Important Days in April
April 1 : Orissa Day
April 5 : Natinal Meritime Day
April 7 : World Health Day
April 11 : National Safe Motherhood Day
April 12 : International Day of Human Space Flight
April 13 : Jallianwallah Bagh Massacre Day (1919)
April 14 : B.R. Ambedkar Remembrance Day
April 18 : World Heritage Day
April 22 : World Earth Day
April 23 : World Book & Copyright Day
April 24 : National Panchayati Raj Diwas
April 25 : World Malaria Day
April 26 : World Intellectual Property Day
April 28 : World Day for Safety and Health at Work
Parliament passes Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015
The Parliament has passed the Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015. The Bill amends the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951. It was first was passed in Lok Sabha in December 2015 and later in Rajya Sabha in April 2016. Now it will go for Presidential assent as per Article 111 of the Indian Constitution.
The bill seeks to bring industries engaged in the manufacture of potable alcohol under the exclusive control of States in all respects.
It amends 1st schedule of the parent Act to bring required changes for regulating industries manufacturing potable alcohol.
However, Union Government will continue to be responsible for formulating policy and regulating foreign collaboration for all products of fermentation industries, including industrial and potable alcohol.
Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951: It provides for development and regulation of certain industries including telecommunications, transportation, metallurgical, fermentation (which includes production of alcohol) among others. The 1st schedule of the Act includes all industries that are regulated under the Act.
Union Government makes panic button, GPS compulsory in all mobiles
The Union Government has made mandatory for mobile manufacturers to add in-built panic button and global positioning system (GPS) in all phones from January 1, 2017 and 2018 respectively.
In this regard, Department of Telecommunications has notified the Panic Button and Global Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets Rules, 2016 under section 10 of the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act, 1933.
Under these rules Initially from January 1, 2017 all phones will have the facility of panic button that lets users instantly alert the emergency services.
Smart phones will this feature configured to three times short pressing of the on-off button. In case of a feature phone, a long press on either the 5 or 9 button will make panic call. Later from 1 January 2018 all mobile phones must have the facility of identifying the location through satellite based GPS.
To ensure that the power button dials the emergency helpline in smartphones, manufacturers will need incorporate this feature at the software end. In this regard, manufactures must make software patches available for direct download in the smart phones for installation.
Union Government constitutes Ashok Dalwai committee for doubling farmers’ income by 2022
The Union Government has recently constituted 8-member inter-ministerial committee to prepare a blueprint for doubling farmers’ income by 2022. The committee will be headed by Ashok Dalwai, Additional secretary at the Union Agriculture Ministry and is expected to submit the report in two months.
Its members will include officials from Agriculture and Food Ministries, experts from the Delhi-based National Council of Applied Economic Research and National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research.
Terms of reference of the Committee
Prepare plan to shift farm policies to income based from current production-oriented. Identify potential areas of agriculture where more investment should happen.
Suggest ways to reduce the risk of farming by diversifying to horticulture and allied activities like livestock and fisheries to boost income.
Suggest measures for reducing the cost of cultivation and addressing unpredictability of weather and price fluctuations in farm sector.
Parliament passes Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016
The Parliament has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to remove given to Sahjdhari Sikhs to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees. The amendment bill first was passed in the Rajya Sabha in March 2016 and later in the Lok Sabha in April 2016.
The amendment bill removes exception given to Sahjdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees constituted under the parent Act.
It will disentitle Sahjdhari Sikhs, who trim or shave their beard or hair, from casting their votes in elections to the Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).` The proposed amendment was carried out by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) Notification dating October 2003 that had debarred Sahjdhari Sikhs voting rights.
The notification was issued in exercise of the powers conferred by the Parliament under section 72 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966. The new amendment bill will come into force retrospectively from 8th October, 2003.
PM Narendra Modi launches Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched ‘Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan’ (Village Self Governance Campaign) to strengthen Panchayati Raj in villages and ensure social harmony in villages.
