NATIONAL

  1. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved removal of all quantitative ceilings on individual organic products and allowed unrestricted exports of all organic and organic processed products. The removal of quantitative ceilings will be irrespective of any existing or future restriction/prohibition on the export of their basic product (non-organic). However, in respect of organic pulses and lentils, the quantitative ceiling on exports will continue but enhanced from the existing 10,000 MT per annum (MTPA) to 50,000 MTPA. in view of their acute shortage in the country.

  2. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for amendment in Para 5 of New Urea Policy (NUP), 2015. The amendment is related to the production beyond Re-Assessed Capacity (RAC) and inclusion of Para 8 in NUP 2015 to protect the production beyond RAC by urea units and boost indigenous urea production in the country.

  3. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for ratification of two fundamental conventions of International Labour Organization (ILO) concerning with Child Labour. They are Minimum Age Convention (No 138) and Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No 182). Now these conventions will be legally binding.Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No 182) or Convention 182: It is concerned with the prohibition and immediate action for elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour. It has been ratified by 180 countries.Minimum Age Convention (No 138) or Convention 138: It is concerned with minimum age for admission to employment. So far, it has been ratified by 169 countries.

  4. the North Western Railway has declared the Barmer-Munawab and Pipad Road-Bilara rail routes in Rajasthan as Green Corridors.The Green Corridor ensures zero toilet discharge on rail tracks as part of its commitment to clean environment under the ‘Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat’ initiative.

  1. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved amendments in the Mega Power Policy, 2009 to push 31 GW stranded projects entailing an investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The initiative mainly aims at bringing down power tariff for making electricity more affordable and achieving the ambitious goal of 24X7 power for all.

  2. The Union Ministry of Textiles has launched PowerTex India, a three-year comprehensive scheme for Powerloom Sector Development. The PowerTex India scheme aims to boost common infrastructure and modernisation of the powerloom sector in the country.

  3. The Union Cabinet approved signing of an agreement between the Union Ministry of Rural Development and Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) for establishment of CIRDAP Centre at National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR), Hyderabad. The CIRDAP is regional intergovernmental organization involved in rural development and poverty alleviation.

  4. India, world’s 3rd largest energy consumer has joined International Energy Association (IAE) as associate member. India will also now have a greater say in global energy issues. With India as a associate member, IEA now formally covers 70% of the world’s energy consumption, thus increasing its relevance.

  5. Government has formally launched Bharat Stage-IV (BS-IV) grade transportation fuel across the country to keep carbon emission in check. The launch came days after the Supreme Court banned sale and registration of BS-III vehicles from 1 April, 2017. It sets target of ushering in BS-VI fuel by April 2020 by skipping BS-V fuel.  All state-run oil marketing companies will provide BS-IV-compliant fuel at their 53,500 retail fuel stations across the country.

  6. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, country’s longest road tunnel that links Kashmir Valley with Jammu by an all-weather route. The 9-km-long tunnel passes through the lower Himalayan mountain range on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway 44. It cuts the distance between Jammu and Srinagar to around 250 km from the current 350 km.

  7. Myanmar became the 7th member of South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program of Asian Development Bank (ADB). It was officially made member at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ meeting held in New Delhi and chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

  8. The Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has launched Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana in Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh. The Scheme aims at providing physical aids and assisted-living devices for senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.

  9. The Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has withdrawn subsidy given to mild hybrid vehicles under FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India) scheme.  Earlier, mild hybrid, strong hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles were given incentives under the FAME India scheme.

  10. India and six other South Asian countries of South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) have pledged to improve intra-regional connectivity to boost trade and tourism. Decision in this regard was taken at the Finance ministers of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar meeting held in New Delhi to reshape SASEC.  They also came out with the SASEC Vision for 2025 and adopted operational plan 2016-25.

  11. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of the Union Defence Ministry has approved proposal to procure fresh batch of Barak surface-to-air missiles (SAM) for the Indian Navy’s warships from Israel. The procurement of the missiles will enhance India’s maritime capability in view of the changing security dynamics in the Indian Ocean region (IOR).

  12. The Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bengaluru was adjudged as the best Indian university in the 2017 National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) released by Union Human Resource Development Ministry. This year it is second edition NIRF survey and was released as part of the India Rankings 2017 for the Educational Institutions.

  13. India and Malaysia have inked seven agreements to foster deeper relationship between the two countries. The agreements were exchanged in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Abdul Razak in New Delhi who was on six day state visit to India.

  14. ndia was ranked third for the third year in a row in a doping violation report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for 2015. In 2015, 117 Indian athletes were punished after testing positive for banned substances. India followed the Russian Federation (176) and Italy (129), the same position as in the reports of 2013 and 2014.

