National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs May 2nd week 2016
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Uma Bharti launched first trash skimmer for River Yamuna for skimming of solid waste material.

  • Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has launched the first trash skimmer for River Yamuna for skimming of solid waste material and a sum of 850 crore rupees have been approved for the third phase of Yamuna action plan Yamuna.
  • The money will be utilized to clean up the stretch of Yamuna from Wazirabad to Okhla.
  • These floating trash skimmers is to be used for cleaning the river of all kinds of floating materials like plastic bags, bottles, cans, food packets, coconuts among others, dumped into the river by humans.

2) 55,669 villages to have mobile connectivity by 2019.

  • Government plans to provide mobile connectivity in 55,669 villages by 2019 in a phased manner.
  • It will also commission a project to connect 8,621 villages in the north-eastern region by installing 321 mobile tower sites by 2017, Department of Telecom (DoT) about the progress made during the last two years of the NDA government.
  • A comprehensive telecom development plan for the north-eastern region at an estimated cost of Rs. 5,336.18 crore approved.
  • On connecting rural India through high-speed broadband, the department has completed lying of optic fiber in 48,199 gram panchayats.
  • For deeper digital penetration in rural areas, the government has taken up the BharatNet project in mission mode to connect all 2.50 lakh gram panchayats, which have over 600 million people. BharatNet will support e-governance services, e-commerce, tele-medicine, tele-education, financial services, among others.

3) Sulabh group to set up `hybrid toilet complexes` in 9 Odisha cities.

  • The Odisha government signed a memorandum of understanding with Sulabh International Social Service Organisation (SISSO) for construction and maintenance of ‘hybrid toilet complexes’ in its nine cities.
  • The hybrid toilet complexes having 5,957 seats will come up in urban centres such as Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Baripada, Balasore, Bhadrak and Puri covered under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) yojna.
  • The State Cabinet had earlier given approval to partner with SISSO for setting up of toilet complexes. As per the Housing and Urban Development department, the existing community and public toilet facilities in the ULBs of Odisha are seemingly inadequate to cater to the need of this deprived population alone.
  • According to the HUD department, SISSO will prepare the design and estimate as per the current schedule of rates and lead of the particular places, which needs to be approved by the concerned urban local body.

4) Single emergency number `112` to be operational throughout India from 2017.

  • The single emergency number `112` will be operational throughout India 2017 to help people reach immediate services of police, ambulance and fire department.
  • Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has approved the provision of a single number for various emergency services that would be similar to the `911` all-in-one emergency service in the US.
  • The service will also be accessible even through those SIMs and landlines whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended.
  • A person in distress will need to call only 112, which will direct the call to concerned departments immediately for help. All existing emergency numbers will be phased out within a year of rolling out 112, depending upon the awareness about this new facility.
  • The panic button will enable users to make emergency call or send alerts to multiple numbers just by pressing a button.

5) Environment Minister launches Web-Based Application on Integrated Waste Management System.

  • The Government has launched a web-based application on Integrated Waste Management System (IWMS) for better management of waste. The Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the app; it will provide an opportunity to all the industries dealing in hazardous waste, to apply online.
  • The user-friendly application can also track the movement of hazardous waste and will also help in ensuring its proper management. There are an estimated 43000 industries dealing in hazardous waste, of which about 30000 industries have been mapped through this application.
  • The objective of the web-based application is to enhance transparency in the working of the Ministry and other Centre/State level regulatory bodies and also to reduce the time taken for processing applications, seeking various types of permissions under the recently notified waste management regulations.
  • In addition to being a single window access, this application is expected to expedite the way the permission is granted and way the analysis could be done not only for authorization and consents, but also for import/export permission under the rules.

6) Railways sets up directorate to generate funds via advertisements.

  • In yet another move, albeit an incremental one, aimed at restructuring the railways board on functional lines, the national transporter has set up a new directorate to generate funds in a big way through advertisements and find the right players for commercial exploitation of its land.
  • The railways is trying to raise resources from non-tariff sources, but the setting up of the `non-fare revenue directorate`, which comes after a `mobility directorate` was formed, indicates rail minister Suresh Prabhu`s strategy to slowly push structural reforms in the mammoth PSU.

7) Mahesh Sharma Releases Commemorative Coin on Maharana Pratap.

  • As a part of 475th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Maharana Pratap Union Minister for Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahesh Sharma released a Commemorative coin of Rs. 100 and a Circulation coin of Rs. 10 in New Delhi.
  • Ministry of Culture has been celebrating the 475th Birth Anniversary of Maharana Pratap in association with the State Government of Rajasthan. A Conference and Special Lecture on Maharana Pratap was organized by Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) in the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur on March 04, 2016. This was fully financed by the Ministry of Culture.
  • The Government of India and the State Government of Rajasthan have decided to create a multi-purpose indoor stadium at Khel Gaon, Udaipur in his memory. Ministry of Culture has agreed to give a sum of Rs. 9.50 crore to the State Government for this purpose.

8) DBT scheme for Odisha farmers.

  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the ‘Direct Benefit Transfer’ (DBT) scheme for farmers and promised digging of at least one lakh borewells to enhance irrigation facilities in the State.
  • Patnaik was addressing a meeting marking the celebration of the Akshya Trutiya festival at laxminarayanpur village near Pipili. The day is also observed as the ‘Krushak Divas.’ Under the DBT scheme, the farmers would get the subsidy amount in their bank accounts directly.

9) Parliament Passes Anti-Hijacking Bill.

  • Parliament has passed the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2016 to widen ambit of law dealing with this anti-hijacking crime. The Bill was first passed in the Rajya Sabha and later in the Lok Sabha in 2016.
  • Now the Bill will go for Presidential assent as per Article 111 of Indian Constitution.
  • The Bill defines hijacking as seizing control of an aircraft in service, unlawfully and intentionally, by coercion, technological means or by exercising force or any other form of intimidation. It covers several acts within the definition of hijacking.

It includes:

  1. Attempt and abetment of hijacking
  2. Organizing or directing others to commit hijacking and
  3. Making a credible threat to commit hijacking.

10) WiFi at 5 railway stations.

  • Google announced the launch of its free high-speed public WiFi service at Ujjain, Jaipur, Patna, Guwahati and Allahabad railway stations.
  • This is in continuation with its project to provide high-speed public WiFi service at 100 Railway stations across India by end of the year.
  • Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu will formally inaugurate the service at these stations soon. It has been deploying the service over the extensive fiber network of Indian Railway’s arm Railtel which provides Internet services as RailWire.

11) Three-member panel to prepare policy framework for taxi operators.

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has set up a three-member committee to prepare a policy framework for taxi and other transport operators.
  • The panel will be headed by Sanjay Mitra, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and have the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and the Delhi Transport Commissioner as its members.
  • A group of taxi and other transport operators had met Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari , apprising him of the situation that has emerged following the Supreme Court’s order banning diesel taxis in the NCR, and the various problems they are facing as a result of the ban.
  • The Ministry has decided to set up a committee to look into these issues and come up with appropriate policy recommendations to address the same in a time-bound manner.

12) Harish Rawat set to return as Uttarakhand CM.

  • Congress leader Harish Rawat is all set to be reinstated as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, over six weeks after he was ousted by the Centre, with the Supreme Court its stamp of approval on the floor test in the Assembly.
  • Rawat gets 33 votes out of 61 in the floor test. No irregularities were found in the voting. 9 MLAs could not vote due to their disqualification an apex court Bench and directed revocation of the President’s rule forthwith so that 68-year-old Rawat can assume office as Chief Minister.
  • The developments have come as a major loss of face for the Modi Government at the Centre which had dismissed the Congress government and imposed President’s rule after nine Congress MLAs sided with the BJP on the Appropriation Bill.

13) Gujarat announced `Agri Business Policy-2016`.

  • Gujarat government announced its `Agri Business Policy-2016` with a special emphasis on promoting food processing industry, applying new techniques to convert agriculture waste into value-added products and developing the entire value chain of exporting locally grown farm produces.
  • The new policy was announced by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel while inaugurating this year`s `Krishi Mahotsav` in Anand town of Kheda district.
  • The policy aims at increasing farmers` income by strengthening agriculture-related infrastructure and promoting food processing industry, which at present provides employment to around 10 lakh people in the state.
  • As per the policy document, any new projects of agro food processing will get 25 per cent subsidy, maximum of Rs 50 lakh, on the total cost of establishing or upgrading such units in the state.
  • Projects related to cold chain, food e-radiation, packaging houses and food parks will get 25 per cent subsidy in the limit of Rs. 5 crore, on the total cost of establishment of any such unit.

14) Parliament passes bill on potable alcohol.

  • Parliament passed the Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, which seeks to transfer from the Centre to states the control over industries engaged in the production of potable alcohol, with Lok Sabha approving some technical amendments.
  • The bill in the Lok Sabha was introduced by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and was later approved by the House amid din.
  • The Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill seeks to amend a schedule to exclude production of alcohol for potable purposes from the ambit of the Act.
  • According to the Bill, the central government would continue to be responsible for formulating policy and regulating foreign collaboration (FDI and foreign technology collaboration agreements) for all products of fermentation industries, including industrial and potable alcohol.

15) First AIIMS-like institution on Ayurveda to come up in Delhi.

  • The first AIIMS-like institution on Ayurveda will be inaugurated in Delhi within three months as part of steps to popularize the Indian system of medicine.
  • There is an AIIMS for allopathy, the first AIIMS for Ayurveda is going to start in Delhi. The AYUSH is trying to have AIIMs like Centre on Ayurveda in all state capitals.
  • The All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) is coming up at Jasola in Delhi. A 200-bed hospital will also become functional.
  • The government allocated Rs. 16032 lakh to these centers and allocated Rs. 6949.81 lakhs.
  • The National Free Drugs Initiative under the National Health Mission does not specify the number of drugs to be provided free of cost. While the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) includes 376 medicines, the number of drugs that states decide to provide free of cost varies.
  • The decision to increase, decrease the number of essential medicines to be provided free of cost is to be taken by respective state/ union territory governments.

16) I-T Dept`s PAN-Aadhaar linkage crosses 50 lakh.

  • The Income Tax department`s ambitious plan to link its PAN number database with Aadhaar has crossed the 50 lakh.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy-making body for the IT department, had launched the initiative of linking the two databases Permanent Account Number and Aadhaar.
  • I-T Dept to start a safe and quick electronic regime for taxpayers when it comes to filing income tax returns and subsequent ensuring of a host of tax-related services.
  • The department wants these numbers to grow so that the full e-regime in the delivery of taxpayer services can be ushered in as soon as possible.
  • The new e-filing system allows online verification of a person’s ITR by using the Aadhaar number, internet banking or bank account along with email and mobile number, thereby ending the practice of sending paper acknowledgement to the Centralized Processing Centre (CPC) of the department located in Bengaluru.

17) Government inks MoU with NDTV Ethnic Retail Ltd. to popularize India Handloom products.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between The Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India and NDTV Ethnic Retail Ltd. for popularizing India Handloom textiles as a fashionable product for youth.
  • The joint endeavor will endorse and launch a project, Indian roots Fashion Accelerator (IFA), a project by NDTV to support fresh talent and to support new and innovative ventures in fashion industry. Government will support the project with incubation and production support.
  • India Handloom Brand will also provide an interface where fashion professionals will be able to accesses facilities such as Weavers Service Centers and handloom clusters. The initiative will connect fashion designers with Handloom sector in an organized manner.

18) Maharashtra government declares `drought` in 29,000 villages.
Maharashtra government has declared drought in over 29,000 villages of the state, most of them in parched Marathwada and Vidarbha regions.
The government issued a corrigendum clarifying that wherever reference is made to a `drought-like situation`, it would be read as `drought`.
The government had earlier this month given an assurance to the Bombay High Court. The state government has already taken drought relief measures in villages where the anewari (proportion of failed crops) is below 50 paise in Kharif and Rabi season.
In the wake of acute water shortage in various parts of Maharashtra, the state government had informed the High Court that it would declare drought in over 29,000 villages in the state and all relief prescribed in the Drought Manual.

19) UIDAI launched special enrolment drive in 4 States/UTs.

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) launched a unique initiative to enroll left over population for Aadhaar, in four States and Union Territories, viz., Haryana, Goa, Chandigarh and Puducherry, where the Aadhaar saturation levels are more than 100% (as per projected population figure of last year).
  • Aadhaar saturation can cross 100% when the migrant population also enrolls in that particular state. In 2016 over 101.26 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated across the country.
  • As part of the initiative, people who have not yet enrolled in Haryana, Goa, Chandigarh and Puducherry are being asked to register themselves at On completing the simple registration formality, such people would be enrolled for the Aadhaar number on a priority basis.
  • This exercise has been initiated to ensure that no one is left without an Aadhaar number in these four States/UTs which has more than 100% Aadhaar saturation, statistically speaking.

20) Committee on Estimates recommends PM-headed authority on Ganga Rejuvenation.

  • Ganga being declared one of the 10 most polluted rivers in the world, a parliamentary committee recommended setting up of an overarching authority headed by the Prime Minister to cut down on red tape so that the river is restored to its pristine glory.
  • The Estimates Committee of Parliament, in its report on Ganga Rejuvenation tabled, an "overarching and fully empowered" authority headed by the Prime Minister was required to cut down on the red tape involving various ministries and state governments.
  • Committee Chairman and BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi it would be preferred that the recommended body is created by a statute and it submits its report to Parliament on a regular basis.
  • The need for such a body when the Prime Minister himself was monitoring the Namami Gange programme, personal monitoring was not "enough" and he should head the body so that inter-ministry and inter-state issues are settled without wasting time.

21) Research wing now compulsory in dental colleges.

  • When majority of medical institutions in India that are engaged in active research complain about lack of funds, support and due recognition for their work, research in the field of dental sciences is completely ignored and lagging behind in the country.
  • The Dental Council of India (DCI) has now made it mandatory for every dental college across the country to have a research wing.
  • There is a lack of research in dental sciences. Only few dental colleges in India have research centers. In a bid to promote the research in the dental field, we have made it mandatory that every dental college should have research wing associated with it.
  • The rule will apply to all dental colleges, i.e., already existing and those who are making fresh applications for establishing a dental college.
  • Recently the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) research across the country is stuck due to lack of funds. A recent study published in Journal of Pharmacy and Bio-allied Sciences stated that "research in the dental field is progressing at mightier speed worldwide, but unfortunately representation of India at this platform is negligible".