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04th April 2022

National News

Himachal to teach Bhagavad Gita to students from Class 9: Minister

The Himachal Pradesh government will teach Bhagavad Gita to all school students from Class 9, state Education Minister Govind Singh Thakur said. Earlier, the Gujarat government had announced making Bhagavad Gita a part of the school syllabus. Union Minister Pralhad Joshi had also said that every state government can think about introducing Bhagavad Gita as part of school syllabus.

Will ensure police remain ahead of criminals: Shah on Criminal Procedure Bill

Lok Sabha passed the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill by voice vote on Monday. Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the Bill has been brought in to ensure that police and investigators remain two steps ahead of criminals. The Bill seeks to provide legal sanction to police to take physical and biological samples of convicts and persons accused of crimes.

Investors get ₹4.5 lakh crore richer as Sensex rallies over HDFC merger

Investors turned richer by over ₹4.5 lakh crore on Monday as Sensex ended 1,335 points higher at 60,612, primarily led by the merger announcement of HDFC and HDFC Bank. Data showed that investor wealth, measured by the combined market capitalisation of BSE-listed companies, rose to around ₹272.46 lakh crore. Investors of HDFC group companies gained over 1 lakh crore.

BJP received highest corporate donations of ₹720 crore in 2019-20: ADR

BJP received the maximum corporate donations of ₹720.407 crore from 2,025 corporate donors in 2019-20, according to a report released by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The BJP was followed by INC which received a total contribution of ₹133.04 crore from 154 corporate donors, and NCP with ₹57.086 crore in corporate donations. CPM received ₹6.9165 crore in corporate donations.

Who were the top corporate donors to national parties in 2019-20 as per ADR?

Prudent Electoral Trust was the top donor to two national parties - BJP and INC - in FY 2019-20, according to a report by NGO ADR on Monday. The Trust donated 38 times in a single year to the two parties each, amounting to a total of ₹247.75 crore. Janakalyan Electoral Trust was the second-largest corporate donor, followed by ITC.

Ministry of Culture launches ‘Temple 360’ website

The Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs, Meenakshi Lekhi has launched a website ‘Temple 360’. During an event organized by the Ministry of Culture at IGNCA Ampitheatre, Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts, New Delhi under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.  Temple 360 is a digital platform where anyone can visit or do darshan of 12 Jyotirlinga and Char Dham from any location, making everyone’s life convenient while also keeping people connected.  The website also allows a devotee to perform e-Darshan, e-Prashad, e-Aarti and several other services. Temple 360 is a website where one can visit a temple of their choice, anytime and from anywhere from India.  With the help of this website, one can digitally witness the magnificence of some of the most pious Hindu pilgrimages that exist. The website also allows a devotee to perform e-aarti and several other services.

RPF arrests touts for illegal ticketing under Operation Upalabdh 

As part of a month-long pan-India operation on illicit ticketing, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) detained 1,459 touts and blocked 366 IRCTC agent IDs and 6,751 personal IDs, the Railways announced on the 2nd of April, 2022.  The RPF's field units gathered information from the field, the digital world, and the cyber world, then consolidated, vetted, and analysed it before launching the campaign across the country on March 1, 2022.  The 'Operation Upalabdh' push was launched following the reinstatement of long-distance train services, with the expectation that the festival and summer rush would result in a sharp increase in demand for reserved train tickets.  In response to the feedback, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) increased its efforts and launched a pan-India offensive against touting practises in March 2022.

India’s unemployment rate falls to 7.6% in March from 8.1% in Feb 2022

As per the data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the overall unemployment rate in India fell to 7.6 per cent in March 2022. This rate was 8.10 per cent in February 2022.  The report also stated that though the overall unemployment rate in the country is falling, it is still high for a “poor” country like India. The decrease in the ratio shows that the economy is getting back on track after being hit by COVID-19 for two years.  Haryana recorded the highest unemployment rate in March 2022, at 26.7 per cent. It was followed by Rajasthan (25%) and Jammu and Kashmir (25 %), Bihar (14.4%), Tripura (14.1%) and West Bengal (5.6%).  Karnataka and Gujarat registered the least unemployment rate at 1.8.percent each in March 2022. CMIE is a Mumbai-based independent non-government entity that serves both as an economic think-tank as well as a business information company.


