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Indian Polity

 Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana: PMRPY was launched in 2016 under which the Government pays 8.33% contribution of the Employers to Employee’s Pension Scheme in respect of new employees joined on or after 1st April 2016 provided such employers have Universal Account Number. The employees must be earning Rs 15,000 per month. The scheme was in news because the cabinet has approved enhancing of the coverage of the scheme.

Integrated Scheme on Education: The government has approved an integrated scheme on school education for period 2018 to 2020. The scheme will subsume existing schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Techer Education. It will have an allocation 20% above the existing allocations. The scheme will give holistic approach to education and will focus on strengthening institutions like SCERTs and DIETs to improve the quality of education.

Credit Guarantee Fund for Education Loan Scheme: CGFEL scheme provides guarantee for education loans under Model Education Laon Scheme of Indian Banks' Association. It is disbursed by banks without seeking any collateral security and third-party guarantee for maximum loan amount of Rs 7.5 lakhs. The scheme was in news because the cabinet has approved the continuation of the scheme for the period 2017-2020.

Study in India Programme: The Human Resource Ministry has approved 'Study in India' programme to attract foreign students to pursue higher education in India. The government has approved the expenditure of Rs. 150 crore for the scheme for two years which will primarily for brand promotion activities. 

Saubhagya Scheme: Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana aims at achieving universal household electrification in all parts of the country. The scheme primarily benefits rural areas, which have vast majority of households without power connections. The identification of the beneficiaries will be done on the basis of 2011 Socio-Economic Caste Census. The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited under Ministry of Power is the nodal agency for the operationalisation of the scheme throughout the country. To ensure on-the-spot registration, mobile applications will be used. Gram Panchayat and public institutions in the rural areas will be authorised to carry out billing and collection tasks. The scheme was in news as Ministry of Power has partnered with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to train manpower in six states for speedy implementation of the scheme. The 6 states are Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.

National Conference on Down Syndrome: The National Conference on Down Syndrome was held in New Delhi. It was organised by the National Trust under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Down Syndrome is a chromosomal condition associated with intellectual and learning disabilities. It leads to delayed development and behavioural problems in children suffering with it.

International Affairs

 Sarmat Missile:The RS-28 Sarmat is an ICBM capable of carrying nuclear charges. It will replace the R-36M2 Voyevoda ICMB which is Russia's only Strategic Missile Force since 1998. The missile was in news as Russia has conducted new tests for testing this missile.

BABUR Missile: BABUR is Pakistan's Cruise Missile. It was in news because Pakistan successfully test fired indigenously developed Submarine Launched Babur misisle.SLCM BABUR has a range of 450 KMs and is capable of delivering various types of payloads and incorporates state of the art technologies including underwater controlled propulsion, advanced guidance and navigation features.

International Solar Alliance: India has recently signed the Host Country Agreement under the ISA.The agreement gives ISA juridical personality an power to contract, acquire and dispose off movable and immovable properties and also to institute and defend legal proceedings. There are 4 ongoing programmes under ISA: Scaling Solar Mini Grids, Affordable Finance at Scale, Scaling Solar Applications for Agriculture Use and Scaling Solar Rooftop catering to the needs of solar energy in specific areas.

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade: The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is observed every year on March 25 across the world. Observance of this day honours and remembers those who suffered and died as consequence of transatlantic slave trade.Transatlantic slave trade which had taken place over span 400 years is considered as worst violation of human rights in history in which more than 15 million men, women and children were victims.The 2018 theme was ‘Remember Slavery: Triumphs and Struggles for Freedom and Equality’.

Economic Affairs

 India-US LNG Contract: It is a long-term contract of 20 years. This USD 32 Billion contract was signed between India’s GAIL and America’s dominating energy companies. It was in news as India has received first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo comprising 1.2 Lakh tones of the Gas from United States. The cargo has landed at the Dabhol regasification terminal in Maharashtra.

SWIFT GPI Tracker System: The SWIFT (Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunication System) platform has expanded its GPI (Global Payment Innovation) Tracker system to help banks track their global transactions at all times and keep full vigil on payments activities. SWIFT is global financial messaging service that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactionsin secure, standardized and reliable environment. It is used to transmit messages relating to cross border financial transactions.It was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in La Hulpe, Belgium.

 

Environment and Ecology

 Kaziranga National Park: The recent census carried out in Kaziranga National Park, Assam has revealed that there was a marginal increase in the population of the one-horned rhino. Kaziranga national park is located in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam. The park is a home to two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceros.Great one-horned rhinos are listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red Data book. It was designated with National Park status in 1968 and was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 for its unique natural environment. It is also a prominent Bird Area under Birdlife International.

Insect Museum of India: India's first insect museum was unveiled at Tamil Nadu Agriculture University Campus in Coimbatore. 

Brazzaville Declaration: It aims to implement coordination and cooperation between different government sectors to protect the benefits provided by peatland ecosystems.It also recognizes the importance of the scientific breakthrough of mapping the world’s largest tropical peatland area. Peatlands are wetlands that contain mixture of decomposed organic material, partially submerged in layer of water, lacking oxygen.The Cuvette Centrale region in Congo Basin is world’s largest natural tropical peatlands, which are about size of England. It stores three years equivalent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Global Peatland Initiative: GPI is multi-partner United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) initiative launched at the Global Landscapes Forum in Marrakesh in 2016. It is effort by leading experts and institutions to save peatlands as the world’s largest terrestrial organic carbon stock and to prevent it being emitted into the atmosphere.

 

Science Affairs

 Interstitium: Scientists have discovered new organ in human body and have named it as ‘interstitium’. It will be the 80th organ in the human body. It might be might be also the biggest organ in human body.The new organ is network of interconnected, fluid-filled spaces all over the body. It is found everywhere in human bodies, acting as shock absorber inall places where tissues are moved or subjected to force. It is made up of both flexible (elastin) and strong (collagen) connective tissue proteins,with interstitial fluid moving throughout.

InSight Mission: NASA will send first-ever mission named as InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) dedicated to exploring the deep interiors of Mars. InSight will be stationary lander that will be launched in May 2018. It will be first NASA mission since the Apollo moon landings.

 

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Khandagale Dhammapal
Khandagale Dhammapal Rank-1020 Year-2017 (IAS)
Dear Sir thank you for your warm wishes. I always had conviction in my abilities and the constant support and guidance from teachers and mentors like you helped me a lot in this strenuous journey , I would also like to thank you from the bottom of the heart for taking pains of providing questions on my DAF for personality test and sending me interview preparation book from Delhi to remote location of Latur in Maharastra. Once again thank you for helping me realize my dream.
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