National Current Affairs
March 2nd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) On International Women`s Day, calender featuring acid attack survivors launched.

  • A unique calender featuring acid attack survivors is being launched in the national capital to mark International Women`s Day.
  • Shot in the backdrop of Taj Mahal in Agra, 11 women overcome their fear and were a part of it.
2) Govt to recruit women officers in ITBP for the first time.
  • The Union Home Ministry has given in-principle approval for recruitment of women officers in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
  • A specialized mountain force that guards the 3,488 km India-China border at high altitudes along the Himalayan ranges.
  • The Ministry is soon expected to amend the recruitment rules, following which the Union Public Service Commission will advertise recruitment of women officers of the Assistant Commandant rank.
3) Government to establish cross cultural linkages with 39 Indian Ocean Countries under Project Mausam.
  • The Government has proposed to establish cross cultural linkages and to revive historic maritime cultural and economic ties under ‘Project Mausam’ with 39 Indian Ocean countries.
  • The 39 countries include Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Iraq, Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand, Yemen, South Africa, Philippines, Pakistan among others.
  • Project ‘Mausam’ was launched in the 30th Session of World Heritage Committee meeting which was held at Doha, Quatar.
  • Archaeological Survey of India in collaboration with State Govt.of Kerala organized a National Conference on Project ‘Mausam’ in Kochi.
4) Digital Gender Atlas for Girls’ Education in India Launched. 
  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of School Education and Literacy, presented the Digital Gender Atlas for Advancing Girls’ Education in India.
  • The tool, which has been developed with the support of UNICEF, will help identify low performing geographic pockets for girls, particularly from marginalised groups such as scheduled castes, schedule tribes and Muslim minorities, on specific gender related education indicators.
Components of the Digital Gender Atlas:
  1. Composite Gender Ranking.
  2. Trend Analysis of Gender Indicators.
  3. Vulnerabilities based on educational indicators in districts with substantial tribal, schedule caste.
Composite Gender Ranking:
  • Selected gender related indicators have been identified for primary, upper primary and secondary education.
  • A composite gender index has been developed using the formulae that are used for calculating the EDI in DISE.
Trend Analysis for Gender Related Indicators:
  • The Atlas enables a trend analysis and tracking of performance of individual gender related indicators (that have been used for the composite gender ranking) across a period of three years.
  • Vulnerabilities
  • Rural female literacy – from Census 2011.
  • Percentage girls/boys married below the legal age of marriage – DLHS.
  • Working children (bifurcated by gender and age groups of 5-14 years and 15-19 years – Census of India 2011.
5) News schemes PRASAD and SWADESH DARSHAN launched by the government.
  • In pursuance of the budget announcement 2014-15, the Ministry of Tourism has launched two new plan schemes.
  • (1) “National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD)”.
  • (2) ``SWADESH DARSHAN``.
  • Both the schemes are to be implemented in mission mode. Developing world-class infrastructure in the respective destinations/ circuits is one of the mission objectives of the schemes. 
  • Under PRASAD, initially, twelve cities namely Amritsar, Ajmer, Amaravati, Dwaraka, Gaya, Kanchipuram, Kedarnath, Kamakhya, Mathura, Puri, Varanasi and Vellankani have been identified for development. 

6) Lok Sabha passes Land Acquisition Bill with nine amendments.

  • The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015, popularly known as the land bill, was adopted by the Lok Sabha.
  • The Land Acquisition (amendment) Bill seeks to ratify an ordinance or emergency executive order which was passed on 29 December 2015.
Nine amended provisions which were accepted includes:
  1. Removed exemptions for Social Infrastructure Projects in public-private-partnership mode.
  2. Land that will be acquired for industrial corridors will be limited to one kilometre on either side of highways and railway lines.
  3. Compulsory employment will be provided to one member of a farming family that is selling its land.
  4. A hassle-free grievance redressal mechanism of land losers will be put in place.
  5. Farmers may get right to appeal/complain over land acquisition hearing and redressal of grievances at the district level.
  6. Ceiling on land for acquisition in industrial corridors.
  7. Panchayat`s nod may be mandatory for acquiring tribal land.
  8. Government may acquire land for government bodies, corporations.
  9. Term private entity was replaced with private enterprise.
7) Delhi High Court terms Attorney General of India as public-authority under RTI Act.
  • High Court (HC) of Delhi said that the office of the Attorney General of India falls under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. The court said that the Attorney General is not merely a lawyer for the government, but also is a Constitutional Authority.
  • Justice Vibhu Bakhru headed bench of Delhi HC while reversing the decision of the Central Information Commission (CIC) held that the office of Attorney General (AG) is a public authority within the meaning of section 2(h) of the RTI Act. This is because functions performed by the AG under Article 76 (2) of the Constitution of India are in the nature of public functions.
  • The judgment was made by High Court while hearing two separate plea filed by RTI activists Subhash Chandra Agarwal and RK Jain. The two RTI activists had challenged the CIC ruling and urged the court to declare AG office answerable to RTI Act.
8) Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs released the data of top ten Corporate of 2014.
  • Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs released data of top ten Corporate of 2014. The pack of top ten corporate comprises of eight public sector undertakings and two private sector undertakings.
  • In term of assets, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is the largest corporate with assets worth 3.68 lakh crore rupees. RIL is followed by state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) with assets worth 2.52 lakh crore rupees and mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC) with assets worth 2.25 lakh crore rupees.
  • Other entities in the top ten are Power Finance Corporation (4), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) (5), Rural Electrification Corporation (devil), Power Grid Corporation (7), LIC Housing Finance (music), Steel Authority of India Limited (9) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (10).

