country

Mansi settles for silver at Junior Wrestling

Mansi settles for silver at Junior Wrestling
India won two medals with Mansi claiming silver and Swati winning bronze in their respective weight categories in women’s freestyle in the Junior Asian Wrestling Championships, 2018. In the 57 kilogram category, Mansi had to settle for a Silver after she lost to Japan’s Akie Hanai in the Final. The overall trophy went to Japan, who finished with seven gold medals.

First Pondicherry International Film Festival

The festival organized by Pickurflick and Puducherry Tourism Department, which will begin on September 26, will be hosted at Puducherry. The inaugural edition of the festival will focus on the cinema, art, and culture of France, which is the partner country for the five-day long event. The mega festival will also promote Puducherry as a tourist destination.

MicroDot technology to check vehicle thefts

The govt will set a new standard to use a technology which involves spraying small dots laser etched with a vehicle identification number throughout the vehicle body. The tech named ‘MicroDots’ makes it almost impossible to remove the dots and hence will prevent the vehicle’s identity. Annually about 2.14 lakh vehicles are stolen across the country with Delhi topping the list at 38,644.

India inaugurates its largest visa centre

India has inaugurated its largest visa centre in the world in Dhaka to reduce the waiting time for applicants. Bangladeshis constitute one of the largest number of visitors from a single country to India. Last year, India issued 1.4 million visas to Bangladeshi nationals. India has 12 visa centres in Bangladesh, which is the highest number the former has in any country in the world.

UNSC imposes an arms embargo on South Sudan

The United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan, nearly five years after civil war erupted in the country. A United States-drafted resolution won the minimum nine votes needed, while 6 member states including Russia and China abstained. South Sudan has been at war since 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused then-deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.

Govt launches Swachh Survekshan Grameen

The government has launched Swachh Survekshan Grameen, which will attempt to rank all 698 districts in the country on prevalent levels of cleanliness in the rural areas. The parameters of assessment will be availability of toilets, usage of toilets, hygiene of toilets and status of littering among others. It will be done through an independent survey agency.

MoU to boost inter-parliamentary dialogue

For the first time, Rajya Sabha has signed a MoU with its counterpart in a foreign country, Rwanda, for promoting inter-parliamentary dialogue. The MoU, with 6 articles of cooperation, aims to promote inter-parliamentary dialogue, capacity building of parliamentary staff & organisation of conferences among others. M Venkaiah Naidu is the first Rajya Sabha chairman to sign such an agreement.

India’s first internet telephony service

11 : BSNL has unveiled 1st internet telephony service in India that will allow users to dial any telephone number in India through its mobile app, “Wings”. Before this, phone calls on mobile apps was possible within users of a particular app & not on telephone numbers. BSNL customers will be able to make calls on any network in the country even by using BSNL Wi-Fi or any other service provider.

Govt launches LAP and TPS for 25 smart cities

To fast track the resolution of area based infrastructure issues, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the Local Area Plan (LAP) and Town Plan Schemes (TPS) for 25 smart cities in the country. Under which the ministry will provide ` 2 crore as central assistance to every city for planned urban expansion. The LAP and TPS has been formulated under AMRUT.

Government sets noise standards for airports

9 : The Union Environment Ministry has set noise standards for airports across the country, excluding defence aircraft, and those that are landing and taking off. A civil airport with more than 50,000 aircraft movements per year should not exceed noise levels beyond 75 dB(A) Leq (decibels) during the daytime. It should not exceed 65 dBA during the night.

Modi inaugurated largest mobile factory

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited Noida and inaugurated the New Mobile Manufacturing Plant of Samsung at Noida. Notably, it will be the world’s largest mobile factory. With the beginning of this New Plant, India’s Make In India and Skill India Will get a major Push in the country.

NITI Aayog proposes ‘National Health Stack’

NITI Aayog has unveiled the blueprint of National Health Stack, a shared digital healthcare infrastructure. It is in line with implementation of Centre’s Ayushman Bharat & other public healthcare programmes in the country. It will allow policymakers to build their projections around upcoming outcomes, experiment with new services as well as fill the existing gaps in the healthcare industry.

Water level of major reservoir went up 20%

The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country has gone to 20% of their total capacity which was reported 18% in last week. 37 Reservoirs out of these 91 have hydropower benefit with an installed capacity of more than 60 MW. The storage during the current year is less than last year in Northern, Western and Central regions.

