1. May 15 - International Day of Families is observed every year to promote awareness of issues relating to families and increase knowledge of social, economic and demographic progression that affects families. The theme for 2018 is “Families and inclusive societies”.
2. May 17 - World Telecommunication and Information Society Day was observed across the world to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. The theme of 2018 is Enabling the positive use of Artificial Intelligence for All. The 2018 theme will focus on the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). May 17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention (ITC) in 1969 and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 1865.
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1. The first-ever International Rail Coach Expo (IRCE) was in Chennai, Tamil Nadu from 17th to 19th May 2018. The three day expo was hosted by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai, under the Ministry of Railways, in coordination with CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) and RITES Ltd. It provided unique platform to bring different suppliers under one roof and create synergy for “Make in India”. It saw participation of train enthusiasts, railway suppliers, designers, developers, and general public. Many reputed rail car and equipment builders showcased their technology and products in this expo.
1. A MoU with Bihar Government has signed by the NTPC Limited to improve performance of power sector in the state. It envisages transfer of three power generation facilities (Barauni Thermal Power Station, Kanti Bijlee Utpadan Nigam Limited (KBUN) and Nabinagar Power Generating Company (Pvt.) Limited (NPGC)) in Bihar to NTPC. The transfer of these power stations to NTPC will result in their optimal and efficient utilization, bring power tariff down and benefit people of state.
2. In order to promote bio-fuels in the country, the union cabinet has approved the National Policy on Bio-fuels – 2018. The Salient features of Policy includes i) categorization of biofuels - Basic Biofuels: First Generation (1G) bioethanol and biodiesel. Advanced Biofuels: Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop -in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc.ii) Expansion scope of raw material for ethanol production iii) Use of surplus food grains. iv)Incentives to advanced biofuel v) Supply chain mechanisms. vi)Synergising efforts.
3. $25 million ‘Bharat Inclusion Initiative’ to fund start-ups has launched by Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad’s (IIMA’s) centre for innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship (CIIE). CIIE’s ‘Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund’ aims to provide continuum of solutions to inclusion focused tech entrepreneurs across the pre-incubation, seed and scale-up stage and help them jump to the next orbit. CIIE was founded at IIMA to support entrepreneurs and turn business ideas into viable businesses models.
4. Integrated Centre for Crisis Management (ICCM) was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The ICCM will help nation to respond more effectively to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies. President also launched Multi-leaf collimator system developed by BARC. Trombay Chhattisgarh Dubraj Mutant-1 (high-yielding dwarf variety of Dubraj mutant rice) developed by BARC. President Kovind also remotely inaugurated three other nuclear facilities of Department of Atomic Energy (DEA). They are i) Metal fuel pin fabrication facility.
ii) High-power electron beam melting furnace.iii) Integrated enriched boron tri-fluoride gas generation facility.
5. The in-principle approval for establishing Central University by name of Central University of Andhra Pradesh in Janthaluru village of Ananthapur District of Andhra Pradesh has given by the Union Cabinet. It also approved the proposal for operationalization of Central University in transit campus. Initially, the Central University will be formed as society under Societies Registration Act, 1860 in order to give legal status to it till amendment to Central Universities Act, 2009 is enacted and to enable commencement of academic activities from Academic Year 2018-19.
6. The establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh was approved by the Union Cabinet. It will be first of its kind institute in country in area of mental health rehabilitation. It will function under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. Its objectives are to provide rehabilitation services to persons with mental illness, capacity development in field of mental health rehabilitation, policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation.
7. Under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) the setting up of a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Deoghar, Jharkhand was approved by the Union Cabinet. AIIMS at Deoghar will consist of hospital with capacity of 750 beds, trauma centre facilities, medical college with in-take of 100 MBBS students per year and nursing college with an int-ake of 60 B.Sc (Nursing) students per year. It will also have residential complexes and allied facilities and services, broadly on pattern of AIIMS, New Delhi. It will serve dual purpose of providing super speciality health care to population and help to create large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region to be available for primary and secondary-level institutions and healthcare facilities being created under the National Health Mission (NHM).
8. The initial corpus of Rs.5,000 crore for setting up of dedicated Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF) in NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) was approved by the Union Cabinet. The allocation of MIF under PMKSY will be made in instalments of Rs 2,000 crore and Rs 3,000 crore in 2018-19 and 2019-20. The dedicated MIF will supplement efforts of Per Drop More Crop (PDMC) Component of PMKSY in an effective and timely manner. It will help to bring about 10 lakh ha of land under irrigation through innovative composite, community and cluster based micro irrigation projects with additional investment in MIF.
9. The Supreme Court on May 18, 2018 scheduled the Karnataka assembly floor test on May 19, 2018, – slashing the 15-day window given by governor Vajjubhai Vala to BJP chief minister BS Yeddyurappa to prove his majority. The apex court was hearing a petition moved by the Congress-JD(S), challenging the governor’s decision to invite the BJP to form government in the state.
10. Delhi is projected to become the most populous city in the world around 2028 with a population of about 37.2 million according to the United Nations estimates. Tokyo is the world’s largest city with population of 37 million inhabitants, followed by New Delhi with 29 million and Shanghai with 26 million.
11. Guwahati becomes India’s first railway station run by solar power. Around 2352 solar modules with a capacity of generating 700 kwp has been set up over the roof of the Guwahati railway station.
12. Gujarat government has announced to launch free treatment scheme for the road accident victims. Under this scheme, the state government will bear medical expenses of up to 50,000 rupees for each victim of a road accident in the state for the first 48 hours. The government would reimburse the amount to the hospital concerned upon submission of bills.
13. The Centre's draft Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of Cauvery river water among the southern states was approved by the Supreme Court of India on May 18, 2018. The ruling was passed by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. The court dismissed Tamil Nadu's plea seeking initiation of contempt against the Centre for non-finalisation of Cauvery scheme.The bench rejected the suggestions of Karnataka and Kerala governments over the scheme, terming them as devoid of merits.
14. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has formed 19 teams to take up cleaning of beaches, river fronts and lakes in the country. Under the drive, the ministry would undertake cleaning of around 24 beaches in 9 coastal states and cleaning of river fronts in 24 identified polluted stretches in 19 states. Besides the listed rivers, a special cleanliness drive will also be carried out at the Yamuna riverfront in Delhi. Certain lakes and water bodies have also been identified for cleaning.
15. Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Puri on May 16, 2018 released the results of the Swacch Surveskshan 2018. Indore has emerged as the cleanest city again in India for second year in a row. Indore and Bhopal have managed to retain their positions as the top 2 cleanest cities, as that of previous year. Chandigarh was ranked as the third cleanest city, moving up from Rank 11 in 2017. Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad was named as the fastest moving big city of the Swachh Survekshan 2018, moving up to Rank 36 from the previous 351 in 2017. Jharkhand was declared as the best performing state, followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. In terms of sanitation coverage, around 2133 cities and urban local bodies have been certified as ODF and 2679 cities have self-declared themselves as ODF and await certification. India's Cleanest City - No. 1- Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India's Cleanest City - No.2- Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India's Cleanest City - No.3- Chandigarh,India's Cleanest big City- Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh, India's Fastest Mover big City- Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh,India's Best City in Citizens Feedback- Kota, Rajasthan, India's Best City in Innovation & Best Practices- Nagpur, Maharashtra, India's Best City in Solid Waste Management- Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India's Cleanest Medium City- Mysuru, Karnataka, India's Fastest Mover Medium City- Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, India's Cleanest Small City- New Delhi Municipal Council, India's 'Fastest Mover' Small City- Bhusawal, Maharashtra, Cleanest State Capital- Greater Mumbai, Maharashtra, Fastest Mover State Capital- Jaipur, Rajasthan, Best State Capital in Citizens Feedback- Ranchi, Jharkhand, Best State Capital in Innovation & Best Practices- Panaji, Goa, Best State Capital in Solid Waste Management- Greater Hyderabad, Telangana.
16. Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu launched the Intellectual Property (IP) mascot ‘IP Nani’ during a conference on the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy in New Delhi on 16th May 2018. On the same occasion, an anti-piracy video featuring the Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was also launched. Mascot IP Nani is a tech-savvy grandmother who is shown helping the government and enforcement agencies in combating the Intellectual Property crimes with the help of her grandson ‘Chhotu’, also known as Aditya. This IP mascot will spread awareness about the importance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) among people, especially children, in an interesting manner. This mascot is also in line with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) campaign for the World IP Day 2018 which celebrated the brilliance, ingenuity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world. It also depicts that a strong IP system can support innovative women and everyone in their quest to bring their amazing ideas to the market.
1. The first Essential Diagnostics List, a catalogue of tests needed to diagnose most common diseases along with number of global priority diseases was published by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The essential diagnostics list concentrates on in-vitro tests like tests of blood and urine. It contain overall 113 products which comprises 58 tests for detection and diagnosis of a wide range of common conditions. Remaining 55 tests for detection, diagnosis and monitoring of ‘priority’ diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and human papillomavirus. It aims to address people’s inability to access diagnostic services, which results in them from receiving correct treatment.
2. A comprehensive plan “REPLACE” to eliminate industrially-produced artificial trans-fats from global food supply by 2023 has launched by World Health Organization (WHO).REPLACE is abbreviated in six strategic actions as Review, Promote, Legislate, Assess, Create awareness and Enforce. The campaign provides step-by-step guide in six strategic actions of ‘REPLACE’ package to ensure prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans-fats from global food supply.
Science and Technology:
1. A new frog species named Microhyla kodial or Mangaluru narrow-mouthed frog have discovered by scientists in a small industrial region in coastal Karnataka. Mangaluru narrow-mouthed frog belongs to Microhyla genus and it is small in size measuring just 2 cm long. It is greyish-brown in colour with thick olive-green band on its head, less-prominent dark green bands on rest of its body. It is christened Microhyla kodial after city of Mangaluru (called kodial in Konkani language) from where they spotted it two years ago.
2. To detect and remove arsenic content from water and make it safe and usable by households, the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in collaboration with private company has developed a new device-Arsenic Sensor and Removal Media. The device is very easy to use, very cost effective and anyone can use it to detect arsenic easily. It is capable of sensing soluble arsenic (3) which cannot be easily detected and removed. It can show immediate change in colour in arsenic contaminated water. It provides holistic approach in immediate detection of arsenic contamination levels from available water resources and thereafter produces arsenic-free potable water.
3. A team of scientists led by Matt Rodell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre came to know about the major shifts in the freshwater after studying the data of the NASA’s Earth-observing satellites. The scientists used 14 years of data from the NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites to track global trends in freshwater in 34 regions around the world.
1. The subscriber base of Atal Pension Yojana (APY) has crossed 1 crore subscribers mark since its launch in May 2015 according to Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). Top ten states in APY mobilisation are: Uttar Pradesh (1,401,631), Bihar (1,061,660), Tamil Nadu (814,917), Maharashtra (758,695), Karnataka (686,504). Andhra Pradesh (686,504), West Bengal (551,471), Madhya Pradesh (498,111), Rajasthan (497,962) and Gujarat (486,465). Till date, the scheme has collected Rs. 3,950 crore of contribution from subscribers. It has generated around 9.10% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) since inception till March 2018.
2. BSE Ltd (earlier known as Bombay Stock Exchange) became first Indian exchange to be designated as Designated Offshore Securities Market (DOSM) by United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US-SEC). BSE is Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Mumbai (Maharashtra). It was established in 1875. DOSM status will allow sale of securities to US investors through trading venue of BSE without registration of such securities with US SEC. This will ease trades by US investors in India and also enhance attractiveness of Indian Depository Receipts (IDRs) amongst US investors.