  15. The board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cleared a proposal to introduce banknotes of Rs200 denomination. The decision was taken at the RBI board meeting held in Mumbai in March 2017. The process of printing the new Rs 200 notes is likely to begin after June 2017 once the government officially approves the new denomination.

  16. The number of beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana for providing free of cost LPG (cooking gas) connections to BPL households has crossed 2 crore mark since its launch in May 2016.  The success of the scheme shows that how it is serving as a novel means of women empowerment and achieving the goals of providing clean fuel and a better life to the people.

  17. The Union Cabinet has approved the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Mass Media between India and Bangladesh. Decision in this regard was taken at the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

  18. The Union Cabinet has approved the agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production India and Bangladesh. Decision in this regard was taken at the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

  19. The Union Cabinet has approved the MoU between India and Australia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. The MoU will involve cooperation through joint initiatives in the Health Sector and strengthen bilateral ties between both countries.

  20. The Union Cabinet has cleared approved setting up an independent rail regulator, named Rail Development Authority (RDA). It will be based in Delhi and will be set up through an executive order.  It will be responsible for recommending passenger fares, setting performance standards for rail operations and creating level playing policy for private sector participation.

  21. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved t extension of the implementation phase of the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project for another year beyond 31 March 2017. The proposal in this regard was forwarded by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The extension will help in achieving the remaining objectives of the project comprehensively.

  22. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of the Collaborative Agreement with French National Research Agency (ANR), France. The MoU will be signed for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017 at a total estimated expenditure of 40,000 Euros. The Cabinet also approved continued financial support to Belmont Forum Secretariat beyond 2017.

  23. India has signed a joint statement with Russia takeover full operational control of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). It formally marks the full transition. The agreement was signed between representatives of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the ASE Group of Companies, a subsidiary of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation of Russia.

  24. Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) programme dealing with self-driven cars, autonomous unmanned vehicles and aircraft navigation systems The programme is still at a nascent stage. Rs. 3,000-crore has been has been conceived for it and it will first take root in some of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

  25. The Union Agriculture Ministry has joined hands with the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), a wing of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for geo-tagging agricultural assets.  In this regard, Agriculture Ministry under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) and NRSC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 

  26. The 64th National Film Awards for year 2016 were announced on 07 April 2017.  Marathi film Kasaav won the award in the Best Feature Film category and Fireflies in the Abyss won in the Non-Feature Film Category. Telugu drama film Sathamanam Bhavathi directed by Satish Vegesna was selected as the Best Popular film providing wholesome entertainment.

  27. India and Israel have inked defence deals worth over $2 billion for advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) systems. As part of the deal, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will provide the Indian Army with Barak-8 advanced MRSAM systems.

  28. India and Bangladesh have signed 22 agreements in various fields such as defence, nuclear cooperation, judicial sector, earth sciences, navigation, peaceful uses of outer space, to boost bilateral cooperation. These agreements were signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina in New Delhi after delegation level talks.

  29. India was ranked 40th among the 136 economies across the world in 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) released by the World Economic Forum (WEF). In this edition of index, India has jumped 12 places from earlier 52nd position in 2015. But it lagged behind its other Asian peers like Japan (4th) and China (13th).

  30. The twelfth edition Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant 2017 has begun at Vairengte in Mizoram. Vairengte houses Indian Army’s elite Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School. The first joint Nomadic Elephant was held in 2004 and since then it is annually held. It seeks to promote military associations between India and Mongolia. 

  31. President Pranab Mukherjee has picked up lucky winners from the 100th draw of lots under the digital payments promotion schemes Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana. Total the six winners were selected — three consumers and three merchants of Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana. The winners will be felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 in Nagpur (Maharashtra) on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti. 

  32. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has launched web portal and mobile application named “Bharat ke Veer” to enable people to contribute towards family of martyrs from central paramilitary forces. It was launched by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the occasion of Valour Day of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), observed on 9 April.

  33. Pakistan’s Field General Court Martial has sentenced to death Indian national and alleged RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent Kulbhushan Jadhav (46) who was arrested last year on charges of spying.  The death sentence was confirmed by army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial found him guilty of all the charges. 

  34. The Lok Sabha has passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by a voice vote to give more thrust to road safety, controlling pollution and accidents. The bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 that provides for legal standards for motor vehicles, grant of driving licenses, and penalties for violation of these provisions.

  35. India and Australia have singed six agreements in various fields such as terrorism, sports, health, environment, aviation sector to boost bilateral cooperation. These agreements were signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull after delegation level talks.

  36. Parliament has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2017 after it was passed by Rajya Sabha. It was already passed by Lok Sabha in March 2017.  The Bill seeks to amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes Order, 1964. 

