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National Current Affairs
Atal Pension Yojana subscriber base touches over 97 lakh: PFRDA
According to Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), the subscriber base of Atal Pension Yojana (APY) stood at 97.05 lakh at end of 2017-18 fiscal.
- It was lower than target of 1 crore set by pension regulator PFRDA. The scheme saw addition of over 48.21 lakh subscribers in 2017-18.
- In 2016-17, total number of subscribers under APY reached 48.83 lakh with absolute incremental addition of 23.98 lakh accounts. In 2015-16, as many as 24.84 lakh subscribers were under APY fold.
- APY was launched in June 2015 with aim to provide affordable universal access to essential social security protection to unorganized work force of country, which makes major chunk of labour force (88%).
Adopt a Heritage Project: Monument Mitras to adopt heritage sites and monuments
Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had launched Adopt a Heritage Project.
- Under it, selected public sector companies, private sector companies and individuals will develop tourist amenities at heritage sites.
- They will be called as ‘Monument Mitra’ and adopt the sites essentially under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity.
- Provide world class tourist facilities at various natural and cultural heritage sites, monuments and other tourist sites.
- Make these selected sites tourist friendly; enhance their tourist potential and cultural importance in planned and phased manner across the country.
- The project primarily focuses on providing basic amenities that include cleanliness, public convenience, drinking water, ease of access for tourists, signage etc. and advanced amenities like Souvenir shop, Cafeteria, TFC etc.
- It seeks active participation of industry to ensure sustainable model formulation for tourism sector.
India at risk of food shortage due to climate change: Study
According to recently published global study, India is among countries which are at greatest risk of food insecurity due to weather extremes caused by climate change.
- The study had examined how climate change could affect vulnerability of different countries mainly 122 developing and least-developed countries (mostly in Asia, Africa and South America) to food insecurity — when people lack access to sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
- It examined projected changes in weather extremes and their implications for freshwater availability and vulnerability to food insecurity.
- Climate change caused by 2 degrees Celsius global warming is expected to lead to more extremes of both heavy rainfall and drought, with different effects in different parts of world.
- Such weather extremes will increase vulnerability to food insecurity.
- The countries at greatest vulnerability to food insecurity due to climate change are Oman, India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
- Global warming is expected to lead to wetter conditions on average causing floods and putting food production at risk.
- But agriculture may also get harmed by more frequent and prolonged droughts in some areas caused by climate change.
International Current Affairs
China set to unveil world's longest sea bridge
China is set to unveil this year the world's longest cross-sea bridge, connecting Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China.
- The crossing, which took seven years to complete, is 55km-long and six lanes wide, comprising of of four tunnels and four artificial islands.
- The multi-billion dollar project, which is being hailed as an international partnership, was reportedly built using more steel than 60 Eiffel Towers in the French capital, Paris.
- The bridge will cut travel time in half, drawing mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong to within an hour's commute of each other.
Core sector growth up by 5.3% in February 2018
According to index of eight core industries released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, eight core infrastructure sectors grew by 5.3% in February 2018. It was mainly due to robust performance of refinery products, fertilizer and cement segments.
- The core sectors expanded by 6.1% in January 2018 and it grew by just 0.6% in February 2017.
- Cumulatively, these 8 sectors grew by 4.3% in April-February 2017-18 against 4.7% in the same period last fiscal.
- Breakaway of January Performance:
- Petroleum refinery production: It recorded 7.8% growth.
- Fertilizer production: It recorded 5.3% growth.
- Cement production: It recorded 22.9% growth.
- Electricity generation: It grew by 4%.
- Coal production: It grew by 1.4%.
- Steel production: It grew by 5%.
- Crude oil production: It declined by 2.4%.
- Natural Gas production: It declined by 1.5%.
Government levies 10% import duty on key smartphone components
The Central Bureau of Excise and Customs (CBEC) under Finance Ministry has imposed a 10% duty on imports of key smartphone components such as populated printed circuit boards (PCBs), camera modules and connectors. At present there is zero import duty imposed on the three components.
- This move will make imports of components expensive while giving stimulus to local manufacturing under Make in India program.
- Such input parts for making these components locally, will not attract any import duties.
- But it will lead to increase in prices of mobile phones for those companies that do not make or source these components locally.
- PCBs make up about 50% of cost of making smart phone. This decision will push local assembly or manufacturing of these components as companies who make here will get a price advantage over those who don’t.
Acquisitions & Mergers
Ola acquires mobility app Ridlr
Cab aggregator Ola announced the acquisition of Ridlr, an end-to-end public transport ticketing and commuting app.
- With this acquisition, Ola will bring new technology and mobility options as it works to expand into and partner with cities in India and abroad.
- Ridlr enables users to search and book public transport options on their mobile phones. The Mumbai-based company was founded in 2010 by Brijraj Vaghnani and Ravi Khemani.
Appointments & Resigns
Actor Rituparna Sengupta appointed Shilpi Sansad chairperson
Actor Rituparna Sengupta has been appointed as the chairperson of Shilpi Sansad, an organization that provides financial security to retired and veteran artistes of the Bengali film industry.
