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Pioneer Current Affairs

  1. Union Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana

The Union Cabinet on 13 July 2016 approved the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) with an outlay of 12000 crore rupees to impart skilling to one crore people over the next four years (2016-2020).
PMKVY will impart fresh training to 60 lakh youths and certify skills of 40 lakh persons acquired non-formally under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). The target allocation between fresh trainings and RPL will be flexible and interchangeable depending on functional and operational requirements.

Highlights of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

• It will move to a grant based model where the training and assessment cost would be directly reimbursed to training providers and assessment bodies in accordance with the Common Norms.
• Financial support to trainees will be given in the form of travel allowance, boarding and lodging costs.
• Post placement support would be given directly to the beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
• Disbursement of training cost to training partners will be linked to Aadhaar and biometrics for better transparency and targeting.
• Skill training would be done based on industry led standards aligned to the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF).
• Mobilisation, monitoring and post training placement of trainees will be done through Rozgar Melas (placement camps) and Kaushal Shivirs (mobilization camps).
• There will be special focus on placement of trainees with incentives/disincentives linked to placement as envisaged in the Common Norms.
• It will also cater to domestic skill needs, also focus on skill training aligned to international standards for overseas employment in Gulf countries, Europe and other overseas destinations.
• There will be scholarship for student undergoing training in high end job roles under the Scheme.
2. Union Government notifies Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016

The Union Government on 12 July 2016 notified the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
The government also operationalised some of provisions of the Act, giving a legal shape to UIDAI.
The bill seeks to provide for targeted delivery of subsidies and services to individuals residing in India by assigning them unique identity numbers, called Aadhaar numbers.
Besides, the Union Government has also separately notified the UIDAI (Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members) Rules, 2016. The Act will pave the way for appointment of its chairperson and members.

Features of the Aadhaar Bill, 2016
• Eligibility: Every resident shall be entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number. A resident is a person who has resided in India for 182 days, in the one year preceding the date of application for enrolment for Aadhaar.
• Information to be submitted: To obtain an Aadhaar number, an individual has to submit his (a) biometric (photograph, finger print, iris scan) and (b) demographic (name, date of birth, address) information. The Unique Identification Authority (UID) may specify other biometric and demographic information to be collected by regulations.
• Enrolment: At the time of enrolment, the individual will be informed of the manner in which the information will be used, the nature of recipients with whom the information will be shared and the right to access this information.
After verification of information provided by a person, an Aadhaar number will be issued to him.
• Usage of Aadhaar number: To verify the identity of a person receiving a subsidy or a service, the government may require them to have an Aadhaar number. If a person does not have an Aadhaar number, government will require them to apply for it, and in the meanwhile, provide an alternative means of identification.
Any public or private entity can accept the Aadhaar number as a proof of identity of the Aadhaar number holder, for any purpose. However, Aadhaar number cannot be a proof of citizenship or domicile.

Functions and composition of authority:

The following are the key functions of the UID authority –
1) Specifying demographic and biometric information to be collected during enrolment
2) Assigning Aadhaar numbers to individuals
3) Authenticating Aadhaar numbers
4) Specifying the usage of Aadhaar numbers for delivery of subsidies and services.
• UID Authority composition: The UID authority will consist of a chairperson, two part-time members and a CEO. The chairperson and members are required to have experience of at least 10 years in matters such as technology, governance, etc.
• Authentication: The UID authority will authenticate the Aadhar number of an individual, if an entity makes such a request. A requesting entity (an agency or person that wants to authenticate information of a person) has to obtain the consent of an individual before collecting his information. The agency can use the disclosed information only for purposes for which the individual has given consent.
• Response to authentication query: The UID authority shall respond to an authentication query with a positive, negative or other appropriate response. However, it is not permitted to share an individual’s finger print, iris scan and other biological attributes.
• Maintenance of Authentication records: The UID authority shall record the entity requesting verification of a person’s identity, the time of request and the response received by the entity. The purpose for which an individual’s identity needs to be verified will not be maintained.

