Maldives President declares state of emergency for 15 days
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on February 5, 2018 declared a state of emergency across the country for 15 days, before heavily armed Maldivian troops stormed the country's Supreme Court and arrested two Supreme Court judges Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed without specifying the charges.
Former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was also arrested amid this rising political crisis. Their detention comes following a conflict between the Supreme Court and the President over the release of several imprisoned opposition politicians.
As per President Yameen, the Supreme Court ruling that overturned terrorism convictions against nine of his political opponents, was illegal.
The Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of nine Opposition leaders, including exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed. The court also ordered that 12 MPs, expelled earlier, be reinstated.
Bill introduced in US House to end non-defence aid to Pakistan
In the United States, a bill was introduced on February 5, 2018 in the House of Representatives to end non-defence aid to Pakistan as it provides military aid and intelligence to terrorists.
The Bill was introduced by Congressmen Mark Sanford from South Carolina and Thomas Massie from Kentucky. Once implemented, the Bill will prohibit the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from sending American taxpayer money to Pakistan.
The lawmakers claimed that Pakistan, knowingly, provides resources to terrorists. Considering this, the US should not offer money to a government that provides military aid and intelligence to terrorists. Rather, the amount can be redirected to infrastructure projects in the US.
Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant gets extension
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 6, 2018 approved the extension of term of Niti Aayog’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Amitabh Kant till June 2019.
His extension order was issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
Kant was appointed to Niti Aayog in February 2016 after he superannuated as Secretary, Department of Investment Promotion and Publicity (DIPP). He is a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of 1980 batch from Kerala cadre.
He also served as the CEO of ambitious industrial project Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), which is being funded by Japan. He also worked in the Ministry of Tourism and was the mastermind behind the Incredible India campaign.
Union Government announces few clarifications regarding Mukhya Mantri Anila Bhagya Yojana
The Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas on February 6, 2018 clarified that Ministry had advised Karnataka Government to implement MMABY as a complementary Scheme of PMUY and follow the procedure of implementing the Scheme through Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) only, which is being followed in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Assam, Punjab and Haryana.
The clarification came after the Ministry saw the advertisement of the Government of Karnataka in Times of India (Bengaluru Edition) wherein it has been published that Mukhya Mantri Anila Bhagya Yojane (MMABY) is being implemented in collaboration with Government of India.
The Ministry, from time to time, has requested the State Government to implement the Scheme through OMCs only. Instead of following the same, the Karnataka Government is unilaterally going ahead with implementation of MMABY directly through distributors’ network without involving OMCs. This system may lead to large scale chaos in the field.
AK Prasad Assumes Charge as the New Financial Commissioner, Railway Board
AK Prasad was on February 5, 2018 appointed as the Financial Commissioner (Railways) in the Railway Board and ex-officio Secretary to Government of India.
He succeeds BN Mohapatra, who superannuated on January 31, 2018. Prasad is an officer of Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) of 1981 batch. He has done his Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics in the year 1980.
Prior to this assignment, Prasad was Additional Member/Finance in Railway Board. Prasad has earlier headed the Finance and Accounts wing as Principal Finance Adviser in Northern Railway, North Western Railway, North Central Railway etc.