Current Affair of April 2021

National

1. The Odisha state government has proposed a second biosphere reserve in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri. It is a mountain in the Gajapati district of the state. It is at an altitude of 1,501 metres. Mahendragiri is also the second-highest peak in the state. The area of the proposed 2nd biosphere reserve of the state- Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve is approximately 470,955 hectares.

2. The TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Limited), Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Government of India have launched two interesting competitions for the tribal people. They are “Be the Brand Ambassador of Tribes India” and “Be a Friend of TRIBES INDIA” contest. The contests were launched in association with MyGov.in.

3. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recently amended the rules of thermal power plants emission standards. The new rule has extended the deadline for the thermal power plants within ten kilometres of National Capital Region and in cities with more than ten lakh population to comply with the new emission norms by the end of 2022. Earlier these power plants were required to comply with the revised norms by December 2019.

4. Odisha will celebrate its 85th foundation day of the state on April 1. The day is also known as ‘Utkal Divas’. The day marks the date when the state became independent in the year 1936. Utkal Divas or Utkala Dibasa or Odisha Day is celebrated on April 1 every year. The day is celebrated in the memory of the struggle for achieving a separate identity for the state that was once part of Kalinga ruled by emperor Ashok, and later by Kharavela.

5. Recently, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a video message promised to implement Article 244 (A) of the Constitution in order to safeguard the interests of the people in tribal-majority districts of Assam. Article 244(A) of the Constitution allows the creation of an ‘autonomous state’ within Assam in certain tribal areas. It was inserted into the Constitution by the Congress government in the year 1969. It also includes a provision for a Legislature and a Council of Ministers.

6. The Haryana State Government recently added several new provisions to maintain the decorum of the State Assembly. The provisions have been included based on the recommendations made by the committee constituted by the Speaker of the Haryana State Legislative Assembly. A new provision has been added to Rule 76. According to the new rule, at least two ministers should be present at every sitting of the house.

7. The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) operating under Ministry of Tribal Affairs recently launched the “SANKALP SE SIDDHI”. It is a hundred-day drive. The main aim of the drive is to activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras located in tribal villages. It aims to cover 1,500 villages in India in hundred days.

8. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently approved the “National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021”. The policy focuses on early screening and prevention of rare diseases. This is to be achieved through Health and Wellness Centres. The screening is to be supported by the Nidhan Kendras set up by Department of Biotechnology.

9. The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan recently launched the Integrated Health Information Platform. According to the health ministry, India is the first country to adopt such an advanced surveillance system. The Integrated Health Information Platform is to operate under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

10. The Ministry of Road Transport recently announced that the National Register for Driving Licenses is to be created. This is being done to remove duplication of driving licenses in the country. Most of the states are already on the SARATHI portal of National Informatics Centre. These states have been instructed to migrate to the newly created national register.

11. The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind recently promulgated the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021. The ordinance will allow pre-packaged insolvency resolution process for MSMEs. The Pre-packaged Insolvency Resolution Process is called PIRP. The ordinance introduces a pre-packaged insolvency resolution process for corporate persons classified as MSMEs under the MSME Development Act, 2006. Chapter III-A has been introduced to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 under the amendment.

12. The Securities and Exchange Board of India recently announced that it will not extend the deadline to separate the posts of Managing Director and Chairperson. In April 1, 2020, SEBI asked the Indian companies to separate the roles of chairperson and Managing Director. However, a time period of two years was provided for compliance. Now the regulator has issued a warning that this deadline will not be extended. The announcement comes as by the end of December 2020, only 53% of top 500 entities had complied with this provision.

13. The World Economic Forum has released the Global Gender Gap Report 2021. India has seen a decrease in its ranking on the index by 28 places. India has been ranked 140th among 156 countries on the index. With this, India became the third-worst performer in South Asia. As per the index, India has closed 62.5% of its gender gap to date.

14. The National Statistical Office operating under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) recently released the Women and Men in India report. The report consolidates the crucial socio-economic indicators that portray gender situation in the country. This is the twenty second issue in its series. The report is published annually by the MoSPI.

15. The ARWU (Academic Ranking of World Universities) is also called Shanghai Ranking. Around fifteen Indian Universities have made it to the ARWU, 2020. The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore has secured the top position among the higher education institutes in India. Calcutta University secured third position among the higher education institutes in India.

16. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) tied up with the Gamapp Sportswizz Tech Private Limited to launch “LITTLE GURU” application. It is a specialized mobile application for learning Sanskrit. Little Guru is a gamified application. It teaches Sanskrit in an interactive platform. This makes learning easier. It is world’s first Gamified Sanskrit learning application.

17. The Union Minister of Tourism and Culture Shri Prahlad Singh Patel recently inaugurated the first online exhibition of Ramayana. The exhibition will show case 49 miniature paintings. These paintings have been collected from the National Museum in New Delhi. The paintings were dated between 17th century and 19th century.

18. A team of scientists from the Bombay Natural History Society recorded a new species of bird. It has been identified as the three banded Rosefinch. The new bird species was identified while exploring the high-altitude coniferous forests of Arunachal Pradesh.

19. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari recently announced that the project of Khadi and Village Industries (KVIC) called RE-HAB has become a huge success. Thus, it is to be implemented in other states as well. This includes Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.

20. The US Climate Envoy John Kerry was on a four-day visit to India. During his visit he met the Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar. During the meet, the leaders discussed several issues including joint research and collaboration and Climate Finance.

21. A new study published in the journal Biological Conservation says that many animals and plants might face extinction if green house gas emissions continue to rise. All the Endemic species in islands are at high risk of extinction due to climate change. Four out of every five endemic species in mountains are at the high risk of extinction due to climate change.

22. Every year the National Maritime Day is celebrated on April 5 in India. The first National Maritime Day was celebrated in 1964. The day is dedicated to seafarers. The National Maritime Day is celebrated every year to support global economy through sea transport. It also supports safe and sound environmentally responsive way of transporting goods from one part of the world to the other.

23. Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre is to attend the Education Ministers meet of E9 countries. The meeting is to be held under the following theme: E9 initiative: Scaling up digital learning to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4. During the meet, the leaders are to create an initiative on digital learning and skills. The initiative is to target marginalised children and youth. The initiative will mainly accelerate three of the 2020 Global Education Meeting objectives.

24. The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet recently approved the Uttar Pradesh Regulation of Urban Premises Tenancy (second) Ordinance, 2021. The ordinance will reduce the tenancy disputes. The ordinance makes it mandatory to sign contract will to rent out a property. This is being done to safeguard the interests of both the tenant and the owner.

25. The Assembly Committee on Women Empowerment recently submitted its report to the Meghalaya Government. The Committee was led by Ampareen Lyngdoh. The Committee has found that three out of every thousand pregnant women in the state are testing positive for HIV in the state. According to the Committee, there are five thousand plus cases of HIV/AIDS in Meghalaya. The number of cases in the state is increasing alarmingly.

26. The Kerala Health Department is to launch a mass vaccination drive called the “Crushing the Curve”. Kerala has recently witnessed a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases after the assembly elections. The number of COVID-19 cases is increasing at 700 to 1000 per day. The Health sector of Kerala had been outperforming in recent times.

27. The Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently launched a fourteen day “Mask Abhiyan” initiative to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The main objective of the initiative is to turn the use of mask into a habit. This will play a huge role in controlling the current resurgence of COVID-19. Also, the Odisha State Government has increased the fines for violators from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000.

28. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry recently notified Copyright (Amendment) rules, 2021. The amendment has been made to bring the existing Copyright rules in the country with parity with the other relevant legislations. Currently, the Copyright regime of India is governed by Copyright Act, 1957 and the Copyright rules 2013.

29. The Ministry of Civil Aviation recently granted permission to the Central Mine Planning Design Institute to survey the coal field areas of Coal India Limited. According to the permission granted, the drones shall be deployed to monitor the mapping and surveying activity, inspection of coalfield. This is a conditional exemption and is valid till April 4, 2022. The Standard Operating Procedure to the Central Mine Planning Design Institute for flying the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in the coalfield areas says that exemption from Ministry of Civil Aviation must be obtained from UAS Rules, 2021 before operation.

30. The Supreme Court recently refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) of a BJP leader that sought directions to ban superstition, black magic, and fraudulent religious conversions. The Apex court pronounced that the PIL violates Article 25 of the Constitution. According to the bench headed by Justice R F Nariman, that pronounced the judgement, the word “propagate” in Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees right to religion.

31. Every year India celebrates Ambedkar Jayanti or Bhim Jayanti on April 14. The day is also called Ambedkar Remembrance Day. Since 2015, April 14 is observed as an official public holiday in India. He struggled for equality throughout his life. Thus, his birthday is also celebrated as “Equality Day”. India has placed a demand to celebrate his birthday as International Equality Day to the United Nations.

32. The International Monetary Fund recently released the World Economic Outlook titled “Managing Divergent Recoveries”. The report has predicted GDP growth of India for the current fiscal year 2022 to be 12.5%. This is 1% higher than the previous projection of 11.5% in January 2021. This is the highest among the emerging economies and also among the elite group of advanced economies.

33. The Reserve Bank of India recently released the report of Consumer Confidence Survey. The survey was conducted in major cities of the country over 5,000 respondents. Most of the consumers reported higher overall expenditure. According to the survey, this scenario is to continue in the coming year despite the moderation in discretionary spending.

34. The Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell operating under Ministry of Petroleum recently released a report on petroleum consumption of India. According to the report, fuel consumption of the country reduced by 9.1% in the year 2020-21 as compared to that of the previous year. This is the first time the petroleum consumption contracted to the highest since 1998-99.

35. The Chilika Development Authority and the State Wildlife Wing recently carried out an annual dolphin census in the Chilika lake. According to the report of the census, the overall Irrawaddy dolphin population in the lake has increased from 146 to 162 in 2021. The main reason behind the increase in the population of the Endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin population is the persistent enforcement by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA). The authority has taken strict actions against the encroachment in the Chilika lake. Around 25,223 hectares in the lake were under illegal prawn gheries.

36. On April 14, 2021, the Bohag Bihu Bird count began in Assam. The Bohag Bihu Bird count was launched by Bird Count of India (BCI). The BCI is a Non-Governmental Organisation. This is the first time BCI is launching Bohag Bihu bird count. Bohag Bihu is also called Xaat Bihu. It is the traditional ethnic festival celebrated in Assam. It marks the beginning of Assamese new year. Bohag is Assamese calendar. The onset of Bohag marks the starting of Rongali Bihu. Rongali Bihu is one of the three most important festivals of Assam. The other two festivals are Kati Bihu and Kongali Bihu.

37. In April 2021, Uttarakhand recorded 361 forest fire incidents in just five days. During this period, over 567 hectares of forests have been destroyed. This includes 380 hectares of reserve forest areas. Though forest fire seasons occur every year, the damaged caused this year is high.

38. The Global Forest Watch recently reported that India recorded 82,170 forest fire alerts between April 1, 2021 and April 14, 2021. This is nearly double the number reported during the same period in 2020. The alert was based on the data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).

39. The World Meteorological Organisation recently released the “State of the Global Climate 2020” report. COVID-19 and extreme weather events were double blow to millions in the world. The Cyclone Amphan is the costliest tropical cyclone on record in the North Indian Ocean. The Cyclone made a landfall in May 2020 near India-Bangladesh border. The economic losses in India due to the cyclone is approximately 14 billion USD.

40. The Raisina Dialogue was recently organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation. The dialogue was held under the theme: viral World: Outbreaks, Outliers and Out of Control. It is an annual Geo-political event. It is named after Raisina Hill where the seat of Government of India is located. It is a conference on geoeconomics and Geopolitics.

41. The Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India recently launched a mobile application to promote the mental wellbeing of the people of India. It is called the MANAS App. The MANAS integrates indigenous tools developed and researched by various national bodies and research institutions. MANAS stands for Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System. The MANAS app was jointly executed by NIMHANS Bengaluru, C-DAC, AFMC. However, it was mainly developed by C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing).

42. Every year India celebrates National Civil Services Day on April 21. On this day in 1947, the then Home Minister Shri Sardar Vallabhai Patel addressed the first batch of Administrative Services Officers. The Civil Services Day is celebrated for the civil servants to rededicate themselves to the cause of citizens of the country. Also, the day motivates civil service officers to work more efficiently.

43. The Department of Science and Technology recently launched nationwide mass awareness campaign called the “COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness Campaign”. The campaign will bust myths about COVID-19 vaccination. To achieve this, the Department launched information packages in eleven languages including Hindi and English. The main objective of the campaign is to make COVID-19 immunization programme successful.

44. Every year, the state of Himachal Pradesh celebrates Himachal Day on April 15. The day is celebrated to commemorate the creation of Himachal Pradesh. On April 15, 1948, Himachal Pradesh was formed as the province to be administered Chief Commissioner. Later, it was made a “C” category state on January 25, 1950.

