National Judicial Appointments Commission
The President Pranab Mukherjee on 31 December 2014 signed National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014. With this, National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 has come into effect.
The Bill also called the 121st Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2014 will set up National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) replacing collegiums system to appoint judges of higher judiciary.
The NJAC Bill was passed by both the Houses of Parliament in August 2014. Till December 2014; it was ratified by the Legislatures of 16 States, thus crossing the 50 percent ratification needed by the States in case of a Constitutional Amendment Bills as per Article 368 of the Constitution.
It provides for the procedure to be followed by the NJAC for recommending persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India and other Judges of the Supreme Court (SC), and Chief Justice and other Judges of High Courts (HC).
As per the amended provisions of the constitution, the Commission will consist of the following persons:
- Chief Justice of India (Chairperson, ex officio)
- Two other senior judges of the Supreme Court next to the Chief Justice of India – ex officio
- The Union Minister of Law and Justice, ex-officio
- Two eminent persons (to be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister of India and the Leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, then, the Leader of single largest Opposition Party in Lok Sabha), provided that of the two eminent persons, one person would be from the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or OBC or minority communities or a woman. The eminent persons shall be nominated for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for re-nomination.
Functions of the Commission
As per the amended constitution, the functions of the Commission include the following:
- Recommending persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India, Judges of the Supreme Court, Chief Justices of High Courts and other Judges of High Courts.
- Recommending transfer of Chief Justices and other Judges of High Courts from one High Court to any other High Court.
- Ensuring that the persons recommended are of ability, merit and other criteria mentioned in the regulations related to the act.
Reference to Commission for filling up of vacancies
- When a vacancy arises in the SC or HCs, the central government will make a reference to the NJAC.
- Existing vacancies will be notified to the NJAC within thirty days of the Act entering into force.
- When a vacancy arises due to the completion of term, a reference will be made to the NJAC, six months in advance.
- For vacancies due to death or resignation, a reference must be made to the NJAC within thirty days of its occurrence.
Procedure for Selection of Supreme Court judges
- Chief Justice of India: The NJAC shall recommend the senior most judge of the Supreme Court for appointment as Chief Justice of India. This is provided he is considered fit to hold the office.
- SC judges: The NJAC shall recommend names of persons on the basis of their ability, merit and other criteria specified in the regulations.
- Veto power of members: The NJAC shall not recommend a person for appointment if any two of its members do not agree to such recommendation.
Procedure for Selection of High Courts judges
- Chief Justices of HCs: The NJAC is to recommend a Judge of a High Court to be the Chief Justice of a High Court on the basis of seniority across High Court judges. The ability, merit and other criteria of suitability as specified in the regulations would also be considered.
- Nominations: Nominations shall be sought from Chief Justice of the concerned High Court for appointments of HC judges.
- Eliciting views: The Commission shall nominate names for appointment of HC judges and forward such names to the Chief Justice of the concerned HCs for his views.
- In both cases, the Chief Justice of the HC shall consult two senior most judges of that HC and any other judges and advocates as specified in the regulations.
- Views of the Governor and CM: The NJAC shall elicit the views of the Governor and Chief Minister of the state before making recommendations.
- Veto power of members: The NJAC shall not recommend a person for appointment if any two members of the Commission do not agree to such recommendation.
Transfer of Chief Justices and High Court judges:
- The NJAC is to make recommendations for transfer of Chief Justices and other judges of the High Courts.
- The procedure to be followed will be specified in the regulations.
Power of the President to require reconsideration
- The President may require the NJAC to reconsider the recommendations made by it.
- If the NJAC makes a unanimous recommendation after such reconsideration, the President shall make the appointment accordingly.
Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)
- RMK is a national credit fund for women under the aegis of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- It was established in 1993 for socio-economic empowerment of women.
- It aims to provide financial services with backward and forward linkages for women in the unorganized sector through Intermediary Micro Finance Organizations (IMOs) and Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) and to augment their capacities through multi-pronged efforts.
- RMK also extends microcredit to the women in the informal sector through a client friendly, without collateral and in a hassle-free manner for income generation activities.
