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Current Affairs Today September 13 2018

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Current Affairs Today September 13 2018


New Umbrella Scheme “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan” (PM-AASHA) approved by the Cabinet
On September 13, 2018, the Union Cabinet approved new umbrella scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan, PM-AASHA. 

New Umbrella Scheme “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan” (PM-AASHA) approved by the CabinetObjective:
Aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to farmers for their produce as announced in the Union Budget for 2018.
Key Points:
i. An additional government guarantee of Rs.16,550 crore has been provided making the umbrella scheme Rs. 45,550 crore in total.
ii. Additionally, Rs. 15,053 crore is sanctioned for PM-AASHA implementation.
iii. The new Umbrella Scheme comprises of:

  • Price Support Scheme (PSS),
  • Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) and
  • Pilot of Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme (PPPS).

iv. Also, existing schemes for providing MSP for crops will be continued for:

  • Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) : paddy, wheat and nutri-cereals/coarse grains and
  • Ministry of Textile’scotton and jute.

v. Cabinet has encouraged participation of private sector in procurement.
Other News:
i. Earlier, the government has already increased the MSP of Kharif crops by 1.5 times the cost of production.
ii. This is accordance with the government’s goal of doubling farmer’s income by 2022.

CCEA approved electrification of remaining unelectrified broad gauge (BG) routes of Indian Railways
On September 13, 2018, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has also approved electrification of remaining un-electrified broad gauge routes of Indian Railways
To reduce the use of imported fossil fuels & improve energy security
Key Points:
i. A total of 13,675 kilometres comprising of 108 sections of un-electrified routes will be electrified at a cost of Rs.12,134.50 crore rupees by 2021-22.
ii. This would reduce the consumption of high speed diesel oil by about 2.83 billion litres per annum saving Rs 13,510 crore per annum in fuel bill and net savings of Rs. 3,793 cr per annum.
iii. Additionally, the maintainance cost of will be reduced by almost from Rs. 32.84 per thousand GTKM for diesel to Rs. 16.45 per thousand GTKM for electric locomotive.
iv. This would create direct employment of about 20.4 crore man-days.
Indian Railways:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Piyush Goyal.
♦ Minister of State: Rajen Gohain and Manoj Sinha.
♦ Chairman: Ashwani Lohani.

CCI approved Pipeline Infrastructure-India Infrastructure Trust deal
On September 13, 2018, the Competition Commission of India approved the acquisition of Pipeline Infrastructure by India Infrastructure Trust.
i. The purchase will be done through the Trust’s proposed sponsor Rapid Holdings 2 Pte and investment manager PenBrook Capital Advisors.
ii. India Infrastructure Trust is proposed to be registered as an infrastructure investment trust (InvIT).
iii. Pipeline Infrastructure is a Reliance Industries Holding’s subsidiary.
iv. PenBrook Capital Advisors is an asset management company.
Rapid made an application to the Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for the Trust to be registered as an InvIT. Under the application, Rapid has sought the regulator’s permission for use of the name ‘India Infrastructure Trust’ for the proposed InvIT.

Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched National Scholarship Portal Mobile App
On September 13, 2018, the Union Minister for Minority Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched the country’s first “National Scholarship Portal Mobile App” (NSP Mobile App) in New Delhi.

Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched National Scholarship Portal Mobile AppObjective:
For smooth, accessible and hassle-free scholarship system for students from poor and weaker sections.
Key Points:
i. The app would:

  • Give  information regarding various scholarships to the students,
  • Enable students to apply for scholarships,
  • Upload necessary documents,
  • Check the status of their application, scholarship disbursement etc,
  • Students would get the scholarships directly in their bank accounts under Direct Benefit Transfer.

i. Under “Empowerment without Appeasement” policy of the government:

  • 3 crore students belonging to poor and weaker sections of Minorities got scholarships.
  • The beneficiaries include about 1 crore 63 lakh girls,
  • school dropout rate among Muslim girls has halved,

ii. Ministry of Minority Affairs has worked with commitment to “3E- Education, Employment & Empowerment” and “3T-Teacher, Tiffin, Toilet”.
iii. This enabled inclusion of educational institutions of all Minority communities including Madarsas in mainstream education.

