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Current Affairs Today April 25 2018

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Cabinet Approvals on April 25 2018
i. Union Cabinet Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Sao Tome and Principe for Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy.
ii. Cabinet apprised of the Memorandum of Agreement between India and World Health Organisation represented by its Regional Office for South-East Asia acting through its Country Office in India
iii. Cabinet approves MoU on cooperation in the field of regulation of medical products for human use amongst the medicine regulatory agencies of the BRICS countries
iv. Cabinet approves Long Term Agreements for supply of iron ore to Japan and South Korea through MMTC Limited
v. Cabinet approves declaration of Scheduled Areas in respect of Rajasthan under Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of India……………………………………………….Click here to Read More

Cabinet Approvals on Economic Affairs on April 25 2018
i. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for the increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Raw Jute for 2018-19 season.
ii. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Bamboo Mission (NBM) under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) for remaining period of Fourteenth Finance Commission i.e. for 2018-19 & 2019-20………………………………………………………………….Click here to Read More

Roll-out of e-Way Bill system for Intra-State movement of goods in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Puducherry
The e-Way Bill system for Intra-State movement of goods is implemented from 25th April 2018 in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Puducherry.
Roll-out of e-Way Bill system for Intra-State movement of goods in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Puducherrye-Way Bill system for Intra-State movement of goods:
i. e-Way Bill system for ​I​nter-State movement of goods was launched on 1st April 2018.
ii. As on 20th April, 2018, e-Way Bill system for ​Intra-State movement of goods has been rolled-out in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
iii. Trade and industry and transporters present in the above locations can register on e-Way Bill portal at

Union Home Minister to chair the 23rd meeting of Western Zonal Council in Gandhinagar tomorrow
On 26th April 2018, the 23rd meeting of the Western Zonal Council consisting of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli will be held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. 
Union Home Minister to chair the 23rd meeting of Western Zonal Council in Gandhinagar tomorrow23rd meeting of the Western Zonal Council:
i. The meeting will be chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani is the Vice Chairman and host.
ii. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir will also take part in the meeting.
iii. Chief Ministers of all member States of Western Zonal Council and some Ministers, Chief Secretaries and senior officers from the State Governments and senior officers from Central Government will also participate in the meeting.
Some National Parks in Gujarat:
♦ Gir Forest National Park
♦ Marine National Park, Gulf of Kutch
♦ Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar

Meghalaya launches mission to increase organic turmeric
The Meghalaya government has launched ‘Mission Lakadong’ to achieve a five-fold increase in the production of Lakadong turmeric, an organic variety of turmeric grown in Meghalaya, to at least 50,000 metric tonne per year in the next 5 years.
Meghalaya launches mission to increase organic turmericMission Lakadong:
i. On 24th April 2018, Meghalaya governor Ganga Prasad launched ‘Mission Lakadong’.
ii. This mission will be implemented by the directorate of horticulture, the Community and Rural Development department, the Forest department, the North Eastern Hill University and the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship under the direct supervision of the Governor’s secretariat.
iii. Objective of ‘Mission Lakadong’ is to improve the livelihood and income of farmers involved in Lakadong turmeric cultivation.
iv. The mission also aims to more than double the crop area from the current 2,577 hectare to 6,070 hectare over the next 5 years.
v. Jaintia Hills District is home to Lakadong turmeric. Lakadong turmeric has the highest curcumin content, as per a study by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
vi. The productivity of Lakadong turmeric will also be improved from 6 MT per hectare to 8 MT per hectare area with the introduction of the advanced technologies of plant propagation and post harvest technology induction.

