National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs April 1st Week
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Union Government launched Vidyut PRAVAH Mobile App to empower People to demand 24x7 Power.

  • Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal launching the mobile application `Vidyut PRAVAH` – Electricity.
  • One can now get information related to electricity availability, shortage and pricing on their mobile phones.
  • The mobile App provides a wealth of information pertaining to the current demand, shortages if any, surplus power availability and prices in the Power Exchange.
  • This app will work as a manifestation of the Prime Minister`s vision of good governance via inculcating transparency in the system and will put pressure on power producers across the country.
  • In the Vidyut PRAVAH mobile application, an all-India Power map will showcase surplus power available at power exchanges, average market clearing prices, peak-hour demand shortages and energy shortages

2) Haryana fixes edu qualification for Urban Bodies` polls.

  • Any male person desiring to contest for Urban Local Bodies in Haryana will now have to be matriculate and have a functional toilet at home.
  • A woman and a Scheduled Caste candidate will be required to be at least 8th standard pass.
  • Minimum educational qualification for SC women candidates will be 5th standard pass.
  • The minimum qualification and requirement of toilet for contesting Urban Local Bodies polls, like in the case of Panchayati Raj institutions, has been prescribed in the Haryana Municipal (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was passed by the Haryana Assembly.

3) Pranab signs ordinance on Uttarakhand expenditure.

  • President Pranab Mukherjee has signed an ordinance to authorise expenditure. The Uttarakhand Appropriation (Vote on Account) Ordinance, 2016 was promulgated by the President.
  • The ordinance is to provide for the withdrawal of certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of the State of Uttarakhand for the services of a part of the financial year 2016-17.
  • The ordinance allows a withdrawal of about Rs. 13,642.43 crores to meet expenditure on certain services for the ongoing fiscal in the state, which was put under President’s rule.
  • According to the Constitution, the government cannot spend any money without Parliament`s approval.

4) India to ratify COP 21 Global Climate Agreement.

  • Reasserting India’s commitment to carbon emission reduction and sustainable development, Union Environment, Forests & Climate Change Minister Mr. Prakash Javadekar along with 100 other nations would ratify the COP 21 Global Climate Agreement.
  • The agreement, negotiated in Paris, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track by limiting global warming below 2 degree Celsius.
  • Climate change was a reality with 1 degree rise in temperature caused by 150 years of uncontrolled carbon emission by the developed world.
  • While 30% of cumulative contribution was that of the United States, 50% by Europe, Canada and other developed world and 10% by China, India was responsible for only 3% carbon emission.

5) Government extends import taxes on some steel products.

  • Government extended the safeguard duty on some steel imports by two years to protect domestic industry from onslaught of cheap supplies from China amid a global glut.
  • The duty will however be reduced to 10 per cent in stages over the next two years.
  • The 20 per cent safeguard duty would apply on import of hot-rolled flat products of non-alloy and other alloy Steel in coils of a width of 600 mm or more.
  • Facing domestic economic downturn, China had last year raised its exports of steel products, leading to new duties in several markets like India and the European Union, as well as anti-dumping investigations.
6) Kejriwal launches Green Delhi initiative.
  • Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the Green Delhi programme by planting trees at the Triangular Park at the ITO Chowk.
  • The initiative was launched in line with a detailed action plan submitted by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to the Supreme Court after it demanded information on steps being taken to improve air quality and reduce air pollution in the Capital.
  • The exercise will involve the greening of approximately 120 acres, which includes central verges, side verges and the kutcha portion under flyovers.
  • Pollution absorbing shrubs such as Thevetianerefolia (Pila Kaner), Nerium oleander (Lal Kaner), Calliandrabrevipes (Powder puff) and Bougainvilleas and trees such a Ficusinfectoria (Pilkhan), Cassia Siamea will be planted.
  • The Public Works Department (PWD) greening will be completed within three months at an estimated cost of Rs. 2 crores.
  • Apart from restoring greenery along the road sides and central verges of the roads, the cleaning of roads will be done by vacuum cleaners.
7) Gatimaan Express, India’s fastest train, launched on the Delhi-Agra route.
  • Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off India’s fastest train, the “semi-bullet” Gatimaan Express, from Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station in New Delhi.
  • Gatimaan will run between Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station and Agra Cantonment Station.
  • Gatimaan Express will clock a speed of 160 km per hour speed in the Tughlakabad-Agra section. Prior to that, it is slated to run at 120 km per hour.
  • The original idea to run the train from New Delhi station and make it reach Agra in 90 minutes or even in 105 or 110 minutes has been abandoned.
  • Hotspot devices have been installed at coaches to enable passengers to access multimedia services free of cost directly on their smartphones, tablets or laptops.
8) PM Modi launches `Stand up India`.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Stand Up India scheme which facilitates bank loans between Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 1 crore to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and women borrowers setting up greenfield enterprises in the non-farm sector.
  • Over 5,000 e-rickshaws were distributed by Bhartiya Micro Credit (BMC) under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna scheme at the event.
  • Modi also launched the logo for Stand Up India with the tagline `Karen prayas, paayen vikas`.
  • The Union Cabinet announced a refinance window of Rs. 10,000 crore that Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will provide for the Stand Up India scheme.
9) Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched Transnational Skill Standards.
  • Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy launched Transnational Skill Standards benchmarked to the United Kingdom across 82 identified job roles, aiming to to support international mobility of Indian workforce.
  • Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) that will enable sharing of best practice, staff exchange, and development of new models to increase employer engagement and investment in skills.
  • India and the UK have been collaborating on skill development since a long time now and this effort to bring more quality in vocational education which will open more avenues for employment across countries for the youth.
  • A common set of project documentation was created by the National Skill Development Corporation and Federation of Industry Skills & Standards and the Sector Skill Councils partners were allowed to develop their own approach to the task.
  • The Transnational Standards highlight the gaps between Indian Standards against the UK standards and provide a workable document to create bridge courses on the identified gaps between the standards of the two countries. 
10) Union Cabinet gave ex-facto approval for implementation of One Rank One Pension.
  • The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave ex post facto approval for the implementation of the `One Rank One Pension` (OROP) scheme.
  • The pensions under the OROP have already been disbursed to most beneficiaries. The scheme has been brought into effect from 2014.
  • Total of 15.91 lakh pensioners have been given the first instalment under the OROP till March, totalling Rs. 2,861 crore.
  • As per the scheme, pension will be re-fixed for those retiring in the same rank and with the same length of service as the average of the minimum and maximum pension drawn by retirees in 2013. Those drawing pensions above the average will be protected.
11) Union Cabinet approved to implement National Hydrology Project.
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to Implementation of the National Hydrology Project. It will be a central sector scheme with a total outlay of Rs. 3679.7674 crore. This includes Rs. 3,640 crore for National Hydrology Project (NHP) and Rs. 39.7674 crore for National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC) to be taken up in two stages.
  • The NHP will help in gathering Hydro-meteorological data which will be stored and analysed on a real time basis and can be seamlessly accessed by any user at the State/ District/ Village level. The project envisages to cover the entire country as the earlier hydrology projects covered only 13 States.
The components of the proposal are:
  1. In Situ Hydromet Monitoring System and Hydromet Data Acquisition System.
  2. Setting up of National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC).
  3. Water Resources Operation and Management System.
  4. Water Resources Institutions and Capacity Building.
The NHP will result in the improvement of:
  • Data storage, exchange, analysis and dissemination through National Water Informatics Centre.
  • Lead time in flood forecast from 1 day to at least 3 days.
  • Mapping of flood inundation areas for use by the disaster management authorities.
12) Bihar imposes complete ban on liquor.
  • The Bihar government imposed a complete ban on liquor in the state. The decision was taken after Cabinet gave its approval to excise and prohibition department’s proposal to impose a complete ban on sale and consumption of liquor in the state including Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) brands.
  • Announced the decision after the Cabinet meeting Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that the government which had earlier decided to allow sale and consumption of Indian Made Foreign liquor brands in selected parts of urban areas has now after growing public demand has decided to impose a complete ban.
  • Bihar has become the fourth state to complete dry after Gujarat, Nagaland and mizoram.
13) Uma Bharti inaugurates Water Films Festival.
  • Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti inaugurated Water Film Festival at Water Expo-2016 in New Delhi.
  • The Water Resources are the prime input to the growth and prosperity of a nation and Films can prove to be an effective tool of communication to spread the message of water conservation.
  • The Films festival was organized by Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) Limited, a PSU under Ministry of Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation as part of the ongoing India Water Week 2016 celebrations.
14) Odisha Government launches Adarsh Vidyalaya Project.
  • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the Odisha Adarsh Vidyalaya (OAV) project at Sasan Ambagaon village in his home constituency Hinjli in Ganjam district to provide modern schools on the lines of Kendriya Vidyalayas in the underdeveloped rural pockets of the State.
  • The government aims at opening one Adarsh Vidyalaya in each of the 314 revenue blocks of the State. 100 of these schools started functioning with the official launch of the project. The inauguration ceremony organised on the premises of the newly-constructed Vidyalaya at Sasan.
  • Adarsh Vidyalayas are expected to have hostel facility in future and will be affiliated to the CBSE. They would have English as the first language and Odia as the second language as medium of teaching. These schools will have teacher-pupil ratio of 1:25 and classroom-student ratio of 1:40. Around 50 per cent of total seats would be reserved for the scheduled categories and girls.
15) Gujarat CM launches `Maa Annapurna Yojna`. 
  • Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel officially launched the state-wide implementation of National Food Security Act, which has been renamed as `Maa Annapurna Yojna (Scheme)` by the state government.
  • Though the Food Security Act was passed during the UPA regime at the Centre, Patel, in her speech at a grand launching function at Sanathal village, This Maa Annapurna Yojna, 3.82 crore people of Gujarat will be benefited. Each of them will get rice at Rs. 3 per Kg and wheat at Rs. 2 per Kg.
16) Govt. inaugurates `Namma Toilet` in Delhi under Swachh Bharat Mission. 
  • To promote the Swachh Bharat Mission, Union Urban development Minister Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated `Namma Toilet` in the national capital Delhi.
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is contributing in a major way to ensure hygiene and cleanliness to all in the country; public toilets are being built across the country. The mission targets to establish 2 lakh 56 thousand public toilets by 2017.
17) Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister dedicates 36 new CNG stations in Delhi & NCR.
  • The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan dedicated 36 new CNG stations located in Delhi and NCR to the public.
  • Inaugurating the CNG dispensing at the retail outlet of Indian Oil located in Gole Market, New Delhi, and the commitment of the central government to make CNG available across the country so that clean fuel is accessible at doorsteps for all.
  • While 25 out of these 36 CNG stations are located in NCT of Delhi, 11 are located in NCR - Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonipat and Khurja.
  • 30 out of these stations have been installed by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) at the retail outlets of Oil Marketing Companies like Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL. 3 stations by Haryana City gas in Gurgaon, 1 station by GAIL Gas in Sonepat and 2 stations by Adani gas.
  • The efforts of oil marketing companies and city gas distribution companies for rolling out the current initiative for City Gas Distribution (CGD) infrastructure in Delhi and NCR. These companies are geared up for extending all possible cooperation for converting cars to CNG in Delhi and NCR.
18) PM chairs meeting of CSIR Society.
  • The Prime Minister was given an overview of the work done by Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) in addressing national challenges, and its recognition as a major Indian innovator.
  • In this meeting, the potential that exists for a large number of start-ups to emerge from the research being done by CSIR labs. The importance of converting lab research to commercial applications. Medical device manufacturing, energy, and waste management were some of the areas mentioned where CSIR could play a key role.
  • Parameters that to assess the performance of CSIR labs; and a mechanism whereby there could be internal competition among various labs.
  • CSIR to list at least one hundred problems being faced by people in various parts of India, and take up the challenge of solving them technologically within a specified time period.
19) Union HRD Minister Smriti Zubin Irani Launches ISBN Portal.
  • The Union Minster of Human Resource Development Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani launched a portal for registration and allotment of International Standard Book Number (ISBN) in New Delhi.
  • The ISBN portal has been created in a short period of time, to facilitate publishers as well as the authors to register for ISBN online. This interactive automated system would provide fast and efficient services in a stipulated time frame to the Publishers and Authors as well.
  • The feedback from the publishers, a mobile app in the regional languages would also be launched in order to reach out to more and more publishers and authors across the country.
  • Prof. Narendra Kohli, eminent author was the Guest of Honor on the occasion. In present times, ISBN has become an important part of publishing sector. Further this online system is a good initiative towards providing enhanced accessibility to the publishers and authors.
20) Textiles Minister inaugurates Apparel and Garment Making Unit in Tripura.
  • The Union Textiles Minister Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar inaugurated the Apparel and Garment Making unit in Bodhjungnagar Industrial Growth Centre, in Agartala. The Apparel Units in the North East are a significant step towards the Make in India Initiative of the Government.
  • This was the first organized effort to bring modern ready-made garment industry in North East. It will be possible to realize the goals of Make in India, when our people have entrepreneurial abilities and our workforce has necessary skills.
  • The project will develop entrepreneurship through various capacity building measures and also train the people to work efficiently on high-end garment machines. It will help to develop an ecosystem which will trigger further investments and employment in the state.
21) Shan-e-Punjab Express becomes India`s first train fitted with CCTV cameras.
  • Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu Inaugurates Fitment of CCTV In Amritsar- New Delhi Shan-E-Punjab Express.
  • Shan-E-Punjab Express Becomes the First India Train Fitted with CCTV Surveillance Cameras. Surveillance Systems While Monitoring Security Shall Not Compromise on Privacy of Rail Passengers. Four to Six Cameras Per Coaches Installed with Digital Video Recorder Facial Recognition In Unambiguous Light and in Low Light Conditions Especially in Aisle Areas.
  • The agenda of passengers’ safety has always been on priority of Indian Railways and to ensure safety of all rail passengers, various steps such as helplines, CCTVs, sensitization of RPF, integrated security system etc. have been introduced by the Railways.
  • CCTV Surveillance Cameras in Shan-e-Punjab is a one more step towards improving security in Indian Trains. Installing CCTV in Indian trains is a technological step for improvement in safety. The technology and human efforts have to go hand in hand.
22) Delhi makes business licensing system online.
  • Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung launched the online licensing system at Raj Niwas in the presence of Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma and other senior officers.
  • The Delhi Police launched online licensing system for the citizens to improve "ease of doing business" and "service delivery" by simplifying the licensing process without diluting the legal requirements.
  • The system would enable citizens to apply for license from the comfort of their homes and they would be able to check the status of their application online. This would be a win-win situation for the department as well since it would reduce their repetitive manual work and give them more time for quality checks.