Current Affairs March 2019 - Regional


1 - Mizoram passes Bill to Detect Illegal Foreigners

Mizoram Passes Bill

The Mizoram Assembly has unanimously passed The Mizoram Maintenance of Household Registers Bill, 2019 that seeks to detect foreigners illegally residing in the north-eastern state of Mizoram.

The Features of the Bill are given below:

  • The bill aims to provide credible individual identification system and to prevent “usurpation” of benefits of developmental schemes by those who are not entitled and also provides for a comprehensive database of residents to be maintained.

  • The bill defines citizens as a person registered as such or having requisite qualification as prescribed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

  • The bill aims to address the challenge wherein the benefits of development are found to have been eaten away to a large extent by foreigners who “clandestinely” stay back and get assimilated with the people of the State by taking advantage of the mistaken identity and of the difficulties in detecting them.

  • The bill empowers President of the village council, town committee as the registering authority. They are required to maintain two registers, one will list the residents in the area and another non-residents. The register will be updated every three months.

  • An offence committed under this act, a citizen may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine of Rs. 3000 for willfully making a false statement or destroy the whole or any part of the form.

  • The Bill seeks to detect foreigners illegally residing in the State of Mizoram which shares over 700-km-long border with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

2 - Cloud Seeding in Karnataka for Two Monsoon Seasons

Cloud Seeding

Reeling under drought, the government of Karnataka is planning for cloud seeding project to influence the upcoming monsoon and capture as much water as possible from the rain clouds. The government of Karnataka has called the tenders for cloud seeding operations to enhance rainfall during the monsoons of 2019 and 2020. The cost is expected to be Rs 50 cr per year.

3 - Geographical Indication Tag: Arecanut gets its first GI tag for ‘Sirsi Supari’

Sirsi Supari

Arecanut, known as supari or betel nut, made its entry in the list of agricultural produce for the first time with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for ‘Sirsi Supari’.

The GI tag was accorded by the Registrar of Geographical Indications in the first week of March 2019.

Sirsi-based agri cooperative, Totagars’ Cooperative Sale Society (TSS) Ltd is the registered proprietor of the Sirsi Supari. The cooperative began the process of obtaining a GI tag for Sirsi Supari in 2013.

4 - States’ Budget 2019: Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma presents Tax-Free Deficit Budget for 2019-20

Piyush Goyal

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on February 1, 2019 presented the Union Interim Budget 2019-20, an estimate of revenues and expenditure of the Government during a financial year 2018-19. On the similar lines, various state governments have begun presenting the budget of their respective states.

The highlights of the budget are:

  • Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, who also holds the finance portfolio of the state, presented the budget 2019-20 on March 12, 2019.

  • The Meghalaya budget 2019-20 has a fiscal deficit of Rs. 1323 crore, which is around 3.65 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

  • The total expenditure, excluding repayment of loans, was estimated at Rs. 15786 crore, leaving a deficit of 1323 crore rupees.

  • It is estimated that tax revenue collection of Rs. 2090 crore and non-tax revenue collection Rs. 601 crore would be generated.

  • The revenue collected by the taxation department is expected to touch Rs 1478 crore by the end of year, thus registering a growth rate of 15 percent.

  • The overall tax revenue including Goods and Services Tax (GST), Excise and Motor Vehicle Taxes is estimated at Rs. 1716 crore for 2018-19.

  • The advance estimates indicate that the GSDP for 2018-19 is expected to be Rs 32972 crore, an increase of 10.41 percent over 2017-18.

  • It included setting up of 11 Ekalavya Model Residential Schools in the state.

  • An allocation of Rs. 1077 crore was made for the education sector for 2019-20, marking a 17 percent increase from 2018-19.

  • To improve the health scenario in the state, the Budget proposed a development outlay of Rs. 740 crore for 2019-20, an increase of 21 percent over the previous year.

  • It proposed an allocation of Rs. 590 crore for the roads and bridges sector.

  • It proposed an outlay of Rs. 1045 crore for MGNREGS in 2019-20.

