Current Affairs February 2018 - National


1 - Government launched GeM 3.0


Government e Marketplace (GeM), has been envisaged by Government of India as the National Procurement Portal of India. The GeM 2.0 was launched as a pilot in August 2016.

Some of the notable enhancements in the 3.0 version:

  • Market Based generic requirements across all government agencies

  • Standardisation of specifications of both products and services enabling empirical price comparability

  • Completely transparent transactions across all ranges

  • Generic standards established through universal service levels and cost comparison enabled

  • Open and dynamic market place with rating based on performance of user on website

2 - The Government of India and World Bank sign $100 Million Project to Boost Rural Economy of Tamil Nadu


The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $100 million Loan Agreement to promote rural enterprises, facilitate their access to finance, and create employment opportunities for youth, particularly women. The Project will be operational in 120 blocks across 3,994 villages in 26 Districts of Tamil Nadu with 411,620 direct beneficiaries.

The $100 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 19 years.

3 - India and ADB sign $250 Million Loan to improve Rural Connectivity


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $250 million loan to finance the construction of 6,254 kilometres all-weather rural roads in the States of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal under the Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Program (PMGSY).

The First Tranche Loan is part of the $500 million Second Rural Connectivity Investment Program for India approved by the ADB Board in December 2017.

4 - Salient features of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Budget 2018-19

  • The budgetary allocation of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry has been increased from Rs. 51,576 crore in 2017-18 to Rs. 58,080 crore for 2018-19

  • Agriculture credit has been increased to Rs 11 lakh crore

  • National Bamboo Mission with a fund of Rs. 1290 crore

  • Minimum Support Price (MSP) for various agricultural crops will be 1.5 times more than the input cost

  • Micro irrigation fund Rs. 5,000 crore

  • Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) - Rs. 10,881 crore

  • Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund – Rs. 2,000 crore

  • Loans to Women Self Help Groups increased to Rs.75,000 crore from Rs 42,500 crore

5 - Defence Budget 2018-19

Defence Budget

Union Budget for the financial year 2018-19 has earmarked Rs 2,95,511.41 crore for Defence which accounts for 12.10% of the total Central Government expenditure for the year 2018-19 and a growth of 7.81 % over Budget Estimates (Rs. 2,74,114.12 crore) and 5.91% over Revised Estimates (Rs. 2,79,003.85 crore), respectively for the financial year 2017-18.

Rs 99,947 crore has been set aside for capital outlay to purchase of new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware.

6 - Government introduced Bill to amend the PMLA 2002


The Government has introduced Bill to amend the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 through Finance Act, 2018.

The key amendments are:

  • The present amendment shall allow to proceed against property equivalent to proceeds to crime held outside the country also

  • Amendment proposed in Section 45(1) would make the applicability of bail conditions uniform to all the offences under PMLA

  • Section 447 of Companies Act is being included as scheduled offence under PMLA

  • Proposed amendment gives 90 days more for investigation to ED, before prosecution is filed

7 - Highlights of Budget 2018-19

Budget 2018-19
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley envisaged a total outlay of Rs. 24,42,213 crore for union budget 2018-19

  • “Operation Greens” launched to address price fluctuations in potato, tomato and onion

  • Outlay on health, education and social protection will be 1.38 lakh crore

  • World’s largest Health Protection Scheme covering over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families launched with a family limit upto 5 lakh rupees for secondary and tertiary treatment

  • Fiscal Deficit pegged at 3.5 %, projected at 3.3 % for 2018-19

  • Rs. 5.97 lakh crore allocation for infrastructure

  • Disinvestment crossed target of Rs 72,500 crore to reach Rs 1,00,000 crore

  • Tax on Long Term Capital Gains exceeding Rs. 1 lakh at the rate of 10%

  • For senior citizens, exemption of interest income on bank deposits raised to Rs 50,000

  • Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 allowed for transport, medical reimbursement for salaried tax payers

  • Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana to continue up to march 2020 with increased limit of Rs 15 lakhs

  • Education cess increased to 4% from 3%

8 - Tax Incentive for Promoting Post-Harvest Activities of Agriculture

Tax Incentive

Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley proposed to allow 100% deduction to companies registered as Farmer Producer Companies and having annual turnover up to Rs.100 crores in respect of their profit derived from such activities for a period of five years from financial year 2018-19 while presenting the General Budget 2018-19 in Parliament.

At present, 100% deduction is allowed in respect of profit of co-operative societies which provide assistance to its members engaged in primary agricultural activities.

9 - Rs.14.34 Lakh Crore to be spent in 2018-19 for creation of livelihood and infrastructure in rural areas

Livelihood and Infrastructure

The total amount to be spent by various Ministries for creation of livelihood and infrastructure in rural areas during 2018-19 will be Rs.14.34 lakh crore, including extra-budgetary and non-budgetary resources of Rs.11.98 lakh crore.

The Government substantially increased the allocation of National Rural Livelihood Mission to Rs. 5750 crore in 2018-19. Rs 2600 crore was allocated to strengthen ground water irrigation scheme under Prime Minister Krishi Sinchai Yojna - Har Khet ko Pani.

