National Current Affairs
April 1st Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Union Government launches FAME-India scheme to boost electric, hybrid vehicle sales.

  • Union Government launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) – India Scheme.
  • The scheme was launched as part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility to boost eco-friendly vehicles sales in the country.
Facts about FAME India scheme:
  1. Objective: To support the hybrid or electric vehicles market development and its manufacturing eco-system in the country in order to achieve self-sustenance in stipulated period.
  2. The overall scheme is proposed to be implemented over a period next 6 years i.e. till 2020.
  3. It envisages providing Rs. 795 crore support till 2020 for the manufacturing and sale of electric and hybrid vehicles.
  4. It also seeks to provide demand incentives to electric and hybrid vehicles from two-wheeler to buses.
  5. Implementation: It will be implemented in phases. The Phase-1 will be implemented over a two year period in FY15-16 and FY16-17.
  6. Based on the outcome and experience from the Phase-1, it will be reviewed for implementation after 31 March 2017. Then appropriate fund will be allocated for future.
  7. Four focus areas of scheme: Technology development, Pilot Projects, Demand Creation and Charging Infrastructure. In the first two years Rs. 260 crore and Rs. 535 crore will be spent on the focus areas.
2) Union Cabinet approves amendments to the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973.
  • Union Cabinet gave its approval for the amendment of the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The approved amendments in parent act aims at improving the quality of homeopathy education in the country to provide better healthcare through the homeopathy system of medicine.
  • The amendments will add provisions related to granting permission by Union Government to all homoeopathic medical colleges for continuing courses to impart quality education.
Amendments approved:
  • Union Government’s permission is being made mandatory for all the homoeopathy colleges to undertake annual admissions.
  • Union Government can give permission for 5 years to homoeopathy colleges which conform to the prescribed standards as specified in the Act.
  1. The existing provisions of parent Act do not empower Union Government to stop admissions in existing homoeopathy colleges which are not conforming to standards specified in the Act. Thus, comprising the quality of homoeopathy education.

3) Union Government unveils new Foreign Trade Policy.

