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2013 - July 8 to 14 Current Affairs

International Issues

World Population Day observed on July 11. 

The U.S. Navy on 10 July 2013 successfully landed a drone the size of a fighter jet aboard an aircraft carrier for the first time. The X-47B experimental aircraft was landed to display military’s capability of US to have a computer program which can perform one of the most difficult tasks. 

With the landing of Aircraft the US Navy can move forward with its plans to develop another unmanned aircraft that will join the fleet alongside traditional airplanes to provide around-the-clock surveillance while also possessing a strike capability. 

The X-47B will mainly would pave the way for the U.S. to launch unmanned aircraft without the need to obtain permission from other countries to use their bases.

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimated on 11 July 2013 that World cereal production is set to increase by 7 per cent in year 2013, to a record 2.479 million tonnes, predicting it would help stabilise prices in 2013-14. 

UNFAO closely monitored, food markets as price spikes can make worse the global hunger crisis. UNFAO has come up with report named Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. 

France and Switzerland on 11 July 2013 have signed an agreement on inheritance taxes as per which Paris will help it bringing in more money. As per the agreement, the inheritances will be taxed based on where the recipient resides, but not where the deceased lived, as it is used to be earlier. 

The agreement is supposed to allow France to ask Switzerland to investigate suspicious bank activity even if it does not have the suspects’ names. The new agreement will make it tuff for people living in France to escape taxes. 

It is worth mentioning here that France taxes inheritance progressively up to 45 per cent, compared to Switzerland’s maximum of 7 per cent. France is one of a growing number of cash impoverished country which is trying to find tax hiding away in Swiss accounts. 

Vietnam Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh on 11 July 2013 at New Delhi declared that India has the right to pursue exploration and exploitation work for hydrocarbons in South China Sea, in the Vietnamese Exclusive Economic Zone. 

The announcement was made by Minh after the Joint Commission meet with Salman Khurshid, the Union External Affairs Minister. He supported his declaration by stating that with this stand, Vietnam is in a position that there is a need of respecting the UN Convention on the Law (UNCLOS) of the sea to solve the issues in the South China Sea in a peaceful manner. 

12 July 2013 was observed as Malala Day across the World and by United Nations. 

The day is being observed by the United Nations to highlight the fight of education of the Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai. Seminars, conferences and other ceremonies were held across Pakistan wherein scholars, educationists and analysts participated to pay tribute to Malala, who fought for girl's education in Swat valley against the Taliban. 12 July, the day of Malala’s Birth was declared as Malala Day by UN General Secretary Ban-Ki-Moon on her 16th Birthday. 

Malala is the girl from Pakistan, who was shot in head and neck by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on 9 October 2012 for advocating girls for their right to education and speaking against Taliban. 

On Malala Day, UN awarded the United Nations' Special Envoy for Global Education's Youth Courage Award for Education to Razia Sulatana, a teenager from a Nanglakhumba village of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, India. Razia was opted for the award for her efforts to motivate 48 children to go school after freeing them, from child labour bondage. 

India in the month of July 2013 has surpassed the U.S. as the top buyer of Nigerian crude oil. As per the recent statistics it has been that India had been buying more of Nigeria’s crude than the U.S. over the last three months in year 2013. 

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has welcomed the Afghan Parliament's approval to the new election law. UNAMA has described it as a key step toward establishing a robust electoral architecture for the 2014 presidential polls. 

It has also called for the rapid presidential endorsement, enactment and implementation of the law, specifically the appointment of the senior officials of the Election Commission. 

UNAMA has said that every effort should be made to ensure holding elections according to the Afghan Constitution and the Election Commission's timeline. 

China's GDP growth slowed in the second quarter this year to 7.5 per cent. China's gross domestic product (GDP) declined from 7.7 per cent in the first quarter. This is mainly due to mainly due to fall of exports. 

The latest GDP figures headed a string of other data showing a continuous slowdown in the world's second-largest economy after China's full-year annual growth eased to 7.8 per cent last year, its weakest since 1999. 

National Issues

The Union Cabinet approved constitution of National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited (NCRTC) under the Companies Act, 1956 with initial seed capital of Rs.100 crore as per Company Act, 1956 for designing, developing, implementing, financing, operating and maintaining Regional Rapid Transit system (RRTS) in National Capital Region (NCR) to provide comfortable and fast transit to NCR towns and meet the high growth in transport demand. This company may form subsidiary companies for implementing each corridor. 

The actual cost, financing plan, RRTS alignments, real estate development, financing through Transit Oriented Development, etc. will be firmed up and frozen in the DPRs of these projects while processing proposals for each corridor for sanction subsequently. 
The DPRs are under finalization. The NCRTC shall be set up within two months after approval of the Cabinet. NCRTC is proposed as the implementing agency for taking up the RRTS project in the NCR. It is envisaged to undertake design construction, operation and maintenance of the RRTS project on a similar pattern as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). 
It will cover the States of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. 

The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) had prepared a `Functional Plan on Transport for NCR-2032`, which recommended eight RRTS Corridors to connect important towns of the NCR with a high speed rail based commuter transit system. A Task Force set up by the Planning Commission for the RRTS for the NCR in its meeting held in December, 2009 proposed the construction of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called NCRTC, for the implementation of a comprehensive integrated multi-modal sub­urban commuter transportation system for the NCR, to start with a corpus of Rs.100 crore. 
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in June, 2011 by the Government of India, the NCRPB and the State Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana. Rajasthan and the Government of the National Capital Teritory of Delhi (GNCTD) for the formation of the NCRTC. 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Modified Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (MIIUS) with an approved outlay of Rs.1030 crore for the 12th Five Year Plan period consisting of Rs. 450 crore for committed liability and the remaining Rs. 580 crore for taking up 14 to16 new projects including a minimum 2 projects in the North Eastern Region (NER) for upgradation of infrastructure in existing or greenfield industrial clusters. 

The CCEA further approved that at least 10 percent outlay will be set aside for the minimum two projects in the NER. All States are covered under the scheme. However projects are likely to be undertaken in only 14 to 16 States/Districts due to limitation of outlay in the 12th Plan. 

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a Direction to the service providers, on the procedures for providing Value Added Services (VAS) and for de-activation of the Value Added Services so as to protect the interest of consumers. Activation of Value Added Services by service providers has been the cause of many customer complaints and is a major concern for TRAI as well. The Authority has been addressing, from time to time, consumer issues, which have come to its notice through consumer complaints, relating to activation of value added service through different modes, without the explicit consent of the consumer. These directions essentially prescribe the manner in which the explicit consent of the consumer is to be obtained for activation of value added services through different modes. While issuing these directions, the Authority has also considered the interests of the service providers and growth of value added service industry. 

Therefore, the Authority in partial modification of existing directions has directed all Service providers through this direction, to implement a uniform procedure for taking explicit consent of the consumer for activation of value added service and for deactivation of value added service, the salient features of which are :- 

a. VAS activation procedure to include all forms of activations and scenarios –OBD, IVRS, WAP, Mobile Internet, USSD, SMS, Tele-calling and any other mode of activation. 

b. The service provider has to provide a system which takes a second consent from the customer before providing a value added service through any means- OBD, IVRS, WAP, Mobile Internet, USSD, SMS, Tele-calling or any other mode of activation. The first offer of a service is on the service providers’ platform and a second confirmation from the customer is through a dedicated consent gateway which is owned by a third party and not by the service provider. It is only after receiving a second confirmation from the customer, that the service provider shall activate the value added service. 

c. Common de-activation procedure using toll Free Common Short Code 155223. (all requests for de-activation to be completed in 4 hours) 

d. The deactivation procedure to be publicized through advertisements in newspapers, updation in the website and SMS blasts. 

e. 24hrs before auto renewals of the VAS services, information about renewals to be provided to the customers, through SMS and Outbound Dialing (OBD). 

f. In case of wrong activation, the amount shall be refunded within 24 hours of the customer`s request. Such customer requests should be within 24 hours for value added services with validity of more than one day and within 6 hours for value added services with validity of one day. 

g. In case of USSD and SMS mode of activation, no activation response time should be greater than 10 seconds and 60 minutes respectively and in case of non-response, the same should be treated as ‘no activation required’. 

h. Upon activation of VAS service, the de-activation number, the validity of the VAS service and charges for renewal should be explicitly informed. i. Monthly report on activations, de-activations and complaints received and their redressal to be submitted to TRAI. 

The Union Cabinet on 11 July 2013 gave in-principle approval to withdraw the controversial Rent Act of 1958 and to replace it with a new law under which rent in New Delhi will be linked to inflation. The Rent Act of 1958 was required to be replaced by legislation in 1995 but that was not notified even after enactment because of the huge controversy with tenants as they went angry over it. 

The Act of 1995 was to replace the ancient law of 1958 that protected the migrant population from uninformed rent hikes by landlords. It has been seen that the law, while giving protection to the tenants who pay trivial rent, was seen as serving as a mechanism for harassment of landlords who became helpless and could not increase rent despite enormous inflation. 

The Union Cabinet of India on 11 July 2013 gave its approval to the proposal for setting up of a National Aviation University (NAU) in the name of Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University at the District of Rae Bareli in the State of U.P. as a Central University. 

 The Cabinet also approved the proposal to introduce the Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill, 2013 in the Parliament; to create a post of Vice Chancellor (with pay scales on the pattern of Central Universities) by selection through a Search and Selection Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary with members representing Ministries of Civil Aviation, Personnel & Training and Human Resource Development and for creation of a temporary post in the grade of Joint secretary to Government of India for the position of Project Director which would be filled up on deputation basis. 

Punjab state government on 14 July 2013 launched the Night Policing Scheme (NPS) comprising 4000 police personnel and an independent cadre and command structure. The NPS is aimed at augmenting and strengthening the deployment of police personnel, through the usage of modern technology during night hours in cities and towns of the state. 

The NPS will also focus on the national and state highways and major roads crisscrossing the state, mainly to instill a sense of security among the citizens.Coverage of NPS would extend to all entry and exit points, vulnerable points, sensitive institutions and outlying residential colonies of all cities and major towns. The prevention and control of street crime which directly affects citizens, especially women and senior citizens, was a major challenge in the recent past. 

Bilateral Issues

The Government of India signed an Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (DTAA) with Government of Albania. The Agreement was signed by Dr. Sudha Sharma, Chairperson, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Fatos Kerciku, Ambassador, Republic of Albania on behalf of the Government of Albania on July 8, 2013. The DTAA provides that business profits will be taxable in the source state if the activities of an enterprise constitute a Permanent Establishment (PE) in the source state.

The Agreement provides for fixed place PE, building site, construction & installation PE, service PE and agency PE. The Agreement incorporates para 2 in Article 9 concerning Associated Enterprises. This would enhance recourse to Mutual Agreement Procedure to relieve double taxation in cases involving transfer pricing adjustments. Dividends, Interest and Royalties & Fees for Technical Services income will be taxed both in the country of residence and in the country of source.

The low level of withholding rates of taxation for dividend (10%), interest (10%) and royalties & fees for technical services (10%) will promote greater investments, flow of technology and technical services between the two countries. The Agreement further incorporates provisions for effective exchange of information between tax authorities of the two counties in line with latest international standard, including exchange of banking information and supplying of information without recourse to domestic interest.

The Agreement also contains an Article on Assistance in Collection of Taxes. This article also includes provision for taking measure of conservancy. The Agreement incorporates anti-abuse (limitation of benefits) provisions to ensure that the benefits of the Agreement are availed of by the genuine residents of the two countries.

The Agreement will provide tax stability to the residents of India and Albania and will facilitate mutual economic cooperation between the two countries. It will also stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Albania.

