National Current Affairs April 2013

Prez Pranab Mukherjee clears anti-rape bill
President Pranab Mukherjee had given his assent to the anti-rape bill which provides for life term and even death sentence for rape convicts besides stringent punishment for offences like acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism.Mukherjee accorded his assent to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill-2013 on 03 April 2013.This is called as the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.The law, passed by Lok Sabha on March 19 and by Rajya Sabha on March 21.
Union Government Approved Project for NOFN Creation in Gram Panchayats
On 12 April The Government of India approved the project for creation of National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) connecting all the 250000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country through Optical Cable (OFC). The Union Government decided to fund the project through Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
Government Approved For 13 Power Projects
On 22 April The Cabinet Committee on Investment cleared 13 power projects that involves investment of 33000 crore rupees. The projects on which the investments will be made include one hydro and two thermal project as well as ten transmission projects. 25 oil and gas blocks with investment commitment of about seven billion US dollars also got approval during the same meet. Of these 16 blocks were given conditional clearances, while nine blocks were approved without any condition. Approval of these projects was pending due to the objections raised by the Ministry of Defence over national security.
Mukherjee Gives Assent To Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Bill
On 25 April President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2013.Sexual harassment at workplace is a violation of women’s right to gender equality, life and liberty.It creates an insecure and hostile work environment, which discourages women’s participation in work, thereby adversely affecting their economic empowerment and the goal of inclusive growth. (ANI)

Andhra Pradesh Government launched Online Services named Parishkaram for Entrepreneurs
Andhra Pradesh Government on 1 April 2013 launched the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation’s online services for entrepreneurs and grievance redressal system. The platform is proposed to be a link between the APIIC and entrepreneurs   which would make the process of application and registration of land for setting up industries a paperless one.
EC issues notification for Karnataka assembly polls
The Election Commission on  April 10  issued the notification for the Karnataka Assembly polls.The nomination papers will be scrutinised on April 18. The last day for withdrawing the nominations is April 20. The votes polled on May 5 will be counted on May 8.
Himachal Govt To Connect All Gram Panchayats With Broadband
On 12 April Himachal Pradesh government signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Department of Telecommunication, Govt of India (GOI) and Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) for providing broadband connectivity to all Gram Panchayats of the state by establishing of an optical fiber network.
Himachal celebrates 66th anniversary
On 15 April 2013 Himachal Pradesh celebrated 66th Himachal Day.Himachal Pradesh came into existence on 15 April 1948 with the merger of 30 princely states.During the function, the Chief Minister announced many schemes for the state which are under development phase like Mukhyamantri Adarsh Krishi Gaon Yojana, Skill Development Allowance. In the skill development Allowance, the government would provide 1000 rupees per month to educated unemployed youths and 1500 rupees to persons with disabilities of the state.
India’s first automatic toll collection system launched in Maharashtra
The country’s first interoperable RIFD(Radio Frequency Identification Device )-based electronic toll system was rolled out on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai National Highway and the system would allow vehicles fitted with electronic tags to sail through six toll plazas automatically.
Tamilnadu Planned Rs.7000 crore Underground Hydel Power Station
On 25 April Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa announced the government planned a Rs 7,000 crore underground hydel power station in Nilgiris district besides the ongoing related schemes,which in all will cost over Rs 20,000 crore.The first unit of North Chennai Thermal Power plant, third unit of Vallur project and 2x 500 MW each of Tuticorin Power project would start generating power between March 2014.The first unit of North Chennai Thermal Power plant, third unit of Vallur project and 2x 500 MW each of Tuticorin Power project would start generating power between this year May and March 2014
PM  inaugurated CII national conference
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh  inaugurated the two-day national conference and annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi on 03 March 2013.Around 1,500 industrialists from across the country will attended the meeting. The theme for this year’s deliberations is “India tomorrow: Imperatives of growth, security and governance”.
Conference of CM’s of States & Chief Justices of High Courts held at New Delhi
Conference of Chief Ministers of States & Chief Justices of High Courts held at New Delhi on 7 April.The conference presided over by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, aims to address pressing issues related to the country’s justice delivery system that’s often criticised for being tardy.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the joint conference.Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has called upon the judiciary and executive to work together to make the Indian judicial system an arrear free.
Hyderabad will host ICSE conference in 2014
The 36th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE2014, will be held in Hyderabad, India from 1 June 2013 to 7 June 2013. India is home to some of the largest software companies in the world, and Hyderabad is one of the main centers for software development in India.This conference is going to be a premier software engineering conference that is going to provide a forum for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, experiences and concerns in the field of software engineering.This is the first time conducted in India.
UNWTO Conference Held in Hyderabad
United Nations World Tourism Organisation ( UNWTO) Commission’s Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development and 25th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia, Pacific and South Asia will be held at Hyderabad from 12th to 14th of this month.The conference attended by dignitaries belonging to 29 countries spread across in East Asia & Pacific and South Asia, eight UNWTO affiliate members, two regional organizations as well as industry organizations. The UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai along with his team of senior delegates presented at the meeting .The delegates discussed the market trends of the region in the year 2012 and tourism prospects for the year 2013.The next Joint Meeting would be held in Philippines and the 21st Session of General Assembly of UNWTO will be held in Cambodia.
National Awards for State Industries
On April 1st ,the state of  Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) got the National Awards .In the Research & Development Efforts in MSMEs category includes three Awards (First, Second and Third) for Micro and Small Enterprises and have gone to entrepreneurs from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana respectively.Three National Awards (First, Second and Third) for Micro Enterprises in Outstanding Efforts in Entrepreneurship category  Haryana , West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh got first,second and third respectively.Three National Awards (First, Second and Third) for Small Enterprises. First Award has gone to an entrepreneur from Himachal Pradesh.  Second Award has been given jointly to four entrepreneurs from Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.  Third Award has been given jointly to three entrepreneurs from Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka.This awards will be presented by the President Pranab Mukherjee.
Desmond Tutu Won Prestigious “2013 Templeton Prize “
On 4 South Africa’s Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has won “”2013 Templeton Prize “” for his life-long work in promoting love and forgiveness.The prize was announced at the foundation’s headquarters in West Conshohocken in Pennsylvania and is valued at $1.7-million (about Rs.15.6-million).Last year’s prize was awarded to the exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
ICSI National Awards for Excellence in Corporate Governance – 2012
Chairman of the Awards Jury of the ICSI (Institute of Company Secretaries of India) and former Chief Justice of India Shri Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah in New Delhi on 05 April 2013 presented the ‘ICSI National Awards for Excellence in Corporate Governance -2012’ to two ‘Best Governed Companies’:
1.      Indian Oil Corporation Limited; and
2.      HCL Technologies Limited.
The Awards were presented during the ongoing 2nd CSIA International Corporate Governance Conference.
ICSI Life Time Achievement Award for the year 2012 was presented to Shri Deepak S. Parekh, Chairman, Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd. for translating excellence in Corporate Governance into reality.Certificates of Recognition were presented to the Top Five Companies. These are :
1.          CMC Limited
2.      Engineers India Limited
3.      ONGC Limited
4.      Persistent Systems Ltd.
5.      Powergrid Corporation of India Limited
Barfi! wins top honours at The Times of India Film Awards
Barfi movie was the top winner at the maiden edition of The Times of India Film Awards, bagging the Best Film, Best Director (Anurag Basu), Best Actor (Ranbir Kapoor), Best Actress (Priyanka Chopra) and Best Debut Female (Ileana D’Cruz) trophies. The award for the Best Debut Male went to Ayushmann Khurrana for Vicky Donor, which also won the Best Supporting Actor award for Annu Kapoor and the Best Supporting Actress trophy for Dolly Ahluwalia. Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur got the Critics’ Choice award for Best Film. Abhishek Bachchan, who won the Best Actor in a Comic Role award for Bol Bachchan, dedicated the honour to his wife Aishwarya.
Pran gets Phalke Award
On 12 April 2013,Hindi film actor Pran Krishan Sikand will be conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2012. The 93-year-old actor, popularly known as Pran, will be the 44th recipient of the top-most film award in the country.Pran, who has acted in over 400 films in his six-decade-long career.The award, named after the father of Indian cinema Dada Saheb Phalke, will be conferred on Pran on May 3, which will also mark the 100 years of cinema this year.
New York Times won four Pulitzer Prizes
The New York Times won four Pulitzer Prizes on 15 April 2013, including the award for investigative reporting for stories that detailed how Wal-Mart used bribery to expand in Mexico.The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was awarded the public service Pulitzer for its reporting on off-duty police officers’ reckless driving.The Pulitzer in breaking news photography went to The Associated Press for its coverage of the civil war in Syria.The Pulitzers, journalism’s highest honour, are given out each year by Columbia University on the recommendation of a board of journalists and others. Each award carries a $10,000 prize except for the public service award, which is a gold medal.
Raj Chetty won John Bates Clark young economist award
Delhi-born Raj Chetty, the professor in the Department of Economy at the Harvard University won John Bates Clark medal for 2013, also called Baby Nobel.John Bates Clark medal is conferred upon the American economist whose age is below 40 years and the one who has made crucial contribution to economic knowledge and thought.Baby Nobel is one of the most prestigious awards of economy. Infact, it is second only after Nobel Prize in economic science.Raj Chetty, 33, is the first Indian-origin person to win this high honour. His areas of work include social insurance, tax policy as well as education policy.
Telugu writer Ravuri Bharadwaja honoured with Jnanpith award
Telugu writer Dr Ravuri Bharadwaja got the country’s prestigious Jnanpith award for 2012 for his contributions to Telugu literature over 60 years.He got this award for his novel “Pakudurallu”.He is the third  recipient of the country’s highest literary award from Andhra Pradesh, after Dr  Viswanatha Satyanarayana in 1970 for his Srimad Ramayana  Kalpavriksham and Dr C. Narayana Reddy in 1988 for his book Viswambhara. Eighty six-year-old Dr Bharadwaja was chosen for the award by a selection Board chaired by poet Sitakant Mahapatra, said a statement of the Jnanpith award committee.
RGIA is Named the Best Airport in India
On 17 April The GMR Group operated and managed Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) has been rated as the No.1 airport in India, the fifth best regional airport in Asia and also as the eighth best airport in the 5 to 10 mppa capacity.The ratings were given at the recently concluded Skytrax-World Airport Awards held at the Passenger Terminal Expo in Geneva.
Manmohan Singh, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi Named Among Top 5 Most Influential Asians
On 17 April Congress president Sonia Gandhi (2nd Rank), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (4th Rank) and AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi (5th Rank) have been named among top 5 in the world’s 100 most influential list of Asians topped by China’s new President Xi Jinping.Among the other key Indians to make the grade included Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani for owning Indias most valuable company in ninth place, followed by President Pranab Mukherjee at 19th place and steel magnate Lakshmi N Mittal at 20th position.Indian entries dominated the Top 100 with 39 names, followed by 15 from China and six from the Philippines.While Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy was named Philanthropist of the Year, industrialist Adi Godrej bagged Entrepreneur of the Year award for his contribution to Indian industry and Ravi Ruia, vice-chairman of the Essar Group, won in the Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability category, for his company’s high sustainability ratings
NRI Kartar Lalvani Received Queen’s Award
On 20 April Vitabiotics, a company founded by NRI entrepreneur Kartar Lalvani, has received the coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for its research on vitamins.’Vitabiotics’, UK’s largest supplier of minerals and vitamin supplements to the retail trade, won the award for the development of its Pregnacare range and in recognition of its successful Pregnacare clinic research.
Saina Nehwal Selected for ‘Yudhvir ‘ Award
Yudhvir Foundation has selected ace badminton player Saina Nehwal for the 22nd Yudhvir Memorial Foundation Award for the year 2013, which was being given every year to honor the individuals who excel in some field of human endeavor. The award was established in the name of late Yudhvir, founder editor of the Hindi Milap daily in 1991 after his demise.Saina Nehwal was selected for the Award as she won a medal in Olympics in badminton and also the first to win the Asian Satellite Badminton tournament (India Chapter) twice keeping the country’s image high abroad.The previous Yudhvir awardees include Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Classical maestro Pandit Jasraj, Space Scientist Prof. UR Rao, Amar Chitra Katha founder late Anant Pai and eminent film maker Shyam Benegal and others.
Asha Bhosle, Mala Sinha to get Phalke Academy awards
The Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards will be bestowed on singer Asha Bhosle, actress Mala Sinha, late filmmaker Yash Chopra, and late superstar Rajesh Khanna among several others at a ceremony in Mumbai on April 30.Asha, who has regaled music lovers with her melodious voice in her over six decades old career, will receive the Phalke Ratna Award from the academy, while Mala Sinha, who has acted in “”Pyaasa”", “”Maryada”" and “”Hariyali Aur Rasta”" will get the Golden Era Award.
Major Anup Joseph awarded Kirti Chakra, 12 others get Shaurya Chakra
Major Anup Joseph Manjali was on Saturday awarded the second-highest peacetime gallantry award Kirti Chakra by President Pranab Mukherjee for killing three foreign militants in Jammu and Kashmir. 12 defence personnel were awarded the Shaurya Charkra for their acts of bravery including Captain A Rahul Ramesh and Naik Krishna Kumar who were given the honour posthumously.
Seven South African Indians get National Orders
The awards(National Orders)are presented on the Freedom Day of South Africa that is celebrated on April 27 to mark the day on which Nelson Mandela took over as the country’s first democratically-elected President in 1994. Among the recipients of the order was veteran Indian diplomat Enuga Sreenivasula Reddy who had led the fight against apartheid at the UN since 1963 received the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo(Silver).The second highest award called the Order of the Baobab was presented to Lenasia-based community worker Suraya Khan, popularly known to all as “Aunty Bibi”, while the same order in Silver went to journalist and community activist Yusuf Abramjee and pioneering skin cloning plastic surgeon Dr Ridwan Mia. Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim received the Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze for her internationally acclaimed research into HIV Aids.