9) High Court’s cannot entertain plea against Armed Forces Tribunal: Supreme Court.

  • Supreme Court has barred High Courts (HCs) from entertaining pleas under writ jurisdiction against the verdicts of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) in disputes pertaining to Armed forces.
  • SC ruling also set aside the order of Delhi High Court which had allowed the writ petition against army personnel.
  • This judgment was given by two member SC bench comprising of Justices SJ Mukhopadhaya and NV Ramana.
  • The SC bench was hearing a bunch of appeals that had questioned whether the right of appeal under Section 30 of the Armed Forces Tribunal (ATF) Act, 2007 against an order of the Tribunal. It also questioned whether it will bar the jurisdiction of the HC under Article 226 of the Constitution regarding matters related to Armed Forces.
10) Union Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers launched Pharma Jan Samadhan scheme.
  • The Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers Ananth Kumar launched the Pharma Jan Samadhan scheme. It is a web enabled system for redressal of consumers’ grievances relating to pricing and availability of medicines.
  • The system was created by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA). The ministry also released Compendium of Ceiling Prices of Essential Medicines 2015 prepared by NPPA.
  • Pharma Jan Samadhan scheme:
  • The Pharma Jan Samadhan scheme will put in place a speedy and effective complaint redressal system with respect to availability and pricing of medicines.
  • It will serve as a robust e-governance tool for protection of consumers’ interests through effective implementation of the Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013.
  • It will provide consumers with an on-line facility to redress their complaints relating to over-pricing of medicines, non-availability or shortage of medicines, sale of new medicines without prior price approval of NPPA, and refusal of supply for sale of any medicine without good and sufficient reason.
  • Once the complaint is redressed, NPPA will initiate action on the complaint within 48 hrs of its receipt.
11) Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the restored North-South Rail link of Sri Lanka.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14 March 2015 flagged off the first train from Thalaimannar to Madhu Road in North Sri Lanka.
  • It marks the completion and restoration of the prestigious project of Indian Railways to restore the North-South Rail link of Sri Lanka after decades of civil war. The North-South Rail link was completely destroyed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) militants during the civil war in 1980s.
Key facts:
  1. The rail project connects the Sri Lanka’s Jaffna province to capital Colombo and a branch line connects Thalaimannar to the main rail line.
  2. The project has been implemented by Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) International, a subsidiary of Indian Railways.
  3. Indian Government had provided line of credit to this project as part of India’s bid to establish better connectivity between SAARC nations.
  4. This project will also play significant role in establishing connectivity between both nations as ferry service soon will be started from north-western Sri Lankan town of Talaimannar (the closest point to India) and Rameshwaram.
  5. Law Commission Report pitches for stronger Election Commission.
12) Law Commission of India in its 255th report on electoral reform has pitched for stronger Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • The report was submitted to Ministry of Law and Justice by Law Commission Chairman Justice A P Shah.
Recommendations of 255th Report of Law Commission with respect to ECI:
  1. Appointments of Chief Election Commissioners (CEC) and all Election Commissioners (ECs) - It should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium or selection committee.
  2. The collegium or committee shall consist of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha) and the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
  3. Seniority based elevation- The elevation of an EC should be on the basis of seniority. If senior EC is not appointed due to unfit reasons, the three member collegium or a committee give reasons in writing.
  4. Equal constitutional protection to all members of the ECI- Equal constitutional protection must be given to all members of the ECI in matters of removability from office.
  5. In this regard, Article 324(5) of the Constitution should be amended.