Current Affairs- 31st July & 1st August

Science and Technology

PM Modi to launch e-RUPI digital payment solution on August 2

PM Modi to launch e-RUPI digital payment solution on August 2
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch e-RUPI, a cashless and contactless instrument for digital payment today through video conferencing. Mr Modi has always championed digital initiatives. e-Rupi, a person and purpose specific digital payment solution, is a QR code or SMS string-based e-Voucher, which is delivered to the mobile of the beneficiaries. 
  • The users of this seamless one-time payment mechanism will be able to redeem the voucher without a card, digital payments app or internet banking access, at the service provider Over the years, several programmes have been launched to ensure that the benefits reach its intended beneficiaries in a targeted and leak-proof manner, with limited touch points between the government and the beneficiary.

National

Hotline established between Indian Army in Sikkim, China's PLA in Tibet

  • A hotline was established between Indian Army at Kongra La in North Sikkim and People’s Liberation Army at Khamba Dzong in Tibetan Autonomous Region. This will further the spirit of trust and cordial relations along the borders. The event coincided with the PLA Day today. 
  • The Defence Ministry said, the Armed forces of the two countries have well established mechanisms for communication at ground commanders level. These hotlines in various sectors go a long way in enhancing the same and maintaining peace and tranquility at the borders. The inauguration was attended by ground commanders of the respective Armies.

Deepak Das takes over as Controller General of Accounts

  • Deepak Das took charge as the new Controller General of Accounts today. Mr Deepak Das is the 25th officer to hold the position of Controller General of Accounts (CGA). He is a 1986-batch Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) officer. 
  • During his long career, Mr Das has held important positions at different levels in Ministries such as Science and Technology, Environment and Forest, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and Heavy Industries, Home Affairs and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. Prior to assuming the charge, Mr Das has served as the Principal Chief Controller of Accounts in the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

Cochin Shipyard launches five vessels at one go

  • Amidst the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, the largest shipbuilding and maintenance facility in India, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) achieved a rare feat by launching five vessels at one go from its building dock at Kochi. 
  • This is not the first time that CSL has launched such a number of vessels in one go, rather, the same kind of feat was achieved by the ship maker in November 2020 as well. The vessels were launched by Rameetha K, scientist ‘G’, Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) in the presence of DIG (BSF) Mukesh Tyagi, JSW Shipping VP Pranab K Jha, VP & CSL CMD Madhu S Nair.

International

India to assume UNSC Presidency today

India to assume UNSC Presidency today
  • India will assume the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council today. In a message to the international community on the eve of the momentous occasion, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Tirumurti highlighted the significance of the responsibility to India and what India will strive to bring to the Global High Table. 
  • Information and Broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur today expressed happiness as India takes over the Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of August. Mr. Thakur said, India’s Presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) begins in August, the country’s Independence Day month. He said, it is momentous as India is set to mark its 75th Independence Day

US slaps sanctions on Cuban police force and its leaders over crackdown on protests

US slaps sanctions on Cuban police force and its leaders over crackdown on protests
  • US administration has imposed sanctions on Cuba’s police force and two of its leaders following recent protests on the island against the communist government. US President Joe Biden said at a meeting on Friday with Cuban American leaders that more sanctions would be coming unless there is some drastic change in Cuba. 
  • Earlier Friday, the Treasury Department announced the latest sanctions on Cuba, saying they were a reaction to actions to suppress peaceful, pro-democratic protests in Cuba that began on July 11

36th edition of CORPAT between India and Indonesia begins

  • An Indian Naval Ship on Friday began a two-day coordinated patrol with an Indonesian Navy vessel in the Indian Ocean region, in an exercise that highlights a high degree of mutual trust, confidence, synergy and cooperation between the two friendly navies. 
  • The 36th edition of India-Indonesia coordinated patrol (CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy began on Friday and will continue till July 31, according to an official statement by the Indian Navy. 
  • According to the statement, the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Saryu, an indigenously built Offshore Patrol Vessel is undertaking coordinated patrol (CORPAT) with Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Bung Tomo from July 30 to 31.

Samoa's new leader confirms scrapping of China-funded port

Samoa's new leader confirms scrapping of China-funded port
  • The new prime minister of Samoa has confirmed she will cancel a China-backed port project, but hasn’t closed the door to China as she navigates a path for the Pacific nation against a backdrop of intensifying regional competition between Beijing and Washington. 
  • Fiame Naomi Mataafa indicated she would only approve investments that had clear benefits for her country as she expressed doubts about the upside for the Pacific in being a pawn in a geopolitical tussle between the two superpowers. 
  • Mataafa said China’s interest in the Pacific had grown as the United States effectively “moved out” of the region.

Sports

PV Sindhu bags bronze at Tokyo Olympics

PV Sindhu bags bronze at Tokyo Olympics
  • The 9th day at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 proved to be a historic day for India. India’s star shuttler, PV Sindhu won the women’s singles bronze medal and the Indian men’s hockey team made it to the semifinals. 
  • Star shuttler PV Sindhu scripted history yesterday when she became the first woman athlete from India to win 2 individual Olympic medals. Sindhu defeated He Bingjiao 21-15, 21-13 in just 53 minutes for the bronze medal match. She had won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games. Sindhu is also only the 4th women’s singles player to win back-to-back medals at the Olympic Games. With this, India’s medal count swelled to three. Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu secured a silver, while boxer Lovlina Borgohain is assured of at least a bronze after making the semifinals to be held on August 4.

Jamaica won all 3 medals in women’s 100m

  • Jamaica won all three medals in the women’s 100m with Elaine Thompson-Herah winning a second successive gold medal in an Olympic-record time of 10.61s. 
  • She denied her 34-year-old countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce from becoming the first woman to ever win three Olympic 100m sprint golds – the same as Bolt. 
  • It was an exceptionally fast run – an Olympic record time – on a track that has proven to be quick, in perfect hot humid conditions with no wind. But they still could not get close to the 10.49s world record set by American Florence Griffith Joyner – “Flo-Jo” – in 1988.

Awards and Honours

Graphic artist Anand Radhakrishnan wins prestigious Eisner award

  • Mumbai-based visual artist and illustrator Anand Radhakrishnan won the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award last week. The Indian artist won the Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) award for his work in UK-based author Ram V’s graphic novel Blue In Green. Radhakrishnan shared the award with another UK-based colourist John Pearson. 
  • Speaking to the Indian Express, Radhakrishnan said that receiving the award feels “really nice.” Talking about his work, the 32-year-old artist said that he got done with the book around this time last year and he tends to disengage from his projects as soon as they are done. The only time Radhakrishnan revisits them is a few years later to self-critique. But the artist said that it feels nice to be validated by such a big organisation.

Muslim Women's Rights Day: 1st August

Muslim Women's Rights Day: 1st August
  • Muslim Women Rights Day is being observed across the country today to celebrate the enactment of the law against Triple Talaq. Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the government enacted the revolutionary law against Triple Talaq on 1st August, 2019 which has made the social malpractice of Triple Talaq a criminal offense. 
  • Mr. Naqvi said that there is a significant decline in Triple Talaq cases after the law came into effect. Muslim women across the country have overwhelmingly welcomed this law. The Minister said, the government has strengthened ‘self-reliance, self-respect and self-confidence’ of the Muslim women of the country and protected their constitutional, fundamental and democratic rights by bringing the law against the Triple Talaq.

Other Important Affairs

  • The first goods train carrying stone chips to Bangladesh through the revived Haldibari – Chilahati rail link will leave from Damdim station of Alipurduar Division in Northeast Frontier Railaway on Saturday, 31 July, night. The train is expected to reach Bangladesh on 1st August. 
  • Bharat Bill Payment System has appointed former PayU and Airtel Payments Bank executive Noopur Chaturvedi as its new chief executive officer.
  •  World Ranger Day is observed every year on 31 July to commemorate the Rangers killed or injured while on duty and to celebrate the work that Rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural heritage. World Ranger Day offers a chance to support their vital work, which ranges from environmental campaigning to education.
  •  Myanmar’s military ruler Min Aung Hlaing today again promised new multi-party elections and said his government is ready to work with any special envoy named by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).