Indo-Malaysian defence exercise HARIMAU SHAKTI began

The Indian and Malaysian armies will hold a two-week military exercise beginning April 30 in Malaysia as part of efforts to bolster defence cooperation.

The joint training exercise HARIMAU SHAKTI will be conducted in the dense forests of Sengai Perdik, Hulu Langat, Malaysia.

The exercise is aimed at bolstering cooperation and coordination between armed forces of both the nations and to share the expertise of both the contingents.

Recently, the Indian Air Force too conducted pan India Exercise Gagan Shakti-2018.

NITI Aayog to launch Atal New India Challenge

NITI Ayog’s Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) will launch Atal New India Challenge.

Under AIM, grants of up to Rs 1 crore and mentorship will be given to the winning ideas.

AIM is in collaboration with five ministries and it will invite prospective innovators to design market-ready products, using cutting edge technologies across 17 identified focus areas such as Smart Mobility, Predictive Maintenance of Rolling Stock and Waste Management.

CEO, NITI Aayog: Shri Amitabh Kant

Mission Director, AIM: Shri Ramanathan Ramanan.

HRD ministry launches 2nd edition of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

The HRD ministry has launched the second edition of the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan under which students from 750 higher educational institutions from across the country will adopt villages and visit them to get acquainted with lifestyle of people there and the problems faced by them.

The mission involves students from colleges and universities will go to nearby villages to get acquainted with the life of village people and the problems faced by them in day-to-day life.

The students would involve with local village people at every stage of problem identification and solve issues relating to health, cleanliness, waste management, plantation, financial inclusion, women and child development.

Union HRD minister: Prakash Javadekar

Minister of State for HRD: Satya Pal Singh

Central Security Exercise “Sagar Kavach” Held in Kerala

A two-day coastal security exercise ‘Sagar Kavach’ began to strengthen and assess the loopholes in the coastal security mechanism along Kerala shores.

Apart from the Coast Guard, the Navy, Coastal Police and Marine Enforcement wing and various other security stakeholders were also participating in the exercise.

GI Tag for Telangna’s Adilabad Dokra, Warangal Dhurries

Adilabad Dokra, an ancient metal craft that is popular in the state’s tribal regions, and Warangal durries or rugs, which are woven in handloom clusters in Warangal and Pochampally among other areas, have now been declared unique to the region.

They were granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the GI registry in Chennai.

In Telangana, the Silver Filigree of Karimnagar, Hyderabadi Haleem and Narayanpet Handloom Sarees already enjoy the GI tag among other crafts.

In Andhra, the famous ‘Tirupati laddu’ at the Sri Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala already has the GI tag, along with the Banganapalle mango and the Durgi stone carvings, among others.

Home Ministry removed PAP for 3 states

The home ministry has decided to relax the six-decade-old Protected Area Permit regime from Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur for five years with effect from April 1.

Foreign tourists, except those from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, will now be allowed to visit some of the most pristine locations of the country which, so far, were out of bounds for them without a special permit.

Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958, all areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states were declared as protected areas.

The protected areas currently include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

  48th Foundation Day of HUDCO Celebrated

The Minister of Housing & Urban Development Hardeep Singh inaugurated the 47th Foundation Day of Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO).

The Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO) is a government-owned corporation in India. It is wholly owned by the Union Government and is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.


SCO Defence Ministry meeting held in China

The meetings of the defence and foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) began in Beijing, China. It is being attended by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The SCO aims at military cooperation between the member states and involves intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia and joint work against cyber terrorism.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organisation.


Headquarters: Beijing, China

Secretary General: Rashid Alimov


India’s ranking in press freedom falls to 138

India’s ranking in the Press Freedom Index has fallen two places to 138 in a ranking of 180 countries.

Norway topped the list of having the world’s freest press for the second year in a row followed by Sweden and Netherlands.

North Korea(180) remained the most repressive country followed by Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Syria and then China.

The report was compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).


Govt enters agreement with World Bank on biotech

The government has entered into a legal agreement with the World Bank for a flexible financing arrangement to accelerate research towards early development for biopharmaceuticals.

The mission has been approved at a cost of USD 250 million for five years with 50 per cent funding through the World Bank Loan.

The aim is to make India a hub for design and development of novel, affordable and effective biopharmaceutical products.

GOI to tie up with US and Finland for pollution-forecast system

India is tying up with the United States and Finland to develop a pollution-forecast system.

It will help anticipate particulate matter (PM) levels at least two days in advance and at a greater resolution.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be coordinating this exercise. The new system, to be jointly developed with expertise from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the U.S.’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The current system that is based out of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, which runs the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), can forecast pollution trends (PM levels) in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Pune one day in advance.


Mahmoud Abu Zeid wins 2018 UNESCO Press Freedom Prize

Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid won the 2018 Press Freedom Prize awarded by the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO.

The government arrested Abu Zeid, also known as Shawkan, in 2013 as he photographed security forces dispersing an anti-government sit-in.

The prize, the Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize, will be awarded on May 2 to mark World Press Freedom Day.

The $25,000 World Press Freedom Prize was established in 1997 to honor Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian newspaper editor.


India to host Asian Weightlifting in 2019

India will host the Asian weightlifting championship for the first time in history next year 2019.

The Championship was awarded to India at the executive board meeting and Congress of the Asian Weightlifting Federation held at Urgench, Uzbekistan.

The championship will also double up as one of the qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The last edition of the Asian Championship was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.


World Malaria Day – April 25

World Malaria Day is observed on April 25 every year to recognise the global effort to control malaria and also to spread awareness about the around the world.

As per the World Malaria Report that was released in November 2017, there were 216 million cases of malaria in 2016 whereas in 2015 211 million cases were reported.

The theme for this year’s Malaria Day is ‘Ready to beat Malaria’.