MAY 1 TO 15 2018


Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS) *

CIHTS is a centrally funded institute that was started in 1967 following a discussion between Dalai Lama and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the early 1960s.It was started with a view to educating the young Tibetan Diaspora and those from the Himalayan border regions of India, who have religion, culture and language in common with Tibet. Originally the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS), began to function as a constituent wing of the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University, and eventually emerged as an autonomous body in 1977 under the Ministry of Culture.It is located at Sarnath, Varanasi.

Prime Minister of India recently honoured the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS) as part of celebrations to mark Buddha Purnima.



Gujarat to offer PNG subsidy


Context: Gujarat is planning to launch the new PNG/LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) Sahay Yojana—an extension to the Ujjwala Yojana.

§  The scheme for select urban areas will supplement Ujjwala for BPL-AAY households not covered under Ujjwala to help supply households with clean fuel.

§  As per the scheme, the government will pay Rs1,600 as one-time subsidy per connection and Rs1,725 as loan to customers opting for a new PNG connection. As a result, a beneficiary will have to pay only Rs118 to get a new connection and a refundable security deposit of Rs50 per month for a period of 100 months.

§  The pipeline infrastructure and maintenance charges will be borne by city gas distribution companies.



Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN)**

Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has launched the ‘Gobar Dhan’ scheme for Nation. The government is also planning to create an online platform for trading cow dung and agricultural waste under the scheme.

The Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) scheme was first announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his budget speech on February 1. The scheme would focus on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, biogas and bio-CNG. It will help in keeping the village clean while increasing the income of farmers and cattle herders.


Benefits of the scheme:

§  This is hugely helpful for the country as India is home to the highest cattle population in the world, close to 300 million in number, with a daily output of 3 million tonnes of dung.

§  The Scheme will encourage the farmers to consider dung and other waste not just as a waste but as a source of income.

§  It will provide many benefits to the rural people. It will be easier to keep the village clean and sanitized, livestock health will improve and farm yields will increase.

§  Biogas generation will increase self-reliance in energy utilized for cooking and lighting.

§  Farmers and cattle herders will be helped in augmenting their income. There will be novel opportunities for newer jobs linked to waste collection, transportation, biogas sales etc.

§  The scheme also provides a stable fuel supply in the market for oil companies and accessible credit in the market through government schemes and banks for entrepreneurs.




§  The New Shepard system is a fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) space vehicle. The system consists of a pressurized capsule atop a booster.

§  The name New Shepard makes reference to the first American astronaut in space, Alan Shepard, one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts.

§  New Shepard 2.0 space capsule is designed to fly commercial payloads and up to 6 passengers on suborbital space flights for science and tourism. The capsule features giant windows to give future passengers a stunning view of their launch into space.

Blue Origin, the US company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has launched its suborbital New Shepard rocket and space capsule.


Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO)*

§  The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

§  GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which began orbiting Earth on March 17, 2002. The GRACE missions measure variations in gravity over Earth’s surface, producing a new map of the gravity field every 30 days. GRACE-FO will continue the work of tracking Earth’s water movement to monitor changes in underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, soil moisture, ice sheets and glaciers, and sea level caused by the addition of water to the ocean.


15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held in the holy city of Varanasi in January

. It will be organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in association with the Uttar Pradesh government.

Theme: “Role of Indian Diaspora in building a New India”.

§  Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated every year on January 9 to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.


The Supreme Court has issued  directions to all high courts of the country regarding trial in sexual assault cases involving children:

All high courts must ensure that the cases of sexual assault of children are fast-tracked and decided by special courts. High courts may constitute a committee of three judges to regulate and monitor the trials of sexual assault cases of children.The State police chiefs should constitute special task forces to investigate cases.



The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012

Safeguards: The Act further makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system. It provides for special courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a manner that is as child-friendly as possible. Hence, the child may have a parent or other trusted person present at the time of testifying and can call for assistance from an interpreter, special educator, or other professional while giving evidence. Above all, the Act stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.

The Act also provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. This casts a legal duty upon a person who has knowledge that a child has been sexually abused to report the offence; if he fails to do so, he may be punished with six months’ imprisonment and/ or a fine.




The draft policy has outlined three major missions which it aims to achieve by 2022:

§  Connect India under which it aims to create robust digital communications.

§  Propel India under which the government aims to harness the power of emerging digital technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet Of Things (IoT), etc.

§  Secure India which aims to safeguard the digital sovereignty of India with a focus on ensuring individual autonomy and choice, data ownership, privacy and security.


Major goals: The policy has outlined goals such as providing broadband for all, creating 4 million additional jobs in the digital communications sector, apart from enhancing the contribution of the digital communications sector to 8% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) from less than 6% in 2017.

National Broadband mission: The policy has announced goals such as deployment of 5 million public Wi-Fi Hotspots by 2020 and 10 million by 2022 through a National Broadband Mission.

