The mission aims at doubling average speed of freight trains and increasing average speed of coaching trains by 25kmph over a five year.




ATAL PENSION YOJANA became operational from June 1, 2015 and is available to all the citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years.


§  Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, depending upon his contribution, from the age of 60 years.

§  The same pension would be paid to the spouse of the subscriber and on the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse, the accumulated pension wealth is returned to the nominee.

§  The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, that is, from 2015-16 to 2019-20, to those who join the NPS before 31st December, 2015 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not Income Tax payers.



Special Category status

The concept of SCS was first introduced in 1969 by Fifth Finance Commission. It has been not mentioned in Constitution. The decision to grant special category status was earlier with former Planning Commission body called the National Development Council (NDC).NITI Aayog, which had replaced Planning Commission has no power to allocate funds for states falling under this category, therefore, now it is discretion of ruling party at Centre to dole out special favours to states.

Criteria for Special Category States Earlier, NDC accorded this status to states having hilly and difficult terrain, low population density or sizeable share of tribal population, strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries, economic and infrastructural backwardness and non-viable nature of state finances. The 14th Finance Commission also had recommended variables such as “forest cover” for devolution, with weightage of 7.5.

Recently Bihar government demanded fro special category .status



The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its DRAFT TELECOM COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATION CUSTOMER PREFERENCE REGULATION, 2018 has proposed use of blockchain technology to check menace of Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) or spam calls and messages. This will be for first time, any country will deploy blockchain technology to check unwanted calls.


Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) rolled out ‘GAJ YATRA, an awareness campaign to protect elephants from Tura in Garo Hillsof Meghalaya. It was organised by the Wildlife Trust of India in collaboration with the State Forest Department. Gaj Yatra is 18-month-long national campaign aimed to protect elephants, India’s national heritage animal in 12 elephant range states. It was launched in August 2017 by Environment and Forest Minister Harsh Vardhan on the occasion of World Elephant Day 2017 (observed on August 12).


ELEMENT RUTHENIUM (RU) is fourth element to have unique magnetic properties (ferromagnetism) at room temperature. So far only three periodic table elements Iron (Fe), Cobalt (Co), and Nickel (Ni) have been found to be ferromagnetic at room temperature.


Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali has tied up with state owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to launch SWADESHI SAMRIDDHI SIM CARDS.


India has concluded price negotiations with Russia for deal to procure S-400 TRIUMF air defence missile systems for Indian Air Force (IAF).  They also have finalised financial component nearly Rs 40,000 crore of the deal. It is long-range air defence missile system is one of most advanced long-range defence systems in the world. It is referred to as SA-21 Growler by NATO. It is capable of firing three types of missiles, creating layered defence, and simultaneously engaging 36 targets.  It has capability to destroy incoming all airborne targets at ranges of up to 400 km. both countries are now trying to find way out to evade provisions of CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), a stringent US law that seeks to punish countries and entities engaged in transactions with defence or intelligence establishment of Russia.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone for first phase (2400MW) of NTPC’s coal based PATRATU SUPER THERMAL POWER PROJECT in Jharkhand. The project is 74: 26 Joint Venture between Government of Jharkhand (GoJ) and Patratu Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd. (PVUN), a subsidiary company of NTPC. The Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contract of project is awarded to BHEL.


VISVA BHARATI is public central university located in Santiniketan, West Bengal. It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore on 23 December 1921.


India and Netherlands launched CLEAN AIR INDIA INITIATIVE IN NEW DELHI. It aims to curb air pollution in Indian cities by promoting partnerships between Indian start-ups and companies from Netherlands. Clean Air India Initiative is collaborative project between Get In The Ring, a platform for start-ups of Netherlands Government, Start-up India and  INDUS Forum, an online matchmaking platform of Indian and Dutch businesses.


COLOMBIA HAS FORMALLY JOINED NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION as global partner. It makes it first Latin American to join NATO. The announcement came after Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approved Colombia as a new member.  NATO alliance had reached reached partnership agreement with Colombia back in May 2017, just after the Latin American signed peace agreement with communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), ending the longest-running civil conflict in Latin America. The peace deal had earned Colombian President Juan Manuel  Santos 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on on 4 April 1949. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

The 71st WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY HELD IN GENEVA, Switzerland has adopted resolution on Digital Health. The resolution was initiated by India and was co-sponsored by 20 countries. The World Health Assembly is highest decision-making body of World Health Organization (WHO).



The first edition of GLOBAL WIND SUMMIT will be held in Hamburg, Germany from September 25 to 28, 2018. It will be largest and most important meeting of the wind industry worldwideIndia with 33GW (installed capacity) is fourth largest country after China, US and Germany in terms of wind energy installation capacity


  • ‘the PANKHA’ (Hand-fans) is an exhibition cum sale event launched by Union Tribal Affairs Minister.It is created by TRIFED through its artisans from all over the country at its showroom Tribes India.


  • Scientists have sent BROCCOLI SEEDS COATED WITH A HEALTHY DOSE OF GOOD BACTERIA to space in a quest to find a viable way for astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) to grow their own vegetables.
  • These “beneficial” microbes, also called endophytes.
  • It may also help plants grow better in extreme low-gravity environments, and where nutrients or water could be lacking.


International Conference on the TRIPS CBD linkage

  • Government of India, along with the Centre for WTO Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and the South Centre are organizing an International Conference on TRIPS- CBD Linkage in Geneva.
  • Brazil and South Africa are some of the other countries that have joined hands with India on this crucial initiative.
  • The international conference will bring together indigenous people/local communities in developing and developed countries, internationally acclaimed academicians working on the subject, Geneva-based negotiators and capital based experts.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity is a multilateral agreement on sustainable development and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resource.
  • The Doha Ministerial Declaration in 2001 had tasked the TRIPS Council of the WTO to examine the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • TRIPS CBD Linkage is important for India and other developing countries because it seeks to address bio-piracy.
  • The Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their utilization came into effect in 2014.
  • The developing countries seek an amendment in the TRIPS Agreement to make disclosure of source or origin of genetic resource by patent applicants, submission of evidence of prior informed consent of local communities and evidence of fair and equitable sharing of benefits under the relevant national regimes mandatory.

Way to cut emissions in brick kilns

  • The Brick Kiln Initiative, launched by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal.
  • It found a way to redesign the ovens and stack the bricks differently so that less toxic soot is produced.
  • By stacking the bricks inside the kilns in a zig-zag pattern, the heat snakes through the gaps more efficiently, ensuring coal is completely burned so less soot is produced.
  • There are more than 150,000 kilns in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal belching out thousands of tons of soot — known as black carbon — a major air pollutant and the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide.
  • The problem is acute, with industrial soot emissions from the region having a worldwide impact.
  • The soot collects on the Arctic ice, decreasing the earth’s ability to reflect the sun’s rays and contributing to warming globally.



4th International Yoga Day

The main event of 4th International Yoga Day celebrations (IDY-2018) will be held on 21st June 2018 at Dehradun in Uttrakhand.


  • Deo Tibba is located just 20 km east of the city of Manali. All women high altitude expedition to Mount Deo tibba (6001 Mtrs) which is located in Himachal Pradesh has been organized by the Indian Navy.


  • Baduli Kurung is a bat cave in the Bamuni hill, 17 km south of Nagaon town in central Assam.
  • It is home to a number of colonies of both fruit- and insect-eating bats.The people believe that the bats watch over the hills that provide them firewood and a life-saving spring(water).


  • MARAVANTHE BEACH is located 12 km from Kundapur, which is 50 km north of Udupi, Karnataka.
  • The work on Asian Development Bank-funded Maravanthe Shoreline Protection and Management Project is under process.There is a constant threat of National Highway 66 getting eroded by massive waves.The NH66 is passing between the Arabian Sea and Souparnika River at Maravanthe.


