July Current Affairs 2022 (Daily Updates)

July Current Affairs

Last Updated: 12 September 2022

Gkgigs publishes Current Affairs of July 2022 events that will help you to boost your General Knowledge and help you crack exams like Banking, SSC, Railways, UPSC, CLAT, State Government Exams, General Aptitudes of various exams, etc.

Read the Latest July Current Affairs of 2022 and boost your General Knowledge. Stay updated on all the Important News and Current Affairs of July 2022.

31st July


India


  • RBI: The Reserve Bank has imposed several restrictions, including on the withdrawal of funds, on three cooperative banks in view of their deteriorating financial condition.
    • With the imposition of restrictions on Jaiprakash Narayan Nagari Sahakari Bank, Basmatnagar, depositors will not be able to withdraw funds from their accounts, the central bank said in a statement.
    • In another statement, it said that depositors of The Karmala Urban Co-operative Bank, Solapur, can only withdraw up to Rs 10,000 from their accounts.
    • The RBI has also imposed restrictions on Durga Co-operative Urban Bank, Vijayawada. Its customers can withdraw up to Rs 1.5 lakh from their deposits.
    • The restrictions imposed on the three banks under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 the Reserve Bank would remain in force for six months and are subject to review.
    • The banks will continue to undertake banking business with restrictions till their financial position improves.
  • 2022 Commonwealth Games: The 2022 Commonwealth Games (officially known as the XXII Commonwealth Games) is a multi-sport event being held in Birmingham, England, from 28 July to 8 August 2022.
    • It is the first time that Birmingham has hosted the games and also marks England’s third time hosting the Commonwealth Games after London 1934 and Manchester 2002, and the seventh Games in the United Kingdom after London and Manchester, Cardiff 1958, Edinburgh 1970 and 1986, and Glasgow 2014.
    • India opened its medal account at the Commonwealth Games 2022 on Saturday with 21-year-old weightlifter Sanket Mahadev Sargar claiming a silver in the men’s 55 kg category.
    • Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, Olympic Games medallist shattered Commonwealth Games records to win India’s first gold medal on Saturday 29th July.
    • Jeremy Lalrinnunga from Mizoram won the second Gold Medal for India in the men’s 67kg category in the clean and jerk segment.
    • Till 31st July, India won 2 Gold, 2 Silver, and 1 Bronze Medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
  • 5G Spectrum: The auction of the 5G spectrum capable of offering ultra-high-speed internet garnered bids worth about Rs 1,49,966 crore on the fifth day of sale on July 30 and the bidding is expected to continue on July 31.
    • The total value of bids in the telecom spectrum auction, which began on July 26, has come within striking distance of the Rs 1.50 lakh crore mark.
    • Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the auction and its “good response” underlines the industry’s maturity.
    • Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and a unit of billionaire Gautam Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprises are in the race to bid for the 5G spectrum, which offers speeds about 10 times faster than 4G, lag-free connectivity and can enable billions of connected devices to share data in real-time.
    • Seven fresh rounds were conducted on July 30, and the bidding will resume on July 31 (a departure from the usual practice) with the 31st round.
    • Till July 29, about 71 percent of the total spectrum put on the block had been provisionally sold.

World


  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s inflation surged to 60.8 percent in July, up from 54.6 percent in June, the crisis-hit country’s statistics department said on Saturday, as food and fuel remained scarce amid depleted foreign exchange reserves.
    • The year-on-year inflation based on the Colombo Consumer Price Index was 60.8 percent in July, the Department of Census and Statistics said in a statement.
    • In June it was 54.6 percent.
    • The year-on-year food inflation in July is 90.9 up from 80.1 percent in June.
    • The country’s central bank has said inflation may peak at 75 percent.
    • Sri Lankans have faced a shortage of essentials amid the ongoing economic meltdown, the worst since 1948.
    • The country has been negotiating a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) The talks with the IMF have hit a snag over the need to restructure debt.

30th July


India


  • Centre’s Revenue: Amid the mounting burden of subsidies, the Centre’s revenue receipts rose just 5 percent to Rs 5.7 trillion in the June quarter of FY23 as the surplus transferred by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to the Union government fell and the collection of Union excise duty and customs duty contracted during the period.
    • The data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Friday showed the Centre’s fiscal deficit for the first quarter of FY23 (April-June) came in at 21.2 percent of the full-year target on the back of strong capital expenditure and weak revenue receipts.
    • The fiscal deficit for the same period last year (April-June FY22) was 18.2 percent of the FY22 Budget estimate.
    • The central board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in May announced it would transfer Rs 30,307 crore as dividends to the government for the accounting year 2021-22 as against Rs 99,122 crore last year.
  • NMC: Final-year medical students from countries such as China and Ukraine, who were forced to return to India owing to the Covid-19 pandemic or the war, will now be eligible to appear in Foreign Medical Graduate Exam (FMGE), a screening test that foreign medical students have to clear to practice in the country.
    • Only students who have completed the courses and have been granted a certificate of completion on or before June 30, 2022, will be eligible for this one-time relaxation by the National Medical Commission (NMC), the apex body regulating medical education in the country.
    • The foreign medical graduates will be eligible to get a permanent registration for practicing in the country only after completing the two-year internship.
    • The notice stated: “The above relaxation is a one-time measure and shall not be treated as precedence in the future.”
    • At present, to appear for the FMGE exam in India, foreign medical graduates have to complete their training and a one-year internship at the university they are enrolled.
    • They then had to do a one-year internship in India as well to get permanent registration.

World


  • United States: The US House of Representatives, spurred by a series of horrific mass shootings, passed a bill on Friday that would ban assault weapons for the first time in decades.
    • The legislation was approved by a 217 to 213 vote in the Democratic-majority House and now goes to the Senate where it is likely doomed to fail.
    • Gun reform remains deeply divisive in the United States — despite the deadly scourge of mass shootings with only two Republicans joining Democrats to back the assault weapons ban in the House.
    • In the 100-member Senate, Democrats have just 50 seats and 10 Republican votes are needed to bring a measure to the floor for consideration.
    • Congress passed a 10-year ban on assault rifles and certain high-capacity magazines in 1994 but lawmakers let it expire in 2004 and sales of the weapons have soared since then.
  • Canada: With a large number of Canadians retiring this year, it has become absolutely essential for the country to welcome more immigrants, including skilled workers, to fill critical labor market shortages.
    • Even the immigration minister Sean Fraser went on to tweet, “With five million Canadians set to retire by the end of the decade, the economic need for immigration is more important than ever.”
    • As per reports, the country is poised to welcome 431,645 immigrants this year.
    • “The current immigration levels plan targets 447,055 new permanent residents next year and 451,000 in 2024,” an Immigration report said.
    • Among the cities where you can find jobs under Express Entry include Brantford, Ottawa, Kelowna, Quebec, Calgary, Saskatoon, Abbotsford, Halifax, Victoria, and Toronto.
    • In Brantford, the employment percentage increased by 17.3% last year. In Ottawa, it increased by 67%

29th July


India


  • India’s FDI: India’s inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) struck an all-time high of over Rs 6 lakh crore in the fiscal year 2021-22, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on July 29.
    • FDI equity inflow in manufacturing sectors has increased to Rs 1,58,332 crore in FY22 from Rs 89,766 crore in FY21, marking an increase of 76 percent.
    • The FDI inflow in FY21 stood at USD 81.97 billion, the ministry had said in a statement issued in May.
  • IIT Madras: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras today launched the ‘Nilekani Centre at AI4Bharat’ to promote the state of Indian language technology with the intention to create a societal impact.
    • This Centre, inaugurated by Nandan Nilekani, is being supported by Rohini and Nandan Nilekani with a grant of Rs 36 crore through Nilekani Philanthropies.
    • The AI4Bharat was set up as an initiative of IIT Madras to build open-source language AI for Indian languages.
  • BSNL: The government, on Wednesday (July 28), approved a Rs 1.64 lakh crore revival package for BSNL, comprising of converting dues into equity, financial support, and allocation of spectrum in a bid to turn around the loss-making telecom PSU.
    • Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) the firm that created a fiber network called BharatNet will be merged with BSNL to boost its infrastructure and support telephony services, Telecom and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told a news conference.
    • The revival measures focus on fresh capital for upgrading services, allocating spectrum, de-stressing its balance sheet, and augmenting its fiber network by BBNL with BSNL, he said, adding the package has a cash component of Rs 43,964 crore and a non-cash component of Rs 1.2 lakh crore spread over four years.
  • Bombay HC: The Bombay High Court today in its orders had issued directions to the Collector, Mumbai Suburban, to demolish portions of 48 high-rise buildings near the Mumbai International Airport, in compliance with the orders of the DGCA.
    • The portions constructed above a certain height are to be demolished as per the Bombay High Court order.
    • A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik also pulled up the collector for trying to shift the responsibility of demolition to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and said the collector has to do something about this “menace” (obstacles near the airport).
    • The court also suggested the authorities to disconnect electricity and water supply to those buildings that have been issued notice for height violation.
  • NMC: The National Medical Commission has told the Supreme Court that final-year medical students who returned to India due to Covid and Russia-Ukraine war and got degrees on a date to be notified will be permitted for the FMG exam.
    • In an affidavit on June 23, the National Medical Commission (NMC) said upon qualifying for the Foreign Medical Graduate (FMG) exam, such foreign medical graduates will be required to undergo a Compulsory Rotating Medical Internship (CRMI) for two years instead of the existing one year norm.
    • The foreign medical graduates will be eligible to get registration only after completing the CRMI for two years.
    • The internship period has been doubled to make up for the clinical training which could not be physically attended by the foreign medical graduates during their course in the institutes abroad and to familiarise them with the practice of medicine under Indian conditions, the NMC affidavit said.

World


  • Japan: Japanese Ministry of Finance announced on Friday that it has set aside JPY 257 billion in budget reserves to combat rising oil and broader prices.
    • The government urged companies to raise wages on par with price hikes of around 2 percent while presenting its Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance on Friday.
    • UJSD/JPY keeps its recovery momentum intact on the above headlines, trading at 134.38, up 0.07% on the day.

28th July


India


  • Google Street View India: The Street View feature helps users to get a 360 degrees view of the roads and public buildings of a city.
    • It helps the user to get a fair idea of the routes through this feature.
    • During an event, Google announced that it introduced the Street View service with cooperation from Genesys and Tech Mahindra, the website reported.
    • The feature is available for these ten Indian cities, covering a distance of 1.50 lakh kilometers.
    • The following cities are Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Vadodara, Amritsar, and Ahmedabad.
    • Google also said it will provide information on road closures and incidents across eight cities including Delhi, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Bangalore, and Agra, ‘to help people make informed travel decisions and avoid congestion zones.’
  • Manufacturing Sector: The manufacturing sector attracted foreign direct investments worth USD 21.34 billion in 2021-22, an increase of 76 percent year-on-year, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.
    • It said the government has implemented several reforms under the FDI policy regime across sectors such as insurance, defense, telecom, financial services, pharmaceuticals, retail trading, and e-commerce. Singapore (27.01 percent) and the US (17.94 percent) have emerged as the top two investors during 2021-22 in India.
    • These were followed by Mauritius (15.98 percent), the Netherlands (7.86 percent), and Switzerland (7.31 percent).
    • The ministry said that despite the ongoing pandemic and global developments, India received the “highest” annual FDI inflows of USD 84.83 billion in 2021-22.
    • The top five states receiving the highest FDI in 2021-22 are Karnataka (37.55 percent), Maharashtra (26.26 percent), Delhi (13.93 percent), Tamil Nadu (5.10 percent), and Haryana (4.76 percent).

World


  • Nasa: Cube-Shaped free-flying robots called Astrobees have helped astronauts with their tasks on board.
    • Now, for the first time ever, two Astrobees have begun working independently, side by side with humans.
    • In the past, Astrobees have operated one at a time or have needed hands-on support from human operators to continue functioning.
    •  But in the latest video released by NASA, two Astrobees named Queen (foreground) and Bumble (background) can be seen working independently alongside astronauts Raja Chari (nearest to the camera) and Matthias Maurer (farthest from the camera).
  • Saudi Arabia: First announced in 2017, NEOM has consistently raised eyebrows for proposed flourishes like flying taxis and robot maids, even as architects and economists have questioned its feasibility.
    • Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz recently unveiled the design of a zero-carbon city called NEOM which is touted to be the “world’s first zero-gravity vertical city” extending over 170 kilometers (more than 100 miles) and have “zero cars, zero pollution, and zero carbon emissions”.
    • The parallel structures of mirror-encased skyscrapers known collectively as The Line form the heart of the Red Sea megacity NEOM, a plank of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s bid to diversify the Gulf state’s oil-dependent economy.
  • United States: Adding India as the sixth country to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) plus would move New Delhi towards a Defense Security alignment with the United States,” said American Congressman Ro Khanna.
    • In an exclusive interview with ANI, Khanna said that NATO Allies get quick approval on defense agreements and further said that the US has the same agreement with Australia, Japan New Zealand, Israel, and South Korea.
    • This comes after the United States (US) House of Representatives on July 14, approved an amendment with an overwhelming majority to the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) that proposes the deepening of India-US defense ties.
    • This amendment was offered by Khanna, a progressive Democrat from California.
  • Philippines: A powerful earthquake of 7 magnitude struck the northern Philippine island of Luzon on Wednesday has killed four people and injured many.
    • The quake struck about 11 km (six miles) southeast of the town of Dolores at a shallow depth of 10 km (6 miles), according to U.S. Geological Survey data.
    • The quake’s strength was lowered from the initial 7.3 magnitude after further analysis.
    • The quake was set off by movement in a local fault at a depth of 17 kilometers (10 miles), the institute said, adding it expected damage and more aftershocks.
    • The 7-magnitude quake was centered in a mountainous area of Abra province, said Renato Solidum, the head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, who described the midmorning shaking as a major earthquake.
  • Russia: Russia’s new space chief announced on Tuesday his country plans to withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024, but senior NASA officials said Moscow has not formally conveyed an intent to end its two-decade-old orbital partnership with the United States.
    • While heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have raised months of doubt about future American-Russian space cooperation, the announcement by Yuri Borisov, the newly appointed director-general of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, came as a surprise.
    • The two former Cold War adversaries signed a crew exchange agreement less than two weeks ago allowing US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts to share flights on each other’s spacecraft to and from International Space Station (ISS) in the future.
    • NASA Administrator Bill Nelson issued a statement reiterating the US commitment to keeping the ISS in operation through 2030, adding the space agency “is coordinating with our partners.”

27th July


India


  • IMF: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday slashed India’s economic growth forecast to 7.4% from 8.2% it estimated in April, citing the economy’s vulnerability to external shocks and rapid monetary policy tightening.
    • In its latest World Economic Outlook update, IMF suggested policymakers prioritize taming inflation through further monetary policy tightening.
    • The IMF also cut the global growth outlook and warned that the world may soon be on the brink of a recession.
    • Global economic expansion will likely slow to 3.2% this year, slower than the 3.6% forecast by the fund in April, the IMF said.
    • The multilateral agency also cut India’s growth forecast for the next fiscal by 0.8 percentage points to 6.1% amid growing economic risks.
  • UN Peacekeeping: TWO BSF personnel, who were part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was among five people killed during a protest in an eastern town near the border with Uganda on Tuesday.
    • The two BSF men have been identified as head constables Shishupal Singh and Sanwala Ram Vishnoi.
    • According to the BSF, Tuesday’s protest in Butembo was part of a week-long call for demonstrations and agitations against the UN mission called MONUSCO.
    • According to the force, a camp of the Moroccan Rapidly Deployable Battalion (MORRDB), where the BSF platoons are stationed, was surrounded by demonstrators.
    • BSF officials said Congolese Police (PNC) and Army (FARDC) could not control the crowd of over 500 people.
  • Maharashtra: The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) on Tuesday said testing will be conducted for free to detect swine flu cases in the city.
    • The testing will be conducted at all the health centers of the TMC in Thane city in view of the rise in infections, the civic body said in a release.
    • It said the recommendation of a doctor is needed for testing.
    • A total of 20 cases of swine flu were detected in Thane city so far this month and 15 patients recovered, while two others died, the release said.
    • A survey of houses in the locality where swine flu patients were found had been completed, the release added.
    • No new swine flu patient was detected during the survey.
    • A total of 62 swine flu cases have been detected this year in the Mumbai circle till July 25 which also comprises Thane, Palghar, and Raigad districts, a health official had said.
  • Green Hydrogen: State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Greenko ZeroC Private Limited, to jointly pursue opportunities in renewables, green hydrogen, green Ammonia, and other derivatives of green hydrogen.
    • Greenko is one of India’s leading renewable energy Companies.
    • The MoU, valid for two years, was inked in New Delhi by ONGC Director Onshore Anurag Sharma and Greenko CEO and Managing Director Anil Kumar Chalamalasetty.
    • The MoU is in line with the government’s National Hydrogen Mission aimed at making India a global green hydrogen hub, the companies said in a press statement.
    • The activities envisaged under this MoU will contribute toward India’s target of producing 5 million tonnes of Green hydrogen per annum by 2030.
    • This MoU will also act as a stepping stone for ONGC to achieve renewable energy targets as per its Energy Strategy 2040, the company said.

World


  • Angola: Miners in Angola have unearthed a rare pure pink diamond that is believed to be the largest found in 300 years, the Australian site operator announced Wednesday.
    • A 170-carat pink diamond dubbed The Lulo Rose was discovered at the Lulo mine in the country’s diamond-rich northeast and is among the largest pink diamonds ever found, the Lucapa Diamond Company said in a statement to investors.
    • The “historic” find of the Type IIa diamond, one of the rarest and purest forms of natural stones, was welcomed by the Angolan government, which is also a partner in the mine.
    • The 59.6 carat Pink Star was sold at a Hong Kong auction in 2017 for 71.2 million US dollars. It remains the most expensive diamond ever sold.
  • US Fed Rate: The expected 75-basis-point interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve this week will heap pressure on its Asian counterparts to speed up monetary tightening or risk further fund outflows and weaker currencies.
    • An analysis of policy rates in the Asia Pacific versus their five-year averages shows a high degree of vulnerability across the region, as does an examination of interest rates adjusted for inflation, and yield spreads versus US Treasuries.
    • The level of threat varies considerably, with the most danger for markets like Thailand, where the central bank has kept rates at a record low.
    • South Korea and New Zealand, which moved early to front load hikes, are better placed but not immune to trouble.
    • Recent tightening announcements from unscheduled meetings of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas indicate that Asia’s central banks are susceptible to making rapid readjustments as inflation bites harder than expected.

26th July


India


  • PoK: India on Tuesday slammed China and Pakistan for their efforts to encourage third countries to join projects relating to their multi-billion dollar connectivity corridor that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
    • In a sharp reaction, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said such activities under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are “inherently illegal, illegitimate and unacceptable”, and will be treated accordingly by India.
    • New Delhi has consistently been critical of projects in the so-called CPEC projects which are in India’s territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan.
    • At a meeting of the CPEC Joint Working Group (JWG) on International Cooperation and Coordination on Friday, Pakistan and China decided to welcome interested third countries to join the flagship CPEC initiative.
  • Rajya Sabha: Nineteen opposition MPs have been suspended from Rajya Sabha for the rest of the week for disrupting the session today.
    • “The decision to suspend opposition MPs from Rajya Sabha was taken with a heavy heart. They kept on ignoring the Chairman’s appeals,” BJP’s Piyush Goyal said.
    • “The government is ready for a debate on price rise once Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recovers and returns to parliament,” said Mr. Goyal, leader of the house in Rajya Sabha.
    • The latest round of suspension comes a day after four Congress MPs in Lok Sabha were dealt with similar action for the entire monsoon session, ending August 12, for holding placards inside the house despite warnings by Speaker Om Birla to behave.
    • The house was adjourned for an hour today after the suspended opposition MPs did not leave and continued to protest.
    • Opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha have been demanding an urgent discussion on issues like price rise and goods and services tax, or GST, hike for the past many days, leading to disruptions in the house.
  • Air India: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday gave security clearance to Air India CEO-designate Campbell Wilson.
    • The security clearance from the Central government has paved the way for Campbell Wilson to take charge of Air India, a senior official said.
    • A senior official told news agency PTI that the home ministry has given the security clearance to Campbell Wilson.
    • Air India spokesperson was also sent a query regarding the clearance to Campbell Wilson but no immediate response was received.
    • Weeks after taking over Air India carrier, Tata Sons named Turkish Airlines’ former Chairman Lyker Ayci as Air India’s MD and CEO.
    • Lyker Ayci was supposed to take over the MD and CRO of the carrier in April.
    • Campbell Wilson was the CEO of Singapore Airlines’ subsidiary Scoot Air.
    • Singapore Airlines is a joint venture partner of Tata Group in full-service carrier Vistara.

