National Current Affairs December 2015 (Part 6)

Uttar Pradesh Launched International Festival on Birds

  • In order to promote the array of bird species, Uttar Pradesh has launched its first International Festival on Birds on December 4, 2015. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav inaugurated the festival at the National Chambal Sanctuary.
  • Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, (FICCI) jointly hosted the event. The Northern State has been famous for hosting many indigenous and exotic migrant birds.
  • The three-day festival was held from December 4 to 6 at the National Chambal Sanctuary in Agra. More than 80 Indian ornithologists and 25 international bird experts were invited to the f

Delhi Assembly Passed Jan Lokpal Bill

  • Delhi Assembly passed the ‘Janlokpal Bill’ on December 4, 2015, incorporating suggestions of Anna Hazare, which provides for an ombudsman with powers to act against any government functionary including those of the Centre.
  • The bill received 64 votes in its favour in the 70-member Delhi Assembly. As per the changes, there will be a provision for one more High Court Judge, one eminent person and one former Chairperson in the selection panel of Janlokpal.
  • The impeachment process for removal will begin only after a higher court monitored probe of any allegation against the Lokpal.
  • As per provisions of the bill, Lokpal will have powers to even probe acts of corruption against Union Ministers and Central government officials working in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Jharkhand Government Declared Entire State as Drought Hit

  • The Jharkhand government had declared the entire State as drought affected in view of less rainfall in 2015 monsoon season and loss of crops. Scanty rainfall this year affected Jharkhand’s agricultural yield, particularly paddy.
  • In this regard, a decision was taken at the state Cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Raghuvar Das in Ranchi by considering the report of Agriculture department on drought. The State government would invite a Central team to assess ( the situation and provide relief.
  • In view of drought conditions state government had announced a package of Rs 1398 crore to drought-hit fanners in November, 2015, for distribution of seeds, subsidised diesel, construction of small check dams and other facilities.

Factories Act got President Nod, Women can Now Work Night Shifts

  • President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the landmark Factories (Maharashtra Amendment) Bill, 2015 on November 30, 2015, paving the way for women to work in factories in night shift. The provisions of the new law was implemented with immediate effect.
  • Over 40000 small factories will benefit following the amendment, allowing women to work from 7 pm to 6 am. After both the Houses passed the Factories (Maharashtra amendment) bill, 2015; it was submitted to Rashtrapati Bhavan for Presidential assent.
  • Factories employing less than 20 worjkers (without power) and less than 40 workers (with power) will be out of the purview of the Factories Act. Earlier, the limit was 10 and 20 workers respectively.

Liquor Sale Ban in Bihar from April, 2016

  • Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced on November 26, 2015 a ban on sale of alcohol in the State from April 1, 2016. It is his first major announcement after being swom-ih as j Chief Minister. With this ban, Bihar joined Gujarat, Kerala, Manipur, Nagaland, and the Union Territory of Lakshwadeep that have declared prohibition.
  • As per the excise department, there would be no ban on production of liquor and alcoholic beverages. There are two on-going projects in Bihar for production for liquor. Cobra Beer has a plant at Bihta, while United Spirits is setting-up a beer-bottling plant near Patna.

Silchar-Lumding Broad Gauge Rail Line Inaugurated

  • Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the landmark Silchar-Lumding broad gauge rail line in Asom on November 20, 2015. The rail line brings Asom’s underdeveloped but strategically important Barak Valley on the broad gauge map.
  • The Lumding-Silchar Gauge Conversion Project under the North-East Frontier Railway was sanctioned in 1996-97 and was declared a National Project in 2004. The project was hit by insurgency from 2006 to 2009.

President gave Assent to Bill on Banning Cow Slaughter in Haryana

  • The President had given assent to the Haryana Gauvansh Samrakshan and Gausamvardhan Bill, 2015 on November 12, 2015. The bill was passed by State assembly in March, 2015. The bill gave effect to a matter listed in the directive principles of State policy.
  • Article-31 (C) of the Constitution says that a law giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing directive principles which is made by the state legislature will have to be reserved for the consideration of the President for receiving his assent.

