April, 2018

World’s oldest spider discovered in Australia

Scientists have discovered what may be the world’s oldest recorded spider – a 43-year-old arachnid in Australia.The Giaus Villosus trapdoor matriarch, had outlived the previous world record holder, a 28-year old tarantula found in Mexico. The spider has recently died during a long-term population study.

India, Pakistan to take part in war games

In a first, India and Pakistan will be part of a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia in September.The military exercise will take place under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The military drill would be held in the Ural mountains of Russia, and almost all SCO member countries will be part of it.

ISA to create ecosystems for startups

International Solar Alliance (ISA) will create ecosystems for startups in solar innovations by enabling incubation, partnerships, access to finance and standards.The task force is being chaired by SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman & CEO Masayoshi Son. This is a private sector-led task force under ISA to promote innovation in the areas such as solar finance, technologies and applications.

PHDCCI, Indian Yoga Association sign MoU

The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and the Indian Yoga Association (IYA) signed a MoU. The MoU will facilitate interaction and cooperation between the two organisations to promote wellness, spiritual and cultural tourism in the Krishna Circuit.Places associated with Lord Krishna constitute the Krishna Circuit in Uttar Pradesh.

Gujarat to launch water conservation project

The Gujarat Government will start a month-long initiative from May 1 to increase its water conservation capacity.Tasks like deepening ponds, desilting water reservoirs and check dams & repairing Narmada canal networks will be undertaken during the 31-day statewide “Sujalam Sufalam Water Conservation Initiative”. The government aims to increase rain water conservation capacity in the state.

RBI raised foreign participation in G-Secs

The Reserve Bank of India announced measures to raise exposure of Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) in government securities, a move that will help in softening yields.The cap on FPI investments in any Central Government security has been revised to 30 percent of the outstanding stock of that security. FPIs were required to invest in corporate bonds with a residual maturity of 3 years.

N Sikki Reddy recommended for Arjuna Award

Women’s doubles shuttler N Sikki Reddy has been recommended for Arjuna Award by the Badminton Association of India.G Sudhakar Reddy, who coached Kidambi Srikanth in his early days, has been recommended for Dronacharya Award. The 24-year-old Sikki had won the mixed team gold medal and the women’s doubles bronze at the recent Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast.

Lewis Hamilton won Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton took his first victory of the season at a dramatic and chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was forced to retire with just three laps to go. It was the first victory of the season for champions Mercedes.

Tramadol brought under narcotics law

Tramadol, a painkiller pharma drug, has been declared as a “psychotropic substance” by the Union Government & its sale in the country will now be strictly monitored.The Union Finance Ministry has brought the drug under the control of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.A gazetted notification to this effect was issued on April 26.

Indian fencer won silver medal at Reykjavik

India’s CA Bhavani Devi won a silver medal in the sabre event of the Tournoi World Cup Satellite Fencing Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland.Bhavani Devi had won a gold medal at the Reykjavik tournament last year to become the first Indian to do so in an international fencing event. The Tamil Nadu fencer defeated USA’s Alexis Browne in the final.

Indian juniors won Youth Olympic Qualifiers

India’s junior men’s team held their nerves to beat Malaysia 2-1 in the shootout to win the Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers.The victory will give India a chance to participate in the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires in August. The tournament was played in new Hockey 5’s format. In the women’s final, India lost to China & they ended their campaign as runners-up.

HDFC Bank launched humanoid IRA 2.0

HDFC Bank has announced the launch of IRA 2.0, its interactive humanoid in Bengaluru.IRA will interact with customers, answer bank-related queries, frequently asked questions, and guide them inside the branch with voice-based navigation. HDFC Bank also launched its virtual assistant ‘EVA’ on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The first version of IRA is currently stationed in Kochi.

Odisha launched Odisha Skills

Odisha government has inaugurated ‘Odisha Skills 2018’, the state-level chapter of India Skill competition organised by National Skill Development Corporation.The competition would give a platform to the students of Odisha to show their talents. A skill-cum-common facility centre for filigree craftsman of the city was also inaugurated.

