Current Affairs, News & Facts of 02 Dec 2015

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  • India launches global solar alliance of 120 countries

     

    India launches global solar alliance of 120 countries

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande launched an International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the CoP21 Climate Conference in paris, France. International Solar Alliance (ISA) will be a unioun of over 120 countries with abundant sunlight.

    At the Climate Conference in paris India also pledged to generate 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The country is projected to be the world’s most populous by then, with 1.45 billion people.

    On the occasion of launching  International Solar Alliance, Prime Minister also presented “Convenient Action”, a book he has written on the Gujarat experience with solar energy and a music CD with songs on the environment to Mr. Hollandethe Pesident of France.

    Key facts about International Solar Alliance (ISA) :-

    Aim of the Alliance :- To bring solar rich nations together and provide clean, affordable and renewable solar energy within the reach of all. 

    • Government of India has invited all countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the International Solar Alliance which will function from National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon.
    • The Centre will provide land and $30 million to form a secretariat for the Alliance, and also support it for five years.The eventual goal is to raise USD 400m from membership fees, and international agencies. Companies involved in the project include Areva, Engie, Enel, HSBC France and Tata Steel.

    Function :- The main role of ISA would be to impart cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures

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  • Roch Marc Christian Kabore elected as president of Burkina Faso

     

    Roch Marc Christian Kabore elected as president of Burkina Faso

    Roch Marc Christian Kabore, a former prime minister, of Burkina Faso has been elected as President of Burkina Faso as he secured 53.5 per cent of the vote In the presidential election. His main rival, former Economy and Finance Minister Zephirin Diabre secured 21.6 per cent of the vote. Kabore is the second civilian to become President since the West African country became independent in 1960 from France.

    The elections were the first national elections in the country since the 2014 Burkinabé uprising and the departure of President Blaise Compaoré, who had ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years.

    Key Facts about Roch Marc Christian Kabore  :-

    • Roch Marc Christian Kabore was born on 25 April 1957  in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso.He had served as Prime Minister of Burkina Faso from 1994 to 1996 and also was President of the National Assembly of Burkina Faso from 2002 to 2012.
    • He also served as President of the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP). In January 2014, he left the ruling CDP and founded a new opposition party, the People's Movement for Progress.

    About Burkina Faso :-

    Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa surrounded by six countries Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and  Ivory Coast. Its capital is Ouagadougou

    Burkina Faso was formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta but the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara.It was ruled by French till 1960 after independence it underwent many governmental changes and violence

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  • Gujarat’s controversial Labour Laws Bill gets Presidential assent

     

    Gujarat’s controversial Labour Laws Bill gets Presidential assent

    President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent has given his assent to The Labour Laws (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2015  which has provisions to ban strikes in public utility services for up to one year. Of the 65 State laws sent to the President this year, only 34 have got assent.

    The Bill was sent for the President’s approval along with the controversial Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill, 2015, which is yet to get approval.

    The President has also refused to give assent to the Sikkim Promotion of Local Employment Bill, 2008, which proposed 80 per cent employment in the private sector for people carrying the Sikkim Subject Certificate.

    Key Facts of the " The Labour Laws (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2015 " :-

    The Labour Laws (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2015 was passed by the Gujarat government to relax labour laws to give an impetus to industrialisation in the State.

    Objection time limit :- The time limit for workers to raise objections to the decisions of the industries has been reduced to one year from three years.

    Settlement of disputes :- Settlement of disputes between workers and the management would be  “out of court” by compounding a certain amount of money in the government agency. For this, the government will charge up to Rs. 21,000 in penalty from the employer and give 75 per cent of the money to the affected employee or employees. This will bring quick solutions and reduce the burden on courts.

    Payment :- It is mandatory to make payment in cheque instead of paying in cash for any firm which has more than 20 employees

    • The new law allows employers to change the nature of job of the employees without prior notice to the employee. 
    • The Govt. can now ban strikes in public utility services for up to one year the first time.The ban can subsequently be extended up to two years any number of times.
    • The law has amended the defination of "Contractor" to include "Outsourcing agency", which is some cases is the government itself.

    The Bill proposes to lift restrictions on sacking of workers and payment of compensation for units located  in Special Investment Regions and National Investment Regions and Manufcaturing Zones like permitted in Special Economic Zones.

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  • Jharkhand Government declares entire state as drought hit  

     

    Jharkhand Government declares entire state as drought hit

    Jharkhand Government has declared the entire state as drought hit following scanty rainfall this season. The decision in this regard was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Raghubar Das in view of less rainfall in 2015 and loss of crops. The state govt has also decided to send the report to the Central Government and request it to send a team to Jharkhand for assessment of drought in the state.