It was launched on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at his birthplace at Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.
The campaign aims to generate nation-wide efforts to strengthen Panchayati Raj, increase social harmony across villages, promote rural development and foster farmers’ welfare and livelihoods of the poor.
It is eleven day campaign (from 14th April to 24th April 2016) will mainly focus on generating nationwide efforts on promoting above mentioned aim of the campaign.
The campaign will be run jointly by the Union Ministries of Rural Development, Social Justice, Agriculture, Labour and Information and Broadcasting along with the States Governments.
Panchayat level programmes:Between 14th April to 16th April 2016, a ‘Social Harmony Programme’ will be conducted in all Gram Panchayats. In this programme, villagers will resolve to strengthen social harmony. Information regarding the various schemes of the government will be provided to foster social justice.
Gram Kisan Sabha: Between 17th April to 20th April, 2016 ‘Village Farmer Assemblies’ will be organized in Gram Panchayats to promote agriculture. In these assemblies, information regarding schemes regarding agriculture will be provided to farmers and their suggestions for bringing about improvements in agriculture will be solicited.
Gram Sabha meetings: It will be held from 21th to 24th April, 2016 across the country. On these days, Prabhat Pheris (or morning walk), cultural programme as well as a sports programme will be organized in the village.
Panchayati Raj Day: On 24th April 2016, the day will be celebrated at Jamshedpur, which will be attended by selected Panchayat representatives from the country. Prime Minister will address the gathering on this day.
India, Papua New Guinea sign four agreements
India and Papua New Guinea have signed four Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in various sectors to boost bilateral cooperation. The MoUs were signed in the presence of the visiting President Pranab Mukherjee and the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’ Neil in Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea.
Signed MoUs are
MoU regarding $100 Million Credit Line: India will provide a Line of Credit of 100 million dollars for specific projects in Transport and infrastructure sectors.
MoU in the field of Health Care and Medical Science: It covers areas such as Public Health, Health Research, Human Resources and Training, Medical Services, Disease Control and Prevention, Drug and Health Care Technologies and Environmental Health.
MoU in the field of Agriculture: It was singed between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and PNG University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea. It delineates all round cooperation in agricultural research and training.
MoU in the field of IT: It envisages establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology in Papua New Guinea.
Union Cabinet gives nod to MoU between IRDAI and Insurance Authority of UAE
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Insurance Authority of United Arab Emirates.
Decision in this regard was taken by the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The MoU was signed in February, 2016.
The MoU provides for Enhanced cooperation between the two authorities in the field of insurance supervision.
It will provide a framework for co-operation such as channels of communication. Increase mutual understanding through the exchange of regulatory and relevant supervisory information.
It will also include confidential information to enforce or ensure compliance with their respective laws and regulations.
Mouamba Clement appointed as Prime Minister of Congo
Mouamba Clement appointed as Prime Minister of Congo
Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso has appointed Mouamba Clement as the new Prime Minister of the central African country. With this appointment, Clement will be responsible for forming a new government in accordance with the 2015 constitution in consultation with the President.
His appointment comes a month after Sassou Nguesso was elected as President for a 5 year term. Earlier Sassou Nguesso had led Congo between 1979 and 1992 and again had returned to power after a civil war in 1997.
175 nations sign historic Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day
175 nations including India have signed the historic Paris Climate Agreement at United Nations Headquarters in New York along marking a significant step to combat global warming.
On behalf of India, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signed the agreement at a high-level ceremony hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of Earth Day (22 April).
The ceremony was attended by heads of governments, foreign ministers, corporate leaders and artists from across the world. The agreement will come into force 30 days after at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions ratify the agreement.
The Paris Climate Agreement was formulated within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Facilitates enforcement of global GHGs reduction measures, adaptation and finance in the post-2020 i.e. in post Kyoto Protocol scenario.
The agreement was adopted by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC held in Paris (France) in December 2015.
