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Indian economy has recovered from impact of demonetisation, GST: World Bank Report
As per World Bank’s bi-annual South Asia Economic Focus report released on April 15, 2018, Indian economy has recovered from the adverse impacts of demonetisation (in November 2016) and roll out of Goods and Services Tax (in July 2017).
World Bank’s outlook on Indian Economy:
i. Owing to recovery from above stated events, Indian economy is projected to grow by 7.3% in 2018 and 7.5% in 2019.
ii. Indian recovery will again make South Asia region, the world’s fastest growing region.
iii. South Asian region as a whole is projected to grow at 6.9% in 2018 and 7.1% in 2019.
iv. However, the report cautioned that despite growth, India was not creating enough jobs. As per the report, India must create 8.1 million jobs a year to maintain its employment rate.
Quick Facts about World Bank:
♦ Formed in – 1945
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
♦ Current President – Jim Yong Kim

Smriti Irani inaugurates Home Expo India 2018 at India Expo Mart
On April 16, 2018, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the 7th edition of Home Expo India 2018 at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida.
Smriti Irani inaugurates Home Expo India 2018 at India Expo MartHighlights of 7th Home Expo India 2018:
i. This three-day fair has been organised by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), which is the nodal export promotion body for handicrafts in India
ii. Display at the fair can be placed under three broad categories viz. Housewares, Textiles and Furniture.
iii. Over 650 India exporters are participating in this fair with an objective to generate business deals for direct import.

India to set up natural gas trading hub by October
In a bid to further boost the consumption of natural gas in the country, Indian Government is planning to set up a Gas Trading Hub/Exchange (GTHE) by October 2018.
Details about Proposed Gas Trading Hub in India:
i. The GTHE will enable trading in natural gas and supply through a market-based mechanism instead of multiple formula driven prices.
ii. Currently, price of domestically produced natural gas is fixed by the government itself.
iii. Setting up of natural gas trading hub is in line with Indian Government’s vision of ushering into a gas-based economy by increasing the share of natural gas in the primary energy mix of the country from current level of about 6 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030.
iv. Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has invited bids to hire a consultant, who would help develop a regulatory framework for operationalising the gas trading/exchange hub.

Bengaluru is highest paying city for talent: Randstad study
Bengaluru has emerged as the highest paying city in India, with an average annual cost to company (CTC) for talents through all levels and functions at Rs 11 lakh, as per the report of Randstad Insights.
Bengaluru is highest paying city for talent: Randstad studyBengaluru is highest paying city for talent:
i. Second position was secured by Pune with an average annual CTC at Rs 10 lakh. NCR occupies the 3rd position with an average annual CTC figure of a little under Rs 10 lakh.
ii. Mumbai has come fourth with an average annual CTC of Rs 9 lakh. Chennai (Rs 8 lakh), Hyderabad (a little under Rs 8 lakh) and Kolkata (around Rs 7 lakh) are the other three cities in the list of Indian cities paying the highest average salaries for professionals.
iii. Randstad Insights’ report also states that professionals from pharma and healthcare industry are paid the highest in India with an average annual CTC of Rs 10 lakh across all levels and functions.
iv. Due to the introduction of GST there was an increase in demand for implementation and compliance specialists.
v. This made professional services the second highest paying sector in India, with an average salary of a little more than Rs 9 lakh. The sector mainly consists of management consulting, strategy, accounting, audit and legal firms.
vi. FMCG (Fast-moving consumer goods) sector is in third position with an average CTC of Rs 9 lakh. The IT sector is in fourth place, with an average annual CTC of Rs 9 lakh. Infrastructure, real estate & construction sector is in fifth position with an average annual CTC of at Rs 9 lakh.
vii. Randstad Insights analyzed 1,00,000 jobs in 20 industry verticals and 15 functions to prepare the report.
About Randstad India:
♦ MD & CEO – Paul Dupuis
♦ Registered Office – Chennai

