Current Affairs March 5, 2010

Events, Happenings & Observances:
Inauguration (NEIGRIHMS)
The NEIGRIHMS is the first super specialty hospital in Meghalaya as well as the northeastern region, was formally inaugurated by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi at Shillong.

Remembering Gangubai Hangal:
Gangubai Hangal expired last year on 21 July 2009. She was Indian Classical singer of the khyal gayaki in Hindustani classical music. She belongs to Kirana gharana. (Bhimsen Joshi also belongs to same Gharana) A three-day programme of music, folk art and classical dance is organised at Savai Gandavra Hall in her memory at Hubli.

National Updates:
On India Malaysia CECA Negotiations:
A bilateral meeting between Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed & Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma was held on March 5, 2010. Both countries direct their officials to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations by the end 2010.

Suggestions on Constitution 112th Amendment Bill
The Constitution (112 th Amendment) Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on November 23, 2009 and this bill seeks to seeks to amend many clauses of Article 243T of the Constitution, providing for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and also for the women in Urban local Bodies. It has been referred to the Departmentally-related Parliamentary Standing committee on Urban Development for examination and report.
Parliamentary Standing committee on Urban Development now invites suggestions the same bill. The committee is headed by Mr. Sharad Yadav. The memoranda containing views of the individuals/organizations interested in the subject matter of the Bill, and also to hear oral evidence on the subject are invited.

On Constitution (One Hundred and Tenth Amendment Bill 2009
Constitution (One Hundred and Tenth Amendment) Bill, 2009 seeks to amend Article 243 D of the Constitution. The Bill proposes that the reservation for women in Panchayats in the total number of seats, offices of Chairpersons and in the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes across three tiers should be raised from “not less than one-third” to “not less than one-half”. It also seeks to provide that reservation for women belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories in the offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level should also be not less than one-half.
the bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 21, 2009.

It has been now referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development headed by Smt. Sumitra Mahajan. On 20 January 2010, the Committee at their sitting decided to invite memoranda on the Bill from the public in general and experts/ professionals/ organizations/ associations/ stakeholders interested in the subject in particular.

Target of Atomic Energy for XIth Plan: 3160 MW
India’s nuclear power capacity addition target for the XI plan (2007-12) is 3160 MW. In this context, capacity of 220 MW has been added by completion of RAPP-5 at Rawatbhata, Rajasthan.

Another 220MW is expected to be added trough completion of RAPP Unit- 6 by March 2010.

Further capacity addition through progressive completion of Kaiga Unit-4 (220MW), twin units of kudankulam Nuclear Power Project 1&2 (2000MW) and Fast Breeder Reactor (500 MW) at Kalpakkam which are in advanced stages of completion. They are likely to be completed in the remaining two years of the plan period. (Press Information Bureau)

On Sick Industries in India:
Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) was established in December 2004 as a part time advisory body to advise the Government on the strategies, measures and schemes for strengthening, modernizing, reviving and restructuring of public sector enterprises.

This board has recently given its recommendations for revival of 55 Central Public Sector Enterprises. On the basis of these recommendations , Government have approved revival of 37 CPSEs envisaging total assistance of Rs. 15253 crores( cash assistance of Rs. 2921 cores in the form of infusion of funds and non-cash assistance of Rs. 12332 crores in the form of waivers/write offs of interest/loans, etc.) from Government of India.

Eligibility to become a Maharatna
The central public sector enterprises fulfilling the following criteria are eligible to be considered for grant of Maharatna status:-

  • Having Navaratna status
  • Listed on Indian Stock Exchange, with minimum prescribed public shareholding under SEBI regulations
  • An average annual turnover during the last 3 years of more than Rs. 25,000 crore
  • An average annual net worth during the last 3 years of more than Rs. 15,000 crore
  • An average annual net profit after tax during the last 3 years of more than Rs. 5,000 crore
  • Significant global presence or international operations.

Prof. Madhav Gadgil Panel on Western Ghats
Ministry of Environment and Forests has announced the constitution of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel. The 14 member panel will be chaired by Prof. Madhav Gadgil. Dr G V Subrahmanyam, Adviser in the Ministry will be Member-Secretary of this panel.

Panel will recommend measures and to assist the Government in the preservation, conservation and rejuvenation of this environmentally sensitive and ecologically significant region. It will furnish its report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests within six months from the date of its constitution. A comprehensive consultation process involving people and Governments of all the concerned States will take place after that.

The first task of the Panel will be to assess the current status of the ecology of the Western Ghats region and to demarcate areas within the region which should be earmarked for notification as ecologically sensitive zones under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Why the panel has been constituted?
Western Ghats neutralize an estimated 4 million tons of carbon equivalent to 14 million tons of CO2 annually which is 10% of the total greenhouse gas emissions neutralized by India’s forests. Also given the complex interstate nature of its geography, as well as the rich biodiversity value of the region, it was felt that the establishment of an Expert Panel composed of professional members and dedicated specifically to the task of reviewing, implementing and recommending measures for their protection was essential to ensure the long term survival of the Western Ghats region.

The states represent western Ghats are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. This Parliamentary group of Western Ghats MPs shall meet regularly to take stock of issues concerning the ecology and the suitable development of the region.