In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Takes into account the principle of equity (climate justice) and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and respective capabilities.
The mitigation will be based on consensus among the members that have incorporated their respective Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
Developed countries will provide 100 billion dollars annually to the developing counterparts beginning in 2020 and it would increase with time.
Gujarat Government to provide 10 % reservation to economically backward of higher castes
Gujarat Government has decided to provide 10 percent reservation for economically backward classes (EBCs) in general category. In this regard, state government is going to promulgate ordinance and will be applicable in government jobs as well as admission to the educational institutions from next academic year. This 10 percent reservation for EBCs in general category will be available to all non-reserved class, whose total family income is less than 6 lakh annually. The new reservation will not affect the present reservation available to Scheduled Castes (SC)/ Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC). This decision will breaches Supreme Court’s reservation limit of 50 percent as the State Government is already providing 50 percent reservation to SC, ST and OBC.
Maharashtra Government to use hologram technique to check spurious liquor
Maharashtra Government has decided to make it mandatory to have a hologram on every alcohol bottle manufactured and sold in the state in order to check sale of spurious liquor. Henceforth, no liquor bottle will be allowed to be sold in the state without the hologram.
The decision was taken keeping in mind the 2015 tragedy at Malwani where about 100 people died after consuming spurious liquor.
How it will work?
It will be mandatory to paste polyester base track and trace hologram on every alcohol bottle. It will be supported by a mobile application that will be developed by the Government and will be made available at free of cost.
When the mobile app is brought in contact with the hologram, it will immediately generate a green or red mark. The mark generated will indicate the buyer whether the liquor, wine, country made liquor, Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) is fake or genuine.
Besides, this technique will also help prevent loss of revenue due to cheap liquor being imported into Maharashtra from neighbouring States.
Geeta Johri appointed as first woman DGP of Gujarat
Geeta Johri appointed as first woman DGP of Gujarat
Gujarat government has appointed senior IPS officer Geeta Johri as the Director General of Police (DGP) of the state. With this she became the first female DGP of Gujarat.
Her appointment comes after she was elevated to the post after the state DGP PC Thakur was transferred to centre as the Director General (DG) of Civil Defence and Home Guards on deputation.
Jharkhand Government launches Bhimrao Ambedkar Awas Yojana for widows
Jharkhand Government has launched Bhimrao Ambedkar Awas Yojana for widows to create equality and harmony in society, ensuring all round development enshrined in the Constitution.
It was launched by Chief Minister Raghubar Das on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar.
The scheme (Yojana) aims at building 11000 units (houses) for widows in 2016-17 financial year with the budgetary allocation of 80 crore rupees.
Under it, beneficiaries would get an amount of 75000 rupees to build a house in hilly terrains districts and 70000 rupees in plains area.
The amount would be distributed among the beneficiaries in three installments directly in their bank accounts. Under it widows will also get pension.
Bihar Government partially bans sale of country-made and spiced liquor
Bihar Government has banned the sale of country-made liquor and spiced liquor throughout the state in the first phase.
Person found indulging in manufacturing trade, transportation, sale and consumption of country-made and spiced liquor across the state will be punished under the stringent provisions of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016.
The Act has various stringent provisions including awarding ‘capital punishment’ for those who manufacture and sell illicit liquor that causes death.
However this ban will be not valid to Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor (IMFL) sold in Municipal and Town Council areas through retail outlets of the Bihar State Beverage Corporation Limited.
However state government is also planning to ban the sale of foreign liquor in the second phase.
India ratifies Trade Facilitation Agreement of WTO
India has formally ratified the WTO’s (World Trade Organisation) Trade Facilitation Agreement, which aims at easing customs procedures to boost commerce.
In this regard, India’s WTO ambassador Anjali Prasad handed over the instrument of acceptance to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. India is the 76th WTO member to ratify the TFA.
What is Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)?