Fibre First Initiative: The policy aims to implement a ‘Fibre First Initiative’ to take fibre to the home by according telecom optic fibre cables the status of public utility.

Infrastructure convergence: The government also aims to enable infrastructure convergence of IT, telecom and broadcasting sectors by amending the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and other relevant acts for the purpose of convergence in coordination with respective ministries.

Boost to investments

Light touch licensing regime: The DoT will also establish light touch licensing regime for the proliferation of public data offices (PDOs) and Public Data Office Aggregators for providing internet access through Wi-Fi hotspots.

Renewable energy technologies: The Policy talks of incentivising the use of renewable energy technologies in the communications sector, including utilisation of small cell fuel batteries, lithium-ion batteries or other similar technologies.



Launched in September, 2017, all willing households in rural areas and poor families in urban areas are given free electricity connections. There are around 4 Crore un-electrified households in the country and they are targeted for providing electricity connections by December 2018. Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) is the Nodal Agency for the operationalization of the scheme throughout the country.

Salient Features of Saubhagya are:

§  All DISCOMs including Private Sector DISCOMs, State Power Departments and RE Cooperative Societies shall be eligible for financial assistance under the scheme in line with DDUGJY.

§  The prospective beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the scheme would be identified using SECC 2011 data. However, un-electrified households not covered under SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs. 500 which shall be recovered by DISCOMs in 10 installments through electricity bill.

§  The electricity connections to un-electrified households include provision of service line cable, energy meter including pre-paid/smart meter, single point wiring. LED lamps and associated accessories in line with technical specifications and construction standard.


Kangara fort

  • The Kangara fort is located on a steep hill about 20 km from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.
  • It occupies a narrow strip of land between the the Banganga and Majhi river.
  • The kot (fort) was earlier called Nagarkot or fort of the city or Kot Kangra.
  • It was built by the royal Rajput family of Kangra State (the Katoch dynasty).
  • The highest point in the fort is occupied by the palace courtyard.
  • Below the palace courtyard there is a large courtyard containing the stone carved temples of Laxmi Narayan, Ambika Devi and the Jain Temple.


Hepatitis C

  • In Uttra Pradesh, Bijnor district, Pahuli village has emerged as a hotspot of hepatitis C infection.
  • Hepatitis C is caused by Hepatitis C virus (HCV) that affects the liver.
  • It has the same mode of transmission as HIV, spreading through blood, injecting drugs, blood transfusion and sexual activity, and from mother to child during pregnancy.
  • The Central government estimates that about 1.2 crore people are positive for hepatitis C in the country.
  • The estimate is six times the number of people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.



  • The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, popularly known as the Nelson Mandela Rules, laid down the objectives of open prisons.




§  WHO recently released global air pollution database in Geneva. WHO monitored 4,300 world cities for their air pollution levels in terms of PM 2.5 levels in the year 2016. The PM2.5 includes pollutants like sulfate, nitrate and black carbon, which pose the greatest risk to human health. THE TOP 14 CITIES ARE FROM INDIA ONLY. Kanpur is the most polluted city which came on top with PM 2.5 concentration of 173 micrograms per cubic metre.




South Western Command are carrying out Exercise VIJAY PRAHAR in the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges close to Suratgarh in Rajasthan.


Pradhan MantriVayaVandanYojana (PMVVY)**

§  PMVVY is a Pension Scheme exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years and above. The Scheme can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this Scheme. The scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for extending the investment limit from Rs 7.5 lakhs to Rs 15 lakhs as well as extension of time limits for subscription from 4thMay 2018 to 31stMarch, 2020 under the Pradhan mantra Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY).


Key features of the scheme:

§  Scheme provides an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30% p.a. effective) for 10 years.

§  Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.

§  On survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, Purchase price along with final pension installment shall be payable.

§  Loan upto 75% of Purchase Price shall be allowed after 3 policy years (to meet the liquidity needs). Loan interest shall be recovered from the pension installments and loan to be recovered from claim proceeds.

§  The scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical/ terminal illness of self or spouse. On such premature exit, 98% of the Purchase Price shall be refunded.

§  On death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the Purchase Price shall be paid to the beneficiary.


Union Cabinet has approved the Cadre review and formation of Group ‘A’ service of the technical cadre of Petroleum & Safety Organization (PESO) in the name of Indian Petroleum & Explosives Safety Service (IPESS).

To remove acute stagnation in all grades and uplift the morale of the workforce and enhance its performance, it has been decided to form Group ‘A’ Service of the technical cadre of PESO in the name of IPESS and restructure the newly-formed service.


Multidimensional Poverty

  • A paper titled ‘Estimates of Multidimensional Poverty in India: Evidence from National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-2016)’ reveals the reason for significant reason for Multidimensional Poverty drop.
  • The poverty levels fell from 55% to 21% in a decade and it is deu to the lowered burden in the southern States.
  • MDP is an international measure of acute poverty based on three key categories — health, education and living standards.


