- 2,754 Gujarat villages have no grazing land, government admits
- The BJP-led Gujarat government which makes tall claims about its protection of cows, told the assembly by a written submission that 2,754 villages in Gujarat have no gauchar land (community land for grazing of cows and other animals).
- The state panchayats and rural development minister accepted that 4,725 hectares of gauchar land in 33 districts has been encroached upon. The government also conceded that 57.54 hectares of gauchar land in the Gir sanctuary was encroached upon before 1987-88 and these encroachments have still not been removed.
- A January 2011 order of the Supreme Court put strict restrictions on the sale of gauchar land and directed that encroachments on such land be removed.
- The SC had directed all state governments to formulate plans for eviction of illegal/unauthorized occupants of land meant for gram sabhas, gram panchayats and other community use and said that “long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure on constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession”.
- World Sparrow Day: 20 March
- World Sparrow Day is a day designated to raise awareness of the house sparrow and then other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations, observed on 20 March.
- It is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world.
- The theme for World Sparrow Day is I Love Sparrows.
· International Day of Happiness is celebrated as 20 March
- The United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness (on 20th March) as a way to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world.
- The theme for IDH 2018 is “Share Happiness” – focusing on the importance of relationships, kindness and helping each other.
- The World Happiness Report 2018 was also released recently that ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants.
- Finland was ranked as the happiest country in the list and Burundi in East Africa is the unhappiest place in the world.
- India ranks 133rd in the report after Pakistan (75th), China (86th) and Nepal (101st).
- Singapore named the world’s most expensive city
- Singapore has been dubbed the world’s most expensive city to live in for the fifth year running.
- The city state marched in ahead of New York, London and Los Angeles, which didn’t even feature in the top 10 priciest places in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living 2018 survey.
- The EIU’s annual ranking compares the prices of over 150 items in 133 cities around the world, such as bread, wine, cigarettes and petrol.
- Damascus ranked cheapest in the world.
- Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi also featured among the top 10 cheapest locations this year.
- Indian Navy to host Bilateral Exercise ‘Varuna’ with French Navy
- The Indian Navy and the French Navy have conducted bilateral maritime exercises since May 1993.
- Since 2001, the exercises have been named VARUNA and there have been fifteen editions of the same till date.
- The last edition of VARUNA was conducted off the French Coast in Apr 2017.
- This year too VARUNA-18 would be conducted in three sea areas, namely, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and South Western Indian Ocean.
· India and EU Signed Agreement On Sharing Earth Observation Data
- India and the European Union (EU)have signed an agreement that will enable them to share earth observation data from each other’s satellites.
- The pact was inked in Bengaluru.
- The Copernicus programme provides a wide range of applications like climate change, land, ocean, and atmosphere monitoring as well as support in forecasting, management and mitigation of natural disasters.
- Under this arrangement, Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO will share data from its earth observation satellites.
- Tribal Diaries’ Mobile App to strengthen internal monitoring
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has developed an android based mobile application called Tribal Diaries for internal monitoring as also connecting with officers/officials concerned with implementation of schemes / programmes for tribal development.
- The application is for accredited users.
- This application provides an opportunity for visual feedback in terms of photographs, videos, uploading reports of official tours / inspections and sharing of best practices etc.
- First National Workshop on POSHAN Abhiyaan
- The first National workshop on POSHAN Abhiyaan involving all the states and union territories is being held on 20th March at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra,New Delhi.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development is organising the day long workshop with participation from all the states/UTs.
· IRCTC Ties Up With Ola
- With an aim to providing first-and-last-mile connectivity, railway PSU IRCTCannounced a partnership with cab aggregator Ola, giving commuters an option book taxi on its app.
- The tie-up, a six-month pilot project, will give customers access to Ola booking services when they visit the IRCTC Rail Connect App and on its website.
- The Ola cab facility will provide all the services offered.
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