Biannual Army Commanders’ Conference to commence in New Delhi
On 16th April 2018, the biannual Indian army commanders’ conference began in New Delhi.
Biannual Army Commanders’ Conference to commence in New DelhiBiannual Army Commanders’ Conference:
i. The Biannual Army Commanders’ Conference is held for 6 days. Discussions will be made on management of the extant security dynamics, mitigation of future security threats and enhancement of combat edge over potential adversaries.
ii. The opening address was delivered by Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre.
iii. The conference is chaired by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff. Senior commanders will also discuss issues related to Army formations and Army as a whole.
iv. Other issues that will be discussed are: infrastructure development in the Northern borders, review of strategic railway lines, optimisation of limited budget to make up critical deficiency in ammunition, issues related to Border Road Organization projects, ECHS (Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme), matters related to operations, administration and welfare of troops.
Some important international boundary lines:
♦ Blue Line – Isreal & Lebanon
♦ Purple Line – Israel and Syria
♦ Green Line – Israel and its neighbours (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria)


India to work with China on OPEC’s Asian Premium issue
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that India, China and other Asian countries will work together to voice against the “Asian Premium” being charged by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Asian Premium charged by OPEC:
i. OPEC sells oil to Asian countries, including India, at a higher price as compared to America and European countries. The price differential is referred to as ‘Asian Premium’.
ii. Mr. Pradhan has stated that his Ministry has nominated Indian Oil Corporation Chairman Sanjiv Singh to coordinate with the head of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and frame a suitable strategy for getting better price for oil exports from OPEC countries.
iii. In context of this news, it is important to note that, India’s 86 per cent of crude oil, 75 per cent of natural gas and 95 per cent of LPG requirement is met through imports from OPEC member countries.
Quick Facts about OPEC:
♦ Founded in – 1960
♦ Headquarters – Vienna, Austria
♦ Members – Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela

Generalized System of Preferences: US announces eligibility review of India
On April 12, 2018, United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it is reviewing the eligibility of India, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in response to concerns that these countries are not complying with the programme criterion.
Eligibility review under US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP):
i. Under GSP, US Government gives preferential treatment (duty free entry of certain goods like chemicals, gems, textiles among others to the US market)  to exporters from developing and developed countries.
ii. In 2017, India benefited to the tune of $5.6 billion under GSP.
iii. India’s eligibility review for GSP comes in wake of concerns related to its compliance with the GSP market access criterion.
iv. U.S. dairy industry and the U.S. medical device industry exporters are at the forefront in seeking a  review of India’s GSP benefits as trade barriers imposed  by Indian Government are affecting their exports to India.
Quick Facts about United States of America:
♦ Capital – Washington D.C.
♦ Currency – US Dollar
♦ Current President – Donald Trump
♦ Neighbouring Countries – Canada, Mexico

US, Nigeria hold military summit in Abuja
The first African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) began on April 16, 2018 in Nigerian capital, Abuja.
US, Nigeria hold military summit in AbujaHighlights of African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) 2018:
i. ALFS 2018 is hosted by U.S. Army Africa and Armed Forces Nigeria.
ii. This weeklong Summit brings together land force chiefs from across Africa for candid dialog aimed at improving security and stability across the continent.
iii. Representatives from U.S. Army, NATO allies and military leaders of almost every African country are participating in this Summit.
iv.  Discussions at the Summit would also address threat to security posed by militant outfits like Al-Shabaab (in the east Africa) and Boko Haram (in west Africa).

Partnership with New South Wales to enhance Indian startup ecosystem
On April 16, 2018, New South Wales (NSW), a southeastern Australian state, announced a two-year USD 1.58 million partnership with India to enhance Indian startup ecosystem, technology, and advanced manufacturing sectors.
Details about Partnership with New South Wales:
i. Announcement in this regard was made by New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who is on an official visit to India from 16th – 19th April, 2018.
ii. Funds allotted under this partnership funds will be used to send NSW young entrepreneurs and startups to India  to support commercial connections between startups in NSW and India and for fostering collaboration on advanced technology projects.
iii.NSW entrepreneurs and technology businesses will thereby get access to new markets, talent and knowledge.
iv. In context of this news, it is important to note that NSW is Australia’s startup and technology capital.


