2013 - January 18 to 23 Current Affairs


International Issues 

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China’s economy which is said to be the second largest economy of the world grew just 7.8 percent in 2012, which is the 13-year low. In the year 2010, the economy of China increased 10.4 percent.



Barack Obama, the first mixed race president of the United States, was sworn in as the President of the country for the second term on 20 January 2013. The oath-taking ceremony was quiet as well as brief in the White House East Room by Justice John Roberts. 



International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an update to World Economic Outlook (WEO) on 23 January 2013, projected that the global economic growth rate would be 3.5 percent in 2013. The update mentioned that the global economic growth would strengthen gradually as the limitations of the economic activities have seen a positive note with the start of the year. 

• Global growth would reach 3.5 percent in 2013, from 3.2 percent in 2012 

• Crisis risks would narrow down but the downside risks will remain crucial 

• Main sources of growth would be the emerging markets, developing countries and the United States.

National Issues 

The Union Home Ministry in India issued stricter guidelines for those visas which are used by the foreign nationals interested in surrogacy. This is said to be the archetypical step by the Home Ministry to regulate surrogacy in India. The new guidelines indicated that single foreigners as well as the gay couples would not be eligible for having the Indian surrogate. Only those foreign man and woman, who are married for at least two years, would be granted the visas. 

The guidelines are issued when the legislation for regulating the fertility clinics is waiting for tabling in the Parliament. This legislation is called the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill 2010. 

•Foreign nationals who wished to have a surrogate child should be on the medical visa.

•Only heterosexual couples would be eligible for this visa. This couple should have been married for two years. 

•The foreign ministry of the home country or the embassy in India should certify recognizing surrogacy. 

•Official assurance is required that child or the children would be allowed entering home country as the biological child of couple. 

•The procedure of surrogacy should be done only at Assisted Reproductive Technology clinic which is recognised by ICMR. 



The Delhi Police Annual Report released on 19 January 2013 reported that Delhi witnessed the record number of highest rape cases, attempts to murder, robbery, rioting in the complete decade. The report claimed that the year 2012 witnessed 706 registered rape cases out of which 40 occurred at midnight including the brutal gang rape in the bus. 



The Ghat Ki Guni Tunnel that links the Jaipur with the National Highway No. 11 to Agra was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chairperson of United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi. This 150 crore rupees twin-tube tunnel was created by grilling out the Aravalli hills on the eastern side of the Pink City. The combined length of the tunnel is 2.80 kilometer and would provide a safe alternative to the narrow passage at Ghat Ki Guni, which connects Jaipur to Bharatpur and Agra. 



Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 20 January 2013 inaugurated the centenary celebrations of the National Test House at Kolkata, West Bengal. The Governor of West Bengal, H.E. Mayankote Kelath Narayanan released a book on history of the National Test House and gifted its first copy to the President on this occasion. 



The Supreme Court of India on 21 January 2013 banned the tourists to pass from Andaman Nicobar Trunk Road which passes through an area which is Jarawas habitat. The Andaman Nicobar Trunk Road leads to the Limestone Cave. A bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Gokhale ordered that the directives of the court which were issued in 2012 should be followed strictly. 



The National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) in collaboration with the Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative (LCWRI), supported by UN Women held the Sixth National Conference on implementation of PWDVA (Protection of Women of from Domestic Violence Act), 2005 on 21 January 2013. 

The Sixth Monitoring and Evaluation Report titled Staying Alive: Evaluating Court Orders was released at the National Conference along with the release of the Best Practices Manual on the implementation of PWDV Act 2005 and a Resource Tool for Monitoring & Evaluation of PWDV Act 2005. 

The Best Practices Manual sets out to acknowledge the exemplary efforts of some States in implementation of PWDV Act. The Resource Tool builds a normative framework which can be used by state and central nodal agencies to comply with obligations under the PWDVA. The Monitoring & Evaluation Report documents implementation of the Act and evaluates its functioning by analyzing the judgments and orders passed. It also presents the attitudes, knowledge and practice of stakeholders under the Act. 



24 January, National Girl Child Day: This day is celebrated as the National Girl Child Day every year by the Government of India with an objective to raise consciousness of Indian society towards the girl children. 

The Women and Child Development Ministry observed National Girl Child Day on 24 January 2013. 24 January is celebrated as the National Girl Child Day every year since 2008 by the Government of India. 

The primary objective of the National Girl Child Day is raising awareness and consciousness of the society towards the girl child. The primary aim is to ensure that every girl is respected and valued in Indian society. 


Bilateral Issues 

India and SriLanka after the 8th round meet of the Joint India-Sri Lanka Commission on 22 January 2013 at New Delhi inked two agreements. 

The signed agreements are: 
  •  Agreement on Combating International Terrorism and Illicit Drug Trafficking
  • Revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. 
The External Affairs Ministers of India, Salman Khurshid and Sri Lanka, G L Peiris signed the following Agreements. The Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was preceded by the Senior Officials Meeting at the level of the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries on 21 January 2013. 

During the Joint Commission meet both the sides discussed bilateral relations that included development cooperation, trade, investment, power, science and technology, health, agriculture, connectivity, people to people contacts, culture and education. 


Economic Issues 

The Union Government of India on 21 January 2013 hiked the import duty on Gold and Platinum from 4 percent to 6 percent. The step of the Government came in effect to control the import of the precious metals leading a widening gap in the Current Account Deficit of the country as the import of gold has shown tumbling effects on different economic fronts and has also played a major role in distortion of the balance of trade. 



The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 23 January 2013 projected that the economic growth rate of India in 2013 would be 5.9 percent. The IMF also projected an increased growth rate of 6.4 percent for 2014 looking forward towards the gradual strengthening of the global expansion in India’s context. In its update at the World Economic Forum (WEO), the IMF also forecasted that the global economic growth rate would be 3.5 percent, little higher than the 3.2 percent estimated earlier. 

As per the report of IMF, uncertainty in policy making and supply bottlenecks were one of the most visible causes that hampered the growth aspects of the economies like India and Brazil. It also stated that the scopes of easing the policy to any further extent have also gone down in these countries. 



The inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in India decreased to around 2-year low at 1.05 billion US dollar in November 2012 because of uncertainties of the global economies. Back in November 2011, the FDI was worth 2.53 billion US dollar. 

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced that from April-November period 2012-13, inflows of FDI decreased by around 31 percent to 15.84 billion US dollar from 22.83 billion US dollar in 2011-12. 


Business Issues 

Jet Airways, the second largest Mumbai based airline in the month of January 2013 entered into a partnership with CentrumDirect, one of India’s leading financial services groups, to offer Foreign Exchange Services to guests travelling abroad. 



Online Marketplace Snapdeal.com on 18 January 2013 tied up with Mahindra & Mahindra for selling of its two-wheelers to customers on the site. It is for the first time that a vehicle is being sold online in India and will be delivered at the customer's doorstep with launching of e-selling Platform. 



Reliance Industries shut down its eighth well on the main gas-producing field in KG-D6 block, which compelled the output to drop down to an all-time low at 20.88 million metric standard cubic metre per day (mmscmd). 

As per the status report of Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), RIL shut down the well B6 on 9 January 2013 on the Dhiburbhai-1 and 3 (D1&D3) in Krishna Godavari basin KG-D6 block because of water loading. Earlier on 29 November 2012, RIL had shut B4, which was the seventh well on D1&D3 field. 


Sports 

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) on 17 January 2013 asked the all time popular Cyclist Lance Armstrong facing the charges of doping to return the Olympic Bronze Medal and Certificate of 2000 Sydney Games. 

• He was stripped off from the seven Tour de France titles that he won from 1999 to 2005 on 22 October 2012 and was banned from cycling for life. 

• U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) accused Armstrong of leading a doping programme with his team and submitted a 202 page report 

• Lance Armstrong is a cyclist, who used performance enhancing drugs and banned substances 



Mercedes decided to uncover its 2013 Formula One car for Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton on 4 February 2013 at the pre-season test start in Spain. The new F1 car called F1W04 would be launched at Circuito de Jerez. 



The Indian Cricketer and the right handed batsman Virat Kohli on 19 January 2013 completed his 4000 runs in One day International cricket tournament. He is the 12th Indian batsman and 84th at world level to reach this milestone. By scoring these runs in just 93 innings, he became the first quickest from India and second at world level to accomplish this milestone. 



Fauja Singh, 101, the oldest marathon runner of the world decided to stop running in the competitions after Hong Kong marathon which will be held in February 2013. However, before the Hong Kong marathon, Singh will be running in the Australia marathon as well. 


Persons 

The Election Commission (EC) of India on 22 January 2013 announced Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom as the National Icons to help promote, voter participation in India. Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom, both are Olympic Bronze Medalists in the London Olympics 2012, in Badminton and Boxing respectively. 

Apart from these two, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Captain of the Indian National Cricket Team and former President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam are the existing National Icons of the Board and they will continue to be at the position. 


Awards 

58th Idea Filmfare Awards were given away on 20 January 2013 at YRF Studio, Andheri. At the 58th Idea Filmfare Awards, Barfi!, the much-acclaimed film grabbed seven Black Lady awards while, Kahaani bagged five awards. 

The award for the Best Actor was given to Ranbir Kapoor for his deaf-mute performance in Barfi! Vidya Balan, on the other hand was adjudged as the Best Actress for Kahaani. 

Barfi! was awarded with the Best Film award, while Kahaani’s director Sujoy Ghosh won the Black Lady for the Best Director. 

The lifetime achievement award was given away to Yash Chopra posthumously. Yash Chopra’s wife Pamela collected this award on his behalf. 

Rest of the awards was as follows: 

•Critics’ Award for Best Actor: Irrfan Khan for Paan Singh Tomar (Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia) 
•Critics’ Award for Best Film: Gangs of Wasseypur (Director: Anurag Singh Kashyap ) 
•Critics’ Award for Best Actor (Female): Richa Chadda for Gangs of Wasseypur •Best Lyricist: Gulzar for Challa (Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Director Yash Chopra) 
•Best Music Director: Pritam for Barfi! 
•Best Background Score: Pritam for Barfi! 
•Best Production Design: Rajat Podar for Barfi! 
•Best Playback (Female): Shalmali Kholgade for the song ‘Pareshaan’ 
•Best Playback (Male): Ayushmann Khurrana for the song ‘Pani da Rang’ 
•Lifetime Achievement Award -Yash Chopra 
•Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female): Anushka Sharma (Jab Tak Hai Jaan) •Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male): Annu Kapoor (Vicky Donor) 


Defence 

The Indian Navy on 21 January 2013 commissioned INS Saryu, its largest shore patrol vessel for the maritime surveillance around Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

INS Saryu, the 105 meter vessel is built at Goa Shipyard Limited is the first among the four new class naval Off Shore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) to be commissioned, rest would be commissioned by the Indian Navy in next one and a half year or so. Air Marshal PK Roy, commander in chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command of Indian Navy commissioned the ship in the Vasco Town. 

The ship would be patrolling across the exclusive economic zone of the exclusive economic zone across the island and discharge its duties on the eastern coast. INS Saryu has a capacity of being offshore for a period of a month. 


Science & Technology 

A team at Intel, the computer hardware firm created a device, which is said to allow Stephen Hawking, the renowned scientist of the world to communicate faster than before. With the help of new device, Hawking will be able to discuss his ideas about fundamental physics in speedy manner. 



A five-nation consortium including India would be constructing the world’s largest optical telescope, which would be the world’s most advanced ground based observatory. This telescope will be developed in Hawaii at the summit of the Mauna Kea Volcano. 

Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) governing body on 22 January 2013 met to decide the contributions to be made by the member nations namely, India, Japan, Canada, China and the US in the development of world’s largest optical telescope. 

The work on this telescope is expected to start in 2014 and the project is planned at an investment of 1.2 billion US dollar. This Thirty Meter Telescope would be eighty one times more sensitive than all the telescopes of its kind available at present. 

The Indian scientists would play a major role in the development of the key components of the telescope and 15 percent of the 492 mirror segments, each of 1.44 m in size, would be fabricated in India. 


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