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National – Across the India:
1. The term India Pride Project (IPP) was in news in the fourth week of April 2016. It is an initiative by two NRIs who seek to bring back the lost artefacts to India.
Through the initiative, they seek to answer that India was looted of more artefacts in the post-colonial era than under the British or Mughals.
The India Pride Project is a small, but brave attempt to bring this loot back into the places where they belong in India.
In simple terms India Pride Project’s mission is to restore the Nation’s pride through restoring its culture.
2. The Union Government has recently constituted 8-member inter-ministerial committee to prepare a blueprint for doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
The committee will be headed by Ashok Dalwai, Additional secretary at the Union Agriculture Ministry and is expected to submit the report in two months.
Its members will include officials from Agriculture and Food Ministries, experts from the Delhi-based National Council of Applied Economic Research and National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research.
3. The Shyam Benegal headed committee constituted by the Union Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has submitted its report to Union I&B minister Arun Jaitley.
The committee was tasked to look holistically into the functioning of the censor board and revamp the film certification nuances by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
CBFC should only be a film certification body and its scope should be restricted to categorizing the suitability of the film to audience groups on the basis of age and maturity.
4. The Union Railway Ministry has decided to create a 1 lakh crore rupees safety fund named Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh to strengthen safety measures on the rail network to prevent accidents.
It was announced by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on Demands for Grants for Railways for 2016-17.
In this regard Union Railway Ministry has forwarded a proposal to the Union Finance Ministry for approval.
5. The Southern Command of the Indian Navy has inaugurated a naval detachment at Androth Island of the Lakshadweep archipelago.
The naval detachment seeks to strengthen maritime security in and around Arabian Sea and enhance surveillance of crucial shipping lanes.
Key facts are as follows: -
The facility will function as an observance and reporting organization.
It will provide connectivity with mainland.
Enable sea lanes of communication (SLOC) monitoring.
It will also facilitate radar surveillance. Enhance the Navy’s reach and contribute significantly to strengthen maritime security.
6. The Union Government has decided to allow States to impose and enforce stock limits on sugar in order to check the price rise of sweetener in the market.
The decision to bring sugar under the purview of stock holding limits on dealers of sugar was taken in Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
It will empower State and Central Government agencies to impose stock limits and regulate supply, storage, distribution and trade of sugar in order to bring down sugar prices at reasonable level by curbing unscrupulous trading.
7. The Union Cabinet has given its approval to enhance investment by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in Bharat Oman Refineries Limited (BORL).
The investment amount of BPCL could be enhanced up to a maximum of 3000 crore rupees by way of subscription of convertible warrants or other instruments.
The infusion of funds by the BPCLs will Enable expansion of Bina Refinery in Madhya Pradesh and overcome the implications on account of the erosion of the net worth
8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to address a joint meeting of the United States (US) Congress on June 8, 2016 during his visit to the US.
He was invited by President Barack Obama for a bilateral visit during the fourth nuclear summit.
It was announced by the Speaker of the US House of Representative Paul Ryan.
PM Narendra Modi will be the fifth Indian Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of Congress, and the first since 2005.
9. Supreme Court has approved holding a single common entrance test National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2016-17.
The SC bench comprising Justices A. R. Dave, Shiva Kirti Singh and A K Goel gave nod to the NEET proposal put before it by the Union Government, CBSE and the Medical Council of India (MCI).
The proposal had requested for treating All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) fixed for May 1, 2016 as NEET-1.
10. Gujarat Government has decided to provide 10 percent reservation for economically backward classes (EBCs) in general category.
State government is going to promulgate ordinance and will be applicable in government jobs as well as admission to the educational institutions from next academic year.
This 10 percent reservation for EBCs in general category will be available to all non-reserved class, whose total family income is less than 6 lakh annually.
The new reservation will not affect the present reservation available to Scheduled Castes (SC)/ Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).
International – Across the Globe:
1. The eleventh edition of India-Mongolia joint military training Exercise ‘Nomadic Elephant – 2016’ has commenced at Mongolia.
It seeks to promote military associations between India and Mongolia.
The first joint exercise was held in 2004 and since then it is annually held.
2. The Heart of Asia (HoA) conference began in New Delhi with the objective of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan.
The conference was attended by officials of a number of countries and is likely to deliberate on a host of issues like combating challenge of extremism and terrorism.
HoA conference is a part of the Istanbul Process established 2011 which provides a platform to discuss an agenda of regional cooperation with Afghanistan at its centre.
