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March 2019 - National News



  • India has achieved an 84 per cent reduction in tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV by 2017. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on the UNAIDS, it is the highest recorded decline among over 20 nations and it is also three years ahead of the 2020 deadline.

    UNAIDS has urged countries to step up action to meet the 2020 target of reducing TB deaths among people living with HIV by 75 per cent, as outlined in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. World Health Organization estimates show that globally, TB deaths among people living with HIV have fallen by 42 per cent since 2010.


  • On the World TB Day, the Centre re-affirms its commitment towards ensuring a TB-free society. The Centre and various State Governments are working hard to make India TB-free by 2025, ahead of 5-years global target of 2030.

    The Government's efforts such as TB Free India campaign and Ayushman Bharat are improving health standards and providing assistance to TB patients. Correct and complete treatment is the key to winning the battle against tuberculosis. Prime Minister Narendra Modi saluted the people and organizations strengthening the TB-free movement.


  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will call on Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on 18 March 2019 before concluding her two-day visit to Male. Three agreements were exchanged on visa facilitation for diplomatic and official passport holders, development cooperation and renewable energy. The meeting also discussed ways to enhance cooperation bilaterally on a variety of issues including consular issues, capacity development, health cooperation, trade, investment and economic cooperation. India and Maldives have agreed on a broad spectrum of issues for further collaboration, including development cooperation and enhancing people to people contact. A joint ministerial meeting also discussed ways to enhance cooperation on a variety of issues, including capacity development, health cooperation, trade, investment and economy.


  • International workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure will be inaugurated on 19 March 2019 in New Delhi. The two-day event is being organized by the National Disaster Management Authority in collaboration with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

    Home Ministry, in a release, said, the aim of the workshop is to identify good practices of disaster risk management in key infrastructure sectors. It will bring together countries from different parts of the world, multilateral development banks, UN agencies, academia and research institutions.


  • Special Stamp on Ice Stupa released. Stamps are to create awareness about depleting glaciers and effect on the ecology around the Himalayas. To keep motivated, this year HIAL has organized a competition among the villages on ice Stupas.

    This stupa melts slowly and serves the purpose of drinking and irrigation, he said. In each ice Stupa at least 30-50 lakh liters of water is saved. This is apart from the naturally saved water in the slopes of mountains, Sonam Wangchuk said.


  • Pramod Sawant sworn-in as new Chief Minister of Goa. BJP MLA Pramod Sawant was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of Goa before 2 am on 19 March 2019. He succeeds Manohar Parrikar, who passed away on 17 March 2019 following a prolonged illness.


  • The Mizoram Maintenance of Household Registers Bill, 2019.  The Mizoram Assembly has unanimously passed a Bill that seeks to detect foreigners illegally residing in the north-eastern State as this has remained a serious concern for several decades.

    It was introduced as this influx resulted in an abnormal increase in the population which posed a serious threat to law and order as well as the State’s internal security. It defines “citizens” as a person registered as such, or having requisite qualification as prescribed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.


  • Former SC judge PC Ghose takes oath as Lokpal. President Ram Nath Kovind on 23 March 2019 administered the oath of office to the former Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose as Lokpal chairperson.


  • Indian Statistical Institute presents report on VVPAT sample size to EC. Indian Statistical Institute on 22 March 2019 presented its report on the sample size of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail, VVPAT slip counting to the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. In a statement: in view of the varying demands for an enhanced percentage of VVPAT Slip count during elections in the country, it had engaged the Indian Statistical Institute to systematically analyse and scientifically examine the issue of VVPAT Slip verification with an electronic count of the Electronic Voting Machines.


  • The ministry of women and child development and ministry of skill development and Entrepreneurship signed MoU on 8th march 2019. The aim of the MoU is to improve women livelihood and empowering them through skill development. The ministry of women and child development through rastriya mahila kosh will identify the skill sets which are suitable for enhanching the livelihood women.


