President's Rule to be Imposed in Andhra Pradesh
- The Union Cabinet on Friday recommended imposition of President’s Rule in Andhra Pradesh while keeping the Assembly in suspended animation.
- There was political uncertainty after Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy resigned and quit the Congress in protest against the decision to bifurcate the State. Placing the Assembly under suspended animation is a mere technicality as its term ends on June 1. Andhra Pradesh will have simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
- Seemandhra Congress leaders had lobbied for postponement of the Assembly elections, saying it would help cool tempers over the creation of Telangana. But the proposal was not legally tenable.
Revision of DA, other benefits announced by the Union Cabinet
- The Union Cabinet on Friday increased the dearness allowance (DA) of Union government employees and dearness relief (DR) of pensioners by 10 per cent of the basic pay, taking the rate to 100 per cent.
- It fixed the minimum monthly pension paid by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation at Rs. 1,000. The new rate, effective from April 1, is expected to benefit 28 lakh pensioners.
- Further benefiting government employees, the Cabinet approved the terms of reference for the Seventh Pay Commission set up to suggest wage and allowance revision.
Government comes up with benefits for the Disabled
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Friday approved revised benefits under the Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids/Appliances.
Ceiling raised for Election poll expenditure
- The Union Cabinet on Friday agreed to the Election Commission’s suggestion that the ceiling on poll expenditure be raised and to amend the rules relating to the maximum poll expenditure and increase the ceiling.
- The government agreed to amend Rule 90 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, increasing the ceiling for Lok Sabha poll to Rs.70 lakh per candidate from the existing Rs.40 lakh, and for the Assembly poll to Rs.28 lakh from Rs.16 lakh. However, this is applicable only in the bigger States.
Lankan Prez uncomfortable with UN resolution
- Sri Lanka responded to U.N. Human Rights chief Navi Pillay’s report — calling for an international probe — emphatically rejecting it.
- “There is no evidence [of rights abuse or war crimes] at the moment… if there is any, we will look into it,” he said.
India-Saudi Arabia seek diversified Cooperation
- India and Saudi Arabia on Friday resolved to provide more diversity to their economic and political ties, two days after signing a breakthrough MoU on defence cooperation.
- While the MoU on greater cooperation in the defence industry, science, technology and transfer of technology signalled the development of state-to-state trust, the Crown Prince’s meetings also laid emphasis on greater participation by the private sector, especially the cash-flush Saudi-based investment funds by speeding up consultations on a framework agreement between Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority and Invest India. This pact will facilitate investments by the private sectors, especially in petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
- Saudi Arabia, India’s largest supplier of crude oil, reiterated its commitment to implement all issues mentioned in the Delhi (2006) and Riyadh (2010) declarations
Government Comes forward to save 3 PSUs
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Friday announced financial packages for employees of three sick PSUs – Indian Telephone Industries (ITI), Hindustan Photo Films and HMT Machine Tools Ltd (HMT).
- The CCEA approved a soft loan of Rs.200 crore for paying salaries of over 7,500 employees of Bangalore-based ITI.
Chipko Pioneer get Gandhi Peace Prize
- Eminent Gandhian and environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhatt has been selected for the 2013 Gandhi Peace Prize.
- A pioneer of the Chipko Movement for which he was also awarded the Magsaysay Award in 1982, Mr. Bhatt had been given the Padma Bhushan by the first incarnation of the UPA in 2005
- The decision was taken by the jury headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Other members on the Jury were Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Rajya Sabha member Karan Singh and former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
Workdays Increased under MGNREGA for Tribals
- The Uunion Cabinet on Friday increased the number of workdays under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) from 100 to 150 for those who have received land rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, provided they have no other private land and have already completed 100 days of work under the scheme in that financial year: the decision will come into effect from April 2014.
- To distinguish this category from regular MGNREGA workers, they will be given a job card of a different colour.
- Mr. Ramesh said that the new initiative would help counter left wing extremism.
CAR should be united for Good: Hollande
- French President Francois Hollande urged unity in the Central African Republic
- the French parliament extend Operation Sangaris and another 400 extra troops arrive in the deeply unstable former French colony, taking their number to 2,000
- One aim of the intervention is “to avoid at any price the partition of the country”, Mr. Hollande said while he reviewed French troops
- Faced with relentless bloodshed in which armed extremist Christian militias have slaughtered Muslim civilians in revenge for atrocities by a mainly Muslim rebel alliance that seized power for 10 months last year, France has been forced to change its objectives.