1. Ace tennis player Rafael Nadal (World No 5) from Spain has won the 2016 Barcelona Open title of Tennis.
It was Nadal’s overall 9th Barcelona Open title and 69th win from 101 finals on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour.
He also has now won his first 10 matches of the European clay-court 2016 season.
2. French pair of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic won women’s doubles final of the Stuttgart Grand Prix tournament.
3. Russian pair Anastasia Bryzgalova and Alexander Krushelnitskiy claimed the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship title with a 7-5 victory over China at Karlstad, Sweden.
4. India’s Mairaj Ahmed Khan has won the silver medal in the men’s skeet event at ISSF World Cup held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In the final, Mairaj lost gold medal to Sweden’s Marcus Svensson and the bronze medal was won by Tamarro Casandro of Italy.
With this victory, he becomes first Indian shooter to win skeet medal for India at a World Cup.
5. Indian rower Dattu Baban Bhokanal qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics scheduled to be held in August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He qualified Rio Olympics after winning a silver medal in the men’s single sculls event at the FISA Asian and Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta held at Chung-ju in South Korea.
He clocked 7 minutes, 7.63 seconds in the 2 km course to finish second.
South Korea’s Dongyong Kim won the gold medal after finishing the race in 07 minutes, 5.13 seconds.
6. India is going to host the 2018 Commonwealth Judo Championships in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
It was announced by the Judo Federation of India (JFI).
The announcement came after the Commonwealth Judo Congress allotted the Championships to India at its meeting held at Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
This will be the first time that Commonwealth Judo Championships will be held in India.
However the Championships dates are yet to be finalized.
7. India’s Deepika Kumari has equaled the world record in Women’s Recurve event at the qualifying stage of Archery World Cup held in Shanghai, China.
She equaled the record set by South Korea’s Ki Boe Bae at the World University Games in Gwangju in 2015.
Deepika has already qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics scheduled to be held in August 2016 with her performance at the Copenhagen World Championships in 2015.
Awards & Recognition:
1. Indian automobile giant Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has become the first Indian company to sign up for “EP100”, a global energy productivity campaign.
By joining this campaign, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd has committed to double their energy productivity by 2030, which is a core requirement for any business signing on to the campaign.
The campaign is a brainchild of the “Climate Group”, an international non-profit organization.
It helps businesses, state, regional, finance and civil society leaders from all over the world to increase their energy productivity and thereby lessen their carbon footprints.
2. Riyad Mahrez (Algerian origin) became the first African footballer to win the Professional Footballers Association’s (PFA) Player of the Year award.
He was presented the award for the 2015–16 season at the Professional Footballers’ Association awards ceremony organised in London.
With this, Mahrez also became the second non-European, after Luis Suarez (Uruguayan striker) to win this prestigious award in the sport of Football.
3. K Ashok Kumar, a research food engineer scholar from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur has won the prestigious 2016 International Plant Nutrition Scholar Award (IPNSA).
He was bestowed with this award for his research on nutrition management of rice-chickpea production system in laterite soil.
The award is given by the US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI). The award carries a cash prize of US 2,000 dollars and a recognition certificate.
4. Pakistani women’s rights activist from Swat valley, Tabassum Adnan has won prestigious 2016 Nelson Mandela Graça Machel Innovation Award.
She won the award for the individual activist category on the concluding day of the International Civil Society Week (ICSW) held from April 25-28, 2016 in Bogota, Colombia.
These Awards provide seed funding for innovative ideas emerging from organizations or groups of organizations participating in the CIVICUS World Assembly.
5. Former bureaucrat and parliamentarian, Nand Kishore Singh has been selected for prestigious ‘Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver’, Japan’s highest civilian award.
He was chosen for this prestigious award for promoting economic, educational and cultural ties between India and Japan.
He is among 91 foreign recipients to be honoured during the 2016 Spring Imperial Decoration of Japan by Emperor Akihito during the investiture ceremony in May 2016.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
1. India will sell an 11.36 percent stake in state-controlled hydropower producer NHPC Ltd.
The decision is taken to raise 28 billion rupees ($420 million).
This will kick off the government’s privatization programme for this year.
Appointments & Resignations:
1. Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso has appointed Mouamba Clement as the new Prime Minister of the central African country.
With this appointment, Clement will be responsible for forming a new government in accordance with the 2015 constitution in consultation with the President.
2. The Tibetan government-in-exile has re-elected Lobsang Sangey as the Prime Minister for a second consecutive term.
The election result was announced by the Tibetan election officials in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala which is the headquarters of the government-in-exile.
