i. The 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Rail Budget is set to come to an end from the next fiscal, with the Finance Ministry accepting Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal to merge it with the General Budget.
ii. Finance Ministry has now constituted a five-member committee comprising senior officials of the Ministry and the national transporter to work out the modalities for the merger.
iii. The committee has been asked to submit its report by August 31.
Kotak Mahindra Bank starts Innovation Lab, open to investing in startups
i. Private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank has started an ‘Innovation Lab’ in Bengaluru to tap into the best technology that impacts its operations, and is open to investing in startups.
ii. The fourth largest private sector bank has put together a seven-member core team which is working with an equal number of startups in the artificial intelligence, analytics, biometric or iris scanning and machine learning space.
iii. The initiatives being undertaken by them include launching dedicated funds to invest in startups, starting incubation centres, organising ‘hackathons’ and ideation contests.
E-verifying without net banking: More banks to follow PNB,UBI
i. After Punjab National Bank and United Bank of India, more banks are likely to soon start a facility wherein an account holder can verify his income tax return on e-filing site even without having netbanking.
ii. Electronic Verification Code (EVC) can be generated by pre-validating the bank account on the e-filing portal of the Income Tax Department.
iii. CBDT said EVC can be generated by pre-validating a Demat Account on the e-filing portal. NSDL and CDSL have launched this facility which will facilitate the account holders to e-verify their return.
6,900 km gas pipelines to connect Bangladesh, Myanmar, India
i. The government has ambitious plan to lay 6,900 km of gas pipelines linking Bangladesh, Myanmar, most north-eastern states, and West Bengal.
ii. Currently, large quantities of gas is flared (burned) in the north-eastern region because it can’t be piped to the consumers, he said.
iii. Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) signed an agreement in April this year to jointly set up a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) terminal plant in Chittagong port city which will help pipe gas to the north-eastern states.
Fifth Generation signs pact with Anna University
i. Fifth Generation Technologies, a multi-national research and innovation company with specialisation in building “real time intelligence” solutions and products to the manufacturing industry, has entered into an agreement with Anna University, Chennai, for conducting research to arrive at a useful prediction of the remaining life of critical equipment that are working in high temperature environments.
ii. The company proposes to invite one of its clients who are global industry leaders and original equipment manufacturers of such critical equipment to participate in this research.
Famous Lyricist Na Muthukumar passed away
i. Na Muthukumar passed away in Chennai at the age of 41 years.
ii. He was suffering from jaundice for the past few days.
iii. He won two national awards for the songs Ananda Yazhai Meetukiral in Thanga Meengal and Azhage Azhage in Saivam.
iv. He has written songs for more than 1000 films. In 2012 alone, he has written songs for about 102 films.
Former minister S.P. Sarguna Pandian passed away
i. Former DMK Minister S.P Sarguna Pandian, who began her political career as a platform speaker, died. She was 75 years old.
ii. She was elected to the Assembly from the R.K. Nagar constituency in 1989 and again in 1996.
iii. As a Minister she held the portfolio of Social Welfare between 1996 and 2001. In the 2006 Assembly elections, she contested unsuccessfully from the Royapuram constituency.
Akshardham founder Pramukh Swami passes away
i. Pramukh Swami, the 95-year-old founder of Akshardham temples and a saint of the Swaminarayan sect, passed away after prolonged illness at the Sarangpur temple.
ii. He was the president of the Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS), a sub-sect of the Swaminarayan sect, which during his tenure expanded globally, with over 3000 temples built in five decades worldwide.
iii. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the late President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were among his followers. Kalam had written a book on his “spiritual experiences with Pramukh Swami” and during his tenure as President, he had inaugurated the Akshardham temple complex in New Delhi.
USA wins 1,000th Olympic gold medal
i. Simone Manuel anchored the U.S. women’s 4×100 metres medley relay team to the 1,000th gold medal in her country’s summer Olympic history, and the second of her career.
ii. Australia won the silver, with Cate Campbell touching out just 0.01 ahead of bronze medallists Denmark.