Current Affairs of 3 September 2015

1. Union Government notifies merger of FMC with SEBI
Union Government has notified the merger of commodities market regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) with Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) with an effect from 28 September 2015. In this regard, Union Finance Ministry has issued a notification mentioning that Regulation of Commodity Derivatives Market will shift to SEBI under Securities Contracts Regulation Act (SCRA) 1956. Forward Contracts Regulation Act (FCRA), 1952 gets repealed so does the FMC cease to exist. With this merger, all three national and six regional commodity exchanges will come under the ambit of national capital market regulator SEBI.

2. West-Central Railway becomes first zone to eliminate Unmanned Level Crossings
The West-Central Railway (WCR) zone headquartered in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh has become the first Railway Zone in Indian Railways to eliminate all unmanned level crossings. The target was achieved after all 118 unmanned level crossings of WCR zone were eliminated in phase manner by August 31, 2015. 80 crossings were eliminated in the financial year 2014-15 and the remaining 38 crossings were eliminated in August 2015. This target was achieved by constructing 33 Limited Height Sub Ways (LHs) and manning of 30 level crossings. It is a being considered as a big success in the safety initiative of Indian Railways as unmanned railway crossings continue to remain a deathtrap in India as alone it had killed 126 people in 2014-15.

3. Russia rejected French proposal to limit veto power of UNSC’s permanent members
Russia  dismissed a proposal of France asking United Nations Security Council (UNSC) permanent members to limit the use of the veto power at least in cases involving mass atrocities that demands action.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that it would oppose the proposal as it is not a workable proposition. He argued that declaring mass atrocities could become a political tool, and raised questions about who would be empowered to make that determination.
France's idea was welcomed by some 70 non-veto wielding member-states at the United Nations; however, China and the United States have also expressed reservations.

4. Book titled Globalisation, Democratization and Distributive Justice presented to Hamid Ansari
Book titled Globalisation, Democratization and Distributive Justice was presented to Vice President Hamid Ansari on 2 September 2015. The book has been authored by Mool Chand Sharma, Professor of Law at Delhi University and presently the Member of 20th Law Commission of India.
The book acknowledges talks about measures like Employment Guarantee Act, Right to Education Act and Food Security Act. It also says that some of the recent steps taken on economic and fiscal side like introduction of Goods and Services Tax, schemes related to financial inclusion and others along with initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, Skill India and Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan can prove catalyst in this regard.

5. Canada entered first technical recession in six years
Pulled by falling energy prices and economic troubles in China, Canadian economy entered into the first technical recession in six years. This was revealed by Canada’s national statistical agency Statistics Canada on 1 September 2015.
Technical recession means negative economic growth by a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for two consecutive quarters.
From this viewpoint, as revealed by Canada Statistics, Canadian economy retreated at an annual pace of 0.5 percent during Quarter 2 (April-June 2015) which followed a decline of 0.8 percent in GDP growth during the Quarter 1 (January – March 2015).
The last time the Canadian economy saw the technical recession was in 2009, when GDP was pulled back by 8.7 percent in the first quarter and 3.6 percent in the second. 

6. Govt to set up Green Highways Fund
The government is planning to create a “Green Highways Fund” under its 
ambitious policy to transform India’s 96,000 km network of National Highways under which it will be mandatory to set aside 1 per cent of the total road project cost for plantation.
The Road Transport and Highways Ministry is formulating the “Green Highways (Plantation & Maintenance) Policy —2015” to develop eco-friendly NHs with the participation of community, farmers, NGOs, private sector, government agencies and the Forest Department.
This fund will be transferred to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to maintain a separate Fund Account called “Green Highways Fund” only for this purpose.
NHAI will act only as a Fund Manager for maintaining the account and releasing payments based on recommendation of officials and agencies.

7. Second Australia-India Defence Minister’s dialogue concluded in New Delhi
Second Australia-India Defence Minister’s dialogue concluded in New Delhi on 2 September 2015. The meet was chaired by visiting Australian Minister of Defence Kevin Andrews and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
The meet was followed by a delegation level talk to discuss issues of shared strategic interest and the current state of the bilateral defence relationship between the two countries. After the talks the two sides issued the following joint statement.

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