National Current Affairs February 2017

6th Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and ! Urban Development ! (APMCHUD) Held

  • The 6th Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) was held at Vigyan Bhawan (New Delhi) from December 14 to 16, 2016.
  • The theme of the conference is Emerging Urban Forms – Policy Responses and Governance Structure in the context of the New Urban Agenda.
  • The three-days conference seeks to address issues ranging from crowded city centres to peripheral expansion, metropolitan based urban population growth, megacities and urban | corridors etc.
  • The Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) is an inter-govemmental mechanism for collaboration and cooperation in the field of housing and urban development among the Asia Pacific countries.

NITI Aayog Announced Incentive Schemes to Boost Digital Payments

  • In a bid to boost digital payments, the government launched two incentive schemes for both consumers and merchants, on December 14, 2016.
  • For consumers, there is the Lucky Grahak Yojana that would reward consumers through a daily as well as a weekly draw on transactions worth Rs 50 to Rs 3000, with a maximum reward up to Rs 1 lakh.
  • The Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana, meant for merchants, would have a maximum reward of Rs 50000.
  • The schemes would commence from December 25, Christmas Day, and would conclude on April 14 (birth anniversary of Bhim Rao Ambedkar) next year with mega awards.

Liquor Shops on National/State Highways Banned

  • The Supreme Court on December 14, 2016 banned States and Union Territories from granting licences for the sale of liquor along National and State highways across the country, noting that drunken driving was the main culprit behind a large number of road accidents in the country.
  • The judgment ordered that the prohibition on sale of liquor alongside highways would extend to stretches of such highways that fall within limits of municipal corporations, city towns and local authorities.
  • The judgment is a result of the deep (concem the Court had expressed recently on the 1.5 lakh fatalities annually in road accidents. It had blamed the Centre and the States for not doing enough as lives were lost on the roads.

International Gita Mahotsav-2016 Inaugurated

  • President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the five-day international Gita festival at Kurukshetra on December 6, 2016.
  • The Gita Mahotsava celebrated to take the eternal message of the holy book to the international stage.
  • 574 men and women, each embodying one shloka spoken by Lord Krishna, will converge at Kurukshetra from different cities.

Rajya Sabha Cleared Disabilities Bill, 2014

  • The Rajya Sabha passed The Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 with amendments on December 13, 2016. The bill will now go back to Lok Sabha and once cleared, will replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
  • New Bill is that it covers 19 conditions, instead of seven disabilities specified in the Act. While, the 1995 Act recognised 7 disabilities — blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, mental retardation and mental illness.
  • The Bill also mentions that individuals with at least 40% of a disability are entitled to benefits like reservations in education and employment, preference in government schemes and others.
  • While, the 1995 law had 3% reservation for the disabled in higher education institutions and government, the 2014 Bill raised the ceiling to 5%, adding 1% each for mental illnesses and multiple disabilities.
  • According to the Bill, the District courts may award two types of guardianship. While, a limited guardian is to take joint decisions with the mentally ill person, the plenary guardian takes decisions on behalf of the mentally ill-person, vyithout consulting them.

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IAMAI Set-up Committee to Work on Fighting Online Piracy

  • Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) constituted a working group as part of its efforts to fight online piracy and developing business standards and best practices for the digital entertainment industry on November’9, 2016.
  • The Committee will be chaired by Ajit Mohan of Hotstar and co-chaired by Uday Sodhi of SET India and Salil Kapoor. Other member companies are—Star Plus, Digivive, Radio Mirchi, Shemaroo, Viacom 18, Netflix, Arre, Eros, among others.
  • The mandate of the group is to safeguard the interest of thd digital entertainment businesses.
  • The ultimate objective is to create a self regulatory code of conduct, create drafts for standards and good business practices, create public awareness measures to minimise online piracy and help with regulatory and legal interventions as and when required.

President Hosted ‘Laureates and Leaders’ Summit for Children against Child Labour

  • The Rashtrapati Bhavan hosted a ‘Laureates and Leaders’ Summit for Children on December 10-11, 2016.
  • The summit was organised by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation which deliberated on the way forward in building a strong moral platform for protecting childrenfrom violence, and ensuring a world where children are free to be just.children.
  • The aim is to channelise in support of the above cause the collective leadership and moral authority of Nobel laureates, world leaders, thinkers, representatives of United Nations Agencies, award winning child/youth leaders and eminent persons from academia, business, cinema, sports and civil society.

FSSAI Banned use of Newspapers for Packing Food

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on December 8, 2016 issued an advisory saying to ban the use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items, a common practice by small comer shops and street vendors.
  • The FSSAI asked commissioners of food safety of all States and I Union Territories to take necessary steps to restrict the use of newspapers for packing, serving and storing of food items as the newspaper ink 1 can contaminate food items leading to serious health concerns.
  • According to estimates by the Union Housing Ministry, in 2014 there were 10 million street vendors, mostly in cities. Consulting firm Boston Consulting Group estimated that there were around 12 million kirana stores in 2014-15.
Updated: January 24, 2017 — 10:31 am

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