National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs April 4th Week 2016
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) New Rules notified by Government to revamp Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

  • Union Government has notified new rules to improve the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes Act also known as Preventions of Atrocities Act.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had notified the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules 2016.
Key upgrades in the bill:
  1. The provision of completing an investigation and filing a charge sheet in the court within 60 days of the filing of the complaint by a member of SC/ST community.
  2. A provision in the revamped bill is delinking the requirement of the medical examination for getting relief amount for non-invasive offenses against the women.
  3. The new provisions have increased the existing quantum of relief amount from between Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 7,50,000 to between Rs. 85,000 and Rs. 8,25,000, depending on the nature of the offense. 
2) Tata Trusts signs pact with Odisha for Malaria elimination.
  • Tata Trusts has signed a pact with the Odisha government to achieve elimination of Malaria from the state by 2030.
  • Tata Trusts will be taking mass screenings twice a year in 557 villages in five selected blocks including Bissamcuttack and Muniguda blocks of Rayagada district, Lanjigarh, Thuamulrampur blocks of Kalahandi district and Kotgarh block of Kandhamal district in southern Odisha.
  • The Centre has committed to eliminate malaria from the country by 2030. If the partnership between Odisha government and Trusts can demonstrate reduction in mortality in Odisha, it will bring down overall prevalence of malaria and incidence in the country.
  • Therefore, the vision of the partnership is to reduce malaria deaths by 50 per cent in five years and incidence by 40 per cent.
3) India banned milk, mobile phones import from China.
  • India has banned import of milk and milk products, certain mobile phones and a few other items from China after finding them sub-standard or not following security codes.
  • Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha that India banned import of milk and milk products from China as their quality was unacceptable.
  • Some mobile phones, which do not carry International Mobile Station Equipment Identity number or other security features, and some steel products have also been banned from importing from China.
  • Complete ban of import from any country is not possible now due to WTO rules even if we have problems diplomatically, territorially or militarily.
4) Uber partners with Election Commission in Tamilnadu.
  • Taxi operator Uber has partnered with Election Commission in Tamil Nadu to spread awareness on voting among the electorate for the assembly polls.
  • Uber held discussions with officials on the importance of voting and encouraging people to cast their vote and would collaborate with EC`s Systematic Voters` Education and Electoral Participation programme.
  • Drivers of Uber cabs would be educating public on the importance of voting and encourage riders to vote.
5) Govt hikes minimum wage for contract workers to Rs. 10,000.
  • The minister of state for labour and employment Bandaru Dattatreya informed Lok Sabha that the wage hike has been implemented based on a Supreme Court verdict.
  • Increased minimum wage to Rs. 10,000 at the national level taking into consideration the Consumer Price Index and Dearness Allowance. This was based on the verdict of the Supreme Court. We have linked this increase of minimum wage to pension and bonus.
  • It is the Endeavour of the central government to make reforms in labour laws and to proceed from minimum wage to universal wage. The decision to make changes to rule 25 of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Central Rules.
6) Over two lakh new central government jobs by 2017.
  • Good news for people seeking government jobs, over two lakh posts are estimated to be created by the central government in its various departments.
  • The central government has projected in the Budget estimates for 2016-17 an increase of about 2.18 lakh in the existing workforce of 33.05 lakh, as on 2015, by 2017.
  • The Home Ministry will add 5,635 new jobs to take its strength to 22,006 in 2017. Similarly, there will be 47,264 new posts in police departments to take its total to 10,75,341 in 2017, from 10,28,077 (its strength in 2015).
  • There will be increase of 10,894 in staff strength of the Defence Ministry to take the manpower count to 51,084 in 2017, according to the Budget estimates presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
7) Lok Sabha passes The Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016.
  • The Lower House of the Parliament passed The Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016. The Bill seeks to establish a Regional Centre for Biotechnology, an institution of education, training and research, under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Key Objectives:
  1. Disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields.
  2. Create a hub of biotechnology expertise.
  3. Facilitate transfer of technology and knowledge in the SAARC region and generally Asia.
  4. Promote cooperation at the international level. The Regional centre will provide masters and doctoral degrees, and post-graduate diplomas in biotechnology and related subjects.
8) Lok Sabha passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
  • The Parliament has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to remove given to Sahjdhari Sikhs to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees.
  • The amendment bill first was passed in the Rajya Sabha in March 2016 and later in the Lok Sabha in April 2016.
Key facts:
  1. The amendment bill removes exception given to Sahjdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees constituted under the parent Act.
  2. It will disentitle Sahjdhari Sikhs, who trim or shave their beard or hair, from casting their votes in elections to the Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC). The proposed amendment was carried out by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) Notification that had debarred Sahjdhari Sikhs voting rights.
  3. The notification was issued in exercise of the powers conferred by the Parliament under section 72 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966.
  4. The new amendment bill will come into force retrospectively from 2003.
9) Union Government constitutes Ashok Dalwai committee for doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
  • The Union Government has recently constituted 8-member inter-ministerial committee to prepare a blueprint for doubling farmers’ income by 2022. The committee will be headed by Ashok Dalwai, Additional secretary at the Union Agriculture Ministry and is expected to submit the report in two months.
  • Its members will include officials from Agriculture and Food Ministries, experts from the Delhi-based National Council of Applied Economic Research and National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research.
Terms of reference of the Committee
  1. Prepare plan to shift farm policies to income based from current production-oriented. Identify potential areas of agriculture where more investment should happen.
  2. Suggest ways to reduce the risk of farming by diversifying to horticulture and allied activities like livestock and fisheries to boost income.
  3. Suggest measures for reducing the cost of cultivation and addressing unpredictability of weather and price fluctuations in farm sector.


10) Installation of Solar Power Plant of 200 MW or more Capacity at the Central State Farm at Jetsar, Rajasthan.
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for utilization of 400 hectares of un-cultivable farm land at the Central State Farm (CSF), Jetsar in Sri Ganganagar District, Rajasthan for setting up of a solar Power Plant of capacity exceeding 200 MW.
  • The land is presently in possession of National Seeds Corporation (NSC), a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the administrative control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The Solar Power Plant will be set up by a CPSE, which would be selected through negotiation.
  • The selected CPSE will have to do tariff based competitive bidding for the project. It will be allowed to utilize the land for the installation of a Solar Power Plant over a contract period of 25 years, which may be extended on mutually agreed terms and conditions, after which the entire plant will be surrendered to the NSC.
11) Government decides to allow States to impose and enforce stock limits to check the price rise in sugar.
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to bring “sugar” under the purview of imposing stock holding limits on dealers of sugar, keeping in view the recent upward trend in sugar prices.
  • The Government has noticed that in spite of sufficient availability of sugar stocks with the Sugar Mills, the wholesale and retail prices have shown a spurt.
  • The Government has taken stock of the availability of sugar and different factors contributing to rise in market prices of sugar across the country.
  • In order to check the inflationary tendencies in sugar and to reduce hoarding by wholesalers and retailers, Government felt an immediate need to bring sugar within the purview of stock limits.
  • The decision will empower State and Central agencies to impose stock limits and regulate supply, distribution, storage and trade of sugar to bring down sugar prices at reasonable level by curbing unscrupulous trading.
12) Union Railway Ministry to set up Rs. 1 lakh crore Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh.
  • Indian Railways (IR) is working on a proposal to create a mega fund called Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK), with a corpus of Rs. 1,10,239 crore, to upgrade its creaking infrastructure.
  • The fund would be used to eliminate level-crossings, install collision avoidance systems, as well as for track renewal and signal upgrades.
  • This includes around Rs 40,000 crore for elimination of unmanned level crossings and replacing old signaling and telecom infrastructure, which lead to more than half the rail-related accidents.
  • The rail ministry had set up a six-member committee under the executive director of its planning directorate for a scheme, including funding sources and focus areas.
  • The committee had sought inputs on fund requirements from directorates - mechanical, electrical and civil engineering, among others. The inputs are expected by the end of next week. The committee will then create a consolidated proposal within a month and send it to the finance ministry.
13) Government approved the policy for sharing competitive exam scores with private sector.
  • The Government has approved the policy for public disclosure of scores and ranking of the candidates who appear for recruitment examinations conducted by various public recruitment agencies for the benefit of employers in the public and private sector seeking qualified candidates through a portal.
  • The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has given some observations in this regard that have been communicated to the concerned authorities.
14) BPCL gets green nod for Rs. 694 crore LPG project in West Bengal.
  • State-owned fuel retailer Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has got green nod for its Rs. 694 crore project of developing LPG import terminal as well as storage, bottling and bulk distribution facilities at Haldia Dock Complex in West Bengal.
  • At present, domestic production of LPG is around 12.38 million metric tonne per annum (mmtpa), much lower than the estimated demand of 18.65 mmtpa for this year.
  • The proposed project aims to boost supply and help achieve the government`s target of making LPG available to each household by 2018.
  • Based on the recommendations of the Expert Appraisal Committee (industry), the environment ministry has given environmental clearance and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance to the BPCL`s project in West Bengal.
15) Panel suggests fine or jail for celebs in misleading ads.
  • To make celebrities accountable for misleading ads, a Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended stringent provisions including jail term up to five years and hefty penalty of up to 50 lakh in order to protect consumer interest.
  • In its report on the Consumer Protection Bill 2015, tabled in Parliament, the panel has suggested legal teeth to make celebrities accountable for misleading advertisements, a Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended stringent provisions, including a jail term of up to five years and a hefty penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh, to protect consumer interest.
  • The panel has suggested legal teeth to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to curb misleading ads, besides proposing severe penalties, jail and cancellation of license of those involved in food adulteration.
16) CIL’s Target for production of COAL.
  • Target fixed by Coal India Limited (CIL) for coal production during 2016-17 is 598.60 million tonnes. This was stated by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy.
  • The Minister further stated that coal availability of CIL is in tune with the quantity committed for Thermal Power Plants having Fuel Supply Agreement.
  • Supply of coal to Power Utilities from CIL sources has grown from 353.83 MT in 2013-14 to 385.40 MT in 2014-15 and further to 409.14 MT (Provisional) in 2015-16. For the year 2016-17, the target of Off-take of CIL is 598.61 Mt. Out of this, 450 Mt will be supplied to Power Sector Utilities.
17) Literacy in Villages Under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
  • In order to give fillip to the advancement of goals and objectives of Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) relating to adult education, an initiative was undertaken to align the Saakshar Bharat programme with SAGY in Saakshar Bharat districts through convergence of existing resources available under the scheme.
  • As a part of this initiative, it was aimed to make all out efforts to achieve 100 per cent literacy in 408 Saansad Adarsh Grams in 276 Saakshar Bharat districts spread in 23 States and One UT by 31st March, 2016.
  • Plan-wise targets are fixed to achieve higher levels of literacy in a phased manner. The present targets are to raise the overall literacy rate of the country to 80 per cent and reduce the gender gap to 10 percentage points by the end of XII Five Year Plan.
  • This information was given by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani.
18) Review of Obsolete Laws.
  • The Law Commission of India has submitted its Reports No. 248th, 249th, 250th, and 251st ``Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal``, wherein it recommended for repeal of 72, 113, 74 and 30 obsolete Acts respectively.
  • A Two-Member Committee was also constituted by the Prime Minister’s Office for review of repeal of obsolete laws. The Two-member Committee has submitted its Report, and has inter alia, identified a total number of 1741 Central Acts for repeal. On the basis of the Reports, total 1827 Acts have been identified for repeal.
  • Total 125 Acts have been repealed during the year 2015-16 by the Repealing and Amending Act, 2015 (Act No. 17 of 2015) and the repealing and Amending (Second) Act, 2015 (Act No. 19 of 2015).
  • Further, two Bills namely, ``the Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, 2015`` seeking to repeal 758 Acts and ``the Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill 2015`` seeking to repeal 295 Acts are pending in the Parliament. The Government is actively pursuing the matter to repeal the Acts identified for repeal. 

19) Government plans to keep 1% of highways project cost for road safety.

  • The government plans to make it mandatory to set aside 1 per cent of total cost of any highway project for road safety, by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari
  • India witnesses as high as 5 lakh road accidents per annum in which 1.5 lakh people die and another 3 lakh are crippled.
  • If cost of construction is Rs. 1,000 crore then one per cent comes to Rs. 10 crore. We will use those Rs. 10 crore for road safety issues that include fixing accidental spots, installing cameras and lights and on other such issues.
  • The government is committed to reducing the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent in next two to three years.
20) EC launches mobile app e-voter for Kerala assembly polls.
  • The Election Commission has launched an innovative mobile application with comprehensive details about the imminent assembly polls in Kerala.
  • Titled `e-voter`, the app is envisaged to help voters search electoral rolls, locate polling stations, obtain information about candidates and the affidavit filed by them, file complaints and so on.
  • The app, developed by the state IT mission, is aimed at ensuring great transparency and conduct of free and fair elections, the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Kerala in a release.
  • The `Know Your Candidate` option in the app will provide constituency-wise details of candidates, while the `Constituency List` option aims to give segment-wise details of voters (number of male voters, female voters and total number of voters) and total polling stations.
  • Information about results of previous elections and names of Chief Ministers will also be made available in the app.
21) Gujarat Announces 10% Quota For Economically Backward.
  • The Gujarat government announced 10% reservation for the economically backward among upper castes, a move apparently aimed at placating the influential Patidars who launched a violent agitation last year seeking quota benefits.
  • The decision, taken at a meeting of the BJP core committee headed by party president Amit Shah in Gandhinagar, will benefit all upper caste families with annual income less than Rs. 6 lakh.
  • Anandiben Patel government’s decision is likely to run into a legal hurdle as the new quota will be in addition to the existing 49% reservation for OBCs, SCs and STs. Under guidelines set by the Supreme Court, a state cannot provide reservation beyond 50% of its population.
22) Shri Piyush Goyal Launches `UJALA` Scheme in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Government of India’s National LED programme - Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) was launched in Madhya Pradesh by Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister for State (IC) for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Shri Piyush Goyal, at a function held in Bhopal. The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Ministry of Power.
  • The launching of UJALA scheme in Madhya Pradesh, energy revolution has begun and will transform the State. In the State, 3 crore LED Bulbs will be distributed in the next 6 months under the Scheme.
  • People of Madhya Pradesh will get energy efficient 9W LED bulbs at an upfront payment of just Rs. 85 per LED bulb, Shri Goyal added. The Minister further stated that within just one year, 9 crore bulbs have been distributed under UJALA Scheme, which helped consumers to save Rs 5500 crore every year. UJALA will not only help reduce consumers their electricity bills but also contribute to the energy security of India.
23) HC orders demolition of Adarsh high-rise.
  • Five-and-a-half years after the corruption scandal involving the Adarsh Housing Society emerged the Bombay High Court directed the Centre to demolish the 31-storey high-rise in South Mumbai’s Colaba but stayed the order for 12 weeks to allow the residents to file an appeal.
  • The court ordered the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Union of India to demolish the building and consider initiating appropriate civil/ criminal proceedings against the bureaucrats, ministers and politicians concerned for abuse of powers.
  • A Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and R.G. Ketkar had reserved its order on a bunch of petitions connected to the building erected for the welfare of war widows and defence personnel.
24) Odisha CM launches 100 piped water supply projects.
  • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik dedicated to the people 100 piped water supply projects for rural areas and pledged to make piped water provision in all gram panchayats by 2017.
  • We are celebrating the birthday of Utkala Gaurav Madhusudan Das. On this occasion, we have dedicated 100 rural piped water supply projects in the service of the people of our state.
  • Drinking water has been our priority and we have targeted to cover all our panchayats by 2017 with pipe water supply. The Chief Minister urged the citizens to avoid wasting water and encouraged villagers to take care of the piping infrastructure.
25) 27th IND - INDO Coordinated Patrol.
  • The Indonesian Navy and the Indian Navy have been participating in coordinated patrol (CORPAT) twice a year since 2002 to keep this vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.
  • The 27th series of India – Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) is being conducted. Opening Ceremony of the CORPAT is being held at Port Blair and Closing Ceremony will be held at Belawan, Indonesia. The Indonesian Navy is being represented by the ship KRI Imam Bonjol and Maritime Patrol Aircraft CN 235 whilst INS Karmuk and one Naval Dornier aircraft are representing the Indian Navy.
  • Apart from securing the trade sea route, the coordinated patrol also serves to enhance mutual understanding and inter-operability between the two navies. The CORPAT thus reflects the shared concern between the two countries for a peaceful Indian ocean for the benefit of international community.