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2014 - January 1 to 6 - Current Affairs


International 

The Health Ministry of Japan on 1 January 2014 estimated that a quarter of the population is currently aged over 65 and the figure is expected to reach nearly 40 percent by 2060. It has estimated that the population of the country in 2013 declined by a record 244000 people. It also says that if in case the same trend persists in future, the population of Japan will lose a third of its population in next 50 years. 

The estimate also highlights concern over the dwindling workforce of the country. As per the estimate, 103100 babies took birth in Japan in 2013, which fell by 6000 from the births of 2012. Apart from this, the deaths of the country increased by 19000 from 2012 to 1275000 people in 2013. These deaths were the highest annual deaths since World War II. To spur growth of the population, Japan had aggressively taken measures in recent months. 

At present, Japan’s economy is the third biggest economies of the world after years of stagnation. Prime Minister of Japan, Shino Abe is trying to boost its economy by a combination of its quantitative easing and cash ejections, which includes higher taxes, higher government spending and longer-term structural reforms.



India on 1 January 2014 decided to send a team of senior officials to assess the political and security situation in South Sudan. The country is witnessing an ethnic conflict at present, in which at least 1000 people have died so far, which includes a life of an Indian Soldier, who was working as United Nations peacekeeper. India has issued an advisory for the Indian nationals not to travel to South Sudan and has asked its nationals residing in the country to leave the country. 

The team of senior officials will interact with the Indian nationals in the country and review the arrangements in the place for the staffs of the Indian Mission at Juba. The team will also discuss matters with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Approximately, 2,000 Indian peacekeepers are serving in the UNMISS. 

UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan)
United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS ) was formed on 8 July 2011 following the Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Security Council by its resolution 1996 for an initial period of one year, from 9 July 2011. It was created with a determination to control the situation faced by South Sudan that continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security. The UNMISS was established with the intention to renew for further periods as may be required. The mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) ended on the same date. 

UNMISS objective is to consolidate peace and security, and help establish conditions for development in the Republic of South Sudan. It views to strengthen the capacity of the Government of South Sudan to govern effectively and democratically and establish good relations with its neighbours. 

UNMISS consists of up to 7000 military personnel, including military liaison officers and staff officers, up to 900 civilian police personnel, including as appropriate formed units and an appropriate civilian component, including technical human rights investigation expertise and further decides to review in three and six months whether the conditions on the ground could allow a reduction of military personnel to a level of 6000.



Latvia on 2 January 2014 became the 18th member of the Euro zone. The small ex-Soviet state has been preparing for the switch, since European Union finance ministers formally announced in July 2013 that Latvia could adopt the Euro. Both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch have raised the country’s credit ratings in anticipation of its euro entry. 

The economy of Latvia shrank by a quarter during 2008-2010, but then grew at the fastest pace in the EU, expanding by 5.6 percent in 2012, after the government slashed spending and wages and hiked taxes in one of the harshest austerity programs in Europe. 

Latvia has recently emerged from the financial crisis to become the EU's fastest-growing economy. Latvia gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and joined the European Union and NATO in 2004. It has a population of two million -- nearly 30 percent of Russian origin -- and annual gross domestic product of 28 billion dollar. Latvia became the fourth smallest member of the currency area, ahead of Cyprus, Estonia and Malta. Estonia joined the euro zone in 2011 and Lithuania aims to do so in 2015.



Iran has said that the interim nuclear deal agreed upon with the six major world powers. The agreement will come into effect from 20 January 2014. After the successful mediation, Geneva discussion forms consensus upon the Iran to deploy its Nuclear Programme. 

Iran’s official news agency, IRNA said that the Iran and USA have agreed to implement the deal. Under the deal, Iran will scale down parts of its programme in exchange for a limited relief in sanctions over a six month period. USA will provide limited easing of sanctions that are damaging Iran’s oil-dependent economy. 

The P5+1 i.e. the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany -- and Iran had technical talks on implementation of a breakthrough agreement reached on 24 November 2013 in Geneva on Iran's nuclear program. 

According to the interim agreement, Iran requires to curb its nuclear activities to five percent uranium enrichment for six months in exchange for sanctions relief. Tehran also agreed to reduce it by half of its existing stockpiles of uranium and convert the rest to fuel use. 

A successful deal to curb Iran's nuclear programme would remove the need for the United States to build an anti-missile shield in Europe. The missile shield, which is due to be completed after 2020, posed a serious threat to global stability. Russia strongly opposes the missile defence system, as it will upset the post-Cold War strategic balance and undermine its security.



Pakistan on 2 January 2014 announced its plan to set up seven functional nuclear plants of 1100 MW each by 2030. The government is set to install 325 MW Chashma-4 (C-4) plant. Pakistan took this decision to combat the problem of shortage of power supply in the country. Nuclear power was set to become a major player in the country's power sector. 

As per the Pakistan government, by 2030 the Pakistan Atomic Energy Comission (PAEC) will be operating four nuclear power plants of 325 to 340 MW and seven nuclear power plants with the capacity of 1100 MW each, in addition to four units of 300 MW, producing a total of 8,900 MW of electricity. 

The power generated through C-3 and C-4 (650 MW) will be linked to national grid by 2016. Pakistan would install more nuclear power plants to generate 42000 MW of electricity under its Vision 2050. China has committed 6.5 billion dollar finance for the construction of a major nuclear power project in the port city of Karachi. 

China National Nuclear Cooperation (CNNC) has promised to grant a loan of at least 6.5 billion dollar to finance the project, which will have two reactors with a capacity of 1,100 megawatts each. Blackouts lasting more than half a day in some areas have infuriated many Pakistanis and sparked violent protests, undermining an economy already beset by high unemployment, widespread poverty, crime and sectarian and insurgent violence. 

Pakistan had carried out its first nuclear tests in 1998, soon after India conducted tests. Both refuse to join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which would oblige them to scrap atomic weapons. China has already helped supply two nuclear reactors at the Chashma nuclear power complex in Punjab, while another two are also under construction with Chinese assistance.



World Braille Day is absorbed across the world on 4 December. It is observed every year on 4 January to commemorate the birthday of Louis Braille. Louis Braille, who was born in France in January 1809, is credited for inventing the Braille script. The script helps the visually impaired people to read as well as write. 

Braille became blind after an accident at the age of three. He created a language based on the patterns of raised dots on paper, which could be felt and one can read anything that is unable to see. He did this to have an access to works of literature. 

On this day NGOs, as well as other organizations come together to raise awareness about the apathy towards visually impaired people and to help them be equal with the rest of the people. The day also helps people to feel the importance to produce works in the Braille language to allow blinds to read the works. 

Braille is a code language, which uses bumps and identification on a surface that represents alphabets and as a whole letters, which can be recognized by the touch. This is a complicated language, which allows a blind person to read. The code being a language allows someone to prepare subjects like music, mathematics and computer programming that can be read.



India on 4 January 2013 asked the US Embassy not to screen any movies at the American Center without obtaining a licence. The Embassy has been given a deadline to comply with the Government of India laws and Delhi Government regulations till 20 January 2014.  

Movies for invited audiences are regularly screened at the American Centre without a licence. The Government has sent a notice of transgression to the Embassy. If the Embassy fails to comply with the directive, the American Centre will have to cease screening films from 21 January 2014. Earlier, India downgraded the immunity of certain category diplomats of US and it has also withheld the immunity enjoyed by their family members. 

The consular officials of US in four consulates of India are being issued new ID cards, which will specify the limited immunity and will not protect them from serious offences. The same kind of restricted immunity is given to the Consular’s of India in US. The immunity that has been enjoyed by the family members of the American Consular till time will be done away as it is in case of the families of Consular of Indians in America.



