National Current Affairs
February 4th Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Aero India-2015 Draws to a Close.

  • Curtains on the five-day aerial extravaganza at Aero India 2015 came down at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, in Bengaluru.
  • With ‘Make in India’ being central to Aero India 2015 theme, defence manufacturing, airport infrastructure, aerospace, defence and civil aviation sectors were among the focus at the event.
  • Barring a mid-air collision between Red Bull members, which was handled with a very high degree of professionalism with no injury to anyone on ground or air, aerial displays continued to enthral audiences till the end.
2) New Website of National Pension System Trust Launched.
  • The National Pension System Trust has launched its new website
  • The National Pension System Trust has been set-up and constituted by Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) for taking care of the assets and funds under the National Pension System (NPS) in the interest of the beneficiaries.
  • The website was launched by Shri G.N. Bajpai, Chairman & Trustee of the Board of NPS Trust.
  • The website is aimed to provide proper and effective information dissemination to the stakeholders and provide ease of access to various beneficiaries under NPS.
3) National Sports Awards Schemes Revamped.
  • The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has revised the Schemes of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award and Dronacharya Awards.
  • Following major amendments have been made.
  • Selection Committee for Arjuna Award will be headed by Retired Judge of Supreme Court/ High Court.
  • A sportsperson of eminence/ sports administrator/ sports expert belonging to para sports will be member in Selection Committee for Arjuna Awards.
  • Not more than one sportsperson of eminence/ coach from a particular sports discipline shall be a member of the Selection Committee to avoid any bias in favour of a particular discipline.
  • Nomination agencies are expected to send nominations of most deserving sportsperson(s)/ coach(es) irrespective of whether sportspersons/ coaches have applied to them for awards.
  • For Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards and Dronacharya Awards, the weightage for performance in sports events has been reduced from 90% to 80%.
  • Weightage of marks to be given by the Selection Committee for factors like profile and standard of sports events has been increased from 10% to 20%.
4) The President of India addressed the Joint Session of both houses of Parliament.
  • The fundamental tenet of the Government is Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas – All Together, Development of All.
Schemes reiterated by president of India:
  • Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya had laid emphasis on holistic development of each and every human being - Ekatm Manavata darshan (Integral Humanism).
  • Financial inclusion is critical to poverty elimination. Government launched an ambitious Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana to provide universal access to banking facilities – a bank account, having in-built accidental insurance with a Rupay debit card.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission has been launched to achieve a Clean and Open Defecation Free India by October, 2019. Government has rolled out `Swachh Vidyalaya` programme and is committed to construct a toilet in every school before 15th August, 2015.
  • Government is steadfast in fulfilling the aspirations of all households, particularly the poorest of the poor, to have a dwelling unit under the Mission ``Housing for All`` by 2022.
  • The irrigation requirements of every village in an effective and sustainable manner,
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, is being launched:
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission has been launched with the objective of conserving and developing indigenous cattle breeds.
  • National AYUSH Mission has been launched to promote cost effective AYUSH services, strengthen the education system and facilitate availability of quality AYUSH drugs.
  • To ensure survival, protection and education of the girl child, Government has launched Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Abhiyaan, which seeks to change mindsets to celebrate the girl child. A new small saving scheme `Sukanya Samriddhi Account` has been notified for enabling the education of the girl child.
  • Government is firmly committed to engage people in the process of Governance and policy-making. My Gov Online Platform, a path breaking initiative, has been launched.
  • Digital India, to prepare India for technology based transformation and citizen centric transparent governance with service orientation.
  • Aadhar based attendance system and Jeevan Praman, Aadhar based Digital Life Certificate Portal, have shown that innovative use of technology can make enormous difference.
  • Government has launched the ``Make in India`` programme which aims to create a wholesome eco-system to transform India into a manufacturing hub. FDI in Railways has been opened up selectively to bring in much needed capital, state-of-the-art technology and global best practices.
  • The National Urban Development Mission is being finalized, particularly focusing on water and solid waste management infrastructure. After extensive stakeholder consultations, the Smart City programme is close to finalization.
  • National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited has been set up for creation of infrastructure in the North Eastern States and border regions of the country.
  • An institutional arrangement for comprehensive development of National Waterways for transportation has been envisaged through the `Jal Marg Vikas` Project.
  • In order to provide 24x7 quality power in rural and urban areas, the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana with an outlay of more than Rs. 43,000 crore and the Integrated Power Development Scheme with an outlay of more than Rs. 32,600 crore, have been launched.

5) Government accepts recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission (FCC).

