Kerala Current Affairs

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Food Bill: some States gain and some lose in allocation of food grain

Although the National Food Security Bill is still pending in the Parliament, the Centre has intimated to certain States that their food grain allocation would decline in spite of the mandatory 75 % rural and 50 % urban populations being covered under the proposed new law.

As per the new privilege, 17 States and UTs will gain and 18 will stand to lose slightly. Amongst the 18 States which would lose food grain allocation are Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi, Uttarakhand and some north-eastern States.

The government intends to protect the current allocation for each State but the major concern is over the cost at which the Food Ministry will make additional grains available.

The Food Subsidy Bill is estimated at Rs. 1.24 lakh crore but the Centre is not willing to give States the additional food grains at the same subsidized rates. The Food Ministry is moving a proposal in Cabinet for provision of additional grains at the minimum support price given to farmers for wheat and paddy.

The Central issue price under the Food Security Bill for rice will be Rs. 3 per kg, for wheat Rs 2 per kg and for coarse cereals Re. 1 per kg.


DBT scheme for LPG to be extended to 35 more districts

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has decided to extend LPG Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme to 35 more districts from September 1, 2013 after observing a good response from the districts already in the scheme thus taking the total coverage to 55 districts.

The districts which will be covered include 12 in Kerala, 7 in Andhra Pradesh, 7 in Himachal Pradesh, 5 in Punjab, 2 in Madhya Pradesh and one each in Maharashtra and Goa

The decision to include 35 more districts would add about 1.4 crore consumers to the 2.12 crore already being covered by the scheme where consumers get an advance of Rs. 435 in their bank accounts.

What is the purpose of the DBT scheme?

The government has launched DBT scheme with the aim of restricting leakages, preventing black marketing by sending subsidy directly into the beneficiary’s bank account.

How does the DBT scheme for LPG benefit the consumer?

Consumers get their subsidy directly in their bank accounts. All Aadhaar linked domestic LPG consumers get an advance of Rs. 435 an LPG cylinder in their bank account as soon as they book the first subsidised unit before delivery. When the first subsidised cylinder is delivered to such consumers, the next subsidy will be credited to their bank account which can then be used for the purchase of the next subsidised cylinder at the market rate.

What is the current status of DBT?

Since its launch on June 1, 2013 about four million direct cash transfers have taken place to consumers’ bank accounts. So far Rs. 150.6 crore has been transferred to consumers in 20 districts of phase I.

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Shree Ganeshan Chundan wins Nehru Trophy Boat Race 2013

Shree Ganeshan Chundan, the snake boat of the St Francis Boat Club, Harippad won the 61st edition of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race 2013 held in Punnamada Lake in Alleppey (Alappuzha), South Kerala. This is the second consecutive win for Shree Ganeshan that was captained by Arunkumar, Karthikapally. Ganeshan was honoured with the silver trophy that was donated by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1952 with his signature embossed on it.

About the Nehru Trophy Boat Race:

The practice of the boat race started in 1952 after the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru visited the area in Kerela. The villagers held a boat race to honour his visit in the area.

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is conducted every year on the second Saturday of August. Nehru donated a silver trophy to the winners of the race and since then the competition is held by his name.

The main attraction of the contest remains the snake boats, which are locally known as Chundan Vallam, which means Beaked Boat. Snake boats have been named following its structure that is long and narrow in shape and 36 to 42 meter in its length.