A monthly round up of Current Affairs for the year 2018. You can get the Current Affairs 2018 in Pdf format if you register for our monthly emagazines.
Ashgabat Agreement -The Ashgabat Agreement is a Multimodal transport agreement between Oman, Iran, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan for creating an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. India has joined the Ashgabat agreement, which envisages setting up of an international transport and transit corridor linking central Asia with the Persian Gulf to significantly ramp up trade and investment. According to official sources, India's accession to the agreement will come into force on Saturday(February 3, 2018) . After approval of the Cabinet, India had deposited the instrument of accession with Turkmenistan in April 2016.
Delhi Declaration -It is declaration made by the ASEAN member states to mark the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations. Leader of the states declared to further strengthen and deepen the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership for mutual benefit, across the whole spectrum of political-security, economic, socio-cultural and development cooperation, through further strengthening of relevant institutional mechanisms and broadening of the network between government institutions, parliamentarians, business circles, scientists, academicians, think-tanks, media, youth and other stakeholders, for the building of a peaceful, harmonious, caring and sharing community in our regions. Continue to exert efforts and cooperate towards the full, effective and timely implementation of the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2016-2020). Further enhance high-level engagement and cooperation within the existing framework of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership and ASEAN-led mechanisms, such as the ASEAN-India Summit, the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Post Ministerial Conference with India (PMC+1), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Plus, and other ASEAN-India ministerial/sectoral mechanisms.
Global Centre for Cyber Security -It is new organisation created to counter emerging cyber security threats and help connect leaders from business and government to collaborate on various security issues. The organisation was formed by World Economic Forum (WEF) will be fully operational in March 2018. The cyber agency will act as a sort of independent, multinational cyber threat information sharing platform for companies to improve digital security writ large. To begin with, it will reach out to key industry players and G-20 countries to make this platform a success for dialogue and real-time action on cyber threats. The Global Centre for Cybersecurity has already gained the support of multiple prominent businesses and law enforcement organizations, including British telecommunications giant BT Group, U.S. microchip maker Qualcomm, Russian financial institution Sberbank and international crime fighting agency Interpol.
NASA - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the executive branch of the US government. Scientists from NASA have shown interest about a new thermal spray coating technology used for gas turbine engine in spacecraft developed by a Rajasthan-based researcher named Dr Satish Tailor. Expressing his interest in the research, James L. Smialek, a scientist from NASA wrote to Dr Tailor after it was published in the journal Ceramics International and Thermal Spray Bulletin. Dr Tailor while working at MEC as a chief scientist, Research and Development had developed the controlled segmented Yttria-Stabilised Zirconia (YSZ)-Plasma sprayed coating technology, which according to him could reduce the thermal spray coating cost by almost 50%. Besides, vertical cracks (segmentation) in the coating are beneficial for gas turbine engine application used in spacecraft. Currently researchers are developing such cracks through very expensive processes (in several crore) and cracks are generated during the coating deposition process, and crack generation is not controllable.
Rotavac - Rotavac is the India's first indigenously developed vaccine against rotavirus, which is the major cause of diarrhea deaths among children. Rotavac vaccine is similar to the oral polio drop. It is administered under the age same regimen 6, 10 and 14 weeks. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has awarded pre-qualification to India's first indigenously developed rotavirus diarrhoea vaccine, Rotavac, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. The recognition will allow UN agencies and Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, to purchase the vaccine from Bharat Biotech at significantly lower prices than those sourced from global pharmaceutical majors and make it available in other developing regions including Africa where diarrhoea kills thousands of children every year.
Khelo India School Games - It is national programme for development of sports aiming to highlight the country's sporting talent and its potential to the world. Besides, giving the importance of how sports and fitness in one's life is invaluable. The Khelo India Games, will be open only to select students in the under-17 age group, who meet clearly specified criteria. There will be a specific number of players and teams in each discipline. There will be a total of 209 gold medals up for grabs, with the major share going to athletics (36), swimming (35), wrestling (30), boxing (26), gymnastics (20), judo (16) and weightlifting (16). The selection of athletes for each discipline has also been clarified. The top eight from the 63rd SGFI National School Games will be taken apart from four nominations from federation, one each from CBSE and host State apart from two wild card entries for the individual events. In team competition, the top four from the National School Games will be joined by two nominated by the federation apart from one each from the host State and the organising committee. For the three disciplines archery, badminton and shooting, the top 16 from the National School Games will be joined by eight nominated by the federation, one each from CBSE, host State and organising committee, apart from six wild cards. The best talent selected from the Khelo India Games will gain scholarship to the tune of about ₹5 lakh each per year.
HAL Light Combat Helicopter - HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is an Indian multirole combat helicopter developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It has been ordered for both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has said that it was satisfied with test run of the HAL Light Combat Helicopter. According to an official release, pilots have successfully flown the home-made 5.8-tonne Light Combat Helicopter with its own automatic flight control system for the first time. The 20-minute maiden flight of the multirole copter was flawless with the engagement of the flight control system throughout. HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju said the flight control system, whose development the company funded, would replace the imported one. HAL Chief Test Pilot Wing Commander Unni K Pillai (retired) and Test Pilot Group Captain Rajesh Verma (retired) flew the chopper after taking off from the defence airport in the city's eastern suburb.
New Wealth Report 2017 - New Wealth Report is an annual list developed by Capgemini, a global leader in technology, consulting and outsourcing. Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country/city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities. The report, however, excludes government funds from its figures. According to the report, India has been ranked sixth in the list of wealthiest countries with total wealth of $8,230 billion, while the United States topped the chart. the US is the wealthiest country with total wealth of $64,584 billion, followed by China ($24,803 billion) and Japan ($19,522 billion). Others in the list include United Kingdom (4th, $9,919 billion), Germany (5th, $9,660 billion), France (7th, $6,649 billion), Canada (8th, $6,393 billion), Australia (9th, $6,142 billion) and Italy (10th, $4,276 billion).
Democracy Index -Democracy Index is list prepared by UK based The Economist Intelligence Unit. The EIU is the research and analysis division of the UK- based media behemoth The Economist Group. Created in 1946, the EIU describes itself as having over 70 years of experience 'in helping businesses, financial firms and governments to understand how the world is changing and how that creates opportunities to be seized and risks to be handled. Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores on 60 indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: full democracy; flawed democracy; hybrid regime; and authoritarian regime. India has slipped to 42nd place on an annual Global Democracy Index amid 'rise of conservative religious ideologies' and increase in vigilantism and violence against minorities as well as other dissenting voices. While Norway has again topped the list, followed by Iceland and Sweden, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), India has moved down from 32nd place last year and remains classified among 'flawed democracies'. The index ranks 165 independent states and two territories on the basis of five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture. The list has been divided into four broad categories-full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime. The US (ranked 21), Japan, Italy, France, Israel, Singapore, and Hong Kong have also been named among 'flawed democracies'.
