Current Affairs July 2013

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RBI leaves key rates unchanged to curb the depreciation of Rupee

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the indicative policy (repo) rate unchanged at 7. 25 % and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 4% in order to suppress the instability in the foreign exchange market.

The RBI had brought down the repo rate from a peak of 8.50% by 125 basis points in 2012-13 and CRR from a high of 6 % in the last one-and-a-half years by 200 basis points.

RBI’s revised Growth Projection:

The RBI revised its growth projection for the current financial year from 5.7 % to 5.5 %. The depressed global conditions were undermining export performance, even as the heightened instability in capital flows had raised external funding risks. In advanced economies, activity has weakened. Emerging and developing economies are slowing, and are also experiencing sell-offs in their financial markets.

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DD Direct Plus to telecast Australia’s ABC International Channel

An agreement was signed between Prasar Bharati and Australian channel ABC International which will make available the ABC International channel to the viewers of Doordarshan’s Direct to Home (DTH) platform.

The channel is the international service of the Australian public service broadcaster and is telecasted to more than 40 countries in Asia and the Pacific. The channel service will be available on DD Direct Plus from November 1 along with 59 other channels on Doordarshan’s DTH platform. The partnership between Prasar Bharati and the Australian broadcaster would extend into other areas like co-production activities, exchange of TV programmes, exchange of radio programmes and aspects.

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“Bharat Mobile Scheme”

Union govt to proceed with “Bharat Mobile Scheme”

The Union government is going ahead with Bharat Mobile Scheme to give mobile phones to 6 million families that live Below Poverty Line (BPL). The plan is being seen as similar to freebies like laptops and television sets distributed by several other regional.

What is the aim of Bharat Mobile Scheme?

As per the government, it is planning its Bharat Mobile Scheme with the aim to provide unconnected citizens access to benefits of welfare programmes. Besides communication, mobile is to act as a device identity of the members of a household for transfer of benefits of different government programmes.

The phone number may act as the first level of authentication for the user and can be utilized to access information, including land records and details of payments made to a family. To get subsidies and other government benefits, people will still need the Aadhaar Unique Identification Number.

Who will be given the mobile phones under “Bharat Mobile Scheme” ?

As per DoT, every rural household that has at least one member who completed 100 days of work under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in 2012 will be given a mobile phone.

How would the Bharat Mobile Scheme be implemented?

To carry out the scheme operators will be selected through competitive biddings or nominated state-run operators. The operators will be responsible for providing the devices, accessories, connectivity as well as warranty for 3 years.

The mobile phones will have customized embedded opening screens displaying details of the scheme and the allocated number will act as a level of authentication to provide access to health records, land records and payment transfers.

The scheme will be accomplished in 3 years and follow lists of eligible citizens prepared by state governments. Women will be given preference to receive the mobile phones.

Political views against “Bharat Mobile Scheme”:

Many a political analysts view this scheme as a political gimmick to woo the voters ahead of the general elections in 2014, much like the various states giving out laptops and such.

Similar Antecedents to “Bharat Mobile Scheme”

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav distributing laptops and tablet computers to students who pass class 12 examinations.

In Tamil Nadu, local political parties have been known to promise laptops, food grinders and television sets apart from subsidized food grain as part of their election mandates.

Status of Teledensity in India

As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) figures, India ended April with 867.02 million mobile connections. This included 345.85 million rural connections, a 40.59% rural teledensity.

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