Kavinder Gupta is new deputy CM of J&K

Former Jammu and Kashmir speaker Kavinder Gupta took oath as a minister in the Mehbooba Mufti government. Gupta took oath as the deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, replacing BJP’s Nirmal Singh, who will now become the assembly speaker. Kavinder Gupta is a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Gandhinagar constituency in Jammu district.

Google celebrates Dadasaheb Phalke’s birthday

Google dedicated a Doodle to ‘Father of Indian Cinema’ Dadasaheb Phalke on his 148th birth anniversary.Phalke made his directorial debut in 1913 with “Raja Harishchandra”, India’s first full-length feature. In 1969, the Government paid homage to this visionary filmmaker by dedicating an award in his name, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which recognises lifetime contributions to Indian cinema.

Ayushman Bharat Diwas on 30th April

As part of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, Ayushman Bharat Diwas is being celebrated across the country on 30th April.During the event, information regarding Ayushman Bharat Scheme is being provided to people during health camps organised in rural areas. The Ayushman Bharat programme seeks to provide easily available and affordable medical facilities in the remote parts of the country.

Rafael Nadal won Barcelona Open tennis title

World number one Rafael Nadal lifted his 11th Barcelona Open tennis title with a win over Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas.Nadal, who won his 400th match on clay in the semifinal, needed the victory in Barcelona to secure his No. 1 ranking.It was the 77th title overall for Nadal tying him with John McEnroe for fourth best in the Open Era.

Prajnesh won maiden singles title

Prajnesh Gunneswaran has clinched his first ever singles tennis title on the ATP Challenger circuit.The 28-year-old from Chennai, ranked 260, pocketed $21,600 and earned 125 points. It was second final at the Challenger level for left-handed Prajnesh, who had lost the Pune summit clash to Sadio Doumbia in October 2016.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to held in Varanasi

The next Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held in the holy city of Varanasi from January 21 to 23, 2019.The theme of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is “Role of Indian Diaspora in building a New India”. The Ministry of External Affairs will also organize four Know India Programmes and online “Bharat Ko Jaaniye Quiz”.

Pankaj Roy, Gaekwad to get Lifetime Award

30 : Former India batsman and two-time national coach Anshuman Gaekwad and former opener, late Pankaj Roy, have been recommended for the prestigious Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement award by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).The cash prize for the award is ` 25 lakh each. The BCCI Annual Awards will be held before the historic Test between India and Afghanistan in Bengaluru.

First-ever Mock Exercise on Bio-Disasters

National Disaster Management Authority conducted its first-ever Mock Exercise on Bio-Disasters at Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport in Patna.The exercise aimed at enhancing the preparedness of Airport Emergency Handlers to respond to CBRN emergencies at the airports. NDMA jointly with NDRF also conducted its first-ever full-scale Biological Management Emergency Exercise.

India won South Asian U-12 Tennis Championship

India has won the South Asian Under-12 Qualifying Tennis Tournament, defeating host Nepal in the finals.Indian girls and boys team defeated their Nepali opponents in the final by 2-0. Now both the Indian teams will participate in ITF Asian 12 and Under Team Championship to be played in Kazakhstan later this year.

AAI inked MoU with Civil Aviation Ministry

The Airports Authority of India has signed its Annual Performance Contract for the year 2018-19 with Ministry of Civil Aviation.The MoU specifies various parameters and targets to be performed by AAI during the year. The parameters and targets include all the major areas of AAI i.e. finance, capacity utilization, research and development, project implementation, HR and cargo etc.

India to grow at 7.5% in 2018-19

According to a Deutsche Bank report, the Indian economy is likely to clock a GDP growth of 7.5% this financial year.The report noted that higher global oil prices, risk of an earlier than anticipated rate hike cycle from RBI are some of the factors that pose downside risk to its baseline GDP estimate. According to the report, a $10 increase in oil prices can shave off growth by about 10 bps

All protected areas declared plastic free zone

The environment ministry has banned plastics in all protected areas around the country, thus declaring them “plastic free zones”.The environment ministry has directed states and Union territories to organize awareness campaigns to sensitize people about the issue. This comes ahead of the World Environment Day which is being hosted by India this year.