Women’s health crucial to combat stunting

  • A first of-its-kind study by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), analysing data from the National Family Health Survey (NHFS)- IV across all 640 districts of the country, highlights the impact of women’s health on stunting of children.
  • According to it the parameters related to women, including education and age at marriage, account for 50% of the difference between districts with high and low levels of stunting among children below the age of five.
  • Across the country, in 239 districts more than 40% of the children are stunted, while 441 districts record between 30% and 40 % of stunting.
  • The study reports that only 29 districts have levels between 10% and 20%, most of them in South India.
  • India accounts for approximately a third of the world’s stunted children at 63 million.
  • Overall levels have improved in the country from 48% in 2006 to 38.4% in 2016 with wide variations among different districts ranging between 12.4% and 65.1%.
  • The four crucial parameters in women that together contribute to a 44% reduction in stunting among children are
  1. Levels of body mass index accounting for 19% of the difference between districts
  2. Education accounting for 12% of the difference
  3. Age at marriage contributing a 7% reduction
  4. Ante-natal care adding 6%.



  • The JONBEEL MELA, held from 18-20 January 2018, usually takes place a few days after Magh Bihu, the harvest festival, in Dayang Belguri in Morigaon district in Assam.
  • A cluster of tribes celebrate this centuries-old ‘mela’ that still functions on the barter system.
  • The Jonbeel lake that lends its name to the fair (jon is moon and beel is lake) also witnesses community-fishing during the fair.
  • Jonbeel Mela is organized by the Tiwa community, with participants from the Tiwa, Karbi, Khasi and Jaintia communities, from the interiors of the state’s Morigaon and Karbi Anglong districts, as well as some border villages of Meghalaya.





  • According to a report by Mercom Communications India  set a new record with 9.6 GW of solar installations in 2017,
  • It was more than double the 4.3 GW installed in 2016.
  • The large-scale project development accounted for 92 per cent of the all-time cumulative solar installations in India.
  • The Government has also recently released the National solar-wind hybrid policy to improve the share of renewable energy in the total energy mix.
  • The policy provides for a comprehensive framework to promote large grid-connected wind-solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid system.



Memzyme: it has an enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, developed by living cells over millenia to help get rid of CO2. Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico have developed this biologically inspired membrane.It can capture 90 per cent of carbon dioxide from the smoke of coal-fired power plants at a low cost.The 18 nanometer water-based membrane has the capability to capture the overwhelming majority of CO2 molecules from a rising cloud of coal smoke.The membrane turns the gas briefly into carbonic acid and then bicarbonate before exiting immediately downstream as CO2 gas.



  • stores of rare earth minerals, crucial in the making of leading-edge technologies like smart phones, radar devices and hybrid vehicles, have been found here.  However, extraction of the minerals from the depth of 6,000 metres is likely to pose challenges for resource-poor Japan.



Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad’s (IIMA’s) centre for innovation, incubation, and entrepreneurship (CIIE) has launched ‘Bharat Inclusion Initiative’.

§  The Bharat Inclusion Initiative aims to provide a continuum of solutions to inclusion-focused tech entrepreneurs across the pre-incubation, seed and scale-up stage and help them jump to the next orbit.

§  It is a $25 million initiative that will look to mentor and invest in start-ups in the early stage and seed segment over the next three-four years.

§  The fund will look at start-ups in areas such as financial inclusion, livelihood, education, agriculture, and health.

§  The initiative received an initial pledge of $12.5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and Omidyar Network.




India has submitted a detailed proposal to the WTO to negotiate a TRADE FACILITATION AGREEMENT IN SERVICES (TFS)


§  This is in line with  the trade facilitation pact in goods. The TFS proposal aims at liberalising rules for movement of professionals and other steps to reduce transaction costs with a view to boost growth of the services sector.

§  The proposed agreement would set provisions on all four modes of services supply of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

§  For services supplied through “mode 3” (a foreign company setting up subsidiaries or branches to provide services in another country), it suggests streamlining the setting up of businesses through a “single window”.

§  For the cross-border movement of services suppliers (known as “mode 4”), it suggests simplifying work permit and visa procedures and ensuring that measures relating to taxation, fees and social security contributions do not unfairly disadvantage foreign service suppliers.

§  Other suggestions include enhancing cooperation among authorities, facilitating cross-border data flows, and allowing WTO members to comment on measures before their entry into force. The proposal also foresees special and differential treatment for developing countries.


Global trade in services’s share in global exports is lower than that of trade in goods, despite having a higher share in GDP. This dichotomy suggests that there are more barriers existing for trade in services as compared to trade in goods.


General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is a treaty of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that entered into force in January 1995 as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations. The treaty was created to extend the multilateral trading system to service sector, in the same way the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provides such a system for merchandise trade. All members of the WTO are parties to the GATS. The basic WTO principle of most favoured nation (MFN) applies to GATS as well.

The GATS agreement covers four modes of supply for the delivery of services in cross-border trade:


Mode Criteria Supplier Presence
Mode 1: Cross-border supply Service delivered within the territory of the Member, from the territory of another Member Service supplier not present within the territory of the member
Mode 2: Consumption abroad Service delivered outside the territory of the Member, in the territory of another Member, to a service consumer of the Member
Mode 3: Commercial presence Service delivered within the territory of the Member, through the commercial presence of the supplier Service supplier present within the territory of the Member
Mode 4: Presence of a natural person Service delivered within the territory of the Member, with supplier present as a natural person


The GATS distinguishes between four modes of supplying services: cross-border trade, consumption abroad, commercial presence, and presence of natural persons.

Cross-border supply is defined to cover services flows from the territory of one Member into the territory of another Member (e.g. banking or architectural services transmitted via telecommunications or mail);

Consumption abroad refers to situations where a service consumer (e.g. tourist or patient) moves into another Member’s territory to obtain a service;

Commercial presence implies that a service supplier of one Member establishes a territorial presence, including through ownership or lease of premises, in another Member’s territory to provide a service (e.g. domestic subsidiaries of foreign insurance companies or hotel chains); and

Presence of natural persons consists of persons of one Member entering the territory of another Member to supply a service (e.g. accountants, doctors or teachers). The Annex on Movement of Natural Persons specifies, however, that Members remain free to operate measures regarding citizenship, residence or access to the employment market on a permanent basis.



to generate additional data to check whether the transgenic oilseed affects honey bees and other pollinators and also whether it negatively impacts soil health. GEAC had last year given its nod to this indigenously developed transgenic oilseed and recommended it to the environment ministry for final clearance. However, the government later asked it to re-examine the entire issue after receiving several representations both in support and against GM mustard.

The developer – Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants of the Delhi University – will now have to undertake field demonstrations on GM mustard in an area of five acres at two or three different locations to generate relevant data before approaching the regulator again for its consideration of commercial release.



§  The 30  participating States and UTs shall now be evaluated on a score of 100, against 38 action points categorized into 7 areas of intervention such as Startup Policy and implementation, Incubation support, Seed Funding, Angel and Venture Funding, Simplification of Regulations, Easing Public Procurement and Awareness & Outreach.

§  India is home to about 20,000 startups, with about 1,400 beginning operations every year



The 192nd Post Office Passport Seva Kendra, opened recently in Phagwara in Punjab, will be the first in the country to have all-women staff.


Mt. Bhagirathi-II is located in the Garhwal Himalayas in Gangotri National Park

Indian Army Women Officers’ Mountaineering Expedition to Mt. Bhagirathi-II (6512 metres) consisting of nine women officers, was recently flagged off.


National Dengue Day is observed on May 16 in order to create awareness regarding the viral disease.

It is contagious and can easily be spread from one person to another. The disease is mainly caused by 1 of the 4 closely related dengue viruses. The fever is transmitted when Aedes mosquito infected with dengue virus bites a person.


on May 11, 1998, India took a leap into the unknown world of nuclear weapon powers with the tests at Pokhran. The five nuclear devices detonated during the Pokhran II Test were Shakti I, II, III, IV and V.

It consisted of 5 detonations. First one was fusion and remaining 4 were fission bomb test. This test made India 6th nation to have tested a nuclear weapon.

