Shares the Knowledge !

2013 - June - Current Affairs

International Issues

India ranks 141st out of 162 in this year’s (2013) Global Peace Index (GPI). Iceland tops the list and Afganistan ranks at bottom. The major indicators that bring down India’s ranking are militarization, domestic and international conflicts, and corruption. 

According to the 2013 GPI, key drivers in making the world a less peaceful place are: rise in the number of homicides and countries increasing their military expenditure as a percentage of GDP. 110 countries have seen their score deteriorate while only 48 became more peaceful, 

The GPI is the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The list was launched first in May 2007, then continued yearly. It is claimed to be the first study to rank countries around the world according to their peacefulness. It gauges ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and militarization in 162 countries by taking into account 22 separate indicators. IEP is an international think tank dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress. 

Nawaz Sharif, elected Pakistan’s Prime Minister to an unprecedented third term, took office on 5 May. Speaking to Parliament after he was elected, Mr. Sharif (63) says, “I will do my best to change the fate of the people and Pakistan”. He had received 244 votes in the 342-seat Parliament and was sworn in by President Asif Ali Zardari. Mr. Sharif emphasized that fixing the economy was his top priority. He listed the problems facing Pakistan, including nonperforming assets, unemployment, disillusioned youth, extremism, lawlessness, and widespread corruption. Over the last five years of the previous administration, power outages — some as long as 20 hours — have plagued the country. 

Malnutrition is responsible for nearly 45 % of deaths in children under-five, according to new research report published as part of the Lancet Series on maternal and child nutrition. The research shows that malnutrition is responsible for the death of around 3.1 million children under five annually. Results estimate that stunting (retard growth of body) affected at least 165 million children worldwide in 2011 while at least 52 million children were affected by wasting (low weight for height), and another 100 million children were underweight. Over 90 per cent of these children were in Asia or Africa, with Africa the only major world region where the number of children with stunting increased. 

The United States on 6 June, exempted India and eight other countries from having to adhere to its sanctions on importing oil from Iran, noting that these nations had significantly reduced their dependence on Iranian oil in the last six months. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said India, China, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Taiwan had qualified for being granted an exemption from rules under America’s Iran Sanctions Act, based on additional significant reductions in the volume of their crude oil purchases from the middle-eastern nation and for having reduced such purchases to zero and maintained it.

Italy has ratified Istanbul Convention which aims to combat violence against women. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) was opened for signature on May 11, 2011, in Istanbul, Turkey. The convention aims at prevention of violence, victim protection and “to end with the impunity of perpetrators”. It has been signed by 29 countries and on 12 March 2012 Turkey became the first country to ratify the Convention, followed by three countries in 2013 (Albania, Montenegro, Portugal). 

World Bank will provide $255 million (Rs 1,499.6 crore) loan to India for National AIDS Control Project to promote safe behavior among high risk groups. The closing date of NACP IV is September 30, 2017, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on 17 June. An agreement for loan of USD 255 million (equivalent) from World Bank for the 'National AIDS Control Project (NACP-IV)' was signed in New Delhi on 17 June, between India and the World Bank, it said. 

The Ministry said: "The objective of the project is to increase safe behaviors among high risk groups in order to contribute to India's national goal of reversal of the HIV epidemic by 2017." 

The project aims at scaling-up targeted prevention interventions, behavior change communications and institutional strengthening at the national, state and district levels. 

The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO decided on 20 June, to inscribe Mount Fuji on the U.N. agency’s prestigious World Heritage list. The 3,776-meter volcano straddling Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures was approved by the 21-member panel of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization during its 37th session in Cambodia’s capital.

Mali’s government has signed a peace deal with Tuareg rebels on 19 June, to help pave the way for elections next month. The planned elections on 28 July, will be the first in Mali since the military staged a coup in 2012, accusing the government of failing to end the conflict in the north. The deal was reached after nearly two weeks of talks brokered by Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore in the Burkina capital, Ouagadougou.

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a United Nations observance each June 17. Its purpose is to highlight ways to prevent desertification and recover from drought. Each annual celebration has a different theme. 

This year’s slogan, "Don’t let our future dry up" calls for everyone to take action to promote preparedness and resilience to water scarcity, desertification and drought. 

The World Day to Combat Desertification has been observed since 1995 to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought. 

The goal of the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification is to create awareness about the risks of drought and water scarcity in the dry lands and beyond, calling attention to the importance of sustaining healthy soils as part of post Rio+20 agenda, as well as the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.

A bridge opened on 14 June, between Bulgaria and Romania, the second on the 500-km stretch of the Danube River that forms the border between the Balkan neighbors, is touted as a key to boosting growth in one of Europe’s poorest regions. It is part of the Pan-European corridor IV, linking Dresden in Germany with the Aegean port city of Thessaloniki and Istanbul further east. The cable—stayed, steel and concrete bridge has two traffic lanes in each direction, a railway line, two pedestrian paths and a bicycle track. The only other bridge between the two countries was completed in 1954. 

World Day against Child Labour was celebrated on 12 June 2013. The theme this year was, “No to Child Labour in Domestic Work”. According to International Labour Organization, ILO, throughout the world, there are around 215 million children who work, many of them, full-time. 

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates 10.5 million children around the world are working as domestic workers in hazardous, sometimes slave-like conditions. The ILO report finds 6.5 million of the 10.5 million child domestic laborers are aged between five and 14 years. More than 70 percent are girls. 

The United Nation’s action plan has proposed that the ILO and its member states continue to pursue the goal of effective abolition of child labour by committing themselves to eliminate all its worst forms by 2016. 

The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. 

Dubai in June 2013 inaugurated the tallest twisted tower of the world called Cayan Tower at the cost of 272 million US dollar. Earlier it was called the Infinity Tower. It was inaugurated in Dubai Marina. With this, Dubai created yet another record of engineering marvels as well as skyscrapers. Cayan Tower is 310 metre or 1017 foot tall residential tower. It is 75 storey building which is twisted at 90 degrees from the top most position to the bottom most position.The developer of this tower is Cayan Real Estate Investment and Development Company. 

Construction of this tower started in 2006, but then it was delayed.The Cayan Tower has been designed by the masterminds of Burj Khalifa - Chicago-based Skidmore Owings and Merrill. Burj Khalifa is the tallest tower of the world with a height of 2717 foot. It broke all architectural and engineering records when it was inaugurated in January 2010. 

The Guinness World Records in May 2012 declared Princess Tower (the 1356 foot tower) of Dubai as the tallest residential building of the world. Also, in 2012, the tallest hotel of the world- JW Marriott Marquis Dubai was inaugurated. 

John William Ashe, the ambassador to the United Nations for Antigua and Barbuda in the month of June 2013 selected as the President of UN General Assembly for its 68th session. With his appointment, John Ashe stressed the importance of reflecting on new and emerging development challenges, with attention to two main goals: overcoming poverty and ensuring sustainable development. Also the New and revised partnerships are of vital importance in integrating economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability. The sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly is going to open in September 2013. 

China has, for the first time, attempted to spell out its strategy — and plans — to secure its interests in the Indian Ocean in its first “blue book” on the region, released in Kunming on 8 June. The blue book makes a case for China to deepen its economic engagements with the Indian Ocean Region’s (IOR) littoral states, but stresses that Beijing’s interests will be driven by commercial — rather than military — objectives. 

However, it warns that the Indian Ocean could end up “as an ocean of conflict and trouble” if countries like India, the U.S. and China failed to engage with one another more constructively as their interests begin to overlap. In a frank assessment of China’s role in the IOR so far, the book laments that Beijing has trailed behind New Delhi and Washington in securing its interests. 

The 350-page book’s introduction says candidly that China “has no Indian Ocean strategy,” while India has put forward its own “Look East” policy and the U.S. has put in place its “pivot” or “rebalancing” in Asia. The book calls for China to be more proactive in securing its economic interests in the region. Official Chinese think tanks release “blue books,” which are policy documents that put forward recommendations to the government, on a range of subjects every year. The authors of the book, published by the official Social Sciences Academic Press, say it does not represent the government’s official position. 

The book was launched only two days after China opened its first South Asia Exposition, a trade push led by Yunnan and backed by the central government. The book includes chapters on India’s “Look East” policy, the expansion of India’s interest eastward in an interlinked “Indo-Pacific.” and lessons for China on “the decline of U.S. and U.K. hegemony” in the region. 

World leaders on 8 June in London, signed a global agreement to fight malnutrition in children and made commitments of up to USD 4.15 billion to tackle the global menace. The participants, who signed a Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, committed their countries and organizations to reduce the number of children under five who are stunted by an additional 20 million in developing countries like India by 2020. Stunting affects around 165 million children worldwide and nearly 50 per cent of children in India. 

The World Health Assembly recently agreed a new global target of a 40 per cent reduction in the number of stunted children by 2025. Hosted by Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, the central London summit saw the participation of two presidents and four prime ministers from Africa, philanthropist Bill Gates, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Unilever chief executive Paul Polman, the Guardian reported. 

Top secret documents obtained by The Guardian claimed that US National Security Agency (NSA) has obtained direct access to the systems of Facebook, Google, Apple and other US internet giants. All this was done under the secret program of US to search the data potentially linked with terrorism, espionage or nuclear proliferation. The US agency tapped into the central servers of different internet giants under the six-year old programme, code-named PRISM. Under this program, the FBI and NSA searched for the emails, videos, photographs, search history, the content of emails, file transfers, live chats and other documents. Existence of the program PRISM was confirmed by James Clapper, US Director of National Intelligence. 

As per Clapper, the information accessed under the programme is among the most valuable intelligence information collected by the agency and has been helpful in protecting US from a wide range of threats. The IT companies which were directly into surveillance of the US Agency were Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Face book, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple and all these companies denied the knowledge of surveillance despite the of the claims that the programme was assisted by them. 

Over 60 countries signed the Arms Trade Treaty on 3 June. The Arms Trade Treaty intended to regulate the multibillion-dollar global arms trade. Signing the treaty will start the first crucial international campaign in order to curtail the illicit trade in weapons. 

The US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that US was the largest dealer of arms in the world and that it will sign the treaty soon, but the strength of the treaty was dependent on support by major arms importers and exporters. 

The Arms Trade Treaty was approved by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013. Signing of the treaty is first step of its ratification and it will take only be effective after ratification by 50 countries. The co-sponsors of the Arms Trade Treaty United Kingdom, Finland, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Kenya and Costa Rica announced at a conference on 3 June 2013 that on first day that the treaty was signed by a good number of countries. 

Bangladesh approved the draft law meant for the development of Hindu religious properties as well as for protection of these properties from land grab and encroachment on June 3rd. The Cabinet gave its final approval to the draft law. The Government decided to prepare a list of the Hindu charitable endowments also known as Devottar property. A management board will also be constituted once this law will be passed by the Parliament.

The United States Senate on 27 June passed a landmark immigration bill that will adversely affect India in at least two ways. It will deal a body blow to Indian IT services firms using the guest worker visa (H1B program) to win contracts in the US as it legislates higher fees and salaries, robbing Indian companies of their competitive edge. The bill will also pave way for fast-track permanent residency (Green Card) for foreign students who graduate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects, which may be good news for those seeking to buy their way into American residency through the education route, but will leach elite Indian talent. 

Negotiators at a United Nations-backed forum in Marrakesh on 27 June adopted a landmark copyright treaty to enhance access to books for millions of people who are blind or visually impaired. The treaty, approved after more than a week of intense debate among negotiators meeting under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), is the culmination of years of work on improving access for the blind, visually impaired, and print-disabled persons to published works in formats such as Braille, large print text and audio books.
According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 31.4 crore blind and visually impaired persons in the world, 90 per cent of whom live in developing countries. The treaty, called the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled, requires parties to adopt national law provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution and making available published works in accessible formats without having to seek permission from copyright holders in each case.

Thirty ninth G8 Summit was held at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland from 17-18 June 2013. The two-day summit was presided over by the David Cameron, the Prime Minister of United Kingdom. 

The two-day summit was attended by the leaders from G8 Nations namely Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the USA and UK. Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, and Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council also were a part of the meet. The Lough Erne Declaration from the G8 Summit 2013 sets out agreed principles for the future. 

The declaration focused on private enterprises which would drive growth, help in reduction of poverty and creation of jobs and prosperity for people around the world. It also sets out that governments have a special responsibility to make proper rules and promote good governance. In addition, fair taxes, increased transparency and open trade are vital drivers of this. The UK assumed the one-year Presidency of the G8 in January 2013 and thus David Cameron, the Prime Minister of United Kingdom was the presiding leader of the 39th Summit.

Croatia has become the 28th member of the European Union, with crowds joining celebrations in the capital Zagreb. The membership became effective at midnight of 30 June, with President Ivo Josipovic describing the event as historic. It comes almost two decades after Croatia's brutal war of independence. But Analysts say enthusiasm for the EU in the country has been dampened by the euro zone crisis, and Croatia's own economic problems.

Norway will soon become the only country in Europe to extend its military conscription to women in peacetime, after Parliament reached agreement on the issue on 14 June. All the parties represented in Parliament, with the exception of the small Christian Democrat party, agreed to back a proposal by the centre-left government for a “gender neutral” military conscription. Norway’s mandatory one-year military service will be extended to women, probably as of 2015, according to the Defence Ministry’s proposal.

The United States of America on 14 June 2013 announced to supply military aid directly to the Syrian rebels. The President Barack Obama made the decision, after his administration concluded that the Syrian forces under Bashar al-Assad were using Chemical Weapons. For the first time, US have made such an announcement. The US intelligence has suggested that about 150 people have been killed by due to the small number of chemical attacks in Syria. 

The decision to give direct military support to the Syrian rebels came up after President Obama’s discussions with the European leaders over the Syrian conflict. The decision to arm the Syrian rebels by US Government has been opposed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. On the other hand, Syria has claimed the US claim as fabricated information over chemical weapons for justifying its aid to the rebels of Syria. 

The Government of Pakistan on 14 June 2013 decided to declare Panja Sahib as a holy city. The government will initiate steps for sorting out the issues related to the welfare of the Sikhs, who live at the pilgrimage site. It is believed that Panja Sahib is the house of a rock that has the handprint of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion. This is a popular Sikh pilgrimage across the world. Panja Sahib is located near Rawalpindi in Pakistan. 

India will surpass China to become world's most populous nation around 2028, with its population crossing the 1.45 billion mark, according to latest report by the United Nations. The report named “World Population Prospects” says the world's population will hit 7.2 billion mark next month and is projected to reach 10.9 billion by 2100, with the growth mainly occurring in developing countries, with more than half in Africa. But, with the number of future global dwellers linked to fertility, the number at the end of the century could be as high 16.6 billion or even fall to 6.8 billion, it adds. 

The report says India is expected to become the world's most populous country, overtaking present China’s position around 2028, when both countries will have populations of 1.45 billion each. After that, India's population will continue to grow and that of China is expected to start dwindle.

National Issues

India got its 8th Telecom Centre of Excellence in New Delhi on 5 June, with RailTel Corrporation signing an MoU with IIT Roorkee for establishing RailTel IIT Roorkee Centre of Excellence in Telecom (RICET). The MoU was signed in the presence of Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications & Information Technology and Law & Justice. RailTel shall fund the TCOE through 100% budgetary support over 5 year period for doing Research & Development in the field of ‘ICT & Broadband Applications’. 

RailTel Corporation, which is a Mini Ratna (Category I) PSU of the Ministry of Railways, is one of the largest telecom infrastructure providers in the country having country wide optic fiber network along Railway right of way. Already 7 TCOEs are working in the country established by all major Telecom operators in partnership with premier institutions like IITs & IIMs.

The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee laid the foundation stone of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University on June 6, 2013 at Bhopal. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that language has an important role between the Government and people. Success of social welfare and development programme depends on language. Therefore, we should encourage Hindi and other regional languages. Hindi has always played an important role in the national integration. It is symbol of India’s social and cultural unity. The President said that decade of 2010-20 has been declared as the decade of innovation.

5th June was declared as the “World Environment Day” on the recommendations made by UN Conference on Human Environment in 1972. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through the celebration of World Environment Day spreads awareness and gets citizens’ support for environment protection across the globe. 

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day (WED) is -Think. Eat. Save- Reduce our Foodprint. The campaign calls for minimizing waste of food at all stages of the food chain, from farm to fork.

In a major step towards improving the quality and safety of ambulances on Indian roads, National Ambulance Code AIS:125 (Automotive Industry Standard) recommended by Central Motor Vehicles Rules-Technical Standing Committee (CMVR-TSC) has been approved by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways on 7 June. This ‘Code’ puts in place minimum standards and guidelines regarding the constructional and functional requirements of road ambulances in India. Drafted in line with the global best practices in the field of ambulance design, the code has been suitably adapted to factor in the special requirements of the Indian sub-continent, including traffic conditions, need for economy and industry maturity. 

The National Ambulance Code classifies road ambulances into four types (A, B, C & D) that is First Responder, Patient Transport, Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support, respectively. 

The category of First Responder, which also includes two wheeled ambulances, has been specially introduced for the first time in India to cater to the need for providing prompt medical care in congested by-lanes and high traffic areas. Special care has been given to Care Ergonomics, Patient Safety, Oxygen System Design, Infection Control, Crash Rescue, etc. in the Code. 

Once implemented, this Code will ensure uniformity and standardization in ambulance design and a minimum level of patient care as per the ambulance designation when appropriately staffed and equipped. So far no guidelines were available for hospitals and other procuring agencies for floating tenders and for industry outlining required specifications. The Government would now consider bringing the Ambulance Code within the mandatory framework of Central Motor Vehicles Rules.

The Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on 7th June has launched a new skill development scheme called Roshni for rural youth from 24 most critical left-wing extremism affected districts in the country. Briefing the media, Ramesh said that the initiative aims at skilling and placement of fifty thousand youth from these districts. Six districts each from Jharkhand and Odisha, five from Chhattisgarh, two from Bihar and one each from Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been chosen for the scheme, which will be implemented at a cost of Rs 100 crore over the next three years. 

 The Minister said, the projects shall be funded jointly by the central and state governments in the ratio of 75:25 and the national level agencies shall be designated to act as monitoring and coordinating agencies for Roshni. Ramesh said that at least 50 percent of the candidates covered under the scheme shall be women and special efforts will be made to proactively cover Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups on a priority basis. He said, beneficiaries aged between 18-35 years with requisite aptitude depending upon the trade or job requirements are to be selected as per the Participatory Identification of Poor. Training will be imparted through public-private and public-public partnerships. Educational institutions, corporate entities, entities that train and place for improved public service delivery, commercial and not for profit training providers will be roped in for implementing this scheme. 

The Central Information Commission (CIC) brought political parties under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act on 3rd June. The CIC recognized the need for bringing the parties under public scrutiny in view of benefits like allocation of land at throwaway prices and tax exemption enjoyed by them. The CIC decision may usher in an era of transparency in the functioning of the parties. A full bench decision of the apex transparency panel rejected the contention of major political parties like the Congress, BJP, CPI, CPM, BSP and the NCP that they could not be described as public bodies. 

The Union Cabinet of India approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2013 to set up a regulator for the real estate sector in the country on 4th June. This was done with the objective of protecting home buyers from dishonest builders. The bill seeks to make it mandatory for developers to launch projects only after acquiring all the statutory clearances from relevant authorities. It also has provisions under which all relevant clearances for real estate projects would have to be submitted to the regulator and also displayed on a website before starting construction work. 

A real estate regulator will be set up in every state. It will ensure that private developers get all their projects registered with it before sale and only after obtaining all necessary clearances. The commercial real estate is not covered under the purview of the proposed bill. However, it will apply to residential buildings. The bill has a provision for mandatory public disclosure of all project details such as lay out plan, land status and credentials of promoters etc. An adjudicating officer in the state will be appointed by the authority for fast tracking settlement of disputes. There will be Real Estate Appellate Tribunal as per the bill. It will hear appeals from orders, decisions or directions of regulator and adjudicating officer. 

Union health ministry’s ambitious schemes of providing free generic drugs at government health care centres have been launched on 17th June, after being put on hold last year due to financial constraints. The initiatives, called 'Free Drug Service' and 'Free Diagnostics Service' under the National Health Mission, are aimed at sprucing up health care facilities in the country. The Health Ministry has written to the states to take advantage of this scheme under which they can access funds from the central government by following certain guidelines laid down by it. 

The guidelines include appropriate systems for procurement, logistics, and quality assurance, among others. The scheme was one of the government's keystone projects of the 12th Five Year Plan

The Union government on 26 June 2013 has banned three major medicines—the widely prescribed anti-diabetes drug pioglitazone, painkiller analgin and anti-depressant deanxit. The decision to ban the drug was taken in wake of health risks associated with them. It was taken after strong stand by the government on suspending marketing of all drugs prohibited for sale in other countries like the US, the UK, EU and Australia. 

Pioglitazone is widely believed to cause heart failure and increases the risk of bladder cancer, analgin has been discarded the world over on grounds of patient safety. 

Deanxit is made up of harmful combination, which has been long banned even in Denmark, its country of origin. Analgin is known to cause a steep decrease in the count of white blood cells, which can lead to a potentially fatal state. 

The drug was thus taken off the shelves in many countries including Sweden, Japan, France, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Earlier in year 2010-11 Drug Controller General had banned various drugs which include painkiller Nimesulide, anti-diabetes medicine Rosiglitazone and antibiotic Gaifloxacin. 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 28 June, approved the proposal of the Department of Health Research under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the setting up of 10 regional labs, 30 State level labs and 120 medical college level labs under the scheme for establishing a network of laboratories for managing epidemics and natural calamities. 

The scheme is estimated to cost Rs. 646.83 crore during the 12th Five Year Plan. The expenditure on the establishment of the labs at the State level and at medical colleges would be shared between the Central Government and State Governments in the ratio of 75:25 (90:10 in North-Eastern, Hill States, including Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir).

In recognition of the contributions by Late Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in the fields of economic planning and statistical development, the Government of India has designated 29th June every year, coinciding with his birth anniversary, as the “Statistics Day” in the category of Special Day to be celebrated at the national level. The objective of this Day is to create public awareness, specially the younger generation for drawing inspirations from Late Prof. 

Mahalanobis about the role of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has been celebrating the Statistics Day every year since 2007. The theme for the Statistics Day 2013 is “Labour and Employment Statistics”. 

Ircon International Ltd., a PSU under the Ministry of Railways, has been the principal executing agency for Northern Railway to execute the work of Dharam-Qazigund Section of USBRL Project which includes Banihal-Qazigund section and Pir Panjal Tunnel. The Kashmir Valley railway (Qazigund-Baramulla section) is a 119 km long modern railway line that became completely operational in October 2009. So far it is an island railway, not yet connected to the Indian Railway network. It connects Baramula in the western part of Kashmir to Qazigund at the other end of the Valley, via Srinagar. 

With this challenging project which is dedicated to the nation, the extension of this railway line beyond the Pir Panjal Mountains in to the Jammu region has been achieved with trains running on the new railway section of Qazigund-Banihal. The 17.7 km long rail link paves way for the future railway connectivity of Kashmir region with the national railway network.This section mostly consists of a 11.2 km long, Tunnel T-80 which pierces through the Pir Panjal range, providing a direct rail connection between the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region. 

Government has set up an investment target of Rs. 1.15 lakh crore for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects in infrastructure sector in the next six months. The proposals include Mumbai elevated rail corridor of Rs. 30,000 crore and two international airports in Bhubneswar and Imphal and power and Transmission projects. A steering group is also being set up to monitor the award and implementation of infrastructure projects. The decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh with key infrastructure Ministers in New Delhi on 29 June. 

The Union Cabinet on 28 June, gave its approval to the proposal of signing of a headquarters agreement between the Ministry of External Affairs and Nalanda University. This agreement would confer on the University and members of its academic staff privileges and immunities considered necessary to provide an overall framework for the efficient functioning and operation of the University, and allow it to obtain talent from across the globe. 

The Agreement will come into force immediately upon signing and notification. The signing of the headquarters agreement will facilitate hiring of the best academicians from across the world, well before the commencement of the first academic session. Recruitment of the University’s faculty cannot take place without fixing their terms and conditions, for which the conclusion of the headquarters agreement is essential. 

The University will serve as an international centre of excellence in higher learning. It would integrate modern, scientific and technological knowledge and skills with basic human values and promote universal friendship, peace and prosperity through the spiritual awakening of the individual and society. At the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Thailand in October, 2009, member States issued a Joint Press Statement which supported the establishment of Nalanda University as a non-State, non-profit, secular and self-governing international institution with a continental focus, that would bring together the brightest and most dedicated students from all countries of Asia. 

UNESCO has recognized an ancient Jain manuscript ‘Shantinatha Charitra’ as one of the rarest documents in the world and has registered it in its Register as Heritage Documentary. ‘Shantinatha Charitra’ is a text in Sanskrit written in Devanagari script. It describes the life and times of Shantinatha, the 16th Jain Tirthankara. This work was composed and written in the late fourteenth century 1396 C.E. (1453 Vikram Samvat). 

This unique manuscript contains as many as 10 images of scenes from the life of Shantinatha in the style of Jain paintings from Gujarat. UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction. 

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has constituted a Committee to finalize modalities for media campaign against indecent portray of women in mass media. The Committee will be headed by Additional Secretary, M/o WCD, Smt. K. Ratna Prabha. 

The terms of reference of the Committee are as follows:- 

1)Finalize modalities of a media campaign, through print and electronic media, to instill a sense of respect for women in all spheres of life. 

2) Suggest innovative campaign/ strategy to project women in a more positive, proactive and empowered manner, which can have maximum impact on the society and bring about an attitudinal/ behavioral change of people towards women.

3)Draw up national campaign to sensitize families regarding the values of girls, through depicting women achievers, abhor civil practices like female foeticide, dowry, child marriages, etc. 

4)Identify areas of corporation between M/o WCD and M/O I&B on all such issues that demand sustained public interest campaigns in print, electronic as well as social media. 

Unemployment rate in India has increased. It is 2% in rural areas and 3% in urban India. The unemployment rate per 1,000 population is at 27, while it was 25 two years ago. As on January 1, 2010, the number of unemployed was 9.8 million. By January 1, 2012, it has increased to 10.8 million.--In rural areas, the unemployment rate for both male and female is almost at the same level, 2%. 

But, in urban areas, women are more unemployed than men. The rate is 5% for women and 2% for men. These are some findings of the 68th Round Survey by the National Sample Survey Office ( NSSO), ministry of statistics and programme implementation, which was released on 23 June. 

India has witnessed a work force (activity status determined on the basis of reference period of one year) growth of 13.9 million in just two years, between 2010 and 2012. As per the NSS 66 th round survey, as on January 2010, the workforce at the all-India level, was about 459 million (rural men - 231.9, rural women - 104.5; urban men - 99.8 million and urban women - 22.8 million) . As on January 2012 (present survey), it has increased to 472.9 millions (rural men - 234.6, rural women - 101.8 million; urban men -- 109.2 million and urban women - 27.3 million). 

The current workforce at the all-India level is 47.2 crore. More than half the population (52%) is self-employed, while 18% work as regular wage/salaried employees and 30% as casual laborers. More people are self-employed (56%) and work as casual laborers (35%) in rural India. In Urban India, it is the waged/salaried (43%) who constitute a majority. They are followed by the self-employed (42%) and casual laborers (15%). Nearly half the population (49%) is engaged in agriculture, while 24% are working in secondary sector and 27% in tertiary sector. In India, women are more self-employed than men. 

The share of self-employment in total workforce is 55 % for rural men, 59 % for rural women, while it is 42 % for urban men and 43 % for urban women. Men work more as casual labourers. when it comes to agriculture, it is again the women who dominate. In the rural areas, 59% men work in agriculture, but the figures are 75% for women. The involvement of women in the agriculture sector is more even in the urban areas. It is 11% as against the 6% for men. When it comes wages, obviously, the urbanites are paid more than their rural counterparts. Men are paid more than women. 

At the national level, average wages earned by regular wage/salaried employees is Rs 396 per day (Rs 299 in rural areas and Rs 450 in urban areas). In the rural areas, wages earned per day by a regular wage/salaried employee is Rs 322 (men) and Rs 202 (women). In the urban areas, this is Rs 470 for men and Rs 366 for women. 

The Union Cabinet on 20 June, decided to restructure the existing centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS)/ Additional Central Assistance (ACA) schemes in the Twelfth Five Year Plan into 66 schemes, including Flagship programmes. This includes 17 Flagship programmes with significant outlays for major interventions required in health, education, irrigation, urban development, infrastructure, including rural infrastructure, skill development, etc. To suit the requirements of the States, the Cabinet has also approved that a scheme may have state specific guidelines which may be recommended by an Inter-Ministerial Committee constituted for this purpose. Besides, the financial assistance to the States in these schemes would be provided through the Consolidated Funds of the states. 

Further, to bring in desired flexibility, the Cabinet has approved that 10% of the outlay of the Schemes be kept as flexi-funds. For each new CSS/ACA/Flagship scheme, at least 25 per cent of funds may be contributed by the General Category States and 10 percent of funds by the Special Category States including J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Earlier, the National Development Council (NDC), while approving the 12th plan in its meeting in December 2012 had also recommended building flexibility in the schemes to suit the requirements of the State Governments. 

The Geographical Indication (GI) certificate for unique Toda embroidery of hilly Nilgiris District in Tamilnadu has been handed over to a representative of the tribal community. The GI accorded in March would insulate the embroidery from being duplicated besides ensuring uniform pricing for the products. Nearly 400 Toda tribals are actively involved in the embroidery business and produce a wide range of products like shawl, table mat, wall hangings, bags and shopping bags and the certificate allowed the products to display the specific geographical location or origin. 

GI is a name on goods to indicate their specific geographical location or origin. Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product. 

Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology has been upgraded to a state university and will now be known as Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University. Inaugurated on 14 June, it is the first technical institute for woman in the country. Formerly under Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, it shares its Kashmere Gate campus with Ambedkar University, and like it, will be a non-affiliating university.

Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology was established in 1998 as the first engineering college for women in Delhi. The university is launching M Tech programmes in five courses for the 2013 round of admissions. This includes information security management, VLSI design, mobile and pervasive computing, robotics and automation and electronics and communication - the last being a weekend programme. 

The Indian Railways is all set for a long-term engagement with Japan with the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) granting a Rs.6,700-crore contract for construction of 640-km twin-track line between Rewari and Palanpur of Western Dedicated Freight Corridor to an Indo-Japanese consortium. L&T-Sojitz, a joint venture comprising L&T of India and Sojitz Corporation of Japan, has won the contract through an international bidding process. The contract is likely to be completed in four years, a press release said on 8 june. 

The project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japanese government arm for providing technical and financial aid to developing countries, which is also DMRC’s lending agency. Earlier in January, DFCCIL had awarded the Rs.3,300-crore contract for 343-km-long Khurja-Kanpur section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, funded by the World Bank. The length covered under the new contract is more than 40 per cent of the entire western corridor. Land for almost the entire stretch has already been acquired. 

The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, which will cover a length of about 1,500 km from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Mumbai), is being funded by the JICA, which has pledged a special terms for economic partnership loan of 677 billion yen for the entire Western Dedicated Freight Corridor. As per the loan conditionalities, the lead partner for any contract has to be from Japan. 

Bilateral Issues

India on 8 June 2013 offered 150 million Dollars credit to Myanmar for establishing a Special Economic Zone at Sittwe in Myanmar's Buyer's Credit Scheme under National Export Insurance Account. The offer was made at a meeting the Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma had with the Myanmar President U Thein Sein recently in Nay Pyi Taw. Cooperation in Energy sector also came up for discussion during the meeting. India appreciated the Myanmar Government’s decision to allow United Bank of India to set up a representative office in Myanmar. 

Bank of India and State Bank of India would also be permitted to operate in that Country. India has made significant progress in improving road connectivity with Myanmar which will create new opportunities for India's north eastern region. India also offered to help in revival of 300 apparel factories in Myanmar. It also offered 5 million Us dollars Line of Credit for revival of these factories. 

The South India Textile Research Association (SITRA) will provide technical assistance in formulation of revival plans for these factories. India will be setting up India-Myanmar Apparel Sector JVs in Thilawa SEZ in collaboration with other international brands. India will also set up a textiles trade show - Textiles Expo in Yangon for traditional textiles with Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC) as lead council. 

India and Britain have signed a pact to provide a framework for strategic and technical cooperation between the two countries on evidence informed healthcare policy and practice. The MoU was signed by Department of Health Research (DHR) Secretary V M Katoch and UK-based National Institute for Health and Care (NICE) Excellence chief executive Andrew Dillon in London on 14 June. 

The MoU followed the signature of an overarching health agreement between UK and India at the World Health Assembly, Geneva, last month by the health ministers of the two countries. 

The pact aims at bringing modern health technology to people by encouraging innovations in diagnostics, treatment methods and disease prevention. 

The aim is to translate the innovations into products and processes by facilitating synergy with other departments. 

The MoU creates provisions for exchange of institutional expertise and experience in clinical practice guidelines pathways and quality standards. 

Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation at Canberra, Australia. The MOU was signed by Mr. Ashok Chawla, Chairperson, CCI and Mr. Rod Sims, Chairman, ACCC on 3rd June,2013. The signing took place in the presence of the State Minister of Corporate Affairs Sachin Pilot. 

The MOU provides for sharing information on significant developments in competition policy and enforcement developments in the respective jurisdictions. It is recognized that it may be in common interest of both the parties to work together in technical cooperation activities as well as cooperate in appropriate cases, consistent with the respective enforcement interests, legal constraints, and available resources. It is planned to evaluate the effectiveness of the cooperation under the Memorandum on a regular basis to ensure that the expectations and needs are being met. MOU is expected to further strengthen existing cooperation between CCI and ACCC.

India and Germany signed an umbrella agreement on financial and technical cooperation in fields of energy, environment and management of natural resources on 6th June. This agreement displays the commitment of both nations towards strengthening the long-standing partnership between the two in field of development co-operation. Earlier, India and Germany had negotiated about 723 million Euros worth projects in 2012 as part of a pact on development cooperation between them. 

The umbrella agreement was signed by German Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission Cord Meier-Klodt and Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Rajesh Khullar. 

India and Turkey have agreed to enhance their cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy. This was decided at a meeting held between the Turkish Energy Minister Mr. Taner Yildiz and Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Minister of New and Renewable Energy at Ankara on 27 June. 

Dr. Abdullah offered India’s support and expertise to Turkey in setting up projects in wind, solar and hydropower. He also offered training slots in India to Turkish scientists, engineers and technicians through the ITEC programme. The Indian Minister expressed his country’s desire for a serious and meaningful cooperation with Turkey, especially in renewable energy and offered all possible assistance. 

Salman Khurshid, the Union External Affairs Minister was on a two-day visit to Iraq from 19 to 20 June 2013. This is the first visit of any Minister from Indian to Iraq after 23 years in the war-raved country. The two nations discussed issues of bilateral and mutual interests including import of oil for energy security along with the avenues of partnership.

Economic Issues

The World Bank slashed its growth forecast for China's economy for 2013 to 7.7 per cent from 8.4 per cent, here on 14th June. In its report, the World Bank stated that the main risk related to China remains is - the possibility of high investment rates proving unsustainable and provoking a disorderly unwinding and sharp economic slowdown. The projection is lower than the 7.8 per cent expansion the country recorded in 2012, which was its weakest in last 13 years. 

The report also stated that the Chinese household debt is around two to three times higher than the level before 1997, when the Asian Financial Crisis hit. It added that, while the headline inflation rate is mild, price pressures remain in certain rapidly growing segments of the economy, including real estate. In April 2013, China announced unexpectedly weak growth of 7.7 per cent for the first quarter, surprising analysts who had expected expansion to accelerate in 2013, after showing strength at the end of 2012. Other recent indicators have raised alarm bells, with exports showing almost no growth in May 2013, while industrial output expanded at a slightly slower pace than April 2013 and big ticket investment growth also eased. The World Bank's forecast cuts followed a recent lowering by the International Monetary Fund to 7.75 per cent from the previous 8.0 per cent. 

The Indian telecom sector has registered a phenomenal growth during the past few years and has become second largest telephone network in the world, only after China. A series of reform measures by the Government, the wireless technology and active participation by private sector played an important role in the exponential growth of telecom sector in the country. National Telecom Policy-2012 (NTP-2012) was announced with the primary objective of maximizing public good by making available affordable, reliable and secure telecommunication and broadband services across the entire country. With the implementation of NTP 2012, the number of telephonic connections rose exponentially. 

The number of telephone connection was 893.14 million as on January 2013 with the rural telephone connections having increased by nearly 10 million in the last year. The overall teledensity stood at 73.07 per cent as on January 2013 with the rural teledensity crossing 40 per cent. This is in sharp contrast with the overall teledensity of 7.04 per cent and rural teledensity of merely 1.7 per cent in March 2004. 

As far as mobile penetration is concerned, the preference for use of wireless telephony continues. The share of wireless telephones increased from 96.62% as on March 31, 2012 to 96.74% by the end of June 2012 and thereafter slightly declined to 96.56% by the end of December 2012. On the other hand, the share of landline telephones slightly increased from 3.38% to 3.44% during the period from April to December 2012. 

The wireless subscriber base increased from 33.6 million in March 2004 to 864.72 million as on December 2012. On the other hand, the average tariff for each outgoing call per minute for GSM services dropped from Rs. 2.89 in March 2004 to 47 paisa in December 2012. 

GAIL India on 6 june, announced that it had signed an MoU with Shipping of Corporation India (SCI) for transporting LNG sourced by GAIL from the U.S. The MoU was signed in the presence of B. C. Tripathi, Chairman and Managing Director, GAIL India, and B. K. Mandal, Chairman and Managing Director, SCI. Under the MoU, both entities would join hands for transportation of 5.8 million tones LNG per annum, which is being sourced by GAIL from Sabine Pass and Cove Point terminals in the U.S. 

The co-operation would include SCI assisting GAIL in the charter hiring of LNG ships and GAIL assigning step-in right to SCI in the ownership of LNG ships. GAIL has signed an LNG sales and purchase agreement with Cheniere Energy Partners, LP (Cheniere) for 20 years. It has also signed a terminal service agreement with Dominion through GAIL Global (U.S.) LNG LLC.

Pursuant to the Union Cabinet approval, the Government has constituted the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) on 7th June by subsuming the Prime Minister’s National Council on Skill Development (PMNCSD), the National Skill Development Coordination Board (NSDCB) and the Office of the Adviser to the PM on Skill Development. 

The NSDA will coordinate and harmonize the skill development efforts of the Government of India and the private sector to achieve the skilling targets of the 12th Plan and beyond. It will endeavour to bridge the social, regional, gender and economic divide by ensuring that the skilling needs of the disadvantaged and marginalized groups like SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, women and differently-abled persons are taken care of through the various skill development programmes. 

While the Central Ministries and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) will continue to implement schemes in their remit, the NSDA will develop and monitor an overarching framework for skill development, anchor the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) and facilitate the setting-up of professional certifying bodies in addition to the existing ones. NSDA will be an autonomous body chaired by a person of the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister supported by a Director General and other support staff. 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released certain clarifications on the guidelines issued for licensing of new banks on 3rd June. Based on the feedback received from the interested entities, the RBI increased the validity period of the in-principle approval of setting up of banks from one year to 18 months. RBI stated that intending applicants have brought out several complex issues pertaining to reorganization of the existing corporate structure, restructuring of businesses and meeting the regulatory requirements. 

Once the in-principle approval is given by the RBI for setting up of a bank, the promoter group has to set up a non-operative financial holding company (NOFHC) and the bank within 18 months from the date of in-principle approval. The bank has to start banking business within this period after getting the banking licence. 

The Union Government of India hiked the import duty on gold from 6 per cent to 8 per cent here on 5th June. The hike is aimed at curbing the import of gold, which is largely responsible for the rise in Current Account Deficit (CAD) and impacts the foreign exchange reserves of the country as well as the value of rupee. 

An agreement for credit of US$ 84 million (equivalent) from World Bank for the Bihar Panchayat Strengthening Project was signed on 27 June at New Delhi. Mr. Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance signed on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Michael Haney, Operations Advisor, World Bank, India on behalf of the World Bank. On behalf of Government of Bihar, Mr. Amitabh Verma, Principal Secretary, Department of Panchayati Raj signed the documents. 

The Objective of the project is to support the State Government in promoting inclusive, responsive and accountable gram panchayats in six districts, namely Patna, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Saharsa, Supaul and Madhepura. Successful experimentation and learning in these six districts can be scaled up to other districts under other Government programmes. 

The new project has five main components viz 
  • Gram Panchayat Sarkar Bhawan 
  • capacity building for gram panchayats 
  • strengthen the State Government capacity to manage a gradual decentralization and empowerment process 
  • panchayat performance grant and 
  • project management and coordination. 

The closing date for the project is December 2017. 

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBIi) on 25 June, has adopted the K.M. Chandrasekhar Committee report on ways to simplify foreign portfolio investment regime. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had set the ball rolling in his budget speech, and the mandate of picking out ways to ease the entry routes for various foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) into India was given to a committee headed by former Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar. However, the panel's original report, submitted to SEBI on the 12th June, was converted into a draft report and the panel was asked to modify it.

The Union Cabinet on 28 June, gave its nod to the proposal for setting up of an independent regulatory authority for the coal sector and also approved the introduction of the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill, 2013 in Parliament. The setting up of an independent regulatory body for the coal sector shall help in the regulation and conservation of coal resources and will benefit all stakeholders; that is coal companies, coal consuming industries such as power, steel, cement and coal bearing States and people, directly or indirectly associated with the coal industry. 

The Cabinet also approved that pending enactment of the legislation, the regulator will be set up through an executive order. The Authority shall specify methods of testing for declaration of grades or quality of coal, monitor and enforce closure of mines, specify principles and methodologies for price determination of raw coal and washed coal and any other by-produce generated during the process of coal washing, adjudicate upon disputes between parties and discharge other functions as the Central Government may entrust to 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 21 June approved the disinvestment of 5 percent equity of Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), out of its holding of 93.56 percent through an Offer For Sale (OFS) in the domestic market according to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) rules and regulations. 

The authorized capital of NLC is Rs. 2,000 crore of which the issued and subscribed equity capital as on 31st March, 2012 is Rs.1, 677.71 crore comprising 167.771 crore equity shares of face value of Rs.10 each. After this disinvestment, Government of India’s holding in the company would come down to 88.56 percent.NLC is a Central Public Sector Enterprise with Navratna status under the administrative control of the Ministry of Coal. 

NLC was incorporated in the year 1956 under the Companies Act, 1956 with the objective of meeting the electricity demand of the southern states of India by excavating lignite for generation of power. The Company currently has lignite mines and power stations in Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan. 

India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) has launched on 18 June, its first infrastructure debt fund (IDF) with targeted initial corpus of $1 billion. The company has launched the debt fund through the mutual fund route. After launching the new scheme, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the fund would help mobilize long-term financing for infrastructure projects. Chidambaram said introduction of the new scheme by the IIFCL would "pave the way for setting-up of more such infra debt funds."Besides IIFCL, other investors in the debt fund include Canara Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Corporation Bank and HUDCO. 

The new scheme will mainly undertake investment in debt securities or securitized debt instruments of infrastructure companies, infrastructure capital companies or infrastructure projects, special purpose vehicle (SPV), bank loans etc. with the investment objective of capital appreciation and trade on the stock exchange, according to a statement issued by the finance ministry. IIFCL chairman S.K. Goel said the IDF will complement commercial banks in providing the required long-term funding to infrastructure sector and help in addressing their asset liability mismatch. 

A government panel on 19 June has recommended a dramatic liberalization of India's foreign direct investment regime, including raising the FDI limit to 74% in multi-brand retail and allowing complete foreign ownership of telecom and aviation companies.

The DIPP, the administrative ministry in charge of FDI policy, will now have to implement the Mayaram Committee report. Key ministers, notably Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, are expected to meet in the first week of July to finalise the plan. 

The panel has suggested allowing foreign supermarkets to buy up to 74% in Indian retailers with prior government approval. The multi-brand retail sector was thrown open to foreign investors in September 2012 but has failed to see any investment so far. 

The panel has suggested 100% FDI in telecom and non-scheduled air transport and amending rules to allow complete ownership by foreign investors, including airlines, in scheduled carriers. FDI in telecom will need approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), a government panel. 

The committee has also favoured allowing 100% FDI in ISPs, private security agencies, satellite, ground handling operations, cable networks, direct-to-home services, mobile TV and teleports. It has also suggested lifting caps to 49% from 26% in a number of sectors and doing away with mandatory FIPB clearance in these industries. The government is actively discussing raising FDI in defence production to 49% and in telecom to 100%. 

The first Unit of ONGC’s Mega Power project in Tripura was formally dedicated to the Nation by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at Palatana on 21 June 2013. This Unit 1 of the gas-based plant will generate 363.3 MW. The Unit II of the 726.6 MW power plant is expected to be commercially operational later this year. ONGC realized the audacious dream of transporting such heavy and over-dimensional equipment through the territories of Bangladesh. 

Face book on 12 June, opened its first data centre outside the United States, in Luleaa, a coastal Swedish town near the Arctic Circle. In opening the facility in the arctic north, Facebook joins Google and other tech companies attracted by chilly temperatures that rarely exceed levels that require special cooling capabilities which critics say hurt the environment. 

Luleaa, just south of the Arctic Circle, was also chosen due to its renewable energy resources. Face book said data equipment inside the facility were to be powered by locally generated hydro-electric energy.


International Data Group’s Computerworld Honours Program, Computerworld Honors Laureate selected UIDAI for 21st Century Achievement Award 2013 under the category ‘Economic Development’. It was given acknowledging the pivotal role played by UIDAI in leveraging technology to change people lives, streamline delivery of welfare services and provide opportunity to people to participate more fully in society. 

The Computerworld Honors Program, recognizes and honours visionary application of Information Technology promoting positive social, economic and social change. The initiative of Government of India was widely appreciated by the participants and media who were excited about the transformational impact of the project in socio economic life. The award was received by Ms. Keshni Anand Arora, IAS, DDG on behalf of UIDAI.

Founded by International Data Group (IDG) in 1988, The Computerworld Honors Program is governed by the not-for-profit Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation. Computerworld Honors is the longest running global program to honor individuals and organizations that use information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change. Computerworld is the leading source of technology news and information for IT influencers, providing peer perspective, IT leadership and business results. 

Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi was on 11 June honored with USD 10,000 'Nomura Award' in Singapore for her humanitarian works. The activist has decided to donate the reward money for the education of prisoners' children."I will be donating the entire award money for educating prisoners' children," Bedi, who was present at the award function in Singapore, said. Bedi was given the award constituted by Nomura Group of Japan for "improving the world for future generations". The group is one of the leading financial services group. 

Internationally acclaimed Indian American Cardiac Surgeon and Healthcare Economist Dr Mukesh Hariawala on 28 June 2013, conferred the prestigious Indian Healthcare Visionary of the Decade award at a glittering ceremony of the 4th Annual Business Leadership Conclave at Hotel Leela in Mumbai. Also felicitated with other prestigious awards were industrialists Ratan Tata , Transformational Leader of the Decade and Mukesh Ambani who is the Millennium Business Leader of the Decade.


India topped in the medal tally in the Junior Asian Wrestling Championship by winning 17 medals in the tournament on 16 June 2013. India secured three gold, five silver and nine bronze medals in the championship. The tournament was held from 13 June to 16 June 2013 in Phuket, Thailand.

The Indian players Rajat Chouhan and Manjudha Soy won a silver medal at the World Cup (Stage-II) Archery competition held in Antalya, Turkey on 16 June. They lost against the Italian world champions Sergio Pagni and Marcella Toniolli. This is a second World Cup silver for Railways girl Manjudha, who hails from Jharkhand, while it`s a first-ever silver in the mixed team event in the compound section. 

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel won the Canadian Grand Prix Formula One championship. He claimed the 29th victory of his record-breaking career. It was the 25-year-old German’s third win this season. The Canadian Grand Prix is an annual auto race held in Canada starting in 1961. It has been part of the Formula One World Championship since 1967. 

Indian youngster K. Srikanth on 9 June 2013 won the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold Badminton trophy. In the Men's Singles title, 13th seed Srikanth defeated top seed and local favourite Boonsak Ponsana in straight games, 21-16, 21-12, to bag his career's maiden title. While, defending champion Saina Newal bow out in the quarterfinals. Thailand Open Badminton 2013 was held in Bangkok.

Serena Williams won her second French Open title on 8 June, 11 years after her first triumph, defeating title-holder Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 in the final. It was the 31-year-old American's 16th Grand Slam title win, taking her to within two of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova who are tied for fourth on the all-time list.

Top-ranked American twins Bob and Mike Bryan on 8 June 2013 won their record 14th major doubles title by defeating Michael Llodra and Nicolas Mahut of France 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 in the French Open men's doubles final. In the tiebreaker, the Bryan brothers rallied from 4-2 down to clinch the victory. The Bryans had won their only other French Open in 2003. They lost in the final in 2005, 2006 and 2012. Llodra and Mahut were hoping to become the first Frenchmen to win the doubles since Yannick Noah and Henri Leconte in 1984. 

Indian Skipper MS Dhoni received the ICC ODI Championship Shield and a cheque of 175000 US dollars for leading the number One ODI team on the annual 1 April cut-off date. Indian team claimed the number-one spot from England after winning the series 3-2 in January 2013. 

India won eight out of 13 ODIs while losing five in the 12-month period between 1 April 2012 and 1 April 2013. This is the first time since the current ranking system was introduced in 2002 that India finished as the No1 ranked One-Day International (ODI) side. David Morgan, former President of the International Cricket Council (ICC), presented the Shield to Dhoni. 

The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) on 29 June 2013 was awarded a chance to host two major events of International Cricket namely World Twenty20 for the first time in 2016 and its fourth 50-over World Cup in 2023 by ICC (International Cricket Council). BCCI also got the chance to host the second edition of ICC World Test Championship scheduled in February-March 2021. The inaugural edition of the Test Championship will be hosted by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) June-July 2017. 

Afghanistan was granted the Associate membership of the ICC, making it the eighth Asian nation and the 38th overall to get the status. Looking at the immense progress shown by Afghanistan, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) had last year sent the nomination request in 2012 and the decision to grant Afghanistan the status was taken by the ICC at its ongoing annual conference, which concluded in London on 29 June 2013. 

Afghanistan now join Hong Kong (1969), Kuwait (2005), Malaysia (1967), Nepal (1996), Singapore (1974), Thailand (2005) and UAE (1990) as ICC Associates from the Asian region. The new Associate membership will help Afghanistan get more funds from the ICC and also give much-needed exposure to the team. 

The ICC is now likely to pay Afghanistan 850000 US dollars based on the Associate status, instead of 700000 US dollars as the annual fund. From a country torn by war to a rising cricket playing nation, it has been a remarkable journey for Afghanistan, who became an Affiliate member of the ICC in 2001 when they travelled to Pakistan for their first tour. 

India won the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 on 23 June 2013 against England at Edgbaston in Birmingham with a five-run victory. India made a total of 129 runs in 20 overs for seven wickets. It then restricted England to 124 for eight. Ravindra Jadeja was declared as the Man of the Match after he took two wickets and scored unbeaten 33 runs. He was also awarded with the Golden Ball for grabbing maximum number of wickets in the series. Sikhar Dhawan was declared as the Man of the Series. This was the second Champions Trophy title of India. Earlier, it had won the title jointly with Sri Lanka in the year 2002. 

The ICC Champions Trophy is the One Day International (ODI) cricket tournament which is organised by International Cricket Council (ICC). It is considered important event in cricket, only after the Cricket World Cup. The ICC Champions Trophy was inaugurated in the year 1998 as ICC Knock out Tournament. It was later named as Champions Trophy in 2002. Since the year 2009, the number of teams participating in the ICC Champions Trophy has remained eight. These are the eight highest-ranked ODI teams. 

Manjeet Singh bagged a Silver medal for India at the 3rd China Open boxing tournament on 22 June 2013. In the final of the super heavy weight category (+91kg), the 21-year-old Indian went down to china’s Akepeer Yusuf. Although Manjeet lost in the final, he became the only Indian boxer to reach the final of the third China Open boxing tournament. It was his first international tournament.The boxing tournament was held in Guiyang, China. The Indian men's team returns from the event with one silver and three bronze medals won by Sunil Kumar (52kg), Ajay Kumar (56kg) and Jaideep (75kg). The bronze medal winners had lost in the round of four 

Roger Federer on won his first title of the year on 16 june, the world number three beating Russia's Mikhail Youzhny 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 in the ATP final at Halle,Germany. This was the 31-year-old Swiss great's sixth Halle title and the 77th title of his career. 


The Indian Banks' Association (IBA) announced on 6 June 2013 that K R Kamath, the chairman and managing director of Punjab National Bank (PNB) was re-elected as the Chairman of IBA for 2013-14 tenure. At the 66th annual general meeting, IBA also elected Aditya Puri, managing director and CEO of HDFC Bank, as its Deputy Chairman. 

Along with this, the Chairman of State Bank of India (SBI), Pratip Chaudhuri was elected as the Honorary Secretary. 

Indian Banks' Association (IBA) is an association of Indian banks and financial institutions. It is based in Mumbai. 

The objective of the association is strengthening, development and coordination of the Indian banking. It also facilitates various member banks. 

Raghav Joneja, became the youngest Indian to scale the Mount Everest on 21 May 2013 when he along with his five schoolmates climbed the fifth highest peak in the world. Climbing at the age of 15 years and seven months Raghav Joneja broke the record set by Nameirakpam Chingkheinganba of Manipur's, who climbed the Everest at the age 16 years seven months and 11 days. 

Lydia Nsekera became the first woman elected to the FIFA executive commitee after winning a vote on 7 June in Mauritius. The 46-year-old head of the Burundi Football Association outlasted Australia’s Moya Dodd and Sonia Bien-Aime, of Turks and Caicos. 

The FIFA executive board contains 24 members from across the world headed by president Sepp Blatter. FIFA co-opted Nsekera into the executive committee last year, also a first. She has led the Burundi FA for about nine years and helped organize the soccer tournaments at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She’s also an IOC member.FIFA’s executive hasn’t included a woman since first forming in 1904. 

Mrs. Kushal singh has been appointed as the Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on 28 may. She was selected by a Committee headed by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of Women and Child Development. 

Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa was elected as the new president of Asian Football Confederation on 2 May 2013. He replaced Mohamed Bin Hammam. Bahraini Sheikh Salman won 33 votes out of 46 in Malaysia to beat his rival Yousuf Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates as well as Worawi Makudi of Thailand. 

Leader of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N), Ayaz Sadiq was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan on 3rd June. He won with 258 votes out of 313 votes which were cast in the election of a Speaker in lower house of the Parliament of Pakistan. The strength of National Assembly of Pakistan is 342.His opponents, Shaheryar Afridi of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and S.A. Iqbal Qadri of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement got just 31 and 23 votes respectively. The outgoing Speaker Fehmida Mirza administered the oath of Speaker’s office to Ayaz Sadiq. He became the 19th Speaker of the Pakistan’s lower house. PML-N nominee Murtaza Javed Abbasi was elected as deputy speaker by securing a total of 258 votes. 

On 29 June 2013, Justice P. Sathasivam was appointed as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) after he justified the Collegiums System of Appointment of Judges. The 64 year old Sathasivam will succeed the incumbent Chief Justice of India, Altamas Kabir, who will superannuate on 18 July 2013 from his office. He is the 40th CJI and his appointment to the post has been approved by Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India.

As the 40th CJI, he will serve the nation till his 26 April 2014 He was born on 27 April 1949 He was enrolled as an advocate on 25 July 1973 at Madras. 

Anil Goswmi took over as Union Home Secretary on 30 June. He succeeds Raj Kumar Singh who retired from Government service. Anil Goswami is an IAS officer of 1978 batch and belongs to the Jammu & Kashmir Cadre. Before joining MHA as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) on April 27, 2013, Goswami was Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. He has served in his Cadre and at the Centre in various capacities including Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Krishna Chaudhary, IPS, has been appointed as Director General, National Disaster Response Force and Civil Defence (NDRF&CD). His appointment will take effect from the date he assumes charge of the post and until his superannuation on 30.06.2017 or till further orders, whichever is earlier. The DM Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.

V.K.DUGGAL-The former Union Home Secretary on 21 June 2013 was appointed as the nodal officer for relief and rescue operations in the rain-ravaged Uttrakhand by the Union Government of India. Duggal will operate from Dehradun. Duggal will help in establishing coordination between different agencies involved in relief and rescue operations and the centre, as lack of coordination between the agencies was hampering the mitigation efforts. 

Indian-born Amol Rajan has been appointed editor of the London morning daily. The Independent, making him Fleet Street's first non-white editor, the newspaper reported on 17 june. Rajan, 29, was previously the daily's comment editor. Rajan, who was born in Calcutta, as Kolkata was then called, moved to Britain when he was three and studied at a state school. 

The government is understood to have appointed SK Roy as the chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Roy, who is presently a managing director in the organization, would be succeeding D K Mehrotra, whose term as LIC chief ended on May 31. Roy would be at the helm of the insurance behemoth for a period of five years, official sources said, adding that the notification to this effect would be out soon. Roy joined the largest insurance company in the country in 1981.

Sudha Sharma: A 1976 batch IRS Officer, has been appointed the new Chairperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes on June 2. She took over as Poonam Kishore Saxena retired on 31 May. Sudha Sharma was serving as member (legislation and computerization) in CBDT. The CBDT is a part of Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance. On one hand, CBDT provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India, at the same time it is also responsible for administration of direct tax laws through the Income Tax Department. 

The Central Board of Direct Taxes is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The Central Board of Revenue as the Department apex body charged with the administration of taxes came into existence as a result of the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1924. 

Science and Technology

The Unesco has designated India's Nicobar Islands as a world biosphere reserve under its Man and the Biosphere Programme, on 30 May. Member countries establish such reserves and the world body recognizes them under the programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science. They are considered as sites of excellence, where new and optimal practices to manage nature and human activities are tested and demonstrated. 

The island chain, home to 1,800 animal species and some of the world's most endangered tribes, was among 12 new sites added to the global network of biosphere reserves in Paris on Thursday. Such reserves are located in 117 countries and nine of them are now located in India. Other sites added to the list include Pakistan's Ziarat Juniper forest and China's Snake Island. 

Nation’s highest Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) will be set up at Nyoma, Leh district of Jammu & Kashmir at a height of about 14,000 feet. The Nyoma Krishi Vigyan Kendra is likely to bring about substantial change in the lives of people of nearby areas who are mostly nomads and rear pashmina goats. This region is extremely cold and dry and therefore, it is a challenge to promote stable agriculture there. The KVK will seek to improve fodder production, provide health care to the roaming animals, introduce vegetable production under protected environment and impart training to women on animal care, etc. 

Japan on 5th June 2013 conducted the first successful test of new generation L0 Series Trains (maglev bullet trains) designed to travel at speeds of 311 mph. These trains are lashed with latest magnetic levitation technology (maglev) instead of the conventional wheels. The commercial services of this series of trains will start in 2027. The LO Series Trains are designed by Central Japan Railway Co (JR Tokai), and in its first phase will link central Tokyo with Nagoya station and cut the current time of journey by bullet train by more than half, from 90 to 40 minutes. 

The lines will be extended up to Osaka by 2045 as Japan is into the plan of creating a high-speed mass transit maglev network across the country. The train will have 16 carriages and will carry up to 1000 passengers at a time. In 1964, Japan unveiled its first bullet train named Shinkansen to coincide with its hosting of the Olympic Games. At present, Japan is the home of World’s most sophisticated rail network. The central line in Japan, Tokaido Shinkansen is the world’s busiest high-speed rail and it carries about 151 million passengers each year. 

NASA launched a satellite on 27 June, on a mission to explore a little-studied region of the sun and to better forecast space weather that can disrupt communications systems on Earth. Unlike a traditional liftoff, the Iris satellite rode into Earth orbit on a Pegasus rocket dropped from an airplane that took off around sunset from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's central coast. 

The Union Cabinet on 28th June, gave its approval to the proposal for the GSAT-15 communication satellite project along with procurement of launch services and insurance. The building of the GSAT-15 is part of the Indian Research Organisation’s (ISRO) efforts towards in-orbit spare capacity to meet contingency and to protect the services of existing users. 

The satellite will provide required redundant capacity, will augment capacity in the Ku band, and shall provide in-orbit redundant requirement of safety of life operations benefitting civil aviation services in the country. Nine operational INSAT/GSAT satellites are currently providing different frequency bands to nearly 195 transponders. The GSAT-15 satellite will cover the entire Indian mainland. Total cost involved in the project is Rs.859.5 crore including launch services. 

The Union Cabinet also gave its approval to the proposal for the GSAT-16 communication satellite project along with procurement of launch services and insurance. The project will meet contingency requirements, protect services of existing users and will augment and support existing telecommunication, television, VSAT and other satellite based services in the country. Nine operational INSAT/GSAT satellites are currently providing different frequency bands to nearly 195 transponders. The total cost involved in the project is Rs.865.50 crore including launch services. 

Tianhe-2 (Milky Way-2), the 33.86 Peta FLOP supercomputer of the China, emerged as the fastest super computer on the Earth. It was placed in service ahead of schedule in 2013 after it had been expected to be completed in 2015. According to the TOP 500 list for June 2013, Tianhe-2 is the faster super computer. 

It is housed at the National Supercomputing Center in Guangzhou (NSCC-GZ) and was designed and developed by the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) and by Inspur. Resource management is based on Simple Linux Utility for Resource Management (SLURM).Another unique features of Tianhe-2 is a custom-built interconnection network, which routes data across the system



Post a Comment

Upsc - Civils Preparation

Exam Strategy
Tips and Tricks
Preparation and Guidance
Optional Subjects - Preparation
Optional Subjects - Guidance
Many more >>

Bank Exams Preparation

Bank, Currency, Money, RBI,
Budget, Planning, Stock Exchange
Insurance, Taxation, International Organizations
Economic Issues, Fiscal Policy, Committee or Commissions
Many more >>

Computer Knowledge

History, Generations, Terminology
Hardware, Software, Internet
Networks, Shortcut Keys
Many more >>

Interview Preparation

General Do's and Don'ts in Interview
Entry and Dressing up
How to prepare?, Qualities judged
Many more >>