  • Article 280 of the Constitution of India requires the Constitution of a Finance Commission every five years, or earlier. For the period from 1st April, 2015 to 31st March, 2020.
  • The government has been working to strengthen our federal polity and promote cooperative federalism.
  • The government has replaced the Planning Commission with the NITI Aayog with the explicit intent of ensuring that this becomes a common forum for forging a national vision on development.
  • Chairman of 14th finance commission: Y.V. Reddy.
Recommendations of 14th Finance Commission:
  1. The 14th Finance Commission has recommended a record increase of 10% in the devolution of the divisible pool of resources to states. There is a shift from scheme and grant based support from the Central Government to a devolution based support. Hence, the devolution of 42% of divisible resources.
  2. The Finance Commission is required to recommend the distribution of the net proceeds of taxes of the Union between the Union and the States (commonly referred to as vertical devolution); and the allocation between the States of the respective shares of such proceeds (commonly known as horizontal devolution).
  3. In recommending horizontal distribution, the FFC has used broad parameters of population (1971) and changes of population since, income distance, forest cover and area.
  4. FFC has recommended grants in two parts; a basic grant, and a performance grant, for duly constituted Gram Panchayats and municipalities. The ratio of basic to performance grant is 90:10 with respect to Panchayats and 80:20 with respect to Municipalities.
  5. FFC has recommended out a total grant of Rs. 2,87,436 crore for five year period from 1.4.2015 to 31.3.2020. Of this the grant recommended to Panchayatas is Rs. 2,00,292.20 crores and that to municipalities is Rs. 87,143.80 crores.
Grants-in-Aid to States: 
Grants-in-Aid to States Rs in Crore
Local Government (all States) 287436
Disaster Management (all States) 55097
Post-devolution Revenue Deficit (11 States)
Total 537354
In addition to the recommendations regarding Vertical, and Horizontal devolution and grants, the FFC has made certain other recommendations. These relate to cooperative federalism, Goods & Services Tax, Fiscal Consolidation Roadmap, Pricing of Public Utilities and Public Sector Enterprises.
6) Land Acquisition Bill introduced by the government in Lok Sabha.
  • The Union government used its majority in the Lok Sabha to introduce the controversial Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill.
  • The Rajya Sabha, the Opposition unitedly opposed the government’s efforts to withdraw the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill and the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill.
About Land Acquisition:
  1. Land Acquisition literally means the acquisition of land for some public purpose by a government agency from individual landowners, as authorised by the law, after paying a government-fixed compensation to cover losses incurred by landowners from surrendering their land to the concerned government agency.
  2. Land acquisition in India is currently governed by The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which came into force from 1 January 2014.
  3. Till 2013, land acquisition in India was governed by Land Acquisition Act of 1894.
  4. The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 is a law in India and Pakistan that allows the government to acquire private land in those countries.
  5. Status of the Tenant occupying the land to be acquired under Land Acquisition Act, 1894—M/s Indarprastha Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. Vs. Union of India AIR in 1987.
  6. Procedure for the Land Acquisition.
  7. Investigation.
  8. Objection and Confirmation.
  9. Claim and Award.
  10. Reference to court.
  11. Appointment.
6) TRAI issued the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability.
  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has today issued 6th Amendment to the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulation.
  • Earlier TRAI made recommendations to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for implementation of Full MNP/National MNP and suggested amendments in the licenses of MNP service providers and mobile service providers.
  • As per the DoT, the Full MNP is to be implemented in the country within a period of 6 months from the date of amendment to the Licenses, i.e. 3rd May, 2015.
  • A few changes have also been made in Pan-India Portability.
  • In case a post-paid subscriber who has ported his number defaults in the payment of his previous bill which was due to the Donor Operator, the Donor Operator has to give a notice within a period of 30 days of due date of payment of its outstanding bill. After a lapse of 60 days from the due date of payment of the outstanding bill, the Donor Operator will not be entitled to raise non-payment disconnection requests with the Recipient Operator.
  • The Recipient Operator in turn will give a notice of 15 days for making such payment, failing which the outgoing services of such subscriber will be debarred for a period of 15 days. In case the subscriber fails to make payment within these 15 days, his mobile number will be disconnected permanently by the Recipient Operator.
7) Centre sanctions Rs. 460 crore to 10 states under Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • The Ministry of Urban Development has so far sanctioned Rs. 459.93 crore to ten states as the first installment under Swachh Bharat Mission’ for the year 2014-15.
  • This was stated by the Minister of State for Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri Babul Supriyo in the Lok Sabha.
The details of the sanctions are as below:
S.No State Sanctioned amount (Rs in Crore)
1 Maharashtra 135.00
2 Karnataka 80.01
3 West Bengal 64.01
4 Gujarat 40.95
5 Andhra Pradesh 40.00
6 Bihar 37.72
7 Chattisgarh 30.79
8 Madhya Pradesh 18.81
9 Manipur 11.21
10 Odisha 1.43

8) Renaming of schemes under MSME.

