National Current Affairs
January 1st Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Planning Commission is renamed as `Niti Aayog`.
  • India`s Planning Commission will be renamed "NITI Aayog" as part of a restructuring plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech.
  • The change came almost 65 years after India`s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a socialist who admired Joseph Stalin`s drive to industrialize the Soviet Union, set up and chaired the Commission to map out a development path for India`s agrarian economy.
  • The NITI Aayog will have a governing council comprising of all State Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors and will work towards fostering a ‘co-operative federalism’ for providing a “national agenda” to the Centre and States.
  • National Institution for Transforming India.
2) LPG Consumers to Get Cash Subsidy in Bank Accounts from January 1.
  • LPG consumers across the country will from January 1 get cash subsidy directly into their bank accounts so that they buy the cooking fuel at market price.
  • Domestic LPG users will get Rs. 568 in the bank account the moment they join the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG, which has now been renamed PAHAL. They will have to use this money to buy 14.2 kg refill at the market price.
  • Currently, the subsidised LPG costs Rs. 417 per 14.2 kg cylinder while a market-priced refill costs Rs. 752 in Delhi. It will be priced higher in other cities depending on local taxes.
  • The ambitious plan, launched by the previous UPA government in June 2013 but abruptly stopped earlier this year following court orders, has been modified to exclude the requirement of unique identification number (Aadhaar) for availing the cash subsidy.
3) Government has reportedly blocked access to 32 websites.
  • The government has reportedly blocked access to 32 websites that were carrying anti-India views and spreading ISIS propaganda. These websites have been blocked following an advisory by an anti-terrorism team.
  • The Department of Telecom statement said, the 32 URLs have been blocked under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and under Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
About the Act:
  1. The rules give the central government powers to block access to information if it is in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of the country, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offense.
4) Rajnath Singh launched women safety mobile app `Himmat`.
  • A mobile application of Delhi Police called `Himmat`, which will allow women to send a distress call to police control room and their relatives in case of any emergency, was launched by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
  • The app will basically cater to employed women who have smartphones and travel alone even late in the night.
  • Explaining the work of the app, Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi said that after downloading the app, a new user has to register with the Delhi Police website by sharing their name, mobile number and that of a minimum of two relatives/ friends.


5) Government to prioritise drugs, states to revive Jan Aushadhi Pharmacies.
  • To infuse a fresh lease of life into the struggling Jan Aushadhi chain of pharmacy outlets, set up to make affordable generic drugs available to people, the government plans to focus on select drugs and states, spruce up supply chain and encourage doctors to use generic names of drugs.
  • The department of pharmaceuticals also plans to focus on states where the model has already picked up, before chasing its original goal of having at least one Jan Aushadhi special store in each of the 630 districts in the country.
6) The government has accepted the recommendations of Bezbaruah Committee on safety of northeastern people.
  • The government has accepted the recommendations of a committee that has suggested immediate measures to ensure the safety of people from India`s northeast in Delhi and other major cities.
About the committee:
  1. The committee headed by M.P. Bezbaruah, a member of the North Eastern Council, was set up in February 2014 after a 19-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh, Nido Tania, died.
  2. This committee recommends enacting new law to deal with rising crimes against the people from north east.
  3. The panel was formed to look into the concerns of the people of the northeast living in other parts of the country and suggest suitable remedial measures. 

7) DDA to launch bigger housing scheme in December 2016, to include 24,660 LIG flats.

  • Delhi Development Authority (DDA) will issue its next housing scheme in December 2016, which would be much larger than the 2014 project and will include at least 24,660 LIG flats.
  • As per the new scheme, about 40,000 flats would be ready by 2016, while remaining would be completed the year after.
  • The ‘DDA Housing Scheme 2014` had over 25,000 flats on offer, out of which over 22,000 flats were one-bedroom apartments.
  • DDA is currently handing over the flats to successful applicants of its 2014 scheme and Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu is scheduled to start the process of allotment at the housing authority’s headquarters.


