1. The Tamil Nadu Government has set up a 24-hour helpline that would provide information on education and offer guidance to students on March 1, 2018. Chief Minister K Palaniswami has formally launched the toll-free number – 14417 through the 24-hour Education Guidance Centre set up at the Secretariat that would offer information relating to school education and offer guidance to students.
2. The 27th Technological Conference of Indian Jute Industries' Research Association (IJIRA) on Shaping the Future of Jute was held in Kolkata, West Bengal. The function was focused on the promotion of geotextiles in the northeast region. Geotextiles are absorbent fabrics which, when used in association with soil, have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect or drain.
3. The Zero Discrimination Day (ZDD) is observed every year on March 1 to promote the idea that everyone has a right to live with dignity. The day is also meant to highlight how everyone can be part of the transformation and take a stand towards a fair and just society. It recognizes that no one should ever be discriminated against because of their age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, language, health (including HIV) status, geographical location, economic status or migrant status, or for any other reason. This year (2018), the Zero Discrimination Day campaign invites people to ask themselves "What if …" and to reflect upon their own actions.
4. India will provide $5 million dollar assistance to Jordan in the form of vaccines and medicines in 2018. Apart from this, India and Jordan have inked 12 agreements in areas including Defence, Health and Cultural Exchange Programme. The other MoUs include cooperation between Prasar Bharati and Jordan TV Cooperation and Indian Institute of Mass Communication and Jordan Media Institute (JMI). The MoU between Prasar Bharti and Jordan TV provides for cooperation in the fields of exchange and co-production of programs, training of personnel and further coordination. The pacts were inked after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and King of Jordan Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein in New Delhi. The King Abdullah II arrived in New Delhi on February 27 on a three-day visit to India.
5. Arabinda Muduli (56), the noted Odia Bhajan singer, musician and lyricist, has passed away in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on March 1, 2018. Having rendered over 3,000 songs, Muduli would be remembered for his hit bhajans like Kala Saante Acha Kemante and Jaga Pain Niti Mali Phula. He was a devotee of lord Jagannath and sang only Bhajans. He was a disciple of legendary bhajan singer Bhikari Bal. A musician, singer and lyricist, Muduli enthralled the audience with devotional songs and had won the hearts of millions of people in Odisha and elsewhere.
6. The Western Naval Command has carried out three-week long tri-Services maritime exercise termed 'Paschim Leher (XPL – 2018)' in the Arabian Sea from February 12 with an aim of building inter- operability. In addition, units from Eastern Naval Command, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Coast Guard also participated in the exercise. The exercise involves 40 warships and submarines, helicopters, reconnaissance aircraft and UAVs. The exercise includes a number of weapon firings, including missile, gun and torpedo firings during the initial phase. The second phase is structured to validate and refine the operational plans of the Western Naval Command. The XPL 2018 enabled testing and revalidation of operational plans and manoeuvres in a hostile maritime scenario on India's Western Seaboard. The maritime exercise, which came after the Eastern Naval Command Operational Readiness Exercise (ENCORE), is ostensibly being conducted to show China India's military prowess.
7. India has successfully test-fired Anti Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) Nag in desert conditions against two tank targets at different ranges and timings on Feb 28, 2018. With this, the developmental trials of the missile have been completed and it is now ready for induction. The third-generation 'fire-and-forget' anti-tank missile 'Nag' has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). It has a operational range of 500m to 4km (Land version) & 7-10km (Air-launched).
8. The 42nd Civil Accounts Day (CAD-2018) was celebrated by Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) on March 1 in New Delhi to mark the 42nd anniversary of the beginning of the ICAS on this day in 1976. The ICAA is one of the Civil Services of India ("Group A"), which functions under the Department of Expenditure in the Union Ministry of Finance. It performs a key role in delivery of financial management services for the Government of India. The organisation provides payment services, supports the tax collection system, performs government wide accounting, financial reporting functions, preparation of budget estimates and carries out Internal Audit in civil ministries of the Union Government.
9. The Nathpa Jhakri Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the Sutlej river in Himachal Pradesh. The primary purpose of the dam is hydroelectric power production and it supplies a 1,500 megawatts underground power station with water. Before reaching the power station, water is diverted through a 27.4 km headrace tunnel.
10. The All India Radio (AIR) and National Book Trust (NBT) has recently signed a MoU to preserve and promote cultural heritage and folk songs sung on various occasion across the country. Several traditional and folk songs have been recorded under the Akashvani Lok Sampada Sanrakhshan Mahapariyojana. The MoU was inked in presence of Director General of AIR, F. Shehreyar and NBT Chairman, Baldeo Bhai Sharma in New Delhi. Through NBT, All India Radio will provide information to people about the rich heritage of folk songs preserved by it. The NBT will publish the Sanskar and folk songs. The NBT is an Indian publishing house functions under aegis of Ministry of Human Resource The headquarters of NBT is located in Vasant Kunj, Delhi.
11. The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA). The NFRA will act as an independent regulator for the auditing profession which was one of the key changes brought in by the Companies Act 2013. The jurisdiction of NFRA for investigation of Chartered Accountants and their firms will be extended to the listed companies and large unlisted public companies. The Cabinet also gave nod to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill – 2018 to deal with those escaping overseas to avoid getting caught. The Bill will help in laying down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian Courts. According to Union Finance ministry, the economic offences worth Rs 100 crore or more will come under the purview of the Bill.
12. India's star wrestler Vinesh Phogat has settled for Silver Medal in the 50kg Freestyle competition at the Asian Wrestling Championship in Kyrgyzstan on March 1. In the final of the event at Bishkek, she lost to China's Chun Lei. Another Indian, Sangeeta claimed Bronze in 59kg division.
13. Khagendra Jamataia (64), the Tripura Fisheries and Cooperation minister, has passed away in New Delhi on March 2, 2018. Jamataia was a CPI (M) candidate from the Krishnapur constituency in the February 18 assembly election. Jamatia had joined CPI (M) in 1983 and had been winning from Krishnapur constituency since 1988. This is the second setback for CPI (M) after the death of Ramendra Narayan Debbarma who was contesting from Charilam (ST) constituency.
14. Justice S. Ratnavel Pandian (89), the former Supreme Court judge, has passed away at Chennai, Tamil Nadu on February 28, 2018. He was a multi-faceted personality who tried his hands in politics before entering the legal profession. In the apex court, he was part of a Bench that decided the famous Indra Sawhney case, in which the constitutionality of reservations to Backward Classes was upheld in 1992. After his retirement in 1994, Justice Pandian headed the 5th Central Pay Commission and submitted its final report in April 1997. He took over as chairperson of the National Commission for Backward Classes on August 14, 2006 and was given the status of Union Cabinet Minister for the duration of the term of his office, which lasted till 2009.
15. The Karnataka government has launched the world's largest solar park 'Shakti Sthalaon' at Pavagada in Tumakuru district, about 180km from Bengaluru. The solar park has a capacity of 2,000 MW and has set up at an investment of Rs16,500 crore. The first phase of the park will generate 600MW, while the balance 1,400MW is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2018. The park will create employment and act as an incentive for natives and farmers to explore new opportunities of socio-economic growth in the region.
16. The Indian Snooker team has lifted the first edition of IBSF Snooker Team World Cup title and won the prize money of $15,000. The Indian duo of Pankaj Advani and Manan Chandra defeated Pakistan (Muhammad Asif, Babar Masih) in the best-of-five final played in Doha on March 2.
17. Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the fields of arts and politics at a ceremony in the UK's Parliament complex on March 2, 2018. The annual 'Political and Public Life Awards' presented by Britain's Asian Voice weekly newspaper, recognises individuals who have made a significant impact on public life or made a difference in their local communities. Sinha, who started his career as an actor in late 1960s, has to his credit over 225 Hindi feature films besides several in other Indian languages. A member of the ruling BJP, he represents Bihar state's Patna Sahib constituency in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament.
18. The mega annual cultural festival 'India by the Nile' will be held in Cairo, Egypt from March 6, 2018 with main focus on classical culture. The 12-day event will host a wide range of events to celebrate Indian culture and its diversity. It is the biggest foreign festival in Egypt which provides audiences an Indian cultural experience and encourages artistic collaborations between India and Egypt will be held in several cities such as Cairo. The festival, which is organised by the Embassy of India in Egypt and the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture in collaboration with entertainment company Teamwork Arts, is a celebration of contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film, food and literature.
19. Navjot Kaur has scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a Gold medal at the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships. She clinched the coveted yellow metal in the 65 kg freestyle category at the tournament held at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan on March 2, 2018. Navjot defeated Japan's Miya Imai, 9-1 in a one-sided final bout yesterday to give India's its first Gold of the ongoing Championships. Rio Olympics Bronze medallist Sakshi Malik won a bronze in the 62 kg division after getting the better of Kazakhstan's Ayaulym Kassymova, 10-7.The two medals took India's medals tally to six – 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 4 Bronze.
20. Armen Vardani Sarkissian has been elected as the new president of Republic of Armenia on March 2, 2018. Sarkissian will succeed Serzh Sarkisian and will assume the presidency in April 9, 2018. This was the first time in Armenia's history when the president was elected by the National Assembly instead of popular vote. Sarkissian served as Prime minister of Armenia from November 1996 to March 1997. Previously, he had been Armenia's ambassador in London. He has also served as the Armenian ambassador to the European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the Holy See.
21. India's shooter Manu Bhaker from Haryana won the gold medal in 10 metre Air Pistol Women event at the 2018 ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico on March 4. She shot 237.5 points to bag top honour at the ongoing event. Meanwhile, in the men's 10-metre Air Rifle event, Ravi Kumar won a Bronze, which was his first World Cup medal. India has so far bagged 4 medals – two gold and two bronze at the event. A total of 404 athletes from 50 National Olympic Committees are participating in the in the 12-day competition, which will have 15 medal events including three mixed team events. India has fielded a 33-member squad.
22. The 19th edition of FICCI Frames has inaugurated by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smiriti Irani in Mumbai, Maharashtra on March 5, 2018. The 3-day global convention covering the entire gamut of Media and Entertainment Industry will attract not only the industry stakeholders from across the world but also the government policy makers from India and abroad. The event will have more than 35 knowledge sessions by experts besides having over 200 high profile speakers from across the world. This year a first edition of Content Market has been added with over 70 buyers for a curated slate of new Indian Films. A special screening facility has also been set up to introduce festival programmers and key buyers to selected new Indian films. It is attended by nearly 2000 Indian and 800 foreign delegates encompassing the entire universe of media and entertainment.
23. Frances McDormand has won the best actress award at the 90th Academy Awards 2018 for her performance as a grieving mother in movie "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", at the award ceremony held at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 5. It is the second time McDormand has picked up the best actress statuette, following a 1996 win for her performance in Fargo. Beside her, Gary Oldman won the Oscar for the Best actor for portraying the role of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the period drama in movie 'Darkest Hour'. Allison Janney took home the coveted Best Supporting Actress award for 'I, Tonya', while Sam Rockwell won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
24. The Odisha government has launched a programme "Ama Gaon, Ama Vikas (Our Village, our development)" to reach out to the people in rural areas and involve themselves in the developmental activities. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has flagged off mobile video vans for 'Ama Gaon Ama Vikas' programme that will move across the State to highlight various welfare schemes at villages in the state. Through these Wi-Fi enabled latest technology video wall vans, people can directly send their grievances to the Chief Minister's Office at the Secretariat in Bhubaneswar. This initiative will help people in solving their grievances instantly.
25. Prafulla Das (91), the renowned litterateur, has passed at Rajkanika in Kendrapara district of Odisha on March 3, 2018. He was a recipient of the prestigious "Sarala Award" for his achievement in the literary field. 'Banhimana', the biography of freedom fighter Malati Chaudhury, brought him the Sarala Award in 2014. Das had written a number of books on the history of India's freedom struggle and the role of Odisha.
26. The Punjab Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with e-Governance Foundation (e-Gov) of Nandan Nilekani regarding the managing of electronic governance of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) throughout Punjab. With this, a total of 67 services would be provided online within a span of one year under 12 modules — that are property tax, water and sewerage management, complaints and grievance, licensing, fire service, verification, birth and death, ULB web portal, mobile application, state and ULB dashboards, payroll and financial accounting.
27. For the first time, India has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with foreign partners — Russia & Bangladesh — for civil nuclear cooperation. The MoU will be helpful for cooperation in construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Pabna, Bangladesh. This will be first ever nuclear power plant in Bangladesh. It was signed in Moscow by deputy director general of Rosatom (Russia's Alex civil nuclear body) Nikolay Spassky, ambassador of Bangladesh in Russia SM Saiful Hoque and Indian ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran. The Rooppur project is the first initiative under an Indo-Russian deal to undertake atomic energy projects in third countries. This will also be the first time Indian companies will be able to participate in a nuclear power project abroad. India is not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and hence cannot participate directly in construction of atomic power reactors. The Nuclear Power Cooperation of India Limited (NPCIL) will play a key role in building a nuclear power plant on foreign soil with the proposed supply of equipment and material for the power station being built by Russia in Bangladesh.
28. Viswanathan Anand, the five-time world champion, has won the 11thTal Memorial Chess tournament (rapid section) 2018 with a score of 6.0/9 in Moscow on March 4. The win came after an easy final round draw against Boris Gelfand of Israel. . The trophy adds to Anand's world rapid title won in Riyadh over two months ago. The Tal Memorial Rapid is a 10-player single round-robin taking place in the Museum of Russian Impressionism in Moscow. The ten top players were competing for a $130,000 prize fund, with $25,000 for 1st place.
29. Vinod Kumar Omprakash has clinched bronze in men's 70kg freestyle at the 2018 Asian Wrestling Championships at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Also, defending champion Bajrang Punia won bronze in men's 65kg freestyle on March 3. Earlier, in the tournament, Navjot Kaur scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in the senior continental championship as she clinched the yellow metal in the 65kg freestyle category. Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik won a bronze in the 62kg freestyle category. With this, the medal haul includes one Gold, one Silver and six Bronze medals.
30. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the noted an Indian cricketer, has become a brand ambassador of gaming platform Dream11 on March 5, 2018. Dhoni, who had led the country to a famous triumph in the inaugural World T20 Championship in 2007, would be the new face of the gaming platform's multi-channel marketing campaigns and brand engagement activities. Dhoni captained the Indian team in limited-overs formats from 2007 to 2016 and in Test cricket from 2008 to 2014. Currently the gaming platform has a user base of 2 crore sports fans playing "fantasy cricket, football, kabaddi and NBA.
31. Conrad Sangma, the President of National People's Party (NPP) & currently a Member of Parliament (MP) from Tura Lok Sabha constituency, has been sworn-in as the 12th Chief Minister of Meghalaya. He is the son of former Lok Sabha Speaker late PA Sangma. NPP won 19 seats in the recently held Assembly polls and cobbled up a coalition government in the state with the support of other regional parties, the BJP and an Independent MLA. P A Sangma was a former Union minister and Lok Sabha speaker. He was also the Meghalaya chief minister from 1988 to 1990.
