Current Affairs: January 4, 2012
99th Indian Science Congress Inaugurated at KIIT
- 99th Indian Science Congress has begun at the KIIT University campus in Bhubneshwar on January 3, 2012.
- Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh inaugurated the five-day event.
- More than 15,000 delegates including 500 foreign scientists and 20 Nobel laureates will attend the Science Congress.
- They will deliberate on issues like climate change, food security, preventing maternal and child mortality, assisted technology for disabled, science and education in rural areas, women in science, water scarcity, clean energy and space technology. The theme of this year's Congress is 'Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation - Role of Women'.
- Science Congress is being jointly hosted by the KIIT University and National Institute of Science Education and Research.
Important announcements made by PM at 99th Indian Science Congress
- Inaugurating the event, PM called for increase in the expenditure on research and development, R&D, by at least 2 percent from the current 1 percent (of the GDP) by the end of the 12th five year Plan.
- He also said that industries should also increase their contribution to R&D expenditure which is at present one third of the total expenditure.
- He also called for public private partnerships and interaction between publicly owned Science and Technology institutions and industry.
- He emphasized the importance of exploring traditional knowledge systems in areas of agriculture, architecture, handicrafts and textiles. He called upon the scientific community to pool their knowledge and wisdom to contribute to the success of critical National Missions on Sustainable Agriculture, Water, Energy Efficiency, Solar Energy and Forestry.
- He announced that government is examining a proposal to build national capacity and capability in supercomputing which will be implemented by the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore at an estimated cost of ` 5000 crore.
- Government is also considering a proposal to establish a Neutrino Observatory in Theni district in Tamil Nadu with a proposed investment of ` 1350 crore.
- Year 2012 has been declare to be the National Mathematical Year to emphasize the importance of maintaining the traditional strength in mathematics.
- The Prime Minister also gave away awards to scientists for their achievements and tribals of Koraput region for the global recognition they received for conservation of bio-diversity and developing climate resilient farming systems.
- The theme of this year's Congress is 'Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation - Role of Women'.
- Besides the main event, there will be a Women's Science Congress which will be inaugurated by Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao.
Iran moderates its threat on Strait of Hormuz
- Iran has moderated its threat made last week to block the busy sea route. The strait of Hormuz carries much of the West 's oil supplies through the Gulf, Iran had last week threatened to block the route. The latest statement from a senior Irani Official says that it will not disturb the strait.
Bihar: Lokayukta Act comes in force
- Bihar government implements its new Lokayukta Act. A notification was issued in this regard.
- The Lokayukta earlier was an individual, after coming into the new act in force, Lokayukta in Bihar is an institution.
- The Lokayukta Act covers Chief Minister, Ministers, Legislators and public servants. It also covers Speaker of the Assembly and the Chairman of the Legislative Council besides former Chief Ministers, Ministers and legislators.
- The Lokayukta will also have employees, corporations and organisations receiving government grants under its scanner.
- As per the new Act, the Lokayukta is a multi-member body comprising one chairman and two members. Of the three, at least 2 persons shall be judicial members
- Under the provision of the new Lokayukta Act, the whistle blowers would also be given all protection. Besides, the office of Lokayukta will have its vigilance and prosecution wings to take the corruption cases to their logical end.
Knud Bartels: New Chairman of NATO's Military Committee
- Danish General Knud Bartels assumes office as the Chairman of NATO's Military Committee to succeed Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola. General Bartels, Chief of Defence in Denmark, was elected to the top NATO military post by the Chiefs of Defence of 28 NATO countries on Sept. 17, 2011. He was expected to take over from Admiral Di Paola in June.
- However, as Admiral Di Paola was appointed as Italy's new Defence Minister in November and resigned his NATO post, Bartels had to take office several months earlier. Acting as the chairman, Bartels will be the principal military adviser to NATO Secretary General, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
- The Chairman of the Military Committee is elected for a three-year tenure.
Madhya Pradesh Cow Slaughter Prohibition (Amendment) Bill 2010 gets presidential assent
- Madhya Pradesh Cow Slaughter Prohibition (Amendment) Bill 2010 has got president nod and become an act in Madhya Pradesh. A convict in cow slaughter case would now get seven years jail term and a minimum fine of five thousand rupees which may be increased by the court. Earlier the term was 3 years. The new act also makes punishable the transporting a cow outside the state for slaughter.
Kharif crops may make all time record
- As per the data released by Ministry of Agriculture, production of foodgrains, covering only kharif crops during 2011-12 is estimated at an all time record level of nearly 124 million tonnes.
- The increase is mainly due to rise in production of rice in major paddy producing States in the country. In its year end review, the agricultural ministry stated that the Kharif production of the nine oilseeds is also estimated at record level of over 208 lakh tonnes.
- Production of sugarcane and cotton is also expected to rise significantly. The data say that country will achieve the target of 245 million tonnes of foodgrains by the end of 2011-12.
Finance Ministry working on Savings Bank Account number portability
- Finance Ministry is working on savings bank account number portability. This would will allow a customer to retain his account number while changing his bank.
Indian Gymnast struck 4 Golds at Dhaka
- Commonwealth and Asian Games bronze-medallist Ashish Kumar struck gold four times at the South Central Asian Gymnastics Championships in Dhaka. The Indian team comprising five men and four women secured six gold medals in the total tally of 17.