National Current Affairs
October 2nd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) CCEA approves National Watershed Management Project Neeranchal.

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved World Bank assisted National Watershed Management Project- Neeranchal.
  • The project will ensure access to irrigation to every farmland (Har Khet Ko Pani) and help to achieve objectives of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) for efficient use of water (Per Drop More Crop).
  • The project has been formed to cater to water-short areas with an outlay of 2142 crore rupees. Of the total project amount Union Government’s share will be 1071.15 crore rupees (50 per cent) and rest will be loan amount from the World Bank.
  • It will be implemented at the National level as well as in the 9 States. These states are Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana.
Neeranchal Project will address the following concerns:
  1. Bring institutional changes in rainfed and watershed agricultural management practices.
  2. Build effective systems to ensure watershed programmes and rainfed irrigation management practices for more coordinated and quantifiable results.
  3. Support and improve livelihoods and incomes of farmers through forward linkage on a platform of inclusiveness and local participation.
2) 2016 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conference to be held in New Delhi.
  • The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conference 2016 will be held in New Delhi from 8 January to 10 January 2016.
  • The PBD Conference 2016 will be organised with an objective for developing a new paradigm for engagement with the Diaspora over the next decade.
  • The 2016 PBD Conference will be an attempt to do an expert study on various issues concerning the Diaspora and areas of mutual benefit to India and to them, while the previous PBDs focused only on meetings with the Diaspora.
3) Union Cabinet gives nod to amendments to tax avoidance pacts with Israel, Vietnam.
  • Union Cabinet has approved the Protocol amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) India-Israel and Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between India-Vietnam.
  • Decision in this regard was taken by the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
  • These agreements seek for the avoidance of double taxation and for prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
The Protocol provides:
  1. International standards for effective bilateral exchange of information on tax matters including bank information and information without domestic tax interest.
  2. Sharing of Information received from Vietnam and Israel in respect of a resident of India with other law enforcement agencies with authorisation respective agencies.
  1. The existing DTAC between Indian and Israel was signed in 1996. Both signatory parties had agreed to update Article 27 on the Exchange of Information to meet internationally accepted standards.
  2. The existing DTAA between Indian and Vietnam was signed in 1994. Both signatory parties had agreed to update Article 27 on the `Exchange of Information` to meet internationally accepted standards. They also had agreed to add a new Article on `Assistance in the Collection of taxes`, by amending the Protocol.
4) Union Government launches app to book unreserved rail tickets.
  • Indian Railways has launched mobile application to book unreserved rail tickets for the convenience of passengers.
  • The launched IT enabled passenger services app was launched by Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi.
These services include:
  1. Ticketing paperless unreserved tickets through mobile phones on suburban stations of Central railway.
  2. Paperless platform tickets at selected stations of Western, Northern and Central Railways.
  3. Passengers can download the mobile app from Google Play Store or Windows Store. Under these service passengers can book single journey ticket and the payment has to be made using R Wallet. They also can book platform ticket also by choosing appropriate option in the app.
5) Tata Power launched LED tube light scheme in Mumbai.
  • Tata Power, India`s largest integrated power company, launched LED tube light scheme in Mumbai for its residential consumer.
  • Under the scheme, Tata will provide five lights to each household at 525 rupees per piece against market price of 1325 rupees.
  • The scheme aims at encouraging the residents in Mumbai to adopt energy efficient lights, thus, saving power.
  • Tata Power has initiated the scheme in collaboration with Osram India, a German MNC and one of the two leading light manufacturers in the world.
6) Rajasthan Government unveils Rajasthan Startup Policy – 2015.
  • Rajashthan Government has unveiled Rajasthan Startup Policy- 2015 to galvanize the start-up ecosystem in the state and provide them required sustenance to the entrepreneurial talent.
  • State’s first start-up policy was unveiled by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at Jaipur in the Rajasthan Startup Fest 2015.
Key features of Policy:
  1. Aims to strengthen the start-up eco-system in the state by s etting up 50 incubators or accelerators like establishments.
  2. Seeks to support and incubate around 500 innovative start-ups from the state and create 100,000 square feet of incubation space.
  3. Mobilise angel and venture capital of 500 crore rupees for start-ups in the next five years. They will be provided with sustenance allowance of 10,000 rupees per month for a year.
  4. Start-ups will be also provided with marketing assistance of 10 lakh rupees at launch stage.


