GS 2 Centre proposes to hike pensions Ahead of the 2019 election, the Rural Development Ministry has proposed that the monthly pensions of the elderly poor, disabled and widows be increased from the current ₹200 to ₹800. For those above the age of 80, the proposal is to increase the pension from ₹500 to ₹1,200 a month. The ambiguity of reservations for the poor While the constitutional amendment may survive the ‘basic structure’ test, the hardest test will be its implementation Summit 2.0 A second Trump-Kim meeting could do with a Chinese nudge and a South Korean whisper Why EVMs must go Paper ballots claim legitimacy by passing the three tests of a free and fair election, which EVMs don’t Justice delayed is markets stymied In a market economy like India, a strong judiciary is required for quick settlement of disputes EC mulls legal action on anti-EVM campaign The Election Commission on Monday said it was examining the option of taking legal action on the claims made at a press conference in London that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used by the electoral body could be hacked and that the 2014 Lok Sabha polls were rigged. ‘Taliban-U.S. meeting took place in Qatar’ The Taliban said it met with U.S. officials in Qatar on Monday. The U.S. has not officially commented on the reported meeting, which follows the last confirmed talks between the two parties in the UAE in December GS 3 ‘Plastic waste imports to India go up’ In spite of a ban on the import of plastic waste into India, the influx of PET bottles has quadrupled from 2017 to 2018 thanks to legal loophole, says a Delhi-based environmentalist organisation, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch (PDUSM). The fault lines of diplomatic recrimination The Huawei episode raises serious concerns over issues that are germane to international business and trade Climate ‘time bomb’ for groundwater is ticking Future generations face an environmental “time bomb” as the world’s groundwater systems take decades to respond to the present day impact of climate change, scientists warned on Monday. ‘Bihar outgrew others in FY18 GDP’ “In fiscal 2018, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat were top-rankers in terms of GSDP growth among the 17 non-special States considered in our analysis,” the report said. “Jharkhand, Kerala, and Punjab were at the bottom.” PT Facts Protest against proposed bird sanctuary in Manipur The Manipur government’s plan to set up a bird sanctuary at the Loktak lake in Bishnupur district has met with stiff opposition from the villagers in nearby areas. Death by design: on jallikattu Tighter regulations cannot eliminate the element of danger intrinsic to jallikattu 19 amphibian species are critically endangered: ZSI list An updated list of Indian amphibians was released on the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) website last week, with 19 species being treated as critically endangered and 33 species as endangered.