Tuesday, April 9, 2013

  Ø  100th Science Congress 
• Inaugurated by President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at University of Calcutta 
• the presiding Prime Minister of the Country is the General President for the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA). 
• Co-host: Bose Institute and University of Calcutta 
• five-day Science Congress 
• the historical importance of 100th Science Congress is in more than one way. Whereas the themes for all the sessions up the period of 2003 since the first session in 1914 could be grouped under ‘Shaping of the Indian Science’, the focal theme selected for the centenary session is “Science for shaping the future of India”. 


• Indian Science Congress was first convened in the Asiatic Society in 1914 and Sir Asutosh Mukerjee delivered the first presidential lecture. 
• Since then the Indian Science Congress has emerged as the Parliament of Indian Science. Since the presidential address of Sir Asutosh Mukherjee, 99 annual sessions have been conducted and the year 2012-13 is being observed as the centenary year of the Indian Science Congress. 
• In the year 1946-47, Pandit JawaharLal Nehru was elected as the General President and he delivered the historic address calling for friendship of people with science in January 1947.
• Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) unanimously resolved to elect Dr Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, as the General President for the centenary year 2012-13.

  Ø  E-Stamping 

is a computer based application and a secured way of paying Non-Judicial stamp duty to the Government. 
**e-Stamping is currently operational in the states of 
- NCR Delhi,
- Maharashtra, 
-Tamil Nadu, 
-Himachal Pradesh, 
--Uttarakhand (ninth State to launch e-stamping )

and the union territories of
- Dadra & Nagar Haveli,
- Daman & Diu and
- Puducherry. 

***What is Stamp Duty?
Stamp Duty is a tax on documents relating to immovable properties, stocks or shares. 

**Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL) is the only CRA appointed by the Government of India. 

*** What is a CRA? 
--> CRA stands for Central Record Keeping Agency. 
- STOCK HOLDING CORPORATION OF INDIA LIMITED (SHCIL) is the only CRA appointed by the Government of India.
The Central Record Keeping Agency is responsible for User Registration, Imprest Balance Administration and overall E-Stamping Application Operations and Maintenance. 

**e-Stamp Certificate can be generated within minutes
**e-Stamp Certificate generated is tamper proof
**Authenticity of the e-Stamp certificate can be checked through the inquiry module
e-Stamp Certificate generated has a Unique Identification Number
Specific denomination is not required.3

  Ø National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy, 2012
The salient features of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy, 2012 (NPPP-2012) are as under:
·         As per the new pricing policy declared by the Union Government, 348 essential drugs would come under price control policy of the nation, which would lead to price reduction of the same.
·          The move would bring down the cost of the drugs to an average of 30 percent as the pricing now would be fixed following the simple average of the rates of all the brands that have more than one percent of market share in the pharmaceutical industry.
·         Following the rules of the policy, the companies will have to take a clearance by NPPA to increase the prices beyond 10 percent on all the 348 drugs enlisted in the new National Pharmaceutical Pricing

The objective of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy-2012 
·         to put in place a regulatory framework for pricing of drugs so as to ensure availability of required medicines – “essential medicines” – at reasonable prices even while providing sufficient opportunity for innovation and competition to support the growth of industry, thereby meeting the goals of employment and shared economic well-being for all.

·         Jan Aushadhi Campaign: in order to provide relief to the common man in the area of healthcare, a countrywide campaign in the name of ‘Jan Aushadhi Campaign’ was initiated by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India, in collaboration with the State Governments, by way of opening up of Jan Aushadhi Generic Drug Stores to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all.

Ø Enrica Lexie 

ü  The 2012 Italian shooting in the Arabian sea is an incident under investigation that occurred within the Indian Contiguous Zone on 15 February 2012, off the coast of southern India, in which the use of live fire from automatic weapons by two marines of an Italian Navy Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) on board oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie was linked to the deaths of two Indian fishermen on board a fishing boat. Ajesh Binki and Valentine aka Gelastine, natives of Tamil Nadu andKerala respectively, were allegedly shot dead by Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone of the Reggimento San Marco, Marina Militare.
ü  The incident sparked a major diplomatic row between the governments of Italy and India, with Indian police immediately opening a murder inquiry, and the Indian Coast Guard later intercepting the ship and arresting two Italian marines suspected of being involved in the shooting. The two Italian marines were released after 105 days in judicial custody under strict bail conditions and assurances from the Italian government that they will remain available to answer charges before Indian courts.
ü  The Indian government allowed the marines to travel to Italy in February 2013 to vote in Italian general elections, after receiving assurances from the Italian government that the two marines will return to India. However, on 11 March 2013 the diplomatic row escalated into a stand-off when the Italian Foreign Ministry unilaterally announced that the marines will not return to India to stand trial. On 21 March 2013, Italy backtracked from their decision and sent the marines back to India.

