1. ‘Study in India’ programme to attract foreign students to pursue higher education in India was approved by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) in collaboration with Ministry of External Affairs. It aims at boosting country’s share of international students and subsequently, improves global reputation and rankings of Indian educational institutions. The programme is similar to initiative launched by Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Canada. The programme will provide meritorious foreign students fee waiver and scholarship. It will target students from 30 countries, primarily in Asia and Africa, including Nepal, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Rwanda.
2. Defence Planning Committee (DPC), a new integrated institutional mechanism that will drive country’s military and security strategy and guide defence equipment acquisitions was formed by the Union Government under the chairmanship of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The committee will operate through four sub-committees: on Policy and Strategy, Defence Diplomacy, Plans and Capability Development and Defence Manufacturing system.
3. Gujarat launched 'Haemophilia Jagruti, a magazine to spread awareness about haemophilia, a hereditary and genetic disorder that impairs the body's ability to control blood clotting. The magazine aims to share knowledge and the research being done on Hemophilia that affects over 6000 people in the state.
4. The Union Government have announced to provide smartphones, instead of tablets, to Anganwadi workers to promote Poshan Abhiyaan nutrition scheme. The decision was taken during the first meeting of National Council on India's nutrition challenges under 'Poshan Abhiyaan' which was chaired by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar.The Council has been set up under 'Poshan Abhiyaan' and serves as the apex body to formulate overall policies, guide and monitor all nutrition based schemes.
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1. The immigration authorities of China announced that the country’s southernmost province of Hainan will allow foreign tourists from 59 countries to stay for up to one month without a visa. Group and individual tourists from the 59 countries, including Russia, Britain, France, Germany, and the US, can visit Hainan visa-free from May 1 onwards and stay there for up to 30 days on condition that they book their tour through travel agencies. Hainan had offered a 15-day visa-free stay for group tourists from 21 countries previously.
2. India and Britain on April 18, 2018 signed 9 agreements in the areas of technology, trade and investment during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the United Kingdom, at the invitation of British PM Theresa May. India and Britain signed a framework agreement for the UK-India Cyber Relationship, aiming for a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace. The agreement also calls for cooperation in exchange of information and strategies for effective cyber security incident management and threat response.
3. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia on April 18, 2018 opened its first public movie theatre, after over 35 years of prohibition for religious reasons. A special screening of Marvel superhero film ‘Black Panther’ was held in Riyadh, which was attended by Saudi Culture and Information Minister Awwad Alawwad along with Saudi royalty, celebrities and guest filmmakers. The first public screening will be held on April 20, the tickets for which went on sale on April 19.
Science and Technology:
1. The launch of India’s second lunar mission ‘Chandrayaan-2’ has postponed from April 2018 to October-November 2018 by ISRO. Chandrayaan 2 is India’s second mission to Moon and is advanced version of previous Chandrayaan-1 mission (launched in 2008). It has been developed indigenously by ISRO. It is ISRO’s first inter-planetary mission to land rover on any celestial body. The spacecraft (orbiter) weighs around 3,290 kg and it will orbit around moon and perform objectives of remote sensing moon.
2. ‘Smart Health’- an innovative mobile app to enable ‘ASHA’ community health workers track the growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes in the rural areas was developed by the researchers. The health workers will be trained to identify people suffering from diabetes or are at high risk of the disease in the rural communities.ASHAs will then offer them lifestyle and diet advice and refer them to a doctor for drug treatment.
3. Reliance Jio topped the charts of 4G availability and was able to provide an LTE signal more than 95 per cent of the time to testers in every single region in India as per the London-based OpenSignal. Airtel emerged as the clear leader in OpenSignal's speed metrics across 4G providers in the country.Vodafone had the fastest mobile data connection response times and it got both 3G and 4G latency awards with the lowest ping scores.
4. Indian Scientists have discovered world’s first ayurvedic drug to cure dengue which is likely to be available in market by 2019.
1. UIDAI has introduced updated ‘QR code’ for offline Aadhaar verification to strengthen its privacy measures during usage. The updated ‘QR code’ will only reveal non-sensitive details such as name, address, photo, and date of birth. The new QR code comes with photo and can be used in offline mode to safeguard against any tampering of documents.
2. The NASSCOM (National Association of Software & Services Companies) and TechUK launched new UK-India Tech Alliance. The alliance is aimed at increasing collaboration on skills and new technologies, assisting policy development and encouraging innovation and lay groundwork for roadmap which will be jointly presented in June 2018.
3. RBI norms on resolution of banks' Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) are outcome-oriented and provide banks the flexibility on deciding the contours of resolution. As per the RBI's revised framework on NPAs, banks are required to classify even a day's delay in paying loan instalments as a default. The accumulated NPAs in the Indian banking system have crossed the level of Rs 9 lakh crore.
4. The TRA Brand Trust Report 2018 stated that the State Bank of India is the most trusted bank in the country and ICICI Bank topped the chart among the private ones. State Bank of India topped the chart of Banking and Financial Services Institutions (BFSI) super-category, despite witnessing a drop in its overall brand trust index rankings from 13th in 2017 to 21st this year. The leader among the private banks is ICICI Bank with an overall 38th rank in 2018.Punjab National Bank, which in February witnessed a multi-crore fraud, ranked 6th among the public sector banks (PSB) and is 297th in the overall ranking.
5. India fetched 10th position in the index topped by the United Kingdom, Singapore and Canada as per the 2018 Commonwealth Innovation Index, The Commonwealth Innovation Index has been created in partnership with the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and its annual Global Innovation Index (GII). The index was launched on the sidelines of the ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) as part of a new Commonwealth Innovation Hub. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will conclude on April 20, 2018.
1. The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 on April 18, 2018 unveiled ‘Son of Dreams’ as the official Mascot of World Cup. Born in China on August 8, 2015, Son of Dreams' magical horns give him the power to see in the future, envisioning plays and moves before they actually happen.The mascot finalists were a Chinese dragon ('Son of Dream'), a Siberian tiger ('Speed Tiger') and a lion ('Qiu Qiu').