National Current Affairs
November 1st Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Indian Railways launches Vikalp scheme for waitlisted passengers.

Indian Railways has launched Vikalp scheme to facilitate waitlisted passengers to get an alternative train accommodation.
The scheme has been launched on pilot basis in trains running on Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Jammu sectors for 6 months and option will be limited to Mail and Express trains.
With this scheme, Indian Railways aim to achieve the twin objectives Providing confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers.
Under this scheme:
Waitlisted passengers will get confirmed accommodation in next alternative train if they opt for it while booking their tickets online.
Once they opt for it passengers will get SMS alert on their mobile phone about getting confirmed accommodation in alternative train.
No extra charges will be paid passenger to avail this scheme or any refund provided for the difference of fare. In the alternative train, the name of passenger who has been provided accommodation will not figure in the waitlisted charts of their original train.
2) Union Government announces Draft Aviation Policy-2015.
  • Union Government has announced Draft Aviation Policy 2015 aimed at popularizing air travel among the people in the country.
  • It was released by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma in New Delhi.
  • The policy is open to comments from the industry and various stakeholders before being finalised.
  • Key highlights of Draft Aviation Policy-2015
  • Improve air connectivity among the smaller cities and aims to bring India to third position from the current 10th position in the global aviation sector.
Special Funds:
  1. About 300 airports and air strips in smaller cities to be operationalized and government will provide money for it by setting up a special fund.
  2. Under Regional Connectivity Scheme, under-served airstrips and build no-frills airports will be revived at a cost of 50 crore rupees.
  3. Taxation measures:
  4. Tax incentives will be given to airlines to boost the aviation sector especially in custom and not on aviation fuel.
  5. Service tax will be put at zero to promote Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in order to develop India as an MRO hub in Asia.
  • Proposed hiking Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in domestic airlines to over 50 per cent in open skies policy, which is 49 per cent at present.
  • Open skies policy:
  • Under it overseas airlines can operate unlimited number of flights into and out of India.
Airlines will not be allowed to charge more than 2500 rupees for one hour flight between two small cities under regional connectivity scheme.
Proposes separate regulations for helicopters from April, 2016. Union Government will support growth of helicopters for intra-city movement, tourism, remote area connectivity, disaster relief, law enforcement and medical evacuation.


3) Odisha Government imposes 7- month ban on fishing to protect Olive Ridley sea turtles.

  • Odisha Government has imposed seven-month ban till May, 2016 on fishing along the Puri coast in order to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles.
  • This ban comes prior to arrival of Olive Ridley turtles for nesting in winters along the east coast of Odhisha.
  • Trawlers and fishermen are banned to fish within 20 kms from coastline in the turtle nesting sites.
About Olive Ridley Turtles:
  1. Scientific name: Lepidochelys olivacea.
  2. They are also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle. Generally found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
  3. Protection Status: Listed as endangered species in IUCN Red Data Book because of their few remaining nesting sites in the world.
  4. 2. National Tribal Crafts Mela Aadishilp-2015 begins in New Delhi
  5. 11th National Tribal Crafts Mela Aadishilp has begun in New Delh. It was inaugurated by Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Jual Oram.
  6. This edition of Crafts Mela has been organised by Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) and will be open till November 11, 2015.
4) Daughters cannot inherit ancestral property if father died before 2005: SC.
  • Supreme Court has ruled that a daughter’s right to ancestral property does not arise if the father died before Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 came into force in 2005.
  • This judgement invalidating retrospective effect of Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 was given by a SC bench comprising of Justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh K Goel.
Points to Note:
  1. The date of a daughter becoming co-parcener in to ancestral property will be valid on and from the commencement of the amendment Act.
  2. Daughter can become a co-sharer with her male siblings if father was alive on 9th of September, 2005 i.e. date on which act came into force.
  3. The landmark Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 was passed to amend the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 in order to give daughters equal inheritance rights in ancestral property along with her male siblings.
  4. Assam Government hiked daily minimum wages of workers in various sectors.
5) Assam government hiked the daily minimum wages of skilled, semi-
  • skilled and unskilled workers in various sectors. The state government also introduced a new segment of highly-skilled workers who will be eligible for a minimum daily wage of 450 rupees.
  • The daily minimum wage of skilled workers has been hiked from 208 rupees to 350 rupees. The wage of semi-skilled workers has been hiked from 150 rupees to 280 rupees and that of unskilled workers from 130 rupees to 240 rupees.
  • The notification also entitles employees and workers to avail variable dearness allowance of 100 percent over the rise and fall of index point in All India Consumer Price Index.
6)  First International Film Festival for the persons with disabilities to be held in Delhi.
  • First international film festival to recognise the spirit of the persons with disabilities, first international film festival for the persons with disabilities (IFFPD) will be held in Delhi from 1 December to 3 December 2015.
  • The film festival will show case cinemas that open our world to their mind space, and sensitize on issue relating to disabilities.
  • The three-day-long event will see the screening of 40 films comprising of 10 feature films, 16 short films and 14 documentaries. All these films have been selected from 541 entries from India and abroad.
Awards and Prizes at the IFFPD 2015:
IFFPD 2015 will felicitate the Best Director and Best Film in each of the 3 categories of Films with cash awards with the First and Second Runner Up receiving trophies and citations from the Department.


