National Current Affairs
December 2011 National Affairs :
Category : National Current Affairs
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 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared the birthday of the great mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, 22 December as National Mathematics Day. Singh also declared 2012 as the National Mathematical Year as a tribute to the great mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the year-long celebrations at the Madras University to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Ramanujan.

The West Bengal Government declared its decision to take over Indira Bhavan, which was the official residence of former Chief Minister Jyoti Basu at Salt Lake. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee declared that Indira Bhavan would be turned into a museum and a research centre devoted to Kavi Nazrul Islam, a contemporary of Rabindranath Tagore. Nazrul Islam was a great rebel poet and contributed to the freedom struggle.
The country`s first cooperative university will be set up in Sibsagar(Assam). It will be called as the Rajiv Gandhi University of Cooperative Management.
India’s infant mortality rate (IMR) dropped from 50 deaths per 1,000 live births to 47, as per government data released on 28 December 2011. Thus, India moved closer to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 30. The IMR national average is 47, while it stands at 51 in the rural areas and 31 in the urban regions.
The Lok Sabha approved the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 with the government making it clear that setting up of Lokayuktas by the states would not be mandatory. However, the Constitutional Amendment Bill, designed to confer constitutional status to the Lokpal fell through, as the government failed to get two-thirds support for it. 
Thirty-three persons were killed as storm “THANE’ batters cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. 
Controversial film, Dam999 directed by Sohan Roy made it to a shortlist for the Oscars under the Best Picture category. The film, based on a catastrophe caused by a 100-year-old dam in India giving way, is among the 265 films in contention for the Best Picture. 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. Directed by Kerala-based naval architect Sohan Roy, Dam999 is an English film that features Indian actors Rajit Kapur, Vimala Raman, Vinai Rai and Ashish Vidhyarthi. It has been dubbed in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam.

 Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh was inducted into the Union Cabinet as civil aviation minister on 18 December 2011. The Jat leader will face the challenge of reviving the aviation sector in general and the government-owned Air India in particular as the new Civil Aviation minister. The Civil Aviation Ministry was held by Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi after the elevation of Praful Patel as Cabinet Minister.