A series of five nuclear explosions were conducted between May 11 and May 13, 1998.The second Pokhran Nuclear Test was conducted after Smiling Buddha in 1974.

India is now a member of three out of four multilateral export control regimes — MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group — and is in the reckoning for membership of the NSG.



  • More than 600 pages of rare Tibetan manuscripts with Buddha’s teachings written in gold letters has been restored at a 100-year-old monastery in Alubari in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district. Restoration of the gold-inlaid manuscripts in two volumes at the Mak Dhog Monastery started recently.  The manuscripts contain the ancient Tibetan text called Gyetongba , which contains teachings of Buddhism.
  • The manuscripts are in the Tibetan script Sambhota, named after its inventor.
  • The restoration work is being done by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
Ireland ends abortion ban


NASA Curiosity

  • NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has successfully collected the first rock samples on the red planet in over a year, using a new way to drill rocks and extract powder from them.
  • Curiosity tested percussive drilling penetrating about two inches into a target called “Duluth.”
  • This technique, called Feed Extended Drilling, keeps the drill’s bit extended out past two stabiliser posts that were originally used to steady the drill against Martian rocks
  • It lets Curiosity drill using the force of its robotic arm, a little more like the way a human would drill into a wall at home.



  • Council of Scientific & Industrial Research has been awarded the Clarivate Analytics India Innovation Award 2018 in the Government Research Organizations Category.
  • CSIR is a pioneer of India’s intellectual property movement and a leader in terms of sheer volume of patents published.
  • CSIR’s patent portfolio touches a wide spectrum of areas in science and technology, some of the top filing areas include: polymers and applications in medicine, materials, electrical industry, pharmaceutical research, fermentation, enzymes, catalysis and applications, chemical & biological treatment of water.
  • Every year, Clarivate Analytics – formerly the IP & Science division of Thomson Reuters – recognizes the most innovative companies in India according to patent-related metrics.
  • The evaluation is strictly driven by metrics for both patent volume (patents published) as well as patent quality (grant success rate, extent of globalization, and citations).


  • The Union Minister for Human Resource Development launched the ‘SAMAGRA SHIKSHA’ – an integrated Scheme for school education extending support to States from pre-school to senior secondary levels for the first time.
  • The Scheme is a paradigm shift in the conceptual design of school education by treating ‘school’ holistically as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary levels.
  • Samagra’ means a holistic approach to treat education as a whole and the Scheme is very aptly named as it sees school education holistically without segmenting it into various levels of education.
  • The emphasis on Integration of two Ts – Teacher and Technology in the new scheme will help improve quality of education.


Trikuta hills are the abode of Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra town of Jammu’s Reasi district.


  • China successfully launched a relay satellite to set up a communication link between the Earth and a planned Chinese lunar exploration mission to explore the Moon’s mysterious far side.It is named as QUEQIAO (MAGPIE BRIDGE) which is a 400-kg satellite with a designed life of three years.It was carried by a Long March-4C rocket.



Ganga Praharis

  • A database of ‘Ganga Praharis’, a self-motivated cadre, being created by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was  launched recently.
  • The Ganga Praharis’, a self-motivated volunteer cadre from local communities have been trained and taken on board by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to make Clean Ganga Mission a mass movement.
  • This cadre has been created to ensure the sustainability of efforts in conservation of the biodiversity in river Ganga.
  • So far, 427 Ganga Praharis across five main stem Ganga basin states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal have been involved in this project.



Status of Conservation of Select Aquatic Species

  • Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation released the report on “Status of Conservation of Select Aquatic Species” in river Ganga in New Delhi recently.
  • It is a first-of-its-kind report which presents the status of select species of river Ganga and synthesize the information from available literature as well as from the data generated through the rapid biodiversity assessment of the river.
  • This would make valuable contribution for making a baseline for these species.
  • Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun prepared these reports as part of the “Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation” project being sponsored by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the aegis of the Namami Gange program.
  • The Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation project aims to develop a science-based aquatic species restoration plan for Ganga by involving multiple stakeholders.



The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired upgraded guided version of Pinaka Rocket from Proof & Experiment  (PXE) at Chandipur, Odisha. The guided version is Pinaka rocket (Pinaka mark-II) has evolved from earlier version of unguided Pinaka mark-I. The upgraded Pinaka mark-II has enhance range of Pinaka to more than 70 km (from earlier 40 km) and accuracy to 50m (from earlier 500m)


Facebook has partnered with National Commission for Women (NCW) to launch DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAMME to train women on safe use of internet. The programme was launched by Facebook in collaboration with Ranchi, Jharkhanda-based Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF), a civil society organisation



§  The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003. It is a central sector scheme.

§  The scheme has two components: Setting up of new AIIMS and upgradation of government medical colleges. The upgradation programme is carried out in selected Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) by agencies appointed by the Government of India under the direct supervision of the Central Government.


National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) will be estb. at Bhopal.

§  NIMHR has been established as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

§  The main objectives of the NIMHR are to provide rehabilitation services to the persons with mental illness, capacity development in the area of mental health rehabilitation, policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation.

§  The Institute will conduct 12 courses to offer diploma, certificate, graduate, post graduate, M.Phil degrees in the area of mental health rehabilitation.


Union Cabinet has approved National Policy on Biofuels – 2018.


Categorization: The Policy categorises biofuels as

“Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and

Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels,

Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.

Scope of raw materials: The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.

Protection to farmers: Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account, the Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.

Viability gap funding: With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.


Classification of Biofuels:

§  1st generation biofuels are also called conventional biofuels. They are made from things like sugar, starch, or vegetable oil. Note that these are all food products. Any biofuel made from a feedstock that can also be consumed as a human food is considered a first generation biofuel.

§  2nd generation biofuels are produced from sustainable feedstock. The sustainability of a feedstock is defined by its availability, its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, its impact on land use, and by its potential to threaten the food supply. No second generation biofuel is also a food crop, though certain food products can become second generation fuels when they are no longer useful for consumption. Second generation biofuels are often called “advanced biofuels.”

§  3rd generation biofuels are biofuel derived from algae. These biofuels are given their own separate class because of their unique production mechanism and their potential to mitigate most of the drawbacks of 1st and 2nd generation biofuels.



1.     Import dependency

2.     Cleaner environment: By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.

3.     Health benefits: Prolonged reuse of Cooking Oil for preparing food, particularly in deep-frying is a potential health hazard and can lead to many diseases. Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.

4.     Employment Generation

5.     Additional Income to Farmers


Micro Irrigation Fund’ (MIF) has been setup with NABARD under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). An allocation of Rs2,000 crore has been made for this fiscal while Rs3,000 crore has been earmarked for the 2019-20 fiscal. NABARD will extend the loan to state governments during this period.

§  NABARD will provide this amount to states on concessional rate of interest. Borrowings from NABARD shall be paid back in seven years including the grace period of two years.

§  The dedicated fund would supplement the efforts of PMKSY programme and help bring about 10 lakh hectares under micro-irrigation.





A ‘Freight Village’ is a specialised industrial estate which attracts companies that require logistics services and can cluster to improve their competitiveness. This will allow relocation of retailers, warehouse operators and logistics service providers supplying the regional FMCG market.

Cabinet has approved development of Trunk Infrastructure Components for Integrated Multi Modal Logistics Hub known as “Freight Village” at Nangal Chaudhary in Haryana under Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project. The Freight Village will be connected through Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) at Dabla.

Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor is a mega infra-structure project of USD 90 billion with the financial & technical aids from Japan, covering an overall length of 1483 KMs.  The project would include six mega investment regions of 200 square kilometres each and will run through six states Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Southern Haryana, Eastern Rajasthan, Eastern Gujarat, and Western Maharashtra.


§  Mascot IP NANI is a tech-savvy grandmother who helps the government and enforcement agencies in combating IP crimes with the help of her grandson “Chhotu” aka Aditya.




The India Meteorological Department issued an advisory to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and the Lakshadweep archipelago over cyclonic storm ‘Sagar’.