YES Bank launches YES GST facility for MSMEs
Yes Bank has launched ‘Yes GST’, an OD (over draft) facility for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
YES Bank launches YES GST facility for MSMEsSalient Features of Yes Bank’s ‘Yes GST’:
i. ’Yes GST’ enables MSME to avail OD up to Rs 1 crore, based on their annual turnover, backed by Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns.
ii. This OD facility can be availed by an MSME against mortgage of residential or commercial property.
iii. Thus the essential documents to be provided are GST returns and residential or commercial property papers. Any additional assessment of balance sheet or bank statements will not be required.
Quick Facts about Yes Bank:
♦ Founded in – 2004
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current MD & CEO – Rana Kapoor
♦ Tagline – ‘Experience our Expertise’

WPI inflation at 2.47 % in March
On 16th April 2018, data from Ministry of Commerce & Industry stated that, India’s annual Wholesale Price Inflation (WPI) was at 2.47 % in March 2018, a nine-month low, due to a fall in price of vegetables and other food and beverages.
WPI inflation at 2.47 % in March:
i.  The notification said that, the official Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for ‘All Commodities’ for March 2018 increased by 0.2 % to 116.0 (provisional) from 115.8 (provisional) for the previous month.
ii.The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, was at 2.47 percent (provisional) for March 2018 (over March, 2017) as compared to 2.48 %(provisional) for the previous month and 5.11 percent during the corresponding month of the previous year.
iii. The build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 2.47 percent compared to a build up rate of 5.11 percent in the corresponding period of the previous year.
iv. The index for ‘Food Articles’ group reduced by 0.4 percent to 137.2 from 137.8 for the previous month due to lower price of egg, gram, tea, coffee, poultry chicken and condiments and spices, etc.
v. But the price of ragi, jowar, peas, moong, betel leaves, wheat, paddy and pork increased.
vi. The index for ‘Non-Food Articles’ group reduced by 0.3 % to 120.2 from 120.6 for the previous month due to lower price of guar seed, niger seed, floriculture, raw cotton, cottonseed, mustard seed, among others.
vii. But the price of raw silk, mesta and hides, sunflower, soyabean, fodder, raw wool, coir fibre and raw rubber increased.
viii.  The index for ‘Minerals’ group reduced by 2% to 119.7 from 122.2 for the previous month due to lower price of copper concentrate and phosphorite.
ix. But the price of iron ore, chromite, manganese ore, limestone, zinc concentrate and lead concentrate increased.
x.The index for ‘Crude Petroleum & Natural Gas’ group reduced by 0.5 % to 80.2 from 80.6 for the previous month due to lower price of crude petroleum.
About Ministry of Commerce & Industry:
♦ Minister of Commerce and Industry – Suresh Prabhu
♦ Departments – Department of Commerce & Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion

Bandhan Bank among top 50 most valuable entities
Bandhan Bank has found a place in the list of the top-50 most valuable companies in terms of market capitalization (m-cap) in India.
Bandhan Bank among top 50 most valuable entitiesBandhan Bank among top 50 most valuable entities:
i. Bandhan Bank reached 50th position in overall market capitalization ranking with a market capitalization of Rs 640 billion on 12th April 2018, as per Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) data.
ii .Bandhan Bank has surpassed Dabur India, Britannia Industries, New India Assurance Company, Tech Mahindra and Bharti Infrastructure in the last 10 trading sessions.
iii. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd is the most valuable company in India. It is followed by Reliance Industries Ltd and HDFC Bank Ltd.
About Bandhan Bank:
♦ MD & CEO – Chandra Shekhar Ghosh
♦ Headquarters – Kolkata, West Bengal


DHL aims to link Indian businesses with ASEAN economic community
Deutsche Post DHL Group, a Global logistics group, is working to connect Indian companies with businesses in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to enhance India’s economic relations with Southeast Asian markets.
DHL aims to link Indian businesses with ASEAN economic community:
i. Alfred Goh, President, Global Fast Growing Enterprise and Regional Head, Customer Solutions and Innovation Asia Pacific, DHL, said that, DHL India is one of our major markets.
ii. He said that, they aim to capitalise their presence in high-growth markets and partner businesses on developing cross-border commerce and trade.
About Deutsche Post DHL Group:
♦ CEO – Dr Frank Appel
♦ Headquarters – Bonn, Germany

Suzlon commissions 626 MW wind power projects in FY’18
On 16th April 2018, Suzlon, a renewable solution provider, said that it has commissioned 626 MW of wind power projects in 2017-18 (FY18), the highest installations by any firm in this fiscal year.
Suzlon commissions 626 MW wind power projects in FY'18Suzlon commissions 626 MW wind power projects in FY’18:
i. Suzlon has stated that, with this, Suzlon has gained a market share of 35 % despite an extremely challenging year. Various obstacles were faced due to the shift from feed-in-tariff (FiT) to bidding regime.
ii. It also, said that, due to the introduction of bidding regime, the overall wind industry installations fell to 1,766 MW in FY’18 (32 per cent of FY17 installations) due to stagnant volumes, uncertainty on power purchase agreements (PPAs) and policy environment.
About Suzlon Group:
♦ Group CEO – J P Chalasani
♦ Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra


“Game of Thrones” to receive Special BAFTA recognition
The production team of “Game of Thrones” drama will be awarded the BAFTA Special Award at this year’s British Academy Television Craft Awards.
“Game of Thrones” to receive Special BAFTA recognitionGame of Thrones’ – BAFTA Special Award:
i. The BAFTA Craft Awards will be held on 22nd April 2018 in London. Hannah Murray and John Bradley will receive the award on behalf of the “Game of Thrones” production team.
ii. “Game of Thrones” is being honoured for revolutionising several aspects of production in shooting the drama.
iii. The award is also given to recognise the support that “Game of Thrones” has provided for high-end TV production in the UK.
About British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA):
♦ Formed – 16 April 1947
♦ President – HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge


Myntra acquires smart wearables startup, Witworks
On 16th April 2018, fashion retailer Myntra announced that it has acquired Witworks, a Bengaluru based technology startup, involved in developing smart wearable devices and their underlying software.
Myntra acquires smart wearables startup, WitworksMyntra acquires Witworks:
i. As a part of the acquisition Myntra has inducted the team into its Innovation Labs.
ii. Witworks launched the Blink Watch wearable device in 2016. It operates on their voice-based platform, Marvin OS.
iii. The platform integrates native and third-party services with the potential of innovative voice and visual interactions, designed exclusively for wearable devices.
iv. This acquisition will facilitate Myntra to develop wearable products for their in-house brands and to utilise the technology to enhance consumer engagement.
About Witworks Consumer Technologies:
♦ Founded – 2014
♦ Founded by – Somnath Meher, Ankit DP and Chandrashekhar Iyer


China to launch new weather satellite – Fengyun-II 09
On 16th April 2018, China authorities said that, China will launch Fengyun-II 09 satellite, a new meteorological satellite, in 2018 to enhance its weather forecasting capabilities.
China to launch new weather satellite - Fengyun-II 09Fengyun-II 09 satellite:
i. The Fengyun-II 09 satellite is the last in the Fengyun-II series. It will collect meteorological, maritime, and hydrological data to help weather forecast in China and neighbouring regions.
ii. The satellite will be launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan Province of China.
iii.  The Fengyun satellites are a series of remote-sensing meteorological satellites developed by China.
iv. Fengyun-I and Fengyun-III are polar orbiting weather satellites. Fengyun-II and Fengyun-IV function in geostationary orbit.
About China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation:
♦ Executive Director and President – Wu Yansheng
♦ Headquarters – Haidian District, Beijing, China

Pakistan successfully test fires enhanced version of Babur cruise missile
On April 14, 2018, Pakistan successfully test fired ‘Babur Weapon System-1 (B)’, an enhanced version of indigenously-built Babur cruise missile.
Pakistan successfully test fires enhanced version of Babur cruise missileMore Information about Pakistan’s Babur Weapon System-1 (B):
i. This enhanced version on Babur, has a strike range of 700 km and can deliver conventional and non-conventional weapons. 
ii.It is equipped with advanced aerodynamics and avionics (Terrain Contour Matching – TERCOM and all time Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation – DSMAC technologies) which enables it to strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy.
iii. It is a low-flying, terrain-hugging missile, which carries certain stealth features.
Quick Facts about Pakistan:
♦ Capital – Islamabad
♦ Currency – Pakistani rupee
♦ Current Prime Minister – Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
♦ Important Rivers – Indus, Jhelum

NASA set to launch Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite to search exoplanets
On April 17, 2018 (as per Indian Standard Time), US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will launch Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a satellite designed to detect more exoplanets (Earth-like worlds around stars beyond our solar system).
More Information about NASA’s TESS:
i. TESS will be launched aboard a SpaceX’s Flacon 9 rocket from Florida, US.
ii.  Like its predecessor Kepler space telescope, TESS will use a detection method called transit photometry. With four sensitive cameras, it will track periodic, repetitive dips in the visible light from stars caused by planets passing, or transiting, in front of them.
iii.Using this technique, TESS will spend two years to scan 200000 pre-selected stars that are closer and thus among the brightest as seen from Earth.
iv. The pre-launch cost of TESS mission is $200 million. During its mission life, it is likely to find several thousand exoplanets.
Quick Facts about NASA:
♦ Formed in – 1958
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US