45. The Union Minister for Communication and IT and Law and Justice recently launched the “Online Grievance Management portal of NCSC”. NCSC is National Commission of Scheduled Castes. The Scheduled Caste community in the country can register their complaints in the portal from any part of the country. The portal was designed by Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Application and Geoinformatics. The institute operates under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

46. The Economist Intelligence Unit along with Facebook recently released the Inclusive Internet Index. According to the index, India is at the 49th spot when it comes to internet inclusion and gender equality in accessing the internet. The Facebook Inclusive Internet Index looked at 120 countries. These countries represented 96% of global population and 98% of global GDP.

47. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently announced that around hundred new hospitals are to have their own oxygen plant under the PM CARES Fund. PM CARES Fund is Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund. The Government of India has sanctioned 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption Plants to manufacture oxygen. This is to make hospitals self sufficient in oxygen. Around hundred of these plants were sanctioned under PM CARES Fund. The Health Ministry will identify hundred hospitals in far flung locations to sanction installation of Pressure Swing Adsorption plants.

48. The Government of India recently approved the transfer of technology from Bharat Biotech to Hafkine Institute. COVAXIN is one of the two drugs that is currently administered in India. It is manufactured by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research. The COVAXIN is produced by making the Corona Virus incapable of reproduction. COVAXIN can be stored in 2 to 8 degrees Celsius temperature. This is one of the main reasons why India has chosen COVAXIN and COVISHIELD. Both these vaccines are highly suitable for Indian temperatures. Other vaccines such as Moderna require minus twenty degree Celsius and Pfizer require minus seventy degrees Celsius.

49. The Government of India recently approved Rs 50 crores to develop an all-weather ROPAX in Odisha. The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 110 crores. The project aims to launch Roll-on or Roll-off Passenger Jetty connecting Kaninali in Bhadrak district and Talachua in Kendrapara district. The project will reduce passenger travel time from six hours to one hour. The connecting points of the jetty are located in the northern and southern banks of river Dhamra.

50. The Government of India has granted complete exemption from basic health cess on import of oxygen-related equipment and customs duty for a period of three months. With the COVID-19 double mutant variant B.1.617 spreading rapidly in the country, the demand for medical oxygen exploded exponentially. In order fulfil this high demand, the Government of India has been taking several steps.

51. The Indian Army recently initiated the Ladakh Ignited Mines Project to provide educational opportunities for the Ladakhi students. The project aims to provide better future for the Ladakhi youths. The Indian Army has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement the project. The MoU has been signed with HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) and a Kanpur based NGO called the National Integrity and Educational Development Organisation.

52. The National Commission for Women recently launched the WhatsApp number for pregnant women. The helpline number is 9354954224. It is a “message only” helpline number. It will provide round the clock medical assistance to expectant mothers all over the country. The National Commission for Women has set up a dedicated team to look after the grievances raised from pregnant women on the number.

53. The Government of India recently announced that it is fully prepared to implement mandatory hallmarking of gold artefacts and jewellery from June 1, 2021. Currently, Gold Hallmarking is voluntary in the country. Gold Hallmarking is providing purity certification to the gold jewellery and artefacts. Only three grades of jewelleries will now be hall marked under the new regulations. They are 14-carat, 18-carat and 22-carat. Earlier, ten grades of gold jewelleries were hall marked.

54. The Madras High court recently pronounced that the Right to Privacy of a deceased person cannot be inherited. J Deepa, niece of former Chief Minister J Jayalalitha filed a plea in the High Court to stop the release of a biopic “Thalaivi”. The movie is based on the life of the former CM. According to the petitioner, the movie is defaming her reputation. Also, life story of Jayalalitha cannot be filmed without adding the life of her relatives into it. By this it will amount to invade her (Deepa’s) privacy as well.

55. The President of India recently promulgated “The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and conditions of Service)” Ordinance, 2021. It dissolved appellate authorities under nine acts and transferred their functions to high courts. Apart from these nine acts, the Tribunal Reforms Ordinance, 2021 also amended Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017. It has added the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission within the purview of Finance Act, 2017.

56. The Supreme Court recently asked the Government of India to submit a National Plan on the COVID-19 situation. Supreme Court took a Suo moto cognisance and issued a notice to the central government on the supply of COVID-19 supplies such as oxygen, COVID care essentials and medicines.

57. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently released the Rural Health Statistics Report. According to the report, there is an overall shortage of specialist doctors at the Community Health Centres. The Community Health Centres are considered as the backbone of rural health care system of India. These Centres should have at least thirty beds. They should cover at least four primary health centres with specialized services. Every Community Health Centre should be manned by four medical specialists such as physician, surgeon, gynecologist and a pediatrician.

58. The Department of Science and Technology recently launched the National Climate Vulnerability Report. According to the report, eight Eastern States in the country are highly vulnerable to climate change. They are Mizoram, Bihar, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Assam. The report has developed state level “vulnerability indices” over 0.42 to 0.67.

59. The Indian Air Force recently deployed two Mi-17V5 helicopters equipped with Bambi Bucket to control the forest fires. The forest fires have been raging in the hills of south Mizoram. The Lunglei and Aizwal of Mizoram where the forest fires are currently raging is the most fire-prone zone in India according to the Forest Fire Disaster Management report, 2014. So far, Lunglei has recorded 13,453 forest fires between 2003 and 2016.

60. As India is struggling to battle COVID-19 crisis, a triple mutant variant strain of COVID-19 has emerged as a fresh threat. It is also called the “Bengal Variant”. The triple mutant variant has been identified in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Delhi and Chhattisgarh. The Triple Mutant Variant has evolved from double mutation. In the triple mutant variant, three different COVID-19 strains have combined to form a new variant.

61. On April 22, 2021, India and the United States launched the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership during the Leaders’ Summit. The US President hosted the Leaders Summit on Climate. The world leaders from around forty countries attended the summit. Both the countries will work together to achieve their respective targets. Through the partnership, the countries will demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action taking into account sustainable development priorities.

62. On April 27, 2021, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 came into effect. The act was passed by the Parliament during the budget session. The act gives more power to Lieutenant Governor (LG). The act proposed that the word “Government” in National Capital Territory of Delhi meant the LG of Delhi. It provides discretionary powers to the LG even in matters where the Delhi Legislature is empowered to make laws.

63. Every year, the National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated on April 24. The first National Panchayati Raj day was declared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on April 24, 2010. It is celebrated on April 24 as the Panchayati Raj System of India came into effect on April 24, 1993. This year, more than 74,000 Panchayats are to participate in National Panchayati Raj Awards, 2021. This is 28% higher than the National Panchayati Raj Awards, 2020.

64. The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology recently announced that COVISHILED vaccine protects against B.1.617 variant. It is also called the double mutant strain. The vaccines were tested against the double mutant variety using the Vitro Neutralisation assay. It is used to detect if an antibody is capable of preventing virus replication. This technique does not detect all antigen-antibody reactions. It only detects antibodies that can block virus replication.

65. On April 28, 2021, seven back-to-back earthquakes occurred in Assam and other north eastern states. The first shocks were of 6.4 magnitude. Later, the jolts were at 3.2 to 3.4 magnitude in Richter scale. Roads were cracked and buildings tilted in Sonitpur and Nagaon. The Epicentre of the earthquake was located at a depth of 17 km. The epicentre was located 9 km away from the town of Dhekiajuli of Assam.

66. The Department of Science and Technology is to release a National Level Climate Vulnerability report. The title of the report is “Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India using a Common Framework”. The report was generated based on a joint exercise by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Department of Science and Technology. The report identifies the most vulnerable states and districts to climate change.

67. The International Energy Agency recently released the Global Energy Review report. According to the report, the Carbon Dioxide emissions in India is to be 1.4% higher than the levels recorded in 2019. The coal-fired power generation is to increase by three times higher than the increase in generation from the renewables. India has pledged to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% under Paris Agreement. Currently, the carbon dioxide emissions of India is 60% below the global average and is on par with emissions in the European Union, which is 2.35 gigatonnes.

68. The S&P Global Ratings recently said that the Indian Economy is to grow at 11% in 2021-22. Earlier, S&P had predicted that India will grow at 10%. Three speed recovery patterns have emerged in Asia-Pacific. China, Taiwan, New Zealand lead the group where economic activities are above pandemic level. Australia, Korea and Japan are in the middle group where the activities should reach pre-pandemic levels in mid 2021. India has now joined this group.

69. The India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) recently said the estimated cost to vaccinate all the Indians of age 18 years will be Rs 67,193 crores. This is 0.36% of the GDP of the country. The GoI recently announced the Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccine. According to the new strategy, all the persons above 18 years of age are eligible to get COVID-19 vaccine. With this, the total size of population eligible for vaccination is 84.19 crores. The population of India is 133.26 crores. The India Ratings and Research says that it will cost Rs 67,193 to vaccinate 84.19 crores of people. The Union Government will incur Rs 20,870 crores of the cost and the state government shall incur Rs 46,323 crores.

70. The State Bank of India recently revised the growth of India for the Fiscal Year 2021-22 to 10.4%. Earlier, the bank had predicted the growth rate as 11%. SBI has curbed the growth rate of the country due to the increasing COVID-19 crisis. The report says that Government of India should increase the vaccination efforts instead of lockdowns.

71. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research recently released the results of Sero Survey. The survey was conducted on 10,427 persons. Of these, only 10.14% showed sero positivity. The survey suggested that the neutralising antibodies have declined. This had made people prone to reinfections. Around 20% of seropositive individuals lagged neutralisation activity after five to six months.

72. The Reserve Bank of India recently released the State of Economy Report for the month of April 2021. The resurgence of COVID-19 might bring back inflationary pressures. Also, the restrictions and disruptions in supply chains might add up to the inflationary pressures. Under the G-sec Acquisition Programme, RBI aims to buy 1 trillion worth of bonds from the secondary market in June quarter.

73. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute recently released its “Trends in world Military Expenditure” report. According to the report, the top military spenders in the world are the United States, China and India. These three countries alone contributed 62% global military expenditure.

74. Every year, the Ayushman Bharat Diwas is celebrated on April 30 in India. The Ayushman Bharat Diwas is celebrated to achieve twin missions. They are to promote health and wellness to the poor and also to provide insurance benefits to them.According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ayushman Bharat Scheme has so far operationalised 75,532 Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre. It has fixed a target of 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centre by 2022.

75. The Government of India recently allowed import of seventeen medical devices to provide relief to the COVID-19 patients. However, the importer should make mandatory declarations under Legal Metrology Rules, 2011. The notification issued by GoI says that the imported items should comply Rule 33(1) and Rule 6 of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules, 2011. These rules makes it mandatory for the importers to put proper stamping or stickers or online printing revealing required information.

76. The Reporters Without Borders, a not-for-profit body recently published the World Press Freedom Index, 2021. It ranked 180 countries. India ranked 142 in the index. India was at the same position in 2020 as well. Norway topped the index followed by Finland and Denmark. The index was topped by Norway in 2020 as well.

77. The Reserve Bank of India recently joined the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS). By joining the system, RBI is to learn from and contribute to the Global Climate risk management in the financial sector. Ultimately, the apex bank will work with its global partners to support the transition towards a sustainable economy. There are 83 central banks associated with the system. Of these 75 are members and 13 are observers.

International

1. The first animal vaccine against the novel coronavirus in the world has been registered in Russia. It was announced by the country’s agriculture safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor. The world’s first animal vaccine against the novel coronavirus has been named as Carnivac-Cov. As per the watchdog, the immunity will last for 6 months after the vaccination. However, the developers of the dose are continuously analyzing this.

2. A new report titled Forest Governance by Indigenous and Tribal Peoples has been released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC). The deforestation rates in the Caribbean and Latin America are lower in Indigenous and Tribal territories.

3. A container ship called the “Ever Given” recently ran aground in the Suez Canal. This blocked more than 400 ships from transiting the canal. The blockage created huge impacts on global trade and is referred to as Suez Canal Crisis 2021 or Suez Canal Blockade. The Cargo ship was headed from China to Netherlands. It had run aground in the canal and got stuck for a week. The global trade losses due to the blockage is estimated to be 9 billion USD.

4. Pakistan had stopped all the trade with India after Abrogation of Article 370 by the Indian Government. Also, the Pakistani Government had announced that it would not talk to India until the Indian Government completely rolled back the changes in Jammu and Kashmir. Lately, Pakistan has been softening its stand. The Wagah border has been reopened for cotton and sugar imports from India almost after two years!

