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2012 April 1 to 5 Current Affairs

International Issues

The Second Conference of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People was held in Istanbul. 82 countries along with the representatives from the United Nations, The League of Arab States, The European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the African Union took part in the meeting. 

The group has supported Kofi Annan’s peace mission and asked him to prepare a time frame in case the killings continue. It has recognized, Syrian National Council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Meanwhile US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Syrian regime to implement UN peace plan to end the violence or face serious consequences.

The head of the Iran parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi has condemned the US move to provide a Missile defense shield to the gulf countries.

Iran’s Mehr News Agency quoted him saying that United States has been cheating regional countries with Iranophobia to sell them American weapons.

Boroujerdi said that the Arab nation Gulf nations should establish the security by relying on regional resources and cooperation together and not by inviting the foreigners to expand their military bases in the region.

U.S President Barack Obama hosted the sixth North American Leaders' Summit by welcoming Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the White House. They discussed economic, trade and energy issues and joint efforts against transnational drug gangs .

The last North American summit was in 2009, though the three leaders have met at the G8 and G20 and summits of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the U.S., Mexico and Canada are linked in the North American Free Trade Agreement signed in 1994.

In Myanmar, Democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi's party won almost all the seats it contested in elections, becoming the main opposition force in the national parliament. 

According to an election commission announcement the veteran dissident's National League for Democracy won in 43 of the 44 constituencies where it fielded candidates.

The three day Global Dubai Tea Forum 2012 meet comes to close in Dubai. Tea Board of India is taking part in the meet with a delegation of Indian tea exporters to display the leading Indian tea brands and explore the new markets in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The Japanese government on 2 April 2012 decided to extend the sanctions against North Korea for one year. The sanctions, expiring 13th of April, ban all imports from and exports to North Korea.

Japan has been imposing punitive measures to North Korea since July 2006 following North Korea's missile test. The decision by the Japanese government came at a time when North Korea confirmed that it would not give up its planned satellite launch.

National Issues

The Government of India (GOI), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and States of Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand signed a $ 43.84 million loan agreement for the second tranche of Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism. 

This agreement aims to enhance tourism environment in Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand States with a view to draw increased volume of national and international tourists. 

The Program was approved in 2010 for $ 250 million as multi-tranche financing facility to assist in developing tourism-related infrastructure in the four participating states - Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu. The First Tranche for $ 43.42 million involving states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh is under implementation.

Civil Aviation Minister, Shri Ajit Singh released a commemorative Special cover issued by Department of Posts, Government of India to mark the Silver Jubilee of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) in New Delhi.

Coal India Limited (CIL), the Maharatna coal mining, ended the fiscal 2011-12 with a production of 435.84 Million Tonnes (MTs), more than 4.52 MTs compared to previous fiscal, registering a growth of 1.0%. 

Now it is fully geared up to put up a spirited performance in attaining the optimistic target for 2012 which has been fixed for 470 Mt”.

The National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises has set up 45 Training-cum-Incubation Centres to help those who want to become entrepreneurs with training.

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has released an amount of Rs.136,90,00,000 /-(Rupees-One hundred thirty six crore ninety lakh only) to the State Government of Maharashtra, towards central assistance for the current financial year 2011-2012,under the centrally sponsored scheme of Post-Matric Scholarships to student belonging to Scheduled Castes.

The UIDAI is all set to begin its second phase of enrolments for Aadhaar for 40 crore residents in April 2012. A National Level Workshop for Ecosystem partners including Registrars, Enrolment Agencies and other partners were launched at Vigyan Bhavan. 

Enrolment for Aadhaar is expected to begin gradually across the country and UIDAI hopes to cover 40 crore residents in the coming 2 years with the active support and involvement of its eco-system partners. 

The Cabinet Committee on UIDAI had approved the continuation of Aadhaar enrolments by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) through multiple Registrars for an additional 40 crore residents in January, this year.

The Union Minister for Steel, Shri Beni Prasad Verma presented a cheque worth Rs. 1556.47 crore to the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. 

The cheque comprised Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited’s (RINL) payment of dividend worth Rs. 271.47 crores and Rs. 1285 crores as redemption of preferential capital.

With the Ministry of tourism targeting over 12 % growth rate in in-bound as well as domestic tourists, it has been projected that tourism sector will generate additional jobs of about 2.5 crore, both direct and indirect, during the 12th Five year Plan.

The Government is contemplating certain amendments to Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 which includes making penalties more stringent for those who employ child labourers.

Accordingly the Ministry of Labour and Employment is implementing National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme in 266 districts of the country for eradication of child labour. 

Under Grant in Aid Scheme, funds to the extent of 75% of the project cost are released directly to the NGOs for elimination of the child labour in the districts which are not covered under the National Child Labour Project.

Production of quality seed in the country has crossed 350 lakh quintals. Out of certified/quality seed production of 353.62 lakh quintals in 2011-12, about 51% was produced by Government agencies and 49% by private seed companies.

The West Bengal Government has decided to adopt Urdu as one of the official languages in the state. A bill to this effect was passed in the State Assembly.

Under the provisions of the bill, Urdu will be treated as official language in certain districts where the population of Urdu speaking people exceeds 10 percent as a whole or part of district like Sub-Division and Block.

Moving the West Bengal official language amendment bill, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mr. Partha Chatterjee said that, Urdu language will be used as official language in the state in addition to Bengali and Nepali.

The West Bengal Assembly has adopted the Land Reforms Amendment Bill 2012 with an aim for rapid industrialization in the state. 

Replying to the Bill the State Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr. Partha Chatterjee categorically said that, the Government will not forcefully acquire any land for industries.

India has appointed a special envoy to help promote peace and protect India's interests in African nations. MEA additional secretary Amarendra Khatua is on a visit to both Juba and Khartoum as India's special envoy to make peace between Sudan and South Sudan in the first leg of his visit.

India has also upgraded its consulate in these two countries to fullfledged embassies. South Sudan has newly been carved out of Sudan after a long period of strife. Mr Khatua is also likely to visit other African nations as India gives shape to its plans to tap energy resources.

Assam government will set up 81 model schools for six to twelve standards across the state in the current financial year. 

State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the proposed schools would be set up based on the Gross Enrolment Ratio, GER. As the G E R is mostly low in the minority and tea community dominated areas, these areas have been given preference.

It may be recalled that G E R is a statistical measure used by the United Nations to measure education index.

Inaugurating the sector headquarter of ITBP at Patna, Union Home Seretary R. K. Singh has emphasized the need for strengthening of the intelligence network to fight the twin menace of terrorism and naxalism in the country.

Centre has allocated additional funds to eight states to give a further boost to the ambitious drinking water scheme. The eight states have implemented a scheme to provide safe drinking water to rural habitations successfully. The states which got bonuses are Tamil Nadu, Gujarat ,Arunachal Pradesh ,Punjab ,Assam ,Meghalaya, Tripura and Haryana.

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has noted that these states had utilised more than 60 per cent of the funds under National Rural Drinking Water Programme till December last year.

The Centre has released an amount of 136.9 crore rupees to Maharashtra towards central assistance for post-matric scholarships for student's belonging to Scheduled Castes.

Government plans to set up an Immigration Regulation Authority to monitor and facilitate migration. Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vyalar Ravi said in Abu Dhabi that a bill in this regard is being prepared and will be put up for wider consultations in public domain.

The Kerala government on 4 April 2012 decided to impose a 10 per cent power cut on industrial consumers. A formal endorsement of its plea in this regard was conveyed to Kerala State Electricity Board by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission on 4 April 2012. 

But the prevailing cyclical 30-minute load-shedding during the evening hours would not be allowed to continue beyond 31 May 2012. The Kerala State Electricity Board had requested that the schedule should last until June end.

Bilateral Issues

India and UAE signed a bilateral agreement on Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters. The agreement will enhance trade co-operation between the two countries and curb customs violations.

The agreement was signed by the Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs, and the Acting Director General of UAE Federal Customs Authority.

The Agreement provides for sharing of best customs practices and giving a boost to economic cooperation by expanding bilateral trade. It will also help in curbing the violation of customs laws and protect against illicit commercial practices by exchanging information on mutual customs shipments.

India and Bangladesh have decided to renew the existing Inland Water Transit and Trade, IWTT Protocol between the two countries for another year through exchange of letters. Bangladesh's Shipping Secretary Abdul Mannan Howlader said the existing agreement is being renewed without any amendment and will remain in force till March 2013.

Both the countries are hoping to use the extended period for further discussions to finalise changes in the existing protocol based on the issues raised during the recent meeting of the standing committee of the IWTT protocol which was held in Dhaka in the month of February.

Bangladesh has been demanding raising of fees while India is pressing for full fledged operationalisation of Ashuganj port in Bangladesh. Meanwhile India's High Commissioner to Bangladesh Mr. Pankaj Saran called on Bangladesh's Shipping minister Shahjahan Khan in Dhaka during which bilateral issues related to shipping were discussed.

Vietnam has sought India’s assistance in training its teachers in English language and for curriculum development. Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Thien Nhan expressed keenness to source around 20 thousand English teachers over the next few years to teach English and train Vietnamese teachers.

This was discussed at a meeting co-chaired by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and the visiting Vietnamese leader.

The Secretary, School Education suggested that the CBSE has a strong academic and training wing to train English teachers. It will work out details after more discussions with the Vietnamese side.

India and Britain pitched for quota and governance reforms in the International Monetary Fund - the IMF. In a joint statement issued in New Delhi after the meeting between UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the Fifth ministerial level India-UK Economic Financial Dialogue, both countries said the funds of the multilateral lending agency should be adequately increased to help it play a meaningful role in mitigating global economic problems.

Both sides were of the view that quota and governance reforms of the IMF be implemented within the agreed timelines. Mr Mukherjee and Mr. Osborne agreed that while the global economy has estabilised in recent months, growth would remain subdued and at risk from a series of threats.

Business Issues

The Star Group bagged the broadcast and digital rights of India's international cricket matches at home for a period of six years after bidding a whopping 3851 crore rupees.

The Rupert-Murdoch-owned company beat competition from Multi Screen Media (Sony) to bag rights for all international matches at home events like Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and the Irani Trophy starting from July 2012 till March 2018.

The company's six-year contract is valued at 3851 crore rupees and will cover 96 matches in all. Star and Multi Screen Media (Sony) were the only two companies to make the bids but a total of five had filed the tenders.

Economic Issues

Impacted by the economic slowdown in the US and euro-zone, India's export growth slipped to a three-month low of 4.2 per cent, at 24.6 billion dollars in February this year. But imports grew 20.6 per cent, year-on-year, to 39.7 billion dollars in February. This left a trade deficit of 15.1 billion dollars.

During the April 2011 to February 2012 period, exports aggregated 267 billion dollars, a year-on-year growth of 21.4 per cent, thanks to the surge witnessed in the early months of the fiscal.

During this 11-month period, imports increased 29.4 per cent, to 434 billion dollars.

The trade gap during the period stood at nearly 167 billion dollars. Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said imports for the 2011-12 fiscal are likely to be close to 480 billion dollars, and the trade deficit is expected to be around 175 to 180 billion dollars.

Oil imports in February grew 39.4 per cent, to 12.7 billion dollars. Non-oil imports increased 13.5 per cent, to 27.1 billion dollars.

The Asian Development Bank, ADB has sanctioned 43 million US dollars loan to India to boost tourism in Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand. The loan has been provided to support up-gradation and construction facilities in tourism sector. 

They include improvement in urban infrastructure and better connectivity to tourist destinations in the two states. It will also strengthen participation by local
communities in tourism-related economic activities and provide new livelihood to the rural poor.

The Reserve Bank of India on 3 April 2012 tightened the reporting requirements of the banks. As per the directions issued, banks will have to submit a monthly statement informing the central bank about the quantity of gold imported and mode of payment adopted. 

The statement is to be filed with the foreign exchange department of the RBI and has to be submitted at the end of March and September.

The directive was issued amidst concerns of huge outflow of foreign exchange on import of gold which is believed to be putting pressure on the India's current account deficit (CAD).

Public Sector Lender, Union Bank of India, on 1 April 2012 appointed D. Sarkar as its Chairman and Managing Director (CMD). The appointment is in effect from 1 April 2012.

Sarkar replaced MV Nair, who was holding the top post of the bank over the past six years six years.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 3 April 2012 released 'Quarterly Statistics on Deposits and Credit of Scheduled Commercial Banks, September 2011’. 

The release included data related to deposits and credit of scheduled commercial banks including regional rural banks (RRBs) as on 30 September 2011. The data included in the release were based on Basic Statistical Return (BSR)-7 received from all scheduled commercial banks (including RRBs).


Geeta created history by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to have qualified for the Olympics after she reached the final of the Asian qualifying event in Astana, Kazakhstan. In the 55kg category, Geeta won two bouts to enter the final round.

Both the gold and silver medallists from the Asian qualifying event, will get a ticket to the London Games. This is the first time an Indian female grappler has qualified for the Olympics since women's wrestling was introduced in the quadrennial extravaganza in 2004.

Smt. Priti Mohanty (CGDA) has taken over as Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA). She is of 1977 batch of Indian Defence Accounts Service. 

Before taking over as CGDA on April 01, 2012, she has held various important assignments in the Defence Accounts Department as well as outside the Department, which includes Principal Integrated Financial Adviser (Army),

Controller of Defence Accounts in Pension Office etc. She is also an alumni of National Defence College, New Delhi. She has vast experience in Budgeting, Financial Management and Administrative Vigilance.

Former Union Minister and ex-BCCI President NKP Salve passed away in New Delhi. He was 90.

Born in Chhinwada, Madhya Pradesh, Salve was associated with cricket administration for several years. Challenger Trophy was named after him.

The Indian Olympic Association, IOA named former hockey captain Ajitpal Singh as Chef-de-Mission of national contingent for the London Olympics.

Three time Olympian Ajitpal, who led the country to its only victory in the World cup in 1975 so far, is the first active sports person to be honoured by being appointed as Chef-de-Mission of the Olympic contingent.

The nation pays homage to veteran freedom fighter and former Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Babu Jagjivan Ram on his 105th birth anniversary. 

The day is being celebrated as Samata Diwas. Special programmes are being organised throughout the country. Babu Jagjivan Ram strove for over fifty years to usher in a just and egalitarian society and for empowering the underprivileged.

James Murdoch on 3 April 2012 resigned as the Chairman of satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting, BSkyB. Murdoch was forced to step down given his alleged role in phone hacking at now closed The News of the World newspaper.

James Murdoch, the younger son of Rupert Murdoch, the founder of News Corporation will however continue as a non-executive director, and be succeeded as Chairman by a current director of the group Nicholas Ferguson.

Coal India Limited ( CIL) on 3 April 2012 appointed S Narsing Rao as its full time Chairman and Managing Director. The appointments committee of the Union Cabinet approved Rao’s appointment for a five-year term.

Narsing Rao,53, a 1986-batch IAS Officer, is currently serving as the Chairman and Managing Director of Andhra Pradesh Government-controlled Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL). Rao is the first non-CIL nominee to assume the top post of the company since July 1983.

Former Haryana chief secretary Urvashi Gulati was sworn in as Haryana state information commissioner (SIC) on 1 April 2012. She took oath as the SIC despite the protest of the RTI activists against the appointment of a retired bureaucrat on such important post.


India's Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek have won the Men's Doubles title in the Miami Open Tennis tournament at Florida. In the final match played, the seventh seeded Indo-Czech duo came from one set down and defeated the second seeded Belarusian-Canadian combine of Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor, 3-6, 6-1, 10-8.

As a pair, this is the duo's second title of the season. They had won the Australian Open earlier this year.

Three Haryana wrestlers, Geeta, Amit and Yogeshwar Dutt have qualified for London Olympics. Yogeshwar Dutt qualified in 60 Kg category, whereas the other two are in the 55 kg category.

Geeta has created history by becoming the first Indian woman to reach Olympics in wrestling.

Serbia's World Number One Novak Djokovic has won the Men's Singles title at the Miami Open Tennis tournament at Florida. In the finals played late last night, Djokovic defeated fourth seeded Briton Andy Murray in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6 to bag his third Miami Masters trophy.

Meanwhile, the Russian pair of Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova has won the Women's Doubles title. They edged past the Italian duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, 7-6, 4-6, 10-4 in the title clash.

Sher-e-Punjab has won the inaugural edition of the World Series Hockey tournament. In the final match played last night, Sher-e-Punjab defeated Pune Strykers 5-2 at the MHA Mahindra Stadium in Mumbai.

Science & Technology

The Russian-origin nuclear power submarine Nerpa, rechristened as INS Chakra, is inducted in the Indian Navy, for the next 10 years. The submarine stationed at the eastern naval command at Vishakhapatnam. India will join the elite club of five nations having nuclear power attack vehicle.

Currently, only P5 countries - the USA, the UK, Russia, France and China - operate nuclear submarines. India will be the sixth country to join the league when Defence Minister A K Antony completes the formalities at a function inside a high-security dockyard in Vishakhapatnam.

Nuclear submarines have strategic advantages as they stay underwater for several months unlike the conventional diesel-electric submarines that needs to surface after a few hours if it runs in high speed. The 8,140 tonne INS Chakra - can stay under water for 100 days and can travel at a speed of 32 knots. It’s a valuable asset, which will bring a new range of capability. It will provide the Navy an ordnance delivery platform, rapidly anywhere in the Indian Ocean.

India has done launch of its third research station in Antarctica's Larsemann Hills region, considered as one of the few geological windows into the history of the continent. Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, told PTI that the construction is over and it is being run on trial basis.

The winter team is there carrying out tests on various equipment and systems. The formal launch of the research station, Bharti is expected in November when it is summer time in the icy continent.

The leader of the 15-member team Mr. Rajesh Asthana said, the research station would address the growing urge in the Indian scientific community for exploring deeper and wider areas of Antarctica for better understanding of the vast continent.

India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was admitted as the 11th member of MEDP (Multinational Design Evaluation Programme) on 4 April 2012. The other members of this body are China, Finland, Japan, Korea, South Africa, USA, UK, Canada, France and Russia.

MDEP is a multinational initiative taken by national safety authorities to develop innovative approaches to leverage the resources and knowledge of the national regulatory authorities who are currently or will be tasked with the review of new reactor power plant designs. It was launched in 2006 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the United States and the French Nuclear Safety Authority.



  1. Good Collection Sir.

    Thanx a lot.

  2. Thank you. You are doing a great job.

  3. Yes its really very useful for various comptetion ...thanx a lot ...


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