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NDMA conducts its first-ever Mock Exercise on Bio-Disasters at Patna airport
A five-day day training programme, aimed at enhancing the preparedness of Airport Emergency Handlers (AEHs) to respond to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) emergencies at the airports, concluded on April 27, 2018 at the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport in Patna, Bihar.
Details about first-ever Mock Exercise on Bio-Disasters at Patna airport:
i. During the course of this training, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) jointly conducted its first-ever full-scale Biological Management Emergency Exercise.
ii. This mock exercise was based on a simulated situation wherein the participants responded to a suspected Ebola outbreak scenario.
iii. Participants in this drill included personnel from Airport Management, Customs, Health and Medical services, Immigration, Fire Services, State Disaster Management Authority and Disease Surveillance.
Quick Facts about NDMA:
♦ Founded in – 2005
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Parent Entity – Union Ministry of Home Affairs
India’s first industrial solar microgrid commissioned in Gujarat
On April 26, 2018, Swedish-Swiss multinational giant ABB announced commissioning of India’s first industrial solar microgrid at its factory in Vadodara, Gujarat.
Details about India’s first industrial solar microgrid:
i. Microgrid is a localized electricity source which can function autonomously as well as by connecting and being synced with the traditional centralized electrical grid (macrogrid).
ii. Microgrids with integrated battery energy storage is primarily setup to ensure continuity of work during planned and unplanned power outages.
iii. ABB’s Mircrogrid (having rooftop photovoltaic field and battery-energy storage system) at its factory in Vadodara will harness the solar energy and will thus help in meeting the growing electricity needs.
iv. This facility will not only ensure continuity during power outages, but will also help in lowering carbon footprint.
Quick Facts about Gujarat:
♦ Capital – Gandhinagar
♦ Current Governor – Om Prakash Kohli
♦ Current Chief Minister – Vijay Rupani
♦ Important National Park – Gir National Park
A first of its kind Israeli Modern Art Exhibition inaugurated in the Capital
A first of its kind Israeli Modern Art Exhibition was inaugurated in New Delhi on April 28, 2018.
Highlights of Israeli Modern Art Exhibition in New Delhi:
i. This exhibition titled ‘To the End of Land’ was organised by National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel in India and the Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Israel.
ii. It was organised to mark the occasion of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.
iii. The exhibition is a collection of contemporary art creations of 19 Israeli artists, including the internationally acclaimed Shahar Marcus who also performed at the exhibition opening.
iv. The innovative modern art pieces and installations at the exhibition focus on connection of human beings with land, territory, locality and identity.
Quick Facts about Israel:
♦ Capital – Jerusalem
♦ Currency – Israeli new shekel
♦ Current Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu
♦ Important Rivers – Yarkon, Kishon
Maharashtra signed MoU with British Council
On April 26, 2018, Maharashtra State Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the British Council to strengthen educational and cultural cooperation.
Details about Maharashtra-British Council MoU:
i. British Council is United Kingdom’s (UK’s) international culture and educational arm. It has completed 70 years in India.
ii. As per the terms of the MoU, British Council would be training 30000 teachers in the English language in Maharashtra. In the past, British Council already trained more than 100000 teachers, benefitting around five million learners.
iii. The training of 30000 teachers will be funded by Tata Trusts, the philanthropic arm of Tata group.
Quick Facts about Maharashtra:
♦ Capital – Mumbai (summer), Nagpur (winter)
♦ Current Governor – C. Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Current Chief Minister – Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Important National Park – Sanjay Gandhi National Park
NITI Aayog and ITC to join hands to transform agriculture and water sectors
NITI Aayog and ITC Ltd will be collaborating in the area of agriculture and allied sectors with an objective to strengthen farming systems.
More information about NITI Aayog – ITC collaboration:
i. NITI Aayog and ITC signed a letter of intent (LoI) in this regard on April 26, 2018.
ii. This collaboration will be for a period of four years till April 2022 under which, both the entities will strive to increase net returns from farming through reduction in costs of production and increasing productivity of major crops.
iii. One of the key activities to be undertaken for accomplishing this objective is to disseminate sustainable agricultural practices and templates for seasonal planning at gram panchayat level.
iv. ITC expects to impart training to over 2 lakh lead farmers in 25 districts a part of the partnership.
Quick Facts about NITI Aayog:
♦ Formed in – January 2015
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Ex-Officio Chairman – Prime Minister of India
Government declares all protected areas ‘plastic free zones’
The environment ministry has banned plastics in all protected areas throughout India, declaring them “plastic free zones”.
