2. Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank becomes the 7th entity to receive a final licence from the RBI to set up a payments bank. Except Vodafone M-Pesa Ltd, all payment bank licence holders have received the final approval. Among payment bank licence holders, two entities namely Airtel Payments Bank and India Post Payments Bank have started operations so far.
3. The Union Cabinet has cleared approved setting up an independent rail regulator, named Rail Development Authority (RDA). It will be based in Delhi and will be set up through an executive order.It will act within the parameters of the Railway Act, 1989. It will only make recommendations to the Railway Ministry.
4. The Vivekananda International Foundation organised a special function to acquaint the world with India’s rich cultural heritage in New Delhi. The aim was not just to spread the concept of India but to also highlight India’s growing strength on the global stage. A number of issues were brainstormed upon such as ways to increase the potential it has.
5. Sugarcane can be genetically engineered to produce oil in its leaves and stems for biodiesel production. The modified sugarcane plants also produce more sugar, which could be used for ethanol production. The dual-purpose bioenergy crops are predicted to be more than five times more profitable per acre than soybeans and two times more profitable than corn.
6. The Government introduced two Bills related to the move for setting up of a new National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC). It will replace the two-decade old National Commission for Backward Classes. While the first Bill will ensure setting up of the new commission, the second Bill seeks to repeal the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.
7. Padayani festival was recently celebrated in Kerala. Padayani is a traditional folk dance and a ritual art from the central portion of the Indian state of Kerala. A ceremonial dance involving masks, it is an ancient ritual performed in Bhagavati temples. Padayani was performed by magico-medicine men of Kerala to heal the illnesses not amenable to medical modalities of intervention.
8. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India will audit the UN Secretariat in New York, a job which till now was the exclusive domain of developed countries. It will be done by Shashi Kant Sharma. The CAG is the external auditor of several UN organisations and Sharma presently is the Chairman of the UN Board of Auditors.
9. Kishor Kharat has assumed charge as the Managing Director and CEO of Indian Bank. Prior to this, he was MD and CEO of IDBI Bank. During the tenure, he also served as the Chairman of IDBI Capital Market Services, IDBI Asset Management and IDBI Trusteeship Services. Kharat was also on the Board of Directors of IDBI Federal Life Insurance as well as Exim Bank.
10. A fingerprint painting, created by a group of Indian doctors as a symbolic representation to end frequent attacks against the fraternity, has found place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the worlds largest such artwork. Titled “Ray of Hope”, the painting was made up of 15 lakh finger impressions of doctors from different parts of the country, collected over a period of four months.
11. Nearly 46 million people live under conditions of slavery across the world, with 18 million (39%) of those in India. Globally, modern slavery includes child workers in African mines, deforestation crews in the Amazon or people trapped in commercial sexual exploitation in Europe. In India slavery is banned as per the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976.
12. UTI Mutual Fund has become the first domestic asset management company(AMC) to bring an IPO. The listing plan of the country’s sixth-largest fund house had hit a block, with the SBI and the Life Insurance Corporation of India trying to wrest control over the AMC. The UTI MF had average assets under management of Rs 1.37 lakh cr in March quarter.
13. The RBI has appointed Malvika Sinha as Executive Director following the appointment of B P Kanungo as Deputy Governor. As Executive Director, she will look after foreign exchange department, department of government and bank accounts and internal debt management wing. Sinha had joined the Reserve Bank in 1982.
14. Rashid Khan Arman created history by becoming the first player from the war-torn Afghanistan to play an Indian Premier League match. He will play for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Rashid was bought by Sunrisers for Rs 4 crore making him an overnight star in his country.
15. The government has given its approval for signing of the Collaborative Agreement with French National Research Agency, France. The MoU will be signed for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017 at a total estimated expenditure of 40000 Euros. The Forum aims to improve the environment through research and co-operation.
16. Scientists from the University of Kerala have discovered a new species of long-legged, tree-dwelling crabs named Kani maranjandu in Western Ghats of Kerala. The new species named Kani maranjandu after the Kani tribe in Kerala. This is the first report of its kind to offer a record of an arboreal crab — a species that lives in trees.
17. Ayesha Aziz is all set to become the youngest Indian woman to fly a MIG-29 fighter jet, after getting her commercial pilot’s license. Ayesha plans to fly the aircraft at Sokul airbase in Russia. Her training to become a pilot started while she was in school and Ayesha got her student pilot licence from the Bombay Flying Club when she was 16.
18. Tony Morrison is scheduled to be presented with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Emerson-Thoreau Medal. The prize was established in 1958 and is awarded to individuals to recognize a lifetime of literary achievements. Morrison will receive the award on April 6 at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
19. The Uttar Pradesh government formed a three-member panel under chairmanship of Justice (retd) Alok Kumar Singh for the Gomti-River Channelisation project. The other two members are retired IIT-BHU Professor U K Chaudhary and IIM-Lucknow Professor A K Garg. The committee has been asked to submit its report in 45 days.
20. Bitcoin has finally gained the recognition of a mainstream currency along the lines of other fiat currencies. The privilege follows the implementation of a new law in Japan which categorizes Bitcoin as a legal payment option within the country. The much-awaited law went into effect on April 1. With the law’s implementation, it will come under regulatory scrutiny.