Budgam shortlisted for Modi’s excellence award

Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district has been shortlisted for PM Modi’s excellence award for promoting digital payments and cashless economy.Digital payments facility has been installed at 670 places across the district so far. In order to ensure successful implementation of the digital payments, the district administration has trained hundreds of local residents at Common Services Centers.

NHAI inked pact with Macquarie

National Highways Authority of India has entered into a pact with Macquarie for road projects under highway monetization drive.Funds generated from monetization of highways will be used for infrastructure programmes like Bharatmala, a 7 lakh crore road building imitative. Agreement worth $1.5 billion signed with Macquarie for 1st set of highway projects is one of the highest FDI in Highways

Sumit, Nikhat strike gold at Belgrade Boxing

Sumit Sangwan and Nikhat Zareen were among the three gold-medallists in India’s stupendous campaign at the 56th Belgrade International Boxing Tournament in Serbia.Also claiming a gold was Himanshu Sharma, who defeated Algeria’s Mohammed Touareg 5-0 in his final bout. India ended the tournament with three gold, five silver and five bronze medals in all.

Saudi Aramco appoints the first woman to the board

Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, the world’s top oil company has appointed its first female board member among five new members to its board of directors.Lynn Laverty Elsenhans, the former chairwoman, president and CEO of U.S. oil refiner Sunoco is the first female board member of Aramco. Elsenhans was named by Forbes as one of the world’s most powerful women in 2008.

Every village now has access to electricity

According to the government data, all of India’s 597,464 census villages now have access to electricity.The last village to be brought on the national power grid was Leisang village in the Senapati district of Manipur. Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2015 promised to electrify all un-electrified villages within 1000 days.

Pompeo sworn in as new US secretary of state

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been sworn in as the 70th US secretary of state after the Senate voted to confirm him, 57-42.Mike Pompeo replaces President Donald Trump’s first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.His confirmation creates a vacancy atop the CIA that will be filled, at least for now, by Gina Haspel, the intelligence agency’s No. 2 official.

International Buddhist meet begins in Lumbini

The International Buddhist Conference got underway in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.The conference aims to disseminate teachings of Buddha and spread the messages of nonviolence, brotherhood, co-existence, love and peace to the international community. Representatives from 16 countries including U.S., Japan, India, China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka will attend the conference.

North Korea to rejoin South’s time zone

29 : North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will move country’s clocks 30 mins forward to unify with South’s time zone.The 2 countries on divided peninsula had different time zones since 2015 when North changed its standard time to 30 mins behind the South. North will move to the time zone used before Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of peninsula to mark the 70th anniversary of its liberation from Tokyo.

RBI liberalized ECB norms

RBI has further liberalized norms for external commercial borrowing that will allow Indian companies to access cheaper funds from overseas markets.According to new norms, RBI has stipulated a uniform all in cost ceiling of 450 bps over benchmark rate.RBI also decided to increase the ECB Liability to Equity Ratio for ECB raised from direct foreign equity holder under automatic route to 7:1.

Expert panel to probe Film Archive issues

The I&B ministry has constituted a 5 member expert committee to look into the condition of films as well as the storage vaults at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI).The committee will also suggest ways and means to preserve the films in a better manner. The committee comprises filmmakers Shaji N Karun, Ketan Mehta, Piyush Shah and former NFAI director K S Sasidharan.

ICC scraped 50-over Champions Trophy

International Cricket Council has decided to convert the 2021 Champions Trophy, scheduled in India, into a World T20 event.Champions Trophy was the second-biggest 50-overs tournament after the World Cup. The number of teams competing varied over the years. This means that there would now be two ICC World T20 events in 2 years — the 2020 edition in Australia and the 2021 edition in India.

Paytm introduced ‘Tap Card’

Paytm has announced the launch of its offline payments solution – the Paytm Tap Card.The card uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to enable safe and convenient digital payments, completely offline at Paytm-issued, NFC PoS terminals. Tap Card has been launched to provide seamless payments solutions for non-internet customers.