World


  • Monkey Pox: As the monkeypox outbreak rapidly spreads across the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) named the disease a public health emergency and Bavarian Nordic received extended approval for its vaccine.
    • Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine won approval to prevent monkeypox after the company only applied for the extended label last month. Bavarian Nordic has already supplied the vaccine, called Imvanex in the EU, to many different, often unnamed, European countries. The vaccine, called Jynneos in the U.S., already had monkeypox approval in the U.S.
    • With the WHO declaring the outbreak a public health emergency, Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine is a hot commodity. European regulators approved it to prevent monkeypox much faster than their usual 6- to 9-month review timeline.
  • World Bank: The World Bank has appointed Indermit Gill, an Indian national, chief economist, and senior vice-president for development economics at the multilateral development bank.
    • “Indermit Gill brings to this role a combination of leadership, invaluable expertise, and practical experience working with country governments on macroeconomic imbalances, growth, poverty, institutions, conflict, and climate change,” World Bank President David Malpass said in a statement.
    • His appointment will be effective on 1st September 2022.
    • Gill will be only the second Indian to serve as chief economist at the World Bank.
    • Kaushik Basu was the first, having served in the job from 2012-2016.
    • Raghuram Rajan and Gita Gopinath have served as chief economists at the International Monetary Fund, the sister organization of the World Bank.

25th July


India


  • Lok Sabha: Four Congress MPs have been suspended from the Lok Sabha for the entire monsoon session ending August 12 for holding protests with placards inside the house over price rise.
    • Speaker Om Birla had earlier warned them to behave and hold the placards outside the house if they wanted to protest.
    • The suspended Congress MPs were Manickam Tagore, Jothimani, Ramya Haridas, and TN Prathapan.
    • A visibly upset Lok Sabha Speaker had warned opposition MPs that he was willing for a discussion after 3 pm, but won’t tolerate any placard protest inside the house.
  • Tax: The Centre’s net tax collections in the first quarter of FY23 were nearly Rs 7 lakh crore, 24 percent higher than last year, as per data given by the government in response to a question in the Lok Sabha on July 25.
    • In April-June, Rs 3.44 lakh crore was in the form of net indirect tax collections, showing an increase of 9 percent on a year-on-year basis.
    • Net direct tax collections in the quarter amounted to Rs 3.55 lakh crore, which was sharply higher by 41 percent.
    • Data on the Centre’s finances for June, including tax collections, is scheduled to be released at the end of this month.
    • As per the latest data from the Controller General of Accounts, the Centre’s net tax collections in April-May were Rs 3.08 lakh crore.
  • Startups In India: India registered a whopping rise of 15,400% in the number of startups rose from 471 in 2016 to 72,993 as on 30th June 2022.
    • In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash stated that the Startup India initiative was launched in 2016 with the objective of building a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship in the country, adding that all initiatives are implemented across States, cities, towns and rural areas.
    • He further mentioned that Under the Startup India initiative, as on 30th June 2022, a total of 72,993 have been recognized by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). 
    • The Government of India, as part of the Startup India initiative, is implementing the Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) Scheme and Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) to provide financial assistance to startups through Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) and incubators respectively, said the minister’s statement.
    • It further said that under SISFS, as on 30th June 2022, a total of 703 startups have been provided with funds while 428 startups have been approved funding.

World


  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s Presidential Secretariat, which was stormed by a sea of anti-government protesters in early July, is set to return to functioning from Monday under a tight security cover, according to a media report.
    • Cleaning and repair work was underway to ready the Presidential Secretariat over the weekend as security forces opened Galle Road in front of the Secretariat for traffic, a senior police official was quoted by the Sunday Times newspaper as saying.
    • The site, which had been blocked by protesters for more than 100 days, saw an excessive rampage by protesters on July 9, forcing Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign as president.
    • Security forces have already opened Galle road for traffic in front of the Secretariat, the report said.
  • Monkey Pox: The European Commission has approved a smallpox vaccine for use against monkeypox after the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency, the Danish drugmaker that developed the jab said on Monday.
    • On Saturday, the WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak, which has affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries, to be a global health emergency, the highest alarm it can sound.
    • Imvanex has been approved in the EU since 2013 for the prevention of smallpox.
    • It was also considered a potential vaccine for monkeypox because of the similarity between the monkeypox virus and the smallpox virus.
    • Monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.
    • The first symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headaches, muscle pain, and back pain during the course of five days.
    • Under EU law the EMA has no authority to actually permit marketing in the different EU countries.
    • It is the European Commission which is the authorizing body and takes a legally binding decision based on EMA’s recommendation.

24th July


India


  • ISC Class 12 Result: Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations has announced Indian School Certificate (ISC) or Class 12 semester 2 result 2022 on 24th July at 5 pm.
    • CISCE 12th results are now available on the official website at cisce.org and results.cisce.org.
    • The ISC test was conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) between April 6 and June 13.
    • The ISC test began at 2 pm and lasted for one hour and thirty minutes
    • The candidates have an additional 10 minutes to read the paper.
    • CISCE announced the ICSE or class 10th result on July 17.
    • This year the overall pass percentage is 99.38%.
    • Girls have done better than boys with a pass percentage of 99.98 percent and boys’ pass percentage is 99.97 percent.
  • Defence Ministry: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday announced the setting up of joint theatre commands of tri-services to enhance coordination among armed forces.
    • He was speaking during a programme organized by the Jammu Kashmir People’s Forum in Jammu to pay tributes to the martyrs of the Indian Armed Forces.
    • In June 2021, the government formed an eight-member panel to fine-tune the theaterisation plans and bring all stakeholders on board, especially the Indian Air Force, for a speedy roll-out of the new joint structures.
    • The defense minister also said India is moving quickly from being the world’s largest importer of defense equipment to an exporter.
    • Singh said the country has started defense exports worth ₹13,000 crores and it has fixed a target to increase it to ₹35,000 to ₹40,000 crores by 2025-26.
  • UNSC: Four out of five permanent member nations of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have extended their support to India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the top world body, the government informed on Friday. 
    • Muraleedharan stated that the government has accorded the “highest priority” to getting permanent membership for India in an expanded UNSC.
    • China is the only country that has not yet supported India’s bid to become a member of the UNSC.
    • An Inter-Governmental Negotiation (IGN) process of the UN has been working on various aspects of the reform, including categories of membership, issues relating to the veto power, and regional representation.
    • At present, the UNSC comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries which are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly of the UN.
    • The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France, and the United States and these countries can veto any resolution. 
  • ONGC: In a move to monetize its upcoming field at Khubal in North Tripura, the ONGC has signed gas sale agreements with GAIL India and Assam Gas Company Ltd (AGCL).
    • Under the agreement, GAIL and AGCL will receive 50,000 standard cubic meters of gas each from the Khubal Gas Gathering Station (GGS).
    • “It marks a momentous occasion not just for ONGC, GAIL, and AGCL but for the people of Northeast as well, as it means more gas will find its way into industries and people’s homes, positively impacting living standards,” asset manager of ONGC Tripura Tarun Malik said.
    • Once it starts production, Khubal will be the tenth producing field of ONGC in Tripura.
    • Khubal GGS will have a capacity to process 0.44 MMSCMD (4,40,000 standard cubic meters) of gas for which the process of construction has already been started, he added.
    • GSA is an important milestone in the lifecycle of any gas business, signifying commerciality for producers like ONGC while ensuring the product reaches the end consumers through marketing and transportation intermediaries such as GAIL and AGCL.
  • RBI: The Reserve Bank will issue a consultation paper on climate change and climate change-related risks order in the coming weeks to equip banks and financial institutions to effectively deal with the issues arising out of climate change.
    • “Climate-related risks will be a focus area in times to come,” said RBI governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday in his address at the Bank of Baroda’s annual banking conference in Mumbai.
    • Climate-related risks will be a focus area in times to come.
    • Such risks will impact the business models of banks. Panelists at the seminar voiced their concerns on these issues during a session on ESG finance and tackling climate change.
    • “The increased requirements of funding businesses and industry for tackling climate change would be greatly influenced by the global movement on climate-related risk management,” Das said.
    • Various stakeholders already consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) as an important aspect while making investment decisions.
    • Rating agencies have developed specialized models for rating such lending proposals.

World


  • Russian Oil: Russian state-owned companies Rosneft and Gazprom will be able to ship oil to third countries under an adjustment of European Union sanctions agreed by member states this week aimed at limiting the risks to global energy security.
    • Major trading houses such as Vitol, Glencore, and Trafigura as well as oil majors such as Shell and Total have stopped trading Russian oil for third parties, citing EU sanctions, including restrictions on insurance.
    • Purchases of Russian seaborne crude oil by EU companies and its export to third countries are allowed, but under tweaks to sanctions on Russia that came into force on Friday payments related to such shipments would not be banned.
  • Monkeypox: The rapidly spreading monkeypox outbreak represents a global health emergency, the World Health Organization’s highest level of alert, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today.
    • The WHO label a “public health emergency of international concern” is designed to sound an alarm that a coordinated international response is needed and could unlock funding and global efforts to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.
    • Members of an expert committee that met on Thursday to discuss the potential recommendation were split on the decision, two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Reuters earlier, but the final decision falls to the U.N. agency’s director-general.
    • Announcing his decision to declare the health emergency during a media briefing in Geneva, Tedros confirmed that the committee had failed to reach a consensus, with nine members against and six in favor of the declaration.
  • China: China on Sunday launched the second of three modules to its permanent space station, in one of the final missions needed to complete the orbiting outpost by year’s end.
    • A live feed on state broadcaster CCTV showed the 23-tonne Wentian (“Quest for the Heavens”) laboratory module launching on the back of China’s most powerful rocket, the Long March 5B, at 2:22 p.m. (0622 GMT) from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the southern island of Hainan.
    • Space agency staff, seen on the live feed observing the progress of the launch from a control room, cheered and applauded when the Wentian separated from the rocket about 10 minutes after the launch.
    • China began constructing the space station in April 2021 with the launch of the Tianhe module, the main living quarters, in the first of 11 crewed and uncrewed missions in the undertaking.
    • The Wentian lab module, 17.9 meters (59 feet) long, will be where astronauts can carry out scientific experiments, along with the other lab module yet to be launched Mengtian (“Dreaming of the Heavens”).
    • It will also serve as short-term living quarters for astronauts during crew rotations on the station, designed for the long-term accommodation of just three astronauts.
    • On board, the space stations are Shenzhou-14 mission commander Chen Dong and teammates Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe.
    • They are slated to return to Earth in December with the arrival of the Shenzhou-15 crew.

23rd July


India


  • Ministry of Defence: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed in Parliament on Friday the names of eighteen major defense platforms that can no longer be imported. Instead, they will henceforth be indigenously designed and developed (D&D) by the domestic industry.
  • Lok Sabha: The Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022, which seeks to extend the jurisdiction of Indian courts to the icy continent, became the first Bill Friday to be cleared by the Lok Sabha during the ongoing monsoon session of the Parliament.
    • Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh tabled the Bill, which is set to become the first domestic legislation with regard to Antarctica in India, amid protests by the Opposition demanding discussions on price rise.
    • The Bill seeks to give effect to the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed in 1959 by 12 countries.
    • It was implemented in 1961, and India, which has two permanent scientific stations Matri and Bharti on the continent, became a signatory to it in 1983.
    • Apart from extending the jurisdiction of Indian courts to Antarctica for investigation and trial for crimes committed on the Arctic continent, the Bill also introduces regulations to ensure that scientific missions or commercial expeditions do not harm the ecology of the continent
  • Foreign Exchange Reserves: The country’s foreign exchange reserves declined by USD 7.541 billion to USD 572.712 billion in the week ended July 15 as the Reserve Bank continued to intervene in the market to curb the fall of the rupee.
    • In the previous week ended July 8, the reserves shrunk by USD 8.062 billion to USD 580.252 billion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed on Friday.
    • On Friday, the rupee fell by 5 paise to close at 79.90 against the US dollar.
    • It had touched an all-time intra-day low of 80.06 against the US dollar on Thursday.
    • During the reporting week ended July 15, the fall in the reserves was on account of a decline in the Foreign Currency Assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves, and also in the gold reserves, the central bank said.
    • FCAs fell by USD 6.527 billion to USD 511.562 billion in the reporting week, according to the Weekly Statistical Supplement released by RBI.

World


  • Russia-Ukraine: Ukraine and Russia on Friday signed a landmark deal aimed at relieving a global food crisis caused by blocked Black Sea grain deliveries, ending months of negotiations, and sending wheat prices tumbling to levels last seen before Moscow’s invasion.
    • The first major deal between the warring parties since the February invasion of Ukraine should help ease the “acute hunger” that the United Nations says faces an additional 47 million people because of the war.
    • The hostility between Moscow and Kyiv spilled over into the signing ceremony delayed briefly by disputes about the display of flags around the table and Ukraine’s refusal to put its name on the same document as the Russians.
    • The two sides eventually inked separate but identical agreements in the presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Istanbul’s lavish Dolmabahce Palace.
  • SpaceX: Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Friday broke its record for the number of rockets launched in a calendar year, topping last year’s slate of 31 missions amid a whirlwind campaign to launch its own internet satellites into orbit.
    • SpaceX’s 32nd launch of 2022 using its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket comes as the company races to build a constellation of broadband satellites called Starlink, a largely consumer-based service with hundreds of thousands of internet users.
    • The mission took off from the company’s California launch site at the Vandenberg Space Force Base.
    • SpaceX so far has launched nearly 3,000 Starlink satellites to space.
    • Friday’s mission keeps SpaceX on pace to reach its goal of 52 orbital missions by year’s end, nearly doubling its annual launch cadence with the reusable Falcon 9 that SpaceX says can be reflown up to 15 times.
    • A majority of those missions have been, and are scheduled to be in-house Starlink missions.
    • The company, founded by Musk in 2002 to normalize interplanetary travel, has in recent months shifted its focus from manufacturing Falcon 9 rockets to managing a fleet of those already built, investing heavily in infrastructure for refurbishing boosters under speedy timelines.
    • SpaceX has launched Starlink satellites to space quicker than its rivals in the satellite internet race, such as satellite operator OneWeb, due in part to Falcon 9’s rapid reusability and the edge associated with using in-house rockets.

22nd July


India


  • Rupee Fall: A predominant part of the outstanding External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) of India are effectively hedged, the governor of the central bank said on July 22.
    • ECBs are loans availed by Indian entities from a non-resident or foreign lender.
    • Most of these loans are provided by foreign commercial banks and other institutions.
    • Of the outstanding ECBs of $180 billion, 44 percent, or $79 billion, is unhedged, Shaktikanta Das said quoting the latest Financial Stability Report for June released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
    • Das explained that this unhedged exposure includes about $40 billion of liabilities of public sector companies, mainly in the petroleum, railways, and power sector.
    • These have assets with a “natural hedge character,” he said.
  • Uttar Pradesh: Uttar Pradesh has improved its performance by two places, bagging the seventh rank in the India Innovation Index 2021 – a comprehensive tool for the evaluation and development of the country’s innovation ecosystem.
    • The state has been ranked seventh amongst the major states category as compared to the ninth rank in 2020.
    • The India Innovation Index 2021 report was released by Niti Aayog in New Delhi on Thursday.
    • UP scored highest in the business environment, high cluster strength, and a significant share of the manufacturing and service sector as a percentage of gross state domestic product (GSDP), officials said.
    • The state has emerged in the top five states under the knowledge-output pillar.
    • This high score is an outcome of a rise in startups and new businesses, they said.
  • GMRT: India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), along with four other international radio telescopes, has succeeded in detecting fringes from an extremely bright quasar located 12.3 billion light years away.
    • Quasars are galaxies that release enormous amounts of energy.
    • They are of great interest among astronomers worldwide as they launch powerful radio jets when matter falls into supermassive black holes.
    • It was during the two experiments conducted in February this year that astronomers detected Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) fringes from this distant quasar, identified as 3C 454.3.
    • Scientists obtain a fringe when data from a pair of antennas from one telescope are combined to successfully obtain a correlated signal, all while observing the same source.
    • A pair of antennas is called a baseline.
    • The longer it gets, the improved angular detail or simply resolution it offers.
  • Akasa Air: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air has opened bookings for flights between Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kochi from July 22.
    • The country’s newest airline plans to start operations of its flights on August 7 and in the inaugural phase of its network development, it will launch its operations by offering 28 weekly flights between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
    • Akasa then plans to start operating an additional 28 weekly flights between Bengaluru and Kochi from August 13, the airline said in a statement.
    • All flights are open for sale from July 22.
    • As part of its schedule, Akasa Air will operate a daily flight between Mumbai and Ahmedabad departing from Mumbai at 1005 IST, every day except for Wednesday.
    • Similarly, the return flight from Ahmedabad will be operated every day except for Wednesday at 1205 IST. 
    • The tickets for the flight from Mumbai start at Rs 4,314, while the one from Ahmedabad starts at Rs 3,906.
  • ICAI CA Intermediate Results 2022: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, ICAI CA Intermediate results have been declared today, July 21, 2022.
    • The exam conducting body has also released the ICAI CA Intermediate toppers list 2022 and according to that, Rajan Kabra of Aurangabad clinched All India Rank 1.
    • This year, Rajan Kabra topped the exam by scoring 666 out of 800 marks with an 83.25 percentile.
    • The second rank has been bagged by Nishtha Bothra of Guwahati, who scored 658 out of 800 and her percentage is 82.25 percent.
    • The third topper is Kunal Kamal Hardwani of Kamptee-Nagpur who scored 80.38 percent. Out of 800, he scored 643 marks.
    • This year, a total of 80,605 candidates have appeared for Group I out of which 10717 candidates have passed the examination, and 63,777 students have appeared for Group II out of which 7943 candidates have passed the exam.
    • A total of 24,475 candidates have appeared for the exam, out of which 1337 candidates have passed the exam.
  • CBSE Results: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on July 22 declared the class 10 board exam results.
    • This year, the overall pass percentage for CBSE class 10 results has gone down as compared to the previous year’s 99.04 percent.
    • This year’s pass percentage is 94.40.
    • A total of 21,09,208 candidates registered for class 10 exams of which 19,76,668 students have passed.
    • A consolidated mark sheet of both terms will be made available after term 2 results are announced.
    • This year, unequal weightage will be given to students’ performance in Term 1 and Term 2 exams.
    • CBSE has announced that 30 percent weightage will be given to the Term 1 theory exam held in November-December last year and 70 percent weightage to the Term 2 theory exam conducted in April-May this year.
    • However, practical exams in both terms have got equal importance while arriving at final results.
    • In institution-wise performance, JNV has once again fared better than the rest by recording an overall pass percentage of 99.71%.
    • It is closely followed by the independent category (96.86%) and KV has ranked third with 96.61% Last year, JNV recorded 99.99%, 98.66% in 2020, and 98.57% in 2019.

