National Current Affairs April 2016

Projects Worth Rs 120000 Crore to be Showcased at Maritime India Summit 2016

  • Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport for Highways, Nilin Gadkari said on March 9, 2016 that projects in the ports and shipping sector, worth an investment of Rs 120000 crore will be showcased before potential investors at the Maritime India Summit 2016.
  • On the occasion of Media Launch of Maritime India Summit, 2016, he said 57 countries are going to take part in the summit to be held in Mumbai from April 14 to 16, 2016. New ports have also been announced at Wadhavan, Enayam and Sagar with investment of Rs 20157 crore.
  • Prior to this media launch, the Ministry of Shipping had organised MIS 2016 roadshows in Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad to highlight the growth potential of the maritime sector.

Lok Sabha Passed Enemy Property (Amendment & Validation) Bill, 2016

  • The Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh introduced the Enemy-Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016 in Lok Sablia on March 9, 2016. The Bill was passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha.
  • The Bill seeks to amend the Enemy Property Act, 1968 and the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971. The Bill replaced the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee in January, 2016.
  • The Central government had designated some properties belonging to nationals of Pakistan and China as ‘enemy properties’ during the 1962, 1965 and 1971 conflicts. It vested these properties in the ‘Custodian of Enemy Property for India’, an office instituted under the Central government.

Parliament Passed National Waterways pill

  • The Rajya Sabha passed the National Waterways Bill, 2015 on March 9, 2016. The Bill was aimed at unleashing the navigation potential of India’s larger river ways resources. So, this bill will clear decks for the conversion of 106 rivers and creeks across India into transport waterways.
  • Existing five national waterways are now covered under the new Bill. So, the total number of national waterways number will go up to 111 from existing five national waterways. The bill was first passed in Lok Sabha in December, 2015.
  • With this Bill passeh, now the Union government can make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways that are classified as national waterways, under entry 24 of the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India.

‘Women Transforming India’ Campaign Launched

  • NITI Aayog, government of India’s, premier think-tank, has launched the, ‘Women Transforming India’ initiative on March 8, 2016 i.e., International Women’s Day, in partnership with the UN in India and MyGov.
  • The NITI Aayog seeks to engage directly with women leaders from across urban and rural areas of India. Women Transforming India’ is an effort at putting ear to the ground to gather successful stories of heralded by women at the grassroots’ level, within communities.
  • Through this initiative, the NITI Aayog is seeking for entries in the.form of written essays/stories, preferably accompanied by photographs that set a context to the narrative. These stories should reflect new ground broken by women in empowering themselves/others.

Parliament Cleared Bureau of Indian Standards Bill 2015

  • The Parliament has passed the Bureau of Indian Standards Bill 2015 with the Rajya Sabha approving it on March 8, 2016. The Bill extends the ambit of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to include services, processes and products while ensuring production of World class goods.
  • The Bill also proposes tb make BIS a national standards body, introduce mandatory hallmarking of precious metals, prevent misuse of standard marks and provides for recall of ISI marked products riot conforming to relevant standards.
  • The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in its last session. With clearance of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the Bureau of Indian Standards would also get the legislative backing to formally represent India abroad.

Union Government Announced Withdrawal of Tax Proposal on EPF

  • The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced on March 8, 2016 about the withdtawal of the budget proposal in the Lok Sabha clarifying NDA government’s stand on the Issue on taxing Employees Provident,Fund, following a backlash in and outside Parliament.
  • The proposal had sought to make up to 60% of savers’ corpus withdrawn from the EPF tax-free if invested in annuity. The period return on the annuity was to be taxable. The 40% exemption given to subscribers of the National Pension Scheme (NPS) at the time of withdrawal remains.

Union Government Launched ‘Mahila e-Haat’

  • The Union Minister of WolVien and Child,Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi launched ‘Mahila e-Haat’, an online marketing platform for women at Delhi on March 7, 2016.
  • More than 10000 Self Help Groups (SHGs) and 1.25 lakh women beneficiaries would be benefited from the day of launch of the site itself.
  • This is for the first time that the government will help women to, sell products online. The endeavor will help women to make financial and economic, choices which will enable them to be a part of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Standup India’ initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Participation in e-Haat is open to all Indian women citizens more than 18 years of age and women SHGs desiring for marketing their legal products/services after- indemnifying RMK from any or all acts of transaction.
  • The entire business of e-Haat can be handled through mobile phones. The product; along with photograph description cost and mobile no./address of the participants will be displayed on the e-Haat enabling direct contact between sellers/service , providers and buyers.

Mumbai will Host BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave

  • As per a press release issued-on March 6, 2016 from the Organizers of Mumbai First, a think-tank working to find solutions for city’s development, they will hold a three-day conclave i.e., BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave, involving top urban policy makers sand planners from BRICS nations, in April, 2016.
  • The programme is being organized jointly by the Maharashtra government arid* the External Affairs Ministry between April 14 and 16, 2016. Prime Minister Modi will inaugurate the conference, which will be attended by representatives of at least two cities’ from each of the BRICS nations.
  • Lord Jim O’ Neill, the UK commercial secretary, who coined the term BRIGS will also address the inaugural session. This is the second major international summit hosted by Mumbai in 2016 after the ‘Make In Indi’a Week’ in February, 2016.

Environment Ministry Released New Categorization of Industries

  • The Union government released a new categorisation,of industries on March 5, 2016 based on their pollution load.
  • The new category of White industries which is practically nonpolluting will not require Environmental Clearance (EC) and Consent and will, help in getting finance from lending institutions.
  • The old system of categorization was creating problems for many industries and was not reflecting the pollution of the industries as 25 industrial sectors which were not critically polluting were also earlier categorized as Red.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has developed the criteria of categorization of industrial sectors based on the Pollution Index which is a function of the emissions (air pollutants), effluents (water pollutants), hazardous wastes generated and consumption of resources.

President Called for Reviving Women Quota

  • At the inauguration of two-day convention of women legislators in New Delhi, on March 5, 2016, President Pranab Mukherjee called upon the political parties to revive the bill granting 33% reservation to women in Parliament and States’ Assemblies.
  • The convention on ‘Women Legislators : Building Resurgent India was attended by more than 300 women MPs and State legislatures and Legislative Council members, Union Ministers and Chief Ministers. The President also praised Prime Minister Modi’s initiative ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme.

Prime Minister Adopted Second Village in Varanasi

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has adopted Nagepur, a village dominated by backward castes, in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi under the second phase of Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) on March 6, 2016.
  • In 2014, i.e,, in the first phase of SAGY, the Prime Minister had adopted Jayapur village in Sevapuri Assembly segment of Varanasi. Nagepur too falls in the same Assembly constituency. Surendra Singh Patel, a Minister in the Akhilesh government, is its MLA.
  • In this regard, district officials have been asked to submit a primary survey report of Nagepur by March 20. A village development plan will be drafted later. The RSS is active in both Nagepur and Jayapur villages.

India Kicked-off Raisina Dialogue

  • First ‘Raisina Dialogue’, a flagship conference on Geopolitics held in New Delhi from March 2to 4, 2016. It was hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kuinaratunga, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahboob Ah are part of the high power panel.
  • The theme of Raisina-Dialogue 2016 is Asia : Regional and Global Connectivity. In the conference, importance of building road and rail connectivity through the ‘BBIN’ grouping of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal was also discussed.
  • The conference, attended by speakers from 40 countries, is being seen as the government’s attempt to rival conferences around the world that attract global players such as the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore, and the Munich Conference 6n national security.

Prime Minister Modi Launched Setu Bharatam’ Project

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Rs 50000 crore ‘Setu Bharatam’ project on March 4, 2016 that aims to make all national highways free from railway level crossing by 2019 to ensure road safety.
  • Under the project, 208 rail-over bridges and rail-under bridges will be built at the cost of§120800 crore and also, 1500 decade-old bridges will be reconstructed and revamped for Rs 30000 crore.
  • In Budget 2016-17, Rs 19000 crore has been sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), to connect all villages with roads, compared with Rs 14291 crore in the revised estimates of 2015-16.

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