Current Affairs 11 February 2014

Two additional attempts for Civil service aspirants

  • Civil service aspirants are going to get two additional attempts at cracking the UPSC examination along with a relaxation in the upper age limit.
  • A statement by the Department of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions said that the Central government has approved two additional attempts to all categories of candidates with effect from Civil Services Examination 2014, with consequential age relaxation of maximum age for all categories of candidates.
  • As per the existing rules, a general category candidate is permitted a maximum of four attempts. The maximum age limit for such candidates is 30.
  • There is no restriction on the number of attempts by candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
  • As for aspirants belonging to Other Backward Classes, seven attempts are permissible, according to a notification issued for Civil Services Examinations, 2013.
  • The relaxation comes after months of protests, dharnas and knocking at the doors of politicians by the students.

Telangana bill in Lok Sabha

  • The Telangana bill will now be introduced in Lok Sabha first instead of the Rajya Sabha with the government seeking a fresh recommendation from the President after the Upper House secretariat held it is a money bill.
    Sources said the move comes after questions were raised over the constitutionality of introducing the bill first in the Upper House.
  • The Rajya Sabha secretariat is of the view that since the proposed Act would involve appropriation of money out of the consolidated fund, it is a money bill as defined in the Constitution and hence has to be first introduced in Lok Sabha.
  • Under Article 117(1) of the Constitution, a money bill cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha.
  • The President on Monday gave his nod for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh by approving the legislation.
  • The Bill was approved by the Union Cabinet, notwithstanding rejection by the State Assembly. Under this, Telangana will comprise 10 districts and the rest of Andhra Pradesh 13 districts.
  • Hyderabad will remain the common capital for both the States for a period not exceeding 10 years.

India-China border issue

  • India and China held two crucial meetings on the border issue recently.
  • The fifth meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs reviewed recent developments, especially in the Western Sector (the Ladakh region).
  • Implementation of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, additional confidence-building measures and further steps for maintaining peace and tranquillity were also discussed, said a release from the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • Unlike the Working Mechanism, aimed at resolving day-to-day patrolling issues, the Special Representatives talks, pitched on a higher level, are meant to settle the entire boundary issue through consultations.
  • The Indian delegation is led by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and the Chinese team by State Councillor Yang Jiechi at the two-day meeting.

Dispute in India’s National Solar Mission

  • India-US relationship witnessed a spike in tension as the US Trade Representative (USTR), Michael Froman, announced that Washington was initiating consultations with New Delhi over a World Trade Organisation dispute pertaining to India’s National Solar Mission (NSM).
  • The domestic content requirements [in Phase II of the NSM] discriminate against US exports by requiring solar power developers to use Indian-manufactured equipment instead of US equipment.
  • He added that such “unfair” requirements militated against WTO rules and the Obama administration was “standing up today for the rights of American workers and businesses,” and in particular disputing India’s proposed rules under both Article II:4 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and trade (GATT) and Article 2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIM).
  • According to attorneys for the USTR, close to 10,000 American jobs may be at stake in the solar industry sector if India carries through with the local content and US exports, which stood at nearly $119 million before these criteria kicked in, have “fallen off precipitously since then.”

FIIs to purchase shares in Dabur India

  • The Reserve Bank allowed Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) to purchase shares in Dabur India up to 30 per cent of the firm’s paid up capital.
  • FIIs have been allowed to buy more shares in Dabur India as the company has passed a special resolution to enhance the limit for purchase of its equity shares and convertible debentures by FIIs.
  • FIIs, through primary market and stock exchanges, can now purchase up to 30 per cent of the paid up capital of Dabur India Limited under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS).
  • As per data available on the BSE, FIIs held 19.94 per cent shares in Dabur India as of quarter ended December 2013.
  • FIIs, NRIs and PIOs are allowed to invest in the primary and secondary capital markets in India through PIS.
  • RBI monitors the ceilings on FII/NRI/PIO investments in Indian companies on a daily basis.
  • For effective monitoring of foreign investment ceiling limits, the Reserve Bank has fixed cut-off points that are two percentage points lower than the actual ceilings.

IDBI debt opportunities fund

  • IDBI Mutual Fund has launched 'IDBI Debt Opportunities Fund, which is an open-ended income scheme, with a focus on generation of interest income.
  • The scheme will invest in good quality rated corporate bonds through rigorous selection and monitoring process and is suitable for investors with medium to long-term investment horizon.
  • The objective of the scheme is generation of interest income for investors. The launch has been timed to take advantage of the expected elevation in yield at the time of initial launch.
  • IDBI MF is a subsidiary of IDBI bank and has an average assets under management of Rs 5212 crore by the end of December quarter.

Match-fixing scanner and indian players involved

  • The names of the six players have been submitted by the three-member committee to the court in sealed cover. The report makes several references to the possible alleged involvement of prominent players.
  • The 170-page report says it "appears that names of six prominent Indian capped players are available in tapes in connection with dealings with bookies."
  • The report says that a journalist connected with the recording of tapes for a sports magazine, has claimed he can identify the voice of a player who was part of the team which played the World Cup and is a member of the Indian team currently.
  • The report also refers to the transcripts of taped conversations between two alleged bookies, Chandresh Jain and Ashwani Aggarwal, in which there are "references to high level fixing of players where the names of two international Indian players were mentioned."
  • It says that the Delhi Police, which investigated spot-fixing allegations, has disclosed that suspended cricketer S Sreesanth alleged that three prominent Indian players were involved with bookies. Sreesanth was arrested last year and is now out on bail.
  • The Mudgal report says according to the Mumbai and Delhi Police, recorded conversations "indicate connection of some Indian and foreign players with betting activities".
  • In a major setback for BCCI president N Srinivasan, the Mudgal panel has found his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyyappan's involvement in illegal betting in last year's edition of the IPL. It has also said he passed on about the Chennai Super Kings team or CSK, owned by his father-in-law's company India Cements.

IOA ban revoked

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has revoked the ban imposed on Indian Olympic Association (IOA), paving the way for India’s return to the Olympic fold. The decision comes just days after IOA held elections as per IOC directives.
  • N. Ramachandran , the president of IOA had said upon his appointment that his main objective was to have the Indian flag at the Sochi Winter Olympics - a goal which is now achieved as the the flag will be unfurled at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics currently underway in Russia.
  • Three Indian athletes including Shiva Keshavan are competing and they will walk out with the Indian flag and to the tune of the national anthem at the closing ceremony.
  • The news also comes as a huge relief for Indian athletes as they will now be able to represent the country in big events slated for this year including the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Asian Games.
  • The entire controversy had erupted when India were suspended by the IOC in December 2012 for electing tainted men like Lalit Bhanot (secretary general) and Abhay Singh Chautala (president).

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