Tuesday, July 15, 2014

P5+1 and Iran nuclear talks

Foreign ministers of United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China met in Vienna to reach to a concrete solution for Iran’s nuclear program.

The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China want Iran to reduce its nuclear fuel-making capacity to deny it any means of quickly producing atom bombs. In exchange, international sanctions that have crippled the large OPEC member's oil-dependent economy would gradually be lifted. 

Iran says it is enriching uranium for peaceful energy purposes only and wants the sanctions removed swiftly. But a history of hiding sensitive nuclear work from U.N. inspectors raised international suspicions and the risk of a new Middle East war if diplomacy fails to yield a long-term settlement. 

IRAN and P5+1The P5+1 is a group of six world powers which in 2006 joined the diplomatic efforts with Iran with regard to its nuclear program. The term refers to the P5 or five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany. P5+1 is often referred to as the E3+3 (or E3/EU+3) by European countries. 

Joint Plan of Action
On November 24, 2014, Iran Foreign Minister Zarif and Catherine Ashton, head of the P5+1 negotiating team, signed the proposal, known as the Joint Plan of Action. 

Elements of the First Phase
Iranian actions:
  • Convert half of its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent to oxide form and downblend the remainder to an enrichment level of no more than five percent;
  • suspend production of uranium enriched to above five percent;
  • no further advances in nuclear activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, the enrichment plant at Fordow and the Arak heavy water reactor;
  • convert uranium enriched up to five percent produced during the six months to oxide form when the construction of the conversion facility is completed;
  • no new enrichment facilities;
  • research and development practices, including on enrichment, will continue under IAEA safeguards;
  • no reprocessing of spent plutonium fuel or construction of any facility capable of reprocessing; and
  • enhanced monitoring including, providing information to the IAEA on plans for nuclear sites and the Arak reactor, negotiating a safeguards approach for the Arak reactor, allow daily IAEA access to Natanz and Fordow, and allow managed access to centrifuge workshops and uranium mines and mills.
P5+1 Actions:
  • No new nuclear-related sanctions from the UN Security Council, the EU, and the U.S.;
  • pause efforts to further reduce Iran’s oil sales and partial repatriation of frozen Iranian assets from oil sales;
  • suspension of U.S. and EU sanctions on petrochemical exports and gold and precious metals;
  • suspension of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s auto industry;
  • supply and installation of spare parts for Iranian civil airplanes, including repairs and safety inspections;
  • establish a financial channel for humanitarian goods using Iran’s oil revenues that are frozen abroad, which can also be used for tuition payments for Iranian student abroad and payment of Iran’s UN dues; and
  • increase of the EU thresholds for non-sanctioned trade with Iran.

Delhi is the Second Most Populous City in the World

Delhi has doubled its population since 1990 to 25 million to become world's second most populous city. Delhi has become the world's second most populous city in 2014 after Tokyo, more than doubling its population since 1990 to 25 million, according to a UN report. The 2014 revision of the World Urbanisation Prospects launched on 10th July said that India is projected to add the highest number of people to its urban population by 2050, ahead of China. The Indian capital is expected to retain the spot of the world's second most populous city through at least 2030, when its population is expected to rise swiftly to 36 million.

Tokyo topped UN's ranking of the most populous cities in 2014 with 38 million inhabitants and while its population is projected to decline, it will remain the world's largest city in 2030 with 37 million people.

Mumbai, which ranks sixth on the list of the world's most populous cities in 2014, is projected to become the fourth largest city in 2030 when its population would grow to 28 million from the current 21 million. Tokyo and New Delhi were followed by Shanghai with 23 million, and Mexico City, Mumbai and Sao Paulo, each with around 21 million inhabitants in 2014.

The report said that the largest urban growth will take place in India, China and Nigeria between 2014 and 2050, with the three countries accounting for 37 per cent of the projected growth of the world's urban population. 

By 2050, India is projected to add 404 million urban dwellers, way more than China's projection of 292 million. Nigeria will add 212 million to its urban population. India's current urban population is 410 million people and this will grow to 814 million by 2050. China currently has the largest urban population of 758 million.

Other Important Points
  • India and China account for 30 per cent of the world's urban population.
  • The two Asian giants along with the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan and Russia currently account for more than half of the world's urban population.
  • About 54 per cent of the world's population currently lives in urban areas and this proportion is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050, with the maximum increase taking place in the urban areas of Africa and Asia.
  • The world's urban population is now close to 3.9 billion and is expected to reach 6.3 billion in 2050, according to the UN report.
  • The rural population of the world has grown slowly since 1950 and is expected to reach its peak in a few years. Approximately 3.4 billion people currently live in rural areas around the world.
  • However, sometime after 2020, the world's rural population will start to decline and is expected to reach 3.2 billion in 2050.
  • India currently has the largest rural population at 857 million, followed by China (635 million).

Poverty line redrawn, 3 in 10 Indians are poor

Nearly one in three Indians was poor in 2011-12, according to a new report that was commissioned following widespread criticism two years ago that the government grossly underestimated the number of poor in the country by choosing an unrealistic poverty line for such estimates.
The panel, headed by former RBI governor C Rangarajan who also was the chairman of the prime minister's economic advisory council in the UPA government, estimates there were 363 million people, or 29.5% of India's 1.2 billion population, who lived in poverty in 2011-12. The number is significantly higher that the official estimate of 269 million and the difference – of about 94 million – is attributed primarily to a change in the definition of the poverty line.

The Rangarajan panel considers people living on less than Rs. 32 a day in rural areas and Rs. 47 a day in urban areas as poor. In contrast, the official estimate- based on recommendations made by late economist Suresh Tendulkar -- defines people living on less than Rs. 27 a day rural areas and Rs. 33 a day in urban areas as poor. These figures, ever since they were adopted by the UPA government during its first term, have been criticized for being unrealistic and artificially seeking to lower the poverty numbers. The official estimates in use put the poverty ratio in 2011-12 at 21.9%, almost 8 percentage points lower than Rangarajan's estimates.

The new estimates were submitted to the NDA government last week. It is not clear whether these would be adopted as new official estimates on poverty. The sharp revision in the poverty line is partly a result of a change in methodology. For sustenance, the new methodology includes all such expenses on account of basic amenities that are often covered by public expenditure. The new numbers mean that 363 million Indians would have struggled to survive if there was no public spending," said a member of Rangarajan panel, who did not want to be named.

Although the new estimates push up the poverty numbers compared to the earlier methodology, what may come as a relief for the UPA is that the number of poor steadily declined during its rule, no matter which methodology is chosen. According to Rangarajan, the number of poor declined from 454.6 million in 2009-10 to 363 million in 2011-12 and the poverty ratio from 38.2% to 29.5% in the same period. India's poverty estimates are based on consumption expenditure surveys done by the National Sample Survey Office.

Economic Survey 2014

Economic Survey has pegged that India’s GDP growth rate would be around 5.4% to 5.9% in the current financial year. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that India’s fiscal situation is worse that it appears. He emphasized subsidy reforms for the consolidation of fiscal situation. 

The highlights of the economic survey are as follows:

Fiscal Deficit
  • Recommended raising tax-to-GDP ratio for fiscal consolidation
  • Shortfall in revenues can be contained through better mobilisation and reforms
Fiscal deficit is the difference between the government’s expenditures and its revenues (excluding the money it’s borrowed). A country’s fiscal deficit is usually communicated as a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP).

  • Economic growth of 7-8 percent not seen before 2016/17
  • Downward risk to economic growth due to poor monsoon, external factors
  • Government needs to move towards low and stable inflation through fiscal consolidation, wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation expected to moderate by end-2014
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation showing signs of moderation
  • Needs to create a competitive national market for food
Inflation is defined as a sustained increase in the general level of prices for goods and services. It is measured as an annual percentage increase. As inflation rises, every dollar you own buys a smaller percentage of a good or service

Current Account Deficit
  • 2014/15 current account deficit may be contained to around $45 billion or to 2.1 percent of GDP
A measurement of a country’s trade in which the value of goods and services it imports exceeds the value of goods and services it exports. The current account also includes net income, such as interest and dividends, as well as transfers, such as foreign aid, though these components tend to make up a smaller percentage of the current account than exports and imports. The current account is a calculation of a country’s foreign transactions, and along with the capital account is a component of a country’s balance of payment.

Rationalization of subsidies such as fertilizer and food essential, need to shift subsidy programme from price subsidies to income support

  • rnment needs to move towards simple tax regime, fewer tax exemptions and single rate of goods and services tax (GST)
The GST is an indirect tax that would replace existing levies such as excise duty, service tax and value-added tax (VAT). The states and the federal government will impose the tax on almost all goods and services produced in India or imported. Exports will not attract GST.
  • ect Taxes Code (DTC) required to replace existing income tax laws; will reduce compliance costs and boost tax collection

Bor Sanctuary becomes 47 Tiger Reserve of India

The Minister of State (Independent Charge), Environment, Forests & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar approved the recommendation on a proposal from the State of Maharashtra for notifying the Bor Sanctuary, New Bor Sanctuary and the New Bor Extended Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve.

Bor is the 47th tiger reserve in the country and the 6th tiger reserve of Maharashtra. With the approval of this sanctuary as tiger reserve it would receive funding and technical support which would strengthen tiger conservation, besides eco-development to benefit fringe people.

The Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, notified by the State in 1970, is rich in biodiversity with a wide variety of flora and fauna, including tiger, co-predators, prey animals and birds. The habitat is scenic and is on the boundary of Nagpur and Wardha districts, amidst the Satpura-Maikal landscape, forming catchment of the river Bor. The sanctuary, which covers 138.1214 sq.km., is also an important corridor between Tadoba-Andhari and Pench Tiger Reserves of the State. 

Union Budget 2014-15: Highlights

Union Budget 2014-15

Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley on 10 July 2014 presented Union Budget 2014-15. This budget was the maiden budget for the Finance Minister as well as its first for the newly appointed government lead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Highlights of the 2014-15 Union Budgets
• The tax bracket has been increased to 2.5 lakh rupees from previous 2 lakh rupees, whereas, for senior citizen it has been raised to 3 lakh rupees from previous 2.5 lakh rupees 
• Tax relief for interest on housing loan rose from 1.5 lakh rupees to 2 lakh rupees
• Deduction under 80C increased from 1 lakh rupees to 1.5 lakh rupees
• 2037 crore rupees for Ganga cleaning
• 4200 crore rupees for Ganga project river connectivity from Allahabad to Haldia
• 15000 KM of additional pipeline through PPP mode to complete Gas Grid
• 37800 crore rupees proposed for NHAI and State Highways 
• 3000 crore rupees for roads in North East
•1000 crore rupees for improving North East connectivity 
• 1000 crore rupees for one rank one pension policy adopted by government
• 11635 crore rupees for habour projects
• 10000 crore rupees set aside for startup firms
• 1000 crore rupees proposed for Pradhanmantri Krishi Seechai Yojana to improve irrigation facility
• 30 crore rupees for setting up Hasthkala Academy for revival of handicrafts
• 14389 crore rupees announced for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, PMGSY
• 1785 crore rupees for road under-bridges & over-bridges
• 4000 crore rupees for National Housing Bank for flow of cheap housing finance
• 3600 crore rupees for National Rural Drinking Water programme
• 100 crore rupees has been allotted for modernization of Madarasas
• 500 crore rupees for power transmission 
• 100 crore rupees allotted for Beti bachao-beti padhao yojna  
• 150 crore rupees for safety of women scheme
• Minimum pension of 1000 rupees to meet the expenditure to all subscribers of EPFO scheme 
• 1000 crore rupees allocated for PM Irrigation Scheme 
• 200 crore rupees has been allocated for the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, Sardar Patel stands as a unity of statue 
• 8000 crore rupees allocated for rural housing scheme
• 2000 crore rupees allocated for new Water Shed programme 
• 3600 crore rupees under national rural drinking water programme
• 50000 crore rupees for SC/ST schemes
• 500 crore rupees allocated for setting AIIMS in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Vidharbha and Purvanchal. Aim is to create an AIIMS in every state
• FDI cap in Defence sector has been raised to 49 percent 
• The finance minister in the budget announced steps for sustained growth of 7-8 percent within the next three-four years
• Separate commission will be constituted to decrease government expense 
• Aim to make food and fuel subsidy more targeted so that it helps those who need them
• High-level committee will scrutinize all retro taxes 
• No change was made in tax rates retrospectively 
• GST by the end of 2014 (no deadline was announced), GST will streamline tax administration and result in higher tax collection for centre and states
• FDI cap on minimum built up area has been reduced to encourage development of smart cities 
• FDI will be promoted in selected sectors
• Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao Yojna announced
• Greater autonomy to banks
• PSU 247944 crore capex to create industrial cycle
• 100 new Smart cities to be developed, 7060 crore rupees fund for smart cities
• Tourism: e-visas to be introduced at nine airports in the country in a phased manner
• Modified REITS (Real estate investment trusts) has been announced for infrastructure projects to reduce pressure on banking system 
• Kisan Vikas Patra has been pushed further
• New scheme for skill development called Skill India to be launched
• By 2019, every household will have Sanitation 
• Shyama Prassad Mukherjee Rozgar mission to be launched
• New scheme for agricultural irrigation
• National level institute for mental health to be set up
• To help blind, currency notes with Braille like signs has been announced 
• Gender main-streaming: School curriculum to have a chapter on the issue
• MNREGA will be made more productive by linking it to agriculture related activities
• Women SCGs bank loan scheme to be extended to other districts
• Backward region grant fund for 272 backward districts: BRGF will be restructured
• Under Health for all, free drug and free diagnostic service to be taken
• 12 more government medical colleges to be added
• Aerated drinks to be more expensive
• Cigarettes to cost more, excise duty hiked to 72 percent from 11 percent
• Personal computers, electronic goods to be cheaper
• Proposal to make CRT TVs cheaper
• Basic customs duty on LED panel below 19 inch removed
• Soaps and oil products to become cheaper
• Excise duty on footwear reduced from 12 percent to 6 percent
• Excise duty concessions to continue till 31 December 2014
• Annual deposit under PPF scheme rose to 1.5 lakh rupees from previous 1 lakh rupees
• Open market sale of food grains, wherever required
• National industrial corridor to be set up with Pune at centre
• Banks to give long term infra loans
• 10-year Tax holiday for power sector to continue
• Single D-mat A/c for all financial transactions
• Funds for communications, disaster preparedness for UTs
• Funds for power, water reforms for capital in budget
• No change in surcharge
• No change in Direct Tax rates
• War Memorial will be set up at Princess Park, New Delhi
• Pending Insurance Amendment Bill to be taken up in Parliament
• Government to examine proposal to give additional autonomy to banks
• Committed to 4 percent growth in agriculture
• Six debt recovery tribunals to be set up
• Ultra modern solar power projects to be set up
• Mumbai infra corridor to be completed on schedule
• Investment in mining sector to be encouraged
• Financial sector to be at heart of economic growth
• To augment power supply in rural areas Deen Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana to be launched 
• MSME definition to be revised for high capital ceiling
• Effective steps will be initiated to revive SEZs
• Pension scheme for senior citizens being revived
• Slum development to be included in CSR activities
• Composite cap on FDI in insurance proposed to be raised to 49 percent from 26 percent 
• 15 Model Rural Health Research centers for rural health issues
• National multiscale Skill India programme to provide training and support for employment
• 15 new Braille presses to be established and 10 existing to be revived
• Government to leave no stone unturned to create a vibrant India
• New urea policy will be formulated
• Centre looks forward to low inflation regime
• Commitment to AP and Telangana issues reiterated
• All girls’ schools will have toilet and drinking water the funds for creation will be provided by the Government 
• 500 crore rupees allocated for new teachers training scheme that will be launched
• 100 crore rupees for virtual class rooms
• 500 crore rupees allocated for proposed national rural and tech mission 
• 100 crore rupees allocated for new plan to promote community radio 
• Madhya Pradesh will have National Centre of Humanities 
• Five more IITs and five IIMs to be set up
• Digital India, a Pan-India programme would be launched – under which broadband connectivity to villages will be provided 
• Education cess to continue at 3 percent
• 12 more government medical colleges proposed with dental facilities
• New Agricultural universities for Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan 
• Horticulture Universities for Haryana and Telangana

Union Ministry of Railways launched Social Media Platform for Indian Railways

Union Ministry of Railways launched Social Media Platform for the Indian Railways on 7 July 2014.
With this, customers can connect with the Railways through Facebook and Twitter. Besides, all the important announcements of Railways starting with Rail Budget 2014-15 will be available to the customers on 24×7 basis.
The launch of Social Media Platform is the endeavour of Indian railways to use social media as a platform to tell its stories and constantly hear from fellow travelers.
The new initiative of railways joining social media will add to the technology development of India and transparent.

Union Rail Budget 2014-15: Highlights

Union Rail Budget 2014-15 was presented by the Union Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda on 8 July 2014. This is the first rail budget presented by any Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister and it is also Gowda’s first rail budget.
Highlights of Union Rail Budget 2014-15
• Railways to build FOB and escalators, toilets on all stations
• Railways also proposes to set up Food Courts at major stations
• RO drinking water facilities to be installed at stations
• Separate housekeeping wing at 50 major stations
• CCTV to monitor cleanliness activities
• Mechanized laundry will be introduced
• Dedicated freight corridor on Eastern and Western corridors
• Tourist trains to be introduced to link all major places of tourist interests across the country
• 4000 women constables to be recruited to ensure safety of women
• 17000 Railway Protection Force (RPF) constables to provide safety to passengers
• Setting up of Railway University for technical and non-technical study
• Ultrasonic Broken Rail Detection System (UBRD) to detect problem in track
• Proposal to start Bullet trains in Mumbai—Ahmedabad route
• Diamond Quadrilateral project of high speed trains to connect all major metros
• Efforts will be made to increase speed of trains to 160-200km/h on select sectors. The identified sectors are: Delhi-Agra; Delhi-Chandigarh; Delhi-Kanpur; Nagpur-Bilaspur; Mysore-Bengaluru-Chennai; Mumbai-Goa; Mumbai-Ahmedabad; Chennai-Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad.
• E-ticketing system to be improved. Future e-ticketing to support 7200 tickets per minute & to allow 120000 simultaneous users
• Wi-fi in A1 and A category stations and in select trains. Internet-based platform and unreserved tickets
• Will develop 10 metro stations with state-of-the-art facilities
• Outsourcing at 50 major stations; on board housekeeping to be extended to more trains; launching feedback service through IVRS on the quality
• Hospital Management Information System to integrate all railway health units and hospitals
• Special milk tanker trains to be introduced
• Temperature-controlled storage for fruits and vegetable
• setting up of Railway University for technical and non-technical subjects, tie-up with technical institutions
• Paperless office of Indian railways in 5 years. Digital reservation charts at stations
• Ready-to-eat meals to be introduced in phased manners
• New trains in Rail Budget: 5 Jansadharan, 5 Premium, 6 AC, 27 express trains, 8 passenger, 5 DEMU & 2 MEMU services; 11 train extensions
• Office-on-wheels: Internet and workstation facilities on select trains
• Temperature-controlled storage for fruits and vegetable
Some financial aspects of Railways in 2013-14
• Social obligation of Railways in 2013-14 was 20000 crore rupees
• Gross traffic receipts in 2013-14 was 1235558 crore rupees
• Operating ratio was 94 per cent.
• Spend 94 paisa of every rupee earned, leaving a surplus of only 6 paisa
• Gross Traffic Receipts were 139558 crore rupees 
• Total Working Expenses were 130321 crore rupees 
• Plan Outlay under budgetary sources was 35241 crore rupees
Rail Budget Estimates 2014-15
• Total receipts of 164374 crore rupees
• Total expenditure at 149176 crore rupees
• Earnings from Freight Traffic are estimated at 105770 crore rupees 
• Earnings from Passenger Traffic 44645 crore rupees    
• Plan outlay under budgetary sources 47650 crore rupees
• Additional Budgetary Support (ABS) of 1100 crore rupees as Capital
• Railways Share from diesel cess at 273 crore rupees for important Road Safety works
Resource Mobilisation
• Leveraging Railway PSU Resources
• Private investment in Rail Infrastructure through Domestic and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
• Public Private Partnership
In tiatives for Resource Mobilisation
• Near Plan Holiday approach
• Prioritizing and setting timelines for completion of the ongoing projects
• Decision Support System for project implementation
• Aggressive indigenization of imported products
• Adopting safety standards matching international practices and setting up of Simulation Center to study causes of accidents
• Encouraging development of Locomotives, Coaches and Wagon Leasing Market
Railways are a microcosm of India on the move. With 12500 trains, railways move 23 million passengers every day; equivalent to moving Australia's population. Thus, extending passenger-friendly services shall be the main motive of any reforms.
Besides, Railways is also the carrier of bulk goods but it suffers from host of infrastructural and logistics issues. Hence, the Rail Budget target is to become the largest freight carrier in the world.
Indian Railways spent 41000 crore rupees on laying of 3700 km of new lines in last 10 years. A tardy progress and Railways need immediate course correction. Hence the Rail Budget 2014-15 focuses is on project completion rather than project announcements. 
From above it can be discerned that Railways is in dire financial crunch. As per Interim Rail Budget 2014-15, Railways are in losses to the tune of 26000 crore rupees. Earlier in June 2014 Narendra Modi-led government increased railway passenger fares by 14.2 percent and freight carriage charges by 6.5 percent.
However, there is need to explore alternative sources of resource mobilisation and not depend on fare hike alone. This is because although fare revision will bring in 8000 crore rupees but an additional 9 lakh crore rupees alone needed for golden quadrilateral project. 5 lakh crore rupees is required for ongoing projects alone over the next 10 years.
In sum, the Rail Budget tries to balance social and commercial obligations.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Third edition of Ladakh International Film Festival held in Leh

