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2013 - December 30 and 31 - Current Affairs


China on 27 December 2013 welcomed the Asian countries to use its home grown BeiDou Navigation System for navigation system for free. China is intended to widen the use of its home grown BeiDou Navigation System, which already has 16 satellites. China is keen to develop BeiDou satellite as an alternative to the American Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russian GLONASS. GPS has been active since the 1970s and has satellites in orbit. 

The satellites have been operating for more than two decades. BeiDou launched the first of its current generation satellites only five years ago. GPS (Global Positioning System) comprises 30 satellites, while BeiDou already has over sixteen and is going to have another forty in orbit by the time the network is complete in 2020, at a cost of another 6 billion dollar. 

The greater the number of satellites, the easier it is for the system to calculate location, time and velocity of moving objects. In this scenario, China offers the use of its satellite for free to its neighbouring countries on the lines of American GPS. The focus will be on countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and particularly in South and Southeast Asia, where the satellites has offered the highest accuracy. 

China is developing Stations in Pakistan to improve the service there. By January 2014, Thailand will become the first country in 2014 to build a satellite station based on BeiDou, with both countries signing a 319 million dollar deal. The successful deployment of BeiDou means the increasingly potent Chinese armed forces will have an accurate, independent navigation system. It has a vital technology for guiding the missiles, warships and attack aircraft that allow Beijing to claim great power status. The system, which was first launched in 2011 for use only by the government and military, has over the past year begun to be widely deployed for civilian uses domestically. 

Currently, 80 per cent of passenger buses and trucks in China are using the system. The Chinese State Council, or Cabinet, said in a September report that the domestic satellite navigation industry would be valued at 400 billion Yuan i.e. 4 lakh crore rupees by 2020. BeiDou is the only satellite navigation system that offers telecommunication services. That means that, apart from giving users location and time information, BeiDou can also send users’ information to other people and communicate with users via text messages. 

China launched the first satellite for the BeiDou system in 2000 and a preliminary version of the system has been used in traffic control, weather forecasting and disaster relief work on a trial basis, since 2003. More than 1000 BeiDou terminals were used after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to provide information from the disaster area. The system was also used during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2010 Shanghai Expo to pinpoint traffic congestion and supervise venues. 

The global satellite navigation segment has become a crowded marketplace over the past decade, and looks to become even more so. Russia recently completed its constellation of Glonass satellites (though it has since lost one). Europe is unrolling its Galileo system, while other countries such as India and Japan plan to develop at least regional navigation networks.

Iran installed a one thousand second generation IR-2m centrifuges at one of its nuclear enrichment sites. This was announced by Ali-Akbar Salehi, the Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) on 29 December 2013. 

Salehi is also a Vice President of Iran. As per Salehi, at present Iran have 19000 centrifuges and is developing a new generation of centrifuges, which will need all kind of tests before being into operation. 

As per the report of ISNA, UF6 gas has not been injected into the centrifuges in view of the ongoing talks of Iran with the six world powers on its nuclear issue. Earlier in November 2013, Iran and the six world powers together signed an interim deal under which Iran agreed to not operate its new centrifuges for next six months. But the deal doesn’t stopped Iran from developing new centrifuges. 

Fereidoon Abbasi, the chief of AEOI in August 2013 announced that 18000 centrifuges were available with Iran of which 10000 were operating. Salehi also said that Tehran and Moscow are discussing on the construction of four nuclear power plants in Iran.

Indonesian Government announced to build a new sanctuary to save World’s rarest Javan rhinos. The new sanctuary will be carved out of the Ujung Kulon National Park. Ujung Kulon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated on the western tip of Indonesia's main island of Java. It will encompass 12,600 acres of lush rainforest, freshwater streams and mud holes in the park. In Indonesia Javan rhinos are locally termed as Abah Gede or the Great Father. 

As per the latest report of the International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN), decline in the strength of rhino’s had reached to the level of extinction. There are thought to be only around 50 of the rhinos in existence. 

Poaching in particular represents a severe threat, with rhino horns used in traditional Asian medicine. It fetches higher prices in the black market despite a lack of scientific evidence showing horn has any medicinal value. Recently, Asia has stepped up efforts to save the region's dwindling rhino populations. 

There was a conference held in October 2013 with representatives from several countries on the issue in the western Indonesian island of Sumatra. Countries including Indonesia, Nepal and India, pledged to take steps to increase their rhino populations by three percent annually.

International Petroleum Conference 2014 (PETROTECH-2014) will be held in New Delhi from 12th – 15th January 2014. It is being organized under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Oil and Natural gas Corporation Limited and PETROTECH. 

PETROTECH-2014 will offer world-class facilities to showcase the entire gamut of opportunities in the hydrocarbon industry at one place. The Theme of the PETROTECH 2014 will be- Vision 2030: Emerging Global Energy Basket - Challenges and Opportunities. 

PETROTECH-2014 is planned as a 'Carbon Neutral' event. The Conference will aim for tangible contributions to the issues of -Shaping an Equitable and Sustainable Energy Basket, Diversifying the Global Energy Basket, Creating Capacity to Service the Emerging Energy Basket, Aligning Policy with the Emerging Energy Basket and Global partnerships for a Sustainable Energy Basket. 

The PETROTECH series of International Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibitions is a biennial platform for national and international experts in the oil & gas industry to exchange views and share knowledge, expertise and experiences.


Airports Authority of India (AAI) has received TRAINAIR PLUS accreditation certificate and membership plaque by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). ICAO is a United Nation’s (UN) agency and is headquartered at Montreal, Canada. Herve Touron from ICAO Air Navigation Bureau had visited the Fire Training Centre (FTC) of Airports Authority of India in October 2013 for an inspection of the facilities before granting ICAO’s TRAINAIR PLUS membership. These certificates are given for facilities to enhance airport safety. 

By joining the TRAINAIR PLUS programme, the Fire Training Centre will have access to a global sourcing of training package. The Certificate and membership plaque were handed over to V.P. Agrawal, Chairman, AAI and G.K. Chaukiyal, Member (Operations), AAI by the General Manager (Fire Service), Md Hanif. CATC, Allahabad and AAI, New Delhi has received TRAINAIR PLUS accreditation earlier for its training facilities. 

About Airports Authority of India: 
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation is responsible for creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing civil aviation infrastructure in India. It provides Air traffic management (ATM) services over Indian airspace and adjoining oceanic areas. 

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO): 
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 191 Member States.

A study conducted by the Duke University showed that Chiranjeevi Yojana of Gujarat failed to reduce the maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR) significantly. The study was published by the international public health, Bulletin of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the last week of December 2013. 

The Cheeranjavi Yojana launched in 2006 to reduce the MMR and IMR, according to the study, did not lead to increased probability of institutional child-delivery or maternal health outcomes. Also, the Yojana did not led to any fall in the household expenditure on private-sector deliveries. 

The reasons for the failure cited by the study are as follows
• The inaccurate BPL classification of the population is a contributing factor. That is, 40 percent of above BPL have BPL cards and 45 percent BPL do not have BPL cards. This shows a clear case of leakage and benefits not reaching the targeted population. 
• The providers were charging extra for other services and also lot of empanelled hospitals were in the urban areas that led to huge cost of access to these services. 
• It also did not address self-selection of women into institutional delivery or reported inaccuracies by hospitals.  

About Chiranjeevi Yojana
Gujarat government launched Chiranjeevi Yojana in 2005-06 to reduce maternal and infant mortality rate in the state and increase the institutional delivery rates. 
It covers the cost of deliveries at designated private sector hospitals for women from Below poverty Line households. 
It pays 1600 rupees per delivery to the hospitals to provide free deliveries and reimburses at least some of the women’s travel costs. 
In 2006, the programme received the Asian Innovations Award and considered this scheme should be replicated in other states.

Tamil Nadu government on 30 December 2013 launched the first phase of providing free compact fluorescent light bulbs to over 14 lakh hut-dwellers in the state. This is an energy-saving measure aimed at saving 40 mw of power.  

In the first phase of the project that has been launched, the Chief Minister gave away one nine-watt CFL bulb to seven persons to seven persons each marking its roll out. The first phase of the project will cost 8.77 crore rupees to the state. Of the 14.62 lakh domestic consumers, who comes under the hut-dwellers category of the state will be benefitted with the project. In the first phase of the project, seven lakh people will be covered. 

Apart from this, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa has also launched projects of 500 crore rupees under the Energy Department through video conferencing from her camp office Kodanadu in the Nilgiris district. 

Under this sub-station in capacity of 230 kv, 110 kv and 33 kv were inaugurated. The Chief Minister has also inaugurated a 60 kw solar power generating system at the head office of TANFEDCO. The system will generate up to one lakh units per year and this will help the state to meet a part of the daily electricity demands.

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data showed that JNNURM scheme improved key indicators of urban life in India and it reached the poorest of poor. The Government spent over 46000 crore rupees on infrastructure augmentation under JNNURM scheme. 

The NSSO data showed that
• Over 90 percent of slumdwellers feel water drainage, sewerage and garbage collection and disposal have improved. 
• 24 percent of slums have benefited from welfare schemes such as JNNURM and Rajiv Awas Yojana. 
• 95.3 percent people living in urban areas felt significant improvement in water supply. 
• About 76 percent improved their access to some sort of garbage disposal system in cities and towns. 

According to the Urban Development Ministry’s data, among 539 projects sanctioned between 2005 and 2012, at least 217 projects are completed and 322 are in a stage of completion. Out of 806 UIDSSM projects 413 projects are completed. 

About JNNURM: Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was officially inaugurated on 3 December 2005 to improve the quality of life and infrastructure in the cities. 

The JNNURM has two major schemes

Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG): The main focus of UIG is on infrastructure projects relating to water supply, sanitation, sewerage, solid waste management, road network and urban transport. It also focuses on redevelopment of old city areas, shifting industrial and commercial establishments to confirming areas. 

Urban Infrastructure Development for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT): UIDSSMT focus is integrated development of slums and achieved through various projects for shelter, basic services and other related civic amenities which provide utilities to the urban poor.

The Government of India on 31 December 2013 issued food safety and hygiene guidelines to prevent contamination of supplementary nutrition provided to pregnant women and children. The guidelines were issued under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme. 

The guidelines were issued by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development. The issued guidelines have barred the anganwadi workers and helpers from wearing nail polish, and artificial nails. The anganwadi workers and helpers have been asked to trim their nails and should keep them clean while washing the hands. It has also banned them from wearing wrist watches and rings and bangles or any type of jewellery item, while cooking and serving food. These have been banned as these jewellery items may carry foreign bodied and compromise with the hygiene standard. 

The Operational Guidelines for Food Safety and Hygiene of ICDS has also mentions that the workers and helpers should tie their hairs neatly and it should be covered. It also mentions that any type of glass should not be allowed in the cooking areas. 

As per the issued guidelines, an adequate precaution for cleanliness has been issued for the staffs to prevent the food from getting contaminated during cleaning of rooms, utensils or any other equipment. It has also mentioned that before using any equipment, while cooking food should be washed with water. It has also mentioned that toilets should be cleaned all the times to make safe disposal of stool and wastes. It has said that the activity rooms, should be well ventilated and also be spacious, which should be cleaned every day before the start of the functions in the morning. 

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme
Integrated Child Development Services scheme was launched on 2 October 1975. ICDS Scheme represents one of the world’s largest and most unique programmes for early childhood development. 

ICDS is the foremost symbol of India’s commitment to her children – India’s response to the challenge of providing pre-school education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and mortality, on the other. 

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme was launched in 1975 with the following objectives 
• To improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years; 
• To lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child; 
• To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout; 
• To achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development; and 
• To enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education Services: 
The above objectives are sought to be achieved through a package of services comprising 
• Supplementary nutrition 
• Immunization 
• Health check-up 
• Referral services 
 Pre-school non-formal education 
• Nutrition & health education.  

The concept of providing a package of services is based primarily on the consideration that the overall impact will be much larger if the different services develop in an integrated manner as the efficacy of a particular service depends upon the support it receives from related services.

Southern Grid of India has been synchronously connected with the grids of the country. It was done on 31 December 2013 to successfully accomplish the mission of ‘One Nation - One Grid - One Frequency. This connection will boost the power trading business of the country. 

The southern grid connectivity was achieved through commissioning of the Raichur-Solapur 765 kV single circuit transmission line by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited. 

The country’s transmission network now transfers about 232 Gigawatts of installed power generation capacity with this interconnection. As per an official statement, it will help in increasing the inter-regional power transfer capacity of the Southern region. Indian Power System is operating through five Regional Grids and a Pan India synchronous grid was envisaged for optimal utilization of the generation resources in the country. 

Earlier, regional grids namely Northern, Eastern, Western, North Eastern regions were synchronously connected and the Southern Region was connected to the North Eastern grid. Southern Region (SR) was connected to this NEW grid through HVDC links. Synchronous interconnection of SR with New grid was envisaged through high capacity 765 kV Raichur – Sholapur lines, as an ultimate step towards establishment of an “All India Synchronous National Grid” facilitating bulk transfer of power across regional boundaries. The southern states namely Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala will be benefitted with the national grid as they are facing huge shortages. 

Due to the absence of the national grid, these states purchase electricity from the open market at higher prices. This line of 208 circuit kilometers (ckm) and 765/400 kV substations at Raichur and Sholapur were commissioned five months ahead of its contractual schedule i.e. 31 May 2014. 

The project has been completed at an expense of approximately 815 crore rupees. With this interconnection, Indian power system has entered into a new era and become one of the largest operating synchronous grids in the world with about 232GW of installed power generation capacity. 

Synchronous integration of Southern Grid with rest of the national power Grid shall not only augment the inter-regional power transfer capacity of Southern region but also relieve the congestion being experienced in few transmission corridors. This will be a great boost for further economic growth of the country.


National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO), a public sector undertaking has got Excellent Memorandum of Understanding score of 1.5 by the Department of Public Enterprises for its outstanding performance in 2012-13. 

During the 2012-13, NALCO has been rated as Excellent with a score of 97.5 for compliance with guidelines on Corporate Governance for Central Public Service Enterprises. NALCO already had last achieved the Excellent MoU score in 2006-07 and it got navratna status in 2008. 

During the financial year 2012-13
• NALCO has reported a highest ever net sale of 7247 crore rupees against a target of 7073 crore rupees. This represents an increase of 2.46 percent against the MoU target. 
• NALCO reported a net profit of 593 crore rupees with metal sale of 403102 tonnes and alumina sale of 984722 tonnes in the financial year 2012-13. 
• NALCO also produced highest-ever bauxite of 54.19 lakh tonnes and highest-ever alumina of 18.02 lakh tonnes in 2012-13. 
• During this financial year the company generated 6076 units of power from its Captive Power Plant. 

NALCO’s significant achievements and activities towards CSR, Sustainable Development and R&D also contributed towards company’s excellent ratings. 

NALCO has entered into a wind power generation with commissioning of 50.4 MW wind power plant at Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh on December 2012 and sale of power has been commenced. Department of Public Enterprises under Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises resents annually to the Parliament an overview of the financial and physical performance of central PSEs. 

About MoU
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as applicable to PSEs is a negotiated document between the government and the management of the enterprise specifying clearly the objectives of the agreement and the obligations of both the parties. 

MoU system in India was introduced in 1986 as result of the recommendations of the Arjun Sengupta Committee Report.

Energy major, the Oil India Limited (OIL) on 29 December 2013 signed an agreement with the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) to carry out a feasibility study on dairy production in two districts of Assam. Oil India as a CSR initiative has decided to step into dairy sector. 

Oil India has a significant presence in Assam and IRMA will prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) after the study in the two districts Dibrugarh and Tinsukia of Assam. It is expected that the study would pave a way for a roadmap for the plan for development of a cooperative dairy project in the two districts. 

OIL has planned to develop the project on the lines of the Amul model. Oil India, to implement the company’s Dairy Project aims to formulate the DPR on the basis of the baseline survey. The study is funded by Oil India and is focused on the prospects of development of a cooperative dairy project in the state. 

Oil India Limited
Oil India Private Limited was incorporated to expand and develop the newly discovered oil fields of Naharkatiya and Moran in the Indian North East on 18 February 1959. In 1961, it became a joint venture company between the Indian Government and Burmah Oil Company Limited, UK. It became a wholly-owned Government of India enterprise in 1981. 

At present the OIL is a premier Indian National Oil Company engaged in the business of exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas, transportation of crude oil and production of LPG. OIL also provides various E&P related services and holds 26 percent equity in Numaligarh Refinery Limited. At present, the Government of India, the Promoter of the Company is holding 68.43% of the total Issued & Paid-up Capital of the Company. 

Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA)
Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) is India’s leading school in rural management and is committed to act as a catalyst and facilitator of rural prosperity. IRMA educates those inspired to work with organisations serving the rural sector and engaging directly with rural communities.

Microsoft India introduced Guardian, a new safety application that enables friends and family of Windows phone users to track them in real time on 26 December 2013 in Hyderabad. Guardian enables users to switch on a track me feature in the application, which lets friends and family to track them. It is available exclusively for Windows phone users in India. 

Guardian users can call for help through an SOS alert button and also connect to security agencies, police and hospitals easily in times of distress. SOS is an international code signal of extreme distress. 

For the effective use of Guardian, users need to add the names of friends, family members and security groups to the settings and then the application can be used to alert them in emergency situation via the SOS button. The users has to tap the SOS button then phone sends a distress SMS to friends and family mobiles and notify the location details. At the same time the SOS button also sends emails and posts to private Face book groups to registered members.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) on 30 December 2013 approved the proposal of Vodafone to acquire the shares from Ajay Piramal and Analjit Singh for over 10000 crore rupees. This will make Vodafone a company with 100 percent shares in the venture and make Vodafone, the British telecom company among the largest foreign investors in India. 

Apart from this, FIPB also allowed Tesco to set up the country’s first multi-brand retail chain with overseas funds. This was also the proposal of Vodafone to partnership the Tata group in Retain sector. Vodafone is buying 50 percent stakes in the Tata Group’s Trent Hypermarkets. 

It is also intends to open its stores In Maharashtra and Karnataka and thus it is ready to invest 110 million dollar (about 680 crore rupee). In Vodafone, Pirmal holds about 11 percent stake in India and Analjit Singh, who is also the non executive Chairman of Vodafone’s India holds 24.65 percent stakes. 

After the approval of FIPB, Vodafone have will pay 1241 crore rupees to Ayanjit Singh and 8900 crore rupees to Parimal Enterprises for their stakes to convert Vodafone as a wholly owned entity. Vodafone had first spent 11.1 billion dollar (about 49000 crore rupees) in 2007 to acquire a 67 percent economic interest in Hutch Essar. 

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs nod is only awaited by Vodafone on the proposal that has been approved by FIPB before the transaction takes place. CCEA approval is need in every foreign investment proposal over 1200 crore rupees. Vodafone’s investment in retail market comes after the WALMART has postponed its plan to enter India following the strict and rigid rules required by a foreign company to invest in India. 

As the norms of investment in India mentions investment in creation of a back-end infrastructure and a company will have to source 30 percent goods from the local companies. FIPB has also approved the proposal of Johnson & Johnson for foreign investment. FIPB has postponed the proposal of HDFC Bank to raise equity from FIIs.


The Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC-a high level committee of the Government of India) on 30 December 2013 appraised five proposals in the Port Sector. These projects will now be recommended for grant of final approval by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).  

For this purpose of approval of the CCEA, a Cabinet Note will be submitted by the Ministry of Shipping. 

The five projects are
• Development of 4th Container Terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) on DBFOT- Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis.
• Development of Container Terminal at Ennore Port Limited (EPL) on DBFOT. 
• Development of Multipurpose Cargo at Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) on DBFOT. 
• Development of Mega Container Terminal at Tuna Tekra at Kandla Port (KPT) on BOT .
• Development of Container Terminal at Diamond Harbour at Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) on BOT.  

These projects are proposed to be awarded in the current financial year by various Major Ports for implementation under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The proposed projects are to create an additional capacity of 150 MMTPA with an investment of about 17630 Crores rupees. 

In the year 2013, the Ministry of Shipping has so far conveyed approval for 16 projects against a target of 30 and the major ports have already awarded these projects. Of the 16 projects that has been granted an approval includes six under PPP and 10 projects are under non-PPP mode. It is expected that these projects will add a capacity of 89 MMTPA with an investment of 4200 crore rupees.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its 8th Financial Stability Report (FSR) on 30 December 2013. The FSR was released against the backdrop of a mild positive market reaction to the announcement of tapering in the US Federal Reserve bond purchase plan from January 2014. 

Major Highlights of the report are

India's external sector has improved with reduction in Current Account Deficit (CAD). CAD is expected to be less than 3 per cent of the GDP during the current financial year 2013-14. 

Report revealed that the banking system is facing rising tide of bad loans. The gross non-performing assets (NPAs) in the system will rise to 4.6 per cent by September 2014 from 4.2 per cent in September 2013. 

The amount of recast loans touched an all-time high of 10.2 per cent of the overall advances as of September 2013.  

The state-run banks will be the worst-affected, the report said, pegging the gross NPAs for public sector banks at 4.9 per cent by March 2015. It projected the gross NPAs for private banks at 2.7 per cent in the same period. 

Asset quality continues to be a major concern for Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs). The Gross Non-performing Assets ratio of SCBs as well as their restructured standard advances ratio has increased. 

Five sectors — infrastructure, iron & steel, textiles, aviation and mining — have a high level of stressed advances. At system level, these five sectors together account for around 24 per cent of total advances of commercial banks and around 51 per cent of their total stressed advances. 

Due to the interconnectedness with banks, liquidity pressure is felt by the money market mutual funds (MMMFs) whenever redemption requirements of banks are large and simultaneous. 

Regulatory measures are taken to reduce the degree of interconnectedness seem to have been successful in reducing the liquidity risk in the system. 

However, macro-economic adjustment is far from complete, with persistence of high inflation amidst growth slowdown. Fall in domestic savings and high fiscal deficit are other major concerns for India. 

Macro stress tests on credit risk suggest that if the adverse macroeconomic conditions persist, the credit quality of commercial banks could deteriorate further. However, under improved conditions, the present trend in credit quality may reverse during the second half of 2014.


Confidence Index (BCI) was released by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the period October-December 2013-14 on 29 December 2013. The Index indicated pick-up in the economic activity in the Quarter 4 of 2013-14. 

BCI rose sharply to 54.9 during the Q4 of 2013 -14 from 45.7 in the Q3 of 2013-14 indicating that there are signs of economic turnaround in the fiscal year 2013-14. This improvement in BCI happened because of improvement in export performance, said the CII Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee. The growth in BCI for the Q4 came as a major relief for the Indian economy which has braved the onslaught of the slowdown for the last several quarters and been awaiting the return of growth. However, the BCI also revealed downside risks to the economy. These include: domestic economic and political instability, slackening consumer demand, high level of corruption, persistent high inflation and risk from exchange rate volatility. 

HSBC Business Confidence Index
HSBC Bank Middle East Limited has teamed up with Middle East Economic Digest and YouGov to create a unique index of business sentiment in the Middle East. The first edition of the HSBC - MEED Middle East Business Confidence Index was published in the Middle East Economic Digest magazine on 18 June. HSBC Trade Confidence Index for India stood at the highest -- 142 points, followed by UAE (132 points) and Indonesia (127 points).


Sashi Tharoor, the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development was named as the Person of the Year by the animal rights body PETA – India for taking steps to advance animal protection. 

The director of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) was encouraged by Tharoor to examine PETA’s Central Board of Secondary Education approved programme for incorporation into its textbooks. He also wrote a letter to Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad urging him to implement non-animal methods of teaching in medical courses. 

In 2012, the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a directive instructing all the institutes or establishments associated with teaching of medical, pharmacy and other courses in life sciences to follow UGC guidelines for discontinuation of dissection and animal experimentation in universities and colleges and introduce use of alternatives to animal experimentation. Past recipients of the award are Hema Malini and R Madhavan.

Serena Williams won the Female Athlete of the Year award and LeBron James won the Male Athlete of the Year award announced by the Associated Press on 26 December 2013. 

About Serena Williams
• For this season Serena Williams is at the number 1 in the world ranking. Williams won 11 titles and reached 13 finals in 2013 season. 
• She also conquered the clay court season after winning 5 titles. 
• Williams has the most winning percentage of 95.1 percent. 
• Williams has been honoured 3 times with this award, previously she won in 2002 and 2009 seasons. 

About LeBRon James
• James is an American Basket ball player and he had done good job in 2013 season. 
• He received his fourth Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. 
• He led the team to the finals and won the Championship title.


Tyler Armstrong on 27 December 2013 became the youngest person to reach the summit of Aconcagua, the highest mountain of America. The nine year old boy of United States climbed the mountain in the Argentine Andes with his father and Tibetan Sherpa, Lhawang Dhondup. 

In 2012, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro - Africa's highest peak. More than 100 people have died attempting to conquer Aconcagua, which rises 6962 metres above the sea level. Before Tyler, Matthew Moniz from the United States was the youngest person to climb the mountain at the age of 10 in the year 2008.

Arvind Kejriwal, the convener of the newly launched Aam Aadmi Party sworn in as the seventh (as a person) Chief Minister of Delhi on 28 December 2013 at a function in Ramlila Maidan. Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath of office and secrecy to Kejriwal. 

He has sworn in as the youngest Chief Minister of Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal is the youngest CM of Delhi State after Delhi was given the status of Union Territory in 1991 and was designated as NCT. 

He is of 45 years in age. Apart from Kejriwal, six other MLAs namely Manish Sisodia, Somnath Bharti, Saurabh Bhrdwaj, Rakhi Birla, Satyendra Kumar Jain and Girish Soni also took oath as Cabinet Ministers.

P Pradeep Kumar on 29 December 2013 was appointed as the Managing Director (Corporate Banking) of State Bank of India (SBI), the biggest lender of the country. As one of the four managing Directors, he will look after the corporate banking portfolio of the bank. 

As per a Government of India’s notification P Pradeep Kumar will be the Managing Director and Group Executive (Corporate Banking) of SBI with effect from 27 December 2013. The position will be occupied by him till the end of October 2015.

Devendra Kumar Pathak has been appointed as the Special DG, Border Security Force (BSF) on 30 December 2013. At the time of his appointment in BSF, he was serving as the Special DG, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). 

His appointment as the Special DG, BSF started with immediate effect and will continue till the date of superannuation in March 2016 or until any further orders. Pathak is an (Indian Police Service) IPS of 1989-batch of Assam-Meghalaya cadres. He has been serving Central Reserve Police Force since 11 November 2011.

Ashraf Jehan a female judge on 30 December 2013 sworn-in at Pakistan’s national sharia court which hears cases under the Islamic legislation. Ashraf Jehan took oath and became the first female judge to be appointed in the court’s history. She was serving as an additional judge at the Sindh High Court. 

The Court was established during the rule of military dictator Ziaul Haq as part of his policy towards Islamisation of Pakistan’s institutions. The law is also known as the Hudood Laws, which run parallel to the penal code.

Anurag Bhushan, a career diplomat on 30 December 2013 took charge as the Consul General of India in Dubai and Northern Emirates in the UAE. Before taking the charge as the Consul General, he was serving as the head of the Regional passport office in New Delhi. 

He is the 14th Consul General of India in Dubai, since 1973 and he is the successor of Sanjay Verma, who has been appointed as the ambassador of India to Ethiopia. He joined the Indian Foreign services in 1995. 

Apart from being the Consul General of India in Dubai, his other overseas assignments have included economic, commercial, visa and administration responsibilities in Dhaka, political, information and cultural work in Tokyo and administration wings in the Indian Embassy in Berlin. 

While being at the Foreign Service Instituted in New Delhi, he was responsible for training the foreign diplomats as well as Indian Foreign officers. He is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and holds a Post Graduate Diploma degree in Executive Management from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.


Ronaldinho has been elected as the South American footballer of the year in the annual poll conducted by the Uruguayan daily El Pais on 30 December 2013. Ronaldinho is a Brazilian football player. 

Ronaldinho became a key member of the Brazilian team that won the 2002 World Cup. He has played for clubs in Brazil, France, Spain and Italy. Ronaldinho won FIFA World player of the year in 2004 and he won Europe’s Ballon d’Or in 2005.


India and US inked contract for six additional C-130J super Hercules aircraft, worth of 1.01 billion dollars on 27 December 2013. Defence Ministry announced that the six C-130J will be delivered within 3 years as it was signed under the US government’s foreign military sales (FMS) programme. 

The rugged C-130, as the bigger C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift aircraft acquired from the US, these can land at a small forward airbase on a semi-prepared runway. Already Indian Air Force (IAF) landed a C-130J on the Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip in eastern Ladakh, at an altitude of 16614 feet, just seven kilometer from LAC in August 2013. C-130j ordered for 962 million dollar in 2007. It is crucial to counter China’s massive build-up of border infrastructure. 

The six new C-130Js is configured for special operations and will be based at Panagarh in West Bengal. The US already had deals, worth of 10 billion dollar over the last decade in the Indian defence market. The other deals are the ones for 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers, 22 Apache attack helicopters, four P-81 maritime patrol aircraft and 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers together worth of 4 billion dollar. 

The contract negotiation committee (CNC) for the Chinooks has completed its work and one for the Apaches is on the verge of finalization informed by the Ministry of Defence. The C-130J Super Hercules is an update version of Lockheed C-130 Hercules, which is capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings.

Tejas, India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) set a new record on 27 December 2013 of flying 500 sorties in 2013. This is the highest sorties achieved in a calendar year so far. The previous record stood at 300 sorties. 

In 2013, the team participated in seven detachments across the country and carried out tests like shutting off and reignition of the engine, high energy brake testing, flight envelope expansion, missile firing with radar guidance, air-to-ground weapon testing and wet runway trials, the DRDO said. 

About Tejas
• India’s indigenously designed and developed frontline fighter Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) started in 1983 to replace the ageing MiG-21 fighter aircrafts. 
• It was christened as Tejas by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003 when Tejas crossed the sonic barrier for the first time. 
• Tejas is the smallest, light weight, single engine, single seat and supersonic, multirole, combat aircraft. LCA Tejas is capable of flying non-stop to destinations over 1700 km away. 
• Four variants of Tejas aircraft (Combat variant, Trainer and Naval variants) are being developed for land and carrier borne operations. 
• Tejas has multi mode weapon multirole capability in the form of Air to Ground and Air to Air missions 
• Tejas has quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight system which ensures adequate safety and advanced Glass cockpit open architecture complements piloting. 
• Extensive use of advanced composites in the airframe gives a high strength to weight ratio, long fatigue life and low radar signatures. 
• Helmet Mounted Display Sight (HMDS) has been fully integrated in Tejas and R73E missile firing has been successfully demonstrated using HMD.

Science and Technology 

Scientists discovered Phosphorus for the first time in the cosmic leftovers from the supernova - Cassiopeia A – explosion. The study was published in a science journal on 13 December 2013. The discovery of Phosphorus confirmed that massive exploding stars are crucibles in which the element is created. Phosphorus is 100 times more abundant in the remains of a supernova than elsewhere in the galaxy. 

Abundance of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur has been measured in supernova remnants before. Now supernova remnant Cassiopeia A revealed the first measurement of the relatively scarce phosphorus. 

These five elements are essential to life and can only be created in massive stars. They are scattered throughout our galaxy when the star explodes and become part of other stars, planets and humans. The observations of the object were made with a spectrograph mounted on a telescope at Palomar Observatory at the California Institute of Technology. Scientist said that Cassiopeia A exploded 300 years ago. 

About Phosphorus: Phosphorus is an essential component of living systems and it is found in nervous tissue, bones and cell protoplasm. Phosphorus used in the manufacture of safety matches, pyrotechnics, incendiary shells, smoke bombs. Phosphorus used in pesticides and also in the production of special glasses. Na3PO4 is important as a cleaning agent, water softener and for preventing boiler scale and corrosion of pipes and boiler tubes Phosphorus found in food items are pumpkin, soya foods, cheese, nuts like badam and fish.



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