Telangana assembly passes Telangana Panchayat Raj Bill, 2018
• The Telangana Legislative Assembly on March 29, 2018 passed the Telangana Panchayat Raj Bill, 2018.
• The bill is comprehensive and envisages making villages self-reliant, clean and green.
• The state’s Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao stated that the villages should have facilities like garbage dump yards, crematorium and burial grounds.
• The devolution of funds to the Gram Panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations would be initiated by the state with the start of the new financial year.
• There would be 12,751 Gram Panchayats after the passage of the bill. The government would conduct elections to Gram Panchayats within the stipulated time.
Railway Ministry announces 20,000 additional jobs
• The Railway Ministry announced on March 29, 2018 that it would be recruiting 20,000 more people, in addition to filling up 90,000 vacancies announced earlier.
• The available vacancies have now been increased to 1,10,000 from previously 90,000, announced Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet.
• Around two crore individuals have reportedly applied for different posts in the railways in response to the job announcements made earlier this year.
• There were a total of 9,000 job vacancies in the Railway Police Force (RPF) and Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) and more than 10,000 other additional jobs.
• The notification and application for Group C (26,502 Assistant Loco Pilot (ALP) and Technician posts) and Group D (62,907 posts) are already out. The last date for the applications is March 31, 2018.
Dope test made must for getting arms licence in Jalandhar
• The Jalandhar district administration has made it mandatory for applicants, seeking fresh or renewal of arms license to undergo a dope test.
• According to Jalandhar’s Deputy Commissioner, Varinder Kumar Sharma, the primary aim of the move is to check the misuse of the licensed weapon by the drug addicts, thereby ensuring the safety and security of the people.
• Sharma said that the dope test would be conducted by the Health authorities in the district, for which necessary directions will be issued.
Vistara introduces male cabin crew
• Vistara airline on March 29, 2018 announced that it has introduced its first male cabin crew as part of its plans to be an ‘equal opportunity employer’.
• The first set of the male crew took to the skies following the completion of a rigorous three-month safety and service training programme.
• The second and third set of the male crew are currently in training and would join the first set soon.
• Besides, the airline also unveiled an elegant uniform for its male cabin crew, designed by celebrated designer label Lecoanet Hemant.
• Apart from Vistara, Air India, Jet Airways and SpiceJet have mixed cabin crew.
Bombay HC directs immediate stoppage of ore transportation in Goa
• The Goa bench of Bombay High Court passed an interim order on March 29, 2018, directing immediate suspension of transportation of minerals from the 88 mining leases in Goa whose operations were stopped by the Supreme Court last month.
• The Goa government has allowed transportation of excavated ore from these mines, which is challenged by the NGO Goa Foundation before the high court.
• The ruling was passed by a bench of judges comprising Justices Prithviraj Chavan and N M Jamdar. The bench also asked the Advocate General to file a reply within two weeks.
• On February 7, the Supreme Court set aside the second renewal of 88 mining leases in the state, holding the process illegal.
• Hence, the High Court stated that allowing even the transportation of ore (excavated before the SC order came into effect) will be in breach of the judgement of the apex court.
Gauhati HC to set up fast-track courts for early disposal of rape and murder cases
• The Gauhati High Court would be setting up exclusive fast-track courts in all districts of Assam for the day-to-day trial of cases related to rape and murder of women and children in the state.
• The decision was taken after Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court proposing the same.
• The Chief Minister had written the letter on March 26, after the shocking March 22 rape and murder of a minor at Batadrawa in Nagaon district of the state.
• In response, an administrative committee of the High Court has resolved to work out modalities and submit a report in the same regard.
Russia announces expulsion of 150 diplomats and closure of American consulate
• Russia has announced that it would be expelling 150 western diplomats and closing the US consulate in St Petersburg in retaliation to similar actions taken earlier in the week by British allies, following poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.
• The action comes in the wake of the expulsion of more than 150 Russian diplomats by European and Nato allies of Britain, which blamed Russia for the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
• According to the US, Russia's move was not anticipated and it marks a further deterioration in the US-Russia relationship.
• The US stated that the expulsion of undeclared Russian intelligence officers by the countries in the west was an appropriate response to the Russian attack on the soil of the United Kingdom.
Goa government revives controversial Regional Plan 2021
• The state government of Goa revived the Goa Regional Plan 2021 on March 29, 2018, nearly six years after it was put on hold due to protests.
• Announcing the decision, Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai said the developmental activities would be allowed case-wise after following a proper procedure on the lands notified as settlement, commercial, institutional and industrial zones.
• The plan was put on hold by the then chief minister Digambar Kamat of Congress on June 4, 2012 amid protests by the opposition which feared that the plan would unleash unbridled construction activity damaging the fragile ecology of the coastal state.
• The order, however, prohibits development in eco-sensitive areas like low-lying paddy field, water bodies, khazan land, flood-prone areas, lands having slopes with over 25 per cent inclination, and forest lands, including private forests.
• The land falling in the buffer zone of wildlife sanctuaries and those in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) also cannot be developed without the prior permission of Forest department even if they fall under the settlement or developable zones.