World


  • Sri Lanka: Dinesh Gunewardena took oath as the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Friday.
    • A stalwart of Sri Lankan politics, Gunawardena, 73 earlier served as the foreign minister and education minister.
    • He was appointed as Home Minister in April by then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
    • President Ranil Wickremesinghe is also set to swear in his Cabinet on Friday comprising members of the previous government.
    • Apart from Mr. Gunawardena, there are 17 other Ministers in the Cabinet.
    • Ali Sabry, who earlier headed the Finance Ministry, was appointed as Foreign Minister.
  • WHO: The World Health Organization (WHO) has reconvened the Monkeypox Emergency Committee to assess the public health implications of the evolving multi-country outbreak.
    • This comes as global cases passed 14,000, with six countries reporting their first cases last week.
    • The committee first met last month but decided against declaring it a public health emergency of international concern.
    • On Thursday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged his “acute” awareness that any decision regarding the possible determination involves “the consideration of many factors, with the ultimate goal of protecting public health”.
    • Monkeypox, a rare viral disease, occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa, though it has been exported to other regions.
    • This year, more than 14,000 cases have been reported across 71 Member States, from all six WHO regions.

21st July


India


  • RBI: The Reserve Bank of India is in the process of implementing the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in a phased manner for the wholesale and retail segments, said its executive director (fintech), Ajay Kumar Choudhary.
    • The CBDC will be a sovereign-backed digital currency.
    • Passage of the Finance Bill 2022 has enabled RBI to conduct a pilot and subsequent issuance of CBDC, Choudhary while delivering a keynote address at ‘PICUP Fintech Conference & Awards’ by industry association FICCI on Wednesday.
  • India’s R&D: India’s spending on research and development (R&D) is among the lowest in the world, per a study conducted by government think-tank NITI Aayog and Institute for Competitiveness.
    • R&D investment in India, in fact, has declined from 0.8% of the GDP in 2008–09 to 0.7% in 2017-18.
    • Data shows that India’s GERD is lower than the other BRICS nations. Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa spend around 1.2%, 1.1%, above 2%, and 0.8% respectively.
    • The world average is around 1.8%.
    • The India Innovation Index 2021 has found that the overall spending on R&D by India has been relatively low across the country.
    • This was reflected in the overall share of gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) as a percentage of GDP, at about 0.7%.
    • Developed countries the United States, Sweden, and Switzerland spend about 2.9%, 3.2%, and 3.4%, respectively. Israel spends 4.5% of its GDP on R&D, the highest in the world.
  • Gautam Adani: Indian businessman Gautam Adani has left behind Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the world’s fourth richest person, according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List.
    • The 60-year-old business tycoon’s net worth reached $115.5 billion on Thursday eclipsing Mr. Gates whose fortunes are at $104.6 billion.
    • At $90 billion, fellow countryman Mukesh Ambani ranks 10th on the list.
    • Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who has been involved in a huge controversy after his bid to buy Twitter only to abandon it later, tops the list with $235.8 billion.
    • The Adani group Chairman is famed for turning a small commodities trading business into a conglomerate spanning ports, mines, and green energy.
    • Mr. Adani on Thursday said the group has won the tender for the privatization of a port in Israel in partnership with Gadot.
    • The Port of Haifa is the largest of Israel’s three major international seaports.
  • Finance Ministry: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on items such as cereals, pulses, and flour was approved by the GST Council after a nod from all states, countering criticism over the new impost on labeled and unbranded pre-packaged foodstuff.
    • She, however, clarified that 11 items when sold loose, and not pre-packed or pre-labeled, won’t attract GST.
    • The sale of such items may therefore see a rise in demand, she said.
    • The items that will not attract GST when sold loose include pulses, wheat, oats, maize, rice, flour, suji, besan, puffed rice, and curd.
    • “All states, including non-BJP states (Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala) agreed with the decision. This decision of the GST Council is yet again by consensus,” Sitharaman said in a series of tweets.
    • Further, the group of ministers that recommended these changes was composed of members from West Bengal, Rajasthan, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, and Bihar and was headed by the Karnataka chief minister. “It carefully considered this proposal, taking into account the tax leakage,” she said.
    • Sitharaman also cited VAT on rice levied before 2017 in Punjab, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Bihar.

World


  • COVID: A study published in the BMJ shows that two doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines provide high protection against severe COVID-19 up to six months after the second shot.
    • The team led by researchers at the University of Bristol, UK, analyzed the National Health Service (NHS) health record data on over seven million adults, finding protection in people aged over 65 years, and in clinically vulnerable adults.
    • They also analyzed how quickly vaccine effectiveness waned over time in adults without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection and who received two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine compared with unvaccinated individuals.
  • NASA: On the 53rd anniversary of Apollo 11’s lunar landing, NASA announced on Wednesday its shooting for a late August launch of its giant, new moon rocket.
    • NASA will attempt the more than month-long lunar test flight with three mannequins, but no astronauts, as early as August 29.
    • There are also two launch dates in early September before NASA would have to stand down for two weeks. NASA’s Jim Free noted the test flight begins “our Artemis program to go back to the moon”.
    • The space agency’s new lunar program is named Artemis after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology.
    • The 30-story Space Launch System rocket and attached Orion capsule are currently in the hangar at Kennedy Space Center, following repairs stemming from last month’s countdown test.
    • Fuel leaks and other technical trouble cropped up during NASA’s repeated launch rehearsals at the pad.

20th July


India


  • Indian Passport: India has ranked 87th on the Henley Passport Index – a global passport rankings chart that uses data from the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) to rank ‘strongest’ and ‘weakest’ among 199 passports.
    • India’s passport provides visa-free access to 60 nations.
    • The passport index defines the strength of diplomatic relations of any one country with others; essentially, the more one country has ease of access to others, the higher its ranking.
    • Countries to which Indians have ‘visa-on-arrival’ access include Asian destinations like Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.
    • There are also 21 countries in Africa that provide visa-on-arrival services to Indian citizens.
    • There are only two European countries to do the same.
  • Windfall Tax: India eliminated a levy on gasoline exports and cut windfall taxes on other fuels less than three weeks after they were imposed, offering relief for the nation’s No. 1 fuel exporter Reliance Industries Ltd., and top crude explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corp.
    • New Delhi reduced the windfall tax on diesel and aviation fuel shipments by Rs 2 a liter, and scrapped completely a Rs 6-per-liter levy on gasoline exports, according to a government notification.
    • It also cut the tax on domestically produced crude by about 27% to Rs17,000 a ton.
    • India imposed the taxes on July 1, joining a growing number of nations placing windfall levies to tap energy companies’ booming profits.
    • But international fuel prices have cooled since then, eroding profit margins at both oil producers and refiners.
  • NCLT: A company court on July 20 allowed a consortium of lenders, led by Bank of India, to initiate insolvency proceedings against debt-laden Future Retail.
    • The order was pronounced by the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
    • The two-judge bench of Pradeep Narhari Deshmukh and Shyam Babu Gautam also said that Vijaykumar V Iyer of Deloitte will be appointed as the interim resolution professional of the company.
    • The NCLT’s order goes against US online retailer Amazon, a shareholder in Future Coupons.
    • Amazon had alleged that the Bank of India’s petition to initiate insolvency proceedings against the Indian retailer was “malicious”.
    • It had also alleged that lenders to Future Retail, including Bank of India, were colluding with Future Retail by initiating the sale of the distressed company’s assets to Reliance Retail.
  • USD-INR: Raising concerns over high imported inflation, the rupee Tuesday fell below the psychological level of 80 to 80.05 against the US dollar intra-day amid tightening monetary conditions and risk-off sentiments as well as persistent outflows from domestic markets.
    • Significant dollar demand from oil importers amid elevated crude oil prices and concerns about swelling trade deficit has also been key catalysts behind the steep descent seen in the Indian currency, which has fallen by over seven percent since January this year.
    • Although the rupee has depreciated against the US dollar, it has appreciated against other major currencies such as the euro and the Japanese yen.
    • “Global factors such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, soaring crude oil prices, and tightening of global financial conditions are the major reasons for the weakening of the Indian rupee against the US dollar,” Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to Parliament.
  • Commerce Ministry: The commerce ministry on Tuesday said work from home (WFH) is allowed for a maximum period of one year in a special economic zone unit and can be extended to 50 percent of total employees.
    • The Department of Commerce has notified a new rule 43A for WFH in Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006.
    • The ministry said the notification was issued on demand from the industry to make a provision for a countrywide uniform WFH policy across all Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
    • The new rule provides work from home for a certain category of employees of a unit in SEZ.
    • These include employees of IT/ITeS SEZ units; employees, who are temporarily incapacitated; employees, who are traveling and who are working offsite, it added.
    • WFH may be extended to a maximum of 50 percent of total employees, including contractual employees of the unit, it added.
    • It also said that there is flexibility granted to the Development Commissioner (DC) of SEZs to approve a higher number of employees (more than 50 percent) for any bonafide reason to be recorded in writing.
  • RBI: The Reserve Bank will adopt a four-tiered regulatory framework with differentiated regulatory prescriptions aimed at strengthening the financial soundness of the existing Urban cooperative Banks (UCBs).
    • The banking regulator has prescribed a minimum net worth of Rs 2 crore for Tier-I UCBs operating in a single district and Rs 5 crore for all other UCBs (of all tiers).
    • This is expected to strengthen the financial resilience of the banks and enhance their ability to fund their growth, RBI said in its release.
    • As of March 2021, most UCBs have already complied with the requirement as per the data submitted to RBI by the USBs.
    • Those who do not meet the requirement will be provided a glide path of five years with intermediate milestones to facilitate a smooth transition to revised norms, RBI said.
      • Tier 1: UCBs are all unit UCBs and salary earner’s UCBs (irrespective of deposit size), and all other UCBs having deposits up to Rs 100 crore
      • Tier 2: UCBs would be those with deposits of more than Rs100 crore and up to Rs1000 crore
      • Tier 3: UCBs would be with deposits of more than Rs 1000 crore and up to Rs 10,000 crore
      • Tier 4: UCBs with deposits more than Rs 10,000 crore.
    • The new regulatory prescriptions are based on the recommendation of the expert committee on Urban Co-operative Banks appointed in February 2021 under the Chairmanship of former deputy governor N. S. Vishwanathan.
    • In order to boost growth opportunities in the sector, RBI has decided to introduce an automatic route for branch expansion to UCBs which meet the revised Financially Sound and Well Managed (FSWM) criteria and permit them to open new branches up to 10% of the number of branches as at the end of the previous financial year.

World


  • Sri Lanka: Ranil Wickremesinghe was today elected the new Sri Lanka President amid the massive economic crisis in the island nation.
    • Mr. Wickeremesinghe had been serving as acting President after Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to resign
    • Official results showed Wickremesinghe polled 134 votes.
    • His main opponent Dullas Alahapperuma got 82 and leftist front’s leader Anura Dissanayake just three.
    • Mr. Wickremesinghe, a six-time prime minister, was being considered a frontrunner as he is backed by the Rajapaksas’ SLPP, the largest bloc in the 225-member parliament.
  • United States: The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would provide federal protection for same-sex marriage amid fears that the Supreme Court could roll back recognition of such unions.
    • The Respect for Marriage Act was approved in the Democratic-controlled chamber by a vote of 267 to 157, but its prospects are uncertain in the Senate.
    • Forty-seven Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in voting for the bill, which was met with scattered applause on the House floor when it passed.
    • Democrats have 50 seats in the 100-member Senate and 10 Republican votes would be needed to bring the measure to the floor.
    • The Respect for Marriage Act would force US states to recognize a valid marriage performed in another state, providing protection for not only same-sex unions but also interracial marriages.
    • The bill repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

19th July


India


  • JEE Main 2022: The second session of the Joint Entrance Examination Main (JEE Main) has been deferred.
    • It will now be held from July 24 to July 28, a senior official of the National Testing Agency (NTA) confirmed.
    • Earlier, the entrance exam was scheduled to be held from July 21 to July 30.
    • The delay, the official said, was to keep an adequate buffer between the end of the first phase of the Central University Entrance Test (CUET) and the beginning of JEE (Main).
    • Phase 1 of CUET is being held from July 15 to July 20.
  • USD-INR: The Indian rupee touched a new record low and psychologically worrying mark of 80 against the dollar today.
    • Sentiment has been hit hard for the rupee as an unprecedented surge in US inflation fortified expectations that the Federal Reserve would hike policy rates by a record margin later this month and make the dollar the highest returning safe haven currency.
    • The rupee fell to 80.02 in morning trade against the US dollar.
    • For the month, the Indian unit is down 1% percent and has lost 5% percent so far in FY23.
    • The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, hit a high of 108.58 a level last seen on 21 Oct 2002, against 108.07 at the previous close, according to Bloomberg data.
  • GST: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday released a list of items that will not attract any GST, when sold loose, and not pre-packed or pre-labeled.
    • Amid protests by opposition members over the imposition of GST on some new items and on the price rise issue, Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned today.
    • Defending the imposition of 5% GST on food articles such as cereals, rice, flour, and curd, which are pre-packaged and labeled, FM Sitharaman said that it was a unanimous decision of the GST Council last month in which even non-BJP ruled states were present.
    • Sitharaman further said the council recommended reconsidering the approach for the imposition of GST on specified food items like pulses, cereals, flour, etc.
  • SpiceJet: SpiceJet on July 19 announced the launch of 26 new domestic and additional flights, including Nashik-Hyderabad and Delhi-Khajuraho under the government’s UDAN scheme, beginning July 22.
    • Launched in 2016, UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik, or let the general public fly) is a regional connectivity scheme by the Centre to expand the aviation network by developing airports in smaller cities while making flying affordable)
    • The airline will introduce direct flights to Nashik from Delhi, Hyderabad to Jammu, Mumbai to Guwahati, Jharsuguda and Madurai, Varanasi to Ahmedabad, and Kolkata to Jabalpur in addition to increasing the frequency between Ahmedabad-Jaipur, Delhi-Hyderabad, Delhi-Dharamshala and Amritsar-Ahmedabad, SpiceJet said in a statement.
    • The airline’s Boeing 737 and Q400 aircraft will be deployed on these routes.
    • Ticket bookings across these routes are open on www.spicejet.com, SpiceJet’s mobile app, and through online travel portals and travel agents.

World


  • Russia: Russia has defaulted on the supply of at least 5 cargoes or shiploads of LNG to India after its retaliatory sanctions hit one of the companies that supply gas to India, sources said.
    • India’s largest gas firm GAIL has a long-term deal to import 2.85 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per annum from a Singapore-based unit of Russian gas producer Gazprom.
    • The company has since June defaulted on the supply of 5 cargoes of LNG under that contract citing difficulty in sourcing gas due to sanctions, two sources briefed on the matter said.
    • While the contract provides for making up for the volumes not supplied later, the Russian firm has so far not indicated how and when it will make up for the lost volumes.
  • NASA: NASA is conducting an early-stage study of the concept of a hybrid observatory that combines a ground-based telescope with a space-based starshade.
    • The starshade is for blocking glare from stars while observing exoplanets.
    • The Hybrid Observatory for Earth-like Exoplanets (HOEE) concept is aimed at helping the largest terrestrial telescopes find Earth-like planets.
    • The space agency is inviting the public to be part of this ambitious project.
    • NASA is hosting the Ultralight Starshade Structural Design Challenge, which asks participants to develop a lightweight starshade structure that can be used as part of the HOEE concept.
    • The design should allow for it to be packaged compactly and deployed successfully once it is in Earth’s orbit.
    • Also, it should be as light as possible so that chemical thrusters can keep it aligned and propulsion systems can change their orbit while using as little fuel as possible.
  • United Kingdom: Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Monday topped the latest round of voting among the Conservative Party members of Parliament as the race to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister narrowed down to four, with Tom Tugendhat out of the contest after receiving the lowest votes.
    • The British Indian former finance minister received 115 votes in the third round of voting, with Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt holding on to the second spot with 82 votes followed by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss with 71 votes, and former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch at 58 votes.
    • Tom Tugendhat, Tory backbencher and House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, dropped his tally from the previous 32 to 31 votes and was knocked out of the contest.
    • While the top tier of the voting tally remains largely unchanged, Sunak has picked up 14 more votes from the previous round of 101, however, Mordaunt has dropped one from 83 in the second voting round last week.
    • Truss has improved her tally from 64 and Badenoch is up from 49 in the last round.

18th July


India


  • Lok Sabha: Four newly elected members of the Lok Sabha took oath on Monday as the Monsoon Session of Parliament commenced.
    • BJP MP from Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh): Dinesh Lal “Nirahua” Yadav
    • BJP MP from Rampur (Uttar Pradesh): Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi
    • TMC MP from Asansol (West Bengal): Shatrughan Sinha
    • SKD (Shiromani Akali Dal) MP from Sangrur (Punjab): Simranjit Singh Mann 
    • The Monsoon Session of Parliament began today and will continue till August 12.
    • There will be 18 sittings during the Session.
  • Vice President Nomination: Jagdeep Dhankhar, the BJP-led NDA’s candidate for Vice-President, filed his nomination papers today.
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi was with him, as were Cabinet Ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah, and BJP President JP Nadda.
    • The Opposition has fielded veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva, 77, in the polls scheduled for August 6.
    • The last date for nominations is tomorrow.
    • The term of the current Vice-President, M Venkaiah Naidu, ends on August 10.
    • Mr. Naidu, a former BJP president, and union minister won comfortably in 2017.
  • Crypto: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recommended to the government that it should frame regulations for cryptocurrencies and prohibit them.
    • The government, however, seems to be of the view that a “global collaboration” is needed for any effective regulation or ban, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in Parliament on July 18.
    • “In view of the concerns expressed by the RBI on the destabilizing effect of cryptocurrencies on the monetary and fiscal stability of a country, the RBI has recommended for framing of legislation on this sector. The RBI is of the view that cryptocurrencies should be prohibited,” the finance minister said in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha.
    • Sitharaman went on to add that given the borderless nature of cryptocurrencies, international collaboration was required to prevent any kind of regulatory arbitrage.
  • FD Interest Rates: IDFC First Bank and Federal Bank have increased interest rates on fixed deposits (FDs).
    • Both banks have raised fixed deposit interest rates on deposits less than Rs 2 crore and the revised interest rates will come into effect from July 18, 2022.
    • Federal Bank: The bank will pay 5.25% interest on fixed deposits with a six-month maturity and 4.80 percent on deposits with a 9-month tenure.
    • It will pay 5.45% interest on fixed deposits with a one-year maturity and 5.75 percent on deposits with a two-year maturity.
    • For FD tenure of 750 days, the bank will offer an interest rate of 6 percent.
    • The interest rate is 5.95 percent for the tenure of 2222 days and 75 months.
    • Fixed deposits with maturities of 750 days or less will now earn an interest rate of 6.00%, while term deposits with maturities of 3 to 6 years will now earn an interest rate of 5.75%.
    • IDFC First: IDFC First Bank will provide an interest rate of 6.5 percent for a new tenure of 500 days to two years.
    • The bank will continue to pay a 6.50 percent interest rate on term deposits maturing in 3 years 1 day to 5 years, while fixed deposits maturing in 2 years, 1 day, and 3 years will now receive a 6.50 percent interest rate, up from 6.25 percent previously.

