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2013 - September 5 to 8 Current Affairs

International Issues

8 September 2013:International Literacy Day. International Literacy Day was designated by UNESCO on 17 November 1965. This day was first celebrated on 8 September 1966. International Literacy day is observed every year on 8 September to raise people's awareness and concern for literacy issues in the world. 

It aims to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities, societies and reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. 
  • According to UNESCO, about 774 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills. 
  • One in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. 
  • About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. 
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its partners promote the day to underscore the significance of literacy for healthy societies, with a strong emphasis on epidemics and communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. 

Across the globe, including the USA and the United Kingdom, the day raises people's awareness of and concern for literacy problems within their own communities. 

The major activities include literacy day projects, particularly with regard to technology and literature, which are promoted by various organizations including reading associations. 

The Union Government of India on 4 September 2013 gave one million US dollars to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for providing food and medicines to Palestinian refugees. 

The financial assistance to the UN agency was given as a part of India's annual contribution to it. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from the UN member-states. 

About UNRWA: 

• After 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestinian refugees. 

• UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some 5 million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight. 

• UNRWA is the main provider of basic services – education, health, relief and social services – to 5 million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle East. 

India has called for enhanced cooperation in the field of literacy and education. Inaugurating the one day international conference on alliance for literacy, peace and development in South Asia at New Delhi on Sept 7th, 2013, the Vice President of India, Shri Hamid Ansari said that through mutual cooperation involving sharing of experiences, lessons learnt and best practices, the region can together fight the scourge of illiteracy, remove ignorance from our midst and build modern educated and enlightened societies in our countries, the region and beyond. He said 40 crore adults, almost half of the world’s illiterate population live in South Asia. Women and girls constitute nearly two thirds of the illiterate adult population, making the magnitude of the problem even greater. Appreciating the literacy among young women growing at a faster pace than that of young men, the Vice-President said that gender parity in literacy is a distinct possibility in the future. 

In the Conference, the Vice-President of India also announced that Saakshar Bharat programme has been recognized by experts and it is being conferred UNESCO’S King Sejong Literacy prize for this year. He also presented certificates to the 20000000th + adult learners. These learners belong to the socially and economically disadvantaged sections of the society. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Union HRD Minister Dr. M. M. Pallam Raju highlighted the role of literacy in promotion of peace and development. He said the former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi recognized the need for promoting IT in the field of literacy and also gave vision for promoting the same. The Minister added that in 2009, the Government recast the National Literacy Mission as Saakshar Bharat with the aim to provide functional literacy to 7 crore adults by 2017. Hailing the role of Saakshar Bharat programme the Minister said the world’s largest literacy programme has been successful due to its decentralized structure. The programme is fully compliant with Belem framework of Action and Abuja declaration. The Minister further added Education for All (EFA) Goal-4 provides achieving a 50% improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women. The Minister of State for HRD, Dr. Shashi Tharoor said that to invest more in education is to prevent debilitating calamity tomorrow and that development is about people and not about infrastructure. 

The foreign delegates from South Asian countries also spoke on this occasion. The Education Minister of Afghanistan Shri Ghulam Farooq Wardak said that his country is committed to promote literacy after the education system was completely destroyed during the Taliban period. The budget for education has been substantially high. He thanked India for the support to his country in this field. Later, participating in this discussion, the leader of the Pakistani delegation, Shri Salman Bashir said that the region should utilize collective potential and adopt a cooperative approach. He further said that the content is also important and cultivation of civic sense should be promoted. 

The Sri Lankan head of delegation, Shri Mohan Lal Grero had talked about combining best practices and bringing in public-private partnership in the field. Maj. Gen. Namgyel, the Bhutanese head of delegation, said that despite geographical constraints, his country has moved ahead in the field of education and literacy. He also took pride in stating that in his country, the fresh enrollment of girls in schools was greater than boys in the current year. 

This International Conference on Peace, Literacy and Development in South Asia was organised by National Literacy Mission Authority, Department of School Education and Literacy under Ministry of Human Resource Development. 

National Issues

Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd. (FCIL) has signed an MoU with Coal India Ltd. (CIL), GAIL India Ltd. and Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd. (RCF) for revival of Talcher Urea Plant in Odisha. The MoU was signed in presence of Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Shri Veerapa Moily, Minister of Coal, Shri Sriprakash Jaiswal and Minister of State (I/C) for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Statistics & PI, Shri Srikant Kumar Jena. 

On the occasion, Shri Srikant Kumar Jena said that it is a historic day for the country, in particular for the people of Odisha, as the Talcher Unit of FCIL is being revived by a consortium of RCF, CIL, GAIL & FCIL at an estimated cost of about Rs 8,000 crore. He said that it is a unique project being setup on Coal Gasification for production of 1.2 MTPA Urea and Ammonium Nitrate. CIL shall supply about 5 million tons per annum of coal for this project. 

Shri Jena informed that it has been decided to form two separate Joint Venture (JV) Companies for the proposed revival. JV-1 would take up upstream coal gasification and gas purification with GAIL having major stake. JV-2 would take up down-stream Urea-cum-Ammonium Nitrate Complex & Off-sites, including Power Plant & Coal Washery and will have major stakes of RCF & CIL with minor stake by FCIL & GAIL, the Minister added. 

FCIL, a multi-unit fertilizer PSU under the Dept. of Fertilizer (DoF) having units Sindri, Talcher, Ramagundam, Gorakhpur & Korba was closed in Sept. 2002. However, the revival process was started by the Government and the Cabinet, in principle, approved the proposal for revival of closed units of FCIL in April 2007. In October 2008, the Cabinet approved the constitution of an Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECOS) with the mandate to evaluate all options for revival of closed units of FCIL. In August 2011, the Draft Rehabilitation Scheme (DRS) for revival of all the Units of FCIL, including Talcher Fertilizer Plant was approved by CCEA. 

Recently, CCEA approved waiver of Government of India loan and interest of about Rs. 11,000 crores on FCIL and subsequently FCIL was de-registered from BIFR. 

The pre-project activities for revival of Talcher project have already started. GAIL has already floated tender for pre-qualification of Coal-Gas Technology Supplier. RCF has also floated tender calling for LSTK bids for Ammonia - Urea plant. The project will not only reduce the dependence on imported urea but shall also utilize indigenously available feedstock. The project is expected to be commissioned by 2017. 

The Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Vivek Rae, Secretary, Ministry of Coal Shri S.K. Srivastava, Secretary, Department of Fertilizer Shri Sudhir Mital, the CMD of FCIL Shri Satish Chandra, CMD of RCF Shri R.G. Rajan, CMD of GAIL Shri B.C. Tripathi and CMD of CIL Shri S. Narsingh Rao were also present on the occasion. 

The Human Resource Development Minister Dr M M Pallam Raju on 4 September 2013 inaugurated the sixth Global Skills Summit (GSS) at FICCI. The goal of HRD Ministry was to achieve national skilling 50 crore Indians by 2022. For this purpose, the challenge would be to engage the youth of the country to participate in developing skills without inhibitions. 

It is important to note that the programmes have been structured in such a way that the private sector and industry would play a leadership role and an enabling environment would be provided for skill development. There would be inclusion of Industry as partners in setting up schools, skill development centres, polytechnics, community colleges and even provide Skill Programmes in Colleges and Universities. The opportunity for the purpose of promotion of skill development in existing educational institutions is also being explored. 

In the recent past, National Skills Development Agency (NSDA) was formed for National Skill Qualification Framework. 

About the Global Skills Summit (GSS):

Global Skills Summit (GSS) is the two-day FICCI annual event which is being organised in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Labour and Employment and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). Every year, there is a country partner for this and for 2013 Global Skills Summit; the country partner is New Zealand. The theme of the sixth GSS is Industry Leads. 

At the occasion of GSS, the HRD Ministry also released two reports- Industry in driving seat and India New Zealand Partnership on Skills. The report entitled Industry in driving seat, highlights the vocational education and training scenario (VET) of India. It also outlines concrete recommendations that can be taken up by respective State Skill Development/ Employment Missions for perceptible improvement in programme delivery in a time-bound manner. 

Indian Railways developed a fire and smoke detection system on all the coaches for the safety of the passengers. 

Primary features of the safety systems: 

• The system is capable for checking and giving alarm to passenger during initial stages of fire, thereby giving valuable time for shifting to safe areas and evacuation. 

• The automatic fire and smoke detection system as tried out is based on Very Early Warning Smoke Detection System (VEWSD) strategy to detect smoke/fire at incipient stage of smoke, fire through continuous multipoint sampling and analysis of coach environment. 

• The system is suitable for controlled environment i.e. for AC coaches only. 

• There are 4 alarm levels called as Alert, Action, Fire-1 and Fire-2. 

• The system as of now is subjected to trials on Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani. During trial period, two actual fire incidences were detected by the system in two coaches of Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani and timely warning saved loss of property and life. 

• The system has been installed by the Rail Coach Factory on one more rake of LHB Rajdhani dispatched to Northern Railway, which will be used to run 12454/12453, New Delhi Ranchi Rajdhani train. 

Research Design & Standards Organisation (RDSO), a research wing of the Ministry of Railways, based on the feedback, has also made improvements on specification. At the same time, provision of interfacing the system with the air brake system of the coaches has also been made. This would help in the event of Fire-2 alarm; train gets stopped before hooter is sounded. 

This system would help that passenger can safely get down without panic. The system of Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani is also planned to be fitted on more rakes in the current year. 

Lok Sabha on 4 September 2013 passed the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill (PFRDA), 2011, with official amendments. The Bill (PFRDA) was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 24 March 2011 to provide a statutory regulatory body to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) under the provisions of the Bill. This legislation also seeks empowerment of PFRDA for regulation of New Pension System (NPS). 

The PFRDA Bill 2011 was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance on 29 March 2011 for examination and report and the committee submitted its report on 30 August 2011. 

Few of the key recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance: 

• Minimum assured returns would be allowed to the subscribers, who seek the minimum assured returns in the schemes that provides minimum assured returns notified by the Authority 

• Withdrawals will be permitted from the individual pension account subject to the conditions, such as, purpose, frequency and limits, as may be specified by the regulations 

• The foreign investment in the pension sector at 26% or such percentage as may be approved for the Insurance Sector, whichever is higher 

• At least one of the pension fund managers shall be from the public sector 

• To establish a vibrant Pension Advisory Committee with representation from all major stakeholders to advise PFRDA on important matters of framing of regulations under the PFRDA Act. 

The Bill also seeks making of the PFRDA as a statutory authority, at present it is termed as the non-statutory status. The National Pension Scheme would be designed on the principle of you save while you earn and will mainly aim to cater to the people with regular income. Subscribers will also get a choice to invest their funds (also assured returns) in the government bonds as well as the other funds depending upon their capacity to take risk. 

The New Pension Policy was made mandatory for employees of Central Government (excluding the armed forces), who have entered the services after 1 January 2004 and it has also been notified in 26 states for their employees. It can be accessed by each and every citizen of India that includes unorganized sector workers on voluntary basis and it came into effect on 1 May 2009. 

Swavalamban Scheme has been launched by the Government of India to encourage people from the unorganized sector to voluntarily save for their retirement. The scheme was launched in 2010-11 budget. 

Constitution of the statutory PFRDA is felt necessary to effectively invest and manage the huge funds that belongs to a large number of subscribers and to ensure the integrity of NPS. As the number of subscribers noted on 14 August 2013 under NPS was 52.83 lakh and the total corpus of 34965 crore. The defined powers, duties and responsibilities of NPS would help the subscribers of NPS to reap maximum benefits. 

The PFRDA Bill authorizes the PFRDA to establish a Pension Advisory Committee by notification under Clause 44 of the PFRDA Bill, 2011. The Pension Advisory Committee would be responsible for advising the Authority on the matters related to the making of the regulations under the ambit of the PFRDA Act. 

Market based returns and wide coverage based on several investment options in the pension sector will build up the confidence in the subscribers, whereas withdrawals for limited purposes from Tier-I pension account will be an incentive for them to join NPS. 

Indian Railways decided to install a new fuel saving device called Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) in Diesel Locomotives which will result in saving of more than 20 lakh Rupees per locomotive annually. 

As a start up, the APU has been installed in twelve existing diesel locomotives through retrofitment. It was planned to fit APU on 100 per cent in newly built diesel locomotives which will then result in saving of more than 60 crore Rupees annually in the future. It is important to note that the use of APU also results in lower carbon dioxide emission and other pollutants like HC, NOx and CO. 

Purpose of installing Auxiliary Power Unit (APU):
Due to a large number of trains, moving on limited track, some trains have to wait for path or for giving precedence to other trains. Locomotives of these trains remain in idle condition because of the requirement to provide compressed air for train brake which is supplied by compressor driven by engine and to charge the locomotive battery. 

In order to save fuel during idling, Indian railways are providing a system called Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) in Diesel Locomotives. In APU System main Engine shuts down and small 25 HP Engine starts, and charges batteries and air brake pipes, when locomotive idles for more than 10 minutes. 

The diesel engine of APU consumes only three litres of diesel per hour in comparison to 25 litres by the main engine. The expected savings per locomotive fitted with APU will be 20 lakh Rupees annually on account of saving in fuel oil only. 

Auxiliary Power Unit (APU): 
APU is a self-contained unit containing a small diesel engine coupled to a compressor and alternator for battery charging. It has its own set of controls, accessories and is integrated to the existing microprocessor control system of locomotive. 

Government of India has decided to establish Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission to be headquartered at Delhi. It will have a total budget outlay of Rs. 42 crore for a period of 5 years. 

Conceptually, the core of the Mission’s tasks would be: 

(i) identification, collation and assessment of information on ‘Gandhi Heritage’ material for its management and deployment, 

(ii) determination of conservation methodology and priorities, and 

(iii) dissemination of information based on relevant material. 

The Mission will aim at preserving for posterity 39 Core Sites as well as other 2,000 important sites earlier identified by the Panel under the Chairmanship of Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi, ex-Governor of West Bengal. 

Once the Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission is set up, it will be possible to integrate the ingredients of ‘Gandhi Heritage’ comprising the large number of tangible heritage sites on one hand and the vast legacy of text and visuals on the other. The latter consist of published and unpublished documents, non-text photographs and audio-visual tangibles. 

The Mission would supervise, guide and assist in conservation initiatives, maintenance and preservation initiatives and in the creation of a database of tangible, literary and visual Gandhi Heritage. Govt. of India has nominated one Chairman and 7 members of the Mission.

The Lok Sabha on 6 September 2013 passed the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 in order to protect the rights of the street vendors in the urban areas. The Bill also includes protection of the vendors from police harassment as well as municipal authorities’ harassment. 

Primary features of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012:

• The aim of the Bill is protection of livelihood rights of street vendors. The purpose of the Bill is also to regulation the street vendors through the demarcation of vending zones. 

• As per the proposed law, any person intending to take street vending should register with the Town Vending Committee (TVC). Thereafter, a person should apply for the vending certificate which will be issued on the basis of a few criterions. 

• TVC shall comprise of representatives of the street vendors, municipal commissioner, local police, planning authority, local authority, resident welfare association as well as other traders associations. 

• A scheme for the street vendors shall be framed by the State Government. 

• It will be the responsibility of the local authority along with the planning authority, for framing the street vending plan once in every five years time period. 

• The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 shall not be applicable on the railways premises, land and trains. 

It is important to note that the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 6 September 2012 by Kumari Selja, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. 

Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill, 2013 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 6 September 2013. The purpose of the bill is to establish the first-ever national aviation university in India, called Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University, which is named after Rajiv Gandhi. The University would train the cabin crew, pilots as well as aircraft engineers. 

Primary features of the proposed university- Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University, under the Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill, 2013:

• The University, which is proposed under the Bill, will come up at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, which is the constituency of Sonia Gandhi. 

• Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill, 2013 which provides for the formation of this central university on the area of 26 acre plot at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy at Fursatganj in Rae Bareli. 

• Under this Bill, it was proposed that although the airports in India will be owned by the Airports Authority of India, but the construction or development of the airports which are existing, shall be undertaken on the basis of Public-Private Partnership (PPP). 

• The proposed university will be an autonomous body under administrative control of the Civil Aviation Ministry. 

• The university would have the estimated funding of 202 crore Rupees during the 12th Plan period. Out of this, 80 crore Rupees was already sanctioned by the Union Government of India. 

• The purpose of the university would be promotion of aviation studies, training and research and the focus would remain on the emerging areas such as aviation medicine, aviation safety and security, aviation law, aviation science and engineering, aviation history, aviation regulation and policy and aviation management. 

• The University will also be a knowledge partner to safety and security regulators by providing required academic inputs to help them execute their enforcement responsibility better. 


In 2006, the Kaw Committee had recommended setting up of a National Aviation University in India. 

The 12th Five Year Plan Document has also made a similar recommendation to augment qualified and trained manpower for aviation sector in India. 

Based on a Detailed Project Report submitted by Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Planning Commission granted in-principle approval for setting up of National Aviation University in India. 

Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Parliament, on 6 September 2013, passed the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012. The Bill was moved by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Kumari Selja. The Bill seeks to prohibit employment of individuals as the manual scavengers, while at the same time providing for the rehabilitation of people involved in this kind of work. 

The need for the new law is there because the existing laws do not prove adequate in elimination of the evils of manual scavenging and insanitary latrines. 

Primary features of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012: 

• Prohibition of manual scavenging and rehabilitation of manual scavengers. 

• Prohibition of insanitary latrines, which include such latrines where human excreta need to be cleaned or other-wise, handled manually. 

• The definition of manual scavenger has been widened to include a person engaged or employed, inter alia, for manual cleaning of human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or pit, railway tracks. 

• Express provisions for identification of manual scavengers and insanitary latrines. 

• Prohibition of hazardous manual cleaning of septic tanks and sewers, so as to ensure that health and safety of such workers is not compromised. 

• More stringent penal provisions for contravention of the Act. 

• Vigilance and monitoring Committees at the Sub-division, District, State and Central levels. 

• Every local authority, railway authority and cantonment board shall be responsible for survey of insanitary latrines within its jurisdiction. The sanitary community latrines shall be constructed under the Bill. 

• The occupiers of insanitary latrines shall remain responsible for demolishing or conversion of the latrines at their own cost. It will be the responsibility of the local authority to convert the latrine and recover the cost from him, in case the occupier fails to do as suggested in the Bill. 

• The implementing authorities of this Bill will be the local authority and the District Magistrate. 

• The offences under the Bill will be cognizable and non-bailable. These will be tried summarily. The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012 was introduced on 3 September 2012 in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mukul Wasnik. This Bill was thereafter referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, under the Chairmanship of Dara Singh Chauhan. 

What is Manual Scavenging ?

Manual Scavenging refers to the process of removal of human waste or excreta from the unsanitary dry toilets that do not have a connection to the sewer system. This practice is primarily archetypical to South Asia. In the year 1933, legislation was passed in India for banning manual scavenging. However, the legislation was not implemented widely. In February 2013, Delhi became the first state in India to ban manual scavenging. 

The Lok Sabha on 6 September 2013 passed the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2013 for keeping the chairpersons of National Commissions for the SC and ST out of purview of office of profit. The Bill has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill seeks to include National Commissions for the SC and ST in list of those offices which have no affect by the office of profit clause. 

The Bill is meant to amend the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959. It is important to note that Union Cabinet of India on 9 May 2013 gave its approval to Amendments in the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 by introducing a Bill in the Parliament named Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2013. 

The Section 3 of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, has been amended time to time. It lists certain offices of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State, which do not disqualify the holders thereof for being chosen as, or for being, a Member of Parliament. The Chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is exempted from such disqualification under Sub-clause (ii) of clause (ba) of section 3 of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959. 

By the 89th Amendment Act of 2003 of the Constitution of India, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes was bifurcated into two independent Commissions namely the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes. With the 89th amendment Act Article 338 of the Constitution was amended and a new article, namely, Article 338A was inserted in the Constitution. 

Lok Sabha on 6 September 2013 passed the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013. Rajya Sabha already passed the bill on 27 August 2013. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha without any discussion. 

The aim of the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013 is to add a proviso to sub-section (2) of section 62 of the RP Act. It is important to note that on 10 July 2013, the Supreme Court of India upheld the decision of Patna High Court that people in police custody cannot contest the polls. 

What is the Representation of People Act, 1951? 

The Representation of People Act, 1951 is the Act of Parliament of India, which explains about the conduct of the elections of both the Houses of the Parliament. The Act also explains about the qualifications and disqualifications for the membership of these houses, offences or the corrupt practices. The Act came into force by the provisional parliament under Article 379 of Indian Constitution. The Representation of People Act, 1951 was amended various times. The most notable amendment was the one which abolished election tribunals. The election petitions were thus transferred to the High Courts of India, the orders of which could be appealed to the Supreme Court of India. 

Rulings of the Supreme Court of India and the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013: 

The Supreme Court of India, in the case of Chief Election Commissioner vs Jan Chowkidar, on 10 July 2013 upheld the decision of the Patna High Court that any person confined in prison or lawful police custody is not entitled to vote under the Section 62 of The Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951. Also, the Apex Court gave its verdict that the imprisoned person is not entitled to contest the elections to the Parliament of India or the State Legislatures. 

The Supreme Court of India in the case of Lily Thomas vs Union of India, held the decision that Section 8(4) of the RPA that enables the MPs and MLAs who are convicted of any crime or illegal offence while serving the term as the members, to continue in the office until the appeal has been disposed off against the conviction, is absolutely unconstitutional. 

Bilateral Issues

India-Japan Joint Press Statement :
  • The two Governments decided to expand the current bilateral currency swap arrangement from 15 to 50 billion US dollars. The two Governments expect that this will contribute to the stability of global financial markets including emerging economies. 
  • The two Governments also reiterated the importance of continued reforms in financial and investment sectors for promoting stable and long term capital inflows into India. 
  • The two Governments believe that these policy measures will strengthen the bilateral financial cooperation between Japan and India. 

Economic Issues

The Reserve Bank of India on 6 September 2013 allowed the Non-Resident Investors including NRIs to purchase shares of Indian entities Under FDI Scheme. The investment can be made as per the mentioned conditions. RBI has allowed the NRIs to make investment under the FDI scheme only on the listed entities, on recognized stock exchanges. 

FDI scheme: 

The Reserve Bank of India has decided to include the non-residents, including the NRIs to acquire the shares of domestic companies listed under FDI scheme, on the stock exchanges through a registered broker, if the investor has already acquired and continues to hold control in accordance with SEBI, Substantial Takeover Code. 

RBI has also cleared that the inward remittance using the normal banking channels can be used for payment of the transfer of shares to non-residents consequent to purchase. The debit to the NRE pr FCNR account of a person with authorized dealer or bank can also be considered for making the payment of the transferred shares. Escrow Accounts (non-interest bearing) maintained in India can also be used to debit the payment. 

The prices of the transfer of the shares for the non-resident shareholders would be made in accordance to the pricing guidelines mentioned under, FEMA. Till now, the FIIs (Foreign Institutional Investor), QFIs (Qualified Foreign Investors) and NRIs were eligible to invest and acquire the shares on the recognized stock exchanges of India in compliance with the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) regulations. But the NRIs were not allowed to acquire shares on exchange (bourses) under the FDI Scheme. 

Business Issues

Microsoft Corporation and Nokia Corporation on 3 September 2013 announced that both companies have decided to enter into a transaction whereby Microsoft will purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, license Nokia’s patents, and license and use Nokia’s mapping services. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will pay 3.79 billion Euros to purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, and 1.65 billion Euros to license Nokia’s patents, for a total transaction price of 5.44 billion Euros in cash. 

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to approval by Nokia’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. Under the terms of the agreement, 32000 people of Nokia Company are expected to transfer to Microsoft, including 4700 people in Finland and 18300 employees directly involved in manufacturing, assembling and packaging of products worldwide. 

In India, the deal is expected to pave the way for Microsoft to leverage Nokia’s strong distribution and manufacturing base. The factory at Sri Perumbudur near Chennai is one of the biggest factories for Nokia. Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational communications corporation, headquartered in Keilaniemi, Espoo, a city neighbouring Finland's capital Helsinki. Nokia’s principal products are mobile telephones and portable IT devices with 128445 employees in 120 countries, sales in more than 150 countries. 

Nokia Timeline :

1871: Founded by Fredrik Idestam. Nokia engaged in making of Paper, tyres, boots and cables for 100 years. 

1987: Launched its first phone the Mobira Cityman that weighed almost 1kg. 

1992: Sells non-mobile divisions and launches first digital GSM phone, the Nokia 1011. 

2003: Basic 1100 phone launched. Goes on to sell 250 million units and become the world's most popular consumer electronic device. 

2011: Abandons Symbian mobile phone operating software and switches to the Windows platform instead. 

2013: Launched the Lumia 1020 boasting a 41 megapixel camera. 


Raghuram Rajan took over the charge as the 23rd Governor of Reserve Bank of India on 4 August 2013 as a successor of outgoing Governor of RBI, Dr. Subbarao. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India on 4 August 2013 approved the appointment of Raghuram Rajan (50) as the new Governor of Reserve Bank of India for next three years. 

About Raghuram Rajan: 

• He has served as the Chief economist at the International Monetary Fund 

• Raghuram Govind Rajan was born on 3 February 1963 

• He is the youngest person to become the Governor of the RBI 

• He is credited as a person, who predicted the economic crisis of 2008 

• He is an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad. He received his Doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 

• He is the visiting professor for Swedish Parliamentary Commission, World Bank and Federal Reserve Board. 

• He also served as the president of the American Finance Association. 


Ronald H. Coase, the winner of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in 1991, died on 2 September 2013 in Chicago. He was 102 years old. The University of Chicago announced about his death. 

• Ronald H. Coase is known for two of his most popular articles- The Nature of the Firm (1937) and The Problem of Social Cost (1960). The Nature of the Firm introduced the methodologies of transaction costs for explaining the limits as well as nature of the firms. On the other hand, The Problem of Social Cost explained how the property rights can overcome the issues of externalities. This was popularly known as the Coase Theorem. 

• Ronald Coase is also referred to as the Father of Reform in policy for allocation of the electromagnetic spectrum. This was based on the article titled The Federal Communications Commission (1959). 

The Vice President of India M. Hamid Ansari released the book titled Ahmev Radha, Ahmev Krishnah at New Delhi on 4 September 2013. At the release function, the Vice President of India called people of India to stay in connection with the cultural roots for the purpose of overall development. 

About the book Ahmev Radha, Ahmev Krishnah:
• Ahmev Radha, Ahmev Krishnah is the collection of poems in Sanskrit language. 
•The book is written by Gulab Kothari, Chief Editor of Hindi newspaper Rajasthan Patrika. 
• The book, according to M. Hamid Ansari, is written in a creative manner in both Sanskrit as well as Hindi languages. It is important to note that Sanskrit is one of the most ancient languages of India. 
• The book Ahmev Radha, Ahmev Krishnah describes the complicated issue of personality development in very simple and interesting words. 
• Bhartiya Gyanpith has also honoured this book with the prestigious Moortidevi Prize. 


The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented National Awards to teachers from across the country at a function at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi (September 5, 2013) on the occasion of Teachers’ Day. 

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that a sound education system is the bedrock of an enlightened society. It is the cornerstone on which a progressive, democratic society is built - where rule of law prevails, where there is a high degree of civility and respect for the rights of others as well as our own. 

The President said that development, to his mind, is about people, their values and their faithfulness to their spiritual and cultural heritage. He stated that as we move forward, it is a holistic education that should play a definitive role in shaping our values. He stated that he saw a pivotal role for the teachers in re-setting the moral compass. The teachers have to help our youth imbibe the essential civilizational values. 

President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee conferred Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony, 2013 on Maestro Zubin Mehta. 

The award carries an amount of One Crore Rupees (Rs. 1 Crore), a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item. The annual award was instituted by the Govt. of India during the commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. 

The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex. The first Tagore Award was conferred on Pt. Ravi Shankar, the Indian Sitar Maestro in 2012. 

The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari presented the “Capital Foundation Awards” instituted by Capital Foundation Society to many distinguished persons on Sept 7th, 2013. 

These awards are given in different categories. He congratulated all awardees for their exemplary works. 

Shri Ansari presented: 
  • Capital Foundation Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer Award to Shri S. Jaipal Reddy, the Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Science, Technology and Public Service. 
  • Capital Foundation Award to Shri Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha in recognition of his contribution as an Outstanding Parliamentarian. 
  • Capital Foundation’s Justice P.N. Bhagwati Award to Dr. Lalit Bhasin in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Human Rights and Legal Education
  • Capital Foundation’s Justice Kuldip Singh Award to Mr Vijay Panjwani in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Environmental Protection. 
Besides these the Vice President also presented Capital Foundation Awards in different categories to:
  • Dr Justice K. Narayana Kurup, former Judge High Court of Kerala for Public Health and Anti Smoking Campaign
  • Shri Manjit Singh for Punjabi Language, Culture and Tradition; 
  • Lt. General Syed Ata Hasnain for Military Services and Leadership; 
  • Major General Dr. Naresh Chandra Arora for Orthopaedics ; and 
  • Shri M.G. Arora for Law Publications. 

British Indian billionaire brothers Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja won a Lifetime Achievement Award for their contributions to UK's Asian community. 

The award was given at the annual Asian Achievers Awards (AAA) in London on 6 September 2013 by American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. 

The Hindujas were nominated along with NRI businessman Vedanta Resources chairman Anil Agarwal as well as former England cricket captain Nasser Hussain and 102-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh. 

The awards are organised by the ABPL Group, publishers of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar newspapers in the UK, with the purpose of celebrating the achievements of South Asians based in Britain. 2013's awards highlighted the achievements of Asian women and all the money raised from a charity auction was assigned for the Lily Foundation. It is a charity working against human trafficking in India and the UK. 

The awardees in the other categories are as following: 

• British Indian actress Seeta Indrani for achievement in media, arts and culture; 

• Prof Naina Patel, the founder of Policy Research Institute on Community and Inter-faith Relations, for her contributions to community service and 

• Nandita Parshad, director of the power and energy utilities team at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) 

Indian American Kavita Shukla in the first week of September 2013 won INDEX design award for her innovative design, FreshPaper. It helps keep food fresh for a longer period. 

The award carries 500000 Euro award. It recognizes the best of innovations addressing problems facing the world. 

The Award is given biennially in Copenhagen, Denmark. Kavita Shukla was among the five winners in categories such as Home, Body, Work, Play and Community. Kavita’s design won in the Home category. It succeeded the jury with its simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

FreshPaper is simple, low-tech and hyper affordable, with the potential to scale into new markets. The FreshPaper is compostable and infused only with organic spices. Kavita founded a social enterprise, Fenugreen, in 2010 to provide her product to needy people across the globe. It is already available in the US. 


Tokyo on 7 September 2013 won the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Buenos Aires chose the Japanese capital Tokyo, over Istanbul, after Madrid was dramatically eliminated following a first-round tie with the Turkish city. 

Japan won the right to host Olympic Games for the second time. It had previously hosted the Games in 1964. Olympic is considered world’s biggest sporting event. Concerns over Fukushima, seriously damaged in the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 18000 people, had dogged Japan’s bid in the final days. The final result was 60 votes for Tokyo against 36 for Istanbul. The decision means it will be the fourth time that Japan plays host to the Olympics, having also organized hosted Olympic winter Games in Nagano (1998) and Sapporo (1972). Asia will also see successive Olympics, as the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang is hosting the 2018 winter edition. 

Science and Technology

Union government of India is set to launch ISRO’s (Indian Space Research Organization’s) ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission in November 2013. 

The total cost of the mission is 450 crore rupees. 

The unmanned mission, which will explore the existence of life and the possibility of sustaining life on Mars, will travel 299 days in space before reaching the Red Planet in September 2014. 

The Mars Orbiter Mission will be sent through powerful PSLV-XL launch vehicle. 

India spends 3148 crore rupees on space programme a year and has a 16500 strong human resource expertise. 

ISRO outlined nine challenges for the space programme: food security, energy security, environmental security, resource security, space security, space transportation, search for life, exploring universe and colonization of Mars. 

India will be the sixth nation to launch a mission to Mars after the U.S., Russia, Europe, Japan and China. 



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