstrike was conducted in
    February 2019 (aftermath of suicide attack on CRPF convey). About National Security Advisor
    (NSA)- NSA is the chief adviser to the prime minister of India on national and international
    security policy matters. He serves at the discretion of Prime Minister of India. NSA is now seen
    as the most powerful bureaucrat in the Government of India. This post was created in 1998 by
    then government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Since then either an Indian Foreign
    Service (IFS) or the Indian Police Service (IPS) serves the post. Senior IFS officer Brajesh
    Mishra was India’s first NSA (in office from November 1998-May 2004). NSA presides over the
    National Security Council (NSC). NSC was established in 1998. It is an executive government
    agency that oversees India’s political, economic, energy and security issues of strategic
    concern. It is a three-tiered organization comprising of Joint Intelligence Committee
    (JIC), Strategic Policy Group (SPG) and National Security Advisory Board (NSAB).
    16) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appointed Nandan Nilekani committee has submitted its
    suggestions on measures to encourage digital payments in India to RBI Governor Shaktikanta
    Das. Background: In January 2019 the RBI had set up the five-member panel under the
    chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani to provide suggestions on deepening digital payments with a
    view of encouraging digitization of payments and of enhancing financial inclusion through
    digitization. Key Recommendation by Nilekani Panel- The measures suggest by Nilekani Panel
    includes elimination of all charges, round the clock (24×7) RTGS (real time gross settlement)
    and NEFT (national electronic funds transfer) facility and duty-free import of point-of-sales
    (POS) machines. As per the report within last five years many people have entered the Indian
    banking network system through the Financial Inclusion schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jan
    Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and also lot of digital credit into bank accounts have been added due to
    direct benefit transfers (DBT), and digitization of government payments. Customer Service:
    Panel suggested that there should be no convenience fee on payments made by customers to
    government agencies. It also recommended that to handle customer complaints payment
    systems should use machine-driven, online dispute resolution systems. Payment Monitoring: It
    recommended that for monitoring the digital payment systems, the RBI and the government
    should put in place an appropriate mechanism and must make aggregated information (based
    on blocks, and PIN code), available to all players involved on a monthly basis, so that they can
    make the necessary adjustments in a timely manner. Larger balances: Since digital
    transactions result in larger balances with banks, thus panel suggested that customers must be
    allowed to initiate and accept a reasonable number of digital payment transactions without
    levying any charges. Digital Infrastructure: Although the banks have issued more than billion
    debit cards and 50 million credit cards but, with only about 3.5 million POS devices, and 2 lakh
    ATMs to accept cards there acceptance is still low from an infrastructure perspective. Thus to
    incentivize acquirers of cards in spite of the acute paucity of acquisition infrastructure in India,
    the committee suggests that regulator must intervene at regular intervals to fine tune
    interchange fee levied and to address other related issues, as well as to ensure that there is
    level playing field in market both for issuer and acquirer. The features of ATMs much be
    enhanced such that it act as a complete Digital facilitation point. It includes features of ATMs
    such as from cash dispenser to support gamut of banking facilities as well as cash Deposit, tax
    deposits, bills payment, funds transfer, mobile recharge and customer support and grievance
    reporting Suggested internationalization plan for Indian payment systems like RuPay and BHIM
    (Bharat Interface for Money) UPI (Unified Payment Interface applications) to ease the flow of
    remittances into India and also to help Indian travellers make payments abroad.
    17) The Indian Army has commissioned a “Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System”
    (CAAQMS) at its Eastern Command headquarters in Fort William Military Station, Kolkata in
    West Bengal. The commission of air quality monitor is part of Army’s countrywide ‘Go Green’
    initiative, which was started in April 2019. Key Features of The CAAQMS- It will monitor air
    pollution of city on real time basis and its readings will be considered a benchmark of quality.
    This recent installation will be sixth CAAQMS facility in Kolkata. Measures: The CAAQMS
    installed at William Military station will measure air pollution continuously throughout the year. It
    includes measuring pollutants like SO2, NO, NO2, NH3, CO, O3, VOC and particulate matters
    (PM 10 and PM 2.5). It will also display relative humidity, ambient temperature, solar radiation,
    wind speed and direction, barometric pressure and rain gauge. Usage: The data so collected
    can be remotely monitored on internet and can also be published into various desired formats
    for public awareness. The CAAQMS data can also be used by West Bengal Pollution Control
    Board (WBPCB) or any other local or international weather monitoring bodies. Significance:
    The installation of CAAQMS is special because it will act as the ‘control station’ (i.e. it will
    monitor air quality at an ideal situation) and its readings will be considered a benchmark of
    quality.
