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MAA programme launched by Himachal Pradesh Health Minister Vipin Parmar
On March 4, 2018, Himachal Pradesh Health Minister Vipin Parmar launched Mother’s Absolute Affection (MAA) programme with an aim to promote breastfeeding.

MAA programme launched by Himachal Pradesh Health Minister Vipin ParmarMore Details about MAA programme:
i. Objective of MAA programme is to create awareness among masses about the importance of breastfeeding.
ii. Besides community awareness generation, other components of MAA programme are strengthening inter-personal communication through ASHA workers, skilled support for breastfeeding at delivery points in public health facilities and work places.
iii. Beastfeeding helps in reducing the incidence of infant mortality and early childhood mortality and provides complete nutrition to a child.
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

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) unveils ‘Virtual ID’
The UIDAI has unveiled the beta version of ‘Virtual ID’, which will soon be accepted by service providers in lieu of Aadhaar number.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) unveils 'Virtual ID'More Information about ‘Virtual ID’ in lieu of Aadhaar Number:
i. In January 2018, UIDAI had announced that it will come up with a ‘Virtual ID’ for Aadhaar Card-holders in order to address privacy concerns related to quoting Aadhaar.
ii. Virtual ID (VID), which an Aadhaar-card holder can generate from UIDAI’s  website is a random 16-digit number mapped to a person’s Aadhaar number and biometrics.
iii. VID of the user would give any authorised agency like a mobile company, limited details such as name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification.
iv. Thus VID will do away with the need of disclosing 12-digit Aadhaar number for authentication or verification purposes.
v. UIDAI had stated that all authorised agency/service providers will have to compulsory accept VID for undertaking authentication from  June 1, 2018. 
Quick Facts about UIDAI:
♦ Became Statutory Authority in – 2016
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Functions under – Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

India-Japan-US 9th Trilateral Meeting held in New Delhi
India – Japan – United States 9th Trilateral Meeting at Joint Secretary/Director General/Assistant Secretary level was held in New Delhi on April 4, 2018.
Highlights of India – Japan – United States 9th Trilateral Meeting:
i. During the course of this meeting,  the officials discussed practical steps to enhance cooperation in the areas of counter-proliferation; connectivity and infrastructure development, counter-terrorism; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security and maritime domain awareness.
ii. Outcomes of the Trilateral Infrastructure Working Group that met in Washington, US in February 2018 were also reviewed.
iii. It is to be noted that the India-Japan-US trilateral was launched in December 2011 during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as US Secretary of State.
Quick Facts about Japan:
♦ Capital – Tokyo
♦ Currency – Japanese yen
♦ Current Prime Minister – Shinzo Abe
♦ Important Rivers – Shinano, Tone, Ishikari


Turkey launches construction of first-ever nuclear plant
On April 3, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched construction of Turkey’s first ever nuclear plant on the Mediterranean coast at Akkuyu.

Turkey launches construction of first-ever nuclear planti. Turkey’s first-ever nuclear plant is being built by Russia’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom.
ii. Estimated cost for building this plant is $20 billion. First stage is likely to become operational in 2023, coinciding with 100th anniversary of foundation of Republic of Turkey, while the entire project will be completed in 2026.
iii. It is expected that after all reactors of this plant become operational, it will fulfill 10 percent of Turkey’s energy needs.
Quick Facts about Turkey:
♦ Capital – Ankara
♦ Currency – Turkish lira
♦ Current President – Recep Tayyip Erdogan
♦ Important Rivers – Euphrates, Tigris


Jio Payments Bank begins its operations
Jio Payments Bank Limited has commenced operations as a payments bank with effect from April 3, 2018.

Jio Payments Bank begins its operationsAbout Jio Payments Bank:
i. Jio Payments Bank is a  70:30 joint venture between Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and the State Bank of India (SBI).
ii. H. Srikrishnan, who was earlier with HDFC Bank and Yes Bank, has been appointed as MD and CEO of Jio Payments Bank.
iii. Payment Bank are special category banks, which have been approved by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to promote financial inclusion. It undertakes restricted banking activities. Currently it is permitted to accept deposits up to Rs. 1 lakh and is not permitted to offer loans.
iv. In November 2016, Airtel Payment Bank became the first entity to commence operations as Payments Bank.
v. Paytm Payments Bank and Fino Payments Bank commenced operations in 2017.
vi. India Post Payments Bank, which also got a license for a payment bank is yet to start its full-fledged operations in a formal way.