Director General of Trade Disputes

Department of Commerce formally issued notification for creation of DIRECTORATE GENERAL OF TRADE REMEDIES (DGTR) IN THE MINISTRY OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY.

·        The DGTR will bring Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied duties (DGAD), Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS) and Safeguards (QR) functions of Directorate General of Foreign Trade into its fold by merging them into one single national entity.

  • The Commerce and Industry Minister has given his approval for creation of DGTR in Department of Commerce, consequent upon amendment carried out by Government of India to the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.
  • DGTR will be the apex National Authority for administering all trade remedial measures including anti-dumping, countervailing duties and safeguard measures.


The Government has made a budget provision of Rs 7,522.48 crore for the establishment of Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF).



  • It will connect Northeastern part of the country to the West Coast.
  • The service would enable farmers to market their products like tea, betal nuts, pineapple, jute, horticulture products, cane furniture etc. at the retail markets in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Nagpur, Pune etc
  • The PCET has been started in line with the Government’s priority to provide connectivity to the Northeast region and empowering the local industries.
  • It has emerged as a business tool without any additional strain on the resources of the railways


  • National Mineral Development Company Limited has bagged the prestigious S&P Global PLATTS Global Metals Award 2018 in corporate social responsibility (CSR) category. NMDC is the largest iron ore mining company in India, founded in 1958. It  also extracts diamonds through its mine in Panna, Madhya Pradesh, which is the only mechanized diamond mine in Asia.The company has been supporting initiatives on education, health, skill development, infrastructure creation and drinking water among others with a view to enhance the quality of life and empower the local population.
  • This is the first time since inception of this award that an Indian Company bagged an award in this category.
  • S&P Global Platts is the leading independent provider of information, benchmark prices and analytics for the energy and commodities markets.



  • A team of scientists used global “human footprint” maps to quantify the intensity of human pressure in 41,927 protected areas in 213 countries.
  • The result shoed that around 1/3rd of the world’s protected areas is under intense pressure from human activities such as road construction, grazing for livestock and urbanization.


  • Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute (CSWRI), Avikanagar, have come up with a new laparascope-assisted insemination technique for sheep.
  • It is a premier Institute of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) engaged in research and extension activities on sheep.
  • It was established in 1962 at Malpura in Rajasthan.


  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, earlier known as Victoria Terminus has completed 130 years of its construction on 20th May 2018.
  • It was designed by Frederick William Stevens, a consulting architect.
  • It is designed in Gothic style adapted to suit Indian context.
  • The dome of the terminus has been reported to be the first octagonal ribbed masonry dome that was adapted to an Italian Gothic style building.
  • The crowning point of the whole building is the central main dome carrying up a colossal figure of lady pointing a flaming torch upwards in her right hand, and a spoked wheel low in the left hand, symbolizing `Progress’.
  • In 2004, UNESCO has enlisted this building as World Heritage Site for its architectural splendour. It is the headquarters building of Central Railway.


  • The Indo-Dutch #StartUpLink is developed for Indian and Dutch startups that are exploring each other’s markets and offers access to key information, relevant networks, pilot opportunities, and navigators for the respective startup ecosystems.



ASTEROID IS NAMED AS (514107) 2015 BZ509

The first Alien asteroid was discovered in our Solar system. Scientists have discovered the first known permanent immigrant to the solar system — an asteroid, nestling in Jupiter’s orbit, that migrated from another star system.All the planets in the solar system travel around the Sun, whereas this asteroid moves in the opposite direction, referred to as ‘retrograde’ orbit.


Network For Spectrum (NFS) Project:

§  Network For Spectrum (NFS) project is for laying of alternate communication network for Defence Services.

§  The project is being implemented by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

§  The project will also have forward linkages to other related industries such as telecom equipment manufacturing and other telecommunication related services.

§  The NFS project will boost the communication capabilities of the Defence Forces in a major way leading to enhanced national operational preparedness.



new frog discovered from Karnataka: Mangaluru narrow-mouthed frog or Microhyla kodial


Swachh Survekshan 2018 was organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), under  the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban)

§  Indore has emerged as the cleanest city, followed by Bhopal and Chandigarh. Indore was the cleanest city last year as well.

§  Jharkhand has been adjudged as the best performing state, followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.



The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the Ebola health risk assessment to “very high” in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.


§  Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

§  Transmission: The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

§  The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.

§  Prevention: Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service and social mobilisation.

§  Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.



Asia’s first stock exchange, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has become the first stock exchange in India to have received recognition as a ‘Designated Offshore Securities Market’ (DOSM) from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). DOSM status allows the sale of securities to U.S. investors through the trading venue of BSE without registration of such securities with the US SEC and thus eases the trades by US investors in India.

An IDR is a depository receipt denominated in Indian rupees issued by a domestic depository in India. Much like an equity share, it is an ownership pie of a company. Since foreign companies are not allowed to list on Indian equity markets, IDR is a way to own shares of those companies. These IDRs are listed on Indian stock exchanges.



NASA’s GRACE mission has confirmed that a massive redistribution of freshwater is occurring across the Earth, with middle-latitude belts drying and the tropics and higher latitudes gaining water supplies.


RainCube to the ISS

§  RainCube (Radar in a CubeSat) is a technology demonstration mission to enable Ka-band (35.75 GHz) precipitation radar technologies on a low-cost, quick-turnaround platform. RainCube will demonstrate the feasibility of a radar payload on a CubeSat platform.  NASA is planning to deliver RainCube to the ISS. RainCube could open the door for lower-cost, quick-turnaround constellation missions, in which multiple CubeSats work together to provide more frequent observations than a single satellite.



Cyclone ‘Sagar’

is a tropical cyclone in Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden. Cyclone Sagar is also expected to affect Somalia; Ethiopia, Djibouti.


§  Mumbai-based sculptor Uttam Pacharne the chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi by president of India. It is an autonomous organization, established at New Delhi in 1954 to promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, both within and outside the country.



The Supreme Court has ordered the Central government to implement its draft Cauvery Management Scheme after finding it in consonance with its February 16 judgment. The court also found the draft scheme in conformity with Section 6A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act.

The apex court, in its verdict delivered on February 16, had asked the Centre to frame the Cauvery management scheme, including creation of the Cauvery Managament Board, for release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

§  The top court had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending the time for this on any ground.

§  It had raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”.

§  The Cauvery water management scheme will deal with the release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

§  It will be implemented by the Cauvery Management Authority (CMA). CMA will be the sole body to implement the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award as modified by the apex court. The Centre would have no say in it except for issuing administrative advisories to it.



The construction of the much-awaited infrastructure project Zoji La tunnel has begun.


It is a 14.2-km long tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh, which remains cut-off from the rest of India during winters due to heavy snowfall. “Zojila tunnel will be the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia.

Implementation: The project will be implemented by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRT&H) through the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).

Benefits of the tunnel: The project would enhance the safety of travellers crossing Zojila Pass and reduce the travel time from 3.5 hours to 15 minutes. This pass is most strategic for the entire Kargil sector which has seen intrusion and war in the past. It will further increase the employment potential for the local labourers for the project activities.

Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway which remains closed during winters (December to April) due to heavy snowfall and avalanches cutting off Leh-Ladakh region from Kashmir.





A device which can be used to detect and remove arsenic content from water and make it safe.Developed by The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in collaboration with a private company.

permissible limit of Arsenic in groundwater is .01 mg per litre (as per WHO).

Arsenic in ground water is a geogenic contaminant i.e. caused by natural geologic processes.

§  Under the National Aquifer mapping programme (NAQUIM) of CGWB  water wells have been constructed tapping arsenic free aquifers using state of the art technology in parts of Ballia and Ghazipur districts of Uttar Pradesh”.



“Green Good Deeds” campaign:

§  The campaign has been launched by the Environment Ministry to sensitise the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming. The objective of the campaign is to restore and return the clean and green environment to the next generation.

§  The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change had drawn up a list of over 500 Green Good Deeds and asked people to alter their behaviour to Green Good Behaviour to fulfil their Green Social Responsibility.