Rs 2,400 crore supplementary budget passed by Chhattisgarh govenrment
On September 13, 2018, Chhattisgarh Assembly passed Rs 2,400 crore supplementary budget for the financial year 2018-19.
i. It consisted of a bonus to farmers against paddy procurement in the ongoing Kharif season.
ii. It will start from November 1, 2018.
iii. With this the size of annual state budget went up to Rs 94,775 crore for financial year 2018-19.
Achievements of Chhattisgarh:
i. The state recorded surplus revenue in 13 years.
ii. The tax and Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) ratio that shows the financial management of the state is at 19% to the national average ratio of 12 %.
iii. As per an RBI report, the total loan-burden of the state is 17.4 percent of GSDP compared to average national ratio is 24.3 %.
♦ Chief Minister: Raman Singh.
♦ Governor: Anandiben Patel.
♦ National Parks: Indravati National Park, Kanger Ghati National Park, Sitanadi National Park.
♦ Chhattisgarh’s new capital Naya Raipur to be named Atal Nagar.

High Level Committee (HLC) approved additional assistance from NDRF to UP and Maharashtra
On September 13, 2018, High Level Committee (HLC) chaired by the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh approved additional Central Assistance to UP and Maharashtra from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
i. The members of the High Level Committee were:

  • The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh,
  • Union Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley,
  • Union Home Secretary, Shri Rajiv Gauba and
  • senior officers of the Ministries of Home Affairs, Finance,  Agriculture and NITI Aayog .

ii. UP was given assistance of Rs 157.23 crore for  rabi drought during 2017-18.
iii. Maharashtra was given assistance of Rs 60.76 crore for pest attack & cyclone during 2017.
Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Chief Minister: Yogi Adityanath.
♦ Governor: Ram Naik.
♦ National Parks: Dudhwa National Park, Philibit Tiger Reserve , Sandi Bird Sanctuary.
♦ UNESCO Heritage Site: Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri.
♦ Capital: Mumbai.
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis.
♦ Governor:  C. Vidyasagar Rao.
♦ National Parks: Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve, Chandoli National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Navegaon National Park.

Indo-Bhutan Border Centre inaugurated by CM of Assam in Baksa, Assam
On September 13, 2018, Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated the Indo-Bhutan Border Centre at Darranga in Assam’s Baksa district.

Indo-Bhutan Border Centre inaugurated by CM of Assam in Baksa, AssamObjective:
To strengthen bilateral trade with the neighbouring country.
Key Points:
i. Along with this, he announced construction of 264 km of border roads touching four BTAD districts of the state namely Baksa, Udalguri, Chirang and Kokrajhar.
ii. Construction for revival of Rupsi Airport will take place from October 2018 with the assistance of the Central government.
Other News:
i. Consulates of Bhutan and Bangladesh were opened in Guwahati.
ii. Recently, introduction of Druk Air flight connecting Paro-Guwahati-Singapore took place.
♦ Capital: Dispur.
♦ Chief Minister:  Sarbananda Sonowal.
♦ Governor: Jagdish Mukhi.
♦ National Parks: Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park (UNESCO Natural World Herigate Site), Orang National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
♦ Airports: Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Dibrugarh Airport, Jorhat Airport, Tezpur Airport, Silchar Airport.

Haryana Vidhan Sabha passed Haryana State Commission for SC Bill 2018
On September 13, 2018, Haryana Vidhan Sabha passed the Haryana State Commission for Scheduled Castes Bill, 2018 for development of the SC community.
i. It would provide for the constitution of Commission for Scheduled Castes in the state.
ii. The commission would consist of chairperson, vice-chairperson and members who would hold office for a term of three years.
iii. The commission will have all the powers of a civil court as per the Bill.
iv. The commission would be responsible for :

  • Development and welfare of scheduled castes,
  • Provide protection and check and curb the atrocities being committed against them,
  • Investigate and examine the working of various safeguards,
  • Inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights,
  • Power of summoning and enforcing attendance of any person from any part of India.
  • Examining summoned person on oath.

Other bills passed by the state:
i. Punjab Land Improvement Schemes (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2018, aimed to facilitate farmers for laying out underground pipeline for irrigation purposes passing through the fields of other farmers.
ii. The Factories (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2018 or ensuring benefits to the workers and the factories both.
♦ Capital: Chandigarh.
♦ Chief Minister:  Manohar Lal Khattar.
♦ Governor: Shri Satyadeo Narayan Arya.
♦ National Parks: Sultanpur National Park, Kalesar National Park.

West Bengal Cabinet nods various projects
On September 13, 2018, the West Bengal Cabinet sanctioned various projects.
i. It sanctioned the following:

  • Setting up of a Rs 6,921-cr pump storage hydel project in Purulia for producing more electricity.
  • Revise the retirement age of nurses in state-run hospitals from 60 to 62 years,
  • Setting up 27 nursing schools in the state,
  • The Bangla Krishi Sech Yojana for setting up micro-irrigation facility.