The CJI’s take on issue

·         The incident took place at a distance of about 20.5 nautical miles from the coastline of the State of Kerala, a unit within the Indian Union.
·         The incident, therefore, occurred not within the territorial waters of the coastline of the State of Kerala, but within the Contiguous Zone, over which the State Police of the State of Kerala ordinarily has no jurisdiction
·          The submission made on behalf of the Union of India and the State of Kerala to the effect that with the extension of Section 188A of the Indian Penal Code to the Exclusive Economic Zone, the provisions of the said Code, as also the Code of Criminal Procedure, stood extended to the Contiguous Zone also, thereby vesting the Kerala Police with the jurisdiction to investigate into the incident under the provisions thereof, is not tenable.
·         The State of Kerala had no jurisdiction over the Contiguous Zone and even if the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure Code were extended to the Contiguous Zone, it did not vest the State of Kerala with the powers to investigate and, thereafter, to try the offence.”
·         The Union of India which was entitled in law to take up the investigation and to take further steps in the matter.
·         The Republic of Italy has, in fact, from the very beginning, asserted its right to try the two marines and has already commenced proceedings against them in Italy under penal provisions which could result in a sentence of 21 years of imprisonment if the said accused are convicted.
·          In such a scenario, the State of Kerala, as one of the units of a federal unit, would not have any authority to try the accused that were outside the jurisdiction of the State unit.”


·         colourful cultural extravaganza called “SONABYSS-2012”.
·         The event was organized by the North East Regional Institute of Science & Technology (NERIST) at Nirjuli, Arunachal Pradesh on 1st November, 2012.

 ·         NERIST was set up by the Government of India and its foundation stone was laid by Shri Giani Zail Singh, the then President of India, on 4th March, 1984.

·         “SONABYSS” is joyously celebrated as the annual cultural festival of NERIST.

·         When all the budding technocrats of North East India, in all their like mindedness and passionate fervor join hands to produce a cultural festival worthy of the NORTH EASTERN REGIONAL INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, the result is “SONABYSS”. ·         SONABYSS has evolved into a unique conglomeration of the colourful culture and traditions of the North Eastern India.·      

   The main attractions are the events like
ü  “Megataal” – the group dance competition,

ü   “Sonabyss idol” – the search for the signing sensation,
ü  “Mr. and Ms. Sonabyss” – hunt for the best persona,
ü  “Rock Concert”, the ultimate music showdown,ü   and finally the “DJ Night” which compels everyone to step into their dancing shoes and dance away to the beat regardless of time.
·         SONABYSS ’12 is marking its Silver Jubilee. 


Ø second Global Innovation Roundtable (GIR)

·         The National Innovation Council (NInC), chaired by Mr Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister, hosted the second Global Innovation Roundtable (GIR) on 1st and 2nd November 2012 in New Delhi, India

o    Open Government: The Platform already developed for this could be adopted by other countries, and India could help implement.
o    Crowd sourcing Innovation Platform: The Open Source Drug Discovery Platform developed by India for tuberculosis drug discovery could be used as a template for crowd sourcing in new areas of drug discovery.
o    Innovation for Education: Existing educational content could be aggregated, filtered and indexed, under the guidance of global domain experts and made available on mobile devices like “Aakash”
o    Innovation for Health: Health content could also be aggregated and made available, just like educational content. Further, India’s initiative for an Open Source Electronic health records system and tele-medicine could be adopted by other countries.

Aakash is the name given to the low-cost tablet computers being procured by the Indian government to help enhance the quality of education. It is envisioned that computing and internet access used in a blended learning environment will empower both students and teachers. The Indian government has laid out a vision to equip all 220 million students across the country over the next few years with such products.

Aakash 1:
·         Launched on October 5th, 2011, the first version of Aakash was designed, developed and manufactured by DataWind based on the specifications set by IIT Rajasthan.
·         For supply to students, the government not only waives duties and taxes, but also further subsidizes the cost by 50%.

Aakash 2:
·         Launched on November 11th, 2012 by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, the second version of Aakash is designed, developed and manufactured by DataWind based its proposed improvements to Aakash 1.
·         The product is currently being supplied to IIT Bombay, who in turn is tasked with application development, content integration, field testing and deployment.
·         The reviews for Aakash 2 have been very strong globally and on November 28th, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon launched it at the United Nations in New York.

Aakash 3:
·         The third generation of Aakash is expected to be launched in mid-2013.
·         The specifications are expected to be finalized by the NMEICT (National Mission for Education through Information Communication Technology) before end of March 2013.
·         DataWind recommends that Aakash 3 also include an embedded cellular modem, allowing it to take a regular SIM and provide anytime/anywhere internet connectivity.
·         On the basis of recommended specifications submitted for Aakash3, Datawind has commercially launched the UbiSlate 7C+ at an aggressive price of Rs. 4,999.

·         The Roundtable saw participation from heads of Innovation policy from 20 Governments across the world as well as leading global Innovation experts and aimed to create a global platform for sharing experiences, best practices and enabling collaborations.
·         The key objective of the Roundtable was to explore the relatively less charted road of broad-basing innovations to meet key development challenges and develop a paradigm for inclusive innovation.
·          The Roundtable also saw the presentation of the National Innovation Council’s annual ‘Report to the People’ 2012 to the Hon’ble President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
·         The Report outlined the initiatives and activities of the Council in the past year.
·         Participants at the Roundtable included Ministerial level representatives from participating countries in Europe, the United States, United Kingdom, Africa; innovation experts from organisations such as Nesta, Innovation Norway, United Nations, the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation etc; private enterprises working for solutions aimed at the bottom of the economic pyramid; Ministers and policy makers from the Indian Government and members of the National Innovation Council.
·         Over the two days, the discussions in the Global Innovation Roundtable 2012 focused on a range of issues related to nurturing the innovation eco system and outlining deeper collaboration on innovation among nations
·          The work of the National Innovation Council in realizing the ‘Decade of Innovation’ agenda of the Government was also shared with the participants. 
·         The Roundtable also focused on innovations focused on meeting the needs of inclusion, access and equity; and leveraging new tools and technology in the 21st Century to scale and sustain innovative solutions. In this context, the sessions covered topics such as ‘Crowd sourcing Innovations’; ‘Financing Inclusive Innovation’; ‘Learning from Global Good Practices’; ‘Towards an Innovation Eco system’; ‘Innovations for the Bottom of the Economic Pyramid’; ‘Enhancing Productivity through Innovation in Clusters’; ‘Industry-Academia Interface for Driving Innovation’; ‘IPR and Innovation’; and ‘Innovations in Government’.

Ø Food Security  

·        National Food Security Bill that gives legal entitlement to 67 per cent population (including 75 per cent rural and 50 per cent urban) for subsidized grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
·         A beneficiary will be entitled to 5 kg of rice, wheat or coarse cereals at Rs. 3, 2 and Re. 1 a kg a month and will be identified by the States based on parameters prescribed by the Union government.
·         The Cabinet gave its nod to the 71 amendments proposed by the Food Ministry, including the one that said the 2.43 crore Antyodaya Anna Yojna beneficiary households will continue to get their quota of 35 kg grains a month under the TPDS.
·         In its revised form, the Bill favors the “two-child norm” by denying maternal benefits to a pregnant woman beyond two live births. The Law Ministry quoted Supreme Court judgments and the National Population Policy of 2000 to justify the provision. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) had opposed the clause in the Standing Committee meeting and had given a dissent note on it.
·         The subsidized prices of grains may be revised after three years to the level of the minimum support price paid for procurement of grains, the Bill said.
·          “It will be implemented as and when the States get ready,”
·         While the existing allocation of grains to the States shall be protected, the cost of transporting grains to ration shops shall not be passed on to consumers as was proposed earlier.
·         The additional burden on the food subsidy is estimated at about Rs. 23,000 crore at 2012-13 prices. The grain requirement is estimated at 61.23 million tonnes.
·         The Right to Food Campaign, a conglomeration of civil society groups that began its sit-in here seeking a universal food security law, flayed the revised bill as “unacceptable” as it has “diluted provision for community kitchens, destitute, vulnerable and the infirm and does not provide workable redress mechanisms.”
Ø Ramgopal Maheshwari- freedom fighter
·         President Pranab Mukherjee released a commemorative postage stamp on late Ramgopal Maheshwari.

·         The stamp was released on the occasion of his birth centenary year (November 20, 2011 to November 20, 2012) at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, an official release said.

·         Maheshwari was a freedom fighter, doyen of journalism, a committed social worker and a person who left no stone unturned for the cause of promotion of Hindi language. 
·         "He started biweekly paper 'Nava Bharat' from Nagpur.
·         He successfully directed the publication of Nava Bharat as Chief Editor and was known as 'Bhishma Pitamaha' of journalism in Central and Western India,"
·         Besides being involved in the freedom movement, Maheshwari also made great efforts to eradicate conservative customs from the Maheshwari Samaj and made it more progressive. 

Ø special status to the Hyderabad-Karnataka
·         the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2012 has been passed by both the Houses of Parliament to insert a new Article 371(J ) to grant special status to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region consisting of districts of Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal and Yadgir and additionally include the Bellary District in the State of Karnataka.
·         The Constitution (118th Amendment) Bill, 2012, to insert a new Article 371-J to provide special recognition for the six backward districts— was passed unanimously.

ü  Gulbarga,
ü  Yadgir,
ü  Raichur,
ü  Bidar,
ü  Koppal and
ü  Bellary—

The bill provides for establishing

ü  separate development board
ü  equitable allocation of funds for development of the region
it will provide quota in public employment through local cadres and reservation in education and vocational training institutions for those who belong to the region by birth or by domicile.


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