5. The Japan Meteorological Agency recently announced that the Cherry Blossom season of Japan is in full bloom. Usually, the Cherry trees of Japan reach their full bloom in April. This time the Cherry Blossom has occurred ten days earlier. This is the first time the Cherry trees have bloomed this earlier in Japan. Previously, the earliest Cherry Blossoms in Japan occurred before 1,200 years.

6. In the United Kingdom, thousands are protesting against the new legislation introduced in the British Parliament. The new legislation is called the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021. The protests against the bill have been named as “Kill the Bill” protest. Currently, the British Police is using public order legislation called the Public Order Act passed in 1986 to manage the protests in the country.

7. On April 4, 2021, the multinational military exercise “Shantir Ogroshena, 2021” was begun at Bangabandhu Senanibas, Bangladesh. The exercise is being held to commemorate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He is the Father of Bangladesh. The exercise is to be held between April 4, 2021 and April 12, 2021. Indian Army contingent of thirty personnel are participating in the exercise.

8. The Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a legislation that will allow him to stay in power till 2036. The Russian leader had already been in power for more than two decades. And he is 68 years old. According to the previous constitution, Putin should have stepped down after his second consecutive term that is to end in 2024. Now, with the new constitutional amendment, he can stay in power till 2036.

9. The personal data of more than 533 million Facebook users has been leaked online recently. The exposed data included personal information of the Facebook users from more than 106 countries. This also included records of 32 million users in the US, 11 million in UK and 6 million in India. The Facebook data leaked included personal details such as names and phone numbers associated with the user accounts. They are now available in several online forums for free!

10. The President of Israel recently issued a mandate for Benjamin Netanyahu to try and form the Government. Benjamin has been given twenty-eight days to form the government. In March 2021, Israel conducted elections. This is the fourth election in two years. However, the election results ended with no majority. Neither Netanyahu nor his opponent Benny Gantz secured the required majority to form the government. However, in consultations with the political parties, Netanyahu received more endorsements and thus the president has invited him to try and form the government.

11. The FDA of the US recently approved the ADHD drug for treating patients in the age group of 6 to 17 years. ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The ADHD drug belongs to a group of medicines called stimulants. These drugs work by increasing the activity of the brain. Several controversies have arisen in the US as the FDA has approved the ADHD drug. This is the first ADHD drug approved by FDA in ten years.

12. The Union Cabinet recently apprised a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed between India and Japan. The MoU was signed between National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL) that operates under Department of Space, GoI and the Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere called the RISH that operates under Kyoto University of Japan. According to the MoU signed, the NARL and RISH will continue their cooperation in the areas of technology, atmospheric sciences, collaborative scientific experiments and other related modelling studies.

13. The INS Sarvekshak is on a deployment to Mauritius for undertaking Hydrogrpahic surveys along with Mauritius. It will also provide training to the Mauritian personnel on advanced hydrographic equipment and practices during the deployment. INS Sarvekshak has visited Port Louis and commenced the hydrographic survey of “Deep Sea Area off Port Louis”. The Hydrographic surveys help in the measurement of ocean features that affect marine dredging, maritime navigation, offshore oil exploration and drilling and other related activities.

14. Jordan is a unitary state that is ruled under a Constitutional Monarchy. Unitary state is a state that is governed as a single entity where the central government is ultimately supreme. In a Constitutional monarchy, a monarch (ruler or king) exercises authority in accordance to a written or unwritten constitution. The former crown prince Hamzah was recently placed under de facto house arrest. He is the half-brother of the King Abdullah.

15. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have launched a platform to advise the poor countries on funding for conservation and climate activities. Both the financial organizations will use the platform to factor climate change into negotiations about reducing debt burdens of poor countries. The advisors in the platform will include officials from United Nations, private investors and ratings agencies.

16. The Asian Development Bank recently approved 484 million USD for CKIC (Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor) in Tamil Nadu. The state of Tamil Nadu has strong state of economy with several manufacturing industries such as engineering, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, garments, and aerospace. However, central and southern regions of the state that are far away from the current industrial hubs around Chennai need better connectivity for inclusive growth. This is the main objective of the project.

17. The US Navy recently conducted Freedom of Navigation Operation in the Indian Ocean Region near Lakshadweep. During the operation, the US warship entered the Exclusive Economic Zone of India without seeking prior consent from India. The warship that entered Indian EEZ was a Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones. According to the UNCLOS, countries cannot prevent ships from using Exclusive Economic Zone.

18. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently held a virtual summit with his Netherlands counterpart Mark Rutte. The leaders agreed to diversify the ties in trade and economy between the countries. They also agreed to expand their relations in smart cities, agriculture, science and technology, healthcare, and space. A fast-tracking mechanism is to be set up between the two countries to facilitate bilateral trade and resolve issues of the companies in both countries.

19. The La Sourfriere Volcano located on the eastern Caribbean island recently erupted after decades of inactivity. The volcano forced thousands in the surrounding villages to evacuate. The Caribbean is a region of the Americas that comprises of the Caribbean Sea. The region has more than seven hundred islands. The Climate Change poses major risks to the islands in the Caribbean region. The name Caribbean comes from the Caribs. Caribs are one of the dominant native American groups in the region.

20. Noura al Matroushi has been named as the first Female Astronaut of UAE. Noura al-Matroushi was selected as the first female astronaut of UAE from four thousand other applicants. She is to be trained with NASA for future space exploration missions. Noura is to be accompanied by Mohammed al-Mulla. Both astronauts are to be trained with Johnson Space Centre of NASA located in Houston, Texas.

21. Iran recently launched Advanced Nuclear Centrifuges at the Natanz Nuclear Plant to mark its National Nuclear Technology Day. On April 10, 2021, Iran celebrated its National Day on Nuclear Technology. The celebrations were held in several Nuclear sites of Iran. As a part of the celebrations, Iran began operating IR-6 Centrifuges. Also, Iran unveiled more than hundred nuclear industry innovations on the same day. Iran also unveiled the assembly of the first protype of IR-9S and IR-9-1 B Centrifuges.

22. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration programme will land the first person of colour on the moon as a part of its Artemis Programme. In addition, NASA will also land first woman on the moon under the programme. NASA had finalised around 18 astronauts under its Artemis Programme. It included the Indian American Raja Chari. However, NASA is yet to announce the first two crew members of the Artemis programme.

23. The G20 Finance Ministers recently nodded to the International Monetary Fund to provide fresh Special Drawing Rights to its member countries. The IMF has been permitted to provide SDR of worth 650 million USD to the member countries. This will help boost the reserves of all nations and will avoid pushing low-income countries into further distress. The Special Drawing Rights is an international reserve asset. It was created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement the official reserves of its member countries.

24. The Himalayan kingdom Bhutan has recently completed vaccinating 93% of its adult population in the world. The population of Bhutan is small. This is one of the main reason behind the rapid vaccination in the country. Apart from this, the success has also been attributed to “Dessuups”. Bhutan is a Buddhist country. The first dose of COVID-19 vaccine was administered to a woman born in the year of the monkey along with Buddhist prayers.

25. The Chinese Cyber Regulator recently launched a hotline to report online criticism that defame the ruling Communist Party and its history. The regulator has vowed to crack down “Historical Nihilists” ahead of the hundredth anniversary of the Communist party. The hotline launched will allow people to report fellow netizens who create defaming comments about the ruling communist party and its history.

26. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have launched the construction of an international center for trade and economic cooperation called “Central Asia”. The Central Asia Trade center has been launched on the borders of the two countries. The Center is to be constructed in an area of 400 hectares of land. It will have a capacity to accommodate 35,000 people and five thousand trucks. After completion, the center will become a large trade and industrial platform to implement joint projects of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

27. Deadly algae have killed more than 4,000 tonnes of Salmon in Chile. The algal bloom in the water reduced the amount of oxygen suffocating the salmon fishes. More than eighteen salmon fish farms that produce 26% of world salmon have been affected. The presence of urea and ammonia in the salmon farms led to the algal bloom. Three different types of harmful algae were detected in eighteen farms.

28. The World Health Organisation, United Nations Environment Programme and the World Organisation for Animal Health laid down fresh guidelines to reduce the risk of transmission of zoonotic pathogens to humans in food production. Suspension of trade in live caught wild animals of mammalian species for food or breeding. To shut down food markets that sell wild animals of mammalian species. To strengthen standards of hygiene, sanitation in traditional food markets to reduce the risk of transmission of zoonotic diseases.

29. US President Biden recently announced that America is to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan. The new deadline announced by US coincides with the twentieth anniversary of 09/11 attacks. The peace processes in Afghanistan will hasten in its pace. Taliban had earlier announced that it will not attend any peace summit with Afghanistan till all the foreign forces leave the country. The summit is due to be held in Turkey in April 2021.

30. The International Monetary Fund recently announced that it will distribute the Special Drawing Rights to its member countries by mid-August. The IMF has agreed to support SDR allocation of 650 million USD. This is the largest in the history of IMF. Recently, the G20 Finance Minsters agreed to the International Monetary Fund to provide fresh SDR to its member countries. Earlier the ministers were concerned that liquidity injection could produce costly side effects if countries used the funds for irrelevant purposes.

31. The United States recently released its report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. The report reviewed currency practices of the biggest trading partners of the US. The report has placed India on the “Monitoring list”. Totally eleven trading partners of the US were placed in the list. The other ten countries were Japan, China, Germany, Korea, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico and Thailand.

32. The US President Joe Biden has planned to lift the refugee cap by May 2021. The former President Donald Trump had imposed historically low cap, on refugees. Trump had earlier set the Refugee cap to 15,000. This was the lowest in the history of the US. President Joe Biden recently signed an order to keep the refugee cap to 15,000 as of now. This is the same numbers as proposed by Trump. This is creating controversies in the United States as Biden had proposed to increase the refugee cap by four times as compared to that of Trump administration.

33. Italy recently launched the first “Mega Food Park” in India involving food processing facilities. It is the first Italian-Indian Food Park project launched in the country. The name of the project is “Mega Food Park”. The main aim of the project is to develop an interaction between agriculture and industry. Also, the project will focus on the research and development of efficient technologies in the sector. It is to be implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle. The SPV is a registered corporate under the Companies Act.

34. The two biggest polluters of the world China and US have agreed to work together in tackling climate change issues. They recently issued a joint statement that they will work together to uphold Paris Agreement. The announcement comes days before the Earth Day Leaders Summit. The announcement was made after Kerry, the former US Secretary met China’s special envoy for Climate Change. Kerry is the first official to visit China from President Biden’s administration.

35. Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defence procurement deal. The agreement amounted to 1.65 billion USD. It will strengthen economic and political ties between the countries. Also, the countries launched a joint exercise. Under the agreement, a training centre for the operation of Hellenic Air Force (the Air Force of Greece) is to be established by the Israeli Defence Contractor Elbit Systems for a period of twenty-two years.

36. The French National Assembly recently approved the bill that makes “Ecocide” an offence. Under the law, the transgressors are liable up to ten years in prison and a fine of 4.5 million Euros (that is 5.4 million USD). Transgressor is person who violates a rule or law or has done something unacceptable. The law mainly punishes those who endanger the environment or commit a general crime of pollution. Such persons will be punished with three years in prison and a fine of 300,000 Euros.

37. The Table Mountain National Park is located in Cape Town of South Africa. Recently, a fire caught in the park and is burning it rapidly. More than two hundred fire fighters have been deployed in the region to quench the fire. A vacated vagrant fire may have caused the fire. Vagrant is a person without home or who wanders from place-to-place begging. It is a flat-topped mountain. It is a significant tourist attraction. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage site.

38. India and Germany have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding on “Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment”. It is in line with the objective of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban. According to the MoU, the project to be implemented mainly focuses on sustainable solid waste management. The project is being launched under the Joint Declaration made by the countries regarding cooperation in the field of Prevention of Marine Litter. The declaration was signed by India and Germany.

39. India and Kyrgyztan recently held a joint Special Force Military Exercise called the “Khanjar”. The exercise was held at Bishek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The exercise was held for two weeks. It will focus on counter-terrorism and high-altitude and mountain trainings. The Khanjar exercise is held annually between India and Kyrgyzstan since 2011. The Fergana valley is shared by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The valley is home to terrorist groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahtir and Islamic movement of Uzbekistan.

40. The Union Cabinet recently approved the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Director General of Trade Remedies of India and Trade and Tariff Commission of Bangladesh. The agreement was signed to increase the cooperation in the area of trade remedies. The agreement aims to promote exchange of information, trade remedies and other activities in accordance with the provisions of World Trade Organisation. The agreement mainly targeted on countervailing, anti-dumping and safeguard measures in bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh.

41. The Central Bank of China, that is, the People’s bank of China recently released a report on Demographics. According to the report, the strict birth policies of China has led to the problem of dwindling work force and the problem of ageing population. Dwindling means gradually diminishing. The report also said that Chinese Government should liberalise birth policies to tackle the problems of ageing population.

