Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2015

Government launches new Central Sector Scheme Nai Manzil

Union Minister for Minority Affairs Dr. Najma Heptulla launched a new Central Sector Scheme Nai Manzil for empowering minorities.

The scheme was launched to make innovative interventions in the field of education and skill development for improving the welfare of minorities.

The Scheme:

  • Aim to address educational and livelihood needs of minority communities in general and Muslims in particular, which lags behind in terms of educational attainments than the other minority communities.
  • Aims to provide educational intervention by giving the bridge courses to the trainees and getting them Certificates for Class XII and X from distance medium educational system.
  • Aims to provide trade basis skill training in four courses at the same time of formal education, in field of a) Manufacturing b) Engineering c) Services d) Soft skills.
  • It intends to cover people in between 17 to 35 age group from all minority communities as well as Madrasa students.

This scheme will provide avenues for continuing higher education and also open up employment opportunities in the organised sector.

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China devaluated Yuan by 2 per cent largest since 1994

In line with economic slowdown in China, the People’s Banks of China devalued yuan by 2 per cent against the US dollar.

Devaluation was done based on a new way of managing the exchange rate that better reflected market forces which differs greatest from the one introduced at the start of 1994.

Devaluation was done with an aim:

  • To encourage export through devalued yuan.
  • To support domestic demand and to help Chinese firms to borrow and invest abroad.
  • To encourage foreign firms and governments to make greater use of the currency.

Immediate Reason of Devaluation:

  • Exports tumbled due to weaker demand from its trading partners.
  • Steep drop in the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets in late June and early July.
  • Weaker consumer demand within China.
  • Sales dropped in Automobile sector.

Methodology

Chinese currency is not freely tradable its movements are tightly controlled by the government. Every morning People’s Bank of China sets a midpoint for the yuan’s value against the dollar and other major currencies.

This midpoint is set in window of as much as 2 percent higher or lower than the previous day’s value, but usually the change is in tiny fraction of 1 percent.

Usually People’s Bank of China (PBOC) manages the exchange rate through an official midpoint using formula based on a basket of currencies, but under the new methodology which sets midpoint based on market force has devalued the yuan greater since 1994.

Note: Initially China’s currency was fixed peg to the dollar that ended in 2005. Since then, it has risen more than 25 percent against the dollar, strengthened even more against the euro and the yen.

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Posco to set up steel plant in Maharashtra in Joint Venture with Uttam Steel

World’s sixth largest South Korean steelmaker Posco has signed an agreement to form a Joint venture with Uttam Steel and Power to set up a 3 million tonnes per year integrated steel plant in Maharashtra.

This will be the first integrated steel plant for Posco in India as it continues to battle regulatory hurdles for a 10 years to set up a mega $12 billion steel plant in the eastern Odisha state.

The Posco and Uttam Steel and Power, owned by the co-promoters of Uttam Galva Steels, which is jointly owned by ArcelorMittal has planned to set up the plant at Satarda in Sindhudurg district.

The plant will be set up in two phase that expect to yield 3 million tonnes of steel per year that requires total investment of 3 billion US dollars.

The reason for Posco to set up plant in Sindhudurg district is due to its available iron ore resource and easy land acquisition by the state government.

Posco could scrap the Odisha project on ground of new law that made the iron ore source costlier for that plant. It already has steel processing centres in the cities of Pune, Chennai and near New Delhi.

About Posco:

  • It is South Korean multinational steel-making company intiated in 1968 and is headquartered at Pohang, South Korea.
  • It currently operates two integrated steel mills in South Korea and a joint venture with U.S. Steel, USS-POSCO located in Pittsburg, California.
  • It had signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2005 with the state government of Odisha to construct a $12 billion steel plant.
  • But the project stalled due to various regulatory delays and controversies that prevented company to start its construction. The memorandum expired in June 2011 and still has not been renewed.

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