10 - Union Government launched Gobar-Dhan Scheme

Gobar-Dhan Scheme

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the launch of Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) to make the villages open defecation free and improving the lives of villagers. It will manage and convert cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, bio-gas and bio-CNG.

The Finance Minister also announced that 187 projects have been sanctioned under Namami Gange Programme for infrastructure development, reverse surface cleaning, rural sanitation and other interventions at a cost of Rs.16, 713 crore.

11 - Two major initiatives in health sector announced as part of Ayushman Bharat programme

Ayushman Bharat Programme

Government announced two major initiatives in health sector, as part of Ayushman Bharat programme −

  • Health and Wellness Centre: The Budget has allocated Rs.1200 crore for this flagship programme. Under this 1.5 lakh centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.

  • National Health Protection Scheme: It will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families providing coverage up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

12 - Government of India and World Bank sign $375 Million Loan to help India develop its First Modern Waterway


The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $375 million loan agreement to support India develop its first modern inland water transport fairway on the Ganga river between Varanasi and the seaport of Haldia.

The total cost of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) is US$ 800 million. GoI will fund US$ 380 million through budgetary allocation. Another US$ 45 million will come from private sector participation under the PPP mode. The JMVP is expected to be completed by March, 2023.

13 - Railways Ministry to augment Ayush services in Railway hospitals

Railways Ministry

Railways Ministry signed MoU with Ministry of Ayush to augment Ayush services in Railway hospitals. The traditional knowledge of AYUSH systems can be harnessed to help a vast majority of railway staff who are required to put in stressful field duties on site.

Ayush Systems of Medicine offer safe, effective and complete holistic treatment in many diseases. The proposed collaboration will play a pivotal role in offering healthcare needs to the people serving the railway sector. Presently Railways is running 126 Homeopathic Clinics and 40 Ayurvedic Clinics.

14 - Government launched Start-up-India ranking framework


The government launched the Start-up-India ranking framework to help the Startup India initiative to drive economic growth of the country. The key objective of the Startup States and Union territories ranking framework was to encourage States and Union Territories to take pro-active steps towards strengthening the Startup ecosystems at the local level. It will measure the impact of each step initiated at the local level for building a strong Startup ecosystem.

The ranking framework will also enable continuous learning through the dissemination of good practices.

15 - Government took steps to attract fresh investments in the Urea Sector

Urea Sector

Government announced New Investment Policy – 2012 (NIP-2012) and its amendment on to facilitate fresh investment in urea sector and make India self-sufficient in the urea sector.

Under the provisions of NIP-2012 and its amendment, Matix Fertilisers & Chemicals Limited (Matix) has set up a Coal Bed Methane (CBM) based Greenfield Ammonia-Urea complex at West Bengal with the installed capacity of 1.3 MMT per annum. Chambal Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (CFCL) has proposed to set up a brownfield project with capacity of 1.34 MMT at Gadepan, Rajasthan, which is likely to start commercial production in January, 2019.

16 - National Standards Bodies signed MoU with BIS

National Standards Bodies

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) signed MoUs with National Standards Bodies (NSBs) of 23 countries. The objective of the MoUs is to facilitate closer cooperation between the bodies with the common aim of strengthening core activities of standardization and conformity assessment, which helps the national economy by providing safe, reliable and quality goods, minimizing health hazards to consumers, protecting the environment, promoting exports and imports, etc.

Some of such countries with BIS signed MoU are Saudi Arabia, USA, Afghanistan, Egypt, Germany, Japan, Kenya and Nigeria.

17 - IWAI signed project with World Bank for US $ 375 million


Inland Waterways Authority of India signed a project of US $ 375 million loan agreement with the World Bank for Jal Marg Vikas Project on Ganga. It involves implementation of the US $ 800 million JMVP for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1(River Ganga) from Varanasi to Haldia. The signing of the agreement follows the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The JMVP will result in an environment-friendly, fuel-efficient and cost-effective alternative mode of transportation, especially for bulk goods. The JMVP is expected to be completed by March, 2023.

18 - Government sets up mechanism in CSIR to interact with Small-Scale Industry


Union Minister for Science & Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan has set up a mechanism in CSIR for regular interface with small-scale industry for transfer of technologies from CSIR laboratories. A nodal officer in CSIR will coordinate with the small-scale industry and CSIR labs for appropriate technology required by them.

CSIR covers a wide spectrum of science and technology – from radio and space physics, oceanography, earth sciences, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology to mining, materials, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering and information technology.

19 - Cabinet approved signing of India-Australia MoUs for Secondment Programme

India-Australia MoUs

The Union Cabinet approved for signing of MoU for Secondment Programme. Under the Programme, one officer from the Australian Treasury shall be seconded to the Department of Economic Affairs and one officer from the IES shall be seconded to the Australian Treasury, Government of Australia, for a period of three months.

The proposed Programme will help to deepen the understanding of current economic policy issues in both countries and also explore further opportunities for future collaboration and engagement. The Programme would also provide the seconded officers with valuable and unique development opportunities.