7) Maharashtra Government approves APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Yojna.

  • Maharashtra Government has approved APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Yojna scheme to provide one full hot cooked nutritious food to pregnant, lactating women in the tribal areas.
  • It was approved by the state Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai.
About APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Yojna
  1. To curb malnutrition among tribal children by providing nutrition to pregnant women for 6 months when the child’s growth is at its peak.
  2. The scheme is an initiative of Tribal Development department of state government.
Scheme Plan:
  • To provide one full hot cooked nutritious food to every pregnant (in third trimester) and lactating mother (first three months post-delivery) in tribal areas.
8) Impose AFSPA in Garo Hills: Meghalaya High
  • Meghalaya High Court has asked Central Government to enforce Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 in militancy-hit Garo Hills region of the state.
  • The order was issued by a full 3 bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh, Justice T N K Singh and Justice S R Sen while hearing on pending cases of militants calling bandhs in the state.
The Court observed that:
  1. Central government can enforce AFSPA in Garo Hills region in order to deploy armed forces to aid of civil administration to restore public order and maintain the law and order.
  2. The imposition of AFSPA would be only for the purpose of enabling the civil authorities in the state to effectively deal with militancy so that there is a regime of rule of law.
About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958: 
  • Empowers armed forces to deal effectively in ‘Disturbed Areas’ declared by both state and Central government.
  • Parliament had enacted it in 1958 to provide special legal security to the armed forces for carrying out operations in the troubled areas of 7 sisters states of North east.
  • Rajasthan Government relaxed two-child policy for government employees.
9) The Rajasthan Government decided to relax its two-child policy which was applicable to the state government employees.
  • As per the decision, the state government employees, already having two children from previous marriage, will now be allowed to have a third child in case of a remarriage. Besides, twins or triplets in such remarriages will be counted as one unit.
  • The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting presided by state Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
About state’s two-child policy:
  1. Rajasthan was the first state in the country to implement the two-child norm in 1992. After 1994, the government barred people with more than two children to contest panchayat and municipal elections.
  2. The policy was extended to government employees with a cut-off date of June 2002.
  3. In 2001, the Rajasthan Government had issued a notification that a candidate having more than two children is not eligible for government recruitment. The notification also mentioned that if an employee’s third child is born after 1 June 2002, he/she will not be given promotion for five years.
10) Indian Railways signed MoU with Odisha for implementation of railway projects.
  • The Odisha Government and Indian Railways inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementation of railway projects in the state.
  • The MoU aims at forming a Joint Venture Company to develop railway infrastructure in Odisha.
Key highlights of the MoU:
  1. It will work towards providing railway connectivity to Boudh, Kandhamal, Nayagarh, Nabrangpur, Kendrapada, Malkangiri and Deogarh districts.
  2. Maoist-affected districts will be in the high priority list.
  3. At least six-seven rail projects will be constructed in the state.
  4. A 40-km link connecting the Nabarangpur district headquarters to the nearest station at Jeypore in neighbouring Koraput district will also be built.
  5. The Odisha Government will have 51 percent stake in the project, while the Railways Ministry will have 49 percent stake. 
11) Union Cabinet gives nod to UDAY Scheme for financial restructuring package for power DISCOMs.
  • Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its nod Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna (UDAY) for financial restructuring of debt of power distribution companies.
  • The Scheme aims for financial turnaround and revival of Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs) and also ensures a sustainable permanent solution to the problem.
  • About UDAY scheme Allows power DISCOMs in selected states to convert their debt into state bonds as well as roll out number of measures to improve efficiency at power plants.
  • Seeks to ensure that struggling DISCOMs can shake off years of losses and start on a path to profitability.
Assures the rise of vibrant and efficient DISCOMs:
through four initiatives
(i) Improve operational efficiencies of DISCOMs
(ii) (ii) Reduce of cost of power.
(iii) (iii) Reduce interest cost of DISCOMs.
(iv) (iv) Enforce financial discipline on DISCOMs through alignment with State finances.
Debt Burden:
Shifts 75 per cent of power DISCOMs debt burden to states’ balance sheets. This step would result in interest cost savings to the tune of 3-5 per cent.
State Power Bonds or loans:
Selected states would be able to sell the balance 25 per cent as state-backed power bonds or loans which will carry interest rates of g-sec plus 50 basis points.
12) President Pranab Mukherjee launched research project Imprint India.
  • Pranab MukherjeePresident Pranab Mukherjee launched Imprint India, a Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative.
  • The project encourages the Indian technical institutions to develop a blueprint for research to crack major engineering and technology challenges relevant to the nation.
Imprint India is a 1000 crore rupees project, which aspires to:
  1. Identify areas of immediate relevance to society requiring innovation.
  2. Direct scientific research into identified areas.
  3. Ensure higher funding support for research into these areas.
  4. Measure outcomes of the research effort with reference to impact on the standard of living in the rural/urban areas.