Haryana govt launched crop insurance portal of ‘Mukhya Mantri Bagwani Bima Yojana’ 

The Haryana Agriculture Minister J P Dalal launched the portal of Mukha Mantri Bagwani Bima Yojana’ with an initial corpus of Rs 10 crore for the scheme. Under this the farmers will be compensated for the damage caused to their crops due to adverse weather and natural calamities.  The scheme compensates a sum of Rs 30,000 per acre for vegetables and Spices and Rs 40,000 per acre for fruits, which will be compensated to the farmers upon claim via four categories such as 25 per cent, 50 per cent, 75 per cent and 100 per cent based on the survey.  The farmer's contribution will be only 5 per cent of the insured amount i.e., Rs 750 per acre for vegetables and Spices and Rs 1000 per acre for fruits.  The Scheme covers 21 crops – 14 vegetables, 2 spices, and 5 fruits. The scheme will be optional for all those farmers who will get registered under ‘Meri Fasal Mera Byora’ (a web portal through which the problems of the farmers of the state will be resolved).


Andhra Pradesh's First 'She Auto' Stands Set Up

In a move to provide safe transport to women and girl students, the police in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor have set up three 'She Auto' stands, the first of its kind in the state. The three 'She Auto' stands have been set up in RTC Bus Stand, Mahila University, and Ruia Hospital in Tirupati.  Bhumana Karunakar Reddy, MLA, along with city Mayor Dr R Sireesha and Urban Superintendent of Police Venkata Appala Naidu inaugurated the dedicated auto stands at the RTC Bus Stand, Mahila University and Ruia Hospital.  Tirupati is the first city in the state to set up special auto stands for women like this. Proved that women have a special place in society by setting up auto stand in RTC bus stand in Tirupati, Women's University and Rua Hospital. Earlier, women, auto drivers used to keep their vehicles with men at other auto stands.



$71 billion wiped out of market cap of Singapore's Grab and Sea in 3 months

Singapore's two largest new-economy companies have lost a combined $71 billion from their market capitalisation this year. While shares of ride-hailing company Grab have more than halved in the last three months, technology giant Sea's stock price has plunged by 46%. Sea-owned Shopee recently shut down India operations, whereas its Free Fire game was banned by the Indian government.

Elon Musk becomes Twitter's largest shareholder with 9.2% stake

World's richest person Elon Musk has become the largest shareholder of Twitter after he disclosed that he owns a 9.2% passive stake in the platform. It's more than quadruple the 2.25% stake held by Twitter Co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey. Notably, Musk conducted a Twitter poll last month asking users whether Twitter adheres to the principle of free speech.

Chhattisgarh tops states with lowest unemployment rate in March: Govt

Chhattisgarh has been ranked first among states with the lowest unemployment rate in the country in March, an official statement said on Monday. "The state government took several steps and formulated new policies for generating employment opportunities, especially for the youth," the release said, citing data by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.

Economic crisis makes Sri Lankan stocks world's worst performers after Russia

Amid Sri Lanka's worst economic crisis, the country's stocks have fallen about 33% in 2022, making them the world's worst performers after Russian equities. In 2021, the Sri Lanka Colombo Stock Exchange had rallied 80%, posting the world's best performance after Mongolia. On Monday, the central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal resigned amid soaring inflation and fuel shortage.

Russia imposes visa restrictions on citizens of 'unfriendly countries'

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree for visa restrictions for citizens of countries that Russia deems "unfriendly" after sanctions over Ukraine. Russia suspended simplified visa issuance regime with some EU countries as well as Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Iceland. In March, Russia approved a list of "unfriendly countries" including the US, Canada, Britain, EU states and Ukraine.


Appointments News


Vinay Mohan Kwatra to be next Foreign Secretary: Govt

Vinay Mohan Kwatra, India's Ambassador to Nepal, will be the next Foreign Secretary, an official statement said on Monday. The 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer will succeed Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who is set to retire at the end of April. From August 2017 to February 2020, Kwatra had served as the Indian Ambassador to France.


Arunabha Ghosh appointed by UN Chief to high-level expert group on net-zero emissions commitments

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres appointed Arunabha Ghosh (India) to a High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities. Arunabha Ghosh is the CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a climate and energy think tank.  He has been appointed to the Government of India’s G20 Finance Track Advisory Group for India’s G20 Presidency in 2023. In 2021, he was appointed as Co-Chair of the T20 Task Force on climate and energy for Indonesia’s G20 2022.  To develop stronger and clearer standards for net-zero emissions pledges by non-state entities including businesses, investors, cities and regions and speed up their implementation.