MOU signed between Indian Culinary Institute and IGNTU, Amarkantak for collaborative degree programmes and research in culinary arts
A MOU was signed between the Indian Culinary Institute (ICI), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Tourism, and Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU), Amarkantak.
MoU between ICI and IGNTU:
i. The MOU was signed for introducing collaborative degree programmes including research in culinary arts.
ii. ICI has campuses at Tirupati and Noida. The academic courses at Noida campus will start from 2018-19 batch and batches at Tirupati campus will start from 2018-19 academic session.
iii. Objective of setting up of ICI was to create a mechanism to support efforts taken to preserve, document, promote and disseminate Indian Cuisine, meet the requirement of specialists in Indian Cuisine, to promote Cuisine as a Niche Tourism product.
iv. The ICIs will act as Centres of Excellence which will provide structured regular programmes of study specific to culinary arts and culinary management.
v. They will offer graduate and post graduate level degrees, promote research and innovation, organize demand driven certificate and diploma courses, document and create data base specific to Indian cuisine and commission studies and survey on cuisine.
vi. They will offer required training platform equivalent to elite Chef Schools operating in various parts of the world.
vii. It will help local youth to train in these streams and create entrepreneurs and make them self-sufficient. The hotel and tourism industry will also get trained and skilled manpower.

Sagar Kavach: Coastal security exercise held in Kerala
A two-day coastal security exercise ‘Sagar Kavach’ began on April 24, 2018 along Kerala shores.
Sagar Kavach: Coastal security exercise held in KeralaHighlights of ‘Sagar Kavach’:
i. Exercise ‘Sagar Kavach’ is being conducted to strengthen and assess the loopholes in the coastal security mechanism along Kerala shores.
ii. Along with Coastal Police and Marine Enforcement wing, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy is also participating in Exercise ‘Sagar Kavach’.
iii. 10 ships of Indian Coast Guard, three ships of Indian navy, four fishing boats, and 20 coastal police stations from Vizhinjam to Kasaragod are among those taking part in this exercise.
iv. It is to be noted that Exercise ‘Sagar Kavach’ is held twice a year.

NITI Aayog to Open Applications for Atal New India Challenge
The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under the NITI Aayog will launch the Atal New India Challenge on 26th April 2018.
NITI Aayog to Open Applications for Atal New India ChallengeAtal New India Challenge:
i. The Atal New India Challenge will be run in collaboration with five ministries. Through the Atal New India Challenge, AIM will invite prospective innovators/MSMEs/start-ups to design market-ready products, using advanced technologies or prototypes in 17 focus areas like Climate Smart Agriculture, Smart Mobility, Predictive Maintenance of Rolling Stock, Waste Management etc.
ii. Applicants with capability, intent and potential to productize technologies will be granted up to Rs. 1 crore.
iii. In addition, mentoring, handholding, incubating and other support will be offered  at various stages of commercialisation, also creating wider deployment for the product.
About NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog:
♦ CEO – Amitabh Kant
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


Six countries suspend membership in UNASUR
Six countries of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) have suspended their memberships amid differences over who should lead the group.
Six countries suspend membership in UNASURUNASUR Membership:
i. Six countries that have suspended their membership from UNASUR are  Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru.
ii. Leaders of these six countries believe that the impossibility of electing a general secretary for UNASUR affects the bloc and  thus they will not participate in UNASUR meetings for a period of one year until the leadership issue is resolved.
iii. Owing to this, membership of UNASUR has reduced to half and now only Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela remain in the bloc.
iv. UNASUR was promoted by late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. It was constituted in 2008 to counter US influence in the region.
Quick Facts about UNASUR:
♦ Constitutive Treaty Signed in – 2008
♦ Secretariat – Quito, Ecuador
♦ Current Members – Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela

Swaraj co-chairs 6th Joint Committee for Cooperation with Mongolia’s Tsogtbaatar
On 25th April 2018, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj led the delegation at the 6th Joint Committee for Cooperation with Mongolian Foreign Minister Damdin Tsogtbaatar.
Swaraj co-chairs 6th Joint Committee for Cooperation with Mongolia's TsogtbaatarSwaraj co-chairs 6th Joint Committee for Cooperation with Mongolia’s Tsogtbaatar:
i. Various aspects of bilateral relations, particularly in trade and investment, energy, mining, animal husbandry, education and capacity building and tourism were discussed in the meeting.
ii. This is Sushma Swaraj’s first visit to Mongolia after she became the External Affairs Minister in 2014.
iii. She reached Mongolia on 24th April 2018, after finishing her one-day China visit where she attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Beijing.
About Mongolia:
♦ President – Khaltmaagiin Battulga
♦ Prime Minister – Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh

Government to tie up with US and Finland to jointly develop new pollution-forecast system
India is tying up with the United States and Finland to create a pollution-forecast system that will enable anticipation of particulate matter (PM) levels at least two days in advance with a better resolution.
Government to tie up with US and Finland:
i. Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will coordinate this exercise. It has been planned to have the system ready by winter.
ii. At present, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), run out of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, is the major forecaster of pollution trends in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
iii. It generates air quality profile, a day in advance, for these cities. The new system will be jointly developed by Finnish Meteorological Institute and the U.S.’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
iv. The new system will use a different modelling approach and computational techniques.
About Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology:
♦ Functions under – Ministry of Earth Sciences
♦ Director – Prof. Ravi S. Nanjundiah


India – World Bank sign $125 million agreement for “Innovate in India for Inclusiveness Project”
On April 24, 2018, India signed a loan agreement with World Bank for IBRD credit of $125million for the “Innovate in India for Inclusiveness Project”.  International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is a member institution of World Bank Group.
India - World Bank sign $125 million agreement for “Innovate in India for Inclusiveness Project”More information about “Innovate in India for Inclusiveness Project”:
i. Objective of “Innovate in India for Inclusiveness Project” is to encourage indigenous innovation, facilitate local product development and accelerate commercialization process in the sphere of affordable and innovative healthcare products.
ii. The project would support public, private and the academic institutions to overcome the key market failures by bridging critical skill and infrastructure gaps and thereby nurture an innovative biopharmaceutical and medical devices industry in India.
iii. Term of IBRD $125 million credit will be 19 years with a grace period of 5 years.
Quick Facts about World Bank:
♦ Formed in – 1945
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
♦ Current President – Jim Yong Kim

Rs 10012 cr aid given to UP in 2017-18: NABARD
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has stated that it has provided an assistance of Rs 10012 crore to Uttar Pradesh (UP) during 2017-18.
Rs 10012 cr aid given to UP in 2017-18: NABARDNABARD’s funding to Uttar Pradesh:
i. The funds were provided to facilitate overall development in the state with special focus on agricultural credit.
ii. Our of the above stated amount, Rs 8450 crore released to commercial banks, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperative Banks for providing short and long term finance support to agriculture, allied and off farm sectors across the state.
iii. Besides, NABARD’s initiatives in Uttar Pradesh during 2017-18 also focused on infrastructure development through dedicated funds, women empowerment through Self Help Groups, strengthening of rural financial institutions and micro-finance.
iv. For 2018-19, NABARD’s priorities in Uttar Pradesh will be digital transformation of rural financial institution (RFIs) and rural enterprises, crop residue management in western UP, development plans for Bundelkhand region and setting up irrigation infrastructure.
Quick Facts about NABARD:
♦ Established in – 1982
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current Chairman – Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala


NSE launches e – Gsec platform for bringing retail participation in Govt. Securities
On April 24, 2018, The National Stock Exchange (NSE) announced the launch of its e-Gsec platform which will allow retail investors to invest in government securities.
Salient features of NSE’s e-Gsec platform:
i. Government issues securities in order to borrow money from the market.
ii. Government Securities are offered to investors through competitive and non-competitive auctions.
iii. Auction is held by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on weekly basis, wherein large investors viz. banks, primary dealers, financial institutions, mutual funds, insurance companies participate in the competitive auctions by placing bids directly with Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
iv. In the weekly auctions, 5 per cent of the notified amount is allotted for eligible investors under the scheme for non-competitive bidding facility.
v. Through NSE’s e-Gsec platform, the retail investors will now be able to participate in the next weekly auction which is scheduled on April 26, 2018.
vi. Allowing retail participation in G-Sec auctions through stock exchanges was first announced in Union budget 2016-17.
Quick Facts about NSE:
♦ Began Operations in – 1994
♦ Located in – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current Managing Director and CEO – Vikram Limaye

