Saturday, December 19, 2015

Economy: Guillotine

Each year, after the Budget is presented in the floor of the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister, the House has the opportunity to discuss the financial proposals contained in it.

The process of deliberations on the Budget sets off with a general discussion followed by:
the Vote on Account
debating and voting on the Demands for Grants
consideration and passing of the Appropriation and Finance Bills.

Guillotine refers to the exercise vide which the Speaker of the House, on the very last day of the period allotted for discussions on the Demands for Grants, puts to vote all outstanding Demands for Grants at a time specified in advance.

The aim of the exercise is to conclude discussions on financial proposals within the time specified.

All outstanding Demands for Grants must be voted by the House without discussions once the guillotine is invoked.

Once the pre-specified time for invoking the guillotine is reached, the member who is in possession of the house at that point in time, is requested by the Speaker to resume his or her seat following which Demands for Grants under discussion are immediately put to vote.

Thereafter, all outstanding Demands are guillotined.

Invoking the guillotine ensures timely passage of the Finance Bill and the conclusion of debates and discussions on the year’s Budget.

Economy: Demographic Dividend

One of India’s competitive advantages is its demographic dividend. 
Demographic dividend occurs when the proportion of working people in the total population is high.
This indicates that more people have the potential to be productive and contribute to growth of the economy.
According to the United National population research, during the last four decades the countries of Asia and Latin America have been the main beneficiaries of the demographic dividend.
Advanced countries of Europe, Japan and USA have an ageing population because of low birth rates and low mortality rates.
Falling birth rates reduce the overall expenditure required to provide basic necessities for the under 14 age group (which is yet to be productive)
Increased longevity ensures that a large proportion of the population are within the 15-59 age group (working population).
Dependency ratio refers to the proportion of non -working poplation on the working population.
In India this ratio is around 0.6 according to the World Bank.

Economy: Consumer Food Price Index

Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI):

It is a measure of change in retail prices of food products consumed by a defined population group in a given area with reference to a base year. 

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) started releasing Consumer Food Price Indices (CFPI) for three categories:
rural, urban and combined
separately on an all India basis with effect from May, 2014.

Like Consumer Price Index (CPI), the CFPI is also calculated on a monthly basis and methodology remains the same as CPI. The base year presently used is 2012

Economy: GST

Goods and Services Tax (GST): 

It refers to the single unified tax created by amalgamating a large number of Central and State taxes presently applicable in India.

The latest constitution Amendment Bill of December 2014 made in this regard, proposes to insert a definition of GST in Article 366 of the constitution by inserting a sub-clause 12A. 

As per that, GST means:
Any tax on supply of goods
or services
or both
except taxes on supply of the alcoholic liquor for human consumption.

Note: And here, services are defined to mean anything other than goods.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Current Affairs - Awards

Itzhak Perlman:
Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman has been awarded 2016 Genesis Prize. This is also known as the Jewish Nobel prize.

Salman Rushdie:
Salman Rushdie has been awarded the 2015 Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement.
He has been bestowed with this award for fully exercising his freedom of creativity and thrived on dialogue and debate.

Naseeruddin Shah:
Naseeruddin Shah has been awarded the lifetime achievement award at the 12th edition of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). 
Others who have also been awarded are:
French actress Catherine Deneuve
Egyptian actor Ezzat Al Alayli
French-Tunisian actor Sami Bouajila

Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (NDQ):
Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (NDQ) has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony held in Oslo, Norway.
The award was collected by:
Trade unionist Hassine Abassi
Human rights activists Abdessatar Ben Moussa, Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh and Ouided Bouchamaoui.

Carolina Marin:
Carolina Marin from Spain has won the 2015 Female Badminton Player of the Year award.
It was presented by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) President Poul-Erik Hoyer in Dubai.

Current Affairs- Business

India International Trade Fair (IITF):
Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 35th edition of the IITF at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.
Partner country - Afghanistan
Focus country - Bangladesh
Partner states - Goa and Jharkhand
Focus state - Madhya Pradesh
Theme of IITF 2015: Make in India

Shri Venkateswara Mobile and Electronics Manufacturing Hub:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of Shri Venkateswara Mobile and Electronics Manufacturing Hub in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. It is country’s first dedicated mobile manufacturing electronics cluster.