    As per the report 64 blocks of the state have suffered fifty percent loss in crops and another 62 blocks had suffered 40 percent loss. The state government had announced a package of Rs. 1,398 crore to drought-hit farmers on November 6 for subsidised diesel, distribution of seeds, construction of small check dams and other facilities.

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  • Germany to support military campaign against IS 

     

    Germany to support military campaign against IS

    The German cabinet has approved  plans to send 1,200 strong force to support the international coalition fighting against Islamic State in Syria. The mandate requires  parliamentary approval, which expected to get approaval as Angela Merkel’s governing coalition has a large majority. Germany decided to join the fight against IS after an appeal by French President Francois Hollande in the wake of the 13 November Paris attacks.

    Significance of the military action:-

    If this mandate gets approval it would become Germany's biggest current military operation abroad. Until now, Germany's biggest foreign mission has been in Afghanistan, in which it sent 1,000 fighters. Around 700 German soldiers are also part of the Nato-led K-For operation to stabilise Kosovo.

    Key Facts :-

    • Military action will initially last a year and will cost €134m (£94m; $142m). It will involve Tornado reconnaissance jets, refuelling aircraft and the naval frigate Sachsen, which will help support the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the eastern Mediterranean.
    • Tornado reconnaissance jets can take high-resolution photos and infrared images at night and in bad weather and the refuelling aircraft will be used for refuelling of planes in mid-air.
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  • Central Government launches GIAN Scheme to boost higher education

     

    Central Government launches GIAN Scheme to boost higher education

    To improve the quality of higher education through international collaboration Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has launched Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) Scheme. GIAN was was flagged off at IIT Kharagpur by Smriti Irani in the presence of R. Subrahmanyam, Additional Secretary for Technical Education in the ministry. It is inter-connected with the 'Make in India' campaign and the IMPRINT programme.

    Key facts about GIAN Scheme :-

    Objective :- GIAN aims at bringing high quality academicians to participate in delivering courses in Indian institutions and thus improve the quality of higher education in the country through international collaboration. It will also enable interaction of students and faculty with the best academic and industry experts from all over the world.

    • Under GIAN Scheme 13 disciplines and 495 courses will be covered by best academic and industry experts from all over the world and taught in 68 national institutions.
    • A lump-sum amount of up to USD 8000 FOR 12 to 14  hours of interaction and up to USD 12000 for 20 to 28 hours of interaction  can be paid to the foreign experts covering their travel and honorarium. Local hospitality will be arranged by the Host Institution.
    • The duration of course will vary depending on the subject and will be free for students of the host institution and available for nominal fees for others.
    • IIT Kharagpur is the nodal institution and national coordinator for this flagship programme and courses will be webcasted live for students across the country through web portal www.gian.iitkgp.ac.in designed by IIT Kharagpur.

     

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  • RBI keeps policy rates unchanged in Fifth Bi-monthly monetary policy review

     

    RBI keeps policy rates unchanged in Fifth Bi-monthly monetary policy review

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.75% at its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy review. The cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks was also maintained unchanged at 4.0% of net demand and time liability (NDTL).

    1. Repo Rate :-  The repo rate at which the Reserve Bank lends to the system will continue at 6.75 per cent.
    2. Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) :-  The cash reserve ratio (CRR) or the amount of deposits that commercial banks have to hold as reserves with the central bank also  unchanged at 4 per cent.
    3. Reverse repo rate under the LAF:- Reverse repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (RBI in case of India) borrows money from commercial banks within the country also reamin unchanged at 5.75 per cent.
    4. Marginal standing facility (MSF) rate :- It also remain unchanged at 7.75 per cent.
    5. Bank Rate :- Bank rate is the rate of interest which a central bank charges on the loans and advances to a commercial bank. It also remain unchanged at  7.75  per cent.

    Marginal standing facility (MSF) :- Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate refers to the rate at which the scheduled banks can borrow funds overnight from RBI against government securities. MSF is a very short term borrowing scheme for scheduled commercial banks. Marginal standing facility (MSF) is a window for banks to borrow from the Reserve Bank of India in an emergency situation when inter-bank liquidity dries up completely.

    Liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) :- Liquidity adjustment facility is a monetary policy tool which allows banks to borrow money through repurchase agreements.LAF is used to aid banks in adjusting the day to day mismatches in liquidity. LAF consists of repo and reverse repo operations.

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