3. The approval for enhancement of budget by Rs.11,330 crore for Network For Spectrum (NFS) project was given by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). With this, total budget for the network for Defence services has now gone up to Rs. 24,664 crore. The NFS project aims at laying alternate communication network for Defence Services. NFS project will boost the communication capabilities of Defence Forces. The project is being implemented by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and will be completed in 2 years period.
4. India’s economy is projected to grow 7.6% in fiscal year 2018-19 according to UN World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP). GDP growth in India is expected 7.5 and 7.6% in fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively. Indian economy is making it fastest growing economy in the world. Growth in India is gaining momentum, underpinned by robust private consumption, slightly more supportive fiscal stance and benefits from past reforms. Though capital spending in India has shown signs of revival, more widespread and sustained recovery in private investment remains crucial challenge in India.
5. The norms for setting up International Financial Services Centres (IFSC) Banking Units (IBUs) by banks in IFSCs were modified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The modification makes mandatory for parent bank to provide and maintain at all times minimum capital of US $ 20 million or equivalent in any foreign currency to its IBU. Moreover, parent bank will be also required to provide Letter of Comfort for extending financial assistance, as and when required, in the form of capital/liquidity support to IBU. However, minimum prescribed regulatory capital, including for exposures of IBU, should be maintained on on-going basis at parent level.
6. The notification for creation of Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) in Department of Commerce was issued by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry. In this regard amendments were made in Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961. DGTR will be apex national authority for administering all trade remedial measures including anti-dumping, countervailing duties and safeguard measures. It will serve as multi service organization drawing upon the skill-set of various officers from various ministries in the field of International Trade,Customs, Revenue, Finance, Economics, Costing and Law.
7. The Supreme Court on May 17, 2018 barred all the high court’s from listening to any plea related to an RBI circular that prohibited dealings in virtual currencies such as the Bitcoin. The bench gave the direction while hearing to pleas seeking direction to the Centre to take immediate steps to restrain the sale and purchase of illegal crypto currency or virtual currency like Bitcoin. The ruling was passed by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
1. Uttam Pacharne was appointed as the regular Chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi by President of India. He will replace ML Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Akademies), Ministry of Culture who was appointed protem chairman of Akademi in March 2018. He will have tenure of three years from the date on which he assumes the charge of his office. He is eminent artist and sculptor and is widely respected person in field of art. He has held various important positions in various government organizations.
2. BJP legislator K.G. Bopaiah was appointed as Karnataka Assembly's Pro-Tem Speaker by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on May 18, 2018 for administering oath to all newly elected legislators on May 19, 2018, ahead of the floor test directed by the Supreme Court.
3. Gina Haspel was confirmed as the first female director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on May 17, 2018 by the US Senate. She was previously serving as Deputy Director under former CIA Director Mike Pompeo in the beginning of Trump’s administration.
4. Union Government initiated action for removal of Allahabad Bank CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian following the release of CBI’s first charge sheet in the USD 2 billion fraud case of PNB. The Allahabad Bank board has also been asked to divest Ananthasubramanian of all powers and initiate further action. Ananthasubramanian was the MD and CEO of the Punjab National Bank from 2015 to 2017.
5. Shashank Manohar was re-elected as the Independent Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for his second term. He was the one who introduced a revised governance structure, including the appointment of the ICC's first independent female director. Following which, Indra Nooyi was appointed as the first independent female Director of ICC. Shashank Manohar became the first Independent Chairman of ICC in 2016.
6. BS Yeddyurappa, Karnataka BJP President, was sworn in as Karnataka’s new Chief Minister on May 17, 2018, ending hours on uncertainty. The oath of the office was administered to two-time former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa by Governor Vajubhai Vala at Raj Bhawan.