1. April 8 - International Romani Day 2018 or International Roma Day was celebrated all over the world. It was officially declared at the fourth World Romani Congress of the International Romani Union (IRU) in Serock, Poland, in 1990. This day was celebrated to remember Romani culture and creates awareness on issues faced by Romani people.
Tamil Nadu :
1. ‘Uzhavan’ (farmer)- a bilingual mobile application in a bid to use technology for benefit of farmers was launched by Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K. Palanisamy. The app available in Tamil and English language will allow ryots to have access to nine types of services, including details about their crop insurance. It will also provide information on available stocks of seeds and fertilisers in local government and private stores. Tamil Nadu Government also launched ‘Amma Bio-Fertiliser’ scheme named after late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. It is aimed at better management of nature farming and help boost and maintain soil fertility.
1. India has agreed to build strategic railway link between Raxaul in Bihar and Kathmandu in Nepal to facilitate people-to-people (P2P) contact and bulk movement of goods. This announcement was made after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma. The proposal to link Raxaul to Kathamandu with railway line comes nearly two years after China in March 2016, agreed to construct strategic railway link with Nepal through Tibet with apparent aim of reducing landlocked Nepal’s dependence on India for transit connectivity. The new electrified rail line between Kathmandu and Raxaul will be financed by India. As first step towards building railway connectivity, India in consultation with Nepal will carry out preparatory survey work within one year. There are three other railway projects in pipeline between both countries viz. Nautanwa-Bhairahawa, New Jalpaiguri-Kakarbhitta and Nepalgunj Road-Nepalgunj.
2. Madhubani railway station got complete makeover with Mithila paintings. The makeover project was unique initiative of Indian Railways to experiment with local artists voluntarily painting works in short span of two months. More than 225 artists, 80% of them women, volunteered to paint station free of cost. The total wall area of railway station covering area more than 14,000 sq ft has been fully painted with various themes under traditional Mithila painting style.
3. The two-day Assam Spring Festival was held at Manas National Park organised by Indian Weavers’ Association and Swankar Mithinga Onsai Afat, an association of reformed poachers in Manas. The aim of the festival was to promote local food and culture of fringe villagers. It also attempted to create model of alternative livelihood through food, handloom and culture.
4. Uttarakhand’s second Mega Food Park in Udham Singh Nagar district inaugurated by Union Food Processing Industries Minister, Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Central Processing Centre (CPC) of this Mega Food Park will have a Multi-Purpose Cold Storage, Aseptic Brick Filling Line, Dry Warehouse, Fruit & Vegetable Processing Line, Quality Control & Food Testing Lab and other related food processing facilities. This Mega Food Park will benefit around 25000 farmers in Udham Singh Nagar district as well as neighbouring districts of Nainital, Garhwal, Almora and Champawat. Besides, it will also provide direct and indirect employment to 5000 persons. Uttarakhand’s first Mega Food Park is located at Haridwar and has already become operational.
5. Kerala State Government will start a ‘community radio’ to update farmers about the latest developments in the sector in May-June 2018 under the Farm Information Bureau (FIB) of the Kerala State’s Agriculture Department. This ‘community radio’ will serve as a platform to provide range of information to farmers including climate change and environment issues, tips and information on various aspects of agriculture and agrarian crisis and alerts. This will be the first such community radio in India, under Government initiative to get connected with the farming community.The farm radio will start broadcast from Kuttanad in Alappuzha district of Kerala and will serve farmers in a 20 square kilometre radius in the region. Kuttanand was once popularly known as the ‘rice bowl of Kerala.
6. 13th edition of Goa fest organised by the Advertising Club along with the Advertising Agencies Association of India was held at Grand Hyatt Hotel, in Bambolim, Goa from 5th to 7th April,2018. Social Street won the Creative Agency of the Year award, with three gold, seven silver and seven bronze metals and a score of 94. Social Street was started by Pratap Bose three years ago. Early Man Film won the Grand Prix in Creative Abby Awards.
