Current Affairs – 5th January to 11th January 2015
CABINET NOD FOR MINERAL AUCTION
The government has decided to promulgate an Ordinance to amend the 57-year-old Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act. The amendment seeks to facilitate auction of hundreds of mining leases for minerals like iron ore, copper, bauxite and limestone.
Impacts of Amendment
Auction would ensure transparency in coal allocation
It would boost the revenue of the government
The proposed changes in mining policy are also investor-friendly. So it would enhance investors’ confidence.
It would allow transfer of mining leases and other rights between firms
It would also simplify and speed up the procedures for granting concessions
CITIZENSHIP ORDINANCE RECEIVES PRESIDENTIAL NOD
The citizenship ordinance has been signed by the President Pranab Mukharjee. The ordinance seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. It will benefit People of IndianOrigin (PIO) by giving them benefits like life-long visa and exemption from appearing before the local police station on every visit.
RURAL WAGE REVEALS DECLINING TREND
The average all-India daily wage rate across 23 agricultural and non-agricultural occupations at Rs 266.26 for November 2014, as against Rs 256.52 for the same month of the previous year
Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have bucked the overall trend of rural wages slowdown
Eastern region states in particular, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal, have posted low or even negative growth rates.
Rural wage levels in both MP and Gujarat are way below the national average and even relative to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh or West Bengal.
Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Rajasthan are three states that have registered more than all-India average wage growth despite a higher base.
NGOS UNDER SCRUTINY
The Centre has expressed the desire to stop grants to NGOs who fail to file their income- expenditure statements. The same has been conveyed by the government to the Supreme Court. The NGOs are in controversy after IB has submitted a report to the PMO and National Security Adviser. In this, IB alleged that several foreign- funded NGOs were stalling India’s economic growth by their obstructionist activism. The report accused Greenpeace of attempting to destabilize India’s energy mix in collusion with a US-based anti-coal lobbying group. The IB subsequently advised the government to cancel Greenpeace’s FCRA registration.
SATELLITE TO MONITOR FORESTS
In order to keep an eye on India’s forest cover, forest ministry is planning for a dedicated satellite which will improve the management and monitoring of India’s forest cover. The plans for a forest satellite were first announced in 2010 by then environment minister Jairam Ramesh.
Use of space technology has increased after PM has asked all Union ministries to maximize use of India’s progress in it. In earlier instances, the ministry of water resources and Ganga rejuvenation led by Uma Bharti has also held meetings with ISRO to chalk out plans for using satellites to monitor water pollution in the river. The environment ministry has also launched a geographical information system to facilitate rapid,transparent and predictable decisions on forest clearance applications.
NEW IPR POLICY TO WIDEN PATENT REGIME
The new policy on National Intellectual Property Rights seeks to change the patent regime of India to facilitate the patenting of products which are not covered under current regime. The draft stresses the need to create a new IP law that can facilitate the patenting of the large number of innovative utilitarian inventions that have been invented or are in use in India. There are hundreds, even thousands, of such innovations and inventions. None can be patented under the current Intellectual Property regime in India.
The new system, known as Utility patents or protection of grassroots innovation, have been an established system in many other countries, including developed economies. They form a key part of the scientific and economic development.
India ranked 76th in the annual Global Innovation Index (GII) survey for 2014. India has slipped from 66th (2013) and was the worst performer among BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). China was the best, at 29, an improvement of six places.
NATIONAL HELP LINE TO ASSIST DRUG ABUSE
A technical support from M/s TCIL has been taken for its creation
The time of operation will be from 9.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. It will work for six days a week, from Monday to Saturday.
The plan is to upgrade it to 24×7, based on the number of calls and the response.
It will help in order to mitigate the problems of drug abuse and create public awareness
ICC MEMBERSHIP FOR PALESTINE
The request of the state of Palestine to join the International Criminal Court has been accepted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. This will allow the ICC to open cases on serious crimes allegedly committed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians has submitted the documents ratifying the Rome Statute, which has established the court. The signing of statute is the last formal step to become a member of the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal.
This was followed by the Palestinians’ failure to win a UN Security Council majority for a resolution imposing a three-year time limit for afull Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines in the West Bank and Jerusalem. According to the UN statement, the statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015
INDIAN ASSISTANCE FOR IDDCP IN NEPAL
In order to launch an iodine deficiency programme across the country, India has pledged to provide Rs 69 million as assistance to Nepal. A cheque of Rs 17. 25 million has been handed over to the government of Nepal by the Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae, as an advance payment. Nepal will utilize the fund for launching the iodine deficiency disorder control programme (IDDCP).
