Important Current affairs dated 11th April 2017 for Competitive Exams in India.
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Centre releases nearly 23500 Crore to States under MGNREGS
- Ministry of Rural Development has released nearly 23,500 crore rupees to the States as first tranche for this Financial Year, under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
- The amount released includes all pending liabilities as on 31st March, 2017. It is also to ensure priority work on water conservation measures.
- The Government is laying considerable emphasis on Water Conservation and Water Management works under MGNREGS. All States have been advised to ensure that such works are taken up wherever required with appropriate technical and scientific scrutiny.
- In collaboration with the Ministry of Water Resources, Mission Water Conservation Guidelines have been developed and shared with the States. A list of 2264 water-stressed Blocks, as ascertained from the Ministry of Water Resources, has been prepared.
- These Blocks are located in 324 districts of 21 States. In a recent communication to the States, the Ministry has advised the States to ensure not less than 65 percent expenditure on Natural Resource Management Activities.
- In a communication to the Chief Secretaries, Secretary, Rural Development has requested them to accord top most priority to Water Conservation works under MGNREGS.
- Special thrust has to be ensured in drought prone regions and in districts, Blocks receiving inadequate rainfall.
Government reduces the number of centrally sponsored schemes to 28
- The government has reduced the number of centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) to 28 umbrella schemes from 66.
- The GOI has rationalized Centrally Sponsored Schemes based on the recommendation of the sub group of chief ministers.
- The minister has mentioned that 6 Schemes have been categorized as Core of the Core 20 Schemes as Core Schemes and remaining 2 as Optional Schemes.
- The related Schemes could be merged and implemented as “Umbrella Schemes”to administer the satisfactory component in the line with state specific requirements.
Lok Sabha passes Constitution Amendment Bill 2017
- On April 10, 2017, Lok Sabha passed 123rd Constitution Amendment Bill, 2017 with 360 members voting in favour and two members voting against it.
- This amendment bill seeks to grant constitutional status to National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.
- The amendment bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Thaawarchand Gehlot on April 5, 2017.
- The amendment bill seeks to insert Article 338B in the Indian Constitution. This article will list out the structure and functions of the proposed National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.
Survey General Of India Completes 250 Years
- The Survey General of India completes 250 years on 10th April, 2017. The center launched a website which allows the public access to 3000 maps which are prepared by Survey General of India. It also made a subscription to Aadhaar mandatory for the service.
- A Nakshe Portal was launched by the Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on the occasion of 250th anniversary of Survey of India in New Delhi
- Topographic Maps or Open Series Maps (OSM) is prepared by Survey of India since 1767 and is in conformity with the National Map Policy-2005.
Motor Vehicle amendment bill passed by Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha on 10 April 2017 passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The Bill amends the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to address issues such as third party insurance, regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety.
Under the Act, the liability of the third party insurer for motor vehicle accidents is unlimited. The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at Rs 5 lakh in case of grievous injury. The Bill provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
Thee bill address issues such as third party insurance, regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety.
1. According to a report of PRS India Legislative, under the act, the liability of the third party insurer for motor vehicle accidents is unlimited. The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at five lakh rupees in case of grievous injury.
2. The Bill provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
3. The Bill defines taxi aggregators, guidelines for which will be determined by the central government.
4. The Bill also provides for: (i) amending the existing categories of driver licensing, (ii) recall of vehicles in case of defects, (iii) protection of good samaritans from any civil or criminal action, and (iv) increase of penalties for several offences under the 1988 Act.
5. Improving delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance is one of the major focuses of this Bill. This include enabling online learning licenses, increasing validity period for driving licenses, doing away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses are some of the features.
6. The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance, but does not cap the compensation amount that courts can award. In cases where courts award compensation higher than the maximum liability amount, it is unclear who will pay the remaining amount.
7. Under the Act, compensation for hit and run victims comes from a Solatium Fund. The Bill creates a new Motor Vehicle Accident Fund in addition. With a Fund already existing to provide compensation for hit and run accidents, the purpose of the new Accident Fund is unclear.
8. State governments will issue licenses to taxi aggregators as per central government guidelines. Currently, state governments determine guidelines for plying of taxis. There could be cases where state taxi guidelines are at variance with the central guidelines on aggregators.
