National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs May 1st Week 2016
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) EPFO Launches a Special Drive: Mission Consolidation ``One Empployee-One Account`` on May Day.

  • Shri. Bandaru Dattatreya, the Union Minister for Labour & Employment (Independent Charge) launched a special Mission consolidation drive ``One Employee-One EPF Account`` for members of the EPFO.
  • EPFO has taken several IT based initiatives to provide convenient and efficient services to its stakeholders. The initiative of launching the Mission consolidation ``One Member One EPF Account`` is a step towards encouraging EPF members to access enhanced IT enabled services through UAN accounts that are linked with Aadhaar.
  • Sh. Dattatreya also informed this drives, would result in EPF members having just one EPF account and multiple conveniences. The Universal Account Number that is Aadhar seeded will consolidate multiple past service accounts, across various spells of employment during working life of an EPF member.

2) Maharashtra government launched online app for caste certificates.

  • The Maharashtra government released Adi Praman, an online application for validating tribal caste certificates which would make it a simple and transparent process for Scheduled Tribes to get bar-coded caste certificates.
  • The web-based application and its user manual were launched by Maharashtra Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Tribal Development Minister Vishnu Savra at a function held at the Raj Bhavan. Maharashtra has become the first state to issue caste validity certificates online.
  • The web-based application for caste validity certificates would help the government achieve the goal of inclusion as envisioned under the Digital India programme. The government is working towards the goal of digital administration, which would have minimum human intervention.
  • The validity certificate will be bar-coded with a unique identification number and enable authorities to directly verify the status of validity certificate using the unique barcode number.

3) PM launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana at Ballia. The scheme aims to provide cooking gas connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries over the next three years.
  • The Union Government’s primary focus has been the welfare of the poor the Prime Minister mentioned various steps for labour welfare taken by the Union Government over the last two years.
  • The Ballia is the land of the revolutionary Mangal Pandey, while the development of Eastern Uttar Pradesh has suffered for decades connectivity is now being strengthened in the region. The Union Government is allocating tremendous resources for the development of Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Prime Minister emphasized that schemes must be designed keeping in mind the welfare of the poor, and not merely to derive electoral benefit. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will benefit the poor, especially the women.

4) Diesel run taxis are ban in Delhi.

  • Applying the brakes on diesel-run cabs in Delhi, the Supreme Court ordered that only taxis running on compressed natural gas (CNG) will be allowed from May 1.
  • In a day-long special hearing convened on a weekend disregarding objections raised by the Centre, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur. Two extensions had been given to taxi operators to shift from diesel to CNG in the larger effort to curb air pollution.
  • In Delhi 60,000 taxis are registered and of them 21,000 run on diesel. About 40 lakh vehicles ply on Delhi’s roads daily, including 10 to 12 lakh floating vehicles. A significant majority of these are goods carriers and cabs registered in Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Faridabad and other parts NCR.

5) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Ministry of Railways and Forest Department of Haryana & Punjab.

  • Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and Minister of State (IC) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding ``plantation of trees alongside Railway Track on Railway Land Boundary`` was signed.
  • The care and conservation of the trees is not only the responsibility of the Ministry of MOEFCC but it is the responsibility of every citizen of India to protect trees and thus Railways initiated the step of providing railway land for the use of plantation.
  • The Railways wants to take integrated steps to maintain in the field of forest, water, energy, solar system etc. All States should be sensitized to establish Nurseries in their respective State.
  • The plantation alongside the Railway Track will stop soil erosion which has been a reason of rail accidents in recent past. Instead of exotic trees indigenous trees should be grown according to the climate.

6) Parliament passes Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, 2016.

  • Parliament has passed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016. The Bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The amendment Bill was in the Rajya Sabha.

Key facts:

Transfer of mining leases: The Bill provides for transfer of mining leases, which have been granted through procedures other than auction and where minerals are used for captive purpose.
This provision will allow for merger and acquisition of companies with captive mining leases.

Leased area: The also bill adds the definition of leased area as the area within which mining operations can be undertaken.
This will also include the non-mineralized area required and approved for the activities defined under Mines Act 1952.

7) Monitoring of `Make in India`.

  • The Government has unveiled two dashboards to monitor the progress made in its ‘Make in India’ initiative and rank States on real-time basis based on ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
  • The Make in India Dashboard will allow Ministries concerned to update progress made by them on short-term and medium-term targets, facilitate timely delivery of identified action points and facilitate monitoring and identification of delays in implementation.
  • The Ease of Doing Business Dashboard will facilitate States to report progress made by them on State Level Business Reforms Action Plan and validation of responses received from the States/UTs by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.


8) Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Programmes.

  • Ministry of Commerce & Industry is implementing two schemes relating to Skill Development viz. Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) and Training for Technology Upgradation.
  • ILDP is for leather sector and it aims to augment raw material base through modernization and technology upgradation of leather units, addressing environmental concerns, human resource development, supporting traditional leather artisans, addressing infrastructure constraints and establishing institutional facilities.
  • Training for Technology Upgradation is for salt sector and aims to educate salt workers and artisans for improving the quality of salt to meet the stringent standards of industrial and edible salt to compete in the domestic and international market.

9) Union Railways Ministry launches E-enabled PMIS app for proper monitoring of projects.

  • Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways launched E-enabled project, namely, Project Management & Information System (PMIS).
  • The Indian Railways has numerous big projects throughout the country which are of crores of rupees and have many complexities. Proper monitoring and management of these big projects is the demand of the Indian Railways.
  • To provide best railway network in the country, Indian Railways needs two things; one is money and the second is proper monitoring of projects in which that money is to be spent.
  • It is necessary to keep proper monitoring and management of the existing projects instead of keep on launching new projects. This new PMIS system will contain all the information about the ongoing projects which will help in reducing the completion time of the project. This Application will help in fixing the responsibility for delay in projects on the other hand officers would be awarded for timely/early completion of projects.

10) BHEL commissions 600 MW thermal power plant in MP.

  • State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) announced the commissioning of a 600 MW coal-based thermal power plant in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The unit has been commissioned at the 1x600 MW Jhabua Thermal Power Project (TPP) located in Seoni district in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The project has been developed by Jhabua Power Ltd (JPL), a subsidiary of Avantha Power & Infrastructure Limited (APIL).
  • BHEL’s scope of work in the contract envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of steam turbine, generator and boiler, along with associated auxiliaries and electricals, besides controls and Instrumentation and electrostatic precipitators.

11) Supreme Court panel to monitor MCI.

  • Former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha gets the responsibility to reform the Medical Council of India (MCI). The Supreme Court appointed a three-member panel headed by Lodha to oversee how the regulator of medical profession and education in India functions.
  • Besides Lodha, the panel has former CAG Vinod Rai and Dr. S.K. Sareen.
  • The court appointed the Lodha panel to oversee the MCI because the regulator is often accused of indulging in corrupt practices. It referred to reports of a government panel and a parliamentary standing committee that indicted the MCI for various malpractices.
  • The MCI was repeatedly found short of fulfilling its mandated responsibilities medical graduates lacked competence in performing basic healthcare tasks. Instances of unethical practices continued to grow.
  • Private medical colleges cannot be given the unfettered right to devise their own admission procedure and fee structure because it will ``impinge upon the right to equality of students``.

12) Ministry of AYUSH supports large scale cultivation to produce quality medicinal plants raw material under NAM.

  • To promote export of medicinal plants/ herbs, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH under its National AYUSH Mission (NAM) is supporting large scale cultivation to produce quality medicinal plants raw material.
  • There is provision to set up National Institute of Medicinal Plants (NIMP) under Ministry of AYUSH in the country.
  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) having a component on ``Medicinal Plants`` which is primarily aimed at supporting cultivation of medicinal plants on farmers land with backward linkages through establishment of nurseries for supply of quality planting material, and forward linkages for post-harvest management.
  • The cultivation of medicinal plants was being supported under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of ``National Mission on Medicinal Plants`` of NMPB.

13) Commerce Ministry launches web-based dashboard for export, import data.

  • Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched the portal DashBoard with Export & Import (EXIM) Analytics developed by Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics for disseminating information regarding foreign trade.
  • The user-friendly EXIM Analytics dashboard enables analysis of the country`s trade information and provides analysis of export-import data, destinations or countries of origin, and ports.
  • The data for analysis, including of the trade balance, is presented as a month`s aggregate at levels like of country, region, commodity and port.

14) Shri Piyush Goyal to Launched Portal for Contract Labour Payment Management System.

  • Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy Shri Piyush Goyal, launched `Contract Labour Payment Management System` - a portal of Coal India Limited.
  • The web portal is created for monitoring compliance of labour payment and other benefits to the contract workers under the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act. 1970.
  • It is an integrated system for all subsidiaries of CIL. The in-house developed application will maintain a comprehensive database of all contract workers engaged by different contractors in CIL and all its subsidiaries.
  • The portal provides access to all contract workers, through a Workers Identification Number (WIN), to view their personal details and payment status. Contract workers can also register their grievance through this portal.
  • It has been planned to make payment to the contractors only after submitting a system generated declaration of compliance.

15) MP first state to provide subsidised food to SC, ST persons.

  • Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan provide subsidized wheat, rice and salt at Re. one per kg to non-income tax payee SC, ST persons. And education would also be given to students belonging to these classes.
  • The chief minister laid foundation stone for buildings of schedule caste girl student hostels at Panchsheel Nagar. Slum dwellers will be given pucca houses. Gradually, all Garib Bastis will be made slum-free.
  • The state government is extending maximum cooperation to the poor to provide Roti, Kapada and Makan. For this, government is helping them getting employment, cloths, houses, subsidized food grains, free medicines, education of children etc.
  • SC and ST students will also be provided laptops on securing 75 percent marks in class XII and smart phones on taking admission in colleges. The government is also bearing their fee in higher education institutions and assistance for foreign studies.

16) Union Cabinet gives nod to India-EU agreement on S&T cooperation.

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the renewed Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation with European Union (EU) for another period of 5 years.
  • Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The agreement will be retrospectively effective from 17 May 2015 until 2020.

Key facts:

  1. The agreement will reaffirm India-EU’s shared commitment to research and innovation as drivers of social and economic development.
  2. The Agreement’s purpose is to strengthen the co-operation in R&D activities in science & technology fields of common interest between the research institutions of the EU Member States and India.

17) Projects worth Rs. 2446 Crore approved under Namami Gange Programme.

  • Namami Gange programme the Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) has approved projects for Development of Ghats and crematoria in the banks of river Ganga.
  • The total estimated cost of the projects is Rs. 2446 crore. These projects have been carved to improve the facilities of Ghats and crematoria for reduction of pollution load into river Ganga. All the projects will be implemented under centrally sponsored scheme of Namami Gange and Government of India would bear 100% costs.
  • The major project components are implementation of Forestry Interventions in Five States at the banks of River Ganga strengthening Knowledge Management and National Capacity for Forestry Interventions and conservation of Rivers and scaling up and replication of successful models of Forestry interventions and Rivers cape. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 2294 crore for the duration of five years.

18) Setting up of New Airports.

  • Government of India (GoI) has granted `in-principle` approval for setting up of 14 Greenfield airports namely, Mopa in Goa; Navi Mumbai, Shirdi and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra; Shimoga, Gulbarga,Hassan and Bijapur in Karnataka; Kannur in Kerala; Pakyong in Sikkim; Datia/ Gwalior (Cargo) in Madhya Pradesh; Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh; Karaikal in Puducherry; and Dholera in Gujarat.
  • Government has laid down Route Dispersal Guidelines (RDG) of air transport services taking into account the need for air transport services of different regions of the country. However, it is up to the airlines to provide services to different regions depending on their commercial viability subject to compliance of RDG.

19) Government clears adoption of UN principles of official statistics.

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval to adoption of United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics.
  • According to the statement, the adoption will lead to professional independence, impartiality, accountability and transparency in methods of collection, compilation and dissemination of official statistics, besides ensuring international standards.
  • It is also expected to pave the way for devising a National Policy on Official Statistics for improving systems, procedures and institutions consistent with these principles.

20) NASSCOM, Facebook ink MoU to engage with India’s entrepreneurs.

  • The trade body of Indian IT firms NASSCOM has signed a MoU with Facebook to build a product design initiative to engage the country’s young entrepreneurs into becoming problem solvers and solution builders.
  • NASSCOM-Facebook initiative is likely to propel innovative thinking and approaches to build solutions in key sectors where technology can play a transformational role.
  • A joint initiative to catalyze the innovation ecosystem and to help design thinking. An infliction point where the industry is at the next phase of revolution and moving towards the whole startup and innovation part, which is coming on the heels of the two decades old of the growth of the services company.

21) NMDC ties up with ISRO for mineral mapping.

  • National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) Ltd has teamed up with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to make use of satellite-based geological mapping capability for mineral exploration.
  • A memorandum of understanding was signed between NMDC and ISRO’s National Remote Sensing Centre opening up the possibilities for NMDC to use satellite technology for mineral exploration and a host of other related ventures.
  • NMDC becomes the first company under the Ministry of Steel to use satellite-based geological mapping.
  • Under the memorandum, NMDC will establish a Remote Sensing and GIS Laboratory at its head office in Hyderabad for interpretation of satellite data.

22) Bankruptcy Bill passed in Lok Sabha.

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill 2016, which is seen as a ``transformational`` legislation that will help improve India’s ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index.
  • Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance, in the Lok Sabha that the Government had ``in toto`` accepted the report of the Joint Committee of Parliament that went into the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill.
  • This would lead to ``friction-free`` market processes that will help create jobs. Accepting the Joint Committee report in toto meant that the new legislation has also provided for cross-border insolvency (which was not covered in the original Bill introduced in 2015).
  • The Bill has also strengthened workmen rights as well as creditor rights. It has sought to provide a better deal for workmen in the waterfall (priority of repayment of dues post liquidation).

23) Government clears Infosys proposal to set up SEZ in Bengaluru.

  • The government has approved the proposal of Infosys to set up an IT/ITeS special economic zone in Bengaluru in an area spread over 4 hectares.
  • The decision was taken by an inter-ministerial Board of Approval (BoA), headed by Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia.
  • The Board noted that the developer is in possession of the land. It decided to grant formal approval to the proposal. The Board also granted more time to as many as 20 developers to complete their projects.
  • Those that got additional time include Mayar Infrastructure Development for a biotechnology SEZ in Haryana, Wipro for IT SEZ in Karnataka and Vedanta for its sector-specific SEZ for manufacturing and exports of aluminium in Odisha.

24) All India Institute of Ayurveda being set up at Delhi.

  • Government has approved for establishment of All India Institute of Ayurveda at Sarita Vihar, New Delhi. The Institute has been conceived as an apex Institute of Ayurveda with 200 bedded referral hospitals and to impart education in the field of Ayurveda at M.D. and Ph.D level.
  • The total project cost is Rs. 157 crore. The institute is to be functional during 2016-17; an amount of Rs.40.00 Crore has been allocated in the B.E.
  • This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik.

25) Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill 2016.

  • The Lok Sabha approved the Finance Bill 2016, the legislative vehicle containing the FY17 Budget proposals, including a monetary policy committee that would now set interest rates in tune with an inflation-targeting approach adopted by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Finance minister Arun Jaitley secured the Lower House’s assent for the Bill retaining the contentious 1% excise duty on non-silver jewellery, though only jewellers with more than `12 crore annual turnover will have to pay the duty.
  • The Bill, which mainly comprises tax proposals, was passed by the Lok Sabha with the amendments by voice vote.
  • A key proposal to reform how the Reserve Bank of India sets monetary policy is now closer to reality. The Bill gives the central bank a mandate to target inflation, guided by a six-member committee that would set interest rates through a majority vote, a practice followed by major central banks in the world.
  • The committee would constitute of three external members appointed by the government and three members from RBI, including its governor who would have a casting (extra) vote in the event of a tie. At present, the RBI governor is the sole authority to decide on monetary policy.

26) Recommendations of Committee on Yoga Education in Universities.

  • A committee was constituted by the Government 2016 on yoga education in universities under the chairpersonship of Prof H.R. Nagendra, Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana, Samsthana in Bangalore.
  • The Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the committee included identification of courses and programmes in yogic art and science and the level at which it can be offered; to determine the eligibility qualifications for students for joining yoga education programme at different levels; to prescribe recommendations for qualifications for faculty of yoga etc.

27) Union Government starts UBIN drive for budding entrepreneurs.

  • The government has started the process for issuance of Unique Business Identification Number (UBIN) to enable budding entrepreneurs set up their business without any delays.
  • Delivering his remarks at a seminar, that top bureaucracy has been activated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to produce results well within targeted time and in India it is no longer a business as usual, according to a release issued by PHD Chamber of Commerce.
  • This number would automatically be moved on to MCA portal after it is issued to the intended beneficiary and subsequently sent to the CBDT which would nomenclature it as PAN for Unique Business Identification Number.
  • On the issue of ease of doing business and minimum government and maximum governance, bureaucracy has been activated so much that it has become target oriented as each month the PMO is undertaking a review monitoring meeting on projects implementation.

28) Indian Railways launches Bharat Darshan Tourist train for pilgrims.

  • Railways have launched the Bharat Darshan Tourist train for pilgrims to visit Shirdi, Tirupati, Jagannath Puri, Gangasagar, Baidyanath Dham and Jyotirlingams and others.
  • Comprising 10 coaches, the train begins the "East Darshan`` from Chandigarh and travelling from Delhi Cantonment to cover Jagannath Puri, Gangasagar, Baidyanath Dham, Gaya, Banaras and Ayodhya.
  • The bookings are being done by IRCTC and it has firmed up a budget-friendly package for pilgrims, According to the package, a person has to pay Rs 830 per day to selected destinations in the east or south of the country or packages that cover major religious sites.
  • The package includes train journey, road transportation, accommodation, sightseeing at tourist locations and onboard and off-board meals.
  • Bharat Darshan will also cover "7 Jyotirlinga" package beginning from Chandigarh through Delhi Cantonment.