1. President Ram Nath Kovind embarked on three-nation official state visit to African countries of Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland and Zambia from April 7 to 12, 2018. It will be first-ever visit by any head of state of India to Equatorial Guinea and Swaziland. Indian President’s visit to Zambia will be taking place after 29 years. Earlier in March 2018, President had undertaken two-nation visit to Madagascar and Mauritius. It will be overall President Kovind’s visit third visit to African continent since he took office. The visit will help to further deepen relations between three African countries.
2. With introduction of sugar levy, UK joins few countries, including Mexico, France and Norway that have introduced similar fat taxes. The Soft Drinks Industry Levy also known as soft drinks sugar tax or sin tax or sugar tax came into force in United Kingdom as part of government’s plan to combat obesity and sugar related disease. The Soft Drinks Industry Levy was announced in 2016. It is based on levels of sugar in drinks, with most sugary drinks paying highest tax. Drinks containing 5 grams of sugar per 100ml taxed are taxed at 18 pence per litre, and those with more than 5 grams per 100ml taxed at 24 pence per litre.
3. Japan activated its Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB), its first marine unit since World War Two on 8 April,2018. The marine unit has been activated to counter invaders who attempt to occupy Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea. Japan fears that those islands are vulnerable to attack by China.
Science and Technology/Defence:
1. “Desert Tiger 5”- joint military exercise between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Malaysia which aimed at sharing expertise and enhancing joint military actions in Dubai, UAE was concluded . It was aimed at improving combat readiness, raising combat efficiency and enhance interoperability of the ground forces of both the countries.
2. IHHC (India Home Health Care) has become the first home health care company to create a dedicated ICU simulation lab to train nursing staff, at its Bengaluru facility. The ICU simulation lab recreates real-life scenarios through patient simulators, digitalised video, computer charting, electronic supply, static mannequins, etc. Through this, IHHC will introduce critical care at home services. IHHC customers can now enjoy enhanced care service in the comfort of their homes.
1. Ganga Hariteema Yojana (also known as Ganga Greenery scheme) was launched by Uttar Pradesh Government in 27 districts of the state located on the bank of river Ganga. It was launched by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a function organised on bank of Sangam the confluence of rivers of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati. The scheme aims at enhancing green cover in catchment areas of river Ganga and control land erosion. Under it tree plantation will be carried out in 1Km areas from banks of river. General people will also be encouraged for tree plantation on their private lands under ‘One Person One Tree’ slogan.The scheme will be carried out by September 16, 2018 which is observed as Ozone Day.
2. The Reserve Bank of India switched back to gross domestic product (GDP) model from the gross value added (GVA) methodology to provide its estimate of economic activity in the country. The switch to GDP is mainly to conform to international standards and global best practices. The GVA methodology gives picture of state of economic activity from producers’ side or supply side whereas the GDP model gives picture from consumer’s side or demand perspective. Government had started analysing growth estimates using GVA methodology from January 2015 and had also changed the base year to 2018 from January 2018.
3. Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in consultation with the Central Government, hiked the foreign portfolio investors (FPI) investment limit in Central government securities (G-Sec). The FPI investment limit in G-Sec has been hiked from 5 per cent of outstanding stock now to 5.5 per cent in Financial Year 2018-19 and 6 per cent in Financial Year 2020.
1. The Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Award for 2018 is being awarded to Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma. She is an actor and producer in the Bollywood film industry. She has been promoting content-driven or experimental cinema, and encouraging fresh talents, through her production company Clean Slate Films.
1.India’s Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna pair won Davis Cup by defeating China’s Gong Mao Xin and Zhang Ze . Leander Paes secured his 43rd doubles win of his career in the competition, in Tianjin, China. He has broken the 46-year-old record of Italian player Nicola Pietrangeli and become the Davis Cup’s most successful doubles player. 5-7, 7-6, 7-6 in the second round of the zonal Davis Cup tie.