Daily current affairs 4th April 2018

NASA successfully tests Supersonic Mars landing parachute: ASPIRE


  • Asupersonic parachute that will help NASA missions to land on Mars was successfully launched into the sky during a key test designed to mimic the conditions of entering the red planet.
  • The Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) was launched aboard a sounding rocket on March 31 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in the US.
  • The successful launch came after several days of delays due to rough seas at the parachute’s recovery zone in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Analysis of the recovered chute, and data gathered by the cameras and other instruments, will help researchers complete the design of the chute for NASA’s 2020 Mars rover.
  • The Mars rover is scheduled to launch in two years, on a mission to hunt for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet.
  • The six-wheeled vehicle, whose body is based heavily on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, will study rocks on site and cache samples for eventual return to Earth.
Manufacturing sector activity slipped to a five months low in March


  • Manufacturing sector activity slipped to a five months low in March as order flow lost momentum, and businesses showed little appetite for recruitment, a private survey showed on Tuesday.
  • The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by IHS Markit, declined to 51 in March from 52.1 in February.

Since a reading above 50 indicates growth and one below it denotes contraction, March’s figure means manufacturing activity remained in expansion mode

M L Srivastava appointed as pro-term chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi


  • M L Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Akademies) at the culture ministry has been appointed as the protem chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi.
  • He will continue to hold the office till a regular chairman is appointed.
  • On the recommendation of the Minister of Culture, the President has appointed M L Srivastava.
Govt. launches digital initiative for ease of exports


  • Commerce and Industry Minister, Suresh Prabhu launches Digital Initiatives for Ease of Export. Union Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation Minister, Suresh Prabhu today launched digital initiatives by Export Inspection Council (EIC) for ease of export at New Delhi.Speaking on this occasion the Minister said that India’s potential for agricultural and food export will get a great boost due to these digital initiatives.
  • EIC is the official export certification body of Government of India and has launched this flagship project of Digital India Initiative to keep pace with changing dynamics of the world.
  • In order to continue the vision for credible inspection and certification and to strengthen the confidence on Indian produce, three portals have been developed to reduce transaction time and cost in a transparent manner. The portals not only provide an opportunity for ease of export but also plays an important role in the Go Green initiative by reducing paper usage and saving millions trees.
  • To provide fast, efficient and transparent services for ease of doing business in all sectors the complete export food chain has been integrated in this digital platform. Primary production, chain catch, aquaculture pond, dairy farms and apiaries are all linked. Processing units, testing laboratories, official controls and exports have complete traceability.
  • One lab one assessment portal provides unified approach to all stakeholders like accreditation bodies, regulators and laboratories by bringing them together on a common platform. Simplified procedures for granting joint certification and joint decisions helps in reducing cost, time and multiplicity of assessment.
  • The Export Alert Monitoring portal monitors non compliances raised byimporting countries. The portal will enable monitoring of alerts and action taken by multiple organizations involved in initial certification in the food safety & biosecurity and analysing the trend, understanding the trade barriers to reduce the alerts and enhance the export trade.

KHANJAR-V: Indo-Kyrgyzstan joint training exercise concludes


  • The fifth Indo-Kyrgyzstan Joint Training Exercise KHANJAR-V culminated on 29 March, after a joint tactical validation exercise and a closing ceremony held at Counter Insurgency Jungle Warfare School.
  • Two week of joint training that commenced on 16 March included understanding tactics of platoon level, developing inter operability and sharing of best practices.

Government Levies 10% Import Duty On Key Smartphone Components


  • The government today imposed a 10 per cent duty on import of key smartphone components like camera module and printed circuit board assembly with a view to boost domestic manufacturing
  • Earlier in the Budget 2018-19, the government had hiked customs duty on mobile phones to 20 per cent from 15 per cent.
  • Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla tabled notification documents in this regard in the Lok Sabha which seek to “withdraw exemption from basic customs duty (BCD) on printed circuit board assembly, camera module and connectors of cellular mobile phones and impose 10 per cent BCD on them…”.
  • At present there is zero import duty imposed on the three components.
  • In another notification, the revenue department has increased the basic import duty on populated, loaded or stuffed printed circuit boards, related to telephones (including mobile phones) from nil to 10 per cent.

 India ranks 37th in global startup ecosystem in 2017


  • India ranked 37th in the global startup ecosystem in 2017, according to a report released by global startup ecosystem map Start up blink.
  • The list, measuring startup ecosystem strength and activity, was topped by the United States followed by the United Kingdom.

India named  partner country for Ambiente 2019


  • India will be the partner country for International Frankfurt Trade Fair, Ambiente 2019 to be held during February 8-12, 2019.
  • This was announced by Messe Frankfurt at a festive ceremony on the penultimate day of Ambiente 2018.

Indian Army signed MoU with HDFC Bank


  • A Memorandum of Undertaking (MoU) was signed between the Indian Army and HDFC Bank on the Defence Salary Package on 03 Apr 2018.
  • The first MoU between HDFC Bank and the Indian Army was signed in 2011 and was renewed on 13 Mar 2015.
  • Currently Indian Army has MoUs on Defence Salary Package with 11 public and private sector banks.

21st Commonwealth Games to begin today


  • The 2018 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XXI Commonwealth Games and commonly known as Gold Coast 2018, is an international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth that will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, between 4 and 15 April 2018.
  • It will be the fifth time Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games.A total of 275 events will be held in 19 sports.Opening ceremony will be held in Carrara Stadium.
  • The official motto for the 2018 Commonwealth Games is “Share the Dream”. Borobi was named as the mascot of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
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