News

  • The Chairman Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) & Secretary Department of Space, Dr K Sivan called on Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space Dr Jitendra Singh here today.

  • Students across the world will now be able to pursue the education in prominent Indian Educational Institutions. In another ground breaking initiative of HRD Ministry, Union External Affairs Minister, Smt Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for HRD, Dr. Satya Pal Singh jointly launched the Study in India programme of HRD Ministry by launching the  ‘Study in India’ portal (www.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu said that India must equip farmers with knowledge, insights and products. He was addressing the Valedictory Session of the One Day State Level Workshop on Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture for Doubling of Farmer’s Income” organized by the Government of Manipur and the Central Agricultural University, in Imphal, Manipur today.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, graced and addressed the sixth convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, today (April 18, 2018).

     

    Speaking on the occasion, the President referred to recent reports of the brutalisation and killing of a girl child in the state.

  • Minister of State of MSME Shri Giriraj Singh delivers his address at the UdyamSamvad  Workshop.

     

    The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) organised UdyamSamvad Workshop today in which eleven sessions were held with different ministries and financial organizations like Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), SIDBI, ASSOCHAM, CII,FICCI,FISME, PHD Chamber of Commerce and MSME Foundation.

  • The first meeting of National Council on India's Nutrition Challenges under POSHAN Abhiyaan was held today in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. The Council which has been set up under POSHAN Abhiyaan is the apex body to formulate overall policies, guide and monitor all nutrition based schemes.

  • At the invitation of Prime Minister Theresa May, the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi visited the United Kingdom (UK) as a Guest of Government on 18 April 2018. The two leaders held wide-ranging and constructive discussions and underlined our strategic partnership and growing convergence on regional and international issues.

  • As a part of the ‘Swachhata Pakhwada’ being observed from 16thto 30th April 2018, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs organized todaya Swachhata Awareness Programme in Bharti Public SchoolSwasthya Vihar, which is also the winner of the 52nd Youth Parliament Competition 2017-18.

  • Army athletes were part of the Indian contingent which has brought laurels for the nation, during the recently concluded Commonwealth Games. Army personnel got a haul of three Gold, three Silver and four Bronze Medals although they were expected to do better.

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently inaugurated a railway line and passenger train service in the insurgency-infested Kanker district in North Bastar, Chhattisgarh. The much-awaited railway line, which connects Dallirajhara in Balod district to Bhanupratappur in North Bastar was flagged off by the Prime Minister via video-conferencing on the birth anniversary of the architect of Constitution Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at village Jangla in Bijapur district.

  •            The India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) organized a 2-day Consultative Workshop for the Delegation from the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Kazakhstan from April 16-17, 2018 at Nirvachan Sadan, Election Commission of India, New Delhi.

  • As part of the ongoing massive IAF exercise ‘Gaganshakti-2018', fighters, helicopters and transport assets have been deployed at the Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG). The ALGs are short prepared / unprepared airstrips close to the borders in the valleys, which have limited rail/road connectivity due to challenging terrain.

  • ISRO Chairman briefs Dr Jitendra Singh about upcoming Moon mission 'Chandrayan-2'

  • Union Minister for Labour and Employment, Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar today called for special drive for increasing the registration and to stream line welfare benefit delivery mechanism so as to ensure that all the Building and other Construction (BOC) workers get their benefit.

  • As per the decision of the GST Council, e-Way Bill system for all inter-State movement of goods has been rolled out from 01st April, 2018. As on 15th April, 2018, e-Way Bill system for intra-State movement of goods has been rolled out in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that there is a need to create health coverage schemes that provide widest coverage to the young, aged and infirm and those suffering from both critical acute and chronic ailments.

  • The 1st regional workshop on star rating of garbage- free cities, organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in collaboration with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) was inaugurated by Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament in the presence of Sh. Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA.

  • To involve the districts more actively in the growth of the Indian economy and to formulate a common development vision starting from the district level, through a participatory mechanism, it has been decided by Union Commerce & Industry Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu that District Plan will be created for achieving this goal.

  • “Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities (GITC), 2018” will be held in New Delhi during 8th to 11th November, 2018. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Rehabilitation International Korea here yesterday.

  • Today in Stockholm, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the Prime Minister of Finland Juha Sipilä, the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and the Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven held a Summit hosted by the Swedish Prime Minister and the Indian Prime Minister.



  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with his British Counterpart Theresa May in London today on redefining and infuse new energy into...




  • On Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to be held tomorrow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British Counterpart Theresa May agreed on the im...




  • The CBI has arrested three accused, including the promoter and Managing Director of a Gujarat-based company, Diamond Power Infrastructure Ltd, in over...



  • The Government today launched the ‘Study in India’ initiative to attract international students to study in India. The website of Study in India can be accessed at www.studyinindia.gov.in.



  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has introduced an updated 'QR code' to provide an extra layer of privacy to Aadhaar. It holds non-sensitive details, such as name, address, photo, and date of birth, and can be used for offline user verification without the 12-digit ID number.



  • US President Donald Trump has said, his administration has begun high-level direct talks with North Korean counterparts ahead of the first-ever bilateral summit.



  • The International Monetary Fund, IMF has said that India is expected to grow at 7(point)4 per cent in 2018 and 7(point)8 per cent in 2019 and would re-emerge as one of the fastest growing major economies in the period.



  • The National Investigation Agency, NIA, has arrested Indian Mujahideen operative Ariz Khan, alias Junaid, who is accused of 2005 serial blasts in Delhi.



  • In the IPL match, Kolkata Knight Riders won the toss and opted to field against Rajasthan Royals at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur today.


  • Flights, train services and traffic in Kolkata were severely hit too due to thunderstorm and the strong winds. Of the 15 killed, four each died in Kolkata and Howrah districts. One death was reported from Bankura and another from Hooghly.

     

    Services at the Kolkata airport were affected for over an hour and a half with flights bound for Delhi, Bhubaneswar and Agartala taking off late.

     

    At least 40 incidents of trees uprooting were reported in Kolkata. Trees also fell on cars on Red Road and Southern Avenue area. Traffic was disrupted on Strand Road and surrounding areas after trees fell.

  • Later, BJP chief visited the renowned Kannada writer, historian and scholar M Chidanand Murthy ji's home in Vijayanagar and Siddalingaiah in Bengaluru, where he  received his valuable inputs for BJP's manifesto to build a Nava Karnataka.

     

    His other engagements include a road show in Hoskote, address to Shakti Kendra Pramukhs and interaction with trade and industry leaders.

     

    Addressing a function, BJP Chief Amit Shah slammed Congress for coining the term 'Hindu Terror'.. He said that the Congress leaders should apologise to the nation on this issue..

     

    He also expressed hope that BJP will form next government in Karnatka.
     

  • Talking to media persons, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that unlike UPA regime, actions are being taken by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

     

    He said that Prime Minister Modi has made government's stand very clear and said that actions will be taken against the culprits in rape case.

     

    He also said that former Prime Minister Mamohan Singh should not campare his regime with the current government under Prime Minister Modi.  

  • President presented Gold medals and PhD degrees to students.

     

    Addressing the function President said protection of a child is society's first priority.

     

    Henious crime against girls even after 70 years of independence is a matter of shame.

  • They said that the casualties might go up as many more people were trapped inside the vehicle.

     The injured were admitted to the district hospital.

    Expressing deep sorrow over the accident, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced an assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the injured, the district collector said.

    The mini-truck fell off the Jogdaha bridge near Amelia in Bahri police station area of the district, he said.

    The vehicle fell about 60-70-foot down onto the dry river bed. Efforts were on to pull out the truck. The site is about 42 km from the Sidhi district headquarters, he said. Both the district collector and the district police chief reached the spot and were supervising the rescue operation, the officials added. 

  • Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri laid the wreath.

    A large number of people from Muslim community of Nepal, media persons and officers of Indian embassy also attended the ceremony. 