Tropical storm One has made its landfall in Sri Lanka on 5 January 2013. The storm that carries winds with pace up to 100 kilometer per hour struck the east coast north of Trincomalee. Disaster Management Centre evacuated people living very near the coastline of the country across Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Mannar. The fisherman of the nation has also been warned from venturing out in the vast sea. The stormy wind is slowly moving inland towards Jaffna. 

Tropical Storm Risk (TSR): The Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) is a venture that has been developed from the UK government-supported TSUNAMI initiative project on seasonal tropical cyclone prediction which ran from October 1998 to June 2000. TSR consortium comprises experts in modeling and forecasting tropical cyclones and in insurance and risk management. TSR provides information and forecasts to benefit basic risk awareness and decision making from tropical storms. TSR has won two major insurance industry awards - the British Insurance Awards for Risk Management (2006) and for London Market Innovation (2004).


National 

Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 1 January 2014 gave his assent to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013. With this accent, the Bill has turned to be an Act. It provides creation of an anti-graft watchdog that will bring under its purview to even the office of the Prime Minister with certain safeguards. 

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha during the winter session on 18 December 2013. Earlier, the amended Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 17 December 2013. A copy of the Bill, which was signed by Meira Kumar, the Speaker of Lak Sabha was sent to the Law Ministry by the secretariat on 1 January 2014. 

Further, the same was forwarded for President’s assent to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. After the signing by the President, the Bill has taken a shape of an Act following certain procedures. For publication of the Act in the official gazette, the Bill will be sent for signing to the Secretary of Legislative Department in the Law Ministry after the assent of the President. 

The Bill aims to set-up an institution of Lokpal at Centre and Lokayuktas in the states by the law enacted by respective legislatures within one year from the date of its coming into effect. 

Earlier in 2011, the Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha during its winter session, but was debated in Rajya Sabha till the adjournment of its session before voting. Further, a select committee of Rajya Sabha suggested some changes in the Bill of which maximum were incorporated and approved by the Union Cabinet. 

Important features of the Act are

• As per the Act a Lokpal will be at the centre level and Lokayukta’s will be at the states levels 

• A Lokpal consist of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50 percent should be of judicial members 

• The Act provides that 50 percent of the total members of the Lokpal should be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women 

• The Chairperson and members of the Lokpal will be selected through a selection committee, which include the Prime Minister of India, Lok Sabha Speaker, Lok Sabha’s leader of opposition, the Chief Justice of India or the Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by the Chief Justice. 

Then the President of India will nominate the eminent Jurist on the basis of the recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee:

• The Prime Minister has been brought under the purview of the Lokpal 

• The jurisdiction of the Lokpal will cover all the categories of the public servant 

• Under its also comes any/all entities, which will receive the donations from a foreign source in excess of 10 lakh rupees in context of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 

• The Act will provide adequate protection to the honest and upright public servants 

• The Act provide Lokpal the right to superintendence and direct any investigation agency including the CBI on the cases, which will be referred to them from the Lokpal itself 

• The Director of the CBI will be recommended by the high power committee that will be chaired by the Prime Minister of India 

• Director will control the Directorate of Prosecution that is headed by the Director of Prosecution 

• The Central Vigilance Commission will recommend the Director of Prosecution, CBI for appointment 

• Lokpal’s approval will be required for the transfer’s of the officers of CBI, who are investigating the cases referred by the Lokpal 

• The Act gives the provisions to attach and confiscate the property that has been acquired by corrupt means even in the case that the prosecution of the case remains pending 

• Clear time lines for preliminary enquiry and trial has been layed in the Act. It also mentions setting-up of special courts towards the end of the trial 

• It mentions that a mandate for setting up the Lokayukta institution through enactment of a law by the State Legislature within 365 days from the date on which the Act was commenced.



The festival of Losar is being celebrated across Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir with traditional and religious fervor. The 15 daylong celebration of Losar festival, mark the beginning of the New Year. 

The centuries-old tradition of celebrating Losar continued to strengthen the existing community bond and add joy to the lives of inhabitants of the landlocked Himalayan territory of Ladakh. 

Losar is a community-based socio-religious festival celebrated by the Buddhists of Ladakh, which has 19 major monasteries celebrating 18 monastic festivals every year.



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 2 January 2014 approved a proposal for setting-up of CCTVs and GPS devices on public transport vehicles in 32 cities for women safety. 

The CCTV’s will be installed under a unified system named National Vehicle Security and Tracking System at national level and City Command and Control Centre for global positioning system at state level. This will help in mapping the routes of the public vehicles and it will also help in tracking the vehicles on their route. 

The violations will be highlighted through the visual and text signals. This facility will help in offering safety and security to women and girl child in distress in minimum response time. The complete project will be implemented at a total estimated cost of 1405 crore rupees and it will be executed within a period of two years.



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 2 January 2014 gave its nod for the implementation of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The project will be implemented with the assistance of the World Bank over a period of six years (from 2013-14 to 2019-20). This project will benefit the rural population of about 78 lakh persons including 44 lakh scheduled castes and more than 8 lakh scheduled tribes. 

The project will help the people with improved piped water supply which will cover approximately 17400 habitations in 2150 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the following 33 districts of the four States. 

The total Project cost of 6000 crore rupees will be financed through Government of India [from the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) allocation – 33 percent], State Government (fund sharing as per NRDWP guidelines – 16 percent), beneficiary contribution (1 percent) and external financing (World Bank-IDA funds – 50 percent). 

Government of India will repay the amount of US$ 500 million extended as credit by the World Bank over a period of 25 years with 1.25 percent interest rate. 

• Assam: 7 districts (Hailakandi, Kamrup, Jorhat, Morigaon, Bongaigaon, Sonitpur and Sibsagar) with estimated population coverage of about 14 lakh 

• Bihar: 10 districts (Patna, Begusarai, Munger, Muzzafarpur, West Champaran, Nalanda, Nawada, Saran, Purnia and Banka) with estimated population coverage of about 24 lakh 

• Jharkhand: 6 districts (East Singhbum, Dumka, Garwah, Palamu, Saraikela-Kharsawan and Khunti) with estimated population coverage of about 12 lakh 

• Uttar Pradesh: 10 Eastern UP districts (Gorakhpur, Kushi Nagar, Deoria, Basti, Ghazipur, Ballia, Allahabad, Sonbhadra, Bahraich and Gonda) with estimated population coverage of about 28 lakh.  

The key features of the project are

• Strengthening and empowering of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) as well as ensuring direct involvement of beneficiary communities in the scheme implementation. Schemes will be implemented with integral involvement of GPs 

• Sanitation in conjoint approach with water is conceptualized as an integrated component of the proposed project 

• The project will implement pilot programs such as 24/7 water supply provision in select areas, and new technologies such as use of solar energy 

• There shall be an intensive Capacity Building programme for all stakeholders down to the GP level 

• Intensive Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and Behavioural Change Communication (BCC) programs will be carried out. 

• The project will support the universal provision of household connections, meters for bulk water supply, and promotion of household meters, wherever appropriate, 

• There will be a focus on monitoring and surveillance of drinking water quality, 

• Grievance redressal measures of a GP, District and State level will be captured by the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system proposed under the project, 

• Technical, financial, procurement and social audits during scheme planning, implementation and O&M will be conducted 

• Demonstration of beneficiary support for the schemes through a onetime upfront community contribution (Rs. 450 per household/ Rs. 225 for SC/ST household) towards capital cost 

• The Project will adopt a phased approach for achieving full Operation and Maintenance (O&M) cost recovery through user fees Implementation of the project will improve the usage and access of piped drinking water supplied into individual homes. 