DNA Technology Regulation Bill, 2018

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2018. The bill aims to expand the application of DNA based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country. Bill’s provisions will enable the cross-matching between persons who have been reported missing.

Extension of RRBs’ recapitalisation scheme

The Cabinet has approved the extension of the scheme of recapitalization of Regional Rural Banks, RRBs for the next three years upto 2019-20. This will enable the RRBs to maintain the minimum prescribed Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio, CRAR of 9%. There are 56 RRBs functioning in the country. As on 31st March, 2017(Prov.), the total credit given by RRBs is Rs.2,28,599 crore.

Boost to Higher Education

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the proposal for expanding the scope of Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA). HEFA’s scope expanded to meet the rising financial requirements of educational infrastructure in the country. HEFA is a Non ­Profit, Non Banking Financing Company for mobilising extra-budgetary resources.

17 fire ranges approved for set up

17 firing ranges have been approved for construction by the Defence Ministry at a cost of Rs. 238 crore in select military stations. Under the Southern Command, 7 ranges will be set, one in each Central and Southern Western Commands, 2 in Northern Command and 3 in Eastern Command. 60 firing ranges at present are operational across the country.

Interpol issues Red Notice against Nirav Modi

The Interpol has issued a Red Notice against Nirav Modi on the request of the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI of India. Red Notice not only restricts a fugitive’s movement in 190 member countries of the Interpol but also empowers agencies to detain the person for deportation or extradition to the requesting country. Mr. Modi is involved in the ` 13,578-crore Punjab National Bank fraud.

India is home to 19,500 mother tongues

According to Registrar General and Census Commissioner, more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken in India as mother tongues. Nearly 96.71% population in the country have one of the 22 scheduled languages as their mother tongue. There has been a significant increase in Bengali speaking people and a decrease in Bhili language speaker.

Stainless steel charkha unveiled at Sabarmati

BJP president Amit Shah unveiled a stainless steel Charkha at the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad. The charkha, which is 21 feet in length, 11 feet in height, and 6.5 feet in breadth, is made of chromium-nickel stainless steel and is installed on the Sabarmati Riverfront across the Sabarmati Ashram. The move is said to popularise Khadi amongst youth in the country.

FDI growth hits 5-year low in 2017-18

Foreign direct investment in India seems to be petering out with the inflows growth rate recording a five-year low of 3% at USD 44.85 billion in 2017-18. Foreign inflows in the country grew by 8.67% in 2016-17, 29% in 2015-16 and 27% in 2014-15. Mauritius has emerged as the largest source of FDI in India with USD 15.94 billion in 2017-18 followed by Singapore, Netherlands, US & Japan.

19,500+ mother tongues spoken in India

According to the latest analysis of 2011 census, more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken in India as mother tongues. There are 121 languages which are spoken by 10,000 or more people in India, which has a population of 121 crore. 96.71% population in the country have one of the 22 scheduled languages as their mother tongue.

N.Korea: ‘worst human trafficking country’

According to the annual ‘2018 Trafficking in Persons Report’, North Korea has been ranked as worst human trafficking country in the world, along with China, Russia and Iran. The report said that the North Korean govt continued to use forced labour in prison camps. South Korea has been ranked at the highest category for the 16th consecutive year, along with US, UK, France and Canada.

Sanitation Plan for Swachh Iconic Places

Institutions of 10 selected heritage sites of the country created action plans for raising their sanitation standards. The plans were formulated at a 2-day consultation in Hyderabad held between Central and State Government agencies, local administrations & the Trusts of the iconic places. The Swachh Iconic Places initiative aims to achieve a distinctly higher level of sanitation at places.

India records highest number of IPOs globally

Indian exchanges recorded the highest IPO activity as the country saw 90 IPO launches that raised $3.9 billion. The exchanges account for 16% of the total issues in the first half of 2018. Out of 90 deals that listed, 15 listed both on NSE & BSE result in 93% of the total proceeds. The financial sector, infrastructure and consumer companies with strong growth continue to boost IPO activity.

