1. May 22- International Bio-diversity Day is observed every year to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme of 2018 is ‘Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity’. It marks 25th anniversary of entry into force of Convention on Biological Diversity (at United Nations Environment Progamme Headquarters, Nairobi on 22 May 1992).
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1. The state government of Assam decided to provide pension to 16 lakh senior citizens of the state who are 60 years and above. The pensioners would get 250 rupees per month which would be transferred online. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has directed the Panchayat and Rural Development department to take necessary step in this direction in a bid to empower the senior citizens.
2. Chatra Parivahan Suraksha Yojana is a scheme for safety of girls was launched by the state of Haryana. The main objective of the scheme is to ensure that the girls feel secure at public places, workplaces and while traveling. Under the scheme, all the girl students will get free travel facility from their home to their educational institutions.
3. India received first consignment of 2 million barrels of crude oil from United Arab Emirates (UAE) for its strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) at Mangaluru (on West Coast), Karnataka. Under agreement between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) this first consignment from UAE fill one of two strategic reserve caverns at Mangaluru.
4. Under UDAN scheme the first commercial flight (42-seater ATR aircraft of the Alliance Airlines) of Arunachal Pradesh landed at Pasighat airport or Advance Landing Ground (ALG) in East Siang district. Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, will operate flight services on Kolkata-Guwahati-Pasighat route thrice a week – on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
5. A new software called Nidaan for disease monitoring and strengthening tele-medicine services in the government hospitals was launched by the government of Rajasthan. Nidaan Softwarre will facilitate online entries for monitoring of as many as 46 diseases and healthcare services available for their treatment in different institutions. The software will help for providing presumptive diagnosis and monitoring of seasonal and non-communicable diseases as well as trends of ailments found in specific areas.
6. An ordinance to set up the country’s first national sports university in in Imphal (west), Manipur was approved by the Union Cabinet. The specialised university will be the first of its kind in the country and adopt best international practices. Manipur government has already allocated land for the proposed university.
7. A Draft Passenger Charter defining rights for air passengers has been notified by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation. It aims to improve hassle-free air travel experience of air passengers in the country. The salient features of draft Passenger can cancel air ticket within 24 hours of booking it and if provided travel is to take place after 96 hours, then passenger will be able to cancel ticket without any charge. The cancellation charges will be not more than sum of basic fare and fuel surcharge. Passenger must be informed about flight cancellation between two weeks and 24 hours before flight, etc.
8. The worsening air quality in last two decades has emerged as one of major reasons for high numbers of premature deaths in India according to recent research conducted by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi in collaboration with environmental NGO Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED). The study was conducted 11 north Indian cities i.e. seven in Uttar Pradesh (Allahabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Varanasi and Gorakhpur), three in Bihar (Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya) and one in Jharkhand (Ranchi).
9. The draft Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2018 was unveiled by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Famers Welfare. The draft Model Act seeks to create regulatory and policy framework for contract farming and servives. It not only covers contract farming in agriculture crops but also in livestock, dairy and poultry products. It is aimed at reducing farmers’ risks by creating assured market for their produce at pre-agreed price, while encouraging investment from agribusiness and food processing industries by enhancing productivity and cost efficiency.
10. Model Code of Conduct Violation Reporting App - multi-lingual mobile application was launched by the Election Commission of India (ECI) ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Through this mobile app, ECI intends to encourage larger public participation in checking corrupt practices in elections and ensure free and fair election process. The app will be launched across the country as part of steps taken by ECI to prevent abuse of money and muscle power.
11. India ranked 145th among 195 countries in terms of Healthcare access and quality (HAQ) index in the year 2016. The index was released as part of Global Burden of Disease study released by Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and best known peer-reviewed general medical journal. The study used index to measure quality and accessibility of healthcare, based on 32 causes of death which should be preventable with effective medical care. Each of 195 countries and territories assessed were given score between 0 (lowest)-100 (highest). Top five countries with highest levels of healthcare access and quality in 2016 are Iceland (rank-1st, score-97.1 points), Norway (2nd, 96.6), Netherlands (3rd, 96.1), Luxembourg (4th, 96.0), and Finland and Australia (5th, each with 95.9).
12. Various measures to simplify Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. These measures will be incorporated in DPP-16, the manual governing defence procurement procedure. These amendments form part of ongoing Business Process Re-engineering in Defence Capital procurements of armed forces.
13. 'My MP Rojgar Portal' has launched by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan to provide jobs to youths as per their educational qualification, skills and interest and ensure availability of able candidates to employers as per the need of their business. The portal was launched as a part of the 'Ham Chhu Lenge Asman' Mukhyamantri Career Counselling programme ‘Pahal' in Model School of Bhopal.
14. NCRB Chief Ish Kumar on May 21, 2018 announced that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is in the process of creating a national registry of crimes against women at a seminar organised by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) in New Delhi. The records will be sourced from the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS).
15. The 'National Convention on Rejuvenation of the Krishna River' organised by the Indian Water Council (IWC) was held on May 22, 2018 in Hyderabad, Telangana. The convention was IWC's first event which saw the participation of over 300 delegates of government organisations including Rajendra Singh, the 'Waterman of India'.
16. LED Solar Street Lighting system for Arunachal Pradesh has sanctioned by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development under its Rural Infrastructure Development Fund with a grant of Rs 87.83 lakh. It would be implemented in 4 districts of the state Tirap, Longding, Namsai & Tawang.
17. The introduction of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks in the Madrasa Board was approved by the Uttar Pradesh cabinet. NCERT books in Urdu, Hindi and English languages will be introduced to give students a better training and enhanced skill set in madrasas.
18. The implementation of Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan (CTDP) Project for North Eastern Region (NER) in Meghalaya to improve mobile services was approved by the Union Cabinet. It will be funded by Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). Cabinet also approved enhanced cost of CTDP Project for NER for amount of Rs 8,120.81 crore. CTDP aims to strengthening of telecom network that will result in increase in penetration of mobile connectivity in Meghalaya.It will provide affordable and equitable access of communication, information and governance to people. The project has provision of 2G and 4G mobile coverage in identified uncovered areas of Meghalaya and seamless mobile coverage along National Highways in state.
19. The proposal of setting up 4,072 mobile towers to improve telecom connectivity network in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Areas was approved by the Union Cabinet which was recommended by Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA’s). These states are Jharkhand (1,054 towers will be installed), Chhattisgarh (1,028), Odisha (483), Andhra Pradesh (429), Bihar (412), West Bengal (207), Uttar Pradesh (179), Maharashtra (136), Telangana (118) and Madhya Pradesh (26). This network would be used by security personnel deployed in LWE affected areas. The project will also provide mobile services to help residents in unconnected inhabited villages which will improve economic activities in region.
20. To bridge the gap between theoretical and practical learning the Indian Railways will spend around Rs 350 crore to train 1.5 lakh drivers and assistant drivers through virtual reality techniques. The training will be conducted in 47 centres across zones and the national transporter will soon float a global tender to acquire about 40 simulators for the purpose.
21. VIKALP scheme for passengers in wait-listing to provide berth in another train has been introduced by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation. Under the scheme, passengers from all classes & trains would be able to select 5 trains. However, the scheme does not guarantee a confirmed berth. The passengers would also need to be prepared, as they could be shifted to another train leaving even 12 hours prior to the booked one.
22. The Odisha government has decided to introduce a special mobile application to provide advance information on lightning which has claimed at least 61 lives between April and May 2018. The aim of the initiative is to reduce death toll due to lightning. The mobile application will be developed to alert smart phone users if they are in a lightning zone. The people using smart phone will get information regarding possible lightning in their areas at least one hour ahead of the calamity.
