Current Affairs India - 21 March 2013

1. The Supreme Court of India has upheld the death sentence of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon awarded by the special TADA court in the 1993 Mumbai blast case which claimed 257 lives. It has also commuted life sentence for other 10 death row convicts and upheld the life term awarded to 16 out of 18 convicts. At the same it has sentenced Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt to a sentence of 5 years in jail because of his association with the 1993 bombings in Mumbai. The 10 convicts whose death sentence was commuted to life term were — Abdul Gani Ismail Turk, Parvez Nazir Ahmed Shaikh, Mushtaq Tarani, Asghar Mukadam, Shahnawaz Qureshi, Shoaib Ghansar, Firoze Amani Malki, Zakir Hussain, Abdul Akhtar Khan and Farooq Pawale.

2. The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has approved the National Food Security Bill this week. The food security bill approved is directed towards giving the right to food to around 67% of India's 120-crore population. The amendments to the Bill will guarantee 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month, while families in the poorest of the poor will continue to get 35 kg of grains per month. The scheme will also be linked to the Aadhar scheme which provides every citizen with a unique identification number that's linked to a database that includes the biometrics of all card-holders.

3. Veteran Congress leader and former Nagaland Chief Minister, Senayangba Chubatoshi Jamir was sworn-in as the Governor of Odisha today. He was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Justice C Nagappan at Raj Bhavan and he succeeded Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare whose tenure had ended on August 20 last year but had been continuing in office till Jamir's appointment.

4. The Reserve Bank has downplayed the money-laundering allegations against three private sector banks, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and AXIS Bank today and said that India has a perfect system to prevent such offences and that not a single such transaction took place in the sting operation. Those private sector banks were accused of indulging in money laundering last week by an online portal, Cobrapost.

5. The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Social Fund for Development (SFD) Egypt and World Bank. It was signed in the presence of visiting Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, and Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma yesterday. It aims SIDBI and its associates to provide consultancy for a three-year period to SFD and, among other things, establish a credit guarantee system for micro, small and medium enterprises in Egyp.

6. Prayag United defeated defending champions East Bengal and end their 14-match unbeaten run in the final of the IFA Shield in Kolkata yesterdayl to win the 117th IFA Shield. This was United-s second big win after their 2010 Durand Cup triumph.