Weekly Current Affairs update
Jan 9 to 15, 2011
(for UPSC & Bank PO)
Major news of the week
Section A: INDIA Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Awards presented
NSIC CMD wins “Icon of the Year Award”
Pratham’s Annual Survey of Education Report unveiled Soka Gakkai President wins Indology Award
Tejas accorded initial operational clearance Ayesha Nair wins Jalan Theatre Award
Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas organised ‘Dabangg’ sweeps Apsara awards
Construction of 3rd Research Base at Antarctica launched ‘The Social Network’ is best film at Golden Globes
OECD’s Health at a glance, Asia-Pacific, 2010 unveiled Cook wins City of London award
SC breather for deemed univs. facing derecognition
GSLV-F06 failure review done Section D: ECONOMY & CORPORATE
Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary celebrations begin
Plaque in honour of indentured labourers unveiled Rangarajan panel against subsidised foodgrains for all
Conference of the State Health Ministers organised First ever Defence Production Policy unveiled
2010 was the warmest year since 1901 – IMD Industrial growth at 2.71% in November 2010
WB funds for programme to mitigate cyclone impact Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) 2008-09 unveiled
India post releases stamp on Gujarati magazine ‘Doot’ IMF Report on Indian economy unveiled
Rashtrapati Nilayam opened for public for the 1st time ‘Broadcasters must pay to expand TRP system’ – Report
Lancet apologises for naming Superbug after Delhi SBI launches ‘Bank on Bike' initiative
Sabarimala stampede kills over 100 DoT revokes ban on 3G video calls
Baldev Raj elected President of Academy of Engineering Maritime Agenda 2010-2020 launched
Shweta Tiwari wins ‘Bigg Boss’ reality show One millionth Aadhaar number generated
Sreedharan is 'Manorama Newsmaker' India set to get Asia’s first tidal power plant
Rs. 20.83 lakh crore MoUs signed at Vibrant Gujarat
Section B: WORLD Exports during April-December 2010 grow 29.5%
Mohan Committee for ban on old ships in Indian ports
Russia, U.S. enact nuclear pact Amalgamations Group CMD passes away
Duma endorses START Treaty Indian Oil enters nuclear power sector
Russia blames Polish crew for crash IndiGo announces India’s largest aircraft purchase deal
Lebanese govt. falls as Hizbollah withdraws support Reliance Broadcast to acquire Imagine Showbiz
Tajikistan cedes 1,000 sq km to China iGATE buys 63% in Patni for $921m
UN Missions in Nepal ends Xoom is the best gadget at Vegas Electronics Show
Tunisian President overthrown
Pope John Paul II to be beatified Section E: SPORTS
Section C: AWARDS India lose first ODI in series with SA
Wawrinka wins Chennai Open tennis
ET Awards for Corporate Excellence given Federer wins Qatar Open
K.V. Raman wins Bharat Jyoti Award Li Na wins Sydney International Tennis
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 1
Section A: INDIA
News round up
Pratham’s Annual Survey of Education Report unveiled
As many as 96.5% of all children aged 6-14 years were enrolled in schools in 2010, a survey by NGO Pratham revealed on
January 14, 2011. The Annual State of Education Report (ASER) 2010 covered seven lakh children in 14,000 villages in 522
districts. Following are the highlights of the survey’s findings:
Percentage of out of school children in India at its lowest ever
In 2010, for rural India, the percentage of children (age 6 to 14) not enrolled in school is 3.5%. This number was 4.0% last
year and 6.6% in 2005. The proportion of girls (age 11-14) who are still out of school has declined from 6.8% in 2009 to 5.9
in 2010. This number was 11.2% in 2005.
However, the percentage of out of school girls (11-14) is still high in some states like Rajasthan (12.1%) and Uttar Pradesh
(9.7%) where the proportion remains largely unchanged since last year. Noteworthy in this regard is the performance of
Bihar where the percentage of out of school girls and boys in all age groups has been declining steadily since 2005. In
2006, 12.3% of boys and 17.6% girls were out of school in the 11 to 14 age group. By 2010, these numbers had declined
to 4.4% for boys and 4.6% for girls showing very little difference by gender.
Big increases in private school enrollment in some states since last year
Overall, ASER 2010 shows that private school enrollment for rural children in the age group 6 to 14 has increased from
21.8% in 2009 to 24.3% in 2010. This number has risen steadily since 2005 when it was 16.3% nationally.
The southern states show substantial increases over last year in private school enrollment for the age group 6 to 14.
Between 2009 and 2010, the percentage of children (age 6-14) enrolled in private school has increased from 29.7% to
36.1% in Andhra Pradesh, from 19.7% to 25.1% in Tamil Nadu, from 16.8% to 20% in Karnataka and from 51.5% to 54.2%
in Kerala. Among other states, Punjab shows an increase from 30.5% to 38%.
Private school enrollment (age 6-14) remains low in Bihar (5.2%), West Bengal (5.9%), Jharkhand (8.8%), Orissa (5.4%)
and Tripura (2.8%).
Increasing numbers of five year olds enrolled in school
Nationally, the percentage of five year olds enrolled in school has increased from 54.6% in 2009 to 62.8% in 2010.
The biggest increase is visible in Karnataka where the proportion of five year olds enrolled in school has increased from
17.1% in 2009 to 67.6 in 2010.1
There are several other states where school enrollment has increased substantially for five year olds between 2009 and
2010. These include Punjab (68.3% to 79.6%), Haryana (62.8% to 76.8%), Rajasthan (69.9% to75.8%), Uttar Pradesh
(55.7% to 73.1%) and Assam (49.1% to 59%).
Reading ability largely unchanged except in some states
Nationally there is not much change in reading levels as compared to last year. Only 53.4% children in Std 5 can read a
Std II level text. This suggests that even after five years in school, close to half of all children are not even at the level
expected of them after two years in school.
In Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan, there is increase in the proportion of children in Std I who are able to
Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, there is
increase in the proportion of children in Std V who can read Std II level text.
Small declines in math ability except in some states
Nationally, there is a decline in the ability to do basic math (i.e. recognize numbers and do basic operations). This
decrease of a few percentage points is visible across all classes. For example, the proportion of Std I children who can
recognize numbers (1-9) has declined from 69.3% in 2009 to 65.8% in 2010. The proportion of children in Std III who can
do two digit subtraction problems has decreased from 39% to 36.5% in the same period. The proportion of children in Std
V who can do simple division problems in Std V has dropped from 38% in 2009 to 35.9% in 2010.
Punjab’s performance in basic arithmetic has been improving over the last few years. For example, in Std II the percentage
of children who can recognize numbers up to 100 was 56.3% in 2008. This number went up to 59.6% in 2009 and to
70.4% in 2010. Similarly the proportion of Std IV children who can do subtraction has gone from 66.9% in 2008 to 81.4% in
2010. The percentage of Std V children who can do division has risen from 43.5% in 2008 to 69.8% in 2010.
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 2
Middle school children weak on everyday calculations
In ASER 2010, children in Std V and above were asked a set of questions that involved calculations that people do in
everyday life. The tasks included calculations from a menu, using a calendar, estimating volume and calculating area.
Overall, in Std VIII, three quarters of all children were able to do the calculations based on the menu, about two thirds of all
children could use the calendar and only half could do the calculations related to area.
The questions related to area seemed to be the most difficult for children to solve. Such problems are usually found in
textbooks in Std IV or V. Here, among Std VIII children, Kerala does best with 79% children able to solve the problems
followed by Bihar at 69%.
Tuition going down for private school children
Nationally, there is not much change between 2009 and 2010 in the proportion of children who are enrolled in government
schools and also take extra paid tuition classes. However there is a clear decrease in the incidence of tuition among
children enrolled in private schools across all classes till Std VIII.
Some states like Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa have very low private school enrollments but high proportions of children
enrolled in government schools who also take tuition classes. For example, in 2010, in West Bengal 75.6% of Std V
children enrolled in government schools take tuition classes. This number for Bihar is 55.5% and 49.9% for Orissa.
Tejas accorded initial operational clearance
Nearly three decades after it was first conceptualized, the Initial Operational Clearance for the Light Combat Aircraft was
accorded on January 10, 2011 when the Defence Minister AK Antony handed over a formal “Release to Service
Certificate” of Tejas aircraft to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik in Bangalore.
The “Release to Service certificate” is prepared by Regional Center for Military Airworthiness, an organization under
CEMILAC (Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification) which has thoroughly scrutinized the entire design,
development, equipment testing and the results of flight testing of all the systems of Tejas over the last several months.
This is the first time an indigenously designed and developed military fighter aircraft is being certified for Air Force
operations. After this, Tejas aircraft will be available for use by the Indian Air Force Pilots. The Government had cleared the
next lot of 20 Series Production aircraft and expressed confidence that there will be a progressive improvement in the
standard of build.
The LCA design and development was initiated in 1983 with a budget of Rs. 560 crore and was christened ‘Tejas’ in 2004
by the then President A P J Abdul Kalam.
The first of two IOC-configured ‘Tejas' will be handed over to the IAF by March this year, while another two will be given
towards the end of the year. These will be part of the consignment of 20 aircraft that the IAF ordered. The rest will be
delivered progressively till the end of 2013. The single-engine LCA is estimated to cost between Rs.180-200 crore apiece,
with an additional Rs.10 crore for the trainer version with the second seat.
Not yet battle ready: While Tejas got the initial operational clearance (IOC), the Indian Air Force (IAF) seems unconvinced
of its capabilities. “It is not yet a fourth-generation fighter. It’s still a MiG 21++,” said Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, chief of air
staff. The endurance, performance, load carrying capacity and navigation, among other operational aspects of the aircraft,
need to undergo more tests before it can prove itself, the IAF chief said. Yet, he called the programme a dream come true.
Tejas, a fourth generation flyby-wire supersonic combat aircraft, is expected to replace the 200 ageing MiG-21s. Since
1985, India has felt the need for such an aircraft.
Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas organised
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the merging of the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and the People of
Indian Origin (PIO) cards to facilitate visa-free travel to India, rights of residency and participation in business and
educational activities in the country at the Ninth Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi organised
from January 7-9, 2011. The Prime Minister also announced the extension of the Indian Community Welfare Fund to all
Indian Missions from the present 42. Dr. Singh said the government would soon give effect to a law that allowed Non-
Resident Indians (NRIs) to register themselves as voters.
On the welfare of workers emigrating from India, the Prime Minister pointed out that besides the signing of Social Security
Agreements with 12 countries and finalisation of Labour Mobility Partnerships with two others, the government was
negotiating a generic arrangement with the European Union. While welcoming the presence of New Zealand Governor
General Anand Satyanand as the Chief Guest of this year's PBD, the Prime Minister regretted the passing away of
management guru and member of the Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians Prof. C.K. Prahalad.
With the North Eastern States of India being the partner states for the PBD, the Prime Minister encouraged the diaspora to
join hands with local and national efforts to accelerate the pace of development of this region.
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 3
The Prime Minister termed the country's soft power an increasingly important element in its expanding global footprint. In
this respect he wanted the overseas Indian community to support and patronise new cultural centres to be opened in the
U.S., Canada, Saudi Arabia, France and Australia.
Fourteen overseas Indians, including New Zealand Governor-General Anand Satyanand, received this year's Pravasi
Bharatiya Samman for contributions to their countries of domicile and enhancing India's image globally. Minister for
Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi announced the names of the winners at the concluding day of India's annual
convention to connect with its 27 million diaspora living in 150 countries. The other awardees are: Professor Veena
Harbhagwan Sahajwalla (Australia), Lata Pada (Canada), Harindrapal Singh Banga (Hong Kong-China), Mohammad
Munir Nazir Hassan Ansari (Israel), Upjit Singh Sachdeva (Liberia), Tan Sri Dato Ajit Singh (Malaysia), Saleh Wahid from
(Netherlands), Mohiaddin Syed Karimuddin (Saudi Arabia), Mano Selvanathan (Sri Lanka), Mohan Jashanmal (United
Arab Emirates), Baroness Sandip Verma (United Kingdom), and Ashook Kumar Ramsaran and Rajiv Shah (United States).
Construction of 3rd Research Base at Antarctica launched
Union Minister for Earth Sciences, Human Resource Development, Science & Technology and Communications &
Information Technology Kapil Sibal laid foundation stone for India’s 3rd Research Base at Antarctica – “Bharati” on January
11, 2011 at New Delhi. Dakshin Gangotri was the first Indian station in Antarctica established in 1983-84 while “Maitri”
was the second station on mountainous - ‘Schirmacher Oasis’ established in 1988. The construction of the new research
station – Bharati- at Larsemann Hills, east Antarctica will be completed by 2012. India also has a research station –
Himadri – at Svalbard region of Arctic.
The Bharati will be a unique station with advanced facilities. It will accommodate around 70 people. 35 scientists and 10
logistic people will remain throughout the year. They will experiment on movement of platonic plates, microbes surviving in
this atmosphere, magnetic properties, aerosol etc. The station will incur the cost of Rs. 200 crore. “Bharati” will undertake
multi-disciplinary research and observation studies including biological, geological, physical, chemical, suspended
particulates in oceans, aerosols, meteorological sciences.
Polar Research Programme of India includes Polar Regions, Arctic and Antarctica, with their wilderness, mysterious nature
and scientific potential have always inspired mankind to launch innumerable expeditions to unravel the secrets hidden
under the vast expense of snow and ice.
India entered the Antarctica foray in 1981 with launch of its first scientific expedition to Antarctica. In all thirty expeditions to
Antarctica have been launched till date with one special expedition to Weddle Sea, one for exploration for krill resources,
four to Southern Ocean ad another four to Arctic.
OECD’s Health at a glance, Asia-Pacific, 2010 unveiled
Increased government intervention combined with better access to healthcare, rising living standards, better nutrition, and
improved water and sanitation facilities have reduced the mortality rates at all ages. As have higher national income,
improved lifestyles and increased education, notes OECD’s Health at a glance, Asia-Pacific, 2010 unveiled in January
2011. Overall, socio-economic status and educational background of women play an important role in life expectancy, with
improvements in education and living conditions of mother contributing to infant and child survival, it adds.
India has a long way to go before it matches the West or even the advanced Asian nations on average life expectancy.
An average Indian was expected to live 63.7 years in 2008, but most Asians live longer, 71.6 years. And those in the
Organisation of Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) nations live as long as 79.2 years. The Japanese live 82.7
years, the South Koreans 79.9, and the Chinese 73.1 years. Life expectancy at birth is one of the best known measures of
a population’s health status. In India’s case, infant and child mortality rates continue to be very high, and so does maternal
mortality rate, even though significant progress has been made since the 1970s, when the average life expectancy was
less than 50.
India’s record on maternal mortality is disappointing when compared with the Asian average as well as with the more
developed Asian nations and OECD. Maternal mortality rate, or MMR, in India was estimated at 230 deaths per 1 lakh
live births, compared to the Asian average of 162, China’s 38, South Korea’s 18, Japan’s 6 and OECD’s 12.
Infant mortality rate in India is 52 per 1,000 live births, even after 51% decline in infant mortality rate between 1980 and
2008. In comparison, the Asian average has declined to 30 and that of OECD to 5.
On under-five mortality rate, India compares poorly with many of its Asian neighbours, with 69 deaths per 1,000 live
births. The Asian average is 39, and that for China is 21 and Sri Lanka 15. The report notes that major causes for adult
mortality are AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, injuries and unsafe sex.
The health of the nation would also depend on the spending on healthcare, both by the state and the individual. India’s
health expenditure as a share of GDP is at 4% compared to 4.3% for China and 8.1% for Japan and 9% for OECD.