What is the Bill all about:
Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill authorises the government to exempt or waive off any section to promote innovation. The provisions of the Bill talk about improved citizen centric services, reducing the number of accidents and several steps proposed to reduce the footfalls to regional transport offices (RTO).
The bill proposes hefty penalties for various traffic offences, three-year jail term for parents of minors caught driving and causing fatal accidents, and a ten-fold increase in compensation for the families of accident victims, among other things.
Parliament passes Constitution (SC) Order (Amendment) Bill 2017
- Parliament has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2017 with the Rajya Sabha approving it on 10th April 2017.
- It was passed by Lok Sabha on March 23.
- The Bill amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes Order, 1964.
- The name of the Union Territory of Pondicherry was modified to Puducherry by a central Act in 2006.
- The bill seeks to incorporate this change and replace Pondicherry with Puducherry in the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes Order, 1964.
Government sets up inter-ministerial panel to monitor UDAN
- The government has set up an inter-ministerial committee to monitor the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN which seeks to make flying affordable by connecting unserved and under-served airports.
- The Civil Aviation ministry has already awarded 128 routes connecting 70 airports to 5 airlines including Spicejet and an Air India subsidiary under the scheme UDAN ( UDAN- Ude DeshKa Aam Nagrik)
- The Inter-Ministerial Monitoring-cum-coordination Committee would be responsible for overall monitoring of the schemes.
- The panel would be responsible for coordination among the stakeholders including state government.
- In the flights operated under RCS (Regional air Connectivity) around 50% of the seats would have afire cap Rs2500 per seat/hour.
- The cap on fares would be revived periodically based on Consumer Price Index for Industrial workers under RCS.
- The panel members include Airport Authority of India chairman, Representatives from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation , Bureau of Civil aviation security
- Other benefits include zero airport charges for the operators and three years restricted on the routes.
First rail freight service to China departs UK
- The first rail freight service from the UK to China has departed on its 17-day, 7,500-mile journey.
- British goods including soft drinks, vitamins and baby products are in the 30 containers carried by the train, which will be a regular service.
- The DP World locomotive left its terminal in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, for Zhejiang province, eastern China.
- After going through the Channel Tunnel, the train will pass through seven other countries before arriving on 27 April.
- They are France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
Pakistan sentences Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav to death
- Pakistan on 10th April 2017 sentenced to death Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who was arrested last year on charges of spying.
- Jhadav was arrested in March last year in Balochistan accused of being a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) agent.
- He was supplying the Baloch separatist movement and attempt to damage the $46 billion China Pakistan economic corridor(CPEC)
- Chief of army staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence given by FCGM.
- He confessed in front of court and magistrate that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organize destruction activities that aims to weaken the wage war against Pakistan by hinder the efforts of law enforcement agencies.
- Pakistan army has also released a confessional video of Jhadav in which he is saying he was servig the Indian navy.
- Foreign Secretary S Jainshankar mentioned if Jhadav will be awarded capital punishment India will consider it is case of Premeditated murder.
G-7 Foreign Ministers meeting held in Lucca, Italy
- On April 10, 2017, Foreign Ministers from the Group of Seven (G-7) countries gathered for the annual meeting in Lucca, Italy.
- United States and its allies (including G-7 countries) believed that Syrian Govt. headed by Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons to attack a rebel-controlled town last week in which 87 civilians were killed. Reacting to this, US fired multiple missiles at Syrain Govt.’s airbase.
- G-7 countries have insisted that Russia should stop giving support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Imposing further sanctions on Russia is also being considered as an option.
Banking and Finance
Align Bank Pay to that CPSESs : Bank Board Bureau
- The Bank Board Bureau (BBB) has recommended that the government bring in reforms in the compensation process in public sector banks on the lines of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).
- BBB, set up in April 2016 to select board members including MD & CEO in PSBs, put out the list of recommendations that it had submitted to the government on its website.
- BBB has suggested compensation reforms in PSBs so that best practices can be introduced ‘on the lines already prevalent in Central Public Sector Enterprises.’
- To attract high-quality talent for non-executive directors and chairmen, BBB suggested a level-playing field with the private sector with respect to role, responsibility and remuneration.
- BBB set up in Aril 2016 to select board members including MD & CEO in PSBs put out the list that was submitted to the government on its website.
