12 August 2018 Current Affairs from The Hindu and PIB . Read Important Current Affairs for UPSC/SSC/Bank and other state exams

Current Affairs 12 August 2018 The Hindu, PIB

Harivansh Narayan Singh elected as Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha

JDU’s Harivansh Narayan Singh was elected as the new deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha. The NDA candidate was pitted against BK Hari Prasad, the joint candidate of the Congress-led Opposition in the voice vote. Singh won the vote with 125 votes in favour and 105 against.

The NDA candidate, Harivansh Narayan Singh received support from Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, AIADMK, TRS, YSRCP, INLD, BJD, three nominated candidates and SP MP, Amar Singh.

Begging in Delhi no more a criminal offence: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court decriminalised begging in the national capital, stating that the provisions penalising the act were unconstitutional and deserved to be struck down. The High Court was considering two PILs seeking by Harsh Mandar and Karnika Sawhney to decriminalise begging.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar ruled that the consequences of this decision would be that the trial, under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 against people alleged to have committed the offence of begging, will now be liable to be struck down.

Suresh Prabhu launches ‘Niryat Mitra’ mobile app

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu on August 8, 2018 launched the ‘Niryat Mitra’ mobile App in New Delhi. The app has been developed by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the largest exporters’ organisation of the country.

Niryat Mitra provides wide range of information required to undertake international trade from the policy provisions for export and import, applicable GST rate, available export incentives, tariff and market access requirements. The app works internally to map the ITC HS code of other countries with that of India and provides all the required data without the users bothering about the HS code of any country.

Centre launches portal for scientific research, funding

The Union science ministry’s communication wing, Vigyan Prasar, has launched the India Science Technology and Innovation portal.

  • There’s also a compilation of technologies developed in India, the organizations that have developed these technologies, those that have funded them and the status of the technologies.
  • A major thrust of the portal is to reach out to students, researchers, scholars, scientists both from India and abroad, so that they can choose from the mine of fellowships, scholarships and funding and startup opportunities that India puts on their plate.
  • The web portal is a repository of all the active research activities being carried out in all the scientific labs and institutions in the country, which brings together scientists and researchers, so that they can pool expertise, skills and so on required for their research, translation, technology transfer & escalation.
  • It reaches out to a wide range of audience through public engagement garnering their support in the celebration of science.

  • Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve enters UNESCO list

    The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (KBR) of Sikkim, the highest biosphere reserve in the country that includes the third highest mountain peak in the world, Kanchenjunga (8,586 m), has been included in the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserve (WHBR). The decision was taken at the International Coordinating Council of Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme, UNESCO, in its 30th Session held at Palembang, Indonesia.

  • With the inclusion of the KBR, one of the highest ecosystems in the world, reaching elevations of 1,220 m to 8,586 m above sea level, the number of biosphere reserves from the country included in World Network of Biosphere Reserves has increased to 11.
  • Some Important Points About Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve

    The biosphere reserve comprises 41% of the entire geographical area of Sikkim. Of the 2,931 sq km area of the KBR, 1,784 sq km is the core area of the biosphere sphere, 835 sq km buffer area and 311 sq km comprises transition area between habitation and the biosphere reserve.

  • The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots that has good species diversity with high levels of endemism, with many mountains, peaks, lakes, caves, rocks, stupas (shrines) and hot springs.
  • There are 4,500 species of flowering plants in the KBR, including 424 medicinal plants and 36 rhododendrons, 60 species of primulas and 11 varieties of oaks. The biosphere reserve has also listed 362 species of ferns.
  • Some Important Points to remember

    • The last biosphere reserve to be included was the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve in Kerala in 2016.
    • The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was the first reserve from the country to be included in the WNBR.
    • India has 18 biospheres reserves, of which 11 have been included in the WNBR.
    • Sikkim, with a population of about 6 lakh, gets15 lakh tourists annually.

    In News: Article 35A of the Indian Constitution

    The Supreme Court of India heads towards a decision on the validity of Article 35A of the Constitution of India. The Union government is not defending the case but has left it to the court. That can be attributed to the ruling BJP’s agenda of scrapping the special status of the state altogether.

    What is Article 35 A

    • It is a constitutional provision that allows the Jammu-Kashmir assembly to define permanent residents of the state.
    • According to it a Permanent Resident is defined as a person who was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been residing in the state for a period of 10 years, and has “lawfully acquired immovable property in the state”.
    • It was brought in by a presidential order in 1954 in order to safeguard the rights and guarantee the unique identity of the people of Jammu-Kashmir.

    Navy launches 'Operation Madad' in flood-battered Kerala

    The Indian Navy's Southern Command has launched 'Operation Madad' while the Army has also deployed its five columns as continuous rains have flooded half of Kerala.

  • It is for assisting the state administration of Kerala and undertaking disaster relief operations due to the unprecedented flooding experienced in many parts.
  • Flooding in many parts is due to incessant rainfall and release of excess water from Idukki and other dams
  • INHS Sanjivani has been deployed for rendering medical assistance
  • NITI Aayog to host Investors’ Conference for the Holistic Development of Islands

    NITI Aayog will host an Investors’ Conference on August 10, 2018 at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra for the Holistic Development of Islands. The Conference will be inaugurated by Shri. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog. It will attract investment for the sustainable development of eco-tourism projects in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands.

  • Island Development Agency (IDA), an apex body, under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister, was constituted in June 2017.
  • The IDA has listed 11 anchor tourism projects and several other infrastructure projects such as Ro-Ro ferry services, desalination plants, digital connectivity, green energy in the first phase of holistic development of these islands.