3. The former UN climate change panel (IPCC) chief, Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, has been removed from his post as head of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in Delhi.
The move came days after a court allowed Pachauri to return to his office while facing sexual harassment allegations.
TERI’s governing council announced that Pachauri was being replaced as its director general by Ajay Mathur, a former World Bank official and one of the members of the Prime Minister’s council on climate change.
4. IT major Mindtree co-founder, Subroto Bagchi has been appointed as head of the Odisha Skill Development Authority.
He would report directly to the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and has been given the rank of cabinet minister with a token monthly salary of Re 1.
Odisha Skill Development Authority aims to unify the initiatives on the ground and create momentum for unemployed youth to receive skill-based training to make them employable in the state.
Economics & Banking GK:
1. The US Trade Representative’s annual Special 301 report has placed India on the Priority Watch List.
The report identified many measures taken by the government as encouraging in terms of providing a better IP protection regime, but raised multiple concerns, particularly related to the potential erosion in IP standards due to its push for promoting domestic manufacturing.
The report comes amid lingering disagreements between the two countries on many trade issues, in the context of India’s efforts to promote local manufacture.
2. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has entered into collaboration with German Government for a special programme on ‘Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security’.
The program is part of the German government’s recently introduced special initiative ‘One World, No Hunger’ initiative.
As part of the collaboration NABARD is anchoring two programmes viz. Soil conservation and rehabilitation of degraded land programin Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Innovation of watershed development and climate change adaptation programs in five states Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Bills – New & Amendments:
1. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on 14 April 2016 notified the Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was amended by Parliament in 2016.
These rules will speed up the process of dispensation of justice to victims of atrocities.
2. The Lok Sabha passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016 to provide statutory status to the existing Regional Centre for Biotechnology in Faridabad, Haryana.
The Bill seeks to provide legislative backing to the Regional Centre and also confers upon it the status of an institution of national importance.
Objectives of the Bills are: -
Disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields.
Create a hub of biotechnology expertise.
Facilitate transfer of technology and knowledge in the SAARC region and generally Asia.
Promote cooperation at the international level.
3. The Parliament has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to remove given to Sahjdhari Sikhs to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees.
The amendment bill first was passed in the Rajya Sabha in March 2016 and later in the Lok Sabha in April 2016.
Under the 1925 Act, every Sikh who is above 21 years of age and is registered as a voter is entitled to vote in the SGPC elections.
4. Parliament passed Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to include certain communities in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) from 4 states.
The bill seeks to amend Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 to include certain communities from Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala and West Bengal in the list.
It also has provisions for exclusion of certain communities from Odisha and removal of area restriction in respect of certain communities.
5. The Parliament has passed the Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015.
The Bill amends the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951. It was first was passed in Lok Sabha in December 2015 and later in Rajya Sabha in April 2016.
Now it will go for Presidential assent as per Article 111 of the Indian Constitution.
The bill seeks to bring industries engaged in the manufacture of potable alcohol under the exclusive control of States in all respects.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU):
1. The Union Cabinet has given its approval to Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Papua New Guinea on cooperation in the field of Healthcare and Medical Science.
Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
The bilateral MoU will encourage cooperation between the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of India and Ministry of Health and HIV/AIDS of the Papua New Guinea.
2. The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Insurance Authority of United Arab Emirates.
Decision was taken by the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
The MoU provides for Enhanced cooperation between the two authorities in the field of insurance supervision.
3. India and Papua New Guinea have signed four Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in various sectors to boost bilateral cooperation.
The MoUs were signed in the presence of the visiting President Pranab Mukherjee and the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’ Neil in Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea.
India will provide a Line of Credit of 100 million dollars for specific projects in Transport and infrastructure sectors.
Science & Technology:
1. Japan successfully tested the maiden flight of its first domestically developed single-pilot stealth fighter jet X-2.
With this Japan becomes fourth country in the world to have indigenous full-size stealth combat aircraft.
Other three countries viz. United States, Russia and China have successfully developed and flown manned stealth jets.
2. Union Tourism Ministry has launched National Monuments Authority Web Portal called NOC Online Application and Processing System (NOAPS).
The web portal will provide single window clearance for applicants to get no-objection certificates (NoC) within six working days for construction-related works near the 3,686 protected monuments in the country.
Under the present rules, hundred meters area around the monument is a prohibited zone.
3. The Union Government has made mandatory for mobile manufacturers to add in-built panic button and global positioning system (GPS) in all phones from January 1, 2017 and 2018 respectively.
