• “India stands committed to its ‘TB- Free country’ resolve by 2025. It shall also extend all support to member countries of WHO SEARO region in meeting their respective goals of becoming TB- free”. This a was stated by Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare as countries participating in the Delhi End TB Summit, signed and adopted the Statement of Action at the end of the Summit, here today.

  •             A Solar Revolution is in the offing, as solar energy fuels the energy growth story in the country.  Briefing mediapersons on the initiatives taken with the support of Department of Science & Technology in New Delhi today, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that solar energy will eventually serve millions of unserved people by developing solar technology-led innovations through indigenous research and development (R&D).

  • Though the bonded labour system has been abolished by the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, instances do come to notice.


    The States from where bonded labour have been rescued and rehabilitated so far are:  Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu,
    Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

  • Ramayana Circuit is one of the fifteen thematic circuits identified for development under Swadesh Darshan scheme of Ministry of Tourism. Sitamarhi, Buxar, Darbhanga in Bihar are among the fifteen sites identified initially for development under this circuit in the country.

  • Ministry of Tourism is according priority to the development and promotion of tourism in the country and has taken several steps for increasing the inflow of foreign tourists and earn foreign exchange which inter-alia, include the following:


    i)          Launching the Swadesh Darshan Scheme for integrated development of theme based tourist circuits.

  • The Ministry of Tourism has taken several initiatives to ensure the safety and security of tourists which are as follows:


    i.          Launched the 24x7 Toll Free Multilingual Tourist Info-Helpline on 1800111363 or 1363 in 12 Languages to provide support service in terms of information relating to Travel in India and also offers appropriate guidance to tourists in distress while travelling in India.

  • Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini left Cape Town today (14 Mar 18) for the final leg of circumnavigation passage to Goa. The yacht was flagged off by Ms Ruchira Kamboj, High Commissioner of India to the Republic of South Africa,  Mr Abhishek Shukla, Counsel General of India in Cape Town, South Africa & Ms Auroux Marais, Minister of Cultural Affairs & Sports, Western Cape Government, members of Indian diaspora and South African Sailing Association.

  • The Ministry of Minority Affairs implements various schemes for pursuing higher research and institutions of National importance for minority students, though there is no specific skill scheme for minority youth to facilitate their entry into the areas of higher research and institutions of national importance.

  • The Central Government  has decided to discontinue the Haj subsidy from the year 2018-19. The amount of Haj subsidy provided by the Government of India reflects in the budget of Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), which is the nodal Ministry responsible for making air travel arrangements for Haj pilgrims identified by the Haj Committee of India (HCoI).

  • The Ministry of Minority Affairs has launched a pilot project for minority Cyber Gram for digital literacy in a minority dominated village Chandauli in Alwar district of Rajasthan. The Ministry mainstreamed the Cyber Gram project with the Multi-sectoral Development Programmein the year 2014-15 as a special initiative.

  • The Central Government has launched a scheme in 2009 namely „Computerization of Records of State Waqf Boards? with a view to streamline record keeping, introduce transparency, and to computerize and digitize the records of waqf properties of the State/UT Waqf  Boards (SWBs).

  • Ministry of Minority Affairs has been implementing a scheme namely “ Free Coaching and Allied Scheme for the candidates and students belonging to minority communities” all over the country including North Eastern States, under which, free coaching is provided to students belonging to six notified minority communities through selected or empanelled coaching institutions or organisations for preparation of qualifying examinations for admission in technical and professional courses and competitive examinations for recruitment to Group “A” , “B” and “C” services and other equivalent posts under the Central and State governments including public sector undertakings, banks, insurance companies etc.

    Under the scheme, total 158 coaching institutions or organizations scattered all over the

    country were empanelled for implementation of the scheme during Financial Years 2013-14 to 2016-17.

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs is celebrating the World Consumer Rights Day this year with the theme “Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer” in New Delhi on 15th March 2018. The programme will be inaugurated by Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and will be graced by Shri CR Chaudhary, Minister of State for Consumer affairsFood & Public Distribution and Commerce.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the passing away of Professor Stephen Hawking.


    “Professor Stephen Hawking was an outstanding scientist and academic. His grit and tenacity inspired people all over the world.

  •             A team of senior officials of the Western Air Command, led by the Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Air Marshal C Hari Kumar PVSM AVSM VM VSM ADC called on the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat on 14 Mar 18.

                The Air Marshal said “I thank, Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat, Chief Minister and the state machinery of Uttarakhand, for excellent support extended by the state to IAF, during various exercises”.

  • The official Wholesale Price Index for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2011-12=100) for the month of February, 2018 remained unchanged at its previous month level of 115.8 (Provisional).




    The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 2.48% (provisional) for the month of February, 2018 (over February, 2017) as compared to 2.84% (provisional) for the previous month and 5.51% during the corresponding month of the previous year.

  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh has called upon the Police Forces and Security Agencies of various countries to collaborate and defeat the threats posed by cyber crimes. Inaugurating the two-day Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Shri Rajnath Singh said the Indian Government has taken digitalization to a new level by providing digital based services in many sectors to its countrymen.

  • Utilization certificate for the 2nd instalment of the funds are submitted by the cities after utilization of a substantive amount of funds from the 1st instalment.  While a number of cities have started project implementation on ground their utilization certificates are awaited.

  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO met Shri J.P. Nadda, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, here today. They discussed perspectives on national , regional and global public health program.

  • The Executive Committee which is the Apex body for all Nutrition related activities under the POSHAN Abhiyaan, held its first meeting today to decide on the roadmap for the Mission. The Committee is headed by Sh. Rakesh Srivastava, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development.

  • Opposition parties continued to stall proceedings in Parliament today over various issues. Both, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned for ...

  • Renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge today. He was 76. The theoretical physicist is known for his groundbre...

  • Counting of votes is underway for by-polls to 3 Lok Sabha and 2 Assembly seats spread across Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The two Lok Sabha seats in UP ar...

  • President Ram Nath Kovind is now holding talks with his Malagasy counterpart Hery Rajaonarimampianina and the country's Prime Minister Oliver Mahafaly Solonandrasana in Antananarivo. Mr Kovind reached Antananarivo from Mauritius earlier today, on the final leg of his two-nation visit.

  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called upon the Police Forces and Security Agencies of various countries to collaborate and defeat the threats posed by cyber crimes.Mr Singh said this after inaugurating the two-day Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in New Delhi today.

  • Inflation based on wholesale prices eased to a seven-month low of 2.48 per cent in February on cheaper food articles, including vegetables.

  • The over 20-km-long stretch of Delhi Metro's Pink Line, connecting the north and south campuses of the Delhi University, will be thrown open to the public from today.

  • In Cricket, India will take on Bangladesh in their final league match of the tri-nation Twenty-20 series at Colombo this evening.

  • The Lok Sabha today gave its seal of approval to the Union Budget 2018-19 with the passage of the Finance Bill, 2018 and Appropriation Bills by a voice vote.

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the bills amidst opposition uproar and sloganeering.

    Later, the House was adjourned for the day. Proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were washed out for the eighth straight day today, amid uproar by the opposition and NDA partner TDP on multiple issues ranging from India's biggest Rs 12,700 crore banking fraud, special package to Andhra Pradesh and Cauvery water dispute.

    The House was adjourned till 2 PM soon after it had assembled for the day. The Chair called it a day soon after it reassembled at 2 PM as uproarious scenes continued.

  • After wrapping up a three-day successful visit to Mauritius, President Ram Nath Kovind will today leave for Madagascar.

    In the first ever visit of any Indian VVIP to Madagascar, President Kovind will hold talks with President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and Prime Minister Oliver Mahafaly Solonandrasana. 

    The President  will be conferred with Malagasy Honour of Grand Cross. He will also address a Business Forum and teachers and students of Antananarivo in his two-day visit to that country.

  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh today inaugurated the two-day Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, IACP in New Delhi.

