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Current Affairs Today April 3 2018

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Atal Pension Yojana subscriber base touches over 97 lakh by end of FY18: PFRDA
i. As per data released by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), subscriber base of Atal Pension Yojana (APY) stood at 97.05 lakh at the end of the financial year 2017-18. It is slightly lower than the target of 1 crore set by PFRDA.
ii. There was an addition of over 48.21 lakh APY subscribers in 2017-18.
iii. Atal Pension Yojana is a guaranteed pension scheme (mainly catering to the unorganised sector employees), launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 9, 2015. It became operational from June 1, 2015……………………………………………………………… Click here to Read More

PM announced ex-gratia payment of Rs. 10 lakh each for kin of those killed in Mosul, Iraq
On April 3, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh each to the next of the kin of 39 Indians who were killed in Iraq.

PM announced ex-gratia payment of Rs. 10 lakh each for kin of those killed in Mosul, Iraqi. 39 of the 40 Indian labourers were killed by Islamic State terrorists in Iraq, while one of them managed to escape.
ii. Mortal remains of 38 of these 39 Indians were brought back to India on April 2, 2018 in a special aircraft and handed over to their relatives.
iii. 27 hailed from Punjab, 6 from Bihar, 4 from Himachal Pradesh and 2 from West Bengal.

Govt levies 10 pc import duty on key smartphone components
On April 2, 2018, Indian Government imposed a 10 per cent duty on import of key smartphone components with a view to boost domestic manufacturing.

Govt levies 10 pc import duty on key smartphone componentsImport duty on key smartphone components:
i. Components on which 10 per cent import duty has been imposed are  printed circuit board assembly, loaded or stuffed printed circuit boards (for telephones as well as mobile phones), camera module and connectors of cellular mobile phones.
ii. So far, these three components were exempted from basic customs duty (BCD).
iii. Indian Government has already imposed 15 per cent import duty on chargers, battery, speaker, microphone, headset, keypad etc. under phased manufacturing programme (PMP) aimed at boosting indigenous production of mobile phones, by providing tax relief and other incentives on components and accessories used for the devices.
iv. In context of these news, it is important to note that India has replaced Vietnam to become the second largest producer of mobile phones in 2017.

Core sector growth up by 5.3% in February 2018
As per data released by Union Commerce and Industry Ministry, Core Sector recorded 5.3% growth in February 2018 on account of a steep rise in output of cement and fertilisers. 
Core Sector Performance in February 2018:
i. Coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity are together referred to as core industries.
ii. The core industries constitute 40.27% of the total industrial production in India.
iii. Cement output in February 2018 grew by 22.9% as compared to 19.6% in January 2018, while fertiliser production increased by 5.3% as compared to 1.6% decline in January 2018.
iv. During February 2018, Petroleum refinery production surged 7.8%, Electricity generation grew 4% while Coal and steel production grew 1.4% and 5% respectively.

IISc Stood First in National institutional ranking framework (NIRF) by HRD ministry
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru has been named the overall best institution in India by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of HRD (Human Resource Development) ministry.

IISc Stood First in National institutional ranking framework (NIRF) by HRD ministryIISc – overall best institution in India:
i. On 3rd April 2018, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar announced the rankings at an event in Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
ii. In the university category, IISc secured the top spot. It was followed by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the second position and Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in the third spot.
Other top institutions as per the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF):

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) – best engineering college
  • Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) – best management institution
  • Delhi University’s Miranda House – best college
  • AIIMS (All India Institutes of Medical Sciences) – best medical college
  • NLSIU (National Law School of India University), Bengaluru – best law school in India

About Indian Institute of Science (IISc):
♦ Established – 1909
♦ Founder – J N Tata

‘Monument Mitras’ to adopt heritage sites/monuments to provide world class tourist amenities: Tourism Minister
Ministry of Tourism along with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has launched “Adopt a Heritage Project”

‘Monument Mitras’ to adopt heritage sites/monuments to provide world class tourist amenities: Tourism MinisterMonument Mitras:
i. Adopt a Heritage Project aims to provide world class tourist facilities at the natural/cultural heritage sites.
ii. Main focus of the project will be to provide basic facilities like cleanliness, public convenience, drinking water, ease of access for tourists, signage etc. and advanced facilities like Souvenir shop, Cafeteria etc.
iii. The project envisions that selected public sector companies, private sector companies and individuals will create tourist facilities at heritage sites.
iv. Those entities will be named ‘Monument Mitra’. They will adopt the sites under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
v. They will manage operations and maintenance of the adopted site initially for 5 years. The work will be reviewed at any time.
vi. The project was launched by the President on 27th September 2017 (World Tourism Day).
vii. Information regarding this was revealed by K. J. Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism in Lok Sabha on 2nd April 2018.
Some important bird sanctuaries in India:
♦ Thattekad Bird Sanctuary – Kerala
♦ Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary – Maharashtra
♦ Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary – Tamil Nadu

Suresh Prabhu Launches Digital Initiative for Ease of Export
On April 3, 2018, Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Suresh Prabhu launched digital initiatives by Export Inspection Council (EIC) for ease of export at New Delhi.
Digital Initiatives for ease of export:
i. EIC is the official export certification body of Government of India.
ii. Three online portals have been developed in line with Digital India initiative to make it easier to export farm products from India and reduce transaction costs.
iii. Entire export food chain has been integrated with these platforms by linking primary production, aquaculture pond, dairy farms and apiaries. 
iv. The One lab one assessment portal brings together all stakeholders like accreditation bodies, regulators and laboratories on a single platforms and thus provides simplified procedures for granting joint certification and joint decisions which will help in reducing cost, time and multiplicity of assessment.
v. The Export Alert Monitoring portal monitors non compliances raised by importing countries. It will enable monitoring of alerts and action taken by multiple organizations involved in initial certification in the food safety & biosecurity.


Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to visit Russia on April 3
Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharama is on an official visit to Russia from 3rd – 5th April, 2018.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to visit Russia on April 3Nirmala Sitharaman’s Russia Visit:
i. This will be Nirmala Sitharaman’s first visit to Russia in her capacity as India’s Defence Minister.
ii. Main purpose of this visit is to attend the seventh Moscow Conference on International Security.
iii. During the course if this visit, Ms. Sitharaman will also meet her Russian counterpart, Army General Sergei Shoigu, and other senior leaders.
iv. This visit will reinforce India-Russia bilateral relation with particular reference to military technical cooperation.
Quick Facts about Russia:
♦ Capital – Moscow
♦ Currency – Ruble
♦ Current President – Vladimir Putin
♦ Important Rivers – Volga, Ob


MoU between Indian Army and HDFC Bank
On April 3, 2018, Indian Army and HDFC Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Defence Salary Package.

MoU between Indian Army and HDFC BankDetails about Indian Army – HDFC Bank MoU:
i. The first MoU between HDFC Bank and the Indian Army for Defence Salary Package was signed in 2011 and was renewed in March 2015.
ii. The current MoU is tailor made to suit the requirements of serving soldiers, pensioners and families.
iii. As per the terms of the current MoU, in addition to other benefits, the Army personnel having accounts in HDFC Bank will get free personal accident death cover and free permanent disability cover of Rs 30 lakhs, free educational cover of upto Rs 1 Lakh per year for four years for education of dependent child in case of accidental death of defence personnel and 100% processing fees waived for Car Loans and Personal Loans.
Quick Facts about HDFC Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1994
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current MD – Aditya Puri
♦ Tagline – ‘We Undertand Your World’


CBDT signs 14 unilateral, 2 bilateral APAs in March
During the month of March 2018, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) entered into 16 more Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs), taking the total number of APAs to 219 so far.
Details about APAs signed by CBDT:
i. Out of the 16 APAs signed in March 2018, 14 are unilateral APAs and 2 are bilateral APAs with US and pertain to sectors like telecom, IT, automobile, pharmaceutical, beverage, banking and insurance.
ii. Out of all APAs entered into by the CBDT till date, 199 are Unilateral APAs and 20 are Bilateral APAs.
iii. In financial year 2017-18, CBDT entered into 67 APAs so far, out of which, 58 are Unilateral and 9 are Bilateral.
iv. APA provisions were introduced in the Income-tax Act, 1961 in 2012. Objective of APA scheme is to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and thereby reducing litigation.


Former Yes Bank senior president joins Rubique as COO
On April 3, 2018, Rubique, an online marketplace for loan, credit card and insurance announced the appointment of Ajay Desai as its Chief Operating Officer (COO).
i. Ajay Desai has 20+ years experience in banking sector.
ii. Until recently he was holding the position of Senior President and Chief Financial Inclusion Officer in Yes Bank.
iii. Rubique has taken Ajay Desai onboard to leverage his exceptional expertise in Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), financial exclusion and Financial Technology (Fintech).
iv. At Rubique, Ajay Desai will focus on deployment of technology interventions/solutions to address the credit gap.
Quick Facts about Yes Bank:
♦ Founded in – 2004
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current MD & CEO – Rana Kapoor
♦ Tagline – ‘Experience our Expertise’

SBI Life Insurance appoints Sanjeev Nautiyal as new MD & CEO
On April 3, 2018, SBI Life Insurance Company Limited appointed Sanjeev Nautiyal as its new MD and CEO.

SBI Life Insurance appoints Sanjeev Nautiyal as new MD & CEOi. Nautiyal started his career with State Bank of India (SBI) in 1985 as a probationary officer.
ii. During the course of this career with SBI, Nautiyal held various important roles and responsibilities in areas of credit, human resources, and international banking.
iii. Immediately before being appointed as MD & CEO of SBI Life Insurance, he was chief general manager at SBI’s Ahmedabad circle.
iv. Sanjeev Nautiyal replaces Arijit Basu as MD & CEO of SBI Life Insurance. Arijit Basu will be taking over a key role in the State Bank of India Group.
Quick Facts about SBI Life Insurance:
♦ Founded in – 2001
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Joint Venture between – State Bank of India (SBI) and BNP Paribas Cardif

Actor Rituparna Sengupta appointed Shilpi Sansad chairperson
On 2nd April 2018, actor Rituparna Sengupta was appointed the chairperson of Shilpi Sansad.
Rituparna Sengupta – chairperson of Shilpi Sansad:
i. Rituparna Sengupta replaces Supriya Devi. Supriya Devi passed away recently.
ii. Shilpi Sansad was set up by Uttam Kumar in 1968. It offers financial security to retired and experienced artistes of Bengali film industry.
iii. It provides financial assistance to artistes in times of emergency and for medical treatments.
Some National Parks in West Bengal:
♦ Jaldapara National Park
♦ Neora Valley National Park
♦ Singalila National Park

Debjani Ghosh appointed NASSCOM President
On 2nd April 2018, Debjani Ghosh took charge as the President of NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies).

Debjani Ghosh appointed NASSCOM PresidentDebjani Ghosh – NASSCOM President:
i. Debjani Ghosh replaces R Chandrashekhar. R Chandrashekhar has completed his five-year term as head of NASSCOM.
ii. Debjani Ghosh is the former Managing Director of Intel South Asia. She was the first woman to lead Intel India and MAIT (Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology).
♦ Chairman – Raman Roy
♦ Established – 1988

Subrata Bhattacharjee appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Serbia
On 3rd April 2018, Subrata Bhattacharjee was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Serbia.
Subrata Bhattacharjee – next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Serbia:
i. Subrata Bhattacharjee is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of 1989 batch. He is Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs at present.
ii. He has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Serbia. He will take up this assignment soon.
About Serbia:
♦ President – Aleksandar Vučić
♦ Prime Minister – Ana Brnabić

Aashish Kapoor replaces Venkatesh Prasad in BCCI junior selection committee
On 3rd April 2018, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that Aashish Kapoor has replaced Venkatesh Prasad in the three-member All-India Junior Selection Committee.
Aashish Kapoor replaces Venkatesh Prasad in BCCI junior selection committee:
i. Other two members of the All-India Junior Selection Committee are Gyanendra Pandey and Rakesh Parikh. Aashish Kapoor is a former off-spinner in the Indian cricket team.
ii. He had represented India in four Tests and 17 ODIs. He had also been a part of 128 first-class games and 93 List A matches.
About Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI):
♦ Founded – 1926
♦ Acting President – C K Khanna


Mangaluru airport adjudged India’s cleanest airport
Mangalore International Airport has been named the cleanest airport in India.

Mangaluru airport adjudged India's cleanest airportMangaluru airport – India’s cleanest airport:
i. Mangalore Airport director V V Rao received the award at the 23rd annual day function of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in New Delhi on 1st April 2018.
ii. AAI conducted a survey in 53 Indian airports. Mangaluru airport was selected as the cleanest airport in India.
iii. AAI officials had inspected the airport terminal, parking area, toilets, commercial stalls, road leading to the airport and customer lounge.
iv. Cleanliness management at the Mangaluru airport is handled by Durga Facility Management Services Private Limited.
About Airports Authority of India (AAI):
♦ Chairman – Guruprasad Mohapatra
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was conferred the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award by President Ram Nath Kovind
On 2nd April 2018, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was honoured with the Padma Bhushan Award by President Ram Nath Kovind at an event in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was conferred the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award by President Ram Nath KovindMahendra Singh Dhoni conferred with Padma Bhushan Award:
i. Former Indian Cricket captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni holds the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel of Indian Army. He received the Padma Bhushan Award in his army uniform.
ii. Billiards player Pankaj Advani also received the Padma Bhushan award for his extra ordinary achievements.
Some UNESCO cultural Heritage Sites in India:
♦ Qutb Minar and its Monuments – Delhi
♦ Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) – Gujarat
♦ Red Fort Complex – Delhi


Ola Acquires Ticketing App Firm Ridlr
On 3rd April 2018, ride-hailing service provider Ola announced that, it has acquired Ridlr, a public transport ticketing and commuting app.

Ola Acquires Ticketing App Firm RidlrOla Acquires Ticketing App Firm Ridlr:
i. Ola has acquired Ridlr in an all-stock deal. The valuation of the deal was not revealed.
ii. Ridlr was established in 2012. It is based in Mumbai. It enables users to search and book public transport options through its mobile app.
iii. Ridlr will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of ANI Technologies. ANI Technologies owns Ola brand.
iv. Brijraj Vaghani, founder of Ridlr, will continue to lead the operations. Ridlr’s team of 64 employees will become a part of Ola.
About Ola:
♦ CEO – Bhavish Aggarwal
♦ Headquarters – Bengaluru


SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket
On 2nd April 2018, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched its Dragon spacecraft – SpaceX’s 14th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket:
i. The spacecraft carries 2,630 kg of research, crew supplies and hardware. It took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on 2nd April 2018.
ii. Ten minutes after the take-off, the second stage engine burned out completely and Dragon separated from its Falcon 9 second-stage rocket. Later, the solar arrays were deployed.
iii. It is expected to reach the International Space Station on 4th April 2018. It will return to Earth in May 2018 with results of a few completed experiments.
iv. Flight Engineers Norishege Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and NASA astronaut Scoot Tingle will overlook the operation of the Canadarm2 robotic arm for Dragon’s capture.
v. After capture, mission control in Houston will send ground commands for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Harmony module.
vi. This mission will focus on scientific investigations such as a study on severe thunderstorms on Earth, effects of microgravity on production of high-performance products from metal powders, and food growth in space.
vii. The spacecraft also carried cargo for testing effects of harsh space environment on materials, coatings and components; identifying potential pathogens on the station and investigating an antibiotic-releasing wound patch.
About SpaceX:
♦ CEO – Elon Musk
♦ Headquarters – California, U.S.


Rare dinosaur footprints found on Scottish island
Rare dinosaur footprints that are 170 million years old have been discovered in the north-east coast of Isle of Skye in Scotland.
Rare dinosaur footprints found on Scottish island:
i. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh were involved in this discovery. The study has been published in the Scottish Journal of Geology.
ii. Majority of the footprints were made by sauropods and theropods. The sauropods were long-necked and two metres tall. The theropods were also of the same size.
iii. Around 50 footprints were measured, photographed and analysed by the researchers in a tidal area. This discovery is considered important as it is a rare evidence of the Middle Jurassic period.
Some important dams in India:
♦ Sardar Sarover Gujarat Dam – Narmada River
♦ Srisailam (N.S.R.S.P) Dam – Krishna River
♦ Nagarjuna Sagar Dam – Krishna River

Fimbristylis agasthyamalaensis: New plant species discovered in Western Ghats
Researchers from the University College, Kerala, have reported the discovery of “Fimbristylis agasthyamalaensis”, a new plant species from the Western Ghats.
Fimbristylis agasthyamalaensis:
i. The researchers discovered this species in the marshy grasslands of Ponmudi hills in the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve.
ii. It has been classified as a sedge. It is a grass-like plant. It has been named Fimbristylis agasthyamalaensis after the locality from which it was discovered.
iii. The discovery was made during a survey as part of a project funded by the Women Scientists Division of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE).
iv. The discovery has been published in Phytotaxa. This species belongs to the Cyperaceae family. Flowering and fruiting were observed from October to March.
v. A preliminary conservation assessment for the new species as ‘critically endangered,’ has been recommended. It is said that, the species is heavily prone to wild grazing.
About Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE):
♦ President – Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan
♦ Headquarters – Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala


2018 Miami Open
2018 Miami Open, also known as 2018 Miami Masters, a professional men and women’s tennis tournament, took place in Miami, Florida, United States, from March 19, 2018 to April 1, 2018.
i. It was the 34th edition of the Miami Open and was played on outdoor hard courts.
ii. 2018 Miami Open was presented by Itaú (a Brazilian Bank)……………………………………………..Click here to Read More

Paddler Sathiyan Gnansekaran jumps three places to become World No. 46
Indian Table Tennis player Sathiyan Gnansekaran has reached his career-best ranking of 46 in the latest International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings.

Paddler Sathiyan Gnansekaran jumps three places to become World No. 46Indian Players in Latest ITTF Ranking:
i. Gnansekaran performance has been on an upward trajectory since past six months as he won gold in the ITTF Challenge – Spanish Open in November 2017 and reached the pre-quarterfinals of the Qatar Open in March 2018.
ii. Veteran Table Tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal has registered a phenomenal jump of 22 places to be at 48 in the latest ITTF Ranking.
iii. Soumyajit Ghosh (70), Harmeet Desai(74), Anthony Amalraj (83) and Sanil Shetty (84) are the other Indian Table Tennis players in top 100.
iv. Among Indian Woman Table Tennis Players, Manika Batra continues to rank highest at 58, followed by Mouma Das at 88.
Quick Facts about International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF):
♦ Formed in – 1926
♦ Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland