· Russia, China set to launch joint military exercises
- China will join Russia in a giant military exercise, sending a message of deterrence to the U.S. which has designated Beijing and Moscow as “revisionist powers”.
- The five-day Vostok 2018 exercises, to be held from September 11, will be bigger than Zapad 81 — the mammoth manoeuvres carried out in Eastern Europe by the former Soviet Union in 1981. Mongolia will be the third country participating in the drills.
- ‘Gold’ first Bollywood film to release in Saudi Arabia
- Akshay Kumar-fronted “Gold” has become the first Bollywood film ever to release in Saudi Arabia.
- The Reema Kagti-directed sports film is only the second movie after Rajinikanth’s hit social drama, “Kaala” to hit the theatres in the Gulf country.
- Saudi Arabia has recently lifted the ban on Movie theatres.
- Cabinet approves Umbrella scheme O-SMART of Ministry of Earth Sciences
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the umbrella scheme “Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART)”, for implementation during the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 at an overall cost of Rs.1623 crore.
- The scheme encompasses a total of 16 sub-projects addressing ocean development activities such as Services, Technology, Resources, Observations and Science.
- The services rendered under the O-SMART will provide economic benefits to a number of user communities in the coastal and ocean sectors, namely, fisheries, offshore industry, coastal states, Defence, Shipping, Ports etc.
- Currently, five lakhs fishermen community are receiving this information daily through mobile which includes allocation of fish potential and local weather conditions in the coastal waters. This will help in reducing the search time for fishermen resulting savings in the fuel cost.
- Launch of National Mission on GeM
- National Mission on Government e Marketplace (GeM) will be launched on 5thSeptember 2018 to accelerate the adoption and use of GeM by major central Ministries, State Governments and their agencies.
- The aim of the National Mission is to promote inclusiveness, transparency and efficiency in public procurement and achieve cashless, contactless and paperless transaction.
- This will increase overall efficiency and lead to cost saving on government expenditure in procurement.
· For the first time, Census 2021 to collect data on OBC
- Census 2021 would, for the first time, collect data on Other Backward Castes (OBC).
- It was emphasised that improvements in design and technological interventions be made so as to ensure that the data is finalised within three years after conducting the census. At present, it takes around 7 to 8 years to release the complete data. Use of maps/geo-referencing at the time of house listing is also under consideration.
- It was also informed that nearly 25 lakh enumerators are trained and engaged for the gigantic exercise and accurate collection of data will be ensured in the census.
- AFSPA extended for 6 months in Assam
- The Assam government has extended application of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in the state for six more months with immediate effect.
- The Act gives special rights and immunity to security forces in carrying out various operations in “disturbed” areas.
- “As per powers conferred under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, the Governor of Assam has declared the entire State of Assam as ‘Disturbed Area’ upto 6 months.
- Cabinet approves additional funding of Rs 635 crore for IPPB
- The Union Cabinet has approved additional funding of Rs 635 crore for India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), which is set to be launched on September 1 to provide financial services to those living in rural areas.
- It will take the total outlay for IPPB to Rs 1,435 crore.
- The bank, which is fully owned by the government, will provide savings and current accounts, remittances, money transfers, bill and utility payments and enterprise and merchant payments.