National Dates & Events in March 2011
1. The Supreme Court quashed the appointment of PJ. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner ( CVC ) on 3rd March, 2011. A Bench of Chief Justice S.H.Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar set aside his appointment acting on the writ petitions filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, the former Chief Election Commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh, and others. And within hours of the judgment, Thomas stepped down from the post.
2. Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan was on 1st March, 2011 named a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee ( JPC ) on the 2G spectrum scam from the Rajya Sabha after her party – member Abhishek Singhvi recused himself on the plea that he had represented telecom companies in court.
3. Senior Congress leader from Kerala and four – time Lok Sabha member PC. Chacko has been named Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee ( JPC ) to probe the alleged scam in the grant of 2G spectrum and telecom licences from 1998 to 2009. Speaker Meera Kumar approved the government recommendation to nominate Chacko to head the multiparty committee in the first week of March 2011.
4. India on 6th March, 2011 conducted another successful test of its ballistic missile defence system when it successfully destroyed an “attacker” ballistic missile with an interceptor missile, over the Bay of Bengal off. Odisha coast.
5. The Cabinet Committee ( CCS ) on Security on 11th March, 2011 approved a series of measures to address various aspects of conducting anti – piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the Coast of Somalia. As part of the move, an inter-ministerial group, headed by the former Cabinet Secretary, K.M. Chandrashekhar would be set up.
6. Strengthening its missile prowess, India on 11th March, 2011 successfully test – fired two, nuclear – capable Dhanush and Prithvi – II ballistic missiles, both having 350 km strike range, from separate locations off the Odisha coast. While Dhanush was flight tested from Naval Vessel INS Suvarna in the Bay of Bengal, Prithivi – II was test – fired from the Chandipur Integrated Test Range, The Indian tests took place shortly after Pakistan successfully test – fired the short – range surface – to – surface nuclear – capable Hatf – II or Abdali missile, which has a range of 180 km.
7. The Government on 11th March, 2011 informed Lok Sabha that while the total water resources availability in the country remains constant, the per capita availability of water has been steadily declining since 1951 due to population growth. The twin indicators of water scarcity are per capita availability and storage. ‘A per capita availability’ of less than 1,700 cubic metres is termed a water stressed condition, while if it falls below 1.
8. The Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced, in Lok Sabha on March, 2011, an increase in the allocation under the MPLAD Scheme from ₹ 72 crore to ₹ 5 crore per Member. This will result in additional allocation of 72,370 crore per year.
9. Tourist hot spot Goa recorded the highest per capita income among all states and union territories during 2009 -10, while Bihar bagged the last spot.
10. Government has approved the crop production targets ( Kharif / Rabi ) for the year 2010 – 11. Food grain production target for 2010 – 11 has been set at 244.5 million tonnes. This includes rice ( 102 mt ), wheat ( 82 mt ), coarse cereals ( 44 mt ) and pulses ( 16.5 mt ). Share of Kharif is 125.31 mt while that of Rabi is 119.19 mt.
11. The Reserve Bank of India aims to revamp regulations for non – banking finance companies ( NBFCs ) for the first time in 15 years, an industry which reaches out to even the remote ports of the country that banks don’t. The central bank in February 2011 has formed a 15 – member committee under former deputy governor Usha Thorat to address issues and complexities relating to finance companies and suggest changes to the legislative framework.
12. Navratria PSU National Aluminium Company Limited ( NALCO ) has added another first to its credit. It has become the first public sector company to initiate action for Employee Stock Options ( ESOPS ), for offering its share to its employees.
13. The Pioneer Group, publishers of the English daily The Pioneer, has bagged the contract to publish Rail Bandhu, India’s first magazine for train passengers. The three – year long contract had five contenders.
14. The third National Convention on the Right to Information ( RT1 ) : Act concluded in Shillong on 12th March, 2011. The Convention came out with a 12 – point Shillong Declaration which called for bringing all political parties, public – private partnership ( PPP ) entities, trade unions and non – governmental organisations under the purview of the RTI Act.
15. The high power review committee tasked by the government to review the controversial agreement between Antrix Corporation and Devas Multimedia Private Ltd submitted its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 12th March, 2011. The committee, consisted of the former Cabinet Secretary, B.K. Chaturvedi, and Professor Roddam Narasimha.
16. Starting in 2011 – 12, the central government is planning to screen the entire population above 30 years of age for non – communicable illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension in five years.
17. Suggestions have been received for amending the article 72 of the Constitution of India to fix a time limit for consideration of mercy petition of convicts facing capital punishment. However, at present, there is no proposal to amend article 72 of the Constitution of India.
18. A Silver Jubilee Function of Narcotics Control Bureau ( NCB ) : NCB was organized in New Delhi on 17th March, 2011 to celebrate 25 years of its existence. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram released the periodical “NARCONTROL”, quarterly News Letter of NCB, on the occasion. Narcotics Control Bureau ( NCB ) is the premier law enforcement and coordinating .agency of India responsible for combating drug trafficking.
19. Goa became the first state in the country to announce an allowance for the unemployed, when chief minister Digambar Kamat presented the 2011 – 12 budget on 17th March, 2011. The monthly dole will be applicable only to unemployed under – graduates, who have been registered with the state employment exchange, and will be provided for a three – year period.
20. Measuring 80 feet, India’s tallest statue of Lord Buddha was unveiled on the premises of Thai Buddha Vihar in Sarnath, Bihar on March 16, 2011. A joint Indo – Thai project conceived in 1970, the statue is built in an area of 2.5 acres and costs ₹ 2 crore. Former Prime Minister of Thailand Surayud Chunalot and former Governor Lord Abbot Wat of Dhamma Suthi in Thailand unveiled the sandstone statue.
21. The prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation was presented to Hyderabad’s Chowmahalla Palace on 15th March, 2011. Chowmahalla Palace, the royal seat of the Asaf Jahi rulers, bagged the coveted award after edging out heritage sites in 43 countries.
22. The Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana ( RKVY ) will be implemented in the coming year ( 2011 – 12 ) with a budget of ₹ 7860 crore and nine sub – schemes. This represents a quantum jump in funds from ₹ 6775 crore in 2010 – 11 and wide expansion in the scope of the scheme.
23. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 15th March, 2011 constituted a task force to evolve a long – term strategy for addressing the issues faced by the Indian pharmaceutical industry.
24. As many as 11.25 crore job cards under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act were issued to people in 619 districts across the country in 2009 – 10.
25. The first ‘Green Manufacturing Summit’ on product, process and technology was organised in New Delhi on 17th March, 2011.
26. The Budget Session, 2011 of Parliament which commenced on February, 2011 was adjourned sine die on 25th March, 2011. The Railway Budget for 2011 – 12 was presented to Parliament on 25th February, the Economic Survey on 25th February, and the General Budget for 2011 – 12 on 28th February. During the Session, 14 Bills ( 11 in Lok Sabha and 3 in Rajya Sabha ) were introduced and a total of eight Bills were passed by both Houses of Parliament.
27. The Government has reconstituted Society of Film and Television Institute of India ( FTII ), Pune for a period of three years with effect from 4th March, 2011 or until further orders whichever is earlier.
28. The Union Cabinet on 22nd March, 2011 cleared a Bill that seeks to create a national database of academic qualifications in DMAT format, which will authenticate and reissue certificates. The National Academic Depository Bill 2011 will now be tabled in Parliament.
29. India launched its first pollution cap and trade scheme on 24th March, 2011. The pilot scheme will cover air pollution caused by 1,000 industries in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat, and could have a significant impact on public health.
30. The Government on 22nd March, 2011 cleared the Bureau of Indian Standards ( Amendment ) Bill, 2011 paving the way for introduction of mandatory hallmarking of more products including gold. At present, about 77 items including cement, mineral water and milk products are certified with mandatory hallmarking under the BIS Act to conform to the quality level of goods and services to consumers.
31. The Lok Sabha on 24th March, 2011 passed a bill to provide status of IIT to eight new institutes and upgrade BHU’s institute of technology into IIT. The Bill seeks to add eight new institutes at Bhubaneshwar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhour, Mandi, Patna and Ropar as Ills and integrate the Institute of Technology.
32. Odisha will hereafter be called ‘Odisha’ and the Oriya language will be known as ‘Odia’ with Parliament on 24th March, 2011 giving approval to amendment of the Constitution and also passing the related bill. The Rajya Sabha passed the Odisha ( the Alteration of Name ) Bill and adopted the Constitution ( 113th ) Amendment Bill by all 169 members present and voting.
33. The Government on 24th March, 2011 constituted a committee to prepare a concept note on an ‘innovation university in liberal arts’ with – noted personalities Sunil Khilnani, Ramachandra Guha, Madhav Gadgil and Girish Karnad as its members among others.
34. The Government on 24th March, 2011 introduced the PFRDA Bill in the Lok Sabha to give statutory status to interim pension regulator and promoting old age income security. The Bill provides for establishing a statutory regulatory body to be called the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority ( PFRDA ), which will undertake promotional, developmental and regulatory functions in respect to pension funds.
35. The V K Shunglu committee on 24th March, 2011 reported procedural violations in the construction of over 1,000 flats inside the Commonwealth Games Village by real estate developer Emmar MGF and indicted Delhi Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna for alleged inadequacies
36. The Directorate – General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA ) on 24th March, 2011 revoked a total of 14 commercial pilot licences ( CPL ), ending the career of those pilots who submitted fake flying training records from Rajasthan State Flying School to procure their licences.
37. Bill Gates on 24th March, 2011 made it dear that he will not make “large substantial donations ” to India’s HIV / AIDS fight after 2012. In MoUs signed between Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s India AIDS Initiative, Avahan, and National Aids Control Programme ( NACP ) in 2006 and 2009, it was decided that Avahan would hand over all its projects to National Aids Control Organisation ( NACO ) by 2012.
38. The foundation stone for Sankhya, The National Museum of Statistics at the University of Hyderabad ( UoH ) campus was laid by former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in Hyderabad on 30th March.
39. A powerful earthquake toppled homes in north – eastern Myanmar killing more – than 70 people on 24th March, 2011. The quake, measured at magnitude 6.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey, was centred just north of Tachileik town in Shan State near the Thai border.
40. The Union Government on 24th March, 2011 issued the resolution notifying the constitution of the 11 – member Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission ( FSLRC ), headed by Justice ( retired ) B.N, Srikrishna.
41. The Banking Laws ( amendment ) Bill 2011, which will allow promoters and shareholders of private banks to exercise voting rights in proportion to their shareholding, was tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee on 22nd March, 2011. At present, this right is restricted to 10 per cent of the total voting rights of all the shareholders of a banking company.
42. The Central Board of Direct Taxes ( CBDT ) on 21st March, 2011 signed up the country’s three top economic think tanks to assess the unaccounted wealth held by Indians and profile activities that are the main sources of black money and money laundering. The three institutes are National Institute of Public Finance and Polcy, National Council of Applied Economic Research and National Institute of Financial Management.
43. The National Payments Corporation on 21st March, 2011 finalised the proposed unique India Card which once commercially launched would be a domestic alternative to the global real – time payment processing firms like Visa and MasterCard.
44. The population of the country as per the provisional figures of Census 2011 is 1210.19 million of which 623.72 million ( 51.54% ) are males and 586.46 million ( 48.46% ) are females. The provisioned figures of Census 2011 were released in New Delhi on 31st March, 2011 by Union Home Secretary G. K. Pillai and Registrar – General of India C. Chandramouli.
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