- Arun Majumdar, a top Indian-American scientist from Stanford University has been appointed as one of the Science Envoys of the United States (US). Arun along with other three scientists Peter Hotez, Jane Lubchenco and Geri Richmond will serve as U.S. Envoys from January 2015
D K Mittal Committee
- Railway Ministry has set up a committee under the chairmanship D K Mittal, former secretary, financial services, to examine the existing revenue structure and suggest ways and means for raising earnings of Indian Railways.
- It will be nine-member panel and has been given a timeline of 18 days for submitting its recommendations i.e. it will submit report by 21st December 2014.
- The committee will focus on studying the efficacy and sufficiency of the existing revenue structure and avenues for raising revenues besides identifying leakages of revenue. On the expenditure side, the committee would suggest measures for reduction in spending.
- The recommendations of this committee will help Government to take certain concrete measures which will be presented to Parliament in the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in February
NASA’s Orion capsule blasted off on its first journey into orbit, from Kennedy Space Centre off Florida coast. United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket was carrying this unmanned spacecraft. This mission is a key test flight before carrying people to deep space destinations like Mars in the coming years.
- India’s multi-band communication satellite GSAT-16 was successfully put on a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by the European launcher Ariane 5 VA221, from the Kourou space port in French Guiana
- GSAT-16 is carrying C-band and Ku-band transponders in order to further augment communication services across – VSAT (very small aperture terminal) services, TV services and emergency communications in India.
- GSAT-16 with a designated on orbit operational life of 12 years will be the 18th satellite to be launched by Arianespace for ISRO.
- It will replace INSAT-3E, which was decommissioned a little prematurely in April, 2014
- GSAT-16 satellite will help to boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations.
Typhoon Hagupit has approached Philippines and has made landfall in the town of Dolores in the eastern Philippines with terrifying winds and intense rain pounding in the eastern part
National Lok Adalats
- The Second National Lok Adalat was held across India on 6th December 2014 involving the Supreme Court, 24 high courts, districts courts and taluka-level courts.
- These nationwide adalats settled nearly around 1.25 crore pending and pre-litigation cases and brought financial relief of over 3,000 crore rupees to ordinary litigants in a single day.
- It was organized by the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) and has helped to reduce backlog of cases by about nine percent in all the States
- In the Second National Lok Adalat, the cases settled out of court included family disputes, matrimonial cases, motor accident claims, bank recoveries, petty criminal matters, revenue matters, disbursement of payment under the MGNREGA and othergovernment welfare schemes
- Lok Adalats (people’s courts) settle dispute through conciliation and compromise.
- Generally, Lok Adalat accepts the cases pending in the regular courts within their jurisdiction which could be settled by conciliation and compromise.
- The decision of the Lok Adalat is binding on the parties to the dispute and its order is capable of execution through legal process. No appeal lies against the order of the Lok Adalat.
- First National Lok Adalats was held across the country in all courts on 23rd November 2013. It had settled a record 28.26 lakh cases pending in various courts.
- Mahaparinirvan Din of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar observed on 6th December
- The function began with a prayer by Buddhist monks. The programme was organized by the Ambedkar Foundation, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- Many functions are being organized across the country to mark the day. In Maharashtra, rich tributes were paid to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar by thousands of followers from all over the state who converged at his memorial ‘Chaityabhoomi’ near Shivaji Park in Dadar, Mumbai.
- Karnataka has become the first state in India to launch Unified Mobile Governance Platform for citizens named Karnataka Mobile one
- President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated this mobile governance platform at function held at Bengaluru
- Services: It is the country’s and world’s largest multimode mobile governance platform which will offer 4,500 services including G2C, B2C and G2B services.
- It will provide services to citizens from both the government and private sector
- Bill payments: Through this initiative citizens can now pay utility bills, property tax, book bus and railway tickets, file income tax returns, m-passport, driving licenses and many other activities with their smartphones.
- Redressal of issues: using this service, citizens can take picture of road potholes or street lights and send it automatically to the concerned officials for redressal. This initiative named as ‘ICARE’, is one of a kind government citizen engagement model.
- Agriculture: Farmers can know about monsoon, market rates and subsidies.