  • Carbon Monitoring System (CMS)”: A NASA program that cost $10 million per year to track carbon and methane, key greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, has been cancelled. The Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) tracked sources and sinks for carbon and made high-resolution models of the planet’s flows of carbon.
  • The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, or OCO-3, is a space instrument designed to investigate important questions about the distribution of carbon dioxide on Earth. OCO -3 is climate mission by NASA.


  • The black windmill butterfly (Byasa crassipes) was spotted in Arunachal Pradesh’s Dibang Valley in the Lower Dibang Valley district. A scarce siren butterfly (Hestia nicevillei) was spotted in the Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh in 2012.Both butterfly species are listed under Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act (1972).




§  The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country. It is a central sector scheme. The scheme has two components: Setting up of new AIIMS and upgradation of government medical colleges. Construction of new AIIMS is fully funded by the Central Government. The Operations & Maintenance expenses on new AIIMS are also fully borne by the Central Government.



National Maha Bal Panchayat

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi conducted the 4th National Maha Bal Panchayat elections at his Bal Ashram, Viratnagar in Jaipur.The idea is to ensure children’s role in local governance.



Channapatna toys

  • It was given Geographical Indication Tag.Channapatna toys are a particular form of wooden toys and dolls.
  • The toys are manufactured in the small town of Channapatna in the Ramnagar district of Karnataka.
  • In Kannada, the place is known as Gombegala nagara which means “town of toys”.
  • The work involved lacquering the wood of the Wrightia tinctoria tree or Aale mara (ivory-wood).


NABH (Nextgen Airports for Bharat) Nirman initiative

  • Minister for Civil Aviation stated that the government is committed to the building of airport capacity as part of NABH (NextGen Airports for BHarat) Nirman initiative.
  • The three key aspects of NABH Nirman are

1.       Fair and equitable land acquisition

2.       Long-term master plan for airport and regional development and

  1. Balanced economics for all stakeholders.



Union Cabinet has given approval to accede to the Protocol under World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on tobacco control to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products.

§  It will be applicable to both smoking and chewing or smokeless tobacco (SLT) forms as negotiated and adopted under Article 15 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first international public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO.

§  The objective of FCTC is to provide a framework for supply and demand reduction measures for tobacco control at the national, regional and global levels.

§  Article 15 of WHO FCTC envisages elimination of all forms of illicit trade and tobacco products, including smuggling, illicit manufacturing and counterfeiting.

§  India is a party to WHO FCTC.




The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for the Umbrella Scheme, “Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana” in agriculture sector beyond 12th Five Year Plan for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

§  The Umbrella scheme comprises of 11 Schemes/Missions. These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity and better returns on produce.

Key objectives:

§  Betterment of agricultural base.

§  Doubling of farmers’ earnings.

§  Development of appropriate agriculture infrastructure.

§  Adequate market for sale of produce.


The Schemes that are part of the Umbrella Schemes are:

§  Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).

§  National Food Security Mission (NFSM).

§  National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).

§  Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE).

§  Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP).

§  Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM).

§  Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ).

§  Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES).

§  Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC).

§  Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM).

§  National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A).



Rariphotic Zone off the coast of Bermuda

Oxford scientists have discovered an ocean zone off the coast of Bermuda with over 100 species new to science.The Rariphotic Zone (rare light zone) extends from 130 meters to 300 meters in depth. The zone joins five other areas which have distinct biological communities living and growing within them.


Cryoconite Holes

National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa, scientists found a crowd of shallow circular puddles of water in Spiti’s Chandra basin. The holes about 5-50 cm in diameter and up to 20 cm in depth—with dark brown sediments deposited at the bottom.These dust holes are also called as cryoconite holes.The word “cryoconite” is derived from the combination of two Greek words—“kryos” meaning ice and “konis” meaning dust.




The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal for renaming and restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK). CCEA has also approved its continuation during the remaining period of the 14th Finance Commission.

Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) was launched in the year 2008-09 in 90 identified Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) having at least 25% minority population and below national average with respect to one or both of the backwardness parameters with the objective of developing assets for socio-economic and basic amenities.

§  MsDP has been identified as one of the Core of the Core Schemes under National Development Agenda in the Report of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, which was constituted by NITI Aayog.

§  MsDP has been designed primarily to address the developmental gaps/deficits in identified backward minority concentration areas by topping up of existing Centrally Sponsored Schemes of various Central ministries/departments without any change in the norms, guidelines and the funding pattern.



§  The Programme aims to address development deficits in the identified minority concentration areas. The identification of minority concentration areas has been done on the basis of presence of substantial population of notified Minority Communities based on Census, 2011.

