Daily Current Affairs and GK | 5 August 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 05 Aug 2023 16:59 PM IST

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Topic: National News

1. Import restriction on laptops and computers has been deferred to 1 November.

  • The government has now announced that restrictions on imports of laptops, tablets, and personal computers will come into effect from November 1, 2023.
  • Import consignments can be cleared till 31 October without a license for restricted imports.
  • The government has taken this step after chaos among importers due to import restrictions on laptops, tablets, and certain types of computers with immediate effect.
  • From 1 November, the government will allow the import of laptops, tablets and certain types of computers only through valid licences.
  • Import curbs will allow the government to keep a close watch on the locations from where products are coming.
  • This decision will also promote domestic manufacturing at a time when India has identified electronic manufacturing as a key priority area for its future growth.
  • 44 companies have been already registered under PLI 2.0 IT hardware scheme.

Topic: Sports

2. Indian women's compound team wins gold medal in World Archery Championships.

  • Indian women’s compound archery team, comprising Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Aditi Swami, and Parneet Kaur, won gold medals at the World Archery Championships in Berlin.
  • The Indian team defeated Mexico with an impressive score of 235-229.
  • The Indian team defeated Colombia in the semifinals and Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.
  • It is India’s first gold in the World Archery Championships. Indian archers became World champions for the first time after making their debut in 1981.
  • Earlier, India had lost in the finals in the World Archery Championships four times in recurve section and five times in the non-Olympic compound discipline.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

3. Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS) extended till the 31st of December 2023.

  • The extension of the Digital Health Incentive Scheme (DHIS) under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission has been announced by the National Health Authority (NHA).
  • Digital health solution providers such as hospitals and diagnostic laboratories and health management information systems are incentivized to adopt and implement transformative digitization through DHIS.
  • The Digital Health Promotion Scheme was launched on January 1, 2023, as part of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.
  • Under the DHIS, the eligible health facilities and digital solutions companies shall be able to earn financial incentives of up to Rs. 4 crores based on the number of digital health records created and linked to ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) numbers of the patients.
  • This incentive facility can be availed by healthcare service providers and digital solutions organizations registered with the Health Facility Registration of ABDM and fulfilling the eligibility criteria specified under the scheme.
  • So far, 1205 healthcare providers with 567 public and 638 private hospitals/clinics/diagnostic laboratories have registered under the scheme.
  • By June 2023, around 120 healthcare providers and 7 health tech companies have received a total incentive of Rs 4.84 crore.

Topic: National News

4. On 5th August, the "Festival of Libraries 2023" inaugurated by President Droupadi Murmu at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.

  • It is organized by the Ministry of Culture and will be held on the 5th - 6th of August 2023.
  • The two-day festival will showcase the specialties of famous libraries from around the world.
  • The event is in line with the Prime Minister's vision to promote the development and digitization of libraries and promote the reading culture in the country.
  • At the event, a special ranking system of libraries will also be started across the country and this will encourage excellence and innovation in the field of libraries.
  • A tripartite MoU will be signed between the three major libraries during the festival.
  • These include the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library in Patna, the Rampur Raza Library in Rampur, and the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Arabic-Persian Research Institute in Tonk.
  • The occasion will mark the beginning of the celebration of 250 years of Rampur Raza Library, the launch of the Sassy Library series with a plot based on Rampur Raza Library, and the release of a set of cursive writing books in 22 local languages.
  • In 2014, the government's National Mission on Libraries (NML) was launched.
  • This mission develops model libraries. Connects district libraries to the digital network. Gives priority to libraries in economically backward districts.

Topic: Personality in News

5. Nitin Chandrakant Desai, a renowned art director, passed away at the age of 57.

  • On 2 August, he was found dead in the premises of his film studio in Karjat, Raigad district of Maharashtra.
  • The four-time National Award winner for art direction also designed sets for Slumdog Millionaire and Kaun Banega Crorepati.
  • Some of the most notable Bollywood films in which he worked are Lagaan, Jodhaa Akbar, Munnabhai M.B.B.S., and Lage Raho Munna Bhai.
  • Desai won the National Film Award for Best Art Direction four times and the Filmfare Award for Best Art Direction three times.

Nitin Chandrakant Desai

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Indian Polity

6. Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2023 passed by Indian Parliament on 3 August.

  • The bill aims to amend the Offshore Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 2002 (OAMDR Act).
  • On 1 August, the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha and it will now be sent to the President for assent.
  • The proposed amendment to the Act will bring about major reforms by introducing an auction mechanism as a method of allotting operating rights in offshore areas.
  • The OAMDR Act, 2002 was enacted in the year 2010. But so far, no mining activity has taken place in the offshore areas.
  • Therefore, the Central Government proposed the present Amendment Bill to bring several reforms in the offshore mining sector.
  • India's maritime position is unique. India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of over two million square kilometres has significant recoverable resources.
  • The Important features of the Amendment Bill are as follows:
    • Two types of operating rights will be granted under the Act to the private sector only through auction by competitive bidding, viz production lease, and composite license.
    • The composite license introduced in the Act is a two-stage operating right granted for the purpose of undertaking exploration followed by production operation.
    • Operating rights to be granted to PSUs in the mineral-bearing areas reserved by the Central Government.
    • Provision for renewal of production leases has been removed and its period is fixed as 50 years on lines similar to the MMDR Act.
    • A limit has been introduced on the total area one person can acquire in offshore.
    • Royalty, auction premium and other revenues from the production of minerals from offshore areas will goes to the Government of India.

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Topic: International News

7. India will take part in Ukraine peace talks hosted by Saudi Arabia.

  • The peace talks are scheduled for August 5 and 6 and India has been invited to take part in them.
  • The meeting will be held in Jeddah. Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for Ministry of External Affairs, confirmed India's attendance at the meeting.
  • Russia is not included in the meeting at Jeddah.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been urging the international community to come together for a global peace summit based on his 10-point peace plan.
  • Saudi Arabia reached out to Western nations, Ukraine, and some major developing countries to talk about the peace plan put forth by Zelenskyy.
  • In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. This was an escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War which started in 2014.

Topic: Corporates/Companies

8. Finance Ministry has upgraded Oil India from a Navratna to Maharatna central public sector enterprise (CPSE).

  • It has upgraded ONGC Videsh from a Miniratna CPSE to a Navratna CPSE.
  • With the new status, the companies will be allowed to decide on large investments on their own.
  • Oil India Ltd (OIL) will be the 13th Maharatna amongst the CPSEs. It is an Oil Ministry CPSE.
  • It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • It is the 2nd largest national oil and gas company in India.
  • In February 1959, Oil India Private Limited was incorporated to develop the newly discovered oilfields of Naharkatiya and Moran in India’s northeastern region.
  • In 1961, it became a joint venture company of the Government of India and Burmah Oil Company Limited, UK.
  • In 1981, OIL became a wholly owned Government of India enterprise.
  • The Maharatna scheme was started for CPSEs, with effect from May 19, 2010.
  • BHEL, ONGC, Indian Oil, BPCL, HPCL and SAIL are some of the important CPSEs.
  • In order to be considered for Maharatna status, a CPSE must fulfill the following criteria.
    • Should be holding Navratna status
    • Should be listed on the Indian stock exchange, with a minimum prescribed public shareholding under SEBI regulations
    • Should have an average annual net profit exceeding  Rs 2,500 crore during the last three years
    • Should be having significant global presence or international operations
  • ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) will be the 14th Navratna amongst the CPSEs. It is an Oil Ministry CPSE.
  • A Navratna CPSE is allowed to incur capital expenditure, without any monetary ceiling, on the purchase of new items or for replacement.
  • It is allowed to set up financial joint ventures and wholly owned subsidiaries in India or abroad within an investment ceiling of Rs 1,000 crore.

Topic: National News

9. Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched Port Health Organisation (PHO) under Sagar Setu.

  • Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched Port Health Organisation (PHO) module under Sagar Setu (National Logistics Portal-Marine).
  • It is an attempt to enable a faster and simpler ecosystem to promote Ease of Doing Business (EODB).
  • The PHO will undertake disease surveillance, health inspection and quarantine measures for the safety of citizens and port workers.
  • The launch of the PHO module is another step towards the digitalisation and modernization of systems.
  • The PHO module will help Shipping Agents, PHO’s, Port Authorities, Customs, etc. in accessing PHO clearance through the online process.
  • The PHO module of Sagar Setu (NLP-M) will promote maritime trade.
  • Sagar Setu will help the shipping agents to submit requests for free Pratique and Health Declaration Certificates to PHOs at the port through online mode for the vessel arriving and leaving the port.

