current affairs -- for banking related general awareness
CCEA APPROVES RUSA
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the Rashtriya Uchchaiar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a Centrally-sponsored scheme (CSS) for reforming the state higher education system.
- Improving the' overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework
- Correcting regional imbalances in access to higher education through high-quality institutions in rural and semi-urban areas as well as creating-opportunities for students from rural areas to get access to better quality institutions
- Setting up of higher-education institutions in unserved and underserved areas
- Improving equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities to socially deprived communities; promoting inclusion of women, minorities. SC/ST and OBCs as well as differently abled persons
- Ensuring adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institution's and ensuring capacity building at all levels
- Creating an enabling atmosphere in higher-educational institutions to devote themselves to research rind innovations.
- Integrating skill developments efforts of the govt with the conventional higher education system through optimum interventions.
All funding under RUSA would be norm-based and future grants would be performance-based and outcome-dependent
Proposal of CAPFIMS approved
The Union Cabinet approved the proposal to establish a Central Armed Police Forces Institute of Medical Sciences (CAPFIMS), along with a 500-bed General Hospital, a 300-bed Super Specialty Hospital, a Nursing College and a School of Paramedics The Institute shall be registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, lfi6O and shall have a Governing Body and a Governing Council, under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The creation of the Institute will facilitate attraction of talented professionals in the Central Mined Police Forces and their retention; besides providing in-housetraining, specialisation, Post Graduate, Super Specialty Post Graduate courses to in-service healthcare professionals. This will not -only boost the morale of the force personnel, but also provide required trained technical bands in the medical set-up OCAPFs for the benefit of their personnel and families. The total project cost is Rs. 1366.53 cr and is expected to be completed over a period of five to six years.
VACCINE FOR JAPANESE ENCEPHALITIS
The Union Health Ministry introduced Jenvac, the country's first indigenously developed vaccine for Japanese encephalitis that will potentially reduce India's dependence on imports from China to immunize nearly 4 mn children annually. The vaccine has been jointly, developed by scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), National Institute of Virology (NIV) and Bharat Biotech International Ltd. The vaccine will be available in single and five doses.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease that infects animals and humans. It is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes inflammation of the membranes around the brain. The disease is the most common cause of viral encephalitis in Asia-Pacific.
National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the implementation of the National Mission on' Oilseeds and Oil Palm during the 12th Plan Period with financial allocation of '3,507 cr. This would help in enhancing production of oilseeds by 6.58 mn tonnes and will bring an additional area of 1.25 lakh hectares under oil palm cultivation. Besides, this would also lead to an increase in productivity of fresh fruit bunches to 15,000 kg/ha from 4927 kg/ha and increase in collection of tree-borne oilseeds to 14 lakh tonnes.
Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility
The Union Cabinet has approved the National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility that recognises the need to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disabilities as well as to facilitate equal access to electronics and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
The following strategies are envisaged for the implementation of the policy:
- Creating awareness on universal electronics accessibility and universal design
- Capacity building and infrastructure development
- Setting up of model electronics and ICTs centres for providing training, and demonstration to special educators and physically as well as mentally challenged persons
- Conducting research and development, use of innovation, ideas, technology etc, Whether indigenous or outsourced from abroad
- Developing programmes and schemes with greater emphasis for differently abled women/children
- Developing procurement guidelines for electronics and ICTs for accessibility and assistive needs
India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007, which, among other things, says that "State Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities, access on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including ICTs and systems, and to other facilities and services open or Provided to the public." Many countries who are signatories to UNCROD have legislation policy or a framework to ensure equality for those with disability.
MoEF approves Kasturirangan panel report
The Environment Ministry has given approval to a report on Western Ghats prepared by K Kasturirangan-led panel, which has recommended prohibition on development activities in 60,000 sq km ecologically sensitive area spread over six states – Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The 10-member high-level working group (HLWG), headed by Kasturirangan, was constituted to examine the Western Ghats ecology expert panel report (WGEEP) prepared under the leadership of eminent ecologist Madhav Gadgil. The Gadgil committee report was considered by the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, before deciding to inscribe 39 serial sites of the Western Ghats on the World Heritage List.