- Self-sustaining model: It will integrate digital media and advertising going forward to enable it to be a self sustaining model for some select services via advertising revenue, user fees and subscription models.
Veteran doyen of Carnatic music, Nedunuri Krishnamurthypassed away in Visakhapatnam. He was 87. He was famous for his tonal quality and a style of his own Carnatic music
National Ayush Mission (NAM)
- September, 2014, the government had notified National Ayush Mission (NAM) to lay down a detailed road map to shore it up as Ayush infrastructure is not satisfactory besides the industry being poorly regulated.
- NAM aims to improve Ayush education and provide better access to its service through increase in number of Ayush hospitals and dispensaries, besides offering quality drugs by increasing pharmacies, drug laboratories and “improved enforcement mechanism”.
- The Centre is also aiming to improve legislative framework to regulate Ayush practitioners and drugs with the help of states.
- NDA government is pitching for integration of Ayurveda, yoga and other traditional forms of treatment in the existing health care system on the recommendations of committee to promote holistic health.
- NDA Government has given nod to 18 new Ayurveda colleges in 2014. Government by this decision is seeking to promote traditional forms of treatment and integrate them into the existing health care system
Nagaland’s Hornbill festival
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Hornbill festival of Nagaland
- Hornbill (name of a bird) Festival is celebrated in Nagaland every year in the first week of December.
- This festival is 10-day tourism promotional extravaganza which showcases rich culture of Naga tribes which includes shows of music and dance.
- It was established on 1st December 1963 and was inaugurated by the then President Dr. S Radhakrishnan
Land Border agreement between India and Bangladesh
- The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 aims to ratify the LBA between India and Bangladesh under the Indira-Mujib pact of 1974 to exchange areas and people on either side of the border.
- As per the provision of pact, India will exchange 111 enclaves measuring 17,160 acres with Bangladesh and receive 51 enclaves covering 7,110 acres. Almost 51,000 people reside in these enclaves. The territories involved in the exchange are in Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Tripura.
- On 16th May 1974, soon after the independence of Bangladesh the LBA was signed between India and Bangladesh in order to find a solution to the complex nature of border demarcation. This pact was ratified by Bangladesh government in 1974.
- In 1974, in India Cabinet had granted approval to this pact but was not ratified as it involved cession of territory
- A Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs has asked the government to present Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 without any delay to give effect to the
Gujarat tops in e-transactions
- It was revealed by e-Transaction Aggregation and Analysis – ‘eTaal’, a National e-services Dashboard portal created by the Government of India.
- As per e-taal data, e-transactions in the last two years from January 1, 2013 to November 26, 2014 of top 4 states are
- Gujarat has topped with 100.21 crore e-transactions
- The portal reflects transaction statistics periodically on near real time basis.
- The traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab is being inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, 2014.
- It was announced at UNESCO’s 9th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage in Paris, France.
Social Justice Bench
- Supreme Court has set up a special ‘Social Justice Bench’ in order to exclusively hear cases concerning social issues particularly those related to women, children and underprivileged sections of society.
- The main intention of setting up ‘Social Justice Bench’ is to provide specialized approach which needed for dealing with these cases.
- This bench will ensure early disposal of such cases and to bring fruits of the rights provided under the Constitution to people.
- It will deal specially with the matters relating to society and its members, to secure social justice, one of the ideals of the Indian Constitution
- Government has launched new user-friendly Indian Trade Portal www.indiantradeportal.in.
- It is an initiative of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry
- This portal aims to provide information related to the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) and preferential tariffs, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade faced by Indian exporters and ensure better utilisation of Free Trade Agreements(FTAs) at single point.
- It will also facilitate the Indian industry’s integration into the regional value chain.
- It will provide important data for use of exporters and importers at one place, in a user friendly manner. Thus contributing to ease of doing business for trade and industry.
Hydro Power Plant in Rwanda, East Africa
- Public sector power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has achieved one more milestone by constructing and successfully commissioning 28 MW (2×14 MW) Nyaborongo Hydro Electric Project in Republic of Rwanda.
- Nyaborongo Hydro Electric project is owned by the Government of Rwanda and has been financed under the Government of India’s Line of Credit.
- It was BHEL’s first order from this East-African country.