Plastic free zones:
i. This initiative has been taken prior to the World Environment Day on 5th June. States and Union territories have been directed to conduct awareness campaigns to enlighten people about this issue.
ii. India will host the World Environment Day for 2018. United Nations environment chief Erik Solheim visited India recently and signed a letter of intent declaring India to host the World Environment Day.
iii. Environment secretary C K Mishra said all protected areas and forest reserves will be plastic free zones. This will be mandatorily enforced. He added that, alternatives to plastics will be made available gradually.
Some UNESCO Natural Sites in India:
♦ Manas Wildlife Sanctuary – Assam
♦ Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks – Uttarakhand
♦ Sundarbans National Park – West Bengal
Andhra Government holds Cyber Security Summit in Visakhapatnam
On 27th April 2018, Andhra Pradesh government and MasterCard, along with Fintech valley conducted the Andhra Pradesh Cyber Security Summit in Visakhapatnam.
Cyber Security Summit in Visakhapatnam:
i. Andhra Pradesh IT Minister Nara Lokesh took part in the summit. The summit acted as a platform for top cyber security experts to exchange strategies and solutions to fight the cyber threat issues in India and worldwide.
ii. This summit was a part of the MoU signed between Andhra Pradesh government and MasterCard to execute best practices for cybersecurity.
Some dams in Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Srisailam Dam – Krishna River
♦ Nagarjuna Sagar Dam – Krishna River
AIIMS sets up India’s first VBN system
On 26th April 2018, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) set up India’s first Virtual Bronchoscopy Navigation (VBN), an advanced facility for diagnosis and treatment of small tumour-like spots in lungs.
Virtual Bronchoscopy Navigation (VBN):
i. The VBN system was installed in the Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders at AIIMS.
ii. Apart from India only few countries like China, Singapore besides the US and Europe own this facility.
iii. Using VBN system samples can be collected from small lung lesions with extreme precision and safety by using a bronchoscope.
iv. The machine uses the CT scan image of a patient to produce a 3D view of the windpipe. After that a bronchoscope can be passed through the windpipe to reach the abnormal areas. This will reduce the risk of puncturing the lung.
About All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS):
♦ Director – Randeep Guleria
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
PM Modi visits China for informal summit with Prez Xi
i. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held the first-ever informal summit in China’s Wuhan city on 27th and 28th April, 2018 to discuss measures for strengthening bilateral ties between both the countries.
ii. During this visit, PM Modi gifted to Xi Jinping, specially made prints of paintings by legendary Chinese artist Xu Beihong. Titled ‘The Horse and Sparrows and Grass’, Xu made these paintings during 1939-40, when he stayed at Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan and worked under Rabindranath Tagore…………………………………………………………………………………..Click here to Read More.
India-Nepal IGC meeting began in Kathmandu
India-Nepal Inter Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to Control Unauthorised Trade was held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 26th and 27th April, 2018.
Highlights of India-Nepal IGC meeting:
i. Indian side to this meeting was led by Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia.
ii. Discussions at this meeting focused on adopting measures to further strengthen trade and investment ties between India and Nepal.
iii. The IGC meetings serves as a regular platform to review implementation of past trade and transit agreements between India and Nepal and discuss new measures to boost bilateral trade and investment.
iv. IGC also takes up issues relating to bilateral trade, transit facilities provided by India to Nepal to facilitate trade with third countries and Indian investment in Nepal.
Quick Facts about Nepal:
♦ Capital – Kathmandu
♦ Currency – Nepalese Rupee
♦ Current Prime Minister – K P Oli
♦ Neighbouring Countries – India and China
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI liberalises ECB norms; more access to cheaper funds
Ob 27th April 2018, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) liberalised External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) Policy by including more sectors in the window, with an aim to enable cheaper access of overseas funds.
RBI liberalises ECB norms:
i. RBI notified that, it has decided to increase the ECB Liability to Equity Ratio for ECB raised from direct foreign equity holder under the automatic route to 7:1.
ii. This ratio will not be applicable if total of all ECBs raised by an entity is up to USD 5 million or equivalent.
iii. In order to harmonise the extant provisions of Foreign Currency and Rupee ECBs and Rupee Denominated Bonds, it has been decided to set a uniform all-in-cost ceiling of 450 basis points over the benchmark rate.
iv. The benchmark rate will be 6 month USD LIBOR (or applicable benchmark for respective currency) for Track I and Track II. It will be existing yield of the Government of India securities of corresponding maturity for Track III (Rupee ECBs) and RDBs.
v. It has been decided to allow Housing Finance Companies and port trust to avail ECBs under all tracks.
vi. These entities should have a board approved risk management policy. They should maintain their ECB exposure hedged 100 per cent at all times for ECBs raised.
vi. Investment raised through ECBs should be avoided to be put in real estate or purchase of land except for affordable housing, construction and development of SEZ and industrial parks/integrated townships.
vii. Also ECB fund should not be invested in share market and equity investment. On-lending to entities for the above activities is also restricted, according to law.
