National - 2019 March

March 1

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission partners with Adobe to enhance creativity in Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) Schools.
NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Adobe signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to collectively drive the charter of developing creative skills and spreading digital literacy across all Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) in India.
100 schools will be adopted by Adobe under the ATL initiative and will be implementing its Digital Disha Program in ATLs, under which free licenses of Adobe Spark premium shall be offered to ATLs.
The Adobe Digital Disha Programme, launched in 2018, is aimed at driving synergies in creative thinking and technology-based learning.

SHREYAS portal launched by Prakash Javadekar for providing industry apprenticeship opportunities to youth.
Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS) with an aim to provide industry apprenticeship opportunities to the general graduates exiting in April 2019 through the National Apprenticeship Promotional Scheme (NAPS) in New Delhi. The program will enhance the employability of Indian youth by providing ‘on the job work exposure’ and earning of stipend.
SHREYAS portal will enable educational institutions and industry to log in and provide their respective demand and supply of apprenticeship and the matching of students with apprenticeship avenues will take place as per pre-specified eligibility criteria.
SHREYAS is a programme basket comprising the initiatives of 3 Central Ministries, which are:
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship
Ministry of Labour & Employment.
The initiatives of above ministries are – National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS), the National Career Service (NCS) and introduction of BA/BSc/BCom (Professional) courses in the higher educational institutions.
Union Human Resources Development Minister: Shri Prakash Javadekar.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs launches schemes of Minimum Support Price for Minor Forest produces to cover 50 items
Van Dhan scheme: A scheme for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and Development of Value Chain of MFPs was launched by TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India) under Ministry of Tribal Affairs at a National Workshop in New Delhi.
Ministry has expanded the coverage of the Minimum Support Price for Minor Forest Produce Scheme to 50 Minor Forest Produces. Also the MSP has risen between 30-40% for all commodities.
Trifood scheme: It is a joint initiative of Ministry of Food Processing Industry, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED. Under this scheme a tertiary value addition center will be set up in Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh and Raigad in Maharashtra at a cost of approximately Rs. 11.00 crores. A highlight of this is the production of “Heritage Mahua” drink. The traditional Mahua tribal drink will be mainstreamed and marketed all over the Country under this project
Friends of Tribes scheme: It is an initiative of the Ministry. TRIFED has tied up with CSR funds to promote tribal livelihoods.
Socially oriented Public Sector Organizations like BPCL, IOCL and SPMCL have sanctioned approximately Rs. 10 crores for promoting Van Dhan operations in Barwani, Rajnandgaon, Dewas and Hoshangabad Districts of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. 6000 Van Dan Vikas Kendras comprising 300 tribal gatherers are to be set up to provide employment to almost 45 Lakh Tribal.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs: Shri Jual Oram.
India and Sweden intend to increase cooperation on Anti Microbial Resistance
Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, who was on a visit to India met with Union Health Minister J P Nadda and discussed about Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) which poses a dangerous challenge globally.
Anti-microbial drugs, when overused, AMR develops as microorganisms such as bacteria, virus and fungi that become resistant to drugs.
India and Sweden had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in the field of various issues, including AMR, communicable diseases and public health, in February 2009.
Stating that AMR work is an ongoing cooperation between India and Sweden, Lena Hallengren hoped that India would join the Alliance of Champions, a creation between many countries globally to face and to fight AMR.

March 2

Tax info exchange agreement inked between India and Brunei
India and Brunei signed a pact for exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to taxes in order to curb tax evasion and tax avoidance in New Delhi.
This agreement will facilitate both the countries to exchange information, including banking and ownership information for tax purposes and will also avail mutual assistance in collection of tax revenue claims.
The agreement was signed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody and High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to India Dato Paduka Haji Sidek Ali.

MoU signed by ICAR and CSIR to collaborate in the field of food and agriculture.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) andCouncil of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in order to collaborate in the area of food and agriculture, at ICAR Headquarters, Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi.
The huge network of Krishi Vikas Kendras (KVKs) available with ICAR will be roped in for technology demonstration and dissemination and a Joint Working Committee will be constituted to deliberate and formulate the collaborative programmes and will meet 4 times a year.
Both the sides agreed to form a Steering Committee with the co-chairmanship of both the Director-Generals which will meet twice a year to monitor the progress.

Dharmendra Pradhan has handed over the 100th Letter of Intent to Compressed Bio-Gas Entrepreneur
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has handed over the 100th Letter of Intent (LoI) under SATAT - Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation scheme to Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) entrepreneur, which is waste to wealth venture.
SATAT is a developmental effort that would benefit vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.
After hand over of LoI, CBG would significantly reduce India’s import burden and provide an environment friendly and low cost alternative to conventional petroleum fuels.
Cabinet Approvals:
Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan – Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana.It will provide financial support integrated Bioethanol projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock.
Rs. 1450 crore for the share capital of RBI in National Housing Bank (NHB), which operates as the principal agency to promote housing finance institutions in India. The decision is the resultant of the amendments made to the NHB Act, 1987 in 2018.
Four Lane Bridge which connects Dhubri in Assam and Phulbari in Meghalaya over Brahmaputra. It will be constructed with loan assistance from Japan International Cooperative Agency at the Civil Construction cost of Rs. 3548 crore and total capital cost of Rs. 4997.04 crore.
Setting up a Centre for Disability Sports at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh which will be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The estimated cost of setting up the centre shall be of Rs. 170.99 crore for a period of 5 years.
Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 which will bring the people living in remote and inaccessible areas under reservation. It will pave the way for 10% quota for the economically weaker section to be applicable in the state.
Creation of 2 posts of commissioners in the office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD), in terms of provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disability (RPF) Act, 2016.
promulgation of an Ordinance to make amendments to the Aadhaar Act 2016,Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2005 and Indian Telegraph Act 1885.
Inclusion of Common Service Centre (CSC e-Governance Services India) as Enrolment Agency for Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan (PM-SYM) which will enable workers in unorganized sector to get monthly pension of Rs. 3000 on attaining the age of 60 years.
Investment for transmission component of Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project (Nepal portion) by Sutlej Jal Vikas Nigam (SJVN) Limited. The project is on Arun River in Sankhuwasabha district of Eastern Nepal.
To continue the enactment of Tertiary Healthcare programmes for non-communicable diseases and E-Health up to the year 2020.
New Greenfield Airport at Hirasar in Rajkot, Gujarat at an estimated cost of Rs. 1405 crore.
Cabinet Approvals with Foreign countries
MoU between India and Tajikistan on Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy.
MoU between India and United Kingdom (UK) on Cooperation in Weather and Climate Sciences.
MoU between India and Norway for undertaking non-intrusive Geological Surveys and Investigations.
MoU between India and Argentina on cooperation in the field of Medical Products Regulation.
India and the USA to access tip line reports on Missing and Exploited Children.

