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Important Current Affairs of 2nd 2019 August

NATIONAL:

India drops to 7th largest economy in 2018, UK and France overtake.

• India's economy has been pushed to the seventh spot in GDP rankings in 2018 with the UK and France overtaking the country, the latest World Bank data showed. India's GDP was $2.73 trillion while that of UK was $2.83 trillion and France was $2.77 trillion. India had surpassed France and then the UK in 2017 to become the fifth-largest economy.

PM chaired the th PRAGATI interaction.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed the 30th PRAGATI platform interaction. PRAGATI is the Information and communications technology (ICT)- based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation. This is the first PRAGATI interaction of the new government.

In the session, Narendra Modi reviewed the progress in the resolution of grievances under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban). He urged to achieve the government's objective of providing 'Housing for All by 2022'. He also suggested further improvements under the Ayushmann Bharat Scheme.

He reviewed the progress of eight important infrastructure projects in the railway and road sectors spread over several states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI relaxes ECB norms.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has further relaxed the norms related to external commercial borrowing (ECB). It loosened the end-use restrictions with regard to working capital, general corporate purpose and repayment of rupee loans. The move comes  after RBI received feedback from stakeholders.

♦ As per the relaxation, all the eligible borrowers are allowed to raise following ECBs from recognised lenders with a minimum average maturity period of 10 years for working capital purposes and general corporate purposes. The foreign branches and overseas subsidiaries of Indian banks are exempted.

♦ It also permits borrowing for on-lending by NBFCs for the above maturity and end-uses.

♦ Borrowers are allowed to raise ECBs with a minimum average maturity period of 7 years for repayment of rupee loans that can be availed domestically for capital expenditure.

Ministry of Finance to conduct Indias first national Time Release Study for efficient trade flow.

• The Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance plans to conduct India’s first national Time Release Study (TRS) between 1st and 7th August, 2019. The study is a part of the department's strategic commitment to improve the global trade.

Time Release Study (TRS):

The TRS is an internationally recognized tool to measure the efficiency of the international trade flows. It is advocated by the World Customs Organization.

Aim:

The exercise aims to identify and remove the obstacles that are present in the trade flow. The exercise will benefit from the export oriented industry and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). 

 Analysis:

The national TRS will establish baseline performance measurement. It will also standardize the operations and procedures across all ports. The Ministry will conduct the exercise across 15 ports, including sea, air, land and dry ports at the same time. The ports cumulatively account for 81% of total Bills of Entries for import and 67% of Shipping Bills for export filed within India.

Depending on the results of the TRS, government agencies associated with cross border trade will diagnose the existing and potential bottlenecks that are barriers to the free flow of trade. The government will take remedial actions for reducing the cargo release time.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Cognizant’s Debashis becomes Mindtree’s 3rd CEO in its 20-yr history.

• IT services firm Mindtree on Friday named Debashis Chatterjee as its new Managing Director and CEO. Chatterjee, who previously led the digital systems and technology practice at Cognizant, will become Mindtree's third CEO in its two-decade existence. He replaces Rostow Ravanan, who quit along with Chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan and Vice Chairman NS Parthasarathy after L&T's hostile takeover

Mohapatra takes charge as DG of India Meteorological Department.

• Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, 54, took charge as the Director General (DG) of India Meteorological Department (IMD), New Delhi. He was appointed as DG by the Ministry of Personnel on 4 June 2019. He will replace K.J. Ramesh, who headed the weather department for over three years. IMD is to request the government to bring new technology for the weather forecasting and provide accurate information of weather.

Mrutyunjay Mohapatra:

• Mohapatra is Odisha-born scientist. He is the first Odia to reach at the top position in IMD. He has led the effective early warning systems for cyclones, including Phailin, Hudhud, Vardah, Titli, Sagar, Mekunu and Fani.

• India Meteorological Department:

• Formed on: 1875

• Headquarters: New Delhi

• Functions under: Ministry of Earth Sciences

• Minister responsible: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

• Director General: Mrutyunjay Mohapatra

• The IMD is responsible for the weather and climate-related forecasts in the country. It is also mandated to issue warning to people about severe weather phenomenon.

AWARDS:

India-born doctor Bhasha Mukherjee crowned Miss England 2019.

• India-born doctor Bhasha Mukherjee was crowned Miss England 2019 on Thursday at a ceremony in Newcastle. The 23-year-old moved to England with her parents at the age of nine and settled in Derby. Mukherjee holds two different medical degrees, one in medical sciences and the other in medicine and surgery.