May, 2018

3rd Home Affairs Dialogue between India, UK

The third Home Affairs’ Dialogue between India and UK was held in New Delhi. The dialogue covered a wide range of issues including cyber security, women safety, organized crime and terror financing. Detailed exchange of views took place between the two sides on Indian fugitives and economic offenders residing in the U.K.

New Northern Army Commander

Lt Gen Ranbir Singh has been appointed as the new Northern Army commander. Lt Gen Singh succeeds Lt Gen Anbu who has been appointed as the Vice-Chief of the Indian Army. Lt Gen Ranbir Singh was the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) when India carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Discus thrower Vikas Gowda retires

Top Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda has retired after competing at the highest level for more than 15 years. Gowda, who holds the national record of 66.28m, is one of the most decorated Indian athlete, having won a gold in the 2013 and 2015 Asian Championships. Awarded the Padma Shri in 2017, Gowda became the second Indian in 56 years to win an athletics gold at the CWG.

Moody’s cuts India GDP growth forecast

Moody’s Investors Service has cut India’s 2018 growth forecast to 7.3% from the previous estimate of 7.5%. Moody’s said that the economy is in cyclical recovery but higher oil prices & tighter financial conditions will weigh on the pace of acceleration. Moody’s, however, maintained its 2019 growth forecast at 7.5%. Moody’s said growth should benefit from an acceleration in rural consumption

WTO to set up dispute panel

The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) dispute settlement body has agreed to set up a panel to examine America’s allegations against certain alleged export subsidy measures in India. The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body agreed to a request from the US for the establishment of a dispute panel. India’s exports to the US stood at USD 42.21 billion in 2016-17.

Yes Bank inks MoU with SIDBI

Yes Bank has entered into an agreement with SIDBI under which it will act as a preferred financial institution for giving loans to the small and medium enterprising customers. This will facilitate smooth flow of credit in a hassle-free manner to MSME customers availing term loan facility from SIDBI. Small enterprises will also be entitled to use Yes Bank’s varied banking solutions.

Microsoft becomes third most valuable firm

Microsoft has surpassed Alphabet, in the market capitalisation for the first time in 3 years, becoming the 3rd most valuable firm after Apple & Amazon globally. On May 29, 2018, Microsoft reportedly had a market cap of $753 billion at the close of trading, almost $14 billion ahead of Alphabet. Apple leads with a market cap of $924 billion & Amazon is at second spot with nearly $783 billion.

Sikkim govt approves MSP organic commodities

Sikkim government has approved Minimum Support Price (MSP) for various organic horticultural commodities, mostly vegetables, being produced in the state in order to protect the interests of the farming community. The Sikkimese farmers will get differential MSP for the organic commodities. Sikkim government had banned sale of 27 non-organic food products in the state from April 1, 2018.

Upgraded Pinaka rocket successfully test-fired

An upgraded version of Pinaka rocket, with a guidance system and an enhanced range, was successfully test-fired from the Proof & Experiment Establishment at Chandipur in Odisha. Pinaka has now been upgraded into a guided version, with a navigation, guidance & control kit developed by the Research Centre, Imarat, Hyderabad. The conversion helped in enhancing the range and accuracy of Pinaka.

Rare, isolated neutron star discovered

NASA scientists have discovered a special kind of neutron star for the first time outside of the Milky Way galaxy. Neutron stars are the ultra dense cores of massive stars that collapse and undergo a supernova explosion. The newly identified neutron star was discovered using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

India-Nepal joint military exercise begins

A joint military exercise between India and Nepal began on May 30 in Uttrakhand. The military exercise, which is set to conclude of June 12, is called ‘Surya Kiran’ and is conducted alternatively in India and Nepal every six months. Surya Kiran with Nepal is India’s largest military exercise in terms of troop participation.

ICAI comes out with accounting standards

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has issued accounting standards for local bodies with respect to cash flow statements. The Accounting Standards for Local Bodies are aimed at ensuring that the financial reporting by local bodies reflects how efficiently and effectively local bodies have discharged their responsibilities. ICAI has issued the ‘Cash Flow Statements’.

