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Swachh Bharat Mission launches GOBAR-DHAN to promote wealth and energy from waste
i. On April 30, 2018, Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Uma Bharti launched the GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) – DHAN scheme at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) in Karnal, Haryana. Ms. Bharti launched this scheme in presence of Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar.
ii. Under this scheme, bio-gas plants will be set up at individual or community level and also at the level of Self Help Groups and NGOs like Gaushalas………………………………………….Click here to Read More

Govt. launches Pilot scheme Procurement of Aggregate Power of 2500 MW
Central Government has started a Pilot Scheme for Procurement of Aggregate Power of 2500 MW on competitive basis for 3 years from generators with commissioned projects but without Power Purchase Agreement.
Salient features of Pilot Scheme for Procurement of Aggregate Power of 2500 MW:
i. This scheme will revive power demand, which has affected the generators who do not have Power Purchase Agreements.
ii. The allotment will be done through a bidding process and tariff will be fixed for three years, without any escalation.
iii. Maximum allotment to a single entity has been capped at 600 MW.
iv. PFC Consulting Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of PFC Ltd is the Nodal Agency and PTC India Limited is the Aggregator for this scheme.

MoU signed between PHDCCI, Indian Yoga Association to promote yoga
On April 29, 2018, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and Indian Yoga Association (IYA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly promote yoga, health and spiritual tourism in the Krishna Circuit in Uttar Pradesh.

MoU signed between PHDCCI, Indian Yoga Association to promote yogaDetails about PHDCCI – IYA MoU:
i. Krishna Circuit is among the thirteen thematic circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme. It comprises twelve destinations associated with Lord Krishna viz. Dwarka (Gujarat), Kurukshetra (Haryana), Nathdwara, Jaipur & Sikar (Rajasthan), Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon & Govardhan (Uttar Pradesh) and Puri (Odisha).
ii. PHDCCI – IYA MoU is for promoting Yoga in above stated six destinations in Uttar Pradesh.
iii. As per the terms of the MoU, both the entities will strive to provide a holistic tourism experience to domestic and international travellers looking for some spiritually invigorating and cultural experiences.
Quick Facts about PHDCCI:
♦ Established in – 1905
♦ Head Office – New Delhi

Surat railway station to be 3rd in country to have ‘airport like’ facilities
Surat railway station (in Gujarat) will be the third in India to be developed as a world-class facility under Railway Ministry’s station redevelopment programme.

Surat railway station to be 3rd in country to have 'airport like' facilitiesSurat railway station to have ‘airport like’ facilities:
i. Several “airport-like” amenities will be installed at Surat Railway Station under Union Railway Ministry’s ‘Rs 1 lakh crore station redevelopment’ programme.
ii. Estimated cost for redevelopment of Surat Railway Station is Rs 5000 crore. It is expected to be ready by 2020.
iii. Entire project will be overseen by Surat Integrated Transportation Development Corporation Limited (SITCO), a joint venture between the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC), the Surat Municipal Corporation and the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC).
iv. India’s two world-class Railway stations — Habibganj (in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh) and Gandhinagar (in Gujarat) — will be ready by the beginning of 2019.

Second World Hindu Congress (WHC), scheduled to be held in Chicago in September
Second edition of World Hindu Congress (WHC)/World Hindu Congress 2018 will be held in Chicago, US from 7th – 9th September, 2018.

Second World Hindu Congress (WHC), scheduled to be held in Chicago in SeptemberMore Information about World Hindu Congress (WHC) 2018:
i. The theme of World Hindu Congress 2018 is “Sumantrite Suvikrante” – “think collectively, achieve valiantly”.
ii. It is being organised by World Hindu Foundation to commemorate 125 years of Swami Vivekananda’s historic Chicago address on September 11, 1893.
iii. Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress has been named Chairperson of WHC 2018.
iv. The event will be attended by Heads of several countries, top corporate leaders, religious leaders and more than 2000 Hindu delegates from over 50 countries.
v. The inaugural World Hindu Congress was held in New Delhi in November 2014.


India and Nepal agree to review bilateral trade treaty by July this year
During the India-Nepal Inter Government Committee (IGC) meeting on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to Control Unauthorised Trade, held in Kathmandu last week, both the countries have agreed to review bilateral trade treaty.

India and Nepal agree to review bilateral trade treaty by July this yearIndia-Nepal bilateral trade treaty:
i. As per the agreement, a comprehensive review of India-Nepal bilateral trade treaty will be initiated in July 2018.
ii. This treaty was last revised in 2009.
iii. Both countries also agreed to synchronise development of border trade infrastructure, as most of the bilateral trade takes place through land customs stations located along the India-Nepal border.
iv. Amendments to the bilateral Treaty of Transit, signed in 1999, to further facilitate transit movement of Nepal’s trade with third countries were also discussed at this meeting.
Quick Facts about Nepal:
♦ Capital – Kathmandu
♦ Currency – Nepalese Rupee
♦ Current Prime Minister – K P Oli
♦ Neighbouring Countries – India and China

India, Pakistan to participate in SCO counter-terror exercise
For the first time, India and Pakistan will be part of a multi-nation counter-terror exercise, schedule to be held in Russia in September 2018.

India, Pakistan to participate in SCO counter-terror exerciseAbout SCO counter-terror exercise:
i. This multi nation exercise will be conducted under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
ii. The exercise has been named ‘Peace Mission 2018’ and almost all SCO member countries including China will be a part of this exercise.
iii. Objective of conducting ‘Peace Mission 2018’ is to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries.
iv. India’s participation in this military drill was confirmed by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the recent SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting in Beijing, China.
Quick Facts about Pakistan:
♦ Capital – Islamabad
♦ Currency – Pakistani rupee
♦ Current Prime Minister – Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
♦ Important Rivers – Indus, Jhelum

International Buddhist Conference held in Lumbini, Nepal
International Buddhist Conference 2018 was held in Lumbini, Nepal on 28th and 29th April, 2018.

International Buddhist Conference held in Lumbini, NepalHighlights of International Buddhist Conference 2018:
i. The conference was organised as part of 2562nd Buddha Jayanti celebrations.
ii. Objective of the conference was to disseminate teachings of Gautam Buddha and spread the messages of brotherhood, nonviolence, co-existence, love and peace to the international community.
iii.  Theme of International Buddhist Conference 2018 was ‘Lumbini Nepal: The birthplace of Lord Buddha and the fountain of Buddhism and world peace’. 
iv. In the context of this news, it is important to note that Lumbini in Nepal is the birth place of Gautama Buddha.
v. Representatives from 24 nations, including reputed archaeologists, historians, Buddhist gurus and scholars  participated in the International Buddhist Conference 2018.

USTR again places India in Priority Watch List
Office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) released 2018 edition of ‘Special 301 Report’. In this report, India has once again been placed in the ‘Priority Watch List’ on account of longstanding challenges in its Intellectual Property (IP) framework and lack of sufficient measurable progress.
About USTR Priority Watch list:
i. Office of the United States Trade Representative(USTR) annually prepares Special 301 Report that identifies countries which do not provide “adequate and effective” protection of intellectual property rights and “fair and equitable market access” to US entities relying on IPR protection.
ii. Those countries where current IPR regulation has serious deficiencies and requires active monitoring are placed in Priority Watchlist under Special Report 301 by the USTR.
iii. As per the USTR report, India has yet to take steps to address longstanding patent issues that affect innovative industries. Besides, potential threat of compulsory licensing and patent revocations, as well as overly broad criteria for issuing such licenses and revocations under the India Patents Act and narrow patentability standards have been identified as problem areas.
iv. Besides India, other countries that have been placed in this year’s ‘Priority Watch List’ are: Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine, and Venezuela.

India projected to be 2nd fastest growing nation for passenger traffic: ACI
India has been projected as the second fastest growing country in the world for passenger traffic based on traffic forecasts during 2017-40 by the Airports Council International (ACI).
India projected to be 2nd fastest growing nation for passenger traffic:
i. Vietnam has topped the list with a 8.5 per cent growth rate. It is followed by India at 7.5 per cent and Iran at 7.3 per cent.
ii. China occupies 8th position with 5.9 per cent growth rate. ACI has forecasted that by 2022, passenger traffic in emerging economies like India will beat advanced economies.
iii. By 2040, international passenger traffic will reach parity with domestic traffic, which means more people will travel offshore with increased economic activities.
iv. In 2022, passenger traffic in developing economies will reach 5.4 billion, which will be little higher than advanced economies at 5.3 billion.
v. The Asia-Pacific region will have a healthy growth rate. During 2017-40, it will have a passenger traffic growth rate of 38.8 per cent. This will be the fastest in the world.
vi. The growth in Europe will be 26 per cent and in North America it will be 8.4 per cent. The middle east has been referred as the ‘aviation bridge’.
vii. Earlier, ACI ranked Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi at 16th position in the twenty busiest airports in the world list.
viii. Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai were also named the fastest growing airports in the world with year-over-year growth of 26.9 per cent, 19.6 per cent, 12.9 per cent and 10.5 per cent, respectively in 2017.
About Airports Council International (ACI):
♦ Established – 1991
♦ Purpose – global trade body representing airports across the world