Port Health Organisation (PHO)

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/ Rajasthan

10. Rajasthan Cabinet approved the formation of 19 new districts and three new divisions in the state.

  • The Rajasthan Cabinet approved the proposal of a high-level committee to form 19 new districts and three new divisions in the state.
  • The high-level committee was formed in March 2022 under the chairmanship of retired IAS officer Ramlubhaya.
  • The total number of districts in Rajasthan will now increase to 50 from 33.
  • Jaipur district has been divided into Jaipur and Jaipur Rural.
  • Jodhpur district has been divided into Jodhpur and Jodhpur Rural.
  • Dudu will now be Rajasthan’s smallest district while Jaisalmer will remain the largest in terms of area.
  • Apoongarh, Balotra, Beawar, Deeg, Didwana-Kuchaman, Dudu, Gangapur City, etc. are some new districts.
  • The total number of divisions in the state will now be 10. The new divisions are Banswara, Pali and Sikar.
  • Ministers in charge of the new districts will do a formal launch on August 7 of these new districts.
  • The creation of these new districts will improve governance and bring relief to people who have to cover long distances to go to district headquarters for various works.

Topic: State News/Maharashtra

11. Free medical services and treatment will be provided in Maharashtra.

  • The Maharashtra government has decided to provide free medical services and treatment to the people in all the health centres run by the state.
  • This was announced by Maharashtra Public Health Minister Tanaji Sawant and the state cabinet has also approved the decision on 3 August.
  • The state government runs 2,418 health institutions in Maharashtra.
  • From 15th August, citizens can avail of free medical services and treatment.
  • This decision will be applicable only to government hospitals across the state and not to hospitals under the municipal corporation.
  • This decision will be effective in primary medical centers, rural hospitals, women's health care centers, district civil hospitals, sub-district health institutions, hospitals with special abilities and expertise, and cancer hospitals.
  • Article 21 of the constitution gives the right to health, and it is the responsibility of the state to provide all medical services to the people.

Topic: India and Its Neighbors

12. Pakistan has approved a security deal with the US.

  • The Pakistan cabinet gave its approval for the signing of the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Understanding (CIS-MOA) between Pakistan and the US.
  • This security deal with the United States could pave the way for Pakistan to buy military hardware from Washington DC.
  • For the first time, the CIS-MOA was signed in October 2005 between the Joint Staff Headquarters of Pakistan and the US Department of Defense for 15 years.
  • However, this agreement was expired in 2020.
  • The CIS-MOA is the foundational agreement the US signs with its allies and countries with whom it seeks to maintain close military and defense ties.
  • It also provides legal cover to the US Department of Defense to ensure the sale of military equipment and hardware to other countries.
  • In July 2023, Pakistan and the United States also agreed to enhance their bilateral ties in the defence sector.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

13. NHAI launched ‘Rajmargyatra’ mobile app to provide a user-friendly experience on highways.

  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has launched a unified mobile application named ‘Rajmargyatra’.
  • The app’s main aim is to provide comprehensive information and efficiently resolve complaints of national highway users.
  • It provides information on real-time weather conditions, timely broadcast notifications, and details about nearby toll plazas, petrol pumps, hospitals, hotels, etc.
  • Any user can register highway-related issues and attach geo-tagged videos or photos for clarity.
  • Any User can track the status of their grievances. Complaints will be handled promptly on this app.
  • The app is currently available in Hindi and English.
  • ‘Rajmargyatra’ app has been integrated with FASTag services, which will allow users to recharge their FASTags and access other related banking services.
  • The app will also send over-speeding notifications and provide voice assistance for responsible and safe driving behaviour.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

14. Researchers recorded the first instance of captive breeding of the Himalayan vulture in India.

  • For the first time, captive breeding of the Himalayan vulture (Gyps himalayensis) occurred in India at the Assam State Zoo, Guwahati.
  • Himalayan vulture lives in the high Himalayas and migrates to the Indian plains in winter.
  • Himalayan vulture generally breeds in snow-clad mountains.
  • The details of successful breeding have been recently published in a paper titled ‘Breeding of Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis Hume, 1869 (Aves: Accipitriformes: Accipitridae) in the Assam State Zoo, Guwahati, Assam, India’ in the Journal of Threatened Taxa.
  • As per this paper, the successful hatching was noted on 14 March 2022. The nestling was later shifted to the artificial brooding facility.
  • The conservation breeding of the Himalayan vulture at the Guwahati Zoo is the second such instance in the world.
  • Himalayan vulture is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
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