National Current Affairs
February 2nd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Centre to amend Child Labour, EPF Acts.

  • Union Minister for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya explained the Union Government will introduce two Bills in the budget session of Parliament to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act and Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act.
  • Stating that there were 42 crore workers in the unorganized sector across the country, the Union Minister focus of reforms would be improving social security and providing skill development training to them under the national vocation training scheme.
2) World Ocean Science Congress Ends in Kochi.
  • The four-day-long World Ocean Science Congress (WOSC) witnessed presentation of 450 technical papers in 13 sessions by 86 Indian institutions and 14 foreign institutions.
  • At the WOSC, scientists, oceanographers and marine experts urged the Central Government to form a separate ministry to bring all the agencies and institutions working in the fields of ocean research and fisheries. 
  • Government agencies and institutions participated in the congress
  • Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL).
  • National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR).
  • Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT).
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).
  • National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).
  • Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE).
  • National Institute of Ocean Technology.
3) Indian Navy conducted HADR drill to test its readiness for handling tsunamis.
  • A large scale exercise was conducted in Lakshadweep Islands (Kavaratti, Aggatti, Kalpeni and Androth) by the Indian Navy to test its readiness for handling a tsunami like disasters.
  • The Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster relief (HADR) exercise involved various aircrafts and over 20 ships from the Western and Eastern Fleets of the aircraft of Indian Navy.
About the drill:
  1. The objective of the drill was to test the Navy`s capability for providing immediate assistance and relief to the affected people.
  2. The drill involved the Navy personnel to set up medical camps and make provisions for food, shelter, storage of basic facilities and limited restoration work till the situations stabilize.
  3. It also provided support in Bangladesh during Cyclone Sidr which took place in 2007 and Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008.
  4. Also the Navy participated in the efforts to locate the missing Malaysian airliner MH-370.
4) Union Government’s Sukanya Samridhi Yojna begins in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Union Government’s Sukanya Samridhi Yojna under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) campaign has begun in Jaunpur district in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • The first account under the scheme was opened in the name of a three-year old girl Vedika Tiwari in this district by her parents.
  1. Sukanya Samridhi Yojna under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) campaign was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 January 2015 in Haryana to enhance the strength and honour of the girl children across the country.
  2. This scheme encompasses all the girls of every economic strata under 10 years of age to open Sukanya Samridhi Account in Post offices and in the Banks. This account will be opened by girls parents or legal guardians.
  3. In the account, a minimum of one thousand Rupees and maximum of One lakh fifty thousand Rupees can be deposited annually, upon which interest of 9.1% will be accrued.
  4. When the girl child attains the age of 18 years, she herself would become eligible to operate the account.
  5. Under the scheme, the girl child can withdraw 50 per cent of the money after reaching age of 18 for higher education. The 18 years deadline will also help preventing child-marriages.

5) AAP ki sarkar: Kejriwal rules Delhi.

  • The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party swept to power with 67 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.
  • This is the first electoral setback for Narendra Modi since he became the Prime Minister in May last year.
  • Mr. Kejriwal will be sworn in as the Chief Minister on February 14, exactly a year after he quit the post after 49 days in power in February 2014.
About Aravind Kejriwal:
  1. Arvind Kejriwal is an Indian politician, social activist and former civil servant who served as the 7th Chief Minister of Delhi.
  2. Kejriwal is a Mechanical Engineering graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and worked for the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) as a Joint Commissioner in the Income Tax Department.
  3. In 2006, Kejriwal was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership.
  4. He resigned to his post because of his minority government`s inability to pass his proposed anti-corruption legislation due to a lack of support from other political parties.
6) Government committed to improving health indicators.
  • Announcing the launch of ‘National Deworming Day’ to be observed on 10th February the government was committed to improving the health indicators in the country.
  • Under the National Deworming Day, tablets and syrup will be administered to children in the age group of 1-19 years in 10 states and one Union Territory.
  • In the first phase of the programme, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Tripura will be covered.
7) Alcohol not under GST for now.
  • A session on Goods and Services Tax (GST) was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.
  • The GST regime will be similar to the dual model in Canada and pointed out that alcohol and petroleum etc wouldn’t come under GST at least for the next few years.
  • Types of Tax
  • The session elaborated on the tax on supply of goods or services or both.
  • Destination-based consumption tax.
  • Shift of focus from manufacture.
  • Sale and service to supply.
  • Integration of Central levies at both the State and local levels.
About GST:
  1. The Goods and Service Tax (GST) is a Value (VAT) to be implement India.
  2. It will replace all indirect taxes levied on goods and services by the Indian Central and State governments. It is aimed at being comprehensive for most goods and services.
  3. India is a federal republic, and the GST will thus be implemented concurrently by the central and state governments as the Central GST and the State GST respectively.
8) Prioritize needs of State in implementation of SAGY.
  • The Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), the central project meant for the comprehensive development of panchayats, should be implemented according to the specific needs of the State.
  • Modifications in SAGY:
  • The project has been designed to suit the needs of the panchayats in the North Indian States.
  • The Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana will be implemented in selected pachayats in Lok Sabha constituencies.
  • In the first stage, issues of each panchayat will be studied after conducting a socio-economic survey.
  • The comprehensive project will be implemented using State and Central funds, MLA-MP funds, and panchayat plan funds.
9) Government warns states to complete caste census before March 15.
  • Rural Development Ministry officials warn all states and Union Territories are once again instructed to give top priority to complete all tasks related to Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) by next month.
  • This SECC data will be the base on which the beneficiaries for the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) will be selected.
  • The Rural Development Ministry is concerned and those states who failed in selecting the beneficiaries from this data base would not receive financial assistance.
About SECC:
  1. The SECC was started in June 2011 through a comprehensive door-to-door enumeration across the country.
  2. SECC is to generate information on a large number of social and economic indicators relating to households across the country.

