National Current Affairs
April 3rd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Six parties unite to form Janata Parivar; Mulayam is the new party chief.
  • Six socialist parties merged to stave off a crushing defeat in the upcoming elections in Bihar this year, hoping to take on the BJP that has romped home in a string of state polls, except the Capital, after an emphatic Lok Sabha victory.
  • Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav will lead the so-called Janata Parivar combine but issues such as the name, flag and election symbol of the party will be finalised by a six-member committee, Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav said.
  • ``The Modi government has failed to meet the aspirations of the people. Not one election promise has been fulfilled. We have come together to defeat the communal designs of the BJP government and provide a national, secular alternative to the country``, Mulayam said after a 90-minute meeting.
  • Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Deve Gowda and SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav were among those named as members of the panel determining the structure of the alliance that also comprises the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Samajwadi Janata Party (Chandra Shekhar).
2) Justice A.R. Dave recused from Constitutional Bench hearing petitions challenging NJAC Act, 2014.
  • Justice A.R. Dave of the Supreme Court of India (SC) recused himself from five-judge Constitutional bench that was to hear a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014.
  • The act replaces the two-decade-old collegium system of judicial appointments with the NJAC.
  • Justice Dave, head of the Constitution Bench, took the decision following an objection from the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) and other petitioners.
  • SCAORA and other petitioners objected on the grounds of conflict of interest because of appointment of Justice AR Dave to the NJAC by virtue of being one of the two senior most judges of SC.
  • The NJAC Act, 2014, provides for constitution of NJAC comprising of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) as the chairperson, two senior most judges of the SC, Union Law Minister and two eminent personalities as members.
  • The present Constitutional Bench was formed by the CJI HL Dattu on the recommendation made by a three member SC bench headed by Justice AR Dave to litigate the petitions.
3) SC appoints CBI SP Vivek Priyadarshi as head of team probing IPL scandal.
  • Supreme Court has appointed Vivek Priyadarshi to head an investigating team to further probe the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 6 spot-fixing and betting scandals.
  • Decision in this regard was taken by a SC bench comprising Justices T.S. Thakur and F.M.I. Kalifulla. The bench took this decision on the recommendation of a three member panel headed by former Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha which was appointed in January 2015.
  • Vivek Priyadarshi currently is serving as Superintendent of Police (SP) in the anti-corruption cell of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He will succeed 1983-batch Assam-Meghalaya cadre IPS officer B B Mishra as the head of the probe team following his retirement.
  • SC also has given Priyadarshi liberty to form his own team and seek the services of police officers from the central and state governments as and when required to probe into this case. 

4) SC declared fundamental right to speech cannot be misused to abuse nationally revered figures.

  • The Supreme Court of India (SC) declared that the fundamental right to speech and expression as provided by the Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution should not be misused to abuse nationally revered figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Subash Chandra Bose.
  • The SC further stated that, one cannot resort to abusive language against historical figures in the guise of artistic expression to accentuate sensationalism.
  • The judgment was delivered by a SC bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant while hearing a plea of Vasant Dattatraya Gujar, who was facing criminal charges for writing an objectionable poem on Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The marathi poem, Gandhi Mala Bhetla Hota (I Met Gandhi), was published in the in-house magazine of the Bank of Maharashtra Employees Union in 1994. The poem depicts Gandhi as the narrator, who uses obscene language in the poem.
5) SC: Can’t issue guidelines to CBFC on how to assess a movie before allowing its release.
  • The Supreme Court of India (SC) declared that it cannot issue guidelines to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on how to assess a movie before allowing its release.
  • The SC declined to issue guidelines because of the following reasons.
  • The CBFC is an apex body consisting of experts from the film industry who are eligible to assess a movie.
  • Any aggrieved person is always at the liberty to approach the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) against the order of the CBFC under the Section 5C of Cinematograph Act, 1952.
  • The verdict was delivered by a SC bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu while hearing a plea filed by the Dharmaprachar Sabha appealing for revocation of the certificate issued by the CBFC to Singham Returns movie.
  • The litigants contended that the movie maligned certain religious and spiritual places while glorifying certain other religions.
6) Patel statue under green tribunal radar.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s grand plan to erect a giant statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the “Statue of Unity” expected to be the tallest in the world at 182 metres, on the Sadhu Bet Island on the Narmada near Vadodara, has come under National Green Tribunal scrutiny.
  • The tribunal has asked Gujarat to file a reply before May 8 to allegations of irregularities in the project made by activists.
  • A group of environmental activists from Gujarat has filed a petition with National Green Tribunal seeking a stay on the construction of the proposed 182 metre Sardar Patel Statue on Sadhu Bet Island on the Narmada.
  • The State has taken time to file a reply, and we are expecting it by May 8 when the petition will be heard again,” Lara Jesani, lawyer representing the petitioners, told.
  • The activist said the project had not obtained the mandatory permissions required under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification.
  • Moreover, the site was on an active tectonic plate in a fault line area.