§  The restructured programme would provide better socio economic infrastructure facilities to the minority communities particularly in the field of education, health & skill development as compared to the present situation, which would further lead to lessening of the gap between the national average and the minority communities with regard to backwardness parameters.


States/Districts covered:

§  The PMJVK will be implemented in Minority Concentration District Hqrs, Minority Concentration Block(MCBs), Minority Concentration Towns(MCTs) falling in 308 districts of 32 States/UTs.

§  Moreover, the scheme will also be implemented in Backward Clusters of Minority Concentration Villages(CoMCV). These CoMCV will be identified on the proposal of the States/UTs as per criteria of PMJVK.


Noctiluca scintillans:

It is green algae which is behind the scintillating phenomenon observed in oceans when they glow fluorescent blue at night. The Noctiluca algae is often reported to occur in patches or blooms in the Northern Arabian Sea. These striking green blooms often appear to glow at night due to a special phenomenon called bioluminescence, earning them the nickname ‘sea sparkle’. It is believed to be dangerous to ocean life because it produces ammonia. Their growing abundance is a cause of concern, because they adversely affect fish, which do not thrive in such waters.



§  Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched in January, 2015. The scheme is aimed at promoting gender equality and the significance of educating girls.

§  The Scheme is targeted at improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral interventions including prevention of gender biased sex selection and promoting girls’ education and her holistic empowerment.

§  It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.



EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) has announced the introduction of a new service for pensioners through the Umang App. Under the new facility, a pensioner can view his pension passbook on the app.


§  The Foreign Direct Investment Confidence (FDI) Index prepared by A.T. Kearney is an annual survey which tracks the impact of likely political, economic, and regulatory changes on the foreign direct investment intentions and preferences of CEOs, CFOs, and other top executives of Global 1000 companies. India is ranked 11th. India was down three notches in the overall ranking from last year. US topped the list, followed by Canada,



a new species of shieldtail snake found recently from the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu.The snake, currently found only in the forests of the Anaikatty hills in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district, has been named Uropeltis bhupathyi, after the late herpetologist S. Bhupathy, for his contributions to the field.



Digital Elevation Model (DEM) technology**

National Mission for Clean Ganga has brought on board Survey of India to facilitate the Ganga rejuvenation task by using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. The project includes use of Digital Elevation Model (DEM) technology which ensures accurate data collection, an important aspect for river basin management planning. DEM technology enables identification of entire topography of an area making it easy for policy makers to analyse the available data thereby supporting the decision-making process. Critical hotspots are also easily identified through this technology.

Namami Gange Programme:

§  Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.

§  The programme envisages: River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.

The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.



§  It is an online interactive learning platform that provides, not only video lectures, reading material but also assignments/quizzes that could end up in securing credits after completing the assessment system.

§  More than 400 Courses are available on SWAYAM covering all the engineering and non-engineering subjects at undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

§  The UGC has already issued Regulation that allows transfer of credits earned through the courses done through SWAYAM into the academic record of the students.

§  It is now possible for the students and others to take courses of the prestigious IITs or IIMs without formally studying there.

§  The platform has been constructed by Microsoft with totally indigenous efforts.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 1.5 million higher education faculty using the MOOCs(massive open online course) platform SWAYAM.


GSTN : GST Network

§  The GSTN is a private limited company floated to aid the rollout of the new indirect tax regime.

§  The company will provide information technology support to all stakeholders for smooth implementation of the new taxation regime across the country and will be the repository of all information related to taxation and entities registered under GST.

§  The majority (51%) shareholding in the firm is with private entities including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and LIC among others. The central government, jointly with state governments and Union Territories, own 49% in the company

GST Council has approved making GST Network (GSTN) a government entity by taking over stakes held by private entities. As per the proposal, the central government will own 50% and the remaining would be collectively held by state governments.


National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC)

created by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

§  NWIC is expected to provide a ‘Single Window’ source of updated data on water resources & allied themes; and provides value added products and services to all stake holders for its management and sustainable development.

§  The centre will also collaborate with leading research institutes nationally as well as internationally to provide technical support to other central and state organizations dealing with water, emergency response for hydrological extremes.




Raising Day on 07 May 2018. Completed  58 years. The highly-skilled BRO personnel undertook and successfully completed construction of the Delaram-Zaranj Highway in Afghanistan in 2008. The Farkhor and Ayni air bases of Tajikistan were also restored and repaired by the BRO.


Recommendationsof WHO:

§  Saturated fatty acids should not comprise more than 10% of your daily calorie intake.

§  Trans fatty acids should not comprise more than 1% of your daily calorie intake.

§  Use heart-healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as replacement.

§  Trans fatty acids (TFAs) or Trans fats are the most harmful type of fats which can have much more adverse effects on our body. These fats are largely produced artificially but a small amount also occurs naturally. While saturated fats raise total cholesterol levels, TFAs not only raise total cholesterol levels but also reduce the good cholesterol (HDL), which helps to protect us against heart disease. Trans fats consumption increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

§  It is also associated with a higher risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, infertility, certain types of cancers and can also lead to compromised fetal development causing harm to the yet to be born baby.

