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Current Affairs: 21st January 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by Jan 22nd, 2015

1- Punjab government launches e-stamping project

Punjab government has launched e-stamping project in the state. It was launched by state Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. This project seeks to computerise revenue departments of the state in order to remove malpractices and end leakage of government revenue. It also seeks to make revenue transactions safe and secure.

Key facts

At present, e-stamping has been initiated as a pilot project in five districts of state. They are Mohali, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Bathinda. All districts of state will be covered under this project by 31 March 2015. This project will help citizens to pay the exact fee through a wire transfer, a draft or even a cheque for stamp instead of buying it from middlemen at higher cost. E-stamps have various safety features which includes a unique ID generated by computer and could be verified online and also UV, ultra violet, micro film and thermal fixtures besides an encrypted 2 D bar code

2- Maharashtra government declares Chandrapur as dry district

Maharashtra Government has declared mineral rich Chandrapur district (in Vidarbha region) as dry district. Thus imposing ban on the sale, purchase, production and consumption of liquor in the district. In this regard, state government has cancelled all alcohol permits in Chandrapur district and henceforth will be shifted to other districts. Chandrapur district is third district in state to be declared dry district. The demand for banning liquor in Chandrapur was made in late 2010, following which a committee was set up by state government. Thus, this decision was taken that in the interest of health of the people of Chandrapur, liquor consumption must be prohibited.

Earlier, Wardha and Gadchiroli districts from same region were declared dry districts. Wardha was declared dry district as it is closely linked to Mahatma Gandhi with his ashram situated in Sevagram. While, in the case of Gadchiroli the decision to declare it as a dry district was taken in 1992 owing to a public outcry to ban alcohol in view of growing Naxal movement.

3- EU decides to lift ban on import of mangoes from India

EU decides to lift ban on import of mangoes from IndiaEuropean Union (EU) has decided to lift seven-month-long ban on the import of mangoes from India. In this regard, a European Commission committee unanimously voted to lift the ban. The ban was lifted after an audit carried out by the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office in India in September 2014. This audit had showed that India world’s biggest producer of mangoes have made significant improvements in the phytosanitary export certification system of mangoes.

Background

EU had imposed temporary ban on import of mangoes from in 1 May 2014 after authorities in Brussels found consignments of the premium Alphonso mangoes infested with fruit flies. Along with Alphonso mangoes they also had banned import of 4 vegetables- aubergines, bitter gourds, snake gourds and patra leaves. They had imposed ban citing the reason that fruit flies from these consignments may damage European salad crops. However, it should be noted that EU has not lifted ban on these 4 vegetables and will be reviewed at later stage after collecting more evidence.

4- India ranks 78th globally in Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2014

India ranked 78th globally in Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2014 list of 93 countries in terms of talent competitiveness of its human capital. This GTCI list was compiled by INSEAD business school in partnership with Adecco and Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI). GTCI measures a nation’s competitiveness based on the quality of talent it can produce, attract and retain.

Key facts of Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2014 list

Top twenty scoring countries in the GTCI 2014 are all high-income countries. While, the top rankings were dominated by European countries, with only six non-European countries in the top 20 which included Singapore (2nd), the United States (4th), Canada (5th), Australia (9th), New-Zealand (16th) and Japan (20th). Rich countries were able to top in the list, since they tend to have better universities and a greater ability to attract foreign talents through higher quality of life and remuneration, making them more talent competitive.

Top 10 in GTCI list: Switzerland (1st), Singapore (2nd), Luxembourg (3rd), United States (4th) and Canada (5th), Sweden (6th), United Kingdom (7th), Denmark (8th), Australia (9th) and Ireland (10th). India’s lower position indicates acute shortage of skilled workforce. It also ranks at last among BRICS members. India’s neighbours in GTCI list:  China (41th), Sri Lanka (76th), Pakistan (89th), Bangladesh (90th).

5- Union Government launches monitoring system for skill development scheme

Union Government has launched Management Information System (MIS) to check progress and implementation of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana (DAY) scheme in different states. MIS aims to check real time progress on skill development and enhancing livelihood opportunities for urban poor under DAY scheme. It was launched by Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

Key facts about Management Information System (MIS)

This system is developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) at a cost of Rs 2.24 crore. It enables real time and regular monitoring of the progress of DAY  scheme and its seven components which include employment through skill training and placement, self-employment groups, shelters for urban homeless and support to urban vendors. It will help to remove the deficiencies in the present manual submission of monthly progress reports which are submitted by states.

6- Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana features into Guinness book of World Records

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana features into Guinness book of World Records

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

NDA government’s flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) has entered into Guinness book of World Records. Guinness book of World Records has given certificate stating it as most bank accounts opened in one week. In one week, 18,096,130 bank accounts were opened as part of the financial inclusion campaign from 23rd to 29th August, 2014. It was achieved by the Department of Financial Services (Government of India).

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the goal of eradicating financial untouchability of the poor by opening at least one bank account for every family in the country in less than six months. It seeks to financially empower the poor by providing them access to formal banking system. It also seeks to provide platform for Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) which will curb leakages in government subsidies and thus saving government exchequer. Initially, after its launch the scheme had a target of opening 7.5 crore bank accounts by 26 January, 2015, but later it was revised and raised to 10 crore bank accounts. As on 17th January 2015, PMJDY has achieved feat of opening of 11.50 crore bank accounts under it in the short span of 5 months since it was launched.

7- Japanese automaker Toyota tops in global vehicle sales

Japanese automaker Toyota tops in global vehicle sales

Toyota

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. has topped in global vehicle sales in 2014 by selling 10.23 million vehicles, beating Volkswagen and General Motors. While, Germen automaker Volkswagen AG is second in global vehicle sales list and has sold 10.14 million vehicles in 2014. Detroit-based General Motors (GM) is third in the list and has sold at 9.92 million vehicles.

Some facts

In 2014, Toyota’s sales grew 6 per cent in the U.S, 13 per cent in China, and 10 per cent in Brazil compared to year 2013. But in 2011, company had suffered a setback in top position rank, when its production was hit by the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan but it made a comeback as No. 1 in 2012. It should be noted that, GM was top-selling automaker for more than seven decades. But in 2008, it was surpassed by Toyota.

8- Twitter buys Indian start-up ZipDial

Twitter buys Indian start-up ZipDial

Twitter buys Indian start-up ZipDial

Leading social networking website Twitter has bought Indian mobile marketing start-up ZipDial. It will be first Indian technology product startup to be bought by Twitter. This deal is expected to cost Twitter around $34-35 million (Rs 215 crore).

About ZipDial

It is Bengaluru based startup, founded in 2011. It is co-founded by Valerie Wagoner, an American origin entrepreneur who graduated from Stanford University. ZipDial’s mobile marketing platform gives information about businesses to users when they place a missed call. This interaction information is useful in areas where people aren’t always connected to the Internet or can access data only through intermittent Wi-Fi networks Its mobile mobile marketing platform has nearly 60 million users, which includes the world’s leading brands and media companies.

9- Union Government launches HRIDAY scheme

Union government has launched a Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme to preserve and rejuvenate the rich cultural heritage of the country. Union governments ambitious Rs 500 crore HRIDAY project was launched by Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi. In the initial phase, 12 heritage cities have been identified which will be rejuvenated and developed under HRIDAY. The 12 cities are:  Amritsar, Varanasi, Gaya, Puri, Ajmer, Mathura, Dwarka, Badami, Velankanni, Kanchipuram, Warangal and Amaravati.

HRIDAY- Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana

It aims to bring urban planning, economic growth and heritage conservation together for heritage cities. It also seeks beautification in an inclusive and integrated manner with focus on cleanliness, livelihoods, skills, safety, security, accessibility and faster service delivery of heritage cities. Heritage management plan (HMP) will be prepared for the identified cities which will outline heritage resources and develop policies to guide their conservation, restoration, future use and development. It will seek to improve last-mile connectivity heritage sites by documentation, conservation of areas, providing more facilities for women, senior citizens and differently abled citizens. HRIDAY will be dovetailed with the Tourism Ministry’s Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme which has an outlay of Rs 100 crore for augmentation of infrastructure at pilgrimage sites across the country.

10- Cyberabad CP awarded by ECI for Best Electoral Practices-2014

Cyberabad Police Commissioner (PC) CV Anand has been conferred with the Election Commission of India’s (ECI’s) National Special Category Award for the Best Electoral Practices- 2014. He has been bestowed this award for the commendable election related measures taken by him in the area of ‘Expenditure Monitoring and Tackling Money Power’ during the General Elections of 2014. He will receive the award in Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi on January 25 on the occasion of National Voter’s Day Function.

ECI’s National Special Category Award

It was instituted in 2011. It recognises the efforts and innovations of the officers and to commend and encourage individual and team accomplishments in diverse fields of election management. It carries a cash reward of Rs 50,000 along with a plaque and citation. Lok Sabha election 2014 was the first General Election after Institution of the award.

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