ICF Chennai becomes world’s largest rail coach manufacturer
Integral Coach Factory (ICF), the rail coach manufacturing factory at Chennai, which became famous for manufacturing Train 18, has become the single largest rail coach manufacturer in the world surpassing top Chinese manufacturers.
The manufacturing facility of Indian Railways in Chennai manufactured 2,919 coaches from April 2018 to February 2019 against 2,600 coaches manufactured by top Chinese manufacturers.ICF has set a target to manufacture 3,200 coaches in this financial year 2019.
This is extremely good even considering manufacturing units in the private sector. In fact, in the 2016-17 financial years, ICF had built only 1,976 coaches.

March 3

Government working on a new scheme for unorganized food processing sector: Gram Samridhi Yojana
Gram Samridhi Yojana, Rs 3,000 crore scheme funded by the World Bank and the Government of India, is being worked upon by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries in order to strengthen the unorganized food processing sector concentrated in rural areas. Roughly 66% of unorganized food processing units are in rural areas and of these, 80% are family run.
The scheme is aimed at helping the cottage industry, farmer producers’ organization and individual food processors to increase capacity, upgrade technology besides skill improvement, entrepreneurship development and strengthening the farm-to market supply chain.
World Bank will be giving Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 1,000 crore will be borne by the Centre while state governments will put in Rs 500 crore.
The scheme will be run in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab for a five-year period in the initial phase and thereafter in other states of the country.
Scheme for Development of Knitting and Knitwear Sector launched by Smriti Irani
Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Irani, launched a comprehensive scheme for Development of Knitting and Knitwear Sector under PowerTex India in New Delhi where she also interacted with industry associations related to knit wear sector in three clusters of Kolkata, Tirupur and Ludhiana through video link.
The sector is predominantly Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) in size and mainly located in decentralized sector which is one of the major employment generator sectors.
The main components of the scheme are:
Creation of new service centers on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model by industry and association in the knitting and knitwear clusters.
Modernization and upgradation of existing Power loom Service Centers (PSCs) and institution run by Textile Research Associations (TRAs) and Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) Association in knitting and knitwear clusters.
Group work shed scheme.
Yarn bank scheme.
Common facility centre scheme.
Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme.
Solar Energy Scheme.
Facilitation, IT, awareness, studies, surveys, market development and publicity for knitting and knitwear units.
Some of the major clusters in the knitted garment sector are Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, Ludhiana in Punjab, Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata in West Bengal.
Tirupur is the most important export cluster, manufacturing more than 90% of the garment, which is exported, and is followed by Ludhiana.
The Ministry has approved combined SFC (Standing Finance Component) of PowerTex India Scheme and Knitwea r Scheme with an outlay of Rs. 487.07 crores out of which, Rs. 439.35 crore is for PowerTex for 3 years from 14th April 2017 to 31st March 2020 and Rs. 47.72 crores for Knitwear for the remaining period of 2018-19 and for 2019-20.
Ban on Jamaat-e-Islami J&K for 5 years by the Government
The Centre banned Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir under the Unlawful Activities (Preventions) Act, 1967 for 5 years.
It was made on the grounds that they were ‘in close touch’ with militant outfits and is expected to ‘escalate secessionist movement’ in the State.
The notification issuing the ban was made by the Ministry of Home Affairs after a high level meeting on security which was chaired by PM Modi.
Jamaat-e-Islami J&K is a religio-political organization in Jammu and Kashmir.
Ban on SIMI extended by the Government by 5 years
Government decided to extend the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI) which involved in various terror acts in the country for a period of 5 years.
The Government arrived in the decision as the organization continues to indulge in troublemaking activities. The notification stating the ban termed the SIMI as an unlawful association.
Union Home Ministry has issued the notification for the extension of ban under theUnlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
SIMI was banned for the first time in 2001 immediately, following the September II attacks. It was again banned on 2003 and 2005 for its Unlawful Activities.
Government of India and ADB sign $926 Million Loan Agreement for Mumbai Metro Rail Project
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $926 Million Loan Agreement to operationalize two lines for the Mumbai Metro Rail System that will ease the distress of millions of commuters each day and help provide a cleaner, less congested city.
It is the single largest infrastructure project loan in ADB history.

Chennai-Madurai Tejas Express flagged Off by PM Modi in Tamil Nadu.
It is India’s first semi-high speed fully air-conditioned train.
Apart from flagging off Tejas Express, PM Modi also laid the foundation stone for two major railway projects- one for the restoration of Rail Connectivity between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi at a cost of Rs. 208 crore and the other for the construction of a new bridge at PambanbridgeViaduct at a cost of Rs. 250 crore.
He inaugurated two steel bridges at Parvathipuram and Marthandam.

March 4

PM Inaugurated Construction Technology India 2019 Expo-cum Conference in New Delhi
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the two day Expo-cum Conference on Construction Technology India 2019 (CTI-2019) in New Delhi.
The conference will likely identify proven, innovative and globally established technologies for use in the Indian context. Technology providers, researchers, start-ups, developers, academia, public sector agencies and other domain experts will be participating in the two-day event.
Youth are the main beneficiaries of the event. Proven technologies, identified during CTI-2019 will be further invited to design and build lighthouse projects of about one thousand housing units each at six States in the country, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.

Anthem on 'plastic-free India' launched in seven languages by Environment Minister
Anthem on ”Plastic Waste-Free India’‘ which has been composed and produced by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Smriti Manch (PDUSM)– a non-profit organisation which works in the field of social and environmental issues was launched by Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan.
Anthem as a part of a campaign to make India plastic-free by 2022 and stressed on strengthening plastic waste management and recycling ecosystem in the country.
It has been launched in seven languages – Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telegu, Malyalam and Kannada.

Kumbh Mela 2019 enters Guinness Book of World Records
The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest crowd management, largest sanitation drive and largest painting exercise of public sites.
Around 503 shuttle buses were pressed into service on the highway in one go for the team on February 28. Several people participated in a painting exercise on March 1 and 10,000 workers engaged in cleaning at the Kumbh, all performing their duties together.

March 5

PM Modi launches 'One Nation, One Card' for transport mobility in Ahmedabad
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the “One Nation, One Card” programme to ensure seamless travel across the country. The card can be used for payments across different segments, including Metro, bus, suburban railways, toll, parking and retail purchases.
The Indigenous Automatic Fare Collection System based on the “One Nation, One Card” model, for example the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), is the first of its kind in India.
India’s first indigenously developed payment eco-system for transport consisting of NCMC Card, SWEEKAR (Swachalit Kiraya: Automatic Fare Collection System) and (Swachalit Gate) is based on NCMC Standards.

President gave assent to Ordinance for voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for bank account and SIM
President Ram Nath Kovind has given his approval for an Ordinance which allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for opening bank accounts and obtaining mobile SIM. The ordinance gives effect to the changes in the Aadhaar Act such as giving a child an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age
Rajya Sabha could not approve the Bill even though Lok Sabha has given its assent. In such a situation an ordinance is necessary as per the law.
The cabinet has approved it with effect to an Ordinance to give changes proposed in Aadhaar and two other legislations.

March 6

Gram Samridhi Yojana for unorganized food processing sector
India’s food processing ministry is working on a new scheme Gram Samridhi Yojanato bolster the unorganized food processing sector concentrated in rural areas. About 66% of unorganized food processing units are in rural areas and of these, 80% were family run. 
The scheme aims at development of modern infrastructure to encourage entrepreneurs to set up food processing units, upgrade technology in existing unit, improve management of the units and give technical support.
The scheme will be run in Uttar Pradesh,Andhra Pradesh ,Maharashtra and Punjab for a 5 year period in the initial phase and thereafter in other in other states of the country.
NITI Aayog has given its approval to the scheme,World Bank will be giving Rs 1,500 crore while Rs 1,000 crore will be borne by the centre while state governments will put in Rs 500 crore

Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated Refurbished Handloom Haat in New Delhi
The refurbished Handloom Haat was inaugurated by Textiles Minister SmritiIrani at Janpath, New Delhi.
The Haat aims to provide infrastructural support to handloom agencies so that they can enhance their sales of handloom products and provide a platform to display a wide variety of handloom products that are produced all over the country.
She also launched three projects of NIFT – VisionNXT – Trend Forecasting Initiative, Indian Textiles and Craft Repository and Design Innovation and Incubation.
The regional incubators shall be constituted NIFT campuses of Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore.

Rs 250 crore STARS scheme initiated by HRD Ministry to fund science projects
On the National Science day, the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, Prakash Javadekar launched STARS – Scheme for Translational and Advanced Research in Science to fund science projects.The ministry has approved funds worth Rs 250 crore for the scheme.
These funds will be utilized to sponsor about 500 science projects. The selection of these projects would be done on the basis of competitions.
The project will be coordinated by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.

March 7

Model guidelines for development and regulation of retirement homes issued by the Government
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs prepared Model Guidelines for Development and Regulation of Retirement Homes that address the special needs and protect the rights of senior citizens and retirees living in Retirement.
The Guidelines provide option to senior citizens and family members, who are willing and can afford to purchase a living space for their parents.
There is a provision of a twofold mechanism in the form of refundable InterestFree Maintenance Security Deposit (IFMS) and Maintenance Charges.
The number of senior citizens in India, has increased from 7.6 crore in 2001, to 10.4 crore in 2011 and is expected to grow to 17.3 crore by 2025 and about 24 crores by 2050. By the end of the century, nearly 34% of the total population of the country is expected to be of senior citizens.

Piyush Goyal dedicated NTPL’s 1,000-MW thermal power project to the country
Coal Minister Piyush Goyal dedicated to the nation a 1,000-megawatt (MW) thermal power project of Neyveli Tamil Nadu Power Ltd (NTPL) at Thoothukudi and a 150-MW solar power projects of NLC India Ltd (NLCIL) at Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar districts in Tamil Nadu.
It is a joint venture between NLCIL and TANGEDCO with an equity participation of 89:11.

Government brings transport scheme to boost agriculture exports
This is with a view to boosting export of farm commodities to certain countries in Europe and North America.
Under the Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA) scheme, the government would reimburse a certain portion of freight charges and provide assistance for marketing of agricultural produce.
The scheme covers freight and marketing assistance for export by air as well as by sea (both normal and refrigerated cargo).
Presently, it would be available for exports effected from March 1 this year to March 2020.

Government has transferred first Installment of Rs. 2000 each to over two crore farmers so far under pm-kisan scheme
The Centre has transferred the first installment of Rs 2,000 each to over 2 crore farmers so far under the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme.
In the Interim Budget 2019-20, the central government had announced the PM-Kisan scheme under which Rs 6,000 per year will be given in three installments to 12 crore small and marginal farmers holding cultivable land up to 2 hectares. It promised to give the first installment of Rs 2,000 by March.
The scheme in Uttar Pradesh by transferring the first tranche amount to over one core farmers.

NGT imposed Rs. 500 core fine on Volkswagen for cheating emission tests
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slammed Rs 500 Crore penalty on Volkswagen for installing ‘Cheat Devices’ in their cars which helped the company cheat through emission tests.
The Volkswagen Group in India reiterates that all cars from the Group are compliant with the emission norms defined in India.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the carmaker to deposit the amount within two months.
The tribunal enhanced the compensation amount of 171.34 core, which was recommended by a NGT-appointed committee, as a means of “creating deterrence”

March 8

Minister Hardeep Singh Puri launched e-Dhari APP
Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs has launched e-Dharti app which is a new online system where all the three main modules i.e. Conversion, Substitution and Mutation have been made online.
He also launched e-Dharti GeoPortal, through which the lessee of property will be able to see the basic details of property along with map showing its location.

IRDAI, NHA form a working group chaired by Dinesh Arora to curb fraud in Ayushman Bharat scheme
A joint working group (JWG) comprising senior officials from IRDAI and National Health Authority (NHA) has been formed to recommend measures to help improve the implementation of the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).
The 11-member group, with NHA Deputy CEO Dinesh Arora as the chair would submit a report on various aspects pertaining to network hospitals’ management, data standardization and exchange, fraud abuse and control and common IT infrastructure for health insurance claims management.

Cabinet clears Rs 4,500 crore plan for regional air connectivity
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for extension of time and scope for revival and development of unserved and underserved air strips of state governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI), civil enclaves, central public sector undertakings (CPSUs), helipads and water aerodromes at the total cost of Rs 4,500 crore with the budgetary support of government of India.
It has received overwhelming response from airlines in the two rounds of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) bidding held so far.

March 9

Ordinance on reservation in Teacher’s Cadre gets President’s approval
President Ram Nath Kovind has approved Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teacher's Cadre) Ordinance 2019 which will restore 200-point roster system for faculty recruitment.
More than 5000 vacancies by direct recruitment in Teachers’ cadre duly ensuring that the Constitutional provisions of Articles 14, 16 and 21 are complied with and reservation criteria for the Scheduled Castes.
It is expected to improve the teaching standards in the higher educational institutions to attract all eligible talented candidates.

Over 7 crore LPG connections given under Ujjwala scheme
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced that 7 crore LPG connections have been distributed within the last 34 months under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
Under the scheme, deposit-free LPG connection is provided to a poor household and the connection is released in the name of an adult woman member of the household.
Nearly 69,000 connections are being released per day. There has been huge jump in the LPG coverage in the country, having gone up from 55% in 2014 to 93% in 2019.

March 10

A 3-member mediation panel created by Supreme Court to settle Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid Case
The amicable settlement of Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, the five-judge bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, constituted a three-member mediation panel headed by former Supreme Court (SC) judge Justice F.M. Kalifullah to resolve the issue.
The other members of the panel include spiritual guru Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu. The case will be held in Faizabad.

March 11

Government Approved a National Mission on E-Mobility To Boost EV Manufacturing.
The Centre formed National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage to finalize the framework for a Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP).
The main aim of the framework is localizing the production of electric vehicles (EV) and its components within the country and boosts the adoption of clean energy vehicles.
Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog has been appointed to lead the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee of the mission who will recommend and drive the strategies for transformative mobility in India.
PMP will be valid for five years until 2024 to localize production across the entire electric vehicles value chain, such as formulating strategies on manufacturing EVs, its specification and standards, etc.
Cabinet last month approved a Rs 10,000 crore initiative under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles II (FAME II) scheme, marking a significant push for hybrid and electric vehicles in the country.

Lok Sabha polls in 7 phases from April 11 to May 19; counting of votes on May 23.
The Election Commission announced the Lok Sabha elections will be held between April 11 and May 19 in seven phases and the counting of votes will take place on May 23.
Assembly elections will also be held simultaneously in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim.
The first phase will be held on April 11, second on April 18, third on April 23 and fourth on April 29, fifth on May 6, sixth on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19.

New visa agreement between Maldives & India comes into force.
The new visa agreement between India and Maldives came into force. The new policy provides a liberal visa policy for Maldivian citizens seeking medical treatment as well as education and business opportunities in India.
The visa deal will allow Maldivian businessmen and tourists to stay in India for 90 days without a visa. Maldivians with tourist visas can also stay in India for treatment if they suffer a sudden medical issue.

March 12

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Jubeir's visit to India comes days after his trip to Pakistan's Islamabad.
The Saudi minister's visit comes after Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's stand-alone visits toIndia and Pakistan soon after the Pulwama terror attack.
The visiting dignitary is on a day-long visit to India.This is the third meeting between the two leaders in over a fortnight.

34th edition of Aahar - the International Food and Hospitality Fair commences in New Delhi
The five-day fair, organized by India Trade Promotion Organization, ITPO, features wide range of food products, machinery, food and beverages equipment, hospitality and decor solutions, confectionery items from over 560 participants from India and foreign countries.
The foreign participants in the fair are from countries including China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Spain, USA and UK among others.

March 13

Enemy properties can be put to public use: Centre to states.
According to an official notification, the guideline for disposal of the Enemy Property Order - 2018, has been amended to facilitate usages of Enemy Property by the state government exclusively for public use.
Enemy properties are those properties that were left behind by the people who took citizenship of Pakistan and China after 1965 and 1971 wars.
There are over 9000 such properties left behind by Pakistaninationals and over 1000 by Chinese nationals. The estimated value of all enemy properties is approximately 1 lakh crore rupees.

Cabinet approves issue of Notifications for Lok Sabha Elections 2019
The “General Election to the Lok Sabha 2019 – statutory notifications under the sub-section (2) of section 14 of the Representative of the people Act, 1951”, which would begin the election process for the 17th House of the People.
And also approves accession of India to Nice Agreement, Vienna Agreement, and Locarno Agreement.
The Nice Agreement on the International classification of goods and services for the purposes of registration of marks.
The Vienna Agreement for setting up an International classification of the figurative elements of the marks.
The Locarno Agreement for establishing an International classification for industrial designs.
Cabinet approves Promulgation of Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli Civil Courts (Amendment) Regulation, 2019
The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has approved the following promulgation under the Article 240 of the constitution in order to bring uniformity in the judicial services.
The Daman & Diu Civil Courts (Amendment) Regulation, 2019.
The Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Civil courts and Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Regulation, 2019.

March 14

India extends USD 250 million to Nepal for reconstruction of infrastructures post earthquake.
India has extended a grant assistance of up to USD 250 million to Nepal for the reconstruction of infrastructures in the areas of housing, education, health and cultural heritage that was destroyed during the devastating April 2015 earthquake.
During the India-Nepal Joint Project Monitoring Committee meeting held in March 12th in Kathmandu officials from the two countries reviewed the progress of post-earthquake reconstruction projects.
Earlier this month, India said that it will reconstruct 72 education facilities in Nepal that were damaged during the earthquake.

Police officers having minimum of 6 months tenure left should be considered for DGP post.
The Supreme Court clarified its last year order on police reforms and officers who have a minimum of six months tenure left in service can be considered for the post of Director General of Police (DGP).
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi headed the bench and recommended for the post of DGP by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and preparation of the appointment panel should be purely on the basis of merit.
The emphasis is to select the best and to ensure a minimum tenure of two years’ service of such officer who is to be selected and appointed.
India and Pakistan delegations hold talks on Kartarpur.
India has urged Pakistan to grant visa-free travel rights to Indian pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur shrine. This will enable pilgrims from India to travel to the Sikh shrine inside Pakistan through a dedicated corridor.
According to MEA spokesman ''Talks begin between India and Pakistan to discuss and finalize the modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor, that will facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit the holy shrine of Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur''.
The issues like alignments of structures essentially from the engineering point of view would also be discussed.

March 15

Modi ''Hai to Mumkin Hai'': BJP finalizes its slogan
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has chosen "Modi Hai to Mumkin Hai" as its slogan for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has announced.
According to Jaitley, PM Modi had an "indefatigable approach" and worked round the clock for the past five years.
IEMF’s First Workshop organized by NITI Aayog and USAID in New Delhi
The NITI Aayog and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the first workshop on development of the India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF), envisaged as a pan-stakeholder platform for debating ideas, scenario-planning & discussing the India’s energy future in New Delhi.
The two-day workshop, being held with the support of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), was organized under the Sustainable Growth Pillar of the India - U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership.
The IEMF seeks to provide a platform for leading experts and policymakers to study important energy and environmental issues and ensure induction of modeling and analysis in informed decision making process.
The Forum aims to improve cooperation and coordination between modeling teams, the Government of India, knowledge partners and think-tanks, build capacity of Indian institutions, and identify issues for joint modeling activities and future areas of research.
The workshop featured 8 expert sessions which saw discussions around the various aspects of setting up an India-centric energy modeling platform.

Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Gandhinagar
The President of India Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The festival is organised by the National Innovation Foundation in association with the Department of Science and Technology.
The event will provide platform to the innovators for building the linkages with potential stakeholders whose support can improve the prospects in coming years for the betterment of the society.
FINE is a unique initiative of the Office of the President of India to recognize, respect and reward grassroots innovations and foster a supportive ecosystem.
10th Biennial National Grassroots Innovation awards were also distributed by the President on the occasion
For innovations in new varieties of agriculture crops, Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi from Uttar Pradesh has been awarded lifetime achievement award.
First prize in Veterinary, Herbal medication for coccidiosis was presented to Periyasami Ramasami of Salem, Tamil Nadu.
About Gujarat:
CM: Vijay Rupani
Governor: Om Prakash Kohli
National Parks: Gir, Vansda, Black Bug

Centre sends team to Kerala after 7-year-old tests positive for West Nile virus
A central team, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been sent to Kerala, where a 7-year-old boy has reportedly tested positive for vector-borne West Nile virus, to review the situation and also help the district administration in its prevention and management.
The virus is transmitted to humans through a mosquito bite and is mostly reported in North America. Affected people complain of fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, occasionally skin rash and swollen lymph glands.
The boy from Malappuram district is undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital.

March 16

PFC agrees to lend Rs. 30,000 crore more to TS irrigation projects
The Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has agreed to lend another Rs. 30,000 crore to Telangana to complete a few major ongoing irrigation projects, including Kaleshwaram, Sita Rama and Palamuru-Rangareddy.
An assurance to this effect was given by PFC Chairman Rajeev Sharma to a delegation from the Telangana government led by Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi in New Delhi.
The PFC has already lent ₹40,000 crore to the ongoing energy and irrigation projects of the Telangana government, including Rs. 23,000 crore for power projects and ₹17,000 crore for electro-mechanical work of irrigation projects – Kaleshwaram and Palamuru-Rangareddy.

India, Myanmar conduct coordinated operation against insurgents posing threat to Kaladan project
A coordinated operation was conducted by the armies of India and Myanmar from 17th February to 2nd March 2019 against insurgents in Myanmar’s territory to avert a possible threat to the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project.
The objective of the operation was to crack down on the members of the Arakan Army, an insurgent group in Myanmar, the members of which had also moved close to the international border along Mizoram.
Additional troops were moved to the international border areas, besides deploying the Assam Rifles personnel. The Assam Rifles has the responsibility to guard the international border with Myanmar.
The Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project is being viewed as India’s gateway to the Southeast Asia. India entered into a framework agreement with Myanmar in April 2008 to facilitate implementation of the project. On completion, the project will help connect Mizoram with the Sittwe Port in Rakhine State of Myanmar.

IIT Kharagpur to adopt Amazon Web Services to develop Cloud Computing skills
According to the top official of the institute, the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur will adopt Amazon Web Services(AWS) educate programme to help students gain cloud computing skills including hands on experience in artificial intelligence.

March 17

IIT Kharagpur gets new high power computing facility
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, is all set to ramp up its research and development activities with the acquisition of a 1.3 peta flop high power computing facility and a data centre under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).
The institute signed a memorandum of understanding with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to facilitate supply, installation, commissioning and operations of the system.
The initiative will be undertaken at the Centre for Computational and Data Sciences at IIT Kharagpur.
It will accelerate and evolve the level of research currently being done with manifold improvement in output and efficiency. This new facility is likely to ready for use in three to four months.
National Supercomputing Mission(NSM) is being carry out by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity) with an estimated cost of Rs. 4,500 crore.

NGT directs CPCB to prepare a noise pollution map
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), to prepare a noise pollution map and remedial action plan to solve the issue across the country.
A bench headed by National Green Tribunal Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the CPCB to identify noise pollution hotspots and categories cities with specified hotspots and propose a remedial action plan within three months.
According to NGT, the absence of implementation of noise pollution norms affects health of citizens, especially infants and senior citizens.

Guinea PM arrives in Delhi on ten day visit to India
Prime Minister of Guinea Dr. Ibrahima Kassory Fofana has arrived in New Delhi on a ten day official visit to India. During the visit, Mr. Fofana will call on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
He will also have a meeting with Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu. Mr. Fofana will address the inaugural session of 14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Partnership Project in New Delhi.
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh will call on the visiting dignitary. The Guinean Prime Minister will also attend programme in Vishakhapatnam.

March 18

India, Afghanistan collaborate on digital education initiatives, rope in IITs to design programs
The Ministry Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU of) with the Afghanistan Government to collaborate on Digital Education Initiatives, which include many prominent programs developed by Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) at IIT Madras.
One of the main objectives of the MOU is to facilitate students and faculty from Afghanistan to enroll and learn from the courses offered on Swayam, which will expose them to latest technology courses and also up skill them in areas of their interest.
Among the other initiatives envisaged by this MoU is the sharing and access with the Higher Educational Institutions of Afghanistan of various Indian facilities such as the National Digital Library of India (NDLI), VIRTUAL LABS, Spoken tutorials for Higher Educational Institutions of Afghanistan and sharing of experience and participation of Higher Educational Institutions of Afghanistan on Robotic projects and symposiums held under e-Yantra.
The MoU will facilitate assisting the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to carry out the curriculum development process including sharing of curriculum developed by MHRD.

Govt sets up inter-ministerial panel for monitoring, sanctioning of projects
The Government of India has formed an inter-ministerial panel for monitoring, sanctioning and implementation of projects under the Rs. 10,000 crore Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-II) programme, aimed at incentivizing clean mobility.

This committee will be chaired by the secreatry in the department of Heavy Industries, Dr. A.R. Singh.
The programme under the second phase of the FAME India scheme will be implemented over a period of 3 years with effect from 1st April 2019.
It will support 7,090 e-buses with an incentive of up to Rs. 50 lakh each having ex-factory price of up to Rs. 2 crore.
The scheme will have a Rs. 1,500 crore outlay in 2019-20; Rs. 5,000 crore in 2020-21 and Rs. 3,500 crore in 2021-22. It will cover buses with EV technology; electric, plug-in hybrid and strong hybrid four wheelers; electric three-wheelers including e-rickshaws and electric two-wheelers.
It also plans to support for setting up of charging infrastructure whereby about 2,700 charging stations will be set up in metropolitan cities, other million-plus cities, smart cities and cities of hilly states across India.

