National Dates & Events in August 2011
1. The Department of Telecommunications ( DoT ) has approved the creation of a ‘National Optical Fibre Network’ ( NOFN ) with an investment of ₹ 20,000 crore that would provide broadband connectivity to all village panchayats in three years. The Telecom Commission ( DoTs decision – making arm ) has approved the project that will be funded through the Universal Service Obligation ( USO ) Fund,
2. The controversial Lokpal Bill 2011 that provides a mechanism for deeding with complaints on corruption against public functionaries in high places was introduced in Lok Sabha on 4th August, 2011. This is the ninth Lokpal Bill that has been introduced in the Lok Sabha.
3. The Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 came into force across the country from 5th August, 2011 making it at par with the international standards. It will ensure improved quality of food for the consumers and censure misleading claims and advertisement by those in food business. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India ( FSSAI ), established under the overarching legislation, will lay down science based standards for food items and regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. As many as 22 States and Union Territories now have Food Commissioners in place as required under the Act, while seven are expected to do so by the time it is enforced.
4. The Department of Telecommunications ( DoT ) has approved the creation of a ‘National Optical Fibre Network’ ( NOFN ) with an investment of ₹ 20,000 crore that would provide broadband connectivity to all village panchayats in three years. The Telecom Commission ( DoT’s decision – making arm ) has approved the project that will be funded through the Universal Service Obligation ( USO ) Bind,
5. The controversial Lokpal Bill 2011 that provides a mechanism for dealing with complaints on corruption against public functionaries in high places was introduced in Lok Sabha on 4th August, 2011. This is the ninth Lokpal Bill that has been introduced in the Lok Sabha.
6. The Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde has indicted the Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa’s Government of causing loss of a whopping ₹ 16,085 crore to the state exchequer between 2006 and 2010 due to large – scale illegal mining. The Chief Minister’s family has also been directly named for receiving donations from a mining company.
7. The Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 came into force across the country from 5th August, 2011 making it at par with the international standards. It will ensure improved quality of food for the consumers and censure misleading claims and advertisement by those in food business.
8. The Government has decided not to confer Padma Awards on serving bureaucrats, Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran informed the Lok Sabha on 2nd August, 2011.
9. A Government committee set up to review the functioning of the Indian Council of Social Science Research ( ICSSR ) has recommended some measure of financial autonomy and major changes in the governance pattern. The report says that social science research remains extremely under – funded in India, compared to research in science and technology.
10. A Panama – flagged cargo ship named M.V. Rak Carrier sank nearly 20 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast on 4th August, 2011, possibly due to water ingress. All the 30 crew members were rescued by the Navy and the Coast Guard in a joint operation. The bulk carrier ship was on its way from Lubuk Tutung in Indonesia to Dahej in Gujarat to deliver more than 60,000 tonnes of coal.
11. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs ( CCEA ) on 6th August, 2011 approved the proposal for enhancement of parental income ceiling for eligibility of post – matric scholarships for students of Other Backward Classes ( OBCs ) from ₹ 44,500 to ₹ 1 lakh per annum with effect from 1st July The maintenance and other allowances of day scholar and hosteller OBC students, reader charges for blind students, annual book allowance for those pursuing studies through correspondence courses and commercial pilot licence course have also been raised.
12. The Indian Olympic Association ( IOA ) on 4th August, 2011 set up an eight member Indian Court of Arbitration for Sports ( ICAS ) under the Chairmanship of Dr. AR. Lakshmanan, former Supreme Court Judge and former Law Commission chairman, to resolve all sports related disputes in India.
13. Diplomat Ranjan Mathai took over as India’s new Foreign Secretary on 1st August, 2011, terming as main challenge maintenance of “constructive cooperation” in the immediate neighbourhood and said his mandate was to restore “trust and confidence” in Indo – Pak relations. Mathai, who succeeded Nirupama Rao, has served in Indian missions in Vienna, Colombo, Washington, Tehran and Brussels.
14. India Post on 1st August, 2011 released a commemorative stamp on noted journalist K.M. Mathew. Mathew ( 2nd Jan , 1917 – 1st Aug, 2010 ) was a former Editor in chief of leading Malayalam daily Malayala Manorama. He joined the newspaper as Managing Editor in 1954 and went on to become Editor in chief in 1973.
15. India assumed the monthly Presidency of the United Nations Security Council ( UNSC ) on 1st August, 2011 after a gap of 19 years. According to Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s permanent envoy to the UN, New Delhi will use the opportunity to “re – establish its credentials” with political maturity and show that it is a strong contender for a permanent seat on the 15 – member body.
16. The Union ministry of heavy industry on 3rd August, 2011 launched its first vehicle recycling and dismantling demonstration centre at the site of proposed Global Automotive Research Centre ( GARC ) under the National Automotive Testing and R & D Infrastructure Project ( NATRiP ) at Oragadam, near Chennai.
17. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 4th August, 2011 approved a fresh equity infusion of ₹1,200 crore into ailing state – run carrier Air India ( AI ). This will improve the airline’s debt – to – equity ratio and increase the equity base to ₹ 3,345 crore, making it eligible for working capital loans. As of now, it has a debt of ₹ 46,950 crore on an, equity base of 145 crore.
18. The electrification works in 98,174 villages have been completed and free electricity connections to 167 lakh Below Poverty Line households have been provided under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana ( RGGVY ) as on 15th July, 2011.
19. The Lokpal Bill, introduced in Parliament recently, was referred to the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari for scrutiny on 8th August, 2011. The committee, headed by Abhishek Manu Singhvi ( Congress ), has three months to submit its report. Once it completes its work and reports back to Parliament, both Houses can, in all probability, take up the Bill for consideration during the winter session.
20. To counter the Supreme Court ban on using tribals as special police officers ( SPOs ) in Naxal – hit areas, the Chhattisgarh government on 12th August, 2011 decided to form a Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Force. It has issued an ordinance to employ 6,000 tribals who were part of the erstwhile ‘Salwa Judum’ and ( Koya Commandos’ funded by the state government ).
21. The Lok Sabha on 12th August, 2011 approved an amended Bill, which provides for a stringent punishment of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to ₹ 1 crore for illegal organ and tissue transplantation. The Transplantation of Human Organs ( Amendment ) Bill, introduced in the House in 2009, was passed after including 43 amendments recommended by a parliamentary standing committee, including making punishment tougher for violators.
22. The Coinage Bill, 2009 which increased the denomination limit for payment by an individual through coins up to ₹ 1,000 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 11th August, 2011. Behind the idea — suggested by the Reserve Bank of India — is convenience in monetary transactions. The Lok Sabha had in March passed the Bill., Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, replying to a debate on the Bill, said its passage would mean insertion of a provision to mint ₹ 000 coins. India has for long been grappling with fake currency printed from across the Western front and getting routed through the porous Nepal border. Mukherjee said such moves as the 25 – paise coin — withdrawn on 30th June — were part of an economic evolution.
23. The Supreme Court on 9th August, 2011 allowed, the disclosure, under the Right to Information Act, of answer sheets of any examination . conducted by any agency in India. A Bench of Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik gave this ruling, upholding a Calcutta High Court order permitting students to inspect and photocopy their answer sheets in any educational or professional examination. Several exam conducting agencies and boards had opposed the disclosure.
24. Cargo vessel MV Rak which sank off Mumbai on 5th August, 2011 is leaking oil and has spread to about seven nautical miles around the ship. A Coast Guard ship Samudra Prahari used oil dispersant to neutralise the spilled oil. The operation ‘Paryavaran Suraksha’ has been launched by Coast Guard. Another vessel ICGS Sankatp has also been pressed into service for augmenting the oil spill response.
25. 9th August, 2011 was observed as the World Tribal Day. Despite the United Nations declaring 9th August as World Tribal Day since almost two decades ago in 1993, it is still not observed or celebrated in many parts of the country.
26. The 44th ASEAN Day was commemorated with the hoisting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN ) flag on a permanent basis for the first time in Chennai at the Consulate General of the Republic of Singapore on 8th August, 2011.
27. Five envoys presented their credentials to the President of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 12th August, 2011. They are: Lesego Ethel Motsumi, the High Commissioner of Botswana, U. Zin Yaw, the Ambassador of Myanmar, Juan Fernando Cordero, the Ambassador of Costa Rica, Alon Ushpiz, the Ambassador of Israel and Dr. Burak Akcapar, the Ambassador of Turkey.
28. Union Minister of Labour & Employment Mallikaijun Kharge on 10th August, 2011 conferred the V.V. Giri Memorial Award 2010 to Dr. Panchmal Dinanath Shenoy as a recognition of outstanding contributions towards the understanding of the emerging labour issues. Dr. Shenoy, a civil servant and scholar, has rendered invaluable contributions to Indian labour policy in general and issues related to labour administration and industrial relations in particular.
29. The Indian Institute of Planning and Management awarded the Rabindranath Tagore International Prize to renowned novelist Ramapada Chowdhary at the India International Centre Auditorium in New Delhi on 12th August, 2011. IIPM founder – director Malay Chaudhuri said the idea for this prize had its genesis in the concern for creating people – centric economic environments for sustainable development and for working towards the greater goal of creating a humane world.
30. Rajya Sabha on 19th August, 2011 passed the Juvenile Justice ( Care and Protection of Children ) Amendment Bill, 2010, with a provision that juvenile home children suffering from diseases like leprosy and TB need not be separated from the rest of the occupants.
31. The Supreme Court on 19th August, 2011 ruled that Other Backward Classes ( OBC ) students, are eligible for admission under the 27 per cent reservation quota if they have scored not less than 10 per cent of the minimum eligibility marks prescribed for the general category.
32. Preparations are under way for the establishment of India’s first Sign Language Institute, “Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre”, by Indira Gandhi National Open University. In a statement issued on 19th August, 2011 IGNOU Vice – Chancellor Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai said : “IGNOU will host seminars and workshops for the empowerment of the hearing impaired. It for this purpose that we will be conducting meetings once in three months with the National Association of the Deaf and the All India Federation of Deaf.”
33. INS Satpura, the second indigenous stealth frigate of the Indian Navy, was commissioned by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma on 20th August, 2011. The first of the class, INS Shivalik, was commissioned in April 2010 while the third ship, INS Sahyadri, is in the final stages of construction at Mazagon Docks Ltd.
34. India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier ( IAC ) is likely to be wet by the end of the year. This will mark the culmination of the first phase of construction of the carrier, being built at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd ( CSL ) for the Indian Navy. With this, India will also join the elite club of nations capable of designing and building carriers upwards of 40,000 tonnes. The second phase will cover all balance work till the delivery of the ship to the Navy in end – 2014.
35. West Bengal will soon be officially called ‘Paschimbanga’. An all – party meeting presided over by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on 19th August, 2011 unanimously decided that the state, which is called ‘West Bengal’ in English and ‘Paschimbanga’ in Bengali, will now have only one name — ‘Paschimbanga’
36. The President on 14th August, 2011 approved 137 Gallantry Awards to Armed Forces Personnel and members of Paramilitary Forces which includes 14 Shaurya Chakras, 03 Bar to Sena Medal ( Gallantry ), 114 Sena Medal ( Gallantry ), 03 Nao Sena Medal ( Gallantry ) and 03 Vayu Sena Medal ( Gallantry ).
37. The Government on 18th August, 2011 announced the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Awards, Dhyan Chand Awards and Dronacharya Awards for the year 2011. A large number of nominations were received for these awards this year, which were considered by three select panels of eminent sportspersons and sports administrators; one headed by Dinesh Khanna, ( for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award), one headed by Satpal ( for Dronacharya Award) and one headed by Secretary ( Sports ) ( for Dhyan Chand Award ).
38. Six novels, five collections of short stories, seven books of poetry and one book of folk tales and plays in 24 Indian languages have been selected for the 2011 Kendra Sahitya Akademi Awards for Children’s Literature’ Akademi president and veteran Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay announced the awards on 16th August, 2011.
39. The Sitaram Yechury – chaired Parliamentary Standing Committee on transport, tourism and culture has in its report submitted on 17th August, 2011 asked the ministry of shipping to expedite the modernisation and expansion proposals for all major ports and ensure that the projects are completed in time. The committee has observed that major ports are facing problems such as inadequate capacity, obsolete cargo handling equipment, low draft, non – availability of berths and poor road and rail connectivity.
41. The Central Statistics Office ( CSO ), Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation has introduced a new series of Consumer Price Indices ( CPI ) on base 2010 = 100 for all – India and States / UTs separately for rural, urban and combined with effect from January, 2011.
42. In a move that may spark a constitutional crisis, Gujarat Governor Kamala Beniwal on 26th August, 2011 appointed a Lokayukta, bypassing the Narendra Modi government. The State government has moved the High Court, challenging the constitutional propriety of the appointment. The Governor had issued the notification appointing R.A. Mehta, a retired judge of the Gujarat High Court as Lokayukta.
43. The President of India, Pratibha Patil on 26th August, 2011 rejected the mercy petitions of the three death row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — Santhan, Murugan and G. Perarivalan alias Arivu. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated while proceeding to an election meeting in Sriperumbudur on 21st May, 1991.
44. Coastal patrolling, anti – pirate, anti – smuggling, search and rescue operations by the Navy got a push on 25th August, 2011 with the commissioning of a water jet fast attack craft ( WJFAC ) INS Karuva at the naval base in Visakhapatnam. INS Karuva, last of the 10 such vessels built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers ( GRSE ) of Kolkata with 90 per cent indigenous content.
45. A Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU ) to establish a framework for scientific collaboration between the European Organisation for Nuclear Research ( CERN ) in Geneva and the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics ( SINP ), Kolkata on 27th August, 2011. The SINP is already contributing to the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider project. This MoU will provide an operational framework to the collaboration in the Large Hadron Collider project as well as providing access to the ISLODE facility, where experiments with radio – active nuclear beams may be carried out. It will also include access to CERN’s Grid computing network.
46. A commemorative stamp in honour of Pandit Santanam, freedom fighter and associate of Lala Lajpat Rai was issued by the Department of Posts on 25th August, 2011 on the occasion of his 126th birth anniversary. The stamp was released by Secretary ( Posts ) Radhika Doraiswamy. Madhuri Sondhi, the lone surviving daughter of Santanam, recalled the life and works of her father at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu and Lahore in undivided India.
47. The Government is expected to commission hydro power capacity of 6,201 MW in the 11th Five – Year Plan period, lower than the target of 8,237 MW, Parliament was informed on 26th August, 2011. The commissioning hydro power capacity of 2,036 MW is getting delayed due to many factors, including land acquisition problems and geological surprises. “A hydro capacity of 4,710 MW has been commissioned so far, as against the mid-term review target of 8,237 MW for the 11th Plan ( 2007 – 12 ). Another hydro capacity of 1,491 MW is likely to be commissioned during the remaining ( part ) of the current financial year.
48. The National Energy Efficiency Summit – 2011 was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in Hyderabad on 27th August, 2011. The Government on 25th August, 2011 said it has prepared a draft Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices to check the unethical marketing tactics adopted by some pharmaceutical companies.
49. The Reserve Bank of India ( RBI ) on 29th August, 2011 unveiled guidelines and eligibility criteria for corporate India to apply for licenses to set up commercial banks. These guidelines prescribe stringent checks and balances to address concerns on corporates possibly using banks as private pools of readily available capital.
50. IAF becomes 1st defence organization to issue digital certificates when the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne was formally handed over the license to issue Digital Signature Certificates by the Controller of Certifying Authorities ( CCA ), Dr N Vijay Aditya at Air Headquarters on 29th August, 2011. As a part of the AFNET ( Air Force Network ) Project, Digital Signatures issued by a license holder would provide the legal recognition to an electronic document under the IT Act 2000. With this, the IAF would be able to put in place a Public Key Infrastructure ( PK1 ).
51. Crisil Research on 29th August, 2011 announced the launch of Crisil Gold Index to track the performance of gold prices in the domestic market. The objective of the index is to provide an independent and relevant benchmark for performance evaluation of investment products with gold as underlying investment. According to the company, since the global credit crisis of 2008, gold has been consistently outperforming the equity market and eliciting enhanced investor interest. Between August, 2008, and July, 2011, gold has given an annualised return of 22.91 per cent compared to 9.3 per cent by S & P CNX Nifty.
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