West Bengal:
♦ Chief Minister: Mamata Banerjee.
♦ Governor: Kesari Nath Tripathi.
♦ National Parks: Jaldapara National Park, Gorumara National Park, Sunderbans National Park, Singalila National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary.
♦ Airports: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Balurghat Airport, Cooch Behar Airport, Behala Airport, Malda Airport, Bagdogra Airport, Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport.

J&K launched E-Plant clinics in Udhampur to support research to help farmers
On September 13, 2018, Jammu and Kashmir administration launched E-Plant clinics in Udhampur district in an event organized by ADIO NIC and Agricultural Department.
i. These have been established by the Agriculture Department in collaboration with Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI).
ii. This will make technological innovations and advancement in research in the agriculture sector and help guide farmers.
iii. It would provide identifying pests and other crop infestations, and also provide on-spot remedial measures.
iv. The clinics would be made functional at Majalta, Ramnagar, Udhampur, and Chennai.
National Parks in Jammu and Kashmir:
Dachigam National Park, Hemis National Park, Kishtwar National Park, Salim Ali National Park.


India signed 2 pacts with Rakhine State for capacity building, economic development
On September 13, 2018, India signed agreements with Myanmar’s Rakhine State Government to facilitate capacity building and economic development in the province.
To promote agricultural mechanization and computer literacy for employment opportunities in the software sector.
Key Points:
i. The agreements were signed between
U Kyaw Lwin, Minister for Agriculture,Livestock, Forestry and Minerals, Dr. Chan Thar, Minister for Department of Social Affairs (both from Rakhine State Government) from Myanmar and
Vikram Misri, Ambassador of India to Myanmar.
ii. According to MOU with Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry and Minerals of Rakhine: India will supply 15 tractors and 15 crawler harvesters to the State Government.
iii. Under the MOU with Department of Social Affairs of the Rakhine State Government, the Indian Embassy will provide 40 computers and peripherals to the Sittwe Computer University.
iv. Additionaly, India and Myanmar signed MOU on the Rakhine State Development Programme, under which India will provide US$ 25 million in grant assistance over a period of five years.
v. Under this:
A pilot project to build 250 prefabricated houses in Northern Rakhine would be made for Rakhine Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim communities.
♦ Capital: Naypyidaw.
♦ Currency: Burmese kyat.

3rd  meeting of Joint Working Group on Political and Security Cooperation between India and Afghanistan was held in Kabul
On September 10, 2018, the Third Meeting of Joint Working Group on Political and Security Cooperation between India and Afghanistan was held in Kabul.
i. The meeting was co-chaired by:

  • Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, H.E. Hekmat Khalil Karzai,and
  • Foreign Secretary of India, Honorable Vijay Gokhale.

ii. Discussions of the meetings:

  • Review of outcomes of 1st and 2nd meetings of Joint Working Group on Political and Security Cooperation
  • Bilateral cooperation between India and Afghanistan for political and economic stability,
  • Decision on improvement on development projects and infrastructure projects under the New Development Partnership.

iii. The 4th meeting of Joint Working Group on Political and Security Cooperation between India and Afghanistan will be held in New Delhi in 2019.
♦ Capital:  Kabul.
♦ Currency: Afghan afghani


2018 Flagship Statistical Report for Asia and the Pacific released by ADB
On September 13, 2018, Asian Development Bank released its 2018 Flagship Statistical Report for Asia and the Pacific.

2018 Flagship Statistical Report for Asia and the Pacific released by ADBAbout the Report:
i. This report provides the latest available economic, financial, social, SDG indicators and environmental statistics for the 48 regional members of ADB.
ii. This year’s report is focusing on: Technological Innovation for Agricultural Statistics.
iii. It is divided in 3 sections:

  • Sustainable Development Goals having 169 targets across 17 goals adopted by the UN
  • Regional trends and tables, including indicators across 8 themes—people; economy and output; money, finance, and prices; globalization; transport and communications; energy and electricity; environment; and government and governance.
  • Globa Value change depicting Asia Pacific’s economic participation in global level including trade and production and export and consumption.

According to the report:

  • Asia and the Pacific region continues to grow in GDP and labour force has been reduced and is shifting from agriculture towards employment in industry and services.
  • Around 780million people from the region moved out of extreme poverty from 2002 to 2013,
  • This is due to its social and physical infrastructure,
  • The GDP has increased from 30.1%in 2000 to 42.6% in 2017 (at 2011 purchasing power parity),
  • Use of satellite imagery and remote sensing technology has improved data accuracy.

♦  Headquarters: Manila , Philippines.
♦ President: Takehiko Nakao.
♦ Established in 1966.
♦ Members- 67 , 48(Asia andPacific).