32. The Andaman Nicobar naval command is organizing multinational mega event "Milan 2018" with theme 'Friendship Across the Seas' at Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar islands from March 6 to March 13, 2018. The purpose of Milan 2018 is to enhance regional cooperation for combating Unlawful Activities at sea will be organised. The highlights of Milan 2018 are an international maritime seminar cultural and social exchanges, band concert, ship visit, sports and city parade. For the first time, Oman is also participating in this biennial exercise. This prestigious international event will also see participation of 38 delegates from the 16 participating countries, making it the largest gathering since its inception in 1995.
33. The Union government has set up a steering committee to consider various issues relating to the development of Fintech space in India with a view to make Fintech related regulations more flexible and generate enhanced entrepreneurship. The move is a follow up to the announcement made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech of 2018-19. The 8-member committee headed by Economic Affairs Secretary, Subhash Chandra Garg will also focus on how Fintech can be leveraged to enhance financial inclusion of MSMEs. According to the terms and reference, the committee will take stock of the developments in the fintech sector globally, and in India. It will also work with Government agencies like UIDAI to explore creation and use of unique enterprise identification number.
34. The Shigmotsav is the biggest festival for the Hindus in Goa, which is celebrated in the month of Phalguna (March) from the 9th moon day to full moon day as per the Hindu calendar. The 5th day is called 'Rang Panchami'. This day of rejoicing is celebrated with the abundant use of 'Gulal' or red powder. This year, in 2018, the 2-week long festival has started from March 3. The Shigmotsav or Shigmo is one of the several cultural festivals of the coastal state and is celebrated through colours, costumes, music, dance and parades. The Shigmo parades will give one and all a chance to take a glimpse at the life of a Goan which is depicted in elaborate folk performances by local men and women who dance tirelessly in huge processions along with the parade. Folk dances like Ghode Modni and Fugdi will be performed on the streets in massive troupes along the procession, showcasing the traditions of Goa.
35. Javed Abidi (53), the noted disability rights activist, has passed away in New Delhi on March 4, 2018. A former civil servant, Abidi was one of the most authoritative voices in the field of disability rights and believed in engaging the government for ensuring betterment of the persons with disabilities. Abidi was instrumental in the drafting and passage of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 and was the director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), which he has set up in 1996. He was also the founder of the Disability Rights Group, and the Convener of the National Disability Network (NDN), India. Born in Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh) in 1965 with congenital spina bifida, a developmental disorder, he traversed the world on a wheelchair, advocating the rights of the disabled.
36. Sarat Mohanty (88), the Veteran Odia film actor, has passed away in Balasore, Odisha on March 3, 2018. The comedian, a native of Khirkona, had acted in a number of Odia films. He acted in the film Laxmi released in 1962. Other hit films in which he acted are: Amadabata,, Kaa, Stree, Puja Phula, Bhulihuena, Malhajanha, Sakal Tirtha to Charane and from many others. Mohanty had also acted in many TV serials in Odisha.
37. The Odisha government has launched the free sanitary napkin scheme 'Khushi' for girl students from Class 6 to 12 in all the government and government-aided schools in the state. The scheme will be implemented by the health and family welfare department of the state at a cost of Rs 70 crore per year.
38. Rashid Khan, the world's No.1 ODI and Twenty20 International bowler, has become the youngest international captain in cricket history by leading Afghanistan at the age of 19 years & 165 days against Scotland in the first match of the 2018 ICC World Cup qualifiers played in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He replaced Rajin Saleh of Bangladesh who captained his side against South Africa at the age of 20 years and 297 days in 2004.
39. The World Wildlife Day (WWD) is observed every year on March 3 to raise awareness about our planet's flora and fauna. On this day, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was finalised & and the day has been celebrated as World Wildlife Day since 2014. CITES is an international agreement between the governments of 183 countries to protect wild plants and animals and ensure their survival. The 2018 theme is 'Big Cats: Predators under Threat'. The day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people.
40. Indian shooter Shahzar Rizvi has clinched gold with a world record score of 242.3 in 10m air pistol men's final in the 2018 ISSF World Cup at Guadalajara in Mexico on March 3. Striking a score of 242.3, Meerut-based Shahzar made sure that he gave India a taste of gold and kept his cool to achieve his target. While in the same event, Jitu Rai grabbed bronze medal. Meanwhile, Mehuli clinched bronze in the Women's 10m Air Rifle final with a score of 228.4. A total of 404 athletes from 50 National Olympic Committees are participating in the in the 12-day competition, which will have 15 medal events including three mixed team events. India has fielded a 33-member squad.
41. The 9th edition of the Women's Film Festival (WFF-2018) will be organized by the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) from 9 to 11 March at NFAI Pune. The theme of the fest is 'Travelling Women'. It will open with Sidney Pollack's Out Of Africa, featuring Meryl Streep. The festival will feature other acclaimed films including Away We Go, Under the Tuscan Sun, and Wild. The closing film is Eat Pray Love, starring Julia Roberts. On March 8, NFAI will also host a special event "Parikathe til Rajkumari", and screen audiovisual clips paying tribute to women in Indian cinema, from the birth of Indian cinema till the 1960s. The festival to mark the 2018 International Women's Day will screen Balu Mahendra's Tamil film Moondram Pirai, in remembrance of actress Sridevi.
42. Neiphiu Rio, the senior leader of President of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) & currently a Member of Parliament (MP) from Nagaland Lok Sabha constituency, will be sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of Nagaland on March 8, 2018. He has to prove his majority on the floor of the House "on or before March 16", according to a media release issued by the office of Governor P B Acharya. Rio belongs to the Angami Naga tribe in the state.
43. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the pan-India expansion of flagship programme–Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao (BBBP)–from JhunJhun district of Rajasthan on March 8 to mark the International Women's Day (IWD-2018). The BBBP is an initiative to save and educate the girl child. The programme will be expanded from the present 161 districts to 640 all over the country. In another landmark initiative, the Prime Minister will also launch the National Nutrition Mission (NNM). He will also launch NNM- ICDS Common Application Software.
44. Shammi (89), the veteran Bollywood and television actress, has passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra on March 6, 2018. Fondly addressed as 'Shammi aunty' by Bollywood celebrities, Shammi started her film career with Malhar as a leading lady and later on moved to the comic genre. She acted in over 100 films and TV shows and was best remembered for her role in the Nineties sitcom 'Dekh Bhai Dekh'. She was famous for her comic timing and was quite prolific in both TV and cinema.
45. India's first helicopter-taxi service has been successfully launched in Bengaluru, Karnataka which drastically reduces travel time for commuters. At present, the Heli taxi service is operating between Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) and Electronic City. The service is expected to reduce the time taken to cover the distance from 2 hours to 15 minutes. The helicopter will seat up to six people apart from the pilot and the service will cost Rs 3,500 plus GST.
46. The week-long 29th edition of the world-famous International Yoga Festival (IYF-2018) was held at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand from March 1-7, 2018. The IYF offers daily classes from 4 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. with more than 80 revered saints, yogacharyas, presenters and experts from nearly 20 countries around the world. There are also classes in meditation, mudras, Sanskrit chanting, reiki, Indian philosophy and spiritual discourses to be held by revered spiritual leaders from India and abroad. The festival was officially inaugurated by Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu. Approx 1500 participants from 92 nations participated in the fest.
47. Out of 133 countries, India has been ranked the 4th most powerful military power in the world, according to the Global Fire Power Index (GFPI) 2017. According to the index, India has an active military comprising of 13, 62,500 personnel. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has 2102 aircraft — 676 fighter, 809 attack, and others. The Indian Army has a total of 4426 combat tanks, 6704 armoured fighting vehicles, 290 self-propelled artillery guns and 7414 towed artillery guns. The list is topped by US followed by Russia and China. According to the report, India's defense budget is $51 billion as against China's $161.7 billion and Pakistan's $7 billion. The index relied on 50 parameters like military resources, natural resources, logistical flexibility, geographical features, and available manpower. The list did not take nuclear stockpiles into account but recognized / suspected nuclear powers received a bonus.
48. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has recently approved India's membership after its shareholders gave their nod to make India its 69th member. The formal membership process will now get underway, which includes the purchase of shares by India at an estimated cost of around €1 million. The London-headquartered EBRD is a multilateral development bank set up in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin wall to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in emerging Europe. It invests in 38 emerging economies across three continents, according to a set of criteria that aim to make its countries more competitive, better governed, greener, more inclusive, more resilient and more integrated.
49. The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) will become the first sovereign nation to issue a cryptocurrency that will be legal tender. The new currency is called "Sovereign" with the symbol "SOV". The SOV will be distributed to the public via an Initial Currency Offering (ICO). It will circulate as legal tender in the country, alongside its current local currency, the U.S. dollar. The RMI has partnered with Israeli fintech startup Neema to issue 24 million units of the Sovereign (SOV) digital currency. It will cap the number to prevent inflation. The move follows Venezuela's launch of the Petro cryptocurrency in February 2018. Unlike the Petro, the SOV will be recognized in law as legal tender, holding equal status as the US dollar, which is the Pacific island nation's current currency. The Marshall Islands is a Pacific island republic nestled between Hawaii and Australia.
50. The Konar dam is constructed across the Konar River, a tributary of the Damodar River in Hazaribagh district in Jharkhand. The place has scenic beauty and has been developed as a recreational spot. The dam is 4,535 metres long and 48.77 metres high. The reservoir covers an area of 27.92 km.
51. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has launched the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) on the occasion of 2018 International Women's Day (IWD). The platform aspires to substantially increase the number of women entrepreneurs who will create and empower a dynamic New India. WEP will provide opportunities to women to realize their entrepreneurial aspirations, scale-up innovative initiatives and chalk-out sustainable, long-term strategies for their businesses. It aims to promote women entrepreneurship and provide industry linkages and partner support to women entrepreneurs.
52. The International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated every year on March 8 to highlight the achievements of women. It is a global celebration of the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. The 2018 theme is "Time Is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives". Women's Day was first observed on 28th February 1909 in New York. At 1910 International Woman's Conference, 8th March was suggested to be observed as "International Woman's Day." March 8 also became a national holiday in Soviet Russia in 1917 after women gained suffrage there. Later, in 1975, International Women's Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations.
53. Noted Indian architect & urban planner Balkrishna Doshi has been named the prestigious 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize for being able to interpret architecture and transform it into buildings that respect Eastern culture. He is the first Indian architect to be awarded the prize. The award ceremony will take place at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto on May 2018. Doshi is widely known for designing extensive low-cost housing projects and public institutions. His designs include the IIM-Bangalore; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad; cultural spaces in Ahmedabad such as Tagore Memorial Hall, the Institute of Indology, and Premabhai Hall; and private residence Kamala House (Ahmedabad), among many others. The Pritzker Prize is regarded as architecture's equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
54. Gita Mittal, the Delhi High Court Acting Chief Justice, has become the first woman from the field of law and justice to be conferred the 'Nari Shakti Puraskar', India's highest civilian honour for women. Justice Mittal, who took over as Acting Chief Justice after the retirement of Justice G Rohini in April 2017, has introduced many welcome changes in the functioning of the Delhi High Court. She has been closely monitoring the dispensation of justice in Delhi and has also initiated a clean-up drive of the lower judiciary. The award has been presented to Justice Mittal in a private ceremony by the President at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 2018 International Women's Day (IWD). The Nari Shakti award is presented for exemplary service to the cause of upliftment of women.
55. Minerva Punjab FC has won the I-League tournament (2017-18) after defeating Churchill Brothers in the final by 1-0 at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon, Haryana on March 8, 2018. Thus, Minerva has clinched their first I-League title.
56. Indian-origin steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta has been appointed by Britain's Prince Charles as an official ambassador for the Industrial Cadets programme designed to nurture manufacturing skills. Gupta was appointed to the flagship programme to give children and young people the direct structured experience of the industry at school or college level.
57. Prakriti has been inducted as the first direct-entry combat officer in the border guarding force, ITBP. She has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and is right now based in an ITBP unit in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh. She will soon join the Officers' Training Academy of the force in Dehradun. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force is the last of the CAPFs to induct women officers in combat roles after the government first allowed it to enroll them in 2016. The force already has women in combat roles but only in the constable ranks. The ITBP, that guards the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China, was raised in 1962 in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression. Two other forces — the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) — were allowed to directly induct women officers in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
58. The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) launched a Udyam Sakhi portal for women entrepreneurs of India on the occasion of 2018 International Women's Day: The "www.udyamsakhi.org" portal is a network for nurturing social entrepreneurship and creating business models for low cost products and services in order to empower women and make them self-reliant and self-sufficient. The portal provides assistance through its platform for entrepreneurship learning tools, incubation facility, training programs for fund raising, providing mentors, one-on-one investor meet, provide market survey facility and technical assistance.
59. Tech giant Microsoft has inked its first renewable energy deal in India for powering its new facility in Bengaluru. The facility, which will be operational from June 2018, is spread over 5.85 lakh square feet. The agreement will see Microsoft purchase 3 megawatts of solar-powered electricity from Atria Power to help power its new office building in Bangalore. This will meet 80% of the projected electricity needs at the new facility. This deal is part of Karnataka government program to encourage investments in local solar energy operations, in line with the country's goal of ramping up solar power generation to 100 gigawatts by 2022. Once completed, the project will bring Microsoft's total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to nearly 900 megawatts. This is Microsoft's first solar energy agreement in India, and one of the first ones in the Asian region.
60. The Mundra Thermal Power Station is located at Mundra in Kutch district of Gujarat. The power plant is one of the coal-based power plants of Adani Power. The source of water for the power plant is sea water from the Gulf of Kutch. It is the world's 11th-largest single location coal-based thermal power plant as well as India's second largest operational power plant.
61. On the occasion of International Women's Day (IWD-2018), the Maharashtra government has started Ashmita Yojana under which sanitary napkins at subsidised rates will be provided to rural girls and women across the state. As stated by state government, the scheme will emerge as a model scheme for the country. The girls studying in Zilla Parishad schools will get a sanitary pad packet for Rs 5. Meanwhile, the women living in rural area can avail the sanitary packs for Rs 24 or Rs 29.
62. The World ATM Congress (WATMC-2018) was held at Feria de Madrid in Spain from March 6 to 8. It is the world's largest international air traffic management (ATM) exhibition and conference attracting thousands of delegates each year. In it, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) participated and showcased its achievements and initiatives.
63. Pyare Lal Wadali (75), the famous Sufi singer, has passed away in Amritsar, Punjab on March 9, 2018. He was the younger of the singers of legendary Sufi set Wadali Brothers. The Wadali Brothers – comprising Puranchand Wadali and Pyarelal Wadali – had carved a distinct mark for themselves in the genre of Sufi music. Born into the fifth generation of musicians, Pyarelal and Puran Chand Wadali became popular with their Sufi music and were spotted after performing at the Harballabh temple in Jalandhar in 1975. The duo had taken the country by storm some years ago, by their hit album featuring Sufi songs such as 'Tu mane ya na mane dildara', 'aasan te tenu rab manya' and Tanu Weds Manu's 'Rangrez mere'.
64. Biplab Kumar Deb, a member of the royal family, has been sworn-in as 10th chief minister in Agartala on March 9, 2018. He is the state president of BJP in Tripura. Jishnu Debbarma took oath as the deputy chief minister. With this, BJP ended the 25-year Left Front rule in the State by winning 35 out of the 59 seats. Its ally, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura, won eight seats, taking the tally to 43. As per the Constitution of India, the Governor of Tripura is the state's de jure head, but de facto executive authority rests with the chief minister.
65. The 2018 National Legislators Conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Central Hall of Parliament House, New Delhi on March 10, 2018. The purpose of the Conference is to provide a platform to Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assemblies and Members of Legislative Councils across the country to share their experiences. The theme of the conference is — "We For Development". About 170 public representatives are expected to participate in the Conference. The Conference will offer a special opportunity to the delegates whose constituencies have greater possibilities and aspirations of development. Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers, Presiding Officers of State Legislatures, Members of Parliament and Members of State Legislatures will attend the function.
66. The first-ever International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan cultural centre in New Delhi on March 11, 2018. The one-day conference will include an Inaugural Session, followed by Plenary and Technical Sessions and will be attended by Heads of State/Heads of Government, dignitaries from the United Nations, Presidents of Multilateral Development Banks and global funds / financial institutions, leaders from energy-related institutions, corporate sector, and civil society. The ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countries to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach. The ISA initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on 30 November 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then French President Francois Hollande.
67. Vivek R Wadekar, the 1991-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, has been appointed as the new Special Director in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) by the Union government for a period of five years. The ED is the central investigative agency, under the Union finance ministry, that enforces the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in the country.
68. The headquarters of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has been shifted from Chennai to Ballabhgarh in Faridabad District of Haryana for better coordination between the environment ministry and the AWBI for carrying out the animal welfare activities. It was informed by Mahesh Sharma, the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in written reply to Rajya Sabha . According to Rule 3 of the Animal Welfare Board (Administrative) Rules (1962), the headquarter of the AWBI shall be at New Delhi or at such other place as the central government, may, after consultation with the Board direct. The AWBI was established in 1962 under Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960).
69. Diu has become the India's first Union Territory (UT) to run 100% on solar power energy. Diu has a total area of 42 square kilometers and the installation of the solar power plants here has been done in over 50 acres. On a daily basis, the Union Territory generates a total of 13 megawatts of electricity from solar power plants out of this 3 MW is contributed by rooftop solar plants and 10 MW by others. With this, Diu has managed to generate surplus solar power for its residents, reducing their electricity costs, in a span of just three years.
70. Indian shooter Anjum Moudgil from Chandigarh has clinched her first International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup medal- silver in the Women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions (3P) event at the ongoing 2018 ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun stage in Guadalajara, Mexico on March 9, 2018. Former junior world champion China's Ruijiao Pei won the Gold Medal in that event.This was India's 8th medal of the competition and the first silver after having won three golds and four bronze medals.
71. The biennial event on Civil Aviation and Aerospace 'Wings India 2018' has started with theme "India-Global Aviation Hub" in Hyderabad on March 8. It is jointly organized by Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India and FICCI. The WINGS INDIA 2018 is a platform for interactions, forging alliances, investments and air connectivity between the States and the global aviation players & stakeholders. The four-day event has witnessed the presence of 125 exhibitors and 35 CEOs. It also saw representation from 10 countries. The focus of the conference is to foster partnership to transform Indian aviation and the role of conducive regulatory framework to facilitate growth of civil aviation market.
72. As part of the 10th edition of MILAN 2018, the first-ever multi-nation naval exercise at sea called MILES-18 has started on March 11, 2018. The exercise will be conducted for three days in the Andaman Sea. Those participating in the event include 11 foreign naval ships and six Indian ships. Apart from enhancing inter-operability, the exercise will enable honing of search and rescue operations procedures, maritime interdiction operations, core operational skills and exercise a variety of maritime security scenarios. The Andaman Nicobar naval command is organizing multi-national mega event "Milan 2018" with theme 'Friendship Across the Seas' at Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar islands from March 6 to March 13, 2018. The purpose of Milan 2018 is to enhance regional cooperation for combating Unlawful Activities at sea will be organised.
73. Indian shooter Akhil Sheoran clinched gold medal in men's 50m Rifle 3-Position at ISSF Shooting World Cup at Guadalajara in Mexico on March 10, 2018. In his first-ever World Cup participation, Akhil shot 455.6 in the final to leave behind Austria's Bernhard Pickl in second place with 452. Hungarian Istvan Peni got 442.3 points in total to take the bronze medal. This was India's 4th gold medal after Manu Bhaker, Om Prakash Mitharval and Shahzar Rizvi, bagged the yellow metal in the competition so far. India now tops the medal tally with a total of nine medals. International Shooting Sports Federation World Cup Stage 1 will conclude on March 11 with the Skeet Men final.
74. World champions Australia have lifted the coveted 27th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah cup 2018 in Ipoh, Malaysia on March 10, 2018. In the final, they beat defending champions England by a narrow 2-1 margin. With this, Australia has now won the prestigious tournament for the 10th time. Earlier, in the classification match for the 3rd place, Argentina finished third after beating Malaysia 3-2. The hosts ended at the 4th spot.
75. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) has recently signed a cooperation arrangement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to promote solar energy deployment in Asia and the Pacific on March 10, 2018. The cooperation envisages solar power generation, solar based mini-grids and transmission systems for integrating solar energy into grids. The ISA and the ADB would also cooperate on knowledge sharing and developing technology roadmaps for the promotion of solar energy. Apart from this, the ISA has also inked joint financial partnership declarations with the African Development Bank (AfDb), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Green climate fund (GCF), and the New Development Bank (NDB). ISA and AfDb would work on mobilisation of concessional financing through existing, notably the Bank's Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Facility for Energy Inclusion. AIIB and ISA have collaborated for promotion of solar energy in prospective ISA member countries where AIIB operates. Besides, ISA and GCF will promote development of affordable, reliable and sustainable solar energy as an important way towards a sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The purpose of the agreements is to deepen their cooperation in support of renewable energy.
76. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron co-chaired the first Founding Conference of International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the Rashtrapati Bhawan Cultural Center in New Delhi on March 11, 2018. The purpose of the summit is to focus on various aspects of promoting solar energy in 121 countries that are part of the International Solar Alliance. The summit was attended by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid among other dignitaries from over 50 countries. The ISA is the first treaty-based intergovernmental organisation to be based in India that aims to help sunshine-rich developing countries to tap solar energy at more affordable prices.
77. Dr. Patangrao Kadam (74), the senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra minister, has passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra on March 9, 2018. He founded the Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, an educational empire which is spread across the state, and also set up cooperative ginning mills and sugar mills in western Maharashtra. He held key portfolios such as cooperation, forest, relief & rehabilitation, education and industry under Congress -led governments during his decades-long political career.
78. Sitanshu Kar, an officer of 1983 batch of Indian Information Service (IIS), will be the new head of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) after superannuation of Frank Noronha on April 30. He will take charge as PIB head on 1st May 2018. Presently, he is the director general of All India Radio (AIR)'s News Services Division (NSD).
79. India B has won the 45th edition of the Deodhar Trophy 2018 by defeating Karnataka in the final by 6 wickets at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala. The Deodhar Trophy is a List A cricket competition in Indian domestic cricket and is named after Prof. D. B. Deodhar, who is known as the Grand Old Man of Indian cricket.
80. The Telangana government has launched India's first state-led incubator for women entrepreneurs, called as Women Entrepreneurship Hub (WE-Hub), in Hyderabad on the occasion of International Women's Day (IWD-2018). Unlike T-Hub, which is meant for technology startups, WE Hub will be open for all kinds of startups led by women. We-Hub will promote women-led, women-owned enterprises in Telangana. It is a platform which is open to all kinds of innovations including a tech start-up, a start-up in social innovation or an idea which is completely radically different. Deepthi Ravula is heading the WE-Hub incubator as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
81. On 12th March 2018, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced its association with Paytm as the Official Umpire Partner of the VIVO Indian Premier League for the next five years. Paytm is also the Title Sponsor of India Cricket.
82. Amol Palekar, the well known actor and director, has been honoured with the 'Godavari Gaurav' award at an event in Nasik on March 10, 2018. He is known for his performance in films like "Gol Maal" , "Choti Si Baat", "Chitchor" among others. The award, which carries a prize of Rs 21,000 and a memento, has been instituted by city-based 'Kusumagraj Prathishthan'. The award was given by noted Marathi writer Madhu Mangesh Karnik, who is the chairperson the Prathishthan. Classical singer Pandit Satyasheel Deshpande also received the 'Godavari Gaurav' award.
83. Ranjan Roy (57), the chief of the Times News Network (TNN) and a member of The Times of India's national editorial board, has passed away in New Delhi on March 10, 2018. He was known for his professional acumen and personal charm. An alumnus of Delhi's St. Stephen's College and Princeton University, US, Roy started his journalistic career in the Press Trust of India (PTI) in New Delhi as a trainee in 1982.
84. India has won the 2018 Best Exhibitor Award (BEA) at ITB – Berlin on March 10, 2018. ITB-Berlin World Tourist Meet was convened at German capital Berlin from March 7 to 10, 2018. India was represented by Tourism Minister K. J. Alphons along with Ministry officials. More than 100 countries participated in the ITB- Berlin meet with their respective Tourism Ministers. India's Incredible India (Ministry of Tourism) presented a short film named "Yogi of the Racetrack " in the meet. The said short film has got 3.2 million hits in 60 hours.
85. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced one of the world's largest investment plans in solar energy at the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA-2018) on March 11. In it, India will provide $1.4 billion line of credit to support 27 solar power projects in 15 countries. Beside this, France will provide €700 million in loans and support by 2022 to emerging economies for solar energy projects. The 2018 ISA conference co-chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Rashtrapati Bhawan Cultural Center in New Delhi .The purpose of the summit is to focus on various aspects of promoting solar energy in 121 countries that are part of the International Solar Alliance. The ISA is a treaty based inter-governmental alliance of 121 countries lying between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
86. Suresh Prabhu, the Union Minister of Commerce and Industries, has been given additional charge of the Ministry of Civil Aviation on March 10, after the resignation of Ashok Gajapathi Raju of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was accepted by President Ram Nath Kovind. Mr. Raju and another TDP MP Y.S. Chowdary resigned from the Council of Ministers after party supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu decided to pull out his Ministers from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. Mr. Naidu took the decision after facing relentless attacks from the Opposition for failing to secure special category status for Andhra Pradesh. However, TDP continues to be a part of the NDA.
87. For the first time, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) have declared an 8.3 km stretch along the Indo-Bangladesh border a 'crime free zone' on March 10, 2018 to curb criminal activities including smuggling. It is the first-ever crime-free zone declared by both the countries. The stretch falls between the border outpost of Gunarmath and Kalyani of the BSF and Putkhali and Daulatpur of the BGB. This stretch is one of the most vulnerable with cattle smuggling and other criminal activities prevalent. With the help of civil administrations of the two countries, NGOs and the local populace, both border-guarding forces will help ensure no crime takes place along the stretch. This is a pilot project that will be reviewed after 5-6 months.
88. The first Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise 'Samvedna' of the Indian Air Force in association with South Asian Region nations has started off the coast of Kerala from March 12, 2018. The 6-day multilateral exercise would involve representatives from air forces of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and the UAE. The purpose of the exercise is to galvanise all stakeholders in synergising a unified HADR efforts. The entire settings of the exercise is based on a scenario of a tsunami in the western coast of India originating from an earthquake in Makran subduction zone and resulting in post-tsunami disaster management along the western coast and western islands of India. The exercise, hosted by the Southern Air Command, will provide a clear understanding of the scope, role and task, including challenges in air operations and ensure better understanding, and sharing of response procedures among the nations.
89. Ch Kamalamma (90), the Telangana armed struggle fighter and veteran Communist leader, has passed away in Hyderabad on March 11, 2018. She was native of Warangal district of Telangana. She joined the post Independence armed struggle to fight the rule of erstwhile Nizams of Hyderabad and their army of Razakars as part of Telangana Liberation Struggle by Communist Party of India (CPI) at the age of 15. Later Kamalamma served as secretary of the CPI Mahila Samakhya for a long period.
90. The Barh Super Thermal Power Station (BSTPS) is located in Barh, Bihar and is owned by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). The 1,320MW (2×660 MW) Barh Stage-2 built by BHEL is operational while 1,980MW (3×660 MW) Barh Stage-1 is being built by Russian firm Technopromexport (TPE). The main power plant and the township is spread over an area of 1,186 acres.The legal possession of 1,186 acres of land has been acquired for setting up the main power plant and its township which includes 12 villages.
91. The Delhi End TB Summit has started in New Delhi on 13th March 2018, which is co-hosted by the Union Health Ministry, WHO South East Asia Regional Office and Stop TB Partnership. In it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a TB-free India Campaign to eradicate Tuberculosis (TB) from India by 2025, five years ahead of a globally-set deadline. The campaign will take the activities of National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB elimination forward in a mission mode. The NSP is backed by a funding of over Rs 12,000 crore over the next three years to ensure that every TB patient has access to quality diagnosis, treatment and support. The new NSP adopts a multi-pronged approach which aims to detect all TB patients, with an emphasis on reaching TB patients seeking care from private providers and undiagnosed TB in high-risk populations. The Delhi End TB Summit 2018 will set the stage for United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB in September 2018, where for the first time, TB will be discussed in the UN General Assembly at the Heads of State level.
92. The first-ever Indo-French Knowledge Summit was held in New Delhi and coincided with the state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India. The purpose of the summit was to design a roadmap of Franco-India cooperation for the next five years, in collaboration with companies. It was organized by the French Embassy in India and co-hosted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The Knowledge summit was successfully ended with a landmark agreement on mutual recognition of educational qualifications between the two countries and a record 15 other MoUs between universities and research institutions on joint initiatives and partnerships. More than 350 people from nearly 80 Indian Institutions and 70 French Institutions along with key enterprises participated in the Summit which also received the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Campus France and Confederation of Indian Industry.
93. The Union Government has constituted a 3-member Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal to adjudicate the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over sharing the river's water. Supreme Court Judge AM Khanwilkar will be the Chairman of the tribunal, with Justice Ravi Ranjan of the Patna High Court and Justice Indermeet Kaur Kochhar of the Delhi High Court being the other two members. The Tribunal, which will have its headquarters in Delhi, has been constituted following the Supreme Court orders in January in a suit filed by the Odisha Government. The apex court had sought to refer the dispute to a Tribunal for adjudication under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
94. The Festival of Democracy will be celebrated in Jaipur, Rajasthan on March 17, 2018 to discuss developmental dialogues relevant to democracy in the country. It is being organised by Anjaneya Seva Samiti in collaboration with Talk India Foundation. It will hold discussions about vivid aspects of the nation ranging from politics to cinema. The 2-day festival will be a platform to discuss substantive dialogue about vivid aspects of the nation, including politics, literature, art, health, sports, education, cinema and others. Eminent personalities from across the country are expected to take part in the event which includes former MP CP Joshi, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Delhi Power Minister Satyendra Jain and AAP leader Ashutosh Gupta.
95. India's first national coastal policing academy has been set up in Devbhumi Dwarka district of Gujarat to train police forces in effectively safeguarding the Indian shoreline. The academy, named National Academy of Coastal Policing (NACP), will start functioning from a campus of Gujarat's Fisheries Research Centre located in coastal Okha from April 2018. The NACP will be run by a multi-agency team of paramilitary and defence forces. It will train the marine forces of states, which have sea lines.
96. During the visit of President Ram Nath Kovind, India has offered a $100 million dollar Line of Credit (LoC) to Mauritius for defence procurement to help its security capacity. India also agreed to sell a Multi-Purpose Offshore Petrol Vessel to the island nation, which will be financed through the LoC. It will also have a $5-million-dollar grant component in addition to the LoC. Earlier, both the countries signed four MoUs to further strengthen bilateral cooperation. These agreements are in the fields of education, health, culture and civil services. The MoUs were exchanged in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind and Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth in Port Louis.
97. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) celebrated its 33rd Inception Day on March 11, 2018 in their newly constructed Complex at Mahipalpur, New Delhi and released "Citizen Services" Mobile APP. This single App is a bouquet of various essential police related services to the citizen. The app can be used by citizen for various services such as Complaint Registration & Status Check, View FIR Detail, SOS – Stay Safe, Locate Police Stations, Vahan-Samanvay, Emergency Contact List, Police Stations Telephone Directory etc. The NCRB is an Indian government agency responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It is headquartered in New Delhi and is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
98. P K Sinha, the Union Cabinet Secretary , has launched "I-METROS" an association of all Indian Metro Rail companies at the Conference on "Indian Metros: Collaborating for Excellence" in Metro Bhawanhere on March 8. The platform will be a forum for exchange of ideas, pooling of knowledge and sharing of experience, best practices, innovations etc. among the Indian Metro Rail companies to nurture excellence in performance. It will also safeguard the interest and rights of metro rail companies and will be resource tank of information for decision making.
99. The ICICI Bank has launched instant overdraft 'InstaOD' facility for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in a completely online and paperless manner. Customers can get overdraft facility up to Rs 15 lakh for a year anytime, anywhere using the bank's Internet and mobile banking app. The new facility will enable a few lakh of pre-qualified current account customers of the bank to instantly avail of the facility without visiting a branch and submitting physical documents. ICICI Bank will also offer the facility for instant online sanction of overdraft facility to MSME customers of other banks shortly.
100. The Gangrel Dam, also known as the R.S. Sagar Dam, is built across the Mahanadi River in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. It is the longest dam in Chhattisgarh. This dam supplies year round irrigation, allowing farmers to harvest two crops per year. The dam also supplies 10 MW of hydro-electric power capacity.
101. Bidya Devi Bhandari has been re-elected as President of Nepal for second term in office with an overwhelming majority. She defeated her Nepali Congress rival Kumari Laxmi Rai in the election held on March 13, 2018. Ms Bhandari secured 39,275 votes while the NC's Rai garnered 11,730 votes. She became Nepal's first woman President in 2015.
102. India's tallest national flag has been unfurled in Belagavi (also known as Belgaum) in Karnataka. The 9,600 sq.ft flag on a 110 m flag pole was unfurled by Ramesh Jarkiholi, District in-charge Minister. The event was attended by leaders, school children, and religious leaders of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh institutions at the Kote Kere front. The 110 m tall flag post at Kote Kere is near the historic Belagavi fort in the city. It is taller than the post in Pune (107 m) and the one at the India-Pakistan border at Attari (105 m) in Punjab.
103. President Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the World Hindi Secretariat building in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, on March 13, 2018. The Secretariat is fully financed by India and a grant of Rs 33 crore was provided. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of this building in 2015. The purpose of the secretariat is to present Hindi as a common man's language 'Janbhasha' in front of the world.
104. Stephen Hawking (76), the legendary British theoretical physicist, has passed away in Cambridge, United Kingdom on March 14, 2018. Known for his unique way of speaking while living his life in a wheelchair, Hawking became an emblem of human determination and curiosity. He is known for his groundbreaking work with black holes and relativity. He contracted motor neurone disease in 1963 and was given two years to live but he went on to study at Cambridge and became one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein. Mr Hawking was the author of several popular science books, including 'A Brief History of Time', which sold more than 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages. The physicist had won the Albert Einstein Award, the Wolf Prize, the Copley Medal, and the Fundamental Physics Prize. His life story was the subject of the 2014 film 'The Theory of Everything', starring Eddie Redmayne.
105. Narendra Jha (55), the noted film and television actor, has passed away in Nashik, Maharashtra on March 14, 2018. He was born in Madhubani, Bihar. He began his small screen journey with Mandira Bedi's Shanti and went on to model in TV ads. He is best known for his performances in films such as "Raees", "Kaabil", "Mohenjo Daro" and "Haider".
106. The Haryana government will constitute a committee to find a solution to polluted water flowing in Yamuna river affecting the four districts of the state. The committee, led by State Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Om Parkash Dhankhar, will discuss the issue with the Delhi government and the Centre. It was announced by the Chief Minister of Haryana in the Haryana Assembly during Zero hour to the issue of quality of water in Okhla Barrage and effulents entering Yamuna from 37 polluted channels in Delhi.
107. The Executive Committee, which is the apex body for all nutrition related activities under the POSHAN Abhiyaan, held its first meeting to decide on the road map for the mission on March 14, 2018. The Committee is headed by Rakesh Srivastava, Secretary in the Ministry of Women and Child Development. An official release stated that on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti on 14th of April, Gram Panchayats across the country will hold meetings to discuss on the nutritional aspects and their implementation along with health and sanitation issues. Besides, a National Seminar is also being organised on 20th March for taking the Mission forward. Apart from executive committee, the National Council on India (NCI)'s nutritional challenges under chairmanship of Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog has also been set up under the POSHAN Abhiyaan. The Council will submit report to the Prime Minister every 6 months. It must be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the POSHAN Abhiyaan at Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan on 8th March 2018.
108. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the research body of the health ministry, has been awarded the International Kochon Prize 2017 for its contribution to the national programme in Tuberculosis research. The ICMR through its TB Consortium has accelerated the efforts for research and development on the disease in the country. The TB consortium is working with public and private institutes, to guide the country's research efforts towards the development of point-of-care diagnostics, shorter treatment regimens and an effective vaccine for Tuberculosis. The Kochon Prize is given by the Kochon Foundation, a non-profit foundation registered in the Republic of Korea. It comprises an award of USD 65,000. The headquarters of ICMR is located in New Delhi.
109. The first regional conference on 'Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) for Urban Areas – Opportunities and Challenges was held in Kolkata, West Bengal on March 13, 2018. The conference was jointly organized by Ministry of Finance, AIIB, ASSOCHAM and Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS). Before the 3rd annual meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to be held in Mumbai from June 2018, eight such regional conferences will be held on the issues relating to infrastructures development, sustainable infrastructure, mass rapid transportation system, port and coastal infrastructure, urban development and the like in eight different cities of India.
110. The Jhanor-Gandhar Thermal Power Station is a gas-based power plant located at Urja Nagar, in Bharuch district of Gujarat. It is run by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
111. According to the World Bank's latest report "India Development Update – India's Growth Story", India's GDP growth has been projected at 7.3% for the financial year FY 19 (2018-19) and it is expected to accelerate further to 7.5% in 2019-20. As per report, the World Bank expects that the Indian economy to clock a growth rate of 6.7% in the current fiscal FY 18 ending March 31. However, the report observed that a growth of over 8% will require continued reform and a widening of their scope, aimed at resolving issues related to credit and investment and enhancing the competitiveness of exports. The World Bank report further said that accelerating the growth rate will also require continued integration into global economy. It pitches for making growth more inclusive and enhancing the effectiveness of the Indian public sector.
112. The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is observed every year on March 15 to promote basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected. It also gives people a chance to protest against the market abuses and social injustices. On this day in 1962, President John F Kennedy formally addressed the issue of consumer rights in US Congress. He was the first world leader to do so, and the consumer movement now marks that date every year as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights. The first World Consumer Rights Day was observed in 1983 and has since become an important occasion for mobilizing citizen action. The 2018 theme is 'Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer'. In India, besides the World Consumer Rights Day, we observe the National Consumer Day on 24th of December every year.
113. The Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) was inaugurated by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on March 14, 2018. The theme of the 2-day conference is "Challenges to Policing in 2020 – How is Cyber Space shaping our approach to Cybercrime and Terrorism, how do we perform within it and take advantage of it". The conference is mainly focused on holding discussions about the growing interest of various terrorist or organized groups and radical elements in exploiting the Cyberspace and its advanced technologies for their various heinous crimes and nefarious designs. The IACP is the world's largest organization of Police and law enforcement executives that is highly regarded for its role in identifying and responding to changing needs of the law enforcement community.
114. The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) has developed a coded drug AYUSH QOL-2C for improving the quality of life in cancer patients. The clinical studies were conducted at St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru and AIIMS, New Delhi in breast cancer patients and at Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Jaipur in lung cancer patients. This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on March 13, 2018.The CCRAS is an autonomous body under the Ministry of AYUSH and is headquartered at New Delhi.
115. An India-UK Joint Team has won the Newton-Bhabha Fund for a project on Groundwater Arsenic Research in Ganga River Basin. The Department of Science and Technology has undertaken the project with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of United Kingdom (UK) to find solutions to the water challenges faced in the pervasively arsenic-affected Ganga River Basin. The purpose of the project is to assess how the problem of arsenic poisoning can get aggravated in the next 25 to 30 years and influence groundwater management practices and suggest water remedial technologies accordingly. The Newton Bhabha Fund, provided by the British Council, aims to bring together the UK and Indian scientific research and innovation sectors to find joint solutions to the challenges facing India in economic development and social welfare.
116. The Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) has bagged the award for best implementation of E-office on March 14, 2018. E-Office is one of the Mission-mode Projects under the Digital India programme. The e-Office solution enables core operations of the Government at all levels to be performed in a 'paper-less' environment, including the E-leave,E-tour,Knowledge Management, Notice Board, Download Forms, Inventory Control etc. In the MDWS, the entire e-office suite was implemented in December 2014 and since then it is being used by all stake holders in the Ministry. All the files in the Ministry are e-files and these have been successfully handled though this system for over 3 years now, when the transition to electronic mode first took place.
117. The Pi Day is observed every year on March 14 (3/14) across the world. It is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It's an important part of the foundation of mathematics, most importantly geometry, where pi is key to equations calculating the area of a circle, A = πr2, and the volume of a cylinder, V = πr2h.
118. The 105th session of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) will be hosted by Manipur Central University in Imphal from 16 to 20 March 2018. The focal theme of the ISC is "Reaching the Unreached Through Science & Technology". The Indian Science Congress is an annual event, usually held in the first week of January. Top scientists from across the country and the world attend the event. The 104th ISC was held at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
119. The Malampuzha Dam is the largest reservoir in Kerala, located near Palakkad in south India with the scenic hills of the Western Ghats in the background. It is a combination of a masonry dam with a length of 1,849 m and an earthen dam with a length of 220 m. The dam is 355 feet high and crosses the Malampuzha River, a tributary of Bharathappuzha, Kerala's second longest river. The total catchments area is 145 square kilometres, while the reservoir has a capacity of 8000 square meters of water. The canal systems serve to irrigate farm land while the reservoir provides drinking water to Palakkad and surrounding villages.
120. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron have jointly inaugurated the 75MW solar power plant at Chhanvey block in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh. The largest solar power plant in Uttar Pradesh has been built in collaboration with French solar power giant Engie Solar at Dadar Kalan village, some 25 kms from Mirzapur under the International Solar Alliance (ISA) programme. The power plant has been built at a cost of Rs 650 crore in Dadar kala over a stretch of 380 acres in the Vindhya mountain range. The plant has 1.18 lakh solar panels and the power produced from here will be transmitted to the Jigna Power sub-station of the power corporation. The plant has 3,18,650 solar plates with each plate having a generation capacity of 315 watts and will generate 15.6 crore units of electricity annually, about 1.30 crore units per month.
121. The 3-day annual Krishi Unnati Mela has started at Indian Agricultural Research Institute , on its Pusa campus, in New Delhi on March 16 with a focus on doubling farmers' income. The objective of the event is to create awareness among farmers about the latest agriculture-related technological developments. During the mela, latest agriculture and allied sector technologies will be displayed at more than 800 stalls.
122. The 5th edition of Nadi Mahotsava has started at Bandrabhan of Hoshangabad District of Madhya Pradesh on March 16, 2018. It was inaugurated by Nitin Gadkari, who is Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. The 2-day mahotsava with various sessions of discussion is taking place for the conservation of Narmada River.
123. The Bengaluru-based non-profit organisation, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (Janaagraha) has released the 5th edition of its Annual Survey of India's City-Systems (ASICS) 2017 report. The study evaluated quality of governance in cities by assessing laws, policies and institutional processes currently in place. In its 2017 edition, the survey covered 23 major cities in India across 20 states based on 89 questions. In it, Pune scored 5.1 out of 10 & topped the chart for the first time. It was followed by Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhubaneswar and Surat, with scores in the range of 4.6 to 4.5. The report addresses five major issues, and suggests solutions at the local body, State and Central government levels. It underlines the need for sharp focus on City-Systems or institutional reforms to city governance in our cities.
124. KL Rahul has been named as the 'Cricketer of the Year' in the 6th edition of Wisden India Almanack. Beside this, Shantha Rangaswamy, India's first woman superstar, has been inducted into the Wisden India Hall of Fame alongside Erapalli Prasanna. Shantha was the first lady to captain the Indian women's team. The Almanack pays a tribute to India's women cricketers, with a wonderful cover picture of celebration at the World Cup. With over 900 pages of essays, commentary, statistics, portraits, and images, Wisden India Almanack is a joyful ride through the entire last season. The magazine also provides insights into the future challenges that are to come.
125. Baskaran Adhiban from India has clinched the title in the 33rd Reykjavik Open Chess Tournament 2018 with an impressive performance that saw him win five of the nine games. He became only the second Indian after Abhijeet Gupta (in 2016) to win the prestigious Reykjavik Open.
126. The Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes (CIRB) has claimed that India's first cloned Assamese buffalo male calf 'Sach-Gaurav' has born in Hisar, Haryana on December 22, 2017. The calf was born to a Murrah buffalo through a normal delivery. It was also the first to be born in the field, 100 kms from the cloning laboratory at Hi Tech Sach Dairy Farm. The birth weight of the calf was 54.2 kgs and it was in good health. It had normal physiological parameters and blood profile. The genotype of the calf was confirmed by microsatellite analysis (parentage verification) and chromosome analysis. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research-CIRB is a central institute and it has a mandate to conserve superior animals of all buffalo breeds.
127. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and the Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University (RGNAU) on March 13, 2018 to strengthen human resource possibility over India's aviation industry. Under the agreement, the signatory institutions would leverage the existing infrastructure for training in India to expand the reach of vocational training in aviation disciplines. The IATA is a trade association of the world's airlines and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada.
128. The Government of India (GoI) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $120 million loan agreement for completion of works for double-tracking and electrification of railways tracks along high-density corridors to improve operational efficiency of Indian railways. The tranche 3 loan is part of the $500 million multi-tranche financing facility for Railway Sector Investment Program approved by the ADB Board in 2011. The loan amount will be used to complete the ongoing works commenced under earlier tranches. The purpose of the project is to increase the efficiency of the rail infrastructure through electrification, introduction of modern signaling system, and doubling rail tracks on key routes in the country. ADB loan has a 20-year term, including a grace period of 5 years, an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADB's London interbank offered rate (LIBOR)-based lending facility, and a commitment charge of 0.15% per year.
129. The 105th session of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) has been inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Manipur Central University in Imphal on March 16, 2018. The focal theme of the 5-day ISC is "Reaching the Unreached Through Science & Technology". Approx 5,000 delegates from all over the country and 2,000 scientists along with four Nobel Laureates will grace the event. The Indian Science Congress is an annual event, usually held in the first week of January. The 104th ISC was held at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
130. India will host the 17th Annual Conference of International Competition Network 2018 (ICN2018) for the first time from 21st to 23rd March 2018 in New Delhi. The ICN advocates adoption of superior standards and procedures in competition enforcement around the world, formulates proposals for procedural and substantive convergence, and facilitates effective international cooperation to the benefit of member agencies, consumers and economies worldwide.
131. The Odisha government will collaborate with the Thailand-based Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for strengthening its early warning services and enhancing preparedness for management of hazards in the State. The Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) and RIMES would forge a partnership in the field of drought monitoring and early warning for different natural disasters. RIEMS is owned and managed by 45 collaborating countries in the Asia Pacific and Africa Region. At present, India is chairing RIMES. In collaboration with this intergovernmental body, OSDMA can strengthen its database for more effective management of natural disasters. Odisha is particularly concerned about tsunami originating from the Andamans. Beside this, RIMES is already working with the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority.
132. India has been ranked 78th among 114 on the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s Energy Transition Index (ETI) 2018. The report titled "Fostering Effective Energy Transition", ranks countries on how well they are able to balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability. According to the report India has taken bold measures to improve energy access, energy efficiency, and to improve the deployment of renewable sources of energy. However, energy transition in the country will require large investments, and an enabling environment and robust regulatory frameworks to support the transition. The overall list was topped by Sweden, followed by Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and UK.
133. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has recently released the Andhra Pradesh Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report 2017. According to the report, the State secured an Index value of 0.0825 (value ranges from 0 to 1; 0 being the best and 1 being the worst). It is equivalent to 51st rank globally. India, with an Index value of 0.1911 is at the 66th position. Within the state, East Godavari is the top district with a value of 0.0468 and Vizianagaram is at the bottom of the table with a value of 0.1271. The study was conducted by the Vision Management Unit (VMU) of the Planning Department in collaboration with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) of the University of Oxford, UK. By conducting MPI study, the Andhra Pradesh has become the first Indian state to conduct a household survey exclusively to estimate the MPI at the State and district levels.
134. Sangeeta Bahadur, an IFS officer of 1987 batch, has been appointed as the new Ambassador of India to the Republic of Belarus. Currently, she is Additional Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
135. Actor Jackie Shroff's short film 'Shunyata' has won the best film award at 2018 Best of India Short Film Festival at Mack Sennett Studios in Los Angeles, United States on March 3. The 22-minute fiction film directed by Chintan Sarda was selected to be in top 6 from amongst thousands of entries and was played at a theatre in Los Angeles. An industry based jury then adjudged it the best film. The prize includes a cash prize of $1,000. In "Shunyata", Jackie is seen as hitman Madhur, who leads a gloomy existence with regrets. He is friendly with a child, who lives on the street and sees him getting into the world of crime.
136. National Award-winning Odia filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda's upcoming movie "Halkaa" has bagged the Grand Prix de Montreal award at the 21st Festival International du Film Pour Enfants de Montréal Film (FIFEM). "Halkaa" was selected among 7 international children's films from different countries in the official competition of the festival. The film is a take on a slum child's heroism, aspirations, and dreams. The child protagonist, Pichku (Tathastu) fights to overcome the basic problems that he faces every day like defecating in the open, among others. It is his dream to make a toilet of his own where he can enjoy his privacy and do the deed in peace. The movie features Ranvir Shorey and Paoli Dam in key roles.
137. Indian para-athlete Deepa Malik has won a gold medal in the F-53/54 category javelin event at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai on March 15, 2018. With this, she has secured the No. 1 rank in Asia in F53 Javelin category. With the win, Deepa has also qualified for the 2018 Asian Para Games, which is scheduled to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from October 8-16. With that she qualified for the 2018 Asian Para Games, which is scheduled to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from October 8-16. Beside this, Malik is the first Indian woman to win a medal in Paralympic Games and won a Silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in the shot put. She has been honoured with the Arjuna award in 2012 and has also been conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2017 for her achievements.
138. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has launched a mobile app 'Lost and Found' for passengers at 59 airports across India through which travellers can register complaints to recover items they lost or forgot at various airports. The app can be downloaded from the website of the Information and Technology Ministry. The main advantage of this mobile app is that the passengers can directly register complaints and get status of their complaint immediately from the airports under CISF security cover. The mobile phone application can also be used to place a request for obtaining technical consultancy provided by the force. The CISF guards 59 civil airports across the country. It is directly under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and its headquarters are at New Delhi.
139. The United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) has recently announced that the four countries will be recommended for graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category. These are Bhutan, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe and Solomon Islands. These countries are set to move up from the ranks of poorest nations due to their increasing national earning power as well as access to better health care and education. LDCs are assessed using three criteria: health and education targets; economic vulnerability and gross national income per capita. The Committee will send its recommendations to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for endorsement, which will then refer its decision to the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Apart from this, Chair of the Committee for Development Policy Professor Jose Antonio Ocampo stated that two more countries, Vanuatu and Angola, are scheduled for graduation in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
140. M Sukumaran (76), the well-known Malayalam writer, has passed away in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on March 16, 2018. The writer, whose works focused on the sufferings of the dispossessed, won the prestigious Kerala Sahitya Akademi award for his book 'Marichittillathavarude Smarakangal' in 1976. He later went on to win the award again in 1997 for Janathikam. In 2006, the writer won the Kendra (Central) Sahitya Akademi award for his short story collection 'Chuvanna Chihnangal'. Another one of his seminal works is 'Seshakriya', which made into a film, and he won the State Government Film Award for Best Story in 1981. Two of his works 'Sangha Ganam' and 'Unarthupattu' were also made into feature films.
141. The two-day Informal World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting has started in New Delhi on March 19, 2018. Representatives from 50 countries are participating in the meet. The informal meeting is expected to provide an opportunity to engage in free and frank discussions leading to political guidance on some of the major issues, both at the negotiating table and also in other areas. In the absence of Ministerial guidance at the 11th Ministerial Conference that took place in December 2017 in Buenos Aires, it is hoped that the meeting in New Delhi will provide an opportunity for ministers to explore in greater detail options on different issues for re-invigorating the WTO.
142. Juan Martin del Potro from Argentina has won the Indian Wells Masters Tennis tournament 2018 by defeating Roger Federer in a thrilling final by 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 in California on March 18, 2018. Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam champion, was vying for a record sixth title in California, but it was Del Potro who clinched his maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy. Del Potro also became the first player to beat Federer this year.
143. Defending champion Purva Barve from India has clinched the Women's Singles (Under-19) title at the Israel Junior Badminton tournament 2018 held in Rishon LeZion, Israel on March 17. She won the long drawn battle against third seeded and top-ranked Russian Anastasiia Pustinskaia in three sets 21-19, 19-21, 21-13. The title is her first in 2018 and third overall. Earlier she won the Israel Junior 2017, Italian Junior International 2017 apart from a bronze at the Russian Junior White Nights 2017.
144. Vidarbha cricket team, the champions of 2018 Ranji Trophy, have lifted their first Irani Trophy cricket tournament on March 18, 2018. On the final day of the match at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, they beat Rest of India by virtue of their massive first innings lead. The hosts had posted a total of 800 in their first innings and then bowled out Rest of India for 390 on the final day. Vidarbha won by virtue of huge 404-run first innings lead.The final scores:- Vidarbha – 800 for 7 declared & 79- for no loss. ` Rest of India – 390 all out. Wasim Jaffer (Vidarbha) won the Player of the Match trophy.
145. The first phase of Indo-French joint naval exercise 'Varuna 2018' has kickstarted at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) in Vasco, Goa on March 19, 2018. The exercise is being held in the Arabian Sea off the Goa coast. French submarine and frigate Jean de Vienne and Indian destroyer INS Mumbai and frigate Trikand with their integral helicopters, Indian submarine Kalvari, P8-1 and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft and a Mig 29K fighter aircraft are participating in the exercise which will conclude on March 24, 2018. The next two phases would be held off the Chennai coast next month and in La Reunion Island in May 2018. Indian and French navies have been conducting bilateral maritime exercises since May 1993.
146. The Ministry of AYUSH will organise the 2018 International Yoga Fest at the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in New Delhi from March 21, 2018. The fest is a curtain raiser for International Yoga Day-2018, which is celebrated on the 21st June. Union Minister Jitendra Singh will inaugurate the 3-day fest and AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik will preside over the event. The event will comprise of lectures, yoga demonstrations, special yoga techniques, Satsang, discourses and among other. Delegates from over 16 countries across the globe will participate in the fest. The purpose of the fest is to promote classical yoga based on scientific studies.
147. NITI Aayog has recently released roadmaps for 'Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital in Education (SATH-E)' project to introduce system-wide governance transformation in school education. These roadmaps, which operate between 2018 to 2020, lay out detailed interventions which will taken by the 3 participating states – Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha – aiming to become 'Role Model States' in school education. To increase learning outcomes in schools across the country, NITI Aayog's project SATH-E is promoting vocational education, skill development, teacher training and introducing technology in classrooms. Besides, the project will promote data-driven analysis to strengthen academic monitoring across schools in the country. These roadmaps present the customised, action-oriented programmes, outlining interventions at the individual, district and State level. The roadmaps were jointly prepared by NITI Aayog, the three States and the knowledge partners of the SATH Initiatives, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Piramal Foundation For Education Leadership (PFEL).
148. President Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the 2018 Festival Of Innovation And Entrepreneurship (FINE) at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on March 19. It is organised by the President's Secretariat in association with Department of Science & Technology/National Innovation Foundation-India. FINE is a celebration of country's Innovation potential, particularly those ideas which stem from grassroots level including the citizen at the last mile and also a reflection of power of children's creativity. About 250 innovative exhibits of school students, grassroots innovators, technology students, entrepreneurs, industry representatives and public sector organisations will be on display during the exhibition that will run up to March 23 at the Football Ground in the Rashtrapati Bhawan complex. The fest would provide an excellent platform to the innovators for building the linkages with potential stakeholders whose support can improve their prospects in coming years for the larger social good.
149. Dr. Rajiv Kumar, the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog, has inaugurated the first-ever India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction in New Delhi on March 19, 2018. The 2-day workshop is being jointly organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Government of Japan. The workshop marks the beginning of the formal implementation of the initiatives agreed under the Memorandum of Cooperation signed between the two countries on Disaster Risk Reduction in September 2017. It will identify possible areas of cooperation of India with Japan in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction.
150. The Serlui B dam is an earthfill and gravity dam on the Serlui river 12 km from Bilkhawthlir Village near the Kolasib district of Mizoram. It has the capacity of power generation of 12MW and Catchment area of 53 km.
151. President Ram Nath Kovind has recently released coins in denominations of Rs 10 and Rs 1,000 commemorating Nabakalebara festival of 2015 during the centenary celebration of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan in Puri, Odisha on March 18, 2018. The Nabakalebara festival is an ancient ritual that is observed in most of the Jaganath temples in Odisha. In this fest, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra and Sudarshan are replaced by new idols. The occasion occurs every 8th, 12th, or 19th year of the previous Nabakalebara.
152. Satya Pal Malik, the Governor of Bihar, has been given additional charge as the Governor of Odisha after Dr. SC Jamir completed his five-year tenure. A communique issued by the President's Secretariat stated that Malik will remain in-charge of Odisha until regular arrangements are made for the office of Odisha Governor.
153. India and the European Union (EU) have signed an agreement that will enable them to share earth observation data from each other's satellites. The pact was inked in Bengaluru by Philippe Brunet, Director for Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence, on behalf of the European Commission, and by Scientific Secretary, PG Diwakar. The Copernicus programme provides a wide range of applications like climate change, land, ocean and atmosphere monitoring as well as support in forecasting, management and mitigation of natural disasters. Under this arrangement, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will share data from its earth observation satellites. The European Commission will provide India with free, full and open access to the data from the Copernicus Sentinel family of satellites using high bandwidth connections from data hub to data hub. This will provide both the sides, the data on climate change, weather forecasting and natural disasters.
154. The 3rd edition of National Conclave on Mines and Minerals has started in New Delhi on March 20, 2018. The representatives of various state governments, mining industry, industry associations, financial and academic institutions will participate in the event. The conclave will provide an effective platform to showcase the recent policy initiatives of the government. It was also enable intensive discussions on issues, challenges and opportunities in the mining sector to realize its optimum potential for the sustainable development of the country. The first edition of the conclave was held in July, 2016 at Raipur, while the second took place in February 2017 in New Delhi.
155. The first-ever National workshop on Poshan Abhiyaan has started at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi on March 20, 2018 to implement the campaign in a fast track mode across the country. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is organising the day long workshop in which all states and union territories are participating. The workshop will provide a complete orientation on the campaign to provide handholding in using the softwares involved and to augment the convergence with different Ministries in implementing the campaign for improved Nutritional outcomes. POSHAN Abhiyaan was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan on March 8, 2018. It has been set up with a three year budget of Rs 9046.17 crore commencing from 2017-18. It aims to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children. The programme also targets to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth rate.
156. Kedarnath Singh (84), Jnanpith awardee and renowned Hindi poet, has passed away in New Delhi on March 19, 2018. He won the Sahitya Akademi Award in Hindi in 1989 for his poetry collection 'Akaal Mein Saras' and the Jnanpith Award in 2013. He had been a professor and head of the Department of Hindi Language at Jawaharlal Nehru University's Indian Languages Centre.
157. The 7th edition of the Women Science Congress (WSC-2018) has inaugurated by West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at Manipur University, Imphal on March 18, 2018. The theme of this edition "Reached the Unreached Through Science and Technology" is apt to those areas where the light of scientific development has not spread yet and to those areas where we have not done research on. The WSC-2018 has started in the backdrop of the ongoing 105th Indian Science Congress (ISC-2018) in Manipur University.
158. The World Sparrow Day (WSD) is observed every year on March 20 to highlight the declining population of the bird due to modern infrastructure, pollution by microwave towers and pesticides and lesser green spaces. It is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world.
159. Sunil Sharma (49), the senior journalist, has passed away in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh on March 19, 2018. Presently, he was working as the bureau chief of Hindi daily 'Divya Himachal'.
160. The Salal Hydroelectric Power Station (SHPS) is a run-of-the-river power project on the Chenab River in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
161. The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) has signed MOU with Technology Information, Forecasting & Assessment Council (TIFAC) to provide livelihood opportunities and augment income of the forest based communities. Through this collaboration, TIFAC will help ICFRE to refine and up-scale the technologies developed, take technologies to the end users including farmers, State Forest Departments, forest based industries and forest dependent communities in a more effective manner. The MoU will be valid for a period of 5 years. The headquarters of ICFRE is located in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
162. The 17th Annual Conference of International Competition Network 2018 (ICN2018) has started in New Delhi from 21st March 2018. This is the first time India is hosting the ICN Annual Conference since it joined International Competition Network (ICN) in 2009. The 3-day conference will provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies for effective enforcement of competition law and for strengthening cooperation amongst the competition authorities as they strive to promote and sustain competition in rapidly changing markets. ICN is an international body comprising 132 members from 120 competition jurisdictions exclusively devoted to international competition enforcement. It's main purpose is to improve and advocate for sound competition policy and its enforcement across the global antitrust community.
163. The World Poetry Day (WPD) is celebrated every year on March 21 across the world to honour poets, tradition of poetry recital and promotes reading poetry. Apart from celebrating the poetic expression and the linguistic diversity, one of the main objectives of the day is to offer endangered languages an opportunity to be heard and read within communities. The day was adopted in 1999 during UNESCO's 30th session held in Paris. The day also seeks to reprise the age-old tradition of poetry recitals, mark a confluence between poetry and other creative fields like theatre, music and dance and also promote teaching poetry. The day is also designated to find newer ways to make poetry accessible and not make it seem outdated.
164. The Estimates Committee headed by Dr Murli Manohar Joshi has recommended effective measures to modernise and upgrade the country's security systems at par with the developed countries. It suggested states to develop their own systems and augment their own police forces by providing adequate training and equipping them with the latest weapons to effectively deal with the militancy and insurgency besides handling the law and order problems. Regarding to this issue, the committee chairman has presented the report on the Central Armed Police Forces and Internal Security Challenges- Evaluation and Response Mechanism to the Lok Sabha on March 19, 2018. The Committee also recommended that in order to meet the challenges of the cyber threat by external or internal forces, there is an imperative need to develop a system to counter the future threats of biological, chemical and mini-nuclear weapons capable of causing limited damage.
165. The State Bank of India (SBI) has recently signed a pact with India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation (IMGC) to offer mortgage guarantee scheme for prospective non-salaried and self-employed home loan customers. The offering will help increase home loan eligibility up to 15% within the regulatory norms. The MoU between SBI and IMGC is a strategic initiative which will enable to improve housing loan volumes in the non-salaried segment. Under this product, applicant can avail higher finance based on risk grade of the borrower, by opting for IMGC default guarantee cover. IMGC is a joint venture between National Housing Bank, Genworth Inc International Finance Corporation and Asian Development Bank. It is providing mortgage default guarantee to the lending Institutions in India.
166. The International Day of Happiness is observed every year on March 20 to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. The day is to inspire individuals to share happiness with others and create a happier world for all. The 2018 theme "Share Happiness" focuses on the importance of relationships, kindness and helping each other. The World Happiness Report 2018, which was published recently, ranked 156 countries by happiness levels, based on factors such as life expectancy, social support and corruption. Finland was ranked as the happiest country to live, while Burundi in East Africa is the unhappiest place in the world. India was ranked 133rd in the report.
167. The Government of India (GoI) has approved the setting up of a Plastic Park in Deoghar District, Jharkhand on March 20, 2018. The project would be set up at a cost of Rs. 120 crores in an area of 150 acres and a range of polymer products including woven sacks, moulded furniture, water tanks, bottles, pipes mosquito nets, etc would be manufactured. It has great potential for attracting investment for setting up an ecosystem for plastic industry and generates employment opportunities for the local populace.
168. The National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA) project of the Ministry of Culture has become the world's first Trusted Digital Repository as per ISO 16363:2012 standard, which is granted by Primary Trustworthy Digital Repository Authorisation Body Ltd. (PTAB), United Kingdom (UK). The NCAA is implemented by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). The primary objective of the NCAA is to identify and preserve the cultural heritage of India available in audiovisual form through a process of digitization and making it accessible to the people. By March 2018, a corpus of 30,000 hours of unpublished, non-commercial audio & video recordings will be made online at http://ncaa.gov.in/repository, out of which approximately 15,000 hours are already hosted online along with contextual metadata, representing the cultural diversity of India in the broadest sense.
169. Atul M. Gotsurve, the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of 2004 batch, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly. Currently, he is director in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
170. The 106th edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) will be held at the Barkatullah University in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh from 3rd to 7th January, 2019. Prof. Manoj Kumar Chakrabarti, the General President-elect of the Science Congress Association, announced that the theme of the meet will be 'Future India: Science & Technology'. As part of the valedictory function of the 105th ISC 2018 held at the Manipur University in Imphal, awards especially for encouragement of young scientist 'Young Scientist Awards 2017-18' to 14 awardees, 'Best Poster Award' to 20 awardees, 'Best Science Model' to five awardees and 'Pride of Indian Exhibition Awards' were distributed to the awardees from across the country.
171. The first G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors was held at the Center of Exhibitions and Conventions (CEC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 19-20, 2018 with the presence of 57 delegations from countries and institutions. The summit gathered 22 finance ministers, 17 central bank governors and 10 heads of international organisations, including IMF Director-General Christine Lagarde.
172. According to Mercer's 20th annual Quality of Living survey 2018, Vienna has topped the ranking among 231 cities for the 9th consecutive year. It is followed by Switzerland's Zurich, while New Zealand's Auckland and Germany's Munich tied for third place. In the 2018 survey, Hyderabad and Pune have been jointly ranked at 142, making the best Indian cities to live in. They were closely followed by Bengaluru (149), Chennai (151), Mumbai, (154), Kolkata (160), with New Delhi (162) taking the last spot as it continues to battle rising traffic congestion and air pollution. The quality of living survey is conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments. The survey also identifies those cities with the highest personal safety ranking based upon internal stability, crime, effectiveness of law enforcement and relationships with other countries.
173. General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, has released a book on Paramveer Chakra Awardees – 'Paramveer Parwane' on 20 March 2018. The book illustrates the bravery of Paramveer Chakra Awardees from 1947 to 1965 and is written by Dr. Prabhakiran Jain published by Medha Books. The book has 11 short stories, poems and songs highlighting the history of the battles in which the brave soldiers sacrificed their lives and have shown the utmost courage & leadership while facing the enemy during War to protect the motherland. The book is available in paperback & coffee table book format and its second part will be released shortly.
174. The World Down syndrome Day (WDSD) is observed every year on March 21 to raise public awareness about the syndrome and well being of people with Down syndrome. The 2018 theme "What I Bring To My Community" demonstrates that how people with Down syndrome can and do make meaningful contributions throughout their lives, whether in schools, workplaces, living in the community, public and political life, culture, media, recreation, leisure and sport. The Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, exists in all regions across the globe and commonly results in variable effects on learning styles, physical characteristics or health.
175. The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has in principle approved the inclusion of the communities 'Parivara' and Talawara' as synonym of "Nayaka' at SI. No. 38 in the list of STs of Karnataka. With this, the persons belonging to "Parivara' and Talawara' communities will be eligible to get the Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificate from the State of Karnataka and will also be eligible for all benefits meant for the Scheduled Tribes in the State.
176. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS), 2017 with financial outlay of Rs.3000 crores upto March, 2020. Government will provide necessary allocations for remaining period of scheme after assessment before March 2020. NEIDS is a combination of the incentives covered under the earlier two schemes with a much larger outlay. In order to promote employment in the North East States, Government is incentivising primarily the MSME Sector through this scheme and is also providing specific incentive through it to generate employment. The newly introduced scheme will promote industrialization in the States of the North Eastern Region and will boost employment and income generation. All eligible industrial units which are getting benefits of one or more components of other schemes of the government will also be considered for benefits of other components of this scheme. The overall cap for benefits under all components of incentives will be of Rs 200 crores per unit.
177. The Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently approved the launch of Ayushman Bharat -National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) in New Delhi on March 21, 2018. The scheme has the benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year. The target beneficiaries under the scheme will be over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. The benefits of the scheme are portable across the country. A beneficiary will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public and private empaneled hospitals across the country. The AB-NHPM will subsume the ongoing centrally sponsored schemes- Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and senior citizen health insurance scheme.
178. The Government of India (GoI) had constituted an 8-member task force under CBDT member Arvind Modi in November 2017 to review the Income-tax Act of 1961 and to draft a new Direct Tax Law in consonance with the economic needs of the country. Recently, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has invited suggestions and feedback from stakeholders and general public in the format provided on the departmental website. It stated that the format can be downloaded from the website and suggestions may be sent through e-mail at email@example.com, latest by 2nd of next month. The task force will also study the direct tax system in other countries and also keep in mind international best practices. The committee will submit its report in May 2018.
179. Bihar has celebrated its 106th foundation day on March 22, 2018. A number of programmes have been organized throughout the state on the occasion. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated a 3-day Bihar Diwas celebrations in Patna and also released 4 books- 'Ek Tha Mohan', 'Bapu Ki Chiththi', 'Champaran Ki Kahani' and 'Neel Ke Dhabbe' on this occasion. The 2018 theme for this year's celebrations is "Centenary of Champaran Satyagraha and Elimination of Dowry and Child Marriage". It was on this day when the British carved out the state from Bengal Presidency in 1912. Before that Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa were part of the Bengal province during the British rule.
180. The World Water Day (WWD) is observed every year on 22 March to raise awareness about the importance of water. The 2018 theme 'Nature for Water' is exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges the world faces in the 21st century. The day is about focusing on the importance of water and the need to preserve it. The day encourages people not to waste one of the most important elements that sustain life on the planet. An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.
181. Thaawarchand Gehlot, the Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, has launched the first Indian Sign Language (ISL) Dictionary of 3000 words at a function in New Delhi on March 23, 2018. The basic aim of developing the ISL Dictionary is to remove communications barriers between the deaf and hearing communities as it is focused on providing more information in Indian sign language. Its aim is to give deaf people the constitutional right to speech and opportunity of freedom of expression and also bringing them into the mainstream of the society. The dictionary has been developed by Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
182. The Andhra Pradesh government has launched a multi-utility vehicle "NAIPUNYA RATHAM (or World on Wheels)", which aims to bring technology to the remote corners. It was launched at the Secretariat in Amaravathi on March 22, 2018. As part of the Smart village Smart Ward Programme, the Naipunya Rathaams will facilitate and look to improve digital literacy, digital skills and create an awareness on various government schemes that are underway in the new state of Andhra Pradesh. The state government will soon roll out 12 more Naipunya Rathams by May 2018.
183. The Union government has decided to declare 2018 as 'National Year of Millets' to boost the cultivation of millets like ragi and jowar on a mission mode to achieve nutritional security. This was stated by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh while addressing MPs in a consultative committee meeting in New Delhi on March 22, 2018. The Minister stated that millet cultivation has declined due to change in dietary habits and unavailability of millets. As a result of this, level of nutrients like proteins, Vitamin-A, iron and iodine fell in women and children. He said this has led to a special focus on millets, which are being promoted under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM). The push will promote cultivation of jowar, bajra, ragi. Under NFSM, maize and jau are also promoted separately.
184. The Punjab Government is observing the martyrdom day of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev and Shaheed Rajguru as 'Youth Empowerment Day' on March 23, 2018. In the state-level function organised at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of Bhagat Singh in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh paid homage to the three freedom fighters. To mark the occasion, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also launched a state-wide programme to administer the oath to Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPOs). Programmes at the district level were presided by the state ministers.
185. Canadian mathematician Robert P. Langlands has won the prestigious Abel Prize 2018 for his visionary programme connecting representation theory to number theory. The 81-year-old mathematician would receive the award from Norway's King Harald V at an award ceremony in Oslo on May 22, 2018. The prize is awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and is worth 6 million Norwegian krone (about £550,000). It is considered by many to be a maths equivalent of the Nobel Prize, which has no prize for mathematics. The prize is named after the 19th century Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel and is awarded annually since 2003.
186. The first-ever National Conference on Drug Law Enforcement has inaugurated by Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, in New Delhi on March 23, 2018. The 2-day conference is being organized by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Ministry of Home Affairs. The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh will be the Chief Guest at the closing session. More than 50 State and Central law enforcement agencies involved in combating drug trafficking have confirmed their participation in this Conference. The conference working sessions are focused on various topics such as 'Wider context of drug trafficking in India', 'Financial Investigations' and 'Foreign & Cyber Investigations'. During these sessions various agencies would give presentations while UN and other foreign law enforcement agencies would share their experiences.
187. Indian shooter Elavenil Valarivan (18) shattered the world record and claimed the gold medal in 10m women's air rifle event of the season's first junior ISSF World Cup in Sydney on March 22, 2018. She shot 249.8 in the women's final to claim the top individual honours. Her 631.4 in the qualification was a new world record. Besides her individual podium finish, Elavenil also combined with Shreya Agrawal and Zeena Khitta to claim the team gold medal.
188. Les Payne (76), a fervid and fearless Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, has passed away in Manhattan, United States on March 18, 2018. He served as an editor and columnist at Newsday and is a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Payne received a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative research 'Heroin Trail' in 1974.
189. The Kerala government has declared Jackfruit as the official fruit of the state to promote the 'Kerala Jackfruit' as a brand in markets across the country and abroad. The brand will showcase its organic and nutritious qualities. This would also help in giving in the fruit's production and sale, besides increasing its value-added products. It is expected that the state can generate Rs 15,000 crore through sale of jackfruit and its allied products through branding of the fruit. As per officials, Kerala has been producing around 32 crore jackfruits every year, of which 30% gets wasted. Elephant is the state animal of Kerala, while 'great hornbill' the bird and 'kanikkonna' the official flower. The state had recently declared pearl spot, popularly known as 'karimeen', as its official fish.
190. Karan Thapar, the veteran journalist and television presenter, has been honoured with the 2017 G.K. Reddy Memorial National Award for journalism for his contribution in the field of journalism. The award was presented to Thapar by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Teen Murti Bhawan in New Delhi on March 22, 2018. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh, a gold medal and a special trophy.
191. Pankaj Advani has defended his Asian Billiards Championships title. In the summit clash at Yangon in Myanmar, Advani defeated his practice partner B Bhaskar 6-1 on March 24, 2018. With this win, Advani remains the reigning Indian, Asian and world champion in billiards for 2017-18. This is Advani's 11th gold medal at the Asian level of cue sports. His continental billiards title tally has gone up to 7, in addition to the back-to-back Asian Games gold medals in 2006 and 2010, one 6-red snooker title and a snooker team gold. Meanwhile, in Snooker, India's Amee Kamani won the Asian Women's title by blanking her Thai opponent Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan 3-0.
192. Star shuttler P V Sindhu has been named the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG), which scheduled to be held in Gold Coast, Australia on April 4. India will see participation of 222 athletes from 15 different sports including aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, lawn bowls, shooting, squash, table tennis, weightlifting, wrestling and para sports in the quadrennial sport. In the 2014 CWG in Glasgow, Sindhu bagged a bronze in Women's Singles. It must be noted that Pistol shooter Vijay Kumar was the flag-bearer in 2014 Commonwealth Games, while 2008 Olympic champion shooter Abhinav Bindra had the honour when India hosted the Games in 2010. In the 2006 Melbourne Games, India's flag-bearer was double trap shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who is currently the Sports Minister.
193. India's teen shooting sensation Manu Bhaker has bagged Gold in the Women's 10-metre Air Pistol Individual and Team events at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney, Australia on March 24, 2018. Manu shot 235.9 to finish at the top of the podium. Hirunphoem settled for a Silver, while China's Kaiman Lu won the Bronze. Manu, Devanshi Rana and Mahima Agrawal also brought India on top of the team podium. China was second, while Thailand took home the bronze. India also tasted success in the Men's 10 metre Air Pistol event, with Gaurav Rana winning a Silver medal, and Anmol Jain grabbing the Bronze.
194. The World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) is observed every year on March 24 to help spread awareness about the disease, communicate prevention measures as well as to commemorate efforts undertaken against the disease. The 2018 theme is "Wanted: Leaders for a TB-Free World", which highlights the importance of engaging people from all across the world to put efforts to eliminate TB. Although TB is a serious disease, it is curable. It can occur in almost every part of the body — the most commonly affected areas being lungs, lymph nodes, intestine, bone and brain. Early diagnosis is crucial for the treatment of TB.
195. The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has received the 'Most Informative Pavilion' Award in Pride of India Expo organized as part of the 105th Indian Science Congress (ISC) held from 16 to 20 March 2018 at Manipur University, Imphal. DRDO participated in the expo showcasing cutting-edge indigenous defence technologies with over 150 exhibits and models from 18 DRDO laboratories. The DRDO pavilion at the Expo was a big attraction among the visitors particularly students, who got opportunity to interact with DRDO scientists. The scientists engaged the visitors in the lively discussions on science and technologies.
196. ISRO has signed a Technology Transfer Agreement (TTA) with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) to transfer the technology for the manufacture of space-grade Li-Ion cells. The TTA was signed at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru on 23rd March 2018 in the presence of Dr K. Sivan, Chairman of ISRO, and Atul Sobti, Chairman & Managing Director of BHEL. ISRO uses Li-Ion batteries as the power source for satellite and launch vehicle applications due to their high energy density, reliability and long cycle life. This Li-ion cell Technology Transfer will enable BHEL to produce space grade Li-Ion cells which can meet the country's space programme requirements. This technology can also be adopted to cater to the Li-Ion cell requirement for other national needs.
197. The world's longest sandstone cave named Krem Puri has discovered near the village of Laitsohum in Mawsynram area of East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. With a length of 24,583 metres, Krem Puri was discovered back in 2016 but the actual length of the cave was obtained by the Meghalaya Adventurers' Association (MAA) during one of its recent expeditions. Krem Puri is over 6,000m longer than the current listed sandstone cave in the world, Cueva El Samán, (18,200m) in Venezuela. The cave system has fossils of dinosaurs, especially the Mosasaurus, a giant reptile that lived 66-76 million years ago.
198. Chandigarh has become the North India's first city to install digital automatic speed gun cameras for traffic management. The high-tech speed cameras are equipped with night vision technology and will record the speed of oncoming traffic, helping Chandigarh Police to issue challans to anyone driving above the city speed limits. Not only this, the advanced cameras are installed with digital display to beware motorists of overspeeding. If the speed is above the permissible limit, the digital display will warn the driver with a white light. If, and when, a motorist breaks the law, a Challan will be sent to the driver along with the image of overspeeding.
199. The 5th India Maize Summit 2018 was held at FICCI in New Delhi to harness the potential of maize and technological innovations. The purpose of the summit is to promote producer aggregation and linkages that are required.
200. The famous Madhavpur Mela has started at Madhavpur Ghed in Porbandar district of Gujarat on March 25, 2018. In a unique initiative, the 4-day Mela will showcase for the first time the cultural integration of the North-East with Gujarat. It will share its connect to the Mishmi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The Mishmi Tribe traces its ancestry to the legendary King Bhishmak and through him to his daughter Rukmini and Lord Krishna. For the first time ever, the festival will celebrate the immortal journey which Rukmini undertook from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat with Lord Krishna. The festival will see a vibrant cultural trail of art, dance, music, poetry, story-telling and folk drama from the North-Eastern States with the aim to integrate the rich cultures of the two regions.
201. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has recently launched the first of its kind initiative titled 'Videsh Aaya Pradesh ke Dwaar' in Hyderabad, which is a key centre for Telugu and Urdu media. The purpose of the initiative is to create a pool of media professionals interested in foreign policy and guide them on connecting with the MEA. The initiative involves MEA's engagement with the regional media based in different cities across India who have carved their own space and have a unique and wide readership profile. The event was attended by around 40 Editors and representatives from the main media organisations based in Hyderabad.
202. Hockey Punjab has won the 8th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship title at the Padma Shri Mohammad Shahid Synthetic Hockey Stadium in Lucknow on March 25, 2018. In the final, they defeated Petroleum Sports Promotion Board by 2-1. In the Bronze medal match, defending champions Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) defeated Air India Sports Promotion Board 5-3 on penalties after the scores were tied at 1-1 after regulation time.
203. The 11th Rashtriya Rifles Biennial Conference is being conducted at Nagrota in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) from 26 to 27 March 18. The event chaired by Chief of the Army Staff has been attended by Army Commander Northern Command, Director General Rashtriya Rifles, Corps Commander 15 and 16 Corps and all General Officers Commanding Counter Insurgency Forces. The Rashtriya Rifles (RR) is a branch of the Indian Army under the authority of the Indian Ministry of Defence. The RR is a counter-insurgency force made up of soldiers deputed from other parts of the Indian Army. The force is currently deployed in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It has assisted the locals from inaccessible and far flung areas of the state by providing assistance in diverse fields and has given an impetus to development, growth, education, women empowerment, skill development and communal harmony through its multifarious enabling civil action programs.
204. The '2018 National Conference on Down Syndrome' was organised by the National Trust under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in New Delhi on March 25. A book entitled "Twilights Children" based on the lives of person suffering from Down Syndrome was released on the occasion. The conference brought intellectuals from all walks of life on one platform to spur ideas and channelized knowledge on Down Syndrome which was very beneficial to enable a positive change in the people with Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome is a chromosomal condition associated with intellectual and learning disabilities.
205. The first-ever International Exhibition of Graphic Prints 'Print Biennale India 2018′ has started at the Rabindra Bhavan Galleries of the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi on March 25, 2018. The event, organized by Lalit Kala Akademi, is aimed at discovering new artistic trends in printmaking nationally and internationally. Artists from across the world have sent their works and are showcasing their artwork in this international exhibition.The event comprising a total of 200 original prints are created by Indian and international artists of impeccable competence and is a window view into the giant strides in printmaking that is taking place in India and the world. The exhibition will continue till 22nd of next month.
206. Professor J S Rajput, the former Director of NCERT, has been nominated as the India's representative to the Executive Board (EXB) of UNESCO. Professor Rajput is an eminent educationist with rich experience in various fields including UNESCO. He has recently completed the project aimed at achieving religious amity through education and his edited book "Education of Muslims in India" was released by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi on June 15, 2015.The EXB has a 4-year term of office and 58 seats. It is one of the constitutional organs of UNESCO and is elected by the General Conference. The executive board examines the work for the organization and the corresponding budget estimates. In practice, the executive board is the main organ responsible for all policies and programmes of UNESCO.
207. The South Asian Cinema Foundation (SACF), a London-based organisation, has received the Frederick Pincott Award for 2017 from the Indian High Commissioner, Y K Sinha for promoting Hindi cinema in Britain for the last 18 years. The institution has been active in boosting original research and books on Indian films, also inviting and honouring filmmakers from India, along with documentary film making and producing classic silent films with live music at the British Film Institute (BFI). The SACF has been doing commendable work for nearly two decades to promote Hindi and regional Indian cinema in the UK and as a result has served the cause of dissemination of the Hindi language. SACF Director Lalit Mohan Joshi stated that the institution will continue exploring Hindi cinema as it would launch a new six-week course at the BFI that will look into the history of Indian cinema through literature. The SACF was set up in London in January 2000 by Joshi, along with film archivist P K Nair, film critic Derek Malcolm and social historian-researcher Kusum Pant Joshi.
208. The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade is observed every year on March 25 to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. The International Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today. The 2018 theme is "Remember Slavery: Triumphs and Struggles for Freedom and Equality", which celebrates the gains of people of African descent from slavery to present. It also acknowledges the challenges that have been overcome in the movement towards freedom and equality in all professions.
209. Martin Vizcarra, a Peruvian engineer and former regional governor, has been sworn-in as the new president of Peru after his predecessor "Pedro Pablo Kuczynski" became the latest of the country's leaders to resign amid corruption scandals and public repudiation.
210. India Under-16 team has won the 2018 U-17 Jockey Cup International Youth Invitational Football tournament by defeating hosts Hong Kong in the final by 4-2 on March 25, 2018. For India, Bekey Oram netted twice in the first half. The other two goals came through Rohit Danu and Lalrokima in the second session. This was India's third consecutive victory in as many days. They had earlier defeated Chinese Taipei (4-0) and Singapore (3-1). The tournament was an Under-17 event where India fielded their Under-16 national team. The Indian team have already qualified for the AFC Under-16 Finals from where the top four teams will make it to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
211. As per the data released by Union ministry of Social Justice, a total number of 4,13,670 beggars are residing in India, including 2,21,673 males and 1,91,997 females beggars in the country. The data, based on 2011 census, revealed that West Bengal has topped the chart with 81,224 beggars, followed by Uttar Pradesh (65,835), Andhra Pradesh (30,218), Bihar (29,723), Madhya Pradesh ( 28,695) and Rajasthan (25,853). The figures were given by Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot in a written reply to Lok Sabha. The government data show that Lakshadweep, a union territory, has only two people begging for their livelihood. Among the northeastern states, Assam topped the chart with 22,116 beggars, while Mizoram ranked low with 53 beggars.
212. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has signed the Host Country Agreement in New Delhi on March 26, 2018. The Agreement will give ISA a juridical personality and gives it power to contract, to acquire and dispose off movable and immovable properties, to institute and defend legal proceedings. Under this agreement, ISA shall enjoy such privileges, applicable tax concessions and immunities as are necessary for ISA's Headquarter to independently discharge its function and programmes. ISA shall be deriving its status, privileges and immunities as per Article 10 of Framework Agreement.
213. The Surat district of Gujarat has become the India's first district to have 100% solar powered Primary Health Centers (PHCs) to combat the issue of global warming. There are a total of 52 PHCs in the district and all of them are now powered by solar system. This initiative will not only bring down the electricity bill by 40% but also help fight global warming.
214. The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has launched "E-Tribes India" in New Delhi on March 27, 2018. It was launched by the Union Tribal Affairs Minister, Jual Oram. The Launch of e-Tribes, TRIFED's websites includes www.tribesindia.com, www.trifed.in and Retail Inventory Software and M-commerce app. Besides, the occasion also marked the launch of 'Tribes India' Banners at Amazon, Snapdeal, Paytm & GeM. TRIFED's Handbook for Retail Trade and TRIFED's quarterly magazine 'Tribes Haat' was also inaugurated.
215. The World Theatre Day (WTD) was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). The first World Theatre Day Message was written by Jean Cocteau in 1962. Ever since, it is celebrated all over the world on 27th March to draw attention to the power of the stage. The day is a celebration for those who can see the value and importance of the art form "theatre", and acts as a wake-up-call for governments, politicians and institutions which have not yet recognised its value to the people and to the individual and have not yet realised its potential for economic growth. This year, in 2018, Playwright Nina Lee Aquino will deliver the WTD message.
216. Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Mines , has inaugurated Saras Aajeevika Mela at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The SARAS Aajeevika Mela 2018 in New Delhi is an endeavour of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission. It aims to provide a national platform and an opportunity to the rural women producers to showcase their products and seek buyers, either individuals or bulk buyers for sale nationally or internationally. As part of the 2018 mela, 700 women from 28 states are selling their products in over 350 stalls in the Mela. The Ministry has also released a directory of the products of all the women who will be showcasing their products in the Aajeevika Mela 2018.
217. The 12th edition of Earth Hour was observed across the world by turning off non-essential electric lights for one hour from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm on March 24, 2018. It is the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment where people around the globe unite to take a stand against climate change by turning off non-essential lights for one hour. It is a global initiative of the World Wide Fund for Nature India or WWF-India. This year, in 2018, WWF-India has launched the "Give Up to Give Back" initiative to inspire organisations, institutions and individuals to make the choice to curb some habits, practices and lifestyles that burden lives and environment. The campaign includes taking steps like giving up single-use plastics, fossil fuels and e-waste among others.
218. Rising shooter Anish Bhanwala from India has bagged gold medal in the men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event at the ISSF Junior Shooting World Cup in Sydney, Australia on March 27, 2018. With this, he secured 3rd individual gold medal for India in the tournament.
219. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has recently signed a MoU with Assam government under its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) initiative for sustainable development of human settlements at villages in Kamrup district. The AAI would provide financial assistance under its CSR initiative of Rs 4.58 crore for the Kamrup district as per the estimates prepared by the UNDP to improve the resilience of communities around Guwahati Airport. The AAI through its CSR policy supports such initiatives for promoting infrastructure for convenience of the population with a view to improve the resilience of communities.