DBS Bank to launch subsidiary in India

DBS Bank of Singapore will launch its subsidiary in India in Oct 2018, the 2nd foreign bank in the country to convert its local operations. The bank has invested another ` 500 Cr in March 2018 to take the total capital in India to Rs 5000 Cr and plans to expand to 50 branches. State Bank of Mauritius was the 1st to open a local subsidiary after RBI came out with the regulations in 2013.

Govt proposes to set up 3,000 Van Dhan Kendras

The government has proposed to set up 3,000 Van Dhan Kendras involving 30,000 self-help groups across the country under the Van Dhan Scheme. It aims to skill up-gradation and capacity building training for value addition of forest produce. Van Dhan Mission is an initiative for targeting livelihood generation for tribals by harnessing non-timber forest produces.

India most dangerous country for women

According to Thomson Reuters Foundation survey, India is the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour. The data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by 83% between 2007 & 2016 when there were four cases of rape reported every hour. The total global crime was worth an estimated $150 billion a year in India.

President Tayyip Erdogan returns to power

President Tayyip Erdogan of Justice and Development Party has declared victory in Turkey’s Presidential election. He was earlier President and Prime Minister of Turkey for 15 years. He has now become first executive President of the country. He has secured a majority of 52.5% against Muharrem Ince, of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), received 30.8% of the votes.

Plastic ban in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra government has imposed a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials across the state. As per the notification, violators will be fined ` 5,000 and ` 10,000 for the first and second-time offence. With this Maharashtra becomes the 18th state of the country to impose a complete ban on plastic.

Canada legalized marijuana

Canada has become the second nation in the world the first G7 nation to legalize marijuana. Uruguay was the first country to legalize marijuana’s production, sale and consumption in December 2013. Medical marijuana is already legal in Canada.

England set a new ODI world record with 481/6

England made the highest one-day international total of 481-6 as they defeated Australia by 242 runs at Trent Bridge. The England broke their own record of 444-3 set against Pakistan in 2016 at same venue. With this the England captain, Eoin Morgan became the highest ODI run scorer for his country. This is England’s biggest ODI win and Australia’s heaviest defeat in terms of runs.

India BPO promotion scheme

20 : The Union government is planning to expand its BPO promotion scheme under the Digital India initiative. The government has proposed to more than double the number of seats under the scheme. The India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS), envisaged under Digital India Programme, seeks to incentivize establishment of 48,300 seats in respect of BPO/ITES operations across the country.

IRDAI set up panel to review marketing firms

IRDAI has formed a panel to review the regulations pertaining to insurance marketing firms. The committee is headed by Suresh Mathur, Executive Director, IRDAI, with nine more members. The new distribution channel of insurance marketing firms was introduced in 2015 by IRDAI, with the objective of increasing insurance penetration in the country through an area-wise registration approach.

India to open 4 new air gateways to Nepal

India has agreed to open 4 new air gateways to Nepal in the eastern and western part of the country, aimed to facilitate international traffic. The eastern part would connect Patna and Kolkata of India with Kathmandu and Dhaka while the western part would connect Kathmandu with Delhi. The routes will be operational till 2019.

Panel to vet insurance marketing firm norms

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has formed a committee to review regulations governing the Insurance Marketing Firms (IMF). Such firms, which serve as a distribution channel for insurers, are governed by regulations announced about three years ago. IRDAI had approved IMF in 2015 as a measure to increase insurance penetration in the country.

Japan to allow more foreign workers

Japan adopted an economic plan that would allow more foreign workers as the rapidly aging country seeks to make up for its declining workforce. Japan would relax visa requirements in sectors facing severe labour shortages such as nursing care, agriculture, construction and transport. The workers would be allowed to stay in the country for only up to 5 years as visitors, not as immigrants.

Fitch ups India Growth Forecast To 7.4%

Fitch Ratings raised India growth forecast for 2018-19 to 7.4% from 7.3% but cited higher financing costs and rising oil prices as risks to growth. For 2019-20, it estimated the country to grow at 7.5%. The economy grew at 6.7% in 2017-18 and 7.7% in January-March quarter.

IMD to commission 27 doppler radars

At least 27 doppler radars would be soon commissioned across the country covering coastlines and major cities. It would provide severe weather warning to stakeholders as much as six hours in advance. Providing information in advance about thunderstorms like the one recently reported in Bihar and Bengal helps in reducing the damage and loss of lives.

