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Current News Shots October 01 - 10, 2013

AWARDS:

VLADIMIR PUTIN AND NOBLE PEACE PRICE NOMINATION
Day 02 October 2013.
Nominated by:
Russian advocacy group, The International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation among the Nations of the World.
Role of Putin: preventing a US missile strike on Syria and initiatives to dismantle Damascus’ chemical weapons

BRITISH ENTERPRISE PRICE
Name:
British government-backed entrepreneurial contest
Person: Ashutosh Pathak
Work: developing a much cheaper, more efficient pipe inspection and leakage detection system.

LEO SZILARD LECTURESHIP, 2014
Person:
Dr. R. Rajaraman, an Emeritus Professor of Physics from the School of Physical Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Chosen By: American Physical Society
Recognition: Award was established to recognize outstanding accomplishments by physicists for the benefit of society.

NOBLE PRIZE FOR MEDICINE
Date:
7th October 2013
James Rothman(USA)
Randy Schekman(USA)
Thomas Suedhof(Germany)
Work: The complex transport system in the human body which makes the delivery of the life-saving proteins and molecules at right place and right time.

MISS WORLD 2013
Megan Young was crowned Miss World 2013
Venue: Indonesia’s resort island of Bali
Participants: 127 Countries
Second: Marine Lorphelin (France)
Third: Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter (Ghana)
Miss Multimedia: Navneet Kaur Dhillon (India)

ALLARD PRIZE FOR INTERNATIONAL INTEGRITY
Person:
Indian social activist Anna Hazare
Given By: The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Law at a function held in Vancouver, Canada.
For: World’s largest awards recognizing efforts to fight corruption and to promote human rights.
About: The Allard Prize is awarded to an individual, movement or organization that has displayed extraordinary courage and leadership in combating corruption, especially through promoting transparency, accountability and the rule of law.
Prize Money: $100,000.

BRAND AMBASSADOR FOR NATIONAL TOBACCO CONTROL CAMPAIGN
Person:
Rahul Dravid
Presented by: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Aim: The national anti-tobacco control campaign pursues the goal of World Health Assembly which 30% relative reduction in tobacco use by 2025

APPOINTMENTS

S R BANSAL: NEW CHAIRMAN OF CORPORATION BANK
Earlier:
An Executive Director at Punjab National Bank
Brief: He started his banking career as a direct officer recruit at Dena Bank in 1981 and went on to hold the office of the Field General Manager (North India) covering eight States. He was appointed as the Executive Director of Punjab National Bank in June 2012

S VARADARAJAN: BPCL’S CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
Previous:
R. K. Singh
Period: 3 years till September 2016

FIRST WOMAN CHAIRMAN OF SBI: ARUNDHATI BHATTACHARYA
Earlier Chairman:
Pratip Chaudhuri
Brief: Bhattacharya, who joined SBI as a probationary officer in 1977, will be at the apex position of the bank until March 2016. Bhattacharya was the managing director of SBI Capital, the merchant banking arm of the bank.
SHE FACTOR:
First Woman MD of public sector Bank:
Ms Ranjana Kumar (India Bank)
Other Heads:
Public Sector Banks:

United Bank of India: Ms. Archana Bhargav (Chairman & MD)
Allahabad Bank: Ms Shubhalakshmi Panse (Chairman & MD)
Private Sector Banks:
ICICI Bank: Ms.Chanda Kochhar (MD & CEO)
Axis Bank: Ms Shikha Sharma (MD & CEO)

RANJAN MATHAI APPOINTED AS NEW HIGH COMMISSIONER TO UK
Previous:
Jaimini Bhagwati
Brief: Ranjan Mathai joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1974 and has served in Indian embassies in Vienna, Colombo, Washington, Tehran and Brussels.

NEW IPL CHAIRMAN: RANJIB BISWAL
Previous:
Rajiv Shukla
Brief: Chief of the Odisha Cricket Association
He was also a part of the contingent that triumphed in the Champions Trophy in England. The all-rounder has five first-class hundreds and 153 wickets in 41 matches and has also been the National Cricket Academy (NCA) chairman in the past.

NEW BCCI PRESIDENT: N SRINIVISAN
Narayanaswamy Srinivasan has been re-elected as the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for a third term.

INDIAN NEWSPAPER SOCIETY NEW PRESIDENT: RAVINDRA KUMAR
Position: Editor of ‘The Statesman’ newspaper
Indian Newspaper Society:
Founded:1939 
Formally: Indian and Eastern Newspaper Society,
Role:

  1. Central organization of the Press of India,
  2. an independent body authenticating circulation figures of newspapers and periodicals in India.
  3. INS has a significant role in safeguarding and promoting the freedom of press in India.

Head Quarters: Rafi Marg, New Delhi. 
Members:
INS membership comprises the owners, proprietors and publishers of print media who discusses and suggest various measures to the government regarding the problems related to the newspaper industry. It is a kind of pressure group which works to protect the interest of newspaper industry in particular and print media in general

POLITICAL

FODDER SCAM AND LALU PRASAD YADAV
Earlier:
Former Bihar chief minister
Party: Rashtriya Janata Dal (Chief)
Case: Rs 950 crore fodder scam cases
Punishment: Five years in prison in the fodder scam case and fine of Rs 25 lakh
Story: The special CBI court judge PK Singh on 4 October pronounced the sentence, which included a fine of Rs 25 lakh and rendered the Lalu Prasad  ineligible for contesting elections for 11 years.
The judgement came in the first of the six Rs 950 crore fodder scam cases.
Other Persons: Former chief minister Jagannath Mishra and JD-U leader Jagdish Sharma for four years each.
Reason: Fraudulent withdrawal of Rs.37.70 crore from the Chaibasa district treasury when Bihar was an undivided state.

CCEA APPROVED SCHEME TO REFORM STATE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM
Scheme Name: Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)
Approved By: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
Date: 3 October 2013
Role: A centrally-sponsored scheme (CSS) for reforming the state higher education system.
Targets: As per this, during the 12th Plan period, 80 new universities would be created by converting autonomous colleges or colleges in a cluster to State universities.

PM APPROVES SETTING UP OF 7TH CENTRAL PAY COMMISSION
Approved by: Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh
Seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC).
Effect from: January 1, 2016.
Key points

  1. First CPC was constituted under the Chairmanship of Srinivasa Varadachariar in May 1946 and its report was submitted by 1947. The first Central Pay Commission was based on the basic idea of living wages to employees.
  2. The 6th Central Pay Commission under the Chairmanship of B.N.Srikrishna was approved in July 2006.
  3. The 7th CPC will recommend on the salaries, allowances and pensions of around 80 (50 lakh employees + 30 lakh pensioners) employees/pensioners of the Central Government, including Defence and Railways.
  4. The CPC is constituted by the Union Government of India after almost every 10 years in order to revise the pay scales of employees. The recommendations of Pay Commission are always followed by all the states in India after a few changes.

IRAQ RATIFIES COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is an international accord to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments for military or civilian purposes.  
Adopted by: The United Nations General Assembly
Date: September 10, 1996,
Process to come into force:
There is a list of 44 states in Annex 2 of the CTBT.
These “Annex 2 states” are states that participated in the CTBT’s negotiations between 1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time. The treaty has to be ratified by these states. The treaty has been ratified only by 36 states including France, Russia and Britain.
Remaining Eight States:
China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States who have signed but not ratified the Treaty
India, North Korea and Pakistan who have not signed it.
CTBT in the Middle East:
In the Middle East, Egypt, Israel, Iran, and Yemen have not yet ratified the CTBT, while Saudi Arabia and Syria remain outside as non-signatories.

SPORTS

AFGHANISTAN QUALIFIED FOR 2015 CRICKET WORLD CUP
Afghanistan on 4 October qualified for its maiden ICC World Cup after defeating Kenya by seven wickets to finish second in the World Cricket League Championship in Sharjah.
The victory meant Afghanistan finished on 19 points — five behind champion Ireland, which qualified for ICC’s flagship event to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2015

INDIA WINS TWO BRONZE IN IJF JUDO GRAND PRIX
India won two bronze medals in the IJF Grand Prix Judo tournament which ended on 6 October in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Kapana Devi won the first bronze before H Sunibala Devi added another in the under 78kg weight category in the event.

BILLS AMENDMENTS AND SCHEMES

WAQF (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2013
President Pranab Mukherjee approved changes to Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2013.
Amendments to Waqf Act, 1995 which was introduced to provide for the better administration of Waqfs.
As per the amendments

  1. Waqf Council, (an advisory body at the central level), Its power have been strengthened and now can issue directions to waqf boards, who further administer the waqf of each state.
  2. Amendments in the composition of Waqf boards has been approved including the procedure for removal of a chairperson of a waqf board.
  3. States are directed to establish a Waqf Board within one year and to carry state-funded surveys of Waqf properties.
  4. Restriction in the powers of the member including the Chief Executive Officer of the Board.
  5. The sale, gift, or total transfer of a waqf property will be treated as invalid.
  6. The Bill extends the maximum period of lease or mortgage of such properties, while establishing a more restrictive procedure by which leases or mortgages are approved by waqf boards.
  7. Illegal occupation of waqf property without authorization is will provide imprisonment.
  8. The Bill restricted the circumstances under which state governments can issue directions to waqf boards.  Boards cannot be superseded unless there is prima facie evidence of financial irregularity.

Procedure: Every legislative proposals are brought before either the Lower Hosue (Lok Sabha) or the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) in the form of a bill which is assumed to be in a draft stage of the legislative proposal.
Once the bill draft is passed by both the Houses of the Parliament, the Bill is sent to the President of India for assent. After receiving the assent from the President of India, a bill becomes an Act of the Parliament

PARLIAMENT (PREVENTION OF DISQUALIFICATION) AMENDMENT BILL, 2013
President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2013 which amends Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959.
Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959
Section 3 of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, which has been periodically amended, lists certain offices of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State, which do not disqualify the holders thereof for being chosen as, or for being, a Member of Parliament. Sub-clause (ii) of clause (ba) of section 3 of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, exempts the Chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from such disqualification.
Reasons
The National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was divided into two independent Commissions i.e. (i) the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and (ii) the National Commission for the Scheduled
Tribes by the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.
Through this amendment Act, Article 338 of the Constitution was amended and a new article, namely, Article 338A was introduced in the Constitution. With the bifurcation of the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, consequential amendments are required in sub-clause (ii) of clause (ba) of section 3 of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, so as to exclude the Chairperson of the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and the Chairperson of the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes from incurring any disqualification for being chosen as or for being a Member of Parliament.
The Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003, came into force from February 19, 2004 and therefore, it is proposed to give effect to the present amendment from the same date.

BUSINESS ECONOMY AND FINANCE

IFC LAUNCHES $1 BILLION BOND PROGRAM
(IFC): International Finance Corporation.
Member: World Bank Group
Program: $1 billion offshore bond program
Specialty: The largest of its kind in the offshore rupee market
Reason: To strengthen India’s capital markets and attract greater foreign investment in a time of renewed economic uncertainty across the world.
How?
IFC will issue rupee-linked bonds and use the proceeds to finance private sector investment in the country.

AMONG RECIPIENT OF FOREIGN REMITTANCES INDIA TOPS THE LIST
Migration and Remittance Flows: Recent Trends and Outlook-2013-16,
 India is the largest recipient of foreign remittances among developing economies in 2013.
Migration and Remittance Flows:

  1. Non-Resident Indians (NRI) remitted a record $71 billion in 2013 compared to $70 billion in 2012.
  2. The remittances are likely to increase to $85 billion annually by 2015.
  3. India and China will represent nearly 1/3rd of total remittances to the developing world in 2013.
  4. For India, nearly 40% of the remittances came from the gulf countries while 48% flowed from South Asian countries.
  5. The developing world is expected to receive $414 billion in migrant remittances in 2013, an increase of 6.3% over year 2012. This is projected to surge to $540 billion by 2016.
  6. Globally, the world’s 232 million international migrants are expected to remit earnings worth $550 billion in 2013 and over $700 billion by 2016.

The top recipients of officially recorded remittances for 2013 are:

  1. India – $71 billion
  2. China – $60 billion
  3. The Philippines – $26 billion
  4. Mexico – $22 billion
  5. Nigeria – $21 billion
  6. Egypt – $20 billion

As a percentage of GDP, the top recipients of remittances, in 2012, were Tajikistan (48%), Kyrgyz Republic (31%), Lesotho and Nepal (25% each), and Moldova (24%). 
The volume of remittances in India is larger than the income from IT exports. With the depreciation of the Indian rupee, a rise in remittances is expected as NRIs take advantage of the cheaper goods, services and assets back home.

RBI CUTS MSF RATE BY 50 BPS TO 9.0%
The Reserve Bank of India has reduced one of the key short-term borrowing rate, the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF), by 50 basis points to 9.0%. The step has been taken as the rupee has recovered 11.4% after hitting an all-time low of 68.85 to the dollar on August 28, 2013.
Read MSF at: Economic Glossary

RBI EASES TRADE CREDIT RULES TO RAISE FUNDS FROM OVERSEAS
Trade credit norms has been eased by RBI to raise funds from abroad. Now, all types of firms can avail trade credit facility now from overseas for import of capital goods not exceeding $ 20 million up to a maximum period of 5 years for import of capital goods as classified by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
Earlier only infrastructure sector were permitted to raise such trade credits.
Limitation: However, Banks are not permitted to issue Letters of Credit/guarantees/Letter of Undertaking (LoU) /Letter of Comfort (LoC) in favor of overseas supplier, bank and financial institution for the extended period beyond 3 years.

TRAI RECOMMENDS PAN-INDIA MOBILE NUMBER PORTABILITY IN 6 MONTHS
(TRAI): Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
 
Mobile Number Portability (MNP) across the country within 6 months has to be implemented to allow users to retain their mobile numbers even when they change their service area.
Currently, the MNP is available within the same service area. The regulator suggested that service providers be given six month time to implement full MNP in the country.
What is Mobile Number Portability?
Mobile Number Portability (MNP) enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another.

RBI DIRECTS BANKS TO END ZERO INTEREST EMI SCHEMES
In a major blow to the banks and merchant establishments, the Reserve Bank of India has instructed banks to stop offering zero interest EMI (Equated Monthly Installment) schemes for the purchase of consumer goods in a bid to discourage them from offering such schemes or products.
RBI has asked banks to offer uniform interest rates and processing fee on EMI-based credit card schemes for retail products. The RBI also directed banks to terminate their relationships with merchant establishments which levied a fee on customers who make payments for goods and services through debit cards

RESERVE BANK OF INDIA TRYING TO HOLD LIQUIDITY VIA OPEN MARKET OPERATION
To ensure adequate liquidity in the system, the Reserve Bank of India used, Open Market Operations regarding hardening of yields on government securities after governor Raghuram Rajan raised the repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.50%.
To Know More about Open Market Operations: Economic Glossary

Q1 CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT WIDENS TO 4.9% FROM 4% YOY
Deficit stayed high due to rise in imports
CAD stood at USD 21.8 billion in Q1 against USD 16.9 billion in the corresponding prior period.
Exports fared slightly better than previous year. It declined 1.5 percent to USD 73.9 billion in Q1 of 2013-14 as compared with a decline of 4.8 per cent at USD 75 billion in Q1 of 2012-13. Imports on the other hand rose 4.7 percent at USD 124.4 billion against a decline of 3.9 percent at USD 118.9 billion in in the same quarter previous year, primarily led by a steep rise in gold imports in the first two months of the quarter.


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