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APRIL - 2017
The Hindu, PIB,
Livemint. The Indian Express,
Business Standard,

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Ph. 011-41661163, Mob. 9711713852, 9873987698, 9811109103.
E.mail: I
(Sources: The Hindu, The Indian Express, Business Standard, PIB, Livemint)

1st April 2017

Cabinet allows unrestricted export of all certified organic agricultural products (PIB)

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for removal of all quantitative ceilings on
individual organic products and allowed unrestricted exports of all organic agricultural and organic processed
products irrespective of any existing or future restriction/prohibition on the export of their basic product (non-
Key facts:
However, in respect of organic pulses and lentils, in view of their acute shortage in the country, the quantitative
ceiling on exports will continue but enhanced from the existing 10,000 MT per annum to 50,000 MT per annum.
Removal of quantitative celling on wheat, sugar, non-basmati rice, organic sugar and increasing the limit on
export of organic pulses is expected to contribute to the Government's objective of doubling the farmers'
All organic products exports are certified by Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development
Authority (APEDA) under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).
A stable export policy on organic agriculture products would complement various Government programs like
National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NSAM), Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Organic Value
Chain Development in North Eastern Region (OVCDNER) which have been taken up to encourage organic
Cabinet approves 2 ILO conventions on prohibiting child labour (Indian Express)

The government has approved ratification of two fundamental conventions of International Labour Organization
(ILO) to address concerns related to child labour.
The Cabinet approves ratification of two fundamental conventions of ILO Minimum Age Convention (No 138)
concerns minimum age for admission to employment and Worst Form of Child Labour Convention (No 182)
concerns prohibition and immediate action for elimination of the worst form of Child labour.
Key facts:
This is a step towards eradication of child labour in the country and India would be legally binding to comply with
the provision of the two conventions.
India would join majority of countries who have adopted the legislation to prohibit and place severe restrictions
on the employment and work of children, it said.
India is a founder member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which came into existence in 1919. At
present, the ILO has 187 members.
The principal means of action in the ILO is the setting up of International standards in the form of Conventions,
Recommendations and Protocol.
There is a need to further accentuate its initiatives to ensure a safe and fulfilled future for the children of our
country by ensuring proper implementation of the provisions of the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition
and Regulation) Act, 1986 which now completely prohibits employment or work of children below 14 years in
any occupation or process.
The momentum of the recent initiatives taken to eradicate child labour has to be maintained as elimination of
child labour is also crucial for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Presently, Convention 138 has been ratified by 169 countries and Convention 182 has been ratified by 180
countries. Hence, by ratifying these two core conventions, India would join majority of the countries who have
adopted the legislation to prohibit and place severe restrictions on the employment and work of children.
Note: ILO is an agency of the League of Nations and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Barmer-Munawab, Pipad Road-Bilara rail routes declared as Green Corridors
The North Western Railway has declared the Barmer-Munawab and Pipad Road-Bilara rail routes in Rajasthan as
Green Corridors.
The 114 km long Rameswaram-Manamadurai stretch in Tamil Nadu is the country's first green rail corridor.
With the opening of the above two routes, the total number of green corridors have increased to five.
The Okha-Kanalus and Porbandar-Wasjaliya railway sections of Gujarat are the other two routes that have been
declared green corridors.
About the green rail corridors:
The Green Corridor is a commitment to clean environment under the 'Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat' initiative
Trains in the green corridor have been fitted with bio-toilets, which ensure zero discharge of human waste on
the rail tracks thereby improving cleanliness and hygiene
Indian Railway developed the environment friendly bio-toilets in association with the Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO)
Bio-toilets store the discharge in a bio-digester tank, which has anaerobic bacteria, fitted underneath the train
coach in a small space
The bacteria has the ability to convert human faecal matter into water and small amount of gases like Methane.
Cabinet approves signing of Agreement for CIRDAP establishment Centre in Hyderabad
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of an Agreement between Ministry of Rural Development
and Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) for establishment of CIRDAP
Centre at National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR), Hyderabad.
Key facts:
CIRDAP Centre in NIRD&PR premises would give NIRD&PR an advantage of having first-hand knowledge of
networking with organizations specialized in rural development programmes which in turn would help in building
a repository of institutional knowledge for NIRD&PR.
This Centre will also help NIRD&PR to enhance its status in the region through linkages with other
Ministries/Institutes in the CIRDAP Member Countries (CMCs).
The faculty of the NIRD&PR and the Ministry officials would benefit from exchange visits to the best practices in
the CMCs. The scope of work of the Centre is to focus on the implementation of integrated rural development,
particularly poverty alleviation programmes within CMC member countries.
The CIRDAP is a regional Inter - Governmental and autonomous institution which came into existence in 1979 at
the initiative of the countries of Asia Pacific region and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United
Nations (UN) with support from several other UN bodies and donors.
India is one of the key founder members of this Organisation.
Headquarters: Dhaka, Bangladesh
The objective of CIRDAP is to promote regional cooperation and act as a serving institution for its member
countries for promotion of integrated rural development through research action, training, information
dissemination etc.
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Operational Plan (OP) 2016-25 includes nine
projects worth $2.4 Billion
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a total of nine projects costing $2.42 billion as part of the
Operational Plan (OP) 2016-2025 of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program.
Key facts:
The nine projects comprise of two rail projects in Bangladesh, two economic corridor initiatives (a project and

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program loan) and a bridge project in India, trade facilitation and airport projects in Bhutan and key SASEC road
and energy projects in Nepal.
All these projects are aligned with the SASEC OPs thrusts of developing road and rail links aligned closely with
trade routes toward the east, streamlining trade procedures, and improving energy infrastructure.
The Indian corridor projects reflect the SASEC OPs recent shift in emphasis on developing economic corridors
within and between member countries.
The SASEC OP, endorsed in June 2016 by the SASEC member countries, is SASECs first comprehensive long-term
plan to promote greater economic cooperation among the member countries in the areas of transport, trade
facilitation, energy, and economic corridor development.
Bringing regional cooperation to a higher level, the SASEC OP plans to extend physical linkages not only within
SASEC but also with East and Southeast Asia by the next decade.
Established in 2001, the SASEC program is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by
improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional
economic cooperation.
ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC program.
Cabinet approves MoU between Forum of Regulators and the National Association of Regulatory Utility
Commissioners (PIB)

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Forum
of Regulators (FOR) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in the area of
large-scale Grid Integration of Renewable Energy.
The MoU envisages to promote information exchanges in the areas of Renewable Energy integration regulations and
balancing using gas, storage, and demand-side approaches, energy imbalance markets. It will enhance the efforts of
India's power system for better management of large-scale integration of Renewable Energy into the power grid.
The Forum of Regulators was constituted by the Ministry of Power under Electricity Act, 2003 with the primary
objective of harmonization of regulations in the power sector framed by the Central Electricity Regulatory
Commission (CERC), State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) and Joint Electricity Regulatory
Commissions (JERCs).
Notify HIV-hit children as disadvantaged group: SC
In a significant step, the Supreme Court ordered State governments to consider issuing a notification under the
Right to Education law, declaring children living with/affected by HIV as a disadvantaged group deserving
additional rights to help them gain free and compulsory education, a fundamental right under the Constitution.
Key facts:
The court gave States four weeks to issue the notification under Section 2 (d) of The Right of Children to Free and
Compulsory Education Act of 2009, which mandates the State governments concerned to issue a notification that a
child belongs to a disadvantaged group based on reasons ranging from caste, social, cultural, linguistic, geographical,
gender, etc. The Act makes education compulsory for children between six and 14 years of age.
The Bench ordered that those States which are unwilling to issue a notification under Section 2 (d) should file
an affidavit explaining why they consider it unnecessary to inform that children living with HIV do not belong to
a disadvantaged group.
The court however noted that at least 11 States have already issued the notification.
Project Saksham
Project Saksham is the name given to CBECs IT Infrastructure Project, while enable not just the implementation
of Goods and Services tax (GST) but also support all existing services in Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax.

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Project Saksham will also enable extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade
(SWIFT) and other taxpayer-friendly initiatives under Digital India and ease of doing business of CBEC.
The information filed by taxpayers (for eg. registration, returns etc) on the GSTN portal will be transferred to
CBEC systems via a link established by GSTN from their data centres to CBEC data centres. This information will
be subsequently processed by CBECs officers and the action taken will be transferred back to GSTN portal over
this network.
Thus, Project Saksham will enable setting up of an information exchange mechanism with GSTN through the use
of pre-agreed Application Programming Interface (API) or other secure methods of message exchange.
RBI to set up separate Enforcement Department
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is to set up a separate Enforcement Department (EFD).
The initiative has been proposed to separate those who oversee the possible rule breaches and those who decide
on punitive actions. It will hence, enable the enforcement process to operate fairly and based on evidence.
Key facts:
The EFD shall, inter alia, develop a broad policy for enforcement and initiate enforcement action against the
Regulated Entities (REs) for violation consistent with such policy.
EFD would serve as a centralized department to deal with banks only for enforcement action.
Currently for banks, the RBI has two departments, regulation and supervision.
Now with the third department of Enforcement, it will look after the issue of any violation by banks and impose
penalty or issue warning.
India becomes associate member of International Energy Agency (Financial Express)

India, worlds 3rd largest energy consumer has become the associate member of International Energy Agency
(IEA), the Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization. As per the IEA, this makes the organization
more relevant and reflects Indias shift under focus of the global energy dialogue.
About IEA:
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization established
in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake
of the 1973 oil crisis.
The IEA was initially dedicated to responding to physical disruptions in the supply of oil, as well as serving as an
information source on statistics about the international oil market and other energy sectors.
The IEA acts as a policy adviser to its member states, but also works with non-member countries, especially
China, India, and Russia.
The Agency's mandate has broadened to focus on the "3Es" of effectual energy policy: energy security,
economic development, and environmental protection
Members: Presently it has 29 member countries. India is lone associate member of IAE.
Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France.
Publications: World Energy Outlook report.
Hyderabad, India's first 1Gbps-enabled city (Business Standard)

In a boost to the internet-centric entertainment and communication services, Hyderabad has become the
countrys first city to have access to the 1 GB (gbps)-speed wired broadband connectivity, launched by ACT
Though India ranks second in the world in the number of internet users (462 million users), after China (731
million users), it does not figure in the top-ten list in terms of internet speed.
In the top-ten list, South Korea ranks number 1, with an average internet speed of 29 Mbps, while Finland ranks
10th, with an average speed at 17.7 Mbps.
India has an average speed of 2.5 Mbps. ACT Fibernet, which is claimed to be Indias largest non-telco and third-
largest internet provider, is slated to soon expand the 1Gbps wired internet services to 11 other cities.
International Center for Foot and Mouth Disease
Union minister for agriculture and farmers welfare inaugurated International Centre for Foot and Mouth

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Disease (ICFMD) at Arugul on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
The one-of-its-kind research centre in South Asia, will help analyse exotic virus strains in order to develop
diagnostics and vaccines to prevent their incursion.
Though 70 countries have eradicated the disease successfully, it is still endemic in India and has a direct bearing
on the rural economy and farmers who depend on the cattle for eke out their living.

2nd April 2017

Eclipses of binary star shed light on orbiting exoplanet (The Hindu)

A team of scientists from Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru, and University of Delhi have seen for the first
time indications of a massive planet orbiting a low mass X-ray binary star system.
The technique that has been used, namely, X-ray observations, is a new way of detecting exoplanets.
Key facts:
The system is nearly 30,000 light years away and the planet is expected to be nearly 8,000 times as massive as
the earth.
The star system in question, MXB 1658-298 is an X-ray binary and a part of the constellation Ophiuchus (serpent
X-ray binaries consist of a pair of stars orbiting each other of which one is compact one such as a black hole or a
neutron star (in this case, a neutron star).
The neutron star draws matter from its less-massive companion. The mass when drawn generates X-rays which
are detected by detectors placed in satellites in space.
Discovered in 1976, this binary star system is so far and so faint that it may be observed only when it shows
outbursts of X-rays. That is, an increase in X-ray intensity by a factor of 100 or more. Recently this system
showed an outburst.
As the two stars revolve around each other, the less-massive companion star hides the compact star everytime it
crosses the line of sight, in between the detector and the neutron star, giving rise to eclipses.
In X-ray binaries, the time in-between eclipses of the source can increase, decrease and also shows abrupt
This system, MXB 1658-298, is special in that the time between the eclipses increases and decreases periodically.
New scheme for powerlooms unveiled (The Hindu)

A three-year Comprehensive Scheme for Powerloom Sector Development, launched by Union Textile Minister at
Bhiwandi and simultaneously at 47 powerloom centres in the country, aims to boost common infrastructure and
modernisation of the powerloom sector.
Key facts:
The scheme, with an outlay of 487 crore for three years from 2017-2018, has nine major components, including
two new ones.
The two new schemes are: Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme for powerloom weavers and solar energy scheme for
Existing powerloom units, new ones, and group enterprises in weaving will now get 20 % of project cost with a
ceiling of 1 lakh as margin money subsidy and 6% interest subvention, both for working capital and term loan
up to 10 lakh for a maximum period of five years.
Powerloom units with maximum eight looms each will be eligible for 50 % subsidy for going in for solar energy
for captive use, be it on grid or off grid system.
Funds made available for upgradation of plain powerlooms, establishing yarn banks, and group workshed
scheme have been increased and the minimum number of looms needed for group workshed scheme has been
brought down to 24 from 48.

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Some of these existing schemes such as yarn bank and in-situ upgradation of plain powerlooms have huge
response already and these have been modified to benefit more weavers. A helpline was introduced for weavers
to get details of the scheme.
Union Textiles Minister and Chief Minister of Maharashtra launched Power Tex India helpline for any assistance
in this regard.
Power Tex India van was also flagged off for publicity of Power Tex scheme across the country.
The comprehensive scheme has the following components:
i. In-situ Upgradation of Plain Powerlooms
ii. Group Workshed Scheme (GWS)
iii. Yarn Bank Scheme
iv. Common Facility Centre (CFC)
v. Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme for Powerloom Weavers
vi. Solar Energy Scheme for Powerlooms
vii. Facilitation, IT, Awareness, Market Development and Publicity for Powerloom Schemes
viii. Tex Venture Capital Fund
ix. Grant-in-Aid and Modernisation & Upgradation of Powerloom Service Centres (PSCs)
Wildlife ambulance to fill up waterholes (The Hindu)

The cash-strapped Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS), Kerala, which has been facing an unprecedented drought
this year, has customised its wildlife ambulance to a fire tender to tackle the water crisis in the sanctuary.
Said to be a first-of-its kind initiative in Kerala, the department has begun filling up ponds in the forests, with
water supplied through tankers, to quench the thirst of the animals during summer.
Major rivers flowing in the sanctuary such as Nugu, Kalindhi and Bavali have also dried up.
IISc researchers' ecofriendly way of recycling e-waste (The Hindu)

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) researchers have found a novel way to recycle the mounting pile of electronic
waste more efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner.
According to the United National Environmental Programme, about 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated
annually across the world.
The new approach is based on the idea of crushing e-waste into nanosize particles using a ball mill at very low
temperature ranging from -50 to -150 degree C.
When crushed to nanosize particles for about 30 minutes, different classes of materials - metals, oxides and
polymer - that go into the making of electronic items get physically reduced into their constituent phases, which
can then be separated without using any chemicals.
The use of low-temperature grinding eliminates noxious emission.
Help for the Hangul (The Hindu)

There might be some hope for the Hangul deer, of which just 186 remain in Kashmir's Dachigam National Park.
State government intends now to move out a sheep breeding farm from inside the park.
Several factors could be responsible for the dramatic decline of the Hangul population from 5,000 in the early
1900s, including development activity such as factories and a golf course near the park.
Myanmar becomes 7th member of SASEC
Myanmar became the 7th member of South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program of Asian
Development Bank (ADB).
It was officially made member at the SASEC Finance Ministers meeting held in New Delhi.
About SASEC:
The SASEC program was formed in 2001 in response to the request of the four countries of South Asia

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Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal from ADB to assist in facilitating economic cooperation among them.
These four countries comprise the South Asia Growth Quadrangle (SAGQ), formed in 1996, as a vehicle for
accelerating sustainable economic development through regional cooperation.
As a project-based partnership, the SASEC program has been helping realize regional prosperity by enhancing
cross-border connectivity, facilitating faster and more efficient trade and promoting cross-border power trade.
Maldives and Sri Lanka joined SASEC in 2014, further expanding opportunities for enhancing economic linkages
in the sub-region.

3rd April 2017

Now, China flags Tawang rail link (The Hindu)

China has asked India to exercise restraint on its plan to link the strategic border district of Tawang in
Arunachal Pradesh with a railway network, saying any unilateral action might complicate the unresolved
border issue.
Key facts:
Tawang, where the sixth Dalai Lama was born in 1683, is at the centre of Tibetan Buddhism and a friction point
between India and China. China has in recent days upped its rhetoric on claims to Arunachal Pradesh, which it
says is Southern Tibet, and even warned India of serious damage to ties if New Delhi allows the Dalai Lama to
visit the State
Tawang is located at a distance of 183 Kms from Bomdila and is situated at an altitude of 3500 metres above sea
The natural beauty and solitude of Gudpi and Chong-Chugmi ranges, Tawangchu River and Tawang valley are
very mesmerizing.
The inhabitants of the districts are all of Monpa tribes except Shyo village which is dominated by people of
Tibetian origin.
There are two major religious festivals of the Monpasviz"LOSAR" and "TORGYA". Both festivals are celebrated
once annually.
The LOSAR s celebrated to the commencement of New year. Every third year of Torgya, the festival of Dungyur is
celebrated. Both "Dungyur and Torgya" festivals are celebrated at the premises of the Tawang Monastery with
traditional gaiety and enthusiasm.
There are many beautiful grlacial lakes in and around Tawang with crystal blue waters such as Sela lake,
P.T.Tsolake, Sangetser lake, Banggachang lake and many more.
These remain frozen in winter while in summer they become haven for migratory birds.
Centre may remove cap on parent maintenance (The Hindu)

The government is mulling bringing legislative changes to remove the monthly ceiling of 10,000 on the
maintenance paid by children to parents and introduce a rating mechanism for organisations providing home
care services to the elderly.
Key facts:
If the proposed amendments to the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (MWPSC) Act
come through, the maintenance amount to be decided by senior citizen tribunals for the neglected parents will
depend on their need and the economic condition of their children.
Present scenario:
At present, the maintenance for a parent or senior citizen that can be ordered by the tribunal as payable by the
children or relative cannot be more than 10,000 a month.

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What does the Act say?
The MWPSC Act makes it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens and
Foreign ownership norms a barrier (The Hindu)

Indian regulations on foreign ownership in e-commerce, banks, insurance and other online-related services were
major barriers for overseas investors, according to a report by the U.S. President Donald Trumps administration.
Key findings:
foreign direct investment in E-commerce:
India allows for 100% foreign direct investment in business-to-business (B2B) electronic commerce, but largely
prohibits foreign investment in business-to-consumer (B2C) electronic commerce transactions.
Foreign direct investment is allowed in a market-based electronic retailing model, but not in the inventory-
based model.
The only exception that was granted was to single-brand retailers. Single-brand retailers who meet certain
conditions including the operation of physical stores in India may undertake to trade through electronic
commerce. This narrow exception limits the ability of the majority of potential B2C electronic commerce foreign
investors to access the Indian market.
The trade barriers report also pointed out Indias tax (6% equalisation levy) on foreign online advertising
platforms was not par with the international norms and warned the levy in its current form may impede foreign
trade and increase the risk of retaliation from other countries where Indian companies are doing business.
Equalisation levy
India recently began assessing an equalisation levy, which is an additional 6% withholding tax on foreign online
advertising platforms, with the ostensible goal of equalising the playing field between resident service
providers and non-resident service providers. However, its provisions do not provide credit for tax paid in other
countries for the service provided in India.
The levy would result in taxes on business income even when a foreign resident does not have a permanent
establishment in India or when underlying activities are not carried out in India.
The current structure of the equalisation levy represents a shift from internationally accepted principles, which
provide that digital taxation mechanisms should be developed on a multilateral basis in order to prevent double
Data Sharing:
The 2012 National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy, issued by the Ministry of Science & Technology, which
requires that all data collected using public funds including weather data - be stored within the borders of India.
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) guidelines requiring cloud computing
service providers to store data within India to qualify for bidding for government procurements. Ownership
restrictions in terms of insurance and banks, was a hurdle for foreign investors.
Even though the FDI limit in insurance has been increased to 49%, the regulatory requirement for the
appointment of directors and other operational requirements are a concern.
Compulsory public listing
The report also highlighted Insurance Regulatory and Development Authoritys (IRDA) discussion paper that called for
the compulsory public listing of life insurers that have been in operation in India for seven years or more.
Such requirement would be another measure that would have a discouraging effect on foreign investors.
Government withdraws subsidy to mild hybrids cars
The Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has withdrawn subsidy given to mild hybrid
vehicles under FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India) scheme.
Earlier, mild hybrid, strong hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles were given incentives under the

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FAME India scheme.
What is mild hybrid vehicle?
A mild hybrid vehicle has an electric motor, which on its own cannot run a vehicle but assists normal engine by
using recovered energy stored in a battery and helps save fuel.
It uses the energy generated while applying the brakes and turns it into electric energy which is then stored in a
battery. This energy can then be used to turn the starter motor when the cars start stop system needs it.
Mild-hybrids are 7-15% more fuel efficient as compared to conventional hybrid systems that can run on pure
electric power for short distances too.
FAME India Scheme
FAME India Scheme [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India] was launched
with the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and Manufacturing eco-system.
The scheme has 4 focus areas i.e. Technology development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging
Infrastructure. The phase-I of the scheme is being implemented for a period of 2 years i.e. FY 2015-16 and FY
2016-17 commencing from 1st April 2015.
The FAME India Scheme is aimed at incentivising all vehicle segments i.e. 2 Wheeler, 3 Wheeler Auto, Passenger
4 Wheeler Vehicle, Light Commercial Vehicles and Buses.
The scheme covers Hybrid & Electric technologies like Mild Hybrid, Strong Hybrid, Plug in Hybrid & Battery
Electric Vehicles.
This scheme is under the aegis of Department of Heavy Industry (Ministry of Heavy Industry).
National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020:
It aims to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country. It has set
ambitious target of 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards.
Grassoline may power future flights (The Hindu)

In the quest of more sustainable energy sources, scientists have developed grassoline a biofuel derived from
grass that could one day power aircraft.
Key facts:
Researchers investigated methods that can disintegrate and treat grass until it can be used as a fuel. Due to its
vast abundance, grass is the perfect source of energy.
Right now the amount of biofuel that can be made from grass is still limited to a few drops. The current process is
very expensive, and engines should be adapted to this new kind of fuel.
To improve its biodegradability, the grass is pretreated at first. Then bacteria are added which convert the sugars
in the grass into lactic acid and its derivatives, researchers said.
This lactic acid can serve as an intermediate chemical to produce other compounds such as biodegradable
plastics (PLA) or fuels.
The lactic acid was then converted into caproic acid, which was further converted into decane. Decane can be
used in aviation fuel.
Fungus that eats plastic may help clean environment (The Hindu+ Business Standard)

Scientists have identified a soil fungus, which uses enzymes to rapidly break down plastic materials, an advance
that could help deal with waste problem that threatens our environment.
Key facts:
Aspergillus tubingensis is a fungus, which ordinarily lives in the soil. In laboratory trials, the researchers found
that it also grows on the surface of plastics.
It secretes enzymes onto the surface of the plastic, and these break the chemical bonds between the plastic
molecules, or polymers.

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Using advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, the team found that the fungus also uses the physical
strength of its mycelia the network of rootlike filaments grown by fungi to help break apart the polymers.
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana to be launched in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh (PIB)

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana, a Scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens
belonging to BPL category will be launched in District Nellore, Andhra Pradesh on 1st April, 2017.
Key facts:
The Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens will be distributed in Camp mode and the Scheme
will be implemented through the sole implementing agency, Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation
(ALIMCO), (a PSU under M/o Social Justice and Empowerment), which will undertake one year free
maintenance of the aids & assisted living devices.
The ambitious Scheme, first of its kind in the country is expected to benefit 5,20,000 Senior Citizens over a period
of the 3 years.
As per the Census figures of 2011, the population of senior citizens in India is 10.38 crore. More than 70% of the
population of senior citizens live in rural areas of the country. A sizeable percentage (5.2%) of the senior
citizens suffers from some sort of disabilities related to old age.
The Scheme aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related
disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability, with such assisted-living
devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested. The
assistive devices shall be of high quality and conforming to the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards,
wherever applicable.
This is a Central Sector Scheme, fully funded by the Central Government. The expenditure for implementation of
the scheme will be met from the "Senior Citizens' Welfare Fund".
Under the Scheme, the following Aids and Assisted-Living Devices will be provided to eligible elderly beneficiary
senior citizens, depending upon their physical impairment :-
1. Walking sticks
2. Elbow crutches
3. Walkers / Crutches
4. Tripods / Quadpods
5. Hearing Aids
6. Wheelchair
7. Artificial Dentures
8. Spectacles
Salient features of the Scheme are as under:-
Free of cost distribution of the devices, commensurate with the extent of disability/infirmity that is manifested
among the eligible senior citizens.
In case of multiple disabilities/infirmities manifested in the same person, the assistive devices will be given in
respect of each disability/impairment.
Beneficiaries in each district will be identified by the State Governments/UT Administrations through a
Committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner/District Collector.
As far as possible, 30% of the beneficiaries in each district shall be women.
The State Government/UT Administration/District Level Committee can also utilize the data of BPL beneficiaries
receiving Old Age Pension under the NSAP or any other Scheme of the State/UT for identification of senior
citizens belonging to BPL category.

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4th April 2017
Under GST, tax evasion over Rs 5 crore a non-bailable offence (Indian Express)

Under the Central GST (CGST) Act, tax evasion of over Rs 5 crore under the GST regime will be cognizable and
non-bailable offence with the police having authority to make an arrest without a warrant.
If a person is arrested for a non-cognizable and bailable offence, the Deputy/ Assistant Commissioner of
CGST/SGST can release him on bail and he will be subject to the same provisions as an officer in-charge of a
police station under section 436 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The government has set ambitious target date of July 1, 2017 for roll out of the GST, which will subsume indirect
taxes such as central excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies.
The FAQ provides that, if a person does not appear before a CGST/SGST officer who has issued the summon, he is
liable to a penalty of up to Rs 25,000.
African Development Bank to hold 52nd annual meet in Gujarat (Indian Express)

With Africa taking the centre-stage in terms of trade and investment, India will host 5-day annual meeting of the
African Development Bank in Ahmedabad.
The 52nd annual meeting will be held in the capital city of Gujarat which is known for hosting mega events like
Vibrant Gujarat.
African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group is a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute
to the economic development and social progress of African countries.
The AfDB was founded in 1964 and comprises three entities: The African Development Bank, the African
Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund.
The AfDBs mission is to fight poverty and improve living conditions on the continent through promoting the
investment of public and private capital in projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic
and social development of the region.
India joined the African Development Bank in 1982.
The country is a key member of the institutions 24 Non-Regional Member Countries, which support the African
Development Fund (ADF), the concessional resource window of the Bank.
Defence Ministry nod to buy Barak missiles
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of the Defence Ministry on 3 April 2017 approved the purchase of Barak
surface-to-air missiles (SAM) for the Navy among other proposals estimated at Rs. 860 crore.
Israeli-built Barak short range SAMs are installed on most of the front-line warships, including the aircraft carrier
INS Vikramaditya.
Defence Acquisition Council (DAC):
The DAC, set up in 2001 as part of the post-Kargil reforms in defence sector, approves the long-term integrated
perspective plan for the forces, accords acceptance of necessity (AON) to begin acquisition proposals, and has to
grant its approval to all major deals through all their important phases.
It also has the power to approve any deviations in an acquisition, and recommends all big purchases for approval
of the Cabinet committee on security.
Rohingyas issue sets off alarm bells (The Hindu)

Alarmed by the large number of Rohingya Muslims in possession of Aadhaar cards in Jammu, the Home Ministry
held a high level meeting on 3 April 2017 to discuss ways to send them back.
Many Rohingyas were able to acquire the cards since Aadhaar is only a proof of identity and not citizenship.

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Key points:
Rohingya Muslims were not recognised by India as refugees
and their stay here was illegal under the Foreigners Act.
The Rohingyas had reached Jammu after entering India
illegally, either through the Bangladesh or Myanmar border or
through the sea route via Bay of Bengal.
Several posters and hoardings by political parties have sprung
up in Jammu demanding that they be moved out of the region.
According to the Home Ministry's estimate, there are around
40,000 Rohingyas in India, of whom around 5,700 are in

IISc tops national rankings (National Institutional Ranking Framework) (The Hindu)

The Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has been rated as the top higher educational institution of India across
disciplines, as per the first-ever overall ranking of institutions released by the Centre on 3 April 2017.
The seven top IITs, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Benaras Hindu University (BHU) figure in the top 10
among the 2,995 institutions that participated in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), 2017.
Key points:
IIT-Madras ranks second, while JNU ranks sixth in the all-India list.
However, the elite Indian Institutes of Management have not performed too well, with IIM-Ahmedabad, the top
business school, standing 17th in the list.
All other IIMs rank below 20. There are separate lists within disciplines for engineering, management and
pharmacy, and for universities and colleges.
Among engineering colleges, the IITs at Chennai, Mumbai, Kharagpur, New Delhi and Kanpur are among the top
The NIRF ranked the institutions on the basis of five parameters:
1. teaching learning resources (student strength, faculty-student ratio, faculty qualifications and experience,
financial resources and utilisation)
2. research and professional practice (publications, quality of publications, patents, projects)
3. graduation outcomes (placement and higher studies, salary, Ph.D degrees awarded)
4. outreach and inclusivity (diversity in student pool)
5. perception (among peers, employers and the public).
Right to Information Act 2005
RTI Act mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. It replaces the erstwhile
Freedom of information Act, 2002.
Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a public authority (a body of
Government or instrumentality of State) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.
The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to
proactively certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for
information formally.
The Act covers the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir, where J&K Right to Information Act is in force.
Private bodies are not within the Acts ambit directly. In a decision of Sarbajit Roy versus Delhi Electricity
Regulatory Commission, the Central Information Commission affirmed that privatised public utility companies
continue to be within the RTI Act.

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5th April 2017
India becomes associate member of International Energy Agency (The Hindu)

India has become part of IEA Association that will allow the country play a more visible and influential role in
the global energy landscape.
This does not cast any additional obligation on India, however, gives an opportunity for the country to become
the voice of the developing countries.
Benefits for India:
Indias engagement with the International Energy Agency (IEA) has enhanced over the last two decades and the
Association status would facilitate it to participate in meetings of the standing groups, committees and working
groups that constitute the IEA governance structure.
India pursues its key development objectives of energy access, energy security and environmental sustainability.
In this context, India has a vision of ensuring 247 affordable and environment friendly Power for All and deeper
engagement with IEA is a component of achieving this vision.
India can also richly gain from IEAs data gathering processes, survey methodologies and range of energy data,
which could enable India in the near future to set up its own robust integrated database agency.
International Energy Agency:
Founded in 1974, the IEA was initially designed to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major
disruptions in the supply of oil, such as the crisis of 1973/4.
The IEA examines the full spectrum of energy issues including oil, gas and coal supply and demand, renewable
energy technologies, electricity markets, energy efficiency, access to energy, demand side management and
much more.
Through its work, the IEA advocates policies that will enhance the reliability, affordability and sustainability of
energy in its member countries and beyond.
Today it is providing authoritative analysis through a wide range of publications, including the flagship World
Energy Outlook and the IEA Market Reports;
data and statistics, such as Key World Energy Statistics
the Monthly Oil Data Service;
a series of training and capacity building workshops, presentations, and resources.
Biennial Thakurani Jatra festival gets under way (The Hindu)

The famous biennial Thakurani Jatra festival of Berhampur in Odisha got under way late of 2 April 2017 night.
The unique festival started with the journey of reigning deity Budhi Thakurani to her temporary abode on
Desibehera street.
A flower, considered to be representative of the deity, was taken in a procession in a ghatam (holy earthen pot)
to the temporary abode.
The festival is also linked to cultural history of Berhampur.
Goddess Budhi Thakurani is considered to be a family member of Desibehera, the leader of the Dera community
of Berhampur.
Dera is a weaver clan which has made Berhampur famous as a silk city'.
Confusion reigns on CAG audit of GST data (The Hindu)

Why in news?
For full implementation of the GST regime, to decide the compensation for States and to determine their revenue
share, auditors of the CAG will require access to two different datasets, which are proving difficult to come by.
One of them is data pertaining to revenue that would accrue to States from alcohol and petrochemicals, both of

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which are outside GST for now.
The second issue of where and how CAG auditors will get access to the GST data continues to vex officials.
The tax data, whether it belongs to States or Centre, is already available to CAG under existing constitutional
Now, the GSTN is refusing to give the CAG access to its network, saying it is only holding the data in a fiduciary
capacity since the tax data originally belongs to the Centre and States.
Issue related GSTN:
Officials also pointed out that the GSTN is owned by a private company, and thus cannot be audited by CAG.
The GSTN claims it is a private company as 51% stake in the company is held by private companies such as HDFC
and ICICI Bank.
The CAG has pointed out that under the new Companies Act, GSTN can be counted as government-controlled
company since its strategic control will be with the government.
Accessing the data at various points i.e., point of manufacture, point of sale etc., would make the GST audit a
complicated and almost impossible task, and will hamper other functions, which would include CAG certification
about the share of GST for States.
There is no solutions available, other than auditors getting access to the entire GST data in a centralised location.
Meanwhile, the auditors would be using data available from individual States to assess their share of taxes
earned from alcohol and petrochemicals, which would be kept out of GST.
New tree-living crab species found in Kerala (The Hindu)

Scientists have discovered a new species of long legged, tree-dwelling crabs in Western Ghats of Kerala.
Key points:
The new species named Kanimaranjandu after the Kani tribe in Kerala, are substantially different from other
The characteristic traits of the crab include the structure of its hard upper shell, its male abdominal structure and
reproductive parts and diagnostic elongated walking legs, which no other genus has, said researchers from
University of Kerala.
This is the first report of its kind to offer a record of an arboreal crab a species that lives in trees.
UN Board of Auditors
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India will audit the UN Secretariat in New York, a job which till now was
the exclusive domain of developed countries.
The General Assembly established the United Nations Board of Auditors (Board) in 1946 as an important
mechanism to promote accountability and transparency in the United Nations.
The members of the Board have collective responsibility for the audits.
Currently the heads of the SAIs of India, Tanzania and Germany are the members of the Board.
The Auditors-Generals of UN member states are elected to the Board.
Myanmar joins ADBs South Asia economic body
Myanmar has formally become a full member of South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)
programme of Asian Development Bank (ADB) being the seventh country to join the group.
The SASEC programme of ADB was formed in 2001 in response to the request of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and
Nepal to assist in facilitating economic cooperation among them. Sri Lanka and Maldives joined the sub-regional
group in 2014.
As a project-based partnership, SASEC programme has been helping enhance cross-border connectivity, facilitate
faster and more efficient trade and promote cross-border power trade.
The Manila, Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) serves as the Secretariat for the SASEC member

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Japan officially recognises Bitcoin as currency
Japan has officially recognized bitcoin and digital currencies as legal money along the lines of other fiat currencies
with effect from April 1, 2017.
It will help in integration of digital currency into legal banking system through regulatory scrutiny.
The recognition means regulations governing banks and financial institutions will be applicable to crypto-
currency and digital currencies exchange platforms
They will be also required to comply with strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC)
requirements, along with annual audits.
J&K bans polythene manufactured below 50 microns
Jammu & Kashmir Government has banned the usage of polythene bags below 50 microns in the state.
It also made mandatory to have name, registration number of the manufacturer and thickness of the material
printed on bag in English.

6th April 2017

Rail regulator gets green light
The Centre cleared the decks for setting up an independent rail regulator that will be responsible for
recommending passenger fares, setting performance standards for rail operations and creating level playing
policy for private sector participation.
Key facts:
The regulator, named Rail Development Authority (RDA), will be based in Delhi with an initial corpus of Rs. 50
crore and will be set up through an executive order. The RDA will act within the parameters of the Railway Act,
1989 and only make recommendations to the Ministry which will take a final call on passenger and freight fares.
The need for a regulator has been emphasised by various committees, including the Dr. Bibek Debroy
Committee on Mobilisation of Resources for Major Railway Projects and Restructuring of Railway Ministry in
2015, the National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC) in 2014 and Expert Group under the
Chairmanship of Dr. Rakesh Mohan in 2001.
The Authoritys primary functions will be to recommend tariff commensurate with costs, frame principles for
social service obligation, and ensure a level playing field for stakeholders by suggesting policies for private
investment. It will also fix efficiency standards and resolve disputes related to future concession agreements.
This is a commendable move as the Central government has been fixing the fares mostly based on political
Mexico to put endangered vaquita porpoises in refuge (The Hindu)

In a bid to save the worlds smallest species of porpoise from extinction, the Mexican government has
announced plans to place some of them in a temporary refuge.
Key facts:
The environment ministry said the ambitious emergency plan to save the vaquita marina porpoise would be
carried out with help from international conservation groups.
However, the plan is controversial with conservationists, some of whom say the vaquita is not an animal that can
thrive in captivity.
Scientists warned in February that there are only 30 vaquita remaining, saying the species faced extinction by
2022. The porpoise is native to the Gulf of California, where illegal fishing nets are threatening to wipe it out.
The most common cause of death for the vaquita is getting caught in illegal gillnets meant to catch another
endangered species, a large fish called the totoaba.