8) Govt to implement new Companies Act within six months.
  • The corporate affairs ministry has charted its road map for full implementation of the new Companies Act that envisages setting up Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) and National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) within six months.
  • The corporate affairs ministry has charted its road map for full implementation of the new Companies Act that envisages setting up Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) and National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) within six months.
  • NFRA will be responsible for monitoring, compliance review and overseeing quality of service, enforcement and standard setting in accounting and auditing.
  • IEPFA, which will be set up under the new Companies Act, will manage investor education and protection fund. If the amount deposited with companies is not claimed for more than seven years, it will go to IEPFA. Companies currently have about Rs 3,500 crore in unpaid dividends, unclaimed debentures and deposits.
  1. NFRA: National Financial Reporting Authority.
  2. IEPFA: Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority.
9) Upload Assets of Political Parties on Website: CIC To Urban Development Ministry.
  • The Central Information Commission has directed the Urban Development Ministry to make public all records related to allotment of land and bungalows to political parties and upload these details on its website.
  • The Commission directed the Central Public Information Officer to publish all documents/ correspondence/ guidelines and circulars, to all registered political parties, on the Respondent Authority (MoUD) website, within four weeks of receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission.
  • It also ordered the ministry to transfer queries related to naming of RJD headquarters as "Rabri Bhavan" to the Lalu Prasad-led political party.
  • The case relates to queries raised by activist Subhash Agrawal who wanted to know from the ministry about naming of new Rashtriya Janata Dal headquarters at Rouse Avenue as "Rabri Bhavan" to which party leader Nawal Kishore Rai had raised objections.
10) Election Commission to create national level electoral roll.
  • In a bid to provide a one-stop centre to voters for new registrations, modifications and deletions in the electoral roll, the Election Commission has decided to create a national-level roll which can be stored as a National Data Centre.
  • The services offered to voters will include providing facilities for searching name, knowing the concerned BLO (Block Level Officer), constituency name and number, and other voter information.

11) PM launched National Programme for LED-based Home and Street Lighting.

  • Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi launched a National Programme for LED-based Home and Street Lighting in New Delhi to reduce energy consumption.
  • A scheme for Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulb distribution under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) was also launched.
  • The Prime Minister also launched a web-based system to enable consumers in Delhi to register requests for procuring LED bulbs under Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP).
  • LED bulbs will be distributed in a phased manner from March 2015 onwards.
  • The entire project of installing LED bulbs for domestic and street-lighting in 100 cities is targeted for completion by March 2016.
  • The initiatives are the part of the Government’s efforts to spread the message of energy efficiency in the country. The LED based lights will help in reducing energy consumption by 88 percent compared to a normal bulb.
12) Union Petroleum ministry launched LPG schemes for benefitting BPL families.
  • The Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the sale of subsidised 5 kg cooking gas cylinders under Free Trade LPG (FTL) Scheme to benefit Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, students and migrant labourers.
  • Under the facility, BPL families will get 500 rupees subsidy while purchasing 5kg cylinder. Those who do not have address proof due to acquiring residence on temporary basis can buy 5 Kg LPG cylinder at market price.
  • The Union Petroleum Ministry also launched the expanded Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Scheme to cover BPL families living in urban areas. Under the scheme, all BPL families will be getting LPG connection without paying the security deposit for cylinder and pressure regulator.
13) Union Cabinet approved to set up India-based Neutrino Observatory in Tamil Nadu.
  • Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved to set up the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) in Tamil Nadu.
  • The INO laboratory will host experiments such as the neutrino-less double beta decay and the search for dark matter.
  • The INO project will be set up near Pottipuram village in the Bodi West Hills of Theni district in Tamil Nadu. The project is at an estimated cost of 1500 crore rupees.
  • INO is an underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximate 1200 metre for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India. The project also includes Inter-Institutional Centre for High Energy Physics (IICHEP) and Iron Calorimeter Detector (ICAL).
  • The project will be jointly supported by the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Science and Technology. The infrastructural support will be given by the State Government of Tamil Nadu since the project is located in Tamil Nadu.
14) PM Narendra Modi released coins on Jamsetji Tata.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi honoured Tata Group founder Jamsetji Nussserwanji Tata on his 175th birth anniversary by releasing commemorative coins on him.
  • The coins in the denomination of Rs. 100 and Rs. five were released by the Prime Minister at a small function at his residence. With the honour, Jamsetji becomes the first industrialist to be honoured by the government in such a manner.
  • Jamsetji Tata founded the Tata group in 1868. He worked for building India that would be an industrial power. The translation of his vision led to creation of India`s first integrated steel plant (Tata Steel`s Jamshedpur plant - 1907), hydroelectric power plants that service Mumbai`s needs till today (Tata Power`s Khopoli plant - 1910), and the Indian Institute of Science (1909).
  • The government had earlier honoured Jamsetji by releasing postal stamps - one in 1958 and another in 1965.
15) President signed ordinance to amend citizenship Act.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee signed the Ordinance that amends’ Citizenship Act, 1955. The ordinance provides life-long Indian visa facility to Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and exempts them from appearing before the local police station on every visit.
  • The ordinance that amends the Citizenship Act, 1955, will benefit People of Indian Origin (PIO) and will give them benefits like life-long visa and exemption from appearing before the local police station on every visit. The decision to amend the Act was taken after a large number of complaints were received from PIOs, about problems faced during visits to local police stations and stringent visa norms that barred them from buying property in India, in comparison to those holding Overseas Citizens of India card.
  • It relaxes the requirement of 12 months in cases related to citizenship by registration and naturalization. Instead it allows for breaks up to 30 days if the Union government is satisfied that special circumstances exist, and has recorded them in writing.
16) Coal Workers begin five day strike to protest the disinvestment and restructuring of the public sector Coal India Limited.
  • Trade unions across the country began a five-day coal industry strike, which is likely to affect production of up to 1.5 million tonnes a day and fuel supply to power plants.
  • The strike call, for the biggest industrial action for any sector since 1977, has been given by the five leading trade unions of the country including BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS).
  • They are protesting against `disinvestment and restructuring of state-run Coal India` and to press for their other demands including the roll-back of what they call as "process of denationalising of coal sector".
17) Subramanian committee recommended single window system for environment projects.
  • High-level committee (HLC) headed by former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramanian submitted its report to Union Government in first week of January 2015. In its recommendation, the committee suggested single window clearance mechanism for green nods.
  • The four member high-level committee (HLC) was appointed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Climate Change (CC) to review environmental laws.
  • To evaluate project clearance in a time bound manner, it has asked for setting a full-time expert body, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) at the Centre and State Environmental Management Authority (SEMA), which will be the pivotal authorities to process applications for green clearance. Existing Central Pollution Control Board and corresponding State agencies will be subsumed under these agencies.
  • To benefit community at large as well as power and mining projects and projects of national importance, it had recommended fast tracking procedure for linear projects.
  • These recommendations were suggested after the committee observed that the corporate seek short cuts to get clearance for their environment projects.
18) Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers approved 100 percent production of Neem-Coated Urea.
  • The Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers allowed fertiliser firms to produce 100 percent Neem-Coated Urea. The decision is aimed at boosting income of the farmers and reducing subsidy bill by up to 6500 crore rupees.
  • Neem coated urea
  • Neem coated urea also works as insecticide and it costs 5 percent more than the cost of normal urea which is about 260 rupees per tonne.
  • The use of Neem coated urea will not only increase crop yields but also lower input cost of the farmers.
  • It will also reduce imports of precious fertilizers as well as reduce ground and soil pollution.
  • It reduces nitrogen loss by more than 10 percent thereby gaining a net savings of 13.5 rupees per bag for farmers.
  • Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers: Ananth Kumar.
19) Toll-free helpline launched for alcohol and drug addicts.
  • The central government launched a national toll-free helpline to provide assistance to people dependent on alcohol and drugs.
  • The move to launch the helpline number 1800-11-0031 comes close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s appeal to the youth of the country to give up drugs in his monthly `Mann ki Baat` radio programme in December.
  • The helpline was launched by the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.