Daily GK Updates - 23rd February 2015 Current Affairs

1. Budget session of Parliament started
i. The budget session of Parliament began today with President Pranab Mukherjee's addressing joint session of both houses.

ii. Here are the highlights of what the President said:
  • My government has been of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas'
  • Within a span of 9 months my govt has embarked on a comprehensive strategy for unleashing the economy
  • My govt has worked for the welfare of the poor, the marginalized & the vulnerable sections of the society
  • Swachhta Abhiyan launched for a clean & open defecation free India by 2019
  • My govt has attached highest impotrance to sustainable socio-economic growth of rural India
2. Himachal Pradesh to present India’s first paperless budget
i. Himachal Pradesh is set to become the country's first state to present a 'paperless' budget on March 11. 
ii. Since the state already has the country's first green assembly, all documents related to budget estimates would be made available online and only around 10 budget copies would be printed for record. 
iii. Running the proceedings on e-Vidhan would save the state exchequer Rs 15 crore annually. 
3. Delhi Assembly session begins
i. The two-day session of the newly-formed Delhi assembly began on Monday. The newly-elected MLAs will be administered oath and the election of the Speaker of the assembly will take place.
ii. Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung will address the house on the second day of the session to provide a glimpse of the policies of the new government. 
iii. The AAP government will look to initiate discussions on its poll promises, including women's safety, cheaper electricity and free wi-fi.
4. India-Nepal joint military exercise begins today
i. A combined military training exercise between India and Nepal begins on Monday. 
ii. The exercise called "Surya Kiran 8th" is being conducted in the foothills of Salaj-handi in Nepal and is a part of ongoing defence cooperation India and Nepal. 
iii. It will simulate a scenario, where both nations will work together in a counter insurgency and counter terrorism environment in mountainous and jungle terrain. 
iv. The exercise will make both sides familiar with each other's organisational structure, weapons, equipment, confidence training and tactical drills.

5. PM flags off Hazaribagh-Koderma DMU train
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off Hazaribagh-Koderma DMU train after inaugurating Hazaribagh town railway station.

ii. The project, which started 16 years ago, is the first stage of the Hazaribagh-Koderma-Barkakana-Ranchi railway line of the East-Central Railway. 
iii. The decision to set up the line was taken by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
6. Environmental loss in Sundarbans worth Rs. 1290 Crore: World Bank Report
i. As per World Bank’s recently released report Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans, environmental damage in the climate change-hit islands of Sundarbans is costing India Rs. 1,290 crore each year.
ii. This report was jointly prepared by World Bank in collaboration with the West Bengal government.
iii. Annually the cost of environmental damage associated with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss is about Rs. 670 crore. While, the cost of health effects due to poor environment is estimated at Rs. 620 crore.
iv. Sundarbans is an archipelago of 54 islands and is home to about 44 lakh people. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
7. Mohamed Nasheed arrested in Male under anti-terror law
i. Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed was arrested under anti-terrorism laws after a court said that he might flee the country to avoid hearings on terrorism charges.
ii. He is facing criminal charges over his order to arrest a Criminal Court judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.
iii. Nasheed is a leader of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and was the first democratically elected President of Maldives. He stepped down as the President of Maldives in 2012.

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