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  • The Punjab Cabinet today gave its nod to the draft Punjab Lokayukta Bill permitting prosecution of MLAs, including the CM, if two-thirds of the Assembly approves so.
  • The Congress has 80 MLAs in the Assembly. The Bill, to be tabled during the Budget session, seeks to replace the Punjab Lokpal Act, 1996, fulfilling one of the promises made by the Congress during the 2017 elections.
  • The amendment to the 1996 Act will give the Lokayukta the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 to probe offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • The proposed legislation bars a parallel probe into a complaint against any officer/ public functionary while an inquiry by the Lokayukta is on. Similarly, the latter will not have the authority to conduct a parallel inquiry if the matter is already under probe by the government. The state Vigilance Bureau too would be under the purview of the Lokayukta.
  • All complaints would be scrutinised by a screening committee before issuance of notice. The screening committee would also take the government’s opinion on the matter. The Lokayukta would have the authority to take suo motu notice of corruption cases by “public men”.
  • The four member anti-corruption watchdog shall have a chairperson, who is or has been a judge of the High Court or the Supreme Court. At least one member shall be from among persons belonging to the SCs/BCs, minorities or women, all of whom shall be qualified personnel.

Pillai Tamil Kalvi

  • “Pillai Tamil Education” will be launched in April for the young generation living in Canada on the excellence of Tamil cuisine and culture’.
  • “Pillai Tamil Education “will be introduced in Toronto with Canada Tamils by the end of April

WORLD

Sri Lankan parliament dissolved; elections set for April

  • Sri Lanka’s president dissolved parliament and called for new parliamentary elections six months early.
  • President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was elected in November, made use of his constitutional powers to dissolve parliament and called for elections on April 25.

TAMIL NADU

Plan afoot to host night safari at Vandalur Zoo

  • Arignar Anna Zoological Park, popularly known as Vandalur zoo, has rekindled its hopes of introducing night safaris. Preliminary discussions were held at Secretariat on Monday with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Chief Secretary K Shanmugam.
  • The ambitious night safari plan was first mooted in 2007 inside the 92.45 hectare rescue and rehabilitation centre. But, it was deferred on a controversial note, after audit objections were raised, following spending of State funds without proper orders from the government.

SCHEMES

Vivad Se Vishwas: I-T department draws up list of PSUs to settle tax disputes

  • The Income Tax department has drawn up a list of central and state public sector units (PSUs) and tabulated the exact disputed tax demand in a bid to encourage these entities to avail themselves of the Vivad Se Vishwas (VsV) or direct tax dispute resolution scheme.
  • Taxmen are also being directed to hold meetings with the state representatives of these units so as to “convince” them to benefit from the scheme
  • The highest amount is expected from the Central Bank of IndiaNSE -0.65 %, which has a pending disputed tax demand of more than Rs 8,700 crore locked before various forums. After settling all the disputes, the bank would still be liable to pay about Rs 4,500 crore as tax.
  • In another case, LIC has a tax dispute of more than Rs 65,000 crore and the tax department is expected to raise more than Rs 3,000 crore, provided the government-owned insurer decides to settle the disputes in all the Forums .

ECONOMICS

Fitch Solutions cuts India’s economic growth forecast to 4.9% for FY20

  • Fitch Solutions on Monday cut its forecast for India’s economic growth to 4.9 percent in the current fiscal that ends March 31, saying manufacturing could come under pressure from weak domestic demand and supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus outbreak. The GDP growth is forecast to recover slightly to 5.4 percent in 2020-21 (April 2020 to March 2021)
  • India’s real GDP growth decelerated to 4.7 percent in the third quarter (October-December) from an upwardly revised 5.1 percent in the second quarter owing to slower government consumption, a steeper contraction in gross fixed capital formation and a smaller net exports contribution.

AWARDS

Professor Abdul kaadhar receives U.V. saminathaiyer award

  • Mustafa Tamil trust of Malaysia awards professor Abdul Saminathaiyer award for the year 2020. Kaadhar U.V.

PERSON IN NEWS

Iraq power vacuum as political crisis hits PM post

  • Iraq’s caretaker prime minister will begin a “voluntary absence” after parliament failed to approve his designated successor’s cabinet.
  • Adel Abdul Mahdi said he would no longer carry out most of his official duties and urged lawmakers to call early elections in December.
  • On Sunday, Mohammed Allawi withdrew his nomination for the premiership.

SPORTS

Asian Squash Tournaments in Malaysia and China Postponed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

  • Two squash events — the Asian Team Championships in Malaysia and the Asian Junior Individual Championships in China — have been postponed due to coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Asian Team Championships was scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur from March 25 to 29, while the Asian Junior Individual Championship was to be staged in Quingdao, China from June 29 to July 3.
  • The decision was taken at the Annual General Meeting of the Asian Squash Federation.

NEWS HINTS

You may be fined Rs 10,000 if you don’t link PAN with Aadhaar by the end of this month

  • You may face double trouble if you fail to link your Aadhaar with PAN by the end of this month. First, your PAN will become inoperative and second, you may be fined Rs 10,000 if you use an inoperative PAN.
  • The income tax department has said that PAN card holders may face penal action under the Income Tax Act if they fail to link it with Aadhaar before the deadline. Any person found using canceled PAN card, could be fined up to Rs 10,000 under Section 272B of the Income Tax Act.

Pakistan to request British govt for Nawaz Sharif’s deportation

  • Pakistan has announced that it will request the British government to deport former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as he is an “absconder”.
  • “The government has decided in principle to write a letter this week to the British government, seeking deportation of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, as he is an absconder not fulfilling the terms and conditions of the bail granted to him on medical grounds,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan told a press conference .