1. 2nd April : World Autism Awareness Day
i. World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized day on the 2nd of April every year.
ii. This year the theme is "Autism and the 2030 Agenda: Inclusion and Neurodiversity".
iii. This is the 8th annual World Autism Awareness day encouraging by the Member of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about children with autism throughout the world.
iv. In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the ambitious new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets that promise to leave no one behind. While all SDGs are universally applicable, disability and persons with disabilities are explicitly referenced in the following goals: Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities and Partnerships for the Goals.
v. This year’s observance will look ahead to 2030 and reflect on the new SDGs and their implications for improving the lives of people with autism.
2. MoU Signed To Promote Research With IMPRINT Programme
i. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by 25 Union Ministries of the Government of India under the IMPRINT programme of the Union Government to promote research in premiere technical institutions on March 31, 2016.
ii. The MoU signed included the Union Ministry of HRD, Union Ministry of Finance, Union Ministry of Rural development, Union Ministry of Power, Coal, New and Renewable energy, Union ministry of communication and IT.
iii. The Union Human Resource and Development Minister presided over the function to sign the MoU.
iv. The Minister announced that there was no sustainability in the technology related work as it was totally dependent on the funds released by Ministry of HRD.
3. India becomes fourth largest spender on defence
i. India has become the world’s fourth largest spender on defence, following a 13.1% increase in its 2016-17 defence budget, according to US research firm IHS Inc.
ii. India’s rise in the rankings from sixth position last year is a result of an increase in expenditure to $50.7 billion, combined with cuts to military spending by Russia and Saudi Arabia, where low oil prices have put considerable strain on their finances.
iii. According to IHS analysis, short-term pressures, caused by increases to military pay and the introduction of one rank, one pension (OROP) are the main reasons for the higher rate of growth in budget allocation to defence.
iv. As a result, spending on the acquisition of military equipment remained largely static in real terms and remains lower than its 2013-14 peak, despite an increase in the overall budget.
v. The Indian defence budget is expected to reach $64.8 billion by 2020 with procurement expenditure expected to grow faster than overall spending, according to IHS.
4. ISRO Sign An MoU With The Airport Authority Of India
i. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the department of space sign an MoU with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to provide scientific parameters for construction of airports.
ii. As per this MoU, DoS will provide data on the landscape around the airports.
iii. Apart from this DoS will also sign an MoU with postal department to provide space technology helpful in tracking the parcel movements.
iv. The Department of Science (DoS) has already signed an MoU with Ministry of Urban Development where the space technology will be used in projects like smart cities and housing.
v. The MoU signed with Ministry of Railways will help in construction of railway tracks and managing the railway crossings. Space technology will also be helpful in agriculture sector in the areas of crop damage assessment, soil health, blue revolution and irrigation etc.
5. Vietnam's parliament elects first female speaker
i. Vietnam’s National Assembly (NA) elected Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan as the country’s first female house speaker.
ii. Ngan has been elected and sworn in as the NA Chairperson with 472 votes out of 481 valid ballots at the ongoing 11th session of the 13th NA .
iii. She was also elected as the Chairperson of the National Election Council with 467 votes out of 477 valid ballots.
iv. Prior to the election, Ngan served as Vice Chairperson of the Natonal Assembly from July 2011.
6. India expects $500M AIIB loan for solar power projects in 2016
i. India is hopeful of receiving the first loan issued by the newly formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in the second half of the year.
ii. The country is looking for funds on lower interest rates for its ambitious solar power project that intends to scale the capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022.
iii. The loan amount is expected to be approximately $500 million.
iv. The AIIB, headquartered in Beijing, without specifically commenting on Indian loan, reiterated its president Jin Liqun statement that the lender bank was developing a project pipeline in a number of countries.
v. India needs $100 billion for its ambitious solar power projects over next six to seven years. The country hopes to increase its solar power capacity 100 gigawatts, roughly 17 times higher than the existing 5,800 megawatts capacity.
7. US, Saudi Arabia impose joint sanction on fundraising for terrorists
i. The US and Saudi Arabia on imposed sanctions jointly on four individuals and two organisations, aiming to disrupt terrorism fundraising operations in South Asia and the Middle East.
ii. The joint action targeted James Alexander McLintock and his Pakistan-based Al-Rahmah Welfare Organisation, Abdul Aziz Nuristani and his Pakistan-based Jamia Asariya Madrassa.
iii. The Treasury said these organisations and individuals provide money for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and other Afghan extremist groups, and the sanctioned have ties across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
iv. It also said that McLintock and his organisation have provided funding to extremists under the false guise of helping orphans.
v. The sanctions freezes any property they have within US jurisdiction and bans Americans from doing business with them.
8. 4th Nuclear Security Summit begins in Washington
i. The fourth edition of Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) began in Washington, United States to discuss a gamut of issues pertaining to nuclear security.
ii. In this edition of summit, heads of about 53 countries and representatives of five international organisations including the UNO, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), European Union (EU), Interpol are taking part.
iii. India is being represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the two-day summit. The fourth summit is the last summit under the current format and also under the presidency of Barack Obama.
iv. The summit will highlight achievements and commitments of several countries towards safeguarding nuclear devices and technologies and reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism.
v. This edition of summit is expected to take stock of the measures being taken by all countries to safeguard nuclear materials and facilities and also prevent non-state actors gaining access to them.
9. Nifty Launches New Index For Mid And Small Cap Stocks
i. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has launched a new index Nifty MidSmallcap 400.
ii. It will represent the mid and small market capitalization segments of the stock market.
iii. The new index will comprise of 400 companies which are the constituents of Nifty Midcap 150 and Nifty Smallcap 250 indices.
iv. Mukesh Agarwal, CEO of IISL said that initially IISL will publish value of the Nifty MidSmallcap 400 at end of the day and subsequently disseminate online along with existing indices.
v. The new index will be added to the exchange’s family of broad market indices.
10. Maharashtra first state to link colleges to national cancer grid
i. In a major step towards improvement of infrastructure for cancer cure, Maharashtra tied up with the Tata Trusts to link all government colleges and medical colleges to the national cancer grid for uniform cancer profiling and quality treatment.
ii. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Tata Trusts chairman Ratan Tata signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for this collaboration at Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai.
iii. As per the CM the target was to have 50,000 bone marrow donors in the next three years. Ratan Tata was present in the VIP gallery when Fadnavis made a statement on the MoUs in the House.
iv. The chief minister said a total of 9 MoUs were inked between the government and Tata Trusts.
v. The Tata Trusts has agreed to help the government in setting up a Strategic Healthcare Advisory Unit aimed to improve overall healthcare in the state. It will also involve setting up of a hospital information system and a drug supply corporation.
11. Rajiv Gauba takes over as Secretary of Urban Development Ministry
i. Rajiv Gauba took over as Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Urban Development.
ii. Gauba has wide-ranging experience in senior positions at policy making and programme implementation in the Central and State iii. Governments and in international organisations. Hailing from Punjab, the 1959 born Gauba is a physics graduate from Patna University.
iv. He was Chief Secretary, Jharkhand for 15 months before joining the central government today.
v. Gauba also served in the International Monetary Fund representing the Country for four years on the Board of IMF. He was Collector and District Magistrate for 7 years in the districts of Gaya, Nalanda and Muzaffarpur.
12. Mehbooba Mufti to be sworn in as first woman CM of Jammu & Kashmir on April 4
i. PDP President Mehbooba Mufti will be sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on April 4.
ii. PDP and its alliance partner BJP said they have also conveyed the mutually agreed date for the swearing-in ceremony to state Governor N N Vohra.
iii. The date for the oath ceremony of the new cabinet was decided after deliberations between the leadership of both the parties.
iv. After the death of her father, who headed PDP-BJP coalition government for 10 months from March 1, last year until his death on January 7, this year, Mehbooba had been reluctant to take over as CM of the PDP-BJP coalition government.
13. Banks adopt new rate formula
i. Consumer loans became cheaper with banks moving to a new way of setting lending rates following RBI’s diktat to ensure faster and effective transmission of its policy rate cuts to borrowers.
ii. A number of banks, including ICICI, Bank of India, IDBI today joined their peers like SBI, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank to make a shift to lending rates based on marginal cost of funds.
iii. Other banks that have adopted new methodology for calculating lending rates include Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce.
iv. Banking major SBI, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, among others would move to new methodology for setting lending rates from April 1.
v. RBI had asked banks to price fixed rate loans of up to three years based on marginal cost of funds from April 1. The lending rate based on marginal cost of funds is lower than base rate in some cases resulting in lower EMIs for borrowers. Most of the banks were deciding lending rates based on their average cost of funds.
