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October 2011: 1 | | Cabinet approves Bill to share mining profits | * Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Bill, 2011 * Provides for mining companies to keep aside 26% of their net profits for a Mineral Development Fund to be used for development and rehabilitation of project-affected people in the tribal areas of the country * For the non-coal companies, amount will be equivalent to the royalty they pay * Appointed a regulatory body for overseeing the functioning of the mining sector and measures to tackle illegal mining | Maoist problem in West Bengal | * In Jangalmahal region of West Bengal * Maoists: Operations by security forces and peace talks cannot go together. | Yasin Malik's arrest sparks protests | * After police detained JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik for taking out a rally against the death sentence awarded to Afzal Guru | Court allows export of unused endosulfan | * SC has allowed the export of unused stock of endosulfan. * But the ban on use and production of the pesticide will continue | FDI in beekeeping | * GOI allowed 100 per cent FDI in beekeeping, also known as ‘apiculture' under automatic route * Other areas in which the permission has already been given: * Plantation * Horticulture * Seeds * Cultivation of vegetables and mushrooms * Animal husbandry * Pisciculture * Aquaculture | 2 | | Neelima's application for visa rejected | * American Consulate in Mumbai rejected Magsaysay award winner Neelima Mishra's application for a visa for visiting Chicago | BJP hits out at land transfer pact with Dhaka | * Agreement was signed during the recent visit of PM to Dhaka | Poverty line problem | * As per planning commission recommendation: * Rural: Rs. 781 per capita per month (Rs. 26 a day) * Urban: Rs. 965 per capita per month (Rs. 32 a day) | “Time-bound decision needed on clemency petitions pending before President” | * Fate of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru hangs in the balance with his clemency petition pending before the President * In the past three decades, Rashtrapati Bhavan has rejected close to 90 per cent of the petition * Has given rise to a demand that the discretion of the President be made time-bound | 3 | | Shanti Tigga becomes first woman jawan | * Women are allowed to join the armed forces only as officers in the non-combat units | NASA's flying telescope in search of distant stars | * Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) * Mounted on a Boeing 747 jet | MNREGA Job scheme: Tamil Nadu tops the list | * Tamil Nadu topped the list of States that provided jobs to rural households for 100 days as per MNREGA at the end of the second quarter of the financial year 2011-12 | Web portal launched | * A web based portal for speedy implementation of the Rajasthan State Wide Area Network (RAJSWAN) * For establishing a robust communication infrastructure with the objective to improve the administrative efficiency and effectiveness and enhance the quality of services rendered to common people in the State | Shipping Ministry adopts better strategies to meet challenges | * Building new major ports * Giving new momentum to the process of corporatization * Augmenting capacities | 4 | | Chhattisgarh Police search human rights activist's residence in Jaipur | * Chhattisgarh Police raided the residence of Jaipur-based human rights activist Kavita Srivastava in search of a fugitive woman Moist from that State * Ms. Srivastava feels that her visits to Chhattisgarh in connection with the arrest of activist Binayak Sen must have put her on the police radar | No poverty line cap for social schemes, food entitlement: Montek | * Declared that the government favored de-linking of food entitlement and other social programs from the present poverty line that was derived from the Suresh Tendulkar Committee's findings * The new methodology for determining poor households in rural areas would be based on the socio-economic caste census that is expected to be completed by January 2012 * The census would take into account deprivations based on seven indicators worked out by the Rural Development Ministry. * A similar census in urban areas would be undertaken later * Though food entitlements have been de-linked from the poverty line and shall be based o socio economic census, there will be no universalisation of the public distribution system * Tendulkar poverty line will remain reference point to see how development is helping to take more and more individuals above a fixed line over time and across States * As per it in 2004-05: * Rural: 41.8% * Urban: 25.7% * Total: 37.2% * | Pulok Chatterjee takes over as Principal Secretary to Manmohan | | 5 | | India to train Afghan forces | * Proposal to train the Afghan National Security Forces included in the first-ever Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed between Mr. Karzai and PM * India has operationalized an air base in Tajikistan and sought permission to reopen a hospital at Farkhor on the Afghan border * SPA spells out trade and economic cooperation in greater detail covering aspects ranging from assisting Afghanistan in developing trading routes to exploring for hydrocarbons and mineral ores the country is abundantly endowed with * Both countries will try to operationalise their trilateral MoU signed with Iran to end Afghanistan's landlocked isolation and dependence on Pakistan to reach the sea * 2 MoUs signed in the field of mineral exploration and development of hydrocarbons | PSLV-C18 to put four satellites in orbit | * 4 satellites: * Megha-Tropiques, built by India and France to understand global tropical weather and climate. It will help in understanding the behavior of Indian monsoons and occurrence of cyclones, floods and droughts * SRM Sat, built by the students of SRM University * Jugnu, a satellite integrated by students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur * VesselSat from Luxembourg | 6 | | 7 | | Digital age loses leading light | * Steve Jobs. Apple: Most-valued technology company by market value | Multiple-entry visas for businessmen | * India and Pakistan have agreed to issue multiple-entry visas to businessmen valid for a year | India studying NATO offer on joining missile programme | * To be a partner in its ballistic missile defence (BMD) program * India has so far conducted six interceptor missile tests as part of its quest to establish a credible shield against ballistic missiles launched from adversarial countries | India, Russia review defence ties | * India conveyed to Russia its concern over delays in supply of spares * Hoping that aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorshkov) would be delivered as scheduled by the end of next year * Other projects: * Multi-Role Transport Aircraft * Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) | 8 | | Kudankulam will go forward, says Manmohan | * Thousands of fishermen and other residents of the area around Kudankulam have been agitating against the plant for months, raising concerns about safety, health risks and the impact on fishing | Indian-origin tycoon accused of corporate fraud | * Indian-origin tycoon Pankaj Oswal has been accused of one of Australia's biggest corporate frauds for siphoning off an additional $113 million out of his Burrup Fertiliser | 9 | | Adieu to green icon | * Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai * First African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize | New telecom policy, 2011 | * Draft National Telecom Policy-2011 * Mobile users will not have to pay roaming charges while travelling outside their telecom circle * Shall make broadband available on demand * Shall bring in a ‘one-nation, one-licence' policy * Allow mobile numbers to be ported to any part of the country * Targets increase in tele density to 60% by 2017 and all Indians to have phones by 2020 * Spectrum delinked from license and radio waves to be available at market price * With the policy aiming at a ‘one-nation, one-license' regime, the distinction between local and STD calls will vanish. Telecom operators would not require separate licenses for operations in various parts of the country, and a single license would suffice * Strengthening of the grievance redress mechanism for telephone users by giving the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India more powers * Relaxing norms for mergers and acquisitions to allow consolidation of the sector * Likely to focus on spectrum allocation and pricing * Will also chalk out an exit policy for operators who want to surrender their licenses, thereby giving needy operators access to spectrum and helping the exchequer earn more revenues * Will give an impetus to telecom manufacturing, now dominated by Chinese players * Shall address the security challenges of terrorism and cyber crime * Last policy was announced in 1999 * 2G spectrum loss: 1.76 lakh crore | Food security bill | * Efforts made to augment food grains storage capacity under various schemes, including the Private Entrepreneur Guarantee Scheme * Efforts to ensure uninterrupted supply of grains under the public distribution system, especially in the north-east * Seeks to provide legal entitlement to subsidized food grains for up to: * 75 per cent of rural population with at least 46 per cent belonging to ‘priority' (earlier below poverty line) households * 50 per cent of urban population with at least 28 per cent belonging to ‘priority' households * The proposed entitlement is: * 7 kg of foodgrains per person per month for ‘priority' households at an issue price of Rs.3/kg (rice), Rs.2/kg (wheat) and Rs. 1/kg (coarse cereals). * For beneficiaries under the ‘general' category, it will be 3 kg/per person per month at an issue rate not exceeding 50 per cent of the minimum support price for wheat and coarse cereals and derived minimum support price for rice * Giving legal right to food to women, children, and special groups such as the destitute and homeless and emergency and disaster-affected persons | 10 | | India and Bangladesh launch joint exercise | * ‘Op Sampriti’ * In the northeastern Sylhet to deepen military ties and cooperation in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations | India-China border mechanism by year-end | * On course to putting in place a major confidence-building measure on the border issue — a new mechanism to handle perception of incursions on certain pockets of the LAC * 15th round of talks between Special Representatives on the border issue to be held soon * First-ever Strategic Economic Dialogue which included in-depth discussions on water and energy besides other subjects | A new Indian OS on cloud | * MICROS (Mobile In-Curred Revolutionised Operating System) | Illegal mining in Goa | * Parrikar Accounts Committee Report | 11 | | Indira Gandhi award for Mohan Dharia | * Environmentalist, lawyer and former Union Minister, Mohan Dharia, selected as the winner of the 26th Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration | Split verdict over Gujarat Lokayukta appointment | * Legal battle over Gujarat Governor Kamala Beniwal's appointment of the Lokayukta without consulting the government | 12 | | Low carbon aviation fuel developed | * Virgin Atlantic in participation with LanzaTech * A breakthrough in aviation fuel technology | India to head UN South Asian regional commission for tourism | * India made chairman of the United Nations South Asian regional commission for tourism | NCPRI brainstorms Grievance Redress, Whistleblower Protection | * Held a two-day convention on its draft Bills on Grievance Redress and Whistleblower Protection * Grievance Redress Bill's aim is to create a “system whereby common citizens can make the government answerable in terms of its functions, specifically in relation to its duties, commitments and obligations towards citizens * Features: * Each public authority would have a designated Grievance Redress Officer (GRO) who would receive and dispose of complaints within a specified timeframe and fix responsibility for the grievance occurring in the first place. * Each district would have a District Grievance Redress Authority (DGRA) exercising appellate powers over the GRO * An appeal against the DGRA would lie with the State or the Central Grievance Redress Commission | 13 | | Interlocutors' report aims at permanent political settlement of Kashmir problem | * Final report submitted. Was constituted 1 year ago * Report deals with issues pertaining to the economic, social and cultural aspects of Jammu and Kashmir * Journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and the former Information Commissioner, M. M. Ansari | India, Vietnam sign pact for oil exploration in South China Sea | * Along with a slew of other pacts (6) like: * An extradition treaty * Pact to deepen trade, security and strategic ties between the two countries * India and Vietnam are maritime neighbors and face common security challenges from terrorism, piracy and natural disasters * The pact includes new investments and the exploration and supply of oil and gas to the two countries * Chinese claim on the South China Sea has been rejected by both India and Vietnam, saying as per the U.N., the blocks belong to Vietnam | 14 | | Vallarpadam issue | * Vallarpadam Container Terminal in Kochi | Debate over giving constitutional status to Lokpal | * Congress supporting the move * Both the Opposition parties and the Team Anna have objected to the move, saying it is a ploy to delay the passage of the Bill as it would require a Constitutional amendment — a two-thirds majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha | 15 | | India, Myanmar agree to resolve border issues | * Features: * Consolidate ties by offering an additional $500-million LOC * Agreeing to resolve border issues * Step up energy and trade links * Examine the feasibility of establishing railway links * Accelerate work on two hydel projects in Myanmar * Moreh-Mae Sot road: * Would connect India and Thailand via Myanmar. * Would open up a direct road link between India and ASEAN besides accelerating the 10-nation grouping's plans for the Mekong-Ganga corridor, one of the three identified to enhance connectivity and industrial activity | No clearance for Lavasa till Maharashtra acts | * Ambitious lake city project in the hills near Pune * Clearance to be given by MoEF on violation of environmental norms | India's longest tunnel | * 11-km long railway tunnel connecting Banihal town with Qazigund in south Kashmir | Rural, urban health missions may be merged in 13th Plan | * Centre proposes to merge the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the yet-to-be-launched National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) during the13th Five-Year-Plan period * NUHM will be taken up as a thrust area of the 12th Plan and launched as a separate mission with focus on slums and the urban poor * It will cover all cities and towns with a population of more than 50,000 — broadly 779 cities and towns including the mega cities of Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad * Shall include: * Investing in health professionals * Creating new and upgrading infrastructure, and * Strengthening the health care service delivery system * Inter-sectoral convergence will be planned among the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the Rajiv Awas Yojana and the NUHM * NRHM was launched in 2005 and is proposed to be extended by five years | 16 | | India, Pakistan move closer to liberal visa regime | * Proposed issue of six-month visas for social visits, and not for a maximum of three weeks as of now * A one-year visa with multiple entries for senior citizens, eminent persons, women of one country married to men in the other country and their children aged below 18 * Businessmen certified by the national trade organizations will be entitled to multiple visas for one year. * Both sides will aallow transit visa for 36 hours to their respective citizens | Interlocutors' report fails to enthuse Kashmiris | * There is not much hope, as many people believe that the report is just an exercise to buy time | 17 | | Minimum wages likely for MGNREGA worker | * Centre is likely to pay minimum wages to workers under the MGNREGA in compliance with the recent Karnataka High Court ruling upholding the supremacy of the Minimum Wages Act (MWA) over the MGNREGA * NREGA wages should not be lower than the minimum wages as was the case in six States currently * PM had turned down Ms. Gandhi's proposal but increased NREGA wages in January by linking it to the Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labor thereby delinking NREGA wage rate from agricultural minimum wage | Japan exempts India from ODA cuts | * Tokyo has said that India will be exempted from cuts in Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) enforced on other countries following the tsunami and the Fukushima disaster in March-April of this year * India, the highest recipient of Japanese ODA since 2003 will thus maintain its pole position * Thus the multi-billion dollar Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor will remain on course | 18 | | Centre bans Letrozole | * Centre has suspended the manufacture, sale and distribution of ‘Letrozole for induction of ovulation in anovulatory infertility' with immediate affect * Its use is likely to involve risk to human beings and safer alternatives to the drugs are available | IBSA needs to step up pace on trade within the grouping and security | * Fifth IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Summit * Starting as a grouping that was stung by western intransigence at the Doha Round of trade talks, India has differentiated it from BRICS by pointing out that it is a grouping of democracies from three continents * Since its inception, IBSA has focused on more aspects than BRICS. * BRICS pulls more weight on political and economic issues as two of the members — Russia and China — are permanent UNSC members. On the economic side, one is in G-8, the other has become the world's second largest economy. * But IBSA brings about more focus and has expended much energy on tackling the social aspects of globalization internally * IBSA will have to step up the pace on two other aspects — intra-IBSA trade and security * India has already signed a Preferential Trading Arrangement (PTA) with Mercosur (of which Brazil is a part) and so have Mercosur and SACU (South Africa Customs Union). That leaves just the India-SACU agreement to seal the triangle * On security, the three nations have different perspectives on security issues. * Brazil is more concerned about issues in its Latin American backyard. * South Africa lays more emphasis on developments in the African world * India's geo-strategic interests lie in its immediate neighbor hoodBut they have sought to find common ground in the seas that border them. This has resulted in two rounds of naval exercises called IBSAMAR | 19 | | India, Brazil, South Africa seek way out of economic crisis | * 5th India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Summit * Asked Europe and other advanced economies to take urgent steps to prevent the global economy from slipping into a double-dip recession * Demanded reform of global institutions of governance like the UN and financial bodies like IMF to address the current global challenges | Final hearing in Cauvery dispute posted for February | * SC posted to the first week of February 2012, for final disposal, the petition filed by Karnataka challenging 2007 final award passed by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) * Tamil Nadu and Karnataka locked in a decade-long dispute on sharing of Cauvery waters * In the verdict after more than 16 years of hearings, the Tribunal had awarded 419 tmcft water to Tamil Nadu and 270 tmcft to Karnataka | F1 circuit opened | * Buddh International Circuit unveiled in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh | Malabika Sarkar assumes office | * Newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of Presidency University | Common symbol for registered unrecognized parties | * Continuing its reforms in the provisions and guidelines, the Election Commission allowed the registered unrecognized political parties to have a common symbol as a one-time offer * Earlier these parties were given symbols by draw of lots in individual constituencies if more than one candidate asked for a particular symbol. Consequently they were unable to get uniform symbols in all the constituencies they contested | No need to carry train e-ticket prints | * Show the SMS one has received as acknowledgement of purchase of a ticket from the IRCTC | Jairam for expediting Land Bill | * UPA government wants the passage of Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill during the winter session * Mr. Ramesh had drafted the integrated bill, combining the issues of land acquisition and relief and rehabilitation in less than two months in the wake of the farmers' agitation that turned violent in UP * Was introduced in the monsoon session and referred to parliamentary standing committee | IBSA must remain restricted to 3 countries: Manmohan | * PM Manmohan Singh: Only leader to have attended all 5 IBSA summits * It drew its strength and global influence from the common political model of major developing democracies geographically located over three continents * With the early conclusion of India-SACU-Mercosur Trilateral Trade Arrangement, he hoped Africa could emerge as a bridge linking South Asia and Latin America | Jnanpith award bestowed on Shrilal Shukla | * Has authored Raag Darbari , Agyatvas , Bisrampur Ka Sant * Another winner: Amar Kant | 20 | | Aman Sethi wins ICRC award | * Aman Sethi won International Committee of the Red Cross award for the best Indian print media article on humanitarian issues | Infosys bags STPI Award in IT export category | * Infosys bagged the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) Award for the Highest Exporter in the IT sector * Multinational bank Goldman Sachs Services got the Highest Exporter Award in the IT-enabled services (ITeS) sector | With labourers turning to MGNREGS, farm sector may turn to machines | * With the successful implementation of the MGNREGS and other anti-poverty programs, there is now pressure on the availability of farm labor * Hence a large program for agricultural mechanization proposed during the 12th Plan | Shah Commission re-inspects mines in Goa | * The Commission is inquiring into illegal mining and exports in Goa, Karnataka, Orissa, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh | Nod for Jalanidhi second phase | * Implemented in Kerala * State Cabinet gave approval for implementing the second phase of the Jalanidhi project * World Bank-funded water supply and sanitation project would cover 200 panchayats | 21 | | 22 | | Don't force our hand: Hillary | * Hillary asked Islamabad to “force the Haqqani network'' to come to the negotiating table * We look to Pakistan to take strong steps to deny Afghan insurgents safe havens and to encourage the Taliban to enter negotiations in good faith | Visit has built up trust: Nepal Premier | * Discussions mainly on: * Nepali political transition * Indian security concerns and * Economic co-operation between the two countries * Will not allow Nepali soil to be used against its neighbors * Also signed the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) which assures that investors of country will be compensated in case of investment losses in the other country due to wars, riots, insurrections, armed conflict * Nepal proposed the formation of an EPG to review the broad gamut of bilateral relations, including its economic and strategic parts, and past treaties. Four persons from each country will be nominated to the group * Economic pacts: * BIPPA * Investments from either country in the territory of the other country are to be accorded ‘National Treatment' and ‘Most Favored Nation' treatment * Provides for elaborate dispute resolution mechanisms * $250-million line of credit to Nepal to finance infrastructure projects * India provided grant assistance for a goiter control program in Nepal. * Despite extensive negotiations, the two sides failed to agree on a double taxation avoidance agreement | Obama honours Indian-American activist Vijaya Emani | * Obama honored Indian-American activist Vijaya Lakshmi Emani posthumously with the Presidential Citizens Medal for her courage in overcoming and speaking out against domestic abuse in the Indian-American community * Lent her voice to protect Indian-American women from domestic violence | ‘Shakti' wound up with search-and-destroy mission | * ‘Shakti-2011' war games between Indian and French armies | Noida land acquisition quashed, setback to Mayawati government | * Relief to farmers of Noida extension areas (Greater Noida) in Gautam Buddha Nagar district * HC ordered that land should be restored to the petitioners (villagers) and additional compensation given * Master Plan 2021 not to be implemented “till the observations and directions of National Capital Region Planning Board are incorporated * Background: * Farmers of Noida extension areas, of about 4,000 acres, allege that their land had been acquired at throwaway prices by the government invoking the “urgency clause” of the Land Acquisition Act for “industrial development.” But the same land was allotted to builders at higher prices * The issue gradually assumed political overtones following the police-farmers clash at Tappal and Bhatta-Parsaul villages * Government resorted to announcement of the new Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Policy, albeit with retrospective effect | 23 | | National Development Council endorses GDP growth target of 9 per cent | * NDC endorsed a growth target of 9% for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) despite current economic slowdown and global financial concerns * For 11th plan it was 8.2% | Janani Shishu Suraksha scheme launched | * Scheme provides for cashless deliveries and care of sick new born up to 30 days after birth at all the government health institutions | 24 | | Communal violence Bill 'not needed' | * Views of speakers at a seminar on the proposed “Communal and Targeted Violence Bill 2011” * Existing laws are efficacious enough * The Bill would reverse the process of integration, which had been achieved after the balkanization which the country had suffered during the British rule * Vote bank politics * Why not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir where the problem is acute | 25 | | DoT, MoD agree on ‘defense band' | * DoT agreed with MoD for determining a specific frequency band that will be used exclusively by the defense forces for communication purposes * This will help defense forces in vacating additional spectrum they are holding in various bands, thus making the scarce radio waves available for various civil communication purposes | 26 | * | New manufacturing policy | * Centre approved the National Manufacturing Policy, which envisages mega industrial zones and 100 million jobs by 2022 | China welcomes Manmohan's statement on border issue | * PM’s statement on peacefully resolving the border dispute * Both countries are scheduled to hold 15th round of talks on the border issue later this year * Talks include a 3 stage process: * 1st stage complete: Agreeing to political parameters. Concluded in 2005 * 2nd stage: Stuck here. Unable to agree on a framework and have not yet begun the process of demarcating the border * 3rd stage: Will involve the actual process of delineating the border in maps and on the ground | INS Kadmatt launched | * Second indigenous Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette * Built by Garden Reach Ship Builders Engineers Ltd, Kolkata | Creation of National Optical Fibre Network approved | * Scheme for creation of a ‘National Optical Fibre Network' (NOFN) * For providing broadband connectivity to panchayats to help in offering governance, banking and health services online * Shall be utilizing Rs.20,000 crore from the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund * As per a World Bank study, with every 10% increase in broadband penetration, there is a 1.4% increase in GDP growth | 27 | | 28 | | 13 babies die at Kolkata hospital in three days | | CBI team searches Krishnapatnam Port office | * Conducted search in the offices of Krishnaptnam Port Company Ltd. (KPCL) to verify the quantity of iron ore exported from there by Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) * OMC is owned by former Karnataka Minister G. Janardhan Reddy | India lobbies for Australian uranium | * Australia has the world's largest reserves of uranium | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | |

November 2011: 1 | | Nargis Yadav | * India’s 7 billionth baby | Pranab launches e-payment system | * Introduction of paperless monetary transaction * A major initiative towards good governance as it would help in increasing transparency and reducing corruption * Developed by Controller General of Accounts (CGA) in the Finance Ministry * Will enable direct credit of dues into the accounts of beneficiaries, from now on all payments by the government will be made electronically, and thus obviate the need for transactions through cheques | Single tribunal planned for water disputes | * Ministry of Water Resources has proposed a Standing Tribunal to adjudicate on inter-state water disputes consisting of 5 judges | 2 | | Peace deal in Nepal | * Breaking a political deadlock that lasted more than three years * Nepal's political parties arrived at a historic agreement on the peace process, Constitution writing and power-sharing * Decided on the future of 19,602 Maoist combatants, agreeing to integrate a maximum of 6,500 fighters into the Nepal Army (NA) and provide rehabilitation and cash packages to the rest * Maoists agree to return property confiscated during the insurgency | EC turns down Team Anna's suggestion on “Right to Recall | * “Right to recall” option against non-performing elected representatives through a referendum * Would bring “instability” and “hamper developmental activities because of frequent elections and repeated imposition of the Model Code of Conduct” * On the “Right to Reject” proposal, EC has proposed to the government in December 2001 to introduce a button in the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) so that electors could exercise ‘none of the above' option. The option would, however, require an amendment to the Representation of the People Act, 1951 | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | Kalam's vision for villages near Kudankulam plant | * A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has recommended a massive Rs. 200-crore special development plan for villages around the project site * A 10-point program for the area * Four-lane roads should be laid to connect villages in a radius of 30 km with highways leading to Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Madurai. * Industries should be started in locations between a 30-60 km radius around the project site with direct employment potential for 10,000 people. * Self-employment loans, with a 25 per cent subsidy component, should be extended to young entrepreneurs * Housing projects should be created for coastal people * Fishermen should be given mechanized boats, jetties, fish processing and cold storage facilities * Local people should be supplied one million litres a day of drinking water after desalinating the sea water | New miss world | * Venezuela's Ivian Sarcos | Mohan Parasaran to head U.S. body on clean energy investment | * Additional Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran | KBC winner to become MGNREGA ambassador | * Sushil Kumar | Russia to present ‘Order of Friendship' award to Tamil writer D. Jayakanthan | | Electronic Nose | * Has the potential to diagnose tuberculosis (TB) | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | Manmohan's return gift for Pakistan's MFN gesture | * India has decided to move towards a Preferential Trade Agreement with Pakistan * A liberalized visa regime * Talks had restarted at the SAARC summit at Thimpu after 2008 Mumbai attacks * Decided to revive the joint commission after a gap of 6 years | Agni II Prime to be tested again | * Range: 3000-3500km * To bridge the gap between Agni II (2000) and Agni III | India Sri Lanka: Issues discussed at SARRC | * Fishermen issue: Indian fishermen crossing over to Sri Lankan waters * Fulfilling the aspirations of Tamils in the Northern Province * Indian projects in Sri Lanka: * NTPC's power project near Trincomalee * Indian project to build 50,000 houses for the Tamils displaced by the war | National Competition Policy likely by January: Moily | * Aimed at unleashing the 2nd wave of reforms. 1st done in 1991 * New policy would include a process called the Competition Impact Assessment, which entails the use of a number of parameters to examine whether government policies were imposing any restrictions in terms of the number of players, entry restrictions, exit restrictions or any other such qualifying prerequisites * Some principles included in the new policy: * Effective prevention of anti-competitive conduct * Institutional separation between policymaking, operations and regulations * Fair market process * Competitive neutrality * Fair pricing and inclusionary behavior * Third party access to “essential facilities” * Public policies and programs working towards promotion of competition in the marketplace * National, regional and international cooperation in competition policy enforcement and advocacy | India's trade with IOR-ARC touches $280 billion | * India's annual trade volume with member countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) has touched $280 billon * 18 countries * India assumed the chair of IOR-ARC for two years | 12 | | INTACH | * Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage | Crib death | * Infant death syndrome | Media panel joins chorus against Katju | * South Asia Media Commission has joined the brigade * Criticizing Press Council Chairman Justice Markandey Katju's demand to arm the government with “draconian” powers over the news media and his dismissal of attempts at self-regulation | Bill for real estate regulation likely during winter session | * It seeks to usher in accountability and transparency in land selling and housing transaction business with the setting up of a regulatory authority * Promoters or builders will have to register the project with the proposed authority and deposit a portion of the funds received from the allottees in a separate bank account for exclusive use on that project * Would also provide for an appellate tribunal to hear appeals on the authority's orders. It will be headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of the High Court and have at least four administrative/technical members * A Central advisory council will be established to advise the government on matters concerning the implementation of the legislation | Addu Declaration decides to meet halfway India, Pakistan on Observers | * The 8 nation SAARC now has nine Observers * 17th SAARC summit held at Addu in Maldives * Pakistan: * Wants the limitation on number of observers to be lifted * In favor of Turkey as observer and interactive partnership between SAARC and China * India: * SAARC should strengthen its Secretariat and begin implementing the decisions taken earlier * Deciding to reduce the Sensitive List for Least Developed Countries under the South Asian Free Trade Area Agreement from 480 tariff lines to 25 tariff lines. Zero basic customs duty access would be given for all items removed with immediate effect * Summit decided to set a time line for finalizing a framework on rail and sea connectivity * Decided to finalize a Regional Railways Agreement * Complete the preparatory work on an Indian Ocean Cargo and Passenger Ferry Service by this year-end * PM called for the full implementation of his six-year-old proposal for unrestricted access to airlines from the SAARC states * PM suggested giving priority to a Regional Railway Agreement and a Motor Vehicle Agreement * Decided on early demonstration run of a Bangladesh- India-Nepal container train | Tatkal reservation time reduced to 24 hours | * From two days to one * | Biotechnology Regulatory Authority (BRAI) Bill 2011 | * To be tabled in Winter session of parliament | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | Centre allows cash payment of MGNREGA wages | * To increase demand for jobs that had gone down due to delayed payment of remuneration * Facility would be allowed in all the 60 left wing extremist (LWE) affected districts where the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) has been undertaken. * The process will be video graphed to prevent irregularities * Rs.5-crore jackpot winner at the Kaun Banega Crorepati TV show, Sushil Kumar from Bihar, was appointed as the brand ambassador for MGNREGA for Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh | Optimism as Pakistan, India open trade talks | * Commerce secretaries expressed confidence that the upcoming second round of post-Mumbai line Ministry-level talks would show results * Aim: Complete normalization of trade relationship and implementation of committed SAFTA obligation * Pakistan granted India MFN status * India brought Pakistan within the ambit of a PTA * Pakistan added many commodities to the list of imports from India | Golden Elephant | * International Children's Film Festival | 16 | | 17 | | Five young scientists chosen for Infosys Prize | * Instituted in 2009. Winners of the prize will be given a gold medal, a citation certificate and prize money of Rs. 50 lakh. | UP division into 4 parts | * Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Avadh and Pashchim (western) region | Nod for 26% FDI in pension sector | * Centre has announced changes in the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011, allowing 26 per cent foreign investment in the pension sector | Agni-V to be tested by February | * Agni IV successfully tested * Agni V: 5000km, ICBM | Slain nun took on coal mafia | * Valsa John * Movement against displacement of tribal people by coal mining companies in Jharkhand | BEL receives Raksha Mantri's Awards in five categories | * (BEL) received the prestigious Raksha Mantri's Awards in five categories for the year 2009-10 * HAL also received the award | Massive lakes could lie beneath ice of Jupiter moon | * Europa: A shining enigmatic moon of Jupiter * Images sent by Galileo, a Jupiter orbiter | ASEAN summit | * At Bali, Indonesia * India's relations with China are strained over military deployments along the disputed border * 1st top-level India-U.S. meeting after Russia and the U.S. have been accorded observer status in the 10-member ASEAN * India would be keen to know the U.S. position on helping it join this quartet — * The Nuclear Suppliers Group * The Australia group * The Wasenaar Arrangement and * The Missile Technology Control Regime * Topics: * Afghanistan * South China Sea and India-Vietnam collaboration * Nuclear liability bill * India China border issues: India’s plan of deploying an additional 1,00,000 troops along the disputed border with China | 18 | | Nuclear liability bill and US | * US wants nuclear liability bill to become more lenient in line with international standards. Was passed in August 2010 * Under new law: Suppliers are able to limit their exposure as they are liable only for accidents which occur within five years of a reactor license being granted * 2 US objections: * Victims have right to press for damages under ordinary tort law thus exposing companies to unlimited liability in the event of an accidents * Right granted to Indian operators of recourse against nuclear suppliers if an accident results from the “supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub-standard service * To be discussed at the ASEAN summit (Bali) with US | Ministry proposes 24% FDI in Indian carriers by foreign airlines | * Civil Aviation Ministry has proposed that the government allow 24 per cent investment by foreign airlines in Indian carriers * Current rules: 49% FDI allowed in Indian aviation companies, but do not allow foreign airlines to own stake * Banks finding it difficult to restructure loans. FDI can bring in the much needed funds. * A 26 per cent cap would allow a foreign investor to have voting rights on the board of an Indian carrier, but this would not be possible if the cap was pegged at 24 per cent | Saraswati Samman presented to Bhyrappa | * Eminent Kannada writer S.L. Bhyrappa. For his novel “Mandra” * Given away by K.K. Birla Foundation to a work published in the last 10 years picked up from among the works published in 25 Indian languages | Netrani island issue | * PIL filed against use of the island by navy for it “target practice” * It is an island of heritage value * Used for past several decades but whether any permission obtained or not is not known | India, Russia differ on foreign presence in Afghanistan | * Russia: Strong opposition to permanent deployment of US military bases in Afghanistan and in former Soviet Central Asia * India: Stressed the need for foreign powers to help Afghanistan fight the menace of terrorism * Russia wants India to upgrade its observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to full membership “at the earliest” | After a decade, Suu Kyi accepts award | * United Nations award for promoting peace and tolerance: UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize | Can peace with Maoists be achieved? | * Maoist-affected Jangalmahal region in Purulia distt. of West Bengal * 6 Interlocutors appointed 4 months ago want to be relieved of their duties | Afghan, Palestine activists get UNESCO award | * Afghan women's rights campaigner Anarkali Honaryar and * Palestinian peace activist Khaled Abu Awwad conferred the 2011 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence, * UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize was created in 1995 on the initiative of Indian writer and diplomat Madanjeet Singh to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi * It is awarded every two years to individuals or institutions for outstanding contributions to the promotion of tolerance and non-violence | Badrinath closure marks end of Char Dham Yatra | * Char Dham Yatra, a pilgrimage to the shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, begins in May and closes around this time of the year | Rajasthan plans country's first water resources law | * New law on management of water resources * Will address the subjects of demand and supply and specify duties and responsibilities of officials at various levels * Will ensure public participation in the decision-making process for the water sector * Draft statute prepared by Bangalore's National Law University | Food Security Bill | * Will be introduced in Parliament in the winter session and is proposed to be implemented from the next fiscal year * Key change: * Instead of providing 3 kg of subsidized grains a household a month in the ‘general' category, “a minimum of 3 kg'' shall be provided. * This means that if food stocks allowed, higher allocations could be made for these beneficiaries * Provision of free meal to eligible pregnant women, lactating mothers, needy children, destitute and migrants through Anganwadis at an additional cost of Rs. 12,000 crore. * Also a maternity benefit of Rs. 1,000 a month would be provided for six months to pregnant women and lactating mothers * Identification of beneficiaries would be on the basis of ongoing Socio-Economic Caste Census * Had proposed coverage of: * 75% rural population with at least 46% priority households * 50% urban population with at least 28% priority families | 19 | | India tells China its interest in disputed sea ‘purely commercial' | * Meeting on the sidelines of ASEAN and East Asia Summit * India maintained that its exploration of oil and gas in the South China Sea in collaboration with Vietnam is purely commercial * Bone of contention: Jurisdiction over the territorial waters of South China Sea between China and several south-east Asian nations, including Vietnam * India is stressing the freedom of navigation and right to passage in these waters given its importance as a trade route | SPOs ban will apply only to Chhattisgarh: SC | * July 5 order banning appointment of special police officers (SPOs) in Naxal-affected States * | World's ‘lightest material' developed | * Unique “micro-lattice” cellular architecture | ‘Sweet' news for cane growers | * Ultimatum given by GOI to increase the sugarcane price offered to farmers * Sugar industry is trying a permanent solution by going in for revenue sharing from sugar sale proceeds * Rangarajan Committee report appointed by the Union Government is awaited * Some of the demands of sugar industry: * Decontrol of sugar price and sugar exports * Doing away with five per cent VAT * Revising tariff for the power purchased from the sugar factory cogeneration plants | BDL to produce Akash missiles | * Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) | Renewed hope for release of Khaleel Chishty | * Pakistani virologist who is undergoing life imprisonment in the Ajmer jail | SECC | * Socio economic caste census is being conducted * To determine people BPL * Its completion is crucial to determine the number of beneficiaries and expenditure for the 12th plan period | China signs contract for Indian Ocean mining right | * China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA) will get exclusive rights to explore 10,000 square-km of seabed in the southwest Indian Ocean in an area off the coast of Africa * Deal with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) * COMRA can explore polymetallic sulphide ore deposits in the region over the next 15 years | India-US | * PM proposes joint group to iron out difficulties over nuclear liability bill’s regulations * India looking forward to investments by U.S. companies in the infrastructure sectors * India has allowed 26% FDI in pension, aviation and the retail sector, a demand Washington had been making | AN32 | * Transport aircraft of Indian Air Force * Known as the workhorse of the IAF's transport fleet | 20 | | Black money: pacts with 42 nations soon | * India will shortly sign agreements with 42 more nations to bring back black money stashed away abroad | Aadhaar-MGNREGA experiment to be launched in Ramgarh | * In Ramgarh district, Jharkhand * Bank accounts shall be opened based on UID | Gillard discusses uranium sale with Manmohan | * Australian PM Julia Gillard said that she will push her proposal for Australia lifting the ban on uranium supplies to India * Discussion held on the sidelines if ASEAN summit | BrahMos hypersonic missile in five years | * Shall travel at a speed of Mach 7 * Present supersonic missiles travel at a speed of Mach 2.8 to 3 | 21 | | PM’s Singapore visit | * Sought cooperation on: * Inviting more investments from Singapore in infra projects * Security and defense cooperation * FDI from Singapore are 2nd highest in India * It is India’s largest trade and investment partner in ASEAN * 2005: CECA signed | ULFA splits | * Paresh Baruah lead faction and Arabinda Rajkhowa led faction (holding peace talks with GOI) | 2 killed, 800 injured in Egyptian clashes | * Clash for control of the Tahrir Square | M-governance gains momentum | * Kerala launched ‘Dr. SMS,' an m-health information system * Goa launched a mobile governance initiative for issuing alerts for receipt of government applications and complaints and status tracking * Maharashtra adopted a traffic management system through mobile alerts * Hyderabad Municipal Corporation: Mobile phone-based Intelligent Garbage Monitoring System | In Bangladesh, Tipaimukh dam pact sparks fresh row | * India has promised to provide Bangladesh with details of the agreement on construction of Tipaimukh Dam in Manipur * Environmentalists in Bangladesh have expressed grave concerns at the ecological, economic and human consequences of the dam * Built on Barak river * Some concerns: * Would dry up rivers and water bodies downstream rendering vast farmland arid, hitting agriculture and threatening food security in the north-eastern districts of Bangladesh | Haqqani in Islamabad to present his version | * Pakistan's Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani * On the Memogate scandal: * Charged with allegedly writing a memo — on behalf of Mr. Zardari — to the former U.S. Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, seeking Washington's intervention in pre-empting a military takeover following the U.S. raid in Abbottabad to kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Lade * The memo also mentioned Pakisatan’s pledge to US for helping India in nabbing the perpetrators of Mumbai attack * Shows civilian leadership’s willingness to engage in peaceful dialogue with India but opposition by military | Company’s bill 2011 | * Not mandatory for corporate companies to spend 2% of their profit on welfare of society as part of their corporate social responsibility. * But mandatory for them to disclose and explain why they have not spent a share of profit for society. * Companies which spent the money for the purpose should disclose the amount | 22 | | NEET | * National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses | Delhi, Dhaka plan extradition treaty | * Will facilitate the handing over of ULFA leader Anup Chetia | After Bali, China plays down differences with India on South China sea and border disputes | * Following meeting between PM and Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of ASEAN summit in Bali | Multi-pronged approach to contain encephalitis | * Japanese encephalitis (JE) and acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) * Mainly in eastern UP. Has become as annual affair since 2005 * Mostly affects children below the age of 15 years, of which 25 per cent die, and among the survivors about 30-40 per cent suffer from physical and mental impairment | Left, NDA to join hands against UPA | * Issues: * Inflation and price rise * Black money and reveal names of those having accounts * Some of the issues to be discussed in winter session of parliament: * Farmer suicides (in cotton growing areas) * Paddy procurement and shortage of fertilizers * Pension regulatory fund and FDI in retail * Seeds bill * Bill for constitution of Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India * Company’s bill 2011 | Award for C.N.R. Rao | * Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize for 2011 in recognition of his contributions to materials research * Instituted by the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World | Map row: India objects, U.S. relents | * Map on U.S. State Department website. * Showed PoK as part of Pakistan. * Following objection, the map was taken off the portal | Centre, Assam to ink peace pact with UPDS | * Militant outfit of the hill district Karbi Anglong * United Peoples Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) | 23 | | Special courts mooted to try cases of damage to public property | * SC indicated that it may ask Central government to set up special courts to try cases of damage done to public property in agitations * To dispose of these cases within three month * Including cases of rail and road blockade | 3G issue | * Controversy over the 3G roaming pacts between service providers * 3 leading mobile companies — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular — demanding refund of spectrum auction payments if such roaming is disallowed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) * Complaint had been raised regarding the “illegal” 3G roaming pacts among the three service providers, as no one had a pan-India 3G license | 24 | | Revised draft of food Bill gives primacy to cash transfers, coupons | * Reforms in PDS: * Cash transfers and issuance of food coupons to identified public distribution system beneficiaries in lieu of food grain entitlements * Use of AADHAAR for proper targeting of beneficiaries * Food grain entitlement at subsidized rates for 75 per cent of identified rural households and 50 per cent of urban families * Lays stress on “cost sharing'' between the Centre and the States * Not less than 46 per cent of rural and 28 per cent of urban households shall be designated as priority households * Financial implication: Rs. 1 lakh crore, which would be approximately Rs. 30,000 crore higher than the current food subsidy of around Rs. 70,000 crore * An expenditure of about Rs. 12,000 crore towards maternity benefit of Rs. 1000 per month for six months to pregnant and lactating mothers * Opposed by social activists: * Our country is high on gender inequality and the rural banking system is in shambles * Would (–ve)ly impact food procurement and MSP to farmers * Food is in the hands of women but cash controlled by men | Vivek Express completes maiden trip ahead of schedule | * Train travelling the longest distance in India * The Dibrugarh-Kanyakumari Vivek Express * It replaces Himsagar Express (Jammu Tawi to Kanyakumari) as India's longest train service | Jairam orders performance audit of MGNREGS | * AP violated the provisions of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act by providing work to households in excess of the legal entitlement of 100 days * CAG ordered to audit performance of 12 states * Some violations: * Material-labor ratio of 40:60 of expenditure is breached * Pucca works have been executed at individual project cost * Deviation in the calculation of wage rates per quantum of work | India, UAE step up security cooperatio | * Signed two key agreements: * On security cooperation * On transfer of sentenced persons | Chair for Tagore studies in Scotland | * Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland * MoU signed with ICCR | Cabinet note on revised Sports Bill moved for consultation | * The bill is aimed at bringing about efficiency and transparency in the working of national sports federations and seeks to bring them under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) * Presently opposed by IOC and BCCI for bringing them under RTI * It seeks to provide 25 per cent reservation for sportspersons in the national federations and also fix the age and tenure limitations | 25 | | Cabinet approves 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail | * Kicking off the 2nd generation reforms * 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail * Indian retail market: 450$ billion * Some preconditions: * Approval to be taken from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), * A minimum investment of $100 million * Putting 50 per cent of the total FDI in back-end infrastructure * Procurement of 30 per cent of the products from SSIs * Retail chains allowed only in cities with a population of more than 10 lakh as per 2011 census, presently 51 * 3 other conditions to be met: * Selling products under the same brand name internationally * Product retailing will cover only those products that are branded during manufacturing * Foreign investor should be the owner of the brand * SSIs have been defined as the one having total plant and machinery investment not exceeding $250,000 (around Rs.1.25 crore) | Plan panel to set eco-index ranking | * Planning Commission finalized an environment performance-linked mechanism for devolution of financial assistance to States during the 12th Plan period * States would be ranked on an environmental performance index covering parameters such as air and water purity, forest cover, and sustainable livelihood. * This ranking would be taken into account for devolution of funds. * A performance monitoring system would also be introduced * Satellite systems are making routine observations to analyze the forest cover and classify degraded forests | India's China anxiety an ‘inferiority complex,' says Xinhua | * Referring to India's “jitters” and fears of encirclement by Chinese influence in South Asia * ONGC Videsh undertaking projects in collaboration with Vietnam * More than 10 countries refute China’s claims of “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea | Entertainment tax structure to be relaxed | * Has been brought under the common head of GST (Goods and Services tax) * Being a state subject, the rate varies from state to state | Strong reactions against halting of Global Fund flow | * Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria * It is the world's largest international financier of programs to treat TB and Malaria, and the second largest for HIV/AIDS | PIL against Arundhati rejected | * Public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against writer Arundhati Roy for her reported remarks advocating right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir | Lavasa corporation | * Facing charges for violating environmental norms | Aamir Khan to be Unicef national ambassador | * National ambassador of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund * Will support Unicef's work in promoting child rights and nutrition of children under two years | India inks pact with EAG to combat money laundering | * Eurasian Group (EAG): A group that enforces anti-money-laundering standards in the region * It is a FATF- (Financial Action Task Force) styled regional body with nine members, including India, Russia and China, and 29 observers | Issue of Lokayukta appointment in Gujarat | * Ms. Beniwal (governor) had unilaterally appointed Justice Mehta as State Lokayukta * Division bench of Gujarat HC gave split verdict on the issue: * Justice Kureshi held the appointment valid * Justice Gokani ruled otherwise | Winged visitors flock to Gurgaon | * Migratory birds from Siberia have started arriving at the National Birds Sanctuary at Sultanpur Lake in Gurgaon * Oriental Honey Buzzard, Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Saras Cranes, Imperial Eagle, Indian Bushlark and Tawny Pipit | Mallika Sarabhai case | * Noted dancer. Filed PIL. Gujarat riots * Case involving Modi and IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt. | Inflation situation | * Depreciation of the rupee is adding to inflationary pressures because India has to import oil and fertilizers * Rupee depreciation is mainly due to Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) pulling out massive funds from the Indian capital market * Cuts in subsidies resulted in cost-push inflation and are having a cascading impact on food price * Prohibit futures trading in sugar, wheat and other essential commodities | Civil society condemns G.K. Pillai's remarks | * Over fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat in 2004 * Encounter of 4 people conspiring to kill Narendra Modi * 2nd such case after Sohrabuddin fake encounter case | 26 | | FDI in retail, trigger for another day of tumult | * Cabinet cleared FDI in multi brand retail. Opposed by all parties * Proposal: * 51% FDI in multi-brand retail and 100% foreign equity in single-brand trading * Only in cities with 1 million plus population * States to have discretion to implement or reject the policy | Maoist leader Kishenji dead | * Koteshwara Rao * Maoist Central Committee (CC): Governing body * 4 states affected most: Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal | Cabinet clears package for weavers | * Debt waiver package of Rs. 3,884 crore for handloom weavers | UGC decides to phase out animal dissection in labs | * Alternative models like virtual dissection shall be followed | Cyber crime, phishing cases on the increase | * CERT-in: Indian Computer Emergency Response Team * Phishing=e mail fraud where cyber criminals acquire financial and other important information from Internet users * Information Technology Act, 2000 amended by the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 | India-China border talks put off at last minute | * 15th round of Special Representative (SR) talks * Indian ambassador to China: S. Jaishankar * India's SR for border issue talks : National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon * Trying to finalize a “Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs” resolving disputes in certain pockets on the line of actual control (LAC ) * At the meeting of the 2 PMs in Sanya in March, both agreed to: * Resume senior level defense exchanges * Begin a high level economic dialogue * Step up high level contacts * Recent issue: Vietnam parceling oil exploration contracts to India in South China Sea | Dam999 opens on 550 screens across India | * Ban imposed by TN. * Concerned with Mullaperiyar dam which is a bone of contention between TN and Kerela. It has a lease of 999 years * Kerala has been contending that the dam's structure was weak, had developed cracks and would collapse if an earthquake hits the area. It wants to build a new dam * Tamil Nadu is strongly opposed to idea` | IDFC bonds best bet for retail investors | * Interest rate=9%. 10 years. * Tax-saving benefits under Section 80 CCF of the Income Tax Act irrespective of other IT savings under Section 80C | TRAI curbs put pesky calls on hold | * USOF: Universal Service Obligation Fund * Is used to strengthen the telecom network in villages and remote areas | Pawar attacker | * Harvinder Singh | TERI | * The energy and research institute headed by R.K.Pachauri * New environmental laboratory established in it | BSNL education service | * Launched an online education service — Topper Education — for its landline broadband customers in partnership with Greycell 1 | 27 | | Anger as NATO copters kill 24 Pakistani soldiers | * Trucks ferrying supplies and oil to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan were stopped | Rough weather may ground us, airlines tell Manmohan | * Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion recently moved a draft Cabinet note to allow 26 per cent Foreign Direct Investment by foreign airlines in the domestic carriers. * However, the Civil Aviation Ministry wants to cap FDI at 24 per cent * High taxes and duties on jet fuel prices | Investments in R&D to be scaled up substantially in 12th Plan | * Boost R&D investments to 2% of the country's GDP with half the contribution coming from the corporate sector | Second set of reforms being prepared to unlock power sector | * Open Access: The distribution licenses should inform all consumers of 1MW and above that they could choose their electricity supplier. * State power utilities should provide power to open access consumers at negotiated rates and not regulates rates * The State Electricity Regulatory Commissions should specify reasonable tariffs to be charged by distribution companies for providing standby supply * State load despatch centres should be upgraded in a time bound manner to enable open access and 25% of discretionary allocation of 15% of central public sector undertakings generation must be made available for direct sale to open access consumers | Free Chishty, Katju writes to Sonia | * Release of Khalil Chishty, an elderly Pakistani virologist, jailed for 19 years in a murder case | ‘Small retail will grow at 13 p.c. despite FDI | * As per Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Anand Sharma * Centre's role is to provide an “enabling policy framework” whereas the implementation of the policy is left to States * Positives: * Would boost organized retail trade and drive inclusive growth * Biggest beneficiary would be the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the consumers at large * Would offer more choices of products, better quality, and lower prices, which would ultimately benefit the end consumers * Unorganised retail with farsighted innovations would continue to coexist with the new entities and only their complexion might change * would eliminate middlemen at three points between the farmer and the consumer, including the local broker, agent, wholesaler, city stockist and retailer, where the farmer had to part with a share * The current size of organized retail in the country is close to $28 billion or 6 to 7 per cent of the total retail. * Total retail market is estimated to grow to $1,250 billion by 2020, of which 21 per cent would be in the organized sector | Ukraine for durable defence ties with India | * For collaboration in a large number of areas including civil nuclear energy, gas and solar energy * It is already odernising the An-32s, backbone of the Indian Air Force's transport and troop replenishment fleet * Coordinating efforts against pirates off the Gulf of Aden | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | Opposition wants floor test for FDI in retail | * Demanding adjournment motion to be introduced | It's cheating, says Hazare | * Drafting committee has not included the lower bureaucracy and the CBI in the Lokpal's ambit * One of the 3 core demands: * Formulation of a citizens' charter * Inclusion of lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal through an appropriate mechanism and * Establishment of Lokayukta in all States * Standing Committee had not yet taken a decision on including the PM | All-round opposition to ‘targeted' Food Security Bill | * Cutting across party lines, several members of Parliament backed a universal public distribution system to ensure food security for all citizens “as a right” * Vowed to oppose the ‘targeted' food security Bill * Lashed out against the government for “dividing the poor” in the name of giving subsidized food grains to “identified beneficiaries” on the basis of the ongoing Socio-Economic Caste Census * Also rejected the provision for cash transfers in lieu of food grains | 3G roaming issue | * Some operators have demanded refund of spectrum auction money if the government failed to clear intra-circle 3G roaming pacts | Indira Goswami dead | * Eminent litterateur, Jnanpith laureate, peacemaker between the insurgent United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the Centre and India's first Principal Prince Claus Laureate | Reappointed tribunal chief | * Justice M. Karpaga Vinayagam reappointed as chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, Petroleum and Natural Gas | Navy concerned over armed Iranian ship in EEZ | * Iranian ship MV Assa, anchored 160 nautical miles west of Kochi * Up to 12 nautical miles from the shore is India's territorial waters where the internal laws of the land apply. * However, the area within the EEZ, which extends up to 200 nautical miles from the coast, are international shipping lanes. * While India holds the right to exploit the marine resources in its EEZ, it can't disrupt commercial shipping along the sea lines of communication | Wonder rice | * ‘BPT-5204', (Samba Masuri) |

December 2011: 1 | | Opposition parties unrelenting over retail FDI issue | * 2 other issues: * Black money * Price rise | Economic growth slips to 6.9 per cent | * Aftershocks of “policy paralysis” in the UPA II government * 6.9% in the 2nd quarter of this fiscal, lowest in the last nine quarters * Reasons: * Continued debt crisis in the Euro zone and economic slowdown in the U.S. impacted economic parameters of labor-intensive industries like manufacturing * Declining output of mining industry * Moderation in agriculture growth * Tight monetary policy to tame inflation | 2 | | Ranbaxy launches Lipitor in U.S. | * cholesterol-lowering drug | Congress goes back on inclusion of Group C employees in Lokpal Bill | * Went back on two key decisions taken earlier: * Withdrew assent given to bring Group C employees under the purview of Lokpal since the number is large * Going back on the consensus on taking the appointment of the Director of the CBI out of government hands | Opposition to India's hydel projects in Bhutan | * Bhutan raising issues of sovereignty * Proposed projects with capacity of 10,000 MW * Projects stuck up in Nepal: Pancheshwar and Sapta Kosi * 3 earlier projects: Tala, Chukha and Krichhu hydel projects * A major issue is the 51 per cent equity Indian companies plan to hold in joint venture projects while Bhutanese see it as a major deviation from the hydropower policy, which frowns on majority shareholding to an outside entity * Selling power to India contributes to 25% of GDP of Bhutan | 3 | | Distinction for India at Bonn meet | * December 5, international conference on Afghanistan * India goes with the tag of being the only country with which Afghanistan has signed a security pact * The conference has three themes * Managing the transition as West prepares to pull back the bulk of its forces * The political process that ought to be fashioned * Long term engagement of the international community in Afghanistan * India was not invited last year | INS Arihant on track | * First indigenous nuclear submarine program, INS Arihant, is on track and is expected to go in for sea trials over the next few months * Part of the Advanced Technology Vessel program launched in July 2009 | 4 | | No supra State for Nagas: Manmohan | * No proposal to form a supra State body encompassing Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh for Nagas | 5 | | Labour Party clears uranium sale to India | * Australia's ruling Labor Party backed PM Julia Gillard's move to overturn the ban on uranium sale to India | Tribunal hears endosulfan testimonies | * Aerial spraying of the pesticide on cashew plantations in 11 panchayats in the Kasaragod district had huge and widespread health implications for people living in and around the farms * Resulted in cancer, mental and physical disabilities in children, and severe congenital, reproductive, and neurological damage | 6 | | FDI on hold, Pranab tells Opposition | * Decided to put on hold the move to allow foreign equity in the multi-brand retail sector, pending further consultations | Government warns social websites over objectionable content | * Union Communications Minister Kapil Sibal took a strong exception to uploading of disparaging and defamatory content related to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh, on some social networking sites, and asked the websites to remove all such content or face action * He met senior functionaries of the websites, including those from Facebook, Google, YouTube and Yahoo and asked them to evolve a mechanism to filter such “inflammatory” and “defamatory” content that could create social tension * In particular, took a strong view on the use of morphed images of Ms. Gandhi and Dr. Singh on Facebook | India for big spending in Afghanistan | * Indian industry planning to spend over $10 billion for developing mines and building a steel plant in Afghanistan | Ukraine for durable defence relationship with India | * Looking at India for collaboration in a large number of areas, including civil nuclear energy * Large number of Ukrainian engineers were working in Kundankulam * Other areas: Gas and solar energy * Currently modernizing An-32s, backbone of the Indian Air Force's transport and troop replenishment fleet * Potential areas: Coordinating efforts against pirates off the Gulf of Aden | 7 | | 26 % FDI in aviation sector put on hold? | * GOI is understood to have put on hold the 26% FDI proposal for the aviation sector. * Top leaders of domestic carriers had earlier met PM seeking review of the aviation policies and allowing FDI in domestic airlines * Rationalize sales tax on aviation turbine fuel * Faster approvals for private airlines to fly on international routes where bilateral rights from the Indian side remain underutilized | Government mulling ban on ‘made snana' | * Controversial ritual being practiced at the Kukke Subrahmanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district * Looks like a subtle way of practicing untouchability * Performed every year on the premises of the Kukke Subrahmanya temple for three days during the annual Champa Shasti festival. It is a ritual in which people role on plantain leaves containing leftovers of lunch served to Brahmins | Stepping up pressure, China blames Dharamshala for self-immolations | * China laid direct blame on Dharamshala for at least 11 self-immolation protests carried out by Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns in western Sichuan province in recent months * Calling on New Delhi to restrict his “political” activities * Repercussions: * Boundary talks between India and China that were scheduled to take place in New Delhi were postponed after China called on India to either cancel a Buddhist conference that was taking place in New Delhi at the same time or, at the very least, prevent the Dalai Lama from participating in it | “Sudarshan Shakti” aims to transform armed forces | * One of the largest military exercises in recent times — “Sudarshan Shakti” | Indonesian parliament endorses accession to CTBT | * It leaves India and seven other countries including China, North Korea, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States, out of the CTBT * It has been signed by 182 countries and ratified by 156 * Annexure 2 of the CTBT essentially asks all 44 designated nuclear technology holder countries to sign and ratify the Treaty in order to bring it into law * U.S, India, China, North Korea and Pakistan are declared nuclear weapon states * Israel neither confirms nor denies it has nuclear weapons * China wants the U.S to ratify the treaty first * India wishes China does the same before it will consider following suit and has also raised disarmament-related questions * Pakistan is looking at India to accede to the treaty | 8 | | Indian Army blinded by controversial equipment | * Indian Army's imagery interpretation capabilities compromised by flawed contracts placed with a company that failed to provide critical software upgrade * MI17 — the super-secret military intelligence department that analyses data provided by India's spy satellites — relies on software provided by global software giants Intergraph, Oracle, and Bentley * Rolta, an Indian company, supplied photo grammetry and geographical information system software licensed from these firms to the Army in 1996, integrating them into a single package to meet MI17's specific needs | Russia alone proposed a way out of tightened NSG rules, says envoy | * Russia is awaiting India's reply to its proposal for finding a way out of tough NSG rules on transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) equipment and technology * Russia has offered to host an ENR unit on its soil and offered shares to India. This will enable Russia to comply with its obligation to India and not violate international obligations with respect to non-proliferation * Of the three ENR majors: * France has offered verbal comfort * U.S. is non-committal * Russia came up with this proposal * India has contested the strengthened NSG guidelines on sale of ENR technology to countries like itself that have not signed the NPT * It is saying that the 2008 exemption it received is a comprehensive one and should be unaffected by any changes adopted after that | Indian Airborne Early Warning System tested | * Undertook its maiden flight in Brazil | 9 | | Mullaperiyar dam issue | * Talks convened by center inviting Secretaries of the governments of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in charge of irrigation | Blow to Aadhaar project as Bill is rejected | * Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance rejected the National Identification Authority of India (NIAI) Bill which was meant to give a legal backing to the Aadhaar project and its aim of using biometrics to create a unique identity for every resident of India * Rejected in the current form due to some concerns: * Project's high cost * Concerns regarding national security, privacy and duplication of the National Population Register's (NPR) activities * Sticking point: Aadhaar project's ambition to enroll every “resident” of the country, rather than every “citizen * Home ministry’s National Population Register is documenting photographs, fingerprints and iris scans of all residents * NPR database would be sent to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for de-duplication * UIDAI will only generate unique identity numbers while NPR would issue Resident Identity Cards * Still there is no legal parliamentary backing for the project which is what is sought to be retrospectively corrected by the NIAI Bill | CoBRA | * Commando Battalion for Resolute Action, commandos of CRPF | 10 | | Finally Lokpal report tabled in Parliament | * The report did not incorporate three specific subjects articulated in the ‘sense of the House' resolution adopted by Parliament: * Citizens' charter * Lower bureaucracy under Lokpal through an appropriate mechanism, and * Establishment of Lokayuktas in the States.” * Congress' desire to give constitutional status to the institution of Lokpal found reflection in the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice * Committee chairman Abhishek Manu Singhvi * Recommendations on bringing in the following: * PM: Left to the good sense of Parliament * Group C and D employees: Should be brought under the Central Vigilance Commission's jurisdiction, and proposed changes in the Central Vigilance Commission Act to ensure that it exercised similar powers in respect of the lower bureaucracy as the Lokpal would have for dealing with the Group A and B employees * Team Anna said that they will oppose the report tooth and nail | MFN status likely by next October | * | AMRI hospital accident | * Kolkata. Due to fire | Opposition guns for S.M. Krishna | * Opposition demands for resignation of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna after Karnataka Lokayukta filed an FIR against him in a mining scam * Complaint was that the decisions taken during his tenure as the Chief Minister to de-reserve forest areas had resulted in illegal mining and caused losses to the State exchequer | BJP's no-black money declaration | * BJP MPs of both Houses submitted a declaration to the presiding officers stating that they do not have any illegal money stashed away in foreign banks | Pakistan issues notification | * On the formation of a judicial commission that will visit India to interview key officials and witnesses linked to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks | Bihar assembly passes Lokayukta bill | * Passed the Bihar Lokayukta Bill 2011, for constitution of a strong and effective Lokayukta in the State bringing within its ambit the office of the Chief Minister, ministers and officials down to the lowest rung | Karmapa denies receiving charge sheet | * 17th Karmapa for all Tibetans * Has been named an accused in the foreign currency seizure case from a monastery * Foreign currency worth Rs. 7 crore had been recovered from Karmapa's Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery on the outskirts of Dharamsala | Kerala adopts resolution for new dam | * A resolution calling upon the Central and State governments: * To take steps for construction of a new dam at * To lower the water level in the existing dam to 120 feet and * Declaring the State's commitment to continue supplying water in the present quantity to Tamil Nadu | 11 | | Anna Hazare calls for nationwide fast today | * Accussed standing committee of dishonoring the “ sense of house” resolution passed earlier by parliament * Congress declined to participate in a ‘Maha-debate' at the venue of the fast * The report passed had dissenting notes by 17 members and thus supported by only 11 * Team Anna wants: * CBI to be out of government control * Lokpal selection procedure to be representative and transparent * PM calls all party meet | Dissection ban will save 19 million animals every year | * When the ban on dissection in laboratories for undergraduate and postgraduate is fully implemented | OUP to reprint Ramanujan's Ramayana essay | * 3 books to be reprinted: * The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan: 300 Ramayanas * Paula Richman's Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia * Questioning Ramayanas | United States to seek greater clarity on nuclear liability law | * During the visit by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns * Washington will seek greater clarity on regulations for the nuclear liability Bill notified on the eve of the Obama-Manmohan meeting in Indonesia last month * Concern raised by American, French and Russian companies * India has said that it is bound by the domestic law and has bridled at the suggestion of getting the legislation examined by IAEA for compatibility with an international law | Food Security Bill draft covers STs, breakfast for students | * Centre decided to include ST as a category that will, by law, be provided subsidised food grains through PDS under the proposed National Food Security Bill * Also provides for supply of “ready cooked hot breakfast” to eligible school children in addition to the mid-day meals under the Integrated Child Development Scheme * Food Ministry has already sent its draft for approval of the Cabinet, after which it will bring the controversial Bill to Parliament in this session * The Bill proposes food grain entitlements to up to 75 per cent of the rural population and up to 50 per cent of the urban population | Kochi metro: Sreedharan's services sought | * Kochi Metro Rail Project * DMRC is the project consultant and also the implementing agency | 12 | | Climate meet strikes deal on future treaty | * Marks an important step toward the dismantling of a 20-year-old system that requires advanced industrialised nations to cut emissions while allowing developing countries including the economic powerhouses China, India and Brazil to escape binding commitments * Delegates also agreed: * On the creation of a fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change * To measures involving the preservation of tropical forests and the development of clean-energy technology * The deal renews the Kyoto Protocol, the fraying 1997 emissions agreement that sets different terms for advanced and developing countries, for several more years. But it also begins a process for replacing it with something that treats all nations equally. * The expiration date of the protocol 2017 or 2020 and the terms of any agreement that replaces it will be negotiated at future sessions of the governing body, the UNFCCC * US never signed the Kyoto treaty because it did not accept its division of labour between developed and developing countries | Aviation Ministry agrees to 26% FDI | * Civil Aviation Ministry has agreed to the proposal for allowing foreign carriers to buy a 26 per cent stake in private airlines * Earlier, the Ministry proposed a cap of 24 per cent | CPI criticises move to ‘censor' online content | * In response to Kapil Sibal’s direction to social networking websites to remove ‘disparaging and defamatory' content, particularly those relating to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and PM or face action * Sibal had asked the websites to evolve a mechanism to filter such ‘inflammatory' content that could create social tension | 13 | | Industry output falls for first time in two years | * Reasons: * Rising prices * High interest rates * Slack consumer demand * Fall in corporate investment at home in the wake of an uncertain global environment * Industrial growth contracted by 5.1 per cent in October this year, compared with a robust expansion of 11.3 per cent in the same month of 2010 | Nuclear liability rules ultra vires' | * Eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee has said that the crucial rule restricting the liability of supplier to just five years in case of an accident is ultra vires and invalid * Earlier the liability period was unlimited but after protest by US, France and Russia, it was reduced to 5 years | Constitution Bench to hear petitions of Tamil Nadu, Kerala today | * Application filed by Tamil Nadu for deployment of Central Industrial Security Forces for the protection of dam * Application filed by Kerala to reduce the level in dam from 136 ft to 120 ft | Cabinet set to clear anti-graft, food security Bills | * Draft bills on the agenda: * Whistleblowers' Bill * Judicial Accountability Bill * Citizens' Grievance Redress Bill * Money Laundering Bill * Food security bill * Lokpal bill | India, U.S. discuss civil nuclear issue | * Visit by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns * Issues discusssed: * Full implementation of civil nuclear agreement * Afghanistan * Economic issues like FDI in multi brand retail, aviation and penssion fund sectors * Transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology and equipment | VS's fast quickened global endosulfan ban | * Endosulfan (pesticide) added to the Stockholm Convention's list of banned substances * Campaigners effectively used the images of bloated heads, stunted bodies and disfigured features of children from the Kasaragod villages, where endosufan had been aerially sprayed on cashew plantations for years | 14 | | Cabinet clears three key Bills | * Judicial accountability * Protection of whistleblowers * Citizens Charter | No decision yet on draft Food Security Bill | * Union Cabinet deferred a decision on the draft National Food Security Bill that seeks to give legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrains to: * 46 per cent ‘priority' families of the 75 per cent rural population and * 28 per cent ‘priority' households of the 50 per cent urban population * There are concerns about the identification of beneficiaries which is being done through a social and economic caste census in rural areas. No such exercise has even begun in urban areas * There are issues about the poverty line criterion based on per capita spending per day, which has been challenged by civil society groups and frowned upon by the SC | YETI brings together over 300 young ecologists | * Young Ecologists Talk and Interact (YETI)-The largest student-organised academic conference on ecology and conservation at IIT Guwahati | Pentavalent vaccine to be introduced today | * Dismissing reports of the deaths of children after administration of pentavalent vaccine in Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Pakistan * To be introduced in Kerala * Will protect children from Diphtheria, Pertussis, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae Hib disease | 15 | | No consensus at all-party meet on Lokpal | * BJP pitching for inclusion of Group C and D employees under the Lokpal which was staunchly opposed by the CPI * BJP and other Opposition parties also demanded that the CBI's investigative wing come under Lokpal * Both, Left and the Right were on the same page with regard to bringing the PM within the ambit of Lokpal | 16 | | U.S. ends Iraq mission | * After nearly nine years of a war that began with the invasion to oust Saddam Hussein | India and Russia to discuss comprehensive economic pact | * Shall hold talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) - An omnibus free trade agreement, during PM’s Russia visit * Ultimately looking at a common Eurasian market and forge ties with Russia-Kazakhstan-Belarus FTA * India to get the Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine on lease * Hydrocarbons will be another focus area * Target to double trade in 4 years * | 17 | | India, Russia agree on credit for Kudankulam Units 3, 4 | * PM confident of “going ahead'' with Unit I of the Russia-supplied Kudankulam plant shortly * Nuclear liability law would not apply to unit 3 and 4 as well * Russia made it clear that it's proposal to India to set up a joint facility for production of nuclear fuel on the Russian soil would not lead to transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies to India | India did not commit itself to binding emission reduction targets post-2020 | * Canada, withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol just one day after the Durban summit, since it failed to meet its commitment to reduce emissions. * Japan and Russia have also refused to take on any fresh commitment targets under the Protocol * India ensured that the new arrangements in 2020 are established under the UNFCCC which would ensure that the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities for rich and poor countries would continue to apply to future decisions | 18 | | Himachal national park to get Unesco stamp | * Great Himalayan National Park would soon get UNESCO World Heritage Status | 19 | | Cabinet clears Food Bill, hopes to approve Lokpal Bill draft today | * Union Cabinet cleared the draft of the Food Security Bill * Will now be introduced in the parliament and then sent to standing committee * On CBI: * Government: Lokpal to refer the corruption cases to CBI, and then monitor the progress of these investigations. But the agency does not come under it * Team Anna: Should be placed under Lokpal * On citizen’s charter: * Govt. And NCPRI: A separate Citizens' Grievance Redress Bill * Team Anna: Include within Lokpal * On lower bureaucracy: * Government: Through a mechanism that will see the CVC conducting the enquiries and reporting periodically its progress to the Lokpal * Team Anna: Include within Lokpal | India strikes deal with Russia on Glonass | * For receiving precision signals from Glonass * These signals will allow missiles, including those fired from nuclear submarine Chakra, to strike within half a meter of distant targets * It is an alternative to the U.S.-controlled Global Positioning System | PPP model in power distribution opposed | * Power distribution utilities of three States including Maharashtra have objected to the proposed suggestions by a sub-group of the Task Force on Private Participation in the Power Sector of the Planning Commission * They feel the proposals could go against existing franchisee norms in the States and skew the tariff. * The sub-group had been pushing for Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) in the distribution of electricity as the way forward | 20 | | Kim Jong-il passes away | * North Korea's reclusive “Dear Leader” who ruled the country for 17 years * His youngest son, Kim Jong-un named as successor | Centre returns resolution on U.P. division, seeks clarifications on number of issues | * Union Home Ministry returned the resolution of the UP Assembly — to divide the State into four seeking clarifications on a number of issues * UP Assembly had cleared the motion for splitting the State into four separate States — Bundelkhand, Purvanchal, Awadh Pradesh and Paschim Pradesh | 21 | | CBI out, Prime Minister in with safeguards as Cabinet clears Lokpal Bill draft | * Administrative control of CBI to remain with the Department of Personnel and Training and not be under Lokpal as demanded by Team Anna and BJP * The Lokpal will not investigate complaints suo motu — it will only take cognisance of complaints made to it by members of the public * 9 member Lokpal committee not to have an investigative wing, only an inquiry wing, as it will refer cases for investigation to the CBI, and these investigations will be done under the Lokpal's supervision * Not accepted suggestion by parties like the BJP to split the CBI's investigation and prosecution wings * Group A,B,C and D government employees to be under the Lokpal, with complaints against Groups C and D being referred to the CVC for investigation — the Lokpal will have oversight/appellate powers * PM to be under Lokpal, but with safeguards so that matters relating to external affairs, atomic energy and national security are excluded. A complaint against PM to be accepted only if three-fourths of the Lokpal committee are party to it; the enquiry to be held in camera and the report to go to Parliament * Lokpal to be chosen by PM, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India to ensure that he is accountable, 100 MPs can sign a petition to initiate proceedings for the removal of the Lokpal * 5 of the 9 members of the Lokpal committee will be SCs/STs/OBCs, women or the minorities | India urges Russia to drop case against Gita translation | * Indian embassy in Moscow took up the matter with senior Russian officials, seeking the government's favourable and positive intervention * State prosecutors in Tomsk are seeking a ban on the Bhagavad Gita, alleging that it promoted extremism and sowed social discord | Tamil Nadu seeks exemption from Food Security Bill | * CM Jayalalithaa has expressed her strong opposition to the draft Food Security Bill, 2011 and urged Centre to exempt TN from its purview * Concerns: * Proposed classification of target groups into priority household (PHH) and general household (GHH) for delivery of food entitlements is confusing and improper * No reason adduced for restricting the coverage under TPDS to 75 per cent of the rural population and 50 per cent of the urban population | Citizens' Charter Bill tabled in Lok Sabha | * Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of Their Grievances Bill, 2011 * Features: * Lays down obligations of every public authority towards citizens * Specifies delivery of goods and services in a time-bound manner * Provides for a grievance redressal mechanism for non-compliance of citizens charter * Makes it mandatory for every public department to publish a Citizens' Charter and address grievances within 30 days, failing which the official concerned would face action, including a fine of up to Rs. 50,000 (to be recovered from his salary) and disciplinary proceedings. * Makes it mandatory for government officials to acknowledge complaints from people within two days of receipt * Team Anna not happy. They had demanded that the ‘Citizens' Charter' be made a part of the Lokpal Bill | CAG: ‘presumptive loss' globally accepted norm in audit process | * CAG appears before the JPC , looking into the 2G spectrum issue * Defended the various mechanisms and theories followed in reaching the “presumptive loss” incurred by the exchequer as the government failed to adopt a market-linked mechanism while giving away telecom licences in 2008 * JPC members had objected that “presumptive loss” mechanism was neither mentioned in any legislation nor a practice to calculate loss in any government department * He said that it is a globally accepted norm in an audit process to reach a loss figure | 22 | | Lokpal Bill to be tabled today | * 3 bills to be tabled simultanously: * Lokpal Bill * A separate law to give the new body a constitutional status * The proposed Bill to protect whistle-blower * To be taken for discussion on december 27 | Food security bill-some concerns | * Is in the eye of the storm for its targeted coverage of beneficiaries as against universalisation * A socio-economic caste census underway in rural areas for identification of beneficiaries and is expected to take some shape after March 2012. But no such exercise undertaken yet in urban areas * Presently underway Antyodaya Anna Yojna covered the “poorest of the poor” who have been subsumed in the ‘priority' households and fear that the new census has certain parameters that may end up excluding more people than including * State governments to share all costs with Centre but no formula specified * Supply of foodgrains shall be linked to targetted PDS reforms: * Introduction of schemes such as cash transfer or food coupons * Leveraging ‘Adhar' for biometric identification of the beneficiaries for proper targeting * Clause 51: * Absolves the Central or the State governments from performing any of their obligation or giving compensation to any party under the Act “when such failure of supply is due, either directly or indirectly, to force majeure conditions, such as war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone, earthquake or any act of God,” | Su. Venkatesan wins Sahitya Akademi award | * Captured 600 years of history of Madurai between 1310 and 1920 in his debut novel Kaaval Kottam * Others are Novelist Gopalakrishna Pai (Kannada) and eminent historian Ramachandra Guha (English) * Awards were given to: * 8 books of poetry * 7 novels * 3 essays: 1 each of narrative history, biography, play and short stories | Lok Sabha passes two Bills | * Export-Import Bank of India (Amendment) Bill, 2011 increasing its authorised capital from Rs. 2,000 crore to Rs. 10,000 crore and to induct two more whole-time directors * Regulation of Factor (Assignment of Receivable) Bill, 2011 aimed at mitigating the problems of delayed payments to industrial commercial undertakings especially MSMEs * Also took up for discussion Constitution (111th) Bill, 2009: * Enshrines the right to form cooperative societies as a fundamental right along with the right to set up a specialised agency on the lines of the Election Commission to conduct election of the cooperative societies * Objectiveis to ensure that the cooperative bodies function in a democratic, professional, autonomous and economically sound manner * It seeks to widen the scope of Article 19 to include cooperative societies, besides touching upon the Directive Principles of State Policy as well for the purpose | 23 | | Lokpal Bill tabled amid protests | * The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 finally tabled in the Lok Sabha * Some features: * PM (with some exclusions), Ministers, current and former MPs (except in respect of what they say or how they vote in the House), and group A, B, C, and D officers and officials of the Central government included * 50% of the members of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas to be from amongst SCs/STs, OBCs, women and minorities. * NGOs and institutions receiving donations of more than Rs. 10 lakhs per annum from foreign sources to be covered. * Lokpal to have constitutional status and be accountable to Parliament * PODs between government and Team Anna: * Government nominees have a majority of one on the selection committee, which will choose the Lokpal's chairperson and eight members * CBI to continue to remain under the administrative control of the government and not the Lokpal. * The judiciary and the citizens' charter are not part of the Lokpal but will be covered by other laws | 4.5 p.c. sub-quota for minorities | * Cabinet decided to carve out a sub-quota of 4.5 per cent for the minorities within the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs ahead of UP poll * Supported by Sachar committee report, 2006 | Food inflation at four-year low | * Food inflation fell sharply to a four-year low of 1.81 per cent as prices of certain essential vegetables like onion and potato dropped steeply * It may help RBI to go for interest rate cuts in its next monetary policy review on January 24 | Health regulatory Bill tabled in Rajya Sabha | * A Bill for regulation of standards of health education, and determination, maintenance, coordination and promotion of human resources in the country's health sector * Seeks to establish a National Commission for Human Resources for Health to regulate professional councils in various disciplines of health sector * Proposes to replace independent regulatory bodies such as: * Medical Council of India (MCI) * Dental Council of India (DCI) * Pharmacy Council of India * Nursing Council of India with new national councils, including a Paramedical Council | 24 | | India, Thailand work on defence cooperation pact | * Defence dialogue with Thailand comes close on the heels of New Delhi's similar engagement with countries including South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, etc * Shall include: * Regular joint exercises * Joint maritime patrols near the international maritime boundary to counter terrorism, piracy and smuggling * Training of officers at each others' Armed Forces Training institutions * Participation as observers in military exercises, staff talks and exchange of trainee visits at various levels | ‘No hitch in India-Iran pipeline project' | * Efforts would be made to find a permanent solution in making monthly payments of about $1billion for oil imported from Iran * Iran is India's second major source of crude oil * No problem between the two countries over the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. Problem is of transit between India and Pakistan | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | |

January 2012: 1 | | Manmohan's New Year pledge: ‘honest and more efficient' rule | * 5 point ‘policy agenda' for 2012: * Livelihood security (education, food, health and employment) * Economic security * Energy security * Ecological security * National security * Food Security Bill: Pet Bill of Congress president Sonia Gandhi * Energy security: * 2 goals: Expanding new investment and achieving energy efficiency * Require a rational pricing policy of aligning India's energy prices with global rates in a phased manner | “Government won't accept all amendments” | * HM P. Chidambaram said that government would not accept all amendments moved by Opposition on the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill * 187 amendments introduced in the second House [the Rajya Sabha] by the same parties which voted in the first House [the Lok Sabha] * After passing from the parliament, it will be reviewed by judiciary * BJP opposed Lokayukta in the states-one of the key demands of team Anna * Gadchiroli incident: Naxal-affected district of Maharashtra | Kochi Metro Rail: protests against move to drop DMRC | * KMRL to go for global tender and DMRC can participate in it. It was earlier entrusted to DMRC in 2010 * Agitators want the project to be retained in public sector * Cause of concern: * Amounts to insulting Mr. Sreedharan, whose service was being sought by other States * Like all mass transport ventures, there will be a viability gap once the metro rail is commissioned. This will lead to the private investors going for real estate development as the stretch between Aluva and Tripunithura (where Kochi Metro is being proposed) is the most developing real estate segment * Center has till now not sanctioned money for KMRL but released Rs. 471 crore and Rs. 1,458 crore for Mumbai and Hyderabad metro projects, both being executed with private participation. This favouring of the private sector is against the socialist ideals of the nation as envisaged in our Constitution * Delaying the approval of the project would escalate the cost by Rs. 30 lakh every day | Metro Man calls it a day | * E. Sreedharan handed over the baton to his colleague Mangu Singh after a 16-year tenure as MD of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation * Earlier was the architect of the Konkan Railway project * Delhi Metro's Phase III under construction * DMRC has undertaken consulting work for planning metro systems in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Kochi | Waterman brings local guardians back to protect Sariska tigers | * Vowing to protect land, trees, fauna and the apex animal, tiger * Had lost all tigers some 5 years back due to alleged poaching * Waterman Rajendra Singh started a 19-day padyatra for protection of this precious island of bio-diversity largelu under threat due to expansion of metropolis of Delhi * He was awarded a Magsaysay in 2001 for making dead rivers flow in the arid terrains of Alwar, and his organization Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) had fought the mining lobby in the 1990s and kept a watch on the poachers | Rajya Sabha Chairman prevented a ‘dangerous precedent' by adjournment | * Chairman Hamid Ansari's decision to adjourn the proceedings of the RS at the stroke of midnight though attracted some criticism but the act actually prevented a precedent that could have led to a constitutional crisis * There was no unanimity especially since the government said it was not prepared to go for an extension as it needed time to reconcile the 187 amendments — some of which it said were contradictory * Advancing the session further would have meant going against the opinion of the government meaning its absence in the House, which was a perfect recipe for a first-rate crisis | Lokpal Bill will remain alive till end of current Lok Sabha term | * Government asserted its intention to take up the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 for passage during the budget session of Parliament that usually commences towards the end of February * In the event of the Bill not coming up during the next or subsequent sessions, it would remain alive till the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha * As per Article 107 (5) of the Constitution: “A Bill which is pending in the House of the People, or which has been passed by the House of the People is pending in the Council of States, shall, subject to the provisions of article, lapse on dissolution of the House of the People.'' * Once the RS takes a view and passes the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill with amendment(s) — official or moved by a Member —, the Bill will have to go back the LS for consideration and passage of the amended Bill. The LS has the option of re-considering and passing the Bill so amended or rejecting it * The government also has the option to work on the passage of the Bill through a joint session of Parliament. Article 108 states that such a session can be called if after a Bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other House * the Bill is rejected by the other House * more than six months elapse from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it * The last time Parliament passed a Bill at a joint session was the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act in 2002 by the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government. The Congress-led UPA repealed it after coming to power in 2004 | Gundia power project will result in bio-diversity loss, says experts panel | * Gundia power project in Karnataka should not be permitted as its execution can cause significant environmental impact and biodiversity loss as reported by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) * Can cause large-scale land cover changes in this basin * Will alter the hydrological regime of the river basin and perennial streams can become seasonal | Congress-BJP collusion prevented Bill passage: CPI | * Congress and BJP voted against the amendment suggested by the Left parties to bring corporate and NGOs within the Lokpal's purview * The two parties indulged in mud-slinging rather than focussing on evolving a consensus * The house- RS, was adjourned without passing the Bill | Cyclone Thane | | In action-packed 2011, Supreme Court cleared over 79,000 cases | * The year 2011 saw the highest number of cases disposed of in recent years by SC * Some judgments: * Stayed the illegal mining in Bellary * Coming to the rescue of air passengers it said that if there was a delay in the departure of a flight with passengers on board for more than three hours for lack of clearance from the Air Traffic Control (due to fog or for other operational reasons), the passengers should be permitted to get back to the airport lounge, and the airlines should provide them with food and water * Making it clear to the outside world that India followed the rule of law even in the case of a foreign national, it stayed the execution of Ajmal Kasab * Stayed the release on bail of Pune-based racehorse owner Hasan Ali, detained under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and other laws * Came down heavily on the Centre for its lacklustre response to tackling the menace of black money * In the Salwa Judum case, it declared illegal the employment of youth to counter Maoists * While agreeing to consider the legality of the nuclear bill, SC made it clear that it would not go into the policy aspects relating to the safety of all nuclear plants in the country as it was the domain of Parliament * Directed the SIT headed by former CBI Director, R.K. Raghavan to submit its final report to the trial court, on the further investigation it had done on the complaint of Zakia Jeffrey against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi * By quashing UP government's order suspending the screening of the Hindi film Aarakshan for two months, the SC once again underlined the importance of freedom of speech and expression * It came to the rescue to thousands of students writing competitive examinations by making it clear that students could seek a photo copy of the answer sheets of an examination conducted by any agency under the Right to Information Act * Observing that the right to life is of paramount consideration, the SC banned the manufacture, sale and use of Endosulfan. But it allowed the existing stocks and formulations * It extended its jurisdiction beyond the Indian border by making an emotional appeal to the Pakistan government to release an Indian prisoner languishing in a Pakistani jail for more than 26 years after he inadvertently crossed the border. Interestingly, the Pakistan government accepted the appeal and freed the prisoner * It allowed passive mercy killing of a patient in a permanent vegetative state by withdrawing the life support system with the approval of a medical board and on the directions of the High Court concerned. It, however, did not accept the plea of Pinky Virani of Mumbai for permission to withdraw the life support extended to Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug, who has been in a permanent vegetative state at KEM Hospital in Mumbai for 37years | Non-Hindus can enter Jagannath temples, except shrine at Puri | * Gajapati King Dibya Singha Deb of Puri said that there was no restriction on the entry of non-Hindus into temples of Lord Jagannath across the globe, except the 12th century shrine at Puri | Social activist Rani Jethmalani passes away | * Rani Jethmalani: Social activist and Supreme Court lawyer was the daughter of renowned lawyer Ram Jethmalani | 2 | | No fast, no andolan for a month, doctor tells Anna | * Abruptly ended a 3 day fast in Mumbai within two days owing to failing health * He was scheduled to tour the 5 poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa | Trinamool rules out compromise on Lokpal Bill | * It wants the total deletion of the Lokayukta provision stating that it will compromise the federal structure of the Constitution | Govt. opens domestic equity market to qualified foreign investors | * In a major policy decision, the Centre announced its decision to allow Qualified Foreign Investors (QFIs) to directly invest in Indian equity market in order to: * Widen the class of investors * Attract more foreign funds * Reduce market volatility * Deepen the Indian capital market * In the union budget, QFIs were permitted direct access to Indian Mutual Funds schemes * The scheme comes in the light of sizeable foreign capital outflow from the Indian equity market that led to volatility of the rupee. Significant outflow by FIIs saw the rupee plunging to an all-time low of over Rs. 54 against the dollar last month * Foreign capital inflows to India have significantly gained importance over the years and have been influenced by strong domestic fundamentals and buoyant yields reflecting robust corporate sector performance * In the present arrangement relating to foreign portfolio investments, only FIIs/sub-accounts and NRIs are allowed to directly invest in the Indian equity market * QFIs would be: * Individuals, groups or associations residing in a foreign country that is compliant with the Financial Action Task Force and is a signatory to The International Organization of Securities Commissions’ multilateral MoU * QFIs do not include FII/sub-accounts * Under the scheme: * RBI would grant general permission to QFIs to invest under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) route similar to FIIs * The individual and aggregate investment limit for QFIs shall be 5% and 10% respectively of the paid-up capital of an Indian company | Pakistan flag hoisted in Karnataka town | * Tension prevailed at Sindgi on Sunday as the Pakistani flag was found hoisted on the premises of Tahsildar's office | India, Pakistan exchange lists | * India and Pakistan exchanged a list of their nuclear installations and facilities under a two-decades-old pact prohibiting attacks on atomic assets | Pakistan joins UNSC | * Pakistan joined UNSC on a 2year term as a non-permanent member | Expedite block-based approach to deal with Naxalism, Jairam tells Ahluwalia | * Centre's strategy to revamp the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) to counter the problem of Left-Wing Extremism seems to have run into a rough patch within the Planning Commission * Jairam wants IAP to be executed by block rather than by district * Features: * Districts covered: 78 * Each district given Rs. 30 crore annually to take up any work or project demanded by the people of the region * Projects cleared by a committee comprising the District Magistrate, the Superintendent of Police and the District Forest Officer * PC has excluded 2 districts: Sitamarhi and West Champaran from IAP | Rare success of 3 Idiots breaks China's Bollywood Great Wall | * Film struck an instant chord with China's famously overworked students, so much so that some Chinese universities were, last year, even prescribing the film in their coursework as a kind of stress-relief in their classrooms | 3 | | Irked by diplomat's treatment, India summons Chinese envoy | * India has lodged its protest with China against the ill-treatment meted out to its diplomat from the Shanghai Consulate * Diplomat S. Balachandran was not allowed to leave a court room in a nearby city for medication following which he collapsed and was rushed to a hospital * A diabetes patient, Mr. Balachandran's sugar level plummeted after he remained confined to the court room without food or drink for five hour | 20-year-old ‘Psycho Stapleton' charged with Anuj's murder | * Charged with the murder of Indian university student Anuj Bidve in a suspected racially-motivated attack in Salford, Manchester, on Boxing Day | Centre must discourage smoking more forcefully: Amartya Sen | * Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen called for “a more forceful discouragement” of smoking by the government, pointing out that the State did bear the cost of the diseases that resulted from the habit * Smoking influences the lives of others. Not just forcing proximate people to passive-smoking, but also through the medical cost of treatment of diseases that tend to result from smoking such as cancer. Given the limited amount of medical resources available, it draws on resources that could have been utilized for other ailments | Dance guru Sarasa passes away | * Devoted her lifetime to deep engagement with Bharatanatyam | Dr. Mungekar new president of Indian Economic Association | * Dr. Bhalchandra Mungekar * Indian Economic Association is the highest body of the country's economists | Madhya Pradesh cow slaughter ban act gets Presidential nod | * The amended act puts the responsibility of proving the prosecution wrong on the accused in a cow slaughter case * A person found guilty of cow slaughter would be liable for 7 years imprisonment, instead of the present 3 years, besides a minimum fine of Rs. 5000 | BJP MPs to take Lokpal issue to President | * BJP is blaming government for the fate of Lokpal Bill in RS. The bill could not be taken up for voting. RS was adjourned at midnight on Dec 29. It said that UPA deliberately avoided the vote for the fear of losing it * Neither UPA nor BJP were keen on passage. Both CPI and left parties wanted strong Lokpal and were not satisfied with the draft that resulted from LS * UPA was left isolated with even its largest ally Trinamool Congress joining with the opposition even after supporting it in LS * BJP succeeded in mobilizing support against the Congress' Bill in the RS not just from the Left parties but from a majority of regional parties, including the Trinamool, by portraying a Central legislation, that included the office of the Lokayuktas, as “an attack on the federal structure” * 187 amendments were moved in RS and 76 in LS. Most of them were related to: * Appointment and removal of the Lokpal * Autonomy to the CBI * Lokayukta not being formed by a Central law * The Bill as passed in the LS has been “preserved” and UPA now has the breathing space till the budget session to redraw its strategy | President inaugurates new SHAR Mission Control Centre | * New centre has been developed with state-of-the-art facilities to meet the requirements for the launch of the Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III and future missions of ISRO * Entire country looking forward to successful flight-testing by ISRO of the indigenous cryogenic stage on-board GSLV-1 * Chandrayaan-1: Discovered water molecule on the lunar surface. * Chandrayaan-2: Shall place the lander-and-rover modules on lunar terrain | Left criticises opening of equity markets to foreign investors | * It will open the floodgates for greater capital flow into India and undermine the stability and integrity of our financial system – CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat * Unlike FIIs who retain investments for a longer period, individual investors may indulge in short-term and even intra-day trade and exit after booking profits * Shall encourage ‘fly-by-night operators' to take part in the markets | 4 | | PMO steps in to resolve row over oil, gas exploration | * To resolve a showdown between the Petroleum and Natural Gas and Defense ministries * Last year, Defense Ministry gave clearance for beginning work on 8 offshore oil and gas fields in the Eastern and Andaman offshore zone — part of a tranche of 34 blocks which were offered to prospectors * However, now it has refused to allow exploration, saying any activity could jeopardize naval operations | ‘States should be free to decide on Lokayukta' | * As per Trinamool Congress - Lokpal is a matter of the Central Government and should be left to the Centre while the Lokayukta is to be appointed by the States and hence they should be free to take a decision instead of being imposed with a “model” by the Centre * It wants to ensure federal structure in the country | Sabeer Bhatia keen to team up with West Bengal government | * Has recently founded JaxtrSMS and is keen to collaborate with the West Bengal government for his new venture * It is an application that enables users to send unlimited free SMSes to any other phone. It would help the government in three levels of text-based communications — * Sending SMS intra-government * From government to citizens * Receiving communications from the citizens to government | 5 | | Indian traders freed after days of detention in Yiwu | * 2 Indian traders who had been holed up in a hotel and were facing threats to their lives were released after two weeks of forced detention following a bitter trade dispute with local businessmen | India objects to map ‘inaccuracies' | * India has objected to the “gross inaccuracies” in the depiction of Jammu and Kashmir in a map on the U.S. State Department website * Corrected by US thereafter | NRHM irregularities: CBI registers 5 new cases | * Alleged irregularities in the implementation of NRHM funds in UP, leading to a loss of Rs.28 crore to the exchequer * Case registered against former Family Welfare Minister of UP, Babu Singh Kushwaha | National mission on monsoon prediction likely by month-end | * Union Cabinet is likely to give its final approval for a national mission to try and improve the accuracy of monsoon forecasts * At present IMD makes its forecasts based on the system of a statistical model, which makes the prediction on the basis of several predictors * The statistical system has several fundamental and inherent shortcomings. The dynamic numerical models are expected to come out with better forecasts * India does not have a dynamic numerical model of its own. Goal will be to develop a model that would be India-specific within five years | 6 | | India declares itself bird flu-free | * India has declared itself free from bird flu (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) | Submit report on alternative alignment for Sethu project by March 27, court asks Centre | * SC asked Centre to complete the Environment Impact Analysis on an alternative alignment for the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project without cutting across Adam's Bridge or Ramar Sethu * Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has urged the SC to ask the Centre to declare Ramar Sethu a national monument as per the direction of the Madras HC | India to talk oil with Trinidad & Tobago | * India's quest for gas and oil in the Caribbean to be discussed during talks between PM Manmohan Singh and his Trinidad and Tobago counterpart, Kamla Persad-Bissessar who is the Chief Guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas to be held at Jaipur | Surrender and seek bail, Sukh Ram told | * SC refused to grant immediate relief to former Union Communications Minister Sukh Ram who has been convicted and sentenced to three-year imprisonment in a 1993 corruption case | Arvind Gupta takes charge as new IDSA chief | * Assumed charge as Director- General of the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA) | 7 | | Dissent grows in BJP over inducting ex-BSP Ministers | * Over induction of former BSP Ministers from UP including Babu Singh Kushwaha | Vrindavan widows denied dignity even in death | * Bodies of widows who die in government-run shelter homes in Vrindavan are taken away by sweepers at night, cut into pieces, put into jute bags and disposed of as the institutions do not have any provision for a decent funeral | CBI takes over Ishrat Jahan probe | * As directed by Gujarat HC, CBI has taken over the investigation of the Ishrat Jahan “fake” encounter case | Job scheme wages through Aadhaar launched in Jharkhand | * To overcome the delay in payment of wages to MGNREGS workers * Implemented cash payments for MGNEGRS workers by a biometric scan based on the UID. Banks have upgraded software and system to enable the payment | S.K. Singh award for nuclear trouble-shooter Venkatesh Varma | * Senior Indian diplomat D. Bala Venkatesh Varma — a key member of the negotiating team that saw the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal through from the first agreement of July 2005 down to the Additional Protocol in 2010 — given the first S.K. Singh award “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen India's position in the global nuclear order” * The award for excellence in IFS is named after the former foreign secretary and Governor, Shailendra Kumar Singh, a diplomat widely respected within the IFS community for his acumen, professionalism and leadership | 8 | | India to send 15-member military team to China | * India decided to send a truncated 15-member military delegation to China after Beijing expressed objections to hosting an Indian Air Force (IAF) official from Arunachal Pradesh * A 30-member delegation was scheduled to travel to Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai on a four-day visit, the first by an Indian delegation to China after the two countries held the fourth round of their Annual Defense Dialogue here last month * One of the recent sticking points has been Beijing's visa policy to Indians from Arunachal Pradesh. The Chinese government has either issued stapled visas to Indians from the State, or not issued visas at all, citing its claim on the State as its own territory | Krishna to take stock of IDP housing project in Sri Lanka | * After several delays, massive Indian Housing project worth 10$ million for the displaced Tamils in Jaffna is set to take off | 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas off to a vibrant start in Jaipur | * Theme of this year's three-day convention is “Global Indian: Inclusive Growth” * Chief guest - Indian-origin Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad Bissessar | Activists seek thermal plant at Kudankulam | * Anti-Kudankulam nuclear power plant activists have come out with a new proposal for finding solution to the impasse by suggesting that the nuclear plant can be converted in to a thermal plant through technical modifications | Indo-German trade set to increase | * Target for 2012:20 billion Euros * Year of Germany in India from September 2011 to November 2012 | EC order on draping of Mayawati statues not new | * Amid criticism, Election Commission ordered draping of statues of UP CM Mayawati and her party symbol, elephant * Even prior to the May 2004 LS elections, a similar order to drape photographs/portraits of the then PM and BJP leader A.B. Vajpayee, installed on highways and golden quadrilateral road projects, was issued and it was adhered to * Model code does not allow display of hoardings paid for by the exchequer * Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and Election Commissioners V.S. Sampath and H.S. Brahma | 9 | | NRIs will get right to vote; pension fund for overseas workers | * At the inauguration the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas * PM announced the right of franchise to NRIs who are registered under the Representation of the People Act, 1950 * Also introduced a new pension and life insurance fund for overseas Indian workers, to enable them to voluntarily save for their return and resettlement * A Bill has been introduced in Parliament to merge and streamline the PIO and Overseas Citizen of India schemes by amending the Citizenship Act. This would provide for an overseas Indian card that would be given to foreign spouses of the holders as well | China will ‘make efforts' to improve relations with India: top official | * China has accused India of being part of a U.S.-led “containment” strategy and looking to provoke China into disputes | Taliban receiving Pakistan military equipment, U.S. investigation reveal | * | State Finance Ministers to discuss GST today | * 1st meeting of the Empowered Committee (EC) of FM of States on GST will begin on Monday * Shall be presided over by Bihar Deputy CM and Chairman of the EC Sushil Modi * Committee to also review compensation of losses being suffered by States in the wake of reduction in the rates of sales tax by the Union government and the tendency of VAT revenue during year 2011-12 | 10 | | Team Anna not to target any party in Assembly polls | * Not to target any single party in the coming Assembly elections in five States | Infosys prize conferred on six researchers from 5 science streams | * The prize, into its 3rd year, carries a cash component of Rs. 50 lakh, a gold medallion and a citation | Swift is ‘Indian Car of the Year' | * Maruti Suzuki's popular premium hatchback Swift has bagged the ‘Indian Car Of The Year 2012’ | CBI to question Amit Shah again in Prajapati case | * In the case of 2006 fake encounter death of Tulsiram Prajapati, a crucial witness to the Sohrabuddin Sheikh-Kausarbi killing, which the former Gujarat HM has been accused of masterminding | ‘New electronics policy soon' | | 11 | | 42 per cent of Indian children are malnourished | * Hunger and Malnutrition (HUNGaMA) report by the Naandi Foundation | No ban on Rushdie travel: Centre | * Center ruled out banning author Salman Rushdie from visiting India as demanded by an Islamic seminary | Response10' to tackle terror in Mumbai | * Mumbai Police initiative to tackle rising terror threat in the city * It involves training the police personnel to do operations at the site of a terror attack till the specialized forces take over | No decision yet on PF interest rate cut | * No decision yet on reducing the interest rate payable to Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) subscribers from 9.5 per cent given in 2010-11 to 8.6 per cent for 2011-12 | BSF steps up vigil along NE | * In the wake of busting of a multi crore fake currency racket by National Investigation Agency in Hyderabad | 12 | | Gilani fires Defense Secretary, triggers tension with Army | * Army warned PM Gilani of “grievous consequences” for his criticism of the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as he sacked the Defense Secretary, pushing the country to the brink of a political crisis * Had earlier said that Gen. Kayani and ISI chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha acted in an “unconstitutional and illegal” manner by filing affidavits in the Memogate in Supreme Court without government's permission | EC halts minorities sub-quota in five poll-bound States | * EC ordered Union Ministry of Personnel not to give effect to the December 22, 2011 office memorandum, providing 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities within the 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes in Central government jobs and educational institutions, in the five poll-bound States * EC said that the order had been issued in violation of the model code * Some provisions of the model code: * The party in power, whether at the Centre or in the State or States concerned, shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for purposes of its campaign * From the time elections are announced, Ministries and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof ......, which may have the effect of influencing voters in favor of the party in power | China says disputes should be settled ‘calmly' | * China's Special Representative is expected to travel to India for the 15th round of talks on boundary dispute * Indian Ambassador S. Jaishankar * In the previous year was launched the Strategic Economic Dialogue and trade rose to a record $70 billion | Shivani case acquittal miscarriage of justice | * Delhi Police moved to SC against the Delhi HC judgment acquitting suspended IPS officer R K Sharma and two others accused of killing journalist Shivani Bhatnagar in 1999 | ‘Surya Namaskar' sparks row | * Yogic exercise of “Surya Namaskar” in government schools in MP became controversial with the city Qazi issuing a “fatwa” against the practice | 13 | | No new wild polio case for a year, India beats down deadly virus | * 2 years ago, India had the largest number of polio cases in the world (741) * Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease which mainly affects young children * The virus is transmitted through contaminated food and water, and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system * Some background: * Started with expanded Immunization Program in late 1970s * 1985: It became a part of the Universal Immunization Program launched throughout the country * 1995-96: Launch of National Pulse Polio Initiative (PPI) targeting coverage of every child under five in the country with the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to be given on two National Immunization Days, one each in December and January, followed by more focused state-level immunization campaigns throughout the year. The PPI set for the nation a new target — eradication of polio by 2005 | India leads the world in recognising right to food, says Stiglitz | * By recognizing the right to food as a basic human right, India is leading the way for rest of the world * On the verge of implementation of the world's largest social protection program against hunger * Citing the work of fellow Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, he said hunger is not caused by an absolute shortage of grain, but by the lack of income of those in poverty to get access to it * The world has been in pursuit of GDP fetishism – the belief that development is simply the increase in GDP | Court warns Facebook, Google | * Delhi HC warned Facebook and Google that their websites could be “blocked” as was done in China if they failed to devise a mechanism to remove objectionable materials | Pranab could have given a direction on note on 2G issue: Law Ministry | * Sent by Home Ministry to the PMO on issues related to 2G spectrum * It said that the then FM, P. Chidambaram, could have insisted on auctioning the 2G spectrum licenses * 2G case is being currently examined by JPC - Chairman P.C. Chacko | Phase III of Red Ribbon Express launched | * National AIDS Control Organization’s Red Ribbon Express Phase III * Multimedia and multi-sectoral mass mobilization project * Shall involve exhibitions and folk troupes | Sreedharan to handle Kochi Metro project | * Had stepped down as MD of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in 2011 | Cabinet clears Counter-Terrorism Centre | * Cleared a proposal to set up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the last of the three institutions proposed by Union HM P. Chidambaram after 26/11 to strengthen the country's security architecture * Functions: * Drawing up plans and co-coordinating all actions to counter terrorism * Integrating all intelligence * Coordinating with relevant intelligence agencies to ensure that perpetrators of terror are brought to justice * Maintaining a comprehensive database of terrorists, their associates and supporters * Ensuring that all agencies have access to and receive the support of all intelligence agencies | 14 | | Facebook, Google face prosecution | * Sanction granted by GOI to prosecute 21 social networking websites, including Facebook and Google stating that there is sufficient material to proceed against them for offences of promoting enmity between different groups of people | BJP seeks to corner SP, BSP on quota debate | * BJP launched campaign against Congress proposal to provide 9% reservation for backward minorities (mainly Muslims) within the 27 per cent quota for OBCs stating that it will yield political dividends for it in the UP Assembly elections * It argued that the move will not only divide the State on communal lines but also widen the divide among the OBCs | Making a U-turn, Congress distances itself from Khursheed's quota promise | * Congress distanced itself from Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed's election speech promise of 9% reservation for minorities within the 27.5 per cent quota for the OBCs in Uttar Pradesh | Devotees throng Sagar Island on Makar Sankranti | * Sagar Island - Located at the confluence of Hooghly and the Bay of Bengal in West Bengal's South 24 Parganas district * For the Gangasagar Mela and offering prayers at Kapil Muni temple | Second nuclear submarine headed for year-end launch | * 2nd Arihant-class nuclear submarine, to be named INS Aridaman, is moving fast at the Shipbuilding Centre (SBC) in Visakhapatnam * 1st submarine of the class, INS Arihant, launched in July 2009, has just completed its harbor acceptance trials and is set to undergo sea acceptance trials in February * Shall be possibly inducted into Navy in 2013 thus completing the nuclear triad * The missiles with which the submarine shall be equipped are developed under Sagarika program | Muslim groups oppose Rushdie's visit to Jaipur fest | * | 15 | | Nod for proposal to ban portable ultrasound machines | * To prevent their misuse for sex determination | Underperforming PSUs stand to lose Mini Ratna status following assessment | * Department of Public Enterprises has directed all administrative Ministries and departments to make the assessment and re-examine the status of the PSUs under them which currently number 67 * The Ministries are competent to grant Mini Ratna status to CPSEs under their jurisdiction | 16 | | 17 | | Gilani's fate hangs in balance as SC issues contempt notice | * SC issued a contempt notice to PM Gilani, paving way for his possible disqualification as a member of parliament and throwing into doubt his continuance in office * Has been charged with failure to implement court's order directing him to write to Swiss government asking it to reopen money laundering cases against President Asif Ali Zardari | Protect the homeless in this bitter winter | * SC asked government authorities to carry out its order in “letter and spirit” to “preserve and protect” the lives of homeless people by providing them a roof with all necessary facilities, especially in North India | Ombudsman for Central educational institutions | * GOI announced grievance redressal mechanisms in higher educational institution * All institutions affiliated to the: * University Grants Commission * All India Council for Technical Education, and * National Council for Teachers Education will now be required to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for students and applicants before the commencement of the admission season this academic year | India, Nepal to share terror information real-time | * Some issues: * Circulation of fake Indian currency * Smuggling of arms and ammunition * Trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances * Misuse of SIM cards | 18 | | Foreign players to get stake in Indian carriers | * Debt-laden civil aviation industry battling hard to stay afloat * GOI said that it would kick start the process to allow foreign airlines 49 per cent stake in Indian carriers * It should come as a major relief to debt-ridden airlines such as Kingfisher * Currently, anyone except a foreign airline, can pick up equity in scheduled domestic airlines | Cairn-Vedanta deal comes under a cloud | * Successfully concluded $8.48-billion Cairn-Vedanta deal has come “under cloud” following: * Instances of serious human rights violations * Default of payment * Environmental damage in its mining and metal projects in India * The deal is likely to be put up before Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for review | “Fight Corruption” at 0141-2742799 | * Global coalition Transparency International, working to promote probity in public life, started a telephone helpline to enable common people to combat corrupt practices in public offices through its counseling and legal assistance * Helpline is named “Fight Corruption” * It will advise callers on ways to deal with instances of corruption, nepotism, demands for bribe, dishonesty and misconduct | India, China to set up working mechanism on border management | * A day after beginning talks on the boundary question, India and China agreed to set up a working mechanism on border management to deal with important affairs related to maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas * It will study ways and means to conduct and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between military personnel and establishments of the two sides in the border areas | INS Krishna gets an emotional farewell | * INS Krishna was part of Navy's First Training Squadron since 1995 | 19 | | Setback to Modi as appointment of Lokayukta is upheld | * Gujarat HC upheld the appointment of Justice R.A. Mehta, a retired judge of the HC, as Lokayukta | Transparent accounting system must from 2013 | * All government higher educational institutions will have to mandatorily follow a standardized accounting system from the 2013 academic session to bring in more transparency, accountability and good governance * Government will hold negotiations with private institutions before making the system mandatory for them also * This is to ensure: * Accountability * Financial discipline, and * End-use of funds and to meet stakeholders' needs | 20 | | Coup bid against Hasina foiled, claims Army | * Bangladesh claimed that an attempt by some mid-ranking Army officers to topple the Sheikh Hasina government was foiled by it | Chidambaram takes UID turf war to Manmohan Singh | * controversy-ridden project * HM has asked planning commission to bring a note to the Cabinet on the status of the UIDAI, so that there is “clarity” on which agency – the Registrar-General of India (RGI) or the UIDAI – will carry on with the task of capturing the biometric data of the population * UIDAI comes under the nodal authority of the PC * RGI functions under the Home Ministry * The issue: * Home Ministry feels that the data collected by UIDAI is not secure and has not been verified by a government servant. * While the RGI has actually visited households, the UIDAI has invited people to come to designated centers, where the data collection has been done by hired organizations * Original thought: * The work of RGI was to collect biometric data of all usual residents in the country and then send it to UIDAI for de-duplication and generation of Aadhar numbers * The problem is that the logical order of the UID project has been back to front. First came the assurance of a unique identity, then fund allocation, then feasibility study and the Bill to govern it, which has been rejected by the Standing Committee. And this, after Rs. 672 crores has been spent by the UIDAI till November 2011 | Gujarat takes Lokayukta issue to Supreme Court | * Within a day of Gujarat HC upholding the Lokayukta appointment, the Gujarat government moved to SC on the ground that in issuing the warrant of appointment of the Lokayukta, the Governor did not follow the constitutional procedure of consultation with the Council of Ministers headed by CM and hence, the appointment was unconstitutional amounting to breakdown of constitutional machinery | Harish Khare quits as Manmohan's Media Adviser | * NDTV India's senior anchor Pankaj Pachauri would take over as “Communications Adviser” in the PMO | 21 | | Litfest roiled as writers break ban on Satanic Verses | * Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) was threatened with closure after several writers decided to show solidarity with Salman Rushdie by reading out passages from his banned 1988 novel The Satanic Verses | Make silicosis notifiable disease: NHRC | * Taking serious note of the increasing silicosis-related deaths in the country, NHRC has recommended that silicosis be made a notifiable disease * Once notified, all government and private health facilities will have to report confirmed as well as suspected silicosis cases to the government * It is an incurable lung disease caused by inhaling of dust containing free crystalline silica * Potential victims are poor migrant workers employed in quarries, mines, gem cutting and other hazardous occupations such as construction sites | Rs. 10-cr. loans to start-ups under Nano Mission | * To encourage industries to take up projects in nano technology, the Nano Mission launched by the Government of India in 2007 plans to provide loans to start-up firms up to Rs.10 crore from April 2012 * C.N.R. Rao : Chairman, Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and Chairman Nano Mission | Ketamine smuggling rampant from south India | * Ketamine hydrochloride is an intravenously administered anaesthetic used by veterinarians to perform surgeries on pets * It is converted to powder form in backyard laboratories in south India and smuggled through airports in bulk quantities to holiday destinations in Malaysia and Thailand where it is widely abused as a recreational drug | 22 | | Water Policy draft favors privatization of services | * GOI has begun consultations on a new National Water Policy that calls for the privatization of water-delivery services and withdrawl of government from its role as a service provider * It suggests that it be priced so as to “fully recover” the costs of operation and administration of water-resources projects * It calls for abolition of all forms of water subsidies to the agricultural and domestic sector but says “subsidies and incentives” should be provided to private industry for recycling and reusing treated effluents. * It also proposes that subsidies to agricultural electricity users be curtailed since it leads to wasteful use of both electricity and water * For expeditious resolution of inter-State water disputes, it suggests establishment of a permanent Water Disputes Tribunal at the Centre * It also suggests that people displaced by large water projects should be made partners in progress and given a share in the benefits comparable to the project benefitted families * The proposals could mean sharp rise in the cost of water for both rural and urban users — an outcome that will help curtail misuse of water * In 2005, a World Bank paper had made similar recommendations | 23 | | Salman Rushdie slams Rajasthan government | * Said that Rajasthan authorities fabricated a threat to his life in order to keep him away from the Jaipur Literature Festival | Government taking Vodafone verdict in its stride | * SC ruling on Vodafone case has come as a major revenue setback * SC judgment set aside Bombay HC order and quashed Rs. 11,000-crore tax demand on Vodafone | Karnataka Upalokayukta sworn in amid controversy | * Former HC judge Chandrashekaraiah appointed as Upalokayukta * Government nominee for the post of Lokayukta, S.R. Bannurmath, benefited illegally from the allotment of a housing society site | CAPART to be run professionally; Jairam quits | * Jairam Ramesh decided to step down as president of the governing body of CAPART (Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology) and pave the way for its professional management * It was alleged of high-level corruption and untold harassment to non-governmental organizations attached to it | Media offering opium to masses: Katju | * Press Council of India (PCI) Chairman Justice Markandey Katju | 24 | | India to see Hollywood film before America | * India has become a very important market for Hollywood films over the years and hence more emphasis on deciding the releases according to the competition and holidays here. * It is an increasing trend, as Tintin also released in India before U.S. | 25 | | Two held in Jarawa video case | * 2 arrested for organizing a trip of a British journalist to the Jarawa reserve and providing him with video of dancing women of the tribe | 26 | | Supreme Court orders probe into all fake encounters in Gujarat | * Dealing a blow to Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, SC asked the Monitoring Authority (MA) headed by M.B. Shah, a retired SC judge to probe all fake encounter deaths in the State from 2002 to 2006 | Jay Leno sued | * U.S. talk-show host Jay Leno has been sued by an Indian-American in California for his comments on the Golden Temple and ridiculing the Sikhs by portraying the holy shrine as a vacation home | Not bound by U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran: India | * Asserting that it will not be dictated by any individual country or bloc for imposing sanctions against Iran, India has strongly conveyed that it is only bound by UN backed sanctions and would continue to “fully source” its crude oil requirement from Tehran * India currently holding talks with Iran on finding new ways to source payments for future oil purchases in view of the U.S. and EU sanctions * Iran accounts for 12% of India's crude oil imports (2nd largest) and there are fears that Turkey may come under pressure and stop routing payments | TAPI: a step forward | * In a breakthrough that will take forward the ambitious $7.6-billion TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan) pipeline project, India and Pakistan agreed to have a uniform transit fee to ferry natural gas from Turkmenistan * The pipeline will run from: * Turkmenistan's Yoloten-Osman gas field Herat and Kandahar province of Afghanistanwill reach Multan via Quetta in Pakistanending at Fazilka (Punjab) in India | Navdeep Singh to be decorated with Ashok Chakra posthumously | * Lieutenant Navdeep Singh of the Army who killed four terrorists before laying down his life in Jammu and Kashmir will be awarded the Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award posthumously on Republic Day | Vision 2030' to change face of Kerala: Pitroda | * Mega-scheme to be mentored by Sam Pitroda, the chairman of the National Innovation Council: * A high-speed rail corridor from Mangalapuram to Thiruvananthapuram * A knowledge city in the capital city, and * A State-wide mobile phone-enabled health insurance schemare among the 10-point ‘Vision 2030' for Kerala | 27 | | Environmentalist quits Olympics ethics panel over Dow's Bhopal links | * Dow Chemical's controversial sponsorship of the London Olympic * Dow, which bought the Bhopal plant from Union Carbide after the gas tragedy, denies any liability | ‘We create jobs in U.S., Europe' | * With HCL Technologies announcing 10,000 jobs for locals in the U.S. and Europe, India Inc chose World Economic Forum to send a strong message that Indian IT firms were creating, and not stealing, jobs in the troubled western economies | Lakshya-II flight a success | * Advanced version of pilotless target aircraft Lakshya-II was successfully flight-tested * Smerch: The newly acquired multiple launch rocket system | 28 | | UIDAI's mandate expanded | * Trying to end turf war between UIDAI which comes under the Planning Commission, and the Home Ministry's National Population Register (NPR) * Cabinet Committee has worked out a compromise that will result in the biometric data of all residents being captured by June 2013 * UIDAI has been given permission and finances to the tune of an additional 5,791 crore to enrol another 40 crore people in 16 States under its Aadhaar scheme. The NPR will accept the biometric data collected by the UIDAI in those States and continue to collect its own data through the Registrar-General of India in the remaining States * UIDAI has promised to address the Home Ministry's security concerns * While the UIDAI is a voluntary scheme, the NPR is mandatory for all residents. What this means is that if a resident has enrolled himself with the UIDAI and has had his fingerprints and iris scanned, he can merely give his Aadhaar number to the NPR registrars rather than submitting himself to biometric data collection twice * HM Chidambaram said that duplication between the two agencies would not be more than 5 per cent thus reducing the expenditure on biometric data collection. * In case of discrepancies between UIDAI data and NPR data, NPR will prevail | Rangarajan heads expert panel on sugar sector | * PM has constituted an Expert Committee to look into all the issues relating to ‘de-regulation' of the sugar sector * Headed by C. Rangarajan, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to PM * Sugar industry has been demanding de-control of the sector on the plea that mandatory requirement of selling 10 per cent of production at below-cost rates for supply to the ration shops is crippling it * Another key demand is to do away with the system under which Food Ministry decides on the quantity of sugar that can be sold in the open market every month | 29 | | New ‘killer' bacteria on the prowl: article | * After the scary New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1/superbug * Next comes the community-acquired methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (ca-MRSA) bacterium that is resistant to almost all common antibiotics * Alarming proportions in US and Germany | Tewatia, not Rahul, is the hero in Bhatta-Parsaul | * Bhatta and Parsaul: two adjoining villages in Gautam Budh Nagar * Manveer Singh Tewatia: Local hero and leader of the protests | Amidst rise of fundamentalism, Maldives reaching out to friendly nations | * Islamic fundamentalism, political violence and dissidence is threatening its three-year-old experiment with multiparty democracy * Faced with some issues: * Religious extremism including calls for Jihad * A vicious hate campaign against women and members of the government * A judiciary that has been thwarting attempts at reforming three decades of cronyism under the previous regime, and * Corporate tycoons accusing Male of following anti-Islamist policies * First woman Secretary-General of SAARC- Dhiyana Saeed has already resigned. It is the 1st case of mid term resignation | Vote for SP, Shahi Imam tells Muslims | * Alleging that Congress is responsible for the condition of Muslims, Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmad Bukhari has appealed to the community to vote for SP in UP | 30 | | Figures bust myth India's bureaucracy is “bloated” | * Long reviled for being bloated, India's Central and State governments have just 1/5th as many public servants as the US, relative to population | U.K. plans new rules to ‘cherry-pick' immigrants | * Wealthy immigrants and “world class” artists, musicians and intellectuals are to be given preference under plans designed to attract “the brightest and best” to Britain while keeping out those likely to be a burden on the state, under the proposed “selectivity” policy * Tougher controls will mean that foreign spouses of British citizens would have to prove that they would be able to support themselves and not end up relying on state benefits * New rules would also make it more difficult for those on work visas to qualify for British residency | Pakistani judicial panel to arrive on February 3 | * To record statements of key persons involved in the Mumbai terror attacks probe | Government knew of Devas deal at every stage, says Madhavan Nair | * ISRO chairman, G. Madhavan Nair indicted over the controversial 2005 Antrix-Devas agreement signed during his tenure * Under the deal: * Devas Multimedia was allowed exclusive use of 70 MHz of the scarce S-band spectrum over a 20-year period for its digital multimedia services, and * ISRO was to build two satellites for the company * As the contract was signed without competitive bidding process, questions were raised about the preferential spectrum allocation * CAG's preliminary estimates placed the loss to the exchequer at over Rs. 2 lakh crore | India signs international tax treaty | * Yet another move to get information about black money stashed away abroad * India has signed Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, a multilateral agreement that promotes international cooperation while respecting the rights of taxpayers * It provides for administrative cooperation among the parties in the assessment and collection of taxes, with a view to combating tax avoidance and evasion | India to grant $1.5 million to Chicago varsity for Vivekananda Chair | * India will provide a grant of $1.5 million to the University of Chicago to establish a Vivekananda Chair for Indian studies, as part of the initiatives to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the 19th century luminary, Swami Vivekananda, and polymath Rabindranath Tagore | Beating Retreat to the enchanting sound of music | * Close of Republic Day celebrations happened with the “Beating Retreat” ceremony at Vijay Chowk * In days gone by, “Beating Retreat” was sounded by the buglers as a signal to soldiers engaged in battle to cease their fighting, sheath their weapons and “retreat” from the battlefield * President's entourage, including her 46 bodyguards mounted on beautiful brown and white horses | Time to take up ‘Right to Reject' proposal: Quraishi | * Asking government to take up electoral reforms in the coming session of Parliament, CEC S.Y. Quraishi said the time had come to consider the ‘Right to Reject' proposal * Under this, voters would have the right to reject all the candidates in the fray if they find none to be suitable * Turning down the idea of state funding, Mr. Quraishi said it would not help in curbing the use of black money in elections * He also rejected the idea of making voting compulsory as was done in some countries like Australia | 31 | | Top IAS officer held in Emaar scam | * AP Home Secretary B.P. Acharya arrested by CBI for his role in the fast-snowballing scandal relating to irregularities in the allotment of high-priced plots for villas in the township project of Dubai-based real estate developer Emaar | First round goes to IPS in U.P. | * The IPS officers of UP cadre registered a moral victory over the “babus” when the State Government agreed to minimize the role of the DMs in the appointment of station in-charge at the police stations. * The station officers and the station house officers will now be appointed as per the conditions laid down in the Police Manual * Meeting was held against backdrop of the crisis situation that was a fall-out of the dispute between former Commissioner of Basti Division, Anurag Srivastava, and the Siddhartnagar SP, Mohit Gupta * About two dozen IPS officers of the 2004 and 2006 batches, posted mostly in the districts had given their resignation letters to the Association secretary, Arun Kumar in protest against the SP's transfer and no action taken against the Commissioner * As the crisis threatened to snowball, the Election Commission transferred Basti Commissioner on Sunday night | Tata to brew Starbucks in India | * Starbucks will soon set up shops across India in association with the Tata Group * Tata Starbucks Ltd., an equal joint venture, will own and operate Starbucks cafes which will be branded as Starbucks Coffee ‘A Tata Alliance |

February, 2012: 1 | | Don't sit on sanction for prosecution in corruption cases, says Supreme Court | * In a blow to every corrupt politician or bureaucrat shielded by the executive's unwillingness to let them stand trial, the SC set a three-month deadline for governments to decide whether or not to grant sanction for prosecution under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act * A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly was allowing a petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, who questioned the delay on the part of PM Manmohan Singh, the sanctioning authority, in granting sanction for prosecution of the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, in the 2G spectrum allocation case | Rafale edges out Eurofighter | * India selected the French Fighter Rafale over the Eurofighter Typhoon in a multi-billion dollar contract for the supply of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) — the country's largest defense deal to date * The deal is estimated to be worth $10.2 billion (Rs.54,000 crore). * It includes acquiring 126 aircraft, 18 of them in fly-away condition and the rest to be made in India at the Hindustan Aeronautics facility under transfer of technology | A principled diplomat with formidable intellect | * A.K. Damodaran * Imprisoned during the Quit India movement after having been on the colonial police's radar for his fiery speeches * Spent a decade in the immediate post-Nehru era finessing India's policy towards its two great neighbors — China and Russia — with his being among the decisive hands in the drafting of the Treaty of 1971 * Was representative of the Nehruvian vision of foreign policy, which recognized that pragmatism had to be combined with values that were nationalist | CRIS is India's new rating index | * Comparative Rating Index of Sovereigns' (CRIS) * Calculated on the basis of sovereign ratings of various countries compiled through rating data of Moody's and GDP (gross domestic product) data of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) * In terms of CRIS, India's rank moved up from 61st position in 2007 to 55th in 2011 and thus India has become a better investment destination | 2 | | Taslima's book release cancelled | * Release of the 7th part of author Taslima Nasreen's Nirbasan (Exile) at the Kolkata Book Fair was cancelled after protests by fundamentalists | Bihari Puraskar awarded to Arjundeo Charan | * K.K. Birla Foundation awarded the 21st Bihari Puraskar for 2011 to Arjundeo Charan for his Rajasthani poetry collection “ Ghar Tau Ek Nam Hai Bhrosai Rau ” * The award, installed in the name of the famous Hindi poet Bihari, is given only to Rajasthani writers | Court notice to UPSC on language option issue | * Delhi HC issued notices to the Central Department of Personnel & Training and the UPSC on a PIL challenging a decision of the Department to make English compulsory for those students who opt for a language other than English as the medium for writing the Central Civil Services examinations * PIL states that the decision has put students who opt for their mother-tongue for writing the exams in a disadvantageous position in comparison to candidates who prefer English as the medium * Since 2011, GOI has introduced a new pattern for conducting the preliminary examination for the services. The applicants have to write two papers; General Knowledge and Aptitude Test. In the second paper of aptitude test, there is a compulsory topic of “English Comprehension Skills” comprising nine questions of 2.5 marks each | Cameron leads the attack on Indian decision on Rafale | * Accused New Delhi of “ingratitude,” arguing that Britain gave millions of pounds in aid to India | 3 | | Supreme Court scraps UPA's ‘illegal' 2G sale | * Judgment: * Declared the allocation of 2G spectrum by UPA on 1st comes 1st serve basis as illegal * Cancelled all 122 telecom licenses allotted on or after January 10, 2008 to 11 companies during the tenure of the former telecom minister, A. Raja * spectrum to be resold by auction * Writ petitions were filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation and others and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking the cancellation of the licenses * The licences cancelled include 21 of Videocon, 22 of Unitech Wireless Ltd. (Uninor), nine of Idea, 21 of Loop, six of S-Tel, 21 of Sistema, three of Tatas, 13 of Swan and two of Allianz * SC did not order a CBI probe against P. Chidambaram, then FM as demanded by Dr. Swamy, taking note of the fact that he had already filed a private complaint in a special CBI court which had reserved orders * Blessing in disguise for the government and old operators as the former would reap rich dividends by auctioning spectrum while the latter would benefit from adding more subscribers and boosting its earnings | Justice Ganguly, noted for frank and forthright views, retires | * Justice A.K. Ganguly retired from SC on attaining the age of superannuation | Setback for Kochi Metro | * Planning Commission has once again opposed Kerala's proposal to implement the Kochi Metro Rail project modeled after Chennai Metro Rail with equal participation by the State and Central government * It reiterated its long-standing recommendation that the project be implemented by the Special Purpose Vehicle formed by the State government, with the Central government providing a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of 20 per cent | 4 | | Mike Pandey gets Shantaram Award | * Veteran environmental filmmaker Mike Pandey honored with the prestigious V. Shantaram Life Time Achievement Award at the Mumbai International Film Festival 2012 for his documentaries on wildlife conservation and environment | 5 | | No Chidambaram role in 2G plot: court | * A special court dismissed Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy's prayer for summoning Union Minister P. Chidambaram as an accused for allegedly conspiring with the then Telecom Minister, A. Raja, in the 2G spectrum issue | IAS officers launch tirade against Minister | * At an extraordinary general body meeting of the A.P. IAS Officers Association, the officers ventilated their anger against the manner in which CBI was conducting its investigations targeting them, leaving out the real decision-makers | India votes against Assad at UNSC | * Voted in favor of the UNSC resolution calling on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down * India said that it supported efforts of the Arab League for a peaceful resolution of the 11-month-old Syrian crisis | Fourth phase of intensive tiger monitoring program begins | * 4th phase of an intensive “Tiger Monitoring Program” envisaged by the Tiger Task Force of the Union Government has begun at the Kalakkad - Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) in Tirunelveli (TN) | China, Russia veto UNSC resolution against Assad | * Russia and China vetoed an Arab League-backed resolution at the UNSC that called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down * India, along with the U.S. and 12 others, backed the move aimed at putting pressure on Syria to end its 11-month crackdown on anti-government protests that have killed more than 200 people | Opposition to Monsanto patent on Indian melons | * Activist Vandana Shiva and an Europe-based NGO have jointly opposed a patent awarded to an American company on virus resistance traits taken from indigenous melon varieties in India | 6 | | Pakistan cannot afford war over Kashmir: Gilani | * He said, “we want to resolve issues through dialogue, diplomacy, prudent policy and national consensus” | Action likely over new Jarawa video | * National Commission for Scheduled Tribes said it will issue a notice to the Andaman and Nicobar administration over a new video footage showing the alleged involvement of police officials in “human safaris” to see the protected Jarawa tribe | Norms and procedures flouted in Antrix-Devas deal | * Committee consisted of: * B.K. Chaturvedi: Member of the Planning Commission * Roddam Narasimha: A distinguished academic and a member of the Space Commission * GOI also constituted a five-member, high-level team, under chairmanship of former Central Vigilance Commissioner, Pratyush Sinha * 2 satellites: GSAT-6 and GSAT- 6A | 7 | | Pranab unveils national policy on narcotic drugs | * Policy on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances * Trafficking in narcotic drugs contributes to generation of black money in the country * It recommends the production of Concentrate of Poppy Straw (CPS) in India by a company or body corporate that would enable the country to retain its status of a traditional supplier of Opiate Raw Material (ORM) to the rest of world, while remaining competitive * It emphasizes the use of satellite imagery for detection of illicit poppy and cannabis crop and its subsequent eradication and development of alternate means of livelihood in respect of cultivators in pockets of traditional illicit cultivation | 8 | | Police revolt forces Maldives President from office | * President Mohammed Nasheed resigned in the face of a mutiny by policemen * The political divide since Judge Abdullah's arrest became so deep that both the police and the Army were forced to take side | Minister caught watching porn in Karnataka Assembly | | India relieved as stalemate in Maldives ends | * 2 month-long political confrontation in the Maldives appears to be getting peacefully resolved * New Delhi would like mainstream parties to form a national government under Mr. Nasheed's deputy who has now been sworn in as President * India has close security and trade links with the Maldives | Google removes ‘objectionable' content | * Removed specific content that was identified or was the subject of the Delhi HC order from local domains of Search, YT (YouTube), Blogger and Orkut * In December last, the court, while listening to a private complaint, directed 21 social networking sites, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, to remove all “anti-religious” or “anti-social” content in the form of photographs, videos or text and file a compliance report by February 6 | 9 | | ‘India would have been in a soup had it intervened in Maldives coup' | * Some of Nasheed’s ministers had sought Indian military assistance when the “coup” was under way * But India played a neutral role in the squabble * New Delhi was very clear that it would have found itself in the soup and even opposition parties would have turned against it had Indian commandos thrust themselves in what was a largely political dispute among the Maldivians themselves * This was certainly not 1988 when “Operation Cactus” was launched by the Indian army and navy after businessmen Lutfee hired Tamil mercenaries from Sri Lanka to depose the then President, Abdul Gayoom | Lakshya-1' test-flown successfully | * India's indigenously developed micro-light pilotless target aircraft | 10 | | Citing lack of intent, SIT lets Modi off riots hook | * The Special Investigation Team probing Zakia Jafri's complaint has freed Narendra Modi of all charges in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom against Muslims * R.K. Raghavan-led SIT said there was no “prosecutable evidence” against CM Narendra Modi, who was among 62 persons named in an omnibus complaint filed by Ms. Jafri and the Citizens for Justice and Peace * Closure report runs counter to the opinion of Raju Ramachandran who was appointed amicus curiae by the Supreme Court * In April 2009, SC had appointed the Raghavan-led team to look into the complaint and, in an extraordinary subsequent move, asked Mr. Ramachandran to take an independent view of the SIT's report | Election Commission censures Khursheed | * In a landmark decision, EC censured Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khursheed, who is also in charge of Minority Affairs, for violating the model of code of conduct during an election rally in Uttar Pradesh. It warned him not to repeat such violation * He had promised a sub-quota of nine per cent for minorities in Uttar Pradesh out of 27 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for the Other Backward Classes * This is the first time in the history of the Commission, that a Union Law Minister, who has certain administrative control over the EC, is being censured by it and that too after giving him a chance for personal hearing * He had made the promise while speaking at an election rally in Farrukhabad constituency (UP) where his wife Louise Khursheed is seeking election from | India, Bangladesh to resume talks on Teesta Treaty | * India had put the treaty on hold after West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, unhappy over the treaty's provisions, pulled out of PM Manmohan Singh’s delegation to Dhaka last year * An agreement is expected to pave the way for the signing of a similar agreement on the Feni river | 11 | | Army Chief loses age war | * SC stated that the Army Chief, who accepted the government's decision in determining his date of birth as May 10, 1950 on three occasions, could not go back on his commitment | ‘India Show' starts in Lahore today | * Nearly 150 Indian companies will showcase their products during the show and it is expected that business deals could also be finalized * From February, 2012, Pakistan would shift to the negative list of few items, which it would not import from India. By the end of 2012, it has agreed, the negative list itself should be removed | Special envoy off to Maldives | * GOI Sent Mr. M. Ganapathi, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, to Male to assess the situation in the Maldives * Former President, Mohamed Nasheed, had claimed that he was ousted in a coup | Polavaram may pose threat to Coringa mangroves | * There is threat to the mangroves, the 2nd biggest in India after Sundarbans in West Bengal, from the Polavaram project | India against more sanctions on Iran | | 12 | | Bribing of voters to be made a cognizable offence | * Union Law Ministry accepted a proposal of the EC to amend the law to make bribing of voters, in cash or kind, a cognizable offence | 13 | | New Maldivian Cabinet sworn in | * Former President Mohamed Nasheed displayed admirable restraint as the new President Waheed Hassan finally named a new Cabinet | 14 | | Blast rips through Israeli Embassy car in Delhi | * Iran accused of masterminding it * Similar magnetic explosive devices had been used to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists in attacks in Tehran last year — attacks western media have attributed to Israel's secret service, Mossad | Gilani charged with contempt | * Charged with contempt of court by SC for refusing to follow its order to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari by not writing to the Swiss authorities to reopen money-laundering cases against Mr. Zardari | Centre rejects plea to rename Bhopal | * Centre rejected the MP government's proposal to rename capital Bhopal as Bhojpal after Raja Bhoj of the Parmar dynasty | Vyas Samman for Ramdarash Mishra | * Noted Hindi writer Professor Ramdarash Mishra selected for the 21st Vyas Samman for his poetry collection “ Aam Ke Patte ” * The award, instituted by K.K. Birla Foundation, is given annually for an outstanding literary work in Hindi published during the past 10 years | 15 | | 16 | | India, Riyadh to set up defense cooperation panel | * India and Saudi Arabia decided to set up a joint panel on defense ties. * It will also explore ways of cooperation in fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean region | 17 | | Switzerland rubbishes Indian black money estimates | * Rebutted the statement of CBI Director A. P. Singh on Indians being the largest depositors of illegal money in Swiss banks * Said that such estimates and statistics lack evidence and are uncorroborated | India brokers deal in Maldives | * Maldives will go to the polls by year-end to elect a new President * Till then, the national unity government will run the country | 18 | | | |

March, 2012: 6 | | Gopal Gandhi is IAAS chairman | * Gopal krishna Gandhi is the new chairman of the governing body of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla | ‘Discrimination, anomalies plague NRHM in Nagaland' | * Naga Mothers Association (NMA) — an apex body of women of different tribes in Nagaland — has called for a full-fledged inquiry into the implementation of the scheme | Manmohan for greater cooperation between Asia, Africa on climate | * Afro-Asian countries should work together for the best outcomes at climate change negotiations and the coming Rio+20 conference * Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO): * It has 15 African countries and 14 Asian nations as its members * Late Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai had called for a holistic approach to development as exemplified in the Green Belt Movement | India urging Sri Lanka to allocate oil exploration blocks | * India persuading Sri Lanka to allocate oil exploration blocks in the waters that separate them as it considers the location too strategically important to allow companies from other nations to base themselves in this area * Cairns India has already struck oil in one of the blocks * Russian, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Chinese companies also interested * India is also keen to take up exploration in the Cauvery basin | Book on North-Eastern States out | * ‘Northeast Trilogy' - a three-volume edition written by Dipti Bhalla and Kunal Verma | 7 | | Nirbhay likely to be test-fired in April | * 1st sub-sonic cruise missile developed by India * It is equivalent of Lakshya which is a pilotless target aircraft and US Tomahawk * 2 stage surface to surface missile * Helina: Helicopter-fired version of Nag, the 3rd generation anti-tank missile. Nag has ‘fire and forget' and ‘top attack' capability * LAHAT (Laser Homing Attack or Laser Homing Anti-Tank missile): It is a 3rd generation semi-active low-weight anti-tank missile * Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment, a DRDO facility at Avadi, designed and developed the Arjun tank | End of an era of northeastern art and sculpting | * Sobha Brahma – An artist-sculptor from Assam | Mayawati, the first CM to complete five years in U.P. | * Sucheta Kriplani had become the first woman Chief Minister in Independent India in 1963 | SIT questions Prabhu Daya captain | * SIT investigating the case of Singapore-flagged, Indian-owned merchant vessel Prabhu Daya’s mid-sea collision with a boat off Cherthala | 8 | | High Court quashes FIR against Yeddyurappa | * Quashed a portion of the Lokayukta report accusing him of corruption in grant of mining leases in favor of two companies | Awards for Byari, Vidya | * Kannada film “Byari” and Marathi film “Deool” won national award for best film * Girish Kulkarni: Best Actor for Deool * Vidya Balan: Best actress for The Dirty Picture * Tamil film Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai: Best popular film * Gurvinder Singh for Punjabi film Anhe Ghorey Da Daan: Best director | IATA suspends Kingfisher | * The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has suspended Kingfisher Airlines from its clearing house that enables airlines to settle inter-line billings globally for its failure to pay dues | GoM to review cotton export ban | * PM has asked a Group of Ministers to review the Commerce Ministry's decision to ban cotton exports * Maharashtra farmers want it lifted | Glaucoma second largest cause of blindness | * | 9 | | 10 | | Tusha Mittal gets Chameli Devi Jain award | * Tusha Mittal of Tehelka 's Kolkata News Bureau * Outstanding Woman Mediaperson | Karunanidhi bats for U.S. resolution | * Urged Center to vote in favor of the US backed resolution, condemning human rights violations against Tamils in Sri Lanka, at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) | Radio programme on MNREGA a hit | * Deevige, a sponsored program on MNREGA, produced by AIR, Hassan | 11 | | 2G: no decision on presidential reference yet | * Union Cabinet failed to take any decision on a proposal to make a Presidential reference on SC’s order regarding cancellation of 122 telecom licenses that criticized the Centre's policy of not auctioning scarce natural resources such as spectrum * Before this, UPA government had opted for Presidential reference on the river water-sharing dispute between Haryana and Punjab in 2004 * The reference would be sought under Article 143 of the Constitution as per which the President could seek clarification from SC on its judgments on issues of public interest | Panel suggests ‘Council of Nuclear Safety' | * Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, which examined ‘The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Bill, 2011,' has suggested establishment of a Council of Nuclear Safety (CNS) to oversee and review the policies related to radiation/nuclear safety in the country * It will have PM as its chairman and shall oversee and review the policies on radiation and nuclear safety periodically | 12 | | Cotton export ban goes | * Was strongly opposed by Maharashtra and Gujarat | Jairam announces national award for sanitation | * A national award for sanitation and water in the name of Maharashtrian saint Sant Gadge Baba * It will be for villages, individuals or organizations working in the field of sanitation and drinking water | Assam's traditional Ankiya Bhaona to get new lease of life | * Assam's traditional theatre Ankiya Bhaona * Evolved by 15th Century Vaishnav saint Sankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva, it is a kind of dance-drama with songs and dialogues in Brajavali | It's hat-trick for Ibobi | * As CM of Manipur | 13 | | Vijay Bahuguna Uttarakhand Chief Minister | * Of Congress | Manmohan turns down Waterman's resignation from Ganga Authority | * PM has asked Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh – better known as Waterman -- to re-consider his resignation from the National Ganga River Basin Authority * Had resigned against alleged indifference of the Central Government towards protection of the Ganga river * Ganga authority was set up in 2009 | NRHM to soon become National Health Mission | * GOI has proposed to convert the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) into a National Health Mission to provide health care to the urban poor also, in the course of the 12th Plan * Universal access to free generic essential medicines in public health institutions in a phased and time-bound manner will be ensured | 14 | | Sri Sri offers to talk to the Taliban | * Spiritual guru of the ‘Art of Living (AOL)' Sri Sri Ravi Shankar offered to engage with the Taliban to help resolve the ongoing conflict * Recently 1st AOL Peace Centre opened in Pakistan | 15 | | Mamata derails Trivedi as budget hikes fares | * Asked to sack Railway Minister and fellow Trinamool party leader Dinesh Trivedi and withdraw the hike in passenger fares | Badal sworn in CM, for record fifth time in a row | * CM of Punjab | 16 | | | |

May, 2012: 1 | | BJP won’t support Pranab or Ansari | * In the presidential elections | Bangaru resigns from BJP executive | * Former BJP president. Sentenced by a Delhi court for 4 years in jail for accepting bribe of Rs. 1 lakh in a fake arms deal in 2001 | Collector abducted | * Sukuma collector Alex Paul Menon by Maoists * Want 8 jailed comrades released * Interlocutors: * Prof. Haragopal * Nirmala Buch * S.K.Mishra | E-waste management rules -2011 kick in today | * E-Waste (Management and Handling) rules-2011 to come into effect * They aim at reduction in the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment by specifying threshold for use of hazardous material including lead, mercury and cadmium * Will apply to every producer, consumer or bulk consumer, collection centre, dismantler and recycler of e-waste involved in the manufacture, sale, purchase and processing of electrical and electronic equipment or components * It places the main responsibility of e-waste management on producers of the electrical and electronic equipment by introducing the concept of “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) * Producers will have to ensure that the products do not contain lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, poly-brominated biphenyls or poly-brominated di-phenyl ethers above a specified threshold * Producer is given the responsibility of managing such equipment after its end of life and thus is responsible for their products once the consumer discards them | Healthy habitat Kaziranga has over 100 tigers | * It has one of the highest tiger density * 2008: Declared a tiger reserve | Titanic II will sail in 2016 | * Australian billionaire Clive Palmer. * Will ferry from England to New York | Zohra Jabeen' Achala Sachdev passes away | * | ‘Atal Ambulance' giving Himachal Opposition sleepless nights | * Move by BJP Government to rename the ‘108 Ambulance Service' as ‘108 Atal Ambulance Sewa' after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee * It is a free medical service financed by NRHM (Central scheme) | BJP in damage control mode as protest over Richard case snowballs | * Richard Loitam was beaten to death by his seniors as alleged by demonstrators while police passing it off as an unnatural death * Want to get the issue investigated for racial profiling | Bt Brinjal poses a risk to health, environment: Greenpeace report | * Spread of the Bt gene could make brinjal a problematic weed due to its ability to cross with wild, weedy and cultivated relatives * It can lead to ecological implications, future crop contamination, impact farmer’s rights, food safety and affect beneficial insects like butterflies * It has been engineered to resist certain insect pests using Bt. Genes from the soil bacterium Bacillus Thuringenesis | R.K. Sinha takes over as AEC Chairman | * Became chairman for AEC and secretary to DAE * Is one of the architects of India's futuristic 300-MWe Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) which will use thorium as fuel. To be set up at Tarapur and Vishakhapatnam * Has also designed and developed Indian High Temperature Reactor for generating hydrogen which is termed as “the fuel of the future.” * Dhruva reactor is at BARC, Trombay | Italy's compromise with kin of killed fishermen illegal: SC | * Enrica Lexie-The Italian oil tanker involved in the killing of 2 Indian fishermen | Vahanvati re-appointed Attorney-General | * Goolam E. Vahanvati reappointed by president as Attorney-General for 2 more years. AE represents GOI in SC and HC * 1st muslim to hold the top law post in last 6 decades | Centre to hold talks on moving court on SC/ST promotion quota issue | * Earlier SC termed the move to grant reservation in promotions as “unconstitutional” * Case of providing reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs in promotions in government jobs | India reaches out to Seychelles | * Visit by president * Extended $50-million line of credit and $25-million grant * Also offered to set up mono rail project, solar power cluster and a dam * Fight against sea piracy | Switzerland agrees to ease secret account disclosure norms | * Ready to provide details of secret bank accounts of individuals even if limited information is shared about them * Part of the DTAA signed earlier | Sign nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Japan tells India | * Both sides decided to reopen talks on Bilateral Civil Nuclear Agreement but sticking to earlier positions * Wants India to comply with its promise of banning any nuclear testing by signing NPT while India saying that its non proliferation record is clean enough for inking the deal * Concerns: * Japanese companies have a virtual monopoly on supplying reactor vessels, a critical component of civil nuclear plants. * Without an India-Japan civil nuclear agreement, Japanese origin firms might not be able to supply components to French and American companies which had won orders to install nuclear plants in India * Others: * Agreed to prepare a master plan for industrial development of South India * Accelerate talks on export of rare earths to Japan * Extend dialogue to a code of conduct in outer space, cyber security and maritime issues including security and freedom of navigation in south china sea * Covered Japanese investments in Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Dedicated Freight Corridor * Decided to hold 1st ever maritime exercise * India is a major supplier of iron ore to Japan | HLL Life care floats subsidiary to execute Integrated Vaccine Complex project | * HLL Lifecare Ltd - A mini-ratna public sector undertaking. It is a market leader in contraceptives in India * IVC (Integrated Vaccine Complex) project in TN * Will manufacture vaccines for BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin), measles, pentavalent combination (DPT plus Hep B plus Hib), etc | Navy commissions full-scale station in Lakshadweep | * A full-scale naval base, INS Dweeprakshak at Kavaratti | Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2011 | * It seeks to set up 8 IITs in Bhubaneswar, Gandhi nagar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Mandi, Patna and Ropar, and integrate the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, within the ambit of the Act * All shall be declared as Institutions of National importance * IISER: Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research | 2 | | Fiat to Army: decide on trial or court-martial | * SC directed the Army to decide whether its personnel involved in fake encounter killings in Pathribal in Jammu and Kashmir (2000) and Assam should be court-martialled or tried in regular criminal courts | SC transfers to itself Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts' pleas | * Writ petitions filed by Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan challenging the rejection of their clemency plea by president after 11 years. * Madras HC had stayed their execution * To be transferred from Madras HC to SC. Exercising power under Art. 139A | Bad weather holds up trade through Nathu La | * Trade had resumed in 2006 after 44 years * As per agreement, 29 items can be exported from India and 15 imported from China | Chomsky, others seek justice for Soni Sori | * In an open letter to PM protesting against the brutal treatment meted out to Soni Sori, a Chhattisgarh woman on unproven allegations that she was a Maoist by police | Lakhs witness Thrissur Pooram | * Elephant parades | No deadline for uranium sale to India, says Australia | * No timeframe or deadline could be set for Australia to start uranium exports to India but the decision to export is firmly in place despite opposition from certain quarters * Ban on export to India was lifted in December 2011 * India-Australia also negotiating a FTA * Australia is the world's third largest producer and exporter of uranium after Kazakhstan and Canada but has the largest reserves | Marriage law amendment Bill discriminatory: AIDWA | * All India Democratic Women's Association expressed unhappiness over the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 and the amendments made to it as reintroduced in the RS * It makes irretrievable breakdown of marriage a ground for divorce, giving women the right to marital assets, including the marital home * Issue: No provision for strengthening maintenance laws. Currently the sum is decided by court on a case to case basis * Want equal division of property even in case of separation and not only divorce | Ferry accident in Assam | * Worst ever boat tragedy * Boats operated by IWT (Inland Water Transport) department across Brahmaputra and Barak valleys between river island Majuli and Neematighat | Endosulfan issue | * Aerial spraying of hazardous pesticide Endosulfan in Kasaragod district and its surrounding areas resulted in health problems to people * Case has been taken up by NHRC sou motu following media report in Dec, 2010. Ordered Kerala government to grant compensation to victims | Ephedrine worth Rs.2 crore seized | * A party drug becoming increasingly popular in South East Asian countries | 3 | * | Court allows Italian ship to leave India by SC | * SC allowed it to leave India along with crew and marines but they shall be available for interrogations * Earlier Kerala HC had rejected that | Fill only 75 p.c. seats, schools told | * Management of unaided schools want the implementation of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) put off by a year * But the Department of Public Instruction has issued a circular asking them to notify only 75 per cent seats for admissions to standard 1 for the current academic year. * As per the RTE, 25 per cent seats have to be reserved for children from disadvantaged backgrounds * State Government to issue orders soon on how to fill the remaining 25 per cent seats | Chidambaram defends UPA stand on ‘T' issue | * Center waiting for consensus to emerge amongst all stakeholders parties * In Dec, 2009 center had agreed to form the state but situation changed thereafter * Said recommendations of Srikrishna Committee would be considered while deciding the roadmap | You can translate Gmail message in your language soon | * Now possible to get the text translated instantly into 65 different languages, including seven Indian languages * Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu | High-level meeting decides to free sugar exports | * Convened by PM * Decided to free sugar exports by removing quantitative restrictions and scrapped the Minimum Export Price on onion exports. It decided to allow sugar exports under Open General Licence (OGL) on a first come, first served basis and millers will now not have to seek a release order for sugar exports * Also set up a committee under Dr. C. Rangarajan to suggest mechanisms for clearing accumulated stocks of food grain as there is a shortfall in storage capacity * Agriculture ministry wants a free market and trade regime to ensure remunerative prices to farmers. Wanted exports of sugar, cotton and milk * EGoM also removed restrictions on cotton export | Government keeps Chawla report, Mining Act review from SC | * Ashok Chawla Committee report on the allocation of natural resources. Was set up at the peak of 2G scam * Government hesitant to accept its recommendations on competitive bidding, auctions and market-linked pricing for scarce, natural resources. Also not willing to make the report public * GOI is challenging the SC’s 2G judgment through the filing of a Review Petition and a Presidential Reference * Additionally, in its 2G Review Petition, the government has relied extensively on Section 11 of the Mining and Minerals Development Regulation (MMDR) Act, 1957, which prescribes a ‘first in time' procedure to be followed for the allocation of mines in order to dislodge the Supreme Court's decision for auctions, without disclosing to the Court that this Act is itself under review for similar allegations of lack of transparency and resultant corruption * Ministry of Mines has framed a new MMDR Bill 2011 to replace the old MMDR Act 1957 which has been referred to the GoM and vetted by the Law Ministry | 4 | * | Soumitra Chatterjee conferred Phalke Award | * Veteran actor of Bengali cinema * Given Swarna Kamal medal, a cash prize of 10 lakhs and a shawl * Best film: Deool (Marathi) and Byari (Karnataka) * Best actor: Girish Kulkarni (Deool) * Best actress: Vidya Balan (The Dirty Picture) * Best popular film: Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai (Tamil) | Easy access to real-time train status | * TrainEnquiry.com | Nepal Cabinet resigns | * Last ditch attempt to pave the way for the formation of a national consensus government to resolve current political crisis * May 27: Deadline to draft country's new Constitution | At over $119 million, it's a Scream | * Painting by Edvard Munch * Highest price paid for any work of art * Till now record held by Picasso’s: ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust' | Rescuing a threatened fish species from extinction | * Earlier found in abundance in Godavari and Krishna rivers but now figuring in the global IUCN Red List of threatened species * Fringed-lipped carp (Labeo fimbriatus) | Hello 4G!: Smaller phones, faster data | * M. Salim Engineer, Associate Professor at MNIT, Jaipur * Would lead to errors caused mainly by noise, fading and fast movement of mobile phone users, to come down | “Amend statute for SC/ST promotion quota” | * RS members sought a constitutional amendment to provide for promotion quota in jobs for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes * Earlier SC had quashed UP government's decision in the matter | 5 | * | Binayak Sen decries eviction of Nonadanga slum dwellers | * In Kolkata. * Human rights activist | U.S. hits Air India with $80,000 fine | * Due to its failure to post customer service and tarmac delay contingency plans on its website as well as adequately inform passengers of its optional fees | New wonder of the world | * Table mountain of Cape Town * It has warm Indian ocean on one side and cold Atlantic ocean on the other which leads to formation of mist * Other new wonders: * The Halong Bay * The Iguazu Falls * The Jeju Island * The Puerto Princesa Underground River | Pranahita-Chevella agreement to open new chapter in water sharing | * Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Pranahita-Chevella Sujala Sravanthi project * Between Maharashtra and AP for sharing of water of Godavari basin * Designed by AP to use water of Pranahita river (tributary of Godavari) for drought prone districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, etc * Maharashtra will not only allow but also participate in the construction of the project * AP had earlier objected to construction of Babli and 11 other barrages across Godavari * Shall be managed by an inter state board * Other projects under construction: * Lower Penganga project * Lendi Project | Gujarat says ‘no' to ban on distribution of Monsanto hybrid maize seed | * Despite opposition from various quarters, including the agricultural experts and the farmers' organizations, Gujarat government refused to impose a total ban on the distribution of Monsanto hybrid maize seed named “Prabal” to farmers in the State * Farmers free to choose any variety of seeds suitable for their lands and the subsidy allowed under the rules would be provided to them, including the Monsanto seeds * Agricultural scientists have suggested that Prabal which requires more water and fertilizers than other varieties and needs deep soil, is not suitable for the usually dry and rain-fed areas like Gujarat, and particularly for the poor tribal farmers | Supreme Court notice to Centre on Chisty's petition | * SC issued a show-cause to center on a petition seeking the release of Pakistani virologist Mohammed Khaleel Chisty, sentenced to life imprisonment | Bill to repeal Legislative Council Act introduced in RS | * Bill introduced in RS seeking repeal of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council Act, 2010 passed by the State Assembly during DMK rule * It was meant to provide for the creation of a Legislative Council in TN * But AIADMK government passed resolution to seeking withdrawl | “Kerala must get its share of 226 MW from KKNPP” | * From Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) whose first unit of 1000 MW is to be commissioned shortly * Power sharing formula: * 50%: TN * 35%: Neighboring states * 15%: To be added to central pool as unallocated power * TN has asked for full allocation to itself only | 6 | * | Rights of tribals at the core of Maoist conflict, says mediator | * Mediator: B. D. Sharma * Cause of conflict: * Ownership of Jal, Jangal and Zameen * Tribals used to be owner of mineral rich region but government thrusting its model development strategy over them * There is temporary ceasefire of Operation Green Hunt * Bhuria’s committee’s (1996) recommendation regarding community owning of industry has not been adopted * Provisions of Panchayat (Extension to Schedule Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) have been violated openly. It had envisaged that every Gram Sabha shall be competent to safeguard and preserve the tradition and customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and the customary mode of the dispute resolution | ‘Shoor Veer' exercise comes to a close | * One of the largest-ever summer exercises conducted by Army in the Thar Desert * Led by Jaipur-based South Western Command (Sapta Shakti Command) | Shantaram Naik succeeds Singhvi as panel chief | * Appointed chairman of standing committee of parliament on Personnel Public Greivances, Law and Justice * Submitted its report on Lokpal Bill and Whistle Blower Protection Bill * Currently studying a Bill on a Citizens' Charter: * Issues related to women’s rights and their problems at workplace in accordance with guidelines framed by SC in Vishakha case * CBI, UPSC, CVC and EC shall be under its jurisdiction | More activities coming under MGNREGS | * Based on recommendation of expert committee led by Mihir Shah * It suggested an expanded list of permissible works to be included under the scheme * It now has additional 30 different categories of work related to agriculture, rural sanitation, drinking water, watersheds, fisheries and livestock * Can be regarded as MNREGA 2.0 * Gram panchayats alone have been empowered to decide on the priority of work to be taken up irrespective of the priority that the MGNREGA schedule might list * Also, the 60:40 ratio of spending on labor and material has been made mandatory at the gram panchayat | U.P. to enforce court order on SC/ST quota | * UP decided to accept the April 27 order of SC that declared as unconstitutional Section 3 (7) of the Uttar Pradesh Public Service (Reservation for SC, ST and OBC) Act, 1994 that gave reservation in promotion * It was introduced by Mayawati government in 2007 | 7 | * | Socialist Hollande edges out Sarkozy | * Sarkozy is the 2nd French President to serve just one term | Kiran confident of consensus on Polavaram | * Exercise launched to form consensus with Chattisgarh and Odisha * | India-US strategic dialogue | * Hillary Clinton visiting * Subjects to be discussed: * Iran * Breakthrough in investment opportunities and financial deregulation * India –US bilateral trade crossed 100$ billion last year | Delhi Metro gearing up to complete Phase III on time | * Target: 2016 * Delhi Metro is already part of Nova-metros, a consortium of fourteen medium sized metro systems from around the world | With missile defense shield, India in elite club | * It can be put in place at short notice to protect at least two cities * Currently within range of 2000km can be destroyed. To be extended to 5000km | For the sake of free speech | * Attacking the Information Technology (Intermediary Rules) 2011 * It require that intermediaries, such as a website host, including social networking sites and search engines, do not host, display, share or publish information deemed as objectionable * On receiving a complaint by an aggrieved person, the intermediary site is liable to act within 36 hours and remove the content, without prior notice * Fear that the rules would also force Internet Service Providers (ISP) to create vast databases of sensitive information about an individual which would then be available to the government * Campaign was launched after cartoonist Aseem Trivedi's website www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com was closed down, without any prior notice, by Big Rock, the web portal that hosted the website * Currently annulment motion filed by RS MP P Rajeev against the rules | Iranian team will discuss ways of beating sanctions | * US wants India to reduce its dependence on Iranian oil * From June, U.S. will begin implementing sanctions imposed on countries that do not end their oil trade with Iran * India has stepped up purchase from Saudi Arabia * US has exempted Japan and a dozen of its European allies from the sanctions, but has not taken any decision in respect of China, India, Turkey and South Africa * Under one of the deals, India will pay for about half of its Iranian oil purchases in rupee which could then be utilized by Tehran to buy Indian goods * India’s dependence on middle east: * Huge remittances from 60 lakh Indians working there * Accounts for 60 per cent of the energy supplies * $100 billions of bilateral trade | Kalam asks scientists to tap immense bio-fuel potential | * Country has immense potential to grow bio-fuel crop “Jatropha” on a large scale. Once grown, it could have a life span of 50 years * It can also grow on wasteland * Intense research is needed to burn bio fuels in ICEs with high efficiency | All eyes on Pranab as Lok Sabha takes up Finance Bill today | * To be taken up in LS for debate. 2 contentious suggestions: * Proposed amendment of relevant laws with retrospective effect to bring Vodafone-type acquisition deals involving domestic assets into the tax net. It created reactions in US/UK * Move to pre pone the introduction of GAAR (General Anti-Avoidance Rules) ahead of the Direct Tax Code (DTC) roll-out. It unnerved FIIs who sought to withdraw their investments by a large measure and this led to a slump in the stock market and added to the pressure on the rupee which has already been on a downslide on account of the widening current account deficit in the wake of high oil prices * Due to criticism of application of tax cuts on the deals with retrospective effect, a waiver may be provided for deals conducted prior to April 1, 2012. Vodafone can escape a penalty of 7,900 Cr through this * GAAR: * A new provision that seeks to tax capital flows routed via tax havens * It has scared the FIIs and dampened market sentiments * May be shelved for implementation to 2013-14 along with simultaneous roll-out of DTC | 8 | * | Aligned on non-proliferation but energy ties guided by national interests, PM tells Hillary | * US has asked India, China and Japan and European countries to reduce their dependence on Iran * P5+1 grouping is trying to engage with Iran * US has reservations about the Nuclear Liability Act which impedes its companies from doing business in India * Westinghouse is moving ahead with the setting up of 6 reactors in Gujarat | Proceed against Modi for Gujarat riots: amicus | * SC's amicus curiae in the Zakia Jafri: Raju Ramachandran * In his report, curae has disagreed with R. K. Raghavan led SIT report that Sanjeev Bhatt was not present at the meeting | GAAR deferred, levy on jewellery withdrawn | * GAAR (General Anti Avoidance Rules) provisions on foreign investors deferred till next year * Levy of 1% excise duty on branded and unbranded precious metal jewellery withdrawn * But held firm on the intent to retrospectively amend relevant provisions of the Income-Tax Act so as to bring Vodafone-type acquisition deals into the tax net but clarified that it would not override the DTAA India has signed with 82 countries * Issue is of taxing Vodafone on its acquisition of the Hutchison stake in Hutchison Essar in 2007 | Court reserves verdict on plea against Justice Bala krishnan | * Petition filed to remove justice Balakrishnan from the post of chairman of NHRC for the alleged misconduct during his tenure as SC judge | LS passes MCI Board extension Bill despite Trinamool saying ‘no' | * Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2012 * Aim: It seeks to extend the tenure of the Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India till May 2013 * Opposition alleged of gross corruption rampant in MCI | Mismatch between procurement, grains storage | * This year there has been a record production of both, wheat and rice * Earlier government used to procure about 30 to 40 % of the total production and the rest of the production was taken care of by the market. But in the last two-three years, because of the high minimum support price (MSP), procurement has become the primary responsibility of the government agencies, be it State governments or Central government * Efforts undertaken: * Encouraging exports * Providing grains to MMNREGA beneficiaries as part of wages * Plastic bags have been banned and biodegradable jute bags used for wheat, rice and sugar | U.S. keen on West Bengal as ‘partner State' | * US willing to invest in the state * West Bengal can become an important hub in the new “Silk Road Strategy” to connect the countries of East, South and Central Asia | WRI, HCC join hands to build India's longest railway bridge | * To be built over Brahmaputra and would enhance connectivity between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh | Court notice to Centre, EC on Swamy's plea | * SC sought the stand of Union government and the Election Commission (EC) on Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy's plea to either incorporate paper printouts with the electronic voting machines (EVM) or restore paper balloting, as the machines were “not tamper-proof” * Countries such as the UK, US and Japan had rejected EVMs due to their “failure” and preferred paper ballots for elections * EC does not want to go back since it would involve enormous expenditure | Krishna Iyer flays report on dam safety | * Came down heavily on the report of the Empowered Committee on Mullaperiyar saying that judges cannot give their opinion on technical issues such as the safety of an old dam * The committee appointed by SC submitted its report last week and concluded that the dam is safe. Under SC judge K. T .Thomas | 9 | * | In U-turn, Centre decides to withdraw 2G review petition | * SC verdict: Natural resources should be allotted to private companies only through auction, and not through the first-come, first-served (FCFS) policy * Petition had sought a review of the February 2, 2012 judgment that ordered the cancellation of all 122 licenses issued on the FCFS basis in 2008 during the tenure of the then Telecom Minister, A. Raja | Eliminate Haj subsidy in 10 years: SC | * Use the money in uplift of the community in education and other indices of social development | Setback to Kerala as apex court quashes Chit Act | * SC quashed the Kerala Chit Funds Act of 1975 * It cited that Kerala Act had become obsolete in the context of the Central Act of 1982 governing Chitties and thus hence forth chitty companies operating in Kerala would be governed only by the 1982 Central Act | INS Vindhyagiri, stuck with ammunition, to be destroyed | * Bombay HC allowed the destruction of INS Vindhyagiri , after Navy said the warship might explode due to the presence of ammunition which could not be removed from the vessel | U.P. to help set up AIIMS at Rae Bareli | * Parliamentary constituency of Congress president Sonia Gandhi | 200 Air India pilots report sick | * Civil Aviation Ministry sacked 10 of them, derecognized the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and sealed its offices * Only a few weeks ago it has received a Rs. 30,000-crore bailout package from GOI * Pilots are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dream liner (to be inducted shortly) training, claiming that it would affect their career prospects * Air India Express: Budget arm of Air India that operates flights to the Middle East | GSLV Mk-III launch in 2014: VSSC chief | * Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III) will be launched by ISRO in 2014 * It is intended to launch heavy satellites into geostationary orbit * It will allow us to become less dependent on foreign rockets for heavy lifting * GSLV-II which has a cryogenic third stage developed by the ISRO to be launched by ISRO by October, 2012 * GSLV-I had a Russian cryogenic engine * Objections by the US prevented the transfer of cryogenic technology from Russia to India | 10 | * | Chennai Metro | * Jointly developed by L&T and China-based Shanghai Urban Construction Group (SUCG) | Tuberculosis declared notifiable disease | * With cases of tuberculosis showing an increase, Centre declared it a mandatory notifiable disease with immediate effect * Notification of TB cases will have to be done by all health care providers which will help patients get better access to quality diagnosis and treatment | Finance bill passed in LS | * Now to be discussed in RS and then sent for presidential assent | IIT Kharagpur alumnus is UCSD Chancellor | * Pradeep Kumar Khosla graduated in Electrical Engineering from IIT KGP in 1980 * Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego | Parliament passes RTE Bill | * Parliament passed the Right of Children to Free and compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2012 * It shall provide for an integrated education process which would allow differently-abled children in the age group 6-14 the right of admission to any school | Pride of Kashmir | * Noori: World's first cloned Pashmina goat | 11 | * | SIT says Ehsan Jafri ‘provoked' murderous mob | * In its closure report filed in the Zakia Jafri case, R.K. Raghavan-led SIT said that Ms. Jafri's husband and former MP Ehsan Jafri was killed because he provoked a “violent mob” * Cleared CM Modi of any serious involvement | India likely to withdraw from South China Sea | * India is likely to withdraw from an oil block in the South China Sea after hydrocarbons did not show up in an exploratory well * The block has been at the centre of diplomatic bad blood among China, Vietnam and India * Vietnam felt disappointment as it had stood up to Beijing for the past 6 years whenever it disputed the contract given to India for oil exploration in the Phu Khanh Basin * China involved in another maritime dispute with Phillipines in the same area | Pratibha backs demand for expanding old age pension scheme | * Demand for universal pension for elderly persons being made by Pension Parishad comprising Justice (retd.) A.P.Shah, Baba Adhav, Aruna Roy and Usha Patnaik * Other demands: * Abolition of distinction between the APL and (BPL) * Bringing all needy elderly persons within the social welfare ambit of the government, and * Providing a monthly pension of Rs. 2,000 * Currently about 2 Cr people receive a monthly pension of Rs. 200 as old age pension while the estimated number who would qualify for the benefit would be in the range of 10 Cr | Nisha Rani Dutta to get Rs. 5-lakh aid | * Former national archer. Forced to sell her silver bow | Rescue home for trafficking victims in every district | * Government proposes to set up a rescue and rehabilitation home in each district for victims of trafficking under Ujjawala scheme | 12 | * | Scholars quit textbook body as government bans 1949 cartoon | * 2 Two eminent scholars resigned from as advisors to NCERT after a furore in Parliament led HRD minister Kapil Sibal to withdraw a book on Constitution as it contained a cartoon some legislators thought was offensive * Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar, both eminent political scientists * Made by legendary cartoonist K. Shankar Pillai in 1949 | Kalakshetra board unanimous in backing Leela | * Governing board of Kalakshetra Foundation has “unanimously” expressed its desire to have Leela Samson back as its director * Chairman GopalKrishna Gandhi | ISRO tests indigenous cryogenic engine | * To be used to launch a Geosynchronous satellite by September | Chennai-based Perfint gets biotech award | * Chennai-based health equipment company Perfint Healthcare Corporation limited * Won the Department of Biotechnology's Biotech Product and Process Development and Commercialization award * Its products PIGA CT and ROBIO, are used by radiologists around the world for biopsy, drug delivery, etc * Its newest product MAXIO is set to change the world of interventional oncology | Stunning spectacle at Olympic stadium designed by Indian | * A £22.7 million towering steel structure designed by Mumbai-born artist Anish Kapoor and partly funded by Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal * ArcelorMittal Orbit * It is now Britain’s tallest structure | Soon, High Courts in 3 northeastern States | * A Bill to establish separate High Courts for Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura was approved by LS by amending the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganization) Act, 1971 * North-Eastern Areas (Reorganization) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012 | SC hearing on Presidential Reference from July 10 | * SC will start hearing from July 10 the Presidential Reference moved by Centre to seek its opinion on several crucial issues arising from its 2G spectrum allocation judgment * Center has withdrawn the review petition and preferred the Presidential Reference over it * Some questions which will be decided upon by the 5 member bench: * Whether natural resources should be always allocated through auctions * Whether the SC judgment will have any bearing on the licenses allotted before 2008 on a “first come, first served” (FSFC) basis * Beginning July 10, there will be hearings presumably on a day-to-day basis and then a judgment would be pronounced * Presidential reference gives a much wider scope to SC to consider the things than a review petition | Unemployed to get Rs. 1,000 a month | * UP government to give an allowance of Rs. 1,000 a month to unemployed persons in the 30-40 age group who have passed the Class X examination. * Only those registered with employment exchanges in UP on or before March 15 will be entitled to the dole. * The allowance will be given in three quarterly installments | Plan to buy U.S. howitzers for Army cleared | * Proposal cleared of Rs. 3,000-crore to buy 145 ultra-light howitzer (ULH) guns | U.S. envoy to examine India's oil import trends | * Led by Carlos Pascual in order to examine India's oil import trends and alternative options * Till some time back, Iran was India's second-biggest crude oil supplier after Saudi Arabia but has since been overtaken by Iraq | 13 | * | Ladakh troop revolt underlines Army class tensions | * Troops of Ladakh-based 226 Field Regiment staged a revolt against officers who they alleged were responsible for the brutal beating of an enlisted man (Sahanayak) * Earlier Army had announced that it was considering doing away with the colonial-era institution of the sahayak, or batmen as they were earlier known — trained soldiers who are assigned to serve as valets | Alang-bound, Alaska fame oil tanker now awaits court ruling | * Controversial foreign oil tanker, Oriental Nicety * It was supposed to be headed for the Alang ship-breaking yard off the Bhavnagar port in Gujarat for dismantling but is now stationed at the outer anchorage of the Mumbai port * Was involved in one of the worst U.S. oil spills off the Alaska coast in 1989 * A voluntary organization, the Research Foundation for Science, filed a petition seeking a direction to the Centre to prevent dismantling in India of ships which were violating the Basel Convention on the Control of Trans boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal * Under the convention, no country can allow a ship to berth at its port for dismantling unless it has been decontaminated in the exporting country before being sent to foreign waters | Nod for loading of real fuel in Kudankulam | * AERB gave its approval for the removal of dummy fuel and loading of real fuel (enriched uranium) in the first unit (1000 MW capacity) of the KNPP in TN * The activity in the second unit (also 1000 MW) is nearing completion | Centre failed to help Indians in Angola, says Modi | * Some Indian workers in Angola, Africa have been allegedly subjected to atrocities by their employers. At least 40 Gujaratis are among those held “captive” by the Angolan police | Textile industry seeks debt restructuring package | * It was in a crisis because of high volatility in cotton and yarn prices last year * In the absence of a debt restructuring package, hundreds of units would become non-performing assets * National Fiber Policy should be approved and announced at the earliest * Technology Up gradation Fund Scheme should give an impetus to value addition | 14 | * | Call to wipe out stigma on HIV | * Rousing reception accorded to Red Ribbon Express * Covering southern cities | Rahul Khullar appointed TRAI chief | * Succeeding J. S. Sharma | Pink City jewellery brand Amrapali nominated for international award | * Nominated for the prestigious Andrea Palladio International Jewellery Awards | Woman quota bill still pending | * Was passed by RS 2 years ago * Several States have passed legislation giving 50 per cent quota to women in the Panchayat Raj and the municipal bodies | Key peace negotiator assassinated in Kabul | * Key Afghan peace negotiator Arsalan Rahmani Daulat * Was the acting head of President Hamid Karzai's Higher Peace Council | Maheshwar project unviable | * Alleged by Prashant Bhushan * Country's first privately-financed hydropower project. Mired in financial irregularities * | 16 | * | Worried PMO proposes big investment boost | * Worried over the declining growth rate, large supply constraints on many fronts and a negative perception of India among the intelligentsia and industry, PMO has proposed setting up of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for accelerating investments in the infrastructure, mineral resources and oil and natural gas exploration sectors * It acknowledged that the “License Raj” has been replaced with a “clearance regime,” where both the private and public sectors have to wade through unending clearances before projects actually take off, the PMO hopes the SPV will help cut short this process * E.g.: 58 clearances are needed at the various departments and Ministries in the State/Central/ local levels for setting up a power project * Proposed solution is to float an SPV, incorporated under the Ministry concerned, with the specific task of securing clearances. The SPV will become the sponsor of the project and be responsible for securing all clearances before the project is put up for bidding | India's proposal for government control of Internet to be discussed in Geneva | * Currently controversy raging over excessive state regulation of the Internet based on IT Rules 2011 * India to make a proposal to UN General Assembly In Geneva on government control of the Internet * India’s proposal: * In its earlier proposal submitted to UN General Assembly in New York, India had proposed a radical shift from the present model of multi-stakeholder-led decision-making to a purely government-run multilateral body that would relegate civil society, the private sector, international organizations as well as technical and academic groups to the fringes in an advisory role. This proposal was floated without any public discussion despite its huge impact * India is pushing for creation of a forum called ‘Committee for Internet Related Policies' (CIRP) to develop Internet policies, oversee all Internet standards bodies and policy organizations, negotiate Internet-related treaties and sit in judgment when Internet-related disputes come up. * The catch is that India's formal proposal is for a CIRP to be funded by the U.N., run by staff from the U.N.'s Conference on Trade and Development arm and reporting directly to the U.N. General Assembly, which means it will be entirely controlled by the U.N. member-states * Current governing situation: * Currently Internet is governed by a voluntary, multi-stakeholder group called ICANN or Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which keeps the Internet free and, for the most part, decentralized. * It already has a Government Advisory Council (GAC), which invites participation from governments across the world, including India. * It is headquartered in California * Impact of India’s proposal: * It could prove controversial for multi-stakeholder communities within the country and across the world since it entails moving away from the prevailing democratic ‘equal say' process for Internet governance to one in which governments would be front and centre, receiving advice from stakeholders and deciding the way forward * Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have already made a plea for such a control earlier to UN * Governments all over the world are facing the power of social media and internet. E.g.: Arab Spring | Speed up decision on Barmer refinery | * Rajasthan wants center to take an early decision on the setting up of Barmer refinery. Huge oil and gas reserves have been found there * Tripathi Committee had recommended a refinery there | India, Pakistan may ink visa agreement by month-end | * An agreement to liberalize the visa procedures. It will: * Exempt elderly people from police reporting * Allow common people to visit three earmarked cities instead of one * Possible decision expected on: * Issue of multiple entry and reporting-free visas for businessmen, thus allowing them to visit five cities instead of three at present | Call for Indian version of World Migratory Bird Day | * Migratory season in India begins in September and extends up to April * Nearly 600 species of birds can be spotted at various locations * Most come from north of Himalayas from countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Magnolia, and the Siberian region * Major wintering grounds are Chilka Lake, Bharatpur, East Calcutta Wetlands, Harike Lake, Kolleru Lake, Loktak Lake, Point Calimere, and Sambhar Lake * Some long distance migrants: White Stork, Bar headed Goose, Northern Pintail, and Eurasian Wigeon * Some have suggested November 12, birthday of Salim Ali | 17 | * | Pranab allays fears as rupee hits all-time low | * Rupee plunged to historic low of 54.56 against U.S. dollar as global indices plunged * Indian indices sliding due to global risk aversion following the heightened uncertainty in the euro zone. Capital outflow happening on account of sell-off of stocks as investors getting wary of riskier equity assets and finding U.S. dollar a safer haven * Other reason: Widening current account deficit (CAD) & high inflation | And now an offer of oil from Puntland | * Entire east coast of Africa has been found to contain hydrocarbon deposits * Tiny nation Puntland inviting Indian companies to participate in the exploration and seeking cooperation in training Somalis in the petroleum sector * It is itself fighting piracy and passed Somalia's first-ever anti-piracy law in 2010 | 26 | * | No pact on liberalized visa regime | * India and Pakistan failed to sign an agreement on a liberalized visa regime during the Home Secretary-level talks. It would have provided for: * Group tourism visa and visa-on-arrival for the elderly and children * Easier business visas * Exploring feasibility of: * Establishing a hotline between the Home/Interior Secretaries * Begin discussion on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). It would help in investigations into trans-national terror cases * | PM to visit Myanmar | * 1st PM to visit Myanmar in 25 years * To visit the tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar * Myanmar initiated a series of political reforms starting 2010 following which US removed all its sanctions * Everybody including India and China vying to have relations now with it. * US and EU removed sanctions * Japan resumed aid and cancelled earlier debts * A delegation of 25 CEOs to visit Myanmar along with PM. * Opportunities for India: * Huge opportunities in oil and gas exploration * As Myanmar is still mainly an agricultural economy, hence India is expecting to be involved in the country's farming modernization at several levels, including research * India is currently constructing Kaladan project to link Sittwe port to Mizoram by road and an inland waterway | Khurshid hails Nazrul as a “symbol of shared heritage | * Bangladesh's national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam * His much acclaimed poem: Bidrohi (Rebel) | PM wants timelines to implement Chawla report | * Ashok Chawla Committee on transparency in allocation of natural resources * It was to examine the approach to allocating natural resources such as land, coal, minerals, petroleum, natural gas and spectrum | Falling sex ratio impinges on women's rights: NAC | * It want: * Strengthening of the legal regime to prevent misuse of medical technology for sex selection and development of a legislative framework to take into account newer technologies * Study of the impact of new legislations like Draft Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Bill, 2010 from the perspective of sex selection * Effective implementation of Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (prohibition of sex selection) Act, 1994 (PC&PNDT Act) * 2011 census revealed a child sex ratio of 914/1000 | 27 | * | Team Anna is back, wants PM probed | * Sought an independent SIT to probe alleged charges of corruption against PM and 14 Ministers in his Cabinet * Want a SIT consisting of 3 retired judges to be formed which should submit report by 24th July failing which they would go on indefinite hunger strike | ICMR to study health impacts of Grass pea | * khesari dal (Lathyrus sativus) was banned 50 years ago as it was suspected to cause paralysis of the lower limbs * it is a high-protein legume that can be grown in extreme weather conditions * Cultivated extensively in central and western India for cattle fodder * Withdrawal of the ban to help solve the shortage of pulses as it is believed that the harmful effects of khesari dal depends on: * Amount consumed * Its toxin content * Method of cooking ,and * Nutritional status of individuals | Akash fails to hit target | * Surface to Air missile. Manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Hyderabad * It is an anti-aircraft defense system which can simultaneously engage several targets * Rajendra, a radar developed by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), a DRDO facility situated in Bangalore, forms part of the system | Amid strains, India, China look to push trade ties | * Danish Qureshi: A Mumbai trader kidnapped by Chinese suppliers in Yiwu. Consultations going on for his release * Bilateral trade reached $ 73.9 billion last year with China once again becoming India's biggest trade partner * Rising trade imbalance prompted an increasing number of anti-dumping investigations filed by India which strained ties * Export or iron ore to China have fallen due to ban in Karnataka and slowdown of Chinese economy * India’s moves which angered Chinese: * Restriction on export of cotton * Imposition of 19% import duty on power equipments * Many Indians owing huge sums went missing in Yiwu | Green Tribunal rejects plea challenging nod for Jaitapur project | * National Green Tribunal rejected a petition challenging environment clearance granted to the 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district * National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act came into force from Oct, 2010. It is investigating several issues like: * Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park * Lavasa Corporation * Villagers living in the vicinity are affected under Article 21 of the Constitution [relating to Fundamental Right to life], since they are deprived of clean environment and a healthy life | Indo-German project to conserve traditional rice landraces | * Traditional rice landraces — local varieties developed largely by natural processes of adapting to the environment — is an area in which indigenous communities have accumulated agro-ecological knowledge * BioDIVA project: Jointly undertaken by German and Indian researchers. In Kerala's Wayanad district. * Seeking to promote agro-biodiversity, enabling small and marginal communities to preserve their traditional knowledge, make a living, and protect the environment * It seeks to develop instruments for the sustainable and gender-equitable use of agro biodiversity * In Kerala, traditional rice cultivation is being replaced by banana monocultures due to which soils are degrading. Also woman are losing jobs since they can’t contribute to plantation crops like Banana due to hard physical labor required | Gates to support sanitation campaign | * To convert all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats into Nirmal gram panchayats, free from open defecations * Vidya Balan chosen as the brand ambassador for sanitation and cleanliness | 28 | * | Nepal set to miss constitution deadline | * Term of the assembly is about to expire. Was constituted 4 years ago * No consensus on various issues like elections for a new Constituent Assembly, federal structure, etc | At India-Pakistan border, a visa-free 400 metres | * Both countries agreed to do away with the requirement of a visa to cross the border on both sides within a radius of 400 m at the Attari-Wagah point in Punjab for Customs and other related border officials * Officials monitoring and administrating trade would be issued “special permits'' to work within the 400-metre radius * Pakistan earlier enhanced the list of goods that could be traded through Wagah border from 63 to 137 items | Alcohol content in beverages to be regulated soon | * India's food regulator FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) finalized draft standards for all categories of alcoholic beverages * Resisted by the industry * Current standards (Max): * 45.5% in distilled spirits such as whisky, rum, gin or vodka * 12% for win * 8% for beer | Stock evaluation of Indian mackerel planned | * 8 nation Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BoBLME) project in which India is a participant * Project to assess genetic stock of Indian mackerel * Other nations: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand * Attempts to be made to develop a sampling plan for tissue collection along the Bay of Bengal, including the Andaman Islands * It will enable scientists to understand how stocks vary across the regions and whether there is one stock or sub-stock structure in the region that will influence how a management plan will be developed for the region * Genetic characteristics of the species available in different parts to be assessed | Centre committed to protecting welfare of children, says Kharge | * National Child Labor Project * Want to bring a major amendment to Child Labor (Prohibition and Abolition) Act, 1986. As per this all those below 14 years of age could not be employed in any hazardous industry * All those below 14 years of age could not be employed in any industry. * Even those in the age group of 14-18 would not be employed in the hazardous industries | Pranab wants to tap more of direct tax revenue | * Most efficient and non-inflationary. Target 12 per cent of GDP at constant prices * Aayakar Seva Kendra (ASK): A single-window centre for direct taxes | Externment notice to activist an extreme step, says Jairam | * Wrote to MP government in support of tribal rights activist Madhuri Krishnaswamy * She leads an organization called Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan which works in the areas of maternal and child health, rural employment and grassroots empowerment, etc. | Centre rejects charges against PM in coal blocks allocation | * Team Anna picked up portions of a draft CAG report to make charges against PM when the Coal Ministry was with him * As per report, a loss of Rs. 10.67 lakh crore was caused to the nation * Allocation of coal blocks to private companies for captive use commenced in 1993 after the Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973 was amended. This was done to attract private investments in specified end uses * It was felt that Coal India Ltd. alone would not be able to meet the growing demand and therefore the option of giving a bigger role to the private sector was explored | PM’s Myanmar visit | * Focus areas: * Strengthening existing trade and investment links * Building agreements for greater connectivity and for development of areas along the shared 1,600-km border * Bus service from Imphal to Mandalaya on the anvil | Crusading for the big cat | * Wanted Alive: A campaign by TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network is a joint program of WWF and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) * It features the four Asian big cats — the Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Clouded Leopard * Global Tiger Recovery Program stocktaking meeting held in New Delhi * 13 tiger reserves in India | Forest dwellers denied rights as law bristles with lacunae, says Minister | * Not happy with the implementation of Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 | World Heritage Site status still out of reach for the Western Ghats | * Controlled by IUCN * India had nominated 39 serial sites of the Ghats for declaration as World Heritage Site * Said that parts of the re-nominated property does not meet the requirements, principally owing to concerns about land tenure and the strength of legal controls over development | 29 | * | PM’s Myanmar visit | * MoU signed to operationalize a $500-million line of credit which will be utilized in agriculture and irrigation * Myanmar to encourage investment by Indian companies in oil and gas sectors * Goal set at doubling the $1.2-billion bilateral trade * Central Bank of Myanmar and the RBI to finalize currency agreements for ease of trade * Both sides to open border haats or markets * Myanmar to help India deal with Northeast insurgencies by cracking down on safe havens on its side | Nepal issues | * CA dissolved. Fresh elections to be held for CA | A.P. High Court strikes down Centre's quota for religious minorities | * A Division Bench of AP HC, comprising Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar * Set aside the office memoranda issued by Center for carving out a sub-quota of 4.5% for minorities from within the 27% quota for the Other OBCs in the fields of public employment and education | | * It said that Central government had “exceeded the constitutional boundaries,” by providing reservation on religious lines, and failed to apply its mind * Declared it to be violative of Articles 15(1) and 16(2) of the Constitution which declare that no citizen shall be discriminated on the basis of religion * It found fault with the excessive reliance on the Sachar report, and ignoring of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) | Akhil Gogoi breaks fast | * At the request of anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare | China ‘happy' to see Manmohan's Myanmar visit amid changing ties | * India is perceived by many Chinese analysts as being far less of a threat to China's interests in Myanmar than US whose moves to reengage with Myanmar have stirred much debate * Free and fair political elections to be held in 2015 | Economic benefits must reach Adivasis: Jairam | * Stressed the need for proper implementation of the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act * No tribal land should be acquired for any purpose without consent of the Palli Sabha * Measures to be taken to ensure local Adivasis get benefits of any mining done in their areas | Pakistan relents on extradition treaty | * Pakistan has assured India to look into the possibility of signing an extradition treaty as part of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two nations in criminal matters * Will also consider request for release of Sarabhjit Singh * India released Pakistani virologist Khalil Chishti on humanitarian ground and urged Pakistan to respond in a similar manner * Ajmal has told investigators that Hafiz Saeed masterminded the 2008 Mumbai attacks | Pacts signed between India and Myanmar | * MoU regarding US$ 500 million Line of Credit * MoU on the India-Myanmar Border Area Development * MoU on Establishment of Joint Trade and Investment Forum * MoU on the Establishment of the Advance Centre for Agriculture Research and Education (ACARE) * Cultural Exchange Programme (2012-2015) * MoU on establishing Border Haats across the border between Myanmar and India | Monsoon decline caused rise and fall of Harappan civilization, say scientists | * Script has remained indecipherable * It has been suggested that reduction in water availability, perhaps as a result of climatic change or because tectonic activity caused rivers to change course, could have played a significant part in the decline * Long-term changes in monsoon rainfall altered river flow * They resided in areas on higher elevation close to the floodable land and thus depended heavily on floods for intensive agriculture * As monsoon weakened, it reduced the river flow and led to aridification * Ghaggar-Hakra river system is identified with the legendary Saraswati | Connectivity through Myanmar crucial for India's Look East Policy and ties with Asean | * Road link discussed: Moreh in Manipur with Mae Sot in Thailand through Myanmar | 30 | * | Centre to appeal sub-quota ruling | * Quota was announced by Central government in December, 2011 * Said that it would file a Special Leave Petition in the SC against the judgment * It was to become applicable form this academic session | POCA | * If an offence is proved, the public servant “shall be punished with imprisonment which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine | Foreign investment norms relaxed | * To attract foreign capital and stabilize rupee, the Centre: * Permitted residents of the Gulf nations and all EU nations to invest directly in stock markets * Permitted individual overseas investors to bring up to $1 billion to the debt market | New UPSC member appointed | * Rajiv Gandhi University Vice-Chancellor Prof. David R. Syiemlieh | India's resolution on mental health adopted at World Health Assembly | * 66th World Health Assembly * World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO * Government plans to introduce new legislation to replace the Mental Health Act, 1987 to bring India into conformity with international commitments | 31 | * | Despite U.S. opposition, Iran will be transport hub of North-South Corridor | * International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) * Between India, Russia and Central Asia * While U.S. is pushing its Silk Road proposal in which Iran has been excluded * Iran’s port Bandar Abbas to be the hub of all activities | Pakistan turns to India for fighting polio | * 9 member Pakistani delegation to visit India to learn from its experience | No EVMs for presidential poll: Quraishi | * In a presidential poll, the voters [MPs and MLAs] are expected to give preferential votes, whereas in elections to the LS or SLAs, the voters need to press only one button to register their vote | Centre seeks to limit food security to BPL category | * In a major policy shift, Centre plans to confine food entitlement only to BPL households and completely exclude existing category of APL * Change proposed in National Food Security bill being considered by the Parliamentary Standing Committee * Task of identifying the BPL families will be left to the State governments * Current provisions: * Plans to supply rice at Rs. 3 per kg, wheat at Rs. 2 per kg and millets at Re. 1 kg only to the BPL. Each family will get 25 kg per month. * It provides for legal entitlement of subsidized food grains to: * 46 per cent ‘priority' (BPL) families of the 75 per cent rural population, and * 28 per cent `priority' households of the 50 per cent urban population * Also the government has decided to protect the provision of cheap food grains to Antyodaya Anna Yojna families, as well as to backward blocks and to the north-eastern States. In NE region, eligible families are provided 35 kg food grains per month under Targeted PDS * Future plans: * Identify beneficiaries through Social Economic and Caste Census * Link the PDS to the Unique Identification Authority of India | India, Iran plan talks to bypass western sanctions on Tehran | * |

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