1. The first ever Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) legal experts meeting in Islamabad was hosted by Pakistan since it became a permanent member of the organisation along with India in June 2017. The three day meeting saw participation of legal advisors from eight SCO member states including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan as well as representatives of the SCO-RATS executive committee.
2. A first-of-its-kind collaborative research programme on HIV/AIDS has been launched by Governments of India, Netherlands and Sweden. The collaborative research programme will focus on accessing relevant populations of research interest, and leveraging next-generation technologies and advanced predictive analytics to better understand geographic diversity and different clades of HIV/AIDS virus.
3. Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes has inaugurated his country’s embassy in Jerusalem. Paraguay is now the third country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, following the United States and Guatemala.
4. The United States uninvited China from one of the world's largest international maritime warfare exercises on May 23, 2018. The exercise, held in every two years in Hawaii, involves more than 20 countries from across the world including India, Australia, Japan and the UK. An official statement from Pentagon read that “China's behaviour is inconsistent with the principles and purposes of the RIMPAC exercise and so, it has disinvited the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise.”
5. Nepal became the first country in WHO’s South-East Asia Region to eliminate trachoma, world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. It is an eye disease caused by infection with bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Infection is particularly common in young children. The eye disease was second leading cause of preventable blindness in Nepal in 1980s.
Science & Technology /Defence:
1. BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired from mobile launcher from Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Balasore (Chandipur), Odisha to validate some new features aimed at increasing its life from 10 to 15 years. It has been named after two rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva (river in western Russia).
2. The state of Chhattisgarh would soon be getting a specialised anti-Naxal combat force called the ‘Black Panther’. The force would be set up on the lines of Greyhounds unit, a special force in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh that is dedicated to anti-insurgency operations against Naxalites and Maoists.
3. Under Navika Sagar Parikrama expedition, after circumnavigating around globe in 254 days Indian Navy’s six-member all-women Navy crew onboard of INSV Tarini vessel reached Panaji, Goa on May 21,2018. The expedition was originally scheduled to return in April 2018 after stopovers at four ports, but it was delayed after steering gear was damaged and was forced to take fifth, unscheduled stop at Port Louis for repair. The expedition had started on September 10, 2017 in Goa was aimed at promoting women empowerment aligned with Government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’. It was first-ever all women Asian and Indian circumnavigation expedition of globe. Under this expedition, the crew covered 21,600 nautical miles in Indian-built sailing vessel INSV Tarini that visited five countries and crossed Equator twice. It sailed across four continents and three oceans and passed south of the Great Capes – Leeuwin, Horn and Good Hope. The vessel was skippered by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, and other crew comprised of Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal, P Swathi, and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta. The expedition was completed in six legs, with five stopovers at Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falkland Islands), Cape Town (South Africa) and Port Louis (Mauritius).
4. The use of artificial intelligence to control air circulation, to issue emergency alerts and also for supervision and maintenance work in a 10.28-km-long tunnel in Imphal was launched by the Indian railways for the first time. It will also alert the passenger in case of fire and help in quick evacuation in case of an issue. This system will also be used in the Hyderabad, Mumbai and Ahmedabad metros.
5. A twin NASA satellites GRACE-FO (Follow-On) that will track Earth’s water Cycle i.e. water movement and icemelt have been successfully launch by Space X ( Elon Musk’s). It was launched onbaord of SpaceX’s preflown Falcon 9 Rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US. GRACE-FO is joint project between National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ). It is follow-on mission to original GRACE mission, which had mapped Earth’s water and ice by measuring changes in Earth’s gravity field from 2002 to 2017. GRACE-FO will pick up where GRACE left off to continue study of rising sea levels, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps and other changes in distribution of water on Earth. The two GRACE-FO satellites will orbit together at 490km altitude near-polar orbit, circling Earth every 90 minutes.