India’s average GDP growth to rise to 7.8 pc in first half of this year: Report
According to the Japanese financial services major Nomura, India’s average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is expected to rise to 7.8 per cent in the first half of 2018.
India's average GDP growth to rise to 7.8 pc in first half of this year: ReportOutlook of Indian Economy – Nomura:
i. As per Nomura, GDP growth of 7.8 per cent in first half of 2018 will come on back of increase in investments as well as consumption demand.
ii. However, rising oil prices, tighter financial conditions and a likely slowdown in investment activity ahead of the elections have been identified as factors that may lead to moderation in growth for the second half.
iii. On account of these factors, growth for Q4-2018 is forecasted at 6.9 per cent.
iv. Further, Nomura has cautioned that rising oil prices may have a direct bearing on Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation, wherein every USD 10/bbl rise in oil prices will spike the CPI inflation by 30-40 bps and would worsen the current account balance by 0.4 percentage points.
Quick Facts about Nomura Group:
♦ Founded in – 1925
♦ Headquarters – Tokyo, Japan

AAI ties up with SAIL for UDAN flight to Burnpur, Rourkela and Bokaro
On 23rd April 2018, SAIL (Steel Authority of India Ltd) said that, it has signed a MoU with Airports Authority of India (AAI) for utilisation of airstrips at Rourkela, Bokaro and Burnpur under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN.
AAI ties up with SAIL for UDAN flight to Burnpur, Rourkela and Bokaro:
i. The RCS-UDAN scheme was launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to improve regional air connectivity by providing support in infrastructure and other facilities.
ii. As per the MoU, AAI as an implementation agency under RCS-UDAN will carry out necessary works before commencement of RCS flights at the three airports.
iii. AAI will operate and manage airport operations for Burnpur, Rourkela and Bokaro airport on behalf of SAIL for three years.
iv. This move will benefit people of these cities with better connectivity and speed up the developmental activities there.
v. After the RCS-UDAN flights become operational from Rourkela, Bokaro and Burnpur, it will help in improving mobility of employees of SAIL at a faster pace from respective plants.
About SAIL (Steel Authority of India Ltd):
♦ Chairman – P K Singh
♦ Corporate Office – New Delhi


Microsoft India most attractive employer brand: Randstad
On 25th April 2018, Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) 2018 stated that, Microsoft India is the most attractive employer brand in India this year.
Microsoft India most attractive employer brand: RandstadMicrosoft India most attractive employer brand:
i. Microsoft India is followed by Amazon India. The Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) 2018 survey was conducted by Randstad, a HR service provider.
ii. The survey also stated that salary and employee benefits remain as major factors among the local workforce in all profiles.
iii. On a sectoral basis, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) ranked as the top employer brand for the IT industry.
iii. Larsen & Toubro was ranked as top employer for infrastructure & construction and Hindustan Unilever for FMCG.
iv. The top 10 most attractive employers brands in 2018 also features: Hindustan Unilever, IBM India, ITC Group, Mercedes-Benz India, Samsung India and Sony India.
v. Salary and employee benefits, work-life balance, job security, career progression and strong management are the top five influencing factors for the workforce for selecting an employer.
vi. The survey also revealed that workers prefer to work for companies in sectors like IT & ITeS (69 per cent), Automotive (68 per cent) and Retail & FMCG (67 per cent).
About Randstad:
♦ Headquarters – Diemen, the Netherlands
♦ MD & CEO Randstad India – Paul Dupuis


Mario Abdo Benitez elected new president of Paraguay
Mario Abdo Benitez has been elected as the new president of Paraguay.
Mario Abdo Benitez elected new president of ParaguayMario Abdo Benitez – new president of Paraguay:
i. Mario Abdo Benitez won the presidential election conducted on 22nd April 2018. He belongs to the ruling Colorado Party.
ii. He had secured 46.5% of the votes, with 96% of 21,000 polling stations reported.
iii. Efrain Alegre of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party came second with 42.7% of the votes.
iv. Mario Abdo Benitez’s 5 year term begins on 15th August 2018. He is 46 years old.
About Paraguay:
♦ Capital – Asunción
♦ Currency – Guaraní
♦ Official languages – Spanish, Guarani


Indus Towers, Bharti Infratel to merge; to create listed pan-India tower juggernaut
On 25th April 2018, Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel Ltd announced that, they have agreed to combine operations in a deal that will create the world’s second-largest mobile masts company measured by numbers of towers.
Indus Towers, Bharti Infratel to merge; to create listed pan-India tower juggernautIndus Towers, Bharti Infratel to merge:
i. The combined company will lag only China Tower. It will still be listed on Indian bourses. It will have a presence throughout India with more than 163,000 towers.
ii. Bharti Airtel will have a stake of 33.8 % to 37.2 % in the combined entity. The combined entity will be called Indus Towers.
iii. The new Indus Towers board will have 11 members: three members from Bharti Airtel, three from Vodafone, one from KKR or Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and four independent members.


