National Current Affairs
June 2011 National Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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June 2011
The 1st ever post independence Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 began on 29 June from the Sankhola village of Hazemara block in West Tripura District. It is a door-to-door census in the entire country. This gigantic exercise will pave the way to identify the households living below the poverty line in rural and urban areas of the country. The entire process will be completed by end of 2011-12. The results relating to the identification of poor households would be utilized in the 12th Five Year Plan. He said The BPL Census will be conducted by State governments/Union Territory Administrations with the technical and financial support of the Ministry of Rural Development. 
The Union Cabinet of India approved proposal of the law ministry for a National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, providing for fast track courts to clear the backlog in the judicial system. The objective of the Mission is to increase access to justice by reducing delays and arrears in the system and enhance accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards. The objectives are to be achieved in a time bound manner by 2015-16 through a mission mode approach. The Mission is planned to have a Mission Directorate, an Advisory Council and a Governing Council for overseeing the implementation of the Mission. 

The Union Cabinet on 23 June 2011 approved extension of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) to all the registered domestic workers in India. The scheme will likely cover approximately 47.50 lakh domestic workers in the country. The RSBY will provide for smart card based cashless health insurance cover of Rs.30000 per annum to BPL workers (a unit of five) in unorganised sector in any empanelled hospital anywhere in India. More than 2.34 crore smart cards were issued on 31 May 2011.The scheme has since then been extended to building and other construction workers registered with Welfare Boards constituted under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, street vendors, beedi workers and such MNREGA workers who have worked for more than 15 days during the preceding year. 

 The Union Law Ministry decided to keep the Navodaya Vidyalayas in the country outside the ambit of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The decision was reached by the Law Ministry after hearing out the logic of Human Resource Development Ministry and consultation with the Attorney General (AG). The two key provisions of the RTE Act are- no screening and 25% reservation for economically weaker sections will not be applicable to 444 Navodaya Vidyalayas across the country. Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) conducts entrance examination in February every year and new session commences in July. However in the backdrop of legal constraint, the entrance examination could not be held thus far for 2011. 

