National Current Affairs
January 3rd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Union Government identified five areas for Varanasi-Kyoto partnership.

Union Government identified five areas for rejuvenating the holy city under the Kyoto-Varanasi partnership deal signed between India and Japan in August 2014.
Japan will extend its expertise to help in rejuvenating Varanasi under the Kyoto-Varanasi partnership deal.
The identified areas include:
  1. Solid-liquid waste management.
  2. Transport management.
  3. Developing the Buddhist tourist circuit in and around Varanasi.
  4. Industry-university interface.
  5. Setting up of a convention centre on public-private partnership basis for giving a fillip to the cultural activities in the city.
  6. Earlier in 2014, Union government had sanctioned a sum of 80 crore rupees for Varanasi under the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana.
  7. The Varanasi-Kyoto partnership deal is a part of Sister City Cooperation that was signed between India and Japan during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five-day visit to Japan in August 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a Member of Parliament from Lok Sabha seat of Varanasi.
2) Govt sanctioned Rs 996 crore investment in Central Power Research Institute.
  • Government has approved investment of Rs. 996 crore for capital projects of Central Power Research Institute (CPRI).
  • This will support augmentation of High Power Short Circuit Facilities as well as establishment of new test facilities in existing laboratories of CPRI.
  • The investment would serve the growing needs of Research and Development in the Indian Power Sector including, development of advanced Testing Facilities, located at Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkota, Guwahati, Noida and Nagpur. A new laboratory will also be established in Western Region at Nasik.
3) PM to launch ``Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao`` on January 22.
  • After Swachh Bharat and Make In India, the Modi government`s big bang flagship scheme will be "Beti bachao, beti padhao`` that will bring much needed attention to the country`s low child sex ratio.
  • The scheme will be launched by PM Narendra Modi on January 22 and will focus on a multi-sectoral approach to tackling the problem of the vanishing girl child.
4) Centre to implement biometric attendance system.
  • The Centre is set to implement Aadhaar-based biometric system for attendance in all government departments and state-owned entities spread across Delhi.
  • Department of electronics & information technology (DeitY) has so far implemented Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS) in 54 government locations in Delhi that requires fingerprint-based attendance for employees entering into the office premise. Each device takes 2 seconds to establish biometrics identity and gives real-time access.
  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is setting up kiosks in government departments and offices to enroll those who don`t have the Aadhaar enrolment number which is necessary for the biometrics attendance system.
5) Union Government launched two schemes to support Scheduled Castes.
  • Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched two schemes to support the Scheduled Castes (SC). These schemes are Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes and Green Business scheme.
  • The scheme was launched by Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes:
  • The Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes scheme was launched with an initial capital of 200 crore rupees. Under the scheme, financial assistance of 15 Crore rupees for a period of 6 years will be provided to 30 SC entrepreneurs in a year.
  • IFCI Limited will be the Sponsor, Settler and Asset Management Company or Nodal Agency to operate the scheme. It will contribute 50 crore rupees which would comprise 5 crore rupees as sponsor and 45 crore rupees as investor.
Green Business Scheme:
  1. Under this Scheme, loan for unit cost up to 1 lakh rupees at concessional rate of interest will be provided to Scheduled Castes for activities such as e-rickshaw, Solar Pump and Solar energy powered implements, poly house etc.
  2. Green Business Scheme for providing financial assistance has been launched keeping in focus climate change.


6) Tribal Food Festival-2015 started.
  • The first of its kind grand Tribal Food Festival-2015 got a kick start by Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram. He was accompanied by Shri Mansukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava, Honble Minister of State for Tribal Affairs.
  • Tribals from States of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamilnadu, Telangana, and Uttarakhand are offering mouth watering and finger licking dishes to the Foodies of Delhi in this winter season.
  • The three day festival has been organized by TRIFED on behalf of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt of India, at Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhawan, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi.

7) President launched Pulse Polio drive.

  • President Pranab Mukherjee launched the Pulse Polio Programme for 2015 by administering polio drops to children under five at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Around 174 million children under five years across the country will be administered polio drops as part of the polio eradication campaign on 18th Jan 2015, which is National Immunisation Day.
  • Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda said the sustained hard work of nearly 23 lakh volunteers and 1.5 lakh supervisors along with donor partners for eradicating polio from India had resulted in the country being declared polio-free.
  • There has been no case of wild polio since January 2011 in India, which was certified polio-free last year.
8) Govt. to notify more than 60 eco-sensitive zones.
  • The government aims to notify over 60 sanctuaries and national parks as ‘eco-sensitive zones’ this year to check the negative impact of industrialization and unplanned development in and around protected areas.
  • Last year, around 40 sanctuaries and national parks were notified as ‘eco-sensitive zones’ there are over 600 sanctuaries and national parks in the country.
  • The government is declaring land falling within 10-km radius of the boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries as ’eco-fragile zones’ as part of the action plan envisaged in the ‘Wildlife Conservation Strategy’ which was adopted in 2002.
  • The purpose is to provide better sanctity to protected areas and check the adverse impact of unplanned development in and around such areas.
9) Manmohan Singh adopted Pachim Bekeli Gaon Panchyat under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh adopted Pachim Bekeli Gaon Panchyat under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY). Pachim Bekeli Gaon Panchyat is located in Kamrup district of Assam.
  • Manmohan Singh represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha.
About Yojana:
  1. Almost 125 MPs have adopted a village under SAGY since the announcement of the Yojana by PM Narendra Modi on 15 August 2014. Some of the MPs and the villages adopted by them are:
  2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Jayapur village in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
  3. Hema Malini: Raval village, Uttar Pradesh.
  4. Sachin Tendulkar: Puttamraju Kandrika village, Andhra Pradesh.
  5. Kaushalendra Kumar: Nanand village in Nalanda, Bihar.
  6. Narendra Sawaikar: Cola village, Andhra Pradesh.
  7. Avinash Rai Khanna: Adamwal village in Hoshiarpur, Punjab.
  8. Rajendra Agrawal: Bhagwanpur Chatawan village in Rajpura, Punjab
10) NHRC issued notice to UP Government over Hooch Tragedy.
  • National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notice to Uttar Pradesh Government over hooch tragedy in Malihabad near Lucknow and its bordering Unnao district.
  • Terming Hooch Tragedy as a serious issue of human rights violation, the panel issued notices to Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan, Inspector General of Police Subhash Chandra and District Magistrate Rajshekhar.
  • The notices were issued after the Commission took suo motu cognizance of media reports on hooch tragedy.
Hooch Tragedy:
  1. The hooch tragedy occurred on 12 January 2015 in Kharta and other villages in Malihabad area of Lucknow and Talasarai village in Hasanganj area of Unnao district.
  2. The hooch tragedy has so far claimed 49 lives and more than 100 people are still undergoing treatment in various hospitals. The condition of over a dozen patients, who consumed spurious liquor, continues to remain serious and they have been put on life support systems.


11) Dr. Jitendra Singh announced `Make in Northeast` initiative.
  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr. Jitendra Singh has announced “Make in Northeast” initiative beginning with a comprehensive tourism plan for the region,. He also announced the decision to appoint a Brand Ambassador who, he said, could personify the heritage and identity of Northeast and at the same time, inspire the rest of the countrymen to “look east” and “act east”.
  • One of the important objectives of “Make in Northeast” initiative, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, will be not only to generate revenue for Northeast but also to create job opportunities to prevent the exodus of youth which is presently taking place from the region to the rest of the country.

12) Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu addresses 30,000 CPWD employees through video-conferencing; first time in 160 years.