    The theme of the conference is "Challenges to Policing in 2020 - How is Cyber Space shaping our approach to Cybercrime and Terrorism, how do we perform within it and take advantage of it". 

    Speaking on the occasion the Home Minister said that Social Media has brought a big challenge for Law enforcement agencies. He said Radicalization through Internet is a matter of concern huge and there is a need to stop this.

    The Conference is mainly focused on holding discussions about the growing interest of various terrorist or organized groups and radical elements in exploiting the Cyberspace and its advanced technologies for their various heinous crimes and nefarious designs. 

    The IACP is the world's largest organization of Police and law enforcement executives that is highly regarded for its role in identifying and responding to changing needs of the law enforcement community.

  • British  Scientist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, a spokesman for his family has said.Professor Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.

    "He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years."His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.

    "He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.'"We will miss him forever."The world famous physicist and cosmologist was the subject of the 2014 film The Theory Of Everything, which starred Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.

    He also performed several cameos in the US comedy series The Big Bang Theory.Hawking contracted motor neurone disease in 1963 and was given two years to live but he went on to study at Cambridge and became one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein.

  • Tensions flared in the streets of Colon, Panama on Tuesday (March 13) as trade unions called their members onto the streets to protest infrastructure and insecurity deficiencies in the city.

    According to local media, four officers were injured and over a dozen people arrested for vandalism and looting during the heated protesters.

    Protesters are angry at authorities for their reported slow pace in fixing the city's sewer system and water supply. Trade unions behind the march have called on their strike to continue for another 24 hours to ramp up pressure on authorities.

    The strike has affected public transport in Panama's no.2 city and many stored were shuttered.

    Colon sits on the northern end of the Panama canal and is a key port area for the country. Yet residents argue that money coming into the city is not invested back into adequate infrastructure and public works programmes.

    The government purports that its $1.2-billion revitalisation project for the city is more than 50 percent complete.

  • The C 17 Globemaster of the Indian Air Force carried out a historic landing at Tuting advanced landing ground amidst the hills of Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

    The crew included Group Captain K Rama Rao, Wing Commander Amiya Kant Patnaik, Wing Commander K Trivedi and Sqn Ldr L Nayak.

    The challenging airfield is in the midst of high hills in a narrow valley. The mammoth C17 Globemaster could execute this mission flawlessly owing to its agile manoeuvrability Superlative performance and the excellent flying skills of the pilots.

    The giant aircraft is capable of carrying a payload of 40-70 tonnes up to a distance of 4,200-9,000 km in a single hop.After completion of the trial landing the C17 carried out an operational mission airlifting op load into the austere airfield.

    The mission carried out today demonstrated C 17 aircraft's operational performance and capability of tactical air mobility of IAF.

  • The BJP has approached the Election Commission demanding that the nomination of Congress leader Naranbhai Rathwa for the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat be quashed because of several irregularities in his form.

    The BJP's complaint followed its whip Suresh Angadi's complaint to the Lok Sabha Speaker, alleging "gross irregularities" in granting several no objection certificates given to Rathwa.

    In a letter seeking an investigation, Angadi said he was given seven NOCs within 40-50 minutes and wondered if any verification was carried out. Speaker's office has reportedly ordered an enquiry into the matter.

    A delegation of senior party leaders, including Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Piyush Goyal, went to the Commission, seeking action against Rathwa and P K Valera, a Congress-backed independent candidate.

    Naqvi said they have demanded that the Congress candidate's nomination be quashed. 

  • The first section of Delhi Metro's Pink Line between Majlis Park and Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus will be open for public today. The 21.56 km corridor will be flagged off by the Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal from Metro Bhawan.

    It would prove a big boon for commuters, especially students, who till now have to travel either by road from the North Campus or take the Airport Line metro till Dhaula Kuan and commute again on road. The new corridor, connects the north and south campuses of the Delhi University, on the metro network, which can be commuted in 40 minutes.

    Passenger services on the stretch will begin from 6 pm onwards.On the same day from both Majlis Park and Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus stations simultaneously, the official said, adding that "the end-to-end travel time on this section of the Pink Line would be 34 minutes".

    It would prove a big boon for commuters, especially students, who till now have to travel either by road from the North Campus or take the Airport Line metro till Dhaula Kuan and commute again on road.

    The North Campus area of Delhi University already has a metro station -- Vishwavidyalaya, which falls on the Yellow Line that connects Samaypur Badli to Huda City Centre in Gurgaon.

    "The ticket from Vishwavidyalaya station to Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus station will cost Rs 50. And, from Majlis Park station to South Campus station, it will cost Rs 40. On Sundays and national holidays anyway, the fare is less than the regular cost," the senior official said.

    Azadpur Station is one of the three interchange stations on the Pink Line stretch that opens on March 14, the other two being, Netaji Subhash Place and Rajouri Garden.

    The Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety , which inspected the stretch from February 26-28, has given the clearance for the project.

    This section, which has 12 stations, is part of the 59 km-long Majlis Park - Shiv Vihar corridor of Delhi Metro's Phase 3. All the stations have platform-screen doors.

    The stations are -- Majlis Park, Azadpur, Shalimar Bagh, Netaji Subhash Place, Shakurpur, Punjabi Bagh West, ESI Hospital, Rajouri Garden, Mayapuri, Naraina Vihar, Delhi Cantt and Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus.

    Out of the 12 stations, eight are elevated and the rest underground. As with the recently-opened Magenta Line, broad-sized coaches from the new rolling stock, will ply on the standard gauge Pink line.

    Metro's new generation trains, which can run without drivers, will also run on this section where an advanced Communication Based Train Control signalling technology that will facilitate the movement of trains with a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds will also be pressed into service.

    However, for an initial period of two-three years the trains will have drivers."For the first time travelators have been installed at the foot over bridges to facilitate interchange at Rajouri Garden and South Campus stations," the official said.

    The 21.56 km-long corridor, once opened, will also reduce metro travel time between Dwarka 21 and Rithala by over 16 minutes; and Rajouri Garden and Azadpur by nearly 23 minutes, the DMRC said. 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated The Delhi End TB Summit in New Delhi on Tuesday. PM Modi launched the National Strategic Plan for elimination of tuberculosis. He called for the End TB programme to be completed in Mission mode by 2025. The Prime Minister also hailed the efforts of foot soldiers who are working on the ground as well as patients who have beaten the disease.

    Creating a Swastha Bharat is part of Prime Minister's vision of New India and the launch of the new strategic plan is another step in this direction.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clarion call to achieve the Sustainable Development goal of ending TB by 2025, 5 years, before the deadline set by the UN. He also launched the National Strategic Plan for TB elimination. This plan is backed by a historic funding of over 12,000 crore rupees for the next three years.

    It aims at ensuring access to quality diagnosis, treatment, and support for every TB patient

    Prime Minister Modi stressed on the co-operative federalism mantra to tackle the menace of TB. He also hailed the foot soldiers who are working on the ground as well as patients who have beaten the disease.

    Prime Minister quoted several government schemes and programmes that have left their imprint over the last 3 and a half years like Ujjwala mission, National Nutrition Mission, the Ayushman Bharat Mission and the National Immunisation Mission.

    The Delhi end TB Summit is being co-hosted by the Ministry of Health, WHO South East Asia Regional Office and Stop TB Partnership. Ministers of Health and high-level dignitaries from the ASEAN and African countries, Health Ministers of Indian states, the WHO Director-General, heads of other global agencies, as well as officers, volunteers and the private sector involved in eradicating TB are participating. Health Minister JP Nadda spelt out the efforts being made by the government of India including cash incentives and nutrition support announced in this year's budget.

    The new strategic plan launched adopts a multi-pronged approach. The aim is to 'Detect' all TB patients, 'Treat' all patient irrespective of where they seek care, 'Prevent' emergence of TB in susceptible population groups and 'Build' empowered institutions and human resources to streamline implementation.