10) India presses for auto info exchange on black money.

  • India has asked G20 countries for fast implementation of the automatic exchange of tax information which would help in tracking illegal money kept in foreign banks.
  • This would help India to trace transactions of money illegally earned or stashed in foreign banks without paying appropriate taxes in the countries where those transactions took place.
  • India called for strengthening the IMF through implementing the 2010 quota and governance reforms and creating an environment for multilateral swaps to overcome such negative impact.
11) Several schemes have been tweaked and repackaged with new names.
  • The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry may have backed off on Sanskrit Week celebrations in all CBSE schools last August after Tamil Nadu’s objections.
  • The official push for a Sanskritised Hindi is becoming increasingly evident in the manner in which some schemes are being named.
  • ‘Ishan Vikas’, ‘Ishan Uday’, ‘SWAYAM’, ‘SAMVAY’, ‘Saksham’, ‘GIAN’ and ‘Udaan’ are the new words in the Ministry’s lexicon.
  • Where ‘Ishan Vikas’ and ‘Saksham’ are the names given to schemes, Study Webs of Active-learning for Young Aspiring Minds is SWAYAM and Skills Assessment Matrix for Vocational Advancement of Youth is SAMVAY.
  • SWAYAM is, in effect, what is internationally known as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).
12) India protests US police atrocity.
  • The government has expressed “serious concern” over the manhandling of a 57-year-old Indian, Suresh Patel, who was paralysed after being pushed to the ground by the police at Madison in Alabama.
  • The External Affairs Ministry “took up the issue with officials of the U.S. Embassy in Delhi” and the Indian Consul-General in Atlanta, Ajit Kumar, has been in touch with the police chief in the city of Madison.
13) EC drive to link electoral rolls with Aadhaar.
  • The Election Commission of India will conduct Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Drive (ERPAD) by linking electoral rolls with Aadhaar cards.
  • The linking of electoral rolls with Aadhaar would, however, be voluntary and it had nothing do with one’s right of voting.
  • It will also help prevent impersonation during elections as only the right person will be using his/her right of franchise with the purified electoral rolls.
About EC:
  1. The Election Commission of India is an autonomous, constitutionally established federal authority.
  2. The Election Commission has the power of superintendence, direction and control of all elections to the Parliament of India and the state legislatures and of elections to the office of the President of India and the Vice-President of India.
  3. Formed: 25 January 1950 (Later celebrated as National Voters Day).
  4. Head Quarters: New Delhi.
  5. Chief Election Commissioner: Harishankar Brahma.
Coal block auction begins:
  1. Ambanis, Adanis in the race.
  2. Auction of coal blocks began today for the first time with corporate honchos Ambanis, Adanis and Birlas queuing up for the two mines being offered on day one.
  3. The technical bidding stage, entities from Reliance, Adani, Essar, GMR, Vedanta and Aditya Birla groups became eligible to bid these blocks.
About Coal Blocks:
The Supreme Court had in September last year cancelled the allocation of 204 mines.