On National Electronic Mission
11th December, 2009, A task force had submitted its recommendations. The task force was constituted by Department of Information Technology (DIT) to suggest measures to stimulate the growth of IT, ITES and Electronics Hardware Manufacturing Industry in the country, in August 2009. One of the recommendations made by the Task Force pertains to establishment of a ‘National Electronics Mission’ – a nodal agency for the electronics industry, within DIT, to help in the synchronized functioning of the industry for enhancing the ease of doing business. This recommendation is under examination by the government.

Maharastra: ‘one district-one medical college scheme
Maharashtra Day on May 1 is celebrated in Maharashtra. Maharashtra attained statehood on 1st of May, 1960 when the then state Bombay state was divided into two states, Maharashtra and Gujarat on the basis of different languages, Marathi and Gujarati, under the Saurashtra re-organization act. Maharashtra retained old capital Bombay, which was later renamed Mumbai.

Maharatsra Day 2010 is Golden Jubilee of the state. On this occasion Maharashtra Government decides to launch ‘One-district-one-medical college’ scheme from ‘Maharashtra day’ to provide medical facilities to villagers. In this scheme, 14 medical collegs run by the state, four medical colleges run by the Municipal Corporations, eleven private and other colleges including dental colleges will be included.

Orrisa: Dhamra Port: India’s First ‘turtle-friendly light system’
Dhamra Port is located on the north of the mouth of river Dhamra in Bhadrak district of Orissa. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has developed a ‘turtle-friendly light system’ for installation at the Dhamra. This is being installed for the first time in India. The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, the world’s largest rookery of the Olive Ridley sea turtles is very near to this port.

The experts of IUCN have identified ”light spillage and light pollution” as the major key threats to the turtle habitats. The experts had advised Dhamra Port Company Ltd (DPCL) on the best lighting practices, which would help conserve the turtle habitat and prevent luminary wastage.

World Bank Report: Deep Wells and Prudence: Towards Pragmatic Action for Addressing Groundwater Overexploitation in India
World Bank has released “Deep Wells and Prudence: Towards Pragmatic Action for Addressing Groundwater Overexploitation in India “report . This report calls for an immediate action to save India’s groundwater resources. India is the largest user of ground water in the world. The report also says that 60 percent of the aquifers will be in critical condition within the next 20 years.

India uses an estimated 230 cubic km of groundwater every year which is largest in the world. This groundwater supports approximately 60 percent of irrigated agriculture and more than 80 percent of rural and urban water supplies

The report also aims at providing focused technical support for enhancing the outcome of groundwater management interventions for the projects financed by the bank in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The report is the outcome of WB’s Study and Technical Assistance Initiative on Groundwater Management in India, conceived to identify management strategies for promoting sustainable groundwater use in India within a systematic, economically sound and politically feasible framework.

Business & Economy:
On Sam Pitroda Committee for Revival of BSNL:
Union Govt. had constituted an expert committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Sam Pitroda to review the performance of BSNL and suggest measures for improving overall performance of the company. The Committee has submitted its report to the Government.

The following actions has been taken:

  1. Redesigning the organizational structure on the basis of new verticals – consumer mobility, consumer fixed access, enterprise & new businesses, catering to changed market needs.
  2. Developing sales & distribution capabilities and expanding distribution channels, creating processes, systems, training and incentives to enable the sales teams and channel partners.
  3. Developing a system of providing Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for large enterprise customers and focusing on corporate accounts.

Follwoing steps have been taken for revitalizing Financial health.

  • Improving customer care, and after sales service.
  • Leasing of BSNL’s Passive Infrastructure to other service providers.
  • Commercial utilization of fixed assets.
  • Exploring international business.
  • Introducing Fixed Mobile Convergence to add value to wireline telephone.
  • Providing New Value Added Services both on wireline and wireless telephones.
  • Expansion of Broadband Services by rolling out WiMAX, DSL and Fibre to Home (FTTH) services.
  • Implementation of Call Data Record (CDR) based billing for wireline business.
  • Implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to streamline all business processes.

IIDFL FDI approval:
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gives approval as recommended by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), to the proposal of IIDFL (India Infrastructure Development Fund ) Mauritius to seek contributions from international investors and invest the same in the IIDF (fund) by subscribing to the units of the fund under the FDI route The approval, as recommended by the FIPB would result in FDI of around Rs 750 crore in the country, it said.

On India’s Disinvestment target:
In the Union Budget the disinvestment target has been kept at Rs. 40000 Crores. In the current fiscal, proposed NMDC issue will help the government mop up Rs 25,000 crore from disinvestment.

Nissan Recalling:
Nissan Motor Co. is recalling about 540,000 pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and minivans to fix problems with brake pedals and fuel gauges scattered across the globe and most of them are in US. A pin in the pedal assemblies on certain 2008 to 2010 Nissan Titan pickups, Infiniti QX56 and Nissan Armada Sports Utility Vehicles, and some 2008 and 2009 Nissan Quest minivans can come loose and cause reduced braking force, this is what Nissan has said in its statement.

Dubai Cutting Government spending:
Government of Dubai decides to cut spending by 15 per cent to save 3.7 billion dirham’s with the aim of reducing the emirate’s deficit. The amount is nearly about Rs 4,602 crore. This decision comes at a time when Dubai is preparing a medium term budget plan for 2011-2013.

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  • Anonymous
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    sir pls post news for 6th march onwards…. it is indeed very useful!
    thanks.