1. World military spending up in 2015, India in sixth position [Defence]
India is the sixth largest military spender in 2015 having spent $51.3 billion even as the world spent $1,676 billion reversing a global trend which was on the decline since 2011, as per the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
India moved one rank up from last year accounting for 3.1 percent of global military expenditure. Over a ten-year period from 2006-15 this represents a 43 per cent jump.
India is also ahead of countries like France, Germany and Israel who happen to be among its top arms suppliers.
World military expenditure rose by 1 per cent in 2015, the report said it reflects continuing growth in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe, and some Middle Eastern states.
On the one hand, spending trends reflect the escalating conflict and tension in many parts of the world; on the other hand, they show a clear break from the oil- fuelled surge in military spending of the past decade.
The U.S. remained by far the world’s largest spender in 2015 despite its defence expenditure falling by 2.4 per cent to $596 billion followed by China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and U.K.
China's expenditure rose by 7.4 per cent to $215 billion.
2. Banks violated SC guidelines on loan defaults [Economy]
Despite a nationwide uproar over the gigantic size of non-performing assets (NPAs) and many loan defaults, the public sector banks have violated the Supreme Court guidelines to give prosecution sanction within four months to proceed against officers accused of criminal conspiracy to cheat them.
There are 16 cases involving eight banks that are pending for more than four months, according to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).
The banks account for over 37 per cent of the total 43 cases that have gone beyond the deadline set by the apex court.
Under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, courts cannot take cognisance of a charge sheet until the prosecuting authority, in this case the CBI, has the sanction of the "appropriate administrative authority."
The Supreme Court has laid down guidelines setting a time limit of three months for grant of sanction for prosecution, once the investigation agency submits its FIR, findings and other relevant documents to the sanctioning authority.
An additional month's time is given in cases in which the sanctioning authority wants to consult the Attorney-General or any other law officer in the AG's office.
The pending cases do not for now cover any of the major financial scandals grabbing public attention such as Kingfisher Airlines, because investigations are still under way into most of them.
3. No stay on IPL inaugural match, says Bombay HC[Social Justice, ClimateChange]
The Bombay High Court has refused to stay the first match of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and asked the Maharashtra government to hold an inquiry to know the source of water provided to cricket stadiums.
It was hearing a PIL petition by Loksatta Movement that 60 lakh litres of water was being wasted for maintaining pitches for the IPL when the State is reeling under its worst drought and facing an acute shortage of water.
Various cricket associations harvested rainwater and used groundwater for the pitches.
4. Rajasthan becomes the first state in India to clear land title Bill [Governance]
In yet another first move in the country, the Rajasthan government has managed to pass the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Bills 2016 in the state assembly.
It means the state residents living in urban areas, which are governed by the municipalities or state development authorities, can seek a certificate of ownership of their lands by paying a nominal fee to the state government.
The state government will set up an authority, akin to transport authorities which issue driving license and fitness certificate. It will seek all the documents from the landowners, and will verify it against records held by the state.
The authority will first issue a provisional certificate, for which the state will not stand guarantee. If there are no objections or dispute arises, the authority will issue a certificate and a map to the owner other land or property with state guarantee.
Through the Bill the state government has given itself the power to enter into any property or premise for the purpose of survey by giving its owner a prior notice.
Experts believe that this Bill will give a clear title to the owner and will reduce litigations in the courts. This is seen as one of the key steps towards land reforms and Rajasthan has become the first state to introduce in the country.