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2012 December 14 to 16 Current Affairs

International Issues 

The new International Telecommunications regulation treaty, the ITR treaty has been signed by over 130 countries despite the refusal of US, UK, Canada, Australia , India and some European nations to agree. The telecom officials of US, Canada, Australia, Philippines, India, Costa Rica, Serbia, Finland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and UK walked out on the talks on concerns about internet regulation and censorship. 

The agreement over the new ITRs was arrived on the closing day of the World Telecommunications Summit in Dubai on Dec 15, 2012. The new regime has left internet content regulation outside its purview. However referring to spam SMSes it says that member states should take measures to prevent the propagation of unsolicited bulk electronic communications and minimize its impact on international telecommunication services. It also calls for a role for International Telecoms Union, the telecom policy arm of UN in the development of broadband and the multi-stakeholder model of the internet. 

New Zealand has become the first country to sign an agreement with the United States that recognizes each other's food safety systems as providing a comparable degree of food safety assurance. 

Food Safety Systems Recognition Arrangement was signed in Washington by officials from the New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries -MPI and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agreement covered all foods and animal feeds regulated by the FDA, which equated to 1.26 billion U.S. dollars exports of primary products. 

National Issues 

National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated every year on the 14th of December to create awareness towards efficient use of energy and its conservation. 

The Lok Sabha passed the Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2012-13 and the relevant Appropriation Bills. This authorises the Centre to withdraw 30,804 crore rupees from the Consolidated Fund of India. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said, he aims at fiscal consolidation to bring the national economy back on the rails. He said, the government is taking firm steps to control inflation. 

The country has a comfortable stock of 682 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice at present. Out of 30,804 crore rupees, 28,500 crore rupees will go towards oil subsidy and 2,000 crore rupees on Air India's turnaround plan. Mr. Chidambaram said with the additional grant, the total funds earmarked for oil subsidy would be around 72,260 crore rupees in the current fiscal. 

Nearly one crore seventy lakh customers across the country are presently using banking services through mobile phones. Finance Minister P Chidambaram informed that the Banks are making efforts to introduce mobile-enabled banking services in Indian languages making them simple and user-friendly. The Minister said the public sector BSNL and MTNL are presently offering the banking services on cell phones through a common number.

Parliament has approved the North Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Amendment Bill 2012, with the Rajya Sabha unanimously. The bill, aimed at constituting separate cadres of Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service for the Manipur and Tripura, was passed earlier by the Lok Sabha. 

The UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi launched the "Dilli Annshri Yojna, the food security scheme of the Delhi government in New Delhi on Dec 15, 2012. Mrs Gandhi said under the Annshri Yojna, the senior most woman member of vulnerable households will receive 600 rupees per month which will be transferred directly into their bank accounts. 

Apart from completely eliminating the leakages in the current Public Distribution System, the scheme will provide an option to spend the money as per the family's need. It will cover 2 lakh families who are not covered under the Public Distribution System. 

The union home ministry has extended the ban on United Liberation Front of Asom, ULFA and National Democratic Front of Bodoland, NDFB under the Unlawful Prevention Act untill further orders. In a gazette notification, the home ministry announced that all the factions of the ULFA and the NDFB are banned under Section three of the Unlawful Prevention Act. 

Vijay Diwas is celebrated on December 16 to commemorate the Indian Armed Forces historic victory over the Pakistani forces in 1971. 

Bilateral Issues 

India and Pakistan on Dec 15, 2012 operationalized the new visa agreement at a meeting between Home Minister Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde and his Pakistan’s counterpart A. Rahman malik in New Delhi. According to an official release, the Visa on arrival will come into effect from 15th of next month and the group tourist visa from 15th of March 2013. 

The new visa agreement was signed on 8th of September this year to facilitate travel for the nationals of both countries and to promote people to people contact. Under the new visa agreement places of visit have been increased three to five places. It also provides for issue of visitor visa upto two years for the persons above the age of 65 years, nationals married to citizen of other country and their children below 12 years. The entry and exist from different designated immigration check- posts can be allowed if indicated in the visa application. However, exist from Wagha - Attari on foot can not be allowed unless the entry was also on foot. 


Norman Joseph Woodland, the co-inventor of the bar code that labels nearly every product in stores and has boosted productivity in nearly every sector of commerce worldwide, has died. 


India won the T20 World Cup for the blind from its arch rival Pakistan in a typically gripping India-Pakistan clash in Bangalore.



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