42. Australia recently launched the Australia-India Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative Partnership. The programme will support free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific. The Government of Australia has provided a grant of 1.4 million Australian dollars (Rs 8.12 crores) to support the initiative. The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative was launched by PM Modi at the East India Summit on 2019. The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative aims to strengthen maritime boundaries. It has three main common goals namely welfare promotion, wealth creation and cooperation win-win strategies.

43. India was recently elected to the three bodies of the United Nations. They were the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Executive Board of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and the Executive Board of World Food Programme. All these three bodies operate under United Nations Economic and Social Council. India was elected to all these three bodies by acclamation. Acclamation is honouring someone.

44. The Blue Nature Alliance is a global partnership of five core partners and few other Non-Profit Organisations. The core partners are Conservation International, The Global Environment Facility, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Minderoo Foundation and Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. The Blue Alliance was launched on April 20, 2021. The alliance aims to protect 5% of the world ocean in five years. The alliance aims to target seven ocean locations.

45. On April 21, 2021 the New Zealand government announced that it is to consolidate the fragmented health system in the country into a national service. The consolidated system is to look more like the ones implemented in Britain. Currently the New Zealand Health System is divided into 20 District Health Boards. Each District Health Board has its own budget. These District Health Boards are to be replaced by a single new body called Health New Zealand.

46. The Chinese President Xi Jing Ping is to attend the US Leaders Summit that is to be held on World Earth Day (April 22). Also, Xi Jing Ping will deliver an important speech at the summit. Apart from China, over forty leaders are to attend the summit. This includes PM Modi of India as well. The summit is expected to be a key milestone on the road to United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Russian President Vladimir Putin will also attend the summit and deliver an address.

47. The US House of Representatives recently passed a bill that will limit the ability of the President to impose religion-based travel ban. It is informally called “No Ban Act”. The No Ban Act was passed in response to the controversial “Muslim ban” passed by the former US President Donald Trump. The Muslim ban barred the travel from Muslim-majority countries to the US. NO BAN Act is the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Non-Immigrants Act.

48. The Government of Israel has chosen Google and Amazon Web Services to provide cloud services for its military and Public Sector Units. The project is to be implemented in four phases and has been named the “Nimbus” project. The Nimbus Project is to be implemented at an estimated cost of 1 billion USD. It will establish cloud sites in Israel. These sites will keep the information within the borders of Israel under strict security guidelines.

49. The Australian Government recently announced that it has cancelled deals on Belt and Road initiative over national interest. The Victorian State Government had signed two agreements with China. An agreement was signed to promote infrastructure development initiative in the state. The second agreement that aimed to bring in Chinese investments in the state. Both these agreements were signed under the Belt and Road Initiative of China. The Australian Government recently cancelled both these agreements.

50. The US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended Biden Administration to place four countries including India under “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC). The other three countries were Russia, Vietnam and Syria. Also, the USCIRF recommended to redesignate ten countries as “Countries of Particular Concern”. They were China, Iran, North Korea, Burma, Eritrea, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

51. The Libya based rebels that are currently attacking Chad are called FACT. FACT is Front for Change and Concord in Chad. On April 20, 2021, the President of Chad Idriss Deby died of injuries after fighting against these rebels. A group of rebels split from the UFDD after a violent clash and formed FACT. UFDD is Union of Forces for Democracy and Development. UFDD is the largest group of Chadian rebel forces that operated against the former President Idriss Deby. The leader of UFDD is Mahamat Nouri.

52. The Perseverance rover of Mars 2020 Mission of NASA recently converted carbon dioxide into oxygen. This is the first time this has been achieved in another planet. This was achieved by MOXIE, an instrument placed in the front side of the rover. MOXIE is Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilisation Experiment. It is a golden box placed in the front side of the rover. MOXIE is also called “Mechanical Tree”. This is because, it uses electricity and chemistry to split carbon molecules into carbon and oxygen.

53. On April 22, 2021, India and the United States launched the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership during the Leaders’ Summit. The US President hosted the Leaders Summit on Climate. The world leaders from around forty countries attended the summit. Both the countries will work together to achieve their respective targets. Through the partnership, the countries will demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action taking into account sustainable development priorities.

54. Ethiopia recently declared Emergency in the southern part of Amhara region as violence broke out in various parts. The violence in Ethiopia has been increased and insecurity is extending beyond war hit Tigray regions of Ethiopia ahead of National Elections planned in June. The violence in the region began after an ethnic Oromo Imam was shot dead outside a mosque. This increased the clashes between the Ethnic Oromo civilians and the Amhara Security forces.

55. The House of Representatives in the US recently passed a bill to make Washington DC, the fifty first US state. The Washington DC Admission bill is being passed for the second time in a year. The bill will create the state of “Washington, Douglas Commonwealth”. It has been named after Frederick Douglass. The Washington DC is formally known as Columbia. It is the capital of United States. It is located on the Potomac river. It borders Maryland and Virginia.

56. G C Murmu has been chosen as the External Auditor of Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). G C Mumru is currently serving as the CAG of India. He has been appointed as the External Auditor of Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He will serve at the OPCW as an External Auditor for three years. Also, India was elected as the member state of the Executive Council of OPCW in the Asia region for another two years.

57. The US Senate recently passed a bill to help combat the rise of hate crimes against the Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans. The bill will support the local law enforcements in controlling the hate crimes. The COVID-19 increased the hate crimes against the Asian Americans in the US. According to the Federal Crime Data, the hate crimes were at the highest level in over a decade in 2019. This has increased further in 2020 after COVID-19.

58. On March 22, 2021, US President Joe Biden kick started a two-day Earth Day Summit. During the Summit, the President pledged to halve the US emissions by the end of the decade. The United States and the other countries increased their targets of slashing the Greenhouse gas emissions. The US President Joe Biden unveiled a 2 trillion USD infrastructure package. The package included several elements of climate friendly policies, investment in electric grid, development funds for clean energy.

59. Japan is to hold its first military drill with French and US troops in May 2021. According to Japan, the exercise is being held as it is concerned about the increasing Chinese actions in the regional waters. The exercise will be the first large scale exercise between Japan, US and France. The exercise is to be held at the JGSDF Kirishima training ground. It will include amphibious operations as well.

60. The US President recently announced the country’s new Finance Plan at the Leader’s Summit on Climate. The Summit was hosted by the USA. The United States International Development Finance Corporation is to change its development strategy to include climate in its plan. It will prioritize climate mitigation and adaption. This is the first time the US is including climate in its development strategy. It aims to direct more than 50% of its funding towards climate-related investments.

61. Gambia recently became the second African country to eliminate Trachoma. Trachoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. Ghana became the first African country to eliminate Trachoma. It is a bacterial eye infection that damages the eye lids. It causes the eye lashes to turn inwards. Trachoma is one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases. It leads to irreversible vision losses and blindness if not corrected with surgery. Trachoma is caused by bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.

62. The Central Bank of Russia has increased the interest rate from 4.5% to 5%. This is the second time the apex bank is increasing the interest rates due to elevated inflation pressure. According to the bank, the inflation in the country will be in the range of 4.7% to 5.2% by 2021. It is expecting that Russia will return to its 4% target only in 2022. Currency Depreciation caused Inflation in Russia.

63. The World Health Organisation recently identified twenty-five countries with the potential to eradicate malaria by 2025. This is called the E-2025 initiative. The identified 25 countries will work by responding to the dual threat of malaria and COVID-19. The WHO is to provide technical guidance and specialised support to these countries under the initiative. Three of the identified countries were from Africa namely Eswatini, Botswana and South Africa.

64. Google and Microsoft have recently pledged to help India fight COVID-19. Google is to provide 18 million USD (Rs 135 crores). Microsoft is to help India with relief efforts to buy oxygen concentration devices. The initiatives and the announcements about the funding were made by Sundar Pichai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft. The relief amounts of Google in the form of grants are to go to non-profit organisations UNICEF and GiveIndia.

65. The Government of India recently welcomed the ASEAN Initiative on Myanmar. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations released a five-point statement on Myanmar crisis. Under the statement, the ASEAN countries have demanded “Immediate Cessation of Violence”. The five-point consensus was created between the ASEAN countries and the current military leader who seized power. There have been massive protests in the country since the military coup.

66. The Asian Development Bank has provided fiscal support of 1.5 billion USD to India to fight against COVID-19 crisis. This is according to the Annual Report, 2020 of ADB that was released recently. This is part of the fiscal support the bank has set aside for pandemic. The Asian Development Bank had allocated 31.6 billion USD for Asia and Pacific regions in 2020. This is to support a green and sustainable green recovery. Also, it focused on long term development projects.

67. The Central Bureau of the United States recently announced that the population of the United States has increased by 7.4%. This is the second slowest growth of US Population since the Great Depression. The Census Bureau recently released the first set of data on US population. The complete demographic data of the country is expected to be released by August 2021. Based on this, the 1.5 trillion USD federal funds will be distributed to the local communities across the country.

68. The researchers at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, Stockholm showed that the populations of Sumatran Rhinoceros displayed low levels of inbreeding. In order to investigate their inbreeding levels, the researchers had sequenced the genomes from 16 rhinos on Sumatra and Borneo. The findings that the rhinos are facing low levels of inbreeding was based on this genome sequencing. Currently, the rhinos in Sumatra and Borneo are facing high genetic diversity and low inbreeding levels. The low inbreeding levels are due to small population size.

69. The World Health Organisation recently announced that it will provide 4,000 Oxygen Concentrators to India to help the country in its fight against COVID-19. The UK recently sent 495 Oxygen Concentrators and 140 ventilators to India. Ireland announced that it is preparing to send 700 oxygen concentrators to India. Saudi Arabia recently shipped 80 tonnes of Oxygen to India. Under the Mega Vayu initiative of Amazon, 8,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 BiPAP machines are to be airlifted from Singapore.

70. The Asian Development Bank recently released its Asian Development Outlook, 2021. According to the report, India is to grow at 11%. The Asian Development Bank recently released its Annual outlook. The outlook says that ADB has provided a financial support of 1.5 billion USD to India to fight against COVID-19. The progress in production and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines helped Asia in reaching the current state. However, significant new outbreaks might undermine the growth of the region.

71. On April 28, 2021, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the agreement signed between Government of India and the Government of UK. The agreement was signed on Customs Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs matters. India and UK have been signing several trade related agreements after the latter moved out of European Union.

72. The Government of India has set up a High level Inter-Ministerial Group to establish procedures for immediate clearance of relief materials from foreign countries. As the number of COVID-19 cases in India have started increasing to a great extent, several foreign countries such as UK, USA, France Germany, Ireland, Kuwait have been sending essentials such as ventilators, oxygen concentrators, respiratory materials.

73. The Health Regulator of Brazil recently announced that the Sputnik V vaccines of Russia carried live cold virus. It has thus raised questions about the integrity of the manufacturing process of the virus. This issue has come up due to the Adeno Virus vector. Vector means the carrier of the virus. In this case the COVID-19 virus. These vectors carry only a portion of the virus which is generally referred to as antigen.

74. The IA 2030 is Immunisation Agenda 2030. It was launched by World Health Organisation, GAVI and the UNICEF. It has been titled as the “A Global Strategy to leave No One Behind”. It aims to maximise lifesaving impact of vaccines. The Immunisation Agenda 2030 was launched during the World Immunisation Week. It aims to promote “Vaccination throughout life”, that is, from infancy to adolescent and till old age.

75. On April 27, 2021, India, Australia and Japan formally launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative. The initiative was launched to counter the dominance of China in the Global Supply Chain. It aims to prevent disruptions in the supply chain as seen during COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative will mainly focus on diversification of investment and digital technology adoption.

76. Russia recently expelled diplomats of Latvia, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Czech diplomats. It was retaliation from Russia after the countries expelled the Russian diplomats. The Czech Republic ordered Russian staff to leave the embassy. The order was passed based on the accusations that Russian Intelligence Officers were behind 2014 explosion.

Defence

1. The Defence Research and Development Organisation recently developed an Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard naval ships against missile attacks. One of the DRDO laboratories located in Jodhpur developed three variants of the Advanced Chaff Technology. They were Short Range Chaff Rocket, Long Range Chaff Rocket and Medium Range Chaff Rocket.

2. The Defence Research and Development Organisation recently allowed the private sector firms to develop and produce missile systems. Also, they can make partnership with DRDO in Missile production. This is being done under the Development cum Production Partner Programme. The organization has already received bids for the Vertically-launched Short range Surface to Air Missile System. With this, VL-SRSAM has become the first missile programme to receive DRDO-private sector partnership.

3. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently held a high-level programme with the President of Seychelles. The Prime Minister presented several gifts to Seychelles during the meet. During the meet, the two leaders jointly inaugurated the new Magistrate Court building in Seychelles. The Prime Minister handed over a Fast Patrol Vessel of worth Rs 100 crores and a Solar Power Plant with a capacity of 1 MW.

4. The US Navy recently conducted Freedom of Navigation Operation in the Indian Ocean Region near Lakshadweep. During the operation, the US warship entered the Exclusive Economic Zone of India without seeking prior consent from India. The warship that entered Indian EEZ was a Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones.

5. The Russian Government has agreed to deliver the first regimental set of S-400 Triumf SA-21 Growler Air Defence System to India. India and Russia have signed a 5.43 billion USD contract on the defence system. The NATO reporting name of the defence system is SA-21 Growler. It is a long-range surface-to-air missile system.

6. Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defence procurement deal. The agreement amounted to 1.65 billion USD. It will strengthen economic and political ties between the countries. Also, the countries launched a joint exercise. Under the agreement, a training centre for the operation of Hellenic Air Force (the Air Force of Greece) is to be established by the Israeli Defence Contractor Elbit Systems for a period of twenty-two years.

7. The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has recently developed a Supplemental Oxygen Delivery System. It is to be used for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas. The system was developed by the Defence Bio-Engineering and Electro Medical Laboratory (DEBEL) located in Bengaluru. It operates under DRDO. The system delivers supplementary oxygen based on the Blood Saturation levels.

8. The Defence Research Development Organisation recently achieved a milestone in the development of Air Independent Propulsion system. The system was operated in endurance mode and max power mode. The operation was successful. The Air Independent Propulsion System is being developed by Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) of DRDO.

9. Japan is to hold its first military drill with French and US troops in May 2021. According to Japan, the exercise is being held as it is concerned about the increasing Chinese actions in the regional waters. The exercise will be the first large scale exercise between Japan, US and France. The exercise is to be held at the JGSDF Kirishima training ground. It will include amphibious operations as well.

10. The Indian Army recently initiated the Ladakh Ignited Mines Project to provide educational opportunities for the Ladakhi students. The project aims to provide better future for the Ladakhi youths. The Indian Army has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement the project. The MoU has been signed with HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) and a Kanpur based NGO called the National Integrity and Educational Development Organisation.

11. The Defence Research and Development Organisation recently developed the Single Crystal Blade Technology. The organisation has delivered sixty of such blades to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. A very few countries in the world possess this technology. They are UK, USA, Russia and France. The helicopters need powerful and compact aero engines to operate in extreme conditions. In order to achieve this, Single Crystal Blades are essential.

12. The Defence Research and Development Organisation recently test fired a series of missile trials. It included the Derby missiles and the Python missiles. The missiles were test fired in Goa and achieved 100% hits. With this the DRDO announced that the Python 5 Air to Air Missile has been successfully added to the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.

13. The Indian and French Navies recently conducted the Varuna Naval Exercise in the Arabian Sea. The Varuna, 2021 is a part of the Clemenceau 2021. The exercise included surface and anti-weapon firings, tactical manoeuvres, rotary wing flying operations including cross deck helicopter landings and air defence and anti-submarine exercises.

Business, Economy & Banking

1. The biggest floating solar power plant of India is to be set up at Ramagundam in Telangana. The largest solar power plant in the world is being set up by India on Omkar Eshwar Dam on Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh. The cost of this project is estimated to be Rs 3,000 crores. The project is expected to start its power generation by 2022-23.

2. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) recently standardised the technical notes for filing health and motor insurance policies. The IRDAI has lately been taking up several initiatives to standardise the health insurance products in the country. This is mainly being done to reduce the complexities faced by the customers at the time of renewal or buying an insurance policy.

3. The Indian Railways has achieved the highest ever electrification of sections during 2020-21. It has covered 6,015 kilo metres of electrification in a single year. This is 37% higher than that achieved in 2019-20. The Broad-Gauge network of Indian Railway currently stand at 63,949 kilo metres. Of this 71% has been electrified.

4. Pakistan had stopped all the trade with India after Abrogation of Article 370 by the Indian Government. Also, the Pakistani Government had announced that it would not talk to India until the Indian Government completely rolled back the changes in Jammu and Kashmir. Lately, Pakistan has been softening its stand. The Wagah border has been reopened for cotton and sugar imports from India almost after two years.

5. The Ministry of Finance recently announced that the businesses with annual turn over of more than Rs 5 crores will have to furnish six-digit HSN code on their tax invoices. The businesses with an annual turn over of less than five crores of rupees have to furnish four-digit HSN code. Previously, the requirement was four digits and two digits respectively.

6. In the first four months of ethanol supply year 2020-21, India has reached more than 7.2%. This is the first time India has reached this level. This puts the country right on its course of achieving the target of 10% blending by 2022. If oil marketing companies lift the ethanol they had contracted for, then by November 2021, India shall reach an average blending of 8%.

7. The WazirX, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges has recently launched India’s first market place for NFT. NFT is Non-Fungible Tokens. The launch will now allow Indian creators to place their digital assets (such as images or videos, music, etc) for auction and earn royalty. It is a unit of data on a digital ledger called a block chain.

8. The Indian Railways recently completed the arch closure of the world highest railway bridge, Chenab bridge. The bridge is a part of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project. Arch Closure was one of the most difficult parts of the bridge. The Arch consists of steel boxes. To improve the stability of the arch, concrete is to be filled in the boxes.

9. The World largest solar company Longi Green is to enter the Hydrogen Market. Longi Green is a Chinese company that manufactures solar panels, wafers and solar cells. Today several such solar companies are entering the hydrogen market. This is mainly because hydrogen is a carbon-free fuel that can be produced by electrolysis of water and then stored and transported and used in every possible machinery such as cars to electrical generators to steel mills.

10. In 2021, India has emerged as the largest recipient of Foreign Portfolio Investments. The net FPI inflow for the fiscal year 2020-21 was Rs 2.74 lakh crores. The investments in the equity segment for the year 2020-21 touched Rs 2,74,503. This is the highest quantum of money recorded since the National Securities Depository Limited began to make the Foreign Portfolio Investment data publicly available.

11. RXIL is Receivables Exchange of India. Recently RXIL has become the first TReDS platform to cross monthly throughput of Rs 1000 crores. The transaction volume in the platform grew from Rs 69 crores in April 2020 to Rs 1,105 crores in March 2021. This shows economic recovery in the country. Also, it shows that the MSME sector that was badly hit during COVID-19 is getting revived.

12. On April 7, 2021, the Monetary Policy Committee of Reserve Bank of India announced the outcome of its bi-monthly monetary policy review.
    The repo rate has been kept unchanged at 4%.
    The reverse repo rate has been kept at 3.35%.
    The real GDP growth for the Fiscal Year 2022 is predicted to be 10.5%.
    The CPI of 2022 is predicted to be at 5.1%.
    The MSF rate has been kept unchanged at 4.25%.
    The Bank rate has been kept unchanged at 4.25%.

13. The Atal Innovation Mission, Centre for Innovations in Public Systems (CIPS) and NITI Aayog recently announced collaboration to reinforce entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in India. The CIPS and Atal Innovation Mission signed a Statement of Intent to promote innovation in the area of public system. This is to be achieved with the help of knowledge and experience of AIM and CIPS.

14. India recently hosted the BRICS Finance Ministers Meet. This was the first BRICS meet under the chairmanship of India in 2021. As 2021 BRICS Chair, India aims to focus on strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation based on continuity, consolidation and consensus. India will host the BRICS meeting for the year 2021. The 2021 BRICS Summit is the thirteenth summit of the grouping.

15. The Reserve Bank of India recently made three main changes to the Prepaid Payment Instruments. The Prepaid Payment Instruments or PPI are means through which purchase of goods and services shall be made against the value stored in such instruments. The Prepaid instruments shall be used as magnetic stripe cards, smart cards, internet accounts, mobile accounts, online wallets, paper vouchers or any other instrument used to access a prepaid amount.

16. The Global energy and industrial majors have joined together to form a new coalition called the India H2 Alliance. The initiative to form the alliance was begun by the Reliance industries and Chart Industries. The India H2 Alliance, IH2A mainly focuses on commercialising hydrogen technologies. It will work towards boosting the hydrogen economy and supply chain in India.

17. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) recently issued draft guidelines for general insurance companies. The guidelines mainly focus on credit insurance products with customised covers for MSMEs. The guidelines will enable general insurers to offer trade insurance covers to financial institutions (mainly licensed banks). This will help companies manage their risks overseas, manage non-payment risks associated with trade financing portfolio and open up access to new markets.

18. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) recently announced that six out of ten active Indian companies are eligible for the new pre-packaged bankruptcy scheme. This is because out of the 1.3 million active companies in India, 60% belong to the category of MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).

19. The Reserve Bank of India recently revised its Inflation Forecast Model. The new model will capture how fiscal and monetary policy interact with real economy elements in a better way. The new model is broken into three blocks. The first block decomposes the primary deficit of the Government into structural and cyclical components. It is also called fiscal block.

20. The International Monetary Fund recently announced Solidarity Tax on Pandemic Winners. That is, the companies that prospered during COVID-19 crisis should pay additional tax to show solidarity towards those hit hardest by the pandemic. It is a temporary tax. It shall be imposed to reduce social inequalities that increased during the recent health crisis. The Solidarity Tax was introduced by IMF citing Germany’s Solidarity tax after reunification.

21. The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying operating under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Ministry of AYUSH signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to introduce the concept of Ayurveda and its allied disciplines into veterinary science. The cooperation between the ministries will help to develop a regulatory mechanism for the use of Ayurveda in veterinary sector.

22. The International Monetary Fund recently announced that the debt to GDP ratio of India increased from 74% to 90% due to COVID-19 crisis. This is to increase to 99% in 2021. The international financial organisation has also stated that this is to reduce to 80% after economic recovery. The Debt to GDP ratio is the ratio between the debt of the Government measured in the units of its currency to the GDP measured in the same unit.

23. The HDFC Bank recently announced the winners of the SmartUp Grants, 2021. This is the fourth edition of the SmartUp Grants of HDFC. Around twenty-one startups that are working in the social sector have been selected to receive the grants. The startups were selected through rigorous screening of three hundred applications received from different parts of the country.

24. NITI Aayog is to launch Online Dispute Resolution handbook. It is an invitation to business leaders to adopt Online Dispute resolution. The Handbook highlights the need for the businesses to adopt Online Dispute Resolution mechanism. According to the handbook, the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is the resolution of disputes outside courts. This is mainly used to solve small and medium cases using digital technology. The Online Dispute Resolution adopts techniques of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation, negotiation, and arbitration.

25. The Ministry of Finance recently notified changes in Post Office Savings Account Scheme, 2019. The ministry notified that a beneficiary of Government welfare scheme can open a basic savings bank account with any post office in the country. The accounts can be opened in an India Post Payment Bank or a Scheduled Commercial Bank. The Basic Savings Accounts that were opened under Post Office Savings Account Rules, 1981 are not covered under the new notification.

26. The G20 Finance Ministers recently nodded to the International Monetary Fund to provide fresh Special Drawing Rights to its member countries. The IMF has been permitted to provide SDR of worth 650 million USD to the member countries. This will help boost the reserves of all nations and will avoid pushing low-income countries into further distress.

27. The Punjab State Government recently told the Union Government that it will pay the Minimum Support Price directly into the accounts of farmers starting this procurement season. However, the Arhtiyas in the state have been opposing to the direct payment. Arhtiyas are Commission Agents in the state. They used to pay the farmers earlier in Punjab. To solve the issue, Punjab has now amended the procurement software to include Arhtiyas in the direct payment process as well.

28. An Expert panel of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recently approved the Emergency Use of COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik-V. However, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) is to take a final call on the recommendation. When approved, Sputnik will be the third COVID-19 vaccine to be available in India. The Sputnik V is a Russian vaccine. The Dr Reddy’s Laboratories partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund to conduct clinical trials on the vaccine and for its distribution rights in India. The vaccine has proved 91.6% of efficacy during its phase 3 trials.

29. The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal recently launched the DGFT Trade Facilitation Mobile Application. DGFT is Directorate General of Foreign Trade. DGFT is the government body that implements the foreign trade policy of India. It is headed by the Director-General. He or she is the head of Indian Trade Services.

30. Remdesivir is an injectable anti-virus. It is injected to prevent replication of the virus. The Remdesivir was created in 2014. It was manufactured in large scale to treat Ebola. Later it was used to treat SARS and MERS. Recently, after the COVID-19 crisis, it has been repurposed for COVID-19 treatment.

31. The Ministry of Finance recently released the tax collection figures for the financial year 2020-21. According to the ministry, the direct tax collections for the financial year 2020-21 are Rs 9.45 lakh crores. The Direct Tax Collections include Personal Income Tax collections and Corporation Tax collections. The Personal Income Tax collected for the year 2020-21 was Rs 4.88 lakh crores. The Corporation Tax (or Corporate Tax) collected for the year 2020-21 was Rs 4.57 lakh crores.

