Current Affairs – August 2015

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26th November: Constitution Day

The ‘Constitution Day’ of India is being observed on 26th November to spread awareness of Indian Constitution and its architecture Dr. B R Ambedkar.

Significance of the Day: On the day in 1949, constitution of India was adopted which came into force on January 26, 1950 marking the beginning of a new era in the history of free India.

Key facts

  • 2015 Constitution Day is the first edition of this day and part of year-long nationwide celebrations of 125th birth Anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Constituent Assembly.
  • Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) is the nodal Ministry for celebration of Constitution Day.
  • It has organised number of activities on the occasion of the first Constitution Day in order to spread awareness the supreme law of the country and living document which makes the government system work effectively.

Background: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared 26 November as Constitution Day after laying the foundation stone of Dr Ambedkar Memorial at Indu Mills Compound in Mumbai, Maharashtra on 12 October 2015.

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Union Government identifies 305 cities for implementing ‘Housing for All’ scheme

Union Government has identified 305 cities and towns across 9 states for implementation of its flagship ‘Housing for All’ scheme.

305 cities were identified by Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) for beginning of construction of houses for the urban poor under the scheme.

In this regard, HUPA Ministry will provide assistance of over 2 lakh crore rupees over the next six years for construction of houses  to enable two crore urban poor own their own houses.

Selected cities and towns are in these states: Chhattisgarh (36 cities and towns), Gujarat (30), Jammu and Kashmir (19), Jharkhand (15), Kerala (15), Madhya Pradesh (74), Odisha (42), Rajasthan (40) and Telangana (34).

These 9 states along with other 6 more states have signed Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with HUPA Ministry for their commitment to implement 6 mandatory reforms essential for making the housing for all mission successful in urban areas.

15 states which have agreed to implement the mandatory reform measures are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Telangana, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.

About Housing for All Scheme

  • Union Government had launched this scheme named as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in June 2015 under the aegis of Housing for All by 2022 Mission.
  • Under this ambitious scheme government plans to build two crore houses for the poor in urban areas by year 2022, which coincides with 75 years of Independence.
  • It has four basic components viz. slum rehabilitation, affordable housing, credit linked interest subsidy and beneficiary-led individual house construction or enhancement.

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US extends anti-dumping duty on Indian preserved mushrooms for 5 years

United States (US) has extended the anti-dumping duty on Indian preserved mushrooms for another five years.

This decision to revoke existing anti-dumping duty orders on preserved mushrooms was taken by US International Trade Commission on cheap imports Chile, China, India and Indonesia.

The move will have a negative impact on India’s domestic exporters as US is a major export destination.

What is Preserved mushroom?

  • Preserved mushroom refer to mushrooms prepared or preserved by blanching, cleaning and sometimes slicing and cutting.
  • It is very nutritious, rich in fibre, proteins. It has high content of folic acid which is uncommon in vegetables and also has amino acids which are usually absent in cereals.

India’s Preserved mushroom trade and Production

  • India exported mushrooms worth 16.08 million dollars in year 2014-15. Major export destinations are US, UAE, Israel and Russia.
  • India’s mushroom export to US was record 24.76 million dollars in 2011-12.
  • In 2009-10, India produced 40,600 tonnes of mushroom. China is a leading player in terms of mushrooms production.
  • Major producing states: Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Solan district of Himachal Pradesh is popular as ‘Mushroom City of India’ because of the vast mushroom farming in the area.

Anti-dumping duties: It is counter import measure under the multilateral World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime to protect domestic producers and market from below-cost/cheap imports. It varies from product to product and from country to country.

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