1. March 22- the World Water Day was observed globally with the theme ‘Nature for Water’.
1. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for revision existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Qatar. The purpose of revision is for avoidance of double taxation and for prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. The existing DTAA between India and Qatar was signed in April 1999 and came into force in January, 2000.
2. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for closure of India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI).The purpose of closure is to enhance synergies in channelizing contributions of Indian Diaspora to Government’s flagship programmes such as National Mission for clean Ganga and Swachh Bharat Mission. It also seeks to enhance synergies, improve efficiencies and avoid duplication of work.
3. The Union Cabinet has approved opening of 18 new Indian Missions in Africa over four year period from 2018-2021. Decision in this regard was taken at the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The decision will enhance India’s diplomatic outreach and increase its footprints in resource-rich African continent.
4. The Union Cabinet gave approval for moving official amendments in the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016. The Bill will prevent commercialization of surrogacy including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes. Once the Bill is enacted by the Parliament, the National Surrogacy Board will be constituted. While, the States and Union Territories will constitute the State Surrogacy Board and State Appropriate Authorities within three months of the notification by the Union Government.
5. The Union Cabinet approved the launch of the Centrally sponsored 'Ayushman Bharat -National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM)'.The scheme has the benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year. This cover will take care of almost all secondary care and tertiary care procedures.The scheme aims to target over 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC) database. There will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme.
6. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare granted approval to amend the regulation for admission to PG medical courses in order to expand the scope of persons with disabilities getting the benefit of reservation. With the decision, the seats reserved for people with disabilities for admission to postgraduate medical courses will be increased from 3 per cent to 5 per cent.Now, the people with all mentioned 21 benchmark disabilities as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 can register for admission to medical courses.
7. A special CBI court in Ranchi on March 19, 2018 convicted Rashtriya Janata Dal Chief Lalu Prasad in another scam case in Dumka, Jharkhand and acquitted former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra in the case. The court postponed the judgment as Lalu Prasad filed a petition under 319 CrPC asking the then three officials of the Accountant General, in the 1990s, be made a party to the case.This is the fourth case relating to the fodder scam, for the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from the Dumka treasury.
8. Researchers from the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) have discovered a number of Acheulian artefacts dating to about 1500000 to 150000 years ago from an unexplored site at Ghumarwin in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. The site is close to the site where scientists in the 19th century discovered fossil remains of Sivapithecus, the last common ancestor of orangutans and humans. The discovery of stone tools belonging to the Acheulian age presents the possibility of continuity of the two stone age cultures at the site.
9. The Union Cabinet has given its in principle approval for inclusion of communities, namely ‘Parivara and Talawara’ as synonym of Nayaka at in the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) of Karnataka. This approval fulfils long term demand of these communities for granting ST status in Karnataka. With this inclusion, persons belonging to these communities will be eligible to get ST certificate from Karnataka. They will also be eligible for all benefits meant for ST in state.
10. The Union Cabinet has approved North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS), 2017 to promote employment in North Eastern Region states including Sikkim. NEIDS is combination of the incentives covered under the earlier two government schemes with a much larger outlay. It will have financial outlay of Rs. 3000 crores upto March, 2020.
1. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologised for the data debacle that has dragged the social media giant into a huge controversy and said that he was ready to testify before the Congress. After the news of Analytics Company Cambridge Analytica scandal and facebook’s alleged data breach erupted, politicians called on the social media founder to testify before their legislative bodies within five days. The analytics company is alleged to have a hand in assisting with Donald Trump’s victory in US Presidential Elections 2016, by using unethically gathered data to manipulate voter behavior.
2. A UK-based genomics data platform Global Gene Corp (GGC) and an American genetics company Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC)collaborated to create the world’s largest project of its kind to study Indian population. Both the companies will work to find innovative diagnosis and therapies for rare diseases. Scientists will sequence the exomes of people from the Indian subcontinent in order to gain insights into alternative forms of genes architecture and specified diseases.
Science & Technology/ defense:
1. Google is tying-up with retailers including Target Corp, Walmart Inc, Home Depot Inc, Costco Wholesale Corp and Ulta Beauty Inc to turn product searches into cash. Under a new programme, retailers can list their products on Google Search, Google Express shopping service and Google Assistant.In exchange for these Google listings and linking, the retailers need to pay Google a piece of each purchase, which is different from payments that retailers make to place ads on Google platforms.
1. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) asked people to take due precautions while sharing their Aadhaar information on the internet for availing any service. It asserted that posting of Aadhaar cards on the internet will have absolutely no bearing on UIDAI and not the least on Aadhaar security.The statement came after a few reports claimed that information about Aadhaar may be available from third-party websites and that a Google search may lead to Aadhaar details of several people.
1. Chinese smartphone maker Vivo appointed Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador for India, replacing actor Ranveer Singh. Aamir Khan's films "Dangal" and "Secret Superstar" fetched unprecedented success in China. Aamir will soon be seen in a full-fledged marketing campaign of the upcoming products and a new TV commercial.
2. China appointed American-trained economist Yi Gang as Governor of People's Bank of China. Yi is currently serving as Deputy to incumbent central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan. Yi's appointment was approved during the ongoing session of 13th National People's Congress.
3. Sony India announced the appointment of Sunil Nayyar as its Managing Director (MD) in place of Kenichiro Hibi. Hibi, who was MD of Sony India from 2012 till 2018, has now been appointed as President for Sony Brazil. Nayyar is the first Indian to be appointed as Managing Director for Sony India. He presently holds the position in Sony North America as head of Retail Experience.