    Begum Hazrat Mahal was one of the earliest Indian female freedom fighters. She was the wife of Awadh's Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and fought against the British East India Company during the 1857 mutiny. The British attacked Awadh repeatedly and forced her to retreat. She refused to accept any kind of favours and allowances offered by the British rulers.

    Finally, Begum Hazrat Mahal sought asylum in Nepal, where she died on 7 April, 1879. Her tomb is situated in the central Kathmandu near Jame Masjid.

  • The social network, which has been rocked by disclosures about hijacking of personal data on tens of millions of its users, said it will start implementing "new privacy experiences" to comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which become effective May 25.

    "Everyone -- no matter where they live -- will be asked to review important information about how Facebook uses data and make choices about their privacy on Facebook," said a statement from chief privacy officer Erin Egan and deputy general counsel Ashlie Beringer.  "We'll begin by rolling these choices out in Europe this week."

    Under the new policy, Facebook users will be asked to review and make choices about ads they receive, including whether they want Facebook to use data from third parties. Facebook users will also be asked to review and choose what to share about the political, religious, and relationship information on their profiles. Additionally, users will be allowed to opt in or out of use of facial recognition technology.

    The statement said users will be told that facial recognition is optional, but that it could offer some benefit, such as being notified when someone is using an unauthorized picture. "We not only want to comply with the law, but also go beyond our obligations to build new and improved privacy experiences for everyone on Facebook," Egan and Beringer wrote.

    The news comes a week after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg faced 10 hours of questioning in two congressional panels following revelations that personal data was harvested on 87 million users by Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy working for Donal Trump's 2016 campaign. Zuckerberg testified that Facebook intends to offer the same privacy protections embodied in GDPR for its worldwide users, but that there could be some differences in format.

    Egan and Beringer said Facebook users in the EU will start seeing the requests this week so they can make choices before May 25. "As part of our phased approach, people in the rest of the world will be asked to make their choices on a slightly later schedule," they said.

    They added that Facebook would take steps to comply with the EU rules that limit advertising and public viewing of data for teens. This will mean no use of facial recognition for anyone under age 18 and limitations on who can see certain information teens have shared. To comply with GDPR, Facebook will also limit what it shows to users between the ages of 13 and 15 unless they get permission from a parent. 

     

  • The research also showed that children were exposed to twice as much unhealthy food advertising as healthy food advertising.

    Researchers from University of Adelaide in Australia found that children would view more than 800 junk food ads each year, if they watched 80 minutes of television per day.

    By building a TV monitoring system, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, researchers were able to capture an entire year's worth of television and ads from one free-to-air commercial TV network in South Australia.

    "This is the most robust data we've seen anywhere. It is the largest dataset ever used by health researchers for examining food advertising in Australia, and probably the world," said Lisa Smithers, associate professor at University of Adelaide.

    "Most research in this area is based on only a few days of data, and there are no Australian studies taking seasonality into account," said Smithers, who led the study published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

    Thirty thousand hours of television containing more than 500 hours of food advertisements - almost 1,00,000 food ads - were logged during 2016. Snack foods, crumbed or battered meats, takeaway or fast food and sugary drinks were among the most frequently advertised foods. During children's peak viewing times, the frequency and duration of "discretionary" (ie junk) food advertising was 2.3 times higher each hour than for healthy foods.

    Across the year, discretionary food advertising peaked at 71 per cent of all food advertising in January, dropping to a low of 41 per cent in August. There is also no process for routine, independent monitoring of children's exposure to food advertising, researchers said.

  • The findings showed that smoking, high alcohol and caffeine intake, diet, obesity, and malnutrition in either or both parents, potentially increases a child’s lifelong risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, immune and neurological diseases.

    The research emphasises the need for greater awareness of preconception health and improved guidance, with a greater focus on diet and nutrition to improve the health of future generations.

    “Research is now showing that our gametes and early embryos are sensitive to a variety of environmental conditions including poor parental diet. These effects can change the process of development, affecting growth, metabolism, and health of offspring, so makes the case for both parents to have a healthy lifestyle well before conception and pregnancy,” said Tom Fleming, Professor at the University of Southampton.

    Maternal obesity is thought to enhance levels of inflammation and hormones, which can directly alter the development of the egg and embryo. This, in turn, boosts the odds of chronic disease later in life.

    In men, being obese leads to poor sperm quality, quantity, and motility associated with many of the same conditions.

    “The preconception period is a critical time when parental health — including weight, metabolism and diet — can influence the risk of future chronic disease in children, and we must now re-examine public health policy to help reduce this risk,” said Judith Stephenson, Professor from the University College of London.

    “While the current focus on risk factors such as smoking and excess alcohol intake is important, we also need new drives to prepare nutritionally for pregnancy in both parents,” Stephenson added.

    The results were based in part on two new analyses of women of reproductive age – 18 to 42 – in the UK and Australia.

    The team also found that women are often not “nutritionally prepared” for pregnancy. Some 96 per cent of the women, for example, had iron and folate intakes below the recommended levels, 14.8 milligrams and 400 micrograms per day, respectively.

    Adjusting diet after a pregnancy has begun is often not good enough to fundamentally improve child health, the researchers said.

    They propose that behaviour change interventions, supplementation, and fortification starting in adolescence, by schools could help young adults prepare for healthy parenthood in the future.

     

  • In 1982, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) announced, 18 April as the "World Heritage Day", approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983, with the aim of enhancing awareness of the importance of the cultural heritage of humankind, and redouble efforts to protect and conserve the human heritage.

    At present, Italy leads with 53 sites followed by China with 52 sites. In India, there are 36 sites that have been declared as World Heritage. From Kaziranga in Assam to the Valley of Flowers National Parks in Uttarakhand, India has a range of parks, monuments, wildlife sanctuaries, religious structures and mountains in the list.

     

    Cultural (28)

    • Agra Fort (1983)
    • Ajanta Caves (1983)

     

    • Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda, Bihar(2016)
    • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)
    • Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)
    • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)
    • Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)
    • Elephanta Caves (1987)
    • Ellora Caves (1983)
    • Fatehpur Sikri (1986)
    • Great Living Chola Temples (1987,2004)
    • Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)
    • Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)
    • Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)
    • Hill Forts of Rajasthan (2013)

     

    • Historic City of Ahmadabad (2017)
    • Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (1993)
    • Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)
    • Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002)
    • Mountain Railways of India (1999,2005,2008)
    • Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)
    • Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (2014)
    • Red Fort Complex (2007)
    • Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)
    • Sun Temple, Konârak (1984)
    • Taj Mahal (1983)
    • The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016)
    • The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)

     

    Natural (7)

    • Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (2014)
    • Kaziranga National Park (1985)
    • Keoladeo National Park (1985)
    • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)

    • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988,2005)

    • Sundarbans National Park (1987)
    • Western Ghats (2012)
    •  

    Mixed (1)

    • Khangchendzonga National Park (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Over 60 athletes from over 20 nations took part in this year's annual event which takes place at Camp Barneo, known as North Pole Camp, which is located 49 kilometres from the top of the world.

    Runners braved conditions of - 33 degrees Celsius as well as contending with soft snow and small ice pressure ridges along the way.

    In the women's race, Gouping Xie of China came out on top of the 13 female competitors, while Australian runner Marcus Fillinger completed the race accompanied by two husky dogs, Druro and Blue, who become the first canines to complete the marathon.

    The North Pole Marathon returns next April.

    Results Men's Marathon :

    1. Argyrios Papathanasopoulos (GRE) 4:34:36

    2. Dmitri Voloshin (MDA) 5:03:26

    3. David Field (AUS) 5:03:34

     

    Results Women's Marathon:

    1. Guoping Xie (CHN) 6:43:20

    2. Joanna Medras (POL) 7:02:21

    3. Adriana Istrate (ROM) 7:19:51

     

  • The enzyme is able to digest polyethylene terephthalate, or PET - a form of plastic patented in the 1940s and now used in millions of tonnes of plastic bottles. PET plastics can persist for hundreds of years in the environment and currently pollute large areas of land and sea worldwide.

