Fast Facts Maharashtra

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AR Antulay passes away

Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and a veteran Congressman, Abdul Rahman Antulay, passed away after a prolonged illness. He was 85. About AR Antulay Abdul Rahman Antulay, widely known as AR Antulay. He was 8th and first and only Muslim Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1980 to 1982. He had resigned from his CM post following allegations of corruption scandal which was named as the “Cement scandal”. He was convicted in an extortion case by the Bombay High Court. As a veteran Congressman and lawyer remained loyal to Indira Gandhi during the Emergency and its aftermath when the Congress party split in 1978. The new outfit of Congress under leadership Indira Gandhi was born at his residence. He also served as the Union Minister of Minority Affairs in the UPA-I government lead by Dr. Manmohan Singh. He was elected as Congress party MLA and MP, from Raigad district of Maharashtra. He had fought his last election in 2009, which he lost to the Shiv Sena, after which he remained out of the active politics.

Cement scandal:  After becoming the chief minister, A R Antulay was embroiled in the cement scandal.  He was accused of forcing builders to contribute, albeit through cheques, to the Indira Gandhi Pratibha Pratishtan, a trust he had set up, allegedly in exchange for quotas for cement which was then a controlled commodity.  in Current Affairs : December 2014, Persons in News

Chandrapur becomes 3rd dry district of MH

  • Maharashtra Government has declared mineral rich Chandrapur district (in Vidarbha region) as dry district. Thus imposing ban on the sale, purchase, production and consumption of liquor in the district. In this regard, state government has cancelled all alcohol permits in Chandrapur district and henceforth will be shifted to other districts.

  • Chandrapur district is third district in state to be declared dry district. The demand for banning liquor in Chandrapur was made in late 2010, following which a committee was set up by state government. Thus, this decision was taken that in the interest of health of the people of Chandrapur, liquor consumption must be prohibited.

Earlier, Wardha and Gadchiroli districts from same region were declared dry districts. Wardha was declared dry district as it is closely linked to Mahatma Gandhi with his ashram situated in Sevagram. While, in the case of Gadchiroli the decision to declare it as a dry district was taken in 1992 owing to a public outcry to ban alcohol in view of growing Naxal movement

Former ISRO chief and Scientist Dr V R Gowarikar passes away

  • Former ISRO chief and renowned Scientist Dr. Vasant Ranchod Gowarikar passed away in Pune, Maharashtra. He was 81.

  • He is considered as the ‘Father of the Indian Monsoon Model’.

About Dr. Vasant Gowarikar

  • Dr. Vasant Gowarikar was born in Pune on 25th March, 1933. He was renowned scientist and his significant contribution includes in field of space research, weather and population study and Polymer Chemistry.

  • In 1965, Dr Gowarikar along with Vikram Sarabhai started working on satellite technology in the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Both of them played important role in laying foundation stone for India’s space technology and space programmes. He also headed Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). On 17th April 1983, under his leadership Satellite launcher SLV-3 became successfully operational in orbit. He was the scientific advisor to late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao from 1991 to 1993. For some time, he was  Vice Chancellor of Pune University.

  • He was also chairman of Marathi Vidnyan Parishad from 1994 to 2000. Books: Many books and scientific essays are credited to his name. His book ‘I Predict’, an essay on the Indian population, has become famous.

  • Awards: He was honoured with the Padmashree Award, Padma Bhushan (2008), Fie Foundation Award, Nayak Gold Medal and Doctorates from many prestigious universities.

  • The Fertilizer Encyclopedia: Dr. Gowarikar, along with his associates in 2008 had compiled the massive The Fertilizer Encyclopedia that featured 4,500 entries of chemical composition of fertilizers. It contains collection of information related to fertilizers consisting of their manufacturing, application and environmental considerations.

Maharashtra government gives nod for GM food trials

  • Maharashtra government has given nod to confined genetically modified (GM) food trails in state. In this regard, state government has granted no-objection certificates (NOC) for open field trials of 5 genetically modified (GM) crops.

  • They are rice, chana (chickpeas), maize, brinjal and cotton.

  • NOC was granted by state government after state-level Committee, headed by Anil Kakodkar had given clearance for field test of these five GM crops.

  • Based upon the results of these trials, government take further steps. With this decision, Maharashtra has become the fourth state after Punjab, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh to approve open field trials in GM crops.

  • Confined trials: It is typically carried out in small plots of one hectare or less. It is primarily meant to collect data on the potential bio-safety impact of the GM crop lines.

Why state governments NOC are required for GM food trails?

  • Earlier, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the previous UPA Environment Ministry had permitted field trials of GM food in India.

  • But GEAC had inserted mandatory condition of separate NOCs from states for such trials. So, states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have banned such research activities.

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