2013 - August - 14 & 15 - Current Affairs


International Issues


China is all set to become world's biggest net oil importer. The US Energy Information Administration, EIA said that next year, China's net oil imports will exceed those of the US and the gap between them will continue to widen. 

China is already the biggest energy user in the world and the second-largest oil consumer after the US. The shift has been driven by steady growth in Chinese demand, increased oil production in the US, and weakening demand in the US market, the EIA said in its report. 



Japan on August 15, 2013 observed the 68th anniversary of the end of World War Two. About 6,000 people took part in a government-sponsored memorial ceremony in Tokyo in memory of about 3.1 million war dead. More than 70 percent of the ceremony's participants were at least 70 years old. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said present-day peace and prosperity is built on the sacrifice of the war dead. He promised to face the past humbly, keep lessons from the war in mind and strive to build a future full of hope. Emperor Akihito said he hopes the horrors of war will never be repeated. 



New law in Taiwan restricts military power. In Taiwan, an amended law has come into effect which strips its military of the power to prosecute and punish its own personnel during peace time. The transfer of more than 350 urgent cases of alleged wrongdoing by military personnel from military to civilian courts has begun. 

The change was made following protests over the death of a conscript soldier who was punished for misconduct. Military jails are to be closed and military courts shut down by January. More than 250 armed service personnel jailed in the military are also being transferred to civilian prisons to serve out the remainder of their sentences. This is a significant change for Taiwan, which for decades was ruled under martial law. 


National Issues


India celebrates 67th Independence Day on August 15, 2013. 



The World Bank has signed an agreement with the Indian government to provide a 100 million US dollar loan to help low-income families secure housing loans. 

The Finance Ministry said that the agreement was signed in New Delhi by Department of Economic Affairs Joint Secretary Nilaya Mitash, NHB Chairman and Managing Director RV Verma and World Bank (India) Operations Advisor Michael Haney. 

The objective of the project is to provide access to sustainable housing finance for low-income households to purchase, build or upgrade their dwellings, the release added. 



The Rajya Sabha on 13 August 2013 passed Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2012, under which marriages solemnized in India irrespective of the religion of the persons getting married will have to be compulsorily registered. 

The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2012, was passed by a voice vote after a brief discussion. Through this bill, the Union government is providing a platform to the states, which are free to frame their own rules in accordance with their requirements. The government does not favour compulsory registration in cases of live-in relations. 

The Bill is set to protect the women from unnecessary harassment in matrimonial and maintenance cases. It also seeks to provide evidentiary value in the matters of custody of children, right of children born from the wedlock of the two persons whose marriage is registered and the age of the parties to the marriage. 



Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 14 August 2013 unveiled the second phase of comprehensive multi-media initiative Glimpses of the India Story. The initiative captures the journey of the country’s development through various programmes and policies launched by the UPA government during the last ten years. The programmes of the UPA include Direct Benefits Transfer, Aadhar, Food Security, Real Estate regulation and Land Acquisition Bill. 

The content of the initiative reiterates the commitment of the government to the people. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has taken an initiative to inform the people about the measures taken by the UPA Government during last 10 years which empowered them, brought a silent resolution and developed a basic structure based on rights. 



The Cabinet on14th August, has approved the proposal for setting up of the Tax Administration Reform Commission. 

The Commission will review the application of tax policies and laws in the context of global best practices and recommend measures to strengthen the capacity of the tax system in the country. 

It will consist of a Chairman, two full time members and four part-time members. 



Government has cleared a proposal for continuation of its skill development initiative scheme during the 12th Plan. It aims to train around 25 lakh youth under the scheme during the period. 

The Cabinet Committee on Skill Development has cleared a proposal in this regard with certain changes under which incentive at the rate of three thousand rupees would be paid to vocational training providers for ensuring placement of at least 70 per cent trainees per batch at a minimum salary of 6,000 rupees per month. 

Per hour per trainee expenditure allowed under the scheme has also been increased from 15 to 20 and 25 rupees. The scheme will have an outlay of 2000 crore rupees. 



Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Dr Girija Vyas on Aug 14, 2013 introduced the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013 in the Rajya Sabha. 

It intends to regulate and promote the real estate sector in the country. Once enacted, an Appellate Tribunal will be set up to protect the interest of consumers. 



The Rajya Sabha on Aug 14, 2013 passed the National Waterway (Lakhipur-Bhanga Stretch of the Barak River) Bill, 2013, by voice vote. 

It is estimated that the inland water transport traffic to the tune of 12.45 lakh tonnes is likely to be carried on the proposed national waterway after its full development by 2018-19. 

The traffic is expected to be handled at four terminals - Lakhipur, Karimganj, Silchar and Badarpur. 


Bilateral Issues


Moussa Faki Mahamat, Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration of Republic of Chad, paid an official visit to India on 12-13 August 2013. During his visit he met Salman Khurshid, external affairs of India. 

The visit was aimed at increasing bilateral cooperation between the India and Chad. 

Relations between India and Chad remain cordial and there is considerable goodwill and admiration for India. There is large scope for mutually beneficial co-operation in hydrocarbon, infrastructure and capacity building sectors. 

