Indian Current Affairs | Current Affairs India - June 2011

India and Germany signed MoU on Biomedical Research
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Helmholtz Association (HGF), Germany signed a signed new Memorandum of Understanding on translational efforts in biomedical research for a period of next five years.Both the countries will be benefited in multiple areas pertaining to the biomedical research and public health in terms of joint collaborative research efforts and projects. The other areas identified under the MOU are Oncology and Biomedical research related to health.

New Museum Gallery on North East Biodiversity
New Museum Gallery on North East Biodiversity opens in Bhubaneswar.This Museum Gallery depicts the natural heritage of North-Eastern India which includes two of the 34 Biodiversity hotspots in the World: Himalayas and Indo-Burma.The Northeastern Region of India, comprising the seven sister states and Sikkim are part of Himalaya and Indo-Burma hotspots of the country. North Eastern region  has nearly 163 globally threatened species including the One-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), the Wild Asian Water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis arnee ) and the  region is also home to the Himalayan Newt (Tylototriton verrucosus), the only salamander species found within Indian limits. Both plant and animal species are under threat of extinction.  Estimates show that about 50 species are being drawn to extinction every day, and at this rate about 25% of present day biodiversity is likely to become extinct during the next 20-30 years if appropriate steps are not taken for its conservation.

4 E’s of Road Safety
Working Groups to Recommend 4 E’s of Road Safety. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways formed 4 separate working groups on 4 E’s of Road Safety viz. (i) Education; (ii) Enforcement; (iii) Engineering (roads as well as vehicles); and (iv) Emergency care and Environment

Phase-I of Rajiv Awas Yojana approved 
In pursuance of the announcement made in June 2009 of creating a `Slum-Free India` the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the launch of the Phase-I of Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) to provide financial assistance to States that are willing to assign property rights to slum dwellers for provision of shelter and basic civic and social services for slum redevelopment, and for creation of affordable housing stock.The scheme is expected to cover about 250 cities, mostly with population of more than one lakh, across the entire country by the end of 12th Plan (2017). The scheme will progress at the pace set by the States. The Central Government will bear 50% of the costs of slum redevelopment.

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (also known as the National Solar Mission) is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenges. It will also constitute a major contribution by India to the global effort to meet the challenges of climate change.
It was as a part of National Action Plan on Climate Change with a view to develop an enabling policy framework for deployment of 20, 000 MW of solar power by 2022 and 2,000 MW equivalent off-grid solar applications. Setting up solar power projects of 1,000 MW capacity during Phase-1 of JNNSM up to 2013 and a system of purchase of solar power by NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) and its sale to State Utilities after bundling of equivalent capacity of solar thermal power was also approved.It is implemented in 3 phases with a completion target in 2022.

Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement Between India and Mozambique Notified
DTAA provides that business profits will be taxable in the source state if the activities of an enterprise constitute a permanent establishment in the source state. Examples of permanent establishment include a branch, factory, office, place of management, etc. 
Profits of a construction, assembly or installation projects will be taxed in the state of source if the project continues in that state for more than 12 months. Dividends, interest and royalties income will be taxed both in the country of residence and in the country of source. However, the maximum rate of tax to be charged in the country of source will not exceed 7.5% in the case of dividends and 10% in the case of interest and royalties. Capital gains from the sale of shares will be taxable in the country of source. 

National Rural Livelihood Mission launched
NRLM has been mandated to ensure adequate coverage of vulnerable sections of the society such that 50% of the beneficiaries are SC/STs, 15% are minorities and 3% are persons with disability, while keeping in view the ultimate target of 100% coverage of BPL families. A unique feature of the new initiative is that it would be led by the poor themselves. NRLM would utilize the services of Community Resource Persons (CRPs) who are women who have themselves come out of poverty through being a part of the Self Help Group. They will spread the concept of NRLM from one village to another and from one district to another making NRLM a people’s movement. 
NRLM is based on large scale successes in states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh where social mobilization and building strong institutions of the poor have led to significant reduction in poverty and empowerment of the poor. It will be a demand driven approach and the states will have the flexibility to develop their own action plans based on their local requirements and availability of resources .

Lowering the age limit under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme
The Cabinet today approved lowering the age limit for the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) from 65 years to 60 years and increasing the rate of pension from Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 to persons of 80 years and above.
As a result of change in the eligibility criteria for receiving old age pension, eligibility criteria for widow pension under IGNWPS and disability pension under IGNDPS will get revised from 40-64 years to 40-59 years and from 18-64 years to 18-59 years respectively. 

Successful Launch of Prithvi (P-II) Missile
Prithvi-II, the first indigenous surface to surface strategic Missile, capable of attacking targets at ranges of 350 kms, reached the predefined target in the Bay of Bengal with a very high accuracy of better than 10 meters. 