CABINET NOD FOR ZOJILA TUNNEL
The Cabinet cleared the proposal for construction of a 15- km tunnel at Zojila pass in Ladakh region. The project envisages construction of an all-weather road involving 79,090 cr investment to ensure undisrupted round-the-year connectivity between Ladakh and Srinagar. The construction of the tunnel will need at least seven years, and the contract for collecting toll will be for 15 years. The Zojila pass is. situated at an altitude of 11,538 ft on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway (NH-1), which remains closed from Dec to Apr. It is not feasible to keep the road clear during winter due to heavy snowfall, and, to make matters worse, the stretch is prone to severe avalanches.
INDIA TOPS MAIDEN GLOBAL SLAVERY INDEX
According to the first Global Slavery Index published recently, about 14 mn Indians are living in conditions of modern-day slavery, nearly half of 30 mn across the world. The Global Slavery Index 2013, which surveyed 162 nations, was compiled by Australia-based rights organisation Walk Free Foundation, using a definition of modern slavery that includes debt bondage. forced marriage, trafficking into brothels and the use of children in the military.
The Foundation's estimate of 29.8 mn slaves worldwide is higher than other attempts to quantify modern slavery. The UN estimates almost 21 mn people are victims of forced labour. India (13,956,010), China (2,949,243), Pakistan (2,127,132) and Nigeria (701,032) have the highest numbers of people enslaved, the rights group claimed.
CENTRE TO BUILD STORAGES
The govt has proposed to set up intermediate grain storage facilities at block level in each state, a move aimed at ensuring steady flow of foodgrain under the National Food Security Act. According to the proposal, the Centre will provide Rs.450 cr while the land for construction will be given by the states that are willing to come up with these facilities.
The proposed storages will be constructed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The govt has, identified 6,612 blocks across the country, with average storage capacity of 44,000 tonnes. The creation of these intermediate storage facilities will largely benefit states, which are facing shortage of storage facilities. The Food Security Act, which was notified last month; hives entitlement to 67 per cent of the population (including 75 per cent rural and 50 per cent urban) for subsidised grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System; Under the Act, the govt will provide 5 kg of rice, wheat and coarse cereals per month per person at Rs. 3, Rs. 2 and Rs. 1 per Kg. respectively.
RLY OPTS TO PREVENT MISUSE OF ‘IZZAT’ MST
In an order to prevent misuse of the ‘Izzat’ Monthly Season Ticket (Izzat MST), the Ministry of Railways has taken further measuring to ensure that the scheme actually reaches the person belonging to low-income category. As announced in Railway Budget 2009-10, the Ministry of Railways had decided to introduce this 'Izzat' MST Scheme of uniformly. priced Monthly Season Tickets (MSTs) at Rs. 25, inclusive of all surcharges, which will be issued upto a distance of 100 km to persons working in unorganised sector with monthly income not exceeding Rs.1,500.
Under the new-measures which became effective from 15 Oct, 2013, the following has been decided:
- For availing the scheme the passenger should first obtain income certificate from local govt officials and, thereafter obtain income certificates from Member of Parliament of Lok Sabha.'
- After obtaining income certificate from the govt officials as mentioned above, recommendations from Hon'ble Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha and Union Ministers should be submitted to the DRMs.
- On production of above-mentioned income certificates and a copy of Photo Identity Card-cum-residential proof, Izzat MST Should be issued.
Govt. announces 7th Pay Commission
Ahead of elections, the govt has announced constitution of the Seventh Pay Commission, which will go into the salaries, allowances and pensions of about 80 lakh of its, employees and pensioners. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has approved the constitution of the 7th Pay Commission. Its recommendations are likely to be implemented with effect from Jan 1, 2016.
The govt constitutes Pay Commission almost every ten years to revise the pay scales of its employees and often these are adopted by states after some modification. As the Commission lakes about two years to prepare its recommendations, the award of the seventh pay panel is likely to' be implemented from 1Jan, 2016. The Sixth Pay Commission was implemented from 1 Jan, 2006, Fifth from 1 Jan, 1996 and Fourth from 1 Jan, 1986.