Most trusted Internet brand in India

According to the TRA Brand Trust Report 2018, With 1.2 trillion searches per year Google is the most trusted Internet brand in India, followed by Facebook.E-commerce major Amazon, which had been ranking second since 2015, slipped to third position while e-Bay ranked fourth. The biggest falls in trust were seen by Snapdeal, who fell by 142 ranks over last year, Hike and Myntra.

India’s longest serving chief minister

Pawan Chamling has created history by surpassing the record of former communist ruler of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu, as the longest serving chief minister in the country.Chamling became the chief minister of Sikkim on December 12, 1994, and has ruled the tiny Himalayan state ever since. Chamling joined politics in 1973, and was elected to the Sikkim assembly for the first time in 1985.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work.It is held on 28 April and has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003. The theme for World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2018 is: Occupational safety health (OSH) vulnerability of young workers.

Wuhan summit: India-China to collaborate

India and China have decided to launch together a launch joint economic project in war-torn Afghanistan.This would be the first ever Sino-Indian joint initiative in a third country. The two sides also decided give to momentum to economic partnership and joint global projects in health and disaster management

Rahul Bhatia as interim CEO of Indigo

InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.’s director Rahul Bhatia has taken over as the interim chief executive officer after its president and director Aditya Ghosh unexpectedly resigned.Indigo is jointly owned by Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal. Indigo is the biggest airline in India and the biggest budget airline in Asia by market valuation.

A historic event: North-South Korea meet

In a historic turn of events, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on April 27, 2018 stepped into South Korean border for a day of talks with the Southern President Moon Jae-in.Kim and Moon signed “Panmunjom Declaration,” named after the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas.Both leaders also agreed to work jointly for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Govt. to acquire RBI’s stake in NHB

The government is all set to acquire the stake of Reserve Bank of India in housing finance regulator National Housing Bank (NHB),RBI currently holds 100 percent stake in the NHB. The Finance Bill 2018 has amended the National Housing Bank Act, 1987, for transferring RBI’s stake in the NHB to the government.

UNCCD workshop on land degradation

A four-day Asia Pacific Regional Workshop of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was held in New Delhi.The workshop was jointly held jointly hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and UNCCD Secretariat. Its objective was to discuss on how to build the capacity of the Asia-Pacific Region to monitor and report on land degradation

Saraswati Samman for Sitanshu

Eminent Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashaschandra’s poetry collection “Vakhar” has been chosen for the Saraswati Samman for 2017.The selection for the award is made by a high level ‘Chayan Parishad’ (selection committee), presided over by former secretary general of Lok Sabha, Subhash C Kashyap. The Saraswati Samman is awarded annually by the K K Birla Foundation.

Nod for procurement of NAG missile

The Defence Ministry approved military procurement worth Rs. 3,687 crore, which includes anti-tank guided missile NAG for the Army and long-range guns for the Navy.The proposals were cleared at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The DAC also approved the procurement of thirteen 127 mm caliber guns for the Navy.

Archery World Cup: India shines

India has won bronze in the compound mixed team event at the Archery World Cup.Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Surekha Vennam combined to beat the Turkish team of Yesim Bostan and Demir Elmaagacli by a score of 154-148. This win is Verma’s seventh overall World Cup medal and India’s second bronze in compound archery at the World Cups since the start of 2017.

Delhi govt to set up Rogi Kalyan Samiti

Delhi government has decided to set up ‘Rogi Kalyan Samitis’ in each constituency and ‘Jan Swasthaya Samitis’ in dispensaries and clinics.These Assembly Rogi Kalyan Samitis will play advisory role and will assist health facilities, develop and customize strategies. ‘Assembly Rogi Kalyan Samiti’ and ‘Jan Swasthaya Samiti’ will be provided Rs 3 lakh per annum as grand-in aid.

POCSO Act to be made gender-neutral

The Centre has proposed to amend the POCSO Act and make it gender-neutral.In 2017, the govt. had instructed the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to look into the issue. As of right now, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO) does not cover boys who suffer from sexual abuse.