  • Union Government has unveiled new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) to make India an exporting powerhouse in the next five years.
  • The new trade policy will incorporate government ambitious initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India mission, Skill India programme, ease of business in order to boost jobs and take India’s exports to 900 billion dollars by 2020.
  • The goals of the new policy will be achieved by simplifying complex procedures, addressing infrastructural bottlenecks and eliminating manufacturing hurdles.
Focus areas of the new FTP are:
  1. Labour intensive sectors to generate more employment.
  2. Boosting to environment-friendly products.
  3. High tech value addition.
  4. Involving skill India programme to promote entrepreneurship.
  5. Moving towards branding of products.
  6. Incentives for units located in SEZs.
  7. Making the life of traders easier.
Key facts:
  1. FTP also takes into consideration e-commerce. Under the new policy, India’s nascent, e-commerce sector would also be extended sops.
  2. The new trade policy will be based on two new schemes- Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Exports from India Scheme (SIES). Under these two schemes, government has merged all earlier export promotion schemes.
  3. MEIS is for export of specified goods in specified markets with the rate of rewards range from 2 to 5%. SIES is for increasing exports of notified services and the selected services will be rewarded at the rates of 3 to 5%.
  4. The new also move towards paperless working. In this regard, a facility has been created to upload documents in exporter/ importer profile in order to avoid need of repeatedly submitting documents.
4) President Pranab Mukherjee gives assent to re-promulgation of Land Ordinance.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to re-promulgate the Land Acquisition Ordinance as per Article 123 of Constitution.
  • Earlier, in this regard Union Cabinet had made a recommendation to President as present Land Acquisition Ordinance promulgated in December 2014 is going to lapse on 5 April. 
  • The new ordinance includes 9 amendments that were part of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
  • Lok Sabha had passed the bill in the budget session in March 2015. However, the bill is pending before the Rajya Sabha, where government is in minority.
  • Earlier, President had prorogued the 234th session of the Rajya Sabha in order to pave the way for re-issuing of the Ordinance as per provisions of Constitution.
Article 123 of Constitution:
  1. It gives legislative power to President. He can issue ordinances when Parliament is in recess i.e. not in session if there is urgent need to have a law on some urgent public matter.
  2. The ordinance has similar effect to an act of parliament. However, every ordinance must be laid and approved by both houses of the parliament within 6 weeks from the reassembling.
  3. If not placed and approved by both houses of the parliament after reassembling it becomes invalid or lapses.
5) 88th Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan begins in Ghumaan, Punjab.
  • 88th Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan (All India Marathi Sahitya Sammelan) began in Ghumaan village in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.
  • It was inaugurated by Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari along with the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The three-day long sammelan is dedicated to Marathi Saint Bhagat Namdev (Sant Namdeo). In this conference large contingent of Marathi litterateurs is going to take part.
  • The President of 88th Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan is Dr. Sadanand More. Apart from inaugurated the sammelan, foundation stone of Bhagat Namdev Degree College was also laid in the Ghumaan village.
  • Village Ghumaan is the place where Marathi Saint Bhagat Namdev had spent 18 years of his life and gave valuable teachings to the society.
  • It is believed that in Ghuman, Sant Namdeo had composed his shlokas in Awadhi, Marathi and Punjabi. His 61 shabads were included in Holy Scripture of the Sikhs i.e. in Guru Granth Sahib.
6) Union Government extends National Food Security Act deadline by 6 months.
  • Union Government again has extended rolling out deadline for National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 by six months.
  • It was announced by Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in order to give more time to states to roll out NFSA. The extension will help remaining states adopt and implement the law within next six months.
  • It is third time, this deadline has been extended and the second deadline was to end on 4 April 2015.
  • So far only 11 states and Union Territories (UTs) have implemented NFSA which was passed by Parliament in September 2013. Remaining 25 states/UTs have not implemented it yet.
  • 11 states and UTs that have implemented NFSA fully or partially are- Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi and Chandigarh.
Facts about National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013:
  1. NFSA aims at providing legal entitlement to 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains to the identified person per month.
  2. Grains like wheat, rice and coarse grain will be distributed at the price of Three Rs. 3, Rs. 2 and Rs. 1.
  3. Pregnant women and lactating mothers and children are entitled to get meals under the prescribed nutrition by MDM and ICDS. The age group would be 6 months to 14 years.
  4. NFSA 2013 will provide high nutrition food to the age group of 6 years.
  5. Pregnant women and lactating mothers will be entitled to get maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
7) Union Government launches `Give it up` movement in Karnataka.
  • Union Government formally launched the ‘Give It Up’ movement in Karnataka. It was launched by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradan.
  • The movement appeals to the rich people to voluntarily give up their subsidy amount given on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders.
  • The money surrendered under this movement will be utlised for poor to get LPG connection in rural as well as in urban areas who are still using firewood for cooking.
  • Earlier in this regard, Give it Up campaign was launched Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the annual energy-focussed summit Urja Sangam 2015. During this summit, Prime Minister had asked companies and banks to encourage their employees to give up the subsidy on LPG.
  • PM also had mentioned that Give it Up campaign should be taken up on the lines of Union Governments initiatives like Swacch Bharat and Beti Bachao - Beti Padhao.


8) MoU inked for construction of BR Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills land.

  • A three party MoU was signed between Union Ministry of Textiles, Maharashtra government and National Textile Corporation for transfer of land for construction of the memorial for Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar memorial in Mumbai.
  • The MoU was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union textile minister Santosh Gangwar in New Delhi.
The Summary of Agreement:
  1. Pave the way for construction of memorial on the 12 acre land adjacent to the Chaityabhoomi in the Indu Mills Compound which belongs to the National Textiles Corporation (NTC).
  2. Facilitate the transfer the land of NTC to the state government as per section 11 of The Textile Undertakings Nationalization Act-1995 which mentions that it can be transferred with prior permission of Union government.
  3. The memorial will be constructed on the site where the last rites of architect of the Indian Constitution, Bharat Ratna Dr Ambedkar were performed after he had died on December 6, 1956.
9) Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches National Air Quality Index to give pollution information.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched National Air Quality Index (AQI) to give pollution information on real time basis.
  • Initially the new index will cover 10 cities. They are Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Agra, Faridabad, Varanasi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Later it will be extended to more than 60 cities with a population exceeding one million.
Facts about National Air Quality Index (AQI):
  1. AQI will be used to inform people about daily air quality in turn it will provide advisories on health consequences.
  2. It will also tell how clean or polluted the air is and what associated health effects.
  3. The AQI has been developed for six pollutants- nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ozone, Particle Pollution (PM) 2.5, PM10 and carbon monoxide.
  4. The new AQI is hosted on the website of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
10) Divorced Muslim women entitled for maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC: SC.
  • The Supreme Court (SC) of India said that divorced Muslim women are entitled to seek maintenance from their ex-husbands. They are entitled for maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which provides the same relief to wives, children and parents.
  • The apex court upheld a family court`s order of directing a man to pay 4000 rupees as maintenance to his divorced wife and said that right to maintenance of a wife under Section 125 of the CrPC was absolute and no exceptions could be made. The rule would also apply to divorced Muslim women as well.
  • It further said that the amount of maintenance to be awarded under Section 125 of CrPC cannot be restricted for the iddat period (three months) only as the inherent and fundamental principle behind Section 125 is amelioration of financial state of affairs.
  • Also, it said that an order under Section 125 CrPC can be passed if a person, despite having sufficient means, neglects or refuses to maintain the wife.
What is the case?
  1. The case relates to ill-treatment of Shamima Farooqui by her husband Shahid Khan, an Army personnel, who divorced her and later remarried.
  2. She filed a case against her husband seeking maintenance in a family court in 1998; however, her application was taken up in 2012. The family court ruled in her favour and initially granted her 2000 rupees per month and later 4000 rupees per month after it found that she had no other means of supporting herself.
11) SC asked Union Government to re-visit Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.
  • The Supreme Court (SC) of India asked the Union Government to re-examine the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and make it more stringent at least in cases pertaining to heinous crimes like rape and murder.
  • Further, the apex court noted that a juvenile cannot get away by claiming that he is too young to understand the consequences of his crime and a message had to be sent that the victim`s life was equally important.
  • The court also noted the number of cases against juveniles had spiked, a statement backed by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which says the number of rapes committed by juveniles jumped by a massive 300 percent and juvenile crime rose by 78 percent in the last decade.
  • In this light, it asked the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to consult competent authorities and suggest to it whether the relevant laws can be re-looked, re-scrutinised and re-visited so that it has a deterrent effect.
About the JJ Act, 2000:
  1. The demand to amend the JJ Act gained momentum after the brutal Nirbhaya case of December 2012 in which the most brutal offender out of six was below 18 but was given only three years of punishment.
  2. The Act defines a juvenile who is 16 years old and provides for children-sensitive approach towards prevention and treatment of underage offenders. 
  3. Under the existing law, a juvenile convict is not sent to jail but tried by a board with the maximum punishment being three years in an observation home, a provision that critics say is too lenient for serious offenses.
12) CCEA approves strengthening and widening of three sections of highways connecting Varanasi and Madurai.
  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved strengthening and widening of three sections connecting the two temple towns of Varanasi and Madurai.
  • CCEA approved four laning of Sultanpur-Varanasi section of National Highway-56 in Uttar Pradesh- This project will upgrade 138 km long stretch NH-56 at the cost of 3,800 crore rupees. It will substantially upgrade Varanasi’s connectivity to Lucknow and other parts of Central UP.
  • Varanasi to Ghazipur, Gorakhpur and Nepal section of NH- 29 in UP- This project will upgrade 200 km long stretch NH- 29 at the cost of 4,400 crore rupees. It will improve regional connectivity and facilitate improved movement of people and goods in the region and across the border.
  • Madurai-Ramanathapuram section of NH- 49 in Tamil Nadu- This project will upgrade 115 km long stretch NH- 49 at the cost of 1,400 crore rupees. It will be undertaken under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-III.