§  These small positive actions to be performed by individuals or organisations to strengthen the cause of environmental protection, were put on a mobile application named “Dr Harsh Vardhan App”.

The BRICS Ministerial on Environment has agreed to include “Green Good Deeds” in its official agenda in the next Ministerial in Brazil.


Sadharan Brahmo Samaj (SBS), the party funded by Rabindranath Tagore’s father in the initial years, has entered into a legal battle with the West Bengal State government over its decision to dissolve the governing bodies of eight colleges in Kolkata run by the organisation.

The governing bodies of the eight colleges were dissolved following the decision of the State’s Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department to not to grant the SBS the status of a minority religion. The order argued that since SBS is not a “separate minority religion”, the related colleges administered by it should be treated as “non-minority Government-aided Colleges.”

Sadharan Brahmo Samaj:

§  The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj was formed in May 1878. Mr. Anandamohan Bose was appointed the first President Mr. Shib Chandra Deb the first Secretary and Mr. Umesh Chandra Dutta the Assistant Secretary. It was formed as a result of schisms in the Brahmo Samaj.

§  Debendranath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore was actively involved with the organisation.

§  The Samaj had faith in a Supreme Being and believed that existence after Death is natural to man. It regarded the relation between God and men to be direct and immediate. It did not believe in the infallibility of any man or any scripture.


The GST council has asked the Centre and states to expedite setting up of appellate authorities for aggrieved entities to appeal against orders of the authority for advance rulings (AAR).



With AARs in different states started giving rulings since March, it has become imperative for the Centre as well as states to set up the appellate authority for advance ruling (AAAR). So far only 12 states, including West Bengal, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, have issued notifications for setting up AAARs. However, these have not become operational as the members have not yet been appointed.


About AAAR:

§  As per the state GST law, the appellate authority will have two members – the chief commissioner of central tax as designated by CBIC and the commissioner of state tax.

§  The appellate authority has been mandated to pass order within 90 days of the filing of appeal.

§  Under the GST (goods and services tax) law, an aggrieved party can file an appeal against the order of the authority for advance rulings within 30 days, which may be further extended by a month.


What is an Advance Ruling?

“Advance ruling” means a decision provided by the Authority or the Appellate Authority to an applicant on matters or on questions specified in sub-section (2) of section 97 or subsection (1) of section 100 of the CGST Act, 2017, in relation to the supply of goods or services or both being undertaken or proposed to be undertaken by the applicant.


The broad objectives for setting up a mechanism of Advance Ruling are:

§  Provide certainty in tax liability in advance in relation to an activity proposed to be undertaken by the applicant.

§  Attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

§  Reduce litigation.

§  Pronounce ruling expeditiously in a transparent and inexpensive manner.


‘Authority for advance ruling’ (AAR) and ‘Appellate authority for advance ruling’ (AAAR):

§  The Authority for advance ruling constituted under the provisions of State Goods and Services Tax Act or Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act shall be deemed to be the Authority for advance ruling in respect of that State or Union territory under the CGST Act, 2017 also.

§  The Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling constituted under the provisions of a State Goods and Services Tax Act or a Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act shall be deemed to be the Appellate Authority in respect of that State or Union territory under the CGST Act, 2017 also.

§  Thus it can be seen that both the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) & the Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) is constituted under the respective State/Union Territory Act and not the Central Act. This would mean that the ruling given by the AAR & AAAR will be applicable only within the jurisdiction of the concerned state or union territory. It is also for this reason that questions on determination of place of supply cannot be raised with the AAR or AAAR.


What happens when there is difference of opinion among the members?

Before giving the ruling, AAR must hear the applicant or his authorised representative as well as the jurisdictional officers of CGST/SGST.

If there is a difference of opinion between the two members of AAR, they shall refer the point or points on which they differ to the AAAR for hearing the issue. If the members of AAAR are also unable to come to a common conclusion in regard to the point(s) referred to them by AAR, then it shall be deemed that no advance ruling can be given in respect of the question on which difference persists at the level of AAAR.



Context: Pakistan’s top civil and military leaders have decided to give greater administrative and financial authority to Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.


Where is Gilgit Baltistan located?

§   It is located in the northern Pakistan. It borders China in the North, Afghanistan in the west, Tajikistan in the north west and Kashmir in the south east. Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. It has a regional Assembly and an elected Chief Minister.

India’s opposition:

India has termed as “entirely unacceptable” any possible attempt by Pakistan to declare the Gilgit-Baltistan region, bordering the disputed Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as the fifth province.



Recent report by the government shows that even after two years after it was launched, the Permanent Residency Status (PRS) scheme providing a host of facilities for foreigners who invest at least ₹10 crore under the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) route has not found a single applicant.


Features of the PRS scheme:

§  Under the Scheme, suitable provisions will be incorporated in the Visa Manual to provide for the grant of PRS to foreign investors.

§  The PRS will be granted for a period of 10 years with multiple entry. This can be reviewed for another 10 years if the PRS holder has not come to adverse notice.



ToneTag, sound-based data transfer technology by a Bengaluru-based financial technology company. ToneTag sound-wave communication platform enables highly secure proximity payments, customer engagement services and on-the-go mobility solutions.


On the occasion of World Bee Day celebrated on May 20th, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization and the European Union have called for global action to protect pollinators, and bees in particular, which are crucial for ensuring food security.


World Bee Day:

To underline the importance of the issue, and following a Slovenian proposal, the UN has named May 20 as World Bee Day, as it marked the birthday of Anton Jansa (1734-1773), a Slovenian pioneer in modern beekeeping.



§  Pollinators, such as bees, birds, bats, butterflies and beetles are responsible for most of the crops and food that we eat. However, the UN has warned that 40% of invertebrate pollinators—particularly bees and butterflies—risk global extinction.

§  The absence of an appropriate habitat for bees could lead to a continuous decline in pollination. Mono-cropping, pesticides and higher temperatures associated with climate change all pose problems for bee populations and, by extension, the quality of food we grow.

§  Declining pollination also poses an immediate threat to nutrition. If this trend continues, nutritious crops such as fruits, nuts, and many vegetable crops will be substituted increasingly by staple crops like rice, corn, and potatoes, eventually resulting in an imbalanced diet.


Importance of Pollinators:

§  Most of our staple food crops such as wheat, rice, sorghum, barley and maize do not require animals for their pollination. However, wild pollinators play a very important role in the production of other crops such as some pulses, sunflower seeds, cardamom, coffee, cashew nuts, oranges, mangoes and apples.

§  Pollinators also provide a key ecosystem service vital to the maintenance of both wild and agricultural plant communities.

§  Besides, the annual economic value of the crops pollinated by animals worldwide is estimated to be between $235 billion and $577 billion (in 2015).

§  Declines in the health and population of pollinators pose what could be a significant threat to the integrity of biodiversity, to global food webs, and to human health. At least 80% of our world’s crop species require pollination to set seed.


Protection measures for farmers and governments:

Recommended practices for farmers to create a good habitat for bees to ensure pollination include:

§  Leaving some areas under natural habitat.

§  Creating hedgerows.

§  Reducing or changing the usage of pesticides.

§  Leaving nesting sites.

§  Planting attractive crops around the field.

§  On a policy level, a more diverse agriculture and less dependency on toxic chemicals to facilitate an increase in pollination, leading to improved food quality and a surge in food quantity are encouraged.



Banihal-Qazigund tunnel will be operational by next year.

About the tunnel:

§  It is a 8.45 km road tunnel in the Pir Panjal range in Jammu and Kashmir connecting Banihal and Qazigund.

§  It is a double tube tunnel consisting of two parallel tunnels – one for each direction of travel.



India is the global host of 2018 World Environment Day which will take place on June 5, 2018.

Theme: “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

Background: World Environment Day is a UN Environment-led global event, the single largest celebration of our environment each year, which takes place on June 5 and is celebrated by thousands of communities worldwide. Since it began in 1972, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the globe.