§  TFA containing oils can be preserved longer, they give the food the desired shape and texture and can easily substitute ‘Pure ghee’. F

§  These are comparatively far lower in cost and thus add to profit/saving.



Justice Rajesh Bindal Committee was set up last year to suggest a model legislation to safeguard the interest of the child as well those of the parents when an NRI (Non Resident Indian) marriage goes sour and one of the parents flees from one country to another with the child.In 2016, the government had decided not to be a signatory to the Hague Convention on the ground that it can be detrimental to the interest of the women fleeing an abusive marriage.


§  The Punjab government along with WWF-India are conducting the first organised census on INDUS DOLPHINS POPULATION. A blind species that communicates through echo like bats do, Indus dolphins are one of the seven freshwater dolphins found across the world. They are found only in India and Pakistan. In Punjab, they are confined to only a 185 km stretch between Talwara and Harike Barrage in India’s Beas river in Punjab. It is listed by the IUCN as endangered on its red list of threatened species.


Aphids (small insect) feed on the saps of plants, attacking plant tissues that transport food to all different plant parts. The brown peach aphid Pterochloroides persicae is a notorious pest of peach and almond trees in the Mediterranean regions. It has been recorded for the first time in Kashmir Valley


§  NASA has launched Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight), the first-ever mission to study the heart of Mars. It was launched on board Atlas 5 rocket. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program. It will be the first mission to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events similar to earthquakes on Earth.




is a malware allegedly designed by Pakistani hackers. first detected by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT-In, on various computers in 2017.


One Stop Centres(OSCs)*

§  Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), has formulated a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for setting up One Stop Centres (OSC), to be funded from the Nirbhaya Fund. The scheme is being implemented through States/UTs from 1st April 2015.

§  These Centres will be established across the country to provide integrated support and assistance under one roof to women affected by violence, both in private and public spaces in a phased manner.



Assam Accord:

§  The Assam Accord (1985) was a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement in New Delhi on 15 August 1985. The accord brought an end to the Assam Agitation and paved the way for the leaders of the agitation to form a political party and form a government in the state of Assam soon after.

§  As per the Accord, those Bangladeshis who came between 1966 and 1971 will be barred from voting for ten years. The Accord also mentions that the international borders will be sealed and all persons who crossed over from Bangladesh after 1971 are to be deported.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. In other words, it amends the Citizenship Act of 1955.

The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.



§  POSHAN Abhiyaan was launched on International Women’s day (March 8) in 2018 to boost nutrition among children and women.

§  The target of the mission is to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.

§  Prevent and reduce stunting in children (0-6years): By 6% @ 2% p.a.

§  Prevent and reduce under-nutrition (underweight prevalence) in children (0-6 years): By 6% @ 2% p.a.

§  Reduce the prevalence of anemia among young Children(6-59 months): By 9% @ 3% p.a.

§  Reduce the prevalence of anemia among Women and Adolescent Girls in the age group of 15-49 years: By 9% @ 3% p.a.

§  Reduce Low Birth Weight (LBW): By 6% @ 2% p.a.

The Government of India signed a loan deal worth $ 200 million with the World Bank for the National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan).


The 15th Asia Media Summit (AMS) 2018 is being held in Delhi.

India is hosting the event for the first time. It is being hosted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, jointly with the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi and Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL). AMS Summitt is an annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) . The Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) was established in 1977 under the auspices of UNESCO. It is hosted by the Government of Malaysia and the secretariat is located in Kuala Lumpur. Full membership of the AIBD is confined to sovereign states and they are invited to designate the broadcasting authority of the country to be the beneficiary.



§  Tholu Bommalata is the shadow puppet theatre tradition of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Tholu Bommalata literally means “the dance of leather puppets”.



§  Madhya Pradesh government on Tuesday launched the country’s first Integrated Control and Command Centre (ICCC) for all seven smart cities of the state in Bhopal. ICCC is a cloud-based Universal Internet of Things (UIoT) platform developed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). It can run multiple city command centre operations through its multi-efficiency capabilities.

§  ICCC would integrate a multitude of citizens’ services applications and sensors running across selected cities of Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Satna, and Sagar are the seven smart cities under Smart City Mission in Madhya Pradesh.

Smart City mission scheme was launched in 2014, around 100 cities in the country will be developed. The selection is based on the scores cities get for carrying out urban reforms in areas including sanitation and governance. Cities that score the highest will be picked for the project, to be implemented over a 10-year period.


Directorate General of Trade Remedies

Government of India has  Amendmened the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 substituting “Directorate General of Trade Remedies” in place of “Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties” in Department of Commerce.The DGTR will function as an attached office of Department of Commerce. The recommendation of DGTR for imposition of Anti-dumping, countervailing & Safeguard duties would be considered by the Department of Revenue. Currently, the Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) deals with anti-dumping and CVD cases, Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS) deals with safeguard measures and DGFT deals with quantitative restriction (QR) safeguards.The DGTR will bring DGAD, DGS and Safeguards (QR) functions of DGFT into its fold by merging them into one single national entity. This provides comprehensive and swift trade defence mechanism in India.


Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has drafted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Draft Bill, 2018, that will amend the 2007 version.

§  The Bill enhances the jail term for those found abandoning or abusing their parents, 60 years or older, to six months from the existing three months.

§  The Bill expands the definition of children, which currently refers to only biological children and grandchildren, to include daughter-in-law and son-in-law and also adopted/step-children.

§  It extends the definition of maintenance beyond provision of food, clothing, housing, health care to include “safety and security” of the parent.

§  As per the Bill, senior citizens can also approach a Maintenance Tribunal in case their children neglect or refuse to maintain them. In such cases, the draft Bill states that the Tribunal can order the children or, in case the person is childless, the relative to pay a monthly maintenance to the senior citizen. The amount would be decided by taking into account the standard of living of the senior citizen and the financial situation of both the parties.

§  The Bill proposes to make monthly maintenance amount variable as people who earn more, can afford to shell out a higher amount for the upkeep of their parents.

§  The Bill also introduces a punitive measure of up to one month imprisonment in case the monthly allowance remains unpaid.

§  Currently, various government and private schemes for insurance/health, housing and travel, have varied cut-off age for offering benefits meant for senior citizens. The Bill mandates the uniform age across schemes should be 60 years.

§  The Bill will require the government to establish and run at least one Senior Citizen Care Home in every district in the country.

§  As per the Bill, if parents transfer property to their children on the condition that they take care of them, and this clause is breached, the transfer of property will be deemed to be “made by fraud or coercion or under undue influence” and a tribunal can order it to be transferred back to the parent.



Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

US President Donald Trump has announced he is pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. He described the agreement as “decaying and rotting”.

§  The agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been on the rocks since Trump’s election, and the resulting climate of uncertainty spooked many large firms from doing business in Iran, thus diminishing the economic incentives that drew Iran to the agreement in the first place. Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in a 2015 deal struck with the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany.

§  Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.


The government has approved distinctive green licence plates for electric vehicles to encourage people to use electric vehicles. Such vehicles will be fitted with green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private cars and yellow font for taxis.


Lassa fever

§  Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness of 2-21 days duration that occurs in West Africa.

§  The Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

§  Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in hospitals lacking adequate infection prevention and control measures.

§  Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, but probably exists in other West African countries as well.

§  The overall case-fatality rate is 1%. Observed case-fatality rate among patients hospitalized with severe cases of Lassa fever is 15%.

§  Early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival.

Nigeria has announced that it is free from Lassa fever outbreak.


The Pacific Islands Forum has been granted approval to establish a Permanent Observer Office at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

§  Pacific Islands Forum, formerly (1971–2000) South Pacific Forum, organization established in 1971 to provide a setting for heads of government to discuss common issues and problems facing the independent and self-governing states of the South Pacific.

§  It comprises 18 members: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

§  In 2000 Forum leaders adopted the Biketawa Declaration, which was a response to regional political instability and which put forward a set of principles and actions for members to take to promote open, democratic, and clean government, as well as equal rights for citizens regardless of gender, race, colour, creed, or political belief.



May 11 is celebrated as National Technology Day to mark India’s technological advancements.

National Technology Day 2018 theme: “Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future”.

On May 11, 1998, India detonated three nuclear bombs in the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam lead the Indian team of scientists to successfully test-fire the Shakti-1 nuclear missile at Rajasthan’s Pokhran test range.


Bangabandhu is Bangladesh’s first communications satellite. Built by Thales Alenia Space, a Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer, it is designed to provide a wide range of broadcast and communication services throughout the country for the next 15 years. It is named after Bangladesh’s “Father of the Nation”- Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Launched by: Falcon 9 Block 5 is designed to be capable of 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment as SpaceX continues to strive for rapid reusability and extremely high reliability.



NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft (MMS) has found the new magnetic event in near-Earth environment.

Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important processes in the space — filled with charged particles known as plasma — around Earth. This fundamental process dissipates magnetic energy and propels charged particles, both of which contribute to a dynamic space weather system that scientists want to better understand, and even someday predict, as we do terrestrial weather.  Reconnection occurs when crossed magnetic field lines snap, explosively flinging away nearby particles at high speeds.


MAGNETIC RECONNECTION has been observed innumerable times in the magnetosphere — the magnetic environment around Earth — but usually under calm conditions. The new event occurred in a region called the magnetosheath, just outside the outer boundary of the magnetosphere, where the solar wind is extremely turbulent. Previously, scientists didn’t know if reconnection even could occur there, as the plasma is highly chaotic in that region. MMS found it does, but on scales much smaller than previous spacecraft could probe.