- Prior to this, the company had already established its presence in a number of African nations like Sudan, Libya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, etc.
NATO Ceremonially End Afghan Combat Mission
- United States (US) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) have ceremonially ended their combat mission in Afghanistan
- NATO formally ended its deployment after its International Security Assistance Force Joint command, which was in charge of combat operations, lowered its flag. This ceremony was the first of two that will draw a formal close to NATO’s combat mission by December 28, 2014.
- Now US and NATO coalition will only provide training and support role for Afghanistan’s own security forces, which have led the fight against the Taliban insurgents since mid-2013.
Daily Thanthi is the first Tamil newspaper launched in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Guwahati-Dhaka bus service
- The trial run of Guwahati-Dhaka bus service was flagged off from the Inter State Bus Terminus in Guwahati.
- This trail will be monitored by joint team of India and Bangladesh
- The main objective of this trail run of bus service is to assess route conditions, estimate the actual journey time for a regular bus service and other technical parameters.
Payment & Settlement Systems (Amendment) Bill, 2014
- It aims to bring India’s banking payment system in synchronization with international practices
- It seeks improve the payment and settlement systems by increasing transparency and stability of Indian financial market.
- It has provision to protect funds collected from the customers by the payment system providers and to extend the Act to cover trade repository and legal entity identifier issuer. A Legal Entity Identifier will be a unique ID associated with a single corporate entity.
- It mentions that the decision of the court, tribunal or any authority will not impact the settlement which had become final prior to the issuance of the order
Arabic translation of Indian Constitution
- In Cairo, Egypt, the first Arabic translation of Indian Constitution was launched
- The launch was organised in the Secretariat of the League of Arab States by the embassy of India in collaboration with the League of Arab States
- The translation of constitution was undertaken by International IDEA and is the first translation of the Indian Constitution into Arabic. It will help to propagate principles of Indian Constitution that meets the aspirations and holds together all sections of Indian society and is characterised by large lingual, religious and ethnic diversity. Thus helping Middle East countries to draft their constitution and sustain healthy institutions of democracy.
International Day of Yoga
- 21st June will be annually observed as ‘International Day of Yoga’ after United Nations General Assembly (UN-GA) adopted an India-led resolution.
- UN has adopted this resolution under the agenda of ‘Global Health and Foreign Policy’
- UN recognized that Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being and its wider dissemination of information about benefits of practising Yoga will be beneficial for the health of the world population
- Passing of this resolution also made history as it was for the first time that such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in the UN body in less than 90 days
- Earlier in September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed this idea during his speech at UN-GA. He had suggested 21St June because it represents one of the two solstices, is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.
- Till date, UN in its annual calendar has listed nearly 118 international days, years and anniversaries for observance
- India’s first indigenously developed nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine– INS Arihant was flagged off by the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar from Vizag for sea trials.
- INS Arihant’s design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarine.
- It is a 6,000-tonne nuclear powered submarine and 112 metre long.
- Powered by 83 MW pressurised light water reactor built with Russia’s help.
- Its successful implementation will help India to secure a seaborne nuclear deterrent
- Once it is inducted in navy will help India to complete its nuclear triad of delivering nuclear weapons from land, sea and air.
- Thus India will join an elite club of six nations that operate nuclear submarines carrying ballistic missiles. 6 nations: The US, Russia, France, Britain, China and India.
- Presently, Indian Navy operates the INS Chakra, a nuclear-powered submarine which is leased for 10 years from Russia in 2012.
Government Bans ISIS
- Government of India has banned terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
- Government has banned ISIS under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. As per Home Ministry this terrorist group is already banned by UN under the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism
- This announcement comes after Bangalore techie was allegedly found running the pro-Islamic State Twitter account and tweeting in support of the terrorist organisation
Dr. Vivek Murthy
- The U.S. Senate has appointed Indian-American physician Dr. Vivek Murthy as U.S. Surgeon General
- Murthy is the youngest person and first person of Indian-origin to hold this post. It should be noted that U.S. surgeon general does not set any government policy but is an advocate for the people’s health
- He was born to parents who are originally from Karnataka. He came to the US when he was three years old and grew up in Miami, Florida
- He co-founded VISIONS Worldwide in 1995, a non-profit organisation focused on HIV/AIDS education in India and the United States
Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages of India
- Union Government has initiated a Scheme known as “Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages of India”
- As part of this Scheme, all the mother tongues/languages of India spoken by less than 10,000 people will be considered as They will be protected, preserved and documented by the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore.
