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Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2014

10/26/2014

Current Affairs

Current Affairs

Government grounds entire fleet of Sukhoi-30, each aircraft to undergo technical check
October 24, 2014

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In response to the recent crash of a Sukhoi-30 plane in Pune, the Government has ordered the grounding of Indias
entire fleet of Sukhoi-30 airplanes pending technical checks on each of them.
Preliminary findings

A Sukhoi-30 MKI had crashed in a field near Pune. The accident is still under investigation, however, the preliminary
findings have suggested that a technical problem in the fly-by-wire system was the cause of the accident and not human
error. A Court of Inquiry on the accident is also in progress.
Grounded fleet

Around 200 twin engine Sukhoi-30s have been grounded pending technical review. Notably, this has been the fifth
accident involving a Sukhoi-30 MKI since 2009, and the Sukhoi-30 fleet has been grounded twice before.
The grounded fleet accounts for almost one-third of Indias fighter fleet. The Air force will now have only 34 active combat squadrons (with each
squadron having 18 fighter planes), as opposed to the authorized strength of 44.

Birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, 31 October to be celebrated as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas


October 24, 2014

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The Birth Anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which falls on 31 October, will be celebrated as National Integration
Day of Rashtriya Ekta Divas from now on.
Objective of the Commemoration

The government will attempt to create awareness among the people about Sardar Patels contribution towards Indias
freedom struggle and ensuring national integration in India. Sardar Patel played a pivotal role in the merger of princely
states with British ruled India to form a sovereign united country called India
Rashtriya Ekta Divas (RED)

The government will try to make RED a mass movement, reaching people from all avenues of life. The participation of
the people shall be voluntary.
On October 31 this year, the PM will participate in the event and broadcast a short radio address.
In the morning of October 31, a run for unity marathon will be organized in cities, towns and villages all over India. In the evening, Police and other
organizations like the NSS, NCC, Scouts and Guides, Home Guards etc will march on the streets in all district headquarters.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Sardar Patel was born on 31 October, 1875 at Karamsand, Gujarat. He was a barrister with a successful law practice, before he left the law to join
the Indian national movement under Gandhi. He played a major role in organizing peasants movements in Kheda and Bardoli in Gujarat, and during
the Quit India movement. His biggest contribution to India was his role in the integration of the over 500 princely states with India during 1947-49.

International Boxing Association (AIBA) suspends Sarita Devi


October 24, 2014

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Indian boxer L.Sarita Devi has been provisionally suspended by the AIBA for refusing to accept the bronze medal she won
after losing the semifinal fight over a controversial decision at the 2014 Asian Games.
Suspension

Along with Sarita Devi, her coaches Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu, B.I.Fernandes and Sagar Mai Dhayal and Indias chef-demission Adille Sumariwala to the Incheon Asiad 2014 have also been suspended. All of them are prohibited from
participating in the upcoming competitions till further notice. Other than AIBA competitions, they also cannot participate in
AIBA events and meetings. This Sarita Devi case has now been sent for review by the AIBA Disciplinary Commission.
The suspension means that Sarita Devi will miss the upcoming Womens World Championships in Jeju, South Korea
which is scheduled to take place between November 13 and 25.

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Government approves four strategic rail lines along China border


October 24, 2014

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The Central Government has granted approval to four out of the 14 identified strategic rail lines. The project has been in
deliberation for years.
High Level Meeting

At a high level meeting of officials from the Planning Commission, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Railways and Ministry
of Finance, the PMO ordered Indian Railways to carry out an engineering survey of the 1,000 km of line identified by the
Defence Ministry to be of strategic importance. The building of the lines will be commissioned only after the survey,
which acts as a blueprint.
Four strategic lines

The four rail lines which have been identified are along the China border. They are in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam,
Himachal Pradesh, and J&K. The identified lines are Missamari-Tawang (378 km) in Assam-Arunachal Pradesh, North Lakhimpur-Along-Silapathar
(248 km) in Assam, Murkongselek-Pasighat-Tezu-Parashuram Kund-Rupai (256 km) in Assam-Arunachal Pradesh and Bilaspur-Mandi-Manali-Leh
(498 km) in Himachal Pradesh-J&K. The rail lines are expected to be used by the Armed Forces for transporting supplies for the Army and troops
movement.
Details of the Engineering Survey

Before the Survey, the Railways has been given a months time to present a report on the expected costs of the project, which will be borne by the
government. The survey itself is expected to take two years, which the Railways might expedite considering the importance attached to the project.

Key facts about Oscar De La Renta


October 23, 2014

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Fashion designer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and fashion icon Oscar de la Renta passed away at age 82 at his home in
Kent, Connecticut. Some of the important facts of his life are:De la Renta was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 1932 in a middle class family.
Later, he moved to Madrid, Spain and studied at the Academy of San Fernando. He was meant to study painting, but
he accidentally got involved in designing.
In Spain, he worked in the ateliers of Balenciaga, Dior and Lanvin
He, then moved to USA to work for Elizabeth Arden
In 1965, he launched his own ready to wear label. His style is described as modern, yet feminine
He has designed for CEOs, first wives, political icons, socialites and Hollywood elites for the last five decades.
He served as President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America from 1973 to 1976, and from 1986 to 1988
Between 1993 to 2002, de la Renta designed haute couture collections for Pierre Balmain, single-handedly helping the revival of fashion
house which has been witnessing disappointing sales
Also, he has served on the boards of The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall amongst others. He also supports several cultural
institutions, including New Yorkers for Children, the Americas Society and the Spanish Institute. He also supports an orphanage in the
Dominican
The Dominican Republic has awarded him the Order of Juan Pablo Duarte and the Order of Cristbal Coln
In 2002, he introduced his own furniture line. His brand also has a line of perfumes & fragrance which is sold in over 70 countries
He has been battling cancer since 2006, and is believed to have passed away due to the disease. Before his death, he appointed British
designer Peter Copping as his successor to the Oscar de la Renta brand
De la Renta is survived by his wife, Annette Engelhard; his son, Moises; three sisters; three step-children and nine step-grandchildren

Government substantially increases fellowship amount to research scholars


October 22, 2014

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The Central Government has substantially increased the amount it pays to over 70,000 research scholars.
Details of changes in benefits

The new fellowships will be effective retrospectively from October 1.


Science students undertaking PhD and post-doctoral studies will not only receive better stipend but also other facilities like house rent
allowance and medical benefits from the government.
Junior research fellowship has been enhanced to Rs 25,000 from Rs 16,000
Senior research fellowship has been increased to Rs 28,000 from Rs 18,000
Fellowship for post doctoral studies has been increased from Rs 22,000 to Rs 36,000 (for research associate-1), from Rs 23,000 to Rs
38,000 (research associate-2) and from Rs 24,000 to Rs 40,000 (research associate-3). [Research associate 1 and 2 are generally for one
year, while research associate-3 can continue to work till they get a position in a research institute]
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Financial outgo

The additional financial outgo for the Centre on account of the changes will be Rs 750 crore annually and has been approved by the Finance
Ministry. Currently, the Centre spends Rs 1,663 cr annually on the fellowships
Protests and Demonstrations

Several protests and demonstrations by students and researchers were held in academic institutes across India, asking the government to raise the
fellowship amounts and show its support to the study of the sciences. While most of the demands of the protestors have been met with, one of their
demands for an inflation-linked annual increase has not been met with.
The last pay revision for research scholars was in 2010.

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Oscar Pistorius sentenced for five years


October 22, 2014

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The judgment sentencing Olympian Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was passed by
Judge Thokozile Masipa.
Conviction

Oscar Pistorius was convicted earlier by a South African Court for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend. The Court held
that Pistorius had unintentionally killed her. Pistorius had claimed that he had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder and
shot and killed her.
Sentencing hearing

Pistorius has been sentenced to the maximum of five years for the crime of culpable homicide. He was also found guilty
on one charge of possessing a gun at a restaurant and sentenced for three years. The two sentences are expected to
run concurrently.
However, Pistorius could have his sentence commuted to corrective supervision, or house arrest, after serving a sixth of the sentence i.e. 10 months.
The Ban

The International Paralympic Committee has announced that it will ban Pistorius from its competitions for five years. The Olympic Committee is
expected to follow suit.
About Oscar Pistorius

Pistorius was born with a congenital abnormality, which led to him getting both his legs amputated below the knee even before his first birthday. He
is a Paralympics and Olympics sprinter. In 2012, he became the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics. Though he did not win a medal
there, he won a medal in the Paralympics.

Government orders to merge NSEL to parent firm FTIL


October 22, 2014

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The Central Government has passed an order to merge NSEL (National Spot Exchange Ltd.) with FTIL (Financial
Technologies India Ltd)
Public interest

The order has been passed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. According to Section 396 of the Companies Act, 1956,
the central government can order the merger of two companies if it is essential in public interest. The clause has been
rarely used by the government. However, in this case, since the subsidiary is cash-strapped and has no funds to pay its
dues, the government has ordered the merger. The merger with the financially viable FTIL will facilitate the recovery of
dues for creditors of the NSEL.
Challenge by stakeholders

According to the law, submissions can be made to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs within 60 days of the order. The shareholders and stakeholders
of FTIL are expected to file submissions with the Ministry opposing the merger. Through the merger will benefit the victims of the scam perpetrated
by NSEL, it will also dilute the assets of FTIL and affect the investments of the shareholders and stakeholders of FTIL.

Nigeria declared Ebola free by World Health Organisation


October 22, 2014

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Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola by the WHO. Earlier, WHO also declared Senegal Ebola free.
Impact of Ebola

The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
Approximately 70% of the infected persons have died in these countries.
Criteria for declaring a nation Ebola-free

The WHO declared Nigeria Ebola free after it crossed six weeks with no reports of new cases of Ebola. WHO can declare
an Ebola outbreak over if two incubation periods of 21 days pass with no new cases.
Outbreak in Nigeria

The Ebola virus was brought to Nigeria by an American-Liberian diplomat in July. Since then, the diplomat and seven
Nigerians have died due to the virus.
As soon as the diplomat was diagnosed, Nigeria responded to the threat swiftly and contained the situation. A national public health emergency was
declared and action take to limit the spread of the disease.
Ebola virus

Fruit bats, which are a delicacy for some West Africans, is believed to be the virus natural host
Symptoms faced by people who have contracted the Ebola virus include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage.

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The virus is spread through contact with body fluids of inflected persons such as blood, urine and saliva.
The incubation period for the virus ranges from 2 to 21 days.
There is no proven cure for the disease, though supportive care can help recovery.
The fatality rate for persons who have contracted Ebola is currently 70%, but it can reach up to 90%.

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September 2014 |
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June 2014 |
May 2014 |
April 2014 |
March 2014 |
February 2014 |
January 2014 |
Current Affairs 2013
Current Affairs 2012
Current Affairs 2011

CATEGORIES
Awards
Persons
Policy
Business
Environment
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Science-Tech
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Socio-economic
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Quiz 201-300
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China assures India to open up new pilgrim route to Kailash Manasarovar by 2015
October 22, 2014

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China has given India assurances that it is taking preparatory steps to open up a new route to Kailash Manasarovar for
pilgrims by 2015.
During the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian PM Narendra Modi, President Jinping promised to
open a new route to Kailash Manasarovar via Sikkim. This route is scheduled to be operational from the summer of
2015. The new route to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar will go through the Nathu La Pass.
Recently, Jiang Jie, the Vice Chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) met with the Indian Ambassador to
China, Ashok Kantha, who is on a tour of Tibet with a two-fold objective: to make preparations for the pilgrims and to
expand border trade through the Sikkim border. Other issues discussed were efforts being taken by the TAR to upgrade
facilities for pilgrims through the existing route which passes through the Lipulekh Pass and the socio-economic
conditions in the TAR.

Police Commemoration Day celebrated on October 21


October 22, 2014

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Police Commemoration Day was observed on 21 October.


Background:
At the Annual Conference of Inspectors General of Police of States and Union Territories held in January 1960, it was
decided that October 21 would be observed as Commemoration Day in all Police Lines across India to mark the memory
of police personnel who were killed in Ladakh in a faceoff with the Chinese Army and all the other Police personnel who
have been killed on duty elsewhere.
The faceoff took place at Hot Springs in North Eastern Ladakh. A memorial has been erected at Hot Springs and, every
year, Police personnel from across India trek to Hot Springs to pay their respects.
Since the year 2012, the Police Commemoration Day Parade is being held at the National level at the Police Memorial, Chanakyapuri.
Loss of lives
Since 1961, 32,557 police personnel have lost their lives in service of the nation and society. Between September 2013 and August 2014, 662 police
personnel throughout the country have lost their lives in the line of duty. (image source: ANI)

Manohar Lal Khattar to be new Chief Minister of Haryana


October 22, 2014

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Former RSS veteran and first time legislator, Manohar Lal Khattar, is set to be sworn in as the new CM of Haryana at
Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula on October 26. His name was finalized by BJPs 47 MLAs after a meeting of the
legislative party.
60 year old Khattar is known for being extremely tech savvy and has worked closely with Narendra Modi before. Khattar
is Haryanas first non-Jat CM in 18 years, and only the fourth non-Jat leader in Haryanas 48 year old history. He is also
the first Punjabi CM of Haryana. This is also Khattars first time as a legislator. He won the Karnal seat by approximately
63,000 votes.
About Manohar Lal Khattar

Khattar was born in Rohtak, Haryana. He began his career with the RSS in 1980, where he spent almost 35 years as an
active pracharak. He formally joined the BJP only two decades ago. In 1994, he was made the Sangathan Mahamantri in Haryana. Also, he was
Chairman of BJPs Haryana Election Committee for the recent Lok Sabha elections.

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Indian hockey coach resigns, withdraws resignation


October 22, 2014

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The Indian National hockey team coach, Terry Walsh, withdrew his earlier tendered resignation.
Resignation by Walsh

Walsh tendered his resignation as the coach stating bureaucratic hassles, non-payment of dues and his own family
commitments as reasons contributing to the decision. He questioned the decision-making process of the bureaucrats
given the responsibility of regulating Indian sports. He also mentioned the difficulty in working with the SAI (Sports
Authority of India) and HI (Hockey India).
Withdrawal of resignation

Later, Walsh agreed to put his resignation on hold till November 19, when he expects the SAI to implement some of its
proposed solutions. After evaluating the changes, he is expected to make a final decision on his resignation.
The withdrawal of Walshs resignation gives the authorities the opportunity to address his grievances. According to his contract, Walsh can choose to
return to his position one month from the date he tenders his resignation, if both parties can reach an understanding.
Submission of report

The Union Sports Minister has asked his department secretary and the SAI to submit a report on Walshs resignation within 24 hours.
Crucial juncture

Walshs resignation comes at a crucial time for the Indian hockey team which requires a coach to prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Under Walshs guidance, the Indian hockey team won the gold medal in the Asian Games at Incheon, which automatically qualified them to the 2016
Olympics.

Marin Cilic wins Kremlin Cup


October 22, 2014

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Second seeded US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia won the Kremlin Cup ATP title in Moscow. He defeated fifth
seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut in the final. Cilic became the first Croatian to win the Moscow ATP 250
tournament since his coach Goran Ivanisevic beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996.
Kremlin Cup WTA Title
Sixth seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia defeated Romanias Irina-Camelia Begu to wint the WTA title.
Anastasia became the first Russian woman to win the Kremlin Cup since Elena Dementieva in 2007. Anastasia earlier
won the Open GDF Suez in Paris.

India wins Sultan of Johor Cup title


October 22, 2014

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India faced Great Britain at the Taman Daya Hockey stadium in Johor Bahru in Malaysia for the finals of the Sultan of
Johor under 21 hockey Cup.
Past Title Winners

The Sultan of Johor Cup was inaugurated in 2011. The 2011 winner was Malaysia, 2012 winner was Germany and 2013
winner was India.
2014 Title winner

India successfully defended its 2013 win, and defeated Great Britain. This makes India the first team to the win the
Sultan of Johor under 21 title twice.
Australia defeated New Zealand to finish third.
Sultan of Johor

The Sultan of Johor is a hereditary seat and the title of the nominal ruler of the Malaysian state of Johor. Earlier, Johor was ruled by the Sultan, but
now, it is governed by a CM. The Sultan of Johor just remains a ceremonial post today.

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China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral dialogue held


October 22, 2014

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China, Afghanistan and Pakistan held a trilateral dialogue to chalk out a roadmap for regional cooperation and strengthen
ties with each other. This is the second such dialogue. The first dialogue was held in 2013 in Beijing.
Organisers

The two day dialogue consisting of officials and experts of the three countries was organised by the Pakistan-China
Institute (PCI) and German agency Konrad Adeneaur Stiftung.
Issues discussed

This dialogue was conceived to act as a vital platform to strengthen communication and cooperation among the three
nations. The parties involved discussed presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, cross-border terrorist movement,
capacity of the Afghan national security forces, protection of foreign investments in Afghanistan and the role of regional
countries in promoting peace, stability and security in Afghanistan and surrounding region. Protection of foreign investments was especially an issue
with China, which is Afghanistans largest investor.

Longest-serving MLA in Maharashtra Ganpatrao Deshmukh wins 11th time, creates record
October 22, 2014

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Veteran legislator Ganpatrao Deshmukh won the legislative assembly elections for the 11th time. This makes him the
longest serving MLA in India.
Ganpatrao Deshmukh

88 year old Deshmukh won from Sangola in Solapur district, which he has represented for 54 years. In 2009, Deshmukh
became the second legislator in India after M.Karunanidhi to have won 10 elections.
Deshmukh belongs to the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP). He has been a Minister twice, but has spent most of his
time being part of the Opposition. He was first elected as a MLA in 1962, and since then has won every election except
for the 1972 and 1995 elections.
In 2012, he completed 50 years in the assembly, for which he was felicitated by the Assembly and the Government.
2014 legislative assembly win

The 2014 legislative assembly election was Deshmukhs 13th assembly election. He defeated Shiv Senas Shahajibapu Patil by 25,224 votes.
Deshmukh garnered 94,374 votes to Patils 69,150. The NCP chose not to field a candidate against Deshmukh.

Five year Indian boy climbs Kalapathar peak, sets world record
October 22, 2014

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Harshit Saumitra, a five year and eleven month old Indian has successfully climbed Kalapathar peak. Harshit Saumitra is the son of a famous
mountaineer, Rajeev Saumitra.
Kalapathar Peak

The Kalapathar Peak is 200 m above the base camp of Mount Everest in Nepal. The peak is 5,554 m high. It is also the highest peak
amongst all the highest peaks of three continents, Europes Mount Blanc (4,810 m), Antarticas Vinson Massif (4,892 m) and Australias Punack Jaya
or Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 m).
Climb to the peak

Harshit and his team, consisting of his father and two Sherpa guides, landed at Lukla Airport in a helicopter on October 7. It took them 10 days to
reach the peak for a climb that normally takes 7 days.
World Records

Harshits father has claimed that Harshit has broken a world record set by 7 year old Aryan Balaji, who has climbed to Kalapathar in 2012. They are
in the process of registering Harshits name for the Limca Book of Records and are considering applying for the Guinness World Records.

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3000 houses handed over to Sikkim Earthquake affected under REDRH scheme
October 22, 2014

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After a prolonged delay, 3000 houses in rural areas have been completely built under Sikkims REDRH scheme.
REDRH

REDRH scheme refers to the Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses project. This project was sanctioned
under the PMs Special Package after the Sikkim earthquake. A total of 7,972 houses have been sanctioned under the
scheme by the PMs Special Package.
Mode of building houses

The Project follows an owner driven implementation model. The core house design, building standards, construction
material (cement and steel), technical supervision and capital will be provided by the government, while the owner has
to undertake the actual construction, procure local construction material (stone, sand, timber etc) and arranged for
mason and labour. Where the government provided funds are insufficient, the owner will have to add their own finances.
State of progress

While 3000 houses have been completed, 2000 more houses have crossed roof level, and 2500 houses have crossed plinth level and work is
underway on the remaining 472 houses
Funding
The scheme is centrally sponsored, so all the funds are provided by the Centre under the PMs Special Package. The total cost sanctioned for the
project by the Centre is Rs. 389.83 cr, of which the Sikkim government has received Rs. 227.03 cr from the Centre

Centre sends advisory to states to recruit 33 percent women in police forces


October 22, 2014

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The Central Government has issued an advisory asking that steps be taken so that 33% of the workforce in police forces are constituted by women.
The advisory has been sent to all the states, union territories and central armed police forces. Presently, only 1.99% of the personnel in the
paramilitary forces are women. The government aims to increase this number in the next 10 years.

Gopinath Mundes daughter creates record of maximum victory margin in Lok Sabha elections
October 22, 2014

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Late BJP leader Gopinath Mundes second daughter, Pritam Munde, won the Beed seat in Maharashtra by a record
margin of nearly seven lakh votes. The bypoll was conducted in Beed to fill the seat left vacant by Gopinath Munde after
his tragic and untimely demise.
Pritam Mundes record

Pritam polled 9,22,416 votes, defeating former Congress minister Ashok Patil by 6,96,321 votes. Shiv Sena and NCP
chose not to field any candidate against Pritam. PM Modi had begun his Maharashtra poll campaign in Beed.
Other records

Pritam broke Anil Basus record for a win with the highest electoral margin. Anil Basu of CPI-M won by 5,92,502 votes
from Arambagh in West Bengal during the 2004 general elections. The third highest victory margin was recorded by late
PM Narasimha Rao who won from Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh with a 5.8 lakh margin in 1991. The record for winning with the fourth largest margin
is PM Modi, who won the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat in May this year by 5.7 lakh votes.
He is followed by Ram Vilas Paswans 1989 margin of 5,04,448 votes from Hajipur in Bihar.

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BJP wins assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana


October 22, 2014

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The BJP has performed well in the first test of its popularity after the parliamentary elections. It looks set to form the government in both states.
Maharashtra Assembly Elections

With strong campaigning by the PM, the BJP won 122 seats in Maharashtra, which is almost
three times the number of seats it won in the 2009 elections. However, the seats are still not
enough for the BJP to solely for a government, as it falls 22 seats short of the halfway mark.
The party which wishes to form the government must have a minimum of 145 seats in the 288
member Maharashtra assembly.
The NCP won 41 seats and announced that it was willing to provide unconditional support to the
BJP from the outside. The Shiv Sena won 63 seats. The Congress emerged as the third largest
party in the House, after BJP and Shiv Sena, winning 42 seats. Raj Thackerays MNS
(Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) won just one seat. MNS won from only Junnar which is in Pune
district. In the earlier elections, MNS has won 13 seats.
BJPs Maharashtra unit President, Devendra Phadnavis, seems to be the most likely candidate
for the Chief Ministers post. He is from the Vidarbha region, where the BJP won 40 seats.
Haryana Assembly Elections

Haryanas Legislative Assembly has 90 seats. Of this, BJP gained the clear majority by winning
47 seats. Haryana voters have been voting for Congress since 2005, when Bhupinder Hooda
became CM. The party with the second largest seats is the INLD (Indian National Lok Dal) with
19 seats. Congress won 15 seats this year, a far lesser number than the 40 seats it won in
2009. As for the other parties, Haryana Janhit Congress (BL), Shiromani Akali Dal and BSP won
2, 1 and 1 seats respectively. Independent candidates cornered 5 seats.

Cricket Association of Bengal releases special Gold Coin on 150th anniversary of Eden Gardens
October 21, 2014

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Three day long celebrations are underway at the Eden Gardens in Kolkatta by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) to
commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the iconic cricket ground.
As part of the celebrations, 150 of the oldest members of annual, associate and life categories of the CAB will be
felicitated. On October 18, a souvenir and a special gold coin will be released by CAB.
Eden Gardens

Eden Gardens was established in 1864. It is the largest cricket stadium in India and the third biggest cricket stadium in
the world in terms of capacity. It is the home of the Bengal cricket team and IPLs Kolkatta Knight Riders. It has been a
venue for Test matches, ODIs and Twenty20 international matches.

Japan rolls out Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), its first commercial jet in 50 years
October 21, 2014

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After a gap of half a century, Mitsubishi Aircraft has rolled out Japans first commercial jet .
Nature of the MRJ

The MRJ has a little less than 100 seats. The jet is valued at $42 million. It marks Japans second attempt to enter the
commercial aircraft market. The unique aspect of the MRJ is that is consumes one fifth less fuel than an aircraft its size.
Development of the MRJ

The MRJ has been developed by a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries which counts carmaker Toyota Corp as one
of its shareholders. The MRJ will now be subject to a multiple flight before the first delivery of the aircraft in June 2017.
This target is 3 years later than Mitsubhishis original plan.

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Government approves Ahmedabad Metro Rail project phase-1


October 21, 2014

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The Union Cabinet has given its approval to grant financial assistance to the Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project.
The Cabinet has granted its approval for the Rs. 10,773 cr project to build Phase I of the Ahmedabad Metro Rail project.
Phase I of the metro rail

Phase I of the rail project covers a 35.96 km long route along two corridors, namely, the North-South Corridor covering
15.42 km from APMC to Motera Stadium and East-West Corridor covering 20.54 km from Thaltej Gam to Vastral Gam.
Role of the Central Government

While the total project cost is Rs.10,773 cr, the Central government will contribute Rs. 1,990 cr in the form of equity and
subordinate debt.
Implementation of the project

The project will be implemented by the Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) Company Ltd., which will now be converted into
a 50:50 jointly owned company of the Central government and state government of of Gujarat.
Legal Framework

The project will be covered under the legal framework of the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978; the Metro Railways (Operation and
Maintenance) Act, 2002; and the Railways Act, 1989.

Government to relaunch Direct Benefits Transfer Scheme


October 21, 2014

No Comments

The Union Cabinet has approved the relaunch of the Direct Benefits Transfer scheme with some modifications.
Some of the salient points pertaining to the new scheme are:Scheme is to launched in 54 districts from November 15, 2014 and in the rest of the country from January 1, 2015
It will be implemented in mission mode between 10 November and 1 January 2015
The subsidy amount to be given per domestic subsidized LPG cylinder shall remain fixed
Future beneficiaries can receive the cash subsidies by linking their Aadhaar number with the LPG connection, and
have their bank account as the primary option. Alternatively, they can also directly link their LPG connection with their
bank account, and may or may not include Aadhaar as the secondary option. In any scenario, possession of an
Aadhaar number will not be a requirement, which is in conformity with a SC verdict which said that Aadhaar card
cannot be made mandatory because it has no legal backing
Persons who have opened accounts under the newly introduced Jan Dhan Yojana can also link their LPG connection to such an account.
Persons without bank accounts or Aadhaar will also receive subsidized LPG cylinder for some time

Hurricane Gonzalo hits Bermuda


October 21, 2014

No Comments

Hurricane Gonzalo made landfall on October 17 in Bermuda, with rain and winds of speed 175 km/h.
Two storms

Gonzalo was the second storm to hit Bermuda this month. Earlier in the previous week, Tropical Storm Fay had damaged
homes and knocked down trees and power lines.
Destruction

Electricity supply was lost to 31,200 homes initially. Electricity was restored to two thirds of these houses by 19 October.
The hurricane caused flooding, uprooted trees and damaged structures.
No loss of life

Only minor injuries were reported in the island. Gonzola was initially a category 4 storm as it approached the island, it
weakened and was downgraded to a category 2 storm before it made landfall.
Deployment of frigate

Bermuda is a British overseas territory. The Royal Navy of UK had deployed a frigate, HMS Argyll, along with trained medical personnel to help with
the provision of humanitarian assistance. The personnel will also help recover power, communications and water supplies, while a helicopter on the
ship will carry out an aerial survey of the island.

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Government reconstitutes the National Committee to commemorate 125th Birth Anniversary of Nehru
October 21, 2014

No Comments

The Government has reconstituted the National Committee to commemorate the 125th Birth Anniversary of Indias first
Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The committee will hold its first meeting after Diwali. On its agenda will be the
celebrations to be undertaken to mark Nehrus 125th birth anniversary on 14 November, 2014.
Members of the Committee

The Committee will be chaired by the Prime Minister. The Home Minister, Minister of External Affairs, Finance Minister,
Minister of Human Resource Development, Minister of Culture and Minister of Information & Broadcasting are all exofficio members of the Committee.
Some leaders from the Congress Party like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Karan Singh etc and senior journalists Rajat Sharma,
M.J.Akbar, Swapan Dasgupta have also been inducted as members.
National Implementation Committee

Apart from the main National Committee, the PM has also approved the constitution of a National Implementation Committee. This Committee will be
headed by the Home Minister, and will monitor the implementation of the programmes/proposals finalised by the main committee.
Origin of the Committee
The National Committee was initially set up by during the tenure of the previous UPA government, and was headed by then PM Manmohan Singh.

Government formalizes the price formula for natural gas


October 21, 2014

No Comments

The Central Government has finalized a new pricing mechanism for natural gas. The new gas pricing formula is believed to
be much lesser than the formula suggested by the Rangarajan Committee.
Process of finalization

The Centre had constituted a panel of secretaries to determine the methodology of pricing gas. The central cabinet accepted
the recommendations of this panel at its meeting held on October 20.
New pricing formula

As per the new formula, domestic gas price will now increase from $4.2 per mmBtu (million British thermal unit) to $5.61
per mmBtu. The Rangarajan Committee has recommended revision of prices to $8.4 per mmBtu.
This price will, however be revised every six months.
This new gas pricing formula will be effective from the 1st of November.
Balancing viability and consumer interests
The new gas pricing formula aims to keep the price high enough so that drilling projects remain viable, while keeping the price reasonable enough
so that the consumers dont buckle under the high costs.
Also the review that is to be carried out every six months will ensure that the prices are modified suitably to protect the interest of all stakeholders.
This six monthly review will eventually lead to free natural gas prices.

Government deregulates diesel price


October 21, 2014

No Comments

The Central government has deregulated the price of diesel. This means that just like petrol prices, the price of diesel
too will be determined by the global market forces. The price of diesel shall vary depending on the rise and fall of oil in
the international markets
Fall in price

Currently, the price of oil in global markets is on a declining trend. The oil prices are at a four year low. Hence, the
deregulation is expected to result in the reduction of diesel prices. In Delhi, the price of diesel is expected to fall by Rs.
3.37 a litre This will be the first reduction in diesel rates in over five years.
Scenario prior to deregulation

From January 2013, diesel prices are being raised in stages through a 50 paisa per litre increase every month, in an
effort to bring them to the global diesel price levels. Since January 2013, the rates have cumulatively risen by Rs. 11.81 per litre over a span 19
measured periodical increases. Traditionally, oil firms have incurred huge losses on diesel, because the price tends to be much lower than the costs
incurred by the companies in procuring and distributing the fuel .However, since the second half of September, the companies have actually started
making profits because of the fall in global oil prices. The profit has reportedly since reached Rs 3.56 per litre. This reduction did not reflect in the
prevalent prices of diesel. However, now with deregulation, the price of diesel will be adjusted to reflect this.
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elief for PSUs

The deregulation bodes well for PSUs like ONGC which will no longer have to bear the brunt of subsidizing diesel.

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Nigeria and Boko Haram agree to ceasefire and girls release


October 19, 2014

No Comments

Nigerias military has issued a statement saying that the Nigerian government and Boko Haram had reached a ceasefire
that will lead to the release of around 200 girls that Boko Haram had kidnapped.
Negotiations leading to the ceasefire

Boko Haram and Nigerians have been engaging in negotiations for over a month now. The talks were held in Chad with
the active involvement of Chads President, Idriss Deby, and senior officials from Cameroon.
Ceasefire

Though the Nigerian military and presidential aides to the Nigerian President have spoken of the ceasefire, Boko Haram
has not made any comment yet. The terms of the ceasefire, include Boko Haram agreeing in principle to free the
kidnapped girls.
The ceasefire will mark the end of a five year long insurgency.
Kidnapping of the girls

In April 2014, Boko Haram militants attacked a school in the remote north-eastern village of Chibok in Borno state and kidnapped approximately 270
girls. Of the 270, 57 girls managed to escape, but over 200 of the girls are still being held.
Boko Haram

The terrorist organization was founded in 2002. The group is mostly active in Nigeria, but tends to cross over into Cameroon too. Its initial focus was
on opposing Western education. However, by 2009, it has launched military operations with the objective of creating an Islamic state.
Till date, thousands have been killed and millions displaced because of the violence caused by the Boko Haram. It has also attacked police and UN
headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja
Boko Haram was declared a terrorist group by USA in 2013.

EC rules out possibility of NRI E-voting


October 19, 2014

No Comments

The Election Commission (EC) submitted before the SC that providing NRIs with the option of e-voting will not be possible
due to threats such as viruses, spyware, and malware.
Case before the SC

An NRI had filed a PIL before the SC alleging that the provision requiring NRIs to be physically present in the constituency
to exercise their vote was discriminatory and violative of their fundamental rights. It is in regard to this case that the EC
made representation before the SC.
The ruling will affect 12,000 NRIs who are registered as voters.
Appointment of a Committee

The EC submitted before the SC that it had appointed a committee to explore possibilities of allowing NRIs to cast their
votes from abroad, and also examine other options to make the process of casting their votes much less cumbersome.
Voting through Proxy

The EC said that even though directly voting online or at diplomatic missions was not an option, voting through proxy could definitely be considered
for NRIs. The NRI can designate another person from his own constituency to act as his proxy and cast the vote on his behalf. Voting through proxy is
currently available to persons in the armed forces and paramilitary forces. This mode of voting can be efficacious and convenient for all parties
concerned. Matters of time constraint and logistics will not be a hurdle
E-postal ballot

E-postal ballot is also an option that the EC is considered. Under this system, a blank postal ballot paper is transferred electronically to the NRIs,
which can then be filled and returned by them. This system has almost no risk of manipulation, rigging or violation of secrecy.
The EC proposed trying the system on a pilot basis in one or two constituencies during elections to the Legislative Assemblies. If successful, the
ballot system could then be expanded to cover Parliamentary elections and eventually to all constituencies.

Government launches national air quality index


October 19, 2014

No Comments

The Central government has launched a National Air Quality Index to provide an easy, understandable measure of air quality. For the next 45 days,
the draft National Air Quality Index will be made available to stakeholders and register their comments. If the suggestions are accepted, changes will
be made, and the Index will be formalized later this year, and made active by 2015. read more here.

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SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation finalized


October 19, 2014

No Comments

The SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity) was finalized at the 5th SAARC Energy Ministers
Meeting and will be signed by all the parties at the upcoming SAARC Summit that is to be held in November 2014 in
Kathmandu, Nepal.
SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation

This agreement has been pending since 2010 and is an important step in developing a SAARC Market for Electricity
(SAME) on a regional basis. Bangladesh will convene the meeting of Energy Regulators or Agencies in SAARC countries
by December 2014.
Indias role

India has offered to host a seminar on Sharing Experiences on Energy Pricing Mechanism in the SAARC Region and
also host the second meeting of the Expert Group on Technology/Knowledge Sharing (including Energy Efficiency, coal, etc.) in 2015.
SAARC

SAARC or the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was established in 1985, with its secretariat in Kathmandu, Nepal. SAARC is an
association of eight countries in South Asia. The idea of the regional body was first proposed by the Bangaldeshi President Zia-ur-Rahman in 1980,
when the proposed creation of a trade bloc consisting solely South Asian countries.
Afghanistan is the most recent, and eighth addition to the grouping. It was added at the behest of India, on 13 November, 2005. China, EU, USA,
South Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Australia and Mauritius are observers to SAARC.
Ministerial level Energy forum

The process of regional cooperation in the energy sector began in January 2000 with the establishment of a Technical Committee on Energy. At the
12th SAARC Summit in 2004, the Islamabad Declaration called for the constitution of a Ministerial level Energy Forum was constituted. The first
meeting of the SAARC Energy Ministers was held at Islamabad in 2005.

Government extends the Company Law Settlement Scheme to November 15


October 18, 2014

No Comments

The government extended the operation of the Company Law Settlement Scheme by a month, with the deadline now
being November 15. At the end of August 2014, there were around 1.42 lakh companies that had not filed their annual
returns or balance sheets for more than three consecutive years.
Company Law Settlement Scheme 2014

This scheme, introduced under the new Companies Act, allows companies that have failed to make their statutory filings
to do so without attracting prosecution. This scheme initially had a time limit of two months wherein the defaulting
companies had to meet the requirements by October 2014. This scheme condones lack or delay of filings by companies
by granting immunity from prosecution to the companies and also, give them the advantage of reduced additional fees
Grounds for extension

The extension was granted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs after requests from various stakeholders including the ICAI (Institute of Chartered
Accountants of India).
Companies Act

The new Companies Act contains provisions that provide for stringent norms in dealing with defaulting entities. Even directors can be penalized
through disqualification for failing to make the necessary annual filings. Also, the companies are penalized through higher additional fees and
penalties.

India-LAC investment conclave concludes


October 18, 2014

No Comments

The India-LAC (Latin America and Carribean) investment conclave was held under the auspices of FICCI (Federation of
Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry on October 16 and 17.
Objectives of the conclave

The objectives of the conclave are as follows:Provide insights to LAC region industries on lucrative investment opportunities available in India
Provide Indian industries insight into the LAC region to enable them to develop suitable strategies to penetrate the
LAC region markets
Facilitate partnerships between industries in the Indian and LAC region
Enable government representatives from both regions to enhance economic engagement between India and LAC
region.

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Trade related issues

The LAC region is set to grow by 3.5% to 4% over the next years. Some of the factors attracting investors to the LAC region are its net
FDI flows of $189 bn in 2012, increased international trade and reduced inflation.
In the backdrop of global economic recovery, India and LAC region are rethinking their strategy for engagement.
Indias trade with the 33 countries of LAC region, has grown at an annual rate of over 25% over the last decade. The amount of trade
reached US $ 46 bn in 2012-13. However, the LAC region has received only around 4% of Indias outward FDI, with an amount of US $ 16
bn. FDI form LAC into India is also very low.
Focus LAC
The Indian government introduced the Focus LAC programme in 1997. This programme was meant to enable the Indian industry to target LAC
markets for project exports, and export of industrial goods and services.

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Government to Import Potato to check price rise


October 18, 2014

No Comments

The Government has decided to import potatoes from countries like Europe and Pakistan by next month. This is the first
time that the government has decided to import potatoes.
Reasons for import

The decision to import potatoes is being taken to increase supply of potatoes at the domestic level, and thereby ease the
rising price of potatoes. The current stocks of potatoes of the government is on the verge of being exhausted. Potatoes
will be imported till fresh supplies of potatoes manufactured domestically are available by January 2015.
Currently, the government levies a 30% import duty on potatoes. India produced 44.3 mn tonnes of potatoes in 2013-14,
which was a decrease of 2.3% when compared to the previous year.

Rajiv Mehrishi appointed as Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs


October 18, 2014

No Comments

The Central Government has replaced Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram with Rajasthan Chief Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi.
Mayaram is being shifted to the Tourism Ministry. Both officers are IAS officers from the 1978 Rajasthan cadre.
Mehrishi has ten months of service left and has prior experience in the Finance Ministry. And Mayaram will replace
Parvez Dewan as Tourism Secretary when Dewan retires at the end of October.
Secretaries at the Finance Ministry
The Finance Ministry has four secretaries, namely, Economic Affairs, Expenditure, Revenue and Financial Services. The
senior most of these four secretaries is designated the Finance Secretary.

Arvind Subramanian appointed new Chief Economic Advisor of India


October 18, 2014

No Comments

Renowned economist Arvind Subramanian has been appointed the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA). The Appointments
Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment, on a contract basis, for three years.
Facts About Arvind Subramanian

Arvind Subramanian is a well respected academician, economist, author and global thinker.
The US based economist obtained his undergraduate degree from St.Stephens College in Delhi, postgraduate degree
from IIM-Ahmedabad and did his doctorate at the University of Oxford in UK.
Subramanian has been advising the Indian government in different capacities. He has been a member of the Finance
Ministers Expert Group on the G-20. He was Assistant Director in the Research Department of the IMF and was
associated with the GATT (1988-92) during the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations.
Duties as CEA

The CEA is expected to immediately start working on the next fiscals budget. In a statement made after his appointment, Mr.Subramanian identified
two areas of focus for the Indian economy, namely, maintaining macro-economic stability and creating conditions conducive for rapid investment and
growth.
The CEA is the economic advisor to the Government of India, and works directly under the Ministry of Finance. The CEA is the also the exofficio cadre controlling authority of the IES (Indian Economic Service). Also, the CEA enjoys rank and pay equivalent to that of a Secretary to
Government of India.

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Highlights of President Pranab Mukherjees visit to Norway and Finland


October 18, 2014

No Comments

President Pranab Mukherjee returned from a five day visit to Norway and Finland on October 17. He signed a multitude of
agreements during his time there.
Nuclear Energy

India signed an agreement for nuclear cooperation with Finland. The agreement was signed between the Atomic Energy
Regulatory Board (AERB) of India and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland. Other than nuclear
cooperation, radiation safety regulation, exchange of information and personnel related to the peaceful use of nuclear
energy will be the spheres of collaboration.
Trade

India and Finland agreed to double bilateral trade to $2 bn over the next three years. Around 19 agreements for
cooperation across various fields like education, biotechnology, nuclear and radiation safety, and renewable energy were signed to further increase
the bilateral trade.
Energy cooperation

A joint venture partnership agreement was signed between Chempolis Oy and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. to build Indias first BioRefinery.
Science & Technology

An MoU was signed between the Department of Biotechnology and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation to increase cooperation in the
field of biotechnology. This will help the two countries collaborate in the areas of diagnostics in health and well being through joint funding of
projects and workshops.
Agreements with Norway

India and Norway also signed a plethora of agreements to increase cooperation in defence, science and technology, education and other areas.

Nuclear capable Cruise Missile Nirbhay tested successfully


October 18, 2014

No Comments

India successfully tested Nirbhay, Indias first indigenously designed and developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile.
The missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore, Odisha. Nirbhay maintained an accuracy better than
10 m throughout its path and covered a distance of more than 1000 km.
Indigenously developed missile

Nirbhay is made wholly of parts indigenously developed in India. It is powered by a solid rocket motor booster developed
by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and the launch was from a mobile launcher specifically designed for Nirbhay
by the Vehicles R&D Establishment (VRDE). The missile was guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system
developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI). The missile was tracked with the help of ground based radars, and the
missile was monitored through telemetry stations by a team from DRDO and LRDE (Electronics & Radar Development
Establishment).
Prior launch attempt

This was the second launch of Nirbhay. The maiden launch in March 2013 was a partial success achieving most of the mission objectives, but it had
to be terminated for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component, after deviation from intended path was observed.
Nirbhay

The 6 m tall, low altitude flying missile can evade detection by radars by flying at tree top level. I can strike targets that are more than 700 km away
also and is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It can also hover over targets, unlike other missile. It also has a fire and forget system which
cannot be jammed by the enemy. Nirbhay fills a vital gap in Indias arsenal and is considered to be Indias answer to USAs Tomahawk and Pakistans
Babur missiles.
Aircraft-like missile

Nirbhay blasts off like a rocket, but then unlike a missile, it turns into an aircraft. Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, it has wings and
pronounced tail fins. After the launch, mid-flight, the rocket motor falls off and the small wings get deployed. At this juncture, a gas turbine engine
kicks in and the missiles conversion into a full aircraft is complete.

Combined Commanders Conference held in New Delhi


October 18, 2014

No Comments

PM Modi and other political leaders and senior bureaucrats met top military officers at the war room of the Defence
Ministry. This Combined Commanders Conference is the first meeting of the PM with the commanders of the three wings
of the Armed Forces.
Other attendees of the Conference

The Conference was attended by the Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Admiral R.K. Dhowan and General Dalbir Singh from
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the Armed Forces. The Conference was addressed by the PM and Defence Minister, Arun Jaitley. External Affairs
Minister, Sushma Swaraj, and Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, were also present. Top bureaucrats in attendance were
National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval, and Defence Secretary, R.K.Mathur.
Presentations by the Commanders

The Chiefs of the Armed Forces will give presentations on the security scenario. The first presentation was by the Air Force chief who also serves as
the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, followed by the Navy chief, and then the Army chief.
Apart from a general briefing on the analysis of potential threats and preparedness of the security forces, the Chiefs are also expected to discuss the
incidents of violence along the Indo-Pak border in J&K, and the transgressions by the Chinese along Indias border with China. External threats from
terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS will also be discussed.
Combined Commanders Conference

The Combined Commanders Conference is an annual event where the Chiefs of Staff of the Navy, Army and Air Force present to the PM and other
ministers the achievements of the past year, and highlight the potential issues and challenges that the country might face in the coming year.
Strategic, operational, logistical and administrative aspects relating to the forces are also discussed.

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Statutory warning to be on both sides of Cigarrettes packs


October 17, 2014

No Comments

The Union Health Ministry has issued a gazette notification amending the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules,
2008 to change the specifications of the statutory warning that cigarette packs carry.
Scenario prior to notification
Prior to this notification, cigarette packs only has to issue statutory warning covering either 40% of pack on one side or 20% of the pack on both
sides. However, this is not sufficient by global standards and are ineffective according to reports.

HRD ministry to introduce Tithi Bhojan in Schools in Mid Day Meal scheme
October 17, 2014

No Comments

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister has announced its decision to introduce the practice of Tithi Bhojan
as a part of the Mid Day Meal scheme. The HRD Minister headed a meeting of the Empowered Committee on Mid Day
Meal Scheme to review the functioning of the Mid Day Meal scheme. The meeting consisted of representatives of State
Governments, Food and Nutrition experts and senior officers of the Central Government. The Committee was formed last
year.
Decisions of the Committee

The committee made the following decision during its meeting:The members agreed to strengthen the monitoring system of the scheme
Ensure greater community participation in the execution of the Scheme through Tithi Bhojan
Introduce and implement a protocol for standards in food safety and testing, from 2015, to ensure the quality of the meal and compliance
with appropriate nutrition standards
Focus on establishing a community participatory model and use that to act as a system of checks and balance on the implementation of
themid day meal scheme
Creation of an open forum on the Mid Day Meal schemes website so that peoples opinion of the scheme may be shared online.
Complaints can also be made on the forum.
Crucial role for the community in checking quality of ingredients and preventing contamination
Mandatory checking of meals at kitchen level
Tithi Bhojan

Some of the features of Tithi Bhojan are:Tithi Bhojan was first successfully implemented in Gujarat, and will now be replicated across the country
It seeks to involve the members of the community in the effort to provide nutritious and healthy food to the children
The members of the community may contribute/sponsor either utensils or food on special occasions/festivals. This is completely voluntary,
and the people in the community may contribute food items supplementary to the mid day already being provided like sweet, namkeen or
sprouts.
Greater participation and involvement of religious and charitable institutions is also being promoted

IndiGo places order for 250 latest Airbus A-320 neo planes
October 17, 2014

No Comments

IndiGo, the airline with the largest market share, has announced plans to expand its fleet or airplanes. The airline has
placed an order for 250 of Airbus latest A320 neo planes. The order is being valued at $25 bn. In addition to the 250
planes, IndiGo has purchase rights for another 100 planes from Airbus. If IndiGo were to buy these planes, their list price
would be around $8 to $10 bn. IndiGo is set to receive the first of the 250 planes in October 2015.
Operation of planes

The planes that are being bought will mostly be used by IndiGo for its own domestic and international operations. Some
planes might be used to replace older planes in IndiGos fleet, but the primary aim is for IndiGo to expand its services
Reasons behind expansion of fleet

The demand for airline travel is expected to increase in India. Also, the airline market in India is highly under-penetrated.
Only 400 planes operate to cater to a population of 1 bn. The new planes will help IndiGo access hitherto unreached markets. It is a part of the
airlines plan of creating a long term and sustainable business.
Also, the new A320 neo planes are expected to consume 15% lesser jet fuel. This makes them extremely efficient, and this will help IndiGo cut
down on costs.

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First meeting of bilateral border mechanism between India-China held


October 17, 2014

No Comments

The first meeting of the talks on the bilateral border under the framework of the Border Affairs Working Mechanism for
Consultation and Coordination (BAWMCC) was held on October 16. The focus of the talks was on issues of mutual
interest like border patrolling and management.
BAWMCC

The BAWMCC was created in 2012, as a forum to address issues arising out of aggressive patrolling along the
contentious border. The BAWMCC is co-chaired by the Joint Secretary ( China Division) in the Ministry of External Affairs
and his/her Chinese counterpart. The goal of the BAWMCC is to prevent recurrence of incidents between the two
countries like the one in Chumar. Also, the BAWMCC calls for discussion of issues related to border management by
foreign ministry and defence officials, in an effort to maintain peace. The disputed boundary issue is discussed by special
representatives.
Disagreements over border

The Chinese have repeatedly refused to acknowledge the McMahon Line as the border, and insist on carrying on talks as if no border had been
drawn. While the Chinese seek to confine the dispute over the border to the North East region, along Arunachal Pradesh, India regards the western
side of the border as contentious.
India and China have held 17 rounds of special representative talks till now to resolve the border dispute, but to no avail.
China expresses concern

Prior to the meeting, the Chinese side expressed concern at Indias plans to build a 1,800 km long road along the border with China. As a delayed
response to Chinas aggressive strengthening of infrastructure along the border, the new Central Government in India has decided to strengthen
deployment of forces and infrastructure along the border. Measures will be taken to promote civilian settlement in border areas, improve road
connectivity, construct bridges and improve mobile connectivity.

Switzerland to examine Black Money info requests on priority basis


October 17, 2014

No Comments

A High Level meeting took place in Berne between Indias Revenue Secretary and his Swiss counterpart, State Secretary
for International Financial Matters to discuss tax matters. Various multilateral and bilateral tax and financial issues were
discussed. Both sides agreed to keep the dialogue between the two countries open.
Outcomes of the meeting

In a major boost to Indias efforts to track black money allegedly stashed abroad, Switzerland has agreed to examine
requests from India for banking information. The information will be provided in a time bound manner and requests from
India will be considered on a priority basis.
Also, Switzerland will, on request by India, assist in determining genuineness of bank documents and speedily provide
information on requests regarding non-banking information also.
If for any reason, the Swiss are unable to comply with Indian requests on a timely manner, they will communicate to the Indian officials, the reasons
for the delay/non-compliance as soon as possible.
Statistics on Black Money

As per Swiss National Bank, the total money held by Indians in Swiss banks stood at over Rs. 14,000 crore as on December 2013, an increase of
42% when compared to the 2012 data.

Restoration works continues in Andhra Pradesh, Centre gives Rs. 1000 Crore
October 17, 2014

No Comments

Relief and rehabilitation efforts were taking place to the fullest extent in Andhra Pradesh, as the state tries to get back to
normal. Meanwhile, PM Modi announced interim relief of Rs. 1,000 cr for Andhra Pradesh.
PM Visit

PM Modi arrived in Visakhapatnam and conducted an aerial survey of cyclone hit regions. He reviewed the scale of
destruction and the ongoing rescue and relief operations. The PM also held a review meeting with the CM of Andhra,
state leaders and other officials. Post meeting, the PM made the following announcements:Ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh for the family members of the deceased
Interim relief of Rs. 1,000 cr for Andhra (AP CM has requested for 2,000 cr)
Formation of teams by the Centre, which will visit cyclone hit areas and submit reports on damage incurred by each
sector. Then, allotment of funds will be done on the basis of these reports.

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Extent of destruction/loss

Visakhapatnam Port Trust has incurred losses worth Rs. 200 cr. Also, it will take at least a week to restore flights activities.
Eastern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited alone has incurred a loss of Rs. 40,000 crore, including damage to
substations, high-tension transmission lines, poles and disruption in distribution network.
16,000 electric poles and 6,000 transformers have been damaged
Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited has incurred a loss of Rs. 1,000 cr
Indian Navy has incurred a loss of Rs. 2,000 cr
Andhra University has incurred a loss of Rs. 300 cr
Visakhapatnam airport has incurred a loss of Rs. 500 cr
Road networks have suffered a loss of Rs. 800 cr
Over 6,836 houses have been damaged, and 181 boats are either damaged or missing
Relief work by Andhra government

The state government has been taking the following measures to bring life back to normalcy in the state:Importance is being given to first removing the uprooted trees and clearing the debris
Restoration of communication lines is also being taken up by cell phone companies
Electric poles and transformers are being repaired, so that power may return to all the badly hit areas
Packages of food items are being provided in all cyclone hit areas. This food package comprises of rice, kerosene, sugar, dal, potato,
onion, palm oil and chilly powder, among others. Also, vegetables are also being supplied at very low rates so that people dont struggle to
get essential commodities

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India successfully launches IRNSS 1C


October 17, 2014

No Comments

IRNSS 1C, the next satellite in Indias IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System) series, was launched
successfully on October 16 by ISRO. IRNSS 1C was launched on a PSLV C26 from Sriharikota. The satellite is similar to,
and follows the IRNSS 1A and 1B which were launched in April 2013 and July 2014 respectively.
Details of launch

The rocket lifted off at 1.32 am. The satellite weighed 1, 425.4 kg and was successfully placed into a sub
geosynchronous transfer orbit just 20 minutes after the launch. This was the 7th time that ISRO used an XL version of
the PSLV rocket for its mission. The life of the satellite is estimated at 10 years.
IRNSS series

IRNSS is a navigation system that will cover India, and also extend 1,500 kms from its boundaries. It will provide
accurate position information to users in India and will also be used for terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, fleet management
and for vehicle tracking. Basically it will provide two kinds of services, Standard Positioning Services, which is available to all users, and an encrypted
service that is provided only to authorized users. However, to be able to use the IRNSS satellites, ISRO will have to launch at least four of the seven
planned IRNSS satellites. The complete IRNSS system will include three satellites in geostationary orbit and four satellites in geosynchronous orbit at
an altitude of 36,000 km above the Earth. The deployment of all the satellites was expected to be completed by 2015 at a cost of Rs. 1,420 cr.
IRNSS is similar to other satellite navigation service providers like USAs GPS (Global Positioning System), Russias Glonass, Europes Galileo, Japans
Quasi Zenith and Chinas Beidou.
Applications of IRNSS

Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation


Disaster Management
Vehicle tracking and fleet management
Integration with mobile phones
Precise Timing
Mapping and Geodetic data capture
Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
Visual and voice navigation for drivers

India-Canada hold Strategic Dialogue


October 16, 2014

No Comments

The second India-Canada Strategic Dialogue was held in New Delhi on October 14. The dialogue was co-chaired by
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Baird who is on a five
day visit, also met PM Modi and discussed various bilateral matters.
PM Modi is set to meet the Canadian PM Harper in Australia, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.
Strategic Dialogue

At the meeting, the two sides discussed a variety of bilateral issues including but not limited to defence, energy, nuclear
cooperation, counter-terrorism, global and regional security. The two countries are also working towards early
conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreement (BIPPA).
The Strategic Dialogue between the two countries was first conceived in 2012 during the Canadian PM Harpers visit to India. The first strategic
dialogue was held in 2013 in Toronto
Nuclear Cooperation

As an outcome of the Strategic Dialogue, India and Canada are negotiating commercial contracts for the supply of uranium to Indian nuclear
reactors. Also the two countries plan to cooperate in order to jointly build nuclear reactors with a higher capacity. Also, the two countries will jointly
host a nuclear security workshop in India with around 15 countries. This is the first of its kind meeting that India would organize with another country
Skill Development

India will collaborate with Canada to improve its knowledge base in the arena of skill development. This cooperation would mostly be in the
hydrocarbon and water management sectors.
Cooperation in oil and gas industry

The two countries agreed to cooperate in the fields of oil and gas. The investment opportunities in British Columbia, especially in natural gas, was
highlighted by the Canadian side.
Delegations

During the visit, different Canadian delegations will target different areas of co-operation with India. Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast
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will lead a six day and three city trade mission to Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh to boost Indo-Canada trade and investment partnerships. The
Canadian delegation is expected to be accompanied by representatives of 14 Canadian organizations, including small and medium sized enterprises,
which are looking for opportunities to export to India.
Canadian Parliamentary Secretary Deepak Obhrai will lead a delegation of representatives of six Canadian organizations to Jaipur, Hyderabad and
Mumbai to strengthen bilateral relations in regional security, education and trade.
Bilateral Trade

India is a priority market for Canada under its Global Markets Action Plan. Since 2010, Canadas bilateral trade with India has increased 38% to $5.8
bn.

Pakistan launched housing project in Sri Lanka


October 16, 2014

No Comments

Pakistan has launched a project to build houses in Mannar in Sri Lanka. A cheque of $ 1 mn has been handed over to Sri
Lanka by the Pakistan side to carry out the project.
Nature of the project

The houses will not be built by the Pakistanis themselves, who will only fund the project. A total of 220 homes will be
built with the one million dollars. Each family will be given approximately Rs. 2.6 lakh to build their houses. The houses
will be built on an owner driven model, wherein the amount is given to the beneficiaries in the form of installments at
different stages of progress. The Sri Lankan government will disburse the funds given by Pakistan through local
government agencies. A predominantly Muslim village will be covered first under Pakistans project, which will eventually
expand to include some Sinhala and Tamil families.
Indias housing project

Notably, India is currently building 6,000 homes in Mannar for families displaced due to war. These houses are also built on an owner driven model,
wherein the owner builds it. However, instead of handing over the funding to Sri Lanka, India has enlisted the assistance of agencies like the UN
Habitat to implement its housing project in different villages.
Mannar

Mannar is a coastal district in Sri Lankas Northern Province. Mannar has a majority of Tamil speakers. It has a unique ethnic and religious
composition which include sizeable number of Muslims, Catholics, Hindus and some Buddhists. Mannar houses the largest number of Muslims in the
province.

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World Standards Day Observed on October 14


October 16, 2014

No Comments

The World Standards Day was celebrated in most countries across the globe on 14 October. World Standards Day is
celebrated annually on 14th of October to mark the development of voluntary engineering and scientific standards.
Aim of World Standards Day

The Day honours the efforts of thousands of experts across the globe, who came together to develop the voluntary
technical agreements that are published as international standards. These experts mostly worked under different
standards development organizations such as the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ISO (International
Organisation for Standardization), ITU (International Teleommunication Union), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers) and the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). World Standards Day is also to celebrate the
work of these organizations.
Also, World Standards Day seeks to raise awareness regarding the significance of standardization in the global economy, among regulators, industry
and consumers.
Origins of World Standards Day

On October 14, 1946, representatives from 25 countries gathered in London for the first time with the aim of creating an international organization
solely focused on facilitating standardization. The ISO was formed a year later in 1947. The first World Standards Day was celebrated on 14
October, 1970.

Inflation drops to 2.38% , five-year low


October 16, 2014

No Comments

According to provisional estimates for the month of September 2014, WPI (Wholesale Price Index) based inflation has fallen to 2.38% which is a five
year low. This is mainly attributed to the decline in food and fuel prices. Also, the decline was far greater than the 3.2% that was forecast by
analysts.
Breakdown of Inflation for the month of September

Food inflation has fallen to nearly two and a half year low of 3.52%. Inflation in vegetables has
fallen to 14.98%. Inflation in milk, eggs, meat and fish and showed a market decline. The food
basket has been on a declining trend since May itself. However, in September, the prices of fruits
and potatoes rose. Inflation in manufactured products fell to 2.84%. Overall WPI inflation has been
declining for the fourth straight month. Inflation in fuel and power declined to 1.33%
Comparison with inflation of previous months and years

The 2.38% inflation rate is the lowest since 1.78% in October 2009. Wholesale price inflation
stood at 3.74% in August and 7.05% in September 2013. Inflation in manufactured products and
fuel and power segment stood at 3.54% and 4.54% in August 2014.
Change in rate by RBI

The RBI has maintained its key interest rate at the earlier level due to inflationary pressures. It is
unclear whether this record low WPI inflation level will elicit a change in interest rate. The RBI
primarily factors in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) rates while determining policy rates and even
that saw a marked decline to 6.46% in September. Experts say that RBIs CPI based inflation target of 6% to be achieved by January 2016, looks like
it is possible if the current trend of declining inflation continues. RBIs next bi-monthly monetary policy announcement is expected on the 2nd of
December.

Global Handwashing Day celebrated on 15 October


October 16, 2014

No Comments

Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is celebrated on the 15th of October every year to motivate and mobilize people around
the world to wash their hands with soap. The campaign is dedicated to propagating the benefit of washing hands with
soap as a means of disease prevention.
Aims of the campaign

Reports suggest that simple behavioural changes like washing hands can reduce child mortality rates due to respiratory
and diarrheal diseases by half. Also, figures released by WHO and UNICEF in 2013 show that more than 340,000 children
under five died from diarrheal diseases due to lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene. This amounts to
approximately 1,000 children a day.
Origins of GHD

GHD was created at the annual World Water Week 2008, that was held in Stockholm, Sweden. The creation of GHD was initiated by the PPPHW
(Public Private Partnership for Handwashing). The UNGA designated October 15 as the Global Handwashing Day and so the first GHD took place in
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2008, which was the UN sanctioned International Year of Sanitation. The slogan for GHD is Clean hands save lives.
The focus of the inaugural GHD was on children, and encouraging them to wash their hands with soap. More than 70 countries, including India,
actively participated in order to get the maximum number of school children washing hands.
PPPHW

The PPPHW is a coalition of international stakeholders, including multilateral agencies, UN bodies and multinational companies, who focus on
handwashing and child health.

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Richard Flanagan wins Man Booker Prize


October 16, 2014

No Comments

The Man Booker Prize 2014 for fiction was awarded to Australian author Richard Flanagan, for his novel The Narrow
Road to the Deep North.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Flanagans book centers around the themes of love and war. It is set in the background of World War II, in a Japanese
prisoner-of-war camp. Flanagan worked on the novel for 12 years, and wrote five different versions before settling on
the final one. The book is inspired by the personal experiences of Flanagans father, who was a prisoner-of-war.
Richard Flanagan

Flanagan was born in Tasmania in July 1961. He is the third Australian to win the Man Booker Prize. Flanagans previous
novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Goulds Book of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist and
Wanting have been published in 26 countries.
Flanagan also directed a movie title The Sound Of One Hand Clapping in 1998.
Nominations

The Man Booker formulates a longlist, from which a shortlist is further made, finally leading to one winner. The other nominations in the shortlist in
2014 were How to be Both by Ali Smith, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee, To
Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris and J by Howard Jacobson.
Judging process

The selection process for the winner begins with the formation of an advisory committee comprising of a writer, two publishers, a literary agent, a
bookseller, a librarian, and a chairperson appointed by the Booker Prize Foundation. This committee then selects the judging panel, whose
membership changes every year. Judges are selected from literary critics, writers, academics and leading public figures.
This year, the Prize was chaired by A.C.Grayling. The judges this year were Jonathan Bate, Sarah Churchwell, Alastair Niven, Daniel Glaser and
Erica Wagner.
Man Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize is a literary award given to the best original novel in English, that has been published in the UK. It is presented by the Man
Group, which is a British alternative investment management business. The Booker Prize was first awarded in 1969. It is generally presented in
Guildhall, London. The award is open to all authors of English books, regardless of their nationalities.

UK Government passes motion to recognize Palestine


October 15, 2014

No Comments

The UK House of Commons passed a motion, voting overwhelmingly in favour of recognizing Palestine as a State. Significantly, this motion is not
binding on the UK government even though the House voted 274-12 in favour of granting recognition. Therefore, the vote, though highly symbolic, is
not expected to bring about any real change in the policy of the British government with respect to Palestine.
Stand of the UK government

The British government has maintained that it will grant recognition to Palestine only if it will further the cause of peace. It is believed that the
government will consider recognizing Palestine only if a peace deal is agreed upon bilaterally by Palestine and Israel.
Split between parties

The majority of the Labour Party voted in favour of the motion granting recognition. The motion had the complete backing of the Shadow Cabinet of
the Labour Party. However, the Conservative Party was not in favour of granting recognition. Most Conservative MPs, including the PM David
Cameron, abstained.
Despite the vote, all the MPs, from both parties, acknowledged Israels right to exist in security.

Centre sets up Expert Group to examine new methods of sex determination


October 15, 2014

No Comments

The Central government has set up an expert group to look into the new technologies being to determine the sex of the
foetus, so that the same may be curbed through appropriate amendment to the PC & PNDT Act.
Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PC & PNDT Act)
The PC & PNDT Act outlaws the misuse of ultrasound machines to determine the sex of the foetus, and prohibits female
foeticide. The expert panel will suggest amendments to this Act to cover the latest methods of sex determinations.
Central Supervisory Board (CSB)
The CSB is the highest body monitoring the implementation of the PC & PNDT Act. A meeting of the reconstituted CSB,
headed by the Health Minister and co-chaired by the Minister for Women and Child Development was held recently. The
formation of the expert group was decided at this meeting
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Need for amendment to legislation


Even though the most common methods of sex determination have been outlawed, newer technologies have come into existence for the purpose of
determination of the sex of the foetus. Some of these new methods are even non-invasive. Also, IVF/ART (In-Vitro Fertilization/Artificial
Reproductive Technology) clinics, operating in a legal vacuum, allow their clients to choose the sex of their baby. The expert group has been
constituted to suggest amendments to face this challenge and curb these new modes of sex determination.

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India and Norway sign agreements, MoUs during Presidents visit to Norway
October 15, 2014

No Comments

President Pranab Mukherjee is on a six day visit to the Scandinavian countries of Norway and Finland. He is the first
Indian President to visit Norway. A plethora of agreements and MoUs were signed by the two countries
Agreement on Visa Exemption

India has signed an agreement with Norway that will exempt Indian holders of diplomatic and official passports from the
requirement of obtaining a visa. This agreement is expected to promote bilateral relations between the two countries,
and facilitate easy travel between the two countries for the officials and government representatives.
MoUs

The two countries have also signed 11 MoUs in the fields of education, science and technology, research and
development etc. One of the MoU involves setting up of modern fish farming unit outside Delhi.
Statement of Intent
Indias DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Norways Defence Research Institute has signed a Statement of Intent
expressing their inclination to collaborate together.

NPPA slaps penalty on Novartis for overcharging


October 15, 2014

No Comments

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has sent a show cause notice to Novartis, imposing a fine of Rs. 300 cr for overcharging
consumers. The drug in question, which Novartis has been accused of overcharging is Voveran. Voveran is painkiller which is very popular in the
market. Voveran is based on diclofenac, a drug under the governments direct price control. Novartis has refused to confirm the amount of penalty
levied. It has stated that notice is erroneous and entirely misconceived.

Separate Bill drafted for regulation of small factories


October 15, 2014

No Comments

The Labour Ministry has drafted the Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill, 2014
and asked for comments from stakeholders. The Bill is likely to be tabled in the Parliament during its winter session.
Application of law

This law will apply to micro, small and medium enterprises that employ up to 40 employees.
Consolidation of law and procedure

The Bill, if passed, will replace over 44 central labour laws and 100 state laws and streamline the process. A single
compliance report, that can be filed online, will fulfill all the requirements under various legislations. Outdated provisions,
with no relevance in todays age and time, have been removed.
Registration of units

The factories covered under the bill will have to register within 60 days of commencement of business. Each employer will be provided a labour
identification number, and he can register his factory online.
Payment of wages

The employer will have to transfer the wages to the accounts of the employees. Payment of wages in cash is disallowed. This will help the regulatory
agency monitor payment of wages and also give a boost to financial inclusion.
Protection of basic rights

The registration of the units with the authorities will help them monitor the benefits being provided to the employees by employer. The bill clearly
states the working hours, minimum wages, overtime wages, provision of leave, social security benefits and conditions for retrenchment of workers.
Any malpractices can be challenged before the Conciliation Officer, appointed in accordance with the Bill.
Need for legislation

The requirement of a separate labour law for small scale industries was identified by the Second National Commission on Labour in 2000. The
Commission said that such a law would encourage small scale industries and also boost employment opportunities.

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Jean Tirole wins Nobel Prize for Economics -2014


October 15, 2014

No Comments

The Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to Jean Tirole for his analysis of market power and regulation. He will be
awarded prize money of 8 mn Swedish krona.
Jean Tirole is the second Frenchman to have been awarded a Nobel Prize this year. Tirole has been very vocal about the
need for greater regulation of banks, and has been in the news for his views ever since the financial crisis of 2008.
Work of Tirole

Tiroles area of study has been markets which are dominated by a few large and powerful firms or which have a single
monopoly. When left unregulated by the government, these firms tend to distort the markets and have generally adverse
consequences. Since the mid 1980s, Tirole has been researching such market failures. He analysed these firms in order
to determine the best way to regulate them effectively. Governments of most nations had a tendency to place the same
set of regulations on the firms in different sectors/industries. Tiroles work suggested that such a method would be ineffectual, and that there need
to be different regulations and restrictions on firms in different sectors like banking, telecommunications etc. His work has helped governments
develop a better framework to protect the rights of both competing firms, small size firms and consumers.
Jean Tirole

Jean was born on 9 August 1953, in France. He did his doctorate from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is currently with the Toulouse University
in France where he is the Scientific Director at Institut dconomie Industrielle in the Toulouse School of Economics.
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences is officially called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. It is
not one of the original Nobel Prizes established by Alfred Nobels will in 1895. The Economics Prize was established only in 1968, and is funded by
Swedens central bank, Sveriges Riksbank. The bank created an endowment for the Prize on its 300th anniversary.
However, the Economics prize follows the same rules governing the original Nobel Prizes and is awarded at the same ceremony. Also, in consonance
with Nobels will, the Economics Prize is also given to persons who have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The selection is done by the
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, who pick the Nobel laureates in chemistry and physics.

Indian Super League inaugurated in Kolkata


October 14, 2014

No Comments

The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) was launched amid festivities at Kolkatas Salk Lake Stadium on October 12 in the
presence of fans, industrialists, celebrities and politicians. The inaugural ceremony was celebrated with dances and
fireworks. The ISL is a professional Indian football league.
The ISL football tournament will last a span of 10 weeks, from October to December. It is backed by industrialist, Mukesh
Ambani, and many team owners are sportspersons and celebrities.
Similarities with IPL

ISL is modeled on the lines of IPL, and is the IPL for the game of football. Like IPL, it has teams based in cities. ISL has
eight teams Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.
ISL

The ISL was launched in 2013 to promote football in India. It is supported by the AIFF (All India Football Federation). The league operates on the
lines of IPL and Twenty20. It uses a city based franchise system like IPL.
ISLs mission is to make India a global football power and promote the game so that India qualifies for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Its vision is to
develop an entertaining football league engaging hundreds of millions of fans and improve playing standards in India.

India to provide four million US dollars for rebuilding the Gaza Strip
October 14, 2014

No Comments

At the International Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo, India pledged to donate US $ 4 mn in aid to rebuild Gaza Strip. The
Conference is to raise money for rebuilding efforts in Gaza after its latest 50 day war with Israel.
Presentation by Palestinian Authority

The Palestinian Authority presented a 76 page long National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan at the Conference.
The Palestinians asked for US $ 4 bn, with most of the funds being spent on reconstruction efforts and building housing
for the people, according to its Plan.
Total Donations

The donors raised a total US $ 5.4 bn, with 2.7 bn dedicated to rebuilding efforts. The funds are expected to reach
Palestine within three years.
The largest donor is Qatar with US $ 1 bn. USA has pledged US $ 212 mn for immediate assistance. EU pledged US $ 568 mn. Regional players,
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Turkey and UAE, pledged US $ 200 mn each.


Utilization of funds

The funds will be funneled through the Palestinian Authority. Hamas will have no role to play. Most of the funds are expected to spent under the
aegis of various UN bodies. UN already has plans for approximately US $ 2.1 bn of the funds, with $ 1.6 billion going to UNRWA (United Nations Relief
and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and the rest to other UN agencies working towards different things in Palestine.
Indias prior assistance to Palestine

India has played an active role in the betterment of Palestine and its people and the basis on which a strong Indo-Palestine partnership has been
built. India directly provides budgetary, economic and developmental assistance to Palestine and is active in the areas of capacity development,
education and information technology.
Other than this, India is also a part of multilateral efforts to help Palestinians. A slew of developmental projects are being implemented under the
IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Fund in Palestine. An important future IBSA project is the reconstruction of the Atta Habib medical centre in Shujiyaa
in Gaza with a cost of US $ 1 mn. Also, India has already been contributing US $ 1 mn annually to the UNRWA to enable the supply of food and
medicines to Gaza.

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Roger Federer wins first Shanghai Masters title


October 14, 2014

No Comments

The world number 3 ranked Roger Federer, from Switzerland, defeated Gilles Simon from France to win the Shanghai
Masters Title. Gilles Simon is unseeded.
This is the first Shanghai Masters title win for Roger Federer. In 2010, Roger Federer lost to Andy Murray in Shanghai
Masters Final. This is Roger Federers 81st career title. He has also won 17 Grand Slams
Shanghai Masters Title

This tournament is a part of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000. It is played on a hardcourt at Qi Zhong Tennis Center in
Minhang district of Shanghai. The 2013 singles title of the Shanghai Masters went to Novak Djokovic

Lewis Hamilton wins inaugural Russian Formula One Grand Prix


October 14, 2014

No Comments

Englishman Lewis Hamilton, driving for Mercedes, won the inaugural Russian Formula One Grand Prix held at Sochi.
Hamilton had started on pole position. With this win, Mercedes also clinched its first F1 Constructors title. The race was
witnessed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The location of the competition was at Sochi, the location where the
Winter Olympics were held. The circuit went across some of the landmark locations from the Olympics.
Constructors title

The Constructors title is determined by a points system based on the Grand Prix results. The points scored in each race
by an driver for that constructor of the F1 car are taken into consideration. It is a prize for the construction of the car,
irrespective of who the driver is.
Records

The Russian Grand Prix was Hamiltons fourth win in a row and ninth win of the season. The 2008 world champion, is just the fourth driver in F1
history to win nine races in a single season.
This win also marked Mercedes first Constructors Title victory. Mercedes driver also finished second. So, as a team, Mercedes had clinched both
the first and second spots. This is Mercedes ninth such win, which is just one short of McLaren 1988 record.
Dedication to Bianchi

Hamilton dedicated his win to French F1 driver, Jules Bianchi, who crashed into a recovery tractor at Suzuka in Japan just recently. Bianchi is still in
the hospital, in critical condition due to the head injuries he sustained when he lost control and crashed. Bianchi drives for Marussia.

Isha and Akash Ambani made directors in Reliance companies


October 14, 2014

No Comments

There is an apparent succession planning taking shape at Reliance industries. Indias largest business house has given
charge to GenNext. Mukesh Ambanis twin scions Isha and Akash have formally joined as Board of Reliance Jio Infocomm
and Reliance Retail Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RIL, as directors.
Akash has graduated from Brown University with majors in Economics is already working with a close associate of
Ambanis Manoj Modi on RILs 4G telecom venture.
Isha has graduated from Yale University with majors in psychology and South Asian Studies has also worked briefly with
McKinsey.
The young brigade of Ambanis has been present at the Annual General Meetings, but the formal induction of the two is
now complete.
Reliance Industries is already preparing for the launch of 4G telecom service in 2015, so the timing of the new inductions seem critical and
interesting.

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Captain Abbas Ali of Azad Hind Fauz passes away


October 14, 2014

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Captain Abbas Ali who was a part of Indian National Army passed away due to a cardiac arrest. He had been a notable
figure and was a part of British Indian Army in 1939 before the break of WWII. He later joined Indian National Army
when Netaji raised the issue of armed revolt.
Capt. Abbas Ali was then arrested, court marshalled and further given a death sentence. However, when India gained
independence and he was released from prison fortunately before his death sentence was to be executed.
He was greatly influenced by the socialist leaders Ram Manohar Lohia, Acharya Narendra Dev and Jayaprakash Narayan
and took a step into the political sphere under their guidance.
In 1966, he was appointed State General Secretary of Sanyukt Socialist Party and a member of the national executive of
the Socialist Party. He was again arrested during the National Emergency under the Defence of India rule and it was only
when emergency was lifted in 1977 and Janata government came to power that he was released and he was elected to Uttar Pradesh Legislative
Council and was appointed as the first President of Uttar Pradesh Unit of the Janata Party.

Key Facts about Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana


October 14, 2014

No Comments

On the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan, PM Modi launched the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana keeping his
commitment, he made to the nation in his Independence Day speech.
The scheme is properly and religiously implemented will revolutionize the village economies and culture. It encourages
MPs or Sansads to identify and develop one village from their respective constituency as a model village by 2016 and two
more by 2019. This will ensure development of 2500 villages. Here are some of the highlights of the Yojana:
MPs are required to pick one village with a population of 3000-4000 in plains and 1000-3000 in hills within a month of
the launch.
MPs cannot pick villages which belong to themselves or their spouses.
The scheme requires them to draft a village development plan, motivate inhabitants to participate in growth via
different activities, identify gaps in funding and mobilising MPLAD funds to create additional resources specifically from CSR initiatives of
various corporate houses, in areas of sanitation and water supply.
The outcomes of the same should cover a wide spectrum of indicators like health, nutrition and education through organising and
monitoring immunization drives, improving standard and quality of mid-day meal schemes, improving Aadhaar enrolment, setting up
smart schools with IT-enabled classrooms and e-libraries, Panchayat infrastructure improvement under schemes such as MGNREGA and
Backward Regions Grants Fund etc.
Social development and harmony should be encouraged through activities like identifying and celebrating a village day, a village song and
also laying stress on alternate modes of dispute resolution.
The scheme also has provisions to plug all gaps which were hitherto a mark of every government yojana. The implementation will be
ensured by web-based monitoring and an initial 5-month review by an independent agency. District Collectors will carry ground-level
surveys along with monthly review meetings to monitor progress . At the State-level too, Chief Secretaries will head empowered
committee on the same and the Minister for Rural Development and Secretary, Rural Development, will chair two national-level
committees to track the scheme.
This will transform lives of many for whom economic development never happened and also bring about a sense of pride, volunteerism, and selfreliance in villages.

International Day of the Girl Child Observed on October 11


October 14, 2014

No Comments

UN General Assembly on December 19, 2011 adopted a Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day
of the Girl Child. Ever since, the day has been dedicated to the welfare of the girl child internationally. The theme of this
year was Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.
The day marks to give the girls their due in terms moving from mere generating awareness to raising of appropriate
infrastructure. UNs UNiTE initiative to end violence against women has been a huge success. However, the need has
been felt of other aspects of life like Education for girls, putting an end to Child Marriage etc. which have to take care of
to ensure proper and all round development of the girl child.
UN aims to shift its focus to more action and result oriented practices thus giving space for gender-equitable post-2015
and review of progress against the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
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The day thus calls on the civil society, governments, UN to join hands and reaffirm their commitment to bring an end to violence against adolescent
girls and propagate their empowerment. The steps taken this year include:
Investments to promote skill development and confidence building through the medium of schools, vocational training, health and
economic support systems.
Advocating for making violence against women and children unacceptable in all forms and proportions.
Facilitating their entry and acceptance in civic and economic public life.
Consolidating data, measurements and evidence base related to empowerment of girls

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Bombay High Court rules in favour of Vodafone


October 12, 2014

No Comments

The Bombay high Court has ruled in favour of Indian unit of Vodafone Group Plc in a INR 3,200 crore transfer pricing dispute. The Court stated that
there is no taxable income coming from issuance of shares. The Vodafone India Services Pvt. Ltd. Was involved in a case where the Income Tax
department had accused the company of under-pricing the shares in a rights issue to the parent firm for fiscal 2009-2010 and had issued a showcause notice to Vodafone India in January.
Transfer pricing is defined as the price at which divisions of a company based in different countries, transact with each-other to ensure a fair-price is
levied. The judgement correctly addresses the question of applicability of transfer pricing law to share issuance and has thwarted the blatant attempt
of tax authorities to tax hypothetical income. The verdict endorses a unanimous view that the income tax authority has no case to defend the transfer
pricing adjustment due to undervaluation of share prices. It goes to support the view that income should be generated in the first place to lead to
such provisions. It also ensures that secondary adjustment proposed by the tax authorities by re-characterisation of premium as loan is not valid. It is
important, as it has wide-scale repercussions on international firms involved in similar tax disputes in India. Even, many Indian companies are
contesting such disputes.
The verdict at large will serve as a major boost to the foreign investor sentiment and result in higher FDI for India in future. The industry has
welcomed the same and now it remains on the government to accept and abide by the same.

Indias Current Foreign Exchange Reserves: $311.427 billion


October 12, 2014

No Comments

Indias forex reserves continued their downward journey for the fifth consecutive week, Indias foreign exchange reserves plunged by $2.754 billion
to $311.427 billion in the week to October 3. The largest fall is seen in US currency assets which make a big component of the overall reserves.
During the last quarter under review, this drop in forex was basically due to drop in valuation of Indian rupee on the back of a stronger US currency
against other global currencies and talks of withdrawal of quantitative easing by the US. The Federal Reserve has now deferred its tightening
programme to next year, helping rupee to regain some of its lost ground this week.

The foreign currency assets, incorporate the effect of both appreciation and depreciation of many non-US currencies also, which are held in
reserves.
Even the gold reserves showed a negative trend after being stable for weeks. The reserves fell by $919.7 million. Other components include special
drawing rights and Indias reserve position in the IMF which decreased by $22.8 million and $8.2 million to $4.284 billion and 1.540 billion,
respectively.
Components of Foreign Reserves

The components of Foreign Reserves in decreasing order are Foreign Currency Assets, Gold, SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) and Reserve Position in
IMF Trench.

Industrial Output slows down to five-month low of 0.4 per cent in August 2014
October 12, 2014

No Comments

Industrial production growth has taken a hit from the contraction in manufacturing output and consumer goods
sectors. The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has shown a dismal rate of growth of 0.4%. IIP which is a
measure of the short-term changes in the industrial activity in the country covers sectors like mining,
manufacturing, electricity and a basket of 682 products depending on the contribution of the same to the total
output of the country. The data though released on every month, is usually gauged every year. Industry
comprises a major part of Indias GDP; the indicator is a measure of the health of the industry. A robust
industrial activity reflected in IIP makes a considerable impact on GDP and investor sentiment.
The new schemes introduced by the Modi government are focussed on making India an attractive investment and manufacturing destination to the
world. The focus and ambition of the government is apparent but so are the woes of the crisis-laden power sector which has shown its first impact.
IIP for July also showed a downward revision with only 0.4% growth as compared to provisional estimates of 0.5 as per CSO. According to the IIP
data, manufacturing which constitutes over 75 per cent of the index contracted by 1.4 per cent in August, compared to 0.2 per cent decline in
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output a year ago. Likewise, the consumer goods output contracted by 6.9 per cent in August against 0.9 per cent decline logged last year. Only half
that is, 11 of the 22 industry groups in manufacturing showed positive growth in August.
The World Bank which pointed toward Modi Dividend, that is the orientation of the one new government towards growth and industry. The Bank
also expected India to pick up private investment soon. However, the latter got caught between the struggling power sector due to which small scale
industries have taken a big hit. These units are involved in making things from steel to textiles have not been able to combat the blow of stretched
power outages. Coal deficit is another hurdle as the level of coal stocks is worst in last six years, which has forced power companies to import huge
consignments and leading to congested ports.

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World Mental Day observed on October 10


October 12, 2014

No Comments

World Health Organisation every year observes October 10 as the World Mental Health Day. The Day aims to make
people sensitive to issues related to mental health and also become more aware of the mental health issues around the
world.
It marks a day to channelize efforts in the direction to support mental health. The day involves people and stakeholders
to express their concerns, views and approaches to deal with issues related to mental health. The experts are required
to share their work and any breakthroughs which they have achieved.
The theme for 2014 is Living with schizophrenia. The aim is to help people build and lead a normal life with
schizophrenia. It seeks to introduce to the sufferers newer vistas for life and growth.
According to WHO, 450 million people around the world have mental illness. Even more alarming is the fact that the civil society still considers mental
illness as a stigma which makes it difficult for patients to talk about their problem openly and seeking a medical advice. In many cases the effect of
the stigma is worse than the illness itself. Another aim of the day is to transform the attitudes of general public towards mental health and issues.
In India, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, has flagged the day as the National Mental Health Day to be observed every year. He also launched Indias first policy on
Mental Health. The policy aims to provide affordable and quality treatment to mentally ill patients especially from the weaker sections of the society.
Training modules for general physicians were launched. The policy will have a pro-poor vision as the latter are always at the receiving end of the
poor policy and implementation.
The World Health Organization has predicted that about 20 per cent of Indias population would suffer from some form of mental illness by 2020 and
the country only has about 3,500 psychiatrists. Therefore, the government is confronted with the problem of lowering this gap significantly over the
next decade

Nobel Peace Prize 2014


October 11, 2014

No Comments

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their struggle against the
suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. The Committee specifically pointed out how commendable it
was for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism. The Committee also
hoped that their fight for the rights of children will contribute to the larger goal of fraternity between nations that Alfred Nobel has explicitly
mentioned in his will as one of the criteria for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize.
Malala and Satyarthi will be awarded a medal and $1.4 mn at an special ceremony in Oslo.
Malala Yousafzai

17 year old Malala Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Laureate in the history of the prize. She is also the third Nobel laureate who
was born in Pakistan.
Malala fought for the rights of girl children in Swat Valley, Pakistan to attend school. She was shot by gunmen there, and later
moved to Birmingham, UK. Since then, she has published her autobiography, addressed the UNGA, been named one of Time
magazines most influential people in 2013, and awarded the EUs Sakharov Prize for human rights.
Kailash Satyarthi

Satyarthi is the eighth Nobel laureate to have been born in India. He is an adherent of Gandhian philosophy. He has upheld Mahatma
Gandhis practice of engaging and conducting peaceful protests. He has focused his agitations against the exploitation of children for
financial gain. He is the founder of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement). Through his NGO, he
campaigns for protection of child rights and to abolish illegal human trafficking.

World Bank Launches Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF)


October 11, 2014

No Comments

The World Bank (WB) has launched the GIF to specifically cater to the infrastructure needs of the emerging economies
and developing countries. The GIF will channel money towards bankable infrastructure project in such countries. GIF also
places importance on sustainable development. Its key focus will be on climate friendly infrastructure investments and
projects that will boost trade.
The GIF will collaborate with other international and multilateral agencies which provide loans and financial assistance to
countries across the globe. It will also help these agencies with its expertise in financing, supervising and implementing
projects. Another areas where GIF could provide assistance it ensuring that all regulatory, environmental and social
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safeguards are met with while investing in large scale infrastructure projects. GIF will also work with private entities like
asset management companies, private equity firms, pensions and insurance funds and commercial banks to tap into
multiple sources of funding.

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Government sets up Japan Plus team


October 11, 2014

No Comments

India has set up a Japan Plus management team to follow through on the $35 bn that Japan has promised to invest in
India over a span of five years via PPP and overseas development assistance. This is a follow through on the agreements
and initiatives agreed to by India and Japan during PM Modis visit to Japan.
Japan is the fourth largest foreign investor in India. It contributes to approximately 8% of Indias total FDI inflows. It is
already actively involved in various infrastructure projects in India.
Responsibilities of the Japan Plus team

The team will provide the Indian government assistance with respect to initiating, attracting, facilitating and fast-tracking
of Japanese investments in India. The team will be responsible for all areas of investment promotion, research, outreach
and issues post investment. It will also help identify areas for Indo-Japan collaboration and viable projects for Japanese
investment.
Composition

The team has been set up by DIPP (Department Of Industrial Policy and Promotion) and is operational from October 8. It consists of government
officials from both countries. The team will have four Indians and two Japanese, and will be coordinated by Kenichiro Toyofuku from Japans Ministry
of Economy, Trade and Industry.
India-Japan Investment Promotion Partnership

An Indo-Japan Investment Promotion Partnership core group has also been constituted. It will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary and will comprise
of the Chairman of Railway Board, Foreign Secretary and secretaries of DIPP, revenue, economic affairs, financial services, urban development,
information technology and others. It will coordinate and monitor investments from Japan. Also, it will facilitate investment in various sectors and
enable effective transfer of technologies .

Nobel Prize Literature 2014


October 11, 2014

No Comments

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2014 has been awarded to the French author, Patrick Modiano, for the art of memory
with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.
The last time a French author won a Nobel for Literature was in 2008 when Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio won.
Modiano has also been the recipient of other awards including Grand prix du roman de lAcademie francaise in 1972 and
the 2010 prix mondial Cino Del Duca by the Institut de France for lifetime achievement. In 2012, he won the Austrian
State Prize for European Literature.
Patrick Modiano
Modiano was born on July 30, 1945 in a suburb of Paris. He studied at the Lyce Henri-IV in Paris. His private geometry
coach, Raymond Queneau, was also a writer and had a significant influence on Modianos career. His writings are in French, though some have been
translated into English and other languages.
He made his writing debut in 1968 with La place de ltoile. His first work was widely discussed and well known but it hasnt been translated into
English. Most of his work centres around ambiguous themes such as memory, oblivion, identity and guilt. His stories also tend to be of an
autobiographical nature and draw upon his city and its history. Some of Modianos works have been translated into English, among them Les
boulevards de ceinture (1972; Ring Roads : A Novel, 1974), Villa Triste (1975;Villa Triste , 1977), Quartier perdu (1984; A Trace of Malice , 1988)
and Voyage de noces (1990; Honeymoon, 1992). His latest work is the novel Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier.
Other than an author of novels, Modiano has also written childrens novels and movie scripts.

Central Government defers countrywide roll out of National Food Security Act for six months
October 11, 2014

No Comments

The Centre has deferred the rollout of the National Food Security Act for the second time in a year. The deadline of
October 2014 has been extended for another six months
Background

The National Food Security Act was passed in July 2013. At that time, states were given one year to identify beneficiaries
and put in measures to provide subsidized foodgrains to them. However, after a years time, most states had still not
made progress. Hence, an extension of another four months till October was given. But, since many states have still not
managed to put the required infrastructure in place for implementation of the provision of the National Food Security Act,
another extension of six months has been given by the Central Government.
Lack of readiness

A large number of states wanted the nation wide rollout of the National Food Security Act to be deferred because they were not ready to implement
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it. The onus of identifying the beneficiaries was put on the states by the National Food Security Act. Many states have yet to finalise the beneficiaries,
and there has been a lot of debate on how to identify them. Also, most states who werent implementing their own foodgrain distribution programs
have to establish infrastructure from scratch. Information about fair price shops have to be digitised and godowns built to store enough foodgrains
for such a far-reaching program. 11 states and Union Territories, namely Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar,
Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi and Chandigarh have partially or fully implemented the National Food Security Act. However, many of
the large states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have not yet put the required mechanism in
place.

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Mark Zuckerberg visits India-stresses connectivity for whole world


October 11, 2014

No Comments

Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is in New Delhi on a two day visit to India. He will launch the global
internet project, Internet.org in Delhi.
While in India, Zuckerberg met PM Modi and later spoke of Digital India initiative and said it was a positive development.
His visit comes months after the visit of Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg.
Internet.org

Internet.org is a global partnership between leaders in the field of technology, NGOs, local communities and experts who
work together to bring internet connectivity to the two-thirds of worlds population that doesnt have access to internet
now.
Through Internet.org, Zuckerberg aims to make internet more accessible and affordable to all people around the world.
In the next five years, the project aims to provide internet connectivity to 5 billion people in the world.

Andhra Pradesh & Odisha get ready for Hudhud


October 11, 2014

No Comments

Cyclone Hudhud is expected to make landfall near Vishakapatnam on October 12 according to the IMD (Indian
Meteorological Department). The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has put its battalions in TN, Andhra Pradesh,
Odisha, West Bengal and Bihar on high alert. Central Government has sent 39 teams of National Disaster Response Force
(NDRF) comprising 1,573 personnel, 193 boats and other equipment to Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. NDRF has also set
up a Control Room at Delhi whose number is 011-26107953. Additional battalions are being considered for deployment
in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha
Defence Forces

The defence forces have also been readied for carrying out relief and rehabilitation efforts. Also, the Indian Air Force has
kept four helicopters on standby to assist with evacuation efforts.
Warnings from Government Organisations

The IMD has predicted rainfall at most places in this region to be heavy to heavy, with some isolated areas facing extremely heavy rainfall. The
Indian Railways has also issued a warning to passengers travelling from or through these states. Cancellation or delay of trains is expected if the
situation warrants it. The states in the Bay of Bengal region have issued warnings asking fishermen not to venture deep into the sea. The intensity of
Hudhud is expected to be on the lines of that of cyclone Phailin which hit Odisha last year.
Preparation in Andhra Pradesh

The Andhra Pradesh government has identified 26 sub-districts which are expected to be affected by Hudhud. 125 relief camps have been organized
to evacuate people along the coast.

Five Haryana Janhit Congress MLAs disqualified


October 11, 2014

No Comments

The Punjab and Haryana disqualified the merger of five Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) MLAs with the Congress in accordance with the anti-defection
law. The MLAs in question are Satpal Sangwan, Vinod Bhyana, Rao Narender Singh, Zile Ram Chochra and Dharam Singh Chhokar.
2009 elections

In the 2009 Assembly polls, Congress failed to get the required majority seats in the state assembly. The required number of seats were 45 and
Congress has won 40 seats. Initially, seven independent candidates agreed to join the Congress, but by November 2009, the 5 HJC MLAs also
claimed that they party had merged with the HJC. The then speaker of Haryana, Kuldeep Sharma, upheld the merged was valid in law. This order
was then challenged in the HC.
Judgment

The HC set aside the order of the Speaker, as being invalid and bad in law. The judge held that the supposed merger was unconstitutional. It
disqualified the five HJC members from being MLAs. Also, they were disqualified from any remunerative political post that they may have held since
they defected from HJC. This means that the MLAs will have to refund any financial benefits and perks they received by virtue of holding a political
post.

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Burdwan blast to be probed by National Investigation Agency (NIA)


October 11, 2014

No Comments

The case of the explosion that took place in Khagragarh area of Burdwan in West Bengal has been handed over to the NIA. The explosion killed two
persons who are suspected of being militants. A large quantity of chemicals used to make bombs and some IEDs were found at the site of the
explosion.
Investigations have led to the arrest of four persons including two women.

Issue on Consent of state ggovernment


The Centre invoked a rarely used clause of National Investigation Agency Act, to surpass the state government and have NIA handle the case without
the state governments consent. In light of the circumstances and probable involvement of foreign terrorists, the Centre felt it necessary for the NIA
to investigate the matter. The legislation gives the Centre the power to intervene and direct NIA to take over from the state, without the states
consent only if certain crimes which have been listed in the acts schedule have been committed. Terror related activities are covered by the
schedule .

Government to revive Prime Ministers Council on Climate Change


October 10, 2014

No Comments

The Central government is planning to reconstitute and revive the PMs Council on Cilmate Change. This Council oversaw
the implementation of the eight missions under the NAPCC (National Action Plan on Climate Change). This advisory body
had not met in the last three years.
An Executive Committee had been set up in January 2013, comprising of officials from relevant Ministries, to assist the
Council and monitor implementation of the eight missions. However, despite this, lack of funding and co-ordination lead
to slow implementation of proposals under the eight missions. Most missions have been underperforming in relation to
their targets.
With renewed emphasis on climate change in the international, the government has deemed it imperative to formulate a
coherent domestic climate change policy. The reconstituted Council is expected to review the implementation of the eight
missions and undertake a comprehensive reassessment of the countrys climate change policy. Moreover, the composition of the Council is expected
to be tweaked to accommodate more members from the industrial sector.
Prime Ministers Council on Climate Change

The Council was established in 2007. It was responsible for framing the NAPCC in 2008. The High Level Advisory group was given the role of cocoordinating action plans for assessment, adaptation and mitigation of climate change. It also advised the government on multiple climate change
related issues and facilitated inter-ministerial cooperation and coordination in the arena of climate change.

Government announces establishment of Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS)
October 10, 2014

No Comments

The Minister for Minority Affairs, Najma Heptullah, announced the establishment of a nation level skill development
Academy, Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) with headquarters in Delhi.
MANAS will focus on providing skills, upgrading abilities and training members of minority communities in those sectors
of the economy which are either facing a shortage or labour or where demand for labour is expected to surge. MANAS
will also train people so that they may be self-employed. The National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation
(NMDFC) will provide assistance with credit for persons who have undergone training at MANAS and wish to establish
their own business or be self employed. MANAS will also collaborate with multiple national and international agencies to
provide certification and assistance with placement for the trainees, and also to secure funding for the program.
A MoU was also signed by MANAS and the National Skill Development Corporation to establish an All India Collaborative
Network for MANAS.

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Government to complete Phase-III of Cable TV Digitization by 2015


October 10, 2014

No Comments

The Government has modified the timeline for Cable TV Digitisation. As per the new timeline, Phase III will be over by
end of 2015 and Phase IV, a year later, by end of 2016. In Phase III and IV, cable TV digitization will spread to the rural
areas. Phase I was digitization of metro cities, and Phase II was digitization of cities with a population of more than 1
million people, Phase III covers all urban areas and Phase IV covers the rest of India.
Task Force for Cable Digitization for Phases three and four

This task force was set up by the government to steer Phases III and IV. The task force was set up to look into
indigenous production of set top boxes (STBs), interoperability between STB service providers and take efforts to provide
tax incentives to boost domestic manufacturing of STBs and enable them to compete with foreign manufacturers. The
Task Force will also consult with representatives of all stakeholders, including the service providers and consumers.

Tyeb Mehta painting sold at 11 crore rupees


October 10, 2014

No Comments

Modernist Tyeb Mehtas painting was sold at the Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale in Sothebys for a
whooping Rs. 11 cr. The Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale marked the beginning of Sothebys Indian and
Islamic Week, which will see three separate auctions dedicated to the works of established artists from the Indian subcontinent and the Islamic world.
The blue painting was brought for a price far higher than its pre-auction estimate by an anonymous bidder. The painting
is thought to be an important transitional work of Mehtas, and a departure from his pet themes of angst and suffering.
The depiction of the female body is believed to be inspired from the works of international artists such as Barnett
Newman, Kazimir Malevich and Henri Matisse.
Tyeb Mehta

Tyeb Mehta was born in 1925 in Gujarat. He studied at the J.J.School of Art. He is one of the post-colonial group of artists in India. He was a part of
the renowned Bombay Progressive Artists Group which is a grouping of influential modern Indian artists post-1947 who are known for their unique
collection of work with certain similar characteristics. His work belonged to the Modernism school of painting. He is a Padma Bhushan awardee.
Mehtas work was the first by a contemporary Indian artist to be sold for over a million dollars. One of his later paintings, Celebration, sold for Rs.
15 mn at a Christies auction in 2002. This set the record for the highest sale amount for an Indian painting at an international auction. He died in
2009 in Mumbai. Click Here to read brief Biography of Tyeb Mehta

India celebrates 82nd Air Force Day


October 10, 2014

No Comments

The Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrated its 82nd foundation day as Air Force Day at the Hindon Air Force Station in
Ghaziabad, UP. Till 2006, Air Force Day celebrations were held at the Palam airport.
Sachin Tendulkar was also present at the ceremony. He was made a Honorary Group Captain in the IAF in 2010. He is
the first sportsperson to have been honoured with that distinction.

Celebrations
The Air Force Day Parade was held at the base along with the Investiture ceremony. The Air Force Warrior drill team
displayed rifle handling skills along with march etc as part of the parade. Various airplanes of the IAF were on display.
Also, planes like the MIG-21, MIG-29, Sukhoi-30 MKI, Globemaster, Hercules and Mirage 2000 performed multiple
maneuvers.

Hindon Air Force Base


This base is under the Western Air Command. It is the biggest and largest air base in Asia, and 8th in the world. It is located in Ghaziabad in Uttar
Pradesh. It is located on the outskirts of the Hindon river.

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Chemistry Nobel Prize 2014


October 10, 2014

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The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced that the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the year 2014 is being awarded to Eric Betzig, Stefan
W. Hell and William E. Moerner for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy. For years, it was assumed that the resolution that
could be achieved by optical microscopy was limited to half the wavelength of light. These three scientists overcame this perceived limitation with the
help of fluorescent molecules. Their work has made it possible to study molecular processes in real time according to the Nobel Committee Chair.
The winners will share the prize money of 8 mn kroner.

Limitation on Resolution

It was assumed by the scientific community that it would be impossible to study living cells in its tiniest molecular detail. The microscopist Ernst Abbe
had set 0.2 micrometres as the maximum resolution that could be achieved through optical microscopy. This development took place in 1873, and for
decades no scientist could achieve a better resolution. These three scientists surpassed Abbes limitation and enabled scientists to analyse the
nanoscopic world. The scientists have been awarded for their work with two different approaches, namely, stimulated emission depletion (STED)
microscopy and single molecule microscopy.
Work of Stefan Hell

Stefan Hell developed the STED microscopy method in 2000. To better Abbes resolution, he used two laser beams. One beam stimulated the
fluorescent molecules to grow, while the other beam cancelled out all fluorescence except that in a nanometer sized volume.
Work of Betzig and Moerner

Betzig and Moerner worked with single molecule microscopy. This method is based on the ability to turn the fluorescence of molecules on and off. A
couple of different molecules are allowed to glow each time the image is recorded;. Then, all the recorded images are superimposed to form one
complete image covering all molecules. This method was first tested in 2006.
Breakthrough work

The work done by these scientists enables researchers and other to analyse individual molecules, thus enabling them to carry on further research.
With the ability to look at individual molecules, we can better understand the human anatomy and the occurrence of various diseases.

About Eric Betzig


Eric Betzig is an American citizen who born in 1960 in USA. He is a Group Leader at the Janelia Research Campus at the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute in USA

About Stefan W. Hell


Stefan W. Hell is a German citizen who was born in Romania in 1962. He is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in
Gttingen, and Division head at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany.

William E. Moerner
William E. Moerner is an American citizen who was born in USA in 1953. He is the Harry S. Mosher Professor in Chemistry and Professor of Applied
Physics at Stanford University in USA.

India expected to retain top slot in inward remittances


October 9, 2014

No Comments

In the World Banks latest Migration and Development Brief, India has remained the top country to receive inward remittance with a total of $71 bn
just this year. This stable inflow of remittances is important in boosting Indias balance of payments
Future Trends
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The report predicts a modest rise of 1.5% in the inwards remittances to India during 2014.
However, remittances to the developing countries are expected to increase by 5% to reach $435 bn in 2014, driven largely by remittances to Asia
and Latin America. Remittances to the South Asia are expected to improve after a slower growth in 2013.
Global remittances are estimated to increase from $582 bn to $608 bn in 2014
Forced Migration

Though the rise in inward remittances is a positive development, the rise in forced migration has revealed the troubling circumstances that are
prevalent across the world. Forced Migration due to conflict were at their highest level since World War II, affecting over 51 mn people. An
additional 22 mn people have been forced to move due to natural disasters.

Nobel Prize for Physics 2014


October 9, 2014

No Comments

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced its decision to award the Nobel Prize for Physics to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji
Nakamura for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.

Isamu Akasaki
Isamu Akasaki is a Japanese citizen. He was born 1929 in Chiran, Japan and educated in Japan. He is currently a Professor at Meijo University,
Nagoya, and Distinguished Professor at Nagoya University, Japan.
Hiroshi Amano
Hiroshi Amano is a Japanese citizen. He was born in 1960 in Hamamatsu, Japan and educated in Japan. He is a Professor at Nagoya University in
Japan.
Shuji Nakamura
Shuji Nakamura is an American citizen. He was born in 1954 in Ikata, Japan and educated in Japan. He is currently a Professor at University of
California in USA.
Discovery of blue LEDs

The three scientists of Japanese origin have been awarded the Nobel for inventing blue light emitting diodes or LEDs.
Although red and green LEDs have been in existence for decades now, development of blue LEDs posed a formidable challenge to scientists and
researchers.
Within a LED, current is applied to multiple semiconductor materials, which emit a particular wavelength of light depending on the chemical make-up
of the semiconductor materials in question. Gallium nitride was the semiconductor used by the Japanese researchers to develop the blue LED.
Growing adequately big crystal of gallium nitride was the challenge that many researchers couldnt figure out. Akasaki and Amano, worked together
in 1986 to get the gallium nitride to grow to a big size, with the help of a specifically designed scaffold partially made from sapphire.
In 1990, Nakamura also managed to induce the gallium nitride to grow to a big size by manipulating the temperature to induce its growth.
Their work in discovering blue LEDs led to the combining of red, green and blue LEDs to form white LEDs.
Significance of blue LEDs

Blue LED is an extremely significant development on its own, and because it was a stepping stone in the development of white LED, it is a pathbreaking milestone.
Blue LEDs are used in many products nowadays. Smartphones, for example, use blue LEDs. White LEDs are used in a plethora of products from
lamps tto television screen to computer screens.
LEDs use much less energy than incandescent lamps, and are efficient enough to run on locally generated solar power. It is major development in
the 21st century where energy conservation has become vital

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Parties using children for poll work will lose symbols: Election Commission
October 9, 2014

No Comments

The Bombay High Court while hearing a case on the issue of children engaging in election campaigns and poll related
work, asked the Election Commission (EC) what action it was taking against political parties to curb the involvement of
children.
The Election Commission has responded that parties which are making children work for their campaigns will face derecognition by the EC. Under section 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, the EC can
withdraw the recognition granted to parties that dont follow the ECs rules and regulations. De-recognition of a political
party means that it can no longer use its reserved symbol.

Madhya Pradesh launches Global Investors Summit


October 9, 2014

No Comments

Madhya Pradesh has launched the 2014 edition of it Global Investors Summit. The event will be held from October 8 to
October 10 in Indore. Indore is considered the business capital of Madhya Pradesh. Through the Global Investors
Summit, the government seeks to display the strengths and industrial prowess of Madhya Pradesh. It is a bid to attract
Indian and foreign investors to Madhya Pradesh. The Global Investors Summit will also act a forum for interaction
between the Indian entrepreneurs, heads of states, policy makers, investors and other stakeholders.Multiple countries
are also expected to be a part of the Global Investors Summit.

Cyclone Hudhud intensifies near Andaman


October 9, 2014

No Comments

Cyclonic storm Hudhud is building over the Bay of Bengal and is likely to bring torrential rains and strong wind to the
region over the next few days. The name Hudhud has been given by Oman, and it is derived from the name of an AfroEurasian bird.
Preparations for Hudhud

The cyclone is scheduled to hit the Odisha coast by October 12. It is also expected to hit the Andhra Pradesh coastline.
However, it will not directly hit West Bengal, though the state is expected to feel the impacts of the cyclone. The states in
the Bay of Bengal region have issued warnings asking fishermen not to venture deep into the sea.
The intensity of Hudhud is expected to be on the lines of that of cyclone Phailin which hit Odisha last year.
Evolution of Hudhud

Hudhud first appeared as a low pressure are over the South Myanmar coast adjoining Andaman Sea. This evolved in to a depression around 250 km
east of Port Blair on 6 October. This depression is expected to intensify into a cyclonic circulation by 8 October. The immediate effect of the cyclone
formation will obviously be felt on the Andaman & Nicobar Island where heavy rains and minor damage to loose and unsecured structures have been
predicted. After crossing the Andamans, the cyclonic circulation is expected to south-west into the Bay of Bengal and take shape of a cyclonic storm.

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DIPP clears 33 defence proposals


October 9, 2014

No Comments

A meeting of the Licensing Committee of the DIPP has cleared 33 pending defense deals, some of which have been languishing with
the DIPP for yeards. The defence proposals were by Reliance Aerospace, Bharat Forge, Mahindra Telephonic Integrated Systems Ltd,
Punj Lloyd Industries, Mahindra Aero Structure Pvt Ltd, Tata Advanced Materials Ltd etc.
The DIPP has been able to clear these defence proposals now because of the regulatory and policy changes .
Changes in Policy/Regulations

The FDI limit in the defence sector has been increased to 49% from 26%. The government reduced the number of items requiring
industrial licenses by 60% in June 2014, so a vast number of items have been delicensed and do not require items anymore. Also, dual use items,
meaning products which are of use to military as well as civilians, do not require defence clearances. Hence, multiple industries now require no
licenses but only have to submit an IEM. Further 24% portfolio investment through the automatic route is now allowed. And the requirement of 51%
ownership by a single Indian company has been removed, with multiple Indian companies holding a cumulative share of 51% being sufficient.
Also, these clearance are in line with the PMs Make in India campaign which calls for increased domestic production by industries based in India.

IEM (Industrial Entrepreneurs Memorandum)


IEM is an application which is while is filed by the company/industrial unit for acknowledgement of its unit. Industries requiring investment of over a
certain amount in large scale and small industry respectively are exempt from licensing provisions; these industries, instead, have to file an IEM.

High Court denies Bail to Jayalalitha, to approach Supreme Court


October 8, 2014

No Comments

The High Court of Karnataka has denied bail to Jayalalitha in the disproportionate assets case. The Special Public
Prosecutor raised no objection to granting of bail to Jayalalitha. The lawyer for the defense, Ram Jethmalani, argued
vehemently for the release of Jayalalitha, calling it a case of political vendetta. He cited the case of Lalu Prasad Yadav
being granted bail by the SC (after being convicted in the fodder scam) as a precedent to take into consideration while
deciding whether bail must be granted to Jayalalitha.
Jethmalani also prayed for the suspension of the sentence pending appeal.

Rationale behind judgment


Justice Chandrasekhara refused to grant bail saying that there were no grounds for the Court to grant bail. Citing SC
judgments, he opined that corruption amounted to violation of basic human rights, and that it led to economic imbalances
in society. The judge also said that the SC had made it clear that cases relating to corruption must be fast-tracked.
He also refused to consider the Lalu Yadav case as a precedent, because he had been granted bail by the SC on an appeal from the HC judgment
that denied him bail. Also, he had spent 10 months in jail already when the SC granted him bail. Jayalalitha, on the other hand, has not been in jail
even for a month.
The judge also refused to suspend the judgment of the Special Court. He cited several cases of the SC under the Prevention of Corruption Act to
validate his ruling that the case was not fit for granting either bail or suspension of sentence.

Future course of action


Jayalalithas legal team is likely to appeal the judgment denying bail in the SC. It is also expected that she will ask for a suspension of the four year
sentence awarded by the Special Court Judge.

Disproportionate Assets Case


Jayalalitha was the first serving CM to be convicted in a corruption case when a Special Court convicted her of holding assets disproportionate to her
income. She was sentenced to four years prison and a fine of Rs. 100 crore. Also, she has been disqualified from contesting elections for the next 10
years under the Representation of Peoples Act.

Heavy firing and shelling continues on Indo-Pak Border


October 8, 2014

No Comments

Unprovoked heavy firing and shelling across the 192 km Indo-Pak border shows no signs of abating, with the political and
military set-up in both countries showing no willingness to compromise. Pakistani Rangers targeted 40 border out posts
and 25 border hamlets along the International Border in Jammu and Samba districts of J & K. According to India, this has
been Pakistans 17th breach of ceasefire in the month of October.
BSF (Border Security Force) has been returning fire in many places along the border, especially in Pargwal. This has led
to intensive exchange of fire between the Indian and Pakistani forces. There has been no loss of life or property to BSF
as of now. However, the civilian casualty has been significant, and rising, on both sides of the border.
Casualties

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The people bearing the brunt of the exchange of fire have been the civilians. Thousands of people have been displaced,
or have fled their villages to escape the firing. Around 1000 people have been shifted to camps. Six people have been killed and 50 others including
BSF personnel have been injured in firing along the LoC and the international border.
Ceasefire violations

From October 1 to October 6, there have been ceasefire violations in different areas along the border intermittently but on every single day without
exceptions. On October 2, Pakistani Rangers targeted civilian villages, leading to six persons being hospitalized with injuries
Response by the Indian government/Action taken

National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, held a high-level meeting that included the Home Secretary, Chief of Intelligence Bureau and BSF
representatives. The bureaucrats were briefed on the violence along the border by the BSF representative, and the situation was discussed.
Defence Minister, Arun Jaitley, said that Pakistan would face heavy military response from India if their ceasefire violations continued.

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Eid-al-Adha celebrated across the world, Hajj concludes


October 8, 2014

No Comments

Eid-al-Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice is a festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide as two million Muslims performed
the last ritual to conclude Hajj.
Eid-al-Adha
This festival is celebrated to commemorate Abrahams willingness to offer his promised son as sacrifice according to
Gods command. In the end, God intervened and asked for a lamb as sacrifice. To mark this event, Muslims worldwide
offer sheep as sacrifice.
Hajj
Hajj is a religious pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is one of the five pillars of Islam that every Muslim must
perform at least once in his lifetime. The last ritual was performed at Mina, which is ritually stoning the devil. This stoning of the devil is symbolic of
Abraham who stoned the devil on his way to comply with Gods wishes asking for a sacrifice. The devotees performed this ritual, offered sacrifices
by slaughtering a sheep and gave its meat away to the needy. This marks the end of the pilgrimage.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to become first sitting President to appear at ICC
October 8, 2014

No Comments

Kenyan President Kenyatta has confirmed his appearance at The Hague, Netherlands on October 8 to respond to multiple
charges against him at the ICC (International Criminal Court).
Resignation

In an unprecedented move, Kenyatta has invoked a hitherto unused article of the Constitution to resign temporarily, with
the Deputy President, William Ruto, taking his place as Acting President till the return of Kenyatta. This step has been
taken because Mr.Kenyatta has insisted that he will appear before the ICC in his personal capacity and not as the
President of a nation. It is to be noted that Kenyatta had also appeared at the ICC before he became President in 2013.
Kenyatta will risk an international arrest warrant and international condemnation against him personally and economic
sanctions against Kenya, if he failed to comply with the summons issued by the ICC.
Charges against Mr.Kenyatta

Kenyatta faces five charges of crimes against humanity, inciting violence and organizing ethnic massacres that killed 1,200 people. He has denied all
the charges that have been brought against him.
In September, the ICC postponed the trial after prosecutors said the Kenyan government had failed to submit important documents. The case of the
prosecution is weak as of now because several prosecution witnesses have withdrawn from the case. The ICC has summoned Kenyatta for a status
hearing so he may explain allegations that evidence against has been withheld by the Kenyans. His request to participate by video was rejected by
the Court.
Massacres

The massacres that Mr.Kenyatta is accused of playing a role in, took place after the 2007 elections in Kenya. Kenyatta was a close ally of the winner
of the election, Mwai Kibaki. Kibaikis opponent, Raila Odinga, claimed that the elections were rigged. The dispute then lead to violence with peoples
of different ethnicities pitted against each other. Kenyatta is accused of organizing ethnic gangs to attack rival groups.
Around a thousand people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced in the violence.

Typhoon Phanfone slams into Japan


October 8, 2014

No Comments

Typhoon Phanfone made landfall near the city of Hamamatsu in Japan. Many parts of Japan faced torrential rain, with some areas receiving a
months worth of rainfall in a matter of minutes.
As many as 600 domestic flights and 19 international flights have been cancelled. Over 2,00,000 people have been asked to evacuate their homes
throughout Eastern Japan due to threat of landslides and flooding of rivers.
Tropical Storm Risk is a storm tracker that tracks cyclones etc and categories them as per their expected severity. Phanfone was earlier labeled a
category one typhoon, which is the lowest on a scale of one to five. However, as it approached, the typhoon was labeled a category four.

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Government to establish virology diagnostic labs in 120 districts


October 8, 2014

No Comments

Central Government has recently announced that State-of-the-art virology diagnostic laboratories will be operational in
120 districts by 2015.

Need for virology labs


The outbreak of the swine flu epidemic in 2009 exposed the lack of infrastructure and preparedness in India. Only two
labs in India then had the required capabilities to test for the disease.
The outbreak of the Ebola virus has again emphasized the need for setting up of modern and updated testing facilities to
cope with the crises that may arise in the future.

Model Rural Health Research Units (MRHR)


The government also has plans to strengthen the Model Rural Health Research Units which will be set up by ICMR (Indian
Council of Medical Research) in collaboration with the local primary centres under the administration of the State government. The MRHR model will
be advanced to improve coverage of health services and early detection of diseases in rural areas. These MRHR units will be equipped with modern
technologies and state of the art infrastructure

Nobel Prize Medicine winners 2014


October 8, 2014

No Comments

John OKeefe and Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser have won the 2014 Nobel Prize for medicine for their
work which has led to discovering the brains internal positioning system.
About Nobel Prize in Medicine

The Nobel award for medicine is given to persons whose discoveries have significantly enhanced the understanding of
life or the practice of medicine. The Nobel comes with prize money of 8 mn Swedish kroner or $1.1 mn. The winner is
chosen by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute which is a group of 50 professors which has an 18 member
working body that evaluates nominations from scientists around the world and proposes the names of top candidates for
the award. The Nobel Prize for medicine is always announced before the Nobel Prize for other categories. The Nobel
Assembly, made the announcement at Swedens Karolinska Institute saying that the discovery had provided a solution to
an issue that has plagued the mind of researchers and philosopher alike for centuries : How does the brain create a map of the space surrounding
us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment?
2014 Nobel Prize Medicine Winners

John OKeefe
John OKeefe is a 74 yr old American-British Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College in London.
In 1971, Dr. OKeefe was studying the hippocampus, when during an experiment on rats he discovered that certain nerve cells got
activated when the rat was in a particular spot. If the rat changed its place, then different nerve cells in the rats brain got activated.
This led to his conclusion that the cells werent just registering the location but they appeared to be making circuits that constituted
an inner map or GPS of the place. He realized that the hippocampus was a spatial system where the memory of a certain place
gets stored a particular combination of the nerve cells.

May-Britt and Edvard Moser


May-Britt Moser aged 51 and Edvard Moser aged 52 are a married team of neuroscientists working at the Norwegian
University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.
In 2005, the Mosers worked with OKeefe to further his work. They conducted similar experiments on rats, where they
discovered that nerve cells in entorhinal cortex which is near the hippocampus got activated when the animals passed
certain places. These nerve cells together laid out a grid like pattern enabling the rat to navigate spatially.
Research

Before the work done by these three scientists, we didnt have a sense of how the brain processed maps at a cellular level.
Their work helps researchers delve deeper into how strokes and Alzheimers affect the brain, with the help of their inner
navigational chart.

22nd anniversary of Rapid Action Force (RAF) celebrated


October 8, 2014

No Comments

The 22nd Formation Day of RAF was celebrated on 7 October with all the senior CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force)
dignitaries present. It was announced at the Formation Day celebrations that five more battalions of RAF will be set up.
The new battalions will be in Guwahati, Siliguri, Patna, Uttar Pradesh and in NCR (National Capital Region). Additionally a
women battalion will soon be formed in Gujarat. Measures are being taken to induct modern, sophisticated and non-

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lethal weapons in RAFs armoury so that collateral damage or casualities may be minimized.
Peace-keeping operations

At the request of UN, one RAF troop consisting of 250 women and men personnel has been sent to Ebola hit Liberia. The
troop has been involved in providing relief operations in Liberia.
About RAF

The RAF is a specially trained and equipped wing of the CRPF. It was formed in 1992 to deal with communal riots and civil unrest caused thereby. At
present, there are 10 battalions, but it is set to increase as stated above.

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CISF launches Operation Kali in Delhi Metro for better protection of women commuters
October 8, 2014

No Comments

The paramilitary CISF which has the responsibility of securing the Delhi Metro Network has launched Operation Kali to
better protect women using the metro especially in the ladies compartments. CISF has deployed 5,000 men and women
personnel for securing the Delhi Metro Network.
Operation Kali

Under this Operation, CISF will deploy a special squad of undercover female commandos in the metros. These
commandos have been trained to use the techniques of the martial arts form Pekiti-Tirsia Kali to neutralize threats with
the help of seemingly harmless objects that people carry everyday like pens or hairpins. They have also been trained to
tackle multiple threats at a time. Other than this, some personnel in uniform will also be deployed.
Pekiti-Tirsia Kali

This is a style of martial arts that has its origin in Philippines. It was founded in 1897, and is a combat oriented system. It is a form of close quarter
combat where the focus is on offensive and counter offensive strategies instead of defensive moves. The style also involves using of a knife, machete
or any edged or empty hand weapons. It has been adopted by elite Philippine military and law enforcement units.
About CISF

The Central Industrial Security Force or CISF is a central armed police force under the Ministry of Home Affairs. It was initially established under the
Central Industrial Security Force Act, 1968 to protect major PSUs. However, it was converted to an armed force with a larger ambit under an
amendment to the Act in 1983. Now, CISF provides security to industrial ventures and establishments, VIPs and engages in disaster management
amongst others. It also has a Fire Wing to response to fire emergencies/accidents. With a force larger than 1,65,000 it is the largest security force in
the world.

Deepak Parekh committee on Infrastructure submits report


October 7, 2014

No Comments

The High-level government committee on infrastructure headed by Deepak Parekh submits the last part of its report in
October. The Committee consisted of Uday Kotak, G.M.R Rao, Sanjay Reddy and top officials from LIC, SBI, ICICI and
IDFC.
Some of their proposals are as follows:Establish a PPP model for power distribution, starting first with the cities
Modernise public sector distribution companies. The viability gap for such companies should be funded by the Central
government
Earmark 15% of power generation of the central PSUs for open access customers so that the market becomes more
competitive in an attempt to attract the open access clientele. This is also expected to increase investment in the electricity sector. (Open
access customers refers to customers who buy in bulk and can directly choose where to buy their electricity from, according to the
Electricity Act, 2003. Hence, the open access customers at least will not have to rely on the state controlled power distribution companies
Tariffs should be rationalized with a grading system that distinguishes between consumers depending on their paying capacity. Also, high
income households, commercial consumer and industries should eventually be moved to market based pricing. The consumers subject to
market based pricing may be allowed to choose from different suppliers of electricity. Low income consumers, however, should be subject
to low tariffs and their requirements should be met with supplies from depreciated power station
Privatise coal mining wherein Coal India or its arms/subsidiaries can retain ownership of mines
Constitute a High level task force headed by a deputy governor of RBI to decide on measures to restore the health of power projects facing
financial trouble due to scarcity of fuel
Fixed charges of a reasonable amount should be apportioned to idle power plants

Shahrukh Khan awarded with Global Diversity Award 2014


October 7, 2014

No Comments

Indian actor Shahrukh Khan was awarded the Global Diversity Award 2014 for his outstanding achievements in the field
of cinema and his involvement in philanthropic endeavors in UK. The Award was presented to him by the Speaker of the
House of Commons, the Right Honourable John Bercow, at a ceremony held in the House of Commons itself. This award
was instituted by the Rainbow Foundation. Previous recipients of this award include Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai,
Sheikh Hasina, Lewis Hamilton, Jackie Chan and Dionne Warwick amongst other. Shahrukh Khan is also a recipient of
Frances Legion of Honour, which is its highest civilian honour.

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China test fires long range missile Dongfeng-31B


October 6, 2014

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China test fired a new variant in its Dongfeng-31 missile range on September 25
Dongfeng-31A

It is a 10,000 km long range missile that is capable of targeting Europe and the West Coast of USA. It can strike with
three warheads, including nuclear warheads.
Dongfeng-31B

This is latest variant, and an advanced form of Dongfeng-31A. This is also a long range missile with a reach of 10,000
km. However, it can carry multiple nuclear warheads, unlike Dongfeng-31A which is restricted to three.
Dongfeng-41

China is also working on developing a Dongfeng-41 missile. Dongfeng-41 is expected to have a range of 12,000 km which
will enable it to target all the parts of USA.

ISRO to launch M3M satellite of Canada


October 6, 2014

No Comments

Canadas M3M (Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Micro-Satellite) is set to be launched by Indias PSLV rocket. The
agreement for the same was signed by Indias Antriux Corp. and Canadas COM DEV Intl. The satellite is due to be
launched in July 2015. The satellite was built for the Canadian Department of National Defence, and is a communications
satellite. The satellite was built at a cost of $21 mn by COM DEV Intl.
Initially, the satellite was to have been launched on a Soyuz rocket in Russia. However, in light of the international
restrictions on trade with Russia due to the Crimea and Ukraine crisis, Canada decided not to go ahead with the
arrangement.

Cipla to set up manufacturing facility in Iran


October 6, 2014

No Comments

Drug manufacturer Cipla has signed an agreement with its distributor in Iran to set up a manufacturing unit there. Cipla
is expected to contribute machinery, equipment and technical knowledge worth Rs. 225 cr over thethe next 3 years in
return for a 75% stake. The investment is yet to receive the necessary regulatory approvals. The Iranian venture is a
part of Ciplas strategy to expand to other Asian countries
Cipla is an Indian company that was established in 1935 in Mumbai. It sells over 2,000 products in 180 countries around
the world. It has a turnover of US $1.5 bn and employed 26,000 persons as of 2012-13.

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Chennai Super Kings clinches Champions League Twenty-20


October 6, 2014

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In the Champions League Twenty-20 final match, Chennai Super Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 8 wickets to win
the Champions League Trophy.
Player of the Match

P.Negi of the Chennai Super Kings was named the Player of the Match.

Past Performance
This is the second Champions League win for the Chennai Super Kings, who won earlier in 2010.
Champions League Twenty-20

This is an international Twenty-20 cricket competition played between major domestic teams from cricketing nations. It
has been an annual event from 2009. The League is jointly owned by BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa.

Australia and Canada join US-led military action against ISIS


October 5, 2014

No Comments

Australia and Canada are the latest additions to the countries providing military support to the American led war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Australia has deployed its warplanes for air strikes in Iraq and will also send its special forces operatives on the ground. The Australian called the
efforts an essentially humanitarian mission. Australia has been providing material to the effort even before it committed to military assistance.
Canada also announced the dispatch of its warplanes for conducting air strikes and surveillance missions in the region. It already has 26 troops in
Iraq serving in a non-combative capacity
Participation of other countries

The US, France and UK have already been carrying out air strikes and other military operations in the Iraq-Syria region. Germany has sent arms and
paratroopers to reinforce the fighters in the Kurdish region of Iraq. The Netherlands has sent its F-16 airplanes to supplement the other planes
engaged in air strikes. Other European countries like Denmark, Czech Republic, Belgium etc are shipping arms and equipment to the region.
The countries which have promised to provide support or are expected to assist in the near future are Spain, Italy and New Zealand.

Prime Minister focuses on Khadi, Special kids in first Radio address to the nation
October 5, 2014

No Comments

PM Modi reached out to the common masses through a special speech titled Man Ki Baat that was primarily aired on AIR
(All India Radio), even though some television channels also aired it. Amongst other issues, he spoke about the radio
and the simplicity of it as a mode of disseminating information. He emphasized how the radio reached even the most
remote areas of the country, and thus, had extensive reach.
Key Points

The PM encouraged the people to take a cleanliness pledge, like he had done on October 2 while launching the
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
He asked the people to support the khadi industry by buying at least one garment made of khadi.
He emphasized on the need of Indians to trust each other and believe in their capabilities, so that the people of the
country may grow together as one
He said Indias strength lay in its cottages and villages and it farmers.
Speaking of specially abled children, he said they were the responsibility of the society as whole and not only their families. It was
imperative that they too be made a part of the journey of development
He highlighted the Mars Orbiter Mission, and spoke of it as an example of the strength and capabilities of Indians
He supplemented his speech with many anecdotes, especially from Swami Vivekananda
Regular Interaction

PM Modi sought to make this a regular interaction and not a one-off even. He promised to speak to the people at least once a month, on Sundays at
11 a.m.
Reach of Radio

All India Radio runs 422 radio stations and relay centres around India and is listened by 40 to 50 mn people on the medium wave frequency
according to Prasar Bharati. Besides this, there are also 850 million active mobile users, most of whom have the preloaded radio service on their
phones.
According to the 2011 census, 67 mn households in India have a radio or a transistor. This translates to roughly 300 mn people.

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Asiad 2014: Both Mens and Womens Kabaddi teams bag Gold for India
October 4, 2014

No Comments

The Indian Womens Kabaddi team defeated Iran to the win the gold at the Asian Games. This is the second successive
Asian Games win for the team since womens kabaddi was introduced in 2010 in the Guanzhou Asian Games. The Indian
Mens kabaddi team also won a gold at the Asian Games. India has won a gold consistently since the games introduction
in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing. This is the mens teams 7th successive win.
Kabaddi in India and the World

Kabaddi is a contact sport whose origins are believed to be in South India, though now the game is popular throughout
South Asia. It is also the national game of Bangladesh and Nepal, not to mention the State Game of Tamil Nadu, Andhra
Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Bihar and Punjab.
Governing Bodies

KFI (Kabaddi Federation of India) was founded in 1950, and its most significant contribution was the compiling of a standard set of rules. AKFI
(Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India) was established in 1973 and AKFI has modified the rules for kabaddi.
Kabaddi at the international level is governed by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), which was formed in 2004. 31 national associations are
members of IKF, including India. The founding President of KFI was Jarnardhan Singh Gehlot, who was the President of AKFI for 28 years and was
also made its life President in 2013.

Government to launch National Career Service Portal


October 4, 2014

No Comments

The Labour Ministry is set to Launch a National Career Service Portal which will serve as an intermediary between jobseekers and job-providers. This project was originally proposed under the UPA government with an outlay of 150 cr as
part of a larger revamping of the Employment Exchanges. The new government, with its emphasis on skill development
and providing increased job opportunities, has taken up the project now.
The portal will connect the people seeking jobs with people/companies looking for employees to hire. It will act purely as
an intermediary for persons with different needs to meet. The portal will aggregate all information pertaining to jobs, job
seekers, training and the employers. It will seek to connect the two parties using SMS, call centres and electronic means
of communication like emails.
The portal can be accessed by employers from the public sector and private sector, along with intermediaries like
recruitment agencies, skill development institutes and trainers.
MoU with UK

The portal in India will be established on the lines of a similar initiative of the UK government. The government has even signed an MoU with UK to
learn from its project.
The UK governments National Career Service was launched in 2012 and is an integrated free service which provides advice and information for
training, learning and work opportunities to anyone older than 13 years. The service is available online via web chat, through phone and can be
directly accessed through multiple walk in centres. This is an improved version of an earlier plan called Next Step that was available to those aged
above 18.

After 16 years, India wins hockey gold at the Asian Games


October 4, 2014

No Comments

After a gap of 16 years, India defeated Pakistan in the Mens Hockey finals of the Asian Games , to win the gold medal.
India had earlier won the gold in 1966 and 1998, while Pakistan has clinched the gold eight times in the past including
the Asian Games at Guangzhou in 2010.
Olympics

This win ensures Indias direct entry to the 2016 Summer Olympics that is scheduled to be held at Rio de Janeiro. This
will be a refreshing change after the 2012 London Olympics where India had struggled and qualify and finished last in the
competition in the end.
Womens Team

The Indian hockey womens team defeated Japan to win the bronze medal at the Asian Games.
India national field hockey team

The national filed hockey team is controlled by Hockey India, which is the body that governs field hockey in India. The Indian team was the first NonEuropean team to be a part of the International Hockey Federation. The team won its first Olympic gold in 1928. With a total of eight gold medals,
Indias hockey team has the maximum medals of any single country.

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Government announces Rs. 20 lakh for each village Panchayat for the clean India mission.
October 4, 2014

No Comments

More than 2,47,000 gram panchayats across the country will receive Rs. 20 lakh each per annum for the Clean India
campaign of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that was launched by the PM on October 2.
The discretion as to what project/work the funds should be used for is upto the gram panchayat, but it will have to be
used towards improving sanitation.
Allocation of funds

This 20 lakh per gram panchayat will be provided from the Rs, 1,96,000 crore that will be spent on the Swachh Bharat
Abhiyan over a period of five years. Of this, the Ministry of Urban development has been allocated Rs. 62,000 cr for
cleanliness and sanitation of urban areas while the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has been allocated Rs.
1,34,000 cr for the programme
Source of Funds

Only a marginal portion of the funds will be appropriated from the Central Government. The remainder of the funds will be raised through PPP mode
by Stated and urban local bodies, private sector, levy of user charges, Corporate Social Responsibility, Swachh Bharat Kosh and other such
measures.

E-rickshaws recognized as special category three-wheeled vehicles


October 3, 2014

No Comments

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highway has issued a notification amending the Motor Vehicles Act, allowing erickshaws to ply in New Delhi. Earlier, a Delhi HC judgment had banned e-rickshaws due to safety concerns. But, the
Centre has recognized e-rickshaws as a special category and has come out with guidelines for their usage. This decision
has been taking by the government after taking into consideration the loss of livelihood caused to many e-rickshaw
drivers because of the ban.
What are e-rickshaws?

E-rickshaws or electric rickshaws are three wheeled vehicles that are operated with an electric motor. The notification
defines e-rickshaws as a special purpose battery operated vehicle having three wheels and intended to provide last mile
connectivity for transport of passengers.
Restrictions

An e-rickshaws cam carry a maximum of four passengers, excluding the driver, and luggage that weighs no more than 40 kg. The maximum allowed
speed limit for e-rickshaws is 25 km/hr and the netpower of its motor cannot be more than 2,000 W.
Further, a license issued/renewed for an e-rickshaw will be valid only for three years from the date of issue.

Election Commission guidelines on financial transparency


October 3, 2014

No Comments

ECIs (Election Commission of India) guidelines on financial transparency came into effect on October 1, 2014. The order
was, however, passed on August 29.
Mode of holding funds and making payments

It is now virtually mandatory for political parties to deposit their funds in banks. Also, no payment in excess of Rs. 20,000
can be made to any person/company in cash, except in a village or town that doesnt have a bank. Payments towards
salary, pension or reimbursement of expenses of party employee/party functionary are exempt from the afore-mentioned
rule.
Additionally, political parties cannot exceed the maximum limits that have been fixed in giving financial assistance to
candidates
Maintenance of Accounts

It is the responsibility of the Treasurer of the political party to ensure maintenance of accounts at all state and lower levels along with the
consolidated accounts at the central headquarters of the party. These accounts will be maintained in conformity with the guidance note on
accounting and auditing of political parties that has been issued by the ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India). These accounts will then
have to audited annually by certified chartered accountants in accordance with the provisions of the Income Tax Act
ECI

The ECI derives the authority to issue the guidelines under Article 324 of the Constitution, which puts the onus of superintendence, direction and
control of elections on the ECI. These guidelines are part of a larger set of comprehensive guidelines on transparency and accountability in party
funds and election expenditure being brought out by the ECI. Some of the other areas where the constitutional body has been proactive are in
conducting free and fair elections, issuing and enforcing the Model Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates, overseeing registration of
political parties, fixing limits on poll expenses, curbing paid advertisements and prohibiting exit polls.
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Home Ministry issues notification for lifetime validity of PIO Cards


October 3, 2014

No Comments

Within days of the PMs announcement of lifetime visas for PIOs, the notification for the same has been issued by the
Centre.
Notification

The notification amends the rules of the PIO Card Scheme so that new recipients of PIO cards will receive cards that will
be valid for the duration of their life, provided they are holders of valid passports. This lifetime validity will be applicable
retrospectively to holders of PIO cards too if they possess a valid passport. Earlier, PIOs had cards which granted them a
15 year visa, which could then be extended for a term of 10 years at a time.
The Scheme for issuance of Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card) Amendment Scheme, 2014 also amended the rules
that required PIOs spending more than 180 days in India to register themselves with the FRRO (Foreigners Regional
Registration Office). No such registration is now required irrespective of how long the PIOs stay is.
PIO

A PIO refers to any person without Indian passport and not a citizen of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, who falls
under any of the following categories
Any person who has at any time held an Indian passport
Any person whose parent(s) or grandparent (s) or great grandparents (s) was born in India or was a permanent resident in India .
However, such a person should not have been a citizen of any other specific country
Any person who is a spouse of a citizen of India or of a PIO who falls under any of the above two categories

Scheme for issuance of Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card) Scheme, 2002
This scheme was launched in 15th September 2002. The aim of this scheme was to ensure easier travel of PIOs to India. Holders of PIO cards can
avail of various benefits, the most important of which is travelling to India without a visa.

International day of Non-Violence celebrated


October 2, 2014

No Comments

The International Day of Non-violence is being celebrated throughout the world on October 2, 2014 the birth anniversary
o f Mahatma Gandhi. This Day is observed by all countries of the UN and it promotes the principles of non-violence
through education and public awareness.
About International day of Non-Violence

A resolution was tabled in the UNGA in 2007 to establish the International Day of Non-violence in an effort to spread the
message of non-violence. The resolution acknowledged the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi is spreading the message of nonviolence, and it was decided to celebrate the International Day of Non-violence on October 2. This resolution passed in
the UNGA, and since then October 2 has been globally observed as International Day of Non-violence.

Sarita Devi faces probe by AIBA for returning medal


October 2, 2014

No Comments

Indian boxer Sarita Devi had refused to accept her bronze medal in the lightweight 57-60 kg category at the Asian
Games. The boxer handed the medal to South Korean silver medalist Park Ji-na, to whom she had suffered a
controversial loss in the semi-finals.

Disciplinary Action
The International Boxing Association (Amateur) or AIBA has ordered a probe against her for returning the medal during
the podium ceremony. The Disciplinary Action Process to review this case has already begun. AIBA Supervisor and
Technical Delegate David Francis has already submitted a formal report detailing the incident to the Olympic Council of
Asia (OCA). In a statement, AIBA said that the Indian side did not have a clear understanding of the AIBA Technical Rules

Semi-final match
The ruling by the judges in Sarita Devis match against Korean Park Ji-na was controversial with two judges ruling against Sarita. She lodged an
official complaint with AIBAs technical jury team over the decision, but it was rejected as no complaint can be filed against a Judges ruling according
to the Rules.

Support in India
Three Union Ministers, thus far, have expressed support for Sarita Devi. The Sports Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, asked the Indian Olympic
Association to submit a detailed report on Sarita Devis loss in the semi-finals. The Minister of State for Home also said that the Indian officials
should have been more pro-active in lodging a protest with the authorities at the Asian Games. This claim was also supported by the Minister of
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Centre announces Rs. 286 Crore for flood hit Assam


October 2, 2014

No Comments

After an aerial survey of flood hit areas in the NER (North Eastern Region), the Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced
additional central assistance for Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

Memorandum on Flood Damages


The Home Minister asked the Government of Assam and Meghalaya to submit a memorandum on flood damages for the
assessment of an inter-ministerial team. Depending on the assessment, the Centre would look into providing further
assistance.
Assam

Rs. 286 cr assistance has been announced for Assam under NDRF. This is in addition to the Rs. 386 cr already granted.
Assam had asked for Rs. 1,000 cr in central assistance. The CM of Assam has accused the Centre of prejudice between
states. Earlier, J&K had been granted central assistance of Rs. 1,000 cr.
Meghalaya

Rs. 8 cr assistance has been announced for Meghalaya under NDRF. This is in addition to the Rs. 123 cr already granted. Meghalaya had asked for
Rs. 2,000 cr in central assistance
Arunachal Pradesh

Rs. 20 cr was announced in addition to the Rs. 70 cr that has already been released by the government

NDRF
Two additional battalions of the National Disaster Response Force will be stationed in the NER to deal with disasters in the NER. The flash floods and
landslide that were caused by a cloud burst over Garo Hills have caused large scale destruction of property and infrastructure.

Brahmaputra River Valley Authority (BRVA)


The CM of Assam asked the centre to expedite the setting up of BRVA so that a long term solution to mititgate erosion of land by the Brahmaputra
and Barak river basins.

Vayoshreshtha Samman 2014


October 2, 2014

No Comments

Vayoshreshtha Samman or The National Awards for Senior Citizens were presented by Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of Lok
Sabha in the presence of Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minster for Social Justice & Empowerment and Minister of State
Sudarshan Bhagat.
The government has been conferring Vayoshrestha Samman every year since 2005, but it has been given the status of a
national award only since 2013. The Awards are given to eminent citizens and institutions in recognition of their
outstanding services to the elderly people, especially indigent senior citizens.
International Day of Older Persons

International Day of Older Persons is observed on the 1st of October every year in accordance with a UNGA resolution.
This day is used to highlight the contributions of the elderly and also raise awareness about issues such as elderly abuse.
The theme this year was Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All. The Vayoshreshtha Samman Awards are given every year on the
International Day of Older Persons
Welfare of Senior Citizens

The government has introduced a slew of policies and schemes for the welfare of senior citizens like the Plan Scheme of integrated programme for
older persons, National Policy on Older Persons and the enactment of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act in 2007.
List of main awardees:

Best Institution for research in the field of Ageing to Department of Geriatric Medicine : AIIMS
Best Institution for providing services to senior citizens and Awareness Generation : HelpAge India
Best District Panchayat in Providing Services and Facilities to Senior Citizens : Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayath, Karnataka
Centenarian : Brig. M.L. Kataria (Retd.)
Life time Achievement : Prof. (Dr.) P.K.B. Nayar
Creative Art : Ms. Sushma Seth
Sports and Adventure (Female) : Ms. Chandra Prabha Aitwal, Uttarkashi

Nation celebrates Gandhi and Shastri Jayanti


October 2, 2014

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On 2 October 2014, India celebrated the birth anniversaries of two of its greatest leaders and freedom fighters, Mahatma
Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri, on October. Multiple events across the nation were held in remembrance of the two
leaders. Various schools and institutions conducted events and functions to commemorate the day. Politicians paid their
respects to Gandhi and Shastri at Raj Ghat and Vijay Ghat respectively.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

A cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched by the PM Narendra Modi. This also marks the
launch of the programme itself. Many cleanliness drives across the nation were organized under the programme.
Cleanliness pledges were taken by people over the country, including the PM.
Lal Bahadur Shastri

2014 marks the 110th birth anniversary of Shastri. He was an active participant in the Indian freedom struggle since 1920. He also has the distinction
of being the second PM of India, when he took over after the untimely demise of Jawaharlal Nehru. HE has also been Minister of Home Affairs and
Minister of External Affairs. He is most famous for his slogan, Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisan. He revolutionized the agricultural sector during his tenure. He
also oversaw the florishing of the Amul Co-operative which heralded a White Revolution in the country. He led the country successfully through the
1965 war with Pakistan. He passed away on January 11, 1966, just after signing the Tashkent Pact. He was posthumously conferred the Bharat
Ratna.
Mahatma Gandhi

2014 marks the 145th birth anniversary of Gandhi. Gandhi was one of the main leaders in the Indian national movement fighting for freedom from
the British. A lawyer by profession, Gandhi had been educated in the UK and had a practice in South Africa before returning to India. The date of his
return to India is celebrated as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to acknowledge the large Indian expatriate community spread across the world. Gandhis
methods, that involved non- violence, non co-operation and civil disobedience, found mass appeal in India. He also criticized practices such as
untouchability. He is considered by most Indians to be the father of the nation. He was assassinated in January 1948.

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Key Outcomes of Narendra Modis US visit


October 2, 2014

No Comments

A joint editorial released by India and US highlighted the following developments in the bilateral relationship of the two
countries:-

Indo- US Investment Initiative


Establishment of an Indo- US Investment Initiative led by the Ministry of Finance on the Indian side and the
Department of Treasury on the American side, with special focus on capital market development and financing of
infrastructure. This Initiative will focus on increasing investment by institutional investors and corporate entities

Infrastructure Collaboration Platform


Establishment of an Infrastructure Collaboration Platform convened by the Ministry of Finance on the Indian side
and the Department of Commerce on the American side to facilitate the participation of American companies in Indian
infrastructure projects

Trade Policy Forum


The two countries committed to work through the Trade Policy Forum to promote a business environment that was conducive for companies to
invest and manufacture in both in India and US. Also, an annual high-level Intellectual Property Working Group as a part of the Trade Policy Forum
will be formed to look into issues related to innovation.

Others
The two leaders also committed to hold public-private discussions in the early part of 2015 under the already existing Commercial
Dialogue on new areas of cooperation, including innovation in advanced manufacturing
After reiterating their commitment to working together towards the creation of a new global agreement on climate change, they agreed to
hold an urgent meeting of their bilateral task force on HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) prior to the next meeting of the Montreal Protocol
The two leaders launched a new US India Climate Fellowship Program to build each others long term capacity to address climate
change related issues
A MoU between the Export-Import Bank and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency was signed. This MoU would make up to
$1 bn in financing available to India to help its transition to a low carbon and climate resilient energy economy, at the same time boosting
American renewable energy exports to India
The countries also agreed to a 10 year extension of the 2005 Framework for the US India Defense Relationship
The two leaders decided to intensify cooperation in maritime security, mainly by enhancing technology partnerships for Indias Navy and
also upgrading the existing military exercise Malabar.
USA pledged to help India counter the threat of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) through I&T (information and technology)
The two leaders appreciated the establishment and planned first meeting of the NASA-ISRO Mars Joint Working Group under the U.S.India Civil Space Joint Working Group and hoped for further co-operation in the area of space technology
The two countries agreed to launch a new phase of the India-U.S. Vaccine Action Program and emphasis on developing affordable
vaccines for dengue, malaria, and TB
The two countries pledged to work together towards the export of nuclear technology from US to India to make India more self-reliant. In
furtherance of this, the countries decided to continue working towards Indias phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group. The American President expressed his
support for Indias early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.

Nagaland clinches Subroto Cup U-14 Trophy


October 2, 2014

No Comments

Greenwood High School, Nagaland defeated Government Model High School, Chandigarh, 5-4 at the Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi to win the under
14 title in the 55th edition of the Subroto Cup.
Awards

The winning team was awarded Rs. 2.5 lakh while the runners up were given 1.25 lakh. Harsh Bartwan of the team from Chandigardh was adjudged
Best Player of the tournament, while Jesse and Mughato Sumi from Nagaland won Best Keeper and Best Coach respectively. All three were awarded
Rs. 40,000 each. Eugeneson E. Shylla from Meghalayawas given the award for the Best Promising Player. The Fairplay Award was given to Namchi
Sports Hostel from Sikkim
Subroto Cup

The Subroto Cup is an inter-school football tournament. It has two categories: under 14 and under 17. It was the brainchild of Air Marshal Subroto
Mukerjee. He conceived the idea of a football tournament so as to promote the game at the grassroot level in India. After his unfortunate demise in
1960, the Subroto Mukerjee Sports Education Society was conducting the tournament. The tournament is conducted by the Indian Air Force in
remembrance of Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports also supports the tournament with an annual grant of Rs. 5
lakh.
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The Subroto Cup has the distinction of being the only Indian football tournament for school boys. The tournament had started out as a tournament
for school boys in India only, but has since expanded to include teams from other nations as well.

Justice GS Singhvi appointed chairman of Competition Appellate Tribunal


October 2, 2014

No Comments

Former Supreme Court Judge, G.S.Singhvi, has been appointed the Chairman of the Competition Appellate Tribunal. He
retired from the Supreme Court in December 2013.
Justice Singhvi fills in the position that has been vacant since Justice V.S.Sirpurkar retired as Chairman in August. The
Triubnal, however, is short of two members.
CCI (Competition Commission of India)

The CCI whose predecessor was the MRTPC (Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission) was established
to eliminate practices that adversely affect competition in different industries/areas and protect interests of consumers
and ensure freedom of trade. The Competition Act of 2002 called for the creation of CCI. However, it was established in
2003 and became fully functional only by 2009. The CCI is a quasi judicial body which gives opinions to statutory
authorities and also deals with other cases.
COMPAT (Competition Appellate Tribunal)

COMPAT was also established under the Competition Act of 2002. It was set up by the Centre in 2009. An appeal from a decision of the CCI is made
to COMPAT. COMPAT can have one Chairperson and a maximum of two other members, all of whom serve for 5 years. They are all eligible for reappointment unless they reach the age of 68 in case of Chairperson and 65 in case of members. Only a former SC Judge or CJ of HC can be
appointed as Chairperson of COMPAT.

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Afghanistan and United States sign Bilateral Security Agreement


October 2, 2014

No Comments

After much delay, Afghanistan and US have signed a BSA (Bilateral Security Agreement) that will chart the course for the
two countries post withdrawal of majority of American troops. The BSA was signed in Kabul. This long term security pact
will be crucial in deciding the nature of internal security in Afghanistan. Significantly, there is nothing in the BSA to stop
the Americans from increasing their presence in Afghanistan if the situation calls for it. Following the signing of the BSA,
Afghanistan also signed an agreement with NATO
Stationing of troops

The NATO led coalition called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led the war efforts in Afghanistan. The
ISAF once had 800 bases in Afghanistan. Now, it is down to 33 bases and 37,000 foreign troops. This number will further
go down in accordance with the BSA. The NATO and US forces combined are expected to be around 12,000 with 9,800
being American and 2,000 from NATO.
Retention of bases

Under the BSA, US will retain access to 9 major land and airbases including the airfields in Bagram, Jalalabad and Kandahar. These bases will US
access to not only Afghanistan but also to nearby tribal Pakistan. The additional bases situated all over Afghanistan like Kabul, Heart, Helmand,
Mazar-i-Sharif etc will help it retaliate to an attack anywhere in the country.
Many bases like the HQ of the coalition forces joint command in Kabul and the British military base at Camp Bastion will be handed over to the
Afghans.
Status of Forces Agreement

The agreement enter into between Afghanistan and NATO is called Status of Forces agreement. The BSA was a precondition to the signing of this
agreement. Under it, NATO has agreed to fund Afghanistans police and security forces till 2017. The NATO troops will focus on training, equipping
and advising Afghan troops and will not engage in counter-terrorism efforts. (The American Forces will be dealing with counter-terrorism efforts.)
NATO led ISAF will have a training mission headquartered at Kabul and will also have six bases throughout Afghanistan.
It is to be noted that US is also a part of NATO and is also a party to this agreement.
Criticism from Taliban

Though the Afghans has welcomed the Taliban to be a part of the peace process, the Taliban has expressed its discontent over the signing of the
BSA and continued presence of foreign troops in the territory.
Withdrawal

Both signatories to the BSA, Afghanistan and USA retain the right to withdraw from the agreement. But, this right is exercisable only after 2 years.

Yudh Abhyas 2014 concludes at Ranikhet


October 2, 2014

No Comments

The Indo-US defence exercise titled Yudh Abhyas concluded near Ranikhet. The exercises, which commenced on
September 17, were conducted in both Chaubbatia and Ranikhet. This edition of Yudh Abhyas, which lasted a total of 14
days, is the 10th of its kind that has been held. The joint exercise brought together troops from a Mountain Brigade of
the Indian Army and Company and Brigade Headquarter of the US Army.

History
Yudh Abhyas first began in 2004 as part of USAs Army Pacific Partnership Programme. This exercise aims to strength
and broaden interoperability and defence cooperation between the two nations.

Exercises conducted at Yudh Abhyas 2014


The two Armies shared their experiences on counter insurgency and counter-terrorist operations, especially in
mountainous terrain. The exercises were planned in such a manner that during the initial days, the troops were familiarized with each others
organizational structure, weapons, equipment and tactical drills. The troops then proceeded to joint tactical exercises which involved practicing battle
drills of both armies. The exercises ended with a 48 hr consolidation and validation exercise in which troops of both countries carried out a search
and destroy mission near Ranikhet. This last leg of the exercise was witnessed by senior officers and observers of both Armies

Closing Ceremony
A parade and exchange of mementos marked the conclusion of the exercises.

Instances of Bilateral exercises


India and US also engage in other bilateral defence dexercise. One notable instance is Malabar which is a bilateral naval exercise that takes place in
India and USA alternatively. Sometimes, a third nation is also asked to participate in the exercise. Cope India are a series of Air Force exercises
conducted between India and USA on Indian soil. The exercises include flight tests, practice, demonstration and lecture on aviation and related
areas. India has also participated twice in the Red Flag exercises that US conducts in Nevada and Alaska. Notably, the US conducts more military
exercises with India than with any other nation in the world

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Key points from Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go


October 2, 2014

No Comments

The Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go vision statement speaks of strengthening the strategic partnership
between India and USA. This statement was released during PM Modis visit to Washington DC to meet President Obama.
The statement expressed the following points:The strategic partnership of the two nations rests on the shared mission to provide equal opportunity to its people
through democracy and freedom
The two countries are bound together by kinship and commerce, scholarship and science. The ties between the
people of both countries and their cooperation has resulted in developments in science and the arts. This enables
the leaders of both countries to have a long term perspective as regards the partnership
One major goal of the partnership is prosperity and peace. This endeavor shall be fulfilled through intense consultations, joint exercises,
and shared technology. Security cooperation between the two will be targeted at the region and the world at large too. The countries also
aim to work together towards combating terrorist threats, keeping its county and its peoples safe and responding to humanitarian
disasters. The countries also dedicate themselves to stopping the spread of WMDs, reducing the salience of nuclear weapons, and
promoting universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament
Close cooperation between the two at the UN and beyond
Support for India assuming a greater multilateral responsibility, including in a reformed UNSC and for an open and inclusive rules based
global order
Working together to mitigate the impact of climate change and adapt to the changing environment. Cooperation between the government
and the science and academic communities to address the consequences of unchecked pollution. Take steps to ensure availability of
affordable, reliable, clean and diverse sources of energy for both nations, including by bringing nuclear power technologies of American
origin to India
Engaging in joint research and collaboration in a variety of areas from particles of creation to outer space
Striving for open markets that will allow trade and service to flourish. Also work towards ensuring that economic growth results in better
livelihoods and welfare for all people in the country.
The two countries will also work jointly to counter infectious diseases, eliminate maternal and child deaths and to eradicate poverty
The countries will also work to provide a secure environment which encourages the fullest empowerment of women
The countries also agreed to expand and deepen their strategic partnership so that they may harness the inherent potential of the two
democracies and its people.
Other than Business Diplomacy a major aim of the PMs visit was to re-engage with USA and rejuvenate the Indo-US strategic partnership which
reached its peak at the signing of the 123 agreement and has since slowly fizzled out. The Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go vision
statement discusses the varied areas wherein the two countries might benefit from co-operation and collaboration. This statement acts as a
roadmap to the future Indo-US partnership, and speaks to how the two countries view each others roles in the international arena.

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RBI keeps all key rates intact in fourth bi-monthly monetary policy
October 2, 2014

No Comments

The RBI announced its fourth bi-monthly monetary policy on September 30, 2014. This follows the third bi-monthly
monetary policy which was announced in August 2014.

CRR
The CRR of scheduled was kept unchanged at 4% of the banks NDTL (net demand and time liabilities). CRR refers to the
proportion of its deposits that a bank has to hold in the form of cash. The RBI uses CRR as a tool to control liquidity in the
market (and thereby inflation) and to reduce the risk to investors deposits.

SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio)


The SLR remained unchanged at 22%. SLR refers to the proportion of its total NDTL that the bank has to maintain in
form of liquid assets. These liquid assets can either be cash or gold or unencumbered government securities. This
directly affects the proportion of funds that the bank can lend.

LAF (Liquidity Adjustment Facility)


The policy repo rate under the LAF was kept unchanged at 8%. The reverse repo rate also remained unchanged at 7%. LAF is the tool by which
banks borrow to meet their short term day to day monetary requirements. Difference between LAF and Bank rate is the requirement of collateral.
Repo rate is the interest that banks pay to borrow from the RBI. Reverse repo is the rate at which RBI borrows from banks after lending securities as
collateral. LAF was introduced in India in accordance with the recommendation of the Narasimham Commttee on Banking Reforms.

ECR Facility (Export Credit Finance)


The liquidity provided under the ECR Facility was reduced from 32% to 15% of eligible export credit outstanding. This change will be in effect from
10 of October, 2014.

MSF (Marginal Standing Facility) and Bank Rate


MSF and Bank rate also saw no change at 9% for both. MSF is the rate at which only scheduled commercial banks are allowed to borrow from RBI.
This is over and above the LAF. MSF acts as a last resort for bankers. Bank rate is the rate at which RBI lends to banks without any collateral such as
government securities.

Liquidity under overnight repos


The RBI will continue to provide liquidity under overnight repos up to 0.25 % of the specific banks NDTL will be given at the LAF repo rate.
Liquidity under 7 day and 14 day term repos
Liquidity for 7 day and 14 day term repos up to 0.75% of NDTL of the banking system will be provided through auctions

Centenary Commemoration of Komagata Maru Incident begins


September 30, 2014

No Comments

The commencement of the yearlong celebration commemorating the completion of 100 years after the Komagata Maru incident was undertaken by
the Ministry of Culture in New Delhi.

Inaugural Function
Three granddaughters of Baba Gurdit Singh, the hero of the incident, were honored at the function inaugurating the beginning of the celebrations. A
set of commemorative coins of Rs. 5 and Rs. 100 denominations were also released.

Celebrations
A National Implementation Committee has been constituted by the central government to finalise and decide on the programmes to be undertaken in
the one year span. The programmes are believed to include national and international conference, publications, development of digital archives,
making of movies and documentaries etc. An International Seminar titled Komagata Maru: Context, Significance and Legacy is one of the proposals
being considered. A week long function in Vancouver is also being planned. Efforts are being made to honour the descendants of the Indians involved
in the incident and the Canadians who helped the cause financially or legally.

Asiad 2014: Sania Mirza Saketh Myneni Win Mixed-Doubles Gold


September 30, 2014

No Comments

Second seeded Mirza and Myneni beat the top seeded Hsien Yin Peng and Hao Ching Chan of Chinese Taipei to win the
gold in Mixed Doubles in tennis at the Asian Games in Incheon.

Three year streak


This is the third consecutive year that Sania has won in the mixed doubles category at the Asian Games. In the 2006
edition of the games, she won a gold with Leander Paes and in 2010, she won a silver paired with Vishnu Vardhan.
Significantly this is Sanias eighth Asian Games medal.

Maiden appearance
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Myneni, on the other hand, made his maiden appearance at the Asian Games. Other than the gold with Sania, he also
won the silver medal with Sanam Singh in the Mens doubles category.

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Government cancels Nine SEZs


September 30, 2014

No Comments

In a meeting of the Board of Approval on 29 September 2014, nine SEZs (Special Economic Zone) including those given
to Hindalco, Adani, Essar etc have been cancelled because the projects have not made any satisfactory progress in terms
of execution. Most of the developers have also been granted extensions, some of which have even expired. Any tax
benefits or incentives given to the developers will now have to be refunded by them.
SEZ rules w.r.t validity and extension

Approval of an SEZ is valid only for three years. At least one unit of the project has to commence production within the
span of three years. If at least one such unit if functional, the project is said to be operational. Provisions are in place for
granting of extensions also, but an extension may be cancelled is no progress is shown by developers.
BoA (Board of Approval)

The BoA is an inter-ministerial body which is headed by the Commerce Secretary. Representatives of the states are also included in the BoA.
Approvals and extensions to SEZs are granted by the BoA.
SEZ Policy in India

India was one of the first countries in India to introduce the EPZ (Export Processing Zone) model of promoting exports. The Kandla EPZ established in
1965 was the first EPZ in Asia. With a view to overcome multiplicity of regulatory clearances, lack of infrastructure and promote flow of foreign
investment into India, the SEZ Policy was introduced in 2000.
SEZ Act

To further establish a stable mechanism whereby industries could be incentivized to generate employment and exports, the SEZ Act was passed in
2005. The Act exempts the profits generated in SEZs units from all taxes for 5 years, and the developers of the project are exempt from tax for 10
consecutive years in a block of 15 years.
SEZ Reforms

As of now, there are 192 operational SEZs in various parts of India, and 200+ approved SEZs that are yet to become operational. The Centre has
expressed its intention to reform SEZs and has said that SEZs are an important part of Indias Foreign Trade Policy. It is considering initiatives such
as modifying tax rules, especially those imposing MAT (Minimum Alternate Tax) and DDT (Dividend Distribution Tax), and allowing dual use of
infrastructure in non-processing areas.

Hemant Contractor: New chairman of PFRDA


September 30, 2014

No Comments

Former SBI Managing Director, Hemant Contractor, has been chosen to head the Pension Fund Regulatory and
Development Authority (PFRDA). The position of Chairman has been vacant for almost a year after the previous Chairman
Yogesh Aggarwal resigned over differences with the Finance Ministry regarding the appointment of a member to PFRDA.
R.V.Verma, the Finance member, was filling in as Acting Chairman.
PFRDA

Interim PFRDA was established by the government through a bill for the same introduced in Parliament in 2003. Its goal
was to promote, develop and regulate pension sector in India. The Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority Act
was passed in 2013. PFRDA is authorized by Ministry of Finance, Department of Financial Services.
PFRDA must consist of a Chairperson and maximum of five members, out of which a maximum of three can be full time
members. Members are appointed by the central government.
One of the major roles of the PFRDA today is to oversee NPS (National Pension System). NPS is a pension scheme run by the Government of India. It
has been mandatory for central government employees from 2004 and voluntary for unorganized sector workers since 2009.

Asiad 2014: Seema Punia Wins Discus Gold


September 30, 2014

No Comments

31 year old Seema Punia, won India its first gold in the track and field events when she defeated her two Chinese rivals
to come first in discus throw. Her best throw was 61.03m in the womens discus throw event. She had also won a silver
medal in the Commonwealth Games held this year at Glasgow.
The national record for discus throw in women is held by Seema Antil with 64.84m and Krishna Poonia with 64.76m.
Krishna Poonia was also competing in the Asian Games but her performance was disappointing at 55.57m. She finished
fourth.
Discus

Discus throw is an ancient game with origins in Greece. It is part of the track and field events, and involves the
competitor throwing a discus (a heavy disc) as far as they can. Discus has always figured prominently in modern Games,
with the mens discus throw event being a part of the Summer Olympics since the first game in 1896.
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Government to launch Universal Health Assurance Mission


September 30, 2014

No Comments

Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has announced that the government will introduce a universal health insurance
programme under UHAM (Universal Health Assurance Mission). The programme will seek to provide all people access to
tertiary medical services. In a country where only approximately 25% of the population is estimated to be covered by
insurance, this step will go far in increasing insurance coverage and lowering premium rates.
Expert Group

An Expert Group headed by Dr.Ranjit Roy Chaudhary was formed to prepare a roadmap to UHAM. The group submitted
its report in eight weeks and the report is now under consideration of the Health Ministry.
Projected Highlights of UHAM

Set to be the largest public health insurance programme in the world, with free insurance for persons in BPL category
and low premium rates for rest of the population
50 essential generic drugs, 30 AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) drugs and a package of
diagnostics to be provided free of cost to all citizens at government hospitals and health centres across the country
Package containing information regarding preventive and positive health information for all citizens
UHAM Agency, an autonomous oversight body will be formed to monitor the activities and ensure genuine protection of the beneficiaries
Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

WHO defines UHC as ensuring that all people can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of
sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship. UHC can be
broken down into three main components
Equity in access to healthcare all persons, irrespective of their financial status, must be able to access healthcare
The medical care provided must be of good quality and standard and should result in improvement of health of patients
The cost of care must not be so expensive that it puts the seeker of medical help in financial hardship
Significantly, the Millennium Development Goals call for universal access to reproductive health and treatment for HIV/Aids. The WHO constitution of
1948 also declares health a fundamental human right.

Government to restructure and revamp NDMA


September 30, 2014

No Comments

The NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) observed its 10th Foundation day on 29 September 2014. On this
occasion , the central government has announced that it will take steps to restructure and revamp NDMA
Why restructure?

The management of disasters in the past year especially the J&K floods has highlighted the inefficiency of the NDMA.
Lack of connectivity in disaster hit areas was delaying the relief and rescue efforts. Also, many critical posts in the NDMA
have remained vacant since the persons occupying the post resigned after the change in the central government.
Members of NDMA

The rank of the members of the NDMA has been reduced to Secretary of Union government from Union Minister of State.
Also the post of the Vice-Chairman has been downgraded to the rank of Cabinet Secretary from that of Union Cabinet
Minister.
NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) expanded
The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to constitute two more battalions of NDRF, which is the disaster response agency of NDMA, in an attempt to
strengthen its capacity for timely and effective response. These two battalions will be raised from SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal). Currently, NDRF
consists of 10 battalions of various Central Armed Police Forces.
Improvement of Communication network

Another goal in the efforts to improve disaster management is to enhance the communication capabilities. A new mechanism for uninterrupted
communication network is being developed. The Department of Telecommunications has been asked to setup a robust communication system with a
greater capacity to withstand natural disasters. Also, a committee has been set up in the Department of Technology and tasked with submission of a
report on improving communication networks during disasters in two months.
NDMA, NDRF and NIDM

The Disaster Management Act of 2005 called for the constitution of NDMA and NDRF. The legislation also assigned NIDM (National Institute
of Disaster Management) certain responsibilities that included capacity building, training, research, human resource development and
policy advocacy. These three agencies form the pillars of disaster management in India.
The NDMA, constituted in 2006, is the nodal agency for disaster management, and it lays down the policy, plans and guidelines and is also
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responsible for ensuring timely response to disasters. It can have a maximum of nine members, whose tenure is five years. The NDMA is
also responsible for coordinating and working with the State Disaster Management authorities on disaster management plans and their
execution.
The NDRF was created in 2009 by the Ministry of Home Affairs. It functions at both central and state levels under the NDMA. It conducts
awareness and preparedness camps other than the search, relief, rescue and rehabilitation operations during time of disaster.

Indias neighbours support PM Modis call for International Yoga Day


September 29, 2014

No Comments

In his address to the UNGA, Prime Minister Modi called for celebration of International Yoga Day on 21 June every year.
He stated by changing lifestyle and creating consciousness, one can deal with climate change. He claimed that the
ancient practice that has been passed on through the ages is a gift of Indias tradition to the world.
Indias neighbours, namely, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh have already expressed to PM Modi their support for his
initiative, with Sri Lanka having given its support in writing.

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Leander Paes, Marcin Matkowski clinch Malaysian Open doubles title


September 29, 2014

No Comments

Indian Tennis Player Leander Paes and Polish Marcin Matkowski defeated second seeded Jamie Murray and John Peers to
win the doubles title at the Malaysian Open held in Kuala Lumpur. They beat their opponents 3-6, 7-6(5), 10-5 in 90
minutes.
While this was Matkowskis second Malaysian Open win, it was Paes 54th ATP title of his career. Paes last win was in
the 2013 US Open with Radek Stepanek as his partner. Paes has had 98 different partners in his career.

Taiwan rejects Chinese merger plan


September 29, 2014

No Comments

Chinese President, Xi Jinping, had called for Taiwans merger with mainland China and formation of a one country, two systems government. The
Taiwanese Governments Mainland Affairs Council has, however, rejected the plan.
Taiwan was a part of China till the Civil War of 1949, when it split from the mainland and opted for its own form of government. Taiwan is a self
governed democracy. The Chinese, however, still consider Taiwan a part of China and have stopped it from exercising its sovereignty in the
international arena. Significantly, Taiwan is a major buyer of arms from USA

ISRO gets ready for the launch of IRNSS 1C


September 29, 2014

No Comments

IRNSS 1C, the next satellite in Indias IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System) series, is set to be launched
on October 9 by ISRO. IRNSS 1C will be launched on a PSLV C26 from Sriharikota. The satellite is similar to, and follows
the IRNSS 1A and 1B which were launched in April 2013 and July 2014 respectively.
IRNSS is a navigation system that will cover India, and also extend 1,500 kms from its boundaries. It will provide
accurate position information to users in India and will also be used for terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster
management, fleet management and for vehicle tracking. However, to be able to use the IRNSS satellites, ISRO will have
to launch at least four of the seven planned IRNSS satellites. IRNSS is similar to other satellite navigation service
providers like USAs GPS (Global Positioning System), Russias Glonass, Europes Galileo, Japans Quasi Zenith and
Chinas Beidou.

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Yogeshwar Dutt wins wrestling gold in Asian Games


September 29, 2014

No Comments

In the the 17th Asian Games , at Incheon, South Korera, the 31 year old Yogeshwar Dutt came first place to win the gold
medal in wrestling. He defeated Zalimkhan Yusupov of Tajikistan to win the gold. He is the first Indian to win a gold in
wrestling after 28 years.
The native of Haryana, bettered his own bronze winning performance in the 2006 edition of the Asian Games. Dutt, who
became a Padma Shri awardee in 2013, also won a bronze medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2012 Olympics, and a
gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Prime Minister announces Lifetime Visas for PIOs, Visa on Arrival for US visitors
September 29, 2014

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In his speech addressing Indian-Americans at Madison Square Garden, PM Modi announced lifetime visas for PIOs
(Persons of Indian origin). In additional reforms, he said that PIO card holders staying for a long term will not have to
report at the local police station and that eventually, PIO and OCI schemes will be merged and the process streamlined in
order to facilitate easy travel for the card holders.
As far as US citizens are concerned, he announced a visa on arrival scheme for them. He also mentioned that the
government was looking into granting long term visas for US citizens visiting India as tourists.

Key Points: PM Modis address to UN General Assembly


September 29, 2014

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PM Modis first speech before the UNGA has been commended by his supporters and critics alike. He touched upon
various topics concerning India and the world in his address, which was delivered in Hindi. The speech which lasted a
little more than thirty minutes was read from a prepared text, and some parts were extempore too. Some of the points
he made in his speech are as follows:The PM asserted that Indias future was tied with that of its neighbors. Citing instances of his governments attempts
to reach out to different neighbors, he also made it clear that no stable relationship could be built under the shadow
of terrorism
Condemning terrorism and rising extremism in various parts of the world, he insisted that all nations of the world
would have to function in unison to deal with such a menace. He also called for genuine dialogue and engagement
between countries
In a rebuke to Mr. Nawaz Sharifs reference to Kashmir in his speech, the PM said that it was pointless to raise bilateral issues in
international forums like the UN
He also stated that it was now up to Pakistan to establish an atmosphere that was conducive to resuming talks
Rejecting unilateralism, he said that countries would have to work together to resolve the issues before them. Drawing on Indias ancient
history and wisdom, he stated that India viewed the world as one. Even though India is a developing nation it is ready to share its modest
resources with the world, he stated. He also questioned the necessity of various grouping of nations like G8 etc when a multilateral body
like the UN existed.
He also called for reforms to the UNSC
He highlighted issues faced by nations and it people due to globalization and climate chang
He said that democratic principles and unity were on an upsurge in various parts of the world, highlighting Afghanistan and Nepal as
examples. He also mentioned that the world was experiencing increasing levels of prosperity and stability, especially in Latin America
The PM drew on Indias soft power across the globe by making references to yoga and calling for celebration of International Yoga Day

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107th birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh celebrated


September 29, 2014

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Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singhs 107th birth anniversary was celebrated throughout the nation on the 28th of September
2014. Bhagat Singh was born in Jaranwala Tehsil in the Lyallpur district of the province of Punjab in British India. He was
a revolutionary and an inspiration to many nationalists.
Bhagat Singh was convicted and executed at the young age of 23 for his involvement in the assassination of John
Saunders (Lahore Conspiracy Case). Saunders was a British police officer. Bhagat Singh and his comrades sought
revenge for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai which was caused by brutal police violence. They were convicted after a trial by
s Special Tribunal which sentenced them to death by hanging. On 23 March, 1931, Bhagat Singh, and his brothers-inarms Rajguru and Sukhdev were executed.

Presidents rule imposed in Maharashtra


September 29, 2014

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On 28 September 2014, Presidents rule has been imposed in Maharashtra by the President in accordance with a move
by the Union Cabinet calling for the same. The state assembly has been kept under suspended animation. The Cabinet
made this recommendation, after the Maharashtra CM, Prithviraj Chavan, submitted his resignation to the Governor,
C.V.Rao. Mr.Chavan was put in a position where he had to resign after the NCP Congress alliance in the state crumbled.
Assembly elections are scheduled to commence from October 15 in Maharashtra.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan approved by Cabinet


September 29, 2014

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The Union Cabinet has granted its approval for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) which will be officially launched on
October 2, 2014.
The main goal of the programme is a clean India with all gram panchayats being open defecation free by 2019.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Urban) will last a span of five years and cover 4,041 statutory towns. The earlier mission
on sanitation, Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, will be restructured into Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Rural). The urban component of
SBA will be implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development, and the rural component by the Ministry of Drinking
Water and Sanitation. The total outlay is Rs. 62,009 crores with Rs. 14,623 coming from the Centre.
The scheme aims to stop open defecation through construction of IHHL (individual household latrines), cluster toilets and
community toilets (especially through PPP mode). Solid and liquid waste management also forms an important
component of the programme. Major thrust is being given to information, education and communication of importance of cleanliness.
A cleanliness drive under SBA was launched on September 27 in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. and will last till October 2. The Swachh Bharat-Swachh
Vidyalaya campaign involving schools where cleanliness drives will be conducted, was launched by the Minister for Human Resources Development. A
multi media campaign promoting cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene and focusing on creating awareness will be launched on October 2 by the
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Also, in a CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative, L&T has announced that it shall construct 5,000 toilets across India. Significantly, the SBA
identifies CSR initiatives as one of the sources for the programmes funding.

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Jayalalitha convicted and jailed in graft case; O.Paneerselvam to be CM of TN


September 29, 2014

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The 18 year long corruption case against former CM of TN (Tamil Nadu ), J. Jayalalitha, reached its conclusion when a
special court in Bangalore presided by Special Judge John DCunha convicted her under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
She was sentenced to four years imprisonment and levied a fine of Rs. 100 cr. The charge against her was of holding
assets of Rs. 66.65 cr that were disproportionate to her known sources of income. This verdict marks the first ever
conviction of a serving Chief Minister.
Two aides of Jayalalitha and her now disowned foster son were also convicted in this case.
After the sentence, Jayalalitha was taken to the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bangalore. Since she was sentenced to a
period of more than three years, she will have to approach the HC of Karnataka for bail. She is also expected to file an
appeal challenging the order of conviction. As of now, she stands disqualified as an MLA in accordance with the
Representation of Peoples Act, which also prohibits her from contesting elections for a period of six years after she finishes serving the sentence.
However, if the order of conviction is stayed or overruled by a higher court, the disqualification will be annulled.
This is not the first instance of Jayalalitha having to step down as CM. In 2001, she had to step down temporarily till a higher court overturned the
decision which sentenced her to two years rigorous imprisonment on a land deal case.
It has been decided that O.Paneerselvam, who was the Finance Minister of TN, will take Jayalalithas place as CM, following a meeting of the partys
MLAs. Mr. Paneerselvam had also served as CM for a period of six months in 2001 after Jayalalitha had resigned.
After the verdict was announced, incidents of violence were witnessed in various parts of Tamil Nadu. AIADMK supporters burnt effigies of leaders of
opposing parties and went on a rampage destroying public properties. Shops were shut down and instances of buses being broken or burnt were
also reported.

Justice H.L.Dattu sworn in as 42nd Chief Justice of India


September 29, 2014

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Justice Handyala Lakshminarayanaswamy Dattu was sworn in as the CJI (Chief Justice of India) by the President of India,
Pranab Mukherjee. He succeeds Justice R.M.Lodha, who was also appointed this year in April.
Justice Dattu began his career in 1975 in Bangalore, Karnataka where he practiced civil, criminal, tax and constitutional
law. From 1983, he began appearing before the Karnataka HC (high Court), including as a representative of the
government in various matters. He was appointed as a senior standing counsel for the Income Tax Department in 1995,
from where he was elevated to the post of Judge at the Karnataka HC. He went on to serve as the Chief Justice in two
High Courts: Chhattisgarh and Kerala. He has served in the SC since 2008. At the SC, he has been heading the bench
which was monitoring investigations into the 2G Spectrum case.
Justice Dattu will serve as CJI for 14 months, and is set to retire on the 2nd of December 2015.

Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP) begins in Hong Kong
September 29, 2014

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On September 27, 2014, Pro Democracy protests in Hong Kong against a ruling imposing restrictions on the citys
Chief Executive Official were brought forward to follows the student protests calling for greater political freedom.
The Central in OCLP refers to the business district in Hong Kong, where the protests were to be held. The demands
of the non-violent protests are universal suffrage in Hong Kong and that the impending elections in 2017 and 2020 be
held according to international standards. The elections in question are for the Chief Executive position and
Legislative Council seats.
The protest was conceived to be an act of civil disobedience by the organizers. Hong Kong citizens, unlike those of
mainland China have the right to free speech and right to protest. The ruling of the National Peoples Congress that
triggered the protests said that candidates for the 2017 Chief Executive elections would be nominated only by a
Committee which consisted mostly of pro Beijing members.
The protests were met with repression from the police officials. The Police are believed to have arrested 78 people
since the student demonstrations began. There have been reports saying that the police used pepper spray and tear
gas to disperse the protestors. At least 26 people are believed to have been hospitalized; some police officials were
also injured.
Business groups, multiple Chinese and Hong Kong government officials, and pro Beijing lobbies have condemned the
protests. The Chinese government has also accused foreign elements of meddling in its affairs and encouraging
separatist sentiments.

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