National Current Affairs
August 2012 National Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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August 2012
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 2 August, approved relaxations in the land transfer policy by Clearing bottlenecks in transfer of Government land, which would also remove any delays in awarding concessions for infrastructure projects. The decision to relax the ban imposed on all transfer of government owned land for certain categories would speed up the award of PPP projects from this month onwards significantly. Early last year, a ban had been imposed on all transfer of government owned land to any entity except in cases where land was to be transferred from one government department to another. With this decision, all cases of land transfer from Ministries to statutory authorities or PSUs will be allowed as also development and use of railway land by the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA). All PPP infrastructure projects — roads, railways, ports, civil aviation and metros have some element of land alienation as the projects are often built on government owned land. The government continues to own the land that is leased or licensed out.
  •     The Union Cabinet on 3 August, fixed a reserve (minimum) price of Rs. 14,000 crore for 5 MHz of pan-India 2G spectrum in the 1800-MHz GSM band for auctioning spectrum to be vacated by companies whose 122 licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012. The reserve price for 5 MHz of CDMA spectrum has been put at Rs. 18,200 crore, 1.3 times the price of GSM spectrum. Only two slots of 5 MHz each will be put on the block, though spectrum will be available for bidding in multiple blocks of 1.25 MHz. Taking a bold political decision, the government shaved $750 million, or roughly Rs. 4,100 crore, off the roughly Rs 18,000-crore reserve price recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
  •     Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, ending his "indefinite" hunger strike after six days, announced the launch of a new political party. The 75-year-old broke his fast with a glass of juice offered by former army chief Gen. V. K. Singh.His team said, candidates for the party would be chosen by the people.His campaign also demanded a special probe into possible graft allegations against 15 ministers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
  •  The Centre has decided to frame a new National Water Framework Act with guiding principles on water laws the States may adopt, which will have far-reaching implications. States that adopt and reform will be incentivised for water projects. That such a law would be made is buried in the pages of the draft new national water policy that is yet to be considered by the National Water Council, the supreme policy body chaired by the Prime Minister.
  •     A top official of ONGC said, Tripura will emerge as the biggest on—land natural gas producing state in the country by 2014 with the capacity of producing 50 lakh cubic meter natural gas (5 MMSCMD) per day, Now 18 lakh cubic meter gas (1.83 MMSCMD) is produced daily from the operational wells in Tripura. Sources said, 15 wells have been drilled across the state and there are plans to drill 15 more wells during 2012-13.The 726 MW gas based thermal power project at Palatana in Gomati district would start producing power this year. It was set up by ONGC Tripura Power Corporation (OTPC) .The Prime Minister had laid the foundation stone for the project at Palatana, 60 km from Agartala in 2005.
  •     Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s 1955 classic ’Pather Panchali’ has featured in the 50 greatest films of all time list, which was dominated by Alfred Hichcock’s thriller ’Vertigo’. ‘Pather Panchali’ (Song of the Road) was made on a budget of Rs. 1,50,000. With 31 votes ‘Pather Panchali’ came 42nd in the Sight & Sound poll. The film is a lyrical, closely observed story of a peasant family in 1920s rural India.
  • The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has swept the first-ever elections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) winning all 45 seats in the regional autonomous body. The GJM had gained control of the body with its candidates winning from 28 constituencies unopposed. Elections to the remaining 17 constituencies were held on July 29 and the results were announced on 2 August. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee announced on July 21 the withdrawal of her party candidates from the fray, making things easier for the GJM.
  •     The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on 3 August, approved the longstanding demand of the people of Karnataka to provide special status, under Article 371-D of the Constitution, to develop six backward districts of the Hyderabad Karnataka region in the State. This will be on the lines of special status given to the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. The six districts that will benefit in Karnataka are Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Koppal, Raichur and Bellary.
  •     Union Government, Shipping Minister G K Vasan, as part of efforts to enhance maritime security, on 3 August launched the Rs 132 crore National Automatic Identification System (NAIS), which will ensure effective search and co-ordination besides broadcasting warnings to merchant ships. Authorities describing the project as the most important component of coastal surveillance, and it will enhance safe navigation along the 7,500—km long Indian coastline.