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 4
India’s per-capita spending on healthcare is just $116 in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. In comparison, Australia
spends $3,448, that of OECD is $3,060 and Japan $2,751. The Asia average is $526 and that of China $259.
SC breather for deemed universities facing derecognition threat
The government has given 44 universities, which faced the prospect of losing their deemed status, an opportunity to
continue by asking them to declare steps to put in place infrastructure in tune with the norms. Attorney general G E
Vahanvati told an SC bench about the decision.
Earlier an expert committee headed by P N Tandon in 2009, which had evaluated deemed 126 universities, had
recommended that these 44 universities should be stripped of their deemed status. The committee gave 44 others three
years to match the infrastructrure for retaining their status while the remaining 38 were found as conforming to the norms.
The SC bench on January 11, 2011 insisted on giving the 44 universities, under threat of losing their deemed status,
another chance to explain the steps they had taken to improve facilities for higher education.
The bench felt there was scope of elevating some universities from the worst category to a rather better category to save
them the ignominy of de-recognition. “Perhaps on a re-evaluation, some of the universities can be elevated to Category
Two (with minor deficiencies),” it said. “Some universities have enjoyed deemed status for more than 20-25 years. Just
because they have added two courses, they are being de-recognised. Either you give them time to upgrade their
infrastructure or permit them to continue by cancelling these courses, but in the garb of these two-three courses, denuding
them of their status will not be fair. ” The AG informed the court that the bench’s proposal was acceptable to the
government. The court gave the Centre two weeks to issue notices to the 44 worst category universities and another two
weeks for them to respond.
GSLV-F06 failure review done: The former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), G. Madhavan
Nair, said on January 10, 2011 that technical flaws were the prime cause of the recent failure of the Geosynchronous
Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F06) on December 25, 2010. GSLV-F06, which carried communication satellite GSAT-5P,
lost control soon after a successful liftoff, broke into pieces and was subsequently destroyed in mid-flight. Dr. Nair was a
member of the team constituted to review the failure.
Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary celebrations inaugurated: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the
four-year-long 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda, with a series of programmes targeting the youth
of the country, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on January 12, 2011. Swami Vivekenanda was born on January 12, 1863.
A national committee has been formed with the Prime Minister as chairman to oversee the celebrations. Dr. Singh also
released a book “Awakening India” which contains the selected writings of Swami Vivekananda in which he addressed the
youth. A “Future Leader Discovery Contest” will be held this year for school students and in 2012 for college students
which will involve an online competition all over the country.
Plaque in honour of indentured labourers unveiled: A Memorial plaque in honour of Indian Indentured Labourers was
unveiled on January 11, 2011 at Kidderpore Dock, Kolkata Port by the Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar
Ravi. During the indenture system, which lasted from 1833 to 1920, more than 1,190,000 Indians were sent to work to
different parts of the world. About 453,000 went to Mauritius, 239,000 to British Guiana, 144,000 to Trinidad and 152,000 to
Natal, South Africa. This is the first ever Memorial established in India in honour of Indian Indentured Labourers that
travelled from India in the 19th & 20th centuries. The Kolkata Memorial recognizes and honours the indomitable spirit and
heroism of all Indians who left the shores of their motherland from 1833 to 1920 to embark a long and hazardous journeys
to far away lands and begin a new life there.
Conference of the State Health Ministers organised: Screening of pregnant women and all individuals above the age of
30 for diabetes, hypertension and non-communicable diseases, and the introduction of Bachelor of Rural Health Care
courses were among the major decisions taken at the three-day national conference of the State Health Ministers and
Health Secretaries, which concluded in Hyderabad on January 13, 2011. The conference, chaired by Union Minister for
Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad, also came out with several initiatives to bring down Maternal and Infant
Mortality Rates (MMR and IMR). The actions to reduce MMR and IMR include ensuring one doctor and nurse at each
primary health centre as a mandatory requirement by March 31, 2012; full antenatal care of the pregnant mothers;
universalisation of the name-based mother and child tracking system to facilitate full antenatal care; safe delivery;
postnatal care; and the immunisation of children. The conference was attended by Ministers from 16 States and officials
from 28 States.
2010 was the warmest year since 1901: India Meteorological Department has declared that 2010 was the warmest year
since 1901. According to the department, the annual mean temperature averaged over the country as a whole was
25.8023 degrees Celsius last year. This translates to an increase of 0.93 degrees over the average for the 30-year period
from 1961-1990. The previous record was achieved in 2009, when the annual mean temperature averaged over the
country in its entirety was 25.7876 degrees Celsius. Releasing the annual climate summary for the country for 2010 on
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 5
January 13, 2011, IMD Director-General Ajit Tyagi said an analysis showed that the mean annual temperatures were
generally above normal throughout the country during the year, with the departure from the normal being more pronounced
in north and central India.
World Bank to support programme to mitigate cyclone impact: India and World Bank on January 14, 2011 signed an
agreement through which the latter will provide a credit of $255 million for the first phase of the national programme to
mitigate the impact of cyclones. The agreement is expected to benefit over one million people living in the coastal areas of
Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, who face the wrath of cyclones year after year. The programme, which would ultimately cover
all the vulnerable areas along the eastern and western coasts of the country, is slated to begin with Andhra Pradesh and
Orissa. The project will aim at upgrading the early warning and communication systems in the coastal areas, boost the
ability of the communities there to respond to disaster, and improve their access to emergency shelters. It will also seek to
strengthen the disaster risk management capability at Central, State and local levels. The project assumes importance
given that about half the country's total population lived in the 13 cyclone-prone States and Union Territories.
India post releases stamp on Gujarati magazine ‘Doot’: India Post released commemorative postage stamp on
January 15, 2011 in Ahmedabad on ‘Doot’, a magazine completing a centenary of uninterrupted publication. Doot is a
magazine published from Gujarat since January 1911 by the Catholic Church.
Rashtrapati Nilayam opened for public for the 1st time: The Rashtrapati Nilayam at Bolarum, Hyderabad has received
more than 63,000 people within ten days from its opening on January 1, 2011. Above 10,000 people visited the premises
on a single day alone on January 2. Pratibha Patil, the President of India, in one of her people friendly initiatives, for the
first time, has opened the premises of the Nilayam for general public. The Rashtrapati Nilayam building was constructed by
His Highness Nizam Nazir Ud Dowla in 1850 and Sir Salar Jung was the Prime Minister of Nizam Government. After the
Independence of India, the building was taken over by the Government of India in 1948 from the Nizam and since then this
building has been kept for the President of India and has been named as Rashtrapati Nilayam.
Lancet apologises for naming Superbug after Delhi: Dr Richard Horton, editor of the prestigious British medical journal
The Lancet said on January 11, 2011 that naming the drug resistant superbug New Delhi Metallo Beta Lactamase-I
(NDM-1) after India’s capital city was a “big mistake”. According to Horton, naming the bug after New Delhi “unnecessarily
stigmatised a single country and city”. Reacting to Horton’s comments, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical
Research Dr V M Katoch said that it was unfair to name a superbug — organisms that grow in nature in every country —
after India without any evidence that it originated here. In August 2010, Lancet had published a multi-centre study, warning
how a new superbug had emerged from India and had spread across the world, which made the bacteria highly resistant to
almost all antibiotics, including the most powerful class called carbapenems. India’s scientific fraternity, including the Union
health ministry, had strongly lodged a complaint against naming it after New Delhi saying it was a ploy to put a stop to and
“defame India’s growing medical tourism industry”. Experts blamed the emergence of this superbug on the widespread
misuse of antibiotics. Indian doctors had not yet taken the issue of antibiotic resistance seriously and that India needed
both an improved policy to control the use of antibiotics and a central registry of antibiotic-resistant infections.
Sabarimala stampede kills over 100: Tragedy struck the popular Sabarimala pilgrimage on January 14, 2011 with more
than 100 people killed following an accident that resulted in a stampede, around 10 km from the forest shrine in Kerala’s
Pathanamthitta district. The incident occurred a little after 8 pm when pilgrims were on their way back after witnessing the
Makara Jyoti ceremony. The Makaravilakku festival saw an unprecedented rush this year. According to the Travancore
Dewasom Board which administers the shrine, the number of pilgrims had registered a 20% rise this year.
Baldev Raj elected President of INAE: Baldev Raj, Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) in
Kalpakkam has been elected president of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE). The academy is a peer
body of distinguished engineers, scientists and technologists covering the entire spectrum of engineering disciplines. It
provides considered opinion on policy matters in domains of higher education, energy, heritage and industry either on
request from the government or on the basis of the need envisaged.
Shweta Tiwari wins ‘Bigg Boss’: Television actress Shweta Tiwari on January 8, 2011 won 'Bigg Boss season 4'
becoming the first woman to be crowned winner of this reality show broadcast on ‘Color’ channel. Tiwari took away Rs 1
crore prize money, beating likes of WWE star The Great Khali, actors Ashmit Patel and Dolly Bindra.
Sreedharan is 'Manorama Newsmaker': Athlete Preeja Sreedharan, who won a gold and a silver medal at the recent
Asian Games, was picked as the 'Newsmaker 2010' by the Manorama News channel on January 11, 2011. Preeja was
chosen from among four finalists in the poll. Jnanpith winner O N V Kurup, writer Arundhati Roy and Kerala Congress
leader K M Mani were the other finalists. Preeja had won gold in 10,000 metre event and silver in the 5,000 metre race in
the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010.
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 6
Section B: WORLD
News round up
Russia, U.S. enact nuclear pact: Russia and the United States have enacted a historic nuclear cooperation pact that will
enable the two countries to collaborate in atomic technologies for the first time in the history of their relations. The
agreement entered into force on January 11, 2010 after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S.
Ambassador John Beyrle exchanged respective diplomatic notes in Moscow. The accord paves the way to “mutually
advantageous joint projects and future-oriented scientific and technological research,” said the Russian statement. The
123 agreement was signed in May 2008 but was frozen later the same year by Washington over the Russia-Georgia war.
U.S. President Barack Obama persuaded the Congress to ratify the pact in December. The deal would allow Russia to
store and reprocess U.S. spent fuel and would give the U.S access to state-of-the-art Russian nuclear technologies.
Experts said the U.S., which has not built a single nuclear reactor in the past 30 years, is especially interested in fast-
neutron reactors, as well as in recycling nuclear fuel.
Duma endorses START Treaty: The Russian Parliament moved closer to endorsing the New START nuclear arms treaty
with the United States on January 14, 2011, voting in second reading a ratification Bill that counters the strings the U.S.
Senate attached to its ratification of the landmark pact. The Bill will now be tabled before the Russian Upper House, the
Federal Council. The draft Bill, approved by the State Duma Lower House in a 341–0 vote, affirms Russia's right to
withdraw from the New START if the U.S. or “any other state or a group of states” deploy missile defences “capable of
substantially reducing the effectiveness of Russia's strategic nuclear forces”. The provision seeks to reiterate the linkage
between offensive and defensive strategic weapons included in the preamble of the New START but rejected in the U.S.
ratification Bill. “If this linkage is severed the stricken party will be forced to resort to the withdrawal option,” Russia's
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the State Duma. The Russian Bill rejects the U.S. Senate claim that the New START
does not affect U.S. plans to create a global strike capability using strategic delivery vehicles.
Russia blames Polish crew for crash: Russia has squarely blamed the Polish side for the April 2010 crash of a plane
carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski to a ceremony in Russia. The Russian aviation commission investigating the
tragedy that killed many of Poland's top political and military officials said the crash was the result of the crew's refusal to
abort the landing at Smolensk in heavy fog and fly to another airfield recommended by Russian ground control. Head of
Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) Tatyana Anodina, presenting the final report on the crash on January 12,
2011, said the crew of the Polish plane had been pressured to land by top Polish officials, including Poland's Air Force
Chief General Andrzej Blasik.
Lebanese government falls: Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman on January 13, 2011 asked the outgoing Cabinet to
continue in office in a caretaker capacity after the government collapsed on January 12 following the resignation of more
than one-third of the Ministers. Eleven Cabinet Ministers belonging to Hizbollah and its allies resigned over the
international investigation on the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri. They said
the Prime Minister Saad Hariri (son of the deceased PM) had rejected their demand that an urgent Cabinet session be
called to discuss the government's withdrawal from all cooperation with the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon
(STL). The Hizbollah has for long been saying the STL would wrongly indict it for Hariri's assassination. Analysts point out
that indictment of Hizbollah is likely to increase sectarian tensions between the Shia group and Lebanon's Sunni
community to which Hariri belonged, evoking fears of resurrection of the bloody Lebanese civil war.
Tajikistan cedes 1,000 sq km to China: China, which has a land area of about 9.6 million sq km, — the third-largest
country in the world — will get 1,000 sq km more; thanks to Tajikistan which on January 12, 2011 agreed to cede a territory
under a 130-year-old dispute to the neighbouring giant. The Majlisi Namoyandagon, Tajikistan's lower chamber of
Parliament, ratified a protocol on demarcation of Tajikistan's common border with China.
New Delhi, Dhaka to sign accord on water sharing: New Delhi and Dhaka have agreed to sign a 15-year interim accord
on sharing the waters of common rivers Teesta and Feni. This was decided at a Secretary-level meeting of the Indo-
Bangladesh Joint River Commission (JRC) in Dhaka on January 10, 2011. The agreement is expected to be signed during
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka this year. The proposed accord included formulation of a working plan on
the sharing of the waters of five other common rivers — Dharla, Dudhkumar, Manu, Khowai, Gumti and Muhuri. This would
be the second major accord after the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty signed during the erstwhile Awami League
UN Missions in Nepal ends: The UN ended its peace mission in Nepal on January 15, 2011. As Nepal remained in a
political deadlock, the UN's blue flag was lowered at the Kathmandu office of the UNMIN, which was established by the
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 7
world body as a special political mission in 2007 to manage the arms and armed personnel of the Maoists and the Nepal
Army. The UNMIN closure makes the fate of the 19,000 Maoist combatants confined in the cantonments uncertain as there
was no clear roadmap regarding the future monitoring, integration and rehabilitation of the former Maoist combatants. The
agreement came as UNMIN organised a special function to mark its closure, where a message from U.N. Secretary
General Ban-Ki-moon was read out. In her final remarks, UNMIN chief Karin Landgren pointed to the “unfinished peace
process”, and the “outstanding issues in relation to arms and armies”.
Tunisian President overthrown: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is the former President of the Tunisian Republic. He held the
office from 7 November, 1987, until he was forced to step down on 14 January, 2011 and take exile in Saudi Arabia. Ben
Ali was appointed Prime Minister in October 1987, and assumed the Presidency in November 1987 in a bloodless coup
d'état. He was subsequently re-elected with enormous majorities at every election. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi
was sworn in as the interim president on January 15, 2011.
Pope John Paul II to be beatified: The Pope on January 14, 2011 signed off on the miracle needed for the beatification of
Pope John Paul II, and set May 1 as the date to honour one of the most beloved Popes of all times as a model of
saintliness for the church. Pope Benedict XVI said in a decree that a French nun's recovery from the Parkinson's disease
was miraculous, the last step needed for beatification. A second miracle is needed for the Polish-born John Paul II to be
made a saint. Once he is beatified, John Paul II will be given the title “blessed” and can be publicly venerated. Born in
Wadowice, Poland, in 1920, Karol Wojtyla was the youngest Pope in 125 years and the first non-Italian in 455 years when
he was elected Pope in 1978. He survived an assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square in 1981 — and then forgave the
Turk who had shot him. He died in his Vatican apartment on April 2, 2005 at the age of 84.
Section C: AWARDS
ET Awards for Corporate Excellence given
ET Awards for Corporate Excellence were presented to the winners by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in Mumbai in
January 2011. Winners are as follows:
Business Leader Of The Year: Aditya Puri, MD & CEO, HDFC Bank
Business Woman Of The Year: Zia Mody | Senior Partner, AZB & Partners
Company Of The Year: Larsen & Toubro
Emerging Company Of The Year: Cadila Healthcare
Lifetime Achievement: R C Bhargava | Chairman, Maruti Suzuki
Global Indian: Nitin Nohria | Dean, Harvard Business School
Entrepreneur Of The Year: Narendra Murkumbi, CEO, Shree Renuka Sugars
Policy Change Agent Of The Year: Arvind Kejriwal & Aruna Roy, Founders, Parivartan & MKSS, respectively
Business Reformer Of The Year: Kapil Sibal | Minister Of Human Resource Development
Corporate Citizen Of The Year: Bharti Foundation
Special Award For Philanthropy: Azim Premji & Shiv Nadar
K.V. Raman wins Bharat Jyoti Award: Agricultural scientist K.V. Raman was on January 14, 2011 awarded the
prestigious Bharat Jyoti Award of the India International Friendship Society for his contributions to science, technology and
development. A former Chairman of the Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board under the Indian Council of Agricultural
Research, Dr. Raman was also Director of the B.V. Rao Centre for Sustainable Food Security at the Chennai-based M.S.
Swaminathan Research Foundation. He has authored several books and published over 200 research papers in national
and international journals, which are cross-referred extensively.
Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Awards presented: Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Awards for the year 2009 were
presented to the winners on January 12, 2011. The Best of All Award was given to Tata Motors Limited, Lucknow. The
other category award winners include Glaxosmithkline Consumer Healthcare Ltd, Sonepat, Haryana (Large Scale
Manufacturing Industry); Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, Banglaore (Large Scale Service Industry); Elin
Appliances Pvt Ltd, Solan, Himachal Pradesh (Small Scale Manufacturing Industry); and Quality Evaluation and Systems
Team Pvt Ltd, Bangalore (Small Scale Service Industry). In addition to these awards, thirteen organizations were honoured
with commendation certificates under various categories. The award, given annually, was instituted by the Bureau of Indian
Standards in the year 1991 with a view to encouraging Indian Manufacturing and Service Organizations to strive for
excellence and giving special recognition to those, who are considered to be the leaders of quality movement in India.
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 8
NSIC CMD wins “Icon of the Year Award” at ICWAI convention: The National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC),
CMD, Dr. H.P. Kumar received the “Icon of the Year Award”, for implementing various innovative schemes for the
promotion and development of MSME sector in the country. The award was presented at the 52nd National Convention of
ICWAI held at Chennai on January 10, 2011.
Soka Gakkai President wins Indology Award: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (MLBD) and Bharat Soka Gakkai have
conferred the first MLBD Indology Award on Soka Gakkai International president Daisaku Ikeda in New Delhi on January
15, 2011. The award was presented to Dr. Ikeda for his “outstanding contribution in the field of Indic research and Oriental
wisdom”. The renowned Buddhist philosopher is a recipient of more than 300 academic awards and honorary doctorates
from various institutions and universities around the world. He has also published several books on Buddhist philosophy.
Ayesha Nair wins Jalan Theatre Award: Mumbai-based theatre personality Ayesha Nair was conferred with the
Shyamanand Jalan National Youth Theatre Award (SJNYTA-2011) at Shyamanand's “Intimate Theatre” in Kolkata on
January 13, 2011. Ayesha has been working with Jamini Pathak since 2006, starting with the play “Once Upon a…Tiger”.
The play has gone on to complete 100 shows. The SJNYTA scheme is an award of Rs.25,000 to be presented every year
on January 13. The award is for original scripts from Indian playwrights aged between 18 and 25 years.
Dabangg sweeps Apsara awards: Salman Khan-starrer ‘Dabangg’ has emerged the biggest winner at this year's Apsara
awards, bagging the Best Film, Best Actor and Best Music trophies. The film also won singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan the
Best Male Singer trophy for “Tere Mast Mast Do Nain.” The Best Actor—Female award was shared by Vidya Balan for
‘Ishqiya’ and Anushka Sharma for ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’. Karan Johar won the Best Director award for ‘My Name Is Khan’,
while Anusha Rizvi took home the Best Story award for ‘Peepli Live’. The Best Lyrics trophy went to Gulzar for “Dil to
Bachcha Hai Ji” from ‘Ishqiya’. Farah Khan won the Best Choreography gong for “Sheila Ki Jawani” from her directorial
‘Tees Maar Khan’. Mamata Sharma and Sunidhi Chauhan shared the Best Female Singer award for their respective item
song “Munni Badnaam Hui” (‘Dabangg’) and “Sheila Ki Jawani” at January 11, 2011 awards presentation ceremony in
Mumbai. Actors Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan were handed special honours for their roles in ‘Paa’, as was
Rajkumar Hirani for directing ‘3 Idiots’.
‘The Social Network’ is the best film at Golden Globes: ‘The Social Network’, the story Facebook's birth, won four
trophies including the best picture and best director at the 68 th annual Golden Globe Awards on January 15, 2011. David
Fincher was named the best director, Aron Sorkin for the best screenplay while Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won in the
best score category. Natalie Portman won the best dramatic actress trophy for her performance in 'Black Swan'. British
actor Colin Firth took home the trophy for the best actor for his performance of a stuttering King George VI in royal drama
'The King's Speech'.
Cook wins City of London award: England batsman was awarded the Freedom of the City of London award on January
14, 2011. It is yet another honour for England's player of the series, who scored 766 runs in the team's 3-1 Ashes triumph
Section D: ECONOMY & CORPORATE
News round up
Rangarajan Committee against subsidised foodgrains for all
The C. Rangarajan Committee on the draft National Food Security Bill has favoured legal entitlement of subsidised
foodgrains to the ‘priority’ category (below the poverty line), but has rejected the National Advisory Council's
recommendation that ‘general’ category (above poverty line) households also be covered, saying it is not feasible at the
current levels of grain production and procurement. The committee was constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
examine the feasibility of the NAC's recommendations submitted in October 2010. The committee included Member-
Secretary of the Planning Commission Sudha Pillai, Chief Economic Adviser to Finance Ministry Kaushik Basu,
Expenditure Secretary Sushma Nath, Food Secretary B. C. Gupta, and Agriculture Secretary P. K. Basu.
The NAC had last year suggested that legal entitlements to subsidised foodgrains be extended to at least 75 per cent of
the population — 90 per cent in rural areas and 50 per cent in urban areas.
Further, ‘priority’ households (46 per cent in rural areas and 28 per cent in urban areas) should be entitled to 35 kg
(equivalent to 7 kg per person) every month at a subsidised price of Re. 1 a kg for millets, Rs. 2 for wheat and Rs.3 for rice.
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 9
The ‘general’ households (44 per cent in rural areas and 22 per cent in urban areas), the NAC had said, should be entitled
to 20 kg (equivalent to 4 kg per person) every month at a price not exceeding 50 per cent of the existing Minimum Support
Price for millets, wheat and rice.
Rangarajan committee recommendations
On January 7, 2011 the Rangarajan Committee rejected the NAC proposal for subsidised foodgrains for the general
category on the grounds that raising procurement levels further would “lead to a lower availability of foodgrains for the
open market, pushing up prices.” While favouring mandatory entitlement of subsidised foodgrains to the ‘priority' category
as recommended by the NAC, it said it was not feasible to extend to the ‘general' category legal entitlement of subsidised
foodgrains under the Public Distribution System. In a major watering down of NAC recommendations, the committee has
suggested that cheap foodgrains be made available to the ‘general' or Above Poverty Line population, “as and when”
available after meeting the requirements of the entitled category of ‘priority' (Below Poverty Line) and only at the minimum
Linking prices to inflation: The panel also suggested that the subsidised grain for the poor be linked to inflation and
indexed to the Consumer Price Index in the coming years. This means the rate at which 35 kg of wheat (at Rs. 2 a kg) and
rice (Rs. 3 a kg) is given per month to a poor household will be revised at a later date.
Identification of beneficiaries: The Committee has also recommended that the identification of the beneficiaries be done
by State governments and not by central agencies as suggested by the NAC. It has upheld the view of the Union Home
Ministry that conducting a socio-economic census along with the caste census — to be undertaken in June this year — will
not only “delay'' the caste census, but combining it with Below Poverty Line (BPL) enumeration “will attract interest groups
which may impact the integrity of the census and caste enumeration.'' The NAC had suggested that the socio-economic
census that will form the basis of the BPL survey, be conducted by the Registrar General of India and the Census
Commissioner to do away with errors of inclusion and exclusion and to save resources.
First ever Defence Production Policy unveiled
Defence Minister AK Antony unveiled the first ever Defence Production Policy (DPrP) on January 13, 2011 in New Delhi
with an objective to achieve self reliance in design,
Defence Production Policy: Highlights development and production of defence equipment,
Domestic Entities to get Preference in Defence Procurement weapon systems and platforms. The policy also aims
Private Sector to be Roped in for Design, Development and at creating conditions conducive for the private
Production of Defence Products industries to play an active role to achieve the
Bigger Role for Academic and Research Institutions objective.
Stage Process to be followed in Defence Production
Separate Corpus to be set up for Research Activities DPrP will act as a catalyst to enhance potential of
Scope of Offset Policy Guidelines expanded Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for
indigenisation as also for broadening the defence
research and development base of the country. The Policy aims to achieve maximum synergy among the Armed Forces,
DPSUs, OFBs, Indian Industry and Research and Development institutions.
Under the new Policy, coming into force with immediate effect, preference will be given to indigenous design, development
and manufacture of defence equipment. Therefore, wherever the required arms, ammunition and equipment are possible
to be made by the Indian industry within the time lines required by the Services, the procurement will be made from the
Whenever the Indian industry is not in a position to make and deliver the equipments as per the SQRs (Services Quality
Requirements) in the requisite time frame, procurement from foreign sources would be resorted to, as per Defence
Procurement Procedure. While examining procurement cases, the time taken in the procurement and delivery from foreign
sources vis-a-vis the time required for making it in the country, along with the urgency and criticality of the requirement, will
be examined as per the Defence Procurement Procedure before deciding to proceed with procurement from foreign
Based on the approved Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), equipment, weapon system and platforms
required ten years and further down the line will by and large be developed within the country. Sub-systems that are not
economically viable or practical to be made within the country may be imported, ensuring their availability at all times.
However, as far as possible, the design and integration of the platforms and systems will be undertaken within the country.
The government will endeavour to build a robust indigenous defence industrial base by proactively encouraging larger
involvement of the Indian private sector in design, development and manufacture of defence equipment. Towards this end,
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 10
efforts would be made to progressively identifying and address any issue which impacts or which has potential of impacting
the competitiveness of the Indian Defence Industry in comparison to foreign companies.
To synergise and enhance the national competence in producing state of the art defence product within the price lines and
time lines that are globally competitive, all viable approaches such as formation of consortia, joint venture and public
private partnerships etc. within the government approved framework will be undertaken. The academia, research and
development institutions as well as technical and scientific organisations of repute will be involved for achieving this
The Defence Production Policy recognises that development of complex systems is a stage process with incremental
changes progressing from Mk-1 and Mk-2 and so on. The stage process will be followed. However, at every review of such
developmental projects by the Defence Production Board or Defence R&D Board, as the case may be, it will be ensured
that our equipment, weapons systems and platforms are such that they provide an edge to our forces over our potential
adversaries. In case of delays in the realization of the projects, the corresponding proposal will be processed as per the
Defence Procurement Procedure and the option of “BUY” shall be followed for the necessary numbers till indigenous
production capability is established where after indigenous systems shall be procured.
Policies will also be put in place to encourage the DPSUs, OFB and the private sector to strengthen their research and
development wings so that constant upgradation and improvement in systems under manufacture is possible. The
government will set up a separate fund to provide necessary resources to public and private sector including SMEs as well
as academic and scientific institutions to support research and development of defence products.
As announced earlier, the scope of Offset Policy Guidelines is being expanded to include “civil aerospace”, “internal
security” and “training” within the ambit of eligible products and services for discharge of offset obligations. The list of
eligible offsets will now cover most aspects of civil aerospace, including aircraft, both fixed wing and rotary, air frames, air
engines, aircraft components, avionics, aircraft design and engineering services, aircraft material, technical publications,
flying training institutions and technical training institutions. A wide range of weapons and services for counter terrorism
have been included in the list of products under “internal security”. These changes will provide a wider range of offset
opportunities to vendors participating in defence procurements and encourage building up of indigenous manufacturing
capability in crucial areas.
The Defence Minister will hold an annual review of the progress in self reliance that has been achieved during the year.
Industrial growth at 2.71% in November 2010
Industrial growth in November 2010 was much lesser than in November 2009, according to official data released in January
In November 2010
Industrial growth has plummeted to an 18-month low of 2.7 per cent in November 2010. The official Index of Industrial
Production (IIP) grew 11.3 per cent in November 2009. The deceleration in November was mainly on account of
manufacturing, which recorded a year-on-year increase of just 2.3 per cent, as against 12.3 per cent in November 2010.
The mining and electricity indices, too, grew modestly by 6 per cent (10.7 per cent) and 4.6 per cent (1.8 per cent),
Within manufacturing, the slowdown has been led by consumer goods. Both consumer durables as well as non-
durables returned lower growth rates in November 2010 relative to their November 2009 levels: 4.3 per cent versus 36.3
per cent and minus 6 per cent versus 2.3 per cent. The story was the same for basic (4.5 per cent against 6 per cent) and
intermediate goods (2.4 per cent against 19.4 per cent) as well. The only consolation was in capital goods, which is
seen as a proxy for investment activity in the economy. The 12.6 per cent annual production increase for November came
on top of an 11 per cent growth in the same month of 2009.
In April-November 2010
For the April-November period as a whole, industrial growth averaged 9.5 per cent, which was better than the 7.4 per cent
for the first eight months of 2009-10. While the cumulative growth worked out higher for manufacturing (10 per cent
versus 7.5 per cent), it was lower in the case of both mining (8 per cent versus 8.4 per cent) and electricity (4.5 per cent
versus 5.7 per cent).
Among individual use-based manufacturing groups, the average April-November production growth stood at 22.5 per cent
for capital goods (against 6.6 per cent during April-November 2009), with these correspondingly being 21.7 per cent (20.6
per cent) for consumer durables, 0.7 per cent (1.2 per cent) for consumer non-durables, 9.6 per cent (11.2 per cent) for
intermediate goods and 5.8 per cent (5.8 per cent) for basic goods.
Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) 2008-09 unveiled
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 11
The Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) 2008-09 data unveiled on January 14, 2011 has showed that Tamil Nadu houses
the highest number of working factories, accounting for 16.82 per cent in the country, followed by Maharashtra at 13.17
per cent. In case of states with the highest share of the invested capital, Maharashtra topped the list at 17.01 per cent,
followed by Gujarat at 16.08 per cent and Tamil Nadu at 9.57 per cent. Maharashtra is also on top in terms of Net Value
Added with 21.39% followed by Gujarat (11.45%) and Tamil Nadu (8.06%).
The Annual Survey of Industries is based on the finalised accounts of industries as of September of the financial year,
according to T.C.A. Anant, Chief Statistician of India and Secretary Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Other findings of the ASI are:
Wages on the rise: The annual survey for 2008- 09 revealed that average annual wage of factory workers rose by over 9
per cent to Rs 68,103 per worker in 2008- 09 as compared with Rs 62,246 in the year before. Efficiency, as measured by
changes in the capital-output ratio, declined marginally. While it was 0.17 in 2007-08, it dipped to 0.16 in 2008-09.
Rising number of factories: The number of factories in the country increased by 6.1 per cent to 1.55 lakh in 2008-09 as
against 1.46 lakh in 2007-08. However, only 274 factories (0.18 per cent of the total factories) employed more than 5,000
people. Almost 72 per cent of the factories had only 0-49 employees. The capital invested in factories during the period
increased by 19.92 per cent to Rs 15.35 lakh crore.
Decline in efficiency: The negative feature of the survey, however, was the marginal decline in efficiency as measured by
changes in the capital output ratio. The capital output ratio which is a measure of the capital required to produce one unit of
net output (net value added) has increased from 1.76 in 2007-08 to 2 in 2008-09. Similarly, the capital required to produce
one unit of gross output has also increased from 0.3 to 0.
IMF Report on Indian economy unveiled
With robust growth spurring elevated levels of inflation, India should speed up its return to pre-crisis monetary and fiscal
policies to keep the economy in check, suggests the IMF in its annual assessment of one of the world’s fastest growing
economies unveiled on January 5, 2011. In its report on the Indian economy—known as the Article IV consultation—IMF
economists said they expect the South Asian country to grow above trend this year, with high levels of growth continuing
over the medium term “We expect real GDP to grow 8¾ percent in 2010/11, with robust growth supported by high
investment in infrastructure and productivity gains,” said the IMF’s mission chief for India, Masahiko Takeda. India
weathered the recent global financial crisis well, and since mid-2009 domestic demand has powered a vigorous recovery.
The country’s growth rate remains among the strongest in the world. Other features of the IMF report are:
Toward a more normal policy stance: In its report, the IMF backed the authorities’ policy of exiting from the stimulus
implemented in the past two years. But this exit strategy remains incomplete. Given the high level of government debt,
existing strong domestic demand, and large capital inflows, IMF economists said that fiscal policy is the preferred method
for tightening. In their assessment, the report’s authors welcomed the authorities’ renewed commitment to fiscal
consolidation: the government has laid out an ambitious roadmap to reduce public debt and deficits, and high growth is
expected to contribute toward this goal as well. The IMF also supported the objective to raise public investment, especially
in infrastructure, and to improve social outcomes. The challenge will be to make savings elsewhere to meet these
objectives while remaining on the consolidation path.
Carrying through with consolidation: With tax reforms designed to be revenue neutral, IMF economists see the need for
subsidy reforms—particularly a liberalization of diesel and fertilizer prices—coupled with more efficient spending. “A
commendable first step in fuel price liberalization has been taken and promising tax reforms are in the works,” notes the
report. Strengthening the budget framework will be important to minimize risks to fiscal consolidation, while the
government’s strong revenue position this year presents an opportunity to reconstitute fiscal space faster and reduce the
risk of overheating, say the economists.
Tackling inflation: The IMF report also recommends further tightening monetary policy to meet the authorities’ inflation
objectives and anchor inflation expectations. With little or no spare capacity in the economy, coupled with the threat of
rising food prices, inflation is currently elevated in the range of 8½—10½ percent. Inflation is expected to come down
slowly but underlying price pressures are still strong, say IMF economists. Over the last year, the authorities have raised
policy rates and the cash reserve requirement, but further increases in policy rates would help bring real short-term interest
rates in line with historical norms, and help contain inflation, they add.
Capital inflows fund current account deficit: The current account deficit is projected to reach 3.3 percent of GDP in
2010/11 and 3.5 percent next year, say the economists in their report. The deficit has so far been financed mainly by
foreign direct investment and equity inflows, but the authorities need to keep an eye on the level of the current account
deficit. As the deficit rises, so does the potential impact of a sudden stop or reversal of capital flows. Another risk is that the
scale of the inflows could exceed India’s capacity to absorb them. In this event, IMF economists suggest that exchange
rate appreciation should remain the first line of defense. If appreciation becomes too large, intervention in the foreign
exchange market or macro-prudential measures could also be taken. Over time, deepening the corporate bond market,
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 12
increasing the supply of shares, and further liberalizing foreign direct investment would increase the country’s capacity to
absorb capital from abroad.
Meeting infrastructure targets: Infrastructure investment has grown rapidly in India over the past few years, and the
authorities plan to double the money spent on this sector from $500 billion in the five years ending 2011/12 to $1 trillion in
the following half a decade. Private participation is expected to account for half of the total. Increased infrastructure
spending should sustain higher growth, but there are several obstacles to achieving set targets. These include availability
of financing, land acquisition, multiple clearances, capacity constraints, and governance issues along with various sector-
specific concerns. The IMF believes structural reforms in these areas are needed to lower the cost of infrastructure,
encourage private investment, and allow more efficient use of public resources.
‘Broadcasters must pay to expand TRP system’ – Report
Broadcasters and advertisers have to shell out Rs. 660 crore over the next five years to enable expansion of the sample
size of the Television Rating Points (TRP) system used to measure the popularity of television programmes, according to a
report submitted to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on January 10, 2011. This was needed to expand
the sample size from 8,000 homes, at present, to 30,000 homes, said the report, which provided a roadmap for the future
of TRPs. It also emphasised that the survey sample be made more representative by including households in rural areas,
the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir, which are currently excluded from the system used by the two private rating
agencies that determine much of the content of Indian television.
Amit Mitra, Secretary-General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, was chairperson of the
committee which prepared the report. The committee recommended that broadcasters, advertisers and advertising
agencies contribute a certain percentage of their annual turnovers to fund the needed expansion of sample sizes. It also
provided options to reduce the cost of the “people-meter” device used to track TV behaviour in the sample households,
suggesting indigenous manufacture as well as a 50 per cent cut in the import duty of the devices.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had earlier suggested that an industry-led body with government
oversight called the Broadcast Audience Research Council be set up to self-regulate TRPs rather than leave it to the rating
agencies. Now,. Mitra's committee has recommended that the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) be
revamped and made functional with a wider scope and membership. Reforms needed at the BARC include wider board
representation — seven members representing broadcasters, including the public service broadcaster, three
representatives from advertisers and two from advertising agencies, including the government's Directorate of Advertising
and Visual Publicity.
SBI launches ‘Bank on Bike' initiative: State Bank of India on January 14, 2011 announced the launch of ‘Bank on Bike'
initiative for villages untouched by banking facilities so far. Cheriyal in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh, about 60 km from
Hyderabad, became the first village in the country to welcome SBI Bank on Bike initiative. The project forms part of the
financial inclusion plan of the Central Government to cover all villages with 2,000 and above population. SBI has earlier
introduced One Rupee Bank in Hyderabad for urban financial inclusion through its kiosk banking model.
DoT revokes ban on 3G video calls: The Department of Telecom on January 13, 2011 revoked the ban on video call
services running on third generation (3G) platform. The DoT has, however, ordered the operators to give an undertaking
that suitable monitoring mechanism, which allows security agencies to keep watch over all 3G services, is put in place by
July 31. In December, the DoT had asked Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Bharti Airtel to not launch any
3G service that do not provide access to security agencies. This came after the Intelligence Bureau raised concerns that it
could not track video calls and chat services. The operators had objected to the ban imposed by the Government on
grounds that their investments worth billions of dollars were at stake. The operators had also expressed their technical
inability to give access to video calls on a real time basis to the law enforcement agencies.
Maritime Agenda 2010-2020 launched: The Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasan on January 13, 2011 launched the Maritime
Agenda 2010-2020, a perspective plan of the Shipping Ministry for the present decade. The Maritime Agenda projects a
total traffic of 2494.95 million tonnes for all major and non-major ports taken together and a capacity of 3280.04 million
tonnes. The proposed investments in ports by 2020 is expected to be 119449.41 crore and in non-major ports it is
167930.84 crore. Objectives outlined in the agenda include: To create a port capacity of around 3200 MT to handle the
expected traffic of about 2500 MT by 2020. To increase India’s share in global ship building to 5% from the present 1%.
To increase India’s share in global ship building to 5%. To increase the share of Indian seafarers (6-7% currently) in the
global shipping industry it to at least 9% by 2015.
One millionth Aadhaar number is generated: Fifteen year old Sukrity, a resident of North Tripura, on January 13, 2011
became the one millionth resident whose Aadhaar number was generated by the UIDAI. Nandan Nilekani is the Chairman
of the Unique Identification Authority of India. Enrolment for the Aadhaar number will accelerate further in the coming
weeks, as more registrars begin enrolling residents. So far, over 60 registrars have signed MoUs with the UIDAI, and more
than fifteen of these registrars have begun enrolments. The Union Finance Ministry recently recognized the Aadhaar
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 13
number as sufficient proof of identity and proof of address, for individuals to get a bank account. This move will be an
impetus for registrars in the financial sector to begin enrolling people for the number. It will also be pivotal in bringing
financial services to the millions of unbanked people in the country, who have been excluded so far because of their lack of
India set to get Asia’s first tidal power plant: With the proposed commissioning of a 50-Mw tidal power project off the
coast of Gujarat in 2013, India is ready to place its first “seamark” that will be a first for Asia as well. London-based marine
energy developer Atlantis Resources Corporation, along with Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd, on January 13, 2011 signed
a MoU with the Gujarat government to start this project. Tidal current power uses turbines to harness the energy contained
in the flow of ocean tides. Current estimates suggest 15 per cent of the world’s power demands can be met by tidal current
power sources, while the estimates for India are currently around 5 per cent of its annual demand for power.
MoUs worth Rs. 20.83 lakh crore signed at Vibrant Gujarat: The two-day Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit
2011 at Gandhinagar concluded on January 13, 2011 with investment commitments of Rs. 20.83 lakh crore ($450 billion)
committed by national and international corporate giants. As many as 1,400 foreign delegates from 101 nations
participated in the Summit. The urban development sector was the biggest gainer with an investment commitment
exceeding Rs. 2,26,000 crore. Some major projects include Essel Infraproject Ltd’s Rs. 5,200 crore solid waste
management and sewage treatment projects and L&T infrastructure Development’s Rs. 5000-crore Ahmedabad monorail
Exports during April-December 2010 grow 29.5%: The country's goods exports grew by 36.4 per cent in December
2010 to $22.5 billion, the highest in 33 months, according to provisional data released by the Commerce Ministry, on
January 8, 2011. Imports in December, however, fell by 11.1 per cent to $25.1 billion, the lowest in the last 14 months.
Exports during April-December 2010 recorded a 29.5 per cent growth to $164.7 billion. Imports during April-December
grew 19 per cent to $247.1 billion, leading to a trade deficit of $82.4 billion in the same period. The reasons for good export
performance included market diversification, better demand even in traditional destinations such as the US and Europe,
competitive pricing of items, better marketing of items such as carpets saying they are free from child-labour. Ramu S.
Deora, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said India should enter new markets overseas where growth
is encouraging. This will help the country achieve a quantum jump in exports and get a foothold before other competitors
Mohan Committee for ban on entry of ageing ships in Indian ports: Capt. P.V.K. Mohan Committee, constituted by the
Shipping Ministry a month ago to examine the inquiry report on the collision between two ships, MSC Chitra and Khalijia III,
near Mumbai port on August 7 last year, in its report submitted on January 9, 2011, recommended banning the entry of
over 25-year-old ships in Indian ports. The committee is of the view that the authorities of the Mumbai Port Trust and the
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust must upgrade the MoU signed by them more than 20 years ago. Also, a separate VTS (vessel
traffic system) authority should be formed under the Mumbai Port Trust to provide pilot service along the entire stretch of
Amalgamations Group CMD passes away: A. Sivasailam, Chairman and Managing Director of the Amalgamations
Group, passed away in Manipal on January 12, 2011. He was 76. Born on August 24, 1934, Sivasailam was the elder son
of S. Anantharamakrishnan, founder-chairman of the Amalgamations Group. After completing his education, joined the
Amalgamations Group, where he was entrusted with the task of developing and nurturing a new company — Tractors and
Farm Equipment Limited. In 1961, he became TAFE's General Manager and subsequently its Chairman and Managing
Director. In 1968, Sivasailam became the Chairman of the Amalgamations Group. Under his leadership, the group grew in
stature, from Rs.35 crore in 1961 to Rs.7,000 crore now. The group comprises 48 diverse companies with a workforce of
Indian Oil enters nuclear power sector: After announcing their joint venture in late 2009, Indian Oil Corporation on
January 13, 2011 formally entered into an agreement with the Nuclear Power Corporation to set up power plants across
the country. With this agreement, the Corporation would be foraying into nuclear power generation. IOC has already
forayed into renewable energy sources like solar, wind, bio-fuels and hydrogen. The nuclear power industry is undergoing
rapid expansion with plans to increase generation to 63,000 MW by 2032.
IndiGo announces India’s largest aircraft deal: In the single largest aircraft deal in global aviation history, no-frill carrier
IndiGo will acquire 180 A-320s worth an estimated USD 15.6 billion from European plane manufacturer Airbus. The airline,
which would launch international services later this year subject to government permission, signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with Airbus at Toulouse in France on January 12, 2011 for 180 single-aisle aircrafts. They are expected to
be delivered between 2016 and 2025. The sale is worth USD 15.6 billion or 12 billion euros.
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 14
Reliance Broadcast to acquire Imagine Showbiz: Reliance Broadcast Network will acquire Imagine Showbiz Limited
(ISL) from Cinestar advertising for an undisclosed sum. As part of the acquisition announced on January 11, 2011, the
company will be buying out ISL's intellectual property rights, music library, Bollywood content technical expertise and its
distribution network, it added.
iGATE buys 63% in Patni for $921m: iGATE Corporation on January 10, 2011 announced that it has acquired 63 per
cent stake in Patni Computer Systems Ltd, in a transaction valued at around $1.22 billion. Phaneesh Murthy is the CEO of
iGATE Corporation that will now command close to $1 billion in annual revenues and about 25,000 people on the rolls.
iGATE has signed deals with Narendra K. Patni and his two brothers (who own 45.6 per cent of Patni) and private equity
firm General Atlantic (which owns 17.4 per cent) for acquisition of the shares.
Xoom is the best gadget at Vegas Electronics Show: Motorola Mobility's Xoom tablet computer powered by new
"Honeycomb" software from Google was crowned the best gadget at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 8,
2011 in Las Vegas. Motorola also scored a victory with its Atrix smartphone designed to work with high-speed 4G wireless
networks and which can be used in a dock to power a laptop. Atrix won the top spot in a smartphone category at the official
Best of CES awards.
Section E: SPORTS
India lose first ODI in series with SA: India lost the first ODI against hosts South Africa at the Kingsmead stadium in
Durban on January 12, 2011 by 135 runs. South Africa won the toss and elected to bat scoring 289 runs for the loss of 9
wickets in 50 overs. In reply, India were bowled out for 154 in 35.4 overs. Lonwabo Tsotsobe who took four wickets for 31
runs in 8.4 overs for South Africa was declared Player of the Match. AB de Villiers (76) and Virat Kohli (54) were the top
scorers for SA and India respectively.
Wawrinka wins Chennai Open tennis: Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka beat Xavier Malisse of Belgium 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in
the final to win the Chennai Open tennis tournament on January 8, 2011. India’s Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won
the doubles title with a 6-2, 6-7(3), 10-7 win over Robin Haase and David Martin of the US in the final on January 9, 2011.
Federer wins Qatar Open: World No. 2 Roger Federer of Switzerland began his season in formidable fashion by beating
Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 to win the Qatar Open at the at the Khalifa Tennis Complex in Doha on January 8,
Li Na wins Sydney International Tennis: China's Li Na upset Kim Clijsters of Belgium 7-6(3), 6-3 to win the Sydney
International on January 14, 2011.
For the Week: Jan 9 to 15, 2011 For UPSC & Bank PO 15