National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs August 2nd Week 2016
Category : National Current Affairs
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1) Centre Allocated Rs. 675.86 crore for Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure in 2015-16.

  • The Government is implementing capital investment subsidy sub-scheme ``Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure (AMI)`` of Integrated Scheme for Agricultural Marketing (ISAM) scheme.
The erstwhile two schemes viz:
(I) Grameen Bhandaran Yojna (GBY), also known as Rural Godown Scheme.
(II) Scheme for Strengthening/ Development of Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure, Grading & Standardization (AMIGS).
  • Under the scheme, capital investment subsidy @ 25% of the capital cost for general category beneficiary and @33.33% for special category beneficiary is provided for construction/ creation of scientific godowns and other marketing infrastructure in the country. 
  • The releases of funds are made to the States as per sanction of projects under the scheme in the particular state.
2) RajyaSabha passes `patient-centric` Mental Health Care Bill 2013.
  • The Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the Mental Health Care Bill 2013, which seeks to provide better healthcare to people with mental illness and safeguard their rights.
  • The person will be treated if he/she gets diagnosed with a mental illness.
  • The bill also bans the use of electric shock therapy for treating children with mental illness and only permits its use on adults after they have been given anesthesia and muscle relaxants.
3) British Council to promoting education, culture in Bihar.
  • The British Council India is interested in long-term collaboration with the Bihar government for promotion of education and culture.
  • The British Council, in association with the UK Department of International Development (DFID) and the Education Department of Bihar has been successfully running the Bihar Language Initiative for Secondary Schools (BLISS).
  • Under the programme more than 200 Teachers have been selected for a foundation programme focusing on their own language skills, interactive and communicative teaching methodologies to train them to impart a newly designated teacher training programme, called English for All in Bihar, to 3200 secondary school English Teachers across the state.
  • In addition, the British Council India Director launched the `2017 UK-India Year of Culture` campaign in the state capital in order to promote cultural exchange and to create educational opportunities for stronger ties between the two countries.
4) NHAI Signs MOU with IIT- Kharagpur for Research Project on Paneled Cement Concrete Pavements for Highways.
  • National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has signed MOU with IIT-Kharagpur for research project on Laboratory and Field investigations on Paneled Cement Concrete Pavements for Highways. 
  • The highways are generally paved with Bituminous (Asphaltic Concrete) material produced from refineries.
  • The Government of India has recently announced a policy for the construction of concrete pavements for all major highways due to their longevity and maintenance free life.
5) 4497 New Projects Sanctioned for Rural Electrification under DDUGJY.
  • Under Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), 4497 new projects have been sanctioned in the country with the project cost of Rs. 42392.47 crore for various rural electrification works.
6) Odisha government approves two ordinances.
  • Odisha cabinet approved 14 proposals including promulgation of two ordinances on rotation of office reservation of the sarpanch at every general elections and amendment of the the Odisha Electricity (Duty) Act, 1961.
  • There will be rotation of reservation of the office of the sarpanch at every general elections similar to the case of ward members, panchayat samiti and zilla parishad posts.
  • As per the existing provision of Odisha Grama Panchayats (OGP) Act, 1964, the rotation of reservation of offices of the sarpanchs is to be made after every two terms of general elections.

7) Maharashtra govt launches `Quit India 2` movement to mark its 75th anniversary.

  • The Platinum Jubilee celebration of the 1942 Quit India Movement, various initiatives has been organized in Mumbai. The movement has been one of the major milestones in the history of India’s struggle for independence.
  • This movement of disobedience launched in August 1942, with Mahatma Gandhi’s call for immediate independence, made at Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank, which is now well known as August Kranti Maidan.
  • On the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in Mumbai, the Maharashtra Government is launching Quit India 2-from Swaraaj to Suraaj initiative at historic August Kranti Maidan.
  • It would emphasize on freedom from illiteracy, farmer suicide, wastage of water, addiction among youth and corruption. 
8) Cabinet approves MoU between India and South Africa for cooperation in the field of Tourism.
  • Cabinet approves Agreement between the India and Croatia on Economic Cooperation.
  • Cabinet approves transfer of 13111.55 square meters of land belonging to Indian Institute of Soil & Water Conservation Research Centre at Chandigarh to Haryana Urban Development Authority.
  • Cabinet approves introduction of Pension and Post-Retirement Medical Schemes as part of superannuation benefits for Employees of Food Corporation of India.
  • Cabinet approves foreign investment in other Financial Services sector.
  • Cabinet approves financial support to BHEL for R&D project for development of Advanced Ultra Super Critical Technology.
9) Amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval for amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 by introducing the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament. 
  • The maternity benefit Act 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a `maternity benefit` - i.e. full paid absence from work - to take care for her child. 
The amendments to Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 are as follows:
  1.  Increase Maternity Benefit from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two children.
  2.  12 weeks Maternity Benefit to a `Commissioning mother` and `Adopting mother`.
  3.  Facilitate `Work from home`. 
  4.  Mandatory provision of Creche in respect of establishment having 50 or more employees.
10) The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval for amendments to Section 44 and consequential amendments of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 by introducing the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Parliament.
  • The approved amendments will address concerns and an apprehension expressed by different categories of public servants and addresses the difficulties being faced in implementing the provision of section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. The amendments are in line with one of the recommendations of the Standing Committee.
11) The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval for amendment of Section 64 and section 65 and consequential amendment of section 115 of the Factories Act, 1948 by introducing the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Parliament. 
  • The approved amendments will give boost to the manufacturing sector and facilitate ease of doing business with an aim to enhance employment opportunities. 
  • These amendments relate to increase in overtime hours from the existing 50 hours per quarter to 100 hours (Section 64) and existing 75 hours per quarter to 125 hours (Section 65).
12) Odisha Crime Branch rescues 1051 children in first phase of Operation Muskan-2.
  • As many as 1,051 missing children have been rescued by the Odisha Crime Branch during the first phase of Operation Muskan-2.
  • The Operation Muskan, which was started by the Crime Branch in association with the Women and Child Development Department, has rescued these children from various places across the state.
  • Niti Aayog ties up with US EIA to set up a portal on energy data.
  • The portal to host all the data related to energy sector in the country, Niti Aayog inked a pact with US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
  • The web portal will host all the data related to energy sector including oil & gas, coal, solar & thermal energy etc.
13) MSAI and Nirbhaya Jyoti Trust launch `I Feel Safe` safety app for women. 
  • Over 500 female students of Delhi University were present at the launch the ``I Feel Safe`` mobile application, a safety application developed by mobile testing company MSAI in partnership with the Nirbhaya Jyoti Trust.
  • A user needs to list five of their contacts who will be alerted, apart from the 24-hour helpline and the national emergency number 100, if the ``panic button`` is pressed.
  • The power on-off button on the phone acts as the panic button. It can be activated by pressing it five times. Those in distress need not switch on the phone screen or even unlock it.
14) First Indian channel on skill development launches in Pune.
  • Education content provider using technology Million lights, launched the first and only Indian TV Channel focused on higher education and skill development in partnership with DEN Manoranjan Satellite in Pune. 
  • Partners of the initiative include universities, teachers, technology companies, and certification companies. For the TV channel initiative, the company has Microsoft as a partner.
15) Bihar agrees to implement Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. 
  • The state government`s decision is to implement the PMFBY on experimental basis in Kharif season with immediate effect. 
  • Earlier, state government had made a plea before the centre to extend the financial support to meet the state share in this scheme. CM Nitish Kumar also wanted the centre to name the scheme as "Kendra-Rajya Fasal Bima Scheme" on the plea that the financial burden for implementing the scheme is shared by both the centre and the state. 
  • State government is committed to continue its fight in the interest of farmers. It seems that Pradhan Mantri Bima Fasal Yojana aims more to serve the interest of insurance companies/banks than the farmers. State government has taken a decision to implement the scheme in the interest of farmers immediately on experimental basis in Kharif season, the release further added.
16) IRCTC signs MoU with DRDO to get ready-to-eat food straight out of packet.
  • Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has started sale of Ready-to-Eat food packets at some of the Railway stations on trial basis. During the trial period the MRP has been kept at Rs. 40/- per packet for all items. Details of stations where Ready-to-eat packets are being sold during trial period are appended. 
  • IRCTC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Defence Food Research Laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for Transfer of Technology of Retort Pouch Processed Foods so that ready-to-eat food can be warmed and eaten straight out of the packet. 

17) I&B Minister inaugurates Independence Day Film Festival. 

  • Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurating the week long ``Independence Day Film Festival`` at Siri Fort Auditorium.
  • Festival provided an opportunity to the school children especially from public schools who attended the festival to be inspired by the history of these great leaders and freedom fighters.
  • The opening Film for the festival Gandhi directed by Sir Richard Attenborough was screened after the inaugural ceremony. The festival would commence from 12th August to 18th August, 2016 and 20 films will be screened during the period. The festival is being organized by DFF in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence.
18) India’s First Touch and Feel Garden unveiled in Calicut University, Kerala.
  • First-of-its’s-kind, Initiative for a touch and feel garden for the visually impaired people in the country was inaugurated in the premises of Calicut University.
  • The garden comprises of 70 aromatic, medicinal and herbal plants brought from various parts of India.
  • The park which is opened on August 11, will embrace a blindfold to experience the world of the visually disabled.
19) Rajasthan Govt. ties up with ITEC Dubai for the promotion of Tourism Sector in the State.
  • To facilitate the development of the Tourism sector, Rajasthangovernment signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India Trade And Exhibition Centre (ITEC), Dubai for promotion of skill development, investment and tourism sectors.
  • With effect of this MoU, ITEC would work as a service providing agency for promotion of skill development, investment and tourism sectors in Rajasthan.
20) Badal inaugurates first `Sewa Kendra` in Punjab.
  • In order to provide efficient and transparent governance to the people at their doorsteps, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal inaugurated the state`s first `Sewa Kendra` where people will be able to avail 243 services under one roof. 
  • This is a step towards ensuring governance reforms in the state. These centres would act as a catalyst to help people in getting their routine administrative works done in a speedy manner. 
  • A total of 2,147 SewaKendras have been constructed at a cost of Rs. 500 crore. Of these, 389 are in urban areas and 1,758 in rural areas which will provide more than 243 services to the people.
21) Assam Assembly unanimously passes GST Bill.
  • Assam Assembly unanimously passed the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST, becoming the first state to ratify the crucial tax reform legislation.
  • Assam has become the first state to ratify the Goods and Services Tax (GST) constitution amendment Bill.
22) Prez nod for six new IITs in country; NIT in AP.
  • Six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will be set up in places like Jammu and Tirupati as President Pranab Mukherjee gave his nod to a law in this regard.
  • As per the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Act, 2016, which got Mukherjees assent, IITs will also be started in Palakkad (Kerala), Goa, Dharward (Karnataka) and Bhilai (Chhattisgarh). 
  • The law has also brought the Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad under its ambit. The ISM will now be called Indian Institute of Technology.
23) Over 37,000 houses approved for urban poor in Haryana and Karnataka. 
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, HUPA has approved construction of over 37,000 houses for the urban poor in Haryana and Karnataka with central assistance of Rs. 569 crore.
  • The inter-ministerial Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee, chaired by HUPA Secretary Nandita Mukherjee, approved the project. 
  • The total investment in construction of these houses would be to the tune of about 1,491 crore. 
  • Over 36,000 houses for the economically weaker sections would be constructed in Karnataka with an investment of Rs. 1,468 crore and 759 houses would be built in Haryana at a cost of Rs. 23 crore.
24) Nagaland govt to grant 33% reservation to women in Urban Local Bodies. 
  • Nagaland Government has decided to grant 33 per cent reservation to women in Urban Local Bodies, ULBs. The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting held in Kohima.
  • Chief Minister TR Zeliang announced this during the State Level Watershed Conference held in Kohima.
  • Elections to the state ULBs have been pending for several years as the tenure of the first municipal bodies came to an end between December 2009 and March 2010. 
25) Smart Ganga City Scheme Launched in Ten Cities.
  • Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti and Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu launched Smart Ganga City Scheme in 10 cities located along Ganga to set up Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and improve drainage.
Ten cities:
  • Haridwar, Allahabad, Rishikesh, Mathura - Vrindavan, Varanasi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Patna, Sahibgunj, Barrackpore.
  • These cities has been chosen by the National Mission for Clean Ganga where the programme will be established in the first phase for infrastructure development for sewage treatment on hybrid annuity mode on public private partnership basis.
26) Odisha Govt. implements Odisha Official Language Act, 1954.
  • After Odisha State Cabinet has given nod for the Odisha Official Language Rules- 2016, to frame rules for proper implementation of the Odisha Official Language Act-1954 that came the came to the force with immediate effect.
  • Move comes after 61 years after passing of the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954 in the Assembly, the state implemented the legislation.
27) HUPA approves construction of over 37,000 houses for urban poor.
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) headed by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu approved construction of 37,013 houses for the urban poor in Karnataka and Haryana with central assistance of Rs. 569 crore.
  • Rs. 1,468 crore to construct 36,254 houses in Karnataka.
  • Rs. 23 crore to construct 759 houses in Haryana.
  • Central government will provide Rs. 558 crore to Karnataka and Rs. 11 crore to Haryana.
28) Nadda inaugurates AMRIT outlet at Safdarjung hospital.
  • Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda inaugurated the Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) outlet at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. It is the tenth AMRIT outlet centre.
  • AMRIT pharmacy will sell drugs for some diseases at a discounted rates.
  • It would be selling 202 cancer and 186 cardio-vascular drugs, and 148 types of cardiac implants.
29) Second unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant to be synchronized with southern power grid. 
  • Second unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant will be synchronized with southern power grid by the end of this month. 
  • Electricity generation for the third and fourth units will start by 2022. 
  • The second unit of Kudankulam nuclear power plant attained criticality on July 10.
  • Power generation in the second unit is being increased from 230 Mega watts to 300 mega watt and finally will attain the full capacity of 1000 mega watt.
30) BARC and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology sign MoU for joint development of Deep Brain Stimulat.
  • Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuramhave agreed to join hands to develop `Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS)`. 
  • DBS involves implanting electrodes within certain areas of brain and the regular electrical pulses generated by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in upper chest regulates the abnormal impulses of the brain. 
  • DBS is used in typical neurological conditions of Essential tremor, Parkinson`s disease and Dystonia. 
  • The DBS consists of implanted pulse generator, electrodes and extension cables which interface with external Programmer module and wireless battery charger.
31) Govt sets up National Committee on Trade Facilitation.
  • The Centre has constituted the National Committee on Trade Facilitation following India’s ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in April. 
  • The NCTF will facilitate domestic co-ordination and TFA provisions` implementation, and help develop the pan-India trade facilitation road map.
  • The committee is a mandatory, institutional arrangement under TFA.
32) Apex court lifts ban on registration of large diesel cars in Delhi-NCR.
  • Supreme Court allowed to register diesel-run cars with engine capacity of 2000 cc and above, provided they pay a `green charge` of 1 per cent of the vehicle’s ex-showroom price.
  • Implementing the `polluter pays` legal principle by lifting the ban it had imposed on high-end cars and SUVs to curb air pollution in the National Capital, a Special Bench, headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, directed the carmakers or dealers to deposit the 1 per cent `Environment Compensation Charge` with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).