Saturday, July 27, 2013

Awards in June 2013

June 2013 Awards

  • Three Indian projects will receive U.N. Public Service Awards this year.The awards are given for projects that fight poverty and promote sustainable development. The projects are Mass Contact Programme of Kerala, Swavalamban of District Administration of Dhanbad in Jharkhand and Graamin Haat programme of Department of Cottage and Rural Industries in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Kerala government’s Mass Contact Programme, initiated by the Chief Minister’s Office, was launched in 2011, with the main aim of combating red tape and bureaucracy in administration. It enables interaction between the people and the government by encouraging them to approach the government directly to get their concerns addressed without delay or corrupt practices.
  • The Swavalamban initiative of Dhanbad district administration has improved disbursement of pensions in the district. Before the implementation of the initiative, the largely manual process of disbursement in the payment of pensions, particularly registration of new pensioners, was very cumbersome, tedious, involved lot of paper work, inefficient, non-transparent, and provided unreliable information.
  • A pensioner had to wait days, weeks or months and sometimes had to pay bribes to get entitlements. The initiative has cut down the time from three months to a maximum of three days, by automating payment and creation of direct cash transfers into pensioners’ bank accounts. Payment through Business Correspondent in remote rural areas has dramatically improved the delivery of services.
  • In addition, the database of all pensioners was digitized with help of a new software. Monitoring at district government level has been simplified making it only a mouse click away. The Madhya Pradesh government’s Graamin Haat has helped in women’s empowerment. Although women comprise almost 50 per cent of the population of Madhya Pradesh, their participation in the decision-making process at all levels is very limited.
  • Women also have no control over resources and their contribution to the family and society remained largely unrecognised. The Haat Development Committee that operates weekly markets (haats) decided to create Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) that would operate its own haats. The first such initiative took place in Digwar village 10 years ago. It was the first time that a haat was managed by rural women who were illiterate and inexperienced in managing such enterprise. Women now not only had an important place in the haat and thus in society but also control over resources.
  • Internationally acclaimed Indian American Cardiac Surgeon and Healthcare Economist Dr Mukesh Hariawala on 28 June 2013, conferred the prestigious Indian Healthcare Visionary of the Decade award at a glittering ceremony of the 4th Annual Business Leadership Conclave at Hotel Leela in Mumbai. Also felicitated with other prestigious awards were industrialists Ratan Tata , Transformational Leader of the Decade and Mukesh Ambani who is the Millennium Business Leader of the Decade.
  • International Data Group’s Computerworld Honours Program, Computerworld Honors Laureate selected UIDAI for 21st Century Achievement Award 2013 under the category ‘Economic Development’. It was given acknowledging the pivotal role played by UIDAI in leveraging technology to change people lives, streamline delivery of welfare services and provide opportunity to people to participate more fully in society. The Computerworld Honors Program, recognizes and honours visionary application of Information Technology promoting positive social, economic and social change. The initiative of Government of India was widely appreciated by the participants and media who were excited about the transformational impact of the project in socio economic life. The award was received by Ms. Keshni Anand Arora, IAS, DDG on behalf of UIDAI. Founded by International Data Group (IDG) in 1988, The Computerworld Honors Program is governed by the not-for-profit Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation. Computerworld Honors is the longest running global program to honor individuals and organizations that use information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change. Computerworld is the leading source of technology news and information for IT influencers, providing peer perspective, IT leadership and business results.
  • Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi was on 11 June honored with USD 10,000 'Nomura Award' in Singapore for her humanitarian works. The activist has decided to donate the reward money for the education of prisoners' children."I will be donating the entire award money for educating prisoners' children," Bedi, who was present at the award function in Singapore, said. Bedi was given the award constituted by Nomura Group of Japan for "improving the world for future generations". The group is one of the leading financial services group.

Awards in July 2013

July 2013 Awards

  • The Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) has conferred its highest honour ‘The Honorary Fellowship’ on HRD Minister Dr M.M. Pallam Raju for his scientific vision and invaluable contribution to the progress in the field of electronics and telecommunication. The IETE honoured the Minister at a function held in New Delhi on 18th July. It earlier conferred on him a ‘Fellow of IETE’ in 2006 on his assumption of charge as Minister of State for Defense. Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad and Temple University, USA, conferred an honorary doctorate and Doctor of Humane Letters respectively in the years 2008 and 2013. On the occasion Dr. Pallam Raju said “It is a privilege to be accorded this honour by a distinguished institution such as the IETE. I truly thank the IETE for having considered me worthy of this honour.” The honour is accorded to persons of eminence who are achievers in the field of Electronics, Telecommunication and Information Technology or have made valuable contribution in the aforesaid fields for the betterment of the society. The IETE is India’s leading professional society devoted to the advancement of science and technology and of Electronics, Telecommunication and IT. Founded in 1953, it serves more than 52,000 members through its 52 centres all over India and abroad. 
  • Paul Hewson, popularly known as Bono, the face of the rock band U2 and anti-poverty activist, was awarded with the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, the highest cultural award of France on 17th July for the contribution to music.
  • He was also praised for utilizing his popularity serve the humanitarian causes. The Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters was awarded to him by the French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti in Paris. The award was started in the year 1957 and the previous awardees include Shakira, David Bowie, Roger Moore, Bruce Willis, Bob Dylan and Sean Connery, among others.
  • Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony, 2013 is being conferred on the noted Maestro Zubin Mehta. A High-level Jury under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and comprising the Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi after detailed discussions on 4th July, 2013, unanimously decided to select Shri Zubin Mehta to be the second recipient of the Tagore Award, 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony. The annual award was instituted by the Govt. of India during the commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The first Tagore Award was conferred on Pt. Ravi Shankar, the Indian Sitar Maestro in 2012.The award carries an amount of Rs. 1 crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item. The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex.
  • An Indian woman entrepreneur Vandana Gandhi has received UAE’s prestigious award for business excellence for her work in the field of nursery education. Founder and CEO of British Orchard Nursery won the Emirates Women’s Award 2013 (EWA) in the ‘Overall Winner in Business Category’. The awards, which honor local and expatriate business achievers from diverse fields, were organized by Dubai Quality Group. Winners in various categories were selected on the basis of their leadership skills, strategy and financial planning, achievement levels, community contribution and innovation. British Orchard Nursery is the first nursery chain to be ISO 9001:2008 quality certified.