50 Districts of Uttar Pradesh Declared Drought Hit

  • As many as 50 of the 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh were declared drought-hit on November 18, 2015 by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with revenue realisation suspended in these.
  • The district magistrates of these districts having been asked to chalk out a plan to deal with the situation and ensure that farmers are not harassed in the name of revenue relisation.
  • As per the rain record made available by MeT Department, only 53.50% rainfall was recorded between June to September 30, 2015. In 33 of these districts, rainfall of 40% to.60% was recorded while, in 16 districts, it was below 40%.

Odisha Implemented NFSA in 1A Districts

  • The National Food Security Act (NFSA) was implemented on November 16, 2015 in 14 of the 30 districts of Odisha in first phase covering 26.33 lakh families. As many as 93.35 lakh people would be benefitted from the scheme.
  • In the first phase, the NFSA is to be launched in the districts of Angul, Bargarh, Boudh, Balangir, Deogarh, Gajapati, Jharsuguda, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sonepur.
  • The beneficiaries would get 5 kg of rice or wheat at Rs. 3 and Rs 2 respectively from PDS centres in the 14 districts. The State government had earlier distributed digitised ration cards among the beneficiaries. The second phase of the NFSA will be implemented in 16 other districts from December 1, 2015.

Bihar Assembly Election 2015

  • Chief Minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar won the Bihar Assembly Election 2015 on November 9, 2015 with two-thirds majority. This would be the fifth time that Kumar became Chief Minister.
  • His first stint was in 2000 when he headed a government for only seven days. He rode to power in November, 2005 and again in 2010. In February, 2015, he took oath for the high office for the fourth time after Jitan Ram Manjhi was removed from the chair.
  • Total number of voters who had given their vote were 6.68 crore. It shows an increase of 2.06 crore voters from 2010. Total number of Assembly constituencies are 243* whereas total number of third gender voters were 2169.

Rajasthan Launched Agro-Processing and Agri-Marketing Promotion Policy 2015

  • Rajasthan government launched the Rajasthan Agro-Processing and Agri-Marketing Promotion Policy-2015 on November 5, 2015 for the promotion of agro-processing and to reduce post harvest losses.
  • In this regard, Rajasthan government signed 112 MoUs with private companies in different sectors. Objectives of these policies are to promote agro-processing and to reduce post harvest losses at the farmgate thus ensuring maximum prices of farmer’s agri produce.
  • Agriculture department of government of Rajasthan shall be the nodal department and Rajasthan State Agricultural marketing Board shall act as nodal agency for this policy. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje launched the policy at Jaipur.

Meghalaya High Court Asked Centre to Enforce AFSPA

  • Meghalaya High Court asked the Centre to consider enforcing Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the militancy-hit Gar Hills region in the State in a bid to check the threat posed by militants.
  • A full Bench of the High Court, comprising chief Justice Uma Nath Singh, Justice TNK Singh and Justice SR Sen issued the order on November 2 2015 following a hearing related to the pending case of militants calling bandhs in the State.

Maharashtra Government Approved ‘APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Yojana’

  • Maharashtra government approved a scheme named APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Yojana at a meeting of the State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on November 3, 2015. It would be implemented by anganwadis that fall under Women and Child Welfare Department in 16 districts having tribal population.
  • The scheme, an initiative of Tribal Development department, has been announced to mark the completion of one year of the BJP-led – government. As per the estimate, over-1.8 lakh tribal women across Maharashtra are supposed to be covered under the scheme every year.

International Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 Held in Shillong

  • Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM) a conclave centered on the philosophy of Slow Food, Agro biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Agro-ecology, amongst others, was officially inaugurated on November 3, 2015 at the Convocation Hall of the North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU).
  • The theme was The Future We Want: Indigenous Perspectives and Actions. The five day-long unique event will bring over a 100 tribes from 58 countries including from 17 Asian countries, 14 African countries, 12 American countries, 8 European countries and 7 Oceanian countries.

Punjab Announced to Set-up Bio-ethanol Refinery

  • The government of Punjab has announced to set-up bio-ethanol refinery in the State to tackle the menace of wheat and paddy straw burning. In this regard, the State government on October 29, 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understandings (MoU).
  • The MoU was inked with a consortium of Beta Renewables, Novozymes and CVC India Infrastructure Private Limited for an estimated project worth 1950 crore, during the Progressive Punjab Investor Summit, 2015.

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