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April 2019 - National News

  • The Chennai Central railway station, officially known as Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station, lost the distinction of having the world’s longest railway station name by an alphabet. The record for the longest railway station name, which is 58 letters long, is held by ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’ in Wales.

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) has launched the Voter Turnout app on 19 April 2019. The mobile app is for the voters across the country to see the real-time availability of voter turnout during the election season in the country. The app captures the real-time information gathered by the Returning Officers following which it calculates the estimated totals.

  • The first edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference of 2019 is scheduled at New Delhi from 23 to 25 April 2019. The Chief of the Naval Staff will review major activities undertaken during the previous 6 months. The themes of 'Functional Reorganization of Indian Navy towards improving Operational Efficiency' and 'Optimal Manning' will form the core of discussions.

  • Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih visited Bengaluru on 21 April 2019 to attend an IPL match on the invitation of BCCI. He watched the match between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings.

  • IIM-B ranked 12th in APAC. After being ranked number one in the NIRF Rankings 2019 under the management category, IIM Bangalore has added another feather to its cap. Its Post Graduate Programme in Enterprise Management (PGPEM) has been ranked 12th in APAC and 61st globally in the QS Executive MBA Rankings 2019. IIM-B has become the only B-school in India to be a part of top 100 B-Schools globally and top 16 in APAC.

  • All India Radio, Publication Division and Children's Film Society of India were given Swacchta Pakhwada Awards-2019 in New Delhi on 23 April 2019. Secretary in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry Amit Khare gave away the awards.

  • Operation Night Riders began in Kerala. The Motor Vehicles Department’s Operation Night Riders began on 24 April 2019. It will keep tabs on 500 tourist omnibuses operating from key cities in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to the State. Kerala State Transport Commissioner Sudesh Kumar asked all Enforcement Regional Transport Officers (RTOs) to form 3-member squads under a Motor Vehicles Inspector.

  • The National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated every year in India on 24th April. The Constitution of India recognizes Panchayats as 'Institutions of self-government'. This day marks the passing of Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24 April 1993. The first National Panchayati Raj Day was celebrated in 2010.

  • A RBI committee may recommend that all government payments to citizens should be made digitally, one person aware of the matter said, requesting anonymity. The move seeks to ensure higher adoption of digital payments among the masses. The 5-member panel called Committee on Deepening of Digital Payments was led by former Unique Identification Authority of India chairman Nandan Nilekani.

  • Agriculture prices are projected to fall 2.6% this year but are estimated to rebound in 2020 due to lower crop production and higher costs for energy and fertilizers. Agricultural and food prices are expected to remain stable over the medium term. The outlook by the bank also adds that in 2020, agricultural prices are expected to rise by 1.7%.

  • India has 2.9 million children who have missed out on the first dose of measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017 despite over 80% of immunization coverage. India, with its large annual birth cohort of 25 million, is followed by Pakistan and Indonesia - 1.2 million each. In 2017 Nigeria had the highest number of children under 1 year of age who missed out on the 1st dose of vaccine.

  • IIT-Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) and Jindal Stainless have come together to introduce a 3-credit course on stainless steel and advanced ferrous alloys. This is a part of IIT-KGP's post-graduate curriculum for the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. The course shall comprise the study of stainless steel and the uniqueness of its various grades.

  • The Centre has approved a Rs. 4.5 crore grant to two premier Hyderabad-based institutions for research into technology that involves growing animal cells in a laboratory to produce slaughter-free meat. The grant, from the Department of Biotechnology, is for an 18-month project, which will look into developing methods to cultivate stem cells from tissue samples of sheep, to produce mutton.

  • In a historic first, the Army began the process to induct women in the military police, nearly two years after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said women will be recruited as jawans. The Army started the online registration for recruitment in the Corps of military and the last date for filing application has been fixed as June 8.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). They will map, validate and protect smaller wetlands by restoring them through coastal livelihood programmes. They will develop a mobile app and a centralized web portal with a complete database of wetlands.

  • The Centre extended the ceasefire agreement by 1 year with 2 insurgent groups in Nagaland, while a fresh pact for suspension of operations was signed with another outfit. A ceasefire is in operation between the Union government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland and National Socialist Council of Nagaland/Reformation (NSCN/R).

  • Jitendra Chaddah: New Chairman of India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA). 
    IESA also appointed Satya Gupta as the new Vice Chairman and Veerappan V, co-founder and director.

  • The 72nd Himachal Day was celebrated with gaiety and fervor in the state on 15 April 2019.

  • Indian Naval Ship Kozhikode was decommissioned in a grand ceremony conducted at Naval Jetty in Visakhapatnam. Vice Adm S N Ghormade, Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command was the chief guest for the occasion.

    INS Kozhikode was commissioned on 19 December 1988 at Riga (erstwhile USSR) and was the sixth and the last of the modified NATYA class of minesweeper.

  • The MHA approved a proposal to change the name of a village in Madhya Pradesh from 'Durjanpur' to 'Shivdham'. The move came after the Home Ministry got no objection from the Geographical Survey of India (GSI), the Department of Post, the Ministry of Railways.

  • Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat commissioned the Indian Coast Guard Ship Veera at a ceremony held at Naval Jetty, Visakhapatnam. Veera, third in the series of offshore patrol vessels of the Coast Guard, was built by L&T at its shipbuilding facility at Kattupalli in Chennai. Its induction will give a fillip to the maritime protection of India’s vastcoastline of Eastern Seaboard.

  • The 8th edition of HOME EXPO INDIA 2019 opened at India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida on 16 April 2019. The 3-day exhibition has been organized by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH).

  • The Time 100 most influential people of 2019 includes lawyers Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy. They were instrumental in the Supreme Court partly striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani also featured in the TIME magazine's list of 100 most influential people.

  • Entrepreneur, technologist and science storyteller, Atul Jalan launched his new book titled'Where will man take Us? - A Bold story of the Man Technology is creating'. Authored by Atul Jalan, CEO of Manthan Systems, the book looks at the immediate future of mankind and what lies in wait.

  • PwC has named Padmaja Alaganandan as its new chief people officer. Alaganandan is also in the PwC's India leadership team since January 2019.

  • Terra Drone Corporation and Terra Drone India signed a tripartite MoU with IIT-Hyderabad to co-establish Centre of Excellence for Unmanned Aerial Solutions (drones). Under the MoU, the Japanese company and its Indian subsidiary would offer a complete sales-service-support module for the drone ecosystem in India.

  • Book on Khooni Vaisakhi released in UAE. India's Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri has commended the launch of a book containing the English translation of the Punjabi poem, Khooni Vaisakhi. The poem was translated by Suri whose grandfather Nanak Singh, a Jallianwala Bagh survivor, wrote it after witnessing the events. The book was released in New Delhi on April 13, 2019, marking 100 years of the massacre.

  • 20 states and UTs have so far joined a pan-India network of single emergency helpline number '112' on which immediate assistance can be sought by anyone in distress. The '112' helpline is an integration of police (100), fire (101) and women(1090) helpline numbers and the project is being implemented under the Nirbhaya Fund. It is similar to '911' in the United States.

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has resumed test-flying its intermediate jet trainer (IJT) in a modified version after a gap of almost 3 years. It had halted flight tests of the IJT in 2016 after the aircraft encountered problems while undergoing critical spin tests. The trainer aircraft, called the HJT-36, is being developed for new pilots of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.

  • India’s rank in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 dropped down to 140th from 138th in 2018, two points below the previous year (2018). The Reporters without Borders (RSF) on April 18, 2019, released the World Press Freedom Index 2019, reflecting growing animosity towards journalists. Norway topped the index, followed by Finland and Sweden.

  • India has rebuilt Chhyoiphel Kundeling Monastery in Nepal. Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche inaugurated newly reconstructed Monastery at Lisankhu village in Sindhupalchok district on 19 April 2019. The Chhyoiphel Kundeling Monastery was established in 1946 with the active initiation and contribution of Lisankhu villagers.

  • Researchers at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) proclaimed new discovery on new antimicrobial approaches. They are studying the cell growth in bacteria and have discovered a new enzyme 'Murein EndopeptidiaseK' which would cut the bacteria cell wall.

    The researchers had identified a new enzyme which would act on the protein of cell wall in Escherichia coli (E. coli). The CCMB is to conduct high quality basic research and training in frontier areas of modern biology. To promote centralized national facilities for new and modern techniques in the inter-disciplinary areas of biology.

  • The National Handloom Week is being observed from April 7-14, 2019. National Handloom Day is observed every year on 7 August to mark a 1905 movement that boycotted British products in favour of the revival of domestic ones.

  • Justice Pradeep Nandrajog was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court on 7 April 2019.

  • Two Indian naval ships INS 'Kolkata' and 'Shakti' would take part in the Chinese Navy's 70th anniversary of celebrations later in April 2019. The two ships are scheduled to visit Chinese port of Qingdao from 21 to 26 April to participate in an International Fleet Review to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

  • Coal imports rose to 8% in Apr-Feb FY 2019. India's coal import increased by 7.8% to 212.11 million tonnes in the April February period of FY19 as per a report.

    The country produced 196.59 million tonnes (MT) of coal in the April-February period of fiscal 2017-18, according to the report by mjunction services. Coal imports in the month of February was at 18.31 MT (provisional) as compared to 21.15 MT (revised) in January 2019.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has called for a nuanced approach to ensure that higher education not only fulfils individual aspirations but also achieves national goals and priorities. He was releasing the national ranking of higher institutes by the Ministry of Human Resources Development in New Delhi on 08 April 2019. The President said that the ranking system fosters a spirit of healthy competition between institutions.

    Indian Institute of Technology Madras topped the rankings while the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore bagged the second rank followed by IIT Delhi. Out of ten top institutes, seven are IITs. Jawaharlal Nehru University got the seventh rank and Banaras Hindu University bagged the tenth spot.

    Delhi University's Miranda House was ranked the best among colleges across the country, while the varsity's St Stephen's College was ranked fourth.

    AIIMS has been ranked first among medical sciences institutes and National Law School, Bangalore has topped law colleges.

  • The Guwahati Railway Station has become the first ever railway station in the Indian Railways to get an ISO certification from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for “providing passenger amenities in a clean and green environment.” The station also has amenities such as High-class reserve (VIP) lounge, waiting rooms, AC and non-AC retiring rooms, food courts and sanitation facilities.

    ISO stands for “International Organization for Standardization” that is responsible for establishing the standard in different areas of activities. Many types of ISO certification exist and the one received by Guwahati Railway Station is ISO-14001, which is for Environment Management System as per international norms which were upgraded in 2015. Thus, the station’s certificate reads ISO 14001: 2015.

  • The Indian Army received the first batch of six 'Dhanush' artillery guns from the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The guns were handed over by Saurabh Kumar, Director General, Ordnance Factories and the OFB chairman, at a ceremony organized in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.

    The 155mm x 45 calibre modern artillery gun system was developed by the Ordnance Factories jointly with the Army.

    Dhanush is the first indigenously built 155 mm x 45 calibers long-range artillery gun with a strike range of 38 kilometers. It is developed by the Ordnance Factories jointly with the Army.

  • Veer Parivar App Launched. On the occasion of the 54th Valour Day (Shaurya Diwas) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), President Ram Nath Kovind launched ‘Veer Parivar’ App a mobile application for families of CRPF personnel killed in the line of duty.
    About the Veer Parivar App :
    • The Veer Parivar App will act as an interface between the CRPF authorities and the next of kin of the slain personnel.
    • The Veer Parivar App will be installed securely on the phones of the slain personnel families and will not be available in the app stores.
    • The app will provide assistance to the families of the martyred CRPF personnel with regard to issuance of ex gratia, pension benefits etc.
    • The app will also provide all the necessary information regarding the welfare schemes introduced for them by the government.
    • The Android-based Veer Parivar App will provide assistance to the families on a real-time basis and the CRPF authorities will respond to the issues raised by the members of the families of the slain personnel.

  • India's population grew at 1.2% average. India’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2% between 2010-2019 to 1.36 billion, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund. India’s population in 2019 stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and 541.5 million in 1969. The data was given by the UN sexual and reproductive health agency in the State of World Population 2019 report.

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted a Central Monitoring Committee to ensure the implementation of action plan meant for reducing pollution stretches across the country. It will undertake a national initiative by way of preparation and enforcement of a national plan to make river stretches pollution-free. The panel will coordinate with States to oversee the action plans.

  • India's first-of-its-kind 'Voter Park' was inaugurated in Gurugram on 11 April 2019. It is aimed at increasing voter awareness and educating people about the electoral process.

  • The first bi-annual Commanders’ Conference of IAF for the year 2019 began on 11 April 2019 at the Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan). The theme of the conference is ‘Enhancing our operational capability in the short and long term’.

  • Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale held talks with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkovon in Moscow on 01 April 2019 and discussed key strategic issues such as BRICS cooperation and New Delhi's NSG membership bid.

    A Russian Embassy statement said during the talks the two sides also discussed topical international issues of mutual interest. It said, cooperation within the BRICS format, the current issues of the key multilateral export control regimes, including New Delhi's application for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership, and other non-proliferation and arms control issues were also discussed.

  • India signed an agreement with a development bank for setting up India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development (IAIARD) in Malawi. It has signed a MoU with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Consultancy Service, NABCONS for setting up the Institute.

