· Odisha to appoint Lokayukta by March 31
ð The Odisha government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it would appoint the Lokayukta in the state by March 31. The office of the anti-corruption watchdog will start functioning from April 8.
ð According to the Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014, the chairman will either be a sitting or a retired high court judge. The six-member Lokayukta panel will consist of at least two judicial members. From among the non-judicial members, there should be women, members of the scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and the minority on rotation basis. The chief minister and his council of ministers, former chief ministers, elected political representatives and bureaucrats will fall within the ambit of the Lokayukta’s powers.
ð Odisha was one of the first states to pass the Lokayukta Bill; it did so in February 2014. The government notified the Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014, and the Odisha Lokayukta Rules, 2018, on July 7, 2018.
- India withdraws Most Favoured Nation status granted to Pakistan
- India has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation status granted to Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.
- A decision in this regard was taken during the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, CCS in New Delhi.
- Union Minister Arun Jaitley said that Ministry of External Affairs will initiate all possible diplomatic steps which are to be taken to ensure the complete isolation Pakistan from the international community.
Gk bit – MFN
- A most favored nation (MFN) clause requires a country to provide any concessions, privileges, or immunities granted in a trade agreement to one nation to all other World Trade Organization member countries. Although its name implies favoritism toward another nation, it denotes the equal treatment of all countries.
· European Union adds Saudi Arabia to dirty-money blacklist
- The European Commission has added seven countries including Saudi Arabia, Panama, and Nigeriato a blacklist of nations that fail to tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
- The list now includes 23jurisdictions, up from 16.
- Newcomers to the list are Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.
- The other listed states are Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.
- Bosnia Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu were removed.
- The Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan scheme implemented from 15 February
- The Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan scheme implemented from 15 February.
- Under the scheme, workers of the unorganised sector will receive a minimum assured pension of 3,000 rupees per month after attaining the age of 60 years.
- The workers whose monthly income is 15 thousand rupees per month or less and belong to the entry age group of 18 to 40 years are eligible for the scheme.
- This scheme was announced in the interim Budget 2019.
· PM Modi to launch scheme to give Rs 6,000 to farmers on Feb 24
- PM Narendra Modi will launch the ₹75,000-crorecash transfer scheme for farmers on February 24 in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur.
- Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhischeme, announced in the interim budget, ₹6,000 will be given in three instalments to 12 crore small farmers holding cultivable land up to two hectares.
· Around 307 Indian startups join Estonia e-residency scheme in 4 yrs
- Roughly 2,300people from India have used the e-Residency programme offered by Estonia and set up over 300 companies in the European nation.
- India is at the 8thspot in terms of the number of companies set up.
- Started in 2014, e-Residency programme offers a government-issued digital identity that provides the applicant access to e-services in Estonia, including setting up of companies.
· India’s fastest Vande Bharat Express flagged off by PM Narendra Modi
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 15 flagged-off India’s first semi-high speed“Train 18” which was recently rechristened as Vande-Bharat
- It is launched from the New Delhi railway station.
- The train will travel from Delhi to Varanasiin nine hours and forty-five minutes.
- The train can run up to a maximum speed of 160 kmph.
- Train 18 is India’s first engine-less train.
· Ghumot is to be notified as a heritage instrument of Goa
- Ghumotis to be notified as a heritage instrument of Goa.The announcement was made by the Art and Culture Minister of Goa, Govind Gaude. Ghumot is an indigenous earthen drum fashioned as a designed clay pot, with the skin of the monitor lizard stretched taut across the pot’s mouth, forming a drumhead.
- The monitor lizard was classified as an endangered wildlife species and was listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Ghumot was banned by the Forest Department of Goa. Taking forward the efforts to conserve the heritage musical instrument the government of Goa is taking steps to declare Ghumot as the heritage musical instrument of Goa.
· Exercise Topchi was held at Nashik, Maharashtra
- The Exercise Topchi was held at Deolali Camp near Nashik, Maharashtra.In this exercise, the Indian Army showcased its artillery firepower by using ultralight Howitzers and indigenous Swathi weapon-locating radar. Aviation and surveillance capabilities were also showcased.
- There were a showcase of display of rockets, missiles, surveillance, and target acquisition radars, remotely piloted aircraft and hi-tech equipment in addition to gunfire. The precision displayed while delivering the explosives in the target area stunned all those present.
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