Indu Malhotra takes oath as Supreme Court Judge
Senior advocate Indu Malhotra took oath as a Judge of the Supreme Court on April 27, 2018. The oath was administered to her by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
The Union Law Ministry had approved Malhotra’s name for the position on April 25, clearing the way for her to become the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed from the Bar as a Judge in the Apex Court.
With Malhotra’s appointment, the total strength of the Supreme Court would now go upto 25, against the sanctioned strength of 31, including the CJI.
PM Narendra Modi holds informal talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping
The first-ever informal meet between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping began on April 27, 2018 at Hubei Provincial Museum, in the city of Wuhan in China.
The two-day meet is expected to see the two leaders exchange a series of one-on-one conversations on various issues including bilateral, global and regional issues. The leaders are expected to review the developments in their bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective.
Inter-Korean Summit: Kim Jong Un crosses over to South Korea for first time
In a historic first, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on April 27, 2018 crossed the border that separates the two Koreas at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to enter South Korea, becoming the first North Korean leader to step into South Korean territory since 1953.
The highest-level encounter is only the third of its kind since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. It took place as a part of the historic Inter Korean summit that began in the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarised Zone.
2018 World Press Freedom Index released: India falls to 138th rank
The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on April 25, 2018 released the World Press Freedom Index 2018, reflecting growing animosity towards journalists.
India’s rank dropped down to 138th this year from 136th in 2017, two points below the previous year. The report blames PM Narendra Modi’s “troll army” for sharing and intensifying hate speeches targeting journalists on social networks. Moreover, India also saw ‘physical violence’ against journalists this year including the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in 2017.
HRD Ministry launches second edition of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan
The Union Human Resource Development Ministry on April 25, 2018 launched the second edition of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan in New Delhi.
Under the program, students from 750 higher educational institutions from across the country will adopt nearby villages and visit them to get acquainted with the regular lifestyle of village people and the problems faced by them in their day to day life. The main objective of the program is to enable higher education institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable development in rural areas.
CCEA approves restructured National Bamboo Mission
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on April 25, 2018 approved the centrally sponsored scheme ‘National Bamboo Mission’ (NBM) under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) for the remaining period of Fourteenth Finance Commission (2018-19 & 2019-20).
The National Bamboo Mission will ensure integrated development of the bamboo sector by establishing effective linkage of farmers with industry. Besides, the CCEA also approved the Empowerment of Executive Committee for formulation of guidelines of the National Bamboo Mission and to make the changes therein.
Explained: AFSPA removed from Meghalaya and few parts of Arunachal Pradesh
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) was completely removed from Meghalaya and some areas of Arunachal Pradesh with effect from April 1, 2018. Till September 2017, 40 percent of Meghalaya was under AFSPA including the 20 km stretch of the state’s 884.9 km border with Assam.
However, AFSPA has been restricted to eight police stations of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam and three districts adjoining Myanmar namely Tirap, Longding and Changlang. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also relaxed the Protected Area Permit (PAP) for foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. The PAP will be valid for five years, but residents from Pakistan, Afghanistan and China will not be allowed to visit these areas.
India received highest remittances of USD 69 billion in 2017: World Bank
As per World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, India received the highest remittances of USD 69 billion from its diaspora in 2017. Indian remittances rose sharply by 9.9 percent in 2017. India had received remittances of USD 68.91 billion in 2015, which fell to USD 62.74 billion in 2016.
The top remittance recipients were India with USD 69 billion, followed by China at second (USD 64 billion), the Philippines at 3rd (USD 33 billion), Mexico at 4th (USD 31 billion), Nigeria at 5th (USD 22 billion) and Egypt at 6th (USD 20 billion).
President signs ordinance to provide death penalty to rapists of girls below 12 years
President Ram Nath Kovind on April 22, 2018 promulgated an ordinance that provides for stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
The ordinance- Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 stipulates stringent punishment for those guilty of rape, particularly of girls below the age of 16 and 12 years. The ordinance also orders death sentence to those guilty of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
CCEA approves restructured Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan Scheme
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on April 21, 2018 approved the restructured centrally sponsored scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA).
The scheme will be implemented during the period from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2022 at the total cost of Rs 7255.50 crore. Of the total cost, the Central share will be Rs 4500 crore and the State share will be Rs 2755.50 crore.
The Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan scheme will be now extended to all the states, union territories (UTs) and in all the institutions of rural local government in non-Part IX areas, where Panchayats do not exist.