General Insurance Corporation (GIC Re) among top 10 global reinsurers
General Insurance Corporation (GIC Re), a Government-owned reinsurance company, has secured 10th position among the top 40 global reinsurers, as per a recent ranking published by Standard and Poor’s.
Key Points:
i. The ranking published by Standard and Poor’s was done based on premium booked during FY18.
ii. In FY18, General Insurance Corporation (GIC Re) had achieved a top line growth of 24.5 %, with premium of Rs 41,799 crore.
About General Insurance Corporation (GIC Re):
♦ Chairman-cum-Managing Director – Alice G. Vaidyan
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai


Government targeted to contain fiscal deficit at 3.3 pc of GDP
On September 13, 2018, Govt decided to contain fiscal deficit at 3.3 pc of GDP for the fiscal year ending March 2019 to avoid a twin deficit problem.
i. Excise duty cut on petrol and diesel has been ruled out.
ii. Further, cutting expenditure, though might bring down the fiscal deficit , would result in a stunted economic growth in the long run.
iii. Hence, the share of non-oil tax to GDP has to be hiked.
iv. The government’s finances have shown improvement in July with fiscal deficit at 86.5 per cent of the Budget Estimate (BE).
♦ Depreciating rupee and high crude import bill would put pressure on CAD.
♦ The current account deficit (CAD), which is the difference b etween inflow and outflow of foreign exchange, rose to USD 18 billion or 2.4% of GDP in April-June on account of trade deficit.

BH250-E: BEML launches India’s first 205T Electric Drive Rear Dump Truck.
On September 13, 2018, BEML Limited launched country’s first 205T Electric Drive Rear Dump Truck (Model BH205-E).

BH250-E: BEML launches India’s first 205T Electric Drive Rear Dump Truck.Objective:
To strengthen the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Key Points:
i. The dump truck has been developed for use in the project of Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL), Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh.
ii. It is an electric drive rear dump truck for large scale mining operations.
iii. To make it environment friendly, it does not have transmission oil, final drive and brake cooling oil and weighs 335 tonnes when fully loaded.
iv. It is powered by Tier II emission compliant Modular Common Rail Electronic Engine with 2300 HP
♦ Under Ministry of Defence.
♦ Established: 1964.
♦ CMD: Deepak Kumar Hota.

VC 11184: HSL to undertake sea trials of India’s first ocean surveillance ship.
On September 13, 2018, Hindustan Shipyard Limited announced that India’s first ocean surveillance and missile tracking ship VC 11184, will undertake its first sea trial in the first week of October 2018.

VC 11184: HSL to undertake sea trials of India’s first ocean surveillance ship.i. This has been built for the National Technical Research Organisation under PMO and National Security Adviser.
ii. The cost of the project is Rs. 750 crore.
iii. It would be inducted in the Indian Navy.
About the Ship:
It has a capacity to carry 300 crew and high tech gadgets and would have a helicopter landing deck.
Established: 1941.


Aishwarya Rai, Janhvi Kapoor, Zoya Akhtar honoured at the first Women in Film and Television (WIFT) India Awards
On 8th September 2018, Aishwarya Rai, Janhvi Kapoor, Zoya Akhtar were honoured at the first Women in Film and Television (WIFT) India Awards in Washington, US.
Key Points:
i. Actress Aishwarya Rai was presented the inaugural Meryl Streep Award for Excellence. This award has been established to honour the best female talent in Bollywood and Hollywood.
ii. Director Zoya Akhtar was handed the Wyler Award for Excellence in Direction. Actress Janhvi Kapoor was presented the WIFT Emerald Award.
iii. Producer of the Year award was given to Catherine Hand for adapting Madeleine L’Engle’s award A Wrinkle in Time into a film, which was directed by Ava DuVernay.
iv. WIFT honours the best female performers in Bollywood and Hollywood. WIFT India is a part of WIFT International.
v. WIFT International promotes professional development and achievement for women in film industry, video, and other screen-based media.

