National Current Affairs
November 2011 National Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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November 2011

 The United Naga Council (UNC) decided to lift the economic blockade from Manipur following assurance from Union home affairs minister P Chidambaram. The UNC was spearheading the blockade on the two national highways since 21Aug 2011 to counter the economic blockade launched by the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) on Aug 1. SHDDC is demanding conversion of the Kuki tribal majority Sadar Hills area into a district. The SHDDC lifted the blockade on two highways; Imphal–Dimapur-Guwahati (NH39) and Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar (NH53) on the 92nd day after the Manipur state government agreed to their demand of creating a district. The Nagas are against this move.

The Supreme Court ruled on 28 November 2011 that awards passed by the Lok Adalat either in criminal or civil matters are bound to be implemented through a court decree if parties after reaching a compromise fail to stick to it. The court added that any award passed by the Lok Adalat is deemed a decree and will be executed by a court if either parties to the dispute retracts on the agreement reached before the Lok adalats.
The train travelling the longest distance in India, the Dibrugarh-Kanyakumari Vivek Express, was flagged off at Dibrugarh by Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region Paban Singh Ghatowar on November 19. The new train that connects Assam with the southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu brings with it good tidings for the tourism industry. On its way, it covered 4,286 km in 82.30 hours. Vivek Express replaces Himsagar Express (Jammu Tawi to Kanyakumari) as India`s longest train service.
The UNAIDS HIV AIDS report 2011 released on 21 November 2011 revealed a dramatic decrease of 56 per cent between 1996 and 2010 in the number of new HIV infections in India. India overshot treatment targets for 2012 with 4.48 lakh HIV positive patients on the lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy at present, against the target of 3.4 lakh. Worldwide, with 2.7 million new HIV infections in 2010, the number of new infections went down by 21 per cent compared to 1997.According to the new estimates, 47% (6.6 million) of the estimated 14.2 million people eligible for treatment in low- and middle-income countries were accessing ART in 2010, an increase of 1.35 million since 2009.The year 2010 saw 2.7 million new HIV infections while 1.8 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses. A massive scale up in access to HIV treatment had a dramatic effect on the lives of people everywhere. 

 The Indian government signed a path-breaking tripartite peace agreement with a prominent insurgent group of Assam, United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) on 25 November 2011 after two-year-long peace negotiations. As per the terms of the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS), the Karbi Anglong hill will get more power and a Rs 350-crore special financial package spread over five years. The UPDS had spearheaded a violent insurgent movement in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district since its formation in 1999 till 23 May 2002 when it entered into a ceasefire agreement with the government.

Tamil Nadu government on 24 November 2011 banned the screening of Hollywood film Dam 999 with immediate effect. The movie directed by Sohan Roy is believed to be based on disputed Mullaperiyar Dam between Tamilnadu and Kerala. Tamil Nadu government imposed a ban citing that it may cause animosity between Kerala and TN people as the film was dealing with the subject of the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam on the Kerala-TN border. The film centres on a dam and how it collapses and ravages the surrounding areas. The English film, released by Warner Bros was scheduled for release on 25 November. 
To commemorate Children`s Day celebrations the Department of Post released two special postage stamps on cloth designed by school children on the theme ‘Save the Tiger’ on 14 November 2011. The two stamps were priced at Rs 5 and Rs 20, respectively. India Post held design a stamp contest on ‘Save the Tiger’ theme at Indipex 2011, to spread awareness on tigers; and on 14 November 2011, the stamps were released. This was the first time the Department of Post brought out a stamp on cloth. 
17th Kolkata Film Festival inaugural function was held at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata November 9. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Film stars Sha Rukh Khan and Sharmila Tagore attended the Festival. 

 The second annual Pushkar international balloon festival was held from 7 to 9 November 2011 in Pushkar near Ajmer, Rajasthan. Participants from ten countries displayed their ballooning skills during the event. Colourful hot air balloons with beautiful motifs presented a spectacular view to tourists and participants. Over five lakh people visited Pushkar, some 15 km from Ajmer to attend the festival. Pushkar Balloon Festival is held in the backdrop of world famous Pushkar Fair.

A UN study ranked India at 134 out of 187 countries in terms of Human Development Index. The study however observed that life expectancy at birth in India has increased by 10.1 per cent a year over the last two decades. In the 2010 Human Development Report, prepared by UNDP, India had been ranked at 119 out of 169 countries. However, according to the new report for 2011, it is misleading to compare values and rankings with those of previously published reports as the underlying data and methods have changed, as well as the number of countries included in the Human Development Index. The report highlighted India`s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2011 was 0.547 positioning the country in the medium human development category. Between 1980 and 2011, India`s HDI value increased from 0.344 to 0.547, an increase of 59 per cent or an average annual increase of about 1.5 per cent.
The state government of Goa gave its approval to 60 non-operational mines in the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary under the Regional Plan 2021. The sanctuary is located 60 kms from Panaji. The Sanctuary is one of the five sanctuaries, which are located in Goa. It is home to animals like slender loris, deer, Black Panther and leopard. The environmentalists expressed their concern over the state government’s decision as the mining activities can have harmful effects on the animals in the sanctuary.
A report on child rights, India`s Child Rights Index, a first-of-its-kind report was released on 9 November 2011 by the HAQ-Centre for Child Rights. Kerala topped the national child rights index, followed by Karnataka. Arunachal Pradesh was found to be the worst performer in protecting the rights of children. The rankings of few other states are as follows: Maharashtra (3), Tamil Nadu (4) and Andhra Pradesh (5), Gujarat (6), Rajasthan (7). Like the Human Development Index, education index, hunger index and health index now, the Child Rights Index attempts assess how different states and union territories fare in providing child friendly policies and where they stand in terms of securing the rights of children. In the Child Rights Index, the states have been ranked on 10 major indicators- birth registration, sex ratio, early childhood care, child marriage, child labour, education, health, incidence of crime against children, victims of crime against children and crimes by children. The index looked into all aspects of child wellbeing in all sectors and indicators for realisation of child rights as a whole. 
Union Rural Development Ministry announced on 4 November 2011 that Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) will audit performance of all schemes under the Ministries of Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation. CAG is to conduct an audit on expenditure incurred over a period spanning the past five years in 12 States. In the first phase, the CAG will audit the expenditures under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched anti-measles vaccination drive, Measles Catch-up Campaign. The vaccination programme was launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to target children aged up to 10 years, particularly in 14 States where the routine immunisation coverage is less than 80 per cent. More than 13 crore children are expected to be covered under the Measles Catch-up Campaign, irrespective of their previous measles vaccination status. The State Education Departments in the states are to set up a State Steering Committee for implementing the campaign. A nodal officer will collaborate with the principals and guardians of private and government schools for implementing the campaign. They will provide a list of the schools and of students enrolled in these schools. For each school, the vaccination programme will be completed in one day with the least disruption to academic routine.