· Government may extend deadline to meet housing targets
ð The rural development department may extend the deadline to meet the target for the completion of building remaining 1,78,965 houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G) from January 31 to March 31.
- Out of the sanctioned 6.87 lakh houses under PMAY, around 5.08 lakh houses have been completed so far in the state.
- The department had said that after the review of the work under the scheme from 2016-17 to 2018-19, which had a target of 4,340 houses per day, it was found that till December, 2018, only 17.9% work was completed in 35 days.
- The other schemes related to Rural development are, The schmes include Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), PMAY-G, MGNREGA, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, National Social Assistance Scheme (NSAP) and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana.
· China successfully tested its Mother of All Bombs
- China successfully tested its most powerful non-nuclear weapon, dubbed as the Mother of All Bombs. The bomb, whose strength is only second to that of a nuclear weapon, was dropped by a Chinese H-6K bomber.
- The bomb is five to six metres long (16 to 20 feet), but weighs less than the American version. In a short video published on the website of state arms manufacturer Norinco, the massive bomb drops on to a plain and produces a gigantic ball of fire and black smoke.
· ISS to grow beans in 2021
- New research suggestedInternational Space Station (ISS) could be growing beans in 2021. It had already cultivated lettuce in space three years ago. The beans could be planted in high-tech planters developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
- The planters can regulate all the water, nutrients, gas and air the plants need. The project is to be carried out by NTNU in collaboration with Italian and French researchers. The food grown in space could be crucial to sustain the crew in future deep space missions.
- International Space Station (ISS)Launched on 20 November 1998 by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and American Space Shuttle
- Asia Competitiveness Institute releases Ease of Doing Business Rankings for Indian states
- The Asia competitiveness institute (ACI) has released the Ease of Doing Business Rankings for Indian states.
- Andhra Pradesh came on first position while Maharashtra and Delhi came on second and third position respectively.
- The weakest indicators for the state of Andhra Pradesh were Worker density, foreign direct investment per capital, labour productivity, and the illiteracy rate. Taking note of the findings of the report the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has announced that the state government will consider the observations of the ACI EDB rankings report and strengthen the areas of weaknesses.
· Nepal asked RBI to declare banned new Indian currency notes legal
- Nepal asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to declare newly circulated Indian currency notes of denominations higher than Rs.100 legal tender in the country.
- After the demonetisation of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 Indian currency notes, circulation of new banknotes of denominations Rs.200, Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 was started by the Indian government.
- Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has written a letter to RBI, asking it to make Indian bank bills Rs.200, Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 legal tender in Nepal Nepal had to ban higher denomination Indian notes since RBI did not allow their circulation after note ban The RBI has only allowed the circulation of Indian currency notes of Rs.100and less in Nepal.
· LS passed Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill
- The Lok Sabhapassed the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The Bill will allow a panel of eminent professionals to run the scam-tainted Medical Council of India (MCI) so that medical education can be regulated in the best manner.
- Health Minister Jagat Prakash Naddasaid this Bill superseded the MCI and the powers of the council had been vested in a Board of Governors (BoG). The BoG will have all eminent personalities and include directors of AIIMS and PGI, Chandigarh. This board will continue to perform till a council is constituted.
- The Bill seeks to replace an ordinance issued in September 2018.A separate Bill to replace the MCI with the National Medical Commission is pending in Parliament.
· LS passed a Bill to amend the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill
- The Lok Sabha passed a Bill to amend the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The amendment will allow individuals to offervoluntarily biometric ID as a means of identity verification for obtaining services such as opening a bank account and getting a mobile phone connection.
- The Bill also givesa minor the option to opt out of the 12-digit identity scheme on attaining the age of 18. It provides for stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar and bans service providers from storing core biometric information and Aadhaar number of individuals who voluntarily offer it as a means of authentication.
- Data protection bill could get Cabinet nod next week
- The Union Cabinet is likely to consider the final draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill next week so that the important legislation can be introduced in Parliament next month.
- The law, once passed, will protect citizens’ personal information such as health and financial data, religious or political affiliation, caste, tribe, gender, sexual orientation and biometric information.
- The need for a new legislation has been felt as the Information Technology Act, which provides for privacy and security of data in digital form, has its limitations. They added that the final draft of ‘the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018’, which is “almost” ready to be tabled in the Cabinet, is based on the recommendations of the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee.
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