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March 2020 National News

  • Lok Sabha passed 2020 Direct Tax Vivad Se Viswas Bill
    Lok Sabha passed the amendment of the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020, on 4th March. The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman on 5th February 2020.

    The amendment will extend the scope to cover litigation pending in various debt recovery tribunals (DRTs).
    It also provides an opportunity to settle direct tax disputes within the current financial year by waiving interest and penalty on their pending taxes.

    Bill Provision:
    The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill provides a method for the resolution of pending tax disputes that are related to income tax and corporation tax that involve Rs.9.32 lakh crore.

    It also defines an appellant as the income tax authority, or the person, or both, whose appeal is pending before any appellate forum as on 31 January 2020.

    It will cover tax disputes pending at the level of commissioner (appeals), Income Tax Appellate Tribunals (ITAT), high courts (HCs), and the Supreme Court (SC).

    The taxpayers will take advantage of the Vivad Se Vishwas scheme to settle the tax disputes before 31 March 2020, as 10% more will be charged for settlement of disputes after that date.

    Also, arrears relate to disputed interest or penalty only, then 25% of disputed penalty or interest will be paid if the payment is made by 31 March 2020, beyond which the same shall be enhanced to 30%.

  • International Conference on NanoScience and Technology is being held in Kolkata
    International Conference on Nanoscience and Technology (ICONSAT) is being held from 5-7 March at Kolkata. It was organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Nano Mission that functions under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

    Conference Highlights:
    The conference aims to provide a potential platform for young researchers and students from within the country and abroad.

    It will keep pace with the latest development in the emerging areas of NanoScience and Technology.
    The conference will host an industrial session for the entrepreneurs and start-up companies for enhanced industry-academic interactions.

    The experts will discuss the broad areas under the topics Quantum Materials; Energy materials; Emerging materials for nanoscience and nanotechnology; Nanoelectronics and Nanophotonics, Synthesis, Properties and Application of Nanomaterials; Theory and simulation of nanomaterials; Industrial nanomaterials; Nanotechnology for agriculture, biomaterials, tissue engineering, stem cell technology, etc.

    Scientists of the high caliber of international repute will cover topics in the recent advancement in modern nanoscience and nanotechnology.

    The series of biennial international conferences "ICONSAT" has been held in India. It is organized by DST Nano Mission.

    The event provides a global platform for eminent scientists to bring recent advances in the area of nanoscience and technology.

    ICONSAT was earlier hosted by premier national institutes like CeNS Bengaluru in 2018, IISER-Pune in 2016, INST Mohali in 2014, ARCI Hyderabad in 2012, IIT Bombay in 2010, IIT Madras in 2008, IIT Delhi in 2006 and SINP Kolkata in 2003.

    The conference for the year 2020 is organized by the S. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata. 

  • Minister Smriti Irani released a book titled “Chronicles of Change Champions”
    Union Minister of Women & Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani released a book, titled "Chronicles of Change Champions" at an event held in New Delhi on 5th March.

    Chronicles of Change Champions:
    The book is a compilation of 25 innovative initiatives taken at the State and District levels under the Prime Minister's flagship scheme of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP).

    The book has captured the convergent approach adopted at the grassroots level.

    It also provides insight into the unique manner of community engagement by the District Administration and frontline workers.

    So far, 25 districts commended innovative activities under BBBP that have been published in the compilation.

    Beti Bachao Beti Padhao:
    Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 January 2015 at Panipat, Haryana. The program addressed the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and the related issues of empowerment of women.

    The scheme was expanded in a phased manner and is being implemented in all the 640 districts of the country.

    The scheme aims to accomplish gender equality by promoting and prioritizing the needs and rights of the girl child.

    The scheme was initiated by the Ministries of Women & Child Development, Human Resource Development, and Health & Family Welfare.

  • DBS Bank, Bharti AXA join hands for insurance plan covering Covid-19
    DBS Bank India tied-up with Bharti AXA to roll out a complimentary insurance plan covering all medical conditions.

    The plan would cover all medical conditions, including Covid-19, and up to 10 days of hospitalization, with a cover of Rs 5,000 per day, for 30 days, DBS Bank India said in a release.

    DBS customers can purchase health insurance products that are currently offered on the digibank app through their general insurance partners.

    The bank is conducting periodic meetings with its insurance partners to ensure seamless and end-to-end online access to these facilities and improvisation to the products.

    The guarantee of payments for hassle-free hospitalization and arrangement of emergency medical evacuation for NRIs with dependents in the country.

  • UP government announces one month free food grains to poor
    Uttar Pradesh government announced several actions and measures in its fight against coronavirus.

    Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced to provide one-month free food grains to poor people along with Rs 1,000 as compensation to daily wage workers who have been affected due to the outbreak of the deadly virus.

  • Union government orders implementation of 37 Central Laws in Jammu and Kashmir
    Union government ordered the implementation of 37 Central Laws in Jammu and Kashmir. The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued the order after the nod of Union Cabinet.

    This order will be called the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Order, 2020 and will come into force with immediate effect.

    The adaptation of the central laws in the Concurrent List, with required modifications and amendments, will ensure administrative effectiveness and smooth transition with respect to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, thereby removing any ambiguity in their application in line with the Constitution of India.

  • Uttar Pradesh government seeks Central Grant of 100 crore for Lucknow University and Kashi Vidyapeeth
    Uttar Pradesh Government has sought a Central Grant of 100 crore rupees for Lucknow University and Kashi Vidyapeeth.

    Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister of Uttar Pradesh Dr. Dinesh Sharma on Friday met Union HRD Minister Ramesh PokhriyalNishank in Delhi and made the request.

    The educational institutions have completed 100 years of their establishment, and there is a provision of a special grant of Rs 100 crores for these institutions.

    Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith is a public university located in Varanasi or Benaras, Uttar Pradesh, India. Established in 1921 as Kashi Vidyapith and later renamed, it is administered under the state legislature of the government of Uttar Pradesh.

  • Cabinet approves schemes to boost electronics manufacturing
    The Union Cabinet approved schemes that involve a total incentive of around Rs.48,000 crore to boost electronics manufacturing in the country. The information was passed by Union Minister Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

    Scheme Highlights:
    Under the scheme, electronic manufacturing companies will be given an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales, over base year, of goods manufactured in India to eligible companies over a period of next 5 years.

    The government aims to generate manufacturing revenue potential of Rs.10 lakh crore.
    Government plans to create direct and indirect jobs for 20 lakh people by 2025 through these schemes.

    Also, Cabinet has approved production linked-incentive for electronics companies. The govt. will give Rs.40,995 crore in the coming five years for production linked-incentive.
    The scheme also aims for the promotion of manufacturing of electronics components and semiconductors with a budget outlay of Rs.3,285 crore spread over a period of 8 years.

  • ICMR recommends use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Coronavirus. 
    The national task force for COVID-19, constituted by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), has recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 for a high-risk population.

    ICMR directed that the hydroxy-chloroquine should be given to high-risk population asymptomatic healthcare workers.

    The medication can be used to treat the suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases.

    The Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) approved the usage of hydroxychloroquine for restricted use in emergency situations.

    Hydroxychloroquine is generally used to treat malaria infections. The medication can be used with other medications to treat particular auto-immune diseases when other medications cannot be used for the treatment.

    Hydroxy-chloroquine will be effective against Coronavirus in laboratory studies and in-vivo studies.

    The use in prophylaxis is derived from the available evidence of benefit as treatment and supported by preclinical data. Also, the drug should be given only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.

    The usage of the drug, in the initial days, has been proven efficient by the United States. Italy and South Korea have used the drug to treat COVID-19.

  • ShaheediDiwas was observed in India on 23 March
    ShaheediDiwas (Martyrs' Day) was observed in India on 23 March. The day is observed every year. On this day, the martyrs who laid out their lives for the country and its Independence are remembered.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to the Martyrs on this day.

    ShaheediDiwas pays tribute to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru, who died on 23 March 23 in 1931.

    Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru mistook John Saunder for British police superintendent James Scott and assassinated John Saunders, a British police officer in 1928.

    They planned to assassinate James Scott as he ordered lathi-charge, which led to the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. The three were hanged to death on 23 March 1931. The three were among the many who sacrificed their lives for the nation and died when they were very young.

  • Dr.Ram Manohar Lohia birth anniversary was observed on 23 March
    Dr.Ram Manohar Lohia's birth anniversary was observed on 23 March. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia for social empowerment and his service-oriented philosophy that continues to inspire the citizens of the country.

    Dr.Ram Manohar Lohia:
    Dr.Ram Manohar Lohia was born on 23 March 1910 at Akbarpur, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India. He studied at the Banaras Hindu University. He earned his BA degree in Vidyasagar College, University of Calcutta. The socialist political leader was an activist in the Indian independence movement. He participated in the Quit India Movement, the Indian independence movement.

  • Bihar Diwas was observed on 22nd March
    Bihar State observed the Statehood day on 22nd March. Bihar Diwas celebrates the birth of Bihar as an independent state. The day aims to celebrate freedom and show gratitude for the beautiful land of Bihar.

    Bihar was carved from Bengal in the year 1912. On 22nd March 1912, the people came together and created a culture of their own. The State government hosts program to mark the day.

    The day is celebrated by hosting cultural events in educational institutions and public premises by local people and eminent personalities.

  • SAARC Disaster Management Centre launches website for information related to Coronavirus
    The South Asia Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Disaster Management Centre has launched a website for information related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.

    SAARC has launched the website,, in aid to the pandemic.
    The website will show the number of coronavirus cases in the member states and update the numbers regularly.
    The website reported that around 960 coronavirus cases had been reported in the SAARC region. Also, five people have lost their lives in India, three in Pakistan, and two died in Bangladesh due to COVID-19.

    Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the website during the recent video conference with SAARC leaders and representatives of the member states. He also launched SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Funds.

    Cabinet approved scheme to promote medical device parks. 
    The Union Cabinet approved a scheme to promote medical device parks for financing common infrastructure facilities.
    The Cabinet also approved a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to promote domestic manufacturing of medical devices.

    The scheme aims to provide a mechanism to compensate for the manufacturing disability.
    The target will provide financial assistance for common infrastructure facilities for four medical device parks.

    The medical device is a growing sector, and its potential for growth is the highest among all sectors in the healthcare market.

    In the year 2018-2019, the sector valued at Rs.50,026 crore, and it is expected to reach Rs.86,840 crore by 2021-22.
    India depends on imports up to the extent of 85% of the total domestic demand for medical devices.

    The scheme aims to promote medical device parks in the country in partnership with the states.
    The Centre will provide a maximum grant-in-aid of Rs.100 crore per park to the states.

  • Cabinet approved inclusion of AYUSH health and wellness centre
    The Union Cabinet approved the inclusion of the AYUSH health and wellness centre component of Ayushman Bharat in National Ayush Mission.

    It is expected that it will provide enhanced accessibility to achieve universal health coverage for affordable treatment.

    The proposal entails an expenditure of Rs.3399.35 crore. The cost includes a central share of Rs.2209.58 crore and Rs.1189.77 crore as state share.

    The wellness centre will be operationalized within a period of five years.

    The proposal will establish a holistic wellness model based on AYUSH principles and practices focusing on preventive promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative healthcare by integration with the existing public health care system.

    A total of 12,500 Ayush health and wellness centres throughout the country will be operationalized under the mission.

  • Centre announces free ATM withdrawals for 3 months
    Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that debit cardholders could withdraw cash from any other bank's ATM free of charge for the next three months.

    There will not be any minimum balance requirement fee in the bank accounts. The announcement comes as lockdown, and the curfew is in place in many parts of India amid coronavirus pandemic.

    Centre has also waived minimum bank charges for savings bank accounts.

    Finance Ministry is also working on an economic package that will be announced soon in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • MoD submits reports of the land acquired for UP and TN Defence Industrial Corridors from UP and TN
    Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated that the total land acquired so far from the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Tami Nadu for Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridors is 1,182 hectares and 1,537 hectares.

    The information was provided by Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Yesso Naik.

    Revised Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) gives specific provisions for stimulating the growth of the domestic defence industry.

    Government introduced the 'Strategic Partnership (SP)' Model to establish long-term strategic partnerships with Indian entities through a transparent and competitive process.

    Indian firm will tie up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains.

    FDI Policy has also been revised. As per the revised policy, FDI is allowed under automatic route up to 49% and beyond 49% through Government route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.

    In May 2001, the Defence Industry sector opened up 100% participation for Indian private sector with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 26% both subject to licensing. So far, an investment of Rs.3155 crore has happened and 43 FDI proposals/Joint Ventures (JV) have been approved for manufacture of defence equipment, both in public and private sector.

  • EPFO issued directions for timely credit of monthly Pension to EPS pensioners
    The Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) issued guidelines for timely credit of monthly Pension to the Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS) pensioners.

    India has announced lockdowns in several parts of the nation due to the pandemic coronavirus.

    The Central Provident Fund Commissioner (CPFC) directed the field offices of EPFO to generate and reconcile pensioners' details and pension amount statements for the current month by 25 March to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to the pensioners.

    He directed that the same should be forwarded to the banks in advance so that the monthly pension is credited into the account of the pensioners in time.

    The EPFO is disbursing monthly pension to over 65 Lakh pensioners every month under the Employees' Pension Scheme.

  • Rajya Sabha passed 2020 JK Appropriation Bills. 
    The Rajya Sabha approved the Jammu and Kashmir Appropriation Bills 2020 for the budget of Rs. 1 lakh crore for the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir for 2020-21.

    The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19th March.

    As per the Jammu & Kashmir Appropriation Bills 2020, only 10% of the funds should be spent for security purposes in the UT, and the remaining should be spent for developmental objectives.

    The J&K government has made a provision of over Rs.1 lakh crore towards the J&K's budget in 2020-21, as against Rs.88,911 crore in the previous financial year.

    The budget aims to cover the entire UT of J&K under the Centre's flagship health scheme Ayushman Bharat.

  • Lok Sabha passed 2020 Finance Bill without discussion
    Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill 2020 on 23rd March. So far, more than 40 amendments were introduced by the government to the Finance Bill, which was moved for consideration and passing by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

    The Bill was passed by voice vote and without discussion.

    Bill provisions:
    The Bill was introduced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

    The Bill gives effect to the financial proposals of the central government for fiscal 2020-21.

    So far, more than 40 amendments were introduced by the government to the Finance Bill.

  • Centre asks employers not to cut the wages of employees amid the layoffs due to Coronavirus
    The Central government directed all public and private companies to ensure that they do not cut the salaries of their staff during the lockdowns imposed to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

    The announcement was made by the Secretary of the Labour Ministry, HeeralalSamariya.

    The government has advised public and private enterprises not to terminate the services or reduce the wages of their employees, particularly casual or contractual workers.

    It also stated that if any worker takes a leave, they should be deemed to be on duty without any deduction in wages.

    The announcement comes amidst the cases of COVID-19 rise in the country, and several states have imposed lockdowns, restricting the movement of people even to their workplaces.

  • National Supercomputing Mission to boost supercomputing infrastructure
    India's National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) aims to set up to provide the country with supercomputing infrastructure.

    The aim of the mission is to meet the increased computational demands of academia, researchers, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and startups by creating the capability design, manufacturing, of supercomputers indigenously in India.

    Organized by:
    The National Super Computing Mission is jointly led by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) and implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

    National Supercomputing Mission:
    NSM was established to set up a network of supercomputers ranging from a few Tera Flops (TF) to Hundreds of Tera Flops (TF) and three systems with greater than or equal to 3 Peta Flops (PF) in academic and research institutions of National importance across the country by 2022.

    A total of 15-20 PF was approved in 2015 and was later revised to a total of 45 PF (45000 TFs).

    Also, an increase of 6 times more compute power within the same cost and capable of solving large and complex computational problems.

    Plans to install three more supercomputers by April 2020 has begun. Among three supercomputers, one will be implemented at IIT-Kanpur, second in JN Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru, and 3rd in IIT-Hyderabad. This will ramp up the supercomputing facility to 6 PF.

    Also, 11 new systems will be set up in different IITs, NITs, National Labs, and IISERs across India by December 2020. It will have many sub-systems manufactured and microprocessors designed in India, which will bring in a cumulative capacity of 10.4 petaflops.

  • Hindu New Year began on 25 March. 
    The Hindu New Year 2077 began on 25 March. It is officially known as Vikram Samvat 2077 or Nav Samvatsar 2077.
    In common language, it is also known as Hindu Panchang. The Vikram era is extremely ancient and completely scientific. As per the Hindu calendar, the new year of Vikram Samvat starts from Chaitra Shukla PratipadaTithi.

    According to Vedic scriptures and Puranas, Lord Brahma created the universe. He created the world on the Pratipada date of the Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month. The day is celebrated on the bright half of the month of Chaitra.
    Hence, the holy date is also celebrated as the 'Nav Samvatsar' festival. Also, Navaratri fast starts from this date.

  • Cabinet approved the continuation of RoSCTL scheme from 1 April.
    The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved for continuation of Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) scheme from 1 April 2020.

    Until then, the scheme will be merged with the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP).
    It is expected to make the textile sector competitive by rebating all taxes and levies that are currently not being rebated under any other mechanism.

    RoSCTL Scheme:
    RoSCTL Scheme is an export incentive that is offered on the basis of the Freight on Board (FOB) value of the export.

    It will replace the Rebate of State Levies (RoSL) scheme. The introduction for RoSCTL was notified by the Ministry of Textiles in March 2019.

    RoSCTL will be implemented through a scrip-based system on the export of garments and made-ups.

    Under the scheme, the rates were notified in four schedules. Schedules 1 and 2 specify the Central and State taxes and levies for apparel and made-ups. Schedules 3 and 4 will give the Central and State taxes applicable for apparel export when the fabric has been imported duty-free under the Special Advance Authorisation Scheme.

    The scheme was introduced due to the increasing international pressure on export incentives provided by the Indian government.

  • Invest India launched The Invest India Business Immunity Platform
    Invest India launched a platform named "The Invest India Business Immunity Platform". The platform is hosted on the Invest India website.

    Invest India Business Immunity Platform:
    The Business Immunity Platform (BIP) has been designed as a comprehensive resource to help businesses and investors get real-time updates on India's active response to COVID-19.

    The platform operates 24/7.

    The platform is dynamic and constantly provides an update about the pandemic.

    The platform keeps a regular track of developments with respect to the virus and provides the latest information on various central and state government initiatives.

    The platform will give access to special provisions, and answers and resolves queries through emails and on WhatsApp.

    It is an active platform for business issues redressal with a team of dedicated sector experts and responds to queries at the earliest.

    Invest India has also announced a partnership with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to respond and resolve queries for the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

    The Business Immunity Platform will help people get access to all the information they require while staying in the comfort of their homes due to the lockdown in the country.

  • Centre banned export of hydroxychloroquine drug
    India banned exports of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine on 25 March with immediate effect. The drug hydroxychloroquine is believed to have some positive effect on the treatment of the coronavirus.

    But the exports from special economic zones (SEZs) and other GoI approved exporters, only, will be allowed to export the drug.

    The move by the government is aimed to prevent any scope for export of ventilators by alternate classifications, in view of the growing number of cases of COVID-19 in India.