RBI seeks update on payments data storage

The RBI have asked payment services firms to provide an update, on action taken by them to store transaction data in India, every fortnight. RBI wants payment system operators to store payment-related data in the country by October 2018. RBI had said that at present “only certain” payment system operators store the payment system data either partly or completely in the country.

India’s first private UAV factory

India’s first private sector unit for manufacturing unmanned air vehicles (UAV) and light bullet proof vehicles (LBPV) will be set up by DCM Shriram Industries Group in Kota. These UAVs and LBPVs are likely to be used by defence and para-military forces in the country. The new defence unit in Kota is being set up under ‘Make in India’ initiative of the union government.

HDFC Bank increases lending rate by 10 bps

HDFC Bank , the second largest private sector lender of the country, increased its marginal cost of fund-based lending rate (MCLR) by 10 basis points (bps) across various loan tenures. As a result, its one-year MCLR is now at 8.4%. The move comes after all major banks, including State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank, increased MCLR by an equal amount.

India not ready to sign the Hague treaty

The government is not yet ready to sign the Hague treaty on inter-country abduction of children by parents fleeing a bad marriage. The Hague Convention is a multi-national treaty that seeks to protect children wrongfully removed by one of the parents from the custody of the other parent. It also recommended setting up of a Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority to act as a nodal body.

Fuego volcano erupted

Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted by shooting a dense cloud of ash into the sky. The death toll in the eruption rose to 62 as rescue workers recovered more bodies from devastated villages. Fuego has been erupting since 2002, and was continuously active in 2017. Guatemala, a Central American country, is home to volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Mayan sites. Its capital is Guatemala City.

MSCI puts India on notice

MSCI is placing emerging markets including India and Brazil on notice for limiting investor access. MSCI is the world’s biggest index compiler. The indices are closely tracked by global investors. Inclusion in MSCI Inc.’s stock indices opens up investment interest from foreign investors in a particular country and brings a stamp of financial credibility.

Telangana’s formation day on June 2

Telangana celebrated its fourth formation day on 2nd June. The state was formed on 2nd June in 2014 following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Telangana was carved out from the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh as the 29th state. Telangana gained fame as one of the fastest growing and surplus state economies in the country.

NTPC adopts Charminar in Hyderabad

NTPC has adopted the iconic Charminar in Hyderabad under the ‘Swachh Iconic Places’ Projects of India. The ‘Swachh Iconic Places’ is an initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission. It is a special clean-up initiative focused on select iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places in the country.

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.

World Environment Day to be hosted by India

India will be the host country for this year’s celebrations of World Environment Day. World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5th. This year’s theme is “Beat Plastic Pollution: If you can’t reuse it, refuse it”. World Environment Day was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972.

Mumbai to get UAV surveillance

To enhance women’s safety, Mumbai police are planning to use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and install `panic buttons’ across the city. The measures are part of a Rs 252-crore Safe City Project, which will be implemented fully in three years. The use of UAVs for women’s safety will be the first in the country.

UNICEF launched data visualisation app

UNICEF has launched a ‘data visualisation app’ which provides a user-friendly visual representation of complex analytics of the education scenario in the country. The app has been made with technical inputs from UNICEF, in collaboration with NIEPA and NCERT. UNICEF aims to provide humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.

Nepal: First country to eliminate Trachoma

Nepal became the 1st country in south-east Asia to eliminate Trachoma. Trachoma is a kind of chlamydial infection that happens due to unclean water supply & lack of hygiene and spreads through contact with nose, throat or eye of infected person. Nepal government took important measures like providing incentives to districts & local communities to build latrines in order to improve sanitation

Convention on Rejuvenation of Krishna River

Experts in water conservation from across the country will deliberate on ways to rejuvenate the Krishna river at the maiden national convention of the Indian Water Council (IWC) May 22. The Indian Water Council was formed in April 2018 in Rajasthan. The ‘National Convention on Rejuvenation of the Krishna River’, is the IWC’s first event.

India Sixth Wealthiest Country

India is the sixth wealthiest country in the world with a total wealth of US $8,230 billion. The US is the wealthiest country in the world with a total wealth of US $62,584 billion, according to the AfrAsia Bank Global Wealth Migration Review.Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country. It includes all their assets less any liabilities.