  • During the review of the progress of the Central Sector Schemes (CSS) being implemented by the Coir Board namely “Rejuvenation, Modernization and Technology Upgradation”(REMOT) and “Coir Plan (General)” schemes have been re-named with the approval of the competent authority as “Coir Udyami Yojana” (CUY) and “Coir Vikas Yojana” (CVY) respectively.
About MSME:
  • Minister of MSME: Kalraj Mishra.
  • Minister of State, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises: Shri Giriraj Singh.
Objective of REMOT:
  1. To modernize Coir industry by adoption of modern technology in production and processing of Coir in the spinning and weaving sectors.
  2. Up gradation of the production and processing technology for improving the productivity and quality.
  3. To increase the efficiency and productivity for enhancing the earnings of the workers and income of spinners/ tiny household sectors.
  4. To improve the utilization of coconut husk for increasing the production of Coir and Coir products.
  5. To generate employment in the rural areas of the Coir producing states.
9) Objectives of formation of NITI Aayog are announced.
Members of NITI Aayog:
  • The Prime Minister is the Chairperson.
  • The Aayog has a Vice-chairperson and two full time Members. Besides, four Cabinet Ministers as ex-officio Members and three Cabinet Ministers as Special Invitees have been notified.
  • The Aayog has a Chief Executive Officer in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.
Objectives of NITI Aayog:
  1. To evolve a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors and strategies with the active involvement of States in the light of national objectives.
  2. To foster cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis, recognizing that strong States make a strong nation.
  3. To develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government.
  4. To ensure, on areas that are specifically referred to it, that the interests of national security are incorporated in economic strategy and policy.
  5. To pay special attention to the sections of our society that may be at risk of not benefitting adequately from economic progress.
  6. To design strategic and long term policy and programme frameworks and initiatives, and monitor their progress and their efficacy.
  7. To provide advice and encourage partnerships between key stakeholders and national and international like-minded Think Tanks, as well as educational and policy research institutions.
  8. To create a knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support system through a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners and other partners.
  9. To offer a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of the development agenda.
  10. To maintain a state-of-the-art Resource Centre, be a repository of research on good governance and best practices in sustainable and equitable development as well as help their dissemination to stake-holders.
  11. To actively monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes and initiatives, including the identification of the needed resources so as to strengthen the probability of success and scope of delivery.
  12. To focus on technology up-gradation and capacity building for implementation of programmes and initiatives.
10) Government to give digital boost to MGNREGA scheme.
  • Government will roll out a pilot project to give a digital boost to the flagship rural job scheme MNREGA in gram panchayats to ensure its better implementation through mobile monitoring system.
  • Under the scheme expected to be functional from April this year, a total of 35,000 gram panchayats will be covered which would be given a mobile/ tablet.
  • An amount of Rs. 35 crore have been sanctioned as each mobile/ tablet would be costing Rs. 10,000.
  • Government has started a mobile monitoring system (MMS) for better implementation and monitoring of MGNREGS works. The pilot project would cover 35,000 gram panchayats and is expected to be rolled out in April 2015.
  • The initiative is expected to give a boost to empowerment of gram panchayats and implementation agencies with live data from the worksites, an online and real-time updation of data base, real time visibility of the data for complete transparency and location of assets with geo-tagging for easy verification.
  • If the the pilot project turns out to be a success, the scheme will be extended to all 2.65 lakh gram panchayats in the country, which will cost the Centre about Rs. 265 crore.
11) Indian Navy Concludes Its Annual Exercise. 
  • The Indian Navy concluded its annual Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX).
  • One month long war drill encompassed all dimensions of maritime warfare, and witnessed participation of around 50 ships and submarines, along with over 70 aircraft from the three Naval Commands.
  • The area of operations spanned the Arabian Sea and Northern Indian Ocean and was aimed at validating the Indian Navy’s Concept of Operations.
12) Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana; Provides Health Insurance to Unorganized Workers Belonging to BPL Category and their Families. 
  • Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) is a Government run scheme which provides health insurance to unorganized workers belonging to BPL category and their families.
  • During the course of implementation, apart from BPL families, RSBY coverage has been extended to other categories of unorganized workers viz building and other construction workers, licensed railway porters, street vendors, MGNREGA workers (who have worked for more than 15 days during preceding financial year), beedi workers, domestic workers, sanitation workers, mine workers, rickshaw pullers, rag pickers and auto/taxi drivers.
  • Under the scheme, the eligible families in the unorganized sector are provided smart card based cashless health insurance cover of Rs. 30,000/- per annum.
13) Government starts three-point action plan to realise ‘Make in India’ dream.
  • The non-controversial response lies in improving the business environment by making regulations and taxes less onerous, building infrastructure, reforming labour laws, and enabling connectivity.
  • The next response could be in the form of ‘industrial policy’. This could focus on promoting manufacturing by providing subsidies, lowering the cost of capital, and creating special economic zones (SEZs) for manufacturing activity.
  • Focus on promoting manufacturing by providing subsidies, lowering the cost of capital, and creating special economic zones (SEZs) for manufacturing activity.
14) Farmers open to `Khet Heen Kisan`.
  • The number of landless farmers is more than those who have land. Organising farmers into groups and extending financial assistance to them through NABARD. 
  • To take up farming will yield good results provided the government backs every group till results are achieved. If the results are positive, the farmer will not leave farming.
  • There was positive response from the farming community to the proposed ‘Khet Heen Kisan’ initiative, with a majority of farmers stating that it would do wonders if implemented successfully.