Odisha most backward State
A panel headed by Raghuram Rajan has recommended a new index of backwardness to determine which States need special assistance The new, methodology ranks Odisha. as India's most backward State, Bihar, which has been seeking 'special' status, as the second most backward; and Gujarat as one of the "less developed" States. Goa is India's most developed State.
In May this year, the Union govt constituted a committee headed by Rajan, now RBI Governor, to suggest ways to identify indicators Of the relative backwardness of the States for equitable 'allocation of Central funds. Central allocations are governed by the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula.
The committee has proposed an index of backwardness composed of 10 equally weighted indicators for monthly per capita consumption expenditure, education, health, household amenities',, poverty rate, female literacy, percentage of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe population, urbanisation rate, financial inclusion and physical connectivity. The 10 States that score above 0.6 (out of 1) on the composite index have been classified as ‘Least developed,” the 11States that scored from 0.4 to 0.6 are less developed and the seven States that scored less than 0.4 are "relatively developed."
Shah Commission submits report
Justice MB Shah Commission, appointed to probe illegal mining across the country, has submitted its third and final report which is mainly on the menace in Goa. The Commission has made a thorough probe into the bank transactions of exporters, traders and mining lease owners to track down the exact financial transaction. The one-man panel had earlier submitted two-interim reports, based on which the Supreme Court imposed a temporary ' ban on mining activities in Goa, the largest exporter of iron ore in the country. Of the two reports, one was on illegal iron-ore mining across the country and the other was on illegal mining in Goa. The Commission had also recommended a total ban on iron-ore and manganese-ore exports:
N-E parties form Political Front
Ten regional parties of North East formed a common political platform known as North East Regional Political Front The front will work to safeguard the social, political, economic and ethnic identity of the people of the region. The leaders of -the front adopted 17 resolutions, including constitutional safeguard of the indigenous people and repeal of Arms Forces Special Power Act.
PENSION SCHEME FOR WORKERS IN DUBAI
India launched its ambitious pension scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana, for over five million overseas workers in Dubai with Emigration Check Required (ECR) on their passports.
- The UAE is the Putt foreign nation where the scheme is being launched officially.
- Male or female Indians in the age group Of 18 to 50, who are migrating to Work in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) or have already migrated, can join the scheme.
- The Life. Insurance Corporation (LIC) and Bank of Baroda have been appointed as the main service providers for overseas Indian subscribers to the scheme.
- About 65 per cent of the 2 million Indian workers in the IYAE MD tie eligible to loin the scheme.
- The scheme has been launched with an ambitious plan to encourage and enable overseas Indian workers to save for their return and resettlement, old age and to obtain -a life insurance cover against natural or accidental death or :disability during the period-of coverage.
- The Government of India Will make a contribution for a period of five years or till the subscriber returns" to India.
Kudankulam unit 1 synchronised
The first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) was synchronised with the southern power grid, marking a major milestone in power generation of the ambitious Indo- Russian nuclear collaboration in Tamil Nadu. Unit 1 had already attained criticality in Jul 2013. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NOCIL) is constructing two 1,000-MW units at KNPP jointly with Russia at Kudankulam in Tiruneveli district. The power generation from the unit Will be gradually raised to 500 MW, 750 MW and 1060 MW.
India now a global certifier of IT products
India has been recognised as 'Authorising Nation' under the international Common Criteria-Recognition Arrangement (CCRA) to test .and certify electronics. and, IT products with respect to cyber security. Thus, India has fb4ccnne the 17th nation to earn such recognition. Till now, India was having the status of ‘Consuming Nation’ with respect to certification of electronics and IT products. Such members in the CCRA can't issue internationally recognised certificates, but they are free to issue national certificates. The recognition would enable investment in setting up infrastructure and labs in public and private sectors in the country for testing electronics and IT products. The international arrangement has 26 member countries.
India lags in the Global Hunger Index
India has moved froth 65 to 63 in the Global Hunger Index, making a marginal improvement since 2012, but continues to languish far behind other emerging economies. Within SAARC countries too, India-continued to trail behind even Pakistan and Bangladesh on the index. The index is prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute along with Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide. The level of hunger in India remained at 'alarming revels', according to the report which points that it is one of the three countries outside sub-Saharan Africa to fall in this category. The other two are Haiti and Timor-Leste.
In comparison to India, other emerging economies with high growth trajectories have done a much betted oh at pulling people out of hunger. China improved its ranking by 57.69 per cent over 1990-2012, while India showed a 34 per cent improvement in the same period.
A SEPARATE DIPLOMATIC MISSION FOR ASEAN
The-govt has decided to open a separate mission for the 10- nation bloc Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the grouping that is billed as the growth centre of Asia. Currently, India's diplomatic mission in Indonesia: handles the ASEAN-related work as the ASEAN Secretariat is located in Jakarta. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on services and investments with ASEAN will- be signed in Dec in Bali, Indonesia. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh participated in the 11th ASEAN-India summit and the 8th East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Brunei. The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a forum for cooperation between various, countries of this region with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and includes Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand; Russia and the Us, in addition to the ten ASEAN countries. The 10 ASEAN nations are Brunei, Combodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
India garners support for Nalanda Univ
Lending support for India's ambitious Nalanda University project, six countries signed inter-govt agreements to pledge their commitment for this academic institution at the recently held East Asia Summit (EAS) in- Brunei. Academic sessions at the University are set to begin in 2014. The countries which signed these MoUs include Australia, Cambodia; Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand and Lao .PDR. These agreements are key to India's plan to establish Nalanda University "as an institution of international repute. The University is being built near the ruins of the historic academic place by the same name in the state of Bihar and those involved with this project include Nobel laureate Anytrtya Sen. The idea to revive Nalanda University was first mooted in 2005 by then President A.P.I Abdul Kalam.
Leprosy awareness campaign launched
In an effort to remove the stigma attached to leprosy, the Leprosy Mission Trust of India has launched a nationwide campaign to reach out to over million people by bringing together corporates, govts, schools and people affected by the disease. The campaign is named Hire, Educate, Accept Leprosy-affected (HEAL). India accounts for 58 per cent of new leprosy cases worldwide. The campaign will be opening up avenue of employment of leprosy patients by building their skills, connecting them to employment opportunities and creating an inclusive hiring environment through a corporate charter with industry bodies.
Biodiversity project in Karnataka
The State govt has decided to implement the second phase of the Karnataka Sustainable Forest Management and Biodiversity Conservation (KSFMBC), Project with an estimated cost of Z1,899.72 cr in the next eight years (2013-14 to 2020-21). The project would be implemented with financial assistance of Z1,701.98 cr from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project is aimed at expanding forests for ecological restoration and facilitating livelihood of inhabitants in the project villages through afforestation under' Joint Forest Planning and Management (JFPM).
Gujarat passes new Lokayukta Bill
The Gujarat State Assembly passed for the second time the Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill, 2013, which was earlier returned for reconsideration by the governor Kamla Beniwal, calling it a travesty of the institution of the ombudsman.
- The new Bill seeks to replace the existing Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986.
- Earlier, the state govt appealed twice, challenging the appointment of RA Mehta as the Lokayukta by the governor without the State govt's advice, but lost.
- Amid controversy over his appointment, Justice Mehta desisted from charge of the office. .
- The Bill empowers a selection committee chaired by the CM to appoint the Lokayukta. The panel comprises the Speaker of the Assembly, a Minister, the Leader of Opposition, a High Court Judge to be nominated by the Chief Justice, and the State Vigilance Commissioner.
- The bill provides for four 'Up-Lokayuktas' and has provisions for retirement of the Lokayukta and the 'Up Lokayukta'.
- The ombudsman will hold office for a term of five years or till he attains 72 years of age, whichever is earlier.
- The Lokayukta shall be a person who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court of India ,or Chief Justice of a High Court in a substantive capacity, while the retired High Court Judges will qualify for the position of Up-Lokayukta.
Maharashtra approves Senior citizen policy
The Maharashtra Cabinet has approved a policy for senior citizens, ensuring that they lead a dignified life. According to the policy, people attaining 65 years will, be considered "senior citizens". It will ensure that the society, rather than disowning the senior citizens, takes_ their responsibility. The policy will further assure them of financial security, access to healthcare and housing.
