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Important Current Affairs 21st August 2019

NATIONAL:

LS Secretariat has banned the use of non reusable plastic water bottles.

• The Lok Sabha Secretariat has banned the use of non-reusable plastic water bottles and other plastic items within the Parliament complex. All officers and staff of the Secretariat and other allied agencies working in the Parliament House Complex have been advised to use environment friendly biodegradable bags and other material.

• The above initiative steps by the Lok Sabha Secretariat is a step towards the call by the Prime Minister to the nation to make the country free from plastics which was set to be achieved by October 2 as the country celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

About non-reusable plastic bottles:

• As many plastics are safe to reuse but some contain components that may be harmful to humans and the environment that can’t reusable. Plastics made up of polyvinyl chlorides having many phthalates which a group of chemicals exposure to phthalates allergy and respiratory problems. Most plastics used for food packaging and disposable food items such as plastic plates, bowls, etc will cause toxin damage, gastrointestinal, kidney and respiratory function.

• The World Health Organization's International Agency that did research on Cancer classified styrene in plastics also possible to cause carcinogenic cancer to humans.

INTERNATIONAL:

Nepal to hold SAARC Foreign Ministers informal meeting.

• Nepal plans to hold SAARC Foreign Ministers informal meeting on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in September 2019. The aim is to prove the country's role in creating an environment for the commencement of the regional summit.

India and SAARC summit:

The 18th SAARC summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2014. India is the largest member of SAARC forum. The 19th SAARC summit was supposed to held in 2016. But the summit was canceled after India boycotted the meeting. India protested after the terror attack at the military base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 2016. The attack killed 19 soldiers. After India boycotted the SAARC summit countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan walked out. India's decision is to set up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan. India also declared that it will participate only if Pakistan took steps to tackle terrorism.

About SAARC:

SAARC: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Member states: 8 members

Headquarters: Kathmandu

Official languages: English

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Balesh Sharma resigns as CEO of Vodafone Idea.

• Vodafone Idea CEO Balesh Sharma resigned on Monday with immediate effect, less than a year into his job. Ravinder Takkar was appointed CEO and MD of the mobile phone company whose share price is near an all-time low amid losses and falling subscriber and revenue market shares.

• Sharma, who was chief operating officer at Vodafone India since April 2017, took over as CEO of Vodafone Idea on August 31 last year, when Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merged to create India’s largest telco by subscribers and revenue market share.

• Takkar, Vodafone Group’s representative in India since 2017 and a non-executive director at Vodafone Idea, has been appointed for three years, starting August 19. Takkar has spent 25 years with the Vodafone Group and was CEO of Vodafone Romania for three years and CEO of Vodafone Partner Markets in London.

OBITUARIES:

Former Madhya Pradesh CM Babulal Gaur passed away.

• Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Babulal Gaur passed away on 21 August. He was 89 years old. He died due to various old-age ailments followed by cardiac arrest.

• The veteran BJP leader served as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister from 2004-2005. He represented his traditional Govindpura Vidhan Sabha seat 10 times.

About Babulal:

• Mr.Babulal Gaur was born on June 2 in 1930 at Naugeer village in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh. He worked at the Bhopal Textiles Mill and led agitations for labour rights. His political carrer started in 1946 as he entered in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He was a founder-member of the Rashtriya Mazdoor Sangh. He served as the secretary of the Jana Sangh in 1956.

• Babulal  took part in several national-level movements such as the agitation against the Emergency and for Goa Independence. During the Emergency, he was detained for 19 months under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act.