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CURRENT AFFAIRS: APRIL 2011 NATIONAL AFFAIRS Possession of Naxal literature is not sedition, rules SC On April 15, 2011, the

Supreme Court granted bail to civil rights activist Dr Binayak Sen, holding that possessing Naxal literature or visiting jailed Maoists did not amount to sedition. If Gandhi s books were found in my house, would that make me a Gandhian, said Justice C.K. Prasad. Justice H.S. Bedi, who headed the Bench, clarified that the State could not slap sedition charges on Sen unless there was material to show that he was actively preaching or propagating Maoist ideals. The Bench made the remarks in connection with the State government s contention that Sen had visited his co-accused Piyush Guha 30 times in a jail and pamphlets and documents relating to Maoist activities were recovered from his possession. The apex court said none of this amounted to seditious activities or waging a war against the State. Being a sympathiser did not make him guilty of sedition, the Bench felt. In December 2010, the trial court had sentenced Sen to life imprisonment after convicting him for sedition and having links with Naxalites. He was convicted along with Naxal ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha. Sixty one-year-old Sen, a child specialist who had studied medicine at the prestigious Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, has worked for 25 years in the tribal and Naxal-infested belt of Chhattisgarh. He is also the vice-president of the People s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). Chinese troops in PoK worry India The presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) has been causing anxiety to New Delhi, which has started strengthening infrastructure along the border. Responding to media reports about the involvement of China s PLA (People s Liberation Army) troops in various infrastructure projects in PoK, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said that the government was seized of media reports on the subject. The Minister said India continuously reviewed and took all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of its people, as well as the territorial integrity of the nation. Another cause of worry for India is that China has been developing infrastructure in the border region opposite India in the Tibet and Xinjiang Autonomous Regions. This includes the Qinghai-Tibet railway line, with proposed extension up to Xigaze and Nyingchi, and development of road and airport facilities. India has also started paying special attention to the development of infrastructure in the border areas opposite China in order to meet the country s security requirements and also to facilitate the economic development in these areas.

Visit of Prime Minister Singh to Kazakhstan On April 16, 2011, during the official visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Kazakhstan, India and Kazakhstan signed seven key accords, including one on cooperation in the civil nuclear energy field and another for joint exploration in the oil and gas sector, and condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and those who supported the menace. The other five accords were: joint action plan for further strengthening strategic partnership (road map), MoU between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and the Kazakhstan Computer Response Team, treaty on mutual legal assistance in civil matters, agreement for cooperation between the agriculture ministries of the two countries and an agreement between their health ministries. Kazakhstan rolled out the red carpet for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who became the first top world leader to visit the Central Asian nation following the re-election of President Nursultan Nazarbayev for a fourth consecutive term. With his victory coming close on the heels of widespread pro-democracy protests in West Asia and North Africa, the Kazakh leader left no stone unturned to demonstrate his democratic credentials by inviting the envoys of nearly 50 countries to the Akorda Presidential Palace for the ceremony to accord welcome to Manmohan Singh, leader of the largest democracy in the world. From India s point of view, it is obviously the nuclear accord that is being considered the singular achievement of Manmohan Singh s two-day visit. Under the Indo-Kazakh nuke accord, Kazakhstan would supply 2100 tonne of uranium to India by 2014. The umbrella nuclear accord envisages a legal framework for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including fuel supply, nuclear medicine, use of radiation technologies for healthcare, reactor safety mechanisms, exchange of scientific and research information, exploration and joint mining of uranium, design, construction and operation of nuclear power plants. The agreement on cooperation in the oil and gas sector signed between the ONGC Videsh Limited and Kazakh national company Kazmunaigas gives effect to the transfer of participating interest of 25 per cent in the Satpayev Block from the Kazakh firm to the Indian company. The Satpayev exploration block, located in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea, covers an area of 1482 sq km and is at a water depth of 6-8 meters. It is situated in a highly prospective region of the North Caspian sea and is in close proximity to major discoveries. Visit of Prime Minister of Thailand On April 5, 2011, India and Thailand agreed to intensify their cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, education, tourism and culture and to aim towards doubling of their trade by 2014. The decisions were taken during the visit of Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand.. The visit helped to impart a new momentum to the relations between the two countries. The two sides also agreed to expedite the conclusion of negotiations on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement that would include goods, services and investment.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Thailand as a close friend and a valued regional partner for India and noted that the two countries shared civilisation links and were maritime neighbours. A joint statement, which was released after the summit meeting announced the establishment of a regular High-Level Dialogue on Defence Cooperation that would consider widening the scope of cooperation in the sector. This dialogue is expected to lead to a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation and is part of India's burgeoning defence ties with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, South Korea and Japan. In addition to taking a closer look at the ongoing exchanges between the armed forces, the dialogue would attempt to broaden the scope of cooperation to include the Defence industry and technology. The summit meeting saw both sides agreeing to intensify coordinated patrolling , which would be aimed at sanitising the busy but narrow and vulnerable Malacca Straits. Ever since the September 11, 2001 attacks, naval ships from both countries jointly patrol their respective stretches to foil any piracy or disruption of shipping through the deliberate disabling of a ship. On the security side, the two Prime Ministers resolved to improve sharing of intelligence, develop more effective counter-terrorism policies and increase interaction between law enforcement agencies. In this respect, they decided to expedite discussions on some of the building blocks, such as the Extradition Treaty, the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Civil and Commercial Matters. CWG Scam On April 25, 2011, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Suresh Kalmadi, Member of Parliament and former chairman of the Organising Committee (OC) of the Delhi Commonwealth Games (CWG). The CBI has charged him with criminal conspiracy to buy timing, scoring and result (TSR) system from a Swiss company at an inflated cost of R141 crore. The CBI has alleged that this cost the government Rs 95 crore extra. "Investigation has revealed that the OC committee for short-listing prospective bidders for TSR was constituted by selecting handpicked officials who favoured the Swiss company while members of the tenders evaluation committee were coerced and threatened to disqualify other bidders". The CBI had earlier arrested former OC secretary general Lalit Bhanot and director general V.K. Verma in the case. 2G Spectrum Scam Five corporate honchos, including Unitech s Sanjay Chandra and Reliance ADAG s Gautam Doshi, were arrested on April 20, 2011, and sent to jail after a Delhi court dismissed their bail plea saying they might tamper with evidence and even flee to avoid prosecution in the highest magnitude 2G Spectrum allocation scam.

The court also rejected the bail plea of co-promoter of Swan Telecom Vinod Goenka and Reliance ADAG s Surender Pipara and Hari Nair. A bare perusal of the facts of the case and the allegations in the charge-sheet make it out a case of the highest magnitude and gravity and there is enough incriminating material on record against the accused. The court also dealt with the arguments of defence lawyers that they be granted bail ipso facto (by default) as they were not arrested during the probe. The court, however, concurred with CBI s apprehension that the accused might tamper with the evidence by trying to win over witnesses. On April 25, 2011, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) named DMK Member of Parliament Kanimozhi as a co-accused in the supplementary charge-sheet filed by it before the special CBI court in the 2G Spectrum case. Kanimozhi has been charged under Section 7 and 11 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), which relates to acceptance of alleged gratification. Besides Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar, and Karim Morani of Cineyug Films (Pvt) Ltd were also charge-sheeted. CBI disclosed in the charge-sheet that Rs 200 crore connected with the 2G Spectrum had travelled from DB Realty to Kalaignar TV which has Kanimozhi, Dayalu Ammal and Sharad Kumar (MD Kalaignar TV), with 20, 60 and 20 per cent shares in the channel, respectively. Answering the question as to why Dayalu Ammal, wife of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Karunanidhi has been left out in the charge-sheet, while the other two stakeholders of the channel (Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar) have been charged, CBI said that Dayalu Ammal does not have a single signature on any paper that we have come across. All the papers, wherever required, have been signed by Sharad Kumar. She cannot understand any language besides Tamil and we had a hard time questioning her. Under such circumstances, it is highly unlikely that she could have been part of the conspiracy . INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS President Saleh of Yemen agrees to step down On April 24, 2011, Yemen's embattled President agreed to a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators to step down within 30 days and hand power to his deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution. A coalition of seven opposition parties said they also accepted the deal but with reservations. Even if the differences are overcome, those parties do not speak for all of the protesters seeking President Ali Abdullah Saleh's removal, and signs were already emerging that a deal on those terms would not end protests. Under the latest draft, Yemen's Parliament would grant Saleh legal protection from prosecution. The President would submit his resignation to lawmakers and hand power to his Vice President, who would call for new Presidential elections. BRIC expands to BRICS

with a broad-based international reserve currency system providing stability and certainty. Experts say all the member-countries must take advantage of the moment and come out with a clear map for long-term sustenance. comprising 44 per cent of the world population. The cooperation among BRICS countries was neither directed against nor was at the expense of anyone. All of them are members of the G-20. they will be more effective. Russia. the leaders also dwelled on some of the recent events around the world. of which two are permanent. Leaders of BRICS countries adopted a far-reaching declaration that. Started in year 2009. turmoil in North Africa and the disaster in Japan. such as the unrest in West Asia. BRICS represent the world s fastest growing market. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that the designated banks of BRICS nations have signed a framework agreement on financial cooperation which envisaged grant of credit in local currencies and cooperation in capital markets and other financial services. The FICCI will be the focal point for this on the Indian side. making it more representative. India and China has decided to transform itself to BRICS. Besides. Bringing South Africa makes the grouping more representative of the emerging powers from all the developing regions. If they can coordinate their positions in G-20 Summits. This gives them a significant clout. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said while addressing the plenary of the BRICS leaders.BRIC. the grouping of the four countries thought to radiate the largest lessons in developing an economy Brazil. At a joint press conference by summit leaders. held in Sanya on south China's tropical island of Hainan on April 13-15. banks in each country would work out modalities so that projects and loans could be encouraged in other BRICS nations. . the 2011 summit. among other things. that the grouping should take a leadership role in closing the Doha round of multilateral trade deals under World Trade Organisation (WTO). called for restructuring of international financial institutions to reflect changes in the world economy. Recognising that the international financial crisis has exposed the inadequacies and deficiencies of the existing international monetary and financial system. The five nations also signed an MoU on BRICS long-term business contacts to facilitate trade amongst them. thus increasing the voice and representation of emerging economies. Under the agreement. Although the BRICS grouping is in a nascent stage it has been able to emerge as an important voice. with the muchawaited induction of South Africa into the cohort. was the first one for South Africa. if national laws permit them to do so. the high table of global economic policy coordination. And. All of them are members of the UN. focusing on financial cooperation and an effective mechanism for global development. the leaders supported the reform and improvement of the international monetary system.

Ashok Soota. technological and innovation cooperation in BRICS format. Business News Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has renamed its Logan car as Verito. followed by Tata Motors and Aditya Birla Nuvo. Supporting the G-20 initiative. the five nations decided to hold a meeting of high representatives for security issues in the latter half of 2011 in China. Italian luxury sports car maker Maserati has announced its foray into the Indian market with its complete range of cars. the ousted chairman of the Bangalore-based software major MindTree. Anup Bagchi has taken over as the MD and CEO of ICICI Securities. Shibulal has been elevated as the CEO and MD.R. has appointed India-born Rakesh Kapoor as its global CEO. Narayana Murthy. S. The project is officially called Modernization of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI) Leading global consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser Group plc. and recognise its importance as a means to address climate change. Kamath has been appointed as the Chairman of Infosys.V. Wipro retained the fourth rank and Bharti Airtel was ranked fifth. Veteran banker K. The latest Nielson corporate image monitor has rated Tata Steel as the best in a list of Indian firms. In an action plan. in place of founder N.D. support development and use of renewable energy resources. encourage cooperation in sports and promote cooperation in scientific. the BRICS leaders desired that the grouping should play a bigger role in global economic governance as the premier forum for international economic cooperation.904-crore contract with Tata Power s Strategic Electronics Division (Tata Power SED) for modernising 30 Indian Air Force airbases across India. The Union Ministry of Defence has signed a Rs 1.The Chinese leader also sought to dispel the impression that BRICS wanted to emerge as a grouping aimed at countering leading global economies The BRICS countries also resolved to carry out closer cooperation on food security. engage in joint research on economic and trade issues. has launched a new company by the name of Happiest Minds Technologies Pvt Ltd with a mission to creating the happiest customers and the happiest team . DO YOU KNOW .

The rest of Ashoka pillars have only six edicts. also known as the international day for monuments. State Bank of India and ONGC figure in The Forbes Global 2000 list of public companies based on their rankings for sales. With only 17 per cent people describing themselves as thriving . The ancient Brahmi script used to write on the pillars was first deciphered on Ashoka pillar at Delhi by a British expert James Prinsep in 1837. the pale pinkish sandstone pillar was ferried to Delhi by 8. Finland and Venezuela. World Heritage Day. Denmark topped as the most contented.000 people. BRIC or the group of four most developing countries Brazil. followed by Australia. Bharti Airtel. With only 12 per cent happy respondents. followed by HSBC. is observed on April 18. The Ashoka Pillar in Delhi was uprooted from Topra village near Yamunanagar. has been ranked as the 40th happiest nation in the world. According to the study. Sugam return form is applicable for small businessmen and professionals covered under presumptive taxation. The Union Finance Ministry has introduced simpler income tax return forms Sahaj and Sugam . Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme offers scholarships to single girl child for post-graduate studies. India. mainly because of tight monetary policy measures. including Reliance Industries. majority of Indians (64 per cent) believe they are struggling while 19 per cent think they are suffering . The African nation of Chad remained at the bottom of the list with less than one per cent reporting they were thriving. whose economy is in tatters. JP Morgan Chase is in the top spot for the second consecutive year as the world's largest company. World Haemophilia Day is observed on April 17.As many as 57 Indian companies. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) India s economic growth rate will moderate to 8. author of Tarikh-i-Feroze Shahi. India s exports for 2010-11 have clocked $245. Now the UGC has decided to lift the cap and open the scholarship programme to all girls who meet the eligibility criteria. Haryana by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in 14th century and taken to Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. China is ranked 92. While Sahaj is for salaried people. NTPC. Sweden and Canada ranked as the second happiest countries. profits. This is the first time exports have crossed $200 billion.9 billion registering a growth of 37. assets and market value. The Delhi pillar is the only Ashoka pillar that has seven edicts issued by Ashoka.5 per cent. Earlier the scholarship was offered to 1200 single girl children in a year. According to Tuglaq s court historian Shams-i-Siraj. Pakistan.2 per cent in 2011. India ranked 71 in a new Gallup study on overall well-being conducted in 124 countries. Coal India. which combined the results of Gallup's 2010 global well-being surveys. . Larsen & Toubro and Tata Motors. Other companies in India's top ten were ICICI Bank. Haemophilia is a genetic blood disorder in which blood does not clot properly. China has transformed itself to BRICS with induction of South Africa. Russia. World Health Day is observed on April 7.

Pope John Paul II dubbed it a crime that no human law can claim to legitimize . It will strengthen the Indian banking system at a time the economy is going great guns. Euthanasia. also called assisted suicide. The Bill which seeks to align the voting rights of foreign shareholders in banks in proportion to their equity holding will make it easier for banks to raise capital. Under passive euthanasia the life support system of a terminally ill patient is withdrawn. Luxembourg and Switzerland in Europe. first introduced in the Lok Sabha in May 2005. Polls in the UK and France have shown up to 80 per cent support for a law to shorten life if illness is terminal and causes intolerable suffering. this will make it easy for those who are standing on the sidelines to put more capital into banks as and when there are initial and follow-on public offers. The Bill also proposes to make it mandatory for a person who wants to acquire 5 per cent or more share capital of a bank to get approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Only a small number of countries permit it: Belgium.E Vahanvati had contended that the withdrawal of food to the victim will be a cruel. There is no law to allow it. as we need capital in banking. It also proposes to give RBI more . However. especially in Europe. The conditions require the High Court to seek the opinion of three eminent doctors as well as listen to the government and close relatives of the terminally ill patient. had lapsed as the Lok Sabha was dissolved for general elections in 2009. Australia and the UK have toyed with the idea but dropped it due to opposition from the believers. supervised by a High Court. has been debated worldwide. Cabinet nod for Banking Reform Bill The Union Cabinet has given its nod to the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill. support for mercy killing is growing. which proposes to increase the voting rights of foreign investors in private sector banks. Thailand in Asia and the two US States of Washington and Oregon. However. During the arguments Attorney General G. The Bill. Going forward. while under active euthanasia the patient is given a lethal injection by a doctor. CURRENT AFFAIRS: MARCH 2011 NATIONAL AFFAIRS Passive euthanasia permissible: SC The Supreme Court of India has rejected the petition for mercy killing of Aruna Shanbaug. who has been in a persistent vegetative state for the past 37 years.Civil Services Day is observed on April 21. which were its allies. the surprise is that the apex court has permitted passive euthanasia under certain. The government could not move it ahead in its previous tenure due to stiff opposition from the Left parties. inhuman and intolerant approach unknown and contrary to Indian laws . Holland.

management or staff of a children s home. will deal exclusively with sexual offences against children. . which will invite a penalty of minimum three years in jail.operational flexibility in the conduct of monetary policy and power to specify the statutory liquidity ratio without any floor or ceiling. including a member of the security forces. sexual harassment and pornography and provide for establishment of special courts for trial of such offences and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Law to deal with sexual offences against kids A government study says that 53 per cent of children below 18 years of age have undergone some or the other form of sexual victimisation. the Union government. The legal tool also provides for treating sexual assault as aggravated offence where it is committed by a person in position of trust or authority over a child. hospital or educational institution. The punishment for such an offence would be imprisonment of up to seven years with fine. a comprehensive law to deal with sexual offences against children. The gravity of the situation has set the wheels rolling for a crucial Bill that will give the country. The Bill says it is necessary to empower RBI to grant exemption from this rule in appropriate cases. It will be treated as an aggravated offence where the child victim is below the age of 12 or suffers from a mental or physical disability or the sexual offence causes grievous hurt or injury to the child with a longterm adverse effect on the child s mind and body.000. It will protect children from sexual assault. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill. Sexual assault also includes fondling the child in an inappropriate way. Section 7 of the Bill provides for no punishment if the consent for sexual act has been obtained with a person aged between 16 and 18 years. police officer. The restriction on bank lending to directors and companies in which the directors have an interest is leading to problems in appointing competent independent directors. on March 24. The punishment for penetrative sexual assault has been proposed to be at least five years in jail and a minimum fine of Rs 50. 2011. public servant. What is even more worrisome is that more than half the abusers are known to the children. 2011. The move aims at providing social security to millions of employees through efficient intermediation of long-term household savings. Pension Bill introduced in Parliament Paving the way for setting up of a regulator for the insurance sector. introduced the long-awaited Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill in the Lok Sabha. for the first time. by providing for stringent punishment of up to 10 years in jail. which may even extend to life imprisonment.

The Bill.9%. signalling a fall in fertility. Eight States. The interim PFRDA is functioning since 2003 through an executive order. India's population grew to 1. which provides powers to sectoral regulator PFRDA to oversee multiple pension funds in the country. Census 2011 shows that from 325 per square km in 2001.21 billion. including India's most backward States Bihar. Madhya Pradesh.21 billion India's most backward and populous States slowed down their rate of population growth. 2011. This is the first time since 1921 that the country has actually added lesser people in a decade compared to the previous decade. where the proportion of children has in fact increase to 16. There are 57 more Indians for every square kilometer in addition to those already jostling for space in the country.64% has offered hope to policy makers. from 163 million in the 2001 census to 158 million in 2011. 2009 on a voluntary basis. was opened to all citizens of India from May 1. The figures broadly indicate a drop in fertility across the country except in Jammu & Kashmir.65 in 2001. This is a significant achievement since the growth rates of these States had frozen at 24-25% since 1971. The New Pension System. however. compared to 14. Hence. The absolute addition of about 181 million people is slightly less than the population of Brazil the world fifth most populous country but the slower decadal growth rate of 17. this decline is sharper in case of females than males. the average density of population has increased to 382 in 2011 up by 17. will largely follow the suggestions made by a Parliamentary standing committee in 2005. Unlike other regulators such as the Reserve Bank of India. The government will separately notify the ceiling. Chandramouli on March 30. if one of the entities regulated by the PFRDA violates norms.01%. introduced by the government in January 1. Census 2011: Population pegged at 1. The Bill also allows for part investment in stock markets although Left leaders are against equity investment option given to pension scheme. But worryingly.5%. Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh broke the jinx (curse) to reduce their percentage decadal growth to 20. helping the country register its sharpest decline in population growth since Independence.The proposed legislation. While the cow-belt and West Bengal continues their . the PFRDA does not have statutory status or the quasi-judicial powers of other regulators. The absolute number of children in the 0-6 age group also recorded decline. it cannot impose penalties. steered clear of making any mention of a ceiling on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector. The PFRDA is yet to get statutory powers as the Bill pertaining to that effect lapsed in Parliament with the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha in 2009. 2004. according to provisional results of the decadal headcount declared by Census Commissioner C.

as opposed to 107 million men over the same period. At 11. the US accounts for 7. while UP s overall literacy has risen from 42. Never before have women outdone men in numbers gaining literacy over any decade.1% in 2001 to 53.4% of the world surface area of 135 million sq km and supports 17. the top slot goes to Bihar with 1.102 people/ sq km. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh traditional laggards in education have shown maximum improvement both in improving overall literacy and in their female literacy rate. In contrast. the density spread is more in the urban areas. West Bengal is the only other State to have a density in excess of 1.3% in female literacy.dominance. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan launched in 2001. Nagaland is the only State that has statistically demonstrated a negative growth rate and a marginal decline in density. Dibang valley of Arunachal has only one person in a sq km.297 people for every sq km. female literacy has jumped from 53.8 % in 2001 to 74. with 9. with 46 and 17 people. infrastructure and government aid. respectively.2% to 59. The literacy increase overall and for women follows a decade in which successive governments have focused on school education like never before since Independence. otherwise the most populous State. Among States.5% of the world s population. however. pointing to the pressure on the natural resources.2% of the surface area with only 4.3% over the same period. according to the 2011 census.2% in 2001 to 82%.5% of the population.252 people. The female literacy rate of Bihar has jumped a startling 20% from 33.04% literates means the gap between male and female literacy has shrunk. Chandigarh comes next. Bihar s overall literacy has gone up from 47% in 2001 to 63. Delhi tops the list of States and Union Territories in terms of density. but the surge in women While male literacy has increased from 75. Uttar Pradesh.8% in 2011.3% now. while Samba in J&K has two.4% over the same period.6% to 65. Andaman and Nicobar and Arunachal Pradesh are the least densely populated territories. are credited by most experts as critical interventions that have helped India achieve near universal enrollment in primary education. UP has a seen a rise from 42.000. in every sq km. India s overall literacy rate has risen from 64. along with the universalisation across government schools of the mid-day meal scheme. India accounts for a meager 2. A total of 110 million additional women have become literate since 2001.2% to 59. Women steal literacy lead over men: More Indian women gained literacy over the past decade than men. has a density of only 828. .

petroleum and fertilizers is estimated at Rs 1. male and female literacy. LPG and fertilizer subsidies to consumers could be missed. The revised estimates put the subsidy bill food. The government has further decided to abolish the condition of prior approval in case of existing joint ventures and technical collaborations in the 'same field'. Fertilizer companies said the strategy might cause delays and the deadline of March 2012 for directly transferring kerosene. Furthermore. It is expected that this measure will promote the competitiveness of India as an investment destination and be instrumental in attracting higher levels of FDI and technology inflows into the country. based on the collected data.Kerala remains at the top of the pile in overall. 2011. as it removes the working capital issues which arise from delayed payments and under-recoveries. It has been given a deadline of March 2012. there are around 230. the Union government. After this. on March 31. it would start paying retailers. decided to permit the issuance of equity to overseas firms against imported capital goods and machinery.210 crore for 2011-12. Direct subsidy transfer is positive for the industry. is expected to significantly boost the prospects for foreign companies doing business in India. FDI will now be permitted in the development and production of seeds and planting material without the stipulation of having to do so under 'controlled conditions'. FDI policy liberalised Relaxing the rules for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.000 retailers who will be paid based on the quantity of fertilizer they receive from companies or through the wholesale route. Direct Subsidy Payout Plan The Union government has approved a three-step strategy to create a foolproof system for transferring fertilizer subsidy directly to farmers.153 crore for 201011. the government has set up a task force under Nandan Nilekani. the government would gradually start paying farmers directly.64. The subsidy bill for food. This is expected to be over by December.34. In the first step. According to DoF. kerosene and fertilizers at Rs 1. the norms for overseas investment in production and developments of seeds have been liberalised. In order to account for all subsidy liabilities and lower the outgo. . The measure which liberalises the conditions for conversion of non-cash items into equity. In the agriculture sector. In the third stage. the government plans to track the movement of fertilizers from factories to farmers via retailers. the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India.

Before leaving for Islamabad. Mr Manmohan Singh was quick to remind Mr Gilani that there was a need to create an atmosphere free of violence and terrorism for truly realising the goal of normal ties. The Bench. played between the teams of the two nations on April 29. a statutory body set up to fight corruption by guiding the CBI. recommendations of the HPC is non-est in law and consequently his appointment is quashed (avoid) . Kapadia. The SC and the Kerala High Court had also rejected the pleas for quashing the FIR filed in the corruption case and that fact was also not brought before the HPC. companies have now been classified into only two categories 'companies owned or controlled by foreign investors' and 'companies owned and controlled by Indian residents'. which included Justices KSP Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar. and hence it is declared that the September 3. Pakistan s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani accepted the invitation to take forward the peace initiative taken by the Indian Prime Minister. 2010. The explanation that the HPC could not consider these details as these were not included in the file put up before the committee by the Department of Personnel was immaterial. Cricket diplomacy Pakistan s PM invited to watch cricket World Cup semi-final at Mohali Much against the opinion of his own Cabinet. the Bench ruled. Thomas was in contravention of the provisions of the CVC Act.Further. .H. The verdict was given by a three-member Bench headed by Chief Justice S. 'operating companies' and 'investing-cum-operating companies' has been done away with. 2011. where Thomas was Food Secretary.J. 2003. ruled that the HPC neither considered the personal integrity of Thomas nor the need for maintaining the institutional integrity and competence of the Central Vigilance Commission. Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj. SC strikes down CVC appointment On March 3. 2011. failed to consider the 2003 corruption case relating to the import of palm oil in 1992 by Kerala. The HPC. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited Pakistani leaders both Prime Minister and President to witness the cricket World Cup semi-final match at Mohali. The earlier categorisation of 'investing companies'. Prime Minister Gilani full shared the views expressed by Mr Singh. Mr Gilani said the two countries had the will and ability to resolve their problems and stressed the need to give this positive message to the world. and the four departmental recommendations between June 2000 and November 2004 for initiating penalty proceedings against Thomas in the light of the allegations against him in the case. At the dinner table in the stadium itself. which included Home Minister P. Prime Minister Singh termed the meeting as a very good beginning . the Supreme Court of India ruled that the appointment of P.

The jurisdiction of the CVC extends to all central government departments. as the junta was disbanded and a new President appointed. which is empowered to conduct inquiries in departmental actions against public servants. the apex court ruled. the Apex Court clarified. 2011. for whatsoever reason. The snap poll was forced following the passage of the no-confidence vote against the minority government engineered by the opposition Liberal Party and backed by two other opposition parties.The fact remains that the HPC. 2011. CVC gets the investigations done either by the CBI or through chief vigilance officers in government offices. The verdict was strictly confined to the legality of the September 3. and many analysts believe Senior General Than Shwe will attempt to retain some sort of control behind the scenes. setting up a May 2 election. The HPC should take into consideration whether the candidate would or would not be able to function as a CVC. Junta rule ends in Myanmar On March 30. But the army hierarchy retains a firm grip on power in the resource-rich Southeast Asian country. central government companies. on the heels of a historic contempt of Parliament charge. the apex court pointed out in its judgment while disposing of two PILs challenging the appointment of Thomas. recommendation of the HPC. Whether the institutional competency would be adversely affected by pending proceedings and if by that touchstone the candidate stands disqualified. and central government organisations. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Canadian Parliament Dissolved On March 26. From the steps of the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II's representative in Canada. It is not an investigating agency. . it shall be the duty of the HPC not to recommend such a candidate. Canada's Governor-General dissolved the Parliament after a vote of no-confidence in Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government. Harper announced the official launch of the campaign. contrasting his Conservatives' economic recovery plan with the prospects of opposition parties forming a leftist coalition. set up in 1964. is India s top corruption watchdog. 2010. The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). has failed to consider the relevant material keeping in mind the purpose and policy of the 2003 CVC Act. the fourth in seven years. Myanmar s military handed power to a nominally civilian government after almost half a century of army rule. including nationalised banks. It is the designated agency to receive written complaints and recommend action in cases of graft or misuse of office by officials.

I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader.000 Tibetans living in exile might not have legitimacy of the people in Tibet in the absence of the Dalai Lama. Announcing that he would step down as political head of the Tibetan governmentin-exile. the 75-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate. 2011 morning. which also has a quarter of its seats kept aside for the military. the Dalai Lama hopes to give the Prime Minister greater clout as the region seeks autonomy from China. a key Than Shwe ally. according to which the Tibetan government-in-exile runs. Now. I feel gradually people will come to understand my intention and will support my decision and let it take effect. Dalai Lama announces his retirement as political head On March 10. elected freely by the Tibetan people. However. The Dalai Lama further said he was committed to playing his part for the "just cause" of Tibet. As early as the 1960s. to whom I can devolve power. said the spiritual leader. been shunted two meters from where it was on March 11. was sworn in as President. which were marred by the absence of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and claims of cheating and intimidation. the Dalai Lama is the head of state and also the political and administrative head of Tibetans. Former PM Thein Sein. The aging Dalai is concerned about the future of Tibetan struggle after him.The handover came after controversial elections in November 2010. Japan faces its worst disaster since World War II After a cataclysm so powerful that it moved the Earth 10 inches off its axis. the Dalai Lama in his speech said he would hand over his formal authority to a freelyelected leader. most Tibetans. are still spiritual and believe in the institutions of lamas. the country s first in 20 years. He is among a slew of generals who shed their army uniforms to contest the elections and are now civilian members of Parliament. He has formally proposed to the Tibetan Parliament in-exile to make necessary amendments to the Charter for Tibetans-in-Exile reflecting his decision to devolve his authority. It is to benefit the Tibetans in the longer run. They believe only a spiritual leader could take place of Dalai Lama rather than the political leadership. literally. The decision to devolve authority has not been taken because I feel disheartened. By devolving his powers. the Dalai Lama announced his retirement plan on the 52nd anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day. As per the Tibetan Charter. said. . He wants that a Tibetan leadership should evolve during his lifetime that has the acceptance of all members of the community and can take the freedom struggle further after him. Japan woke to find itself a country that had. we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect. who has been at the forefront of a six-decade-long struggle for freedom of Tibetans. 2011. especially those living in Tibet. There is also an apprehension that the political leadership elected by around 80.

it is French President Nicolas Sarkozy who has led calls for military intervention. with shipping containers cluttering the landscape. wanted the UNSC to wait for the report of the special envoy of the Secretary-General. demolishing all that stood in its way. Western forces launched a series of air and missile strikes against forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to force him to stop war on opposition forces in Libya. In Britain. unity and territorial integrity of Libya. The subsequent tsunami sending 30ft-high waves lashing (beat) into Japan's north-east coast turned a disaster into a cataclysm. Officials were swift to assert that any meltdown. the need to secure oil supplies and tackle a history of appeasement toward Muammar Gaddafi are some of the less-publicised reasons for Europe taking on a leadership role in prodding (to push against gently) the world to act over Libya. India stayed away from voting. The wall of water. The 8. trees and even small planes. India. Prime Minister David Cameron defended committing British forces by declaring the action "necessary. homes. moving at an estimated 50 kmph. if it came. Earlier. analysts say. would not be on anything like the scale or severity of Chernobyl. Sarkozy has strong domestic political reasons to be seen to be acting swiftly and decisively. there is much speculation over the surprising swiftness with which France and Britain have galvanised European military action on Libya. radiation leak from a nuclear plant crippled by an explosion threatens to convert into a major nuclear disaster. it is also pushed by a mix of unstated personal and political factors rooted in Europe. Away from principles of democracy. has ever recorded. the world's most tremor-prone country. boats. While the UN resolution authorizing the enforcement of a no fly zone is aimed at protecting civilians and backed by the Arabs. and used these as battering (strong attack) rams as it charged up to 15 kms inland. Only 300 km from Tokyo. legal and right". on March 18. The first estimates of the total insured loss caused by the quake and tsunami were put at USD 12 billion an unwelcome burden on an economy that had just starting to show signs of revival. Sarkozy became the first western leader in decades to welcome Gaddafi on an official State visit.9 Richter scale earthquake was the most monstrous that Japan. This was strong enough to leave a 300 km rupture (separate) on the ocean floor. US and European planes hit Libya Starting March 19. and concrete. along with four other countries. cars. cars. His reasons could be far more personal than Cameron's: in 2007.Neighbourhood after neighbourhood was submerged under a grotesque (monstrous) soup of water and debris (dust). Homes were flattened. Tens of thousands of once orderly acres became a jumble of broken homes. Days into the enforcement of a no-fly zone and with the US continuing to take a backseat. With his approval ratings sinking to record lows and a presidential election due in summer 2012. 2011. swallowed boats. . a UNSC resolution had imposed a no-fly zone over Libya. Even more than Cameron. India also made it clear that it was very important to fully respect sovereignty.

. American and Canadian action supported by a UN resolution aimed at protecting civilians they will deny that it is about Gaddafi. The deal will give AT&T additional capacity to expand and meet ever-increasing demands for videos and data from devices such as Apple Inc s iPhone. to become the first Indian automobile manufacturer to attain this milestone. however." said Christian Le Miere of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Some strategic analysts. the franchise model bar and restaurant of the English Premier League football team. will distribute general insurance products in India through its online portal and tele-marketing arm. one of the world s most successful investors. Tata Motors have become the first Indian company to produce one lakh commercial vehicles in a financial year. disagree that domestic political reasons characterize European action. It has become a corporate agent of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. Italy sources some 25 percent of its oil imports and 10 percent of its gas from Libya and billions of Euros are tied up in infrastructure and security projects in the country. No Chinese firm could make the cut. Subway has surpassed McDonalds to become the largest restaurant chain in the world. "This is a European. has planned to invest Rs 100 crore in India as part of its expansion. according to an annual survey by US think-tank Ethisphere Institute. Manchester United Cafe. Business News AT&T Inc has decided to but T-Mobile USA for $ 39 billion. owned by Warren Buffet. Philippine Airlines (PAL) has entered into a code share agreement with Kingfisher Airlines.Italy has more reasons to be wary of events in Libya than Britain or France. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has launched iON a fully integrated information technology solution for small and medium businesses (SMBs). Maruti Suzuki India Ltd rolled out its 10 millionth car from its facility in Gurgaon on March 15. The list does not give ranks and has 42 companies from outside USA six from Japan. HDFC Ltd is the only Indian company on a list of 110 world s most ethical companies. Berkshire Hathaway.062 crore. Libya's most important European economic partner. Pratip Chaudhuri has been appointed as the new Chairman of State Bank of India. Japanese insurance firm Nippon Life Insurance Company has decided to acquire 26% share in Reliance Life Insurance for Rs 3. The cafe had entered the Indian market in 2010 and currently has presence in three metros. Software giant Microsoft has appointed Bhaskar Pramanik as chairman for its India operations. 2011.

Facebook Credits is a virtual currency which enables the users of Facebook to watch films on the site or buy various applications. US-based paper and packaging firm International Paper Co. Norway and Sweden. as per Census 2011. is 914 females against 1000 males. Dadar & Nagar Haveli. a mobile-commerce company has applied to the RBI for permission to make Facebook Credits available in India.75 per cent. Denmark is ranked first in the list of world s happiest countries.4%. while China is ranked 125. US firm Sara Lee Corp has terminated the licence of Godrej Household Products Ltd to sell Kiwi shoe care and Kiwi Kleen brands in India and Sri Lanka. on March 17. China accounts for 19. India's business tycoons Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani.3% share in Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills for around $257 million. instant money order (iMO). Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised key policy rates by 25 basis points (100 basis points equals 1 per cent) for the eighth time since March 2010 to cool down inflation. who is ranked second among 68 people "who matter". Sonia ranks 9th on the Forbes 2010 list of the "world's most powerful people". Pakistan is ranked 58. The move will make loans costlier. This portal will provide electronic money order (eMO). sale of . ahead of US President Barack Obama. followed by Finland. In its credit policy review. Five least populated States/UTs are: Lakshadweep. India is ranked 115 and shares the spot with Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Maharashtra. a list that also includes Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.75 per cent and 5. Singh comes in at number 18. India Post has launched online portal e-post office to provide postal transactions and tracking service online. Has picked-up 53. Beam. Daman & Diu. Cricket is known as ban qiu in Chinese. It raised short-term lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates to 6. ICSB is a global membership organisation for those interested in theory and practice of entrepreneurship and the development of small and medium enterprises. Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata and head of ArcelorMittal Lakshmi Mittal also make the list. India now accounts for 17. 2011. Chinese President Hu Jintao has been named the most powerful person in the world by Forbes. West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Five most populated States of India are (as per 2011 Census): Uttar Pradesh. The overall sex ratio has risen by 7 points to 940 females per 1000 males. This is lowest since independence.5% of the world s population. respectively. Bihar. Andaman & Nicobar and Sikkim. DO YOU KNOW Child sex ratio of India.The International Council for Small Business (ICSB) has decided to launch its operations in India through the Indian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

It was 21. Out of this 586.492. Kalpakkam. India s per capita income. as per the 2011 Census is 12102. proposes to give powers to both the Centre and the States to make laws with respect of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Mittal is ranked sixth richest in the world.223. Indian Nplants at Kakrapar.5 billion. handicrafts and other products made by small-scale industries. as per Census 2011 has gone up to 74. including New Delhi and Mumbai. The per capita income at factor cost is estimated as Rs 46. 800 bilateral treaties. NALSAR-Hyderabad. 82. The next version of the portal is expected to be launched in Bangla and Kannada language. TN and Rawatbhata. the Mexican telecom baron (tycoon) stayed the richest.000 cities. Through this portal. The decadal growth rate of population in 2001-11 was 17. 2011. increased by 14.64%. often used to measure a country's standard of living.327. India. while in the urban areas it stood at Rs 44. 500 law journal articles and much more. The online portal provides for 300. after the US and China.5 are females and 623.54% in the previous decade. Tarapur. The amendment is required as currently the Centre cannot impose excise duty beyond the manufacturing stage and the States cannot levy a tax on services. NLSIU-Bangalore. TN. As per the base year 2004-05.000 decisions from 37 courts and tribunals. NUJS-Kolkata and RGSOIPL-IIT Kharagpur have come together to set up the Legal Information Institute of India.2 million. Literacy rate of India. tracking of express and international shipments. with its 55 billionaires. the per capita income in rural areas was Rs 16. has the third largest pool of billionaires. from 131 countries turned off their lights during the global Earth Hour observed on March 26. With a net worth of $31. Narora in Uttar Pradesh lies in zone 4.7 are males. Globally. . Kudankulam. 2011 Seismic zones are divided into zones from 1 to 5 with 1 being least active to 5 being highest. Maharashtra and Kaiga. Carlos Slim Helu. Karnataka are in zone 3.4% is male literacy and 65. Over 4. The 2011 BRICS summit was hosted by China at Sanya. India s total population. DoP will also sell products. postal information.4 lakh crore).philatelic stamps. according to the annual Forbes list of World Billionaires for 2011. The 11th Info-Poverty World Conference was held in March 2011 at the United Nations. NLU-Delhi. The Constitution (115 Amendment) Bill.83% a decade ago. PIN code search and registration of feedback and complaints online. Gujarat. The content of the portal is in English.04% from 64.492 at current prices.1 billion (Rs 1.46 is female literacy.5 per cent during 2009-10 to Rs 46. Rajasthan lie in zone 2. increasing his worth by $ 20. The biennial Wind Power India conference was held in Chennai. Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has overtaken Mukesh Ambani to become the wealthiest Indian.

.000 from Rs 160. World Water Day is observed on March 22. the qualifying age reduced to 60 years and exemption limit raised to Rs 2. Works of art exempt from customs when imported for exhibition in state-run institutions. raise minimum alternate tax to 18.5 percent. it will be ten per cent flat. Personal income tax exemption limit raised to Rs 180. It is headed by Justice B. followed by Chandigarh (9. For senior citizens.000 for individual tax payers. Service tax on air travel increased by Rs 50 for domestic travel and Rs 250 for international travel in economy class. Service tax widened to cover hotel accommodation above Rs 1. To reduce surcharge on domestic companies to 5 percent from 7.44 trillion rupees.The density of population of India (as per Census 2011) is 382 persons per sq km. Citizens over 80 years to have exemption limit of Rs 5 lakh. diagnostic tests. no change in CENVAT rates. Delhi (11. World House Sparrow day is observed on March 20. On higher classes. A/C restaurants serving liquor.252). Subsidy bill in 2011-12 seen at 1.000 per day. Iron ore export duty raised to 20 percent Nominal one per cent central excise duty on 130 items entering the tax net. The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSRLC) has been set up by the Union government to re-write and clean-up financial laws of India. 2011 in New Delhi. Peak rate of customs duty maintained at 10 per cent in view of the global economic situation.N.5 percent from 18 percent.297) is the densest State. A new revised income tax return form 'Sugam' to be introduced for small tax papers. Arunachal Pradesh is the least dense State with a density of 17. some category of hospitals. CURRENT AFFAIRS: FEBRUARY 2011 NATIONAL AFFAIRS Union Budget 2011 Highlights Standard rate of excise duty held at 10 percent. this now extended to private institutions.50 lakh. Srikrishna The three-day world Sufi music festival was held on March 11-13.

Revised fertilizer subsidy bill for 2010-11 at 550 billion rupees. Net market borrowing for 2011-12 seen at 3. up 18. To create infrastructure debt funds.17 trillion rupees. Revised food subsidy bill for 2010-11 at 606 billion rupees. FDI policy being liberalized.8 percent in 2012-13. Tax-to-GDP ratio seen at 10. Customs revenue seen at 1. Disinvestment in 2011-12 seen at 400 billion rupees. Fiscal deficit seen at 5.6 trillion rupees in 2011-12. down from 3.7 billion rupees.3 percent. Gross tax receipts seen at 9. Fiscal deficit seen at 4.6 percent of GDP in 2011-12. Inflation seen lower in the financial year 2011-12.43 trillion rupees. To boost infrastructure development with tax-free bonds of 300 billion rupees.25 percent.45 trillion rupees in 201011. Economy expected to grow at 9 percent in 2012. Corporate tax receipts seen at 3. Total expenditure in 2011-12 seen at 12. seen at 10.47 trillion rupees. . Plan expenditure seen at 4. Gross market borrowing for 2011-12 seen at 4.52 trillion rupees in 2011-12. Revised gross market borrowing for 2010-11 at 4. Non-tax revenue seen at 1.1 percent of GDP in 2010-11.32 trillion rupees in 2011-12.41 trillion rupees in 2011-12. plus or minus 0. State-run oil retailers to be provided with 200 billion rupee cash subsidy in 2011-12.58 trillion rupees. Government committed to retaining 51 percent stake in public sector enterprises.4 percent in 2011-12.25 trillion rupees in 2011-12. Revised petroleum subsidy bill in 2010-11 at 384 billion rupees.Food subsidy bill in 2011-12 seen at 605. Service tax receipts seen at 820 billion rupees in 2011-12.

Comprehensive policy on further developing PPP (public-private-partnership) model. Removal of supply bottlenecks in the food sector will be in focus in 2011-12. To provide 201. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme wage rates linked to consumer price index.10.000 crore for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.000 crore for Bharat Nirman. 23 percent higher allocation in 2011-12. Rs.Food security bill to be introduced. To allocate 520.21. pension funds.000 hectares under palm oil plantation. Infrastructure critical for development. To provide 3 billion rupees for 60.500 crore more for national skill development fund. will rise from existing Rs. Cold storage chains to be given infrastructure status. To raise health sector allocation to 267.000 crore. .5 billion rupees for the education sector. Rs. Rs. Bills on insurance. increase of Rs. 15 set up. To permit SEBI registered mutual funds to access subscriptions from foreign investments. Setting up independent debt management office. Capitalisation of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) of 30 billion rupees in a phased manner. Raised foreign institutional investor limit in 5-year corporate bonds for investment in infrastructure by $20 billion. 3 percent interest subsidy to farmers in 2011-12. banking to be introduced.6 billion rupees. 15 more mega food parks to be set up in 2011-12. To allocate more than 1. of 30 sanctioned in previous fiscal. To raise target of credit flow to agriculture sector to 4.100 per day. Food storage capacity to be augmented.5 billion rupees capital infusion in state-run banks in 2011-12.54 crore each for AMU (Aligarh Muslim University) centres at Murshidabad and Mallapuram. Rs.58.75 trillion rupees. Corpus of rural infrastructure development fund raised to 180 billion rupees in 2011-12.64 trillion rupees to defence sector in 2011-12. Public debt bill to be introduced in parliament soon.

867 km of doubling of lines and 1. including reducing the eligibility age of senior women citizens from 60 to 58 years and raising the fare concession for senior citizens (above 60) from 30 to 40 per cent.650 crore and appropriation to depreciation reserve fund pegged (succeed in obtaining a position) at Rs 7. Anganwadi workers salary raised from Rs. Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission. strength of Enforcement Directorate increased three-fold. Indian Railways.017 km of gauge conversion has been set.1 per cent.000 freight trains to carry 850 million tonne of cargo. Gross traffic receipts have been fixed at Rs 94. It also runs 4. 2011 For the third year in a row.300 km of new lines.To move towards direct transfer of cash subsidy for kerosene. Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee made an attempt to come out with the aam aadmi budget sparing the passengers and industry from fare and freight hikes and announcing the highest ever investment of Rs 57. with 68 new trains. from 6. has a network of 64.000 trains daily. Five-fold strategy against black money. Ordinary working expenses have been estimated at Rs 73.25 lakh. A provision of Rs 6. foreign tax division of CTBT strengthened.099 km to ferry as many as 18. Srikrishna.906 stations. The budget estimates for 2011-12 project a freight loading of 993 million tonne and a passenger growth of 6. On February 25. 13 new double taxation avoidance agreements.9 million passengers on 7. Railway Budget.000. Mamata vowed to build a stronger railroad infrastructure based on the Vision 2020 document while announcing a slew (good deal) of concessions.1.258 crore. Housing loan limit for priority sector lending raised to Rs.735 crore has been made for dividend payment and the excess for railways for the new fiscal has been projected at Rs 5.840 crore. to complete its work in 24 months. Highlights No hike in passenger fare and freight rates. The ordinary working expenses have been fixed at Rs 67. headed by former Supreme Court judge B.630 crore. A target of 1. 2011. . the world s second largest under a single management. Bill to be introduced to review Indian Stamp Act. with an operating ratio of 98. presenting her third Railway Budget in UPA-II in the Lok Sabha.4 per cent. New coins carrying new rupee symbol to be issued. which is higher by Rs 75 crore over budget estimates.000 crore. to overhaul financial regulations.630 crore proposed. Highest ever plan outlay of Rs 57. LPG and fertilizers.500 to Rs.000 crore.3.

59 per cent growth in 2008-2009. Concession for senior citizens increased from 30% to 40%.000 ex-servicemen to be given jobs in railways. with the exception of Haryana which stands fourth in this list. Age for senior women citizens concession reduced to 58 from 60.300 km new lines. Ahmedabad. Student special . . The Survey places Bihar on top in terms of performance on growth.Rs 9. Pradhan Mantri Rail Vikas Yojana to be launched. Madurai-Chennai routes. But Gujarat pips Bihar (which is followed by Orissa.75 lakh jobs to be addressed.583 crore provided for new lines.017 km gauge conversion targeted in 2011-12. with the State posting a whopping 16. Durontos on the Allahabad-Mumbai. start of Rajrani Express. Industrial park in Nandigram. 56 new Express Trains. Centre for excellence in software at Darjeeling. Sealdah-Puri. Interesting to see is the fact that out of top five growing States in the country. Review of economic growth story of India As per the Economic Survey 2011. non-Congress States are scripting India s economic growth story. New Shatabadi to link Ludhiana with New Delhi. Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam.trains to be started. the latest year for which the data is available. on Bandra (T)-Jammu Tawi Express route via Marwar-DeganaRatangarh -Jakhal-Ludhiana. Chennai. 16. "Vivek Express". Ten-year backlog of 1. Pune-Ahmedabad. A bridge factory in Jammu & Kashmir and a state-of-art institute for tunnel and bridge engineering proposed at Jammu. 1. Multi-purpose smart card to be introduced for all-India travel. four are ruled by non-Congress governments. 867 km doubling of lines and 1. New weekly train. Metro coach factory for Singur. Haryana and Uttrakhand) to the lead spot when the growth performance is measured from 2002-2003 onwards to 2009. 3 new Shatabdis and 9 Durontos to be introduced. Integrated suburban network to be set up in Mumbai.

Jharkhand. creating an appropriate legislative framework. he said: The five-fold strategy consists of joining the global crusade against black money. . the Opposition-ruled States of Jharkhand (where the JMM and BJP are in coalition). The percentage of people below the poverty line is very high in Orissa. Chhattisgarh. Madhya Pradesh. followed by Andhra Pradesh. Gujarat and Chhattisgarh. Uttrakhand and Madhya Pradesh. services and movement of people between the two countries. Bihar. Ironically. India and Japan signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) to open markets and reduce barriers on goods. He added that while the membership of the Financial Action Task Force was secured in June 2010. Eurasian Group and Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. followed by Jharkhand. UP.The Economic Survey reveals that though Rajasthan. the maximum health centers have come up in Tamil Nadu. After Punjab. Japan sign free trade agreement On February 16. Tamil Nadu and Bihar. Andhra Pradesh. setting up institutions for dealing with illicit funds. Maharashtra. he said. So far as the progress under the National Rural Health Mission goes. it was Punjab (ruled by the Shorimani Akali Dal-BJP combine) which employed the maximum Scheduled Castes under the programme (Punjab also reports the lowest number of people below poverty line in India) while the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh employed the maximum STs. provided maximum employment under MNREGA in 2009-2010. Rural income inequality is the highest in Haryana and urban income inequality is the highest in Madhya Pradesh. India. along with revision of provisions of 10 existing DTAAs. Madhya Pradesh. 2011. non-Congress ruled states like Orissa and Bihar continue to perform poorly on poverty indicators. UP. Chhattisgarh and Gujarat rank the highest. the maximum SC employment under MNREGA was reported from Tamil Nadu. On gross enrollment ratios in elementary education also. Plan to deal with black money menace Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that the government had adopted a five-fold strategy to deal with the problem of generation and circulation of black money. Discussions have also been concluded for 11 Tax Information Exchange Agreements and 13 new Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs). Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Haryana and Bihar. developing systems for implementation and imparting skills to the manpower for effective action. followed by Karnataka. though they are doing well in terms of economic growth. the government has also joined the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development. Presenting the Budget.

3 billion. spices. motorcycles. Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said on February 4. wheat. This agreement follows from the commitment of the two Prime Ministers in October 2010. in the presence of Prime Minister Najib Razak and several leading captains of industry from both sides. India and Malaysia signed a comprehensive market opening pact that throws up myriad (infinite) trade opportunities for both sides and give a boost to India's Look-East Policy and the prospects for its economic integration with South-East Asia. cotton. India. edible oils. engineering goods and chemicals in India. among other things. which was reached after seven rounds of negotiation. ULFA agrees to unconditional talks . services and movement of natural persons.The pact was signed between Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Seiji Maehara in Tokyo. In what could be a damning admission of Raja not following procedures despite advice from other ministries. Shivraj V. which is currently at $10. the South-East nation will face less barriers on the sale of its fruit. basmati rice. This agreement is the most ambitious agreement signed by India so far and covers trade in goods. India s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and his Malaysian counterpart Mustapa Mohamed. by relaxing barriers to trade in goods. services and investment under its ambit. The findings on procedural lapses are being sent to the CBI. fruits. Patil panel report on 2G scam Unveiling the report of the Shivraj V Patil panel that went into the lapses made during the allocation of the 2G Spectrum. which is looking into the criminal culpability in the scam. Malaysia ink free trade pact On February 18. 2011. 2011. Indian government has set a target of doubling bilateral trade to $25 billion by 2014. besides enhanced cooperation on protection of intellectual property. signed the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). were procedurally wrong. wines and spirits and also certain categories of industrial products such as auto and auto parts. the report says that the DoT did not follow the advice of the Law Ministry or the views of the Finance Ministry over Spectrum pricing. the committee had concluded that all decisions on Spectrum allocation since 2003 by successive governments. will see Indian mangoes. including the UPA regime. The agreement. As a quid pro quo. CEPA will lead to a quantum increase in bilateral trade and investment flows. including agriculture. trucks and basmati rice attract less duty in Malaysia. The agreement has ensured that the sensitive sectors for India are fully protected.

In the past two decades. the year ULFA leaders had met then Prime Minister P. including sovereignty as the core issue. Chidambaram for a preliminary round of talks in New Delhi. We have conveyed our decision for talks to him and are waiting for his response. The ULFA foreign secretary. It initiated major violent activities in 1990. two. one. as a prelude to formal negotiations that would materialize once ULFA submitted its charter of demands. the outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam( ULFA) has finally decided to sit for unconditional talks with the Government of India. In December 2009. which led the Union government banning the organisation. pointed out that preconditions set by both ULFA and the government had stood in the way of holding peace talks since 1992. . about 125 km from Ahmedabad. The decision of the general council is binding on everyone. which significantly assisted India and led to ULFA softening its stand and dropping the demand for independence as a condition for talks. Anyone defying it will face disciplinary action as per the provision of the ULFA s constitution. There has also been a large ULFA crackdown in Bangladesh in last one year. were acquitted (final decision) by a special court in the 2002 Godhra train burning incident that left 59 persons dead and triggered violence in Gujarat that claimed the lives of over 1200 people. in which 59 people were killed. thirty one persons were convicted and 63 others. three. The trial. the ULFA leaders said. the outfit leaders said he had done it before the general council of ULFA decided on unconditional talks. 2011. the chairman and the deputy commander-in-chief of ULFA were arrested. The accused were charged with criminal conspiracy and murder in burning of the S-6 coach of the train on February 27. began in June 2009 with the framing of charges against 94 accused. 2011. 1979. Ahmedabad. Godhra Train Burning Case On February 22. near Godhra. some 10.000 people have died in clashes between the rebels and the government. Paresh Barua was invited to both the central executive committee and general council meeting.V.After three decades of armed conflict that cost thousands of lives in Assam. Sasadhar Choudhury. 2002. conducted inside the Sabarmati Central Jail. ULFA claims to have been founded on April 7. With this ULFA has finally given up its earlier preconditions of. including the main accused Maulvi Umarji. On February 5. Military operations against it by the Army also began in 1990. leaders of the outfit informed that ULFA had been invited by Union Home Minister P. Narasimha Rao only to renege on their promise to come forward for a dialogue on a later date. holding talks in a third country. On ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Barua airing his opposition to dialogue. but he didn t come. of having a UN observer for the talks.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied across Egypt. as well as in Tanta and other Nile Delta centers. including in the industrial city of Suez. and 16 are absconding. a key US ally in an oil-rich region where the chance of chaos spreading to other long stable but repressive States troubles the West. celebrated and hugged each other chanting: The people have brought down the regime. The Court accepted the conspiracy theory.500 documentary evidences were presented before the court by the Gujarat police. Egyptians had been demonstrating in huge numbers against rising prices. out of which 14 were released due to lack of evidence. bowing to escalating pressure from the military and protesters demanding that he go. Nepal finally gets a Prime minister after seven months and sixteen attempts . Banerjee Commission appointed by the Railway Ministry under Lalu Prasad Yadav had said that the fire was "accidental". but was caused by throwing petrol inside it. till a free and fair presidential election is held in September.C. Since the fall of Tunisia's long-time leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The 82-year-old Mubarak's downfall after 18 days of unprecedented mass protests was a momentous victory for people power and is sure to rock autocrats throughout the Arab world and beyond. appointed by the Gujarat government to probe the carnage. earlier the scene of some of the fiercest violence in the crisis. poverty. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS People power forces Hosni Mubarak to quit as President of Egypt On February 11. handing over to the army and ending three decades of autocratic rule. five were juvenile.As many as 253 witnesses were examined during the trial and over 1. After a speaker made the announcement in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The Nanavati Commission. 2011. There were a total of 134 accused in the case. and the second city of Alexandria. unemployment and their authoritarian regime. which triggered protests around the region. The one-man U. Hosni Mubarak stepped down as Egypt's President. Washington has called for a prompt (motivate) democratic transition to restore stability in Egypt. A military council would run the affairs of the Arab world's most populous nation. Two different panels appointed to inquire into the 2002 case had given different views on the Godhra train burning incident. five died during proceedings of over nine years. 80 are in jail and 14 are out on bail. hundreds of thousands of protesters broke down in tears. against whom the trial was conducted. had in the first part of the report concluded that the fire in the S-6 coach was not an accident. The sharpening confrontation had raised fear of uncontrolled violence in the most populous Arab nation. Of the 94.

Faced with a double-digit food inflation. New Delhi wanted that G20 should urge all jurisdictions to conclude Tax Information Exchange Agreements so that menace of black money in tax havens can be tackled. The ministers agreed on a plan to strengthen the international monetary system (IMS) with regard to disruptive capital flows and disorderly movement in exchange rates. on February 3. . the single largest party in the Parliament. a matter of great concern to India. 2011. India also pressed for a coordinated approach to tackle food. the document did not talk about an issue of much interest to India. This issue seems to have been put on back seat as a lot of time was spent on reaching an agreement with China. which was opposed to inclusion of foreign exchange reserves and its exchange rate among the guidelines. was elected by securing 368 votes in the 601-member Parliament. elected veteran communist leader and chairman of the Communist Party of NepalUnified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) Jhalanath Khanal as the new Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Nepal.8 trillion forex reserves and is accused by the US of manipulating its currency yuan. reached a text in the face of tough resistance from China to agree on guidelines for removal of structural flaws in the global economy. However. who was elected chairman of the UML in February 2009. he was a minister in the interim government formed in 1990. G-20 ministers reach deal to correct economic flaws G-20 Finance Ministers have reached a compromise deal to correct global economic imbalances and expressed concern over excessive commodity price volatility impacting the world food security. Khanal proved lucky and became the third communist Prime Minister after the April 2006 uprising by replacing his fellow comrade Madhav Kumar Nepal after the Unified CPN-Maoists. China is sitting on a $2.Ending a seven-month-long standoff over the Prime Ministerial election. major economies. Jhalanath Khanal. faced with uneven recovery and downside risks. Nepal's Parliament. After two days of hard bargain by their Finance Ministers. commodity and oil price volatility. A graduate in political science and history from Tribhuvan University. 61. He was one of the founding members of the National Co-ordination Committee for all Communist Revolutionaries of Nepal in 1975 and CPN (ML) in 1978. Khanal entered politics in 1965. decided to withdraw its candidate and forge (create) a Left alliance by extending support to Khanal. He was elected as a lawmaker in the 1991 and 1994 general elections. After restoration of democracy. He was jailed for a total of 26 months in his early political career and went underground in 1979. UML chairman Khanal. an issue pressed by India. was born in Ilam in May 1950. which make emerging economies "vulnerable".

The original 1991 pact expired at the end of 2009 amid stark differences over how the two sides planned to proceed.8 billion could be paid based on exploration success. has formed a software partnership with Microsoft Corp. monetary and other policies. US. fiscal. part of a journey we have been taking for more than 60 years. taking into due consideration of exchange rate. Future performance payments of up to $1. the communiqué (official report) appeared to have accommodated China's objections to including forex reserves and current account deficit. Fortis Global is the wholly-owned overseas investment vehicle of Fortis Healthcare Ltd. Lavrov told the Munich conference that the agreement would enhance international stability. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched a landmark nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia. The communiqué. said that indicative guidelines. .. which have exceeded $100 per barrel.2 billion to acquire 30 per cent equity stake in 23 oil and gas production sharing contracts that RIL operates in India. The new START officially came into force when Clinton and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov exchanged ratification documents at a security conference in the German city of Munich. betting that together the two companies can challenge Google Inc and Apple Inc. Fortis Global Healthcare Holdings will acquire a majority stake in Australia s Dental Corporation Holdings (DCH). Business News Reliance Industries Ltd and UK s oil and gas exploration company BP have announced a historic deal under which BP will pay $7. a showpiece of Washington s reset of ties with its former Cold War enemy.The document also expressed its worries on the impact of rising oil prices. Clinton said. an entrance test for admission to postgraduate courses in technical institutes in India. ii) external imbalances composed of trade balance and net investment income flows and transfers. instead. The pact slashes existing warhead ceilings by 30 per cent over the next 10 years and limits each side to 700 deployed long-range missiles and heavy bombers. Nokia Oyj. Educomp Solutions has picked up a majority stake in test preparation company Gateforum Educational Services which provides preparatory tools for Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). On the most contentious guidelines to remove structural imbalances. the world s biggest maker of mobile phones. 2011. The chief US diplomat hailed (praise vociferously) the pact as another example of clear-eyed cooperation between the two military powers. including the KG D6 block. Today we exchange the instruments of ratification for a treaty that lessens the nuclear danger facing the Russian and American people and the world. private savings and private debt. Russia launch nuclear arms reduction pact On February 5. without targets will be used to assess: i) public debt and fiscal deficit.

47. out of which Rs 21. a decline of 22 per cent over 2009. The unit has been set up in technical collaboration with ZTM BPD Unit. The Union Budget 2011 has increased the Defence budget by 11 per cent. It was composed by the trio of Shankar.071 crore have been allotted over 2010 Budget figure of Rs 1. Raman in 1928. ships. which comes under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Mao Zedong.344 crore. the Dalai Lama. Franklin Roosevelt. Nelson Mandela. Ernesto Che Guevara. Ehasan and Loy India received foreign direct investment (FDI) worth $21 billion 9Rs 96. Simón Bolívar. planes. As per the Economic Survey. Haile Selassie.213 crore on secondary education and Rs 2. for which he was awarded the Nobel prize. Mahatma Gandhi and the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama have been listed by the Time magazine as the world s top 25 political icons. has been introduced. The Budget 2011 has earmarked Rs 52. 2011. Abraham Lincoln. About Rs 69. . The theme song of Cricket World Cup. a new. Margaret Thatcher. Lenin. Genghis Khan. King Richard the Lionheart and Saladin.1 billion in March. 2011 was De Ghuma Ke .V. Qin Shi Huang. Additional Rs 17. Cleopatra. Bhutan on February 8.000 crore for education. Adolf Hitler.200 crore on higher education.104 crore) in the calendar year 2010. The SAARC Foreign Ministers meet was held in Thimpu. The NASSCOM India Leadership Forum (NILF) was held in Mumbai in February 2011.199 crore has been earmarked for capital expenses like weapons. The Hyderabad international airport has bagged the first rank in its category in the latest Airport Service Quality (ASQ) rankings of the Airports Council International (ACI). from 279.3 billion in December 2010. Rs 6. Cochin. The National Science Day is observed on February 28 to mark the discovery of Raman Effect by Sir C. Queen Victoria. Time s top 25 political icons are: Mahatma Gandhi. Alexander the Great. South Zone. India has the fourth largest foreign exchange reserves in the world. Kim Il-Sung. Winston Churchill. Benito Mussolini. Charles de Gaulle. India s foreign exchange reserves touched $ 297. Sugam. simplified income tax return form. Ronald Reagan. 2011.DO YOU KNOW India s first inland fish processing unit has been set up in the village of Bhutana in Karnal district of Haryana.000 crore will be spent on Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. Central Institute of Fisheries Technology. Louis XIV. special classified projects etc. Akbar the Great. To reduce the burden of small tax-payers.

surpassing Japan. adjusts the wages by indexing it to the Consumer Price Index of Agricultural Laborers (CPIAL). at which it lends to banks. USA continues to be the largest economy of the world with the economy worth $14. squeezing money supply again in the economy in its battle to control price rise. the Reserve Bank of India raised its policy interest rates by a quarter percentage point. analysis shows the other eight States that continue getting less than minimum wages . On January 14. famously known as Kapilavastu relics (An antiquity that has survived from the distant past)." said the RBI.0% at end-March from 5. inflation.6 trillion. fish.5% in 2010-11. to Sri Lanka for an exposition to celebrate his 2600th year of enlightenment in 2011. while the reverse repo. 2011. Such squeezes are aimed at making loans costlier to control demand. It revised up the benchmark inflation estimate based on wholesale prices to 7. more than 30% of the rural India working under the right-towork act continue to receive wages below the guaranteed minimum as per the minimum wages act. UPA s flagship aam admi scheme. Though the Ministry claims the revision takes NREGA wages above the minimum wages in 26 States and Union Territories.5%. oil-seeds. China has emerged as the world s largest economy. although it might ease the following year. the Ministry of Rural Development issued a notification revising the wage rates under the MNREGA from Rs 100 per day to between Rs 117 and Rs 181 (17-30 % hike) in different States. 2011. Rural job Plan turns five but a lot needs to be done The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. However.5%. eggs. coming in wake of inflationary pressures on the poor. turned five on February 2. underlining a grim posture.5 trillion and that of China $5. even as it maintained that GDP growth would be a strong 8. Japanese economy was estimated to be worth about $5. by 25 basis points to 6. CURRENT AFFAIRS: JANUARY 2011 NATIONAL AFFAIRS RBI s Mid-Term Policy Review On January 25. at which it takes bank funds. The revision under Section 6(1) of the 2005 Act.India has agreed to temporarily lend fragments of Buddha s bones. Inflation stemming from structural demand-supply mismatches in several non-cereal food items such as pulses. rose by the same measure to 5.5%. meat and milk is likely to persist till supply response kicks in.8 trillion. It also upped its inflation forecast. which had held on to the position for over four decades. and thus. The RBI raised the repo rate. The RBI kept options open for a further squeeze on rates. At the end of 2010.

The five-member panel was set up in February 2010 to examine the competing demands for carving out a separate Telangana State and maintaining the status quo. Though numerous villages. Srikrishna panel report The Justice B. Srikrishna Committee report was made public on January 6.50 lakh petitions. 2011.3 crore households or 31% of the total 4. . The stress on maintaining unity formed a common thread that ran through the report. The eight include smaller States such as Goa and Mizoram. This is the most workable option in the given circumstances and in the best interest of the social and economic welfare of people of all the three regions in the state.1 crore households provided work till January 31.constitute 1. field visits and examining over 2. the committee said in its 500-page report. the States also include the two showpieces under MNREGA Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan that brought in reforms like social audit. However. which have less number of workers under the scheme. the committee presented a set of six options and discussed their pros and cons in great detail. But. Surat where they Rs 200 to Rs 250 per day. the report said. which has been the single point agenda of Telangana protagonists.N. On bifurcation. this decision will give rise to serious and violent agitations in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions where backlash will be immediate. the average they receive is under Rs 100 a day. 2011.100 in 2010-11. forcing many to go in search of work as far as Ahmedabad. post office-bank payments into the mother of all schemes with a budget allocation of Rs 40. It has strongly advocated maintaining united Andhra Pradesh along with creation of statutory Telangana Regional Council to address the core socio-economic concerns of the backward region. the key issues being Hyderabad and sharing of water and irrigation resources. After an elaborate exercise involving interactions with various groups. the committee warned that division of the State would have repercussions (indirect consequence of some action) in other regions. the Committee said it was the second best option but could be recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably among all three regions. have benefited from MNREGA. If earlier agitations are anything to go by. like Saru in Udaipur district of Rajasthan.

Bifurcation of the State into Seemandhra and Telangana. as that would only create a demand for a great number of smaller States resulting in problems of coordination and management. The two States will develop their own capitals in due course of time. 1972: Jai Andhra movement in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra. Chandrashekhara Rao forms Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). Bifurcation into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory. the Committee said: The division will also have serious implications outside AP. 2001: K. Telangana was part of the Hyderabad State for 400 years.Elaborating further on consequences of splitting the State. with Hyderabad as a Union Territory. Bifurcation into Rayala-Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala-Telangana. Andhra merged with Telangana. Andhra and Rayalaseema separated from Madras. 1969: Telangana Praja Samiti was formed. In 1956. The matter should also be seen in the larger context of whether a region can be allowed to decide for itself what its political status should be. This Union Territory will have geographical linkage and contiguity via Nalgonda district in the south-east to district Guntur in coastal Andhra and via Mahboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema. Historical Timeline Andhra. The panel said: We are convinced that the development aspect is of utmost importance for the welfare of all the three regions and could best be addressed through a model that includes deeper and more extensive economic and political de-centralisation. . Rayalaseema were part of Madras province. It will give fillip to other similar demands. Bifurcation into Telangana and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital. The OPTIONS Maintaining status quo but allow economic and political de-centralisation. 2000: TDP opposes creation of Telangana. In 1953.

whose close friends Jawaharlal Nehru and Biju Patnaik helped defy the Dutch colonial embargoes of the late 1940s that enabled Indonesia gain independence. 238 million population. 2011. New investment commitments worth $12 billion were signed. a region of over 300 million people that spans 10 States from Myanmar to the Philippines. but also because it is the gateway to the ASEAN. infrastructure and manufacturing.Visit of President of Indonesia History met geography when Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the salute as the Chief Guest at India s 62nd Republic Day parade on January 26. India and Indonesia signed nearly 30 agreements. MOU on cooperation in oil and gas. The main accords signed by the two sides were: MOU for cooperation in the field of education. and MOU between the Press Council of India and the Press Council of Indonesia. to work together in areas like ICT. including between private enterprises. railways and ports. The decision was taken during the meeting of India s Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Italian Minister for Economic Development Paolo Romani. the two countries unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stressed that there could be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism. India and Italy decided to set up a Joint Business Council (JBC). including an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty. the two leaders recognized that a quantum leap in tourism between India and Indonesia was desirable to strengthen vibrant and long-standing people-to-people ties. Italy to set-up joint trade panel On January 31. MOU on the establishment of biennial trade ministers forum. a large market. MOU on cooperation in the field of micro. air services agreement. MOU for the development of urea manufacturing plant in Indonesia. with the Indians looking to put their money in infrastructure projects such as airports. was the Chief Guest at the founding of the Indian republic. a bilateral trade cooperation body. MOU on cooperation in science and technology. President Yudhoyono came to Delhi with a large business delegation and witnessed the signature of a clutch of agreements. In a joint statement issued after the talks between the Prime Minister and the Indonesian President. . As a step towards this objective. in Rome. Indian business interest in Indonesia is kindled not only by the fact of its large. small and medium enterprises. from about $ 11 billion in 2009-10. In the field of tourism. India. the Prime Minister announced a scheme of granting visa on arrival to the citizens of Indonesia. protocol for extension of the MOU on cooperation in marine and fisheries. in 1950. and therefore. President Soekarno. and pledged to achieve a bilateral trade target of $ 25 billion by 2015. 2011.

The two ministers also discussed the importance of SMEs and it was agreed that soon industry chambers of both the countries would organise workshops and seminars. The US decision meets a long pending Indian demand and is the first step to implement the export control policy initiative announced by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 8. and Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) are the four ISRO subsidiaries. Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB). USA lifts export curbs on DRDO. four remaining subsidiaries of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the US sanction list and another four of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It will meet once a year.The JBC will be managed by FICCI from the Indian side and by CONFINDUSTRIA from the Italian side. The nine entities are Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL). Sriharikota Space Center (SHAR). from its export control Entity List in an attempt to expand high technology trade and strategic cooperation with India. from 16 per cent now. 2010. Romani assured India that Italian entrepreneurs would take huge advantage of the investment opportunities in India. ISRO The US has removed nine Indian space and defence related companies. including those from ISRO and DRDO. Sharma informed Romani that India would soon come out with a manufacturing policy aimed at increasing the contribution of manufacturing to 24 per cent of the GDP. coinciding with the bilateral ministerial meeting. The DRDO subsidiaries are Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE). . after their summit talks in New Delhi. Defence Research and Development Lab (DRDL). Missile Research and Development Complex and Solid State Physics Laboratory Liquid Propulsion Systems Center. Seeking closer cooperation in infrastructure sector.

Chandolia. Patil. He said that procedural shortcomings were found in applications of telecom operators and that there were many shortcomings on the part of DoT officials in implementing procedures. Hirschhorn. Justice Patil report on 2G Scam The one-man committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Shivraj V. said US Under-Secretary of Commerce Eric L.K. Raja for procedural lapses. These changes reaffirm the US commitment to work with India on our mutual goal of strengthening the global non-proliferation framework. the panel was set up on December 13 2010 to look into the Spectrum allocation procedures and policies from 2001 to 2009. The panel was also asked to examine if procedures were followed consistently and if these were followed in fair and transparent manner and report any deviation. a former lieutenant of Raja. shortcomings and lapses. During 2001-04.Removal from the Entity List eliminates a licence requirement specific to the companies. has identified the guilty in the report which was submitted on January 31. the BJP-led NDA Government was at the Centre and Raja had been saying that he only followed the policies of his predecessors. 2011. The period also included the issuing of telecom licences during the NDA regime. Raja resigned. After former Telecom Minister A. including former DoT Secretary Siddharth Behura and R. who was appointed by the Telecom Ministry to look into the lapses in the allocation of the 2G Spectrum. . The report also named seven other officials in the Department of Telecom (DoT). and results in the companies off the list being treated the same way as any other destination in India for export licensing purposes. Justice Patil clarified that procedural lapses of different types were found in different periods and that referred to not just the particular year in question but also before that. The panel has nailed A.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Dilma Rousseff is Brazil s first woman President On January 1. 2010. Other steps being planned are: Proper scrutiny of officials before appointments. posting on websites the names of officials involved in corruption cases and permission to prosecute identified cases. Concerning the guilty identified in the report. . Patil said he could not produce supporting documents as they were with the CBI. Justice Patil said that in the report he had suggested remedial measure with regard to the licensing policies and procedures. She has promised to build on an unprecedented run of economic success achieved by her popular predecessor and mentor. Adoption of Finland s procedural model is also under consideration. A 20-point agenda to bring about procedural improvements to achieve this goal is on the anvil.Country s top audit body Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had earlier alleged that several operators had suppressed information while applying in 2007 to bag licences and the 2G Spectrum from A Raja. Thousands of admirers braved a driving rain and cheered as Rousseff rode to her inauguration in a 1953 Rolls Royce flanked by an all-female security detail. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Critical steps under active consideration by the government include instructions to clearly mention on files involving clearances by them whether the decision was a government one (taken by the Cabinet) or one by the official himself. especially to critical posts. Dilma Rousseff became the Brazil's first female President. Prime Minister draws up 20-point agenda on Corruption Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has outlined a comprehensive agenda to make transparency and ethics the core focus of governance at all levels.

The UN mission was tasked to supervise the arms and the army of the former rebels and the military. including an overvalued currency that is hurting industry. the UN ended its peace mission as the government and the main Opposition Maoists inked a crucial eleventh-hour deal to monitor fragile peace process. New PM appointed in Jordan following protests On January 31. as there is no clear road-map regarding the future monitoring.The former Marxist guerrilla. More than 20 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty during Lula's eight years in office. newly discovered offshore oil reserves due to be exploited and the World Cup and Olympics to be hosted here. Perhaps the biggest task will be living up to the example set by Lula. The earlier Prime Minister Samir Rifal was criticized for following a pro-Western reforms agenda. makes the fate of the 19. thanks largely to his social welfare policies and stable economic management that made Brazil a darling among Wall Street investors. rampant public spending that is fueling inflation. however. but the opposition dismissed the move as insufficient. .000 Maoist combatants confined in the cantonments uncertain. His opponents sought to reverse free market reforms they say have cut State support for East Bank Jordinians. The move came following protests inspired by mass demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt. Rousseff also faces a long list of daunting challenges that Lula failed to tackle. who evolved over the years into a pragmatic civil servant with a professed obsession for reducing poverty. 2011. and notorious bureaucracy that stifles investment and discourages innovation. with massive. the original inhabitants of the country who depend on government support more than Jordinains of Palestinian origins. 2011. Marouf Bakhit was appointed as the Prime Minister of Jordan by King Abdullah. integration and rehabilitation of the former combatants. smiled broadly and clapped along with spectators as she was sworn in before the Congress. The coming decade also looks bright. especially among the poor. a former metalworkers' union leader who leaves office with an approval rating of 87 per cent and near folk-hero status. Yet. The UNMIN closure. UN ends Peace Mission in Nepal On January 15.

extrajudicial killings of those accused under the country's blasphemy laws started in 1990. Salmaan Taseer. instituted by military strongman General Zia Ul Haq. danced and ululated after officials said 99. a Christian woman awarded the death sentence for committing blasphemy. once again drew attention to Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws. 2011. which the Maoists do not agree to. 2011. Africa s longest civil war which cost an estimated 2 million lives. and expressed his support for her. on January 4. Threats were made. but the laws were in place since 1980. According to data compiled by the National Commission for Justice and Peace. and protests held against Taseer after he visited Aasia Bibi. South Sudan says Yes to secession South Sudan has overwhelmingly voted to split from the north in a referendum intended to end decades of civil war. Religious parties have been able to force Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to step back from the government's earlier stance of changing these laws Taseer's killing due to his support for a woman convicted under the blasphemy law is yet another addition to the list of those killed as a direct or indirect consequence of this legislation. a local NGO.The government said a special committee comprising representatives from the main political parties would monitor the ex-guerrillas. The vote was promised in a 2005 peace-deal which ended decades of north-south conflict. .57 per cent of voters from the south s 10 States chose to secede. Governor of Punjab province of Pakistan assassinated for supporting a woman convicted under blasphemy law The assassination of former Governor of Punjab province of Pakistan. which have been at the center of debate of late. as per the result declared on January 30. Thousands cheered.

the pomp and rhetoric did little to resolve acrimony between the two countries over US interference in South China Sea. This was the first visit of a Chinese President to USA in 13 years. for agreeing to the 2005 accord. The State-run Chinese media recorded the visit as a successful summit of equals. including the position of their shared border. US policies on Taiwan. 2010 . Sudan s overall president Omar Hassan al-Bashir. According to the terms of the accord. Global Innovation Report.Kiir. praised his former civil war foe. Leaders from the SPLM and Bashir s northern National Congress Party (NCP) still have to agree on a list of politically sensitive issues. a day after President Obama asked him to talk to representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve the issue. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised north and south Sudan for the peaceful vote but said he was concerned about the unresolved issues. south Sudan will be able to declare independence on July 9. During the joint press conference President Jintao admitted that his country needed to do a lot more on human rights. 2011. The human rights were clearly the top concern of USA despite the economic ties between the two countries. how they would split oil revenues after secession and the ownership of the disputed Abyei region. the head of the former southern rebel Sudan People s Liberation Movement (SPLM). currency and trade differences. Visit of Chinese President to USA President Hu Jintao of China visited USA in second week of January 2011 to narrow rifts between the world s top two economies. pending any legal challenges to the results. the Dalai Lama. However. President Jintao warned USA to keep away from Tibet or else bilateral ties will be greatly effected.

The 2010 Innovation Report: Twelve Key Technology Areas and Their States of Innovation tracks patent activity in key technology areas using the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPISM) database. followed by Korean manufacturers LG and Samsung. according to the second annual analysis of world patent activity published by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters. as measured by patent volume. Semiconductor innovation short circuits: The Semiconductor technology area saw the largest drop in innovation activity across the 12 areas tracked. the largest aerospace sub-sector increase from 2009 to 2010 occurred in the field of Space Vehicles and Satellite Technology. The Future of the Global Muslim Population may be the first to attempt to map the Muslim population of most of the world's countries.Innovation levels. The drop was driven by sub-sector declines in Integrated Circuits. The analysis was conducted by two giant non-profit groups interested . falling 9% last year. this is a 6% decline from the level seen in 2009.622 unique inventions in 2010. The three companies in this area were Japanese manufacturer Sharp. according to a broad new demographic analysis that is likely to spark controversy in the West. Muslim demographic peak over next 20 years The world's Muslim population will grow at double the rate of non-Muslims over the next 20 years. Computers & Peripherals tops the list of the most innovative technology areas with the highest volume of patent activity for second consecutive year. The one Semiconductor sub-sector showing growth in 2010 was Materials and Processes. earning it the top slot among the 12 areas in the analysis. Key findings between 2009 and 2010 innovation data include: Aerospace technology area blasts into a new orbit: In addition to increasing overall activity by 25% year over year. The innovators with the most patent activity in this sub-sector were Korean manufacturers Samsung and Hynix Semiconductor. However. Discrete Devices. despite an overall decline from 2009: The Computers & Peripherals technology area published 212. shifted across 12 major technology areas from 2009 to 2010. and Memories. followed by Japan's Toshiba. the world's most trusted source of patent information. Film & Hybrid Circuits. which jumped up 108%.

9 billion. The number of US Muslims will more than double. who argue that the religion is at odds with Western values and worry that the number of Muslim extremists is on the rise.7 percent of the world's Muslims.6 million in 2010 to 6. Muslims make up 23.2 million in 2030.3 percent by 2030. India will remain home to the world's third largest Muslim population. with France and Belgium at 10. Among its other projections are: Muslim populations in some parts of Europe will reach the double digits.4 percent of the world's population of 6. Pakistan will overtake Indonesia as the world's most populous Muslim nation. Eighty-two percent of the world's Muslims live in Asia.in religion: the Pew Research Center and the John Templeton Foundation. According to the study's projections. Europe is home to 2. in 2030.4. The analysis could fuel critics of Islam in Europe and the United States. Business News . Or it could calm those fears by providing evidence that Muslim populations in the West will remain relatively tiny. a percentage that is predicted to remain stable. Muslim population growth and fertility rates will continue to decline. West Asia and North Africa. from 2. The study which uses a dizzying mix of public and private data sources makes it clear that even rapid growth among Muslims will not produce dramatic demographic shifts in most parts of the world. and that number is projected to be around 79 percent in 2030. that percentage will be 26. This is part of a larger project to map the population of all the world's religions.

has launched a pick-up vehicle based on the Xylo model. Opening another chapter in aviation history.K. . from its number four position that it held before the acquisition. the executive charter service of Indian Hotels Company Ltd and with Business Jets India Pvt Ltd. Kurien as Wipro s new CEO. 13 years after he and fellow Stanford University student Sergy Brin founded what has become the world s number one internet search engine. India s seventh largest IT services firm. Page s assumption of day-today operations marks a return to Google s technological roots. Leasing & Finance Services (IL&FS) will be the new promoter of Maytas Properties. an alliance in the air charter industry.The NASDAQ-listed iGate has sealed the deal to buy Patni Computers. G. to create a $1-billion entity Starbucks. Starbucks will set up stores in the Tata group s retail outlets and hotels and source roast coffee beans from Tata Coffee s Kodagu facility. The vehicle has been named Genio. Infrastructure. Gopinath. the world s largest coffee retailer. the market leader in utility vehicles. has had his Deccan Charters Ltd join hands with Taj Air.R. Wipro Chairman Azim Premji has done away with the dual helmsman-ship model and appointed T. catapulting the group to become the world leader in carbon black. The Aditya Birla group has bought the $1-billion revenue earning US firm Colombian Chemicals for $875 million. to launch Powerfly. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has entered into luxury sedan segment with launch of its car Kizashi. the cash-strapped company owned by family members of disgraced Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju. Under the non-binding MoU between the two. Google Inc co-founder Larry Page has taken over as CEO from Eric Schmidt. known as the pioneer of low-cost carriers in India. has entered into an agreement with Tata Coffee for a strategic alliance in India. Mahindra & Mahindra.

731 in FY10 against Rs 31.8 per cent growth in fiscal 2008-09. Per capita income means earnings of each Indian if the national income is evenly divided among the country's population at 117 crore (1.605 in 2008-09.345 calculated by the Central Statistical Organisation.ICICI Bank has entered into an agreement with Indian Army for extending modern banking products to the personnel in uniform.86 billion) in FY'09. GDP would rise in good times and fall during any crisis. the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund accepted GDP as a method to assess a nation's economy. Per capita income (at 2004-05 prices) stood at Rs 33.492 in 2009-10. In 1944.230 crore (Rs 61. According to him. GDP was first developed by Simon Kuznets for a United States Congress report in 1934. from Rs 40. the Indian economy expanded by 8 per cent during the fiscal ended March 2010. up 16. The gross domestic product (GDP).82. The new per capita income figure estimates on current market prices is over Rs 2. Based on 2004-05 prices. DO YOU KNOW Per capita income of Indians grew by 14.332.086 crore (Rs 52. companies and the government in a single measure.17 billion). .5 per cent to Rs 46.820. The 98th Indian Science Congress was held at SRM University near Chennai.30 billion) in 2009-10. His idea was to calculate all economic production by individuals. or gross domestic income (GDI).000 more than the previous estimate of Rs 44.801 in the previous year.1 per cent over Rs 52. The idea of gross domestic product came into existence after the Great Depression and World War II. The size of the economy at current prices rose to Rs 61.33. is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time. This is higher than 6.

During the decade. Punjab and any other State which may join at alter date over the next five-year period. The bridge links the main urban area of Qingdao city in east China s Shandong province with Huangdao district.000km of all-weather roads in the rural seven economically poor and hilly areas States Himachal Pradesh. Rural roads account for about 61% of India s road length. It is 42.48 km long. from 2011 starts the Decade of Biodiversity. 2011. 8. The defeat of the Marathas by the army of Ahmad Shah Abdali prepared the ground for the gradual take-over of India by the East India company. 2011 marked the 250th anniversary of the third battle of Panipat.800 crore) for building 24. named INAS 343.5 billion (about Rs 6. On January 17. Uttarkhand. . Meghalaya. Indian Navy commissioned a squadron of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). January 14. The UAVs have been nick-named Frontier Formidables . National Highways comprise less than 2 per cent of the road network. The restaurant is 92 meter taller than the world s second highest eatery. but carry 40 per cent of road-based traffic. The Qingdao Haiwan Bridge in China is the world s longest sea bridge. Jharkhand. much like the IPCC for Climate Change. Uttar Pradesh. Gujarat. a UN body. is expected to push for action on biodiversity front. It is called At.While 2010 was observed as the International Year of Biodiversity. Army Day is observed in India on January 15.mosphere. The World Bank has offered to India a loan of $1. to enhance coastal surveillance capabilities.04 km further than the distance between Dover and Calais. at Porbander. the revolving 360 Restaurant in Toronto s CN Tower. The world s highest restaurant is located on the 122nd floor of the world s tallest building Burj Khalifa. as also longer than a marathon.

ASEAN member countries and India will lift import tariffs on more than 80 per cent of traded products between 2013 and 2016. In August 2009. Singapore. India s first President. In January 2010. . India signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the ASEAN members in Thailand. India also became a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1996. Myanmar. the partnership between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprising Brunei. Laos. wherein both sides make requests for the openings they seek and offers are made by the receiving country based on the requests. Under the ASEAN-India FTA.RBI has decided to circulate Rs 5 coins to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Rajendra Prasad. Thailand and Vietnam has been developing at quite a fast pace. India became a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992. according to a release by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Indonesia. Malaysia and Thailand accepted the FTA on goods. India and ASEAN are currently negotiating agreements on trade in services and investment. Mutual interest led ASEAN to invite India to become its full dialogue partner during the fifth ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in 1995. Cambodia. Malaysia. The other seven ASEAN countries are expected to operationalise the FTA by August 2010. The services negotiations are taking place on a request-offer basis. the Philippines. Singapore. Objective Anti-Leprosy Day is observed in India on January 30. India & ASEAN Last Updated: June 2010 Since its start about a decade ago. India and ASEAN have been holding summit-level meetings on an annual basis since 2002.

chartered accountancy and medicine as it has a large number of English speaking professionals in these areas who can gain from job opportunities in the ASEAN region. Trade The deepening of ties between India and ASEAN is reflected in the continued buoyancy in trade figures.14 billion.8 billion to ASEAN. according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. India s trade with ASEAN countries has increased from US$ 30. During April September 2009-10.19 billion. totalling US$ 2. Singapore The growing bilateral economic relationship is reflected in the rapidly rising bilateral trade between Singapore and India. During April-December 2009-10. according to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).3 billion in 2008-09 from ASEAN.7 billion in 2006-07 to US$ 39.08 billion in 2007-08 and to US$ 45. India's imports from ASEAN totalled US$ 18. India imported goods worth US$ 26. In 2008-09. according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. nursing.09 billion.34 billion in 2008-09. . India s trade with ASEAN was US$ 20. Singapore continues to be the single largest investor in India amongst the ASEAN countries and the second largest amongst all countries with foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India. The cumulative FDI inflows from Singapore during April 2000 and March 2010 were US$ 10.4 billion in 2009-10.India has made requests in a number of areas including teaching. India's exports to ASEAN totalled US$ 19. tourism and banking network in ASEAN countries. according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. India exported goods worth US$ 12. During the period April-December 2009-10.2 billion. architecture. India is also keen on expanding its telecom. IT.

During 2008-09.The total bilateral trade during 2008-09 was US$ 16. .5 billion in 2007-08.12 billion. Indian merchandise exports to Singapore totalled US$ 5.45 billion to Singapore. ships.86 per cent over US$ 15. boats and floating structures and natural pearls. an increase of 3. according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. comprising mainly of mineral fuels and oils. gems and jewellery. according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. India exported goods worth US$ 8.1 billion. During April-December 200910.

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