Current Affairs July 2013
A high-level panel on manufacturing has cleared the Rs.7,555-crore project to build 90-seater aircraft.
It also decided to increase steel production capacity to 300 million tones through Special Purpose Vehicles of Central Public Sector Enterprises with states. It was also decided to enhance export of textiles by 30% in 2013. In fiscal 2012-13, textiles exports stood at about $34 billion. The panel focused on giving a fillip to creating domestic manufacturing capabilities in advanced materials, alloys and composites.
India’s 90-seater aircraft project (Joint effort of: HAL + CSIR + DRDO):
The project to build indigenous 90-seater aircraft has been on anvil for years. The design and development of the aircraft is estimated to cost Rs.4,355 crore, and series production would entail a further Rs.3,200 crore. The aircraft is to be built through a collaborative venture of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and DRDO.
Eminent Carnatic vocalist Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana, a recipient of Padma Bhushan, passed away.
About Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana:
Born: 1923 at Anakapalle in Andhra Pradesh, he was famously called “Mahamahopadhyaya” by his students and music lovers.
- As a child he was a prodigy with theatrical tastes.
- Learned to play violin from renowned musician Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu.
- Later, he was influenced with Pinakapani and took up Carnatic vocal.
Honors for Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana:
- Padma Bhushan
- ‘Asthana Vidwan’ for Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Kanchi Kamakoti, Sringeri Sankara, Pushapagiri Peetham and the Ganapati Sachidananda Ashram.
- ‘Sangeetha Kala Acharya’ by the Madras Music Academy after his demonstration of ‘Pancharatna Kirtanas’ of Thyagaraja.
India is thinking over Iran’s offer of Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) in the energy sector, including one for developing the prolific Farzad B gasfield in the Farsi block of the Persian Gulf.
This is the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran has offered three Indian oil companies — ONGC Videsh Limited, Oil India Limited and Indian Oil Corporation — PSCs at a time of diminishing crude purchases by India.
The offer marks a departure from Iran’s earlier practice of offering Indian companies 15% fixed returns under a buy-back arrangement with the national oil company of Iran and also indicates towards Iran’s intention of improving ties with India. The PSCs offer the Indian companies a guaranteed share of production. However, India would have to analyse the advantages and disadvantages before accepting the offer, because of the sanctions the U.S. and the European Union imposed on Iran, primarily aiming its oil industry, to pressurize Tehran to give up its nuclear programme.
- 2011: Indian companies opened talks with Iran for developing the gas field. But a subsequent meeting did not materialise because India was apprehensive of the impact of the sanctions on its companies. The impact of sanctions led to cut down in Iran’s crude supplies to India in the past few years.
- May 2013: Iran had offered the Indian firms PSCs to increase investment in the upstream sector. As a matter of fact, Iran offered to ship gas to India in liquefied form through Oman. Iran does not have the technology to liquefy gas, so it agreed to do the process in Oman.
- During 2012-13, India’s import plummeted by over 26.5% to 13.3 million tonnes from 18.1 million tonnes the year before. In 2012-13, Iranian share was 7.2% of India’s oil imports, down from 10.5% the previous year.
Farzad B Gas Field - Indian exploration in Iran
Since 2009, the Indian companies are negotiating with Iran for developing the Farzad B gasfield. As per initial estimates, it contains 21.68 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, with recoverable reserves of 12.8 tcf. The investment in exploration is put at $5.5 billion, with an extra $8 billion-$9 billion for developing the field and building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, and for transport. This gas could go directly to India as LNG.
Upholding a 2004 judgement of Patna High court, the Supreme Court has held that persons in lawful custody – whether convicted in a criminal case or otherwise – cannot contest polls. However, the ruling does not apply to those on bail.
What is the matter?
The Chief Election Commissioner and others had filed a appeals against a Patna High Court judgement that in 2004 had held that when a person in custody is disqualified from voting he or she must be disqualified from contesting in elections too. Calling the High Court’s decision right the apex court held that a person who has no right to vote by virtue of the provisions of Section 62 (5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 is not an elector and is therefore not qualified to contest the election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a State. Besides, the court said “A right to vote is a statutory right, the Law gives it, the Law takes it away. Persons convicted of crime are kept away from elections to the Legislature, whether to State Legislature or Parliament and all other public elections. The Law temporarily takes away the power of such persons to participate in elections. To vote is a statutory right. It is a privilege to vote, which privilege may be taken away. In that case, the elector would not be qualified, even if his name is on the electoral rolls.