Malvi’s adder’s-tongue fern: World’s smallest land fern discovered in Western Ghats
Indian researchers have discovered world’s smallest land fern in the Ahwa forests of the Western Ghats in Gujarat’s Dang district.
Details about World’s smallest land fern:
i. Researchers have stated that this fern belongs to a group known as the adder’s-tongue ferns, named after their resemblance to a snake’s tongue.
ii. The new Malvi’s adder’s-tongue fern Ophioglossum malviae is just one centimetre in size. However, the most similar adder’s-tongue fern is 10 cm tall.
iii. Researchers from Department of Biosciences at Surat’s Veer Narmad South Gujarat University stumbled across this fern during a botanical expedition in 2016.
iv. After studying its morphology in detail, researchers discovered that it differed from similar ferns in not just size but other complex fern features viz. composition of seeds and DNA.


Jeremy win silver & bronze at Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championship
India’s Jeremy Lalrinnunga (56 kg) won a silver and a bronze medal and broke two national records at the Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championship at Urgench, Uzbekistan.
Jeremy win silver & bronze at Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting ChampionshipJeremy win silver & bronze at Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championship:
i. Jeremy Lalrinnunga gave his best total of 250 kg and won the silver in youth section and a bronze medal in the junior section.
ii. He is 15 years old. He made national records in youth boys and junior men with 250 kg lift.
iii. India’s Sidhant Gogoi won a bronze medal with a lift of 243 kg in youth boys section.
iv. Jhilli Dalabehera (48 kg) won silver medal in junior women after lifting 166 kg (73+93), Sneha Soren (48 kg) lifted 145 kg (63+82) and won bronze medal in Youth Girls.
v. Jacob Vanlaltluanga won a bronze medal in the 62kg youth boys with a total lift of 239 kg (108 kg (Silver medal) in Snatch + 131 kg in Clean and Jerk).
About Indian Weightlifting Federation:
♦ Purpose – national governing body overseeing the sport of weightlifting in India
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


World Malaria Day, Italy Liberation Day – April 25, 2018
On 25th April 2018, World Malaria Day and Italy Liberation Day were observed.
World Malaria Day, Italy Liberation Day – April 25, 2018World Malaria Day:
i. World Malaria Day is observed every year on 25th April to highlight global efforts to control malaria.
ii. The theme for World Malaria Day 2018 is: Ready to beat malaria.
iii. In May 2007, at the 60th session of the World Health Assembly declared the World Malaria Day to be celebrated on 25th April every year.
Italy Liberation Day:
i. Italy’s Liberation Day also known as the Anniversary of the Liberation, Anniversary of the Resistance is a national Italian holiday.
ii. It commemorates the end of the Italian Civil War and the end of Nazi occupation of Italy during World War II.
About World Health Organization (WHO):
♦ Director General – Tedros Adhanom
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland

Manipur observes Khongjom Day
On 23rd April 2018, Khongjom Day was observed in Manipur by paying floral tributes to the martyrs of 1891 at the historic Khongjom War memorial site at Kheba hillock.
Khongjom Day:
i. Khongjom Day  is a state holiday. It is observed on 23 April every year throughout Manipur for the martyrs of Manipur who sacrificed their lives in the last battle of independence known as ‘Khongjom War’ against the Britishers on 23rd April 1891.
ii. Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla and Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh led the public in paying tributes to the martyrs.
iii. A play based on the Khongjom battle and a traditional musical sequence was also played on the occasion.
Some National Parks in Manipur:
♦ Sirohi National Park
♦ Keibul Lamjao National Park