Marine Products Export From India

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{tab=Marine Product}

Marine Product Exports at $2.84 bn in 2010 – 2011

Export of marine products in 2010 – 2011 touched $ 2.84 billion, registering a growth of 18.96 per cent in quantity, 27.64 per cent in rupee value and 33.17 per cent in dollar realisation compared to the previous year, according to Marine Products Export Development Authority ( MPEDA ) on August 18, 2011. This is the first time that the exports of marine products crossed $ 2.8 billion mark. During the year, a total quantity of 813,091 tonnes, valued at ₹ 12,901.47 crore ( $ 2.8 billion ) were shipped as against 678,436 tonnes valued at ₹ 10,048.53 crore ( $ 2.1 billion ) in 2009 – 2010. According to MPEDA, frozen shrimp continued to be the major export item from India accounting 44.26 per cent of the total dollar earnings. European Union continued to be the largest market with a share of 26.66 per cent in dollar realisation.

1.69 Lakh Villages have Internet Connectivity

The Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology, Milind Deora on August 19, 2011 informed Rajya Sabha that all the 28,776 Rural Exchanges of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited ( BSNL ) have internet facility. As on  June 30, 2011, 1,69,201 out of 6,01,625 villages are covered through Broadband internet. As of June 2011, a total of 2,88,454 broadband connections have been provided. Under Bharat Nirman, the Government envisages to cover all the 2,50,000 village panchayats with broadband by 2012. A total of 133712 Panchayat villages have been covered with broadband facility as of June 2011.General Studies Question Bank CD

Industrial Output Growth Rises to 8.8% in June

Industrial production grew by a better  than expected 8.8 per cent in June to show ‘encouraging’ signs of a moderate revival in factory output. As per the official data released here on August 12, 2011, the 8.8 per cent IIP growth in June 2011 as compared to 7.4 per cent in the same month of 2010 was driven mainly by a good show by the manufacturing sector and higher output of capital goods. In particular, while the manufacturing sector, which accounts for over 75 per cent of the IIP grew by 10 per cent in June, 2011, as compared to 7.9 per cent in the same month last year. During the month, electricity generation also improved to post a growth of 7.9 per cent as against 3.5 per cent in June last year. Growth in the mining sector, however, declined to a dismal 0.6 per cent from 6.9 per cent a year ago. For the first quarter ( April – June ) of 2011 – 2011,1 IIP growth was at 6.8 per cent as against 9.6 per cent in the same period 2010 – 2011,

Planning Commission sets 4% growth target for agriculture in 12th Plan. The Planning Commission has set a 4% growth target for agriculture and related sectors for 12th Plan “It ( target ) will be 4% for the 12th Five Year Plan,” Planning. Commission Member and Steering Committee Chairman Abhijit Sen said in: Chennai on August 20, 2011. He blamed poor monsoon for missing the farm”: sector targets in the 11th Plan, however, he added, “We have managed a 3.2% growth ( in the first four years ), which is considerably better than the target set during the 10th Five Year Plan”.

Consumer Price Index with New Base Introduced

The Central Statistics Office ( CSO ), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has introduced a new series of Consumer Price Indices ( CPI ): on base 2010 = 100 for all India and States / UTs separately for rural, urban and combined with effect from January, 2011. Provisional indices for the month of July, 2011 and also final indices for May, 2011 are being released with this note for all India and for States / UTs. It may be mentioned that annual inflation rates would be available at the time of release of indices for January, 2012, when the indices for one year are available. All India indices : All India provisional General Indices for Rural, Urban and Combined for July 2011 are 111.6, 108.9 and 110.4 respectively This information was released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation on August 18, 2011.

Farm Loans of Rs.4.46 lakh Crore Disbursed in 2010 – 2011

Public financial institutions disbursed loans of ₹ 4.46 lakh crore to farmers in 2010 – 2011, Parliament was informed on August 26, 2011. Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat, said out of the total debt, the share of small and marginal farmers was 36.53%. He said maximum loan amount was lent by commercial banks ( ₹ 3.32 lakh crore ) while the rest was lent by regional rural banks ( RRBs ) and cooperative banks.

Hydro Power Capacity Addition in 11th Plan at 6,201 – MW

The government is expected to commission hydro power capacity of 6.201 MW in the 11th Five Year Plan period, lower than the target of 8,237 MW, Parliament was informed on August 26, 2011. The commissioning hydro power capacity of 2,036 MW is getting delayed due to many factors, including land acquisition problems and geological surprises. “A hydro capacity of 4,710 MW has been commissioned so far. as against the mid – term review target of 8,237 MW for the 11th Plan ( 2007 – 2012 ). Another hydro capacity of 1,491 MW is likely to be commissioned during the remaining ( part ) of the current financial year.” Minister of State for Power K C Venugopal said in the Lok Sabha.

RBI unveils Draft Guidelines for New Banking Licenses

The Reserve Bank of India ( RBI ) on August 29, 2011 unveiled guidelines and eligibility criteria for corporate India to apply for licenses to set up commercial banks. These guidelines prescribe stringent checks and balances to address concerns on corporates possibly using banks as private pools of readily available capital. Major features of the draft policy are as follows :

Eligibility criteria : Companies with more than 10 per cent of income or assets from broking and real estate have been disallowed from applying for banking licenses. The RBI said private groups or entities with diversified ownership, sound credentials and a “successful track record” of 10 years would be allowed to apply for new banking licences. Such groups or entities cannot have more than 10 per cent or more assets or income from real estate and capital market activities.

Company structure : The new banks can be set up only through a wholly owned, non – operative holding company, or NOHC, that will control the bank and other financial service companies in the group, the RBI said. The NOHC, which will be registered as a non-banking finance company with the RBI, will include all financial arms of the founding group. The holding company will have to hold a minimum 40 per cent of the paid – up capital of the bank for an initial period of five years. It will have to reduce its shareholding in the bank to 20 per cent within 10 years and to 15 per cent within 12 years from the date of licensing. The new bank will have to be set up within a year of getting in principle nod. Individuals or institutions other than the holding company can own more than 10 per cent of the paid up capital of the bank, directly or indirectly. Shareholding of five per cent or more by individuals and institutions will also be subject to prior RBI approval.

Capital requirement : The minimum capital required to set up new banks has been fixed at ₹ 500 crore. Raising paid  up capital beyond ₹ 1000 crore: For promoters having over 40 per cent income from non – financial business, the RBI has put in some additional guidelines. Banks promoted by these corporate entities will have to seek prior approval for raising paid – up capital beyond ₹1.000 crore for every block of ₹ 500 crore. For promoters having less than 40 per cent income from non  financial business no pre conditions.

Capital adequacy ratio : Minimum capital adequacy ratio prescribed for new banks is 12 per cent while the same is nine per cent for existing banks.

Foreign shareholding : In existing banks, foreign shareholding is permitted up to 74 per cent. It has been capped at 49 per cent ( FDI + FII – t – NRI ) for new banks for the first five years.

Listing norms : New banks will have to be listed on local bourses within two years of licensing Existing banks are not mandated to get listed.

Lending to promoter groups : Exposure to single promoter group entity should not exceed 10 per cent Similarly exposure to all promoter group entities should not exceed 20 per cent.

Financial inclusion targets : New banks would have to open 25 per cent of their branches in unbanked rural centres ( population below 10,000 )

Independent directors in holding company : The RBI has also stipulated half the directors of the holding company be independent, with a view to keeping in check the influence of promoters.

NBFCs  : The non banking finance companies seeking a banking licence can either convert themselves into a bank or set up the bank separately. While laying down the detailed eligibility criteria, the RBI has made it clear the licence will be offered selectively after the final guidelines are framed and certain amendments made in the Banking Regulations Act, 1949. The central bank ha sought comments on the draft norms from public and other stakeholders by October 31.

Profile of Banks 2010 – 2011 Released

Rising scale and increased efficiency is the highlight of the Indian banking industry. According to the Profile of Banks 2010 – 2011, released by the Reserve Bank of India on September 2, 2011, not only deposits and advances of all scheduled commercial banks ( SCBs ) doubled over the last four years but the profit per employee has also doubled. The NPA ratio is also the lowest in the last four years at 0.97.

Deposits & advances: The deposits of SCBs grew by 18.3 per cent an the advances grew by 22.9 per cent during the year, doubling it from where the stood in 2006 – 2007. The share of public sector banks ( PSBs ) in total deposits an advances is 78 and 77 per cent respectively and they have driven the growth of deposits and advance for the industry over the last four years as their deposits and advances have grown 2,2 and 2.3 times respectively. The growth of deposits and advances for private sector banks in 2010 – 2011 was stronger than that of PSBs and stood at 21.9 and 26.1 per cent respectively.

Employee efficiency : With the use of technology, Indian banks have increased their efficiency. The business per employee and profit per employee ( PPE ) of all SCBs grew by 13.8 and 16.5 per cent respectively during the year 2010 – 2011 even as the State Bank Group witnessed a de – growth in its profit per employee. The PPE of all SCBs has grown from ₹ 3.48 lakh in 2006 – 2007 to ₹ 7 lakh in 2010 – 2011. While it is highest for foreign banks at ₹ 27 lakh, that oft private banks stood at ₹ 8.1 lakh in 2010 – 2011 and that of PSBs lags behind at ₹5.9 lakh. The State Bank group witnessed its, PPE drop from Rs.4.66 lakh in 2009 – 10 to ₹4.2 lakh in 2010 – 11. The business per employee of all groups rose in 2010 – 2011 over the last year except for the new private sector banks that witnessed a drop in it as a result of a 28 per cent rise in its employee base from 127,468 to 163,604 during the year.

Profitability :The profitability of banks in terms of return on assets ( RoA ) rose from 1.05 in 2009 – 2010 to 1.1 per cent in 2010 – 2011. While the State bank group witnessed a decline in RoA from 0.91 last year to 0.79 in 2010 – 2011, the private banks saw their RoA rising from 1.28 to 1.43 in the same period. At an aggregate level, the industry witnessed a decline in the net NPA ratio from 1.12 last year to 0.97 in 2010 – 2011. All individual groups witnessed an improvement in the ratio; however the State Bank group saw its net NPA highest at 1.49 for the year.

GDP Grows at 7.7% in April – June 2011 – 2012

Sl.NoCourseDurationMinimum Educational Qualification
1.Diploma in Direction, Screenplay Writing and TV Production3 YearsDegree from a recognized University
2.Diploma in Film Technology and TV Production ( Cinematography )3 YearsA pass in Higher Secondary ( Plus two ) Examination with Physics & Chemistry (or)
Vocational Course with Photography as a special subject (or)
Any equivalent qualification with other specifications stated above (or)
Diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (or)
Diploma in Electronics and Communication Engineering
3.Diploma in Film Technology and TV Production ( Film Processing )3 Years
4.Diploma in Film Technology and TV Production ( Sound Recording and Sound Engineering )3 YearsA pass in Higher Secondary ( Plus two ) Examination with Physics & Chemistry (or)
Vocational Course with Radio and TV or domestic equipments as special subjects (or)
Any other equivalent qualification with specifications stated above (or)
Diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (or)
Diploma in Electronics and Communication Engineering
5.Diploma in Film Editing and TV Production.3 YearsA pass in the Higher Secondary Examination (Plus 2) (Any Group)

{tab=GDP Growth}

GDP Growth

A sharp slowdown in construction activity has pulled down economic growth to below 8 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal. The country’s real gross domestic product ( GDP ) grew by 7.7 per cent during April – June against a year-on-year increase of 8.8 per cent in the same quarter of 2010 – 2011. The lower growth has come despite agriculture turning out a better performance on the back of a bumper Rabi crop and various commercial, financial and business related services also doing reasonably well. Even electricity and other utilities recorded higher production increase relative to last year’s corresponding quarter.

Over 37,000 Villages have No Mobile Phones – Communications Ministry

Over 37,000 villages in the country have not got mobile phone connectivity. till March 2011, according to data from the telecom department. Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on September 2, 2011 that 37,184’villages in the country are yet to be connected with mobile connectivity as on March 31, 2011.

29,569 Villages Covered Under Banking Services
General Studies Question Bank CD
In Order to extend the reach of banking to the rural hinterland, to begin with, Banks were advised in 2010 – 2011 to provide appropriate banking facilities to habitations having a population in excess of 2000 ( as per 2001 census ) by March, 2012, using the Business Correspondent ( BC ) and other models, with appropriate technology back up. Approximately 73,000 such habitations across the country have been identified and allocated to Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks, Private Sector Banks, Cooperative Banks for extending banking services by March, 2012. As per respects received from Banks 29,569 villages have been covered as on March 31, 2011. As reported by Reserve Bank of India, 1003 branches were opened in Rural areas by Scheduled Commercial Banks during 2010 – 2011 ( Rural areas includes centers with population less than  10,000 ). This information was given by the Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena in Rajya Sabha on August 30, 2011.

594.61 Lakh Persons Employed in MSMEs

As per the 4th All India Census of micro, small and medium enterprises ( MSMEs ), around 594.61 lakh persons are employed in the MSME sector, including agro, rural, cottage and small scale industries. The overall estimated employment in khadi and village industries which was 103.91 lakh persons in the year 2008 – 2009, increased to 113.17 lakh persons in the year 2010 – 2011. The Ministry of MSME imparts training to persons employed or desirous of setting up of micro enterprises through KVIC ( Khadi and Village Industries Commission ), a statutory organisation under this Ministry. PMEGP ( Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme ), a credit linked subsidy scheme of the Government, is implemented through KVIC for generation of additional employment opportunities by establishing micro enterprises. Under PMEGR financial assistance in the form of margin money subsidy ranging from 15% to 35% of the project cost is provided to first generation entrepreneurs for setting-up new micro enterprises. This information was given by the Union Cabinet Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Virbhadra Singh in the Rajya Sabha on August 29, 2011.

India’s External Debt at $305.9 Billion on March 31, 2011

Higher external commercial borrowings ( ECBs ) and short term trade flows pulled up India’s external debt stock by 17.2 per cent to $305.9 billion at end March, 2011 from $261.0 billion at the end – March, 2010. The share of ECBs in India’s total external debt increased from 19.7 per cent at end – March, 2005 to 28.9 per cent at end – March, 2011. This was largely on account of strong domestic demand and high growth rate of the economy. The changing composition of debt in favour of commercial borrowing can be seen as an indication of maturing market economy and the increasing role of corporate India, an official release from the ministry of finance said on March 8, 2011. India’s total long-term external debt showed an increase of 15.4 per cent to $240.9 billion at end – March, 2011 from $208.7 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year. It accounted for 78.8 per cent of India’s total external debt. Short – term debt grew significantly by 24.2 per cent to a level of $65.0 billion in the period from $52.3 billion at end March, 2010 and accounted for the balance 21.2 per 1 cent of the external debt.

The currency composition of India’s external debt showed that US dollar accounted for 53.5 per cent of total external debt at end – March, 2011, followed by the Indian rupee at 19.5 per cent, Japanese yen at 11.4 per cent and special drawing rights ( SDRs ) at 9.7 per cent.

DEPB Scheme for Exporters Withdrawn

The government has decided to withdraw the duty entitlement passbook ( DEPB ) scheme from October 1, 2011. Tax incentives for the 1,100 export items under the scheme will now be available under Duty Drawback Scheme ( DDS ) – With the decision, tax benefit enjoyed by exporters will be reduced by 1 – 3 per cent.

Balancing Act on Exports

  • The DEPB scheme to come to an end from October 1 this year All the 1,100 items eligible for the DEPB scheme to move to drawback scheme
  • The drawback rates will be capped at 5.5% for most products covered in the DEPB regime
  • There will be no value cap for availing benefit where the drawback rate is less than 3%
  • 8,700 crore revenue foregone in 2010 – 2011 in DEPB refunds

Government Approves Approach Paper for 12th Plan

The government on September 16, 2011 approved the Approach Paper for the 12th Plan ( 2012 – 2017) which seeks to push forth the second generation economic reforms, improving governance and raise annual economic growth rate to 9 per cent during impending five-year period. The Paper would be placed before the National Development Council ( NDC ) for its final approval on October 15 – 16.

India Needs ₹200 Crore a Day for Highway Projects

India needs to invest ₹ 200 crore everyday for the next 20 years for road projects under NHDP and requires an efficient financing plan to meet this objective, says a Parliamentary committee. “An estimated investment of ₹ 200 crore is required everyday for a period of 15 – 20 years,” the Committee on Estimates said in its report on National Highways Development Project ( NHDP ). NHDP is the country’s largest road project to develop and improve the network of over 70,000 tons of national highways. Since the government resources are not enough for such capital intensive activity, “an efficient financing plan mobilising all resources needs to be worked out to ensure steady flow of funds”, the committee said.

India’s Overseas Investment at $103.9 bn in June – end 2011

India’s Quarterly International Investment Position ( IIP ) at the end of June 2011 was unveiled by the RBI on September 30, 2011. International investment position ( IIP ) is a statistical statement that shows at a point in time, the value and the composition of ( a ) financial assets of residents of an economy that are claims on non-residents and gold bullion held as reserve assets; and ( b ) liabilities of residents of an economy to non – residents.

Trade Deficit at $35.4 billion in First Quarter of 2011 – 2012

During Q1 of 2011 – 2012, a rise in trade deficit, despite sharper increase in exports than imports and increase in net export of services, led to widening of current account deficit ( CAD ) as compared with Ql of the previous year, according to the Reserve Bank of India’s balance of payments data, released on September 30, 2011.

On a BoP basis, goods exports recorded a growth of 47.1 per cent while imports registered a growth of 33.2 per cent during Ql of 2011 – 2012. The trade deficit on BoP basis, in absolute terms, amounted to US$ 35.4 billion, which was higher than the corresponding quarter of the previous year ( US$ 32.3 billion ). Net exports of services recorded a growth of 19.1 per cent during Ql of 2011 – 2012 over Ql of 2010 – 2011 mainly due to higher growth in receipts led by ‘transportation’, telecommunication, computer and information services’ and ‘other business services’. While net secondary income ( private transfers ) receipts remained buoyant at US$ 13.7 billion, primary income account ( investment income ) continued to show a net outflow.

Consequently, the CAD at US$ 14.1 billion was higher in Ql of 2011-12 than the Corresponding quarter of the previous year.

EventsDates
Online Submission of CTET application through CBSE website website www.cbse.nic.in or www.ctet.nic.in04th December, 2015 to 28th December, 2015
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Paper - II 09:30 to 12:00 hrs**
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{tab=India’s External Debt}
India’s External Debt at US$ 317.0 Billion

India’s External Debt as at the end of June 2011 was unveiled by the Reserve Bank of India on September 30, 2011.

Major Highlights

  • India’s external debt, as at end – June 2011, was placed at US$ 317.0 billion recording an increase of US$ 10.5 billion or 3.4 per cent over the level at end – March 2011. The share of commercial borrowings in total external debt continued to be the highest at 29.4 per cent as at end – June 2011, followed by short-term debt ( 21.6 per cent ), NRI deposits ( 16.7 per cent ) and multilateral debt ( 15.6 per cent ).
  • The ratio of short term debt to foreign exchange reserves rose marginally to 21.7 per cent as at end-June 2011 from 21.3 per cent as at end – March 2011.
  • The debt denominated in US dollar accounted for the highest share with 54.2 per cent in total external debt as at end – June 2011 followed by the Indian rupee ( 19.2 per cent ) and Japanese Yen ( 11.1 per cent ).
  • The ratio of foreign exchange reserves to external debt as at end June 2011 at 99.6 per cent remained almost at the same level as at end – March 2011.

Delhi Metro is world’s First to get UN Carbon Credit Certification General Studies Question Bank CD

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation was on September 26, 2011 certified by the United Nations as the first metro rail and rail-based system in the world to get “carbon credits for reducing green house gas emissions” and helping in reducing pollution levels in the city by 6.3 lakh tonne every year. With this certification, the Delhi Metro has earned carbon credits worth about ₹ 47 crore annually for the next seven years and with the increase in number of passengers, this figure will only increase.

Kerala Becomes First ‘Total Banking State’

Kerala was on September 30, 2011 declared the first State in the country to achieve total financial inclusion. The achievement means that each household in the State has at least one bank account and the facility for need-based credit. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy distributed certificates to the banks that had participated in a drive to take banking services to every corner of the State. The Chief Minister drew the banks’ attention to the need for extending credit support to the Clean Kerala Mission, a programme to make the State live up to its nickname of ‘God’s Own Country.’ S. Raman, Chairman and Managing Director of Canara Bank, in his capacity as the convener of the State Level Bankers’ Committee ( SLBC ), said that Palakkad district had become the first district in the country to achieve total financial inclusion four years ago.

Planning Commission Sticks to ₹ 32 / Day Poverty Line

The Planning Commission on October 3,2011 said it will stick to ₹ 32 ( urban areas ) and ₹ 26 ( rural areas ), mentioned in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court ion September 20, as per capita per day expenditure for determining the cut off for families below the poverty line. However, entitlements will be delinked from the poverty line. “An affidavit is a factual position. We will update the court and abide by the direction of the court”, said Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

The Planning Commission had on September 20, 2011 had told the Supreme Court that the below poverty line ( BPL ) population in the country is 40.74 crore and the poverty line for the urban and rural areas could be provisionally Placed at ₹ 965 per capita per month ( around ₹ 32 per day ) and ₹ 781 per capita. per month ( around ₹ 26 per day ), respectively. The BPL population at presert covered by the public distribution services ( PDS ) was 35.98 crore. “If the Tendulkar (committee) poverty ratio for 2004 / 2005 is applied to the projected population the Registrar General of India as on March 1, 2005, the total BPL population would be 40.74 crore,” the affidavit said.

Defending the affidavit, Ahluwalia said that the Planning Commission did not apply an independent criterion to determine whether the budget of ₹ 4,82 a family a month in urban areas and ₹ 3,905 in the rural areas was appropriate “We accepted the recommendations of the Tendulkar Committee, which was after all, an expert committee and reported to the court the updated figure on the basis of June 2011 prices, which the court had directed the Planning Commission to calculate,” he said.

Draft National Policy on Information Technology 2011 Unveiled

Kapil Sibal, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology released the Draft National Policy on Information Technology, 2011 on October 7, 2011. The draft National Policy on IT 2011 envisages to increase revenues of IT and ITES Industry from 88 Billion USD at present to 300 Billion USD by 2020. IT sector has made a significant contribution to the growth of Indian economy over last decade which registered a growth rate of 8 per cent. Since, of a USD 88 Billion IT industry in 2010 – 2011, 80 per cent of the revenues comes from exports, the policy proposes to encourage growth of indigenous demands and market. It also aims at formulating fiscal and other incentives to attract investment in this sector in Tier II and Tier III cities. The Indian IT and ITES sector currently employs over 2.5 million skilled people and has been one of the major employment generators in the last two decades.

Highlights

  • Increase revenues of IT / ITES industry to $30 billion from the current $88 billion
  • Formulate fiscal policies to attract investment in Tier II, Tier III cities
  • Provide incentives to SMEs, start-ups in the key industrial sectors for IT adoption
  • Create 10 million additional skilled manpower in IT sector
  • Make at least one individual in every household literate
  • Enactment of the Electronic Delivery of services Bill mandating provision of Govt services through e – mode within a fixed timeframe

Tamil Nadu is the Top Performing State in MNREGA

Tamil Nadu topped the list of States that provided jobs to rural households for 100 days as per the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act ( MNREGA ) at the end of the second quarter of the financial year 2011 – 2012. More than 11.02 lakh households benefited from the scheme in Tamil Nadu as per figures released on October 3, 2011. Andhra Pradesh came “second by providing jobs to 9.65 lakh households and Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan stood third and fourth by providing employment to just over 6 lakh households and 4.96 lakh households respectively. Another feature in Tamil Nadu was that 82.59 per cent of those who availed of work were women. Same is the case with Dadra and Nagar Haveli ( 86.93 per cent ) and Puducherry ( 80.41 per cent ). Among States which provided more work to the Scheduled Castes ( SC ), Punjab topped the list ( 78 per cent ). Tamil Nadu provided employment to 57 71 per cent people from the SCs. Almost all States, except Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Dadra and Nagar Haveli maintained the stipulated ratio of 60 per cent of spending on wages and 40 per cent of spending on materials and administrative expenditure.

Direct Tax Collection at Rs.257, 042 Crore in April – September 2011

Gross direct tax collection during the first half of the current fiscal ( April – September 2011 ) was up by 23 percent at ₹ 257,042 crore as against₹ 208,971 crore in the same period last fiscal. While gross collection of corporate taxes was up 23.17 percent (₹ 175,360 crore against ₹142,368 crore last year ), gross collection of personal income tax was up by 22.65 percent ( ₹ 81,353 crore against ₹66,330 crore last year ). Net direct tax collections stood at ₹ 194,812 crore, up from ₹ 181,758 crore in the same period last fiscal. ( October 7, 2011 )

Draft National Telecom Policy- 2011 Released

The government will work to make roaming free and allow consumers to keep their mobile numbers even if they move to another state, according to the draft of the National Telecom Policy – 2011 unveiled by Union Communications Minister Kapil Sibal on October 10, 2011.

Some of the important objectives of the policy include

  • Increase in rural teledensity from the current level of around 35 to 60 by the year 2017 and 100 by the year 2020.
  • Provide affordable and reliable broadband on demand by the year 2015 and to achieve 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017 and 600 million by the year 2020 at minimum 2 Mbps download speed and making available higher speeds of atleast 100 Mbps on demand.
  • Provide high speed and high quality broadband access to all village panchayats through optical fibre by the year 2014 and progressively to all villages and habitations.
  • Promote indigenous R&D, innovation and manufacturing that serve domestic and foreign markets
  • Promote the domestic production of telecommunication equipment to meet 80% Indian telecom sector demand through domestic manufacturing with a value addition of 65% by the year 2020.
  • Provide preferential market access for domestically manufactured telecommunication products including mobile devices, SIM cards with enhanced features etc. with special emphasis on Indian products for which IPRs reside in India to address strategic and security concerns of the Government, consistent with international commitments.
  • Strive to create One Nation – One License across services and service areas.
  • <Achieve One Nation – Full Mobile Number Portability and work towards One Nation – Free Roaming.
  • Ensure adequate availability of spectrum and its allocation in a transparent manner through market related processes. Make available additional 300 MHz spectrum for IMT services by the year 2017 and another 200 MHz by 2020.
  • Achieve substantial transition to new Internet Protocol ( IPv 6 ) in the country in a phased and time bound manner by 2020 and encourage an ecosystem for provision of a significantly large bouquet of services on IP platform.
  • Put in place a web based, real time e – governance solution to support online submission of applications for all services of DoT and issuance of licences and clearances from DoT.
  • To encourage digitalisation of the local cable networks.
  • To delink spectrum from award of licences; spectrum shall be made available at price through market related processes.
  • To frame an appropriate Exit Policy for the licencees.
  • To permit spectrum pooling, sharing and later, trading for optimal and efficient utilisation of spectrum.
  • To undertake periodic audit of spectrum utilisation to ensure its efficient use I.

Foreign Trade Policy 2009 – 2014 Unveiled

The Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister, Anand Sharma, unveiled the Foreign Trade Policy 2009 – 2014, in New Delhi on October 13, 2011. Despite arecent deceleration in export growth, the Minister said he was confident about, exports achieving the $300 billion target for 2011 – 2012. However, his concerns include the weak demand in the US and European Union, the crisis in North Africa and West Asia, the high oil and commodity prices as well as the slowdown in India’s manufacturing and mining sectors.

Highlights of foreign trade policy are

  • Special Bonus Benefit Scheme covering 50 products in engineering, pharmaceuticals and chemicals sectors. Rate of duty credit is one per cent of f.o.b. value of exports during October 1 – March 31, 2012.
  • Special Focus Market Scheme for exports to Latin America, Africa and CIS countries will get an additional one per cent duty credit.
  • Market Linked Focus Product Scheme ( MLFPS ) benefits for apparel exports to the US and the EU till this fiscal-end. Exports of agricultural tractors of over l,800cc to Turkey and exports of sugar machinery and high pressure boilers to Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Tanzania will also get MLFPS benefits.
  • 130 additional items brought under the Focus Product Scheme mainly for chemicals / pharmaceuticals, textiles, handicrafts, engineering and electronics sectors. The items will get duty credit scrip at 2 per cent of the f.o.b. value of exports.

Procedures Simplified for Transfer / Sale of Imported Firearms

  • Import of radioimmunoassay kits ( used in the diagnosis of disease / disorders in humans and animals ) liberalised by shifting it from the ‘restricted’ category to ‘free’ subject to prior permission of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
  • Bhubaneswar ( for marine products ), Firozabad ( glassware ) and Agartala ( bamboo and cane products ) have been notified as towns of export excellence.

Exports Grow 52% in First Half of 2011 – 2012

India’s exports for the month of April – September 2011 have registered a growth of 52%, at US $ 160 billion. Rahul Khullar, Commerce Secretary, on October 12, 2011 informed that during the period April – September 2011, the imports were US $ 233.5 billion with a growth of 32.4% and a Balance of Trade stood at US $ (-)73.5 billion, during the same period.

During April – September 2011, the following sectors have done well viz., engineering, ( US $ 46.4 billion ) which registered the growth of 103%; petroleum & oil products, 53% ( US $ 27 billion ) ;  Gems & Jewellery registered the growth of 23% ( US $ 18.5 billion ) ;  Drugs and pharmaceuticals 33% ( US $ 6.5 billion US $ ) ; leather 26% ( US$ 2.25 billion ) Cotton yarn and fabric made – up 22.5% ( US $ 3.4 billion ) electronics, 67% ( US $ 5.7 billion ) ;  Readymade garments, 32% ( US $6.8 billion ).

As regards to imports during April – September 2011, the growth estimates on the following sectors are :  POL, 42% ( US $ 70.4 billion ) ;  Gold and silver 80% ( US 31.1 billion ) ; machinery, 34% ( US $ 17.4 billion ), electronics, 33% ( US & 16.9 billion ), Organic and inorganic chemicals 26% ( US $ 9.3 billion ) and coal 43% ( US $ 8.4 billion US.$ ).

Analogue cable TV to be Phased Out by 2014

Analogue cable television will become obsolete in India in three years’ time with the government deciding to promulgate an ordinance to make the digitalisation of cable services mandatory by 2014.

Namma Metro Launched in Bangalore

Namma Metro, also known as Bangalore Metro, is a mass – transit rail system for the city of Bangalore. The agency responsible for its implementation is the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd ( BMRCL ). The first stretch between Byappanahalli to M.G. Road was inaugurated by Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath on October 20, 2011.
The 6.7 – km stretch, which has six stations, is part of Namma Metro Phase 1 with a route network of 42.3 km. The entire Phase1 is expected to become operational by March 2014.
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