2013 - July 15 and 16 Current Affairs


National Issues


A total of Rs 1200 crore has been earmarked for 2013-14 by Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Plan being implemented in the states as a special area programme fully funded by the centre. 

This is an increase of 11% over last year’s allocation as there is provision for 120 crore more for incentive projects based upon states performance in effective implementation of T.S.P. 

The fund meant for 22 states will be utilized for employment-cum income generation activities among tribals and development of infrastructure in tribal areas which will raise the economic and social status of tribals . 

Sectors like agriculture, horticulture, land reforms, watershed development, animal husbandry, ecology & environment, development of entrepreneurship in small scale industries, small scale trading and improving connectivity in tribal areas will be given priority. 

Based upon the yardstick of percentage of tribal population in a state in the total tribal population of India, the highest amount of Rs 175.25 crore has been earmarked for Madhya Pradesh followed by Odisha (133.21 crore) and Jharkhand (121.87 crore). 



The Railways have generated Rs. 22795.55 crore of revenue earnings from commodity-wise freight traffic during 1st April to 30th June 2013 as compared to Rs. 21027.96 crore during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 8.41 per cent.

Railways carried 256.79 million tonnes of commodity-wise freight traffic during April-June 2013 as compared to 244.81 million tonnes carried during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 4.89 per cent. 



The Department of Food & Public Distribution has launched the system of electronic transfer of funds. Shri Sudhir Kumar, Secretary of the Department launched the system. He said that the system would bring more efficiency in the financial working of the Department and would ensure quick and direct transfer of the funds to the beneficiaries. 



Union Ministry of Defence on 15 July 2013 launched website of NCC (www.nccindia.nic.in). The website has been launched with an aim to provide an insight into the activities of NCC. It will also provide information to motivate students to join NCC from the online platform too. 

The website would also act as the detailed data bank of the 15 lakh Cadets of NCC, its logistics management and budget. It would also monitor the training activities of NCC. The website was launched by Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Defence. 



President Pranab Mukherjee on 16 July 2013 launched a Kisaan Portal for sending SMS through mobile phones to the farmers across the country. 

The SMS initiative is an instant and non-intruding medium communication enabling the farmers to take informed decision relating to different aspects of farming and weather forecasts. 

The Kisaan Portal directly aimed at spreading information, advisories and services through SMS to more than 12 crore farmers across the country. Farmers will need to register for this service by calling Kisaan Call Centre on the toll free number 1800-180-1551 or through the web portal. 


Economic Issues


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 15 July 2013 announced measures to deal with rupee volatility which includes lifting of two interest rates by 200 basis points each and a planned sale of 120 billion rupees (2 billion dollars) of government bonds on July 2013. 

RBI has also adjusted the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) and the Bank Rate to 10.25% each which were 8.25% previously. 

The repo rate, was kept unchanged at 7.25%. It is worth mentioning that the rupee in second week of July 2013 hit a record low of 61.21 to the dollars. 

The Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) which was introduced during the 2011-12 period, is the rate at which banks can borrow from the central bank at an increased rate against government securities during times of tight cash. The bank rate is a linked to the MSF. 



Sports


American golfer Phil Mickelson on 14 July 2013 won the Scottish Open title in a sudden-death play-off against South Africa’s Branden Grace at Castle Stuart in Inverness in Northern Scotland. 

The 43-year-old Mickelson finished on 17-under-par while Sweden’s Henrik Stenson tied with Denmark’s J.B. Hansen for third place on 15-under-par, and Scotland’s Martin Laird finish fifth tied with Northern Irishman Gareth Maybin and England’s John Parry, all on 14 under. 


Science and Technology


Lawmakers of US on 12 July 2013 proposed a Bill in the US Congress for establishing a national park on the Moon. 

The new Bill seeks creation of the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites as National Historical Park on the Moon. 

The bill has been named as the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, the Bill (House Resolution 2617) and was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in addition to the House Committee on Natural Resources. 

The Bill seeks protection of artifacts that was left on the moon's surface during the Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972. Once the bill is passed and turns up to be an Act, it will ensure that the scientific data and cultural significance of the Apollo artifacts are not harmed during the future moon landings of different countries as well as tourism activity of people to moon by commercial enterprises (Golden Spike Company has proposed to take space tourists on a trip to moon by 2020). 


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