  • The 34th edition of AAHAR - the International Food and Hospitality fair - begins at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The fair will feature a wide range of food products, machinery, hospitality and Decoration and Confectionery items from over 560 participants from India and abroad. Around 20 countries, including US, Russia, China, UK, Germany, Italy and Singapore will participate in the five-day fair.

    The fair which will showcase new trends in food and beverage, hospitality, culinary technology, retail and new innovations. It will also offer an insight into the operational and food safety concerns and innovations to become energy-efficient, finding budget-friendly raw materials for boosting productivity while still aiming for greater profitability.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, on 11 March 2019 jointly unveiled e-plaques for development projects in Bangladesh, through video conferencing. Both the leaders unveiled e-plaques for the supply of buses and trucks, the inauguration of 36 community clinics, 11 water treatment plants, and extension of National Knowledge Network to Bangladesh.

    Mr. Narendra Modi said the National Knowledge Network will connect scholars and research institutes in Bangladesh, to India and the world. He said the buses and trucks would assist the efforts towards affordable public transportation; water treatment plants will help supply clean water; and community clinics will benefit about two lakh people, in Bangladesh.


  • The new visa agreement between Maldives and India has come into force from 11 March 2019. The agreement will provide a liberal visa policy for Maldivians seeking medical treatment as well as education and business opportunities in India.

    The visa deal will allow Maldivian businessmen and tourists to stay in India for 90 days without a visa. Maldivians with tourist visas can also stay in India for treatment if they suffer a sudden medical issue. The agreement was reached during the visit of Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to India last December (2018).


  • The Centre has justified its law granting 10-per cent quota for Economically Weaker Section (EWS), saying it has been brought to promote social equality. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on 12 March 2019, the centre said the Constitution Amendment was necessitated to benefit the economically weaker sections of the society who were not covered within the existing schemes of reservation.


  • India and the United States have committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India. US reaffirmed its strong support of India’s early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

    This commitment was made at the 9th round of the India-US Strategic Security Dialogue held in Washington DC. The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement said, the Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, while the US delegation was led by Andrea Thompson, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

    India and US also exchanged views on a wide range of global security and nonproliferation challenges. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.


  • The first meeting between India and Pakistan to discuss and finalize the modalities for Kartarpur Corridor will be held at Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border on 14 March 2019. The meeting is being held in keeping with Government's decision to operationalize the Kartarpur Corridor on the occasion of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019.

    It also aims at meeting the long-pending public demand to have easy and smooth access to the holy Gurudwara in Pakistan. India has identified 50 acres of land for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. The design of the complex is inspired by the symbol 'Khanda' which symbolizes values of oneness and humanity. The building will facilitate movement of nearly five thousand pilgrims every day.


  • World Kidney Day is observed on 14 March 2019. The day is observed annually on the second Thursday in March to create awareness on the importance of kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney diseases.

    The theme this year is, 'Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere'. It calls for universal health coverage for prevention and early treatment of kidney diseases.


  • Election Commission introduces mobile app “Observer App” for observers. The Election Commission has for the first time started using a mobile application that will help poll observers to submit reports.

    The electoral body held a meeting with more than 1,800 IAS, IPS and IRS officials, besides some others from the Central services, who are to be deployed as observers in the coming Lok Sabha and State Assembly polls. They will get all the important notifications, alerts, and urgent messages through the “Observer App”. It will help them get their deployment status, download the ID card and update their profile.


  • Swati Shingade of Pune, Maharashtra has bagged the first prize of DD Mahila Kisan Award for 2018-19. Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash gave away the award to Ms. Shingade at a grand finale event organized by DD Kisan Channel in New Delhi.


  • President Ramnath Kovind presents colours to two of the Indian Air Force Units at a function at Sulur Base near Coimbatore. The 5-Base Repair Depot functioning in the Sulur facility and the training Center at Hakimpet near Hyderabad would be presented the Colours in recognition of their outstanding performances. In the evening, President Kovind and the First Lady visit the Isha Yoga Center at the foothills of Velliyangiri near Coimbatore and witness a series of programmes in view of Mahashivratri.