    18) The World Bicycle Day was globally celebrated on 3 June 2019 by organising group rides on
    the event to popularize the use of bicycles in daily life. Background: In 2018, the United
    Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 3 June as World Bicycle Day to observe the day
    as a celebration of “uniqueness, longevity, and versatility” of the bicycle. Professor Leszek
    Sibilski of Montgomery College, Maryland, United States with his Sociology class petitioned for
    the bicycle to have its own day and to recognize all its good qualities. Professor Sibilski and his
    class then led a grassroots campaign to promote a UN Resolution for World Bicycle Day which
    used social media to spread word globally and nominated 3 of June to mark as World Bicycle
    Day. The campaign eventually gained the support of Turkmenistan and 56 other countries and
    was finally materialized in 2018, when the UN declared it a world holiday. Significance: The day
    highlights bicycle as an affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of
    transportation also as they do not produce any air-borne pollutants, fumes, greenhouse gases
    and even reduce countries carbon footprints. Amsterdam leads the number with 40% of all its
    commuters use a bicycle to go to work. Celebrations Worldwide: In an effort to bring bicycle
    and cycling habit back in fashion, the World Bicycle Day event in New York, saw the
    participation of various countries including Turkmenistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Canada and
    even India’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Syed Akbaruddin and his team. In 2018,
    Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, and then Minister for Environment, Forests, and Climate
    Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan, , inaugurated the adoption of bike sharing system in the core area
    of New Delhi Also days ahead of World Bicycle Day celebration in 2018, Bengaluru appointed
    its first ever ‘Bicycle Mayor‘ the first of its kind in India, Satya Shankaran.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 01 June 2019 To 07 June 2019.
    19) The Elephanta Festival of art and culture commenced at the iconic Gateway of India in
    Mumbai, Maharashtra. The festival was inaugurated by state Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal
    who highlighted government’s commitment towards boosting Elephanta island tourism in all
    possible ways. Key Features- Background: The Elephanta Festival of art and culture was
    started in 2012 and since then is held every year to promote tourism and culture of Mumbai. It
    is held on Gharapuri island (also known as Elephanta Island) where Elephanta Caves are
    located. The annual gala event is organised on Elephanta Island by Maharashtra Tourism
    Development Corporation (MTDC). It is promoted by Maharashtra government. About
    Elephanta Caves- They are the rock-cut Caves and were constructed around the mid-5th to 6th
    centuries AD. They are a collection of cave temples primarily dedicated to Lord Shiv but also
    have Buddhist caves. The island was renamed as Elephanta from Gharapuri (which means the
    city of caves) by Portuguese after they found a statue of an elephant on island. Elephanta
    Caves is currently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and are also a
    UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    20) Celebrated cricket broadcaster Ashis Ray released a new book titled ‘Cricket World Cup: The
    Indian Challenge’. It the new book he has Ray penned down the journey of Indian cricket at the
    World Cups since the inaugural edition of WCs in 1975. About ‘Cricket World Cup: The Indian
    Challenge’ Book. It is published by Bloomsbury. It describes the readers about the beautiful
    journey witnessed by India ever since1975 when the West Indies won 60-over World Cup held
    in England. It reviews all World Cup tournaments from year 1975 to 2015 as well as previews
    ongoing 2019 World Cup in England and Wales. The book records all matches played by India,
    since the World Cup inaugural (44 years ago) and also every semi-final and final regardless of
    whether India featured in them or not. It provides details about the story of India’s turning point
    in One Day Cricket (ODI) held in Guyana when in March 1983 Indian team under Kapil Dev
    defeated previously unassailable West Indies in their own backyard. In total nine chapters of
    book Ray has talked about all facets of Indian cricket with details of India’s performance in
    each and every World Cup and also about the controversies such as Greg Chappell’s
    controversial tenure as India coach or Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption scandal. About
    Ashis Ray: He is the world’s senior-most active cricket broadcaster. At the age of 24 in 1975,
    Ray made his debut as a Test match commentator on All India Radio (AIR). He holds the merit
    of being World’s youngest Test match commentator. During the BBC’s coverage of 1983
    edition of World Cup match(in which India defeated cricket giants West Indies), he was the only
    Asian ball-by-ball commentator.
