National Current Affairs
May 1st Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
posted Date :
Total No.of views :
Total No.of Comments :
0 / 5 (0 votes)

1) First meeting of Sub-Group of CMs on Swachh Bharat Mission held in New Delhi.

  • The first meeting of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was held at NITI Aayog in New Delhi.
  • The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N. Chandrababu Naidu who is the convener of the sub group.
Highlights of the meeting:
  1. It discussed robust institutional mechanisms for effective implementation of the mission.
  2. It prepared guidelines and process chart to work on the subject.
  3. It decided to recommend measures for technological support, including solid waste management in rural and urban areas.
  4. It decided to constitute a working group headed by NITI Aayog’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to study the best practices showing alternative methods and best technology.
  5. It examined the need of sending some members to other countries to study sanitation practices.
  6. Technologies from other countries would also be imported and modified to suit the country’s requirements.
2) Union Ministry of Tourism released Draft National Tourism Policy 2015.
  • The Union Ministry of Tourism released the Draft National Tourism Policy 2015 after re-visiting National Tourism Policy 2002. The policy is aimed at boosting tourism sector in the country.
  • Its objective is to increase India’s share in world tourist arrivals from the present 0.68% to 1% by 2020 and increase to 2% by 2025 and position tourism as a priority on the National political and economic agenda.
Key Features of the Draft National Tourism Policy 2015:
  • Focus is on job creation and community participation in tourism development.
  • Tourism to be developed in a manner which is responsible and sustainable.
  • Comprehensive policy involving linkages with ministries, departments, states/UTs and stakeholders.
  • Policy focusses on development and positioning of India as a Must Experience and Must Re-visit Tourist Destination.
  • Policy aims for National Tourism Advisory Board under the Union Tourism Minister and members including Tourism Ministers of States/UTs as well as domain experts.
  • Setting up of National Tourism Authority with trade and industry representation and interconnected departments/agencies for policy execution by Ministry.
Focus on following key aspects:
  1. Swachhta
  2. Surkasha
  3. Swagat
Development of core and tourism infrastructure including:
  1. Air
  2. Road
  3. Rail
  4. Water Way
  5. Buddhist Circuit
  6. Prasad
  7. Swadesh Darshan
  8. Skill development and technology enabled 
  9. development across tourism sectors
Promotion within established source markets and potential markets:
  • Online programmes for training international tour operators for creating India Specialists.
  • Active and decisive role for India in multilateral tourism fora through BRIC, SAARC, ASEAN, IBSA and others.
3) Nitin Gadkari dedicated two Major Highway Projects in the North East to the Nation.
  • [Nitin Gadkari ] Union Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari dedicated Shillong Bypass Highway Project and four lane Jorabat-Barapani Section of NH-40 to the nation in Shillong, Meghalaya.
  • The two projects are intended to improve connectivity between Guwahati and Shillong and other parts of the North East.
  • The 48.76 Km Shillong Bypass was constructed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) mode and connects National Highway (NH) 40 and NH 44 (New NH 6). This will help decongest the traffic in the city of Shillong from trucks and heavy vehicles coming from or moving towards North Eastern parts of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
  • Four laning of 61.80 km Jorabat-Barapani section is intended to augment connectivity between Guwahati and Shillong. The project was constructed by the NHAI on Design Build Finance Operate & Transfer (DBFOT) Mode on annuity basis.
4) Union Sports Ministry recognised Motor Sports as a Sports under NSF.
  • Union Government has finally recognised motorsports as a sport in India.
  • In this regard, Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has included Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) in the list of sports backed National Sports Federations (NSF).
  • FMSCI is the governing body of motorsports in India and the motors sports was put into ‘Others’ category of NSF list which means that no financial assistance will be provided to it.
  • With this inclusion, Motor Sports is now one of the 59 sports recognised by the Sports Ministry under NSF list which are categorized into various sports discipline such as High Priority, Priority and Others.
  • At present 9 sports disciplines are included in High Priority category. They are Athletics, Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Wrestling, Shooting, Tennis, Weight Lifting and Hockey.
  • While, 23 sports disciplines included in Priority category and rest 27 were included into others category.
  • It should be noted that after each Olympics Games and Asian Games Union Sports Ministry reviews and categorise various sports discipline with respect to their performances. The categorization is done in order to review and provide financial assistance to the NSF. In 2008, such last review was done.

5) 14th Edition of Indo-French Naval Exercise VARUNA 2015 concluded.