- Sengupta was appointed the chairperson at a meeting of the Shilpi Sansad. She succeeded Supriya Devi, who died earlier this year.
Awards & Recognition
MS Dhoni Receives Padma Bhushan Award From President Ram Nath Kovind
MS Dhoni received country's third highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan, from President Ram Nath Kovind.
- The former India captain, who holds the rank of Honorary Lieutenant Colonel, wore his official uniform of the Territorial Army for the ceremony.
- Apart from Dhoni, multiple billiards world champion Pankaj Advani also received the award for his extra ordinary achievements.
Mukesh Ambani is Asia’s third richest, five Indians in Bloomberg Billionaires top 100 Index
Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani, with a net worth of $38 billion, is Asia’s third-richest man and is ranked 19 in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as of April 2.
- However, Ambani’s year-to-date return (year to date or YTD refers to the period beginning the first day of the current calendar year or fiscal year up to the current date) has fallen by $2.30 billion, even though he has increased his fortune by $9.3 billion from last year during the same period.
- Despite his ambitious Jio project making the right noises and triggering a tariff war in the world’s second-largest telecom market, it must be noted that the company’s debt has climbed to a 15-year high
- Apart from Ambani, there are 23 Indians in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index top 500 list, with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates holding on to the top two spots.
Sindhu, Srikanth bag top honours at ESPN Multi-Sport Awards
PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth were named 'Sportspersons of the Year' with their coach Pullela Gopichand being adjudged 'best coach' at the inaugural ESPN Multi-Sport Awards.
- Srikanth claimed the title of 'Sportsperson of the Year - Male' for his incredible run, bagging four Super Series titles. He became the only Indian and the fourth player ever to achieve it in one calendar year.
- Rio Olympics silver medalist Sindhu clinched the Sportsperson of the Year - Female' title for her fantastic performance round the year, winning the Indian and Korean Open Super Series titles.
- Other winners included the Indian National Women's Hockey Team, which bagged the 'Team of the Year' title for their first Asia Cup triumph in 13 years.
- The Moment of the Year' award was decided through a public poll and was awarded to Jeakson Singh for scoring a memorable goal against Columbia in the U-17 FIFA World Cup. The goal made Jeakson the only Indian to score in a FIFA event.
Mangaluru airport adjudged India's cleanest
The Mangalore International Airport has been adjudged the cleanest airport in the country.
- Airport director V V Rao received the award during the 23rd annual day celebrations of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in New Delhi.
- In the survey conducted across 53 airports in the country by AAI, Mangaluru airport was adjudged the cleanest.
- A team of officials from AAI had inspected the airport terminal, parking area, toilets, commercial stalls, the road leading to the airport and customer lounge.
Science & Technology
Tiangong-1: China's space station breaks up over over Pacific Ocean
China's Tiangong-1 space station re-entered the earth's atmosphere and burnt up over the middle of the South Pacific Ocean near world’s ‘spacecraft cemetery or graveyard’.
- The craft re-entered the atmosphere at about 1:15am and the "vast majority" of it had burnt up upon re-entry.
- It ended a global guessing game as experts tracked the 8.5-tonne lab's last days in space, trying to forecast where it would re-enter the earth's atmosphere and whether its remains might hit land.
- It was expected to hit speeds of as much as 17,000 mph, turning the ageing craft into a fiery meteor.
SpaceX Falcon 9 launches reused cargo ship to space station
Three days after a successful launch from California, SpaceX fired off another Falcon 9 rocket, this one from Cape Canaveral, boosting nearly three tons of supplies and equipment into space for a two-day flight to the International Space Station.
- Equipped with a previously flown first stage and a Dragon cargo capsule making its second flight to the lab complex, the Falcon 9 thundered away from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:30:38 p.m. EDT (GMT-5), climbing directly into the plane of the station's orbit.
- The launching marked SpaceX's 52nd flight of a Falcon 9 -- its 53rd counting the maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February -- its 14th station resupply mission and the company's eleventh flight using a previously flown first stage.
- SpaceX has successfully recovered 23 first stage boosters to date, 11 on land and the rest on off-shore droneships. The latest flight was the fourth in a row without a recovery attempt.
Miami Open 2018
American John Isner won his first ever Masters 1,000 title with a 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 victory over German Alexander Zverev in the Miami Open final. The world number 17 will now move back into the top 10 next week after the biggest win of his career. S. Stephens won in the Women's singles category. She has defeated J. Ostapenko.
- Winners list:
|Men's Singles||John Isner (USA)||Alexander Zverev (Germany)|
|Women's Singles||Sloane Stephens (USA)||Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)|
|Men's Doubles||Mike Bryan (USA)
Bob Bryan (USA)
|Karen Khachanov (Russia)
Andrey Rublev (Russia)
|Women's Doubles||CoCo Vandeweghe (USA)
Ashleigh Barty (Australia)
|Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic)
Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic)