National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs March 4th week 2016
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Revamped rural housing scheme gets Cabinet nod.
  • Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the implementation of rural housing scheme of the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G). This will help achieve the goal of Housing for All by 2022.
  • The total expenditure that will be incurred on implementing the project in a span of 3 years from 2016-17 to 2018-19 stands at 81,975 crore rupees.
  • Providing financial assistance for construction of 1 crore pucca houses to all houseless and households living in dilapidated houses in rural areas
  • The scheme would be implemented in rural areas throughout India except Delhi and
  • Funds will be transferred electronically directly to the account of the beneficiary.
  • The beneficiary would be facilitated to avail loan of up to 70,000 rupees for construction of the house which is optional.
2) Bill introduced in US Congress to help India join APEC.
  • A group of influential American lawmakers have introduced a legislation asking the Obama administration to help India join the APEC forum , an economically prosperous India benefits the US strategic goals in Asia.
  • Membership in APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) would provide India a constructive forum to glean insight from other Asian countries that have already taken significant steps to advance their economies.
  • The legislation notes that the US-India partnership is vital to the US strategic interests in the Asia-Pacific region and across the globe, and is an integral aspect to the Administration`s Rebalance to Asia.
  • Singapore-headquartered Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum for 21 economies to promote free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. 

3) Government to create 2.5 lakh Dalit entrepreneurs under `Stand Up India`.

  • About 2.5 lakh SC/ST entrepreneurs would be created under the Centre`s Stand Up India initiative.
  • Under Stand-up India initiative, each of the 1.25 lakh bank branches would be encouraged to fund a SC/ST and woman entrepreneurs to create 2.5 lakh new entrepreneurs in the country.
  • The ministry is implementing major schemes like Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), a credit- linked subsidy programme for creation of employment in both rural and urban area of the country. PMEGP is providing relaxation to SC/ST beneficiaries.
  • For urban SC/ST beneficiaries, margin money subsidy is provided at 25 per cent of the project cost while it is 35 per cent in rural areas.

4) 4th unit of NTPC-Bihar govt owned 195-MW plant synchronized.

  • The fourth unit of 195-MW Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station (MTPS) has been successfully synchronised with the national grid.
  • The plant is owned by Kanti Bijlee Utpadan Nigam Ltd (KBUNL) a joint venture between NTPC and Bihar State Power Generation Company Ltd (BSPGCL) in which the two companies have 64.57 per cent and 35.43 per cent shares.
  • State-run power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electrical Engineering Ltd (BHEL) has been awarded the job for constructing two units of 195 MW under expansion project.

5) Mizoram, JICA sign pact for promoting sustainable agriculture.

  • The Mizoram government and Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA) signed an agreement on `Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation Development`.
  • Experts of the Japanese company would, on the company`s own expense, undertake technical cooperation project in four rural development blocks in Aizawl, Kolasib, Serchhip and Champhai districts.
  • Training programmes would be conducted in Japan both for officials and farmers from Mizoram for three times during the period and the expenses would be borne by the Japanese government.

6) Gujarat government decided to set up first organic farming university of India.

  • To help farmers in switching to unconventional methods of farming, the state government will set up country`s first university exclusively focussing on organic farming.
  • The state government is committed to promote organic farming and allocated a fund of 10 crore rupees towards the university.
  • The location of the university is yet to be decided and also expected to be chosen near to agriculture Kamdhenu University in Gandhinagar district.
  • The university will exclusively focus on organic farming and research. Gujarat is most suited for organic farming as a significant portion of agricultural land in the state is rainfed.

About organic farming:

  1. Organic farming system in India is not new and is being followed from ancient time.
  2. It is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health.
  3. It will use organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco friendly pollution free environment.

7) Haryana cabinet approved draft bill on reservation to Jats and four other castes.

  • The Haryana Cabinet approved a Bill to provide reservation to Jats along with four other communities in government jobs and education.
  • A Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar gave the nod to the draft Bill on reservation to Jats and four other castes including Jat Sikhs, Rors, Bishnois and Tyagis.
  • The existing 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the State would not be disturbed. The OBC community has been opposing the inclusion of Jats in their category for reservation.
  • The government wanted to give reservation to Jats under a new category for backward classes BC-3. The existing BC-1 and BC-2 categories already account for 27 per cent reservation in government jobs for backward classes.
  • Jat organisations have been demanding 10 per cent quota in jobs and educational institutions under the OBC category.


8) President’s rule in Uttarakhand.

  • State Assembly in suspended animation on recommendation of the Union Cabinet.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee signed the proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution dismissing the Congress government headed by Harish Rawat and placing the Assembly under suspended animation on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet.
  • The Cabinet considered several reports received from Governor K.K. Paul had described the political situation as volatile and expressed apprehensions over possible pandemonium during the scheduled trial of strength in the State Assembly.
  • The Chief Minister had lost majority and his continuation was unconstitutional and immoral.

9) Maharashtra gets its first set of Women Commanders to protect forest.

  • Women have been finding a place for themselves in all the challenging fields. Recently Indian Navy announced to recruit 3 female fighter pilots.
  • Women have been chosen as forest guards in Maharashtra.
  • A batch of 20 women is likely to become the first women commandos of the state forestry department.
  • They were trained from Gadchiroli’s Jungle Tactic and Survival Course (JTSC).
10) Haryana launches scheme for the differently-abled.
  • A new scheme under which six months’ pension would be given in advance to persons with disabilities for adapting their homes as per their requirement.
  • Amount would be recovered over a period of 42 months under the Adapting homes for the differently-abled.
  • Haryana has been selected by the Centre as a pilot State for universal ID for persons with disability. Gurgaon and Faridabad districts have been selected for the ‘Accessible India’ campaign for persons with disabilities.
  • All municipal bodies have also been directed to take up the campaign.
  • A home for abandoned and mentally-challenged persons has been established at a village in the State in collaboration with an NGO Earth Saviours.
  • The grant for diet money to children with hearing impairment has been increased from Rs. 400 to Rs. 1,000 per month. The grant for the visually-impaired children has been increased from Rs 600 to Rs. 1,600 per month.
11) 112 to become India’s new emergency number.
  • The Telecom Commission approved the number 112 as the single emergency number for India. This is similar to 911 of United States and 999 of United Kingdom.
  • With this, Indian citizens in distress can just dial the single-number 112 for all emergency services such as police, ambulance and the fire department. It will direct the call to concerned departments immediately for help.
  • The service will also be accessible even through those SIMs and landlines whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended.
  • The service will be operated by a call centre like facility, which will have representatives speaking in Hindi, English and the local language.
  • All existing emergency numbers such as police (100), fire brigade (101), ambulance (102) and Emergency Disaster Management (108) will be phased out within a year of rolling out 112, depending upon the awareness about this new facility.
12) Government Unveils New Defence Procurement Policy.
  • New defence procurement policy was unveiled by the government with an aim to ensure transparency, fast track acquisition process and give a push to `Make in India` initiative.
  • The offset level has been raised to Rs. 2,000 crore from Rs. 300 crore currently.
  • The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016 announced by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. It will take another 2-3 months for finalisation of this model.
  • The new DPP has included a new category to acquire weapons--IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured). The IDDM will be the first preferred category of preference.
  • The new Defence Procurement Procedure would help India reduce its dependency on foreign countries and source defence equipment within the country.
13) First direct box vessel to Bangladesh sets sail from Krishnapatnam Port.
  • The first direct container vessel between India and Bangladesh carrying cotton set sail from here to Chittagong.
  • The vessel, MV Harbour-1, owned by Neepa Paribahan of Bangladesh was formally flagged off as part of a coastal shipping agreement signed by India and Bangladesh.
  • Till now, shipments from Indian ports to Bangladesh were routed either via Colombo or Singapore. To facilitate easy trade, many existing norms were relaxed by both countries as part of the pact.
  • Bangladesh mainly imports raw cotton, cotton, steel, tyres and minerals, among others, which are valued at $6 billion per annum.
  • It exports goods worth half a billion US dollars which include textile yarn, fish, mineral fuels, cement, bran and husk.


14) Supreme Court approved guidelines of Union Government to protect Good Samaritans.

  • The Supreme Court approved the Centre`s guidelines to protect Good Samaritans, who help road accident victims, from being unnecessarily harassed by police or any other authority.
  • A bench comprising justices V. Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra asked the Central government to give wide publicity to these guidelines so that people who help others in the time of distress are not victimised by any authority.
  • The apex court-appointed committee had also suggested strengthening of enforcement relating to drunken driving, over-speeding, red light jumping and helmet or seat belt laws.
  • Apex Court will pass an order on the recommendations on road safety which advocated that people saving lives of road accident victims need not fear harassment by police or other authorities.
15) Union Government launched Innovative Entrepreneurship & Skill Development Programme of MANAS.
  • Dr. Najma Heptulla, the Union Minister for Minority Affairs launched innovative entrepreneurship and skill development programme of Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) through leading national/ international experts in different skill.
  • It proposes to use such leading celebrities in various skill sets as the driving force behind the skill development projects, in their respective fields, for the benefit of marginalised sections of minority communities.
  • MANAS has been able to provide door-step access to quality skill development training to marginalised sections of Minority communities particularly to women and girl child.
  • Traditional Educational Institutions of Minorities like Madrasas/Maktabs and others, have been linked to Skill Development Programme of Ministry of Minority Affairs(MOMA) through Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills.
  • Maulana Azad National academy for Skills (MANAS) was established under the aegis of Ministry of Minority Affairs (MOMA) by National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC), in order to fulfil the vision of Skill India" and also achieve the over-riding goal of the Government of India SabkaSaath SabkaVikas".
16) Govt launches e-CGHS cards, GIS-enabled HMIS application.
  • The Centre today launched two digital initiatives, including an e-health card, aimed at benefiting pensioners who find it difficult to visit Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) centres for its renewal.
  • The other digital initiative is the GIS-enabled Health Management Information System (HMIS) application.
  • These are steps towards the `Digital India` vision and ministry is committed to strengthening public health systems and provide user-friendly health services in the country.
  • The initiative will not only monitor the performance and quality of the health services being provided under the NHM (National Health Mission) but will also provide effective healthcare to the rural population throughout the country.
  • At present, 1.94 lakh health facilities (across all states/UTs) are uploading facility-wise data on monthly basis on the HMIS web portal.