  • Tributes were paid today to the nine CRPF personnel with full military honours in Raipur in Chhattisgarh. The CRPF personnel were martyred on Tuesday when a landmine blast blew up their patrolling vehicle in Sukma district.

    Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir paid homage to the brave soldiers. Ahir said that Naxals have been carrying out attacks in frustration. Ahir visited the state to review the ground situation of the incident.

    Yesterday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh who briefed him about the incident, steps taken for the jawans' treatment and operations to nab those involved.

    Chief Minister Raman Singh also visited the hospital in Raipur last evening and met the injured CRPF personnel and prayed for their speedy recovery.

    On Tuesday, Nine Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were martyred after suspected Naxals blew up their mine-protected vehicle in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, around a year after a dozen jawans were killed in a similar ambush in the district.

    Officials said the incident took place around 12:30 pm along the Kistaram-Palodi road of the district when the troops of the 212th battalion of the CRPF were out on an operation.

  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday has extended the March 31 deadline for linking bank accounts and mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar till a final decision by the Apex court is taken in the matter.

    It, however, said the government may continue to seek the 12-digit national biometric identifier number of beneficiaries for transfer of benefits of schemes funded from the consolidated fund of India.

    The Unique Identification Authority of India has said that the requirement of Aadhaar for opening new bank accounts or applying for Tatkal passports will continue.

    A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the interim order passed on December 15, 2017 shall stand extended till the matter is finally heard and the judgment is pronounced.

    During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal requested the court that the extension of the deadline should not disturb the benefits, subsidies and services covered under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

    The provision says that Centre or state governments may seek Aadhaar for establishing the identity of beneficiaries of their schemes.

  • In a major decision, the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday barred banks from issuing guarantees in the form of letters of undertaking and letters of comfort which, are used by importers to fund their overseas purchases.

    However, letters of credit and bank guarantees will continue upon meeting certain conditions.

    The move comes as the central bank clamped down on the import financing route used by fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi for allegedly committing multi-billion banking fraud.

    Companies belonging to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi allegedly colluded with employees of Punjab National Bank's Brady House branch in Mumbai to obtain fraudulent Letter of Understandings, without providing any margin money as security. They did not have any pre-approved credit limit either.

  • Having suffered an unexpected defeat against Sri Lanka in their tournament-opener, it is highly unlikely that India will experiment against a resurgent Bangladesh in their final league stage match.

    Bangladesh's confidence has been boosted by their record 215-run chase against Sri Lanka and a win against India will bolster their chances of making it to the finals.

    A defeat may not be end of the road for India as it will then depend on the outcome of final game between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Net run-rate will also be a factor.

    With back-to-back victories in the last two games, India have a healthy net run-rate of +0.21.

    For India, the tournament at the beginning was about giving youngsters a chance in the absence of seasoned players but for a side which is always under scanner, results will be paramount and that effectively stops them from being adventurous in team selection.

    A few players such as Deepak Hooda, Mohammed Siraj, Axar Patel are yet to play a game in the tournament, which means the purpose of sending a second string side has not been served. Hooda, for instance, did not get to play even during the home series against Sri Lanka.

    For India the biggest worry is skipper Rohit Sharma's form. One of India's most successful white ball players in recent times, the talented Mumbaikar is waiting for that one big knock that will propel him back to form.

    India have not got good starts in the tournament despite Shikhar Dhawan's (153) blazing form as Rohit has been dismissed cheaply in all the matches.

    Suresh Raina has got his 20s while Manish Pandey has remained steady in the middle-order. Dinesh Karthik's 39 off 25 balls against Sri Lanka has ensured that Rishabh Pant will continue to warm the dug-out.

    It will be interesting to see if Rohit promotes KL Rahul to open the innings and himself comes down at No 4 -- something that he has done for Mumbai Indians in the IPL over the years.

    Rahul is a specialist opener, who is also used as a floater in the middle-order. He was looking far more comfortable than Pant during his short stay in the Monday's game before he was dismissed in a freak manner, getting hit-wicket.

    More than the batsmen, the bigger challenge will be faced by the bowlers against an unpredictable batting line-up like Bangladesh.

    In their last encounter, India did well to restrict them to 139 but in their very next match, the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim hammered the Sri Lankan attack into submission chasing down the highest-ever target on Sri Lankan soil.

    In the bowling department, IPL's costliest Indian buy Jaydev Unadkat (Rs 11.5 crore) has been expensive in all three matches with skipper not being able to finish his quota of four overs in two of three games (1/35 in 3 overs vs SL, 3/38 in 4 overs vs B'desh, 1/33 in 3 overs vs SL).

    Unadkat's experience will keep him in the playing XI even though there is Siraj, who is a few clicks quicker compared to the Saurashtra pacer. While Shardul Thakur has done well in the last two games, Vijay Shankar has also been steady with his seam-up stuff.

    Among slow bowlers, off-spinner Washington Sundar has done exceedingly well opening the bowling in the Powerplay overs in every game.

    The more celebrated Yuzvendra Chahal has been expensive in both games against Sri Lanka and at times it seemed that he is not as effective as he is when Kuldeep Yadav operates from the other end.


    India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj and Rishabh Pant.

    Bangladesh: Mahmudullah (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicket-keeper), Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Liton Das.

  • Aviation authorities said they had recovered the flight data recorder from the charred wreckage of the plane, which burst into flames after ploughing into a football field near Kathmandu airport on Monday killing around 50 people.

    Witnesses have described how the US-Bangla Airways plane carrying 71 people abruptly changed direction moments before it crashed.

    On Monday the airline’s chief executive Imran Asif said there had been a “fumble from the control tower” as the plane approached the airport’s single runway. But airport manager Raj Kumar Chhetri said that it was too early to say what had caused the mountainous country’s deadliest crash since 1992.

    “It is yet to be identified whether the pilot or air traffic control was wrong,” he said, adding the investigation would be carried out with Bangladesh.

    Recordings of the conversation between air traffic control and the pilot appear to indicate confusion over which end of Kathmandu airport’s runway the plane was to approach. Air traffic control can initially be heard clearing the plane to land from the southern approach.

    “You are going towards runway 20,” the controller is heard saying seconds later, referring to the northern end of the tarmac. A series of confused messages follow just before the crash in which the pilot says they will land at “runway 20” and then “runway 02”—the southern end.

    “There is certainly considerable confusion from air traffic as to which runway the aircraft actually wants to land on,” said Britain-based aviation expert Andrew Blackie, who has reviewed the recordings.

    Relatives of the Bangladeshi crash victims arrived in Kathmandu on a special charter flight Tuesday. There were tearful scenes outside the morgue where most of the dead have been taken.

  • The RBI said the decision to discontinue the practice of LoUs and Letters of Comfort (LoCs) for trade finance comes into force with immediate effect.

    "On a review of the extant guidelines, it has been decided to discontinue the practice of issuance of LoUs/ LoCs for Trade Credits for imports into India by AD Category-I banks with immediate effect," the central bank said in a notification.

    Punjab National Bank reported fraudulent issuance of LoUs/ Foreign Letters of Credit for payment of import bills and fraudulent transactions in accounts, amounting to Rs 12,967.86 crore, to the RBI through its fraud monitoring reporting system.

    A multi-agency probe, including by CBI and ED has been launched into the PNB fraud.

    The RBI notification further said that Letters of Credit and Bank Guarantees for trade credits for imports into India may continue to be issued subject to compliance with the provisions.

  • The Gurugram-based IndiGo cancelled 47 of its 1,000-odd flights per day while the Wadia Group-promoted GoAir said it has cancelled 18 flights.

    GoAir cancelled 18 flights originating from over eight cities, the airline said in a statement to PTI. GoAir operates 230 flights per day.

    On its website, IndiGo announced the cancellations of some 47 flights across its domestic network for today.

    The flights that have been cancelled are from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Patna, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Amritsar, Srinagar and Guwahati, among others.

    Later in a statement to the media, IndiGo said the affected passengers have been given the option to either choose another flight at no additional cost or cancel their booking and get a full refund without any cancellation charges.

    “IndiGo has cancelled certain flights due to the grounding of our aircraft further to the DGCA directions which has been issued in the interest of safety,” the airline said.

    “While we understand that this may cause inconvenience to some of our passengers, given that we have multiple flights to the same destination, we are proactively re-accommodating all our affected passengers on other flights,” it added.

    The DGCA cracked the whip after an IndiGo flight bound for Lucknow returned to Ahmedabad within 40 minutes of being airborne due to an engine failure midair on Monday.

    Citing safety of aircraft operations, the DGCA Director, in the March 12 order, said that A320Neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect.

    Three other IndiGo A320Neo planes have been on the ground since February following similar engine problems.

    Monday, hundreds of passengers were stranded across the country as dozens of flights were cancelled by IndiGo and GoAir due to the grounding of the 11 A320 Neo planes of the two carriers.

  • He also launched the World Hindi Secretariat’s logo, an Early Digital Learning Programme as well unveiled foundation stones of a social housing project and a large ENT hospital being built with Indian assistance.

    Later in the day, the president attended a reception hosted by the High Commissioner of India in his honour.

    He will leave for Madagascar tomorrow for the final leg of his two-nation state visit. He will become the first Indian President to visit Madagascar.

  • PM encouraged the States to share their views and experiences on the work they have done so far towards Swachh Bharat and sanitation goals.

    He emphasized that there could be no greater inspiration for completing this task, than the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. He said teams should be formed at the district level to monitor progress.

    He also said that efforts should be made to convert this mission into a Jan-Andolan. He said students and school children can play a key role in generating greater awareness in this regard.

  • Eradicating TB has been the motive of Modi govt. And with this intention, a lot of initiatives have been taken & there are still many in pipeline. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has even announced a target of eradication of Tuberculosis from India by the year 2025, five years before the earlier target.

    The govt has taken several new initiatives for strengthening early detection and treatment of Tuberculosis like:

    • Introduction of Universal Drug Susceptibility Testing for all diagnosed TB patients, including patients in private sector
    • Introduction of newer drug i.e. Bedaquiline for DR-TB treatment under Conditional Access Programme
    • Active Case Findings for reaching the unreached vulnerable population in more than 500 districts so far

    The Ministry has also launched online portal called NIKSHAY for case-based monitoring and surveillance of notified TB patients, which includes:

    • Incentive payment through DBT mechanism
    • IT-enabled treatment adherence support-99 DOTS


    ALSO READ: PM Modi launches TB Free India campaign

    The govt has even decided:

    • Incentives for nutritional and financial support to the TB patients @ Rs. 500/- per patient per month have been proposed in the General Budget 2018.
    • The Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme provides free treatment by fixed dose anti-tuberculosis drugs to all patients

    Bedaquiline is presently being provided at 21 sites within public health in five states. India accounts for one-fourth of the global TB burden. Over 2,20,000 people die of TB in India each year and worst affected patients are AIDS patients who are inflicted by TB and remain undetected.

  • District Magistrate Eva Ashish Srivastava said the incident took place at Potam, 120 km away from the district headquarters. “Thirteen people, including the driver, were killed when the bus fell into the gorge,” Srivastava said.

    “Over 12 people sustained injuries in the accident. Four of them were seriously injured and were referred to Ramnagar for treatment,” the DM said. 

    “Prime facie it seemed that the bus was speeding and the accident occurred when it tried to avoid hitting another vehicle,” Srivastava added. 

  • Secretary to the President Austin Fernando told our correspondent that the Gazette is ready and will be signed by President on his return on Saturday or latest by Monday.

    Sri Lankan government has imposed a week emergency last Tuesday in wake of violence against minority Muslim community in Kandy district. The emergency period is coming to an end tonight but it can’t be ended technically.

    The situation in Kandy district has been returning to normal but the restrictions on social media continues. Government is divided on the issue as several ministers and MPs have advocated for end of ban. In late evening decision, government decided to lift ban on Viber from tonight but restrictions on Facebook and WhatsApp continues.

  • Incumbent President Bhandari, the Left alliance’s candidate, was elected with more than a two-thirds majority as she defeated her Nepali Congress (NC) rival Kumari Laxmi Rai in the presidential election.

    Bhandari secured 39,275 votes while the NC’s Rai garnered 11,730 votes, Election Commission spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal said.

    Bhandari, 56, won since her nomination was backed by the ruling Left alliance of the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre), the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal and other fringe parties.

    She became Nepal’s first woman president in 2015. Bhandari was elected twice in parliamentary elections in 1994 and 1999.

    With 148 lawmakers in the Federal Parliament and 243 in Provincial Assemblies, the CPN-UML commands a total vote of 23,356.

    CPN (Maoist Centre) has 65 lawmakers in parliament and 108 in provincial assemblies, which account for 10,319 votes.

    The Nepali Congress, which has 76 seats in parliament and 113 in provincial assemblies, has a total vote of 11,428.

    With Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal and other fringe parties also deciding to support Bhandari, she was virtually assured of getting the minimum 26,921 votes needed for her re-election.

    An electoral college, including members of parliament and provincial assemblies, will vote in the election.

  • The outgoing secretary of state, who returned before dawn from a trip to Africa, did not speak to the president before his sacking was announced and was unaware of the reason for his sudden downfall, according to a top aide.

    A senior White House official said the president wanted to reshuffle his team with a view to launching talks with North Korea, following last week’s spectacular announcement of a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

    "Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!" Trump tweeted. "Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!" he added.

    Trump had scant words of praise for Tillerson, who had long been rumored to be about to be pushed out.

    “A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well,” Trump said, thanking Tillerson “for his service.”

    But addressing reporters before leaving on a trip to California, Trump spoke openly of his disagreements with the former Exxon chief—including over the Iran nuclear deal—as he explained his decision to replace him.

    “We got along actually quite well but we disagreed on things,” Trump said. “When you look at the Iran deal, I thought it was terrible, he thought it was okay. I wanted to either break it or do something, he felt a little differently. So we were not really thinking the same.”

    In announcing Tillerson’s removal earlier Tuesday, Trump lavished praise on Pompeo, a former US army officer and congressman who led the CIA for nearly 14 months, saying he would do a “fantastic job!”

    “He will continue our program of restoring America’s standing in the world, strengthening our alliances, confronting our adversaries, and seeking the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump added, calling him “the right person for the job at this critical juncture.”

    Trump called for Pompeo to be swiftly confirmed in the role—as his administration heads into the high-stakes talks.

    To succeed Pompeo, the US president nominated Gina Haspel, a controversial career intelligence officer, to head the Central Intelligence Agency—the first woman tapped for the post.

    Haspel has been reported to have overseen a CIA “black site” in Thailand where Al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded after the 9/11 attacks.

    The reshuffle comes days after the spectacular announcement of a meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose date and details have yet to be determined.

  • The Indian team is placed in Pool B along with Pakistan, Malaysia, Wales, England and will begin their campaign on April 7 against Pakistan.

    While Manpreet dons the captain’s armband, the responsibilities of his deputy will be shouldered by Chinglensana Singh Kangujam.

    It was under Manpreet’s leadership the Indian team lifted the coveted Asia Cup 2017 followed by a bronze medal feat at the Men’s Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar, last year.

    Veteran custodian Sreejesh is back after having suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury during the Azlan Shah tournament in 2017. His brilliant show during the New Zealand tour saw him get his rightful place back.

    He will be backed by the 22-year-old talent Suraj Karkera who played a crucial part in the team’s good show in Bhubaneswar last year in his senior counterpart’s absence.

    Sardar’s exclusion was on expected lines as he performed below-par at this year’s Azlan Shah tournament. However a few eyebrows were raised with Ramandeep Singh being dropped despite his decent show in the same tournament.

    Youngsters Dilpreet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad, who made their international debut during the New Zealand tour, have been rewarded with this opportunity for their good show. Both the players scored in important games.

    Freeman and drag-flick expert Rupinder Pal Singh will form India’s wall of defence along with Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh and Amit Rohidas.

    India’s midfield will see skipper Manpreet Singh in the lead role, ably supported by the experience of Chinglensana along with young blood in Sumit and Vivek.

    The Indian attack will feature a lethal combination between experience and youth as SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh and Dilpreet Singh are all in the team.

    “This squad has been picked keeping in mind the performance in the previous tournaments since the Asia Cup 2017. We have tried out different combinations in the past events and we believe this will be the most effective combination for the Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games,” said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.

    He further stated that the team has a winning mindset and will look to aim for the best in the quadrennial event.

    “This team has been improving with every match and while we could not produce a podium finish at the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018, it will have no influence on how we are going to play in Australia and we will be going there with a mindset to win,” said the 43-year-old Dutch Coach.

    In the previous two outings at the Commonwealth Games, India has finished second behind Australia. Skipper Manpreet Singh, however, is confident of turning the tables this time.

    “Our first aim is to do well in the group stage because we have some strong teams in our Pool. It’s extremely crucial to top our table and make the semi-final but if we do meet Australia in the knockouts, I believe we will be up for a strong challenge.” said the 25-year-old Manpreet.


    Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera;

    Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar,  Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas;

    Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (C), Chinglensana Singh (vice-captain), Sumit, Vivek Sagar Prasad; Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, SV Sunil, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh.

    Coach: Sjoerd Marijne.

  • The 36-year-old marvel continues to defy the ageing process as he needed just 58 minutes to overpower the Serb with a brilliant display of Swiss timing.

    Federer blasted six aces, had one double fault and won 89 percent of his first serve points, losing just three points on his serve the entire match. After handing back an early break to allow Krajinovic to draw level at two-all, Federer moved into cruise control.

    At one point he won 17 straight points en route to taking a 6-2, 3-0 lead, winning 10 of the final 11 games in the match.

    Federer, who is the defending champion and trying to win a record sixth title in the California desert, was on the centre stadium for the third day in a row.

    His opening match on Saturday night against Federico Delbonis carried over into Sunday afternoon after heavy rains forced a postponement of several night matches.

    Federer has already won two titles in 2018, claiming his 20th Grand Slam crown by winning the Australian Open in January. The other victory came in Rotterdam.

    In the next round he faces Jeremy Chardy, who beat fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

    In other men’s matches, fifth seeded Dominic Thiem became the latest top seed to fall as he was forced to retire from his match with Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in the third set with a right ankle sprain. Cuevas was leading 3-6, 6-4, 4-2 when Thiem packed it in.

    Also, American Taylor Fritz defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1), Croatia’s Borna Coric breezed past Roberto Bautista 6-1, 6-3 and Pablo Carreno-Busta of Spain, stopped Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-1, 7-5.

  • Rabada was back as No 1 after his 'Player of the Match' effort of 11-150 that helped South Africa defeat Australia by six wickets in Port Elizabeth to level their four-match series at 1-1.

    Rabada is the 23rd bowler to cross 900 points and only the fourth South Africa player to do so after Vernon Philander (highest of 912 points in 2013), Shaun Pollock (909 in 1999) and Dale Steyn (909 in 2014).

    Despite India not playing a Test match currently, Ashwin gained two places as Josh Hazlewood (from 4th to 5th) and Mitchell Starc (5th to 9th) slipped in the rankings following Australia's defeat. The other Indian Ravindra Jadeja remained static at third place.

    In the batsmen's list, there has been no change with Steve Smith perched at the top while Indian captain Virat Kohli in second position. Cheteshwar Pujara maintained his sixth place in the rankings.

    South Africa batsman AB de Villiers is another major gainer in the latest rankings update, his scores of 126 not out and 28 helping him move up five slots to reach seventh position in the batsmen's list led by Australia captain Steve Smith.

    Hashim Amla has moved up one place to ninth position while Lungi Ngidi has gained 12 slots in the list of bowlers to reach 37th position after grabbing five wickets in the match.

    For Australia, Usman Khawaja's second innings knock of 75 has helped him gain five places to reach 16th position. Wicketkeeper Tim Paine (up 16 places to 66th), opener Cameron Bancroft (up 15 places to a career-best 78th) and fast bowler Pat Cummins (up four places to a career-best 23rd) have all moved up.

    Meanwhile, New Zealand and England play a two-Test series that overlaps with the final two Tests of the South Africa-Australia Test series.

    A series win for England could see them overtake New Zealand to take fourth position in the Test Team Rankings as the latter are just one point ahead at 100 points.

    On the other hand, New Zealand could overtake Australia to third position if they win their series and Australia go on to lose 3-1 to South Africa.

    India have already been presented with the ICC Test Championship Mace and a USD 1 million prize money after being assured of the top place at the April 3 cut-off date, South Africa are assured of the second prize of USD 500,000 while the third and fourth sides get USD 200,000 and USD 100,000, respectively.

  • According to a white paper by ACI Worldwide along with AGS Transact Technologies (AGSTTL), digital transactions in India could be worth USD 1 trillion annually by 2025, with four out of every five transactions being made digitally.

    The user base for digital transactions in India is currently close to 90 million, but could triple to 300 million by 2020 as new users from rural and semi-urban areas enter the market, the report said.

    "Flexible, scalable and reliable technology will be critical to the future of payments in India as the market continues to experience incredible growth," said Manish Patel, Vice President, ACI Worldwide.

    Meanwhile, with the rise in digital payments, cyber security costs for companies in India is also rising.

    Mahesh Patel, Group Chief Technology Officer, AGS Transact Technologies said, "we understand that rapid rise in internet users nationwide is spurring an increase in digital transactions. However, the Indian market unlike many western nations is still to mature and remains threatened due to lower awareness levels".

     As per the report, Cyber attacks cost India an estimated USD 4 billion annually, and could rise to USD 20 billion by 2025, with the digitisation of payments presenting new challenges for cybersecurity.

    "It is necessary that the rise in digital transactions remain holistic thereby supporting growth with scalable processing platform. Also, it should be accompanied by allied precautionary measures such as cyber security and fraud prevention," Patel said.

    Mass adoption of e-payments and a thriving fintech scene, combined with regulatory policy, are set to propel India into a leading position in the global payments landscape, it said adding unified payments interface (UPI) transactions are a key driver of greater financial inclusion.

    The white paper titled "Transactions 2025" noted that India's smartphone user base is likely to double to 500 million by 2020 as affordable devices and data will spur safe, fraud-resistant digital transactions based on biometrics and multi-factor authorisation.

    ACI Worldwide is a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, while AGS Transact Technologies (AGSTTL), is an end-to-end payment solutions company.

  • Therapy dog sessions for stressed-out students are an increasingly popular offering at North American universities.

    "Therapy dog sessions are becoming more popular on university campuses, but there has been surprisingly little research on how much attending a single drop-in therapy dog session actually helps students," said Emma Ward-Griffin, research assistant at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.

    "Our findings suggest that therapy dog sessions have a measurable, positive effect on the wellbeing of university students, particularly on stress reduction and feelings of negativity," said Ward-Griffin, lead author of the study published in the journal Stress and Health.

    Researchers surveyed 246 students before and after they spent time in a drop-in therapy dog session.

    Students were free to pet, cuddle and chat with seven to 12 canine companions during the sessions. They also filled out questionnaires immediately before and after the session, and again about 10 hours later.

    The researchers found that participants reported significant reductions in stress as well as increased happiness and energy immediately following the session, compared to a control group of students who did not spend time at a therapy dog session.

    While feelings of happiness and life satisfaction did not appear to last, some effects did.

    "We found that, even 10 hours later, students still reported slightly less negative emotion, feeling more supported, and feeling less stressed, compared to students who did not take part in the therapy dog session," said Stanley Coren, professor at UBC.

    While previous research suggested that female students benefit from therapy dog sessions more than male students, the researchers found the benefits were equally distributed across both genders in this study.