    They include yoga demonstrations and musical renditions. He will also launch a light and sound show on the premises. Earlier, on his arrival last evening at the city airport, he was received by Tamil Nadu Governor Bunwarilal Purohit, state minister SP Velumani and senior officials of the state government and Defence Forces.


  • The eighth edition of joint military exercise between the armies of India and Bangladesh began with an impressive ceremony at Bongobondhu Cantonment in Tangail, Bangladesh. The joint military exercise 'Sampriti' is aiming to increase mutual cooperation, bonhomie and camaraderie between the armies of two countries.

    A company group from Bangladesh Army and an equal number from Indian Army are taking part in the two-week long exercise that will see them hone their tactical and technical skills in countering the insurgency, counter-terrorism and aid to civil authorities for disaster management in a UN peacekeeping scenario involving a combined deployment at a battalion level.


  • President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to an ordinance that allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for obtaining mobile SIM cards and opening bank accounts. The ordinance was necessitated because the Rajya Sabha could not approve a Bill after its passage by the Lok Sabha.

    The ordinance gives effect to the changes in the Aadhaar Act such as giving a child an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age. The amendments also make it clear that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service, be it opening of a bank account or obtaining a mobile phone SIM card.

    The amendments will enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhaar. President has also given his assent to the draft Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.


  • The Union cabinet approved the “Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana” (Jaiv Indhan-vatvaran anukool fasal Awashesh Nivaran) on 28 February 2019.

    The aim of the scheme is to provide financial support to integrated bioethanol projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock. The yojana will be supported with total financial outlay Rs.1969.50crore for 5 years.


  • Ministry of Human Resource Development launched STARS (scheme for translational and advanced research in science) to fund science projects.

    The ministry has approved funds worth Rs.250crore for the scheme. These funds will be utilized to sponsor about 500 science projects. The project will be coordinated by the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) Bangalore.


  • Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the project BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) on India-Bangladesh border in Dhubri District of Assam. Border Security Force, BSF is responsible for safeguarding of over four thousand kilometer long International Border with Bangladesh. At various places, it is not possible to erect Border Fence due to the geographical barriers.

    The 61 kilometer of Border area in Dhubri District, where River Brahmaputra enters into Bangladesh is consisting of vast char lands and innumerable river channels thus making border guarding in this area, a daunting task especially during rainy season.


  • Women officers will be granted Permanent Commission in the Indian Army in all the ten branches where they are inducted for Short Service Commission (SSC). Now, the Permanent Commission will be granted in Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps and Intelligence to women officers besides, the existing two streams of Judge Advocate General and Army Education Corps.


  • The government has introduced a scheme for providing financial assistance for transport and marketing of agriculture products with a view to boosting export of farm commodities to certain countries in Europe and North America.

    Under the Transport and Marketing Assistance scheme, the government would reimburse a certain portion of freight charges and provide assistance for marketing of agricultural produce. The commerce ministry said in a statement that the scheme would be applicable for a period as specified from time to time. Presently, it would be available for exports effected from, March 1 this year to March 2020.


  • PM-SYM Yojana to provide Rs. 3,000 monthly pension to workers of unorganized sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojana, PM-SYM, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The national pension scheme for workers and labourers of unorganized sector was announced in the interim budget in February this year. It will provide monthly pension of 3000 rupees to the employees of unorganized sector after 60 years of age.

    Mr. Modi also distributed the PM-SYM pension cards to select beneficiaries. The Prime Minister said the scheme is an extension of various social security schemes implemented during the last five years. He said, 42 crore workers from un-organized sectors are eligible for this scheme by contributing 55 to 200 rupees monthly.


  • Jan aushadhi Diwas will be celebrated across the country on 07 March 2019. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address five thousand Jan aushadhi stores across the country through video-conferencing on the occasion. He will also interact with owners of Jan aushadhi Kendras and beneficiaries of the scheme. More than five thousand 50 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan aushadhi Pariyojana Kendras, PMBJP, are functional in 652 districts.


