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2013 - August 1 - Current Affairs


International Issues


The World Bank is to provide 2.90 billion nepali rupees to the government of Nepal as credit assistance. The agreement was signed by Secretary at the Finance Ministry, Shanta Raj Subedi and World Bank Country Manager for Nepal, Tahseen Sayed, in Kathmandu on August 1st, 2013. 

The main objective of the loan assistance is to avail budgetary support to the Government of Nepal to help to carry out the already initiated reform activities especially in areas of financial sector development. 

The Government of Nepal has already embarked on the broader reform programme to address financial sector vulnerabilities since mid 2011. In this course, Nepal Rastra Bank has initiated financial inclusion and financial literacy programme in consultation and cooperation with stakeholders. The restructuring task of two major state-controlled banks-Nepal Bank Limited (NBL) and Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB) has been forwarded to the World Bank. 

On the occasion, Ms. Tahseen appraised the initiatives taken by the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) for reform of financial sector and lauded the role played by the Government of Nepal to maintain financial discipline as well as establishment of Department of Money Laundering. Finance Secretary, Mr Subedi welcomed the World Bank for its support on economic development and added that the government is committed to end financial irregularities. 



World Breastfeeding week is observed to encourage breastfeeding as the best source of nourishment for babies. The week organised by WHO and UNICEF is celebrated every year from the 1st to 7th of August. This year's theme is , 'BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT: CLOSE TO MOTHERS'. 

The World Health Organisation, WHO, recommends exclusive breastfeeding till a baby is six months old and continue breastfeeding with nutritious complementary foods up to two years or beyond. The world over only an estimated 38 per cent of babies are exlusively breastfed for six months. The trend of faltering growth in children begins in critical first two years and a major cause is inappropriate infant and young child feeding practices. 

Apart from preventing infections in babies, breastfeeding has a protective effect against child obesity and lowers the risk of several chronic conditions including asthma, diabetes and heart diseases in adult life. The National Rural Health Mission is promoting infant and young child feeding practices at the health facility, community outreach and household levels. 

Although, almost all mothers are physically able to breastfeed, but in many cases, they are misled to believe that they can give their children a better health by commercial substitutes. Efforts continue across the world to eliminate all breast milk substitutes and promote breastfeeding for the well being of newborns and mothers. 


National Issues


The quarterly newsletter of the National Archives of India entitled e-Abhilekh was launched by the Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Shri Ravindra Singh on August 1, 2013. 

This news bulletin has been planned with the objective of disseminating information for the development of Archives. 

The inaugural issue provides information about the activities of National Archives of India, States/Union Territories Archives, Archives of Business and other learned institutions for the period April-June 2013. 

The special feature of the issue is on International Archives Day and International Archival Organisations. 



The National Teeka Express was launched by Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare in the presence of Shri Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (IC) for Youth Affairs & Sports at Alwar, Rajasthan on August 1, 2013. It has been launched to protect children from life-threatening childhood diseases. 

It may be mentioned that under Routine Immunization Programme, ANMs collect vaccines from storage point (cold chain point) and transport them to session sites, i.e. either Sub-centre or Anganwari centre for carrying out vaccination. 

From 2005 -06, Govt. of India is providing support for distribution of vaccine from last storage point to outreach immunization session sites at Sub-centres/Anganwaris, known as Alternate Vaccine Delivery (AVD) under NRHM. Rs. 79.3 crores was allocated to the states as support for Alternate Vaccine Delivery in 2012-13. But Government of India noticed gaps in the implementation of Alternate Vaccine Delivery in difficult areas with low access to healthcare services. Many a times ANMs have to collect the vaccines on the day preceding the immunization day, which may compromise the cold chain maintenance and possible loss of potency of vaccine. 

Improper storage could also lead to Adverse Events Following Immunization. For this reason, Government of India has launched this innovative and ambitious initiative of Teeka Express. Designated vehicles under the brand name of ‘National Teeka Express’ will help not only in distribution of the vaccines and complementary logistics from last cold chain point to immunization session sites but will also ensure holding of sessions at the mobile vaccination centre now. 

In order to reduce vaccine wastage and ensure better utilization of vaccines, including costly vaccines like Pentavalent vaccine ‘Teeka Express’ will be used with reverse cold chain to bring back the open and un-used vaccines for use in subsequent sessions. The Teeka Express will also serve as a mobile healthcare delivery unit for the areas where there is no healthcare facility or health worker. 

After the immunization outreach session, Teeka Express will collect immunization related bio-medical waste for safe disposal at vaccine storage points. Teeka Express will also collect the coverage and immunization performance reports of the session for compilation and preparation of report at PHC. 

Teeka express is planned to be piloted in 69 high priority districts with difficult areas and low immunization coverage. For these districts, 1,850 vehicles are planned to be procured with GoI assistance. In the first phase the 120 vehicles of ‘Teeka Express’’ are planned in 6 districts of 5 states namely Rajasthan – Alwar (64 vehicles); Uttar Pradesh – Sharaswati (11 vehicles); Haryana – Mewat (9); Jammu and Kashmir - Doda (8) and Poonch (10) and Madhya Pradesh – Tikamgarh (18). 

Operational costs of Teeka Express have been provided under NRHM. This includes cost of hiring the driver, cost of POL (Petrol Oil Lubricant) and maintenance costs of the vehicle. Uniform Art work for the stickers, painting and IEC material on Teeka Express has been provided to the states. 



The Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Shri K. H. Muniyappa inaugurated the Indian School for Entrepreneurs and Enterprise Development iSEED on August 1, 2013. 

Speaking at the inauguration the Minister stated that in the present competitive world, Innovation driven Entrepreneurship is critical for the growth of the Indian economy”. Worldwide, the micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) primarily driven by first generation entrepreneurs have been accepted as the engine of economic growth and for promoting equitable development. 

The MSME sector is a nursery of entrepreneurship, often driven by individual creativity and innovation. To enable Indian youth in entrepreneurship and innovation, the Minister emphasized that the MSME ministry is conducting Skill Development Programmes for the entire value chain of manufacturing. 10 Tool Rooms under the Ministry are providing both long and short term training for more than one lakh persons the Minister highlighted. 

The Minister also said that, Entrepreneurship has a large role to play in employment creation. Therefore, the goals of MSME’s skill building initiatives include encouragement and promotion of indigenous entrepreneurship from all walks of life. According to the Minister, the Ministry of MSME is supporting the efforts of State Governments / Union Territories, Industry Associations, Financial Institutions, Technical/ Management Institutions, other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), etc. for establishment of new training institutions. 



Pravasi Friend launched its operations in Kochi, Kerala on 1 August 2013. Pravasi Friend will help NRIs and NRKs to complete a large list of mandatory tasks such as legal services, medical services, spiritual needs and government departmental services. Under Pravasi Friend, Assistance is given in buying, renting out and maintaining their properties, providing property documentation, investigation, home security services, besides securing admissions for their children in schools and colleges in the state. 

Getting medical consultations of doctors and undertaking customised healthcare and treatment requests are also taken care of. S Manoj and P R Ganesh, began the organisation recently. S Manoj is a former Ranji Trophy cricket player and selector of the Kerala cricket team. 


Economic Issues


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion for amendment to the existing definition of "control" under the FDI policy. 

The revised definition will be as follows: Until now, the definition of "control", in the extant FDI policy is as under: "A company is considered as "controlled" by resident Indian citizens if the resident Indian citizens and Indian companies, which are owned and controlled by resident Indian citizens, have the power to appoint a majority of its directors in that company". 

The CCEA has now approved to define “control” as below: " `Control` shall include the right to appoint a majority of the directors or to control the management or policy decisions including by virtue of their shareholding or management rights or shareholders agreements or voting agreements." 

The revised definition of `control` will expand the definition of `control` to cover `control` exercisable inter-alia through management and policy decisions, shareholding, management rights, shareholder agreements and ensure alignment with the definition as per the Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers (SAST) Regulations, 2011 and the definition proposed in the Companies Bill, 2012. 


Persons


Sujatha Singh on August 1, 2013, assumed charge as India’s new foreign secretary. The 1976 batch Indian Foreign Service officer will have a fixed tenure of two years. 59 year old Mrs. Singh was earlier ambassador to Germany. She succeeds Ranjan Mathai who retired on July 31, 2013. 



The Government has appointed Prof. Waman Kendre as the Director of National School of Drama (NSD). 



Rajeev Rishi, on August 1, 2013, took over as the Chairman and Managing Director of Central Bank of India. 


Sports


The International Olympic Committee sold the broadcasting rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics to STAR India. It is important to note that this move is crucial because India is suspended from the Olympic movement. The IOC suspended India from Olympic in December 2012 because of disputed elections. 

The IOC announced that STAR India was given the exclusive rights of the 2014 and 2016 Olympics in India, as well as Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Though the value was not disclosed, but the overall package includes the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing in China, 2014 Sochi Winter Games and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Through the IOC deal with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, the Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan has the rights for 2012 London Games. 

The pay-television rights were held by ESPN. STAR India acquired the exclusive rights for all kinds of media platforms, which also include free-to-air television, mobile and the Internet as well as subscription television. The exclusive rights were made for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 


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