India, Indonesia to set up task force

India and Indonesia have agreed to set up a special task force to enhance connectivity between the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands and provinces in Sumatra Island. This will promote trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts. The Joint Task Force will undertake projects for port related infrastructure in and around Sabang which is an Indonesian island.

U.S. Pacific Command renamed

The United States renamed its strategically important Pacific Command (PACOM) to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.Representatives from Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, India, New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Nepal attended the change-of-command ceremony in Pearl Harbor.The renaming recognizes India’s increasing military relevance for the US.

Andhra Pradesh gets new state bird & flower

Andhra Pradesh government has decided to notify ‘Rose-ringed parakeet’ popularly known as ‘Rama Chiluka’, as the state bird. The neem is the official tree of the Andhra Pradesh. The blackbuck is the animal while Jasmine as its state flower. Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated to create Telangana in June 2014.

Panel ‘must’ for reviewing ratings

Credit rating agencies (CRAs) will have to form a review committee of mostly independent members to decide on any request for a rating review. CRAs will have to disclose on their website all ratings that are not accepted by an issuer for at least 12 months. SEBI has proposed these measures as part of its attempts to strengthen the governance, accountability and functioning of CRAs.

World No Tobacco Day observed on 31 May

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed around the world every year on 31 May. It is intended to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe. The World Health Organisation(WHO) has designated 31st May of each year as the World No Tobacco Day. The theme for 2018 is “Tobacco and heart disease”.

Guidelines for Adventure Tourism launched

The Government is for the first time issuing guidelines for Adventure Tourism in India. The guidelines on Safety and Quality Norms for Adventure Tourism in India have been formulated along with the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India. The aim of this initiative is to help adventure tour operators understand and execute safety guidelines in a better manner.

RIMPAC from June 27, 2018

As many as 26 countries, including India, would participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military exercise from June 27 to August 2, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. RIMPAC is known as the world’s largest international maritime exercise. Four countries — Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam — are participating in RIMPAC for the first time in 2018.

Krishna Murari as CJ of Punjab and Haryana HC

31 : The Union Law Ministry has cleared the appointment of Justice Krishna Murari of the Allahabad High Court as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. Justice Murari will succeed former chief justice S J Vazifdar, who retired on May 3. Punjab and Haryana High Court is the common High Court for Haryana, Punjab and Union Territory of Chandigarh.

India’s external debt rises to US$ 529.7 bn

India’s external debt increased US$ 58.4 billion or 12.4% to US$ 529.7 billion end-March 2018 over its level at end-March 2017. The increase in the magnitude of external debt was partly due to valuation loss resulting from the depreciation of the US dollar against major currencies. Debt service payments have declined to 7.5% of current receipts in 2018 as compared with 8.3% in 2017.

Talks on bilateral social security agreement

India and China have agreed to start formal negotiations on a bilateral social security agreement. So far, India has signed social security agreements with 18 countries from different parts of the world. The bilateral social security agreements are aimed at protecting the interests of Indian professionals, skilled workers working abroad.

India signed loan agreement with World Bank

India has signed a loan agreement with the World Bank for USD 21.7 Million for strengthening the public financial management in Rajasthan project. The project aims to contribute to improved budget execution, enhanced accountability and greater efficiency in Revenue Administration in Rajasthan.It also involves strengthening of expenditure & revenue systems and project management among others

International day of UN Peacekeepers

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is observed every year on May 29 to pay tribute to all men & women who have served & continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations. Theme of International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2018 is UN Peacekeepers: 70 Years of Service & Sacrifice. So far India has taken part in 43 Peacekeeping missions with a total contribution exceeding 180,000 troops.

Ajit Doval is the National Security Adviser

R K Agrawal appointed NCDRC president. Justice R K Agrawal has been appointed as the next President of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. Justice Agrawal will take over from Justice DK Jain who retires on May 31, 2018. The NCDRC, which deals with consumer rights and addresses their disputes and grievances, is a quasi-judicial commission set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.

Pankaj Saran appointed Deputy NSA

India’s envoy to Russia Pankaj Saran has been appointed as the Deputy National Security Advisor. He served twice in the Prime Minister’s Office – First as Deputy Secretary during 1995 and 1999, and then as the Joint Secretary between 2007 and 2012. He had held various positions in India & abroad including country’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh.

Power Minister R K Singh launched PRAAPTI

Power Minister R K Singh has launched web portal and App called PRAAPTI. ‘Praapti’ stands for ‘Payment ratification and analysis in power procurement for bringing transparency in involving of generators’. It aims to bring transparency in power purchase transactions between Generators and power distribution company- Discoms.

‘Gaj Yatra’ campaign launched in Meghalaya

The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and the Wildlife Trust of India rolled out the ‘Gaj Yatra’ from Tura, Meghalaya. It aims to raise awareness about the shrinking space for India’s wild elephants & the importance of securing elephant corridors. The event involves taking an elephant mascot across districts frequented by jumbo herds for generating awareness among the people.

MD Mallya appointed as independent director

ICICI Bank has appointed MD Mallya as an additional independent director on the board. Mallya in the past has served as the managing director & chairman of Bank of Baroda. Mallya’s tenure is for a period of 5 years, it is subjected to the approval of shareholders. Mallya was also engaged extensively with the government as Indian Banks’ Association chairman.

India, Russia conclude negotiations for S-400

India has concluded price negotiations with Russia for a nearly Rs 40,000 crore deal to procure S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems for the Indian Air Force. S-400 Triumf can detect, track & shoot down multiple targets including cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, aircraft, drones & UAVs. S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.

Bengal’s Chau mask acquires GI fame

The Chau mask of Purulia, the wooden mask of Kushmandi, the Patachitra, the Dokras of Bengal, and Madhurkathi (a kind of mat) have been presented with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. The GI tag has been given by the Geographical Indication Registry and Intellectual Property India. A GI tag connects the quality and authenticity of a given product to a particular geographical origin.

Himachal launches app for ration card holders

The food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department of Himachal Pradesh has launched a mobile app for ration card holders.The app will function as a digital ration card and beneficiaries can open it on their android phones to make transaction at fair price shop, submit complaints and suggestions and contact department officers.This app is available under the name of ePDS.

Bangladesh CG ship at Visakhapatnam Port

A Bangladesh Coast Guard Ship, Tajuddin, arrived at the Visakhapatnam Port. The aim of the visit is to develop working level operation between Coast Guards of maritime nations and enhance interoperability in the fields of maritime search and rescue, anti-piracy operations. Tajuddin has participated in the 10th Regional Co-operation Agreement (ReCAP) for safe and secure sea in February 2017.

WCD ministry, UP govt sign MoU

A MoU has been signed between the Women and Child and Development (WCD) Ministry and the Uttar Pradesh government for managing a shelter home for widows in Vrindavan. The MoU shall be in force for a period of two years. According to the MoU, the UP government shall be responsible for activities including setting up mechanism for identifying beneficiaries and other norms.

Goa Celebrates its Statehood Day on May 30

Goa attained full statehood on 30th May 1987 and became India’s 25th state. Daman and Diu were separated from Goa and continue to be administered as a union territory. Earlier, Goa was a union territory, namely, Goa, Daman and Diu for all administrative and governance considerations.

Study centre on Brahmaputra river

The Central government announced that a Brahmaputra Study Centre would be set up at Gauhati University to conduct research on the causes of and how to prevent frequent floods in the river. The fund for setting up the study centre will be provided by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region. The study centre would offer an opportunity for research in different aspects of the river.

Trai to tap blockchain to curb spam calls

In a first of its kind initiative, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued draft guidelines to curb pesky calls and SMSes by using blockchain technology. Blockchain will ensure two things—non- repudiative and confidentiality. Only those authorised to access details will be able to access subscriber details and only when they need to deliver service.

Ruthenium found to have magnetic properties

Scientists have demonstrated that the chemical element ruthenium (Ru) is the fourth single element to have unique magnetic properties at room temperature. The discovery could be used to improve sensors, devices in the computer memory and logic industry. Only 3 elements have been found to be ferromagnetic at room temperature — iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni).