Anti Terrorism Day observed on May 21

Anti Terrorism Day is observed every year throughout the country on May 21. The Day is observed to generate awareness in the country among all sections of people, about the danger of terrorism and violence and its effect on the people, society and the country as a whole. Anti-terrorism pledge is taken in all Government offices, public sector undertakings and other public institutions.

EESL distributes 30 cr LED bulbs

State-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) has distributed over 30 crore light emitting diode (LED) bulbs across the country under the ‘Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All’ (UJALA) scheme. The UJALA scheme was launched in January 2015 and is currently the largest LED distribution programme in the world. It is a non-subsidized LED lamp distribution project undertaken by EESL.

Train connecting NE to the west coast began

The Northeast Frontier Railway has started operating one lease Parcel Cargo Express Train (PCET) on fortnightly basis, connecting Northeastern part of the country to the West Coast. The route of this Parcel Cargo Express Train is – New Guwahati in Assam to Kalyan in Maharashtra. The PCET has been started in line with the Government’s priority to provide connectivity to the Northeast region.

Youngest woman to scale Mt. Everest

Shivangi Pathak from Haryana has become youngest women of the country to scale Mt Everest. 16-year-old Shivangi climbed the Mt Everest to spread the message that women could overcome any obstacle to achieve their goals. In 2014, 13-year-old Malavath Poorna from India had climbed Mt Everest from Tibet side and became the youngest girl in the world to the summit at Everest.

First all-woman POPSK starts operations

In a first, a Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) run by an all-woman team has started operations on 14th May in Phagwara, Punjab. It was 192nd POPSK in the country, but the first one to be operated by an all-woman team. The Seva Kendra was inaugurated by Union Minister Vijay Sampla in the local head Post Office.

IMD to add 30 Doppler radars in country

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will add 30 Doppler radars in the next two-three years across the country. Doppler radars provide precise information about thunderstorms, dust storms, hailstorms, rainfall and wind patterns. With a radius of 250km, they help in issuing nowcasts 2-3 hours prior to severe weather events. The first Doppler radar was installed in Chennai in 2002.

World Migratory Bird Day

The World Migratory Bird Day is a two-day programme observed on the second weekend of the month of May to highlight the urgency to protect migratory birds and their habitats. The theme of the World Migratory Bird Day 2018 is “Unifying our Voices for Bird Conservation”. India sees over 200 species of birds migrate to the country during winters from the Asian and European regions.

North Korea pledges to dismantle nuclear site

North Korea will commence dismantling its nuclear test site later this month in a bid to uphold its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests. The tunnel complex located in the northeastern part of the country which was used for nuclear testing will be destroyed completely. The announcement comes after US President Donald Trump announced that he will hold a meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

Largest remittance-receiving country in world

According to the report ‘RemitSCOPE – Remittance markets & opportunities – Asia & the Pacific’, India was the largest remittance-receiving country in the world in 2017. India with $69 bn, China with $64 bn & Philippines with $33 bn were the 3 largest remittance-receiving countries in the world in 2017. According to the report, cash-to-cash transactions was the most common form of transfer.

I&B ministry to set up web portal

The information and broadcasting ministry will set up a dedicated web portal to disseminate information on filming facilities available in the country. The portal will also provide an overview of such locations. Applications for shooting permission will be accepted through the site. The portal will allow online payments and issuing permissions.

Committee for securing airport cargo terminals

Govt has constituted a special committee to suggest ways for better-securing airport cargo terminals in the country against terror threats. It will chalk out an anti-sabotage & counter-terror plan that can be deployed at the un-guarded air cargo terminals. Committee will have representatives from Home Ministry, CISF, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, IB & few other cargo handling agencies.

Pakistan limits movement of US diplomats

Pakistani authorities have imposed “reciprocal” restrictions on the movement of U.S. diplomats in the country after Washington took similar measures. The move comes after the U.S. required Pakistani diplomats to get permission 5 days in advance to travel more than 25 miles from their embassy. Islamabad also decided to withdraw a number of facilities being enjoyed by the US diplomats earlier.

Mahathir Mohamad sworn in as Malaysia’s PM

Mahathir Mohamad has been sworn in as the Prime Minister of Malaysia again after a shock election victory. Mahathir’s coalition defeated the governing Barisan Nasional coalition, led by PM Najib Razak, which has been in power for more than 60 yrs. The victory capped a dramatic comeback for Mahathir, who ruled the country for 22 yrs. 92 year old, Mahathir becomes the oldest PM in the world.

