1. April 24 - National Panchayati Raj Diwas (Day) is celebrated every year since 2010.This day marks the passing of Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24 April 1993. The 73rd Amendment 1992 added a new Part IX to the constitution titled “The Panchayats” covering provisions from Article 243 to 243(O); and a new Eleveventh Schedule covering 29 subjects within the functions of the Panchayats.
2. April 25-World Malaria Day (WMD) is observed every year to recognise the global efforts to control preventable vector borne disease malaria. The theme of 2018 WMD is “Ready to beat malaria“. Malaria is mosquito-borne infectious disease most commonly transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquito.
1. Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan at Ramnagar, tribal-dominated district of Madhya Pradesh was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on National Panchayati Raj Day (24 April). It is central government scheme that aims at making rural local bodies self-sustainable, financially stable and more efficient. It seeks to address critical gaps that hinder success of Panchayats by enhancing their capacities and effectiveness, and promote devolution of powers and responsibilities. It will be implemented during period from April 2018 to March 2022 with outlay of Rs. 7255 crore.
2. Letters of Intent have been awarded to 9 agencies for 22 monuments under Phase-IV of Adopt a Heritage Project: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan Scheme by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State/UTs Governments in New Delhi. This Scheme aims to preserve rich cultural and natural heritage and to promote tourism across length and breadth of our country. Under it, selected public sector companies, private sector companies and individuals will develop tourist amenities at heritage sites. They are being called as ‘Monument Mitra’ and adopt the sites essentially under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity.
3. The Union Government, Madhya Pradesh Government and World Bank have signed $210 million loan agreement for Madhya Pradesh Rural Connectivity Project. The project will cover 10,510 km stretch of rural roads in Madhya Pradesh that fall under Chief Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (CMGSY) program. Of this 10,000 km will be upgraded from existing gravel to bituminous surface roads, while 510 km of new roads will be built to same bituminous surface standard. It will enhance rural road connectivity instate which will open up opportunities for economic development and access to social services for beneficiary communities in the state and help in reducing poverty. The project will focus on improving road safety by collecting accident data and analysing it at central and state levels through implementation of Road Accident Database Management System (RADMS) and strengthen road safety capacity at central level and focus on training territorial waters i.e. 12 nautical miles.
4. A Loan Agreement has signed with the World Bank for IBRD credit of US$ 125 (equivalent) for Innovate in India for Inclusiveness Project by the Union Government (Ministry of Finance) to support India in developing an innovative biopharmaceutical and medical devices industry, which is globally competitive. The projects seeks to achieve its objective by bridging critical skill and infrastructure gaps to promote affordable and innovative healthcare products generation for inclusive development and increasing competitiveness in India. The project will support Union Government’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Program (BIRAC). It mainly aims to leverage India’s potential and capability to deliver safe, effective and low-cost vaccines to tackle a host of diseases that affect billions of people around the world.
5. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the centrally sponsored scheme ‘National Bamboo Mission’ (NBM) under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) for the remaining period of Fourteenth Finance Commission (2018-19 & 2019-20). The National Bamboo Mission will ensure integrated development of the bamboo sector by establishing effective linkage of farmers with industry. Besides, the CCEA also approved the Empowerment of Executive Committee for formulation of guidelines of the National Bamboo Mission and to make the changes therein.
6. The state cabinet of Jammu and Kashmir on April 24, 2018 approved the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 that provides death penalty to the rapists of children below the age of 12 years.
7. The Supreme Court on April 24, 2018 asked the Centre and all the States to remove all the provisions that refer to leprosy as a disability from statute books. The move came after the apex court observed that the leprosy is curable and patients suffering from it should not be victims of social stigma. The Supreme Court bench noted that the references to leprosy as a disability in the written laws led to the “statutory stigma.” And these laws must be amended to bring in the parity as with the advancement of medical science, leprosy is no longer an incurable disease.
1. A giant mosquito with a wingspan of 11.15 centimetres was discovered by the scientists in China’s Sichuan province. The mosquito belongs to the world’s largest mosquito species Holorusia mikado. Earlier, this mosquito species was first found in Japan and normally have wing span of about 8 centimetres.
2. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is tying up with US and Finland to develop new pollution-forecast system that will help anticipate particulate matter (PM) levels at least two days in advance and at greater resolution. Currently, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), run out of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, serves as apex forecaster of pollution trends in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad. It generates likely air quality profile for a day in advance, for these cities. The new system will jointly develop with expertise from Finnish Meteorological Institute and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). SAFAR will continue to be the backbone for pollution forecast.
3. India and Mongolia agreed to explore ways to identify new areas of cooperation in all sectors of mutual interest and to enhance bilateral trade and investments. The announcement came during the meeting of Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee between Mongolian Foreign Minister D Tsogtbaatar and Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Ulaanbaatar.During the Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee meeting on Cooperation, the two sides discussed global challenges, particularly the scourge of terrorism and agreed to collaborate bilaterally to stop those who extend support to terrorist outfits. Both the sides also agreed to explore the possibility of launching direct air connectivity between New Delhi and the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.The two countries agreed to remove institutional and logistical impediments to boost trade, tourism and people to people contacts.
Science and Technology/ Defence:
1. In a bid to boost defence cooperation with the friendly countries, the Union Government is planning to gift obsolete weaponry that can be refurbished at minimal cost. Specific military platforms being looked under this proposal are artillery guns, armoured vehicles, helicopters, naval patrol vehicles and radar systems that are obsolete or nearing obsolescence. Fulfilling the requests of these countries will open way for deeper strategic engagement with these countries. It will also pave way for long-lasting partnership.
2. ‘Sagar Kavach’- two-day coastal security exercise to strengthen and assess the loopholes in the coastal security mechanism was held along Kerala coast. The objective of the exercise was to provide seamless seaward cover along coast by all concerned security agencies from coastal belt area to limit of territorial waters i.e. 12 nautical miles. The exercise saw participation of Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Indian Navy, Coastal Police and Marine Enforcement wing and various other security stakeholders. It saw participation of three ships of India Navy, 10 of ICG, four fishing boats, besides 20 coastal police stations from Vizhinjam to Kasaragod.
3. World’s smallest land fern named Malvi’s adder’s-tongue fern (Ophioglossum malviae) have discovered by the researchers inAhwa forests of Western Ghats in Gujarat’s Dang district.The fingernail-sized fern belongs to group known as adder’s-tongue ferns, named after their resemblance to snake’s tongue. Its size is just one centimetre (the most similar adder’s-tongue fern is 10 cm tall). Its minuscule seeds (called spores) has unique thick outer layer which is not present in similar species. It is differed from similar ferns in not just size but also in other complex fern features too.
4. NASA will start work on its Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway by early 2019 when it will award the first contract for the program. The lunar platform will be NASA's planned ‘staging’ area for studies of the moon and the deep-space environment. It will eventually also function as a gateway space station for Astronauts travelling to and from Mars.
Economy: 1. The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under the NITI Aayog will be launching the Atal New India Challenge on April 26, 2018. Under the Atal New India Challenge, AIM will invite prospective innovators/MSMEs/start-ups to design market-ready products using cutting edge technologies across 17 focus areas such as Climate Smart Agriculture, Smart Mobility, Predictive Maintenance of Rolling Stock, Waste Management etc. Applicants who will be able to show capabilities, intent and potential to utilise these technologies will be awarded grants of up to Rs 1 crore.