    Other measures:
    GoI also banned exports of sanitizers on 24 March.

    Centre extended the ban to ventilators, artificial respiratory apparatus, oxygen therapy apparatus and other breathing appliances to plug any loopholes in exports of these critical healthcare items during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Earlier, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) banned the export of surgical and disposable masks, all ventilators and textile raw material used for making masks with immediate effect.

  • RIL sets up first COVID-19 dedicated hospital in Mumbai
    Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) established India's first COVID-19 dedicated hospital in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
    The 100-bedded Covid-19 centre is located at Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai.

    COVID-19 dedicated Hospital:
    The hospital was established by Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

    This first-of-its-kind-in-Indiacentre is fully funded by Reliance Foundation.

    The hospital includes a negative pressure room that helps to prevent cross-contamination and helps control infection.

    All beds are equipped with the infrastructure including biomedical equipment such as pacemakers, ventilators, dialysis machines, and patient monitoring devices.

    RIL Hospital has offered to set up special medical facilities to quarantine travellers from notified countries.

    RIL has announced initial support of Rs.5 crores to Maharashtra CM's Relief Fund to combat COVID-19.

  • National Book Trust launched StayHomeIndiaWithBooks
    The National Book Trust of HRD Ministry has launched #StayIn and #StayHome to encourage people to read books while at home. It provides select and best-selling titles for FREE Download as part of its initiative of #StayHomeIndiaWithBooks!

    The move comes in the wake of Preventive Measures of the Government of India to contain the spread of Covid-19.

    The 100+ books are in the PDF format at #StayHomeIndiaWithBooks!

    It can be downloaded from the NBT's website

    It will be available in Hindi, English, Asamiya, Bangla, Gujarati, Malayalam, Odia, Marathi, Kokborok, Mizo, Bodo, Nepali, Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, Kannada, Urdu and Sanskrit.

    The books will cover all genres of fiction, biography, popular science, teacher's handbook, and majorly books for children and young adults.

    It also contains books written by Tagore, Premchand, and books on Mahatma Gandhi.

    In total there are books for everyone in the family to read and enjoy. More titles will be added to the list.

    The PDFs are for the purpose of reading only. Any unauthorized or commercial use is not allowed.

  • Odisha to set up Covid-19 testing lab at VIMSAR
    The Odisha State government is planning to set up a COVID-19 testing laboratory at a hospital in order to ease the burden as the state has only one facility at Bhubaneswar.

    The state government planning to set up a Biosafety Levels 2 (BSL-2) laboratory at Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR).

    Currently, VIMSAR is sending swab samples of suspected coronavirus patients to the Regional Medical Research Center (RMRC) in Bhubaneswar.

    The junior doctors association (JDA) at VIMSAR had requested the state government to set up two more COVID-19 laboratories, one at the VIMSAR institute and the other at MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur.

    VIMSAR has sent a feasibility report to the government for the establishment of a testing laboratory. The laboratory will come up in the microbiology department of the hospital.

    Once the lab is ready, a recombinant technology polymerase chain reaction (rt PCR) test for suspected cases of COVID-19 can be done there.

  • Government to supply 7Kg per person on subsidized food grains for 3 months
    Government of India is to supply an additional 2kg subsidized food grains under the Public Distribution System (PDS) over the next three months.

    A total quota of 7 kg per person will be given. The announcement was made by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution on 26th March.

    The proposal regarding this was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 March.

    The Food Ministry proposed to supply extra 2kg subsidized foodgrains to over 80 crore people registered under PDS.

    The move comes amid nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

    The subsidies will be supplied for only the next 3 months to all ration cardholders.

    Previously, under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), the government is supplying 5 kg of foodgrains per month to over 80 crore people at a highly subsidized price. Wheat is supplied at Rs.2/kg and rice at Rs.3/kg.

  • DPIIT sets up control room to monitor the supply of EC goods
    The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), that functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has set up a control room to monitor the supply of essential commodity goods on 26th March.

    The decision was made after the department had detailed discussions with states and e-commerce companies on the disruption of the supply of essential commodities.

    The moves come as the local administration and police stopping staff of e-commerce and other grocery retailers and thereby hindering supplies.

    DPIIT's Control room:
    The control room will monitor the live status of transportation and delivery of goods, manufacturing, delivery of essential commodities.

    It will also monitor the difficulties that are faced by various stakeholders during the lockdown period.

    Manufacturing, transporter, distributor, wholesaler or e-commerce companies who are facing ground level difficulties in transport and distribution of goods or mobilization of resources can get help and directions from the department through a centralized phone number and email id from 25 March-14 April, during the nationwide lockdown.

    The suppliers can use the dedicated telephone number, 011-23062487, and an email ID, control room-, for this purpose.

    The control room will remain functional from 8 am to 6 pm.

    The issue reported by various stakeholders will be reported to the concerned state/UT government, district and police authorities and other concerned agencies.

    Centre has directed the state/UT governments to facilitate the functioning of food processing units. It has also guided them to maintain uninterrupted supply (24X7) of essential items as the government enforces the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

  • Indian Railways extend cancellation of passenger train services till 14 April
    The Ministry of Railways has extended the cancellation of passenger train services on Indian Railways.

    The move is to continue the measure taken in the wake of COVID-19. All Mail/Express trains including premium trains, passenger trains, suburban trains and trains of Metro Railway, Kolkata has been extended till 14 April 2020.

    Central government has announced that the Freight Train can continue operation to ensure the supply of essential commodities.

  • GoI to launch CoWin-20 to curb the community spread of coronavirus
    The Government of India is to launch CoWin-20 to curb the community spread of coronavirus.
    CoWin-20 is a new smartphone app that aims to track individuals by their smartphone locations. The app will be made soon and will be available widely across India.

    The Indian government aims to trace the personal travel histories of individuals through CoWin-20. By tracing, GoI can figure out how many people might have come in contact with the common people of the country.

    It is expected to help the government monitor the community spread of the coronavirus, and quarantine any individual who may be potentially at risk.

    It will be released on both the Google Play Store and Apple's iOS App Store.

    The users of iOS devices will be required to share their device Unique Disability Identity Cards (UDID) with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to get a unique download link.

    Cowin-20 can be used by individuals to learn about the location of coronavirus testing labs and quarantine centres in Indian cities.

    Other features of the app include automatic feeding of government advisories and official safety recommendations put forth by the Government of India.

  • First phase of Census 2021 and updation of NPR has been postponed
    The Census 2021 which was scheduled to be conducted in two phases has been postponed by the Government of India due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

    The updation of National Population Register (NPR) will be done along with the Phase I of Census 2021 in all the States/Union Territories, except Assam.

    Census India 2021:
    The Census 2021 will be conducted in two phases, namely house listing and House Census and Population Enumeration.

    The first phase of House listing & Housing Census was scheduled to be held from 1 April-30 September 2020.

    The second phase is Population Enumeration was scheduled to be conducted from 9-28 February 2021 throughout the country simultaneously.

    The postponement of the Census is due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Central government has announced high alert for all the States/Union Territories (UT).

    Many State/UT governments have also declared lockdown. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), GoI has issued advisories for various precautionary measures, including social distancing.

  • Cabinet approved construction of Aligarh-Harduaganj flyover
    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the construction of Aligarh-Harduaganj flyover. The construction of the flyover will be taken up by the Ministry of Railways.

    Aligarh-Harduaganj flyover:
    The total length of the Aligarh-Harduaganj railway flyover will be 22 Km.

    The construction of teh flyover is expected to be completed by 2024-25.

    The total cost estimated for the project is Rs.1285 crore.

    The flyover will reduce traffic and heavy detention of trains at Aligarh Junction.

    Flyover at Aligarh, over the existing Delhi-Howrah main line, is an operational necessity and is essentially required to remove the bottleneck to traffic movement.

    By constructing a flyover that connects Aligarh to Harduaganj the delays and detentions will be avoided.

  • Andhra Pradesh to set up a drone ecosystem in the State
    The Andhra Pradesh Drones Corp is to set up a drone ecosystem in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh. The aim of this initiative is to establish a laboratory for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones.

    The Andhra Pradesh state government is planning to build a drone ecosystem, in the Anantapur district.

    The government invited the UAV industry to be part of the move.

    Anantapur district was chosen as it is close to the international airport in Bengaluru, Karnataka, which is 215 km away.

    The main objective of the drone ecosystem is to cater to the need of the UAV/drone industry, including manufacturing, assembling, research, product design and development, rapid prototyping, sensors and payloads manufacturing, and battery assembling.

  • Hospital in Jaipur to use humanoid robot to serve COVID-19 patients
    The Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Government Hospital in Jaipur is to introduce the usage of humanoid robots to provide services to the COVID-19 patients.

    Humanoid robot:
    The hospital is conducting a series of trials on a humanoid robot to check if the robot can be pressed into service to deliver medicines and food to the COVID-19 patients admitted in the hospital.

    It is aimed to keep the doctors and nursing staff at a safe distance to protect them against the dreaded coronavirus.

    The hospital is currently conducting test trials to put the robots into use.

    The robots are aimed to help out both the patients and the staff. The robot is battery-operated and has a life span of 4-5 years.

    The humanoid robot uses artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) to navigate its own way without the instructions to follow lines on the floor.

    It has been designed with a tray that can be used for carrying medicines, food and other objects to the assigned patients.

    A Jaipur-based entrepreneur has offered to supply the humanoid robots for free of cost to the hospital as part of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative.

  • Online delivery services resumes services coming back on stream
    Online delivery services such as Flipkart and Grofers have begun resuming operations after the local authorities of safe passage for their delivery.

    Earlier, the Government of India suspended the deliveries of the online delivery services as a measure to combat COVID-19. Also, the delivery executives faced challenges during the service. The Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal held a virtual meeting with the e-commerce and logistics industry and discussed the challenges faced by them.

  • Maharashtra to use indelible ink to mark people suspected of coronavirus
    The Maharashtra state government has decided to stamp the left hand of the people who have been kept under quarantine amid coronavirus pandemic in the country.

    The announcement was made by Maharashtra state health minister Rajesh Tope. The government has also declared evading from the screening a punishable offence under the Epidemic Act 1897.

    The report stated that the left hand of those under home quarantine will be stamped to identify them easily.

    Stamping is a precautionary measure for the state.

    The government has directed the authorities at hospitals and airports to stamp the left palm of suspected people with the ink that would last for 14 days.

    They have been directed to use the indelible ink, that is used during the election to mark voters, to mark the people.

    The mark on a person indicates that the person is under compulsory home quarantine till 31 March.

    The state has also allotted Rs.45 crore to contain the virus in the state.

    The state has reported the maximum number of cases of COVID-19 in the country. So far, Maharashtra state has reported 39 cases of COVID-19 and seven patients have escaped the treatment centres.

  • Centre to provide Rs.1.70 lakh crore relief package under PMGKY
    The Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman announced Rs.1.70 lakh crore relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana on 26 March. The move aims to help the poor to fight the battle against Coronavirus.

    The move aims to provide the poor with food and money in hands so that they do not face difficulties in buying essential supplies and meeting essential needs.

    The components of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package include:
    1. Insurance scheme for health workers who fight COVID-19 in Health Care Centres and Government Hospitals
    Under the scheme, doctors, specialists, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, Safaikaramcharis, ward-boys, and other health workers will be covered. Any health profession meet with some accident while treating COVID-19 patients, will be compensated with an amount of Rs.50 lakh under the scheme. The scheme is expected to benefit approximately 22 lakh health workers.

    2. PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana:
    As per the announcement made by the Finance Ministry, the scheme will cover 80 crore individuals across India. Under the scheme, the government aims to provide foodgrains to the people of India for the next 3 months. The beneficiaries of the scheme will be given adequate availability of protein. The people will be given 1 kg per family for the next three months.

    3. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana:
    Under the scheme, the first installment of Rs.2,000 due in 2020-21 will be paid in April 2020. It will cover 8.7 crore farmers across India.

    4. Cash transfers Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana:
    A total of Rs.20.40 crores PMJDY women account-holders would be given an ex-gratia of Rs.500 per month for the next three months.

    5. Self-Help groups:
    The limit of the collateral-free lending of the 63 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) has increased from Rs.10 to Rs 20 lakhs.

    6. Employees' Provident Fund Regulations (EPFR)will allow the non-refundable advance of 75% of the amount or three months of the wages, whichever is lower, from their accounts due to the pandemic.

    7. The Ministry has created a Welfare Fund for Building and Other Constructions Workers.Under the Central Government Act, the State Governments will be given directions to utilize the fund to provide assistance and support to these workers to protect them against economic disruptions.

  • DGFT sets up Helpdesk for COVID-19 related Export or Import issue
    Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has operationalized a helpdesk in the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. People can contact the department for any COVID-19 related Export or Import issue.

    The exporters and importers across India can directly flag their issues through the channels provided by the DGFT.

    People can raise queries in the DGFT Platform, The email address for contact is

    People can dial the toll-free number of 1800-111-550.

  • GoI brought masks, hand sanitizers under Essential Commodities Act
    Government of India brings masks and hand sanitizers under the Essential Commodities Act. Under the act, 2 ply & 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks, and hand sanitizer has been declared as Essential Commodities up to 30 June 2020 by amending the Schedule of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act, 1955. The moves come as a measure of COVID-19 (CoronaVirus) and concern of the logistics for COVID-19 management.

    Provision of EC Act:
    States/UT can discuss with the manufacturers and can ask them to enhance the production capacity of these items to make the supply chain smooth.

    Also, under the Legal Metrology Act, the States/UT can ensure the sale of both the items at MRP.

    Under the EC Act, powers of the Central Government have been delegated to the States. The states can now take action against the offenders under the EC Act and Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980 (PBMMSEC Act).

    It will enhance the availability of both the items to the general people at reasonable prices or under the maximum retail price (MRP).

  • Parliament passed the Vivad Se Vishwas Bill for settlement of Direct Tax disputes
    Parliament passed the Vivad Se Vishwas Bill for settlement of Direct Tax disputes on 13 March 2020. The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha (the lower house) by the Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman on 5 February 2020. Lok Sabha passed it on 4 March 2020.

    The Bill aims to extend the scope to cover litigation pending in various debt recovery tribunals (DRTs). It will provide an opportunity to settle direct tax disputes within the current financial year by waiving interest and penalty on their pending taxes.

    Bill Provision:
    The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill provides a method for the resolution of pending tax disputes that are related to income tax and corporation tax that involve Rs.9.32 lakh crore.

    It also defines an appellant as the income tax authority, or the person, or both, whose appeal is pending before any appellate forum as on 31 January 2020.

    It will cover tax disputes pending at the level of commissioner (appeals), Income Tax Appellate Tribunals (ITAT), high courts (HCs), and the Supreme Court (SC).

    The taxpayers will take advantage of the Vivad Se Vishwas scheme to settle the tax disputes before 31 March 2020, as 10% more will be charged for settlement of disputes after that date.

    Also, arrears relate to disputed interest or penalty only, then 25% of disputed penalty or interest will be paid if the payment is made by 31 March 2020, beyond which the same shall be enhanced to 30%.

  • Census India 2021 has been decided to be conducted in two phases
    The Census India 2021 has been decided to be conducted in two phases. Indian census is the largest single source of a range of statistical data on different characteristics of the people of the country.

    The reliable and time-tested exercise has resulted in the comprehensive collection of data that is related to the people of India every 10 years.

    Census 2021:
    The Census India 2021 will be conducted in two phases, namely house listing and House Census and Population Enumeration.

    The first phase will begin from 1 April 2020. Census will continue until 30 September 2020.

    The second phase is Population Enumeration, which will be conducted from 9 February to 28 February 2021 throughout the country simultaneously.

  • GoI hiked Excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs.3 per litre
    Government hiked the Excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs.3 per litre on 14 March. The move is due to the fall in international oil prices.

    Hike on Petrol & Diesel:
    Special excise duty on petrol was hiked by Rs.2 to Rs.8 per litre incase of petrol and to Rs.4 per litre incase of diesel.

    Government has also raised the road cess on petrol by Rs.1 per litre each on petrol and diesel to Rs.10 per litre.

    The increase in excise duty would result in a hike in petrol and diesel prices, but most of it is expected to be adjusted against the fall in rates that would have necessitated because of a slump in international oil prices.

  • HIL India Limited launched Customer Payment Portal
    HIL (India) Limited, in association with Union Bank of India, launched "Customer Payment Portal" in New Delhi.

    It was launched by Dr. S.P. Mohanty, Chairman, and Managing Director, Shri. Anjan Banerjee, Director Finance) of HIL (India) Limited; and Shri R. K. Jaglan, Head, Government Business Department, Shri G. K. Sudhakar Rao, Regional Head Delhi South of Union Bank of India.

    Customer Payment Portal:
    The portal collects the payment from its customers of HIL through various online modes for faster and smoother collection of dues.

    It will help the customers to pay their dues in a quick and convenient manner by any Debit Card, Credit Card, Net Banking, UPI, or online wallets from their homes or offices.

    The new initiative will provide a one-step platform facilitating online payment, data maintenance, customized MIS report, and seamless reconciliation of financial records.

  • Cabinet approved Minimum Support Price for Copra for 2020 season
    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) led by PrimeMinister Narendra Modi approved for the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for copra for 2020 season.

    The approval was recommended by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

    The MSP for Fair Average Quality (FAQ) of milling copra is increased to Rs. 9,960 per quintal for 2020 season from Rs.9,521 per quintal in 2019.

    The MSP for ball copra is increased to Rs.10,300 per quintal for 2020 season from Rs.9,920 per quintal in 2019.

    It will accrue a benefit of Rs.439 per quintal in the milling copra and Rs.380 increase in the Ball Copra.

    It ensures a return of 50% for milling copra and 55% for ball copra over the all India weighted average cost of production.

    It assures a minimum of 50% as a margin of profit. The move focuses on achieving PM's vision of doubling of farmers' incomes by 2022.

    The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumer Federation of India Limited (NCCF) will continue to act as Central Nodal Agencies to undertake price support operations at the MSP in the coconut growing states.

  • Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to inaugurate the Ro-Pax Ferry Vessel in Mandwa Port
    The Minister of State (I/C) for Shipping and Chemical & Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya is to inaugurate the ROPAX Ferry Vessel and its Terminal at Mandwa in Maharashtra on 15 March.

    Mandwa Port:
    Mandwa Port is an important passenger port on the coast of Maharashtra. Around 15 lakhs passengers commute annually by catamarans and launches from Gateway of India to Mandwa and then to Alibaug and other places in Raigad district.

    The waterway is important as it reduces the travelling time for the people and hence, a huge number of people prefer that.

    Upon considering the necessity, the government has decided to start RO-Pax ferry service from Ferry Wharf, Mumbai to Mandwa so that people can travel along with their vehicles in RO-Pax Vessel, which will considerably save time and fuel.

    ROPAX Vessel:
    Mumbai Port Trust developed infrastructure for ROPAX service at Ferry wharf at the cost of Rs.31 crores. Maharashtra Maritime Board developed infrastructure facilities at Mandwa under the ROPAX project, with a total expenditure of Rs 135.29 crores.