6. An asteroid named Oumuamua (or (514107) 2015 BZ509) nestling in Jupiter’s orbit that had migrated from another star system have been discovered by the scientists. The asteroid Oumuamua was actually first discovered in 2014, but after four years of tracking it, scientists were able to determine that it had arrived in our solar system some 4.5 billion years ago – just as Earth was beginning to form. It confirms suspicions of scientists’ that asteroids from other stars have arrived in our solar system.
7. India is preparing to hold a naval exercise with the Southeast Asian nation Vietnam. Three Indian warships– INS Sahyadri, INS Shakti & INS Kamorta entered the Tien Sa Port in Vietnam on May 21. On completion of the harbour phase, warships from the two naval forces would conduct their first joint naval exercise.
8. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that it is the duty of the Border Security Force (BSF) to protect the boundary of the nation, but their duty have no boundaries. The Home Minister also announced that the family of each paramilitary jawan who dies in action will not be given a compensation less than Rs one crore.
9. SURYA KIRAN-XIII- the joint military exercise will be conducted between India and Nepal at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand from May 30 to June 12, 2018.Exercise SURYA KIRAN is a biannual exercise which is conducted alternatively in Nepal and India. Notably, among all the military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries, it is Exercise SURYA KIRAN with Nepal which is the largest in terms of troop participation.
1. Pakistan is listed among top three sources for money laundering in the country in the report released by United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA). The other two countries are Nigeria and Russia. UK is prime destination for foreign corrupt and politically exposed people (PEPs) to launder money. It has identified trade misinvoicing as one of the key mechanisms used for such operations. Investment in UK property, particularly in London, continues to be attractive mechanism to launder funds. The NCA is non-ministerial UK government law enforcement agency.
2. Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited (MCX) - India’s largest commodities exchange platform launched country’s first copper options contracts. The copper option contracts were launched with lot size of 1 tonne in three contracts expiring in June, August and November 2018. The option contract will provide physical market participants additional instrument to hedge their price risk.
3. A Statement of Intent (SoI) to help India leverage power of advanced technologies, including robotics and artificial intelligence by NITI Aayog and ABB India. NITI Aayog will work with ABB across various sectors of economy, such as power and water utilities, industries like food, heavy industries and transport (rail and metro), electric mobility and infrastructure to suggest solutions for digitalization, incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) and AI technologies. Under it, two parties will work towards making key sectors of Indian economy ready for digitalised future and realise potential of AI, big data and connectivity.
4. The ordinance to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), heaving a sigh of relief to homebuyers who have invested in housing projects of real estate companies that have gone bankrupt was approved by the union cabinet. Once the ordinance gets the President’s approval and the proposed changes are incorporated in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, homebuyers will be treated on par with financial creditors in terms of their legal rights.
1. Former Supreme Court Judge CK Prasad has appointed as Chairman of Press Council of India (PCI) for second term by the Government of India. He was earlier appointed to post in November 2014 after Justice Markanday Katju stepped down. His nomination was approved by three-member committee headed by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. PCI is a statutory body with mandate to act as watchdog to oversee conduct of the print media. It adjudicates complaints against and by the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press respectively.
2. JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy was sworn in as the 18th Chief Minister of Karnataka on May 23, 2018. Kumaraswamy was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala. Karnataka Congress leader G Parameshwara was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka.
3. The New York Stock Exchange has appointed Chief Operating Officer Stacey Cunningham as its first female president. She will replace Tom Farley.
4. Pravin L Agrawal has appointed as the part-time official director on its board by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited.
1. Polish author Olga Tokarczuk won the Man Booker International Prize 2018 for her novel ‘Flights’, becoming Poland’s first ever writer to win the award. The novel was first published in Polish language in 2007; and in 2017, it was translated into English by Jennifer Croft. Tokarczuk won the prize for the English translation of her novel ‘Flights’, which narrates multiple journeys in time, space and human anatomy. Tokarczuk shared the prize money of 50,000 pounds with translator Jennifer Croft.