  • The Fourteenth edition of the Indo-French naval exercise VARUNA 2015 concluded. The exercise started on 23 April 2015 off the Goa Coast.
  • Its aim was deriving mutual benefit from the experiences of the two navies. The experience gained through such exercises helps in developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the fields of Joint Maritime Air Operations planning with exchange of Carrier Operational Capabilities.
  • The exercise included both a harbor and sea phase and its mandate was to cover the entire gamut of maritime operations ranging from Aircraft Carrier Operations, Anti Submarines Warfare Exercises, Maritime Interdiction Operations and multi-ship replenishment exercise.
  1. Relations between India and France have traditionally been close and friendly. With the establishment of strategic partnership in 1998, there has been significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation and exchanges including naval exercises.
  2. The Indian Navy and the French Navy have been conducting naval exercises since 1983 and following the establishment of a strategic partnership, these exercises were christened as ‘VARUNA’ in 2001.Till date, fourteen such exercises have been conducted.
6) Modi to launch three pro-poor schemes.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch three social security schemes relating to insurance and pension for the poor on May 9, a day after the Lok Sabha adjourns.
  • The party plans to counter that with its information campaign. All Ministries have been asked to make use of the radio and television channels of the public broadcaster Prasar Bharti to spread its message.
  • The CPI (M) launched a Twitter campaign against the government’s land acquisition Bill and followed it up with a bandh in Jharkhand.
7) Ministry of Health and Family welfare announces Health scheme for rural children.
  • Under National Health Mission (NHM), the provision of health care to children particularly in rural areas is given priority attention.
Details of Scheme:
  1. Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no expense delivery including Caesarean section.
  2. Facility Based Newborn Care (FBNC) at different levels to reduce child morbidity and mortality.
  3. Home based newborn care through ASHAs has been initiated to improve newborn practices at the community level and early detection and referral of sick newborn babies.
  4. India Newborn Action Plan (INAP) has been launched with an aim to reduce neonatal mortality and stillbirths.
  5. Integrated Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (IAPPD) launched in four states with highest child mortality (UP, MP, Bihar and Rajasthan).
  6. Village Health and Nutrition Days (VHNDs) are organized for imparting nutritional counselling to mothers and to improve child care practices.
  7. Minister of Health and Family Welfare: Jagat Prakash Nadda (Rajya Sabha M.P. from Himachal Pradesh)

8) Cabinet clears bill on Land Boundary Agreement between India, Bangladesh.