    Researchers from Britain's University of Portsmouth and U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory made the discovery while examining the structure of a natural enzyme thought to have evolved in a waste recycling centre in Japan.

    Finding that this enzyme was helping a bacteria to break down, or digest, PET plastic, the researchers decided to "tweak" its structure by adding some amino acids, said John McGeehan, a professor at Portsmouth who co-led the work.

    This led to a serendipitous change in the enzyme's actions - allowing its plastic-eating abilities to work faster.

    "We've made an improved version of the enzyme better than the natural one already," McGeehan said. "That's really exciting because that means that there's potential to optimise the enzyme even further."

    The team, whose finding was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, is now working on improving the enzyme further to see if they can make it capable of breaking down PET plastics on an industrial scale.

    "In the same way that washing power detergents were developed and made more stable, being able to work at high temperature or low temperatures, we're going to do the same with this enzyme and hopefully create something that we can use on an industrial scale," McGeehan said.

    Independent scientists not directly involved with the research said it was exciting news but cautioned that the enzyme's development as a potential solution for pollution was still at an early stage.

  • The motion gives a group of exiled judges in Colombia the green light to start investigations against Maduro originally brought forward by the country's former attorney general Luisa Ortega. They will review acccusations that Maduro reportedly accepted $50 million from Odebrecht to help fund his 2013 presidential campaign.

    The judges carrying out the proceedings called themselves Venezuela's "Supreme Court in Exile". The group is made up of judges who were appointed by the Assembly to the country's Supreme Court last year but who fled the country after Maduro accused them of treason.

    Odebrecht is at the centre of Latin America's biggest graft scandal. In 2016 it confessed that it orchestrated sophisticated kickback schemes across a dozen countries for more than a decade - landing elites in jail from Colombia to the Dominican Republic. Maduro has denied any involvement with the firm and dismissed the allegations as part of a smear campaign against him.

    Venezuelen National Assembly President Omar Barboza said, "The National Assembly can't stand by when someone (former attorney general Luisa Ortega) calls on a group of judges chosen by us or (calls on) any other private or public insititution to authorise a judicial process. Our authorisation doesn't condemn or absolve anybody, it simply allows for the investigation to continue, to hold the guilty parties to account for corruption. It would be a betrayal of the people's mandate that we have to not give the people's authorisation."

  • In its newly-released World Economic Outlook, the IMF said the global economy would grow 3.9 percent in 2018 and 2019, unchanged from its previous forecast in January.

    That forecast has been borne out by continuing strong performance in the euro area, Japan, China and the United States, all of which grew above expectations last year, according to the IMF.

    It also projected near-term improvements for several other emerging markets and developing economies including some recovery in commodity exporters. It says the accelerations in investment and trade will continue to power the world economy's upswing.

    Maurice Obstfeld, economic counselor and director of research at the IMF, said in a press conference in Washington D.C. that the world economy continues to show broad-based momentum, but the prospect of a similarly broad-based conflict over trade presents a jarring picture.

    He said the recent intensification of trade intense started in early March with the United States' announcement of its intent to levy steel and aluminum tariffs for national security reasons.

    While the United States has engaged in several bilateral negotiations to reduce U.S. trade deficits with individual trading partners, Obstfeld believes these initiatives will do little to change the overall U.S. external current account deficit.

    The overall U.S. external current account deficit "owes primarily to a level of aggregate U.S. spending that continues to exceed total income," he said.

    Obstfeld called for a "dependable and fair dispute resolution" within a strong rule-based multilateral framework to address intellectual property concerns and other "inequitable trade practices", adding that global interdependence will only continue to grow and unless countries face it in a spirit of collaboration, not conflict, the world economy cannot prosper.

     

  • A senior U.S. official confirmed that U.S. Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea over the Easter weekend and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

    The trip was first reported by the Washington Post, citing two people with direct knowledge of the trip.

    "We have had talks at the highest level. Well, let's leave it a little bit short of that, but we had talks at the highest level. And it is going very well, but we will see what happens," he said.

  • The announcement from world's biggest coffee company comes as it tries to cool tensions after the arrest of two black men at one of its Philadelphia cafes last week sparked accusations of racial profiling at the chain.

    Protesters have called for a boycott of the company.

    "I want to begin by offering a personal apology to the two gentlemen who were arrested in our store. What happened in the way that incident escalated and the outcome was nothing but reprehensible. And I'm sorry. I want to apologize to the community in Philadelphia and to all my Starbucks partners. This is not who we are, and it's not who we are going to be. We are going to learn from this, and we will be better for," said Starbucks Chief Executive Kevin Johnson.

    "While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution," he added.

  • The Ministry of External Affairs said, in keeping with the order of ICJ of 17 January this year, India has submitted its reply in the court.

    The Ministry said, it remains committed to making all possible efforts to secure and protects the rights of Kulbhusan Jadhav.

    India first approached the Court on 8th May last year for egregious violation of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 by Pakistan in the matter. 

    The Court had on 18 May last year indicated provisional measures as requested by India and passed an order obligating Pakistan to not carry out the sentence that was awarded Jadhav through a farcical trial by the Military Court of Pakistan.

  • In a tweet, Jaitley said, have reviewed the currency situation in the country.  Over all there is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the Banks. 

     

    The temporary shortage caused by 'sudden and unusual increase' in some areas is being tackled quickly.
     

    Even Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said the government has formed a committee to address the problem of currency shortage in certain states and the issue would be resolved in next 2-3 days.

     

    Finance Ministry has said that there was "unusually high demand" for currency in the last couple of months and this unusual spurt has been witnessed more in some parts of the country like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

     

    According to Finance Ministry, at present, there is a reserve of 1.75 lakh crore. There is a capability to print 25 million new notes every day, which can be extended and any demand can be met.

     

    The Government is taking every possible step to ensure that supply of cash remains constant at ATMs.
     

     

  • PM Modi was met with the customary handshake by May. "Very welcome to London, Prime Minister," PM May said as she greeted PM Modi. 

    The two leaders held talks over a breakfast meeting on a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including cross-border terrorism, visas and immigration. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the return of illegal immigrants, which had expired in 2014, will be officially renewed to take into account biometric and other developments in the field, along with a range of nearly a dozen MoUs across different sectors.

    Recalling the strong relationship which the two nations share, PM Modi has expressed confidence that his visit will take this relationship to new heights. In his pre-departure statement, PM Modi wrote,  "I will be focusing on enhancing India-UK partnership in the areas healthcare, innovation, digitization, electric mobility, clean energy, and cyber security. Under the theme of "Living Bridge", I will also have the opportunity to meet people from various walks of life who have enriched the multi-faceted India-UK relationship."

    PM Modi held one to one talks with British PM Theresa May and will also call on Queen Elizabeth II.  During this visit, a unique Indian community programme called 'Bharat ki baat, sab ke sath'.  This programme will be a LIVE interactive one where members of the Indian community will connect directly with him.

    In addition to bilateral meetings in London, PM Modi will attend CHOGM Summit on 19 and 20 April.

    UK is the host this time round taking over as the new Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth from Malta and the theme is "Our Common Future." During the summit, participating countries will share plans to meet challenges like Climate change, democracy and peace. Several bilateral agreements may also be inked with member nations.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the Commonwealth as a "unique multilateral grouping that not only provides useful assistance to its developing country members, particularly the small states and small-island developing states, but also has a strong international voice for development issues."

    Apart from this, PM Modi will has several other engagements in London.

    On Wednesday, PM Modi will visit an exhibition on 5000 years of science and innovation. 

    The premier will visit a Research Lab and will attend a meeting of the India-UK CEO Forum. He will also meet young award winning Indian innovators.

    On Thursday, Prime Minister Modi will call on Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace. This will be the first time since 2009 when any Indian Prime Minister will be part of the Commonwealth Summit

     

     

  • The DARPAN-PLI App will help in collection of premium for postal life insurance and rural postal life insurance policies at branch post offices anywhere in India, with online updation of the policies. 

