Daily Current Affairs :

Colson Whitehead wins Pulitzer prize for ‘The Underground Railroad’

Colson Whitehead’s National Book Award winning speculative history novel The Underground Railroad garnered another top honor, with the announcement that the book had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for 2017. The novel reimagines the Underground Railroad as a real, tangible subway system carrying Southern slaves north. The Pulitzer prizes, considered the most prestigious journalism and arts awards in the country at Columbia University in New York.

National Hindi Sevi Samman Awards announced
Central Hindi Institute Director N.K. Pandey announced the names of 26 writers from different categories for the prestigious Hindi Sevi Samman Awards. The awardees will receive Rs 5 lakh each, a citation and a shawl from President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in May. The Ganesh Shankar Vidhyarthi Award for Hindi journalism will be awarded to Rahul Dev and Baldev Bhai Sharma.

Professor S. Shesharatnam (Andhra Pradesh), M. Govind Rajan (Tamil Nadu), Harmahendra Singh Bedi (Punjab) and H. Subadani Devi (Manipur) have been selected from non-Hindi speaking states for their contribution to the Hindi language.

Cabinet approves setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle to be called Government e-Marketplace (GeM SPV)
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the following:-

Setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle to be called Government e-Marketplace (GeM SPV) as the National Public Procurement Portal as Section 8 Company registered under the Companies Act, 2013, for providing procurement of goods & services required by Central & State Government organizations.
GeM SPV shall provide an end-to-end online Marketplace for Central and State Government Ministries / Departments, Central & State Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs & SPSUs), Autonomous institutions and Local bodies, for procurement of common use goods & services in a transparent and efficient manner.
DGS&D shall be wound up and cease its functions by 31st October, 2017. In case it is not possible to wind up DGS&D by 31st October, 2017, the Department may extend the date of closure with proper justification latest upto 31st March, 2018.

Cabinet approves setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh as “an Institute of National Importance” through an Act of Parliament. The Institute will have the governance structure as well as legal mandate to grant degrees in a manner similar to that enjoyed by IITs. A separate Act will also impart the required status to the Institute to become a “Centre of Excellence” in petroleum and energy studies.

Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Russia for cooperation in the field of Science & Technology
The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Russia for cooperation in the field of Science  & Technology (S&T) signed in October, 2016. The objective of the MoU is to facilitate and support joint scientific and research activities between scientific organizations, subordinated to the Agency and scientific organizations and scientists of the Republic of Russian Federation, with India through DST.

Cabinet approves MoU on cooperation in the field of justice between India and Tunisia
The Union has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of justice between India and Tunisia. During the recent years, social, cultural and commercial relations between India and Tunisia have developed in a positive direction. Signing of an agreement on cooperation in the field of justice will further enhance good relations between the two countries and add new dimensions in the field of judicial reforms.

Lok Sabha passes HIV AIDS Prevention and Control Bill
Parliament has passed the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, which provides for the prevention and control of the disease and protection of human rights of those affected by it with the Lok Sabha’s nod to the legislation. It will empower the people affected with the disease by giving them legal sanctity. The government will provide free treatment to the people infected with HIV. The ministry will soon come out with a new test and treat policy for the people living with HIV for providing free treatment to them

Amazon India gets RBI approval to launch its e-wallet

Amazon India has received the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) approval to launch its own digital wallet in India, paving the way for the American online retail giant to gain a slice of India’s fast-growing digital payments business. Amazon India, which had applied for what is called a Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) licence nearly a year ago, will now look to take on established rivals such as Paytm and Freecharge as it prepares to launch a prepaid wallet service that will be broader in scope than its Pay Balance service and will not be restricted to Amazon-based transactions.

Indo-Canadian Science Programme on Clean Water Technology
The Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology are collaborating with The India-Canada Centre for Innovation Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS), to promote multidisciplinary research partnerships. Five projects addressing the issue of Clean Water Technologies are being implemented by the Departments at the total cost of Rs. 572 lakhs with matched funding from Canada.

India-Australia launches Sports Partnership in Mumbai
India and Australia have launched Sports partnership in Mumbai aimed at increasing cooperation in sports.  The Partnership, which was launched by the Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Mr. Vijay Goel and the visiting Australian Prime Minister Mr. Malcolm Turnbull, in the presence of cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, will advance India – Australia cooperation in four areas – athlete and coach training and development, sport science, sport governance and integrity, and grassroots participation.”

April 12: International Day of Space Flight
The United Nations (UN) celebrates the International Day of Human Space Flight on April 12 each year. The International Day of Human Space Flight celebrates the start of the space era for humankind, reaffirming the important contribution of space science and technology in today’s world. The day also aims to promote aspirations to explore and maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.

Trump approves Montenegro’s membership to NATO
U.S. President Donald Trump has signed the U.S. instrument of ratification for Montenegro’s accession to NATO. Last month the Senate overwhelmingly backed the expansion of NATO to allow Montenegro to join the alliance, hoping to send a message that the United States will push back against Russian efforts to increase its influence in Europe.

The accession of Montenegro to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2017. In December 2009, Montenegro was granted a Membership Action Plan, the final step in an application for membership in the organization.  A formal invitation was issued by the alliance on 2 December 2015, with accession negotiations concluded with the signature of an accession protocol in May 2016.

Asian School Hockey Championship won by India School team
Alishan Mohammad and Pratap Lakra scored a brace each as India emerged champion at the 5th Asian School Hockey Championship with a convincing 5-1 win over Malaysia in the final. Alishan continued to have a good outing in the Championship as he gave India an early lead with a stunning field goal in the 12th minute.

Akhilesh Das Gupta Former Union Minister passed away

Former Union minister and Congress leader Akhilesh Das Gupta died in Lucknow following cardiac arrest. He was 56. Gupta, who celebrated his birthday on March 31, suffered a massive heart attack.  Gupta was a Rajya Sabha member for three terms till 2014 and Union Minister of State for Steel between 2006 and 2008. Gupta was Mayor of Lucknow from May 1993 to November 1995.
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