7) PM lays foundation stone of 4th terminal of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of fourth terminal of country’s largest container port - Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai.
  • The ambitious project will augment JNPT’s present capacity situated off the financial capital’s eastern seafront by doubling it in next two years.
Key facts:
  1. The fourth terminal project will be carried out in two phases at estimated cost of 7,900 crore rupees and will be complete by the end of 2017.
  2. The project involves construction of two berths of 1 km in each of the two phases. It will be executed by Bharat Mumbai Container Terminal (BMCT), a subsidiary of Port of Singapore on a design, fund, built, operate and transfer (BOT) basis.
  3. At present, JNPT operates one of the three terminals at the port while the other two are operated by DP World and APM Terminals.
8) GOI to launch `M Cessation` to help kick tobacco habit.
  • The GOI will soon offer a mobile phone-based intervention to tobacco users where they will be counselled to kick the habit.
  • The Union Health Ministry will launch M Cessation or Mobile Cessation to develop tobacco use abstinence among people interested in quitting.
  • As part of the programme, tobacco users can enroll themselves by giving a missed call to a particular phone number after which they will be asked three to four questions through SMS like their educational qualifications, work status and the age of onset of tobacco use.
  • India is home to the world’s second largest number of tobacco users (around 275 million). The Government of India had last year set a target of reducing tobacco use by 20 per cent by 2020 and 30 per cent by 2025.
9) November 26 to be observed as Constitution Day.
  • India will observe 26 November as Constitution Day (Samvidhan Divas) to spread awareness of Indian Constitution and its architecture Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
  • Significance of Day:
  • On 26 November 1949, Indian constitution was adopted by the 389 member Constituent Assembly (CA) and it came into force on 26 January, 1950.
  • It was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after laying the foundation stone of Dr Ambedkar Memorial at Indu Mills Compound in the heart of Mumbai city.
  • Features of Dr. Ambedkar Memorial
  • The life and works of Dr. Ambedkar will be displayed at the memorial. It will feature a 150 feet tall statue of Dr. Ambedkar and 140 feet high dome stupa.
  • It will have a research centre, library and museum, auditorium, park, ponds and plaza. It will also have meditation centre which can accommodate 13,000 people at a time.
  • Dr. Ambedkar Memorial project at Indu Mill will be part of five landmarks associated with the life of the architect of Constitution.

8) GOI to rename missile complex after Kalam.

