National Current Affairs
September 3rd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Five Key Decisions taken by Union Cabinet.

  • The Union Cabinet has taken five key decision in different areas. It includes,
       (i) Smart plan for rural areas
       (ii) Drought Relief
       (iii) EXIM Bank – Consessional Finance
       (iv) Doubling of Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag route (284 Km) of railways
       (v) Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015
Smart plan for rural areas
  1. The Cabinet approved the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) with an outlay of Rs. 5142.08 crore. The Rurban Mission will develop a cluster of Smart Villages.
  2. The SPMRM mission aims to create 300 Rurban growth clusters over the next 3 years, across the country. These clusters will see optimum development such as skill development training linked to economic activities, agro processing/ agri services/ storage and warehousing, digital literacy, sanitation, provision of piped water supply, solid and liquid waste management, street lights, better schools, inter-village road connectivity and gas connections.
Drought relief:
  1. The Cabinet gave its nod to provide an additional 50 days of unskilled manual work in the financial year over and above the 100 days assured to job card holders in areas where drought or natural calamities have been notified. This will enable states to provide additional wage employment to the rural poor in drought affected areas.
EXIM Bank – Concessional Financial Support:
  1. The Cabinet approved a scheme to enable EXIM Bank to offer concessional finance to support Indian companies bidding for strategically important infrastructure projects abroad. This will help Indian companies to bid for large projects abroad. The repayment of the loan would be guaranteed by the foreign Government.
Doubling of Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag route (284 Km) of railways
  • The CCEA approved doubling of the Hotgi-Kudgi-Gadag railway line at an anticipated cost of Rs. 1618 crore and completion cost of Rs. 2058 crore.
Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015
  1. Cabinet gave its approval for the proposal to promulgate the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, which would help trade and commerce in general. It will also allow the lending institution, including banks, to continue to extend financing to the economy, without the apprehension of loan default on account of bouncing of a cheque.
2) Union Cabinet approves Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban mission for rural development.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban mission (SPMRM) for its ambitious bid to spur social, economic and infrastructure development in rural areas.
  • In this regard, Union Government has earmarked over 5,000 crore rupees for the mission to develop 300 clusters over next three years across the country.
Key facts:
Aim: SPMRM through development of rurban growth clusters aims at catalyzing overall regional growth.
Twin objectives:
  1. It seeks to achieve of strengthening rural areas and de burdening the urban areas. Thus it seeks for balanced regional development and growth of the country by simultaneously benefiting the rural as well as urban areas of the country.
  2. The State Governments would identify the clusters which have latent potential for growth in accordance with the Framework for Implementation.
  3. This framework will be prepared by the Union Ministry of Rural Development. The clusters will be geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats with different population and follow administrative convergence units of Gram Panchayats.
  4. Plain and coastal areas must have population of about 25000 to 50000, desert areas, hilly or tribal areas must have 5000 to 15000.
3) Union Cabinet approves 150 days employment under MGNREGA in the drought hit areas.
  • Union Cabinet has approved 150 days employment per household under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the drought hit areas of the country.
  • Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Additional 50 days of unskilled manual work under the MGNREGA scheme will benefit people in drought-hit areas which are facing monsoon deficit affecting kharif crops and rural income.
  • The move will enable state governments to provide additional wage employment to the rural poor from present 100 days in drought and natural calamities affected areas.
  • Cabinet committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also approved setting up of committee to propose Exim bank scheme in order to offer concessional finance to companies bidding for infra projects abroad.
4) Union Government bans NSCN-K for 5 years.
  • The Modi government banned Naga rebel group National Socialist Council (NSCN-K) of Nagaland (Khaplang) for five years.
  • The government signed a peace accord with Naga insurgent group Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) – NSCN (IM). The NSCN-IM has been demanding declaring NSCN-K a banned group.
  • NSCN (K) has been declared as an unlawful organisation and the decision was taken in a cabinet meeting in New Delhi.
