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February 2012 National Issues

The Union government decided to operationalise the ambitious National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) from 1 March 2012. A pet project of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the NCTC got approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in January 2012.

The operations division of the counter-terrorism body were powers to arrest and carry out searches under Section 43A of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The NCTC is to be located in the Intelligence Bureau and headed by a Director who will be an officer in the rank of Additional Director, IB. It will have three units — gathering intelligence, analysis of intelligence and carrying out operations. Each of these divisions will be headed by a joint director of the IB.

Delhi became the first State in the country to issue e-stamp papers in all denominations after the Cabinet decided to bring non-judicial stamp papers of Rs.500 denomination and below under the ambit of e-stamp mode on 6 February 2012. The complete switchover to e-stamp mode is expected to prevent all fraudulent practices in this field.

The Delhi Government had earlier implemented e-stamping of non-judicial stamp papers of denominations of Rs 501 and above with effect from 1 April 2008, through M/s Stock Holding Corporation of India Ltd. (SHCIL) to provide this service through its offices and authorised collection centres.

The Union Government of India on 1 February 2012 gave the approval for setting up a National Council for Senior Citizens. It will be headed by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment. It will advice the Central and State Governments on issues related to welfare of senior citizens. The Council will suggest special policies and programmes for the physical and financial security of the senior citizens in the country.

The Council will comprise of 20 members including the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment along with the oldest members from both the Houses of Parliament and distinguished personalities from different fields.

National Infant Mortality Rate Reduced Further to Forty-Seven Infant Deaths per 1000 Live Births.

As per the latest Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin, December 2011 released by the Registrar General of India (RGI), it is noted that Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has dropped further by 3 points from 50 to 47 infants deaths per 1000 live births during 2010. The IMR for rural areas has dropped by 4 points from 55 to 51 infant deaths per 1000 live births while the Urban rate now stands at 31 from the previous 34/1000.

State of Goa still has the lowest IMR of 10 infant deaths followed by Kerala with 13 infant deaths per 1000 live births (as against 12/1000 in January 2011 figures) – the Urban IMR in Kerala has however reduced to 10 against 11 of previous figures. Madhya Pradesh has the highest IMR of 62/1000 followed by UP and Odisha with 61/1000 IMR. States/UTs of Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Meghalaya still have IMRs more than the national average of 47.

The Enforcement Directorate on 2 February 2012 filed a complaint against former Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi for alleged financial irregularities in the conduct of the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) of the Commonwealth Games.  The ED also named him for violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema).

The ED named five other officials, including former secretary general Lalit Bhanot, director general V K Verma, deputy director general Sanjay Mahindroo, joint director general (accounts and finance) M Jaychandran and A K Mattoo.



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