32. The Union Minister Shri Piyush Goyal recently launched a platform called “eSanta” for marine products. The main aim of the platform is to empower aqua farmers. The use of modern tools and techniques like that of eSanta will help to increase shrimp production from the current 40,000 tonnes to six to seven lakh tonnes. The portal will benefit 18,000 farmers who are currently contributing to marine exports of the country.

33. Currency Chests are places where RBI (Reserve Bank of India) stocks money meant for banks and ATMs. The Currency Chests are located in different banks and are administered by the Reserve Bank of India. A private security guard has looted Rs 4.04 crores from the currency chest of Axis Bank in Chandigarh. This has brought currency chests in spotlight.

34. The National Institute of Urban Affairs recently launched the Infant Toddler and Caregiver friendly Neighbourhoods Training and Capacity Building Programme. The Institute is partnered by Bernard van Leer Foundation in implementing the programme. The ITCN programme is designed to build capacities of young professionals and city officials to develop young children and family friendly neighbourhoods in the country.

35. The Government of India recently announced that it is speeding up the Emergency Usage Approvals of foreign made COVID-19 vaccines. This includes COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in other countries. The foreign vaccines for EUA were recommended by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).

36. The International Monetary Fund recently released its World Economic Outlook report. Under its report, IMF has downgraded the forecasts for the South East Asian economies. On the other hand, it has been more optimistic about Asia-Pacific and Global economies. According to the World Economic outlook report of IMF, the countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam are to grow by 4.9% in 2021. Previously IMF projected that these countries were to grow by 5.2%.

37. The National Housing Bank recently launched the “Special Refinance Facility”, 2021. Rs 10,00 crores has been allocated to this facility. The main objective of the facility is to provide short term refinance support to the housing finance companies and other eligible Primary Lending Institutions. The facility will aid in meeting the short-term liquidity requirement in the Public Lending Institutions.

38. The Agricultural Ministry of India recently signed Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft to implement a pilot project for farmer welfare. The project will focus on technology boosted agriculture. It will provide smart agricultural techniques to the farmers especially during post-harvest season. The six states selected for the project are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh.

39. Flipkart recently announced that it is to acquire Cleartrip. Cleartrip is a leading online travel and technology company. Cleartrip was founded in 2006. The company books train and flight tickets, hotel reservations and other activities in India and in middle east countries. The company has offices in Saudi Arabia, UAE, India and Egypt.

40. The Facebook has recently signed a deal to buy renewable energy in India from a local firm called CleanMax. This is the first renewable project of Facebook in India. The project is located in Karnataka. Facebook had made similar agreements with energy providers in Singapore such as Terrenus Energy, Sunseap Group, Sembcorp industries. These projects are capable of producing 160 MW of solar power.

41. The International Monetary Fund recently announced that it will distribute the Special Drawing Rights to its member countries by mid-August. The IMF has agreed to support SDR allocation of 650 million USD. This is the largest in the history of IMF. Recently, the G20 Finance Minsters agreed to the International Monetary Fund to provide fresh SDR to its member countries. Earlier the ministers were concerned that liquidity injection could produce costly side effects if countries used the funds for irrelevant purposes.

42. The Reserve Bank of India recently established the Regulations Review Authority (RRA) 2.0. The authority is to function for a period of one year. The RRA will review the regulatory prescriptions internally. It will also review the regulatory prescriptions by seeking suggestions from regulated entities and stakeholders. It will work towards easing the implementations of the regulatory prescriptions.

43. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal recently chaired the first meeting of the National Startup Advisory Council. It was constituted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. The main objective of the council is to advise the Government of India on measures needed to build strong ecosystem to nurture innovation and startups in the country. This is to drive sustainable economic growth in the country and also to generate large scale employment opportunities.

44. The United States recently released its report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. The report reviewed currency practices of the biggest trading partners of the US. The three main criteria used by the report to review the trading partners of US are as follows:
    Material Current Account Surplus
    Bilateral Trade surplus
    Persistent one-sided intervention in forex markets.

45. The Bitcoin currency tumbled more than 4% after the Central Bank of Turkey banned the use of Crypto currencies and crypto assets for purchases. The bank cited possible irreparable damages and transaction risks as the reason for the ban. The ban followed actions of Morocco in banning the currency and is expected to be implemented in India as well.

46. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently sanctioned 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption Plants to increase oxygen capacity in the country. The new plants will reduce the burden on the National grid for its supply of medical oxygen. Of these 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption plants, 33 have been installed. Of these five have been installed in Madhya Pradesh, three in Chandigarh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three each in Uttarakhand and Gujarat, one each in Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Puducherry. Fifty-nine of these plants are to be installed by April end and eighty are to be installed in May.

47. The Ministry of Railways recently announced that it is to create a Green Corridor to ensure fast movement of Oxygen Express trains. These Oxygen Express trains are to be operated to help the country handle the issue of shortage of oxygen. The Indian Railways is to move empty tankers from Boisar and Kalamboli railway stations. They are located near Mumbai. These tankers are to be sent to Jamshedpur, Vizag, Bokaro and Rourkela to load medical oxygen.

48. The Reserve Bank of India recently set up a committee to study about the Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARC) in the country. The committee will evaluate the role of ARCs in debt resolution and will review their business model. The Committee is headed by former RBI Executive director Sudarshan Sen. It will recommend measures to improve the efficacy of Asset Reconstruction Companies.

49. The Government of India recently launched an online portal to procure telecom gears from “trusted sources”. The sources to be listed in the portal are to be identified by the highest cybersecurity offices in the country. The portal will list all the trusted companies and their gears. This will help the telecom operators in the country to obtain quality and trusted products.

50. In April 2021, it was claimed that a drug called Aayudh Advance was effective against COVID-19. The trials for the drug were conducted at two government hospitals in Ahmedabad. However, Government of India has recently rejected the claims made by the manufacturers of the drug. The manufacturers of the drug claimed that the drug had positive effects against COVID-19. They also said that the patients who took AAYUDH Advance had seen reduction of infection of the virus to a great extent.

51. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently approved subsidy for Urea that are to be produced by TFL. TFL is a state-run fertilizer plant. It is Talcher Fertilizer Plant. The TFL is to commission a new fertilizer plant in Odisha. This plant will produce urea through coal gasification. The Government of India is to provide subsidy to establish the plant. It will be the only plant in India to produce nitrogenous soil nutrient through coal gasification process.

52. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas recently released its data for the fiscal year 2020-21. According to the data, crude oil production of India fell to 30.5 million tonnes. It was 32.17 million tonnes in 2019-20. The demand for petroleum products in the country fell by 9% in 2020-21. In 2020-21, India consumed 194.6 million tonnes of petroleum products. In 2019-20, India consumed 214.1 million tonnes of petroleum products.

53. The International Financial Service Centre recently granted permission for the Non-Banking Finance Companies to operate in Gujarat GIFT City. The NBFCs will now be allowed to offer whole range of services such as loans, investment banking, exotic derivative trades and third-party product sales. The move will attract top financial services from all over the world. Also, it will help to localise services that are usually offered overseas.

54. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare recently announced that it is to bring nine million tonnes of land under mustard cultivation. This will increase mustard production to 17 million tonnes by 2025-26. The average mustard production in India, that is, the mustard production between 2015 and 2019 was 7.7 million tonnes. This was produced from 5.9 million hectares of land.

55. The Drug Controller General of India recently provided “Restricted Emergency Use Approval” for the use of “Virafin”. Virafin is used to treat Hepatitis B and C. Now it is to be used to treat moderate COVID-19 infections. A single dose of Virafin during the early stage of infection, will help COVID-19 patients recover faster. Also, it will help to avoid complications.

56. The exports of processed food products during April-February 2020-21 grew by 26.51%. Their exports amounted to Rs 43,798 crores during this period. The major food products exported during 2020-21 were processed vegetables, pulses, processed fruits and juices, guar gum, groundnuts, milled products, oil meals, alcoholic beverages and oil meals.

57. The Government of India is to import 10,000 oxygen concentrators. An oxygen concentrator concentrates oxygen from the atmosphere. The atmospheric air has 78% of nitrogen and 21% of oxygen. The Oxygen Concentrator accumulates air, filters through a sieve sending the nitrogen back in to the air and collects oxygen alone. The oxygen in the oxygen concentrator is compressed and dispensed through a cannula.

58. The Reserve Bank of India recently laid down set of instructions to improve the corporate bank governance. The post of MD and CEO shall not be held by the same person for more than 15 years. However, they can be reappointed after a cooling period of three years. During the cooling period, the individual shall not be appointed or associated with the bank or its group entities directly or indirectly.

59. The Asian Development Bank recently released its Asian Development Outlook, 2021. According to the report, India is to grow at 11%. The Asian Development Bank recently released its Annual outlook. The outlook says that ADB has provided a financial support of 1.5 billion USD to India to fight against COVID-19.

60. On April 28, 2021, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the agreement signed between Government of India and the Government of UK. The agreement was signed on Customs Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs matters. India and UK have been signing several trade related agreements after the latter moved out of European Union.

61. The Central Institute of Brackish Aquaculture located in Chennai has developed an indigenous vaccine for Viral Nervous Necrosis. The name of the vaccine is Nodavac-R. The disease is caused by the Betanodavirus. It mostly affects teleost fish. More than forty species are affected by this virus and most of them are marine species. This virus transmits through passive diffusion and contact. The disease mostly occurs in juveniles or larvae. However, it also affects the adults.

62. NITI Aayog recently said that the Government of India should provide incentives on purchase of electric vehicles over and above existing subsidies being provided under FAME II scheme. Also, it has recommended to provide interest subvention on loan amount taken for Electric Vehicle purchases. Apart from interest subvention and additional subsidies, NITI Aayog has also recommended to create non-financial incentives. This includes exclusive parking for Electric Vehicles in commercial complexes, priority lanes for EVs.

63. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare recently announced that the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund recently crossed Rs 8,000 crore mark. The Ministry has received 8,665 applications so far. The worth of these applications has amounted to Rs 8, 216 crores. Out of this, Rs 4, 000 crores have been sanctioned by the Ministry so far. The states that received maximum help through the fund are Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Rajasthan.

64. The Central Empowerment Committee appointed by the Supreme Court recently raised serious concerns of Environmental Impact in Goa. This was related to the double tracking of the railway line between Kulem of Goa and Castle Rock in Karnataka. According to the committee, the Railway project will destroy the fragile eco system of the Western Ghats.

Science & Technology

1. Scientists have developed a new technique for tracking the huge bubbles of gas threaded with magnetic field lines that are ejected from the Sun, disrupting space weather and causing satellite failures, geomagnetic storms, and power outages. The ejections from the Sun are technically called Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). These cause several disturbances to the space environment and thus forecasting their arrival time is very crucial. The forecasting accuracy is however hindered by limited CME observations in interplanetary space.

2. For the first time, international scientists working on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) have created an image showing the magnetic field around a black hole. The black hole is located in M87 galaxy. In 2019, the astronomers working on the EHT captured the first image of the shadow of the same black hole. The shadow of the black hole is a dark region that surrounds the black hole. It is three times the diameter of the black hole. The shadow of the black hole is the point beyond which even light cannot escape.

3. The Chinese scientists have recently identified the transfer of genes from plants to insects. Usually transfer of genes happen among the same family. For instance, the genes of a human parent get transferred to his or her child. However, this is not the case in the recent discovery. Here the insect called whiteflies has incorporated a portion of DNA from plants into their genome.

4. A professor and a research associate of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur have developed a sensitive watch for the use of visually impaired people. The watch has tactile hour indicators of different shapes. These indicators help the visually impaired persons to recognize the time easily.

5. NASA recently announced that its Ingenuity Helicopter has been dropped on the surface of mars successfully and is in preparation for its first flight. Ingenuity is a technology demonstration of powered flight in another planet. NASA is to perform a series of test flights over thirty Martian days with the help of Ingenuity helicopter.

6. The scientists have used the stem cells of frogs to create a new living robot. These robots have been named Xenobots. The Xenobots were created by microengineering amphibian eggs with RNA. The biologists later removed the egg membrane after 24 hours. They then harvested the stem cell tissue from the embryo. The tissues then formed into spheres with tiny hair like structure called cilia. The cilia moved to propel the bots across a surface creating a Xenobot.

7. The scientists from Singapore have developed a technology to interact with plants. The technology has been named as “Robo Plant”. The scientists used the technology to trigger a Venus flytrap to snap its jaws when a button on a smart phone is pressed. One of the jaws of the plant was then connected to a robotic arm that enabled the contraption to pick up a piece of wire (that was half a milli metre thick) and catch a small falling object.

