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Current Affairs: 20th February 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by Feb 21st, 2015

1- KVIC, RSETIs sign MoU to provide vocational training to unemployed youth

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has joined hands with Rural Self Employment Training Institute (RSETI), to provide vocational training to unemployed youth.

In this regard memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two bodies in the presence of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minster Kalraj Mishra. Along with vocational training MoU also aims at providing loan linkages to deserving beneficiaries linked to the Prime Minister’s Employment Guarantee Programme (PMEGP). The Monitoring Cell of RSETI will also utilise infrastructure of KVIC Departmental Training Centres for skill development courses. The MoU is for initial period of three years. However, its performance will be reviewed after two years

The MSME Ministry through KVIC is implementing PMEGP for generating employment opportunities through setting up of micro enterprises in rural and urban areas of the Country. Around 2.9 lakhs micro enterprises have been set up so far providing employment opportunities to 25.93 lakh persons.

2- Thailand passes law to ban commercial surrogacy for foreigners

Thailand’s parliament under ruling military junta has passed a legislation banning commercial surrogacy.

Provisions of new law

  • Completely bans foreign couples seeking to have children through Thai surrogate mothers.
  • Only married Thai couples or couples with one Thai partner who have been married at least three years can seek surrogacy.
  • Forbids any middlemen or agencies, receiving any assets or benefits through the surrogacy process.
  • Anyone who violates this law i.e. caught hiring a surrogate mother faces a maximum jail sentence of 10 years. Agents will also face imprisonment if caught.
  • Ban on advertising and promotions, shuts down surrogate agents and unregistered clinics.

Background

Earlier in November 2014, Thailand’s Parliament had voted a draft bill to ban commercial surrogacy. This draft bill banning commercial surrogacy was formulated to regulate the illegal commercial surrogacy after outrage erupted over this unregulated industry.

This industry came under intense scrutiny after a series of surrogacy scandals broke in the country involving foreigners.

3- Scientist Tapan Misra appointed as Director of ISRO’s Space Application Centre

Scientist Tapan Misra appointed as Director of ISRO’s Space Application Centre

Tapan Misra

Eminent scientist Tapan Misra has been appointed the Chief of ISRO’s Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad Gujarat. He will succeed A S Kiran Kumar, who was appointed as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in January 2015.

About Tapan Misra

  • In 1984, started his career at SAC as a digital hardware engineer. Since then played important in system design, planning and development of Microwave Remote Sensing Payloads of ISRO.
  • Prior to this appointment, he was Deputy Director of Microwave Remote Sensing Area in SAC. He is also heading the Office of Innovations Management of ISRO at Bengaluru.
  • Contribution-He was lead designer for the development of C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) of India’s Radar Imaging Satellite-1 (RISAT-1). He also led the team of SAC that had developed a special airborne radar system called DMSAR (SAR for Disaster Management).
  • In 1990, developed an important algorithm for real time processing of SAR data during his tenure as Guest Scientist in German Aerospace Agency (DLR).
  • Misra also contributed to the system design, simulation, integration, checkout and ground calibration for Multi-frequency Scanning Microwave Radiometer instrument which was carried on-board India’s OCEANSAT-1 satellite.
  • Awards-He was awarded Hari Om Ashram Prerit Vikram Sarabhai research Award (2004), ISRO Merit award (2008), Sir JC Bose National Talent Search (JBNSTS) Scholarship (1981).
  • He has 2 granted patents, 6 pending patents, 5 copyrights and many research papers to his credit.

4- Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi resign

khichdi, blog,current affairs, general,knowledge, ias, ips, civil, services, CSAT,pre, ies, general studies, GS, mains, competitive, entrance, bank, PO, IBPS,Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi resign

Jitan Ram Manjhi

Chief Minister (CM) of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi has resigned. His resignation was accepted by Governor of Bihar Keshri Nath Tripathi.

He had resigned from office, before the trust vote he was to face in Bihar Legislature after the Governor address to the joint session. Jitan Ram Manjhi was 23rd CM of Bihar, elected in May 2014 by the Janata Dal (United) Party legislators.

He was appointed as CM following the resignation of then CM Nitish Kumar, who had resigned from the post taking the responsibility of his party’s (JDU) dismal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

About Jitan Ram Manjhi

  • Manjhi hails from Mahkar village in Gaya district. He is a legislator from the Makhdoompur assembly constituency in Jehanabad district.
  • He was the third Dalit CM of Bihar after Bhola Paswan Shastri and Ram Sundar Das.
  • Prior to his appointment as CM, Manjhi was SC/ST welfare minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet.

5- US, Turkey ink deal to train, arm Syrian rebels to fight IS militants

United States (US) and Turkey have signed an agreement to train and arm moderate Syrian opposition forces taking on Islamic State (IS) militants.

The deal was inked by Turkey’s foreign ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and US ambassador to Ankara John Bass.

Key facts

  • Under the plan, the US will train about 5,000 Syrian fighters from the Free Syrian Army a year for three years. To train these fighters US is planning to send more than 400 troops.
  • This deal marks important  step for US President Barack Obama’s plan to turn moderate Syrian rebels into ground forces that will wage war on IS militants.
  • While, Western and Arab countries assist them by providing airstrikes to stop IS militants.
  • Saudi Arabia and Qatar also have agreed to host similar training programmes which will begin in March 2015.

6- Union Government launches Soil Health Card Scheme in Rajasthan

khichdi, blog,current affairs, general,knowledge, ias, ips, civil, services, CSAT,pre, ies, general studies, GS, mains, competitive, entrance, bank, PO, IBPS,Union Government launches Soil Health Card Scheme in Rajasthan

Soil Health Card Scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched nationwide Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme in Suratgarh town of Sriganganagar district, Rajasthan.

During the launch PM gave slogan- Swasth Dharaa. Khet Haraa (Healthy Earth, Green Farm).

Key facts  of Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme

  • SHC is centrally-sponsored nationwide scheme which aims to help farmers to improve the productivity of farms by providing them basic information for use of nutrients or fertilizers.
  • The card carries crop-wise recommendation of fertilisers that are required for farm lands. It also helps farmers identify health of soil and judiciously use soil nutrients.
  • Under this scheme Centre plans to target over 14 crore farmers in the next three years. In financial year 2014-15, around 3 crore farmers will be covered to check the excess use of fertilisers.

Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme was announced by NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in its first budget presented in July 2014.

In the budget, government had allotted Rs. 100 crore for issuing cards under the scheme. Government also had allotted additional Rs. 56 crore to set up 100 mobile soil testing laboratories across India.

7- Union Government approves various highway projects worth Rs 8,600 crore

Union Government has approved various highway projects in states of Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh worth over Rs 8,600 crore. The work for these approved road projects will be under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V.

This decision was taken by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Decisions taken by CCEA

  • Uttar Pradesh-Approved six-laning of the Handia-Varanasi section of National Highway. This project’s cost is estimated to be Rs 2378.59 crore and total length of the road will be approximately 72.4 kms.
  • Odisha Approved six-laning ofBaleshwar-Chandikhole section of National Highway. The project cost is estimated to be Rs 2296.82 crore and total length of the road will be approximately 137 kms.
  • Chhattisgarh-approved development of four to six laning of the Raipur-Bilaspursection of National Highway. The cost is estimated to be Rs 1,963.88 crore and total length of the road will be approximately 127 kms.

Other Decisions taken by CCEA

  • Approved the continuation of the incentive scheme for marketing and promotion services of raw sugar production during current sugar season of 2014-15. This approval has been given for quantity of 14 lakh Metric tonne.
  • CCEA also fixed uniform rate of 4000 rupees per metric tonne for this season. The decision will help sugar mills to clear the cane price dues of the farmers.

8- RIL appoints ex-IAS officer Maheshwar Sahu as independent director on board

Retired IAS officer Maheshwar Sahu from Gujarat has been appointed as an independent director on the board of Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

With this appointment, he joins RIL as one of the eight independent directors on its 14-member board. Sahu is popularly known as the man behind the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brainchild event- Vibrant Gujarat summit.

About Maheshwar Sahu

  • Maheshwar Sahu holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and Masters in Public Administration from University of Birmingham, UK.
  • He has more than 23 years of experience in Civil Service and 15 years practical experience in industries including that of more than 5 years in Union Government.
  • Sahu was Additional Chief Secretary (Industries and Mining) in Gujarat government. He has also served as Vice Chairman & Managing Director of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation.
  • He also had worked as Joint Secretary in Department of Telecom in Union Government for about 4 years and in Ministry of Environment & Forest as Joint Secretary.
  • Sahu also had served as a Project Director in an UN assignment of Director of an International Technology Centre.

9- India, US hold first ever bilateral dialogue on United Nations

India and United States have held their first ever bilateral dialogue on the UN and multilateral issues. The dialogue was held in Washington, on the spirit of the Delhi Declaration of Friendship that strengthens and expands the two countries’ relationship.

Indian delegation for dialogue was led by Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary Vikas Swarup while the US delegation was led by Assistant Secretary of State for International Organisation Affairs Sheba Crocker.

First bilateral dialogue provided an opportunity for both nations to discuss a wide range of important issues.

It focused on issues like international peace and security, peacekeeping operations, counter-piracy. It also discussed issues like Post-2015 Development Agenda, UN Human Rights Council, and other matters of mutual interest.

Background

In January 2015, during the US President Barack Obama’s visit to India, both nations had agreed to elevate their long-standing strategic partnership. In this regard both nations had signed Delhi Declaration of Friendship that strengthens and expands the relationship between the two countries.

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