WHO Adopts Digital Health Resolution

The resolution on digital health brought out by India was adopted by the 71st World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). The 71st World Health Assembly was held in Geneva and was attended by delegations from all WHO member states. The resolution paves the path for WHO to establish a global strategy on digital health.

Global health monitoring mechanism launched

The World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank Group has launched a new mechanism that intends to strengthen global health security. The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board was created on the margins of the 71st Session of the World Health Assembly on 24th May. The Board’s Secretariat will be housed at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

‘Santokbaa Humanitarian’ award

30 : Child rights activist and Noble Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and space scientist A S Kiran Kumar, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), were given ‘Santokbaa Humanitarian Award’. The award was presented by the President of India. The award is instituted by Shree Ramkrishna Knowledge Foundaton (SRKKF).

SEBI to implement system-driven disclosures

Markets regulator SEBI will soon put in place system-driven disclosures for non-promoters, directors and certain class of employees of listed companies. The system-driven disclosures in securities market was introduced in December 2015 and is being implemented in a phased manner. It has already been put in place with respect to disclosures of promoter/ promoter group.

EU to observe Zimbabwe polls for first time

The European Union will deploy observers to Zimbabwe’s general election expected in July, the first time in 16 years the bloc will monitor polls in the southern African country. The EU and Zimbabwe’s government signed a memorandum outlining guidelines for election monitors. Zimbabwe formally invited the EU in March to send an election observation mission.

Approval for petrol, diesel futures

The oil ministry has given its in-principle approval for futures trading in petrol as well as diesel. The Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX) had approached SEBI seeking its nod to launch petrol and diesel futures contracts. The contracts are expected to help hedge against volatility in oil prices.

Defence Secretary to be the DRDO chief

The government has asked Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra to hold additional charge of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). This comes after Eminent scientist S Christopher completed his term as the Chief of DRDO. Christopher was appointed as the Director General of the DRDO for a two-year term in May 2015 and was given a one-year extension in May 2017.

Dehradun to host main event on yoga day

Dehradun will be the venue for this year’s national programme on the International Yoga Day on June 21 2018. The main International Yoga Day event was held at Lucknow in 2017. International Day of Yoga is celebrated annually on 21 June since 2015.An international day for yoga was declared by the United Nations General Assembly.

Haryana constitutes Animal Welfare Board

Haryana Government has constituted the State Animal Welfare Board for Animal Welfare. The Board has been constituted under the chairmanship of additional chief secretary, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. The Director General, Animal Husbandry and Dairying would be the member secretary of the Animal Welfare Board.

Coal India’s first thermal power plant

Coal India Ltd (CIL) will develop its first-ever thermal power plant in the country in Odisha. The project will be implemented through CIL’s subsidiary, Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL). The power plant, which will have a capacity of 1,600 MW, will come up at Sundergarh district. NTPC Ltd will be a joint venture partner and will likely have a 49 per cent stake.

First Indian to receive Linnean Medal

Indian botanist Kamaljit Bawa received the Linnean Medal in Botany from Linnean Society of London. Bawa is the 1st Indian to win the award ever since it was constituted in 1888. He was recognised for his pioneering research on evolution of tropical plants, tropical deforestation & non-timber forest products. Linnean Medal is awarded to a biologist every year by the Linnean Society of London

Procedure to bring back economic fugitives

The Centre has notified procedures for execution of court order to bring back economic fugitives. This will help in serving and executing warrants against fugitive economic offenders. The rules come on the back of the ordinance promulgated on April 21 and have come into force immediately. The rules will be known as ‘Fugitive Economic Offenders Rules, 2018’ and come into effect on May 25.

Ceat Cricket Rating awards for 2017-18

India skipper Virat Kohli won the International Cricketer of the Year Award at the CEAT Cricket Ratings awards. Opener Shikhar Dhawan was presented the International Batsman of the Year Award, while New Zealand’s Trent Boult won International Bowler of the Year Award. Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, was presented with the T20 Bowler of the Year Award.

