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Published by: Vikāso Jāyasavālo on Jan 13, 2013
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Page 1 of 414th December 2012
Cabinet panel to fast-track mega projects
Seeking to remove investment bottlenecks and promote growth, the central government has decided to setup a Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) to accord single-window approval to mega projects of overRs 1,000 crore. CCI will be headed by the Prime Minister. There are over 100 projects, each involvinginvestment of Rs 1,000 crore or more, which are held up. The high-powered panel for according speedyclearance to infrastructure projects was initially mooted by Finance Minister P Chidambaram. He hadsuggested that the body be called National Investment Board (NIB). The Cabinet, however, renamed theproposed body as Cabinet Committee on Investment. The panel will have ministers in charge ofinfrastructure sectors as its members.
Nationwide number portability by February
Mobile number portability is expected to be rolled out nationwide by February, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibalsaid. This will allow users to retain their numbers even if they move from one State to another. Currently, auser is allowed to switch to a different operator within his/her circle, while retaining his/her phone number.
Non-communicable diseases cause maximum deaths
Non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease killed two out of three people in 2010 alarger share than in 1990, when they were responsible for every second death in the world. Of the 52.8million people who died worldwide in 2010, ischaemic heart disease and stroke accounted for 12.9 million, or24 per cent. Two decades ago, in 1990, IHD killed 9.9 million people, which was around a fifth of all deathsthat year. Eight million people died of cancer in 2010, which was almost 38 per cent more than the 5.8 millionwho died of the disease in 1990. Results of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2010, published inThe Lancet, show heart disease and stroke continue to be the top two killers worldwide. This the firstsystematic and comprehensive assessment of global data on disease, injuries and risk since the first GBDstudy was commissioned by the World Bank in 1990.
Amendments to judicial standards Bill approved
The Union government has decided to retain a clause in a Bill on judicial standards which debars judgesfrom making verbal comments against any constitutional authority in open courts. Union Cabinet, chaired byPrime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved amendments to the Judicial Standards and Accountability Billwhich had already been passed in the Lok Sabha and was pending in the Rajya Sabha. While deciding toretain the controversial clause, it made some changes to ensure it “stands the test of Article 14 which dealswith equality before law,”. The amended clause debars judges from making unwarranted comments againstconduct of any “constitutional body and other persons.” The clause is part of restatement of values for judges.
Arvind Kejriwal top news maker: Yahoo!
Arvind Kejriwal topped the list of newsmakers, while adult film star Sunny Leone was the most searchedcelebrity online in 2012 in India. According to Yahoo! India;s Year in Review 2012 (YIR), Arvind Kejriwal wasthe most searched newsmaker, knocking off mentor Anna Hazare from the position. Gujarat Chief MinisterNarendra Modi was next in line, followed by Malala Yousafzai (an education activist from Pakistan), UttarPradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Robert Vadra. "YIR combines search trends with the editorialselection of what users read, recommended and shared most on the Yahoo! network in India during 2012. Itoffers a glimpse into the social trends, compelling newsmakers and top stories of 2012," Yahoo! said. Othersin the list included Poonam Pandey, 'Saifeena' (Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor) and Sherlyn Chopra.
Wife can ask maintenance if hubby gets another wife at home
A wife cannot be faulted for not living with husband when he brings another woman in the house and she candemand maintenance on this ground, the Bombay High Court has ruled in a divorce case. "Whether or nothe (husband) may be entitled under the Personal Law to bring her (second wife), it has no bearing upon thehurt that the wife would feel upon having another wife in the house. In such cases emotional and mentalviolence is not only apparent, but proved. That itself would entitle any wife to have just cause in not livingwith her husband and demanding maintenance," ruled Justice Roshan Dalvi. Irfan got married to Nilofar onJune 3, 2007. They separated on June 17, 2009. The application for maintenance was filed in November2009. Irfan married again in December 2009. A criminal complaint under Section 498A IPC was filed by thewife on December 24, 2009.
Page 2 of 414th December 2012
IAEA delegation in Iran
A high-level delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has arrived in Tehran to work outa plan to resolve the remaining concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme. The seven-member delegationthat arrived is led by Herman Nackaerts, Deputy Director-General of the IAEA. The IAEA has said it islooking for a “structured approach” to resolve outstanding concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. Mr.Nackaerts brought into focus Iran’s Parchin military site where, the IAEA fears, testing of explosives to triggera nuclear device might have been carried out. Iran and the IAEA had held talks in Vienna on May 14-15,2012. Analysts point out that the ongoing technical dialogue is crucial, for IAEA’s inputs feed into and shapethe political dialogue between Iran and the six global powers Germany and the five permanent members ofthe U.N. Security Council.
North Korea's Kim Jong Un wins Time's 'Person of the Year' reader poll
North Korea's young leader Kim Jong Un has got the most votes in Time magazine's 'Person of the Year'online poll, with the publication's readers preferring him over pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi andPakistani education advocate Malala Yousafzai. Time said the readers' 'Person of the Year' poll is"unscientific" and Kim getting the most votes does not mean he is Time's Person of the Year, a title that isbestowed on the choice made by the publication's editors. Time would announce the 2012 'Person of theYear' on December 19.
U.K. to pay £2.2 m in rendition row
The British government has agreed to pay £2.2 million to a former Libyan dissident and his family for its rolein their illegal rendition to Libya as part of a joint U.K.-U.S.-Libyan operation eight years ago. Sami al-Saadi,who was a leading opponent of the Qadhafi regime, had sued the Foreign Office claiming that he and hisfamily were kidnapped and forcibly flown to Libya where he was subsequently tortured. He said the MI5played an “instrumental” role in their rendition. They were forced onto a plane in Hong Kong in 2004 andtaken to Libya.
Scientists discover mini Nile river on Saturn's moon Titan
NASA scientists have spotted the longest extraterrestrial river system ever - on Saturn's moon Titan - and itappears to be a miniature version of Earth's Nile river. The river valley on Titan stretches more than 400kilometres from its "headwaters" to a large sea, a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said. In comparison, theNile river on Earth stretches about 6,700 kilometres. Images by NASA's Cassini mission have revealed forthe first time a river system this vast and in such high resolution anywhere other than Earth. Titan is known tohave vast seas - the only other body in the solar system, apart from Earth, to possess a cycle of liquids on itssurface. However, the thick Titan atmosphere is a frigid one, meaning liquid water couldn't possibly flow. Theliquids on Titan are therefore composed of hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane.
Business & Economy:
KG basin row: House panel pulls up Petroleum Ministry
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas has expressed its disappointmentover the Petroleum Ministry’s failure to initiate penal action against Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) for itsfailure to achieve the production outlined under the Field Development Plan (FDP) for the KG D6 block.TheCommittee, headed by Aruna Kumar Vundavalli, said in its report tabled in Parliament. RIL has drilled only 22out of the 31 wells that it had outlined in the investment plan for D1&D3, the largest of the 18 gas finds in theKG-D6 block. Of these, only 18 were put on production and even out of those put on production, six wellshave shut due to high water and sand ingress. Drop in output from KG-D6 pulled down natural gasproduction from fields operated by private firms to 21.608 billion cubic metres in 2011-12 from 26.775 bcm inthe previous year.
Page 3 of 414th December 2012
Cabinet okays 30% cut in spectrum reserve price for 4 circles
Airwaves in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan found no takers in last auction as bidders found theprices too high. Subsequently, a ministerial panel recommended a 30 per cent cut in the base or reserveprice for spectrum in 1,800 mega-Hertz (MHz) band in the four circles. The Cabinet, headed by PrimeMinister Manmohan Singh, accepted the EGoM recommendation and approved auction of airwaves in thefour zones at 30 per cent lower price.
Cabinet Committee clears new urea investment policy
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), has approved a urea investment policy, which is likelyto incentives fertilizer companies to set up new plants and expand existing capacity. India imports over 30per cent of its urea requirement and the policy aims at reducing that. But it is unlikely to have any impact onexisting prices. The policy, which aims to attract fresh investment of about Rs.35,000 crore to increasedomestic production by eight million tonnes, has been cleared as the previous policy failed to attract themuch needed funds. Under the new policy, the government will give 12-20 per cent post-tax return on freshcapital infused by the manufacturers for setting up of new plants as well as for expansion and revamp of theexisting ones. The country produces 22 million tonnes of urea, against the requirement of 32 million tonnes.
PFC to raise Rs.4,590 cr through tax-free bonds
Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has launched a tax-free bond issue to mobilise up to Rs.4,590 crore frominvestors. The funds would be utilised towards lending purposes, debt servicing and working capitalrequirements. The bond issue in the nature of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures with taxbenefits under Section 10 (15) 9iv) (h) of Income-tax Act, 1961, will open on December 14 and close onDecember 21. PFC Chairman and Managing Director Satnam Singh said that the company had permissionto raise upto Rs.5,000 crore out of which Rs.410 crore had been raised through a private placement. Thebonds will have a tenor of 10-15 years offering an interest rate between 7.69 per cent and 7.86 per cent forretail investors and 7.19 per cent to 7.36 per cent for other category of investors.
SEBI initiative to reduce risk on stock exchanges
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has asked stock exchanges to ensure that stockbrokers are mandatorily put in risk-reduction mode when 90 per cent of the stock brokers’ collateral availablefor adjustment against margins gets utilised on account of trades that fall under a margin system. SEBI saidthat all new orders should be checked for sufficiency of margins and non-margined orders should not beaccepted from the stock broker in risk reduction mode.
US rejects UN Telecom Treaty
The United States has rejected a UN treaty under consideration at a global telecommunications conferencein Dubai, arguing that this could lead to state censorship and regulation of the internet.
Polaris launches 'Ranger RZR XP 900'
Polaris India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based off-road vehicle maker Polaris Industries, has launcheda new vehicle 'Ranger RZR XP 900'. Polaris India has recently announced its tie up with HDFC Bank toprovide easy financing solutions to its customers.
Government notifies new drug pricing policy, cheaper drugs on way
The government said the new drug policy which aims at bringing more medicines under price control hasbeen notified. "The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy (NPPP-2012) approved by the Cabinet onNovember 22, 2012 has been notified on December 7, 2012. Price control over drugs was first introduced inthe country in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression by Drugs (Display of Prices) Order 1962 and theDrugs (Control of Prices) Order 1963. The outgoing drug policy of 1994, which covers 74 bulk drugs, wasimplemented through Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO) 1995.

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