Current Affairs, News & Facts of 24 Dec 2015

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  • CCEA approves Rs 3,000 crore scheme for fisheries sector


    CCEA approves Rs 3,000 crore scheme for fisheries sector

    Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minster Narendra has given its approval for implementation of an umbrella scheme for integrated development and management of fisheries at an outlay of Rs.3,000 crore, for a period of five years.

    It is a Central Sector Scheme that covers development and management of inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries including deep sea fishing, mariculture and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) towards realizing “Blue Revolution”.

    Key facts about the scheme :

    • The scheme would benefit the entire fisheries sector covering about 14.50 million fishers  and it would also benefit other stakeholders such as fish farmers, fisheries entrepreneurs, fish retailers, wholesalers, fish processors, fish exports and women groups. 
    • The scheme would stimulate growth of the subsidiary and allied industries and growth of other related economic activities, especially in the coastal regions, leading to many direct and indirect benefits to the entire fisheries sector. 
    • The scheme has suitable linkages and convergence with the 'Sagarmala Project' of Shipping Ministry, MGNAREGA, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and National Rural Livelihoods Mission ( NRLM) etc 

    The scheme has 6 broad components: National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and its activities; Development of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture; Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post Harvest Operations; Strengthening of Database & Geographical Information System of the Fisheries Sector; Institutional Arrangement for Fisheries Sector and; Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and other need-based interventions. 

    Role of fisheries sector in Indian Economy :

    • Fish production in the country has increased from 7.5 lakh tonnes in 1950-51 to 100.70 lakh tonnes during 2014-15, while the export earnings from the sector registered at Rs 33,441 crore in 2014-15.
    • It constitutes about 6.30 per cent of the global fish production and 5 per cent of global trade, India today has attained the status of the second largest fish producing and second largest aquaculture nation in the world.
  • 24 December, observed as National Consumers Right Day across  the country


    24 December, observed as National Consumers Right Day across  the country

    Every year, 24th December is observed as National Consumer Day. The day is being observed on 24 December, since the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted on this day in 1986. The enactment of this Act was considered as a milestone for consumer rights movement in the country. It should be also noted that World Consumer Rights Day is observed on 15th March every year.

    The Consumer Protection Act aims at providing better protection of consumer’s interest and safeguards against different types of exploitation such as defective goods, unsatisfactory services and unfair trade practices.

    The Act applies to all goods and services unless specifically exempted, which covers the private, public and cooperative sectors. It also provides speedy and inexpensive adjudication.

    Key facts about Consumer Protection Act, 1986 :

    Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides consumers with speedy and inexpensive redressal grievances mechanism and specific relief or award of compensation. The rights under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 flow from the rights enshrined in Articles 14 to 19 of the Constitution of India. The Right to Information Act (RTI), which has opened up governance processes of our country to the common public, also has far-reaching implications for consumer protection.

    The Act envisages the promotion and protection of following rights for the consumers:

    • Right to Safety 
    • Right to be informed 
    • Right to Choose
    • Right to be heard
  • Cabinet approves revised cost of Salma dam  Project in Afghanistan


    Cabinet approves revised cost of Salma dam  Project in Afghanistan

    The union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the reconstruction and completion of Salma Dam Project in Afghanistan at the revised cost estimate of Rs.1,775.69 crore.

    Key facts :

    • The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2016, upon its successful completion it will lead to the overall economic development of the western region of Afghanistan and generate goodwill for India.
    • The project for the reconstruction of Salma Dam Project is being executed by WAPCOS, a central public sector unit under the water resources ministry.

    About Salma Dam Project :

    Situated on the upper reaches of Hari Rud River in Herat province, Salma Dam project involves construction of a 107.5 metre high earth and rockfill dam and a 42 MW powerhouse with three units of 14 MW each. It also has provision for releasing water for irrigation of 75,000 hectares of land.

  • Philippines became the first Asian country to approve the sale of  dengue vaccine


    Philippines became the first Asian country to approve the sale of  dengue vaccine

    Philippines became the first Asian country to approve the sale of the world's first-ever dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia in the country. The vaccine for dengue named, Dengvaxia has been manufactured by French pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur. It has been designed to protect people in the 9-45 age groups from all four subtypes of the virus.

    Key facts :

    • Earlier Mexico became the first country in the world to approve a vaccine against dengue fever. In a clinical trial which was conducted last year, Dengvaxia was found to have an effectiveness of 60.8 percent against the four strains of dengue currently in existence. 
    • This vaccine could potentially prevent more than 8,000 hospitalizations and 104 deaths annually and generate savings of up to 1,100 million pesos a year by the reduction in the costs associated with medical care .
    • The vaccine  is a historic milestone for the global public health community as it makes dengue the next vaccine-preventable disease which is the leading cause of hospitalization and death in several Asian and Latin American countries.
    • An estimated 400 million people are infected with dengue each year in 128 countries across the globe, making it one of the fastest-growing mosquito-borne diseases. 
  • Lok Sabha passes The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015


    Lok Sabha passes The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015

    Lok Sabha has passed The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015 allowing doubling of wage ceiling for calculating bonus to Rs 7,000 per month for factory workers with establishments with 20 or more workers, being applicable retrospectively from April 2014.

    The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015 seeks to amend the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of State (MoS) for Labour and Employment.

    Key provisions of Bill :

    The Act provides for the annual payment of bonus to employees of certain establishments (including factories and establishments employing 20 or more persons).  Under the Act, bonus is calculated on the basis of the employee’s salary and the profits of the establishment.

    • Employees eligible for bonus: The Act mandates payment of bonus to employees’ whose salary or wage is up to Rs 10,000 per month.  The Bill seeks to increase this eligibility limit to Rs 21,000 per month.
    • Calculation of bonus: The Act provides that the bonus payable to an employee will be in proportion to his or her salary or wage.  However, if an employee’s salary is more than Rs 3,500 per month, for the purposes of calculation of bonus, the salary will be assumed to be Rs 3,500 per month.  The Bill seeks to raise this calculation ceiling to Rs 7,000 per month or the minimum wage notified for the employment under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (whichever is higher).
    • Prior publication of rules: The Act provides that the central government may make rules to implement its provisions.  The Bill seeks to mandate prior publication of such rules in the Official Gazette to allow for more public consultation.
    • Retrospective effect: The Bill will come into force on April 1, 2015.
  • Sania, Hingis named as Women’s Doubles World Champions by ITF  


    Sania, Hingis named as Women’s Doubles World Champions by ITF

    The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has named the Indo-Swiss pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis as the 2015 ITF women's doubles World Champions. Martina has become an ITF World Champion 15 years after last being named as the title holder in women's singles category in the year 2000.

    Indo- Swiss pair have won their last 22 matches from the start of the US Open through wins in Asia at Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and the WTA Finals, ending the year with a 55-7 record. They have won two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, and seven further tournaments. 

    American Serena Williams and Serbian Novak Djokovic were named the women's and men's singles World Champions, respectively. Serena has earned the title for the sixth time while this is the fifth occasion that Djokovic received the honour. Dutch Jean-Julien Rojer and Romania's Horia Tecau were announced as the men's doubles champions.

  • Dr. Rakesh K. Jain selected for 2015 National Medal of Science


    Dr. Rakesh K. Jain selected for 2015 National Medal of Science

    Indian American professor Dr. Rakesh K. Jain has been selected for 2015 National Medal of Science of the United States. Jain, along with 16 other winners will receive the honor at a White House ceremony by President Barack Obama in January 2016.

    About the National Medal of Science :

    The annual National Medal of Science award, recognized since 1959, is given to individuals for their contribution to the field of science and engineering.The medal is described as highest honours for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.

    Facts to know about Dr. Rakesh K. Jain :

    Dr. Jain is currently serving as the professor at Harvard Medical School, he is also the director of tumor biology laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.

    Jain is regarded as a pioneer in the area of tumour micro-environment and widely recognized for his seminal discoveries in tumor biology, drug delivery, in vivo imaging, and bioengineering. Jain is a mentor of more than 200 master’, doctoral and postdoctoral students from over a dozen branches.

    Awards and honours :

    • As of  now Dr. Jain has received 75 awards from institutions and organizations for his contribution to engineering and medical field.
    • Jain is a member of all three branches of the US National Academies – the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences – and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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