    ROPAX Vessel M2M-1 will be used for transportation. ROPAX Vessel M2M-1 was built in Greece in September 2019.

    It has a speed of 14 Knots. The vessel can cover a distance from Ferry Wharf to Mandwa in 45 minutes to 1 hour. It can carry 200 cars and 1000 passengers at a time.

  • Centre to introduce Industrial Policy to boost economic development of JK
    Centre is to introduce an Industrial Policy for the rapid economic development of Jammu and Kashmir, soon.

    The information was announced by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

    J&K attracts Rs.13,000 crore for the last 70 years. With the new policy, GoI aims to triple the investment by 2024 in the region.

    Government has assured to take all steps for the overall development of the region.

    Central Government works with all sections of the society to realize the hopes of statehood for J&K at an early opportunity.

    A reasonable Economic Development Policy will be drafted soon after widespread consultation.

    A Commission will be set up soon for the implementation of the policy in the UT. The policy will reach Gujjars, nomads, and other communities.

  • R K Singh launched the new website of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
    The Minister of State (I/C) for Power and New and Renewable Energy Shri R K Singh launched the new website of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy on 14 March.

    He directed that the sectoral updation of the site should be personally ensured at the senior level so that it maintains pace with time.

    New Website:
    The website is hosted by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) server.

    The new website was developed with an aim to look into the present need for quick and accurate information dissemination needs of the Ministry with the latest techniques to make it more informative, interactive, and user-friendly, including persons with visual disabilities.

    The responsive design of the website will enable ease of access from various devices, including mobile phones.

    The website will optimized user interface, three-click interfaces, Rubik's cube structure, and improvised search options.

    The website has been designed with a Structured back end content management system (CMS) to manage the website with minimum sources and less time-consuming.

    The website has additional portals such as Akshay Urja Portal and India Renewable Idea Exchange (IRIX).

    It provides well identifiable links for all the activities of the Ministry to provide the information at ease.

    Two language interfaces are provided on the website to make the contents reachable to a wider public. Ministry's social media such as Facebook, youtube, and twitter are linked on the homepage of the web site.

  • Wings India 2020 concluded in Hyderabad
    Ministry of Civil Aviation is to expand various factors, including Low-Cost Carriers (LCCs), modern airports, FDI in domestic airlines, advanced IT in order to increase the regional connectivity across the country.

    The information was passed by Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, the Union Minister (I/C) of Civil Aviation at the "Wings India 2020" in Hyderabad.

    GoI also plans to bring aviation turbine fuel under Goods and Services Tax (GST), and by and large, there is an acknowledgment from across states to make it happen.

    Wings India 2020:
    The International conference and exhibition on the Civil Aviation sector Wings India 2020 was held from 12-15 March at Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad, India.

    It was organized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI) along with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

    The delegates discussed the domestic traffic that has grown 14 times in the last 18 years. Total traffic has grown 8.2 times, including international traffic.

    It highlighted the increasing connectivity through UDAN Scheme, which has helped the per capita trips to rise from 0.1 per person to 0.5 per person.

    Swachhta Pakhwada Awards 2019 were announced during the conference.

    As per FICCI data, an aircraft lands or takes off every minute, and it will reach 1 billion passengers in India.

    The conference focused on Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) infrastructure that builds 100% of Indian aircraft being serviced from India, in India, and beyond India.

    Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), along with FICCI, has agreed to ensure 100% of aircraft have parts or manufacturing components from India by 2040.

    Also, four MoUs were signed between various stakeholders. It includes:
    1) Exchange of Tri-partite MoU under MoCA Krishi Udaan Scheme by Ras-Al-Khaimah International Airport, GMR Hyderabad International Airport, and SpiceJet Ltd
    2) MoU signed between Government of Telangana, GMR Hyderabad International Airport and Airbus BizLabs
    3) MoU signed between Government of Telangana and DJI
    4) MoU signed between Government of Telangana, Asia Pacific FTO, and Marut Drones

  • Union Government implements POSHAN Abhiyaan
    Government of India is implementing POSHAN Abhiyaan across the country to address the problem of malnutrition.

    The campaign aims to reduce malnutrition in the country. The abhiyaan will be implemented in a phased manner through a life cycle approach.

    It also aims to reduce combat under-nutrition, anemia among young children, women and adolescent girls and reduce low birth weight.

    POSHAN Abhiyaan:
    POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission is the Government of India's flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.

    It was launched by Prime Minister Modi on the International Women's Day on 8 March 2018 in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.

    The scheme has directed the attention of the country towards the problem of malnutrition and addresses it in a mission-mode.

  • Manipur government announced schemes for sportspersons, artistes
    The Manipur State government is to provide benefits to sportspersons and artistes of the state and the country.

    The announcement was made by the Chief Minister N Biren Singh on 15 March.

    It was declared that it was the biggest ever scheme for the welfare of the sportspersons and artistes of the state.

    CMAST scheme:
    For the Chief Ministers Akhannaba Sanaroisingi Tengbang (CMAST) scheme, around Rs.7.36 crore will be required.

    Under the CMAST scheme, suitable employment in government services would be provided to sportspersons winning medals in international events, on the basis of criteria laid down by the state government.

    It will also support the sportspersons for purchasing costly sporting items.

    Cash awards will be awarded for Olympians who bag gold, silver, bronze, and the winners will be given Rs.1 crore, Rs.75 lakh, and Rs.50 lakh respectively.

    The government will provide incentives of up to Rs.2 lakh per annum to around 250 local clubs of the state.

    The scheme includes a lifetime pension scheme for unemployed sportspersons and coaches of 50 years and above who have represented the state or the country either in national or international tournaments.

    The newly announced Chief Ministergi Artiste Singgi Tengbang (CMAT) schemes will require around Rs.5.70 crore.

    The CMAT scheme has been designed for renowned artistes. It encourages them to performing arts, literary arts, and visual arts. The scheme will benefit around 4,000 artistes a year.

    Pension will be extended to around 1,000 artistes who are 60 years and above under the scheme.

    The pensioners under the scheme include awardees, gurus, and non- awardees who have contributed to preserving the tradition, culture, and art forms of Manipur.

    The scheme will provide financial assistance to the award winners in the national competition and festivals.

  • OIL signed agreement with Numaligarh Refinery for crude oil sale
    India's second-largest national oil explorer Oil India Ltd (OIL), signed an agreement with Numaligarh Refinery for purchase and sale of crude oil for a term of five years.

    The agreement was signed by the finance directors of the two companies.

    The Crude Oil Sales Agreement (COSA) will come in effect from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2025.

    The agreement will streamline the sale and purchase transactions of crude oil produced from fields in North East India.

    Numaligarh Refinery:
    Owned by: Numaligarh Refinery Limited
    Location: Morangi, Assam

    Numaligarh Refinery is a joint venture (JV) between Bharat Petroleum (61.65%), Oil India (26%), and Government of Assam (12.35%).

  • Ministry of Culture to revisit 1958 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act
    Ministry of Culture has announced that it is to revisit the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.

    The Act regulates construction around centrally-protected monuments and classify them based on their historical significance.

    Currently, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, imposed a ban on construction of any kind within a 100m periphery of centrally-protected monuments. It also allows only certain types of regulated construction within the 100-200m perimeter.

    The existing provisions hinder much significant development work around these areas.

    Therefore, in 2018, the government moved an amendment to the law in order to remove these restrictions.

    In February 2019, a parliamentary standing committee examined the bill and submitted its report.

    The Committee advocated the need for a law that balanced the preservation of monuments of historical significance and development of infrastructure around the monuments.

  • Parliamentary panel reported annual post-harvest loss in fisheries
    A Parliamentary panel reported that the Fisheries Sector suffered a high Post-harvest loss of Rs.61,000 crore.

    The report stated that the Marine Fisheries has a loss of Rs.15,000 crore, and both Marine and Inland Fisheries had a loss of Rs.61,000

    The report highlighted that the possible cause for Post-harvest losses is faulty handling practices, inordinate delay in packing and transportation, lack of proper cold storage facilities, and lack of technological know-how for harvesting fishes.

    The Committee recommended modernizing the existing harbours and establish more cold storage facilities

    The panel suggested ensuring the availability of more refrigerated trucks and vans for transportation of fishes.

    It also urged GoI to allocate sufficient funds to the Fisheries Department so that the Post-harvest losses can be minimized and hence safeguarding the interest of various stakeholders in the Fisheries Sector.

    During the year 2018-19, the total fish production in India stood at around 13.42 million metric tonnes (MMT). Out of the total, marine fisheries contributed 3.71 MMTs. During 2018-19, the export of marine products stood at nearly 1.4 MMTs and was valued at Rs.46,589 crore.

  • UP promulgates 2020 UP Recovery of Damage to Public and Private Property Ordinance
    The Uttar Pradesh state government promulgated Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damage to Public and Private Property Ordinance, 2020 law on 15 March.

    The ordinance was approved by the State Cabinet under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

    UP Recovery of Damage to Public and Private Property Ordinance, 2020:
    Under the new law to recover compensation from those who damage public and private property during protests and riots.

    Compensation Claims will be decided by designated Claims Tribunals. The tribunals will be authorized to investigate complaints and assess the damage. The Claims Tribunal will be headed by a retired district judge, and its members would be of the rank of additional commissioner. It is empowered with all the powers of the Civil Court.

    The law states that the owner of any private property may file claims for compensation within three months of the public protests, bandhs, or riots.

    CJI ruled out complete shutdown of SC and other courts
    The Chief Justice of India (CJI) ruled out the complete shutdown of the Supreme court (SC) and other courts. SC is to launch virtual courts.

    These virtual courts will hold trials in the top court, and it will be limited. SC commenced on 16 March 2020.

    Also, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) were directed to ensure proper communications with the members of the bar with regard to the awareness of self-discipline and also motivate the members to disclose and self-restrain from attending courts.

    Sick persons with symptoms of cough and cold were asked not to attend court.

    Members of the bar should be prepared to accept and promote the e-filing and video conference of court halls.

    No adverse orders are to pass, and adjournments will be granted leniently.

  • India to provide 107.01 million Nepali Rupees for three new school buildings in Nepal
    Indian government will provide 107.01 million Nepali Rupees for three new school buildings in Nepal.

    Embassy of India and Nepal’s Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with Mahakali Municipality, Darchula, and Mukhiyapatti Musharniya Rural Municipality, Dhanusha in Kathmandu today for the construction of two new school buildings.

    India-Nepal Development Partnership program
    India-Nepal Development Partnership program at an estimated cost of 73.96 million Nepali Rupees. The new infrastructure will be used by Shree Malikarjun Higher Secondary School at Dhap in Darchula district and Baidyanath Devnarayan Public Higher Secondary School at Tulsiyahi in Dhanusha district.

    The Government will provide funds while construction work, including a call for tender, the award of work and day to day supervision, will be by Mahakali Municipality, Dharchula, and Mukhiyapatti Musharniya Rural Municipality, Dhanusha.

    The projects will be monitored at the federal level by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration of Nepal and Embassy of India.The government of India also committed an amount of 33.05 million Nepali Rupees for the construction of new school buildings for Shivbhari School, Mahrajgunj Municipality in Kapilvastu district.

    The Embassy of India handed over a cheque of 8.26 million Nepali Rupees as the first installment of its total commitment to the District Coordination Committee Kapilvastu.

  • UGC to set up 10 Chairs in different universities for research activities
    The University Grants Commission (UGC) is to set up 10 Chairs in different fields with an aim to carry out research activities to encourage women.

    UGC will implement it with the assistance of UGC, Ministry of Women and Child Development.

    About Initiative:
    The initiative of UGS is called "Establishment of Chairs in the University in the Name of Eminent Women Administrators/ Artists/ Scientists/ Social reformers."

    The move aims to establish the Chairs in the name of eminent women from India.

    It is expected that it will inspire women to pursue higher education and to achieve excellence in their various areas of work.

    The initiative will highlight and celebrate women achievers of the country and motivate the young girls and women towards pursuing higher studies.

  • Mission Solar Charkha of Ministry of MSME
    The Solar Charkha Mission was initiated by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).

    The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) implemented the program.

    The Scheme aims to ensure inclusive growth by the generation of employment, especially for women and youth, and sustainable development through solar charkha clusters in rural areas.

    The Scheme will boost the rural economy and help in arresting migration from rural to urban areas. It also leverages low-cost, innovative technologies and processes for sustenance.

    Mission Solar Charkha:
    The target of the mission is to cover 50 solar clusters across the country. Under the Scheme, approximately 1,00,000 beneficiaries are to be covered.

    So far, ten projects have been approved under Mission Solar Charkha.

    The total cost for one cluster of Solar Charkha would involve a maximum subsidy of Rs.9.599 crore.

    It aims to generate direct employment to nearly one lakh persons.`

    A pilot project was implemented in 2016 at Khanwa village, Nawada District of Bihar.

  • MoCA flagged off first-ever Indore-Kishangarh flight under UDAN
    The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) flagged off the first-ever thrice-weekly flight from Indore (Madhya Pradesh) to Kishangarh (Ajmer, Rajasthan) on 16 March Under the UDAN scheme of Government of India.

    Indore-Kishangarh flight:
    The tender for the Indore-Kishangarh route during the UDAN 3 bidding process was awarded to Star Air. The aim is to connect the unconnected regions.

    The distance between Indore and Kishangarh is around 550 km (approx.).

    The time taken for the people to reach Kishangarh from Indore by road is more than 10 hours. The flight operations on this route will make the travel easy for the people and visit the famous Nine Planets Temple, Pushkar Lake, Phool Mahal Palace, Roopangarh Fort, Ajmer Sharif Dargah, etc.

    Kishangarh is famously known as the 'Marble City of India.' It is a big market for red chilies.

    The people can now travel between Belagavi and Kishangarh in just 3 hours.

    Under RCS-UDAN, Star Air already operates direct flights from Belagavi to Indore.

    MoCA has operationalized 268 routes under the UDAN scheme.

  • Indian Culture Portal to showcase rich cultural heritage of India
    Indian Culture Portal, an online portal of the Ministry of Culture, showcases the information about the rich cultural heritage of India across the globe.

    Indian Culture Portal:
    Indian Culture Portal was launched on 10 December 2019.

    The portal is available in 2 languages, namely Hindi and English.

    The portal aims to create awareness about the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of India.

    The portal holds various contents comprising mainly of artefacts from museums, rare books, manuscripts, virtual galleries, e-books, archives, photo archives, gazetteers, write-ups and beautiful pictures on cuisines, Indian National Bibliography, videos, detailed accounts of Indian UNESCO World Heritage site, Musical Instruments of India, festivals, paintings, folk art and classical art from the different states of India, etc.

  • Centre urges people to share solutions for COVID-19 on MyGovIndia
    Government of India has urged the people to share technology-driven solutions for COVID-19 on MyGovIndia (@mygovindia).

    The information was announced was made by PM Narendra Modi. The aim is to harness innovation for a healthier planet.

    A lot of people have been sharing technology-driven solutions for COVID-19. It is believed that efforts might help many.

    MyGovIndia is an innovative platform where the citizen can engage themselves with the Government of India. The platform was launched on 26 July 2014 by PM Narendra Modi.

    The portal aims to make the people contribute their ideas and views towards good governance.

    MyGov platform has kept the citizens engaged in important policy issues and governance, including Clean Ganga, Girl Child Education, Skill Development, and Healthy India, among others.

    Currently, more than 9.5 million users have contributed their ideas through discussions and also participate through the various earmarked tasks. The initiative aims to culminate in a mass movement towards self-governance.

    The major attributes of the platforms are discussion, tasks, talks, polls, and blogs on various groups based on diverse governance and public policy issues. Also, more than 10,000 posts per week are posted on various issues that are analyzed and put together as suggestions for the concerned departments who are able to transform them into actionable agenda.

  • President nominated former CJI Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha
    Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi was nominated to Rajya Sabha on 16 March 2020. He was nominated by President Ram Nath Kovind.

    His nomination to the upper house was made against the vacancy created due to the retirement of senior lawyer KTS Tulsi. There are 11 other nominated members in the Rajya Sabha.

    Ranjan Gogoi:
    Ranjan Gogoi was retired on 17 November 2019. He is the first person from the northeast region to reach the top of the judiciary.

    He served as the Judge of Gauhati High Court from 28 February 2001 to 8 September 2010. In September 2010, he was appointed as the Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

    He then served as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on 12 February 2011. In 2012, he served as the Judge of the Supreme Court of India. On 3 October 2018, he replaced Justice Dipak Misra as CJI. He was appointed as CJI by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.

  • GoI stated National e-commerce policy is still under consideration
    Government is still considering the drafting of national e-commerce policy, and no timeline about its launch has been released. The information was announced by the Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on 18 March 2020.

    The National e-commerce policy aims to empower domestic entrepreneurs and to encourage Make in India and safeguard interests of the consumers and facilitating job creation.

    National e-commerce policy:
    The draft policy aims to create a facilitative regulatory environment for the growth of the e-commerce sector.

    Several meetings have been held at the level of Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry, and Internal Trade (DPIIT) with different stakeholders, including major e-commerce companies, industry associations, think-tanks, startups, academicians, etc.

    To draft the provisions of the policy, GoI held sessions with export promotion councils, data centre providers, logistics companies, to discuss the issues faced by the sector.

  • APEDA, SFAC signed MoU to improve productivity and quality of the varieties of crops
    Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has signed MoU with Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) on 18 March 2020.

    The MoU was signed by Ms. Neelkamal Darbari, Managing Director SFAC and Mr. Paban Kumar Borthakur, Chairman, APEDA.

    MoU provisions:
    As per the MoU, SFAC will share a list of all clusters in various states with APEDA for achieving scale and aggregation with export orientation.

    APEDA and SFAC will jointly work together to link up the Farm Producer Organizations (FPOs) with the exporters to achieve the goal and double the farmers' income.

    Both the organization will work towards capacity development, outreach programs, awareness programs, and workshops of various stakeholders.

    APEDA and SFAC will work together to showcase to the Indian and Global Market, the products, technologies, processes, knowledge, and services by the FPO sector stakeholders through a variety of modes as may be identified by them from time to time.

    APEDA will facilitate certification of organic produce /areas by the FPCs assisted or identified by SFAC.

    The MoU will start an Agri-Business Promotion Unit in the North East and to mentor and handhold the FPOs in North East.

  • JK Epidemic Disease Regulations, 2020 extended to both Jammu and Kashmir
    The Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir Administration have extended J&K Epidemic Disease Regulations, 2020 to both Jammu and Kashmir Divisions.

    The aim is to step up efforts to tackle the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. The Regulations were extended under the orders of Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu.

    The regulation defines powers, duties, and responsibilities to the surveillance personnel, duties, and responsibilities of Medical Officers and Practitioners, Enforcement, and Offences.

    J&K administration has urged the general public to maintain social distancing as it is the key to stop and prevent the spread of COVID-19 from those who are infected. People are advised not to panic and take care of health and protect others.

    As per the Media Bulletin on COVID-19, 2,615 suspected cases were enlisted for surveillance, and so far, three cases have tested positive in J&K. Also, 113 samples have been sent for testing, of which 105 tested as negative, and three cases have tested positive while reports of five cases are pending.