World


  • Europe: It was supposed to be a post-Covid-19 summer in Europe.
    • Masks are gone in most places, and vacation season is in full swing as workers rush for the beaches and cities they missed in the two years marked by the pandemic.
    • But instead, the reality confronting people is that the virus never went away.
    • A super-transmissible subvariant of the omicron strain, known as BA.5, is fueling a fresh increase in infections, with cases climbing across the UK and the continent.
    • Intensive-care admissions are rising, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, which has warned that another wave of the disease is starting.
  • Ghana: Ghana has officially confirmed two cases of the Marburg virus, a highly infectious disease similar to Ebola, its health service said on Sunday, after two people who later died tested positive for the virus earlier this month.
    • Tests conducted in Ghana came back positive on July 10, but the results had to be verified by a laboratory in Senegal for the cases to be considered confirmed, according to the World Health Organisation.
    • GHS is working to reduce any risk of the virus spreading, including the isolation of all identified contacts, none of whom have developed any symptoms so far, it said.
    • This is only the second outbreak of Marburg in West Africa.
    • The first ever case of the virus in the region was detected last year in Guinea, with no further cases identified.

17th July


India


  • NSE: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has appointed Ashish Kumar Chauhan as the replacement of outgoing Managing Director and CEO Vikram Limaye of the National Stock Exchange (NSE).
    • Limaye’s term at NSE ended on July 16. Ashish Kumar Chauhan is the current MD & CEO of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
    • The governing body of the NSE has formed an internal executive committee to run the affairs of the company till the new MD & CEO take charge.
  • NIRF 2022 Rankings: Robust and unified system for assessment, accreditation, and ranking will play a major role in enhancing the quality of higher education, said Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan as he released this year’s National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF).
    • Launched in November 2015, NIRF rates India’s educational institutions on five broad parameters – Teaching, Learning and Resources, Research and Professional Practice, Graduation Outcomes, Outreach and Inclusivity, and Perception.
    • While the NIRF is of recent origin, its importance can be determined by the fact that only universities and colleges with NAAC grading or NIRF ranking are eligible for inclusion in the University Grants Commission list for receiving financial assistance.
      • The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras remained the top-ranked educational institution in India for the fourth consecutive year.
      • In the ‘Research Institutions’ category, IIT Madras was ranked second, behind IISc Bangalore same as last year.
      • The Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), the group of prestigious engineering institutes across India, continued to dominate the top 25 ranks in the ‘Engineering’ category.
      • 14 out of the top 25 engineering institutions belonged to the IIT ecosystem.
      • The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore remained the topmost University in India for the seventh straight year.
      • On the other hand, Jawaharlal Nehru University continued to occupy the second spot for the sixth consecutive year.
      • Jamia Millia Islamia jumped three spots to occupy third place, while Jadavpur University rose 4 spots to reach the fourth rank.
      • Miranda House was declared the topmost college in India for the sixth consecutive year.
      • Sixteen out of the top 30 colleges in India belonged to Delhi.
      • There has been a rise in total institutions applying for the NIRF rankings since 2016.
      • As per the government, 4,786 institutions applied for rankings under the “Overall”, category-specific and/or domain-specific rankings this year.
      • The number of institutions applying for rankings has increased by over 97 percent from 2,426 in 2016 to 4,786 in 2022.

World


  • Sri Lanka: An all-party meeting on the turmoil in Sri Lanka has been called on Tuesday evening, with briefings by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Dr. S Jaishankar, the government said on Sunday, following appeals by Tamil Nadu-based parties to intervene in the crisis.
    • At a meeting of parties ahead of the Monsoon Session of parliament, the DMK and AIADMK demanded that India intervene in the neighboring country which is facing its worst economic emergency in seven decades.
    • Apart from sending aid via various channels, India has so far maintained a hands-off role in the crisis.
    • Last week, in a carefully worded statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realize their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established institutions, and constitutional framework.”

16th July


India


  • DCGI: Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted market authorization to the Serum Institute of India (SII) to manufacture indigenously-developed India’s first Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV) against cervical cancer.
    • DCGI’s approval comes following a recommendation by the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the CDSCO.
    • Aadar C Poonawala, CEO and Owner, of SII, in a tweet, stated, “For the first time there will be an Indian HPV vaccine to treat cervical cancer in women that is both affordable and accessible. We look forward to launching it later this year and we thank the DCGI and MoH&FW for the same.
  • Bank Union: Fearing further shrinking of space for public sector financial institutions, bank unions of staff and officers will launch an agitation against the consolidation and privatization of state-owned banks.
    • The government must rethink on further consolidation before seeing the impact of previous rounds, Union leaders said.
    • Ahead of the 53rd anniversary of bank nationalization, the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) will hit the streets from July 17 to protest against the privatization and consolidation of public sector banks (PSBs).
    • Banks employees and officers’ organizations will take to Twitter on July 17, a day before Parliament’s monsoon session commences.
  • Agriculture Infrastructure Fund: The Centre has received proposals envisaging an investment of Rs 23,000 crore under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday.
    • The AIF set up in 2020 aims at providing a medium-long term debt financial facility till 2025-26 for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.
    • AIF with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore will be disbursed through a loan by 2025-26, ministry officials had said earlier.
    • Union Minister for State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje said the loan will be given at a minimal interest rate of three percent.
  • Assam-Arunachal Pradesh: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu on Friday signed an agreement to end the decades-old border dispute between the two states.
    • The two leaders agreed to restrict the number of contested villages to 86 instead of 123.
    • Earlier the two leaders had met on January 24, and again on April 20 during which it was decided that all border issues between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will be confined to those raised before the Local Commission in 2007.
    • Both the States constituted 12 Regional Committees each covering the 12 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and the counterpart districts of Assam for joint verification of 123 villages and thereafter make recommendations to respective state governments keeping in view the historical perspective, administrative convenience, contiguity, and people’s will to delineate the interstate boundary between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Monsoon Session of Parliament: The Centre has listed 24 bills, including the Cantonment Bill, the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, for introduction in the Monsoon Session of Parliament that is scheduled to commence from Monday.
    • The Cantonment Bill proposes to achieve greater developmental objectives in alignment with municipalities across the country and also facilitate “ease of living” in cantonments, according to a bulletin issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
    • The Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill seeks to rationalize the government’s role in cooperatives and increase participation in the working of the multi-state cooperative societies, so as to increase public faith in these societies and create a conducive environment for their growth and development.
    • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill seeks to strengthen the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code by introducing provisions on cross-border insolvency and certain other amendments for a time-bound resolution of stressed assets while maximizing their value.
  • Foreign Reserves: India’s foreign exchange reserves declined by a whopping $8.1 billion to a 15-month low of $580.25 billion for the week ended July 8, data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday showed.
    • The reserve sharply fell as the RBI probably stepped up its intervention to support the rupee that is testing new lows amid foreign capital outflows.
    • The massive fall in foreign exchange reserves was on account of a $6.7-billion decline in foreign currency assets, the data showed.
    • The decline in the foreign currency assets is likely to be on account of the RBI intervention in the currency market.
    • The RBI has been intervening in the currency market to prevent excessive volatility and maintain stability in the rupee.
    • Gold reserves fell by $1.236 billion to $39.186 billion. The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund dropped by $122 million to $18.012 billion.
    • The country’s reserve position with the IMF decreased by $49 million to $4.966 billion, the data showed.
  • Economy: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said India’s long-term growth prospects are embedded in public capital expenditure programmes.
    • Sitharaman, while attending the third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting hosted by Indonesia in Bali, also said evidence-based policy making is vital for resilient economic systems.
    • The government has laid emphasis on capital expenditure to push economic growth hit by the pandemic.
    • It is expected that the increase in public spending would crowd in private investment.
    • Sitharaman raised capital expenditure (capex) by 35.4 percent for the financial year 2022-23 to Rs 7.5 lakh crore to continue the public investment-led recovery of the pandemic-battered economy.
    • The capex last year was Rs 5.5 lakh crore.
    • Sitharaman raised capital expenditure (capex) by 35.4 percent for the financial year 2022-23 to Rs 7.5 lakh crore to continue the public investment-led recovery of the pandemic-battered economy.
  • GST Rate Hike: From Monday many household items, hotels, and bank services, among other things, will get costlier after the GST rates were hiked for several items in the 47th Goods and Services Tax meeting in Chandigarh last month.
    • While The GST council proposed to withdraw tax exemptions for a few items and rate changes for others, exemptions for many others were removed.
    • The increased rates for various products and services will come into effect from Monday, July 18.
      • LED lamps, ink, knives, blades, pencil sharpener, blades, spoons, forks, ladles, skimmers, skimmers, cake servers, printing, writing, and drawing ink, fixture, and their metal printed circuits board by 18 percent.
      • Power-driven pumps, bicycle pumps, and dairy machinery by 18 percent.
      • Machines used for cleaning, sorting, grading seeds, and grain pulses, machines used in milling/cereals industry, air-based atta chakki, and wet grinder by 18 percent
      • Cheques, lose or in book form by 18 percent.
      • Solar water heater and system by 12 percent.
      • Leather (prepared, finished, chamois and composition) by 12 percent.
      • Printed maps and charts of all kinds by 12 percent.
      • 12 percent GST on hotel accommodation priced up to Rs 1,000 per day.
      • Room rent, except ICU, more than Rs 5,000 per day patient charged by a hospital taxed 5 percent to the extent of charge of the room without ITC.
      • Works contract for roads, bridges, railways, metro, effluent treatment plant, crematorium, and others by 18 percent.
      • 18 percent GST for work contracts for historical monuments, canals, dams, pipelines, plants for water supply, educational institutions, hospitals, etc supplied to central, & state governments and local authorities and sub-contractor thereof.
      • Works contract supplied to central and state governments, union territories & local authorities for earthwork and sub-contracts thereof 12 percent.

World


  • United States: The US House of Representatives adopted two bills on Friday aimed at protecting access to abortion after the Supreme Court ruled that individual states can ban or restrict the procedure.
    • The legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled House is unlikely, however, to advance in the Senate, where 10 Republican votes would be needed to bring the measures to the floor.
    • The first bill, the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” adopted only with Democratic support, would legalize abortion throughout the United States.
    • The House passed a similar bill last year but it failed in the Senate.
    • The other bill adopted on Friday would provide legal protection to women who leave one state to undergo an abortion in another.
  • Sri Lanka: Describing the situation in Sri Lanka as “dangerous”, the country’s new Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday said that he would not “allow anything unconstitutional” to happen, setting the stage for the Parliamentary process starting Saturday to elect a new leader on July 20.
    • Former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s remarks came after he was sworn in as Acting President following official confirmation from the Speaker of Sri Lanka’s Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, that he had received President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation letter.
    • The forceful remarks appeared to be aimed at the protesters in Colombo who have called for the entire government machinery to be replaced by a “People’s Council” comprising representatives of common citizens. In the past few days, Wickremesinghe, whose private residence was burned down during the protests, had referred to the protesters as “fascists”.

15th July


India


  • SBI: The country’s largest lender State Bank of India has decided to increase its marginal cost of lending rate (MCLR) on loans by 10 basis points or 0.10 percent effective from July 15, 2022.
    • For one year tenor, the bank has decided to increase MCLR to 7.50 percent from the current 7.40 percent, as per a notice released by State Bank of India on its website on Thursday.
    • For the six-month tenor, the MCLR will be increased from 7.35 percent to 7.45 percent.
    • The MCLR on two years tenor will be increased from 7.60 percent to 7.70 percent.
    • In three years tenor, it will be increased from 7.7 percent to 7.8 percent.
  •  Gender Parity: India was on Wednesday ranked low at 135th place in terms of gender parity, despite an improvement of five places since last year on better performance in areas of economic participation and opportunity.
    • Iceland retained its place as the world’s most gender-equal country, followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand, and Sweden, as per the annual Gender Gap Report 2022 of the World Economic Forum (WEF) released in Geneva.
    • Only 11 countries are ranked below India on the index of 146 nations, with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo, Iran, and Chad being the worst-five.
    • The WEF warned that the cost of living crisis is expected to hit women hardest globally with a widening gender gap in the labor force and it will take another 132 years (compared to 136 in 2021) to close the gender gap.
  • Kerala: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said Kerala has now become the first and only state in the country to have its own internet service.
    • The announcement came in the wake of the Kerala Fiber Optic Network Ltd, an ambitious IT infrastructure project of the government to make the internet accessible to everyone in the state, receiving the Internet Service Provider (ISP) license from the Department of Telecommunications.
    • With this, the project envisaged to bridge the digital divide in society can commence its operations, the CM said.
    • The KFON scheme is envisaged to provide free internet to BPL families and 30,000 government offices.
    • The previous Left government had in 2019 declared internet connection as a basic right and launched the ₹ 1,548-crore KFON project.
  • Yes Bank: Yes Bank on Friday informed that its board of directors has signed a binding term sheet with JCF ARC LLC and JC Flowers Asset Reconstruction Private Limited (JC Flowers ARC) for strategic partnership in relation to the sale of identified stressed loans of the bank.
    • Accordingly, the Bank has decided that the JC Flowers ARC will be the base bidder for a proposed sale of an identified stressed loan portfolio of the Bank aggregating to up to ₹48,000 crores, it added.
    • In August last year, Yes Bank invited expressions of interest to set up the ARC, in which it proposed to own a 20% stake.
    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had earlier rejected Yes Bank’s application to start an ARC, citing a conflict of interest.
    • Following this, the bank tweaked the structure of the proposed ARC, offering to hold a minority stake and find more shareholders to overcome the regulatory hurdle.
  • I2U2 Project: The first projects of the I2U2 will be located in India and help with agriculture, food, and green energy, according to the joint statement of the four leaders after the group’s launch.
    • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid and UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan along with US President Joe Biden launched the Middle East Quad known as “I2U2” from the initials of the participants.
    • The UAE will invest $2 billion in the agriculture and food project that aims to “maximize crop yields and, in turn, help tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East,” the statement said on Thursday.
    • Gujarat will be the beneficiary of the 300-megawatt wind and solar energy programme and projects like that “have the potential to make India a global hub for alternate supply chains in the renewable energy sector,” the statement added.
  • WPI Inflation: India’s wholesale price-based inflation eased to 15.18% in June on a year-on-year basis from 15.88% in May, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a press release on Thursday.
    • The number has remained in double digits for the 15th consecutive month.
    • The high rate of inflation in June 2022 is primarily due to a rise in prices of mineral oils, food articles, crude petroleum & natural gas, basic metals, chemicals & chemical products, food products, etc. as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
    • For the fuel and power segment, the WPI number marginally eased to 40.38% in June from 40.62% in May as oil prices eased.
    • Food inflation for June climbed to 12.41% against 10.89% in the preceding month. Vegetable inflation came in at 56.75% as against 56.36% earlier.
    • The inflation in the manufacturing goods segment witnessed a decline to 9.19% in June as compared to 10.11% in May.
    • The government on Wednesday said that the CPI inflation remained flat at 7.01% in June.

World


  • Nepal: Nepal’s Parliament on Wednesday passed the country’s first Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was under discussion for more than two years as political parties failed to forge a consensus on it.
    • The bill has been under discussion in the House of Representatives since 2020, but it failed to be endorsed due to differences among the political parties over certain provisions, namely the seven-year waiting period for obtaining naturalized citizenship for foreign women married to Nepali men.
    • In the meeting of the lower house of Parliament or the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand presented Nepal’s first Citizenship Amendment Bill 2022 before the lawmakers and said that the bill has been tabled in parliament to amend the Nepal Citizenship Act 2006 and make provisions for providing citizenship as directed by the Constitution.
  • United States: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is racing against time to issue 280,000 green cards before the fiscal year ends on September 30.
    • While closures and limited operations at US embassies and consular offices through the pandemic led to high numbers of available employment-based green cards, as of mid-June 2022, USCIS and the US Department of State (DOS) have used significantly more visas than at the same point in FY 2021.
    • USCIS alone uses more than twice as many visas on a weekly basis than it.
    • Through May 31, 2022, the two agencies have combined to use 149,733 employment-based immigrant visas.
    • “We remain committed to taking every viable policy and procedural action to maximize our use of all available visas by the end of the fiscal year,” the USCIS said in a statement.
    • Data from the US visa office shows that the US government had 66,781 unused employment-based green cards in the 2021 fiscal year, even as 1.4 million immigrants are queued up for them.
    • A majority of these are Indians, who have been stuck in the green card backlog for years.
    • USCIS eventually issued 180,000 green cards last year more than a typical year but still falling short of the total available.

14th July


India


  • Maharashtra: Petrol will now cost ₹ 5 less and diesel ₹ 3 less in Maharashtra, the state cabinet decided today.
    • This means, from tomorrow, petrol will cost around ₹106 a liter and diesel ₹94 in Mumbai.
    • Slight variations are possible as there are other components at play when oil companies set the daily price.
    • Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said the cut in Value Added Tax (VAT) will cost the state ₹6,000 crores a year, but it will bring down overall inflation.
    • “When the central government cut excise duty in May to reduce fuel prices, it asked states to cut taxes too. But the previous state government did not. We’ve now taken that step,” he said.
  • IISC: Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru in collaboration with researchers from the CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology, have reported the design of a new class of synthetic peptides that can not only block the entry of SARS-CoV-2 virus entry into cells but also clump the virions (virus particles) together, reducing their ability to infect.
    • This binding was further characterized extensively by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and other biophysical methods.
    • The research was supported under the COVID-19 IRPHA call of SERB Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • CUET: The Common University Entrance Test for undergraduate courses (CUET-UG), starting July 15, has been designed to ensure that students taking the test earlier than their peers in the staggered format will not be placed at any disadvantage as the scores will be based on a normalization process, National Testing Agency (NTA) director Vineet Joshi told.
    • The normalization process, which is used by the agency in the case of engineering entrance tests, ensures equity as it takes into consideration various factors that could lead to one set of students performing better for reasons other than academic competence.
    • For instance, the difficulty level of a question paper on the same subject may vary from one session to another but the normalization process offers a level playing field, Joshi said.
  • USD-INR: The rupee is in for a rough ride ahead, with the next key psychological level of 80 per dollar almost a done deal after a blowout US inflation print, which will boost the already-rampant dollar further.
    • That inflation data surging to more than expected 9.1 percent from a year ago, marking a 40-year peak, will crystalize expectations for a bigger-sized Federal Reserve interest rate hike this month and, in turn, solidify recession risks.
    • The rupee’s journey this year has been nothing short of dramatic, with the currency plunging from changing hands at 74 at the start of 2022 to near 80 against the greenback.
    • The currency has slumped to a new record low level 26 times since Russia invaded Ukraine late in February, which includes five times the currency breached a new weak level this month, based on Nasdaq data.
  • Finance Ministry: The government’s focus on capital expenditure may have begun to crowd in private investment, the finance ministry has said.
    • Referring to early data for April-June, the finance ministry said in its Monthly Economic Report (CMIE), released on July 14, that the share of the Indian private sector in total investment proposals had hit a record high of 85 percent as against an average of 63 percent in the previous four quarters.
    • “Going forward, private sector investment is expected to gain further traction on account of recovery in capacity utilization, bigger appetite for undertaking fresh investments, and crowding-in is driven by a huge increase in public investment,” the finance ministry said, adding that the government’s production-linked incentive schemes should also provide a significant push to private investment.
    • As per the ministry, numbers compiled by the private sector firm Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy showed an uptick in investment momentum in the last quarter. This was despite the Russia-Ukraine war, high global commodity prices, rising interest rates, and the accompanying uncertainty.

