Current Affairs 22ND MARCH 2015 – 28TH MARCH, 2015
SC STAYED AFT’S DECISION TO QUASH ARMY’S 2009 PROMOTION POLICY
The Supreme Court has asked the Army not to conduct selection boards for promotion of its officers till April 22 when it would hear the appeal filed by the government against a decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) quashing the 2009 promotionpolicy.
The apex court observed that the issue will get more complicated if the Army holds its selection boards and asked it to keep its hands off till a final decision was taken in the matter by the apex court. The court has also asked the Defence Ministry to file within a week its rejoinder to the response of the officers, on whose plea the AFT had passed the impugned order. It had on March 25 stayed the AFT decision of quashing the Army’s promotion policy.
MoU between India and Qatar to increase commercial and economic exchanges between the two countries
As per a report in Jagran Josh, India and Qatar during the two day official visit of Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani’s to India on 25th March and 26th March 2015 signed six agreements. The new agreement will increase commercial and economic exchanges between India and Qatar. The deals have a special focus on the Make in India initiative.
The six Agreements which were inked includes:
Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons: Under this agreement, Indian prisoners convicted in Qatar can be brought to India to serve the remaining part of their sentence. Similarly Qatari Citizens convicted in India can be sent to his home country to serve their sentence.
MoU for Cooperation in the field of Information and Communication Technology: This MoU
would provide enhanced business opportunities for Indian IT industry in Qatar. Qatar has embarked
on an ambitious programme for overall development as part of their Qatar 2030 vision and has
crated a dedicated Ministry of Information and Communication Technology for capacity building
MoU between Ministry of Earth sciences and Qatar Meteorological Department for Scientific and
Technical cooperation: The scientific collaboration between Indian and Qatar will be beneficial to
improve atmospheric & Oceanic capacity in both the countries.
MoU between Diplomatic Institute of MOFA, Qatar and Foreign Service Institute, MEA: This
MoU would help in exchange of trainees, students, faculty members and experts between India
and Qatar to enhance their skills and improve the training programme in both the countries.
MoU for cooperation in the field of Radio and Television: This MoU intends to encourage regular
exchange of radio and TV programmes and material between Prasar Bharati of India and Qatar
Agreement for Mutual Cooperation and Exchange of News: The agreement between Qatari News
Agency and United News of India is to enhance and develop bilateral cooperation in the field of
exchange of English-language news on daily basis and free of charge.
ELECTRONIC COAL PROJECTS MONITORING PORTAL (E-CPMP) LAUNCHED
The Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal launched the e-CPMP (Electronic Coal projects monitoring Portal) for tracking projects that entail an investment related to coal. The portal has been developed by National informatics Centre (NIC). It is an institutional mechanism to automate the entire tracking of issues associated with stalled projects from submission of a new project to commissioning on time.
Characteristic features of e-CPMP
- The aim of the portal is to enhance efficiency and transparency in the Ministry’s functioning
- It will improve communication between B2G (Business to Government), G2G (Government to Government) and G2B (Government to Business) by automating work processes, removing human interaction and timely disposal of important issues.
- Government agencies, departments, ministries and private entrepreneurs are eligible to submit issues associated with stalled projects through the portal.
- It will proactively identify potential andexisting bottlenecks within the execution of projects and communicates administrative measures to overcome them.
- The portal additionally provides for numerous Graphical Analysis and reporting functiona- lities related to coal projects.
- Aside from issues associated with stalled projects the portal also acts as a platform to discuss general issues associated with the ministry.
PRAGATI PLATFORM FOR REDRESSAL OF GRIEVANCES
The Prime Minister launched his ambitious multi-purpose and multi-modal platform PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implemen- tation). PRAGATI is a unique integrating and interactive platform. The platform is aimed at addressing common man’s grievances, and simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Government of India as well as projects flagged by State Governments. The PRAGATI platform uniquely bundles three latest technologies: Digital data management, video- conferencing and geo-spatial technology. It also offers a unique combination in the direction of cooperative federalism since it brings on one stage the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States. With this, the Prime Minister is able to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground level. situation. Such an effort has never been made in India. It is also an innovative project in e- governance and good governance.
17 MEGA FOOD PARKS SANCTIONED
The Centre allocated the development of 17 mega food parks across the country to state governments and private firms, including Adani Ports & SEZ, envisaging an investment of over Rs 6,000 crore. A mega food park provides various facilities to food processors, farmers, retailers and exporters, helping achieve faster growth of food processing industries.
The project cost to set up these 17 mega food parks would be Rs 2,030 crore, of which the Central grant would be Rs 850 crore. An estimated investment of another Rs 4,000 crore would be from food processing units to be set up in these parks.
Under the scheme (2008-09) of mega food parks, the food processing ministry had sanctioned 42 projects throughout the country.
Of these, 25 parks have already been allocated. The cost of these 17 mega food parks is estimated at Rs 2,030 crore, of which the government’s contribution would be to the tune of Rs 850 crore.
Another Rs 4,000 crore is estimated to be invested once the basic infrastructure of these food parks is set up. The basic infrastructure in these food parks needs to be set up within 30 months.
COMMUNICATING THROUGH ‘TWITTER SAMVAD
Giving a further push to its Digital India dream, the government launched a new platform in association with social networking service Twitter to facilitate direct communication between leaders and citizens.
Called ‘Twitter Samvad’, the service is aimed to boost the nation’s e-governance plans. Through this the government bodies can have a direct communication with citizens on a daily basis via Tweets and SMS on their mobile devices.
Through Twitter Samvad, everyday a set of curated Tweets will be delivered from the government and leaders’ accounts to mobile users across the country as SMS.
Updates on government services, policies andactivities can be delivered to any user with a mobile device signed up for the service with each of the 16 launch partners. Anyone with a mobile phone, with our without a data plan, can register for the service by giving a missed call to a unique number for each of the partners.
SAUDI-LED COALITION STRIKES REBELS IN YEMEN
Saudi and allied warplanes struck rebels in Yemen with Saudi Arabia threatening to send ground troops and inserting itself into its southern neighbor’s civil war, potentially opening up a broader sectarian conflict in the Middle East.
The swift and sudden action involved 100 Saudi jets, 30 from the United Arab Emirates, 15 each from Kuwait and Bahrain, 10 from Qatar, and a handful from Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, plus naval help from Pakistan and Egypt, according to a Saudi adviser.
What do those countries have in common? They’re all predominantly Sunni Muslim – in contrast to the Houthi rebels, Shiite Muslims who have taken over Yemen’s capital of Sanaa and on Wednesday captured parts of its second-largest city, Aden. The operation against the Houthi rebels was launched to defend and support the legitimate government of Yemen and prevent the radical Houthi movement from taking over the country. The Saudis consider the Houthis proxies for the Shiite government of Iran and fear another Shiite- dominated state in the region.
ISRAEL ELECTION: NETANYAHU STORMS TO VICTORY
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel won a clear victory in elections and will form a new government. It puts the incumbent on course to clinch a fourth term and become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. He defeated his main rival, Isaac Herzog. Netanyahu’s Likud Party had won 30 seats to the Zionist Union’s 24. Netanyahu is now trying to find coalition partners with whom to build a new government.
FORTUNE RELEASED THE LIST OF 2015 ROSTER OF THE WORLD’S50 GREATEST LEADERS
Fortune magazine released its annual list of “extraordinary” men and women transforming business, government and philanthropy. The list has been topped by Apple CEO Tim Cook. A notable exclusion from the list is US President Barack Obama, who has not been named in the list for a second year in a row. Fortune said that “faced with difficult circumstances” domestically and globally, Obama has “surrendered.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi have been named among the 50 greatest leaders in the world. Modi is ranked 5th on the 2015 roster of ‘World’s Greatest Leaders’ with Satyarthi coming in at the 28th spot.
ASIAN DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK 2015
ADB’s Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2015 projects that Developing Asia will grow at a steady 6.3% in 2015 and 2016 supported by a streng-thening recovery in the major industrial economies and soft global commodity prices.
The drop in international oil prices is taking pressure off of consumer prices. Inflation will slow from 3.1% in 2014 to 2.6% in 2015.
As low oil prices are supporting growth in developing Asia, a sudden sharp reversal could undermine the outlook and require policy response. Similarly, while capital inflows to the region have been beneficial for growth, policy makers must carefully manage credit expansion to ensure that it does not lead to excessive leverage and asset price bubbles.
SEBI BOARD APPROVED SEBI (INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CENTRES) GUIDELINES, 2015
Moving a step closer to having a Dubai and Singapore-like international financial services centres (IFSCs), India’s capital markets regulator Sebi issued broad guidelines for IFSCs – the first of which is to come up in Gujarat as Gujarat Inter- national finance Tec-City (GIFT).
Sebi rules make it easier for setting up stock exchanges, clearing corporations, financial intermediaries, asset management companies and related capital market infrastructure in the IFSC. These rules will be effective from April 1 and called Securities and Exchange Board of India (International Financial Services Centres) Guide- lines, 2015.
INDIA OVERTAKES US AS THIRD BIGGEST STEEL PRODUCER
RAILWAYS LAUNCHES RUPAY PRE-PAID DEBIT CARD SERVICE
RBI SIGNS CURRENCY SWAP AGREEMENT WITH THE CENTRALBANK OF SRI LANKA
17 NEW MEGA FOOD PARKS SANCTIONED
SPECTRUM AUCTION FETCHES RS.1.10 LAKH CRORE TO CENTRE
SCIENCE & TECH
NATIONAL SUPERCOMPUTING MISSION: BUILDING CAPACITYAND CAPABILITY
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the launch of the National
Supercomputing Mission. This is a visionary program to enable India to leapfrog to the league of world class computing power nations. The Mission would be implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) at an estimated cost of Rs.4500 crore over a period of seven years. The Mission envisages empowering our national academic and R&D institutions spread over the country by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities. These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). The NKN is another programme of the government which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high speed network. Academic and R&D institutions as well as key user departments/ ministries would participate by using these facilities and develop applications of national relevance. The
Mission also includes development of highly professional High Performance Computing (HPC) aware human resource for meeting challenges of development of these applications.
INDIA’S 4TH NAVIGATION SATELLITE
ISRO added another feather in its cap with the successful launch of India’s fourth navigation satellite. India on March 28, 2015 demonstrated its ability to establish an independent regional navigation satellite system, as ISRO’s PSLV C-27 successfully launched Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) 1-D satellite into the intended orbit. IRNSS 1-D is the fourth of the series of seven satellites, which would form ISRO’s IRNSS.