IndusInd Bank to use WhatsApp for customer service
On April 4, 2018, IndusInd Bank announced that it has launched a pilot WhatsApp enterprise solution to communicate with its customers.

IndusInd Bank to use WhatsApp for customer serviceIndusInd Bank’s Customer Service on WhatsApp:
i. IndusInd Bank’s message service on WhatsApp is being rolled out to customers in phases, wherein customers can save the official WhatsApp number of the bank and initiate conversation.
ii. There will be a two-way communication with replies to customer messages seeking basic banking services.
iii. The customers of IndusInd Bank will now be able to check balance, obtain mini statement, check reward points as well as update of Aadhaar through WhatsApp.


IndusInd Bank gets RBI nod to acquire IL&FS arm
IndusInd Bank has received Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) approval to buy IL&FS Securities Services Ltd. (ISSL), the securities services arm of IL&FS.
IndusInd Bank’s Acquisition of ISSL:
i. In March 2017, IndusInd bank entered into an agreement with Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) to acquire 100 per cent stake in ISSL. IL&FS is the promoter shareholder of IL&FS Securities Services Ltd (ISSL).
ii. Incorporated in July 2006, ISSL is a capital markets intermediary for professional clearing, depository and custodial services catering to both retail and institutional clients including over 1000 brokers, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) and Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIS).
iii. The deal value has yet not been disclosed.
Quick Facts about IndusInd Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1994
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current CEO – Ramesh Sobti

SoftBank, China’s GCL team up for $930 million Indian solar venture
SoftBank Group Corp of Japan has planned to launch a $930 million Indian joint solar energy venture with GCL System Integration Technology Co, a Chinese firm, as part of its India solar investment roadmap.

SoftBank, China's GCL team up for $930 million Indian solar ventureSoftBank, China’s GCL team up for $930 million Indian solar venture:
i. This joint venture will work on photovoltaic technology that is used in solar panels. Technology support will be provided by GCL and SoftBank will help in obtaining land and regulatory approvals.
ii. In 2015, SoftBank said that it would invest up to $20 billion along with Foxconn Technology and Bharti Enterprises in solar projects in India with an aim to attain a capacity up to 20 gigawatts (GW).
iii. The joint venture between SoftBank and GCL will have a capacity of 4GW. It will be implemented in two 2GW phases.
iv. SoftBank will own 60 percent of the joint venture’s shares and GCL will own 40 percent. The project will be funded by SoftBank’s Vision Fund.
About SoftBank:
♦ Chairman & CEO – Masayoshi Son
♦ Headquarters – Tokyo, Japan


Study Khazana, an e-portal has been awarded “For best emerging online Education Portal in North India”
Study Khazana, an e-portal, was awarded “For best emerging online Education Portal in North India” at the ‘World Education Summit and Award 2018’ at New Delhi.
Study Khazana – “For best emerging online Education Portal in North India” award:
i. Actress Sharmila Tagore presented the award to Sana Baqai, the Founder of Study Khazana.
ii. Study Khazana helps education-deprived aspirants get access to quality education irrespective of geographical boundaries and it encourages open knowledge movement.
Some important international boundary lines:
♦ 20 Parallel North – Libya & Sudan
♦ 22 Parallel North – Egypt & Sudan
♦ 25 Parallel North – Mauritania & Mali


Himanta Biswa Sarma elected as President of Badminton Association of India (BAI)
On 3rd April 2018, Himanta Biswa Sarma was elected as the President of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) for the next 4 years.

Himanta Biswa Sarma elected as President of Badminton Association of India (BAI)Himanta Biswa Sarma – President of BAI:
i. Himanta Biswa Sarma is a Cabinet Minister in Assam. He took charge as the interim President of BAI in 2017 following the death of former BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta.
ii. He was elected as president of the BAI unopposed at its annual general body meeting and election in Goa on 3rd April 2018.
iii. Former Tamil Nadu Badminton Association president and Lok Sabha MP from Dharmapuri constituency, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss was elected as the treasurer uncontested.
iv. Ajay Singhania of Haryana Badminton Association was elected as General Secretary of BAI.
v. Maharashtra Badminton Association President, Arun Lakhani, was elected as the Senior Vice-President unopposed.
vi. Omar Rashid, Secretary of Assam Badminton Association was elected unopposed as the Secretary (events).
About Badminton Association of India:
♦ Purpose – to regulate, promote, manage and develop the sport of ‘Badminton’ in India transparently
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


NASA’s Hubble Telescope captures the most distant star ever seen named ‘Icarus’
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered ‘Icarus’, the farthest individual star ever seen.
i. The star has been named Icarus after the Greek mythological character who flew very close to the Sun with wings of feathers and wax that melted. Official name of Icarus is MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1.
ii. It is a huge blue stellar body. Its light has taken nine billion years to reach Earth.
iii. Astronomers found Icarus through a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. Gravitational lensing amplifies the glow of the star to a great extent.
iv. Generally gravitational lensing occurs when gravitational forces from cluster of galaxies act as natural lens in space, which bends and amplifies light.
v. In the case of Icarus, a galaxy cluster named MACS J1149+2223 developed a natural magnifying glass.
vi. This cluster of galaxies is located around 5 billion light-years from Earth. It is present between the Earth and the galaxy that houses Icarus.
vii. Astronomers see Icarus using the strength of this gravitational lens along with the resolution and sensitivity of Hubble’s Space Telescope.
About National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
♦ Acting Administrator – Robert M. Lightfoot Jr.
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., U.S.


21st edition of the Commonwealth Games commences in Gold Coast, Australia in Carrara Stadium
On 4th April 2018, the 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games started at Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia.

21st edition of the Commonwealth Games commences in Gold Coast, Australia in Carrara StadiumCommonwealth Games 2018:
i. The Commonwealth Games 2018 will see participation from more than 4,500 athletes from 71 countries.
ii. 275 gold medals in 23 events are in store for the competitors. The Commonwealth Games 2018 will be held till 15 April 2018.
iii. For the first time in the Commonwealth Games there will be equal number of men’s and women’s medal events.
iv.The Indian contingent consists of 227 athletes. PV Sindhu is the flag-bearer for India at the opening ceremony.
v. The Indian team consists of star players like Sushil Kumar, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Gagan Narang.
vi. The Commonwealth Games is hosted by Australia for the fifth time. This will be the most expensive Commonwealth Games ever with estimated cost around AUS$2billion.
About Commonwealth of Nations:
♦ Secretary-General – Patricia Scotland
♦ Member states – 53 states Click here to Read More 


International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action – 4 April
On 4th April 2018, International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action was observed all over the world.

International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action – 4 AprilInternational Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action:
i. When: In 2005, the UN General Assembly declared 4th April as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
ii. This day is observed to create awareness about the threat of mines, unexploded grenades and other explosive hazards that prevents the return of normalcy in areas affected by armed conflicts.
iii. Theme: The theme for International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2018 is: Advancing Protection, Peace and Development.
About United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS):
♦ Established – 1997
♦ Director – Ms. Agnès Marcaillou

Army Medical Corps celebrates 254th raising day on 3rd April
On 3rd April 2018, the 254th raising day of the Army Medical Corps was celebrated by all the Army medical units of India.
Army Medical Corps celebrates 254th raising day:
i. In 1612 during the formation of the East India Company, John Woodall was appointed as the first Surgeon General of the company.
ii. As the company expanded, the Bengal Medical Service, the Madras Medical Service,  and the Bombay Medical Service were formed later, for the Presidency Armies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay respectively.
iii. In 1886 the three medical services were combined into one entity named “Indian Medical Services”.
iv. In 1943 it was renamed as The “Indian Army Medical Corps”. Again on 26 January 1950 it was renamed as “Army Medical Corps” (AMC).
v. The AMC has served in all wars and Operations including the Kargil war. The Corps has been honoured with 1 Ashok Chakra, 3 Mahavir Chakras, 3 Kirti Chakras, 22 Vir Chakras, 9 Shaurya Chakras, 96 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, 185 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 08 Yudh Seva Medals, 127 Sena Medals and 492 Vishisht Seva Medals.
vi. It has also received 4 Padma Bhushan and 4 Padma Shri awards.
Some important international airports in India:
♦ Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport – Ahmedabad, Gujarat
♦ Dholera International Airport – Dholera, Gujarat
♦ Srinagar Airport – Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir