Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2016

President Pranab Mukherjee presents 63rd National Film Awards 2015

President Pranab Mukherjee has conferred 63rd National Film Awards for the year 2015 in various categories at the function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

Legendry actor Manoj Kumar was conferred 2015 Dada Saheb Phalke Award, highest official recognition (award) in Indian cinema.

Baahubali: The Beginning (Tamil, Telugu film) directed by S. S. Rajamouli was bestowed with the Best feature film award. Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Hindi) directed by Kabir Khan was awarded as the Best Popular film providing wholesome entertainment.

The 63rd National Film Awards in the various categories

  • Best Actor: Amitabh Bachchan (Piku).
  • Best Actress: Kangana Ranaut (Tanu Weds Manu Returns).
  • Best Direction: Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Bajirao Mastani).
  • Best Film on Social Issues: Niranayakam (Malayalam) directed by V. K. Prakash.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Samuthirakani for the film Visaranai (Tamil).
  • Best Supporting Actress: Tanvi Azmi for the film Bajirao Mastani (Hindi).
  • Best Children’s Film: Duronto (Hindi) directed by Soumnedra Padhi.
  • Best Child Artist: Gaurav Menon for the film Ben (Malayalam).
  • Special Jury Award: Margarita with a Straw (Hindi) directed by Kalki Koechlin.
  • Best Cinematography: Remo D’Souza for the film Bajirao Mastani (Hindi).
  • Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director: Neeraj Ghaywan for the film Masaan (Hindi).
  • Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration: Nanak Shah Fakir (Punjabi) directed by Sartaj Singh Pannu.

About National Film Awards

  • The National Film Awards are most prominent most prominent film award ceremonies in India.
  • Established in 1954, since then awarded annually.
  • Winners in different categories of these awards are selected by the national panel of Juries appointed by Union Government.
  • These awards are presented by the President of India in the official ceremony.

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Scientists develop world’s smallest light powered engine

A group of researchers from University of Cambridge have built the world’s smallest (nanoscale) working engine.

The research team was led by Professor Jeremy Baumberg from the Cavendish Laboratory. They have named the microscopic engine as ANTs (Actuating Nano-Transducers).

Key facts

  • The nanoscale engine is just a few billionths of a metre in size and uses light to power itself.
  • The prototype engine was made of tiny charged particles of gold. It was bound together with temperature-responsive gel-like polymer called pNIPAM.
  • Working: On heating the engine above critical temperature with a laser it stores large amounts of elastic energy in a fraction of a second.
  • The elastic energy is mainly produced after the gold particles are bound tightly together with the polymer through intermolecular attraction.
  • When it falls below critical temperature, the polymer suddenly absorbs water and expands and the gold particles are pushed rapidly apart like a spring.
  • This stored energy generates a propulsive force on a microscopic scale that is a hundred times greater per unit weight than any known motor or muscle.
  • Significance: The nanoscale engine could form the basis of future nano-machines. This engine can help to navigate in water, even enter living cells to fight disease or sense the environment around them.

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Lok Sabha passes Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015

The Lok Sabha passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015 for the establishment of funds under the public accounts of Centre and each State towards compensatory afforestation.

It also provides for additional afforestation and penal compensatory afforestation to regulate collected funds.

Salient features of the bill

  • It seeks to establish the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
  • The payments into the funds include compensatory afforestation, net present value of forest (NPV), and any project specific payments.
  • The National Fund will get 10% of funds collected and the remaining 90% will go to respective State Fund.
  • The collected funds will be utilised for afforestation, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wild life protection and forest related infrastructure development.
  • The bill also seeks to establish National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities to manage the funds.
  • The determination of NPV will be delegated to an expert committee constituted by the central government.

Background

  • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA) governs diversion or use of forest land for non-forest purposes such as industrial or infrastructure projects.
  • A company diverting forest land must provide alternative land for taking up compensatory afforestation.
  • For the afforestation purpose, the company should pay for planting new trees in the alternative land provided to the state. The loss of forest ecosystem must also be compensated by paying for (NPV).
  • In 2002, the Supreme Court of India observed that collected funds for afforestation were underutilised by the states and it ordered for centrally pooling of funds under ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund.
  • The court had set up the ad hoc National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (National CAMPA) to manage the Fund.
  • In 2009, states also had set up State CAMPAs that receive 10% of funds form National CAMPA to use for afforestation and forest conservation.
  • However, in 2013, a CAG report identified that the funds continued to be underutilised.

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