Ghodazari wildlife sanctuary - The sanctuary, is located in the North East of Tadoba, will include 159 sq km of Brahmapuri forest . The wildlife sanctuary located North East of Tadoba Tiger Reserve will be carved out in total of 159 sq km area covering Nagbhir, Talodhi and Chimur forest areas. The Maharashtra government has approved Ghodazari in Chandrapur district as a new wildlife sanctuary in the state. The decision was taken at the 13th meeting of the Maharashtra State Board for Wildlife, chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. According to experts, the decision to setup a sanctuary will not only save the forest, but will also improve tourism in nearly 40 villages in the area. The board also discussed various proposals for development work within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and wildlife sanctuaries in the state. The proposal for road widening and strengthening of National Highway 8 outside SGNP was also approved at the meeting.
INS Karanj - INS Karanj is the third submarine of the first batch of six Kalvari Class submarines designed and developed for Indian Navy. It is diesel electric attack submarine based on Scorpene class submarine. Though it was designed by French company, it was manufactured in Mazagon Dock (Mumbai) in India under the Project 75 programme. The submarine was launched by Reena Lanba, wife of Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, here on Wednesday. The new submarine is named after the earlier Kalvari class INS Karanj, which was decommissioned in 2003. Six Scorpene class submarines are being built under Project 75 by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL), Mumbai, under a $3.75 billion technology transfer signed in October 2005 with the Naval Group of France.
Agriculture and Rural Economy- The government has decided to keep MSP for all unannounced kharif crops atleast one and half times of their production cost after declaring the same for the majority of rabi cops. The volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector from year-to-year increased from Rs.8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs.10 lakh crore in 2017-18 and proposed to raise this to Rs.11 lakh crore for the year 2018-19. After the establishment of Dairy Infrastructure Fund, Shri Jaitley announced setting up a Fisheries and Aqua culture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector with a total corpus of Rs.10,000 crore for the two new funds. On the lines of 'Operation Flood' a new Scheme 'Operation Greens' was announced with an outlay of Rs 500 Crore to address the challenge of price volatility of perishable commodities like tomato, onion and potato. Develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) to take care of the interests of more than 86% small and marginal farmers. Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs.2000 crore will be setup for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) and 585APMCs. Re-structured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs.1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner.
Education, Health and Social Protection - Estimated budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 is Rs.1.38 lakh crore against estimated expenditure of Rs.1.22 lakh crore in 2017-18. Shri Jaitley announced setting up of Ekalavya Model Residential School on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas to provide the best quality education to the tribal children in their own environment by 2022 in every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons with special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development. a major initiative named 'Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022' with a total investment of Rs.1,00,000 crore in next four years was announced . The Government also decided to allocate additional Rs.600 crore to provide nutritional support to all TB patients at the rate of Rs.500 per month for the duration of their treatment. Shri Jaitley said, the government will be setting up 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country. A total of 187 projects have been sanctioned under the Namami Gange programme for infrastructure development, river surface cleaning, rural sanitation and other interventions at a cost of Rs.16,713 crore.
Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) - A sum of Rs. 3794 crore has been provided for giving credit support, capital and interest subsidy and for innovations. MUDRA Yojana launched in April, 2015 has led to sanction of Rs.4.6 lakh crore in credit from 10.38 crore MUDRA loans. 76% of loan accounts are of women and more than 50% belong to SCs, STs and OBCs. It is proposed to set a target of Rs.3 lakh crore for lending under MUDRA for 2018-19 after having successfully exceeded the targets in all previous years.
Employment - Reiterating that creating job opportunities is at the core of Government policies, Finance Minister cited an independent study as showing that 70 lakh formal jobs will be created this year. To carry forward the momentum created by the measures taken during the last 3 years to boost employment generation, Shri Jaitley announced that the Government will contribute 12% of the wages of the new employees in the EPF for all the sectors for next three years. He proposed to make amendments in the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 to reduce women employees' contribution to 8% for first three years of their employment against existing rate of 12% or 10% with no change in employers' contribution.
Railways - Railways Capital Expenditure for the year 2018-19 has been pegged at Rs.1,48,528 crore. A large part of the Capex is devoted to capacity creation. 4000 kilometers of electrified railway network is slated for commissioning during 2017-18. Work on Eastern and Western dedicated Freight Corridors is in full swing. Adequate number of rolling stock - 12000 wagons, 5160 coaches and approximately 700 locomotives are being procured during 2018-19. Over 3600 kms of track renewal is targeted during the current fiscal. Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations is being taken up. Mumbai's local train network will have 90 kilometers of double line tracks at a cost of over Rs.11,000 crore. 150 kilometers of additional suburban network is being planned at a cost of over Rs.40,000 crore, including elevated corridors on some sections. A suburban network of approximately 160 kilometers at an estimated cost of Rs.17,000 crore is being planned to cater to the growth of the Bengaluru metropolis.
Air transport - The Budget proposes to expand the airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year under a new initiative - NABH Nirman. Under the Regional connectivity scheme of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) initiated by the Government last year, 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads would be connected.
Relief to Senior Citizens - Exemption of interest income on deposits with banks and post offices are proposed to be increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000. TDS shall not be required to be deducted under section 194A. Benefit will also be available for interest from all fixed deposit schemes and recurring deposit schemes. Hike in deduction limit for health insurance premium and/ or medical expenditure from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 under section 80D. Increase in deduction limit for medical expenditure for certain critical illness from Rs. 60,000 (in case of senior citizens) and from Rs 80,000 (in case of very senior citizens) to Rs 1 lakh for all senior citizens, under section 80DDB. Concessions will give extra tax benefit of Rs. 4,000 crore to senior citizen. It is also proposed to extend the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana up to March, 2020. The current investment limit is also proposed to be increased to Rs. 15 lakh from the existing limit of Rs. 7.5 lakh per senior citizen.
Taxation - Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed no new changes in income tax rates applicable to individual. The finance minister, however, introduced standard deduction of Rs. 40,000 for the salaried class. Standard deduction allows for a flat deduction from income of a salaried individual towards expenses that would incur in relation to his or her employment. The government has made many positive changes in individual tax rates in past three years
FATF - Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body to combat money laundering and terror financing among other financial crimes, expressing the hope that it will uphold its objectives. India has congratulated China for being elected Vice President of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said 'Congratulations to China on its election as Vice President of Financial Action Task Force at the FATF plenary meeting on February 23. We remain hopeful that China would uphold and support the objectives and standards of FATF in a balanced, objective, impartial and holistic way. China's election to the FATF assumes significance as Pakistan is set to be put in the watchdog's grey list, which puts countries under the scanner for not implementing the body's objectives, in June this year.
Saudi Arabia -The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced entry of women to enlist in the military. According to authorities, interested female candidates have given time to apply for positions with the rank of soldier in the provinces of Riyadh, Mecca, al-Qassim and Medina. Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor's office said it would also begin recruiting women investigators for the first time. The kingdom has also opened 140 positions for women at airports and border crossings, a historic first that the government said drew 107,000 female applicants. It should be noted that Saudi women last month were given permission to attend football matches and to open their own businesses without the consent of their male relatives.