Manoj Jhalani, AS & MD (NHM) selected for UNIATF Award
Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary & Mission Director (National Health Mission), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has been conferred the UN Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) Award for his contribution towards prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and associated Sustainable Development Goals.
Manoj Jhalani – UNIATF Award:
i. Manoj Jhalani will be presented the UNIATF Award at the 3rd High-level meeting of the UN General Assembly organized by UNIATF in New York on 27th September 2018.
ii. This award is conferred in recognition of Indian Government’s efforts to prevent and control Non-Communicable Diseases.
iii. National Programme to control NCDs has been expanded by more than 8 times in the last 4 years. Now, it covers all the 36 States/Union Territories.
About United Nations Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) on the Prevention and Control of NCDs:
♦ Objective – coordinates the activities of relevant UN organizations and other inter-governmental organizations to support Governments to meet high-level commitments to respond to NCD epidemics throughout the world
♦ Established – June 2013
♦ Placed under – World Health Organisation (WHO)

C N R Rao to be awarded D Sc at Presidency University convocation
On 11th September 2018, renowned scientist and Bharat Ratna awardee C N R Rao was conferred the honorary D Sc at the 6th annual convocation of Presidency University in Kolkata.
Key Points:
i. C N R Rao had been working in solid state chemistry for around forty years. Bengali Actor Soumitra Chatterjee was also awarded the honorary D Litt.
ii. West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who is the chancellor of Presidency University, presided over the event.
iii. 750 students were awarded degrees and 4 students were awarded their PhD.


LK Advani renominated as Chairman of Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha
L K Advani, senior BJP leader, has been renominated as the chairman of the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Key Points:
i. Former Uttarakhand CM Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank of BJP was renamed the chairman of the Lok Sabha Committee on Government Assurances.
ii.  Chandrakant Khaire of the Shiv Sena was reappointed as the chairman of the Committee on Papers Laid on the Table.
iii. Dilipkumar Mansukhlal Gandhi of BJP has been awarded another term as the chairman of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation.
iv. P Karunakaran of the CPI(M) will continue as the chairman of the Committee on Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House.
About Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha:
♦ Purpose – examines complaints related to any unethical conduct by members of the Lower House
♦ It can also initiate suo motu investigation into matters related to unethical conduct of a member and make recommendations

D Shivakumar elected as Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) Chairman
On 12th September 2018, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) appointed D Shivakumar, as its chairman for a term of 3 years.

D Shivakumar elected as Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) ChairmanD Shivakumar – ASCI Chairman:
i. D Shivakumar, is the former head of PepsiCo India. He is currently the Group Executive President, Corporate Strategy at Aditya Birla Group.
ii. Rohit Gupta, Sony Pictures Networks India President – Network Sales & International Business, was elected as the Vice-Chairman.
iii. Shashidhar Sinha, Media Brands CEO was re-appointed as honorary treasurer.
iv. Members of the board include: Harish Bhat – TGBL Director; Subhash Kamath – BBH Communications India Managing Partner; Sandeep Kohli – HUL Executive Director & Vice President; SK Palekar from IMT, Madhusudan Gopalan – P&G Hygiene and Health Care CEO and Vikas Agnihotri – Google India Director Sales.
About Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI):
♦ Established – 1985
♦ Location – Mumbai


Man Kaur, India’s 102-year-old female athlete wins gold medal at World Masters Athletics Championships
India’s oldest female athlete Man Kaur has won a gold medal at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Malaga, Spain.
Key Points:
i. Man Kaur is 102 years old. She was born in 1916. She hails from Patiala, Punjab.
ii. She won gold medal in the 200 m race for the age group of 100 – 104 at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Malaga, Spain.
iii. Man Kaur started her career at 93 years. In 2017, she won gold medal in 100m race at the World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

Former Indian captain Sardar Singh announces retirement from international hockey
Sardar Singh, former Indian hockey captain, has announced his retirement from international hockey.

Retirement of Sardar Singh:
i. Sardar Singh has made this decision after India’s disappointing performance at the Asian Games where it failed to defend the title and won only a Bronze medal.
ii. As a result, India did not get direct qualification to the 2020 Olympic Games.
iii. Sardar Singh is 32 years old. He hails from Sirsa in Haryana. He made his senior debut for India against Pakistan in 2006.
iv. He has played more than 350 international matches. He was the Indian hockey team captain for 8 years from 2008 to 2016.
v. He was awarded Arjuna Award in 2012 and Padma Shri award in 2015. He was the youngest player to captain the Indian team when he led the team at the 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. He has also represented India 2 times at the Olympics.


Mumbai-based artist Mehlli Gobhai passes away
On 13th September 2018, Mumbai-based artist Mehlli Gobhai passed away following a short term illness.
Death of Mehlli Gobhai:
i. Mehlli Gobhai was 87 years old. He was born in 1931. He had studied at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, the Royal College of Art, London and Pratt Graphic Centre and the Art Students League, New York.
ii. He had worked in New York for more than 20 years. He returned to Mumbai in the 1980s.
iii. He had held many solo and group shows in India and other countries. He had held solo exhibitions at Gallery Chemould, Bombay Art Gallery and Gallery 7 and the New India House in New York.