19th National Technology Day

The country observed 19th National Technology Day on 11th May to commemorate the successful carrying out of the nuclear test at Pokhran in Rajasthan. On the same day, India performed successful test firing of the Trishul Missile and test flying the first indigenous aircraft ‘Hansa-3’. The country started observing the day as National Technology Day every year since 1999.

Sensitization Meeting of Stakeholders held

The ‘first sensitization meeting of stakeholders to make Delhi a model Accessible city’ was held in the national capital on May 7. The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities took this initiative to coordinate the meeting of all key stakeholders, sensitize them about the legal mandates. Delhi being the capital city of the country is proposed to be selected for this drive.

India funds flood, earthquake warning systems

India has launched a flood & earthquake early warning systems in Myanmar aimed at helping the country mitigate the effects of natural calamities that affects people every year. Under the Flood Warning System, 12 automatic water level stations and 3 automatic weather stations have been established. Under the Earthquake Monitoring System, 10 telemetered seismic stations have been added.

Government to expand Van Dhan Vikas Kendras

Tribal Affairs Ministry will expand Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in Tribal Districts across the country. The aim of the establishment of these Kendras is to provide skill upgradation and capacity building training to increase the incomes of tribals. Van Dhan Vikas Kendra was launched at Bijapur, Chattisgarh on 14th April 2018 for training, providing equipment and tools for primary level processing

Indian naval commanders conference

Indian Navy commanders will discuss the country’s maritime security and review the naval force’s mission-based deployments in the Indian Ocean Region. The commanders would discuss the optimal utilisation of the Navy’s share of the defence budget. The conference would be addressed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The conference starts on May 8 and will conclude on May 11.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to become biennial

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will now be celebrated every alternate year & a series of sessions will be held before the event to increase the interests of Indians living within & outside the country. Theme-based sessions will be conducted in which Ministry of External Affairs will invite 12 people including both nationals & NRIs. 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held in Varanasi in Jan 2019.

Lebanon holds maiden parliamentary elections

Polling has begun across Lebanon, where voters are going to elect their parliament for first time in 9 yrs. Last elections in the country were held in 2009, for what was supposed to be a 4 yr term. But parliament extended its term twice due to instability in neighbouring Syria. Lebanon has one of the world’s highest debt-to-GDP ratios & IMF has warned its fiscal trajectory is unsustainable.

India seeks $4 bn assistance from ADB

India has requested Asian Development Bank to expand its sovereign and non-sovereign operations in the country by providing financial assistance worth $4 billion a year. India also requested ADB President Takehiko Nakao to support its endevour towards an inclusive & sustainable growth accompanied by rapid economic transformation. ADB aims to promote social and economic development in Asia.

BRO to celebrate its 58th Raising Day

Border Roads Organisation will celebrate its 58th Raising Day on May 7 to mark the glorious services to the nation. BRO, a leader in the arena of infrastructural development in the border areas of the country, was established in 1960. Since its inception the organisation has gone from strength to strength, and numerous projects undertaken by them has been vital for the territorial integrity.

Scheme to strengthen healthcare infra extended

Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana beyond the 12th Five Year Plan to 2019-20 with a financial outlay of Rs 14,832 cr. PMSSY aims at correcting the imbalances in the availability of affordable tertiary health care facilities in different parts of the country. Under this scheme, new AIIMS are established & govt medical colleges are upgraded.

Pakyong to become 100th functional airport

The Pakyong airport in Sikkim is set to become the 100th operational airport in the country when it will be commissioned in June. Sikkim was the only state without an airport in the country. SpiceJet has been granted permission to fly to Pakyong in Sikkim from Kolkata under the Civil Aviation Ministry’s Regional Connectivity Scheme.

Subhash Chandra appointed as IRDAI Chairman

Former IAS Officer Subhash Chandra Khuntia was appointed as the new Chairman of Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) for three-years. Khuntia will succeed T S Vijayan, who completed his five-year term in February. His appointment was approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). IRDAI regulates Insurance sector of the country.