World


  • US FDA: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization on Wednesday for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in individuals aged 18 and older, making it the fourth vaccine available in the United States, but one which uses technology different from previous approvals.
    • In a statement, the FDA said the vaccine, whose known and potential benefits outweigh risks in adults, may be effective in preventing COVID-19 and will be available as a two-dose primary series for adults, three weeks apart.
    • The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is scheduled to meet on July 19 to weigh in on the vaccine, and the CDC director will ultimately decide on whether to sign off on its recommendation before the nationwide administration is approved.
  • COVID: As a new wave of infections spreads across Europe and the US, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged governments and healthcare institutions to take action to stop COVID-19 transmission.
    • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated at a briefing in Geneva on July 12 that sub-variants of the omicron strain were increasing the number of cases and resulting in additional fatalities.
    • To stop the spread, Tedros suggested reviving standards like mask use.
    • The WHO is concerned that, despite a recent increase in cases, surveillance of the virus and any new possible varieties is waning. According to Tedros, a WHO committee reiterated that the COVID-19 outbreak is still a public health emergency of global concern, which is how the WHO categorizes pandemics.
  • United States Inflation: US inflation accelerated in June by more than forecast, underscoring relentless price pressures that will keep the Federal Reserve on track for another big interest-rate hike later this month.
    • The consumer price index rose 9.1% from a year earlier in a broad-based advance, the largest gain since the end of 1981, Labor Department data showed Wednesday.
    • The widely followed inflation gauge increased 1.3% from a month earlier, the most since 2005, reflecting higher gasoline, shelter, and food costs.
    • Economists projected a 1.1% rise from May and an 8.8% year-over-year increase, based on the Bloomberg survey medians.
    • The so-called core CPI, which strips out the more volatile food and energy components, advanced 0.7% from the prior month and 5.9% from a year ago, above forecasts.
  • United Kingdom: Former British finance minister Rishi Sunak won the most votes in the first round of voting to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister, as two candidates were eliminated.
    • Sunak, whose resignation helped trigger the downfall of Johnson last week, took an early lead in the race to succeed him.
    • In the first ballot of Conservative MPs on Wednesday, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer won 88 votes ahead of the second-placed Penny Mordaunt with 67 votes.
    • Liz Truss was third with 50.
    • Two candidates were knocked out of the race to replace the UK Prime Minister today, leaving six lawmakers battling to lead the Conservative Party and the country.
    • Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Treasury chief Nadhim Zahawi failed to reach the threshold of 30 votes by Conservative lawmakers needed to stay in the contest.
  • WHO: COVID-19 and Monkeypox are not the only health threats facing the world today.
    • Cases of severe acute hepatitis are also rising among children globally.
    • According to the last update from the World Health Organization (WHO), 1,010 probable cases have been reported from about 35 countries between April 5 (when the outbreak was initially detected) and July 8.
    • The disease has also claimed the lives of 22 children, the WHO said in a statement released on Wednesday.
    • The UN health agency indicated that the actual number of cases may be higher, citing a lack of implementation of enhanced surveillance systems.
    • The highest number of cases is reported from Europe (484), with 272 cases reported from the UK alone.
    • With 435 cases, the American region is running in the second spot. In terms of deaths, the highest number is reported in the American region (13), followed by Indonesia and Maldives in South-East Asia (6), according to the WHO statement.
    • Among the reported cases, liver transplantation was required in nearly 46 children.

13th July


India


  • COVID Boosters: All adults will be able to get free booster doses of the coronavirus vaccine at government centers under a special drive over the next 75 days from Friday, officials said on Wednesday.
    • Aimed at improving the third-dose coverage, the drive will be held as part of the government’s ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.
    • So far, less than 1 percent of the target population of 77 crores in the 18-59 age group have been administered the precaution dose.
    • However, around 26 percent of the estimated 16 crores eligible population aged 60 and above as well as healthcare and frontline workers have received the booster dose.
  • ICMR: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s research center in Puducherry has developed a technology to produce Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti strain VCRC B-17), a strain of bacteria that kills mosquito and black fly larvae without harming other animals.
    • The Bti bacteria has been in use for decades for mosquito control and is considered safe for other animals and the environment.
    • The commercial production of Bti is a shot in the arm for India’s fight against vector-borne diseases such as malaria, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, chikungunya, and zika.
    • Last month, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya handed over the Bti technology to Hindustan Insecticides Ltd for commercial production and use in India.
  • Retail Inflation: India’s headline retail inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), stayed largely unchanged at a high of 7.01 percent in June as against 7.04 percent in May.
    • At 7.01 percent, the June CPI inflation print takes average inflation for April-June to 7.3 percent, 20 basis points lower than the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) forecast of 7.5 percent, according to data released on July 12 by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
    • However, undershooting the forecast is of little significance at this stage, with the central bank on track to miss its mandate.
    • The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee is deemed to have failed when average CPI inflation is outside the 2-6 percent tolerance band for three consecutive quarters.
    • With inflation having already averaged 6.3 percent in January-March, the RBI is now only one quarter away from failure.
  • RBI: The Reserve Bank on Monday said it has imposed a penalty on three cooperatives banks, including Maharashtra-based The Nasik Merchant’s Co-operative Bank, for deficiencies in regulatory compliance.
    • In a statement, the RBI said a penalty of ₹ 37.50 lakh has been imposed on The Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank, Mumbai for non-compliance with the directions issued by Nabard on ‘Frauds – Guidelines for Classification, Reporting, and Monitoring’.
    • In another release, The Nasik Merchant’s Co-operative Bank has been fined ₹50 lakh for contravention of directions issued by the RBI on “Placement of deposits with other banks” and “Interest Rate on Deposits”.
    • A penalty of ₹ 2 lakh has been imposed on The National Central Cooperative Bank Limited, Bettiah for non-compliance with provisions of the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund and Know Your Customer (KYC) norms.
    • In each case, the RBI added, the penalty is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the banks with their customers.

World


  • UN Population Report: Global life expectancy, which stood at 72.8 in 2019, “slowed down due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic” and fell to 71 years in 2021, according to the latest UN population report released on Monday.
  • Russia: Russia on Tuesday said it had detected the first case of monkeypox in the country in a man who returned from a trip to several European nations.
    • The surge of monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.
    • “The infection was found in a young man who came back from a trip through European countries and went to a medical facility with a characteristic rash,” health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement.
  • China: Hundreds of thousands of people were under lockdown in a small Chinese city Tuesday after just one case of COVID-19 was detected, as Beijing’s strict no-tolerance virus strategy showed no sign of abating.
    • China is the last major economy glued to a zero-covid policy, crushing new outbreaks with snap lockdowns, forced quarantines, and onerous travel curbs despite mounting public fatigue and damage to the economy.
    • Authorities in several regions have imposed a range of restrictions as they struggle to tamp down fresh flare-ups driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
  • NASA: NASA’s Webb Reveals Cosmic Cliffs, Glittering Landscape of Star Birth
    • This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula.
    • Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.
    • Called the Cosmic Cliffs, Webb’s seemingly three-dimensional picture looks like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening.
    • In reality, it is the edge of the giant, gaseous cavity within NGC 3324, and the tallest “peaks” in this image are about 7 light-years high.

12th July


India


  • NEET UG: This year, the NEET UG exam is scheduled to be conducted on July 17 between 2 pm and 5:30 pm, and the advanced intimation of the exam city slip was released by NTA on June 28, 2022.
    • NEET UG 2022 will be conducted at different centers located in 546 cities across the country and 14 cities outside India.
    • To download the NEET UG 2022 admit card, candidates have to visit the official website neet.nta.nic.in.
  • NHAI: The government plans to monetize an additional 500 km of completed highway projects worth Rs 8,000 crore through the infrastructure investment trust, or InvIT, route over the next six months.
    • In October, the government monetized a road bundle of 390 km by transferring it to the National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) InvIT.
    • So far, NHAI has raised around Rs 7,000-8,000 crore through this route.
    • While the first bundle of around 250 km has already been approved for transfer to the NHAI InvIT, Aramane claimed that the next batch of about 250 km of completed road assets worth Rs 4,000 crore would be offered to the InvIT around October-November.
  • 5G Spectrum Auction: The Department of Telecom (DoT) has said that applications have been received from Adani Data Networks Ltd, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Vodafone Idea Ltd, and Bharti Airtel Ltd for participation in the upcoming 5G auction for rights.
    • This was to use spectrum in 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz bands.
    • The telecom department said that this list is for information only and does not in any way imply that these applications have been processed or pre-qualified.
    • The 5G auction will commence on July 26.
    • The winners will have the right to use a spectrum will be of 20 years.
    • A total of 72,097.85 MHz of spectrum worth at least ₹4.3 lakh crore will be on the block during the auction.
  • New Delhi: Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari on 11 July said that the Dwarka Expressway will be operational in 2023 and will ease traffic congestion on Delhi-Gurugram Expressway.
    • Revealing more details about the project, Gadkari took to Twitter and wrote, “Dwarka Expressway, which is being developed as the first elevated urban expressway in India, will reduce pressure on Delhi-Gurugram Expressway and arterial roads that experience heavy traffic, primarily from the commuters of West Delhi.”
    • The Dwarka Expressway, also known as the Northern Peripheral Road, is a part of the Delhi-Jaipur-Ahmedabad-Mumbai arm of the Golden Quadrilateral.
    • According to the Minister, about 50-60 percent of the traffic on National Highway-8 will be diverted onto the new expressway, thereby improving traffic movement towards Sohna Road and Golf Course Road.
  • The National Emblem: Cast at the top of the Central Foyer of the new Parliament building, the 6.5-meter-high National Emblem is made of bronze, and weighs 9,500 kg.
    • A supporting structure of steel weighing around 6,500 kg has been constructed to support the Emblem.
    • The concept sketch and process of casting the National Emblem on the roof of the building went through eight different stages of preparation from clay modeling/ computer graphics to bronze casting and polishing, officials said.
    • The new building will have six granite statues of important personalities, four galleries each for the two Houses of Parliament, three ceremonial foyers, three India galleries, and one Constitution gallery.
    • Each wall in the building will have a dominant theme dedicated, for instance, to the contribution of tribal leaders, or to showcase the contribution of women.
    • Displays including a mix of portraits, illustrative arts, installations, sculptures, and decorative art will frame storylines.
    • Almost 70 percent of the artwork that will adorn the walls of the building has been commissioned; the rest will be sourced over the next two months.
    • Bimal Patel of HCP Designs, Ahmedabad, is the architect in charge of the building, which is triangular in shape and incorporates architectural styles from around India.
    • The building is coming up adjacent to the existing Parliament complex and is of almost the same size.
    • The new complex has 888 seats in the Lok Sabha chamber and 384 seats in the Rajya Sabha chamber.
    • Unlike the present Parliament building, there is no Central Hall, and the Lok Sabha chamber will be able to house 1,272 members in case of a joint session.
    • The building will have an open-sky area of 2,000 sq meters for a banyan tree.
    • The existing building was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker who were responsible for the planning and construction of New Delhi.
    • It was inaugurated on January 18, 1927, by then Governor-General of India Lord Irwin.
    • The foundation stone for the new building was laid by the Prime Minister in December 2020, nearly a century after the foundation for the existing Parliament was laid by the Duke of Connaught on February 12, 1921.
    • The new Parliament building project was awarded to Tata Projects for Rs 971 crore.
    • The estimated project cost has shot up by nearly 24 percent to about Rs 1,200 crore due to additional works, changes in the construction plan, and pandemic-related delays.
    • The building is part of the Central Vista Project, which also includes a joint central secretariat, revamp of the Rajpath, a new Prime Minister’s residence, a new Prime Minister’s Office, and a new Vice-President’s enclave.

World


  • Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday expanding a fast-track procedure to receive Russian citizenship to all Ukrainians, in yet another effort to expand Moscow’s influence in war-torn Ukraine.
    • Until recently, only residents of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as residents of the southern Zaporizhzhia and the Kherson regions, large parts of which are under Russian control, were eligible for the simplified procedure.
    • Between 2019, when the procedure was first introduced for the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk, and this year, more than 720,000 residents of the rebel held areas in the two regions about 18% of the population have received Russian passports.
  • United Kingdom: The new U.K. Prime Minister to replace the outgoing Boris Johnson will be announced on September 5, the ruling Conservative party said on Monday, with 11 hopefuls currently vying for the job.
    • The leadership contest was triggered last week when Mr. Johnson, 58, was forced to step down after a frenzy of more than 50 resignations from his government, in opposition to his scandal-hit premiership.
    • The influential 1922 Committee of non-ministerial Tory MPs in parliament on Monday outlined a timetable for the party’s leadership election.
    • Nominations will officially open and close on Tuesday, with a new Prime Minister set to be installed when parliament returns from the summer break on September 5, Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, told reporters.
  • NASA: The clearest image to date of the early universe, going back 13 billion years, has been released.
    • The stunning shot, released in a White House briefing by President Joe Biden, is overflowing with thousands of galaxies and features some of the faintest objects observed, colorized in blue, orange, and white tones.
    • The image, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful to be placed in orbit, covers a patch of the sky “roughly the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone standing on earth”, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said.
    • The full-color image came on the eve of a larger unveiling of photos and spectrographic data that NASA plans to showcase on Tuesday at the Goddard Space Flight Center in suburban Maryland.
    • Releasing the image, US President Joe Biden said, “Today is a historic day. This is a historic moment, for America and all of humanity”.

11th July


India


  • PIVOT: The researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tool, ‘PIVOT’, that can predict cancer-causing genes in an individual.
    • This ground-breaking technology may help oncologists devise personalized cancer treatment strategies.
    • However, the researchers admitted that the road to clinical implementation of personalized medicine is very long.
    • They told that they compared their methods with existing tools, using a pan-cancer gene list, and found that PIVOT scores better on many parameters.
  • 1993 Mumbai Blasts: The Supreme Court on Monday said the Centre is bound to honor its commitment given to Portugal and release gangster Abu Salem on completion of his 25-year sentence in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.
    • Salem had said his sentence could not exceed 25 years as per a solemn assurance given by India to Portugal for his extradition in 2002.
    • A bench of Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh said the Central government is bound to advise the President of India for the exercise of power under Article 72 of the Constitution and the national commission on completion of his sentence.
  • New Delhi: With a 4% increase in the Power Purchase Adjustment Charge (PPAC), electricity in Delhi is going to become more expensive.
    • On June 11, 2022, the PPAC will increase by almost 4% thanks to a decision by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).
    • According to representatives of the power distribution firm (DISCOM), the PPAC is assessed to offset the rise in fuel prices.
    • Prior to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) capping power exchange prices at ₹12 per unit, they had reached almost ₹20 per unit, which was higher than the inflated prices of imported coal charged at the central coal generating stations, increased gas prices, and higher power prices.
  • CBIC: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) will soon come out with a detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) for serving summons and notices under the goods and services tax (GST) regime, to prevent harassment of businesses.
    • Officials told ET the new SOP will also allow the board to closely monitor the GST probe, including its progress and the line of investigation adopted, which will make officials more accountable and the process more transparent.
    • They said that so far, it had been difficult for the department to draw the line in the absence of a clear code of action for officials. “We don’t have any SOP under the GST for summons and notices, and these are two troublesome things,” said one official, who did not wish to be identified. “Once there is an SOP in place, we can question any breach.”
  • Razorpay: Payments gateways and B2B neobanking platform Razorpay confirmed in a statement on July 11 that the company has been granted in-principle approval by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a payment aggregator (PA) license.
    • Moneycontrol was the first to report on July 8 that Razorpay, Pine Labs, and American payments company Stripe are the first few players to bag RBI’s in-principle nod.
    • Besides these three companies, fintech startup 1Pay Mobileware, too, received approval from RBI for the license on July 8, the company said in a statement.
    • Commenting on the development, Harshil Mathur, CEO & Co-founder of Razorpay, said, “We are really excited to have received our Payment Aggregator Licence. This event only further strengthens our commitment to never stop reinventing.”
  • West Bengal: The oldest Royal Bengal Tiger in captivity in West Bengal has died at his shelter in Jaldapara forest of Alipurduar district, officials said on Monday.
    • Raja’s 25th birthday was marked with gaiety last year by the forest department on August 23, the day he got a new lease of life in 2008 after surviving a crocodile attack, an official said.
    • Raja did not show any symptoms of serious illness in recent times and the vets diagnosed the cause of his death as old-age-related problems, which may surface all of a sudden.
    • The Royal Bengal Tiger died late on Sunday at the age of 25 years and 10 months, the oldest for any Royal Bengal Tiger in the state, according to Roy.
    • The official could not confirm before crosschecking whether Raja was the oldest Royal Bengal Tiger in the country as well, adding that the big cats don’t usually live beyond 20 years.
  • RBI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on July 11 said that it was putting in place a mechanism to settle international trade in rupees.
    • The central bank’s move, which it said was to promote the growth of global trade and to support increasing global interest in the rupee, comes amid increasing pressure on the Indian currency in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
    • Moreover, the move to facilitate trade settlement in rupees could also allow India to bypass certain orders that prevent the use of a global currency such as the US dollar for trade with certain countries.
    • For instance, Russia’s attack on Ukraine has seen several countries impose sanctions on the former, with the US cutting off Russia’s access to the dollar.
    • This has made Indian companies, looking to take advantage of the lower price of Russian commodities, consider alternative modes of payment for imports.
    • As part of its move today on July 11, the RBI said authorized banks would need to take its permission before instituting the rupee trade settlement mechanism.
  • Twitter: There has been a rise of more than 48,000 percent in legal demands being made by India from various courts and the government to remove content from Twitter between 2014 and 2020, an analysis of Twitter’s global transparency reports shows.
    • Incidentally, in the same time period, the number of content blocking orders issued to social media companies by the government has also increased by almost 2,000 percent, data shared with Parliament showed, highlighting the growing trend of online censorship in India.
    • According to the data shared in the Lok Sabha by former Minister of State for Electronics and IT Sanjay Dhotre, the government ordered social media companies to take down 9,849 links from their platforms under Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, in 2020, compared to 471 such requests made in 2014, an increase of 1,991 percent.
    • According to Twitter’s global transparency reports, during the same time period, India has made legal requests to remove 12,373 pieces of content from the microblogging platform, of which more than 9,000 requests were made in 2020 alone.
    • This places India in the fourth spot to issue blocking orders between 2014 and 2020, after Japan, which made more than 55,000 such requests; Turkey which made close to 50,000 requests; and Russia which ordered the removal of more than 36,000 tweets.
  • Indian Population: India is likely to surpass its neighbor, China, as the world’s most populous country in the coming year, as per a report by the United Nations on Monday.
    • The report said that the world population is estimated to reach eight billion by mid-November 2022.
    • According to the World Population Prospects 2022, the global population is estimated to reach eight billion on November 15, 2022.
    • The global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under one percent in 2020.
    • The recent projections by the UN suggest that the world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050.
    • It is projected to reach a peak of around 10.4 billion people during the 2080s and to remain at that level until 2100.
    • This year’s World Population Day (July 11) falls during a milestone year when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant.
    • This is an occasion to celebrate our diversity, recognize our common humanity, and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
    • The report said that “India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country during 2023.”

World


  • Sri Lanka: The entire Sri Lankan Cabinet will resign and hand over their responsibilities to a new all-party interim government as soon as it is formed, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said on Monday, as the bankrupt island nation grappled with political and economic crises.
    • President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced on Saturday that he will resign on Wednesday.
    • Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also said that he will step down after a new government is formed.
    • Opposition parties on Sunday held talks and decided to form an all-party interim government after President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe agreed to resign.
    • Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s office said all members of the cabinet have agreed to hand over their responsibilities to a new all-party government as soon as it is formed.
    • “All the ministers who participated in the discussion were of the opinion that as soon as there is an agreement to form an all-party government, they are ready to hand over their responsibilities to that government, the Prime Minister’s office said.
    • This was following a discussion held on Monday with cabinet ministers, it said.
    • Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had held discussions with the ministers on Monday morning.

