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2013 - July 23 - Current Affairs


National Issues


The Planning Commission has periodically estimated poverty lines and poverty ratios for each of the years for which Large Sample Surveys on Household Consumer Expenditure have been conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

These surveys are normally conducted on quinquennial basis. The last quinquennial survey in this series was conducted in 2009-10 (NSS 66th round).

However, since 2009-10 was not a normal year because of a severe drought, the NSSO repeated the large scale survey in 2011-12 (NSS 68th round).

The summary results of this survey were released on 20th June 2013:
  • Poverty ratio in the country has declined to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12 from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05. The decline is on account of increase in per capita consumption, Planning Commission said. 
  • The Commission said the percentage of persons below poverty line in 2011-12 has been estimated at 25.7 per cent in rural areas, 13.7 per cent in urban areas and 21.9 per cent for the country as a whole. 
  • According to the Commission, using Tendulkar methodology, the national poverty line in 2011-12 for rural areas is estimated at 816 rupees per capita per month in villages and 1,000 rupees per capita per month in cities. This would mean that the persons whose consumption of goods and services exceed 33 rupees 33 paise in cities and 27 rupees 20 paise per capita per day in villages are not poor. 
  • The Commission said the decline in poverty is mainly on account of rising real per capita consumption figures which is based on 68th round of National Sample Survey on Household Consumer Expenditure in India in 2011-12. 



The number of domestic tourist visits (DTVs) to States/UTs registered an increase of 19.87% during the year 2012 over 2011 as compared to an increase of 15.6% in 2011 over 2010. 

According to the latest statistics on tourism in India released by Ministry of Tourism here today during the year 2012, the number of domestic tourist visits to the States/ UTs was 1036 million as compared to 865 million in 2011 and 748 million in 2010.

The top ten States in terms of number of domestic tourist visits (in millions), during 2012, were Andhra Pradesh (206.8), Tamil Nadu (184.1), Uttar Pradesh (168.4),Karnataka (94.1), Maharashtra (66.3), Madhya Pradesh (53.2), Rajasthan (28.6), Uttarakhand (26.8), Gujarat (24.4) and West Bengal (22.7). The contribution of these States was about 84.5% to the total number of domestic tourist visits during 2012.

Andhra Pradesh has occupied the first rank in terms of DTVs in 2012, whereas Tamil Nadu, which was at third rank in 2011, has moved to the second rank. Uttar Pradesh which was at first rank in 2011 has moved down to third place. Though the top ten States in terms of DTVs in 2012, remained the same as those in 2011 the rank of some to the States, changed slightly (by one place).

The number of foreign tourist visits (FTVs) to States/UTs registered a growth of 6.33% during the year 2012 over 2011 as compared to a growth of 8.9% in 2011 over 2010. The number of foreign tourist visits (FTVs) to the States/ UTs was 20.7 million in 2012 as compared to 19.5 million in 2011 and 17.9 million in 2010.

The top ten States in terms of number of FTVs (in millions) during 2012 were Maharashtra (5.1), Tamil Nadu (3.6), Delhi (2.3), Uttar Pradesh (2.0), Rajasthan (1.5), West Bengal (1.2), Bihar (1.1), Kerala (0.8), Karnataka (0.6) and Himachal Pradesh (0.5). The contribution of these States was about 90.1% to the total number of FTVs in the country during 2012. The top ten States in terms of FTVs in 2012, remained the same as those in 2011.



The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Anand Sharma on July 23, 2013 chaired the first meeting of Manufacturing Industry Promotion Board (MIPB) and called for accelerating the implementation of National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) and noted with satisfaction the good progress made by some states in land acquisition for National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NMIZ). 



With the Tirumala Balaji temple attracting visitors in hordes, Andhra Pradesh has become the top tourist destination in the country, recording 206.8 million domestic tourists last year. 

Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh stood second and third, with 184.1 million and 168.4 million domestic tourists, according to data available with the Tourism Ministry.



Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has said that the Railway Ministry will use funds allocated under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) for 250-km new Warda-Nanded-Yatmal railway line in Maharashtra.


Bilateral Issues


US Vice President Joe Biden on July 23, 2013, discussed a host of issues with the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

The two leaders held discussions to enhance relations in the areas of security, defence, energy and climate change. Biden arrived on a four-day trip to India on July 22, 2013. This is his first visit to India since assuming the office of the Vice President.



India and Nigeria on 22 July 2013 signed an agreement in Abuja to locate sites for solar power plants in Niger state. The agreement will provide additional energy for Nigeria's national grid. It would be the first of a series of power plant deals.

The agreement was signed between the secretary to the Government of India, Sutanu Behuria and Nigeria's permanent secretary in the Ministry of Power Godknows Igali.

With this agreement in place, Bharat Heavy Electricals (BSE) will begin preliminary studies for setting up independent solar-powered plants in selected locations in Niger. India expressed interest in the provision of funds in various forms for the development of Nigeria's power sector.


Economic Issues


The Reserve Bank of India has imposed certain restrictions on the import of various forms of gold by nominated banks, agencies, premier or star trading houses, SEZ units, EoUs which have been permitted to import gold for use in the domestic sector. In order to narrow down the Current Account Deficit - CAD and to arrest the fall of rupee, the apex bank has decided to rationalize the import of gold including import of gold coins into the country.

In the revised scheme for gold imports issued last evening, RBI has asked nominated banks and agencies to ensure that at least one fifth of every lot of gold imported - in any form or purity - is exclusively made available for the purpose of export. They have been asked to sell gold for domestic use only to entities engaged in jewellery business or bullion dealers supplying gold to jewelers.

Further, these banks and agencies will be required to retain 20 per cent of the imported quantity of gold in the customs bonded warehouses. Fresh imports will only be permitted only after the export of atleast 75 percent of the retained quantity that lies in the customs bonded warehouse.

The Reserve Bank of India has brought down the period of realisation and repatriation for exporters of goods and software to nine months from earlier 12 months. This move could shore up foreign exchange inflows.

Last November, RBI had increased the time limit to bring in export earnings to 12 months, from six months at that time, in view of global slowdown.

Industry experts said this step has been taken by the Apex bank as the country is facing a worsening Current Account Deficit and the weakening of the rupee against the US dollar. The rupee has depreciated by over 12 per cent against the dollar since the beginning of this fiscal.

The Reserve Bank of India has started scrutiny of nearly 3 thousand companies which could be carrying out non-banking finance operations without requisite registration. The step has been initiated by the Apex Bank in the wake of concerns about their actual business activities.

The central bank's move comes against the backdrop of the government efforts to crackdown on entities, that are illegally raising large amounts of money from the public.

The apex bank has sought details from the companies about their financials, including balance sheets, for the last three years, among others.



RBI has announced additional measures to contain exchange rate volatility and rupee slide. In a notification issued in Mumbai on July 23, 2013, the apex bank has increased the amount of Cash Reserve Ratio - CRR that the banks are required to maintain with the RBI on an average daily basis.

Effective from 27th July, banks will be required to maintain a minimum daily CRR balance of 99 percent of the requirement instead of the current 70 percent.

Moreover, RBI has capped the total quantum of funds available to a bank under Liquidity Adjustment Facility at 0.50 percent of the individual bank’s Net Demand and Time Liabilities - NDTL.

Withdrawing its earlier cap of 1.0 per cent of NDTL, reckoned as Rs 75,000 crore, RBI has said that from tomorrow onwards, NDTL would be the same as being reckoned for the purpose of maintenance of CRR during a reporting fortnight.

RBI has also said that the measures announced earlier have had a restraining effect on rupee volatility and a stabilising effect on the exchange rate.


Persons


The Institute of Cost Accountants of India on July 23, 2013 said Suresh Chandra Mohanty had been elected as the new President. Mr. Mohanty, who replaces Rakesh Singh, has been elected for 2013-14. A. S. Durga Prasad would be the new Vice-President.



Abdul Rahim Rather, the Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on 21 July 2013 appointed as the new Chairman of GST Panel by the Empowered Committee of States’ Finance Ministers on GST.



Arvind Sharma, the Chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett, India subcontinent was re-elected as the President of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) AAAI is the official as well as national organisation of all the advertising agencies of India.

AAAI :

This is the self-regulating body in the field of Advertising. It played a crucial role in formation of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). It also encouraged formation of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation.

AAAI enjoys the strong bond with Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA).

It provides training to the advertising professionals as well as recognises its creative work through the coveted Triple-A Awards. It also honours the advertising men through AAAI-Premnarayen Award.


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