PM Modi launches ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign for 2019 elections
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign calling everyone who was fighting corruption, social evils and working hard for the progress of India, as watchmen.
Prime Minister also shared a 3.45 minute video titled “Take The Pledge“, urging people to join Modi on March 31 at 6 p.m. for a video programme titled ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar”.
BJP has also started a unique tech innovation called conversation cards on twitter for this campaign where people will get a personalized message from PM on Twitter on participating in this campaign.

Second Scorpene submarine Khanderi ready for induction
According to Defence source, The Navy is set to induct the second Scorpene submarine Khanderi by early May.
The remaining submarines in the series are in advanced stages of manufacturing and trials.
Also, the fourth submarine Vela is ready to be launched into the water for trials around the same time depending on the ocean tide.
Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai, is manufacturing six Scorpene submarines under technology transfer from Naval Group of France under a 2005 contract worth USD 3.75 bn.

March 19

India Post releases ‘Special Stamp Cover on Ice Stupas'
Chief Postmaster General Jammu and Kashmir Circle P.D.Tshering in presence of Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL) founder Sonam Wangchuk released a “special cover on Ice Stupa”.
On the occasion Leh Municipal Committee President Dr Ishey Namgyal, Army Officers, HIAL team, Postal department staff and Ganglas villagers were present.
The team plans to build more such artificial glaciers (Ice Stupas) in Leh, so that problem related to water supply, faced by Ladakh farmers due to receding of glaciers, can be reduced.
About 12 villages across Ladakh have built Ice Stupas on experimental basis and on 22nd March, ‘World Water Day’ will be celebrated at Ice Stupa at Shara, where teams from other villages, who have built Ice Stupas, will be felicitated.

33rd Edition of India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (Ind-Indo Corpat) Commences at Port Blair
The 33rd edition of the India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (Ind-Indo Corpat) was started on March 19, 2019 and will continue till 4th April 2019 at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands in order to enhance interoperability and strengthen existing bonds of friendship between India and Indonesia. He closing ceremony will be held at Belawan, Indonesia.
Under this both countries’ ship and aircraft would undertake patrolling of 236 nautical miles long International Maritime Boundary line on the respective sides.
The Indian Navy, Commodore Ashutosh Ridhorkar, VSM Naval Component Commander, Andaman and Nicobar Command are led the Indian delegation.
The Indonesian side led by Cmde Dafit Santoso. It is also a part of the Indian Government’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), for assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region.

Centre's nod to name change of Nagaland village
The Union Home Ministry has approved the changing of name of the Old Mangkhi village in Tuensang of Nagaland to Mungankhun village.
The central government has given its ‘no-objection’ to renaming of 22 villages, towns and railway stations across the country since December 2017.
About 10 proposals received from the state governments for change of names of villages are pending in the home ministry.

Sr. No.
Old Name
New Name
District / State
1 Arikkod Areekode Malappura, Kerala
2 Laxman Garh Adawala Rajasamand, Rajasthan
3 Landgewadi Narsinhagaon Sangali, Maharashtra
4 Samphur Sanphure Kiphire, Nagaland
5 Pindari Pandu Pindara Jind (Haryana)
6 Robertsganj railway station Sonbhadra Uttar Pradesh
7 Gulbarga railway station Kalaburagi Karnataka
8 Panki railway station Panki Dham Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
9 Ismailpur Pichanwa Khurd Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan
10 Miyon Ka Bara Maheshnagar Barmer, Rajasthan
11 Mughal Sarai railway station Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya junction Uttar Pradesh
12 Narpara Narpura Jalore, Rajasthan
13 Kalloor Vadakkum Muri Kadukutty Trichur, Kerala
14 Nagar Untari Shri Banshidhar Nagar Jharkhand
15 Tilda railway station Tilda-Neora Raipur, Chhattisgarh
16 Nakti Nayanpur Satna, Madhya Pradesh
17 Pallikkara II Kottikulam Kasaragod, Kerala
18 Rasuiya Bhatan Radheynagar Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh
19 Birshingpur Pali Maa Birasini Dham Umaria, Madhya Pradesh
20 Todi Kheri Sarna Kheri Jind, Haryana
21 Nagewadi
Nagnathnagar Sangli, Maharashtra
22 Khizrabad Pratap Nagar Yamunanagar, Haryana

March 20

Government clears procurement of 10 lakh hand grenades for Indian Army through Make in India programme
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has cleared the proposal to procure 10 lakh hand grenades for the Indian Army under its Make in India programme. A high-level meeting chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman cleared the proposal.
The newly manufactured hand grenades will replace the existing HE-36 grenades that have been manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The project worth more than Rs. 500 core.
Recently, the government also signed a contract worth Rs. 700 crore for procurement of 70,000 Sig Sauer assault rifles with a US manufacturer. A JV has also been formed with Russia to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles.

March 21

Project Saamrath aims to train 10 lakh personnel
The Rubber Skill Development Council (RSDC) has launched Project Samarth, which is aimed at skilling, up skilling and rescaling 10 lakh personnel involved in the rubber sector, by 2020.
The training is being provided under the Recognition of Prior Learning Scheme of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana across natural rubber plantations, type services and rubber manufacturing.
The training is provided for jobs such as Latex Harvest Technician (tapper), Rubber Nursery General Worker, Rubber Processing Technician - Rubber Sheeting and General Worker Rubber Plantation, among others.

March 22

Yasin Malik's Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Banned Under Anti-Terror Law
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) banned separatist Yasin Malik’s Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) under the anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
Yasin Malik lead JKLF is creating a separatist ideology in the Kashmir Valley. It has been doing its separatist activities and violence since 1988.
In accordance with the policy of zero tolerance against terrorism the Centre decided to ban JKLF. It has been creating hatred against the government as well as the armed rebellion.
UAPA aims to prevent unlawful activities association in India and to provide necessary powers to the investigating agencies to act against activities directed against the nation.

Terror Camps On India-Myanmar Border Destroyed
When the nation's attention was focussed on the Balakot air strike, Indian Army in a joint operation with Myanmaerese Army destroyed 10 camps belonging to an insurgent group in Myanmar which had threatened the Kaladan multi-mode transit project.
Operation Sunrise was a mega task in which Arakan army, an insurgent outfit of Kachin Independent Army (KIA) backed by China, was targeted.
The camps were destroyed inside Myanmar with active support of the Indian Army in an intense operation lasting over 10 days.
The Army provided hardware and equipment to Myanmar for the operation while it mobilized massive forces on the border.