  37. The Union Government has reduced the number of centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) from 66 to 28 umbrella schemes, effective from the financial year 2016-17. These schemes were reduced based on the recommendation of the sub-group of Chief Ministers on rationalisation of centrally sponsored schemes.

  38. The Survey of India (SOI) has launched new web portal called Nakshe to make open series maps available to Indians for free. The portal was launched by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Harsh Vardhan on the occasion of 250th anniversary of SOI.

  39. The Union Ministry of Power has launched URJA MITRA app for empowering citizens by real time information sharing on power supply. The app is a first of its kind which provides a central platform, web-portal (www.urjamitra.com) as well as mobile app for state power Distribution utilities to disseminate power outage information to rural/ urban power consumers through SMS/ push/email notifications across the country.

  40. The Union Government has set up an ‘Inter- Ministerial Monitoring-cum-Coordination Committee’ to monitor the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme. UDAN is regional air connectivity scheme (RCS) which seeks to make flying affordable by connecting unserved and under-served airports.

  41. The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for procurement of goods & services required by Central & State Government organizations. The SPV will be called Government e-Marketplace (GeM SPV). It will replace the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposal (DGS&D) under the Ministry of Commerce.

  42. The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for procurement of goods & services required by Central & State Government organizations. The SPV will be called Government e-Marketplace (GeM SPV). It will replace the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposal (DGS&D) under the Ministry of Commerce.

  43. Launch Scheme for Agro-Marine Produce Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters (SAMPADA) for food processing sector. The scheme will integrate current and new schemes aimed at reducing food wastage and doubling farmers’ income by 2022.  It will help to create infrastructure for linkage of entire supply chain.

  44. The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Power for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with member states of BIMSTEC for establishing BIMSTEC grid interconnections. The MoU will be signed at the 3rd BIMSTEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting that will be held in Nepal shortly.

  45. The Union Cabinet has approved signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Establishment of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Grid Interconnection”. The MoU will be signed among member states of BIMSTEC at the upcoming third BIMSTEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Nepal.

  46. The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh as Institute of National Importance through an Act of Parliament. The Institute will have the governance structure as well as legal mandate to grant degrees in a manner similar to that enjoyed by Indian Institutes of Technologies (IITs).

  47. President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent to four supporting legislations on Goods and Services Tax (GST).  The four legislations are: The Central GST Act, 2017, The Integrated GST Act, 2017, The GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017, and The Union Territory GST Act, 2017. The above bills were passed in Rajya Sabha on April 6th and in Lok Sabha on 29 March.

  48. The Union government has constituted a time-bound inter-disciplinary committee to come up with an action plan for dealing with virtual currencies so as to fix the regulatory gaps in the existing framework governing virtual currencies. The committee is required to submit its report within three months.

  49. The Union Ministry of Labour & Employment has launched Aadhaar Seeding Application for efficient service delivery and widening the reach of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) benefits. It was launched at the 217th special meeting of the Central Board of Employees Provident Fund (CBEPF/EPFO) in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Minster of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya.

  50. The advertising industry watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has come up with a set of guidelines for celebrities endorsing products. As per the guidelines, celebrities are personalities from the field of entertainment and sports and also includes other well known personalities like doctors, authors, activists and educationists who gets compensation for appearing in advertisements.

  51. The Uttar Pradesh government has signed “Power for All” pact with the Centre to provide 24×7 power supply to all the households in the State.

  52. Prime Minister has launched 81 cashless/less cash townships across 12 states in Nagpur. The 81 townships included 56 in Gujarat and 25 in 11 states including Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Chhatisgarh. The model of cashless/less cash township was developed by Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GNFC) across these States under the auspices of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. GNFC’s township at Bharuch (Gujarat) had become India’s first 100% cashless township after demonetization. It is expected that these 81 townships will deliver 2.5 lakh cashless transactions per day, translating into 9 crore cashless transactions in a year.

  53. Prime Minister has launched BHIM-Aadhaar platform from Nagpur. BHIM-Aadhaar platform is the merchant interface of the BHIM App that has been launched for making digital payments using the Aadhaar platform. BHIM App was launched in December 2016 to provide a one-stop solution for all digital payments. The App created a new world record by registering 1.9 crore downloads within four months since its launch.

  54. Prime Minister felicitated the descendants of 16 families associated with Paika Rebellion of 1817 and other freedom struggles of Odisha in Bhubaneswar. In this year’s budget speech, Finance Minister had mentioned about the Paika rebellion led by Bakshi Jagabandhu and stated that the event will be commemorated appropriately.

  55. Naval Ship ‘INS Chennai’, a ‘P15A Guided Missile Destroyer’, was dedicated to Chennai in the presence of the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.