10th July


India


  • Telangana: In the wake of torrential rains across the State, holidays have been declared for all educational institutions from July 11 to 13.
    • Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao took a decision to this extent and directed the officials to take necessary measures in this regard.
    • He chaired a high-level meeting with the Ministers and top officials at Pragathi Bhavan on Sunday afternoon to review the rain-affected areas, present status, and measures being taken by the State government to prevent any loss of lives and property due to the rains.
  • ICMR: ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre in Pondicherry has invented four types of artificial diets for feeding mosquitoes that will replace the ‘blood diet’ with a unique feeder device.
    • Mosquitoes carry several viral diseases such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, etc. Researchers are investigating ways to minimize the spread of such diseases, which are caused by mosquitos.
    • ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre in Pondicherry is the biggest institute, which probes how such deadly diseases can be prevented and cured.
  • Adani Group: The Adani Group, led by billionaire Gautam Adani, announced on July 9 that it has entered the competition for the telecom spectrum, but its intention is not to be in the consumer mobility space.
    • The company said it would use the 5G spectrum, if awarded in the open bidding, to build a private network to support all of its operations, including ports, logistics, power generation, transmission, and distribution, as well as various manufacturing operations, according to a press release.
    • “As India prepares to roll out next-generation of 5G services through this auction, we are one of the many applications participating in the open bidding process,” the group said in the statement.
  • EPFO: Retirement fund body EPFO will consider and approve a proposal for setting up a central pension disbursal system in its meeting on July 29 and 30, paving the way for crediting the benefit into over 73 lakh pensioners’ bank accounts in one go across India.
    • Presently, over 138 regional offices of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) disburse pensions to beneficiaries in their region separately.
    • Thus, the pensioners of different regional offices are getting pensions at different times or days.
    • In the 229th meeting of the CBT held on November 20, 2021, the trustees approved the proposal for the development of centralized IT-enabled systems by C-DAC.
  • RBI-Sri Lanka: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on July 8 said authorized Indian banks can settle all current account transactions, including those related to trade, with Sri Lanka in any permitted currency outside the Asian Clearing Union mechanism.
    • The revised norm will be in place “until further notice” and come into force with immediate effect, the RBI said.
    • The Asian Clearing Union, or ACU, is a payment arrangement between the central banks of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
    • Under the ACU, member central banks settle payments for intra-regional transactions on a net basis.
    • This reduces the use of foreign exchange reserves and transfer costs.
    • Currently, ACU settlements are done in three currencies: the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen.
  • RBI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday imposed various restrictions on on four cooperative banks.
    • The restrictions have been imposed for six months and it includes cap on withdrawals for the depositors.
    • The central bank of India has imposed restriction keeping note of deteriorating financial positions of these four co-operative banks.
    • The four banks being put under restrictions by the RBI are Ramgarhia Co-operative Bank (New Delhi), Sahebrao Deshmukh Co-operative Bank (Mumbai), Sangli Sahakari Bank (Mumbai), and Sharada Mahila Co-operative Bank Limited (Karnataka).
    • These restrictions have been put under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
    • As per the RBI directives, the restriction became effective after the closure of business hours on Friday i.e. 8th July 2022.
    • The RBI issued a notice in this regard and said that without prior approval of the RBI, these four banks cannot grant or renew any loans, make investments or accept fresh deposits.

World


  • International Space Station: NASA has successfully tested a new waste disposal technology aboard the International Space Station (ISS) developed by Texas-based space technology company Nanoracks.
    • The test demonstrated a more efficient and sustainable model of removing waste from the ISS and could turn out to be a critical new utility function for all future space stations.
    • Usually, ISS astronauts collect trash and store it on the space station for months waiting for the Cygnus cargo vehicle to arrive at the station.
    • Cygnus is a ‘disposable’ spacecraft designed to transport supplies to the space station.
    • After it completes its primary mission, astronauts fill it with bags of trash and release the spacecraft.
    • After this, it de-orbits and is completely burned up during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Sri Lanka: The leaders of the anti-government protest movement in Sri Lanka, who prompted the president and prime minister to flee their official residences on Sunday said they will occupy the mansions until the two quit office.
    • The president has to resign, the prime minister has to resign and the government has to go.
    • Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Opposition parties are set to meet Sunday to discuss the formation of a new government following the President and Prime Minister’s decision to resign from their posts.
    • According to the parliamentary speaker, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will step down on July 13, following violent protests that shook the capital on Saturday.
    • Demonstrators stormed the president’s official residence and set fire to the prime minister’s home in Colombo.
    • Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also said he is willing to resign to make way for an all-party government, his office said in a statement on Saturday evening.
  • Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed Kyiv’s ambassador to Germany on Saturday as well as several other top foreign envoys, the presidential website said.
    • In a decree that gave no reason for the move, he announced the sacking of Ukraine’s ambassadors to Germany, India, the Czech Republic, Norway, and Hungary.
    • It was not immediately clear if the envoys would be handed new jobs.
    • Zelenskyy has urged his diplomats to drum up international support and military aid for Ukraine as it tries to fend off Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion.
    • Kyiv’s relations with Germany, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy supplies and also Europe’s biggest economy, have been a particularly sensitive matter.
    • The two capitals are currently at odds over a German-made turbine undergoing maintenance in Canada. Germany wants Ottawa to return the turbine to Russian natural gas giant Gazprom to pump gas to Europe.
    • Kyiv has urged Canada to keep the turbine, saying that shipping it to Russia would be a violation of sanctions imposed on Moscow.

9th July


India


  • Road Transport Ministry: Union minister Nitin Gadkari expressed confidence that the use of petrol in vehicles in India will vanish after five years.
    • He further added that green fuel will end the need for petrol.
    • He also claimed that cars and scooters will either be on green hydrogen, ethanol flex-fuel, CNG, or LNG.
    • Gadkari made the statement in Maharashtra’s Akola on Thursday, where he was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth.
    • During his speech, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways made a strong pitch for the use of green hydrogen, ethanol, and other green fuels.
  • Nepal-India: For the first time, Nepal has started exporting cement to India, with the initial consignment of 3,000 bags entering the neighboring country through a check post bordering Uttar Pradesh.
    • The Palpa Cement Industries in Nawalparasi district on July 8 dispatched the first consignment of cement to India for the first time in history through the Sunauli border.
    • The industrialists in Nepal are excited about exporting cement to India after the government provided an eight percent subsidy for cement export in the budget.
    • The Nawalparasi plant has a capacity of producing 1,800 metric tonnes of clinker and 3,000 metric tonnes of cement every day, according to Jeevan Niraula, public relations manager of Palpa Industries.
  • RBI: India’s inflation is expected to ease gradually in the second half of the current financial year 2022-23, “precluding the chances of a hard landing” monetary policy actions, said the Reserve Bank of India Governor, Shaktikanta Das.
    • The central bank Governor made the remarks at the ongoing Kautilya Economic Conclave, organized by the Institute of Economic Growth.
    • Currently, the retail inflation has been over the RBI’s upper tolerance band of 6 percent for the fifth consecutive month in a row.
    • Apart from this, domestic wholesale inflation has been in double-digits for over a year now.
    • At present, RBI’s mandate is to keep retail inflation at 4 percent with a tolerance band of 2 percentage points, i.e. 200 basis points on either side.
  • HAL-SFE: The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Helicopter Engines Friday signed an agreement to create a new joint venture intended to develop helicopter engines.
    • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by R Madhavan, chairman and managing director, HAL, and Franck Saudo, CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines.
    • The partners will extend their long-lasting partnership by establishing a new aero-engine company in India.
    • It will be dedicated to the development, production, sales, and support of helicopter engines and one of its main objectives will be to meet the requirements of HAL and the Ministry of Defence’s future helicopters, including the 13-tonne IMRH (Indian Multi-Role Helicopter).
  • PM SVANidhi scheme: About 12% of the loans disbursed to street vendors under the PM SVANidhi scheme has been reported as non-performing assets (NPAs).
    • The micro-credit scheme, unveiled on July 2, 2020, to provide easy loans to street vendors in the wake of Covid-19, gave out the first tranche of a loan of ₹10,000 to street vendors, followed by ₹20,000 as the second tranche and Rs 50,000 as the third tranche.
    • According to state-wise data provided by the ministry of housing and urban affairs, 30,20,566 first loans have been disbursed and 2,99,179 second loans.
    • According to the ministry, the first loans have a repayment period of one year and are paid through EMIs (easy monthly installments).
    • The loans have been disbursed over a period of two years and will have different dates for the completion of repayment.
  • Indian Defense Exports: India exported defense items and technology worth a record ₹13,000 crores in 2021-22, an impressive 54.1 percent raise over the previous year, a top defense ministry official said on Friday.
    • The country’s defense exports are chiefly to the US, the Philippines, and other countries in South-East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
    • “In 2021-22, we have recorded Rs 13,000 crore of exports which is the highest ever export number that we have recorded in defense,” Sanjay Jaju, Additional Secretary in the Department of Defence Production (DDP), told a press briefing.
    • The exports in 2021-22 were almost eight times what they were about five years back, he added.
    • Last year, Indian public sector companies also did well contributing 30 percent to the country’s defense exports, he added.
  • India’s Foreign Exchange: India’s foreign exchange reserves got depleted by $5 billion in the week ended July 1, as foreign portfolio investors continued withdrawing investments from local equities leading to the rupee’s slide to below 79 per dollar for the first time in history.
    • The Reserve Bank of India responded to the rupee’s fall with steps to attract capital inflows on July 6, but the measures would take time to foreign currency demand-supply imbalance, economists said.
    • The reserves stood at $588.314 billion as of July 1, RBI data showed.
    • Out of this, foreign currency assets stood at $524.745 billion while reserves held in gold were valued at $40.422 billion.
    • The balance is kept with the International Monetary Fund as special drawing rights and reserves.
    • The fall in reserves now topped nearly $55 billion from its peak of $642.453 billion seen on September 3, last year.
    • The central bank spent more than $46 billion to defend the currency since February.
    • This year till June 22, FPI outflows from India amounted to $28.5 billion, which were in line with the trend in other emerging markets amid growing concerns of a global economic slowdown.

World


  • Russia: The Kremlin on Friday said it would increase gas supplies to Europe if a turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline currently being serviced in Canada was returned.
    • Reuters reported on Thursday that Ukraine was opposed to Canada returning the turbine to Russia’s Gazprom, arguing that it would violate sanctions imposed after Russia’s deployment of its armed forces to Ukraine.
    • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed claims that Russia was using oil and gas to exert political pressure.
    • He said a maintenance shutdown of Nord Stream 1 planned for this month was a regular, scheduled event, and that no one was “inventing” any repairs.
  • Elon Musk: Elon Musk announced Friday that he will abandon his tumultuous $44 billion offer to buy Twitter after the company failed to provide enough information about the number of fake accounts.
    • Twitter immediately fired back, saying it would sue the Tesla CEO to uphold the deal.
    • The likely unraveling of the acquisition was just the latest twist in a saga between the world’s richest man and one of the most influential social media platforms, and it may portend a titanic legal battle ahead.
    • Twitter could have pushed for a $1 billion breakup fee that Musk agreed to pay under these circumstances.
    • Instead, it looks ready to fight to complete the purchase, which the company’s board has approved and CEO Parag Agrawal has insisted he wants to consummate.
    • In a letter to Twitter’s board, Musk lawyer Mike Ringler complained that his client had for nearly two months sought data to judge the prevalence of “fake or spam” accounts on the social media platform.

8th July


India


  • Bullet Train: A year after bringing him back from retirement to helm the bullet train project, the government on Thursday dismissed Satish Agnihotri from the post of Managing Director, National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), following a Lokpal court order directing the CBI to probe corruption allegations against him.
    • The charges of corruption, including an alleged “quid pro quo” deal with a private company, pertain to Agnihotri’s earlier stint as Chairman and Managing Director of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a public sector unit under the Ministry of Railways, from January 2010 to August 2018.
    • “The competent authority has approved the termination of office of Satish Agnihotri. He has been directed to be relieved with immediate effect,” said the Railways’ order on Thursday.
  • NIIF: National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), India’s first infrastructure-focused fund, plans to bring more investors to its non-bank financing platform.
    • The NIIF debt platform consists of NIIF Infrastructure Finance (NBFC-IDF) and Aseem Infrastructure Finance (NBFC-IFC) and together they have now reached a loan book of about 23,000 crores, said Prakash Rao, executive director, and chief investment officer indirect investments, NIIF.
    • In the past three years, the loan book of NIIF Infrastructure Finance has grown from Rs 4,000 crore to Rs 16,000 crore. It has been growing at a CAGR of about 45-50% and all of them with no bad loans.
    • Both NIIF Infrastructure Finance and Aseem have no non-performing assets, added Rao.
    • The regulatory framework for infra debt funds (IDFs) necessitates lending only to infrastructure projects with at least one year of satisfactory commercial operations.
  • ICMR: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) plans to train 100 entomologists in a year to battle vector-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria, chikungunya, zika, and lymphatic filariasis.
    • The Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC) in Puducherry has increased the number of seats in M.Sc. public health entomology from 8 to 20 to create skilled manpower in this field.
    • India does not have enough entomologists. Against this backdrop, ICMR’s initiative aims to ensure that there is at least one well-trained entomologist in every district and municipal corporation of the country to effectively combat vector-borne diseases.
    • Four other ICMR institutes have become part of the National Public Health Entomology programme, which is affiliated with Pondicherry University.
    • These are the Regional Medical Research Centre, Dibrugarh (Assam), the Regional Medical Research Centre, Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), the National Institute for Research in Tribal Health, Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), and the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna (Bihar).
  • Finance Minister: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday urged sponsor banks to formulate a clear roadmap in a time-bound manner to strengthen the Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and support the post-pandemic economic recovery.
    • She also instructed all Public Sector Banks to onboard an account aggregator system by end of July.
    • In September last year, India launched the Account Aggregator (AA) network, a financial data-sharing system that revolutionizes investing and credit, giving consumers greater access and control over their financial records and expanding the potential pool of customers for lenders and fintech companies.
    • Account Aggregator empowers the individual with control over their personal financial data, which otherwise remains in silos.
    • The finance minister’s instructions to banks came during her meeting with heads of Public Sector Banks and RRBs to review Operational and Governance reforms in rural banks. Speaking at the meeting, Sitharaman also underlined the important role being played by RRBs in financial inclusion and serving the credit needs of the rural economy.
    • The finance minister also reviewed the performance of the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme for Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries with Banks and RRBs.

World


  • United States: Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of the murder of George Floyd, was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison on Thursday on federal charges.
    • Chauvin, who is white, pleaded guilty in December 2021 to violating the civil rights of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, during his May 2020 arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes.
    • Chauvin is already serving a 22-and-a-half-year sentence after being convicted of state murder charges for Floyd’s death, which sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the United States.
  • Japan: Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, who was shot at during an election campaign in western Japan’s Nara city, has died today 8th July 2022.
    • The Nara fire department had earlier said that the 67-year-old Abe was in cardiopulmonary arrest before he was taken to the hospital.
    • They said that he had been wounded on the right side of the neck and the left clavicle. Abe’s wife Akie has reached the hospital.
    • A 41-year-old man Tetsuya Yamagami, believed to be a resident of Nara City, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder for shooting at Abe.
    • He is reportedly a former member of the maritime self-defense force and appears to have shot at the ex-Prime Minister from behind with a homemade gun.
    • The reason for the attack is yet to be confirmed.

7th July


India


  • Maharashtra: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde officially took charge of his post at the state secretariat Mantralaya on Thursday.
    • A puja was held at the tastefully decorated office of the chief minister before Shinde took charge.
    • His chamber had a large photograph of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray and a picture of Shinde’s mentor Anand Dighe next to it.
    • As soon as he entered the secretariat building, Shinde paid floral tributes to Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Dr. B R Ambedkar.
  • Union Council of Ministers: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and RCP Singh on Wednesday resigned from the Union Cabinet, a day before the completion of their Rajya Sabha term.
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised their contributions during their ministerial tenure.
    • President Ram Nath Kovind accepted their resignations and reassigned the Minority Affairs and Steel portfolios, which were held by Mr. Naqvi and Mr. Singh respectively.
    • Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani has been given the additional charge of the Ministry of Minority Affairs while Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has been given the additional charge of the Ministry of Steel.
  • GST: Five years ago, India’s Central and state governments struck a historic deal.
    • From July 1, 2017, a uniform tax on goods and services marketed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “One Nation, One Tax, One Market” replaced a bewildering array of local sales and entry levies.
    • But the many compromises that were struck to bring more than 1 billion people living in 29 states on board are impairing the groundbreaking reform.
    • After years of pulling in $13 billion a month or less, GST collections nowadays are consistently 50% higher.
    • Uniform taxation across the country has gone a long way toward making India a common market; logistics and e-commerce have benefited; apart from checking evasion, real-time data on supply chains promises to help small firms access cheap financing.
  • Micro Labs Ltd. The Income Tax Department on Wednesday conducted searches at the premises of Bengaluru-based pharmaceutical company Micro Labs Ltd, the manufacturer of the Dolo-650 tablet for alleged tax evasion.
    • The medicine, prescribed for reducing fever and pain, was widely used during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • The tax department is looking at financial records and statements of the company as part of the searches, officials said.
    • The company is engaged in making and marketing pharmaceutical products and APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) and has 17 manufacturing units across the country apart from conducting business overseas.
    • Its major pharma products are Dolo-650, Amlong, Lubrex, Diapride, Vildapride, Olmat, Avas, Tripride, Bactoclav, Tenepride-M, and Arbitel.
  • IIT Madras: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) have developed an Artificial Intelligence-based tool, PIVOT, that can predict cancer-causing genes in an individual.
    • This early information can not only help prevent cancer but even devise personalized cancer treatment strategies.
    • The cancer-causing gene prediction is based on a model that utilizes information on mutations, expression of genes, and copy number variation in genes as well as perturbations in the biological network due to an altered gene expression.
    • The research was led by Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras, and Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, Dr. Karthik Raman, Associate Professor, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, IIT Madras and a Core Member, Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBCDSAI), IIT Madras, and Malvika Sudhakar, a Research Scholar, IIT Madras.
    • The findings of the research have been published in a peer-reviewed journal Frontier in Genetics.
  • RBI: To prevent the slide in the rupee and shore up foreign exchange reserves, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Wednesday announced a series of measures, including relaxation in foreign investment in debt, external commercial borrowings, and Non-Resident Indian (NRI) deposits.
    • With the rupee depreciating 4.1 percent to 79.30 against the US dollar in the current financial year till July 5, FPIs (foreign portfolio investors) pulling out Rs 2.32 lakh crore in six months, and $50 billion being shaved off forex reserves over the last nine months, the measures are expected to further diversify and expand the sources of forex funding, mitigate volatility, and dampen global spillovers.
    • The RBI said it has been closely and continuously monitoring the liquidity conditions in the forex market and has stepped in as needed in all segments to alleviate dollar tightness with the objective of ensuring orderly market functioning.
    • While India’s foreign exchange reserves stood at US$ 593.3 billion on June 24, 2022, the new measures are expected to boost inflows as nearly a third of India’s external debt of $ 621 billion will be due for maturity in the coming months.
  • COVID Booster: In view of the evolving scientific evidence and global practices, the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday revised the duration between the second COVID vaccine dose and precautionary dose from the existing 9 months to 6 months.
    • The Standing Technical Sub-Committee (STSC) of the NTAGI in June recommended reducing the gap between the second and precaution doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • In a letter to States and Union Territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “In view of the evolving scientific evidence and global practices, “Standing Technical Sub Committee” (STSC) of “National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization” (NTAGI) has recommended revising the duration between 2nd dose and precaution dose from existing 9 months or 39 weeks to 6 months or 26 weeks. This has also been endorsed by NTAGI.”
    • The Health Secretary said that for beneficiaries aged above 60 years and above as well as the Health Care Workers (HCWs) & Front Line Workers (FLWs), a precaution dose would be administered after completion of 6 months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of 2nd dose at Government CVCs, free of charge.
  • Agnipath: The Indian Air Force saw the highest number of applications for recruitment into the Force surpassing the previous best recruitment cycle numbers, following the completion of the registration process under the new Agnipath scheme on Tuesday.
    • The IAF had begun the registration process on June 24, just 10 days after the Agnipath scheme was launched by the Centre.
    • Under the Agnipath scheme, the highest number of applications in any recruitment cycle was 6,31,528 which was overtaken this year and attracted 7,49,899 applications, according to the IAF.
    • The IAF on Tuesday tweeted, “the online registration process conducted by #IAF towards #AgnipathRecruitmentScheme has been completed. Compared to 6,31,528 applications in the past, which was the highest in any recruitment cycle, this time 7,49,899 applications have been received.”
    • This is interesting as despite the protests in various parts of the country against the newly launched scheme, with some of the protests turning violent at some places demanding the rollback of the scheme, the application numbers were high.
    • Lt General Anil Puri, Additional Secy, Dept of Military Affairs, MoD said on June 19 that the programme will not be rolled back and said that it is the “only progressive step to make the country young.”