  • Health Ministry issued guidelines for notifying coronavirus
    The Health Ministry issued guidelines for notifying COVID-19 in private facilities. The move is to strengthen containment measures amid rising cases of coronavirus.

    Guideline Highlights:
    Each case of coronavirus should be isolated and provided appropriate treatment, and their contacts should be traced at the earliest to break the chain of transmission.

    It is mandatory for all Government and Private hospitals, medical officers in government health institutions, and registered private medical practitioners to notify such person(s) with COVID-19 affected person too concerned district surveillance unit.

    All practitioners should get the self-declaration forms of people having a travel history of COVID-19 affected countries as per the extant guidelines and are falling under the case definition of coronavirus (suspect/case).

    If the person has any such history in the last 14 days and is symptomatic as per the case definition of COVID-19, the person must be isolated in the hospital and will be tested for the disease as per the protocol.

    Also, the information of all such cases should be given to the state helpline number and also to national helpline 1075.

  • GoI saves more than Rs.12 crore pa after implementing 2013 DPCO
    Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers reported that the Ministry had saved the total saving of Rs.12,447 crores per annum to the public after the implementation of the DPCO, 2013.

    The information was passed by the Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shri. D.V. Sadananda Gowda.

    DPCO, 2013:
    According to the provisions of Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 (DPCO, 2013), the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was empowered to fix the ceiling price of scheduled formulations adopted from the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and new drugs.

    It also monitors the prices of non-scheduled formulation so that their maximum retail price (MRP) is not increased by more than 10% of MRP during the preceding twelve months.

    NPPA also fixed the ceiling prices of 530 scheduled formulations under NLEM, 2011.

    The Schedule-I of the DPCO, 2013, as amended by adopting NLEM, 2015.

    The NPPA also fixed the ceiling prices of 866 scheduled formulations under NLEM, 2015.

    NPPA fixed prices of 106 Anti-diabetic and Cardiovascular drugs under DPCO, 2013 in Public interest.

    NPPA capped the Trade Margin 42 select Anti-cancer medicines under Trade Margin Rationalization, and the price of above 500 brands of medicines was reduced up to 90%.

  • Around 1.5 lakh SSAs covered with at least one bank branch under PMJDY
    Ministry of Finance reported that all villages were mapped by banks into 1.59 lakh Sub-Service Areas (SSAs) under Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

    One SSA caters to 1,000 to 1,500 households. The report was submitted by Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs in Rajya Sabha.

    Over 0.33 lakh SSAs have been covered with bank branches, and 1.26 lakh SSAs are covered by the deployment of interoperable Business Correspondents (BCs) so far.

    Banking outlets are being rolled out in uncovered areas, and the process is looked after by State Level Bankers' Committees, in consultation with the concerned State Government, member banks and other stakeholders.

  • Health Ministry placed Draft National Policy for Rare Diseases in its website
    Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has finalized and placed the Draft National Policy for Rare Diseases on its official website.

    It was announced by the Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Sh Ashwini Kumar Choubey.

    A component of rare diseases has been included in the draft. It was made effective from 1 January 2019.

    Under the Umbrella Scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi, the Ministry has included one-time financial assistance up to Rs.15 lakh to patients belonging to families living below the threshold poverty line for treatment of specified Rare Diseases amenable to one-time treatment in Government hospitals.

    The financial assistance covers disorders amenable to treatment with Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT), including such Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSDs) for which Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) is presently not available and severe form of Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) type I within first two years of age.

  • More the Rs.20 crore has been sanctioned under the Stand Up India Scheme
    Ministry of Finance reported that more than Rs.20,466.94 crores of loans had been sanctioned under Stand Up India Scheme to over 91,000 accounts up to 10 March 2020.

    The information was shared by Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs.

    Stand Up India Scheme:
    Stand Up India Scheme was launched by the Government of India on 5 April 2016 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    It is a part of the Department of Financial Services' (DFS) to promote entrepreneurial projects.

    The main objective of the Stand Up India Scheme is to promote entrepreneurship among the scheduled caste (SC), scheduled tribes (ST), and women by loaning money to start a new business.

    The scheme will lend bank loans between Rs.10 lakh and Rs.1 crore to at least one Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs). The loan will facilitate the borrower to set up greenfield enterprises in the manufacturing, services, or the trading sectors.

    The people who avail the benefits of the scheme will be informed about the online platforms, other resources of e-marketing, web-entrepreneurship, factoring services, and registration.

  • Ministry of Culture established institute to promote Buddhist studies, art, and Culture
    Ministry of Culture has established an institute named Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies (CIHCS) at Dahung, Arunachal Pradesh.

    The main objective of CIHCS is to preserve ancient Buddhist manuscripts, to promote research in different aspects of Buddhism, digitize ancient Buddhist text preserved in the languages of Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian languages through the system of a modern university.

    The move by the government is to provide education in Buddhist philosophies, Culture, and Art.

    The Ministry took over three universities, namely Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Nalanda (NNM), Bihar; Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS), Sarnath, Varanasi; Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS), Leh, UT of Ladakh. These 3 universities were granted Deemed University Status by UGC.

    The Ministry also provides for 6 other Grantee Bodies, along with the four institutes, namely CIHCS, NNM, CIHTS, CIBS. The 6 institutes are Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamshala; Tibet House, New Delhi; Centre for Buddhist Cultural Studies, Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh; Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Sikkim; International Buddhist Confederation; GRL Monastic School, Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh.

    The Ministry is also implementing a Scheme of financial assistance for the Development of Buddhist and Tibetan Culture and Art to give financial assistance to voluntary Buddhist/Tibetan organizations, including monasteries engaged in the propagation and scientific development of Buddhist/Tibetan culture, tradition and research in related fields.

  • Resolution seeking removal of the phrase Socialism to be placed in Rajya Sabha
    A resolution that seeks the removal of the phrase "socialism" from the preamble of the Constitution is to be placed in Rajya Sabha on 20 March.

    The resolution argued that the word is "redundant" in the current scenario, and hence it should be dropped to create space for economic thinking without a particular thought.

    The preamble of the Indian Constitution has declared the country to be a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic.

    Socialism and secularism were not part of the preamble, which was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly.

    The terms socialist and secular were inserted in the preamble as part of the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1976, which was passed during the Emergency. It was added to qualify the character of the Indian republic.

    Many groups demand to restore the original preamble.

    It is said that in the socio-economic developmental context, socialism is completely a redundant.

  • CSIR-IHBT develops a new hand-sanitizer as preventive measures against Coronavirus
    Scientists of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT), Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, has developed a new hand-sanitizer as a preventive measure against Coronavirus.

    New hand-sanitizer:
    The natural flavours, active tea constituents, and alcohol content in the hand-sanitizer have been used as per the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).

    The special feature of the sanitizer is it is free of chemicals like parabens, triclosan, synthetic fragrance, and phthalates.

    The technology has been transferred to M/s A.B. Scientific Solutions for the commercial production of the hand-sanitizer as per an agreement signed between CSIR-IHBT and the company.

  • Indian Navy sets up Quarantine Camp at INS Vishwakarma
    A Quarantine Camp has been set up by the Indian Navy at INS Vishwakarma in Eastern Naval Command (ENC) for Indian nationals who are being evacuated from COVID-19 affected countries.

    The move aims to augment India's fight against the spread of Coronavirus.

    Quarantine Camp:
    The Camp has been fully equipped to accommodate nearly 200 personnel with all suitable facilities and other arrangements.

    As per the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the evacuated personnel will be closely monitored to ensure Social Distancing and under medical supervision by a team of naval personnel and medical professionals of ENC.

    As a precautionary measure, the evacuated persons will be kept under quarantine for fourteen days.

    Indian Navy aims to ensure adequate preventive care is provided to all evacuated personnel and to prevent the spread of the virus.

  • GoI encourages NCC Certificate holders to join Paramilitary forces
    The Central government has announced that it has decided to give National Cadet Corps (NCC) Certificate holders Bonus Marks indirect entry examinations for the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), as prevalent in Armed forces examinations.

    The move is to achieve the government's vision to increase participation of India's youth in NCC.

    The provision regarding this are1) NCC 'C' certificate holders will be given 5% of the maximum marks of the examination as bonus marks.
    2) NCC 'B' certificate holders will be given 3% of the maximum marks of the examination as bonus marks.
    3) NCC 'A' certificate holders will be given 2% of the maximum marks of the examination as bonus marks.

    The scheme awards bonus marks to NCC 'A' certificate. The award will be applicable in CAPF recruitment.

    Government of India urged all State governments to make similar provisions in the direct recruitment examination for their respective Police Forces in order to encourage NCC Certificate holders to join them.

    This decision aims to inspire youth to join NCC and ensure the availability of trained and disciplined youth to the CAPFs.

  • Centre issued notification for adaptation of 37 central laws in JK
    The government of India issued a gazette notification for the adaptation of 37 central laws in the Concurrent List for the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir.

    The gazette notification was issued by the Department of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh Affairs of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. It comes into force with immediate effect.

    The Concurrent List contains the 37 central laws, including the representation of people Act, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, the protection of human rights Act, the prevention of corruption act, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) among others.

    The central laws are necessary to adapt as they are made under the Concurrent List with required modifications and amendments.

    It will ensure administrative effectiveness and smooth transition with respect to UT of Jammu and Kashmir.

    It will also remove any ambiguity in their application in line with the Constitution of India.

  • LLTS, IIT-Kanpur signed MoU to promote research in cybersecurity programs
    L&T Technology Services Limited (LLTS) signed a multi-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur).

    The MoU aims to collaborate on research in industrial and infrastructure cybersecurity. The MoU was signed by CEO and MD of LTTS, Dr. Keshab Panda, and Deputy Director at IIT Kanpur and Professor Manindra Agarwal in the premises of IIT Kanpur.

    MoU Provision:
    As per the MoU, LTTS and IIT-Kanpur will together set-up a Center of Excellence (CoE) in the IIT-Kanpur campus.

    It will conduct research in the areas of Honeypot, blockchain, intrusion detection systems, malware analysis, vulnerability assessment, and penetration testing, and provide cybersecurity awareness and training programs.

    The MoU will both LTTS access to IIT-Kanpur's cutting-edge testbed for critical infrastructure.

    The CoE will be a part of IIT-Kanpur's C3i Center was developed to work on solutions and technologies to protect India's Strategic and Critical Utility Infrastructure.

    LTTS' deep-rooted and proven technological expertise combined with the cybersecurity research expertise of the C3i Center will help counter such cyberattacks.

  • NHA ties up with Private hospitals to fight against Coronavirus
    The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) signed an agreement with the National Health Authority (NHA). The aim is to identify capacities to admit patients from among 19,840 empanelled hospitals under the scheme.

    Also, on 18 March, the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan chaired a high-level review meeting with chiefs of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, RML, and Safdarjung Hospital to examine infrastructure preparedness.

    MoHFW is consulting with the private sector and non-profit hospitals across the country to ramp up facilities.

    The Ministry is in the process of shortlisting tertiary care units that are accredited to assist in the process.

    The NHA is planning the rates to include Covid-19 packages in Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).

    India has recorded 168 confirmed cases to date, of which 14 have been cured, and three have died.

  • Meeting on Research in Indian Traditional Knowledge Systems was held in Delhi
    A Meeting on Research in Indian Traditional Knowledge Systems was held in Delhi on 18 March. The meeting was chaired by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

    He reviewed the ongoing research works of different institutions on the traditional knowledge system.

    The main objective of the meeting is to ensure the development of society by coordinating the ancient and modern genres of knowledge.

    The meeting highlighted the traditional Indian knowledge system, which stood out in the fields of science, technology, art, architecture, culture, mathematics, medicine, etc.

    It urged the participants to solve the present-day problems by connecting traditional knowledge to modern research and innovation.

    The meeting appealed for steps to promote research in traditional Indian knowledge and Inter-disciplinary research.

    It recommended for flexibility in education models, materials, financial assistance to invite the brightest students and professors for research.

  • Lok Sabha passed 2020 Aircraft Amendment Bill
    Lok Sabha passed the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020, on 17 March. The Bill was moved by the Union Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri. The Bill aims to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934.

    Bill provision:
    The Bill aims to convert three existing bodies under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, namely the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), and the Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB), into statutory bodies under the Act.

    Each of the statutory bodies will be headed by a Director-General who will be appointed by the centre.

    The Bill empowers the central government to make rules on several matters, including registration of aircraft, regulating air transport services, and prohibition of flight over any specified area.

    The Bill penalty for various offences is imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine of up to Rs 10.lakh, or both. The offences include carrying arms, explosives, or other dangerous goods aboard aircraft, contravening any rules notified under the Act, and constructing buildings or structures within the specified radius around an aerodrome reference point.

    The Bill will add air navigation services to the list for which the central government can make rules.

    The Bill empowers the central government to cancel the licences, certificates, or approvals granted to a person under the Act if the person contravenes any provision of the Act.

    Lok Sabha to discuss 2020 Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill
    Lok Sabha is to take up the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020, for consideration on 19 March.

    Bill provisions:
    The bill aims to provide for the establishment of an Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda by merging three Ayurveda institutes. It seeks to declare the institution as an institution of national importance for the promotion of quality and excellence in education, research, and training in Ayurveda and allied disciplines.

    The existing institutes that are to be merged are the Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar; Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Jamnagar; the Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jamnagar.

    The institute will develop patterns of teaching in medical education in Ayurveda and pharmacy. It will bring together educational facilities for training of personnel in all branches of Ayurveda.

    The institute will attain self-sufficiency in postgraduate education to meet the need for specialists and medical teachers in Ayurveda.

    The Teaching and Research institute will make an in-depth study and research in the field of Ayurveda.

  • Microsoft India, NASSCOM Foundation launch Innovate for an Accessible India campaign to empower PwDs
    Microsoft India and NASSCOM Foundation announced an "Innovate for an Accessible India campaign" to empower persons with disabilities (PwDs).

    Organizing Team:
    The campaign is supported by in partnership with the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Department of Science & Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology and National Research and Education Network under MeitY (ERNET).

    Innovate for an Accessible India campaign:
    The campaign aims to create tools and technology that are required for better integration of PwDs into society. This is aimed to be done by giving them access to equal opportunities.

    The campaign will be an aggregator of workable technology solutions developed using Microsoft Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other technologies that address gaps PwDs face in acquiring services and support in education, skill-building, employment, mobility, rehabilitation, and other government services.

    The program is open to students, startups, impact organizations, and NGOs who want to build customized solutions that address challenges faced by people with disabilities across the 21 officially recognized disabilities.

    The campaign focuses on addressing are e-governance and access, education, skilling and Livelihood, mobility, and health.

  • Ordnance Factory Day was observed on 18 March
    The Ordnance Factory Day is observed on the 18 March. The Ordnance Factories are observing their 219th foundation day this year. The day marks the establishment of the first Ordnance Factory on 18 March 1801. The first factory is known as the 'Gun and Shell Factory' at Cossipore in Kolkata.

    The Ordnance Factories are a conglomerate of 41 ordnance factories. It functions under the aegis of its corporate headquarters Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), in Kolkata. OFB has evolved as one of the largest defence manufacturing conglomerates in the world, with more than 90% of indigenous content and a strong technological and R&D infrastructure that currently contributes to 255 of the revenue.

    Ordnance Factory Board (OFB):
    In 1712, the Dutch Ostend Company's Gun Powder Factory at Ichhapur was established. It came with a new effect on 2 April 1979. It is headquartered at Kolkata, West Bengal.

    The Indian Ordnance Factories organization is a family of 41 Ordnance Factories. It possesses 200 years of experience in defence production. OFB is engaged in the marketing, research, testing, and logistics of a comprehensive product range in the areas of air, land, and sea systems.

    OFB functions under the Department of Defence Production of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

  • ARPIT train more than 1.8 Lakh teachers in 2 years
    Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) announced that the initiative Annual Refresher Programme In Teaching (ARPIT) is successfully implemented in the past two years for the professional development of higher education faculty.

    ARPIT program was launched in 2018 to fulfill the government's commitment to quality education.

    The program aims to enhance the quality of teaching in higher education.

    The initiative includes online professional development of 15 lakh higher education faculty.

    ARPIT is a step of government towards "Har Ek Kaam Desh Ke Naam."

    Under the initiative new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum were imparted to more than 1.8 Lakh teachers in the last two years.

    In 2018-19, 37199 teachers were trained under this program, and in 2019-20, 146919 teachers were trained under the program.

  • SIDBI to start Swavalamban Express on 5 June
    Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is to start Swavalamban Express on 5 June 2020.

    The aim is to promote budding business aspirants and entrepreneurs. SIDBI will start a special train based on the opinions and suggestions of various stakeholders.

    Swavalamban Express:
    Swavalamban Express will depart from Lucknow on 5 June. The journey will be for 15 days, and it will cover about 7000 km of track.

    The express will travel to the 11 entrepreneurial cities including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi as the final destination.

    Over 20 workshops and other programs will be organized during the journey.

    A Candidate who is aged between 20 and 35 years can apply for the journey. Aspirants who want to start their own business or running a small business can apply for the Swavalamban Express journey.

  • Defence Ministry signs with IWI to procure LMGs
    Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a capital acquisition contract with Israel Weapons Industries (IWI) for the procurement of 16,479 light machine guns (LMGs).

    The cost of the agreement was Rs.880 crore.

    The contract was signed with the approval of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

    As per the agreement, IWI would provide Negev 7.62X51 mm LMGs to the Indian armed forces.

    The weapon will boost the confidence of the frontline troops and provide much-needed combat power to the Indian armed forces.

    The acquisition wing of MoD has signed the capital acquisition contract with IWI for the procurement of LMGs.

  • India is third-largest producer of Electricity in the World
    The World Energy Statistics published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2019 states that India is the 3rd largest producer of electricity in the world.

    India ranked 106th in terms of per capita consumption in 2017.

    As per the list, the reforms in the power sector has grown continuously.

    India has now become a power surplus from a power deficit situation.

    The power sector reforms focus on the supply of 24×7 quality power to consumers, higher standards of service, promotion of renewable energy sources, development of hydropower, improving efficiency, especially in the distribution sector, etc.

    Also, the Central government is planning to implement reforms linked distribution schemes and changes in tariff policy, among others.

  • Ministry of Textiles plans to host Pilot shopping festival
    Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani has proposed a pilot shopping festival at Bengaluru.

    The fest will be organized in 2020-21. It will be organized in other cities.

    Shopping Festival:
    The festival will focus on various sectors, including gems & jewellery, textiles, handicrafts, and Yoga and Ayurvedic products.

    The products to be showcased will include tribal products/handicrafts, products from Jammu & Kashmir, North East States, and the other Hill States.

    The festival aims to promote e-marketing of handloom products, and a policy framework was designed and under which any willing e-commerce platform with a good track record can participate in online marketing of handloom products.

    Also, 23 e-commerce entities have been engaged in the online marketing of handloom products.

    So far, total sales of Rs.80.76 crore have been reported through the online portal.

  • MHRD develops School Health Programme to promote well being of students
    Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) have jointly developed a Comprehensive School Health Programme (SHP) under Ayushman Bharat.

    The information was announced by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'.