The TFA is the WTO’s first-ever multilateral accord that aims to simplify customs regulations for the cross-border movement of goods. It was outcome of WTO’s 9th Bali (Indonesia) ministerial package of 2013.
The agreement includes
Provisions for Lowering import tariffs and agricultural subsidies: It will make it easier for developing countries to trade with the developed world in global markets.
Abolish hard import quotas: Developed countries would abolish hard import quotas on agricultural products from the developing world and instead would only be allowed to charge tariffs on amount of agricultural imports exceeding specific limits.
Reduction in red tape at international borders: It aims to reduce red-tapism to facilitate trade by reforming customs bureaucracies and formalities.
RBL becomes first private sector bank to open dedicated branch for startups
The RBL Bank (formerly Ratnakar Bank) became the first private sector bank in India to open dedicated branch for startups. The dedicated branch was inaugurated at Koramangala, Bengaluru by Nandan Nilekani, noted entrepreneur and former chairman of UIDAI.
The first exclusive bank branch for start-ups will offer a bouquet of banking products to service the end-to-end needs of the emerging entrepreneurial eco-system.
The branch will assist entrepreneurs in setting up new enterprises or companies. It will offer them host of banking products including, foreign exchange services, remittances and cash management.
The Branch will also provide a range of value added services including legal and tax formalities, registration etc. through its affiliates and partners.
BRICS New Development Bank approves first loans for renewable energy projects
The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) has approved its first package of loans worth 811 million dollars for four renewable energy projects in Brazil, China, South Africa and India.
The decision to approve the first loans was approved by the NDB board of governors on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank spring meetings in Washington DC, US.
The NDB in its first loan tranche will provide $300 million to Brazil, $250 million to India, $180 million to South Africa and $81 million to China.
These funds will be used in area of green and renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of 2.37MW together.
On completion of these projects, they will help to reduce the amount of harmful emissions by 4 million tons annually.
India world’s largest remittance recipient in 2015: World Bank
As per recently report of World Bank, India remained the world’s largest remittance recipient in 2015. It was revealed by the World Bank’s annual report Migration and Development Brief.
In 2015, India attracted about 69 billion US dollars in remittances, down from 70 billion in 2014
Key Highlights of Report
Other large remittance recipients in 2015 were China (64 billion dollars), Philippines (28 billion), Mexico (25 billion) and Nigeria (21 billion dollar).
Global scenario: In 2015, global remittances which include those to high-income countries contracted by 1.7% to 581 billion US dollar compared to 592 billion in 2014.
Indian scenario: Remittances to India in 2015 decreased by 2.1 per cent to USD 68.9 billion. This marks the first decline in remittances since 2009.
Developing countries: Officially recorded remittances to developing countries amounted to 431.6 billion dollars in 2015, an increase of 0.4 per cent over 430 billion dollars in 2014. The growth pace of remittances to developing countries in 2015 was seen as the slowest since the global financial crisis.
India’s neighbours: The growth of remittances in 2015 slowed from 8% in 2014 to 2.5% for Bangladesh, from 16.7% to 12.8% for Pakistan, and from 9.6% to 0.5% for Sri Lanka.
Deepika Kumari equals world record in recurve event at Archery World Cup
India’s Deepika Kumari has equalled the world record in Women’s Recurve event at the qualifying stage of Archery World Cup held in Shanghai, China.
Deepika recorded a score of 686 out of 720 to finish 1st in qualifiers and equal the world. With this she equalled the record set by South Korea’s Ki Boe Bae at the World University Games in Gwangju in 2015.
Deepika has already qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics scheduled to be held in August 2016 with her performance at the Copenhagen World Championships in 2015.
In the previous editions of the World Cup, Deepika had won silver medals consecutively in 2011, 2012 and 2013 in the women’s individual events.
Riyad Mahrez becomes first African footballer to win PFA Player of the Year
Riyad Mahrez (Algerian origin) became the first African footballer to win the Professional Footballers Association’s (PFA) Player of the Year award. He was presented the award for the 2015–16 season at the Professional Footballers’ Association awards ceremony organised in London.