8. Recently, a group of astronomers have discovered a dozen of quasars that were warped by naturally occurring cosmic lens. Warping is twisting. With this discovery, the number of known quasars have increased by 25%. This can help to determine the expansion rate of the universe and will also help address other mysteries.

9. The Union Education Minister recently launched the world’s first Microsensor based Explosive Trace Detector called the “NanoSniffer”. Several technology patents as that of NanoSniffer must come up in India. In India only one in 300 papers is patented. On the other hand, in the US, one in five research paper is patented. To change this scenario, more academic institution backed incubation centres should be set up.

10. A team of scientists have recently found a way to solve cosmological tensions through dark sirens. The Dark Sirens are nothing but gravitational waves from neutron stars or black holes. The Dark sirens can be picked up by gravitational wave detector but not by ordinary telescopes. The Cosmologists have been facing the crisis that the universe is expanding, and it cannot be deciphered how fast it is moving away. This is mainly because, different ways of measuring Hubble’s constant provide different results.

11. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration programme will land the first person of colour on the moon as a part of its Artemis Programme. In addition, NASA will also land first woman on the moon under the programme. NASA had finalised around 18 astronauts under its Artemis Programme. It included the Indian American Raja Chari. However, NASA is yet to announce the first two crew members of the Artemis programme.

12. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US recently released the image of Mars to mark the 20th anniversary of Odyssey. The image depicted Dunes in Mars. The set of images released were clicked on the Mars at 172.1 degrees east longitude and 80.3 degrees north latitude. The planet looked in electric blue in the image.

13. The scientists from Aryabhatta Research Institute have discovered a new galaxy that emits gamma rays. The galaxy has been categorised as Narrow Line Seyfert 1 (NLS1). However, it is unique and different from the other NLS1s discovered so far. It is 31 billion light years away from the earth. The galaxy is located at a high redshift. The galaxy was discovered when scientists tried to trace red shifted galaxies. The redshifted galaxies are those galaxies that emit longer wavelength.

14. The Indian Space Research Organisation recently signed an agreement with the French Space Agency CNES. CNES is National Centre for Space Studies. CNES stands for Centre National d’etudes Spatiales. According to the agreement, CNES is to help India in its first Human Space Mission called the Gaganyaan.

15. The US health authorities recently paused the rollout of one-shot Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine uses similar technology as that of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. Both the vaccines are developed from adenoviral vectors. Around six women in the US suffered from blood clots out of seven million administered doses. The vaccine has been found to have a link with a very rare vaccine induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia.

16. The Indian Meteorological Department recently announced that the southwest monsoon is expected to be normal at 98% of the Long Period Average. This is mainly because the La Nina or El Nino weather conditions that affect monsoon rains in India are likely to be absent. Also, Indian Ocean Dipole that has direct bearing on Indian monsoon is also expected to be neutral this year.

17. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station on World Earth Day (April 22). NASA is to launch the mission along with SpaceX. It is the second crewed operational flight of Crew Dragon Spacecraft. The mission will transport four scientists to the International Space Station. The astronauts to travel to the International Space Station are from NASA, JAXA and ESA. JAXA is Japanese Space Agency and ESA is European Space Agency.

18. The National Institute of Virology recently shared a data showing the break up of 361 genome sequenced samples that were collected between January and March 2021. The study detected the presence of double mutation in almost 61% of the samples collected in Maharashtra. The double mutant has been classified as B.1.617 recently.

19. The Lyrid Meteor shower is active each year in the month of April. In 2021, they are expected to begin on April 19, 2021. They are generally referred to as April Lyrids. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in constellation Lyra. Radiant of a meteor shower is the point from which the paths of the meteors originate.

20. According to a new study at the University of California more than 2.5 billion Tyrannosaurus rex roamed the earth more than million years ago. The numbers of the dinosaurs were calculated based on body size and sexual maturity. These dinosaurs lived over 127,000 generations. The oldest Indian Fossil record of dinosaurs belongs to the Triassic period. Triassic period is between 251.9 million years ago and 201.3 million years ago.

21. The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has recently developed a Supplemental Oxygen Delivery System. It is to be used for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas. The system was developed by the Defence Bio-Engineering and Electro Medical Laboratory (DEBEL) located in Bengaluru. It operates under DRDO. The system delivers supplementary oxygen based on the Blood Saturation levels. This will help soldiers from sinking into a state of Hypoxia. Hypoxia is fatal in many cases.

22. The Global Forest Watch recently reported that India recorded 82,170 forest fire alerts between April 1, 2021 and April 14, 2021. This is nearly double the number reported during the same period in 2020. The alert was based on the data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). VIIRS is placed in Suomi National Polar orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) and NOAA-20 weather satellites.

23. The agreement between Roscosmos and its international partners is to run out in 2024. With this, Russia has planned to pull out of the International Space Station and launch its own space station in 2025. According to Russia, the structure of the International Space Station is ageing. With the station becoming older, it can lead to irreversible consequences.

24. Kosovar Biologist Halil Ibrahimi has named a newly discovered insect after COVID-19 virus. Ibrahimi spent years working on a different type of Caddisfly species. The species was found in Accursed Mountains (Kosovo’s Western Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park). It has now been named as “Potamophylax coronavirus”.

25. The Beal Seed Viability Experiment was begun by William James Beam. He was an American Botanist who worked at the Michigan State University. In 1879, Beal began one of the longest running experiments in botany. The experiment aims to study how long a weed can stay dormant in agricultural fields. Beal filled twenty bottles with a mixture of seed and sand. Each bottle consisted of fifty seeds from twenty-one different species. These bottles were buried with their necks pointing down to exclude water.

26. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently shared an image of “Cosmic Rose”. Cosmic Rose is an image captured by Hubble Space Telescope of NASA. The image featured interacting galaxies Arp 273. It is a process where a large galaxy interacts with a companion through tidal gravitational interactions. A Galactic tide is a force experienced by objects subjected to gravitational field of a galaxy.

27. The Government of Israel has chosen Google and Amazon Web Services to provide cloud services for its military and Public Sector Units. The project is to be implemented in four phases and has been named the “Nimbus” project. The Cloud Services refer to wide range of services delivered over the internet. The Cloud Services are highly important as the defence industry of Israel is one of the largest in the world.

28. The Perseverance rover of Mars 2020 Mission of NASA recently converted carbon dioxide into oxygen. This is the first time this has been achieved in another planet. This was achieved by MOXIE, an instrument placed in the front side of the rover. MOXIE is Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilisation Experiment. It is a golden box placed in the front side of the rover.

29. The IIT Kharagpur has successfully commercialised the healthcare product COVIRAP. COVIRAP is a diagnostic technology to detect COVID-19 virus. The technology is also capable of testing influenza, dengue, malaria. Tuberculosis and Japanese Encephalitis. Also, the technology can be used to test other vector borne diseases.

30. NASA recently launched the SHIELDS Mission from the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The Mission is to study light from interstellar particles in the heliosphere. SHIELDS is Spatial Heterodyne Interferometric Emission Line Dynamics Spectrometer. It will fly to a height of 300 kilo metres. At this height SHIELDS can see light from particles beyond the solar system.

31. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently issued guidelines on proning for self-care for COVID-19 patients at home. Under the new guidelines, the ministry has advised the COVID-19 patients to practice proning if they are facing breathing difficulties. The number of COVID-19 cases in India is increasing rapidly. This has put hospitals under stress. Therefore, the doctors have advised self-monitoring of oxygen levels under new the guidelines. If a patient is facing difficulty in breathing, they can lie face down.

32. China has named its first Mars rover as Zhurong after a traditional fire god. The name signifies igniting the flame of Planetary Explorations of China. China recently became the first country to land a space probe on the little explored far side of the moon. It returned to the earth in December with lunar rocks for the first time since 1970s.

33. The Astronomers have discovered the smallest black holes. It has been named as Unicorn. It is 1,500 light years away from the earth. It is the closest of all the black holes found so far. The Unicorn is three times the mass of the sun. Its size is tiny for a black hole. It appears that the Unicorn accompanies a red giant star. The scientists were able to locate the Unicorn by documenting the changes in the red giant star. This is because, the black holes are generally not visible.

34. Tissue Chips are devices designed to mimic the functions of human organs. They are also called Organ on chips. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration recently launched Crew 2 Mission. The mission carried four astronauts to the International Space Station. The astronauts are to conduct more than two hundred experiments in space. One of them is using Tissue Chips.

35. Met Office and Microsoft are to build a weather forecasting supercomputer in the UK. The UK Government is to invest 1.2 billion Pound Sterling in the project. The Supercomputer is to run completely on renewable energy. This will help to save 7,415 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide in one year. Supercomputers release huge amounts of heat and thus a strong cooling system is required for their operation. Thus, energy required to maintain supercomputers is high.

36. A Community Service Centre has been set up on board India’s first dedicated Solar Space Mission. The centre is called ALISC. ALISC is Aditya-L1 Support Cell. It is to be set up at the ARIES at Haldwani, Uttarakhand. Aditya-L1 is an Indian space mission that will study the sun and also the region between the earth and the sun. It is to carry seven payloads developed by different institutions of the country.

37. A Space Mining Startup of China recently launched NEO-01. It is a robotic platform launched into the low earth orbit. It will conduct experiments on space debris removal technique. It was launched to observe the small celestial bodies in deep space. It is to use large net to capture space debris. After capturing, it will burn the debris using electric propulsion system.

38. The Union Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitaraman inaugurated the first 3D printed house at IIT Madras. The House was constructed using indigenous 3D printing technology. It was built in just five days. It was built by TVASTA Manufacturing solutions based on a concept by former IIT-M students.

39. On April 29, 2021, China launched the core module of its Space Station. This is an important milestone in the country’s ambitious plan of establishing a permanent human presence in space. The module that was launched is called Tianhe. The Space Station China is building is called Tiangong. Tiangong means “Heavenly Space”.

40. The United Kingdom has become the first country to announce regulation for the use of self-driving vehicles at low speeds. The UK wants to be at the forefront in rolling out autonomous driving technology. The Government of UK forecasts that around 40% of UK cars will have self-driving capabilities by 2035. This will create 38,000 jobs in the country.

41. The SpaceX recently launched sixty Starlink Internet Satellites. The satellites were carried by Falcon 9 rocket. It was launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station located in Florida. The company has done twelve launches in 2021 alone. The majority of those launches have been its own Starlink satellites. SpaceX has permission to launch as much as 30,000 satellites.

Government Schemes

1. The Union Cabinet has approved a production-linked incentive scheme for the food processing industry with an outlay of Rs 10,900 crore. The scheme was announced by the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Piyush Goyal. The scheme is a fitting tribute to farmers and it will be helpful in generating employment for 2.5 lakh people.

2. The government withdrew its a day before the order of reduction of 40-110 basis points in interest rates of small savings schemes including Public Provident Fund (PPF) and National Savings Certificate (NSC). As per an announcement on March 31, the government announced a sharp cut in the interest rate of PPF, NSC, and others. As per the order, PPF would have fetched an interest rate of 6.4 percent and NSC 5.9 percent. But, the order has been withdrawn on April 1. The present interest rates of the schemes are given below.

3. The National Savings Institute operating under the Ministry of Finance recently announced that West Bengal is the top contributor to the Small Savings Scheme in the country. The state contributes 15% of the total corpus. It has so far collected Rs 90,000 crores under the Small Savings Scheme. West Bengal was followed by Uttar Pradesh with a contribution of 15.09%. The state of Uttar Pradesh has collected Rs 69,660 crores.

4. The UK based payments system company ACI recently released a report on digital payments. According to the report, India has the highest number of real-time online transactions in 2020. The Digital payment market of India is led by Paytm, PhonePe, BharatPe, Pine Labs, etc. India was ahead of China, US, South Korea, UK, Thailand in number of online transactions.

5. In the first four months of ethanol supply year 2020-21, India has reached more than 7.2%. This is the first time India has reached this level. This puts the country right on its course of achieving the target of 10% blending by 2022. If oil marketing companies lift the ethanol they had contracted for, then by November 2021, India shall reach an average blending of 8%. So far, the best ever ethanol blend with petrol in India was 5.2%.

6. The Ministry of Rural Development recently announced that under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), 92% target has been achieved in the first phase of the scheme. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is a flagship scheme (that is, GoI gives utmost importance to the scheme) of Government of India. According to the Ministry of Rural Development, all the houses in the Permanent Wait List are to be completed by the end of Amrit Mahotsav.

7. The Ministry of Finance recently announced that nearly Rs 15 lakh crores have been sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY). More than 28 crore 68 lakh loans have been sanctioned since the launch of Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana. Of the total loans provided, 68% were provided to women entrepreneurs. 51% of the total loans provided under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana were provided to SC, ST and OBC borrowers.

