19 ,April 2018

1,Study in India website launched
Source: PIB

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched the Study in India website, marking the setting in motion of an ambitious scheme to attract foreign students to study in good Indian higher educational institutions.
  • The scheme will entail the admission of foreign students from 30 countries — with a focus on South Asia, South East Asia, West Asia and Africa — to study in 160 quality higher educational institutions of India as per NIRF ranks and NAAC grades.
  • With a large number of the available seats involving fee waivers, the attempt is to make quality education affordable to foreign students,
  • The central education portal put in place for Study in India was comprehensive, he said. Once students register on it, they can apply for 160 institutions and get seats as per merit. It also has a provision for online counselling and a helpline number.
  • The goal of the ambitious scheme is to increase the number of foreign students in India to 2 lakh by 2023.

2.International SME Convention-2018
Source: PIB

  • It is the first ever International SME conference organized by The Ministry of MSME.
  • One hundred and fifty participants from 31 countries and 400 entrepreneurs from India will participate in the four day International SME convention being held in New Delhi.
  • The Ministry of MSME has engaged with over 35 International Trade Development organisations to attract and invite able and willing entrepreneurs and encourage people to people contact with select Indian Entrepreneurs from key sectors of the International counterparts.
  • The convention has specific focus on inclusion of MSMEs in the Make in India program & empowering women entrepreneurs.


  • India is home to more than 60 million MSMEs, majority of who are in low-tech areas and serve the local domestic markets.
  • Of these, a small percentage, have the ability and capability to derive access to International Markets, with the vast majority of enterprises working as ancillaries.
  • Together the MSMEs constitute a single largest employer after the Agriculture sector in India.
  • Highly developed economies have banked on their small and medium enterprises for both GDP Growth as well as higher employment resulting in higher per capita incomes.

3.Regional Conference on “Urban Development: Technological Solutions and Governance Challenges”
Source: PIB

  • It was organised by The Ministry of Finance, Government of India in collaboration with the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Gujarat Council along with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), an autonomous research organization.
  • The 2-day Regional Conference on “Urban Development: Technological Solutions and Governance Challenges” began in Ahmedabad.
  • The event was attended by eminent experts, policy practitioners, officials from central government, industry leaders, bilateral partners and representatives of the Multilateral Development Banks including AIIB to deliberate on the pertinent issues relating to financing, institutional and regulatory environment, technological options for sustainable future, financial sustainability and other relevant aspects.

4.Make BCCI a public body
Source: The Hindu

Law Commission wants the cricket board to be brought under RTI Act for scrutiny by any citizen

The 90-year-old Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should be declared a public body. The board and all its member cricket associations should be brought under the Right to Information law regime, the Law Commission of India recommended to the government on Wednesday 

Commission’s observations:

  • The board’s monopolistic activities, directly and indirectly, affect the fundamental rights of citizens, players, and other functionaries.
  • A private citizen should be able to move the highest court against the BCCI for any violation of his fundamental rights
  • Commission concluded that the BCCI exercises ‘state-like’ powers in the regulation of cricket, and thus, comes under the definition of ‘state

Corruption concerns:

  • It has created an impression in the minds of the general public that corruption and other forms of malpractices are adversely affecting one of the most popular sports played in India.

Listing some of the reasons why it concluded that the BCCI is a limb of the state, the commission pointed out how the cricket board, as an entity, is permitted de facto by the state to represent the country at the international stage. It selects the Indian cricket team. The selected players wear the national colours and are the recipients of Arjuna Awards.

The ICC does not recognise BCCI as the ‘official’ body representing India and the government, nor BCCI has ever challenged, discussed or changed the status. The commission highlighted the political significance wielded by the BCCI.

5.Air pollution chokes the world
Source: The Hindu

India and China jointly contribute to over 50% of global deaths attributed to pollution

More than 95% of the world’s population is breathing unhealthy air, with India and China jointly contributing to over 50% of global deaths attributed to pollution, a new report has found.

  • According to the annual State of Global Air Report, published by the Boston-based Health Effects Institute, long-term exposure to air pollution contributed to an estimated 6.1 million deaths across the globe in 2016. The report found that India topped China for early deaths from outdoor air pollution with 1.1 mn in 2016.
  • While China had made some progress in declining air pollution, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have experienced the steepest increases in air pollution levels since 2010, it added.
  • Air pollution was the fourth-highest cause of death among all health risks globally, coming in below high blood pressure, diet and smoking, it said.
  • Air pollution takes a huge personal toll worldwide, making it difficult to breathe for those with respiratory disease, sending the young and old to hospital, missing school and work, and contributing to early death.

6.Supreme Court rules NCMEI has wide powers
Source: The Hindu

The Supreme Court has held that the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) has original jurisdiction to determine which institution should be granted minority status

The NCMEI Act empowers the Commission to decide all questions relating to the status of an institution as a minority educational institution and to declare its status as such

The Constitution grants a fundamental right to all minorities, whether based on religion or language, to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice

The wide power given to an independent forum like the NCMEI to declare an institution as a minority educational institution furthered the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 30

The 2006 amendments conferred powers of appeal against orders of the competent authority to the NCMEI.A power of cancellation was also vested in the NCMEI to cancel a certificate granted either by an authority or the NCMEI

National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI):

  • The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) was established to protect and safeguard the educational institutions which are established by the minorities in India
  • The key objective is to ensure that the true amplitude of the educational rights enshrined in Article 30(1) of the Constitution is made available to the members of the notified religious minority communities
  • This entails, inter alia, addressing all issues that pertain to the denial, deprivation or violation of the constitutional rights of the minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice, including all issues related to the grant of NOC, minority status certificates and affiliation to universities, wherever applicable
  • The commission is headed by a Chairman who belongs to a minority community and has been a Judge of a High Court
  • Two members are nominated by Central Government. They too must belong to a minority community and must be “persons of eminence, ability, and integrity”


7.India wins six elections in UNECOSOC bodies
Source: PIB

India has won six elections to United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) bodies, five of them unanimously. In these polls, India won places on executive boards of four UN bodies, three commissions and committee.

Executive Boards:

India won elections to Executive Boards of UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS). India will serve three-year terms from January 2019 on those executive boards.

Executive Board of UN-Women: India was also elected separately on this executive board for three-year term starting January 2019. UN-Women work for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.


India was elected on UN Commission on Population and Development and it will have term till September 2021. India was also elected on the UN Commission for Social Development and shall have four-year term starting immediately. It was also elected UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and will serve three-year term starting January 2019.

8.National portal to share research facilities soon
Source: The Hindu

Soon researchers in any college or institution and research organisations can check, reserve and have easy access to even expensive research equipment and facilities anywhere in India, thanks to the efforts by the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

The centre is in the process of collating information about scientific and research equipment and facilities available at academic institutions and research organisations across the country.

  • The portal — Indian Science, Technology and Engineering Facilities Map (I-STEM) — will soon become operational. The government green signalled the project last month.
  • The institutions and organisations that have the equipment and facilities will provide access to researchers for both academic and non-academic work through an online reservation system.
  • This initiative will have many benefits. It will provide access to researchers to any equipment or facility that has been procured using public funds, the equipment will be better utilised and it will avoid duplication of expensive equipment as much as possible. Sharing expensive equipment can bring down the cost of doing research in India.
  • Putting to rest the fear that this initiative may come in the way of premier institutions which are just coming up from procuring essential equipment. Each institute will need certain equipment that is absolutely necessary and essential for regular use. It is not at all the intent of this initiative to stop such institutes from procuring equipment but to ensure that each instrument is better used.

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