Tejas fires air-to-air BVR missile

Indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas has successfully fired an air-to-air beyond visual range (BVR) missile.With this major milestone, Tejas has demonstrated its overall capability as an effective combat jet, and inched closer to receive final operational clearance. Nirmala Sitharaman complimented the DRDO and other agencies involved in making Tejas a world-class aircraft.

NITI Aayog VC: India to grow at 7.5%

Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar expects India’s economy to grow by at least 7.5 percent in 2018-19.Attributing this growth to improvement in investment cycle and capacity utilization, he has also prescribed for more action by govt. He has said that the government should now concentrate on consolidating the reform initiatives undertaken in the last 47 months.

Axis Bank posts first loss since 1998

Axis Bank has reported a net loss of Rs 21.88 billion for the quarter ended March 2018.This is the first time the bank has posted quarterly loss since its listing in 1998. The loss has been attributed to higher provisioning for bad loans. The lender substantially raised its provisioning to cover for bad loans and contingencies during the quarter to Rs 71.79 billion.

Alfie dies after court rejects appeal

Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old British toddler whose grave illness drew international attention, has died.Alfie had been in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year. A British court rejected an appeal by the parents on Wednesday to take their son to Italy. The case has provoked strong feelings over whether judges, doctors or parents have the right to decide on a child’s life.

Fitch retains India rating at ‘BBB-‘

Global credit rating agency Fitch has affirmed India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-’ with ‘stable’ outlook.‘BBB-’ rating indicates lowest investment grade. The rating was assigned to the country 11 years ago. Fitch had last upgraded the rating from ‘BB+’ to ‘BBB-’ with stable outlook on August 1, 2006. Fitch has projected India’s growth at 7.3 percent in current the fiscal.

Tennis: Ankita Raina included in TOPS

28 : Tennis player Ankita Raina has been included in the government’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).She has displayed good form this season both in the Fed Cup and the professional circuit. Ankita recently broke into the top-200, reaching a career-best 197 in the WTA rankings, becoming the third Indian to do so. Before Ankita, Sania and Nirupama Vaidyanathan have made it to the top-200.

RBI eases rules for foreign investors

RBI has removed the restriction that limited foreign investors to only investing in government and corporate bonds with tenures of three years or more.This decision can bolster the domestic bond market. The move comes after weak investor interest in two recent auctions that led to a spike in sovereign debt yields.

Indian Culinary Institute inaugurated

The Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) was inaugurated by Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons in Noida on April 27, 2018.The institute will further government’s commitment to creating skilled manpower in the field of hospitality.It will also help in promoting the research and development in Culinary Arts. Another ICI campus is being set up in Andhra Pradesh’s Tirupati.

Govt. collects Rs 7.41 trillion from GST

Govt. has collected Rs 7.41 trillion in taxes in the first year of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) between August 2017 and March 2018The revenues for four months have not been accounted for because of the mid-year rollout and an accounting lag. Under GST, the tax levied on consumption of goods or rendering of service is split 50:50 between the Centre and the states.

Former PM launches economist Rao’s book

Former PM Manmohan Singh recently released a book by Economist C H. Hanumantha Rao.The book is titled ‘My Journey from Marxism-Leninism to Nehruvian Socialism’. C H Hanumantha Rao was the former Planning Commission and Finance Commission member.

CSIR bags Intellectual Property Award

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been awarded the National Intellectual Property Award, 2018 for being the top research and development organisation for patents and commercialisation.The award was handed over by Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu to mark the World Intellectual Property Day. The CSIR was established in 1942.

Maharashta signed MoU with British Council

The Maharashtra government signed an MoU with the British Council to strengthen educational and cultural cooperation.With this MoU, the British Council hopes to expand its existing work in the state. The areas of potential collaboration include developing further initiatives to improve English teaching and enhance employability skills in schools and training institutes.

Agri Minister launched portal to export seeds

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh launched a portal to facilitate export-import of seeds and planting material.A seed import-export portal has been developed for making the trade process easy. With the launch of this portal, all organisations importing-exporting seeds will not be required to submit their applications in 20 copies.