Vikas Kumar named as Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation

Vikas Kumar has been appointed as the new Managing Director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). He succeeds Mangu Singh, whose tenure ended on March 31, 2022.  Singh was the managing director of DMRC since January 1, 2012, and his famed tenure ended. Kumar is the third managing director of the DMRC after E Sreedharan and Mangu Singh. He will hold the post for a term of five years.  Kumar, who was holding the position of the Director (Operations) in the DMRC, has over three decades of experience in rail based urban transportation projects. He has worked with the Indian Railways in various capacities before joining the DMRC in September 2004. He has been associated with the urban transporter for more than 17 years in key management positions.

PharmEasy’s appoints Amir Khan brand ambassador

PharmEasy, a consumer healthcare "super app," has unveiled its new campaign, which introduces Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador. API Holdings Limited is in charge of the PharmEasy brand.  This partnership will aid in the development of the brand and raising consumer awareness of healthcare in India.  PharmEasy is dedicated to offering a hassle-free healthcare experience.  Aamir will promote the PharmEasy brand in a variety of ways.  The IPL campaign in 2022 will also include TV commercials starring Aamir Khan.  Amir Khan will also emphasise how medicines, diagnostic tests, and healthcare goods are easily accessible to clients as the brand's face.


Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement signed by India-Australia

India and Australia signed an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IndAus ECTA), hailing it as a watershed moment and one of the biggest economic doors there is to open in the world.
It will provide zero-duty access to 96 per cent of India's exports to Australia, including shipments from key sectors like engineering goods, gems and jewellery, textiles, apparel, and leather.  According to a government estimate, the agreement will increase bilateral trade in products and services to $45-50 billion over the next five years, up from roughly $27 billion, and create over one million employees in India.  Around 85% of Australia's exports, including coal, sheep meat, and wool, will have zero duty access to the Indian market, while Australian wines, almonds, lentils, and select fruits would have lower duty access.  Under the deal, zero-duty access for Indian goods will be expanded to 100% over the next five years.   It is India's first Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with a large developed country in more than a decade. India inked an FTA with the UAE in February and is actively negotiating FTAs with Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

Four agreements and launch multiple projects signed between India- Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese colleague Sher Bahadur Deuba met in New Delhi, initiating a number of projects and signing four important agreements across a variety of fields.  Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) and Nepal Oil Corporation Ltd. signed agreements on Nepal becoming the 105th member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), technical cooperation in railways, petroleum product delivery, and technical experience sharing in the petroleum sector.   The two Prime Ministers also observed the first passenger train service between India's Jayanagar and Nepal's Kurtha, the handover of India's Solu corridor transmission project to Nepal, and the progress of 132 health facilities being built across 10 districts in Nepal under a GoI grant.  The two countries announced the debut of the Indian RuPay card in Nepal, with the domestic variation of the RuPay card (about 83 percent of all RuPay cards issued) being compatible with approximately 1400 POS machines in Nepal.  After Bhutan, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, Nepal is now the fourth country outside of India to accept RuPay.

Amazon, Future Retail agree in Supreme Court to appear before SIAC

Amazon and Future Retail (FRL) expressed their agreement before the Supreme Court on Monday to appear before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) over FRL's deal with Reliance Retail. Amazon and FRL are involved in legal fight over FRL's ₹24,713-crore deal with Reliance. The Supreme Court told the companies that it will request the arbitration tribunal to expedite the proceedings.

Paytm Payments Bank yet to appoint firm for IT audit: Govt

Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad said Paytm Payments Bank hasn't yet appointed a firm to conduct an audit of its IT systems. On March 11, RBI barred the bank from onboarding new customers and ordered it to appoint an audit firm. Order followed a report that the bank allegedly leaked data to Chinese entities, Bloomberg reported citing sources.

India's trade deficit rises by 87.5% to $192 billion in 2021-22

India's trade deficit rose by 87.5% from $102.63 billion in 2020-21 to $192.41 billion in 2021-22, government data showed on Monday. While total exports in FY22 rose to a record high of $417.81 billion, imports too soared 54.71% year-on-year to $610.22 billion on the back of rising global fuel and commodity prices. Merchandise imports in FY21 stood at $394.44 billion.

HDFC-HDFC Bank combined entity will be among world's 100 most-valued firms

The combined entity formed out of the HDFC Bank-HDFC merger will be among the world's 100 most-valued firms in terms of market capitalisation, as per Bloomberg data. The entity will likely be worth $190 billion (over ₹14 lakh crore), making it the 63rd most-valued company globally. Currently, Apple is the world's most-valued company with a market value of $2.84 trillion.

