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GS 2 Centre hikes scholarships The Centre has hiked its popular research scholarship — called the Junior Research Fellowship — to Rs. 31,000 per month, a roughly 25% increase from the existing Rs. 25,000. States may have to fund for MGNREGA wages States struggling to pay workers under a national employment guarantee scheme have received additional funds from the Centre to meet their pending liabilities, but the money is unlikely to be sufficient for the rest of the financial year. Land acquisition: Centre seeks Constitution Bench Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday agreed to look into an oral request from the Centre to set up a Constitution Bench for expeditious disposal of issues relating to amendments in the Land Acquisition Act. Stormy weather awaits India in 2019 The country faces a difficult external and internal situation. It needs to show more dexterity on the diplomatic front ‘NSC members aired no concerns’ Two days after the two remaining members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) resigned allegedly in protest of the sidelining of the body, the Ministry of Statistics has issued a clarification saying the members did not express these concerns to the Ministry. ‘S-400 deal a proof of India-Russia ties’ The S-400 missile defence system, which India is acquiring from Russia in a multi-billion dollar deal, is a proof of the special nature of the partnership between the two countries, Nikolay R. Kudashev, the Russian Ambassador to India, says. Getting back on track South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to India last week was significant. Its value lay in strengthening the people-to-people aspect of the bilateral partnership, and focusing on the implementation of previous agreements signed by the two governments. GS 3 Study says cow urine may be adding to global warming Cow urine — a minor fount of research in India for its medicinal benefits — may also contribute to global warming. The urine from the ruminant is a source of nitrous oxide emissions (N2O), a gas that is 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Gold rush Tightening monetary policies in the West and supply factors led to the spurt in gold prices The case for minimum basic income A pilot project conducted between 2010 and 2013, covering 6,000 beneficiaries in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, yielded encouraging results.