1. April 30- Google on April 30, 2018 commemorated the 148th birth anniversary of Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, one of the pioneering figures in Indian cinema, with a doodle. Phalke, who is fondly remembered as Dadasaheb, has the distinction of directing India’s first full-length feature film Raja Harishchandra in 1913.In the doodle, a young Phalke is seen instructing actors, getting behind the camera, and examining rolls of film.
1. FMCG major ITC has joined hands with NITI Aayog to train 2 lakh farmers to increase their income and raise productivity of major crops in 25 “aspirational districts” across seven states namely Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in the country by 2022. The prime objective of increasing net returns from farming through reduction in costs of production and increasing productivity of major crops in each of identified district.
2. Google Arts & Culture in partnership with Ministry of Tourism has unveiled 360-degree virtual reality (VR) video for global ‘Incredible India’ tourism campaign. The video showcases 360-degree view of some of most iconic destinations in India including Delhi’s Qutab Minar, Hampi’s Vitthala Temples, Amritsar’s Golden Temple and Goa’s easygoing vibe. As part of it, Google Arts & Culture will provide users with immersive 360-degree view of India’s heritage, festivity, spirituality and adventure.
3. Uttarakhand High Court declared the practice of solitary confinement as unconstitutional as per the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The practice of solitary confinement not only amounts to additional punishment but also amounts to torture and is violative of basic human rights.The bench made the observations while upholding the capital punishment awarded to two convicts by the lower court in a case relating to the gangrape and murder of a 55-year-old woman.
4. The Environment Ministry has banned plastics in all protected areas around the country and declared them plastic free zones. It has directed states and Union territories to organise awareness campaigns to sensitise people about the issue. The decision has been taken ahead of the World Environment Day that is observed on June 5.
5. Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting Smriti Zubin Irani Minister announced a scholarship for Rs 25000 in commemoration of Deen Dayal Upadhyay for people of Indian Origin who did exemplary work in development of journalism while addressing the 69th Valedictory session of Development Journalism Course at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. On this occasion she also inaugurated National Media Faculty Development Center in IIMC Campus and also launched ECHO Newsletter, Samachar Madhyam and Communicator magazines.
6. A four-day Asia Pacific Regional Workshop of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), jointly hosted by the Union Ministry of Environment and UNCCD Secretariat concluded on April 27, 2018. The four-day Workshop trained the participants in the use of an innovative land degradation monitoring tool by Conservation International, for the reporting process of UNCCD.Participants included delegates from about 40 Asia Pacific countries, as well as representatives from 12 Indian states affected by land degradation, scientists and researchers and line-Ministries.
7. During the celebrations of Ambedkar Jayanti Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Van Dhan Scheme of Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) at Bijapur, Chattisgarh PM also inaugurated first model Van Dhan Vikas Kendra under the scheme in Bijapur. The scheme aims at economic development of tribals involved in collection of Minor Food Produces (MFPs) by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide them sustainable livelihood. Under it, 10 Self Help Groups (SHGs) of 30 Tribal gatherers will be constituted.
8. A MoU have signed between the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and Indian Yoga Association (IYA) to facilitate interaction and cooperation between two organisations to promote wellness, spiritual and cultural tourism in Krishna Circuit. Government is trying to promote Krishna circuit as major tourist attraction under Swadesh Darshan Scheme. It is named after Lord Krishna and is centered on him. Under it, 12 destinations spread across five states have been proposed. The destinations covered are Gujarat: Dwarka; Rajasthan: Nathdwara, Jaipur and Sikar; Uttar Pradesh: Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana, Gokul, Nandgaon and Govardhan; Odisha. They will be developed on principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.
9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 29, 2018 announced that April 28 will be remembered as a historic day in the development journey of India as on this day, every single village of India was electrified. The achievement comes several days before the deadline set by PM Modi, which was May 10, 2018.Leisang, a village in central Manipur's Senapati district, was the last one to receive electricity on April 29, 2018 under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY). Out of 18,452 villages that were without electricity in 2015, 17,181 have been electrified. The others are either uninhabited or classified as grazing reserves.
1. The first Informal Summit was held in Wuhan between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping. The purpose of meeting was to exchange views on overarching issues of bilateral and global importance and to elaborate their respective visions and priorities for national development in context of current and future international situation. Both leaders agreed that simultaneous emergence of India and China as two large economies and major powers with strategic and decisional autonomy have implications of regional and global significance.
