August 2019

Daily Current Affairs (13-08-19)


Related Topics: Farm Mechanisation, Use of Technology in Agriculture

Why in News

Agriculture ministry have decided to launch a new revolutionary app which will help the rural farmers to access cutting-edge technology in an affordable price at their doorsteps.


 A laser-guided land leveller harnesses technology to accurately flatten a field in a fraction of the time used by a traditional oxen-powered scraper.

By using this technology, farmers can save precious groundwater and increase productivity by 10 to 15%.

But Such hi-tech levellers cost at least ₹3 lakh, way beyond the reach of the average small farmer.

The Solution

There are now more than 38,000 custom hiring centres (CHCs) across the country, which rent out 2.5 lakh pieces of farm equipment every year.

By the end of August, Government plans to launch a new mobile app to efficiently connect farmers with these CHCs, just like Uber connects passengers to cabs.

Once the Application is officially launched, farmers who wish to hire equipment can register using their names, addresses and mobile numbers, and then punch in their requirements.

It will ensure that the cost of farm equipments will stay within the reach of average small farmer.

The app will also create an invaluable database for policy-makers, who can track the use and cost of equipment.




Related Topics: CSIR, FSSAI

Why in News

A comprehensive evaluation by the CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFRTI), Mysore has determined that PET bottles are safe.

The study was commissioned by the industry body named Pet Packaging Association for Clean Environment (PACE).

The Debate

 For years, there’s been a debate internationally on whether PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles, which are the mainstay of plastic bottles and disposable food containers, leach harmful chemicals when exposed to high temperatures.


Four different kinds of PET containers were collected and exposed them to different stimuli such as ethanol of varying concentrations, acetic acid and vegetable oil.

These were supposed to simulate the kind of chemicals contained in packaged food and drink that could trigger the leakage of metals or other secondary chemicals.

They tested these bottles when they were subject to 40C and 60C temperature as well as when test-chemicals were stored in them for 10 days.

Along with metals, the scientists also measured terephthalic acid, Isophthalic acid, Ethylene Glycol, BPA (bis-phenol A) and phthalates.

Result of the Research

 The CFRTI analysis, commissioned by an industry body, concluded that antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, mercury,selenium and zinc “were below” their detection limits (BDL) of 0.001 mg/kg. Bisphenol-A was below its detection limit of 0.02 mg/kg. “Below detection limit” means that they were below the minimum levels required by the instruments and methods employed by the researchers to detect these chemicals.

They were also below the EU (European Union) regulation norms of the “specific migration limit”, which is the maximum amount of a substance that can migrate from a food packaging material or food container into food.




Related Topics: Public Health, Government Schemes, Diseases

Why in News

Government of India is planning to include all types of cancers and their treatment under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

Why including Cancer in the Scheme

 According to the WHO, the rate of mortality due to cancer in India is high, with cancer the second-most common disease in India causing about 0.3 million deaths per year.

The estimated number of people living with the disease stands at around 2.25 million, with over 11 lakh new cancer patients registered each year.

In India, cancer treatment is very expensive.

Patients often undergo multiple therapies for cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, which are very expensive.

Government wants to ensure that nobody should have to go without treatment for the want of money, which is the rationale behind trying to include all cancer regimes under the programme.

About Ayushman Bharat Scheme

 It is an umbrella of two major health initiatives, namely Health and Wellness Centres and National  Health Protection Scheme.

(i) Health and Wellness Centres

Under this 1.5 lakh existing sub centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people in the form of Health and wellness centres.

These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.

(ii) National  Health Protection Scheme (AB-PMJAY)

It is the Central Government’s health insurance scheme that aims to give medical cover to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families of approximately 50 crore beneficiaries which was launched on 25 September, 2018.

It provides coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

There is no restriction on the basis of family size, age or gender.

Ayushman Bharat is different from other medical insurance schemes where there is a waiting period for pre-existing diseases.

All kinds of diseases are covered from day one of the Ayushman Bharat policy. The benefit cover includes both pre and post hospitalization expenses.

The scheme created a cadre of certified frontline health service professionals called Pradhan Mantri Aarogya Mitras (PMAMs) who will be primary point of facilitation for the beneficiaries to avail treatment at the hospital.

So far, 16,000 hospitals have been empanelled, nearly 34 lakh beneficiaries have been admitted, and 9 crore e-cards have been issued.

PMJAY is a visionary step towards advancing the agenda of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).





Related Topics: Road Safety, Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019


Protective headgear of prescribed standards has been made mandatory for children above 4 years while travelling on a motorcycle.

 The safety measures for the children travelling on motorcycles have been included in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 that is passed by Parliament.

Section 129 of the Act states that “Every person, above four years of age, driving or riding or being carried on a motorcycle of any class or description shall, while in public place wear protective headgear conforming to standards prescribed by the Central government”.

Only Sikhs wearing turban have been exempted from the provision of Section 129.


In India, over 78% of vehicles on the road are two-wheelers and they account for about 29 % of road accidents.

Pillion riders, including children, are more prone to the injuries than the rider of the motorcycle when the vehicle collides.

Helmets of prescribed standards fastened to the head by straps or other fastenings can avoid head injuries.



Related Topics: Trade & Commerce, Foreign Investment

Why in News

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries announced that it was selling a 20 per cent stake in its flagship oil and chemical business to Saudi Aramco.

News in Detail

Aramco will take a 20 per cent stake in a proposed special purpose vehicle (SPV) housing the twin refineries of RIL and the firm’s petrochemical complex.

This partnership will cover all of RIL’s refining and petrochemicals assets, including 51 per cent of the petroleum retail joint venture.

Saudi Aramco has been eyeing stakes in refining ventures overseas to guarantee new outlets for its crude oil.

It has agreed to invest in a planned 60-mt refinery and petrochemicals complex in Maharashtra along with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and India’s state-run oil refiners such as Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation.


It is Saudi Arabia’s national oil company which is responsible for managing the nation’s petroleum wealth.

Currently, the company is said to account for around 87 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s budget.

It is controlled by the Supreme Council for Saudi Aramco (SCSA) led by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It is the world’s most profitable company with a net profit of $46.9 billion so far this year.

Since 2016, when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took charge of the company, Saudi Aramco is on the path of investing in non-oil sectors such as technology, part of the country’s plan to become less dependent on petroleum.



               FACTS OF THE DAY


  • Mukesh Ambani has announced the roll-out of ‘Jio Fiber‘ from September 5, promising free voice calls for life from landlines, 100 mbps minimum broadband speed at subscription starting from Rs 700 a month and free HD TV set on a commitment to an annual plan.


  • Reliance Jio has entered into a long-term alliance with Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation with the launch of new cloud data centres.


  • Aishwarya Pissay became first Indian to claim a world title in motorsports by winning FIM World Cup in women’s category.


  • The Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG), country’s self-regulatory industry body for the online fantasy sports gaming sector announced the appointment of Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri as its Ombudsman and Ethics officer.


  • Alejandro Giammattei was elected as Guatemala’s new President.



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