3. Union Cabinet approves disinvestment of 15% in NBCC

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 13 July 2016 approved the disinvestment of 15% paid up equity of National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC). At present, Union Government holds 90 percent shareholding of the corporation (i.e. 54 crore share).
This disinvestment would help the government to earn about 1706 crore rupees.
However, the actual realization amount will depend upon the market conditions and the investor interest prevailing at the time of actual disinvestment.

Besides, in order to inculcate a sense of belongingness amongst the employees of NBCC, it has also been decided to allot additional shares to the eligible and willing employees at a discount of 5% to the Issue/discovered (lowest cut-off) price of the OFS.
National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC)
NBCC, a Navratna company, was incorporated on 5 November 1960 as a wholly owned Government of India (GoI) enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of Urban Development. It was established with the objective of becoming a leading company in the field of construction, engineering and project management consultancy services.
The NBCC IPO (Initial Public Offer) was launched in March 2012, when the GoI divested 10% paid up equity capital of NBCC out of its 100% shareholding and got the Company listed on the stock Exchanges.
4. Union Cabinet approves facilities extended to persons residing in India on Long Term Visa

The Union Cabinet has extended numerous facilities to persons from minority communities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh namely Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians staying in India on Long Term Visa (LTV). Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Key Facts

The move is aims at easing out the difficulties being faced by minority communities. Some of the approved facilities include opening of bank account, permission for purchase of property for self-occupation and suitable accommodation. It also includes issuing of driving licence, PAN card and Aadhar number, free movement within the State/UT where they are staying and waiver of penalty on non-extension of LTV on time.

5. Theresa May takes over as second woman Prime Minister of United Kingdom.

Conservative party leader Theresa May (59) became Prime Minister of United Kingdom after meeting Queen Elizabeth II.She succeeds David Cameron, who had resigned in the wake of Brexit referendum that ended his six-year-long stint as the Prime Minister of Britain.

With this, she became UK’s second-ever female Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher (in office from 1979-1990).

  About Theresa May

  • Prior to entering front-line politics, Theresa May has worked with the Bank of England from 1977 to 1983.
  • She had served as a councillor for the London Borough of Merton from 1986 to 1994.
  • She is Member of Parliament for Maidenhead since 1997.
  • In the outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron she had served as home secretary of UK from May 2010 to July 201.She was the longest-serving home secretary of UK in last 50 years.

6. INS India, base depot ship of Indian Navy at New Delhi celebrates Platinum Jubilee.

INS India, the base depot ship of Indian Navy at New Delhi celebrated its 75th anniversary (Platinum Jubilee) on 13 July 2016. As a run up to celebrate this grand occasion, a series of events were organised. A Health Run and a Dream Walk was organised. A blood donation camp was also organised.

About INS India

  • INS India was established as HMIS India in 1941 as small unit with a complement of just a handful of officers and sailors. It was rechristened as INS India on 26 Jan 1950.
  • The base depot ship has the privilege of being the Flagship of the Chief of the Naval Staff. It is now a major establishment in New Delhi with a plethora of duties and responsibilities.
  • It provides administrative and logistics cover to all officers and sailors borne in Naval Headquarters and other units at Delhi.
  • During 75 years of transition of INS India, the establishment has seen as many as 32 Commanding Officers.                                                                                                                                                                                                               7. Union Government Arvind Subramanian committee to tackle the shortage of pulses.

The Union Government has recently constituted a high-level committee headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian to tackle the shortage of pulses in India. The committee was constituted by the high-level meeting chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.

 Terms  

  • The committee is tasked to study and suggest ways to contain the rising prices of pulses in the country.
  • The committee will consider a reasonable hike in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for pulses and bonus for the farmers to promote pulse cultivation.
  • Frame an appropriate long term policy to promote cultivation of pulses in India and shall also consider the issue of subsidising farmers who wish to grow pulses.
  • Beside this, the Union Government also has decided to increase the buffer stock of pulses from 8 lakh to 20 lakh tonnes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             8. Union Cabinet approves revival of defunct Fertilizer Units in Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni

The Union Cabinet on 13 July 2016 approved the revival of defunct Fertilizer Units in Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni. The units to be revived includes

  • Sindri (Jharkhand) and Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) of Fertilizer Corporation India Limited (FCIL)
  • Barauni (Bihar) unit of Hindustan Fertilizers Corporation Limited (HFCL)

 

How revival will be helpful?