  56. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has flagged off Visakhapatnam-Kirandul passenger train with first of its kind, see-through, vistadome coaches through a video link from Bhubaneswar. The Vistadome air-conditioned coach is a first-of-its-kind on Indian Railways that has been introduced with an aim to promote tourism. The 40 seat coach has been built by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu at a cost of INR 3.38 crore. At present only one coach has been attached to the train on trial basis. Similar coaches are expected to be introduced in other routes like northeast as well.

  57. The Supreme Court has granted an exemption to six categories of disabled people from standing when the national anthem is played before the screening of a film in theatres. The six categories include people suffering from cerebral palsy, Parkinson disease, muscular dystrophy and other categories of disability. The order comes at the backdrop of reported incidents of people with disabilities facing the wrath of people trying to enforce patriotism during the national anthem.

  58. The Union Cabinet has put a ban on the use of red beacons atop cars of VIPs. Only three categories were exempted from the ban. They are the President, Vice-President and Chief Justice of India.

  59. The Union Cabinet has approved the policy guidelines to permit financially sound State Government entities to borrow directly from bilateral ODA (Official development Assistance) partners for the purpose of implementing vital infrastructure projects. The approval is subject to fulfilment of certain conditions and all repayments of loans and interests to the funding agencies. As a corollary to the new decision, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has been permitted to borrow directly from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for implementation of Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project.

  60. The World Bank has approved a loan of $375 million (around Rs 2,421 crore) for capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1 (NW-1) between Haldia in West Bengal and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on the river Ganga under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP). The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels of 1,500-2,000 deadweight tonnes capacity along a 1,390-km stretch.

  61. The central government has informed the Supreme Court that it intends to provide unique identification number for cows as suggested by an expert committee to track cattle and prevent their trafficking.

  62. India has become world’s second largest LPG importer, a position that was previously occupied by Japan. China remains as the world’s top importer. According to Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell, LPG imports in the country has increased 23% during the financial year 2016-2017 to about 11 million tonnes.

  63. The International Road federation (IRF) has named India to be the host of the 18th World Road Meeting (WRM 2017). WRM 2017 will be held on November 13, 2017. The theme of this year’s WRM is ‘Safe Roads and Smart Mobility: The Engines of Economic Growth’

  64. The government has announced the names of ten new Iconic places under the Phase II of Swachh Iconic Places initiative. Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) is an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission. The ten new iconic places that will be undertaken in Phase II of Swachh Iconic Places initiative are: Gangotri, Yamunotri. Mahakaleshwar Temple (Ujjain), Char Minar (Hyderabad), Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi (Goa), Adi Shankaracharya’s abode Kaladi in Ernakulam, Gomateshwar in Shravanbelgola, Baijnath Dham (Devghar), Gaya Tirth (Bihar) and Somnath temple in Gujarat.

  65. Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IIITM-K) has launched an application named Kaapi Soil Health Management and Monitoring (Kshemam) app to provide soil nutrient information and fertiliser recommendation for coffee plantation owners. The app will help in proper identification of optimum levels of fertiliser use.

  66. The Ministry of Human Resources and Development has put on hold the plan for conducting a single entrance test for admission to engineering courses throughout the country till a consensus is reached with the states. The ministry feels that without reaching consensus, the purpose of having a common engineering entrance exam would not be served. Also, the ministry wants to discuss the possibility of having common counselling provisions with the states.

  67. A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between BBNL, Department of Posts and BSNL to provide broadband connectivity of BharatNet to Post Offices in rural areas. BSNL would provide broadband services. The infrastructure expenses and the operational expenses would be paid by the Department of Posts. BBNL would facilitate and coordinate the entire project.

  68. The country’s first electric taxi trial in the country would be launched in Nagpur from May 24. The first project of its kind will be undertaken by Nagpur Municipal Corporation. Mahindra and Mahindra is set to provide 200 taxis for the initiative.

  69. The Ministry of Civil Aviation under the proposed “Digi Yatra” initiative is looking forward to make boarding pass and security check-ins digital at airports using Aadhaar and mobile phones.

  70. Union Health Minister JP Nadda has launched the Test and Treat policy for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) patients. As per this new policy, anyone who is tested and found positive will get the necessary treatment free of cost. Anyone found positive will be provided with ART (Anti- Retroviral Therapy) irrespective of his CD count.  The scheme will be a centrally sponsored scheme. All men, women, adolescents and children who have been diagnosed positively can benefit under this new policy.

INTERNATIONAL

  1. Scientists from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have identified a soil fungus Aspergillus tubingensis that uses enzymes to rapidly break down plastic materials. The plastic-eating fungus was found Islamabad, Pakistan. The new discovery in an advance can help to deal with plastic waste problem that threatens our environment in safer and more effective way

  2. India and six other South Asian countries of South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) have pledged to improve intra-regional connectivity to boost trade and tourism. Decision in this regard was taken at the Finance ministers of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar meeting held in New Delhi to reshape SASEC.  They also came out with the SASEC Vision for 2025 and adopted operational plan 2016-25.

  3. India, world’s 3rd largest energy consumer has joined International Energy Association (IAE) as associate member. India will also now have a greater say in global energy issues. With India as a associate member, IEA now formally covers 70% of the world’s energy consumption, thus increasing its relevance.

  4. The first rail freight service from United Kingdom to China departed from Essex. Earlier the first freight train in the opposite direction, from China to UK had arrived in London in January 2017. The train service was launched as part of China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative that aims to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West dating back more than 2,000 years.

  5. Japan has officially recognized bitcoin and digital currencies as legal money along the lines of other fiat currencies with effect from April 1, 2017. The recognition comes after implementation of a new law amending Banking Act in Japan for legalizing these currencies. It will help in integration of digital currency into legal banking system through regulatory scrutiny. 

  6. Five prominent Madhesi parties in Nepal have united to form a new united party named the Rastriya Janata Party, which will be the fifth largest party in Nepal’s Parliament. 

  7. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made sweeping changes to Citizenship laws unveiling tighter requirements for new applicants. This announcement follows the recent scrapping of the 457 visa program for foreign workers, which was used majorly by the Indians. The 457 programme was scrapped to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.

  8. China has unilaterally announced ‘standardised’ names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh. It is felt that Chinese move comes as a retaliation against Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Experts feel that China’s announcement is aimed at reaffirming its territorial sovereignty over the region.

  9. china has launched its first indigenously built aircraft carrier following the 68th-anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Chinese navy. It is China’s second aircraft carrier built in the north-eastern port of Dalian. The new aircraft carrier will be able to operate China’s Shenyang J-15 fighter jets and will be more dedicated to military and humanitarian operations.

  10. The World Health Organization has announced that it is ready to test the first malaria vaccine in the real world setting in 2018. The aim of the testing will be to ascertain whether the vaccine will work under real world circumstances or not. Kenya, Ghana and Malawi have been chosen for taking part in the pilot project. The vaccine, RTS,S, also known as Mosquirix, was produced by GlaxoSmithKline in 1987 in a public-private partnership with the PATH Malaria Initiative and with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2015, the vaccine received approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). For the next four years (2017-2021), the vaccine will be administered to children between 5 and 17 months in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi. The vaccine will be given four times and will be administered by an intramuscular injection.

  11. A freight train connecting Russia with China arrived in Ganzhou an inland city in Jiangxi province, carrying goods from Moscow. The freight train travelled more than 7,000 km, before reaching Ganzhou in eastern China.

  12. Poland has assured its support for India’s bid for membership in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council. This was stated during the visit of vice President Hamid Ansari to the Poland. Apart from discussing various bilateral and multilateral issues, the two countries also signed an agreement in the agriculture sector.  It was also agreed upon that there exists scope to increase cooperation in railway, defence, mining, agriculture, civil aviation, as well as in areas like food processing, solar energy, clean coal, treatment of solid waste. Poland is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

  13. US President Donald Trump has introduced biggest tax reform plan in the history of United States. As per the proposals of the new plan, major cuts have been made in the income tax rate. the income tax rates have been slashed from 39.6% to 35%. The new plan has also sharply slashed the business taxes. Steep discounts have been announced on corporate profits that are brought back into the US. The new plan proposes for a 15% corporate tax rate which is a sharp drop from the existing 35%. In addition, the new reforms aim to move to a territorial tax system that provides relief to both small and large businesses. It is also proposed to repeal the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax. In addition, tax relief will be provided to the families with child and dependent care expenses. Further, the number of tax brackets is expected to be brought down to three from seven. However, under the US law, only the Congress is empowered to make major changes to the tax laws.

  14. North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile defying global pressure and warnings from the United States and its main ally, China. The test was conducted from the Pukchang region present in the north of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. However, according to the US and South Korean officials, the test has failed and it is North Korea’s fourth successive unsuccessful missile test since March. The missile launched is expected to be a medium-range weapon known as a KN-17 and appears to have disintegrated within minutes of taking off.

  15. The US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office has once again placed India on the ‘priority watch’ list in this year’s Special 301 report despite the country rolling out National IPR Policy last year. India has been placed in ‘priority watch’ list owing to USTR’s view that India has not made adequate changes in its intellectual property (IP) laws and regulations. India has been placed on the ‘Priority Watch List’ for decades now and is likely to remain in the ‘Priority Watch List’ category for having inadequate IPR laws and patent protection.