In this regard, Department of Telecommunications has notified the Panic Button and Global Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets Rules, 2016 under section 10 of the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act, 1933.
Initially from January 1, 2017 all phones will have the facility of panic button that lets users instantly alert the emergency services.
4. Russia successfully launched the first rocket from its new space facility after a last-minute delay the day before.
The Soyuz 2.1a booster blasted off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East in the early hours Moscow time.
The three satellites the rocket was carrying orbited several hours later.
5. ISRO’s PSLV-C33, carrying India’s seventh navigation satellite IRNSS-1G, blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 12.50 p.m.on Thursday.
The satellite was successfully placed in sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) will be to the subcontinent what the GPS is to its users worldwide, but with far greater precision and in Indian control, according to the Indian Space Research Organization.
It is expected to provide position accuracy of better than 20 m over Indian region and also an area extending up to 1,500 sq. km around India.
6. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched India’s 7th navigation satellite IRNSS 1G of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
The satellite was launched into a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO) on-board of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-33 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
IRNSS 1G satellite is last space segment satellites of the IRNSS system.
India joins elite group of selected nations that have their own GPS (Global Positioning System) or navigation system.
7. Russia has successfully launched the first rocket from its newly built Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur Oblast, in Russian Far East region bordering China.
The unmanned Soyuz-2.1a rocket is carrying three satellites as payloads namely Mikhailo Lomonosov (scientific satellite), SamSat-218 (an experimental nanosatellite) and Aist-2D (a civilian distance viewing satellite).
Vostochny Cosmodrome is a Russian spaceport for civilian launches under construction after it was launched in 2012.
On completion in 2018, it will reduce Russia’s dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
8. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has launched an innovative mobile application titled e-voter with comprehensive details about the forthcoming 2016 Assembly polls in Kerala.
The app is envisaged for voters’ facilitation for search in electoral roll, information regarding candidates, location of polling station, affidavit filed by them, filing of complaint and so on.
The e-voter app was developed by the state IT Mission. It aims at ensuring great transparency and conduct of free and fair elections.
The app has ‘know your candidate’ option that would provide constituency wise details of candidates.
9. Indian Naval Ships (INS) Veer and Nipat were decommissioned at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
The decommissioning ceremony of these ships was held in the presence of Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command.
Both the ships belonged to the 1241 RE class missile vessels.
They had served under 22nd Killer Squadron and have completed 29 and 28 years of commissioned service respectively.
10. Chinese researchers have developed world’s first graphene electronic paper that will catapult the material to a new level.
It was developed by The Guangzhou OED Technologies in partnership with a company in Chongqing Province of China.
Graphene e-paper is more pliable and has more intensity as compared to traditional e-papers.
It has high-light transmittance means optical displays will be much brighter.
1. World Malaria Day (WMD) is being observed annually on 25th April across the world to recognize the global efforts to control preventable vector borne disease malaria.
2016 Theme: “End Malaria For Good”. It reflects the vision of a malaria-free world set out in the Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030.
The strategy was adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2015.
It aims to dramatically lower the global malaria burden over the next 15 years and is aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Goals of the strategy are-
Reduce rate of new malaria cases by at least 90%
Reduce malaria death rates by at least 90%
Eliminate malaria in at least 35 countries
Prevent a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.
2. Every year April 24 is being observed as National Panchayati Raj (PR) Diwas across India.
Significance of the day: It marks the passing of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24 April 1993.
Significance of Amendment Act: It had led a defining moment in the history of India which helped in decentralization of political power to the grassroots level.
3. The World Book and Copyright Day was celebrated on 23 April 2016 across the world.
The events on this day are organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright.
The day was first celebrated on 23 April 1995.
4. Every year World Intellectual Property Day (WIPD) is being observed on 26 April to highlight importance of intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) in encouraging innovation and creativity.
2016 Theme was “Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined“.
The theme seeks to explore the future of culture in the digital age in order to answer questions how we create it, how we access it, how we finance it related to it.
5. 28th April is celebrated World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
This year, “Workplace Stress: a collective challenge” is the theme of the campaign of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
The report will draw attention to current global trends on work-related stress and its impact.
1. Renowned Kerala cartoonist V T Thomas passed away following a brief illness at in Kottayam, Kerala. He was 86.
He was popularly known as Toms and had created the legendary cartoon characters Boban and Molly (Bobanum Moliyum).
He found his characters Boban and Molly at the age of 30 from his neighbourhood.
Initially in 1950 the characters appeared in a cartoon column Sathyadeepam weekly.