    Since the strong positive effects of the therapy dog session were short-lived, the researchers concluded that universities should be encouraged to offer them at periods of increased stress.

    "These sessions clearly provide benefits for students in the short-term, so we think universities should try to schedule them during particularly stressful times, such as around exam periods," said Frances Chen, assistant professor of psychology at UBC.

    "Even having therapy dogs around while students are working on their out-of-class assignments could be helpful," said Chen. 

  • Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board is shortly launching totally redesigned ‘Palkis’ for the much greater comfort of pilgrims and convenience of the Palkiwallahs, a senior of official of SMVDSB said.

    The new highly comfortable, much lighter weight, sturdier and aesthetically designed ‘Palkis’ have been developed by a team of the Industrial Design Centre of IIT Bombay and National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai, in continuing collaboration with the Shrine Board, the official said.

    As of now, 10 newly designed aluminium based Palkis have been received by the Shrine Board, and these are presently plying on the track on a demonstration basis. 90 more Palkis will be available next month and the entire batch of 100 such Palkis is scheduled to be formally launched by SMVDSB Chairman, he said.

    The newly designed Palkis are 30 kg less in weight than the traditional ones and provides very significant convenience to the Palkiwallas to carry pilgrims.

    It is pertinent to recall that the idea of improving the traditional ‘Palkis’ was deliberated in a meeting held at Raj Bhavan in December 2014 between Governor N N Vohra, SMVDSB Chairman, and Dr R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India.

    It was decided in the meeting that University of Jammu shall act as the nodal point for the functioning of the Rural Technology Action Group (RuTAG) which, with support from IIT, Delhi, and other technology institutions will assist the Shrine Board to undertake varied technology upgradation tasks, he said.

    It was agreed that the traditional ‘Palkis’ shall be redesigned through a team of IIT Bombay headed by Prof B K Chakravarthy in collaboration with NITIE, he added.

    In the past 4 years, several designs and prototypes of the improved Palkis have been developed, trial runs have been conducted and modifications made which were based on the feedback provided by the Palkiwallahs.

    Under the aegis and support of the RuTAG, Mechanical Engineering students from the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University have also been involved in the trial runs of the newly designed Palkis, based upon the continuing feedback from the Palkiwallahs, he said.

    “Some of the Palkiwallahs were also taken to IIT Bombay to provide first-hand feedback regarding the efficacy of the modified Palkis.They have also been imparted training on the use of the improved Palkis”, the official said.

    Theses have been developed based on ergonomic studies to make the journey comfortable for the pilgrims, besides presenting a pleasing aesthetic look, the redesigned Palkis are sturdy and can carry weights more than 100 kg, he added.

  • The finding could not be generalised to overall use of social media, however, because the same was not true of those who used Twitter, researchers said.

    Researchers from Fielding Graduate University and University of Virginia in the US found that while happiness and Facebook use increased together up to a certain point, the beneficial effect of social media use then waned.

    The researchers propose that that ability to interact with others on Facebook, instead of in more challenging face-to-face interactions may help protect these individuals against mental health issues associated with ASD such as depression.

    "Some studies report that up to 50 percent of adults with ASD have co-occurring social anxiety disorder. Facebook may provide a safe starting point for training and refinement of conversational skills," said Brenda K Wiederhold, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, in which the study was published.

    "Increased self-confidence in one's abilities may lead to eventual translation of these new skill sets into improved face-to-face interactions," said Wiederhold.

  • Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that infects at least 100 million people every year around the world, with about four billion people at risk of the illness, which includes dengue hemorrhagic fever that can lead to spontaneous bleeding, organ failure and death.

    "Clinicians in dengue-endemic areas should be aware of this association, especially for patients with dengue who have neurologic deficits or for patients with stroke who have unexplained fever," said Chia-Hung Kao, China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan.

    The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), looked at data on 13,787 patients, most between 31 and 60 years of age, with newly diagnosed dengue between 2000 and 2012.

    It found the incidence of stroke was higher in people with dengue fever. The risk of stroke was as high as 2.49 times in the first two months of infection with dengue relative to control patients who did not have dengue.

    "Our findings may help with clinical risk evaluation and may serve as a basis for further investigation of the pathogenesis of dengue-related stroke," researchers said. 

  • Declaring that India was “fully committed” to the IPR regime, the minister said that it was in the country’s interest as among the foremost knowledge economies to have a robust IPR system that is enforced effectively.

    “We are working on bringing a plan by which patent registrations will be issued in the least possible time. The announcement will be made in the next few weeks,” Pradhu said here while inaugurating the National Conference on Counterfeiting and Role of Enforcement Agencies.

    “Enforceability of law is extremely important, it is a critical part of IPR because its violation is a completely different kind of is a moral, as well as intellectual crime. “India is fully committed not only to the IPR regime, which has been accomplished, but also to enforcing it and successful prosecution of cases.”

    Noting that Indian enforcement were more familiar with other kinds of crimes and economic offences like bank frauds, Prabhu said the Commerce Ministry would help the police by creating modules online for undertaking systematic investigation of IPR infringements.

    “We will provide you with modules on how to enforce the law. We should call a meeting of DG Police and other law enforcement officials and prepare a module a module for implementation that could be put online,” he said.

    He said a robust IPR regime is necessary to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) that is crucial for the country’s development. “Investment to achieve 9-10 per cent growth will not happen without FDI, which comes with technology and that means a license. So, there is this IPR linkage to FDI which has to be protected.”

  • The unabated protests had forced the adjournment of the House about 15 minutes after it had assembled till 2 PM. When it re-assembled at 2 pm, the protesting MPs, including those from the NDA partner TDP, trooped into the Well raising slogans and displaying placards. This led to the adjournment of the House for the day.

    The proceedings of the Lok Sabha this morning were disrupted for the seventh consecutive day as various parties continued with their protests on several issues, including the Punjab National Bank scam.

    As soon as Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan took up the Question Hour, members from various parties, including the Congress, AIADMK, TDP and TRS trooped into the Well raising slogans and holding placards.

    The Lok Sabha was adjourned initially till 12 noon within minutes of the House commencing its business. When the House reassembled at 12 noon, the scene was no different, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for the day.

    The BJP today blamed the Congress for the impasse in Parliament and dubbed it "anti-democratic", claiming that the party continues to have contempt for democracy as it had during the Emergency. 

    Briefing reporters on the BJP parliamentary party meeting, which was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its president Amit Shah, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government has been talking to different parties to break the deadlock in Parliament and targeted the Congress.

  • A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had on March 7 said it may not be possible to decide by March 31 the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.

    On December 15 last year, the apex court had extended till March 31 the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes.

  • Officials said the incident took place around 12:30 pm along the Kistaram-Palodi road of the district when the troops of the 212th battalion of the CRPF were out on an operation.

    At least nine men have been killed, while two other jawans suffered injuries after a mine-protected vehicle was blown up by multiple improvised explosive devices (IEDs) concealed under the dirt track, a senior official said. The injured personnel are being airlifted to Raipur, they said.

    The rebels used a lot of explosives to blow up the vehicle, a state police official said.

    Soon after the incident, reinforcements were rushed to the spot, around 500 km from state capital Raipur, he said, adding further details were awaited.

    Officials added that the first encounter between the two sides took place at 8 am and later this contingent was targeted by the Maoists.

    Twelve personnel of the force were killed on March 11 last year in the Bheji area of the district and their arms looted when Naxals ambushed their patrol party.

    A few days later on April 24, 25 personnel of the paramilitary were killed in a similar ambush in Sukma.

    Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a tweet message expressed his grief over the Sukma blast saying, “Today's IED blast in Sukma, Chhattisgarh is deeply distressing. I bow to each and every security personnel who attained martyrdom while serving the nation.”

    He expressed his condolences on twitter saying, “My heartfelt condolences to the families of those personnel who lost their lives in Sukma blast. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured jawans. I spoke to DG crpf regarding the Sukma incident and asked him to leave for Chhattisgarh.”