  • The government of India has decided to rename the prestigious missile complex in Hyderabad `Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Missile Complex` in honour of the late President.
  • Defence ministerManohar Parrikar will attend the renaming ceremony at the Research Centre Imarat (RCI). The 84th birth anniversary of the former President, also known as the `Missile Man`.
  • Popular as the ‘People’s President’, Kalam died of a massive cardiac arrest on July 27 2015 in Meghalaya state capital Shillong.
9) Kerala to host All Lights India International Film Festival or ALIIFF.
  • Kerala will host the All Lights India International Film Festival (ALIIFF) 2015 and Indywood Film Market (IFM) at Kochi from November 15 to 21. ALIIFF 2015 is a unique platform for the global film industry to portray excellence in film making, and interact with artistes and technicians of world cinema, according to the organisers.
  • IFM is a platform for South Asia’s largest Film Market, which will facilitate production and distribution deals of international films in the Indian market and sales of Indian Cinema to the international market.
  • Golden Leaf awards will be presented to winners in the categories of feature film, director, people choice, Indywood film, 3D film, animated feature film, short film, documentary and debut director during the festival.
  • `DAM 999` director Sohan Roy, who is also founder Director of ALIIFF.
10) Green India Mission Plans of Four States Approved.
  • The Green India Mission (GIM) falling under the Environment Ministry has approved annual plans for Kerala, Mizoram, Manipur and Jhakhand.
  • The National Executive Council approved the Perspective Plans of all four states with a total financial outlay of Rs. 90,202.68 lakh for a plan period of five to ten years years along with Annual Plan of Operations of Rs. 11,195.32 lakh for this financial year.
  • Union Environment Secretary Ashok Lavasa, who chaired the meeting, also appreciated the efforts being taken up by the states in working upon convergence opportunities with complementary schemes to ensure requisite investment and saturation of the landscapes.
11) Union Cabinet gives nod to India-Taipei MoU on MSME.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the MoU between the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in India and India-Taipei Association (ITA) in Taipei.
  • Decision in this regard was taken at Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Key facts of MoU:
  1. Promote the cooperation between the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) between the two signatory parties.
  2. Provide a structured framework and favourable environment to the MSME sector of the two parties in order to understand each other’s strengths, technologies, policies, markets etc.
  3. Contains an agreement to enable their respective MSMEs to participate in each other’s trade fairs and exhibitions in order to exchange business delegations with the other Party.
12) Union Cabinet gives nod to MoU on Renewable Energy with Mozambique.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Mozambique in field of renewable energy.
  • Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
  • The MoU was signed between both nations in August, 2015, during the official visit of President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi to India.
Key facts:
  1. The objective of MoU is to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage between both countries and strengthen bilateral cooperation.
  2. The areas of cooperation in the MoU will focus on development of new and renewable energy technologies in the field of conducting on-the-job and specialized training courses.
  3. It will also promote Research & development (R&D) and of technology transfer in the field of renewable energy between both countries.
  4. Both countries will focus on solar, wind, biomass, biofuels and geothermal and establish a bilateral private sector renewable energy platform.
13) Union Cabinet gives nod to RCE for Kaladan Multi Modal Project in Myanmar.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) of 2904.04 crore rupees for the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project in Myanmar.
About Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project:
  1. Objective: To create a multi-modal mode of transport for cargo shipment from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar.
  2. The strategic link will promote economic, commercial and strategic links between India and Myanmar as it will connect North-East, thereby reducing pressure on the Siliguri Corridor.

14) Govt notifies `Mid Day Meal Rules, 2015`

  • The Central Government notified `Mid Day Meal Rules, 2015` on 2nd October in the Gazette of India. The Ministry of HRD had finalized the MDM Rules after consultation with the States and other related Central Ministries.
  • The Rules inter alia provide for temporary utilization of other funds available with the school for MDM in case school exhausts MDM funds for any reason. Food Security Allowance to be paid to beneficiaries in case of non-supply of meals; and monthly testing of meals on a random basis by accredited Labs to check its quality.
  • Further, the Rules also provide that concerned State Governments shall fix responsibility on the person or agency if meals are not provided on 3 consecutive school days or 5 days in a month.

15) Telangana Government Constitutes Project Authority for Palamuru Lift Irrigation Scheme

  • The Telangana state government has formed a project authority for the implementation of Palamuru Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) on 2nd October. According to the decision of the state cabinet, orders were issued constituting the project authority. The state government has accorded administrative approval for the PRLIS and allocated `35,200 crore for the scheme. The authority will oversee the time bound execution of PRLIS.
  • Composition of the authority: The Authority shall be headed by an IAS officer and the team comprises of an Engineering Unit (headed by a chief engineer), Land Unit (headed by a special collector / SDC), Finance Unit (headed by chief financial officer), Project Monitoring Unit and office administration cell. The authority will have full powers to enter into contracts and execute works on contract duly following the contractual norms.