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Human Development Report 2011

The 2011 Report titled “Sustainability and Equity : A Better Future for All” notes that income distribution has worsened in most of the world, with Latin America remaining the most unequal region in income terms, even though several countries including Brazil and Chile are narrowing internal income gaps. Yet in overall IHDI terms, including life expectancy and schooling, Latin America is more equitable than sub – Saharan Africa or South Asia. The report covers 185 member states of the United Nations ( out of 193 ), along with Hong Kong ( of the People’s Republic of China ), and the Palestinian territories; 8 UN member states are not included due to lack of data.

India ranks a low 134 among 187 countries in terms of the human development index ( HDI ). Although placed in the “medium” category, India’s standing is way behind scores of economically less developed countries, including war – torn Iraq as well as the Philippines. India’s ranking in 2010 was 119 out of 169 countries. India is one of the seven developing countries like Bhutan, China, Costa Rica, Chile, El Salvador and Vietnam which have recently transitioned from deforesting to reforesting. India increased its reforestation rate from 0.2% a year between 1990 and 2000 to 0.5% percent a year between 2000 and 2010.

The UN report said that India had the world’s largest number of multidimensionally poor, more than half of the population, at 612 million. However, the report appreciated India’s progress in improving forest cover and protecting biodiversity. Sri Lanka has been ranked 97, China 101 and the Maldives 109. Bhutan, respected for its quality of life, has been placed at 141, behind India. Pakistan and Bangladesh are ranked 145 and 146 in the list of countries that is headed by Norway and in which the Democratic Republic of Congo is at the very bottom. The other two countries in South Asia, Nepal and Afghanistan, occupy ranks 157 and 172. Average HDI levels have risen greatly since 1970 – 41 percent globally and 61 percent in today’s low – HDI countries reflecting major overall gains in health, education and income. The 2011 HDI charts progress over five years to show recent national trends : 72 nations moved up in rank from 2006 to 2011, led by Cuba ( +10 to 51 ), Venezuela and Tanzania ( +7 each to 73rd and 152nd, respectively ), while another 72 counties fell in rank, including Kuwait ( – 8 to 63rd ) and Finland ( – 7th to 22nd ).

General Studies Question Bank CDNorway, Australia and the Netherlands lead the world in the 2011 Human Development Index ( HDI ), while the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and Burundi are at the bottom of the Human Development Report’s annual rankings of national achievement in health, education and income, released by the United Nations Development Program ( UNDP ). The United States, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Germany and Sweden round out the top 10 countries in the 2011 HDI, but when the Index is adjusted for internal inequalities in health, education and income, some of the wealthiest nations drop out of the HDI’s top 20 : The United States falls from 4th to 23rd, the Republic of Korea from #15 to #32, and Israel from 17th to 25th.

The United States and Israel drop in the Report’s Inequality – adjusted HDI ( IHDI ) mainly because of income inequality, though health care is also a factor in the US ranking change, while wide education gaps between generations detract from the Republic of Korea’s IHDI performance. Other top national achievers rise in the IHDI due to greater relative internal equalities in health, education and income : Sweden jumps from 10th to 5th, Denmark climbs from 16th to 12th, and Slovenia rises from 21st to 14th.

The 10 countries that place last in the 2011 HDI are all in sub – Saharan Africa : Guinea, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Chad, Mozambique, Burundi, Niger, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

India elected to UN Human Rights Council

India and 14 other countries have been elected to the 47 – nation UN Human Rights Council based in Geneva. India was not in competition for the seat since there were four countries and four seats for the Asia block. With 189 countries voting, Indonesia received 184 votes, Philippines 183, India 181 and Kuwait 166.Other countries to be elected to the Council include Burkina Faso, Botswana, Congo, Benin, Czech Republic, Romania, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Italy and Austria. These countries begin their term on 19th June, 2011 for a three – year term. In the wake of international condemnation of its crackdown on protesters, Syria gave up its seat to Kuwait.

The United Nations Human Rights Council ( UNHRC ) is an inter – governmental body within the United Nations System. The UNHRC is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights ( UNCHR, herein CHR ), and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly. The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights ( OHCHR ) and engages the United Nations’ Special Procedures. The General Assembly established the UNHRC by adopting a resolution on 15 March, 2006, in order to replace the previous CHR, which had been heavily criticized for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.

General Studies Question Bank CDIndia elected to UN ECOSOC

India and 17 other countries were on 24th October, 2011 elected as new members of the UN Economic and Social Council ( ECOSOC ). The other new members are Belarus, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Lesotho, Libya, Nigeria, Spain and Turkey. The new members will begin their three – year terms beginning 1st January, 2012. ECOSOC is the coordinating body for economic and social work of the UN agencies. It serves as a forum for discussing policy matters as well as making recommendations. At any given time, 54 nations serve in the council, and are elected for overlapping terms based on geographic groupings to ensure that a diversity of regions are represented. Through its discussions on international economic and social issues, the ECOSOC plays a key role in fostering cooperation for development.

India ranked 67th on Global Hunger Index

India’s food security situation continues to rank as “alarming” according to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index, 2011 unveiled on 12th October, 2011. It ranks 67 of the 81 countries of the world with the worst food security status. This means that there are only 14 countries in the world whose people have a worse nutritional status. The GH1 is composed of three equally weighted indicators the proportion of the population that is undernourished, the proportion of children who are underweight and under – five child mortality. India’s GHI for 2011 was 23.7 lower than it was last year, but higher than it was 15 years ago – giving it a rank of 67. Pakistan, Nepal, Rwanda and Sudan all did better than India, while Bangladesh, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the countries that did worse. India has moved from having an “extremely alarming” food security situation, the worst grade given by IFPRI – to “alarming”, that is, having a GHI between 20 and 29.9. China, Iran and Brazil are among the countries that have more than halved their GHI scores over the last decade.

The IFPRI report notes that there is growing volatility in global food markets which it attributes to three factors : “increasing use of food crops for biofuels, extreme weather conditions and climate change, and increased volume of trading in commodity futures markets. These factors are exacerbated by highly concentrated export markets that leave the world’s staple food importers dependent on just a few countries, a historically low level of grain reserves, and a lack of timely information about the world food system that could help prevent overreaction to moderate shifts in supply and demand.” The Global Hunger Index ( GHI ) is a multidimensional statistical tool used to describe the state of countries’ hunger situation. The GHI measures progress and failures in the global fight against hunger. The GHI is updated once a year.

The Index was adopted and further developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute ( IFPRI ), and was first published in 2006 with the Welthungerhilfe, a German non – profit organization ( NGO ). Since 2007, the Irish NGO Concern Worldwide joined the group as co – publisher. The 2011 GHI was calculated for 122 developing countries and countries in transition, 81 of which were ranked. Every year, the GHI report focuses on a main topic : in 2010 the Index highlighted early childhood undernutrition among children younger than the age of two.

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5th IBSA Summit

The President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Mr. Jacob Zuma, the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the President of Brazil, Ms. Dilma Rousseff met at the Presidential Guest House, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa; on 18th October, 2011 for the 5th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the India – Brazil – South Africa ( IBSA ) Dialogue Forum.

This Summit took place at a critical time globally, when the world economy is faced with serious challenges and where democracy is being sought after in areas such as the Middle East and North Africa. The Leaders highlighted that the basic pillar of IBSA is the shared vision of the three countries that democracy and development are mutually reinforcing and key to sustainable peace and stability. The Leaders posited that the entrenched democratic values shared by the three countries to the good of their peoples and are willing to share, if requested, the democratic and inclusive development model of their societies with countries in transition to democracy. The Leaders acknowledged the importance of the IBSA Dialogue Forum as an instrument to promote coordination on globed issues, pertinently during the historic occasion of 2011 when all IBSA Member States serve as non – permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

The leaders recalled their joint collaboration in the UNSC and other relevant international for such as the UN Specialised Agencies and groupings such as the G20, G24, WTO, WIPO, BASIC, BRICS, and G77 + China.

Important Highlights :

  • The leaders underscored the need for urgent reform of the UN Security Council including an expansion in both permanent and non – permanent categories of its membership, with increased participation of developing countries in both. They discussed the G4 initiative of a draft resolution on expansion of the Security Council in both categories and improvement of its working methods. They expressed their satisfaction with the positive role that the three IBSA countries have been playing in the maintenance of international peace and security during their current tenure on the Security Council.
  • They committed themselves to continued close cooperation in order to bring their perspectives into the work and decision – making processes of the UNSC.
  • The Leaders committed themselves to continue to work together in relevant multilateral fora to enhance macro – economic policy coordination for sustainable recovery and continued growth. As members of the G20, IBSA Countries reaffirmed their support for the Group as the premier forum for international economic cooperation. The Leaders agreed that the Heads and senior leadership of all international institutions should be appointed through an open, transparent and merit – based process beginning with the selection of the next President of the World Bank in 2012. The Leaders underscored the importance of strictly adhering to the commitments already agreed in other fora, such as in the G20, including the development agenda.
  • The Leaders noted that 2015 remains a fundamental target date, by which MDGs must be met. The leaders reaffirmed that with just four years to go for the target year, global efforts for attaining the MDGs by 2015 must see accelerated action. In this regard they called upon developed countries to urgently meet their ODA commitments and to take steps to strengthen global partnership as envisaged in MDG 8 including technology transfer.
  • Brazil and South Africa welcomed India’s decision conveyed at the Working Group on Science and Technology meeting that India will host the IBSA Satellite Technical Meeting In Bengaluru to discuss
    1. Modalities of cooperation in space weather, earth observation and micro satellite; and
    2. Translating the IBSA Satellite concept into action.
  • IBSA Leaders extended their congratulations on the 10 year anniversary of NEPAD, and acknowledge that NEPAD has played an immense role in mobilizing the African continent to take the lead in the determination of its destiny. The Leaders noted that NEPAD, through the commitment of African leaders, and with the support of Africa’s key partners, including IBSA, has an important role to play in developing the potential of Africa as a potential new global growth pole.
  • The Leaders recognized the positive contribution that India and Brazil play in support of the AU in conjunction with NEPAD. They welcomed the successful conclusion of the 2nd India – Africa Forum Summit in Addis Ababa in May 2011. They also looked forward to the South America – Africa Summit to take place in Malabo in 2012. The deep – rooted historical relationship that Brazil and India have with Africa has developed into a modem example of South – South Cooperation.
  • The Leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as it constitutes one of the most serious to international peace and security. The Leaders regretted and condemned the recent attacks in India that resulted in loss of lives. The Leaders of Brazil and South Africa offered condolences to the government and people of India.
  • The Leaders in the same vein reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and encouraged cooperation among States and regional organizations in the fight against terrorism. In this regard they emphasized the urgent need to finalize the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism ( CCIT ) and called upon all UN member – States to cooperate in resolving outstanding issues with the objective of an expeditious conclusion of negotiations and adoption of this Convention. They reaffirmed the central role of the UN in coordinating the international action against terrorism within the framework of the UN Charter and in accordance with the international law.
  • As the IBSA Dialogue Forum approaches its first decade of existence, and prepares to take on new challenges, the Leaders instructed the Ministers to conduct a review of the work methods of the IBSA sectoral cooperation mechanisms and the IBSA Facility for Poverty and Hunger Alleviation. The Leaders welcomed the offer by India to host the 6th IBSA Summit in 2013 on a date to be set through the diplomatic channels.

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Air India

The first commercial flight for Boeing’s 787 jet has landed, after a 4 – hour, eight – minute flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong on 26th October, 2011. The jet, nicknamed The Dreamliner by Boeing Corp.

The first flight of the long – range 787 has been highly anticipated, in part because it comes after more them three years of manufacturing delays. The jet is built put of lightweight materials that improve its fuel – efficiency. Its interior is designed in ways to make passengers more comfortable, including larger windows and better lighting. The 787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly – sized Boeing 767. The aircraft is 80% composite by volume. Its materials, listed by weight, are 50% composite, 20% aluminum, 15% titanium, 10% steel, and 5% other. Aluminum is used on wing and tail leading edges, titanium used mainly on engines and fasteners, with steel used in various places.

The first U.S. airline to the fly the 787 will be United Continental Holdings Inc. It plans to fly the 787 between Houston and Auckland, New Zealand, starting in the second half of 2012. The U.S. aviation giant has orders for more than 820 of the planes from airlines around the world, including 55 from ANA. Japan’s largest domestic airline has taken delivery of two of the aircraft since late September. Boeing was expected to deliver the remainder by March 2018.
Pakistan wins UNSC Seat

Pakistan narrowly won a hotly – contested seat to the UN Security Council on 21st October, 2011 joining India as a two year non – permanent member, Pakistan’s term is for two years beginning 1st January, 2012 to 31st December, 2013, overlapping with India for one year. Pakistan just about scraped through, securing 129 out of 193 votes in the United Nations.

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General Assembly, exactly the two – third majority required to win the seat. Its principal opponent in the Asia – Pacific region, Kyrgyzstan, won just 55. Guatemala and Morocco were the other members who joined the 15 – member council, five of whom are permanent members with veto powers. The other ten are non – permanent members on two year rotations. There will be a second round of voting for two more seats, one in Africa between Togo and Mauritania and one in Eastern Europe between Azerbaijan, Slovenia and Hungary. Pakistan avoided a second round by just about managing to get the required 2/3rd majority in the first round itself. Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon welcomed his country’s election to the council and said he expected to work well with India’s ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri.

CHOGM Summit 2011

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011, commonly known as CHOGM 2011, was the twenty – second Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations. Held in Perth, Australia, between 28th October, 2011 and 30th October, 2011, it was hosted by the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. Vice President Hamid Ansari led the Indian delegation. The theme for CHOGM 2011, Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience, reflects the importance of addressing pressing challenges at multiple levels : as individual states, as members of the Commonwealth, and as part of the global community. The Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, incorporated the CHOGM Official Opening into her official visit to Australia, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Outcome : Royal Succession

The 16 other Commonwealth realm Prime Ministers agreed to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal to reform the rules for the royal succession. Sons and daughters of any future UK monarch will have equal right to the throne, after Commonwealth leaders agreed to change succession laws. It means a first – born daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would take precedence over younger brothers.

Under the old succession laws, dating back more than 300 years, the heir to the throne is the first – born son of the monarch. Only when there are no sons, as in the case of the Queen’s father George VI, does the crown pass to the eldest daughter. The ban on the monarch being married to a Roman Catholic was also lifted.

Human Rights in India

The summit considered a report by an Eminent Persons Group ( EPG ) panel, appointed at the last CHOGM. The panel suggested the Commonwealth’s relevance was lost and was further decaying due the lack of a mechanism to censure member countries when they violated human rights or democratic norms. The panel also made 106 “urgent” recommendations including the adoption of a Charter of the Commonwealth, the creation of a new commissioner on the rule of law, democracy and human rights to track persistent human rights abuses and allegations of political repression by Commonwealth member states, recommendations for the repeal of laws against homosexuality in 41 Commonwealth states and a ban on “forced marriage.”

The summit failed to reach an agreement to endorse or even publish the EPG report; the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada urged the publication of the report but were opposed by India, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Namibia. On the summit’s final day it was agreed to develop a charter of values for the Commonwealth as “one clear, powerful statement” without any agreement about enforcement.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper walked out of the summit during its last day when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was invited to speak. He also had threatened to boycott the 2013 CHOGM summit, scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka, if allegations of human rights abuses against the country’s Tamil minority were not investigated.
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About Commonwealth

Commonwealth, also called Commonwealth of Nations, formerly ( 1931 – 1949 ) British Commonwealth of Nations, is a free association of sovereign states comprising the United Kingdom and a number of its former dependencies who have chosen to maintain ties of friendship and practical cooperation and who acknowledge the British monarch as symbolic head of their association. In 1965 the Commonwealth Secretariat was established in London to organize and coordinate Commonwealth activities.

Historically, the Commonwealth was an evolutionary outgrowth of the British Empire. The traditional British policy of allowing considerable self – government in its colonies led to the existence by the 19th century of several dependent states that were populated to a significant degree by Europeans accustomed to forms of parliamentary rule and that possessed large measures of sovereignty. By 1931 they were recognized as having special status within the empire by the Statute of Westminster, which referred specifically to a “British Commonwealth of Nations.”

The rapid growth of nationalism in other parts of the empire from the 1920s produced a long series of grants of independence, beginning with that to India in 1947, and required a redefinition of the Commonwealth. In 1947 India and Pakistan became members of the Commonwealth, the first with chiefly non – European populations. In 1949 India announced its intention to become a republic, which would have required its withdrawal from the Commonwealth under the existing rules, but at a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government in London in April, 1949 it was agreed that India could continue its membership if it accepted the British crown as only “the symbol of the free association” of Commonwealth members. That declaration was the first to drop the adjective British, and thereafter the official name of the organization became the Commonwealth of Nations, or simply the Commonwealth. Commonwealth membership grew dramatically in the second half of the 20th century as former dependencies attained sovereignty. Most of the dependent states granted independence chose Commonwealth membership, and the organization has even grown to include Mozambique ( joined 1995 ), which was the first country granted entry that was never part of the British Empire or under the control of any member.

The Commonwealth differs from other international bodies. It has no formal constitution or bylaws. The members have no legal or formal obligation to one another; they are held together by shared traditions, institutions, and experiences as well as by economic self – interest. Commonwealth action is based upon consultation between members, which is conducted through correspondence and through conversations in meetings. Each member country sends an emissary, called a high commissioner, to the capitals of the other members. A Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is held every two years.

Nabam Tuki sworn in as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh

Dissident leader Nabam Tuki was sworn in as Arunachal Pradesh’s seventh Chief Minister, ending a two week political drama over the demand for leadership change. Tuki, who had led the dissent against his predecessor Jarbom Gamlin, was sworn in by Governor J J Singh in the presence of AICC observers Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former DoNER minister B K Handique and partys general secretary and in – charge of Arunachal Pradesh Dhaniram Shandil. Tuki, the first Chief Minister from the Nyishi community, told reporters that his priority was to maintain communal harmony among all tribes for development of the land – locked state.

Mukesh Ambani is Richest Indian – Forbes

Mukesh Ambani, who heads the oil – to – retail conglomerate Reliance Industries Group, has retained his position as the World’s richest Indian with a net worth of $22.60 billion, as per the Forbes India annual rich list.

He is followed by ArcelorMittal’s Lakshmi Mittal and Wipro’s Azim Ptemji, as per the list published on 27th October, 2011 by the Indian edition of global business magazine Forbes. Mittal was ranked second with a net worth of $19.2 billion, while Premji was at the third position with $13 billion of net worth. In the top – five, Mukesh Ambani, Mittal and Premji were followed by Essar group’s Shashi Ruia and Ravi Ruia ( $10.2 billion at fourth position ) and Savitri Jindal ( $9.50 billion at fifth place ). Others in the top ten include Sunil Mittal ( $8.80 billion at sixth position ), Gautani Adani ( $8.2 billion, seventh ), Kumar Mangalam Birla ( $7.70 billion, eighth ), Pallonji Mistry ( $7.60 billion, ninth ) and Adi Godrej ( $6.80 billion, tenth position ).

The 100 richest persons in the country together saw their net worth falling by 20 per cent in one year, to $241 billion, as inflation, corruption scandals and felling stock and currency, prices diminished their wealth. The list comprises 57 billionaires, a dozen less than last year. Forbes said Mukesh’s younger brother Anil Ambani saw the biggest erosion in his wealth in absolute terms, while power producer Lanco Infratech’s Madhusudan Raw was the biggest loser in percentage terms as his net worth fell by 78 per cent in the past one year. Mr. Anil Ambani’s net worth declined by $7.4 billion to $5.90 billion and he “slipped out of the top ten for the first time since his 2004 debut.” He was ranked 13th in this year’s list.

14 new faces : This year’s list included 14 new faces and the richest debutante was the founder and CEO of the London – listed oil and gas firm Indus Gas, Ajay Kalsi, at the 38th position with a net worth of $1.39 billion. Father – son duo Kapil and Rahul Bhatia of travel group Inter Globe Enterprises made their debut at position 51, with & net worth of $1.09 billion after their budget carrier IndiGo became India’s third – largest and most profitable airline. Also debuting on the list was V. G. Siddhartha, ranked 84th with a net worth of $595 million, and founder of coffee shop retail chain Cafe Coffee Day.

Nassir Abdulaziz Al – Nasser of Qatar – President of Sixty – Sixth General Assembly

Nassir Abdulaziz al – Nasser was elected President of the sixty – sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly on 22nd June, 2011. A veteran diplomat, Mr. Al – Nasser has contributed to advancing the multilateral agenda in the realms of peace and security, sustainable development and South – South cooperation over a career spanning nearly four decades. For the past 13 years, from 1998 to 2011, Mr. Al – Nasser served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations. During this period, he played leading roles as Chairman of the General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization ( Fourth ) Committee ( 2009 to 2010 ) and as President of the General Assembly High – level Committee on South – South Cooperation ( 2007 to 2009 ).

He also chaired the “Group of 77” developing countries and China at the United Nations in New York ( 2004 ), guiding action that paved the way for the Second South Summit of the Group, which took place in Doha, Qatar, the following year, and led to the establishment of the South Fund for Development and Humanitarian Affairs, a financing mechanism aimed at assisting the countries of the South in addressing issues such as poverty, hunger and natural disasters.

Mr. Al – Nasser represented his country on the United Nations Security Council during the two – year term of Qatar as a non – permanent member ( 2006 to 2007 ). He was Security Council President for the month of December 2006, when the Council took action on a range of complex peace and security issues, including international cooperation to combat terrorism and the protection of journalists in armed conflict. He also presided over three of the subsidiary bodies of the Council. Earlier, Mr. Al – Nasser was appointed as his country’s resident Ambassador to Jordan ( 1993 to 1998 ), before which he was first posted to the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations in New York, as Minister Plenipotentiary ( 1986 to 1993 ).

Mr. Al – Nasser entered the international arena at an early age, and was appointed Attache at the Embassy of Qatar in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1972. He was assigned to the Embassy of his country in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 1975 and, later that year, was dispatched to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he served as Consul – General for Qatar through August 1981. The recipient of numerous decorations and awards, Mr. Al – Nasser was made an honorary fellow of the Foreign Policy Association in New York in 2009 and received an honorary doctorate in international affairs from Chongqing University ( China ) in 2007. A wide range of countries have conferred on him their national awards, including the Medal of Independence of the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ( 1998 ) ; Grand Officer, Order of Merit ( Italy, 2004 ) ; Medal of Grand Commander of the Order of Makarios III ( Cyprus, 2007 ) ; National Order of Doctor Jose Matias Delgado ( El Salvador, 2007 ) ; and Commander of the National Order of the Republic ( Cote d’lvoire, 2008 ).

First Integrated Tea Park of the North East Region

The first integrated tea park of the Northeast will come up at Chaygaon on the outskirts of Guwahati. Around ₹ 23 crore will be invested in the project. The pre – feasibility report of the park is already prepared. Sources in Assam Industrial Development Corporation ( AIDC ). The AIDC has taken steps to set up the tea park, which will create world class infrastructure for processing, warehousing, blending and packaging on the industry cluster concept. Tea export from the state will increase substantially with the operation of the park. Assam’s tea production was estimated at 480.2 million kg ( m kg ) last year, which was – down by 19.7 m kg compared to the previous year’s production of 499.9 m kg.

Tea plantation is expanding fast in non – traditional areas and the park is expected to assist the growers in the non – traditional areas. While Assam and Tripura are traditional tea – growing states, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim constitute the non – traditional areas. The Northeastern region accounts for 55% of the area under tea and 53% of the production. Tripura produces 7.5 mkg annually. The non – traditional areas together produce 2.98 mkg annually.

Faster than light particles found

The latest discovery done by a team of experimental physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, negates Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity that clearly certifies light as the fastest mover in the universe. If proved correct, this exotic particle, a neutrino that is 60 nanoseconds quicker than light, could establish the fact that humans can travel back in time. The calculation was done by the Oscillation Project with Emulsion – tRacking Apparatus ( OPERA ), a 1,300 – metric – ton particle detector.

The OPERA Project

For past three years, scientists have been working on OPERA. The Oscillation Project with Emulsion – tRacking Apparatus ( OPERA ) is a scientific instrument for detecting tau neutrinos from muon neutrino oscillations. The experiment is a collaboration between CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso ( LNGS ) in Gran Sasso, Italy. It exploits CERN Neutrinos to Gran Sasso ( CNGS ). On 31st May, 2010, OPERA researchers observed the first tau neutrino candidate event in a muon neutrino beam. In September, 2011 OPERA researchers observed muon neutrinos traveling apparently at faster than light speed.

Their research clearly shows that when a total of 15,000 beams of neutrinos were fired, the tiny particles traveled the 730 – kilometer, 2.43 – millisecond trip roughly 60 nanoseconds faster than light, the OPERA researchers claimed. The trip would take a beam of light 2.4 milliseconds to complete, but after running the experiment for three years and timing the arrival of 15,000 neutrinos, the scientists discovered that the particles arrived at Gran Sasso sixty billionths of a second earlier, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 billionths of a second. The measurement amounts to the neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light by a fraction of 20 parts per million. Since the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second, the neutrinos were evidently travelling at 299,798,454 metres per second.

Replication of findings :

Teams at two experiments known as T2K in Japan and MINOS near Chicago in the US will now attempt to replicate the finding. The MINOS experiment saw hints of neutrinos moving at faster than the speed of light in 2007 but has yet to confirm them.

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Miss Universe 2011 India

Miss Universe 2011, the 60th anniversary of the Miss Universe pageant, was held at the Credicard Hall in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 12th September, 2011. Ximena Navarrete of Mexico crowned her successor, Leila Lopes of Angola, at the end of this event. Contestants from 89 countries and territories participated in this year’s pageant, surpassing the previous record of 86 contestants in 2006. The 25 – year – old beauty queen pledged to help Angola move past its history of war and impoverishment. She also plans to focus on HIV advocacy worldwide.

1st runner – up Ukraine – Olesya Stefanko

2nd runner – up Brail – Priscila Machado

3rd runner – up Philippines – Shamcey Supsup

India 56th on World Economic Forum Index

The annual Global Competitiveness Report ( GCR ) of the World Economic Forum ( WEF ) continues to list Switzerland as the most competitive country globally, with the United States falling to the 5th position. Singapore is the 2nd most competitive country in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2011 – 2012 unveiled on 8th September, 2011.

The GCR finds Asia has become globally more competitive, as a result of its rise to economic prominence. The report states that over the past five years several countries in the Asian Pacific regions, including China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, have made important strides in the GCI rankings. India’s performance is, however, disappointing and it has fallen 5 positions since 2010 from 51 to 56 out of 142 economies. India’s gap with China has widened. China is ranked 26th.

The WEF states that India’s low ranking is due to its “mediocre accomplishments” in areas which are considered to be the basic factors underpinning competitiveness. India’s supply of transport, ICT, and energy infrastructure remains largely insufficient and ill adapted to the needs of business ( 89th ). India Inc. continuously cites India’s infrastructure as the biggest hindrance to doing business in the country. WEF notes that though there has been a slow improvement since 2006 it does not translate into a higher ranking because other countries have been improving faster. The report paints a similar picture in India’s health and basic education ( which is 101st ) pillar. It finds that despite improvements over the past years the quality of public health and basic education are a prime cause of worry.

It also states that though there are some encouraging trends in education quality and public health, the same cannot be said of the country’s institutions ( 69th, 37th in 2010 ) and macroeconomic environment ( 105th ), which are the other two dimensions comprising the basic requirements component of the GCI ( Global Competitiveness Index ). India’s macroeconomic environment is rated low down at 105, for its continued large and repeated public deficit and high debt – to – GDP ratio.

High inflation hovering around 10% is undermining the macroeconomic environment. However, the reports state that the positive strengths of India are in its more advanced and complex drivers of competitiveness. It is a country that boasts of a vast domestic market that allows for economies of scale and attracts investors. It can rely on a well – developed and sophisticated financial market ( 21st ) that can channel financial resources to good use, and it boasts of reasonably sophisticated ( 43rd ) and innovative ( 38th ) businesses.

India’s scorecard : Overall Ranking – 56th; Ranking on different parameters : Transport, ICT, and energy infrastructure – 89th, Institutions – 69th, Macroeconomic environment – 105th, Health and basic education – 101st, Business sophistication – 43rd, Innovation – 38th.

Terrorism Risk Index

The latest Terrorism Risk Index ( TRI ), released by Maplecroft released on 4th August, 2011, rates 20 countries and territories as ‘extreme risk’. A ranking suggests that Somalia is the most vulnerable nation to terrorism and is followed by Pakistan ( 2 ), Iraq ( 3 ), Afghanistan ( 4 ), and newly – formed South Sudan ( 5 ). The top four rankings were unchanged from the previous survey issued in November, 2010. The ‘extreme risk’ category also includes India, which is at 18th spot.

In the 2010 report, India had ranked 16th. The survey’s reporting period was April, 2010 to March, 2011. The only Western European country seen at high risk was Greece, assessed at 27, down from 24, due to violent left – wing groups. The survey period did not cover an attack in Norway by anti – Muslim zealot Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo and a nearby island. The survey rated Norway at a lowly 112.

The latest data also revealed that the number of globed terrorist attacks in 2010 – 2011 has increased by 15 percent over the previous year to 11,954, although the numbers killed fell seven percent to 14,478. The UK – based company’s index rates 198 countries on the number, frequency and intensity of terrorism attacks, plus the likelihood of mass casualties occurring. While based on historical data, it is intended as a forward – looking assessment.

Global Counterterrorism Forum launched

A consortium of nations, including India, has launched a new multilateral body aimed at fighting terrorism by bringing together members to identify urgent needs and devise solutions to tackle the menace. The Globed counter terrorism Forum ( GCTF ) was launched on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on 23rd September, 2011. The forum comprises 29 countries in the EU, 11 Muslim majority nations, China, India, Russia along with regional representation from South America and Africa. The forum is meant to Create a venue where partners can come together and identify urgent needs in counter – terrorism around the world, devise solutions and mobilize the resources to implement those solutions.

It will have a coordinating committee of Foreign Ministry officials besides five working groups. Two functional groups would focus on criminal justice, rule of law and countering violent extremism. Three groups would be focused on regions of Sahel, the Horn of Africa and Southeast Asia.

PSLV – C18 puts four satellites in orbit

ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle ( PSLV – C18 ) demonstrated its reliability and consistency yet again when it put four satellites in orbit on 12th October, 2011. The satellites launched were : Megha – Tropiques, an Indo – French mission to study the weather and climate in the tropical regions of the world; SRMSat, built by students of SRM University, near Chennai; Jugnu, put together by Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur students; and VesselSat from Luxembourg.

Megha – Tropiques

The ₹ 80 – crore Megha – Tropiques is a joint mission between Indian and French space agencies to study the water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropics. The chief aim of the project is to understand the life cycle of convective systems which influences the tropical weather and study their contribution to the energy and moisture budget of the atmosphere in the tropical regions. The satellite will provide scientific data on the contribution of the water cycle to the tropical atmosphere, with information on condensed water in clouds, water vapour in the atmosphere, precipitation, and evaporation.

Megha – Tropiques carries the following four payloads :

    1. Microwave Analysis and Detection of Rain and Atmospheric Structures ( MADRAS ), an Imaging Radiometer developed jointly by French space agency CNES and ISRO.
    2. Sounder for Probing Vertical Profiles of Humidity ( SAPHIR ), from CNES.
    3. Scanner for Radiation Budget ( ScaRaB ), from CNES.
    4. Radio Occultation Sensor for Vertical Profiling of Temperature and Humidity ( ROSA ), procured from Italy.

Megha – Tropiques, with its circular orbit inclined 20 degrees to the equator, will enable climate research and aid scientists seeking to refine prediction models. The last such similar project, The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission – it is a joint mission of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency designed to monitor and study tropical rainfall – was launched on 27th November, 1997.

Other three satellites

The other three satellites launched in the mission are Jugnu, SRMSat and VesselSat – 1. Jugnu is a nano – satellite developed by engineers at the IIT – Kanpur, under guidance of scientists at ISRO. Jugnu aims to prove the camera system developed by IIT – K for imaging the Earth in near infra – red region and test image processing algorithms. The satellite weighs about 3 kg.

The ₹ 1.1 crore SRMSat is a satellite developed by the students and faculty of SRM University to measure the pollution levels in atmosphere by tracking C02 and H20 ( water vapour ) levels. The satellite weighs about 10.09 kg and uses a grating spectrometer. The third satellite, VesselSat – 1 which is 28.7 kg, has been developed by LuxSpace of Luxembourg. It carries AIS or the Automatic Identification System for ships.

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 13th October, 2011. Despite a recent 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 1st October, 201131st March, 2012. Special Focus Market Scheme for exports to Latin America, Africa and CIS countries will get an additional one percent 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 radio immunoassay kits ( used in the diagnosis of disease / disorders in humans and animals ) liberalized 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.

India Human Development Report 2011 Released

The second India Human Development Report – 2011 was released by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on 21st October, 2011. The report says India has progressed well in social development front, with higher enrollment rates in education, and a shift towards social inclusion of marginalized communities and minorities. The report has been prepared by the Institute of Applied Manpower Research, an autonomous body under the Planning Commission. The author of the report, Santosh Mehrotra, said the report underlined the education success story. However, the fact that the mean number of years of schooling was very low, along with a poor rate of school attendance, undid the achievement in education.

Rise in HDI : The report says India’s Human Development Index ( HDI ), based on indicators such as health, education and income, registered impressive gains in the last decade as the index increased by 21 per cent to 0.467 in 2007 – 2008 from 0.387 in 1999 – 2000. HDI is a composite index, comprising three indicators – consumption expenditure ( a proxy for income ), education and health. According to the report, the leap in development was mainly on account of the 28 per cent jump in education index alone, compared to a decade ago, when the first such report was released. It ranged from 0.92 in Kerala to 0.41 in Bihar. The rise has been the highest in educationally – backward states. The improvement in the health index stands at 13.2 per cent between 2000 and 2008. The states with the most serious health concerns – Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Assam – showed the most improvement. The report also cites a fall in the overall fertility rate as the greatest achievement in health.

Top and bottom states : Kerala is ranked number 1 on HDI for achieving the highest literacy rate, quality health services and consumption expenditure of people. The HDI listed Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Punjab in second, third, fourth and fifth position respectively. The same states occupied the top five positions in 1999 – 2000. States that fared better on health and education were also the states with higher HDI, and thus, higher per capita income. The report listed Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Assam as states lagging behind in the HDI and below the national average of 0.467. HDI ranged from 0.79 in Kerala to 0.39 in Chhattisgarh.

Problem areas : Open defecation continued to be the biggest threat to health. Malnutrition, hunger and anaemia rates, besides infant mortality, remain grim, as reported in the National Family Health Survey. The report also indicated economic prosperity was no guarantee of better social indicators. Gujarat, with a high per capita income, ranks below some poor states in terms of hunger, the report said. Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh also fare poorly in terms of hunger, Punjab fared the best. Gujarat had a hunger index of 24.70 per cent, just above Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. In Gujarat, the percentage of severely underweight children was also higher than the national average.

Highlights :

  • Kerala tops, Chhattisgarh lowest.
  • Education index up 28.5 per cent; health still poor at 13.2 per cent
  • Two – thirds of Indians reside in pucca houses.
  • Three – fourths of households have access to electricity.
  • 65 per cent rural households defecate in the open.

{tab=Indian Grand Prix}

Indian Grand Prix 2011 Winner

The first Indian Grand Prix is the FIA Formula One World Championship held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, Uttar Ptadesh, on 30th October, 2011 as the 17th race of the 2011 Formula One season. The new race track was officially homologated on 1st September, 2011 by Charlie Whiting, and the inaugural race was won by Germany’s Sebastian Vettel.

About the circuit :

The race was held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, 24 km from Delhi. The circuit, designed by Fl circuit designer Hermann Tilke, is 5.141 kilometres ( 3.194 mi ). The track has spread across an area of 875 acres. The initial seating capacity is speculated to be around 150,000. However there are plans to increase the seating capacity to 200,000 later on. The sprawling circuit is a part of Jaypee Green Sports city and will also be used for hosting one or more rounds of Moto GP championships in the year 2012. The 10 year contract for the race has been given to the Indian construction company Jaiprakash Associates.

Indian Grand Prix History

1997 : There had been plans to host an Indian Grand Prix at Calcutta. December, 2003 : a seven – year pre – agreement to host the GP in Hyderabad in 2007 was signed. The track was to be built near Gopanapally village, near the outskirts of Hyderabad, and consisted of 1,367 acres ( 5.53 km2 ) of land.

2004 : There came competition from Mumbai, to shift the track from Hyderabad to Mumbai instead. Both projects then were declared ‘dead’ in the second half of 2004, when Mumbai’s government decided “not to waste money on car fumes while there are more serious issues”, and the Hyderabad location was converted to an IT park for technology companies. 2007 : five locations remained in the running for hosting the Indian Grand Prix : Bangalore, the Gurgaon district in the state of Haryana, a permanent track somewhere near New Delhi, a street circuit in New Delhi, as proposed by Vijay Mallya, and a site in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

2007 : Following months of negotiations, the Indian Olympic Association ( IOA ) and Bernie Ecclestone announced in June 2007 a provisional agreement for India to host its first Grand Prix in the 2009 F1 season. However, in September, 2007 the IOA announced that the debut race would take place in 2010 on the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida. After further assessments of the timeframe involved, Bernie Ecclestone announced in September 2008 that the Indian Grand Prix has been delayed to 2011.

2008 : In October 2008, the Renault Fl team showcased their car on a tour across all sites that were previously linked to an Fl circuit in India ( except Mumbai ) : Gurgaon, Lucknow, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Calcutta, and in November 2008 they also performed a street demonstration on Rajpath at the India Gate end, New Delhi, the car being driven by Nelson Piquet. In August 2009, the McLaren F1 team showcased their car in Lucknow.

2009 : On 11th October, 2009, the Red Bull F1 team gave a demonstration in Mumbai. David Coulthard drove the Red Bull F1 car across. Mumbai’s Bandra Worli Sealink. The Indian F1 Race will occur as the 17th round of the 2011 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

2011 : On 30th October, 2011, the first Fl Grand Prix was held at the circuit. Sebastian Vettel won the event, his 11th of the season. He also had the fastest lap of the race on his last lap although his team was telling him to “just bring it home”. Sachin Tendulkar waved the chequered flag to welcome Sebastian Vettel. Redbull won the Constructors Trophy. The only Indian Fl driver Narain Karthikeyan of HRT F1 finished 17th position. The only Indian Fl Team Sahara Force India driver Adrian Sutil finished at 9th position.

India, France discuss military, civil nuclear deals during Juppe visit

India and France discussed military contracts and civil nuclear safety during an interaction between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his visiting counterpart, Alain Juppe in New Delhi on 20th October, 2011.

Nuclear cooperation of India :

France, which has been awarded a multi – billion contract for setting up nuclear power plants at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, agreed to step up cooperation between the civil nuclear regulatory boards of the two countries. Nuclear safety has been high on the Indian agenda after the Fukushima radiation leak and a fire in a French nuclear waste dump. Doubts were also expressed about the reliability of the patented technology France intends to use in setting up the plants.


The two sides discussed the joint development of a short – range missile that will be deployed as a last resort for defending vital installations from air attacks. They also touched on the induction of French technology for the Kaveri engine, which was being indigenously developed but facing several hurdles. The two armies conducted ‘Shakti’ military exercises for the first time recently. The terrestrial war games add to the regularly held joint naval exercises under the ‘Varuna’ and ‘Garuda’ series by the two air forces. India and France also welcomed the move to modernise the IAF Mirage 2000 aircraft.

The ₹ 11, 000 – crore deal to upgrade was signed recently with Dassault Aviation and Thales. The IAF has 51 Mirage 2000s in its inventory, procured in the 1980s, and upgrade plans include a multimode Doppler radar, modern glass cockpit, fully integrated electronic warfare suite and beyond visual range capabilities. In addition, the Defence Research Development Organisation ( DRDO ) is negotiating with French engine manufacturer Snecma to co – develop high – end technology for the Kabini, which forms the core part of Kaveri engine, being developed for the Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’. Both Ministers noted the ongoing efforts to finalise joint defence research and development both for Kaveri and Short – Range Surface – to – Air Missile ( SR – SAM ).

Massive earthquake rattles Turkey

A powerful 7.2 – magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey on 23rd October, 2011, killing at least 85 people and sparking widespread panic as it collapsed dozens of buildings into piles of twisted steel and chunks of concrete. The quake hit Turkey’s mountainous eastern region with an epicentre in the village of Tabanli, 17 km from Van, provincial capital, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The hardest hit was Ercis, a city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border, which lies on the Ercis Fault in one of Turkey’s most earthquake – prone zones. Van, some 55 miles ( 90 kilometres ) to the south, also suffered substantial damage. The earthquake also shook buildings in neighboring Armenia and Iran.

India is 6th largest contributor to global wealth growth in January – June 2011

A study has revealed the dollar millionaire club in India is expected to more than double to 403,000 by 2016 on the back of robust economic growth and impressive returns from the stock and property markets. The toted wealth of these millionaires, having minimum investible assets of $1 million was also estimated to more than double to about $2.5 trillion by 2016, the second annual Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse Research Institute said on 19th October, 2011. India, the report says, is now the sixth highest contributor of global wealth growth.

Between January 2010 and June 2011, India’s total wealth increased by $1.3 trillion. In 2011, it reached $4.1 trillion, and is projected to more than double to $8.9 trillion in the next five years.

Household net worth or “wealth” is defined as the value of financial assets plus real assets ( principally, housing ) owned by individuals less their debts. In 2011 alone, India acquired 34,000 new millionaires. “However, details of Indian billionaires and similar high profile UHNW ( ultra high net worth ) individuals suggest that a higher – than – normal proportion may be more properly regarded as residents of other countries,” notes the report.

First Oceanarium project in India

A first of its kind Oceanarium project in India, estimated to cost ₹ 350 crore, is being launched on a Public Private Partnership ( PPP ) mode at nearby Puthuvypeen. The project, an initiative of the State Fisheries Resource Management Society ( FIRMA ), is proposed to be rolled out under Design, Built, Finance, Operate and Transfer ( DBFOT ) basis through a competitive bidding process it would be set up in 40 acres of government land at nearby Puthuvypeen.

The project envisages setting up of State of the art fourth generation Oceanarium and aims at propagating awareness about marine environment and bio – diversity. The Oceanarium would offer unique underwater experience by showcasing aquarium alley, deep sea tunnel, polar pavilion, shark tank, touch tank and other entertainment facilities. A consortium of Mahindra Consulting Engineers Ltd and Jacques Rougerie Architecte France has completed the Detailed Feasibility Report and has also undertaken conceptual design of the project. The first stage of selection process involves qualification of bidders as per provisions of Request for Qualification ( RFQ ). KSIDC will soon release the RFQ to shortlist applicants for awarding the project through competitive bidding process.

Gorkhaland Territorial Administration

At Pintail Village, the epicentre of the Gorkhas’ campaign for ethnic identity in the Terai, the Central and state Governments and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha ( GJM ) signed an agreement to pave the way for the creation of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration ( GTA ) an elected body for the Daijeeling hills, was signed at Pintail village on 18th July, 2011. The new arrangement will replace the existing Daijeeling Gorkha Hill Council, which came into existence in 1988 following a similar accord signed between the Centre, the Left Front government and Subash Ghising’s Gorkha National Liberation Front. The new set – up will have 50 members, 45 of them will be elected and the rest nominated. A Bill for this will be moved in the Assembly and, on adoption, it will be sent to the President for assent. Elections to the new body would be held within six months.

Short history :

On the 7th June 2011, it was revealed that a ‘bilateral agreement had been reached between the representatives of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the representatives of the State Government wherein the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had accepted the State Government’s proposal for the formation of an ‘autonomous administrative setup’ replacing Daijeeling Gorkha Hill Council. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, a party formed by former GNLF councilor Bimal Gurung had after ousting GNLF supremo Subash Ghisingh from the post of the Caretaker Chairman of Daijeeling Gorkha HUT Council in 2008 re – initiated the Gorkhaland Movement. In 2010, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha showed its willingness to negotiate with the State Government and accept an ‘alternative’ to Gorkhaland.

In June, 2011 then after the formation of the new Trinamul Congress Government at Kolkata, the party signed a bilateral agreement with the State Government agreeing to the formation of an ‘autonomous administrative setup’. On 8th June, 2011, an agreement on the draft of Memorandum of Agreement ( MOA ) between the State Government of West Bengal and the representatives of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was further reached naming the ‘autonomous administrative setup’ to replace Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council as Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Accord Signed on 22nd August, 1988 between Centre, state & GNLF

Name : Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

Status : Autonomous council 42 members – 28 elected, 14 nominated by state.

Area : 3 hill subdivisions : Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, and 13 village clusters in Siliguri subdivision.

Powers : Land allotment etc. No new government posts or taxes.

Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Accord, 2011 Signed on 18th July by WB government, GJM and Centre

Name : Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

Status : Maximum autonomy. 45 councillors to be elected, 5 to be nominated by government.

Area : Existing areas under erstwhile DGHC. Joint panel to examine inclusion of areas in the Terai and Dooars.

Powers : Over industry, IT. Can create government posts and levy fees.

India – Uruguay double taxation treaty

India and Uruguay on 8th September, 2011 signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement that would help boost the flow of trade, investment and technology between the two countries. The agreement will provide tax stability to the residents of India and Uruguay and facilitate mutual economic cooperation as well as stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between the two countries. The deal is aimed to ensure avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital. According to the terms of the agreement, business profits will be taxable in the source country if the activities of an enterprise constitute a permanent establishment in that country. Profits of construction, assembly or installation projects will be taxed in the country of source if the project continues in that country for more than six months, while the profits derived by an enterprise from the operation of ships or aircraft in international traffic will be taxable in the country of residence of the enterprise. Capital gains from the sale of shares will be taxable in the country of source and tax credit will be given in the country of residence. The agreement will provide tax stability to the residents of India and Uruguay and facilitate mutual economic cooperation as well as stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between the two countries.

IRCON – Sri Lanka pact

An agreement for supply and installation of an $86.5 – million signalling and telecommunication system for railway network in Northern Province of Sri Lanka was signed between IRCON and Sri Lanka Railways. This project is a part of Indian Line of Credit of $800 – million, which has been extended by India at concessional terms. The credit line has been extended at an interest rate of LIBOR plus 0.5 per cent with LIBOR capped at 3 per cent. The repayment period is 20 years with a five year moratorium.

The proposed contract will cover the Anuradhapura – Kankasanthurai and Medawachchiya – Tailed Mannar sections, covering a route length of 341 km and 28 stations. The signalling work involves provision of centralized control panel, interlocking colour light system with electrically operated points and track detection system. All the level crossings will be interlocked with new signalling system, which would ensure safety at level crossings. The telecommunication work involves provision of optical fiber communication system throughout the section. In addition, public address system, etc., shall also be provided at major stations. The southern coastal railway line project is also being funded under Government of India credit line of $ 167.4 million.

Planet with two suns discovered

NASA Ames scientists for the first time confirmed the existence of a planet orbiting two stars. The circumbinary planet about the size of Saturn has been dubbed Kepler – 16b. It was spotted by the Kepler space telescope about 200 light years from Earth in a system known as Kepler 16. Kepler – 16b, which is thought to be roughly half rock and half gas, was detected by a research team led by Lawrence Doyle of the SETI Institute in Mountain View. The planet lies outside the system’s “habitable zone,” where liquid water could exist on the surface. However, scientists said the discovery could help increase the chances of finding extraterrestrial life by increasing the number of possible locations.

NASA Unveils New Rocket Design

NASA unveiled the design for the Space Launch System ( SLS ), a next – generation rocket system that will serve as the centerpiece for deep space exploration for the coming decades. The rocket would be the most powerful since the Saturn V that took Americans to the moon four decades ago. NASA expects it to propel astronauts on missions farther than anyone has ever traveled, including an asteroid by 2025 and Mars the following decade.

The SLS rocket will be designed to carry the Orion Multi – Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and beyond. It will also serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. The cost of the program is estimated at $18 billion through an initial test flight in 2017, and about $30 billion through the first piloted mission in 2021. The first unmanned test flight of the first iteration of the rocket, able to lift 70 metric tons ( 154,000 pounds ) to low – Earth orbit, is targeted for the end of 2017. Future iterations are to be more powerful, capable of lifting up to 130 metric tons ( 286,000 pounds ). It would take roughly $62 billion to fly up to two missions a year and start developing deep – space habitat and other components needed for a mission to an asteroid.

Qazigund – Banihal rail tunnel completed

Piercing through the Pir Panchal mountainous range, India’s longest railway tunnel was thrown open at Banihal to facilitate the ambitious Udhampur – Srinagar – Baramulla rail project. Coming up at a cost of ₹ 391 crores, the 11.17 – Km Qazigund – Banihal tunnel will connect Kashmir with outside world through rail and is scheduled for full operation from 2012. The train would take 6.6 minutes to travel this distance from Banihal in south side to Qazigund in north side of the mountain and thus would take passenger from Jammu region in to Kashmir region just six minutes. The project is being constructed by Hindustan Construction Company ( HCC ). The Pir Panchal tunnel passes approximately 440 meters below the existing Jawahar Tunnel. The work on the tunnel was started in 2005 – 2006 and it would take another seven to eight months before the project becomes fully operational.

The engineering work on the tunnel includes width of 8.405 meters and height of 7.393 meters with a provision of 3 meter wide concrete road inside the tunnel throughout the length for maintenance, emergency and relief purpose. The 119 km railway line from Quazigund to Baramulla is already functional since. October, 2009. Due to the challenging geological strata of the young Himalayan rock, New Austrian Tunneling Methodology ( NATM ) was adopted for the tunnel construction. The engineers had to face the challenge of eight different types of geological strata discovered during its survey and to meet the challenge three excavation techniques were adopted to complete the project.

Sikkim Earthquake 2011 Report

The 2011 Sikkim earthquake also known as the 2011 Himalayan earthquake, was a magnitude 6.9 ( Mw ) earthquake centered within the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, near the border of Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim, on 18 September 2011. The earthquake was felt across northeastern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and southern Tibet.

At least 111 people were killed in the earthquake. Most of the deaths occurred in Sikkim, with reports of fatalities in and near Singtam in the East Sikkim district. Several buildings collapsed in Gangtok. Eleven are reported dead in Nepal, including three killed when a wall collapsed in the British Embassy in Kathmandu. Elsewhere, structural damage occurred in Bangladesh, Bhutan, and across Tibet; another seven fatalities were confirmed in the latter region. The quake came just a few days after an earthquake of 4.2 magnitude hit Haryaria’s Sonipat district, sending tremors in New Delhi. The earthquake was the fourth significant earthquake in India of September 2011.

Michael Sata wins Presidential election in Zambia

Zambian President Rupiah Banda has conceded electoral defeat to opposition leader Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front who was declared the winner on 23rd September, 2011 after polling 43% of the votes. Banda’s ‘Movement for Multiparty Democracy’ ( MMD ) has ruled Zambia for 20 years. Sata started in politics as municipal councillor and served as governor of Lusaka under Zambia’s first President, Kenneth Kaunda. Formed Patriotic front in 2001, losing Presidential election that year and in 2006 and 2008.

{tab=Lokpal Bill}

Lokpal Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

The controversial Lokpal Bill 2011 that provides a mechanism for dealing with complaints on corruption against public functionaries in high places was introduced in Lok Sabha on 4th August, 2011. The Bill was introduced after the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, objected to the exclusion of the Prime Minister from its ambit. However, her objection was overruled and the Bill was introduced by V. Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office ( PMO ), after voice vote. This is the ninth Lokpal Bill that has been introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Lokpal Bill : Chronology

1969 – 2008 : First Lokpal Bill introduced in 1968 and passed in 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. However, the Bill could not get through Rajya Sabha. Lokpal Bills were again introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2008 but were never passed by Parliament. Each time, after the Bill was introduced, it was referred to some committee for improvements – a joint committee of Parliament, a departmental standing committee of the Home Ministry – and before the government could take a final stand on the issue, the House was dissolved.

April 2011 : Anna Hazare sits on fast unto – death on 5th April, 2011 to demand Lokpal Bill. Hazare breaks his fast on 9th April, 2011 after the Centre agreed to constitute a joint drafting committee.

June 2011 : Joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill meets for first time on April 16 and parts ways after the meeting on June 21 on issue of inclusion of PM, Judiciary, conduct of MPs in House and extent of bureaucracy covered under Lokpal.

July 2011 : Union Cabinet approves Lokpal Bill on 28th July, 2011.

August 2011 : Lokpal Bill introduced in Lok Sabha on 4th August, 2011. Office of Lokpal : The Lokpal Bill 2011 provides for establishment of an institution of Lokpal with a chairperson and eight members of which 50 per cent will have to be judicial members. The other members would be Leaders of Opposition in both the Houses of Parliament, a Union minister nominated by the PM, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court nominated by the Chief Justice of India, Chief Justice of a High Court nominated by the CJI, one eminent jurist and one person of eminence in public life. Only a serving or retired chief justice of India or a judge of the Supreme Court or a chief justice of a high court could become the chairperson of the Lokpal.

Authority to Investigate and prosecute : The Bill provides for the Lokpal to constitute an investigation wing and a prosecution wing to probe and prosecute under the ‘Prevention of Corruption Act’. Till such time the wings are established the government will depute its officers. It says that no sanction or approval shall be required for investigation and prosecution by the Lokpal under provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure or the Prevention of Corruption Act. While providing for the setting up of special courts, the Bill confers on the Lokpal the power of search and seizures and certain powers of a civil court. It empowers the Lokpal to attach property which, prima facie, has been acquired by corrupt means.

Purview : The Bill provides for the setting up the institution of Lokpal to probe allegations of corruption against “certain public functionaries.” The purview of the Bill extends to the whole of India and also applies to public servants outside India. It enjoins upon every public servant to declare his or her assets and liability. In case of default or furnishing misleading information, it would be presumed that the public servant has acquired such assets by corrupt means. However, it seeks to keep outside its purview the office of Prime Minister during his term as also the higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside Parliament. It does not provide for constitution of Lokayuktas in States. It is silent on the demand of the civil society to provide for a strong public grievance mechanism with penalties for corrupt employees and bringing lower bureaucracy in its ambit.

Penalties for fake complaints : The legislation also provides for prosecution of people who make false, frivolous or vexatious complaints. A penalty ranging from ₹ 25,000 to ₹ 2 lakh is also proposed on people found guilty of making false complaints.

Duration : The Bill lays down a period of limitation of seven years from the date of commission of alleged corruption offence for filing complaints before the Lokpal.

Complaints against Lokpal : The Lok Pal will not be able to look into complaints against any of its members or the chairman. Such complaints would be referred to the Chief Justice of India by the President.

Expenditure : The Bill, when brought into operation, would involve a non – recurring expenditure of ₹ 50 crore and a recurring expenditure of upto ₹ 100 crore in a financial year.

In case a building is constructed to house the Lokpal establishment, an additional expenditure of a non – recurring nature of ₹ 400 crore may be involved.

Government e – Payment Gateway launched

The Controller General of Accounts ( CGA ), Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance has developed a fully secured Government e – payment system for direct credit of dues from the Government of India into the account of beneficiaries using digitally signed electronic advice ( e – advice ) through the ‘Government e – Payment Gateway’ ( GePG ). The Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the GePG on 31st October, 2011. GePG is a portal which enables the successful delivery of payment services from Pay & Accounts Offices ( PAOs ) for online payment into beneficiaries1 accounts in a seamless manner under a secured environment. GePG serves as middleware between COMPACT ( Computerized Payment and Accounts ) application at Pay & Accounts Offices and the Core Banking Solution ( CBS ) of the agency banks / RBI to facilitate paperless transaction, reducing overall transaction cost and promoting green banking.

This system will bring transparency and expedite direct payments from central paying units relating to subsidies to the users and consumers of fertilizer, kerosene and cooking gas which is already a declared objective of the government. This will increase the adoption of other e – services due to its efficiency and ease – of – use for all Central Government Ministries and Departments for online payment transactions. The digitally signed e – advices uploaded by the PAOs on GePG portal is downloaded by the concerned banks to credit the beneficiaries’ ( accounts through CBS / NEFT / RTGS as applicable ). The e – payment system will save time and efforts in effecting payments and will facilitate elimination of physical cheques and their manual processing. Further the constraints of manual deposit of cheque by the payees into their bank account would also be eliminated. The system will also have online reconciliation of transactions and efficient compilation of payment accounts.

Under the traditional system of government payments, paying units in central government are using cheque, cash, DD or in few ministries ECS for payments to employees and vendors. In the past few years RTGS and NET faculties provided by RBI are also being utilized for central government payments in various ministries through the banking channel.

Sadananda Gowda is new Karnataka CM

Senior BJP leader D.V. Sadananda Gowda, became the new Chief Minister of Karnataka after having been elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party in a secret ballot on 3rd August, 2011. He succeeds B.S. Yeddyurappa after defeating Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Jagadish Shettar. Gowda is not a member of either House of the Legislature and has to get himself elected within six months as envisaged under Article 164 of the Constitution.

He is a member of the Lok Sabha representing the Udupi – Chikmagalur constituency. Gowda, born in 1953, obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Science before completing law degree in Udupi. Though he lost in his first elections to the Assembly by a narrow margin of 1,060 votes during the 1989 elections, Gowda bounced back in the 1994 elections by recording a victory from the Puttur Assembly segment. He was re – elected from the same constituency in the 1999 Assembly elections and was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 1999 to 2004. Sadananda Gowda came into limelight when he was the president of the State unit of the BJP which had entered into an understanding with the Janata Dal ( S ) to form a coalition Government. As president of the party in the state, he steered the BJP to power after the 2008 Assembly elections and continued to be the party president till K.S. Eshwarappa took over in 2010.

Browne takes charge as Chief of Air Staff

Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne on 31st July, 2011 became the country’s 23rd Chief of the Air Staff, when he took over from Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik, who retired after 42 years in service. Taking charge at Vayu Bhawan, Air Headquarters in New Delhi, Air Chief Marshal Browne noted that the Indian Air Force was on the verge of transforming itself into a “potent strategic force” and unveiled his “People First Mission Always” vision for the force. A fighter pilot with 3,100 flying hours, Air Chief Marshal Browne, joined the IAF in 1972. He has held various operational and staff appointments. During a two – year stint as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, he was responsible for the IAPs major modernisation programs and later became Chief of the Western Air Command. In January this year, he took over as the Vice Chief of the Air Staff. Air Chief Marshal Browne is decorated with Param Vishist Seva Medal, Ati Vishist Seva Medal, Vayu Sena Medal and is appointed as one of the Honorary Aides De Camp to the President of India.

US Senate approves spending cut Bill

The US Senate on 2nd August, 2011 approved legislation to avert a disastrous debt default and cut trillions in government spending, sending the contentious bill to the President, Barack Obama to sign into law. Lawmakers voted 74 – 26 to pass the measure which cleared the House of Representatives by an overwhelming 269 – 161 margin. The bill raises the debt limit by up to $2.4tn from $14.3tn, and makes savings of at least $2.1tn in 10 years. The deal was struck after months of fierce negotiations between the White House and lawmakers of both parties. The vote came roughly 12 hours before Washington was due to run out of time. Without a deal to raise the debt ceiling the US would be unable to meet all its bills, according to the US treasury department.

The Obama administration and the Democratic Party would be seen to have compromised heavily on what they had argued were non – negotiable, positions. The Republicans had argued for, and succeeded in imposing, large spending cuts in the federal budget in return for raising the debt ceiling. On the other hand, the Democrats’ proposals to have new taxes so that the rich would share a burden of social costs, especially of Medicare, seem to have been given the go – by.

Delhi – Kabul sign Strategic Partnership Agreement during Karzai visit

India has agreed to mentor the Afghan security forces as they gear up to deal with the drawdown of foreign forces by 2014. The proposal has been on the drawing board for six years since Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai first suggested it, but was not implemented as Pakistan was uncomfortable with the idea of India – trained forces on both its flanks. The proposal to train the Afghan National Security Forces was included in the first – ever Strategic Partnership Agreement ( SPA ) signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on 4th October, 2011. In addition to dealing with political and security cooperation aspects, the SPA spells out trade and economic cooperation in much greater detail, covering aspects ranging from assisting Afghanistan in developing trading routes to exploring for hydrocarbons and mineral ores the country is abundantly endowed with.

Both countries will try to operationalise their trilateral MoU signed with Iran to end Afghanistan’s landlocked isolation and dependence on Pakistan to reach the sea. It brightens India’s chances of bagging a lucrative mining contract for Hajigak, said to be the region’s largest untapped reserve of iron ore, and provides an opportunity to hunt for oil in northern Afghanistan. Karzai’s visit comes in file wake of the high – profile assassinations of the former. Afghan President, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and Kandahar Provincial Council chief Ahmad Wali Karzai when they were engaged in the peace process.

MoUs signed

  • The Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Jaipal Reddy and the Minister of Mines of Afghanistan, Wahidullah Shahrani singed an MoU on Co – operation in the field of Development of Hydrocarbons between the Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan and the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas of India.
  • The Minister of State ( Independent Charge ) for Mines, Dinsha J. Patel and the Minister of Mines of Afghanistan, Wahidullah Shahrani singed an MoU on Co – operation in the field of Mineral Resources between Afghanistan and India.
  • PM Singh and President Karzai singed an agreement on Strategic Partnership between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of India.

India takes over presidency of G24

India on 24th September, 2011, took over the presidency of the G24 group of 24 developing countries after a gap of 28 years and said it would use the multilateral platform to build stronger South – South cooperation.

G24 has an important role to play in fostering dialogue amongst developing countries and in supporting a more inclusive approach in global economic and financial cooperation. The last time India held the presidency of the group was in 1963 – 1984. Interestingly, Pranab Mukherjee was the finance minister at the time and thus chaired the G24. Mukherjee emphasizes that the world economy has undergone a massive structured change during the last three decades and accordingly, the role of G24 has changed. The role of developing countries which had stalled for many years is now experiencing a major and fundamental rise. The global economy has become much more interconnected and with it we are facing the need for much better coordinated and concerted actions. Mukherjee took over the presidency of the group from South African finance minister Pravin J Gordhan. Egypt has been elected the vice chair of the group. Members of G24 group are spread equally over Asia, Africa and Latin America.

From the Asian region, the members include Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Syria. There are eight members each from Africa and Latin America. Established in 1971, the group is tasked with coordinating the position of developing countries on monetary and development issues; particularly issues on the agendas of the imf and the World Bank. The group was formed to balance the influence of the G10 economic grouping. Mukherjee urged that he would use the G24 platform to further strengthen south – south cooperation.

Denmark elects first female Prime Minister

Social Democrat leader Helle Thorning – Schmidt is set to become Denmark’s first female prime minister after an alliance of left – wing parties won the election by a slender margin, ending 10 years of centre – right rule. Bucking recent trends in European politics, the red bloc of centre – left and left – wing parties won 92 of the Danish parliament’s 179 seats, to 87 for the rightist blue bloc. The five – seat majority was won on a 50.3 per cent share of the vote, while turnout was high at 87.7 per cent. Incumbent Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, whose Liberals remained the largest single party, conceded defeat to Thorning – Schmidt.

India 5th most powerful nation

According to the latest national security index ( NSI ) designed by the country’s foremost security and economic experts, India is the fifth most powerful country in the world. The National Security Annual Review 2010 has placed India at the fifth position in the hierarchy of top 50 nations identified on the basis of their Gross Domestic Product ( GDP ). The sixth most powerful nation was South Korea followed by Norway, Germany, France and UK. India ranked third in the case of population and fourth in terms of defence capabilities. It was at the 34th position in technology and 33rd in energy security. Only US, China and Russia are ranked higher than India in defence capability. In economic strength, India ranked seventh. Out of the five criteria, maximum weightage was given to defence capabilities at 30 per cent.

Economic strength, technology and effective population had weightage of 20 per cent each. Energy security had the remaining 10 per cent. On the likelihood of people raising eyebrows over India’s extremely high rank, the NSI report said the strategic community in India will still take time to get used to India being such a powerful country. China ranked first in the assessment of effective population which was calculated on the basis of three variables – size of population between 15 and 64, size of population educated up to secondary level and above and human development index ( HDI ) based on United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP ) reports. The US is at the second position in effective population category.

Norway’s high position was accredited to its number one position in the field of energy security. According to NSI, some of the most powerful countries in the world were not necessarily energy self – reliant but were placed on higher ranks based on judgments. A group of experts reviewed the indicators and their opinions were considered to arrive at the relative weightage given to indicators.

China launches its first space laboratory module

China launched an experimental module to lay the groundwork for a future space station on 29th September, 2011, underscoring its ambitions to become a major space power over the coming decade. The box car – sized Tiangong – 1 module was shot into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert aboard a Long March 2FT1 rocket.

It is to move into an orbit 217 miles ( 350 kilometers ) above Earth and conduct surveys of Chinese farmland using special cameras, along with experiments involving growing crystals in zero gravity. China then plans to launch an unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft to practice remote – controlled docking maneuvers with the module, possibly within the next few weeks. Two more missions, at least one of them manned, are to meet up with it next year for further practice, with astronauts staying for up to one month.

The 8.5 – ton module, whose name translates as “Heavenly Palace – 1,” is to stay aloft for two years, after which two other experimental modules are to be launched for additional tests before the actual station is launched in three sections between 2020 and 2022. The future space station, which is yet to be formally named, is the most ambitious project in China’s exploration of space, which also calls for landing on the moon, possibly with astronauts.

China launched its first manned flight in 2003, joining Russia and the United States as the only countries to launch humans into orbit and generating huge amounts of national pride for the Communist government.

India to set up Regional Centre for Biotechnology under UNESCO

The Union Cabinet on 25th October, 2011 approved the enactment of the requisite legislation for establishment of the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education under the auspices of UNESCO.

Taking into consideration the fact that modern biotechnology has been recognized globally as a rapidly advancing science wherein molecular techniques and process are employed to develop health care solutions for human and animal sector, for agriculture and environment technologies, the Centre proposes to engage students in research by integrating science, engineering and medicine with a view to create high quality human resource in disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas. Further the Centre would also create physical infrastructure in critical platform technologies to support interdisciplinary education training and research in biotechnology for providing interface between agriculture or veterinary sciences and engineers and environmental biologists, ecologists and engineers for agricultural and environmental technologies in order to help molecular breeding, bio – energy and green technologies. Thus the Centre would be able to produce human resources tailored to drive innovation in biotechnology, particularly in areas of new opportunities and also to fill talent gap in deficient areas. The Centre would also cater to designing novel programs for education and training which could then be assimilated by the Universities in India and in the region. The Centre will work in collaboration with other Centres of UNESCO and carry out is programs through grants provided by the Government. The Bill provides for laying the annual report and annual accounts together with the audit report in both Houses of the Parliament.


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