AIIMS sets up India’s first VBN system

In a first in the country, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences set up Virtual Bronchoscopy Navigation (VBN) system.VBN is a facility for diagnosis and treatment of patients with small tumour-like spots in lungs. Very few countries like China, Singapore besides the US and Europe have this facility.

Intellectual Property Day observed on 26 Apr

World Intellectual Property Day is observed annually on 26 April. The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life”. The theme for this year was “Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity”.

Mahadevi Varma Is Today’s Google Doodle

Mahadevi Varma, celebrated Hindi poet, freedom fighter, women’s rights activist and educationist, was honoured by Google with a Doodle.In 1982, Mahadevi Varma received the Jnanpith Award for her outstanding contributions to Indian literature on April 27. She was also honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1956, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1979, and Padma Vibhushan in 1988.

Indu Malhotra sworn in as SC Judge

Senior lawyer Indu Malhotra was sworn in on 27th April as Supreme Court Judge. It is for the first time that the apex court has two women judges — the other being Justice R. Banumathi. Justice Malhotra is the fifth woman Judge of the top court. Justice Fatima Bibi was the first woman Judge of the Supreme Court. She is the 1st woman lawyer from the Supreme Court bar to be directly elevated.

India-Nepal IGC meeting began in Kathmandu

India-Nepal Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, transit and cooperation to control unauthorised trade in Kathmandu started on 26th April.The meeting provides a regular platform to review the implementation of past trade and transit agreements.IGC also deliberate upon day-to-day problems in regulation of Nepalese traffic-in-transit and issue of Indian investments in Nepal.

Mumbai to host food archaeology conference

Mumbai is hosting a conference that will look at food from point of views of history, archaeology and sociology.Titled “ArchaeoBroma”, the conference, to be held on May 5 and 6, is being touted as India’s first-ever national meet on “food as culture”. It will be organised by the India Study Centre Trust and the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies of the University of Mumbai.

Christine appointed as envoy on Myanmar by UN

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Christine Schraner Burgener of Switzerland as his new special envoy on Myanmar.Burgener was the Ambassador of Switzerland to Germany since 2015. From 2009 to 2015, she served as Ambassador to Thailand and led efforts to mediate between the two sides in the violence that erupted in Thailand in 2010.

1st Solar microgrid commissioned in Gujarat

Swedish-Swiss multinational giant ABB announced it has commissioned India’s first industrial solar microgrid at its Vadodara manufacturing facility in Gujarat.Microgrids with integrated battery energy storage allow cutting down of planned and unplanned power outages. A key benefit is a reduction in overall operational costs and reduced electricity bills.

New frog species takes historical name of Goa

In the highland plateaus of the Western Ghats parts of Goa, scientists have identified a new species of frog called ‘Fejervarya goemchi’.The new species is named after the historical name of the state of Goa where the species is discovered.The new species is found in the high elevation areas of laterite plateaus, temporary water bodies and paddy fields of Goa.

Govt approves pacts for supply of iron

The Cabinet approved a long-term agreement for export of iron to Japan and South Korea through state-owned trading firm MMTC.The range of quantity of iron ore to be exported would be 3.8 million tonnes per annum to 5.5 million tonnes per annum. MMTC will be supplying iron ore of grade 64 Fe, or high-grade content, to Japanese and Korean steel mills from Bailadila mines in Chhattisgarh.

BIS grants first license for Liquid Chlorine

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) granted First Licence to M/s Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd for Liquid Chlorine on All India basis.This is the First Licence granted on All India basis. The license has been made operative with effect from 12th April, 2018 for a period of one year. This product is in liquid form and stored in metal containers and used in paper, pulp, textile bleaching.

23rd meeting of Western Zonal Council

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the 23rd meeting of Western Zonal Council at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.During the last 3 years or so, two Council meetings and 3 Standing Committee meetings of the Western Zonal Council were held. Zonal Councils were set up under the States Reorganization Act, 1956 to foster Inter-State co-operation and co-ordination among the States.