Ambassador of Poland in India, Mr. Piotr Klodkowski, called on the Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, Shri Jitendra Singh in New Delhi on July 9, 2013. During their half-an-hour meeting, both sides discussed the matters of mutual interest in the field of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Recalling historic and cultural ties between the two countries, both the sides agreed to explore the possibility of signing of MOUs in the Youth Affairs & Sports sectors to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Both the sides also discussed the issue of bringing back Wrestling as the core sports in the Olympics movement. Shri Jitendra Singh briefed the Polish side about his interaction on the matter with the IOC President at Lausanne, Switzerland and expressed the hope that Wrestling will soon return to the Olympic Movement.

India and Iraq on 8 July 2013 signed a pact to enhance co-operation in energy security, bilateral trade & commerce, infrastructure and others. The agreement was signed between the Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and his counterpart from Iraq, Abdul Karim Luaibi at the end of the India-Iraq Joint Commission on technical co-operation in Baghdad.

As per the agreement, in energy sector, Iraq will supply more crude oil to India to meet the growing needs of energy in the country. Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily is leading a 28-member delegation to Iraq to participate in the 17th India-Iraq Joint Commission meeting in Baghdad. The delegation reached Baghdad on 6 July 2013.

The Union Government of India and Government of Albania on 8 July 2013 signed an Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to the Taxes on Income and on Capital (DTAA). The agreement was signed to provide tax stability for the residents of both the nations. It would also facilitate mutual economic cooperation between the two countries. The signed agreement would also stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Albania.

The agreement incorporates provisions for effective exchange of information between tax authorities of the two countries, which also includes exchange of banking information and supply of information without recourse to domestic interest.

Major Points of the Agreement Signed

• Business profits would be taxable in the source state if the activities of the enterprise constitute a Permanent Establishment (PE) in that state. It provides fixed place PE, building Site, Service and Agency PE as well as Construction and Installation of PE.

• Para 2 of Article 9 of the agreement incorporates concerns related to Associated Enterprises and thus involves recourse to Mutual Agreement Procedures for relieving double taxation in cases that involves transfer pricing adjustments

• The signed agreement makes Dividends, Interest and Royalties & Fees for Technical Services income taxable in both the countries, the country of source and residence. The withholding rates of taxation for dividend, interests and royalties & fees for technical services of 10 percent each will help in promoting investment, technology and technical services flow between the two nations.

• The Agreement also has the provisions for effective exchange of information between tax authorities of the two counties in line with latest international standard. It includes exchange of banking information and supplying of information without recourse to domestic interest.

• An article on the Assistance in Collection of Taxes is also mentioned under the Article and includes provisions to take measures on conservancy. It includes anti-abuse (limitation of benefits) provisions to ensure that the benefits of the Agreement are availed of by the genuine residents of the two countries The agreement was signed by the Chairperson of Central Board of Direct Taxes, Dr. Sudha Sharma and the Ambassador of Republic of Albania, Fatos Kercikuon at New Delhi.

India and Tanzania on 9 July 2013 signed agreements on bilateral cooperation in different sectors that includes agriculture, health and education, mines and minerals. All the agreements were signed between the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Preneet Kaur and the Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernard K. Membe at Dar es Salaam during the 3-day visit of Preneet Kaur to Tanzania.

During the 3-day visit to Tanzania, Preneet Kaur co-chaired, the India - Tanzania Joint Commission Meeting. She also met with the President of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya M Kikwete and reviewed the current level of development partnership between the two countries.

President Kikwete assured that his country would support Indian aspiration for a permanent seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council. As per the latest reports, economic engagement of India with Tanzania has gone up to a cumulative of 1546.56 million dollars in 2011. India is the third biggest investor in Tanzania with 305 projects.

India on 9 July 2013 agreed to co-operate with Mongolia in developing its renewable Energy Sector and Human Resource Development. The agreement between the two nations was reached during a meet between the Farooq Abdullah Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy and Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj at Ulaanbaatar during his visit to Mongolia.

India’s External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid, visited Nepal on 9th July 2013 at the invitation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, Madhav Prasad Ghimire. Minister of both the nation held official talks covering all feature of bilateral relations and issues of mutual interests.

Economic Issues

Consumer price inflation/Index of China scaled to 2.7 per cent year-on-year in June 2013 pushed by a 4.9 per cent rise in food prices. As per the National Bureau of Statistics, subsequent to falling of Consumer price inflation to 2.1 per cent in May 2013 the CPI rose to 2.7 per cent in June led by 9.7 per cent year-on-year rise in fresh vegetable prices.

Important things to Remember

• Consumer inflation had climbed to a 10-month high of 3.2 per cent year-on-year in February but fell to 2.1 per cent in March and 2.4 per cent in April 2013.

• On the other hand, the producer price index, which trails the wholesale inflation, dropped 2.7 per cent year-on-year in June 2013.

• The Government aims to keep the annual consumer inflation at about 3.5 per cent after reporting 2.6 per cent last year.

• China witnessed weaker-than-expected economic growth of 7.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year, and many analysts expect the second-quarter growth to slow further to about 7.5 per cent.

• The annual economic growth of China fell to 7.8 per cent in 2012, the slowest since 1999.

State Bank of India, in month of July 2013 partnered with a non-banking finance company, UAE Exchange and Financial Services, to launch a card which will enable the holder to receive the remittance directly on the card. 

The card is named State Bank Xpress Money Card and can be loaded with up to 50000 Rupees. There is a provision of loading a maximum of 30 remittances during a calendar year. As per the guidelines, a depositor is supposed to visit the UAE Exchange and Financial Services branch to deposit the money.

Use of the Xpress Money Card

• The card can be used for cash withdrawals from any bank ATM, transactions at point of sale (PoS) and e-commerce transactions.

• The card is highly beneficial to customers as there is no need to open a bank account

• For the time being, the card will be available free-of-cost in Kerala. Subsequently, it will be rolled out across the country.

As per the survey conducted by Assocham in July 2013 the proposed investments by domestic and foreign entrepreneurs declined by a whopping 75 per cent in FY 2012-13. What is Proposed Investment/ Investment Proposal? Document prepared by the sponsor of a new investment project, or the management of an existing firm, for prospective investors and/or lenders. It details the nature of the project or business its history (if any), growth potential, objectives and the amount of finance required to realize them, promised collateral or security, and a plan for timely repayment of interest and principal.

Some Important Point to Remember

• India attracted 697 investment proposals through both domestic and foreign entrepreneurs to the tune of over 1.4 lakh crore Rupees as of March 2013.

• However, these have declined from a significant level of 2828 proposals worth 6 lakh crore Rupees during the corresponding period in year 2012.

• As per the state-wise analysis of investment intentions of foreign and domestic sources, Maharashtra topped the list attracting maximum share of investment proposals at 20 per cent while Kerala accounted for 10 per cent of the proposals.

• The governments both at the Centre and in states need to work in tandem to attract private investments which would boost economic growth and spur job creation.

• Maharashtra emerged as most preferred investment destination across India attracting 149 proposals worth over 28500 crore Rupees.

Amid the top 20 states, Kerala is the only state which witnessed a surge in the proposed investments at 10 per cent with two projects worth over 14200 crore rupees. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh saw a dip in proposed investments.

On the other hand, the naxal hit Chhattisgarh state ranked second with about 19 per cent share, attracting 21 proposals worth 2000 crore Rupees. Gujarat ranked third with a share of 14 per cent attracting 106 proposals worth 19800 crore Rupees. In addition, Rajasthan ranked fourth with a share of over 10 per cent with about 41 proposals worth 14929 crore Rupees.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 11 July 2013 approved the disinvestment of government stake in State Trading Corporation (STC) and ITDC. 

The disinvestment is supposed to bring around 30 crore Rupees to the exchequer.

The disinvestment is required through Cabinet nod to divest 5 per cent stake in India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and 1.02 per cent in STC through the Offer for Sale (OFS) route. The government is expecting the sale of 5 per cent stake or 42.88 crore shares in ITDC to fetch 23.58 crore Rupees.

The Government is also planning to acquire about 10 crore rupees through disinvestment of 1.02 per cent, or 6.13 crore shares, in STC. It is important here to note that the government currently holds 92.11 per cent stake in ITDC and 91.02 per cent stake in STC.

The stake is meant to help both the companies meet the minimum 10 per cent public holding norm of market regulator SEBI. It is mandated for the government to bring down its stake in STC and ITDC to 90 per cent by 8 August2013. Shares of STC were trading 5.75 per cent lower at Rs 99.20 on the BSE in afternoon trade.

The Union Ministry of Finance on 9 July 2013 released its report on Direct Tax Collection of June Quarter of Financial Year (FY) 2013-14. As per the released report, the Gross Direct Tax Collection during the April-June quarter of FY 2013-14 increased by 11.52 percent at 123993 crore rupees against 111183 crore rupees in the same period in FY 2012-13.

 As per the latest report released by the Finance Ministry, the Collection of Corporate Taxes has gone up by 7.82 percent at 76115 crore rupees in April-June quarter FY 2013-14 as against 70594 crore rupees in the same period in FY 2012-13.

Gross Collection of Personal Income Tax went up by 18.53 percent at 46903 crore rupees in first quarter of FY 2013-14 against 39569 crore rupees in the same period in FY 2012-13. Net Direct Tax Collection is up by 6.44 percent and stands at 89705 crore rupees in the first quarter of FY 2013-14 as compared to 84274 crore rupees in the same period in the last fiscal. Registering a growth of 50.00 percent, the Wealth Tax went up to 48 crore rupees against the 32 crore rupees of first quarter of FY 2012-13. The collection of Securities Transaction Tax (STT) went up to 926 Crores rupees.

The government on 12 July 2013 approved the Modified Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (MIIUS) with an outlay of 1030 crore Rupees during the 12th Five Year Plan period ending March 2017. As per the Information and broadcasting Ministry, Out of the total outlay, a sum of 450 crore rupees will be utililized on committed liability and the remainder for taking up 14 to 16 new infrastructure upgradation projects in existing or greenfield industrial clusters.

The decision will help to develop better common infrastructure and common facilities, including skill development centres, at the selected industrial clusters. It will also certainly impact better employment generation in the selected clusters.

Some Important facts related to the Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme

• All states are covered under the scheme. However, projects are likely to be undertaken in only 14 to 16 states/districts due to limitation of outlay.

• At least 10 per cent of the outlay will be set aside for a minimum of two projects in the North East.

• Project proposals would be scrutinised with the help of the PMA and they would be placed before an apex committee for in-principle approval.

• The projects will be monitored after in-principle approval is given so that these achieve stipulated milestones to qualify for final approval. Earlier In 2003, an Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (IIUS) was launched to improve the industry’s competitiveness by providing infrastructure through the public-private partnership model in selected functional clusters.

Under the scheme, central assistance would be provided for as much as 75 per cent of the project cost, subject to a ceiling of 5 crore Rupees. In February 2009, the plan was remodeled based on the suggestion of an independent evaluation.

As per the data released from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on 15 July 2013, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India increased 25 percent year-on-year to 2.32 billion US dollars in April 2013, the highest level in the past six months. In April 2012, the country had received FDI worth USD 1.85 billion US dollars, according to data from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

In September, 2012, foreign inflows were 4.67 billion US dollars. The sectors that received large FDI inflows during the month include hotel and tourism (2.32 billion US dollars), pharmaceuticals (987 million US dollars), services (238 million US dollars), chemicals (51 million US dollars) and construction (32 million US dollars), according to the data.

The most FDI in April came from Singapore (1.29 billion US dollars), followed by Mauritius (355 million US dollars), the Netherlands (173 million US dollars) and the US (149 million US dollars). The steps taken by the government are helping to boost FDI flows. Since September 2012, several reform initiatives have been taken, including liberalizing FDI norms in civil aviation, retail and power exchanges.

FDI inflows in 2012-13 aggregated 22.42 billion US dollars, a decline from 36.50 billion US dollars in 2011-12. Following the decisions taken in September 2012, the government is also expected to further liberalise the FDI regime in sectors such as telecom and defence.

The finance ministry has proposed changes in FDI caps for sectors, including tea, media, petroleum and natural gas. India needs about 1 trillion US dollars from 2012-13 to 2016-17 to fund infrastructure such as ports, airports and highways to boost growth. An increase in FDI will help support the rupee, which depreciated to a record low of 61.21 against the US dollar on 8 July 2013.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 15 July 2013 imposed fines of around 49.5 crore on 22 private and public sector banks including SBI, PNB and Yes Bank for violating KYC/anti-money laundering norms. The bank also had given cautionary letters to seven banks which includes Citibank and Stanchart,Barclays Bank, BNP Paribas, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and State Bank of Patiala following an expose made by an online portal.

The penalty on 22 banks follows scrutiny carried out by RBI of books of accounts, internal control, compliance systems and processes of these banks at their corporate offices and some branches during April 2013.


Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony, 2013 is being conferred on the noted Maestro, Zubin Mehta. A High-level Jury under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and comprising the Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi after detailed discussions on 4th July, 2013, unanimously decided to select Shri Zubin Mehta to be the second recipient of the Tagore Award, 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony.

The annual award was instituted by the Govt. of India during the commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The first Tagore Award was conferred on Pt. Ravi Shankar, the Indian Sitar Maestro in 2012.

The award carries an amount of Rs. 1 crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item. The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex.


The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari released a book entitled “Smritiyan” authored by Smt. Garima Sanjay, a professional author & documentary filmmaker. Shri Ansari complimented the author for bringing out a fine book and also wished her good success in her future creative endeavour.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 9 July 2013 announced the appointment of Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal as his new Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Hazem El-Beblawi on 9 July 2013 was named as the new Prime Minister of Egypt by the Interim President Adly Mansour.

Lt Gen (Retd) AK Singh, on 8 July 2013 took over as the new Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Hemant Soren, leader of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) , on 13 July 2013 sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of Jharkhand. Syed Ahmed, the Governor of Jharkhand administered the oath of the office to Hemant Soren in the premises of Raj Bhavan in a swearing-in ceremony.


Hockey India (HI) on 10 July 2013 appointed Olympic gold medallist Maharaj Kishan Kaushik as the men's hockey team coach. 

Lajja Goswami on 9 July 2013 won silver medal in women's 50-metre Rifle 3 Position event at the ISSF World Cup in Granada, Spain. She shots 584 in the qualification round and 454 in the finals to bag the silver to lead Norway's Malin Westerheim, who shot 443.9 in the finals. Petra Zublasing of Italy won the gold after scoring 459.1 in the medal round.

Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta has won the Commonwealth Chess Championship title. In the 11th and final round at Port Elizabeth, he settled for a draw with Indian national title holder G Akash in the 11th and final round.

Environmenal Issues

Europe in second week of July 2013 reached to a historic agreement to reform its Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The agreement promises to reverse decades of excessive overfishing by the European Fleets. The reform of the CFP is evidence that Europe is embracing a pathway towards a green economy.

The Common Fisheries Policy Covers :

• Rebuilding of fish stocks

• Setting-up of legally binding targets to end overfishing alongside reducing catches of non-target fish as well as wasteful discarding

• It can mark watershed in the European Union's resolve towards sustainable fisheries The need to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies was recognized by the European Union and the International Community in 2002 and the same commitment was reaffirmed for being done in 2012 at the Rio+20 Summit.

To support the objectives of the CFP from 2014 to 2020, the European policy makers (the parliament and ministers) would have to agree on the renewed fisheries subsidies regime – the proposed European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

To prohibit subsidies that lead to overcapacity and overfishing, the negotiations of the World Trade Organisation also produced real progress towards a binding agreement, which continued to be in existence till the crash of the Doha Rounds in 2009. The crash left, fisheries subsidies reform fall a prey to the global trade politics.

Worldwide Fisheries employs 12 percent of world population directly or indirectly providing job and economic benefits to them. Fish is also a critical component of the global food security and a major source of Protein for more than a billion of people.

According to the World Bank and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, an end to overfishing could recoup an estimated 50 billion US dollar per year which is being lost due to the unsustainable practices involved in fishing. The EMFF legislation provides a unique opportunity for the EU to showcase its commitment to greening an important sector of its economy.



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How to prepare?, Qualities judged
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