National Current Affairs February 2017

Swachh Swasth Sarvatra Initiative Launched

  • Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiative, aimed at strengthening health centres in open defecation-free blocks, launched by the Union Health Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Human Resource Development on December 29, 2016.
  • The objective is to strengthen community health centres in 708 open defecation-free blocks across the country to enable them to achieve higher levels of cleanliness and hygiene.
  • Under it, Rs 10 lakh of financial assistance will be given to the community health centres so that they can be strengthened to meet the standards of sanitation, hygiene and infection control. The initiative is a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, under the National Health Mission.
  • It is focused on the twin’objectives of constructing toilets and enabling behavioural change, with the goal of making India free of open defecation by October 2, 2019.

National Children’s Science Congress Inaugurated

  • The Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the 24th National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) at Vidyapratisthan’s Institute of Information Technology in Baramati on December 28, 2016.
  • The five-day Science Congress will bring over 700 child scientists under one umbrella that will give them an opportunity to showcase their talents.
  • The top 25 projects will be shortlisted and respective students will be provided with training support.

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Prime Minister Laid Foundation Stone of Char Dham Highway Project

  • Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone of 900-km-long Char Dham highway development project with an investment of 112000 crore in Uttarakhand on December 27, 2016.
  • This,was the first time he announced that the government would be soon introducing two schemes aimed at encouraging consumers and traders to adopt digital payments.
  • The inauguration of Char Dham project is a tribute to those who lost their lives during Uttarakhand flash floods.

Ken-Betwa River Linking Project got Wildlife Board Clearance

  • The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) gave clearance to the Ken-Betwa Inter-Linking of Rivers (ILR) project which will benefit Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in terms of meeting irrigation, drinking water and electricity needs of people across six districts in the two states on December 27, 2016.
  • The Board wants the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to take care of the landscape plan for the area with the help of State forest department and Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
  • Though the Rs 9000 crore project had got the Union Cabinet clearance in July, 2014, work could not begin as the mandatory clearance from the NBWL got stuck amid certain objections from environmentalists and wildlife conservationists.
  • The Ken-Betwa link is one of the 30 Inter-Linking of River (ILR) projects, conceived by the Centre. The project had got a green signal from the Supreme Court following the tripartite MoU involving Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Centre.

Special Stamp Released on Freedom Fighter ‘Gaya Prasad Katiyar’

  • The Union government released special stamp on freedom fighter ‘Gaya Prasad Katiyar’ and a set of eight Commemorative Postage Stamps on ‘Personalities Series : Bihar’ & a stamp on ‘Hardayal Municipal Heritage Public Library’ on December 26, 2016-
  • Gaya Prasad Katiyar was one of the most dedicated soldiers of India’s freedom struggle. Gaya Prasad Katiyar was bom at Jagadishpur (Uttar Pradesh).
  • He joined Hindustan Socialist Republican Association in 1925 and got connected with Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh. Later he participated on Lahore Conspiracy Case and was arrested from Saharanpur in 1929.
  • He joined the hunger strike at Lahore Jail with his co-prisoners. Later he was transported to cellular jail in Andaman and again he participated on hunger strike there.
  • He was repatriated in 1937 but again arrested and transported to cellular jail from where he was released in 1946.

Mobile App ‘Smart Consumer’ & OCMC Launched

  • The Union government launched a host of online initiatives including a mobile App ‘Smart Consumer’ and an Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC) to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances on December 24, 2016.
  • A helpline 14404 was also launched for consumer related grievances.
  • The mobile app of the Consumer Helpline and the Smart Consumer App for accessing product information and online communities will benefit the consumers in the digital world.
  • Besides, another initiative Microsite based on the theme Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign was also launched to help consumers for being vigilant and not falling prey to cyber frauds.

Draft Union, State GST Laws Approved

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council moved a significant step closer to finalising the draft Central GST (CGST) and State GST (SGST) laws that must be passed in Parliament along with two other laws to bring the GST into implementation, on December 23, 2016.
  • The CGST and SGST laws, a total of 197 provisions and five schedules, have been approved.
  • The CGST and SGST laws would be being framed in legal language and placed before the States.

President gave Assent to Enemy Property Ordinance

  • President Pranab Mukheijee gave his assent to the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Fifth Ordinance 2016 on December 23, 2016.
  • It will guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after wars.
  • The Union Cabinet had approved re-issuing the ordinance. The ordinance was re-issued as a bill to amend the law could not be passed in Parliament due to repeated adjournments over the demonetisation issue.
  • The amendments are aimed at plugging the loopholes in the principal Act to ensure that the enemy properties worth Rs 1000 crore vested in the custodian do not revert to the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm.

NITI Aayog Launched the National Index for Performance on Health Outcomes

  • A ‘Performance on Health Outcomes’ index, spearheaded by NITI Aayog along with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to nudge States towards transformative action in the Health sector was launched on December 23, 2016.
  • The features of the index, measures and methods of data submission will be disseminated to the States through these workshops.
  • The index has been developed over several months, with inputs from domestic and international experts, including academicians and development partners, seeking feedback from States through multiple iterations and pre-testing the indicators in two States prior to its finalisation.
  • It is meant to capture the annual incremental improvements by States, rather than focus on historical achievements. It includes indicators in the domains of health outcomes governance and information and a few key inputs and processes.

‘Coal Mitra’ Web Portal to Facilitate Flexibility in Utilisation of Domestic Coal Launched

  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New 6- Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal launched a web portal ‘Coal Mitra’, for flexibility in Utilisation of Domestic Coal on December 22, 2016.
  • He also released reports on ‘Renewable Energy Integration— Transmission an Enabler’, ‘Green Energy Corridor II’ and ‘Electricity Demand Pattern Analysis’ on December 22, 2016.
  • The Coal Mitra Web Portal has been designed to bring about flexibility in Utilisation of Domestic Coal by transferring the reserves to more cost efficient State/centre-owned or private sector generating stations, leading to lower generation costs and ultimately lesser cost of electricity for the consumers.
  • The web portal would be used by the State/central Gencos to display information about normative fixed and variable charges of electricity for the previous month as well as margin available for additional generation so as to enable the utilities identify stations for transfer of coal.
Updated: January 24, 2017 — 10:31 am

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