Current Affairs : July 12, 2011

Naresh Chandra Task Force

  • Government to set up Task Force to review the existing National Security System
  • The Task force to suggest the measures to fortify the security machinery in the non-conventional areas of the Country
  • The Task Force set up under the chairmanship of former Cabinet Secretary Mr. Naresh Chandra
  • The members of the Task Force are:

     

  • Shri Naresh Chandra (Chairman)
  • Shri PC Haldar
  • Shri KC Verma
  • Admiral Arun Prakash, (Retd)
  • Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy, (Retd)
  • Lt Gen VR Raghavan (Retd)
  • Shri Brajeshwar Singh
  • Shri Vinod K Duggal
  • Shri G Parthasarthy
  • Dr Anil Kakodkar
  • Shri RV Raju
  • Shri D Sivanandan
  • Shri Suman K Bery
  • Shri Manoj Joshi

     

New Mines Bill to be introduced in the next session of Parliament

  • The Government likely to bring a New Mines Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament
  1. The proposed Bill to be sent for Cabinet approval
    The Bill provides for sharing of profits and royalty with the project-affected people
  2. The Draft Bill provides 26% profit sharing by coal mining companies and 100% royalty sharing by others with project-affected people
  3. The Bill also proposes to levy State and Central Cess on royalty paid by the miners

Mines Minister: Dinsha Patel

Ban on Exports of Non-Basmati Rice lifted by Government

  • Government lifted an over 3 year ban and allowed exports of 1 million tonnes of non-basmati rice
  • The Ban lifted in the wake of overflowing godowns with bumper crop
  • Government godowns currently are overflowing with over 65 million tonnes of food grains, while the storage capacity is only 62.23 million tones
  • The Agriculture Ministry has aimed at a total food grains output at 245 million tonnes for the 2011-12 crop year, as against 235.88 million tonnes last year

     

  • Decision taken by EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers) headed by Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee
  • A decision on allowing wheat exports was deferred

Background:-

  • Ban on non-basmati rice was imposed in April 2008 because of high food inflation
  • Wheat exports have been prohibited since 2007

BRICS vows to assist World’s poorest nations

  • BRICS (The grouping of top 5 emerging countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) vowed to assist the World’s poorest nations to fight disease and to improve access to low-cost and effective lifesaving medicines

     



  • BRICS’ cooperation will help build up public health systems
  • International agencies – WHO &UNAIDS and BRICS Health Ministers commended India’s role in making quality, safe and effective drugs more accessible and affordable globally
  • DG, WHO Dr. Margaret Chan praised India’s efforts when she stated that when African countries wanted a meningococcal vaccine at a cost of not more than 50 cents, it was the Serum Institute of India which came forward and did the job. She said: “All the major manufacturers of the world were approached by WHO but could not meet the cost criteria, which was critical for the African countries. The supply of this vaccine by India has saved hundreds and thousands of lives in low & middle income African countries, where a person contracting meningitis often means 4-5 months of a household’s income”

10 million people in Africa need food: World Food Programme

  • The World Food Programme expects 10 million people in need of food and as the worst drought in decades continues to devastate the Horn of Africa
  • The drought centred in the triangle where the nations of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia meet
  • The Drought produced a mass migration of starving citizens and created the largest refugee camps in the world
  • International agencies face difficulties in providing aid to those who remain in Somalia which lacks a functioning Government and whose territory is dominated by the Islamist rebel group, al-Shabad

The core strategies behind WFP activities, according to its mission statement, are to provide food aid to:

  1. Save lives in refugee and other emergency situations
  2. Improve the nutrition and quality of life of the most vulnerable people at critical times in their lives
  3. Help build assets and promote the self-reliance of poor people and communities, particularly through labour-intensive works programmes

Drive to Fill backlog vacancies of Reserved Category by the Government

  • A drive launched by the Government to fulfil the backlog vacancies of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs and Persons with Disabilities
  • All ministries and departments directed to fill up the vacant posts in these categories by the end of March next year
  • Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension : Mr V. Narayansamy

Centre curbs five-star meets, jaunts

  • In the face of amplifying inflation, the Government has resorted to the well-known ”tightening of the belt” as it declared a swing of ascetic measures that would cut down extravagant expenditures by its departments
  • Government asked ministries and departments to restrict foreign travel and refrain from holding meetings in five-star hotels
  • As per the official memorandum issued by the Finance Ministry:
  1. The departments and ministries not to purchase new vehicles or create new posts, except for organizations which are to be set up during the course of the year
  2. Officials not go abroad on study tours, workshops, conferences and presentation of paper at government expenses
  3. Only those whose visit is funded by sponsors would be permitted to travel abroad
  4. Holding of exhibitions, seminars and conferences abroad should be strongly discouraged except in cases of exhibitions for trade promotion

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