The Everest industry is suffering from a dangerous shortage of its most important resource: experienced Sherpa guides.

§  Sherpas are the people living in the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas who support climbing teams as porters, guides, rope-fixers, cooks and cleaners.

§  Sherpas have been helping Everest climbers since the first British teams set their sights on the summit in the 1920s.

§  Their unique physiology, adapted over thousands of years of living at high altitudes, has made them essential since.

§  Regions with significant Sherpa populations: Nepal, China (Tibet), Bhutan and India.



Navika Sagar Parikrama’

INSV Tarini has completed a historic global Circumnavigation. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.


Kerala health department is on high alert in the wake of deaths due to the ‘Nipah’ virus (NiV).

According to WHO, the Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis, that is, a disease transmitted from animals to humans. The virus belongs to a new genus termed Henipavirus (subfamily Paramyxovirinae).

The natural host of the virus are fruit bats belonging to the family Pteropodidae. In 2004, humans were affected after eating the date palm contaminated by infected fruit bats. Pigs can also act as intermediate hosts.

It was first identified in 1998 at Kampung Sungai Nipah village, Malaysia. The virus is named after this village.


What are the symptoms in humans?

The symptoms of Nipah are similar to that of influenza: fever, muscle pain, and respiratory problems. Inflammation of the brain can also cause disorientation. Late onset of Encephalitis can also occur. Sometimes a person can have an asymptomatic infection, and be a carrier of Nipah and not show any symptoms.

Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.

According to WHO, ribavarin can reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions associated with the disease. Individuals infected need to be hospitalised and isolated. Special care should be taken to prevent human-to-human transmission. Surveillance systems should be established to detect the virus quickly and to initiate appropriate control measures.


§  Common Services Centers (CSCs) are a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme. They are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society. The network of Common Service Centres (CSCs), which act as access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, are set to be expanded to 2.50 lakh gram panchayats by the year end. The CSC project, which forms a strategic component of the National eGovernance Plan was approved by the Government in May 2006, as part of its commitment in the National Common Minimum Programme to introduce e-governance on a massive scale.

§  It is also one of the approved projects under the Integrated Mission Mode Projects of the National eGovernance Plan.

CSCs enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme:

§  Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.

§  Governance and services on demand.

§  Digital empowerment of citizens.


The 330 MW Kishanganga Hydropower Project was recently inaugurated by the Prime Minister in northern Kashmir’s Gurez. The PM also laid down the foundation stone for Pakal Dul hydro power project.

It is an $864 million dam which is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin.

§  It is located 5 km north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir. It also lies to the north of Wular Lake.

§  The state of Jammu and Kashmir would be provided with 12 percent of the power generated by the project.


Opposition by Pakistan:

§  Pakistan has raised several objections to the Kishanganga Project in the past. Pakistan has complained that the Kishanganga Project affects its own Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Plant. However, India maintains that the project would not have any impact on rivers flowing into the neighbouring country.

§  Construction on the dam was temporarily halted by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River (called the Neelum River in Pakistan). In February 2013, the Hague ruled that India could divert a minimum amount of water for power generation.

§  Pakistan has been flagging concern over designs of India’s five hydroelectricity projects – Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Ratle (850 MW), Kishanganga (330 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) – being built/planned in the Indus river basin, contending these violate the treaty.


Pakal Dul hydro power project:

The 1,000 megawatt Pakal Dul hydroelectric power project on Marusadar River, a tributary of Chenab River, in Jammu and Kashmir will provide 12% free power to the state. The project will not only be the largest hydroelectric power project in the state but also the first storage unit.






Mission innovation is held here.

§  Mission Innovation is a global platform of 23 countries and European Union aimed at accelerating clean energy innovations through enhanced Government funding, greater public-private sector partnership and enhanced global cooperation.

§  Mission Innovation is complemented by private sector-led investments of extraordinary levels of private capital in clean energy, focusing on early-stage innovations.



World Health Assembly (WHA):

§  The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states. It is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.

§  The members of the World Health Assembly generally meet every year in May in Geneva, the location of WHO Headquarters.

70th anniversary of the (WHO)Organization, the 40th Anniversary of Alma-Ata and WHO’s top priority, universal health coverage.



Asita, also known as Yamuna River Front Development (RFD) project, aims to restore, revive and rejuvenate the river’s floodplains and make them accessible to the people of Delhi. “Asita” is another name of river Yamuna.


Government of India has sanctioned Yamuna Action Plant (YAP)-I and YAP-II schemes for river Yamuna in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and YAP-III in Delhi under financial assistance from Japan International Coorperation Agency (JICA) for taking up works for sewerage/interception and diversion of drains, Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), low cost sanitation/community toilet complexes, electric/ improved wood crematoria, etc.


Arunachal Pradesh has been put on the aviation map of the country with the state’s first commercial flight landing at PASIGHAT in the north-east state’s East Siang district, 305 kilometres from state capital Itanagar.


The National Institute of Educational Research and Planning (NIEPA) will bring out the National Resource centre, an initiative that is part of the Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Training (PMMMNMTT).

The National Resource Centre is envisaged as a one-stop point for Indian academicians to enhance their research and teaching skills.

§  The centre will enable college and university teachers to access a detailed database of academic resources, including lists of books, top journals and subject experts in their area of interest.

§  It will also suggest a mechanism to higher education institutions to assess students’ satisfaction with teaching and research in the institutions, so that the faculty are able to figure out what students think about their college/university and make improvements.


Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) is a Scheme launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

The aim of the scheme to improve the quality of school and higher education by addressing comprehensively all issues related to teachers, teaching, teacher preparation, professional development, Curriculum Design, Designing and Developing Assessment & Evaluation methodology, Research in Pedagogy and developing effective Pedagogy.


The Mission proposes to have following components:

§  Schools of Education (in Central Universities).

§  Centres of Excellence for Curriculum and Pedagogy.

§  Inter-University Centres for Teachers’ Education.

§  National Resource Centre for Education.

§  Centres for Academic Leadership and Education Management.

§  Innovations, Awards, Teaching Resource Grant, including Workshop & Seminar, Subject Networks for Curricular Renewal and Reforms.




§  Pakistan is hosting its first ever Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) meeting in Islamabad. The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism.

§  The Head of RATS is elected to a three-year term. Each member state also sends a permanent representative to RATS.



BrahMos, supersonic cruise missile was recently successfully test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR)


The government has released the Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2018. It is drafted as a promotional and facilitative act and not regulatory in its structure.

With a view to integrate farmers with bulk purchasers including exporters, agro- industries etc. for better price realization through mitigation of market and price risks to the farmers and ensuring smooth agro raw material supply to the agro industries, Union Finance Minister in the budget for 2017-18 announced preparation of a “Model Contract Farming Act” and circulation of the same to the States for its adoption.


Features of the Act:

§  The act lays special emphasis on protecting the interests of the farmers, considering them as weaker of the two parties entering into a contract. It brings contract farming outside the ambit of the APMC Act.

§  It provides for a “Registering and Agreement Recording Committee” or an “Officer” at the district/block/taluka level for online registration of sponsor and recording of agreement. The contracted produce will also be covered under crop/livestock insurance in operation.

§  In a bid to allay the fears of individual farmers, the act explicitly states that no permanent structure can be developed on farmers’ land/premises under such contracts.

§  It gives no right, title of interest of the land to the sponsor. Similarly, no rights, title ownership or possession to be transferred or alienated or vested in the contract farming sponsor.

§  The act provides for the promotion of Farmer Producer Organization (FPOs)/Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) to mobilise small and marginal farmers. The FPO/FPC can also be a contracting party if so authorized by the farmers.

§  As per the law, the contracting party will be obliged to buy the entire pre-agreed quantity of one or more of agricultural produce, livestock or its product of contract farming producer as per contract.

§  It also envisages the setting up of Contract Farming Facilitation Group (CFFG) for promoting contract farming and services at village/panchayat level.

§  It also includes an accessible and simple dispute settlement mechanism at the lowest level possible for quick disposal of disputes.