Tag lines of few banks:
♦ ICICI Bank – Hum Hai Na, Khyal Apka.
♦ IDBI Bank – Banking For All, “Aao Sochein Bada”
♦ Indian Bank – Your Tech- Friendly Bank
Fitch retains India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-‘ with ‘stable’ outlook
Global credit ratings agency, Fitch ratings has retained India’s sovereign rating at BBB- with a stable outlook on account of its assessment that upside and downside risks to ratings remains evenly balanced.
Fitch retains India’s sovereign rating:
i. As per Fitch’s assessment, positive factors such as strong medium-term growth outlook for Indian economy and favourable external balances are countered by weak fiscal management and sub-par structural factors, including governance standards and a difficult business environment.
ii. In context of this news, it is important to note that a rating upgrade reflects positive outlook for the country and makes it an attractive destination for investors.
iii. Fitch has retained ‘BBB-‘ with stable outlook for India since August 2006. However, it changed the outlook to negative in 2012 and then again to stable in 2013.
Quick Facts about Fitch Ratings:
♦ Founded in – 1914
♦ Headquarters – New York, US
♦ Current President and CEO – Paul Taylor
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
DAC Approves Capital Acquisition Proposals Worth Rs 3687 Crore
On April 27, 2018, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Union Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, approved Capital Acquisition Proposals of defence equipments/ammunition valued at over Rs 3687 crore.
Capital Acquisition Proposals approved by DAC:
i. DAC approved procurement of NAG Missile System (NAMIS) comprising third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile, the NAG, along with the Missile Carrier Vehicle (NAMICA).
ii. NAMIS has been designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It will be procured at a cost of Rs. 524 crore.
iii. DAC also approved procurement of thirteen 127 mm calibre guns for Indian Navy. The Indian Navy has been asking for these guns since long time. Having a strike range of 24 km, these guns will be fitted on-board new construction ships for undertaking surface engagements.
iv. The thirteen 127 mm calibre guns will be procured from BAE Systems (United States of America) at an approximate cost of over Rs 3000 crore.
AAI inks performance MoU with Civil Aviation Ministry
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has signed its Annual Performance Contract (APC) for 2018-19 with Ministry of Civil Aviation.
AAI inks performance MoU with Civil Aviation Ministry:
i. The MoU was signed between Secretary (Civil Aviation) R.N. Choubey and Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, AAI, on 27th April 2018.
ii. The MoU mentions the parameters and targets to be executed by AAI during 2018-19. The parameters and targets are related to major areas of AAI like finance, capacity utilization, research and development, project implementation, HR and cargo etc.
iii .The AAI has undertaken a target of Rs. 4,100 crores towards capital expenditure on airport infrastructure development for 2018-19.
iv. AAI has also signed target to use 94% of its total passenger capacity at its airports.
v. AAI has planned to carry out Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Survey at its top 20 airports by Airports Council International, in order to enhance the quality of its services.
vi. AAI has also planned to perform HR audit at its airports with an aim to strengthen its Human Resource.
About Airports Authority of India (AAI):
♦ Chairman – Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
Paytm introduces ‘Tap Card’ offline payments solution
One97 Communications Limited, the owner of Paytm, announced the launch of Paytm Tap Card, its offline payments solution to provide easy payments solutions for non-internet customers.
i. The Tap Card utilises Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to enable safe and convenient digital payments, totally offline at Paytm-issued, NFC PoS terminals, within a second.
ii. In order to make payments, users can add money from their Paytm account by scanning the QR code on the Tap Card and by authenticating it at any add value machines (AVM).
iii. This will be a solution that also addresses network-related issues at the consumers’ or merchants’ side.
iv. Paytm is tying up with events, educational institutes and corporates in the first phase to ensure quick digital payments using the Tap card.
v. User has to simply tap the card at a merchant outlet to pay. This lets the user to pay through Paytm even when they are not carrying their phones.
♦ CEO – Vijay Shekhar Sharma
♦ Parent – One97 Communications Ltd.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashaschandra chosen for 2017 Saraswati Samman
K K Birla Foundation has announced that, Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashaschandra’s poetry collection “Vakhar” has been selected for the Saraswati Samman for 2017.
Sitanshu Yashaschandra chosen for 2017 Saraswati Samman:
i. The selection for this award is done by a high level named ‘Chayan Parishad’ (selection committee). It is presided by former secretary general of Lok Sabha, Subhash C Kashyap.
ii. This award was instituted in 1991. It recognises outstanding literary work every year written in any Indian language and published in the last 10 years.
iii. The ‘Vakhar’ (poetry) by Sitanshu Yashaschandra was published in 2009. Sitanshu Yashaschandra was born in 1941 in Bhuj.
iv. He has written 10 books of plays and three books of criticism. He has received Sahitya Akademi Award, Kabir Samman and Padma Shri etc.
v. The Saraswati Samman award carries a cash prize of Rs 15 lakhs, a citation and a plaque.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Gujarat:
♦ Mitiyala Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
♦ Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
Budgam shortlisted for PM Modi’s excellence award
Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir has been shortlisted for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s excellence award for promoting digital payments and cashless economy.
Budgam shortlisted for PM Modi’s excellence award:
i. Digital payments facility has been implemented at 670 places throughout the Budgam district, under the supervision of District authorities.
ii. The places cover 372 ration shops, 285 fertilizer shops and 13 Revenue (Tehsil) offices in Budgam.
iii. The district administration has trained local residents at Common Services Centers (CSC) to execute the digital payments system successfully.
Some stadiums in Jammu & Kashmir:
♦ Bakhshi Stadium
♦ Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Narinder Chauhan appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Czech Republic
On 26th April 2018, Narinder Chauhan was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Czech Republic.
Narinder Chauhan – next Ambassador of India to the Czech Republic:
i. Narinder Chauhan is an Indian Foreign Service Officer (IFS) of the batch 1985. She is at present the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Serbia.
ii. She has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Czech Republic. She will take up this new assignment soon.
Rajiv Kumar Nagpal appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
On 26th April 2018, Rajiv Kumar Nagpal was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Rajiv Kumar Nagpal – next Ambassador of India to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela:
i. Rajiv Kumar Nagpal is currently the Ambassador of India to Iceland. He has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
ii. He will take up this new assignment soon.
Krishan Kumar appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Norway
On 26th April 2018, Krishan Kumar was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Norway.
Krishan Kumar – next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Norway:
i. Krishan Kumar is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Officer of the 1984 batch. He is at present the Ambassador of India to the Czech Republic.
ii. He has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Norway. He will take up this assignment shortly.
IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh resigns; Rahul Bhatia named interim CEO
InterGlobe Aviation, the operator of IndiGo airlines, announced that Aditya Ghosh, the President and whole-time Director of IndiGo has resigned from his position.
Resignation of Aditya Ghosh:
i. Indigo announced that its Chairman, Rahul Bhatia, will serve as the interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Director of Indigo.
ii. Aditya Ghosh has worked with IndiGo for ten years. His resignation as President of IndiGo will be effective from 31 July 2018.
iii. IndiGo also said that Greg Taylor has returned to its Board as a Senior Advisor.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
LCA Tejas Achieves Yet Another Milestone Towards FOC Certification
LCA Tejas has achieved another milestone towards FOC certification, after the launch on 27th April 2018, piloted by Wg Cdr Siddharth Singh from the firing range off the coast of Goa.
LCA Tejas Achieves Yet Another Milestone Towards FOC Certification
i. The missile was launched from LCA Tejas. Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) successfully fired Derby Air-to-Air beyond Visual Range Missile to expand the firing envelope.
ii. It demonstrated safe operation of the aircraft during missile plume ingestion into the aircraft engine in worst case situations.
ii. LCA Tejas was designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), an autonomous society of DRDO.
iii. Integration of Derby, a BVR class missile is one of the key objectives of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of LCA Tejas.
iv. The aircraft was tracked by two other Tejas aircraft to capture the firing event for detailed analysis and comparison with the simulation model for validation.
v. The entire planning, practice and final firing was performed by ADA and it’s National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) officials Cmde JA Maolankar and GpCapt A Kabadwal, IAF, DG(AQA), HAL & INS HANSA.
vi. After the successful integration and demonstration, Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA), a unit of DRDO has approved the series production aircraft of Squadron 45, to equip with Derby operational capability.
vii. LCA Tejas has successfully finished captive flight trials to clear Derby for complete operational capability in the total FOC envelope.
About Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO):
♦ Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&D – Dr. S Christopher
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
World Day for Safety and Health at Work – April 28
On 28th April 2018, the World Day for Safety and Health at Work was observed all over the world.
World Day for Safety and Health at Work:
i. The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is observed every year on 28th April to promote safe, healthy and decent work.
ii. It has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003.
iii. The theme for World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2018 is: Occupational safety health (OSH) vulnerability of young workers.
About International Labour Organization (ILO):
♦ Director General – Guy Ryder
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland