Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) around Protected Areas

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) came out with new guidelines to create eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) around Protected Areas to prevent ecological damage caused due to developmental activities around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in 2011.

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The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013

Following are some important features of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, passed by Parliament on Jan 18, 2013.

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Central Information Commission of India

The Central Information Commission (CIC) set up under the Right to Information Act is the authorised body, established in 2005, under the Government of India to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not having been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information under the RTI Act.

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National Human Rights Commission of India

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).

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National Development Council

The National Development Council (NDC) is the apex body for decision making and deliberations on development matters in India, presided over by the Prime Minister. It was set up in 1952. The Council comprises the Prime Minister, the Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers of all States or their substitutes, representatives of the Union Territories and the members of the Commissions. Ministers of State with independent charge are also invited to the deliberations of the Council.

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Planning Commission of India

Planning Commission of India was established in accordance with article 39 of the constitution which is a part of directive principles of state policy.

Rudimentary economic planning, deriving the sovereign authority of the state, first initiated in India in 1938 by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose when he was the Congress president and drafted by Meghnad Saha.

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Statutory Liquidity Ratio and Cash Reserve Ratio

Statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) refers amount that the commercial banks require to maintain in the form of gold or Government approved securities before providing credit to the customers. Statutory Liquidity Ratio is determined and maintained by the Reserve Bank of India in order to control the expansion of bank credit.

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What is Marginal Standing Facility

Marginal Standing Facility, MSF is the rate at which banks can borrow overnight from RBI.This was introduced in the monetary policy of RBI for the year 2011-2012. The MSF is pegged 100bps or a % above the repo rate.Banks can borrow funds through MSF when there is a considerable shortfall of liquidity. This measure has been introduced by RBI to regulate short-term asset liability mismatches more effectively.

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Constitutional Body : Election Commission of India

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous, constitutionally established federal authority responsible for administering all the electoral processes in the Republic of India. Under the supervision of the commission, free and fair elections have been held in India at regular intervals as per the principles enshrined in the Constitution. The Election Commission has the power of superintendence, direction and control of all elections to the Parliament of India and the state legislatures and of elections to the office of the President of India and the Vice-President of India.

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National Skill Development Agency

NSDA is an autonomous body which will coordinate and harmonize the skill development efforts of the Government and the private sector to achieve the skilling targets of the 12th Plan and beyond and endeavour to bridge the social, regional, gender and economic divide 
(i) by ensuring that the skilling needs of the disadvantaged and marginalized groups like SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, women and differently-abled persons are taken care of through the various skill development programmes and 
(ii) by taking affirmative actions as part of advocacy by the NSDA. The Central Ministries and NSDC will continue to implement schemes in their remit. The NSDA will anchor the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) and facilitate the setting up of professional certifying bodies in addition to the existing ones. 

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What is Qualified institutional placement

Qualified institutional placement (QIP) is a capital-raising tool, primarily used in India and other parts of southern Asia, whereby a listed company can issue equity shares, fully and partly convertible debentures, or any securities other than warrants which are convertible to equity shares to a qualified institutional buyer (QIB).

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National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP)

The NMFP scheme would help the States / UTs in maintaining requisite synergy between agriculture plans of States and Development of food processing sector, which in turn would help in Increase in farm productivity thereby increase in farmers' income also. This would also help in ensuring efficient supply chain by bridging Infrastructural / institutional gaps. The basic objective of NMFP is decentralization of implementation of Ministry's schemes, which will lead to substantial participation of State Governments / UTs.

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National Water Mission Goals

The main objective of the National Water Mission is “conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management”. 

