National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs April 3rd Week
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) President of India at the inaugurated the Fourth Retreat of Judges of the Supreme Court.
  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Fourth Retreat of Judges of the Supreme Court at the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal.
  • Judiciary is one of the three important pillars of our democracy. It is the final interpreter of the Constitution and laws. It helps in maintaining the social order by swiftly and effectively dealing with those on the wrong side of the law. As an upholder of the Rule of Law and enforcer of the right to liberty, the role of the Judiciary is sacrosanct. The faith and confidence people have reposed in the Judiciary must always be maintained.
  • The Chief Justice of India and other companion Judges for organizing the Retreat which will provide a forum to discuss contemporary challenges that the country faces along with global and transnational elements of legal disputes and adjudication. Discussion and reflection of this nature is important, as well as necessary, to enable Judges keep pace with times and be able to deliver fair and effective justice in a rapidly changing world.
2) New Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies.
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) announced the formal launch of Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (CGRBMS) in New Delhi. The Ministry signed a 10 year Memorandum of Agreement with IITK for provision of continual scientific support in the implementation and dynamic evolution of the Ganga River Basin Management Plan.
  • Focusing on cleaning the Ganga by setting up Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) and Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs).These are the issues which can be solved by procuring the technologies around the world. To solve this, efforts needs to be done by each and every one which includes government authorities, academicians, researchers etc.
3) Google extends free internet service through WiFi to 10 railway stations.
  • Google, in association with RailTel, the telecom arm of the Indian Railways, announced the roll out of free WiFi services at nine more stations after Mumbai Central, bringing high-speed Internet access to about 1.5 million passengers and visitors.
  • The WiFi service is now available at Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Ranchi, Raipur, Vijayawada, Kacheguda (Hyderabad), Ernakulum Jn (Kochi) and Vishakhapatnam stations.
  • Google and RailTel had collaborated to make WiFi network available across 100 stations to deliver high-speed Internet to 10 million Indians a day by the end of the year. The project will eventually be rolled out to cover 400 railway stations across India.
4) A big boost to start-ups.
  • Indian School of Business (ISB) and Singapore Management University signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop new thinking and practices in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship as well as to design new joint programmme.
  • Helping start-ups in both India and Singapore in multiple ways will be a focus. In terms of areas of operation, the MoU would look at technology, pharma and healthcare start-ups.
  • Under the collaboration, the institutions would explore possibility of offering joint executive education programmes. Such programmes are to be co-designed and developed in specific areas of interest to the institutions and companies co-located in Singapore and India.
5) Indian Army to Conduct Major Exercise to Validate Strike Capability.
  • The Indian Army is conducting a major Exercise SHATRUJEET by the elite STRIKE 1 in deserts of Rajasthan wherein the capability to Strike deep in enemy territory in an integrated Air-Land battle environment is being tested over 30,000 soldiers in action.
  • The operationally oriented exercise is focusing on validating integrated theatre battle fighting concept incorporating new age technologies, weapon platforms and systems as well as long range precision targeting vectors.
  • Indian Army undertakes such exercises at regular intervals at different levels to ensure forces are provided real war like situations and are kept in high state of battle readiness. The formation and units have been undergoing operational oriented training for past one month.
  • Post preparatory training manoeuvres at subordinate units and formation levels the STRIKE 1 is now poised to conduct integrated operational manoeuvres to validate its operational plans in simulated high tempo battlefield environment and terrain.
6) Delhi Government launches Phase 2 of odd-even scheme.
  • Delhi Government has launched the second phase of odd-even car rationing scheme to check pollution in the national capital. The scheme aims at curbing vehicular pollution and reducing traffic congestion on the roads of NCR Delhi.
  • Under it, four wheelers with license plates ending in an odd number will ply on odd dates and those ending with an even number can run on even dates.
  • It will be between 8am and 8pm and on Sunday no restrictions are applied. The penalty in case of a violation is Rs. 2,000.
  • During this implementation, public transport including buses and the Metro will be run at high frequency. Residents are being urged to carpool in order to reduce pressure on public transport.
  • The President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Union Ministers and other VIPs have been exempted. Besides emergency vehicles, vehicles driven by women, CNG vehicles and cars carrying school children in uniforms will be also exempted.
7) Air India changes stance on 5/20 rule.
  • Air India and is being viewed as a radical change from the state-owned airline’s earlier stance when it had opposed any move to remove the 5/20 rule. The views of the airline have been conveyed verbally and not in writing to the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • The 5/20 rule stipulates that a domestic airline must have a fleet of 20 aircraft and must have completed five years of domestic operations before it becomes eligible to start flights abroad. The rule has seen a vertical spilt among Indian carriers. New entrants such as AirAsia India and Vistara are pressing for the removal of the 5/20 rule while older players such as IndiGo have called for its retention.
  • Sources indicated that the promoters of IndiGo and Jet Airways were abroad and hence a postponement of the meeting was sought. No extension was given and the promoters have been unable to meet with senior Government officials to put across their views on various issues, including the 5/20 rule.
8) Maneka Gandhi inaugurated Regional Conference of North Eastern States on Child Adoption.
  • The Union Minister for Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi inaugurated the Regional Conference of North Eastern States on Child Adoption in Shillong, Meghalaya. The Conference was organized by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) of the WCD Ministry. The North Eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura participated in the conference.
  • The children are the most vulnerable of human beings and their issues need to be looked into with empathy. It is due to this reason that the adoption reforms were the first initiative taken up by the WCD Ministry after the new Government took charge.
  • This reform process has culminated in the enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The new Act lays down timelines for the Child Welfare Committees and Adoption Agencies for various stages of adoption. The Act provides for mandatory registration of Childcare Institutions and linkage with CARA, so that each child becomes ‘adoptable’. The Minister warned that a stringent penalty is provided in Law in case of non-compliance.
9) GOI released Commemorative Coin and Circulation Coin on Tatya Tope.
  • Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (I/C) and Civil Aviation released a Commemorative Coin of Rs. 200 and a Circulation Coin of Rs. 10 on Tatya Tope on the occasion of his Martyr Day. The Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Shri Narendra Kumar Sinha was present on the occasion.
  • One of the most outstanding leaders of India’s First War of Independence, Tatya Tope was a patriot of the highest order. He was captured by the British Forces and after a hurried trial for waging war against the East India Company.
10) Konkan Railway to build siding for MRPL.
  • Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) has plans to construct railway siding facility for Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) in Mangaluru.
  • KRCL proposed railway siding from Thokur station would help the transportation of products such as pet coke, polypropylene, sulphur and bitumen from the plant.
  • After completion, around 2,800 tonnes of products are expected to be transported by railway every day. With the construction of a railway siding, the entire product can be loaded in train inside the premises of MRPL.
  • If the products are transported by road, they require multiple handling and lead to road congestion. There will be two lines of 800 metres each in the railway siding. The project, which is estimated to cost Rs. 46 crore, will be completed in 24 months.
11) Dynamic nature of world calls for adopting and developing appropriate public policies.
  • Participants of founding Class of Management Programme in Public Policy at Indian School of Business, Mohali called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • This calls for constant up-gradation of skills and knowledge even on the part of the specialists.ISB, as a globally competitive educational institution has empowered them to face these challenges of continuous change.
  • That capacity is directly related to the ability to make effective public policies and to implement these policies effectively. A good public policy with poor implementation is of no value and significance to society and nation. The President complemented the ISB for having made a good beginning by bringing professionals from private sector and public sector to learn from each other as well as from their Indian and international faculty. 
12) Central Consumer Protection Council recommends mandatory standards for piped drinking water.
  • Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC), an apex body to advise the Government in the consumer related issue has expressed concern over quality of drinking water being supplied through pipeline and has recommended mandatory standards for drinking water irrespective of its source.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) should formulate standards for water being supply through pipeline also and should monitor its quality. The meeting attended by representatives of various Government bodies including FSSAI, voluntary consumer organizations and senior officials of various Ministries, was chaired by Union Food Minister, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan.
  • CCPC was also of the view that there should be guidelines for brand ambassadors of products and services and in the case of gross misrepresentation of the facts or misleading advertisements, brand ambassadors should also be made responsible.
13) Make in India for Indian Air Force.
  • Hon’ble Raksha Rajya Mantri (RRM), Sh Rao Inderjit Singh was the chief guest of the event and in his key note that A number of measures have been taken by the Government of india to promote indigenous development and manufacture of defence equipment.
  • The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 revised offset policy and enhanced FDI in defence sector are some such measures which offer several incentives to the private industry to participate in defence production. The Indian Air Force has prepared its indigenization requirements for future technologies and new weapon system capabilities that they plan to induct, in the form of this form of a booklet.
  • Before the release of the booklet on ``Indigenisation Roadmap for the Indian Air Force`` It would provide useful inputs to the industry to map their potential with the requirements of the Indian Air Force.
14) Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation connects with Karnataka.
  • A team of senior officers of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation led by the Secretary, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, visited the State of Karnataka and met with State officials to evaluate the water crisis and sanitation situation in the State.
  • The Secretary assured the senior officials of support from the Centre to combat the drought situation prevalent in parts of the State. A detailed discussion was held around possible drought management techniques and technologies, especially those dealing with water recharge and conservation.
  • A key highlight of the meeting was a presentation made by a team of water experts from Latur district, Efforts are being made to replicate and scale this technique, and a pilot of the technique is being planned in North Karnataka to help the drinking water situation in the region.
  • As part of the continuing efforts of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to involve the non-governmental sector in scaling up Swachh Bharat Mission, the Secretary also held a discussion with the organization ‘Arghyam’ to discuss their experiences with sanitation. He also visited the Indian Institute for Human Settlements to discuss monitoring and evaluation of Swachh Bharat Mission and other technical issues related to the programme.
15) PM exhorts official youth organizations to join hands for water conservation.
  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, reviewed the functioning of official youth organizations, including the NCC, NSS, Bharat Scouts and Guides, Indian Red Cross Society, and NYKS.
  • Discussing the immediate tasks ahead, where these organizations could play an important role that in the next couple of months, there would be a massive effort under MGNREGA for water conservation and storage mechanisms. These youth organizations to mobilize to the greatest extent possible, to dovetail and contribute to these efforts.
  • As the representatives for the youth organizations explained their functioning and role in society, the Prime Minister gave several other inputs and suggestions. In particular, the tasks of Swachhta, creation of open-defecation free clusters, and inculcation of a fresh national spirit among the youth, as key objectives that the youth organizations should strive for. The Government`s Mission Indradhanush initiative to reach the unvaccinated children, youth organizations can aid in this initiative.
16) Shri pranab mukherjee inaugurated the second edition of `Global Exhibition on Services` - 2016.
  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Second Edition of Global Exhibition on Services - 2016 at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida.
  • The services-sector had emerged as an agent of change for the country and it was driving the Indian economy in an inclusive and equitable manner.
  • According to him, services-sector is the `sector of the current millennium` with its focus on generating employment, skill development, bringing in FDI, enhancing trade and boosting strategic partnerships.
  • The expo as a much-needed forum to give global visibility to the need to encourage trade in services. The sector with its wide outreach can surpass geographical boundaries and unite nations through the common thread of offering skills and capabilities.
17) The three day Curtain Raiser International Yoga Fest inaugurated by Shri Shripad Yesso Naik.
  • The three day International Yoga Fest: A Curtain Raiser for International Day of Yoga-2016 was inaugurated by the Minister of State for AYUSH (Independent Charge) and Health & Family Welfare, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik in New Delhi.
  • Yoga is the greatest gift of this country to the entire mankind. In the past few decades, the health aspects of Yoga have become more popular. Yoga can play a great role in the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases where conventional medicine is not having permanent or cost-effective solution.
  • Shri Shripad Naik the Ministry of AYUSH is putting its best efforts to promote the science of Yoga as a healthcare system across the globe.
  • The AYUSH Minster released the Common Yoga Protocol DVD at the Festival ahead of the International Day of Yoga this year. He also visited the walk through exhibition on Yoga arranged by DAVP and Photo Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
18) Ministry of Road Transport & Highways sets steep targets for 2016-17: Aims at 2.5 times increase in award and construction of National Highways.
  • Minister of Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari has fixed a 2.5 times increase in the target for award and construction of National Highways for the year 2016-17. Encouraged by the good performance of his Ministry in 2015-16, he expressed confidence that the pace of development that was established last year will result in even better outcomes during the current year.
  • The Minister has set a target of 25,000 km of National Highways to be awarded in 2016-17 as against the 10,000 km awarded in 2015-16. The construction target has been set at 15,000 km as against the 6000 km constructed last year.
  • The total length of National Highways targeted for award, 15,000 km would fall under the target of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and 10,000 km under the target of the Ministry and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL).


19) Ministry of Commerce & Industry Launches Twitter Seva.
  • In a major initiative to get administration of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry closer to people and changing the paradigm of Governance, the Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (I/C) Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman launched the ``Twitter Seva``.
  • Through this Twitter Seva, queries on matters relating to Department of Commerce (DoC) and Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) will be answered. Queries regarding DGFT, DGS&D, SEZs, Tea, Coffee, Rubber & Spices Boards, APEDA, MPEDA and any other matter relating to Department of Commerce will be addressed by DoC while queries regarding Manufacturing Policy, Industrial Corridors, Investment Promotion, Make in India, Start-up India, Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), FDI, Intellectual Property Rights, Patents, Trade Marks, Designs, Geographical Indicators, Copyrights, Paper, Light Engineering Industry, Cement, Linoleum and Rubber Industry will be addressed by DIPP.
  • All officers have been sensitized to respond to the tweets within a short time frame. This Seva is open to all the services provided by the Department of Commerce and Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion.
  • This is an initiative of the Minister of Commerce & Industry keeping in line the dictum ``Minimum Government, Maximum Governance`` of the Prime Minister.
20) Department of Disinvestment is now `Dipam`.
  • The Department of Disinvestment has been renamed as Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (Dipam), a decision aimed at proper management of Centre`s investments in equity including its disinvestment in central public sector undertakings.
  • The new department has been mandated to advise the government in the matters of financial restructuring of central public sector enterprises.
  • The Dipam will work under Finance Ministry and it will deal with "all matters relating to management of central government investments in equity including disinvestment of equity in central public sector undertakings".
21) Sugar-sweetened beverages putting children’s life at risk.
  • Health groups around the world are demanding sugar drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to stop marketing sweetened beverages to children, citing growing disease burden.
  • The groups, including city-based The George Institute for Global Health India, wrote to both the companies urging them to reduce container sizes, including health warnings on containers, restrict calorie content to 40 for 350 ml even as they requested the companies to not oppose health measures aimed at lowering consumption.
  • Around two lakh deaths occur every year due to sugar related diseases. Excess sugar in the body causes multiple disorders and eventually leads to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Children are the worst affected by these disorders as all marketing and advertising campaigns for the sugar-sweetened beverages are targeted upon them he added in a news release.
  • The release also stated that reports by Diabetes Foundation and Centre of Nutrition and Metabolic Research found the per capita consumption of sugary beverages had increased by five times since 1998.
22) PM Narendra Modi to launch Rs. 8,000 crore scheme for free LPG connections to poor.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch Rs. 8,000 crore scheme to provide 5 crore free LPG connections to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families using the money saved from 1.13 crore cooking gas users voluntarily giving up their subsidies.
  • The scheme is called Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and Mr. Modi will be launching it at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh and Dahod in Gujarat.
  • Maharashtra tops the list with 16.44 lakh consumers giving up subsidies, then Uttar Pradesh where nearly 13 lakh users gave up subsidies, followed by Delhi with 7.26 lakh people giving up subsidies.
  • The Government had launched the ‘GiveItUp’ campaign which was aimed at motivating LPG users who can afford to pay the market price for LPG to voluntarily surrender their LPG subsidy.
23) President nominated six members to Rajya Sabha.
Mary Kom:
 Legendary boxer and Olympic bronze medalist. She belongs to the Sino-Tibetan speaking Kom tribe of Manipur. She became the first Indian woman boxer to get a gold medal in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Narendra Jadhav:
 He is renowned economist and former member of the erstwhile National Advisory Council (2010-14) and Planning Commission (2009-14).
Suresh Gopi: 
 He is Malayalam actor and had acted in over 200 films. He is a winner of the National Film Award and Filmfare Award.
Swapan Dasgupta:
 He is journalist by profession. He had worked at senior editorial positions in various publications including The Indian Express, India Today and The Times of India.
Subramanian Swamy:
 He is BJP leader and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977, 1980 and 1988, and to the Rajya Sabha in 1974 and 1998.
Navjot Singh Sidhu:
 He is cricketer-turned-politician and former two time member of Lok Sabha.
24) India’s first online interactive heritage portal Sahapedia launched.
  • The Union Government has launched India’s first online interactive heritage portal named Sahapedia was in New Delhi. The web portal is a collaborative knowledge resource on the arts, culture and heritage of India.
  • The purpose of this portal is to inform, educate and act on subjects such as knowledge traditions, visual and material arts, performing arts, literature and languages.
  • It also seeks to educated and spread knowledge about practices and rituals, histories, institutions, people, built spaces and natural environment.
  • It will be accessible across user groups such as scholars, practitioners, students, teachers, travellers and enthusiasts.
  • It will also play important role in integrating activities and services including research, documentation, digitization and conservation.
25) Uber partners with FICCI, Gujarat Tourism for soft skill training.
  • Cab aggregator, Uber has entered into a partnership with Gujarat Tourism and FICCI in Ahmedabad city to facilitate training for Uber driver-partners.
  • The training is designed and conducted by Ace Driving & Road Safety Education Pvt Ltd on areas of Safe Driving and Interpersonal Skills of the drivers, in order to improve the overall rider experience in Gujarat.
  • According to a statement from Uber, the training will be conducted on an ongoing basis and will be optional for all Uber driver-partners. All drivers who attend the training will be certified by FICCI and Gujarat Tourism under their program.
26) Centre provides subsidy of Rs. 25 crores to contain prices of pulses.
  • Centre has decided to provide subsidy on Tur and Urad for distribution of pulses by States at retail price of not more than Rs. 120 per kg. For this, unmilled Tur dal is being allocated @ Rs. 66 per kg and unmilled Urad dal @ Rs. 82 per kg to the States, providing a subsidy of Rs. 27 per Kg for Tur Dal and Rs. 14 per kg for Urad dal. This would entail a subsidy of Rs 24.4 crore for 10,000 MT pulses ie, 8000 MT Tur and 2000 MT of Urad being allocated to the States.
  • The Government of India has requested State governments to avail this benefit and utilize the available stocks for managing the prices of pulses in their respective States. The center has already empowered the States to impose stock limits on the pulses to ensure easy availability.
  • Government agencies have made procurement of about 50,000 MT pulses from the farmers during the Kharif Marketing Season, 2015-16 and have contracted 26,000 MT of pulses for import. The Government has also initiated procurement of Rabi pulses and targeted to procure around 1, 00,000 MT of Chana and Masur to further build the buffer stock.