FICCI estimate India’s GDP growth rate for FY23 at 7.4%

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) has estimated India’s GDP to grow at 7.4 per cent in the financial year 2022-23 (FY23). The Ficci’s Economic Outlook Survey was released on April 03, 2022.  The report has stated that rising prices due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict is the biggest challenge to the global economic recovery.  According to the survey, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to start a rate hike cycle in the second half of 2022, while a repo rate hike of 50-75 bps is expected by the end of the current fiscal.  The RBI is expected to continue supporting the ongoing economic recovery by keeping the repo rate unchanged in its April policy review.

Awards News

64th Grammy Awards 2022: Check the list of Winners

The 64th annual Grammy Awards are being held for the first time at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with Trevor Noah as host.  The 64th GRAMMY Awards recognizes recordings (including musical artists, compositions and albums) released between September 01, 2020, to September 30, 2021.  Jon Batiste received the most nominations with eleven and Batiste also received the most awards with five.

Major category winners include:

Record of the Year: Leave The Door Open (Silk Sonic)

Album of the Year: We Are (Jon Batiste)

Song of the Year: Leave The Door Open

Best  New Artist: Olivia Rodrigo

Sports News

Australia wins ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022

Australia beat England by 71 runs in the finals to claim their seventh Women’s World Cup on April 03, 2022, at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Australia posted a record of 356 on the board. In reply, Nat Sciver waged a lone battle and remained unbeaten on 148 but it was not enough as England was bowled out for 285 in 43.4 overs.  Alyssa Healy of Australia scored 170 runs in the match, the highest individual score made by any cricketer, male or female, in the World Cup Final. She was also the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 509 runs.  The Player of the Tournament went to Alyssa Healy. Sophie Ecclestone of England was the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, with 21 dismissals. The 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup was the 12th edition of the Women’s Cricket World Cup. The tournament was held in New Zealand from 4 March to 3 April 2022.

Iga Swiatek wins Miami Open tennis title 2022

Polish tennis star Iga Swiatek defeated Naomi Osaka of Japan, 6-4, 6-0. in the final match to claim the 2022 Miami Open tennis tournament. For Swiątek, this is her fourth career WTA 1000 title and the sixth singles title overall.  Also, this is her 17th straight title win. The victory will now place Swiatek to the No. 1 spot in the women’s rankings.  With the victory, the 20-year-old Swiatek becomes only the fourth woman to win the Indian Wellsnd Miami tournaments back-to-back, a feat known as the "Sunshine Double" given the tournaments' respective locations in California and Florida.


Ross Taylor breaks down during national anthem in his last int'l match, video viral

Ross Taylor, who played his last international cricket match today, broke down when New Zealand's national anthem was being played ahead of the third ODI against Netherlands. Taylor's children also accompanied him during the national anthem. Taylor played 112 Tests, 236 ODIs and 102 T20Is in his career, scoring 18,195 runs.


Books and Authors News

A new book “Crunch Time: Narendra Modi’s National Security Crises” by Sreeram Chaulia

Dr Sreeram Chauliahas authored a new book titled “Crunch Time: Narendra Modi’s National Security Crises”. The book was released by Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs at the India International Centre in New Delhi, Delhi.  The book highlights the much needed public faith in the state to protect the country from security threats posed by India’s external adversaries. The book analyses PM Modi’s series of decision-making moves during the crises with China and Pakistan.

Other Books of Sreeram Chaulia:

Trumped: Emerging Powers in a Post-American World.  International Organizations and Civilian Protection: Power, Ideas and Humanitarian Aid in Conflict Zones.  Politics of the Global Economic Crisis: Regulation, Responsibility and Radicalism.  People Who Influenced the World Over the Past 100 Years.  Modi Doctrine: The Foreign Policy of India’s Prime Minister.

Important Days

International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2022

The United Nations’ International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is celebrated every year on the 4th of April. The day aims to raise awareness about landmines and progress toward their eradication.  “Mine action” refers to a range of efforts to clear landmines and explosive remnants of war and to mark and fence off dangerous areas.  In 2022 the United Nations Mine Action Service marks the Day under the theme “Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home.” The focus of the observance is on the impressive achievements of the global mine action community, starting with the work of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).  On 8 December 2005, the General Assembly declared that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. It was first observed on 4 April 2006. 

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