    President Ram Nath Kovind too has expressed sadness over the death of the CRPF soldiers. In a tweet he said, “Anguished at the attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh. India salutes the CRPF personnel who lost their lives while doing their duty to keep us safe. Condolences to the bereaved families. We remain firm in our resolve to take on and defeat all forms of terrorism #PresidentKovind”

    PM Modi tweeted his condolences saying, “India salutes the brave @crpfindia personnel who were martyred in the attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the brave martyrs. The nation stands shoulder to shoulder with them in this hour of grief.”

    The Sukma attack on Tuesday is neither an isolated one.nor without precedent. Concerted efforts by the centre has boosted security and reduced violence but there is still lots to be done to completely eradicate the menace of naxal terror that prevails in this area.

  • Signed on a prefatory page in fountain pen by Tagore, the Bolpur edition of the book was published by The Macmillan Company in 1916. The play revolves around a mysterious, unseen, omniscient king, who is both benevolent and efficient.

    His reluctance towards being seen causes most of the drama in the story, rattling his beautiful wife and the kings of nearby kingdoms.  The book was consigned by an American book dealer, according to US-based RR Auction.  It was initially expected to fetch USD 500 at the online auction.

    Tagore became the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize (Literature) in 1913.  He wrote successfully in all literary genres, but was first and foremost a poet, publishing more than 50 volumes of poetry.Tagore was knighted by the British in 1915, but gave up his knighthood after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.

  • The expelled Congress members are Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and Sampath Kumar. When the House met on Tuesday, Speaker S Madhusudana Chary expressed anguish over the incident that took place during the opening day of the budget session yesterday in which Legislative Council Chairman K Swamy Goud suffered eye injury after being hit by an object thrown at the podium after Governor E S L Narasimhan’s customary address.

    Goud said he was hit by the object thrown at the podium during the playing of national anthem after the address that was marred by sloganeering Congress members who accused the TRS government of being “anti-farmer”. Legislative Affairs Minister T Harish Rao moved separate resolutions for the disciplinary action. The suspended members included Leader of the Opposition K Jana Reddy.

  • The charges for non-maintenance of AMB for customers in metro and urban centres have been reduced from a maximum of Rs 50 per month plus goods and services tax (GST), to Rs 15 per month plus GST. The above revision will benefit 25 crore bank customers. For semi-urban and rural centres, the charges have been reduced from Rs 40 per month plus GST to Rs 12 and Rs 10 per month plus GST, respectively, the bank said in a release.

    “We have reduced these charges taking into account the feedback and sentiments of our customers,” SBI’s managing director (retail and digital banking) P K Gupta said. “The bank has always focused on keeping the interests of its customers first and this is one of our many efforts towards fulfilling customers’ expectations,” he said. The SBI also offers its customers to shift from a regular savings bank account to basic savings bank deposit account (BSBD) on which no charges is levied.

    A customer always has the option of converting the regular savings bank account to BSBD account free of charge, in case he desires to avail basic savings bank facilities without being subject to maintenance of AMB, Gupta said.

    The lender has 41 crore savings bank accounts, out of which 16 crore accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna/ BSBD, and of pensioners/ minors/ social security benefit holders are already exempted from charges on non- maintenance of minimum balance.


  • Therapy dog sessions for stressed-out students are an increasingly popular offering at North American universities. “Therapy dog sessions are becoming more popular on university campuses, but there has been surprisingly little research on how much attending a single drop-in therapy dog session actually helps students,” said Emma Ward-Griffin, research assistant at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.

    “Our findings suggest that therapy dog sessions have a measurable, positive effect on the wellbeing of university students, particularly on stress reduction and feelings of negativity,” said Ward-Griffin, lead author of the study published in the journal Stress and Health. Researchers surveyed 246 students before and after they spent time in a drop-in therapy dog session.

    Students were free to pet, cuddle and chat with seven to 12 canine companions during the sessions. They also filled out questionnaires immediately before and after the session, and again about 10 hours later. The researchers found that participants reported significant reductions in stress as well as increased happiness and energy immediately following the session, compared to a control group of students who did not spend time at a therapy dog session.

    While feelings of happiness and life satisfaction did not appear to last, some effects did. “We found that, even 10 hours later, students still reported slightly less negative emotion, feeling more supported, and feeling less stressed, compared to students who did not take part in the therapy dog session,” said Stanley Coren, professor at UBC.

    While previous research suggested that female students benefit from therapy dog sessions more than male students, the researchers found the benefits were equally distributed across both genders in this study. Since the strong positive effects of the therapy dog session were short-lived, the researchers concluded that universities should be encouraged to offer them at periods of increased stress.

    “These sessions clearly provide benefits for students in the short-term, so we think universities should try to schedule them during particularly stressful times, such as around exam periods,” said Frances Chen, assistant professor of psychology at UBC. “Even having therapy dogs around while students are working on their out-of-class assignments could be helpful,” said Chen. 


  • Venus closed out the 29th career meeting between the two on her second match point as Serena sailed a forehand long to end the third round match. The 10th seeded Venus moves on to the round of 16, where she will face either Anastasija Sevastova or 12th seeded Julia Georges. It was the first meeting between the two sisters since they clashed in the final of the 2017 Australian Open which Serena won before taking a 15-month hiatus due to her pregnancy.

    It is rare for the Williams sisters to play this early in a tournament. It is the earliest they have faced each other since their first encounter at the Australian Open in 1998. The sisters arrived outside the stadium together on a golf cart then walked through the tunnel with Serena entering the court first with many in the crowd standing and cheering.

    Venus blasted six aces but had eight double faults in the one hour 26 minutes main stadium match. Serena is still shaking off the rust after the long layoff as she hit four aces but had her serve broken four times.

    This was their first encounter with Venus as an aunt and Serena as a new mother after giving birth to her baby daughter, Alexis Olympia, on September 1. Venus’s victory also comes 17 years after an ugly booing incident led to a 14-year boycott of the tournament by the sisters. But for some it brought closure to the once testy relationship between Indian Wells and the sisters who hail from the Los Angeles suburb of Compton.


  • Addressing a gathering after releasing a book ‘Indian Scientists - The saga of Inspired Minds’ in New Delhi, Vardhan said India’s scientific accomplishments were not inferior to any other in the world.

    The science and technology minister urged the “fraternity of scientists to put a little more heart and soul into science and think out-of-the-box to solve the unsolved problems facing the country,” an official release said.

    Vardhan also reiterated that the Environment and Science & Technology Ministries were working in close coordination so that “science benefits the cause of environment and environment in turn, benefits science”. 

  • Brussels said its product alert system had detected some light-up spinners with button batteries that can come loose and be swallowed, causing "burns to the oesophagus and intestines". Other types of the popular finger spinners have central bearings that can come loose to create a choking hazard for small children, according to the European Commission, the watchdog for the 28-nation EU.

    "A number of concerns have been raised due to accidents involving small children, who have either swallowed broken parts of the toy or ingested button batteries. In these cases, hospital intervention is necessary and urgent," the report said. "Consequently, dangerous fidget spinners have been tracked down, stopped at borders or ports, or destroyed."

    The EU said it had issued 2,201 dangerous product alerts in 2017. Toys were the biggest category with 29 percent, followed by motor vehicles with 20 percent and clothes with 12 percent. China was by far the most frequent country of origin for dangerous products with 53 percent, although that figure remained stable from the previous year. European products accounted for 26 percent.

  • Last week, a South Korean delegation, led by its national security advisor, informed Trump that Kim Jon-un has invited him for a meeting. The invitation, conveyed too orally, was accepted by Trump, a decision that took the world by surprise.

    “We fully expect that it (the meeting) will (take place). The offer was made and we’ve accepted. North Korea made several promises and we hope that they would stick to those promises and, if so, the meeting will go on as planned,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.

