Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2014 - Page 62

“Project Mausam”: Culture Ministry initiative to explore multi-faceted Indian Ocean

India’s Union Ministry of Culture launched “Project Mausam” at the 38th summit of the World Heritage Committee in Doha, Qatar. The Project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean region and collaborate archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean.

Several countries including China, UAE, Qatar, Iran, Myanmar, and Vietnam have also shown keen interest in this project.

New Delhi will host first international conference on “Project Mausam” in February 2015 with national and international research partners and collaborators. The theme of the conference will be “Great Centres of Learning: Knowledge Societies and the Making of the Indian Ocean region”.

UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav presents tax free budget

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav presented a budget of a size of Rs 2,74,705 crore for this fiscal, with a proposed deficit of Rs 4,132 crore and no new taxes have been proposed.

Some key observations from UP Budget 2014-15:

  • The size of the budget for fiscal 2014-15 is Rs 2,74,705 crore which is a 24% increase from the last year’s level of Rs 2,21,201.19 crore. The budget has a proposed deficit of Rs 4,132 crore.
  • As compared to 2013-14, the budgetary provisions of this fiscal are higher by 24%.
  • No new taxes.
  • No allocation for the ambitious free laptop, kanya vidyadhan and unemployment allowance unlike what the ruling Samajwadi Party had promised in its election manifesto during assembly polls in 2012.
  • Emphasis on infrastructural facilities like roads, bridges, irrigation and power sector with a provision of Rs. 49,108 crore, about 82% higher than 2013.
  • Rs 2,424 crore for government’s ambitious Samajwadi Pension scheme that targets 40 lakh families, and Rs 7,625 crore for agriculture and associated services, 15% more than 2013.
  • Rs 41,538 crore for the Education sector
  • Allocation for the medical health and family welfare hiked by 34% to Rs 14,377 crore.
  • Provision of Rs 25,522 crore under the head of SC/ST, backward, handicapped and minorities welfare and Rs 50 crore for a scheme of rural road scheme named after the ruling party’s late leader Ram Saran Das.
  • Provision of Rs 95 crore for the Lucknow metro project.
  • Rs 3,280 crore to be allocated for the six-lane Lucknow-Agra 300 km long expressway.
  • Proposal for special schemes in Purvanchal and Bundelkhand worth Rs. 291 and 758 crore respectively.
  • Provision of Rs 1,613 crore for old age and kisan pension schemes.
  • The state government targets creating 2018 man days for 41 lakh families under the MGNREGA Scheme.
  • Provision of Rs 178 crore for adopting the national food security mission scheme,
  • Rs 12,400 crore for modernisation of police force and Rs 23,928 crore for improving power set-up.
  • Rs 919 crore to be allocated for scholarships to students belonging to minorities, Rs 240 crore for modernisation of arbi-farsi madarsas and Rs 200 crore for construction of boundaries of burial grounds.
  • As per the budget, ground work is on for starting up the 11.11 km extension of the metro rail project in Ghaziabad at a cost of Rs 1,838 crore.

Mayaram Committee’s definitions of FDI, FII accepted by the Government of India

The Government of India has accepted the report of Mayaram Committee thereby accepting the definitions of FII and FDI. The panel headed by Finance Secretary was set up to rationalize the definitions of FII and FDI.

Some key points from Mayaram Committee Report:

  • Foreign investment of 10% or more in a listed company will now be treated as FDI.
  • An investor may be allowed to invest below 10% and this can be treated as FDI subject to the condition that the FDI stake is raised to 10% or beyond within one year from the date of the first purchase.
  • If the stake is not raised to 10% or above, then the investment can be treated as portfolio investment.
  • Foreign Portfolio Investors include Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and Qualified Foreign Investors (QFIs).
  • Foreign investment in an unlisted company, irrespective of the threshold limit, may be treated as FDI.

Pen Pinter prize to novelist Salman Rushdie

Eminent novelist Salman Rushdie (67), author of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses, has been named the winner of Pen Pinter prize for 2014. The award was instituted in 2009 by writers’ charity English Pen in memory of British writer Harold Pinter.The prize will be presented on October 9, 2014 at an event at the British Library in London.

Rushdie went into hiding in 1989 after The Satanic Verses triggered extensive protests by Muslims and a fatwa was released from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.

He was conferred Knighthood in 2007 contributions to literature. His other noted books include Haroun and the Sea of Stories and The Moor’s Last Sigh.

Magnus Carlsen becomes first man to hold the Chess Triple Crown; but he is not the first player

World Champion Magnus Carlsen has become the first man in the history of Chess to hold the Chess Triple Crown by holding the World Blitz, Rapid, and Classic titles consecutively. 

However, he is not the first player to have achieved this feat. Before him, Ms. Susan Polgar did it back in 1996.  Polgar was the first chess player in the world to hold all three world titles in a row, reasonably making her the first player to hold a chess Triple Crown.

Ms Susan Polgar was the first chess player in the world to hold all three world titles successively, fairly making her the first player to hold a chess Triple Crown.

However, there are some dissimilarities between Carlsen’s newly achieved Triple Crown and Polgar’s. First, Polgar won FIDE’s Women’s World Blitz, Rapid, and Classic titles while Carlsen won the Men’s. While, Carlsen won all three titles in one 12-month period, Polgar held her titles contemporaneously, but won them in different years.