The IDDCP was earlier known as Goitre Control Programme. It was signed under the financial
assistance of government of India on, August 3, 2014 during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal
EXPLORING THE ELUSIVE PARTICLE
The Union Cabinet of Government of India has approved the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project. This follows the approval of the 30- metre telescope which will be located in Hawaii. The decision will cause India to step into big fundamental science.
India is a pioneer in the field of neutrino science. India was a world leader in 1965. With the closing of the Kolar Gold Fields, in the mid-1990s, which was the site of the experiments, experimental neutrino research in India came to a halt. The INO is expected to revive the lost advantage.
Neutrinos are of three types. They were initially thought to be mass-less. Now it is believed that they have a small mass. This was shown by observations of neutrino oscillation. This is a phenomenon by which one type of neutrino transforms into another. There is a hierarchy among the masses of these three types of neutrino. The experiments at the INO are likely to study this mass ordering using a magnetised iron calorimeter (ICAL). The ICAL is a massive detector which will be made of iron. The project will be housed in the 63 acres of land, about 2 km away from the settlement, in the Bodi West Hills about 100 km from Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
FINDING OF NEW ANTIBIOTIC
A team of U.S. scientists has isolated a new antibiotic to which resistance may not develop easily. For achievement of the result scientists used a novel technique to culture soil bacteria that previously could not be grown in the laboratory. The research comes at a time when there is growing alarm both at the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes and the failure to find new classes of antibiotics.
It was during the ‘golden age of antibiotics’ from about 1940 to around 1960, when scientists were able to find a number of new drugs by carefully screening soil bacteria, looking for anti- microbial activity. However they were able to examine only bacteria that could be grown in the laboratory. More than 99 per cent of the bacterial species in the soil resisted such effort.
INDIA TO INDUCT FIFTH GENERATION AIRCRAFT
Fifth Generation Fighter Aircrafts
Fifth Generation Fighter Aircrafts (FGFA) is a fighter aircraft classification encompassing the most advanced jet fighter generation. FGFAs are designed to incorporate numerous technological advances over the fourth generation jet fighter. The genesis of development of the indigenous fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) can be traced back in 2008. However, its finalised form was unveiled during Aero India 2013. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will develop the aircraft in collaboration with Indian Air Force (IAF), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA). The amountrequired for the initial design and development phase is 4000 crore rupees. The initial design of AMCA is expected to be ready by 2018. The first flight of the AMCA though will only be possible by 2025.
Key Features v Intercept Radar (LPIR) has low portability
v Air frames having high performance
v Avionics features are much advanced
v Computer systems are highly integrated and are capable of networking with other elements within the theatre of war for situational awareness
Maithripala Sirisena emerged as the winner of Sri Lanka’s seventh presidential elections by scripting a sensational win with 6,217,162 votes overall to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 5,768,090. In the Sinhalese-dominated southern provinces and elsewhere, it was Rajapaksa who secured more votes than Sirisena but what really made the difference was the outcome from northern and eastern provinces, where the minorities have a significant presence. In these provinces Sirisena secured very high number of votes.
Sirisena was Rajapaksa’s health minister. He defected in November to spearhead an opposition coalition Supreme Court Justice K Sripavan administered the oath of office to Sirisena, along
with the new Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. The change in the verdict and defeat of Rajapaksa can be attributed to the attacks on Muslims by Buddhist hardliners over the last year. The dissatisfaction and sense of fear among the Tamil population, and the disillusionment among the Sinhalese, added to its toll..
Modibo Keita was appointed as the Prime Minister of West African nation Mali. He succeeded Moussa Mara who resigned under pressure from the President due to the strife-torn condition of the nation. Keita had previously served as the Secretary General of the Presidency of Mali. Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa with its capital at Bamako.
Moment of Pride for India
Indian weightlifters have bagged a total of 14 medals, including six gold in the 17th Asian Youth (boys & girls), 22nd Junior Women and 29th Junior Men Asian Weightlifting Championships at Doha, Qatar. The six lifters, who failed to make it, finished within the top six positions in their respective body weight categories. India won silver as Swapna Priya Baruah ended second in the Junior Women 69kg division. Ragala Venkat Rahul secured a gold inJunior Men 85kg with a total lift of 324kg -143kg in snatch and 181kg clean & jerk.
Two Junior Women lifters – S Thasana Chanu (58kg) and Punam Yadav (63kg) – secured a bronze each. Kh Nungshiton also claimed the third spot in Youth Girls 58kg. India won maximum number of gold in Youth Boys division. It bagged gold in all three categories the lifters took part. The other three gold came each in Youth Girls, Junior Men and Junior Women section