2011 December National Issues





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.





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 the NSG'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 Bill 2011. The Cable Bill is aimed at controlling the cable TV operators and converting the analog cable to digital cable.






Rajya Sabha approved the Regulation of Factor (Assignments Receivable Bill, 2011) on 27 December 2011 to help micro, small and medium enterprises. The bill aims at regulating assignment of receivables by making provision for registration of the rights and obligations of parties to contract. 

It applies to all types of industry whether it is small, medium or big. It will help mitigate the payment problem of the MSME units. Factors will be regulated by the Reserve Bank of India.





The Supreme Court of India on 1 December 2011 stated that section497 of the Indian penal Code is biased against men. The section punishes a man alone for adultery for having consensual sex with a married woman. 
 
As per the observation of the court, the provision of section 497 reduces a married woman to a property of the husband and it punishes man only despite the fact that the woman with whom he had consensual sex was an equal partner in the alleged crime. The court added that the provision is under criticism from certain sections for showing a strong gender bias. A bench of the Supreme Court including Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha made the above observation.





The Parliamentary panel on law and justice, headed by Abhishek Singhvi stated that the Constitution should be amended to set up a National Judicial Commission with powers to initiate criminal prosecution and sacking of corrupt judges. The concluded that judiciary cannot be left unpoliced in matters of corruption. 

The report prepared by the Parliamentary panel recommended setting up of a National Judicial Commission (NJC) to create a broad-based and comprehensive model of judges appointments.





Supreme Court of India on 8 December 2011 directed all states to ensure vehicles carry tamper-free high security number plates within four weeks. 

Giving last opportunity to state governments to implement the scheme, a bench of the apex court ruled that contempt proceedings will be initiated against the state authorities in case of non-compliance of the scheme within the time limit fixed by it.





The Lok Sabha on 13 December 2011 unanimously passed a Bill to further amend the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995. It replaces a Presidential Ordinance of 25 October, 2011. As per the amendments, there will be a check on objectionable contents. 

Doordarshan will be able to provide more free-on-air channels in the DTH mode to audiences across the country. Cable TV operators violating the provisions of the Bill will face penalty. The legislation will reduce dependence on the television rating points, TRP. By 2014, the entire cable network will be digitized.





The Supreme Court of India directed Tamil Nadu to ensure that the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam does not exceed 136 feet but declined to entertain Kerala’s plea for reducing the level to 120 feet. A five-Judge Constitution Bench, headed by Justice DK Jain gave the order.

The Supreme Court asked Tamil Nadu and Kerala to maintain restraint on their statements on the Mullaperiyar dam row. Urging for sanity and sensitivity, the court lamented that they were adding fuel to the fire instead of dousing it. The Bench also asked the Centre to clarify its position on Tamil Nadu's plea for deployment of Central Industrial Security Force to protect the dam from possible vandalism.





The Lok Sabha on 12 December 2011 passed the amendments to the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962.

The Bill aims to make provisions for sufficient deterrence to criminals from committing the offence of pilferage or sabotage. The existing sub-section (2) of section 15 provides that whoever willfully removes, displaces, damages or destroys any pipeline, shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment of a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Section 16 provides that offence under sub-section 15 shall be deemed to be cognizable under the Cod of Criminal Procedure, 1973.





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.





The Lok Sabha on 12 December 2011 unanimously passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill of 2011, which granted a three-year term extension to the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD). It is meant to ensure continued implementation of all the ongoing schemes for its betterment. The revised master plan of Delhi will have a long-term vision of 25 years to address the problems specially faced by the weaker sections of the society.

The objective of the bill is to prevent sealing and demolition of unauthorised structures in Delhi till 31 December, 2014. It seeks to maintain the status quo regarding unauthorised colonies, which includes storages, warehouses, and godowns for farm produce, village abadis (settlements)and their extensions.





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.





Rajya Sabha of Indian Parliament on 22 December 2011 passed the bill the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2011 to amend the list of Scheduled Tribes and add more tribes from North-Eastern India.

The bill includes six more tribes namely Thangal, Zeme, Mate, Inpui, Liangmai, Rongmei from Manipur and substitutes Galo in place of Galong in the list of Scheduled tribes in Arunachal Pradesh.

At present, 26 communities exist in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh, which includes Galong as well. The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on 19 December 2011.





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.





The Union Cabinet of India on 18 December 2011 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.





Rajya Sabha approved the Export-Import Bank of India Amendment Bill, 2011, on 27 December 2011. It aims at promoting international trade by raising the capital funds of overseas trading from two thousand crore rupees to ten thousand crore rupees.





The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on 22 December 2011. 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 Lok Sabha on 27 December 2011, 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 on the anti-corruption watchdog, fell through, as the government failed to get two-thirds support for it.

The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 was approved after the government moved a few other key amendments, including keeping the Defence Forces and Coast Guard personnel out of the purview of the anti-graft ombudsman and increasing the exemption time of former MPs from five to seven years. A number of amendments moved by the Opposition, including Corporates, Media and NGOs receiving donations, were defeated. The government rejected the opposition's demand to bring CBI under Lokpal.



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