This will help the women and children will be beneficial because of the facility as at present they bear the burden of securing the daily water supplies available to them. 

By adopting a convergence approach with Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) and the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) the implementation of the project will improve the sanitation conditions in the targeted district. 24 quality affected (arsenic/fluoride/iron) districts will be covered under the program to provide potable water. The rural population will benefit from effective IEC and Behavioral Change Communication (BCC) programs. 

Background: The 12th Five Year Plan for Rural Water Supply envisages achieving piped water supply coverage for 50 percent rural population in the country with 30 percent rural population having household tap connections. 

This project is therefore conceptualized to provide a focused thrust in the four low income states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand which have less than 10 percent piped water coverage) and Uttar Pradesh (Eastern) which has high incidences of JE/AES cases.



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the Central Sector Scheme Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) on 2 January 2014. The Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) has been approved for the implementation during 12th five year plan period aiming at overall development of the leather sector. 

Under Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP), there are six sub-schemes namely
• Integrated Development of Leather Sector (IDLS), 
• Human Resource Development (HRD), 
• Support to Artisan (STA), 
• Leather Technology Innovation and Environmental Issues (former Upgradation/installation of Infrastructure for Environmental Protection), 
• Mega Leather Cluster and 
• Establishment of Institutional Institutes. 

The six sub-schemes are proposed for continuation from the 11th Plan period for implementation under the ILDP during the 12th Plan period with the total outlay of 990.36 crore rupees. Implementation of ILDP would provide trained manpower to the industry and assistance to overcome the constraints of infrastructure in the industry. 

Background
• The ILDP was implemented during 11th Plan period and 13 sub-schemes were implemented. 
• The expenditure incurred during 11th Plan period was 669.02 crore rupees. 
• The implementation of the ILDP employed around 50 thousand and supported 13 thousand artisans in different states of the country. 
• 331 units have been approved for providing support for their modernization and technology upgradation.



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal for construction of a 220kV Transmission system from Alusteng (Srinagar) to Leh on 2 December 2014. The System will pass via 66kV Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) interconnection system for Drass, Kargil, Khalsti and Leh substations with an estimated total cost of 1788.41 crore rupees. The transmission project will provide grid connectivity and reliable power supply to the Ladakh region. 

The project will be implemented through PGCIL, a central transmission utility, within 42 months from the date of release of the first installment of funds. The project cost will be borne by the Government of India and the Government of Jammu &Kashmir in 95:5 ratios. 

The commissioning of the transmission system will be transferred to the State of J&K Government. J& K government will carry out Operation & Maintenance (O&M) and other related activities at their own cost as per the terms & conditions in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 

Background: The electric supply system of Ladakh Region in the State of J&K is currently isolated from the northern grid because of its difficult terrain. The electricity is generated through local small hydro generation and diesel generator sets and the region is experiencing an energy shortage of about 95 percent. Since Ladakh is an area of defence establishments, reliable power supply arrangement is very crucial.



The district administration of Sonitpur district in Assam and East Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh agreed on 2 January 2014 to maintain the status quo along the Inter-State boundary. 

As per the agreement reached, the status quo along the boundary will be maintained till the Supreme Court delivers its verdict. The Supreme Court had constituted a Local Boundary Commission headed by Justice (Retd) Tarun Chaterjee in 2006. The decision was reached during a meeting convened in Assam’s Sonitpur district to discuss the boundary issue. 

At the meeting, the administration of East Kameng (Arunachal) and Sonitpur (Assam) emphasized on the need to maintain peace, harmony and the age-old bond of the people of the two neighbouring States.



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved amendments in the Mega Power Policy 2009 on 2 December 2014. The amendments will clear the road blocks in the realization of provisional Mega Power projects. 

The objective is to increase power availability to boost overall growth of the country and also ensure that consumers are reasonably charged for electricity supplied. 

The major amendments to the Mega Power Policy 2009 are

• The developer must tie up at least 65 percent of installed capacity through competitive bidding. 

• Remaining 35 percent of installed capacity will be allocated under regulated tariff as per the respective State government policies. 

• The thermal power projects of 1000 MW and above, capacity and hydro power projects of 500 MW and above are allowed duty-free equipment imports. 

• To avail the a benefits, project developers must submit status certificate of the provisional mega power projects along with fixed deposit receipt from any scheduled bank as a security for a term of 36 months. 

• Extend the maximum time period to 60 months instead of 36 months from the date of import for provisional mega projects for furnishing final mega certificates to tax authorities. 

• The dispensation will be one time and limited to 15 projects which are located in the States having mandatory host State power tie up policy of PPAs under regulated tariff.



The Union Cabinet on 2 January 2014 approved the Policy Guidelines for Land Management by Major Ports, 2014. Land Policy is one of the most significant policy frameworks guiding the overall functioning and development of the port sector. 

The guidelines has been approved with an aim for optimum utilization and for realization of the value of land reserves by linking with the prevailing market rates available with the major ports of India. By putting in place a mechanism of leasing/licensing of port land through a transparent tender-cum-action methodology, the guideline seeks to minimize discretionary powers of the port authorities in the process of allotment. 

The policy has been framed with an objective to ensure that the land resources should be put to optimum use as per the approved land use plan. Due to this, the land leasing and licensing process will become more accountable and transparent and will also minimize the element of discretion and arbitrariness at port level. The approved policy will be applicable to the major Port Trusts and Ennore Port Limited, except land related to the township areas of Kandla, Mumbai and Kolkata Ports.



Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh on 4 January 2014 launched the total E-literacy project implemented by PN Panicker Vigyan Vikas Kendra in Thiruvanathpuram. This would act as the corner-stone of the Kerala model of development. 

The Prime Minister after launching the project said that the total E-literacy will reduce the digital divide and improve the living standards of the unprivileged population of Kerala. As per him, the E-governance would help the country in better delivery of services mainly education in financial inclusion and in e-commerce. It will also help the youths to generate productive employment opportunities. 

The IT companies have been asked by the Prime Minister to utilize the youth potential of Kerala, which is of highest standard. He said that the Granthasala Sanghom (library movement), which began by Panicker with 47 libraries in 1945 has grown into a network of more than 6000 libraries in due course was the corner stone of the Kerala model of development. 

Panicker also worked to foster social amity and harmony by devoting to Friendship Village Movement. Oommen Chandy, the Chief Minister of Kerala said that within three years the state will become totally E-literate state. 

If this is achieved, Kerala will become the first state of India to achieve the goal of making people E-literacy. Kerala has also implemented the Right to Electronic delivery of services.



Assam will launch its adult vaccination drive against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) from 22 February 2014. As per the sources, in the first phase, all upper Assam districts will be covered during a weeklong vaccination programme. With this initiative, Assam will become the first state to start adult vaccination against the deadly disease. 

On pilot basis, the health department of the state has conducted the adult vaccination in Sivsagar district. In last 3 years, more than 3000 cases of Japanese Encephalitis have been registered in the state of which 342 people have died. National Rural Health Mission will undertake a massive awareness drive before the programme. 

India on 4 October 2013 launched its first indigenous vaccine to protect children from Japanese encephalitis. Till now, the vaccine was imported in India from China. JE vaccine-JENVAC is a Vero cell derived purified inactivated received manufacturing and marketing approval from Drug Controller General of India. JENVAC is the first vaccine, which will be manufactured in public-private partnership mode between the Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech. 

Japanese Encephalitis: Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease that infects animals and humans. In humans, it is transmitted by mosquitoes, which causes inflammation of the membranes around the brain. Expansion of the irrigated rice productions systems in over past 20 years in the South and South-East Asia have played an important role in increasing the impact of the disease, which is caused by Japanese Encephalitis. The irrigated fields into the semi-arid areas at the start of each cropping cycle leads to help mosquitoes in building-up explosively. This may cause the circulation of the virus to spill over from their usual hosts (birds and pigs) into the human population. 

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a disease caused by a flavivirus that affects the membranes around the brain. The virus causing Japanese encephalitis is transmitted by mosquitoes belonging to the Culex tritaeniorhynchus and Culex vishnui groups, which breed particularly in flooded rice fields. Japanese encephalitis is a leading cause of viral encephalitis in Asia with 30,000-50,000 clinical cases reported annually.



The Union Cabinet on January 2, 2014 approved the Policy Guidelines for Land Management by Major Ports, 2014. Land Policy is one of the most significant policy frameworks guiding the overall functioning and development of the port sector. These guidelines aim at optimum utilization and optimum realization of the value of land reserves by linking it with prevailing market rates available with major ports of the country. 

The policy seeks to minimize discretionary powers of port authorities in the process of allotment, by putting in place a mechanism of leasing / licensing of port land through a transparent tender-cum-auction methodology. 

The main objective of the policy is to ensure that land resources are put to their optimum use as per the approved land use plan. This will also bring in more accountability and transparency into the process of land leasing and licensing and minimize the element of discretion and arbitrainess at port level.  

The policy will be made applicable to all the major Port Trusts and Ennore Port Limited, except for land relating to the township areas of Kandla, Mumbai and Kolkata Ports.



The Union Cabinet on January 2, 2014 approved the proposal of the Ministry of Power for operationalization of the Power System Development Fund (PSDF) and the scheme formulated for utilization of funds deposited therein based on the procedure laid down in the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) Power System Development Fund Regulations. 

The Power System Development Fund will be utilized for the following purposes

i) Creating necessary transmission systems of strategic importance based on operational feedback by Load Dispatch Centers for relieving congestion in Inter-State Transmission Systems (ISTS) and intra-state system which are incidental to the ISTS. 

ii) Installation of shunt capacitors, series compensators and other reactive energy generators for improvement of voltage profile in the grid. 

iii) Installation of standard and special protection schemes, pilot and demonstrative projects, and for setting right discrepancies identified in protection audits on regional basis. 

iv) Renovation and Modernization (R&M) of transmission and distribution systems for relieving congestion. v) Any other scheme / project in furtherance of the above objectives, such as, conducting technical studies and capacity building, etc. The PSDF will be operationalized within three months.



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Central Sector Scheme Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) for implementation during the 12th Plan period aiming at overall development of the leather sector. 

Six sub-schemes namely: Integrated Development of Leather Sector (IDLS), Human Resource Development (HRD), Support to Artisan (STA), Leather Technology Innovation and Environmental Issues (erstwhile Upgradation/lnstallation of Infrastructure for Environmental Protection), Mega Leather Cluster and Establishment of Institutional Institutes are being proposed for continuation from the 11th Plan period for implementation under the ILDP during the 12th Plan period with the total outlay of Rs.990.36 crore. 

Around two lakh unemployed persons would be provided placement linked skill development training under the HRD sub-scheme. Skill upgradation of existing employees and training to trainers would also be provided. Thirty thousand artisans would be covered through the common facilitating centre support, marketing linkages, micro finance and by forming Self Help Group for enhancing their skill and income. 

It also envisages infrastructure support in the form of mega leather clusters, establishing infrastructure and pilot projects for environment protection, establishment of two new branches of Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) and providing assistance for modernization and technology upgradation of leather units. Implementation of ILDP would provide trained manpower to the industry and assistance to overcome the constraints of infrastructure in the industry besides efforts for addressing environmental concerns. The objective of the scheme is overall development of the leather sector. 

Background: Based on the approval accorded by the CCEA in its meeting held in August, 2008, the ILDP was implemented during 11th Plan period. 13 sub-schemes were implemented under ILDP. The expenditure incurred during 11th Plan period was Rs.669.02 crore. The scheme is being continued from the 11th Plan period. 

During the years 2012-13 and 2013-14 of the 12th Plan period, the implementation has been continued, during which, 49505 unemployed persons have been provided placement linked skill development training all over India out of which 38699 trainees have been placed in the industry. Support has been provided to 13398 artisans in Jaipur, Alwar, Jodhpur, Rai-Bareilly, Patiala, Maharashtra and West Bengal. One project of Common Effluent Treatment Plant at Dindigul in Tamil Nadu is being supported. Applications of 331 units have been approved for providing support for their modernization and technology upgradation.


Bilateral 

India scrapped the 3600 crore rupees to supply 12 VVIP helicopter deal with the Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland on 1 January 2014. It was scrapped following the alleged payment of kickbacks to the tune of 360 crore rupees paid in the deal. It has been done nearly a year after the scam that surfaced creating a political storm in India. 

The deal was scrapped on the grounds of the breach of the pre-contract Integrity Pact and the agreement with the firm. The bribes were paid to win the contract by two executives of AugustaWestland, a unit of Italian defence contractor Finmeccanica to supply a dozen AW101 helicopters, which will be used by Indian Air Force for carrying the VVIPs and ministers. 

India’s agreement with AgustaWestland

India did a deal for supply of 12 VVIP helicopters with AgustaWestland in 2010. The company has already delivered three helicopters to India. The controversy came into existence after the arrest of two top officials of the company in February 2013. 

AgustaWestland was pressing the Indian Government for arbitration, whereas the Indian Government viewed that arbitration is not a subject to be taken care of due to the issues related to integrity. But India decided to get into the arbitration following an advice by the Attorney General of India after scrapping the deal. 

Justice BP Jeevan Reddy has been nominated as the arbitrator of India to safeguard the interests of the Government. 

List of some defence scandals of India: 

Jeeps Scandal in 1948: It was alleged that irregularities happened in the acquisition of the jeeps from England, which was used as army jeeps. The deal was signed by VK Menon, the Indian High Commissioner in Britain at that time. He bypassed a protocol to sign a deal of 80 lakh rupees. The case was closed in 1955 as t5he judicial inquiry ignored the suggestion of the Inquiry Committee led by Ananthsayanam Ayyangar. It was first major corruption of Independent India. 

Bofors Scandal in 1987: It is alleged that the Swedish arms maker, Bofors bribed to get the deal of the 155 mm Howitzers. Rajiv Gandi, the then Prime Minister of India was involved in the scandal, which was closed after 21 years of probe in 2011. It was signed between India and Swedish metals and armaments major to replace the old field guns and artillery available with Indian army. The government of India decided the induction of the Calibre 155 mm howitzers. AB bofors of Sweden manufactured the FH-77 gun, which was owned by Alfred Nobel one. 

Scorpene Submarine Scandal of 2005: It alleges bribery of 500 crore rupees by Thales, a defence company of France to purchase the submarine of Scorpene for Indian Navy. No evidence was found by CBI in its preliminary enquiry. Pranab Mukherjee the then Union Defence Minister approved a deal worth 19000 crore rupees in October 2005. These submarines are being in India at present under a technology transfer agreement. The technology transfer agreement was a part of the agreement signed. 

Barack Missiles Scandal in 2000: RK Jain, the treasurer of Samata Party was arrested and former Defence Minister of India George Fernandes was named for the allegations of bribery for acquisition of Barack missile by Israel. In 2006 a case was lodged by CBI and the case was closed in 2011.  

Tatra Trucks Scandal of 2012: The former chief of Army General VK Singh alleged that he was offered a bribe to clear the purchase of these trucks. Questions were raised on the quality of the heavy duty trucks made by Tatra.



India and Saudi Arabia on 2 January 2013 signed an agreement to protect the interests and rights of Indian domestic sector workers in the Gulf Kingdom. The pact was signed by Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and the visiting Adel bin Mohammed Fakeih, the Labour Minister of Saudi Arabia in New Delhi. 

The agreement signing was necessitated in the view of Indians, who are facing work related problems in Saudi Arabia. The two countries have agreed on the need for a comprehensive way to deal with such problems. 

The two sides have decided to set up a joint committee to meet periodically to overcome the difficulties in implementing the agreement. The pact has been signed with an objective to ensure authenticity and implementation of employment contract and take an action against recruitment agencies that violates the laws. 

At present around 28 lakh peoples are living in Saudi Arabia. Indians form the largest expatriate community in the country. Of 500000 domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, most people are working as maids, helpers, drivers and cleaners of which around 10 percent are women. 

The features of the agreement as per the official statements are
• It protects the rights of both the employers and domestic workers 
• It regulates the contractual relation between them 
• It ensures authenticity and implementation of the employment contract, takes measures against recruitment agencies that will violate laws and establishes a mechanism to provide 24 hours assistance to the domestic sector workers.  

The agreement was conseptualised in April 2013 during the visit of Vayalar Ravi to Saudi Arabia.



India and Maldives signed three Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) on 2 January 2014. President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom made his first visit to India after the election in Maldives and appreciated India’s equidistant approach during the Maldives presidential election. 

The following MoUs were signed
• Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Health. 
• Exchange of Letters on extending the Memorandum of Understanding on Manpower requirements of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital 
• Memorandum of Agreement for allotment of plot to the High Commission of Maldives.  

Besides, both the countries agreed
• To handover land on reciprocal basis in Male and New Delhi for construction of the new Chancery buildings for the respective High Commissions in each other’s country 
• To establish the Joint consultative Commission as per the Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development signed between India and Maldives in 2011. 

India reiterated financial support to Maldives for developmental projects like setting up of the Maldives Police Academy, the renovation of Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male and construction of the Composite Training Centre for the Maldives National Defence Force. 

India also extended a standby credit facility of 25 million dollars to the Maldives for imports from India and agreed to meet the requirement of petroleum products in the Maldives. India has agreed to allow visa-free entry for the people from Maldives for medical purposes and removal of the restriction on re-entry within two months. 

Both the sides also agreed to resolve the GMR’s contract to run Male International Airport. India and the Maldives are looking forward to boost security and maritime cooperation, people-to-people contacts and air connectivity.



The National Archives of India has successfully collaborated with the State Archives of Turkey and the National Records and Archives Authority of Oman. The collaboration was reached after a series of meetings in Ankara and Muscat. V Srinivas, the Director General of National Archives of India on 2 January 2014 met with Ugur Unal, the Director General State Archives of Turkey in Istanbul. He met with Hamad Mohd. Al Dhawiani, the Chairman of the National Records and Archives Authority of Oman in Muscat on 31 December 2013. 

During the visit of the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee to Ankara on 7 October 2013, the protocol for collaboration in Archives was signed between India and Turkey. The Ambassador of India to Turkey Susmita Gongulee Thomas and the First Deputy Minister of Archives of Turkey M. Abdullah Canbek were also present on the occasion in the State Archives of Turkey at Ankara. The protocol has been signed and exchanged in two languages namely Hindi and the Turkish. 

National Archives of India, as per the signed protocol allows it to access the ancient Ottoman Archives record that amounts to 12 million documents. The two sides has recognized the benefits from the collaboration in the field of archives and agreed on the need to collaborate deeply in the coming years. The two sides will collaborate in future for development of strong institutions and improved record management practices. 

India and Turkey agreed on the following road-map for future collaboration 

Identifying Archival Material of Mutual Interest: The National Archives of India has agreed to host a delegation of Archivists from the State Archives of Turkey at the National Archives of India for a period of 5 days. It will be hosted to identify documents, which are of interest to the State Archives of Turkey. The State Archives of Turkey has also agreed to provide a catalogue of reference material available with the State Archives of Turkey for National Archives of India to identify areas of mutual interest.

Exhibition of Ottoman Archival Records in National Archives of India: The National Archives of India agreed to host a one week exhibition from the State Archives of Turkey in New Delhi at a time of mutual convenience in 2014. It was also agreed that an advance team from State Archives of Turkey could be deputed to National Archives of India to work out the logistical arrangements.

Collaboration in Training Programs: The National Archives of India agreed to build collaboration with the State Archives of Turkey in development of training programs through a Technical Assistance Program. 

• Collaboration in Digitization of Records: the National Archives of India agreed to explore possible areas of collaboration with the State Archives of Turkey in the exchange of digital copies and share experiences in this regard.  

The bilateral meet between the Hamad Mohd Al Dhawiani of Sultanate of Oman and V Srinivas, Director General National Archives of India was also attended by the Ambassador of India to Oman, JS Mukul. 

The two sides have identified following areas for collaboration

• The National Archives of India will host an Omani delegation of Archivists at New Delhi to prepare proper reference media for the archival documents collected from Indian side 

• The National Records and Archives Authority will hold an exhibition at New Delhi on Omani and Ottoman Archival records along with a seminar of Arabic Scholars from both sides participating in the deliberations 

• A technical assistance program for development of training programs would be developed between the 2 institutions 

• Both sides would seek to explore collaboration in digitization of archival records 

• Both sides agreed to work on exchange of archivists to develop archival records in both countries 

• The National Archives of India would facilitate interaction with State Archives and Grant in Aid institutions associated with Portuguese history in India. 

Oman has up till now has accessed 73000 documents of historical importance from National Archives of India for building an international records section in the National Records and Archives Authority.



Defence Minister of Japan, Itsunori Onodera, is on a visit to India from 5-8 January 2014 as a follow up to the India-Japan Defence Ministerial Meeting held in November 2011. The two Ministers held a Defence Ministerial meeting on 6 January 2014. At the meeting, the two Ministers extensively and frankly exchanged ideas regarding regional and global security challenges, as well as bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges between India and Japan. 

They shared views on issues relating to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region. Minister Onodera briefed on Japan`s National Security Strategy and the National Defence Program Guidelines, which were adopted in December 2013. The Defence Minister of India Shri AK Antony appreciated the detailed briefing. 

The two Ministers appreciated the progress on India-Japan bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges that had been achieved in a variety of fields and at various levels, including the holding of the third Defence Policy Dialogue which was decided during the 2011 Defence Ministerial meeting, the second "2 plus 2" dialogue and the second bilateral training between the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and the Indian Navy which was held from 19-22 December, 2013. 

The two Ministers also shared views on the necessity to conduct high- level and working-level regular consultations and exchanges, deepening Services exchanges and education/academic research exchanges and making other efforts, in order to further strengthen mutual trust and mutual understanding. They also decided to strengthen India-Japan defence consultation and cooperation, including those related to maritime security to further consolidate and strengthen the Strategic and Global Partnership between Japan and India. 

At the meeting, the two Ministers shared views to promote defence cooperation and exchanges and to conduct major cooperation and exchanges as follows: 

• Continue to carry out high-level mutual visits on annual basis. The Defence Minister of India will visit Japan in 2014; 

• Hold the third "2 plus 2" dialogue and the fourth Defence Policy Dialogue (Administrative Vice-Minister/Secretary of Defence level) in Delhi in 2014; 

• Promote exchanges on UN Peacekeeping Operations between Japan Peacekeeping Training and Research Centre, Joint Staff College (JPC), Central Readiness Force of Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) and Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) of the Indian Army; 

• Conduct bilateral exercises between Japan Maritime Self- Defence Force and Indian Navy on a regular basis. In 2014, the Indian Navy will visit Japan to conduct joint exercises; 

• Conduct Expert exchanges in Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief and Counter Terrorism between both Indian Army and Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF); and 

• Continue to conduct staff exchanges and discuss possibility of conducting staff talks between Japan Air Self-Defence Force and Indian Air Force and professional exchanges of test-pilots, professional exchanges in the field of flight safety and between their transport squadrons. 

Minister Onodera expressed gratitude to Minister AK Antony for the heartfelt welcome and hospitality extended to him during his visit to India.


Business 

A US based biopharmaceutical company Cephlon Inc has filed a suit against an Indian drug manufacturer company Glenmark Pharmaceuticals. The suit is a result of patent infringement by Glenmark. 

Cephlon Inc has filed a patent infringement suit on 26 December 2013 in the US District Court. Glenmark has plans to sell generic version of leukaemia treatment drug in the American market before the expiry of patent. 

Cephlon Inc seeks to prevent Glenmark from commercializing its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Bendamustine Hydrochloride product. Bendamustine is a generic version of Treanda. Bendamustine is indicated for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. 

Leukaemia: Leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases. In turn, it is part of the even broader group of diseases affecting the blood, bone marrow, and lymphoid system. Leukemia is a treatable disease. Most treatments involve chemotherapy, medical radiation therapy, hormone treatments, or bone marrow transplant.



Country's largest software services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) decided to set up the world's largest corporate learning and development centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The corporate learning centre will have a total capacity to train 50,000 professionals every year. 

The foundation stone for the corporate learning centre was laid by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 4 January 2014. The learning facility will be built over area of 6.1 million square feet and will have the capacity to train 15,000 professionals at one time and 50,000 professionals annually. 

The learning centre is located on a 97-acre property in the Technopark area of the city. The campus will also have residential accommodation for professionals and faculty at the centre. 

The project will provide direct employment to over 2000 skilled and unskilled local people for a period of 4 years. An integral part of the project will be the skill development programmes run by TCS to upgrade the skills of local youth and facilitate opportunities to work in the construction project, through contractors.



Government of India allowed British retailer Tesco to invest in brownfield entities in India. Tesco could now invest up to 50 percent of the total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Government of India has amended its current provision of FDI. Out of the total FDI, 50 per cent has to be mandatorily invested in back-end infrastructure such as warehouses, supply chain and logistics. This would be in addition to investments in front-end greenfield assets such as retail stores. Previously, it was mentioned that the front-end retail stores must also be set up as an additionality and not through acquisition of existing stores. 

According to the current policy, a foreign investor in the multi-brand retail sector can invest 51 per cent, the minimum investment size being 100 million dollar. Tesco, the world's third-largest retailer, has a franchise agreement to provide support to Trent's Star Bazaar chain. 

Initially, Tesco would open stores at Karnataka and Maharashtra. Investment in an existing asset or company is termed as brownfield investments. 

Greenfield investment is a form of FDI where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the scratch. In addition to building new facilities, most parent companies also create new long-term jobs in the foreign country by hiring new employees.



Bajaj Allianz General Insurance launched an all women branch in Pune on 4 January 2014. It is the first insurer to give an opportunity to women with an aim to tap the vast talent pool of women professionals. This initiative includes support facilities such as creche, pickup and drop, work from home and flexible timings. 

In future, the company is planning to roll out similar branches in other metros soon. Women focused initiatives have been observed in other financial services like banking (Bharatiya Mahila Bank). Bharatiya Mahila Bank is the India’s first all women’s bank was launched in Mumbai which aims at economic empowerment of women.


Economy 

Indian credit-rating agency CRISIL launched a Financial Inclusix Index 2013 on 2 January 2014. The index showed an improvement in the financial inclusion in India. The index showed an improvement of 2.7 percent in the year 2012. The score was the highest since 2009. The index was based on the data provided by Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 

The all-India CRISIL Inclusix score of 42.8 on a scale of 100, reflects under-penetration of formal banking in the country. The index measured the financial inclusion in each of the 638 districts of India. 

Highlights of the Index are: Overall 79 million new savings accounts were opened in 2012 which was 12.6 per cent more than in the year 2011. Agricultural credit accounts grew at 11.1 per cent, the most since fiscal 2009. 

The number of bank branches in the bottom 100 districts increased by 6 per cent, faster than the all-India growth of 5.6 per cent. One in two Indians had a savings account and one in seven has access to bank credit. The six largest cities in the country have 10 per cent of the bank branches whereas the bottom 50 districts have merely 2 per cent of the bank branches. 

The four key elements driving the CRISIL Inclusix Index score up by 2.7 in fiscal 2012 were: New deposit accounts in three regions – north, south and east. This contributed 42% to the rise in CRISIL Inclusix Index. The north, by adding 2.4 million new credit accounts, contributed 11% to the index’s increase. Almost 30% of the 5125 new branches were added in the south, which contributed 9% to the increase. Credit penetration in the top 50 districts jumped significantly as small-borrower accounts surged. 

Thus, the CRISIL recommended: To speed up inclusion, financial services need to flow beyond the south and the large cities, and Policy makers need to incentivise expansion of banking services in the districts that have low CRISIL Inclusix scores through an increase in branch network and partnerships with other players. 

CRISIL Inclusix Index: CRISIL Inclusix index is a comprehensive index to measure the progress of financial inclusion in India across 638 districts. It is a relative index measured on a scale of 0 to 100. It combines three critical parameters of basic banking services — branch penetration, deposit penetration, and credit penetration —into one metric.



India on 2 January 2014 has signed a credit agreement of 160 million dollar with World Bank for Rajasthan Road Sector Modernisation Project (RRSMP). On behalf of the Government of India, the agreement was signed by Nilaya Mitash, the Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs Ministry of Finance and on behalf of World Bank it was signed by Manoj Jain, the action Director, New Delhi. 

Similarly on behalf of Government of Rajasthan, the project agreement was signed by JC Mohanty, the Principal Secretary of Public Works Department. The project aims to improve the rural connectivity and enhance road safety by strengthening road sector management capacity of Rajasthan. 

Components of the project are
• Rural Connectivity Improvement 
• Road Sector Modernization and Performance Enhancement 
• Road Safety Management.



Merger & Acquisitions (M & A) in the India economy declined by 11.5% in the year 2013. This was revealed by the data compiled by Thomson Reuters on 3 January 2014. The data compiled by Thomson Reuters showed that the number of deals declined by 12.6% to 967 from 1107 in 2012. The decline in the M & As by 11.5% to 31.5 billion dollar in 2013 was the lowest since 2009 when it had stood at 21.5 billion dollar. The decline reflected the general weakness in the economy. 

During the fourth quarter of 2013, overall M & As aggregated 7.1 billion dollar which was 28.5% more than third quarter of 2013. However, when compared on year-on-year basis, M & As deal in Q4 of 2013 saw a decline of 29.8% compared to Q4 of year 2012. The average M&A size climbed to 76.1 million dollar because of announcement of more deals above the 1 billion dollar mark. This was higher than the average M & As size of 73.5 million in 2012. 

Meanwhile, the economic slump had a larger impact on domestic M & As which plunged 69% to 5.2 billion dollar in 2013. It is the lowest since 2004 when domestic M & As stood at 2 billion dollar. The bulk of domestic activities were on the materials sector with deals worth 1.5 billion dollars being clinched. 

It constituted 29.4% of the total domestic M & As, but this again was a massive 75.4% lower than 2012. Completed M & A deals involving domestic companies aggregated 29 billion dollar which was 49.5% higher than 19.4 billion dollar in 2012. Energy and power sectors lead the M& A street with 21.1% market share or worth 6.7 billion dollar, which was a whopping 173.3% increase over 2012. The second slot was occupied by the healthcare players capturing 15.8% of the total with 5 billion dollar worth of deals. The increase was 24.5% higher than in 2012.



