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NATIONAL
PRANAB MUKHERJEE WON THE PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION 2012
Pranab Mukherjee was elected as the
13th President (in person) of India on 22 July
2012. Pranab Mukherjee defeated his rival
PA Sangma with a huge margin as he secured
nearly 69 percent of total valid votes. In an
electoral college of 10.5 lakh, Pranab
Mukherjee secured a vote value of 713763,
while, PA Sangma managed to get only a vote
value 315987. The victory of Pranab
Mukherjee was announced by Returning Of-
ficer for the Presidential election VK
Agnihotri. Pranab Mukherjee will be sworn
in as the thirteenth President of India on 25
July 2012. Out of the total 748 MPs, Pranab
got the support of 527 while his rival, PA
Sangma got 206 votes in his favour. Fifteen
votes including that of Samjwadi Party chief
Mulayam Singh Yadav were invalid. Of
these, nine were to be in favour of Mukherjee
while six for Sangma. Each MP had a vote
value of 708 in the Presidential Election
2012. There are a total of 776 voters in both
the Houses of Parliament. The Electoral Col-
lege also consisted of 4120 MLAs in the
states.
As per the article 54 of the Indian constitution,
the President is elected by electoral college comprising
the elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and
elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all
States including National Capital Territory of Delhi and
the Union Territory of Puducherry. The nominated
members of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and Legislative
Assemblies of the States cannot participate in the
election. The Electoral College for the Presidential poll
2012 is 4896. A total of 776 Members of Parliament
and 4120 Members of Legislative Assemblies will
participate in presidential election 2012.
INDIA RECORDED 3.8 % UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE
YEAR 2010-11
According to the findings of unemploy-
ment survey conducted by the Labour Bu-
reau of the Government of India, the country
recorded 3.8 percent unemployment rate in
the year 2010-11. The earlier figure (2009-
10) was 9.4 percent. The survey was con-
ducted in all 28 states and 7 Union Territo-
ries.
The findings of the survey were released
on 9 July 2012. As per the survey report the
official unemployment rate of the country
was 3.8 percent, with urban unemployment
and rural unemployment stood at at 5.1 per-
cent and 3.5 percent respectively. Women
unemployment at 6.7 percent stood signifi-
cantly ahead of men unemployment rate
which stood at 2.8 percent.
The report stated that of those with a
livelihood, the majority were self-employed
or casual labour. While 48.6 per cent were
self employed, 31 per cent were casual labour.
On the basis of social stratum the rates
of employment for the SC, ST, and OBC
groups stood at 55.9 per cent, 59.7 per cent,
and 53.3 per cent respectively, as compared
to 48.5 per cent for the general category. The
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unemployment rate was found maximum in
states such as Goa (16 percent), Kerala (9
percent) and West Bengal (7 percent), while
Gujarat (1 Percent) had the lowest number
of unemployment rate. Less developed states
such as Bihar, Odisha and UP also recorded
a moderate unemployment rate. The data was
collected from a sample of 128298 house-
holds, while the size of the sample of previ-
ous survey was fourth of this size.
P CHIDAMBARAM IS
NEW UNION FINANCE MINISTER
In a small cabinet reshuffle carried out
on 31 July 2012, the United Progressive Al-
liance government allocated P
Chaidambaram the portfolio of Union Fi-
nance Ministry. Previously Chidambaram
was serving as the Union Home Minister.
Sushilkumar Shinde, was given the charge
of Union Home Ministry while, Corporate
Affairs Minister Virappa Moily was given the
additional charge of Power Ministry. Presi-
dent of India Pranb Mukherjee signed the
notification on the reallocation of ministries.
The cabinet reshuffle carried out following
the resignation of Pranab Mukherjee from the
union cabinet, who became the President of
India on 25 July 2012. Mukherjee resigned
as the Union finance minister on 26 June
2012 and since then Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh was looking after the port-
folio.
ANNUAL HEALTH SURVEY REPORT
According to the data released by first
Annual Health Survey (AHS), conducted by
the census authorities, the incidents of child
marriage fell significantly over the past few
years. The data was released on 16 April
2012. The AHS, world’s largest demographic
survey, was carried out by the Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare in collaboration
with the Registrar General of India (RGI) and
Ministry of Home Affairs of India. The sur-
vey was conducted in all 284 districts of the
Empowered Action Group (EAG) states that
includes Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar
Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,
Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam. The
nine states account for half of the country’s
population. The project was launched to as-
sess the impact of National Rural Health
Mission (NRHM) in all 284 districts. Until
recently the only reliable source of such
health data was the National Family Health
Survey, which the health ministry has now
discontinued. The survey was conducted by
private agencies under the supervision of
RGI. The key findings of the latest reports of
the survey are as follows:
¨ One-fifth of marriages in Bihar between 2007-
09 involved women under 18.
¨ In Jharkhand, the proportion of child marriage
went down from 60 percent to 18 percent earlier.
¨ Rajasthan with 22 percent cases of child
marriage has the highest proportion of women
under 18 getting married.
¨ Contraceptive use remains low despite
improvements in several regions.
¨ Among the 9 states, Bihar has the lowest
contraceptive use with just over a third of
women aged 15-49 using any method of
contraception.
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¨ Sitapur in UP emerged as the district with the
lowest contraceptive use as only 20 percent of
women found using any method of
contraception.
¨ Condition of maternal and infant health is still
the subject of worry.
¨ Less than 5 percent of women in UP had a full
ante natal check-up.
¨ Chhattisgarh, with 20 percent full ante-natal
check-up, emerged as the best-performing of
these states.
¨ Less than half of pregnant women in Jharkhand
and Chhattisgarh have safe deliveries.
¨ UP, Bihar and Uttarakhand saw 40 percent of
safe deliveries.
NARESH CHANDRA COMMITTEE
Naresh Chandra Committee, a 14-member task
force on national security, submitted its report to the
government on 8 August 2012. The committee was set
up by the Union government on 21 June 2012 to
suggest ways to revamp of defence management in the
country. Naresh Chandra, a former bureaucrat, headed
the committee which members included former
military officers, intelligence chiefs, diplomats and
strategic analysts. Air Chief Marshal (retired) S.
Krishnaswamy, General (retired) VR Raghavan, the
former Department of Atomic Energy chief Anil
Kakodkar, Admiral (retired) Arun Prakash, the former
R&AW head KC Verma, the former Union Home
Secretary V.K. Duggal, G Parthasarathy, former
diplomat, and senior journalist Manoj Joshi were the
other members in the committee. The main objective
behind the constitution of the committee was to
contemporarise the Kargil Review Committee’s
recommendations, which was tabled in the Parliament
on 23 February 2000. Besides, the task force was also
asked to examine the state of country’s border
management and restructuring system.
SUPREME COURT FLAYS CENTRE’S APATHY TO
CAUVERY ISSUE
The Supreme Court, while expressing
displeasure at the lack of sensitivity on the
part of the Centre on the Cauvery issue, has
directed it to respond to Tamil Nadu’s plea
for convening a meeting of the Cauvery River
Authority, headed by the Prime Minister.
When senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, ap-
pearing for Tamil Nadu, insisted on a direc-
tion to Karnataka to release water, a Bench
of Justices D.K. Jain and Madan B. Lokur
said it would pass orders after getting the re-
sponses of the Centre and that State, due in
10 days. Further hearing is posted to Septem-
ber 3. In a brief order, the Bench said: “Be-
fore we pass orders on applications filed by
Tamil Nadu, we would require the Union of
India to place before us its response to the
application, particularly to a personal request
made by the Chief Minister [Jayalalithaa] to
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in her let-
ters [for convening the CRA].”
Despite the orders of this court on Feb-
ruary 8, 2003, only one CRA meeting took
place on February 10, 2003 but no decision
was taken on water sharing on the basis of
the distress formula (evolved by the Cauvery
Monitoring Committee), the Bench noted. It
also pointed out that though a copy of Tamil
Nadu’s application was served on the Centre
(on July 21), this case was not entrusted to
any senior law officer.
“Tamil Nadu received only 3.604 tmcft
as on August 8 in the Mettur reservoir, against
the stipulated quantum of 64.706 tmcft and
even on an application of the distress-shar-
ing formula, Tamil Nadu ought to have re-
ceived at least 28.978 tmcft at Mettur.”
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UNION CABINET APPROVED THE LAUNCH OF
SATELLITE TO STUDY MARS
The Union Cabinet on 3 August 2012
gave its consent to the launch of satellite to
the Mars proposed in 2013. The Cabinet de-
cision came following a meeting chaired by
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The De-
partment of Space had sent a proposal to the
Union Cabinet, in which it had sought
government’s permission to launch a satel-
lite to study Mars, also called Red Planet. The
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
is expected to launch a Mars Orbiter in No-
vember 2013 with a 25kg scientific payload.
The Mars mission will be launched by ISRO’s
advanced Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
(PSLV). The objective of the mission is to
study the climate, geology, origin, evolution
and sustainability of life on the planet. If the
ISRO fails to launch the Mars Mission next
year, other opportunites are available in 2016
and 2018. India has undertaken the massive
space project with the help of United States,
Russia, Europe, Japan and China. The mis-
sion is estimated to cost the government ex-
chequer about 450 crore rupees. An initial
allocation of 125 crore rupees was already
made in the budget 2012-13.
TAMIL NADU ALLOWED TO CARRY OUT SMALL
MAINTENANCE WORKS ON THE MULLAPERIYAR
DAM
The Supreme Court of India allowed
Tamil Nadu government to carry out repair
and maintenance works on the Mullaperiyar
dam. However, the court instructed that the
repairing and maintenance work is to be car-
ried out in the presence of the Superintend-
ing Engineer of Kerala and an independent
member nominated by the Chairman of the
Central Water Commission. A five-judge
Constitution Bench of Justices DK Jain, RM
Lodha, Deepak Verma, CK Prasad and Anil
R Dave gave the verdict after hearing an ap-
plication filed by Tamil Nadu government for
the court’s permission to carry out certain
maintenance works.
REPORT ON STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF SCS
& STS [PREVENTION OF ATROCITIES] ACT 1989
RELEASED
The report on the Status of Implemen-
tation of SCs and STs [Prevention of Atroci-
ties] Act 1989 and Rules 1995 was released
by the first Dalit Chief Justice of India, Jus-
tice K.G. Balakrishnan on 18 May 2012. The
report was prepared The report was prepared
by the National Coalition after collecting
evidences by visiting the places of incidents
and talking to victims across India for
Strengthening SCs & STs (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act. The report revealed substan-
tial increase in cases of violence against SCs
and STs. The report also highlighted loop-
holes in the implementation of the SCs and
STs [Prevention of Atrocities] Act and argued
that it has not been able to check atrocities
against Dalits and Adivasis in an effective
manner. The report explained in details the
trends and nature of discrimination and
atrocities against SCs/STs over the years.
According to the study, the cases of violence
against SCs/STs are not registered and even
if they are registered the conviction rate is
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found to be quite low. At least one-fourth of
the cases were observed to have been dis-
posed of at the investigation stage itself by
the police and such complaints were referred
to as mistake of fact.
Crime rate against SCs increased from
2.6 per cent in 2007 to 2.8 per cent in 2010.
In 2010, Uttar Pradesh accounted for 19.2 per
cent of the total crimes against SCs (6,272
out of 32,712) in the country. Rajasthan in
the same yearreported the highest rate of
crimes (7.4 per cent) against SCs compared
to the national average of 2.9 per cent. Ac-
cording to the report, the number of crimes
against STs drastically increased in 2010 to
5,885 cases and murder cases of STs alone
totalled 142.
As per the report, police resort to vari-
ous machinations to discourage SCs/STs
from registering cases, to dilute the serious-
ness of the violence, and to shield the accused
persons from arrest and prosecution. FIRs are
often registered under the PCR Act and IPC
provisions, which attract lesser punishment
than PoA Act provisions for the same offence.
Only 11,682 (34.2 per cent) out of 34,127
atrocity cases were registered under PoA Act
in 2010 at the national level. In 2010 investi-
gation was completed only for 37,558 cases
of the total of 51,782 cases registered. Charge
sheets were submitted only for 26480 cases
(51 per cent) because of which even by the
year end, around 14,092 cases remained
pending for investigation.
Of the 16,601 cases registered in 2010
across the country under PoA Act for atroci-
ties against SCs, the police closed almost
2150 cases (13 per cent) in 2010. Meanwhile,
of the 1,714 registered cases of atrocities
against STs, 223 (13 per cent) were closed.
The report recommended appointment of
high-level committee to be appointed to re-
view implementation of the Act and the Rules
in all the States. It also recommended exclu-
sive special courts with powers to take cog-
nizance of the offences under the Act should
be set up and special public prosecutors for
speedy trials of cases registered under the Act
should be appointed.
7. 6 BILLION DOLLAR TAPI GAS PIPELINE
PROJECT APPROVED
The Union Cabinet approved the 7.6
billion dollar TAPI gas pipeline project on 17
May 2012. The TAPI gas pipeline project
which originates from the central Asian na-
tion Turkmenistan and reaches to India via
Afghanistan and Pakistan is also referred to
as the “peace pipeline” as some of the coun-
tries that it passes through don’t enjoy good
relationship with each other. The TAPI gas
project will have a total length of 1680 km.
Of the tot al lengt h 144km will be in
Turkmenistan, 735km in Afghanistan, and
800km in Pakistan, bringing it to the India
border. The pipeline, will be entirely func-
tional in 2018 and supply gas over the next
thirty years. The pipeline would produce 90
million standard cubic metres of gas per day
(mscmd). Of the total gas pumped through
it, India and Pakistan will get 38 mscmd each
and Afghanistan the remaining 14 mscmd.
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At present India requires 176 mscmd of gas,
of which a little more than one-sixth is im-
ported. The country’s need of the gas might
reach the level of about 400 mscmd by 2020.
The Indian government was pursuing a
similar project with the Iran which was put
on hold by the Indian government given the
pressure from the USA. The TAPI gas project
also involves Asian Development Bank
which has bestowed financial assistance to
the project. The TAPI pipeline, was proposed
in the early 1990s, but was delayed due to
the political and economic hurdles involved
into the project. Security of the pipeline has
been the major issue of concern which passes
through some of the most unstabled regions
of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the
project may face the risk of sabotage. India
joined the project in April 2008.
UNION CABINET GAVE ITS APPROVAL TO THE PUBLIC
PROCUREMENT BILL
Union Cabinet on 12 April 2012 gave its nod to
the Public Procurement Bill. The bill is aimed at
bringing transparency in the bidding process for public
procurement. The bill will regulate the government
purchases of above 50 lakh rupees through a
transparent bidding process. At present there is no
legislation exists governing public procurement by the
central government and central public sector
enterprises. The General Financial Rules, 2005, govern
procurements made by the Centre. The present bill
provides for a jail term ranging from six months to five
years for public servants found guilty of demanding
and accepting bribes from bidders of government
contracts. The legislation is largely based on the
suggestions made by Committee on Public
Procurement headed by former bureaucrat Vinod Dhall
which were accepted by a Group of Ministers to tackle
corruption on 22 February 2012. The GoM headed by
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had sent the bill
for the approval of the Union Cabinet.
25% OF DELIVERIES BY UNTRAINED HANDS IN
2010 IN INDIA
According to the registrar general of
India’s latest Sample Registration System
(SRS) 2010 data, two in 10 women in India
received medical attention by a qualified pro-
fessional in 2010 while delivering at home.
It was noted that fewer women in urban In-
dia received medical attention while deliver-
ing at home than in rural India — 10.8%
against 16.2%. Nearly 1 in 4 births overall
were attended by untrained functionaries.
Delivery by untrained functionaries were
found to vary from as high as 53.5% in
Jharkhand to as low as 0.2% in Kerala. More
women were noted to have delivered in gov-
ernment hospitals (41%) as against private
hospitals (19.4%). Kerala recorded the high-
est deliveries in private hospitals while
Odisha recorded the least. Tamil Nadu re-
corded the highest number of women who
delivered in a government hospital while
Jharkhand recorded the least (19%). 55% of
women in Delhi delivered in government
hospitals while 23% went to private hospi-
tals. 17% of births at home were carried out
by a qualified professional. Deliveries con-
ducted by a qualified professional at home
were as low as 4.5% in Maharashtra. Un-
trained functionary deliveries were as high
as 47% in Bihar, 35% in UP, 25% in West
Bengal and 27% in Madhya Pradesh.
Institutional deliveries (children being
born in health centres or hospitals and not in
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their homes) were found to have picked up
in India. As per the data released, more than
three-fourths of deliveries in India were found
to be occurring in institutional and by quali-
fied professionals at present. Several states
recorded very low births by untrained func-
tionaries. They include Kerala (0.2%), Tamil
Nadu (0.9%), Andhra Pradesh (1%), Punjab
(2.6%), Delhi (5.3%), Gujarat (8.8%),
Haryana (6.3%) and Karnataka (9.3%). Ru-
ral regions in several states recorded high
rates of delivery in private hospitals. Like
Kerala, where 52% of births in rural settings
took place in a private hospital, followed by
35% in Andhra, 23% in Delhi, 36% in
Gujarat, 32% in Haryana, 20% in Karnataka,
36% in Maharashtra, 35% in Punjab and 24%
in TN.
TRIVEDI PROPOSES REGULATORY BODY TO DECIDE
RAILWAY FARES
After failing to effect a hike in rail fares
as a measure to generate internal resources,
Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi proposed
an independent body to take decisions on rail
fares without being influenced by political
exigencies. He also favoured the restructur-
ing of the Railway Board. The Minister was
addressing a conference organised by the
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce
and Industry. Mr. Trivedi called for a national
policy for the railways that would set forth a
revenue model with stress on safety and cus-
tomer benefit. His emphasis on need to de-
politicise the railways came amid rumours
that he failed to get Trinamool Congress
leader and West Bengal Chief Minister
Mamata Banerjee’s approval for fare in-
crease. He, however, denied that his call for
keeping politics at bay was because of any
political interference. Instead, he said, his
emphasis was on the growth of the railways
over the next five decades. He hoped the UPA
government and Parliament would give their
nod for setting up a regulatory body on fares.
As for the Railway Board, he said now it was
oriented to operations; it should focus on
customer comfort and safety.
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