2012 November 24 to 30 Current Affairs



International Issues 

World Day for Elimination of Violence against Women is observed on 25th Nov 2012. 



Bangladesh signed a financing agreement with the World Bank worth 70 Million US dollars for Leveraging ICT for Growth, Employment and Governance Project. Mr. Iqbal Mahmood, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division and Ms. Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh signed the agreement on behalf of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank respectively, at the Economic Relations Division in Dhaka. The project will also establish basic e-Government foundations, to support governance reforms and significantly improve the government’s efficiency and effectiveness. 



Mark Carney has been named as the new Governor of the Bank of England by Chancellor George Osborne. Mr Carney, the Governor of the Canadian central bank, will serve for five years and will hold new regulatory powers over banks. 



Sri Lanka’s first commercial communication satellite SupremeSAT - 1 was launched from the Xi-chang Satellite Launch Centre in China. The country’s maiden satellite was developed by Thales company of France for SupremeSAT, a private Sri Lankan company with collaboration from China’s state owned China Great Wall Industry Corporation. The Satellite will be positioned above Sri Lanka in the Geo-Stationary orbit at 87.5 degree east. 



The Asian Development Bank has approved 700 million US dollar loan for Bangladesh. This is to to boost the country's power supply system, which will reduce outages and shortages that are crippling the economy and causing severe hardship across the country. The program will boost the efficiency of several generating facilities to increase capacity by up to 700 megawatts. The program will also fund hundreds of kilometers of new transmission and distribution lines and improve supply equipment. 



UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised India as a "super-power" in the field of information technology as he unveiled the country's first indigenously created low-cost Aakash 2 tablet at the United Nations. The tablet was showcased at the UN headquarters on Nov 28, 2012 on the occasion of the India's current Presidency of the UN Security Council. 



National Issues 

Government will launch the payout of direct cash subsidy to people through the Aadhaar based system in 51 districts of the country from January 1. This was stated by Finance Minister P Chidambaram while addressing the Bancon conference in Pune. He said the government intends to complete roll out of the direct cash transfer through the Aadhaar system in the entire country by the end of 2013. This will, among other things, facilitate the pay out of direct cash subsidies to the targeted beneficiaries. 



The Institute of Company Secretaries of India on Nov 24,2012 organised its first northern region Convocation-2012 in New Delhi. Newly qualified members, who pursued the Company Secretaryship Course, were conferred with the certificate of membership. 



The National Advisory Council (NAC) has favoured internet connectivity to the region through Bangladesh, daily direct flights from each of the seven state capitals to the national capital, Delhi. In its draft report, the Council has also recommended for a separate plan to implement healthcare initiatives in the region. The NAC, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, also took a dim view of the telemedicine project, jointly implemented by ISRO and the Northeast Council, and pitched for time-bound roll-out of the planned 72 telemedicine nodes and deployment of trained staff. The NAC Working Group on Development of the Northeastern Region, with Pramod Tandon as its convener, also recommended for 100 per cent funding for setting up of medical colleges by the states. 

Contending that telecom connectivity in the North Eastern Region should be looked at as an essential service, the advisory panel has suggested a separate Comprehensive Telecom Plan for the region which may adopt the farthest first principle to bring remote parts on the telecom map. It also took note of the demand from the northeast states to provide internet connectivity from the Cox's Bazaar international gateway in Bangladesh instead of internet gateways at Mumbai and Chennai. 



November 26 is National Law Day. The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949. Thirty years later the Supreme Court Bar Association declared November 26 as National Law Day. Every year, this day is celebrated all over India, especially by members of the legal fraternity. 

The Day is also celebrated to honour the 207 eminent members of the Constituent Assembly who are considered the founding fathers of the Constitution of India. On this occasion the National Bar Association of India is organising a 2-day Annual Conference, titled 'National Law Day' from November 26 in New Delhi. 



The Centre is implementing a programme to promote coconut cultivation in Lakshadweep based on organic manure. A Coconut Palm Insurance Scheme has also been introduced to protect coconut cultivators from natural calamities in Lakshadweep. Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar said a certification programme for organic farms in the Union Territory is in progress. This is intended to boost export of coconut and its products from the island to the European countries and USA, he said. 



The government has approved the setting up of two AIIMS-like institutions, one each at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh and at Raigunj, Uttar Dinajpur in West Bengal. 



The President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the International Conference on sustainable agriculture for food and livelihood security - 2012 at Punjab Agriculture University(PAU) in Ludhiana. This was his first visit to Punjab after becoming President. 



The Center has released over 592 Crore rupees for development of playfields and over 187 Crore rupees for organizing sports competitions under the Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) scheme to the states till October this year. 



The Government has approved a scheme under the 12th Five Year Plan for carrying out an anti-piracy initiative in the audio-visual sector with an allocation of two crore rupees. The new scheme of Information and Broadcasting Ministry will give special focus on piracy on the internet. Under the scheme, the campaign on piracy through audio-visual, internet and print media will be launched. 



The Centre is to set up the country's first geothermal power project in Ladakh. Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah said in Chennai that the Government is working on the project and the 3 MW will be one of the major geothermal-based projects in the world. He said his Ministry will also look at how such projects can be extended to other States. 



The Government has issued new guidelines to the states that an officer not below the rank of DCP will decide on filing of cases under section 66A of IT Act. The guidelines come in the wake of alleged misuse of the section in recent few cases. 

According to the new guidelines, police officers at the level of IGP or DCP will have to give prior approval for registration of cases relating to 66 A of the IT Act. The senior officer will also decide whether a complaint needs to be registered under this section or not. 



The government is implementing Special Area Games schemes through Sports Authority of India (SAI) for scouting and nurturing sports talent in rural, hilly, tribal and coastal areas of the Country. The Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said that SAI is implementing various sports promotion schemes including National Sports Talent Contest, Special Area Games, and Come and Play scheme to achieve excellence at national and international level. 



Employees Provident Fund Organization, EPFO, launched a portal for its members to download their e-passbook online each month. The facility will be available on www.epfindia.gov.in . The members will now be able to download their e-passbook, if they are active and Electronic Challan-cum- Return, ECR, is being uploaded by their employer. Any PF member can register him on the portal by using his photo identification number such as PAN, Aadhar card, Driving license, passport and voter ID. The member can also add multiple ID numbers after registration and can use any one for login. The portal was launched by Central PF Commissioner R C Mishra in New Delhi. 



National Cadet Corps (NCC), the largest uniformed youth organisation in the world raised in 1948, celebrated its 64th anniversary on Nov 24,2012 with traditional fervour. 



Government has approved establishment of a Spice park at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh at a cost of Rs 23 crores to empower the chilli farmers to have better price realization and wider markets for their produce. The Government of Andhra Pradesh had allocated 124.78 acres of land in Venkayalapadu and Maidavolu village, Edlapadu Mandal in Guntur district in favour of Spice Board, for setting up of this Spices Park. 



Bilateral Issues 

India and China have signed 11 pacts for further deepening of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. Four MOU's were inked in public sector and seven agreements in the private sector involving 5.6 billion US dollars. Briefing newsmen on the 2nd Indo-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in New Delhi, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia said, both countries have also agreed to address the trade imbalance between the two countries. MoUs were signed in areas of improving energy efficiency, technical cooperation in Railways, Cooperation in Information Technology and joint studies between Planning commission and the Chineese Reform commission. 

Mr. Montek said that the agreements were signed for 2500 MW renewable energy project worth 3 US billion dollars investment between Reliance Energy and Guangdong Mingyang Wind Power with project financing from China Development Bank. Other agreements include Lanco group's, 600 US million dollars Anpara Phase II 4 X660 MW power project, USD 800 million deal between NIIT and Hainan province for Knowledge park, 384 US million dollars joint venture Waste to energy projects on Build Operate Transfer basis in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.



India and China, among others, signed an MoU on Technical Cooperation in Railway Sector. The signatories to the MoU were Mr. Vinay Mittal, Chairman, Railway Board, Ministry of Railways, Government of India and Mr.Wang Zhiguo, Vice Minister, Ministry of Railways, Govt. of the Republic of China. Under the MoU, both the countries will enhance mutual cooperation across various areas of rail technology including High Speed Rail, Heavy Haulage and Station Development. 

The two sides will, inter-alia, undertake exchange of information on policies, training and exchange programmes, site visits, joint symposiums etc. Both sides have also agreed that future cooperation on railways between the two countries will be carried under the Infrastructure Working Group constituted under the India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. The MoU will remain in force for 5 years from the date of signing. 



India and Sweden have signed an agreement to enhance bilateral cooperation on social security issues. The agreement was signed by Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Minister of Social Security in Sweden Ulf Kristersson in New Delhi. Mr. Ravi said with this, Indian workers will be entitled to the export of the social security benefits if they relocate to India after completion of their services in Sweden. He said, for short term contract up to two years, no social security contribution would be needed to pay under the Swedish law by detached workers provided they continue to make social security payment in India. Mr. Ravi said, it will also strengthen trade and investment between the two sides. Ulf Kristersson said it will help to better coordinate the benefits and contributions of workers who have been employed in both the countries. 



India and Sweden have signed a social security agreement that will relieve their workers from double taxation and provide for co-operation in areas of labour market expansion and orderly migration. The agreement was signed by Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Sweden's Minister for Social Security Ulf Kristersson. 

Under the agreement, India workers on short-term contracts of up to two years will not be required to make any social security contribution in Sweden provided they continue to make social security payments India. The relief will be available to Indian workers even if an Indian company sends its employees to Sweden from a third country. Officials said similar relaxation will be provided to Swedish citizens working in India. 

As per the pact, Indian workers and self- employed Indians will be entitled to export of the benefits on their relocation to India. Mr. Ravi said, the government of India has taken the initiative to enagage in dialouges with different European countries to avoid double taxation and enable people to go and work there. 



India has asked the Maldives to ensure protection of Indian interests and security of its nationals in the island nation. New Delhi’s statement came in the wake of decision of Maldives government to terminate the agreement with the GMR Group to manage the Male International Airport. 



India and Libya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in New Delhi, for cooperation in the field of election management and administration, with Libyan Election Commission seeking training and electoral assistance from Election Commission of India. The MoU was signed by the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Shri V.S. Sampath and the Deputy Chairman of the High National Election Commission of Libya, Mr. Najeeb Abdessalam Mohammed Arrabiti. Election Commissioners from India, Shri H. S. Brahma and Dr. Naseem Zaidi; Election Commissioners from Libya, Mr. Altaher Abd Allah Graf, Mr. Mohammed Alsadig Abo Hedma and Mr. Masud Amr Alnami; diplomats and senior officials of the Election Commission of India and Government of India were present at the signing ceremony. 

The major aims of MoU are: 
  • promotion of exchanges of knowledge and experience in electoral processes
  • exchange of information, materials, expertise and training of personnel
  • production and distribution of materials pertaining to electoral systems, voting technology, voters’ education and awareness, and participation of women and minorities in electoral process. 



Economic Issues 

Brazil may have the lowest GDP growth rate among BRICS countries this year. A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says, among the BRICS countries, - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - Brazil's economy will grow by only 1.3 percent this year. Russia is expected to grow by 3.4 percent, China by 7.5 percent, India by 4.5 percent and South Africa by 2.6 percent. It said the Brazilian economic performance was disappointing in the beginning of this year, but now it has started to gain momentum, due to fiscal stimulus, tax cuts and the monetary easing measures. 

Those policies are expected to result in better growth rates in the upcoming years. According to the report, Brazil's growth rate will jump to 4 percent in 2013 and to 4.1 percent in 2014. The global economy is expected to make a hesitant and uneven recovery over the next two years. The global GDP is expected to increase by 2.9 percent this year and by 3.4 percent in 2013. 



Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, in micro and small enterprises has been raised to 100 per cent from 24 per cent to promote capital investment by foreign multinational companies. This information was given by Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. 



The Indian economy grew by 5.3 per cent in the July-September period of the current financial year (2012-13), pulled down by poor performance of manufacturing and agriculture sectors, showing persistent signs of slowdown. The gross domestic product had expanded by 6.7 per cent in the same period of last fiscal.It had grown by 5.5 per cent in the first quarter (April-June) of 2012-13. During the three-month period ended September 30, the manufacturing sector grew marginally by 0.8 per cent, against 2.9 per cent growth in the same period of 2011-12, according to data released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO). 

Farm sector output expanded by just 1.2 per cent in the July-September period this fiscal against 3.1 per cent in the same period last year. The economic growth in the first six month of this fiscal (April-September) is 5.4 per cent, lower than 7.3 per cent growth clocked in the year-ago period. In the July-September quarter, trade, hotels, transport and communications segment also witnessed lower pace of growth at 5.5 per cent compared to 9.5 per cent expansion in the same quarter in year ago. 



Persons 

Shia religious leader and Imam-e-Juma of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Maulana Syed Ahmad Hasan died. 



Sierra Leone's president, Ernest Bai Koroma, has been sworn in for a second term after winning nearly 60 percent of the vote in elections. Koroma, who was first elected in 2007, has pledged to increase foreign investment and fight corruption.



Chitra Ramakrishna will be the Managing Director and CEO of National Stock Exchange from 1st April 2013, while its current chief Ravi Narain will assume the role of Vice-Chairman in a non-executive role. The board of the National Stock Exchange decided that Ramkrishna, currently Joint MD of the bourse, will take charge as MD and CEO with effect from 1st April 2013 for a period of five years.



Senior IPS officer Alok Joshi was appointed as chief of country's external intelligence gathering agency RAW. Joshi, a 1976 batch officer of Haryana Cadre who is at present Special Secretary in Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), will take over the reins of the key agency on December 30. 



Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral passed away on November 30, 2012 in New Delhi after prolonged illness. Mr Gujral was the 12th Prime Minister of the country. Born on 4th December, 1919 in Jhelum in the undivided Punjab, now in Pakistan, Mr Gujral participated in India's freedom struggle. He was also jailed in 1942 during the Quit India Movement. 

Mr Gujral was Information and Broadcasting Minister in 1975 and served as Minister of External Affairs in the V P Singh government. He became Prime Minister on 21st April, 1997 and remained at the post till 19th March, 1998. During this tenure, Mr Gujral propounded the doctrine for better relations with the neighbouring countries which is known as "Gujral Doctrine". 



Lieutenant General AT Parnaik has taken over as the 22nd Director General Border Roads (DGBR). 



Sports 

The 9th Senior National Women's boxing championships began in Guwahati on 25th Nov 2012. 



The reigning World Champion, Rory Mcllroy has won the Dubai World Tour Golf Championship and retained his number one title at the end of the season in 2012. 



According to the latest ICC rankings released in Dubai, 
  • Australia’s star batsman Michael Clarke has moved up to the number one position followed by Srilanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Shiv Narayan Chanderpaul of the West Indies. 
  • India’s Cheteshwar Pujara is at the 21st rank. 
  • South Africa’s Dale Stain leads the pack of bowlers followed by Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan. 
  • India’s Pragyan Ojha has climbed up to fifth rank among the bowlers. 
  • In the team rankings, South Africa is number one. 
  • India is at fifth position behind Pakistan. 



Awards 

"Andhey Ghorey Da Daan" a Punjabi film directed by Gurvinder Singh and produced by National Film Development Corporation, has bagged the Golden Peacock award of the International Film Festival of India, IFFI. 

The award carries a Golden Peacock and a cash prize of 20 lakh rupees. The Silver Peacock with a cash prize of 15 lakh rupees has gone to "Una Noche" directed by Lucy Mullay. 



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