Current Affairs – March, 2015

Latest Current Affairs March, 2015 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of March, 2015 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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Parliament passes Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015

Parliament has passed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015. The bill was first passed in Rajya Sabha and later in Lok Sabha on 20 March 2015.

The Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha after the Union government had accepted the recommendations of the Select Committee. The amendments in the bill were made in the bill passed by Lok Sabha on 4 March 2015.

The bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 in order to regulate the mining sector in the country.

Key highlights of Bill

  • Addition of new schedule- The bill adds a new 4th schedule in the parent Act to include mining of bauxite, iron ore, limestone and manganese ore as notified minerals.
  • Lease period- Bill has changed it for 50 years, as against present 30 years for all minerals other than coal, lignite and atomic minerals. While, there is no provision for renewal of mining concessions, unlike the parent Act.
  • Auction of notified and other minerals- State governments will grant mining leases and prospecting licence-cum-mining leases along with approval of Union government. In this case, Union government will prescribe the terms and conditions for selection of bidders as also the procedure for auctions.
  • Maximum area for mining- Union government is permitted to increase the area allowed for mining, instead of granting additional leases as per parent Act. Union government may reserve some mines exclusively for some specific purposes.
  • Institutions- District Mineral Foundation (DMF) to be set up in mining areas affected by mining operations to address local area grievances. National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) to be set up for regional and pan-India planning and detailed mine exploration.

Japan and China hold first security talks after 4 years

Japan and China on 19 March 2015 held their first security talks in Tokyo after four years since the ties had worsened over a row over islands in the East China Sea.

In the security talks both nations agreed to keep alive and foster a nascent recovery in bilateral ties plagued by the legacy of Japan’s wartime aggression and a territorial dispute.

However, both nations failed to set a timetable for the implementation of a scheme designed to ensure real-time communication between their armed forces.

Background of East China Sea dispute

  • Sino-Japanese relations had worsened after China had claimed its rights over the group of tiny East China Sea islets.
  • The islets comprises group of eight uninhabited islands and rocks. They have a total area of about 7 sq km in China Sea and are controlled by Japan.
  • These islets are close to strategically important shipping lanes in this region and also offer rich fishing grounds. The region surrounding these islets is also thought to contain oil deposits.
  • China claims that these islets have been part of its territory since ancient times. While, Taiwan separately is also claiming its right the islands.