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Geotagging of assets created under RKVY
What is geo tagging?
Geotagging- It is the process of adding geographical identification like latitude and longitude to various media
such as a photo or video. Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information from a
device. It provides users the location of the content of a given picture.
Geomapping-a visual representation of the geographical location of geotagged assets layered on top of map or
satellite imagery
Why is Geotagging important?
Several assets are created in the states under various schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture. Under RKVY also,
states have been utilising substantial amount of funds for creation of infrastructure/assets in agriculture and
allied sectors such as soil testing labs, pesticide testing labs, bio fertiliser setting units, custom hiring centres,
vaccine production units , veterinary diagnosis labs , dispensaries , milk collection centres , fish production units,
godowns, cold storage, shade nets, pandals for vegetable cultivation etc.
Who does it?
National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), ISRO at Hyderabad: This centre of ISRO has a software platform,
Bhuvan that allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the surface of the Earth. It also acts as a platform
for hosting government data. Bhuvan Application Services that are diversified and relevant for many ministries
were released.
In future, the location of the infrastructure created and distances from each other could also be utilised for
arriving at distribution of assets and optimum number of that particular asset required in a district or state.
The process involves development of a mobile app for mapping the assets through photographs and Geo-tagging
(providing geo co-ordinates) before hosting on to DAC RKVY platform that would be specially created for RKVY
Proposal for geotagging of infrastructure /assets created under RKVY:
National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), wing of Indian Space Research Organisation is providing technical
support to RKVY division and has come up with a detailed procedure for the same. The institute is involved in
preparation of the required app, imparting training to the states etc. The trained officers at the field level will
take the photographs (with details of latitude, longitude, year of creation etc.) of the assets and upload on to the
Bhuvan-RKVY platform of NRSC.
Pilot work has been initiated in 4 sattes of Orissa, Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka.
Cabinet approves MoU between India and Bangladesh (PIB)

The Union Cabinet has approved

MoU between India and
Bangladesh for fairway
development of Ashuganj-
Zakiganj stretch of Kushiyara
river and Sirajganj-Daikhawa
stretch of Jamuna river in the
Indo-Bangladesh protocol route
by undertaking necessary
dredging jointly by the two
The MoU will considerably
reduce the logistics cost of cargo
movement to North Eastern
India. It will also reduce the
congestion through the Siliguri
Chickens Neck corridor.

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Kushiyara River:
The Kushiyara River is a distributary river in Bangladesh and Assam, India. It forms on the IndiaBangladesh
border as a branch of the Barak River, when the Barak separates into the Kushiyara and Surma.
The waters of the Kushiyara thus originate in the state of Nagaland in India and pick up tributaries from
Manipur, Mizoram and Assam.
From its origin at the mouth of the Barak, also known as the Amlshid bifurcation point, the Kushiyara flows
westward forming the boundary between Assam, India, and the Sylhet District of Bangladesh.
The river forms several braided streams and heads south where it is joined by the Khowai River from the left
(east) and heads southwest where it is rejoined by the Surma (locally known as the Danu River) from the right
(north) and becomes the Meghna River, just north of the town of Bhairab Bazar.
Jamuna River:
The Jamuna River is one of the three main rivers of Bangladesh.
It is the main distributary channel of the Brahmaputra River as it flows from India to Bangladesh.
The Jamuna flows south and joins the Padma River, near Goalundo Ghat, before meeting the Meghna River near
It then flows into the Bay of Bengal as the Meghna River
Cabinet approves agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production between India and Bangladesh (PIB)

The Union Cabinet has approved the agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production India and Bangladesh.
Salient features of the Agreement:
The Agreement would cover co-production of films, documentaries, and animations films.
An audio-visual co-production made in accordance with the proposed Agreement shall be entitled to all the
benefits which may be accorded to any national audio-visual work by both countries in accordance with their
respective laws and regulations.
It will lead to exchange of art and culture among the two countries and create goodwill and better understanding
among the peoples of both the countries.
Co-productions provide an opportunity to create and showcase our soft power.
It leads to generation of employment among artistic, technical as well as non-technical personnel engaged in the
arena of Audio-Visual Co- production including post-production and its marketing, thus adding to the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) of both the countries.
The utilization of Indian locales for shooting raises the visibility / prospect of India as a preferred film shooting
destination across the globe.
India has so far entered into audio-visual co-production agreements with Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil,
France, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Canada, China and the Republic of Korea.
Cabinet approves extension of implementation of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems
Project by one year (PIB)

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for
extension of the implementation phase of the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS)
Project for another year beyond 31st March 2017.
Key facts:
The extension would help in achieving the remaining objectives of the project comprehensively. The
maintenance phase of the Project will continue till 2022 as approved earlier.
The Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) aims to integrate the CCTNS project with the e-courts and e-
prisons databases in the first instance and with the other pillars of the criminal justice system - Forensics,
Prosecution, Juvenile homes and a nationwide Fingerprint data base of criminals in a phased manner.
The integration will be achieved by providing access to the Judiciary, Police and Prisons through a desktop

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dashboard to facilitate expeditious and informed decisions and aid investigations.
Impact of the CCTNS Project will lead to:
i. Citizen portals in all states and Centre that will facilitate transparency and speed in police service delivery,
online registration of complaints and reporting and search of missing persons and stolen goods in self-service
ii. Pan-India search on complete National Crime and Criminal database that is accessible to the Investigating
Officers throughout the country.
iii. Search facility will be available to Police in regional languages for improved inter-state tracking of criminal
iv. Reliable network connectivity to all Police Stations in the country.
v. National level crime analytics that will be published at, increased frequency to help policy and law makers in
taking data backed timely actions and in making appropriate policy interventions.
vi. Integration with various e-Governance projects such as Aadhaar, National Population Register, Vaahan Project
of the Ministry of Surface Transport, Passport Seva and National Emergency Response System Project thus
increasing the synergies and benefit accrued from these individual systems. It will expedite various kinds of
police verification requests and investigation.
vii. Advanced features such as biometric based identification, trend and pattern analytics etc. that will be
incorporated to enhance hi-tech investigation capability.
viii. ICJS that will be available to all pillars of the criminal justice system helping improve its service delivery.
Originally approved in 2009, the Project aims to:
a) deliver various web based police related services to citizens.
b) facilitate a pan-India search of crime and criminal records of individuals through a national database.
c) generate crime and criminal reports at the state and central level to inform policy interventions and
d) computerise police processes.
In 2015, an additional objective of establishing a basic platform for an Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS)
was added to the Project.
India and the UK announce joint UK-India Fund (PIB)

Both Governments reaffirmed their commitment to anchor invest up to 120 million each (i.e. totally 240
million) in the Joint Fund which will be established under the NIIF framework.
Key facts:
India and the UK announced the launch of an Early Market Engagement for the joint UK-India Fund, namely a
Green Growth Equity Fund which aims to leverage private sector investment from the City of London to invest in
green infrastructure projects in India.
To begin with, the fund aims to raise around 500 million, with the potential to unlock much more in future.
Initial investments will focus on Indias rapidly growing green energy and renewable market.
Cabinet approves closure of Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana
The Union Cabinet has approved closure of the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY) which was set
up in 2012 to address the social security-related issues of the Emigration Check Required (ECR)-category
workers going abroad for employment to ECR countries.
The subscription under the MGPSY was very low and no new subscription was received for more than a year.
Closure of the scheme will, therefore, obviate the avoidable recurring administrative and record-keeping
Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY)
The Ministry of External Affairs introduced Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY), a pension and

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Life Insurance fund scheme, for the Overseas Indian workers having Emigration Check Required (ECR) passports.
The objective of MGPSY was to encourage and enable the overseas Indian workers by giving government
contribution to:
o Save for their Return and Resettlement (R&R)
o Save for their old age,
o Obtain a Life Insurance cover against natural death during the period of coverage.
o The government contribution available under the MGPSY is for a period of five years or till the return of
subscribed worker back to India, whichever is earlier.

7th April 2017

Centre hands over to SC accreditation guidelines for NGOs, VOs
The Centre handed over to the Supreme Court the new guidelines framed for accreditation of nearly 30 lakh
NGOs and voluntary organisations (VOs) in the country.
The Ministry of Rural Development framed the accreditation guidelines to regulate manner in which the
VOs/NGOs, which are recipient of grants, would maintain their account, the procedure for audit of the account,
including procedure to initiate action for recovering of the grants in case of misappropriation and criminal action.
Key facts:
According to the guidelines, NITI Aayog has been appointed as the nodal agency for the purpose of registration
and accreditation of VOs/NGOs seeking funding from the Government of India. The Aayog has been also tasked
with maintaining of database systems to manage and disseminate information relating to NGOs/VOs.
The existing portal at NITI Aayog (NGO-Darpan) shall be strengthened and aligned with accreditation-like
functions which should also provide a snapshot of the NGO with regard to its ongoing and past work, particularly
with respect to public and foreign funds so as to facilitate grant making authorities on the bona fides.
The registration system should facilitate the seamless operation of the IT Act and the FCRA with respect to NGOs
without the need for cumbersome and intrusive processes, which create mutual distrust and scope for misuse.
The periodical progress reports from grantee institutions should be incorporated in the NGO scheme work flow
on the website of the ministry, with the grantee institution making data entry under a login and password. The
progress report in a processed form shall also be available in the public domain preferably with a GIS interface.
The court had ordered that any NGO, found in the audit, to have cooked its books or indulged in
misappropriation of the public funds should be subject to immediate criminal prosecution. Besides, the
government should initiate civil recovery proceedings from these rogue NGOs. The court had demanded that the
government file a compliance report by March 31, 2017.
Centre kicks off programme on cyber physical systems
With autonomous vehicles and robot-executed surgeries becoming commonplace around the world, the
Department of Science and Technology (DST) has initiated a Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) programme.
Key facts:
tCPS is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the deployment of computer-based systems that do things in the
physical world, such as, for instance, the self-driven cars produced by Google and Tesla.
However, even smart grids (where electricity is optimally distributed on the basis of calculations in real time by
micro-processors) as well as autonomous unmanned vehicles and aircraft navigation systems qualify as cyber
physical systems.
The thrust of the initiative would be to break silos in academia and encourage greater synergy between the
university scientists and industry.
Prime Minister had referred to cyber physical systems earlier this year at the Indian Science Congress in Tirupati.
By ensuring that the future workforce is skilled in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data
analysis, deep learning, quantum communication and Internet-of-Things.

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Multi-Modal Terminal on River Ganga at Sahibganj (PIB)

The Prime Minister has laid the foundation stone of a multi-modal terminal on River Ganga at Sahibganj in
Key facts:
The multi-modal terminal is an important component of the development of the National Waterway-1 from
Varanasi to Haldia, a distance of 1390 km.
NW-1 is being developed under the Jal Marg Vikas Project of the Inland Waterways Authority of India, with the
technical and financial assistance of World Bank. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with
capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.
A Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal at Sahibganj will provide critical connectivity with Bihar at Manihari.
The construction of the multi-modal terminal at Sahibganj and the overall development of NW-1 will contribute
significantly to the creation of business and employment opportunities in Jharkhand, particularly in the rural
areas. It will also provide critical last mile connectivity to the hinterland of Jharkhand.
The multi-modal terminal at Sahibganj will play an important role in transportation of mineral resources
The construction of the multi-modal terminal and Ro-Ro terminal will also help to create direct employment of
about 600 people and indirect employment of about 3000 people.
National Waterway-1
National Waterway-1 (NW-1) is a waterway of national significance passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,
Jharkhand and West Bengal, serving the major cities of Haldia, Howrah, Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Patna, Ghazipur,
Varanasi, Allahabad and their industrial hinterland including several industries located in the Ganga basin.
The rail and road corridors in this region are heavily saturated.
Hence, the development of NW-1 would provide an alternative, viable, economical, efficient and eco-friendly
mode of transport. The waterway will act as a catalyst in the socio-economic development of the regions by
creating new business and employment opportunities.
North India to get DNA bank for wildlife (The Hindu)

North India is all set to get its first DNA bank for wildlife. Scientists at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute
(IVRI) in Bareilly are in the process of collecting DNA samples of all wild animals to set up the bank. It is expected
to help in research and also in bringing down poaching.
At present, the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) in Hyderabad is the only such
facility in the country.
McMahon Line
The McMahon Line is a line proposed by MacMahon in the Simla Accord (1914) which was considered invalid by
both Tibetans and Chinese government. It is the effective boundary between China and India, although its legal
status is disputed by the Chinese government.
The line is named after Sir Henry McMahon, foreign secretary of the British-run Government of India and the
chief negotiator of the convention at Simla.
Article 142
Article 142 of Constitution of India deals with Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and unless as
to discovery, etc.
It states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is
necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
Last year Supreme Court of India appointed the new Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh, by exercising powers granted by
Article 142of the Constitution.
Noting that the 25-year pendency of the dual Babri Masjid demolition case trials in Lucknow and Raebareli
amounts to evasion of justice, the Supreme Court has indicated that it proposes to order a joint trial in a

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Lucknow court after reviving criminal conspiracy charges against BJP veterans L.K. Advani, MurliManohar Joshi
and other SanghParivar leaders in connection with the razing down of the 16th century mosque in Ayodhya on
December 6, 1992 by karsevaks. In this context also the court has invoked its extraordinary constitutional powers
under Article 142.
The recent highyway liquor ban was also imposed by the court under Article 142.
Thailand's king signs constitution that cements junta's grip
Thailands new king has signed an army-drafted constitution that sets the country on the path to elections while
cementing the grip of the military over any future government.

8th April 2017

Sarin gas: what is it?
The United States believes the Syrian government employed a sarin-like nerve agent in Tuesday's deadly attack in
the country's northwest.
key facts about sarin
It was discovered in Nazi Germany.
Originally conceived as a pesticide, sarin was used by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime to gas thousands of
Kurds in the northern town of Halabja in 1988.
Inhaled or absorbed through the skin, the gas kills by crippling the respiratory center of the central nervous
system and paralysing the muscles around the lungs.
The combination results in death by suffocation, and sarin can contaminate food or water supplies.
Symptoms of exposure to the agent include nausea and violent headaches, blurred vision, drooling, muscle
convulsions, respiratory arrest and loss of consciousness.
Sarin is 26 times more deadly than cyanide gas. Just a pinprick-sized droplet will kill a human
Inhalation of a high dose say 200 milligrams of sarin may cause death "within a couple of minutes," with no
time even for symptoms to develop.
The name sarin comes from the chemists who discovered it by chance: Schrader, Ambros, Ruedigeret Van der
Linde. The scientists had been trying to create stronger pesticides but the formula was then taken up by the Nazi
military for chemical weapons.
Ban on cash transaction above Rs2 lakh not applicable for bank, post office withdrawals
Ban on cash transaction in excess of Rs2 lakh will not be applicable to withdrawals from banks and post office
savings accounts.
Through the Finance Act 2017, the government has banned cash transactions of over Rs2 lakh and said a penalty
of an equal amount would be levied on the receiver.
Key facts:
In a clarification on the newly inserted Section 269STin the I-T Act, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
said the restriction shall not apply to withdrawal from banks and post offices.
The Finance Act also provides that any capital expenditure in cash exceeding Rs10,000 shall not be eligible for
claiming depreciation allowance or investment-linked deduction. Similarly, the limit on revenue expenditure in
cash has been reduced from Rs20,000 to Rs10,000.
In order to promote digital payments in case of small unorganised businesses, the rate of presumptive taxation
has been reduced from 8% to 6% for the amount of turnover realised through cheque/digital mode.
Also, it has restricted cash donation up to Rs2,000 for political parties for availing exemption from Income-tax.
Further, it has also mandated that any donation in cash exceeding Rs2,000 to a charitable institution shall not be
allowed as a deduction under the Income-tax Act.

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President of India inaugurates first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017
The President of India has inaugurated the first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017 today (April 7, 2017) in
New Delhi.
The slogan of the first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit is, Unite for a Healthy Mind.
As per the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 conducted by NIMHANS, 5.2% of the Indian adult population
suffers from depression in some form or the other.
The World Health Day Summit has begun in the right direction by launching the eCAP& SOLs Telepsychiatry
application for the rural and urban population in need of mental health consultation.
NIM CARE is a non-profit organisation founded in the year 2009, a registered Charitable Trust under the
Government of Tamil Nadu.
Haryana: Sex ratio touches 950 mark for first time in state (Indian Express)

For the first time in the history of Haryana, the sex ratio in the state has touched the 950 mark.
The state has improved its skewed sex ratio after the launch of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao programme.
Haryana government launched a massive campaign in the state by strictly implementing Pre-Conception and Pre-
Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 and Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 and
running sensitisation-cum awareness campaigns promoting girl child.
In a first, atmosphere found around Earth-like planet (The Hindu)

Astronomers have, for the first time, detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet just 39 light years
Key facts:
The planet known as GJ 1132b is 1.4 times the size of our planet.
The detection of an atmosphere around super Earth GJ 1132b marks for the first time the detection of an
atmosphere around a planet with a mass and radius close to the Earths mass and radius (1.6 Earth masses, 1.4
Earth radii).
GJ 1132b orbits the red dwarf star GJ 1132 in the southern constellation Vela.
Malala to become youngest United Nations Messenger of Peace
Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is to become the youngest United Nations
Messenger of Peace, the organisation's chief said on Friday.
Yousafzai, 19, will be appointed on Monday by UN Secretary-General and will help promote girl's education
around the world as part of her new role.
India jumps 12 spots in WEFs global travel & tourism ranking
India has jumped 12 places to 40th rank globally in travel and tourism competitiveness list by World Economic
India is one of the countries that improved the most as it gained 12 places in Asia, but lagged behind its other
Asian peers like Japan and China which were ranked way ahead at 4th and 13th place, respectively. Spain is
ranked at the top in the list.
In the global ranking Spain, France and Germany were ranked at the top three positions, making them the most
tourism friendly economies.
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana:
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojanais a special Additional Central Assistance Scheme which was launched in August 2007
to orient agricultural development strategies, to reaffirm its commitment to achieve 4 per cent annual growth in
the agricultural sector during the 11th plan.
The scheme was launched to incentivize the States to provide additional resources in their State Plans over and
above their baseline expenditure to bridge critical gaps.

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9th April 2017
Vulnerable tribes: lost in a classification trap
A recent Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) publication has brought to the fore startling revelations about the
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in the country including the fact that no base line surveys have
been conducted among more than half of such groups.
According to the survey, the 75 PVTGs, base line surveys exists for about 40 groups, even after declaring them as
PVTGs, states the publication: The Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups of India Privileges and Predicaments.
Base line surveys are done to precisely identify the PVTG families, their habitat and socio-economic status, so
that development initiatives are implemented for these communities, based on the facts and figures. The
publication emphasises State governments must urgently conduct such surveys to arrive at accurate
demographic and socio-economic figures of the PVTGs.
Among the 75 listed PVTGs the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12), Bihar
including Jharkhand (9) Madhya Pradesh including Chhattisgarh (7) Tamil Nadu (6) Kerala and Gujarat having five
groups each. The remaining PVTGs live in West Bengal (3) Maharashtra (3), two each in Karnataka and
Uttarakhand and one each in Rajasthan, Tripura and Manipur. All the four tribal groups in Andamans, and one in
Nicobar Islands, are recognised as PVTGs.
Some of the PVTGs are distributed in more than one State. The Birhor are recognised as a PVTG in four States,
while 10 other group are PVTG in two States, namely the Sahariya, Kurumba, Koraga, Korwa, JenuKuruba,
Kattunayakan, Katkari/Kathodi, Kharia, Kolam, and Lodha.
Thus, the number of the PVTGs at the national level would be 63.
Regional and State-specific variations in welfare schemes for PVTGs has also been highlighted. While Odisha has
established exclusive micro-projects for the PVTGs, there are none such in for the five PVTGs in Gujarat.
In Tamil Nadu, development schemes are being monitored through the Tribal Research Centre, Ooty, and
implemented by the State government. However, in Karnataka, all affairs of two the PVTGs are handled by the
Social Welfare Department, which extends some schemes as per their knowledge, barely receiving any
professional advice. Only recently, the Karnataka Tribal Research Centre was been established at Mysore while
many States did so decades ago.
In some cases, a PVTG receives benefits only in a few blocks in a district, while the same group is deprived in
adjacent blocks. The reason is that micro-projects extend benefits only within their jurisdiction. For example, the
Lanjia Saora are recognized as a PVTG across Odisha but the micro-projects are established only in two blocks,
and the benefits are catered to by micro-projects in these blocks only, while the rest of the Lanjia Saora are
treated among the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
There is a huge variation in the number of PVTGs ranging from a few individuals as in case of Great Andamanese,
Onge and Sentinelese and about a little more than a thousand people as in the case of Toda of Nilgiris. Although
PVTGs are slowly witnessing decadal increase in their population, quite a few still face stagnation such as the
Birhor in central India. Some are declining like the Onge and Andamanese.
Smallest population size among the PVTGs are the Senteneles (as per the last contact effort on March 9, 2005,
groups of 32 and 13 persons were sighted at different places). They still shy away from others. The Great
Andamanese (57 persons) and the Onge (107 persons in 2012 as per Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti) are
the dwindling populations. In main land, the Toto of West Bengal (314 families with 1,387 persons as per 2011
census) and the Toda of Tamil Nadu (1,608, inclusive of 238 Christian Todas as per TRC, Udaga mandalam [Ooty],
2011)) have population less than 2000 persons. The Saharia people of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are the
largest among the PVTGs with population more than 4 lakhs.
Literacy rate
Literacy rate among the PVTGs has gone up significantly over the past. From a single digit literacy rate, the figures
have increased to 30 to 40 % in many of the PVTGs. However, as is the case with entire India, female literacy rate
is still considerably lower compared to male counterpart.
The authors have pointed out at a considerable increase in the age of marriage among PVTGs. The incidence of
girl child being married while still being a minor, among these tribes has been decreasing.

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Swachagraha-Bapu Ko Karyanjali exhibition to mark 100-year anniversary of Satyagrah movement
To mark the 100-year anniversary of Satyagrah movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister has
inaugurated an exhibition swachagraha Bapu Ko Karyanjali A Mission, An Exhibition, at the National Archives
of India, Janpath, New Delhi.
The digital and experimental exhibition hopes to from a link between the essential principle of Satyagrah
Jeevan-Chakra evolved with the Swacchagraha movement, the press release says.
The exhibition succinctly depicts the events that unfolded in Champaran on April 10, 1917, when Gandhi started
the Satyagrah movement, to fight for the rights of Indigo plantation farmers living in the region.
Kolkata- Khulna-Dhaka bus service flagged off from Kolkata (PIB)

A Kolkata-Khulna-Dhaka bus service was ceremoniously flagged off from Kolkata.

The bus services are being operated on the Kolkata-Dhaka and Kolkata- Dhaka-Agaratala routes in addition to the
newly introduced Kolkata-Khulna-Dhaka bus service.
They are being run by the State Transport Corporations of West Bengal and Tripura, besides Bangladesh Road
Transport Corporation.
Now, for the first time, Kolkata and Khulna are being directly connected through a bus route. In the 409 Km long
bus route from Kolkata via Khulna to Dhaka, two buses will run three days a week from both sides.
12th Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant held in Vairengte
The twelfth edition Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant 2017 has begun at Vairengte in
Vairengte houses Indian Armys elite Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School.
The first joint Nomadic Elephant was held in 2004 and since then it is annually held. It seeks to promote military
associations between India and Mongolia.
Possible Venus twin discovered (The Hindu)

Astronomers, using NASAs Kepler space telescope, have discovered a Venus-like planet orbiting a dim star that is
one-fifth the diameter of our Sun and is located 219 light years away from Earth.
The newly found planet is only slightly larger than Earth, and it tightly embraces its low-temperature star called
Kepler-1649, encircling it every nine days.
The tight orbit causes the flux of sunlight reaching the planet to be 2.3 times as great as the solar flux on Earth.
For comparison, the solar flux on Venus is 1.9 times the terrestrial value.
The discovery will provide insight into the nature of planets around M dwarf stars, by far the most common type
in the universe.
TU-142M: Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft of the Indian Navy
Govt. of Andhra Pradesh had requested the Ministry of Defence for allotment of one de-inducted TU-142M for
converting it into a museum.
The TU is likely to be dismantled and transported by road on trailers and re-assembled on the Beach Road near
Kursura Submarine Museum.

10th April 2017

Bharat ke Veer (PIB)

The Union Home Minister has inaugurated the web portal and mobile application named Bharat ke Veer.
Key facts:
The portal is an IT based platform, with an objective to enable willing donors to contribute towards the family of
a braveheart who sacrificed his/her life in line of duty.

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The site Bharat ke Veer will be available on web portal as well as mobile application.
The amount so donated will be credited to the account of Next of Kin of those Central Armed Police
Force/Central Para Military Force soldiers.
This domain allows anyone to financially support the bravehearts of his/her choice or towards the Bharat Ke
Veer corpus.
This website is technically supported by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and powered by State Bank of India.
To ensure maximum coverage, a cap of 15 lakh rupees is imposed and the donors would be alerted if the amount
exceeds, so that they can choose to divert part of the donation to another braveheart account or to the Bharat
Ke Veer corpus.
Industry charts agenda for India-Bangladesh trade
Leading industry bodies of India and Bangladesh, the FICCI and the FBCCI, has brought out a six-point agenda to
boost trade and investment between the neighbours.
This included setting up a Joint Task Force on Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers and another Joint Task Force to
promote Indian investments in Bangladesh in the focus areas of infrastructure, education, healthcare, power and
Key facts:
The agenda also included connectivity initiatives for expansion of sub-regional cooperation among BBIN (Bhutan-
Bangladesh- India-Nepal) countries to cover links through road, rail, rivers, sea, transmission lines, petroleum
pipelines and digital, a FICCI statement said.
In addition, it included pursuing joint investments and a road-map for cooperation in the Bay of Bengal in
exploration of hydrocarbons, marine resources, deep sea fishing, preservation of marine ecology and disaster
It also included collaboration in knowledge sharing to facilitate innovation and research and forming a
partnership on skill development.
Meeting of Inter-State Council
The Union Home Minister has recently chaired the 11th Standing Committee meeting of the Inter-State Council.
What is ISC?
Article 263 provides the establishment of an Inter-State Council to effect coordination between the states and
between Centre and states.
It is not a permanent constitutional body. It can be established 'at any time' if it appears to the President that
the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a Council.
First time it was set up on the recommendation of the Sarkaria Commission and established the ISC by a
presidential ordinance on May 28, 1990.
The ISC is proposed to meet thrice a year, but in 26 years, it has met only 11 times.
Prime Minister acts as the chairman of the council.
o Union Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers nominated by the Prime Minister.
o Chief Ministers of all states and Chief Ministers of Union Territories having a Legislative Assembly and
Administrators of UTs not having a Legislative Assembly.
Lok Sabha passes Constitution Amendment Bill 2017
Lok Sabha has passed Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017 which seeks to give constitutional status to
National Commission for Backward Classes.

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Objectives of the Bill The Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill seeks to make the following changes:
o It seeks to insert a new article 338B in the constitution which provides for NCBC, its composition, mandate,
functions and various officers.
o Insert a new article 342-A which empowers the president to notify the list of socially and educationally
backward classes of that state / union territory.
o In case of a state, president will make such notification after consultation with the Governor. Under the same
article, it is proposed that parliament by making a law can include or exclude the classes from the central list
of backward classes.
Role of NCSC: Currently, under the Constitution the NCSC has the power to look into complaints and welfare
measures with regard to Scheduled Castes, backward classes and Anglo-Indians. The Bill seeks to remove the
power of the NCSC to examine matters related to backward classes.
Constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes: The NCBC is a body set up under the National
Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. It has the power to examine complaints regarding inclusion or exclusion
of groups within the list of backward classes, and advise the central government in this regard.
The Bill seeks to establish the NCBC under the Constitution, and provide it the authority to examine complaints
and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes.
Note that this Bill was introduced alongside the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017
that seeks to repeal the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.
Backward classes: The Constitution Amendment Bill states that the President may specify the socially and
educationally backward classes in the various states and union territories. He may do this in consultation with
the Governor of the concerned state. However, a law of Parliament will be required if the list of backward
classes is to be amended.
Composition and service conditions: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will comprise of five
members appointed by the President. Their tenure and conditions of service will also be decided by the
President through rules.
Functions: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the duties of the NCBC will include: (i) investigating and
monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being
implemented, (ii) inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights, and (iii) advising and making
recommendations on socio-economic development of such classes. The central and state governments will be
required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward
The NCBC will be required to present annual reports to the President on working of the safeguards for backward
classes. These reports will be tabled in Parliament, and in the state legislative assemblies of the concerned states.
Powers of a civil court: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will have the powers of a civil court
while investigating or inquiring into any complaints. These powers include: (i) summoning people and examining
them on oath, (ii) requiring production of any document or public record, and (iii) receiving evidence.
The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Parliament has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2017 after it was passed by
Rajya Sabha. It was already passed by Lok Sabha in March 2017
Bill amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes
Order, 1964.
The Constitution empowers the President to specify the Scheduled Castes in various states and union territories.
Further, it permits this list of notified Scheduled Castes (SC) to be modified by Parliament.
Amendments to the 1950 Order: The Bill seeks to modify the list of SCs for the state of Odisha. The castes
Sualgiri, Swalgiri will be introduced as synonyms to the Sabakhia caste in the list of SCs for the state of Odisha.
Amendments to the 1964 Order: The name of the Union Territory of Pondicherry was modified to Puducherry
by a central Act in 2006. The Bill seeks to incorporate this change and replace Pondicherry with Puducherry in
the Order.

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11th April 2017
Govt gets tough on traffic violations (Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016) (Business Standards)

Why in news?
The Lok Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill amends the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
to address issues such as third party insurance, regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety.
What is the Bill all about?
Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill authorises the government to exempt or waive off any section to promote
innovation. The provisions of the Bill talk about improved citizen centric services, reducing the number of
accidents and several steps proposed to reduce the footfalls to regional transport offices (RTO).
The bill proposes hefty penalties for various traffic offences, three-year jail term for parents of minors caught
driving and causing fatal accidents, and a ten-fold increase in compensation for the families of accident victims,
among other things.
Highlights of the Bill:
1. The liability of the third party insurer for motor vehicle accidents is unlimited. The Bill caps the maximum
liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at 5 lakh rupees in
case of grievous injury.
2. The Bill provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road
users in India for certain types of accidents.
3. The Bill also provides for: (i) amending the existing categories of driver licensing, (ii) recall of vehicles in case of
defects, (iii) protection of good samaritans from any civil or criminal action, and (iv) increase of penalties for
several offences under the 1988 Act.
4. This provides e-governance services include enabling online learning licenses, increasing validity period for
driving licenses, doing away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses are some
of the features.
5. The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance, but does not cap the compensation amount that
courts can award.
6. Under the Act, compensation for hit and run victims comes from a Solatium Fund. With a Fund already existing to
provide compensation for hit and run accidents, the purpose of the new Accident Fund is unclear.
7. State governments will issue licenses to taxi aggregators as per central government guidelines. Currently, state
governments determine guidelines for plying of taxis. There could be cases where state taxi guidelines are at
variance with the central guidelines on aggregators.
Aadhaar must for access to Survey of India maps (The Hindu)

The Survey of India, the country's oldest scientific organisation and official maker of maps, has set up a web
portal called Nakshe that allows 3,000 of its 7,000 maps to be downloaded for free.
The only caveat is that one would require an Aadhaar number for such access.
Key points:
The SoI maps -prepared for defence and civilian purposes - are considered a standard reference for the shape,
extent and geographic features of the country.
The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 specifically says
that the number can't be used as proof of citizenship or domicile.
Survey of India:
It is India's central engineering agency in charge of mapping and surveying.
Set up in 1767 to help consolidate the territories of the British East India Company, it is one of the oldest
Engineering Departments of the Government of India.
The Survey of India's distinguished history includes the handling of the mammoth Great Trigonometrical Survey

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under William Lambton and George Everest and the discovery of Mt. Everest.
Its members are from Survey of India Service cadre of Civil Services of India.
It is headed by the Surveyor General of India.
Only Parliament can allow additions to OBC list (The Hindu)

The Lok Sabha cleared the Constitution 102nd Amendment Bill, that grants constitutional status to the Backward
Classes Commission, now called the National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.
The Bill also enjoins that any addition to the Central list of communities under the Other Backward Classes will
have to be cleared through Parliament.
The bill would ensure the rights of the Other Backward Classes, and give the National Commission for Backward
Classes the constitutional safeguards enjoyed by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
National Commission for Backward Classes:
National Commission for Backward Classes is an Indian statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and
Empowerment established on 14 August 1993, constituted under provisions of the National Commission for
Backward Classes Act, 1993.
National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) is proposed to be dissolved to create the National Commission
for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NCSEBC) as a constitutional body.
The commission was the outcome of Indra Sawhney&Ors. Vs. Union of India judgement dated 16.11.1992.
The number of backward castes in Central list of OBCs has now increased to 5,013 (without the figures for most
of the Union Territories) in 2006 as per National Commission for Backward Classes.
Astronomers discover Venus-like planet orbiting a dim star Kepler-1649 (Indian Express)

Astronomers using NASAs Kepler space telescope have discovered a Venus-like planet orbiting a dim star called
The newly found planet is one-fifth the diameter of our Sun and is only slightly larger than Earth.
The Venus-like planet tightly embraces its low-temperature star Kepler-1649 by encircling it every nine days.
The tight orbit around the star causes the flux of sunlight reaching it to be 2.3 times as great as the solar flux on
The discovery will provide insight into the nature of planets encircling around M dwarf stars, by far the most
common type in the universe.
About Venus:
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days.
It is a terrestrial planet and is sometimes called Earths sister planet because of their similar size, mass,
proximity to Sun, and bulk composition.
It has no natural satellite. But it is radically different from Earth in other respects.
It has densest atmosphere of four terrestrial planets, consisting of more than 96% CO2.
The atmospheric pressure at its planets surface is 92 times that of Earth.
Venus is by far the hottest planet in the Solar System, with a mean surface temperature 462 C even though
Mercury is closer to the Sun.
12th Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant held in Vairengte
The twelfth edition Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant 2017 has begun at Vairengte in
Vairengte houses Indian Armys elite Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School.
The first joint Nomadic Elephant was held in 2004 and since then it is annually held.

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It seeks to promote military associations between India and Mongolia.
First UK rail freight service to China to depart
The first rail freight service from United Kingdom to China
departed from Essex.
The train service was launched as part of Chinas ambitious One
Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative that aims to revive the ancient
Silk Road trading routes with the West dating back more than
2,000 years.
train during the journey will pass through seven countries France,
Germany, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan before reaching
final destination in China.
The operators have mentioned that the rail transportation
between UK and China is cheaper than by air and faster than by
Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
RAW is the primary foreign intelligence agency of India.
It was established in 1968 following the intelligence failures of the Sino-Indian and Indo-Pakistani wars.
Headquarters: New Delhi.
It is under the direct command of Prime Minister and reports on an administrative basis to the Cabinet Secretary
of India, who reports to the Prime Minister.
Its primary function is gathering foreign intelligence, engaging in counter-terrorism, advising Indian policymakers,
promoting counter-proliferation and advancing Indias foreign strategic interests.

12th April 2017

No headway in talks over disposal of bodies in Manipur (The Hindu)

The Manipur government's hope for a settlement with tribal activists to convince them to perform the last rites
of eight persons killed in 2015 came to a naught on 10 April 2017.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had initiated talks with tribal activists, who have been agitating against the passing
of three Inner Line Permit (ILP) Bills in the State Assembly on August 31, 2015.
The President had refused to sign one Bill and returned.
The activists have demanded the extension of the Sixth Schedule in the hill areas, a rollback of the creation of
seven districts, creation of a new district out of Churachandpur district, ex gratia of Rs.10 lakh to the next of kin
of the nine dead persons, and Rs. one lakh and a government job for the injured persons.
There have been protracted agitations in Manipur demanding implementation of the ILP system, which is in force
in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
Inner Line Permit (ILP):
It is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into
a protected area for a limited period.
It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering into the protected
G7 stands united on Syria (The Hindu)

Foreign Ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) countries and several other West Asian countries spoke with one
voice at a meeting in Lucca, Italy, condemning last week's chemical attack in Syria that left 89 people dead.
The U.S. and its allies hold Syrian President Bhashar al-Assad responsible for the attacks.
The G7 also lent support to the U.S. for its attack on the Syrian government-controlled Shayrat airfield in Homs

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Group of 7 (G7):
The Group of 7 (G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the
United States.
The European Union is also represented within the G7.
These countries are the seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary Fund: the
G7 countries represent more than 64% of the net global wealth ($263 trillion).
HIV law promises equality (HIV/AIDS Bill) (The Hindu)

With Parliament passing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
(AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017
In this people living with HIV and AIDS are guaranteed equal rights in medical treatment, admission to
educational institutions and jobs.
The legislation prohibits discrimination against people living with, and affected by, HIV in a range of settings,
including employment, education, housing and health care, as well as with regard to the holding of public or
private office, access to insurance and freedom of movement.
It also bans unfair treatment of people living with and affected by HIV with regard to accessing public facilities,
such as shops, restaurants, hotels, public entertainment venues, public facilities and burial grounds.
The Bill also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV
positive persons and those living with them.
India runs the second largest Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) programme in the world, and the rate of new HIV
infections had dropped by 67% from 2.5 lakh to 85,000 and AIDS related deaths have declined to 54%, which is
more than the global average.
Health Minister Mr. Nadda said the government had spent Rs. 2,000 crore on ART alone and this was a 100%
Centrally sponsored scheme as the "government is committed to (treating every patient) and no one will be left
Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017 passed in Lok Sabha (The Hindu)

Lok Sabha has passed Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017 which seeks to give constitutional status to
National Commission for Backward Classes.
Key points:
The bill was passed by the house with 360 MPs voting in favor and 2 against the bill.
Objectives of the Bill The Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill seeks to make the following changes:
1. It seeks to insert a new article 338B in the constitution which provides for NCBC, its composition, mandate,
functions and various officers.
2. Insert a new article 342-A which empowers the president to notify the list of socially and educationally
backward classes of that state / union territory.
3. In case of a state, president will make such notification after consultation with the Governor.
4. Under the same article, it is proposed that parliament by making a law can include or exclude the classes from
the central list of backward classes.
Parliament passes Constitution (SCs) order (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (PIB)

Parliament has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2017 after it was passed by
Rajya Sabha.
The Bill seeks to amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Pondicherry)
Scheduled Castes Order, 1964.

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Key points:
Modify the list of SCs for Odisha: It makes castes Sualgiri, Swalgiri as synonyms to the Sabakhia caste in the list of
SCs for the state.
Modification of name of Pondicherry: It modifies name of the Union Territory of Pondicherry to Puducherry by
incorporating changes in the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes Order, 1964.
Article 341 of the Constitution empowers the President to specify the Scheduled Castes in various states and UTs.
Further, it permits Parliament to modify this list.
Government emphasizes the need to set up Integrated Cold Chain Projects under SAMPADA SCHEME (PIB)

To achieve the vision of National Food Processing Policy, the Ministry is going to launch a revamped National
Mission on Food Processing called SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Produce Processing and Development of
Agro-Processing Clusters).
It aims to complete the on-going Mega Food Parks, take up more cold chain and also to launch 3 new schemes
Creation/Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities, New Agro-Processing Clusters and Backward
and Forward Linkages.
Key points:
SAMPADA is an umbrella scheme that will include ongoing schemes like mega food parks and cold chain projects
and new schemes. It has an outlay of Rs. 6000 crore and will be implemented by 2019-20.
The scheme will integrate current and new schemes aimed at reducing food wastage and doubling farmers
income by 2022.
The vision of the Policy is to position India as a World Food Factory by creating an enabling framework for the
sustainable growth of the food processing industry.
The Policy is based on the principle of inclusive growth in partnership with the States with the overarching goal of
providing remunerative return to farmers.
The Ministry proposes to undertake mapping of areas of fruits &vegetables and other perishable production in
different States with the target to set up agro processing clusters.
Government launches URJA MITRA app (PIB)

The Union Ministry of Power has launched URJA MITRA app for empowering citizens by real time information
sharing on power supply.
The app is a first of its kind which provides a central platform, web-portal ( as well as mobile
app for state power Distribution utilities to disseminate power outage information to rural/ urban power
consumers through SMS/ push/email notifications across the country.
Rural Feeder Monitoring Scheme:
The Ministry also inaugurated Rural Feeder Monitoring Scheme to monitor the quantity and quality parameters
of power supply in rural areas of the country.
The entire data under the scheme will be hosted on National Power Portal (NPP) on real time basis and may be
accessed by various stake holders through web services
G-20 or Group of Twenty
G-20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.
It was founded in 1999 with the aim of studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues
pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.
The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy,
Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United
States and the European Union.

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Bank Board Bureau (BBB):
BBB is the super authority (autonomous body) of eminent professionals and officials for public sector banks
It had replaced the Appointments Board of Government.
It is set up in April 2016 as part of seven point Indradhanush Mission to revamp the Public Sector Banks (PSBs).
It gives recommendations to Government for appointment of full-time Directors as well as non-Executive
Chairman of PSBs.
Give advice to PSBs in developing strategies for raising funds through innovative financial methods and
instruments to deal with stressed assets.
Guide banks on mergers and consolidations and ways to address the bad loans problem and among other issues.
Composition of BBB: It has three ex-officio members and three expert members, in addition to the Chairman.
Former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai is first and incumbent Chairman of BBB.

13th April 2017

Cab Safety measures for Women recommended by WCD Ministry in the New Taxi Policy Guidelines (PIB)

Why in news?
The safety measures, recommended by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, concerning safety of
women commuters availing of cab services have been included in the new Taxi Policy Guidelines.
Recommendations of WCD Ministry included in the New Taxi Policy Guidelines:
The taxis should be mandatorily fitted with GPS panic devices.
For the safety of women and child passengers, the central locking system in the taxis should not be allowed.
The driver's identification along with the photo and registration number of the vehicle should also be
prominently displayed in the taxi.
Violation of the stipulated rules by the taxi operators/drivers should be strictly dealt in accordance with law.
Sharing of seat should be subject to willingness of passengers.
Lok Adalat settles over 6 lakh cases in one day (The Hindu)

Why in news?
The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), led by Supreme Court judge Justice Dipak Misra, has been quietly
chipping away at the backlog and has accomplished its latest feat of settling over six lakh cases in just 24 hours.
The Second National Lok Adalat for 2017, conducted on April 8, throughout the country from taluk level courts to
High Courts, has settled nearly 6.6 lakh cases.
The cases ranged from matrimonial disputes, partition suits, civil matters, cheque bounce cases, motor accident
claims, revenue disputes pending in courts, criminal compoundable cases and service matters pertaining to
pension, retrial benefits, etc.
Moreover, settlement of a pending court case in a Lok Adalat comes with an added incentive of refund of court
fee to the party involved in the litigation.
Lok Adalat: (Article 39A)
NALSA along with other Legal Services Institutions conducts Lok Adalats.
Lok Adalat is one of the alternative dispute redressal mechanisms, it is a forum where disputes/cases pending in
the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled/ compromised amicably.
Lok Adalats have been given statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
Under the said Act, the award (decision) made by the Lok Adalats is deemed to be a decree of a civil court and is
final and binding on all parties and no appeal against such an award lies before any court of law.
If the parties are not satisfied with the award of the Lok Adalat though there is no provision for an appeal against

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such an award, but they are free to initiate litigation by approaching the court of appropriate jurisdiction by filing
a case by following the required procedure, in exercise of their right to litigate.
The persons deciding the cases in the Lok Adalats are called the Members of the Lok Adalats, they have the role
of statutory conciliators only and do not have any judicial role; therefore they can only persuade the parties to
come to a conclusion for settling the dispute outside the court in the Lok Adalat and shall not pressurize or
coerce any of the parties to compromise or settle cases or matters either directly or indirectly.
Global interest in PSLV soars (The Hindu)

The PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) space vehicle has received more than double the volume of inquiries
from prospective customers ever since it launched a record 104 satellites on a single flight in February.
The PSLV, with a near impeccable 37 successes in 39 flights, is a clear leader in the category of rockets that lift
small satellites to low earth orbits or LEOs.
These satellites weigh up to 500 kg and must be placed in polar orbits 500 km from the earth.
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle:
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) was developed to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS)
satellites into Sun-synchronous orbits, a service that was, until the advent of the PSLV, commercially available
only from Russia.
PSLV can also launch small size satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
Some notable payloads launched by PSLV include India's first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, India's first
interplanetary mission, Mangalyaan (Mars orbiter Mission) and India's first space observatory, Astrosat.
Cabinet approves MoU for establishment of BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection (The Hindu)

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Power for Signing of Memorandum of
Understanding for Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection.
This MoU will provide a broad framework for the Parties to cooperate towards the implementation of grid
interconnections for the trade in electricity with a view to promoting rational and optimal power transmission in
the BIMSTEC region.
Key points:
It will be signed among member states of BIMSTEC at the upcoming 3rd BIMSTEC Energy Ministers Meeting to
be held in Nepal shortly.
Its main objective is to optimization of using the energy resources in the region for mutual benefits on non-
discriminatory basis subject to laws, rules and regulations of the respective Parties.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a sub-regional
group of seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of
Bengal viz. Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
It was established on 6th June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
It is headquartered at Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Belle-II experiment
Belle II experiment consists of an upgraded detector to record the enormous numbers of particle processes that
are produced by the Super KEKB accelerator.
The experiment is designed to study violations of the Standard Model of particle physics. It is grand collaboration
of 700 scientists from 23 countries including India.
Belle-II has a significant Indian participation both on experimental and theoretical sides.
The fourth layer of the six-layer i.e. highly sensitive particle detector (the heart of Belle-II) has been built by

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Indian scientists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai.
Cabinet approves setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy at Visakhapatnam
The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam,
Andhra Pradesh as Institute of National Importance through an Act of Parliament.
The Institute will have the governance structure as well as legal mandate to grant degrees in a manner similar to
that enjoyed by Indian Institutes of Technologies (IITs).
The enactment of separate Act will impart the required status to the IIPE to become a Centre of Excellence in
petroleum and energy studies.
Virtual Currencies
It also called as digital/crypto-currencies, are a type of unregulated digital money that is neither issued by a
central bank/public authority, nor is necessarily attached to a fiat currency, but is used and accepted among the
members of a specific virtual community.
They are capable of being transferred, stored or traded electronically.
The examples of virtual currencies are Bitcoin, Litecoin, Darkcoin, Peercoin, Dogecoin, Primecoin etc.

14th April 2017

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) crosses the target of Rs. 1.8 lakh crore for 2016-17 (PIB)

Why in news?
Loans extended under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) during 2016-17 have crossed the target of Rs.
1,80,000 crore for 2016-17.
Data compiled so far indicates that the number of borrowers this year were over 4 crore, of which over 70% were
women borrowers.
About 20% of the borrowers were from the Scheduled Caste Category, 5% from the Scheduled Tribe Category,
while Other Backward Classes accounted for almost 35% of the borrowers.
The achievements of both public sector banks and private banks have been extremely encouraging.
The robust growth in bank loans to unfunded and underfunded segments is an indication of the emergence of
this category of borrowers as a key driver of demand for credit.
About MUDRA Yojna:
Mudra Loans are available for non-agricultural activities uptoRs. 10 lakh and activities allied to agriculture such as
Dairy, Poultry, Bee Keeping etc, are also covered.
Mudras unique features include a Mudra Card which permits access to Working Capital through ATMs and Card
Banks and MFIs can draw refinance under the MUDRA Scheme after becoming member-lending institutions of
There are three types of loans under PMMY:
1. Shishu (up to Rs.50,000).
2. Kishore (from Rs.50,001 to Rs.5 lakh).
3. Tarun (from Rs.500,001 to Rs.10,00,000).
RBI tightens norms on bank performance (The Hindu)

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has come out with a revised Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for
banks, spelling out certain thresholds, the breach of which could invite resolutions such as a merger with another
bank or even shutting down of the bank.
The revised norms have set out three thresholds. The breach of the third one on capital "would identify a bank as
a likely candidate for resolution through tools like amalgamation, reconstruction, winding up etc.," the RBI said.

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The provisions of the revised PCA framework will be effective from April 1, 2017 based on the financials of the
banks for the year ended March 31, 2017.
Salient guidelines:
Capital, Asset Quality and profitability would be the basis on which the banks would be monitored.
Banks would be placed under PCA framework depending upon the audited annual financial results and RBIs
supervisory assessment.
RBI may also impose PCA on any bank including migration from one threshold to another if circumstances so
RBI has defined three kinds of risk thresholds and the PCA will depend upon the type of risk threshold that was
If a bank breaches the risk threshold, then mandatory actions include the restriction on dividend
payment/remittance of profits, restriction on branch expansion, higher provisions, restriction on management
compensation and directors fees.
Specifically, the breach of Risk Threshold 3 of CET1 (common equity tier 1) by a bank would call for resolution
through tools like amalgamation, reconstruction, winding up among others.
RBI in its discretion can also carry out the following actions:
1. Recommend the bank owner be it government/promoters/parent of foreign bank branch to bring in new
2. Advise banks board to activate the recovery plan as approved by the supervisor.
3. Advise banks board to carry out a detailed review of business model, the profitability of business lines and
activities, assessment of medium and long-term viability, balance sheet projections among others.
4. Review short term strategies and medium-term business plans and carry out any other corrective actions like
the removal of officials and supersession or suppression of the board.
Operation Clean Money-II (PIB)

The Income Tax department has launched the second phase of the Operation Clean Money to investigate over
60,000 individuals with an aim to detect black money generation post demonetisation.
The department has deducted more than 6,000 transactions of high value property purchase and 6,600 cases of
outward remittances.
The first phase of Operation Clean Money was launched on January 31, 2017. In the first phase, the department
went through e-verification of large cash deposits into the banks after the demonetisation and had sent online
queries and investigated around 17.92 lakh persons.
Haryana launched Operation Durga to ensure women Safety (Indian Express)

Similar to that of Uttar Pradeshs anti-romeo squad, the Haryana government has launched Operation Durga
to ensure women safety in the state.
Under this operation, teams formed by the Chief Ministers Flying Squad visited public places such as schools,
colleges, bus stands and railway stations and caught persons indulging in crime activities against women like eve-
teasing, stalking, harassment and other such activities.
Since women are hesitant in reporting incidents involving anti-social elements to the Police, the campaign,
Operation Durga was launched so that flying squads patrol those areas where such anti-social elements
committed crimes against women.
Allow anchor investors in SME IPOs (The Hindu)

Investment bankers have asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to allow anchor investors in
public issues of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while also enhancing the upper limit for paid-up capital of
such companies to allow relatively larger firms to enter the capital market while ensuring institutional investor

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participation in the dedicated segment.
Anchor investors:
Anchor investors are institutional investors that can bid for shares ahead of the IPO and have a lock-in of 30 days.
This rule ensures that investors who want to flip shares on listing, do not use the anchor route.
Anchor investors or cornerstone investors are invited to subscribe for shares ahead of the IPO to boost the
popularity of the issue and provide confidence to potential IPO investors.
The benefit for institutional investors applying in anchor quota is that they get guaranteed allotment. Allotment
to investors applying in an IPO depends on the number of times the issue gets subscribed.
Jharkhand police initiates Tare Zameen Par programme for underprivileged kids
Jharkhand Police has initiated Tare Zameen Par programme to enlighten children in Naxal-affected areas in the
Palamau district of Jharkhand.
This programme is aimed to restore confidence in the state police force and to encourage children to lead happy
As a part of the programme, the state police appealed the locals to donate bags, shoes, books and clothes to
improve the basic amenities of the children in the Naxal-affected areas.
GBU-43 (Mother of All Bombs)
GBU-43, nicknamed as the Mother of All Bombs, has been dropped by the United States over an ISIS complex in
Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. The bomb was dropped using a Lockheed MC-130 transport plane.
GBU-43 is one of the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in the battlefield.
The official name used by the US Air Force for GBU-43 is the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB).MOAB
weighs 9,797 kgs and is a GPS-guided munition. MOAB is bout 20 feet long and is capable of burrowing through
200 feet of earth and 60 feet of concrete before detonating.According to Pentagon, MOAB is the largest non-
nuclear bomb that has ever been used in the combat.
Gazaldoba barrage
India built a barrage at the Gazaldoba point on the Teesta.
The then Bangladesh government did not raise its voice against this.
Now they are facing the consequence of the barrage, as India closes all the gates of the Gazaldoba barrage during
lean period.
Paika Rebellion
It was an armed rebellion against the British East India Company's rule in Odisha in 1817.
The Paiks were the traditional landed militia of Khurda, Odisha.
They rose in rebellion under their leader Bakshi Jagabandhu as the British took over the hereditary rent-free
lands granted to them for their military service to the Kingdom of Khurda.
Descendants of 16 families associated with the will be felicitated by the Prime Minister on the mark of 200th
Operation Meghdoot
Operation Meghdoot the code-name for an Indian Armed Forces operation, was launched 33 years ago on April
It was launched in 1984, when Pakistan started permitting mountaineering expeditions into Siachen Glacier
because of which India had to keep a close watch on Siachen.
The operation was launched to capture the Siachen Glacier in the Jammu and Kashmir. The military action
resulted in gaining control over the worlds highest battlefield.
Siachen Glacier is 76.4 km long and covers about 10,000 sq km uninhabited terrain. It lies in the Karakoram Range
in the North West India.

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15th April 2017
BHIM-Aadhar a digital payment platform launched by the PM on Ambedkar Jayanti in Nagpur (PIB)

Enroute to the digital payments gaining the proportions of a mass movement, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi
launched a series of initiatives on the 126th birth anniversary of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar on 14th April.
BHIM Aadhaar platform for merchants:
BHIM-Aadhaar digital payment platform is the merchant interface of the BHIM App.
It will pave the way for making digital payments by using the Aadhaar platform.
Any Indian citizen can pay digitally using their biometric data like their thumb imprint on a merchants biometric
enabled device which could be smart phone having a biometric reader.
Any citizen without access to smart phones, internet, debit or credit cards will be able to transact digitally
through the BHIM Aadhaar platform.
Schemes for the BHIM Cash back and Referral bonus:
Under the Referral bonus scheme both the existing user who refers BHIM and the new user who adopts BHIM
would get a cash bonus credited directly to their account.
Under the Cashback scheme the merchants will get a cash back on every transaction using BHIM. Both schemes
are to be administered by MEITY and implemented by NPCI.
Modi to honour 16 Odisha families linked to 1817 revolt (The Hindu)

Descendants of 16 families associated with a little-known but bloody rebellion against British colonialism, called
the Paika rebellion of 1817 will be felicitated by the Prime Minister.
The commission recommended that the hereditary rent-free lands granted to the Paikas be taken over by the
British administration.
Paika rebellion:
Two-hundred years ago in 1817, a valiant uprising of soldiers led by Buxi Jagabandhu (Bidyadhar Mohapatra)
took place in Khurda of Odisha. This is known as Paika rebellion.
The Paikas were the traditional land-owning militia of Odisha and served as warriors.
When armies of the East India Company overran most of Odisha in 1803, the Raja of Khurda lost his primacy and
the power and prestige of the Paikas went on a decline.
The British were not comfortable with these aggressive, warlike new subjects and set up a commission under
Walter Ewer to look into the issue.
The rebellion had several other underlying causes like the rise in the price of salt, abolition of the cowrie
currency for payment of taxes and an overtly extortionist land revenue policy.
A Saturn moon may host life (The Hindu)

Scientists announce that there are hydrothermal chemical reactions similar to those that occur at hot fissures at
the ocean bottoms on the earth.
Plumes of gas erupting out of Enceladus - a small moon with an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust -
contain hydrogen.
Hydrothermal vents were detected by the Cassini spacecraft when it flew through the water geysers that erupt
from Enceladuss surface. Microbes, algae, tube worms, crabs, and even fish swim around hydrothermal vents in
Earths oceans. Maybe a similar alien ecosystem exists on the seafloor of Enceladus.
Cassini's findings also show that levels of carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane measured in the Enceladus
plume were out of equilibrium, an imbalance that could provide an energy source that organisms could tap into
for food, according to a paper published in the journal Science.

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Cassini Mission:
CassiniHuygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn. Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit
Saturn and the first to enter orbit.
Its design includes a Saturn orbiter and a lander for the moon Titan. The lander, called Huygens, landed on Titan
in 2005. The spacecraft was launched on October 15, 1997.
This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System.
UP Signs Power For All Agreement With Centre (The Hindu)

The Uttar Pradesh government has signed an agreement with the Centre for Power for All.
Key points:
Uttar Pradesh, which was the only state in the country which had not signed the agreement, has finally come on
board the central government scheme.
247 Power for All scheme is a joint initiative of the central and state governments, with the objective of
providing round-the-clock electricity to all households, industry, commercial businesses and any other electricity
consuming entities within four years.
Sagarmatha Friendship-2017
Nepal and China is all set to hold their first ever joint military exercise named Sagarmatha Friendship-2017.
The 10 day long joint exercise will focus on combating terror and disaster management.
Although, Nepal conducts joint exercises with other countries like India and United States, this is the first time it
is holding a joint exercise with China.
Even though the bilateral military engagement between Nepal and China does not violate India-Nepal treaty of
peace and friendship (1950), the exercise does appear unconventional as Nepal has conducted exercises with
India earlier.
Punjab Government prohibits VIP names on Plaques and Foundation Stones
Punjab government has prohibited the inclusion of names of the government functionaries, including ministers
and MLAs, on foundation stones and inaugural plaques so as to build a stronger connect with the people by
shedding the VIP culture.
National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation
NSFDC was set up in 1989 as a non profit company under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,
Government of India.
Its objective is to financing, facilitating and mobilizing funds for the economic empowerment of persons
belonging to the Scheduled Castes families living below double the Poverty Line.

16th April 2017

Government Launched Mobile App of RUSA (PIB)

The Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource
Development, is launched its own portal and mobile app.
The portal is a one-stop for States Higher Education Plans, decision of the States Higher Education Councils and
details of the resources under this scheme. Also, the gallery is a rich repository of the projects initiated under
The mobile application will ensure that all projects under RUSA are tracked 24x7.
Seventeen RUSA projects also launched, include a cluster university in Jammu and Kashmir, micro ATM facility at
the RUSA centre for intelligent systems in Pune University, solar power facility in Shree Sankaracharya University
of Sanskrit, Kalady, Kerala; language laboratories in Ghatsila College, Jharkhand, among others.

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About Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA):
RUSA is the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of the Department of Higher Education, MHRD which aims to
provide strategic central funding to State Higher Education Departments and Institutions and achieve the broad
objectives of access, equity and excellence.
The State Higher Education Departments and Institutions undertake certain governance, academic and
administrative reforms as a pre-requisite to be entitled for RUSA grants.
The implementation of RUSA in its right earnest began after May 2014.
Three new balsams add to Nilgiris biodiversity colours (The Hindu)

Why in news?
Three new species of plants belonging to the Balsaminaceae family were identified in the Mukurthi National
Park in the Nilgiris recently.
The three, named Impatiens kawttyana, Impatiens taihmushkulni and Impatiens nilgirica, were formally
classified recently.
Key points:
Impatiens kawttyanais identifiable by its large, white flowers, glandular hairs followed by white hairs at the
throat, and has been named after a Toda deity hill, Kawtty'.
Similarly, the Impatiens taihmushkulni is named after the Toda deity hill, Taihmushkuln'.
Like the halls of Valhalla in Norse mythology, the Todas believe that their god Aihhn' resides and rules the
Toda afterworld from the hill.
Toda Tribe:
The Toda people are a small pastoral tribal community who live on the isolated Nilgiri plateau in hill country of
Southern India.
The Toda traditionally live in settlements called mund, consisting of three to seven small thatched houses,
constructed in the shape of half-barrels and located across the slopes of the pasture, on which they keep
domestic buffalo.
Their economy was pastoral, based on the buffalo, which dairy products they traded with neighbouring
peoples of the Nilgiri Hills.
Rs. 2,000-cr. push for women engineers (VIGYANJYOTI) (The Hindu)

Why in news?
The Department of Science and Technology will be leading a Rs. 2,000-crore initiative to encourage more girls
and women to take up careers in the domain of science and engineering, where they are under-represented.
A pilot programme covering 100,000 girls and women, from school-going children to those interested in
research, will be launched later this year.
Key points:
The current initiative, called VigyanJyoti, envisages 500 contractual faculty positions for five years in universities
and research organisations, and special scholarships for school girls.
The proposal is a key part of a report, Vigyan 2030: Science and Technology as the Pivot for Jobs, Opportunities
and National Transformation, jointly submitted by the secretaries of all the Central science departments.
Indians use origami to get a closer look at beauty(Belle-II experiment) (The Hindu)

The High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK) in Japan is getting ready to launch the Belle-II
experiment, a massive collaboration of 700 scientists from across the globe.
At Belle-II, highly intense electron-positron beams will be made to collide and a huge number of B-mesons (a
boson containing the B, or beauty, quark) produced.

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The highly miniaturised sensor engineering and the "origami chip-on sensor" design of the readout chip, which
improves the signal to noise ratio, are novel and highly complex aspects.
Key points:
Indians have been involved in the preceding experiment, Belle, for decades now, however, with Belle-II, their
engagement is deeper.
This experiment has the same aim as the LHCb experiment at CERN - to study the decay of the short-lived B-
mesons, and unearth clues to "new physics".
If these experiments are successful in their endeavour, they will cause a massive rethink of particle physics as we
know it today.
For nearly fifty years, the world of elementary particles has been best described by the Standard Model of
Particle Physics.
This also provides a unified description of all the forces in the universe except gravitation.
It accounts for various particles and how they get their masses with the help of the Higgs boson.
Terpenes are organic compounds found in a variety of plants, and contribute to their flavor, scent and color.
The compounds are responsible for the essential oils of plants and the resins of trees and are often used in food
additives, perfumery and aromatherapy.
Some are even thought to have medicinal properties, and to help in fighting bacteria, fungus and environmental
Terpenes are also being used by living organisms as an instrument for long-distance communication.
The researchers suggest that terpenes are the most popular chemical medium on our planet to communicate
Chinnar River
The Chinnar, east flowing river originates in the Annaimalai Hills in Idukki District, Kerala.
Recently, there was an illegal attempt to divert the water from Chinnar river to a dead stream Mangayaar in
Tamil Nadu state by constructing a deep trench.
This unscientific interlinking of Chinnar and Mangayaar would adversely affect the Muthuvan tribal settlement in
the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

17th April, 2017

Telangana Cabinet clears 12% quota for Muslims
A meeting of the Telangana Cabinet was said to have cleared 12% reservation for Muslims and 10% for the
Scheduled Tribes, in relation to their population.
It will be a 7 percentage point hike for Muslims as the community already enjoys 5 per cent reservation in listed
Backward Classes of the State under group `E though the matter is pending in the Supreme Court.
In the case of the STs, however, the increase will be 4 percentage points, up from the present 6 per cent, but the
population is only 9.08 per cent.
The quota was rounded off to 10 per cent on the presumption that the State governments efforts to include the
Kaithi Lambadas and the Boya Valmikis in the ST category would succeed.
The government is going ahead with 12 per cent reservation for Muslims backed by the recommendations of the
State Backward Classes Commission and the Sudhir commission that the quota for the community could be in the
range of 9 to 12 per cent.

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Energy: going where the wind blows (The Hindu)

For the first time, wind power installations (windmills) crossed the 5 Giga watt mark, to reach 5,400 MW in 2016-
17. The earlier record was 3,472 MW of 2015-16. The current year might see installations of 6 GW.
Key facts:
The Indian wind industry has been around since the late 1980s. For many years, it existed only in T.N., the
windiest State.
In the last decade, it spread to eight other States that have any wind potential four other southern states,
M.P., Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. But now, the Centre wants to buy electricity from wind power
producers and sell it to electricity supply companies in other states, which are bound by law to buy a portion of
their needs from wind and solar sources.
All states want to determine prices through competitive bidding, and competition hammers down prices. So,
while the market expands, the prices also drop.
The government has let expire last month the generation-based incentive, a scheme which paid wind power
companies 50 paise for every kWhr they produced, subject to certain caps. Also, the tax-saving accelerated
depreciation benefit, which engendered the industry in the late 80s, is now halved. So, it is a mixed bag for the
wind industry.
How important is the sector, anyway?
India, with 32,280 MW, has the fourth biggest capacity in the world, after China, the U.S. and Germany.
The national target is 60 GW by 2022. Wind accounts for 10% of Indias total power capacity of 3.2 lakh MW;
and 4% in terms of electricity produced.
Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland. This important
hormone plays a crucial role in the childbirth process and also helps with male reproduction.
Oxytocin, often referred to as the love hormone.
Canberra keen on joining naval games
Australia is keen on joining the Malabar trilateral naval exercises among India, Japan and the U.S., and has
requested observer status at the upcoming edition.
Australia had been a part of the exercises in 2007. But a sharp response from China, which saw the joint exercises
as a coalition against it, put an end to the quadrilateral format.
The Malabar drills, which began in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S., has since
grown in scope and complexity, acquiring considerable heft in recent times. In 2015, it was expanded into a
trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan.
Technical textiles:
A technical textile is a textile product manufactured for non-aesthetic purposes, where function is the primary
criterion. Technical textiles include textiles for automotive applications, medical textiles (e.g., implants), geo-
textiles (reinforcement of embankments), agro textiles (textiles for crop protection), and protective clothing (e.g.,
heat and radiation protection for fire fighter clothing, molten metal protection for welders, stab protection and
bulletproof vests, and spacesuits).
IIT Kharagpur may start VastuShastra classes (Indian Express)

IIT Kharagpur has decided to start Vastu Shastra classes for architecture students.
It is a part of the institutes Science and Heritage Initiative (SandHI) which will oversee the curriculum design.
Vastu Shastra has its beginnings in Rig Veda. It is a traditional Hindu system of architecture that describes
principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement and spatial geometry.

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Kempe Gowda Festival:
The President of India, recently, inaugurated the Kempe Gowda Festival organized by the Nadaprabhu Kempe
gowda Foundation in New Delhi.
Kempe Gowda was a chieftain who ruled over most parts of Karnataka (under the Vijayanagara kings) for the
better part of the 16th century. History credits him with being a just and humane ruler and he is also widely
accepted by historians as being the founder of Bangalore.
He built a watchtower on a granite hillock which stands to this day in present day Lalbaug. He is also credited
with building the Basavanagudi Bull temple, Ulsoor Someshwara temple and Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, all
of which stand strong to this day.
Kempe Gowda was a patron of the arts and authored Ganga-Gouri Sallapamu in Telugu.
Kempe Gowda also struck coins known as Pagodas.
Countrys first Vistadome coach inaugurated in Visakhapatnam
The Indian Railways has launched the countrys first ever Vistadome coach services on Visakhapatnam-Araku
The objective here is to offer tourists to enjoy the scenic beauty, not only at destination, but also en route to
picturesque Araku Valley.
The advance features of the coaches include glass roof, LED lights, revolving seats and GPS-based info system.

18th April 2017

SC refers anti-defection law issue to larger Bench (The Hindu)

Samajwadi Party leader and MP Amar Singh has asked the court to take a second look at the question of status of
an expelled legislator with regards to the Tenth Schedule and lay down the law.
He contended that the application of Tenth Schedule to an expelled legislator is violative of the Basic Structure of
the Constitution.
Twenty-one years ago, the Supreme Court had concluded in G. Viswanathan versus Honble Speaker, Tamil
Nadu Legislative Assembly that a legislator expelled from his party shall be deemed to have voluntarily given up
his membership of that party who got him elected and nominated him to the House. This legal fiction of deeming
him to continue in the party post-election as an unattached member makes him therefore vulnerable to
disqualification from the House on the ground of defection under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) of the
Still susceptible
Under the Viswanathan judgment, the expelled legislator would still be susceptible to the whims and fancies of
the leaders of the party which threw him out despite the fact that subsequently, after his expulsion, he had gone
ahead and formed his own political party.
Question still alive
At the centre of the controversy is the Supreme Courts interpretation of paragraph 2(1) of the Tenth Schedule in
the Viswanathan judgment of 1996. The court held that even if a member was thrown out or expelled from the
party, for the purposes of the Tenth Schedule he would not cease to be a member of the political party that had
set him up as a candidate for the election. He would continue to belong to that political party even if he was
treated as unattached. The court had held that the act of voluntarily giving up the membership of the political
party may be either express or implied.
When a person who has been thrown out or expelled from the party which set him up as as a candidate and got
elected, joins another [new] party, it will certainly amount to his voluntarily giving up the membership of the
political party which had set him up as a candidate for election as such member.
The anti-defection law:
The anti-defection law was passed by parliament in 1985. Twenty-five years down the road, it is pertinent to

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trace the several modifications and to evaluate how well the law has worked.
The 52nd amendment to the Constitution added the Tenth Schedule which laid down the process by which
legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection.
o A member of parliament or state legislature was deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily resigned
from his party or disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote. That is, they may not vote on any
issue in contravention to the partys whip.
o Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party.
o Nominated members who were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months; after
that period, they were treated as a party member or independent member.
The law also made a few exceptions.
o Any person elected as speaker or chairman could resign from his party, and rejoin the party if he demitted
that post.
o A party could be merged into another if at least two-thirds of its party legislators voted for the merger. The
law initially permitted splitting of parties, but that has now been outlawed.
PM launches projects related to SAUNI Yojana at Botad (PIB + Indian Express)

The Prime Minister has dedicated to the nation, Phase-1 (Link 2)

of the SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation) Yojana, at
Botad. He also laid the Foundation Stone of Phase 2 (Link 2) of the
SAUNI Yojana.
What is the SAUNI Yojana?
Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation Yojna, or SAUNI, is a
project that aims to solve the water problems of a parched
Saurashtra. The Rs 12,000 crore ambitious project involves filling
up 115 dams in the region with excess water from the Sardar
Sarovar dam.
The project is not a part of the Narmada project but is based on it.
1 MAFT (million acre feet) flood water has been allotted to
Saurashtra by the state government and this water will be
pumped to major reservoirs in the region under the SAUNI Yojna.
Unlike traditional irrigation projects, SAUNI is technically a linking project, where the water will be filled in
irrigation dams that are already equipped with canal network. This network of canals will then help channel
water into farms.
Link-1 of the project (180 km) originates from the Machhu II dam in Morbi district and carries Narmada water to
30 dams.
Link-2 (253 km) originates from Limdi Bhogavo II dam in Surendrangar, and supplies water to 17 dams.
Link-3 (245 km) originates from Dholi Dhaja dam in Surendranagar and ends at Venu I dam of Rajkot district,
carrying water to 28 dams along its length.
Link-4 originates from Limdi Bhogavo II dam and ends at Hiran II dam in Gir Somnath district.
Australia abolishes 457 visa programme used largely by Indians (The Hindu)

Australia has abolished a visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them
Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country. The programme will be replaced by another visa
programme, with new restrictions.
Key facts:
The programme, known as 457 visa, allows business to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in
skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
The visa holders are eligible to bring family members, who have unrestricted work and study rights in Australia.

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The visa was introduced during the tenure of Prime Minister John Howard in 1996.
Nation-wide training programme launched for Elected Women representatives (EWRs) of Panchayats
A comprehensive module for capacity building of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) of Panchayats and a
training program for Trainers of women panchayat leaders across the country was launched by the Ministry of
Women and Child Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
Key facts:
The training program seeks to empower EWRs of panchayats by enhancing their capacity, capability and skill in
governance and administration of villages.
The WCD Ministry has initiated this countrywide program of training the women sarpanches and other women
representatives at the grassroots level in various areas like engineering (building of roads, drains, latrines etc.),
finance, social development, education, health, and environment among others.
These schemes include Fasal Beema Yojana, Pradhanmantri Awas Yojana, Suraksha Bima Yojana, Sukanya
Samridhi Yojana, maternity benefits schemes among others. Apart from this, the training programme will help to
raise these women to the next level of leadership, said Smt. Maneka Gandhi.
Starting with Jharkhand, similar training programs will be organised in different states throughout the country
with the help of National Institute of Rural Development, State Institutes of Rural Development and Panchayati
Raj Departments of the States to train EWRs throughout the county.
The module has been prepared by the National Commission for Women of the WCD Ministry in collaboration
with TISS.
BRABO: First Made in India industrial robot
TAL Manufacturing Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Motors has unveiled Indias first conceptualized,
designed and manufactured articulated industrial robot called BRABO.
BRABO stands for Bravo Robot.
The robot has been developed indigenously for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in India.
As per ILO (International Labour Organization) standards, a human should not lift more than 10 kg, hence the
(maximum) payload for the robot was fixed at 10 kg.
Power Purchase Agreement for Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Power Project signed (PIB + Indian Express)

A Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) has been signed between Delhi Metro Railways Corporation (DMRC) &
Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company (MPPMC) with Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited, the implementing
agency for the worlds largest singlesite solar power project, the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Power Project
(UMSPP, 750MW) in Bhopal.
Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS) project is a joint venture of Solar Energy Corporation of India and MP Urja Vikas
Nigam, where in both parties have 50 per cent stake.
The Rewa UMSPP becomes the first power project to conduct interstate sale of solar power to Delhi Metro.
The Centre has set an ambitious target of adding 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes
100 GW of solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power (up to 25 MW
capacity each).
Central Consumer Protection Council
The Consumer Protection Act empowers the Central Government to establish a Central Consumer Protection
Council consisting of the Minister in charge of consumer affairs in the Central Government as its Chairman and
such number of other official and non-official members representing such interests as may be prescribed.
Under the Consumer Protection Council Rules 1987, the membership of the Council is restricted to 150 members
including the Central Minister in charge of Consumer Affairs as the Chairman.
The term of the Council is three years.
To monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Council, the Central Government may constitute

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a standing working group from amongst the members of the council under the Chairmanship of the Member
Secretary of the Council.
The Council shall meet as and when necessary, but at least one meeting of the Council shall be held at such time
and place as the Chairman may think fit.
INS Chennai:
INS Chennai is a Kolkata-class stealth Guided missile destroyer.
It is the largest-ever destroyer to be built in India.
It is third and last Kolkata-class guided missile destroyers built under Project 15A.
The indigenously designed ship has state of the art weapons and sensors, stealth features, an advanced action
information system, a comprehensive auxiliary control system, world class modular living spaces, sophisticated
power distribution system and a host of other advanced features.
The ship is capable of undertaking a full spectrum of maritime warfare.
The ship has the formidable prowess of missile technology and has been armed with supersonic surface to
surface BrahMos missiles and Barak-8 long-range surface to air missiles.

19th April 2017

No more red beacons on VIP vehicles from 1 May
The Union cabinet has decided to put an end to the practice of using such beacons in a decision that covers all
government vehicles, including those ferrying the prime minister, chief ministers, central and state ministers and
judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.
The government also decided to make amendments to the rule governing the use of blue beaconsthese can
only be used by vehicles such as ambulances, fire tenders and police cars in cases of emergency that will be
Channakeshava temple turns 900
The Channakeshava temple in Belur a masterpiece of Hoysala architecture turned 900 this year.
The temple was constructed by Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala dynasty.
Considered to be the first temple of Hoysala style, it was built between 1106 and 1117.
The temple is regarded a marvel of architecture in typical Hoysala style.
It commemorates the kings victory in 1104.
Belur, along with Halebid, is proposed as a UNESCO heritage site.
Belur is 40 kilometres from Hassan city.

20th APRIL 2017

PM shows red light to beacons of VIP privilege (The Hindu)

Why in News?
Prime Minister Narendra has decided to shake up Indias privileged VIP culture (red beacon lights).
Its abolition would mean that neither the Centre nor the States would have any dignitary that governments can
nominate for the usage of red beacons.
Key points:
Amendment will be made in Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 that allowed the Central and State governments
to nominate dignitaries who could use such lights.
Moreover, States are also being stripped of their power to specify persons whose vehicles can use blue flashing

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Effective May 1, only emergency services vehicles such as ambulances, fire engine trucks, and police vehicles will
be allowed to use blue lights.
Red lights will not be permitted on any vehicle. Private vehicles will not be allowed to use either red or blue
State entities can seek loans overseas (The Hindu)

The Union Cabinet has approved the policy guidelines to allow financially sound State Government entities to
borrow directly from bilateral ODA (Official development Assistance) partners for implementation of vital
infrastructure projects.
Key points:
Large infrastructure projects being executed by State government entities will find it easier to tap international
funds from bilateral financing agencies.
Before that if any State entity needs funding for its projects, it must approach the State government and any
such funding would be included under the States borrowing limits set by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget
Management (FRBM law).
The guidelines will facilitate the State Government entities to directly borrow from the external bilateral funding
agencies subject to fulfilment of certain conditions and all repayments of loans and interests to the funding
agencies will be directly remitted by the concerned borrower.
The concerned State Government will furnish guarantee for the Loan. The Government of India will provide
counter guarantee for the loan.
Official development Assistance (ODA)
By convention, ODA flows comprise contributions of donor government agencies, at all levels, to developing
countries (bilateral ODA) and to multilateral institutions.
They are flows of official financing administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare
of developing countries as the main objective, and which are concessional in character with a grant element of at
least 25 percent (using a fixed 10 percent rate of discount).
A frogs mucus could treat flu (The Hindu)

Skin mucus secreted by a colourful, tennis ball-sized frog species (Hydrophylax bahuvistara) found in Kerala can
be used to develop an anti-viral drug that can treat various strains of flu.
Frog mucus is loaded with molecules that kill bacteria and viruses and researchers are beginning to investigate it
as a potential source for new anti-microbial drugs.
The researchers named the newly identified peptide urumin after the urumi, a sword with a flexible blade that
snaps and bends like a whip.
Urumin is not toxic to mammals, but appears to only disrupt the integrity of flu virus.
Cabinet gives approval for introduction of Constitution Bill related to Backward Classes (PIB)

Why in news?
The Union Cabinet has given Ex-post facto approval for introduction of (i) Constitution (One Hundred and
Twenty-third Amendment) Bill 2017 and (ii) National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 in the
Also gives Approval for retention of posts/incumbents and office premises held by the existing National
Commission for Backward Classes by the proposed new National Commission for Backward Classes.
Key points:
The approval is for the proposal to bring about a Constitutional Amendment namely the Constitution (One
Hundred Twenty-third Amendment) Bill, 2017 by:

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1. Constitution of a Commission under Article 338B for socially and educationally backward classes by name of
National Commission for Backward Classes.
2. Insertion of Clause (26C) under Article 366 with modified definition viz. socially and educationally backward
classes means such backward classes as are so deemed under Article 342A for the purpose, this Constitution.
Introduce a Bill for:
1. Repeal of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 along with Savings Clause for namely the
National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017.
2. Dissolution of the National Commission for Backward Classes with effect from such date as the Central
Government may appoint in this behalf and the National Commission for Backward Classes constituted under
sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the said Act shall stand dissolved.
The proposed Act of repeal is necessary in view of setting up of the National Commission for Backward Classes by
insertion of Article 338B of the Constitution.
The decision will also enable effecting continuity in the functioning of the National Commission for Backward
Classes under Article 338B.
BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) Economic Corridor
The BCIM economic corridor hopes to connect Kolkata with Kunming, capital of the Yunnan province.
It envisages formation of a thriving economic belt, focusing on cross-border transport, energy and
telecommunication networks.
Starting from Kunming, the route passes through nodal points, such as Mandalay and Lashio in Myanmar.
It heads towards Kolkata after passing through Manipur and Silchar, before crossing Bangladesh via Sylhet and
Dhaka, with branches extending to the ports of Cox Bazar and Chittagong.
Aryabhata is the first Indian spacecraft that was also built in the country. Named after the 5th century
astronomer, the experimental spacecraft did not last its design life of six months in space. But this kick-started
the Indian capability to build satellites solidly on track.
It was meant to study distant celestial bodies that emit X-rays, Sun and Earths ionosphere.
ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) which has built nearly 90 bigger and far more sophisticated spacecraft since then
proudly observes April 19 every year as Aryabhata Day or Technology Day
System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR)
SAFAR operates under the aegis of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, an autonomous body under the
Ministry of Earth Sciences.
It facilitates information on air quality, weather and radiation (Ultraviolet index).
The UV index is a rough measure of the amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation in the sunlight reaching the
SAFAR has been operational in Pune, Mumbai, and Delhi and will also be set up in Ahmedabad.
SAFARs recent data shows that Delhi faced a high risk of ultraviolet radiation.

21st April 2017

Logistics pact with U.S. almost done
India is expected to notify the operationalising of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)
with the U.S.
India and the U.S. concluded the logistics agreement, the first of the three foundational agreements between the
two nations, last August.

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Key facts:
LEMOA gives access to both countries to designated military facilities on either side for refuelling and
replenishment in primarily four areas port calls, joint exercises, training and humanitarian assistance and
disaster relief.
The other foundational agreements are the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Information and Services Cooperation (BECA).
Will this mean stationing of U.S. troops in India?
No, this is not a basing agreement. There will be no basing of the U.S. troops or assets on Indian soil. This is
purely a logistical agreement. India can access the string of U.S. facilities across the globe for logistical support
and the U.S., which operates in a big way in Asia-Pacific, will benefit from Indian facilities.
Anti-dumping duty likely on hydrogen peroxide
India may impose anti-dumping duty on import of a chemical used by industries in applications such as corrosion
control and paper bleaching from six countries.
The move is aimed at guarding domestic players from cheap imports of hydrogen peroxide from Bangladesh,
Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan and Thailand.
Hydrogen peroxide:
Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizing agent used in aqueous solution as a ripening agent, bleach, and topical
anti-infective. It is relatively unstable and solutions deteriorate over time unless stabilized by the addition of
acetanilide or similar organic materials.
Government of India to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds 2017-18 Series I (PIB)

Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds
2017-18 Series I.
The Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices
and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange.
The features of the Bond are given below:
Issuance: To be issued by Reserve Bank India on behalf of the Government of India.
Eligibility: The Bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities including individuals, HUFs, Trusts,
Universities and Charitable Institutions.
Denomination: The Bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.
Tenor: The tenor of the Bond will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from 5th year to be exercised on the
interest payment dates.
Minimum size: Minimum permissible investment will be 1 gram of gold.
Maximum limit: The maximum amount subscribed by an entity will not be more than 500 grams per person per
fiscal year (April-March). A self-declaration to this effect will be obtained.
Interest rate: The investors will be compensated at a fixed rate of 2.50% per annum payable semi-annually on
the nominal value.
Collateral: Bonds can be used as collateral for loans. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary
gold loan mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.
Tradability: Bonds will be tradable on stock exchanges within a fortnight of the issuance on a date as notified by
the RBI.
Legal Aid and Empowerment initiatives launched
Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & IT has launched three key legal aid and empowerment initiatives of
the Department of Justice including Pro bono legal services, Tele law service and Nyaya Mitra scheme. Pro

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bono legal Services
The Pro bono legal services initiative is a web based platform, through which interested lawyers can register
themselves to volunteer pro bono services for the underprivileged litigants, who are unable to afford it.
Through this online portal, litigants from marginalised communities (including members of scheduled castes and
scheduled tribes, women, children, senior citizens, persons with low income and persons with disabilities) can
also apply for legal aid and advice from the pro bono lawyers.
Tele Law: Mainstreaming Legal Aid through Common Service Centre
Through the second initiative, launched by the Minister, the Department of Justice and NALSA are partnering
with CSC- E- Governance Service Limited for mainstreaming legal aid to the marginalized communities through
the Common Service Centers (CSCs).
This initiative, called Tele Law, is aimed at facilitating delivery of legal advice through an expert panel of lawyers
stationed at the State Legal Services Authorities (SLSA).
The project would connect lawyers with clients through video conferencing facilities at CSCs, operated by para
legal volunteers. For this purpose, this initiative would also play a pivotal role in empowering 1000 women para
legal volunteers.
District Facilitation Centre to reduce pendency: Engagement of Nyaya Mitra
Nyaya Mitra scheme is aimed at reducing pendency of cases across selected districts, with special focus on those
pending for more than 10 years.
Functionalized through a retired judicial or executive officer (with legal experience) designated as the Nyaya
Mitra, the project would be operated out of District Facilitation Centres, housed in CSCs.
GMR Hyderabad Airport gets carbon neutrality certificate
The GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited has announced the receipt of the Carbon Neutrality (Level 3+)
Certificate from the Airports Council International (ACI) at a function held in Doha, Qatar recently.
The certification comes under ACIs Airport Car Accreditation Programme that is the industry standard for
assessment of an airports efforts to manage and reduce carbon emissions. The programme was launched in
June, 2009 and comprises four levels.
The GMR Airport has progressively got accreditation from Level 1 (mapping), Level 2 (reduction) in 2012 and
qualified for Level 3 (optimisation) before reaching the fourth and the highest accreditation Level 3+ for
neutrality under the programme.
After Mars, ISRO decides its time to probe Venus
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has invited scientists to suggest studies for a potential orbiter
mission to Venus - somewhat similar to the one that landed in Mars in 2013.
ISRO plans to send a spacecraft that will initially go around Venus in an elliptical orbit before getting closer to the
Yellow Planet.
Venus, the second planet from the Sun, comes closest to Earth roughly every 583 days, or about 19 months.
Venus, our closest planetary neighbour, is similar to Earth in many aspects. However, it takes only 225 days to
revolve around the Sun. Secondly, the surface is very hot due to nearness to the Sun.
Cabinet approves permission to avail external assistance by State Government entities from bilateral
The Union Cabinet has approved the policy guidelines to allow financially sound State Government entities to
borrow directly from bilateral ODA (Official development Assistance) partners for implementation of vital
infrastructure projects.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a State Government entity, has also been
allowed to borrow directly from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Official Development Assistance

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(ODA) loan for implementation of Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project.
Key facts:
The guidelines will facilitate the State Government entities to directly borrow from the external bilateral funding
agencies subject to fulfilment of certain conditions and all repayments of loans and interests to the funding
agencies will be directly remitted by the concerned borrower. The concerned State Government will furnish
guarantee for the Loan. The Government of India will provide counter guarantee for the loan.
Presently, external development assistance from bilateral and multilateral sources is received by the Government
of India
(i) for projects/programmes in the Central sector;
(ii) (ii) for projects executed by Central Public Sector Undertakings; and
(iii) (ii) on behalf of the State Governments for State sector projects/programmes to be implemented by the State
Governments and/or local bodies and public sector undertakings.
The existing guidelines do not allow direct borrowings by the State Government entities from external agencies.
India develops National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare at the Inter-Ministerial Consultation on AMR containment has
announced the finalization of Indias comprehensive and multi-sectoral National Action Plan and signed a Delhi
Declaration for collectively strategizing to contain AMR.
It pledges to adopt a holistic and collaborative approach towards prevention and containment of antimicrobial
resistance (AMR) in India.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to
stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result,
standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others
The National Programme for Containment of AMR is under implementation in 12th Five Year Plan.
Srimanta Sankardev
Srimanta Sankardev was a 15th16th century Assamese polymath: a saint-scholar, poet, playwright, social-
religious reformer and a figure of importance in the cultural and religious history of Assam, India.
He is widely credited with building on past cultural relics and devising new forms of music, theatrical
performance, dance, literary language.
The Bhagavatic religious movement he started, Ekasarana Dharma and also called Neo-Vaishnavite movement,
influenced two medieval kingdoms---Koch and the Ahom kingdomsand the assembly of devotees he initiated
evolved into Sattras over time, which continue to be important socio-religious institutions in Assam and to a
lesser extend in North Bengal.
Sankardev inspired the Bhakti movement in Assam.

22nd April 2017

Inter-Ministerial Delegation to Participate in Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm Conventions in Geneva (PIB)

The theme of the meetings and the high-level segment will be - "A future detoxified: sound management of
chemicals and waste".
Conference of Parties (COPs) to the BRS Convention include - the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties to
Basel Convention (BC COP 13); the 8th meeting of the Conference of Parties to Rotterdam Convention (RC COP
8) and 8th meeting of the Conference of Parties to Stockholm Convention (SC COP 8).
Basel Convention: Control of trans boundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal
Rotterdam Convention: Hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade
Stockholm Convention: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

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BRS Conventions
The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share
the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.
C-DOTs Public Data Office, PDO will take internet to the masses (PIB)

Telecom minister launched a public data office machine that will work like yesteryears telephone booths to
provide low-cost Wi-Fi service to mobile phone users.
Key facts:
The public data office (PDO), developed by state-run Centre for Development of Telematics (C- DOT), can be
installed at any neighbourhood shop or even on push carts to provide low-cost Wi-Fi powered data packs to
The PDO creates Wi-Fi hotspots using 2G, 3G or 4G signals and connect up to 100 mobile devices at a given time
in a range of 500 metres.
According to C-DoT, in semi-urban or rural areas, the technology will be available in 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHZ bands,
which do not require any regulation for access.
It is part of Digital India Initiative.
The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) :
The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) is the Telecom Technology development centre of the
Government of India. It was established in August 1984 as an autonomous body. It was vested with full authority
and total flexibility to develop state-of-the-art telecommunication technology to meet the needs of the Indian
telecommunication network.
Indian Navy tests land attack Brahmos supersonic cruise missile
The Indian Navy conducted its first test-firing of the sea-to-land attack version of its advanced supersonic cruise
missile Brahmos.
The missile has a strike range of at least 290 km and can hit targets with pin-point accuracy while cruising at
supersonic speeds.
Key facts:
The Brahmos missile is developed by a joint-venture between Russias Mashinostroyenia and Indias Defence
Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The name Brahmos is a portmanteau of the Brahmaputra and
the Moskva rivers.
The missile is a two-stage supersonic cruise missile. The first phase is run by a solid-propellant booster engine.
This launches the missile and takes it to supersonic velocity. It then detaches.
The second phase then kicks in with the liquid fuel ramjet engines that take the missile to cruise speeds of up to
mach 3 nearly three times the speed of sound.
The missile is equipped with advanced embedded software, guidance systems and stealth technology which
increases its precision strike capability.
The warhead that the Brahmos carries is anywhere around 200-300 kgs. While its cruising altitude can go up to
15 km, it can achieve a terminal altitude of 10 metres.
The missile operates on fire and forget principle. It means that after the launch, the missile can make use of a
lot of different flight trajectories as it approaches the target.
One Crore MGNREGA assets geotagged (PIB)

Mahatma Gandhi NREGS has reached a new milestone today by geotagging one Crore assets and putting them in
public domain.
Key facts:
GeoMGNREGA is a unique endeavor of the Ministry of Rural Development in association with National Remote

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Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO and National Informatics Centre. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was
signed by Ministry of Rural Development with NRSC for geo-tagging the assets created under MGNREGS in each
gram panchayat.
Gram Rozgar Sahayak or a junior engineer uploads the photos of assets on the Bhuvan web portal run by ISROs
National Remote Sensing Centre via a mobile app.
In January 2017, Kangra district (Himachal Pradesh) became the first district in the country to geotag all the
assets created under MGNREGA.
Tiangong-2: China's first cargo spacecraft docks with orbiting space lab (The Guardian)

Chinas first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 docked successfully with the Tiangong-2 space lab, marking a major step
towards Beijings goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022.
India-South Korea sign MoU on shipbuilding
A MoU has been signed between India and South Korea for defence industry cooperation in shipbuilding.
The cooperation is part of the Make in India policy.
India has nominated Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL), Visakhapatnam for the collaboration.
Quality Mark Award Scheme for Dairy Cooperatives initiated by NDDB
As part of the innovative initiatives under the White Revolution umbrella Schemes, the Department of Animal
Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has supported the National Dairy Development Board(NDDB) developed
initiative of Quality Mark Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives to promote and encourage enhancement of
safety, quality and hygiene of milk and milk products manufactured by dairy cooperatives.

23rd April 2017

Soon, underwater tunnels will connect Howrah with Kolkata
A gigantic Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) began cutting deep inside the bed of the Hooghly river, commencing
the construction of the first underwater metro tunnel in the country.
By the end of July, two tunnels running parallel will connect the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata located on
either side of the Hooghly.
The tunnels are being dug at a depth of 30 metres below the earths surface and 13 metres below the riverbed.
The twin tunnels, about 520 metres long, are crucial to the much-awaited 8,900 core East West Metro project
that will connect Salt Lake Sector V in the eastern part of Kolkata to the Howrah Maidan across the river.
Indias first sea ropeway to link Mumbai and Elephanta island
Indias first and longest ropeway to connect Mumbai with the famous Elephanta Island in the Arabian Sea is
planned to be constructed by the Mumbai Port Trust.
The 8-km ropeway will begin from Sewri in Mumbais east coast and end at Raigad districts Elephanta Island,
globally renowned for Elephanta Caves, a Unesco World Heritage site.
There has been evidence of settlement on the island from 2nd century BC, but the rock-cut temples are believed
to have been constructed around 5th-6th century AD.
3D-printing conquers glass
Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany mixed nano-particles of high-purity quartz
glass and a small quantity of liquid polymer and allowed the mixture to be cured by light at specific points by
means of stereolithography.
Stereolithography is a form of 3D-printing technology used for creating models, prototypes, patterns and
production parts in a layer by layer fashion using photopolymerisation, a process by which light causes chains of
molecules to link, forming polymers.

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India becomes World No.2 LPG importer
India has become worlds second largest LPG importer, a position that was previously occupied by Japan. China
remains as the worlds top importer.
India has set an ambitious target of increasing LPG usage to cover 80% of the households by March 2019.
India becomes world's 5th largest military spender
India has become world's fifth largest military spender after the expenditure grew around 8.5 per cent in 2016,
according to figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
The US remains the worlds largest military followed by China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

24th April 2017

A step forward for Indo-Bangla ties
The Tripura government has commenced the land acquisition process for the construction of India-Bangladesh
Friendship Bridge over river Feni that demarcates boundaries between the two countries in south Tripura.
Government of India is bearing the entire burden of expenditure towards the construction of the 150-metre
bridge which will connect Sabroom of India and Ramgarh in Bangladesh.
The bridge would facilitate implementation of a protocol India earlier signed with Bangladesh to use Chittagong
sea port as a port of call.
Wax worm caterpillars found to eat Plastics
The wax worm, the larvae of insect Galleria mellonella, is found to possess the ability to biodegrade
polyethylene, which is one of the toughest and most used plastics.
Northeast India's largest IT hub opens in Tripura
Northeast India's sixth and largest Information Technology (IT) hub was inaugurated in Agartala (Tripura) to
boost employment and e-governance besides to export software technology.

25th April 2017

The Paths We Walk (PIB)

Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment inaugurated a Documentary Photo exhibition The Paths We
It has been organized by The National Trust under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration
with Society for Child Development, New Delhi.
Key points:
The Documentary photo exhibition is intended to tackle negative myths of disability and employment of persons
with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disability and Multiple Disabilities.
The photo exhibition is just a glimpse of the vast capabilities of persons with Disabilities.
It has been a joint collaborative effort of NGOs working for the welfare of persons with disabilities.
IDEAS, or Innovations for Development of Efficient and Affordable Systems (The Hindu)

The Centre is set to launch a scheme for students from higher educational institutions to volunteer to offer
innovative, original and practical solutions to problems facing the country and get rewarded for their efforts.
The Human Resource Development Ministry has identified a handful of areas pertaining to which the problem-

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solving skills of students will be tested.
These are affordable healthcare, computer science and ICT, energy (making solar/renewable resources cheaper,
energy efficiency, etc.), affordable housing, healthcare, agriculture, education, water resources and river
systems, affordable infrastructure, defence, cyber security and information security, and environment and
climate change.
The scheme that will invite students to find solutions to problems in these fields - and offer a prize of Rs.1 crore
to the best solution in each field - is to be called IDEAS, or Innovations for Development of Efficient and
Affordable Systems
Goldman Prize for Niyamgiri hero (The Hindu)

Activist Prafulla Samantara was named as one of the six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize for 2017.
He was honoured for his "...historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondhs' land rights
and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine."
Dongria Kondhs:
The Dongria Kondh in southwestern Odisha is one of Indias so-called particularly vulnerable tribal groups.
The Kondhas are believed to be from the Proto-Australoid ethnic group.
Their native language is Kui, a Dravidian language written with the Odia script.
They have a subsistence economy based on foraging, hunting & gathering but they now primarily depend on a
subsistence agriculture i.e. shifting cultivation or slash and burn cultivation or Podu.
First malaria vaccine(MOSQUIRIX) to be tested in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi
The World Health Organization has announced that it is ready to test the first malaria vaccine in the real world
setting in 2018.
The aim of the testing will be to ascertain whether the vaccine will work under real world circumstances or not.
Kenya, Ghana and Malawi have been chosen for taking part in the pilot project.
The vaccine, RTS, S, also known as Mosquirix, was produced by GlaxoSmithKline in 1987 in a public-private
partnership with the PATH Malaria Initiative and with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The vaccine will be given four times and will be administered by an intramuscular injection.
The RTS, S vaccine works by targeting the liver phase of the malaria parasites life cycle as the parasite multiplies
inside the liver after getting introduced into the body by a mosquito bite.
Astronaut Peggy Whitson
Astronaut Peggy Whitson has set a new space record for most days in space by a US astronaut.
She has broken the previous record set by Jeff Williams who had spent a total of 534 days in space.
She was recently launched to the ISS in November 2016 using a Russian Soyuz capsule.
At the time of her return back to Earth, she would have accumulated more than 600 days in space
River Feni
Feni River is a trans-boundary river, originated in the state of Tripura and passes through sabroom town and
finally enters South Eastern border of Bangladesh.
Muhuri is the tributary of Feni, which originates from Tripura and combines with feni near to the region of Bay of
Bengal in Bangladesh.
Muhuri River is also called as the Little Feni.

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26th APRIL 2017
China for govt-level talks on BCIM economic corridor (The Hindu)

Beijing would like to upgrade the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar - Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC) dialogue from
Track I (official diplomacy) to the
"intergovernmental level".
The two-day BCIM meet began in Kolkata.
The BCIM is a sub-regional group to review
economic development of the region while
facilitating the construction of a 2,800-km
economic corridor from Kunming in south-west
China to Kolkata via Mandalay in Myanmar, Imphal
(Manipur) and Silchar (Assam) in India, and Dhaka
and Jessore in Bangladesh.
The idea gained momentum after a meeting
between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2013.
Tiger Dance or Bagha Nacha (Thakurani Jatra festival) (The Hindu)

The biennial Thakurani Jatra festival of Berhampur, Odisha showcases the famous tiger dance or Bagha Nacha.
During the 21-day-long Thakurani Jatra festival, several people, including children, get their whole body painted
like a tiger as homage to Goddess Budhi Thakurani.
It was part of the tribal life in the hilly regions of Bhanjanagar in Ganjam and adjoining Kandhamal districts,
Monkey fever kills one in Goa (The Hindu)

Goa's Directorate of Health Services have intensified their fever surveillance and precautionary measures for the
Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), commonly known as monkey fever, after a woman from Sattari Taluk of North
Goa died of the illness.
Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD) or Monkey Fever:
It is a tick-borne viral hemorrhagic fever endemic to South Asia.
The disease is caused by a virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae, which also includes yellow fever and dengue
The virus has been detected in monkeys in parts of Bandipur National Park, Karnataka.
The symptoms of the disease include a high fever with frontal headaches, followed by haemorrhagic symptoms,
such as bleeding from the nasal cavity, throat, and gums, as well as gastrointestinal bleeding.
Joint operational doctrine for Tri-Services unveiled (The Hindu)

Joint operational doctrine aimed at providing deeper operational synergies among the tri-services was unveiled
by the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee (COSC) and Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba in presence of Army
Chief Gen Bipin Rawat and IAF Chief B S Dhanoa.
The doctrine is aimed at coherently dealing with all possible security threats faced by India such as conventional
and proxy wars.

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This document is the second edition of the joint doctrine.
The first edition of the document was released around eight years ago.
The doctrine proposes joint training of personnel, unified command and control structure.
In addition, it supports tri-service approach to modernise the tri-services.
Space Applications Centre (SAC)
SAC is one of the major centres of ISRO.
It was established in the year 1972. It primarily focuses on the design of space-borne instruments for ISRO
It also develops applications of space technology covering the fields of communication, broadcasting, navigation,
disaster monitoring, meteorology, oceanography, environment monitoring and natural resources survey for
societal benefits.
It is headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

27th April 2017

PM flags off Shimla-New Delhi flight under UDAN scheme
The Prime Minister inaugurated the first UDAN flight on the Shimla-Delhi route and simultaneously flagged off
flights on the Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors.
The regional aviation scheme, which will be in operation for 10 years, envisages providing connectivity to un-
served and under-served cities and towns by reviving existing airstrips and airports.
This would be achieved by providing financial stimulus in the form of central and state government concessions,
as well as viability gap funding for interested airlines to kick off operations while ensuring passenger fares are
kept affordable.
As per the modalities of the scheme, airfare for a one-hour journey of 500 km has been capped at an all-inclusive
charge of Rs. 2,500. For longer routes and flight duration, the pricing will vary.
A single person will be entitled to buy 9 to 40 seats in a flight. However, only 50% of the seats will be sold at Rs
2500 per seat per hour. The airlines can sell the rest of the tickets at market rates.
It is considered as a vital component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), 2016.
NASAs Cassini spacecraft successfully travels between Saturn and its rings (

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is back in contact with Earth after its successful first-ever dive through the narrow gap
between the planet Saturn and its rings.
CassiniHuygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn. It is a sophisticated robotic spacecraft
orbiting the ringed planet and studying Saturnian system in detail.
It is a joint endeavor of NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI).
Cassini is the 4th space probe to visit Saturn and the 1st to enter successfully in its orbit and its mission is ongoing
as of 2016.
Its design includes a Saturn orbiter (Cassini) and a lander (Huygens) for the moon Titan. They are named after
astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens.
ISRO Develops "Solar Calculator" Android App (ISRO website)

An android App for the computation of solar energy potential has been developed by Space Applications Centre
(SAC), ISRO, Ahmedabad at the behest of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India. It is a very
useful tool for installation of PV solar panels for tapping solar energy.
The App provides monthly / yearly solar potential (in kWh/m2) and minimum / maximum temperature at any

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location. It also displays the location on the satellite image and provides azimuth / elevation angles as well as day
length over different time periods in a year.
Following are the major features of the App:
The App provides solar energy potential (in kWh/m2) at any given location
The required location can be keyed in or can be obtained through GPS
It gives monthly and yearly solar potential processed using Indian Geostationary Satellite data (Kalpana-1,
INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR). It also offers monthly minimum and maximum temperature to calculate realistic solar
Location is displayed on image with satellite data in the background
It also provides azimuth and elevation angles, and day length over different time periods in a year.
Obstruction of sunlight due to terrain is also calculated using Digital Elevation Model (DEM)
It also suggests optimum tilt angle for solar PV installation
This App needs internet connection to calculate the results
Hope for preemies as artificial womb
helps tiny lambs grow
Researchers are creating an artificial
womb to improve care for extremely
premature babies and remarkable
animal testing suggests that the first-
of-its-kind watery incubation that so
closely mimics a mothers that it just
might work.
The researchers created a fluid-filled
transparent container to simulate how
foetuses float in amniotic fluid inside a
moms uterus, and attached it to a
mechanical placenta that keeps blood

A shrinking home for endemic birds
Researchers from four American universities who analysed range maps used by the influential global authority,
the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), found that for 17 of 18 bird species, the distribution
was smaller than IUCN estimates..
The Malabar grey hornbill which IUCN classifies as Least Concern and believes is distributed across 2.3 lakh in Kerala and Karnataka. But when researchers used a spatial modelling technique, they found its range
was just 43,060 sq. km, or, nearly 81% less than the estimates. This would put the bird in the Near Threatened
Again, the Nilgiri pipit appears to have lost 88% of its habitat, making it endangered rather than vulnerable.
Indian Oil to build new terminal at Motihari to supply fuel to Nepal
The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) plans to build a new oil terminal at Motihari in Bihar to supply fuel to neighbour
Nepal through the planned pipeline up to Amlekganj in Nepal.
The old terminal at Raxaul, also in the same Indian state, will be closed

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28th April 2017
Judicial performance index proposed
The NITI Aayog has proposed the introduction of a judicial performance index to reduce delays and the
outsourcing of non-core functions of the police to private agencies or other government departments, in a bid to
fix justice system that is in dire need of reform.
Key facts:
The creation of a judicial performance index that could help High Courts and their chief justices keep track of the
performance and processes at district courts and subordinate levels for reducing delay, should be the first step
in judicial system reforms.
The performance index for courts will entail fixing of non-mandatory time frames for different types of cases to
benchmark when a case has been delayed.
The index can also include certain progress on process steps already approved by High Courts and such an annual
evaluation should give judges in High Courts a sense of where they are failing and what they need to fix.
Lokpal panel: CJI among equals (The Hindu)

The Supreme Court has upheld the provision of the Lokpal law giving no primacy to the Chief Justice of India's
opinion on who should be appointed as Lokpal Chairperson and Members.
Key facts:
The Chief Justice of India's opinion need not always get primacy. It is the prerogative of the legislature to decide
whether the opinion of the Chief Justice of India should get primacy.
It is not the mandate of the Constitution that in all matters concerning the appointment to various offices in
different bodies, primacy must be accorded to the opinion of the Chief Justice or his nominee, the court held.
Appointment of Chairperson and members
The members are to be appointed by President on the recommendations of a selection committee. This selection
committee is made up of :
o Prime Minister - Chairperson;
o Speaker of Lok Sabha
o Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha
o Chief Justice of India or a Judge nominated by him / her
o One eminent jurist
Doping as criminal offence up for discussion in NADA seminar (Indian Express)

Advocating a zero tolerance policy towards doping, Sports Minister has asked the National Anti-Doping Agency
(NADA) to consider the possibility of making it a criminal offence at a seminar.
The minister has also directed NADA, the Indian Olympic Association, the National Sports Federations and the
Sports Authority of India (SAI) to adopt a policy of Zero tolerance towards doping.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) was responsible for promotion of sports and along with Anti-Doping in
sports prior to the constitution of the World Anti Doping Agency in 1999, in accordance with the UNESCO
Government of India is one of the Foundation Members of World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) (1999-2002).
WADA, which sets out standards in the fight against doping in sports, adopted the WADA Code on 5th March
2003 at Copenhagen, Denmark.
India one of the State parties signed the Copenhagen Declaration on Anti Doping in December 2004. In terms of
the Code, National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) was registered as a Society on 24.11.2005.

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Signing of Tripartite MOU for broadband services to Post Offices
A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding has been signed among BBNL, Department of Posts and BSNL for
providing broadband connectivity of Bharat Net to Post Offices in rural areas.
The first tri-partite agreement to provide broadband connectivity to about 1.3 lakh, post offices in rural areas and
25,000 sub-post offices for high speed internet connectivity to the rural masses.
Bharat Net is one of the 9 pillars of realising the Prime Ministers vision of Digital India.
9 Pillars of Digital India Program:

US places India yet again on IPR priority watch list (Business Line)

Expressing its disappointment with India for not making adequate changes in its IP laws and regulations despite
announcing its National IPR policy last year, the US Trade Representatives (USTR) office has once again placed
the country in the priority watch list in this years edition of the Special 301 report.
Key facts:
Almost a year after the announcement of its long-anticipated National IPR Policy, India continues to dismiss the
need for substantive changes to its IP laws and regulations.
While the US does not threaten action against countries on the priority watch list, US laws say that retaliatory
measures may be taken if a country slips further and is listed as a priority country which is the worst
India has already told the US that it will not drop Section 3 (d) of its patent Act, which denies patents on items
that are not significantly different from their older versions.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is an agency of more than 200 committed
professionals with decades of specialized experience in trade issues and regions of the world.
USTR was created in 1962 and has offices in Washington, Geneva, and Brussels.
USTR places these countries in three categories. The most egregious violators are featured as Priority Foreign
Countries (PFC), serious offenders are featured on the Priority Watch List (PWL), and less serious offenders in the
Watch List (WL).
Bhubaneswar becomes first Indian city to win the elusive Pierre L'enfant Awards 2017 (ToI)

Bhubaneswar, the capital city of the Indian state Odisha, has become the first Indian city to win the elusive Pierre
L'enfant International Planning excellence award 2017.
The award is given out by the American Planning Association (APA) for good and advanced town planning and
engaging its residents in the planning process.
What is the Pierre L'enfant Awards?
Pierre L'enfant was a French-born American architect and civil engineer

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He is credited for designing the layout of the streets of Washington DC in the United States
The American Planning Association (APA) has named an award in his honour to recognise excellence in
international planning
Indias first ever transgender sports meet in Kerala a runaway hit
Kerala has successfully organised a sports meet for transgenders, the first of its sort in the country.
Poet Sankha Ghosh conferred Jnanpith Award
Eminent Bengali poet and literary critic Sankha Ghosh was conferred the 52nd Jnanpith Award by President.
Any Indian citizen who writes in any of the official languages of India is eligible for the honour.

29th April 2017

Flying to become paperless soon (DigiYatra plan) (The Hindu)

The Government is working on a DigiYatra plan to allow paperless travel for air passengers, including digital
boarding passes at airports.
The Centre is looking to make either Aadhaar or passport mandatory to book air tickets so that passengers
needn't carry a printout of the ticket or document proof while entering the airport.
Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bengaluru airports had shown interest in introducing biometric screening at airport
entry gates.
India to seal pact with Russia-led grouping (The Hindu)

India is set to formalise a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union, clearing the decks for
negotiations on deepening trade relations with the
five former Soviet republics.
Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU):
It is an economic union of states located primarily in
northern Eurasia.
A treaty aiming for the establishment of the EAEU
was signed on 29 May 2014 by the leaders of Belarus,
Kazakhstan and Russia, and came into force on 1
January 2015.
The Eurasian Economic Union comprises Russia,
Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The EAEU introduces the free movement of goods,
capital, services and people and provides for common policies in macroeconomic sphere, transport, industry and
agriculture, energy, foreign trade and investment, customs, technical regulation, competition and antitrust
Provisions for a single currency and greater integration are envisioned in future.
India successfully carries out fresh user trial of Agni-III ballistic missile (Indian Express)

India has successfully carried out a fresh user trial of Agni-III ballistic missile from a defence test facility in the
Abdul Kalam Island.
Agni-III Ballistic Missile:
Agni-III is an intermediate range (3,000 km to 5,000 km) missile with two stages.
It is surface-to-surface nuclear capable intermediate-range ballistic missile indigenously developed by DRDO
under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes. It is 17 metres tall and weighs

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about 48 tonnes.
The missile has been equipped with the hybrid guidance, navigation and control systems along with an advanced
onboard computer.
First book village in the country to come up in Maharashtra
From May 4, Bhilar, a tiny hamlet in Satara district of Maharashtra is all set to become Indias first book village.
Under this initiative, tourists and locals can come and read books, magazines, newspapers stacked at 25
artistically decorated locations around the village.
Some of the books that will be available for the readers are very rare and out of publication, including novels,
reference books about Maharashtra and Marathi culture written by prominent authors.
To make sure that the books are returned by the tourists, tourists will be made to pay a nominal deposit.
Basavanna was a 12th-century philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer who lived in
Karnataka during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I.
He served as the chief minister of his kingdom. Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions
and rituals.
During his tenure as Chief Minister, he introduced many new public institutions like Anubhava Mantapa (hall of
spiritual experience) that would facilitate men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to have a
healthy and open discuss on various spiritual and mundane questions of life.
A 13th-century sacred Telugu text, the Basava purana by Palkuriki Somanatha offers a full account of Basavas life
and ideas.
In 2003, former President of India Abdul Kalam inaugurated Basaveshwars statue in the Parliament of India.
In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the statue of Basaveshwara along the bank of the river
Thames in London.

30th April 2017

Water to the power of four (Four Water Programme) (The Hindu)

By innovating in integrated water conservation methods, Telangana has developed a replicable model of
groundwater recharge, which has improved its water table significantly.
Four Waters, a technique to improve groundwater level and raise three crops a year, is the brainchild of the late
T. Hanumantha Rao, an engineer who implemented it in Gottigarpally village, Andhra Pradesh between 2001 and
2004 under the Drought Prone Area Development Programme.
What made the programme distinct was its use of earthen material, and no cement, to build 163 mini
percolation tanks, 500 hectares of continuous contour trenches and staggered trenches around the hilly areas of
the village.
In the Four Waters concept, the central focus is on using:
1. rain water
2. surface water
3. groundwater
4. maintenance of soil moisture
It provides crops with protection from extreme heat and lack of irrigation.
Four Waters concept has been implemented in all districts of Rajasthan, as well.
It is a traditional theatre form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques
with a unique style and form.

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This theatre style is mainly found coastal region of Karnataka.
Yakshagana is traditionally presented from dusk to dawn.
Yakshagana poetry is a collection of poems written to form a music drama and it is also called as Prasanga.
Tenkutittu (includes Kerala), Badagutittu, Uttara Kannadatittu are the traditional variants of Yakshagana.
India to give Rs 35 cr to children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh
India will give Rs. 35 crore rupees to children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh under the new Muktijodha
scholarship scheme in the next five years.
In addition, all freedom fighters will be eligible for multiple entries on Indian visa for a period of five years. Also,
every year 100 of them will be entitled to free medical treatment in Indian hospitals.
Muktijodha Scholarship Scheme(MSS)
MSS was initiated in 2006 to support the descendants of the 1971 Freedom Fighters.
So far, more than 10,000 scholarships worth Tk150 million have been granted to the descendants under the
It is India who aided Bangladesh to gain independence from Pakistan in 1971.
Bangladesh gives away Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award to individuals and organizations who had
extended the most crucial support for Bangladeshs independence struggle.
Former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the first to be honoured with this award.

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