With this, Mahrez also became the second non-European, after Luis Suarez (Uruguayan striker) to win this prestigious award in the sport of Football. Besides Dele Alli FC midfielder Tottenham Hotspur was named as the Young Player of the Year for the 2015–16 season
Indian rower Dattu Bhokanal qualifies for Rio Olympics
Indian rower Dattu Baban Bhokanal qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics scheduled to be held in August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He qualified Rio Olympics after winning a silver medal in the men’s single sculls event at the FISA Asian and Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta held at Chung-ju in South Korea.
He clocked 7 minutes, 7.63 seconds in the 2 km course to finish second. South Korea’s Dongyong Kim won the gold medal after finishing the race in 07 minutes, 5.13 seconds. Currently, Dattu Bhokanal trains at the Army Rowing Node (ARN) in Pune, Maharashtra. He will be the lone Indian rower taking part in Rio Games.
Salman Khan named as Indian contingent’s Goodwill Ambassador for 2016 Rio Olympics
Bollywood actor Salman Khan was named as the goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent for the upcoming Olympics to be held in August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This is the first time when a Bollywood superstar has been chosen as a goodwill ambassador for the Indian contingent at the Olympics.
He was chosen by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) from a list of two to three candidates which also included Shah Rukh Khan and veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan. IOA has chosen Salman Khan as he is considered to be more connected with the youth and sportspersons and also is considered as a youth icon for bodybuilding fans across the country.
Science & Technology
China develops world’s first Graphene electronic paper
Chinese researchers have developed world’s first graphene electronic paper that will catapult the material to a new level. It was developed by The Guangzhou OED Technologies in partnership with a company in Chongqing Province of China.
Graphene e-paper is more pliable and has more intensity as compared to traditional e-papers.
It has high-light transmittance means optical displays will be much brighter.
Compared with liquid crystal displays (LCDs), e-papers are thinner, bendable and energy efficient.
Mass production cost is much lower compared to traditional e-papers, which use the rare, expensive metal indium.
Russia launches first rocket from new Vostochny Cosmodrome
Russia has successfully launched the first rocket from its newly built Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur Oblast, in Russian Far East region bordering China.
The unmanned Soyuz-2.1a rocket is carrying three satellites as payloads namely Mikhailo Lomonosov (scientific satellite), SamSat-218 (an experimental nanosatellite) and Aist-2D (a civilian distance viewing satellite).
Vostochny Cosmodrome is a Russian spaceport for civilian launches under construction after it was launched in 2012. On completion in 2018, it will reduce Russia’s dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Presently, Russia has the large military launch facilities but it relies primarily on the Baikonur Cosmodrome for the civilian launches.
ISRO successfully launches 7th navigation satellite IRNSS-1G
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched India’s 7th navigation satellite IRNSS 1G of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
The satellite was launched into a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO) on-board of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-33 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
IRNSS 1G satellite is last space segment satellites of the IRNSS system. With this India joins elite group of selected nations that have their own GPS (Global Positioning System) or navigation system. Note: IRNSS system is similar to other satellite navigation systems like US’s GPS , Russia’s Glonass, Japan’s Quasi Zenith, Europe’s Galileo and China’s Beidou.
About IRNSS 1G
IRNSS 1G satellite has a lift-off mass of 1425 kg. Its configuration is the same as IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F.
It equipped with two types of payloads viz. navigation payload and ranging devices.
The navigation payload will be mainly used to transmit navigation service signals to the users.
The ranging payload consists of a C-band transponder that will facilitate accurate determination of the range of the satellite.
China successfully launches Kunpeng-1B sounding rocket
China has successfully launched the Kunpeng-1B sounding rocket equipped with a new altitude control system. It was launched from a launch pad in Danzhou City in the southern Chinese Hainan Province.
