National Current Affairs April 2016

Cabinet Cleared Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance for Crimes

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing and ratification of the Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters on, March 10, 2016.
  • The Convention aims to extend widest measures of assistance to each other through mutual cooperation for enhancing capability and effectiveness of the Member States in investigation and prosecution of crimes, including crimes related to terrorism, transnational organised crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and cyber-crimes.
  • The BIMSTEC comprises of seven countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs has been designated as the Central Authority under Article-15 of the Convention.

Cabinet Approved Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana on March 10, 2016, It is a scheme for Providing Free LPG connections to Women from BPL Households.
  • Under the scheme, Rs 8000 crore has been earmarked for providing five crore LPG connections to BPL households. The Scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households.
  • The identification of eligible BPL familieis will be made in consultation with the State governments and the Union Territories. This scheme would be implemented over three years, namely, the EY 2016-17, 2017T18 and 2018-19.

Cabinet Cleared Proposed Change in Shareholding in DP World Projects

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval on March 10, 2016for grant of ‘no objection’ to the proposed change in shareholding in the Container Terminal Projects of M/s. Dubai Port World (DPW) Limited in major ports.
  • It allows for the creation of an Indian holding company of DPW with unique asset portfolio to operate arid manage the terminal operations at the existing major ports subject to certain safeguards. The decision vtdll promote Foreign Direct Investment and private sector participation in the port sector.
  • The restructuring ofitsassets of DPW in India will help in’ better coordination and control as the Port Authorities have to deal with, a single company registered in India.

Parliament Cleared the Real Estate BilI

  • The Rajya Sabha approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2016 on March 10, 2016. The Bill seeks to put in place an effective regulatory mechanism for orderly growth of the sector which is the second largest employer after agriculture.
  • The bill also seeks to protect the interests of the large number of  aspiring house buyers while at the same time enhancing the credibility of construction industry by promoting transparency, accountability and efficiency in execution of projects.

Government Notified the Maximum Sale Price of Bt-Cotton Seed

  • As on March 9, 2016, the Central government has intervened and issued a Cotton Seed Price (Control) Order, 2015 under Section-3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, to fix a uniform price of Bt. cotton seed across the states in the country for the benefit of farmers.
  • A nine-member committee was set up to recommend the maximum sale price, of Bt. cotton seeds after taking into consideration the seed value, license fees including one-time and recurring royalty (trait value), trade margins and other taxes.
  • There was no uniformity in pricing of Bt. cotton seeds across the country. Both the public and private sectors have a role in the supply of quality seeds, including Bt-cotton, to farmers. Government also declared the maximum sale price of Bt. cotton seed packets 9450 gm of Bt-cotton plus 120 gm refugia, for the financial year 2016-17 for the whole of India.
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