National Current Affairs December 2016

‘Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav 2016 Held

  • Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav 2016, organised by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (New Delhi), is a 10 day long food and cultural extravaganza began on October 16, 2016.
  • It highlighted the diverse culture, handicrafts, cuisines and delicacies from the North Central Zone Cultural Centre (Allahabad).
  • Magnificent stage-performances showcasing regional talent, artists and their artworks brought eternal grandeur and charm to the day, making it a prosperous event.
  • Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav 2016, while the festival is promoting culture and heritage of India, it is also encouraging visitors and guests, to support the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ by maintaining cleanliness within the surroundings.

Government Inaugurated Satellite Surveillance to Curb Illegal Mining

  • The Mines Ministry inaugurated Mining Surveillance System (MSS), a pan-India surveillance network using latest satellite technology, to check illegal mining on October 16, 2016.
  • The MSS will trigger an alarm whenever there is an instance of illegal mining outside permitted areas. Karnataka, which saw large instances of illegal mining in the past will gain most.
  • The Indian Bureau of Mines, on behalf of the Mines Ministry, has developed MSS, in coordination with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics, Gandhinagar, and the MEITY.
  • This technology will help design planned development of mining as also provide complete data of labourers working in the sector online, which will lead to better safety standard.

India International Silk Fair Held

  • Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the India International Silk Fair in New Delhi to promote production and marketing silk across the country on October 15, 2016.
  • India International Silk Fair showcasing wide range of silk & silk blended products will give an insight on India’s silk industry to overseas buyers. The Indian Silk Export Promotion Council is organising the Silk fair in whkh 100 buyers from various countries are participating.
  • The buyers will visit 120 exhibitors of silk and silk blended products manufactured in various parts of India and exported all over the world. India is the second largest producer of Silk in the world and is the country which is producing all major varieties of silk including Mulberry, Tesar, Eri and Muga.

Government Launched National Seismic Programme in Mahanadi Basin

  • Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the national seismic programme to carry out assessment of unappraised areas across the country for potential oil and natural gas reserves on October 12, 2016.
  • As much as 48% of the Indian sedimentary basin remains unappraised, and there has been no major finding in new sediments in the last 25 years.
  • The ONGC will carry out the National Seismic Programme (NSP) in most parts of the country whik Oil India Limited will undertake the project in North-eastern States. NSP will cover an estimated 48243 line kilometre, covering 26 sedimentary basins divided into 11 units.

Union Government Inaugurated ‘Women of India Festival 2016’

  • The Minister of Women & Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi inaugurated the ‘Women of India Festival 2016’ of organic products by women in New Delhi on October 14, 2016.
  • The Festival to be held from October 14-23, 2016 will offer on sale the biggest selection of organic products ranging from food, fabrics and furniture to wellness, personal care and solar products.
  • This initiative is a move to benefit women entrepreneurs, and also actively promote organic food and products. The Women of India Festival is intended to highlight the health and environmental advantages of organic goods, provide a platform for women engaged in this economy and encourage the development of sustainable and easily accessible sales outlets for organic producers from remote areas.

Finance Ministry Set-up Committee to Regulate Pension

  • The Finance Ministry set-up a high-level committee to consolidate the regulation of pension products that is currently being done by three different watchdogs including the insurance and stock market regulators on October 13, 2016.
  • While, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) was set-up with the intent of regulating all pension products, insurers and mutual funds continue to sell pension products outside its watch, creating confusion among consumers looking to build a retirement nest egg.
  • Pension products floated by insurance companies come under the purview of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) while those sold by mutual funds are overseen by the SEBI.

CERC Panel Suggested Overhaul in Transmission Planning

  • A committee appointed by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has suggested an overhaul in transmission planning to facilitate transfer of power on economic principles on October 11, 2016.
  • According to the committee, transmission planning can be done on the basis of projected lpad of the States and anticipated generation scenario.
  • The committee has suggested system studies be carried out for various generation and load scenarios during peak and off-peak hours, considering renewable capacity addition and scheduling of various generating stations that don’t have any PPAs.
  • Further, the committee has emphasised the need for the creation of a central repository of generators in the Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA), where any generation project developer proposing to set-up a new generation plant must register itself.

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Supreme Court Stayed Commercial Release of GM Mustard

  • The Supreme Court stayed the commercial release of Genetically Modified (GM) Mustard crop for 10 days and asked the Centre to take public opinion on such seeds before releasing them for cultivation, on October 7, 2016.
  • Technical Expert Committee (TEC) report had said that the entire regulatory system was in sHambles and a 10-year moratorium should be imposed. Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops which is sown between mid-October and late November.

Union Government Banned Polythene in National Monuments and Tourist Destinations

  • Tourism Ministry banned polythene at all national monuments, in an initiative to boost the government’s Swachh Bharat, Swachh Smarak campaign from October 2, 2016.
  • With the trial phase of the initiative launched last month, the ban will be applicable in a 100 m radius of the monuments.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014. It aims to eliminate open defecation, manual scavenging and encourage modern and scientific municipal solid waste management, among others.

Union Government Amended the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014

  • The Union government approved official amendments to the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014 on October 4, 2016.
  • The HIV and AIDS Bill, 2014 drafted to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV.
  • It aims to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS, prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS, provides for informed consent and confidentiality with regard to their treatment, places obligations on establishments to safeguard rights of persons living with HIV arid create mechanisms for redressing complaints.
  • The provisions of the Bill seek to address HIV-related discrimination, strengthen the existing programme by bringing in legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances.
  • Every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household.
  • The Bill also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them. The Bill also provides for Guardianship for minors.
  • The Bill requires that “No person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order.
Updated: December 4, 2016 — 8:44 pm

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