Current Affairs India - 5 March 2014

1. The Election Commission has announced a nine-day schedule for the general elections and assembly elections for Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim. The first date of polling will start on April 7 and other dates are 9, 10, 12, 17, 24 and 30 of April and 7 and 12 May. Counting will take place on May 16.

Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath also said the model code of conduct will come into force today. He said more than 81.4 crore voters will be eligible for voting and will be 9.3 lakh polling stations. All electronic voting machines will have 'none of the above' facility.

Regarding paid news, the election commission has asked the Centre to make it an electoral offence to curb its menace. VS Sampath said the Commission is already trying to curb its practice by monitoring the expenditure of candidates.

2. Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit will take over as governor of Kerala. She will succeed Nikhil Kumar who quit the post in order to contest the Lok Sabha election from Bihar. Nikhil, who met Lalu Prasad in Patna today, decided to contest for Lok Sabha Election as a Congress candidate.

3. Assam has become the first state in India to observe State Child Protection Day on 4th March. A central function was organized with the support of Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Marked by celebrations in all the districts of the state, a central function was held in the city under the aegis of the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR), in collaboration with Unicef. The Internationally Child Protection Day is observed on 19 November every year. It was launched by the   Women-s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) in 2000.

4. Indian Government has approved payment of 8.75% rate of interest on PF deposits in 2013-14 for over five crore subscribers of retirement fund body EPFO. The Finance Ministry has given its approval to the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation's (EPFO) trustees' decision to provide 8.75% rate of interest to its members for the current fiscal. This is 25 bps higher compared to 8.5% rate of interest paid in previous financial year 2012-13.

5. India-s Current Account Deficit (CAD) for the third quarter of the current financial year 2013-2014 narrowed to USD 4.2 billion compared to USD 5.2 billion in the same quarter last financial year. The October to December CAD stands at 0.9% of GDP versus 1.2% quarter to quarter.  The CAD for the first nine months of the current financial year now stands at USD 31.1 billion (2.3% of GDP) compared to USD 69.8 billion last year (5.2% of GDP). This is a good news for Indian economy as lower CAD will help domestic currency and improve macro-economic condition.

6. US First Lady Michelle Obama presented the International Women of Courage Award to Indian acid attack victim Laxmi after she won the same for successfully leading the campaign against acid attacks on women in India. Obama and the large crowd at the State Department auditorium was moved and touched when Laxmi recited a poem recounting her experience on the occasion yesterday.

Laxmi was 16 when an acquaintance threw acid on her face while she waited at a bus stop in New Delhi-s busy Khan Market in 2005, disfiguring her permanently.

7. India-s Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has appointed R.Neelakantan as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on 4th March 2014 in a management re-org. He will replace Sam Isaac. Earlier Neelakantan had served as SpiceJet-s CFO from November 2010 to February 2013 and this change will mark his return to the low cost airlines again.