    Meanwhile, the Trump administration is continuing to prepare on a number of levels for the meeting. “Most of that is an inter-administration, interagency process and I’m not going to get ahead of any of the details of the where, the when, or any of that here today,” she said, responding to a series of questions on the meeting between the two leaders.

    Sanders said that the maximum pressure campaign on North Korea is working.  “We know that they have responded due to that, and they have pushed this message through the South Koreans to us. We have accepted their invitation on the three promises that they made, and were going to move forward in this process,” she said.

    Meanwhile, in New York, US’ National Security Advisor HR McMaster and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, briefed members of the UN Security Council on developments related to North Korea. During the meeting, McMaster and Haley urged the international community to maintain maximum pressure on the North Korean regime and asked Council members to devote the political will and resources necessary to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions to hold the regime accountable.

    “The announcement of a meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim is a historic opportunity that holds great potential for the world,” Haley said. “While we can’t say whether Kim’s offer is genuine, we can say that this historic meeting would not have been possible without the international community’s participation in the maximum pressure campaign, initiated by the Trump Administration, and a commitment to holding North Korea accountable through three strong UN sanctions resolutions in 2017,” she said.


  • Playing for a third consecutive day due to weather delays in Indian Wells, the 36-year-old Swiss showed no sign of wear en route to a 6-2 6-1 thrashing of the Serbian in the pair's first ever meeting. Federer, who had looked slightly off his game in his rain-disrupted third round match against Federico Delbonis, was his dominant self on Monday, winning 89 percent of his first service points while cracking six aces to just one double fault.

    Krajinovic had no answer for Federer's serve or relentless return game and ended up winning just 31 of the match's 93 points. With rivals Rafa Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray electing not to enter the tournament, and Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori both eliminated, the path appears clear for the Swiss to win a record sixth Indian Wells title. Next up for Federer is a meeting on Wednesday with France's Jeremy Chardy, who upset his countryman Adrian Mannarino earlier on Monday.

  • “Russia is not guilty”, said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in an English city on March 4.

    The United States, NATO and the European Union have all backed Britain in the deepening diplomatic crisis.

    Lavrov added that Russia was “ready to cooperate”, but said Britain had rejected its requests for “access” to the nerve agent samples.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament it was “highly likely” Russia was behind the poisoning, giving Moscow until the end of Tuesday to answer the accusations.

    Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the attack was the “first use of nerve agent on the continent of Europe since the end of the Second World War”. He vowed that Britain’s response if it concludes Russia was responsible would be “commensurate”.

    May has said that her government was considering a British version of the US “Magnitsky Act”, which was adopted in 2012 to punish Russian officials accused of human rights violations.

    Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain in a critical condition in hospital after being found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in the southwestern city of Salisbury.

    Emergency workers in biohazard suits have been deployed in the normally sleepy city, while about 500 people who may have come into minimal contact with the nerve agent were urged to wash clothes and belongings as a precaution.

    May told British lawmakers that Moscow had previously used a group of nerve agents known as Novichok, had a history of state-sponsored assassinations and viewed defectors such as Skripal as legitimate targets.

    She demanded Moscow disclose details of its development of the Novichok nerve agents programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

    The chemical weapons watchdog said Tuesday that it was “extremely worrying that chemical agents are still being used.”

    Vil Mirzayanov, a chemist who worked on the Novichok programme and now lives in the United States, was quoted as saying that the nerve agent’s effects were “brutal”.

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington has “full confidence” in the British investigation.

    “We agree that those responsible—both those who committed the crime and those who ordered it—must face appropriately serious consequences,” he told reporters. “We stand in solidarity with our allies in the United Kingdom.”

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the incident was “of great concern”, as the The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Britain was consulting NATO allies about possibly invoking its Article 5 principle of common defence.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed aside questions about Moscow’s involvement in the attack on Monday, telling the BBC: “Sort things out from your side and then we will discuss this with you.”

    Moscow on Tuesday summoned the British ambassador over the accusations, having earlier called them “a circus show” to undermine its hosting of this summer’s football World Cup.

    Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd later on Tuesday will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee for an update on the investigation, her office said.

  • Among the contenders are current Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Communist party nominee Pavel Grudinin, Russian TV personality Ksenia Sobchak, a daughter of a reformist St Petersburg mayor who had hired Putin as an official in City Hall in the 1990s, two politicians who have been in Russian politics for more than 20 years - the leader of Yabloko party Grigory Yavlinksy and the head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

    Three other candidates for presidency are the leader of Russian All-People's Union Sergei Baburin, Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov and the leader of Communists of Russia party Maxim Suraikin.

    Opinion polls show Putin, 65, who has been in power, either as president or prime minister, since 2000, will comfortably win re-election and will serve his fourth presidential term.

  •  After inaugurating the Delhi End-TB Summit here, the prime minister launched the TB-free India Campaign to take the activities under the National Strategic Plan for TB Elimination forward in a mission mode for ending the epidemic by 2025. "A target has been set to end TB globally by 2030. I would like to announce that we have set aim to eradicate it from India five years ahead by 2025," Prime Minister Modi said.

    Prime Minister stressed on analysing the situation and changing the approach, saying that efforts to curb tuberculosis has not yielded successful results yet and said state governments have a major role to play in the elimination of TB from the country. He further said that front-line TB physicians and workers can make a major contribution in this direction.

    ALSO READ: Govt vows to eradicate TB by the year 2025

    "State governments have a major role to play in elimination of TB from India. I have written to all chief ministers to join this mission," Prime Minister Modi said, adding it would boost the spirit of cooperative federalism.  He further said that TB was the most prevalent among communicable diseases in the country and the poor were the worst affected by it. Every step taken towards eradicating the disease is directly connected to their lives, he added. Leaders from across the globe have converged in the national capital for the summit, hosted by the Union Ministry of Health along with the WHO and the Stop TB Partnership.

    TB was responsible for 1.7 million deaths in 2016, despite most cases being curable while over 10 million people contract TB every year. The summit would set the stage for the September 2018 United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB, where for the first time, TB would be discussed in the UN General Assembly at the Heads of State level. 

  • Haley's warning came as the United States asked the Security Council to demand an immediate 30-day ceasefire in Damascus and rebel-held eastern Ghouta, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, backed by Russia and Iran, say they are targeting "terrorist" groups which are shelling the capital.

    The army's onslaught in eastern Ghouta, backed by air and artillery strikes, has killed about 1,160 people since Feb. 18, a war monitor said.

    "The ceasefire has failed. The situation of the civilians in eastern Ghouta is dire and the United States is acting. We have drafted a new ceasefire resolution that provides no room for evasion. It contains no counter-terrorism loopholes for Assad, Iran and the Russians to hide behind. If Russia, Iran and Assad cannot agree to stop the bombing in this limited part of Syria for this limited amount of time, they will not agree to anything that's worthwhile," Haley said.

    "It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again," Haley told the 15-member Security Council. "When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action." The United States bombed a Syrian government air base last year over a deadly chemical weapons attack.

    The Security Council demanded a 30-day ceasefire across Syria in a unanimously adopted Feb. 24 resolution. In his briefing to the council, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decried the lack of adherence to the ceasefire. "There has been no cessation of hostilities," he said. "No sieges have been lifted ... To our knowledge, not one critically sick or wounded person has yet been evacuated.

    Russia and Damascus say a ceasefire ordered by the U.N. Security Council does not protect the fighters in eastern Ghouta, arguing that they are members of banned terrorist groups.

    Russia's U.N. envoy Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council that the Syrian government has "every right to try and remove the threat to the safety of its citizens" and described the Damascus suburbs as a "hotbed of terrorism."

    He also said some states were accusing the Syrian government of carrying our chemical weapons attacks in a bid to "prepare the ground for the unilateral use of force against sovereign Syria."

  • Legislature on the opening day of the budget session on Monday.


  • The election was postponed due to the death of the CPI(M) candidate, Ramendra Narayan Debbarma, a week before the scheduled poll.