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2012 November 4 to 6 Current Affairs

International Issues 

The sixth conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians began in Islamabad. During the inaugural session, SAARC women parliamentarians met with the general secretary of the Women Parliamentary Caucus Nafeesa Shah in the chair. 

The session discussed the role of women parliamentarians for social justice and the strengthening of democracy in South Asia. From India, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha Professor P. J. Kurien are among various parliamentarians attending the three-day conference.

The UN Special envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi has said that a United Nations Security Council resolution to set up a transitional Syrian government on the basis of Geneva Declaration can provide a solution to the crisis. 

The Geneva Declaration agreed upon by major powers in June called for a transitional administration in Syria but did not specify a role for the the President Bashar al-Assad. Brahimi was talking to reporters after his meetings with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Arab League Chief Nabil Al Arabi in Cairo.

The World Bank will provide 106 million US dollar loan amount to India for Integrated Child Development Services-ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project-ISSNIP. An agreement for the first phase of loan amount was signed at New Delhi between Prabodh Saxena, Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs and Country Director, World Bank in India, Mr. Onno Ruhl. 

According to a release issued by Ministry of Finace, the overarching Goal of the proposed two-phased Program is to improve nutritional outcomes of children in the country. The tenure of the phase-1 will be three years and will help strengthening the ICDS policy framework, capacities and facilitate community engagement to ensure greater focus on children under three years of age.

India has signed a 320-million dollar loan agreement with the World Bank for road projects in Assam. The agreement was inked by Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Prabodh Saxena and Country Director of World Bank, Onno Ruhl in New Delhi. 

The Assam State Roads project aims to enhance road connectivity in the north-eastern state by helping the Public Works Department to improve state connectivity and facilitate regional integration. It will be implemented over a period of six years.

The UN committee has imposed global sanctions on the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network, a fierce militant group considered a major threat to US and allied forces in Afghanistan. The Taliban sanctions committee ordered all 193 UN member-states to freeze the assets and institute an arms embargo against the Haqqani network. 

The committee said the Haqqani network is linked to al-Qaida and other militant organizations and is responsible for suicide attacks, assassinations and kidnappings in Kabul and other Afghan provinces.

Over 7000 delegates from India and across the world have registered for the forthcoming 43rd International Film Festival of India beginning at Panaji in Goa from 20th November 2012.

The Netherlands has sworn-in a new coalition government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Mr Rutte's liberal VVD party and the centre-left Labour party secured the coalition deal after coming out on top in 12 September elections.

National Issues 

The pilot project of the Aadhaar-based Public Distribution System (PDS) in East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh is yielding good results, with genuine beneficiaries getting the commodities properly. The district officials also noticed 30 per cent of savings in the ration in urban areas and close to 20 per cent in the rural areas in a month under the project. 

For the first time in the country, this kind of project was launched in East Godavari district in the north coastal belt of Andhra Pradesh in September. Ration had been distributed to the beneficiaries, based on the data registered for ‘Aadhaar’. After tallying the ration cards data with that of the Aadhaar, the pilot project was launched in 47 select fair price shops spread across the district. 

The new system prompts the beneficiaries to give their fingerprints in electronic mode, which would be traced instantly with that of the ‘Aadhaar’ data. It helped distribution of the commodities only to the genuine beneficiaries. Many neighbouring States are evincing interest in the pilot project and sending their teams to the district for study as the project not only ensures distribution of commodities to the genuine beneficiaries but also makes monitoring of the stock more easy with the fair price shops delivering all the commodities at one go and the customers needn’t to frequent the fair price shop time and again.

The teledensity in the country has been increased to over 77 per cent at the end of August this year. It was around 74.96 per cent in August last year, thus registering a growth of over 4 pc in Telephone users base. The data released by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) shows that the user base stood at 899.78 million in August 2011 which rises to 939.57 million in August this year. 

The wireless phones have increased to 908.3 million in August 2012, from 865.7 million in the same period last year. However, wireline users base declined to 31.2 million by August end this year, from 34.1 million in August 2011. State owned companies- BSNL and MTNL enjoy 79.93 per cent market share in wireline phones and 11.51 per cent share in wireless segment.

The Pulse Polio Day is observed on November 4th in some states, including Delhi. Delhi government has set up 8,200 booths to administer polio drops to 25 lakh children upto five years of age. These booths have been set up at all hospitals, health centres, certain schools, bus terminus, metro stations, railway stations, airport, mother dairies, DMS booths and religious places. 

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said, the national capital has virtually become polio- free as no case of polio has been reported in Delhi since 2010. She said, polio drops are being administered in Delhi as a precautionary measure.

The government said, it plans to achieve around 55 thousand Megawatt (MW) power generation over the next 5 years. New and Renewable Energy Secretary, Gireesh B. Pradhan said government is encouraging foreign investors to set up renewable power projects on build own and operate basis with 100 per cent foreign direct investment. 

Mr Pradhan said that investors from the ASEAN member countries can consider India as an investment destination in renewable energy. He said that India's renewable energy programme is primarily private sector driven and offers signficant investment and business opportunities.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said, the government will borrow more to fund a fiscal deficit that is now estimated at 5.3 per cent of GDP this fiscal year. Mr Chidambaram said, the additional borrowing above the previous target of 5.1 per cent will amount to at least 3.72 billion US dollar.

India's power sector regulator CERC suggested establishing a South Asian power trading market to help ease acute electricity shortages facing many nations in the region. Inaugurating three-day global power exchanges conference in New Delhi , the Chairperson of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) Pramod Deo said a SAARC sub regional power trading market will be beneficial to member countries. It will help in reaping the benefit of competition and efficiency through trading on power exchanges.

The Central Vigilance Commission, CVC has detected tax evasion of about 1,000 crore rupees by government departments and private companies in carrying out Commonwealth Games-related works. 

Vigilance Commissioner R Srikumar said, 1,000 crore rupees evasion was detected with the help of a multi-jurisdiction investigation platform, comprising officers from tax and other authorities, developed by CVC to look into the CWG scam. He said, many of taxes, like Income Tax, Service Tax and VAT were to be deducted at source but that was not done.

TRAI sets limit for concessional SMS at 100 per day per SIM The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its latest directive to be implemented in 15 days, has set the limit for concessional SMS at 100 per day per SIM. According to the latest measures, there is no maximum limit for SMS, but consumers will be charged not less than 50 paisa per SMS once it crosses 100 a day. The TRAI directives are aimed at curbing unsolicited SMS and calls which continue to be a menace for mobile users. 

The new measures come in the back drop of misuse even after the regulator has imposed the SMS Spam Guidelines. To restrict unregistered telemarketers sending bulk promotional SMSs using machines, TRAI has also asked access providers to work out a solution within the next three months, which will ensure that no commercial SMSs are sent containing same or similar characters or strings or variants from any source or number. The solution will ensure that not more than 200 SMSs with such similar signature are sent in an hour.

A two days ‘ASEAN-India Workshop on Cooperation in Renewable Energy’ was inaugurated by Shri Gireesh Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) on 5th November 2012 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The workshop which is being attended by experts and policy planners from ASEAN countries and India, aims at sharing of experience among participating countries on the development and deployment of renewable energy, and to identify the institutions for establishing long term cooperation between India and ASEAN countries. 

This workshop has been organized as a precursor to the meeting of the Ministers of Renewable Energy of ASEAN countries and India scheduled on 7th November 2012.

The Supreme Court has accepted the recommendations of senior counsel Raju Ramachandran to ban Khap Panchayats. Mr Ramachandran was appointed amicus curiae by the Supreme Court and was asked to submit his report on the legality of Khap Panchayats. Publice Interest Litigation filed by an NGO, had urged the apex court to declare Khap Panchayats as illegal. The petitioner said only courts have authority to lay down law in accordance with the constitution of India. 

Khap Panchayats have been backing honour killings in case of intercaste marriages in the country. Earlier, in April 2011, the apex Court termed Khap Panchayats as kangaroo courts and declared them illegal.

The Government is considering a revision of the National Policy on Older Persons, 1999 keeping in view the changing demographics, socio-economic pattern and technological advances. Addressing a National Conference on Ageing in New Delhi, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja said a draft of the new policy has been prepared and is under discussion with the stakeholders to ensure the widest possible consultation. 

Ms Selja said ageing poses serious challenges that need to be addressed on an urgent basis. She emphasized the need to ensure care and protection of the elderly people so that they can lead a healthy and dignified life. The Minister asked the states to bring in uniformity in the implementation of the Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007. She also urged the civil society take a pro-active role in disseminating information about the various provisions of the Act to ensure that the legislation is implemented in letter and spirit.

Bilateral Issues 

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton rang up the External Affairs Minister Mr. Salman Khurshid and thanked him for India's leadership role in securing the dialogue partner status for the United States in the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation. The phone call from Clinton came a day after the US was inducted as a dialogue partner in the 20-nation grouping at its meeting in Gurgaon, following hectic behind-the-stage diplomacy by India.The US has joined the grouping as the sixth dialogue partner after China, Japan, Britain, France and Egypt.

An Indian business delegation is visiting Egypt to explore business opportunities in the country and to enhance bilateral economic ties. The 11-member delegation from Confederation of Indian Industry, CII will hold a meeting with Egyptian Business Development Association and will also call on the Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade. 

Egypt has traditionally been one of India's most important trading partners in the African continent. During 2011-12 bilateral trade went up from 3.2 billion dollars to 4.2 billion dollars.

India and Myanmar reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations besides discussing region and international issues of mutual interest. The two sides expressed satisfaction over deepening of the bilateral relations, which have rapidly grown and gained momentum, including through the exchange of high level visits in the past year. 

The two sides reviewed the implementation of the decisions during the visits of the President of Myanmar Thein Sein to India in October 2011 and that of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Myanmar in May 2012.

A Canadian delegation led by Mr. Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Democratic Reforms called on Shri V. Kishore Chandra Deo, Minister of Panchayati Raj and Tribal Affairs. The Canadian delegation called on the Minister for better understanding the process of decentralization, governance at the local level and to share experience of democratic reform. 

During the hour long meeting, the wide range of issues pertaining to local governance in India and Canada were discussed indepth. Shri Deo informed the delegation that there are as many as 2,48,000 Panchayats which underscores the magnitude of the local governance in this country. The Minister of Panchayati Raj also appraised the delegation about the constitutional provisions, the basic scheme of the infrastructural set up and the role of the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the country. 

During the Meeting, the point which was highlighted was the crucial role the Gram Sabha, the democratic representative institution at the grassroot level in addressing the basic issues of the people at the village level such as drinking water, sanitation, education, health, primary health etc. 

The Minister apprised them of the electoral process and the role of State Election Commissions in monitoring and regulating the elections. Highlighting the popularity of PRIS, he cited the instance of recently held peaceful elections to PRIS in the sensitive state of Jammu & Kashmir after a gap of 12 long years. Shri Deo informed the Canadian delegation that iIt is proposed to provide broadband connections to all Panchayats by 2014 via wireless route/optic fibre. As on date as many as 40,000 Panchayats already have e-connectivity. The delegation was also appraised about the various issues pertaining to Tribals, including, historic Forests Rights Act in 2006 and subsequent initiatives taken by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

India and Canada exchanged several ideas for enhancing more cooperation in the field of sports. Visiting sports Minister of Canada, Mr. Bal Gosal called on Sports Minister Jitendra Singh in New Delhi. In the meeting Mr. Singh said that Canada can help India in the field of sports medicine and establishing infrastructure for Winter Sports. Mr. Gosal said that bilateral relations of both the countries are extremely good and Canada is always willing to help India in extending cooperation in setting up Winter sports facilities.

The President Pranab Mukherjee stressed the need for cooperation between India and Canada in the fields of energy, mineral resources, and infrastructure and food security. The Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Stephen Harper called on Mr. Mukherjee in New Delhi. In the meeting the President said that both the countries share fundamental values as two inclusive democracies are wedded to federalism, pluralism, individual liberty and human rights. He also emphasised to encourage more investment in the field of infrastructure. The President said cooperation with Canada in the field of agriculture is crucial for India’s food security as India imports 40 percent of its pulses and 25 percent of its potash requirements from Canada. On this occasion, the Canadian Prime Minister welcomed the President’s views and said there is a need to focus on few areas and deepen the engagement between the two countries.

India and Canada concluded negotiations on operationalising the bilateral Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement signed in 2010 in Toronto. This was announced at a joint press conference by the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the visiting Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper at Hyderabad House. Three more pacts were inked after the talks. They include one agreement and two MoUs to strengthen cooperation in the areas of social security, information and communication technology and Defence cooperation in Research and Development.

Economic Issues 

The RBI has said that the banks can become members of stock exchanges to undertake proprietary transactions in the corporate bond market. In order to further enhance transparency, it has been decided to permit Scheduled Commercial Banks to become members of SEBI approved stock exchanges. The size of the Indian corporate bond market at 11.8 per cent of GDP is lower than the average. 


Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was conferred the prestigious membership of the Order of Australia at a function in Mumbai. 

The award was conferred on him by Simon Crean, Australia's Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government and Minister for the Arts. Earlier during her visit to India last month, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had announced that the iconic Indian cricketer would be conferred the honour.

The President Mr Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh awards for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 at a function organised at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

The eighth award for the year 2005 was jointly given to the Mizoram Hmeithai (Widows) Association and the People’s Forum, Bhubaneswar for providing services to destitute and widows women. 

While the ninth award for the year 2006 was given to Sumangali Seva Ashram of Bangalore for providing care, education to orphan and needy children and socio-economic opportunities for development of women

For the year 2007, the award was presented to Snehalaya of Ahmednagar, Maharashtra for its landmark work in the rehabilitation of women of the red light areas and other destitute women.


Ms. Chandresh Kumari Katoch assumed charge as Union Minister of Culture.

Iconic American composer Elliott Carter, whose challenging, rhythmically complex works earned him widespread admiration and two Pulitzer Prizes, died.


The Indian duo Mahesh Bhupati and Rohan Bopanna have clinched Men's Double title of the BNP Paribas Masters Tennis Tournament. They defeated Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and his Dutch partner Jean-Julien Rojer in a thrilling final match by 7-6, 6-3 in Paris.

The former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen leads at the end of the 40th lap at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He is followed by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in the second place while Fernando Alonso is third. McLaren’s Jenson Button in the fourth place. It has been a great comeback by the Red Bull’s champion racer who started the race in the pitlane after having been relegated to the end of the grid for fuel problems with his car.

Sardar Singh will lead the Indian Hockey team in the International Super Series and 34th men's Champions Trophy in Australia.

Pakistan clinched the Asian Kabbadi Championship title after arch-rivals India walked out of the field in protest against the referee's decision to penalize their coach.



  1. if trai really want to do something they should make some effective rules against companies charging unwanted value added services (VAS). Rural public doesn't really know when there prepaid balance is gone.


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