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2013 - January 29 to 31 Current Affairs

International Issues 

India announced an assistance of 2.5 million US dollars to Syria on 30 January 2013 at the High-level International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria held in Kuwait. Syria continues to face acute crisis as the impasse has become explosive and could engulf the region. 

India has strongly expressed its concern on the steep escalation of violence and has called upon all sides in Syria particularly the Syrian leadership to abjure violence and resolve all issues peacefully through discussions taking into account the aspirations of the people of Syria. 

India is extremely concerned about the security situation in Syria and the increasing violence. India considers that the only acceptable way to resolve the internal crisis in Syria is through urgent peaceful negotiations with participation of all parties taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians. 

30 January 2013: World anti Leprosy Day was observed to focus on disease. World anti Leprosy Day was observed on 30 January 2013 to focus attention and create awareness about the air-borne disease. 

The day is chosen in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, who took a keen interest in the eradication of leprosy and the plight of people affected by it. Several programmes are being organised across India to galvanise people to fight the stigma and discrimination against leprosy which is now completely curable. 

As per the latest figured of University and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS) revealed on 30 January 2013, there is an increase of 20 percent in number of Indian students that applied for higher studies in United Kingdom in 2013 in comparison to 2012. This is the third highest increase among various countries. 

The first two countries that witnessed an increase include Malaysia and Italy where there was an increase of 25 percent and 22 percent respectively. 

National Issues 

The Centre on 29 January 2013 resolved the issue of CST compensation with the states. The centre agreed for a lower payment of 34000 crore rupees for phasing out the Central Sales Tax. It paves the way for implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The agreement between centre and states was announced following the meeting of State Finance Ministers at Bhubaneshwar. The Centre agreed to pay this compensation amount to the states. 

As per the resolution at the meeting, the Centre would bear a 100 per cent of the loss accrued to states in 2010-11 fiscal on account of lowering of CST. However, for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal, the Centre would give 75 per cent and 50 per cent of the losses to the states. CST, a tax imposed on the inter-state movement of goods, was reduced from 4 per cent to 3 per cent in 2007-08 and further to 2 per cent in 2008-09 after the introduction of Value-Added Tax (VAT). The committee set up by Finance Minister P Chidambaram to resolve the CST issue had suggested that the payment of 34000 crore rupees be made to the states towards losses on account of phasing out of CST. 

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on 29 January 2013 constituted a seven-member expert committee to review the institutional framework of Prasar Bharti. The committee will be headed by the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure, Sam Pitroda. The committee will have Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar as its convener. The committee will review the relationship of Prasar Bharti with the government, its continuing role as a public broadcaster and measures needed to ensure its technical upgradation. It will also suggest ways of using the new media to deliver digital content both in broadcast mode (DTH) and in a demand based mode like YouTube. 

The committee comprises members; retired IAS officer Asha Swaroop, who had earlier served as secretary in the I&B Ministry, Professor M P Gupta of IIT Delhi, B K Gairola (Mission Director e-Governance), Jitendra Shankar Mathur, additional secretary and nominated member on the Prasar Bharati Board and Shekhar Kapur (a member of the National Innovation Council). 

Bilateral Issues 

India and Australia on 28 January 2013 agreed to concentrate on priority areas like energy and food security for mutual benefit of the two countries. At the 14th Session of the India - Australia Joint Ministerial Commission held in New Delhi, the two sides underlined the importance of a solid institutional framework to facilitate future growth in bilateral trade and investment. 

The Commission was co-chaired by Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma and his Australian counterpart, Craig Emerson. 

Economic Issues 

The Reserve Bank of India on 29 January 2013 slashed its key interest rates by 0.25 per cent and released 18000 crore rupees additional liquidity into the system to perk up growth through reduced cost of borrowing. 

RBI in its third quarter monetary policy review surprised the market by cutting short-term lending rate called repo, by 0.25 per cent to 7.75 per cent and Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by similar margin to 4 per cent. 

The repo rate cut will reduce the cost of borrowing for individuals and corporates, whereas the reduction in CRR, which is the portion of deposits that banks have to park with RBI, would improve the availability of funds. Unveiling the policy review in Mumbai, RBI stated that the stance of monetary policy in this review is intended to provide an appropriate interest rate environment to support growth as inflation risks moderate. CRR cut will have impact on long term interest rates. 

Business Issues 

SpiceJet decided to launch its flights to Guangzhou in the first week of February 2013. With this launch, the low-cost carrier, SpiceJet will become the only Indian private airline to fly China. It has decided to launch the four weekly flights starting from New Delhi to Guangzhou. 

Research In Motion, popularly known as RIM and makers of Blackberry phone, on 30 January 2013 announced that it will formally be called Blackberry now. 

Research In Motion additionally launched two new devices under its own new operating system called Blackberry 10. These two devices are Z10 and Q10. Z10 is a touch-screen device while Q10 is the QWERY portrait keyboard device. 


India won the ODI series against England 3-2. 

Tiger Woods on 29 January 2013 won his 75th PGA Tour title in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Woods entered into the fifth day of play with a six-shot lead over his closest competitors, Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney. 

Although, he was far from his fluent best and he dropped four strokes in three holes from the 15th, it did not stop his progress to victory and he finished on 14 under par .He parred his first five holes without any problem before birdieing the 13th after two putting from 52 feet. Woods dropped another shot on the 17th and missed a 15ft birdie putt on the last, however, his level-par 72 was enough to secure him victory. 


P.R. Vasudeva Rao became the Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) at Kalpakkam on 31 January 2013. He succeeded S.C Chetal, who has now retired. 

Science & Technology 

NASA on 31 January 2013 launched a new communication satellite to stay in touch with its space station astronauts and relay more Hubble telescope images. An unmanned Atlas V rocket blasted into the starry night sky carrying the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) from Cape Canaveral. 

This is the 11th TDRS satellite to be launched by NASA. The space agency uses the orbiting network to communicate with astronauts living on the International Space Station. The first TDRS spacecraft flew in 1983. 

This newest third-generation TDRS carries the letter K designation. Once it begins working, it will become TDRS-11. It will take two weeks for the satellite to reach its intended 22300-mile-high orbit. Testing will last a few months. NASA estimates the satellite costs between 350 and 400 million US Dollars. Another TDRS spacecraft, L in the series, will be launched in 2014. 



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