- Technology will play key role in the preservation of endangered languages and it will be an integral part of it.
- Dictionaries and basic grammars in all the endangered languages/mother tongues are prepared in digital format.
- In addition, talking dictionaries in the endangered languages/mother tongues will be prepared with the help of technology.
- The cultural and ethno-linguistic aspects of the languages/mother tongues and indigenous knowledge system of the communities will be video-graphed and stored electronically for archival and retrieval purposes.
- A digital map with linguistic/cultural words with actual pronunciation for accounting variation in speech is also part of the scheme.
GSLV Mark III rocket
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO’s) first sub-orbital flight and India’s latest generation launch vehicle- GSLV Mark-III X was successfully lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
- Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk-III) was carrying payload –Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE) weighing 3775 kg.
- Mission: It was a suborbital experimental flight mission which aimed to test the vehicle’s performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and thus carried a passive (non-functional) cryogenic upper stage.
- This successful launch will help India in perfecting the cryogenic engine technology and help to become self-reliant in launching communication satellites.
- The GSLV-Mark III is a three stage/engine launch vehicle.Its first stage uses solid propellant, second stage uses liquid stage and the third stage/engine is the cryogenic
Operation Milap’ scheme
- Delhi Police have launched ‘Operation Milap’ scheme. This noble scheme aims at uniting missing children with their parents.
- Under this scheme, AHTU will carry out special drive to check all the Children Homes in the national capital. They will try to match the children’s record with the available data of missing/kidnapped children with the police.
Sahitya Akademi Award 2014.
- It is conferred on writers of outstanding works in one of the following twenty-four major Indian languages- Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Rajasthan, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
- Sahitya Academy has announced the names of 22 poets and authors who will be conferred the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award 2014
- 22 Awardee’s are:
- Poets- Adil Jussawall (English), Utpal Kumar Basu (Bengali) , Urkhao Gwra Brahma (Bodo) , Shad Ramzan(Kashmiri)-, Gopalkrushna Rath (Odia), Jaswinder (Punjabi) , Gope Kamal (Sindhi) , Munawwar Rana (Urdu)
- Novelists – Shailender Singh (Dogri), Ramesh Chandra Shah (Hindi), Subhash Chandran (Malayalam), Asha Mishra (Maithili) and Poomani (Tamil).
- Short stories- Arupa Patangia Kalita (Assamese), Nanda Hankhim (Nepali) and Rampal Singh Rajpurohit (Rajasthani).
- Autobiography- Eminent scientist Jayant Vishnu Naralikar (Marathi).
- Literary criticism- Rachapalem Chandrashekara Reddy (Telugu).
- Play- Jamadar Kisku (Santali).
- Books of essays- Madhavi Sardesai (Konkani), G.H. Nayak (Kannada), late photographer Ashvin Mehta (Gujarati)
Atletico de Kolkata win inaugural ISL title
- Atletico de Kolkata has won the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament by beating Kerala Blasters 1-0 in the finals held at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- The ISL football league was launched in 2013 to promote football in India.
National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM)
- National Digital Literacy Mission (‘NDLM’) has been initiated with the vision to empower at least one person per household with crucial digital literacy skills by 2020.
- The National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) envisages initially to provide Information Communication and Technology (ICT) training to 10 lakh (Ten lakh) persons, one in every eligible household in selected Blocks in each State/ UT of the country.
- Out of 10 lakh, 9 lakh will be trained through government machinery and 1 lakh through Industry, NGOs and others through their own resources/ under Corporate Social Responsibility.
- The objective is to impart basic ICT skills relevant to the need of the trainees, which would enable the citizens to use IT and related applications and participate actively in the democratic process and further enhance opportunities for their livelihood. The persons shall be able to access information, knowledge and skill through the use of digital devices.
- Digital Literacy is the ability of individuals and communities to understand and use digital technologies for meaningful actions within life situations
National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY)
- Central government is planning to launch scheme for conservation of heritage and development of 12 cities across the country. It was announced by Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
- Under this scheme, 12 cities will be covered under the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY)
- The 12 cities are: Amritsar, Varanasi, Gaya, Puri, Ajmer, Mathura, Dwarka, Badami, Velankanni, Kanchipuram, Warangal and Amaravati.
- It aims to bring urban planning, economic growth and heritage conservation together for heritage cities.
- It also seeks beautification in an inclusive and integrated manner with focus on cleanliness, livelihoods, skills, safety, security, accessibility and faster service delivery of heritage cities.
- Heritage management plan (HMP) will be prepared for the identified cities which will outline heritage resources and develop policies to guide their conservation, restoration, future use and development.
- It will seek to improve last-mile connectivity heritage sites by documentation, conservation of areas, providing more facilities for women, senior citizens and differently abled citizens.
- Thus it will help to create improved connectivity platform and access to tourists
National Good Governance Day
- Former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna recipient Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 90th birthday was observed as National Good Governance Day on 25th December 2014.
- In order to mark the occasion of this day, several programmes were organized nationwide and new initiatives were announced.
- Ministry of Petroleum expanded the 5 kg LPG cylinder scheme in Delhi.
- Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated e-office in his office and e-clearance.
- Ministry of Communication and IT made its Good Governance initiatives public and launched a number of new projects.
- Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) launched an SMS service to forecast weather related information. It will provide real time cyclone alerts and warnings to general public.
- Tourism and Culture Ministry launched e-ticketing facility at National monuments like Taj Mahal and Humayun Tomb.
Global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
- It is the first legally-binding multilateral agreement that prohibits nations from exporting conventional weapons to countries that may use it for genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes
- It adds a new chapter in collective efforts of nations to bring responsibility, accountability and transparency to the global arms trade.
- It set robust global standards for cross-border transfers of conventional weapons ranging from small firearms to tanks and attack helicopters.
- It creates binding requirements for states to review cross-border contracts to ensure weapons will not be used in human rights abuses, violations of humanitarian law or organised crime
- Global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) came into force on 24 December 2014, after it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013.
- It is a binding international law
- Five of the top 10 arms exporters – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK have already ratified the ATT
- Major weapons producers like Russia, China, India and Pakistan have not signed the treaty
- In 2013, India was among the 23 nations that had abstained from voting on the treaty resolution. As per India, the treaty has weak provision on terrorism and non-state actors as these concerns are not mentioned in the specific prohibitions of the Treaty.
- Government has launched Mission Indradhanush to immunise kids against 7 vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Mission Indradhanush depicts 7 colours of the rainbow which aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against 7 vaccine preventable diseases
- 7 preventable diseases: diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis,measles and hepatitis B
- It will be focused and systematic immunization drive through a catch-up campaign mode aiming to cover all the children who have been left out or missed out for immunization.
- Under this scheme government will conduct 4 special vaccination campaigns between January and June 2015 with intensive planning and monitoring .
- These campaigns will be planned and implemented according to the learning’s of the successful implementation of the polio programme.
- It will be implemented in 2 phases in 2015. First phase will cover 201 districts
- Among the 201 districts, 82 districts are in four BHIMARU states i.e Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh
- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has launched a customized low-cost combination of phone and tablet computer called ‘GreenPHABLET powered by the GreenSIM
- This device aims to empower small farmers who own small plots of land by providing them with precise information related to agriculture and help them purchase inputs at lower prices, get a better price for their produce and link them to markets
- It has been developed by the ICRISAT Centre of Excellence in ICT Innovations for Agriculture in collaboration with NUNC Systems, a company based in Hyderabad.
- This device acts like a mobile village knowledge centre/common service centre, enabling farmers to benefit from contemporary information and communication technologies by penetrating Internet connectivity in remote rural region
- It will provide farmers with free messages about the weather and pest problems while sharing the most competitive agricultural input and crop prices.
- It should be noted that GreenSIM was created under a unique partnership between ICRISAT, mobile phone service provider Airtel, and the IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative) Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL)