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National Digital Communications Policy 2018: DoT releases draft Telecom policy
On May 1, 2018, Department of Telecom uploaded the draft of National Digital Communications Policy 2018 on its website for public consultations.
i. The policy recognises spectrum as a key natural resource which is to be utilised for attaining India’s socio-economic goals.
ii. In order to ensure quality of services in telecom sector, Government is contemplating to set up an effective institutional mechanism to protect consumers’ interests including a Telecom Ombudsman and a centralised web based complaint redressal system. …………………………………………………………… Click here to Read More

14 of Indian cities figure in World’s 20 most polluted cities list: WHO
As per data released by World Health Organisation (WHO), 14 Indian cities have figured in a list of 20 most polluted cities in the world.
14 of Indian cities figure in World’s 20 most polluted cities list: WHOMost Polluted Cities in the World:
i. ’Polluted Cities’ in context of this news, implies particulate matter (PM) 2.5 concentrations in air in 2016. It includes pollutants like sulphate, nitrate and black carbon.
ii. 14 Indian cities that have figured in the list are: Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Patiala, Lucknow, Delhi and Varanasi.
iii. The WHO data measured levels of fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) from more than 4300 cities in 108 countries.
iv. As per WHO’s estimates, around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air. Continuous exposure to fine particles causes several diseases including lung cancer, stroke, heart disease and respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
Quick Facts about World Health Organisation (WHO):
♦ Formed in – 1948
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Current Director General – Tedros Adhanom

President to preside over PM-headed panel on Gandhi 150th birth Anniversary
On May 2, 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind presided over the first meeting of the national committee set up for commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, in 2019.
President to preside over PM-headed panel on Gandhi 150th birth AnniversaryMore information about national committee set up for commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi:
i. 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi will be commemorated from 2nd October, 2019 to 2nd October, 2020.
ii. Rs 150 crore have been allocated for this purpose under Union Budget 2018.
iii. The National committee for commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is a 114-member committee which also includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and former Prime Ministers and Chief Justice of India.
iv. The first meeting was attended by Chief Ministers of different states, leaders of various political parties, spiritual leaders, Gandhians and social workers.
v. Discussions at the meeting revolved around policies, plans and preparatory activities for commemoration of the birth anniversary.

NDMA conducts workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction database
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is conducting a two-day National Workshop on Data Requirements for Disaster Risk Reduction Database in New Delhi on 2nd and 3rd May, 2018.
NDMA conducts workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction databaseHighlights of National Workshop on Data Requirements for Disaster Risk Reduction Database:
i. NDMA is conducting this workshop in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
ii. India’s National Disaster Database will be a dynamic platform having locally obtained and validated data on nationwide losses of properties and lives, occurring due to disasters.
iii. The workshop will have several technical sessions. One of the key activities to be carried out at the workshop will be to develop a standardised template for data collection, updation and validation to ensure accuracy and quality.
iv. This two-day workshop will be attended by representatives of concerned Central Ministries and Departments, State Governments, United Nations agencies, Disaster Management Institutes, Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs) and Universities.
Quick Facts about NDMA:
♦ Founded in – 2005
♦  Headquarters – New Delhi
♦  Parent Entity – Union Ministry of Home Affairs

Maharashtra became the first state to provide digitally-signed land record receipts
On May 2, 2018, Maharashtra became the first state of India to provide digitally-signed land record receipts (also known as 7/12 receipts).
Maharashtra became the first state to provide digitally-signed land record receiptsMaharashtra Govt. provides digitally-signed land record receipts:
i. 7/12 receipt is the most important document which establishes the ownership of the land. Farmers are required to provide it while applying for loans. Besides, it is also used by the government during crop surveys and to extend various facilities.
ii. With digital authentication, the farmers will no longer have to visit revenue offices or the Maha e-seva centres. They would simply be required to quote the gat (group) number or survey number to bank or a government department, through which respective agency can ensure the 7/12 receipt online.
iii. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed that this initiative will enhance ‘ease of doing business’, would check irregularities and bring in transparency.
Quick Facts about Maharashtra:
♦ Capital – Mumbai
♦ Current Chief Minister – Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Current Governor – Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Important National Park – Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Haryana to adopt startup ranking
In order to undertake an exercise to assess the state on key areas of interventions that are relevant to a healthy start-up ecosystem, Haryana State Government has decided to adopt startup ranking framework issued by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
Startup ranking framework – Haryana:
i. A proposal in this regard was approved by Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar on April 30, 2018.
ii. The Startup ranking framework covers seven areas of interventions with a total of 38 action points and overall score of 100 marks.
iii. All departments under Haryana State Government have been directed to provide documentary evidence to State’s electronic and information technology department regarding any initiative taken by them in context of the seven areas defined under this framework.
iv. It is to be noted that, last year, Haryana State Government had launched the entrepreneur and start-up policy during the Digital Haryana Summit, 2017, aimed at transforming the state into a start-up hub by supporting and assisting the new-age innovators and entrepreneurial talents across the state.
Quick Facts about Haryana
♦ Capital – Chandigarh
♦ Current Governor – Kaptan Singh Solanki
♦ Current Chief Minister – Manohar Lal Khattar
♦ Important National Park – Sultanpur National Park

Cabinet approves new terminal buildings at Guwahati, Chennai and Lucknow airports
On 2nd May 2018, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved upgradation and expansion of airport infrastructure at Lucknow, Chennai and Guwahati airports with a total cost of over Rs 5,000 crore.
New terminal buildings at Guwahati, Chennai and Lucknow airports:
i. Union commerce and industry minister, Suresh Prabhu, said that, Chennai Airport’s new terminal building will have a capacity of 35 million passengers per year. It will be constructed at a cost of Rs 2467 crore.
ii. The new terminal building of Guwahati Airport will have a capacity of 9 million passengers per year. It will be built at a cost of Rs 1383 Crore.
iii. The new terminal building of Lucknow Airport will have a capacity of 13.6 million passengers per year. It will be constructed at a cost of Rs 1232 Crore.
Some important International airports in India:
♦ Hyderabad – Rajiv Gandhi International Airport
♦ Lucknow – Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport
♦ Varanasi – Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport

Kisan Kalyan workshops held at block level across country to discuss increasing farmers income through adoption of new technology
On 2nd May 2018, the Government held Kisan Kalyan Karyashala at the block level all over India.
Kisan Kalyan workshops:
i. The Kisan Kalyan workshops are part of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan initiative. The Gram Swaraj Abhiyan is a campaign focussed on rural regions that began on 14th April 2018 on the birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar.
ii. At the workshops, farmers from each block interacted with agriculture officers and scientists regarding increase of farmers’ income using new technologies.
iii. Awareness campaigns and training programmes will spread information about steps for doubling the farmers’ income by 2022 and other efforts taken by the government for farmers’ welfare.
Some important dams in India:
♦ Aruna Dam – Aruna River
♦ Upper Bhavani Dam – Bhavani River
♦ Podagada Dam – Podagada River

Bilateral trade between India and China resumes through Nathu La border
On 1st May 2018, the bilateral trade for 2018 between the traders of India and China commenced through the Nathu La border.
Bilateral trade between India and China resumes through Nathu La borderBilateral trade between India and China resumes through Nathu La border:
i. In 2017, the India China Bilateral trade was stopped due to the Doklam standoff.
ii. In 2016-2017, goods worth Rs 3.54 crore were traded through the Sino-Indian border, Nathu La.
iii. The trade between India and China through Nathu La border resumed in 2006, 44 years after it was closed. It is located at an altitude of 14,200 feet.
iv. An official meeting was conducted between representatives from India and China including officials from ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) of India and PLA (People’s Liberation Army) of China.
v. Discussions were made on currency exchange, road connectivity and issues due to weather, etc.
About ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police):
♦ Director General – R K Pachnanda
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) approved beyond 12th Five Year Plan
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the continuation of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) beyond 12th Five Year Plan for a period 2017-18 to 2019-20 with a cost of Rs. 14,832 crores.
PMSSY beyond 12th Five Year Plan:
i. Union Health Minister J P Nadda, said that PMSSY aims to correct regional imbalances in the availability of affordable tertiary healthcare services and to expand facilities for quality medical education in India.
ii. He said that, the same number of posts will be created for a 960 bedded hospital for the new AIIMS that are set up through PMSSY.
iii. He added that each new AIIMS will add 100 UG (MBBS) and 60 B.Sc (Nursing) seats, 15-20 Super Specialty Departments and 750 hospital beds.
About AIIMS (All India Institutes of Medical Sciences):
♦ Set up – 1956
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


India has joined the United States and China as one of the world’s five biggest military spenders
On 2nd May 2018, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released a report, according to which India joined the United States and China as one of the world’s 5 biggest military spenders.
India has joined the United States and China as one of the world’s five biggest military spenders:
i. As per the SIPRI report, New Delhi’s defence spending increased by 5.5 percent to $63.9 billion in 2017. Now it has surpassed France.
ii. Worldwide military spending increased to $1.73 trillion in 2017, which is nearly 2.2 percent of global gross domestic product.
iii. The list of the world’s biggest military spenders is dominated by the US and China, which spent $610 billion and $228 billion respectively.
iv. Beijing’s share of worldwide military expenditure increased to 13 percent in 2017 from 5.8 percent in 2008.
v. India’s defence spending increased because of salaries and pensions for its personnel and it doesn’t denote that the armed forces are procuring advanced equipment.
vi. Top 5 countries with highest military expenditure in 2017:
3.Saudi Arabia
About Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI):
♦ Director – Dan Smith
♦ Based in – Stockholm