The Union Cabinet on January 2, 2014 gave its approval for conversion of Perpetual Non-Cumulative Preference Shares (PNCPS) held by Government of India (GOI) in Indian Bank, UCO Bank and Vijaya Bank amounting to Rs.400 crore, Rs.1,823 crore and Rs.1,200 crore respectively into Equity Shares of these banks in favour of GOI, subject to approval of shareholders and also Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and other authorities. 

Conversion of PNCPS subscribed by GOI in Indian Bank, UCO Bank and Vijaya Bank into equity shares in the first instance and subsequently in other Public Sector Banks where GOI has invested in PNCPS, PCPS and IDPIs, would enhance the Tier-1 capital of the PSBs thereby making available more funds at their disposal to meet the credit requirement of the productive sectors of economy. It will also provide impetus to the economy by including the under-banked rural and semi-urban areas. The conversion is proposed to be done in the Financial Year 2013-14 subject to approval of shareholders and also the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and other authorities. 

Background: Three PSBs namely, UCO Bank, Vijaya Bank and Indian Bank have requested for conversion of PNCPSs held by GOI into equity. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been consulted in the matter. RBI, in its comments on the proposals, advised that the Government may consider permitting conversion of PNCPSs into equity subject to approval of shareholders and also Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and other authorities. 

After implementation of Basel-Ill norms, the thrust has been on equity capital in Tier- I capital of banks. Other instruments without loss absorption capacity do not qualify to be counted for Tier-l capital of banks. Non-equity instruments such as PNCPS, PCPS and IPDI do not qualify to be counted for Tier-l capital of the banks. The GOI has, in the past, infused capital by way of these instruments in the PSBs.


Awards 

Mammen Mathew, the Chief Editor and Managing Director of Malayala Manorma has been chosen for prestigious journalism award instituted by a trust founded by Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak on 31 December 2013. The Lokmanya Tilak National Award instituted by the Kesari Mahratta Trust for excellence in journalism consist a memento and a cash of 1 lakh rupees. It will be given on the day of celebrations of the trust’s 133rd foundation day at Tilakwada, Pune on 4 January 2013. 

About Mammen Mathew

• Mammen Mathew is a senior journalist with an experience of 44 years of working in reputed publications in India and abroad. 

• He served as the President of the Editors Guild of India 

• He has been a President of Indian Newspaper Society; it is an association of newspaper owners 

• He has also been a member of the National Security Advisory Board 

• He was the first Indian, Director Trustee of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company.



Danielle Steel awarded France’s highest honour, the Legion of Honor. It was revealed by the government’s official newsletter on 1 January 2014. 

• Steel, US author joined other foreigners such as singers Bono, Douglas MacArthur, Julia Child and Bob Dylan or writer Philip Roth who received the France highest honour in recognition of service to France. 

• She has sold 600 million copies of her books in 70 countries and in 43 languages. 

• Steel had been already decorated as an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, France’s top Cultural honour. 

• She was made a Chevalier of the order, which was founded by Napoleon in 1802. 

About Award: France traditionally announces the awards on 1 January of every year, as well as on every Easter and on 14 July, the country’s national day. Those who have already become members of the Legion d´Honor can be elevated to higher ranks.



Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the Order of Prince Henry by the Portugal’s president office on 3 January 2014. It is one of the Portugal’s highest honours. Ronaldo will receive the medal and ribbon on 7 January 2014, officially making him the Order of Prince Henry. 

Presidential statement released that Ronaldo deserved the recognition because he is a worldwide symbol of Portugal and making the country better known internationally. Ronaldo will lead the Portuguese bid for it first international trophy in the World Cup 2014. Cristiano Ronaldo, 28, is a football player and plays for Real Madrid in Spain.



Government of India on 6 January 2014 announced Jeevan Raksha Padak for 37 people for their meritorious act of human nature in saving human lives. As per the official release, three persons have been selected for the Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak posthumously, six have been awarded with Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and 28 have been awarded with Jeevan Rakhsa Padak. 

The award is given in three categories, namely, Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak, and Jeevan Raksha Padak. 

Persons of either sex in all walks of life are eligible for these awards. The award can also be conferred posthumously. The decoration of the award (medal, certificate signed by the Home Minister and demand draft for lump sum monetary allowance) is presented to the awardee in due course by the respective state Government to which the awardee belongs. 

The lump sum monetary allowance is given at the rate of 1 lakh rupees, 60000 rupees and 40000 rupees to the Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and Jeevan Raksha Padak awardee respectively.


Persons 

Army chief General Bikram Singh took over as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) on 30 December 2013. He received the baton of Chairman, COSC from outgoing Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N.K.Browne.



Shri S.K. Sharma was appointed as Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) on 2 January 2014. BEL is a public sector undertaking under the defence ministry and is a Navratna. 

Mr. Sharma took charge as CMD after Mr. Anil Kumar retired on 31 December 2013. He joined BEL in 1978 at Bangalore. He had served in various divisions of BEL. He has worked in multiple disciplines and served in various capacities at BEL’s Bangalore, Ghaziabad and Hyderabad units. 

About Bharat Electronics Limited: Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) was established at Bangalore, India, by the Government of India under the Ministry of Defence in 1954 to meet the specialised electronic needs of the Indian defence services. BEL was conferred with the Navratna status by the Government of India in June 2007. In 2002, BEL became the first defence PSU to get Mini Ratna Category -I Status.



Raj Jain was appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Pankaj Madan as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) by the Bharti Retail on 3 January 2014.



India’s former shooting coach Tibor Gonczol died in Australia on 3 January 2014. He was 80. Tibor who started his coaching career in 1973, joined as Indian shooting coach in 1991. 

He remained coach of Indian shooting team for 12 long years till 2002. His contract was not renewed by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) due to his old age.



B. G. Srinivas and U.B. Pravin Rao appointed as presidents of the Infosys Ltd Company on 3 January 2014.



R. Chandrashekhar was appointed as President of National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) on 4 January 2014. R. Chandrasekhar succeeded Som Mittal whose tenure with the NASSCOM ended on 3 January 2014. He was at the helm of NASSCOM for six long years. 

After taking over as the President of NASSCOM his immediate challenge would be to achieve NASSCOM’s ambitious target of 300 billion dollar of revenue by 2020 from the IT sector. He had previously worked as the chairman of telecom commission and secretary of the department of telecom till March 2013. 

Chandrasekhar established the first department of Information Technology in the country in Andhra Pradesh and was secretary of the department from June 1997 to December 1999. 

Besides, drafting National Telecom Policy 2012, he played a key role in the drafting the first National IT Policy and National Policy on Electronics during his dual role of IT and Telecom Secretary with the Union Government.



Shri Subodh Kumar Agrawal, President, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has been appointed as the President of the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) for the year 2014 w.e.f. January 1, 2014. He was the Vice-President of SAFA for the year 2013.


Sports 
Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports released the new criteria for giving Arjuna Award to the Sports Persons on 3 January 2014.These guidelines are applicable for selection of sportspersons for Arjuna Awards from 2014 onwards.

90 percent weightage will be given to sportspersons who won medals in various International championships in various disciplines belonging to the Olympic Games (summer, winter and Paralympics), Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
Points to be awarded for performances during the past four years will be calculated as per marks given in the table
S. No.
Event
Medal
Gold
Silver
Bronze
1
World  Championship/World Cup (once in 4 years)
40
30
20
2
Asian Games
30
25
20
3
Commonwealth Games
25
20
15
4
World Championship/World Cup (biennial/annual)
25
20
15
5
Asian Championship
15
10
7
6
Commonwealth Championship
15
10
7
On any other sports discipline, not listed above, the Selection Committee will decide on the points to be awarded to a sportsperson.
Ninety marks will be given to a sportsperson who gets the maximum points and others will be given marks proportionately.
Remaining ten percent weightage will be given to the marks given by the Selection Committee for assessment of the eligible sportsperson keeping factors like profile and standard of the sports events in which sportsperson won medals and qualities like leadership, sportsmanship, team spirit, fair play and sense of discipline.
According to new criteria, winner of medals in Olympics and Paralympics will automatically be considered for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna or Arjuna Awards depending on the type of medal won.
The selection committee will recommend the number of awards for cricket and indigenous games which are not included in the Olympics, Asian Games and Common wealth Games not exceeding two.
Usually not more than one award will be given in each discipline in a particular year, subject to deserving sportspersons being available. Adequate representation would be insured for physically challenged and women.
The principle of one award per discipline will not be applicable in case of team sports and across gender.
In a particular discipline, not more than four sportspersons (two male and two female) with the highest marks will be considered by the Selection Committee.
Selection Committee will recommend the final list for Arjuna Awards as per terms mentioned above.
Usually not more than fifteen awards in a calendar year will be given. However keeping in view performance of sportsperson in international events the selection committee may recommend more than fifteen names for Arjun awards.



Serena Williams won the Brisbane International title in Queensland, Australia on 4 January 2014. Serena Williams won over Victoria Azarenka, the Belarusian tennis player, ranked 2. 

This was Serena’s 14th win in 17 matches played with Victoria Azarenka. Williams is a five-time champion in Melbourne but has not won the title, since 2010. Recently Serena Williams won the Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in December 2013. 

Serena Williams won 11 titles and ranked number 1 for the 2013 season. 

About Brisbane International title

• Brisbane Tournament was held from 29 December 2013 to 5 January 2014 in Queensland, Australia. 

• Brisbane Tournament was played on outdoor hard courts.




Young shuttler Aditya Joshi from Madhya Pradesh on 6 January 2014 became the first male junior badminton player from India to be ranked top in the world. The shuttler, Aditya of 17 years in age is a resident of Dhar town of the state.

He got the number one slot in the January Rankings released by the World Badminton Federation (WBF).

Rankings of Men’s Singles in juniors
Rank
                 Player
1

       Aditya Joshi
2

       Christie Jonatan
3

       ZhaoJun Peng
4

       Max Weisskirchen
5

       June Wei Cheam
6

       Shi Yuqi
7

       Cao Cuong Pham
8

       Harsheel Dani
9

       David Peng
10

       Wolfgang Gnedt

Rankings of Women’s Singles in juniors:
Rank 
    Player
1

 Aya Ohori
2

 Busanan         Ongbumrungpan
3

He Bing Jiao
4

Xiaoyu Liang
5

Akane Yamaguchi
6

G. Ruthvika Shivani
7

Jinjing Qin
8

Luise Heim
9

Maja Pavlinic
10

Chochuwong Pornpawee



Defence 

Indian Navy on 5 January 2013 looked forward to pave the way for a circumnavigation of the globe by an all-woman crew whose member officers are to be trained aboard INS Mhadei. INS Mhadei that is the first Indian solo circumnavigator is set to participate in the Cape2Rio Yachting Race 2014. Navy said that one lady officer would be a part of the crew for each leg of the voyage. 

Till the time, INS Mhadei will return back to Goa, it would have trained three lady officers. The three lady officers would form the core of the prospective all-women crew that will circumnavigate the globe. Navy said that a solo circumnavigation of the globe by a lady officer is also being planned. 

The vessel INS Mhadei till now has seen two circumnavigations of which first was done under the commander Diilip Dhonde in 2009-10 and the second was a non-stop under Commander Abhilash Tomy in 2012-13. The first tour for INS Mhadei’s circumnavigations included three members under the command of Commander Dhonde and comprised crew Commander MVV Satish, who was the trainee skipper, Commander TGS Bedi and Lieutenant Commander Shweta Kapur, a lady officer. 

Cape2Rio Yachting Race 2014: Cape2Rio Yachting Race 2014 will have more than 30 boats as participates. The race will start from Cape Town in South Africa and will terminate in the Rio de Janerio in Brazil. INS Mhadei has sailed from Goa on 25 November 2013 and reached Cape Town on 27 December 2013 after travelling over 5000 miles, as per the Navy.


Science and Technology 

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 5 January 2014 launched its heavy-duty rocket GSLV-D5 for placing communication satellite GSAT-14 into the orbit. The rocket GSLV-D5 lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota at 4:18 IST. 

It was powered by an indigenously developed cryogenic engine. The capacity of the INSAT/GSAT system will be augmented further by the 12 communication transponders onboard GSAT-14. 

It will help the country in providing many satellite-based communication services, which includes tele-education and tele-medicine. This successful launch has helped India to join the groups of nations namely US, Russia, France, China and Japan in mastering the complex cryogenic technology. This is a major achievement for the GSLV programme, said by Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, the Chairman of ISRO.



PARAM Yuva-II India’s supercomputer rated 1st in India, 9th in the Asia Pacific Region and 44th in the world among the most power efficient computer systems as per the Green500 List. It was announced at the Super computer Conference (SC 2013) in Denver, Colorado, US. PARAM Yuva-II was developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). 

C-DAC is the second organization worldwide to have carried out the Level 3 measurement of Power versus Performance for the Green500 List PARAM Yuva – II uses hybrid technology, processor, co-processor and hardware accelerators. PARAM uses hybrid technology to provide the peak compute power of 520.4 Teraflop/s using 210 kilowatt power. 

The interconnect network comprises of homegrown PARAMNet-III and Infiniband FDR System Area Network. This system is designed to solve large and complex computational problems. The system has 200 Terabytes of high performance storage, and requisite system software and utilities for parallel applications development. 

About Supercomputers

• A Super computer is the fastest type of computers that is typically used for scientific and engineering applications which handles very large databases or does a great amount of computation or both. 

• In general Supercomputers consume a lot of electrical power and produce much heat. 

• To reduce heat, it requires elaborate cooling facilities, which increases the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a supercomputer. 

• Green500 ranks computer systems in the world according to compute performance per watt and providing a world ranking based on energy efficiency. 

• Energy consumed by supercomputers is measured at various Levels L1, L2, and L3.



Hubble discovered the two new planets, GJ 436b and GJ121 4b, providing the weather forecast for a planet outside our solar system. The Astronomers led by University of Chicago Laura Kreidberg and Jacob Bean W determined that both the planets covered with clouds and contains hydrogen. These clouds hide any information about the composition and behaviour of the lower atmosphere and surface. 

GJ 121 4b is about 40 light years away from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus. GJ436b is similar in mass to Neptune and GJ 121 4b is considered a Super Earth planet because of its mass is intermediate between those of Earth and Neptune. 

About Hubble: The Hubble space Telescope’s launched in 1990 that orbits Earth. Its gaze has helped determine the age of the universe and the existence of dark energy.



Saturn's iconic rings were formed about 4.4 billion years ago said the researchers at the University of Colorado. This was announced at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union on 3 January 2014. The new study was conducted using data gathered by the NASA’s Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft. The main rings are believed to be extremely old, rather than hundreds of millions of years old said the researchers. 

Saturn’s main ring system is huge but razor-thin, measuring about 280000 kilometres across but just 33 feet or so in the vertical direction. The rings are composed primarily of water ice, but they contain small amounts of rocky material contributed by micrometeoroid bombardment. The University of Colorado researchers used Cassini’s Cosmic Dust Analyser instrument to measure how frequently such tiny particles cruise through the Saturn system. 

The researchers were able to reconstruct the orbits of many of these particles, finding that the lion's share come from the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy bodies beyond Neptune's orbit.


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