FORGED WHEEL FACTORY AT RAE BARELI
The Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), a navaratna PSU under the Union steel ministry, has entered into an MoU with the Indian Railways for setting up a forged wheel factory at Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh. The factory will supply forged wheels to the Indian Railways and will have a capacity of producing 100,000 wheels every year. It will be the biggest such plant in India and will be completed within a schedule of 36 months at a cost of Rs. 1000 cr. The raw material for the unit will be supplied by RINL’s plant in Vishakhapatnam in the form of continuous cast (CC) rounds.
KERALA NOD FOR PENSION SCHEME AGREEMENT
The Kerala state cabinet approved the amendments of agreement with the National Pension Scheme Trust for introducing contributory pension scheme for govt employees in the State. The scheme applies to staff recruited from Apr this year. It also approved agreement with the national Securities Depository Limited for record keeping. It asked govt and quasi govt establishments and govt owned companies, which pay pensions to retired staff, to switch to the contributory pension scheme.
Bihar to be most benefited by NFSA
The state of Bihar is set to be most :benefited by the National Food Security Act. (NFSA) as foodgrain allocation and food, subsidy amount to the state would be doubled following implementation of Act. After the Act is enforced the state would start getting 56 lakh tonnes of foodgrains per annum against its current allocation of 28 lakh tonnes per annum; which will not happen to any other state. Similarly, the food subsidy allocation to Bihar would increase to Z11,500 cr per annum from the current Z5,500 Cr. Besides Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra would be the other three major beneficiaries under the Act.
President's assent to U’Khand Lokayukta Bill
The President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent to the Uttarakhand Lokayukta BilI,which Will bring' the Chief Minister among others under the ambit of the ombudstman, with a provision of punishment up to life imprisonment. With the consent of the President, the state govt soon issue a notification to enforce the new law. Besides the Chief Minister, ministers, MLAs and govt servants, including IAS and IPS officers, will come under the ambit the new law. Former Chief Ministers, former ministers and retired officers will also be under the purview of the Loka Yukta.
Bill to give Aadhar statutory Status
To give a statutory recognition to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Cabinet approved a National Identification Authority of India Bill. This legal backing for the Aadhar initiative might also improve the govt’s chances of getting a favourable order from the Supreme Court, which had recently ruled that the unique identity number can’t be made mandatory for availing govts benefits. One of the arguments against the use of Aadhar was that it had been functioning so far on executive order. The new bill is expected be tabled during the winter session of Parliament. The proposed legislation sector to create a National Identification Authority of India, which will collected under the UID project. oversee that implementation of the Aadhar project and regulate it. It also seeks to define the penalties' in case of misuse of the data
Mudgal proposes model bill on cinema
In a move that could eventually lead to anew legal framework for governing Indian cinema, an empowered committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal, retired Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, has proposed a model Cinematograph Bill, in a report submitted to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The Mudgal committee was set up earlier this year after the govt felt the need to Update The Cinematograph Act, 1952 in the Wake of the controversy over Tamil Nadu's ban on Vishwaroopam film.
Prithvi-II missile test-fired
Nuclear-weapons-capable surface-to-surface missile Prithvi-, II was successfully test-fired for a range of 300 km by a missile regiment unit of the Strategic Forces Command from Chandipur, Odisha. The single-stage, liquid-propelled Prithvi-II has a strike range of 350 km. The indigenously developed Prithvi-H is the first missile to be developed under DRDO's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
Aadhar not must for availing of benefits
The Supreme Court ruled Aadhar numbers were not mandatory for availing of govt benefits and services like gas connections, vehicle registration, scholarships, marriage registration, salaries and provident fund. The order also read that UID numbers shouldn't be issued to illegal immigrants like those from Bangladesh.
While the scheme is voluntary, linkages with agencies are making it mandatory in many ways. Recently, the Maharashtra govt insisted marriages could not be registered without UID numbers. The registrar of the Bombay High Court is also reported to have insisted for U1D numbers for disbursement of salary td staff. The ruling could deal a blow to the govt's ambitious Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) scheme, through which it transfers Welfare payments directly to the Aadhaar-linked bank accounts of beneficiaries.
Mukul Mudgal committee for IPL probe
The Supreme Court has appointed a committee headed by the retired judge Mukul Mudgal to probe IPL match-fixing. The SC has given the panel four months' time. The other two members of the committee are senior advocate and Additional Solicitor General 1.1 Nageshwar Rao and Assam Cricket Association member N i lay Dutta.
The committee will be investigating. Gurunath Meiyappan's betting activities and his links with the Chennai Super Kings which if established, could result in the banning of the Chennai franchise.
SC upholds NGT’s order on WGEEP
The Supreme Court refused to intervene in an order passed by the National Green Tribunal directing the Kerala govt to adhere to the report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP)., headed by Madhav Gadgil, veteran environmentalist; while granting environmental clearance. A Bench, comprising Justice HL Dattu and Justice MY Eqbal, dismissed the govt's appeal and ordered that as long as Gadgil committee report is there, it should be implemented. If the report is rejected, then state can act according to law. The state pleaded that the tribunal's direction would impede the development process in the State. It sought quashing of the order and an interim stay of its operation.
Voter has right to negative voting
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court held that citizens have right to cast negative vote rejecting all candidates contesting polls, a decision which would encourage people not satisfied with contestants to turn up for voting. The apex court directed the Election Commission to provide 'none of the above options' at the end of the list of candidates in electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers to allow voters to reject those contesting polls.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said that negative voting would foster purity and vibrancy of elections and ensure wide participation as people who are not satisfied with the candidates in the fray would also turn up to express their opinion rejecting contestants.
It said that the concept of negative voting would bring a systemic change in the election process as the political parties will be forced to project clean candidates in polls. The bench noted that the concept of negative voting is prevalent in 13 countries and, even in India, parliamentarians are given an option to press the button for abstaining while voting takes place in the House.
Sanction must for public servants probe
The Supreme Court has ruled that prior sanction from a competent authority is mandatory for a magistrate to take cognisance of a private complaint for ordering a probe or taking cognisance of a charge sheet against a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act. A Bench pointed that so far as public servants are concerned, the cognisance of any offence, by any courts barred by Section 197 of the Cr PC unless sanction is obtained from the appropriate authority, if the offence, alleged to have been committed, is in discharge of the official duty. The Section not only specifies the persons to whom the protection is afforded but also the conditions and circumstances under which it shall be available, and the effect in law if the conditions are satisfied.
Co-operatives not within ambit of RT Act
The Supreme Court has ruled that the co-operative societies do not fall within the ambit of Right to Information Act while quashing a Kerala govt circular to bring all such societies within the scope of the transparency law. A bench of justices KS Radhalcrishnan and AK Sikri said mere supervision or regulation of a body by govt would not make that body a public authority and quashed the Kerala High Court's order holding the circular valid.
The bench further pointed that the societies are, of course, subject to the control of the statutory authorities like Registrar, Joint Registrar, the Govt,' etc. but it cannot be said that the State exercises any direct or indirect control over the affairs of the society, which is deep and all-pervasive.
Ultra-Dense Dwarf Galaxy Discovered
An ultra-compact dwarf galaxy has been spotted by astronomers. The galaxy, known as M60-UCD1, has its entire mass in a radius of only 80 light years, compared to the Milky Way's radius of 50,000 light years. That means the density of stars is about 15,000 times greater than the Milky Way, and the stars are about 25 times closer. Scientists' hope M60-UCD I, which has the mass of 200 mn suns, can provide clues on how galaxies evolved. It was seen by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and follow-up observations were made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ground-based optical telescopes. The galaxy is believed to have abundant amounts of heavy elements. Researchers believe the galaxy is more than 10 bn years old and that it has been stalled at this size for several billion years, and it is about 60 mn light years from Earth.
