1. In his last Independence Day address before the next general election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced not just the launch date for his ambitious health insurance scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Abhiyan (PMJAA), but also permanent commission for women officers on short service commission in the uniformed services and plans for a manned space mission.
The PMJAA, touted as the world’s largest healthcare scheme, aims to provide a cover of ₹5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10 crore poor families. It will be launched on September 25.
2. A ‘priceless’ 12th century bronze Buddha statue that was stolen from Bihar 57 years ago has been returned by British police to the Indian High Commission in London.
The statue that was stolen from the Archaeological Survey of India site museum in Nalanda, along with 13 others in 1961, was identified at a trade fair in London in March this year by Lynda Albertson of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art and Vijay Kumar of the India Pride Project — a volunteer-based, crowd-sourced project that works to track down and return stolen heritage.
3. The Armies of India and China held a ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting to mark India’s Independence Day on Wednesday.
4. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, a health for all scheme, on the the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day on Wednesday. The scheme provides health assurance coverage to 70 lakh families, covering more than 70% of the State’s population.
5. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday announced a slew of incentives for the people of the State, including the ‘Ayushman Bharat-Haryana’ health protection scheme.
6. The Maharashtra government has announced emergency measures to tackle the widespread pink bollworm (PBW) infestation in parts of the State. It will set up 16-member committees in each district to monitor relief measures and minimise economic losses to farmers.
7. Noted Malayalam poet and Sahitya Akademi awardee Chemmanam Chacko died in Kakkanad near here, his family members said on Wednesday. Chacko, 92, had been undergoing treatment for age-related ailments for quite sometime.
8. The Supreme Court has directed legal services authorities and committees to extend videoconferencing in every criminal case whenever the accused is in jail.
9. The decision of the Ministry of Health to restrict, from September 1, the manufacture of oxytocin only to the public sector unit, Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (KAPL), has sparked fears of shortages and a disruption of supplies of this drug. Oxytocin — which is considered to be a critical drug in maternal health care — is made primarily by the private sector. The restriction is because of alleged misuse of the drug by dairy farmers on milch cattle to stimulate milk production. The Ministry now hopes to control distribution channels and prevent misuse.
10. Chiefs of Indian Armed Forces
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa
Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba
Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat
11. Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act has been amended, reinterring the requirement of prior approval for initiating investigation of corruption cases not only against Joint Secretaries and above, but all categories of public servants. The only exception to this are cases of traps in which such public servants are caught red-handed while taking bribe. Also, till now under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, previous sanction of the competent authority was required to prosecute public servants, under various sections of the Act. This safeguard has been extended to retired public servants.
12. Currency of Turkey – Turkish lira
13. Lemons problem
This refers to a form of adverse selection wherein there is a degradation in the quality of products sold in the marketplace due to asymmetry in the amount of information available to buyers and sellers. Since sellers typically know more about any defects in the products that they sell to buyers, there is an opportunity for the sellers in the marketplace to sell low-quality products to unaware buyers. The idea was first proposed by American economist George Akerlof in his popular 1970 paper, “The market for lemons: Quality uncertainty and the market mechanism”.
14. The healthcare sector has welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement in his Independence Day address that the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan, also known as Ayushman Bharat or the National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM), will be launched on September 25.
The government-sponsored health insurance scheme will provide free treatment for up to ₹5 lakh a family a year in any government or empanelled private hospitals all over India. Meant to help the poor and the economically deprived, the scheme will be available for 10.74 crore beneficiary families and about 50 crore Indian citizens.
15. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced in his Independence Day address that women officers in the military would get permanent commission on a par with their male counterparts.
Going by the official figures available in March, the Army has 1,561 women officers, the Air Force 1,594 and the Navy 644.
Permanent commission for women is currently limited to education, legal branches apart from medical and dental services. These two streams were opened for permanent commission in all three services in 2011.
16.In the past four months, well guarded from curious eyes, the Indian Space Research Organisation has dusted a 15-year-old dream flight plan and crafted out a grand design to send three Indian astronauts to space.
Some bits came out here and there, but there was utmost secrecy around the project. Understandable, as the Department of Space and ISRO are directly under the Prime Minister.
Many activities related to the Human Space Flight Project were helmed by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram and the Launch Vehicle Programme Office at the ISRO headquarters, Antariksh Bhavan, in Bengaluru. ISRO Chairman K. Sivan was heading the VSSC until January.
17. Christine Hallquist won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the U.S. State of Vermont on Tuesday, moving a step closer to becoming the nation’s first transgender Governor.
18. The NTPC will set up a coal subsidiary. It would cover operations of its all coal mines and will be run like a coal company. It will have a culture of coal mining. This will help in recruiting professional and have a different cadre which would eventually help in their career progression
19. India shipped larger quantities of tea to two neighbouring countries — China and Pakistan — in the first half of 2018, when overall tea exports increased to 112.1 million kg, from 107.1 million kg in the year earlier period.
According to data with the Tea Board, total earnings between January and June 2018 was ₹2,177.1 crore, against ₹2,091.8 crore a year earlier, although the unit (per kg) price of the commodity was marginally lower both in rupee and dollar terms this year.
Exports dropped to India’s single largest market — Russia, as also the CIS countries — which together imported 28.7 million kg against 31.2 million kg.
20. Ajit Wadekar, who deployed his famous spinners to devastating effect and recorded historic series wins in the West Indies and England in 1971, passed away on Wednesday. He was 77.
In the English summer of 1971, Wadekar employed leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and a strong close-in field, led by the sharp Eknath Solkar, astutely as India stunned the hosts for the first time at The Oval.
21. Nihal Sarin became India’s 53rd Grandmaster after attaining his third and final GM-norm in the Masters here on Tuesday.
Telangana boy E. Arjun also became a GM, India’s 54th, in the same tournament.
22. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) appointed former Test batsman Gary Stead as the new Black Caps coach on Wednesday, with pundits describing him as a steady pair of hands to replace predecessor Mike Hesson.
23. The Indian flag was hoisted by members of the contingent at the Athletes Village of the Asian Games at both Jakarta and Palembang, marking the country’s 72nd Independence Day.
24. The Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS), a privately-funded high-performance training institute, was inaugurated on Wednesday.
The 42-acre institute is an initiative led by the JSW Group to bring a world-class Olympic training centre to India. It will provide athletes access to advanced infrastructure, coaching and sports science within the country.
Athletes are offered full scholarships.
25. Botanists have discovered a new species of orchid in Peru’s central Amazonian rainforest. “The new species of orchid was recently discovered in the Tingo Maria National Park”, the parks service SERNANP announced. The orchid was given the name Andinia tingomariana and has been classified as belonging to the Andinia genus.
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)
Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB)
Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) — (statutory bodies under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940
27. Things to remember:
Odisha Chief Minister – Naveen Patnaik
Haryana Chief Minister – Manohar Lal Khattar
Telangana Chief Minister – K. Chandrasekhar Rao
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister – Pema Khandu
Kerala Chief Minister – Pinarayi Vijayan
Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation – K. Sivan
28. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – A metal container with a handle, used to fetch and store coal for a domestic fire.
Meaning – Run hurriedly or furtively with short quick steps.
Example – ‘a mouse scuttled across the floor’
Synonyms – scamper, scurry, scramble, bustle, skip, trot, hurry, hasten, make haste, rush, race, dash, run, sprint
An act or sound of scuttling.
Example – ‘I heard the scuttle of rats across the room’
Synonyms: scamper, scampering noise, scurry, scurrying
Meaning 1 – Sink (one’s own ship) deliberately by holing it or opening its seacocks to let water in.
Example – ‘the ship was scuttled by its German prize crew, who took to the boats’
Meaning 2 – Deliberately cause (a scheme) to fail.
Example – ‘some of the stockholders are threatening to scuttle the deal’
Meaning – An opening with a cover in a ship’s deck or side.
Example – ‘a shaft of sunlight blazed through the cabin scuttle’