- MLA LAD scheme spend increases in election year
- With the assembly elections in Rajasthan this year, nearly 62 per cent of the total funds released have been spent under the MLA local area development scheme in 2018-19 (up to November) , according to a rural development department record. It is also worth noting that out of the 31,378 projects which were approved this year, 6,810 of those have been cancelled and 7,244 projects have been completed, the record states.
- The utilisation of MLA local area development fund, primarily meant for development work in the constituency of the MLA, from 2011 to 2016 was just 21.05 per cent. The high percentage in utilisation of MLA local area development fund in 2018-19 could be attributed to the assembly elections in the state. Keeping the assembly elections in mind, the MLAs spent more than 60 per cent of the funds released this year (2018-19) to appease the voters.
- Of the total amount (Rs. 484.89 crore), Rs. 299.98 crore, which is 61.86 per cent, has already been spent. In Rajasthan, Rs. 2.25 crore is allotted to each MLA every year under the scheme. According to the last CAG report, from 2011 to 2016 a fund of Rs 1,093.11 crore (60.73 per cent of the total amount) remained unspent.
· Farout, the most distant solar system object ever seen
- Scientistshave discovered the most-distant body ever observed in our solar system, located over 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun. The new object has been nicknamed Farout.
- Earlier, 2018 VG18, the object is the first to be observed at a distance of more than 100 astronomical units from the sun. Farout is about 120 AU, or about 11 billion miles, from the sun. One AU is the distance from Earth to the sun or about 93 million miles.
· USA pulls out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
- Russia has confirmed that the United States of America has decided to cancel the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which was signed between Russian and the USAin 1987.
- The USA had already announced the withdrawal decision from the INF treaty in October 2018.
- The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between US President Ronald Reaganand USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev.
- The INF treaty banned the development, testing and possession of short and medium-range ground-launched nuclear missiles having range between 500-5,000 km.
· Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy Regulation Bill
- The Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016.The Bill aimed at banning commercial surrogacy to protect women from exploitation. It also proposed to allow only altruistic surrogacy by infertile Indian couples from a “close relative” only. The Surrogacy Bill was approved by the Cabinet in August 2016. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha in November 2016 and was later referred to a parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare in January 2017.
- Singles, homosexuals and live-in couples cannot apply for surrogacy
- The couples who already have children will also not be allowed to opt for surrogacy
- It entitles only Indian citizens to avail of surrogacy, whereas foreigners, NRls and PIOs are not allowed to commission surrogacy in the country.
- Women within the age group of 23 years to 50 years and men aged between 26 and 55 years will be eligible to go in for surrogacy. The child, thus born, will be deemed to be the legal offspring of the intended couple.
- A woman can be a surrogate only once in her lifetime
- Gujarat emerges as best performing state in start-up ranking 2018
- Gujarat has emerged as the best performing state in the Startup Ranking 2018. The National Report on States’ Startup Ranking was unveiled by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi.
- Gujarat, with 100 percentile, has performed better than all other states in all the seven areas including start up policy, incubation support, seeding innovation and scaling innovation.Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha and Rajasthan, with a score of more than 85 percentile, have been adjudged the top performers.
- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana have been recognised as Leaders. 27 states and 3 union territories participated in the ranking process.
- Zero defect, Zero Effect – Mantra of Textiles Ministry
- Textiles industry in India is one of the largest in the world with a huge raw material base and manufacturing strength across all value chains.
- The strength of India’s textiles industry lies both in the hand woven sector as well as mill sector. Traditional sectors like handloom, handicrafts and small scale power loom are the biggest source of employment for millions of people in rural and semi-urban areas.
- This industry contributes to 7% of industrial output in value terms, 2% of India’s GDP and 15% of the country’s export earnings.
- Government Launches Asiatic Lion Conservation Project
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has launched the “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” with an aim to protect and conserve the world’s last ranging free population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem.
- “The Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” will strengthen the ongoing measures for conservation and recovery of Asiatic Lion with the help of state-of-the –art techniques/ instruments, regular scientific research studies, disease management, Modern surveillance/ patrolling techniques.The total budget of the project for 3 years that amounts to nearly Rs. 9784 lakh will be funded from the Centrally Sponsored Scheme- Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH) with the contributing ratio being 60:40 of Central and State share.
- NITI Aayog releases Sustainable Development Goals Index
- NITI Aayog has released a first-of-its-kind Sustainable Development Goals index released on 21st December 2018. According to the SDG Index, Himachal Pradesh Kerala, and Tamil Nadu have been ranked on top 3 positions and are on track to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
- The recently released Sustainable Development Goals Index aims to promote healthy competition among States by evaluating their progress in social, economic and environmental terms that will help India in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.
- Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are at the bottom of the rankings in the NITI Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals Index.
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