What is the existing regulatory structure?

Currently, contract farming requires registration with the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) in few states.  This means that contractual agreements are recorded with the APMCs which can also resolve disputes arising out of these contracts.  Further, market fees and levies are paid to the APMC to undertake contract farming.  The Model APMC Act, 2003 provided for contract farming and was released to the states for them to use this as reference while enacting their respective laws.  Consequently, 20 states have amended their APMC Acts to provide for contract farming, while Punjab has a separate law on contract farming.  However, only 14 states notified rules related to contract farming, as of October 2016.


What are the issues with the current structure?

Over the years, expert bodies have identified issues related to the implementation of contract farming.  These include: (i) role of APMCs which are designated as an authority for registration and dispute settlement in most states, (ii) provisions of stockholding limits on produce under contract farming, and (iii) poor publicity of contract farming among the farmers about its benefits.




May 22 is observed as The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase awareness on various biodiversity issues such as habitat destruction, marine pollution and climate change.

The theme for 2018 is “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity.”


§  It was first observed in 1993 by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly.

§  In 2000, May 22 was chosen as the International Day for Biological Diversity to commemorate the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

§  At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for “sustainable development” — meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations. One of the key agreements adopted at Rio was the Convention on Biological Diversity.

§  The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations.




National Institute of Disaster Management


Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation-stone for the southern campus of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) at Kondapavuluru village of Gannavaram mandal in Andhra Pradesh.

NIDM is a premier institute of the Government of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

§  It was constituted under an Act of Parliament with a vision to play the role of a premier institute for capacity development in India and the region.

§  Under the Disaster Management Act 2005, NIDM has been assigned nodal responsibilities for human resource development, capacity building, training, research, documentation and policy advocacy in the field of disaster management.

§  NIDM also serves as international SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) and works as focus for its operation and planning.



Black Panther’:

It is a new specialised anti-Naxal combat for Chhattisgarh.

It is on the lines of the Greyhounds unit. The Greyhounds is a special force in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh that specialises in anti-insurgency operations against Naxals and Maoists.


The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance to set up the country’s first national sports university in Manipur. A bill to set up the university in Imphal is already pending in parliament. The ordinance will be on the lines of the bill introduced in Lok Sabha in August, 2017.

Setting up of National Sports University in Manipur will result in giving an opportunity for youth of country in general and of North Eastern States in particular for pursuing courses such as B.PEd, MPEd, Diploma / certificate courses in coaching, physiotherapy, fitness, sports management, sports journalism, etc.


Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO)

§  ALIMCO is a “Not For Profit” Central Public Sector Undertaking working under the administrative control of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

§  For past 40 years, it is manufacturing various types of aids and appliances on mass scale to meet the requirements of PwDs.

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD-Divyangjan Shashaktikaran Vibhag), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) for the Financial Year 2018-19. It covers major developments to be achieved in this year for the Empowerment of Divyangjan of the country.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has validated Nepal for having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem – a milestone, as the country becomes the first in WHO’s South-East Asia Region to defeat the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness.

Trachoma is a chronic infective disease of the eye and is the leading cause of infective blindness globally. Trachoma is a disease of poor environmental and personal hygiene and inadequate access to water and sanitation. It affects the conjunctiva under the eyelids.


PRAGATI – the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation

Shri Narendra Modi, recently chaired his twenty-sixth interaction through PRAGATI .

The 25 PRAGATI meetings so far have seen a cumulative review of 227 projects with a total investment of over Rs. 10 lakh crore. Resolution of Public Grievances has also been reviewed across a range of sectors.


PRAGATI: platform is aimed at addressing common man’s grievances, and simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Government of India as well as projects flagged by State Governments.


§  The PRAGATI platform uniquely bundles three latest technologies: Digital data management, video-conferencing and geo-spatial technology.

§  It also offers a unique combination in the direction of cooperative federalism since it brings on one stage the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States.

§  With this, the Prime Minister is able to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground level situation. It is also an innovative project in e-governance and good governance.

§  It is a three-tier system (PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States).




The Film Festival will be a platform for people of the film industry of member countries to explore areas of cooperation in the domain of “cinema and cultural cooperation.The Film Festival will be non-competitive. The tagline of the Festival is proposed to be ‘Friendship through Films’.

§  The Directorate of Film Festivals is organising ASEAN India Film Festival in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs (ASEAN Multilateral Division) as part of the series of events to commemorate the 25 years of ASEAN and India relations.



Universal Service Obligation Fund [USOF]

The Union Cabinet chaired has approved the “Universal Service Obligation Fund [USOF]” supported scheme to provide mobile services at 4072 tower locations identified by MHA in inhabited uncovered areas affected by Left Wing Extremism [LWE] of 96 districts in 10 States for Phase-ll project.This network would be used by the security personnel deployed in LWE affected areas.

§  Project will also provide the mobile services to help the residents in unconnected inhabited villages which would improve the economic activities in the region.

Districts which span 10 States — Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — are described as those affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE) and constitute the ‘Red Corridor.’

USOF, was established in 2002, provides effective subsidies to ensure telegraph services are provided to everyone across India, especially in the rural and remote areas. It is headed by the USOF Administrator who reports to the Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

§  Funds come from the Universal Service Levy (USL) of 5% charged from all the telecom operators on their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) which are then deposited into the Consolidated Fund of India, and require prior parliamentary approval to be dispatched.


  Man Booker Prize:An English translation of Olga Tokarczuk’s Polish novel Flights, which combines tales about travel with explorations of the human body, has been named as the winner of the prestigious Man Booker International Prize 2018.

Man Booker Prize for Fiction is awarded every year to the best original novel written in English language and published in the UK. From 2018, it has opened to Irish publishers as well.


NITI Aayog and actor Sushant Singh Rajput will collaborate towards promoting the Women Entrepreneurship Platform launched by the NITI Aayog.


Women Entrepreneurship Platform:

: The initiative is aimed at building an ecosystem for women across India to realize their entrepreneurial aspirations, scale-up innovative initiatives and chalk-out sustainable, long-term strategies for their businesses. This will be done through an enabling network of industry collaborations, partnerships, mentors and peer-to-peer connect.

From providing unique services such as credit evaluation of women-led startups by CRISIL and potential equity investments through an INR 10 crore fund established by DICE Districts, the WEP opens up avenues of growth and opportunity for women entrepreneurs.


As an enabling platform, WEP is built on three pillars- Iccha Shakti, Gyaan Shakti & Karma Shakti where:

§  Iccha Shakti represents motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to start their business.

§  Gyaan Shakti represents providing knowledge and ecosystem support to women entrepreneurs to help them foster entrepreneurship.

§  Karma Shakti represents providing hands-on support to entrepreneurs in setting-up and scaling up businesses.



Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2018

To celebrate the idea of unity in diversity, the Ministry of Culture is organising the the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav in Tehri, UttarakhandThe paired state for Uttarakhand under the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat matrix is Karnataka, and while troupes from all over the country will be performing, special emphasis is being given to Karnataka.

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav was conceived by the Ministry of Culture in the year 2015, when the Ministry decided to organize it with an intent to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Country in all its rich and varied dimensions, viz Handicrafts, Cuisine, Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Documentation and Performing Arts-Folk, Tribal, Classical and Contemporary- all in one place.

Tehri Lake Festival where one can explore the water sports, organized by the Uttarakhand Tourism every year, will be subsumed within the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav.


Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat:

The Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme was launched by the Prime Minister on 31st October, 2016 to promote engagement amongst the people of different states/UTs so as to enhance mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures, thereby securing stronger unity and integrity of India.


‘SamagraShiksha’ scheme


Union Human Resource Development Ministry has launched Samagra Shiksha scheme for school education. Samagra Shiksha is a program that unifies learning from the pre-school to class 12 levels and encapsulates elements of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamk Shiksha Abhiyan and teacher education. The scheme will focus on digital education.

The objectives of the scheme include:

§  Provision of quality education.

