Chennai tops in fixed broadband speed in India: Ookla report
According to a study titled ‘India’s digital divide: how broadband speed splits the nation’ by Ookla, Chennai has the highest fixed broadband download speed among 20 largest cities of India.
Broadband Speed in India:
In context of this news, it is important to note that for February 2018, with fixed broadband average download speed at 20.72 Mbps, India ranked 67th in the world on Speedtest Global Index.
Highlights of ‘India’s digital divide: how broadband speed splits the nation’:
With fixed broadband average download speed at 32.67 Megabits per second (Mbps) Chennai has topped the list and has clocked 57.7% faster download speed than the average for the rest of the country.
Highest Average Download Speed – Top 5 Cities
Pune tops Quality of Governance Survey
As per fifth edition of the Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, Pune is the top city to show improvement in quality of governance in 2017.
About Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS):
The survey was administered in 23 major cities across 20 Indian states and contained 89 questions.
Findings from Fifth edition of the Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS):
Pune topped the list with an overall score f 5.1 out of 10. Bhubaneswar showed significant improvement by attaining fourth spot in 2017 survey as compared to tenth in 2016.
Top 5 cities in terms of Quality of Governance:
Supreme Court bars foreign firms from practicing law in India
On March 13, 2018, Supreme Court of India upheld judgements given by Madras High Court and Bombay High Court that foreign law firms cannot practice in India.
More Information and Rationale behind Supreme Court’s Decision:
i. Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Adarsh K Goel and Uday U Lalit barred foreign law firms and foreign lawyers practising in India for both litigatious (likely to engage in lawsuits) as well as non-litigatious activities.
ii. This judgement takes into consideration Bar Council of India Rules (BCI) that the Indian laws are of specialised nature and only those who have a exhaustive and holistic idea of its functioning, are permitted to practice law by it.
iii. However, Supreme Court has allowed foreign lawyers to ‘fly in fly out’ to advise on foreign law.
iv. Besides, foreign lawyers have been allowed to appear in International Commercial Arbitration (mode of resolving commercial disputes arising between private parties on account of cross- borders transactions).
Health Ministry and WHO sign an Agreement for enhanced cooperation in health sector
On March 13, 2018, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and World Health Organization (WHO) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for enhanced cooperation in health sector.
Details about Union Health Ministry – WHO Agreement:
i. The agreement was signed by Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary (International Health) and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of WHO in New Delhi.
ii. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda was also present during the signing ceremony.
iii. The MoA is expected to strengthen collaborative work between Indian Government and WHO in achieving improved health outcomes.
Quick Facts about World Health Organisation (WHO):
♦ Formed in – 1946
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Current Director General – Tedros Adhanom
Assam govt proposes insurance scheme for journalists
Assam State Government has proposed an insurance scheme for journalists and their families in State budget for the year 2018-19.
Insurance scheme for journalists in Assam:
i. This announcement was made by Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during presentation of state budget for 2018-19 in the assembly on March 12, 2018.
ii. Mr. Sarma stated that for the year 2018-19, budgetary allocation of Rs 63 crore has been earmarked for the Information and Public Relations Department that would implement schemes for journalists in Assam.
iii. This ‘Journalist Insurance Scheme would ensure security and protection of the journalists and their families.
iv. As announced in last year’s budget, Assam State Government has already introduced Pension Scheme for Journalists to provide retirement benefits to those journalists who have been working for more than 20 years in Assam.
Quick Facts about Assam:
♦ Capital – Dispur
♦ Current Governor – Jagdish Mukhi
♦ Current Chief Minister – Sarbananda Sonowal
♦ Important National Park – Manas National Park
CII to set up multi-skill centre in Darjeeling
On March 13, 2018, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) announced that it will set up a multi-skill centre in Darjeeling, West Bengal.
CII’s upcoming multi-skill centre in Darjeeling:
i. Announcement in this regard was made by CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee at the inaugural session of the two-day Darjeeling Business Summit.
ii. CII will set up this multi-skill centre in Darjeeling in partnership with the Gorkha Territorial Administration.
iii. This multi-skill centre will initially impart training in hospitality, beauty and wellness and healthcare.
Quick Facts about CII:
♦ Formed in – 1985
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current President – Shobana Kamineni
Odisha govt signs MoU with Tata Trusts
On March 13, 2018, Odisha State government and Tata Trusts signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for implementing the state’s decision on land rights settlement for slum dwellers in urban areas.
More Information about Odisha State Government – Tata Trusts MoU:
i. The MoU was signed in presence of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who directed all district collectors and concerned government officials to accord top priority to this work.
ii. Seven months ago, Odisha State Government took a historic decision to discontinue the practice of evicting slum dwellers in urban areas (by treating them as encroachers), and granted them land rights.
iii. As per the terms of the MoU, Tata Trusts will provide technical support to Odisha State Government in implementing this decision.
Quick Facts about Odisha
♦ Capital – Bhubaneswar
♦ Current Governor – S.C. Jamir
♦ Current Chief Minister – Naveen Patnaik
♦ Important National Park – Bhitarkanika National Park
Government forms ‘Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC)’ to probe illegal cultivation of HT Cotton
On 12th March 2018, Minister of State for Textiles Ajay Tamta said that, the government has constituted ‘Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC)’ to investigate into illegal cultivation of HT (Herbicide Tolerant) cotton in 4 states.
Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC):
i. Ajay Tamta said that, the government had received several entries insisting on ban of illegal cultivation of HT or BG-III cotton in India.
ii. Several complaints regarding illegal and unauthorised cultivation of HT cotton in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat and Maharashtrahave been received.
iii. He said that, a Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC) has been formed by Department of Biotechnology in the Ministry of Science and Technology.
iv. This committee will conduct investigation on illegal cultivation of HT cotton. He also added that, the cultivation of BG-III or HT cotton does not have the approval of Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Ministry of Environment.
About Department of Biotechnology:
♦ Formed – 1986
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
IAF’s largest transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster makes historic landing in Arunachal Pradesh
On 13th March 2018, C-17 Globemaster, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) largest transport aircraft, made a historic landing at Tuting Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh.
IAF’s largest transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster makes historic landing in Arunachal Pradesh:
i. The landing of C-17 Globemaster is considered as a move by IAF to strengthen its operations in the important border region. The landing ground is just 30 km away from China.
ii. After the trial landing, C-17 Globemaster performed an operational mission, airlifting 18 tonnes of load into the airfield.
iii. The flight crew consisted of Group Captain K Rama Rao, Wing Commander Amiya Kant Patnaik, Wing Commander K Trivedi and Squadron Leader L Nayak.
About Indian Air Force (IAF):
♦ Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) – Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
IATA partners with Civil Aviation Ministry and National Aviation University
On 13th March 2018, International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that, it has signed a MoU with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and National Aviation University to improve human resource availability in India’s aviation industry.
IATA partners with Civil Aviation Ministry and National Aviation University:
i. The three parties formalised this partnership in the presence of Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation at the Wings India 2018 event in Hyderabad.
ii. This MoU also aims in developing better academic cooperation between IATA and National Aviation University.
iii. As per the MoU, the institutions will also utilize the existing infrastructure for training in India to improve the reach of vocational training in aviation sector.
About International Air Transport Association (IATA):
IATA’s Regional Vice President, Asia-Pacific – Conrad Clifford
Headquarters – Montreal, Canada