    The program aims to foster the growth, development, and educational achievement of school-going children by promoting their health and wellbeing.

    School Health Programme (SHP):
    Under the School Health Program, eleven themes have been identified, which include Reproductive Health and HIV Prevention.

    These modules are expected to create awareness on the subject among adolescents.

    Also, the Department of School & Literacy is to implement the Adolescence Education Programme (AEP) as part of the National Population Education Project (NPEP). The aim is to pursue the National Curriculum Framework, 2005. AEP is to make the learners aware of the concerns of adolescence, HIV/AIDS, and Substance (Drug) Abuse and to inculcate in them a positive attitude regarding these concerns.

  • GoI fixes cap for the prices of Alcohols used in manufacturing hand sanitizers under EC Act
    Government has notified an Order under the Essential Commodities (EC) Act to declare price cap prevailing as on 5 March 2020 on the above alcohols up to 30 June 2019.

    The move comes as the alcohol used in manufacturing the hand sanitizers have been exorbitantly increased by the producers of such alcohol.

    GoI also notified that the raw materials used in the manufacture of essential commodities also fall under the essential commodities under the EC Act.

    All the States/UTs can now ask the manufactures of these alcohols not to increase the prices of their produce without the concurrence of the Central Government.

    The move will empower the Central, States/UTs governments to regulate prices, production, sale, distribution, transport, movement, storage, information, etc. of alcohols used in manufacturing the hand sanitizer as a preventive measure to avoid infection from COVID-19. With this, it will smoothen the sale and availability of these items and carry out operations against hoarders, speculators, profiteers, black marketeers, etc.

    Central government has advised the manufacturers of deodorants to manufacturer alcohol-based hand sanitizer spray with ethyl alcohol as the main content on a mass scale at a very low cost and make it available in the market at the earliest.

  • French Language Day is observed on 20th March
    French Language Day is observed on 20th March. The day explores the influences of the language as a culture, its history, and its achievements.

    The day celebrates multilingualism and cultural diversity.

    The French language day is celebrated annually in order to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity and to promote equal use of all six official working languages throughout the organization.

    The observation of French language day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010. The United Nations named six language days in recognition of the six official languages of the UN in 2010.

    It aimed to bring attention to the history, culture, and achievements of each of the languages. The UN selected 20 March to celebrated the French Language Day in honor of the 40th anniversary of the International Organization of La Francophonie.

  • Four convicts of Nirbhaya Case hanged to death in Tihar Jail
    Four convicts, Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar (31), and Mukesh Kumar (32), of Nirbhaya Gang Rape were hanged to death in Tihar Jail on 20 March 2020.

    The convicts of the case were sentenced to death by a fast track court in September 2013.

    Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2013:
    Following the incident, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2013 has widened the definition of rape and made punishment more stringent. The Act came into effect into effect on 2 April 2013.

    The Act increased jail terms in most sexual assault cases and also provided for the death penalty in rape cases that cause the death of the victim or leave her in a vegetative state.

    It also created new offences, such as the use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe, voyeurism, and stalking. The punishment for gang rape was increased to 20 years to life imprisonment; earlier, it was 10 years to life imprisonment.

  • SIDBI to start Swavalamban Express on 5 June
    Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is to start Swavalamban Express on 5 June 2020.

    The aim is to promote budding business aspirants and entrepreneurs. SIDBI will start a special train based on the opinions and suggestions of various stakeholders.

    Swavalamban Express:
    Swavalamban Express will depart from Lucknow on 5 June. The journey will be for 15 days, and it will cover about 7000 km of track.

    The express will travel to the 11 entrepreneurial cities including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi as the final destination.

    Over 20 workshops and other programs will be organized during the journey.

    A Candidate who is aged between 20 and 35 years can apply for the journey. Aspirants who want to start their own business or running a small business can apply for the Swavalamban Express journey.

  • Government to make sanitary napkin disposal bags mandatory from January 2021
    Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that Sanitary napkin makers will be asked to supply a biodegradable bag with each napkin from January 2021.

    The possibility of getting infected because of handling used Sanitary Napkins thrown in the garbage was brought to notice by many of the women garbage collectors. That’s why Environment Ministry has taken the decision to ask Makers of Sanitary Napkins to provide biodegradable bags so that Napkins can be wrapped in these bags before being thrown in the garbage.

    The sanitation norms for Corporations and municipalities will now be applied to villages with a population of more than three thousand.

    The minister also made an important announcement for Pune, saying that 50 small and 50 large waste classification centres will be set up in Pune and financial support for this will be made through the MPs fund.

  • Government plans to create 75 lakh SHGs by 2022: Narendra Singh Tomar
    The government is planning to create a total of 75 lakh Self Help Groups by 2022 to enable more women to get a livelihood.

    Women’s Self Help Groups are the backbone of poverty alleviation programmes and the entire focus of the Ministry is oriented towards women’s emancipation.

    There are over 60 lakh SHGs across the country mobilizing more than six crore 73 lakh women. Government is providing funds and training to them for livelihood missions and linking them with banks for easy credit flow.

    Government is not only supporting women and rural population but also providing them with platforms like the Government e-Marketplace for fetching better prices for their products.

  • MSDE launches Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) programme in Bengaluru
    The Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship programme in the Indian Institute of Management in Bengaluru.

    The Fellowship is launched as part of the SANKALP programme of the ministry to provide skilled manpower for District Skill Committees to prepare the District Skill Development plan.

    Under the pilot project, IIMB will train 75 graduates for two years in preparing the District skill plan considering the skill gaps, market utilities, government schemes and institutions available in the district. Graduates from 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Meghalaya are chosen for the training.

  • SIT on Black money to submit its 7th interim report in next two months
    Special Investigating Team (SIT) appointed by Supreme Court to oversee probe in black money used during the last general elections will submit its seventh interim report in the next two months.

    A huge amount of cash, jewellery and drugs were seized by police and income tax officials from various states during the 2019 elections.

    The status of the probe on the seizure materials during 2019 elections in different states and conviction of criminals was thoroughly discussed at the meeting.

  • 195 Fast Track Special Courts for expeditious disposal of Rape & POCSO Act Cases: Ravi Shankar Prasad
    A total of 195 Fast Track Special Courts have been set up across the country for expeditious trial and disposal of pending cases related to rape and Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences, POCSO Act 2012.

    Maximum 56 Fast Track Special Courts are functional in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Gujarat and Rajasthan.

    34 Fast Track Special Courts in Gujarat and 26 in Rajasthan are functional by the end of January, 2020.

    After receipt of consent from 27 States and Union Territories, Central share of funds amounting to 99.43 crore rupees have been released in financial year 2019-20 for setting up of 649 Fast Track Special Courts.

    Government has finalized a scheme for setting up of a total of 1,023 Fast Track Special Courts across the country.

    14th Finance Commission has endorsed the proposal of government for setting up of 1,800 Fast Track Courts during the period 2015-20 for dealing with specified nature of cases related to women, children, senior citizen and other vulnerable sections of the society.

    There are 828 such Fast Track Courts functioning in the country as on 31st December, 2019.

  • Andhra Pradesh ranked 1st in country for overall implementation of Poshan Abhiyan
    Government is implementing Poshan Abhiyan earlier known as National Nutrition Mission, since 18th December, 2017 to address the problem of malnutrition in the country. The Abhiyan aims to reduce malnutrition in the country in a phased manner, through a life cycle approach, by adopting a synergized and result oriented approach.

    The goals of Poshan Abhiyan are to achieve improvement in Nutritional status of children from 0-6 years, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers in a time bound manner.

    State of Andhra Pradesh ranked 1st in the country for overall implementation of Poshan Abhiyan as per the recent report shared by NITI Aayog. As part of the programme the State has trained all Angan Wadi Workers on modules created based on lifecycle approach, i.e first 1000 days of life, with the support of incremental learning Approach (ILA).

    The State Government has given smart phones to all 55,607 anganwadi workers to improve service delivery and for reporting day to day actions, as well as to council the targeted beneficiaries through video embedded in application.

  • Attukal Pongala festival celebrated in Thiruvananthapuram
    The famous Attukal Pongala, one of the largest all-women religious congregations in the world was held in Thiruvananthapuram. The Guinness record holder of the largest women gathering in the world will be held today under strict guidelines in the backdrop of five fresh positive Corona virus cases being reported in the state.

    The health authorities have issued strict instructions that those having a cold, fever or showing any symptoms of the virus, should offer 'Pongala' only in front of their homes and avoid crowded places.

    Twenty-three teams will be kept ready at various places during the Pongala with 12 ambulances. Resident’s association members have also been included in the teams at various places. This will help in tracing those with fever and cold and those who have come from affected countries, he said, adding awareness camps would be held at Railway Stations, Bus Stands and temples. Video clippings of those participating in the festival would also be taken. This would make things easier to get in touch with persons in case of any issues.

    The ritual sees thousands of women from all over the state congregating in the state capital to prepare 'Pongala' as part of the annual festival of the AttukalBhagavathy Temple here, which is popularly known as the Women's Sabarimala.

  • TIFAC launched Vigyan Jyoti scheme
    Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) launched the Vigyan Jyoti scheme on 8th March 2020.

    The scheme aims to encourage women to pursue science.

    Vigyan Jyoti:
    Vigyan Jyoti is an initiative that will create a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education.

    Under the scheme, Selected women from more than 500 districts will be given opportunities to attend science camps at Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), NITs, and other leading institutions of science and technology education where women are not adequately represented.

    TIFAC was set up in 1988. It functions under the Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology.

    It foresees the technological innovation in select technology areas that were of national importance.

  • JK sets up Delimitation Commission
    The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has set up the Delimitation Commission for the process of delimitation of Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies.

    The Commission was formed under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai.

    The members of the Commission are Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Shushil Chandra and election commissioners of J&K, and the four North-Eastern states will be ex-officio members of the Commission.

    Delimitation Commission:
    The delimitation in the UT of J&K will be based on the 2011 Census due to an amendment in the J&K Reorganization Act.

    Delimitation will be carried out as per the provisions of the J&K Reorganization Act that split the J&K state into two UTs of Jammu and Kashmir with an assembly and Ladakh without an assembly.

  • Centre to set up at least one PMBJP Kendra in every block of the country
    Government plans to set up at least one Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya JanAushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendra in every block of India by the end of 2020.

    The announcement was made by the Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region Dr. Jitendra Singh at the JanAushadhi Diwas celebration in Kathua, J&K.

    The government for Jammu & Kashmir launched the PMBJP to promote affordable and quality generic medicines among the people.

    The speed of development in UT of J&K has increased manifold after the creation of Union Territory (UT) as all the progressive Central laws have been directly implemented without any hindrance.

    Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) campaign was launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) in 2008.

    It was launched under the name JanAushadi Campaign.

    Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementation agency of the scheme. PMBJP aims to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses.

    PMBJP stores were set up by GoI to provide generic drugs at lesser prices but with equal quality and efficacy as expensive branded drugs.

    It focuses on bringing down the healthcare budget of every citizen of India by providing Quality generic Medicines at Affordable Prices.

  • Poshan Abhiyaan celebrated its second anniversary
    The second anniversary of the Centre's Poshan Abhiyaan Poshan Pakhwada was celebrated on 8th March. The focus of the two-week-long Poshan Pakhwada 2020 is 'Men for Nutrition.' The aim is to increase male engagement in Poshan Abhiyaan. It aims to improve Nutritional Indicators.

    NITI Aayog's data states that Andhra Pradesh ranked first in the overall implementation of Poshan Abhiyan. As part of the program, the State has trained all AnganWadi Workers on modules created based on lifecycle approach with the support of incremental learning Approach (ILA).

    Tamil Nadu State has topped the list of the states in terms of the number of participants in the program. The Integrated Child Development Scheme has been rejuvenated with the Centre's Poshan Abhiyaan mission. The program is revitalizing India by reaching out to the children and mothers across the nation.

    POSHAN Abhiyaan:
    Prime Minister's Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition (POSHAN) Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission is the Government of India's flagship program. It improves nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. The scheme reduces malnutrition in the country in a phased manner, through a life cycle approach, by adopting a synergized and result oriented approach.

    The program was launched by Prime Minister Modi on the occasion of International Women's Day on 8 March 2018. The scheme will address the problem of malnutrition and addresses it in a mission-mode.

    The goals of PoshanAbhiyan are to achieve improvement in the Nutritional status of children from 0-6 years, adolescent girls, pregnant women, and lactating mothers in a time-bound manner.

  • Monitoring cell inaugurated under Mission Bhagiratha
    A dedicated monitoring cell was inaugurated under Mission Bhagiratha in Bhongir Circle, Telangana.
    It was inaugurated by the Superintending Engineer of Mission Bhagiratha. The cell invites grievances and issues in the supply of the tapped drinking water.

    About the Monitoring cell:
    The aim of the cell is to prevent water scarcity and increase preparedness for summer.
    The officials in the cell will record complaints and redress them in a time-bound manner.
    Consumers and local representatives in the area can report the issue, along with sufficient details, directly to the staff of the cell.

    Mission Bhagiratha:
    Mission Bhagiratha was implemented in 1998 by Chief Minister Shri K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The Mission aims to ensure safe and sustainable piped drinking water supply from surface water sources. It also aims to provide each household with a tap connection. Under the Mission, 10% of the water in all Irrigation sources reserved for Drinking Water.

  • Centre to add more than 14 lakh Self Help Groups
    Government is to add more than 14 lakh Self Help Groups (SHG) in order to achieve GoI's plan to achieve 75 lakhs SHGs by 2022.

    The announcement was made by Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare on 8th March.

    Women's Self Help Groups (SHGs):
    Women's SHGs are the backbone of poverty alleviation programs. It focuses on the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers' Welfare and Departments of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and oriented towards women's emancipation. SHGs play a major role as in the development process sweeping across the rural landscape.

    Over 60.8 lakh SHGs across the country mobilizes more than six crore 73 lakh women. The Rural Development Ministry aims to create a total of 75 lakh SHGs by 2022 in order to enable more women to get a livelihood.

    Other measures by GoI:
    Government provides several funds and training to SHGs for livelihood missions, linking them with banks for easy credit flow.

    Ministry of Rural Development has instituted awards for SHGs to encourage them to perform better.

    In the past six years, more than Rs.2.75 lakh crores have been provided to SHGs to make women self-dependent.

    Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, more than five crore people are annually employed. Women constitute 55% of the workforce under the MGNREGA.

    Under the scheme, DeenDayalUpadhyayaGrameenKaushalyaYojana (DDU-GKY), over 4.66 lakh women are involved.

    Also, SwarnaJayanti Gram SwarozgarYojana (SGSY) was restructured and subsumed into the DeenDayalUpadhyayaAntyodayaYojana (DAY)-National Rural Livelihood Mission (Ajeevika) (NRLM). Under the Mission, GoI aims to reach out to about ten crore poor rural households.

    The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) gave dignity to women and also enhance safety for women by constructing of 9.5 crore toilets across the country.

  • Scindia resigns from Congress party, looks at BJP
    In a massive setback for the Congress, its prominent youth leader Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party and appeared set to join BJP amid a rebellion in Madhya Pradesh by his supporters, pushing the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government to the brink of collapse.

    A shell-shocked Congress expelled Scindia, the party general secretary and scion of the erstwhile Gwalior royal family, on charges of anti-party activities.

    Scindia met senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah, following which he called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence.

    With Scindia quitting the party, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh appeared headed for a collapse. 20 Congress MLAs from Scindia's camp have sent in their resignations -- 19 by email to Raj Bhavan and one, Bisahulal Singh in a hard copy letter.

  • Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act: Consent of the wife mandatory for proving adoption - Supreme Court
    As observed by the Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta, these provisions lay down that the following conditions must be satisfied for a valid adopting recognised in law, i.e.
    • the consent of the wife before a male Hindu adopts a child;
    • proof of the ceremony of actual giving and taking in adoption
      To decide on the matter, the Court went on to cite the judgment in Ghisalal v. Dhapubai (Dead) by Lrs. & Ors wherein it held “that the consent of the wife is mandatory for proving adoption”.

  • NDFB outfit disbanded itself
    The National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) has disbanded itself at two different locations in the last 24 hours.

    This was done as per the clause in the memorandum of settlement (MOS) signed by NDFB's four factions and other Bodo stakeholders with the government on 27th January.

    Bodo Accord:
    GoI signed an accord with the NDFB on 27 January 2020. The agreement was signed by the Joint Secretary in the MHA, Satyendra Garg, and Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna with the leaders of the four factions of the NDFB.

    The signing was presided over by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

    The objective of the accord was to provide great support to political and economic leverage without their key demand of separate Boroland either in the form of a state or a Union Territory (UT).

    The accord will provide for some political rights to the Bodo tribals living in Assam.

  • GoI approved industrial licenses to 15 companies to manufacture Bullet Proof Jackets
    Government-issued industrial licenses to 15 companies to manufacture Bullet Proof Jackets (BPJs) on 11th March.

    The announcement was made by Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh.

    The 15 companies for manufacturing Bullet Proof Jackets have the production capacity in the country of over 10 Lakh per annum to meet the domestic and export requirement.

    India exports Bullet Proof Jackets to 18 countries.

    Earlier, Indian soldiers did not have bullet-proof jackets. At present, 1.86 lakh soldiers are given BPJs.

  • Jobs provided under scheme of compassionate appointment
    The family members of the personnel of paramilitary forces killed in the line of duty were offered jobs under the scheme of compassionate appointment.

    The announcement was made by Shri Nityanand Rai, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs.

    Scheme of compassionate appointment:
    The Compassionate appointment Scheme aims to grant appointment on compassionate grounds to a dependent family member of a Government servant killed in the line of duty or who is retired on medical grounds, thereby leaving his family without any means of livelihood.

    The scheme also focuses on the family of the Government servant concerned from financial destitution and to help it get over the emergency.

  • CRPF instituted Shakti Award
    The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has instituted a special 'Shakti Award.'

    It will be annually presented to chosen personnel who work for the empowerment of women.

    Shakti Award:
    The award was announced on International Women's Day on 8 March. The award will be conferred every year on 19 March, the CRPF Raising Day.

    Women who work for creating women-friendly infrastructure, better work environment, ease of living with safety, addressing women-specific issues, and related innovation and initiatives will be awarded.

    The award will carry a reward of Rs.1 lakh, a citation, and a trophy.

    The award aims to recognize the best practices and efforts made towards women empowerment and gender equality in the force.

    It aims to motivate CRPF personnel to do better and innovate in the field.

    CRPF has raised the world's first all-women battalion with a strength of over 1,000 personnel in 1986. Currently, there are six such battalions.

  • Centre approved for the construction of Delhi-Baghpat highway
    Centre approved the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to construct the first phase of a new highway at a distance of almost 170km.

    The highway will connect east Delhi's Akshardham to Uttarakhand's Dehradun.

    Delhi-Baghpat highway:
    The proposed new highway is expected to reduce travel time between Delhi and Dehradun by at least two-and-a-half hours.

    The estimated time for the project is five years.

    The first phase will connect Akshardham with west Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat by a six-lane highway. It will cover a distance of 32km, out of which 14.7km in Delhi and another 17.5km under the jurisdiction of Uttar Pradesh. It will connect important locations like Loni, Saharanpur, Mohand, and Ganeshpur.

    NHAI has also got in-principle approval for the second phase that will connect Baghpat to Dehradun. It covers a distance of almost 140km.

  • India used Anti-HIV drugs to treat COVID-19 for the first time
    India, for the first time, used a combination of two drugs, namely lopinavir and ritonavir was administered on an elderly Italian couple undergoing treatment at a Jaipur hospital for Covid-19. The two drugs are widely used for controlling HIV infection.

    Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the "restricted use" of the combination of the two drugs, which are second-line HIV drugs, for treating the people who are affected by a novel coronavirus.

    Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) earlier sought emergency approval for using the combination of the two drugs.

    The combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, along with other drugs, have been used in clinical trials in China and Thailand for treating Covid-19 patients.

  • India invokes 123-year-old Epidemic Disease Act
    GoI is to invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. The 123-year old Law is to be invoked in order to limit the spread of the outbreak. The announcement comes after WHO declaring COVID-19 as GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

    The Central government has declared that all the states and Union Territories (UTs) should invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897.

    The move comes as COVID-19 cases crossed the 70 mark on 12 March.

    The Act is meant to contain dangerous epidemic diseases.

    The Law confers special powers upon local authorities to implement measures necessary to control epidemics.

    Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 states that When at any time the State Government is satisfied that the State is threatened with an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease, the State Government, may take, or require or empower any person to take, such measures and, by public notice, prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person. It is necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof and may determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred, including compensation if any, shall be defrayed.

  • India ranked second in the Animal Protection Index (API) 2020 list
    The international animal welfare charity, World Animal Protection, released the global Animal Protection Index 2020.

    India has ranked second as the better-performing countries in the Animal Protection Index (API).

    The aim of API is to showcase where countries are doing well, where they fall short on animal welfare policy and legislation, in order to take steps to improve.

    The index ranks countries from A, being the highest score, to G, being the weakest score.

    India secured a 'C' ranking in the index, along with countries like Spain, New Zealand, Mexico, and France.

    India has strong laws on the protection of animals, and the welfare of dairy animals is yet to part of any such law. This index highlighted the work that still needs to done to protect every animal.

    New research reveals poor animal welfare practices will provide a perfect breeding ground for viruses to mutate and spread while trading.

    If animal welfare laws aren't improved, the risk of disease outbreaks becoming more frequent is high.

    World Animal Protection assessed the animal welfare policies and legislation of 50 countries.

    The report highlighted the lack of adequate animal welfare laws.

    The index is aimed to help countries to put in place good animal welfare practices such as keeping animals clean, healthy, and with sufficient space to exhibit natural behaviours.

  • WGSHA enters Limca Book of Records for Indias first Living Culinary Arts Museum
    The culinary museum in Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA), Karnataka, has been listed in Limca Book of Records as India's First Living Culinary Arts Museum.

    The process for making WGSHA's culinary museum to enter into the popular Limca Book of Records (LBR) started in 2019.

    Culinary museum in WGSHA:
    The culinary art museum was opened in April 2018. The museum is spread approximately over 25,000 sq ft. It is shaped in the form of a giant pot very similar to the ones found in Harappa. There are historical and regular household items including an old seed sprinkler, plates made by the Portuguese in India, a 100-year-old ladle used to dole out food at temples and bowls dating to the Harappan era, an ancient Kashmiri tea brewer known as 'samovar,' vessels from the Konkan, among others.

    Limca Book of Records (LBR):
    LBR is a book of achievements made by Indians in India and abroad in many fields of human endeavour. LBR recognizes accomplishments such as firsts, inventions, discoveries, honours, awards, and truly extraordinary.

  • Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 introduced in Lok Sabha
    The Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 12th March.

    The Bill was introduced by the Union Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

    Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020:
    The Bill will provide for the regulation, operation, and planning of major ports in India and to provide greater autonomy and flexibility in decision-making.

    The Bill is not aimed at the privatization of government ports. The number of labour trustees will remain the same as earlier.

    The Bill will provide the ports greater autonomy and flexibility to major ports in decision-making as they have to compete with the private sector.

    The Bill proposes to repeal the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.

  • Parliament passed amendments to IBC Amendment Bill
    Parliament passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2020, on 12th March 2020. It was earlier passed in Lok Sabha on 6th March.

    The Bill will now replace an ordinance passed in 2019.

    Bill Provision:
    The amendments will introduce a mechanism to incorporate viable changes in the legislation.

    The Bill will remove bottlenecks and streamline the corporate insolvency resolution process.

    It aims to provide protection to new owners of a loan defaulter company against prosecution for misdeeds of previous owners.

    The creditors can initiate an insolvency resolution process if a company defaults on its payments.

    It empowers the resolution professional to require suppliers to continue providing goods and services.

    The Bill provides that the company will not be liable for any offence committed prior to the insolvency resolution process if there is a change in the management or control of the company.

  • Hola Mohalla festival was celebrated at Anandpur Sahib Punjab
    Hola Mohalla festival was celebrated at Anandpur Sahib Punjab from 10-12 March 2020.

    Hola Mohalla is a Sikh festival celebrated in the month of Phalguna, a day after Holi.

    The three-day festival will host mock battles, poetry, and music competitions.

    The Nihang Singhs will carry the martial tradition with mock battles and displays of swordsmanship and horse riding. They also perform daring feats, such as tent pegging, Gatka (mock encounters), bareback horse-riding, and standing erect on two speeding horses.

    The festival ends with a long procession that starts from Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib and passes through various important gurdwaras like Qila Anandgarh Sahib, Lohgarh Sahib, Mata Jitoji and terminates at the Takhat. It will be led by Panj Pyaras.

  • Maharashtra approves a bill on caste validity certificate
    Maharashtra State Assembly approved a bill on caste validity certificate. The Bill was unanimously passed by the Maharashtra state assembly on 11th March 2020.

    The Bill will allow gram panchayat members to submit their caste validity certificates within a year of winning elections.

    The Bill will ensure that the aspiring candidates are not barred from contesting the elections if they do not have a caste validity certificate.

    At present, the candidate will have to submit his/her caste validity certificate at the time of filing of nominations. The social justice and rural development departments were working on a comprehensive policy to expedite the process of providing the validity certificate to those having caste certificates.

  • Wings India 2020 began in Hyderabad
    Wings India 2020, an International conference and exhibition on the Civil Aviation sector, has begun on 12 March in Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad, India.

    The conference will be held from 12-15 March 2020.

    The biennial event is organized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI) along with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

    Wings India 2020 aims to connect the Buyers, Sellers, Investors, and other stakeholders.

    The conference will provide a congenial forum catering to the rapidly changing dynamics of the sector.

    It highlights new business acquisition, investments, policy formation, and regional connectivity.

    The event focuses only on Civil Aviation Industry.

    The conference host an exhibition area of more than 5,000 sq.m.

    Over 150 exhibitors are participating in the event.

    It will witness the performance of Sarang, the helicopter aerobatics team of Indian Air Force (IAF), and the Global Stars team of British pilots on fixed-wing aircraft.

    It hosts conferences between various company heads and a CEO's forum.

  • Maharashtra implements happy hour for auto rickshaws
    Maharashtra State government approved the implementation of "happy hour" for auto rickshaws.

    The move was recommended by Khatua panel, which is led by retired IAS officer BC Khatua and the four-members of the panel.

    Happy hour:
    The government resolution stated that fares would be slashed by 15% between 12 noon and 4 pm, barring the minimum fare first 1.5 km.

    It is applicable only for auto rickshaws and not to local taxis and app-based taxis.

    The panel stated that it would turn lean hours to happy hours, especially for housewives and senior citizens.

    The move is opposed by the auto rickshaw unions of the state.

  • Leh to host the national event for the 6th International Day of Yoga
    Leh is to host the main national event for the sixth International Day of Yoga (IDY) on 21 June 2020.

    The events on the day will be led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This was announced by the Union Minister of AYUSH Shripad Naik.

    IDY 2020:
    It is expected that a large congregation of around 15,000 to 20,000 people will participate in the high altitude location like Leh for the first time.

    There will be a 45-minute yoga drill based on Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) during the event.

    Prime Minister Modi is expected to carry out 'yogasanas' based on CYP.

    The plans are being implemented by various industrial bodies, including CII and FICCI, educational bodies like CBSE, UGC, and NCERT, among other stakeholders.

    The observation of International Day of Yoga was first proposed by Prime Minister Modi at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 27 September 2014. The International Day of Yoga was first observed on 21 June 2015. In 2019, the Yoga Day event was held in Ranchi, Jharkhand.

  • GoI constituted a high-level GOM to review prevention and management of Coronovirus
    GoI has constituted a high-level Group of Ministers (GOM) to review, monitor, and evaluate the current preparedness and measures taken regarding the management of Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

    The GOM was constituted upon the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    A meeting was held under the GOM chairperson Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, and the other members of GOM, including Sh. Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation (MCA), Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Ah. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State (I/c), Ministry of Shipping, Chemicals, and Fertilisers, Sh. Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home.

    The members discussed the actions taken for the prevention and management of COVID-19 in India.

    The members undertook elaborate discussions on the various other precautionary measures which may be considered in the interest of the citizens of India.

    The members verified if regular handholding, monitoring, advisories, guidelines, etc. are being done with the States/UTs.

    The members decided that all the States/UTs should be advised by MoHFW to invoke provisions of Section 2 of Epidemic Disease Act, 1897. It enforces that all advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare/State/UTs.

  • Tamil Nadu hosts Divya Kala Shakti for the first time
    Tamil Nadu State government is to host the first-ever regional event "Divya Kala Shakti: Witnessing the abilities in disabilities a unique cultural" event at Kalaivanar Arangam, Chennai on 12th March 2020.

    The event will be witnessed by Governor of Tamil Nadu Shri Banwarilal Purohit.

    Organizing Team:
    The event is organized by the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (Divyangjan) (NIEPMD), Chennai, in collaboration with the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyagjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GoI.

    Event Highlights:
    The cultural event will bring together children and youth with Differently Abled from all the five Southern zone, namely Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

    Divya Kala Shakti will provide a unique platform to showcase the potential of Persons with Differently Abled in the field of performing art, music, dance, acrobatics, etc.

    The cultural event will host artistic performance, including dance, music, instrumental in classical, folk, and modern style. It also includes Yoga and Acrobatics for the first time.

  • Maharashtra approved renaming Mumbai Central Terminus station as Nana Shankarseth Terminus Station
    The Maharashtra state cabinet approved the renaming Mumbai Central Terminus station as Nana Shankarseth Terminus Station or Jagannath Sunkersett.

    The proposal will be sent to the Ministry of Railways for its approval. The proposal was initiated by the transport ministry headed by Anil Parab.

    Jagannath Sunkersett was born on 10 February 1803 in Mumbai. He was a very reliable businessman. He was one of the first directors of India's first railway company.

    Along with Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, Sunkersett founded the Indian Railway Association in 1845. Sunkersett and Jamsetjee were the two Indians among the ten directors of the Great Indian Peninsula (GIP) railways.

    He founded the Bombay Association, the first political organization in Bombay Presidency, on 26 August 1852. The philanthropist and educationist died on 31 July 1865.

  • Centre to distribute fortified rice through PDS to curb malnutrition
    Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Department of Food & Public Distribution has approved the Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on "Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under Public Distribution System (PDS)" for a period of three years beginning from 2019-20.

    Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under PDS Scheme:
    The Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under the PDS Scheme aims to curb malnutrition in the country.

    The total budget outlay of the Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under PDS scheme is Rs.174.64 Crore.

    The Pilot Scheme is funded by the Government of India in the ratio of 90:10 in respect of North Eastern, Hilly, and Island States and 75:25 for the rest of the States.

    The Pilot Scheme focuses on 15 districts per State.

    The States/UTs should identify the districts for implementation of the Pilot Scheme. The States/UTs were requested to operationalize the blending of fortified rice at the milling stage and start its distribution through the Public Distribution System (PDS) as early as possible.

    Currently, 15 States namely Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and Madhya Pradesh have consented for implementation of the Pilot Scheme.

    Also, Maharashtra and Gujarat have already started to distribute the fortified rice under PDS in the Pilot Scheme from February 2020.

  • Anganwadi Workers were given Smart Phone for ICDS-CAS
    Anganwadi Workers are provided with Smart Phone through States for Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)-Common Application Software (CAS) developed under POSHAN Abhiyaan.

    Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani announced the information.

    Smart Phone for Anganwadi Workers:
    The aim of distributing Smart Phone will enable efficient service delivery and efficient monitoring.

    POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to provide Smart Phone-based mobile Application to all Anganwadi Centers across 36 States/UTs.

    As of 29 February 2020, more than 6.25 lakh Anganwadi Workers across 28 States/UTs are using the application for service delivery.

    Due to the delay in the procurement of smartphones by the States, some states have not yet provided the smart phones to the Anganwadi Workers.

  • NCRB launched Crime Multi-Agency Centre and National Cybercrime Training Centre
    National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) launched Crime Multi-Agency Centre (Cri-MAC) and National Cybercrime Training Centre (NCTC) on 12 March during the celebration of its 35th Inception Day.

    It was launched by Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai.
    Medals were given to officers for meritorious service and other awards.

    Cri-MAC was launched for sharing of information on crime and other issues related to inter-state coordination.
    Also, NCTC was launched for professional quality e-Learning services on cybercrime investigation on a large scale to police officers, judges, prosecutors, and other stakeholders.

    NCRB was established on 11 March 1986. It is headquartered in New Delhi. The current Director of NCRB is Ramphal Pawar.

    National Crime Records Bureau functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The Bureau collects and analyzes crime data as defined by Special and Local Laws (SLL) and Indian Penal Code (IPC).

    Under the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project, NCRB networks 15,993 Police Stations and 8,208 higher Police offices across the country. CCTNS holds a huge database that will help investigators in solving crime cases faster.

    NCRB system generates alerts on the matching of recovered and stolen vehicles based on the national database of CCTNS. Recently, NCRB collaborated with Cyber Peace Foundation and organized CCTNS Hackathon& Cyber Challenge 2020 to encourage police, industry, and academia.

  • Government passed the 2020 Mineral Laws Amendment Bill
    Parliament passed the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, on 12 March. The Bill will replace the ordinance passed for the amendment of the Mines & Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.

    The Bill was already passed by Lok Sabha on 6 March 2020. The Bill was introduced by the Union Minister of Coal & Mines Sh. Pralhad Joshi.

    Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020:
    The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill will promote Ease of Doing Business and take the coal & mining sector into a new level.

    The Bill aims to transform the mining sector in India and boost coal production and reducing dependence on imports.

    As per the amendment, the companies which do not possess any prior coal mining experience in India and/or have mining experience in other minerals or in other countries can participate in an auction of coal/lignite blocks.

    The law will increase participation in coal/lignite block auctions and facilitate the implementation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy in the coal sector.

    It also allows prospecting licence-cum-mining lease (PL-cum-ML) for coal/lignite. It increases the availability of coal and lignite blocks, and varying grades of coal blocks in a wide geographical distribution will be available for allocation.

    The amendment will augment the exploration of minerals of national interest and the deep-seated minerals by allowing Non-Exclusive Reconnaissance Permit (NERP) holders to apply for composite licence or Mining Lease (PL-cum-ML).

  • NAIs exhibition on Jallianwala Bagh was inaugurated by Shri P.L. Sahu
    National Archives of India's (NAI) exhibition on Jallianwala Bagh was inaugurated by the Joint Secretary of Ministry of Culture Shri P.L. Sahu during the 130th Foundation Day of NAI at the premises of National Archives, New Delhi on 11 March.

  • NAI's exhibition will remain open for public viewing until 30 April 2020.
    Exhibition highlights:
    The exhibition is primarily presented with the help of original and digital copies of archival documents that are related to the JallianwalaBagh Massacre available in the National Archives of India.

    The move by NAI is an earnest attempt to portray the relentless struggle of the Indian people against the British tyranny through the record holdings.

    Based on the original documents, the exhibition commemorated the centenary of the JallianwalaBagh Massacre that covered a period from 1915-50.

  • CSIR-NPL develops ink to curb fake printing of Passports and counterfeiting of currency notes
    Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Physical Laboratory (NPL), along with the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research, Ghaziabad has developed a bi-luminescent security ink.

    The information was passed by the Union Minister of Science and Technology, Health and Family Welfare, and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

    Bi-luminescent security ink:
    The ink appears white in normal light. But the ink glows in red and green colours when illuminated by two different excitation sources at 254 nanometers (nm) and 365 nm, respectively.

    The ink was prepared in a batch of 1kg and given to Bank Note Press (BNP), Dewas, Madhya Pradesh. BNP is a unit of Security Printing Minting Corporation of India Ltd. (SPMCIL), New Delhi.

    The ink is comparable to the standards that are currently in use.

    The chemical elements of the ink have been thermally treated to ensure the pigments stick to each other at the production level.

    The powder is finally mixed with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to obtain the shiny safety ink.

    The special safety ink can be used to check the authenticity of passports, Government documents, tamper-evident labels, identity cards, etc.

  • Assam to construct 33 stadiums under Uttran scheme
    The Assam government has announced that it is to construct 33 stadiums in the state under the Uttaran scheme.

    It was announced by the Principal Secretary of Sports Avinash Joshi and Joint Director Kamaljit Talukdar.

    A total sum of Rs.300 crore will be spent to build the stadiums across the state.

    Also, 500 playgrounds will be developed at the state to encourage rural talents.

    The state of the art sports facilities are being set up in Assam.

    Rs. 50,000 will be given to 1000 players and 2500 clubs to get a grant of Rs.75,000.

  • UP launched schemes for skill development, employment generation for youths
    Uttar Pradesh State government has launched three schemes, namely Kaushal Satrang, Yuva Hub, and an apprenticeship scheme for skill development and employment generation for youths in the state.

    It also has announced to depute Arogya Mitras at all primary health centers to inform people about government health schemes. The schemes were launched by Chief Minister of state Yogi Adityanath.

    The state's industrial sector had received private and public sector investment of nearly Rs.3 trillion in the past 3 years.

    All three schemes are dedicated to generating employment and self-employment opportunities for the youth of the state.

    Kaushal Satrang scheme has seven components that will provide opportunities to the youth.

    The state has allocated Rs. 1,200crore for the Yuva Hub scheme in the state budget. The scheme aims to provide employment to thousands of skilled youth by assisting in project concept and financial help for one year of operation.

    CM apprenticeship scheme will provide a stipend of Rs.2500 to the youth of the state.

  • GoI might approve license for persons with Colour blindness
    Government is planning to approve license for the persons with Color blindness.

    People with a mild or moderate color vision deficiency may get to drive commercial vehicles too.

    AIIMS Study:
    Ministry of road transport is to prepare draft norms after a panel of ophthalmologists from AIIMS gave its recommendations on this issue.

    For this purpose, the Ministry had referred the case to AIIMS to seek its view after receiving it.

    The AIIMS panel stated that the European Union had dropped the provision of color blindness to obtain a driving license while in the US, licenses are not issued to such persons for driving commercial vehicles.

    Color blindness:
    Color blindness or color vision deficiency is the inability or decreased ability to perceive color differences under normal light conditions. By debarring people with colour blindness impacts around 3% population. In India, the prevalence of congenital colour blindness is about 8% in males and 0.5% in females.

  • Centre approved 32 projects under PM Kisan Sampada Yojana
    An inter-ministerial approval committee under the 'Unit' scheme of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) sanctioned 32 projects spread across 17 states on 27th February.

    The committee was chaired by the Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

    The 32 projects leverage an investment of Rs.406 crore.

    The projects will cover over 100 agro-climatic zones across India.

    The Processed food market is expected to grow to $543 billion by 2020 from $322 billion in 2016, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.6%.

    These projects aim to generate direct/indirect employment for approximately 15,000 persons along with employment opportunities in rural areas to be the focus area.

    The projects focus on increasing the level of processing, value addition leading to a reduction of wastage.

    All the food processing activities will be undertaken by the individual units. Each unit covers a wide range of post-harvest processes resulting in value addition to enhance shelf life with the required preservation of perishables facilities.

  • GoI paid tribute to the 124th birth anniversary of former PM Morarji Desai
    Government of India paid tribute to former PM Morarji Desai on his 124th birth anniversary on 29th February.

    President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and State leaders paid tribute the late former PM. His birth anniversary is celebrated every four years.

    Morarji Desai:
    Morarji Desai was born in Bulsar district of Gujarat on 29 February 1896. He graduated from the Wilson Civil Service of the then Bombay Province in 1918.

    He served as a Deputy Collector for 12 years. In 1937, he became Minister for Revenue, Agriculture, Forest and Co-operatives in the Ministry headed by Shri B.G. Kher in the then Bombay Province.

    In 1946, he became the Minister for Home and Revenue in Bombay. Desai served as the Prime Minister between March 1977 and July 1979 succeeding Indira Gandhi. He died on 10 April 1995. He strictly followed Mahatma Gandhi’s principles.

  • NITI Aayog to begin a pilot project in JK on SDG
    Policy think tank NITI Aayog has selected Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir for the first pilot project among all States and UTs on Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDG).

    The announcement was made by Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal.

    Projects in JK on SDG:
    The project in J&K will get a chance to work with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

    The UT J&K has recently made progress under different Outreach Programmes conducted across Jammu.

    The programmes will work under the district indicator framework. Hence, the information will be sought from the respective District Commissioners.

    The progress will be ranked by setting certain parameters.

    Under the Public Outreach Programme, the government will account for the issues faced by people and ensures redressal within the shortest possible time frame.

  • PM to launch 10,000 Farmers Producer Organisations
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to launch 10,000 Farmers Producer Organisations (FPO) across the country at Chitrakoot on 29 February 2020.

    The event aims to mark the first anniversary of PM-KISAN, which transformed the lives of crores of farmers in the last one year.

    FPOs will help in the collectivization of small, marginal and landless farmers in order to give them the collective strength to deal with such issues.

    FPO members will manage their activities together in the organization to get better input, access to technology, finance, and the market for faster enhancement of their income.

    Around 86% of farmers in India are small and marginal with average land holdings in the country being less than 1.1 hectares. These farmers face several challenges including access to technology, quality seed, fertilizers and pesticides including requisite finances, during the agriculture production phase. They also face tremendous challenges in marketing their products due to a lack of economic strength.

  • Defence Minister inaugurated new LCH Production Hangar at HAL Complex, Bengaluru
    Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the new Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Production Hangar at Helicopter Division in HAL Complex at Bengaluru, Karnataka.

    The move is towards manufacturing military equipment indigenously under the 'Make in India' initiative.

    Light Combat Helicopter is a 5.5-tonne class combat helicopter.

    It is designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

    The helicopter is powered by two Shakti engines.

    It also holds many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter.

    The helicopter has been ordered by the Indian Army and Indian Air Force (IAF).

    LCH is the first attack helicopter to land in Forward Bases at Siachen, 4,700 metres above sea level with 500kg load.

    Recently, HAL offered an indigenous multirole helicopter to the Indian armed forces. It replaced the Army's medium-lift choppers such as MI-17s, Kamovs, and Seakings. HAL showed the progress made on the design and development of the multirole helicopter for induction in IAF, Navy, and Army.

  • Central Consumer Protection Authority to be established in 2020 April
    Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan announced that the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will be set up by the first week of April 2020.

    Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA):
    The CCPA will be established under the Consumer Protection Act 2019.

    The authority will address issues related to consumer rights, unfair trade practices, misleading advertisements. CCPA will be empowered to impose penalties for selling spurious and adulterated products.

    Also, an investigative wing will be formed under the aegis of the authority. It will deal with inquiries that are related to unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.

    The rules related to the Consumer Protection Act will be finalized soon.

    It will also regulate e-commerce and direct selling as there is no regulatory body for these sectors at present.

  • Shri R. K. Singh dedicated 11 Renewable Energy Management Centers
    Shri R. K. Singh, the Union Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy & Minister of State (Skill Development and Entrepreneurship), inaugurated the Northern Region Renewable Energy Management Centre (NR-REMC) at a function in New Delhi on 28 February 2020.

    He also dedicated 11 REMCs to the nation. It is expected that the REMCs will place India among a league of few nations that have state-of-the-art management centers for renewable energy integration.

    India has targeted 175 GW RE Capacity by 2022 driving accelerated RE penetration poses challenges to the grid management due to intermittent and variable nature of RE generation.

    REMCs are equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) based RE forecasting and scheduling tools and provide greater visualization and enhanced situational awareness to the grid operators.

    The centres are co-located with the State Load Dispatch Centers (SLDCs) in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat & Rajasthan and in RLDCs at Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi and at the NLDC.

    Currently, the 11 REMCs monitors the 55 GW of Renewable (Solar and Wind).

    GoI had approved the implementation of the REMCs as a Central Scheme. It had also mandated POWERGRID, a Maharatna CPSE under the Ministry of Power as Implementing Agency. These REMCs are being managed by Power System Operation Corporation of India Ltd. (POSOCO) at Regional and National level and at State level by SLDCs.

    Other launches:
    A Report by POSOCO on “Analysis of Impact of Solar Eclipse - 26th Dec'19 on Indian Power System” was also released during the event. It covered various areas such as solar generation forecasting, ramp estimation, the behavior of PV plants during the solar eclipse. The report has analyzed the variation in Global Horizontal irradiance during a solar eclipse for plants falling in annular and partial eclipse zone.

  • Cabinet approved occupancy rights to Scheduled Tribes of Lakshadweep
    The Union Cabinet approved the amendment of the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands Land Revenue and Tenancy Regulation, 1965. The amendment will confer occupancy rights to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) population in the union territory (UT).

    Amendment Provision:
    Lakshadweep island mostly comprises the ST population and they did not have occupancy rights.

    The amendment will give them occupancy rights. It will support the tribal community.

    The amendment is a part of the good governance initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    As per the 2011 census, the ST distribution is high in the State of Mizoram and UT Lakshadweep. Also, it stated that Punjab and Haryana had 0%.

    The report stated that Lakshadweep has 11,574 households, a population of 64,473 of which 33,123 are males, and 31,350 are females.

  • Punjab to reduce government employees retirement age to 58 years
    Punjab State government announced major changes in the 2020-21 budget. The budget announcement was made by Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal.

    He presented a Rs.1,54,805 crore budget in the state Assembly.

    New Schemes:
    The state government announced to waive Change of Land Use (CLU) charges for two years for the new industries coming up outside the municipal limits and slash the "mandi" fee on vegetables from 4%-1%.

    It has reduced the government employees' retirement age from 60 to 58.

    It also introduced a scheme for free education for all students up to Class 12.

    The state announced a debt waiver for landless farmers.

    The budget allocated Rs.100 crore for giving 10 lakh free smartphones to the youth.

  • Railways launched first Restaurant on Wheels at the Asansol Railway station
    Indian Railways launched its first 'Restaurant on Wheels' at the Asansol Railway station, Paschim Bardhaman district, West Bengal.

    It was inaugurated by the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo in a programme held at Asansol station.

    Restaurant on Wheels:
    Two over-aged Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) coaches are converted into restaurants.

    It is expected to cause Rs.50 lakh of non-fare revenue during the next 5 years.

    The restaurant is for the use of Railway passengers and the general public of Asansol.

    He also inaugurated two new air-conditioned Retiring Rooms and Electronic Reservation Chart Display System, through Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLAD) fund and a Battery operated Car at Asansol station.

    The Electronic Reservation Chart Display System at Asansol station will provide easy access to information about the reservation status in different trains. It will be helpful for train passengers.

  • Tourism Ministry launched multilingual Incredible India website
    Union Minister of State (IC) for Tourism & Culture Prahlad Singh Patel launched the multilingual Incredible India website in New Delhi.

    Incredible India website:
    Ministry of Tourism revamped the multilingual Incredible India website design to provide more information about India's tourist destinations, attractions, experiences, and where the value lies.

    Incredible India 2.0 website aims to showcase the varied tourism products of India by providing visitors with relevant, personalized and contextual digital experience escalating tourism awareness, attraction, and opportunities.

    Incredible India website project was launched by the Ministry of Tourism.

    The promotional website aims to project India as a ‘must-visit’ destination across the globe.

    The website now comprises of a plethora of information about 28 States and 9 Union Terrorists, around 165 destinations, 2700+ pages, along with multiple attractions.

    The website was hosted in English and Hindi. It is currently launched in Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish to effectively engage the visitors across the web and social media platforms. It will be translated into global languages in the future.

  • Minister Amit Shah inaugurated NSG Regional Hub at Kolkata
    Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah inaugurated the National Security Guard (NSG) Regional Hub campus at Kolkata, West Bengal.

    It aims to provide adequate facilities to the brave NSG jawans. He also various welfare projects for NSG, amounting to over Rs. 245 crores, across Kolkata, Manesar, Chennai, and Mumbai.

    It will ensure to boost the capabilities of the force and raising the morale of the jawans.

    NSG Regional Hub campus:
    NSG Regional Hub campus is worth over Rs.162 crores.

    The Residential and Non Residential complexes can house 460 persons and families, office accommodation and modern training facilities including ???????Baffle firing range, indoor shooting ranges swimming pool, sports complex, and artificial rock craft wall, etc.

    It has become a model regional hub of the NSG, which will help in honing the professional acumen of the NSG commandos.

    It will contribute significantly to the capacity building of the first responders, the Police forces of the States.

    The campus will hold the responsibility of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and the entire North-Eastern region.

  • Prime Minister lays foundation stone for the Bundelkhand Expressway
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Bundelkhand Expressway at Chitrakoot on 29th February.

    He also launched a saturation drive for distribution of Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) to all the beneficiaries under the PM-KISAN Scheme.

    Bundelkhand Expressway:
    The estimated cost of the 296 km long project is Rs.14,849crore.

    The aim of the supplement the nodes of the Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor.

    The Expressway is expected to benefit Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah districts.

    It will increase connectivity in UP and the people with the facilities available in big cities.

    It will generate employment opportunities in the state.

  • Minister Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated 2020 Pusa Krishi Vigyan Mela
    The Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, Rural Development &Panchayati Raj Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated the Pusa Krishi Vigyan Mela 2020 on 1 March. The fair aimed at calling talent in Agriculture.

    The festival aims to make agriculture a profitable venture.

    The government provides funds to promote agriculture as it is vital that the share in GDP and exports should rise.

    It aimed to spur interest in farming.

    The Mela is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's priority to agriculture and achieving the target of doubling farmers' income by 2022.

    Discussion at the fair directed the Agriculture Institutes and scientists to ensure that superior seeds are provided to farmers at reasonable rates.

  • IAF, Savitribai Phule Pune University signs MoU to establish Chair of Excellence
    The Indian Air Force (IAF) entered into an academic collaboration and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Savitribai Phule Pune University.

    The MoU aimed to establish a 'Chair of Excellence' at the Department of Defence & Strategic Studies.

    Chair of Excellence:
    The IAF has named it as "Marshal of the Air Force (MIAF) Arjan Singh Chair of Excellence" with an aim to pay tribute to the legend and commemorate the centenary birth year of the MIAF Arjan Singh.

    The Chair will empower the IAF officers to pursue Doctoral Research and higher studies in Defence & Strategic Studies and allied fields.

    The chair will facilitate research and higher studies in the area of National Defence and allied fields of Air Force officers.

    It will be inculcating a strategic outlook and building a pool of strategic thinkers.

  • ICAR, PBRI signs MoU to undertake research work and education
    Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Hardiwar-based Patanjali Bio Research Institute (PBRI) on 1st March.

    The MoU aims to undertake research work, training, and education. The MoU was signed by ICAR Director General Trilochan Mohapatra and PBRI CEO Acharya Balkrishna in the presence of Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

    The MoU aims to foster close interaction in research, technology demonstration, capacity building, seed production, entrepreneurship, and skill development.

    MoU provisions:
    The MoU will provide a new opportunity to include a new arena to work for both organizations.

    It is expected to promote organic farming practices across the country.

    Specific plans will be developed under the agreement to work on collaborative research programmes in areas of national interest related to sustainable agriculture development that is suitable for different agro-ecologies in India.

    The agreement will enable the postgraduate (PG) students of deemed universities and research institutes of ICAR to undertake internships in various areas of specialization with PBRI.

    As per the agreement, ICAR will assist PBRI in capacity building, technology demonstration, seed production for scaling up popular varieties developed by ICAR so that it can be transferred among the farming community of the country.

  • ICGS Varad was commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard
    Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Varad was commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) by Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya at L&T Kattupalli shipyard, near Chennai. The vessel was built by Larsen & Toubro (L&T).

    ICGS Varad:
    ICGS Varad is fifth in the series of seven offshore patrol vessels contracted by the Ministry of Defence on ICG. It will be based at Paradip in Odisha under the operational control of the Coast Gaurd North Eastern Region.

    The Offshore Patrol Vessel set a record in the Indian shipbuilding industry by becoming the first major defence ship to clear all sea acceptance trials in a single sea sortie.

    It will be deployed for the surveillance of India's Exclusive Economic Zone.

    The vessel will be commanded by Commandant Pintu Bag and has a compliment of 11 officers and 91 men.

  • UGC develops Jeevan Kaushal scheme to upgrade life skills for UG students
    The University Grants Commission (UGC) has developed "Jeevan Kaushal" (life skills) curriculum for undergraduate students at Universities and Colleges.

    The information was passed by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'.

    Jeevan Kaushal:
    The Jeevan Kaushal Curriculum covers the courses on communication skills, professional skills, leadership and management skills, and universal human values.

    The life skills curriculum is available at

    The life skills curriculum is suggestive. The UGC has requested Vice-Chancellors of all Universities to consider the curriculum for introduction in Universities and affiliated Colleges/institutions at the undergraduate level.

    It is aimed to enhance an individual's ability to be fully self-aware by helping oneself to overcome all fears and insecurities and to grow fully from inside out and outside in.

    It will increase knowledge of a person and raise awareness of emotional competency and emotional intelligence at place of study or work.

    The skills will develop interpersonal skills and adopt good leadership behaviour for the empowerment of self and others.

    It will set appropriate goals, manage stress and time effectively.

  • Zonal Cultural Centres implemented schemes to promote folk, art, and culture
    Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) implemented a number of schemes for promoting the folk, tribal art and culture. The various activities and schemes include:

    Award to Young Talented Artists: The Young Talented Artists Scheme aims to encourage and recognize young talents especially in the field of rare art forms. Youngsters of the age group of 18-30 years are selected and awarded onetime cash award of Rs.10,000.

    Guru Shishya Parampara: This scheme aims to transmit the valued traditions to the coming generations. Rare and disappearing art forms of the region are identified under the scheme and eminent experts will carry out the training programmes in ‘Gurukula’ tradition.

    Theatre Rejuvenation: The scheme aims to promote theatre activities including stage shows and Production oriented workshops, etc.

    Research & Documentation: This scheme plans to preserve, promote and propagate vanishing visual and performing art forms including folk, tribal and classical in the field of dance, music, theatre, literature, fine arts, etc.

    Shilpgram: The scheme will promote folk and tribal art and crafts by organizing seminars, workshops, exhibitions, craft fairs, design development and marketing support to the artisans living in rural areas.

    Octave: The scheme aims to promote and propagate the rich cultural heritage of the North East (NE) region comprising of eight states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura to the rest of India.

    National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP): This scheme organizes various festivals of performing arts, exhibitions, yatras, etc. to promote and understand art forms of other regions.

    Government of India has set up seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) to preserve and promote various forms of folk art and culture of the tribals throughout the country including West Bengal. ZCCs have headquarters at Patiala, Nagpur, Udaipur, Prayagraj, Kolkata, Dimapur and Thanjavur.

    The ZCCs organizes various cultural activities and programmes all over the country on a regular basis under the Ministry of Culture.

  • Suposhit Maa Abhiyan was launched in Kota, Rajasthan
    Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla launched "Suposhit Maa Abhiyan" from Kota, Rajasthan. The aim is to create malnutrition-free India.

    Suposhit Maa Abhiyan:
    Suposhit Maa Abhiyan will provide nutritional support to pregnant women and adolescent girls.

    The move is essential as it provides nutrients to a pregnant lady.

    The scheme aims to provide essential nutrients to every mother and their offspring.

    The campaign plan to support 1000 women by providing food for 1 month for 12 months. Also, the child's health, including medical examination, blood, medicine, delivery, will be taken care of.

    17 kg Nutrition kit will be for 9 months. It will include wheat, gram, maize, and millet flour, large soybean, ghee, groundnut, roasted gram, jaggery, oatmeal, lentils, dates, and rice.

  • Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched Phase II of Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen
    The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched Phase II of Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) (SBM(G)) at a National Dissemination and Consultation workshop on 4 March in New Delhi.

    The move comes after the approval of cabinet for the Phase II of the Mission is a great recognition to the signification achievements made under SBM (G) under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

    Phase-II of the SBM(G):
    Phase II of the Mission SBM(G) will focus on sustaining the gains made under the programme in the last five years in terms of toilet access and usage.

    It aims to ensure that no one is left behind.

    It will also ensure that effective solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) is instituted in every Gram Panchayat of the country.

    The scheme aims to provide universal coverage and access to safe sanitation in rural areas in five years. It was launched on 2 October 2014.

  • India Pharma 2020 and India Medical Device 2020 Conference to be held in Gujarat
    India Pharma 2020 & India Medical Device 2020 Conference & Exhibition has been scheduled to be held at Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat from 5-7 March 2020.

    The conference will be inaugurated by the Chemicals & Fertilizers Minister Shri Sadananda Gowda. The fifth edition is organized for the first time in Gujarat.

    The conference aims to encourage innovations to further reduce the cost of quality healthcare for all. It provides a platform to the global investment community to connect with stakeholders in Medical Device Sector in India, Central, and State Governments, leading business leaders and top executives from the industry, academics, and experts from the world.

    The theme of the conference is "India Pharma: Meeting Challenges of Affordable and Quality Healthcare and India Medical Device: Promoting Affordable responsible and Quality Medical Device for Universal Health Care".

    About the Conference:
    The event will promote consumer-centric manufacturing by involving Medical Electronics, Devices, Health Diagnostics, Hospitals, and Surgical Equipments, etc.

    It will deliberate the technology demonstration towards constituting an ecosystem for empowering our Electronics Technology development and manufacturing base.

    The event will witness an exhibition on Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices.

  • Dholavira, Forts of Deccan Sultanate nominated for World Heritage Sites List
    Government of India nominated 2 sites namely Dholavira: A Harappan City and Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate to be included in the World Heritage Sites List for the year 2020.

    Dholavira is an archaeological site that is located on Tropic of Cancer in Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat. Dholavira is older than Lothal. It consists of the remains of ancient Indus Valley Civilization.

    Dholavira is known for its water conservation system. It is a saline wetland. Dholavira's water conservation system had massive water storage reservoirs.

    The land has a depth of 0.5 m to 1.5 m. In the months of October and November, it dries up and turns into a saline desert. It is also home to a variety of water birds and mammals.

    Forts of Deccan Sultanate:
    Another nominated site is Forts of Deccan Sultanate. The Deccan Sultanates which had 5 major kingdoms. They ruled between Vindhya Range and Krishna river in the Deccan Plateau. The architecture of the sultanates was influenced by the Mughals. It was of the Indo-Islamic feature.

    The 4 major places that are addressed as Deccan Sultanate Monuments and Forts are Bidar Fort, Bijapur Monuments, Golconda Fort and Gulbarga fort.
    • Bidar Fort
    • Bijapur Monuments has the second largest dome in the world that was constructed before the modern age.
    • Golconda Fort is famous for water management.
    • Gulbarga Fort is the initial capital of the Bahamani Sultanate.

  • Rangotsav begins at Barsana in Mathura
    The famous Rangotsav celebration began on 3 March at Barsana in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The festival was inaugurated by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

    The 10-day-long Rangotsav celebration in Mathura is famous for its colourful Holi festivities.

    Ladoo Holi that marks the start of the Rangotsav is played with sweets and colours

    The festival also includes Latthmar Holi, Chadi Holi, and Phoolonki Holi.

    The festival will witness the cultural presentations made by local artists on the occasion.

    Various forms of Holi including Chadi Maar Holi, FalainkiHoli and DauJika Aurangabad will be played at different places in Mathura, Vrindavan.

    The festival will also feature cultural events.

    The buildings and structures at the various Ghats have been illuminated through coloured concept lighting to enhance the grandeur of the venue along with 35 temples in Vrindavan, Barsana, Mathura, and Nandgaon, including Dwarkadhish Temple, Krishna Janambhoomi, and intersections in the twin towns.

  • Government laid export restrictions on 26 pharma ingredients and medicines
    Government laid export restrictions on 26 pharma ingredients and medicines including paracetamol, vitamin B1 and B12, with immediate effect despite the coronavirus outbreak in China.

    The export of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and formulations will now require a licence from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). Previously, no restrictions were laid on outbound shipments of these products.

    The restrictions announce significance on account of concerns over coronavirus spreading to many countries.

    The export restricted pharma ingredients including progesterone, chloramphenicol, ornidazole, paracetamol, vitamin B1, B6 and B12, tinidazole, metronidazole, acyclovir, formulations made of chloramphenicol, clindamycin salts, and neomycin.

    In February 2020, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) recommended the DGFT to issue orders to restrict the export of 12 APIs and formulations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

    Regarding this, a high-level committee was formed by the DoP under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. The committee monitored the supply of raw materials for drugs from China had recommended the restrictions.

  • National Security Day is observed on 4 March --- GK > stock
    National Security Day or Rashtriya Suraksha Diwas is observed on 4 March every year in India to appreciate the work of security forces as they play a major role in maintaining the peace and security of the people in the country. On this day, the leaders, officials, and people pay homage to the soldiers who died while saving the country.

    The day promotes the security forces that continuously work for the nation. It aims to remind the people about the personal duties of the security forces towards the country.

    National Security Day is observed on 4th March as the day marks the day of establishment of the National Security Council (NSC) of India.

    The day aims to spread the Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE) movement to various parts of the country.

    National Security Council (NSC):
    NSC was established on 4 March 1966 by the Government of India. The council functions under the Ministry of Labour. It focuses on promoting SHE at the national level in order to develop and sustain the voluntary movement.

    The council was registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and the Bombay Public Trust Act 1950. It conducts special training courses, seminars, workshops, conferences and provides consultancy studies like safety audits, hazard evaluation, and risk assessment, etc.

  • LPAI celebrated 8th Foundation Day on 2nd March
    Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) celebrated its 8th Foundation Day on 2nd March in New Delhi. The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai, presided over the celebration.

    Dignitaries including Secretary, Border Management, Shri N.N. Sinha, Second Secretary from Embassy of Nepal, along with senior officers from GoI and academics and professionals from Asian Development Bank (ADB), RIS, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), and CUTS International participated in the function.

    Discussions on various aspects including the game changers for travel and regional connectivity, challenges in cargo operations at Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) and their infrastructure requirement were held during the ceremony.

    LPAI has done excellent work in building border infrastructure for the facilitation of cross border trade and travel on India's land borders.

    LPAI also built the Passenger Terminal Building at Dera Baba Nanak, Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.

  • Google to open its cloud region in Delhi
    Google is to open the cloud region in Delhi. It will be made operational by 2021. This will be Google's second cloud region in India.

    The first one was in Mumbai that was launched in 2017.

    Open cloud region:
    The new cloud region will expand Google's existing network, which stands at eight regions in the Asia Pacific and 22 regions globally.

    Google cloud regions bring Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services to global organizations in industries like media and entertainment, retail, and manufacturing.

    Google continues to advance and invest in its cloud infrastructure in India to help regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services, and public sector organizations across India.

  • Centre approves ten projects worth Rs.301.54 crores for the food processing sector
    The Inter-Ministerial Approval Committee (IMAC) held under the Chairpersonship of Union Food Processing Industries Minister Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal approved ten projects in New Delhi.

    The cost of the project worth Rs.301.54 crore and a total grant-in-aid of Rs.67.29 crore has been sanctioned.

    The projects were sanctioned under the Agro Processing Cluster Scheme of Kisan Sampada Yojana of MoFPI.

    These projects will generate employment for 10,000 people and benefit nearly 40,000 farmers.

    MoFPI has facilitated investments worth Rs.707 crore.

    The Government is making all efforts to encourage investments in the business.

    IMAC approved eight projects spread over eight districts of Tamil Nadu under the cluster scheme worth Rs.230 crore in the meeting. These projects aim to create direct and indirect employment for persons, along with employment opportunities in rural areas, to be the focus area.

  • Gairsain was made the new summer capital of Uttarakhand
    Gairsain was made the new summer capital of Uttarakhand. The announcement was made by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat at the assembly session convened in Gairsain.

    It partially fulfilled an over two-decade demand by statehood. CM dedicated the announcement to the people who sacrificed themselves for the formation of Uttarakhand state.

    Uttarakhand was carved out from Uttar Pradesh and formed as a separate state in 1998. Gairsain is a tehsil in the Chamoli district of the state.

    Gairsain was chosen as it is best suited to be the capital of Uttarakhand, the mountainous state, as it is a hilly region falling on the border of Kumaon and Garhwal regions.

  • JK government launched Student Health Card scheme for school children
    Jammu and Kashmir government has launched Student Health Card scheme in Jammu on 5 March.

    It was launched by Lt. Governor G.C. Murmu at a programme organized by Directorate of Mid Day Meal, School Education Department in association with National Health Mission at Teachers Bhavan Jammu.

    Student Health Card scheme:
    The scheme will ensure regular checkups of school-going children.

    It is expected that regular health checkup facilities at the school level will ensure the good health of students.

    The aim of the scheme will ensure the good health of every school-going children and parents who should be made aware of the benefits of this scheme.

    Previously, the government has launched Mid Day meal for the needy school-going children so that malnutrition can be prevented.

  • MoTA forms committee to examine CFR Guidelines
    The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) reintroduced the Model Guidelines for Conservation, Management, and sustainable use of Community Forest Resources (CFR Guideline) under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

    MoTA created a committee to examine and recommend CFR Guidelines under FRA. The committee will be headed by NC Saxena, a former member of the Planning Commission of India and of the National Advisory Council.

    Committee to examine CFR Guidelines:
    It is expected that the guidelines will provide a clear understanding of the concept pertaining to CFR. It will also provide a conceptual framework on CFR and detailed procedural aspects to encourage the implementation of the community forest management and conservation regime in the spirit of the Act.

    Along with the committee on CFR guidelines, MoTA also formed another committee headed by its former secretary Hrusikesh Panda.

    Both the committees will submit their reports within three months.

    Note: MoTA, in consultation with the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF & CC), created the CFR guidelines in 2016.

  • Workshop on Increasing Water Use Efficiency in Industries held in New Delhi
    Workshop on "Increasing Water Use Efficiency in Industries" was inaugurated by the Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (WR, RD & GR) U.P. Singh.

    The workshop was organized by the National Water Mission (NWM) in Delhi as a part of the "Har Kaam Desh ke Naam" initiative.

    The workshop aimed to urge the Industry to adopt the Corporate Water Responsibility (CWR) as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provisions.

    It directed the industries to compare to the global standards in using the water efficiently. There is a need for a baseline study in various industries on the use of water in order to reduce water consumption.

    It should be noted that the Indian Industries draw 2.5 times more groundwater than what percolates down under to maintain the water table level.

    They discussed climate change that has led to spatial and temporal changes in rainfall patterns in recent years, which resulted in increased frequency of drought and floods following changes in intensity and amplitude of rainfall.

    Also, the paper and pulp industry has reduced water consumption by half, but much more should be done as it is still five to ten times more than global standards.

  • Cabinet approved amalgamation of PSBs with effect from 1 April
    The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the consolidation of ten Public Sector Banks (PSBs) into four.

    The amalgamation of the PSBs will be effective from 1 April 2020.

    The banks include:
    (i) Amalgamation of Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and United Bank of India into Punjab National Bank (PNB).

    (ii) Amalgamation of Syndicate Bank into Canara Bank.

    (iii) Amalgamation of Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank into Union Bank of India.

    (iv) Amalgamation of Allahabad Bank into Indian Bank.

    The amalgamation is aimed to create seven large PSBs with scale and national reach, with each amalgamated entity having a business of over Rs.8 lakh crore. The move is expected to help create banks with a scale that can be compared to global banks and capable to compete effectively in India and globally.

    It will lead to cost benefits, which should enable the PSBs to enhance their competitiveness and positively impact the Indian banking system.

    The consolidation will provide impetus to amalgamated entities by increasing their ability to support larger lending and greater financial capacity.

    It will also enable the banks to improve their cost efficiency and risk management, and thus, boosting the goal of financial inclusion through wider reach.

    It will lead to adopting technologies across the amalgamating banks, access to a wider talent pool, and a larger database.

  • APEDA signed MoUs with various organizations to implement Agri Export Policy
    Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) signed MoUs with specialized institutions namely the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD), Indian Chamber of Food and Agriculture (ICFA), SGT University, Pearl Academy, and Quality Council of India (QCI) Delhi, on 4 March 2020.

    The MoU aims to utilize its expertise to work together to boost the activities in the interest of agriculture and allied sectors to bring better value to the stakeholders.

    As per the agreement, IITD will cooperate in the areas of technology development for export promotion by APEDA. It will also develop early detection techniques for detecting spoilage of agri-produce to boost Agri exports. It will also identify the cause and suggest low-cost mitigation technology and develop Internet of things (IoT) based technologies in areas like early warning systems, efficient and precision farming related to international food exports.

    With the Quality Council of India (QCI), APEDA aims to develop training material on various QCI Certification Schemes such as Product Certification, Inspection, INDGAP certification, IND-HACCP Certification, etc.

    ICFA will work with the clusters identified by APEDA to enhance the capabilities of all the stakeholders in the supply chain for higher value realization for exports. It will support agri-startups to scale up their businesses and commercializing their products and conduct capacity development programs for large scale GAP certification in agriculture.

    APEDA will develop suitable export worthy varieties of potatoes, groundnut, high TSS onion varieties, Moringa plantation for successful cultivation in Haryana, through a pilot project at SGT University agricultural fields.

    Pearl Academy, along with APEDA, will develop appropriate media and marketing strategies to promote Agriculture and Processed food export through Digital Marketing, content creation, and social media support, photo shoots promotion campaigns, etc.

  • Pragyan Conclave 2020 held in New Delhi
    Pragyan Conclave 2020 commenced on 4 March 2020 at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi. It was held from 4-5 March.

    The two-day Indian Army International Seminar is being organized by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).

    The event aims to bring together cross-domain national and international experts to deliberate on the complex subject of Changing Characteristics of Land Warfare and its Impact on the Military.

    The seminar provides a platform for deliberations on emerging ideas that define the New Age Warfare, which is increasingly witnessing a change in its character and battle space with the usage of new methods to pursue the ends.

    The conclave emphasizes on the need for a comprehensive transformation of the Armed Forces by taking a wider view of the changing security dynamics.

    The experts deliberated on themes, namely "Evolving Warfare: An Insight into the Changing Realm," "the Technological Revolution - A Seminal Challenge," "Transformation in the Battle Spaces," and "Hybrid/Sub-Conventional Warfare."

    In the event, the Chief of the Army Staff felicitated the winners of the "Field Marshal Manekshaw Open Essay Competition on National Security", a flagship event of CLAWS to encourage strategic thinking in the youth of the country.

  • Cabinet approves amendment on the FDI policy on civil aviation
    The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister NarendraModi approved to amend the existing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy to permit Foreign Investment(s) in M/s Air India Ltd.

    The amendment will allow foreign investment up to 100% by those Non-resident Indians (NRIs), who are Indian Nationals, in the case of M/s Air India Ltd.

    Amendment Provisions:
    The amendments to the FDI Policy will enable foreign investment by NRIs into Air India up to 100% under the automatic route.

    The present FDI Policy permits 100% FDI in scheduled Air Transport Service and Domestic Scheduled Passenger Airline, that is, Automatic up to 49% and Government route beyond 49%.

    The amendment to the FDI Policy is expected to liberalize and simplify the FDI policy to provide ease of doing business in the country. It will lead to the largest FDI inflows and thereby contributing to the growth of investment, income, and employment.

  • Cabinet approves 2019 Companies Second Amendment Bill
    The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 on 4 March 2020.

    The Bill will amend the Companies Act, 2013.

    Bill Provisions:
    The Bill will make 72 changes in the Companies Act.

    The Bill will remove criminality under the Act in case of defaults which can be determined objectively and which, otherwise, lack the element of fraud or do not involve larger public interest.

    The Bill will lead to further de-clogging of the criminal justice system in the country.

    It would also further ease of living for law-abiding corporates.

    Previously, the Companies Act was amended by the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2015. The Bill removed certain difficulties faced in the implementation of various provisions of the Act.

  • DAY-NULM signs MoU with Amazon for e-marketing of products made by SHGs
    Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana- National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) that functions under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs signed MoU with Amazon for e-marketing of products made by Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the country in urban areas.

    The partnership aims to provide access to a wider customer base for products made by SHGs and to strengthen the mission of creating sustainable livelihoods in urban areas.

    It is expected to unleash the innate entrepreneurial potential of urban women.

    The presence of women entrepreneurs on the '' is currently growing, since the inception of its dedicated program Amazon Saheli.

  • MHA approves Automated Facial Recognition System to identify bodies, missing children, criminals
    Ministry of Home Affairs has approved the automated facial recognition system (AFRS) for the identification of unrecognized bodies, missing children, and criminals.

    It was announced by the Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy.

    AFRS Highlights:
    The approval has been accorded for the implementation of AFRS by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

    AFRS will use police records and will be accessible only to law enforcement agencies.

    It is expected to facilitate better identification of criminals, unidentified dead bodies, and missing or found children and persons and will not violate privacy.

    AFRS will use police records and will be accessible only to law enforcement agencies.

  • ChapcharKut festival celebrated in Mizoram
    The grand celebration of the most popular spring festival of Mizos, "Chapchar Kut" took place in Mizoram on Friday (6th March, 2020) where Chief Minister Zoramthanga graced it as ''Kut Pa'' (father of the festival).

    On Thursday (5th March, 2020), the event was celebrated at Assam Rifles ground in Aizawl as pre-festival, where Art and Culture Minister R. Lalzirliana was ''Kut Pa''.

    Festival Highlights:
    ChapcharKut is the biggest and most joyous festival of the Mizos.

    The pre-festival was held on 5 March and was graced by Art and Culture Minister R Lalzirliana as "Kut Pa" (Meaning-"father of the festival.")

    The grand festive is celebrated on 6 March. It was graced by the Chief Minister of Mizoram Zoramthanga.

    The theme of the ChapcharKut festival is "Mizos' culture and moral code."

    The festival is regarded as the most popular spring festival for the people of the state.

    The festival shines through with plenty of dancing and music to keep everyone in good spirits.

    Many people participated in the fun and amusement events being organized during the festival.

    Traditional bamboo dance "Cheraw," Sarlamkai, Khuallam, and other dances were performed at the festival to attract thousands of people.

    The festival includes an exhibition of painting, photo, handloom, and handicraft will be held in different places in Aizawl.

  • GAF-2020 festival to be held in Kochi
    The Fourth Global Ayurveda Festival (GAF) will be held at Kochi in Kerala from 16-20 May.

    A curtain raiser event was organized in New Delhi for the GAF on 5th March. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the summit.

    The theme for the five-day event is "Ayurveda Medical Tourism: Actualizing India's credibility."

    GAF is expected to be the largest Ayurvedic event ever to be held anywhere across the world. The festival will witness the largest gathering of experts, stakeholders, and business explorers from the field of Ayurveda.

    Ministry of AYUSH is to hold the first International AYUSH Investment Summit in New Delhi in 2020.

    More than 500 stalls will be showcased at the festival.

    Ethnic food carnivals, exhibitions of rich medicinal plants, and workshops on Panchkarma will be the key highlights of GAF 2020.

    The festival will witness the exhibition of Ayurveda Tourist Centres and Spas giving rejuvenation therapy and their potential curative aspects.

  • Kobita Utsav began in Kolkata
    Kobita Utsav, a poetry festival, is begun in Kolkata on 5th March. The festival aims to encourage the reading of Bengali poems among the younger generation. It will be end on 8th March. The festival was inaugurated by eminent painter Jogen Choudhury.

    Kobita Utsav is an initiative of Abrittilok Kolkata in association with Bratati Parampara and in collaboration with Sahitya Akademi, Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), and Ministry of Culture Government of India.

    Kobita Utsav:
    Kobita Utsav provides a platform to poets in the city and districts of West Bengal.

    The festival will host discussions on poetry, apart from recitals.

    Seven renowned poets, including Binayak Bandyopadhyay, Srijato Bandyopadhyay, Pranab Kumar Mukhopadhyay, and Subhra Bose, will participate in the festival.

    The festival will be hosted at seven venues across the city in Charukala Parshad complex, Rabindra Sadan, Abanindra Sabhaghar, Bangla Akademy, Gaganendra Pradarshanshala, Sisir Mancha, and Ektara Mancha.

    Around 600 poets from Kolkata and various districts will recite their works during the festival.



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