- The U.S. is the World Bank’s largest shareholder and has 16% of its voting power, normally picks its President, with the Europeans picking the International Monetary Fund (IMF) head.
- Centre’s scheme of income support for farmers announced in the Union budget which envisages the payment of Rs. 6,000 per annum to marginal and small farmers (each holding cultivable land up to 2 hectares) would exclude the following from availing the benefits: Income Tax assessees and sitting or former Members of Parliament or State legislatures. In respect of the IT assessees, those who paid the tax in the last assessment year would be ineligible under the scheme. The list of exclusions includes former and present holders of constitutional posts such as Governors or Election Commissioners; serving and retired officers and employees of the Union government or State governments including those in public sector enterprises and autonomous institutions and regular employees of local bodies. Class IV or Group D employees have been exempted from the exclusion. Likewise pensioners who are getting Rs. 10,000 or more every month will not be covered. As in the case of parliamentarians and legislators, former and present heads of municipal corporations and district panchayats would also not be considered for the income support. Professionals including doctors, engineers, lawyers, chartered accountants and architects have been excluded apart from institutional landholders, the guidelines show. Taking cognisance of the system of community-based land ownership rights in some of the northeastern States, the Centre has stated that an alternative implementation mechanism would be developed.
- Ladakh was recently granted a divisional status, thus creating three administrative units of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh in J&K. Ladakh will comprise Leh and Kargil districts, with headquarters at Leh. Earlier, Ladakh was a part of the Kashmir division. The move leaves the Kashmir valley geographically the smallest division at 15,948 sq. km, Jammu division at 26,293 sq. km and Ladakh, the biggest division, at 86,909 sq. km. Ladakh will now get its own Divisional Commissioner and Inspector General of Police. During the winter months, the entire Ladakh region remains cut-off from the rest of the country for almost six months. The remoteness and inaccessibility of the area made it eligible for establishing a separate division.
- India recently test-fired its helicopter-launched version of one of the most-advanced anti-tank weapons. Helina, the helicopter-launched version of the Nag anti-tank guided missile with a hit range of 7-8 km.
- The Centre recently notified that medical devices — all implantable devices, CT Scan, PET and MRI equipment, defibrillators, dialysis machines and bone marrow separators — will be treated as drugs for human beings with effect from April 1, 2020.
- “cVIGIL” App by the Election Commission of India – provides time-stamped proof of the model code of conduct or expenditure violations, with live photo/video and auto location data. Any citizen can lodge a complaint through the application. “cVIGIL” will allow anyone in the election-bound state to report violations of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) that comes into effect from the date of announcement of elections and goes on till a day after the polls. By using this app, citizens can immediately report on incidents of misconduct within minutes of having witnessed them and without having to rush to the office of the returning officer to lodge a complaint. ECI also launched a “PwD” mobile application for persons with disabilities to request for new registration, change in address, change in particulars and mark themselves as PwD.
- Madurai Sungudi is a cotton fabric of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, which is an exclusive textile product traditionally produced using tie and dye (using natural dyes) method by people from Saurashtra, Gujarat, who migrated to Madurai in the 16th century. The fabric’s traditional popular use is as a saree; the fabric is now also used to make shirt, salwar, shawl, handbag, bed sheet and pillow case. The product has been given protection under the GI registration act.
- The ‘Periodic Table of Elements’ written by Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev on 17th February 1869 has turned 150 years old in 2019. Therefore, the United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO have decided to celebrate 2019 as the “International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT2019)”. Mendeleev was not the first one to create a table of elements. Earliest of such efforts was due to the father of modern chemistry, Antoine Lavoisier in 1789 who classified them in terms of their properties.
- Extremism by Naga groups across Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar began in the 1950s under the leadership of A.Z. Phizo of the Naga National Council, which signed the Shillong Accord in 1975 signalling an end to a violent separatist movement.
- The Central Board of Secondary Education recently released a host of technology measures for the smooth conduct of the Class X and Class XII Board examinations. To prevent leaking of papers and other malpractices, the CBSE has introduced geo-tagged, time-based tracking and monitoring of confidential material and live web streaming from examination centres. It has also launched an examination centre locator to facilitate students locate their centres on Google Maps using their roll number. The CBSE has banned the use of any communication devices at the examination hall and has also banned carrying old question papers to the examination hall.
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