  • A Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, was signed on 06 March 2019 between the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) and the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) to ensure better utilization of infrastructure facilities during training programmes. The NCGG has been set up by the government of India under the aegis of DARPG.

    It aims to promote good governance through capacity building on public policy and governance both at national and international level and carrying out studies research on issues relating to governance.


  • Indore has bagged the cleanest city award for third straight year under Swachh Survekshan, 2019. President Ram Nath Kovind presented Swachh Survekhshan-2019 Awards in New Delhi.
    New Delhi Municipal Council area got the cleanest small city award.

    Uttarakhand's Gauchar was adjudged the Best Ganga Town in the survey.

    Swachh Survekshan 2019 covered all Urban Local Bodies in the country, making it the largest such cleanliness survey in the world.


  • Ministry of defence has taken steps to ensure implementation of grant of permanent commission women officers in the Armed forces. Women officers will be granted permanent commission in the Indian army in all the 10 branches where women are inducted for short service commission. All branches, in IAF, including fighter pilots are now open for women officers.


  • Ausaf Sayeed appointed new Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, presently High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Seychelles, has been appointed as the next ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Sayeed has handled different areas including political, economic, consular and cultural work, besides Haj management and served as Ambassador to Yemen and Consul General of India in Chicago and Jeddah.


  • President Ram Nath Kovind to give Nari Shakti awards on International Women's Day on 08 March. Governments, NGOs and other organizations across the world observe the day on 8th of March every year to highlight the achievements of women.

    The theme for this year's women's day is 'Think Equal, Build Smart, and Innovate for Change'. The purpose of the theme is to achieve gender equality by putting innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts. This year, 44 awardees have been selected for these Puraskar. This year (2019), the Nari Shakti Puraskar has also been awarded to a One Stop Centre and to a state which has shown exceptional progress in improving child sex ratio at birth under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.


  • Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri on 07 March 2019 launched e-Dharti app where all the three modules- Conversion, Substitution and Mutation related to properties have been made online. The payment system in Land and Development Office, L&DO has also been completely digitized. Work is also going on other three small modules namely Sale Permission, Mortgage Permission and Gift Permission will be completed soon.


  • Bharat electronics limited presented SWAGAT-the automatic fare collection gating system. Narendra Modi launched the system as part of the inaugural of Phase-I of the Ahmedabad Metro. SWAGAT is an initiative by the ministry of housing and urban affairs in collaboration with BEL and center for development of advanced computing with the support of DMRC, NPCI, and SBI.


  • The inaugural India-Japan Space Dialogue was held in New Delhi. The dialogue brought together Ministries and agencies related to outer space in the two countries and provided an opportunity for information exchange on the respective space policies. Discussions were also held on bilateral cooperation between JAXA-ISRO, their space industries, global navigation satellite system, space situational awareness, space security and space-related norms.


  • The Centre and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a 26 million dollar loan agreement to provide additional financing for improving drainage infrastructure in Dibrugarh town of Assam. The ongoing loan of 51 million dollars under the Assam Urban Infrastructure Investment Program is helping to improve water supply infrastructure in Guwahati and solid waste management and drainage infrastructure in Guwahati and Dibrugarh.


  • The government has set up a committee to examine the issues related to framing of a proper, structured scheme for providing insurance cover to advocates and suggest modalities for its implementation. Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has set up the five-member panel under the chairmanship of Secretary Legal Affairs.

    The committee will recommend a comprehensive insurance scheme for the welfare of advocates all over the country to address concerns relating to untimely death and medical insurance. The committee will submit its reports within three months. Earlier this month, a delegation of lawyers led by Supreme Court senior advocate Manan Mishra and Members of Bar Council of India and office bearers of various Advocates Associations met Mr. Prasad in connection with their concerns and demands.


  • Commander US Special Operations Command of Army General Raymond Thomas who is on an official visit to India called on Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.

    Both the Generals deliberated on the developing regional security environment and issue of global terrorism.


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