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September (12 - 18) Current Affairs


International

Twenty-Second World Mining Congress and Expo was held at Istanbul, Turkey between 11-16 September 2011. World Mining Congress & Expo is a unique opportunity for companies and manufactures to showcase their latest achievements and equipment technologies to a wide audience especially to those officials and specialists from all over the world.

The officials are responsible for future developments and key decisions of the mining sectors of their countries.




The United States on 15 September 2011 declared the Indian Mujahideen terror group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and nationality act as a specially designated global terrorist under section 1(b) of executive order 13224. 

The consequences of this declaration include the freezing of all property and interests in property of the Indian Mujahideen that are in the US, or come within the US, or the control of US persons.



National Issues


The Ministry of Tourism launched a Scheme for Driver’s Training under Hunar Se Rozgar initiative. The Scheme now launched draws upon the fact that drivers with skill and in adequate number are essential for sustaining tourism, and that in India where tourism is expected to emerge as a key economic driver, driving as an avocation has large employment potential.

As in all the programmes and schemes launched as part of Hunar Se Rozgaar initiative, the Scheme now launched has a distinct leaning for youth belonging to economically weaker strata of the society. Open to young men and women in the age group of 18 to 28 years who are atleast 10th pass, the Scheme has the first preference for persons belonging to BPL category. The Scheme, by subjecting eligibility to an economic criterion, explicitly bars those who have the wherewithal to afford this training.



The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure on 15 September 2011 approved a Rs 6013 crore project for widening of National Highways stretches in Rajasthan and Gujarat under Road Transport and Highways Ministry's flagship road building programme NHDP.

The committee approved development of six laning of Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad section on National Highway NH-79A, NH-79, NH-76 and NH8 in Rajasthan and Gujarat under NHDP Phase V.



The Rajasthan state government on 12 September 2011 launched the ambitious Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojna in all the 33 districts. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot launched the scheme at Dudu near Jaipur. The Scheme aims to bring down maternal and child mortality rate in the state. 

Under the scheme, the government will provide free treatment and transport facility to pregnant women and sick infants. Along with this, all the pregnant women would be provided medicines and other consumables before, during and till 6 months after the delivery.

Likewise, the sick infants would be provided all medicines free up to 30 days of their birth. The pregnant and infants would also be provided free transport facility from home to health institute. Over 5300 women die every year in Rajasthan due to complications in delivery, while 98 thousand 500 infants die within a year of their birth in the state.




According to the figures given by the Tourism Ministry, 4.02 lakh foreign tourist arrived during August 2011 compared to 3.82 lakh during August 2010 and 3.70 lakh in August 2009. A growth of 3.3 per cent was registered in August 2010 over the figure for August 2009. Currently, foreign tourist arrivals in India are about 0.5 per cent of world tourist arrivals.

A total of 38.19 lakh foreign tourists visited the country during January-August 2011 with a growth of 10.2 per cent, compared to 34.67 lakh during January-August 2010.

Foreign exchange earnings (FEE) during August 2011 were worth Rs.5734 crore compared to Rs.4620 crore in August 2010 and Rs.4115 crore in August 2009. The growth rate in FEE in Rs. terms in August 2011 over August 2010 was 24.1 % as compared to 12.3 % in August 2010 over August 2009.




Union Government of India Unveiled the New Policy to Deal with Naxalism. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled the new policy which aims at dealing with Naxalism through a five year integrated plan while addressing the concluding session of the day long national workshop on development strategies in naxal affected districts in New Delhi on 13 September 2011.

This programme is aimed at bridging the development deficit in the extremely backward areas that are affected left wing extremism. Lack of development often leads to alienation among the inhabitants of these areas.



Bilateral


India Donated 1 Million US Dollars to UN Women Budget for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women or UN Women, for the year 2011.

Hardeep Singh Puri, India's Permanent UN Representative handed the amount to Michele Bachelet, Under Secretary general and executive director of UN Women on 9 April 2011.



India and Turkey on 12 September 2011 agreed for future cooperation in coal related areas during the meeting between Sriprakash Jaiswal, Minister of Coal, Government of India and Taner Yildiz, Minister for Energy and Natural Resources, government of Turkey.

The meeting took place at Istanbul, Turkey on the sidelines of the 22nd World Mining Congress inaugural session.


Economic

The Union Government on 15 September 2011 approved the Approach Paper for the 12th Plan (2012-17) which seeks to attain second generation economic reforms, improving governance and raise annual economic growth rate to 9 per cent during impending five-year period.

Approach Paper for the 12th Plan (2012-17)

The Approach Paper is a document that aims to provide the preliminary guidelines to enable the States/UTs prepare their respective proposals. The basic proposal components will have to include :

• State Portal including Applications & e-forms
• State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG)
• Gap Infrastructure - Identification of gaps in connectivity and computing infrastructure and making provision for the same in the Proposal.
• Training to the officers of the destination office for e-form processing
• Content provisioning arrangement
• Manpower Support





The Union Government on 15 September 2011 decided to allow corporates to raise external commercial borrowings (ECBs) in yuan (Renminbi) equivalent to $1 billion to help companies who are trading with China. 

For the first time yuan (Renminbi), (equivalent of $1 billion) was allowed as an acceptable currency under the ECB. So far, the government had allowed firms to raise external commercial borrowings (ECBs) only in US dollar, Japanese yen, euro and British pound. The decision to allow companies to raise ECBs in yuan is expected to benefit infrastructure firms such as ADAG Group company Reliance Power and Lanco Infratech.



The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hiked the short-term policy rate (repo rate) by 25 basis points from 8 per cent to 8.25 per cent on 16 September 2011. The reverse repo rate as a result got automatically adjusted to 7.25 per cent and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate to 9.25 per cent.

Repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow from the central bank and reverse repo is the rate at which banks park their funds with the RBI. The central bank raised rates for the 12th time since March 2010.



India’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $4.29 billion to $316.50 billion. The fall in foreign exchange reserve was attributed to a drop in foreign currency assets (FCAs). Foreign exchange reserves had earlier risen by $1.61 billion to $320.76.

Foreign currency assets, the biggest component of the reservesdipped by $4.174 billion to $280.701 billion during the week ended 9 September.



The Reserve Bank of India on 14 September 2011 sold US dollars to save the local currency (rupee)from a sharp slide. Fears of a debt default in the euro zone, following the rating downgrades of two of the largest French banks, and growing concerns over global growth led the rupee to close at a 16-month low of 47.65 against the dollar, having touched 48.01 on 14 September.

The Indian currency depreciated 6.86 per cent since April 2011 but further loss was capped by some amount of selling of dollars by the RBI. RBI participation was even less than $200 million, but helped in more dollar dumping by banks and exporters. As a result, the rupee fell only by five paise on 14 September as compared to a fall of 38 paise on 13 and 65 paise on 12 September.



RBI Panel suggested turning Co-operative Credit Societies to Urban Co-operative Banks.
RBI panel in September 2011 proposed that the existing well managed co-operative credit societies meeting certain financial criteria like profits, capital adequacy and NPA proportion be given priority for granting licences as urban co-operative banks (UCBs) particularly in unbanked or inadequately banked centres.

The panel headed by YH Malegam acknowledged the importance of urban co-operative banks for financial inclusion and suggested that new entrants should be encouraged to open banks and branches in unbanked or inadequately banked area. UCBs play a useful role and the panel felt a need for a greater presence of UCBs in unbanked districts and in centres having population less than 5 lakh.



MCX-SX's Currency Trading Licence extended by SEBI. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 14 September 2011 approved the application for renewal of registration for currency futures trading of MCX Stock Exchange (MCX-SX).

The approval followed issue of a showcause notice by SEBI to the exchange asking the bourse to explain why its application for renewal of registration for currency futures trading should not be rejected.



India's wholesale price index ( WPI) rose 9.78% in August 2011 on year-on-year basis. Headline inflation as measured by the wholesale price index quickened to 9.78% in August from 9.22% in July. The rise in headline inflation has been attributed to costlier food, fuel and manufactured products.



Finance Ministry relaxed Norms for Foreign Institutional Investments in Infrastructure Space.
The finance ministry on 12 September 2011 relaxed the norms for foreign institutional investments (FII) in the infrastructure space by reducing the residual maturity and lock-in periods for investments in listed and unlisted bonds.

As per the new norms, FIIs were allowed to invest up to $5 billion in long-term infrastructure bonds having an initial maturity of five years and a residual maturity of one year compared to five years residual maturity before. FIIs were permitted to invest a maximum of $17 billion in long-term infrastructure bonds of an equivalent initial maturity but with a residual maturity period of three years compared to five years before. While the lock-in period for the $5 billion investment window was cut down from three years to one year, it will remain three years for the $17 billion investment.




The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) approved the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) of MCX's (Multi-Commodity Exchange) initial public offering on 9 September 2011. SEBI clearance will be valid for 12 months. Leading commodity exchange MCX had filed its Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) for an initial public offer (IPO) with SEBI of 6427378 equity shares of Rs 10 each.

The approval comes amid a debate on whether or not to allow exchanges to list shares because of the conflict of interest between supervising trading and maximizing profit.



Report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released on 12 September 2011 expected the slowdown in the Indian economy to persist.

The composite leading indicators index for July 2011 showed that most regions of the world would face a slowdown in economic activity with the only exception being Japan.



The official data on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) released on 12 September 2011 by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation showed that in the wake of high inflation, industrial growth fell to its 21-month low at 3.3 per cent in July 2011. Industrial growth had witnessed a robust expansion of 9.9 per cent in the same month in 2010 and a healthy 8.8 per cent in June 2011.

The industry's performance in July 2011 was the worst since October 2009 when it grew by a mere 2.3 per cent following the severe impact of the global meltdown.



Dell on 13 September 2011 declared its acquisition of U.S.-based $200 million revenue networking company Force 10 Networks. Force10 Network's Chennai research and development team is to be ramped up to play a crucial part for Dell's networking business. Force10 at present had 270 people in the Chennai R&D team.

The global networking market was pegged at $6 billion and this was expected to grow to $16 billion by 2016.



Coca-Cola India and Jain Irrigation on 14 September 2011 announced the launch of Project Unnati. Unnati will mark a unique partnership with farmers to demonstrate and enable adoption of ultra-high density plantation (UHDP) practice for mango cultivation. The project is to encourage sustainable, modern agricultural practices and help double mango yields.

UHDP is a farming practice that leads to mango orchards attaining their full potential in 3-4 years and allows nearly 600 trees to be planted per acre instead of the conventional 40 trees.


Persons

Helle Thorning-Schmidt was elected Denmark’s First Woman Premier. Danish opposition leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt emerged victorious in the elections held on 15 September 2011 and will take over as the country's first female Prime Minister. She belongs to the Social Democrats party. The result ended the center-right government's 10 years in office.

Thorning-Schmidt succeeded Lars Lokke Rasmussen who submitted his resignation to Queen Margrethe on 16 September 2011.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt became a social democrat during her studies in Belgium and joined the Danish Social Democrats in 1993. From 1994 to 1997 she led the secretariat of the Danish delegation of social democrats in the European Parliament. After her time in Brussels she worked as an international consultant with the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions until being elected MEP in 1999.



Leila Lopes from Angola was crowned Miss Universe on 12 September 2011 in Sau Paulo, Brazil.

Lopes is a business management student in Great Britain, where she was crowned Miss Angola UK on 8 October 2010, the official representative of the Angolan community in the United Kingdom to the 2011 Miss Angola pageant.

Contestants from 89 nations on six continents participated in globe’s biggest beauty contest which was held in Brazil for the first time.



Nitin Dossa elected President of the Federation of Indian Automobile Associations (FIAA).

Nitin Dossa, the executive chairman of the Mumbai-headquartered Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) was unanimously elected president of the Federation of Indian Automobile Associations (FIAA).

He was elected president at the annual general meeting of FIAA held on 9 September 2011. He is to hold this position for a period of two years.



Major General (retd) BC Khanduri was appointed the sixth Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. He replaced Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank who resigned on 11 September 2011.

Nishank was asked to resign by the Bharatiya Janata Party as it was alarmed by the state government’s sagging image due to several allegations of corruption. The decision was taken keeping in view the forthcoming elections in the state in 2012.



Bollywood's legendary photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha passed away in Mumbai on 13 September 2011. Born in 1950 in Mumbai, Rajadhyaksha went on to become synonymous with Bollywood portrait photography during the 80s and 90s and also experimented in film making and writing screen plays.


Awards

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra were conferred with the rank of honourary Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army by President Pratibha Patil on 13 September.

The honour was bestowed on Dhoni and Bindra for their outstanding contribution in the field of cricket and shooting respectively, and their commitment to the Army on various occasions.



The Maulana Azad Dental Institute bagged the FICCI Excellence Award on 8 September 2011.

The health care operational award was given away by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry after rounds of assessment.

Maulana Azad Dental Institute is the first dental institution, catering to more than 2.5 lakh patients annually across the country.



Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the Spirit of Cricket Award at the LG ICC Awards 2011.

The LG ICC Awards 2011 were presented in association with FICA on 12 September 2011 taking into account performances by players and officials in the period between 11 August 2010 to 3 August 2011.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the Spirit of Cricket Award. Dhoni was chosen for the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for his fine gesture of recalling Ian Bell after the England batsman was run out under controversial circumstances during the second Test at Trent Bridge in July 2011.


Sports

India defeated Pakistan to clinch the Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament. India defeated Pakistan 4-2 in the penalty shoot-out in a nerve-wrecking final to clinch the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament on 11 September 2011.

Goalkeeper S. Sreejesh played a crucial role in securing victory as he managed two crucial saves for India. Indian hockey team is coached by Michael Nobbs.



Durgesh Kumar Pal of Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles in the Commonwealth Youth Games at Isle of Man on 12 September 2011.

Durgesh clocked 51.76secs. Durgesh joined the Boys Sports Company in 2006 at the age of 12. Hailing from Ghaziabad district in Uttar Pradesh he had won the silver medal in the Youth Olympics held at Singapore in 2010.



Australia’s Samantha Stosur on 11 September 2011 defeated Serena Williams to win the US Open crown and her first grand slam singles title. Stosur became the first Australian woman in 38 years to win the title when she beat Williams 6-2 6-3.

The three-times US Open champion, Williams had been a favourite to win the US Open but failed to produce her best on one of the biggest occasions in tennis. Stosur dominated the match from the start and fully deserved her win. Williams, a 13-times grand slam singles champion, had won four of her six previous matches against Stosur.



Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won the Italian Grand Prix on 11 August 2011. The victory marked his 18th career win.

He is currently one race away from being crowned world champion for the second year in a row and at the age of 24.




Preeja Sreedharan won the gold medal in the 10000m race on the opening day of the 51st National Open Athletics Championships on 10 September 2011 in Kolkata.

Competing for Railways, Sreedharan had earlier won the 10000m race in the Guangzhou Asian Games with a national record of 31.50.47. Her track rival Kavita Raut (35:56.13) finished a fraction of seconds behind to earn ONGC a silver medal.




Novak Djokovic defeated Nadal to win his First Career US Open Crown. Novak Djokovic on 12 September 2011 used his superior return game, defense and speed to defeat the 10-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1 and win his first career US Open crown and fourth Grand Slam title.

With the victory Djokovic pushed his record on the year to an amazing 64-2 and 6-0 over Nadal. With the win he also became just the sixth man in the Open Era to win three Grand Slam titles in the same year. He had won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon (over Nadal) earlier in 2011.



Science and Technology

Scientists Developed A breath detector to find Disaster Victims. Scientists on 11 September 2011 said they had developed sensors to detect breath and sweat. This device one day could locate survivors buried under buildings hit by an earthquake or a bomb blast.

Dogs can be trained to detect these compounds, but are expensive to train, require frequent rest periods and both animal and trainer are exposed to danger during search operations.



NASA Launched Mission to Study Moon from Crust to Core.  NASA's twin lunar Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on 10 September 2011 to study the moon in unprecedented detail.

GRAIL-A is scheduled to reach the moon on 31 December 2011, while GRAIL-B will arrive on 1 January 2012. The two solar-powered spacecraft will fly in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field. GRAIL will answer longstanding questions about the moon and give scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.





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