BARC offers first indigenous bulletproof vest

The Bhabha Atomic Reseach Centre (BARC) has developed a next-generation bulletproof jacket for the Indian armed forces, which is not only cheaper but also much lighter.The bullet jacket, named Bhabha Kavach, will reduce the weight of jacket by nearly 50%. Bhabha Kavach is made of boron carbide and carbon nanotube polymer composite.

World Bank loan for Biopharma Mission

The government has secured a loan of about Rs. 1,600 crore from the World Bank to develop new vaccines, medical devices and medicines.The money will be disbursed over five years and is part of the Department of Biotechnology-led National Biopharma Mission. The goal is to have 6 to 10 new products in the next five years and it will create a slew of jobs.

India to get database on disasters by 2020

India will get a national database on disasters, which includes information on deaths, people affected and economic losses, by 2020.As India is a signatory to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, it has become imperative for the country to have a database ready by 2020. A baseline, using data from 2005-15, will be developed in order to track improvements in disaster management.

35.3 Lakh New Jobs Generated in 6 Months

Government think-tank Niti Aayog said 35.3 lakh new jobs were generated between September 2017 and February this year.This was based on the additions made in payrolls from Employees’ Provision Fund Organisation, Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority. The NITI Aayog said that the payroll data from these organisations would now be released every month.

NITI & ITC to transform agriculture sector

27 : NITI Aayog and ITC will collaborate in the area of agriculture and allied sectors in order to strengthen farming systems.The partnership is for a period of four years till April 2022 .The prime objective is to increase net returns from farming through reduction in costs of production and increasing productivity of major crops in each of the identified district.

RSM 2018 to be celebrated in Uttarakhand

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav 2018 will be organised by Ministry of Culture in Tehri, Uttarakhand under the Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat. It is the 19th edition & will be organised from May 25-27 2018, with its important thrust being presenting uniqueness & rich diversity of Indian culture Tehri Lake Festival will be a part of RSM 2018, where Uttarakhand Tourism organizes water sports for people.

Government makes an agreement with World Bank

The government has entered into a legal agreement with the World Bank for financing the research towards early development for bio-pharmaceuticals. The aim is to make India a hub for design and development of novel, affordable and effective bio-pharmaceutical products. This mission will mark the beginning of a new partnership between the Department of Biotechnology & the World Bank.

Maharashtra government to hold Startup Week

The Maharashtra government announced the launch of ‘Startup Week 2018’ in June this year, with a view to encourage and enable the entrepreneurial eco-system. The startup week will provide the new companies a platform to showcase their innovative products and services to the state government. Top 100 ventures will be selected to present their solutions to a selected panel.

India, Malaysia to hold military exercise

The Indian and Malaysian armies will hold a two-week military exercise beginning April 30 in Malaysia.The joint exercise ‘Harimau Shakti’ will take place in the dense forests of Sengai Perdik in Malaysia. This is the first instance wherein a joint training exercise of this magnitude involving Indian and Malaysian soldiers is being organized in Malaysia.

Gauri became Brand Ambassador for Haryana

The Haryana government has appointed shooter Gauri Sheoran as the Brand Ambassador for its Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign & Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK).Under the MR campaign, about 80 lakh children aged between 9 months and 15 would be vaccinated. RBSK is an initiative aimed at covering defects at birth, deficiencies, diseases, and disability.

Jeremy won 2 medals at Weightlifting C’ship

India’s Jeremy Lalrinnunga (56 kg) broke two national records to win the silver in Youth section and bronze medal in Junior section at the Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championship at Urgench, Uzbekistan.Jeremy created national records in youth boys and junior men during his lift of 250 kg.Sidhant Gogoi finished with bronze medal with a lift of 243 kg in Youth Boys section.

IISL launches Nifty equity savings index

The NSE’s arm India Index Services & Products Ltd (IISL) launched Nifty equity savings index that will serve as a benchmark for equity saving funds offered by various mutual funds.The base date for the index is April 1, 2005 and base value is 1,000. The index will capture the portfolio having exposure to equity, equity arbitrage & debt instruments.

India’s ranking in Press Freedom falls to 138

India’s ranking in the Press Freedom Index has fallen two places to 138.Norway topped the list of having the world’s freest press for the second year in a row. North Korea remained the most repressive country followed by Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Syria and then China. The report is published annually by Reporters Without Borders, the Index measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries.