20 - Cabinet approved signing of MoU between India and China for the avoidance of DTAA


The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing and ratification of protocol amending the Agreement between India and China for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income.

The Protocol will incorporate changes required to implement treaty related minimum standards under the Action reports of Base Erosion & Profit shifting (BEPS) Project, in which India had participated on an equal footing. Besides minimum standards, the Protocol will also bring in changes as per BEPS Action reports as agreed upon by two sides.

21 - Cabinet approved signing of a MoU between India and USA on law enforcement training


The Union Cabinet approved MoC between Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), USA and Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D), India on Law Enforcement Training. This paved the way for enhanced cooperation between the two countries in security related matters under the aegis of the India-US Homeland Security Dialogue.

The MoC will help in improving the standards of training, training materials, quality of trainers etc. which will go a long way in improving the functioning of police forces in the country and realizing the concept of SMART Police.

22 - Cabinet approved DSF Policy Bid Round-11 for ONGC


The Union Cabinet approved for extending the Discovered Small Field Policy to identified 60 discovered small fields / un-monetized discoveries for offer under the Discovered Small Field Policy Bid Round-ll. Out of these, 22 fields belong to of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited, 5 belong to Oil India Limited (OIL) and 12 are relinquished fields / discoveries from the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) Blocks.

These fields will be developed and monetized faster thereby augmenting production of oil and gas leading to enhance energy security of the country.

23 - Cabinet approved ratification of the Minamata convention on mercury

Minamata Convention

The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for ratification of Minamata Convention on Mercury and depositing the instrument of ratification enabling India to become a Party of the Convention.

The approval entails Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury along with flexibility for continued use of mercury-based products and processes involving mercury compound up to 2025. The Minamata Convention on Mercury will be implemented in the context of sustainable development with the objective to protect human health and environment from the anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

24 - Cabinet approved placing the new Instrument adopted by ILO


The Union Cabinet approved for placing the new Instrument adopted by International Labour Organization (ILO) Recommendation concerning “The Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience (No.-205)” before the Parliament. The Recommendation provides guidance to member States on the measures to be taken to generate employment and decent work for the purposes of prevention, recovery, peace and resilience with respect to crisis situations arising from conflicts and disasters.

The Recommendation affirms the need to develop and strengthen measures of social protection, as a means of preventing crises, enabling recovery and building resilience.

25 - Cabinet approved Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Amendment Bill

The Union Cabinet gave approval to the modifications carried out in the replacement Bill, which replaced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill 2017, and which has been passed by the Parliament as the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2018.

The amendment will bring clarity and ensure that the prohibition of certain persons in the resolution process of an insolvent corporate person does not include unintended persons and the opportunity given to a person whose account is classified as non-performing asset is more equitable.

26 - Cabinet apprised MoU between India and Tunisia for cooperation on youth matters

India and Tunisia

The Union Cabinet apprised MoU between India and Tunisia to promote cooperation in the field of youth matters.

The objective of the MoU is to create international perspective among the Indian Youth, to promote exchange of ideas, values and culture and to involve them in promoting peace and understanding. The areas of cooperation under the MoU shall include exchange of invitations to international conferences and seminars, printed materials, films etc. and participation in youth festivals.

27 - Cabinet approved enhancement of target under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana


The Cabinet Committee approved to enhance of the target of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) from five crore to eight crore with an additional allocation of Rs. 4,800 crore. The decision comes in the wake of huge response to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) from the women particularly in rural areas and to cover such households not having LPG connection.

While expanding the target, the Government has also addressed the practical difficulty faced in PMUY implementation, namely, genuinely poor households left out of Socio Economic Caste Survey (SECC) list. Under the PMUY, the original target was to release 3 crore connections by the end of FY 2017-18.

28 - Government accorded construction of new Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors

Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors

The Government accorded administrative approval and financial sanction for setting up ten indigenous 700 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) in Fleet Mode, “at an estimated cost of Rs 1,05,000 crore”. These ten Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) are being built based on indigenous technology and supply of equipment and services by Indian industry.

The total capacity to be added by these ten reactors would be 7000 MW. For timely implementation of these projects, the Government has initiated several measures including expediting pre-project activities, obtaining statutory clearances, procurement of long manufacturing cycle equipment, human resource planning etc.

29 - Government approved scheme “North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme


Government approved a new scheme “North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS)” at a total cost of Rs.5300.00 crore. This fund of Rs.5300.00 crore will be utilized to meet the committed liability of approximately Rs.3700.00 crore for completing the ongoing projects under Non- Lapsable Central Pool Resources (NLCPR) scheme and to take up projects of around Rs.1600.00 crore under the 100% new centrally funded scheme of NESIDS.

All non-exempt Union Ministries are required to mandatorily earmark 10% of their Gross Budgetary Allocation (GBA) annually for the North Eastern Region.

30 - ISRO sets up 473 Village Resource Centres for rural development through satellite technology


To demonstrate the potential of satellite technology for development of rural areas, ISRO established Village Resource Centres (VRCs) on a pilot scale, in association with selected NGOs, Trusts and State Government Departments.