China develops 3D conic device to increase solar-thermal conversion
Chinese scientists have developed ‘Artificial Transpiration’, a new device of 3D hollow-cone structure that can greatly increase the solar-thermal conversion efficiency.
Artificial Transpiration:
i. ‘Artificial Transpiration’ device was named by Zhu Jia and his team members in Nanjing University. An article published online by the National Science Review said that, ‘Artificial Transpiration’ was named so inspired by the transpiration process of trees.
ii. It comprises a special 1D water path within it. It can reduce the energy loss in conduction.
iii. The cone structure, based on a graphene film, can collect more sunlight throughout the day compared to a flat device.
iii. Hence, this device can improve solar-thermal conversion rate to 85 %. The scientists first applied this structure to solar waste-water treatment.
Some important airports in India:
♦ Indira Gandhi International Airport – New Delhi
♦ Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport – Nagpur, Maharashtra
♦ Biju Patnaik International Airport – Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Indian-led scientists’ team develops electronic device that mimics human brain
Scientists at Northwestern University, USA, headed by an Indian, have developed “Memtransistor”, an electronic device that can mimic the human brain.
Indian-led scientists' team develops electronic device that mimics human brainMemtransistor:
i. Memtransistor combines the functions of a memristor and a transistor. The memtransistor has great potential in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
ii. It has been designed by Dr Vinod Kumar Sangwan (Indian), a post-doctoral researcher at Northwestern University and a team of scientists.
iii. Dr Vinod Kumar Sangwan said that, their work is presently at fundamental level. They are working on a realistic design for a full neural-network system. This device is said to have futuristic applications in health sector.
iv. He said that, the operating power can be reduced by reducing channel dimensions and grain size of the semiconductor molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). The research findings were published in the Journal Nature.
Some Important Indian Cities On Rivers:
♦ Badrinath – Alaknanda River
♦ Bhadravathi – Bhadra River
♦ Rourkela – Brahmani River


Indian mosquitoes susceptible to Zika virus: NIV study
Scientists at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, have discovered that the Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito, when infected with the African strain of the Zika virus(ZIKV), can transmit the infection to suckling mice.
Indian mosquitoes susceptible to Zika virus:
i. A study was conducted by scientists from the NIV, the National Jalma Institute of leprosy and other Mycobacterial Diseases, to demonstrate how the Indian Aedes Aegypti mosquito is vulnerable to the Zika virus (ZIKV).
ii. The mosquitoes were experimentally infected with zika virus (African Strain MR-766) through the oral-feeding route. Infected mosquitoes were let to bite on infant and suckling mice.
iii. Few days after bitten by ZIKV contaminated mosquitoes the infant mice showed symptoms like trembling, isolated behaviour, signs related to the nervous system, lethargic movements etc.
iv. The mice were not able to move in the terminal stages of illness. The mosquitoes store the virus in their salivary glands, which makes it easy for transmission. The findings of this study were published in the journal Intervirology.
About National Institute of Virology, Pune:
♦ Director – Dr Devendra Maurya
♦ Established – 1952


On 15th April Himachal marks 71st foundation day, awards best performers
On April 15, 2018, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur hoisted the Indian national flag at the Ridge Maidan in Shimla to mark state’s 71st foundation day.
On 15th April Himachal marks 71st foundation day, awards best performersHimachal Pradesh’s 71st foundation day:
i. The state of Himachal was founded on April 15, 1948.
ii. On the occasion of State’s 71st foundation days, personnel of Himachal Pradesh state police, home guards, Services Selection Board (SSB) and National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets took out a parade. Various groups also performed traditional folk dances.
iii. Mr. Thakur, presented awards to the best performers in the field of administration, sports, health and social work.
iv. Alpine skier Aanchal Thakur from Manali was awarded Himachal Gaurav Puruskar. Aanchal Thakur is the only Indian who has won a medal in skiing.
Quick Facts about Himachal Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Shimla, Dharamshala (second capital, in winter)
♦ Current Governor – Acharya Dev Vrat
♦ Current Chief Minister – Jai Ram Thakur
♦ Important National Park – Pin Valley National Park, Khirganga National Park