President for simultaneous Lok Sabha, Assembly polls

President Pranab Mukherjee said on January 25 that simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the State assemblies could substantially reduce inconvenience in poll management and expenditure.
Details:
  • Speaking at the 7th National Voters’ Day event, the President said the reform was possible if the Election Commission (EC) took the initiative and the political parties arrived at a consensus to make necessary amendments to the Constitution.

Padma Awards 2017

The government announced Padma awards to citizens of the country in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various spheres.

T.N.’s new jallikattu law faces challenge in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on January 25 agreed to hear a plea by the Animal Welfare Board of India, Compassion Unlimited Plus Action and animal rights activists to stay the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill, 2017 passed by the State Assembly.
Petitioner’s arguments:
  • The challenge termed the amendment a “fraud” on the Constitution and a violation of a 2014 Supreme Court judgment, which had declared jallikattu as an “inherently cruel” event practised on bulls.

69% of political funds from unknown sources

The report of an analysis done by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on the income of national parties was recently released.

Highlights of the report:
  • The total income of national and regional political parties between 2004-05 and 2014-15 stood at ₹11,367 crore, with the highest of ₹3,982 crore being the Congress’s share. However, 69% of the income of these parties was from unknown sources.

Cabinet approves ratification of the Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to ratify the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol on containing the emission of Green House Gases (GHGs).
 
Significance of this decision:
This decision underlines India’s leadership in the comity of nations committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice.

Govt launches Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana

The Union Cabinet has given its post-facto approval for the launch of the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017.
 
Key facts:
  • The scheme will be implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) during the current financial year.

Cabinet approves Indian Institute of Management Bill, 2017

The Union Cabinet has approved the Indian Institute of Management(IIM) Bill, 2017, under which the IIMs would be declared as Institutions of National Importance which will enable them to grant degrees to their students.

Salient features of the Bill:
  • IIMs can grant degrees to their students.
  • The Bill provides for complete autonomy to the Institutions, combined with adequate accountability.

Decide on safety sealing in six months: HC to Centre

The Bombay High Court has given the Union government six months’ time to take a decision on making safety sealing mandatory for healthcare and hygiene products.
  • The court passed the directive while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL). The PIL is about pilferage of cosmetics, child care, healthcare and hygiene products.