Chad is a member of TEAM-9 (Techno-Economic Approach for African Movement) initiative comprising of eight West and Central African countries seeking to benefit in technical and economic spheres through cooperation with India. Chad has been a beneficiary of India Line of Credit of US$ 50 million for five projects which they highly appreciate. 


Economic Issues


The Reserve Bank of India, RBI on 13th August, came out with an incentive scheme for banks to ensure distribution of notes and coins to the public. This will help in removing shortage of currency in circulation. 

As per the incentive scheme, banks would get 2 rupees against earlier provision of 1 rupee per packet for exchange of soiled notes in denominations up to 50 rupees. 

The incentive would be 25 rupees per bag for distribution of coins over the counters. 

Penalty on account of detection of counterfeit notes by RBI from soiled note remittance of banks and in currency chest balances will be three times the notional value of counterfeit notes. 


Persons


Vinay Mittal, a former Indian Railway Traffic Service officer was appointed as a member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on 8 August 2013. He is the eighth members in the Commission. 

Vinay Mittal has worked as chairman of Railway Board for two years from 30 June 2011 to 30 June 2013. 



Former Prime Minister of Nepal Mairch Man Singh Shrestha died in Kathmandu on Aug 15. 


Sports


The first season of the Indian Badminton League (IBL) started on 14 August 2013 at New Delhi. The IBL is the franchise league which is proposed by Badminton Association of India (BAI). 

The schedule of the IBL is 14 August 2013 to 31 August 2013. The league will include Indian as well as foreign badminton players. 

Important Facts about the Indian Badminton League (IBL) :

Deepika Padukone and Aamir Khan are the brand ambassadors of the IBL. 

• The franchise cities include Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Lucknow. 

• The opening ceremony of the event took place at Delhi on 13 August 2013 and the final will be held at Mumbai on 31 August 2013. The semi-final matches will take place at Bangalore and Hyderabad. 

• The six teams at the inaugural IBL are Krrish Delhi Smashers, Pune Pistons, Banga Beats (Bangalore), Awadhe Warriors (Lucknow), Hyderabad Hotshots and Mumbai Masters. Each franchise will consist of 11 players- 4 foreign, 6 Indians and 1 junior Indian. 

• The overall prize money of the event is 1 million US dollar. This is the richest tournament of badminton in the world. 

• Five matches will be played per tie which will include two men's singles, one each of women's singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles. 

• Six icon players from India include Jwala Gutta (Krrish Delhi Smashers), Ashwini Ponnappa (Pune Pistons), Lee Chong Wei (Mumbai Masters), P Kashyap (Banga Beats), Saina Nehwal (Hyderabad Hotshots) and PV Sindhu (Awadhe Warriors). 



In the seventh Asian Junior Wushu Championships, India have bagged a rich haul of six medals . 

The event concluded in Manila, Philippines. 

India won a silver and five bronze medals in the championship. Mahipal Singh won the silver after losing in the final against Iran.

The bronze medal winners for India in the Sanshou event were Neha Kashyap, Kiwlani Brhma and Naveen Jatin. 

In Taolu Chanquan individual category, Jyoti Kumari won a bronze while T Arita Devi won another bronze in the Nanquan Taolu event.



India's junior paddlers have won both the cadet boys and cadet girls team titles at the El Salvador Junior and Cadet Open Table Tennis championships. Keeping their top billing intact, India A and India B teams in both the cadet boys and cadet girls sections proved to be a cut above the rest in fray. 

The competitions included teams from Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Ecuador. 

The Indian paddlers had travelled to El Salvador after their gold medal winning performances at the events in neighbouring Guatemala. 



France's top female tennis player and the current Wimbledon women's champion, Marion Bartoli, has said she is retiring from professional tennis. 

Bartoli, ranked seventh in the world, shocked journalists at a tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, by tearfully announcing she was quitting. 

Bartoli won her first Grand Slam title by beating Germany's Sabine Lisicki in the Wimbledon final. She was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2007. 


Awards


The Union Government on 14 August 2013 announced the Prime Minister’s Shram Awards for the year 2012 to be awarded to 70 workers employed in the Departmental Undertakings & Public Sector Undertakings of the Central and State Governments and Private Sector Units employing 500 or more workers in recognition of their distinguished performances, innovative abilities, outstanding contribution in the field of productivity and exhibition of exceptional courage and presence of mind. 

This year, one nomination for the prestigious Shram Ratna Award, eight nominations for the Shram Bhushan Award, twenty nominations for Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana and forty one nominations for Shram Shree/Shram Devi Awards have been selected. Even though, the total number of Shram Awards is 33, the number of workers receiving the Awards is 70 (Including 3 women), as some of the Awards have been shared by workers and/or teams of workers consisting of more than one worker. These include 48 workers from the public sector and 22 workers from the private sector. 

SHRAM RATNA: This is the highest Award (one in number) among the Shram Awards and carries a cash award of 200000 rupees along with a Sanad. For the year 2012, the prestigious Shram Ratna Award has been awarded to Subrata Kumar from Tata Steel Ltd., Jameshedpur. 

SHRAM BHUSHAN: Total number of Shram Bhushan Awardees is Eight. It carries a cash award of 100000 rupees and a Sanad. Eight nominations were found suitable for the Shram Bhushan Award for the year 2012 in respect of Public Sector Undertaking and Private Sector are given to Subhash Muralidhar Wadkar from Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, Sanjay Kumar from DRDO, Dewendra Kumar Dikshit, Abhijit Das Gupta, Pravas Chandra Panda, Yogesh Kumar Verma and Bijay Kishore Mishra (Jointly) all from Tata Steel Ltd., Jameshedpur and Annie Antony from Tata Steel Ltd., Jameshedpur. 

SHRAM VIR/VEERANGANA: Total number of Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana Awardees is twenty. It carries a cash award of 60000 rupees and a Sanad. No female worker from Privte Sector, for the Shram Bhushan Award for the year 2012 The Shram Veer/Veerangana Shtam Awards in respect of Public Sector Undertaking and Private Sector are given to Smt. K. Uma from Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd. Bangaluru Shri Shantanu Suresh Shinde from Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd, S/Shri Guleshwar Prasad Sahu, Gulab Chaturvedi, Liladhar Prasad and Shri Anil Kumar (Jointly) all from Bhilai Steel Plant, Bhilai, Shri Gokada Udaya Bhaskar from Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, B. Selvam from Southern Railway, Chennai, S/Shri Lallu Prasad, R. Vasudeo Rao, Mohammad Aftab Alam, Arun Kumar Soni and Krishna Kumar Deshmukh (Jointly) all from Bhilai Steel Plant, Shri Biju Mathew from Tata Steel Ltd., Jamshedpur, Shri Salat Ghanshyam Gopichand from Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Surat (Gujrat), Shri Vasant Gangadhar Bhandurge from Tata Motors Ltd., Pune, Malay kumar Pathak and Ramesh Chandra Jain (Jointly) both from Reliance Industries Ltd., Mumbai, Shri Shrinivas Kondiba Kalamkar from Bajaj Auto Ltd., Aurangabad and Shri Pramod Harichandra Nagdeve from Ashok Leyland Ltd., Godegaon (Maharashtra) 

SHRAM SHREE/DEVI: Total number of Shram Shree/Shram Devi Awardees is forty one. It carries a cash award of 40000 rupees and a Sanad. One female workers from Public sector have been selected for Shram Devi Awards for this year. The Shram Shree/Shram Devi awardees in respect of Public Sector Undertakings and Private Sector are Shri Ranjeet Singh Katiyar from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Kanpur, S/Shri Ashok Kumar Dabas, Devraj and Lakshmi Chand (Jointly) all from NTPC, Badarpur, New Delhi, S/Shri Pushkar Singh Adhikari, Narayan Prasad Bajpai, Devinder Pal Singh Brar, Gopi Chand Barmate, Sanjay Kumar Tiwari, Murchanju and Roop Singh (Jointly) all from Bhilai Steel Plant, Smt. K. UdayaKumari from Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., Bangaluru, Shri Gajanan N. Malusare from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., Mumbai, S/Shri Bhagabata Pradhan, Prakash Kumar Nath, Ramesh Chandra Raula, Arakshita Adak, Chandra Bhanu Munda, Basanta Kumar Das, Bhabani Shankar Pati, Bidhan Chandra Naik and Ananta Kumar Sethi (Jointly) all from Rourkela Steel Plant, S/Shri Pramod Shrivastava, Liladhar Dadwe, Shailesh Kumar Chhandrakar, Bansilal and Kamal Tayade (Jointly) all from Bhilai Steel Plant, S/Shri Shivnandan Prasad Naik, Dibyendu Mitra, Ashok Kumar Soni, Bhupendra Kumar Dhruw and Sanju Lal Goel (Jointly) all from Bhilai Steel Plant, Shri Raja Ram Yadav from Hindalco Industries Ltd, Renukoot (UP), S/Shri Manoj Kumar Sahoo and Pradeep Kumar Pani (Jointly) from Tata Steel Ltd., Jamshedpur, Shri Dharmendra Nath Mishra from Hindalco Industres Ltd, Sonebhadhra (UP), Shri Ramesh Kishanprasad Tiwari from Bajaj Auto Ltd., Aurangabad, Shri Deshmukh Rakesh Bhaskar Rao from Tata Motors Ltd., Pune, Shri Harekrushna Kamila from Tata Steel Ltd., Jamshedpur, Shri Harindra Prasad Srivastava from Hindalco industries Ltd., Renukoot, Sonebhadra (UP) and Shri Erachari from L&T – Komatsu Ltd, Bangaluru. 


Defence


A major fire broke out on board Indian Navy's submarine Sindhurakshak at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai. An explosion on board damaged the submarine. 

Fire brigade said, 16 fire engines and 9 fire tankers were rushed to the spot. They doused the fire around 3 AM and prevented it from spreading to other vessels docked in the vicinity. 


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