  • The Union Cabinet approved Constitution 119th Amendment Bill on the land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh.
  • With the agreement between India and Bangladesh, India and Bangladesh will exchange several enclaves which are under each other`s adverse possession. The agreement has to be ratified by Parliament through a constitution amendment bill.
  • The bill was placed in the Rajya Sabha in 2013 and subsequently referred to a select committee, headed by Shashi Tharoor of Congress, which unanimously recommended implementation of the deal.
9) Real estate bill sent to Rajya Sabha for approval.
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to allow the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) as an eligible financial instrument/ structure under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999.
  • Entities registered and regulated under the SEBI (REITs) Regulations 2014 will be able to access foreign investments which as of now are prohibited under the FEMA Regulations.
  • The intent of introducing the instrumentality of REITs is to reduce pressure on the banking system to which the real estate sector looks for funds, free up existing funds of Banks and to encourage construction activities. 
  1. The Finance Minister in his Budget 2014-15 Speech proposed the introduction of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which have been successfully used as an instrument for pooling of investment by several countries for investments in the real estate.
  2. The instrument with a view to earning income and distributing earnings from its investments to investors, who have contributed to the pooled corpus. 
10) Government of India announces New Foreign Trade Policy.
  • The Government of India has announced a new Foreign Trade Policy for the period 2015-2020.
  • The important measures taken by the Government in the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 to include `Make in India` and `Digital India` programmes to ease the trade are
  • Specific Export Obligation under Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme, in casecapital goods are procured from indigenous manufacturers, has been reduced to 75% of thenormal export obligation, in   order to promote domestic capital goods manufacturing industry.
  • Under   Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), export items with high domestic content and value addition have generally been provided higher   level of   rewards.
  • For reward schemes and duty exemption schemes, hard copies of applications and specified documents which were required to be submitted earlier have now been dispensed with.
  • There will be no need to submit copies of permanent records/ documents repeatedly    with    each application, once the same are uploaded in Exporter/ Importer Profile.
  • For faster and paperless communication with various Committees of DGFT, dedicated  e-mail addresses have been provided for various Committees, e.g. Norms Committees, Exim Facilitation Committee etc.
  • The Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 introduces two new schemes, namely, ‘Merchandise Exports from India Scheme` (MEIS) for incentivising export of specified goods to specified markets and ‘Services Exports from India Scheme’ (SEIS) for increasing exports of notified services from India.
  • The scrips can be used for payment of customs duty, excise duty and service tax. All duty credit scrips issued under both the schemes and the goods imported against these scrips are fully transferable.
11) To boost Indian economy India signed MoU with Germany.
  • Various Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) have been signed by Indian industries with Germany recently during Hannover Messe 2015
  • These MoUs are expected to increase FDI flows to India, bring in new technology, help growth of manufacturing sector and create employment opportunities in the country thereby boosting its economy. 
MoUs signed:
  1. Instrumentation Limited with KE Kauer Engineering, Germany for production of control valves. 
  2. Vikram Solar with Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.
  3. Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) with FT Machine Tools, Germany for collaborating on flow forming machines. 
  4. HMT with Enit GmbH, Germany for total Engineering Solutions. 
  5. Essel Group with Wind and Sun Technology Group/ FeCon GmbH to develop 12500 MW of Solar and 4000 MW of Wind Energy Projects in India. 
  6. Essel Group with with Passavant Energy and Environment (PE&E) for water and waste water treatment projects. 
  7. Essel Group with Fichtner GmbH & Co to provide comprehensive interdisciplinary range of engineering and consultancy services in areas of energy, water, sanitation, infrastructure, IT and consultancy on the implementation. 
  8. iPLON with Welspun Renewables in the area of Green Energy Commitment. 
12) Union Government approves GSAT-18 communication satellite and launch services.
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for building of the GSAT-18. This is a communication satellite, weighing about 3425 Kg, for providing replacement capacity.
  • The GSAT-18 spacecraft project will require a total budget of Rs. 1022 crore including launch services. All heritage proven bus system will be used to build the satellite in 30 months period. The satellite structure will be similar to the GSAT-10 satellite. 
  • The GSAT-18 spacecraft will provide replacement capacity supporting the existing television, telecommunication, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and VSAT services in the country. 
  • The GSAT-18 spacecraft will also augment and support the existing telecommunication, television, DSNG and VSAT services in the country.
  1. The proposal to build the GSAT-18 is part of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) efforts towards protecting services of existing users. 
13) Parliament passes Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013.
  • The parliament of India has passed the 119th constitutional amendment bill 2013, which now after the assent of the President will enter in to the statue book [as Constitution 100th Amendment Act 2015].
  • The 119th Constitution Amendment) Bill, 2013 was unanimously passed by the upper house, with 180 votes in favour and zero against it.
  • The Bill is to operationalise the Land Boundary Agreement with India and Bangladesh, and the exchange of certain enclaves of land between the two countries.
  • The Bill was earlier passed by the Union Cabinet and now includes territories in Assam along with those in West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya.
  • Now, the Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha and it will then be sent for President`s signature.
  • As it is the Constitutional Amendment Bill, It would require ratification of at least 50 per cent of the state legislatures before it comes into effect.
  • The bill’s passage will lead to an amendment in the first schedule of the Constitution and give effect to a May 1974 agreement between India and Bangladesh on acquisition and transfer of territories.
The 119th Amendment Bill 2013:
  1. The 119th constitutional amendment bill 2013 sought to ratify the land boundary agreement between the two countries. This amendment needed special majority in the parliament to get passed. The bill proposed to amend the 1st schedule of the constitution to exchange the disputed territories occupied by both the nations in accordance with the 1974 bilateral LBA.
Key features of Land Boundary Agreement:
  1. The LBA envisages a notional transfer of 111 Indian enclaves to Bangladesh in return of 51 enclaves to India. The area transferred to India is less than that transferred by India to Bangladesh.
  2. In totality India incurs a net loss in terms of area occupancy. This remained a major concern of opposition from the north-eastern affected states and west Bengal. Also, most of the area concerned is occupied by the tribal’s of the NE states and hence the swapping takes away their land rights leaving them more vulnerable.
14) Lok Sabha passed Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2014.
  • Lok Sabha passed Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2014. The Bill clearly defines and classifies offences as petty, serious and heinous, and defines differentiated processes for each category.
  • The amendment bill has introduced a new provision that disallows the protection from disqualification in cases where a juvenile is tried and convicted under the adult system.
  • The bill will allow children in the 16-18 age group to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes.
  • The bill will replace the existing Juvenile Justice Act, 2000. The bill states that in case a heinous crime has been committed by a person in the age group of 16-18 years it will be examined by a Juvenile Justice Board to assess if the crime was committed as a child or as an adult.
  • The Bill also seeks to consolidate and amend the law related to children alleged and found to be in conflict with law and children needing care and protection.
  • It also has provision for the establishment of Child Welfare Committees (CWC) in each district. The CWC will determine institutional care for juvenile in need of care and protection.
15) Union Cabinet approves amendment in Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved amendments in the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 to keep issues of national security out of its purview.
  • Decision in this regard was taken at Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The amendments accepted by the Union Cabinet to the parent Act are done with a view to incorporate necessary provisions that aim at strengthening safeguards against disclosures.
  • The amendment in the parent Act will strengthen the safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country and security of the state.
  • It also safeguards against disclosures which may affect strategic, scientific or economic interest of the state, relations with a foreign state or that leads to incitement of an offence.
About Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011:
  1. It establishes a mechanism to investigate alleged cases and register complaints on any allegations of corruption or willful misuse of power against a public servant.
  2. The Act also provides safeguards against victimization of the person who makes the complaint and gives statutory protection to whistle blowers in the country.
16) Union Government launched Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes.
  • The Union Ministry for Social Justice & Empowerment on launched the Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes. The scheme is being implemented by Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) Ltd.
  • A sum of 200 crore rupees was allocated towards Credit Enhancement Guarantee scheme for young and start-up entrepreneurs belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) to avail financial assistance. This allocation was made under Social Sector Initiatives to promote entrepreneurship among SCs.
  • The main objective of this scheme is to encourage entrepreneurship in the lower strata of the Society resulting in job creation besides creating confidence in Scheduled Castes.
  • Moreover, the Ministry also inaugurated the Commercial Motor Driving Training Programme with Self Defense Skills for 250 women organized by National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC).