National Current Affairs
February 1st Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Preamble row: academics, political scientists disconcerted.

  • The controversy over the Preamble to the Constitution may have forced the government to beat a retreat.
  • The fact that the Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry used a watermark of the original document without the words ‘socialist, secular’ in an advertisement has left many academics and political scientists disconcerted.
2) India, China can realize `Asian Century`.
  • India has unveiled an ambitious agenda to elevate its ties with China, Sushma Swaraj announcing a six-point proposal to jointly realize with Beijing, the dream of an “Asian Century”.
Six – Points in proposal:
  1. Eurasian economic integration.
  2. Land and sea transportation network.
  3. Complemented by a grid off energy pipelines.
  4. Fiber-optic highways.
  5. Industrial parks.
  6. Smart cities.
  7. Kunming became the first destination of Sushma Swaraj’s China visit.
About China:
  1. Capital: Beijing.
  2. Currency: Renminbi (yuan).
  3. President: Xi Jinping.
  4. Foreign Minister: Wang Yi.
  • 3) Railway Minister launched Wi-Fi broadband services at Ahmedabad station
  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the Wi-Fi facility at Ahmedabad Railway Station. With this, Ahmedabad Railway station joined the Wi-Fi enabled Railway stations like Bangalore, New Delhi and CST-Mumbai.
  • Railway Ministry has set a target to provide Wi-Fi facility at 400 A-one and A category Railway Stations at the earliest.
Steps to use Wi-Fi:
  1. First switch On Wi-Fi on your mobile.
  2. Choose Wi-Fi network- RailWire which is free.
  3. Open browser.
  4. Enter mobile number to register.
  5. After registration, you will get one time password (OTP) via SMS.
  6. Users are now ready to log in for surfing. The RailWire powered Wi-Fi will give maximum speed of 1 mbps.
  7. Wi-Fi facility shall be available to the users free of cost initially for a period of 30 minutes by registering on the Wi-Fi network through their mobile.
  8. For usage beyond 30 minutes, the user may purchase scratch cards.
  9. These cards are priced at Rs. 25 for 30 minutes and Rs. 35 for 1 Hour and are valid through 24 hours.
4) Committee on Infrastructure Development approved development of no-frill airports at Ajmer, Belgaum.
  • The expert appraisal committee for projects related to Infrastructure Development, however, did not express a lenient view towards Airport Authority of India`s proposal to have a greenfield airport at Holongi river plain in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The AAI approached the environment ministry to upgrade and modernise the existing Belgaum airport to facilitate operations of four flights of A-321 aircrafts per day.

5) One-rank one-pension scheme announced.

  • Stating that Defence Ministry has fast-tracked work on ‘one-rank one-pension’ scheme, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar assured ex-servicemen of early implementation of the scheme.
About the Scheme:
  1. One Rank, One Pension is an old demand of Indian military personnel. The term means armed forces personnel holding the same rank will get the same pension, regardless of the last drawn pay, years of service and the years served in a particular rank.
  2. In its July 2014 Budget, Government of India allocated INR1000 crore for this scheme.
  3. Due to some technical calculations and interpretations to be concluded by the related ministry there was a delay in the implementation of the scheme in 2014.
  4. Recent meetings have been on the positive note indicating that the scheme will be implemented before the approval of budget of India 2015-16.
6) Funds for Krishi Bhagya scheme to be doubled from next year.
  • Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda has sentenced the government would double the funds for the Krishi Bhagya scheme from next year.
  • The Minister informed that for constructing storage tanks under the scheme, 90 per cent subsidy was given to SCs/ STs beneficiaries and 80 per cent to the general category.
  • The scheme granted funds to conserve rain water for utilization during scanty monsoon.
  • The total amount allotted for the Scheme in 2014-15 was 50,000 lakhs rupees.
7) New plate mill at RSP.
  • Union Minister of Mines, Steel and Labour and Employment Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated the rolling facilities of the new plate mill at SAIL’s Rourkela plant.
  • The new plate mill is one of the widest plate mills in the country.
  • The mill includes advanced features like computerized control system for plan view rolling process and has a capacity of one million tonne per annum with provision for expanding it to 1.8 million tonne per annum.
8) Govt panel to suggest ways to monitor CSR works.
  • The government has set up a high level panel to suggest a framework to assess Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities done by corporate companies under the companies’ law.
  • The panel, headed by former Home Secretary Anil Baijal, would have members from industry and academia.
  • Corporate Affairs Ministry is implementing the Companies Act, 2013 and CSR norms were introduced for the first time under this legislation.
  • Going by estimates, about Rs. 14,000 crore is expected to be spent towards CSR activities by companies in the current fiscal.

9) PM to inaugurate Science Congress next year.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 103rd edition of Indian Science Congress (ISC), which will be hosted by the University of Mysore from January 3 next year.
  • This is the second time the university is hosting the meet. It had hosted it in 1982 earlier, and it was attended by then PM Indira Gandhi.
10) India agreed to share nuclear data for breakthrough in talks.
  • India has accepted that it will share data on nuclear material and equipment in order to secure the U.S. agreement to waive its “tracking requirements” on that material.
  • India’s concession on the issue was the reason for the “breakthrough” in agreement on the administrative arrangements for the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear deal during President Barack Obama’s visit.
  • The data collected would be shared during annual consultations between U.S. & Indian groups to be specially set up to implement the administrative arrangements that will guide the nuclear deal.
11) Modi chairs first NITI Aayog meet.
  • Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has constituted three sub-groups of Chief Ministers within National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog.
  • It was announced by PM while he was chairing the first meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog in New Delhi.
  • First sub-group: It will study the 66 centrally-sponsored schemes and recommend which schemes should continue, which should be transferred to states, and which to discontinue.
Second sub-group:
  1. It will focus on skill development and creation of skilled manpower within states.
  2. Third sub-group: It will decide on the institutional mechanisms to be evolved for Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, so that cleanliness becomes a part of life in perpetuity.
Key highlights of first meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog:
  1. In this meeting, Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and Lt Governors of Andaman and Nicobar and Delhi, and the Chief Ministers of the rest of the states participated.
  2. PM has asked all the states to create two task forces under the aegis of the NITI Aayog, one to focus on poverty alleviation, and the other to focus on future development of agriculture in the states.
  3. First meeting also focused on issues related to growth, investment, decentralisation and poverty alleviation.
  4. PM also stressed on the role of the states and emphasised how Jan Dhan Yojana and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan had become successful with cooperation of the states.