Current Affairs March 20, 2010

Appointments / Elections:
CITU Chief : AK Padmanabhan

Mr A K Padmanabhan was elected as the President at the CITU’s 13th National Conference being held in Chandigarh. He is the first person from Tamil Nadu to get elected to the highest post. Mr Padmanabhan had been CITU’s All India Secretary from 1990.
About CITU:
Centre of Indian Trade Unions CITU is India’s National level Trade Union and one of biggest assembly of workers and classes of India. It has strong unchallengeable presence in the Indian states of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura besides a good presence in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It has presence in almost all of the Indian states.

Awards & Honors:
The 56th National Film Awards
56th National Film Awards 2008
The National Film Awards were established in 1954. It is the most prominent film award ceremony in India. These awards are administrated by the Indian government’s Directorate of Film Festivals since 1973. The list of the 56th National Film Awards 2008 was posted earlier on this page
On 20th March , President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil conferred the 56th National Film Awards for 2008 to the illustrious winners at a function held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.

The eminent cinematographer Sh. V.K.Murthy received Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the year 2008. One hundred thirty awardees in sixty nine categories received their Swarn and Rajat Kamal medals along with the cash rewards at the hands of the President.

NTR memorial award: Mahasweta Devi
Noted Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi has been selected for the NTR National Literary Award for her lifetime achievement in creative writing, espousing the cause of marginalized sections, including Dalits and Tribals.
Some facts about Mahasweta Devi:

  1. She was born in 1926 in Dhaka.
  2. Recently she has been spearheading the movement against the industrial policy of the government of West Bengal, the state of her domicile.
  3. She has stridently criticized confiscation of large tracts of fertile agricultural land from farmers by the government and ceding the land to industrial houses at throwaway prices.
  4. Noted Works:
    Hajar Churashir Ma (No. 1084’s Mother), Aranyer Adhikar (The Occupation of the Forest), Agnigarbha (Womb of Fire) and Choti Munda evam Tar Tir (Choti Munda and His Arrow).
  5. Awards won:
    Sahitya Akademi Award (Bengali) for her novel ”Aranyer Adhikar” in 1979,
    Padma Shri(1986), Jnanpith Award (1996), Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and the Creative Communication Arts (1997), Honorary Doctorate from Indira Gandhi National Open University(1999) Padma Vibhushan (2006)

FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award- Manohar “Mike” Vaswani
The Las Vegas Division of FBI has selected Indian American Manohar “Mike” Vaswani to receive the Director’s Community Leadership Award. Mr. Vaswani is the president of the Asian American Group (AAG) and the Asian American Coalition of Las Vegas. Mr. Vaswani was born in India and came to the United States on May 5, 1970. He became a naturalized citizen in 1978. Mr. Vaswani is a 2009 graduate of the Las Vegas FBI Citizens’ Academy.

SAARC Lifetime Achievement Award 2010 – Hamid Mir
Foundation of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Writers and Literature have nominated Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir for the SAARC Lifetime Achievement Award 2010. Mir works for Geo TV in Islamabad.

National Updates:
Rs.3.5 billion project on Hazardous wastes:
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs clears Rs.3.5 billion project to clean up hazardous waste/municipal solid waste dump sites in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal on pilot basis. India generates around 6.2 million tonnes of hazardous waste annually, of which roughly 3.5 million tonnes is recyclable. For the very first time, the government is including e-waste recycling facilities as part of hazardous waste management programme for 140 highly contaminated sites in the country.

Andhra Pradesh: India’s First Super specialty Cancer Hospital
Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan inaugurates the new Apollo Cancer Hospitals India’s first super-specialty cancer hospital & Novalis TX – the most precise, non-invasive radio surgery treatment at Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.

Andhra Pradesh: World House Sparrows Day:
On 20th March 2010, World House Sparrow Day was observed in Vishakhapatnam. The House Sparrow has extremely large range and population it is not believed to be threatened, yet the declining number keeps it in IUCN Red List (Red list means Least Concern). It has been declining in many parts of the world

Haryana : Mission Green:
Government of Haryana decides to launch ‘Mission Green Haryana’ in the state. In this scheme five crore saplings would be planted during 2010-11.

Please note that a similar scheme “Harit Rajasthan” was launched in June 2009 by Rajasthan Government as a flagship scheme which envisages planting of over 30 lakh saplings on vacant land in schools, colleges, hospitals and government offices as well as in public parks and along the roadside and highways.

Arunachal Pradesh: Arunachal Pradesh Education Bill 2010
The state assembly of Arunachal Pradesh passes Arunachal Pradesh Education Bill 2010. This bill aims at streamlining the ailing education sector.
About Literacy in India:
Arunachal Pradesh comes at 24th place among 28 states in terms of literacy. Arunachal Pradesh has 54.34% literacy as per census 2001. In North east Mizoram comes second in terms of literacy in India with 88.80 % literacy as per census 2001 and 89.9% as per NHFS-3. Arunachal has the lowest literacy rate in the whole of North East region

Haryana: Awards Scheme for Old
Government of Haryana has instituted 5 awards which would be given away to old people on the occasion of the International Old Age Day on October 1. A sum of Rs 5 lakh has been earmarked for the purpose during the current financial year. The five awards have been named as centenarian award, best mother award, courage and bravery award, best panchayat award. and life- time achievement award would be given away to such eminent aged persons who had done excellent work in social field.

Business & Economy:
Update on NELP: Most successful Bidder ONGC
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the award of 33 of the 36 exploration areas that were bid under the Nelp round, which closed on October 12, 2009. Read here the past article on NELP.
Of the 70 blocks offered under Nelp-VIII, only 36 attracted bids, with ONGC and partners bidding for 25 — the maximum. The state-owned company and its partner won 17 areas.

On Dearness allowance:
The Union Cabinet decides to release an additional instalment of dearness allowance (DA) to central government employees and dearness relief (DR) to pensioners, with effect from January 1, 2010. This represents an increase of 8 per cent over the existing rate of 27 per cent of the basic pay/pension and aims to compensate for price rise.

On Upgradation of Medical Colleges:
The Cabinet approves the Revised Cost Estimates (RCE) to set up six new institutions like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and upgrade 13 existing government medical colleges.For this scheme CCEA had approved Rs 3,975 crore with the additional funds, the total outlay now stands at Rs 9,307 crore. The new institutions or upgraded facilities in the existing medical colleges would provide tertiary health care facilities under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Swashthya Suraksha Yojana.

The new AIIMS-like institutions are to be located at Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneswar (Orissa), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Patna (Bihar), Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and Rishikesh (Uttarakhand). The AIIMS-like institutions will be completed by the end of 2012.

On National Population Register
The Union Cabinet approves the creation of National Population Register of usual residents of the country. The project would cover an estimated population of 1.2 billion and the total cost of the scheme is Rs 3,539.24 crore.

World Bank Loan for Two Education projects:
World Bank approves a credit of $1.05 billion (around Rs 4,830 crore) for support to two education projects in India. The loan is provided by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, and have a 35-year maturity and 10-year grace period.

The two projects are Second Elementary Education Project and Technical/Engineering Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP). The money will be used to boost the number of children enrolling in and completing elementary school and improve the quality of engineering education. Out of the $1.05 billion, $750 million would go to the Second Elementary Education Project, the rest would be for the second Technical/Engineering Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP).

Orissa: Tarunkanti Mishra committee on Climate Change
The Orissa government constitutes a High Level Coordination Committee under Tarunkanti Mishra, Chief secretary Orissa, to finalize the State Action Plan (SAP) on climate change for Orissa. Orissa government is likely to finalize the State Action Plan (SAP) on climate change by the end of April 2010. It is worth notable that Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK Government and the World Bank are helping the state government in formulation of the action plan. The discussions were held a few months back. In February 2010, DFID and World Bank officials had suggested the setting up of nine sectoral committees that would work on nine different impact areas of climate change.

These areas included health and social vulnerability, energy, transport, agriculture, urban development, water resources, coastal and disaster, mining and forest among others.

The Tarunkanti Mishra committee has development commissioner (DC), Agricultural Production Commissioner (APC), secretaries in the departments of finance, fisheries, housing and urban development, steel and mines, agriculture, water resources, revenue and disaster management, energy, commerce and transport, health and family welfare, industry and managing director of Orissa State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) as its members.

West Bengal : Presidency University:
The West Bengal Legislative Assembly passes Bill to confer university status to Presidency College, thus The Presidency College, Kolkata is now Presidency University.
The instittution was founded as Hindoo College in 1817. It was renamed as Presidency College in 1855. The college was ranked number one by the weekly news magazine India Today in 2002.
Reserve Bank of India: New Key Rates
On march 19, 2010, Reserve Bank of India raised the key policy rates 25 basis points. RBI’s this move is aimed at taming inflation and anchoring inflationary expectations, marks a reversal in the easy monetary policy regime amid signs of strong economic revival.

  • Repo rate, or the rate at which banks borrow from RBI, is being increased 25 basis points to 5 per cent.
  • Reverse repo rate, or the rate at which surplus cash is parked with the central bank, was also increased to 3.5 per cent from 3.25 per cent earlier.

Obituary:
GP Koirala
On 20 March 2010 Girija Prasad Koirala, Former Nepal Prime Minister , Nepalese politician and the President of the Nepali Congress passes away. Some facts:

  • He had been Prime Minister of Nepal four times. He was also Acting Head of State from January 2007 to July 2008.
  • He was a pioneer of the Nepalese labour movement. In 1991 he became the first democratically elected Prime Minister since 1959, when his brother B. P. Koirala and the Nepali Congress party swept the country’s first democratic election.
  • Koirala had been instrumental in leading the peace process and bringing the Maoists to mainstream politics, ending a decade-long armed conflict that claimed 16,000 lives.
  • He also played a crucial role in turning Nepal into a Republic through abolition of 240-year-old monarchy two years ago.

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