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2013 - February 1 Current Affairs

International Issues 

In a major development, the Bangladesh government has decided to withdraw its request to the World Bank for financing the 2.9 billion US Dollar multipurpose Padma Bridge project. 

According World Bank statement issued on February 1st 2013, the Bangladesh government has sent a letter informing the Bank that it is withdrawing its request for World Bank financing the project. The Bangladesh government's move comes with the World Bank not giving any firm commitment about the resumption of the funding process for the 1.2 Billion US Dollar loan that it had earlier approved. 

In June last year, the World Bank cancelled its 1.2 billion US Dollar loan for the project on the grounds of unsatisfactory response of the Bangladesh government to what it claimed as credible evidence of corruption related to financing of the bridge. 

National Issues 

The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas bill 2011. Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, V. Narayanasamy said, out of 16 amendments proposed by the select committee of the Rajya Sabha, the government has agreed to 14 of them in the anti-corruption legislation. He said that the Cabinet did not favour the proposal of the select committee for seeking prior approval of the Lokpal to transfer a CBI officer investigating a case, which was referred by Lokpal. 

The Cabinet also did not agree to the proposal that an official facing an inquiry by the Lokpal should not be given an opportunity to be heard at the stage of preliminary inquiry. Mr. Narayanasamy said, the Cabinet has given the nod to the recommendation to delink the creation of Lokayuktas from the Lokpal. 

Shri S R Rao, Secretary, Department of Commerce on February 1st 2013, inaugurated the India`s Trade Portal. The Trade Portal has been developed to facilitate India`s exporters in trading which may result in the expansion of trade. 

The Portal offers Indian exporters and importers respectively a comprehensive guidance for concluding international trade transactions successfully with a specific focus on Indian traders trading with SAARC, ASEAN and top 25 export/import destinations (as per value terms). 

The portal provides user-friendly access to relevant information for import and export of different products in digital form. The direct link to the website is

GAIL (India) Limited, a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and India’s largest natural gas company was accorded the Maharatna status by the Government of India. 

GAIL started in 1984 as a single pipeline project company and has emerged as an integrated natural gas company with activities spread across the entire value chain – from gas transportation and marketing to processing for Liquid Hydrocarbons and polymers, pioneering CGD in the country, gas sourcing including signing a first-of-its-kind R-LNG deal with Cheniere, USA and being the first PSU to buy acreage in Shale Gas in the US. 

GAIL has also recently commissioned the LNG Terminal at Dabhol as owner’s engineer and is the operator of the terminal. 

Bilateral Issues 

During the state visit of the Prime Minister of Mauritius to India, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for strengthening collaboration in textiles sector was signed between the two Governments on February 7, 2012. Under the MoU, a Joint Committee was constituted at the level of Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Republic of Mauritius and the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Republic of India. 

The Joint Committee has held 2 rounds of meetings on July 23, 2012 in New Delhi and January 28, 2013 in Port Louis, Mauritius. The Joint Committee has successfully developed the following MoUs between institutions of both countries for deepening textiles sector collaboration. 

The following MoUs between Institutions of Textiles sector of the 2 countries have been signed on January 30, 2013. 

  • MoU between Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) and Enterprise Mauritius (EM): To establish cooperation in compliance standards and competitiveness enhancement of the apparel industry, as well as capacity building in export promotion. 
  • MoU between Northern India Research Association (NITRA) and Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB). To establish cooperation in the field of standardization, quality assurance and conformity assessment activities, accreditation of laboratories and proficiency in testing as well as capacity building and information exchange.
  • MoU between Northern India Research Association (NITRA) and National Productivity and Competitiveness Council (NPCC): To establish cooperation in the field of productivity and quality improvement. 
  • MoU between Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) and Mauritius Exporters Association (MEXA): To establish cooperation in the field of fashion and design promotion, education and training through effective knowledge network of Textiles professionals and industry representatives of India and Mauritius. 
  • MoU between Institute of Apparel Management (IAM) and Fashion and Design Institute of Mauritius (FDI): To establish cooperation in the field of design and delivery of training programs in the fields of textiles technology and fashion technology as well as academic interaction. 
A framework of implementation of the announcements made by the Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister of India during his visit to Mauritius on January 8-10 2013 has been formulated and reflected in a Letter of Intent signed between the 2 countries. India would offer training to 1000 textiles workers, 35 scholarship programs and develop 10 fully compliant apparel factories. 


Dr. S.K.Sarkar , IAS (WB:79) took charge as the new Secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources. 

The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India, in association with the Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India and the Department of Information Technology & Communication, Government of Rajasthan, is organizing 16th National Conference on e-Governance on 11 - 12 February, 2013 in Jaipur, Rajasthan. 

The National Conference on e-Governance has been providing a platform to policy makers, practitioners, industry leaders and academia to deliberate, interact and recommend actionable strategies. In this scenario, the 16th National Conference on e-Governance based on the theme of “Towards an Open Government” seeks to explore effective strategies for social, financial & digital inclusion and transformation in governance through innovation and technology. 

To recognise and promote excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives, the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India, presents National Awards for e-Governance every year. 

Category of Awards are: 
  • Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering 
  • Exemplary Horizontal Transfer of ICT-based Best Practice 
  • Outstanding Performance in Citizen-Centric Service Delivery 
  • Innovative Usage of Technology in e-Governance 
  • Exemplary Usage of ICT by PSUs 
  • Best Government Portal 
  • Sectoral Award (Focus Sector – Social Sector Programs) Gold, Silver and Bronze icons will be awarded in each category. 

State-wise award are as follows: Assam-01, Karnataka-01, Gujrat-04, Jharkhand-01, Andhra Pradesh -02, Odisha- 02, Rajasthan-01, Madhya Predesh-02., Jammu & Kashmir -01, Bihar-01, Govt. of India -01. 

The list of initiatives being awarded this year in various categories is as follows: 

Category 1 -  Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering
" Computerisation of Registration (Panjeeyan) Project in Assam”, Revenue and Disaster Management Department, Government of Assam
Transformation of Mineral and Administration through e-Governance (Geology and Mining)”, Department of Mines and Geology, Government of Karnataka
Online Voting System (OVS)”, State Election Commission, Gujarat
Category 2 -  Exemplary Re-Use of ICT Based Solutions
XLN–Xtended Licensing & Laboratory Node of SALES”, Food & Drugs Control Administration, Gujarat
Electronic Benefit Transfer through BC Model at Pragya Kendras”, Jharkhand Agency for Promotion of IT, Department of IT, Government of Jharkhand
IT enabled services in Gurukulam institutions”, APTWREIS (Gurukulam), Tribal Welfare Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh
Category 3 - Outstanding performance in Citizen-Centric Service Delivery
Students Academic Management System (SAMS)”, Department of Higher Education, Government of Odisha
Mail Network Optimization Project”, Department of Posts, Government of India
Use of ICT for Delivering Mechanized Agricultural Implements”  & “Effective Monitoring of Input Delivery System through ICT”, Directorate of Agriculture & Food Production, Government of Odisha
Category 4 -  Innovative use of Technology in e-Governance
iBHUGOAL”,  Information Technology Department, Government of Bihar and National Informatics Centre, Bihar
Measuring Physical Accessibility to Healthcare Network and Population Coverage Modeling in J&K State using Geo-informatics”, Directorate of Environment & Remote Sensing, Government of J&K
MAGIC: Mineral Administration and Governance Using ICT”,Commissionerate of Geology and Mining, Government of Gujarat
Category 5 -  Innovative use of ICT by PSUs for Customer’s Benefits
Integrated System for Online Generation of Electrical Specifications for Transformers”, Informatics Center (IFX), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), Bhopal
EPIMRS”, IT Wing, Eastern Power Distribution Company of A.P. Limited.
iMINE (IT Intervention for Managing Integrated Networked Enterprise)”, Information Technology Department, Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Limited (GMDC)
Category 6 -  Best Government Portal
RPSC e-Governance”, Rajasthan Public Service Commission, Ajmer
Category 7 - Specific Sectoral Award - Focus Sector – Social Sector Programmes
SPARSH – Special Project for Assistance, Rehabilitation & Strengthening of Handicapped – A healing touch for disabled, old age and destitute”, Directorate Social Justice, Government of Madhya Pradesh and National Informatics Center, Madhya Pradesh



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