Yuvraj awarded the icon of the year award

Indian star cricketer Yuvraj Singh has been awarded the ‘most inspiring icon of the year for Social Welfare”. The award was given by the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival for his exemplary contribution in the field of social welfare. Yuvraj opened his foundation ‘YouWeCan’ that focuses on creating cancer awareness.

Odisha police, UNICEF join hands

Odisha government launched ‘Paree Pain Katha Tiye’ (A word for the little angel), an awareness campaign against child sexual abuse. UNICEF and the State police have joined hands for the campaign to create the awareness on the importance of preventing child sexual abuse. In each district, the campaign will be led by the Superintendent of Police and District Collector.

‘AI arm, IndiGo among lowest cost worldwide’

Air India’s low-cost international arm Air India Express and budget carrier IndiGo are among the top five lowest cost airlines in the world, according to Melbourne-based travel planning site Rome2rio. India ranks fourth among 46 countries with lowest average air fares. The study ranks 200 airlines in the world on the basis of average price per kilometre.

IMD To Team Up with BSNL For Weather Warnings

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is teaming up with state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to send extreme weather warnings to people. The alerts will be about impending extreme weather conditions such as storms and heatwave.The exercise is being carried out in an experimental stage, and if successful the plan is to rope in other weather agencies.

DAC approves procurement of equipments

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, approved the procurement of equipment valued at over Rs 6,900 crore. This includes Thermal Imaging Night Sights for the Rocket Launcher for accurate targeting of enemy bunkers. The DAC, under the Defence Minister was constituted for overall guidance of the defence procurement planning process.

Google celebrates the founder of the pH scale

Google honoured Danish biochemist, Soren Peder Lauritz Sorensen, for his revolutionary work in the concept of the pH scale. The pH scale is a concept that is used to measure acidity and alkalinity of substances. The significance of pH is that it measures the concentration of the hydrogen ion and ‘ranks’ them on a scale of numbers between 0 and 14.

Nepal to announce first federal budget

29 : Nepal’s Finance Minister will present the first federal budget of the Himalayan nation after completing the three-tier elections held simultaneously in the year of 2017. The Government of Nepal is expected to unveil the budget of about 16 trillion for the upcoming fiscal year. The Constitution of Nepal mandates the government to unveil the budget in a joint meeting of federal parliaments.

NIC launched fourth data centre in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar has become the fourth National data centre of National Informatics Centre (NIC) after Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune. The new cloud-enabled National Data Centre aims to offer round-the-clock operations with secure hosting for various e-governance applications of Central and State Governments. Almost all Indian-government websites are developed and managed by NIC.

Tata Trusts signs MoU with govt

Tata Trusts has joined hands with the government to help it in development initiatives in 8 worst Naxal-affected districts in Chhattisgarh. These districts are covered under “transformation of aspirational” districts programme of the NITI Aayog. Tata Trusts will help the government in conducting surveys & providing ground level & technical support in raising the living standards of citizens.

Gujarat launches policy to reuse waste water

The Gujarat government unveiled its ‘Reuse of Treated Waste Water Policy’ which aims to reduce the state’s dependence on fresh water sources like the Narmada river. The policy will promote the use of treated waste water and will see the setting up of sewage treatment plants. The treated water would be used in industrial units, thermal power plants, gardening and in the construction sector.

BCCI, UN Environment sign agreement

The BCCI and UN Environment have signed an agreement to promote ‘green’ Cricket in India. The partnership aims to spread greater awareness about key environmental challenges facing the country, and highlight alternate and more sustainable solutions. The partnership will also focus on phasing out single-use plastic across stadiums in the country.

Oldest Indian woman to scale Mount Everest

Sangeeta Bahl, at the age of 53 has become the oldest Indian woman to scale the Mount Everest. She scaled the peak on May 19, 2018, with the help of 2 Sherpas and was felicitated at the Indian embassy in Kathmandu. She carried a banner to the peak advocating early detection of breast cancer in women & funding for the same. She has already conquered 6 out of the 7 highest peaks of the world.