About Kunpeng-1B sounding rocket
Kunpeng-1B sounding rocket is research rocket for carrying measurements in the upper atmosphere and to help in high-speed flight and space tourism research.
The rocket was made of new materials of flexible carbon fibre to enable easier flight. The head of the rocket was equipped with a new altitude control system.
Its falling ball experiment detection has important scientific significance as it will further help to study of low latitudes in the ionosphere and in the upper atmosphere.
Japan’s first stealth fighter X-2 jet successfully completes its maiden flight
Japan successfully tested the maiden flight of its first domestically developed single-pilot stealth fighter jet X-2. With this Japan becomes fourth country in the world to have indigenous full-size stealth combat aircraft. Other three countries viz. United States, Russia and China have successfully developed and flown manned stealth jets.
Test: The prototype X-2 jet took off from Nagoya airport in central Japan. It safely landed at Gifu air base, north of Nagoya airport with no particular problems after a 25-minute flight.
About X-2 jet
It is jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 200 other firms. It was built as a successor to F-2 fighter jets developed jointly with the help of US. It is strategic project of the Japanese Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) for research purposes.
The aircraft is widely known in Japan as Shinshin (meaning spirit of the heart), but is not officially in use and generally its code name is used.
The fighter jet is 14.2 metres long, 9.1 metres wide and has wingspan of 9.099 metres. It has maximum speed of mach 2.25 (2,475 Km/h) and is powered by 2 × IHI XF5-1 low-bypass turbofans.
It has range of 2,900 km and combat range of 761 km and ferry range of 3,200 km. Its delivery to the Japanese defence ministry is expected as early as May 2016 and the acquisition will be after analysing its stealth technology capability.
ISRO Scientists develop world’s lightest material Silica Aerogel
Scientists from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have indigenously developed world’s lightest synthetic material called ‘silica aerogel’ or ‘blue air’.
It was developed by the team of scientist from ISRO’s e Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. Silica Aerogel is the lightest synthetic material ever made by man.
Key Properties of Silica Aerogel
Light in weight and can be delicately placed on a flower head.
Excellent thermal resistance and acts as a good insulator.
The matrix of aerogel is made up of 99 per cent air. In its present development stage it is still very fragile and brittle. Scientists at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre are still finding ways to make it tough and resilient.
It can used as filler in soldiers’ uniforms to save lives of soldiers at the Siachen glacier.
It can be used to insulate rocket engines as it can be used both in space and on Earth.
It can be also used to make light weight clothing. It can be also painted on windows in to keep buildings cool or warm.
ISRO is going to use this material on moon rover in Chandryaan-2 mission of India.
Supercomputer Param Kanchenjunga unveiled at NIT Sikkim
Supercomputer Param Kanchenjunga was unveiled at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Sikkim. It has been named after Kangchenjunga mountain (8,586 m), the third highest mountain in the world which lies partly in Nepal and partly in Sikkim.
It was formally unveiled by Sikkim Governor Shrinvas Patil at the NIT Sikkim campus at Ravangla in South Sikkim District. It is said that it most powerful and fastest supercomputer among all the 31 NITs and Sikkim NIT has secured a rare distinction of having such a supercomputer.
Param Kanchenjunga has been jointly developed by Pune-based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing ‘C-DAC’ and the NIT Sikkim at a cost of three crore rupees.
The supercomputer is expected to help achieve excellence in research and engineering education in the north-east region.
India, Mongolia hold joint exercise ‘Nomadic Elephant’ to boost military cooperation
The eleventh edition of India-Mongolia joint military training Exercise ‘Nomadic Elephant – 2016’ has commenced at Mongolia. It seeks to promote military associations between India and Mongolia. The first joint exercise was held in 2004 and since then it is annually held.
Aim of exercise is to develop synergy and interoperability between the two armies to fight in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism (CICT) environment under the United Nation mandate.
In this edition, a platoon of the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army along with a team of two observers is taking part in the event.