    Speaking on the occasion, Sinha said, these initiative will help Department of Posts in providing better after-sales service to customers, particularly those living in rural areas of the country. 

    He said, with a view to achieve total digitisation of postal operations in the country, the department has launched Digital Advancement of Rural Post office for a new India (DARPAN) Project, which aims at connecting all one lakh 29 thousand Rural Branch Post Offices.

    The Hand-held devices installed under DARPAN Project will ensure improvement in the quality of Postal services being offered in remote rural areas. 

    Customers in these areas can now avail the facility of online Core Banking, booking of Registered and Speed Post articles, booking of Money Orders, deposit of Postal Life Insurance and Rural Postal Life Insurance premium through these hand-held devices.

  • He also directed them to take up new interventions in areas where the prevalence rate is high and to mount aggressive campaigns to enhance awareness on prevention and control of the disease along with de-stigmatising it.

    Nadda gave these instructions at a high-level meeting in New Delhi to review the status of the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) and the progress made under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP).

    Taking stock of the Tuberculosis Control Program, the minister urged all stakeholders to come together for an aggressive strategy for tuberculosis-free India by 2025.

    "There is an urgent need for creating awareness in the community," he said, adding that he was of the view that 'TB champions', who had survived the disease, be identified to raise awareness about it.

    He said TB awareness and case detection should be addressed through campaign mode and be made into a mass movement.

    The Union minister also directed the officers to conduct regular supervisory visits to various states for assessing the situation, preparedness and to provide on- the-spot technical guidance to state health authorities.

    The government recently rolled out the daily drug regimen for the treatment of TB under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) across all states under which patients are being given fixed drug combinations (FDCs), three or four drugs in a single pill, on a daily basis instead of thrice a week.

    According to the Health Ministry data, incidence of tuberculosis was estimated to be 217 per lakh population in 2015 which reduced to 211 per lakh population in 2016.

  • PM Modi met the leaders of the four Nordic countries on the sidelines of the India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm.

    Prime Minister Modi met Danish Premier Lars Lokke Rasmussen and held talks on renewing and enhancing cooperation.

    The two leaders expressed their mutual desire to take the relationship forward, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. After the bilateral meeting between PM Modi and Rasmussen, documents were exchanged between the two sides in areas of animal husbandry, dairying and urban development.

    Prime Minister Modi also had an excellent meeting with his Finnish counterpart Juha Sipila.

    The two leaders discussed enhancing cooperation in trade and investment, renewable energy, space, waste management, start-up and education, Kumar said.

    "Furthering India-Finland friendship...Prime Minister @juhasipila and PM @narendramodi had wide-ranging talks on expanding bilateral cooperation in areas such as science and energy," a tweet on the PMO Twitter handle said.

    PM Modi also met Iceland Premier Katrin Jakobsdottir on the sidelines of the India-Nordic Summit.

    "PM urged Icelandic companies to look at India as an investment destination in blue economy and geothermal energy and strengthen cooperation in education, tourism and culture," Kumar said of the meeting between the two leaders.

    The two leaders reviewed the full range of India-Iceland relations during their meeting today, the PMO said.

    Later, PM Modi also met his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg.

    "A wonderful meeting between PM @erna_solberg of Norway and PM @narendramodi. India values the deep-rooted friendship with Norway," a tweet on the PMO Twitter handle said.

    Prime Minister Modi had an engaging interaction with Nowegian Premier Erna Solberg on trade and investment, shipping and port-development, blue economy, renewable energy, health, IT and green transport solutions, Kumar said.

    Earlier, in the day, PM Modi held delegation-level talks with his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven on a wide range of issues. The Nordic countries comprise Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

  • The following FIR comes after a complaint with the Election Commission was registered by Karnataka BJP General Secretary N Ravikumar.

    BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa and MP Pratap Simha had criticised Dinesh Gundu Rao for his derogatory comments. BJP spokesperson Prakash S said that minister Rao should be booked in this regard.

  • The RBI also informed that printing of currency has been ramped up in all four note presses.

    The Department of Economic Affairs has also said, the government continues to have in stock adequate currency notes of all denominations including of 500, 200 and 100 rupees to meet any demand. 

    It also assured the people that there has been adequate supply of currency notes which have met entire demand so far and the Centre will be supplying adequate currency notes to meet even higher levels of demand if such demands were to continue in the coming days or months. 

    The Department also said the government is taking all steps to ensure that ATMs are supplied with cash and to get non-functional ATMs normalised at the earliest. 

    The government with the Reserve Bank of India has taken all steps to meet this unusual demand. 

    Later, briefing media in New Delhi, Secretary Department of Economic Affairs Subhash Chandra Garg said, Government prints about five hundred crore of 500 rupees notes per day and decision has been taken to raise the production by five times. 

  • PM Modi, who held talks with his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven earlier in the day, was welcomed by children in traditional Indian costume on his arrival at the Stockholm City Hall in Stockholm to attend the Roundtable Meeting with Swedish CEOs.

    "Stronger business relations between India and Sweden augur well for the people of our nations. Met a group of leading Swedish CEOs at the roundtable in Stockholm," PM Modi tweeted after he and Premier Lofven interacted with top Swedish business leaders.

    Prime Minister Modi exhorted top Swedish CEOs to invest in India and participate in flagship initiatives, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

    "Sweden remains a valued partner for the @makeinindia initiative. PM highlighted the various investment opportunities in India," a tweet on the PMO handle said.

    Carsten Gronblad, Sweden's trade commissioner to India, said around 30 CEOs or representatives of firms participated in the meeting.

    "One of the main message from the speakers was that they consider India as a very strategic market and that they would like to partner India meeting certain challenges.

    "If we look at Swedish investments, they are increasing over the last few years. Swedish companies have committed to invest USD 1.1 billion in India over the next two years," he said.

    The companies from Sweden have already invested USD 1.5 billion in India over the last three years, Gronblad said. This cumulative investment in India over a span of five years is more than that had been done over the last 20 years, he noted.

    The major investors would be the likes of Ikea, AstraZeneca and Volvo trucks, he said.

    India's exports to Sweden amounted to USD 710 million, while India's imports from the nordic country totaled USD 1,160 million in 2016-17.

  • As it looks to finalise a single-page return form for businesses under GST, the panel met in New Delhi on Tuesday about 40 industry representatives and 15 tax experts to discuss simplification of return filing process.

    Briefing reporters after the meeting of the Group of Ministers, Modi said a fusion model of return filing after incorporating stakeholder suggestion has been worked out, which will be placed before the GST Council for approval.

    "Till the simplified return filing process is finalised, GSTR-3B will continue," Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Modi said.

    The GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state counterparts, last month discussed on two models of GST returns and suggested that the GoM would discuss further simplification.

    One of the models presented before the council was provisional credit should not be granted unless the taxpayers file returns and pay taxes.

    The second model stated that provisional credit could be granted to a taxpayer, but returns have to be filed within 3-4 months and taxes have to be paid or else the credit amount would be reversed.

    After consulting the stakeholders, the GoM worked out a third model for return filing as per which credit could be extended once the invoice uploaded by the supplier is verified by the purchaser on the GSTN portal.

    Explaining the contours of the fusion model, an official said that the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is now working on mechanism to deal with instances of nonpayment of taxes even after availing credit.

    The official said the model, being drafted by the tax officers, would be to sent notices to taxpayer in case he fails to pay the due taxes seeking explanation, following which the credit could be reversed.

    Modi said there was unanimity in the GoM that businesses would have to file only one return every month, instead of GSTR-1, 2 and 3 as was conceived earlier.

    Also there was unanimity that there would be no system based matching and purchaser would have to verify the invoice uploaded by the seller.

    Modi said the model for simplified return filing that is being worked out would safeguard the interest of revenue to the exchequer, and avoid inconvenience to the taxpayers.

    As per the structure being worked out by the Centre and state officials as well as Nandan Nilekani, businesses having zero tax liability for six consecutive months may get to file returns only twice a year.

    The return filing date would be spread out and businesses having annual turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore will have to file return by 10th of next month, while others can file return by 20th.

    The number of returns filed by both small and large taxpayers would be 12 in a year, in place of 36 at present.

  • The prestigious prize was awarded to the Times team led by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and New Yorker contributor Ronan Farrow, for reports that disgraced the Hollywood mogul and sparked an avalanche of accusations against other powerful men.

    Since the Times and New Yorker articles last October, more than 100 women have publicly accused the producer of misconduct ranging from sexual harassment to rape, sparking the #MeToo movement that has seen a string of influential men lose their jobs and reputation.

    Weinstein's marriage has ended, he has been under police investigation in London, Los Angeles and New York, hit by a litany of civil lawsuits and his former production company has been forced to file for bankruptcy.

    Farrow, 30, is the son of actress Mia Farrow and film director Woody Allen, and something of a prodigy who has previously fronted his own television show, worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan for late US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, and formerly advised then Hillary Clinton on global youth issues when she was secretary of state.

    The former Rhodes scholar, who graduated from Yale Law School at just 21, has sided with his sister Dylan's claims that Allen molested her when she was seven. Allen has repeatedly denied the allegations. "So so so proud," tweeted Mia Farrow minutes after her son's award was announced. Ronan Farrow paid tribute to his co-winners and The New Yorker.

    "This moment gets called a reckoning, but we just started telling the truth about old abuses of power. Thanks to all who keep doing so," he wrote on Twitter to his nearly half a million followers.

    The 102th edition of the Pulitzer Prizes were announced at Columbia University in New York by administrator Dana Canedy at a time when the US news media still under assault from the White House for peddling "fake news."

    Canedy praised the winners but also counselled the media to do more to improve trust with a skeptical public and to work harder to include more varied gender and racial perspectives.

    The Washington Post won the Pulitzer in the investigative category for relentless reporting seen as having influenced the outcome of the 2017 Senate race in Alabama, revealing Republican candidate Roy Moore's alleged past sexual harassment of teenage girls.

    Moore's opponent Doug Jones won the race last December, becoming Alabama's first Democratic senator in 25 years and dealing a humiliating blow to President Donald Trump's Republican administration.

    The New York Times and The Washington Post shared the national reporting prize for furthering understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the connections between Russian actors and the Trump campaign, his transition team and administration, Canedy said.

    "Winners uphold the highest purpose of a free and independent press even in the most trying of times," she announced.

    "These courageous, inspiring and committed journalists and their news organisations are undaunted in their mission in support of the fourth estate.

    Reuters won the 2018 prize in international reporting for coverage of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. Reuters also won in the feature photography category for its coverage of the Rohingya crisis.

    The prize for breaking news photography went to Ryan Kelly of The Daily Progress for a chilling image that captured the moment of impact by a car at a racially-charged protest in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one woman dead last August. The Pulitzer for fiction went to Andrew Sean Greer for "Less" about growing older and love.

    The history prize was awarded to "The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea," and the prize in drama for "Cost of Living" by playwright Martyna Majok.

  • He said the ministry is also working on ways to promote shipments in Africa as the region holds huge potential.

    The commerce and industry minister is visiting Africa at the end of the month to discuss trade and investment opportunities with businesses and leaders of 12 countries.

    "We are working on several areas to promote exports. We are working on standards and to improve quality of products. We are identifying new markets and products," he said while launching FIEO GlobalLinker in New Delhi on Tuesday.

    It is a digital platform for micro, small and medium scale exporters (MSME) to digitise their businesses. The platform would provide business opportunities, information and different services such as alerts of technical barrier and change in trade policies, if any.

    MSME accounts for about 40 percent of the country's total exports. India's exports dipped after a gap of four months in March but finished 2017-18 with a healthy rise of 9.78 percent to USD 302.84 billion.

    The minister said that this initiative will help in expanding India's multi-focused export strategy and also aid in connecting art and artisans to the market. Prabhu also informed that at least 300 Geographical Indications (GIs) will be registered soon, which will give a boost to exports.

    A GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.

  • "There have been many advances in farming practices like precision farming, vertical farming and robotic farming. We must see if these innovations can be tried out in your state," Naidu said.

    He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the year-long golden jubilee celebrations of Assam Agricultural University in Jorhat on Tuesday.

    India needs to respond effectively to the changing needs of the farm sector and agricultural universities have an important role to play to ensure its sustenance, Naidu said.

    "Knowledge makes all the difference. The educational institutions must generate new ideas, extend the frontiers of scientific knowledge and search for practical solutions to challenging problems," he said.

    The farmers who toil on the farms should be empowered with knowledge, financial credit, warehousing and insurance facilities, he said.

    "Achieving self sufficiency in the pulses and oilseed sector is a challenge before the country. With the dedication demonstrated by our agriculturists and the cutting-edge research being conducted in our laboratories, I am sure we will achieve self sufficiency in these two crops soon," Naidu said.

    The "contemporary realities" like climate change, fatigued soil health, diminishing water resources and endangered bio-diversity are currently affecting agricultural practices, he said.

    Farming as a profession is becoming increasingly "uneconomical" and, therefore, "unattractive", he said, adding that "fewer people are now opting for agriculture practices.

    In order to meet these challenges effectively, we need highly skilled and motivated human resources, persons who will think out of the box and institutions that foster innovation". Naidu urged scientists and state governments to encourage farmers to take up diversified activities, such as fishery and poultry.

    Expressing satisfaction with the Assam government's efforts to revitalise the animal husbandry sector, he said: "This is, in my view, the need of the hour. Farmers should be encouraged to diversify and take up allied activities to cushion them against uncertain and uneven returns from farming".

    Assam Governor Jagadish Mukhi, Agriculture Minister Atul Bora and other dignitaries were among those present at the programme.

    Talking about the agriculture growth in the state, Naidu said the farming sector in Assam is marching ahead slowly but steadily.

    "Similarly, pulses production increased from 0.85 lakh tonnes to 1.08 lakh tonnes and oil seeds from 1.56 lakh tonnes to 2.15 lakh tonnes in this period. While the state is self sufficient in rice, special efforts are needed to increase production of oil seeds and pulses," the vice president said. Apparently, a great scope exists in the wheat sector too, Naidu said.

    "I understand that wheat is not a popular crop with farmers of this state. The production is only 0.34 lakh tonnes against a demand of around 6 lakh tonnes. The university, state government and the farmers have to work together to realise the complete potential," he added.

  • "If Congress considers India to be its own, then Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi must apologise to the whole country for defaming the great Hindu religion by trying to prove that there was something called ?saffron terror'," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

    He showed a telegram sourced from Wikileaks quoting a conversation during the former Congress-led UPA government between then US ambassador and Rahul Gandhi.

    According to the transcript of the conversation, Rahul Gandhi said saffron terror was a bigger threat than the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

    "This shows the mindset of Rahul Gandhi towards Hindus. His party has always take Hindus for granted," Patra said.

    Yesterday, Patra said people would teach the Congress a lesson in the Karnataka Assembly polls as they had in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when it was reduced to 44 seats.

  • The top court said the decision taken by the government should cover both public and private schools.

    A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and R F Nariman said the court was not an expert on framing of policy or guidelines for schools and it would be appropriate if the government looks into the cause raised in various writ petitions.

    "We direct Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to look into the prayers in the PILs and consider taking a decision in three months. The decision taken shall be for both government as well as private schools," the bench said on Tuesday.

    Earlier, the apex court had sought compilation of norms formulated by the Centre and states for its consideration. It had asked all the states and union territories to file their responses on the PILs filed by father of the deceased child, some lawyers and organisations.

    Three states -- Haryana, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh -- have filed their responses in the case.

    The plea filed by two women lawyers, sought framing of "non-negotiable" child safety conditions and implementation of existing guidelines to protect school-going children from offences like sexual abuse and murder across the country.

    The plea had also sought cancellation of licences and forfeiture of state grants of erring schools.

    Besides the Human Resources Ministry, the plea has made all state governments and union territories as parties and sought proper implementation of the existing guidelines of authorities including the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) on prevention of child abuse in schools.

    Referring to the guidelines, it said every school is required to have a "child protection policy which should be understood, explained and signed by all employees or recruits".

    All new employees must go through a day-long orientation programme on issues related to child protection within a month of their joining, the plea suggested while referring to the guidelines.

    Each school must have child abuse monitoring committee with two student as representatives and a thorough police verification was needed before employing a person in a school, it said.

  • Cautioning the government against "losing control and ownership of its skies", Bhagwat said Air India's operations have not been managed properly.

    "Air India should be handed over to anyone who can run it efficiently. The new operator must be an Indian player," the RSS supremo said, delivering a talk on 'Indian Economy and Economic Policies: Long-term Perspective'.

    Bhagwat said nowhere in the world has any country allowed a stake of more than 49 per cent to foreign investors in national carriers, and specifically mentioned Germany, where foreign ownership is capped at 29 per cent.

    He also advocated confiscation of shares if the foreign holding breaches the 49 per cent mark and selling it to domestic investors, as is done in some countries.

    While valuing Air India, one should not look only at tangible assets and get bogged down by the accumulated debt of Rs 55,000 crore, but also look at aspects like the landing rights at 30 global airports and availability of trained manpower, he said.

    "One has to view Air India's losses in contrast to the assets it has. Air India's operations haven't been managed properly," Bhagwat said at the event at leading stock exchange BSE.

    The government has come out with a detailed preliminary information memorandum, detailing plans to offload up to 76 per cent stake in Air India and transfer the management control to private players.

    The proposed disinvestment will include profit-making Air India Express and joint venture AISATS. The latter is an equal joint venture between the national carrier and Singapore-based SATS Ltd.

    Talking about the economy, the RSS chief said going "completely cashless" was not practical and possible for everyone. "Some component of cash is going to be there in our transactions," he added.

    "India will have to use 'less cash' model during the transition period (to cashless economy) to benefit from the good initiatives taken so far (by the central government)," he said.

    "There will be some cash, you people here may use cashless (digital) currency, but everyone cannot use it," the RSS chief said.

    Bhagwat also cautioned against India limiting its view to any 'ism', like capitalism or communism, and suggested that to make any policy a success, one should focus on its intent, not data or numbers.

    "Don't become a slave to any one theory," he said.

    Calling for increasing exports, Bhagwat said India should not dump products.

    "We should focus on increasing exports. We should not dump products, but sell it on its quality. We need to have a balance between agriculture, industry and commerce. India should lead the world economy through its own model of development," he said.

    Mahatma Gandhi and Deendayal Upadhyaya felt that the test of any policy is to see whether the benefits have reached the last person, he said.

    On Indian economy's dependence on agriculture, the RSS chief suggested it is time to diversify.

    Some people say that India is agriculture-dependent economy and now it's time to take up other things as well, he said.

    Bhagwat also spoke about "going beyond" the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to measure the country's growth and alluded to a commission set up in 2008 by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, wherein economists, including Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, were asked to come up with alternative benchmarks.

  • "Have reviewed the currency situation in the country. Over all there is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the banks. The temporary shortage caused by 'sudden and unusual increase' in some areas is being tackled quickly," the Finance Minister wrote on Twitter.

    "We have cash currency of Rs. 1,25,000 crores right now. There is one problem that some states have less currency and others have more. The government has formed state-wise committee and RBI also formed committee to transfer currency from one state to other. It will be done in three days,"  Shiv Pratap Shukla, Minister of State for Finance told ANI.

  • A sum of one lakh crore rupees will be spent on this expressway. The Minister also disclosed plans for a Chambal Expressway which would be connected to this Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, and is likely to benefit states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where the backward areas will also shine like Gurugram.

    Addressing a media event in New Delhi today, Gadkari outlined major initiatives of his ministry for de-congestion of Delhi NCR. A total of ten projects are underway costing 35,600 crore rupees. He said, about fourty thousand commercial vehicles enter Delhi on a daily basis, which cause increased pollution and congestion in the city state. An ambitious scheme of developing Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways around Delhi was taken up, and the Eastern Peripheral Expressway will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the April 29. Similarly, to ease traffic in East Delhi, Delhi-Meerut Expressway was envisaged, and its Delhi-Dasna portion will also be inaugurated by PM on 29thApril by a road show.

    Gadkari informed that work on signal free corridor from Dhaula Kuan to Airport has been awarded at a cost of 260 crore rupees. He said, eight-lane fully access-controlled Dwarka Expressway is being developed in four packages. While three packages have already been awarded, the work on the Expressway is likely to start in a month’s time. Total investment on the project is 9500 crore rupees. Additionally, under improvement of Mahipalpur at Rangpuri, a bypass is being envisaged to connect Dwarka/ NH8. Regarding development of major junctions on NH8 in Gurugram like the flyover/ underpass at IFFCO Chowk, Signature Tower intersection, Rajiv Chowk and  Hero Honda Chowk, the Minister informed that the work, costing Rs 1000 crore, has been substantially completed.

  • No one injured in the explosion that occurred near the outer wall of Indian consulate camp office around 8.20 PM.

    According to Indian Embassy officials, blast created a hole in the wall towards the secluded rear area of the camp office. No one was at the office when explosion took place.

    Nepal police is investigating the incident and security has been beefed up near the camp office. 

  • The World Bank in its twice-a-year South Asia Economic Focus report in Washington said that growth is expected to accelerate from 6.7 in 2017 to 7.3 per cent in 2018 and to subsequently stabilise supported by a sustained recovery in private investment and private consumption.

    In its report the World Bank said, India should strive to accelerate investments and exports to take advantage of the recovery in global growth.

  • The decision came while hearing a plea filed by the Amarnath Shrine Board against the order. The Apex court said, the NGT should not have passed the order on a petition which did not concern the Amarnath cave shrine.

    Observing that due procedure needed to be followed, the Court asked petitioner to file an appropriate petition with regard to the pollution at the Amarnath cave.

  • Speaking at a joint press conference after signing of two agreements between both the countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the top most agenda during talks with Sweden was to deliberate on ways in which Sweden can be a partner in many opportunities that will follow as a result of India's push for development.

    Both the leaders witnessed signing and exchange of Joint Innovation Partnership and announcement of adoption of the Joint Action Plan. This will cover Start Ups, investments as well as renewable energy, urban transport and other such issues.

    PM Modi also said that Sweden has been a strong contributor to 'Make in India' program. 

    Prime Minister Modi particularly highlighted the importance India attaches to the cooperation in defence sector. He said that the two countries have shared a healthy relationship in this sector in past and many new opportunities will present themselves in future also. 

    At the press conference in Stockholm, Swedish PM Stefan Lofven commended the Indian government and its strong focus on innovation as a key to progress and prosperity.

    Prime Minister Stefan Lofven described India as a global powerhouse that and is driving positive changes in keeping with Sustainable Development goals across the world.

    Earlier in the day, it was the walk that might have been for a short time, but has covered a lot of distance in terms of renewed camaraderie and bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swedish counterpart.

    PM Modi and Swedish PM Stefan Lofven enjoyed a brief walk from Sager House to Rosenbad in Stockholm. The stroll served as a brief moment that the two dignitaries enjoyed without the entourage of officials and other delegates. 

    Swedish Prime Minister also introduced PM Modi to several important places in the city during the walk. 

    Later in a Tweet, MEA spokesperson said "There are excellent opportunities for cooperation in the fields of smart cities, clean technology, universal housing, renewable energy, e-mobility, start-up, waste disposal, and many others with an objective of creating jobs and sustainable development for our people in India."

    Earlier, Prime Minister Modi called on King Gustaf and exchanged views on strengthening bilateral cooperation across several sectors. PM Modi arrived in the capital of Sweden, the first bilateral visit by an Indian premier to the Nordic nation in 30 years. Swedish Prime Minister Lofven received PM Modi at the airport.