- To attract high quality talent for non-executive directors and chairman, BBB suggested a platform with the private sector in relation to role, responsibility and remenuration.
ESAF Small Finance Bank launches social deposit scheme Hrudaya deposit
- ESAF Small Finance Bank has launched a social deposit scheme called Hrudaya Deposit at a function held in Thrissur.
- The deposit scheme, as the name suggests, stands for a social cause, through which, ESAF Bank provides the customers an opportunity to be a part in social welfare projects, which none of the other banks has given so far, said K. Paul Thomas, Managing Director and CEO, ESAF Small Finance Bank.
- The significance of the scheme is that a customer who deposit in it, becomes a part in nation building, as their deposits are used for the welfare and infrastructure development of the marginalized sections of the society, he said.
- An individual or a legal entity can join the Hrudaya Deposit Scheme with a minimum deposit amount of ₹15 lakh and for a minimum period of two years. An account can be opened through internet banking or by calling the Relationship Manager. The compound interest will be given in every quarter as per the present rates. The customer will also have the opportunity to gain first hand experience of how their money is used to improve the lives of the ordinary people in the country.
- The Hrudaya deposit scheme envisages the business development of the rural farmers, fishermen, vegetable vendors etc, he added.
Awards and Recognition
Colson Whitehead wins Pulitzer prize for The Underground Railroad
- Literary blockbuster novel The Underground Railroad, which depicts the journey of a young woman escaping from slavery via a fantastical train system, has won the Pulitzer prize for fiction.
- Author Colson Whitehead has collected multiple accolades for the bestselling book, including last year’s National Book Award. Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is adapting the story into a limited series for Amazon.
- “For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America,” read the Pulitzer judges’ note about Whitehead’s win.
National Hindi Sevi Samman Awards announced
- Central Hindi Institute Director N.K. Pandey on Tuesday announced the names of 26 writers from different categories for the prestigious Hindi Sevi Samman Awards.
- The Ganesh Shankar Vidhyarthi Award for Hindi journalism will be awarded to Rahul Dev and Baldev Bhai Sharma.
- Professor S. Shesharatnam (Andhra Pradesh), M. Govind Rajan (Tamil Nadu), Harmahendra Singh Bedi (Punjab) and H. Subadani Devi (Manipur) have been selected from non-Hindi speaking states for their contribution to the Hindi language.
- Foreign Hindi writers selected for the award are Professor Fujii Takeshi (Japan) and Professor Gabriela Nik Ilieva (New York) while the Non-Resident Indians (NRI) who get the awards are Pushpita Avasthi (Netherlands) and Padmesh Gupt (London).
- The Union Human Resource Development Ministry instituted the Hindi Sevi Samman in 1989. More than a hundred Hindi writers have received the prestigious awards till now.
Flipkart Buys eBay India Business, Gets $500 Million as Investment
- Flipkart announced its biggest funding and it is buying eBay’s Indian operations and marked drastic moves by the country’s largest online retailer. It builds a ‘mahagathbandhan’ of global tech giants to counter Amazon.
- India’s largest e-commerce company buys eBay’s India business and closing $1.4 billion fund raising from Tencent, eBay and Microsoft.
- $1.4 billion deal is led by China’s Tencent with an investment of $700 million while eBay Inc will contribute $500 million and also receive Flipkart stock worth of $200 million.
- The eBay merchants outside of India can sell to Flipkart shoppers and flipkart Sellers can more easily sell to eBay shoppers outside of India.
- EBay mentioned it is investing $500 million and selling its India business in exchange for a stake in Flipkart.
- It is the largest fund rising in the Indian internet sector and values Flipkart at $11.6 billion.
- Flipkart will own and operate the eBay.in as an independent business upon the close of the transcation.It will maximize the opportunity for both companies in India.
Marouane Fellaini becomes the first muslim player to captain Manchester United
- Marouane Fellaini pulled off a first by becoming the first Muslim to captain Manchester United.
- MarouaneFellaini is a Belgian professional football player who plays as a midfielder for Premier League Club Manchester United and the Belgium national team.
- He played his first international match between Belgium and Czech Republic in 2007.
- Fellani is a practicing Muslim of Moroccan heritage. He is the first muslim captain of the Red Devils Squad.
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