World


  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s inflation hit a ninth consecutive record in June, official data showed Friday, rising to 54.6 percent a day after the IMF asked the bankrupt nation to rein in galloping prices and corruption.
    • It was the first time the increase in the Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) crossed the psychologically important 50 percent mark, according to the department of census and statistics.
    • The figures came hours after the International Monetary Fund urged Sri Lanka to contain spiraling inflation and address corruption as part of efforts to salvage the troubled economy, which has been ravaged by a foreign exchange crisis.
  • LIGO: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) is scheduled to begin its fourth run of operations in March 2023 after over two years of maintenance work and upgrades.
    • During its latest operational run, LIGO and its two detectors will work in tandem with the Virgo Interferometer in Italy and the KAGRA observatory in Japan.
    • But this time, after two years of major upgrades to LIGO’s more sensitive detectors will be able to sense even “fainter” gravitational waves than before.
    • Gravitational waves are space-time ripples caused by the most explosive and energetic processes in the universe.
    • Their existence was initially predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916 in his general theory of relativity.
  • Google: Google announced the first edition of its nine-week virtual start-up mentoring programme, Google Startup School India, on Wednesday to enable and scale early and mid-stage start-ups.
    • The programme will focus on finding start-ups beyond the metros, in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, and is targeting to onboard 10,000 of them in the first edition, by December.
    • Key training areas covered in the programme will include finding the right product, design, technology, marketing, and business strategy.
    • Google has partnered with in-house leaders, venture capitalists, and industry leaders to build a network for collaborators from across the fintech, D2C, B2B, and B2C e-commerce, language, social media & networking, and job search sectors.
    • They include Google India Vice President Sanjay Gupta, Sequoia India & SEA MD Rajan Anandan, and Lightspeed India VP Manjot Pahwa.
  • IMF: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) intends to ban Pakistan from borrowing more from China, according to reports.
    • Islamabad’s plan to seek PKR 7.9 billion from China for China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects is now likely to hinge upon the IMF recommendations.
    • Driving Pakistan’s economy with the help of external doles is unsustainable and Pakistan desperately needs structural reforms.
    • The IMF has raised objections to Pakistan’s loans from China and arbitrarily high payments made to Chinese independent power producers (IPP), suggesting Islamabad renegotiate its energy agreements with Beijing, reported Financial Post.
    • Pakistan is obligated to pay more than PRs. 350 billion power dues to multiple Chinese IPPs operating in the country.
    • IMF’s demand follows Beijing’s rejection of modifying the conditions of agreements for projects under the CPEC.
  • United Kingdom: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday resigned after days of defections plunged the Conservative Party-led government into a deeper political crisis.
    • Addressing the nation, Johnson said he will serve as the PM until a new leader is appointed and added that he was immensely proud of his achievements.
    • The decision to step down comes after one of his closest allies, Treasury Chief Nadhim Zahawi, told the prime minister to resign for the good of the country.
    • Johnson had been hanging onto power despite the resignation of a string of his top ministers.
    • On Wednesday, speaking in Parliament, the embattled PM said his duty was to go on and that he would resign if he felt it was impossible for his government to move forward.
    • Rejecting calls to resign, he argued that he had a mandate from the voters to remain in office.
    • Months of discontent over Johnson’s judgment and ethics within the governing Conservative Party erupted with the resignations of Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid within minutes of each other on Tuesday evening.
    • At least 32 British lawmakers including Sunak have left Boris Johnson’s government in less than 24 hours, saying the British leader no longer has their confidence and plunging his government into crisis.

6th July


India


  • New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced a 30-day Delhi Shopping Festival which will be organized from January 28 to February 26 (in 2023).
    • “This will be the biggest shopping festival in India. We are starting it now. I expect that in a few years, we will make it the biggest shopping festival in the world,” Kejriwal said.
    • The Delhi chief minister said the shopping festival will boost the city’s economy and help the local businessmen, traders, and vendors.
  • IIT Madras: Indian Institute of Technology Madras researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence-based tool, ‘PIVOT’, that can predict cancer-causing genes in an individual and help in devising personalized cancer treatment strategies.
    • The prediction is based on a model that utilizes information on mutations, expression of genes, and copy-number variation in genes and perturbations in the biological network due to an altered gene expression, says a release.
    • The research was led by Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras, and Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering; Karthik Raman, Associate Professor, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, and a Core Member, Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBCDSAI) and Malvika Sudhakar, Research Scholar.
  • DGCA: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued Tuesday a show-cause notice to SpiceJet in light of the rising number of air safety incidents witnessed by the low-cost airline.
    • The aviation safety regulator, in its notice, mentioned that the various incidents from April 1 this year to date have been reviewed, and it was found that “poor internal safety oversight” and “inadequate maintenance actions” has resulted in the degradation of safety margins.
    • SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh said the airline would be “doubly careful” and strengthen inspection of aircraft before they leave for flights.
    • In a press statement, Singh said, “Lot of these incidents that are being reported are relatively minor in nature and happen to every airline. If the aviation regulator feels that there are any gaps in SpiceJet’s system, we will address them.”
  • Crypto: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has sought further details and documents from cryptocurrency firms as part of its ongoing probe into alleged instances of foreign exchange violations.
    • ED has sent out notices to cryptocurrency exchanges seeking further information under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
    • Executives at other crypto exchanges including crypto trading platform CoinSwitch Kuber were also summoned, and the probe agency sought information about certain transactions.
    • Under FEMA, payments made to any person outside India or receipts from them, along with forex deals and foreign security are restricted.
    • The objective of the Act is to facilitate external trade and payments and for promoting the orderly development and maintenance of the forex market in India.
  • PLI Scheme: The production-linked incentives (PLI) scheme, which seeks to boost manufacturing in key areas by offering nearly Rs 2.4 lakh crore in incentives over the next five years, can add 4 percent to the GDP annually in terms of incremental revenue.
    • So far, the scheme has seen maximum response from the electronics, auto components, and pharma sectors, according to Emkay Investment Managers.
    • The PLI scheme has the potential to add nearly 4 percent to GDP per annum in terms of incremental revenue if fully realized, the report released on Tuesday said.
    • Manufacturing companies are adding capacities due to robust returns and this is evident from the number of new manufacturing companies registered.
    • Registration of manufacturing companies has shot up to the highest ever in the last seven years and the share of manufacturing companies in total registrations is also at the almost highest level in the past decade.

World


  • Ukraine: Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska was named on Tuesday as one of four recipients of the prestigious Fields Medal, which is often described as the Nobel Prize in mathematics.
    • The International Mathematical Union said Ms. Viazovska, who holds the chair in number theory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, was being honored for her work on the densest packing of identical spheres in eight dimensions.
    • Ms. Viazovska said Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February had profoundly changed her life and those of all Ukrainians.
  • NASA: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Tuesday announced that it has lost contact with a $32.7 million Capstone spacecraft headed to the moon to test out a lopsided lunar orbit.
    • However, the agency engineers are hopeful that they can fix the problem.
    • This development comes after one successful communication and a second partial one on Monday, the space agency said it could no longer communicate with the spacecraft called Capstone.
    • NASA spokesperson Sarah Frazier on Tuesday said that the engineers are trying to find the cause of the communications loss, but are optimistic they can fix the problem.
    • The NASA spokesperson highlighted that the spacecraft, which launched from New Zealand on June 28, had spent nearly a week in Earth orbit and had been successfully started on its way to the moon, following which the contact was lost.

5th July


India


  • Punjab: The new ministers inducted into the Bhagwant Mann cabinet were allotted portfolios on Tuesday.
    • Chetan Singh Jauramajra has been given the health department, Inderbir Singh Nijjar local government, Aman Arora information and public relations, Anmol Gagan Maan tourism and culture affairs and Fauja Singh Sarari freedom fighters.
    • These five AAP legislators were inducted as ministers in the Punjab government as CM Mann expanded his cabinet on Monday.
  • USD-INR: The slide in the value of the Indian rupee versus the US dollar continued, as the former closed at 79.37 against the American currency on July 5, amid concerns of a wider current account deficit coming to the fore.
    • The country’s merchandise trade deficit rose to $25.6 billion in June 2022, 62 percent higher than June 2021, as per the official data shared on July 4.
    • Record high trade deficits will be the norm now and the rupee is likely to fall to 82 against the dollar in the third quarter of 2022, analysts at Nomura have said.
    • The earlier record in the trade deficit was reached this May at $24.3 billion.
    • On a seasonally adjusted basis, the trade deficit widened to $29.9bn from $25.8bn in May.
  • Agnipath: The Indian Navy started the registration for the Agnipath recruitment scheme on 1st July.
    • It has been reported that around 10,000 females have registered for the process within days of opening the portal.
    • The Indian Navy announced the commencement of the registration process under the Agnipath recruitment scheme on 1st July.
    • After the registrations, the Indian Navy would open up the online application process for recruitment starting from 15 July to 30 July.
    • This is the first time, the Indian Navy has allowed women to be recruited as sailors in the force who would also be deployed on warships as per operational requirements.
    • However, the Navy is yet to finalize the final number of women among the 3000 naval ‘Agniveers’ that it will induct in 2022.
  • BITSAT: The Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, has started the registration process for BITSAT 2022 session 2 examinations today, July 4.
    • The BITS Aptitude Test (BITSAT) 2022 application form is available on the official website bitsadmission.com.
    • Only those candidates who appeared for session 1 of BITSAT and choose to appear for a second time are eligible to register for the BITSAT session 2 exam.
    • The last date to apply for session 2 of BITSAT is July 20.
    • The BITSAT session 2 exams 2022 will be conducted in online mode from August 3 to 7.
    • Students are required to pay an additional amount of Rs 2,000 (for a male candidate) and Rs 1,500 (for a female candidate) if they did not pay the BITSAT 2022 registration fee for both sessions when filling the BITSAT session 1 application form 2022.
  • Twitter India: Twitter is seeking to overturn some Indian government orders to take down content on the social media platform, a source familiar with the matter said, in a legal challenge that alleges abuse of power by officials.
    • The U.S. company’s attempt to get a judicial review is part of a growing confrontation with New Delhi.
    • Twitter has been asked by Indian authorities over the past year to act on content including accounts supportive of an independent Sikh state, posts alleged to have spread misinformation about protests by farmers, and tweets critical of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • India’s IT ministry did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request for comment about Twitter’s legal move.
    • The Indian government has previously said that big social media firms, including Twitter, have not complied with removal requests, despite their legal standing.
  • New Delhi: The Delhi Assembly Monday passed five bills to increase the salaries and allowances of ministers, MLAs, and others by 66.67 percent.
    • The proposal will now be sent to the President and once it is approved, the salaries of the legislators and others will increase from Rs 54,000 to Rs 90,000, including all allowances.
    • The basic pay of the MLAs and ministers will now increase from Rs 12,000 to Rs 30,000 and allowances like traveling, telephone bills, and others will go up to Rs 90,000.
    • About five different bills were tabled on the first day of the two-day Delhi Assembly session to increase the salaries of the chief minister, MLAs, Chief Whip, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and the Leader of the Opposition.
    • The bills were passed after three hours of debate and discussion by the members of the Legislative Assembly.
    • The decision to increase the salary was backed by all members, including the Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri.
  • Plastic Use in India: The manufacturers approached the Allahabad High Court in an attempt to seek relief, but Bansal claimed even the judiciary was unsympathetic to their cause.
    • He said his turnover of Rs 15 crore (at the time of the ban) was wiped out and he had to let go of 100 employees.
    • The UP government banned plastic products such as single-use carry bags of less than 50 microns, cups, and cutlery under the Plastic and Other Non-Biodegradable (regulation of use and disposal) (Amendment) Act 2018.
    • While 25 other states banned single-use plastic products around the same time, most were unable to ensure strict implementation.
    • Now, the Central government, too, has banned the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of identified single-use plastic items that have low utility and high littering potential all across the country from July 1.
    • While the move received wide applause, small businesses in this segment claimed the establishment is “unsympathetic and indifferent” to their plight.
  • RBI: The Reserve Bank on Monday said it has launched the next round of its order books, inventories, and capacity utilization survey (OBICUS) of manufacturing companies, results of which provide valuable inputs for monetary policy formulation.
    • The 58th round of the OBICUS is for April – June 2022 period. Selected manufacturing companies will be approached by the RBI for the survey, the central bank said.
    • The information collected in the survey includes quantitative data on new orders received during the reference quarter, backlog of orders at the beginning of the quarter, pending orders at the end of the quarter, and total inventories with a breakup between finished goods, among others.
    • The central bank has been conducting the OBICUS of the manufacturing sector on a quarterly basis since 2008.
    • The RBI has also launched the 2021-22 round of its Survey on International Trade in Banking Services (ITBS). The survey, conducted annually from 2006-07, provides information on financial services rendered by branches/ subsidiaries/joint ventures of Indian banks operating abroad and branches/subsidiaries of foreign banks operating in India.

World


  • Ukraine: Ukraine told an international conference Monday that it will cost an estimated $750 billion to rebuild the war-shattered country, a task President Volodymyr Zelensky said was the shared duty of the democratic world.
    • Speaking at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Switzerland, the Ukrainian president and a long line of government ministers described the massive destruction and towering needs since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24.
    • Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told the conference that the recovery “is already estimated at $750 billion”.
  • NASA: A satellite the size of a microwave oven successfully broke free from its orbit around Earth on Monday, July 4, 2022, and is headed toward the moon, the latest step in NASA’s plan to land astronauts on the lunar surface again.
    • It’s been an unusual journey already for the Capstone satellite.
    • It was launched six days ago from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula by the company Rocket Lab and is one of their small Electron rockets.
    • It will take another four months for the satellite to reach the moon, as it cruises along using minimal energy.
    • Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck told The Associated Press it was hard to put his excitement into words.

4th July


India


  • Punjab: Five AAP MLAs on Monday were inducted as ministers in the Punjab government as Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann expanded his cabinet.
    • It was the first cabinet expansion of the Mann-led government after AAP came to power in the state during the Assembly elections earlier this year.
    • Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the MLAs at Guru Nanak Dev Auditorium of Punjab Raj Bhawan here on Monday evening.
    • Barring two-time Sunam MLA Aman Arora, four others were first-time legislators.
    • Mr. Arora was the first to take the oath, followed by Dr. Inderbir Singh Nijjar, the MLA from the Amritsar South seat.
  • Akasa Air: Akasa Air, India’s newest airline backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, unveiled its crew’s uniform on Monday.
    • The airline is preparing to start operations towards the end of this month.
    • The uniform focuses on aesthetics and comfort and reflects the warm, friendly, and happy personality of Akasa Air, the company said in a statement.
    • Akasa Air is the first airline in the country to have introduced custom trousers, jackets, and comfortable sneakers for its in-flight crew, the company claimed.
    • The lightweight sneakers, by Vanilla Moon, have been designed keeping the mobile lifestyle of the crew members in mind.
    • The sole has been made from recycled rubber without the use of plastic.
  • Maharashtra: Maharashtra will reduce the Value Added Tax or VAT on fuel, effectively bringing down the prices in the state, Eknath Shinde said today in a first big populist move as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
    • The VAT cut will take place after the next meeting of the new cabinet.
    • While most of the BJP-ruled states have chopped fuel prices, opposition-ruled states have been unwilling to do so.
    • In November last year, the Centre cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by ₹5 and ₹10.
    • Most BJP-ruled states had also cut down on VAT.
    • In May again, as the Centre sliced excise duty, states like Uttar Pradesh reduced VAT further.
    • The Opposition-ruled states, however, rejected the Prime Minister’s suggestion to cut VAT on fuel as a relief measure for the people.
    • These states had refused earlier as well, saying it would have a huge negative impact on their revenue.
  • ICMR: Scientists at ICMR’s National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis in Chennai plan to initiate a study on BCG booster doses for kids and adolescents, who are household contacts of tuberculosis patients.
    • The study aims to understand whether a booster BCG dose would prevent the development of tuberculosis among them.
    • For this, more than 9,000 children will be enrolled across seven sites in India.
    • The primary aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of BCG re-vaccination compared to oral chemoprophylaxis in preventing tuberculosis (TB) in household contacts aged 6-18 years.
    • Children will be randomized into 2 study groups: BCG and  Oral chemoprophylaxis.
    • Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccine is one of the most widely used vaccines in the world to reduce risks of natural tuberculous infection.
    • The efficacy of BCG vaccination in newborns is well known and has a documented protective effect against meningitis and disseminated TB in children.

World


  • Amazon: Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos renewed his spat with the White House over the weekend, as the world’s third-richest person criticized President Joe Biden for calling on companies running gasoline stations to lower their prices.
    • In a tweet on Saturday, Biden said, “this is a time of war and global peril,” and demanded the companies lower gasoline prices, which have soared to about $5 a gallon in many parts of the country.
    • “Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now,” the president said.
    • Bezos soon after wrote on Twitter: “Ouch. Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this. It’s either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”
  • Russia-Ukraine: Ukrainian forces hit a Russian base with over 30 strikes in the Russian-occupied southern city of Melitopol on Sunday, the city’s exiled Ukrainian mayor said.
    • A Russian official confirmed strikes had hit the city. “At 3 o’clock (1200 GMT) and 5 o’clock (0200 GMT), there were over 30 strikes exclusively on a military base,” Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, who is currently on Ukraine-controlled territory, said in a video address on Telegram, adding that the base had been “taken out of action”.
    • Fedorov also said that resistance activity had caused a Russian armored train carrying ammunition to derail on Saturday near Melitopol.
    • Russia’s RIA news agency reported that Ukraine had hit the Aviamistechko area of Melitopol where the city’s airport is located, but did not specify what had been hit.
  • Saudi Arabia: Worshippers from across the world have packed the streets of Mecca as Islam’s holiest city prepares to host the biggest hajj pilgrimage since the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Banners welcomed the faithful, including the first international visitors since 2019, festooned squares and alleys, while armed security forces patrolled the ancient city, the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad.
    • “This is pure joy,” Sudanese pilgrim Abdel Qader Kheder told AFP in Mecca, ahead of the event expected to start on Wednesday.
    • “I almost can’t believe I am here. I am enjoying every moment.” One million people, including 850,000 from abroad, are allowed at this year’s hajj, a key pillar of Islam that all able-bodied Muslims are required to perform at least once after two years of drastically curtailed numbers due to the pandemic.
    • At least 650,000 overseas pilgrims have arrived so far in Saudi Arabia, the authorities said Sunday.

