The United state of America approved the proposed sale of six P-8I patrol aircraft for cost of $2.42 billion. In November 2019, the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved the procurement of the long-range maritime surveillance aircraft manufactured by Boeing. This proposed sale of an additional six P-8I aircraft will allow the Indian Navy to expand its maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) capability.
About P-8I patrol aircraft
Manufacturer : Boeing(United States)
The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is an American maritime patrol aircraft developed and produced by Boeing. An aircraft designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), and surveillance. The P-8s Indian variant is referred to as P-8I. The aircraft plays a crucial role in being the eyes of the Indian Navy and carrying out critical maritime operations. They provide India's maritime warriors a significant edge in the strategically important Indian Ocean region. The P-8I is not just responsible for coastal patrolling but is also used for other critical missions like search-and-rescue, anti-piracy, and supporting operations of other arms of the military.
Sources : The Hindu
The Indian Navy launched operation ‘Samudra Setu-II’ to bring oxygen-filled cryogenic containers to India from abroad as the country faces a severe shortage of medical oxygen in the wake of a massive spike in new Covid-19 cases.
Operation Samudra Setu
Last year 2020, Indian Navy launched Operation Samudra Setu, as part of the Vande Bharat Mission, repatriating approximately 4,000 stranded and distressed Indian citizens from the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Iran.
The Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) has finalised and recommended quality standards for four spices; cloves, oregano, basil, and ginger, during its fifth session held virtually from 20th -29th April 2021. The committee forwarded these four new standards to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) for adoption.
About Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH)
To develop and expand worldwide standards for spices and culinary herbs, and to consult with other international organisations in the standards development process Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) was formed in 2013 with support of more than a hundred countries with India as the host country and Spices Board India as the Secretariat for organising the sessions of the committee.
About Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)
Set up in 1963, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is an intergovernmental body established jointly by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), within the framework of the Joint Food Standards Programme to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to continue with the existing interim Ways and Means Advances (WMA) scheme limit of ₹51,560 crore for all States/ UTs shall for six months i.e., up to September 30, given the prevalence of COVID-19. The RBI would review the WMA limit thereafter, depending on the course of the pandemic and its impact on the economy.
Sudhir Shrivastava Advisory Committee on Ways and Means Advances (WMA)
Based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Ways and Means Advances (WMA) to State Governments, 2021 (chaired by Sudhir Shrivastava) the RBI had revised the WMA Scheme of States and Union Territories (UTs).
About RBI Ways and Means Advances (WMA)
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gives temporary loan facilities to the central and state governments. This loan facility is called Ways and Means Advances (WMA). The Ways and Means Advances scheme was introduced in 1997. The Ways and Means Advances scheme was introduced to meet mismatches in the receipts and payments of the government. The government can avail of immediate cash from the RBI, if required.
The President of India, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, appointed Shri Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana as 48th Chief Justice of India.
About Article 124(2)
Article 124(2) states that every judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President of India by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with such of the judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the states.
The World Press Freedom Index, 2021, produced by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a French non-governmental organisation, has again ranked India at 142nd out of 180 countries.In 2016, India’s rank was 133, which has steadily climbed down to 142 in 2020.
About World Press Freedom Index
The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year.
About Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. Founded by four journalists in the southern French city Montpellier in 1985, RSF is now one of the world’s leading NGOs in the defense and promotion of freedom of information. Registered in France as a non-profit organization since 1995 and Headquarter at Paris, France.
2021 annual Report of United States Commission on International Religious Freedom(USCIRF) monitors international religious freedom has recommended that India be designated as a “country of particular concern” for the second consecutive year. USCIRF recommended to designate 14 countries a “countries of particular concern (CPCs)”. These include 10 that the State Department designated as CPCs in December 2020—Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—as well as four others—India, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.
About United States Commission on International Religious Freedom(USCIRF)
USCIRF, which calls itself an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) to monitor the universal right to freedom of religion.
The Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, is a technology demonstration to test powered flight on another world for the first time. It hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover. Once the rover reached a suitable "helipad" location, it released Ingenuity to the surface so it could perform a series of test flights over a 30-Martian-day experimental window. The first flight was successfully performed on April 19, 2021.
About Mars 2020
Mars 2020 is a Mars rover mission forming part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program that includes the Rover Perseverance with Coaxial helicopter Ingenuity. Mars 2020 was launched from Earth on an Atlas V launch vehicle on 30 July 2020 and confirmation of touch down in Jezero crater on Mars was received on 18 February 2021.On 5 March 2021, NASA named the landing site of the Rover Perseverance as Octavia E. Butler Landing.
India and Germany signed an agreement on Technical Cooperation titled ‘Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment’ at a virtual ceremony on 19th April 2021. The project, aimed at enhancing practices to prevent plastic accumulation in oceans that is adversely affecting marine ecosystems, will be undertaken at the national level(Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs), select states (Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Andaman Nicobar Islands) and in the cities of Kanpur, Kochi and Port Blair for a period of three and a half years.
About Marine litter
Marine litter threatens ecosystems and adversely affects fishery and tourism industries around the globe. In addition to negative economic impact, it affects public health with increased concerns about micro-plastic and risk of particles entering the food chain.
Major Sources of Marine litter
It is estimated that 15-20% of all plastics are entering oceans via riverine ecosystems of which 90% are contributed by 10 of the world’s most polluting rivers. Two of these river systems are located in India, namely Ganga and Brahmaputra.
Minister of Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal launched on 19th April 2021 the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS). The Fund aims to provide financial assistance to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry, and commercialization. The Scheme was announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on 16th January 2021 in his Grand Plenary address of ‘Prarambh: StartupIndia International Summit’, marking the five-year anniversary of the Startup India initiative.
About Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS)
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has created Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) with an outlay of INR 945 Crore to provide financial assistance to startups for Proof of Concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry, and commercialization.It will support an estimated 3,600 entrepreneurs through 300 incubators in the next 4 years.
An Experts Advisory Committee (EAC) has been constituted by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) , which will be responsible for the overall execution and monitoring of the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme. The EAC will evaluate and select incubators for allotment of Seed Funds, monitor progress, and take all necessary measures for efficient utilization of funds towards fulfilment of objectives of Startup India Seed Fund Scheme.
The International Day for Monuments and Sites also known as World Heritage Day is an international observance held on 18 April each year around the world. International Day for Monuments and Sites. Every year, the United Nations marks April 18 as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, in many countries also celebrated as World Heritage Day. The theme for this year is is “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures”. Globally, the day is promoted by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). India is home to 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, out of the 1121 such spots identified around the world. So far, only China, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France have more locations on the list than India.
About International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day
ICOMOS in 1982 had decided to celebrate April 18 as the International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day. Approved by UNESCO in 1983 during its 22nd General Conference, the day is dedicated to recognising sites of historical importance, raising awareness regarding them, and stressing the need to restore and preserve them.
The U.S. Treasury report on "Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States", which is submitted to the U.S. Congress. These report used to review partners currency practices of the U.S.’s 20 biggest trading partners. India is one of the 11 countries on the U.S. Treasury’s ‘Monitoring List’ with regard to their currency practices, according to the April 2021 edition of the semi-annual report. The other 10 countries on the list with India are China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Mexico.
Criteria to review Major Trading partners with U.S.
Three criteria are used to review partners:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 15th April 2021 announced the setting up of a regulatory review authority(RRA 2.0), to review its regulations internally and in consultation with other stakeholders. Deputy governor M Rajeshwar Rao has been appointed as the head of the regulatory review authority(RRA 2.0) which would be set up for a period of one year from May 1, 2021, unless its tenure is extended.
The central bank had set up an RRA initially for a period of one year from April 1, 1999 for reviewing the regulations, circulars, reporting systems, based on the feedback from public, banks and financial institutions. The recommendations of the RRA enabled streamlining and increasing the effectiveness of several procedures, simplifying regulatory prescriptions, paved the way for issuance of master circulars and reduced reporting burden on regulated entities.
Stiff resistance from at least 12 villages in Meghalaya against hydroelectric project on Umngot River. The proposed 210 MW Umngot Hydro Electric Project would be built over Umngot river between East Khasi Hills district and West Jaiñtia Hills district.
About Umngot River
The Umngot River acts as a natural divide between Jhantia and Khasi hills, before finally flowing into Bangladesh. They say that the water of the river is so clear that the boats floating on it look as if they are on a crystal glass surface.
Virat Kohli has been named Wisden Almanack’s ODI player of the 2010s. Sachin Tendulkar was named the ODI Cricketer of the 1990s and Kapil Dev the best for the 1980s. Sir Vivian Richards claimed the prize in the 1970s while Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan got the nod for the 2000s.
About Wisden Cricketers' Almanack publication
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack is a cricket reference book published annually in the United Kingdom. Wisden was founded in 1864 by the English cricketer John Wisden. Its annual publication has continued uninterrupted to the present day, making it the longest running sports annual in history.
The Energy Forum (TEF) and the Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI), under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, are organising a Hydrogen Roundtable titled “Hydrogen Economy- the Indian Dialogue-2021” in a virtual mode on 15th April, 2021 to discuss emerging hydrogen ecosystems and exploring opportunities for collaboration, cooperation and coalition. Energy leaders from across the globe will present their insights on policy roadmaps and demand and supply dynamics.
The objective of the Roundtable is to understand the progress of Hydrogen ecosystem across continents and contribute to creating synchrony among the thinktanks, Governments and the industry to join forces for developing innovative and sustainable technologies at attractive costs.