VRCs have provided various space technology enabled services such as tele-healthcare, tele-education, natural resources information, advisories related to agriculture, career guidance to rural students, skill development and vocational training etc. About Rs 18 crores was spent for establishing 473 VRCs.

31 - Cabinet approved signing of a MoU with United Kingdom for skill development

Skill Development

The Union Cabinet approved for signing of MoU with United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Cooperation in the Field of Skill Development, Vocational Education and Training.

The MoU would pave the way for closer bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the field of vocational education and training and skill development. The MoU will create the framework for innovative partnership and scale up skill training efforts in India and enhance their quality.

32 - India to host first International Solar Alliance Summit

Solar Alliance Summit

India will host the first International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit on 11th March, 2018. French President Emmanuel Macron and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres are expected to attend the summit along with leaders from over 50 member countries. The summit will be held in Delhi.

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries with the primary objective being to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. PM Narendra Modi at the India Africa Summit launched the initiative.

33 - Commerce Minister kicked off consultations on the New Industrial Policy

Industrial Policy

Commerce and Industries Ministry kicked off a series of nation-wide consultations with the industry on the proposed new Industrial Policy. The New industrial policy envisions to create a competitive Indian industry that is equipped with skill scale and technology.

Ministry highlighted some of the key ideas such as a single ID and digital platform for all G2B services across the business lifecycle, paradigm shift toward self-certification and third-party certification, plug and play infrastructure for SMEs, privatizing maintenance of industrial estates and creating a national R&D vision.

34 - Google and NCERT united to train students on digital safety

Google and NCERT

In order to teach students to be responsible as digital citizens, NCERT has decided to develop integrated course in union with Google. It is done with an aim to create safety awareness among citizens and students. As part of its pilot, Google engaged 600 mothers in cities like Delhi and Hyderabad to teach internet safety. The training provided by Google wil be free of cost.

The curriculum based on themes being smart, being safe, being a digital citizen and being future ready has been planned to be implemented in 1.4 million schools in India.

35 - Government launched ASH TRACK Mobile App for better management of fly ash produced by thermal power plants


Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Shri R.K Singh, launched a Web based monitoring System and a Fly Ash mobile application named ASH TRACK.

The ASH TRACK App would be managing 200 million tonnes of fly ash by tracking coal based power plants situated within 100 km and 300 km from given location and availability of fly ash, along with prospective users within the same radius. The App gives plant-wise, utility-wise and State-wise ash utilization status in the country.

36 - NHAI to Launch Pilot Project for Implementation of “Pay as You Use” Tolling on Delhi-Mumbai Highway

Pay as You Use

The National Highways Authority of India is executing a pilot project to study the implement ability of “Pay as you use” tolling in India.

The pilot project involves implementing a satellite based electronic toll collection system running on GPS/GSM technology for around 500 commercial vehicles on the Delhi Mumbai national highway. The project will run for one year. The proposed tolling system would be able to deduct money from a vehicle account, credit the money to the concessionaire within one day and open the toll gate.

37 - List of MoUs/Agreements signed during visit of Prime Minister to Palestine

Sr.No Name of MoUs/Agreements
1 Setting up of India-Palestine Super-specialty hospital at Beit Sahour in Bethelhem Governorate at a cost of US$ 30 million
2 Construction of India Palestine Centre for Empowering women, "Turathi" at a cost of US$ 5 million
3 Setting up of new National Printing Press at Ramallah at a cost of US$ 5 million
4 Construction of school in Muthalth Al Shuhada Village at a cost of US$ 1 million
5 Construction of school in Tamoon village in Tubas Governorate in Palestine at a cost of US$ 1.1 million
6 Assistance of US$ US$ 0.25 million for construction of additional floor to Jawahar Lal Nehru for Boys at Abu Dees

38 - Union Government launched National Deworming initiative

National Deworming

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda, launched the National Deworming Day at Gurugram. It aims to create mass awareness about the most effective and low-cost Soil Transmitted Helminth (STH) treatment-administering Albendazole tablets.

The National Deworming Day is a single fixed-day approach to treating intestinal worm infections in all children aged 1- 19 years and is held on 10 February and 10 August each year.

39 - Government to set up National Women Entrepreneurship Council

National Women Entrepreneurship Council

The Ministry of Women and Child Development is planning to set up National Women Entrepreneurship Council (NWEC). NWEC will promote entrepreneurship. The ministry is implementing few other such schemes to ensure economic development of women in the country −

  • Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)

  • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)

  • National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW)

  • Scheme for Adolescent Girls-Sabla

  • Working Women Hostels for ensuring safe accommodation for women working away from their place of residence;

  • Maternity Benefit Programme

40 - India to host 8th edition of Theatre Olympics from Feb 17

Theatre Olympics

India will host the 8th edition of Theatre Olympics. The event will continue till 8th of April 2018. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated it on 17th February at Lal Quila in New Delhi. The theme of the festival is "Flag of Friendship".

India is hosting the event for the first time and more than 25 thousand foreign artists will participate. 51 day long nationwide theatre extravaganza will be held in 17 cities including Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Patna, Kolkata, Mumbai, Guwahati and Jammu.