HRD Ministry launches Unnat Bharat Abhiyan-2

Human Resource Development Ministry launched the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan-2 in New Delhi.Under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, students from 750 higher educational institutions from across the country will adopt villages and visit them. Under the scheme, the institutions have been selected on a Challenge Mode and has been extended to 750 reputed Higher Educational Institutes.

Manipur’s Shirui Lily festival began

Manipur’s five-day Shirui Lily State Festival commenced on 24th April in the Ukhrul district headquarters.The festival, organized by the State Tourism Department, aimed to spread awareness and conserve the endangered state flower ‘Shirui Lily’, while also promote the hill district as a potential tourist destination.The campaign is organized by The Giving Tree and Hill Wild.

National Bamboo Mission restructured

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Bamboo Mission under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture.The mission is to ensure holistic development of the bamboo sector. The Mission will focus on the development of bamboo in limited states where it has social, commercial and economical advantage, particularly in the North Eastern region.

Cabinet approves Schedules Areas in Rajasthan

Cabinet approved inclusion of some areas in Rajasthan under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution so that the tribals living there can avail benefit of protective measures under its provisions.The Cabinet revoked the Constitution order (CO) dated February 12, 1981 and promulgated a new CO. No additional funds are required as to be expended on account of the declaration of Scheduled Areas.

NITI Aayog launched Atal New India Challenge

The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under the NITI Aayog launched the Atal New India Challenge on April 26.Under the Atal New India Challenge, AIM will invite prospective innovators/MSMEs/start-ups to design market-ready products. Applicants showing capability, intent and potential to productize technologies will be awarded grants up to ` 1 crore.

MoU between India and Sao Tome and Principe

The government gave approval for an agreement signed between India and an African island nation, Sao Tome and Principe, to increase cooperation in the field of Medicinal Plants.The MoU assumes significance as there is a global increase in traditional and alternative healthcare systems. Medicinal Plants are a major resource base for the traditional medicine and herbal industry.

Cabinet nod to BRICS pact on medical products

The government approved the pact with medicine regulatory agencies of BRICS nations on cooperation in the field of regulation of medical products.The MoU would facilitate better understanding about the regulatory aspects between the parties and could help in increasing India’s export of medical products to BRICS. The approval was given by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister.

Cabinet approves MSP for Raw Jute

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for the increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Raw Jute.The increased MSP is based on recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. The Jute Corporation of India will be the Central Nodal Agency to undertake price support operations at MSP in the Jute growing states.

CSIR and DoT enter into MoU

CSIR entered into a MoU with DoT for synchronising the telecom network with Indian Standard Time (IST).The purpose of synchronising the telecom network with the IST is to enable the security agencies in analysing and correlating the cyber events. The project will also improve the network efficiency by reducing packet loss due to reduced slips in better synchronised digital network.

BCCI recommends Shikhar & Smriti for Arjuna

BCCI recommended Indian cricketers Smriti Mandhana and Shikhar Dhawan for the Arjuna Award.Shikhar Dhawan currently opens the innings for the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Sunrisers Hyderabad.Last year, the BCCI had recommended Cheteshwar Pujara and Harmanpreet Kaur for the award given by the Government of India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Indian Navy inducts 3rd LCU at Port Blair

The Indian Navy has inducted the third ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV project at Port Blair.LCU MK-IV ship is an amphibious ship and is capable of transporting combat equipment such as Main Battle Tanks Arjun, T72, and other Armored Vehicles. The command oversees India’s Andaman and Nicobar Island territories, including the strategic Strait of Malacca in the Indian Ocean.

Ola to set up Safety Council

Ride-sharing app Ola has set up a first-of-its-kind Safety Council to create a safe, inclusive, and sustainable mobility ecosystem.The Safety Council will act as a catalyst towards supporting the Government’s agenda to halve the road deaths and injuries by 2020. According to the Brasillia declaration, every year, 1.5 lakh people are killed and 5 lakh injured on Indian roads.