Thursday, February 14, 2013


19th Jan
·        Ved Prakash is UGC chairman: Ved Prakash, serving as acting chairman of the University Grants Commission, has been appointed as its chairman. The chairman’s post remained vacant ever since S. Thorat retired in February 2011. Since then Mr. Prakash had been the acting chairman.
·        Amalgamation of RRBs: 25 merged into 10 in nine months: As part of consolidation in the Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) segment, 25 such entities have been merged into 10 during the first nine months of the current fiscal. Restructuring of RRBs by amalgamating geographically contiguous RRBs sponsored by different banks within a state is in progress," an official said. Up to January 7, 25 RRBs have been amalgamated into 10 RRBs in seven states. As a result, the number of RRBs has reduced from 82 as on April 2012 to 67 in the first week of January, the official said. The consolidation is aimed at improving efficiencies and helping RRBs achieve scale. The amalgamation will also help in optimising the use of modern technology.
20th Jan
·        UN report projects 6.1 % growth for India: Amidst a string of varying growth numbers being projected by multilateral institutions, a report by the United Nations has estimated the Indian economy to grow by 6.1 per cent in 2013, marking a recovery from the decade-old slowest pace of 5.5 per cent in 2012.  The UN, in its report titled ‘World economic situation and prospects 2013’ (WESP), released here, said: “GDP growth in India will accelerate to 6.1 per cent in 2013 and 6.5 per cent in 2014 as a result of stronger growth of exports and capital investment... Investment demand is expected to respond to a more accommodative monetary policy stance and slightly improved business confidence.”
·        Rahul Gandhi appointed Congress vice-president, to lead party in 2014:  Rahul Gandhi was formally elevated to the number two position in the Congress party after being appointed its vice-president, but his role in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls would be decided later.
·        India Inc tops R&D investment growth global charts:  Indian companies have come on the top globally when it comes to growth in their research and development (R&D) investments, leaving their counterparts in the US and Europe far behind, a new study by the European Commission shows.However, Indian firms rank far below when it comes to absolute R&D investments made by them and the top-ranked company from the country, IT major Infosys, is ranked at 329th place globally, shows the latest annual global R&D Scorecard for 2012 prepared by European Union's executive body, the European Commission. Japan's Toyota Motor is ranked highest, followed by US-based Microsoft, Germany's Volkswagen, Swiss pharma giant Novartis, South Korea's Samsung Electronics, American drugmaker Pfizer, Switzerland's Roche, Intel, General Motors and Merck US in the top ten. The top-ranked Indian company is Infosys at 329th place, followed by Reliance Industries (507th), Dr Reddy's (776th), Tata Steel (867), M&M at (888), Lupin (916), Ashok Leyland (1136), ONGC (1,222), BHEL (1,230), Cipla (1,275), Cadila Healthcare (1,313), Glenmark Pharma (1,314), Sun Pharma (1,336) and Wockhardt at 1,472nd place globally.
21st Jan
·        Arunachal Pradesh gets Pawan Hans helicopter: The Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited has delivered an Mi-172 helicopter on wet lease to the Arunachal Pradesh government for resumption of passenger services that were suspended after the helicopter accident on April 30, 2011, that killed the then Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu.
·        58th Idea Filmfare Awards: Barfi! Bags Seven Awards, Kahaani Scripts Five: 58th Idea Filmfare Awards were given away on 20 January 2013 at YRF Studio, Andheri. At the 58th Idea Filmfare Awards, Barfi!, the much-acclaimed film grabbed seven Black Lady awards while, Kahaani bagged five awards. The award for the Best Actor was given to Ranbir Kapoor for his deaf-mute performance in Barfi! 
Vidya Balan, on the other hand was adjudged as the Best Actress for Kahaani. Barfi! was awarded with the Best Film award, while Kahaani’s director Sujoy Ghosh won the Black Lady for the Best Director. Thelifetime achievement award was given away to Yash Chopraposthumously. Yash Chopra’s wife Pamela collected this award on his behalf. 
Rest of the awards was as follows:
•Critics’ Award for Best Actor: Irrfan Khan for Paan Singh Tomar (Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia)
•Critics’ Award for Best Film: Gangs of Wasseypur (Director: Anurag Singh Kashyap )
•Critics’ Award for Best Actor (Female): Richa Chadda for Gangs of Wasseypur
•Best Lyricist: Gulzar for Challa (Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Director Yash Chopra)
•Best Music Director: Pritam for Barfi!
•Best Background Score: Pritam for Barfi! 
•Best Production Design: Rajat Podar for Barfi! 
•Best Playback (Female): Shalmali Kholgade for the song ‘Pareshaan’
•Best Playback (Male): Ayushmann Khurrana for the song ‘Pani da Rang’
•Lifetime Achievement Award -Yash Chopra
•Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female): Anushka Sharma (Jab Tak Hai Jaan) 
•Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male): Annu Kapoor (Vicky Donor)
·        Kids in rural India learn more from tuitions than schools: Report:  Reflecting the dwindling standard of education across schools in rural India, a report has claimed that students required additional help of tuitions to achieve better learning outcomes. The Annual Status of Education Report ( ASER), based on a survey covering about six lakh children in 567 districts of rural India, has said tuition-going students were much more clear with their arithmetic concepts. "The influence of additional inputs in the form of tuition on the children's ability to read or do arithmetic is clear. Whether enrolled in government school or private school, children receiving this addition support have better learning outcomes than those who do not," it said. The report also revealed that enrolment in private schools had jumped by 10 per cent in the last three years.
·        Wheat exports set to top 9.5 mt this financial year:  India's wheat exports are poised to rise to a record 9.5 million tonne in the current fiscal year as the government is keen to ship out 5 million tonne from official stocks to make space for the bumper harvest. Top officials said private firms would also be allowed for the first time to draw from government stocks to speed up exports as official agencies need to quickly make arrangements for the new harvest and official procurement. 
·        India, US finalise Rs 3,000 cr deal for jet engines: India and the US have finalised a Rs 3,000-crore deal for supplying 99 jet engines to be used in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' being developed by the DRDO. Around two years ago, India had selected the American company General Electric over its rival European Eurojet 2000 for the LCA Mark II programme expected to be ready around 2014-15. "The deal worth Rs 3,000 crore has been finalised with the US for procuring 99 engines for the LCA Tejas MkII," DRDO officials said here.
·        Ghat Ki Guni Tunnel, Jaipur inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: The Ghat Ki Guni Tunnel that links the Jaipur with the National Highway No. 11 to Agra was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chairperson of United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi. This 150 crore rupees twin-tube tunnel was created by grilling out the Aravalli hills on the eastern side of the Pink City. The combined length of the tunnel is 2.80 kilometer and would provide a safe alternative to the narrow passage at Ghat Ki Guni, which connects Jaipur to Bharatpur and Agra. 
22nd Jan
·        INS Saryu commissioned near Andaman & Nicobar islands: The Indian navy commissioned its largest off shore patrol vessel INS Saryu for maritime surveillance around Andaman and Nicobar islands. Built at Goa Shipyard Limited, the 105-meter vessel is the first of the four new class naval off shore patrol vessels (NOPVs) that would be commissioned by the Indian Navy over the next one-and-half years.
·        2013 World Economic Forum: Leaders meet in Davos in bid to beat the odds:  Italian premier Mario Monti will set the tone for beleaguered business and political leaders gathering inDavos this week for the annual World Economic Forum(WEF), with a speech entitled "Leading against the odds".
·        Import duty on gold up at 6% : The government hiked the import duty on gold and platinum to 6 per cent from 4 per cent with immediate effect, pushing up the price of the yellow metal by Rs 315 to Rs 31,250 per 10 grams. The move is aimed at curbing imports of the precious metals to check the widening current account deficit.
·        Kumble chief mentor of Mumbai Indians: Former India captain Anil Kumble was appointed chief mentor of the Mumbai Indians IPL team ahead of the start of the sixth season. The 42-year-old Kumble not only holds the record of being the highest Indian wicket-taker in both Tests as well as ODIs but is also considered a highly respected sportsman the world over for his enormous experience and cricketing intelligence.
·        Bhutan King to be the Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day for the Year 2013: Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade for the year 2013. The Bhutan King is also to be the chief guest at the Confederation of Indian Industry Partnership Summit-2013 to be held at Agra from 27th to 29 January 2013. Bhutan King's visit will contribute to further strengthening and expanding the close bilateral relations between India and Bhutan. The unique and special relations between the two neighbouring countries are characterized by everlasting friendship, deep understanding and mutual trust.
·        Kalyan Singh merged his Jan Kranti Party with BJP, restrained himself from Joining: Kalyan Singh, the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh merged his Jan Kranti Party with Bhartiya Janta Party. Singh merged his party with BJP during the Atal Shankhnaad Rally of BJP in Lucknow’s Jhelum Park. He himself was unable to join the party himself as he is an independent MP from Etah Constituency and before joining the party it is required for him to resign from the membership of the house as it is an electoral cause under anti-defection law. 
·        Kohli became the Quickest Indian and Second at World Level to complete 4000 ODI Runs: The Indian Cricketer and the right handed batsman Virat Kohli ocompleted his 4000 runs in One day International cricket tournament. He is the 12th Indian batsman and 84th at world level to reach this milestone. By scoring these runs in just 93 innings, he became the first quickest from India and second at world level to accomplish this milestone. Viv Richards, the West Indies player reached this milestone in 88 innings in the year 1985 and is placed at the 1st position in the list of crickets to touch the mark of 4000 runs in less number of innings. Both Richards and Kohli played in 96 matches to reach the score. Before Kohli, the former Indian Captain Sourav Ganguly had this record of scoring the fastest 4000 runs in ODI in 110 matches and 105 innings. 
23rd Jan
·        Global unemployment to hit record high in 2013, warns ILO’: More than 197 million people worldwide are jobless, and an additional 39 million have simply given up looking for work, a U.N. agency said, warning that government budget-balancing was hurting employment and would probably lead to more job losses soon. With global growth stalling five years after the financial crisis upended much of the world economy, the number of jobless is expected to rise by 5.1 million this year, to more than 202 million, the International Labor Organization said in a special report. And it predicted there would be a further three million newly jobless people next year. The ILO's revised figures mean global unemployment has risen by 28 million since 2007, before the start of the financial crisis, said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.
·        5th seminar on hydrocarbon industry in North East inaugurated in Guwahati: The 5 th seminar of Hydrocarbon IndustryGrowth Prospects & Challenges in North East was ceremoniously inaugurated by Professor Gautam Barua, Director IIT, Guwahati, board member of IOCLand OIL, amidst a large gathering of members of hydrocarbon industry and academia in Guwahati . Prof. Barua said while past experience for development in the industry have not been very encouraging, we must work on a way forward. There are many technical challenges in issues of drilling, hydro dynamics, waste water treatment and therefore very many opportunities for research in these areas.
·        RSS selects Rajnath Singh as party president after BJP opposes second term for Nitish Gadkari:  BJP, which appeared to be coming apart at the seams over a second term for Nitin Gadkari, night settled for Rajnath Singh as the new party chief. Singh will be formally elected party president .
·        India-Lanka sign pacts to avoid double taxation, combat terror: India impressed upon Sri Lanka the need to do more to rehabilitate the Tamils displaced due to the prolonged conflict in the island nation as the two countries signed accords on combating international terrorism and drug trafficking and avoidance of double taxation. Addressing a joint press conference with his Sri Lankan counterpart GL Peiris, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid stressed the need for continued dialogue between Colombo and the representatives of the Sri Lankan Tamil community with a view to ensuring a future for the community that was marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.

·        World's largest Optical Telescope to be developed by Five-Nation Consortium: A five-nation consortium including India would be constructing the world’s largest optical telescope, which would be the world’s most advanced ground based observatory. This telescope will be developed in Hawaii at the summit of the Mauna Kea Volcano.  Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) governing body met to decide the contributions to be made by the member nations namely, India, Japan, Canada, China and the US in the development of world’s largest optical telescope. The work on this telescope is expected to start in 2014 and the project is planned at an investment of 1.2 billion US dollar. This Thirty Meter Telescope would be eighty one times more sensitive than all the telescopes of its kind available at present.

·        West Bengal Government gave Heritage Status to Neta Ji’s Ancestral House: The West Bengal Government, the day of Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary, declared that it would give a heritage status to his ancestral house at Kodalia in South 24 Parganas district. The Government also announced that if the need arises to acquire the land, than it is also ready to do so
·        Election Commission of India nominated Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom as the National Icons: The Election Commission (EC) of India  announced Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom as the National Icons to help promote, voter participation in India. Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom, both are Olympic Bronze Medalists in the London Olympics 2012, in Badminton and Boxing respectively. Apart from these two, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Captain of the Indian National Cricket Team and former President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam are the existing National Icons of the Board and they will continue to be at the position. The third National Voters Day would be observed by the Poll Panel on 25 January 2013 and some of the first-time voters would be given their photo identity cards on this day. The National Voters day is celebrated on the foundation day of the Election Commission.
24th Jan
·        Anand Amritraj chosen for Davis Cup Award: Anand Amritraj has been chosen as one of the four players for the Davis Cup Commitment Award as part of the Centenary Celebrations of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for 2013. Eldest of the three Amritraj brothers, Anand played in the Davis Cup for two decades from 1968 to 1988. During that period, he was part of the national team in two finals; in 1974 when India conceded the title contest to South Africa as a protest against apartheid, and in 1987 against Sweden at Gothenburg. He played singles and partnered brother, Vijay, in the doubles.
·        FDI inflows slump to two-year low at $1.05 bn: India’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows declined to a nearly two-year low of USD 1.05 billion in November 2012, mainly due to global economic uncertainties. In November 2011, the country had attracted FDI worth USD 2.53 billion. For the April-November period 2012-13, the inflows have declined by about 31 per cent to USD 15.84 billion, from USD 22.83 billion in the year-ago period, a senior official in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) told PTI.
·        India 4th largest in steel output, logs highest growth in 2012: : India's rank in the world order of steel production remained unchanged at fourth slot with an output of 76.7 million tonnes, despite logging the highest growth of 4.2 per cent among major producing nations in 2012.  There was no change in the top three steel producing nations with China, Japan and the US retaining their slots in the respective order in 2012, World Steel Association (WSA) data revealed. Country-wise, China produced 716.5 MT, an increase of 3.1 per cent over 2011, and thereby increased its share of world steel output to 46.3 per cent in 2012 from 45.4 per cent in 2011. Japan produced 107.2 MT and South Korea 69.3 MT in 2012.
·        IMF says India to grow at 5.9% in 2013: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) pegged India's economic growth rate in 2013 at 5.9 per cent and projected a higher growth of 6.4 per cent next year in line with the gradual strengthening of global expansion.  IMF in its update to the World Economic Outlook(WEO) also said the global growth is expected to reach 3.5 per cent this year, higher than the estimated 3.2 per cent. 
·        42% workers are now ‘middle-class’: ILO report: The middle class is rising in a big way, especially in developing countries. About 42 per cent of workers, or nearly 1.1 billion, are now ‘middle-class’, living with families on over Rs 225 ($4-13) per person per day, says a new ILO report. By 2017, the developing world could see the addition of 390 million more workers in the middle class, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report says.
·        Reserve Bank of India hikes FII limit in govt securities, corp bond by $5 billion: The Reserve Bank hiked FII investment limits in government securities and corporate bonds by USD 5 billion each, taking the total cap in domestic debt to USD 75 billion, with a view to bridging the current account deficit. Further liberalising the norms, the three-year lock-in period for foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchasing government securities (G-Secs) for the first time has been done away with, RBI said. The sub-limit of USD 10 billion for investment by FIIs and long-term investors in G-Secs stands enhanced by USD 5 billion, it said. The limit in corporate debt, other than infrastructure sector, stands enhanced from USD 20 billion to USD 25 billion, RBI said. With increase of USD 5 billion in each of the two categories, FIIs and long-term investors can now invest USD 25 billion in G-Secs and USD 50 billion in corporate debt instruments, taking the total to USD 75 billion.
·        National Girl Child Day Celebrated In India on 24 January: 24 January, National Girl Child Day: This day is celebrated as the National Girl Child Day every year by the Government of India with an objective to raise consciousness of Indian society towards the girl children. The Women and Child Development Ministry observed National Girl Child Day on 24 January 2013. 24 January is celebrated as the National Girl Child Day every year since 2008 by the Government of India. 

·        Uddhav Thackeray appointed as the Party President of Shiv Sena: Uddhav Thackeray on 23 January 2013 was elected as the Party President for Shiv Sena during the National Executive Meet of the party held at Sena Bhawan, party’s headquarters at Dadar in Central Mumbai. He was elected to the post of the President of the Party on the day of birth anniversary of the party supremo and his father, Bal Thackeray. Now, Uddhav will be responsible to take all the decisions of the party and make the appointments too. 

·        Justice JS Verma Panel Report Submitted to the Government: Recommendations on the Sexual Crimes: The Justice Verma panel, which is a 3-member commission created to review the laws for sexual crimes submitted the report to the Government of India on 23 January 2013. Justice Verma panel was created after the brutal gang rape of the Para-medical student on 16 December 2012. Former Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Verma headed the commission and reviewed the laws on sexual crimes which exist already. The report was prepared by the panel in its 30-day deadline. The former CJI described that there were more than 80000 suggestions from the length and breadth of India as well as abroad after 5 January 2013 was declared as the deadline for receiving comments from common man in order to refurbish the present legislation that deals with the sex offenders.


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