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Current Affairs Notes from PIB - May 2013 - Part 3

1. Antyodaya Anna Yojana for Subsidised Foodgrains - Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) was launched in December, 2000 in all States/UTs for one crore families to be identified from the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. Coverage under this scheme has been expanded thrice. The identification of AAY families within the target of AAY families allocated to each State/UT is the responsibility of concerned State/UT Government. Against the accepted number of 2.50 crore AAY families given to State/UT Governments, upto March, 2013, they have reported issuance of AAY ration cards to 2.43 crore AAY families. Allocation of foodgrains (rice & wheat) to these AAY families is made @ 35 kg per family per month at a highly subsidized Central Issue Price (CIP) of Rs.2 per kg for wheat and Rs.3 per kg for rice.

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Current Affairs Notes from PIB - May 2013 - Part 2

1. Mangroves are woody, specialized types of trees of the tropics that can live on the edge, where rainforests meet oceans. Found on sheltered coastlines and river deltas, they grow in brackish wetlands between land and sea where other plants can't grow. They protect the coastline and prevent erosion by collecting sediment from the rivers and streams and slowing down the flow of water. There are about 39.3 million acres of mangrove forests in the warm coastlines of tropical oceans all over the world. More than 10.5 million acres, or 27% of mangrove forests are found in Southeast Asia.

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National Action Plan on Climate Change - Eight Missions

In 2008, Government of India released India’s first National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) outlining existing and future policies and programs addressing climate mitigation and adaptation.  The plan identifies eight core “national missions” running through 2017 and directs ministries to submit detailed implementation plans to the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change by December 2008.
Emphasizing the overriding priority of maintaining high economic growth rates to raise living standards, the plan “identifies measures that promote our development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively.”  It says these national measures would be more successful with assistance from developed countries, and pledges that India’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions “will at no point exceed that of developed countries even as we pursue our development objectives.”

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Current Affairs from PIB - May 2013 - Part 1

1. Earlier, farmgate prices of urea (a nitronegous fertilizer) and complex fertilizers have traditionally been controlled by the government. Consequently, any increase in the cost of production for fertilizer companies was reimbursed by the government in the form of a subsidy. To rein in the ballooning fiscal deficit, the government, in 2010, introduced an NBS regime in complex fertilizers, under which the subsidy was fixed for each nutrient. Simultaneously, farmgate prices of complex fertilizers were decontrolled.
Natural gas is the predominant input in the manufacture of urea, which accounts for 50 per cent of fertilizer consumption in the country. 

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Current Affairs Notes from Hindu May 2013 - Part 2

1. Describing high Current Account Deficit (CAD) as the biggest risk to Indian economy, the RBI said any further deterioration of CAD could result in its policy reversal stance.CAD, which is the difference between the inflow and outflow of foreign currency, had touched a record high of 6.7 per cent in the December quarter of 2012.

2. The apex bank had also expressed concern over rising external debt and short-term borrowings to meet the widening CAD.

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Current Affairs Notes from Hindu - May 2013 - Part 1

1. CRR, the portion of deposits that the banks are required to maintain with the RBI.
2. The repo rate, the rate at which banks borrow funds from the RBI.
3. Divergence between wholesale price index (WPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation has widened on account of higher food inflation and other factors such as increase in housing rents and transportation costs.
4. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods. India use WPI changes as a central measure of inflation. The Indian WPI figure is released on a  monthly basis.

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Vallabhbhai Patel led the Kheda Satyagraha


Vallabhbhai Patel led the Kheda Satyagraha. The government agreed to negotiate with Patel and decided to suspend the payment of revenue for the year, even scaling back the rate. Patel emerged as a hero to Gujaratis and admired across India. In 1920, he was elected president of the newly formed Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee—he would serve as its president till 1945.

When Gandhi was in prison, Sardar Patel was asked by Members of Congress to lead the satyagraha in Nagpur in 1923 against a law banning the raising of the Indian flag. He organised thousands of volunteers from all over the country in processions hoisting the flag.

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Automatic and Government Approval Route of FDI

Automatic Route of FDI

FDI under the automatic route does not require prior approval either by the Government of India or the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Investors are only required to notify the concerned Regional Office of RBI within 30 days of receipt of inward remittances and file required documents with that office within 30 days of issue of shares to foreign investors.

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