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2012 - September 10 to 30 Current Afairs

International Affairs
  • Putin advocates multiple reserve currenciesRussia’s President Vladimir Putin has called for creating a system of multiple reserve currencies to strengthen global financial stability and reduce dependence on the U.S. dollar. “If we are to slash the excessive number of derivatives, enhance discipline and stabilise global finances, we should promote multiple reserve currencies,” Mr. Putin said at a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Vladivostok on 8 Septemebr. He slammed the position of the U.S. dollar as the single reserve currency of the world. “If there is only one global reserve currency, the issuing country will always be tempted to use it in its selfish interests, which in the long run harms the issuer and violates the fundamental principles of the functioning of the world financial system.” He said the rouble has the potential of becoming a regional reserve currency in the former Soviet Union. “Rouble can claim for the role of reserve currency . “The rouble is used more and more frequently in the settlements in the former Soviet republics”. Russia in recent years has also signed agreements with India and China to use national currencies in bilateral trade deals. At their summit in New Delhi in March, the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa signed two accords to promote intra-BRICS trade in local currencies.
  • Finland facing ageing problem more than other EU countries:Finland, one of the most developed models of Europe, faces a challenge to meet the needs of its ageing population while ensuring its long-term fiscal sustainability. Finland has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in Europe and the world. By 2030, Finland is projected to have 26 per cent of its population over 65 years of age. This is a figure that the UK, for example, is not due to reach until 2051, a recent study said. After 95 years of independence, the standard of living in Finland has risen considerably and in consequence brought the mortality rate down year by year. While the statistical life expectancies of men and women born in Finland towards the late 1910s were 43 years and 49 years, the respective life expectancies have today risen to 76 years for men and 83 years for women. The phenomenon faced by many European countries is being keenly debated in the country like Finland whose economic model based on the exports has been more than successful.The policy makers and the stakeholders have already turned to the solution of the problem in Finland where the retirement age is 63 years with lots of welfare mechanism in the place. The rate of mortality among children under the age of 12 months has also declined enormously in nine decades. When Finland gained independence, one child in ten in the country died in their first year of life, whereas today the infant mortality rate is under 0.5 per cent. Although the growth in life expectancy is not among the very highest in the world in Finland, the country's infant mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world. The Internatioanl Monetary Fund (IMF) has also warned this Nordic country to mitigate expected rises in health and long-term care costs associated with population ageing. "Finland should also tighten the way benefits are paid to the elderly and unemployed until early retirement, as well as increasing the legal minimum and maximum retirement ages," the IMF said.
  • Hassan Sheikh Mohamud Elected Somalia's New President :Members of the recently sworn-in Somali Parliament voted on 10 September, to elect Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the country's new President in a secret ballot held at a police academy in capital Mogadishu, marking completion of the country's political transition process. Mohamud defeated incumbent Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in a 190-79 vote in a run-off. The outgoing President later conceded defeat in a televised national address, saying that he was "satisfied" with the results of the "just elections."The run-off was forced after none of the candidates managed to secure the required two-thirds majority in the first round of voting. Nevertheless, 18 candidates were eliminated in the first round itself. Although outgoing Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and moderate Islamist Abdulkadir Osoble qualified for the second round, they pulled out of the race after coming third and fourth respectively in the first round. Mohamud is an academic as well as a civic activist who has worked for several national and international aid and development organizations in recent years, including the UNICEF. The English as well as Somali-speaking President-elect is the Chairman of the Peace and Development Party, which he founded in 2011.
  • Cambridge loses top spot to MIT in world university rankings:America's prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology has grabbed the top slot from UK's Cambridge University in a list of world university rankings for 2011-2012. However, UK universities have taken four of the six top slots in a global university "league table" by QS World University Rankings. With MIT leading the list, Cambridge fell to No. 2 spot and Harvard University ranked third in list of rankings. "The rise of MIT coincides with a global shift in emphasis toward science and technology," QS head of research Ben Sowter said, adding "MIT perfects a blueprint that is now being followed by a new wave of cutting-edge tech-focused institutions, especially in Asia." University College, London (UCL), Oxford and Imperial took fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively. Seventh place was awarded to Yale University. followed by University of Chicago, Princeton University and the tenth position to California Institute of Technology. Sowter warned higher fees and new visa rules could see UK universities struggle next year. Students trying to get ahead of a trebling in fees for English undergraduates had produced a surge in applications to start university in autumn 2011, Sowter told.
  • Chris Stevens, U.S. ambassador to Libya killed in rocket attackThe ambassador of the United States to Libya, Christopher Stevens, has been killed dulring an armed mob attack in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, raising fresh questions about the merits of Washington’s policy of “regime change” in West Asia that followed these strikes. Mr. Stevens is the second U.S. ambassador to be killed during an outstation posting since the death of Adolph Dubs in 1979 during his tenure in Afghanistan. Reuters said three other members of the embassy staff were killed on 11 September night, as a result of a rocket attack in Benghazi.
  • India has highest child mortality rate in the world:With almost 19,000 children under five years of age dying every day across the world, India tops the list of countries with the highest number of 15.55 lakh such deaths in 2011, according to a UN agency. The 'Child Mortality Estimates Report 2012' released by Unicef in New York has said that in 2011, around 50 per cent of global under-five deaths occurred in just five countries of India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and China. Incidentally, India's toll is higher than the deaths in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan put together. China reported 2.49 lakh deaths of under-5 kids last year, followed by 1.94 lakh by Ethiopia and 1.34 lakh each by Indonesia and Bangladesh. Uganda with 1.31 lakh such deaths and Afghanistan with 1.28 lakh deaths held the ninth and 10th position in the list of 10 top countries reporting under-five children deaths. Singapore with a mortality rate of 2.6 has the lowest under-five deaths, while Slovenia and Sweden followed it with a mortality of 2.8. Globally, the five leading causes of deaths among children under five include pneumonia (18 per cent); pre-term birth complications (14 per cent); diarrhea (11 per cent); intrapartum-related complications (9 per cent) and malaria (7 per cent). Besides, more than a third of child deaths are attributable to under nutrition globally, the report states.
  • Consumer cybercrime cost India $8bn in a year :Software security services provider Norton on 12 September, said consumer cybercrime has cost the country around Rs 42,000 crore in the past 12 months, impacting 42 million people. Releasing the findings of its annual cybercrime report, it is estimated that over 42 million people fell victim to cybercrime in the past 12 months in the country, incurring around $8 billion in direct financial losses. In terms of cost, this is a full 18% increase. Against this, the global loss has been pegged at $110 billion. The study further notes that as many as 66 percent of online adults have been a victim of cybercrime in their lifetime in the country. During the past 12 months, as many as 56% of adults who go online here have experienced cybercrime — that is over 1,15,000 victims per day, 80 victims per minute and over one every second. The study is based on the findings of self-reported experiences of over 13,000 adults across 24 countries, Norton by Symantec said in a statement.
  • Egypt: Ex-PM Ahmed Nazif jailed for corruption:Ahmed Nazif was the first Mubarak-era official to be prosecuted after last year's uprising A court in Cairo has sentenced Egypt's former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif to three years in prison for corruption on 13 September. Nazif, who was Prime Minister from 2004 until last year's uprising, has also been ordered to pay a fine of nine million Egyptian pounds (£900,000). Last year he was given a one-year suspended sentence after he was charged for unlawful gains in a business deal. Nazif is one of several Mubarak-era senior officials on trial. He was arrested months after leaving his job in January 2011, shortly before President Hosni Mubarak stood down. About a dozen former Egyptian officials, including Mubarak and his two sons, have been charged either with conspiring to kill protesters or with various crimes related to corruption.
  • Hassan Sheikh Mohamud the newly elected president of Somalia survived assassination :After two days of his being appointed in the office, the Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud survived an assassination attempted by the Shebab a group Islamic rebels from Al-Qaeda, on 13 September 2012. At the time when the two bomb blasts happened the president was meeting the Kenya’s Foreign Minister in Mogadishu hotel. In this attack by the multiple suicide bombers the president remained unharmed. The report presented by Ali Houmed, spokesman for the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) claimed three deaths that iclude two Somali Troops and a Ugandan soldier.
  • Putin loses popularity by 20 per cent:The number of Russians, who approve of President Vladimir Putin, has declined by 20 per cent over the past decade, with fewer people seeing him as a hero, according to a latest poll conducted by the national polling centre VTSIOM . The national polling centre's report shows how public attitude towards Mr Putin has changed over time, starting from 2002 when 79 per cent of respondents thought the new President was making a "mostly favourable" impression on them. That number has dwindled to 59 per cent as of 2012, while the number of those who disapprove of Mr Putin rose from 8 per cent to 22 per cent. At the same time, popular support for his actions as President slid from 75 per cent in 2002 to 59 per cent in 2012, while those who do not support his policies increased from 9 per cent to 23 per cent. VTSIOM General Director Valery Fyodorov said it would be more relevant to compare Mr Putin's popularity ratings with the most recent election-related results rather than with figures from a decade ago.That was a totally different time, and a great deal has changed since then. Putin has changed, and the country and the people too," he said.The latest poll, held among 1,600 respondents in Russia's 46 regions on August 24-25, has a margin of error below 3.4 per cent.
  • Delhi, Mumbai world's cheapest cities: SurveyOslo is the most expensive city in the world, ahead of Zurich and Tokyo, but the well-paid residents of the Swiss financial hub enjoy the greatest purchasing power, according to a study released on Friday. The cheapest places to live were Delhi and Mumbai. The annual survey of 72 cities by Swiss bank UBS found its own hometown had the world's highest average wages and the biggest purchasing power. The study examined the price of a basket of 122 goods and services, adjusted for currency fluctuations. The cost of living index was calculated by dividing the price of goods by the weighted net hourly wage in 15 sectors. "In Tokyo it takes nine minutes of work to earn enough to buy a Big Mac, while in Nairobi it takes 84 minutes," it said. Zurich residents must work 13 minutes for the hamburger, but other goods were relatively cheaper than in Tokyo, putting the Swiss city top of the purchasing power index. "Workers in Zurich can buy an iPhone after 22 hours work; in Manila, by contrast, it takes around 20 times longer," UBS said. Workers had to toil 42 minutes in Istanbul and 29 minutes in Shanghai for a Big Mac, while in New York and Hong Kong just 10 minutes were required. The cheapest places to live were Delhi and Mumbai. New York was the sixth most expensive, Moscow came in at number 40 and Shanghai at 49. The survey also looked at working hours and found the shortest were in Paris, Lyon and Copenhagen. Workers in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America toil the longest, at over 2,000 hours per year, it found.
  • New York bans large sodas in eateries, theatres:New York became the first city in the US to ban the sale of large sodas and sugary beverages in restaurants, a move that mayor Michael Bloomberg said will help combat the "obesity epidemic" that kills 6,000 New Yorkers every year and is destroying the health of Americans. The New York City Board of Health voted 8-0 on 13 September, in favour of limiting the size of sugary beverages sold in restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and at movie theatres, stadiums and arenas. The new regulation will go into effect next March, giving establishments six months to comply with new rules. 
  • Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg appointed a 29-year-old, Hadia Tajik, a Muslim woman of Pakistani origin, as the new Culture Minister. Hadia Tajik is the first Muslim and youngest Minister ever in Norwegian political history. Ms. Tajik, who has degrees in law and journalism and has been a career politician in Norway’s Labour Party, was appointed in a Cabinet reshuffle. Ms. Tajik has already declared that cultural diversity should become more integral to the life of her fellow citizens. She said her programme would focus on how this reflected on Norwegian society as a whole. Conservative elements in Norway believe that a very rapid influx of foreigners and foreign cultures has destabilised the steady and stable pattern of Norway’s essentially Christian society. Last year, Anders Breivik randomly shot 69 people at a summer camp organised by the Workers' Youth League (AUF) of the Labour Party after blowing up a Norweigan state building. During his trial, Breivik reasoned that multi-cultural policies were harming Norway, adding that he considered Islam his enemy.
  • A Jerusalem court on 24 September, handed the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, a $19,000 fine for graft. He just escaped the jail term. Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003, after which he served as a Cabinet Minister, holding the trade and industry portfolio as well as several others, before becoming Premier in 2006.He led the centre-right Kadima party into government, but resigned from the premiership in September 2008 after police recommended that he be indicted in several graft cases.
  • The three-day-long 9th World Hindi Conference concluded in Johannesburg on 25 September. India's Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur felicitated several Hindi scholars, writers and laureates, who had gathered from different parts of the world for their contribution towards the language. Kaur jointly inaugurated the conference on September 22 and South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.While addressing the conference, Kaur expressed gratitude for the huge success of the conference. Kaur also highlighted on the need to promote Hindi across the globe. With an estimated 200 million speakers worldwide, Hindi is among the most extensively spoken languages in the world.
  • China commissioned its first aircraft carrier on 25 September, The unveiling of the 300 meter-long Liaoning, a refurbished and upgraded version of the Soviet carrier Varyag which China purchased from Ukraine, came after years of sea trials and tests to fit the carrier with weapons and engines. The Liaoning was commissioned by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the port city of Dalian, the capital of the northeastern province after which the carrier is named. Defence analysts were quoted as saying by state media that the Liaoning was, however, not yet close to being put into active service with China needing to train pilots. Sources said the carrier would continue to serve “for scientific research purposes” besides military training.The commissioning of the Liaoning makes China the tenth nation to have an aircraft carrier. The development comes amid rising strains between China and Japan over the disputed Diaoyu or Senkaku islands in East China Sea.
  • Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the person behind a provocative anti-Islam film, the trailer of which led to violence in parts of Asia and North Africa has been arrested on 28 September. However, his detainment was not related with that film. The California-based man who is said to have made ‘Innocence of Muslims”, apparently an Egyptian Coptic Christian was declared a flight risk and detained by a federal Judge Suzanne Segal. Officials said that, Primary among the charges Nakoula faces was violation of probation from a 2010 cheque fraud conviction. Following the trailer being uploaded on YouTube, violent protests broke out in parts of North Africa, including Cairo, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya. In particular, an assault by heavily-armed gunmen targeting the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi led to the death of Chris Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador. The U.S. court has ordered Nakoula to “remain in prison without bond until another judge can hold a hearing to determine if he broke the terms of his probation.”
  • The Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan - Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir Mayardit signed agreements to implement a demilitarised zone that paves the way for resumption of oil exports after a five-day summit in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir said, this agreement stands as a living model for the ability of the Sudanese and African people to resolve their issues and problems through dialogue and negotiations. The resumption of oil trade is imperative for both as they rebuild their cash-starved economies after the 2011 secession of the South granted it control of most of the oil reserves but gave Sudan control of the pipelines. The centerpiece of the agreements is a 20-km wide demilitarized zone, to be monitored and patrolled by international forces, which will serve as a buffer as the neighbours demarcate an acceptable international border. Last year, tensions along the 1,800-km border sparked an armed conflict. The Presidents also signed agreements to address post-secession issues, including institutional frameworks for cross-border cooperation, central banking and the status of citizens in one country working and residing in the other. While the two countries were unable to resolve the status of Abyei, a disputed territory, the region serves as the traditional grazing grounds for the Misseriya tribes allied to the North, but is home to a settled population of the Ngok Dinka people who consider themselves South Sudanese.
  • French President Francois Hollande met Chancellor Angela Merkel in the southwestern German city of Ludwigsburg to celebrate an anniversary of their countries’ reconciliation following the end of World War II. The leaders of France and Germany have both stressed Europe must deepen its political and economic integration to ensure peace and continuous prosperity across the continent. Europe’s 17-nation currency zone is experiencing a deep crisis, Mr. Hollande said, therefore urging Germany and other nations to help “create instruments that make us stronger, the budgetary union, the banking union, the social union, a political union.” Ms. Merkel said both countries will and must work together closely to strengthen Europe to weather those new challenges.

National Affairs

  • Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on 28 september, ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into rampant rhino poaching in the Kaziranga National Park.The probe will cover poaching during the past three years from now. The state government also announced cash reward of Rs 5 lakh to anyone giving clues to poachers. Earlier, the Union Environment and Forest Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had expressed shock at the growing incidence of rhino poaching in Assam with the flood-hit Kaziranga having lost four rhinos during the past 48 hours to poachers. She had ordered an investigation by a team of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau officials. 
  • Pre-paid mobile numbers to lose ISD facility soon:Telecom regulator TRAI has asked telecom companies to de-activate the international calling facility in pre-paid numbers and restore it only after a subscriber gives his explicit consent to avail this facility. "Inform all pre-paid subscribers having ISD facility, through SMS, within 10 days of the date of issue of this direction, that ISD facility of the subscribers shall be discontinued after sixty days," Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in a directive to telcos. "If such subscribers want to continue with ISD facility, they should give their explicit consent for availing such facility within 60 days of the receipt of the SMS," it added. TRAI has issued this directive following complaints from consumers about missed calls from international telephone numbers which are often premium numbers charging high tariff, prompting the consumers to make call to such numbers. Trai said it has also been receiving complaints from consumers about receiving calls and SMSes from international numbers informing them about winning of prizes or lottery and prompting consumers to call a particular number to claim the prize or lottery money."These numbers are international numbers, which are often premium numbers charging higher tariffs. By responding to such calls/SMS the consumers have to pay unintended charges," Trai said. The regulator has asked telecom operators to inform subscribers through SMS, within 10 days of the direction, that pre-paid cellular mobile telephone service consumers need not respond to all missed calls from unknown international numbers or calls about winning prizes or lottery.
  • Jal Satyagraha wins, MP govt to reduce dam water level:Bhopal: Bowing before the villagers who have standing in neck-deep water for 17 days demanding reduction in the water level of the Omkareshwar dam, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on 10 September, announced the reduction of the water level to 189 metres. The Madhya Pradesh CM said, “Taking into account of the present situation, the state government has decided to reduce the water level to 189 metres from the current 190.5 metres.” Expressing concern on the adverse affect of the decision, Chouhan said, “Reducing the water level would affect the irrigation process and 20,000 hectares of land will not get water. Decreasing the water level will also lead to loss of 120 megawatt electricity.” The Omkareshwar dam is built across the Narmada River. The Chief Minister also announced that the affected villagers will be given land-for-land within 90 days.
  • Goa Government ordered Temporary Suspension of Mining Operations:The Goa Government on 10 September 2012 ordered temporary suspension of all mining operations in the state. An order to this effect was issued by the Principal Secretary, Department of Mines and Geology. The suspension came into effect from 11 September 2012. The decision comes in view of the serious illegalities and irregularities mentioned in the report of the Justice M.B. Shah commission of inquiry constituted by the Union Government of India to look into the aspect of illegal mining in various states including Goa. However, the suspension of mining operations will have no effect on trade and transportation of ore already mined and existing in the lease-hold area, in transit or stored or stocked on the jetties.
  • Journalists must not cross the line of contempt: SCThe Supreme Court on 11 September, laid down a constitutional principle where aggrieved parties can seek from appropriate court the postponement of the publication of court hearings and a decision taken on a case-by-case basis. The court, however, refrained from framing broad guidelines for reporting of sub-judice court matters, saying it cannot be done across the board. The bench observed that freedom of speech and expression is not an absolute right under the Constitution and the journalists should understand the 'lakshman rekha' so that they do not cross the line of contempt. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said it was laying down the constitutional principle which will allow the aggrieved parties to seek from appropriate court the postponement of the publication of court hearings. The bench said the concerned court will decide the question of postponement of reporting court proceedings on case-by-case basis. 
  • Now Delhi bans plastic bags:Taking a giant leap forward towards protecting the environment, the Delhi Government has imposed a blanket ban on manufacture, sale, storage and use of plastic bags in the city. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Delhi Cabinet on 11 September. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said: “After considering the adverse effects of plastic carry bags on the environment, we decided to ban them. It has also been observed that plastic bags cause blockage of gutters, drains and sewerage system, thereby resulting in serious environmental and public health-related problems”. She said her government would soon issue a notification stating that no person including any shopkeeper, vendor, wholesaler or retailer, trader or hawker would sell or store or use any kind of plastic carry bags. No person will manufacture, import, store, sell or transport any kind of plastic carry bags in the city. Also, no person will use any kind of plastic cover or plastic sheet or plastic film or plastic tube to pack or cover any book including magazine, invitation or greeting card. The notification will, however, not affect the use of plastic carry bags as specified under the Bio-Medical Waste Management & Handling Rules, 1998. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee member-secretary will ensure overall monitoring and implementation of the ban. The notification will come into force with effect from the date to be decided by the Government in the official Gazette.
  • Karnataka agreed to release 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu:Karnataka showcased a gesture of goodwill on 10 September 2012 in front of the Supreme Court of India and agreed to release 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from the Cauvery River, till 20 September 2012. As a response to this act of Karnataka, the bench of Justices D.K. Jain and Madan Lokur didn’t pass any verdict for the plea of directing the state to release 2 tmcft (thousand million cubic foot of water). Supreme Court expressed its hope that a fine and friendly solution will be brought forward by the Cauvery River Authority that is headed by the Prime Minister. The bench also stated that in case Karnataka’s plea is kept pending than the bench will have to come forward for making a decision on the issue.
  • Vice president of India M. Hamid Ansari released a book :Vice president of India Hamid Ansari released the book “Muslim in Indian cities” on 10 September 2012. The book is edited by Laurent Gayer and Christopher Jafferlot. On the occasion of book release, Vice-President denoted Indian muslim as sui generic that means unique in characteristics. The book speaks about Muslim life in India. Numbering more than 150 million, Muslims constitute the largest minority in India, yet they suffer the most politically and socioeconomically. The books argue that the quality of Muslim life may lag behind that of Hindus nationally, local and inclusive cultures had resilient in the south and the east. Within India’s cities, however, the challenges Muslims face can be harder to read. As per the book, In the Hindi belt and in the north, Muslims have known less peace, especially in the riot-prone areas of Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Aligarh, and in the capitals of former Muslim states—Delhi, Hyderabad, Bhopal, and Lucknow. These cities are rife with Muslim ghettos and slums. However, self-segregation has also played a part in forming Muslim enclaves, such as in Delhi and Aligarh, where traditional elites and a new Muslim middle class have regrouped for physical and cultural protection. Combining firsthand testimony with sound critical analysis, the book follows urban Muslim life in eleven Indian cities, providing uncommon insight into a little-known but highly consequential subject. The book is published by Harper Collins publisher, India.
  • First single entrance test for MBBS, BDS admissions:The first-ever National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS and BDS courses across the country will be held on May 5 next year, the CBSE announced on 13 September. The NEET aims at mitigating the need of students to appear in multiple tests and promote merit in admission process. It will allow class XII students to sit in a single entrance examination to get admission to almost all medical colleges in India, including private medical colleges. A single merit list will be created for the MBBS and BDS seats across the country, which will show state, minorities and SC/ST quotas. Announcing the date, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said that Medical Council of India (MCI) and Dental Council of India (DCI) have already notified that the Board will be conducting the test for entry to medical and dental colleges in the country. The syllabus has already been notified by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and all admissions to MBBS and BDS will be held on the basis of the common merit list.
  • UPA government approves FDI in multi-brand retail, aviation, broadcasting and power exchanges :-In a major decision signalling the end of policy paralysis in the UPA government, the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 13 September, accepted 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail. The government has, however, left the option to invite multi-brand retail on the states. There is an opt out clause in the FDI in multi-brand retail, which has been the most contagious of the issues. According to the clause, "Retail sales outlets maybe set up in those states which have agreed or agree in the future to allow FDI in multi-brand retail under this policy. This is an enabling clause. This means that no FDI in retail will be allowed in any state unless the state explicitly agrees to come on board and agree to the policy." Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at the meeting that the time had come for big bang reforms. "If we have to go down, we have to go down fighting," he said. Notably, the issue had been pending for quite long because of opposition from key UPA allies such as the Trinamool Congress. The government also approved foreign direct investment in aviation, broadcasting and power exchanges. The decision means that foreign airlines will now be allowed to invest as much as 49 per cent in the Indian carriers. Also, the FDI cap on various streams of broadcast services has been raised to up to 74 per cent. In another important decision, the government approved the disinvestment of five Public Sector Units (PSUs), including Oil India (10 per cent), Nalco (12.5 per cent) and Hindustan Copper (9.59 per cent).
  • Diesel price hiked by Rs 5:The government on 13 September, hiked the price of diesel by Rs 5 per litre, to be effective from midnight. The Cabinet Committee of Political Affairs (CCPA), however, decided not to hike the price of kerosene. The CCPA, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also ended the subsidy on branded diesel fuel saying it would be sold at market rates. In another major decision, it was decided that a household would get a maximum of six LPG cylinders at the subsidised price per year. The government, however, spared an increase in petrol price by cutting excise duty of Rs 5.50 per litre.
  • Golden jubilee of the National Pledge :The Pledge, the students across the country take every day in their schools was first written in Telugu by Paidimarri Venkata Subba Rao in 1962, when he was working as the District Treasury Officer of Visakhapatnam. It was first introduced in the Visakhapatnam City Schools in 1963 and later in all schools in the state. Later, the Education Department of Central Government got it translated into English and other languages and introduced in all schools across the country from January 26, 1965. The golden jubilee celebration of The Pledge is going on in a befitting manner. Now a group of Vizagties geared themselves up to celebrate golden jubilee of the plege from September last week to November last week in a grand manner. President of Uttarandhra Rakshana Vedika, SS Siva Shankar said that Venkata Subba Rao was a native of Nalgonda but he was totally neglected by successive governments. Unfortunately Subba Rao’s name was not mentioned anywhere in the history with regard to the pledge.
  • Appoint people with judicial background to CIC: Supreme CourtHolding that Central and State Information Commissions perform quasi-judicial functions, the Supreme Court on 14 September, asked the government to appoint people from judicial background also as its members. A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar also lifted the stay on appointment of information commissioners.
  • National Students Union of India wins Delhi University elections:The Congress-backed National Students' Union of India (NSUI) has won the Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) elections, bagging the top three seats in the union. NSUI's Arun Hooda, Varun Khari and Varun Chaudhry recorded the highest votes for the posts of President, Vice-President and Secretary posts respectively. Their campaign this year touched on several issues like increase in the number of hostels, special consideration for sportspersons, cheap study material for students and subsidised metro cards. Their main opponent, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), had centred their campaign around corruption at the centre. 13 candidates were in the fray for the post of president this year: Seven for vice-president and nine each for the posts of secretary and joint secretary. Last year, NSUI had won only the post of the president. The other three were won by ABVP.
  • Nagaland Peace Channel organizes NE Youth Peace Festival:Nagaland Peace Channel has announced to organize the fifth annual 'North East Youth Peace and cultural Festival' (NEYPCF) from September 21 to 23 at Holy Cross Higher Secondary School Campus in Dimapur, on the theme 'Sustainable peace for a sustainable future.' According to sources here today The North Eastern Youth Cultural & Peace Festival is an annual gathering of the Peace Club members, associates and representatives of various organizations, peace activists and thinkers from across the North East and invitees from across the country and the world. The three day event would enable integration through inter-cultural interaction and sharing, facilitate learning through input sessions, panel discussions and discourses from leading personalities, provide entertainment through exposition of cultural dances, songs and art forms, and above all inculcate Peace in the mind and hearts of the participants through the thematic stream , 'Sustainable peace for a sustainable future.' The delegates are expected to reach the venue on September 21.

  • On instructions from the Central Vigilance Commission, the CBI on 24 September, decided to expand the scope of its investigation into the scam in coal blocks allocation to private firms between 1993 and 2004. The probe will now cover the blocks given during the six-year tenure of the BJP-led NDA government, from 1998 to 2004, besides those allotted by the Congress government led by P.V. Narasimha Rao after 1993 and the United Front government from 1996 to 1998. Till now, the CBI was investigating private companies that got blocks between 2004 and 2009.As per the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report on the allocation between 1993 and 2009, 215 blocks were allotted and 99 of them went to government companies and 105 to private firms, while 11 were allotted for ultra-mega power projects. Twenty-four blocks were de-allocated between 2003 and 2011 for non-performance by companies. On representations from MPs, Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal wrote to the CVC, seeking a CBI probe into the allocations since 1993 when the government started giving blocks to private players for captive use. Mainly Congress MPs alleged massive irregularities in the allocations under the NDA rule.

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) , which met under the leadership of the Prime Minister, on 24 September, approved a Rs. 1.90-lakh crore debt restructuring package for the State Electricity Boards to facilitate a turnaround of the State distribution companies (discoms). The package may force the distribution companies, which are in the red, to begin a fresh round of tariff increase. A Cabinet note said that, restructuring by lenders is subject to certain steps to be taken by the State government/discoms and their commitment to fulfill mandatory conditions aimed at bridging the gap between the average cost of supply and the average revenue realised to restore the viability of the sector. In other words, it will be mandatory for the State governments or distribution companies to revise their tariffs regularly to avail themselves of the package. The scheme provides for 50 per cent of the outstanding short-term liabilities as of March 31, 2012 to be taken over by the States governments. This shall be first converted into bonds to be issued by the distributing companies to lenders and guaranteed by the State governments. The scheme also makes prepaid meters mandatory by March 31, 2013 for all government consumers and large consumers (1 MW and above), in whose cases defaults have occurred.

  • The Union Cabinet on 24 September broadly approved the scheme of one rank, one pension (OROP), which is the long-standing demand of ex-servicemen. Cabinet also gave its nod for enhancement of family pension and dual family pension. These decisions will cost the government about Rs. 2300 crore annually. It also approved the grant of family pension to mentally and physically challenged children of armed forces personnel. The decisions on pension issues of ex-servicemen may be implemented from a prospective date and payment made accordingly. The Cabinet nod for the OROP came weeks after the six-member committee, set up by the Prime Minister, submitted its report. Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth headed the committee. It was set up after a Rajya Sabha panel last year recommended granting one rank, one pension to defence personnel.

  • Hyderabad is hosting the ninth general assembly of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), which is being billed as the biggest ever conference on eye care. The gathering has nearly 1,600 participants from 87 countries. Delegates include ophthalmologists and optometrists. IAPB is an umbrella organisation that leads international efforts in blindness prevention. Its previous general assembly, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2008, attracted 800 participants from 60 countries. The meet, titled 'Eye Health: Everyone's Business', focuses on eliminating avoidable blindness globally by 2020. It is part of a joint programme of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the IAPB, called 'Vision 2020 - The Right to Sight', and includes international NGOs, professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations. According to WHO data shared by officials of the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, which is involved in organising the Hyderabad event, India has some 63 million cases of visual impairment out of a total of 285 million cases worldwide. An estimated 80 per cent of all visual impairment is avoidable, which means that it can be prevented, treated or cured. Inaugurating the event on September 17, former president of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said India needed to build research capacity, make laws donor-friendly and improve accessibility to eye care. The conference ends on September 20.

  • The Supreme Court on 28 September, expressed its displeasure over Karnataka not complying with a direction issued by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, heading the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to Tamil Nadu from September 20 to October 15. The Bench comprising Justice D.K. Jain and Justice Madan B. Lokur directed Karnataka to comply with the CRA’s order. It issued notice to Karnataka seeking its response within a week to Tamil Nadu’s application, and a rejoinder from Tamil Nadu within a week thereafter. Senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for Tamil Nadu, told the court that the CRA had directed Karnataka on September 19 to release 9,000 cusecs from September 20, but the order was not complied with. Since Karnataka had failed to obey the order, it should be treated as constitutional breakdown, and the court should direct the Centre to invoke Article 355 or 356. He said the court might order deployment of the Army in Karnataka to ensure it complied with the order.

  • The committee, headed by former finance secretary Vijay Kelkar, formed to prepare a fiscal consolidation plan for the government, on 28 September, recommended withdrawal of all subsidies, saying the Indian economy is poised on the edge of a "fiscal precipice". But officials in the finance ministry said the committee's suggestion cannot be accepted as it is, as some subsidies are necessary, given the government's stated policy of inclusive growth. The committee said half of diesel subsidy should be eliminated by March 2013 and the rest by fiscal 2014.It recommended kerosene price should be raised by Rs.2 per litre and that the subsidy on the fuel needed to be reduced by one-third by fiscal 2015. It also suggested phased elimination of subsidy on LPG in the next four years. In case of food, the panel favoured rising of issue price of food grain at ration shops. On fertiliser subsidies, it wanted the government to raise the urea price. The report advised the government to sell residual stake in BALCO. The committee warned the government that in the absence of these corrective measures, the fiscal deficit of the government could shoot up to 6.1 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the current financial year against the budget estimate of 5.1 per cent.

  • Country’s first Aquifer Atlas was released in New Delhi on 27 September. There has been a sharp decline in groundwater levels in several parts of Delhi, West Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan over the years. According to the data released , which is part of country's first ever aquifer atlas, Himachal Pradesh has the best groundwater level as water exploited is quickly recharged. The atlas, first ever compilation of aquifer systems in India, says that within the national capital, South-West Delhi is the worst affected by depleting groundwater levels. The Central Ground Water Board Chairman S C Dhiman said that the construction around Aravali Hills has created a situation which has disturbed the groundwater recharge system. He said over exploitation due to population concentration has led to depletion of levels and the recharge process is slow due to the type of soil in the region. Dhiman also said hard rock areas of South India are also severely affected. The atlas has been prepared on 1:250000-grid map scale. Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said that, it would be better if the scale is 1:10000 so that every village in the country is covered. Then it will help the farmers and the common man to understand the water level in their area.

  • An All India Survey on Higher Education, conducted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development has revealed that the percentage of students from the Other Backward Communities who have enrolled in higher education has gone past 27 per cent, but the number of students from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes continues to be very low. Indicating an impressive increase in the Gross Enrolment Ratio from 15 per cent in 2009-10 to 18.8 per cent in 2010-11, the survey shows that the enrolment of women has increased substantially from 12.7 per cent to 16.5 per cent during this period, as against that of men, where the increase has been from 17.1 per cent to 20.9 per cent. Of the students in higher educational institutions, OBC students comprise 27.1 per cent, with 27.3 per cent being male and 26.8 per cent being female. However, the Scheduled Castes comprise only 10.2 per cent of the enrolment, with 10.3 per cent male and 10.1 female, while the Scheduled Tribe enrolment is extremely low at 4.4 per cent, with males and females almost on a par, according to “Higher enrolment indicates growing interest in higher education in India. The figures show that India has the highest number of students in colleges after the United States,” Mr. Sibal said, after releasing a first-of-its-kind survey. There is reservation for all these categories in higher educational institutions. Twenty-seven per cent seats are reserved for OBC students, 15 per cent for the Scheduled Castes, and 7.5 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes. However, quotas are applicable only in Central educational institutions. The data on these categories is based primarily on the reservations in publicly-funded institutions, as well as voluntary disclosures. The initial survey released by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal was based on information collected from 448 universities, 8,123 colleges, and 4,076 standalone institutions, until July 31. It is a voluntary exercise, and will help in gathering relevant statistics on higher education on various parameters.

  • Coming out in support of the Union government, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on 28 September, said the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu was safe and there was no need for people living in its surrounding areas to protest. NDMA Vice-Chairman M. Shashidhar Reddy said, there is no need for concern on any of the [nuclear] plan, not only Kudankulam but also the Kalpakkam atomic power station, which too is located in Tamil Nadu, is also safe. The government has taken several safety measures and would continue to do so. Speaking to journalists after a day-long session on disaster management organised to mark the eighth foundation day of the NDMA, Mr. Reddy said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also heads the NDMA, and nuclear experts have repeatedly assured that the Kudankulam plant was safe and there would be no compromise on the safety standards of any of the nuclear plants. The government has already announced a Rs. 500-crore development project for the areas surrounding the Kudankulam plant. Drills were being carried out in six States which have nuclear plants to make people aware about how to deal with any disaster. Mr. Reddy said Rs. 35,000 crore would be spent under the 12th Five Year Plan for strengthening various disaster management mechanisms in the country.

  • Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 21 September, laid the foundation stone of a Buddhist university in Sanchi and called for tolerance and understanding in the world, saying it was of great relevance in view of the violence sparked due to religious causes. The Sri Lankan president’s visit to Sanchi came even as MDMK chief Vaiko and around 750 of his party workers were arrested for protesting against the visit. He said the University, which is aimed at promoting mutual relationships between Asian countries, would help to revive Buddhist and Indic studies based on the ancient concepts of teaching, self enquiry and traditional knowledge.

  • The Union Cabinet on 20 September has approved the National Policy on Information Technology 2012.The policy aims to leverage Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to address country's economic and developmental challenges, and envisages growth of the IT market to three hundred billion U.S. dollars, besides creation of additional 10 million employments by 2020.
  • The thrust areas of the policy include:
    • To increase revenues of IT and ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services) Industry from 100 Billion USD currently to 300 Billion USD by 2020 and expand exports from 69 Billion USD currently to 200 Billion USD by 2020.
    • To gain significant global market-share in emerging technologies and Services.
    • To promote innovation and R and D in cutting edge technologies and development of applications and solutions in areas like localization, location based services, mobile value added services, Cloud Computing, Social Media and Utility models.
    • To encourage adoption of ICTs in key economic and strategic sectors to improve their competitiveness and productivity.
    • To provide fiscal benefits to SMEs and Startups for adoption of IT in value creation
    • To create a pool of 10 million additional skilled manpower in ICT.
    • To make at least one individual in every household e-literate.
    • To provide for mandatory delivery of and affordable access to all public services in electronic mode.
    • To enhance transparency, accountability, efficiency, reliability and decentralization in Government and in particular, in delivery of public services.
    • To leverage ICT for key Social Sector initiatives like Education, Health, Rural Development and Financial Services to promote equity and quality.
    • To make India the global hub for development of language technologies, to encourage and facilitate development of content accessible in all Indian languages and thereby help bridge the digital divide.
    • To enable access of content and ICT applications by differently-abled people to foster inclusive development.
    • To leverage ICT for expanding the workforce and enabling life-long learning.
    • To strengthen the Regulatory and Security Framework for ensuring a Secure and legally compliant Cyberspace ecosystem.
    • To adopt Open standards and promote open source and open technologies 
    The Policy will be notified in the Gazette shortly. Detailed proposals for individual initiatives will be formulated in consultation with the concerned Ministries.

  • Ajmal Amir Kasab's mercy petition, addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee, has been "rejected" by Maharashtra Home Ministry; days after the lone surviving perpetrator of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks set in motion the last option available to save his life. "The Home Ministry has rejected Kasab's petition and has forwarded it to the Chief Minister's Office," sources in the home department said on 24 September. Under the rules, the Chief Minister's Office will forward the mercy plea to the Union Home Ministry, which in turn will send it to the Rashtrapati Bhavan with its recommendation.

  • The Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, on 27 September, gave its approval to the final pharma pricing policy, bringing 348 essential drugs under the government’s price control regime. The GoM, at its last meeting, had agreed to study how emerging countries such as Mexico, South Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka fixed the prices of essential medicines, before finalising the drug pricing policy in India. After the meeting, Mr. Pawar told reporters that the GoM would forward its recommendations to the Cabinet within a week for approval to bring the drugs under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). These drugs with total sales of around Rs.29,000 crore account for about 60 per cent of the domestic market. At present, the government, through the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), controls prices of 74 bulk drugs and their formulations. The Supreme Court had recently criticised the government on this issue, and had given the government a two-week ultimatum to finalise the policy.

  • The Election commission on 27 September 2012 directed the Political Parties and candidates not to use birds and animals in the campaigns. The commission also directed that in case the use of animal is unavoidable then the party or candidate will have to ensure that no harm is caused to the animal including violation of any law as well as cruelty towards the creature. To justify the decision the commission pointed towards Article 51(g) of the Indian Constitution that states compassion for all living creature as well as Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960. The commission also pointed towards the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 that prohibits overloading and torturing of the animals. The Election Commission has also sent letters to the political parties as well as the Chief Electoral Officers of every state and union territories. The decision was made following the representations received by the election commission by some organization and individual stating the cruelty that animals suffered during the election campaign of the political parties.

  • Procuring passport will be costlier from October 1. The Government has decided to increase the Passport and related services fees from Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 under the normal category and from Rs 2500 to Rs 3500 under Tatkal scheme, a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs Ministry said. The Passport and related services were last fixed on March 29, 2002. For Indian citizens living abroad, the revised fee would be $75.00 (from 40.00) and Euro 60.00 (from 48.00) for normal applications. The statement said that the hike was necessitated by considerable increase in the last ten years in inputs costs relating to establishment, capital expenditure, procurement of equipment, reimbursement to police authorities, payment to India Posts, printing of passport booklets, personalization costs, income tax expenses and contractual payment to service providers.

  • Bilateral Relations
    • India, Palestine against any outside interference in solving Gulf issues: India and Palestine on 11 September, called for resolution of all the developments in the Gulf through dialogue without any outside interference. Visiting Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh exchanged views on regional developments, particularly the developments in the West Asian and the Gulf region. "There is a great degree of similarity in our views. We both agree that the developments in the region must be addressed through political dialogue and peaceful means without recourse to violence and outside interference, while taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all people," Dr Singh said in a statement to the media after holding talks with Mr Abbas. Mr Abbas also expressed the commitment of his nation to resolve issues with Israel through negotiations, while calling upon the neighbour to stop all violence and illegal settlements. He thanked India for its continued support to the Palestinian cause and sought to underline that a "Palestinian state with its East Jerusalem as its capital" was all for living in peace with Israel. 
    • India extended a credit of $10 Million aid to Palestine in a gesture of support:Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a support of $10 Million to Palestine during a meet with Palestine’s National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 11 September 2012. Palestinian president was here in Indian on a three day visit from 10 to 12 September 2012. Mr. Singh also promised his Palestinian counterpart about India’s backing for their full and equal membership of the U.N. the one that is threatened by US for veto. During the meet, both the sides inked three different agreements comprising information and communication technology, education and vocational training. The agreements were inked in presence of the Indian external Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and the member of executive committee of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Dr. Saeb M.S. Erakat. A MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been signed up to set up two schools at two districts of Palestine namely Abu Dees and Asera Al Shamalyeh, which will be named on the name of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. Cost estimated for the construction of the two schools is US$ 1.8 million and will help about eight hundred students of these districts to fetch quality education. The schools at Abu Dees and Asera Al Shamalyeh will be constructed in an area of 1700 and 1900 square meter with 10 and 12 classes respectively. In the second agreement, India will set a state-of-the-art information and communication technology center in Palestine to create IT experts and generate opportunities of employment. To make the center of Palestine self reliable, some of the IT professionals from Palestine will be trained here in India to a higher level. As per the third agreement, India will participate in providing vocational training to the women and youth of Palestine. The training will include technical and machinery know-how to. Prime Minister Mr. Singh stated that he supported the Palestinian cause to achieve independent, sovereign and united state of Palestine and East Jerusalem as a capital to the state.
    • India, Myanmar and Thailand decided to implement Trilateral Connectivity Project by 2016:India, Myanmar and Thailand on 10 September 2012 reviewed the eagerly awaited trilateral connectivity project and decided to make all efforts to implement this by 2016. This was done at the meeting of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Joint Task Force, which met in New Delhi. It was also agreed during the meeting that steps be initiated to address issues related to harmonisation of customs and immigration procedures at border check-posts to enable seamless movement of goods and people to realise the full potential of the trilateral highway.
    • Aiming to improve ties between India and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), "INS Sudarshini", a sail training ship, began its journey on 28 September, from Chennai on a nine nation voyage. Director General, Naval Projects (V) Vice Admiral V K Namballa flagged off the ship, manned by five officers, 31 sailors, 30 Naval and Coast Guard cadets, from the Chennai Port Trust. During its journey, the ship would call on 13 foreign ports across nine nations to bolster friendship across the seas. The ship would take the ancient route of Indian mariners to South East Asia, it said, adding during its journey, the ship would spend a total of 127 days before berthing back at Kochi on March 29, 2013.

    Economic Affairs
    • Indian IT firms among 10 worst paymasters in world:Indian companies are among the world's 10 lowest paying employers in the IT space, with their mid-to-senior level staff getting an average salary of USD 38,767 (about Rs 21.5 lakh) per annum — less than one-fourth of the IT pay package at globally top-paying Swiss firms. Salaries in the IT sector of Switzerland are the highest in the world at an average of USD 168,211 (about Rs 93 lakh) per annum as per a study titled 'World wide IT Salary 2012'. The study, conducted by global recruitment service provider, has ranked India at eighth spot among 10 worst IT paymasters globally. On the other hand, Switzerland stands at the top spot among the top-paying nations in the IT sector. The study, which was conducted in August this year, took into account the average salaries for people with four and more years of experience for the Indian and other companies. The report compared the total annual cash compensation and total remuneration information for IT staff in more than 6,000 companies across 40 different countries and found that employers in western Europe are the best paymasters. It also found that compensation in developed countries focus more on variable factors, such as bonus schemes, to attract staff. At the same time, the emphasis remains on cash compensation in the lower-paying countries. "Experienced IT managers are highly sought-after in India and there is strong competition to attract and retain skilled employees. MNCs rely heavily on Indian IT managers, so they need to ensure their pay is competitive.''"Although pay in Asia and Eastern Europe tends to be much lower, it would be difficult for firms to outsource the IT manager role to these regions. Instead, we may see a migration of IT skills from lower paying nations to places in Western Europe and North America," CEO Rajesh Kumar said. Interestingly, IT managers in India fare better than their counterparts in neighbouring China, where the average annual compensation package were lower at USD 38,624. In addition, IT employees in India, scored better than their peers in Bulgaria, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, where the average annual salaries were even lower at USD 23,745, USD 29,831, USD 33,768, USD 33,965, USD 34,107 and USD 36,790 respectively. Among the best IT salaries paying countries Belgium bagged the second position with an average salary of USD 144,980, followed by Denmark (USD 136,542), the US (USD 128,632) and the UK (USD 127,890).
    • Sales percentage of car declined in India:The sales of cars in India declined in the month of August 2012 by an overall 19 percent. It is counted among the biggest drop in one year timeline, resulting to which Society of Indian automobile Manufacturer (SIAM) asked the government to cut the excise duty. The next disappointing part is that the export of cars is also declined to a figure of 26.83 percent in the August month which has affected overall production of companies in India. It is the highest decline in 11 years of time. The automobile industry has entered into a desperate situation. The excise duty on automobiles, which was increased in this year’s Budget, needs to be reduced, particularly for the commercial vehicles segment to regain the sale in momentum. In contrary to that, Chinese market saw a robust sale of car in the month of august.
    • Indian external debts are within manageable limitsThe Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) published its annual publication- India’s external debt: a status report 2011-12. As per the published report, India’s external debt in the end of March 2012 was $345.8 billion, which is 13% high than the previous year’s debt or $ 39.9 billion from where India stood at the end of March 2011. The publication points out about the upward movement of the stress that is put on the current account deficit (CAD) of the nation because of the risks thrown on it, from the external sectors that comprises Fall in the reserve cover for imports and external debt, depreciation in the exchange rate of rupee, rise in the level of external debts and the increased share of the short term commercial borrowing in the complete external debt quantum. The finance ministry cleared on 10 September 2012 that there can be a rise in the global economic risks that may rise with a weakened recovery and a slow growth scopes that may lead into high debts and seek growth finances even in the advanced economies. This clearance was based on Indian Vulnerability Index indicators, which has been experiencing the euro zone debt crisis and the global slowdown. A detailed analysis of India’s position in external debt at the end of March, 2012 has been presented in the status report. It is also based on the data released by the Reserve Bank of India on 29 June 2012. The report not only presents the analysis of external debts trend and composition on the country but it also presents a comparative picture of this debt in reference to other developing nations of the world with respect to the fluid global economic situations. The best part of the report produced is that instead of all the facts presented and developments India’s debt is within manageable limits and can be indicated by the debt service ratio to 6 percent and external debt-to-GDP ratio of 20 percent in 2011-2012. Thus India continues to be within the less vulnerable countries when it comes to external debt indicators compared to that of the indebted countries. The Global Development Finance, 2012 from World Bank, India stood at the fifth position for absolute debt stocks when compared with the 20 other developing debtor countries. But when taken care of the ration of external debt to that of the gross national income, India was at the fifth position from the lowest side.
    • Guidelines on overseas loans for companies eased:The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 11 September, relaxed guidelines for Indian companies to raise money overseas through external commercial borrowings (ECB). The RBI allowed companies to raise more funds through ECBs to repay rupee loans or for new capital expenditure in rupees. It raised the maximum limit of ECB to 75 per cent of the average foreign exchange earnings in the past three fiscal years, or 50 per cent of the highest export earnings in any of the three years, or whichever is higher. Earlier, a company could raise a maximum of 50 per cent of its average export earnings in the past three fiscal years. The RBI will also allow refinancing of bridge finance, or short-term credit taken by companies in the infrastructure sector for importing capital goods, with an ECB under the automatic route. Earlier, companies had to seek approval from the RBI for replacing the bridge finance with a long-term ECB. The central bank said companies in the infrastructure sector can seek trade credit for up to a maximum period of five years for importing capital goods, up from one-to-three years previously. Trade credit is a short-term loan.
    • Chidambaram pitched for Prime Minister led National Investment Board:Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on 15 September 2012 pitched for institutionalization of a National Investment Board under the leadership of Prime Minister. The formation of the board will help in speeding the approval of the proposals, for the mega projects and their implementation. Formation of the board will help the country in achieving the targeted growth for the twelfth five year of 8.2 percent. At the meeting of the full planning commission under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the finance minister expressed his concern on the delayed implementation of the mega projects and stressed on the fact that the decision made by the National Investment board (NIB) to be taken as the final decision. Chidambaram also insisted interference by any other authority on the approvals and decisions made by the NIB will be entertained. He also added to his statement that NIB’s role will be limited to the projects with investments of Rs 1000 crore or more.

  • A consortium comprising Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation, and Oil India has jointly placed a $5-billion bid for buying stake in ConocoPhillips’ six Canadian oil-sands assets in Alberta. Early in 2012, Houston-based ConocoPhillips had announced that it was planning to sell as much as 50 per cent of its oil-sands reserves in Alberta.Early this month, ONGC Videsh (OVL) had bought U.S. energy firm Hess Corp's stake in Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli (AGC) group of oil fields in Azerbaijan for $1 billion. ConocoPhillips has hired Scotia Waterous for selling stake in six Alberta properties that produce about 25,000 barrels of oil a day from an estimated 30 billion barrels of bitumen in place.

  • Citing “volatile” global economic situation, the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has lowered the growth forecast for India to 5.5 per cent for this fiscal, from 6.5 per cent projected earlier. According to S&P, Asia-Pacific is feeling the pressure of ongoing global economic uncertainty, and it has lowered India growth forecast by one percentage point to 5.5 per cent for this fiscal from 6.5 per cent earlier. The report says, lack of monsoon rains has affected India, for which agriculture still forms a substantial part of the economy and global investors have become more critical of India’s policy and infrastructure shortcomings which was recently highlighted by the power outage in early August that affected 20 of India’s 28 States. S&P said Asia Pacific economies were witnessing cautious growth conditions and any worsening of the economic conditions in the euro zone would increase contagion risk for the region as these economies were “sensitive” to capital flows and trade. S&P has lowered the base case forecasts of 2012 real GDP growth by about half a percentage point for some countries, with China’s revised to 7.5 per cent (from 8 per cent); Japan to 2 per cent (from 2.5 per cent); Korea to 2.5 per cent (from 3 per cent); Singapore to 2.1 per cent (from 2.5 per cent); and Taiwan to 1.9 per cent (from 2.5 per cent).Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley had also lowered India’s growth forecast to 5.1 per cent for the current fiscal from its earlier estimate of 5.8 per cent; HSBC to 5.7 per cent from 6.2 per cent and Standard Chartered to 5.4 per cent from 6.2 per cent projected earlier.

  • A global study, puts India ranks very low at 111th position in terms of economic freedom, behind countries like China, Nepal and Bangladesh, in a worldwide index of 144 nations. The annual ranking, titled 'Economic Freedom of the World: 2012', is topped by Hong Kong, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland (8.24) and Australia in the top-five. The index has been prepared by Canada-based public policy think-tank, Fraser Institute, in cooperation with independent institutes in 90 nations and territories, and claims to measure the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries support economic freedom.

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India, on 28 September, issued draft norms for mandatory safety net mechanism in IPOs , to protect the interests of retail investors. The SEBI has sought comments from the public on the draft norms till October 31.According to SEBI, the safety net mechanism would be available for all securities allotted to original resident retail individual allottees, who had made an application for up to Rs.50,000.SEBI also said the total obligation on safety net provider will be capped at 5 per cent of the issue size. The proposal for such a mechanism, discussed at SEBI’s board meeting held on August 16, is aimed at protecting the interest of retail investors.

  • Ratings firm Fitch in its Global Economic Outlook report on 28 September, lowered India’s growth projection for the current fiscal to 6 per cent for 2012-13 from 6.5 per cent estimated earlier citing challenging economic outlook. India’s economic growth has slowed to a three-year low of 5.3 per cent in the April-June quarter of the current fiscal. The growth had fallen to 6.5 per cent in the 2011-12 fiscal. Fitch said the high fiscal deficit left little scope for government for fiscal easing and increasing spending. It said weak investments were affecting supply capacity and thereby pointing towards weaker growth outlook.

  • The study on the “Impact of Internet on the Indian Economy” by McKinsey, which is still to be released, says that its contribution to India’s GDP will explode to $100 billion (Rs. 5 lakh crore) by 2015 from $30 billion (Rs.1.5 lakh crore) at present. Revealing the highlights of the study, on 29 September in the presence of Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal at a curtain-raiser held to announce a two-day multi stakeholder conference on Internet governance to be held at FICCI in New Delhi on October 4-5, McKinsey said the contribution of the Internet to global GDP is roughly three per cent or $1.7 trillion and its performance in India will eventually mirror this trend. Mr. Sibal said the government is also alive to the growing power of the Internet, including as a communications multiplier. The world currently has 2 billion Internet users, of whom 50 per cent live outside the developed world. The global Internet population is projected to climb to 2.6-2.9 billion by 2015. By 2015, based on existing projections, India, which with 120 million users has the third largest Internet user base in the world, is projected to hit 350 million, catapulting it to a global ranking of 2, with the fastest rate of growth.

  • Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, said in Coonoor,that the Union Government has set up a directorate, as part of the Tea Board, exclusively to address the issues of small tea growers. Speaking to presspersons after inaugurating the 119th conference of the United Planters’ Association of Southern India (UPASI), he said this was an important measure for the welfare of small growers. The initiative was now only for the tea sector. This could be extended to other plantation sectors, if needed. The plantation sector was expected to see higher outlay in the XII Plan with focus on various areas such as research and development and small growers. Mr. Scindhia said ,the domestic market for tea was seeing healthy growth. However, India should also increase its tea exports, and, hence, the government had come out with the Triple Five (555) scheme.Under this, the focus would be on five markets with five major measures for five years. For the first phase, the government had sanctioned Rs.6.5 crore for this scheme. Tea production was 976 million kg last year and domestic consumption 840 million kg. Exports were 191 million kg. G. J. Ancheril was elected as President of the United Planters’ Association of Southern India (UPASI) for 2012-13.

  • Science and Technology
    • ISRO scores on 100th mission, PSLV rocket launch successful:A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C21) blasted off from from the Satish Dhawan Space Research Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, and placed two foreign satellites in orbit on 9 Septemebr accomplishing the Indian Space Research Organisation’s 100{+t}{+h}mission, a milestone in the country’s space journey.After a 51-hour countdown, the PSLV lifted off at 9.53 a.m., two minutes behind schedule, to avoid any collision with space debris. In the textbook launch, it carried SPOT-6, a 712-kg French earth observation satellite and injected it into an orbit of 655-km altitude, inclined at 98.23 degrees to the equator. Proiteres, a 15-kg Japanese microsatellite, was put into orbit as an additional payload. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a host of dignitaries watched the flight path on electronic screens, as the 44-metre tall PSLV accomplished its task, reinforcing the fact that it is the ISRO’s workhorse, with 21 successful missions in a row. The four-stage ignition and the injection of the satellites into the orbit took 18 minutes and 37 seconds. As Proiteres separated at the final moment, the scientists erupted into joyous applause. SPOT-6, an optical remote-sensing satellite capable of imaging the earth with a 1.5-metre resolution, is built by Astrium SAS, a European space technology company. Proiteres is meant to study the powered-flight of a small satellite by an electric thruster and to observe Japan’s Kansai district with a high-resolution camera.

  • Photographs from NASA’s Curiosity rover revealed clear signs of an ancient waterway winding from the northern edge of the Gale crater towards Mount Sharp, a mountain that rises 5km from the crater floor. A shallow river once coursed through a great crater on Mars, according to the latest surface images, which suggest the dusty planet was more hospitable in ancient times. The dried-up riverbed left a trail of pebbles and sand grains that over time became locked in rock. Their size and shape indicate a river that flowed at a metre per second at depths from ankle to waist deep. The $2.5-billion mobile science laboratory began its work on Mars after a dramatic arrival last month in which the rover was winched to the surface from a spacecraft hovering overhead on rocket thrusters. Curiosity is not searching for signs of past or present life, but for evidence that Mars was once habitable. Scores of earlier missions have found evidence of water on the red planet. Snapshots from spacecraft in orbit around Mars have beamed back images of lakes and gullies. The north and south poles are largely frozen water. The rover’s destination is the slope of Mount Sharp, where clay and sulphate minerals have been spotted from orbit. These minerals can preserve the organic material that is crucial for life to thrive.

  • GSAT-10, the country’s newest and heaviest satellite, was launched in the early hours of 29 september, from the Kourou launch pad in French Guiana in South America. It will directly boost telecommunications and direct-to-home broadcasting, among others. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said, the satellite, the 9th in ISRO’s present fleet, will become operational in November and will add 30 transponders to the domestic INSAT system. ISRO launched the 3.4-tonne spacecraft on the European Ariane 5 rocket as the agency cannot currently launch satellites of such mass on its own vehicles. The satellite and the launch fee cost the agency Rs. 750 crore. The agency said it was its 101st mission. ISRO’s Chairman K. Radhakrishnan and senior scientists were at the Master Control Facility (MCF), Hassan (some 80 km from Bangalore). It is also the first time that the Chairman was not present at the launch site. Indian scientists present at Kourou included Director, Satellite Communications, Prahlad Rao and Project Director T.K. Anuradha.The GSAT-10 carries 30 communication transponders — 12 in Ku-band, 12 in C-band and six in extended C-band. The ISRO is currently leasing 95 foreign transponders to meet domestic demand. The INSAT/GSAT system has 168 transponders. The Ku band is vital for seven DTH TV operators and thousands of VSAT operators who provide phone and Internet broadband connections. Public and private telephone and television providers also use the C band.GSAT-10 also has the second GAGAN payload which has fine tuned the U.S. GPS signals into far more accurate readings. GAGAN, a venture of the Department of Space and Airports Authority of India, is primarily meant to benefit airlines and their aircraft flying into and out of India.

  • Awards
    • Pieta the South Korean Film won Golden Lion Venice Top Prize:
      The Golden Lion Prize for best movie was given to the South Korean Movie, Pieta directed by Kim Ki-duk at the 69th Venice Film Festival on 8 September 2012. The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson walked off with two major awards namely, Special Jury Award and Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix. Pieta is the brutal story about a debt collector with a habit of crippling those, who were unable to pay his debt. The brutality stops at a certain point of time, when he meets a woman who claims to be his mother.
    • Ten scientists bag India Citation AwardsTen senior scientists, including theoretical physicists Thanu Padmanabhan and Varun Sahni and environmental scientist Vinod Kumar Garg, were on 12 September honoured with the India Citation Awards instituted by Thomson Reuters. The other awardees are Anunay Samanta (physical chemistry and photochemistry), Murali Sastry (nanobiotechnology), Rabin Banerjee and Sandip Trivedi (both theoretical physics and cosmology), Umesh Waghmare (applied physics and materials science, computational methods). Sarit Kumar Das (mechanical engineering, heat transfer) Velayutham Murugesan (physical, organic and environmental chemistry) were also among the awardees. The awardees were selected on the basis of their highly cited research papers written over a decade between 2002-2011. Indian scientists who had previously been recognised at Thomson Reuters awards in 2004, 2006 and 2009 were not considered for selection. While Samanta is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Hyderabad, Sastry is the Director of India Innovation Centre of DSM India Private Limited. Banerjee is a Senior Professor, Department of Theoretical Sciences, S N Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences. Trivedi teaches Theoretical Physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. While Das is the Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT-Madras, Padmanabhan is a Research Scientist at Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA). Waghmare is the Professor, Theoretical Science Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR). Sahni is a Professor at IUCAA. Murugesan is the Professor of Chemistry (Eminence) at Anna University and Garg is an Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, Hisar
    • Liberty Medal awarded to Muhammad Ali, the Boxing Champion :The boxing Champion, Muhammad Ali who retired from the game in the year 1981 was honored with Liberty Medal in Philadelphia on 13 September 2012. The boxer who has been battling with Parkinson disease for the past 30 years was awarded with the honor for his contribution towards the humanitarian causes like religious freedom and civil rights. National Constitution Center of the United States administers the Liberty Medal and presents the honor of this medal to the leaders who fight in pursuit of freedom. Muhammad Ali, who was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay changed his name to be Muhammad Ali after converting himself into Isalm in the year 1964. He won the world heavyweight title three times and is nicknamed as The Greatest. In the year 1999, BBC crowned Ali, with the title; Sports Personality serious of the Century and Sports illustrated crowned him with the title of Sportsman of the century.
    • Renowned poet and film-maker Gulzar has been nominated for the 27th Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration. Congress President Sonia Gandhi will give away the 27th Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration to the 75-year-old lyricist and writer in recognition of his yeoman work in promoting and preserving spirit of national integration in the country.The Award consists of a citation and cash of Rs 5 lakh. Before Gulzar, some of the other film personalities, who received the award are director Shyam Benegal, lyricist Javed Akhtar, music composer A R Rahman and writer Mahashweta Devi. The award instituted in the name of late Indira Gandhi is given in recognition to outstanding contribution to this cause by individuals or institutions. Former Presidents A P J Abdul Kalam and Shankar Dayal Sharma, Late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, late Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, the former head of Ramkrishna Math and Mission Swami Ranganathananda, musician M S Subulakshmi, Aruna Asaf Ali, P N Haksar, Acharya Shree Tulsi Ji, Bishambar Nath Paride and Natwar Thakkar are among the other awardees.
    • Ebrahim Alkazi, the grand old man of Indian theatre has been conferred France’s highest cultural award for his contribution in nurturing and presenting modern theatre in India and preserving the treasures of photography and other art forms for posterity. Alkazi, was awarded Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) on 28 September, in New Delhi by the French government who hailed him as “the universal man” for his patronage of fine arts and culture. French Ambassador to India Francois Richier recalled Alkazi’s association with France and his contribution in preserving and enduring the bonds between the two countries through his works and through the Alkazi Foundation of the Arts. The award is given to writers, filmmakers, musicians and other artists and persons who have distinguished themselves in the field of art, culture and literature or for their contribution to the influence of arts in France and throughout the world.
    • Afghan human rights activist and former Minister Sima Samar (55) on 28 September won the Swedish Right Livelihood Award .A medical doctor by training, Ms. Samar fled to Pakistan in 1984. She returned in 2001 to become the first Minister of Women’s Affairs and in 2002 was named the head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, which she still leads. Ms. Samar shares the award with American political theorist Gene Sharp (84) and an organisation campaigning for an end to British arms exports.

    • Serena Williams won Women's Singles US Open 2012: Serena Williams of USA won her fourth Women's Singles US Open title in New York on 9 September 2012. In the final match played a short while ago, fourth seeded Serena showed incredible resolve as she beat the top seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 18 minutes. Besides the fourth US Open title, this was Serena's 15th Grand Slam singles crown. Meanwhile, the Italian duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won the Women's Doubles trophy. In the title clash, the second seeded Italian duo defeated the Czech pair of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, 6-4, 6-2 to win the title.
    • Murray wins US Open, ends 76-yr British agony :History-making Andy Murray ended Britain's 76-year wait for a men's Grand Slam champion when he beat 2011 winner Novak Djokovic 7-6 (12/10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 in an epic US Open final on 11 September in New York. Murray became Britain's first major champion since Fred Perry claimed his third American title in 1936, the year the Spanish Civil War started and Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected US president.
    • Klitschko retains his heavy weight title :Ukrainian, Vitali Klitschko managed to defend his WBC heavyweight title on 8 September 2012 at 30,000 seater Olimpiyski indoor sports arena. The medical team and the referee stopped the bout 56 seconds before the end of the fourth round after witnessing a cut mark on the opponent’s eye, the German Manuel Charr, 27. Vitali Klitschko is a leader of UDAR of Vitaliy Klychko, a political party and a member of the delegation to from Ukrain for Congress of the Council of Europe. He is the first boxing champion of the world to hold Ph. D. degree. For his accomplishments he won Germany’s highest civilian award Federal Cross of Merit. Manuel Charr is a professional boxer from Germany. At the age of 17.2 years, he became the youngest German to be a Champion in Muay Thai. Later at the age of 19, he became German Champion and the European Champion in Thai-Boxing. As per his track record, out of the 22 fights of his career as a boxer he won 21 matches and the only one he faced defeat id the one played against Klitschko.
    • Lewis Hamilton became the winner of Italian Grand Prix 2012:Lewis Hamilton, the driver of McLaren's became the winner of the Italian Grand Prix 2012 on 9 September 2012. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso extended his overall lead after finishing at third position in the event. With this win, Hamilton managed to wash away the rumors of his future and possible switch to Mercedes after winning the grand prix and the twentieth victory of his career. Hamilton, who is 27 years old Formulae one driver from England, has been a 2008 Formulae one World Champion. He is the world’s youngest driver to secure a contract for McLaren driver development program, which paved his way to the F1 drive. Lewis Hamilton is also known as the first black driver in formulae one.
    • Rest of India, lifted the Irani trophy for the second year in a row, by defeating the Rajasthan. At the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Chennai on 24 September, Rajasthan lost by an innings and 79 runs in the last session of the fourth day. M. Vijay, for his fine knock of 266, was adjudged the ‘Man-of-the-match’.
    • India's top archer Deepika Kumari won the silver medal, in the recurve women's individual event in world cup held at Hibiya Park in Tokyo on 22 September. Deepika, in her first appearance after the London Olympics debacle, was in splendid form as she won the quarterfinals and semifinals to lead 4-0 in the final before she lost 4-6 ((26-23, 27-25, 24-28, 23-26, 25-26).
    • Olympic bronze medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal on 28 September, experienced the thrill of flying in an Indian Air Force aircraft. She flew in 'Kiran Jet Trainer' for about 20 minutes, after taking off from the training academy in Dindigul on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
    • Babita Kumari (51kg) became only the second Indian woman wrestler to win a medal at the World championships when she clinched a bronze at the event in Edmonton, Canada. Babita’s medal is the second won by any Indian female wrestler in the senior World championship. The first medal, a bronze, was won by Alka Tomar in 2006, China. After her sister Babita Kumari’s bronze medal winning feat in 51kg, Geeta Phogat claimed the 55kg bronze in the women’s World wrestling championship in Edmonton, Canada, on 29 September. Commonwealth Games champion Geeta became the third Indian woman to bag a World championship medal after Alka Tomar (2006) and Babita.
    • Grand Master Koneru Humpy won the final leg of the FIDE Grand Prix which concluded at Ankara on 28 september. She defeated Monika Socko of Poland. Humpy tallied 8.5 points from her 11 games to top the 12-player, all-play-all which followed the Chess Olympiad held in Istanbul. Humpy started well while most of her rivals came tired directly from the Chess Olympiad. However, a ninth round defeat after reaching a clearly better rook ending against top seed and World Women’s No. 2 Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia nearly spoilt her event. The title race opened up with Muzychuk half a point ahead with two rounds to go.In the overall, six Grand Prix events held at Rostov, Shenzhen, Nalchik, Kazan, Jermuk and Ankara, world women’s champion Hou Yifan of China had won three already with a maximum 480 points. Each player took part in four of the six events with the best three counting for Grand Prix points. Humpy’s victory in Ankara helped her overtake Muzychuk and win the second place with 415 points. Muzychuk was third with 405 points. Humpy won in Ankara, tied for first in Kazan with Muzychuk and finished third in Jermuk.Grand Prix final placings: 1. Hou Yifan (Chn) 480; 2. Humpy 415; 3. Muzychuk 405.
    • Former Indian cricketer Sandeep Patil was 27 September, appointed the chairman of the national selection committee. Roger Binny (South), Vikram Rathore (North), Saba Karim (East) and Rajinder Singh Hans (Central) comprise the rest of the new panel which had no place for former cricketer Mohinder Amarnath who was dropped after just one year's term. Chnadrakant Pandit, a wicketkeeper-batsman who played for India between 1986 and 1992, was named chairman of the junior selection committee. BCCI's previous selection panel comprised of Srikkanth, Amarnath, Narendra Hirwani (Central Zone), Surendra Bhave (West Zone) and Raja Venkat (East Zone). Amarnath had replaced Yashpal Sharma last year.

    • Verghese Kurien the White Revolutionary and the Milkman of India Died:The man responsible for bringing white revolution in India and founder of world’s largest dairy company Amul Verghese Kurien (90) took his last breath in a hospital at Nadiad, on 9 September 2012. The body of Kurien was cremated in the ultramodern crematorium at Kailash Bhumi in the milk capital of India- Anand, Gujarat in presence of his admirers and staff members of milk cooperatives. Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) was founded under the chairmanship of the visionary. He was appointed to be the founder Chairman of National Dairy Development Board ins the year 1965 by the then Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. He played a major role in different organizations like, he chaired the Vikshit Bharat Foundation and been a Chairman for Board of Governors of Institute of Rural Management, Anand. Kurien, who was born in Kerela on 26 November 1921, in a Syrian Christian family was a mechanical engineer by education with dairy engineering as his minor subject. His vision and leadership together helped the then milk deficit country India to be the largest milk producing country of the world. India’s contribution to the total milk production of the world is about 17%. Because of his contributions to the nation, Verghese Kurien won awards namely Magsaysay Award, the world food prize and India’s second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan. Now, Kurien is survived by his grandson, Siddharth, daughter Nirmala Kurien and his wife.
    • Altamas Kabir appointed next Chief Justice:Seniormost Supreme Court judge Justice Altamas Kabir was on 13 September, appointed the next Chief Justice of India. Justice Kabir, 64, who will succeed Justice S. H. Kapadia, will take over as the country’s 39th Chief Justice on September 29. Justice Kabir was appointed Supreme Court judge on September 9, 2005. He has delivered several landmark judgments, including on human rights and election laws. He will have a tenure of nine months till July 18, 2013. Born on July 19, 1948, in Kolkata, Justice Kabir did his LLB and MA from University of Calcutta and was made a permanent judge of the Calcutta High Court on August 6, 1990. He is part of the Bench hearing the case of the two Italian Marines who allegedly shot dead two Kerala fishermen taking them for pirates. Justice Kabir headed a Bench which recently decided the case of disqualification of MLAs by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker. The Bench quashed the Speaker’s order on disqualification of MLAs who had defected from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Justice Kabir also decided the important issue of whether an MP suspended from a political party can continue as MP. The Bench headed by him held that even after being removed or suspended from a party, the person can continue as MP and participate in its proceedings and shall be entitled to vote.
    • Former CJI Ranganath Mishra dead:Former Chief Justice of India Ranganath Mishra died at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on 13 September following prolonged illness. He was 86 and survived by wife Sumitra Mishra. A legal luminary, Mishra had been admitted to the hospital on May 22 following old-age related ailments and the end came on Thursday night. A multi-faceted personality closely associated with writing and cultural activities, Mishra was born on November 25, 1926. He had enrolled as an advocate of Orissa high court in 1950 after a brief stint in teaching and handled all types of cases at Cuttack. He was appointed a permanent judge of the Orissa high court in 1969 and became acting Chief Justice of Orissa high court in 1980 and a permanent Chief Justice from January 1981. Mishra was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court on March 15, 1983 and rose to become the Chief Justice of India in September 25, 1990 and held the post till November 24, 1991. Besides being a Rajya Sabha member from 1998 to 2004, Mishra was also the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
    • Sheryl Kumar was Crowned as Miss India Fiji 2012 :Sheryl Kumar was crowned Miss India Fiji 2012 at a glittering ceremony in Suva on 8 September 2012. Sheryl beat nine other contestants to win the title. She is now preparing for the Miss India Worldwide pageant to be held in Kuala Lumpur in March 2013. Sheryl also won the Pure Fiji Beautiful Skin award at the event.
    • New ABC Chairman:Shailesh Gupta, director (marketing) of Jagran Prakashan, has been elected Chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for 2012-2013. Syed Mahmood Ahmad, executive vice-president (marketing) of ITC, is the Deputy Chairman. Six more members of the Council of Management for the ABC have also been elected.
    • Former RSS chief Sudarshan passes away :Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief K S Sudarshan, who was known for his hardline views and believed in the concept of ‘swadeshi’, died in Raipur on 14 September after suffering a heart attack. Mr Sudarshan, 81, is survived by a brother and sister. The ex-RSS chief, who had arrived in the city two days back, died at the RSS office here at 6:50 a.m.. He was in the city for a book launch function. Mr Sudarshan had gone for an early morning walk and suffered a heart attack while doing ‘Pranayam’ in his chamber in the RSS office, doctors said. Born on 18 June, 1931 in Raipur, he did his Bachelor of Engineering in Telecommunications. A known votary of swadeshi, he served as Pracharak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for six decades and became its Sarasanghachalak in 2000 succeeding Rajju Bhaiya. He stepped down from the post due to poor health. In August, he had briefly gone missing during his morning walk in Mysore.
    • Girl of Indian-Kazakh origin wins Miss Almaty 2012: Farida Malik (18), a student of Kazakhstan’s Turan University, has won the Miss Almaty 2012 quoted Sovet Seitov, executive director of the Miss Kazakhstan beauty pageant, as saying of Ms. Malik: “She is an interesting girl with outstanding appearance. Her father is Indian and her mother is Kazakh. She likes dancing and moves very gracefully. A majority of jury liked her.”
    • The Indian Newspaper Society declared Tilak Kumar as its new President:K.N. Tilak Kumar was appointed as the president of The Indian Newspaper Society for the year 2012-2013 on 13 September 2012 during the 73rd annual meet of the Newspaper Society. Tilak Kumar is the Editor of Deccan Herald and the Joint Managing Director of the Printers (Mysore). He is a successor of Ashish Bagga from India Today. The secretary general of the society released the names of other newly elected office bearers of the society. Some of the prominent names are Ravindra Kumar (The Statesman) is appointed as the Deputy President, Kiran B Vadodaria (Sambhaav Metro) is the new Vice President and Sanjay Gupta (Dainik Jagran, Varanasi) has been appointed as the Honorary Treasurer of the Society. New elected members of the executive committee are V K Chopra (Dainik Asam), P V Chandran (Grihalakshmi), Mahendra Mohan Gupta (Dainik Jagran), L Adimoolam (Health & The Antiseptic), Jagjit Singh Dardi (Charhdikala Daily), Samahit Bal (Pragativadi),Ravindra Dhariwal (Navbharat Times), K Balaji (The Hindu Weekly), Pradeep Gupta (Dataquest), Dr B S Adityan (Varantari Rani), Pawan Agarwal (Dainik Bhaskar, Bhopal), Rishi Darda (Lokmat, Ahmednagar) and Vijay Darda (Lokmat) and others. Indian Newspaper Society has 1000 dailies, weeklies, bi-weeklies, monthlies and fortnightlies on board, which are published in eighteen different languages of India.
    • Thilakan(77)- Malayalam cinema’s acting legend, died on 24 September in thiruvananthapuram. Wreaths were placed on behalf of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Defence Minister A.K. Antony. The cremation was held with state honours in the city.Surendranath Thilakan, a man of rough edges on and off screen, acted in nearly 200 films during his four-decade-long film career and won accolades and several awards on the way. He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2009.
    • Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad -The World Hindi Conference has decided to honour Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad in recognition of his immense contribution to Hindi literature. It comes as a great honour to a Telugu-speaking person for his enormous contribution to Hindi, whichis the National Official Language. He has been invited to take part in the 9th World Hindi Conference being held in Johannesburg in South Africa from September 22-24, where he will be honoured. Lakshmi Prasad will be honoured with citation, shawl and memento .Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad, who heads the Andhra Pradesh Hindi Academy, is the Hindi Professor in Andhra University in Visakhapatnam. A former member of the Rajya Sabha, Lashmi Prasad has been honoured in the past by Sahitya Academy Award and is a recipient of Padma Shri.
    • Aishwarya Rai Bachchan - Hindi actor, was appointed as UN Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS. She says that she does not want to be just a “poster girl” for the organisation but will help break social barriers and stigmas that are attached with the disease. In her new role, Aishwarya will help raise awareness on issues related to stopping new HIV infections in children and advocate for increased access to anti-retroviral treatment. UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe announced Aishwarya’s appointment as the Goodwill Ambassador at a press conference in New York on 25 September.
    • Brajesh Mishra(83)- India’s first National Security Adviser and the man who supervised the testing and incorporation of nuclear weapons as an integral part of the country’s security strategy, died in New Delhi on 28 September. From being closely involved in the planning for the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests to pushing for a deeper engagement with the United States and attempting to mend ties with both Pakistan and China, Mishra stepped out of the bureaucratic mould to implement in a finely detailed fashion the broad vision of foreign policy that Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Prime Minister had sketched out for India. He became a diplomatic practioner himself after joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1951.He served in various positions, including as Ambassador to Indonesia and India’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations.
    • K.S. Narayanan(93)- Chairman Emeritus of the Sanmar Group, passed away in Chennai on 28 September. A co-promoter of the India Cements Ltd., he went to Denmark in the late 1940s and returned with a thorough knowledge of cement and PVC. A technology-savvy industrialist, it used to be said that he could run the plant on his own. With a well-diversified knowledge base, he dealt with a range of industries — cement, plastics, sugar, drugs and pharmaceuticals, shipping, ceramic insulators, rubber and calcium carbide. He was involved in the promotion of diverse enterprises such as Chemplast Sanmar Limited, Sanmar Shipping Limited, WS Industries Ltd. and Tamil Nadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Narayanan was the founder president of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce-Southern Region and former president of the Hindustan Chamber of Commerce. He also served as the Sheriff of Madras (1974) and as the Honorary Consul of Denmark for South India.
    • Justice Altamas Kabir- Senior most Judge of the Supreme Court, was sworn in as the 39th Chief Justice of India on 29 September. President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office to him at a brief ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.Justice Kabir will have tenure of a little over nine months till July 18, 2013. Justice Kabir (64), who hails from Kolkata, was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court on September 9, 2005. He became a Judge of the Calcutta High Court in 1990. He was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court on March 1, 2005 and elevated to the Supreme Court in September 2005. During his tenure as a Supreme Court judge, Justice Kabir delivered several landmark judgments, particularly relating to human rights and election laws.
    • R Lakshmipathy, publisher of Tamil daily Dinamalar, was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of Press Trust of India (PTI) after the company's Annual General Meeting (AGM) here on 24 September. Lakshmipathy, who has served as PTI Chairman twice earlier, succeeds M P Veerendrakumar, Chairman and Managing Director of Mathrubhoomi group of newspapers. K N Shanth Kumar of Deccan Herald was elected Vice Chairman of the Board. Lakshmipathy is an educationist running several educational institutions for the benefit of rural people in and around Madurai for which has been awarded D. Litt. By Alagappa University and Bharathiar University.
    • Shumsher K Sheriff, Secretary to the Vice-President, has been appointed the new Secretary General of Rajya Sabha. Sheriff, an IAS officer of 1977 batch, would take over on October 1 on completion of the term of the incumbent, Dr V K Agnihotri, a Rajya Sabha Secretariat release said on 25 September. He would hold the office of Secretary General in the rank and status of Cabinet Secretary, on deputation, until August 31 next year.
    • Justice Darmar Murugesan, who was a judge of the Madras High Court, was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on 26 September. 62-year-old Justice Murugesan after being elevated was transferred to Delhi in the place of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri, who in turn has taken charge as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court.
    • Jaideep Sarkar on 27 September 2012 was appointed as the new Indian Ambassador to Israel. The IITian and diplomat, is a private secretary to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a joint secretary of external affairs ministry, has replaced Navtej Sarna, the former ministry spokesperson.
    • Nirmal Verma, the former navy chief on 27 September 2012 was appointed as India’s high commissioner to Canada. His appointment to the post happened on the recommendation of the PMO to the president, who cleared his name for the vacancy. Admiral Verma, will soon leave for Ottawa to join the office because Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit is scheduled to India in the near future.



    Upsc - Civils Preparation

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    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 >>