Beedi workers and registered domestic workers under RSBY
The beedi worker and his family (unit of five) will be covered and the total sum insured would Rs.30,000/-. The other benefits and procedures under the scheme will be the same as under RSBY. Any claims beyond Rs.30,000/- will be reimbursed directly by the related Welfare Commissioner to the concerned empanelled hospital through the existing procedure. The premium will be shared by the Central and State Governments in the ratio of 75:25.  In case of States in NE Regional and J&K the ratio is 90:10. Read more about RSBY

World Bank Loan to Clean Ganga
The Ganga basin accounts for nearly one-fourth of the country’s landmass and the basin is home to more than 400 million people. The Ganga faces great challenges from expanding population, urbanization and industrial growth. The National Ganga River Basin Project will be implemented with the assistance of the World Bank. The Project will focus on building and strengthening the NGRBA’s related institutions at the Central and state level; establishing a world-class Ganga Knowledge Centre; enhancing river basin management; and financing select priority investments to reduce point-source pollution in a sustainable manner. 
The Project has an estimated cost of Rs 7,000 crore. The share of the Government of India will be Rs 5,100 crore and that of the five state governments (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal) will be Rs 1,900 crore. The World Bank will support the Government of India by providing technical assistance and finance. The assistance would be in form of a loan of $801 million from IBRD and a credit of $199 million from IDA.

Protected Areas of India
In recent years, the Government of India (GOI) and several states has established a network of more than 600 protected areas across different ecosystems and bioregions to conserve the country’s unique biodiversity and natural habitats. However, there are constraints to the viability and effectiveness of the conservation of the existing PAs. These PAs are largely managed as “islands” surrounded by other forms of land use that are often not compatible with conservation goals. The absence of an integrated land and natural resource use focus, particularly for areas surrounding the PAs has constrained conservation strategies to reduce threats to biodiversity.

Government to Launch Advocate Training Scheme
The Scheme envisages selection of 10 young practicing Advocates from each State every year for being imparted professional training. The main object of the Scheme is to motivate and encourage young talented meritorious lawyers to remain in practice at the Bar at grass root level imparting  professional training to them.  The Scheme targets young lawyers who are practicing in Magistrate and Munsif Courts, by providing proper professional training for a period of two months so that they may serve the need of law professionals at grass root level.

Extending Green Revolution to Eastern India 
Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Eastern UP and West Bengal are covered under the scheme. Rs. 400 crore have been earmarked for this sub-scheme under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for this year.Eastern India with 2-3 times more rainfall compared to the Northwest States, unexploited good quality ground water aquifers, and vast resources of social capital have relative advantage for sustainable production of rice, banana, sugarcane and aquaculture. The agricultural productivity in this region is dismally low in spite of the adequate availability of natural resources required for higher production. The scheme for Extending Green Revolution to Eastern India is meant to address this issue and raise productivity by suitable interventions.

Doctors turn Scores of Baby Girls into Boys in Indore in MP
Girls are being converted into boys in Indore by hundreds every year at such age where they cannot give their consent for this life changing operation. This shocking unprecedented trend, catering to the fetish for a son, is unfolding at Indore’s well known clinics and hospitals on children who are 5 years old. This process is known as Genitoplasty, each case costing about Rs. 1.5 lakh. The process involves children being pumped with hormonal treatment as part of the sex change procedure that may be irreversible. 

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau Launches Its First “Friends of the wild” Initiative 
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), India has launched its Friends of the Wild Initiative calling for enrolment of volunteers from all walks of life above the age of 21. The objective of the initiative is to conserve the country’s rich flora & fauna. With a view to encourage the participation of wildlife enthusiasts in the country, WCCB invites volunteers from rural & urban areas to assist in natural surveillance, capacity building awareness etc. 

India and Malaysia Implement CECA
India-Malaysia CECA is India’s fourth bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, after Singapore, South Korea and Japan. The CECA envisages liberalisation of trade in goods, trade in services, investments and other areas of economic cooperation. Under India-Malaysia CECA, the items on which India has obtained market access from Malaysia include basmati rice, mangoes, eggs, trucks, motorcycles and cotton garments, which are all items of considerable export interest to India. At the same time, adequate protection has been provided by the Indian side for sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, textiles, chemicals, auto, etc.    

Your Takeaways
Oncology : A branch of medicine that deals with tumors (cancer). A medical professional who practices oncology is an oncologist.
Jardin de Lorixa : India is to get a digital copy of Jardin de Lorixa, considered to be the earliest scientific documentation of traditional/ indigenous knowledge about plants of Orissa, of which only one manuscript is available in Natural History Museum Paris (France)
Biodiversity hotspots : India hosts four out of 34 biodiversity hotspots of world - the Western Ghats, the Himalayas, the Indo–Burma and Sundaland.