5 - C Lalsawta Sworn in as Mizoram’s First Lokayukta Chairman

C Lalsawta Sworn

Retired IAS officer C Lalsawta was on March 11, 2019 sworn-in as the first Chairman of the newly-constituted Lokayukta in Mizoram. He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by the newly appointed Mizoram governor Jagdish Mukhi in a swearing-in ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in Aizawl.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga and other ministers including Mizoram Assembly Speaker Lalrinliana Sailo, legislators and senior officials were present for the occasion. The function was presided over by state Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, who is the younger brother of the new Lokayukta chairman.

6 - Assam NRC: SC tells Election Commission to Address Discrepancies in Voters’ List By March 28

Assam NRC

The Supreme Court on March 12, 2019 asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to form a plan of action to address the discrepancies in voters’ list by March 28, 2019 in case a person’s name is there in the voters’ list of Assam but missing from the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justice SA Nazeer and Justice Sanjeev Khanna asked the Election Commission to provide the court with complete information on the latest additions and deletions in the voters’ list by March 28.

The Assam NRC is scheduled to be published on July 31, 2019.

7 - MP Government Increases Reservation Quota Of OBCs To 27%

CM Kamal Nath

The Madhya Pradesh government on March 9, 2019 issued an ordinance increasing reservation quota for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) to 27% from the current 14%. The announcement was made by the state’s Law and Legal Affairs Minister PC Sharma.

The ordinance was issued and notified after it received the assent from the state’s Governor Anandiben Patel on the same day. The move was made to ensure that the ordinance could be issued before the Election Commission’s model code of conduct for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls came into effect.

With the issuance of the ordinance, Madhya Pradesh has become the only state in the country to have 27 per cent quota for OBCs.

8 - Geographical Indication Tag: Idukki’s Marayoor Jaggery gets GI tag

Marayoor Jaggery

The Marayoor Jaggery, the traditional and handmade product from Idukki district of Kerala, on March 8, 2019 received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Central Government. The Marayoor jaggery finally managed to get the GI Tag after two years of continuous efforts by the Agricultural Department of the state.

The GI tag will provide more windows of opportunity to the traditional sugarcane farmers in Marayoor.

9 - Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project: India, World Bank sign USD 96 Million Loan for Financing Project

World Bank

A tripartite loan agreement was signed between the Central Government, Uttarakhand Government and the World Bank for additional financial assistance of USD 96 million for the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project.

The loan agreement would provide additional funds to Uttarakhand in its post-disaster recovery plans, ongoing since the floods of 2013. The agreement would also strengthen the capacity of the state for Disaster Risk Management.

The Loan Agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance; Amit Negi, Program Director of Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project; and Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director of World Bank India.

10 - PM-SYM: PM Modi Launches Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan Yojana from Gujarat

Maan-Dhan Yojana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 5, 2019 launched the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana (PM-SYM), a mega pension scheme for unorganized sector, from Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The scheme was announced in the Interim Budget 2019.

The PM-SYM is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme that will benefit as many as 10 crore workers in the unorganized sector.

It will provide monthly pension of Rs. 3000 to the employees of unorganized sector after 60 years of age.

11 - Kumbh Mela 2019: Prayagraj Kumbh 2019 Concludes; Makes it to Guinness World Records

Kumbh Mela

Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 concluded on March 4, 2019 with the sixth and final "Shahi Snan" (royal bath) held on the occasion of Mahashivratri.

The single bathing festival of Mahashivratri is among the six main bathing festivals of the Kumbh. The other 5 bathing festivals of the Kumbh concluded successfully with more than 22 crore pilgrims taking a holy dip.

The world's largest religious and cultural human congregation, ‘Kumbh 2019’ began at Prayagraj (erstwhile Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh on January 15, 2019.

This 7-week event began with the holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of three rivers - Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati. The first bathing was taken by saints and seers of different Akharas.

12 - Centre, ADB sign 926 Million Dollar Loan Agreement to Operationalize Two Lines of Mumbai Metro

Asian Development Bank

The Union Government on March 1, 2019 signed a 926 million dollar loan agreement to operationalize two of the Mumbai Metro Rail System.

The move will ease the distress of millions of commuters each day and help provide a cleaner and less congested city. The loan agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, on the behalf of the Indian Government and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission on behalf of ADB.

