Current Affairs : June 23, 2011

Ambubashi Mela commences at the Kamakhya temple in Assam

  • The 4 day yearly Ambushi Mela started at the Shaktipeeth Kamakhya Dham in Guwahati
  • The door of the temple closed for the visitors for next 3 days
  • The temple complex is on the top of the Neelachal Hill

Former Kerala Minister Mr. A. Sujanapal Sujanapal passes away

  • Congress leader and former Kerala Minister Mr. A. Sujanapal passed away at Kozhikode
  • Elected to Kerala Assembly from Kozhikode Constituency in 1991 and 2001
  • Became Minister for forest and environment in the UDF Ministry headed by Sri Oomen Chandy in 2006
  • Sujanapal wrote many travelogues

Ms Nirupama Rao next ambassador to US

  • Nirupama Rao (Foreign Secretary) appointed the next ambassador to the USA
  • Ms Rao succeeds Meera Shankar as the US Ambassador
  • 1973-batch IFS officer took over the office of the Foreign Secretary on August 1, 2009, becoming the second woman to head the Indian Foreign Secretary
    after Chokila Iyer
  • She was to retire in December in 2010 at the age of 60 but was given an extension till July-end as the Government fixed a two-year term for the post of foreign secretary Ms Rao’s appointment as the next ambassador to USA comes as a significant development in the backdrop of crucial Indo-US ties
  • Ms Rao, the first woman spokesperson of the MoEA (Ministry of External Affairs), was country’s ambassador to Sri Lanka and China before being appointed as the foreign secretary.
  • Has extensive experience in handling India-China relations
  • Served in the East-Asia Division of the MEA from 1984 to 1992

By 2015 Bogibeel bridge to be ready

  • The construction of nearly 5 Km long Rail-cum-Road bridge in Assam over river Brahmaputra at Bogibeel in Dibrugarh district is likely to be completed by 2015
  • Connect Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts
  • Will be a benefit for road communication for public of Upper Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland
  • On completion, it will be the fourth and so far, the longest rail-cum-road bridge over Brahmaputra

Extension of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to domestic workers

  • The Government permitted the extension of RSBY (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna) to all Registered domestic workers in the country
  • Scheme expected to cover 47.50 Lakh workers in the country

Cabinet nod to operationalize the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms

  • The Cabinet gave its nod to operationalise the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms.
  • Objective of the Mission: To boost access to justice by dropping delays and arrears in the system and improve accountability through structural changes by setting performance standards 

Qatar diplomat elected by UN as the next President

  • UN General Assembly has elected Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, a diplomat from Qatar as the next President
  • General Assembly begins its next session in September
  • Al-Nasser to take over the job from Switzerland’s Joseph Deiss

IT Returns: CBDT appraises exemption to salaried taxpayers with income up to 5 lakh rupees

  • CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) notified the scheme exempting salaried taxpayers with total income up to 5 lakh rupees from filing income tax return for assessment year 2011-12
  • The last date of filing return is July 31, 2011
  • Individuals having total income up to Rs 5Lakh for the financial year 2010-11 and having interest income from deposits in a saving bank account not more than 10,000 rupees are not required to file their income tax return. They must pay the entire tax by way of deduction of tax at source and obtain a certificate of tax deduction in Form No.16
  • Persons getting salary from more than one employer, having income from sources other than salary and interest income from a savings bank account, or having refund claims shall not be covered under the scheme

Centre to create public awareness against food wastage

  • Central Government to create public awareness against food wastage through Jago Grahak Jago campaign
  • Food wastage gained importance in the milieu of the proposed Food Security Bill
  • Enormous food is wasted in marriages and other social gatherings in the country
  • Five star hotels too are discarding food
  • IIPA (Indian Institute of Public Administration) will be assigned the work of conducting a scientific survey to find out the size of food wastage in the country
  • Measures also to be suggested to prevent food wastage in Government functions and by the FCI
  • Temples, Panchayats, NGOs, charity institutions will be cordon off to create awareness on food austerity.
  • Minister for Consumer Affairs: Prof K V Thomas

Panel to look into financial claims submitted by Air India

  • Government to set up a committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary to investigate financial claims put in by Air India prior to issuing an additional equity of Rs 1,200 for the state air carrier
  • The Secretaries committee also to examine the plan to restructure Air India’s massive debt of Rs 40,000 Crore
  • The State air carrier’s debt includes Rs 18,000 Crore as working capital loans taken from a consortium of banks. The remaining amount of loan is towards payment for the new aircrafts ordered
  • Civil Aviation Minister: Mr. Vayalar Ravi

Export of 5 Lakh Tonnes of sugar

  • Meeting of EoGM (Empowered Group of Ministers) on Food has decided to export 5 lakh tonnes of sugar
  • EGoM, headed by Pranab Mukherjee (Finance Minister) also decided to release 50 lakh tonnes of foodgrains for sale to above poverty line families
  • Sugar production in India which is the world’s 2nd largest producer is estimated to be 24.2 million tonnes in this season whereas the annual domestic demand for sugar is only 22.5 million tones

Approval for opening up new Coal-blocks

  • Environment Ministry gave its approval to open up new Coal Blocks in the Hasdeo-Arand forest region of Chhattisgarh. These are:
  • Tara, Parsa East and Kante Basan
  • Rejecting the recommendations of the Forest Advisory Committee, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh cited reasons for the rejection that the coal-blocks are actually not in a no-go area in the Hasdeo-Arand forest region
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