DEEP SEA INTERNET TO SPOT TSUNAMIS
Internet goes underwater as scientists are developing a system of sensors to conquer the Internet's final frontier, the deep sea. A deep-sea Internet network will improve the detection of tsunamis, monitor pollution, and conduct surveillance. A submerged wireless network will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyse data from our oceans in real time. Making this information available to anyone with a smart phone or computer, especially when a tsunami or other type of disaster occurs, could help save lives. Land-based wireless networks rely on radio waves that transmit data via satellites and antennae. Unfortunately, .radio waves work poorly underwater, which is why sound-wave-based techniques are used to communicate underwater.
FACE BOOK BECOMES GOOGLE’S ALLY
Google-owned online ad-placing service Double Click announced that the way has been cleared to include space at Face book. The Double Click Bid Manager is a way for marketers to buy online ad space at websites across the Intern& Earlier, Face book did not permit the Google-Owned service to sell ad space at the world's leading social network.
SINGLE WINDOW CLEARANCE FOR FILM SHOOTS
A single window service for grant of clearances for film shooting in the country will become operational shortly as announced by the Union Minister for Information and broadcasting Manish Tewari. A committee on 'Promotion and Facilitation of Film Production in India' has been set up and the state govts have been asked to nominate the nodal officers for film clearance.
Standard operating procedures are being developed to accord clearances to domestic and foreign producers.
WORLD’S SHARPEST X-RAY BEAM DEVELOPED
Scientists have successfully generated the World's sharpest X-ray beam, which is ten thousand times thinner than a strand of hair. This fine beam of X-ray light, barely 5 nanometres in diameter, created by researchers led by Professor Tim Salditt from the University of Gottingen, allows focusing on the smallest details. Instead of a common lens, it uses a so-called Fresnel lens, which consists of several layers to emit light. The central support is a fine tungsten wire with the thickness of only a thousandth of a millimetre. The more precise the lens is fabricated, the sharper becomes the X-ray focus. With this method, the physicists obtained an X-ray beam of 4.3 nanometres (millionth of a millimetre) diameter in horizontal direction and 4.7 nanometres diameter in vertical direction.
WATER DISCOVERED ON MARS
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has discovered water during its first sample analysis of the Red planet's surface. The first scoop of soil analysed by Curiosity in its laboratory revealed that fine materials on the surface of the planet contain several per cent water by weight. The sample also released significant carbon dioxide, oxygen and sulphur compounds when heated, NASA said.
About 2 per cent of the soil on the surface of Mars is made up of water, which is a great resource. Curiosity landed in Gale Crater on the surface of Mars on 6 Aug, 2012, charged with answering the question: "Could Mars have once harboured lifer To do that, Curiosity is the first rover on Mars to carry equipment for gathering and processing samples of rock and soil.
TWITTER LAUNCHES EMERGENCY ALERTS
Twitter launched a system for emergency alerts which can help 'spread critical information when other lines of communication are down. The popular messaging service said Its Twitter Alerts could be useful in natural disasters or other emergencies when traditional channels may be overloaded or unavailable. Last year, Twitter announced a service called Lifeline to help Japanese users find emergency accounts during crises. Users. who sign up to receive an account's Twitter Alerts will receive a notification directly to their phone for tweets marked as alerts from certain senders. A number of organisations in the United States, Japan and South Korea have been authorised to send such alerts.;
PANJAB UNIVERSITY STEALS A MARCH
According to the Time Higher Education World University Rankings, the topmost institution of higher education in India is Panjab University. While it is a new entrant, it is placed at 226 among 400 institutions worldwide, IIT Kharagpur has slipped from 226 to 250 and IIT Roorkee is placed in the 351-400 band. The two other new entrants 'are IIT Delhi and Kanpur, both in the 351-400 group. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings use 13 separate performance indicators to examine a university's strengths against all its core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.
SEPARATE PIN CODE FOR SC LAUNCHED
The Department of Posts has launched a separate PIN code —110261 --for the Supreme Court of India. This is h new initiative of the department to allot customised PIN codes 'to a few bulk recipients of mail.
This will help the court receive mail directly from the sorting office without the intervention of delivery post office. While this will cut the delivery time at least by half a day, it will also reduce the cost of operations for the department. The CJI Justice Sathasivam :asked the Postal Department to issue separate PIN codes for High Courts also, which would help them in educing the delivery time of the mails.
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