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2013 - February 2 to 6 Current Affairs

International Issues 

The Indian Railways hosted the 10th International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA) Conference in New Delhi from 4th to 6th February 2013. The conference is organised once in every four years. The last conference was held in Shanghai China in 2009. 

The Conference is an excellent forum for railway researchers, practitioners, policy makers and industry leaders from all over the world to meet and share their knowledge and experience and perhaps open new frontiers in heavy haul railway operation. 

IHHA is a worldwide non government, scientific and technological association of Heavy Haul Railways incorporate in USA and is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in Heavy Haul operation, Engineering, maintenance and technology. India, USA, Canada, Brazil, Russia, China Sweden, South Africa, and Australia are the members of International Heavy Haul Association. 

Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has unveiled a new domestically produced fighter jet at a ceremony in Tehran to mark the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in the country. 

The futuristic aircraft known as the Qaher F-313 or Conqueror resembles a stealth fighter. Mr. Ahmadinejad described it as one of the most advanced aircrafts in the world.

World Cancer Day is observed on Feb 4th to raise awareness of the illness and to promote prevention measures, early detection, and treatment of Cancer. This year's theme "Cancer - Did you know?" envisages to dispel the damaging myths and misconceptions about the disease. 

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 7.6 million deaths annually and around 13% of all deaths. Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each year. 

In Nepal, Health for Life program has been launched. The five year project is estimated to cost $18mn. It is funded by USAID and will cover 14 western districts with the aim to improve overall health and support family planning programs. 

A partnership agreement was signed in Kathmandu. Health Secretary Dr Praveen Mishra said the program has been designed to reach people of remote regions.USAID Deputy Mission Director, Sheila Lutjens, said that the ´Health for Life´ program will be helpful in reducing under-five mortality rate, infant mortality rate, neo-natal mortality rate and maternal mortality rate. 

Afghanistan has signed a long term strategic cooperation agreement with Norway. Afghan President Hamid Karzai who is in Oslo on the second leg of his three nation tour, and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg signed the agreement in Oslo. 

Asia’s biggest, biennial air show and aviation exhibition, Aero India-2013, got off to a flying start in Bangalore on Feb 6th, 2013. Defence Minister A K Antony inaugurated the five-day event.

National Issues 

The eighth MGNREGA Diwas was celebrated on February 2nd with the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh giving away the award for initiative in MGNREGA administration and best performing Gram Panchayat. 

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said, the government will soon initiate comprehensive medical check-ups for all school going children and even those out of school. He said, a mobile team of doctors with supporting staff for each State has been granted for implementation of universal screening of children. 

National Rail Museum of Ministry of Railways, celebrated its 37th Museum Foundation Day on February 2nd. 

The Planning Commission says, services like Information Technology, finance and banking, tourism, trade and transport are going to be major employment generators in the 12th five year plan period and beyond. 

The 12th Plan document calls for adopting sector-specific strategies to ensure sustained expansion of employment opportunities in these areas. 

The draft document suggested that a comprehensive social security must be put into place for workers in organized sector, which provides for pension, medical insurance and unemployment benefits that are seamlessly transferable across employers in all sectors of the economy. 

To ensure speedy resolution of industrial disputes, the district collector or sub-divisional magistrate may be appointed as concilliary officers under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. 

The 12th Plan hopes to make manufacturing sector a genuine engine of growth, which could generate 100 million work opportunities by 2022. It said the employment contribution of labour-intensive manufacturing namely textile and garments, leather and footwear, gems and jewellery, food processing industries can be greatly enhanced provided the government puts supportive policies in place. The document said incentives will have to be improved for expanding employment in the organized sector. 

The 12th plan should focus on demand-aligned skill development and aim at significantly stepping up growth in employment and manufacturing so that under-employed labour force can speedily move from low-paid farms jobs to better-paid, more productive manufacturing and service sectors. 

Similarly, the government should improve the working conditions for women and focus on greater organized sector jobs that will meet the aspirations of the rising number of educated and skilled youth in the country. 

The Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has got the Maharatna status from the Central Government. This will help the Public Sector Undertaking to attain the target of one lakh crore rupee turn over by 2016-17. 

BHEL, which is now manufacturing power equipment, can now pursue in the sectors of transportation, renewable energy, and transmission. It will get enhanced powers to expand its operations in domestic and global markets. Moreover it can participate in international projects and gain access to technology, engineering materials and markets. 

India has witnessed decline of average 7.5 per cent each year in Under Five Child Mortality Rate during 2005-10. Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Anuradha Gupta said the declined rate has been much faster in rural areas. 

Child Survival and Development Summit to be held in Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu between 7th and 9th of this month. She said the summit is a critical platform engaging health sector planners and implementers from the states, representatives and heads of UN and development agencies to discuss and debate on child survival and development in India. 

The Pitroda Committee on Prasar Bharati has constituted eleven groups to undertake in depth study of various aspects of Broadcasting Corporation of India. 

Briefing the media after the first meeting of the committee, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and chairman of the expert committee, Mr. Sam Pitroda said, these groups will submit their reports within one and a half month. 

The Centre has taken up Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for the development of road network in the North East states. Union Road Transport and Highway Minister Dr. C P Joshi said that a total of 6 thousand 400 kilometer roads are likely to be completed by June 2016 in first phase at an estimated cost of over 33 thousand crore rupees. So far about 1000 kilometer has been completed. Dr. Joshi also said that 670 kilometer long National Highway under East West Corridor in Assam is expected to be completed by December 2014. 

A delegation of ‘All India Federation of the Deaf (AIFD)’ called on the Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari on Feb 4th. They pinned a Flag on the self of the Vice President on the occasion of “55th Flag Week of the Deaf”. AIFD was set-up in 1955 with an aim to unite the Deaf in the country. 

It is an apex body of different affiliated organizations spread all over India and serves the Deafs in elevating living quality of the Deaf. Globally, it works with World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). It has promoted Multipurpose Training Centre for the Deaf (MPTCD) for socio-economic mainstreaming of the Deaf. 

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has entered into an agreement with two State authorities of Maharashtra and Odisha for formation of State level Directorate of Radiation Safety for strengthening the regulator control on medical diagnostic X-ray facilities. 

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed last month, first with the Aditional Chief Secretary, Public Health Department, Government of Maharashtra on January 18, 2013 and the second one with Principle Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department to set up Directorate of Radiation Safety (DRS) in the respective States. 

A major policy initiative has been taken by Department of Commerce, Government of India, to grant Green Channel facility to the eligible firms, having annual turn-over of Rs. 1000 crore or more, by treating them as deemed registered and dispensing with the pre-dispatch inspection for Rate Contracts by The Directorate General of Supplies & Disposals (DGS&D), the nodal agency of the Government of India for purchase policy and procedure. 

Supplies from such firms shall be accepted under the manufacturers` warranty/guarantee by allowing them to self-certify their products for the required quality. It is a dynamic process, open at all times on a continuous basis. 

The Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Department of Commerce has formulated a ‘Draft Policy on Units in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) carrying on recycling of plastic scarp or waste’. 

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has constituted a panel under the Chairmanship of Shri Mukul Mudgal, Retired Chief Justice, High Court of Punjab and Haryana to examine issues of certification under the Cinematograph Act 1952. 

The first copy of the book, “Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Germany”, by Professor Anita B. Pfaff was presented to the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on February 6, 2013. The book has been brought out by the Federation of Indo-German Societies in India. 

Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Minister Shri Sharad Pawar called upon States to allocate at least 25% of resources available under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for livestock and fisheries sector. States are allocating around 18% of RKVY funds to this sector at present. 

A new health initiative “Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram” was launched by Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, UPA from Palghar, a Tribal Block in Thane district, Maharashtra on Feb 6th, 2013. The initiative is to provide comprehensive healthcare and improve the quality of life of children through early detection of birth defects, diseases, deficiencies, development delays including disability. 

Union Tourism Minister Shri Chiranjeevi has complimented the Government of Madhya Pradesh for becoming the first State in the country to fully utilize plan funds released to them by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for the development of tourism infrastructure at various tourist sites in the State. 

Madhya Pradesh is thus the first State to have submitted all utilisation and completion certificates and has achieved ‘zero pendency’ of Government of India funds lying with them, thus fully complying with the directions issued by the Ministry of Finance on the utilisation of funds. Shri Chiranjeevi expressed confidence that other States would follow the suit. 


Emirates Airline has signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Formula One Racing to become a global partner with the sport. 

The deal reported to be worth $200 million, was announced jointly at the Emirates Airlines headquarters by the Emirates Group chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. 


The Government has given approval to the DRDO to develop an indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) that can help the IAF keep an eye deep inside enemy territory. An 'in- principle' approval was granted to the proposal for developing an indigenous AWACS at the recent meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security. 

India already has a fleet of three AWACS aircraft supplied by Israel deployed on the Ilyushin-76 aircraft procured form Russia. For the indigenous AWACS, the DRDO will look for an alternative aircraft of the size of the IL-76 and deploy its AWACS system on it. 

On the difference between the Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft being developed by it and the proposed AWACS, they said the AWACS radar gives a 360 degree coverage while the AEW&C gives a coverage of 270 degrees. 



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