220. Sebastian Vettel, a German racing driver currently driving in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari, has won the 2018 Formula One Australian Grand Prix tournament on March 25, 2018 in Melbourne, Victoria. He is a four-time Formula One World Champion, having won the championship in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with Red Bull Racing. He is regarded by fellow and former drivers as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport.
221. The Supreme Court has appointed Justice Jawad Rahim as the new acting chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The new acting chairperson will discharge his duties until a regular appointment is made and will take part in selection process of other members of the NGT. However, the Chief Justice Dipak Misra bench made it clear that this appointment is an interim arrangement and shall not be construed to be a final determination of the seniority between Justice Rahim and Justice R S Rathore by the apex court. The bench was informed that Justice Rahim and Justice R S Rathore are the judicial members of the NGT and both were appointed to the NGT on the same date that was 12 January 2016.
222. India's first Insect Museum has inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswamy at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore. The museum, established at a 6,691 sqft area, is fully dedicated to insects and claimed to be the first of its in the country. It would display insects preserved as specimens as also live ones depicting their different developmental stages, images, videos and models of their unique behaviour, habits and habitats. The uniqueness of the museum is visible in the lobby, which depicts the theme, "Bugs are kings" while the exhibiting area comprises seven radial walls (bay) on the right side and an undivided wall on the left side.
223. Krishnaswamy Vijay Raghavan, one of the most distinguished biologists of the country, has been appointed as the new Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India (GoI). He will succeed 81-year-old nuclear physicist R Chidambaram, who has been in the position for more than 16 years. The PSA, post created by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999, is the topmost advisor to the government on all matters related to scientific policy. The office of the PSA is one of the three scientific bodies the government relies on for advice on matters relating to science and which act as the interface between scientific institutions and the government. The other two are Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (SAC-PM) and Science Advisory Council to the Cabinet (SAC-C).
224. The Department of Posts under Ministry of Communications has launched Cool EMS Service between India and Japan, which will come into force from 29.03.2018. It is one-way service from Japan to India which allows customers in India to import Japanese food items for personal use which is allowed under Indian regulations. Initially, Cool EMS Service will be available in Delhi only. Food items will be carried by Japan Post in special cool boxes containing refrigerant to preserve the quality of the food items and addressee will collect them from Foreign Post office, Kotla Road, New Delhi in-person or through a messenger in the prescribed time frame. All other features like track and trace, etc of Express Mail Service (EMS) will be available for Cool EMS service as well.
225. The Government of India (GoI) has signed $80 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help modernize technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions and improve the skills ecosystem in the State of Himachal Pradesh. The Project will establish a polytechnic for women, six city Livelihood Centers, and seven Rural Livelihood Centers, and upgrade 11 employment exchanges into model career Centers. These efforts will result in improved TVET awareness among youth, modernizing training equipment, implementing a training information system, forging partnerships with private sector, and creating better access to quality market-relevant TVET and livelihood development opportunities for youth in Himachal Pradesh.
226. Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of 55770 fully covered tribal habitations with the safe drinking water in the country followed by Odisha 52427 , Jharkhand 53476 numbers of habitations. This information was given by the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Jastwantsinh Bhabhor in Lok Sabha on March 28, 2018. Beside this, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) has informed that under the 'National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) Scheme, 10% of the total allocation of funds is earmarked to be used for the supply of drinking water to Scheduled Tribe (ST) dominated habitations. States have been directed to take special care for implementation of its scheme / programme in tribal areas and progress thereof is monitored through online integrated management information system (IMIS) of MDWS. The status of availability of drinking water to tribal habitations is available in public domain at www.indiawater.gov.in/
227. Aleksandra Liashkova from Belarus was crowned Miss Supermodel Worldwide 2018 at a grand finale in Gurugram on March 26, 2018. Ekaterina Evdokimova of Russia was declared 1st runner-up, Uzbekistan's Zarina Andirjanova was crowned second runner-up and Chantarachota Paphattanun from Thailand took the third runner-up spot at the event here on Monday night. Shweta Parmar from India was awarded Miss Congeniality.
228. The first-ever National conclave on Psychological Trauma, Child Protection and Mental Illnesses was held at J L N Auditorium in AIIMS, New Delhi on March 27-28, 2018. The purpose of the conclave was to provide a comprehensive synthesis of research, service provision, and clinical practice in addressing psychological trauma and subsequent mental illnesses in Indian children and adolescents. The National conclave was organised by the Ministry of Women & Child Development (WCD) in collaboration with the Dept. of Psychiatry of AIIMS. The conclave provided a common platform for all stakeholders (Academicians, Clinicians, Government and NGOs) working in this area in the direction of robust evidence based research, better service provision, and capacity building of professionals.
229. The Murrum Silli Dam is an earth-fill embankment dam on the Sillari River, a tributary of the Mahanadi River. It is located in Dhamtari District of Chhattisgarh. It is one of the most prominent architectural marvels in Chhattisgarh.
230. Indian shooter Muskan has clinched the gold medal in women's 25m pistol event at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney, Australia on March 28, 2018. The 16-year-old Muskan bested China's Qin Sihang and Thailand's Kanyakorn Hirunphoem. The team gold was won by Muskan, Manu Bhaker and Devanshi Rana, adding to India's rich medal haul. Muskan's medal was India's fourth individual gold in the prestigious tournament. Indian trio of Anantjeet Singh Naruka, Ayush Rudraraju and Gurnilal Singh Garcha bagged the team silver in men's junior skeet with a total of 348. Beside Muskan, Anish Bhanwala from India bagged gold medal in the men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event on March 27. Hence, thus upstaged China with 22 medals, including 9 gold. India have also five silver and eight bronze medals.
231. The first mega food park of Rajasthan has inaugurated by Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal at Roopangarh village near Ajmer. The Food Park is set up at an investment of Rs 113.57 crore and will benefit around 25 thousand farmers in Ajmer and neighbouring districts. Center has given the Rs 50 crore subsidy for this project. The mega food park would attract an additional investment of about Rs. 250 crore in about 30 food processing units in the park and to a turnover of about Rs 500 crore per annum. The Park is expected to provide employment to around 5 thousand persons. Rajasthan is the fourth largest producer of food grains in India and leader in mustard, guar seed, coriander, groundnut, fennel, soybean, gram, and oilseeds.
232. Veteran director Shekhar Kapur has been appointed as chairman of the central panel of the 65th National Film Awards (NFA). Mr Kapur is known for his work in Hindi cinema and International cinema. The central panel comprises a chairperson and 10 other members, including five regional chairpersons who head the respective regional panels. Film writer Imtiaz Hussain, known for his works in films like Astitva and Parinda will be the regional chairperson of South 1- panel. Mehboob, who is a writer of Bollywood film songs lyrics has been appointed as the regional chairperson of South -2 panel. Film actress Gautami Tadimalla, who is known for her work in Tamil films, is the regional chairman of the North panel, while Director Rahul Rawail known for films like Love Story and Betaab has been appointed as the regional chairperson of the Western panel. Director P Sheshadri, who works in Kannada cinema, is the regional chairperson of Eastern panel. The other members of the panel include Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Tripurari Sharma, Rumi Jaffery, Ranjit Das and Rajesh Mapuskar.
233. Lt Gen Harpal Singh, an alumni of National Defence Academy (NDA) of Khadakwasla, has been appointed Director General Border Roads (DGBR) . He was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers on 1982. He later commanded a Border Roads Task Force in Jammu and Kashmir valley. He has also been the Chief Engineer of Project Dantak at Bhutan, Chief Engineer (Navy), Mumbai and Chief Engineer HQ Eastern Command.The General is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command and National Defence College courses. During his 34 years of distinguished career, the General Officer has held several prestigious assignments.
234. The 17th Sub-junior National Wushu Championship has started in Jammu on March 29, 2018.The national level sports event is being organised in the winter capital city of Jammu by the the Wushu Association of India in collaboration with J&K State Sports Council at MA Stadium. About 37 teams comprising of over one thousand boys and girls from across the country and 12 boys from Army are participating in the national championship.
235. Indu Bhushan has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Centre's ambitious Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) for a period of two years, Currently, he is Director General (DG) of East Asia Department of Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila, Philippines. The Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently approved the centrally-sponsored Ayushman Bharat mission, which will provide a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year. The intended beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, based on the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) database.
236. Win Myint, a loyalist of Aung San Suu Kyi, has been elected as the new President of Myanmar after the resignation of his predecessor 'Htin Kyaw'. Myint is a stalwart member of National League for Democracy (NLD). He has been a Speaker in the Lower House since 2012 and was widely tipped for the top job. But his role will be essentially ceremonial, with Ms Suu Kyi acting as de facto President.
237. ISRO has successfully launched GSAT-6A telecommunication satellite using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, about 110km from Chennai on March 29, 2018. The 49.1-metre tall GSLV F 08 is a three-stage rocket weighing 415.6 ton. The core of first stage is fired with solid fuel while the four strap-on motors by liquid fuel. The second is the liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine. The purpose of the satellite is to provide mobile communication applications in S-band in five spot beams and C-band in one beam during its 10-year life span. This is also the first GSLV rocket launch after Director Sivan took over as Chairman of ISRO.
238. The 114th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) between India and Pakistan has started in New Delhi on March 29, 2018. Representatives from both the sides are expected to discuss Water Treaty dispute and resolution of outstanding issues. The PIC is mandated to establish and maintain cooperative arrangements for the implementation of the treaty and to promote cooperation between the two sides in developing the Indus water systems. The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed in 1960 and involves six rivers – the Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. The PIC had last met in March 2017 in Islamabad. The meeting of the PIC is held alternately in India and Pakistan at least once every year as mandated by the Treaty. India's Indus water commissioner PK Saxena and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials will be part of the Indian delegation for the annual meeting. Pakistan's six-member delegation will be led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah.
239. The International Day of Forests is observed every year on March 21 to provide a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of woodlands and trees and celebrate the ways in which they sustain and protect us. The 2018 theme "Forests and Sustainable Cities" focuses on how forests and trees in urban areas regulate temperature and water flows, provide nutritious foods and shelter, cleanse the air and foster community cohesion and individual well-being, among other benefits.
240. The Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has signed a $500 million Line of Credit (LoC) agreement with ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) to fund various development projects in the western-south Africa. The LoC of $500 million to EBID is an umbrella limit for financing developmental projects in 15-member countries of EBID in West African region — Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. With the signing of this LoC agreement, Exim Bank till date has extended four LoCs to EBID, with the support of the government, taking the total value of LOCs to $1,000 million. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has a mandate to promote economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries.
241. Vineet Joshi, a 1992-batch IAS officer of the Manipur cadre, has been appointed as the new Director-General of the National Testing Agency (NTA) for a period of 5 years. The NTA under the Department of Higher Education is an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation, which will conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions organised by the CBSE, AICTE and other bodies. The NTA will take over majority of the examinations conducted by the CBSE from 2019 in phased manner. NTA will start its operations with the Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE) and National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET UG) for admissions to medical/ dental programmes from 2019. The Union Cabinet had approved the setting up of the NTA in November 2017.
242. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved formulation of a new Integrated Scheme for School Education (ISSE) by subsuming Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) , Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE) from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2020. An estimated allocation of Rs 75,000 crore over the period has been approved which is a 20% increase over the current allocations. The vision of the scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from nursery to senior secondary stage in accordance with the (United Nations') Sustainable Development Goal for Education. The main emphasis of the integrated scheme is on improving quality of school education by focussing on the two T's — Teacher and Technology.
243. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) for cooperation on the response to Oil and Chemical Pollution in the South Asian Seas Region. The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation between India and other maritime nations comprising the South Asian seas region namely Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for protection and preservation of marine environment in the region. Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will be the Competent National Authority and national operational contact point for implementation of "Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan" under the MoU and shall respond to oil and chemical spills on behalf of Government of India. The SACEP is an inter-governmental organisation established in 1982 by the South Asian governments to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the region.
244. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been re-elected for a second term with a sweeping majority in the 2018 Egyptian presidential election. Sisi got nearly 92% of the total votes. The President of Egypt is the head of state of Egypt. Under the various iterations of the Constitution of Egypt, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and head of the executive branch of the Egyptian government.
245. The Union Ministry of Power has partnered with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship to train the manpower in six states – Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh – for speedy implementation of its household electrification scheme 'SAUBHAGYA' on March 27, 2018. The scheme is undertaken as a special project under the government's Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). Around 47,000 Distribution Lineman-Multi Skills and 8,500 Technical Helpers will be trained to meet the requirement of power sector. The purpose of the SAUBHAGYA (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna) scheme is to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the country in a time bound manner. Around 4 crore households are expected to get electricity connections under the scheme.
246. Raj Kumar Dorendra Singh (83), the former Chief Minister of Manipur, has passed away at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital in Imphal on March 31, 2018. In the past, he represented a number of political parties; currently he was with Manipur People's Party (MPP). He had been chief minister of the state four times between 1974 to 1993. Before becoming the chief minister, he was the Speaker of Manipur Assembly.
247. Chandra Bhushan Kumar, a 1995 batch IAS officer of union territories cadre, has been appointed as the new Deputy Election Commissioner as part of a major bureaucratic reshuffle affected today by the government. As per order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), he will hold the post for five years.
248. The Madhya Pradesh government has raised the retirement age of state government employees to 62 years from the current age of retirement is 60 years. The announcement was made by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The MP Chief Minister cited promotion of general category employees as a reason to raise the age limit of these employees. The state already has bigger retirement age limit in case of teachers and doctors. The retirement age is 65 years for university/ college teachers and doctors (specialists), while for the school teachers it is 62.
249. Ravi Kota, the 1993 batch IAS officer of Assam- Meghalaya, has been appointed Joint Secretary of 15th Finance Commission under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA). Presently, he is posted as Principal Secretary in Government of Assam-Meghalaya. The Finance Commission, set up in 1951 under Article 280 of the Constitution, basically decides how revenue has to be distributed between the Centre and the States. In addition, the Commission also decides the principles on which grants-in-aid will be given to the States. The 15th Finance Commission was constituted on November 27, 2017 and is headed by former Revenue Secretary Rajya Sabha MP N.K. Singh. The panel also includes Shaktikanta Das, former Economic Affairs Secretary and Anoop Singh, adjunct professor at Georgetown University. This Commission is slated to submit its recommendations by October 31, 2019. The recommendations, to be observed for a period of five years, will kick in from April 1, 2020.
250. The Rangit Dam is a run-of-the-river power project on the Ranjit River, a major tributary of the Tista River, in the South Sikkim district of Sikkim. The dam is 45 metres high concrete gravity structure of 100 metres length. The reservoir created behind the dam has a storage capacity of 1,175,000 cubic metres. The average annual power generation from the 60 MW (3×20 MW) project is 340 GWh with firm power of 39 MW.