    21) The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Rajiv Mehrishi has been elected as
    external auditor of World Health Organization (WHO) for a period of four years from year 2020
    to 2023. Key Highlights- CAG Rajiv Mehrishi was elected at 72nd World Health Assembly
    (WHA) held in Geneva, Switzerland on May 2019. He will take over the charge from the
    Supreme Audit Institution of Philippines which is the incumbent External Auditor of WHO. At
    72nd WHA, CAG of India was elected with a majority of 90 votes out of 162 votes in first round
    of voting itself. Apart from India others competing for elected position includes Auditors General
    of United Kingdom (UK) of Great Britain, Congo, France, Northern Ireland, Ghana and Tunisia.
    Other Appointments: In March 2019 the CAG was chosen for the post of External Auditor of
    Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome Italy thus the external auditor of WHO is the
    second major international audit assignment for CAG in same year. Currently, CAG Mehrishi is
    also on the Board of Auditors of United Nations (UN) and Vice-Chair of the UN Panel of
    External Auditors (UNPEA).
    22) The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) appointed Yousef Aldobeay of Saudi Arabia as
    its special envoy for Jammu & Kashmir. The decision was taken at the 14th OIC Summit held
    in the holy city of Makkah, in Saudi Arabia. Key Highlights- The 57-member grouping approved
    Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Aldobeay as its special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The OIC
    extended their support for people of Jammu and Kashmir and towards achievement of their
    legitimate rights. They called upon India to hold a referendum in J&K under the United Nations’
    patronage. This decision to appoint a special envoy for J&K was mainly was of OIC contact
    group on Kashmir and several of OIC members were not party to this decision and maintained
    a neutral stance on this issue. Background: In March 2019 India was invited for the first time as
    the guest of honour for the plenary session of the OIC foreign ministers’ meet held in at Abu
    Dhabi (in UAE). On that occasion, Pakistan initially tried to ‘disinvite’ India and later used every
    session to defame India but failed to get Jammu and Kashmir’s issue mentioned in final joint
    declaration of plenary session because the hosts and Saudi Arabia tried to ensure that their
    guest (India) was not embarrassed and stood solidly behind the country. These developments
    came within three months of the same OIC foreign ministers’ meet even when some of the key
    OIC member states across continents have not been in favour of a strong position on Kashmir.
    Reason: Due to the current complicated political situation in West Asia particularly the tensions
    between Saudi Arabia and Iran which is coupled with the dependence of some key nations in
    region on Pakistan Army against Houthis and Iran might have possibly prompted the 57-
    member OIC grouping to appoint a special envoy for Kashmir.
    23) Indian Air Force’s AN-32 transport aircraft goes missing after taking off from Jorhat in Assam.
    The airborne aircraft had total 13 people on board including eight aircrew and five passengers.
    Key Highlights- AN-32 aircraft got airborne on 3 June from Jorhat at 12:27 p.m. for Mechuka
    Advanced Landing Ground (only 29 kms from the China border), in Mechuka Valley in West
    Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh. It last contacted ground agencies at around 1:00 p.m.
    after that there has been was no contact with the aircraft. Since the aircraft lost the contact and
    did not reach the destination also Indian Air Force initiated overdue actions. Search Operation:
    C 130J Super Hercules aircraft, AN-32 military transport aircraft, two Mi-17 (medium twin-
    turbine transport helicopter)of Indian Air Force (IAF) and ALH (Advanced Light Helicopters)
    helicopter of Indian Army were launched to locate the missing aircraft. Helicopters were routed
    to the location after some ground reports were received about possible location of a crash site
    however no wreckage has been sighted so far. IAF is in continuous coordination with Indian
    Army and with various government and civil agencies to locate the missing aircraft. The Search
    operation to locate the missing IAF AN-32 aircraft is underway with operation from air by IAF
    and by ground parties of Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). About Anton
    AN-32: It is a tactical transport aircraft and is an extensive used by Indian Air Force (IAF). It
    has been in service since 1984 and has been a trustworthy workhorse for the IAF for many
    years. Specification: As the service ceiling of Antonov An-32 turboprop aircraft is 31,000ft so it
    flies lower and slower (with a cruising speed of 470 kmph) than most commercial jetliners
    (which have a service ceiling of 40,000ft), thus this gives lesser room for the An-32 to outrun
    bad weather or climb over it.
    24) The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue also known as Quad is an informal strategic grouping
    consisting of India, US, Australia and Japan recently met in Bangkok in Thailand. Key
    Highlights of Meet- The meet in Bangkok was attended by senior officials of Quad (India, US,
    Japan and Australia). At the meet countries held consultations on their collective efforts for a
    free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The consultations also underscored Quad’s
    intention of continuing with close coordination and collaboration among themselves in support
    of sustainable, private sector-led development, maritime security of the region and of good
    governance. The Quad (or QSD) is committed to preserving and promoting the rules-based
    order in the Indo-Pacific region. At this meet they reaffirmed their shared commitment. The
    Quad call for an open Indo-Pacific region (which is a biogeographic region) is because China
    has been trying to expand its military presence in the Indo-Pacific. China claims almost all of
    the South China Sea (SCS) even though other countries of same region viz. Vietnam,
    Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have also countered China’s claims over it.
    25) The 14th summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
    was hosted by Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Key Highlights of Summit- Agenda:
    The official agenda of meeting was to address ‘current issues in Muslim world’ and ‘recent
    developments in a number of OIC member states. Also, amid soaring tension between Iran and
    the US and its Gulf allies the OIC summit discussed the regional security issues. The Mecca
    summit supported Palestinians and backed Saudis in Iran standoff. Background: In December
    2017, The United States President Donald Trump broke the decades of established protocol by
    recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In May 2018 US embassy was transferred from Tel
    Aviv to Jerusalem. The suit was soon followed by Guatemala. Political leaders and heads of
    state from Islamic nations unanimously condemned countries including United Sates decision
    of making “illegal and irresponsible decision” to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In
    a joint statement at OIC summit in Saudi Arabia, the leaders called on countries  that have
    moved their embassies to Jerusalem (by recognizing it as Israel’s capital) to rethink their
    strategy and which OIC considered as a serious violation of international law and international
    legitimacy. About Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC): It was established in 1969 by 24
    member states and presently has 57 member states from four continents. Members: Out of
    total 57 member states the organisation has several significant non-Arab member states, like
    Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The 22 members of the Arab League are also part of OIC. It has five
    observer members, including Russia and Thailand. With a collective population of more than
    1.8 billion, it is the second largest intergovernmental body after the United Nations (UN).
    Objective: As per OIC charter, it aims to preserve Islamic values, safeguard and defend
    national sovereignty and independence of its member states and also to contribute to
    international peace and security. OIC states itself as ‘the collective voice of the Muslim world’
    and works towards protecting interests of Muslim world. Summit: OIC holds an Islamic Summit
    once every three years at which heads of state discuss ways to achieve OIC’s charter’s
    objectives and make policy decisions that concern its member states. OIC has permanent
    delegations to the UN and the European Union (EU) Its official languages are Arabic, English
    and French.
    26) Liverpool beats Tottenham Hotspur with 2-0 to win UEFA Champions League football trophy
    final at Madrid, Spain. This was Tottenham first ever appearance in the Champions League
    final. Key Highlights- In an all-English Champions League final the 2-0 win by Liverpool over
    Tottenham Hotspur was result of an early goal from Mohamed Salah and a late one from
    Divock Origi. Liverpool’s coach Juergen Klopp received the Europe’s biggest prize. With this
    win Liverpool claimed its sixth European Champions League title. This title has further
    cemented their status as one of football’s most storied clubs. They now have more than
    Barcelona (or Bayern Munich) and twice as many as Manchester United club. About UEFA
    Champions League (UCL)- It was founded in 1955 and is organised by Union of European
    Football Associations (UEFA). It is an annual club football competition which is contested by
    top-division European clubs. It is one of the World’s most prestigious tournaments and most
    prestigious club competition in European football which decides the best team in Europe. It
    played by the national league champions (and, for some nations, one or more runners-up) of
    strongest UEFA national associations.
    27) The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) overtook India Oil Corporation (IOC) by
    regaining crown of being India’s most profitable Public Sector Undertakings (PSU). Key
    Highlights- In the previous two financial years (2016-17 and 2017-18) ONGC had lost the most
    profitable PSU tag to IOC. In fiscal year 2018-19, ONGC’s net profits increased by 34% to
    Rs.26,716 crore in comparison to it IOC registered a net profit of Rs.17,274 crore for fiscal year
    ended March 31, 2019. In Financial year 2018-19 IOC also lost its title of being India’s largest
    company by turnover tag to Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries. It was because IOC’s
    refining margins were under pressure due to falling oil prices. Thus with a 44% rise in revenue,
    RIL is now India’s biggest firm in terms of revenue, profit and market capitalisation. About
    ONGC: It is a state owned multinational oil and gas company earlier headquartered in
    Dehradun, (Uttarakhand) now headquartered in Vasant Kunj, Delhi. It is a Public Sector
    Undertaking (PSU), under administrative control of Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural
    Gas. It is India’s largest oil and gas exploration and production company which global rank of
    11 among the Top 250 Global Energy Companies (by Platts). It produces about 62% of India’s
    natural gas demand 70% of India’s crude oil demand which is equivalent to around 30% of
    India’s total demand.
    28) Europe’s Highest Volcano Mount Etna, in southern Italy erupted with burst into life, spews ash,
    fire, and spitting molten lava high into sky. Key Highlights- This is 2019’s first eruption as the
    volcano on island of Sicily previously erupted in December 2018. The lava came from two
    eruptive fissures on northeastern and south-southeastern sides of Mount Etna’s New
    Southeast Crater. Mount Etna burst into life, spitting molten lava high into sky. Italy’s National
    Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV) reported the lively spattering after volcano
    erupted and as fire and hot ash spewed high into sky which later slowed slightly but still posed
    risk to climbers. It also reported that latest lava show did not pose any problems for nearby
    residential areas or for flights at closest airport at Catania. About Mount Etna- With an elevation
    of 3,326 m (10,912 ft), it is the highest peak in Italy (south of Alps) and is the highest active
    volcano in Europe outside the Caucasus. It is also the largest of the three active volcanoes in
    Italy, other being Mount Vesuvius, near Naples and Mount Stromboli, one of the Aeolian
    Islands. It is about 2.5 times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. It is an active
    stratovolcano and is located on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, in the Metropolitan City of
    Catania. The United Nations has designated Mt. Etna as a Decade Volcano due to its history of
    recent activity and nearby population. In June 2013, it was added to the list of The United
    Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites.
    29) The United States of America (USA) President Donald Trump terminated India’s designation as
    a beneficiary developing nation under the GSP (Generalized System of Preference) trade
    program w.e.f. 5 June 2019. Key Highlights- The US has withdrawn preferential tariffs to Indian
    exports. The step was taken on determining that India has not committed to provide “equitable
    and reasonable access to its markets” for the US. Under the US’s oldest preferential trade
    scheme called GSP, India is the largest beneficiary nation and exported goods worth $6.35
    billion under the scheme in 2018. Reasons: cited by trump administration are trade imbalance
    with India, no access to Indian market for US dairy, medical device industry and issues related
    to data localisation norms. Outcome: As per the traders, exports are likely to become costlier,
    even less competitive in specific sectors, but the overall impact would be minimal on India’s
    outbound trade with US. Although, some specific exports from India in sectors like leather,
    jewellery, agricultural products chemicals and pharmaceuticals are set to face higher costs and
    competition. About GSP benefits- The Generalized System of Preferences are unilateral, non-
    reciprocal and non-discriminatory benefits extended by some developed nations to developing
    countries. Background: GSP was instituted on 1 January 1976, by Trade Act of 1974. The GSP
    program has effective dates which are specified in relevant legislation thus in order to remain in
    effect it requires periodical reauthorization. Objective: The U.S. designed trade program seeks
    to promote economic growth in developing countries by providing preferential duty-free entry
    for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories. Eligibility
    Criteria: As per US norms, to qualify for GSP a beneficiary nation must meet 15 discretionary
    and mandatory eligibility criteria established by US Congress which includes providing US with
    equitable and reasonable market access, respecting mutual and internationally recognised
    worker rights, working for combating child labour and providing adequate and effective
    intellectual property rights (IPR) protection. But, reinstatement of GSP benefits is conditional.
    Way Forward: As part of bilateral trade discussions between India and US, India had offered
    resolution on significant US requests in an effort to find a mutually acceptable way forward but
    unfortunately that this did not find acceptance by US. Therefore, like US and other nations
    India shall always uphold its national interest in these matters and should consider significant
    development imperatives and concerns and its people who also aspire for better standards of
    living. In any bilateral relationship particularly in area of economic ties, there are issues which
    get resolved mutually from time to time. Thus India views this issue as a part of this regular
    process and will continue to build on strong ties with US, both economically and people-to-
    people. India is confident that two countries will continue to work together intensively for further
    growing these ties in a mutually beneficial manner.
    30) The Financial Literacy Week 2019 will be observed from 3 June to 7 June. It is an annual
    initiative by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to promote awareness on key topics through a
    focused campaign. Key Highlights- The theme of Financial Literacy Week 2019 is ‘Farmers’
    which focuses on how they can benefit by being a part of the formal banking system. Objective:
    The aim of initiative is to create awareness about financial products and services, good
    financial practices, going digital and consumer protection. During the Financial Literacy week,
    the messages disseminated will be focussed on Responsible Borrowing & Agricultural Finance.
    Measures: RBI’s Financial Education Initiative includes- The FAME (Financial Awareness
    Messages) booklet– which provides basic financial literacy messages for information of general
    public. Tailored financial literacy content developed by RBI which can be used by the trainers in
    financial literacy programmes primarily for five target groups namely Farmers, Small
    entrepreneurs, School children, Self Help Groups (SHG) and Senior Citizens. RBI has
    designed Audio visuals on “Basic Financial Literacy“, “Unified Payments Interface” (UPI) and
    “Going Digital” for the benefit of general public on topics relating to Financial Literacy. Both
    Rural and Urban banks are advised to display the posters and content in their branches,
    Financial Literacy Centers, ATMs and websites. During month of June, RBI will also undertake
    a centralized mass media campaign on Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) to disseminate
    essential financial awareness messages to farmers via these mediums. Significance: With 60%
    of country’s population employed in agriculture, growth in agriculture becomes necessary for
    overall economic growth and finance act an essential enabler for the same. Thus, RBI is
    actively involved in formulating policies that enhances flow of credit to farming community.
    31) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) organized a two-day orientation workshop for
    Population Research Centres (PRCs) to highlight various features of Health Ministry’s flagship
    schemes and for their concurrent monitoring. About Population Research Centres-
    Background: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has established the network of
    18 PRCs spread over 17 major States and Union Territories (UTs). The scheme started with
    establishment of 2 PRCs in 1958 at Delhi and Kerala. During 1999 it was and expanded to 18
    PRCs with latest inclusion of PRC, Sagar. Out of these, 12 are attached to various Universities
    and 6 are in research institutions of national repute. Administration: They are autonomous in
    nature and administratively under the control of their host University/Institutions. Objective:
    PRCs were established to undertake research projects relating to demographic research and
    biological studies & qualitative aspect of population control, family planning. The aim of Health
    Ministry was to gainfully utilize feedback from these research studies and then plan or
    formulate strategies and policy interventions of ongoing schemes. Mandate: Their mandate is
    to provide critical research based inputs related to the Health and Family Welfare programs
    and policies at the national and state levels. Milestone: Since its inception to present date
    PRCs have completed more than 3600 research studies and have published more than 110
    research papers in prestigious international journals. Key Highlights of Workshop- Need: The
    workshop is important as there is an urgent need for PRCs to reinvent themselves to become
    more relevant and PRCs should also integrate with institute they are anchored in for more
    thoughtful insights of local and current issues to enrich their research. At the event, Ms. Preeti
    Sudan, Secretary (HFW) released Rural Health Statistics (2017-18) and a Compendium of
    Studies Conducted by PRCS (2017-18). Importance: The flagship program of Health Ministry,
    Ayushman Bharat has two components- Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) for
    Comprehensive Primary Health Care and Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana (PMJAY) for
    secondary and tertiary Health care, both seeks to deliver Health Care services closer to where
    people live in rural and urban areas. Thus PRCs can provide critical research based inputs to
    strengthen these initiatives further.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 01 June 2019 To 07 June 2019.
    32) The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved Rs.3000
    monthly pension scheme for small retail traders and shopkeepers after they attain the age of
    60 years. Salient Features of Scheme- About: Under the scheme all small shopkeepers, retail
    traders and self-employed persons are assured a minimum of Rs.3,000 monthly pension after
    attaining 60 years of 60 years. Beneficiary: The new pension scheme that offers pension
    coverage to the trading community will cover 3 crore small retail traders and shop keepers.
    Eligibility: All small shopkeepers, self-employed persons and retail traders aged between 18-40
    years and with Goods and Service Tax (GST) turnover below Rs.1.5 crore can enrol for
    pension scheme. Enrollment: The scheme is based on self-declaration as no documents are
    required except bank account and Aadhaar Card. Also, the interested persons can enrol
    themselves via more than 3,25,000 Common Service Centres  (CSC) spread across India.
    Government Contribution: The Central Government will make matching contribution (same
    amount as subscriber contribution) i.e. equal amount as subsidy into subscriber’s pension
    account every month. Significance: Since ages India has a rich tradition of trade and
    commerce and our traders make a strong contribution to India’s economic growth. Therefore,
    cabinet decision will benefit the trading community. This pension scheme is a part of Prime
    Minister’s vision to provide a robust architecture of universal social security.
    33) The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommended ‘complete’ ban on Electronic
    Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes. The recommendation is based on
    currently available scientific evidence. On occasion of World Tobacco Day which was observed
    on 31 May, ICMR released a white paper (an authoritative report or guide that informs readers
    about an issue) about harmful effects of ENDS and e-cigarettes. Key Findings of ICMR’s White
    Paper- Background: In 2018 Centre government issued an advisory recommending a ban on
    sale of e-cigarettes in India. Later a committee headed by K Srinath Reddy of Public Health
    Foundation of India (PHAI) was constituted which included experts from ICMR, Ministry of
    Health and Family Welfare, AII India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Food Safety and
    Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and
    Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh. The committee was tasked to analyse more than 300
    research articles from all over the world and prepared the white paper. Addictive: It noted that
    e-cigarettes and other such devices contained not only nicotine solution, that was highly
    addictive, but also harmful ingredients like flavoring agents and vaporisers. Marketing: It found
    that availability of flavour variants and attractive designs are adding to allure of devices, and
    globally there was an increasing trend of e-cigarettes consumption among youth and
    adolescents. There are more than 460 different e-cigarette brands with varied configuration of
    nicotine delivery that come in over 7,700 flavours. Worry: Use of ENDS or e-cigarettes can
    open a gateway for new tobacco addiction among the masses as on the balance, these have a
    negative impact on public health. Effect on Health:  Prolonged use of ENDS or e-cigarettes has
    documented adverse impact on humans which includes DNA damage,
    respiratory/cardiovascular/ neurological Disorders,
    carcinogenic/cellular/molecular/immunological Toxicity and even have adverse effects on fetal
    development and pregnancy. It rejected argument that e-cigarettes could help smokers quit
    tobacco consumption. Although such benefits of e-cigarettes consumption have not been firmly
    established but these devices could encourage non-smokers to get addicted to tobacco. Youth:
    With large number of e-cigarette brands promoting thousands of flavors, the e-cigarette are fast
    becoming a trend among youngsters. Research has found that youths using e-cigarettes (or
    other such devices) are more likely to use regular cigarettes in later period. The exposure to
    ENDS increases the likelihood to experiment with regular products and increase intention to
    indulge in cigarette smoking. Way Forward- These scientific and research data given in the
    white paper could help the government to formulate necessary policies on ENDS or e-
    cigarettes and other such devices.
    34) The Centre has created a new Ministry called ‘Jal Shakti’ by merger of Ministries of Water
    Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation along with Drinking Water and
    Sanitation. The move will bring all aspects of water management and regulation under one
    department. About Jal Ministry- Background: In first Modi government (2014-2019) the project
    to clean Ganga was moved from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to Ministry of
    Water Resources. Later, with a greater push and larger monetary allocation, the Namami
    Gange project was launched in June 2014. During the 17th Lok Sabha election campaign,
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to create an integrated ministry to deal with water
    related isuues. Minister: The Jal ministry will be headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP
    Gajendra Singh Shekhawat while Ram Lal Kataria will be the minister of state. Ambit: As
    promised in BJP’s vision document in run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the ‘Nal se Jal’
    scheme to provide piped drinking water to every household will be a component of
    government’s Jal Jivan Mission. The ministry will roll out government’s ambitious plans to
    provide piped water connections to every household in India by 2024. It will also address
    international and inter-states water disputes and the Namami Gange project which is the
    flagship initiative to clean the River Ganga, its tributaries and sub-tributaries. The Jal Ministry’s
    priority will be to provide clean drinking water to everyone.
    35) The Centre has created a new Ministry called ‘Jal Shakti’ by merger of Ministries of Water
    Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation along with Drinking Water and
    Sanitation. The move will bring all aspects of water management and regulation under one
    department. About Jal Ministry- Background: In first Modi government (2014-2019) the project
    to clean Ganga was moved from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to Ministry of
    Water Resources. Later, with a greater push and larger monetary allocation, the Namami
    Gange project was launched in June 2014. During the 17th Lok Sabha election campaign,
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to create an integrated ministry to deal with water
    related isuues. Minister: The Jal ministry will be headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP
    Gajendra Singh Shekhawat while Ram Lal Kataria will be the minister of state. Ambit: As
    promised in BJP’s vision document in run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the ‘Nal se Jal’
    scheme to provide piped drinking water to every household will be a component of
    government’s Jal Jivan Mission. The ministry will roll out government’s ambitious plans to
    provide piped water connections to every household in India by 2024. It will also address
    international and inter-states water disputes and the Namami Gange project which is the
    flagship initiative to clean the River Ganga, its tributaries and sub-tributaries. The Jal Ministry’s
    priority will be to provide clean drinking water to everyone.
    36) The World Health Organisation (WHO) awarded Rajasthan government’s Medical & Health
    Department its Tobacco Control Award for year 2019 in recognition of Rajasthan’s
    achievements in the field of tobacco control. Key Highlights- The Award was conferred by
    WHO on occasion of World No Tobacco Day (celebrated on 31 May 2019) at a function in New
    Delhi. Background: Every year WHO recognizes various individuals and institutions worldwide
    and in each of six WHO regions for their accomplishments in area of tobacco control. For this
    year’s prestigious award WHO selected total 33 institutions and individuals across world
    including five organisations from the South-East Asian (SEA) region viz. India, Thailand and
    Indonesia. The two institutes selected from India (in SEA region) includes Vallabhbhai Patel
    Chest Institute (in New Delhi) and Rajasthan’s Health Department. Rajathan’s Medical and
    Health Department was the only government body in country which was awarded for its
    tobacco-free initiatives. Rajasthan’s Tobacco Campaigns: During year 2018-19, Rajasthan’s
    Medical & Health Department launched several campaigns against tobacco consumption at
    places like schools, colleges, police stations and government offices. Pledge Initiative: On 30
    January 2019 which marks the Martyrs’ Day (or Sarvodaya Day), state government undertook
    tobacco-free initiatives in which 1.13 crore people took pledge against tobacco consumption at
    events held in 1.56 lakh government institutions and people were also made aware about ill-
    effects of tobacco consumption. Tobacco Free Premises Initiative: Health Department in
    coordination with other departments has developed tobacco-free premises near anganwadi
    centres, educational institutions and health facilities to ensure that no tobacco product is sold
    within 100 yards of these places. Way Ahead: As Department’s efforts for tobacco control is
    now acknowledged internationally thus State government must affirm that it would keep striving
    to accomplish the goal of a “healthy Rajasthan”.
    37) The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Flight Lieutenant Mohana Singh became first ever woman pilot to
    fly by day on Hawk advanced jet aircraft. About Fight Lt. Mohana Singh- To achieve this mile
    stone of being fully operational on the Hawk Jets she completed an exhausting 4 Aircraft
    combat sortie (a combat mission of an individual aircraft) and landed at Air Force station,
    Kalaikunda , West Bengal, which was the last syllabus sortie. She achieved this feat after
    rigorous training involving Air-to-Ground and Air-to-Air combat missions. Achievements: She
    has a total 500 hours of incident-free flying out of which 380 hours are on Hawk Mk 132 jet.
    She has participated in various Air Force level flying exercises and has undertaken many
    practice missions including firing of guns, rockets and dropping high calibre bombs.
    Background: In June 2016 three women officers including Mohana Singh, Bhawana Kanth and
    Avani Chaturvadi became first batch of women pilots to join fighter stream of Indian Air Force
    (IAF). Later in early May 2019 Flight Lt Bhawana Kanth also had created history by becoming
    first daytime woman fighter pilot to fly a MiG-21 Bison.
    38) Admiral Karambir Singh assumes charge as the new Chief of Indian Navy. With this
    appointment he now becomes 24th Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS). Key Highlights: He took
    charge from outgoing Admiral Sunil Lanba, who stepped down upon his superannuation on 31
    May 2019. Term: The tenure of a Service Chief is three years or 62 years of age, whichever is
    earlier. Conflict: His appointment super ceded the senior officer Vice Adm. Bimal Verma who
    has approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) questioning the appointment. The Army and
    Air Force too will see a change of guard at the end of 2019 as The Army Gen. Rawat and the
    Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa set to retire in December 2019 and in October 2019
    respectively. About Admiral Karambir Singh- He his long and distinguished service in Indian
    Navy spans over period of 39 years during which he has served in a variety of Command, Staff
    and Instructional appointments. He has commanded several Indian Coast Guard Ships (ICGS)
    Chandbibi, Missile Corvette Indian Navy Ship (INS) Vijaydurg and two Guided Missile
    Destroyers, INS Delhi and INS Rana. He has served as member of Aircrew Instrument Rating
    and Categorisation Board (AIRCATS) and also as Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and
    Gujarat Naval Area (FOMAG). He is the most senior naval aviator and is the first helicopter
    pilot of the Indian Navy to become the Chief of the Naval Staff. He was the Flag Officer
    Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of Eastern Naval Command, which is headquartered in
    Visakhapatnam just before his appointment as CNS.

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