    The agreement is a part of India's efforts to enhance capacity in the areas of agro-financing and entrepreneurship development for African countries. IAIARD will be a Pan-African Institute wherein trainees not only from Malawi but also from other African countries, will receive training to develop their human resources and build their capacity.

    The entire expenditure on faculty from India, the travel, logistics and training course expenses for students from other African countries will be borne by the Government of India for an initial period of three years. This institute will be the first of its kind developed in an African country by India. This will further strengthen the bilateral relations with Malawi and India’s relations with African Union.

  • Air Marshal D Choudhury has taken over as Senior Air Staff Officer, Western Air Command. He is an alumnus of National Defence Academy and was commissioned on 22 Dec 1983. The Air Officer is a Fighter Combat Leader and an Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner.

  • The Union Public Service Commission has issued a Disclosure Scheme for disclosing the scores and other details of the non-recommended candidates. This Scheme covers only willing candidates who appeared at the Interview Stage of a Commission's Examination. Such details include Name of the candidate, Father's/ Husband's name, Date of Birth, Category, Gender, Educational Qualifications, Total marks etc. These details are arranged in Roll Number order.

    The objective of the Scheme is to provide a useful database to other employers to enable them to identify good employable candidates. These details are uploaded on the Website of the Commission, which is linked to the National Career Service (NCS) Portal of the Ministry of Labour and Employment. This information of an Examination remains available for one year from the date of disclosure.

    The Scheme has come into force with the
    1. Combined Medical Services Examination, 2017.
    2. Combined Defence Services Examination (Il), 2017
    3. Indian Economic Service Examination, 2018
    4. Indian Statistical Service Examination, 2018
    5. Indian Forest Service Examination, 2018
    6. Combined Geo-Scientist & Geologist Examination, 2018
    7. Combined Defence Services Examination (I), 2018.

    Details of 4,338 candidates including professionals in the field of medicine, economics, statistics, geophysics, hydrogeology etc. are available for employment to different employers. Appearing in the Interview (the final stage of the Commission's Examinations) indicates itself about the skill level and capabilities of such candidates.

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut its repo rate under liquidity adjustment facility (LAF), or the rate at which it lends to banks, by 25 basis points to 6%, with immediate effect. This is the second consecutive rate cut from RBI under new Governor Shaktikanta Das, after a rate cut in February.

    The RBI on 04 April 2019 announced its first bi-monthly policy statement of the current financial year. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.25 per cent.

    The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) led by RBI Governor also decided to maintain the neutral monetary policy stance. These decisions are in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of plus or minus 2 per cent while supporting growth.

  • Indian Army built the longest suspension bridge over Indus River in Leh in just 40 days and the bridge is named as Maitri Bridge.
    Maitri Bridge was constructed by the combat engineers of ‘Sahas aur Yogyata’ regiment of ‘Fire and Fury Corps’ of the Indian Army. The bridge is 260-feet long. This cable suspension bridge is expected to give a major boost to connectivity in remote areas in Ladakh. The bridge is constructed using around 500 tonnes of bridge equipment and construction material.

    Maitri Bridge has been dedicated to the people of India to commemorate the 20th year of Kargil Vijay Divas. The bridge is part of the central government plans to all-weather road connectivity in the region.

  • Traditional New Year festivities being held in several parts of country on 06 April, 2019. Festivals of Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Cheti Chand, Navreh and Sajibu Cheiraoba are being celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety.

    People are celebrating Ugaadi across two Telugu states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to mark the beginning of the Hindu Lunar calendar. In Maharashtra, Gudi Padwa signifies the welcoming of spring. The day marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri, that lead up to Ram Navami. All these festivals celebrated across the country with different names and customs, reflect the composite culture and rich heritage of India.

  • Justice T B N Radhakrishnan was sworn-in as the new Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court on 4 April 2019. West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi administered the oath of office to Justice Radhakrishnan in a solemn ceremony at the high court.

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and WHO formed a Solidarity Human Chain on 4 April 2019. This was done as part of the World Health Day celebrations to reaffirm their commitment to working collaboratively towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 7 April is observed every year as the World Health Day and the theme for 2019 is Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.

  • To meet the growing needs of Indian Naval ships, a new 10-tonne bollardpull tug 'Bahadur' was inducted into service at the naval ship repair yard. The vessel has been designed and built at Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Visakhapatnam, and has steerable rudder propulsion (SRP) with advanced remote control. The NSRY provides technical and services support to all the ships.



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