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Friday, 23 March 2012




  • The 1st ever post independence Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 began on 29 June from the Sankhola village of Hazemara block in West Tripura District. It is a door-to-door census in the entire country. This gigantic exercise will pave the way to identify the households living below the poverty line in rural and urban areas of the country. The entire process will be completed by end of 2011-12. The results relating to the identification of poor households would be utilized in the 12th Five Year Plan. He said The BPL Census will be conducted by State governments/Union Territory Administrations with the technical and financial support of the Ministry of Rural Development. 
  • The Union Cabinet of India approved proposal of the law ministry for a National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, providing for fast track courts to clear the backlog in the judicial system. The objective of the Mission is to increase access to justice by reducing delays and arrears in the system and enhance accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards. The objectives are to be achieved in a time bound manner by 2015-16 through a mission mode approach. The Mission is planned to have a Mission Directorate, an Advisory Council and a Governing Council for overseeing the implementation of the Mission. 
  • The Union Cabinet on 23 June 2011 approved extension of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) to all the registered domestic workers in India. The scheme will likely cover approximately 47.50 lakh domestic workers in the country. The RSBY will provide for smart card based cashless health insurance cover of Rs.30000 per annum to BPL workers (a unit of five) in unorganised sector in any empanelled hospital anywhere in India. More than 2.34 crore smart cards were issued on 31 May 2011.The scheme has since then been extended to building and other construction workers registered with Welfare Boards constituted under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, street vendors, beedi workers and such MNREGA workers who have worked for more than 15 days during the preceding year. 
  • The Union Law Ministry decided to keep the Navodaya Vidyalayas in the country outside the ambit of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The decision was reached by the Law Ministry after hearing out the logic of Human Resource Development Ministry and consultation with the Attorney General (AG). The two key provisions of the RTE Act are- no screening and 25% reservation for economically weaker sections will not be applicable to 444 Navodaya Vidyalayas across the country. Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) conducts entrance examination in February every year and new session commences in July. However in the backdrop of legal constraint, the entrance examination could not be held thus far for 2011. 
  • The Union government decided to set up a high-powered task force to review the unfinished tasks and make further suggestions for implementation with a view to revamp of defence management in India. The government arrived at the decision ten years after the Kargil Review Committee and a Group of Ministers attempted the first major revamp. The 14-member task force will be headed by Naresh Chandra, a former bureaucrat who has held top administrative jobs in the Ministry of Defence and Prime Minister's Office. The panel is expected to start its work on 14 July and has six months to complete its report. The Naresh Chandra committee will contemporaries the Kargil Review Committee’s (KRC) recommendations in view of the fact those 10 years have passed since the report was submitted. The formation of the task force marked the first comprehensive attempt at reviewing the entire gamut of defence preparedness and management in a decade. 
  • The Election Commission of India on June 17 launched the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management- an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension for participatory democracy and election management. The first phase of this premier institute was inaugurated jointly at the Commission premises in New Delhi by Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr. S. Y. Quraishi and Election Commissioner from Kenya Mr. Ken Nyaundi. The two Election Commissioners Shri V.S. Sampath and Shri H. S. Brahma, also were present. 
  • The Indian Government created an email id, bm-feedback@nic.in on 15 June 2011, to help the Indian public in taking part in the tackling of the Black Money issue. The Indian public can send their ideas on tackling the issue of black money to this email id. The email was created on the server of the National Informatics Centre .The government of India already constituted a committee headed by Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman,Prakash Chandra to devise new strategies to deal with black money. 
  • India signed three agreements with the World Bank for cleaning the Ganga River on 14 June 2011. World Bank agreed to provide one billion US Dollars (approximately Rs 4,600 crore) for the Ganga river cleaning project. It also agreed for a credit worth approximately 24 million dollars for the two projects, i.e. strengthening Rural Livelihoods and Biodiversity Conservation of India. The Ganga faces great challenges from expanding population, urbanization and industrial growth. To stop the flow of untreated municipal sewage and industrial effluent into the Ganga River by 2020 is the objective of Ganga project. 
  • The Government will shortly be launching a scheme to make available contraceptives at door steps, in a bid to boost population control efforts. Speaking at the 53rd Convocation of the International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai on june 17, the Union Health & Family Welfare Mr. Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the ASHA health volunteer would promote the use of contraceptives at the household level in targeted districts. Under the scheme, the Centre will make available contraceptives free of cost at the Block level, from where ASHA volunteers will pick up their supplies. He said the funding to the health sector is going to be increased from the present level of less than 1 per cent of GDP to 2 to 3 percent of GDP during the 12th Fiver Year Plan (2012-17). 
  • The Maritime States Development Council (MSDC) on june 14, urged those coastal states of the country that are yet to constitute maritime boards to complete the task at the earliest.The 13th Maritime States Development Council Meeting held at Hyderabad.Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat are the three coastal states which have their Maritime Boards. The Union Minister for shipping,G K Vasan said the meeting agreed that all the ports, including major and non-major, will give priority for berthing of Navy and Coast Guard vessels. Keeping in view the security aspect at various ports, it was agreed that all the ports dealing with EXIM cargo (Export- Import) should install Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS). The functioning of VTMS should be manned by appropriately qualified and trained personnel. 
  • The West Bengal Government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on 7 June 2011 signed a pact to set up a new elected body in the Darjeeling hill areas. The elected body will have full administrative, executive and financial powers and will be more autonomous in nature than DGHC.Till this body was set up, a five member committee will constitute a board of administrators for supervising the development process in the Gorkha hills. 
  • The Kolkata Metro was included in the Indian Railways' logo on 13 June 2011, as the 17th star on the logo. It followed the notification by the Union Ministry of Railways, onKolkata Metro’s inclusion as the 17th Zonal Railway. The notification was issued on 29 December 2010.The Railway Board decided to include a 17th star in the existing Indian Railways' logo to mark the inclusion of the Metro Railway as the 17th Zonal Railway. The Indian Railways' logo contains an image of a steam engine encircled by a number of stars symbolising the number of Railway zones. Before Kolkata Metro’s inclusion, the number of stars was 16 on the Indian Railways' logo. 
  • The Union Cabinet of India on 9 June 2011 lowered the age limit for the purpose of pensions from 65 to 60 years. The decision taken by the cabinet will be effective from 1 April 2011. It is like to benefit an additional 72.32 lakh people in the age-group of 60-64 years. The decision would lead to an additional expenditure of 1736 crore rupees.In 2007, the government had launched the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension scheme to provide assistance to senior citizens falling in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.The Union Cabinet also decided to raise the rate of pension to persons of 80 years and above from 200 rupees to 500 rupees.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Security of India on 6 June 2011 cleared a proposal to buy ten C-17 heavy lift military aircraft from the USA. It is considered the biggest defence deal ever entered between the two countries. The deal is worth of 4.1 billion US dollars. Under the deal, the US defence Company Boeing, will invest 30 percent of the contract amount for setting up defence facilities in India.The C17 aircraft can lift two T90 tanks and artillery guns and it can be also used for airlift of troops and cargo to operating bases anywhere in the world. It can also perform tactical airlift, airdrop missions and medical evacuation. The C 17 aircraft has the capacity to carry over 130 fully-equipped troops. 
  • Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on 6 June 2011 gave its nod for National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID). NATGRID would be a repository of information ranging from train and air journey to Income Tax and bank accounts of individuals. NATGRID will facilitate sharing of such kind of information with law enforcement agencies to combat terror threat.The NATGRID will have access to 21 categories of database like air travel, railway, bank account details, income tax, credit card transactions, visa and immigration records.Following the Mumbai terror attack on 26 November 2008, Home ministry had proposed a blue print for country’s internal security, which included the formation of NATGRID. 
  • The UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on 1 June 2011 launched the Janani-Shishu Suraksha Programme at Mewat in Haryana. Janani-Shishu Suraksha programme was sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The programme was launched for pregnant women with the objective to effectively address the problem of maternal and child mortality.Under the Janani-Shishu Suraksha programme, pregnant mothers can avail government health institutions for free deliveries. Both the mother and her child will get free treatment, free drugs and consumables, diagnostics, user charges besides free provision of blood and transportation.The free facilities will comprise delivery including C-section, special diet, diagnostics etc.
  • The food ministry prepared a new food security bill, reworking an earlier version. In August 2010 the UPA government had dismissed the previous draft of the Food Bill after it was found wanting by the Congress leadership. The Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, had made number of recommendations, including keeping the country’s food distribution system open for all, regardless of poverty status. The new bill provides for legal entitlement for both priority and general categories. Under the new bill, entitlements for BPL households are wholly in line with the NAC’s draft food bill which was made public on 7 June 2011.All BPL households would be given 7 kg per person or 35 kg per family of government-held grains at a subsidised price of R1 a kg for millet, wheat for R2 a kg and rice for R3 a kg. Those above the poverty line would get 3 kg of grains per person, though the NAC had recommended 5 kg per person. These would be available at half the price at which the government buys from farmers, also called minimum support price (MSP).The new bill also provides for cash benefits to meet enhanced food requirements of pregnant women, who would get Rs 1000 for first six months of pregnancy, and lactating women, as well as children up to 14 years
  • The Union government of India on 31st May 2011 ordered security audit of all important installations comprising nuclear stations, military bases and oil refineries across the nation. The order was issued after a high-level meeting held by the Union Home Ministry following the terrorist attack on a naval base in Pakistan. A joint-team of local security heads and Intelligence Bureau will survey and assess the level of security of the important installations. The security audit will cover all nuclear plants, oil refineries, Indian Space Research Organisation installations, military camps and airports.

  • The Union Cabinet of India on 28 July 2011 approved the proposal for the enactment of a new legislation in the form of the Lokpal Bill, 2011. The Bill provides for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Lokpal will consist of a Chairperson and 8 members. Half of the members shall be judicial members. The Chairperson would be from the judiciary and only a serving or retired Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court would be eligible for being appointed as Chairperson. It will have its own Investigation Wing and Prosecution Wing with such officers and staff as are necessary to carry out its functions. The Lokpal shall inquire into allegations of corruption made in respect of Prime Minister, after he has demitted office; a Minister of the Union; a Member of Parliament; any Group 'A' officer or equivalent; Chairperson or member or officer equivalent to Group 'A' in any body/ Board/ corporation/ authority/ company/ society/ trust/ autonomous body established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly financed or controlled by the Central Government; However, the organisations created for religious purposes and receiving public donations would be outside the purview of Lokpal. 
  • The President of India, Pratibha Patil released a commemorative postage stamp on Vitthal Sakharam Page. The postage stamp was released in recognition of Page’sillustrious contribution in the field of social service, culture, education & literature, economics, philosophy etc. His integrated Area Development Scheme, popularly known as Page Scheme for the integrated development of village areas and the amelioration of small landholders, traditional artisans and agricultural labourers was widely recognized in the field of social service. His persuasion to the Maharashtra Government to implement Employment Guarantee Scheme on a pilot basis in 1969 finally led to enactment of Employment Guarantee Act in the Maharashtra in 1977. 
  • The Supreme Court of India stated in its ruling that water allocated by a state for a particular region is not a matter of judicial review. A Supreme Court bench including Justice Markandey Katju and Justice CK Prasad gave the ruling. The bench gave the ruling while dismissing a plea for a direction for allocation of adequate water in Kachchh district in Gujarat. The Kachchh Jal Sankat Nivara had filed the petition asking for release of water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam by the State government to the district. 
  • According to statistics for 2010 released by the Union tourism ministry, Andhra Pradeshgained the position of the most visited destination in the country recording 155.8 million domestic tourists. Lord Venkateswara temple of Tirumala in Andhra Pradeshattracts more domestic tourists than any other spot in the country. In terms of number of tourists Andhra Pradesh out did Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, which have Taj Mahal and Ajanta Ellora, respectively. Some 740 million tourists visited various destinations in the country in 2010 which is 10.7% more compared to the number of tourists in 2009. The number of domestic tourist visits to the states and Union Territories was 669 million in 2009 and 563 million in 2008. The growth in domestic tourist visits in 2010 was about 11% in comparison with 2009. 
  • BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi was elected Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST (Goods and Services Tax) on 18 July 2011. Modi was elected in place of the former West Bengal Finance Minister, Asim Dasgupta. 
  • A tripartite agreement was signed between the Centre, West Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM) at Pintail village near Siliguri on 18 July 2011 paving the way for the setting up of the Gorkhal and Territorial Administration( GTA), an elected body for the Darjeeling hills. The new set-up will have 50 members; 45 of them will be elected and the rest nominated. A Bill for this will be moved in the state assembly and it will be sent to the President for assent. Elections to the new body would be held within six months 
  • Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad launched a campaign against diabetes and hypertension in slums of Delhi n 19 July 2011. The mass screening programme will cover slum clusters in Delhi to detect people affected with diabetes and hypertension. The ministry decided to screen around five crore people before September 2011. The UN General Assembly will hold a special session to discuss means to control these diseases.The screening will be conducted for all pregnant women irrespective of their age and for all people who are above the age of 30 years. 
  • The Supreme Court of India held in its recent judgment that the prohibition imposed by the centre on non-iodised salt for human consumption is unconstitutional.The court however said that the ban will continue for six months. A bench of Supreme Court held that Rule 44-I of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1995 was unconstitutional. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act was intended to ban the use of adulterated and misbranded products. The government had made the consumption of only iodised salt mandatory on the basis that deficiency of iodine caused a lot of disorders like dwarfism, squint eye, lower IQ and mental retardation. 
  • 3 Serial bomb explosions occurred in financial capital Mumbai on July 14 - the first explosion in the Zaveri Bazaar, second in the Opera House business district and third blast in Dadar district. The explosions struck in Mumbai metropolis two days after the fifth anniversary of the serial train blasts had left 186 dead and 800 injured.
  • The Ministry Of Rural Development entered into an agreement with the World Bank for soft loan worth US$1 billion (approximately Rs. 4,600 crores) to implement the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) at Krishi Bhawa, New Delhi. The distribution of project funds among the states would be based on the relative share of rural BPL population in the total states. NRLP will invest intensively in support implementation of NRLM in 100 districts and 400 blocks of 12 high poverty states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu), accounting for 85 percent of the rural poor in the country.
  • The Supreme Court on 4 July appointed a high-level Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former apex court judge B.P. Jeevan Reddy to monitor the investigation and the steps being taken to bring back black money stashed away in foreign banks. Besides Justice Reddy, who will be the chairman of the SIT, the apex court also appointed its former judge, Justice M.B. Shah as the vice-chairman of the panel. A bench comprising Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar directed that the High-Level Committee (HLC) constituted by the government to look into the issue of black money would “forthwith” be a part of the SIT.
  • The stock-taking by a panel of experts at the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerela catapulted the shrine to the country’s richest. According to the Supreme Court appointed seven members panel that began its findings on 30 June 2011, the value of recoveries at the temple touched close to Rs 1 lakh crore, more than Kerala public debt of Rs 70969 crore. There was found a three-and-a-half ft tall idol of Lord Vishnu studded with diamonds, emeralds and rubies, an 18-ft-long ornament used to adorn the deity. The value is likely to further rise with the opening of another secret vault. There were coins marked 1772 indicating they were from the era of former Travancore ruler Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma. The Supreme Court-appointed committee however refused to confirm reports about the value of the recoveries. The committee mentioned that the wealth belonged to the temple and it will be preserved where it was found.
  • Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran on 7 July 2011 resigned from the Union Cabinet. He tendered his resignation following allegations by businessman C Sivasankaran that he misused his position as telecom minister from 2004 to 2007 and sought favours for granting a telecom license. Sivasankaran told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that he was forced to sell his telecom business. CBI had submitted a 71-page status report on the scam probe in the Supreme Court which mentioned this allegation by Sivasankaran. Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal, who is looking at the legal aspects of the 2G scam, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to apprise him about the facts of the case.
  • The Supreme Court on 5 July 2011 lifted the stay on the proceedings against Justice P.D. Dinakaran observing that Sikkim High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran was deploying tactics to stall the impeachment proceedings initiated against him. The apex court asked the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Judges Inquiry Committee to reconstitute the panel entrusted with the task of probing into the allegations against the judge. The Supreme Court upheld the framing of fourteen charges of alleged corruption and misconduct against Sikkim high court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran by a three-member inquiry committee in the impeachment proceedings. Justice Dinakaran is facing charges of corruption and of having wealth disproportionate to his known source of income.
  • The Union Cabinet of India in its meeting on 7 July 2011 decided to increase the development funds allocated to Members of Parliament under Local Area Development(MPLAD) Scheme from the existing 2 crore to 5 crore rupees from the financial year 2011-12. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.The MPLAD scheme was launched in 1993-94. The project funded includes creation of infrastructure to provide education, public health, drinking water, sanitation and roads. It should be noted that under MPLAD scheme, funds are allocated to MPs of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • Supreme Court on 5 July 2011 declared Salwa Judum as illegal and unconstitutional. The court ordered the immediate disarming of tribal youths who are deployed as Special Police Officers- either as Koya Commandos, Salwa Judum or any other force- in the fight against the Maoist insurgency. The court gave the ruling in response to writ petition filed by social anthropologist Nandini Sundar and others. The bench held that the policy of the Chhattisgarh state violated the rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of those who were employed as SPOs and used in counter-insurgency measures against Naxalites as well as of citizens living in the concerned areas.
  • The Union Cabinet's Committee on Economic Affairs has decided to double the honorarium for anganwadi workers and helpers under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme.Now the Anganwadi workers (AWWs) of regular anaganwadi centres will get 3000 rupees a month. Earlier they got 1500 rupees. Angadwadi helpers (AWHs) and Anganwadi workers of mini anganwadi centres will get now 1500 rupees as against 750 rupees. The honorarium will be effective from 1 April 2011.According to an estimate, there are a total of 11.71 lakh AWWs including workers in mini-AWCs and 10.97 lakh AWHs in India as on 31 December 2010.The Integrated Child Development Services scheme is a nationwide programme for early childhood care and development. It targets pregnant mothers and children below the age of six.

  • Gujarat governor Dr Kamla on 26 August 2011 appointed a close Anna Hazare aide and former justice of the Gujarat High Court, R A Mehta, as the new Gujarat Lokayukta. The governor's order was based on the recommendation of the chief justice of Gujarat HC. The governor has the right to appoint Lokayukta without consulting the government. The position for Lokayukta in Gujarat lay vacant for seven years prior to the appointment of Mehta. The Modi government moved the Gujarat High Court seeking quashing of the governor's order.
  • The Union Cabinet of India cleared the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India Bill.The Bill envisages an Autonomous Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. A high-level panel have finalised the rules of implementation of nuclear liability law. The bill would pave way for setting up an authority that would subsume the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). The AERB was set up in 1983 and reports to the Atomic Energy Commission. The bill seeks to give the proposed Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India full power to stop construction work and order a shut down of an operating nuclear plant. The bill would give more powers to the country's nuclear regulator by making it a statutory body. It is also proposed that the NRAI order cannot be challenged in a court of law. The authority is likely to include persons of eminence from engineering, environment, social, nuclear and finance areas. Indian Government decided to set up NRAI in the backdrop of the Fukushima nuclear accident. 
  • The Programme called Himayat was launched by the Union ministry of Rural Development in Srinagar for giving training and placement to over one lakh youth from poor families in Jammu and Kashmir. The Programme Himayat will be implemented in five years. The Union Cabinet has already approved 235 crore rupees for this programme. The central government will spend Rs.235 crore annually. The priority will be given to youth who are school and college drop-outs and training will be provided at each of the block headquarters. The project will be funded by the rural development ministry’s National Rural Livelihood Mission.
  • The West Bengal government and the opposition parties on 19 August 2011 unanimously decided to rename the state Paschim Banga The name of West Bengal would be Paschim Banga, both in English and Bengali. 
  • The government has instructed all states to appoint Ombudsman at district level to redress grievances related to implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA). Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said that the government is also making extensive use of Information and Communication Technology, ICT to enhance transparency in the implementation of MGNREGA. Payment of wages has been made mandatory through bank accounts and states have been asked to enhance ICT based rural banking services in order to make wage disbursement more transparent. 
  • The Rajya Sabha passed a resounding vote to impeach Calcutta High Court judge Justice Soumitra Sen and ruled out his resignation. Sen had himself presented his case against the impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha towards the end of August will take up the impeachment motions as the Rajya Sabha has given its nod for Sen's removal. Justice Soumitra Sen of Calcutta High Court is set to become the first-ever judge to be removed after the Rajya Sabha adopted an impeachment motion with over two-thirds majority, the only instance of its kind. The motion in Rajya Sabha was carried by 189 votes in support and 17 against thereby meeting the requirement that the vote should be supported by two-thirds of members present with the turnout in the House not less than half the total strength.
  • The 19th National Children's Science Congress is to be organised in Jaipur from 27 to 31 December 2011 to provide an opportunity to the children to display their interest in the latest developments in science and technology. Land resources: Save for the future was set as the theme for the 2011 National Children's Science Congress.
  • The union government of India has set up a National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) to access all intelligence data. It is to function as a tool for strengthening the capability of the existing intelligence and law enforcement agencies. It aims at improving access to information and it’s sharing. NATGRID has been formed to link databases for inputs to combat terrorism. It is meant to improve India's capability to counter threats to its internal security.
  • Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has set up the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF), which is operationalised in the Indian Missions in all the Countries with effect from 24 March 2011 for safeguarding the welfare and protection especially of Indian workers going abroad. The fund aims to provide on-site emergency assistance for the Overseas Indian Citizens, who are in distress. The welfare services provided by the ICWF includes boarding and lodging for distressed household / domestic workers and unskilled labourers, emergency medical care to the overseas Indians in need etc.,
  • The Lok Sabha of Indian Parliament on 12 August 2011 approved the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Bill, 2011. The bill entails stringent punishment for those involved in organ trade. The amended bill will also make swapping of vital organs between willing but incompatible donors legal. Henceforth, when a donor’s organ is not compatible with his relative but is suitable for the other, the two families (unknown to each other) can go ahead and exchange the organs. At present, rules restrict organ transplant to between blood relatives (father, mother, daughter, son, sister and brother) and between married couples. The bill also allows uncles and aunts and grandparents to donate their organs with the approval of authorization committee.
  • Chhattisgarh will have 9 new districts with effect from January 2012, taking the total number of districts in the state to 27.
  • Jharkhand state government launched the Dal Bhat scheme under which lunch will be given to a poor person at Rupees 5. To execute this scheme, 100 food centres in all the 24 districts were opened. Under the dal bhat scheme a person will get 200 grams of rice, pulses and chokha. The food centres will be run by NGOs and monitored by the district administration. According to an estimate, half of Jharkhand’s three crore population falls under the Below Poverty Line.
  • The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is an initiative open to universities and other institutions of higher education and research worldwide, which undertake activities in support of the mission, and mandates of the United Nations. About 50 Indian institutions have joined UNAI so far. UNAI gives active support to 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution, which are based on the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Millennium Development Goals target. 
  • The Union Cabinet approved the proposal of Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) for setting up of a new company, called AGRlNDIA. The AGRlNDIA will be a registered company under the Companies Act, fully owned by Government of India in the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) with a share capital of Rs.100 crore and initial paid up capital of Rs.50 crore. AGRlNDIA would undertake the following major activities:

    Protection and management of intellectual properties generated in the system and its commercialization / distribution for public benefit.

    Production, marketing and popularization of ICAR`s products, processes and technologies in agriculture and allied sectors. 

    Providing skilled services from ICAR, such as consultancies, contract research, contract service, customized capacity building, technical support for turnkey project etc. 

    Setting up research and development farms and assist in setting up production units outside India, especially in Africa and in the Asia-Pacific region and perhaps other regions of the world such as Latin America. 

    Foster public-private partnerships in research, education and other capacity building in agriculture and allied sectors.
  • The Bombay High Court, has celebrated the 150 years of legal heritage, on 14 august 2011. It is in fact the second oldest High Court in India, established on August 14, 1862; just about a month after the Calcutta High Court was established, under the High Courts Act of 1861. The Madras High Court (15.08.1862) and the Allahabad High Court (11.06.1866) were the other High Courts established under the same act. 
  • Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) has formulated “e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP)” for implementation of e-governance in Panchayats as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the umbrella of National e-Governance Programme (NeGP). The scheme aims at supporting all the State Governments for making effective use of IT in Panchayats in the process of planning at grassroots level, bring out transparency in the working of the PRIs and help in increased accountability of these institutions. As on 31 March, 2011, 1,19,245 Village Panchayats have been provided internet connectivity. It is targeted to provide internet connectivity to all Panchayats by 2012. 
  • D V Sadananda Gowda, was elected Karnataka's 26th chief minister by BJP's legislator. Gowda, MP from Udupi-Chikmagalur emerged victorious over rival Jagadish Shettar's camp. In the secret ballot, Gowda polled 63 votes compared to Shettar's 55. Of 119 BJP MLAs, 117 voted . D. V. Sadananda Gowda born in 1953 hails from the Devaragunda family of Mandekolu Village of Sullia Taluk.

  • A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Sikkim-Nepal border on 18 September 2011 and sent shockwaves across north and east India and Bangladesh. The quake’s epi centre lay in an area in Sikkim 64 km from the capital, Gangtok. Six persons were reported to have been killed and 50 injured in the quake. In Nepal, five persons were killed and 44 injured. The West Bengal districts of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri were also badly affected.
  • Election Commission of India (ECI) for the first time decided to deploy volunteers of National Service Scheme (NSS) and cadets of National Cadet Corps (NCC) for election duty in Uttar Pradesh and other states going for Assembly polls in 2012. ECI has planned to deploy the volunteers at polling stations with more than 1,000 voters and where there are more than two booths in the same place.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on 30 September 2011 was appointed asexternal auditor of two major UN organizations, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). It is for the first time that a supreme audit institution from outside Europe has been appointed to these prestigious positions in these two organisations. These appointments were made in the face of competition from other developed countries like the U.K., Spain and Norway. The tenure of these audits could extend up to six years.
  • According to data released by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on 23 September 2011, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana are the top three states from where maximum cases of bonded labour have been reported in the past 18 years.As per the report 1300 cases of human rights violations pertaining to bonded labour were reported from Uttar Pradesh followed by Punjab (465) and Haryana (425). Delhi stood at the ninth position with 45 such cases. 
  • The Gujarat Legislative Assembly on 27 September 2011 passed the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 2011. The bill seeks seven-year jail term for cow slaughter or even transporting the animal for that purpose. The Maldharis(Pastoral People) in Gujarat had been demanding stricter laws against cow slaughter and trade of beef for a long time. 
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled the new policy which aims at dealing with Naxalism through a five year integrated plan while addressing the concluding session of the day long national workshop on development strategies in naxal affected districts in New Delhi on 13 September 2011. This programme is aimed at bridging the development deficit in the extremely backward areas that are affected left wing extremism. The Government is contemplating to bring 20 more naxal affected districts under the Integrated Action Plan. A specialised battalion is being raised to ensure security and development in these districts.
  • The Supreme Court of India ruled that farmers, whose land is being acquired by thegovernment, should be compensated not only for their land but also for the plantation on it. A bench comprising Justices V Raveendran, H L Gokhale and Gyan Sudha Misra, set aside the order of the Bombay High Court which had held that once the compensation is awarded for the land, there cannot be additional or separate compensation for the trees. The Apex Court ruled, if the land value has been determined with reference to the sale statistics or compensation awarded for a nearby vacant land, then trees will have to be valued separately. 
  • The Land Acquistion, Relief and Rehabilitation Bill, 2011, was approved by the Union Cabinet on 5 September 2011. It aims to put in place a transparent and legal framework for land acquisition. According to the proposed Bill, consent of at least 80 per cent of people will be mandatory to acquire land except where it is acquired for a public purpose. The Bill defines public purpose as land use for strategic purposes, infrastructure and industry. The Bill calls for different land acquisition norms for rural and urban areas. Under the new Bill, the states will be free to have their own land acquisition laws. The proposed law seeks to replace the 117-year-old Land Acquisition Bill, 1894 and for the first time integrates both land acquisition and R&R package.

    Main features of land draft bill
    • For land acquired in rural areas, the compensation will be four times the market value. The compensation package for urban area however remains two times the market value.
    • Linear projects like Railways and Power lines will not be covered under the Bill. 
      Irrigated multi crop land can be acquired upto five percent. However, an equal area of wasteland within the district will have to be developed.
    • In case the acquired land is not used for the stated purpose the land will not be returned to the original owner but will go to state.
    • States are free to have their own land acquisition law.
    • Public purpose has been defined as land use for strategic purpose, infrastructure and industry.
    • Consent of 80 percent people would be mandatory in case the land is acquired for private project. Consent not mandatory when land is acquired by the government for its own use.
    • Urgency clause to be used in rarest of rarest case, such as emergencies or national calamity.
    • Compensation should be completed within three months of acquisition. Re settlement and rehab monetary part should be completed within 6 months.
    • Persons who have been dependent on the said land for at least three years will be eligible for compensation. 
  • A tripartite agreement for Suspension of Operations (against ULFA) was signed between the Centre, the Assam state government and the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in New Delhi on 3 September 2011 with the objective of bringing permanent peace in Assam. ULFA had earlier agreed to abjure violence and to find a solution to the problems as perceived by the outfit through peaceful negotiations with the Union Government and the Assam Government.
  • The Supreme Court of India held that rule of law is an integral part of the basic structure of the constitution and cannot be abrogated by Parliament of Indiawhich is bound by it. 

    The bench opined that any law which deprives a person of his private property for private interest, will be unlawful and unfair and undermines the rule of law and can be subjected to judicial review. In Kesavananda Bharati’s case, this Court enunciated rule of law as one of the most important aspects of the doctrine of basic structure. Rule of law affirms Parliament’s supremacy while at the same time denying it sovereignty over the Constitution. A five-judge constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia gave the judgmentThe bench, which also included Justices Mukundakam Sharma, K S Radhakrishnan, Swatanter Kumar and Anil R Dave passed the judgment while upholding the Roerich and Devika Rani Roerich Estate Acquisition Act, 1996, enacted by the Karnataka legislature to protect the 465-acre estate of the famous Russian painter Svetoslav and his wife, in Bangalore. 
  • Asian Development Bank, ADB has approved 500 million dollar loan to help India improve rail services. The bank has approved a multi-tranche financing facility for the Railway Sector Investment Program, RSIP. The RSIP is being carried out by the Ministry of Railways and will end by December 2018.Asian Development Bank loan will be used to develop freight and passenger routes in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, including the critical Golden Quadrilateral corridor that connects Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. The loan will be utilised for laying down additional lines and the electrification of hundreds of kilometers of existing track, along with installing new signaling. 
  • Telugu is all set to become a world language, a great effort by the information and technology department to 'technicalise' the language so that it could be uploaded online easily like English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese and Russian. The IT department of Andhra Pradesh is now embarking on standardization of Telugu language so that many of the complex words can be translated into Unicode so that there would be no trouble in uploading the Telugu text. "Telugu is the language of more than 10 crore people.
  • In Assam, the process to set up the first integrated tea park of the North East region has been initiated. Sources in the tea industry said that the proposed park would come up atChaygaon on the outskirts of Guwahati. The tea park would provide infrastructure of international standard and the state of the art facilities. It will create world-class facilities for processing, warehousing, auction centre, blending and packaging, and generate employment. North East contributes 55 percent of the country’s total tea production. After completion of the park, the tea export is likely to be increased largely.

  • The Union government of India prepared a blueprint to provide jobs to three-lakh youths in 60 naxal-affected districts in India. The government will start a programme for placement-linked jobs for unemployed youth in these districts by the end of 2016. They will be trained and provided jobs. The government also decided to start major developmental initiatives in these districts in a bid to tackle the Naxal menace. These initiatives include Indira Awas Yojana housing for people whose homes were destroyed and construction of concrete roads. The Rural Development Ministry also planned a Public Private Partnership initiative for value addition in non-timber forest produce in six districts of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as a pilot project. 
  • The Indian Railways on 19 October 2011 launched a real-time train information system (RTIS) for 12 important trains through which passengers can access the accurate train running information. Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi launched the facility at the Economic Editors' Conference. The Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur to overcome the limitations of the existing Train Running Information System, jointly developed the GPS-based train tracking system. Passengers will be provided with the information about the location of the train, its running position — on time or late, next stop, nearest approaching/crossed station and the speed.
  • Union Ministry of Rural Development cleared the proposal to construct one playground in each village, falling under the 60 Integrated Action Plan (IAP) districts under the Mahatma Gandhi NREGS works. The playground would be used for games like football, volleyball, hockey and kabbadi. The Ministry of Rural Development decided to revive sports for the tribal boys and girls in the 60 left-wing extremist-affected districts where the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) has been implemented. The idea was not just to spread the scope of sports and games to cover all the tribals but also to wean them away from being tapped by the Naxalite outfits in these districts.
  • The Union Government of India finalised a developmental action plan called Saranda Action plan for Naxal Affected districts in Naxal affected districts particularly in eastern India. The Saranda Action Plan was prepared by Rural Development Ministry. It will be implemented firstly in Jharkhand's Naxal-hit Saranda district. According to the plan, immediate priority is to distribute solar lanterns and bicycles, construction of prefab houses for BPL families under the Indira Awas Yojana and bridges with the help of Army and special water supply - hand pump schemes. 
  • The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has become the world's first Metro mode of transport to be certified by the United Nation (UN) for earning carbon credits by cutting down on pollution and emission of green house gases as part of its fight against climate change.
  • Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi Saturday flagged off the country's first double-decker superfast train from Howrah in West Bengal to Dhanbad in Jharkhand."It has much more comfort level than other trains. It is India's first double-decker train," said a senior Eastern Railway official.
  • In a big achievement for the first time, a 35-year-old woman joined the combat unit of the Indian Army outperforming her male counterparts in the physical tests. Sapper Shanti Tigga joined the 969 Railway Engineer Regiment of the Territorial Army. She is the first woman jawan in the Indian Army, where women are only allowed to join as officers in non- combat units. 
  • The Supreme Court of India directed the States and Union territories to appoint child welfare officers in every police station for monitoring and extending better treatment to juveniles by the police. The apex court, which is monitoring the implementation of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, also directed that state and national legal services authorities issue appropriate guidelines for training and orientation of police officers, who could be designated as child welfare officers. A bench of justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik said that the training and orientation should be done over a period of six months to one year in every state and Union territory.
  • The Election Commission of India raised the cap of minimum votes a political party must secure in election to get the status of a State party or maintain it further. The new minimum limit is 8 per cent of total valid votes polled in State Assembly or Lok Sabha polls. Earlier, the limit was 6 per cent. In addition, the party must have returned at least two members to the Legislative Assembly in case of Assembly polls or at least one member in Parliament from the State in case of Lok Sabha elections.
  • The Union Cabinet of India on 13 October 2011 approved the proposal of Information and Broadcasting Ministry to publicize the Digitalisation of Analogue Cable Systems Ordinance. The objective of the ordinance is the complete digitalisation of cable television in the four metros by 31 March 2012. By the end of 2014, all parts of India are expected to have phased out analogue cable TV. India has started the process of a global transition towards digitalisation. USA completed the process in 2009; China has set the deadline of 2015 to phase out analogue transmission. The approval of the ordinance means that all customers must have a set top box whether they want to receive free-to-air or pay channels. They could watch high quality channels of their choice and will get access to internet and telephone through the same digital cable. Broadcasters will generate more revenue directly from subscribers, and it could reduce their dependence on TRPs and advertisers.

  • The United Naga Council (UNC) decided to lift the economic blockade from Manipur following assurance from Union home affairs minister P Chidambaram. The UNC was spearheading the blockade on the two national highways since 21Aug 2011 to counter the economic blockade launched by the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) on Aug 1. SHDDC is demanding conversion of the Kuki tribal majority Sadar Hills area into a district. The SHDDC lifted the blockade on two highways; Imphal–Dimapur-Guwahati (NH39) and Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar (NH53) on the 92nd day after the Manipur state government agreed to their demand of creating a district. The Nagas are against this move.
  • The Supreme Court ruled on 28 November 2011 that awards passed by the Lok Adalat either in criminal or civil matters are bound to be implemented through a court decreeif parties after reaching a compromise fail to stick to it. The court added that any award passed by the Lok Adalat is deemed a decree and will be executed by a court if either parties to the dispute retracts on the agreement reached before the Lok adalats.
  • The train travelling the longest distance in India, the Dibrugarh-Kanyakumari Vivek Express, was flagged off at Dibrugarh by Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region Paban Singh Ghatowar on November 19. The new train that connects Assam with the southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu brings with it good tidings for the tourism industry. On its way, it covered 4,286 km in 82.30 hours. Vivek Express replaces Himsagar Express (Jammu Tawi to Kanyakumari) as India's longest train service.
  • The UNAIDS HIV AIDS report 2011 released on 21 November 2011 revealed a dramatic decrease of 56 per cent between 1996 and 2010 in the number of new HIV infections in India. India overshot treatment targets for 2012 with 4.48 lakh HIV positive patients on the lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy at present, against the target of 3.4 lakh. Worldwide, with 2.7 million new HIV infections in 2010, the number of new infections went down by 21 per cent compared to 1997.According to the new estimates, 47% (6.6 million) of the estimated 14.2 million people eligible for treatment in low- and middle-income countries were accessing ART in 2010, an increase of 1.35 million since 2009.The year 2010 saw 2.7 million new HIV infections while 1.8 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses. A massive scale up in access to HIV treatment had a dramatic effect on the lives of people everywhere. 
  • The Indian government signed a path-breaking tripartite peace agreement with a prominent insurgent group of Assam, United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) on 25 November 2011 after two-year-long peace negotiations. As per the terms of the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS), the Karbi Anglong hill will get more power and a Rs 350-crore special financial package spread over five years. The UPDS had spearheaded a violent insurgent movement in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district since its formation in 1999 till 23 May 2002 when it entered into a ceasefire agreement with the government.
  • Tamil Nadu government on 24 November 2011 banned the screening of Hollywood film Dam 999 with immediate effect. The movie directed by Sohan Roy is believed to be based on disputed Mullaperiyar Dam between Tamilnadu and Kerala. Tamil Nadu government imposed a ban citing that it may cause animosity between Kerala and TN people as the film was dealing with the subject of the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam on the Kerala-TN border. The film centres on a dam and how it collapses and ravages the surrounding areas. The English film, released by Warner Bros was scheduled for release on 25 November. 
  • To commemorate Children's Day celebrations the Department of Post released two special postage stamps on cloth designed by school children on the theme ‘Save the Tiger’ on 14 November 2011. The two stamps were priced at Rs 5 and Rs 20, respectively. India Post held design a stamp contest on ‘Save the Tiger’ theme at Indipex 2011, to spread awareness on tigers; and on 14 November 2011, the stamps were released. This was the first time the Department of Post brought out a stamp on cloth. 
  • 17th Kolkata Film Festival inaugural function was held at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata November 9. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Film stars Sha Rukh Khan and Sharmila Tagore attended the Festival. 
  • The second annual Pushkar international balloon festival was held from 7 to 9 November 2011 in Pushkar near Ajmer, Rajasthan. Participants from ten countries displayed their ballooning skills during the event. Colourful hot air balloons with beautiful motifs presented a spectacular view to tourists and participants. Over five lakh people visited Pushkar, some 15 km from Ajmer to attend the festival. Pushkar Balloon Festival is held in the backdrop of world famous Pushkar Fair.
  • A UN study ranked India at 134 out of 187 countries in terms of Human Development Index. The study however observed that life expectancy at birth in India has increased by 10.1 per cent a year over the last two decades. In the 2010 Human Development Report, prepared by UNDP, India had been ranked at 119 out of 169 countries. However, according to the new report for 2011, it is misleading to compare values and rankings with those of previously published reports as the underlying data and methods have changed, as well as the number of countries included in the Human Development Index. The report highlighted India's Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2011 was 0.547 positioning the country in the medium human development category. Between 1980 and 2011, India's HDI value increased from 0.344 to 0.547, an increase of 59 per cent or an average annual increase of about 1.5 per cent.
  • The state government of Goa gave its approval to 60 non-operational mines in the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary under the Regional Plan 2021. The sanctuary is located 60 kms from Panaji. The Sanctuary is one of the five sanctuaries, which are located in Goa. It is home to animals like slender loris, deer, Black Panther and leopard. The environmentalists expressed their concern over the state government’s decision as the mining activities can have harmful effects on the animals in the sanctuary.
  • A report on child rights, India's Child Rights Index, a first-of-its-kind report was released on 9 November 2011 by the HAQ-Centre for Child Rights. Kerala topped the national child rights index, followed by Karnataka. Arunachal Pradesh was found to be the worst performer in protecting the rights of children. The rankings of few other states are as follows: Maharashtra (3), Tamil Nadu (4) and Andhra Pradesh (5), Gujarat (6), Rajasthan (7). Like the Human Development Index, education index, hunger index and health index now, the Child Rights Index attempts assess how different states and union territories fare in providing child friendly policies and where they stand in terms of securing the rights of children. In the Child Rights Index, the states have been ranked on 10 major indicators- birth registration, sex ratio, early childhood care, child marriage, child labour, education, health, incidence of crime against children, victims of crime against children and crimes by children. The index looked into all aspects of child wellbeing in all sectors and indicators for realisation of child rights as a whole. 
  • Union Rural Development Ministry announced on 4 November 2011 that Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) will audit performance of all schemes under the Ministries of Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation. CAG is to conduct an audit on expenditure incurred over a period spanning the past five years in 12 States. In the first phase, the CAG will audit the expenditures under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched anti-measles vaccination drive, Measles Catch-up Campaign. The vaccination programme was launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to target children aged up to 10 years, particularly in 14 States where the routine immunisation coverage is less than 80 per cent. More than 13 crore children are expected to be covered under the Measles Catch-up Campaign, irrespective of their previous measles vaccination status. The State Education Departments in the states are to set up a State Steering Committee for implementing the campaign. A nodal officer will collaborate with the principals and guardians of private and government schools for implementing the campaign. They will provide a list of the schools and of students enrolled in these schools. For each school, the vaccination programme will be completed in one day with the least disruption to academic routine.

  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared the birthday of the great mathematicianSrinivasa Ramanujan, 22 December as National Mathematics Day. Singh also declared 2012 as the National Mathematical Year as a tribute to the great mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the year-long celebrations at the Madras University to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Ramanujan.
  • The West Bengal Government declared its decision to take over Indira Bhavan, which was the official residence of former Chief Minister Jyoti Basu at Salt Lake. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee declared that Indira Bhavan would be turned into a museum and a research centre devoted to Kavi Nazrul Islam, a contemporary of Rabindranath Tagore. Nazrul Islam was a great rebel poet and contributed to the freedom struggle.
  • The country's first cooperative university will be set up in Sibsagar(Assam). It will be called as the Rajiv Gandhi University of Cooperative Management.
  • India’s infant mortality rate (IMR) dropped from 50 deaths per 1,000 live births to 47, as per government data released on 28 December 2011. Thus, India moved closer to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 30. The IMR national average is 47, while it stands at 51 in the rural areas and 31 in the urban regions.
  • The Lok Sabha approved the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 with the government making it clear that setting up of Lokayuktas by the states would not be mandatory. However, the Constitutional Amendment Bill, designed to confer constitutional status to the Lokpal fell through, as the government failed to get two-thirds support for it. 
  • Thirty-three persons were killed as storm “THANE’ batters cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. 
  • Controversial film, Dam999 directed by Sohan Roy made it to a shortlist for the Oscars under the Best Picture category. The film, based on a catastrophe caused by a 100-year-old dam in India giving way, is among the 265 films in contention for the Best Picture. Tamil Nadu government imposed a ban citing that it may cause animosity between Kerala and TN people as the film was dealing with the subject of the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam on the Kerala-TN border. Directed by Kerala-based naval architect Sohan Roy, Dam999 is an English film that features Indian actors Rajit Kapur, Vimala Raman, Vinai Rai and Ashish Vidhyarthi. It has been dubbed in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam.
  • Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh was inducted into the Union Cabinet as civil aviation minister on 18 December 2011. The Jat leader will face the challenge of reviving the aviation sector in general and the government-owned Air India in particular as the new Civil Aviation minister. The Civil Aviation Ministry was held by Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi after the elevation of Praful Patel as Cabinet Minister.
  • The Union Cabinet of India approved a draft National Food Security Bill that seeks to give legal entitlement of cheaper food-grains to 62.5 per cent of the country's population. The total financial liability to implement the law would be 3.5 lakh crore rupees, as funds will be required to raise agriculture production, create storage space and publicity among others. The bill aims to provide Indian citizens access to nutritional food at affordable prices. This bill proposes to give a legal entitlement to food to 75 percent of our rural population and 50 percent of our urban population. The bill also provides for 7 kg of rice, wheat and coarse grains per person per month to priority households at 3 Rupees, 2 rupees and 1 rupee per kg respectively.
  • The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha. The bill was aimed at setting up the body of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas at the level of the States. Government also introduced a Bill for amending the Constitution for conferment of Constitutional status on both bodies. Government also withdrew earlier Lokpal Bill, 2011 and decided to introduce a new comprehensive Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 Bill after consideration of the suggestions made by the Parliamentary Committee, which recommended significant changes in the scope and content of the earlier Bill. 
  • The Union cabinet of India on 22 December 2011 approved 4.5 percent share for minorities within the 27% OBC quota in jobs and university seats. The approval will come in force from 1 January 2012. It suggests that minorities can get 4.5 jobs out of every 100 government jobs and university seats. As per the data released by the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, the OBC population was 52 percent of India’s population, of which minorities constitute 8.4 percent. Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee Report-released in November 2006- had found the minority community under-represented in all spheres of professional and public life.
  • A bench of the Supreme Court including Justices BS Chauhan and TS Thakur ruled thateven animals are entitled to accident compensation. The court upheld an award of 13.48 lakh rupees for the death of a temple elephant. A KSRTC (Kerala State Transport Corporation) bus hit the animal. The court refused to accept the contention that the Motor Vehicles Act would be applicable to human beings and not to animals. It clarified that the definition of property in the Motor Vehicles Act is very inclusive and wide. Therefore, animal should be included under this act. The court added that the elephant was owned by the temple and it was God’s property.
  • The Supreme Court of India on 20 December 2011 ruled that courts can interfere in the case of contractual job if the decision taken by the management is arbitrary. A bench of the apex court, however, said that scope of such judicial review is not all pervasive. It said a writ Court is entitled to judicially review of the action and determine whether there was any illegality, perversity, unreasonableness, unfairness or irrationality that would vitiate the action. The court passed the order on a petition filed by Grid Corporation of Orissa Ltd challenging the Orissa High Court's order. In its order Orissa high court asked the grid corporation to reinstate one of its employee whose contractual job was terminated. 
  • Union Home Minister P Chidambaram inaugurated a new administrative block and training facilities exclusively designed for National Security Guard’s (NSG) Chennai hub.National Security Guard’s (NSG) Chennai hub was formed in 2009. After the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror strikes, a decision to set up regional NSG hubs at Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai was taken on 30 June 2009. Of these, the Kolkata and Hyderabad hubs will be upgraded into bigger facilities to cater to the eastern and southern regions. A regional centre is also to be established at Hyderabad from where commandos can be moved for counter-terror operations in South India. The Hyderabad centre will be on the lines of theNSG's Manesar facility in Delhi.
  • The Government decided to set up a village water and sanitation committee in each Gram Panchayat, village and ward to ensure safe drinking water supply. The committee will be set up as a standing committee in each Gram Panchayat for planning, monitoring, implementation and maintenance of water supply schemes in the area with active participation of the villagers. The membership of the committee will consist of 6 to 12 persons comprising elected Panchayat members and at least 50 percent women with due representation to Scheduled castes and Tribes. The committee will be an integral part of the village panchayat. This initiative has been taken under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme to decentralize power and responsibilities and to give greater focus on water and sanitation issues. 
  • The Supreme Court directed state governments to build adequate number of night shelter to ensure that no homeless person has to sleep under sky this winter. A bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Dipak Misra asked the governments to file their detailed report by 3 January 2012 on the status of night shelters, which are operating in their states. The bench, which passed separate orders for different states, asked the Chief Secretaries to ensure construction of sufficient number of shelters for the homeless and poor people.
  • Hyderabad city ranked as no. sixth best to live in the country as per the survey conducted by Times of India - IMRB market research firm. Ahmedabad grabs the first place, Pune gets second, Delhi gets third and Mumbai stood at fourth place. 
  • The Lok Sabha passed the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill2011. The Cable Bill is aimed at controlling the cable TV operators and converting the analog cable to digital cable. 
  • The Indian government approved the setting up of an Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) to be fully funded by the government of India. The IEO will evaluate the impact of flagship programmes. Also it will be allowed to engage the services of leading institutions working in the field of social science research and other fields for the purpose. The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission will be the chair of the governing body of the IEO. IEO will be an independent body with full functional autonomy to discharge its functions.
  • The Empowered Committee in its meeting on 5 December 2011 decided to send two technical members to inspect the Mullaperiyar dam before finalising its report following apprehensions raised by Kerala about the safety of the dam after mild tremors occurred in the area. The Empowered Committee is headed by former Chief Justice of India, A.S. Anand. The other members of the committee include Justice K.T. Thomas, a retired Supreme Court judge representing Kerala; Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, a retired Supreme Court Judge representing Tamil Nadu; C.D. Thatte, former Secretary to the Ministry of Water Resources and D.K. Mehta retired Chief Engineer, Central Water Commission. The committee had conducted a spot inspection of the dam in December 2010.
  • Three-day World Telugu Conference was inaugurated at Phoenix in Mauritius.Ministers from Andhra Pradesh Vatti Vasanth Kumar and S Sailajanath joined the celebrations with Mauritius Minister Deva Veera Swamy who has roots in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 1 December 2011 approved 1656 crore rupees scheme for phase-3 of Yamuna Action plan. Under this project, the sewage treatment plants situated in Kondli, Rithala and Okhla will be rehabilitated. At present, the project is operational in 21 cities of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana. The Indian government will execute the phase-3 of Yamuna Action Plan with help from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). JICA is providing financial help since 1993.

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