Key Highlights of this Agreement are:

  • The project loan is the single largest infrastructure loan in ADB history approved by the ADB Board on February 26, 2019.

  • It will help fund lines 2A (Dahisar to D.N. Nagar), 2B (D.N. Nagar-Bandra-Mandale), and 7 (Dahisar [East] to Andheri [East]), totaling about 58 kilometers (km).

  • The project will fund 63 six-car trains, signaling and safety systems, and help establish a new dedicated metro operations organization to manage the entire metro network in Mumbai.

  • The project will be implemented by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). It is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

13 - AIIMS Rewari: Cabinet Approves Setting Up Of 22nd AIIMS at Manethi, Haryana


The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the establishment of new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Rewari at Manethi, Haryana at a cost of Rs. 1299 crore.

The Cabinet also approved the creation of a post of Director in the basic pay of Rs 2,25,000 (fixed) plus Non-Practicing Allowance (NPA) for the above AIIMS.

The site for this AIIMS has already been finalized at Manethi in Rewari, Haryana. Like other AIIMS in the country, the AIIMS Rewari will also be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

The cost of construction and running of the new AIIMS would be met by the Central Government under PMSSY.

14 - Azaadi ke Diwane Museum inaugurated at Red Fort

Azaadi ke Diwane

‘Azaadi Ke Diwane’ museum is dedicated to the unsung heroes of the country’s freedom struggle.

Built by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the museum is the fifth in a series of recently inaugurated ones - the others being −

  • the Subhash Chandra Bose and Indian National Army (INA) museum,

  • the Yaad-e-Jallian museum,

  • the Museum on 1857 (on the country’s first war of Independence),

  • the Drishyakala (a museum on Indian Art) - on the sacrifices of India’s freedom fighters.

15 - Terror Monitoring Group for Jammu and Kashmir

Terror Monitoring Group

The Union Home Ministry has announced setting up of a Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) to ensure synergised and concerted action against terror financing and terror-related activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mandate of the Terror Monitoring Group

  • Taking action against hardcore sympathisers among government employees including teachers, etc., providing overt or covert support to such activities.

  • TMG will act against all registered cases related to terror, terror financing and terror-related activities and bring them to a logical conclusion.

  • TMG shall identify all key persons including leaders of the organizations who are involved in supporting terrorism in any form and take concerted action against them. Investigate the networks of various channels being used to fund terror and terror-related activities and take action to stop the flow of such funds.

The seven-member TMG shall be headed by the Jammu and Kashmir Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) and have representatives from the Intelligence Bureau (IB), CBI, NIA, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). The Jammu and Kashmir police inspector-general shall be the seventh member of the TMG. Strangely the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has attached several properties in terror funding cases, did not find mention in the order.

16 - Punjab and Haryana High Court bars stating of caste in Proceedings


The Punjab and Haryana High Court has instructed states of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory Chandigarh to not mention the caste of the accused, victims or witnesses in proceedings before the court.

What did the High Court say?

The High Court while passing a ruling in a murder case where the Haryana police had mentioned the caste of the accused witnesses and the victim during the proceedings stated this is not permissible and the caste system was profoundly illogical and was also against the basic tenets of the Constitution.

The High Court stated that mentioning the caste separately in the criminal proceedings is a colonial legacy and requires to be stopped henceforth. The Constitution guarantees a casteless and classless society.

The High court directed the governments to issue instructions to all investigating officers not to mention the caste of the accused, victims or witnesses in recovery memos, FIRs, seizure memos, inquest papers and other forms prescribed under CrPC and Punjab Police Rules.

17 - Rajasthan Day 2019

Rajasthan Day

Rajasthan Day is celebrated every year on March 30 to commemorate the day on which the state of Rajasthan came into existence. Rajasthan Day commemorates the valour, strong willpower and sacrifice of the people of Rajasthan. Rajasthan earlier known as Rajputana came into existence on March 30, 1949.

Rajasthan which is the largest state of India in terms of the area, before Independence comprised of around 21 small and big princely states. The princely states were annexed to the union of India on 15th August 1947 but their unification could be accomplished only later. A brief outline of Rajasthan unification is detailed below −