India launches its second IT corridor in China

India has launched its second IT corridor in China to cash in on the booming Chinese software market. NASSCOM has now set up one more digital collaborative opportunities plaza, also known as the SIDCOP platform, in China’s Guiyang. In December 2018, the NASSCOM established its first SIDCOP platform in the Chinese port city of Dalian, which is India’s first IT hub in China.

EPFO cuts administrative charges to 0.5%

Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s trustees had decided to cut the administrative charges to 0.50% from 0.65% of total wage paid by employers in its meeting this year. EPFO decided to cut the administrative charges in view of its expanding business and high recovery of such fees. According to EPFO estimates, the employers would save in total around ?900 crore annually after this move.

HP govt to promote organic farming

The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to promote organic farming in a big way and plans to adopt an integrated approach for promoting organic and zero budget natural farming system. The government has introduced ‘Prakritik Kheti Khushhaal Kisaan Yojana’ (PKKKY). PKKKY will enhance agricultural income by adopting low-cost climate-resilient Zero Budget Natural Farming System.

Pant named Emerging Player of IPL 11

Delhi Daredevils wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant was named Emerging Player of IPL 11. Sunil Narine also picked up two awards — Super Striker and Valuable Player. Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson (735 runs) got the Orange Cap while Kings XI pacer Andrew Tye (24 wickets) got the Purple Cap.

Tripura govt to phase out plastic carry bags

The Tripura government has set August 15 as the deadline to phase out plastic carry bags. The government, as part of the ‘Himalayan Cleanup’ programme, urged people to replace their plastic bags with biodegradable ones. The Himalayan Cleanup campaign has been launched by a Delhi-based organization in 12 mountain states in the country to end plastic pollution in the hilly areas.

RBI appoints Sudha as its first CFO

National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) executive Sudha Balakrishnan has been appointed as the first chief financial officer (CFO) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Balakrishnan, a chartered accountant, was until recently a vice-president at the NSDL, India’s first and largest depository. She will be the 12th executive director at RBI, and will serve a three-year term.

India to attend WTO members meet in Paris

India and other key members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will discuss ways to combat growing protectionism across the world at an informal meeting of select Trade Ministers at the OECD meet in Paris. India has been invited to participate in the informal Ministerial meeting hosted by Australia in Paris. The OECD meet is taking place between May 31 and June 3.

Akshay launches ad campaign for Swachh Bharat

Akshay Kumar launched an advertisement campaign for the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen). The campaign was launched at a Collectors Convention for Toilet Technology. The campaign focuses on promoting the twin pit toilet technology in rural India. The advertisement campaign launched is an effort, supported by the World Bank.

UP-Mumbai freight corridor open from August

The first phase of India’s longest freight corridor connecting Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai is set to be inaugurated on August 15, 2018. This was disclosed by the chairman of the Railway Board Ashwani Lohani, who inspected the 190km-long Ateli-Phulera section of the dedicated railway freight corridor between Dadri in UP and Mumbai. It is part of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor.

Mountain ranges discovered beneath Antarctica

Mountain ranges and valleys have been discovered by scientists deep beneath the Western Antarctic ice region. This discovery will contribute to the rising global sea levels. Three valleys were discovered by the researchers linking the two major parts of Antarctica, out of which, one is 217 miles long.

Bill to allow Hindu widows to remarry

A landmark Bill allowing Hindu widows to remarry has been passed by the assembly of Pakistan’s Sindh Province. The bill allows Hindu widows to remarry out of their own free will but only after a period of six months has lapsed after their husband’s death.The bill also grants Hindu women the right to file a petition for dissolution of a marriage if they want to terminate their marriage.

China invites Iran to attend SCO summit

China has invited the Iranian President to participate in the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit being organised in June 2018. The summit will be the first after the inclusion of India and Pakistan as members of the organisation in 2017. Iran, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and Belarus have been granted observer status.

Deliberations on Punchhi commission report

Standing committee of the Inter-State Council has completed deliberations on Punchhi Commission’s recommendations. Punchhi Commission deals with the responsibility and jurisdiction of the Centre during major outbreaks of communal and caste violence. Government had constituted this Commission on Centre-State Relations under the Chairmanship of former CJI Madan Mohan Punchhi on April 27, 2007.