41 - 80,000 students to be trained under Green Skill Development programme in 2019-2020

Green Skill Development Programme

80 thousand students will be trained under Green Skill Development programme in 2019-2020. In three years, 5.6 lakh students will be trained under Green Skill Development programme with a budget of Rs 2765 crore rupees.

The Union Government has increased the Green India mission budget by 48% and 1000 crore sapling plantation will be done between 2021 to 2030. The allocations include Rs 20 crore for Green India Fund, Rs 350 crore for project tiger and Rs 170 crore for development of wildlife habitat.

42 - List of Agreements/MoUs signed with Oman

Sr.No Name of MoUs/Agreements
1 Agreement on Legal and Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial matter
2 Agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, Special, service and official passports
3 MoU on Cooperation in the field of health
4 MoU on Cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
5 MoU on Cooperation between Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs, India and Oman Diplomatic Institute.
6 MoU on Academic and Scholarly cooperation sectors between National Defence College Sultanate of Oman and the Institute for Defence Studies and the Analyses.
7 MoU in the field of Tourism cooperation between India and Oman.
8 Annexure to the MoU on Military Cooperation.

43 - Revolving Funds given to 1,79,061 SHGS upto Dec 2017 under DAY-NULM

Revolving Funds

A total of 2,45,348 beneficiaries have been assisted under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) for setting up individual/ group micro enterprises by the government till December 2017.

The total utilisation of funds by the States since 2014-15 is Rs.2149.37 crores. More than 3,48,200 SHGs have been dispersed loans under SHG-Bank linkage programme. A total of Rs 13,259.33 crores is the amount of credit disbursed till December 2017. Beginning 2014-15, a total of 2,54,631 SHGs have been formed and 1,79,061 SHGs have been given revolving funds.

44 - India’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual released

Highway Capacity Manual

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari released India’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual in New Delhi. The manual, known as Indo-HCM, has been developed by CSIR – CRRI.

The manual is based on an extensive, countrywide study of the traffic characteristics on different categories of roads like single lane, two-lane, multi-lane urban roads, inter-urban highways and expressways and the associated intersections on these roads. The manual lays down guidelines for when and how to expand or manage different types of roads and their intersections.

45 - India-UAE ink five agreements


India and UAE signed 5 MoU during PM Narendra Modi's visit to UAE.

  • MOU between Indian Consortium (OVL, BPRL & IOCL) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) for the acquisition of a 10% participating interest in the Abu Dhabi's offshore Lower Zakum Concession

  • MoU aiming to institutionalize employment of Indian workers in UAE to safeguard their interests

  • MoU for technical cooperation in railways

  • MoU between Bombay Stock Exchange and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange

  • MoU between Government of Jammu and Kashmir and DP World to establish multi-modal logistics park and hub in Jammu comprising warehouses and specialised storage solutions.

46 - NVVN bagged international bid for supply of 300 MW power to Bangladesh


NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVN), wholly owned subsidiary of NTPC Limited has won a tender to supply 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity to Bangladesh for 15 years.

The tender was floated by Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). The supply of electricity is likely to commence from June 2018 after commissioning of 500 MW HVDC inter-connection project between India and Bangladesh. India, currently, exports approximately 600MW electricity to Bangladesh.

47 - India signed loan agreement with NDB for $100mn for Rajasthan Water Project


India has signed the second loan agreement with New Development Bank, NDB, for 100 million dollars for Rajasthan Water Sector Restructuring Project for Desert Areas.

This is the first tranche loan approved by the NDB under the Multi Tranche Financing Facility of 345 Million dollars for this project. The project implementation period is six years. The objective of this project is to rehabilitate the 678 kilometre long Indira Gandhi Canal system.

48 - National Conference named Agriculture 2022 - Doubling Farmers’ Income

National Conference

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare organized a two day National Conference named Agriculture 2022 - Doubling Farmers’ Income in New Delhi. The main aim of the conference was to build a consensus around appropriate recommendations that will help in shaping the vision of the Government on Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022.

The CSO has pegged farm and allied sector growth to slow to 2.1% in the current fiscal from 4.9% in the preceding year.

49 - MoU Signed between Botanical Survey of India and Natural History Museum, UK

Botanical Survey

Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and Natural History Museum (NHM), UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of genetic/taxonomic studies, research and training, conservation in India, including species and habitat conservation assessments, etc.

The MoU will pave the way for BSI staff to work in Natural History Museum, London and vice-versa. NHM will help BSI in capacity building in areas of systematic botany and long-term conservation of plant genetic resources in India.

50 - Government extended anti-narcotics scheme for 3 more years

Anti-narcotics Scheme

The Union Government has extended the 'Assistance to States and UTs for Narcotics Control' scheme for a further period of 3 years--from 2017-18 to 2019-20--with an estimated budget of Rs 21 crore.

The purpose of the scheme is to assist state governments and Union Territories which are contributing in controlling the inter-state and cross border drug trafficking. The scheme was first launched on October 24, 2004 for a period of five and later extended twice in subsequent years.

51 - India to host 8th Edition of Theatre Olympics

Edition of Theatre Olympics

The 8th edition of the Theatre Olympics, the greatest carnival of Theatre in the World, will take place in India for the first time ever from February 17 – April 08, 2018 simultaneously in various cities across the country.

The Theatre Olympics is being organised by National School of Drama, under the aegis of Ministry of Culture. The tagline is ‘Crossing Millennia’. The first country to host the Theatre Olympics was Greece in 1995.

52 - Union Government to set up 562 more Ekalavya schools

Ekalavya Schools

The Union Government will set up 562 more Ekalavya Model Residential Schools in tribal areas of the country. 271 such schools have already been sanctioned out of which, 190 are currently operational.

The government has set a target that by the year 2022, every block with at least 20 thousand tribal persons, will have an Ekalavya School. These schools will provide boarding and lodging facilities to tribal students and will be brought at par with the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyala through high-quality education.

53 - India, Iran ink nine agreements in different areas

India and Iran

India and Iran signed nine pacts in different areas:

  • Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on Income.

  • MoU on Exemption from Visa requirement for holders of Diplomatic Passports.

  • Exchange of Instrument of Ratification of Extradition Treaty.

  • Lease Contract for Shahid Beheshti Port- Phase 1 of Chabahar during Interim Period between Port and Maritime Organization (PMO), Iran and India Ports Global Limited (IPGL).

  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.

  • MoU on the establishment of an Expert Group on Trade Remedy Measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Allied Sectors.

  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.

  • MoU on Postal Cooperation.

54 - Air Odisha launched its maiden flight under UDAN scheme

UDAN Scheme

Air Odisha launched its maiden flight under the Centre's UDAN scheme, linking Mundra with Ahmedabad. Air Odisha is starting services from Ahmedabad to Jamnagar, Mundra and Diu in the first phase of its operation under the UDAN scheme.

Total 400 Airports will be connected under this scheme out of which ten airports are from Gujarat. UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) is a regional airport development and "Regional Connectivity Scheme" (RCS) of Government of India, with the objective of "Let the common citizen of the country fly".

55 - India and Iran signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (DTAA)

Avoidance of Double Taxation

India and Iran signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (DTAA) and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income. The Agreement will prevent double taxation. The Agreement will provide for exchange of information between the two Contracting Parties as per latest International Standards. It will improve transparency in tax matters and will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.

The Agreement also meets treaty related minimum standards under G-20 OECD Base Erosion & Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.

56 - Government formulated Atal Bhujal Yojana

Atal Bhujal Yojana

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has finalised a Rs 6,000-crore scheme to tackle the issue of fast depleting groundwater level. The government will fund 50% of the scheme through the budgetary allocation while World Bank will fund the rest.

The scheme is proposed to be launched in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat across 78 districts, 193 blocks and about 8300 gram panchayats.

57 - Government gave nod to six railway projects

Six Railway Projects

The government has approved six railways projects at a cost of Rs 11,661 crore for new lines as well as doubling and electrification of tracks with special thrust on Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.

  • 130 kilometres long Jeypore-Malkangiri New Line project at a cost of 2676.11 crore rupees

  • Doubling of Muzaffarpur-Sagauli and Sagauli-Valmiki Nagar lines with electrification projects at completion costs of Rs 1,347.61 crore and Rs 1,381.49 crore, respectively

  • Jhansi-Manikpur and Bhimsen-Khairar lines doubling with electrification projects at a completion cost of Rs 4,955.72 crore

  • Bhatni-Aurnihar line doubling with electrification project at a cost of Rs 1,300.9 crore

58 - Union Cabinet approved the creation of National Urban Housing Fund of Rs 60000 crore

Union Cabinet

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund of Rs 60,000 crore. The fund will be situated in Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Under the PMAY(U), the housing and urban affairs ministry has targeted construction of about 1.2 crore houses for the urban poor. The ministry has so far sanctioned 39.4 lakh houses under the scheme.

59 - Cabinet approved the banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018

Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill

The Union Cabinet has approved to introduce the banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 in Parliament. The bill is aimed at tackling the menace of illicit deposit taking activities in the country.

The Bill contains a substantive banning clause which bans Deposit Takers from promoting, operating, issuing advertisements or accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme. The Bill creates three different types of offences, namely, running of Unregulated Deposit Schemes, fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit Schemes, and wrongful inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit Schemes.

60 - Cabinet approved to introduce the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in Parliament

Chit Funds

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to introduce the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in Parliament to enable greater financial access of people to other financial products.

The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018, seeks to facilitate orderly growth of the sector and remove bottlenecks. proposes to increase the ceiling of a foreman’s commission from 5% to 7%. It also proposes to allow at least two subscribers to join through video conferencing, duly recorded by a foreman, as physical presence of subscribers.

61 - Cabinet approved constitution of Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal

Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for adjudication of dispute on Mahanadi River Waters. The Tribunal shall consist of a Chairman and two other Members. It is required to submit its report and decision within a period of 3 years which can be extended to a further period not exceeding 2 years due to unavoidable reasons.

The Tribunal shall determine water sharing among basin states on the basis of overall availability of water in the Mahanadi basin, the contribution of each state, present utilisation of water resources in each state and potential for future development.

62 - Cabinet approved India-Morocco Cooperation Agreement in Railway Sector


The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the Cooperation Agreement between India and the Moroccan National Railways Office (ONCF) to develop long-term cooperation and partnership in different areas of railway sector. The Cooperation Agreement was signed on 14th December, 2017. The Cooperation Agreement will enable technical cooperation in the following areas −

  • Training and staff development;
  • Expert missions, exchange of experience and personnel; and
  • Mutual technical assistance, including exchanging of experts

63 - Cabinet approved Agreement between India and Israel on Film Co-production

India and Israel

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to an Agreement on Film Co-production between India and Israel signed during the visit of Prime Minister of Israel Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu to India.

The signing of the Film co-production agreement will lead to mutual exchange of art and culture, create goodwill and better understanding among the people of both the countries as well as various aspects of film making. The Agreement will also help in generation of employment among artistic, technical as well as non-technical personnel.

64 - India Posts starts online consumer feedback survey

Consumer Feedback Survey

India Posts started limited period online survey to gather consumer feedback on its services. This Customer Feedback Survey will be for three months from 16.02.2018 to 15.05.2018 and available to public through India Post Website. The Department of Posts will improve services based on the feedback received from consumers.

Since inception in 1854, India Post has evolved by providing varied services to Indian Citizenry in terms of Mail Services (both domestic and international), Money remittances (both domestic and international), Small Savings, Philately, Securing lives, Retail Services and Bill Payments etc.

65 - Centre launched Ganga Gram and New Swajal Project

Sushri Uma Bharti

Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Sushri Uma Bharti, launched the Bagori Ganga Gram project, New Swajal Project at Bagori and Gangotri Iconic Place at Dunda village in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.

The Minister inaugurated solid and liquid waste management scheme of Rs 11.88 lakh at Bagori. She also inaugurated new Swajal Project at Bagori with a budget of more than 32 lakh rupees. The Swajal scheme is successfully running in Sadag village since 1996.

66 - LS Speaker Sumitra Mahajan inauguarted 6th India Region CPA conference

Sumitra Mahajan

Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan, inaugurated the 6th India region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference at Patna in Bihar. The conference held discussions mainly on two topics -- 'Parliament's role in the development agenda' and 'Legislature and Judiciary - Two important Pillars of Democracy'.

The CPA is composed of over 180 branches formed in legislatures of commonwealth countries enjoying parliamentary democracy. All the CPA branches are geographically grouped into nine commonwealth regions.

67 - Government extended transmission charge waiver to solar, wind power till March 2022


The Union government has extended the window to avail transmission charge waivers for wind and solar projects till 31 March 2022. Transmission charges add about Rs 0.20–0.50 per unit to every unit of thermal power.

Earlier, the waiver was available to solar and wind power projects commissioned till 31 December 2019, and 31 March 2019, respectively. The waiver was available for a period of 25 years from the date commissioning of the project.

68 - GoI signed a MoU with Canada’s International Development Research Centre

International Development Research Centre

The Union Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), to usher the “programme based research support” in addressing current and future global and local developmental challenges.

Since 1972, IDRC has funded 551 research activities worth CA$159 million in India through institutions, researchers and NGOs. During the last five years (2012-17), 96 research projects worth CA$ 51 million were funded by the IDRC in India.

69 - India notified revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Kenya

Avoidance of Double Taxation

India has notified the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Kenya in the Official Gazette on 19th February, 2018. The DTAA between India and Kenya was signed and notified in 1985. Subsequently, the DTAA was renegotiated and a revised DTAA was signed between both countries on 11th July, 2016.

The revised DTAA will improve transparency in tax matters, help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance, remove double taxation and will stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Kenya.

70 - Projects worth nearly Rs. 4,000 crore approved in 9th executive committee meeting of NMCG


In the 9th EExecutive Committee meeting of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), projects worth nearly Rs 4,000 crore were approved including a 20 MLD Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for tannery cluster at Jajmau in Kanpur. The project has an estimated cost of Rs. 629 crore and the central share is Rs. 472 crore.

This 3-phased project includes pre-treatment unit in 380 individual tannery units, a 20 CETP with physical, biological and tertiary treatment, installation of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD)-based pilot plant of 200 KLD capacity among other components.

71 - UK and India upgrade joint research on clean water and clean energy

UK and India

India and the UK launched research projects on ‘Water Quality Research’ and ‘Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment’. The ‘Water Quality Research’ programme has eight projects and ‘Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment’ programme has four projects, with a total joint investment of up to £15 million.

This India-UK water quality programme aims to equip local communities, policymakers, regulators and businesses with the information and solutions they need to secure the provision of clean water, rejuvenate rivers and restore ecosystems.

72 - NITI Aayog Budget Allocation Increased by More than 20%

NITI Aayog Budget

The Union Budget 2018 has allocated 20% more budget to NITI Aayog as compared to last year. Allocations for the Ministry of Planning, which is embodied by the NITI Aayog, have increased by more than 20% over last year i.e. to Rs 339.65 crore in 2018-19 from Rs 279.79 crore in 2017-18.

The budget also envisaged a defined role for NITI Aayog in critical areas of artificial intelligence and agriculture policy.

73 - Union Government informs BS-VI grade fuel to be available from April 1

BS-VI Grade Fuel

The Union Government has informed the Supreme Court that the supply of Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) auto fuels (petrol and diesel) to retail outlets in Delhi will begin on 1 April 2018. BS-VI emissions norms would come into force across the country from 1 April 2020.

The jump from BS-IV to BS-VI will primarily mean lower sulphur content. Presently, the sulphur content in BS-IV petrol and diesel is 50 parts per million (ppm). BS VI-grade fuels have a sulphur content of 10ppm.

74 - PM addressed Economic Times Global Business Summit

Economic Times Global Business

Indian Prime Minister addressed the Economic Times Global Business Summit in New Delhi based on the theme: New Economy – New Rules. Digital India Mission was discussed at the Summit, that brought major change in the economy with 100 crore bank accounts, 100 crore Aadhaar cards and 100 crore mobile phones to create a unique ecosystem. Various initiatives were also discussed such as Mission Indradhanush, Jan Aushadhi Stores, and the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

The Summit’s theme was based on the fact that illegal accumulation of people’s money is unacceptable, and this is the basic mantra of “New Economy – New Rules.”

75 - Heavy Water Board signed an agreement with M/s Clearsynth, Mumbai

Heavy Water Board

Heavy Water Board, a constituent industrial unit of DAE, signed a collaborative agreement with M/s Clearsynth, Mumbai for sale of 20 tonnes of Heavy Water in a year for development of deuterium labelled compounds, NMR Solvents, d-labelled Active Pharma Ingredients (APIs). This marks the beginning of an important era in the annals of Indian Nuclear industry.

It is worth noting that during the previous years Indian industries have imported de-neutered compounds and Heavy Water to the tune of 9 Million USD. This Agreement will initiate import substitution for the de-neutered compounds and Heavy Water.

76 - ITBP received best marching contingent trophy for record 6th time


The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been adjudged as the best marching contingent among paramilitary and other auxiliary forces marched at Republic Day Parade 2018 at Rajpath. Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister presented the prestigious trophy to Shri R K Pachnanda, Director General ITBP and Assistant Commandant Shri Akshay Deshmukh, the parade commander of the ITBP contingent. ITBP has won the best contingent trophy in the category for the record 6th time.

The Contingent represented all formations of the Force comprising members from almost all Units of the Force.

77 - India Germany signed MOU for Sustainable Urban Development program

Sustainable Urban Development Program

`An Indo-German MOU was signed for an “Implementation Agreement in Sustainable Urban Development and Smart Cities in India”. The objective of the programme is to develop and apply concepts for sustainable urban development about the provision of urban basic services and housing in selected cities and Smart Cities in India.

The German contribution to the project is up to 8 million EUR. The project will continue for a duration of three years. Mo HUA and GIZ will jointly work on implementing Government of India’s missions, the optimization of the national orientation framework.

78 - India, Canada inked six pacts

India and Canada

India and Canada inked 6 agreements.

Agreements signed are:

  • MoU on Cooperation in Sport

  • MoU for Cooperation in Higher Education

  • MoU for Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights

  • Terms of Reference for the India-Canada Ministerial Energy Dialogue

  • MoU for cooperation in the Fields of Science, Technology and Innovation

  • Joint Declaration of Intent on Cooperation in the Field of Information Communications Technology and Electronics

79 - NHRC retains its ‘A’ status of accreditation with GANHRI in Geneva


The National Human Rights Commission retained its ‘A’ status of accreditation with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) for the fourth consecutive term of five years, during the annual meet of GANHRI in Geneva.

Only such NHRIs are offered "A" status who are found fully compliant with the UN mandated Paris Principles. The accreditation confers international recognition and protection of the NHRI. It also grants participation in the work and decision-making of the GANHRI.

80 - India and Uzbekistan’s Andijan region sign MoU

India and Uzbekistan

The Andijan Region of Uzbekistan and India have inked an agreement for cooperation in the pharmaceutical industry.

As a part of the MoU, both sides will develop cooperation in the implementation of a program for the production of pharmaceutical, bio-pharmaceutical products and medical equipment in the Andijan region of Uzbekistan. The two nations also agreed to work together on the issue of attracting direct investments of Indian companies and Uzbek investors.

81 - ASEAN-India Research Training Fellowship (AIRTF) launched by FICCI and DS&T


Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) has entered into a partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India to implement and execute the ASEAN India Research Training Fellowship (AIRTF).

The AIRTF scheme was introduced to promote scientific cooperation between India and ASEAN member countries. The scheme aims at capacity building of 50 young researchers annually from ASEAN member countries in science and technology domain and provides complete financial support for a period of six months that includes to and fro travel, sustenance allowance and research contingency.