Most trusted Internet brand in India
According to TRA’s Brand Trust Report 2018, Google is the most trusted Internet brand in India.

Most trusted Internet brand in IndiaGoogle is the most trusted Internet brand in India:
i. Facebook has attained the second position on the list. TRA’s Brand Trust Report 2018 has said that, Google features 1.2 trillion searches every year.
ii. The survey was held from November 2017-January 2018. The survey did not take into account the recent reports of data breach in Facebook.
iii. Amazon has ranked third. It is followed by e-Bay in the fourth position. Flipkart has secured 6th position.
iv. Ola has been ranked seventh in the list. Uber has secured fifteenth position.
v. TRA’s Brand Trust Report 2018 report covers 2488 consumer-influencers in 16 cities of India.
About TRA:
♦ Type – Brand Intelligence and Data Insights Company
♦ CEO of TRA Advisory – N. Chandramouli


Saudi Aramco appoints first woman to the board
On 29th April 2018, Saudi Aramco appointed a woman to its board, by recruiting American Lynn Laverty Elsenhans to its 11-member board.

Saudi Aramco appoints first woman to the board

Saudi Aramco appoints first woman to the board:
i. Lynn Laverty Elsenhans is a former chief executive and chairperson of US oil refinery Sunoco. She was named as one of the world’s most powerful women in 2008 by Forbes magazine.
ii. Before joining Sunoco, she was a senior executive at Royal Dutch Shell. She is also on the board of GlaxoSmithKline.
iii. The government of Saudi Arabia has set a goal of raising female participation in the workforce from 22% to 30% by 2030.
About Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabian Oil Company):
♦ President – Amin H. Nasser
♦ Headquarters – Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Nirmal Singh resigns as J-K Deputy CM & Kavinder Gupta sworn in as Deputy CM
On 29th April 2018, Nirmal Singh resigned as Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Kavinder Gupta (Gandhinagar MLA) took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

Nirmal Singh resigns as J-K Deputy CM & Kavinder Gupta sworn in as Deputy CMKavinder Gupta took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir:
i. The following persons took charge as ministers of state:

  • Mohammad Khalil Band (Pulwama MLA)
  • Sat Paul Sharma (BJP’s state unit chief)
  • Mohammad Ashraf Mir (Sonwar MLA)
  • Rajiv Jasrotia (Kathua MLA)
  • Devinder Kumar Manyal (Sambha MLA)
  • Shakti Raj (Doda MLA)

ii. Sunil Kumar Sharma, who was the minister of state for transport, was promoted to the rank of cabinet minister.
iii. On 17th April 2018, BJP had asked all its nine ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir state government to submit their resignations to introduce new faces.
Some museums in Jammu and Kashmir:
♦ Munshi Aziz Bhat Museum of Central Asian and Kargil Trade Artifacts
♦ Dogra Art Museum

Rajiv Bakshi appointed CMO of Intex Technologies
Intex Technologies has appointed Rajiv Bakshi as its Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
Rajiv Bakshi appointed CMO of Intex Technologies:
i. Rajiv Rajiv Bakshi has headed brand development, business transformation, consumer acquisition and digital strategy for long term growth and profitability.
ii. Before joining Intex, he worked with Discovery Networks India and South Asia region as vice president and head of marketing and products.
iii. As the CMO, Rajiv Bakshi will head the generation of consumer insights for product development and planning, expand sales and distribution network in general trade, e-commerce portals, large format stores and retail network.
About Intex Technologies:
♦ Director – Keshav Bansal
♦ Incorporated – 1996

Uday Kotak redesignated as MD & CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank
The board of directors of Kotak Mahindra Bank has redesignated Uday Kotak as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1st May 2018.