India- Iran - India and Iran have signed nine pacts, the resultant of which will allow India to lease part of the strategic Chabahar port, near the mouth of the Gulf of Oman. A key focus of the discussions was infrastructure, particularly Iran's Chabahar port. India has committed to invest $500 million in developing the port. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2016 visit to Iran, the countries signed a commercial contract envisaging development and operation of the port's two terminals and five berths. India badly wants the port developed, believing it will help India gain access to war-torn Afghanistan, where India is involved in rebuilding efforts. India also needs a route for its companies to take into energy-rich Central Asia. Pakistan, India's hostile neighbor to the northwest, does not allow overland access. Among the nine agreements signed lease between Iran's Port and Maritime Organization and India Ports Global Limited. The deal allows the Indian company to take over and run a part of Chabahar port's multi-purpose and container terminal for 18 months. Besides giving India access to Central Asia, the port will also help India counter China's regional influence. China is currently developing Gwadar port, in Pakistan, which also gives China a way into Africa.
Saudi Arabia-In a surprising move, women in Saudi Arabia have been given the go-ahead to start businesses without the permission of a male guardian. Earlier in the past women needed a guardian's approval and had to visit a notary to document the founding of a company, from Sunday a new system will carry out all start-up procedures electronically, with no special permissions required. The move is part of a shift inside a strongly conservative kingdom to offer more freedom to women and more broadly, to reshape Saudi culture along more secular, modern lines. In keeping with the spirit of modernisation, the announcement was made via Twitter. Saudi women make up just a fraction of the labour force in the country, but their participation in the economy is rising fast. In July 2017, the country's Ministry of Labour and Social Development announced that women accounted for 30 per cent of the private sector workforce - a rise of 130 per cent over the previous four years
UNICEF- A new study by UNICEF has revealed that nearly 600,000 newborn die within 28 days of their birth in India every year. The study also revealed that a quarter of global neonatal deaths take place in India each year, also showed that the country has remarkably reduced the under-five mortality rate. The first 28 days of life - the neonatal period - are the most vulnerable time for a child's survival. And children face the highest risk of dying in their first month of life, at a global rate of 19 deaths per 1,000 live births. According to the report, India's neonatal mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) is 25.4 and is ranked at number 12 among 52 'low middle-income countries' in terms of risk for newborns. India's ranking, though, is better than that of Pakistan's, the country with the worst newborn mortality rate. The report covered 184 countries and India has been ranked 31, keeping the world's seventh largest economy below 153 countries who have better survival rates for their newborns. A year earlier, India was the 28th worst country among 184 nations in terms of neonatal mortality.
Global corruption perception index- The index developed by Transparency International, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, placed India at the 81st place. In the 2016, India was in the 79th place among 176 countries. The index uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. India has been ranked 81st in the global corruption perception index for 2017, released by Transparency International, which named the country among the 'worst offenders' in terms of graft and press freedom in the Asia Pacific region.
Petro -Venezuela become first sovereign country to officially launch its own crypto-currency called Petro. The currency is backed by oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves to circumvent US-led financial sanctions. Aiming to combat most severe economic collapses of modern times, the beleaguered administration of President Nicolas Maduro announced it had begun a presale of virtual currency backed by the nation's vast petroleum reserves. The government, which had announced plans for the new digital currency late last year, said the initiative was a response to a financial crisis marked by a profound devaluation of the national currency, the bolivar, and quadruple-digit inflation.
UN Peacekeeping mission -It is a peacekeeping programme initiated by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations as "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace. In an effort to support the programme India is sending around 2,300 Army personnel for South Sudan to join the UN peace keeping mission in the war-torn African country. The army personnel, joining the UN mission, are from Infantry battalion of Garhwal Rifles regiment. Indian unit will be in operational control of the sensitive Jonglei state. According to official figures, India is the largest cumulative troop contributor, having provided almost 200,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions over the past six decades, including 13 of the current 16 missions. Last year, a total of 7,606 Indian peacekeepers were deployed in UN missions.
UN Development Partnership Fund -The India-UN Development Partnership Fund is a dedicated facility within the United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation established in 2017. It is supported and led by the Government of the Republic of India, managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, and implemented in collaboration with the United Nations system. India has pledged an additional $100 million towards the UN partnership fund, significantly scaling up its support to sustainable development projects across the developing world. The India-UN development partnership fund was set up earlier this year as a partnership between India and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). Anjani Kumar, counsellor at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, announced the multi-year contribution at the 2017 UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities on Monday. This contribution would be in addition to $10.582 million India is contributing to various other UN programmes, Kumar said. 'I am happy to announce that India has now decided to significantly scale up the contribution to the fund through a multi-year contribution of $100 million,' Kumar said on behalf of India. 'India believes that the UN should have the necessary resources to finance its activities, in an appropriate and balanced manner,' he said.
World's smallest satellite - Japan successfully launched on the world's smallest satellite-carrying rocket following a failed attempt in January last year. According to a release from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, 'The rocket about the size of a utility pole, measuring 10 meters in length and 50 centimeters in diameter, lifted off from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture and delivered its payload to its intended orbit'. The No. 5 vehicle of the SS-520 series carried a microsatellite weighing about 3 kilograms developed by the University of Tokyo to collect imagery of the Earth's surface. The launch was aimed at verifying JAXA's technology used to launch small rockets made with commercially available components at lower cost amid growing global demand for microsatellites. The agency used components found in home electronics and smartphones for the rocket. JAXA launched the No. 4 vehicle on Jan. 15 last year, but terminated its flight shortly after liftoff due to a communications problem. The agency found that vibrations during liftoff caused a short circuit, leading to a loss of power in the data transmitter. For Saturday's launch, the agency made more than 40 improvements to prevent a recurrence.
Rise Scheme - Revitalising of Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE). THE INDIAN Institutes of Technology (IITs) will corner the largest chunk of loans on offer under the new funding model - Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) - for all centrally-run institutes, announced in the Union Budget this month. Under RISE, all centrally-funded institutes (CFIs), including central universities, IITs, IIMs, NITs and IISERs, can borrow from a Rs 1,00,000 crore corpus over the next four years to expand and build new infrastructure. However, The Indian Express has learnt that a quarter of this amount - Rs 25,000 crore - will be set aside exclusively for the 23 IITs. The second largest share, Rs 20,000 crore, will be earmarked for central universities. While the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) can borrow up to Rs 11,300 crore, the new IIMs will get Rs 4,500 crore, and five IISERs Rs 5,000 crore. According to sources, in addition to loans for infrastructure development, about Rs 9,000 crore will be available for building robust research ecosystems, like world-class laboratories, in CFIs.
Amma Two wheeler scheme - It is subsidised two-wheeler scheme meant for working women, on the occasion of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's 70th birth anniversary. As part of the scheme, every beneficiary will be given 50% of the cost of a two- wheeler or a grant of ₹25,000. Each year, one lakh working women would be covered. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launches Amma two-wheeler scheme. Addressing a function outside the Kalaivanar Arangam, Modi expressed happiness over his being able to inaugurate 'one of her [Jayalalithaa-s] dream projects.' Explaining how women's empowerment would help empower households, the Prime Minister pointed out those women accounted for 70% of beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. This had demonstrated how the women 'are stepping out of the age old shackles and seeking self-employment', he said. He added that about 11 crore loans had been sanctioned totally under the scheme and ₹4.6 lakh crore provided without any bank guarantee.
Cabinet approves the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill- It is a bill which addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation. It includes Aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage etc. Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements; or commits fraud for procuring or facilitating the acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
Bal Aadhaar - Bal Aadhaar: Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has introduced a blue coloured 'Baal Aadhaar' card for children below the age of 5 years. UIDAI took to its official Twitter handle to tweet that a blue coloured Baal Aadhaar will be issued to children below 5 years and when the child does become 5, then he/she has to submit biometric authentication. Failing to do so within the next 7 years would result in suspension of the Aadhaar card. Though there is no compulsion to register for Aadhaar at such a young age, it will be required to be eligible for overseas education or to get government scholarships. As per the report, to register for Baal Aadhaar, visit your nearest enrolment centre and fill out the required forms. As mentioned earlier no biometric data will be collected from your child, however, you are needed to carry a photo of him/her. The Baal Aadhaar will be linked with his/her parent's UID. A biometric update is mandatory at age 5, at age 10 and again at age 15. If your child is above the age of 5, then you have to carry the child's birth certificate and valid school ID.
Viral Load Test - The viral load test measures the amount of HIV virus in your blood. It is the preferred way to monitor how HIV treatment is working. L Government has launched free Viral Load Tests, which measure the quantity of virus in the body. The move is likely to benefit 12 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in the country. Speaking on the launch, Health Minister said, 'the viral load test is a big step towards the treatment and monitoring of people living with HIV. This test is of immense importance to monitor the effectiveness of treatment of patients taking lifelong anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Ending the stigma towards the PLHIV was essential to enable them to access health services. To facilitate reduction in stigma and discrimination, the long pending HIV/AIDS Act has been passed, which is a historical step. Very few countries globally have such a law to protect rights of people infected with HIV,'. He added routine viral load testing will optimise the utilisation of first-line regimens, thus preventing drug resistance and ensuring the longevity of people living with HIV. As per WHO guidelines, India, in 2017, revised the anti-retroviral treatment protocols to initiate all PLHIV to ART. Currently about 12 lakh PLHIV are undergoing treatment in more than 530 ART centres.
Rustom 2 - UAV - Rustom 2 is being developed on the lines of predator drones of the US to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles for the armed forces. This unmanned Aerial Vehicle Rustom-2 was successfully test-flown by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). According an official statement from DRDO, 'This flight assumes significance because of the fact that this is the first flight in user configuration with a higher power engine. All parameters were normal'. The flight was conducted at the DRDO's Aeronautical Test Range at Chitradurga in Karnataka. Rustom-2 belongs to a family of UAVs under development, besides Rustom-1 and Rustom-H. It is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance drone (MALE). It can fly up to an altitude of 22,000 feet and has an endurance of over 20 hours. It is capable of carrying payloads for electronic and signal intelligence missions. Currently, the three services employ hundreds of Israeli drones and have projected a requirement of hundreds of more UAVs, including armed variants, in the near future. The DRDO is also developing other drones in different categories.
ATGM Nag - It is a third-generation, fire-and-forget, anti-tank guided missile developed by India's ate-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to support both mechanised infantry and airborne forces of the Indian Army. India has successfully test-fired Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) Nag in desert conditions. The Nag ATGM has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Wednesday's flight tests have once again proved their capability.
Defence Acquisition council- DAC approves procurement proposals worth Rs 9,435 Cr. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman-led Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved capital acquisition proposals of the defence services, valued at Rs 9,435 crore. These include the procurement of 41,000 Light Machine Guns (LMGs) and over 3.5 lakh Close Quarter Battle Carbines under Buy and Make (Indian) category.
Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) - It is a credit-linked subsidy programme aimed at generating self-employment opportunities through establishment of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector by helping traditional artisans and unemployed youth. Any individual above 18 years of age is eligible. For setting up of projects costing above Rs.10 lakh in the manufacturing sector and above Rs. 5 lakh in the business /service sector, the beneficiaries should possess at least VIII standard pass educational qualification. General category beneficiaries can avail of margin money subsidy of 25 % of the project cost in rural areas and 15% in urban areas. For beneficiaries belonging to special categories such as scheduled caste/scheduled tribe/OBC /minorities/women, ex-serviceman, physically handicapped, NER, Hill and Border areas etc. the margin money subsidy is 35% in rural areas and 25% in urban areas. The Scheme was launched during 2008-09. A total of 4.23 lakh micro enterprises have been assisted with a margin money subsidy of Rs 8695.27 crore providing employment to an estimated 35.48 lakh persons since 2008-09 till 2016-17 across the country including the State of Maharashtra.
National Financial Reporting Authority - It is independent regulator created for the auditing profession which is one of the key changes brought in by the Companies Act, 2013. The need for establishing NFRA has arisen on account of the need felt across various jurisdictions in the world, in the wake of accounting scams, to establish independent regulators, independent from those it regulates, for enforcement of auditing standards and ensuring the quality of audits to strengthen the independence of audit firms, quality of audits and, therefore, enhance investor and public confidence in financial disclosures of companies.
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017 - The Bill aims to stop economic offenders who leave the country to avoid due process. Offences involving amounts of ₹100 crore or more fall under the purview of this law. Economic offences are those that are defined under the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act, the SEBI Act, the Customs Act, the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
Core sector growth-Growth in the country's core sector accelerated to 6.7% in January, 2018 from 3.4% a year ago thanks to a huge jump in the output of cement and petroleum refinery, and a robust performance by the electricity sector. The growth in eight core sectors, which comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was 4.2% in December and 7.4% in November, 2017. Cement output surged to 20.7% in January against 13.3% contraction in the same month a year ago, while refinery products jumped 11% in January against a flat output in January 2017.
Action plan for champion sectors - The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Department of Commerce to give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development, and realizing their potential. These include Information Technology & Information Technology enabled Services (IT & ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Medical Value Travel, Transport and Logistics Services, Accounting and Finance Services, Audio Visual Services, Legal Services, Communication Services, Construction and Related Engineering Services, Environmental Services, Financial Services and Education Services.
Ombudsman scheme for NBFC -The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued an ombudsman scheme for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), offering a grievance redressal mechanism for their customers. The scheme will come into effect immediately, the regulator. According to an official release, exercising the powers conferred by Section 45L of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, the RBI being satisfied that for the purpose of enabling it to promote conducive credit culture among the NBFCs and to regulate the credit system of the country to its advantage, it is necessary to provide for a system of ombudsman for redressal of complaints against deficiency in services concerning deposits, loans and advances and other specified matters, hereby directs that the NBFCs should comply with the provisions of the Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies, 2018. An officer at the RBI not below the rank of general manager will be appointed by the regulator as the ombudsman with territorial jurisdiction being specified by the central bank. The tenure of each ombudsman cannot exceed three years and can be reduced by the regulator if needed.
Atal Bhoojal Yojana - It is a government scheme intended to conserve ground water. According to this scheme, the government has the plan to boost conservation of ground water with a fund of Rs.6,000 crores. By the implementation of this scheme ground water will recharge consequently increasing the level of ground water. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari informed that the fund for this project will be raised by the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank. Under this scheme, ground water will recharge and hence it will provide sufficient water for the use of agriculture purposes because in the past several years the ground water has decreased to a great extent. This scheme will also revive the water bodies like rivers so that the level of ground water can be increased especially in the rural areas.The water available in the Ganga River will be used under this scheme "Atal Bhoojal Yojana" to increase the ground. The Ministry of Water resource is eagerly working on it, once done the Ministry of finance will approve the funds for the scheme. The scheme will be implemented all over the India. . The cabinet committee has set a fund of Rs.6,000 crore for this scheme but yet to get the approval from the ministry of Finance. Government of India has not announced any official date for the launch of this scheme.
Parliament House to Have A Creche - The Parliament House will soon be setting an example of an inclusive and supportive work environment for its women employees by establishing creche facility on its premises. Under the direct supervision of Speaker, creche development work is in progress and a senior official has also been deputed to oversee the work. In a letter dated 29th March, 2017, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, apprised Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of Lok Sabha, about the absence of a creche facility at the Parliament House. In her letter, Gandhi pointed out that since over one-third of the total number of officials working in the Parliament were women, provision of creche facility was crucial. Swiftly responding to the letter, the office of the Speaker notified that a creche facility will soon be functional within the premises of Parliament House. The Ministry of Women and Child Development thanked the Speaker on twitter.
NITI Forum for North East - The NITI Forum for Northeast is tasked to identify various constraints on the way of accelerated, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the North East Region of the country and to recommend suitable interventions for addressing identified constraints. It will also review the development status in the NER. Members of the Forum will include Secretaries of Ministries of Road Transport & Highways, Railways, Power, Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, New & Renewable Energy, Health & Family Welfare, Human Resource Development, Environment, Forest & Climate Change. Chief Secretaries of Northeastern states of Assam, Sikkim, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram will also be members of the Forum. Secretary, North East Council (NEC), Shillong will be Member Secretary. Joint Secretary (NE), MHA, besides a number of experts from various fields will also be members of the Forum. The Forum may examine and address any other issues which are of importance but not specifically spelt out in its Terms of Reference. It may devise its own procedure to conduct its business/meetings/fields visits or constitution of Sub-Groups etc.
National Urban Housing Fund - It is a fund created by Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Primary function of the fund is to create houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojan (Urban). The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs 60,000 crore. There was a good response from the States/UTs and nearly 2 to 3 lakh houses are being sanctioned every month. About 5 lakh houses have been completed. Under Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), wherein housing for EWS/LIG/MIG beneficiaries is being sanctioned by the banks/HFCs to the eligible beneficiaries under the PMAY (Urban), the responses have grown significantly. Nearly 87,000 housing loans have been sanctioned in past eight months under the scheme and over 40,000 applications are under consideration for approval. The target is to cater to the demand of housing shortage of nearly 1.2 crore and make available housing to all by 2022, when the country celebrates its 75th anniversary of Independence. NUHF will facilitate raising requisite funds in next four years so that flow of Central Assistance under different verticals that is Beneficiary Linked Construction (BLC), Affordable Housing in Partnership(AHP), In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) and Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) is sustained and construction of houses to address the gap in urban sector progresses smoothly.
Aadhar - Aadhaar was recognized as the world's largest biometric enabled identification programme, which provides access to service, bank accounts, social services benefits, income tax, passport services by providing 1.2 billion citizens unique identification card with fingerprint, eye-print and other vital data. The initiative is managed by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The award for it recognized India's efforts of invention and innovation in field of technology and making the country completely digitalized.
Umang App - Umang stands for Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance. This app was named winner of the Best M-Government Service award in the Accessible Government category while Aadhar won the best emerging technology award at the recently concluded World Government Summit 2018 in Dubai.
National Deworming initiative - It is a major deworming programme was run by the government in the country for treatment of soil-transmitted helminths (STH), or parasitic worm infection. This provided the basis for a nationwide initiative. If untreated this disease can lead to anaemia and malnutrition as well as affecting mental development and has a negative impact on school attendance. In order to address the problem, India has instigated National Deworming Day with the support of the Deworm the World Initiative: the first was held in February 2015 and treated 140 million children in 12 states; the second was held a year later and treated 270 million children in 36 states and union territories nationwide. Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Deworming Day at a function at Gurugram, today. Speaking on the occasion he said, 'Government of India is committed to ensuring high quality healthcare, accessible to every child and upto the last mile. One of the interventions, the National Deworming Day, is one of the largest public health initiatives in the world. '. The Government is aiming to reach more than 32.2 crore children. Shri Nadda further stated that the Ministry had first launched National Deworming Day (NDD) in 2015 which was implemented in 11 States/UTs across all Government and Government-aided schools and Anganwadi centres targeting children aged 1 to 19 years. Since then the program has been scaled up throughout the country. Shri Nadda further informed that last year 25.6 crore children in the February 2016 round and 22.8 crore children in the August 2016 round were successfully reached and treated with deworming treatment on National Deworming Day. He also released the 'Deworming Factsheet' at the event.
National Women Entrepreneurship Council - It is an autonomous body setup to promote entrepreneurship as it would be the umbrella organization for socio-economic gender parity, financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women in India. The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development is considering to establish National Women Entrepreneurship Council (NWEC). It will be umbrella organization for socio-economic gender parity, financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women n India and to promote entrepreneurship among women. It will give advice to government on issues related to entrepreneurship in women as current business chambers are largely dominated by male. According to Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, India ranked 49 among 54 economies globally with overall low score of 41.7 points. It shows that India presents lower opportunities for women to engage in entrepreneurial activities, assume leadership roles or participate in workforce. The main concern is lack of education, technological know-how and cultural bias coupled with stringent business and government regulations which undermine women's ability take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities in India. Economically empowered women are major catalysts for development. There is greater recognition of positive relationship between increased economic activity by women and improved social outcomes
New World Wealth Report - It is a report developed by New World Wealth is a global market research group, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. We specialize in ratings, surveys, country reports and wealth statistics. Mumbai, India's financial capital is the 12th richest city in the world with a total wealth of $950 billion, says a report by New World Wealth which ranks New York as the richest city in the world. Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities and business interests) less any liabilities. Government funds are excluded from the figures. According to the New World Wealth report, Mumbai is followed by Toronto with a total wealth of $944 billion, Frankfurt ($912 billion) and Paris ($860 billion). The report further said that Mumbai also features among the top 10 cities in terms of billionaire population as the city is home to 28 billionaires, individuals with $1 billion or more in net assets.
National Highway Authority of India - The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is an autonomous agency of the Government of India, responsible for management of a network of over 50,000 km of National Highways out of 1,15,000 km in India. NHAI is going to launch a ranking system of the toll plazas. Every quarter, the three best toll plazas will be identified and their names will be published on the NHAI website. He said he was confident that the competitive atmosphere created by the ranking of toll plazas will improve the amenities and overall convenience for highway users.