Chennai Super Kings lift their 3rd IPL title

Chennai Super Kings lifted their third Indian Premier League title after defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets in Mumbai. Shane Watson’s century helped Chennai to defeat Hyderabad. Shane Watson was declared as Man of the Match.

Queen Maxima of Netherlands arrives India

Queen Maxima of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who is also the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development arrived in New Delhi on a four-day visit to India. Netherlands is the 5th largest investor in India. During Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s visit to India, the former became an official partner of the International Solar Alliance.

‘Clean Air India Initiative’ launched

Prime Minister of Netherlands Mark Rutte launched the ‘Clean Air India Initiative’ in Delhi. The campaign aims to curb air pollution in Indian cities by promoting partnerships between Indian start-ups and Dutch companies. The Clean Air India Initiative is a project between Get In The Ring, a platform for start-ups, the Government of the Netherlands, Start-up India, and INDUS Forum

EC plans to discuss about unpublished roll

The Election Commission will soon examine the New Zealand model, which allows eligible people to vote even if their names are not on the printed roll for valid reasons. The concept of a ‘unpublished’ (confidential) roll will also be discussed. ‘Unpublished’ roll is for those who fear making their details available on the printed roll for security reasons.

Nasir Ul Mulk to be the interim Prime Minister

28 : Pakistan has appointed former Chief Justice Nasir Ul Mulk as interim Prime Minister until general elections are held on July 25, 2018. Mulk has also served as the interim chief of the Election Commission of Pakistan. The interim administration usually does not make any major decisions until the new government is elected.

Patratu super thermal power project

Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone for the 1st phase of 2400MW Patratu super thermal power project in Jharkhand. The project is a 74: 26 joint venture between Government of Jharkhand and Patratu Vidyut Utpadan Nigam, a subsidiary company of NTPC. It will allocate 85% of the power to Jharkhand that will benefit the state in the long run & will help in economic growth of the region.

Yes Bank empanelled as ‘Settlement Bank’

Yes Bank has received approval from National Stock Exchange to be empanelled as Settlement Bank for National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC), a wholly owned subsidiary of NSE. NSCC is responsible for clearing and settlement of all trades executed on NSE. The Bank is already an empanelled Clearing Bank for BSE, NCDEX & MCX.

Hamburg to host 2018 Global Wind Summit

The first edition of the Global Wind Summit will be held in Hamburg, Germany from September 25-28, 2018. The event will provide a platform for experts from across the globe to discuss innovative and green technologies for harnessing wind energy making. India is the fourth largest country after China, US, and Germany in terms of wind energy installation capacity at around 33 GW.

Manipur gets first solar toilet

Manipur has become the 1st state in Northeast & the 3rd state in India to have solar toilets. It was inaugurated at Ibudhou Marjing hill Heingang by Tourism Director, Waikhom Ibohal. The solar panel, connected to the toilets, absorb heat to generate power & are efficient to transform waste material. Besides Manipur, these toilets have been installed in Tamil Nadu & Andhra-Pradesh.

Insurance cover for all Telangana farmers

Telangana government has announced that it would provide life insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh each to all farmers in the state. The Telangana government has tied up with LIC for implementation of the scheme. Irrespective of the reasons due to which a farmer dies, the insured amount of Rs 5 lakh shall be paid to the nominee proposed by the insured farmer within 10 days of the claim.

Ireland overturns abortion ban

Ireland has voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to overturn the abortion ban. Result was a landslide 66.4% ‘yes’ vote against 33.6% who voted ‘no’. Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman’s life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality. One of the key cases influencing the debate on abortion in Ireland was that of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar.

Real Madrid won the 2017–18 Champions League

Real Madrid have claimed yet another Champions League title by beating Liverpool FC 3-1 in the final. It is the third consecutive year that Real Madrid have won the tournament and the fourth such in five years, taking their total tally to a record 13 titles. Madrid’s Gareth Bale became the first player ever to come on as a substitute and score twice in a European Cup/Champions League final.

