Indian Current Affairs | Current Affairs India - October 2011

India - the 4th largest producer of crude steel
India has now become the 4th largest producer of crude steel in the world in 2010 as against the 8th position in 2003. India is expected to become the 2nd largest producer of crude steel in the world by 2015. India also maintained its lead position as the world’s largest producer of direct reduced iron (DRI) or sponge iron. The steel sector contributes to nearly 2% of the GDP and employs over 5 lakh people. The per capita steel consumption during the last six years has risen from 38 kg in 2005-06 to 55 kg in 2010-11. Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is the leading steel-making company in India. It is a fully integrated iron and steel maker, producing both basic and special steels for domestic construction, engineering, power, railway, automotive defense industries etc. SAIL is also among the five Maharatnas of the country’s Central Public Sector Enterprises.

India Post Signs MOU with NSE for Financial Awareness
India post signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Stock Exchange (NSE) for deploying LCD TV screens in selected post offices across the country. These LCD TV screens shall be utilized for disseminating financial awareness and awareness on various postal products and  services for the common public visiting post offices. This step will bring the financial market  place closer to the people considering the importance and footfall at post offices.

Successful Flight Test of Prithvi (P-II)
DRDO developed surface to surface strategic PRITHVI (P-II) Missile was successfully flight tested from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Chandipur, Balasore District in Orissa. PRITHVI-II, the first indigenous surface to surface strategic Missile, capable of hitting 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.

UN-HABITAT and Government of India
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. This apart, UN-HABITAT has been actively involved in a number of projects in India at the national, state, district and local levels. Over the years, several activities of UN-HABITAT have been organized in close collaboration with Government of India. India is a founding member of UN-HABITAT and has been playing a leading role by actively participating in its deliberations. Also the World Urban Forum (WUF) was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing problems facing the world today: rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies.  

Rajiv Awas Yojana
RAY, designed on the basis of the experience of implementing BSUP (JNNURM), focuses on the implementation of reforms as a larger policy overhaul to give the urban poor a voice in the governance of the city. The scheme is expected to cover about 250 cities (with a population of 1 lakh and above). The key features of the scheme include:

1. A ‘whole city, all slums, whole slum’ approach
2. Pace of progress to be set by the states
3. Central Government to bear 50 per cent of slum re-development costs.
4. The two schemes of Affordable Housing and partnership and Interest Rate Subsidy for housing the urban poor have been dovetailed into RAY
5. RAY encourages the use of central government assistance by the states and cities towards viability gap funding
6. Mortgage Risk Guarantee Fund will be established to facilitate lending to the urban poor for housing with an initial corpus of Rs. 1,000 crores from the Centre.

The most crucial reform to be enacted is the property rights reform. To that end, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has drafted a Model Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Act 2011 focusing, inter alia, on the following:
1. Each individual urban poor household living in slums is to be given the right to a dwelling space (either a unit/house, or a plot on which a dwelling unit/house may be built).
2. The title is to be either exclusively in the name of the female head of household, or jointly in the name of the male head of household and his wife
3. Every slum dweller will be given a legal document of entitlement to the dwelling space, and by extension, the provision of basic civic services and amenities.
4. The dwelling space is mortgagable, allowing slum dwellers to use it to raise finances

India target to double its trade with Myanmar by 2015
India has set the target of doubling the existing US$1.5 billion trade between India and Myanmar by 2015. The construction of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project comprising of a waterway component and a roadway component by 2013 will completely transform the trade between North East India and the rest of the world. Cost of the project is US$ 120 million. The Project envisages a direct trade corridor between Indian Ports on the eastern seaboard and Sittwe Port in Myanmar and then through riverine transport and by road to Mizoram, thereby providing an alternate route for transport of goods to North-East India. The two countries recognized the need to start collaborating to build a Land Customs Station at India-Myanmar Border (at Mizoram) to facilitate the movement of vehicles and goods entering and leaving Mizoram state. One third of India’s imports in pulses and one-fifth of India’s imports of timber are from Myanmar. With the implementation of India-ASEAN FTA and the Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme, India can become one of the leading trade partners of Myanmar. Currently, two items – pulses and wood products accounted for 97.5% of Myanmar’s total exports to India. Similarly, buffalo meat and pharmaceuticals accounted for 45% of India’s total exports to Myanmar. 

LCA TEJAS (NAVY) makes First Engine Ground Run
Dream of the country’s first indigenous effort to build a carrier borne Naval Fighter aircraft got a fillip with the crossing of another significant milestone of the first Engine Ground Run (EGR) in Bangalore last week.The Tejas was cleared in January 2011 for use by Indian Air Force pilots. India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India's ageing MiG-21 fighters. Later the LCA was officially named "Tejas" by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.