3rd July


India


  • NTPC: NTPC Renewable Energy Limited (NTPC REL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTPC, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Rajasthan for the Development of a 10 GW Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Park in Rajasthan.
    • The MOU signing ceremony was held on 1st July 2022 at Jaipur in the presence of the Energy Minister of Rajasthan, Bhanwar Singh Bhati.
    • The signed MOU was exchanged between Bhaskar A. Sawant, Principal Secretary (Energy), Government of Rajasthan, and Mohit Bhargava, Chief Executive Officer, NTPC REL.
    • NTPC Group has set its target of 60 GW Renewable energy capacity by 2032. The MoU is a step towards achieving this target.
  • Tech Jobs: As the tech and startup sector gets hammered by the economic meltdown, more than 22,000 workers in the sector have lost jobs in 2022, along with more than 12,000 in the Indian startup ecosystem.
    • Startups, especially the ones who benefited from a pandemic boom, are feeling the pressure as valuations, particularly at the late stage, have started to dip, according to Crunchbase.
    • Startups now say it is much more difficult to raise new funding in this gloomy environment.
    • Globally, companies like Netflix, financial services company Robinhood and several crypto platforms have tripped their workforce.
  • Railway Recruitment: The Railway Recruitment Cell (RRC), North Central Railway (NCR) is inviting applications for several apprentice vacancies.
    • Interested candidates can apply for these vacancies by visiting the official website rrcpryj.org.
    • Candidates have time till 11:59 pm on 1st August 2022, to apply for these vacancies.
    • Through this recruitment drive, the RRC North Central Railway is hiring for several trades such as Fitter, Plumber, Welder, Armature Winder, Carpenter, Electrician, Painter, Information and Communication Technology System Maintenance, Crane operator, Stenographer (Hindi and English), Multimedia and Web Page Designer, Health Sanitary Inspector, and many more.
  • HDFC Bank Merger: Private lender HDFC Bank on July 3 said it has received no adverse observations from the stock exchanges in relation to its proposed merger with parent entity Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Ltd.
    • “We would like to inform you that HDFC Bank has received an observation letter with ‘no adverse observations’ from BSE Limited and an observation letter with ‘no objection’ from the National Stock Exchange of India Limited, both dated July 2, 2022,” it said in a regulatory filing.
    • The merger was announced in April this year when HDFC’s board had cleared the amalgamation of its wholly-owned subsidiaries HDFC Investments Ltd and HDFC Holdings Ltd with HDFC Bank.
    • While the proposed merger has received a thumbs-up from the stock exchanges, it still requires approvals from other regulatory bodies.
  • Indians Abroad: Indians can now receive up to ₹10 lakh in a year from relatives living abroad without informing the authorities.
    • The limit earlier was ₹1 lakh. The Union Home Ministry amended certain rules related to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) on Friday.
    • In a notification, the govt also said if the amount exceeds, the individuals will now have 90 days to inform the government instead of 30 days earlier.
    • “In the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011, in rule 6, for the words one lakh rupees, the words ten lakh rupees shall be substituted; and for the words thirty days, the words three months shall be substituted,” the notification said.
    • It started earlier than any person receiving a foreign contribution in excess of ₹1 lakh in a financial year from any relatives shall inform the central government within 30 days from the receipt of such contribution.
  • NPPA: The retail prices of 84 essential drug formulations, used in the treatment of several diseases, have been fixed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the regulatory body under the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
    • Pharmaceutical companies are required to strictly adhere to the fixed prices, failing to which they would be liable to pay the overcharged amount along with interest, the NPPA said in a notification.
    • The drug formulations whose prices have been fixed include those used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as the medicines that are taken to reduce triglycerides levels in the blood to prevent heart attack and stroke.
    • The price of Atorvastatin and Fenofibrate tablets, sold by Cipla and Pure & Care Healthcare, has been fixed at ₹13.87 per tablet.
    • The medicine is used by patients suffering from heart diseases and diabetes.
    • The retail cost of Olmesartan plus Medoxomil plus Amlodipine plus Hydrochlorothiazide – also used in the treatment of heart and blood pressure diseases has been fixed at ₹12.91 per tablet.
    • The drug is sold by Akums Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd and German Remedies Pharmaceuticals.
  • Stock Market: The combined market valuation of three of the 10 most valued domestic firms eroded by ₹73,630.56 crores last week, with Reliance Industries Limited taking the biggest hit.
    • While HUL and ICICI Bank were the other laggards from the top-10 pack, TCS, HDFC Bank, Infosys, LIC, SBI, HDFC, and Bharti Airtel were the gainers.
    • However, the combined gain of the seven firms at ₹49,441.05 crore was less than the total loss suffered by the three companies.
    • Last week, the Sensex climbed 179.95 points or 0.34 percent, while the Nifty gained 52.80 points or 0.33 percent.
    • The market valuation of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) declined by ₹62,100.95 crores to reach ₹16,29,684.50 crore.
    • ICICI Bank’s valuation fell by ₹6,654.2 crores to ₹4,89,700.16 crore and that of Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) dipped ₹4,875.41 crores to ₹5,36,364.69 crore.
    • Among the gainers, the market valuation of Infosys jumped from ₹15,172.88 crore to ₹6,21,907.38 crore.
    • The market capitalization (m-cap) of the State Bank of India (SBI) climbed from ₹11,200.38 crores to ₹4,16,690.11 crore.
    • The valuation of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) went up by ₹9,519.12 crores to ₹4,28,044.22 crore and that of TCS advanced by ₹8,489 crores to stand at ₹12,13,396.32 crore.
    • HDFC added ₹3,924.46 crore to its valuation to reach ₹4,01,114.96 crore.

World


  • US Jobs: Employers in the US probably added workers at a more moderate yet still healthy pace last month as the jobless rate held near its lowest level in decades, suggesting resilient labor demand even as the economy cools.
    • The government’s latest payrolls tally on Friday is projected to show a 273,000 increase for June, based on the Bloomberg survey median.
    • The unemployment rate is seen staying at 3.6 percent, while average hourly earnings probably rose 5 percent from a year ago.
    • Wage growth running well north of its long-run average and steady hiring suggest Federal Reserve policymakers will forge ahead with another 75 basis point rate hike this month.
  • ESA: For months, the asteroid dubbed “2021 QM1” was at the top of risk lists around the globe.
    • As far as we knew, there was a real chance of the space rock impacting Earth on April 2, 2052.
    • But after a series of scientifically impressive observations and calculations, The European Space Agency’s (ESA) asteroid team working with experts at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have removed the asteroid from the risk list.
    • These observations included the analysis of “the faintest asteroid ever observed” with one of the most sensitive telescopes on the planet.
    • 2021 QM1 was first discovered on August 28, 2021, by the Mount Lemmon Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. Initially, the discovery was nothing special since about a dozen new near-Earth asteroids are discovered every dark night.
    • But the following routine observations acquired from telescopes around the globe began telling a more worrying story.
  • Argentina: Argentina’s economy minister, Martin Guzman, who led debt renegotiations with the International Monetary Fund, announced his resignation in a statement shared on Twitter on Saturday.
    • Addressing President Alberto Fernandez, Guzman did not say why he resigned but called on the center-left leader to mend internal divisions so that “the next minister does not suffer” the same difficulties he did.
    • His resignation comes two weeks after Vice President Cristina Kirchner, a former president who has been a constant critic of the government, gave a speech attacking Fernandez’s economic management.
    • As economy minister, the 39-year-old Guzman was tasked with renegotiating a $44 billion debt with the IMF that Argentina insisted it could not afford to repay.
    • The original debt of $57 billion the last tranche of which Fernandez declined after succeeding his liberal predecessor Mauricio Macri, who had solicited the loan was the largest ever issued by the IMF.

2nd July


India


  • IDFC Bank: For fixed deposits below ₹2 crores, the private sector lender IDFC First Bank has increased interest rates.
    • The modification took effect today, July 1, 2022, and the bank increased interest rates on fixed deposits with terms ranging from one to five years as a result.
    • Fixed deposits maturing in 7 days to 10 years will now earn an interest rate ranging from 3.50 percent to 6.00 percent
    • While fixed deposits maturing in 3 years, 1 day, or less than 5 years will now earn an interest rate of 6.50% which would be the highest.
  • FPI: Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) commenced July as net sellers as they pulled out somewhat ₹811 crores cumulatively from the Indian market on the first day of the month. FPIs have held a selling bias on Indian capital markets throughout this year so far.
    • FPIs removed ₹811 crores on July 1, 2022, with massive outflow recorded in the equities and debt-VRR market, as per NSDL data.
    • From the total, FPIs outflow stood at ₹261 crores in the equity market, while the selloff was at ₹372 crores in the Debt-VRR market.
    • Meanwhile, the debt market also recorded an outflow of ₹186 crores.
    • However, this was not the case with the hybrid market as FPIs invested ₹8 crores in this basket on Friday.
  • Great Wall Motor: China’s Great Wall Motor has shelved plans to invest $1 billion in India and fired all employees of its local unit after failing to obtain regulatory approvals, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
    • The Chinese automaker has been planning to enter the Indian market since 2020 and the failure to secure approvals makes it one of the biggest casualties of New Delhi’s increased scrutiny of investments from Beijing.
    • Without directly commenting on the exit, Great Wall said in a statement it “would like to thank all the members of the Indian team for their contribution”, adding it would continue to study the Indian market and look for opportunities “in the future.”
  • Chennai: The world’s first-ever Tamil Bible printed around 300 years ago has been traced to a museum in London.
    • The state Idol Wing is in the process of bringing the Bible back to India to restore the stolen manuscript back.
    • The Bible was stolen in 2005 from Thanjavur.
    • The antiquarian Bible is suspected to have been stolen by a group of foreigners who visited the Saraswathi Mahal Library 17 years ago.
    • The Bible was printed by the first Protestant missionary to India, Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg between 1715-1718 after he set up a printing press in the Thanjavur district.
    • The manuscript was gifted to Tulaji Rajah Serfoji, the then ruler of the Thanjavur Bhonsle dynasty.
  • SEBI: The national markets watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has found PGIM Asset Management Co Ltd, ranked 23rd among Indian fund houses with assets of nearly Rs 17,000 crore, guilty of unfair inter-scheme transfers that put investors of some of its closed-end funds at a disadvantage.
    • Sebi fined the AMC a sum of Rs 25 lakh.
    • Additionally, it has fined its chief executive officer, Ajit Menon, a sum of Rs 5 lakh, and three fund managers, Kumaresh Ramakrishnan, Puneet Pal, and Rakesh Suri, a sum of Rs 2 lakh each.
    • Ramakrishnan was the fund house’s former head of fixed income; he left the fund house in November 2021.
    • Pal is the fund house’s present head-fixed income. Suri was a debt fund manager at the fund house as well, but he, too, left the firm, in June 2019.
  • Take-Home Salary: The new labor laws, which will bring significant changes to the take-home salary, contribution to PF (provident fund), and the work timings, including the hours and days of work in a week, have been passed through the parliament but have been delayed as Indian states are yet to notify these regulations.
    • While the center had planned to implement these new labor laws from July 1, the laws have not come into effect as a few states have not yet framed the rules under all four labor codes.
    • The four new labor codes were formed by reviewing and combining the previous 29 Central labor laws, including pay, social security, labor relations, occupational safety, health, and working conditions.
    • Under the new wage code, the basic salary component needs to be 50 percent of the total pay, which will reduce the take-home salary increase in the contribution to the Employees’ Provident Fund because that part is set as 12 percent of the basic pay.
    • Under the new labor laws, the retirement corpus and gratuity amount will increase because of the increase in employees’ base-pay component of the total salary.

World


  • Google: Google announced Friday it would delete users’ location history when they visit abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, and other places where privacy is sought.
    • If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit, Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post.
    • Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.
    • The announcement comes a week after the US Supreme Court made the tectonic decision to strip American women of constitutional rights to abortion, leading a dozen states to ban or severely restrict the procedure and prompting mass protests across the country.
  • US Stocks: US stocks have seen their worst first half of a year since 1970, as concerns grow over how steps to curb inflation will affect economic growth.
    • In the last six months, the benchmark S&P 500 index fell 20.6 percent, while other major US indexes also dropped sharply, the BBC reported.
    • Stocks in the UK, mainland Europe, and Asia have also suffered steep losses.
    • It comes as central banks around the world are trying to rein in soaring living costs, with prices of essential goods like food and fuel jumping.
    • Some economists expect the US, which is the world’s biggest economy, to go into a recession as early as this year as interest rates continue to rise.
  • FDA: The Food and Drug Administration recommended that COVID-19 vaccine producers should include the more recent versions of the omicron coronavirus variant in booster injections.
    • According to the agency, booster injections should contain both the original strain of the virus, which is what is in existing vaccines, plus the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variety.
    • These lineages now make up the majority of the viral strains circulating in the country.
    • They are even more adept at avoiding the immune system than some earlier iterations of the virus and are highly contagious.
    • Manufacturers of vaccines Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax have already begun testing omicron-targeted variations of their products, with preliminary results suggesting that they may be able to stimulate an immune response to the omicron variety more effectively than current doses.

1st July


India


  • Maharashtra: Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde took oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister and Devendra Fadnavis his deputy on Thursday, as the BJP capped the coup unseated Uddhav Thackeray a day ago with back-to-back curveballs.
    • Uddhav Thackeray quit as Maharashtra Chief Minister yesterday, shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that he must prove his majority.
    • The Shiv Sena chief was left with only 13 MLAs after the revolt in three BJP-ruled states.
    • Eknath Shinde and a group of rebels first moved to Gujarat’s Surat in luxury buses.
    • They were flown to Assam’s Guwahati in chartered flights.
    • They landed in Goa last evening to prepare for a possible test of strength.
  • Election Commission: The Election Commission (EC) has begun the process of electoral rolls revision in Jammu and Kashmir after a gap of three years, which is an indication that polls could be held in the Valley post its delimitation exercise.
    • In an order issued on Wednesday, the Election Commission has directed a special summary revision (SSR) of photo electoral rolls with 1st October 2022, as the qualifying date in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The pre-revision activities will culminate on August 30.
    • Accordingly, the EC has directed J&K Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar to complete the SSR of the electoral rolls by the end of October.
    • The EC order comes days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that Assembly elections in the Union Territory may be held by the end of the year.
  • India’s Plastic Ban: With the ban on single-use plastic coming into force on July 1, the plastic straws that you use to sip juice and the small plastic spoons vendors outside your office stick into snacks will become a thing of the past.
    • While that’s terrible news for plastics companies, it’s a boon for paper companies, as they will likely be called on to provide replacements.
    • Investors have already recognized the immense opportunity and shares of such companies have risen.
    • In the last six sessions, JK Paper is up 7 percent, Andhra Paper: 7 percent, West Coast Paper: 13 percent, Tamil Newsprint: 16 percent, Satia Industries: 12 percent, and Emami paper: 10 percent.
    • Analysts are being cautious, though they recognize the opportunity.
    • They, however, believe that there are some applications where the paper industry can chip in, for instance supplying paper straws or wrappings.
  • June GST Collections: Gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections rose to Rs 1.45 lakh crore, the second-highest monthly total and a gain of 56 percent from a year earlier.
    • Monthly GST collections, which had totaled Rs 1.41 lakh crore in May, have stayed above the 1.40 lakh crore level since March.
    • For June, the gross GST collection was the second-highest collection after April.
    • For June, the CGST revenue stood at Rs 25,306 crore, SGST at Rs 32,406 crore, IGST Rs 75,887 crore, and the GST compensation cess at Rs 11,018 crore.
    • The government settled Rs 29,588 crore to CGST and Rs 24,235 crore to SGST from IGST. In addition, the Centre also settled Rs 27,000 crore of IGST on an ad-hoc basis in the ratio of 50:50 between the Centre and States.
    • The total revenue of the Centre and the States in June after regular and ad hoc settlement stood at Rs 68,394 crore for CGST and Rs 70,141 crore for SGST.
  • TDS on Cryptocurrency: From July 1, your cryptocurrency sale transactions will attract TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) of 1 percent. The purpose of levying TDS on crypto transfers is to capture the details of all the transactions related to virtual digital assets (VDAs).
    • TDS at the rate of 1 percent will be deducted on the payment of sale consideration of VDA if the cumulative sale consideration exceeds Rs 10,000 in any financial year.
    • This will be applicable to all VDA transfers — cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
    • The threshold limit for TDS is Rs 50,000 for specified persons, which includes individuals and Hindu Undivided Family (HUFs).
    • TDS needs to be deducted at the time of making payment or transferring the consideration to the seller.
    • For instance, if someone is buying VDA valued at Rs 1 lakh, Rs 1,000 (1 percent of Rs 1 lakh) needs to be deducted and the remaining Rs 99,000 should be transferred to the seller of the VDA.
  • ISRO: Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C53 was launched on Thursday with three satellites in its primary payload is the first official public-private collaboration for a space launch in India.
    • The three satellites from Singapore were launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh as part of a contract signed by ISRO through its commercial arm New Space India Ltd.
    • The PSLV-C53 rocket also carried two instruments belonging to private Indian space startups, Digantara and Dhruva Space, which were a part of the mission’s secondary payload and part of its Polar Orbital Experiment Module (POEM).
    • The inclusion of the two laid the ground for more public-private partnerships, to be facilitated by the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe).
    • IN-SPACe is a nodal agency appointed by the Department of Space, which can authorize a non-government entity to use ISRO’s infrastructure and resources, including ISRO’s launch facilities.
  • Promotion: 8,000 government officers belonging to three key secretariat services have been handed over promotion letters by the Personnel Ministry.
    • The three key services that form the backbone of the central secretariat administrative functioning Central Secretariat Service (CSS), Central Secretariat Stenographers’ Service (CSSS) and Central Secretariat Clerical Service (CSCS) witnessed unprecedented mass promotions.
    • The move meets a long-standing demand of the Central Secretariat Service officers’ association, which had been protesting over the delay in their promotion, claiming it was causing irreparable financial loss to them.
    • The CSS Forum, an association of CSS officers, has recently written to the Secretary, of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in support of their demand.
    • Of the total of 8,089 promoted employees, 4734 officers are from Central Secretariat Service, 2966 from Central Secretariat Stenographers’ Service, and 389 from Central Secretariat Clerical Service.
    • 934 employees from the SC and ST categories got a promotion, whereas the unreserved category witnessed 5032 promotions and 1734 in reservation posts.

World


  • China: China on Thursday voiced its opposition to India’s reported plans to hold the next year’s meeting of G-20 leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, echoing close ally Pakistan’s objection, and underlined that relevant sides should avoid “politicizing” the issue.
    • “We have noted relevant information,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here on Thursday while replying to a question from the official media.
    • “China’s position on Kashmir is consistent and clear cut. It is a legacy issue between India and Pakistan. It should be properly resolved in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and bilateral agreements,” Zhao said.
  • Oil: Oil headed for a third weekly drop, its longest losing run this year, on concern that a potential recession will cut into energy demand.
    • West Texas Intermediate traded below $106 a barrel after tumbling on Thursday as commodities were pummeled.
    • The US benchmark has shed more than 1% this week despite signs that the physical crude market remains tight.
    • Data this week showed weakness in US consumer spending, which is by far the biggest contributor to gross domestic product.
    • That follows a pivot by the Federal Reserve to aggressively tighten policy to quell raging inflation.
    • Oil fell about 8% in June as investors fretted over a potential global slowdown, eroding a rally spurred by the war in Ukraine, interruptions to supplies, and rising demand.
    • The jump in prices alarmed President Joe Biden, who’s spearheading efforts to get producers in the Middle East to boost crude output.
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