Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam VOL - 14 (3rd March 2014 TO 9th March 2014)


Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam

VOL - 14 (3rd March 2014 TO 9th March 2014)


Issue : VOL - 14 (3rd March 2014 TO 9th March 2014)

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NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA

A GLINT OF INDIA

THE PROHIBITION OF CHILD MARRIAGE ACT, 2006

An Act to provide for the prohibition of solemnisation of child marriages and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It was enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-seventh Year of the Republic of India . This act is called the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 and it extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It basically applies to all citizens of India without and beyond India.

According to this Act, a "child" means a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty-one years of age, and if a female, has not completed eighteen years of age;

"Child marriage" means a marriage to which either of the contracting parties is a child.

"Child Marriage Prohibition Officer" includes the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer appointed under sub-section (1) of section 16;(e) "district court" means, in any area for which a Family Court established under section 3 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 exists, such Family Court, and in any area for which there is no Family Court but a city civil court exists, that court and in any other area, the principal civil court of original jurisdiction and includes any other civil court which may be specified by the State Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, as having jurisdiction in respect of the matters dealt with in this Act;(f) "minor" means a person who, under the provisions of the Majority Act, 1875 is to be deemed not to have attained his majority.

(Courtesy: http://india.gov.in)

Ministry of External affairs

Delhi Dialogue V

The India-ASEAN Delhi Dialogue is an annual international conference of political and economic leaders, officials, academics and opinion-makers of ASEAN countries with their Indian counterparts to discuss how to intensify and broaden political, strategic, economic and civil society interaction between the two regions. The forum has not only entered into the lexicon of India’s ‘Look East’ policy but also drawn attention of the ASEAN region towards the need for a comprehensive annual dialogue between the two partners. In this spirit, the India-ASEAN Delhi Dialogue V, titled "India-ASEAN: Vision for Partnership and Prosperity” will be held on 19-20 February 2013 in New Delhi.

This Dialogue is organised by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, in partnership with the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and supported by the SAEA Group Research, Singapore and Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Jakarta.

Intended as an annual second track conference focusing on India- ASEAN Regional security and cooperation, the Delhi Dialogue I was inaugurated by Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the then Minister for External Affairs, and Dr Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN Secretary-General on January 21-22, 2009. The second edition of the dialogue took place on January 21-22, 2010 with the theme India and Southeast Asia in the Changing Regional Economic Dynamics of Asia: Shared Interests and Concerns. Third in the series, the Delhi Dialogue III held on March 3-4, 2011 deliberated on ways to take forward cooperation beyond the 20yrs of ASEAN-India engagement. Delhi-Dialogue IV which was also the flag off event for the ASEAN-India Commemorative year celebrations, was held from 13-14 February 2012 with the theme "India and ASEAN: Partners for Peace, Progress and Stability. The then External Affairs Minister Shri S M Krishna with his counterparts from ASEAN Nations at the inauguration of Delhi Dialogue IV in New Delhi (13 February 2012)

(Courtesy: http://www.mea.gov.in)

Planning Commission of India

THE MAHATMA GANDHI NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE ACT 2005

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (Mahatma Gandhi NREGA) was notified on September 7, 2005.

MANDATE

The mandate of the Act is to provide 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

GOALS

  1. Social protection for the most vulnerable people living in rural India
  2. Livelihood security for the poor through creation of durable assets, improved water security, soil conservation and higher land productivity
  3. Drought-proofing and flood management in rural India
  4. Empowerment of the socially disadvantaged, especially women, scheduled castes and schedules tribes, through the processes of a rights-based legislation .
  5. Strengthening decentralised, participatory planning through convergence of various anti-poverty and livelihoods initiatives
  6. Deepening democracy at the grass-roots by strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions
  7. Effecting greater transparency and accountability in governance.

Thus, Mahatma Gandhi NREGA is a powerful instrument for inclusive growth in rural India through its impact on social protection, livelihood security and democratic empowerment.

The Act was notified in 200 districts in the first phase with effect from February 2nd 2006 and then extended to an additional 130 districts in the financial year 2007-2008 (113 districts were notified with effect from April 1st 2007, and 17 districts in UP were notified with effect from May 15th 2007). The remaining districts have been notified under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA with effect from April 1, 2008. Thus, the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA covers the entire country with the exception of districts that have a hundred percent urban population.

A PARADIGM SHIFT

  1. The Mahatma Gandhi NREGA has given rise to the largest employment programme in human history and is unlike any other in its scale, architecture and thrust. Its bottom-up, people-centred, demand-driven, self-selecting, rights-based design is new and unprecedented.
  2. The Mahatma Gandhi NREGA provides a legal guarantee of wage employment.
  3. It is a demand-driven programme where provision of work is triggered by the demand for work by wage-seekers.
  4. There are legal provisions for allowances and compensation both in cases of failure to provide work on demand and delays in payment of work undertaken.
  5. The Mahatma Gandhi NREGA overcomes problems of targeting through its self-targeting mechanism of beneficiary selection.

(Courtesy: http://planningcommission.nic.in)

NATIONAL EVENTS

Reservation for Jat

  • Jat leaders has welcomed the decision of the Union Cabinet to include Jats in nine states in the central list of Other Backward Classes and said the move will help youths from the community in getting jobs.
  • Ghatwala khap council head Harkishan Singh Malik and Balyan khap council head Naresh Tikait said it was the best gift for the Jat community and would help them in employment and improve their living standards.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the inclusion of the Jat community in the Central list of OBCs for the states of Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarrakhand, Uttar Pradesh and the National capital territory of Delhi.
  • An approximate number of nine crore Jats are living in nine states.

Provision of NOTA in general elections

  • Voters will be able to exercise the “None of the Above” (NOTA) option for candidates in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
  • Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath said the entire election will be held using electronic voting machines (EVMs), and that the NOTA option will also be provided.
  • The option was first made available in the November-December assembly polls in five states last year.
  • The Lok Sabha elections will involve a staggering 814 million voters, an increase of some 100 million from 2009, and a sharp rise from the 176 million in the first parliamentary polls of 1952.

Lok Sabha elections, 2014

  • The Election Commission has announced a nine-phase poll for the 16th Lok Sabha from April 7 to May 12. The counting of votes will be taken up on May 16. The model code of conduct has come into force with immediate effect. The Lok Sabha has a strength of 543 (excluding two nominated members) and the term of the present 15th Lok Sabha ends on May 31.
  • The nine phases of polls are to be held on: April 7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 24, 30, May 7 and May 12.
  • The elections to the 294-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly will be held on April 30 and May 7 along with the respective Lok Sabha constituencies in the State.
  • It will be three phase poll in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, two phases in Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tripura. All the remaining States and the Union Territories wil have a single phase poll.

The Indian state rich in marine sand

  • The offshore areas of Kerala hold enough sand resources to meet the requirements of the construction industry in the State for about 50 years,according to a study by the Geological Survey of India.
  • The authors, including A.C. Dinesh, P. Praveen Kumar, N.M. Shareef and C. Jayaprakash of the Marine and Coastal Survey division, GSI, have identified five sectors in the offshore waters of Kerala, namely Ponnani, Chavakkad, Alappuzha, Kollam North, and Kollam South, with an estimated resource of 2,030 million tonnes of sand suitable for construction industry.
  • The study came in the wake of resistance by fisherfolk to a proposal by the State government to exploit sea sand resources as a substitute for river sand to feed the construction industry.

INTERNATIONAL

Emergency rule lifted in Tunisia

  • Tunisia's president has lifted a state of emergency in force since the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali , despite a string of recent jihadist attacks.
  • The country has been rocked by sporadic violence since the January 2011 revolution, which ignited the Arab Spring across North Africa and the Middle East.
  • The end to the state of emergency however "does not limit the capacity of the security services to implement the law and does not preclude any request for military support should it be needed,"
  • Emergency rule amounted to "a restriction of rights, freedoms, the movement of people and goods" as Tunisia's political crisis was ending and security conditions improving.
  • Much of the deadly violence witnessed in Tunisia since the uprising has been blamed on Ansar al-Sharia, a hardline Islamist movement accused of having links to Al-Qaeda.

NATO airstrike

  • The recent NATO airstrike in Afghanistan’s central Logar province killed 5 Afghan National Army soldiers and wounded another 17.
  • If it turns out that a NATO strike killed ANA troops, it is likely to set Afghan President Hamid Karzai on another attack against U.S. and NATO soldiers in his country. The President has been deeply critical of civilian deaths by international forces.

Protest in Libyan parliament

  • Dozens of Libyans stormed the building of the parliament in the capital Tripoli in protest against the extension of its mandate..
  • Earlier in the day, anti-parliament activists had blocked roads to the parliament to protest an attack by Congress’ supporters on protesting campers outside the building.
  • The Congress, Libya’s highest authority, has recently extended by one year its mandate, which was originally due to expire in February.
  • Libya has in recent weeks seen mass protests against the parliament and the interim government due to a lack of security in the country.

INDIA AND THE WORLD

32 Indian fishermen arrested

  • At least 32 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly poaching in the country’s waters off the coast of the Delft islet in Jaffna.
  • The fishermen were being taken to the port of Kankesanturai to be handed over to the fisheries surveillance officials.
  • The Indian fishermen had apparently violated accord reached during January’s bilateral fishing talks to stop bottom trawling.

India-Pakistan-Iran pipeline

  • India is looking for an undersea route to source gas from Iran, bypassing Pakistan in the process, that is called “Peace Pipeline”. This pipeline, was now technically feasible after the success of the North Sea undersea pipeline.

  • If Iran was looking at the cheapest way to get gas to customers, it would prefer European customers. But what Iran had in mind was providing spillover benefits of the surface pipeline to the region it passes through, especially the Makran Plateau common to both Pakistan and Iran and where poverty has fuelled subversive tendencies.

  • And, the sources suggested that the future of the IPI pipeline was entwined with the Chah-bahar port as Iran was keen to ensure that this town and the surrounding region of Sistan-Baluchistan Province also gained from the availability of gas.

  • Just 72 km from the Pakistani port of Gwadar being built with Chinese help, the first phase of developing the Chah-bahar port is nearly over.

  • India and Iran have held several rounds of talks on sharing operations and developing the port.

  • The biggest problem is despite deep energy and civilisational links, India and Iran are unfamiliar with each other’s processes and systems of doing business in other areas.

ECONOMY

Fourth highest billionaires of the world in India by 2023

  • India is projected to be home to the fourth highest number of billionaires in the world by 2023, according to a report which said wealth creation will accelerate in the country over the next decade.
  • The 2014 Wealth Report, an annual global perspective on prime property and wealth by property management firm Knight Frank, projected that the number of billionaires in India will grow by an exponential 98 per cent to 119 in the year 2023 from 60 billionaires last year.
  • India will rank fourth after US, China and Russia in 2023 and will have more billionaires than the UK, Germany and France, according to the report.
  • The report said that by 2024, Mumbai is also projected to figure in the top 10 global cities.

Switzerland no more the perfect spot for tax evaders

  • Switzerland may no longer be a honeymoon spot for tax evaders. A new international standard of tax data sharing is set to make things harder for tax haven networks around the world that have in the past included Switzerland and tiny island nations and enclaves. But India would have to frame new laws to make use of the new system.

  • The new standard, radically different from the current system, aims to prevent wealth from flowing into financial “black holes” through a systematic global regime of information sharing.

  • Banks and authorities using secrecy laws to evade governments trying to hunt down black money hoarders could lose much of their power. Past offenders, who have so far easily escaped by moving assets, will be in a fix when information about them gets leaked.

  • However, there are some loopholes. Vast amounts of illicit money are concealed through anonymity of contributors in trusts and foundations.

Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor

  • The Maharashtra government formally signed shareholder and state support agreements for the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project, in Mumbai recently.
  • The project aims at generating industrial output of Rs 20 lakh crore by 2042.
  • DMIC is slated to be developed in two phases, with the project cost for the first phase being Rs 17,319 crore. Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and DMIC Trust has formed a joint venture to execute the project, in which MIDC will hold 51% stake, while the remaining 49% will be held by DMIC.
  • The DMIC projects in Maharashtra would cover nearly 29% of land area and 18% project influence area. Around 26% of the state's population would come under the corridor that covers eight districts - Thane, Raigad, Pune, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Aurangabad.

SCIENCE AND TECH

Tiangong 2

  • In 2015, China is expected to launch its next space laboratory.
  • Tiangong 2 will follow on from the Tiangong 1 module, which was launched in 2011 and is still in orbit at the time of writing.
  • Tiangong 1 received two crews of astronauts and carried out China's first space dockings.
  • It is a small, roughly cylindrical module with a crew cabin and a service module featuring solar panels. Although Tiangong 1 is officially designated as a "space laboratory", it is really a small space station.
  • The launch of Tiangong 2 has been expected for a long time, but space analysts are puzzled by the nature of this spacecraft.
  • Originally, China planned to launch three Tiangong modules, and Tiangong 2 was expected to be a marginally improved version of the Tiangong 1 spacecraft.
  • Later, China seemed to drop plans for three Tiangongs and launch just two.

New guidelines for treating rape victims

  • The Union Health Ministry, which has drawn new guidelines for treating rape victims, has asked all hospitals to set up a designated room for forensic and medical examination of victims besides outlawing the two-finger test performed on them, dubbing it as unscientific.
  • The Department of Health Research (DHR) along with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) with the help of experts formulated this set of national guidelines for dealing with criminal assault cases, which will hopefully put an end to the “horrendous” medical process, which the victims are subjected to after the sexual abuse.
  • The DHR has also drafted a new manual to address the psycho-social impact of sexual violence including counselling that the victims should receive to alleviate her woes.
  • These guidelines have been made available to health care providers who work with victims of sexual violence.

Indoor maps launched by Google

  • Technology giant Google has launched indoor maps in India that will help users browse through and locate specific locations inside venues like malls and museums.
  • The service, available as part of Google Maps, is already available in countries like the U.S., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
  • The service will be available free to Android and iOS users.
  • Apart from the metros, indoor maps will cover locations in cities like Bhopal, Coimbatore, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Jaipur, Kochi, Lucknow, Ludhiana and Moradabad.
  • Apart from malls, indoor maps would be available for National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, Salar jung museum in Hyderabad and Hyderabad International Convention Centre.

ENVIRONMENT

Demwe project

  • The controversial 1,750MW Demwe mega-dam project in Arunachal Pradesh could be in for more trouble with the Assam government stating that the project needed clearance from the State wildlife authorities as it would impact the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
  • The project on Lohit river got a wildlife clearance from the Environment Ministry in February 2012 and has been challenged in the National Green Tribunal at present.

SPORTS

International Boxing Federation and IABF

  • The International Boxing Federation (AIBA) has reportedly terminated any official relationship with its current suspended member, the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF), for damaging the image, reputation and interest of the sport in the country.

  • According to the official AIBA website, AIBA has not recognized any official activities and did not support the officers from IABF since the December 2012 suspension, adding that after receiving disturbing reports on the way the sport of boxing was managed in India, it has now become impossible for them to continue any association with India.

  • Boxers and coaches will remain protected and authorized to compete at any competition at all levels under the AIBA flag. AIBA also hopes that the IOA will give its full cooperation until AIBA approves a new National Federation for the sake of the sport of boxing in India.

Bopanna: 12th in ATP rankings

  • India's doubles tennis player Rohan Bopanna leaped four places to 12th in the latest ATP rankings.
  • The Indian achieved the feat after clinching the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title with Pakistani Aisam ul Haq Qureshi.
  • Meanwhile, Leander Paes still remains India's highest ranked doubles player at No.10 while another veteran Mahesh Bhupathi slipped six places to No.47.
  • In the men's singles category, Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri remained static at 78th and 146th, respectively, while Sania Mirza is No.11 in the women's doubles list.

IN THE NEWS (PERSONS)

OSCARS, 2014

  • With seven Oscars including a history-making best director award for Alfonso Cuaron, the force of Gravity exerted itself at the 86th annual Academy Awards.
  • The searing slavery drama “12 Years a Slave” has won the Academy Award for best picture.
  • Jared Leto, a strong favourite, won the first trophy of the night for his role of a transgender AIDS patient in Dallas Buyers Club.
  • Frozen defeated The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine and The Wind Rises to score in the animated category.
  • Gravity which has maximum nominations with The American Hustle won its first award of the night in the best visual effects category while the best costume design went to The Great Gatsby.
  • Dallas Buyers Club took home the best make-up and hairstyling trophy.
  • Best animated short film Oscar went to Mr Hublot while Helium was named best live action short film.
  • 20 Feet from Stardom was named the best documentary feature and best documentary short went to The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.

Arjun Bahadur Thapa

  • Nepal’s former Foreign Secretary Arjun Bahadur Thapa has assumed charge as the Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
  • Thapa, who succeeds Ahmed Saleem of Maldives, is the 12th Secretary General of the regional grouping.
  • This is the second time Nepal assumed the top post of the regional body since its establishment in 1985.
  • Former Foreign Secretary Yadav Kanta Silwal held the post from January 1994 to December 1995.
  • The members of the SAARC are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
  • Thapa, 58, was appointed to the position by the 30th Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers held in the Maldives on February 20.
  • Kathmandu will host the 18th SAARC Summit in November this year.

Selected Editorials of Importance

Cold War redux

Russia’s de facto annexation of the Crimea — which President Vladimir Putin says is a humanitarian intervention — has exposed ugly motives all round. On February 22, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, panicking over public protests calling for early elections and a return to the 2004 Constitution, abandoned his violent crackdown on the protesters and fled the capital, Kiev. The national parliament voted to remove him from office and impeach him; Speaker Oleksander Turchynov took over as interim president, and the assembly decided to hold elections on May 25. Mr. Turchynov has since then made political appointments by decree, and some of his choices have extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic backgrounds. On March 1, Russian troops moved into the eastern province of Crimea, without facing any resistance; the Russian military had, in any case, retained their Sevastopol naval base and various airfields under an arrangement made after the Soviet Union was abolished in 1991; there are now 16,000 Russian troops in the region. The West could only watch as a candidate for EU and NATO membership faced what could end up as a Russian takeover, or partition, or possibly a new status on the front-line of a fresh Cold War.

The western Ukrainian public were shocked by revelations of Mr. Yanukovych’s kleptocracy, which funded an opulent mansion and a country estate with an artificial lake, a full-size replica galleon, and a zoo; their eastern compatriots, mainly ethnic Russians, seemed to be disturbed less by the arrival of Russian troops than by a new law from Kiev abolishing the official status of the Russian language in their area. Moreover, Mr. Yanukovych resurfaced in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and, according to a Russian diplomat, said he had asked Moscow for help; the U.S. reaction had already bordered on the surreal, with Secretary of State John Kerry, apparently forgetful of his own country’s conduct over Iraq, telling Russia not to invade a sovereign state on a “trumped-up pretext.” Washington also needs EU support for sanctions against Moscow, but many EU countries reject sanctions. Secondly, several western governments are implicated in the Ukrainian crisis; some of Mr. Yanukovych’s assets are owned by British-registered companies. Thirdly, NATO has tried to implement detailed plans for former Soviet republics like Georgia and Ukraine to join it. Moscow sees that as highly provocative; furthermore, by acting through NATO, western governments are all but eliminating accountability to their own legislatures and publics. While the legality of the Russian moves in the Crimea is at best uncertain, the West for its part needs to learn the lessons of the Cold War.

(Courtesy: The Hindu)

MCQs

Q1.

i) This is the second time that voters will be able to exercise the “None of the Above” (NOTA) option in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections starting from april.
ii) The model code of conduct (MCC) was first codified in 1991by election commission under T.N. Seshan.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are NOT true?

a) only i
b) only ii
c) both i and ii
d) neither i nor ii

Q2.

i) 1,750MW Demwe mega-dam project which is in the vicinity of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is located at Assam.
ii) The Gender Equality Goal, that has been developed by UN Women calls for increased participation of women in decision-making.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are NOT true?

a) only i
b) only ii
c) both i and ii
d) neither i nor ii

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  • Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam Sample Material VOL - 1 (2nd December 2013 TO 8th December 2013)

  • Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam Sample Material VOL - 2 (9th December 2013 TO 15th December 2013)

  • Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam Sample Material VOL - 3 (16th December 2013 TO 22nd December 2013)


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