  16. India and Cyprus have signed four agreements following delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in New Delhi. The two sides discussed various bilateral and regional issues and agreed on the need on the part of all countries to act decisively against those countries that shelter and sustain violence factories in their regions. The two sides also called for the need for early reforms of the United Nations Security Council. Cyprus reiterated its support to India’s bid for inclusion a permanent member in the UNSC. Cyprus will also award its highest civilian honour, the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, on President Pranab Mukherjee.

BUSINESS ,BANKING AND ECONOMY

  1. The board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cleared a proposal to introduce banknotes of Rs200 denomination. The decision was taken at the RBI board meeting held in Mumbai in March 2017. The process of printing the new Rs 200 notes is likely to begin after June 2017 once the government officially approves the new denomination. Earlier in November 2016, RBI had announced the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, amounting to around 86% of currency in circulation of Rs 17.9 trillion. Since then, it has replaced these denominations with the new Rs 2,000 and redesigned Rs 500 bank notes.

  2. Five associates and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank have officially merged with country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI). With this merger, SBI joins the league of top 50 banks globally in terms of assets. The five associate banks are: State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore.

  3. according to EY Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) Fraud Survey 2017, India ranks 9th among 41 surveyed countries in bribery and corrupt practices in businesses. India’s ranking has improved marginally from the survey findings in 2015 when India was at the 6th position. It has improved due to better regulatory scrutiny and emphasis on transparency and governance. 

  4. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its first bimonthly monetary policy review of the financial year 2017-18, has kept the key policy rate, the repo rate unchanged, but raised reverse repo rate by 25 bps to 6%, from 5.75%. Decision in this regard was taken by monetary policy committee (MPC) —which decides interest rates and all six members of the MPC voted in favour of the decision.

  5. The Union government has constituted a time-bound inter-disciplinary committee to come up with an action plan for dealing with virtual currencies so as to fix the regulatory gaps in the existing framework governing virtual currencies. The committee is required to submit its report within three months.

  6. The Bank Board Bureau (BBB) has recommended that Government should bring in reforms in the compensation process in public sector banks (PSBs) on the lines of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs). BBB has suggested compensation reforms in PSBs so that best practices can be introduced ‘on the lines already prevalent in CPSEs. It will play important role in attracting high-quality talent for non-executive directors and chairmen.  It will also maintain a level-playing field with the private sector with respect to role, responsibility and remuneration.

  7. India Licensing Expo is scheduled to be held on August 20-21 in Mumbai. The expo will be India’s first and most influential brand licensing event that will collate opportunities, knowledge and recognitions under one roof. The expo will be organised by License India, India’s first licensing media Services Company and supported by Franchise India. The expo is expected to see the participation of over 100 global and domestic companies. The expo aims to encourage and enable Indian licensing industry to take advantage and network, capitalise on opportunities and grow bigger and faster in the given peripheries. It will bring together a wide range of intellectual properties comprising character, entertainment, celebrity, corporate, sports, and art.

  8. RBI has come up with a notification titled “Revised Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for banks.” The revised framework would apply to all banks operating in India including small and foreign banks. The new set of provisions will be effective from April 1 based on the financials of banks as of March 2017. The revised framework will override the existing PCA framework. The revised framework will be again reviewed after three years.

  9. Loans disbursed under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) have crossed its target of Rs 1.8 lakh crore in the financial year 2016-17. Loans extended currently stands at Rs 1.80,087 crore. Of this, a majority of the loans were awarded by banks (Rs 1.23 lakh crore). Non-banking financial institutions have lent about Rs 57,000 crore. In this year’s budget, Rs 2.44 lakh crore has been set as a target for Mudra loans for the financial year 2017-18.

  10. The Central Government has raised Rs. 1,200 crore by divesting 9.2% of paid-up capital in National Aluminum Company Ltd. (NALCO). With this disinvestment, Government’s shareholding in NALCO has become 65.37%.

  11. According to Joint Plant Committee’s annual report on steel sector for the time period 2016-17, India’s import of total finished steel declined 36 % to 7.4 million tonnes (MT). At the same time, steel exports increased 102% to reach 8.2 million tonnes (MT) in the said time period. The country also fared well in terms of production as well. The production of crude steel was 97.385 MT during April-March 2016-17, which is 8.5% increase over the previous year steel production.

  12. According to the Reserve Bank of India’s weekly statistical supplement, India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves have increased by $1.25 billion to reach $371.13 billion from $369.88 billion as on April 21, 2017. The current reserves are just short of a lifetime high of USD 371.99 billion reached in the week to September 30, 2016.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  1. Drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has increased price of stents by around 2% after taking into account wholesale price index. It will increase price of bare metal stents to Rs.7,400 rupees from Rs. 7,260 and of drug-eluting stent to Rs. 30,180 rupees from Rs. 29,600.

  2. A team of scientists from Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru and University of Delhi for the first time have seen indications of a massive planet orbiting a low mass X-ray binary star system. The system MXB 1658-298 is an X-ray binary and a part of the constellation Ophiuchus (serpent bearer). It is nearly 30,000 light years away and the planet is expected to be nearly 8,000 times as massive as the earth. 

  3. Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) programme dealing with self-driven cars, autonomous unmanned vehicles and aircraft navigation systems The programme is still at a nascent stage. Rs. 3,000-crore has been has been conceived for it and it will first take root in some of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

    Scientists from the University of Kerala have discovered a new species of long-legged, tree-dwelling crabs named Kani maranjandu in Western Ghats of Kerala. It has been named after the Kani tribe in Kerala and are substantially different from other congeners (organisms within the same genus).

  4. The High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK) completed the ‘rolling-in’ of the Belle-II experiment in Tsukuba, Japan. With this, it moves a step forward by integrating particle detector with powerful accelerator. The term roll-in refers to the operation of moving the entire Belle II detector system from its assembly area to the beam collision point. The Belle II detector’s total weight is about 1400 tons. 

  5. Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine, US have discovered a protein called PorB that could help make vaccinations more effective and provide protection from diseases such as cancer.

  6. Astronomers using NASA’s Kepler space telescope have discovered a Venus-like planet orbiting a dim star called Kepler-1649. The newly found planet is one-fifth the diameter of our Sun and is only slightly larger than Earth. It is located 219 light years away from Earth.

  7. NASA has announced that Saturn’s sixth-largest moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon Europa may be habitable as they have the necessary ingredients required to sustain life. The key ingredients of life are liquid water, a source of energy for metabolism, and chemicals such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulphur. Findings were made by NASA with the help of Cassini-Huygens unmanned spacecraft and the Hubble Telescope. Cassini-Huygens unmanned spacecraft was sent in 1997 to study Saturn, its rings, and its moon.

  8. Scientists have found second Great Spot in Jupiter which is cold and high up. The Great Spot was found to be 24,000 km across and 12,000 km wide. It is found to be in the upper atmosphere and is much cooler than the hot surroundings. Unlike the Great Red Spot which was identified in 1830, this newly discovered Great Spot is continuously changing its shape and size.

  9. Scientists at CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) have developed a robotic platform, Seabed Resident Event Profiler (SREP) that is capable of being stationed at any water depth from 0-200 metres to track the oceanic processes. The robot has been designed to regularly record the water column information at every 10 to 25 cm during every profile four times a day. The robot was tested during the recent voyage of RV Sindhu Sadhana, the latest state of the art research vessel of NIO.

  10. ISRO is all set to undertake the first developmental flight of a ‘game-changer’ rocket (launching vehicle) that will have the capacity to launch four-tonne class of satellites, from Sriharikota spaceport. ISRO looks forward to conduct the second developmental flight within this year.

  11. Astronomers have discovered yet another planet, called LHS1140b, which is expected to be present in the Goldilocks Zone. It’s not so far away, either. It is found orbiting around the star LHS 1140 some 39 light-years away.

  12. TAL Manufacturing Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Motors has unveiled India’s first ‘conceptualized, designed and manufactured articulated industrial robot’ called “BRABO”. BRABO stands for “Bravo Robot”. The robot has been developed indigenously for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in India. The robot is primarily developed to complement the human workforce and repeatedly perform high volume, dangerous and time-consuming tasks ranging from handling of raw materials to packaging of finished products.

    ISRO has launched a solar calculator app that can calculate the benefits of installing solar panels in different regions of the country. The app has been created by the Space Application Center (SAC) facility of ISRO following the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)’s request. The app comes handy for installation of Photovoltaic (PV) for tapping of solar energy.

  13. The wax worm, the larvae of insect Galleria mellonella, is found to possess the ability to biodegrade polyethylene, which is one of the toughest and most used plastics. The scientists have observed that the degradation rate of the wax worm is extremely fast when compared to other recent discoveries. Last year, a bacteria was found to biodegrade plastics at a rate of just 0.13mg a day.

  14. Researchers have created a fluid-filled transparent container called the Biobag to simulate how foetuses float in amniotic fluid inside the uterus of their mothers.

    PERSON IN NEWS

  1. Dawit Isaak, an imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist was awarded the 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. He will be bestowed with this prestigious award in recognition of his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression. He will be awarded on World Press Freedom Day (3 May 2017).

  2. United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres has bestowed the highest honour UN Messenger of Peace upon Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. She was described as a symbol of the most important thing in the world-education for all. With this, she became youngest ever UN Messenger of Peace.