    The two leaders travelled together in the same vehicle from the airport to the hotel. PM Modi will also hold bilateral meetings with leaders of four other Nordic nations - Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

    PM Modi is in Sweden on the first leg of his 5-day foreign tour which will also take him to the UK where he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

    Earlier, PM Modi had said in New Delhi that he was looking forward to deepening bilateral engagement with both countries in a number of areas including trade, investment and clean energy.

    India and Sweden will also jointly organise the India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm. The summit will also be attended by the prime ministers of Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

    From Sweden, PM Modi will travel to the UK where he will attend the CHOGM, besides holding bilateral talks with his British counterpart Theresa May. He will also have a brief stopover in Berlin, Germany, on April 20 while on his way back home.

  • Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has announced that the gold medal winners will get a cash award of Rs 1.5 crore, silver medal winners Rs 75 lakh, and bronze medallists Rs 50 lakh.

    The Indian contingent finished third in the medal tally at the Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, between April 4 and 15. They won a total of 66 medals, and players from Haryana - especially the women - led the medal tally with a total of 22 individual medals.

    Describing Haryana as a hub of sports, Khattar said the state had just 2 per cent of the country's population but its share in the medal tally was 33 percent.

    The players have brought laurels at the national and international level with their performance, he added.

    In Haryana, he said, a cash award of Rs 6 crore is given to players for winning the gold medal in Olympics, Rs 4 crore for silver medal and Rs 2.5 crore for winning the bronze medal.

    In addition, the players are appointed as Haryana Civil Service and Haryana Police Service officers as well as in other government jobs depending on their achievements, he said.

    The chief minister also honoured 16-year-old shooter Manu Bhaker of Jhajjar, who won gold medal in Commonwealth Games, with a turban and a cheque of Rs 1.5 crore, in Jhajjar.

    He also honoured, Bajrang Punia of Jhajjar, who won gold medal in wrestling and family members of Somveer, who won bronze medal in the Games.

    He said that out of 38 players of Haryana who had participated in Commonwealth Games, 22 had won medals. The remaining 16 participating players would be honoured by the state government be giving away Rs 7.5 lakh to each player, he added.

    Khattar said that as per the new sports policy of the state government, it has been ensured that the cash prize is sent directly to the bank accounts of the players.

  • The charge sheet was filed in a special CBI court in New Delhi. The CBI had registered a case in July last year and carried out searches at 12 locations in Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Gurugram in connection with the case.

    The charges in the case include criminal conspiracy (120-B), cheating (420) under IPC and corruption, the CBI had said. The charge sheet said that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched in pursuance of which BNR hotels of Indian Railways, located at Puri and Ranchi, were first transferred to the IRCTC and later for its operations, maintenance and upkeep, it was given on lease to a private firm Sujata Hotel Private Limited based in Patna.

    It alleged that the tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked to help the private party (Sujata Hotels). It is alleged that Vinay Kochhar on February 25, 2005 sold commercial property in the form of three acres of land in Patna through 10 sale deeds for Rs 1.47 crore to Delight marketing in which Sarla Gupta was a director as a front benami holder on behalf of Lalu Prasad. Subsequently between the period 2010 to 2014, this land was further transferred, the CBI alleged.

    In 2001, a decision was taken to handover management of catering services of Indian Railways, including of its hotels, to IRCTC. Two such hotels namely BNR Hotels in Ranchi and Puri were also identified and an MoU was signed between the Railways and IRCTC on March 19, 2004.

    Lalu Yadav, the then railway minister, allegedly entered into criminal conspiracy with owners of Sujata hotels, Sarla Gupta, wife of his close associate Prem Chand Gupta, an RJD MP in Rajya Sabha, and IRCTC officials for "undue pecuniary advantage to himself and others", the CBI FIR had alleged.

    The CBI has alleged that Lalu Prasad, as Railway Minister, was aware about the whole process and was keeping a track of the tender proceedings.

    It surfaced that while over 15 bid documents were received for both the hotels, IRCTC has no records of bidders other than Sujata Hotels. It is also alleged that with an intention to render undue pecuniary gains to Sujata Hotels, bid of another hotel was deliberately and unreasonably given low marks under technical evaluation.

    After the tender was awarded to Sujata Hotels, the ownership of Delight marketing also changed hands from Sarla Gupta to Rabri Devi and Tejaswi Yadav between 2010 and 2014. By this time Lalu Prasad had demitted the office of Railway Minister.

  • The amended Rules lay down that the phasing out of Multilayered Plastic (MLP) is now applicable to those MLP, which are non-recyclable, non-energy recoverable, or with no alternate use. 

    Environment Ministry in a release said, the amended rules also prescribe a central registration system for the registration of the producer, importer and brand owner. 

    The Rules also say that any mechanism for the registration should be automated and should take into account ease of doing business for producers, recyclers and manufacturers. 

    While a national registry has been prescribed for producers with presence in more than two states, a state-level registration has been prescribed for smaller producers/brand owners operating within one or two states.

    In addition, Rule 15 of the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018 on “explicit pricing of carry bags” has been omitted. 

    Based on several representations received from various stakeholders, the government had constituted a committee on issues/challenges faced with regard to the implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. 

    The committee deliberated on several issues related to the Rules and its implementation by various stakeholders and submitted its recommendations to the Ministry. 

  • A function was held at Jhansi on Monday to announce the project. It was attended, among others, by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and defence manufacturers from across the country.

    Addressing the function, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed hope that the defence corridor as well as various other developmental projects will usher in a new era of progress in this region of the state. The corridor which will extend through a number of districts including Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow and Chitrakoot will be built with an investment of Rs 200 crore.

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has expressed confidence that the proposed defence corridor that is coming up will give incentives to entrepreneurs engaged in defence production as well as the local youth.

    Union Minister Uma Bharti said that the government is setting small and big industries for development in Bundelkhand, which will give employment to 2 million people in the state.

    In the february Investors' Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised two defence corridors for the country one of which he said would come up in Uttar Pradesh. A major portion of the corridor would fall in Bundelkhand. The Defence corridor is greatly expected to increase India's self sufficiency in the defence sector to a great extent.

  • This is the best rank an Indian has achieved in ATP singles chart since Somdev Devvarman touched a career-high 62 in July 2011.

    Yuki had first broken into top-100 late in 2015 but injuries did not allow him to climb further. However, the resilient 25-year-old has worked his way back to top-100 which, if maintained, will allow him direct entry into the Grand Slams and the ATP 1000 series Masters event.

    "It's only the beginning, I have to move up a lot more and I am looking forward to the challenge," Yuki said.

    Yuki has always maintained that he has the game to challenge the best players and has proved with his recent big wins over world number 12 Lucas Puillee (Indian Wells, March 2018) and world number 22 Gael Monfils (Washington, August 2017).

    His Davis Cup teammate Ramkumar Ramanathan too rose to a career-best 116 as he jumped 17 places after ending runner-up to Yuki in Taipei.

    Sumit Nagal though lost two places to be 215 and was followed by Prajnesh Gunneswaran (266) and Arjun Kadhe (394).

    In the doubles, Divij Sharan further improved his career-best rank by moving up to 41, a gain of one place. Leander Paes, who became the most successful doubles player in Davis Cup, lost four places to be in 49th position. Rohan Bopanna is leading the doubles chart for India at number 19.

    Meanwhile, Ankita Raina too improved on her career-best rank as she jumped three places to 194 while Karman Kaur Thandi dropped a place to 268. In the doubles, out of action Sania Mirza was unchanged at number 24.

  • "We hope that, when our American colleagues solve their internal issues, some kind of communication will begin despite all the damage to (our) bilateral relations currently imposed by Washington," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    He added that there are no current discussions between the two countries on a possible summit between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

    The United States, Britain and France carried out attacks at the weekend on alleged chemical weapons facilities, in response to what they say was a toxic gas attack by the Russia-backed Assad regime a week before.

