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Current Affairs for 28 April 2016
April 29, 2016
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NEW EDUCATION TOOL: TABS WITH LITERACY APPS

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After using the tabs for a year, children were tested on their understanding of 20 English words.

Tablets loaded with literacy apps may help improve the reading skills of young children living in economically disadvantaged communities, say scientists who have launched new trials of the devices in India.

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts University, and Georgia State University in the U.S. examined the use of tablet computers loaded with literacy applications in a range of educational environments.

One was set in a pair of rural Ethiopian villages with no schools and no written culture; one was set in a suburban South African school with a student-to-teacher ratio of 60 to one; and one was set in a rural U.S. school with predominantly low-income students.


 

PARLIAMENT PANEL CLEARS BANKRUPTCY LAW; DISCUSSION LIKELY IN ONGOING BUDGET SESSION

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A joint Parliament standing committee has cleared the proposed bankruptcy law and it’s likely to be discussed in the ongoing budget session of Parliament, finance minister Arun Jaitley has said.

Addressing the second meeting of the consultative committee on ‘NPAs in banking sector’ on Wednesday, Jaitley said the government had taken steps to deal with both wilful defaulters and those in trouble due to economic slowdown, according to a statement issued by the finance ministry.
The finance minister also said that SARFAESI Act and DRT Act have been amended to make the recovery process more efficient and expedient.

The SARFAESI (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest) Act and Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) Act have also been amended to make the recovery process more efficient and expedient, Jaitley said in his opening remark.


MAHARASHTRA TO BRING LAW TO CONTROL PRICE OF PULSES

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Unable to control soaring tur dal prices, the Maharashtra government has decided to bring in an Act, whereby it will directly control the prices of all pulses.

Pulses, despite not being in the list of foodgrains available under Public Distribution System (PDS), are the only food items whose prices will be directly controlled by the State. The Opposition has dubbed the move as going back to the infamous Licence Raj of the past.

Food and civil supply minister Girish Bapat on Tuesday announced the State cabinet decision, claiming it will bring relief to consumers, and check the malpractices that have been going on for long. According to the draft of the Act, which will be sent to the President for approval, the controlled prices of all the pulses — processed or not — will not be uniform throughout the state.

Mr Bapat said: “Factors that will be taken into consideration before announcing the State prices are costs of production, transport, processing, and also the profit of traders.” He said uniform rates cannot be applied across the State considering these factors. The Minister also said that the State-controlled prices will not be rigid, and will undergo changes every year according to the prevailing circumstances. Last year, tur dal prices had crossed the Rs 200 per kg mark. Repeated government assurances notwithstanding, the prices have not come down from the Rs 120-Rs 150 bracket. The Opposition claimed that a dal scam was underway, where big companies were beneficiaries.

According to the proposed law, traders or producers will not be allowed to sell dal at or above the maximum limit prescribed by the State, and providing a receipt will be mandatory. Violators could face imprisonment of minimum three months and maximum of one year, with or without fine.


 

PAKISTAN SIKHS OPEN GURDWARA AFTER 73 YEARS

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An armed policeman stood guard outside the 300-year-old gurdwara in north-west Pakistan. He kept a watchful eye on everyone who passed him on the narrow street, looking for a suspicious gesture, or a bulge beneath the clothes that hints at a hidden gun or a bomb.

Earlier this month, the gurdwara in Peshawar’s crowded Old City opened its doors to worshippers for the first time in 73 years. The reopening was celebrated by Pakistan’s tiny Sikh minority, but security is a constant concern. On Friday, a Sikh leader and provincial lawmaker was shot and killed outside his home in a remote area in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, some 140 km from Peshawar. The murder of Sardar Sooran Singh devastated the Sikh community and heightened their fears of militant attacks.

It also added to human rights activists’ despair over rising violence against religious minorities in Pakistan.