Uday Kotak redesignated as MD & CEO of Kotak Mahindra BankUday Kotak redesignated as MD & CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank:
i. Earlier, Uday Kotak was executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director. He was the only official among private banks to have a Vice Chairman designation. All other private banks have MD & CEO designation.
ii. Kotak Mahindra Bank also informed that Shankar Acharya, part-time Chairman, will retire on 19th July 2018.
iii. Prakash Apte has been appointed as part-time Chairman of the Bank in place of Shankar Acharya. Prakash Apte’s term is till 31stDecember 2020.
Tag lines of some banks:
♦ Andhra bank – Where India banks
♦ Bank of India – Relationship beyond banking
♦ Bank of Baroda – India’s International bank


World’s oldest known spider dies in Australia
Australian researchers have said that, the world’s oldest known spider named “Number 16” has died at the age of 43 in Australia.
World’s oldest known spider “Number 16” dies:
i. Number 16 was a female trapdoor spider. It has broken the previous record of a 28-year-old tarantula in Mexico, as per a study published in the Pacific Conservation Biology Journal.
ii. Number 16 did not die of old age. It was killed by a wasp sting. Generally, trapdoor spiders have a life span ranging from 5 to 20 years. They are not a major threat to humans, but their bite can cause pain and swelling.
iii. Female trapdoor spiders usually stay in and around the same burrow throughout their lives. Hence researchers marked Number 16’s burrow and checked it regularly.
Some important lakes in India:
♦ Manimahesh Lake – Himachal Pradesh
♦ Nako Lake – Himachal Pradesh
♦ Pandoh Lake – Himachal Pradesh


Prajnesh wins maiden singles title on Challenger circuit
On 29th April 2018, Prajnesh Gunneswaran won his first singles title on the ATP Challenger circuit in the Kunming Open in Anning, China.
Prajnesh wins maiden singles title on Challenger circuit:
i. Prajnesh defeated Egypt’s Mohammed Safwat 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the Kunming Open.
ii. Prajnesh is 28 years old. He hails from Chennai. He is currently ranked 260th. He is expected to enter the top-200 with the 125 ATP points obtained from the title.
About Kunming Open:
♦ Dates – April 21–29, 2018
♦ Location – Anning, China

Rafael Nadal lifts 11th Barcelona Open tennis title
On 29th April 2018, Rafael Nadal won the Barcelona Open tennis title for the 11th time in Barcelona, Spain.

Rafael Nadal lifts 11th Barcelona Open tennis titleRafael Nadal lifts 11th Barcelona Open tennis title:
i. Rafael Nadal won the Barcelona Open tennis title by defeating Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2 6-1 in the final.
ii. Stefanos Tsitsipas is 19 years old. He is the second-youngest player in the ATP top 100.
About Barcelona Open tennis:
♦ Dates – 21-29 April 2018
♦ Location – Barcelona, Spain

India’s CA Bhavani Devi wins silver at Satellite Fencing Championship
On 28th April 2018, India’s CA Bhavani Devi won a silver medal in the sabre event of the Tournoi World Cup Satellite Fencing Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland.

India’s CA Bhavani Devi wins silver at Satellite Fencing ChampionshipCA Bhavani Devi wins silver at Satellite Fencing Championship:
i. CA Bhavani Devi hails from Tamil Nadu. She was defeated 10-15 by USA’s Alexis Browne in the finals.
ii. She had defeated Parede Torres 15-9 in the quarterfinal and Italy’s Guila Arpino 15-10 in the semifinal.
Some important dams in India:
♦ Pakal Dul Dam – Marusudar River
♦ Sardar Sarover Gujarat Dam – Narmada River
♦ Srisailam (N.S.R.S.P) Dam – Krishna River


International Jazz Day –April 30, 2018
On 30th April 2018, International Jazz Day was celebrated all over the world.

International Jazz Day –April 30, 2018International Jazz Day:
i. In 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared April 30 as International Jazz Day.
ii. International Jazz Day is celebrated to highlight jazz and its role in uniting people throughout the world.
iii. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by the UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock. Herbie Hancock is UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
iv.  Saint Petersburg, Russia is the Global Host City for International Jazz Day 2018.
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)