Current Affairs India - 1 January 2015

1. The Central government has renamed the 64-year old Planning Commission as -NITI Ayog- (NITI- National Institution for Transforming India) which will provide the Centre and the States with relevant strategic and technical advice across key elements of policy. Planning commission has been renamed after Modi-s meeting with chief ministers of other countries.

This step was seen as first step of replacing with a new age institution. The existing planning commission was launched in 1950 and till now it has commissioned 12 five-year plans and six annual plans involving fund outlays of over Rs 200 lakh crore in its long 65-year-history.

2. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has launched a mobile application -Himmat- in order to improve women safety in the national capital region. The app is an initiative by Delhi Police which caters to working women who own android smart phones and travel alone.

The app will allow users to call the police control room and also trigger a 30-second audio and video recording on the press of the phone-s power button.

3. The government has appointed M Sathiyavathy as the new director general of civil aviation (DGCA) till 28th January 2018. With this Sathiyavathy, who is currently additional secretary and financial advisor in the aviation ministry, will be the first director general of civil aviation (DGCA) of the country.

She will replace Prabhat Kumar, who has completed his central deputation and will go back to parent UP cadre. After she takes charge as DGCA, her first challenge will be to take Indian aviation safety ranking back to its lost top billing.

4. Government has announced to separate the post of Chairman and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in public sector banks as advised by the Central Bank Reserve Bank of India.

As per Finance Ministry statement, the Chairman in public sector banks other than State Bank of India will be a part- time board member who would preside over the board meetings and will not be an Executive Chairman. The government has also appointed four Managing Directors and CEOs in United Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Overseas Bank and Vijaya Bank.

5. India-s insurance industry regulator, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) was renamed to Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India this week. The amendment was done to the Insurance Regulation and Development Act, 1999 by adding the words India after Development Authority in Section 105 of the Ordinance amends section 2 (1)(b) of the IRDA Act.

6. India-s fiscal deficit for the April-November period of financial year 2014-15 touched 99% of the Budget estimate for the current financial year. As per the data published by the Controller General of Accounts, the deficit touched at Rs 5.25 lakh crore in the same period.

The Government managed to collect just 43.4% of estimated receipts, while its expenditure was 59.8% of estimation. The government now needs to take more steps in order to bring fiscal deficit with budget estimated target.

7. India-s core sector grew by 6.7% in November compared to 3.2% growth witnessed in the same month last year. Core sector growth stood at 6.4% in previous month of October. The core sector gorwht was increased due to better performance of coal, cement, electricity sectors etc. Output of Coal, Cement and Electricity sectors jumped by 14.5%, 10.2% and 10.2% respectively in the same month.

The eight core sectors (coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity) have a weightage of 38% in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and this improved data will have positive impact on overall IIP growth.