Colombia formally joins NATO

Colombia has decided to formally join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). With this Colombia becomes the 1st Latin American nation to join NATO as a global partner. Colombia will join as a global partner, which means it will not necessarily have to take part in military action & will be fully accredited in Brussels. Other global partners include Mongolia, Iraq, Japan & Pakistan.

Astronaut and Moonwalker Alan Bean dead

Former US astronaut Alan Bean, who was the 4th man to walk on the Moon, has died in Texas, U.S. Bean went into space twice, the first time in November 1969 as the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 12 moon-landing mission. Bean spent a total of 69 days in space, including 31 hours on the moon. In 1973 he was commander of the second crewed flight to Skylab – America’s first space station.

5th India CLMV Business Conclave

The 5th India-CLMV Business Conclave was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was organized by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India along with Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia. It focused on the collaboration of CLMV countries and India on agriculture, health, tourism, education and connectivity for promoting regional integration and creation of value chain.

MHA creates new division for women safety

Ministry of Home Affairs has created a new division to deal with all issues of women safety in coordination with relevant ministries, departments and state governments. Punya Srivastava has been appointed as the Joint Secretary to head this division. The division will deal with all schemes under NIRBHAYA fund and Crimes against women, SCs & STs, children & elderly persons among others.

Modi to inaugurate India’s 1st 14-lane highway

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 1st phase of Delhi-Meerut Expressway. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway would be India’s first 14-lane highway. The expressway will do away with 31 traffic signals on the Delhi-Meerut road, the busiest highway in the region, and make it “signal free”.The project is being built in four segments and is expected to be fully completed by March 2019.

Japan’s women clinch Uber Cup

Japan’s women clinched the Uber Cup, the Womens World Badminton Championship, defeating Thailand 3-0 in Bangkok. It ends an Uber Cup drought for Japan that stretches back to 1981. The Uber Cup is second in prestige only to the Olympics as a national team event. As of the 2018, China is the most successful team, having won fourteen times. Japan is second, having won it six times.

Rustom-2 drone to be delivered by 2020

The Rustom-II Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which is being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will be delivered to the armed forces by 2020. The drone is being developed for use by all 3 services of Indian Armed Forces, primarily for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. It can fly at around 280 km/h and carry a variety of payloads.

Hariri wins third term as Prime Minister

Lebanon’s Saad Hariri has won a new term as Prime Minister after he won the backing of the majority of parliamentarians. It will be 3rd term for Hariri, who has held the position since December 2016 and was also Prime Minister between 2009 and 2011. Under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system, Prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim, Speaker a Shia Muslim & President a Maronite Christian.

EPF interest rate hits 5-year low at 8.55%

The government has notified 8.55% interest rate on EPF for 2017-18, lowest in 5 years since the 2012-13 fiscal. Employees’ Provident Fund is a mandatory contribution from the salary of an individual that every company which has more than 20 employees has to deduct. EPF accounts are overseen by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, which is under the Ministry of Labour & Employment.

PM Modi, Hasina inaugurate Bangladesh Bhavan

Prime Minister Modi & his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Bangladesh Bhavan in Santiniketan, West Bengal. Bangladesh Bhavan features a museum that showcases renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore’s association with that country, the Liberation War of Bangladesh & Indo-Bangla relations. It has been built at a cost of Rs. 25 crores, which was provided by Bangladesh government.

India’s highest decorated general passed away

India’s most decorated General, Lt Gen Zorawar Chand Bakshi, also known as Zoru Bakshi passed away. Decorated with Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Param Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal, Bakshi was instrumental in the historic capture of strategic Haji Pir pass from Pakistan army. He also took part in the World War II in the Burma in which he earned a Mention-in-Despatches.

PM Modi launches Eastern Peripheral Expressway

PM Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first highway to be lit by solar power in Bagpat, Uttar Pradesh. Eastern Peripheral Expressway is 135 km long, stretching from Kundli on NH 1 to Palwal on NH 2. The highway has provisions of rainwater harvesting on every 500 metres on both sides and would showcase 36 national monuments and 40 fountains. It has been built in a record time of 17 months.