The Indian contingent will share its practical experiences of CICT operations through a series of classroom lectures and outdoor demonstrations.
Indian Army conducts Shatrujeet battle exercise in Rajasthan
The Indian Army conducted major battle exercise named as ‘Shatrujeet’ in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan near to the border with Pakistan.
The sole purpose of the exercise was to evaluate the capability of the Indian Army and fine tune its proactive war strategy to respond swiftly to any threat to nation’s security.
Indian Army at regular intervals undertakes such battle exercises at different levels to ensure forces are provided war-like situations and kept in high-state of battle readiness as part of so called Cold Start Doctrine.
The 2016 Shatrujeet battle exercise was steered by the Mathura based 1 Corps, one of the three principle strike corps of the Indian Army.
It aimed to evaluate the capability of the Indian Army to strike deep into enemy territory in an integrated air-land battle environment.
It was an operation-oriented exercise that focused on validating integrated battle theatre fighting concept. It also incorporated the new-age technologies, weapon platforms and systems as well as long range precision targeting vectors.
It was post preparatory training exercise manoeuvres at subordinate units and formation levels by conducting integrated operational manoeuvres. It mainly validated India Army’s operational plans in simulated high tempo battlefield environment and terrain.
Nuclear-capable K-4 ballistic missile successfully tested from INS Arihant
Nuclear capable submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLMB) code named K-4, was successfully test fired from an undisclosed location in the Bay of Bengal.
Test: It was conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) along with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) which provided all logistics. The missile was fired from 20-meter deep from onboard silos of the Ship Submersible Ballistic, Nuclear (SSBN) submarine.
During the test it successfully hit with high accuracy after covering more than 700 km distance.
About K-4 ballistic missile
The K-4 is part of the K-family of missiles, a series of SLBMs (Submarine-launched ballistic missile). The series is named after former president and scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. It under development by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to arm the Arihant-class submarines.
It is a derivative of nuclear capable Agni series (medium to intercontinental range) missile which are already in service. It has reduced length compared to Agni series.
Features: The K-4 missile is an Intermediate range SLBM with effective range of over 3500 km.
It is 12 metres long and has a diameter of 1.3 metres. It weighs nearly 17 tonnes.
It is powered solid rocket propellant. It can carry a nuclear as well as conventional warhead weighing up to 2 tonnes.
Swat activist Tabassum Adnan wins 2016 Nelson Mandela Award
Pakistani women’s rights activist from Swat valley Tabassum Adnan has won prestigious 2016 Nelson Mandela Graça Machel Innovation Award. She won the award for the individual activist category on the concluding day of the International Civil Society Week (ICSW) held from April 25-28, 2016 in Bogota, Colombia. With this Tabassum Adnan becomes the second woman from Pakistan’s Swat valley to win this international recognition after Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.
Lobsang Sangey re-elected as PM of Tibetan Government-in-exile
The Tibetan government-in-exile has re-elected Lobsang Sangey (48) as the Prime Minister for a second consecutive term. The election result was announced by the Tibetan election officials in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala which is the headquarters of the government-in-exile.
Sangey secured about 58 percent of the 58,740 votes cast. He defeated his only rival Penpa Tsering, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament by 9,012 votes.
The 2016 general election was the second election since the Dalai Lama had stepped down as head of the government-in-exile in 2011 to focus on his role as the Tibetans’ spiritual leader. Tibetans living in exile in 40 countries had casted their votes for this election.
India’s first online interactive heritage portal Sahapedia launched
India’s first online interactive heritage portal Sahapedia launched
The Union Government has launched India’s first online interactive heritage portal named Sahapedia was in New Delhi. The web portal is a collaborative knowledge resource on the arts, culture and heritage of India.
Sahapedia is a not-for-profit society headed by former TCS chairman S. Ramadorai, who currently helms the National Skill Development Agency.