2. For first time, arch rivals India and Pakistan are taking part in Peace Mission, a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia to be held in September 2018. Peace Mission counter-terror military exercise will be held in the Ural mountains of Russia and almost all SCO member countries are taking part in it. Its main aim is to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries
3. To commemorate 2562nd Buddha Jayanti, International Buddhist Conference was held in Lumbini, Nepal on 29 and 30 April 2018. The theme of the conference was ‘Lumbini Nepal: The birthplace of Lord Buddha and the fountain of Buddhism and world peace’. The basic objective of conference was to disseminate teachings of Buddha and spread messages of nonviolence, brotherhood, co-existence, love and peace to international community.
4. In 2018 Special 301 Report, the USTR has placed 12 countries on its Priority Watch List. The Office of United States (US) Trade Representative (USTR) has once again placed India on ‘Priority Watch List’ in its annual Special 301 Report on the state of intellectual property protection. Other countries on list are Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine, and Venezuela. Special 301 Report identifies US trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce IP rights or deny market access to its innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights.
Science & Technology/ Defence:
1. The first ever mock exercise was conducted by the National Disaster Response Authority (NDMA) which is aimed at enhancing preparedness of Airport Emergency Handlers (AEHs) to respond to CBRN emergencies at airports. CBRN emergencies pertain to threats emanating due to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear material. The exercise was based on suspected Ebola outbreak scenario. The mock drills with simulated situations of biological disasters are conducted by NDRF regularly to fine tune response mechanism in case of threats arising out of usage of biological agents.
2. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved Capital Acquisition Proposals of the services valued at over Rs 3687 crore. DAC approved procurement of DRDO’s designed and developed NAG Missile System (NAMIS) at the cost of Rs 524 crore. The DAC also approved procurement of thirteen 127 mm calibre guns for the Navy. The guns will enable naval ships to provide fire support and engagement of targets on the land.
3. Indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas successfully fired Derby air-to-air beyond visual range missile (BVRM) off the Goa coast. Derby is short to medium range BVR Air-to-Air missile. It is a dual-use missile (air-to-air and surface-to-air).It is developed jointly by Israeli armament development agency Rafael and Israel Aircraft Industries MBT. It has maximum effective range of about 50 km. The missile weighs around 118 kg light and is 3.8 metres long. Its weight allows it to be adapted to various modern fighter aircraft.
1. Nifty equity savings index that will serve as benchmark for equity saving funds offered by various mutual funds has launched by the National Stock Exchange’s (NSEs) arm India Index Services & Products Ltd (IISL). The index is total return index capturing price return and dividend or coupon income. The index will capture performance of portfolio having exposure to equity, equity arbitrage and debt instruments in similar way to the investment philosophy of equity savings funds.
2. Global credit rating agency Fitch has kept India’s sovereign rating unchanged at ‘BBB-‘ with stable outlook. This rating is at junk bond or lowest investment grade with stable outlook. A rating upgrade changes profile of country and makes it attractive to investors. In 2017, Moody’s had upgraded India’s rating (to Baa2 from Baa3) after gap of nearly 14 years, while Standard & Poor’s (S&P) retained its BBB- rating with stable outlook.
3. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has further liberalised External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) Policy by including more sectors in the window in a bid to facilitate cheaper access of overseas funds to Indian companies. ECBs are commercial loans borrowed from foreign sources for financing the commercial activities in India. It may be bank loans, securitised instruments, buyers’ credit, suppliers’ credit, foreign currency convertible bonds, etc.
1. National Intellectual Property (IP) Award 2018 in category “Top R&D Institution/Organization for Patents and Commercialization” was awarded to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on the occasion of World IP Day (26 April).
2. Sitanshu Yashaschandra (Gujarati poet, playwright and academic) was selected for 2017 Saraswati Samman for his collection of verses (poetry) titled “Vahar” published in 2009. The award has been named after Indian goddess of learning Saraswati. It carries cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh, a citation and a plaque of goddess Saraswati. Saraswati Samman is considered one of the highest literary awards in India. It was established in 1991 by KK Birla Foundation (which also gives Vyas Samman for Hindi, and Bihari Puraskar for Hindi and Rajasthani writers of Rajasthan.
3. Commonwealth Games champion Neeraj Chopra has been recommended by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.The federation has nominated PT Usha and India youth team coach Sanjay Garnaik for the Dronacharya Award. Bobby Aloysis, Kuldeep Singh Bhullar and Jata Shankar have been recommended for the Dhyan Chand Award, while T.P. Ouseph has been recommended for Life Time Achievement Award.
1. Kavinder Gupta, who resigned as the Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on April 29, 2018, was sworn-in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, replacing BJP colleague Nirmal Singh.