  • The organisation has been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The ban on NSCN-K is being decided because of the recent activities of the group in Manipur which led to the killing of 18 soldiers.
About National Socialist Council of Nagaland:
  1. It is a Naga nationalist Military.
  2. The NSCN split into two factions;
  3. The NSCN-K led by S.S. Khaplang, and
  4. The NSCN-IM, led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah
  5. Aim: is to establish a sovereign state, “Nagalim”.
  6. Formed: 31st January 1980.
  7. It was created by Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and S.S. Khaplang opposing the Shillong Accord.

5) Environment Ministry bans multidose vial of Diclofenac to save vultures.

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has requested the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to restrict the pack of Diclofenac for human use in single dose only.
  • Even after banning the use of Diclofenac for veterinary use, the multi-dose vials available in the market for human use were widely misused for veterinary purpose. This, in turn, has a severe impact on the population of vultures.
  • Earlier, in 2006, the Government of India had imposed a ban on the use of Diclofenac for treating cattle.
About Diclofenac
  1. Diclofenac was first synthesized by Alfred Sallmann and Rudolf Pfister and introduced as Voltaren by Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) in 1973.
  2. The name “diclofenac” derives from its chemical name: 2-(2,6-dichloranilino) phenylacetic acid.
6) Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana launched by GOI.
  • The Central Government announced the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY). PMKKKY is a revolutionary and unprecedented scheme of its kind, which will transform the lives of people living in areas which are affected directly or indirectly by mining.
About Scheme:
  1. Aim: is to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).
  2. The Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, mandated the setting up of District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) in all districts in the country affected by mining related operations.
The Central Government notified the rates of contribution payable by miners:
  1. All mining leases executed before 12th January, 2015 - miners will have to contribute an amount equal to 30% of the royalty payable by them to the DMFs.
  2. Mining leases are granted after 12.01.2015 - he rate of contribution would be 10% of the royalty payable.
  3. By Using these funds, the DMFs are expected to implement the PMKKKY.
  4. The DMFs have also been directed to maintain the utmost transparency in their functioning and provide periodic reports on the various projects and schemes taken up by them.
Objective of the Yojana:
  1. To implement various developmental and welfare projects/ programs in mining affected areas.
  2. To minimize the adverse or harmful impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts
  3. To protect the livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.
  4. Skill development and environment conservation will get at least 60% share of the funds.
  5. Attention will be giving in High Priority areas like sanitation, Drinking water etc…
  6. The funds will also be spent on making roads, bridges, railways, waterways projects, irrigation and alternative energy sources to maintain a healthy environment.
7) Perumanna Grama Panchayat becomes first Panchayat in Kerala to declare a Water Policy.
  • Perumanna Grama Panchayat in Kozhikode district of Kerala has become the first Panchayat in the State, to declare its own water policy.
  • The water policy has been framed in the lines of the State government’s water policy declared in 2008.
Key facts:
  1. The policy was drafted with the help of the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) Kunnamangalam.
  2. It was chalked out after a detailed study of water resources and usage under taken by CWRDM in the Panchayat over the last two years 2013 and 2014).
  3. The first of the policy to increase water literacy in the panchayat through extensive water conservation and awareness programmes.
  4. The policy also seeks to make panchayat garbage free by 2020, thus eliminating water pollution completely.
8) UIDAI shifted to IT Ministry from NITI Aayog.
  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues Aadhaar cards, has been shifted to the administrative control of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology from Niti Aayog.
  • The decision has been taken keeping in mind the government’s ambitious `Digital India` programme as the Aadhaar numbers are being linked with several services. Aadhaar is a 12-digit individual identification number issued by UIDAI.
  • The issuance of Aadhaar cards, started by the then UPA government, has come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court which recently held that the card would not be mandatory for availing benefits of government’s welfare schemes. Earlier, UIDAI was the part of Planning Commission.
NITI Aayog:
  1. National Institution for Transforming India Aayog is a Government of India policy think-tank.
  2. The objective is to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by state governments of India.
  3. Niti Aayog is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its chairperson.
  4. Present Vice-Chairperson is Arvind Panagariya.
  5. Sindhushree Khullar was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog.
  6. The full time members of NITI Aayog are economist Bibek Debroy, former DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat and Agriculture Expert Professor Ramesh Chand.
9) Operation Smile rescues 19,000 missing children from slavery, abuse.
  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s Operation Smile has rescued 19,000 missing children from being pushed into prostitution and bonded labor to ill-treatment by parents.
  • The Central Government is planning to reward individual officers based on their performance but wants details of identified children to be published in media.
  • The Operation has seen different state police and women and child departments step up efforts to rescue missing children, with Haryana and Maharashtra taking the lead.
  • Home Ministry has also asked the state governments to sensitise and train police officers at various ranks about issued related to missing children, POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and Protection of Child Rights Acts.
10) Indian Railways develops Hybrid Vacuum Toilets.
  • The Indian Railways has developed a prototype of hybrid vacuum toilets which uses only 500 ml of water for flushing. The design was developed by the development cell of the Railway Board that combines the advantages of vacuum toilets and those of bio-toilets to create a new design of hybrid vacuum toilet.
  • The prototype consists of a custom designed Vacuum toilet adapted from a commercially available vacuum toilet that is used in aircrafts which evacuates its discharge into a biodigester tank which is now successfully proven in the biotoilets of Indian Railways.
  • The biodigester tank is fitted underneath the coach and contains anaerobic bacteria that converts human fecal matter into water and small amount of gases before discharging the same on the ground/ track.
Indian Railways – Additional Facts:
  1. Indian Railway is constructing the highest rail bridge over Chenab, in J&K.
  2. The Indian Railways website gets close to 12 Lakh hits per minute.
  3. The first train in India ran on 16th April 1853 from Bombay to Thane.
  4. The mascot of Indian Railways is Bholu – the guard elephant.
  5. The first railroad was constructed by two Indians – Jaganath Shunkerseth and Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. 

11) PM Narendra Modi to address India-US StartUp Konnect 2015.

  • Following the Prime Minister clarion call of Start up India, Stand up India, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, NASSCOM, TiE Silicon Valley, and IIM Ahmedabad CIIE India are hosting the first India- U.S. Startup Konnect in the Silicon Valley on 27th September.
  • The day-long event will highlight multiple dimensions of Indian innovation capabilities, represented by more than 30 startups across sectors like agriculture, healthcare, energy, financial inclusion, and biotechnology, as well as leading technology business incubators in the country.
  • During his visit, Modi is expected to meet Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and electric carmaker Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk among others. At the event, Nasscom will sign an agreement with TiE Silicon Valley to facilitate a startup exchange and collaboration programme.
  1. NASSCOM is the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPM industry in India.
  2. NASSCOM is a global trade body with more than 1800 members, which include both Indian and multinational companies that have a presence in India.
  1. Set up under the aegis of IIM Ahmedabad, Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into viable businesses.
  2. CIIE nurtures entrepreneurs by incubating, accelerating, mentoring and funding innovative start-ups.
12) Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa inaugurates butterfly park.
  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has inaugurated a butterfly park from the Secretariat, Chennai.
  • The park, constructed at an estimated Rs. four crore over 6.7 acres of land at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park at suburban Vandalur.
  • The Park has a slew of features, including 200 species of plants and trees, and will have a conducive atmosphere for the butterflies.
  1. India’s first Butterfly Park is located in Bannerghatta, Bangalore.
  2. The Park has a tropical setting with a host of plants and shrubs to attract Monarch Butterflies & other Butterflies.
  3. Bannerghatta is the first biological park in India to have a fenced forested elephant sanctuary where elephants can roam around freely without chains.
13) Election Commission releases NOTA symbol for all polls.
  • The Election Commission (EC) has introduced a symbol for ``None of the Above (NOTA)`` option to facilitate voters in exercising their NOTA option in elections.
  • The symbol will now appear in the last panel on all EVMs and the other ballot papers against the NOTA option in all the upcoming elections.
  • The NOTA option was made available to the voters with effect from 11 October, 2013, pursuant to the Supreme Court order of 27 September, 2013. The symbol for NOTA option was designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
About Election Commission of India:
  1. The Election Commission of India is an autonomous, established federal authority responsible for administering all the electoral processes in the Republic of India.
  2. Until 1989, the commission was a single member body, but later two additional Election Commissioners were added.
  3. Nasim Zaidi is the current Chief Election Commissioner and other two Election Commissioners are Achal Kumar Jyoti and Om Prakash Rawat.
  4. The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament in a manner similar to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.
  5. The Election Commissioners can be removed by the President on recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.

14) Indian diaspora launches `Mission 2022`.
  • The three million strong Indian diaspora in the US has launched ``Mission 2022`` in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industries to make US-India partnership a defining partnership of the 21st century.
  • The Mission 2022 will have a series of dialogues with the diaspora over the next seven years as India turns 75.
  • Stressing the positively evolving commercial relationship between the countries, both Sitharaman and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker invited the business community to help shape and deepen the economic relationship still further.
  • CII president Sumit Sumter.
GOI plans new body to crack down on child pornography:
  1. The GOI is planning to set up a highly sophisticated centre to tackle child pornography and online abuse. The initiative comes after an expert committee constituted to prepare a roadmap for effectively tackling cyber crime.
  2. According to the recommendations of the committee, there is a need to drastically reduce crimes against children and women, especially online abuse.
  3. A Rs. 400 crore cybercrime control hub, to be called `Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre` (IC4), will be set up to check all cyber crime, including child pornography and online abuse, as per the recommendations of the committee. The expert committee suggested enactment of a new Electronic Evidence Act similar to the UK and Singapore and regular review of existing laws.
About IC4:
  1. The IC4 will have linkages with CCTNS and NATGRID, the two databases having information related to various kinds of crime and criminals.
  2. One of the priorities of IC4 will be to check attempts by international gangs to penetrate Indian government’s official communication network and hack them.
  3. Key objectives of IC4 are: to act as a nodal point in the fight against cyber crime and as an early warning system for law enforcement agencies with active cyber crime monitoring.
15) PM Narendra Modi launches IPDS in Varanasi to ensure 24×7 power supply to every house.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched National Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh to provide 24×7 power supply to every house.
  • To start the scheme in Varanasi, PM laid foundation stone of two power substations and Union Government will provide 572 crore rupees to implement it.
  • Apart from launching IPDS, PM also laid the foundation stone of seven other developmental projects in Varanasi. He also formally inaugurated the biggest Trauma centre of the country in Banaras Hindu University.
About Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS):
  1. Aim: To strengthen the transmission and distribution (T&D) networks, 100 per cent metering urban areas and smarten it with information technology.
  2. It was announced in Union Budget 2014-15 and is one of the flagship schemes of the Union Ministry of Power core attempt to ensure 24×7 power for all.
  3. Objective: It envisages strengthening of sub-transmission network by Information Technology (IT) enablement.
  4. IT enablement will help in reduction in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses, establishment energy accounting/ auditing system, improvement in billed energy based on metered consumption and improvement in collection efficiency.
16) Rajasthan Assembly passes Rajasthan Vexation Litigation Prevention Bill, 2015.
  • Rajasthan Assembly passed the Rajasthan Vexation Litigation Prevention Bill, 2015 by voice vote. The objective of the bill is to prevent filing of baseless cases and to check the misuse of law for personal benefits.
  • It covers both civil and criminal cases in the high court and subordinate courts.
  • With this Rajasthan became the fifth state in India after Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Madhya Pradesh to pass such legislation.
Vexatious Litigation:
  1. It is a legal proceeding or action initiated maliciously and without Probable Cause by an individual solely to harass or subdue an opponent or adversary.
  2. This action harasses innocent and law abiding people mentally and economically and also strains overburdened judicial system.