Government to host farmers welfare workshops

In an outreach to farmers, the Govern-ment is organising ‘Kisan Kalyan Karyashala’ at the block level across the country on 2nd May. The workshops will be part of the ongoing ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’. ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ is a rural-centric campaign that had started on April 14, the birth anniversary of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar, and will end on May 5.

GST receipts cross Rs. 1 lakh cr. in April

Revenue from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for April 2018 crossed the Rs. 1 lakh crore threshold, coming in at Rs. 1,03,458 crore. It Indicates that the indirect tax regime was stabilising and that economic revival was picking up pace. The GST was rolled out across the country on July 1, 2017.

2nd rapidly growing country for air traffic

India has been projected to be the second fastest growing country in the world for air passenger traffic. The Airports Council International (ACI), a global trade body representing airports, in its traffic forecasts, said, by 2022 passenger traffic in emerging economies like India will surpass advanced economies. ACI has put Vietnam at the top position with an 8.5 percent growth rate.

Swachh Bharat Summer Internship commenced

The Swachh Bharat Summer Internship commenced from 1st May. The programme aims to engage millions of youngsters across the country, to encourage them to contribute to the Swachh Bharat Mission. Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in association with Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched a novel and first of its kind initiative.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

India’s first cashless island

Manipur’s Karang has become the first cashless island of the country.Karang, a remote region was cut-off from the (Bishnupur) district due to insurgency for a long time. Incentives were provided for training towards digital payments and five POS machines were installed on the island. An online channel was launched to create awareness about the digital payments.

India’s best Gram Panchayat

West Bengal’s Digambarpur Gram Panchayat has bagged the Centre’s award for the best Gram Panchayat in the country.Of the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country, the central government had selected 1000 and watched their function. The state of West Bengal is also in the top in generating rural employment across states.

India topped the remittances chart for 2017

According to World Bank, India has retained its position as the top remittances receiving country with its diaspora sending about USD 69 billion back home in 2017. Remittances to India picked up sharply by 9.9% to USD 69 billion in 2017, reversing the previous year’s dip. Remittance inflows improved in all regions and top remittance recipients were India with followed by China & Philippines.

Madras HC introduces e-court fee payment

The Madras High Court has become the first court in south India and eighth in the country to introduce e-court fee payment facility.People would now be able to pay the court fees from anywhere, including from home using this application through the Internet. The facility introduced at the Madras High Court would be extended to all the district courts too in a phased manner.

Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018

Cabinet has approved promulgation of an ordinance that will empower govt to attach properties both within the country & overseas of fugitive economic offenders.It seeks to confiscate properties of economic offenders like Nirav Modi who have left the country to avoid facing criminal prosecution. Only those cases where amount involved is more than Rs.100cr will be covered under this ordinance.

Forest cover in India grew by over 6,700 sq km

According to the Forest Survey of India, Forest cover has increased by 6,778 sq km in the country during the last two years.States like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have made a significant contribution. The total forest and tree cover in India, according to the current assessment is 8,02,088 sq km, which is 24.39% of the country’s geographic area.

North Korea halts nuclear, missile tests

21 : North Korea has agreed to end its tests of nuclear weapons & intercontinental ballistic missiles & shut down its nuclear test siteThe surprise announcement comes as North Korea prepares for talks with South Korea & US. Kim Jong-un has said his country no longer needed any nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it has completed its goal of developing nuclear weapons.

Yogi’s FB page most popular among Indian CMs

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Facebook page has been judged the most popular among all other Chief Ministers in the country.In the ranking released by Facebook, Yogi’s page beat those of Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani to emerge as the most popular. The ranking is based on the total interactions that include total reactions, shares and comments on the page.

Swaziland king renames the country

King Mswati III of Swaziland has announced renaming of the country to “the Kingdom of eSwatini”.The declaration by King Mswati III was made during celebrations marking the monarch’s birthday as well as 50 years of independence from British colonial rule. The new name, eSwatini, means “land of the Swazis”. It was this name that the king used when he addressed the UN general assembly in 2017.

Cuba gets its first non-Castro President

Cuba has selected First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez as the sole candidate to succeed Raul Castro as president of Cuba.Miguel is the first leader outside the Castro dynasty to lead the country since the 1959 revolution. Raul Castro will remain head of the Communist party, designated by the constitution as “the superior guiding force of society and the state”.