MMS investigates how the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect, explosively transferring energy from one to the other in a process that is important at the Sun, other planets, and everywhere in the universe, known as magnetic reconnection. Four identically instrumented spacecraft measure plasmas, fields, and particles in a near-equatorial orbit that will frequently encounter reconnection in action.

Reconnection limits the performance of fusion reactors and is the final governor of geospace weather that affects modern technological systems such as telecommunications networks, GPS navigation, and electrical power grids. MMS reveals, for the first time, the small-scale three-dimensional structure and dynamics of the elusively thin and fast-moving electron diffusion region. It does this in both of the key reconnection regions near Earth, where the most energetic events originate.


Mount Merapi: located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces, Indonesia. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia


Elysia chlorotica: It is a green sea slug which can suck out an algae’s plastids that generate energy from sunlight — and incorporate them into its own biology. In doing so, it becomes an animal with the photosynthetic ability of a plant. It has been discovered in intertidal zone between Nova Scotia, Canada, and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, as well as in Florida.


NAFTA stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement, an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States that reduced or eliminated trade barriers in North America. (the U.S. and Canada already had a free trade agreement.) talks to modernise it failed recently.


World Migratory Bird Day 2018 is being celebrated on May 12th this year.

theme: “Unifying Our Voices for Bird Conservation”.




§  Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states. It is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.

§  The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony“.

§  The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.


Reserve Bank has initiated PROMPT CORRECTIVE ACTION against public sector lender Dena in view of high non-performing loans, restricting the bank from giving fresh credit and new hiring.


Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet.



§  SAWEN is a regional network comprises eight countries in South Asia –Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

§  It aims at working as a strong regional intergovernmental body for combating wildlife crimes by attempting common goals and approaches for combating illegal trade in the region.


Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed an environment-friendly propellant to power satellites and spacecraft. The new propellant is a blend based on hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN).

§  A monopropellant is a chemical propulsion fuel which does not require a separate oxidizer. It is used extensively in satellite thrusters for orbital correction and orientation control.The in-house formulation consists of HAN, ammonium nitrate, methanol and water. While methanol was added to reduce combustion instability, the choice of AN was dictated by its capacity to control the burn rate and lower the freezing point of the propellant.

Presently, hydrazine rocket fuel is being used. However, it is a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical. Due to its high performance characteristics, hydrazine has dominated the space industry as the choice of propellant for over six decades, despite its environment and health hazards and the challenges faced in its manufacturing, storage, ground handling and transportation.



§  ‘Bharosa,’ an initiative of Hyderabad City Police, is a state-of-the-art centre to support women and children who are victims of violence. Since its inception in 2016, a total of 3,560 victims have approached ‘Bharosa’ centre with a range of problems.

§  ‘Bharosa’ provides under one roof, 24X7 services related to police, medical, legal, prosecution, psycho-therapeutic counselling and relief and rehabilitation services in completely private counselling rooms to maintain confidentiality and privacy.




§  The broad objective of the scheme is to skill the youth for gainful and sustainable employment in the textile sector covering the entire value chain of textiles, excluding spinning and weaving.

§  The scheme is intended to provide demand driven, placement oriented National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) compliant skilling programmes to incentivize and supplement the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the textiles sectors.

§  The scheme targets to train 10 lakh persons (9 lakh in organised and 1 lakh in traditional sector) over a period of 3 years (2017-20), with an outlay of Rs. 1300 crore.




To ensure energy security, the Government of India had decided to set up 5 million metric tons (MMT) of strategic crude oil storages at three locations namely, Visakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur (near Udupi).

§  Recently Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has shipped the first oil cargo for India’s strategic petroleum reserve at Mangalore. In the 2017-18 budget, it was announced that two more such caverns will be set up Chandikhole in Jajpur district of Odisha and Bikaner in Rajasthan as part of the second phase.

§  The construction of the Strategic Crude Oil Storage facilities is being managed by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), a Special Purpose Vehicle, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.



Ayushman Bharat**

The Centre has signed MoU with four States – Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Union Territory of Chandigarh for implementing Ayushman Bharat.


Highlights of the scheme:

It will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes -Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).

Coverage: The scheme has the benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and elderly) there will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme. The benefit cover will also include pre and post-hospitalisation expenses.

Target: The target beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on SECC database. Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.

Role of state governments: State Governments will be allowed to expand AB-NHPM both horizontally and vertically. States will be free to choose the modalities for implementation. They can implement through insurance company or directly through Trust/ Society or a mixed model.

Council: For giving policy directions and fostering coordination between Centre and States, it is proposed to set up Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Council (AB-NHPMC) at apex level Chaired by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister.


Who is eligible?

