National Current Affairs
May 2nd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Prime Minister releases commemorative coin on Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a commemorative coin to mark the birth centenary of Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati in New Delhi.
  • The Hindu spiritual leader and teacher inspired the formation of Chinmaya Mission, a worldwide nonprofit organisation, to spread the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta, the non dual system of thought found in the Upanishads, which epitomise the philosophical teachings of the Vedas.
  • Advaita Vedanta is the nondual system of thought found in the Upanishads, which epitomise the philosophical teachings of the Vedas.
About Swami Chinmayananda:
  1. He was born as Balakrishna Menon on 8 May 1916.
  2. He was known for teaching Bhagavad gita, the Upanishads, and other ancient Hindu scriptures.
  3. Since 1951, he had spearheaded a global Hindu spiritual and cultural renaissance that popularised the religion’s esoteric scriptural texts and also taught them in English all across India and abroad.
  4. He had authored around 95 publications that mostly include commentaries on the major Upanishads and Bhagavad gita.
  5. He was also a visiting professor of Indian philosophy at several American and Asian universities. He also had conducted university lecture tours in many countries.
  6. He died on 3 August 1993 at age 77 in San Diego, California of United States.
2) Lok Sabha passed Repealing and Amending Bill, 2015.
  • Lok Sabha gave its nod for the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2015 which seeks to repeal 36 archaic laws either partially or entirely as they have ceased to be in force or have become obsolete
  • With this, the bill has been passed by both the houses of Parliament as Rajya Sabha passed the bill on 5 May 2015.
  • Out of the 36 acts, four acts will be repealed entirely. These include The Indian Fisheries Act, 1897, The Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1947 and The Sugar Undertakings (Taking over of Management) Act, 1978.
  • The remaining 32 Acts that are being repealed are amendments to principal Acts. These include amendments to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Anand Marriage Act, 1909 the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 among others.
  • A similar bill, the Repealing and Amending (Second) Bill, 2014 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 8 December 2014 and is lying with the Rajya Sabha. It is sought to repeal 90 laws and pass amendments to two laws. Out of 90 laws, 88 laws will be repealed completely.


3) PM Modi to unveil 3 social security schemes in Kolkata.

  • Minister Narendra Modi launched three mega social security schemes in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • Three schemes intend to widen the process of financial inclusion in the country include Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
1. Atal Pension Yojana (APY):
  • Under APY scheme, the pension subscribers will receive a fixed minimum monthly pension ranging from 1,000 rupees to 5,000 rupees at the age of 60 years.
  • The fixed minimum monthly pension will be depending on the contributions subscribers.
  1. Union Government will co-contribute 50 percent of the total contribution of subscriber for a period of 5 years.
  • Subscribers must have bank account and should not be members of any statutory social security scheme and or Income Tax payers.
  • The minimum age of joining: 18 years and maximum age is 40 years.
  • Focus of APY: To target unorganised sector workers.
  1. The pension will also be available to the spouse on the death of the subscriber and thereafter, the pension corpus would be returned to the nominee.
  2. Subscriber and Enrolment Payment: It will auto-debited from the accounts account holders depending upon selected monthly pension range.
  3. Enrolment agencies: Subscribers will be enrolled through institutional architecture of National Pension System by all Points of Presence (Service Providers) and Aggregators under Swavalamban Scheme.
Operational Framework of APY:
  • It will be administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
2. Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana (PMJJBY):
  • Under the PMJJBY, the insurance subscriber will get an annual life insurance in case of death.
  1. Available any person in the age group of 18 to 50 years having a bank account.
  2. Risk Coverage:
  3. 2 Lakh rupees in case of death due to any reason.
  4. Payment Mode of premium:
  5. 330 rupees per annum will be directly auto-debited by the bank from the subscribers account.
  6. Implementation of Scheme:
  7. Will be offered by Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and all other life insurers who are willing tie-up with banks for the purpose of joining the scheme.
3. Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY):
  • Under the PMSBY, the insurance subscriber will get annual life insurance in case of accidental death, partial disability or full disability.
  1. Available to any person in the age group 18 to 70 years.
  2. Any person having Aadhaar number linked bank account can join the scheme.
  3. He/she must give a simple form to the bank every year before 1st of June. In the form name of nominee also must be given.
Risk Coverage:
  1. For accidental death and full disability– 2 Lakh rupees.
  2. For partial disability – 1 Lakh rupees.
  3. Payment Mode of premium: 12 rupees per annum will be directly auto-debited by the bank from the subscribers account in case of long-term option.
  4. Implementation of Scheme: Will be offered by all Public Sector General Insurance Companies and all other insurers who are willing tie-up with banks for the purpose of joining the scheme.
4) Opening of University in South Kashmir.
  • As per the provisions of the Constitution, Education as a subject is on the Concurrent List (List III) of the Seventh Schedule. So central government and state government are agreed to establish central university in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • By recognizing the needs of higher education, the Central Government has launched the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
  • Based on the State Higher Education Plan (SHEP) submitted by the state of Jammu & Kashmir under RUSA, the Central Government has approved setting up of two universities by clustering of colleges at Srinagar and Jammu.
About Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan:
  1. Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) "National Higher Education Mission" is a holistic scheme of development for higher education in India initiated in 2013 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  2. The centrally sponsored scheme aims at providing strategic funding to higher educational institutions throughout the country.
  3. Funding is provided by the central ministry through the state governments and union territories (UT), which in coordination with the central Project Appraisal Board will monitor the academic, administrative and financial advancements taken under the scheme.
Objectives of RUSA:
  1. RUSA aims to provide equal development to all higher institutions and rectify weaknesses in the higher education system. Its target achievement is to raise the gross enrolment ratio to 32% by the end of XII Plan in 2017.
  2. Improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities of higher education to SC/STs and socially and educationally backward classes.

5) Modi dedicates India`s largest blast furnace plant to nation.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the upgraded IISCO Steel Plant (ISP), that houses the country`s largest blast furnace and has been modernised by the central government at a cost of Rs. 16,000 crore.
  • After modernisation, the plant`s production capacity has increased from 0.85 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 2.9 mtpa.
6) LS passes Black Money Bill with.
  • The Lok Sabha passed a tough bill imposing heavy penalties for stashing black money abroad.
  • Introduced in the Lok Sabha by finance minister Arun Jaitley, the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015, seeks to impose a 120% of tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income besides a jail term of up to 10 years.
  • Under the proposed law, there would be a short compliance window within which persons with undisclosed income abroad can come clean by paying 30 per cent tax and 30 per cent penalty.
  • Once the window closes, anyone found having undeclared overseas wealth would be required to pay 30 per cent tax, 90 per cent penalty and face criminal prosecution.
  • There could be a two-month window to declare overseas assets and income and a six-month period to pay tax and penalty.
7) Bill on GST referred to select Commiittee.
  • A Constitution Amendment Bill providing for roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was referred to a select committee, which consists of 21 members.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the motion for referring the Bill (The Constitution 122 Amendment Bill, 2014) to the Select Committee.
The Committee is headed by Bhupender Yadav:
  1. The committee members are Chandan Mitra and Ajay Sancheti (of BJP), Madhusudan Mistry, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Bhalchandra Mungekar (of Congress), Naresh Agrawal (SP), K.C. Tyagi (JD-U), Derek O`Brien (Trinamool Congress), Satish Chandra Misra (BSP), A. Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK), K.N. Balagopal (CPI-M), Dilip Kumar Tirkey (BJD), C.M. Ramesh (TDP), Praful Patel (NCP), Kanimozhi (DMK), Anil Desai (Shiv Sena), Naresh Gujral (SAD), Mohammad Fayaz (PDP), D. Raja (CPI), Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Independent).
  2. AIADMK was the only party to have declared its opposition to the economic reform measure 
8) Approval to move official amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012.
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for moving official amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012.
The Official Amendments along with the Amendment Bill 2012 proposes to make the following salient amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986:
  • Employment of children below 14 years prohibited in all occupations and processes and age of prohibition of employment linked to age under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. 
Exceptions are:
  1. Where the child helps his family or family enterprises, which is other than any hazardous occupations or processes set forth in the Schedule, after his school hours or during vacations.
  2. Where the child works as an artist in an audio-visual entertainment industry, including advertisement, films, television serials or any such other entertainment or sports activities except the circus, such work does not affect the school education of the child.
  3. A new definition of adolescent has been introduced in the CLPR Act and employment of adolescents (14 to 18 years of age) has been prohibited in hazardous occupations and processes. These provisions would go a long way in protecting adolescents from the employment not suitable to their age.
Stricter punishment for employers for violation of the Act has been proposed to act as a deterrent: 
  1. In case of first offence of employing any child or adolescent in contravention of the Act, penalty would be imprisonment for a term not less than six months but which may extend to two years or with fine not less than Rs. 20,000, but which may extend to Rs. 50,000 or with both.
  2. In case of a second or subsequent offence of employing any child or adolescent in contravention of the Act, the minimum imprisonment would be one year which may extend to three years.
  3. Punishment for parents/ guardians: In the Principal Act, the same punishment was provided for parents/ guardians for permitting a child to work in contravention of the Act, the penalty would be a fine which may extend to Rs. 10,000.
  • The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act (CLPR Act) 1986 prohibits employment of a child in 18 occupations and 65 processes and regulates the conditions of working of children in other occupations/ processes.
9) Negotiable Instruments Amendment Bill passed in Lok Sabha.
  • The Lok Sabha passed the negotiable Instruments Bill and it mainly aims at making filing of cases more convenient for payees if cheques bounce.
  • It was passed by a voice vote and it necessitated due to a Supreme Court order that cases those having defaulted on their cheque.
  • The Negotiable Instruments Bill 2015 was passed by a voice vote, with Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha he insisted that it would boost the “integrity of financial system” and not lead to the harassment of the common man.
  • The courts were currently dealing with 21 lakh cheque bounce cases with 259 courts hearing them exclusively.
10) Union minister Najma Heptullah launches USTAD scheme in Varanasi.
  • The USTAD, a welfare scheme aimed at upgrading and promoting the skills of artisans from the minority community was launched by Union Minority affairs Minister Najma Heptulla in Varanasi, Uttara Pradesh.
  • USTAAD means Upgradation of Skills and Training in Ancestral Arts/ Crafts for Development, aimed at minorities.
  • It linked to the Make in India campaign and it is the first scheme being drafted for the minorities.
11) India Pavilion at Cannes film festival was inaugurated Rajyavardhan Rathore.
  • The India Pavilion at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival was inaugurated by Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
  • India had signed co-production agreements with certain countries and five co-productions have been undertaken with France.
  • He also unveiled the 46th IFFI, 2015 regulations and India film guide.
  • The India’s Gurvinder Singh`s film Chauthi Koot (Punjabi) and Neeraj Ghaywan`s Masaan are chosen to be screened in the official Uncertain regard section of the Jamboree.
12) The Climate Change Action Plan 2015-2020 of Gujarat State was approved Union Government.
  • The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) approved the Gujarat State Climate Change Action Plan 2015-2020.
  • This plan was prepared by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
Objects of the climate change action plan:
  1. To create public health projects, environment-friendly water resource management.
  2. Forest and environment improvement projects.
  3. Agriculture improvement projects.
  4. For this the state government proposed to invest more than 21,000 crore rupees in the action plan by 2020.
13) Digging of borewells deeper than 200 feet banned in Maharashtra.
  • Maharashtra government has decided to ban digging of borewells beyond 200 feet to check the steep decline in ground water level.
  • And violators, in repeated offence will face a fine of Rs. 25,000 or imprisonment of six months.
  • The move is part of governments ambitious water conservation project Jalayukta Shivar Yojana, which makes 5,000 villages in the state drought-free in one year.
14) Soil health Cards were issued by Punjab govt to all farmers for the first time.
  • Agriculture Department of Punjab launched an ambitious program to monitor the soil health of every farm in the state by issuing them personalised soil health card.
  • Under this every district has assigned one mobile soil testing lab that would take soil sample from every form and issue a digitalized soil health card with centralized data of central server of the department.
  • Each health card holder to be issued written advisory on usage of fertilisers and seeds adaptability.