February 2014 Current Affairs List


Current Affairs Global - 1 February 2014

1. US President Barack Obama will nominate a senior US Navy officer, Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, as the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), the federal body embroiled in a row over its spying programme. He would take over at a moment when the spy agency is under tremendous pressure after leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

2. Janet Yellen, the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history, took over the reins of the US central bank today and formally be sworn in next week. He succeeded Chairman Ben Bernanke whose second four-year term expires yesterday. Her role will be very crucial when Federal Reserve has started with its much awaited tapering and stimulus cut amid US economic recovery.

3. Scotland will join Pool A of the ICC World Cup 2015 after recording a 41-run victory over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to win the ICC World Cup Qualifier at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln today. The 2005 champions lifted the trophy for the second time.

The two teams secured their positions in the final, as well as a spot in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 by finishing in the top two of the Super Six stage of the qualifying competition. England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will be in Pool A. UAE, South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland will be in Pool B.

Current Affairs India - 1 February 2014

1. Harish Rawat, a Union Minister, was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand today, succeeding Vijay Bahuguna who was asked by the Congress high command to step down in a bid to boost the party's prospects in the state ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls this year. He was administered the oath of office by Governor Aziz Qureshi at Raj Bhawan.

Earlier incumbent Chief Minister of Uttrakhand, Vijay Bahuguna, submitted his resignation to the Governor of the state yesterday after a meeting of senior party leaders of the party in Delhi that was headed by Congress President, Sonia Gandhi.

2. Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavanon inaugurated the monorail in Mumbai today. The country's first Monorail service is commencing operations after a delay of over two years. The monorail route would be thrown open for public use in Mumbai from Sunday morning. It will connect Wadala in Central Mumbai with Chembur in suburban Mumbai. The services will run from 7 am to 3 pm, which would be increased gradually. One rake will carry about 560 passengers.

3. Mumbai Police Commissioner, Satyapal Singh resigned from his role on Thursday as he plans to explore a career in politics. He has sought Voluntary Retirement from service and wants to be relieved from his duties by the second week of February. The BJP is keen to field Mr. Singh for a Lok Sabha seat from Meerut. With this he becomes the first police chief to quit the force. He was due for retirement in 2015.

4. US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded the safety ratings of Indian aviation from top to the second category. The downgrading would affect expansion of flights by Indian carriers to the United States. The downgrade from Category I to II means that Indian aviation regulator does not meet the safety standards set by the UN agency, International Civil Aviation Organisation. The downgrading of Indian aviation was taken after Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) failed to address all the 33 concerns raised by the FAA in its safety audit conducted in September 2013 and December 2013.

5. Rajasthan Government also scrapped its approval for the foreign direct investment in multi-brand retailing after Delhi following BJP forming government there. The approval was given earlier by the previous Congress state government. Vasundhara Raje, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan has written a letter to Commerce and Industry Minister of India to notify the government-s modified decision regarding FDI in multi brand retail.

6. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday laid out a road map to deal with a surge in bad loans in the Rs.82 trillion banking system. The framework outlines a corrective action plan that will offer incentives for early identification of stressed assets by banks, timely revamp of accounts considered to be unviable, and prompt steps for recovery or sale of assets in the case of loans at the risk of turning bad. These guidelines will be effective from 1st April 2014.

In the document called Framework for Revitalizing Distressed Assets in the Economy, RBI has asked banks to form a committee called Joint Lenders forum to formulate a plan for early resolution of stress in an account. The committee should also consider an option to transfer the promoters' holdings to a security trustee or an escrow arrangement till turnaround of company. The RBI also said that restructuring of a bad loan should be done in such a manner that shareholders, including promoters, bear the first loss and not the lenders. The guidelines ask banks to make future loans more expensive for borrowers who don't cooperate in resolving existing bad loans.

The RBI diluted rules for accelerated provisioning it had proposed for non-performing accounts. Now lenders will make 25% provision for unsecured loans that remain unpaid for six months. Initially, RBI had proposed 30% provisions. Plus, for loans that have remained unpaid for two years, banks have to set aside 40%, instead of 50%.

7. Samsung has emerged as the most trusted brand in India, followed by Sony, Tata and LG according to Brand Trust Report, India Study 2014 (BTR 2014). Nokia slipped to fifth position in 2014 BTR report compared to top slop in BTR 2013. Hewlett Packard has jumped 14 places to become the sixth most trusted brand. Hero, Honda, Reliance and M&M secured 7th to 10th positions respectively in the same order.

This year's study involved 2,500 consumer-influencers across 16 cities in India and generated 5 million data-points and 20,000 unique brands from which the top 1,200 brands were culled. The brands have been classified in 284 different categories against 213 categories in 2013.

8. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India jumped by 54.8% in November to USD 1.64 billion compared with USD 1.06 billion in the same month last year. Total FDI inflows in the first eight months for the current fiscal year were down 2% from a year earlier at USD 15.46 billion, compared with USD 15.85 billion during the year-ago period. India-s FDI inflow declined in the recent months due to lack of corporate investment and adverse macro-economic condition.

9. India overtook Japan to become the third largest crude oil importer in the World, as per the data released by Reuters.  India imported 3.86 million barrels-per-day of crude oil in the year 2013 which is slightly higher than 3.64 million barrels per day imported by Japan. China and USA secured the first and second place with 6.30 million barrels per day and 6.24 million barrels per day imports respectively.

10. Manoj Vaish took charge as Managing Director and CEO of the country's leading commodity exchange MCX today. Commodity markets regulator FMC has conveyed its approval to the appointment of Dr Manoj Vaish as MD and CEO of the company. MCX in now under the regulatory glare following troubles at the promoter group after 5,600-crore scam at its sister concern National Spot Exchange (NSEL).

11. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the fourth fastest batsman to complete 8,000 runs in one-day cricket during the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand in Wellington. He reached the milestone in 214 innings after Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Brian Lara. It is a great achievement by the wicketkeeper-batsman who comes in lower down the order and considered one of the greatest finished ever in the ODI form of Cricket.



Forex Reserves increased by USD 157.3 million to 292.238 billion

India-s Forex reserves were increased by USD 157.3 million to 292.238 billion for the week ended 17th January as per the recent weekly data released by RBI. This increase was mainly due to increase in the reserve portion in the Foreign Currency Assets.  The Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) was increased by USD 117.3 million to 266.051 billion for the same week. Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and yen, held in the reserves.

The SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) and Reserve portion with IMF were also increased by USD 27.6 million and USD 12.4 million respectively for the same week. Gold values remained unchanged at USD 19.724 billion for the same reporting week.


India-s Core industries output growth stood at 2.1% in December

India-s core sector output, consisting of eight key sectors, grew by 2.1% in December compared to 1.7% growth in the previous month of November. This is much lower than 7.5% growth recorded in December 2012. Coal output fell 0.6% and Petroleum refinery production declined by 1.7% in December compared to same month last year.

In April-December period of current financial year, eight core industries- output grew just 2.5% against 6.8% recorded in same period last year. Core sectors have nearly 38% weight in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and this dismal data will affect IIP numbers as well for December month.



Current Affairs Global - 3 February 2014

1. Social networking giant Facebook is celebrating its 10th birthday this week. The company was launched by Mark Zuckerberg on February 4, 2004, from Harvard University. With more than 1.2 billion users worldwide, this is the largest company in the social networking space.

2. Rafael Nadal remains top of the men-s ATP tennis rankings released today with 14,330 points. He was followed by Serbia-s Novak Djokavic (10,580 points) and Australian Open winner Switzerland-s Statislas Wawrinka (5,710 points). Spain-s David Ferrer (With 5,280 points) and UK-s Andy Murray (with 4,795 points) secured 5th and 6th position respectively while Roger Federer slipped to 8th position with 4,355 points.

3. Serena Williams retained her top position in the WTA women-s tennis rankings issued today with 13,000 points. She was followed by Belarus-s Victoria Azarenka (with 6,581 points) and Australian Open winner China-s Li Na (with 6,570 points). Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland (with 5,750 points), Maria Sharapova, Russia (with 5,600), Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic, (With 4,745 points), Sara Errani, Italy (with 4,425 points), Jelena Jankovic, Serbia (with 4,310 points), Angelique Kerber, Germany (with 4,030 points) and Simona Halep (Romania) (with 3,760 points) secured 4th to 10th rank in the same ranking.

4. Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment yesterday. He was 46. Drug overdose could be a reason for his unexpected death. Hoffman won an Oscar for best actor in 2006 for -Capote- and was seen as one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation. He was a character actor with over 60 film credits to his name, including Magnolia, The Master, Boogie Nights, the Big Lebowski, Mission Impossible.


Current Affairs India - 3 February 2014

1. Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has been given additional charge of Water Resources Ministry after resignation by Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat who has been appointed as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

2. The Central Government has appointed Jatinder Bir Singh as Chairman and Managing Director of Punjab & Sind Bank (PSB). Before this, He was an Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources. At PSB, Jatinder Bir Singh succeeded DP Singh who had superannuated recently.

3. Teresa Kho has been appointed as the new Country Director for India of the Asian Development Bank. Kho, who assumed charge as Country Director for India on Monday, was previously heading the Bangladesh Resident Mission of ADB. She replaces Hun Kim, who has been appointed as the Deputy Director General of ADB's South Asia Department in Manila. She has handled the planning, processing and implementation of diverse operations in the urban sector in India covering water, wastewater, waste management and urban transport spread across several states.

4. Karnataka won their seventh Ranji Trophy title after defeating Maharashtra by seven wickets on the fifth and concluding day of the final match yesterday. Chasing a modest victory target of 157 in little over two sessions, Karnataka batsmen reached the destination with ease as they achieved the target in 40.5 overs. Karnataka have won the trophy for seventh time. Young opener Rahul was awarded the man-of-the-match for his century in the first innings.

5. India-s Virat Kohli slipped to fourth position in the latest ICC Twenty20 rankings issued today, still the best-placed Indian batsman. He was followed by Suresh Raina at fifth and Yuvraj Singh at sixth. Australia opener Aaron Finch jumped five places to a career-best third position after Australia won the series 3-0 against England. New Zealand-s Brendon McCullum and England-s Alex Hales secured 1st and 2nd position respectively in the same ranking.



Current Affairs Global - 4 February 2014

1. World Cancer Day is observed today (4th February) across the world in order to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of the World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020. Tagline for 2014 is -Debunk the myths-.

A new global cancer compiled by UN Agency the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was released on the World Cancer Day 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. As per the report, Cancer as a single entity is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide - it has estimated about 8.2 million deaths from cancer in 2012. Over four years, the global cancer incidence has increased by 11 percent to an estimated 14.1 million cases in 2012 - equal to the population of India-s largest city (Mumbai).

2. Microsoft has named Satya Nadella as its new CEO. He is now an executive in charge of the company's small, but growing business of delivering software and services over the Internet. The software giant announced today that Nadella will replace Steve Ballmer, who said in August that he would leave the company within 12 months. With this he will become only the third leader in the software giant's 38-year history, after founder Bill Gates and Ballmer. Company founder Bill Gates is also leaving the chairman role for a new role as technology adviser. Board member John Thompson will serve as Microsoft's new chairman.

3. Janet Yellen has been sworn in as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the US Central Bank and the most powerful Central bank in the world. She succeeded Ben Bernanke. This is a crucial time for Federal Reserve when it has just started with its tapering by cutting stimulus of USD 10 billion every month.

Current Affairs India - 4 February 2014

1. Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and eminent scientist Prof C N R Rao were conferred with Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian honour today by the President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan-s Durbar Hall attended by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Union ministers, Sachin-s wife Anjali, daughter Sara and a host of dignitaries. Sachin is the first sportsman to be awarded with the honour and CNR Rao is the third scientist to get the award. Tendulkar and Rao, both of whom are recipients of Padma Vibhushan — the country-s second highest civilian honour, will join a list of 41 eminent personalities who have been conferred with the award.

2. Delhi Cabinet cleared the draft of the Jan Lokpal bill today as promised by AAP party and the draft bill was cleared at a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The bill provides for covering all public servants, from chief minister to Group D employees, and seeks life term as maximum punishment for those found guilty of corruption. The bill also provides for a legal right of protection to -honest- officials, whistleblowers and witnesses besides having provisions for time-bound investigation and trial of corruption cases.

3. Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur has been appointed as the Chairman of the 7th Pay Commission. Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary, Vivek Rae will be the full time Member. Dr Rathin Roy, Director, National Institute of Public Finances and Policy will be its part-time Member of the commission. Officer on Special Duty in the Department of Expenditure, Meena Agarwal will be the Secretary of the Pay panel. The Commission has been mandated to submit its report in two years- time and its recommendations would be implemented from 1st January 2016.





Current Affairs Global - 6 February 2014

1. Google Inc executive Susan Wojcicki has been appointed new head of its YouTube video business. Wojcicki will replace Salar Kamangar. This is one of the biggest changes in the recent times as Google wants to make YouTube as a much bigger revenue generator.

2. The European Central Bank (ECB) has kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.25% after its latest meeting after reducing the rate in November last year. Eurozone inflation slowed to 0.7% in January from 0.8% in December, which helped ECB to keep interest rate at record low. Also ECB has ruled out any threat of deflation to the euro zone economy.

3. The Bank of England has kept Interest rates unchanged at record low of 0.5%, as per the monetary policy announcement today. The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) also left the £375 billion quantitative easing stimulus programme unchanged.

Current Affairs India - 6 February 2014

1. The government has set up a committee today to suggest suitable and corrective measures to address concerns regarding security of people from North East. The six-member panel will be headed by M P Bezbaruah, a retired bureaucrat. The committee will submit its report within two months after examining the causes behind the attacks, violence and discrimination against the people from the Northeast. The decision was taken in the wake of death of a student from Arunachal Pradesh in New Delhi last week which drew huge protest by North East people living in New Delhi. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and MPs from North East to discuss steps to prevent atrocities against people from the North East region.

2. Delhi-s AAP government today directed its Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to probe a number of Commonwealth Games related projects that were implemented during the reign of Sheila Dikshit. The government has particularly asked ACB to probe the alleged irregularities in street light projects in which the Prime Minister-appointed Shunglu Committee had questioned certain decisions made by Dikshit.

3. The Gujarat state government is now considering allocating lignite directly to the small and medium industries through the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) from Rajpardi mines in south Gujarat. While gas-based large industries continue to face fuel shortage, this step will help all the small industries in Gujarat. The state government has also given in-principle approval to the plan, which will ensure cheap fuel for the small industries and also appointed NSIC as nodal agency to distribute lignite among the small units.

4. India has extended the facility of visa-on-arrival for the tourists of 180 countries while barred tourists of eight nations. Currently 11 countries enjoy the benefit which is extended to 180 countries today including Finland, the Philippines, Singapore and Japan. The Minister for State for Planning, Rajeev Shukla said that the facility will be implemented from next tourist season that will begin in October 2014.

The electronic Visa offered to the tourists would be valid for a period of 30 days from the date of their visit to India. The countries have been barred from this visa-on-arrival facility includes Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia.

5. Famous Hindi writer Vishwanath Tripathi been selected for the prestigious Vyas Samman for the year 2013. He has been chosen for the annual literary award instituted in 1991 by the K K Birla Foundation for his memoir 'Vyomkesh Darvesh', a biolgraphy of noted Hindi scholar Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi. The award carries an amount of Rs 2.5 lakh. It is given to an outstanding literary work in Hindi published during the last 10 years.

6. Sanjeev Kulkarni, an Indian-American professor of electrical engineering and director of the Keller Center, has been appointed as the dean of the prestigious Princeton University Graduate School. With this he joined the long list of Indian-origin academicians assuming leadership roles at renowned global universities. His appointed will effect from 31st March. He succeeds William Russel, who has served as dean since 2002.




Current Affairs Global - 7 February 2014

1. Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, was nominated for the World Children's Prize in Sweden today for her continuous campaign and fight for education rights for girls. Liv Kjellberg, 15, a member of the international prize jury, said Malala is a child herself and she stands up for girls- rights to education in not only Pakistan, but also the world. She was nominated last year for the Nobel Peace Prize and won the European Union's Sakharov human rights prize for her fight to encourage education for all children.

The two other nominees for this year's award are founder of the US-based education charity Room to Read, John Wood  and Nepali activist who helps prisoners' children Indira Ramanagar.

2. The global conversation organisation, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) has appointed Marco Lambertini as director-general (DG) of the WWF International on 6 February 2014 with effect from 1st May this year. His appointment was announced by Peter Schei, Chairman of BirdLife's Global Council in a message to the BirdLife Partnership and in a news released today.

With 25 years of global conservation leadership, Marco Lambertini began his association with WWF as a youth volunteer growing up in his native Italy. Prior to his current role as Chief Executive of BirdLife International, Marco was Global Director of Network and Programme for over a decade.

3. General Motors CEO Mary Barra, the first woman to run a global automaker topped the Fortune list of '50 most powerful women in business: Global edition. IBM Chairman, CEO, President Ginni Rometty secured 2nd spot, Petrobras CEO Maria das Gracas Silva Foster secured 4th spot, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg ranked at 11th, Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer ranked at 14th and Google's Senior Vice President for Ads and Commerce Susan Wojcicki is ranked at 20th in the same list.

4. Google took aim at office meeting rooms with the release of a Chromebox for video conferencing. Chromebox-for-meetings is available in the US at a starting price of USD 999 and is to be released later this year in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, and Spain. As many as 15 people can take part in a Chromebox video conference using smartphones, tablets, laptops or other Internet linked computers. The first model box comes with a high-definition camera and a speaker with a microphone. A monitor must be provided. There is also an annual management fee of USD 250 for the videoconferencing setup.

5. The 22nd Winter Olympics start at Sochi in Russia today and it will continue till 23rd February. Around 2500 athletes will take part in 98 disciplines in the games. Shiva Keshwan, Himanshu Thakur and Nadeem Ikbal will represent India in the Winter Olympics. Though there will be no tricolour at that opening ceremony, as the three Indian athletes who have qualified for the Games, are competing as independent athletes.

6. The famous England batsman Kevin Pietersen-s international career ended by England Cricket Board this week. His career was ended unexpectedly as he was excluded from the team for the upcoming tour of the West Indies and later the World Twenty20 Championships. In his 9 year long career, he played 104 Tests and 136 ODIs and scored 8181 and 4440 runs respectively.

Current Affairs India - 7 February 2014

1. The Union Cabinet cleared the Telangana Bill in a special meeting held today. Hyderabad will be the joint capital for Telangana and Seemandhra rather than making it a Union Territory as demanded by Seemandhra leaders. The bill, which was sent back by the Andhra Pradesh Legislature after discussions in the two Houses, got the Cabinet's approval at its special meeting held in New Delhi today. The bill is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on February 12. The bill will also be sent to the President for consent.

2. Four Trinamul Congress candidates and one CPI(M) nominee have won in Rajya Sabha elections from West Bengal today. Famous actor Mithun Chakraborty, painter Jogen Chowdhury, businessman K.D.Singh and Ahamed Hassan from Trinamool Congress and CPIM nominee Ritabrata Banerjee have been elected to the upper house of the Parliament from the state.

3. The Indian government pegged the economic growth rate for 2013-14 at 4.9% on 8th February compared to 4.5% in 2012-13. The growth is projected to be marginally lower than the finance ministry's estimate of a 5% growth, dragged down by a contraction in the manufacturing sector, as per the Central Statistics Office. While manufacturing growth is seen at -0.2% versus 1.1% year-on-year, the services growth is projected at 6.9% versus 7% year-on-year. The 'agriculture, forestry and fishing' sector is likely to show a growth of 4.6% in its GDP during 2013-14 compared to 1.4% in previous year.

4. Finance ministry has extended Upendra Kumar Sinha's tenure as SEBI head for another two years on 7th February. He has been doing a phenomenal job and this extension will give more time to continue pursuing reforms aimed at bringing more transparency to stock markets.

5. Union Cabinet approved Vodafone-s proposal yesterday to buy out minority partners and own 100% of Vodafone India in a USD 1.6 billion deal. Vodafone, which entered India in 2007 by buying Hutchison-s local cellular assets in an USD 11 billion deal, directly and indirectly owns a combined 84.5% of Vodafone India, the country's No 2 telecoms company by users and revenue. Vodafone will buy rest of the stake from Piramal Enterprises and Indian businessman Analjit Singh to own 100% stake.

6. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and ICICI Bank Managing Director Chanda Kochhar are ranked among Fortune magazine's list of 50 most powerful women in business. Indra Nooyi was ranked 3rd and Chanda Kochhar was ranked 18th in the same list.

7. All India Management Association (AIMA), the national apex body of management professionals in the country, has conferred the high performance brand award for 2013 to Amul, the milk brand marketed by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF). This award was given in reorganization of the path breaking achievements of GCMMF which has successfully used commercial marketing to enrich the lives of millions of farmers. It has achieved market leadership in all the categories that it operates in. AIMA and RK Swamy BBDO had instituted the Award in 2009.

8. India-s largest paramilitary force CRPF has appointed five-time world boxing champion and Olympic bronze medalist M C Mary Kom as its brand ambassador.





Current Affairs Global - 9 February 2014

1. Nepali Congress leader Sushil Koirala is set to become the next prime minister of Nepal with the support of the CPN-UML, ending months of political gridlock following last year-s elections. The Parliament of Nepal will elect Koirala as prime minister tomorrow. The CPN—UML standing committee has decided to back Koirala for the top post after the party reached a six-point deal with the Nepali Congress (NC).

2. ICC approved controversial structural reform to give most power to India, England and Australia boards this week. The new structure ensures that the BCCI, which generates 80% of the game's revenues, will get a larger share of the ICC pie along with England and Australia as the two other main beneficiaries. In the new set-up, India, Australia and England will have permanent seats on a five-member executive committee, which will report to the ICC board. Also BCCI president N Srinivasan is set to become the first ICC chairman from July for a period of two years.

3. Kumar Sangakkara became only the second player to hit a triple century and a century in the same match while playing against Bangladesh on 7th February. Sangakkara scored 319 runs in the first innings and 105 in the second to join former England captain Graham Gooch. Gooch scored 333 and 123 against India at Lord's in 1990. Sangakkara was 33 runs short of breaking Gooch's record for most runs in a single test.

Current Affairs India - 9 February 2014

1. Tour operator Thomas Cook (India) Ltd will merge its operations with resort owner Sterling Holiday Resorts India Ltd in a deal valued at Rs 870 crore, announced this week. The merger will give Thomas Cook access to Sterling Resorts' 19 properties in 16 holiday destinations across India and it will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2014.

2. Indian Olympic Association conducted its polls this week and N Ramachandran was elected as the president. This will clear India-s return to the Olympic fold. Ramachandran, chief of World Squash Federation, was elected unopposed in the election.

Kho-Kho Federation of India President Rajeev Mehta and All India Tennis Association (AITA) chief Anil Khanna were also elected unopposed as Secretary General and Treasurer respectively in the polls. Corruption-tainted Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot were excluded from the IOA following this election.

3. Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri, who is ranked 174 in the singles list beat Alexander Kudryavtsev of Russia 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the final match of the ATP Challenger Tennis event at Chennai today. In the semifinal, he defeated top seed Somdev by 6-2, 6-4. With this win, he emerged winner in the contest between India-s top two tennis players he and India number one Somdev Devvarman.



Current Affairs Global - 10 February 2014

1. Bangladesh-s film maker Kamar Ahmad Simon-s 90-minute documentary, -Are You Listening-, has won the Golden Conch Award for the Best Documentary Film at the Mumbai International Film Festival in the -Documentary, Short and Animation Films- category. Germany-s Maria Stodtmeier-s -In Between : Isang Yun in North and South Korea- won the award in the Best Documentary Film upto 60 minutes category. Kashmiri film -Tamaash- won the Golden Conch award for the Best Short Fiction Film in the National Competition.

2. The US economy added 113,000 jobs in January; which is weaker than expected for the second month in a row. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.6% in January compared to 6.7% in December 2013. This is the lowest level since October 2008.

3. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have been named joint top US philanthropists for 2013. The couple has donated 18 million Facebook shares worth of more than USD 970 million to a Silicon Valley foundation. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation is a charity that manages and distributes charitable funds.

4. India has retained its second position in the latest ICC Test rankings even after losing the first test against New Zealand last week. South Africa retained No 1 rank with 131 points followed by India with 117 points and Australia with 111 points.

South Africa-s A.B. Devilliers retained No1 rank in the list of batsmen followed by Sri Lanka-s Kumar Sangakkara. India-s Cheteshwar Pujara is ranked at 6th and Virat Kohli is ranked at 11th position in the same list. Vernon Philander retained No 1 rank in the bowlers list followed by Dale Steyn. India-s Ashwin is ranked as the world-s number one test all-rounder followed by Bangladesh-s Shakib Al Hasan.

5. Yulia Lipnitskaya, 15-years-old, became the youngest Russian athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics currently being held at Sochi, Russia. She won the medal in free skating in the team figure skating competition. Yulia scored 141.51 points and earned a combined total of 214.41 under the International Judging System.

6. Pakistan-s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sacked Zaka Ashraf as the Chairman of the PCB and suspended the Governing board with immediate effect on 10th February. Ashraf was removed by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif because of his mishandling Pakistan's case in the recent changes brought in the ICC last week which give most of the power to India, England and Australia. Nawaz Sharif also appointed the former interim PCB chief Najam Sethi, the PCB former chairman Shaharyar Khan and the former Test cricketers Iqbal Qasim and Zaheer Abbas among the ad-hoc committee members.

Current Affairs India - 10 February 2014

1. Sikkim becomes the first state in India with 100% sanitation coverage. All 6,10,577 inhabitants have latrines with high sanitation and hygiene standards. This is a significant achievement for the state and it has done remarkably well to achieve this. The state has also sensitised people to adopt a holistic approach to improve sanitation and hygiene in a clean environment while accelerating its overall development.

2. BCCI chief N Srinivasan's son-in-law and former Chennai Super Kings team principal Gurunath Meiyappan was indicted on charges of betting by the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee, formed by the Supreme Court to inquire into spot-fixing and illegal betting in the Indian Premier League last year. This clearly means that Srinivasan's claim earlier that Meiyappan was just a 'cricket enthusiast' has been rejected by the probe panel.

The reports also suggest that role Raj Kundra andShilpa Shetty, owner of Rajasthan Royals IPL team, should be investigated further. The report states that the conflict of interest on Srinivasan holding post of BCCI chief and ownership of an IPL franchisee is a serious issue and needs to be considered by court. The report also said that Influx of hawala money and involvement of terrorist elements in betting and fixing of sports is causing serious threat to national security and it should be handled seriously.

3. The Reserve Bank of India has removed the 26%interest rate cap on loans given by microfinance companies regulated by it and linked the interest rate to the cost of funds. After this move microfinance lenders will be able to charge more than 26% if their cost of borrowing from banks is higher. On the other hand, the lending rate will fall if the cost of borrowing goes down. It will provide a greater leeway to the lenders from April 1 once this will be applicable.

RBI also said the microfinance institutions (MFIs) should arrive at the lending rate by calculating their cost of funds plus a maximum 10% margin or the average base rate of the five largest commercial banks by assets multiplied by 2.75 times, whichever is lower.

4. India-s largest passenger car maker, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) has stopped producing its iconic car brand Maruti 800 which was associated with millions of middle class Indians since its launch in 1980. While the production is stopped in January 2014, its parts will be available in the market for next 8-10 years.

5. Olympic Medal winner Indian shooter, Abhinav Bindra won third gold-medal in the Inter-Shoot Tri-series Shooting in the Air Pistol event. With this win, He became the first person to win three gold medals in the event that is being held at the Hague, Netherlands.



Current Affairs India - 11 February 2014

1. India completes three years without reporting any case of polio yesterday. It is only the second time in the history that a disease is being eliminated in India through immunisation after small pox in May 1980. This is a great achievement by Indian government. Officially the World Health Organisation (WHO) will certify India as polio-free on February 11 after the last of random samples picked up would be tested.

India won the war against polio through intense Pulse Polio Immunization under the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988 under which over 17 crore children were vaccinated in each round of vaccination with the help of 24 lakh vaccinators.

2. More than a year after being banned from the Olympic movement due to tainted officials, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revokes ban on Indian Olympic Association (IOA) after conducting fresh election. The IOC lifted the 14-month-old ban on India after the IOA barred charge-framed officials from its fresh election held on Sunday in which N. Ramachandran, was elected as the new President. With this decision, India back in Olympic fold and Indian players will be able to play under Indian flag now and they can walk behind their national flag at the closing ceremony.

3. The government has ordered a CBI probe into the death of Arunachal Pradesh youth Nido Tania in Delhi last week. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the family want that the investigation should be conducted by CBI and government has decided to do so. He also said he has assured that justice will be given to the family and guilty will be punished. The victim's father and Congress MLA Nido Pavitra said that he also requested the minister to do the needful to ensure security of people from northeast living different parts of the country.

4. R.K.Tiwari has been appointed as the new chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and his appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). He will succeed Chairperson Sudha Sharma who is expected to retire on 28th February and He will assume charge from 1st March.

5. Jatinder Bir Singh has been appointed Chairman and Managing Director of Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) last week. He will succeed D.P.singh. Prior to this, Singh, 1983-batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, was an Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources.

6. Vinod Sawhny has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Reliance Communications (RCom) on 10th February 2014. He will succeed Gurdeep Singh, who has been given additional responsibility of consumer business comprising DTH and consumer broadband business.



Current Affairs India - 12 February 2014

1. India has been ranked 140th in the list of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2014 published by the Organisation -Reporters Without Border- in its latest annual report. As per the report, India experienced an unprecedented wave of violence against journalists, with eight killed in 2013. They are targeted by both state and non-state actors. India-s neighbours China and Pakistan were placed at 175th position and 158th position respectively.

Paris-based Organisation Reporters without Border published its latest annual report today in which Finland has been ranked first in the list followed by Netherland and Norway. The ranking of the US has dropped to 46th position from last year's 32nd rank. With rank 158, Pakistan remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

2. According to India-s IT Industry watch body, Nasscom, the Indian IT and Business Process Management (BPM) industry will add incremental revenues of USD 13-14 billion in 2014-15 with an annual growth rate of 13-15%. This is the highest growth rate forecast since 2011. Indian IT industry is expected to clock revenues of USD 86 billion this fiscal year 2013-14.

3. Yahoo India has appointed Gurmit Singh as Managing Director, overseeing the Internet major-s business in the country. He will report to Yvonne Chang, Vice-President & Head of India and South-East Asia at Yahoo. Before that, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Forbes India at Network 18.

4. The Chartered Accountants Institute has appointed K Raghu as its new President. Earlier, he was Vice-President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), and was elected the President of the second largest accountancy body in the world on 12th February. The Central Council of the CA Institute has also elected Manoj Fadnis as the Vice-President for 2014-15.

5. The two day player auction for the 2014 edition of the Indian Premier League has begun today. India-s Yuvraj Singh attracted the biggest price of Rs 14 crore in the auction. Delhi Daredevils retained Kevin Pietersen for Rs 9 cr which is the highest amount attracted by any foreign cricketer. Major changes include, Delhi Daredevils bought Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary and Murali Vijay, Kings XI Punjab bought Virendra Sehwag, Mitchell Johnson and Cheteshwar Pujara. KKR bought Jacques Kallis, Piyush Chawla and Robin Uthappa,

6. Karnataka defeated Rest of India by an innings and 222 runs in the Irani Trophy final at M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore today. With this Karnataka won the Irani trophy for the fifth time. Earlier, Karnataka had ended 15 years of drought by winning Ranji Trophy by beating Maharashtra last month.

India-s retail inflation eased 8.79% in January; lowest in 24 months

India-s Retail inflation, measured by Consumer Price Index, eased to 8.79% in January compared to 9.87% in December due to softening of food price rise. This is the lowest Retail inflation number in last 24 months which should encourage RBI to cut rates now. Food Inflation dropped to 9.9% in January compared to 12.16% in December and Vegetable prices on annual basis rose 21.91% in January, compared to 38.76% recorded in the previous month.

In December, Retail inflation in rural areas eased to 9.43% compared to 10.49% in December and in urban areas eased to 8.09% compared to 9.11% in December. The Reserve Bank factors both retail and wholesale-price-based inflation data in its monetary policy.

IIP contracts by 0.6% in December; Contraction for third straight months

India-s Index of Industrial Production, the most important parameter to judge performance of industrial sector contracted by 0.6% in December compared to 2.1% contraction in the previous month of November. This is the contraction of IIP data for the third consecutive months. This dismal data raises concern that the worst may not be over for the Indian economy.

Manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the IIP index was contracted by 1.6% in December. Overall consumer goods output dropped 5.3% in December, with the consumer durables segment contracting 16.2% during the month. Overall, 8 of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown de-growth in December.

For the cumulative April-December 2013 period of current financial year, IIP contracted 0.1% compared to 0.7% growth during the same period last financial year. Now RBI has to cut rates in order to boost industrial growth.

Interim Railway Budget 2014-15 Highlights

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has presented interim railway budget today.  Mallikarjun Kharge is the second Railway Minister from Congress Party in the 10-year UPA regime to be presenting a Railway Budget, although interim after Lalu Prasad from RJD had presented vote-on-account (interim budget) in 2009 under UPA -I.

The highlights of the budget details are:

  • 17 new premium trains, 38 express trains and 10 passenger trains have been announced

  • No increase in rail fare and freight fare

  • There will be no more unmanned crossings, as proposed by the Railway Ministry

  • A number of measures for safety and security of passengers like portable fire-extinguishers in coaches and induction-based cooking in pantry car have been proposed in the Budget

  • The Railways will borrow Rs. 13,800 crore from markets in 2014-15

  • Gross traffic receipt for 2014-15 is targeted at Rs. 160,775 crore -- out of this goods receipts are expected Rs.105,770 crore, passenger receipts Rs. 45,255 crore

  • FDI being enabled for creation of rail infrastructure

  • Operating ratio for 2014-15 is targeted to improve marginally to 89.8 against 90.8 in the current fiscal

  • Plan size for 2014-15 is targeted at Rs. 64,305 crore against Rs. 59,359 crore in current fiscal

  • Independent Rail Tariff Authority set up to advise on fixing of fares and freight, to engage all stakeholders

  • Three factories at Chhapra, Rae Bareli and Dakuni have become functional

  • Bio-toilet facility to be provided in more trains

    • Railways to start passenger service to Vaishno Devi and Katra

    • Completed doubling gauge of 2,227 km vs target 2,000 km

    • Completed electrification of 4,556 km vs target of 4,500 km

    • Dedicated freight corridors to cut transit time by half

    • Completed laying 2,027 km rail lines vs target 2,000 km

    • Electrification of over 4,000 km is planned

    • Expected to run passenger service up to Katra Vaishno Devi very soon

    • Railways successfully met impact of Sixth Pay Commission

    • Railways to expand services to Meghalaya



Current Affairs Global - 13 February 2014

1. World Radio Day is observed today (13 February) across the world to celebrate radio as a medium, to improve international cooperation between broadcasters and to encourage major networks and community radio. It was proclaimed on 3 November 2011 by UNESCO's 36th General Conference. The theme for 2014 is -Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Radio-.

2. US based leading Cable company Comcast Corporation has announced its acquisition of Time Warner Cable for USD 45.2 billion, in an all-stock deal. This deal would merge the two largest cable TV providers in the United States with a total subscriber base of 30 million or nearly 30% of the pay television market in the USA.

Current Affairs India - 13 February 2014

1. India-s parliament witnessed its worst ever day today due to Telengana issue. Both the houses of parliament witnessed unprecedented violent scenes over the issue which led to adjournment of both the houses for the day.  In a new low in India-s parliamentary history, MPs are alleged to use pepper spray and carry knife today in the parliament. Shouting protesters also broke a glass table and snapped the wire of an official's microphone.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar today suspended 18 MPs from Andhra Pradesh for rest of the session after unprecedented pandemonium broke out in the House over the Telangana issue. This is definitely the worst day for Indian parliament and democracy.

2. 'National Women's Day' is celebrated today (13th February) across India. It is the birthday of Sarojini Naidu who was also known as the 'Nightingale of India'. She was the first Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress and was also the first Indian woman to become Governor of any State (Uttar Pradesh) in India.

3. Krishi Karman Awards for the year 2012-13 was given by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee this week during inaugural function of World Congress on Agro-Forestry (WCA-2014) in New Delhi. The Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture instituted the award in 2010-11 to facilitate different states which achieve desired success in Agricultural.  Madhya Pradesh, Manipur and Odisha received the award in the Total food grain production category while Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh bagged the award in the excellence in the Individual food grains crops category.

4. Renowned filmmaker Balu Mahendra passed away today at a private hospital in Chennai following a cardiac arrest. He was 75 and he suffered a heart attack, was rushed to the hospital where he breathed his last. Balu Mahendra started his career in the industry as a cinematographer for the Malayalam movie -Nellu- in 1974. While his movies Veedu (1988) and Vanna Vanna Pookkal (1992) won the national award for the best feature film in Tamil, Sandhya Raagam (1990) won the award for best film on family welfare.



Current Affairs Global - 14 February 2014

1. The President of Italy has accepted the resignation of Premier Enrico Letta after he was sacked by his own party in a back-room mutiny. He also said that he would start consulting political leaders in search for a new government that can win Parliament approval.  Earlier Mr. Letta was moved from the power as he failed to lift Italy out of its economic and political crisis.

2. The eurozone's economy grew by 0.3% in the final quarter of 2013, compared to 0.1% growth in the previous quarter. Euro zone grew for the third consecutive quarter after 18- month long recession. For the 28 nation European Union, growth for the third quarter stood at 0.4%.

3. Google executive Dennis Woodside, who ran the company-s Motorola Mobility division before it was sold to Lenovo last month, has been appointed as chief operating officer of Dropbox. Dropbox allows consumers and business customers to easily share and store content online.

Current Affairs India - 14 February 2014

1. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned today after failing to table the jan lokpal bill, which was defeated in the introduction stage itself. This decision ends Aam Aadmi Party government-s 49-day run in power. Kejriwal had earlier threatened to quit if he failed to push ahead with the Jan Lokpal bill aimed at curbing corruption in high places. With this, Delhi assembly will be dissolved now and fresh voting will happen again. Aam Aadmi Party can now fully focus on National level election for the upcoming general election.

2. Delhi Police has introduced a new helpline number 1093 for people of North East residing in Delhi to register their complaints. The number 1093 will allow the north-eastern people to register all sorts of complaints including racism and harassment directly to the police. The number will have 5 direct lines and all calls will be received at the central police control room (CPCR) situated at Delhi Police headquarters. Meanwhile, the Delhi police is also planning to launch a Facebook page and a Twitter account for people from the northeast where they can post complaints and suggestions.

3. Former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal will take over as the new chairperson of Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), a self-regulatory body for non-news channels. Justice Mudgal succeeds Justice (retd) Ajit Prakash Shah, who left office after being appointed chairperson of the 20th Law Commission in November 2013.

India-s overall Inflation drops to 8-month low of 5.05% in January, India Inc asked RBI to cut rates

India-s overall inflation, measured by the Wholesale price index, declined to a 8-month low of 5.05% in January 2013 compared to 6.16% in December due to drop in food prices. Inflation stood at 7.31% in the same month last year.

Inflation in food articles, which has 14.34% share in the WPI basket, dropped to 8.8% in January, from 13.68% in December which helped the overall inflation to ease. Inflation in Onion prices dropped to just 6.59% in January, from 39.56% in December. Inflation in vegetables segment declined to 16.6% in January from 57.33% in December. All these helped overall inflation to drop to 8-month low level.

Inflation in manufactured products, such as sugar and edible oils, stood flat at 2.76%. Inflation in the fuel and power segment stood at 10.03% in the same month compared to 10.78% in the previous month. With the easing of Inflation, RBI should get more rooms to cut rates during its next monetary policy review to boost industrial as well as economic growth.





Forex Reserves increased by USD 1.26 billion to 292.330 billion

India-s Forex reserves were increased by USD 1.26 billion to 292.330 billion for the week ended 7th February as per the recent weekly data released by RBI. This increase was mainly due to increase in the reserve portion in the Foreign Currency Assets.  The Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) was increased by USD 1.262 billion to 265.832 billion for the same week. Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and yen, held in the reserves.

However the SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) and Reserve portion with IMF were decreased by USD 1.3 million and USD 1.5 million respectively for the same week. Gold values remained unchanged at USD USD 20.075 billion for the same reporting week.



Current Affairs Global - 17 February 2014

1. The Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, asked the mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, to form a new government on 17th February, third time in last two years. If he gets the support to form government, he will be the youngest ever prime minister of Italy at the age of 39. His first priority would be to tackle increasing unemployment rate and dismal economic growth to give proper direction for the third largest economy in euro zone.

2. 67th BAFTA Awards were given in a star studded ceremony held at the Royal Opera House in London Yesterday. -12 Years A Slave- won the best movie award while -Gravitywon Best British film award. Chiwetel Ejiofor won the best actor award for 12 Years a Slave while Cate Blanchett won the best actress award. Gravity won highest number of awards including awards for best cinematography, best sound, best original music and best special visual effects. 

3. Global internet giant Google has acquired SlickLogin, an Israeli start-up company which offers an alternative process for login confirmation by using sound based passwords. Post this acquisition, Google might use this type of authentication method to replace its 2-step verification method in Gmail which is being currently used.

4. The Japanese economy grew at an annual rate of 1% in the October-December period compared to 1.1% growth witnessed in the previous quarter. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 60% of gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.5% in the same quarter. The GDP growth rate is much lower compared to earlier expectations of economists and it raises doubt about sustainability of Japan's economic recovery.

Current Affairs India - 17 February 2014

1. The Union Cabinet has decided to impose President's rule in Delhi following the resignation of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his council of ministers on 15th February. The resignation of the AAP government came after it failed to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill for the consideration of the Legislative Assembly. President rule was imposed in Delhi and assembly vote is expected to be held along with general election.

2. Bharti Airtel is set to acquire Loop Mobile for Rs 700-crore that may be announced as early as this week. This will be the first consolidation move in the country's telecom industry since 2008, taking India's biggest operator to the top spot in Mumbai surpassing Vodafone.  As part of the deal, Bharti Airtel will get Loop's 3 million subscribers, about 400 telecom towers, optic fibre network and electronic equipment on which the Loop's network currently runs.

3. The Indian flag was unfolded at the Winter Olympics Village at Sochi in a special ceremony, after the International Olympic Committee revoked a 14-month suspension on Indian Olympic Association. The ceremony was attended by the three Indian athletes taking part in the event along with their coaches.

Vote on Account Interim Budget -2014-15

Finance minister P Chidambaram has presented his interim budget  for 2014 today which is also known as Vote on Account. This budget will be applicable only till the upcoming General Election. He did not announce for any populist measures and given suitable Fiscal Deficit related targets which the credit rating agencies will be closely looking for.

Here are the key highlights of the interim budget 2014-15

Key statistics

  • FM introduces the Finance Bill 2014

  • 140 million moved out of poverty during the Government of UPA I and II

  • USD 15 billion addition to foreign exchange in 2013-14

  • 41,16,000 Women Self-Help Groups have been provided credit as of December 2013

  • Rs. 7 lakh crore of agricultural credit to be crossed this year

  • FDI policy liberalised in telecom, pharma, civil aviation, power trading exchanges and multibrand retail

  • GST and DTC should be introduced in 2014

  • 3 more industrial corridors — Chennai-Bangalore, Bangalore-Mumbai, Amritsar-Kolkata — under various stages of implementation

  • Power capacity rises to 234,600 MW in 10 years

Fiscal Related

  • Fiscal deficit at 4.6% in 2013-14 and 4.1% next year, revenue deficit at 3% in 2013-14

  • The growth in the third and fourth quarter would be at least 5.3%

  • Fiscal deficit target of 3% to be achieved by 2017

  • Current Account Deficit (CAD) to be USD 45 billion for FY2013-14 as against USD 88 billion in 2012-13

  • Disinvestment target for FY14 cut to Rs. 16,027 cr versus Rs. 40,000 cr; next year Govt eyeing Rs. 36,925 cr

  • Lowers residual stake sale target to Rs. 3,000 cr from Rs. 14,000 cr for this fiscal

  • Govt-s net borrowing in next fiscal to be Rs. 4.57 lakh cr

  • Plan expenditure cut by Rs. 79,790 cr for current fiscal

  • Total exports will be around USD 326 billion with 6.3 % growth for FY2013-14


Tax/Surcharge/Duty related

  • Income tax rates kept unchanged

  • 10 % surcharge on -super-rich- having annual income above Rs. 1 crore to continue

  • 10 % surcharge on domestic corporates with income of Rs. 10 crore to continue

  • Excise duty on small cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles cut from 12 to 8%

  • Excise duty on SUVs cut from 30 to 24%

  • Large and mid-segment cars from 27-24% to 24-20%

  • Excise duty on mobile handsets to be 6% on CENVAT credit to encourage domestic production

  • Excise duty cut on capital goods, non-consumer durables cut from 12 to 10%

  • Proposed to exempt loading, unloading, packaging of rice from service tax

Allocation Related

  • The allocation for the Defence Ministry has been increased by 10% to Rs. 2,24,000 crores

  • Rs 2,46,397 crore allocated for food, fertilizer and fuel subsidy

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will get Rs. 33,725 cr

  • Ministry of HRD will get  Rs. 67,398 cr

  • Drinking water and sanitation ministry will get  Rs. 15,260 cr; Social Justice and Empowerment will get  Rs. 6730 cr

  • For Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation- Rs. 6000 crore; Rs. 21,000 cr to Ministry of Women and Child Development

  • Food subsidy will be Rs 1,15,000 crore for implementation of National Food Security Act

  • New plan scheme of Rs. 100 crore to promote community radio stations

  • Rs 500 crore estimated requirement for implementing one-rank-one-pay scheme for armed forces in 2014-15

  • Rs 6000 crore to rural housing fund, Rs 2000 crore for urban housing fund

  • Rs 1,200 crore additional assistance to N-E states to be released before end of the year

  • Allocates Rs. 1,000 cr more to Nirbhaya Fund


  • Foodgrain production estimated at 263 million tonnes in 2013-14

  • Moratorium on interest on student loans taken before March 31, 2009; to benefit 9 lakh borrowers

  • Govt obtains information in 67 cases of illegal offshore accounts of Indians

  • CCI cleared 296 projects worth Rs. 6.6 lakh cr by end-Jan

  • Proposed to amend Forwards Contract Regulations Act (FCRA)

  • IT modernisation process will be operational in 2015. National Solar Mission entered the second phase. Proposed to take up four projects each with capacity of 400 MW

  • 78,000 mw of power projects have been provided coal nuclear reactors are under commission to achieve 10080 mw by end of 12th power plants



Current Affairs Global - 18 February 2014

1. China overtook India as the world-s largest consumer market for gold with a jump of 32% in 2013, as per the data published by the World Gold Council on 18th February.  Chinese consumers bought 1,066 tonnes of gold products in 2013, while Indian consumers bought 975 tonnes, up 13% compared to previous year. Despite a 21% rise in global consumer demand, total gold demand dropped by 15% to 3,756 tonnes as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) reduced net gold holdings by 881 tonnes, as per the report.

2. Bank of Japan announced on 18th February that it has decided to maintain aggressive monetary easing measures to sustain economic growth and overcome chronic deflation in the world-s second largest economy. The central bank said it would extend its special loan programmes for one year to encourage banks to spur lending to businesses with growth potential and support the economic recovery. The size of the fund would be doubled to ¥7 trillion ($68 billion) from ¥3.5 trillion.

3. China-s FDI investment jumped by 16.1% in January to USD 10.76 billion compared to same month last year. It shows increasing confidence in the world-s second-largest economy. The services sector attracted more foreign investment than China-s manufacturing sector as FDI in the country-s service sector jumped by 57.02% in January to reach USD 6.33 billion. China managed to get a healthy USD 117.59 billion FDI last year.

Current Affairs India - 18 February 2014

1. The Telangana Bill was passed unanimously by the voice vote in the Lok Sabha today amid complete blackout and as there was no live telecast of the House proceedings. All cameras were switched off inside the Lok Sabha and all entrances to the visitors' gallery were shut. After the passage of the bill, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Seemandhra will be given special package.

Earlier, unfazed by vociferous protests, the government moved the controversial Telangana Bill for consideration and passage in the Lok Sabha today. Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde moved the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2014 for consideration even though ministers and MPs from Seemandhra region were in the Well opposing bifurcation of the State.

2. The Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of Rajiv Gandhi's killers to life term today after citing the 11-year delay in deciding their mercy pleas. With this, the three convicts on death row in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case; Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan have been awarded life sentence. There had been inordinate delay on government and President's part to decide their mercy pleas, which was the main reason behind this ruling.

3. Sikkim has been declared as the best state in the country for implementing Rural Tourism Project. The Union HRD Minister, Dr. Shashi Tharoor conferred the National Tourism Award 2012-13 to Sikkim in a function held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on 18th February.

4. BJP leader Arun Jaitely unveiled a book entitled -ModiNomics: Inclusive Economics, Inclusive Governance- at the Indian Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road in New Delhi. The book has been authored by Sameer Kochhar. The book presents an insight of Modi-s idea of both Inclusive Economics as well as Inclusive Governance. It also speaks about the vision of Narendra Modi about economic and development strategies.

5. Global rating agency Moody-s said today that India-s Interim Budget is in line with the policy assumptions that underpin the Government-s Baa3 rating with a stable outlook. The global rating agency has, however, cautioned that India-s fiscal position remains -weak-. Moody-s stable outlook on India-s Baa3 sovereign rating incorporates the macro-economic risks posed by the Government-s high deficit and debt ratios as well as its recent efforts to control the fiscal deficit through ad-hoc measures. As per Moody-s, The new Government, which would take office likely by May, would determine the longer-term fiscal trends that could impact the Government-s credit profile.

6. -Killa-, a Marathi film won the Crystal Bear (Glasernen Bar) for the best film award by the Children-s jury in Generation Kplus section at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival on 17 February 2014. The film was directed by Avinash Arun. In the entire history in Berlinale, Killa is the third Marathi film to be selected and is the first Indian film to win this award.

7. Famous Carnatic music vocalist R.K. Srikantan passed away in Bangalore on 17th February. He was 94.  Earlier he was rushed there due to chest congestion earlier during the day. On January 14, his 94th birthday celebrations had seen the release of a biography, -Voice of a Generation-.

8. India has retained their second position in the ICC Test team rankings following a draw in the second and final Test against New Zealand today. New Zealand won the 2-match series by 1-0. India-s rating points dropped to 112 from 117 which is just 1 rating point higher than third ranked Australia. South Africa leads the ranking with 133 ratings points.

9. Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar and Virendra Sehwag were nominated for the ESPNcricinfo@20 Cricketer of the Generation award on 17th February. The two new special awards - Cricketer of the Generation and Contribution to Cricket will add to the six categories announced earlier. Besides Tendulkar and Sehwag, West Indian Brian Lara, Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, Australia's Shane Warne and South African Jacques Kallis were also nominated for the award.



Current Affairs India - 19 February 2014

1. A day after the Supreme Court commuted death sentences of three men convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Tamil Nadu cabinet has taken an extraordinary decision to release them and other convicts after due consultations with the Centre. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said that, -the decision will be conveyed to the Centre for appropriate action. If we don't get their response in three days, we will release all convicts in accordance with the rights granted under Indian Constitution-.

2. A day after Telangana Bill was passed in Lok Sabha, N Kiran Kumar Reddy stepped down as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and also quit the Congress party today. He also urged the governor to make alternate arrangements at the earliest as he would not like to continue as caretaker chief minister. He is miffed that the AP Reorganisation Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha and that the Centre is keen to push it through in Rajya Sabha also. Kiran Reddy blamed all political parties for the division.

3. Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) has appointed Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw as the Chairperson of its board of governors as incumbent Chairperson, Mukesh D. Ambani expressed his decision to step down from the post. She takes over from Mukesh D. Ambani, who has been the Chairman of the board for the last eight years.

4. India received USD 1.1 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) in December 2013, unchanged from the level in the same month a year earlier. For the April-December period of the current financial year, FDI dropped by 2% USD 16.56 billion from USD 16.94 billion during the same period of the previous year.

During the same time, the highest FDI came in services (USD 1.59 billion), followed by pharmaceuticals (USD 1.26 billion), construction development (USD 914 million) and automobiles (USD 871 million). Mauritius led inflows into India with USD 3.67 billion of FDI during April-December, followed by Singapore (USD 3.2 billion), UK (USD 3.14 billion) and the Netherlands (USD 1.6 billion).

5. India batsman Virat Kohli jumped to his career-best ninth position in the latest ICC Test rankings issued today after his good performance in the just concluded two-Test series against New Zealand. He broke into top-10 for the first time in his career and joined teammate Cheteshwar Pujara, who slipped to seventh spot. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum-s spectacular match-saving knock of 302 helped him jump eight places to a career-best 12th.

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin slipped two places to be at number 10 and is still the highest-ranked Indian bowler ahead of Pragyan Ojha (12th) in Test bowlers rankings.



Current Affairs Global - 20 February 2014

1. Social Networking giant Facebook announced acquisition of WhatsApp, a world leader in mobile messaging over the internet, for USD 19 billion in stock and cash. Founded five years ago, WhatsApp has a subscriber base of more than 450 million users including 35 million users in India, 70% of whom use the app every day.

"WhatsApp is on a path to connect one billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. The price paid for WhatsApp will change the valuation of all mobile messaging apps.

2. Chinese manufacturing activity contracted further in February to hit its lowest level in seven months, which is a sign of diminishing strength in the world's second-largest economy. HSBC compiled purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China, dropped to 48.3 in February compared to 49.5 in January. Any reading lower than 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

Current Affairs India - 20 February 2014

1. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill has been passed by Parliament today with Rajya Sabha passing it by voice vote. It creates India-s 29th state Telengana from Andhra Pradesh with Kiran Kumar Reddy being the last CM of the undivided state. The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh announced to grant special Category Status to 13 districts of Seemandhra for a period of five years to improve state-s finances. The Prime Minister also said the resource gap that may arise in Seemandhra after state division in the first year will be compensated in the Regular Union Budget for 2014-15.

2. Odia became the sixth language of India to get -classical language-- status today after the Union Cabinet conceded a long-pending demand for putting it in the same league as Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. Odia is billed as the first language from the Indo-Aryan linguistic group and the case for making it a classical language was also premised on the fact that it has no resemblance to Hindi, Sanskrit, Bengali and Telugu. The proposal was moved by the Culture Ministry.

Once a language is declared classical, it gets financial assistance for setting up a centre of excellence for the study of that language and also opens up an avenue for two major awards for scholars of eminence. Besides, the University Grants Commission can be requested to create - to begin with at least in Central Universities - a certain number of professional chairs for classical languages for scholars of eminence in the language.

3. India-s first Minority Cyber Village was inaugurated in Chandoli in Alwar district of Rajasthan. K Rehman Khan, Minister for Minority Affairs inaugurated the same with the focus of facilitating computer education to the people aged between 15 to 59.  For pilot project, Chandoli with over 80 % of minority population has been selected as the first village.

4. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) proposes to introduce UIN as a component of hallmark to ensure traceability of such certified articles in a bid to protect consumers from being cheated. Sunil Soni, Director-General, BIS, said the UIN concept in jewellery is expected to be operational later this year. It will also help the standards body take action against the unscrupulous manufacturers misusing the ISI mark/hallmark. Each high value jewellery piece of over 10 gram will come with a card carrying the UIN and the code can be read with a quick response (QR) reader or a mobile application that will be developed.

5. The Central Government has appointed Yaduvendra Mathur as Chairman and Managing Director of Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) on deputation for three years. Prior to this appointment, He was Chairman and Managing Director, Rajasthan Financial Corporation.

6. Saurabh Chandra, Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, will be the new Oil Secretary. He will replace Vivek Rae who is retiring on February 28. Chandra is a 1978 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre. He was Additional Secretary with the Commerce and Industries Ministry before being appointed as Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion on April 17, 2012.

7. V B Gadgil, Chief Executive and Managing Director, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited was honoured as the Corporate Strategist of the Year Award by Public Relations Council of India (PRCI). PRCI gives this award as recognition to those who have excelled in their own field and contributed to social justice and made a difference to the nation in the last four years. This award is also called as the Chanakya Award.





Current Affairs Global - 22 February 2014

1. International Mother Language Day was observed yesterday (21 February) across the world to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was first announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999. Its observance was also formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages. Theme for 2014 is -Local languages for global citizenship: spotlight on science-

The date represents the day in 1952 when students from different educational institutions in Bangladesh, demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bengali, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka (near High Court), which is the capital of present day Bangladesh.

2. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Opposition Leaders have signed a deal to end the political crisis in the country. Under the agreement signed in Kiev, the 2004 constitution will be restored within 48 hours and a national unity government will be formed within 10 days. The crisis in economically-struggling Ukraine erupted in November last year when President Viktor Yanukovych decided unexpectedly to reject European Union integration deal years in the making in favour of closer ties with Russia.

World-s leading credit rating agencies has downgraded Ukraine due to its political uncertainty and violent clashes in the capital Kiev this week. Standard & Poor's downgraded the economy by one notch, from CCC+ to CCC due to current political situation has deteriorated substantially. It has also put it on negative outlook which means further downgrades could be possible.

Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi formed Italy-s new Government yesterday and said his broad coalition will aim to give the economically-stagnant country some -hope-. At 39, He became Italy-s youngest premier when he and his Cabinet are sworn in today. He will also be the third straight premier to come into the office without being elected.

Current Affairs India - 22 February 2014

1. Whistleblower Protection Bill was passed by Rajsya Sabha yesterday (21 February 2014) which seeks to ensure the safety of those exposing corruption in government. The Rajya Sabha cleared this crucial anti-corruption law a good two years after it was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2011.

The Whistleblower Bill seeks to provide "adequate protection to persons reporting corruption or wilful misuse of discretion which causes demonstrable loss to the government or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant". The Bill will also ensure punishment for false or frivolous complaints.

2. World's longest free Wi-Fi zone was launched in Patna by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on 19th February. He unveiled the 20km free Wi-Fi zone, the longest in the world, at a function christened e-Bihar summit in Patna. He unveiled a 'city surveillance and dial 100' scheme under which at least 100 CCTV cameras installed in different localities of the state capital became operational and also announced an IT City would be developed on a 200-acre plot at Rajgir.

3. Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB), India-s first all-women bank, and New India Assurance have inked a MoU to provide three customised package health insurance policies from the general insurance major. These policies are named BMB Sakhee, BMB Nirbhaya and BMB Parivar Suraksha.

4. While Sakhee Policy, aimed at rural women, offers covers up to R 50,000, the Nirbhaya scheme offers cover limit up to R 5 lakh. Nirbhaya Policy provides cover for many accidental situations uniquely faced by women. Parivar Suraksha offers family floater facilities, a company statement said.

4. Archana Bhargava, the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of United Bank of India (UBI) resigned yesterday (21 February 2014) following reporting high loss and high NPA in its third quarter result. She joined as CMD of United Bank of India in April 2013.Union Finance Ministry has decided that two executive directors would jointly run the bank till a new incumbent took over.

5. The International Monetary Fund has recommended India to go for interest rate hikes in order to fight with high inflation. It has also revised its previous forecast upwards to a 4.6% GDP growth in FY14, which would improve to 5.4% in FY15.

The annual Article IV consultation report that is issued by the IMF for each of its member country says, -High and persistent inflation is a key macroeconomic challenge facing India. Further increases in the policy rate will be necessary to tackle high inflation and its expectations.-

6. Moody-s Singapore along with Moody-s India and Moody-s Corporation USA have announced a conditional open offer for acquisition of up to 26.5% in rating agency ICRA (26.5 lakh shares) at ?2,000 a share. This is a conditional offer and will be accepted only if a minimum of 21.49 lakh shares (21.5% stake) are tendered by the public shareholders, else Moody-s will not accept any shares and the open offer would not go through. Moody-s India already holds 28.509% in ICRA. Moody-s intention to increase its stake in ICRA to 55.009%t from 28.509% (which is more than the 5% creeping acquisition limit) has triggered the open offer.

7. Defending champions India were knocked out of the ICC Under-19 World Cup in the quarterfinal by England at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium today. While batting first, India scored 221/8 in their 50 overs which was chased down by the English side with five balls and three wickets to spare.



Forex Reserves increased by USD 1.458 billion to 293.789 billion

India-s Forex reserves were increased by USD 1.458 billion to 293.789 billion for the week ended 14th February as per the recent weekly data released by RBI. This increase was mainly due to increase in the reserve portion in the Foreign Currency Assets.  The Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) was increased by USD 1.414 billion to 267.247 billion for the same week. Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and yen, held in the reserves.

The SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) and Reserve portion with IMF were also increased by USD 30.5 million and USD 13.5 million respectively for the same week. Gold values remained unchanged at USD USD 20.075 billion for the same reporting week.



Current Affairs Global - 24 February 2014

1. Egypt's Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi announced resignation of its government in a surprise move today. He announced his cabinet's resignation on state TV and the actual reason was unknown. He was appointed as Prime Minister after the army toppled President Mohamed Morsi-s government last July after mass protests against his rule.

2. Oleksandr Turchynov, the Speaker of Ukraine was named as the interim President of the country on 23 February 2014. Before that MPs voted to remove former President President Viktor Yanukovych on 22nd February after he rejected a trade deal with the European Union in favor of its closer ties with Russia. After this Ukraine can look for closer ties with EU to get more financial as well as political support.

3. G-20 financial leaders have announced to generate USD 2 trillion in extra output in next five years after its 2-day meeting held in Sydney on 22-23 February to give a much needed boost to world economy. This will increase overall GDP of G-20 countries by 2%. It will also create millions of new job across these nations.

4. Sochi Winter Olympics concluded yesterday after 17 days of full-fledged sports action. Host nation Russia finished on top of the medal table with 13 Gold, 11 Silver and 9 Bronze followed by Norway. After conclusion, the Olympic flag to the mayor of the South Korean city of PyeongChang which will host the next Winter Olympics in 2018. India failed to win any medal in the Sochi Olympics.

5. Pakistan defeated England by 3 wickets to enter into the final the ICC Under 19 cricket World Cup on 24th February. Pakistan will play against the winner of the second semifinal which will be played between Australia and South Africa. India defeated Sri Lanka by 76 runs to secure fifth place in the tournament.

Current Affairs India - 24 February 2014

1. Famous cosmologist Jayant Vishnu Narlikar  has been chosen for the Y Nayudamma memorial award for the year 2013. He has been selected for his contributions in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics and for his commitment to explaining the wonders of space. The award was instituted by the Tenali, Andhra Pradesh-based Trust in 1986 on name of famous technologist Nayudamma and is annually given to persons chosen for their significant contributions to the development of science and technology in the country.

2. Global credit rating agency Moody-s has projected India-s growth at 5.5% for FY215 due to upcoming general elections which may delay the ongoing reform process. It has also projected India-s GDP growth at 4.9% for the current financial year FY 2014. It has also given negative outlook for non-financial corporates due to weak economy, political uncertainty and US Fed-s tapering affect.

3. India-s tennis player Somdev Devvarman jumped 18 places to become world number 78 in the latest ATP rankings published today. He collected 100 ranking points after beating top seed Alerksandr Nedovyesov in the final on 23rd February to win his third ATP Challenge Tennis title. His career best rank was 62 which he got in July 2011.

India-s number two singles player Yuki Bhambri-s rank dropped to 146 in the same ranking while Leander Paes continued to be India-s top player at number 10 in the doubles. In the women-s rankings Sania Mirza dropped to 11th place.

4. Due to his recent performances India batsman Virat Kohli jumped to his career-best 8th position in the latest ICC Test rankings published today. Cheteshwar Pujara is still the highest ranked Indian at 7th position in the batsmen's list, in which South Africa's AB de Villiers retained the no 1 rank. In the bowlers' table, India-s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has jumped by a spot to be the highest-ranked Indian Test bowler at 9th place.

5. Delhi Waveriders defeated Jaypee Punjab Warriors to win Hockey India League at Ranchi on 23rd February. The Waveriders beat Warriors 3-1 in the penalty shoot-out after the match ended in a 3-3 tie post regular 70 minutes. Last time champion Ranchi Rhinos won the third-place playoff match in the Hockey India League after defeating Uttar Pradesh Wizards by 3-2 earlier in the day.



Current Affairs Global - 25 February 2014

1. The European Commission has projected growth forecast for 18-nations Euro zone to 1.2% for current year 2014 and 1.8% for next year 2015 and also said that economic recovery is "gaining ground" in the EU. It has increased growth forecast for 28-nation EU to 1.5% in 2014 and 2% in 2015. The UK economy is also expected to grow by 2.5% this year compared to earlier forecast of 2.2%.

Current Affairs India - 25 February 2014

1. The Bimal Jalan panel which was set up by the RBI to scrutinize applications for new bank licences has submitted its report today. The committee was headed by former RBI Governor Dr Jalan. Following this, Banking secretary said that the licences are likely to be awarded my March-end and the election code of conduct will not affect the process.

IFCI, India Post, IDFC, LIC Housing Finance, Anil Ambani's Reliance Group, Aditya Birla Group and Bajaj Finance are some of the important names in the race. Muthoot Finance, Religare Enterprises, L&T Finance Holdings, India Bulls Housing Finance Ltd. have also applied for new banking licences. Kotak Mahindra Bank and Yes Bank were the last two Private Banks to get banking licences from the RBI in 2003—04.

2. Indian Oil Corp, (IOC) India-s largest oil firm, will buy Malaysian firm Petronas' 10% stake in a shale-gas assets and liquefied- natural-gas (LNG) project in British Columbia for USD 900 million. With this acquisition IOC will enter into the North America segment.

The Malaysian firm, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Petronas International Corp, had bought Canada's Progress Energy Resources Corp in a Canadian Dollar 5.2 billion deal in 2011 to get the Altares, Lily and Kahta shale gas assets in north-eastern British Columbia.

3. Famous painter Prokash Karmakar passed away on 24th February in Kolkata due to age-related illness. He was 81. He had won many prestigious awards including the Lalit Kala Akademi National Award in 1968 for his paintings. Karmakar's works are part of famous galleries including the National Gallery of Modern Art, Lalit Kala Akademi in Delhi and Lucknow, Academy of fine Arts in Kolkata.



Current Affairs Global - 26 February 2014

1. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been awarded with Israel's highest civilian honour, the "Medal of Distinction" on 25th February for her continuous commitment to the country. Israeli President Shimon Peres awarded her at a ceremony in Jerusalem yesterday.

Current Affairs India - 26 February 2014

1. Taking moral responsibility for the submarine accident off the Mumbai coast, Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi has resigned today. Vice Admiral Robin Dhowan will take over as acting Navy Chief till a new Chief is appointed. He is the first military chief in India to resign before the end of his term.

A fire broke out in the crew accommodation area of the 25-year-old Indian Navy submarine INS Sindhuratna today while left 2 naval officers missing and 7 naval officers injured. All the injured naval officers were air lifted to Navi Mumbai and hospitalized.

2. The Supreme Court issued a non-bailable warrant against Sahara Chief Subrata Roy for his failure to appear in court today. He failed to appear before the SC today in connection with the failure of his companies to refund Rs 20,000 crore to investors.  The bench also said SEBI can put properties of two Sahara companies Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd (SIREC) and Sahara India Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHIC) on auction and get the money after the market regulator had said that let the company itself sell the properties and deposit the money.

3. Dinesh K. Sarraf has been appointed the new head of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, India-s most profitable firm, on 26th February. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved appointment of Mr. Sarraf, who is now managing director of ONGC Videsh.

This move came after rejection of Oil Minister M. Veerappa Moily-s proposal to give incumbent CMD Sudhir Vasudeva a post-retirement extension of 1 year. Mr. Vasudeva took over as chairman of ONGC on October 3, 2011.

4. Hyderabad has become the world's most affordable office locations due to rupee depreciation and fall in rentals amid political instability over Telangana, as per the paper published by the global realty consultant DTZ. While Chennai retains its position as the world-s third least expensive office space market, Pune and Bangalore secured fourth and fifth position respectively.

Delhi and Mumbai placed at 49th and 63rd position globally with Delhi is having the costliest office space in India. As per the same list, London West End and Hong Kong are the most expensive office market space in the world.




Current Affairs Global - 27 February 2014

1. Zero Discrimination Day will be observed on 1st March across the world. The day was launched by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé in Beijing. No matter how you look, where you come from or who you love - everyone has the right to live a full life with dignity. That is the message of Zero Discrimination Day. The symbol for Zero Discrimination is the butterfly, widely recognised as a sign of transformation, as per UNAIDS note.

2. Ibrahim Mahlab was sworn in as new Egypt Prime Minister this week after resignation of former Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi who resigned earlier this week. A former member of Hosni Mubarak's political party, he will head Egypt's sixth government since the 2011 uprising that ended autocratic rule of Hosni Mubarak.

3. Famous Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia passed away in Mexico on 26 February 2014 due to a heart attack while playing with his children on a beach. He was 66. He was well known for a series of flamenco albums in the 1970-s which inspired a New Flamenco movement. He is known for his blending Flamenco music with Jazz, classical and other genres. He won two Latin Grammy awards in 2004 and 2012 and UK Bafta award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1985.

Current Affairs India - 27 February 2014

1. India-s largest 130-MW Solar Power Plant -Welspun Solar MP Project- was launched by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Narendra Modi at Bhagwanpur in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh on 26 February 2014. It is also the Asia's Largest Solar Power Plant. It will supply power at 8.05 rupees a kWh and will raise Indian solar capacity by 7 percent.

2. Giving breather to banks on capital market exposure limit for restructuring, the Reserve Bank of India said if acquisition of equity shares by banks for restructuring companies- results in exceeding the extant regulatory Capital Market Exposure (CME) limit, the same will not be considered as a breach of regulatory limit. However, Banks will require reporting to it and disclosure in the Notes to Accounts in Annual Financial Statements.

According to the RBI, the general principle of restructuring should be that the shareholders bear the first loss rather than the debt holders.

3. India-s IT Services Company Tech Mahindra has acquired the software services unit of Germany chemicals giant BASF in order to expand business in Europe. As part of the deal, the Mahindra group company will also take on board the 60 employees of BASF Business Services Consult. The new company provides services such as consulting, development and operation of IT systems.

4. Credit information solutions provider, Equifax India, launched a software solution named as 'Bureau One' to collate various credit bureau responses and deliver them seamlessly. This solution will empower lenders and businesses to make better underwriting decisions in a cost effective and timely manner and also give customers the ability to improve its credit appraisal process more efficiently.

5. Sourav Kothari won the National Billiard Championships after defeating Alok Kumar, the defending champion, by 5-3 in the final match held in Lucknow yesterday. This is his first maiden title in the National billiards championship. B. Bhaskar defeated Dhruv Sitwala to win the third place in the National billiards championship.



Current Affairs Global - 28 February 2014

1. Ukraine's parliament has approved Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the country's new prime minister after a voting was held on 28th February amid the sharp rise in tensions. He got 317 votes in favor out of total 450 votes. He has previously served as the economy minister and foreign minister, and a speaker of parliament.

2. The US economy grew at a much slower rate in last quarter of 203 than earlier predicted.  US gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annualised rate of 2.4% in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to an initial estimate of 3.2%, as per the US Commerce Department. The dowanward revision was due to weaker than expected consumer spending which has nearly 70% weight in overall US economic activity.

Current Affairs India - 28 February 2014

1. National Science Day is observed today (28th February) across the nation to mark the discovery of the Raman Effect by Indian physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (CV Raman) on 28 February 1928. This day is celebrated every year on this day to spread a message about the significance of scientific applications in the daily life of the people. The theme for 2014 is -Fostering Scientific Temper and Energy conservation-.

2. The Union Cabinet has recommended imposition of President's rule in Andhra Pradesh today. Kiran Kumar Reddy has resigned as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister protesting creation of Telengana state earlier this month and the state has been without a Chief Minister since then. The Cabinet also hiked poll expenditure ceiling from the present 40 lakh to 70 lakh rupees for candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.

The Cabinet has also approved additional dearness allowance, DA, of 10% to make total DA as 100% which will be effective from 1st January 2014. The hike will benefit 50 lakh Central government employees and 30 lakh pensioners. The Cabinet approved minimum pension of Rs 1000 per month under the Employees Provident Fund Organisation, EPFO.

At the same time, the Cabinet approved setting up a new rail coach manufacturing unit at Kolar, in Karnataka to manufacture 500 coaches per annum. It approved financial support of 434 crore rupees for establishing four new National Institutes of Design at Jorhat , Bhopal, Vijayawada and Kurukshetra.

3. Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram inaugurated India-s first post office savings bank ATM at the Head Post Office in Thyagaraya Nagar, Chennai on 27th February. The ATM was launched as a part of an Information Technology (IT) modernisation project of the Department of Posts in order to boost its core banking network and prepare itself to get banking license. India Post is one of the main contenders which all have applied for banking licenses.

4. Sahara India head Subrata Roy has surrendered to the UP police today after Supreme Court issued non-bailable warrant for his failure to appear before it in a case of non-refund of Rs 20,000 crore to investors. His main counsel Ram Jethmalani told a Bench headed by Justice KS Radhakrishnan that 65-year-old Roy is in police custody and also requested for bail. But Justice Radhakrishnan, who sat with Justice Vikramajit Sen, however, said that it is not possible for the Special Bench to assemble today.

5. General Motors India has appointed Arvind Saxena as its President and Managing Director, effective from 1st March 2014. He succeeds Lowell Paddock, who is moving to GM International Operations (GMIO) as Vice-President, Planning & Programme Management. Before this appointment, He was Managing Director of Passenger Cars (VW brands) and a director of Volkswagen Group Sales India.


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