Persons in News in June 2013

June 2013 Persons

  • Justice P. Sathasivam---- On 29 June 2013, Justice P. Sathasivam wasappointed as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) after he justified the Collegiums System of Appointment of Judges. The 64 year old Sathasivam will succeed the incumbent Chief Justice of India, Altamas Kabir, who will superannuate on 18 July 2013 from his office.
  • He is the 40th CJI and his appointment to the post has been approved by Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India. As the 40th CJI, he will serve the nation till his 26 April 2014 He was born on 27 April 1949 He was enrolled as an advocate on 25 July 1973 at Madras.
  • Anil Goswami----Anil Goswmi took over as Union Home Secretary on 30 June. He succeeds Raj Kumar Singh who retired from Government service. Anil Goswami is an IAS officer of 1978 batch and belongs to the Jammu & Kashmir Cadre. Before joining MHA as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) on April 27, 2013, Goswami was Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. He has served in his Cadre and at the Centre in various capacities including Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Krishna Chaudhary----- Krishna Chaudhary, IPS, has been appointed as Director General, National Disaster Response Force and Civil Defence (NDRF&CD). His appointment will take effect from the date he assumes charge of the post and until his superannuation on 30.06.2017 or till further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • The DM Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters. Accordingly, in 2006 NDRF was constituted. The force is gradually emerging as the most visible and vibrant multi–disciplinary, multi-skilled, high-tech, stand alone force capable of dealing with all types of natural and man-made disasters. These NDRF battalions are located at ten different locations in the country based on the vulnerability profile of country and to cut down the response time for their deployment at disaster site.
  • V.K.DUGGAL---- The former Union Home Secretary on 21 June 2013 was appointed as the nodal officer for relief and rescue operations in the rain-ravaged Uttrakhand by the Union Government of India. Duggal will operate from Dehradun. Duggal will help in establishing coordination between different agencies involved in relief and rescue operations and the centre, as lack of coordination between the agencies was hampering the mitigation efforts. The decision of VK Duggal’s appointment as nodal officer was taken after a review meet conducted by the Union Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde at New Delhi. The review meet was attended by the representatives of the Ministries of Home, Defence, Food, Surface Transport and National Disaster Management Authority. He served as Indian Union Home Secretary from March 2005 to April 2007.
  • SATYA PAL DANGE (92) ---- Veteran CPI leader Satya Pal Dang passed away in Amritsar on 15 June 2013.Satya Pal Dang was Born in 1920 in Gujranwala in Pakistan and had married to Vimla, another CPI leader, in 1952. Vimla died in 2009. The couple was known for their courage in raising their voices against terrorism in Punjab. Satya Pal Dang had contested his first Vidhan Sabha election in 1966-67 from Amritsar west constituency. He won that election after defeating then CM Gurmukh Singh Musafir. With the win he became food and civil supply minister in the coalition government. During his term he took some tough decisions to ensure that food items reached the poor through PDS. He led several struggles of various sections of the people, including peasants and workers, and was elected four times to Punjab assembly from Amritsar. Satya Pal Dang won from the same constituency in 1969, 1972 and 1977.
  • AMOL RAJAN---- Indian-born Amol Rajan has been appointed editor of the London morning daily The Independent, making him Fleet Street's first non-white editor, the newspaper reported on 17 june. Rajan, 29, was previously the daily's comment editor. Rajan, who was born in Calcutta, as Kolkata was then called, moved to Britain when he was three and studied at a state school.
  • JAMES COMEY (52) ----Barack Obama, the US President on 21 June 2013 nominated James Comey as the next FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) Director. James Comey is a registered Republican and former Justice Department official under President George W. Bush. He was the United States Deputy Attorney General, serving in President George W. Bush's administration from December 2003 to August 2005.His nomination awaits confirmation from the US Senate. On getting this confirmation for the post, Comey would succeed Robert Mueller. Robert Mueller held the post of FBI Director since 2001 and will retire after completing 12 years of his service to FBI as its Director. Comey is best known for his actions against White House officials over the legality of the warrantless-wiretapping program of the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2004. 
  • Kanji Ram became only the second Hindu to be part of the Pakistan’s Punjab assembly after Seth Bharta Ram who was elected a lawmaker in 1997. Kanji Ram is scheduled to take oath on 17 June 2013. Moreover, Saradar Ramesh Singh Arora on 1 June 2013 became the first ever Sikh to be elected as the member of the House since Pakistan’s creation in 1947.Ram and Sikh representative Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora were both nominated by the PML-N to seats in the Punjab Assembly reserved for non-Muslims.
  • S.K.Roy: The government is understood to have appointed SK Roy as the chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Roy, who is presently a managing director in the organization, would be succeeding D K Mehrotra, whose term as LIC chief ended on May 31. Roy would be at the helm of the insurance behemoth for a period of five years, official sources said, adding that the notification to this effect would be out soon. Roy joined the largest insurance company in the country in 1981. On May 31, 2013, he assumed charge as managing director of LIC along with Thomas Mathew and Sarkar. Prior to elevation, he was head of the International Operations. He was also zonal manager of north central zone and eastern zone of the insurance firm. LIC, which manages assets worth around Rs14-lakhcrore of over 20 crore policyholders, has the largest market share among 24 players in the industry.
  • Sudha Sharma: A 1976 batch IRS Officer, has been appointed the new Chairperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes on June 2. She took over as Poonam Kishore Saxena retired on 31 May. Sudha Sharma was serving as member (legislation and computerization) in CBDT. The CBDT is a part of Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance. On one hand, CBDT provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India, at the same time it is also responsible for administration of direct tax laws through the Income Tax Department. The Central Board of Direct Taxes is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The Central Board of Revenue as the Department apex body charged with the administration of taxes came into existence as a result of the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1924.
  • Susan Elizabeth Rice---- The American ambassador to the United Nations was appointed as the National Security Adviser of US President Barack Obama on 5 June 2013. She replaced Tom Donilon. She is said to be the first Jamaican-American woman to hold the office of UN ambassador. She was the principal and Managing Director at Intellibridge from 2001 to 2002.Susan Elizabeth Rice received one of the Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Awards in the year 2009. In the year 2002, she was also indicted into Stanford's Black Alumni Hall of Fame.
  • K R Kamath---- The Indian Banks' Association (IBA) announced on 6 June 2013 that K R Kamath, the chairman and managing director of Punjab National Bank (PNB) was re-elected as the Chairman of IBA for 2013-14 tenure. At the 66th annual general meeting, IBA also elected Aditya Puri, managing director and CEO of HDFC Bank, as its Deputy Chairman. Along with this, the Chairman of State Bank of India (SBI), Pratip Chaudhuri was elected as the Honorary Secretary. Indian Banks' Association (IBA) is an association of Indian banks and financial institutions. It is based in Mumbai. The objective of the association is strengthening, development and coordination of the Indian banking. It also facilitates various member banks.
  • Raghav Joneja----Joneja became the youngest Indian to scale the Mount Everest on 21 May 2013 when he along with his five schoolmates climbed the fifth highest peak in the world. Climbing at the age of 15 years and seven months Raghav Joneja broke the record set by Nameirakpam Chingkheinganba of Manipur's, who climbed the Everest at the age 16 years seven months and 11 days.
  • Lydia Nsekera----Lydia became the first woman elected to the FIFA executivecommitee after winning a vote on 7 June in Mauritius. The 46-year-old head of the Burundi Football Association outlasted Australia’s Moya Dodd and Sonia Bien-Aime, of Turks and Caicos. The FIFA executive board contains 24 members from across the world headed by president Sepp Blatter.FIFA co-opted Nsekera into the executive committee last year, also a first. She has led the Burundi FA for about nine years and helped organize the soccer tournaments at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She’s also an IOC member.FIFA’s executive hasn’t included a woman since first forming in 1904.
  • Virginius Xaxa ---- After the exit of Aruna Roy, government on 6 June, has reconstituted the National Advisory Council by inducting renowned sociologist Virginius Xaxa into the 12-member panel chaired by Sonia Gandhi. The term of the panel, which has been giving legislative and policy inputs to the government ranging from the seminal rural jobs scheme to the latest food security bill, has been made co-terminus with the term of the present government.Xaxa, the new member of the Council, has written extensively on tribal communities of the country and is a Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati.Besides chairperson Gandhi, the Council has Xaxa, Narendra Jadhav, Pramod Tandon, N C Saxena, A K Shiv Kumar, Deep Joshi, Anu Aga, Farah Naqvi, Mirai Chatterjee, Mihir Shah and Ashis Mondal as members. Last week, Roy had written to Gandhi requesting her not to consider her for another term of the Council. Gandhi had accepted the request.The term of the previous Council was till May 31.
  • Mrs. Kushal Singh----Kushal singh has been appointed as the Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on 28 may. She was selected by a Committee headed by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of Women and Child Development. The Secretary, M/O WCD is also a member of the Committee. Mrs. Kushal Singh has held several high level posts in the Government of Rajasthan and the Central Government. She was the Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan. She was also the Chairperson Board of Revenue, Rajasthan Pollution Control Board and the Commissioner for Disabled Persons, Government of Rajasthan. Mrs. Singh was the Secretary Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, Principal Secretary for various ministries such as Social Welfare and Tribal Area Development, Environment and Social Security, Government of Rajasthan.
  • Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa was elected as the new president of Asian Football Confederation on 2 May 2013. He replaced Mohamed Bin Hammam. Bahraini Sheikh Salman won 33 votes out of 46 in Malaysia to beat his rival Yousuf Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates as well as Worawi Makudi of Thailand. Sheikh Salman claimed the vacant seat on executive committee of FIFA as well, which was held by Bin Hammam. On this seat, Sheikh Salman defeated Qatar World Cup organizing chief Hassan Al Thawadi. It is important to note that Bin Hammam was given a lifetime ban in 2011 by FIFA on the basis of allegations that he tried to buy the votes. He eventually retired from football in July 2012 after his suspension was annulled. Sheikh Salman took over last 20 months of term of Bin Hammam as the AFC president. Next elections will be held in January 2015. The position of AFC president gives a person the control of all major football events in Asia.
  • The Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy reconstituted A.P Women's Commission by appointing Dr.Tripurana Venkataratnam as Chairperson with six other members on 3rd June.
    The other members are Paruchuri Jamuna, Dr. Sunita Krishnan, Thoti Malleswari, Mukala Kasturi and L.Feroz Begum. The Scheduled Tribe category member would be nominated separately and orders to this effect will be issued soon. Dr Tripurana Venkata Ratnam is a doctorate and LL.B from Srikakulam District. She was an MLA from TDP during 1983 from Cheepurupalli and Minister in the cabinet of Sri N. Bhaskar Rao. Her father T. Raghava Dasu was a freedom fighter and was an MLC and DCC President during 1978-81. She is also a noted social worker and activist.
  • Leader of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N), Ayaz Sadiq was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan on 3rd June.He won with 258 votes out of 313 votes which were cast in the election of a Speaker in lower house of the Parliament of Pakistan. The strength of National Assembly of Pakistan is 342.His opponents, Shaheryar Afridi of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and S.A. Iqbal Qadri of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement got just 31 and 23 votes respectively. The outgoing Speaker Fehmida Mirza administered the oath of Speaker’s office to Ayaz Sadiq. He became the 19th Speaker of the Pakistan’s lower house. PML-N nominee Murtaza Javed Abbasi was elected as deputy speaker by securing a total of 258 votes.