The melting of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier has long been a cause of concern because of its high potential of speeding up the global sea level rise happening due to climate change. Researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg are now saying that fears related to Thwaites’s melting are worse than previously thought, owing to the supply of warm water flowing underneath at a rate underestimated in the past. Thwaites Glacier, it is 120 km wide at its broadest, fast-moving, and melting fast over the years. Thwaites’s melting already contributes 4% to global sea level rise each year. Thwaites Glacier is important for Antarctica as it slows the ice behind it from freely flowing into the ocean.
About Thwaites Glacier
Thwaites Glacier, sometimes referred to as the Doomsday Glacier, is an unusually broad and vast Antarctic glacier flowing into the Pine Island Bay, part of the Amundsen Sea, east of Mount Murphy, on the Walgreen Coast of Marie Byrd Land.
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry chaired the first meeting of National Startup Advisory Council(NSAC) on 15th April 2021 to advise the Government on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.
About National Startup Advisory Council(NSAC)
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had constituted the National Startup Advisory Council(NSAC). The National Startup Advisory Council will be chaired by Minster for Commerce & Industry. The Council will consist of the non-official members, to be nominated by Central Government, from various categories like founders of successful startups, veterans who have grown and scaled companies in India, persons capable of representing interests of investors into startups, persons capable of representing interests of incubators and accelerators and representatives of associations of stakeholders of startups and representatives of industry associations. The term of the non-official members of the Startup Advisory Council will be for a period of two years.
Union Commerce and Industry Minister on 13th April 2021 virtually inaugurated e-SANTA, an electronic marketplace providing a platform to connect aqua farmers and the buyers. It will enable the farmers to get a better price and the exporters to directly purchase quality products from the farmers.
Tradtional New Year festivals are celebrated across the country in different ways, symbolising unity in diversity. These festivals mark the beginning of traditional New Year and reflect our country's composite culture and rich heritage. People of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana call it 'Ugadi', and in Karnataka, it is ‘Yugadi’. In Maharashtra, it is celebrated as ‘Gudi Padwa’, and in Tamil Nadu, it is observed as ‘Puthandu’. In Kerala celebrate the occasion as ‘Vishu’, Punjab sways to the festivities of ‘Vaisakhi’ and in Odisha, it is called ‘Pana Sankranthi’. In West Bengal, ‘Poila Boishakh’ ushers in the new year and in Assam, 'Bohag Bihu' marks the beginning of the new year. The names differ but the festive spirit suffused with joy, hope and togetherness remains the same.
Indian Army participated in Multinational Military Exercise namely SHANTIR OGROSHENA -2021 in Bangladesh. The nine days exercise started on the 4th April 2021 to commemorate the birth centenary of Bangladesh Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and mark glorious 50 years of liberation. The theme of the exercise is "Robust Peace Keeping Operations".
NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on 13th April 2021 launched Poshan Gyan, a national digital repository on health and nutrition. This repository is curated and maintained by NITI Aayog in joint efforts with other development partners.
The President appointed Shri Sushil Chandra as the 24th Chief Election Commissioner of India on 13th April 2021.
About Shri Sushil Chandra
Shri Sushil Chandra has been served as Election Commissioner since 15 February 2019. Having held several posts in the Income-Tax Department for nearly 39 years, Sh Sushil Chandra had also been CBDT Chairman from 1stNovember 2016 – 14th February 2019.
About Chief Election Commissioner of India
The Chief Election Commissioner of India heads the Election Commission of India, a body constitutionally empowered to conduct free and fair elections to the national and state legislatures and of President and Vice-President. This power of the Election Commission of India is derived from the Article 324 of the Constitution of India.
Jordanian King Abdullah II celebrates on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Jordan and hailed the Middle Eastern country as a global symbol of moderation. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan marked the 100th anniversary of its founding on April 11.
Jordan is situated geographically in Southwest Asia, south of Syria, west of Iraq, northwest of Saudi Arabia and east of Palestine.
The mission is aimed to spread the message of the need for a nutritionally balanced diet and to understand the importance of accessible to all local fruits and vegetables. Launched on 12th April 2021 by Vijnana Bharati(VIBHA) and Global Indian Scientists’ and Technocrats’ Forum (GIST) with a mission of "Uttam Aahaar Uttam Vichaar" or `Good Diet-Good Cognition’.
The `Aahaar Kranti’ movement is designed to address the peculiar problem being faced by India and the world called `hunger and diseases in abundance’. Studies estimate that India produces as much as two times the amount of calories that it consumes. However, many in the country are still malnourished. The root cause of this strange phenomenon is a lack of nutritional awareness in all sections of our society. The programme will focus on training teachers, who, in turn, will pass on the message to the multitudes of students, and through them to their families and finally the society at large.