• Uttar Pradesh is set to establish the world’s first conservation and breeding centre for Asian king vultures or red-headed vultures in Maharajganj. The facility will improve the population of critically endangered species listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list since 2007. The centre is named Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre.

About Asian King vulture

  • This is one of the 9 species of Vulture which are found in India.
  • It is also called the Asian King vulture or Pondicherry Vulture was extensively found in India but its numbers drastically reduced after diclofenac poisoning.
  • Conservation status: IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule 1
  • The centre is named Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre, where 24×7 monitoring of the vultures is being done. Among its staff include a scientific officer and a biologist. They (vultures) make one partner in their entire life and lay one egg in a year. Hence, their monitoring is our highest priority.


  • Olympic bronze medalist wrestler Bajrang Punia has been suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for a second time for refusing to provide a urine sample during selection trials. This suspension comes after NADA revoked his previous suspension due to procedural issues. Punia’s legal team plans to challenge the suspension, arguing he did not refuse to provide a sample but sought clarification on expired kits used previously.
  • NADA initially suspended Bajrang Punia on April 23 for refusing to give a urine sample during selection trials in Sonepat on March 10. The global governing body for wrestling, United World Wrestling (UWW), also suspended him. Punia appealed, and the Anti-Disciplinary Doping (ADDP) panel revoked the suspension on May 31, citing that NADA had not issued a formal “notice of charge.”
  • On Sunday, NADA served Punia with a formal notice of charge, reinstating his provisional suspension. The notice stated Punia violated Article 2.3 of the National Anti-Doping Rules, 2021, for refusing to submit a urine sample. Punia has until July 11 to request a hearing or accept the charge.


  • According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), foreign direct investment (FDI) to India in 2023 decreased by 43% compared to 2022, dropping India’s rank to 15th among global FDI recipients. This decline mirrors a global trend where overall FDI fell by 2%.
  • The annual World Investment Report by UNCTAD highlights a general decline in FDI worldwide due to multinational companies’ cautious approach. Factors contributing to this decline include uncertain global growth prospects, economic fracturing, trade and geopolitical tensions, industrial policies, and supply chain diversification.
  • International project finance, crucial for infrastructure development, dropped by 23%, while cross-border mergers and acquisitions fell by 46%.
  • FDI to developing countries fell by 7% to $867 billion, with developing Asia seeing an 8% drop to $621 billion. Notably, FDI to China, India, West Asia, and Central Asia also declined. India’s FDI inflow in 2023 was $28 billion, down from $49 billion in 2022, resulting in its global FDI recipient ranking falling from 8th to 15th.
  • On June 23, 2024, Kozhikode made history by becoming the first UNESCO City of Literature in India. This prestigious recognition highlights the city’s rich literary heritage and cultural significance.
  • Minister for Local Self-Government M.B. Rajesh announced the achievement, comparing Kozhikode to London in its ability to attract and nurture talent. He described the city as:
  • Unpretentious
  • Hospitable

Kozhikode’s literary legacy includes:

  • Two Jnanpith Award winners
  • Notable contributions in cinema, music, and media
  • The city’s success in becoming India’s first City of Literature surprised many, as it surpassed Kolkata, a city with a longer literary tradition. This achievement was credited to:
  • Effective planning and preparation
  • Initiative by the Mayor and Kerala Institute of Local Administration


  • The Director General of the National Testing Agency, Subodh Kumar Singh, was removed from the post on June 22, amid controversy over irregularities in exams. Subodh Kumar Singh’s services were put on a “compulsory wait” in Department of Personnel and Training, the government said in a letter. India Trade Promotion Organisation Chairman and MD Pradeep Singh Kharola was assigned additional charge of NTA DG till appointment of a regular incumbent or until further orders.
  • Pradeep Singh Kharola is currently the Chairman and Managing Director of India Trade Promotion and has been appointed as the Director General of National Testing Agency as an additional charge. Kharola is a 1985 batch IAS officer.
  • The Union Ministry of Education has constituted a high-level committee of experts to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations. Dr K Radhakrishnan, Former Chairman, ISRO and Chairman BoG, IIT Kanpur, will head the panel of 7 experts.


  • The 53rd GST Council met under the Chairpersonship of Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by key officials, including Union Minister of State for Finance Shri Pankaj Chaudhary, Chief Ministers of Goa and Meghalaya, Deputy Chief Ministers of Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha, Finance Ministers of States & UTs (with legislature), and senior officers of the Ministry of Finance & States/ UTs.

Changes in GST Tax Rates

GST Rates on Goods

  • Uniform IGST Rate on Aircraft Parts: A uniform rate of 5% IGST will apply to imports of parts, components, testing equipment, tools, and tool-kits of aircrafts to boost MRO activities.
  • Milk Cans GST Rate: All milk cans (steel, iron, aluminum) will attract a 12% GST rate.
  • Paper Products GST Rate Reduction: The GST rate on carton, boxes, and cases of both corrugated and non-corrugated paper or paper-board has been reduced from 18% to 12%.
  • Solar Cookers GST Rate: All solar cookers, whether single or dual energy source, will attract 12% GST.
  • Poultry Keeping Machinery: The GST entry covering poultry keeping machinery attracting 12% GST has been amended to specifically incorporate “parts of poultry keeping machinery” and regularize past practice.
  • Sprinklers GST Rate: All types of sprinklers, including fire water sprinklers, will attract 12% GST.
  • Defence Forces IGST Exemption: The IGST exemption on imports of specified items for defence forces has been extended for five years till 30th June 2029.
  • RAMA Programme IGST Exemption: IGST exemption on imports of research equipment/buoys under the RAMA programme has been extended subject to conditions.
  • Compensation Cess on SEZ Imports: Compensation Cess on imports in SEZ by SEZ Unit/developers for authorized operations is exempted w.e.f. 01.07.2017.
  • Miscellaneous Exemptions: Compensation Cess on supply of aerated beverages and energy drinks to authorized customers by Unit Run Canteens under Ministry of Defence and Adhoc IGST exemption on imports of technical documentation for AK-203 rifle kits for Indian Defence forces are also recommended.

GST Rates on Services

  • Indian Railways Services Exemption: Services provided by Indian Railways to the general public, such as platform tickets, retiring rooms/waiting rooms, cloakroom services, and battery-operated car services, are exempt from GST.
  • SPV Services Exemption: Services provided by Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) to Indian Railways for infrastructure use during the concession period and maintenance services by Indian Railways to SPV are exempt.
  • Accommodation Services Exemption: Accommodation services valued up to Rs. 20,000 per month per person supplied for a minimum continuous period of 90 days are exempt from GST.
  • Co-insurance and Re-insurance Services: Co-insurance premium apportioned by lead insurer to the co-insurer and transactions of ceding commission/re-insurance commission between insurer and re-insurer are declared as no supply under Schedule III of the CGST Act.
  • GST Liability on Reinsurance Services: GST liability on reinsurance services of specified insurance schemes will be regularized retrospectively.
  • Retrocession Clarification: Retrocession, re-insurance of re-insurance, is eligible for exemption under Sl. No. 36A of notification No. 12/2017-CTR.
  • RERA Statutory Collections: Statutory collections by Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) are exempt from GST.

•      Incentive Sharing under RuPay and BHIM-UPI: Further sharing of incentive under NPCI’s promotion scheme for RuPay Debit Cards and BHIM-UPI transactions is not taxable.