In Brief

The first edition of World Ocean Science Congress opened in Kochi on 5 February 2015.

The 35th National Games were held in Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala.

Kumar Sangakara of Sri Lanka has broken the world record for the most dismissals by a wicket-keeper in One-day Internationals.

On 20 February 2015, on occasion of the 29th foundation day of Arunachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Narinder Modi flagged off the first ever express train from Naharlagun to New Delhi.

The  Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Ministry has signed an agreement with Rural Self-Employment Training Institutes to provide vocational training to unemployed youth and loan linkages to deserving beneficiaries linked to the Prime Minister’s Employment Guarantee Programme.  The MoU was signed between Khadi & Village Industies Commission (KVIC), under the Ministry of MSME, and Monitoring Cell For Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI) under the Ministry of Rural Development. The Monitoring Cell will also utilise infrastructure of KVIC Departmental Training Centres for skill development courses.  The MoU is for initial period of three years. However, its performance will be reviewed after two years.  The MSME Ministry through KVIC is implementing the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) for generating job opportunities through setting up of micro enterprises in rural and urban areas of the country.  Under the PMEGP, around 2.9 lakh micro enterprises have been set up so far providing employment opportunities to 25.93 lakh persons.

Laljibhai Patel of Surat, chairman of Dharmanandan group, won the bid for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s famously controversial pinstripe suit at ₹4.31 crores.  The proceeds will be spent for Clean River Ganga programme.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established the world’s highest research station in Ladakh. Situated at an altitude of 17,500 feet at Chang La, about 80 km east of Leh, the research station will be used for extreme altitude bio-medical research, material research, agro-animal research and green house technology and conservation of endangered species of plants. Besides, it will serve to evaluate and validate high-altitude technologies like mountaineering equipment and structures, clothes, protective equipment, food, health supplements and fuel developed by other DRDO labs. The earlier record for being the highest research station was held by Pyramid Laboratory which is situated at an altitude of 16,500 feet, at the base of the Everest in Nepal.

Himachal Pradesh has become the India’s first State to present a ‘paperless’ budget. Since the State already has the country’s first green Assembly—e-Vidhan, inaugurated on  on 4 August 2014—all documents related to budget estimates were made available Bestonline and only around 10 budget copies were printed for record, against 200 copies that used to be printed earlier.

The 14th Finance Commission, headed by former Reserve Bank of India governor Y.V. Reddy, suggested raising share of States in central taxes to 42 per cent from current 32 per cent. As per the increased devolution, the States will get ₹3.48 lakh crore in 2014-15 and ₹5.26 lakh crore in 2015-16.  After assessing the revenue and expenditure of the States for the period 2015-20, the Commission also recommended a grant of ₹1.94 crore to meet the deficit of 11 States.  The Commission has also recommended pruning the central schemes from 66 to 36 by transferring 30 to the States. Keeping in the mind the spirit of cooperative federalism that has underpinned the creation of NITI Aayog, the Union government has accepted the recommendation to keep the States share of Union tax proceed (net) at 42 per cent.

Big flagship Central government sponsored social schemes include: Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, National Rural Drinking Water Programme, National Health Mission, Backward Region Grant Fund, Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Yojana, Indira Awas Yojana and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

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