August 2019

Daily Current Affairs (08-08-19)

Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award


Related Topics: Awards & Honours, ISRO


As part of centenary year celebrations of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, father of Indian space programme, ISRO institutes two categories of awards in journalism.

ISRO has announced its “Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award in Space Science, Technology and Research” to recognize and reward journalists who have actively contributed towards the field of space science, applications, and research.

About the Award

 The nominations are open to all Indians who have a good experience in journalism.

There are two categories of awards, wherein the first category holds a cash price of Rs 5,00,000, a medal and  citation and two journalists or freelancers of print media will be awarded.

Nominated candidates will be judged on the basis of the articles or success stories published in Hindi, English, or Regional languages in popular Periodicals, Science magazines, or Journals in India during the year 2019 to 2020.

The second category of the award holds 3 cash prizes of Rs 3,00,000, 2,00,000 and 1,00,000 and citation each for journalists or freelancers of print media.

The names of the selected candidates will be announced on August 1st, 2020.


RBI cuts Repo Rate by 35 basis points

Related Topics: Monetary Policy Committee, Repo Rate, Reverse Repo Rate

 Why in News

The Reserve Bank of India opted to break with convention by reducing the key policy rate, the repo rate, by 35 basis points (bps) to 5.4% as it focused monetary policy measures on helping revive demand to tackle a deepening economic slowdown.

Why the Rate Cut

 The move is aimed at kick starting the investment cycle, stimulate demand and increase liquidity in the economy.

A rate cut usually helps companies or stocks that are highly leveraged as well as banks and NBFCs.

It will help companies with lower interest payments and lower EMI for borrowers, if the banks pass on the benefit to customers.

A rate cut would bring down the cost of funds, help in recovering credit growth, and also help improve the quality of assets, leading to a decline in NPAs.

It would help revive growth and bring financial stability among the banks.

Any rate cut by RBI along with other measures to transfer the benefit to end-users will help the liquidity issues of interest rate-sensitive sectors like automobiles, real estate, and consumer durables and will help to revive the declining demand.

While a reduction in lending rates in the economy will clearly benefit loan takers, it hits those living off income from fixed deposits when the rates on these go down.

News in Detail

This is fourth time in a row that the central bank has cut the key rate this calendar year, starting from February, 2019.

One basis point is equal to one hundredth part of one per cent.

In the three previous monetary policy reviews, RBI reduced the key policy rates by 25 bps each time.

Post the policy announcement, the repo rate stands at 5.40 percent down from 5.75 percent.

Similarly, reverse repo rate has also been reduced to 5.15 per cent from 5.50 per cent.

With this rate cut, RBI has now reduced the repo rate by 110 bps in 2019.

Apart from rate cut, RBI has reduced the risk weight for consumer loans, except credit cards, from 125% to 100% – a step to address falling consumer demand in segments such as individual vehicle loans and personal loans.


Will lower rates spur economic growth?

 Capital is one of the three main factors of production, which are critical to the growth of a commercial entity, the other two being land and labour. But capital is only a necessary, not sufficient, condition.

Land, unless allocated by the local government, is too costly for investors seeking to set up shop. On labour, even if adequate hands are available for a job, the skill quotient is still low.

Training graduates to be job-ready is a form of tax that companies pay.

Also to be taken into account is the market environment and demand.

If end users are seeing lesser money in hand than earlier, demand will certainly be impacted.

Therefore, in an environment where the other factors of production are not favourable for an investor, low interest rates by themselves may not prove attractive enough.

Any revival of economic activity will be contingent on joint efforts by the government on the fiscal front to stimulate demand, and the RBI, to keep interest rates low




Kailash Mansarovar

Related Topics:  Culture, Lipulekh pass, Nathu La pass, India-China Relations

Why in News

China has granted visas to Indian pilgrims undertaking the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.


 China has objected to India’s decision to create a separate Union Territory of Ladakh and said it was “seriously concerned” about the current situation in Kashmir.

There were reports that the Chinese government delayed granting visas to a group of Indians in the wake of India making Ladakh a Union Territory. India, however, rejected China’s objection, calling it an internal matter of the country.

About Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibetan region of China is considered holy by Hindus.

Every year, hundreds of Indians undertake the yatra which involves trekking in inhospitable conditions.

The yatra is organised with support from governments of Delhi, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and also with cooperation of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

The Government of China also extended the support in organising the annual yatra.

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is undertaken by two routes, via- Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand and Nathu La Pass in Sikkim.

This pilgrimage plays an important step towards promoting people to people exchanges, strengthening friendship and understanding between India and China.

About Nathu La Pass (Sikkim)

This famous pass is located in the India- China border was reopened in 2006. It forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient silk route. It is one of the trading border posts between India and China.

About Lipu Lekh Pass (Uttarakhand)

It connects Uttarakhand with Tibet. This pass is an important border post for the trade with china.

Giant Parrots that lived 19 million years ago


Related Topics: Paleontology,  Geological Time Scale

Why in News

The remains of a super-sized parrot that stood more than half the height of an average human and roamed the Earth 19 million years ago have been discovered in New Zealand.

News in Detail

 According to a report by an international team of palaeontologists published in the latest edition of Biology Letters, Judging by the size of the leg bones, the bird would have stood about one metre tall and weighed up to seven kg.

The parrot has been named Heracles inexpectatus to reflect its Herculean size and strength — and the unexpected nature of the discovery.

The bird was approximately the size of the giant “dodo” pigeon and twice the size of the critically endangered flightless New Zealand kakapo, previously the largest known parrot.

Evidence of the parrot was unearthed in fossils near St. Bathans in southern New Zealand, an area that has proved a rich source of fossils from the Miocene period which extends from about five million to 23 million years ago.

New Zealand, home to the now-extinct flightless bird moa which was up to 3.6 metres tall with neck outstretched, is well known for its giant birds.

Last year, scientists found the remains of a giant burrowing bat that lived millions of years ago in the same region.

Learn the Basics

 Paleontology is the study of the history of life on Earth as based on fossils.

Fossils are the remains of plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and single-celled living things that have been replaced by rock material or impressions of organisms preserved in rock.

The geologic time scale is the “calendar” for events in Earth history.

It subdivides all time into named units of abstract time called—in descending order of duration—eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages.

The enumeration of those geologic time units is based on stratigraphy, which is the correlation and classification of rock strata.

INTELIGHTS, India’s first 3-D traffic signal

 Related Topics: Science & Technology, Traffic management, Innovation

Why in News

In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, Mohali traffic police have launched 3-D Smart Traffic Signal devised by the students of a Chandigarh university.

News in Detail

 The wireless system, called ‘Intelights’, has been installed at the traffic crossing near the Airport Road, on a pilot project basis, and will regulate traffic signals with a smart bird’s eye view wireless sensor system.

The system, which was devised by the students over three years of intensive research, was in the test trial phase for the last eight months before its final launch.

The team worked to develop one-of-its-kind, real-time solution for defending ‘Green Corridors’ for ambulances while controlling the movement of vehicles on roads.

Intelights proposes a 360-degree solution to curb the rising problem of traffic congestion.

Present Issue in Traffic Management

 One of the major reasons for traffic congestion is the inefficient working of traffic signal timers installed at intersections. Presently, the timers of traffic lights display a preset value which leads to waste of time.

For instance, consider a scenario where green light of ’20 seconds’ is displayed but there is no vehicle present at that particular intersection – thus leading to unnecessary waste of time.

The Solution

 To tackle this issue, ‘Intelights’ proposes an Intelligent Traffic Timer Control; which uses dynamic signal control technology to adjust the timers of red, yellow and green lights according to the traffic density at an intersection.

The system uses existing CCTV cameras to gather live traffic video feed, and automatically evaluates the traffic density using Artificial Intelligence, and sets the signal timers accordingly.

This process is repeated for every cycle of traffic lights to keep traffic flowing smoothly.


 Traffic congestion has increased dramatically in India.

Congestion and the associated slow urban mobility can have a huge adverse impact on both the quality of life and the economy.

Economic loss is concerned with the monetary value of the time spent sitting in traffic.

Traffic Congestion also aggravates the environmental concerns like Increasing air and noise pollution.




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