Anti-Narcotics Scheme - It is a scheme created to assist state governments and Union Territories which are contributing in controlling the inter-state and cross border drug trafficking. Financial assistance will be provided to all the anti- narcotics agencies for strengthening their enforcement capabilities to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the notification said. Financial assistance is also proposed to be provided for all capacity building ctivities, including training of personnel. Taking into consideration the 40 lakh drug addicts in the country, the Centre has extended for three more years a scheme which combats illicit trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substance.
KUSUM - It is a government scheme to promote solar power production through solar farming. Titled as Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan (KUSUM) government has announced a fund of Rs 1.4 lakh-crore for the scheme. The scheme will work towards promoting solar power production a.k.a. solar farming up to 28,250 MW to help farmers. The Union Budget 2018-2019 has allotted Rs 48,000 crore to lead the scheme for a period of ten years. Some of the important facts about the Kusum scheme are 1.75 million off-grid agricultural solar pumps, build 10,000 MW solar plants on barren lands for solar farming and farmers will be given a chance to earn extra income if they help produce additional power by setting up solar power project on their barren land. The energy produced by the farmers on their barren land will be bought by the state electricity distribution companies (DISCOMS).The scheme is likely to decrease the consumption of diesel in the agriculture sector (used in pumps). KUSUM scheme also includes the distribution of 17.5 lakh solar pumps for which 60 per cent subsidy will be given to the farmers.
Green Good Deeds Campaign - It is programme launched by Government of India to sensitise the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming. Speaking on the launch of the compaign Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan has appealed to the teaching community to join the 'Green Good Deeds' campaign, launched by the Ministry to sensitise the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming. Addressing about 700 principals of all government schools from North Delhi Municipal Corporation, the Minister said that environment is a matter of global concern, as never before..
Further stressed that the whole world is concerned about the dangers of global warming and climate change. People in Delhi are already facing air pollution. Environment and its effects on the life of human beings are now on the agenda at every global forum. Everyone is looking up to India with expectationbecause they think that Indians have the DNA to protect the environment. Our ancestors had made protection of environment an integral part of their lifestyle. It was a 'part-n-parcel' of our culture - our ancestors worshipped the rivers, air, trees or forests and earth andexisted in harmony with the land.
Exam Warrior - Exam warrior is a book authored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for students facing exams. The book aims to get through to students across the country on the threshold of examinations, and hopes to help them thread the needle with ease.
The book was launched on Saturday by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi. The book will be translated in multiple languages and will be made available across the country. The book is 208 pages thick and is being published by Penguin Randon House India. In the book, the PM has penned down almost 25 mantras for students as well as their parents and teachers on how to tackle exams without stress and anxiety. The book highlights issues of importance to students such as coping with exam related stress, keeping calm during exams as well as what to do after the exams get over, a statement by the publishing house reads.
Solar City - Development of Solar Cities' programme is designed to support and encourage Urban Local Bodies to prepare a Road Map to guide their cities in becoming 'renewable energy cities' or 'solar cities'. The Solar City aims at minimum 10% reduction in projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years, through a combination of enhancing supply from renewable energy sources in the city and energy efficiency measures. The basic aim is to motivate the local Governments for adopting renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. In a Solar City all types of renewable energy based projects like solar, wind, biomass, small hydro, waste to energy etc. may be installed alongwith possible energy efficiency measures depending on the need and resource availability in the city. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has approved a proposed master plan to develop 50 solar cities, including three in the national capital region. Out of the proposed 60 solar cities, sanctions have been issued for 50 cities that include New Delhi, Agra, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Amritsar, New Town (Kolkata), Howrah, Madhyamgram, Kochi and Bhopal, as per the information available on the ministry's website.
Karnataka Flag -The Kannada flag is a bi-coloured flag identified with Karnataka, Kannadigas and Kannada language. The flag is divided into two equal horizontal strips, a yellow strip for the top half and a red strip below. The yellow and red colors in the flag represent Arrishna Turmeric and Kumkuma (Vermillion) which symbolize auspiciousness and well-being of the state. In general, the yellow and red colours signify positivity and courage respectively. A committee formed by the Karnataka government has recommended a separate flag for the state, discounting any constitutional or legal hurdles for it. The nine-member committee submitted its report on designing a separate flag for the state and providing a legal standing for it.
MSME Act - A single comprehensive act developed by the government of India for the growth and regulation of small enterprises. The act was conceived since there was a long outstanding demand of the sector so as to free it from a bundle of laws and regulations and visit of inspectors, which it had to face with limited awareness and resources. In order to remove the unnecessary hassles faced by the sector, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved change in the basis of classifying Micro, Small and Medium enterprises from 'investment in plant & machinery/equipment' to 'annual turnover'. This will encourage ease of doing business, make the norms of classification growth oriented and align them to the new tax regime revolving around GST (Goods & Services Tax). Section 7 of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006 will accordingly be amended to define units producing goods and rendering services in terms of annual turnover as a micro enterprise will be defined as a unit where the annual turnover does not exceed Rs five crore; a small enterprise will be defined as a unit where the annual turnover is more than Rs five crore but does not exceed Rs 75 crore and a medium enterprise will be defined as a unit where the annual turnover is more than Rs 75 crore but does not exceed Rs 250 crore.
Prime Minister Research Fellowship Scheme - It is a scheme which will enable 1000 best students who have completed or are in the final year of B. Tech or Integrated M.Tech or M.Sc. in Science and Technology streams from IISc/ IITs/ NITs/ IISERs/ IIITs to get direct admission in PhD programme in the IITs/IISc. Under this fellowship scheme, selected students will be offered a fellowship of Rs.70,000/- per month for the first two years, Rs.75,000/- per month for the 3rd year, and Rs.80,000/- per month in the 4th and 5th years. Apart from this, a research grant of Rs.2.00 lakh will be provided to each of the Fellows for a period of 5 years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers in international conferences and seminars. A maximum of 3000 Fellows would be selected in a three year period, beginning 2018-19. The scheme will go a long way in tapping the talent pool of the country for carrying out research indigenously in cutting edge science and technology domains. The research under the Scheme will address our national priorities at the one hand and shortage of quality faculty in the premier educational institutions of the country, on the other.
Google - It is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. Recently, India's antitrust watchdog today imposed a Rs. 136 Crore fine on Google for 'search bias' and abuse of its dominant position, in the latest regulatory setback for the world's most popular internet search engine. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said Google, the core unit of US firm Alphabet Inc, was abusing its dominance in online web search and online search advertising markets. According to a release from CCI, 'Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users. Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services'.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems and mechanical systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions), and self-correction. Particular applications of AI include expert systems, speech recognition and machine vision.
Recognizing the importance of Artificial intelligence (AI), The Department of Defence Production under the Indian Defence Ministry has constituted a task force headed by Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran to study use of artificial intelligence, which it said has potential to provide military superiority apart from driving technology-driven economic growth. According to an official release from Department of Defense production, 'Experts believe that future progress of artificial intelligence (AI) has potential to have transformative impact on national security. It is also seen that AI is essentially a dual use technology. While it can fuel technology driven economic growth, it also has potential to provide military superiority. India has a strong talent pool of engineers which are advantages which need to be leveraged. To study the whole gamut of issues surrounding strategic implications of AI in national security perspective, in global context, it has been decided to constitute a multi-stakeholder task force'.
Agni 1- Agni-1 is an indigenously developed surface-to-surface, single-stage missile which was inducted into service in 2004. The state-of-the-art missile is propelled by a solid rocket propellant system. It was launched as part of a regular training exercise by the armed forces. Agni-I missile with nuclear weapon carrying capability flight-tested successfully. India has successfully flight-tested the indigenously developed Agni-I ballistic missile that can carry a nuclear payload as part of a user trial by the Army from a test range off the Odisha coast. The Strategic Forces Command of the Army conducted the user trial of the 700 km range missile from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island in Balasore. It was 18th version of Agni-I, which could achieve all parameters within the stipulated time period, said defense sources.
The missile was inducted into service in 2004, the sources pointed out. The surface-to-surface, single stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was launched as part of a regular training exercise by the armed forces, said the sources. The trial reconfirmed the Army's readiness to fire it at short notice. The missile has a specialised navigation system, which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision. It has proved its excellent performance in terms of range and accuracy. The 15-metre-long Agni-I, weighing 12 tonnes, can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg. The last trial was successfully conducted on November 22, 2016 from the same base.
Prithvi 2 - It is a single-stage liquid-fueled missile having a maximum warhead mounting capability of 500 kg, but with an extended range of 250 km (160 mi). It was developed with the Indian Air Force which is being the primary user. India on Wednesday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile as part of a user trial by the Army from a test range in Odisha. The trial of the surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur near Balasore at around 11.35 a.m., they said. Describing the trial as a complete success, they said all mission objectives were met during the test launch. The perfect test launch came after successful trial of Agni-5 on January 18 and Agni-1 missile conducted from Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast on February 6.
Rhododendrons Park - It is located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. It contains two patches of area - 0.28 ha and 0.83 ha. Patch one was planted with 16 different species of Rhododendrons in first phase including Arboreum, Nerifolium, Hodgsonii, Keysii species of Rhododendrons.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has laid the foundation stone for Rhododendron Park in Tawang in presence of RWD Parliamentary Secretary Jambey Tashi, local MLA Tsering Tashi, PCCF Omkar Singh, Commander of 190 Mt Brigade Brigadier MP Singh and others. He also carried out plantation drive of different varieties of Rhodos. Tawang is home to 50+ different varieties of Rhodos.
ASH TRACK App - It is a web-based monitoring system and a fly-ash mobile application which would act as an interface between producers and consumers. These platforms will enable better management of the ash produced by thermal power plants by providing an interface between fly ash producers (thermal Power Plants) and potential ash users such as road contractors, cement plants etc. Proper management of fly ash is important not only for the environment but for us also as the ash produced by power plants occupies a lot of land space. Speaking at the launch of the app, R K Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, added that proper management of fly ash is 'important not only for the environment but for us also as the ash produced by the power plants occupies a lot of land space'. According to calculations by Ministry of Power, a 1000 MW thermal power plant require approximately 250 acres of land to dump its fly ash
Cryptocurrency - A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets.
Aiming to ensure crypto currencies doesn't move in Indian financial system, India is planning steps to ensure cryptocurrencies are illegal within its payments system. According to a government official, the government is also appointing a regulator to oversee unregulated exchanges that trade in crypto assets .Besides, a panel set by the government to look into issues relating to cryptocurrencies is expected to submit its report in the current fiscal year, ending on 31 March, S.C. Garg, economic affairs secretary Speaking to an news channel, Mr Garg said, 'The government will take steps to make it illegal as a payment system,' he said at a post-budget event telecast by the news channel, adding the trading of 'crypto assets' at the unregulated exchanges would be regulated. We hope now within this financial year the committee will finalise its recommendations ... certainly there will be a regulator'.
Sports Ministry -Aiming to include healthy competition between sports bodies Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is planning a ranking system for National Sports Federations. The implementation of the sports code - which, among other things, bars officials over 70 years old - will also be an important yardstick. 'This is the first time the sports ministry will attempt to put in place a system by which sports federations will be ranked or rated according to set parameters. The sports ministry will set up a committee for this purpose. The committee will comprise sports administrators, sportspersons and professionals from other fields, including chartered accountants and management experts,' said Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar. According to the plan, the NSFs will be ranked for the financial year 2017-18, and the list will be released by May. While the committee will conduct its own study, it will also ask NSFs to submit audited accounts, give details of how professional management practices have been implemented, and how effectively they have addressed players' grievances. However, no call has been taken on whether funds released to NSFs will be linked to the rankings. 'There is no plan to link rankings with funding at the moment. As of now, we want the ranking system to be an incentive for national sports federations to improve their internal systems of management, governance and talent promotion. Hopefully, these rankings will spur healthy competition between federations and will in turn help the athletes across disciplines,' said Bhatnagar.
Indian Cricket Team -Indian Cricket team took a fair lead over South Africa in the recent ODI series Indian Cricket team became the top-ranked team in ICC ODI Rankings. India after the 73-run win on Tuesday at Port Elizabeth, gave India an unassailable 4-1 lead in the six-match ODI series. Irrespective of how the final ODI in Centurion pans out, India will remain the top-ranked side in the world. Virat Kohli captained India are also the top-ranked Test side. India came into the six-match series in second spot on 119 points with South Africa leading by 121 runs. After taking a 2-0 lead in the series, India unofficially took the top-spot but now things will become official when the series concludes. After the 4-1 lead, India move to 122 points while South Africa drop to 118 points. A win for India on Friday and the Virat Kohli-led side would extend that gap with 123 points as against 117 points. However, should South Africa win, India will shed one point to become No. 1 with 121 points and South Africa will stand second on 119 points.
ICC World Cup (U-19) -The 2018 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup was an international limited overs cricket tournament that was held in New Zealand from 13 January to 3 February 2018. It was the twelfth edition of the Under - 19 Circket World Cup, and the third to be held in New Zealand (after the 2002 and 2010 events). New Zealand was the first country to host the event three times. India beat Australia by 8 wickets, lift 4th Under-19 World Cup title. Manjot Kalra brings up his century off 101 balls. This is India's fourth Under-19 World Cup title. Chasing a modest 217 in the summit clash, India romped home in just 38.5 overs with eight wickets in hand. The 19-year-old Kalra slammed his century off 101 balls. Kalra became second Indian after Unmukt Chand to score a hundred in the U-19 World Cup final. Earlier, Jonathan Merlo made a solid 76 before the India's left-arm spin duo of Shiva Singh and Anukul Roy sprung into action, limiting the opposition to 216 all out. At 183 for four, Australia looked well on course to reach 250 in a high-pressure until the Indian spinners engineered the collapse with Jason Sangha-led side losing its last six wickets for 33 runs. Australia, who had little hesitation in batting first, were guilty of not converting starts into big partnerships. Merlo and Param Uppal (34) were involved in a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket before the innings' top-scorer shared 49-runs with Nathan McSweeney (23) to set the platform for a competitive total. However, the momentum shifted hugely into India's favour when Shiva (2/36) set up Sweeney to have the batsman caught and bowled, leaving Australia at 183 for five.
India- Vietnam : India and Vietnam have agreed to intensify ties in defence and security, underlining that cooperation in the two key areas was an "important and effective pillar" of their strategic partnership. According to an India-Vietnam joint statement, the two sides also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism. The document was released by the Ministry of External Affairs after the delegation-level talks yesterday between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, which covered an entire gamut of issues.
Marshall Islands: Marshall Islands creates its own cryptocurrency to pay bills, boost economy. The Pacific island nation said it became the first country in the world to recognize a cryptocurrency as its legal tender when it passed a law this past week to create the digital ?Sovereign? or SOV. In the nation of 60,000, the cryptocurrency will have equal status with the U.S. dollar as a form of payment.
India-France: Cabinet has approved four agreements with France. The Union Cabinet today approved a string of agreements, including ones on people-to-people contact and environment protection, to be signed with France during the visit of its President Emmanuel Macron to India from March 9. One of the agreements cleared today relates to migration and mobility partnership between India and France and will be initially valid for a period of seven years. It incorporates provision for automatic renewal and a monitoring mechanism through a joint working group. "The agreement represents a major milestone in enhancing people-to-people contacts, fostering mobility of students, academics, researchers and skilled professionals and strengthening cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides," an official statement issued after the Cabinet meeting said. Another proposed agreement relates to facilitating mutual recognition of educational qualifications and periods of study undertaken by students in duly approved, recognised and accredited educational institutions in the two countries. The Cabinet also gave its nod to an agreement with France on the prevention of illicit consumption and reduction of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and chemical precursors.
Assembly Election : NDA sweeps Nagaland and Tripura. BJP-led NDA swept through Nagaland and Tripura, retaining the former and ending the 25-year-old rule of the left in the latter, elections in Meghalaya resulted in a hung assembly with the BJP likely to take power despite its low numbers. It is in Meghalaya where the situation will be interesting over the next two days. The state is heading towards a hung Assembly with the Congress and its allies and the BJP and its partners poised to get 21 seats each. In Tripura, the Bharatiya Janata Party rose from 1.5 per cent vote share in the last Assembly election. The party has topped nearly 43 per cent vote share and snatched the state from the hands of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Heli Taxi : Indias? first Helicopter shuttle (HeliTaxi) was launched in Bengaluru, with a group of passenger ferrying passengers from Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) to Electronics City in 15 minutes. According to sources, the helitaxi made two trips, with the first one taking off at 6.30 a.m. The helitaxi, touted to be the first such service in the country, was announced in August 2017 The service is being offered by KIA in partnership with Thumby Aviation Pvt Ltd, in an effort to reduce the time taken to travel to the city from the international airport.
Child Marriage: United Nations Children?s Children Fund has declared that Child marriage number dropping in India. Speaking at a meet organized by Thomson Reuters Foundation, Javier Aguilar, UNICEF's chief of child protection, said, ?25 million child marriages were prevented worldwide in the last decade, with the largest reduction seen in South Asia ? where India was at the forefront. India constitutes more than 20% of the world's adolescent population and accounts for the highest number of child marriages in South Asia given its size and population. Elaborating further he said, ?In the current trend, 27% of girls, or nearly 1.5 million girls, get married before they turn 18 in India. ?This is a sharp decline from 47% a decade ago?. Campaigners and officials attributed the drop in child marriages to better access to education for women and increased public awareness on the negative impact of child marriage.
Sukhad Yatra: It is a mobile for the National Highway Commuters of India, who wish to cross through a National Toll road in a pre-informed manner. The App also prevents frauds by way of overcharging by a Toll Plaza as it informs the user about the fee applicable. While on move, users can know the places of interest & Route to these places if he/she wishes. The App tells real time waiting time at a plaza as at a particular time. Once the user crosses a plaza, he/she can also give feedback of his experience through the toll plaza.
IMPRINT: IMPRINT is the first of its kind MHRD supported Pan-IIT + IISc joint initiative to address the major science and engineering challenges that India must address and champion to enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance. This novel initiative with twofold mandate is aimed at, (a) Developing new engineering education policy, (b) Creating a road map to pursue engineering challenges. IMPRINT provides the overarching vision that guides research into areas that are predominantly socially relevant.
Silver copper telluride (AgCuTe): Researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have found Silver copper telluride exhibits poor thermal conductivity in the 25-425 degree C range but shows good electrical conductivity. Developed by a team of researchers led by Dr Kanishka Biswas from Bengaluru?s Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) silver copper telluride (AgCuTe), shows promise as a thermoelectric material for converting waste heat into electricity.
Rationalization of public sector banks: State-owned lenders have started rationalising the overseas operations by consolidating 35 operations and closing down non-viable branches as part of the clean and responsible banking initiative. Presently, public sector banks have about 165 overseas branches, besides subsidiaries, joint ventures and representative offices. State Bank of India has the largest number of overseas branches (52) followed by Bank of Baroda (50) and Bank of India (29). The State-owned banks have largest number of branches in United Kingdom (32) followed by Hong Kong and UAE (13 each) and Singapore (12).
Women entrepreneurship platform: NITI Aayog launched the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), on the occasion of International Women?s Day on Thursday. The initiative is aimed at building an ecosystem for women across India to realise their entrepreneurial aspirations, scale-up innovative initiatives and chalk-out sustainable, long-term strategies for their businesses. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, launched the WEP platform at NITI Aayog premises in the capital today in presence of UN Resident Coordinator in IndiaYuri Afanasiev, Kailash Kher, industry leaders and supporting partners. The WEP theme song ?Naari Shakti composed and sung by Shri Kailash Kher was released on this occasion.
European development Bank : European development bank has approved Indias membership after shareholders of the international financial institution gave their nod to the countrys candidature. The move follows the Indian government?s application to seek the EBRD membership back in December 2017 and sets the stage for an increase in joint investment with Indian companies in the Banks regions of operation. The formal membership process will now get underway, which includes the purchase of shares by India at an estimated cost of around 1 million. The EBRDs board of governors, which represents all the existing shareholders of the UK-based bank, voted in favour of Indias membership application last week. If all the paperwork is processed in time, India could be ready to take its seat at the table in time for the banks annual meeting in Jordan in May. The London-headquartered EBRD is a multilateral development bank set up in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin wall to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in emerging Europe. It invests in 38 emerging economies across three continents, according to a set of criteria that aim to make its countries more competitive, better governed, greener, more inclusive, more resilient and more integrated.
Navjot Kaur: Navjot Kaur scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win gold at the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships in Bishkek. Navjot thrashed Japan's Miya Imai 9-1 in the final to emerge champion in the women's 65kg category. Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik took bronze in the women's 62kg category with a hard fought 10-7 win in the play-off over Ayaulym Kassymova of Kazhakstan. India now have a tally of one gold, one silver and four bronze medals in the competition.
Culture:This years Oscars were even more suspenseful and high-stakes than usual, with The shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro winning the Oscar for his film. While, Frances McDormand won the Oscar for Actress in a leading role in the film Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri?, the actor in a leading role when to Gary Oldman for his acting in Darkest Hour.