March 23

India extends financial aid to Nepal for campus building
India extended a financial grant of 35.5 million Nepalese rupees to Nepal for the construction of an educational campus to boost the learning environment of the students. The educational campus was jointly inaugurated by District Coordination Committee and Campus management committee on 22nd March 2019.
It was made under the Development Partnership Programme which is administered by the Development Administration Partnership division of the Ministry of External Affairs.
The building was constructed at Siddheshwar Education Public Campus in Ramechhap district. It consists of 12 class rooms, meeting hall, laboratory room and a library.

Spice Jet becomes first Indian low-cost airline to join IATA
Spice Jet has joined global airlines' grouping IATA as a member, becoming the first Indian low-cost carrier to get the membership. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents more than 290 airlines, including Air India, Jet Airways and Vistara.
The membership would help Spice Jet, which has ambitious expansion plans, to have code shares and agreements with other carriers,
Spice Jet is the first Indian low-cost carrier to be an IATA member, and our fifth member in India.

Indian Air Force to participate in LIMA 2019
Indian Air Force will participate in Langkawi International Maritime Aero Expo, LIMA 2019.
The expo will take place in Langkawi, Malaysia from 26th to 30th of this month. Indian Air Force is participating in the Expo for the first time and it will showcase its indigenously developed LCA fighter aircraft.
It will provide an opportunity to air-warriors to interact with their Royal Malaysian Air Force counterparts and foster close relationship between the two services.
This will also serve as a foundation for any future interaction with the Malaysian Air Force.

Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport 12th busiest in the world
The nation capital’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has now become the world’s 12th busiest airport, moving up four places from the 16th spot in 2017.
According to the preliminary world airport traffic rankings for 2018 released by the Airports Council International (ACI), it over took mega-hubs like Frankfurt, Dallas Forth Worth, Guangzhou and Istanbul Ataturk airports.
India became the world’s third-largest aviation market in terms of passenger throughput, behind the US and China, in 2018.
The ACI’s World Airport Traffic Forecasts also predicts the country will represent the third largest aviation market in terms of passenger throughput after the US and China by 2020.

March 24

NITI Aayog to organize FinTech Conclave 2019
NITI Aayog is organizing a day-long FinTech Conclave at Dr. Ambedkar International Center, New Delhi. The conclave, to be inaugurated by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das.
The objective is to shape India's continued ascendancy in FinTech, build the narrative for future strategy and policy efforts, and to deliberate steps for comprehensive financial inclusion.
The conclave will host more than 300 representatives from the leading financial institutions, including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, SBI Card, and Tata Capital etc.

March 25

Artificial Intelligence, Yoga to be part of CBSE curriculum for 2019-20 session
The CBSE is set to introduce Artificial Intelligence (AI), Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE), and Yoga as skill subjects in the school curriculum for the coming academic session.
The decision to introduce the subjects was notified by the board through a circular earlier this month. While AI is to be introduced as an optional sixth subject for Class IX, ECCE and Yoga are to be introduced as elective subjects at senior secondary level.

March 26

Indian Navy’s maiden nuclear, biological and chemical training facility inaugurated in Lonavla
The state of the art Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Training Facility (NBCTF) named ABHEDYA of Indian Navy has been commissioned at INS Shivaji, Lonavla in Mumbai by Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM AVSM ADC, Chief of the Naval Staff.
It will provide training to naval personnel in detection, protection against and decontamination of nuclear, biological and chemical agents.
Admiral Lanba also released the platinum jubilee logo, with the theme "Propelling the Indian Navy since 1945", for the premier technical training establishment. 

Government notifies Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules 2019
The Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry has notified the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 to promote clinical research in the country.
The new rules will change the regulatory landscape for the approval of new drugs and conduct of clinical trials in the country.
These rules will apply to all new drugs, investigational new drugs for human use, clinical trial, bioequivalence study and Ethics Committee. It has reduced the time for approving applications to 30 days for drugs manufactured in India and 90 days for those developed outside the country.
The requirement of a local clinical trial may be waived for approval of a new drug if it is approved and marketed in any of the countries to be specified by the Drugs Controller General with the approval of the government.

Alcohol bottles to carry health warnings from April 1
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed Food Business Operators to put the warnings “Drinking is injurious to health" and "Be safe-Don't drink and drive" on the labels from April 1.
All manufacturers of alcoholic beverages will have to follow the FSSAI directive and ensure the bottles come etched with the warning prominently. Alcoholic beverages are also regulated under the food safety Act.

March 27

Union Cabinet apprised about several pacts signed With Foreign Countries
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi was apprised about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed in February with various countries in the field of Housing, youth affairs and earth sciences.
The MoU signed between India and Morocco for cooperation on youth matters. The MoU will strengthen and encourage cooperation between the two countries on youth matters. And also to promote exchange of information and technical cooperation in the field of Housing and Human Settlement.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between India and Argentine in February 2019 on Antarctic Cooperation to help Scientific Cooperation on projects in the field of Earth Sciences. It will also help in the protection and conservation of Antarctica and Southern Oceans.
India and Saudi Arabia for cooperation in the field of Housing. It will promote technical cooperation between both the countries including affordable / low income housing.
India and Republic of Korea on Startup Cooperation. It will facilitate and promote bilateral cooperation between the startups of both countries.
India and Indonesia on combating illicit trafficking on narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and its precursors.

Cabinet approves creation of additional posts of 3 Judicial Members and 3 Technical Members in NCLAT
Union Cabinet approved the creation of additional posts of 3 Judicial Members and 3 Technical Members in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
The posts will be created in Level 17 which is equal to Rs 2, 25,000 as fixed plus allowances as admissible. The total financial involvement will be Rs 2, 27, 82,096.
It will ensure the time frame for disposal of cases and will also meet the mandate provided to NCLAT by the Finance Act, 2017, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 and the Companies Act 2013.

Vijayawada Railway Station Gets 'Gold Rating' For Green Measures
Vijayawada railway station, one of the busiest railway junctions in the country, has received Gold Rating by the Indian Green Building Council.
Council Chairman Meka Vijaya Sai presented the gold rating shield to Divisional Railway Manager R Dhananjayulu.
Vijayawada Railway Station was ranked fourth in the Indian Railways for cleanliness among A-1 category stations.
The station boasts of 100 per cent LED lighting, five star rated fans, pumps and motors and solar water heating systems.

First Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu (8485m) flagged off
First Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu (8485m) comprising five Officers, two JCOs and eleven OR was flagged off by Director General Military Training.
In furtherance of the objective of summiting all challenging peaks above 8000M, Indian Army is launching its maiden expedition to Mt Makalu in Mar-May 2019.
Mt Makalu is considered amongst the most dangerous peaks and summiting the peak is considered extremely challenging due to inclement weather conditions and freezing temperatures.