Current Affirs 

The third edition of Ladakh International Film Festival (LIFF) was held in Leh, Jammu and Kashmir from 27th June to 29th June 2014. The festival screened over 50 films which included among others Bollywood, Iranian and Korean films etc. Bollywood’s Kaafiron Ki Namaaz (The Virgin Arguments) won four awards and Iranian film Wet Letters bagged three awards at the third edition of Ladakh International Film Festival.

Malala Yousafzai wins Liberty Medal

A Pakistani girl who survived being shot by the Taliban because she advocated education for girls has won the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia.
Malala Yousafzai was just 15 when she was shot in the head while returning from school in Mingora, Pakistan, in October 2012. She had angered the fundamentalist Muslim group by writing about life under the Taliban for the BBC, and arguing that girls should be allowed to pursue an education. “It’s an honour to be awarded the Liberty Medal,” Yousafzai, now 17, said yesterday. “I accept this award on behalf of all the children around the world who are struggling to get an education”.

The medal has been awarded annually since 1989, when Polish Solidarity founder Lech Walesa received it first. Since then, recipients have included Muhammad Ali, former President Jimmy Carter, and, last year, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Yousafzai will receive the award at a ceremony at the centre on October 21.

India has over 1 million children out of school: UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 26th June 2014 released a report. The report released that around 58 million children aged 6 to 11 are still out of school. The data was presented by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, at a press conference in Brussels, France. The conference was organized by the Global Partnership for Education. The new global out-of-school figures are produced by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). The new figures showed that around 43% of those out of school are unlikely ever to set foot in a classroom if current trends continue. Specifically, around 15 million girls and 10 million boys will not ever get opportunity to study as per the report.
The report mentioned about the success of 17 countries that have reduced their out-of-school populations by almost 90 per cent in a little over a decade which highlights that positive change is possible. These countries have invested in positive actions such as abolishing school fees, introducing more relevant curricula and providing financial support to struggling families. The lack of global progress is largely due to high population growth in sub-Saharan Africa, now home to more than 30 million out-of-school children. Across the region, more than one in three children who entered the educational system in 2012 will leave before reaching the last grade of primary school.

35th National Games to be held in Kerala from 31 January to 14 February 2015

35th National Games dates were announced on 26th June 2014 at the Members’ Lounge of the Kerala Legislative Assembly Complex, Thiruvananthapuram by Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The games will be held at 32 different venues across seven districts of Kerala from 31 January to 14 February 2015. The dates for the games were formally approved by Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Sarbanand Sonowal on behalf of Government of India.
The 35th National Games will be held in 36 disciplines and will see a total of 11641 participants that includes 7744 athletes. The participants will compete for a total of 365 gold and silver medals as well as 477 bronze medals. This is for the second time Kerala will be hosting the National Games. For the first time, Kerala conducted the 27th National Games in 1987.

Indian-origin Woman Honoured with International Radio Award

An Indian-origin woman in Australia has been honoured with an international radio award for her documentary exploring family and domestic violence. Manpreet Kaur Singh won the Silver medal at the New York Festival's International Radio Programme Awards this year for her documentary feature 'The Enemy Within'.
Manpreet works as an executive producer at the SBS Punjabi Radio Channel. Her feature story won the award in the best special report category for exploring family and domestic violence within the Australian Indian community. It has been earlier nominated for a Walkley Award and has also received a 2013 United Nations Association of Australia Media Award for Increasing Awareness and Understanding of Women's Rights and Issues.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chief Ministers and Governors of Indian States 2014

StatesCapitalsGovernorsChief Ministers
(1) Andhra PradeshHyderabadMr. E.S.L.NarasimhanMr. N. Chandrababu Naidu
(2) Arunachal PradeshItanagarLieutenant General (Retd) Nirbhay SharmaMr. Nabam Tuki
(3) AssamDispurMr. J. B. PatnaikMr. Tarun Gogoi
(4) BiharPatnaMr. D. Y. PatilMr. Jitan Ram Manjhi
(5) ChhattisgarhRaipurMr. Shekhar DuttDr. Raman Singh
(6) GoaPanajiMr. B.V. WanchooMr. Manohar Parrikar
(7) GujaratGandhinagarDr. Kamla BeniwalMs. Anandiben Patel
(8) HaryanaChandigarhMr. Jagannath PahadiaMr. Bhupinder S. Hooda
(9) Himachal PradeshShimlaMs. Urmila SinghMr. Virbhadra Singh
(10) Jammu and KashmirSrinagar (Summer) Jammu (Winter)Mr. N. N. VohraMr. Omar Abdullah
(11) JharkhandRanchiDr. Syed AhmedMr. Hemant Soren
(12) KarnatakaBengaluruMr. Hans Raj BhardwajMr. K. Siddaramaiah
(13) KeralaThiruvananthapuramMs. Sheila DikshitShri. Oommen Chandy
(14) Madhya PradeshBhopalMr. Ram Naresh YadavMr. Shivraj Singh Chauhan
(15) MaharashtraMumbaiMr. K. SankaranarayanMr. Prithviraj Chavan
(16) ManipurImphalDr. Ashwani Kumar
(additional charge)
Mr.Okram Ibobi Singh
(17) MeghalayaShillongDr. K. K. PaulMr. Mukul A. Sangma
(18) MizoramAizawlMr. Vakkom PurushothamanMr. Lal Thanhawla
(19) NagalandKohimaMr. Ashwani KumarMr. Neiphiu Rio
(20) OdishaBhubaneswarMr. S.C. JamirMr. Naveen Patnaik
(21) PunjabChandigarhMr. Shivraj V. PatilMr. Parkash Singh Badal
(22) RajasthanJaipurMs. Margaret AlvaSmt. Vasundhara Raje
(23) SikkimGangtokMr. Shriniwas D. PatilMr. Pawan Chamling
(24) Tamil NaduChennaiMr. K RosaiahMs. J. Jayalalithaa
(25) TripuraAgartalaMr. Devanand KonwarMr. Manik Sarkar
(26) TelanganaHyderabadMr. E.S.L.NarasimhanMr. K. Chandrasekhar Rao
(27) UttarakhandDehradunDr. Aziz QureshiMr. Harish Rawat
(28) Uttar PradeshLucknowMr. B. L. JoshiMr. Akhilesh Yadav
(29) West BengalKolkataMr. M. K. NarayananMs. Mamata Banerjee