National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs May 3rd week 2016
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Railway Minister to inaugurate number of amenities through remote control from Dadar East station.

  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated a number of amenities through remote control from Dadar East station.
  • Railway has recently completed construction of a new platform, foot over bridge, escalator, booking office and a toilet block at Kanjur Marg station on Central Suburban Railway.
  • Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and other state ministers and dignitaries will grace the occasion.
  • The Railway Minister will also attend the informal gathering of Station masters Association in Mumbai.

2) NDA framed NITI Aayog to replace 5-year plans with 15 year vision document.

  • The National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has decided to get rid of the Nehruvian five-year plans, and replace them with 15-year vision documents.
  • These will be framed keeping in mind the country`s social goals and the sustainable development agenda. The NITI Aayog has been directed to prepare a vision document at the earliest. The current 12th Five-Year Plan will be terminated in the current financial year, 2016-17.
  • The first 15-year vision document will start from 2017-18, along with a seven-year National Development Agenda which will lay down the schemes, programmes and strategies to achieve the long-term vision.
  • The mid-term appraisal of the 12th Plan was also not done, though it was due after the completion of two-and-a- half years.

3) Cabinet approves country’s first Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy.

  • The Cabinet has approved the national intellectual property rights (IPR) policy with a view to promoting creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • The aim is to create awareness about economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
  • The window for trademark registration will be brought down to one month. The policy aims to create and exploit synergies between all forms of intellectual property (IP), statutes concerned and agencies.
  • There are seven objectives that guided the policy mechanism, which include IPR public awareness, stimulation of generation of IPRs, need for strong and effective laws and strengthening enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms to combat infringements.
  • This policy shall weave in strengths of the government, research and development organizations, educational institutions, corporate entities, including MSMEs, start-ups and other stakeholders towards creation of an innovation-conducive environment.

4) Modi, Maithripala Sirisena released `Simhastha Declaration` in Ujjain.

  • Releasing the ‘Simhastha Declaration’ in Ninora village in Ujjain, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the capacity of Kumbh organisers.
  • Mr. Sirisena, who is in India for a visit, accompanied Mr. Modi to the Vaichaarik Mahakumbh.
  • Both leaders addressed the concluding session of the 3 day International Vichar Mahakumbh for the month-long Simhastha Mela. Sri Lankan President Sirisena was on a two day visit to India from 13 May to 15 May 2016.
  • 51 sacred points have been included in this declaration for betterment of mankind and these elixir points will start new discourse for India and the world.

5) Shri J.P. Nadda lays Foundation Stone for three new Medical Colleges at Rajouri, Anantnag and Baramulla.

  • Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Shri J.P. Nadda laid the foundation stone for three new medical Colleges at Rajouri, Anantnag and Baramulla districts in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The new Medical Colleges will strengthen the medical infrastructure and give a big boost to tertiary healthcare and medical education in the region. The total outlay of 189 crore each, the three new Medical Colleges will add 300 MBBS seats per year in the States with 100 seats per College. In addition, the medical infrastructure in the districts will be strengthened with addition of a 300 bed facility attached to each college.
  • The Government Medical College, Jammu and Government Medical College, Srinagar in the State of J&K have been taken up for up gradation under PMSSY with an outlay of 120 Crore (i.e. Central contribution of 15 Crore and State share of 5 Crore) for each medical college.

6) Parkash Singh panel submits report on Jat quota Agitation.

  • The Prakash Singh probe panel constituted to probe lapses on part of civil and police administration officials during Jat agitation has castigated over 90 officers including IAS/IPS officers besides various state cadre officers for lapses on their part. The Committee produced a comprehensive report within a period of 71 days.
  • After submitting it to the Chief Minister, Prakash Singh addressed media and briefly described about what the report was all about. Prakash Singh mentioned that the committee headed by him had not gone into the political aspect of the agitation.
  • He mentioned that the committee has examined 143 video footages pertaining to the arson during Jat agitation and shall be submitting over 10 hours of video recorded statements to the home department for further necessary action.

7) Rajasthan to be 1st state to issue ads to appoint V-Cs.

  • Rajasthan will become India’s first state to issue newspaper advertisements to select vice-chancellors for state universities.
  • Governor Kalyan Singh issued guidelines advertisements seeking applications for vice-chancellor positions in state universities will be published in two national newspapers.
  • The move is aimed at ensuring better-qualified candidates apply for the job and greater transparency in the process.
  • The ads will also appear on the website of the concerned institute and the governor, who is the chancellor of the state’s 15 state universities.
  • This new process of selection will not only attract a large pool of candidates, it will also ensure transparency in the recruitment process and universities will be provided vice chancellor in due time.
  • We want that the young generation studies more and more. This process will improve the education quality in state and set new benchmarks.

8) NIA has become `Namo Investigation Agency`.

  • The Congress changed NIA (National investigation agency) as "NAMO Investigation Agency", alleging there was "politically partisan misuse" in the Malegaon blast case after the agency in a complete U-turn dropped all charges against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and five others.
  • Separately, the party`s Chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala stats that "The NIA under Modi ji has become `Namo Investigation Authority` purely aimed at giving clean chit to the BJP, RSS affiliated leaders in various criminal cases``.
  • Gogoi claimed that whatever instructions come from the "leadership in Delhi", that approach will be taken by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and this bias was also confirmed by the Public Prosecutor.
  • Gogoi made a strong pitch for a Supreme Court monitored probe in the case. He wanted strictest standards of investigation to be conducted in terror cases.

9) Centre Approves Proposal To Set Up Kalinganagar National Investment Manufacturing Zone.

  • The Centre has approved the Odisha Government`s proposal to set up Kalinganagar National Investment and Manufacturing Zone in Jajpur district.
  • The Zone will be a mega industrial zone having a world-class township to cater to the needs of the investors. This is the third Investment and Manufacturing Zone of India involving a massive area of 163 square kilometer.
  • According to reports, the project is expected to invite 1 lakh crore rupees investment and generate 1 lakh 50 thousand direct jobs.
  • Notably, the State Government had envisaged the major project as part of `Ease of Doing Business`. It had committed to providing 24x7 power, dedicated industrial feeder and quality physical infrastructure and common facilities for the project.

10) India Post Goes High-Tech, Geo-Tags Post Offices On Bhuvan.

  • The good old Postal Department is going hi-tech by geo-tagging the post offices and has begun monitoring timely clearance of the letter boxes through a mobile app.
  • In collaboration with the Department of Space, India Post has geo-tagged over 1.5 lakh post offices on the indigenous geo-portal Bhuvan, developed by ISRO, to help people search the nearest post office and know about services and timings.
  • India Post has over 1.55 lakh post offices of which more than 1.39 lakh are in the rural areas. The remaining post offices would also be geo-tagged soon on Bhuvan, a Hindi word for `universe`.
  • More than 1.5 lakh post offices have been geo-tagged and their exact location on a GIS satellite imagery map along with photograph, services and office timings, etc, have been made available on the portal.
  • Bhuvan, developed by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), is providing visualization services and earth observation data to users in public domain.

11) Shri Nitin Gadkari Launches INFRACON, ePACE and up-Scaled INAM PRO.

  • Shri Gadkari launched ePACE, INFRACON and an updated version of INAMPRO, three innovative IT initiatives of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, developed in house by NHIDCL (National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.)
  • EPACE (Projects Appraisal & Continuing Enhancements) is an online integrated Management Information System that brings projects from all wings of the Ministry under a common platform, ensuring their effective and real time tracking. The portal can be freely accessed by anybody, and information regarding projects in any particular state can be found at the click of a button. The portal also allows for validation checks to prevent wrongful entries, making it difficult to fudge figures.
  • INFRACON is the National Portal for Infrastructure Consultancy Firms and Key Personnel. This portal acts as a kind of bridge between consultancy firms working in the road engineering and construction sector and domain experts and key personnel who are deployed both for project preparation and supervision. The portal hosts the credentials of consultancy firms and key personnel and has linkages to Aadhar and Digi-locker for data validation and purity
  • INAM PRO has been developed as a web-based application ( for Infrastructure and Material Providers. It is a kind of a web based market place that brings together the material providers and the prospective buyers on a common platform.

12) Government constitutes a five Member Committee to comprehensively review and give recommendations on the FRBM roadmap for the future.

  • In pursuance of the Budget Announcement 2016-17, the Government has constituted a five Member Committee to comprehensively review and give recommendations on the FRBMI (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) roadmap for the future.

The composition of the FRBM Review Committee is as follows:

  1. Shri N.K. Singh (Chairman), Shri Sumit Bose (Member), Dr. Arvind Subramanian (Member), Shri Urijit Patel (Member) and Shri Rathin Roy (Member).

The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Committee are as under:

  1. To review the working of the FRBM Act over last 12 years and to suggest the way forward, keeping in view the broad objective of fiscal consolidation and prudence and the changes required in the context of the uncertainty and volatility in the global economy.
  2. To look into various aspects, factors, considerations going into determining the FRBM targets.
  3. To examine the need and feasibility of having a ‘fiscal deficit range’ as the target in place of the existing fixed numbers (percentage of GDP) as fiscal deficit target.
  4. To examine the need and feasibility of aligning the fiscal expansion or contraction with credit contraction or expansion respectively in the economy.
  5. The Budget Division of Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance will provide necessary secretarial and logistics support to the Committee.

13) The Empowered Institution (EI) approves VGF Support for two PPP Projects of Government of Rajasthan.

  • The Empowered Institution (EI), under the Government of India’s Scheme for Financial Support to Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Infrastructure, met for its Seventy-First meeting.
  • The Meeting was chaired by the Additional Secretary (Investment), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and approved Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support to two projects of the Government of Rajasthan.
  • One project, in the Road Sector for Development and Operation of Chomu Chandwaji - Highways Project, was granted in-Principle approval while the other project, in the Power Sector, granted final approval of the VGF support, was for the development of the 400 kV Bikaner-Sikar Transmission Line Project .

14) Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer Scheme – 2016 to be Made Central Sector Scheme.

  • The Government is revising the rehabilitation of bonded labour scheme and increasing the quantum of financial assistance from Rs. 20 thousand to one lakh rupees.
  • The Scheme proposes to increase the budget provision from Rs. 5 crores to about Rs. 47 crores per annum. This was proposed by Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State (IC) labour and Employment.
  • While the most deprived and marginalized like the disabled, female and children rescued from trafficking, sexual exploitation and transgender will get Rs. 3 lakhs, the next in order is the special category comprising of females and the minors who will now get Rs. 2 lakhs. A normal adult male bonded labour will get Rs. 1 lakh.
  • New package the money will remain in an annuity account, controlled by the District Magistrate (DM) and a monthly earning will flow to the beneficiary account for his/her comfortable living. The corpus remains untouched until decided by the DM.
  • One of the special features of the new scheme is that it aims to address new forms of bondage such as organized begging rings, forced prostitution and child labour for which females, disabled and transgender are mercilessly used by the powerful elements.