1. Odisha Government launches Ama Gaon, Ama Vikas programme
• The Odisha government has launched a programme called Ama Gaon, Ama Vikas (Our Village, our development) to reach out to the people in rural areas and involve themselves in the developmental activities.
• The state’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik flagged off mobile video vans for the programme on March 3, which will move across the state to highlight various welfare schemes in the villages.
• The mobile vans will be equipped with the latest Wi-Fi enabled video technology through which people would be able to directly send their grievances to the Chief Minister’s Office at the Secretariat in Bhubaneswar.
• This initiative is expected to help people in solving their grievances instantly.
2. RBI creates sub-targets for foreign banks to lend to farmers, MSMEs
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed foreign banks with more than 20 branches to mandatorily create sub-targets to lend a portion of their loanbooks to small and marginal farmers, as well as micro enterprises.
• The banks that have more than 20 branches in India include banks such as Standard Chartered, Citibank and HSBC.
• According to the directive, the foreign banks in India will have to eventually lend 40 per cent of their total loan book to the priority sector by 2020.
• This mandate has been a issue of contention among the banks.
3. India 12th largest overseas holder of US securities in 2017
• Latest official data reveals that India's exposure to US government securities rose sharply to a high of $144.7 billion at the end of 2017.
• India remained to be the 12th largest overseas holder of such securities, just behind oil rich Saudi Arabia, whose holding stood at $147.4 billion in December 2017.
• India has been raising its holding of American government securities during last year except for a few months when the total exposure had declined.
• China was the largest holder of US government securities in 2017 with holdings to the tune of $1.18 trillion, followed by Japan at $1.06 trillion.
• At the third position was Ireland whose exposure rose to $326.5 billion, followed by Cayman Islands at the fourth position with holding worth $269.9 billion and Brazil at the fifth position with holding worth $256.8 billion.
4. Krishna Kumari becomes first Hindu Dalit woman senator of Pakistan
• Krishna Kumari Kohli was on March 3, 2018 elected as the first-ever Hindu Dalit woman Senator in the upper house of the Muslim-dominated Pakistan.
• The 39-year-old Kohli was nominated for a minority Senate seat from the Sindh Assembly by the Bilawal Bhutto Zardari-led Pakistan People's Party (PPP) last month.
• She works for minority rights, especially those related to the education of girls.
• Kohli, who comes from Nagarparkar village in Thar of the Sindh province, was born to a poor peasant family in 1979.
• As a child, she and her family were held captive as bonded labourers for at least three years in a jail that was run by a landlord.
5. Saudi Arabia hosts its first marathon for women
• Saudi Arabia hosted its first marathon for women on March 3, 2018 as the conservative kingdom seeks to boost female sports in a far-reaching modernisation drive.
• Hundreds of women runners, many of them dressed in traditional Islamic attire, raced in eastern Al-Ahsa region.
• The main aim of the marathon was to promote running and introduce the concept of sports for all, for a healthier way of life.
• The event came after Riyadh hosted its first international half-marathon in late February, which prompted complaints from some Saudis on social media about the notable absence of women.