  3. Robert Taylor, a pioneer of Modern Computing and the Internet has passed away at the age of 85. Rob Taylor was instrumental in creating the internet and the modern personal computer.

  4. Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Girish Chandra Saxena has passed away at the age of 90. Saxena was an Indian Police Service officer of the 1950 batch from the Uttar Pradesh cadre.

  5. Justice Gita Mittal, the senior-most judge of Delhi High Court, has been appointed as the acting Chief justice of Delhi High Court with effect from April 14. Her appointment comes at the backdrop of the retirement of current Chief justice Gorla Rohini. President of India has appointed Justice Mittal as the Chief Justice by exercising his powers conferred by article 223 of the Constitution of India. 

  6. Sagar Baheti has become the first visually impaired Indian runner to complete the historic Boston Marathon. Bengaluru-based 31 years old Baheti completed a distance of 42.16 km distance in just over four hours. 

  7. The President of India, recently, inaugurated the Kempe Gowda Festival organized by the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Foundation in New Delhi.

  8. Veteran filmmaker and actor Kasinadhuni Viswanath has been conferred Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2016 by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. The award consists of a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakhs and a shawl.

  9. Rafael Nadal has once again won the Monte Carlo Masters for a record 10th time with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Albert Ramos-Vinolas. With this win, he has made history by becoming the first man in the Open era to win the same event 10 times. Earlier, Rohan Bopanna and his Uruguayan partner Pablo Cuevas had won the men’s doubles crown at the Monte Carlo Masters after defeating Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez in Monaco.

  10. Social activist Prafulla Samantra was announced one among six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize for his “historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine.”

  11. IPS officer Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar has been appointed as the Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

  12. Nita Ambani has been made member of two important commissions of IOC’s governing body. She has been made as a member of the prestigious Olympic channel and Olympic education Commission. Nita Ambani already holds the distinction of being India’s first woman International Olympic Committee member. She was elected as an individual member of International Olympic Committee (IOC) last year. She will serve the IOC till she turns 70.

  13. Astronaut Peggy Whitson has set a new space record for most days in space by a US astronaut. She has broken the previous record set by Jeff Williams who had spent a total of 534 days in space. President Trump congratulated her through a video chat between White House and the ISS

  14. Srishti Kaur of India has been crowned Miss Teen Universe 2017 at Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. She won after beating 25 contestants from across the world. In addition, she also bagged an award for the best national costume. Her costume featured a peacock, the Indian national bird. She succeeds Nieveles Gonzalez of Puerto Rico as the Miss Teen Universe. Kaur had also won the title of Miss Teen Tiara International at the beginning of this year beating 29 contestants.

SPORTS

  1. Gayatri Gopichand, daughter of National Badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, has bagged both the singles and doubles crown at the Pembangunan Jaya Raya Junior Grand Prix in Jakarta. Gayatri defeated her doubles partner Samiya Farooqui to win the girls U-15 singles title

  2. India and Australia have launched India-Australia Sports Partnership (IASP) with a vision of increasing cooperation in sports. IASP was launched jointly by the visiting Australian Prime Minister Mr Malcolm Turnbull and the Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Mr Vijay Goel in the presence of Sachin Tendulkar.

  3. India was ranked third for the third year in a row in a doping violation report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for 2015. In 2015, 117 Indian athletes were punished after testing positive for banned substances. India followed the Russian Federation (176) and Italy (129), the same position as in the reports of 2013 and 2014.

  4. Sai Praneeth defeated the world No 29 Kidambi Srikanth in an all-Indian men’s singles final and clinched Singapore Open Superseries badminton title. With this, India has become only the fourth country after China, Denmark and Indonesia to have its nationals in a men’s singles Superseries final.

  5. Shot putter Manpreet Kaur broke her own 2015 national record at the Asian Grand Prix in Jinhua, China. Her performance in the event has helped her to earn a gold medal and qualify for the World Championships to be held in London in August 2017.  

  6. Haryana emerged champion beating Kerala at the National Youth Athletics Meet. Kerala was at the top place for the last five years. Haryana emerged champions with 166.5 points. Kerala has finished as the runners-up. However, Kerala managed to retain the team crown for girls while Haryana boys topped and won the boys’ title.

  7. The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) will conduct ‘Oorja’ – CAPFs Under-19 Football Talent Hunt Tournament – 2017, throughout the country from May 1-15, 2017. The tournament will be jointly organized by CAPF under the aegis of All India Police Sports Control Board.

  8. Kerala has conducted the country’s first-ever transgender one-day athletic meet in Thiruvananthapuram. The event saw the participation of 132 participants belonging to 12 districts of the state.