The Union Cabinet of India approved a draft National Food Security Bill that seeks to give legal entitlement of cheaper food-grains to 62.5 per cent of the country`s population. The total financial liability to implement the law would be 3.5 lakh crore rupees, as funds will be required to raise agriculture production, create storage space and publicity among others. The bill aims to provide Indian citizens access to nutritional food at affordable prices. This bill proposes to give a legal entitlement to food to 75 percent of our rural population and 50 percent of our urban population. The bill also provides for 7 kg of rice, wheat and coarse grains per person per month to priority households at 3 Rupees, 2 rupees and 1 rupee per kg respectively.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha. The bill was aimed at setting up the body of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas at the level of the States. Government also introduced a Bill for amending the Constitution for conferment of Constitutional status on both bodies. Government also withdrew earlier Lokpal Bill, 2011 and decided to introduce a new comprehensive Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 Bill after consideration of the suggestions made by the Parliamentary Committee, which recommended significant changes in the scope and content of the earlier Bill. 
The Union cabinet of India on 22 December 2011 approved 4.5 percent share for minorities within the 27% OBC quota in jobs and university seats. The approval will come in force from 1 January 2012. It suggests that minorities can get 4.5 jobs out of every 100 government jobs and university seats. As per the data released by the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, the OBC population was 52 percent of India’s population, of which minorities constitute 8.4 percent. Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee Report-released in November 2006- had found the minority community under-represented in all spheres of professional and public life.
A bench of the Supreme Court including Justices BS Chauhan and TS Thakur ruled that even animals are entitled to accident compensation. The court upheld an award of 13.48 lakh rupees for the death of a temple elephant. A KSRTC (Kerala State Transport Corporation) bus hit the animal. The court refused to accept the contention that the Motor Vehicles Act would be applicable to human beings and not to animals. It clarified that the definition of property in the Motor Vehicles Act is very inclusive and wide. Therefore, animal should be included under this act. The court added that the elephant was owned by the temple and it was God’s property.
The Supreme Court of India on 20 December 2011 ruled that courts can interfere in the case of contractual job if the decision taken by the management is arbitrary. A bench of the apex court, however, said that scope of such judicial review is not all pervasive. It said a writ Court is entitled to judicially review of the action and determine whether there was any illegality, perversity, unreasonableness, unfairness or irrationality that would vitiate the action. The court passed the order on a petition filed by Grid Corporation of Orissa Ltd challenging the Orissa High Court`s order. In its order Orissa high court asked the grid corporation to reinstate one of its employee whose contractual job was terminated. 
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram inaugurated a new administrative block and training facilities exclusively designed for National Security Guard’s (NSG) Chennai hub. National Security Guard’s (NSG) Chennai hub was formed in 2009. After the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror strikes, a decision to set up regional NSG hubs at Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai was taken on 30 June 2009. Of these, the Kolkata and Hyderabad hubs will be upgraded into bigger facilities to cater to the eastern and southern regions. A regional centre is also to be established at Hyderabad from where commandos can be moved for counter-terror operations in South India. The Hyderabad centre will be on the lines of the NSG`s Manesar facility in Delhi.
The Government decided to set up a village water and sanitation committee in each Gram Panchayat, village and ward to ensure safe drinking water supply. The committee will be set up as a standing committee in each Gram Panchayat for planning, monitoring, implementation and maintenance of water supply schemes in the area with active participation of the villagers. The membership of the committee will consist of 6 to 12 persons comprising elected Panchayat members and at least 50 percent women with due representation to Scheduled castes and Tribes. The committee will be an integral part of the village panchayat. This initiative has been taken under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme to decentralize power and responsibilities and to give greater focus on water and sanitation issues. 
The Supreme Court directed state governments to build adequate number of night shelter to ensure that no homeless person has to sleep under sky this winter. A bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Dipak Misra asked the governments to file their detailed report by 3 January 2012 on the status of night shelters, which are operating in their states. The bench, which passed separate orders for different states, asked the Chief Secretaries to ensure construction of sufficient number of shelters for the homeless and poor people.
Hyderabad city ranked as no. sixth best to live in the country as per the survey conducted by Times of India - IMRB market research firm. Ahmedabad grabs the first place, Pune gets second, Delhi gets third and Mumbai stood at fourth place. 
The Lok Sabha passed the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2011. The Cable Bill is aimed at controlling the cable TV operators and converting the analog cable to digital cable. 
The Indian government approved the setting up of an Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) to be fully funded by the government of India. The IEO will evaluate the impact of flagship programmes. Also it will be allowed to engage the services of leading institutions working in the field of social science research and other fields for the purpose. The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission will be the chair of the governing body of the IEO. IEO will be an independent body with full functional autonomy to discharge its functions.
The Empowered Committee in its meeting on 5 December 2011 decided to send two technical members to inspect the Mullaperiyar dam before finalising its report following apprehensions raised by Kerala about the safety of the dam after mild tremors occurred in the area. The Empowered Committee is headed by former Chief Justice of India, A.S. Anand. The other members of the committee include Justice K.T. Thomas, a retired Supreme Court judge representing Kerala; Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, a retired Supreme Court Judge representing Tamil Nadu; C.D. Thatte, former Secretary to the Ministry of Water Resources and D.K. Mehta retired Chief Engineer, Central Water Commission. The committee had conducted a spot inspection of the dam in December 2010.
Three-day World Telugu Conference was inaugurated at Phoenix in Mauritius. Ministers from Andhra Pradesh Vatti Vasanth Kumar and S Sailajanath joined the celebrations with Mauritius Minister Deva Veera Swamy who has roots in Andhra Pradesh.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 1 December 2011 approved 1656 crore rupees scheme for phase-3 of Yamuna Action plan. Under this project, the sewage treatment plants situated in Kondli, Rithala and Okhla will be rehabilitated. At present, the project is operational in 21 cities of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana. The Indian government will execute the phase-3 of Yamuna Action Plan with help from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). JICA is providing financial help since 1993.