India- South Africa Business Summit Concludes in Johannesburg
On 29th and 30th April 2018, the India- South Africa business summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
India- South Africa Business Summit Concludes in JohannesburgIndia- South Africa Business Summit:
i. Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, attended the India- South Africa business summit.
ii. He addressed the plenary session of the Summit. The main Plenary Session was followed by 7 Breakaway Sessions on Start Ups, Automobile industry, Health Care & Pharma, Mining, Agro Processing, Women Entrepreneurs in Business and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
iii. At the Summit an MOU was signed between Invest SA and Invest India, to improve economic and trade partnership between India and South Africa.
iv. A CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) sponsored white paper was released on the good work done by Indian businesses in South Africa.
v. The tag line of the India-South Africa Business Summit 2018 was “United by Legacy, Unified for Prosperity,”.
vi. The summit was organized by the High Commission of India in Pretoria along with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India, the Department of Trade & Industry, South Africa, the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), South Africa, Invest India, the Confederation of Indian Industry, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
About Confederation of Indian Industry (CII):
♦ President – Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


SEBI tightens KYC norms for FPIs
In a bid to curtail money laundering, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has unveiled with a detailed framework for risk based Know Your Client (KYC) documentation of foreign portfolio investors (FPIs).
KYC norms for FPIs:
i. In an FPI structured as a company, a person owning 25 per cent stake would be considered the beneficial owner (BO). However, if it originates from a high-risk jurisdiction, any person owning 10 per cent stake or more in such FPI would be considered a BO.
ii. In addition to this, all investors from such jurisdictions would have to comply with the KYC requirement for category-III FPIs (considered to be High Risk entity).
iii. Besides, SEBI clarified that non-resident Indians (NRIs), overseas citizens of India (OCI) and resident Indians cannot be beneficial owners of FPIs and can only obtain an FPI licence on condition that they limit their roles to investment advisors and do not invest their money.
iv. FPIs that do not comply with the new norms have been restricted to take new derivative positions from May 2018.
Quick Facts about SEBI:
♦ Formed in – 1992
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current Chairman – Ajay Tyagi


Core sector growth slows to 4.1% in March 2018
As per data released by Union Commerce and Industry Ministry, Core Sector growth slowed down to 4.1% in March 2018.
Core Sector Performance in March 2018:
i. Coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity are together referred to as core industries.
ii. Core sector growth of 4.1% in March 2018 marks a slowdown as compared to 5.4 per cent growth in February and 5.2 per cent growth in March last year.
iii. Slowdown in March 2018 can be largely attributed to moderation in output of refinery products, fertilisers, steel and cement.
iv. It is to be noted that the eight core industries constitute 40.27% of the total industrial production in India.
v. For 2017-18, core sector growth was 4.2 per cent as compared to 4.8 per cent in 2016-17.

Dalmia group adopts Gandikota fort in Andhra
Dalmia Bharat group has adopted the Gandikota Fort (located in in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh) under Central Government’s ‘Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’ scheme.
Dalmia group adopts Gandikota fort in Andhrai. Under ‘Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’ scheme, Union Ministry of Tourism had invited private and public sector companies to adopt as many as 116 ASI-protected monuments/sites  to take up the responsibility for its maintenance, conservation and development.
ii. Gandikota Fort is a 14th century fort, overlooking a stunning gorge carved by the Pennar river in Andhra Pradesh.
iii. It is located close to Dalmia Bharat’s cement factory in Kadapa district and will thus make it easier to monitor development and maintenance work being undertaken at the fort.
iv. Gandikota Fort has been adopted by Dalmia Group for a period of five years.
v. Dalmia Bharat Group has also adopted Red Fort under the ‘Adopt a Heritage:’ scheme.
Quick Facts about Dalmia Bharat Group:
♦ Established in – 1935
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Businesses – Cement, Sugar, Power


President of India presents Visitor’s Awards 2018
On 2nd May 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind, hosted the meeting of Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities and presented the Visitor’s Awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
President of India presents Visitor’s Awards 2018Visitor’s Awards 2018:
i. Ram Nath Kovind handed over the Visitor’s Awards for Research in Basic and Applied Science, Humanities, Arts and Social Science.
ii. Recipients of the Visitor’s Awards 2018:

  • Prof. Sanjay K. Jain’s – for development of a drug delivery system having the potential to make cancer treatment more effective and affordable
  • Prof. Ashis Kumar Mukherjee – for research on the molecular complexity of the snake venom
  • Prof. Ashwani Pareek – for development of a rice variety with potential to increase farm productivity and income of farmers
  • Prof. Pramod K. Nayar – for his work in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Some museums in India:
♦ Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum – Ahmedabad
♦ Kaba Gandhi No Delo – Rajkot
♦ Kirti Mandir – Porbandar

Adarsh Credit wins “Best Cooperative Society on Digital Platform” award
On 27th April 2018, Adarsh Credit bagged “Best Co-operative Society on digital platform” award in the BFSI leadership Awards 2018, at Hotel Eros in New Delhi.
Adarsh Credit wins "Best Cooperative Society on Digital Platform" awardBest Co-operative Society on digital platform:
i. Deepak Sharma, Zonal Manager, Gurgaon received the award on behalf of Adarsh Credit Co-operative Society Ltd.
ii. Adarsh Credit is the first credit co-operative society in India to perform financial services digitally.
iii. Institutions like Max Bupa Health Insurance, VMware, SREI and National Informatics Center were also awarded at the BFSI Leadership awards 2018.
About Adarsh Credit:
♦ MD & CEO – Rahul Modi
♦ Headquarters – Ahmedabad


Former IAS officer Subhash Chandra Khuntia to head IRDAI
Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved Subhash Chandra Khuntia’s appointment as Chairman of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
Former IAS officer Subhash Chandra Khuntia to head IRDAIAbout Subhash Chandra Khuntia:
i. Subhash Chandra Khuntia is 1981-batch Karnataka-cadre Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer.
ii. He has held positions in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and has also served as Special Secretary and Financial Advisor in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
iii. The post of Chairman of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) was vacant for more than two months after TS Vijayan’s tenure came to an end on February 21, 2018.
Quick Facts about IRDAI:
Founded in – 1999
♦ Headquarters – Hyderabad

ICICI Bank names Radhakrishnan Nair as Independent Director
On 2nd May 2018, ICICI Bank’s board appointed Radhakrishnan Nair as an additional (independent) director of ICICI bank for five years.
Radhakrishnan Nair – Independent Director of ICICI Bank:
i. ICICI Bank said that, the appointment is subject to approval of shareholders. Radhakrishnan Nair is 63 years old.
ii. He is also an independent director of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company, ICICI Prudential Trust and ICICI Securities Primary Dealership.
iii. Also, ICICI Bank said that, Tushaar Shah, non-executive independent director of ICICI bank will finish his 8 year term and will exit from his position on 3rd May 2018.
About ICICI Bank:
♦ MD & CEO – Mrs. Chanda Kochhar
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai


Blue Origin Launches New Shepard Space Capsule
On 29th April 2018, Blue Origin, a US aerospace company, launched the suborbital New Shepard rocket and space capsule from the Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site.
New Shepard Space Capsule:
i. This is the second flight of the New Shepard 2.0 spacecraft. New Shepard was launched to a target height of 351,000 feet.
ii. After the New Shepard capsule was launched, the booster separated and returned to its launch site.
iii. Blue Origin’s dummy astronaut is named “Mannequin Skywalker”. The payloads consist of an experiment for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, few others from European universities funded by the German Aerospace Center, and a “Schmitt Space Communicator” for Solstar Company.
iv. New Shepard 2.0 space capsule is designed to fly six passengers on suborbital space tourism flights. Suborbital space tourism flights means trips that reach space but don’t orbit Earth.
v. It can carry commercial payloads and experiments. It consists of six windows for views of Earth from space. Blue Origin has not announced the ticket price to fly on New Shepard yet.
About Blue Origin:
♦ Owned by – Jeff Bezos
♦ Based in – United States


Guruji Ravinder Sharma, the renowned artist-philosopher has passed away
On 29th April 2018, Ravinder Sharma, also called as Guruji passed away at his residence, after fighting cancer, in Adilabad, Telangana.
Guruji Ravinder Sharma, the renowned artist-philosopher has passed awayDeath of Guruji Ravinder Sharma:
i. Guruji Ravinder Sharma was 65 years old. He is the founder of Adilabad’s Kala Ashram.
ii. He is an artist and philosopher. He had received the Kala Ratna by the Andhra Pradesh State government in 2014.
iii. He was also awarded the D. Litt (Honoris Causa) by the SGT University, Gurugram, Haryana.
Some important stadiums in Telangana:
♦ M. C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium
♦ Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium


World Asthma Day observed on 1st May
On 1st May 2018, World Asthma Day 2018 was observed all over the world.
World Asthma Day observed on 1st MayWorld Asthma Day:
i. World Asthma Day is observed every year on the first Tuesday of May. It is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA).
ii. World Asthma Day is observed to create awareness on asthma, its diagnosis and care throughout the world. The first World Asthma Day was observed in 1998.
iii. The theme for World Asthma Day 2018 is: ‘Never too early, never too late. It’s always the right time to address airways disease.’
About Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA):
♦ Launched – 1993
♦ Formed – in collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA, and the World Health Organization