- Rajasthan government scraps minimum education criteria for civic poll candidates
- Rajasthan will once again have direct elections for mayors and chairpersons in urban municipal bodies. The previous government had discontinued the practice introduced by the Ashok Gehlot government of 2008-2013.
- The education criteria was introduced by the previous Vasundhra Raje-led government, which stipulated that for contesting the zila parishad or panchayat samiti polls, a contestant must have a minimum qualification of secondary education (Class X). To contest the sarpanch elections, an aspirant from the general category must have passed Class VIII and a SC/ST aspirant must have passed Class V.
- The previous government’s other orders that were reversed by the cabinet on Saturday included reopening of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Law University formed by the Gehlot-government in 2013. The university was shut down by the previous BJP government citing “feasibility issues” on November 25, 2015. Similarly, the Haridev Joshi University of Journalism and Mass Communication, which was founded by the previous Gehlot-government but was shut down by the Raje-government in 2016, will also be reopened.
· Germany approves USD 8 billion rail and road tunnel link to Denmark
- German authorities gave their approval to an US$8 billion(6.30 billion pounds) rail and road tunnel linking Denmark and Germany, despite environmental objections.
- It is part-funded by the European Union.
- The 19 km (11.8 mile) Fehmarnbelt link, connecting the Danish island of Lolland to the island of Fehmarn on the German side, was due to be completed in 2024.
· PM Inaugurates International Rice Research Institute’s South Asia Regional Centre
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the International Rice Research Institute South Asia Regional Centre (IRRI SARC) in Varanasi. It is the sixth campus of IRRI SARC. The institute will complement the government’s effort to double farmer’s income by 2022.
- The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is a dynamic and rapidly evolving organization which focuses on solving complex global problems through vibrant, rice-based agri-food systems.
- It will serve as a hub for rice research and training in South Asia and SAARC region.
- The IRRI SARC will aid in improving crop production, seed quality and the nutritional value of rice. It is headquartered in Los Baños, Laguna in the Philippines.
- CSAT hit UPSC aspirants doing CSAT Satyagrah and to sit on indefinite hunger strike at Delhi
ð UPSC aspirants will sit on an indefinite hunger strike from Monday, demanding compensatory attempts irrespective of their age or category. The candidates are out of the many who had appeared for the UPSC Civil Service prelims examination between 2011 to 14 when the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) was introduced in the prelims examination.
- The Nigvekar committee, which was appointed to examine the changes in the examination pattern, also observed that CSAT exam pattern gave more advantage to the English aspirants and candidates from the science background. Following this, though the Commission changed the syllabus for mains in 2013, the CSAT was made qualifying only in 2015.
- Recently, following a huge controversy regarding the reduction of age limit in UPSC, the government clarified that it is not considering any such proposal. “
· Madhya Pradesh Government to create an Adhyatmik Vibhag (Spiritual department)
- The Government of Madhya Pradesh has announced setting up of a new Adhyatmik Vibhag (spiritual department).
- The proposed new department will be set up by merging several existing departments. As per the tweet from the chief minister’s office of Madhya Pradesh Dharmik Nyas Evam Dharmasv Department (Religious Trust and Endowment Department), Anand Vibhag (Happiness Department) in addition to the Directorate of Religious Trust and Endowment, Madhya Pradesh Teerth Evam Mela Pradhikaran and Rajya Anand Sansthan would be merged to form the proposed Adhyatmik Vibhag (spiritual department).
- Madhya Pradesh had become the first state in the country to create Happiness Department. The government had also announced the setting up of the Happiness Institute.
· Internet access in India has crossed 50-crore milestone
- The number of internet connections in India has grown by 65% from March 2016 to cross the 50 crore mark in 2018, in line with the target set by the government three years ago.
- As per the latest information from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), by the end of September 2018, there were 56 crore narrowband and broadband connections in India.
- Of the 56 crore connections, 64%, or 36 crore, are in the urban areas and 36%, or 19.4 crore, in the rural areas. Just five states — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana), Gujarat and Maharashtra — account for 20 crore or 36% of all internet connections in India.
- The Centre’s BharatNet project has so far connected 1.1 lakh gram panchayats (GPs)with internet through a network of optical fibre cable. Of the states, UP has the maximum GPs connected (27,940), followed by Maharashtra (15,126) and Madhya Pradesh (12,689).