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Current Affairs: 3rd February 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by Feb 4th, 2015

1- Dr.Nandita Chatterjee takes charge as Secretary in Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation

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Dr.Nandita Chatterjee

Dr.Nandita Chatterjee has taken charge as the new Secretary in the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA). She will succeed Anita Agnihotri who was transferred to the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment in recent secretary-level bureaucratic reshuffle. Prior to this appointment Dr.Nandita Chatterjee was a Member-Secretary of National Commission for Women (NCW).

Dr.Nandita Chatterjee

  • Nandita Chatterjee is an IAS Officer of 1980 batch and belongs to West Bengal Cadre.
  • She holds Master’s degree in Economics and Masters in Development Economics. She also holds Doctoral Degree in Sociology and Anthropology.
  • At National level, she had served in the Union Government for the Ministries of Rural Development and Environment & Forests.
  • At International level, she had served in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Health Organisation (WHO) for over six years.
  • Her last international assignment was in Afghanistan as Capacity Development Advisor, UNDP.

2- Madhya Pradesh gets 10th national award for excellent work in MGNREGA

Madhya Pradesh has been awarded the 10th national award for excellent work in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). Union Rural Development Minister Virendra Singh presented the award to state’s Panchayats and Rural Development Minister Gopal Bhargava at the MGNREGA summit held on the occasion of MNREGA Divas (observed on 2 February) in New Delhi.

Madhya Pradesh was chosen for this award for convergence of MGNREGA scheme and other schemes, which led to permanent construction of assets and providing opportunities for earning permanent income.

MNREGA Implementation in Madhya Pradesh

  • In Madhya Pradesh, there are 1 crore 2 lakh MGNREGA job-card holder families.
  • State also has topped in construction of permanent assets through MGNREGA convergence in the country.  It accounts for 74 percent construction of permanent assets.
  • State also has implemented Electronic Fund Management System,in order to ensure transparency in accountancy and immediate payment of wages to labourers.

About Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

  • MGNREGA is social security measure that aims to guarantee the right to work and create durable assets (such as roads, canals, ponds, wells).
  • Objective:To ensure livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • Initially, it was started in 200 districts on 2 February 2006, since then it has covered all the districts of India from April 2008.

3- IRCTC launches cash on delivery system to book train tickets on pilot basis

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched cash on delivery (CoD) system for rail ticketing. With this initiative, passengers can now book a rail ticket online and get it delivered at home where the payment can be made. IRCTC has launched this CoD scheme on pilot basis. Initially, this service will be available in more than 200 cities.

Passengers can book a rail ticket 5 days prior to commencement of journey. But CoD scheme will charge additional Rs 40 for the delivery of each Sleeper Class ticket, Rs 60 for an AC class ticket. In this case, passengers can book tickets on IRCTC mobile application or on web-portal BookMyTrain.com. IRCTC has authorized Anduril Technologies through their web-portal (BookMyTrain.com) to provide CoD services.

4- RBI keeps key rates unchanged but changes statutory liquidity ratio

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Reserve Bank of India

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced sixth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy StatementIn its bi-monthly monetary policy statement, RBI has not changed its main lending rate i.e.Repo Rate and cash reserve ratio (CRR). But changed statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) of scheduled commercial banks.

On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, RBI has been decided to:

  • Repo ratekept the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 7.75 per cent.
  • Cash reserve ratio (CRR) –kept the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0 per cent of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL).
  • Statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) –reduced the SLR of scheduled commercial banks by 50 basis points from 22.0 per cent to 21.5 per cent of their NDTL.
  • Reverse repo rate under the LAF remains unchanged at 6.75 per cent.
  • Marginal standing facility (MSF) rate-remains unchanged at 8.75 per cent.
  • Bank Rate remains unchanged at 8.75 per cent.

Earlier on 15 January 2015, RBI had changed repo rate by 25 basis points from 8.0 percent to 7.75 percent.

5- China overtakes US as top foreign investment destination: UNCTAD report

As per United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, China has overtaken the United States (US) as the top destination for foreign direct investment (FDI). US  was on top as foreign investment destination for past 11 years i.e. since 2003.

Key facts from UNCTAD report

  • In 2014, foreign firms had invested 128 billion dollars in China compared to 86 billion invested in the US.
  • The growth in China’s foreign investment had benefited the services sector as manufacturing had slowed in 2014.
  • Hong Kong stood at the second spot after China and ahead of US with foreign investment of 111 billion dollars.
  • Globally, foreign investment had fallen by 8% to a total of $1.26trillion in 2014. The reasons cited for this decline was partly due to the fragility of the global economy due geopolitical risks.
  • In 2014, the foreign investment in developing nations had increased by 4%, whereas developed nations saw a decline of 14 percent, mostly due to the large fall in the US.

6- RBI Doubles the FOREX Remittance Limit under Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS)

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its monetary policy review has enhanced the limit for foreign exchange (FOREX) remittances under Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) to $250,000 (Rs. 1.5 crore) per person per year. This limit was doubled compared to earlier limit of $125,000 per person per year.

Under the LRS, Indians can open, maintain and hold foreign currency accounts with banks outside India for carrying out transactions, without permission from the RBI.

Background

RBI has taken this decision after reviewing the external sector outlook as India’s foreign exchange reserves touched all-time high at $322.135 billion in mid-January 2015 and further exercise in macro prudential management.

Earlier in 2013, RBI had reduced the limit for FOREX remittances under this scheme to $75,000 as the rupee came under strong pressure. But later, in June 2014, it was again raised the limit to $125,000 (Rs. 75 lakh).

7- Acclaimed sculptor and artist Mrinalini Mukherjee passes away

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Mrinalini Mukherjee

Acclaimed Indian sculptor and artist Mrinalini Mukherjee has passed away in New Delhi. She was 65. She was best known for her sculptures, crafted using knotted hemp ropes and cast bronzes.

Mrinalini Mukherjee

  • Mukherjee was daughter of seminal Santiniketan artists Benode Behari and Leela Mukherjee.
  • She had studied painting at M S University in Baroda between 1965 and 1970 and later undertook a post diploma in mural design under K G Subramanyan.
  • She was the first Indian artist whose work was displayed at the Sydney Biennale in 1986.
  • In 1994, her art sculptures were displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford and later travelled all over United Kingdom.
  • In 2013, her work was included in the The Body in Indian Art, an exhibition curated by Naman Ahuja at Bozar in Brussels.

 

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