Saturday, November 30, 2013

Current Affairs - 29 November 2013

Planning Commission,s analysis anti poverty programmes are not sufficient

  • An internal analysis in the Planning Commission shows that India can eliminate the poverty gap by spending just a fraction of its annual anti-poverty budget instead of inaugurating new anti-poverty schemes.
  • The cost of pushing all households above the poverty line would have been Rs. 55,744 crore during 2011-12 if cash transfers were used instead of anti-poverty schemes.
  • Of this, Rs 42,932 crore would have had to be disbursed to the below poverty line households in rural areas and the remaining Rs 12,812 crore to those in urban areas.
  • In 2011-12, the year for which the latest NSSO Consumption Expenditure Survey data is available, the UPA government had spent Rs 72,822.07 crore on food subsidy.
  • The expenditure in the same year on the UPA’s seven flagship schemes was Rs 1,09,379 crore.
  • Poverty gap is the amount of cash given to a household to lift it above the poverty line. It is the difference in the level of consumption of the households below the poverty line and those on the line.
  • The analysis uses the Tendulkar Poverty Line, according to which a household of five people subsists with a monthly consumption of Rs. 874.50.
  • This poverty line is very close to the World Bank Poverty Line of an income of $1.25 a day (on a Purchasing Power Parity basis).

India taking interest on developing Iran’s Chah-bahar port

  • India indicated its plan to move decisively on developing a port in Iran that would ensure connectivity with Afghanistan and Central Asia even though the recent Iran-P-5+1 interim agreement does not seem to offer a big relief from the sanctions.
  • Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India felt the development of Chah-bahar port — barely 80 km away from Pakistan’s Gwadar port and providing access to Afghanistan — doesn’t get affected by sanctions.
  • India has already said the two-stage deal on Iran’s nuclear file was in conformity with its position over the issue.

Gender manifesto for coming general elections by women groups

  • Calling for addressing women’s issues, needs and concerns by decision-making bodies at all levels of governance, women’s groups on Thursday released a gender manifesto with a hope that political parties would consider it for the upcoming general elections.
  • Demanding inclusion of development of legal frameworks that ensure gender equality within political parties, development and effective implementation of women-friendly legislation, implementation of all of Justice Verma Committee recommendations and effective utilisation of the Nirbhaya Fund, the gender manifesto also calls for the immediate passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.
  • “The gender manifesto calls on political parties to take their responsibilities towards Indian women seriously and to take steps to guarantee gender equality in all sectors of society,” Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research, said.
  • The manifesto demands that political parties make strong commitments to address discrimination against women within their political manifestos for the upcoming assembly and general elections to ensure that the next government will respond effectively to gender issues and develop gender-sensitive policy and legislation.
  • The manifesto calls for political parties to take an active role in addressing women’s safety, health and nutrition, work opportunities and education as well as taking every step to ensure their equal participation in every sphere of society, Dr. Kumari has said.

China is in no mood to set up ADIZ near India border

  • China on Thursday said there was “no question” of it establishing an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) near its border with India. It pointed out that such zones are set up only by littoral countries in international airspace.
  • China announced the setting up of its first ADIZ — an area in international airspace within which countries monitor aircraft — which extends over the disputed East China Sea islands that are at the centre of a dispute between China and Japan.
  • The Chinese government said that aircraft that enter its ADIZ — which overlaps with parts of the ADIZ set up by Japan in 1969 — will be required to notify the authorities in advance about their flight plans.

New dispute in east china sea

  • Aircraft from South Korea’s military and Japan’s Self-Defence Forces have carried out flights through China’s newly established Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the disputed East China Sea, with both countries on Thursday indicating they will defy China's plans to bolster its control over the contested region.
  • South Korea’s military said it conducted a surveillance flight through the zone “without informing the Chinese authorities,” the Seoul-based Yonhap news agency reported, adding that the flight was “a clear sign” that the government would not follow China’s regulations.
  • Several countries, such as South Korea and Japan, have already set up similar zones, which are pre-defined areas in international airspace within which a country monitors and tracks aircraft that are heading towards its territorial airspace.

Supreme court's direction to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,

  • The Supreme Court has asked Parliament to bring in proper amendments to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, or enact a suitable legislation so that women and children born out of live-in relationships are protected, though those types of relationship might not be a relationship in the nature of a marriage.
  • Making this suggestion, a Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Pinaki Chandra Ghose said: “Parliament has to ponder over these issues, and bring in proper legislation or make a proper amendment of the DV Act.”
  • The Bench said children born out of such relationships “suffer [the] most, which calls for bringing in remedial measures by the Parliament, through proper legislation.”
  • The Bench said: “Live-in or marriage like relationship is neither a crime nor a sin though socially unacceptable in this country.
  • Long-standing relationship as a concubine, though not a relationship in the nature of a marriage, of course, may at times, deserves protection because that woman might not be financially independent, but we are afraid that DV Act does not take care of such relationships which may perhaps call for an amendment of the definition of Section 2(f) of the DV Act, which is restrictive and Exhaustive.”

NASA is planning to grow plants and vegetables on the moon

  • NASA is planning to grow plants and vegetables — such as turnip and basil — on the Moon, by 2015, to understand whether humans can live and work on the Earth’s natural satellite.
  • The U.S. space agency will deposit plants, on–board a commercial lunar lander, on the Moon’s surface within the next two years, NASA said. The initiative is being driven by the Lunar Plant Growth Habitat team.
  • They intend to use coffee–can sized containers designed to protect the plants against harsh elements of the climate, and will also provide cameras, sensors, and electronics in order to relay information, about how the plants fare, back to Earth.
  • NASA’s plan is “to develop a very simple sealed growth chamber that can support germination over a five-to–ten-day period in a spacecraft on the Moon.”

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