7) Income Tax Department Awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration.

  • The Income Tax Department has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration’ for ‘Easy Tax Compliance through Quality Service.
  • The award was presented by the Prime Minister on Civil Services Day.
  • The award has been conferred to the Income Tax Department for setting-up and for successful implementation of end to end solution of core services.
  • The services include
  • e-governance initiatives i.e. viz. Tax Information Network (TIN).
  • e-filing portal.
  • Centralized Processing Cell (CPC-TDS) for processing of TDS statements.
  • Centralized Processing Centre (CPC) for processing of Income Tax Returns and the Refund Banker.
About TDS:
  1. Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) is a means of collecting income tax in India, governed under the Indian Income Tax Act of 1961.
  2. Any payment covered under these provisions shall be paid after deducted prescribed percentage.
  3. It is managed by the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT) and is part of the Department of Revenue managed by Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
  4. In the financial year 2014-15, more than 94% of the tax returns have been filed on-line, while more than 80% of the direct tax revenue is being received online.
  5. The TDS statements are processed within a week, the tax returns are being processed within an average period of 30 days.
8) Union Railway ministry Launches `E-Samiksha` of Railways for Monitoring Implementation of Budget Annoucements.
  • The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched ‘E-Samiksha’ for monitoring the implementation of budget announcements/ commitments.
  • This portal would help to keep an eye on the implementation of budget commitments.
About E-Samiksha:
  1. E-Samiksha is a real time, on-line system for monitoring of follow-up action on the decisions taken during the presentations made by different Ministries/Departments to the Prime Minister.
  2. This system can also be configured to review the follow up action in respect of other meetings, if required.
  3. Computerization and Information System (C&IS) of Railway Board in coordination with NIC and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) have developed the software for E–Samiksha.
9) BSNL employees on a two day strike.
  • Employees and officials of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited commenced a two-day strike as part of the nation-wide agitation in support of their 20-point charter of demands.
  • The demands included
  • supply of the required equipment to BSNL.
  • dropping of the move for merger of BSNL and the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).
  • provision of adequate financial grants for the development of BSNL.
  • issuing orders to the central government and public sector organisations to utilise the services of BSNL.
  • immediate commencement of 4G service by BSNL.
  • compensation for the losses sustained by BSNL in its rural operations.
  • recruitment of staff.
  • allotment of free bandwidth to BSNL, and return by the central government of the Rs. 6700 crores given by BSNL for spectrum allocation.
10) Railway minister launches `utsonmobile` app.
  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu introduced from Delhi, the mobile app for paperless unreserved ticketing for commuters in Egmore and Tambram suburban sections in Chennai under Southern Railway zone.
  • Payment for the ticket is done through the “railway wallet” feature in the app. After booking the ticket, the passenger will get ticket confirmation screen, which will contain limited information about the ticket.
  • The passenger has to use the ticket within an hour of booking the ticket as per the policy of suburban sections.
11) Mission `Save Her` launched for human trafficking statistics.
  • Indian American pop singer Reggie Benjamin and Tollywood Actor Krishna Madhav launched the Mission `Save Her` at the Prasad Film Labs in Hyderabad.
  • Benjamin was moved by the news of rapes in India and delved into the rape and trafficking statistics. He said that a women is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes in the USA, raped every 22 minutes in India.
12) The Mysuru Urban Development Authority (Muda) launched online facilities which enable property owners to get khatas and building plan approval.
  • With the new facilities, officials have to clear files on seniority basis, unlike the present practice.
  • About:
  • Every day, Muda receives nearly 20 applications for khatas. Many suffer due to delay in receiving khatas or building clearance certificates.
  • The move is aimed at eliminating undue delay or harassment by officials. Hereafter, files will have to be cleared on a priority without which officials cannot take up another file. Property owners can apply online at Spandana Centre on Muda campus.
13) Amendments proposed for Juvenile Act cleared.
  • The Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to try juveniles in the age group of 16 to 18 years who are accused of heinous crimes under laws for adults.
  • According to which, juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years can be tried under IPC if they are accused of heinous crimes.
  • The proposed law states that if a person aged between 16-18 years is accused of a heinous crime, the case will be examined by the Juvenile Justice Board to assess if the crime was committed as a “child” or as an “adult”.
  • The new legislation also proposes to streamline the adoption procedures for orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children by establishing “a statutory status for the Child Adoption Resources Authority (CARA)”.