Monday, January 28, 2013

NATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS-SEPT,OCT-2012

NATIONAL
1). Govt. Lifts Ban, Allows Pakistanis to Invest in Indian Companies
For the first time ever, India on April, 13, 2012 decided to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Pakistan – a step that signals growing warmth in the relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Until now, Pakistan was the only country from where FDI was not allowed into India. The decision to allow FDI may not lead to an immediate rush of investments from Pakistan but it does show that the two sides are now eager to do business and significantly raise the level of trade and economic engagement between them.
No further details were available but officials had earlier told the press that after the rules are amended, investments can come through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) route into sectors where foreign investment is allowed. FIPB has representatives from all ministries, including home, and scrutinizes proposals which are referred to it. “As confidence levels rise, you will see more companies willing to set up ventures in both countries. Initially companies will prefer trading,” said a senior government official.

2). Cabinet Approves a New procurement Policy
The Union Cabinet on April, 12, 2012 came out with a new public procurement policy that would send corrupt bureaucrats to jail for a period ranging from six months to five years for demanding or accepting bribes for government contracts.
The cabinet approved a bill that ensures a transparent bidding process for all government purchases above Rs. 50 lakh. The bill, approved by the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has a provision to debar bidders who engage in corrupt practices.
The new law will replace general financial 2005, that govern procurement and, in turn will be an overarching legislation for procurement by the central government and central public sector enterprises.
The bill is based on the recommendations of the committee on public procurement, headed by former bureaucrat Vinod Dhall and set up on February 22 by a group of ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The recommendations were accepted by the GoM to tackle corruption.

3). Apex Court Upholds Seats for Poor under RTE
The Supreme Court on April 12, 2012 upheld the constitutional validity of the right to education (RTE) Act that mandates unaided private schools to keep 25 per cent seats for students from economically and socially weaker sections of society. However the court made it clear that this quota would not be applicable to unaided minority institutions.
The Apex Court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice Swatantra Kumar upheld the constitutional validity of Section 121 C of the RTE Act that provides 25% reservation for students from weaker sections of society.

4). Positive Impact of Zardari’s Visit on Indo-Pak Ties
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s April visit to India appears to have triggered a chain of positive events, with Pakistani scientist Mohammmed Khalil Chisty getting bail two days later and Islamabad on April 12 releasing 26 Indian fishermen.

5). Sri Lanka Hits Back at India’s UN Vote
In what is seem as an apparent retaliation for India’s vote against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) recently in the context of the latter’s human rights violations, Sri Lanka’s energy minister has said that his country was threatened by the Kudankulam nuclear plant, in case of a Fukushima like disaster. 
Champika Ranawaka, Sri Lanka’s Energy Minister, reportedly said in Colombo that Sri Lanka would refer the matter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the meeting in September. The Sri Lankan statement comes as the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu is finally ready after being bedevilled by protests for the better part of a year.

6). UN Chief Visits India
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon visited India in the last week of April 2012. He met the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and External Minister S. M. Krishna and discussed measures to counter terrorism. Mr. Ban called upon India and Pakistan to work hard to improve their bilateral relations.
7). India, Qatar Singh Pact of Boost Oil and Gas Cooperation
A pact to enhance cooperation in the key sector of oil and gas exploration is among the six agreements inked on April 9, 2012 between India and Qatar, which has the world’s third, largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran.

8). India Successfully Test-fires Nuclear Capable Agni-V
India on April 19, 2012 demonstrated the capability of launching a nuclear-tipped inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) as Agni-V hit a target over 5,000 km away. With this, India has joined an elite group of nations which have mastered such technology. These nations are: The United States, Russia, China and France.
The 5,000 km ranger missile gives India in capability to hit targets in China, including Beijing, eastern Europe, East Africa and the Australian coast. “The launch has given a message to the entire world that India has the capability to design, develop, build and manufacture missiles of this class, and we are today, a missile power”, V.K. Saraswat, Director-General Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said.

9). PSLV C -19 Puts RISAT-1 in Orbit
 India’s first indigenously built all-weather Radar Imaging Satellite, RISAT-1, with applications ranging from agriculture  to natural disaster management was successfully launched into orbit by its carrier, the PSLV C-19 with clinical precision from the Sriharikota spaceport of the Indian Space Research Organisation on April 26, 2012.
RISAT-1, weighing 1, 858 kg and the heaviest satellite launched yet by the PSLV, is a state-of-the-art Active Microwave Remote Sensing Satellite carrying a Synthetic Aperture Radar )SAR) that will operate in the C-band.

10). Govt. bans use of live animals for education, research
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has banned the use of live animals in dissection and other experiments in educational and research institutions. But scientists conducting new molecular research will be exempted from the ban.
The guidelines were framed based on the duties of the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments and Animals (CPCSEA), which has been constituted under the provisions of Section 15 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960).


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