  • The setting up of new units at Sindri, Gorakhpur and Barauni will help in meeting the growing demand of urea of Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
  • It will also ease the pressure on railway and road infrastructure due to long distance transportation of urea from Western and Central Regions and thereby saving in subsidy on freight.
  • It will also accelerate the economic development of the region. Apart from growth of regional economy, this unit will create opportunities for 1200 direct and 4500 indirect employments.

Process of their revival

These three fertilizer units would be revived by means of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of Public Sector Units (PSUs) namely, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Coal India Limited (CIL), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and FCIL/HFCL, through ‘nomination route’.

Besides, the GAIL (India) Limited has planned to lay a gas pipeline from Jagdishpur to Haldia. These units will serve as anchor customer for this pipeline and ensure its viability. Commissioning Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline (JHPL) is important for development of critical infrastructure in Eastern India and will have multiplier effect on economic growth of the region.

 

9. Ashok Patnaik appointed as CEO of NATGRID

The Union Government on 13 July 2016 appointed Ashok Patnaik as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), one of the most ambitious intelligence projects that failed to take off during United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule.

 

Patnaik is currently serving as Additional Director in the Intelligence Bureau and he will continue to hold this post till his superannuation in 2018.

Patnaik is a 1983-batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre.

About National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)

  • The NATGRID is a centralised agency which stores sensitive personal information on citizens from almost two dozen agencies to be made available for counter-terror investigations.
    • There are around 70 personnel, drawn from both the government and private sectors, in the NATGRID.
    • The project will run in different phases and will connect data providing organisations and users.
    • In the first phase, 10 user agencies and 21 service providers will be connected, while in later phases about 950 additional organisations will be connected followed by over 1000 organisations in future.

 10.IDFC Bank acquires micro lender Grama Vidiyal

IDFC Bank on 12 July 2016 signed a share purchase agreement to completely acquire South India-based lender Grama Vidiyal Micro Finance Ltd. for an undisclosed amount.

Grama Vidiyal will act as a dedicated Business Correspondent of IDFC Bank, and will help deepen reach and widen the delivery mechanism for banking services.

It is a first-of-its-kind transaction, where a bank has taken over a microfinance institution and made it a subsidiary.

About IDFC Bank

  • IDFC Bank Ltd. is an Indian banking company.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai.
  • The bank started operations on 1 October 2015.
  • It received a universal banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India in July 2015.

 

About Grama Vidiyal

  • Grama Vidiyal is a microfinance institution.
  • It operates in the Tamil Nadu area of South India.
  • Since 1993, it has provided small loans to women without access to formal credit and who typically have daily incomes of less than 80 rupees per day.
  • In 2007, Grama Vidiyal transformed from a charitable trust to a regulated Non-Bank Financial Company (NBFC).

11. Operation ‘Sankat Mochan’ launched to evacuate Indian citizens from South Sudan

Union Government on 13 July 2016 started the operation ‘Sankat Mochan’ to evacuate its citizens stranded in South Sudan’s capital Juba. Two C-17 military transport aircrafts have been pressed in service to make the evacuation.

 

The operation being undertaken by Indian Air Force (IAF) will be headed by Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) VK Singh.

The Indian Ambassador in South Sudan Srikumar Menon and his team is organising this operation on the ground. Indian Embassy in Juba in an advisory had communicated that all the stranded Indian citizens should get in touch immediately with the embassy to avail the facility.

Flight route of evacuation

The evacuation flight route will be Juba-Kampala-Trivandrum- Delhi. Passengers willing to de-board at Trivandrum will be allowed to do so.

 

 

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