March 28

Cabinet approved 5 year extension of Biomedical Research Career Programme
The Union Cabinet approved the extension of the Biomedical Research Career Programme and Welcome Trust (WT)/ DBT India Alliance beyond its initial 10-year term (2008-09 to 2018-29) to a new five year phase (2019-20 to 2023-24).
It is implemented by Department of Biotechnology and UK-based biomedical research charity – Welcome Trust.
It was launched in 2008 and has fulfilled its objectives of building and nurturing talent of highest global standards in cutting-edge biomedical research in India.
The total financial implication will be Rs 1092 crore with DBT and WT.
In this new phase, the programme will aim to strengthen clinical research and work for addressing important health challenges for India.

India-African Union sign MoU on strengthening cooperation in healthcare sector
India and the African Union signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish an India-Africa health sciences collaborative platform which is aimed to strengthen the cooperation in the health sector.
The MoU will pave the way for the cooperation in the areas of research and development, capacity building, health services, pharmaceutical trade and manufacturing capabilities for drugs and diagnostics.
The programme would focus on improved diagnostics for diseases which are regional priorities in India and Africa, by training and strengthening capacity of health professionals, researchers, regulators and industry staff.

India-US sign pact for exchange of reports to check tax evasion by MNCs 
India and the US signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement for exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) reports of multinational companies regarding income allocation and taxes paid to help check cross-border tax evasion.
This agreement for exchange of CBC reports, along with the Bilateral Competent Authority Arrangement, will enable both the countries to automatically exchange CBC reports filed by the ultimate parent entities of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in the respective jurisdictions, pertaining to the years commencing on or after January 1, 2016, a Finance Ministry statement.
The agreement was signed by Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman P C Mody and US' ambassador to India Kenneth Juster. 

UGC bans distance learning degree programmes in agriculture
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has prohibited imparting distance degree programmes in agriculture. The decision was taken by the higher education regulator.
A degree programme in agriculture is technical in nature as it requires practical or laboratory courses. The Union agriculture ministry had referred the matter to the commission.
As per UGC Open and Distance Learning Regulations, 2017, professional programmes (like medicine, engineering, architecture, nursing, dental, pharmacy and physiotherapy) are not permitted to be offered in distance mode.

March 29

Five coffee varieties get GI tag
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India has recently awarded Geographical Indication (GI) to five varieties of Indian coffee.
While Coorg Arabica coffee is grown specifically in Kodagu district of Karnataka, Wayanad Robusta coffee is from Wayanad district in east Kerala, Chikmagalur Arabica coffee from Chikmagalur district in Deccan plateau of Karnataka, Araku Valley Arabica coffee from hilly tracks of Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha region, and Bababudangiris Arabica coffee from central portion of Chikmagalur district.
In India, coffee is cultivated in about 4.54 lakh hectares by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers of which 98% are small farmers. Coffee cultivation is mainly done in the Southern States of India Karnataka 54%, Kerala 19% and Tamil Nadu 8%.
Coffee is also grown in non-traditional areas like Andhra Pradesh and Odisha (17.2%) and North East States (1.8%).

1,000 railway stations in India are now Wi-Fi enabled
Rail Tel Corporation of India Limited under the Ministry of Railways has completed the work of turning 1,000 railway stations across India into free Wi-Fi zones.
Rail Tel started the project in January 2016 from Mumbai Central station in Maharashtra. It was the first station to have the fast and free Rail Wire Wi-Fi and in a span of two years and three months, Rail Tel has completed 1000 stations.
Rail Tel envisages expanding the network in more stations in near future. Recently Rail Tel has roped in Tata Trust for providing Wi-Fi at remaining 4791 B, C, D and E category stations across the country.

March 30

Second joint logistics node operational at Navy base in Mumbai
The second joint logistics node of tri-services has become operational at naval base in Mumbai, Maharashtra to enhancing interoperability, improve maintenance of military assets and provide logistical support to all the defence services.
In a first, a joint logistics node has been set up at the tri-services command in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, which will provide logistical support to all three defence services. The move aims to improve utilization of resources, manpower and remove duplication. 
The third joint logistics node will only be among Army and Air Force and is likely to set up at Guwahati, Assam.
The logistics and maintenance of three forces had been done separately, but now they have been brought under one common framework at Mumbai, where Navy is the lead force.

GAIL, BHEL sign pact for development of solar power projects
State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd has signed an agreement with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) for cooperation in the development of solar power projects.
GAIL shall be the project developer and BHEL shall act as an engineering, procurement, construction and project management contractor.
BHEL shall also provide operation and maintenance services during the initial period upon becoming successful bidder.
This development will help both the companies to leverage their competitive strengths to build a substantial portfolio in solar power projects.

Government declares next census of India in 2021
The Home Ministry announced the next census of India will be carried out in 2021 with March 1 of that year as the reference date.
The decision has been taken by the central government under the powers conferred by section 3 of the Census Act, 1948 (37 of 1948).
For Jammu and Kashmir and snowbound non-synchronous areas of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the reference date shall be the first day of October 2020. India's last census was carried out in 2011 when the country's population stood at 121 crore.

March 31

Multi-disciplinary monitoring group will help end terrorism in J&K
Multi-disciplinary terror monitoring group (MDTMG) has been set up by the Government to ensure synergized and collective action against terror financing and terror-related activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The terror monitoring group will have representatives from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Intelligence Bureau, CBI, NIA, and Income Tax Department.
It will also take action against hardcore sympathizers among government employees, including teachers, who are providing covert or overt support to terror activities.
The Additional director general of police (ADGP) CID of JK Police will head the group which will meet on a weekly basis.

GRSE becomes 'first' Indian shipyard to deliver 100 warships 
State-owned Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) has become the “first Indian shipyard” to build and deliver 100 warships.
The 100th warship ‘IN LCU L-56’ has been handed over to the Indian Navy.
IN LCU L-56 is the sixth of an order of eight such vessels from the Indian Navy.
GRSE had handed over its 99th warship, ‘ICGS Priyadarshini’, an advanced ‘Fast Patrol Vessel’ to the Indian Coast Guard.

NTPC-Simhadri setting up floating solar power plant
NTPC-Simhadri here is setting up a 25 MW floating solar power plant in its water storage reservoir as part of the company’s efforts to diversify into the solar segment.
NTPC-Simhadri was also setting up a flue-gas desulphurization plant (FGD) like the other thermal stations of the company.
NTPC-Simhadri had four units (500 MW each) and the plant was operating at 70.98 plant load factor (PLF) this year as against 67.2% in 2018.