1. Neiphiu Rio sworn-in as the CM of Nagaland
• The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) leader Neiphiu Rio was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Nagaland on March 8, 2018.
• The venue - Kohima Local Ground - is significant as this was where the then-President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – had made the announcement of Nagaland's statehood on December 1, 1963.
• Rio's NDPP is allied with the BJP, and has the support of the JD(U) and an Independent - giving it the backing of 32 of the 60 MLAs in the state.
• Rio has served as the state's CM three times before this, between 2003 and 2014.
2. Udyam Sakhi Portal Launched for Women Entrepreneurs
• The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) launched Udyam Sakhi Portal for women entrepreneurs of India on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
• The portal aims to nurture entrepreneurship and create business models for low cost products and services in order to empower women.
• It seeks to provide assistance through its platform for entrepreneurship learning tools, incubation facility, training programs for fund raising, providing mentors, etc.
3. Haryana to give pension to widowers
• The Haryana government on March 7, 2018 proposed a pension scheme for widowers in the state.
• The Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Kumar Bedi said the government was contemplating a pension scheme for widowers on the pattern of widow pension.
• The matter is currently with the Finance Department and under consideration.
• Bedi said in a statement that widowers above 45 years of age, who have children and have not remarried, would be eligible under the pension scheme.
4. Government announces launch of ‘SUVIDHA’ under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana
• Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Ananthkumar announced the launch of ‘Suvidha’, the 100 per cent Oxo-biodegradable Sanitary Napkin, under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).
• The affordable sanitary napkin will be available for Rs 2.50 per pad at over 3200 Janaushadhi Kendras across India and would ensure ‘Swachhta, Swasthya and Suvidha’ for the underprivileged Women of India.
• These napkins would be physically available by May 28, 2018, which is observed as World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
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5. Indian Railways to implement Automatic Train Protection system
• Indian Railways have now planned to provide Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system conforming to ETCS level-2 standards on the entire Indian Railway Broad Gauge (BG) network.
• The system will provide technological aid to Loco Pilots for avoiding Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD).
• The system will enable continuous updating of movement authority in loco cab through wireless network, which will ensure improved speed and line capacity as compared to ETCS Level-I.
• The system will enable the loco pilot to know the condition of signals ahead even when the visibility of signals is poor due to fog or any other reasons.
6. India's ranking drops in BSA Global Cloud Computing scorecard
• India’s ranking in the adoption of cloud-friendly policies has come down from 18 in 2016 to 20 out of 24 leading IT economies.
• The report by "BSA | The Software Alliance" showed that emerging markets continue to lag behind in the adoption of cloud-friendly policies, hindering their growth.
• The fall in India’s ranking shows that the legal and regulatory environment in the country is restricting innovation.
• The scorecard that ranks countries' preparedness for the adoption and growth of Cloud computing services is a tool that can help countries to constructively self-evaluate their policies and determine the next steps to increase adoption of the technology.
7. Maharashtra to make sale of gutka non-bailable offence
• The Maharashtra government on March 7, 2018 told the Legislative Council that the sale of gutka, which is banned in the state, would be made a non-bailable offence.
• The government plans to enhance the punishment for the offence to three years in prison.
• The move has come after leader of the opposition party, Dhananjay Munde alleged through a calling attention motion that though anti-gutka laws were in place in the state, gutka was still being smuggled in from neighbouring states.
• Munde said Maharashtra has the highest number of youth falling prey to cancer due to chewing of gutka. He also demanded inquiry into continuing sale of gutka despite the ban.
• Currently, the sale of gutka in the state is a bailable offence with a punishment of a maximum of six months in prison.
8. India-China bilateral trade hits historic high of USD 84.44 billion in 2017
• The India-China bilateral trade reached USD 84.44 billion last year, a historic high despite bilateral tensions over a host of issues including the Doklam standoff.
• The bilateral trade between the two nations in 2017 rose by 18.63 per cent year-on-year to reach USD 84.44 billion.
• It is regarded as a landmark as the volume of bilateral trade for the first time touched USD 80 billion, well above the USD 71.18 billion registered before that.
• The trade touched historic high despite bilateral tensions over a number of issues including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China blocking India's efforts to bring about a UN ban on Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar, Beijing blocking India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as well as the longest military standoff at Doklam lasting 73 days.
• The bilateral trade stagnated around USD 70 billion for several years despite the leaders of both the countries setting USD 100 billion as target for 2015.
9. European development bank approves India’s membership
• India is all set to become the 69th member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) after shareholders of the international financial institution gave their nod to the country’s candidature.
• The move follows the Indian government’s application to seek the EBRD membership back in December 2017.
• It sets the stage for an increase in joint investment with Indian companies in the Bank’s regions of operation.
• The formal membership process will now get underway, which includes the purchase of shares by India at an estimated cost of around €1 million.