    Moscow has said the US-led action was aimed at overthrowing Assad and keeping Russia's influence in check. The Western strikes have led to tensions between Washington and Moscow unseen since the Cold War.

    Vladimir Putin denounced them as "an act of aggression against a sovereign state which is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism". Russia on Saturday failed to win UN backing for a condemnation of the Western strikes.

  • Special Judge O P Saini granted relief to the son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram after the counsel for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sought time to argue on Karti's application seeking anticipatory bail. The submission was supported by the CBI counsel who requested the court to put up the matter for next date.

    The court had on March 24 granted interim relief to Karti till 16th April after considering that both the investigative agencies had sought time to file their responses on his anticipatory bail plea. Karti had filed a plea seeking protection from arrest in the Aircel-Maxis matter, in which the CBI and the ED lodged cases in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

    The matter pertains to grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in Aircel. In September, 2015, the CBI had filed its status report regarding a probe into the FIPB approvals in the case.

    The agency had in June, 2016 also issued notice to A Palaniappan, director of Chess Management Services, a company promoted by Karti.

  • He was addressing the 9th Convocation of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Shillong in Meghalaya. Governor of Meghalaya Ganga Prasad, Home Minister of Meghalaya and other dignitaries were present on the occasion. 

    The Vice President said that complete degeneration of values and the absence of fear of law are obviously leading to deviant and crooked behavior among the people. He further said that it is important to adhere to values of honesty, integrity, truthfulness and adopt the best practices. Corporate ethics should not be violated, he added.

    Naidu advised the students to remember the seven sins mentioned by Mahatma Gandhi - wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, religion without sacrifice and politics without principle.

    He further advised the students to possess strong character, uncompromising honesty and integrity, ethical values, patience and a sense of gratitude as they further their career prospects. Never forget that you will not only impact the lives of people in your organizations but also the lives of many others, who depend on the livelihood of your direct employees, he added.

    The Vice President said that the qualities like gratitude, empathy and concern for fellow human beings seem to be missing in the modern world of materialism and consumerism and one must develop an attitude of caring and sharing. The quality of product, efficient service and ethical business practices are the hallmark of a positive global brand. Every decision taken by you as a thought leader should bear testimony to these qualities, he added.

    The Vice President said that education is not only for employment, but also for enlightenment and empowerment. He has also asked management institutions like IIMs to give priority to research publications.

  • The significant features of the new policy were zero tolerance towards violence coupled with a big push to developmental activities so that benefits of development reached the poor and vulnerable in the affected areas.

    The MHA had categorized 106 districts in 10 states as Left Wing Extremism affected. These districts are covered under the Security Related Expenditure Scheme (SRE) of the MHA for the purpose of reimbursement of security related expenditure like transportation, communication, hiring of vehicles, stipend for surrendered Maoists, temporary infrastructure for forces etc to the states.

    Out of 106 districts, 35 districts which accounted for 80-90 % of country-wide LWE violence were categorized as ‘Most Affected Districts’.

    This categorization provided the basis for focused deployment of resources - both security and development related. Over the last few years, a number of districts have been carved into smaller districts. This has resulted in the geographical area of the 106 SRE districts to be spread over 126 districts and that of the 35 most affected districts to be expanded to 36 districts.

    Over the last four years, there has been a substantial improvement in the LWE scenario. Incidents of violence have seen a 20% decline with a 34% reduction in related deaths in 2017 as compared to 2013. The geographical spread of LWE violence also shrunk from 76 districts in 2013 to just 58 districts in 2017. Besides, just 30 of these districts account for 90% of the LWE violence in the country. At the same time certain new districts have emerged as the focus of expansion by the Left Wing Extremists.

    MHA recently undertook a comprehensive exercise in consultation with the States to review the affected districts in order to ensure that the deployment of resources is in sync with the changed ground reality. Accordingly, 44 districts have been excluded and 08 new districts have been added to the list of SRE districts.

    In order to counter Maoist efforts to expand their influence in the tribal areas at the tri-junction of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, three districts of Kerala have been included in the list of SRE Districts. Despite the fact that there is hardly any violence in the new districts, the move is pre-emptive.

    As a result of the exercise, 90 districts in 11 States will now be covered by the scheme, down from 126. The list of ‘Most Affected Districts’ has been pruned to 30, down from 36. The revised categorization is a more realistic representation of the actual LWE scenario.

  • India is among 52 other member-countries participating in the summit hosted by the UK in London around the theme of "Towards a Common Future".

    "The 2018 Commonwealth Trade Review predicted that trade between member states will be worth USD 700 billion by 2020?. Yet risks remain. Global growth is fragile. The challenges posed by protectionism are all too clear," Theresa May said in her opening speech at the Guildhall.

    "If Commonwealth businesses are to flourish in such times, if we are to deliver and secure the prosperous future our young people want and deserve, then the Commonwealth and national governments must not be afraid to act," she added.

    The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is participating in the CBF with what it describes as a momentous delegation of nearly 40 business leaders across different sectors of the country, led by CII President Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman of Bharti Enterprises.

    The Indian business leaders aim to highlight opportunities for intra-Commonwealth collaboration across technology, skills, agriculture and infrastructure verticals as part of the largest Indian delegation of CEOs and young Indian business leaders to any Commonwealth Summit in recent times.

    Chandrajit Banerjee, CII Director-General, said: "The key question is what will be the new-age "common" factor in the Commonwealth? India's trade with Commonwealth nations is 20 per cent of its global trade basket. "Therefore, business must redefine and lay the foundation for the new evolving architecture of the Commonwealth ? this presents a great opportunity for Indian business to lead the narrative, whether it is in trade facilitation, seamless movement of professionals and visitors, skills to support new-age employability, sustainability or small business."

    He stressed that re-engaging with the Commonwealth at the highest level with Prime Minister Modi's participation at CHOGM later this week is a marked strategic shift for India.

    Tripartite or bilateral cooperation for collaboration in third countries is also of significant interest, with new models of collaboration between India and the UK, focusing on joint projects and investments in African countries.

    The UK, which is the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth for two years, also unveiled a range of new initiatives and networks to mark the launch of CHOGM.

    Theresa May announced that the UK will be funding a new Commonwealth Standards Network, which will support developing countries in particular to better meet existing international standards.

    "It will empower developing countries to have a stronger voice in the international standards community ? something that has benefits on a global scale," she said.

    The UK will also fund a new Trade Facilitation Programme, supporting and providing technical assistance to selected Commonwealth countries in implementing the World Trade Organisation's Trade Facilitation Agreement.

  • Prabhu was addressing media persons at Dabolim Airport in Goa on Monday, after the inspection of ongoing renovation work.

    He said Mopa airport will commence operations by September 2020. Dabolim Airport will continue to remain operational along with Mopa.

    The renovation work worth Rs 300 crore is going on at Dabolim airport, by July, new multi-layer parking complex will be operationalized. At Dabolim airport, one counter shall be allocated to Goa Tourism Department to operate taxi services and one counter will be allocated to the state government for sale of local products, souvenirs, and vegetables. Prabhu said under the Skill Development and Startup India initiative, Civil Aviation Ministry is in talks with the representatives of World Bank and other major institutions to promote Goa as a market destination.

    Major airlines like Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa Airlines are interested to be part of market destinations in India. There is a huge job requirement in civil aviation ministry and other sectors also. These initiatives are imperative in the overall development of the State.

  • He said that both the Prime Ministers discussed all important bilateral issues with openness and transparency. Gyawali also said that such kind of dialogue with neighbors and development partners during initial days of the present government will help Nepal to move ahead on the path of stability, peace and development.

    Gyawali was addressing a press conference in Kathmandu before his forthcoming 5 days China visit.

    During the visit, Gyawali will hold bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. He will also meet State Leader of China and address a round-table meeting of Chinese think-tanks.

    Gyawali will visit Sichuan province and meet the provincial leaders. He will also address at a programme at the Sichuan University. This is the first high level visit from Nepal to its northern neighbor after the formation of K.P. Sharma Oli government in February this year.