14. Pranab signs ordinance on Uttarakhand expenditure
i. President Pranab Mukherjee has promulgated the Uttarakhand Appropriation (Vote on Account) Ordinance, 2016 which authorizes expenditure in the hill state that has come under direct federal rule because of a political crisis.
ii. The ordinance allows for the withdrawal of about Rs.13,642.43 cr. to meet the state’s expenditure during the ongoing fiscal year. iii. The decision to issue the ordinance was taken at a Union cabinet meeting, which in the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a foreign trip, was chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh.
iv. During elections and till a new government takes over, the caretaker government needs funds for various routine items of expenditure — like staff salaries — without which there would be a financial crisis.
v. According to the Constitution, the government cannot spend any money without Parliament's approval.
15. Pakistan Sikh body elects caretaker president
i. Pakistan’s Sikh religious body elected a caretaker president after its first chief Sham Singh died.
ii. Tara Singh was elected the caretaker “pardhan” at a meeting of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
iii. Tara Singh, who is in his 40s, is the youngest member of the 10-member PSGPC.
iv. All other nine-members of the committee unanimously elected Tara Singh, a graduate from Sindh province who has business interests in cotton trading.
v. The meeting was called to elect the successor of Sham Singh, who died of brain hemorrhage. Sham Singh was elected the first president of the PSGPC after it was established by Pakistan government in 1998.
16. Kallol Roy Appointed As The New CMD Of Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam
i. Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI) has appointed the Kallol Roy as its new chairman and managing director (CMD).
ii. Mr. Roy is an expert in nuclear reactor. He has assumed the position under the superannuation of P Chellapandi.
iii. According to the official statement Mr. Roy is the specialist in the field of total maintenance management of reactors. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Roy was heading the research reactor maintenance division, reactor group at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai.
iv. Currently, BHAVINI is building 500 Mw prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam near Chennai.
v. BHAVINI is a wholly owned by the Union Government and is responsible for the construction, commissioning and operation of all Stage II fast breeder reactors envisaged as part of the country’s three stage nuclear power programme. BHAVINI is administered by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
17. Ranveer Singh to be Feted as 'Maharashtrian of The Year'
i. Bollywood star Ranveer Singh, who brought alive the role of Maratha warrior Peshwa Bajirao II on the silver screen through Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Bajirao Mastani”, will on Friday be feted with the ‘Maharashtrian Of The Year’
ii. The 'Lokmat Maharashtrian of The Year' award recognises and honours the individuals that have risen above the rest, who have positively impacted the state and have put Brand Maharashtra on the Indian and global radar.
iii. The jury members to choose the awardee for this year included former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Former Union Minister Praful Patel, eminent lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, social activist Medha Patkar, businessman Harsh Goenka, veteran journalist Ayaz Memon, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar and others.
18. Those earning Rs 50 lakh a year must declare assets
i. The government has issued a new set of income tax return (ITR) forms that require people with an income of Rs 50 lakh and above per annum to disclose their assets.
ii. The new forms are for assessment year 2016-17.
iii. The finance ministry published a gazette order in this regard and taxpayers can file their their ITRs till the stipulated deadline of July 31.
iv. The income tax (I-T) department has introduced fresh reporting columns in the new forms (ITR-2 and 2A) called ‘Asset and liability at the end of the year’, which is applicable in cases where the total income exceeds Rs 50 lakh.
v. Individuals and entities in this income bracket will have to mention the total cost of such assets.
Immovable assets like land and buildings have to be declared as also movable assets like cash in hand, jewellery, bullion, vehicles, etc.
19. Australia pacer Clint McKay announces retirement from international cricket
i. Australian pacer Clint McKay has announced his retirement from international cricket after his first-class team Victoria Bushrangers won the Sheffield Shield tournament.
ii. He is expected to continue playing for Sydney Thunder in the lucrative Big Bash League (BBL) and for Leicestershire in the County Championship.
iii. McKay, who played in 59 one-day internationals, 6 T20 internationals and a Test for Australia, dismissed Sachin Tendulkar on his ODI debut back in November 2009 in Hyderabad.