§  It will be an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database.

§  The different categories in rural area include families having only one room with kucha walls and kucha roof; families having no adult member between age 16 to 59; female headed households with no adult male member between age 16 to 59; disabled member and no able bodied adult member in the family; SC/ST households; and landless households deriving major part of their income from manual casual labour.

§  Also, automatically included families in rural areas having any one of the following: households without shelter, destitute, living on alms, manual scavenger families, primitive tribal groups, legally released bonded labour. For urban areas, 11 defined occupational categories are entitled under the scheme.


Implementation Strategy:

At the national level to manage, an Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Agency (AB-NHPMA) would be put in place. States/ UTs would be advised to implement the scheme by a dedicated entity called State Health Agency (SHA). They can either use an existing Trust/ Society/ Not for Profit Company/ State Nodal Agency (SNA) or set up a new entity to implement the scheme. States/ UTs can decide to implement the scheme through an insurance company or directly through the Trust/ Society or use an integrated model.


Benefits of the scheme:

This will lead to increased access to quality health and medication. In addition, the unmet needs of the population which remained hidden due to lack of financial resources will be catered to. This will lead to timely treatments, improvements in health outcomes, patient satisfaction, improvement in productivity and efficiency, job creation thus leading to improvement in quality of life.


Way ahead:

The scheme, if implemented properly could be a game changer by enhancing access to health care including early detection and treatment services by a large section of society who otherwise could not afford them. The identification of beneficiaries can be done by linking with Aadhar and similarly following up for services received and health outcomes achieved, thereby helping to monitor and evaluate the impact of the programme.

Ultimately, the scheme could help country move towards universal health coverage and equitable access to healthcare which is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.




The objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land. It also aims at reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability.


Highlights of the policy:

§  On technology front the Policy provides for integration of both the energy sources i.e. wind and solar at AC as well as DC level. The Policy also provides for flexibility in share of wind and solar components in hybrid project, subject to the condition that, rated power capacity of one resource be at least 25 per cent of the rated power capacity of other resource for it to be recognised hybrid project.

§  The Policy seeks to promote new hybrid projects as well as hybridisation of existing wind/solar projects. The existing wind/solar projects can be hybridised with higher transmission capacity than the sanctioned one, subject to availability of margin in the existing transmission capacity.

§  The Policy provides for procurement of power from a hybrid project on tariff based transparent bidding process for which Government entities may invite bids. Policy also permits use of battery storage in the hybrid project for optimising the output and further reduce the variability. It mandates the regulatory authorities to formulate necessary standards and regulations for wind-solar hybrid systems.


Way ahead:

With significant capacity additions in renewables in recent years and with Hybrid Policy aiming at better utilisation of resources, it is envisaged that the Hybrid Policy will open-up a new area for availability of renewable power at competitive prices along with reduced variability.



Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP)*

§  GSDP is a recent initiative under the ENVIS scheme for skilling the youth in the country. It is an initiative for skill development in the environment and forest region by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to develop India’s youth into employable and/or self-employment, making use of the widespread network and experience of ENVIS Hubs/RPs.

§  The Green Skill Development programme endeavours to develop green skilled workers having technical knowledge and commitment to sustainable development, which will help in the attainment of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and National Biodiversity Targets(NBT).

To create over five lakh job opportunities by 2021 through green skills, the government has launched GSPD-ENVIS mobile app to begin enrolments in 30 expert course under its Green Skill Development Programme (GSPD).

Green skills are those skills required to adapt processes, services and products to climate change and the environmental rules and necessities related to it. They embrace the information, abilities, values and attitudes required to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society. India is the second most populous country in the world is bestowed with a large working population.




To conserve and develop indigenous bovine breeds, government has launched ‘Rashtriya Gokul Mission’ under the National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development (NPBBD).


Rashtriya Gokul Mission will be implemented through the “State Implementing Agency (SIA viz Livestock Development Boards). State Gauseva Ayogs will be given the mandate to sponsor proposals to the SIA’s (LDB’s) and monitor implementation of the sponsored proposal. All Agencies having a role in indigenous cattle development will be the “Participating Agencies” like CFSPTI, CCBFs, ICAR, Universities, Colleges, NGO’s, Cooperative Societies and Gaushalas with best germplasm.


Frozen Semen Station is being set up in Maranga, Purnea in Bihar under the RashtriyaGokul Mission with 100% contribution from the Central Government. The frozen semen station in Purnea will be the first state-of-the-art semen production center of the country.


Gokul Gram:

Funds under the scheme will be allocated for the establishment of Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres viz “Gokul Gram”.

§  Gokul Grams will be established in: i) the native breeding tracts and ii) near metropolitan cities for housing the urban cattle.

§  Gokul Gram will act as Centres for development of Indigenous Breeds and a dependable source for supply of high genetic breeding stock to the farmers in the breeding tract.



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