§  Enhancing learning outcomes of students.

§  Bridging social and gender gaps in school education and promoting vocationalisation of education.

§  Strengthening teacher education institutions like SCERTs and Diets to improve quality of teachers.

§  Annual grant of Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 per school for strengthening of libraries.



CLMV conclave


Context: 5th India – CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) Business Conclave was recently held at Phnom Penh, Cambodia. During the conference, government and business community of CLMV countries were invited to actively partner in India’s initiative to strengthen manufacturing capacities.


§  Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam collectively, is the third largest economy in ASEAN, followed by Indonesia and Thailand.

The CLMV conclave is an annual feature which provides an opportunity for Indian business leaders to interact with government and business stakeholders representing the four countries.



Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) was set up on 2nd April 1990 under an Act of Parliament. It acts as the Principal Financial Institution for Promotion, Financing and Development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector as well as for co-ordination of functions of institutions engaged in similar activities.

Recently : Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that operates Common Service Centres (CSCs).

Through the MoU, the SIDBI seeks to extend financial support to the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) of Common Services Centers, with minimum one year of operation, under the Direct Financing Window of SIDBI.

§  Under the Direct Financing Window, CSC SPV will approve the list of VLEs, within 25 km distance of SIDBI Branch Offices, who require financial support. To avail the loan, the VLEs need to submit their CSC project, with maximum project outlay of Rs. 3.50 lakh and term loan requirement not exceeding Rs. 2 lakh per project.

§  Through the MoU, both CSC SPV and SIDBI seek to work together to bring more citizens under the ambit of financial inclusion. Moreover, it also seeks to enhance the financial viability of CSCs by including additional services in their bouquet of products.



‘Clean Air India Initiative’ launched


Context: Clean Air India initiative was recently launched by Prime Minister of Netherlands Mark Rutte, who is in India on a two-day visit.


About Clean Air India initiative:

§  The Clean Air India Initiative is a collaborative project between Get In The Ring, a platform for start-ups, the government of the Netherlands, Start-up India, and INDUS Forum, an online matchmaking platform of Indian and Dutch businesses.

The campaign aims to curb air pollution in Indian cities by promoting partnerships between Indian start-ups and Dutch companies and build a network of entrepreneurs working on business solutions for cleaner air.


Nari Shakti Puraskar:

Context: Nari Shakti Puraskar 2017 was recently presented to the INSV Tarini Team. The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, had conferred the Nari Shakti Puraskars on International Women’s Day(08th March 2018) in Rashtrapati Bhavan. About Nari Shakti Puraskars:

§  . The Nari Shakti Awards were initiated in the year 1999. The Ministry of Women and Child Development announces these national level awards for eminent women, organisations and institutions.

§  The Nari Shakti Puraskar carries a cash award of Rs.1 Lakh and a certificate for individuals and institutions.




It is a joint Military Exercise between India and Nepal that will be conducted at Pithoragarh.

About Surya Kiran:

§  The Surya Kiran series of Exercises are being conducted annually, alternatively in Nepal and India. Surya Kiran series with Nepal is the largest in terms of troop’s participation.




Women Safety Division

MHA has created a new Division to address issues of women safety comprehensively.


About the Women Safety Division:

§  The division, headed by a joint secretary level officer, would deal with all aspects of women’s safety in coordination with the relevant ministries, departments and state governments.

§  Besides dealing with crimes against women, the new division will deal with crimes against SCs and STs, crimes against children and elderly persons, the anti-trafficking cell, matters relating to prison legislation and prison reforms, all schemes under the Nirbhaya fund, Crime and Criminal Tracking and Network System and the National Crime Records Bureau.


Inter-State Council (ISC)


Context: Inter-State Council Standing Committee under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh completes its deliberations on Punchhi Commission report.

The recommendations in Volume VI of the Punchhi Commission report are related to Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure. The recommendations in Volume VII are related to Socio-economic Development, Public Policy and Good Governance.


Punchhi Commission:

Punchhi Commission notified in 2005 submitted its report in 2010. The recommendations of the Punchhi Commission, which are contained in seven Volumes pertain to History of Centre-State Relations in India; Constitutional Governance and Management of Centre-State Relations; Centre-State Financial Relations and Planning; Local Self-Governments and Decentralized Governance; Internal Security, Criminal Justice and Centre-State Co­operation; Environment, Natural Resources & Infrastructure; and Socio-Economic Development, Public Policy and Good Governance.


the inter-state council:

The Council is a recommendatory body to investigate and discuss subjects, in which some or all of the states or the union government have a common interest. Article 263 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council.The inter-state council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the states and union government. It can be established ‘at any time’ if it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a council.


The Council shall consist of:

§  Prime minister who is the chairman.

§  Chief ministers of all states who are members.

§  Chief ministers of union territories and administrators of UTs as members.

§  Six union ministers of cabinet rank in the union council of ministers nominated by the prime minister are also members.



RIMPAC naval exercises

The United States has decided to disinvite China from participating in the Rim of the Pacific naval exercise, held near Hawaii. The decision to withdraw the invitation extended to China was made in response to Chinese activity in the South China Sea.

RIMPAC is the world’s largest set of international maritime war games. The exercises occur every two years and are led by the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet, headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii. They are seen as a unique opportunity for Pacific Rim nations to cooperate as they train and work together to solve problemsObserver nations: Several observer nations are usually invited, including China, Ecuador, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and Russia. While not contributing any ships, observer nations are involved in RIMPAC at the strategic level and use the opportunity to prepare for possible full participation in the future.






§  NIFTEM is the brainchild of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI)Government of India.

§  It was created to cater to the needs of various stakeholders such as entrepreneurs, food processing industry, exporters, policy makers, government and existing institution.

§  It works actively for assisting in setting up food standards, businesses incubation and can also include knowledge sharing.

§  It would also be an apex institution in the field of food technology and management, networking and co-ordinating with other institutions in the same field in India and Abroad.



 India, Netherlands and Sweden launched first-of-its-kind collaborative research programme on HIV/AIDS. It is aimed at harnessing complementary research strengths and diverse expertise across three nations to catalyze development of better tools to understand and address the problem.


The International Bio-diversity Day is observed every year on 22 May to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme this year is ‘Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity’. It marks 25th anniversary of entry into force of Convention on Biological Diversity (at United Nations Environment Progamme Headquarters, Nairobi on 22 May 1992.


According to UN World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP), India’s economy is projected to grow 7.6% in fiscal year 2018-19, making it fastest growing economy in the world… The report is joint product of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and five United Nations regional commissions….


World Health Organization (WHO) has launched comprehensive plan “REPLACE” to eliminate industrially-produced artificial trans-fats from global food supply by 2023. The elimination of trans-fats is key to protecting health and saving lives. REPLACE is abbreviated in six strategic actions as Review, Promote, Legislate, Assess, Create awareness and Enforce


President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated Integrated Centre for Crisis Management (ICCM) at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The ICCM will help nation to respond more effectively to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies. It will monitor radiological data from a network of 504 radiation sensors across the country….


Biodiversity award


Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh has been awarded the India Biodiversity Award for its effort to conserve the critically endangered bird – Bugun liocichla. Bugun Liocichla ( Liocichla bugunorum) was discovered in 2006 in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. The bird has been named in honour of the efforts of the Bugun community of Singchung village in West Kameng district in conserving the wildlife and forest of the area.

§  The known population of this species is between 14 and 20 individual birds and occupies an extremely small (3 to 4 square kilometre) area in the temperate forest around 2,200m which is entirely within the traditional lands of Singchung village.

§  The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has classified this species as critically endangered.


The Singchung Bugun village community reserve was formally created on February 6 last year following intensive conservation efforts by the Arunachal forest department. The SBVCR, 17 square kilometre in size, is the core area of a larger conservation area on traditional Bugun lands. The 2002 Amendment to the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972) calls for a new category of protected areas, a ‘Community Reserve’ (cr).India Biodiversity award is conferred annually by the National Biodiversity Authority.


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