The Union government decided to set up a high-powered task force to review the unfinished tasks and make further suggestions for implementation with a view to revamp of defence management in India. The government arrived at the decision ten years after the Kargil Review Committee and a Group of Ministers attempted the first major revamp. The 14-member task force will be headed by Naresh Chandra, a former bureaucrat who has held top administrative jobs in the Ministry of Defence and Prime Minister`s Office. The panel is expected to start its work on 14 July and has six months to complete its report. The Naresh Chandra committee will contemporaries the Kargil Review Committee’s (KRC) recommendations in view of the fact those 10 years have passed since the report was submitted. The formation of the task force marked the first comprehensive attempt at reviewing the entire gamut of defence preparedness and management in a decade. 
The Election Commission of India on June 17 launched the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management- an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension for participatory democracy and election management. The first phase of this premier institute was inaugurated jointly at the Commission premises in New Delhi by Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr. S. Y. Quraishi and Election Commissioner from Kenya Mr. Ken Nyaundi. The two Election Commissioners Shri V.S. Sampath and Shri H. S. Brahma, also were present. 
The Indian Government created an email id, on 15 June 2011, to help the Indian public in taking part in the tackling of the Black Money issue. The Indian public can send their ideas on tackling the issue of black money to this email id. The email was created on the server of the National Informatics Centre .The government of India already constituted a committee headed by Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman, Prakash Chandra to devise new strategies to deal with black money. 
India signed three agreements with the World Bank for cleaning the Ganga River on 14 June 2011. World Bank agreed to provide one billion US Dollars (approximately Rs 4,600 crore) for the Ganga river cleaning project. It also agreed for a credit worth approximately 24 million dollars for the two projects, i.e. strengthening Rural Livelihoods and Biodiversity Conservation of India. The Ganga faces great challenges from expanding population, urbanization and industrial growth. To stop the flow of untreated municipal sewage and industrial effluent into the Ganga River by 2020 is the objective of Ganga project. 
The Government will shortly be launching a scheme to make available contraceptives at door steps, in a bid to boost population control efforts. Speaking at the 53rd Convocation of the International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai on june 17, the Union Health & Family Welfare Mr. Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the ASHA health volunteer would promote the use of contraceptives at the household level in targeted districts. Under the scheme, the Centre will make available contraceptives free of cost at the Block level, from where ASHA volunteers will pick up their supplies. He said the funding to the health sector is going to be increased from the present level of less than 1 per cent of GDP to 2 to 3 percent of GDP during the 12th Fiver Year Plan (2012-17). 
The Maritime States Development Council (MSDC) on june 14, urged those coastal states of the country that are yet to constitute maritime boards to complete the task at the earliest. The 13th Maritime States Development Council Meeting held at Hyderabad. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat are the three coastal states which have their Maritime Boards. The Union Minister for shipping,G K Vasan said the meeting agreed that all the ports, including major and non-major, will give priority for berthing of Navy and Coast Guard vessels. Keeping in view the security aspect at various ports, it was agreed that all the ports dealing with EXIM cargo (Export- Import) should install Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS). The functioning of VTMS should be manned by appropriately qualified and trained personnel. 
The West Bengal Government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on 7 June 2011 signed a pact to set up a new elected body in the Darjeeling hill areas. The elected body will have full administrative, executive and financial powers and will be more autonomous in nature than DGHC.Till this body was set up, a five member committee will constitute a board of administrators for supervising the development process in the Gorkha hills. 
The Kolkata Metro was included in the Indian Railways` logo on 13 June 2011, as the 17th star on the logo. It followed the notification by the Union Ministry of Railways, on Kolkata Metro’s inclusion as the 17th Zonal Railway. The notification was issued on 29 December 2010.The Railway Board decided to include a 17th star in the existing Indian Railways` logo to mark the inclusion of the Metro Railway as the 17th Zonal Railway. The Indian Railways` logo contains an image of a steam engine encircled by a number of stars symbolising the number of Railway zones. Before Kolkata Metro’s inclusion, the number of stars was 16 on the Indian Railways` logo. 
The Union Cabinet of India on 9 June 2011 lowered the age limit for the purpose of pensions from 65 to 60 years. The decision taken by the cabinet will be effective from 1 April 2011. It is like to benefit an additional 72.32 lakh people in the age-group of 60-64 years. The decision would lead to an additional expenditure of 1736 crore rupees.In 2007, the government had launched the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension scheme to provide assistance to senior citizens falling in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.The Union Cabinet also decided to raise the rate of pension to persons of 80 years and above from 200 rupees to 500 rupees.
The Cabinet Committee on Security of India on 6 June 2011 cleared a proposal to buy ten C-17 heavy lift military aircraft from the USA. It is considered the biggest defence deal ever entered between the two countries. The deal is worth of 4.1 billion US dollars. Under the deal, the US defence Company Boeing, will invest 30 percent of the contract amount for setting up defence facilities in India.The C17 aircraft can lift two T90 tanks and artillery guns and it can be also used for airlift of troops and cargo to operating bases anywhere in the world. It can also perform tactical airlift, airdrop missions and medical evacuation. The C 17 aircraft has the capacity to carry over 130 fully-equipped troops. 
Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on 6 June 2011 gave its nod for National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID). NATGRID would be a repository of information ranging from train and air journey to Income Tax and bank accounts of individuals. NATGRID will facilitate sharing of such kind of information with law enforcement agencies to combat terror threat.The NATGRID will have access to 21 categories of database like air travel, railway, bank account details, income tax, credit card transactions, visa and immigration records.Following the Mumbai terror attack on 26 November 2008, Home ministry had proposed a blue print for country’s internal security, which included the formation of NATGRID. 
The UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on 1 June 2011 launched the Janani-Shishu Suraksha Programme at Mewat in Haryana. Janani-Shishu Suraksha programme was sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The programme was launched for pregnant women with the objective to effectively address the problem of maternal and child mortality.Under the Janani-Shishu Suraksha programme, pregnant mothers can avail government health institutions for free deliveries. Both the mother and her child will get free treatment, free drugs and consumables, diagnostics, user charges besides free provision of blood and transportation.The free facilities will comprise delivery including C-section, special diet, diagnostics etc.
The food ministry prepared a new food security bill, reworking an earlier version. In August 2010 the UPA government had dismissed the previous draft of the Food Bill after it was found wanting by the Congress leadership. The Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, had made number of recommendations, including keeping the country’s food distribution system open for all, regardless of poverty status. The new bill provides for legal entitlement for both priority and general categories. Under the new bill, entitlements for BPL households are wholly in line with the NAC’s draft food bill which was made public on 7 June 2011.All BPL households would be given 7 kg per person or 35 kg per family of government-held grains at a subsidised price of R1 a kg for millet, wheat for R2 a kg and rice for R3 a kg. Those above the poverty line would get 3 kg of grains per person, though the NAC had recommended 5 kg per person. These would be available at half the price at which the government buys from farmers, also called minimum support price (MSP).The new bill also provides for cash benefits to meet enhanced food requirements of pregnant women, who would get Rs 1000 for first six months of pregnancy, and lactating women, as well as children up to 14 years
The Union government of India on 31st May 2011 ordered security audit of all important installations comprising nuclear stations, military bases and oil refineries across the nation. The order was issued after a high-level meeting held by the Union Home Ministry following the terrorist attack on a naval base in Pakistan. A joint-team of local security heads and Intelligence Bureau will survey and assess the level of security of the important installations. The security audit will cover all nuclear plants, oil refineries, Indian Space Research Organisation installations, military camps and airports.