Persons in News in July 2013

July 2013 Persons

  • US President Barack Obama has nominated an accomplished Indian-American woman administrator as America's new point person for South Asia to succeed Robert Blake. Subject to confirmation by the Senate, Nisha Desai Biswal, who is currently the Assistant Administrator for Asia at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), will replace incumbent Blake to head the South Asia bureau in the US State Department.
  • Desai is expected to become the first person of Indian-origin to head the bureau, which oversees US foreign policy and relations with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. Biswal, who received a BA degree from the University of Virginia, has been the Assistant Administrator for Asia at the USAID, since September 2010.
  • JUSTICE P.SADASIVAM-----Justice P Sathasivam was on 19 july, sworn in as the 40th Chief Justice of India (CJI) by President Pranab Mukherjee. He took over the post from Justice Altamas Kabir, who served as the CJI for over nine months. Born on April 27, 1949, he enrolled as an advocate in July 1973 at Madras and was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Madras High Court in January, 1996.Later, he was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in April, 2007.Justice Sathasivam was elevated to the Supreme Court in August, 2007 and would demit office on April 26, 2014.
  • DR.LAXMAN SINGH RATHORE----Dr Laxman Singh Rathore, Director General of Meteorology & Permanent Representative of India, has been elected as Co-Vice Chairman of Intergovernmental Board of Climate Services (IBCS) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) during its first meeting held at Geneva during 1st to 5th July 2013. Dr. Rathore was recently elected as member of the Executive Council of the WMO and has earlier served a term as Vice President of Commission of Agriculture Meteorology. Anton Eliassen, Director General, Norway Meteorological Institute has been elected as Chair and Dr. Linda Makuleni, South Africa, is the other Co-Vice Chair. With the appointment of Rathore, India, who is championing the cause of developing nations is poised to play a crucial role in implementation of Global Framework of Climate Service (GFCS).
  • VAALI (82) ----- Veteran Tamil film lyricist Vaali passed away at a private hospital in Chennai on 18 July 2013. Vaali penned lyrics for stars across generations, from the veteran M.G. Ramachandran (MGR), Kamal Haasan to present day heroes like Dhanush. He started his career in the mid-60s and had penned nearly 10,000 songs in his 50 years long career. He was honoured with the Padma Shri, India'a fourth highest civilian honour in year 2007.He has also written a number of books including Naanum Indha Nootrandum, his autobiography.
  • SANTOSH B.NAIR-----International Finance Corporation of India (IFCI), on 15 July, appointed Santosh B. Nayar as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. Further, it said Ashok Kumar Jain had been inducted as additional director of IFCI.
  • RANA KAPOOR---- Yes Bank Managing Director and CEO, Rana Kappor took over as the President of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) on 20 July at the end of the 92nd annual general meeting of the chamber held in New Delhi.
  • The British Government honoured V.K. Krishna Menon, India’s first high commissioner in London and former Defence Minister by placing a Blue Plaque at the house, where he lived when he moved to the city for the first time on 17th July.
  • The blue plaque will be placed plaque at 30 Langdon Park Road in Highgate, North London, where Menon stayed from 1929 to 1931. Menon, during his stay in London, after Indian independence as independent India’s first High Commissioner to the U.K played an active role in the socio-political life of the city.
  • The plaque was unveiled by Tony Benn, veteran leader of the Left-Wing Labour. Tony Benn is the son of William Wedgwood Benn, was secretary of state for India from 1929 to 1931, when Menon was campaigning for Indian independence in Britain. UK commemorates sites of historical and cultural importance in the country with blue plaques with a purpose of drawing attention of people.
  • Eminent historian Barun Dey, who made “Modern India” his main area of research, died at a city clinic in Kolkata on 16th July after a protracted illness. He was 80 and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
  • Associated with a number of historical institutions, Dey was Vice President of Asiatic Society and Vice Chairman of Centre for Archaeology, besides being a member of the Board of Trustees of Victoria Memorial and Governing Body of Indian Museum..
  • He had specialised in social and economic history of India in the 17th and 18th centuries, Bengal renaissance and British constitutional history. Dey was the author of ‘Secularism at Bay: Uzbekistan at the Turn of Century’
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka----Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 9 July, has appointed Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a former deputy president of South Africa and women’s advocate, as the new head of the United Nations body, U.N. WOMEN tasked with promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global affairs. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka replaces Michelle Bachelet, a former president of Chile who served as the first Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Ms. Bachelet stepped down a few months ago. She was the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008, and has also served as Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry, Minister of Minerals and Energy, and briefly as acting Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. UN Women was established in July 2010 by a unanimous vote of the General Assembly to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights. It is tasked with helping Member States implement standards, providing technical and financial support to countries which request it and forging partnerships with civil society. Within the UN, it holds the world body accountable for its own commitments on gender equality.
  • Dr. H.A.B. Parpia---- An acknowledged food scientist and the former Director of the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) died on 9 July 2013 after a brief illness.There exist more than 2500 papers and documents published by the name of Dr. Parpia on food and technology and advanced education. The 91 year old, Dr. Parpia served Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations at Rome and was Assistant Director in charge of Information, Statistics, Process Development and Food Plant Design at the CFTRI. He received, Distinguished Service Medal from the Prime Minister of India at 25th Anniversary of CFTRI, Mysore. In 1984, he received V S Industrial Achievement Award from Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India), Mysore. In 1987, he received Wattumull Foundation Award from Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
  • Pran (93)----The winner of Dadasaheb Phalke Award and a veteran actor Pran died on 12 July 2013 in a Hospital at Mumbai. Born in Old Delhi on 12 February 1920, Pran got his first break in a Punjabi Film, Yamla Jat in 1940, in the undivided India. But his debut in Bollywood happened with the film Ziddi, in which he acted along with the evergreen hero of bollywood Dev Anand in 1948. Pran served the Bollywood for a career span of more than six decades in more than 350 films and is known for his brilliant performances in films like Ram aur Shyam, Aansoo Ban Gaye Phool, Half-Ticket, Madhumati, Purab aur Paschim, Karz, Zanjeer and Amar Akbar Anthony and many more. He was conferred with Dada Saheb Phalke Award on 12 April 2013, which was received by him on 10 May 2013 at his residence. In 2001 he was awarded with India’s third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan. In 2010 he was named among the Top 25 Asian Actors of All times by CNN.
  • Ottavio Quattrocchi (74)----- Controversial Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who was a key figure in the Bofors payoffs scandal, on 13 July 2013 died in Milan, Italy following a stroke. Quattrocchi was an Italian businessman who was being sought until early 2009 in India for criminal charges for acting as a conduit for bribes in the Bofors scandal.The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named Quattrocchi in a chargesheet as the conduit for the Bofors bribe. The case against him was strengthened in June 2003. On the basis of the Interpol warrant he was detained in Argentina on 6 February 2007. The CBI had come under attack for putting up a half-hearted effort towards his extradition..
  • Former Delhi Police Chief, K.K. Paul took over as the new Governor of Meghalaya, after he was administered the oath of office and secrecy by the Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court, T Meena Kumari at a simple function held at the Durbal Hall of the Raj Bhavan in Shillong on 8th July. He was the Delhi Police commissioner between February 2004 and July 2007 and became a member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on 26 July 2007. He also had served in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He joined the IPS in 1970 and was granted the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories) cadre.
  • Senior parliamentarian Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil on 4 July 2013 was appointed as the new Governor of Sikkim on 4th July. Dadasaheb Patil has represented Maharashtra's Satara constituency in the Lok Sabha as an MP. He is also a former IAS officer, and will replace presently serving governor of Sikkim B.P. Singh. The 73-years Dadasaheb Patil was elected to the 13th and 14th Lok Sabha from the Karad constituency in Maharashtra on the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP ticket).
  • Najeeb Jung, Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, took over as the Lt. Governor of Delhi, replacing Tejendra Khanna on 9th July. A 1973-batch IAS officer, Jung is the 19th L-G of Delhi.
  • He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Chief Justice of Delhi High Court B.D. Ahmed. The oath-taking ceremony was held at Raj Niwas and attended by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, her council of ministers, and several top political leaders and bureaucrats.
  • Hazem El-Beblawi was named as the new Prime Minister of Egypt by the Interim President Adly Mansour on 9th July. A leading economist and former finance minister, Beblawi will form a caretaker government that comprises technocrats from different walks of life. The caretaker government would play a major role in steering the Egypt through the transitional period. The interim President Adly Mansour also named Mohammad ElBaradei, a Nobel laureate and former IAEA chief as the new Vice-President of the country. In a gesture of reconciliation, the new Prime minister-designate declared that his government will offer cabinet posts to the leaders of Muslim Brotherhood of the ousted President Mohammed Morsi’s Government.
  • Veteran Carnatic musician Nukala Chinna Satyanarayana passed away here on 11th July. He was 89. He was suffering from a heart-related ailment since some months. Popularly known as a Carnatic vocal maestro, the veteran musician was born in Aadurru villaige of East Godavari District in 1923.
  • He took a masters degree in English and Telugu literature and began his musical journey as a violinist. However, he switched to vocal under the tutelage of veteran Mangalampalli Pattabhiramaiah, the father of another Carnatic exponent, Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna.
  • Recognising his skills in vocal music, Bharat Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya Mandal in 1983 awarded him the prestigious title of “Maha Mahopadyaya”.He was appointed by TTD as their court musician and for 20 years he worked to tune various Annamacharya krithis.
  • Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Srigeri Peetham, Pushpagiri Peetham, Ganapathi Sacchidananda Ashramam have recognised his services and appointed him as their court musician.Nukala worked as principal in Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Vijayawada Government Music Colleges. He was the head of the department of music at Telugu University. He penned many books including Raga Lakshana Sangraham and a monograph on Thyagaraja Pancharatna Kirthanas. He gave performances in the presence of late Dr. Radhakrishnan, V.V. Giri and P.V. Narasimha Rao. He was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Centre.
  • R. CHANDRASEKHAR---Nasscom, the IT software services industry body appointed R. Chandrasekhar, the former Secretary Department of Telecommunications (DoT), as its president on 5 July 2013. 60 years old, R. Chandrashekhar will be succeeding current Nasscom President Som Mittal, whose tenure expires in January 2014. He retired from DOT in March 2013 and had also declined an offer to head the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) which is India's premier technical intelligence agency.
  • SUNIL SONI---- Sunil Soni has been appointed as Director General of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on 2 July 2013. He is a 1981 batch IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre who at present is on compulsory wait in the Department of Financial Services under Ministry of Finance. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has also appointed Tapan Ray, a 1982 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre as Additional Secretary in Ministry of Panchayati Raj. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is a body under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution which basically looks after the formulation of standards for all segments of industry and business. It also certifies products, which is popularly known by ISI mark. It is also into certification of imported products and hallmarking of jewellery.
  • DOUGLAS ENGELBART(88)----Douglas Engelbart, the U.S. inventor who was known as the father of the computer mouse died on 3 July 2013. Engelbart was a technologist who laid out a vision of an Internet decades before others brought those ideas to the mass market. He was a scientist and engineer who devoted himself to find ways to use computers to improve people's lives.
  • MAHASUNDARI DEVI----Madhubani painting artist Mahasundari Devi died at a private hospital in Ranti, near Madhubani on 4 July 2013. She was renowned for her mastery over Sikki work, 'sujani' craft, clay work and paper mache apart from Mithila painting. She had won over two dozen national and state awards.She won the prestigious Padmashri and Shilp Guru award in year 2010.
  • SUJATHA SINGH----Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh approved the appointment of Sujata Singh as the Next Foreign Secretary of India on 1 July 2013. Sujata Singh of 59 years at present is serving as the envoy to Germany. She will succeed Ranjan Mathai as Foreign Secretary, who is due to retire on 31 July 2013. Due to retire in July 2014, Singh has got an extension of two year in her service period. She is the IFS officer of 1976 batch and the third women to head the foreign services after Chokila Iyer and Nirupama Rao.

June 2013 National Affairs

June 2013 National Affairs
  • Union health ministry’s ambitious schemes of providing free generic drugs at government health care centres have been launched on 17th June, after being put on hold last year due to financial constraints. The initiatives, called 'Free Drug Service' and 'Free Diagnostics Service' under the National Health Mission, are aimed at sprucing up health care facilities in the country. The Health Ministry has written to the states to take advantage of this scheme under which they can access funds from the central government by following certain guidelines laid down by it. The guidelines include appropriate systems for procurement, logistics, and quality assurance, among others.
  • The scheme was one of the government's keystone projects of the 12th Five Year Plan. “Almost 33% people suffer from poverty due to their medical expenditures," an official said. The directions for accessing the funds make it mandatory for a state to have a clearly notified policy of providing free essential drugs and diagnostics to all patients coming to public sector facilities at least up to district hospital level. The state should have a robust procurement, logistics and supply chain system that is backed by Information technology.
  • The state should have adopted Standard Treatment Guidelines and provide for prescription audits to ensure rational use of drugs and it should name the initiative as 'National Health Mission-Free Drug Service' or 'National Health Mission-Free Diagnostic Service' or its translation in Hindi or regional language. The free generic drugs scheme was proposed after a 2011 report of the High Level Expert Group which stated that 76% of the out-of-pocket expenditure on health is on drugs.
  • The Union government on 26 June 2013 has banned three major medicines—the widely prescribed anti-diabetes drug pioglitazone, painkiller analgin and anti-depressant deanxit. The decision to ban the drug was taken in wake of health risks associated with them. It was taken after strong stand by the government on suspending marketing of all drugs prohibited for sale in other countries like the US, the UK, EU and Australia. Pioglitazone is widely believed to cause heart failure and increases the risk of bladder cancer, analgin has been discarded the world over on grounds of patient safety.
  • Deanxit is made up of harmful combination, which has been long banned even in Denmark, its country of origin. Analgin is known to cause a steep decrease in the count of white blood cells, which can lead to a potentially fatal state. The drug was thus taken off the shelves in many countries including Sweden, Japan, France, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Earlier in year 2010-11 Drug Controller General had banned various drugs which include painkiller Nimesulide, anti-diabetes medicine Rosiglitazone and antibiotic Gaifloxacin.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 28 June, approved the proposal of the Department of Health Research under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the setting up of 10 regional labs, 30 State level labs and 120 medical college level labs under the scheme for establishing a network of laboratories for managing epidemics and natural calamities. The scheme is estimated to cost Rs. 646.83 crore during the 12th Five Year Plan. The expenditure on the establishment of the labs at the State level and at medical colleges would be shared between the Central Government and State Governments in the ratio of 75:25 (90:10 in North-Eastern, Hill States, including Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir). Expenditure on the regional labs would be fully borne by the Central Government.
  • This major initiative taken by the Government for establishment of a 3-tier network of laboratories across the country will greatly help in building capacity for handling viral diseases in terms of early and timely diagnosis, development of tools to predict viral disease outbreaks beforehand, continuous monitoring and surveillance of existing as well as new viral strains and handling viruses with a potential to be used as agents of bio-terrorism.
  • The initiative shall also help in smooth data flow from across sites of epidemics, creation of efficient knowledge management network for policy interventions such as quick deployment of resources and measures like introduction of preventive strategies, new vaccines, etc. Currently only national apex institutes like NCDC, New Delhi and NIV, Pune are mandated to undertake investigations. This leads to creating a heavy burden and affect their real referral role. The resultant delay in diagnosis/detection and inadequate/incomplete data during outbreaks significantly impacts on response time for interventions. All the laboratories will work under the overall guidance of apex institutions like NIV and NCDC through appropriate linkages and networking. The States/UTs which do not currently have any government medical colleges will be linked with the nearby State's laboratories.
  • In recognition of the contributions by Late Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in the fields of economic planning and statistical development, the Government of India has designated 29th June every year, coinciding with his birth anniversary, as the “Statistics Day” in the category of Special Day to be celebrated at the national level. The objective of this Day is to create public awareness, specially the younger generation for drawing inspirations from Late Prof. Mahalanobis about the role of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has been celebrating the Statistics Day every year since 2007. The theme for the Statistics Day 2013 is “Labour and Employment Statistics”.
  • The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh dedicated the newly constructed railway line between Banihal (Jammu region)-Qazigund (Kashmir valley) section to the nation by flagging off the first DEMU train from Banihal through the Pir Panjal tunnel- the longest transportation tunnel of India, from Banihal Railway station in Jammu & Kashmir on 26 June.
  • Ircon International Ltd., a PSU under the Ministry of Railways, has been the principal executing agency for Northern Railway to execute the work of Dharam-Qazigund Section of USBRL Project which includes Banihal-Qazigund section and Pir Panjal Tunnel.The Kashmir Valley railway (Qazigund-Baramulla section) is a 119 km long modern railway line that became completely operational in October 2009.
  • So far it is an island railway, not yet connected to the Indian Railway network. It connects Baramula in the western part of Kashmir to Qazigund at the other end of the Valley, via Srinagar. With this challenging project which is dedicated to the nation, the extension of this railway line beyond the Pir Panjal Mountains in to the Jammu region has been achieved with trains running on the new railway section of Qazigund-Banihal. The 17.7 km long rail link paves way for the future railway connectivity of Kashmir region with the national railway network.This section mostly consists of a 11.2 km long, Tunnel T-80 which pierces through the Pir Panjal range, providing a direct rail connection between the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region.
  • Government has set up an investment target of Rs. 1.15 lakh crore for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects in infrastructure sector in the next six months. The proposals include Mumbai elevated rail corridor of Rs. 30,000 crore and two international airports in Bhubneswar and Imphaland power and Transmission projects.
  • A steering group is also being set up to monitor the award and implementation of infrastructure projects. The decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh with key infrastructure Ministers in New Delhi on 29 June. The meeting was convened to finalize the infrastructure targets for the current financial year.
  • According to an official release, Government has also decided to put in place new policies for ramping up coal production in the country. The Prime Minister also set the target to build eight Greenfield Airports in PPP mode this year. An Inter-Ministerial Group will be formed to work out a creative financing-cum-implementation mechanism in two months for clearing the large backlog of sanctioned projects of over two lakh crores rupees in a time-bound manner.
  • The flagship projects of railways, including the two Loco Manufacturing Projects, Elevated Rail Corridor, the Dedicated Freight Corridor and station redevelopment will be closely monitored for awarding the contract in the next six months. The Power Ministry has been asked to work with Planning Commission and Finance Ministry to resolve remaining issues in the power sector and improve generation and transmission capacity. The award of road projects should get expedited with focused attention on Expressways. The two new PPP ports at Sagar in West Bengal and Durgarajapatnam in Andhra Pradesh approved by Cabinet will be awarded.
  • The Union Cabinet on 28 June, gave its approval to the proposal of signing of a headquarters agreement between the Ministry of External Affairs and Nalanda University. This agreement would confer on the University and members of its academic staff privileges and immunities considered necessary to provide an overall framework for the efficient functioning and operation of the University, and allow it to obtain talent from across the globe.
  • The Agreement will come into force immediately upon signing and notification. The signing of the headquarters agreement will facilitate hiring of the best academicians from across the world, well before the commencement of the first academic session. Recruitment of the University’s faculty cannot take place without fixing their terms and conditions, for which the conclusion of the headquarters agreement is essential.
  • The University will serve as an international centre of excellence in higher learning. It would integrate modern, scientific and technological knowledge and skills with basic human values and promote universal friendship, peace and prosperity through the spiritual awakening of the individual and society. At the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Thailand in October, 2009, member States issued a Joint Press Statement which supported the establishment of Nalanda University as a non-State, non-profit, secular and self-governing international institution with a continental focus, that would bring together the brightest and most dedicated students from all countries of Asia.
  • UNESCO has recognized an ancient Jain manuscript ‘Shantinatha Charitra’ as one of the rarest documents in the world and has registered it in its Register as Heritage Documentary. ‘Shantinatha Charitra’ is a text in Sanskrit written in Devanagari script. It describes the life and times of Shantinatha, the 16th Jain Tirthankara. This work was composed and written in the late fourteenth century 1396 C.E. (1453 Vikram Samvat). This unique manuscript contains as many as 10 images of scenes from the life of Shantinatha in the style of Jain paintings from Gujarat. UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has constituted a Committee to finalize modalities for media campaign against indecent portray of women in mass media. The Committee will be headed by Additional Secretary, M/o WCD, Smt. K. Ratna Prabha. The terms of reference of the Committee are as follows:- 1)Finalize modalities of a media campaign, through print and electronic media, to instill a sense of respect for women in all spheres of life. 2) Suggest innovative campaign/ strategy to project women in a more positive, proactive and empowered manner, which can have maximum impact on the society and bring about an attitudinal/ behavioral change of people towards women. 3)Draw up national campaign to sensitize families regarding the values of girls, through depicting women achievers, abhor civil practices like female foeticide, dowry, child marriages, etc. 4)Identify areas of corporation between M/o WCD and M/O I&B on all such issues that demand sustained public interest campaigns in print, electronic as well as social media.
  • Unemployment rate in India has increased. It is 2% in rural areas and 3% in urban India. The unemployment rate per 1,000 population is at 27, while it was 25 two years ago. As on January 1, 2010, the number of unemployed was 9.8 million. By January 1, 2012, it has increased to 10.8 million.--In rural areas, the unemployment rate for both male and female is almost at the same level, 2%. But, in, urban areas, women are more unemployed than men. The rate is 5% for women and 2% for men. These are some findings of the 68th Round Survey by the National Sample Survey Office ( NSSO), ministry of statistics and programme implementation, which was released on23 June.
  • India has witnessed a work force (activity status determined on the basis of reference period of one year) growth of 13.9 million in just two years, between 2010 and 2012.As per the NSS 66 th round survey, as on January 2010, the workforce at the all-India level, was about 459 million (rural men - 231.9, rural women - 104.5; urban men - 99.8 million and urban women - 22.8 million) . As on January 2012 (present survey), it has increased to 472.9 millions (rural men - 234.6, rural women - 101.8 million; urban men -- 109.2 million and urban women - 27.3 million).

    The current workforce at the all-India level is 47.2 crore. More than half the population (52%) is self-employed, while 18% work as regular wage/salaried employees and 30% as casual laborers. More people are self-employed (56%) and work as casual laborers (35%) in rural India. In Urban India, it is the waged/salaried (43%) who constitute a majority. They are followed by the self-employed (42%) and casual laborers (15%).

    Nearly half the population (49%) is engaged in agriculture, while 24% are working in secondary sector and 27% in tertiary sector.

    In India, women are more self-employed than men.The share of self-employment in total workforce is 55 % for rural men, 59 % for rural women, while it is 42 % for urban men and 43 % for urban women. Men work more as casual labourers.

    when it comes to agriculture, it is again the women who dominate. In the rural areas, 59% men work in agriculture, but the figures are 75% for women. The involvement of women in the agriculture sector is more even in the urban areas. It is 11% as against the 6% for men.

    When it comes wages, obviously, the urbanites are paid more than their rural counterparts. Men are paid more than women. At the national level, average wages earned by regular wage/salaried employees is Rs 396 per day (Rs 299 in rural areas and Rs 450 in urban areas).

    In the rural areas, wages earned per day by a regular wage/salaried employee is Rs 322 (men) and Rs 202 (women). In the urban areas, this is Rs 470 for men and Rs 366 for women.
  • The Union Cabinet on 20 June, decided to restructure the existing centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS)/ Additional Central Assistance (ACA) schemes in the Twelfth Five Year Plan into 66 schemes, including Flagship programmes. This includes 17 Flagship programmes with significant outlays for major interventions required in health, education, irrigation, urban development, infrastructure, including rural infrastructure, skill development, etc. To suit the requirements of the States, the Cabinet has also approved that a scheme may have state specific guidelines which may be recommended by an Inter-Ministerial Committee constituted for this purpose. Besides, the financial assistance to the States in these schemes would be provided through the Consolidated Funds of the states. Further, to bring in desired flexibility, the Cabinet has approved that 10% of the outlay of the Schemes be kept as flexi-funds. For each new CSS/ACA/Flagship scheme, at least 25 per cent of funds may be contributed by the General Category States and 10 percent of funds by the Special Category States including J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Earlier, the National Development Council (NDC), while approving the 12th plan in its meeting in December 2012 had also recommended building flexibility in the schemes to suit the requirements of the State Governments.
  • Despite a sharp slowdown in the economy which led to an increase in unemployment, India's consumption story remained intact, the latest data on households' consumer expenditure in 2011-12 conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) revealed on 23 June. In fact, the average rural monthly per capital expenditure went up by 35.7% in the two year period between 2009-10 and 2011-12. Of the total expenditure, rural households spent less than half on food items, suggesting rise in wages. The average monthly per capita expenditure during 2011-12 stood at around 1,430 for rural India, a 35.7% increase compared to the 2009-10 survey and 2,630 for urban India, a 32% jump. The average urban monthly per capita expenditure was 84% higher than rural areas. The share of expenditure on food declined substantially from 53.6% to 48.6% in rural areas and from 40.7% to 38.5% in the urban areas. The faster rise in share of non-food expenditure in rural areas suggest a rise in wages. The rural wages went up from 231.59 a day in 2009-10 to 299 a day in 2011-12, a 29% increase. This could again be explained by the rural urban migration, as semi-skilled or unskilled workers in the urban areas would send home higher wages back home, an analyst said."As MGNREGA has led to increase in wages, people in rural areas are spending more on non food items", said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist, CARE Ratings. Urban wages went up to 450 a day from 354.95, according to the 68th round of the NSSO survey. The monthly per capita expenditure on food totaled 756 against 1,121 in the urban areas. Within food, the share of protein based items went up in the consumption basket. The share of milk and milk products went up from 8.6% in 2009-10 to 9.1%. Among non-food items, the share of durable goods in the consumption basket of rural areas went up from 4.8% to 6.1%.
  • People in Andhra Pradesh are spending more money on various kinds of intoxicants than citizens of most other states in the country, according to a report by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation on the average amount spent by an Indian on household consumer items. The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), which falls under the ministry, released key indicators of consumer expenditure generated from the data collected for the period from July 2011-June 2012 on 21 June. The report revealed that the average monthly amount spent on intoxicants like tobacco, paan, alcohol, gutka etc stood at Rs 88.98 per person in rural Andhra Pradesh and Rs 61.61 per person in urban areas. The national average expenditures per person in the rural and urban areas are comparatively much lower at Rs 45.93 and Rs 42.3 respectively. With regard to AP, Tamil Nadu's urban per capita expenditure on intoxicants is only Rs 40.14, while that of Karnataka is Rs 48.68. The spending in the state is also comparatively much higher than in Maharashtra and Odisha as well. Social scientists say the differences are very significant and are a major cause for concern."AP is one of the highest liquor consuming states as the political culture here encourages it. The revenue targets being set for the excise department have increased. If targets have to be met, more people have to spend more on liquor," social scientist C Ramchandraiah said. The excise department revenue in the last financial year had crossed the Rs 10,000 crore mark, earning the state more than 10% of its total revenue. The excise revenue has grown more than ten-fold in the last decade.
  • The Union Council of Ministers was expanded with the induction of four new Cabinet Ministers and four Ministers of State on 17th June.Mallikarjun Kharge was given the charge of Railways Ministry. The newly appointed ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at Rastrapati Bhawan .

    List of newly appointed Cabinet Ministers and their departments
    Kavuri Sambasiva RaoTextiles Ministry
    Sisram OlaLabour and Employment Ministry
    Oscar FernandesRoad Transport and Highways Ministry
    Girija VyasHousing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

    List of newly appointed State Ministers and their departments 
    Manikrao GavitMinister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment
    Santosh ChowdhuryMinister of State for Health and Family Welfare
    Jesudasu SeelamMinister of State for Finance and
    E.M.S. NatchiappanMinister of State for Commerce and Industry
  • The Geographical Indication (GI) certificate for unique Toda embroidery of hilly Nilgiris District in Tamilnadu has been handed over to a representative of the tribal community. The GI accorded in March would insulate the embroidery from being duplicated besides ensuring uniform pricing for the products. Nearly 400 Toda tribals are actively involved in the embroidery business and produce a wide range of products like shawl, table mat, wall hangings, bags and shopping bags and the certificate allowed the products to display the specific geographical location or origin. GI is a name on goods to indicate their specific geographical location or origin. Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product.
  • According to latest UN Report, the current world population of 7.2 billion will increase by 1 million over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050. Report points out that growth will be mainly in developing countries, with more than half in Africa. The report, World Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision, notes that the population of developed regions will remain largely unchanged at around 1.3 billion from now until 2050.The report notes that India is expected to become the world’s largest country, passing China around 2028, when both countries will have populations of 1.45 billion. After that,India’s population will continue to grow and China’s is expected to start decreasing. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s population is expected to surpass that of the United States before 2050.The 49 least developed countries are projected to double in size in 2050.According to report while there has been a rapid fall in the average number of children per woman in large developing countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Brazil and South Africa, rapid growth is expected to continue over the next few decades in countries with high levels of fertility such as Nigeria, Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Uganda etc. Europe’s population is projected to decline by 14 per cent, the report states. It warned that the continent is already facing challenges in providing care and support for a rapidly aging population. Overall, life expectancy is projected to increase in developed and developing countries in future years. At the global level, it is projected to reach 76 years in the period 2045-2050 and 82 years in 2095-2100. By the end of the century, people in developed countries could live on average around 89 years, compared to about 81 years in developing regions.
  • Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology has been upgraded to a state university and will now be known as Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University. Inaugurated on 14 June, it is the first technical institute for woman in the country. Formerly under Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, it shares its Kashmere Gate campus with Ambedkar University, and like it, will be a non-affiliating university."I hope this will outshine all the technical institutes in Delhi," said chief minister Shiela Dikshit who inaugurated it. The upgrade takes the number of state universities in Delhi to five. Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology was established in 1998 as the first engineering college for women in Delhi. The university is launching M Tech programmes in five courses for the 2013 round of admissions. This includes information security management, VLSI design, mobile and pervasive computing, robotics and automation and electronics and communication - the last being a weekend programme.
  • Fifteen MLAs of the Congress and the Telugu Desam were disqualified on 8 June, from the Andhra Pradesh Assembly for openly defying the whips issued by their respective parties during voting on the no confidence motion in March this year. Announcing his verdict in Hyderabad, Speaker Nadendla Manohar said these MLAs – nine of Congress and six TDP -- stood disqualified from the 13th Legislative Assembly for violating their party whips.
  • The Telangana Rashtra Samiti had moved a motion of no confidence against the Kiran Reddy government and was supported by Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress on March 15. The Congress had asked its members to vote against the no-trust motion while the TDP instructed its MLAs to remain neutral. But 18 MLA of both these parties stepped out of line, following which disqualification petitions were moved against them.
  • In his judgment, the Speaker said he was of the opinion that respondents had exercised their vote on the no confidence motion on the floor contrary to the whip issued, attracting provisions of the X Schedule to the Constitution read with the AP Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on the ground of Defection) Rules 1986.
  • The Indian Railways is all set for a long-term engagement with Japan with the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) granting a Rs.6,700-crore contract for construction of 640-km twin-track line between Rewari and Palanpur of Western Dedicated Freight Corridor to an Indo-Japanese consortium. L&T-Sojitz, a joint venture comprising L&T of India and Sojitz Corporation of Japan, has won the contract through an international bidding process. The contract is likely to be completed in four years, a press release said on 8 june.
  • The project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japanese government arm for providing technical and financial aid to developing countries, which is also DMRC’s lending agency. Earlier in January, DFCCIL had awarded the Rs.3,300-crore contract for 343-km-long Khurja-Kanpur section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, funded by the World Bank. The length covered under the new contract is more than 40 per cent of the entire western corridor. Land for almost the entire stretch has already been acquired. The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, which will cover a length of about 1,500 km from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Mumbai), is being funded by the JICA, which has pledged a special terms for economic partnership loan of 677 billion yen for the entire Western Dedicated Freight Corridor. As per the loan conditionalities, the lead partner for any contract has to be from Japan.
  • India got its 8th Telecom Centre of Excellence in New Delhi on 5 June, with RailTel Corrporation signing an MoU with IIT Roorkee for establishing RailTel IIT Roorkee Centre of Excellence in Telecom (RICET). The MoU was signed in the presence of Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications & Information Technology and Law & Justice. RailTel shall fund the TCOE through 100% budgetary support over 5 year period for doing Research & Development in the field of ‘ICT & Broadband Applications’.
  • RailTel Corporation, which is a Mini Ratna (Category I) PSU of the Ministry of Railways, is one of the largest telecom infrastructure providers in the country having country wide optic fiber network along Railway right of way. Already 7 TCOEs are working in the country established by all major Telecom operators in partnership with premier institutions like IITs & IIMs. Over 28 innovations and products have been developed in various fields of telecommunication by existing TCOEs which are available for commercial roll out. With the establishment of the 8th TCOE, north India also got its first TCOE in the region. RICET will work upon R&D in the field of development of applications, services and technology in the domain of broadband & ICT for providing affordable services to the citizens with high network availability.
  • The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee laid the foundation stone of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University on June 6, 2013 at Bhopal.Speaking on the occasion, the President said that language has an important role between the Government and people. Success of social welfare and development programme depends on language. Therefore, we should encourage Hindi and other regional languages. Hindi has always played an important role in the national integration. It is symbol of India’s social and cultural unity. The President said that decade of 2010-20 has been declared as the decade of innovation. He said that recently, he had opened Innovation Clubs in two Central Universities in Uttar Pradesh and Assam and attended innovation exhibitions organized in these universities. He called upon the University to take the initiative to build a strong innovation culture. A newsletter ‘Atal Samvad’ was released on the occasion and its first copy was presented to the President.
  • 5 June is World Environment Day. 5th June was declared as the “World Environment Day” on the recommendations made by UN Conference on Human Environment in 1972. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through the celebration of World Environment Day spreads awareness and gets citizens’ support for environment protection across the globe. The theme for this year’s World Environment Day (WED) is -Think. Eat. Save- Reduce our Foodprint. The campaign calls for minimizing waste of food at all stages of the food chain, from farm to fork. This is to raise awareness about the environmental consequences of our food choices and find ways to reduce our environmental “foodprint”, as food production has profound impact on environmental resources.
  • Agriculture is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the cause of land-use change, biodiversity loss, and responsible for large-scale soil, water and air pollution. The campaign is also to remind each one of us that despite producing enough food for everyone, 90 crore people still go hungry world over. On this day we take a pledge to make a difference, individually as well as collectively, to reduce food loss or wastage and move towards a world where everyone has enough to eat and no one is malnourished or undernourished.
  • Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister for Environment & Forests presided over the function to celebrate World Environment Day organized by the Ministry of Environment & Forests in New Delhi on 5 June. As the part of the celebrations, Five publications namely, Animal Discoveries- 2012, Plant Discoveries 2012, Coastal Zones of India, National Wetland Atlas: High Altitude Lakes of India and National Wetland Atlas and Wetlands of International Importance under Ramsar Convention were released by the dignitaries for spreading awareness and sensitizing the citizens.

    On the occasion, Smt. Natarajan, presented this year’s “Young Environmentalist of the Year Award - 2013”to Ms. Arundhati Srivastava, from New Delhi.
  • In a major step towards improving the quality and safety of ambulances on Indian roads, National Ambulance Code AIS:125 (Automotive Industry Standard) recommended by Central Motor Vehicles Rules-Technical Standing Committee (CMVR-TSC) has been approved by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways on 7 June. This ‘Code’ puts in place minimum standards and guidelines regarding the constructional and functional requirements of road ambulances in India. Drafted in line with the global best practices in the field of ambulance design, the code has been suitably adapted to factor in the special requirements of the Indian sub-continent, including traffic conditions, need for economy and industry maturity.
  • The National Ambulance Code classifies road ambulances into four types (A, B, C & D) that is First Responder, Patient Transport, Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support, respectively. The category of First Responder, which also includes two wheeled ambulances, has been specially introduced for the first time in India to cater to the need for providing prompt medical care in congested by-lanes and high traffic areas.
  • Special care has been given to Care Ergonomics, Patient Safety, Oxygen System Design, Infection Control, Crash Rescue, etc. in the Code. Once implemented, this Code will ensure uniformity and standardization in ambulance design and a minimum level of patient care as per the ambulance designation when appropriately staffed and equipped. So far no guidelines were available for hospitals and other procuring agencies for floating tenders and for industry outlining required specifications. The Government would now consider bringing the Ambulance Code within the mandatory framework of Central Motor Vehicles Rules.
  • The Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on 7th June has launched a new skill development scheme called Roshni for rural youth from 24 most critical left-wing extremism affected districts in the country. Briefing the media, Ramesh said that the initiative aims at skilling and placement of fifty thousand youth from these districts. Six districts each from Jharkhand and Odisha, five from Chhattisgarh, two from Bihar and one each from Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been chosen for the scheme, which will be implemented at a cost of Rs 100 crore over the next three years.
  • The Minister said, the projects shall be funded jointly by the central and state governments in the ratio of 75:25 and the national level agencies shall be designated to act as monitoring and coordinating agencies for Roshni. Ramesh said that at least 50 percent of the candidates covered under the scheme shall be women and special efforts will be made to proactively cover Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups on a priority basis.
  • He said, beneficiaries aged between 18-35 years with requisite aptitude depending upon the trade or job requirements are to be selected as per the Participatory Identification of Poor. Training will be imparted through public-private and public-public partnerships. Educational institutions, corporate entities, entities that train and place for improved public service delivery, commercial and not for profit training providers will be roped in for implementing this scheme.
  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) brought political parties under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act on 3rd June. The CIC recognized the need for bringing the parties under public scrutiny in view of benefits like allocation of land at throwaway prices and tax exemption enjoyed by them. The CIC decision may usher in an era of transparency in the functioning of the parties. A full bench decision of the apex transparency panel rejected the contention of major political parties like the Congress, BJP, CPI, CPM, BSP and the NCP that they could not be described as public bodies.
  • The Union Cabinet of India approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2013 to set up a regulator for the real estate sector in the country on 4th June. This was done with the objective of protecting home buyers from dishonest builders. The bill seeks to make it mandatory for developers to launch projects only after acquiring all the statutory clearances from relevant authorities. It also has provisions under which all relevant clearances for real estate projects would have to be submitted to the regulator and also displayed on a website before starting construction work. A real estate regulator will be set up in every state. It will ensure that private developers get all their projects registered with it before sale and only after obtaining all necessary clearances.
  • The commercial real estate is not covered under the purview of the proposed bill. However, it will apply to residential buildings. The bill has a provision for mandatory public disclosure of all project details such as lay out plan, land status and credentials of promoters etc. An adjudicating officer in the state will be appointed by the authority for fast tracking settlement of disputes. There will be Real Estate Appellate Tribunal as per the bill. It will hear appeals from orders, decisions or directions of regulator and adjudicating officer.

July 2013 National Affairs

July 2013 National Affairs

  • The Supreme Court upheld the Juvenile Justice Act providing for differential treatment to a minor irrespective of the nature of crime committed by him or her on 17th July. The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir upheld the Juvenile Justice Act by declining the prayer that the age in the act should be reduced from 18 to 16 and those involved in heinous crimes should not be treated differently.
  • The petitioner had also sought that the punishment for heinous crime committed by a minor should not be decided by the juvenile justice board. Rejecting the petition, Chief Justice Kabir said here was no need to interfere in the matter. The petition was filed in the context of a minor who was among those who were arrested for the gang rape, brutal assault and torture of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16 last year. She later died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
  • The Bengaluru International Airport will be named after the city's founder Kempe Gowda as “Kempegowda International Airport”. The government on 17 July approved a Civil Aviation Ministry proposal to this effect. The proposal was approved by the Union Cabinet at its meeting, fulfilling a long-pending demand of the people of Karnataka, official sources said. Hiriya Kempe Gowda was a ruler under the Vijayanagar Empire who ruled most parts of Karnataka during the 16th century. Having built the Bengaluru Fort and moved his capital from Yelahanka, he is widely accepted as the founder of Bangalore. The airport, run by a private-led consortium, would be renamed Kempegowda International Airport after the founder whose 503rd birth anniversary was observed this year. The Civil Aviation Ministry had last year approved the proposal of the state government following efforts by then External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 17 July has approved an allocation of 50 lakh tonnes of food grains to States/ Union Territories (UTs) during 2013-14 for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. This additional allocation of 50 lakh tonnes will remain valid for lifting up to 31st March, 2014 or till the National Food Security Bill is passed by Parliament and implemented in the respective States/UTs. The allocation will meet the additional requirement of food grains for BPL families. The estimated subsidy on additional allocation of 50 lakh tones of food grains (rice and wheat) for BPL families in all the States/UTs at BPL prices during 2013-14 will be Rs. 9471.22 crore. Considering the sufficient availability of stock of food grains in the Central Pool and requests received from States/UTs, Government has been allocating additional BPL allocation of 50 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice to the States/UTs since 2010-11. The Government of India is allocating food grains to the States/UTs under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) for 6.52 crore BPL families which include 2.43 crore Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families.
  • Union Cabinet on 17 July 2013 approved amendments to the marriage law enabling a married woman to get a share of her husband's ancestral property as reparation in case of a divorce. The Bill is now expected to come up for channel in the Monsoon Session of Parliament in August 2013. The decision was taken to make marriage law more women friendly and to decide how sufficient compensation can be given to a woman from her husband's ancestral property in case of divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. As per the bill the woman should get adequate compensation by calculating the husband's share in the event that ancestral property cannot be divided.
  • Government has taken key decisions on FDI limits in 13 sectors, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 16 July .These decisions are-
    • FDI cap in telecom raised to 100 percent from 74 percent; up to 49 percent through automatic route and beyond via FIPB.
    • No change in 49 percent FDI limit in civil aviation.
    • FDI cap in defense production to stay at 26 percent, higher investment may be considered in state-of-the-art technology production by Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
    • 100 percent FDI allowed in single brand retail; 49 percent through automatic, 49-100 percent through FIPB.
    • FDI limit in insurance sector raised to 49 percent from present 26 percent, subject to Parliament approval.
    • FDI up to 49 percent in petroleum refining allowed under automatic route, from earlier approval route.
    • In power exchanges 49 percent FDI allowed through automatic route, from earlier FIPB route.
    • Raised FDI in asset reconstruction companies to 100 percent from 74 percent; of this up to 49 percent will be under automatic route.
    • FDI limit increased in credit information companies to 74 percent from 49 percent.
    • FDI up to 49 percent in stock exchanges, depositories allowed under automatic route.
    • FDI up to 100 percent through automatic route allowed in courier services.
    • FDI in tea plantation up to 49 percent through automatic route; 49-100 percent through FIPB route.
    • No decision taken on FDI cap in airports, media, brownfield pharma and multi-brand retail.

  • Boosting the Army's war fighting capabilities along the Line of Actual Control, government on 16 July, gave the go-ahead for the creation of a corps including deployment of 50,000 additional troops along the China border at a cost of around Rs. 65,000 crore. The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cleared the proposal in its meeting, sources said. As part of the plans, the around 1.3 million-strong Army is expected to raise the new Corps' headquarters at Panagarh in West Bengal along with two divisions in Bihar and Assam and other units from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. Army Chief Gen. Bikram Singh and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne were also present at the Prime Minister's Office for providing any possible clarifications, if any, sought by the CCS members including Defense Minister A.K. Antony, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
  • As per the plans, the IAF will also deploy its force multiplier assets such as six each mid-air refueling tankers and C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft at Panagarh. The army had sent the proposal in this regard in 2010 but it was returned by the government asking the three services to work together on plans to strengthen their capabilities in that region. The Army will also get a number of new armoured and artillery divisions along with it to be deployed along the Northeast region.
  • Hyderabad could become a “women-dominated” city in the future if the current population trend continues. Despite the real concerns about female foeticide and infanticide, the city has shown impressive numbers in terms of female births. Hyderabad is the only one of the six major cities in the country to have a higher number of female births than males. The proportion of female deaths in the city was also the least among all the cities.
  • According to new data released by the Census of India, there were about 1.75 lakh births in the city in 2009 and 48,000 deaths. Of course, the level of reporting is also low in the state. About 76.3 per cent of births and 68.4 per cent of deaths are registered. However, in terms of recorded births, Hyderabad was the only city which had more females being born than males during that year. Every other city, including Chennai which has a higher sex ratio than Hyderabad, had a substantial difference in the number of male and female births.
  • The sex ratio in the city has been seeing an upward curve over the last decade with the figure rising from 933 females per 1,000 males to 954: 1,000. According to the Civil Registration System report, female births in the city were about 52 per cent of all births in the year 2009. Every other major city had a female birth proportion of less than 50 per cent.
  • The Supreme Court upheld the right of bar dancers to pursue their profession subject to dancing bars taking licence from the State authorities on 16th July.
    The apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S. S. Nijjar upheld the right of bar dancers as it rejected the Maharashtra government’s plea against the Bombay High Court verdict striking down the police orders that bar dancing in hotels below three stars.

    Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Nijjar said that they have not touched the question of the right of the dancing girls under article 19 (A).

    The bar dancers had contended that besides being discriminative the police order impinged on their right to livelihood. They had also contended that besides dancing at the bar they knew no other trade to earn their living.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee launched Kisaan Portal for sending SMS through mobile phones to the farmers across the country, here on 16th July, 2013. The SMS initiative will enable the farmers to take informed decisions as to different aspects of farming including crop production and marketing, animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries and weather forecasts.

    The Kisaan Portal directly aimed at spreading information, advisories and services through SMS to more than 12 crore farmers across the country. Farmers will need to register for this service by calling Kisaan Call Centre on the toll free number 1800-180-1551 or through the web portal.The farmers can opt to receive SMS messages customized to their specific requirements.
  • The Supreme Court Thursday banned over-the-counter sale of acid at retail outlets and ordered a compensation of Rs.3 lakh to be paid by the government to each acid attack victim on 18th July. The apex court bench, headed by Justice R.M. Lodha, issued detailed directions for regulating the sale of acid at retail outlets. The court direction came in the wake of reports of increasing number of acid attacks.

    In a direction, the court said the retail outlets having license to sell acid will maintain a stock register and failing to do so or possessing unaccounted acid will lead to a fine of Rs.50,000.

    The court said all the states which already have rules to regulate the sale of acid will reinforce them and those who don't have them will frame them in accordance with the model rules framed by the central government. The court said the rules should be made stringent as has been spelt out in the model rules framed by the government.
  • Penguin Books India has launched a dedicated website for young readers, titled - The new portal has child-friendly navigation and has organized sections, which the book house claims to be interesting.

    A category called “Read What” of the website offers literature on various subjects such as non-fiction, classic, anthology, short stories, young adults, crime and many more. The new website includes works of some of the popular authors such as Asha Nehemiah, Rabindranath Tagore, Herge as well as Ruskin Bond.
  • Metro rail coach is reaching Hyderabad city by the end of September month. The rail coach is coming from South Korea and it will be displayed at People’s Plaza for the people to have a look at. The L & T Metrorail will be accepting suggestions and advises from people. The first Metrorail will run in the Nagole-Mettuguda route, track works for which will begin in another four weeks, on March 23, 2015.

    L & T Metrorail Managing Director V.B. Gadgil supervised the metro rail works along with media persons. Speaking to the reporters, he said Grand Metro Museum will be set up show the developments in city transport sector from 1911 to 2013. The place of the Museum will be opened will be informed later, he said.
  • Visitors to the IRCTC portal would soon get to shop apparels, home appliances, and electronic products along with buying rail tickets. The railway PSU has tied up with online lifestyle and home portal, thus making its entry into the online shopping. is a franchisee of Shop Online Trading Pvt Ltd. (SOTPL). Through this tie-up SOTPL and will be responsible for developing and managing the e-commerce platform for IRCTC. IRCTC gets close to 1.2 million daily visits generating 180 million transactions every year thus making it the largest e-commerce site in the country.

    Officials in IRCTC said they want to capitalize on the large user base of its portal which sees about 12 lakh visitors per day and four lakh ticket bookings., on the other hand, gets close to 100 million visits per annum and does over 2 million transactions every year.

    "We are thrilled to partner with the India's largest e-commerce website, and look forward to this mutually beneficial association. With this association IRCTC is getting a readymade supply chain with all products offering at one go powered by us," said CEO of Manmohan Agarwal. As per the contract, SOTPL will be deploying the entire online shopping platform for IRCTC within 60 days from the date of signing of the agreement.
  • Jharkhand Mukti Morcha legislator Hemant Soren, son of former Chief Minister Shibu Soren, was sworn in as Jharkhand’s ninth Chief Minister. 37-year-old Soren, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Syed Ahmed on Saturda after President Pranab Mukherjee revoked the nearly six-month-long President rule in the state. Soren became the fifth tribal CM after Babulal Marandi (once), Arjun Munda (thrice), Shibu Soren (thrice) and Madhu Koda (once) since the Jharkhand state was created on 15th November 2000.The Soren had staked claim on 9th July for formation of a government in alliance with Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, smaller parties and independent MLAs. The President’s rule was imposed on 18th January due to political instability after the JMM withdrew support to the BJP-led government under Arjun Munda and it was set to end on 18th July.
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 10 July, constituted a Cabinet committee to oversee reconstruction and rehabilitation in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.Defence minister AK Antony, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, finance minister P Chidambaram, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, road transport minister Oscar Fernandes, law minister Kapil Sibal, housing minister Girija Vyas, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh and water resources minister Harish Rawat are the members of thecommittee chaired by Singh. Planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and national disaster management authority vice chairman M Shashidhar Reddy are the permanent invitees. The committee will provide broad guidance to reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Uttarakhand, and take such decisions, as may be required, said a notification issued by the Cabinet Secretariat.Singh has announced Rs. 1,000 crore for disaster relief measures in flood-devastated parts of Uttarakhand.
  • Lawmakers have to quit if they are convicted of a crime and can't stay on regardless of appeals to higher courts, the Supreme Court said, in a big leap towards cleaning up Indian politics. The top court struck down a provision in the Representation of the People's Act (RPA) that protects convicted MPs and MLAs from disqualification if they appeal to a higher court. "The disqualification takes place from the date of conviction," said a bench of justices A K Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhaya. The verdict won't affect lawmakers who have already filed appeals against their conviction.

    A petition had said that allowing such lawmakers to stay in office was "discriminatory and encouraged criminalization of politics'. The petition sought to highlight the dichotomy in the laws that allow convicted lawmakers to stay on but ban a person convicted and sentenced to a term of over two years from even contesting an election. The government's affidavit had argued against MPs and MLAs being disqualified.
  • The Supreme Court in its landmark judgment on 11th July barred persons in jail or police custody from contesting election for legislative bodies. The Supreme Court’s decision would help in bringing an end to the era of the under trial politicians, who contest elections from behind the bars.

    The Court ruled that only an elector can contest the polls and the elector ceases the right to cast vote due to confinement in prison or being in custody of police. The court, however, made it clear that disqualification will not be applicable to person subjected to preventive detention, under any law.

    The Bench that comprised Justices A.K. Patnaik and S.J. Mukhopadhayay, while referring to the Representation of Peoples’ Act said that the Act (Section 4 & 5) lays down the qualifications for membership of the House of the people and legislative assembly and one of the qualifications laid down is that he must be an elector.

    The court passed the order on an appeal filed by the Chief Election Commissioner and others challenging the order of Patna High Court that barred people in police custody from contesting polls. The judgment of the Supreme Court has confirmed 2004 ruling of the Patna High Court that said if - a jailed person can’t vote, than a jailed person can’t contest election.
  • The country's first exclusive women university is set to come up at Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh with the government on 11 July, clearing a proposal in this regard. The university, which would focus on research and higher studies, would be named after late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi,who represented Raebareli during a substantive part of her political career. At present, the constituency is represented by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The proposal, which received the Union Cabinet's nod on 11 July, would be set up at a cost of Rs 500 crore during the 12th Plan Period.
  • A bill named the 'Indira Gandhi National University for Women Bill' will be introduced in the coming Monsoon Session of Parliament, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters in new Delhi, adding that the varsity will be set up following its passage. The establishment of the varsity would "set the pace for all-round growth and development of women in the country and supplement the efforts of the government for women's empowerment by giving them an increased access to employment oriented basic courses and high-end research," a government statement also said.
  • The first-ever national aviation university in the country would come up at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, Sonia Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency, to impart complete training to pilots, cabin crew and aircraft engineers. The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the creation of this university in the name of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as a central university, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters in New Delhi on 11 July. The Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University would be set up on a 26-acre plot of land at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy (IGRUA) at Fursatganj. It would have an estimated funding of Rs 202 crore during the 12th Plan period, of which Rs. 80 crore has already been sanctioned by the Centre. The university would be an autonomous body under the administrative control of the Civil Aviation Ministry.
  • Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari has said that Right to Safe Drinking Water for the entire country is under the consideration of the Centre. Addressing a gathering in Ludhiana on 7 July, he said special care will be taken for those who cannot afford RO systems and distilled bottled water. The Minister also said that the government is giving top priority to the healthcare of the people through the National Rural Health Mission and National Urban Health Mission.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the government's food welfare programme on 5 July 2013. The scheme that provides subsidized food to nearly 800 million or 67 per cent of the population is now law, but it must be cleared within six weeks of Parliament's next session. The populist programme, championed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, will cost Rs. 1.25 lakh crore per year. The cabinet used an executive order to clear the scheme to bypass a debate in Parliament.
  • "Up to 75 per cent of the rural population and up to 50 per cent of the urban population will have uniform entitlement of five kilos per month at highly subsidized prices," a government statement said. The bill had been expected to be cleared by Parliament in February, but it was never introduced due to opposition protests. Critics of the food programme also say that India can ill-afford such a costly subsidy at a time of slowing economic growth and when credit ratings agencies are eyeing the country's large deficit.
  • The Global Innovation Index 2013 (GII), in its 6th edition this year, is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a specialized agency of the United Nations).
  • According to this report, the United States rejoined the five most-innovative nations and the United Kingdom moved up to the third spot while Switzerland retained its first place in the rankings in the Global Innovation Index 2013.A group of dynamic middle- and low-income countries – including China, Costa Rica, India, and Senegal – are outpacing their peers, but haven’t broken into the top of the GII 2013 leader board.
  • India got 66th rank, while Sri Lanka attained 98th rank. The core of the GII Report consists of a ranking of world economies’ innovation capabilities and results. Recognizing the key role of innovation as a driver of economic growth and prosperity and the need for a broad horizontal vision of innovation applicable to developed and emerging economies, the GII includes indicators that go beyond the traditional measures of innovation such as the level of research and development.
  • In just six years, the GII has established itself as the premier reference among innovation indices, and has evolved into a valuable benchmarking tool to facilitate public-private dialogue, whereby policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders can evaluate progress on a continual basis. To support the global innovation debate, to guide polices and to highlight good practices, metrics are required to assess innovation and related policy performance. The Innovation Input Sub-Index gauges elements of the national economy which embody innovative activities grouped in five pillars:(1)Institutions,(2) Human capital and research,(3) Infrastructure,(4) Market sophistication, and(5) Business sophistication. The Innovation Output Sub-Index captures actual evidence of innovation results, divided in two pillars: (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.
  • Union Government of India on 4 July 2013 announced to launch Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Surakhsa Yojna (MGPSY), a pension scheme for blue-collar Indian workers in the Gulf. The scheme would be launched in August 2013. The Pension and Life Insurance fund scheme, is applicable for the Overseas Indian workers having Emigration Check Required, ECR passports. The announcement was made by the Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in Riyadh. This pension and life insurance fund scheme would benefit a large number of oversees Indian Workers. The MGPSY is aimed towards helping the overseas Indian workers in saving money for their retirement, re-settlement in India after their return and a life insurance that will cover them against natural death during the period of coverage.


Sukanya Samriddhi Account - SBI