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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - February 2022

Feb 2022

Aug 15, 2022

Initiative 'SMILE' to Make Cities, Towns and Municipal Areas Begging-free

  • The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry on Friday launched the 'SMILE-75' initiative for comprehensive rehabilitation of persons engaged in begging in 75 identified municipalities as a part of the celebrations of 75 years of Independence.
  • The initiative is part of the Ministry's ongoing SMILE project (Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise) for which Rs. 100 crore was allocated till 2025-2026.
  • Under the SMILE-75 initiative, 75 municipal corporations in collaboration with NGOs and other stakeholders will cover several comprehensive welfare measures for persons who are engaged in the act of begging with focus extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, awareness, education, skill development, economic linkages and convergence with other government welfare programmes etc.

Aug 14, 2022

Amit Shah Inaugurates National Conference of Rural Cooperative Banks

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated a one-day National Conference of Rural Cooperative Banks organised by the Ministry of Cooperation and the National Federation of State Cooperative Banks (NAFSCOB).
  • Union Minister of State for Cooperation BL Verma addressed the valedictory session of the conference.
  • Secretary, Ministry of Cooperation Gyanesh Kumar, NAFSCOB Chairman Konduru Ravinder Rao and NAFSCOB Managing Director Bhima Subrahmanyam were also present.
  • The short-term cooperative credit structure in India comprises 34 State Cooperative Banks, 351 District Central Cooperative Banks and 96,575 PACS.
  • The National Federation of State Cooperative Banks was established on May 19, 1964, with the broad objective to facilitate the operations of state and central cooperative banks and the development of a short-term cooperative credit structure.
  • Amit Shah also presented Performance Awards to selected State Cooperative Banks, District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) and PACS, and felicitated a few short-term cooperative credit institutions for 100 years of service.

Aug 13, 2022

'Har Ghar Tiranga': Department Of Posts Sells over 1 Crore National Flags in 10 Days

  • Within a short span of ten days, India Post has sold more than 1 crore national flags, through its 1.5 lakh post offices as well as online.
  • These Flags have been sold by the department at a price of Rs. 25.
  • For online sale, the Department provided free doorstep delivery to any address across the country; more than 1.75 lakh flags were purchased online by the citizens through the ePost Office facility.
  • 'Har Ghar Tiranga' is a campaign under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to encourage people to bring the Tiranga home and to hoist it to mark the 75th year of India's independence.
  • Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of India's people, culture and achievements.

LG Manoj Sinha Inaugurates "UMEED Market Place" under AVSAR Scheme of AAI

  • In Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurated "UMEED Market Place" under AVSAR Scheme of Airport Authority of India at Srinagar International Airport. A similar Marketplace was also opened at Jammu Airport and both the outlets would exhibit products of all 20 districts.
  • Lt Governor Manoj Sinha in his address said that such an initiative will support local art and artisans of Self Help Groups of J&K Rural Livelihood Mission, providing a platform to market local products directly to the customers. He maintained that the products of Self Help Groups will get exposed to the national market, strengthen the local artisan community and provide sufficient promotional avenues for their products.

CM Patnaik Wooes Tribals, Inaugurates Projects in Murmu's Home District

  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated Subarnarekha and Deo irrigation projects during in Mayurbhanj, the home district of President Droupadi Murmu and wooed tribals.
  • He said that several welfare schemes of the BJD government have been successful due to proper coordination with the tribal people.
  • The state could make progress through education and employment schemes for the tribals.
  • Tribals constitute 53 per cent of Mayurbhanj's population.
  • Patnaik's whistle stop visit to Mayurbhanj is considered to be BJD's strategy to counter BJP's alleged attempt to take advantage from Murmu's election to the highest constitutional post.

Microsoft- Indian Government Sign MoU to Train Civil Servants

  • Indian Government inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Microsoft to collaboratively launch training programme for civil servants. Under the programme, Microsoft would give training to over 2.5 million civil servants in India for using the Microsoft digital tools.
  • MoU was inked between Microsoft, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and Capacity Building Commission (CBC).
  • It was aimed at training the civil servants in helping underprivileged, by delivering last-mile social welfare services.
  • The Capacity Building Commission (CBC) helps in capacity building for several ministries including Defence, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Social Justice etc.
  • This MoU was inked considering the competence gap among civil servants. They were lacking at digital productivity application skills, which is required while working on Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint presentation.

Aug 12, 2022

Madhur Verma Appointed Head of ACB

  • Senior IPS officer Madhur Verma was appointed the head of the anti-corruption branch (ACB).
  • Verma, a 2005 batch IPS officer, was earlier an additional commissioner in the Delhi police's armed police department.
  • The ACB is mandated to probe graft cases against Delhi government officials.
  • Verma has earlier worked as the DCPs of crime branch, the police's North district and the New Delhi district.
  • Verma was also Delhi police's public relations officer until mid 2019.

Dhankhar Takes Oath as Vice-President

  • Former West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was sworn in as the 14th Vice President of India. President Droupadi Murmu administered the oath to Dhankhar in a brief ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Dhankhar's predecessor M. Venkaiah Naidu were among the dignitaries present at the ceremony. With Dhankhar also acting as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha by virtue of being the vice-president, both the Houses of Parliament would be presided over by leaders from Rajasthan.
  • Dhankar, who was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee for the vice-presidential post, defeated opposition's candidate Margaret Alva by a margin of 346 votes.

Sunil Bansal, General Secretary of BJP UP Appointed as the National General Secretary of the Party

  • Signalling its intent to sharpen the party's strategy and enhance its reach in states where it has not been in power so far, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) appointed one of its chief strategists, Sunil Bansal as the national general secretary.
  • Bansal who was the general secretary (organisation) in Uttar Pradesh (UP), will be in charge of Telangana, Odisha and West Bengal (WB), the three states which the party has set its sights on. While it emerged as the second largest party in WB, in Odisha its presence is still nascent. BJP is also aggressively preparing for the 2023 assembly polls in Telangana.
  • The appointment made by party president JP Nadda came a day after the BJP lost power in Bihar, where it ran a coalition government with the JDU.

Aug 11, 2022

MP, Rajasthan and Karnataka among Top States to Provide Power Subsidy

  • As many as 27 states and Union territories out of 36 are providing subsidised electricity to consumers, with at least Rs. 1.32 trillion spent nationwide in the 2020-21 financial year alone, power ministry data showed. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka footed the highest power subsidy bill, accounting for Rs. 48,248 crore or 36.4%.
  • Delhi has seen an increase of 85% in its subsidy expenditure between 2018-19 and 2020-21, from Rs. 1,699 crore in 2018-19 to Rs. 3,149 crore, the second highest among all provinces, an analysis of three-year data show. Manipur saw the biggest jump of 124% in power subsidies in these three years, although the increase was from Rs. 120 crore to Rs. 269 crore.
  • The data assumes significance as the Supreme Court is hearing a public interest litigation that wants political parties to be deregistered and their election symbols seized for offering "irrational freebies" ahead of polls.

Arun Sao is New BJP Chief in Chhattisgarh

  • Chhattisgarh MP from Bilaspur Arun Sao was appointed as the new state BJP president. Sao replaced the party's tribal leader Vishnudeo Sai.
  • Inducting Sao, who belongs to the Sahu community, as the BJP state unit chief is being seen as a response to Chhattisgarh Congress's son of the soil image. Political experts believe his proximity to the RSS was also a decisive factor in his favour.
  • Chhattisgarh BJP, which has been in Opposition only for the second time in over two decades of the state's existence, has been gearing up for the upcoming state election in 2023 for some time with senior party leaders hinting at a change in the leadership.

Assam, Mizoram Sign Joint Statement on Resolving Border Dispute

  • The Assam and Mizoram governments signed a joint statement after a ministerial-level discussion in Aizawal and Mizoram to take forward the process of resolution of the boundary dispute between the two states. According to the statement, both states agreed to promote and maintain peace to prevent any untoward incident along the borders. Also, the Deputy Commissioners of the bordering districts of both states shall meet at least once in two months. "Both the States reaffirm the Joint Statement of 5th August 2021 in letter and spirit.
  • Both the states agreed that economic activities including cultivation and farming which have been practised by the people along the borders of the two states shall not be disturbed but allowed to continue regardless of the administrative control presently exercised by either state at such locations subject to Forest Regulations and after informing the Deputy Commissioners concerned.
  • The next meeting between High-Level delegations of two states will take place at Guwahati in October this year where issues and claims will be deliberated in detail.
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