The purpose of this portal is to inform, educate and act on subjects such as knowledge traditions, visual and material arts, performing arts, literature and languages. It also seeks to educated and spread knowledge about practices and rituals, histories, institutions, people, built spaces and natural environment.
It will be accessible across user groups such as scholars, practitioners, students, teachers, travellers and enthusiasts.
It will also play important role in integrating activities and services including research, documentation, digitization and conservation.
2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners
The Sympathizer, a debut novel of Vietnamese American professor Viet Thanh Nguyen has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. While, Associated Press has won two prestigious Pulitzer prize in Public Service for coverage for an investigation of severe labour abuses tied to the supply of seafood to American supermarkets and restaurants.
List of 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners
Books, Drama and Music
Fiction: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Drama: Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
History: Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T.J. Stiles.
Biography: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan,.
Poetry: Ozone Journal by Peter Balakian.
Music: In for a Penny, In for a Pound by Henry Threadgill.
Public Service: Associated Press. Breaking News Reporting: Los Angeles Times Staff.
Investigative Reporting: Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier of the Tampa Bay Times and Michael Braga of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Explanatory Reporting: Christian Miller of ProPublica and Ken Armstrong of The Marshall Project.
Local Reporting: Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner of the Tampa Bay Times.
National Reporting: The Washington Post Staff. International Reporting: Alissa J. Rubin of The New York Times.
Feature Writing: Kathryn Schulz of The New Yorker. Commentary: Farah Stockman of The Boston Globe.
Criticism: Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker.
Union Government releases commemorative coin to mark Tatya Tope martyrdom day
The Union Government has leased a commemorative coin of 200 rupees and a circulation coin of 10 rupees on freedom fighter Tatya Tope. It was released by the Union Culture Minister Dr. Mahesh on the occasion of the Martyrdom Day of Tatya Tope in New Delhi.
The Union Ministry of Culture has been celebrating the 200th Birth Anniversary of Tatya Tope during 2015-16 in association with State Government of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Union Government notifies new rules to revamp SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has notified new rules to give effect amended Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The new rules seek to tighten provisions to ensure speedy justice to members of the SC/ST community.
The new rules aims at speeding up the process of dispensation of justice, liberalise and expedite access to relief for victims of atrocities, ensuring special sensitivity in cases of offences against women.
It has been made mandatory for cops to file chargesheet within 60 days after a complaint is lodged. For the first time, there is provision of relief for offences of rape and gang rape.
Requirement of medical examination for getting relief amount for non-invasive kind of offences against women has been delinked.
Relief in cash or in kind or both must be provided within seven days to the victims of atrocity, their family members and dependents.
The new rules also call for regular reviews of the scheme for the rights and entitlements of victims and witnesses in accessing justice.
Maharashtra becomes first state to pass law against social boycott
The Maharashtra legislature has unanimously passed the Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2016 to end the menace social boycott practiced by extra-judicial institutions like caste and community panchayats.
With this Maharashtra became first state in the country to adopt a comprehensive law to root out oppression carried out by parallel justice delivery system (kangaroo court) in the name of age old traditions, caste and religion.
Key Features of Bill
The Bill terms social boycott as a crime and says anybody indulging in it would face imprisonment maximum upto three years and a fine of 1 lakh rupees or both.
It disallows social boycott of any individual or groups by caste panchayats or groups of individuals or gavki or by its members or by social or economically influential persons. Persons involved in practice of social boycott for reasons like rituals of worship, inter-caste marriage, any connection to lifestyle, dress or vocation will face stringent punishment.
The offence registered under the act will be congnizable and bailable. It will be tried by a judicial magistrate of the first class. The victim of social boycott or any member of the victim’s family can file a complaint either to police or directly to the magistrate.
The bill has indicated speedy trial within six months of filing chargesheet in such cases in order to ensure time-bound results.
Government will recruit social boycott prohibition officers to ensure monitoring and to detect offences and assist the magistrate and police officers in tackling such cases.
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