  • Minister of Urban Development Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu reached out to all the 30,000 employees of the public sector construction major Central Public Works Department (CPWD), sharing his concerns over the functioning of the organization and urging them for a change over in the public perception about it. For the first time in the history of the 160 year old CPWD, Shri Naidu addressed all its employees at 33 locations in the country through video-conferencing and live web streaming.
  • Shri Venkaiah Naidu insisted that CPWD needs to achieve a makeover in its working and public perception through timely completion of projects, zero tolerance to corruption, transparency and accountability.
  • The Minister noted that as a part of ongoing efforts to streamline functioning of CPWD all relevant information about 7,000 projects costing over Rs. 30,000 crore has been placed in public domain. He assured the employees that CPWD and the Ministry would do the needful to create better working conditions of its employees.
13) High Level Committee for Restructuring of FCI submitted report to PM.
  • The High Level Committee for Restructuring of Food Corporation of India today submitted its report to the Prime Minister. The Committee was chaired by Shri Shanta Kumar.
  • Shri Ashok Gulati, Member of the Committee, made a presentation on the various recommendations of the report. The Committee was required to examine the present day administrative, functional and financial structure of FCI and modus operandi of its various operations, and suggest a model for restructuring FCI to improve its operational efficiency and financial management, and suggest measures for overall improvement in management of food grains by FCI.
14) Government launched Rs. 500 crore scheme to rejuvenate 12 heritage cities.
  • Aiming at preserving and rejuvenating the rich cultural heritage, government launched the ambitious Rs. 500 crore project for 12 cities including Varanasi, Mathura, Gaya, Dwarka and Puri across the country.
  • The 12 cities selected for the scheme are Ajmer, Amritsar, Amravati, Badami, Dwarka, Gaya, Warangal, Puri, Kanchipuram, Mathura, Varanasi and Vellankanni.
  • The HRIDAY will be dovetailed with the Tourism Ministry`s Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme which has an outlay of Rs. 100 crore for augmentation of infrastructure at pilgrimage sites across the country.
  • Elaborating on the new initiative, Naidu said, "HRIDAY seeks to promote an integrated, inclusive and sustainable development of heritage sites, focusing not just on maintenance of monuments but on advancement of the entire ecosystem including its citizens, tourists and local businesses``.
15) Coal block re-allocation begins, 36 mines to be allotted to PSUs.
  • The central government initiated the process for re-allocation of coal blocks. It will allot 36 mines to state-run entities. The ministry of coal hopes it will be able to complete the process within a month. Of the 36 mines, one will go for the steel sector and the rest to power companies.
  • The e-auction of 46 mines would start from February 14. Out of these, 16 are for the power sector and the rest for the iron & steel and cement sectors, and captive power producers.
  • The PSUs which will be allocated the blocks for meeting their needs will also be allowed to bid for blocks that will be offered later through the auction route. Power plants using imported coal are also eligible to participate in the auction, and firm schedules are being put in place to ensure timely production of the fuel.
  • On 25 August 2014, the Supreme Court had ruled that allocation of all coal blocks from as far back as 1993 and until 2010 were illegal. On 24 September 2014, the court cancelled the allocation of 204 coal blocks, including the 42 operational ones.
16) Narendra Modi Launched Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.
  • Mr. Modi`s Ministry came up with yet another ambitious approach launched in Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme which is the dire need of the hour.
  • The scheme started with Rs. 100 crore initial corpus funds and is likely to move ahead with its well thought-out plan and direction.
  • The welfare measures voiced are for protecting and planning the lives of the down trodden daughters of this country.
  • The union minister Mr. Arun Jaitley stated there are various areas of women and child which need to be addressed immediately.
  • The idea is to create awareness about gender equality and extend medical aid for various ailments for women and child.
  • He felt school syllabus has to create topics which helps the child to feel there is gender equality.
  • It is stated that the funding for all these activities will be done by Nirbhaya fund.
  • The girl child issue has to be attacked more smartly and encourage the future parents with a positive note.
Among the list of immediate issues, few are very important, they are,
(1) Education for women.
(2) Health issues.
(3) Campaigns on sensitization towards women and children.
(4) Women safety cells.
(5) Safety of women on public Transport system.
(6) Cyber crime cells.
(7) Crisis management centres.
(8) Government and private hospitals for women.
(9) Awards for best parents, Samaritans in the society.
(10) Awards for daring girls standing up as role models in the society.
17) PM Narendra Modi launched Sukanya Samridhi Yojana under Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a small deposit scheme Sukanya Samridhi Yojana for girl child under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) campaign. The scheme will ensure equitable share to a girl child in resources and savings of a family in which she is generally discriminated against a male child.
  • Sukanya Samridhi Yojana will enable parents to open bank accounts of girls who are under 10 years of age. Sukanya Samridhi Account will fetch an interest rate of 9.1 percent and provide income tax rebate.
  • Sukanya Samridhi Account can be opened at any time from the birth of a girl child till she attains the age of 10 years with a minimum deposit of 1000 rupees.
  • A maximum of 1.5 lakh rupees can be deposited during the financial year. The account can be opened in any post office or authorised branches of commercial banks.
  • The account will remain operative for 21 years from the date of opening of the account or marriage of the girl child after attaining 18 years of age.
  • To meet the requirement of higher education expenses, partial withdrawal of 50 percent of the balance amount will be allowed after the girl child has attended 18 years of age.