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International Issues


Iran has finalised a major contract to export gas to neighbouring Iraq, worth 3.7 billion dollars a year.



Work on the foundations of an 838-metre skyscraper in China which will be the world's tallest building has started.

A banner displayed at the site shows the top of the blocky tower 838 metres (2,749 feet) above the ground, a little above the current record-holder, the 830-metre Burj Khalifa in Dubai.


National Issues


India achieved a record production of 18.45 million tonnes of pulses in the 2012-13 crop year ended June. Higher support price prompted farmers to grow pulses.

According to the 4th advance estimates released today, overall foodgrain production is projected at 255.36 million tonnes, which is lower than the record 259.29 million tonnes achieved in the previous crop year.

In foodgrains category, rice production has been revised upward to 104.4 million tonnes from 104.22 million tonnes and coarse cereals to 40.06 million tonnes from 39.52 million tonnes in the third estimates.

However, wheat output has been revised downward to 92.46 million tonnes from 93.62 million tonnes. Oilseeds production is estimated at around 31 million tonnes, which is also higher by over one million tonne.

Sugarcane production is estimated at 338.96 million tonnes, which is lower by about 22.5 million tonnes as compared to sweetner produced last year.



Under the National Solar mission, 11 projects of 50.50 MW capacity (48 MW PV+ 2.5 MW ST) under migration scheme, 26 projects of 130 MW capacity under Batch-I and 69 projects totalling 88.80 MW of small capacity power projects (RPSSGP Programme) have been commissioned.

In all, a total capacity of over 1759.43 MW Grid connected Solar Power Projects have been commissioned in the country as on 31.05.2013.

A total capacity of 252.50 MW off-grid Solar Power Projects have been sanctioned and 60 MW have been commissioned. About 70.01 lakh sq. meter of collector area of solar thermal systems have been installed against a target of 70 lakh sq. meter of collector area.


Bilateral Issues


The 14th meeting of the Home Secretaries of India and Bangladesh was held in New Delhi from July 19th to July 22nd, 2013. The Indian delegation was led by Mr. Anil Goswami, Union Home Secretary, Government of India.

The Bangladesh delegation was led by Mr. C. Q. K. Mustaq Ahmed, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Bangladesh.
  • Both sides agreed to further intensify the activities of the different nodal points in different areas of cooperation such as human trafficking, drugs, INTERPOL, etc. They expressed satisfaction at the regular interaction of different bilateral mechanisms, including BGB-BSF DG level meetings, Narcotics DG level meetings, JWG on Security issues etc. and noted that these regular exchanges helped to enhance understanding and resolve issues to mutual satisfaction. 
  • Both sides agreed to extend cooperation for apprehension of wanted criminals and fugitives. The Bangladesh Home Secretary urged for immediate tracking, arresting, and handing over the killers of Bangabandhu, the Father of the nation of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The Indian Home Secretary assured that India will continue to extend all possible assistance in this regard. 
  • Both sides expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation in the seizure and prevention of trafficking of drugs. Bangladesh side also appreciated the decision of the Indian Government to invoke the provisions of the NDPS Act to contain the trafficking of Codeine based syrups like Phensedyl. It was also agreed to expand and strengthen further cooperation in sharing actionable intelligence in real time. 
  • Both sides noted that the implementation of three agreements (Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Combating Terrorism, organized crime and illicit drug trafficking) signed during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in 2010 has been satisfactory. 
  • Both the Home Secretaries reviewed the measures taken to expedite the verification and repatriation of prisoners who have completed their sentences. 
  • Both sides welcomed the recent setting up of procedures for transfer of sentenced prisoners and agreed to expedite the process so that nationals who are in each other’s jails could serve remaining period of their sentence in their native country. 
  • Both sides discussed the ratification of the LBA-1974 and the protocol signed in 2011 and noted that early ratification of the same would pave the way for implementation of the provisions of the agreement and lay the long pending boundary related issues at rest. 
  • Both sides welcomed that the Joint Task Force on Fake Currency Notes has been set up and agreed that the first meeting may be convened soon to develop a mechanism to deal with the menace. 
  • Both sides agreed that there should be greater number of goodwill visits and increased cooperation in training on subjects like Cyber Crime, ICT, Forensic Sciences etc. The Indian side reiterated its offer of training courses for law enforcement agencies of Bangladesh in Indian Institutions.


Business Issues


Tata Power’s wholly-owned subsidiary Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd. (TPREL) has announced plans to develop a large photovoltaic-based solar power plant with an installed capacity of 28.8 MW in Satara district of Maharashtra. 

The plant will be spread over 130 acres. Tata Power Distribution, the distribution arm of Tata Power, has signed a power purchase agreement for 25 years to buy power from the solar plant.


Economic Issues


The government has allowed Securities and Exchange Board of India, Sebi to pass orders like search and seizure, attachment of properties, arrest and detention of defaulters.

The agency now can pass order to recover the wrongful gains made in contravention of laws. At the same time, the government has also allowed Sebi to seek information from other regulators within India and abroad with retrospective effect. It will paved way for collection of details pertaining to cases pending for over 15 years now.

Sebi has been given powers to crack down on illegal investment schemes floated by individuals as well, as against companies only as of now. However, all government-notified schemes would be out of the Collective Investment Scheme framework.



The Reserve Bank of India on July 22, 2013 brought down the period of realisation and repatriation for exporters of goods and software to nine months from earlier 12 months, a move which could shore up foreign exchange inflows.

Last November, 2013, the 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.


Persons


M. Ramakrishnayya, founder chairman of Nabard and former RBI deputy governor, passed away.

Ramakrishnayya, a former Chief Secretary of Orissa, was called to join the RBI where he was later appointed as the chairman of the newly constituted Nabard which he served between 1982 and 1984.



Sunetra Gupta, an India-born chemist and physicist has joined the big league of scientists like Marie Curie in a first-of-its-kind art exhibition at the prestigious Royal Society. 

Ms. Gupta, who was born in Kolkata and is now a professor at Oxford University, is among an exclusive group as part of the “Women in Science Portrait Exhibition” of the greatest women Fellows of the Royal Society together with newly-commissioned drawings featuring Royal Society Research Fellows.


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