8. The Union Cabinet recently approved the Production Linked Incentive Scheme called the “National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV Modules”. PV stands for Photo Voltaic. They are units that convert light energy into electrical energy. The programme aims to achieve manufacturing capacity in Giga Watt scale in high efficiency solar PV modules.

9. The Union Cabinet recently approved the Production Linked Scheme for White Goods such as Air conditioners and LED lights. The main objective of the scheme is to make manufacturing in India globally competitive. This is to be achieved by creating economies of scale, removing sectoral disabilities and ensuring efficiencies. The scheme will make India an integral part of the global supply chain.

10. The Reserve Bank of India recently announced a Government Security Acquisition Programme, GSAP 1.0. Under the programme, the central bank will purchase government bonds of worth Rs 1 trillion (or one lakh crores of rupees). The first purchase of Rs 25,000 crore is to be made on April 15, 2021.

11. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries, earlier launched an all India Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme. The scheme is to be implemented between 2020-21 and 2024-25. It is to implemented at an outlay of Rs 10,000 crores. Recently, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) agreed to work with the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to implement the PM FME scheme. The Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) operating under MoRD is to work with the MoFPI to implement the scheme.

12. The Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launched the Madhukranti portal and Honey Corners of NAFED to promote the Honey Mission in India. The Madhukranti portal is an initiative of National Bee Board. It is operated under the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission. The portal has been developed to achieve the traceability source of honey and bee hive products on the digital platform.

13. The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister recently launched the Tribal Health Collaborative called “Anamaya”. It was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The initiative will also be supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Piramal Foundation. The main objective of the initiative is to enhance health and nutrition eco-system of tribal communities in India

14. The Ministry of Jal Shakti recently announced that it is to roll out annual planning exercise with the States and Union Territories. The States and Union Territories have given priority to water quality affected areas, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe majority villages, villages in drought prone and desert areas in their proposed annual action plan.

15. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari recently announced that the project of Khadi and Village Industries (KVIC) called RE-HAB has become a huge success. Thus, it is to be implemented in other states as well. This includes Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.

16. The Government of India recently launched the Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) scheme in ten states. The system is to be rolled out in the country by March 2022. Land parcel is nothing but a portion of large area of land. The ULPIN is described as “Aadhaar for land”. The identification number is to be launched based on latitude and longitude coordinates of the land parcel.

17. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research recently adopted 295 Atal Tinkering Labs established under Atal Innovation Mission. This will help young innovators associated with the Atal Tinkering Labs to learn from the best scientists in the country. It will pave way for them to become living inspirations for their schools and local communities.

18. The Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently launched a fourteen day “Mask Abhiyan” initiative to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The main objective of the initiative is to turn the use of mask into a habit. This will play a huge role in controlling the current resurgence of COVID-19. Also, the Odisha State Government has increased the fines for violators from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000.

19. The Government of India is to launch National Programme on Artificial Intelligence. Under the programme, high value data sets in Public Sector Units are to be identified. These data will then be put under an Artificial Intelligence control framework. The framework will provide access to the appropriate units. This is being done to increase the safety of the data and its accessibility.

20. The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan recently launched “Mission Aahaar Kranti”. The mission aims to spread the message of the importance of nutritionally balanced diet. It will also promote the importance of accessibility to local fruits and vegetables. The Mission is designed to address the major problem faced by India and the world, which is, “Hunger and Diseases in Abundance”.

21. NITI Aayog recently launched Poshan Gyan along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University. Poshan Gyan is a National Digital Repository on health and nutrition. Poshan Gyan is basically an online resource for any person working in nutrition sector. It is also accessible for any person seeking information to improve nutritional outcomes.

22. The National Institute of Urban Affairs recently launched the Infant Toddler and Caregiver friendly Neighbourhoods Training and Capacity Building Programme. The Institute is partnered by Bernard van Leer Foundation in implementing the programme. The ITCN programme is designed to build capacities of young professionals and city officials to develop young children and family friendly neighbourhoods in the country.

23. The Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers recently approved sixteen applicants under Production Linked Incentive scheme. The approvals will promote domestic manufacturing of drug intermediates and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in the country. The approved applicants will set up pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in the country. They will invest around Rs 348 crores in establishing these units. These plants are expected to create employment for more than 3,042 people.

24. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs recently launched the EatSmart Cities Challenge and Transport 4 All Challenge. The main objective of the EatSmart Cities Challenge is to create an environment of right food practices and habits. The Transport 4 all challenge aims to make public transport safe, comfortable, affordable and reliable.

25. The Ministry of Rural Development recently launched the Gender Samvaad Event. It is a joint initiative between DAY-NRLM and IWWAGE. The main objective of Gender Samvaad event was to create awareness on gender related interventions under the DAY-NRLM. DAY-NRLM is Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission. IWWAGE is Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy.

26. The Ministry of Finance recently expanded the scope of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme to Rs 3 lakh crores. It aims to provide relief to stressed companies in the country. This mainly includes business enterprises in tourism, hospitality, travel and sporting sector. The National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company is the guarantee provider of the ECLGS Scheme.

27. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recently launched three new initiatives of National Internet Exchange of India. They were NIXI Academy, IP Guru and NIXI-IP-INDEX. IP Guru: It is also called IPv6 that extends support to all Indian entities that are finding it challenging to adopt IPv6. NIXI Academy: It is a portal developed for the internet community. It will showcase IPv6 adoption rate in India and in the world.

28. India and Germany have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding on “Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment”. It is in line with the objective of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban. According to the MoU, the project to be implemented mainly focuses on sustainable solid waste management. The project is being launched under the Joint Declaration made by the countries regarding cooperation in the field of Prevention of Marine Litter. The declaration was signed by India and Germany.

29. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy recently released the first tranche of Rs 672 crores under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme for the year 2021-22. This reimbursed the fees for 10.88 lakh students. So far, a total of Rs 4, 879 crores have been disbursed under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme.

30. The Union Minister for Commerce and Industry recently launched the “Start Up India Seed Fund” scheme. The scheme aims to provide financial support to the startups for their prototype development, proof of concept, product trials, market entry. The scheme will provide Rs 945 crores in the next four years to the startups. It is expected to support more than 3,600 startups through three hundred incubators.

31. The Government of India is to extend the insurance scheme for health workers under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for another one year. The current COVID Warrior Insurance Scheme that was launched by Government of India in 2020 was to end by March 24, 2021. Thus, the GoI is extending the scheme. The GoI had provided one month window to invite final claims under the scheme till April 24, 2021.

32. The Government of India recently announced that it will provide five kilo grams of free food grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana till June 2021. The free food grains are being provided to those covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013. This is to continue till June 2021.

33. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the distribution of E-Property Cards under the Svamitva Scheme. Around 4.09 lakh property cards were distributed. The cards were distributed on the side-lines of National Panchayati Raj Day celebrations. Every year, the National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated on April 24. It is celebrated on this day as the Panchayati Raj Act was enacted on this day.

34. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare recently announced that around 14,491 hectares of land in Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been certified as organic. This is the first large contiguous territory to be certified under government scheme. The organic certification was provided under the Large Area Certification Scheme of the Participatory Guarantee System certification programme.

35. The Government of India recently suspended the Char Dham Yatra due to surge in COVID-19. Only the priests are to be allowed to conduct the daily worship and rituals. The Kedarnath is to be reopened on May 17, Gangotri and Yamunotri on May 14 and Badrinath on May 18. The Char Dham Yatra is visiting four holy places in Uttarakhand. They are Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The Project Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana or Char Dham Mahamarg or Char Dham Highway is to construct the highway.

Awards & Honours

1. Justice N V Ramana, who was recently appointed as the Chief Justice of India is to assume charge on April 24, 2021. He is to take charge a day after the retirement of CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde. Justice Ramana is to take over as the 48th Chief Justice of India. Justice Ramana was a part of a five-judge constitution bench that declined to refer to a seven bench, a batch of pleas that challenged the constitutional validity of GoI decision to abrogate Article 370.

2. The Government of India recently appointed S Ramann as the Chairman and Managing Director of Small Industries and Development Bank of India. The appointment is for a period of three years. The name of the new Chairman and Managing Director was recommended by Banks Board Bureau.

3. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently released the Hindi translation of “Odisha Itihaas”. The book is available in Odia and English so far. It was translated to Hindi by Shankarlal Purohit. The book was written by Utkal Keshari Dr Harekrushna Mahatab. He wrote the book Odisha Itihaas in Ahmednagar Fort Jail. He was imprisoned here for two years between 1942 and 1945.

4. Every year, the World Homeopathy day is celebrated on April 10. The day is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of the founder of Homeopathy Dr Samuel Hahnemann. In India, the Homeopathy Day was celebrated under the following theme: Homeopathy: Roadmap for Integrative Medicine.

5. The Union Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank recently presented the AICTE Lilavati Awards, 2020 in New Delhi. The awards were presented based on the theme “Women Empowerment”. The winners were selected by AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) in six sub themes.

6. The film “Nomadland” won four prizes at the BAFTA awards. BAFTA is British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The Nomadland won the best picture, best director, best actress and best cinematography. It is an American drama. The film had also won People’s Choice Award, Golden Globe Awards. The film maker Chloe Zhao became the first woman of colour and the second woman to win BAFTA for best director. Frances McDormand won the best actress.

7. Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra recently took over as the new Chief Election Commissioner of India. Sushil Chandra was appointed as the Chief Election Commissioner by the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind. He was appointed as the Election Commissioner along with Ashok Lavasa and Arora in 2019. His term will end in 2022. Before that assembly elections will be held in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur, and Uttarakhand.

8. On April 15, 2021, the Supreme Court ordered a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe into the role of Kerala Police officers in framing Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 Espionage Case. Nambi Narayanan was a scientist at the Indian Space Research Organisation. In 1994, Nambi Narayanan was charged for leaking vital defence secrets to Maldivian intelligence officers Fauzia Hassan and Mariam Rashida. He was accused of selling confidential flight test data from the experiments with satellite and rocket launches. He was arrested and he spent fifty days in jail.

9. The Chinese born film maker Chloe Zhao has become the first Asian woman to win the Best director at the Academy Awards. She won the award for her film Nomadland. Nomadland won three major awards namely Best Director, Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Picture. The film is about a woman who leaves town after her husband dies. She also becomes houseless as sole industry closes down. She then lives in a van and travels around the US.

10. The Expenditure Secretary T V Somanathan was recently designated as the Finance Secretary by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. Currently he is the senior most officer among all the secretaries in the Ministry of Finance. He is a 1987 batch Indian Administrative Service Officer of Tamil Nadu cadre.

11. Michael Collins was an American Astronaut. He was the pilot of the Apollo 11 command module. On July 20, 1969, Michael Collins stayed behind when Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to walk on the moon. He recently died at the age of 90. Michael is often addressed as the forgotten third astronaut in the Apollo mission. He stayed alone in the command module for twenty-one hours till his colleagues returned.

12. The Japanese Government recently awarded the “Order of Rising Sun” to a Bengaluru based Japanese teacher, Shyamala Ganesh. Shyamala is a Japanese teacher at the Septuagenarian institution and also at the Ohara School of Ikebana in RT Nagar, Bengaluru. She has tutored more than hundreds of students since its inception 38 years ago. Ikebana is Japanese art of flower arrangement. Shyamala along with her husband Ganesh started a Japanese language school in 1983 in Bengaluru.

Sports

1. Hubert Hurkacz of Poland has won the Miami Open title. He won the title playing against Jannik Sinner. Hubert has become the Poland’s first Masters 1000 Champion. The Miami Open is also called the Miami Masters. The tournament is held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. The tournament is being held from 1987.

2. The Indian Wrestler Vinesh Phogat has won her maiden Gold at the Asian Wrestling Championship. She won the medal beating Taipei’s Meng Hsuan Hsieh. Vinesh had earlier won four bronze and three silver medals. This is her third gold medal, but first at the Asian Wrestling Championship. She was the first Indian woman to win gold at Asian Games and Common Wealth. Also, she was the first Indian athlete to be nominated for Laureus World Sports Awards.

3. Indian Women have created history at the AIBA 2021 Youth World Boxing Championship. A total of eight Indians entered the finals. Of this, seven were women. All the women finalists finished on top. India won seven gold at the AIBA Youth Women World Boxing Championships. AIBA is International World Boxing Championships. It organises AIBA Women World Boxing Championship and AIBA World Boxing Championships biennially.

References:
jagranjosh.com
gktoday.in
business-standard.com

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Madhu Madhu
    2 years ago
    Thanks for this.... Plzz make mcq qsns regarding to these events/information... It will more helpful to us 🙏
  2. SHAKTI SINGH
    8 months ago
    Bhut kush missing h