Noah Consulting:
Infosys said it would buy Noah Consulting for $70 million in cash. It provides information management consulting services in the oil and gas sector.
In February, Infosys said it would buy automation startup Panaya for $200 million.
In April, it announced it would buy Kallidus Inc, a digital and mobile commerce solutions provider, for $120 million.

Martin Winterkorn:
Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn has resigned following the revelation that the world’s largest carmaker (in terms of sales) had manipulated US diesel car emissions tests. Volkswagen admitted that it had deceived US regulator Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in exhaust emissions tests by installing a device to give more positive results.

Kattupalli Port:
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to oversee operations of Kattupalli Port in Tamil Nadu.

Current Affairs - General

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Friendship Motor Car:
The rally was flagged off from Silchar in Assam. This rally aims at highlighting connectivity in this region through implementation of BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA).

Raif Badawi:
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has been awarded the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for human rights for year 2015.

China’s first lunar rover, Yutu, has set the new record for the longest stay by a rover on the lunar surface. It has been at work on the Lunar surface for almost two years. The old record was held by Lunokhod 1, which had spent 11 months on the Moon. Lunokhod I was launched by the USSR in 1970.

Indo-France MOU:
India and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conserve, develop and publicize written heritage at the National Library in Kolkata, West Bengal.

Sylvie Lucas:
Luxembourg envoy to the United Nations (UN) Sylvie Lucas has been appointed as the chair of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) of UN Security Council Reforms.

Current Affairs - Sports

Davis Cup: 
Great Britain has won the 2015 Davis Cup. The last time they won it was in 1936. This is their 10th victory in the competition’s 115-year history.

Macau Open Grand Prix: 
PV Sindhu has won the 2015 Macau Open Grand Prix Gold Badminton tournament. She defeated Minatsu Mitani (World No. 6) of Japan in three sets 21-9, 21-23, 21-14.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:
Nico Rosberg (Germany) of Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) of Mercedes
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) of Ferrari

IBSF World Snooker Championship: 
Pankaj Advani won the 2015 IBSF World Snooker Championship. He defeated Zhua Xintong of China in the final.

Asian Shooting Championships:
Heena Sidhu has won Gold medal in 10 metre Air Pistol event in women’s category at 13th Asian Shooting Championships held in Kuwait.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Portfolios - Prime Minister

As on December 14th 2015

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, also holds a few porfolios in his charge:
Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
Department of Atomic Energy
Department of Space
All important policy issues and all other portfolios not allocated to any Minister

Dr Jitendra Singh is the Minister of State:
Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge)
Prime Minister's Office
Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
Department of Atomic Energy
Department of Space

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Union Territories and Capitals

Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Capital: Port Blair
Principal Languages: Hindi, Nicobarese, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu

Daman and Diu
Capital: Daman
Principal Languages: Gujarati

Capital: Chandigarh
Principal Languages: Hindi, Punjabi, English

Capital: Kavaratti
Principal Languages: Malayalam, Jeseri (Dweep Bhasha) and Mahal

Government of NCT of Delhi
Capital: Delhi
Principal Languages: Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu & English

Capital: Puducherry
Principal Languages: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, English and French

Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Capital: Silvassa
Principal Languages: Gujarati, Hindi

State Governors - II

This is the list of the governors of various states as on December 13, 2015

Shri Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao

Shri V. Shanmuganathan (Add. Charge)

Shri V. Shanmuganthan

Lt. General (Retd.) Nirbhay Sharma

Shri Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya

Dr. S. C. Jamir

Shri Kaptan Singh Solanki

Shri Kalyan Singh

Shri Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil

Tamil Nadu
Dr. K. Rosaiah

Shri E.S Lakshmi Narasimhan (Add. Charge)

Shri Tathagata Roy

Uttar Pradesh
Shri Ram Naik

Dr. Krishan Kant Paul

West Bengal

Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi

State Governors - I

This is the list of the governors of various states as on December 13, 2015

Andhra Pradesh
Shri E.S Lakshmi Narasimhan

Arunachal Pradesh
Shri J.P. Rajkhowa

Shri Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya (Add. Charge)

Shri Ram Nath Kovind

Shri Balramji Dass Tandon

Smt. Mridula Sinha

Shri Om Prakash Kohli

Prof. Kaptan Singh Solanki

Himachal Pradesh
Shri Acharya Dev Vrat

Jammu and Kashmir
Shri N. N. Vohra

Shrimati Droupadi Murmu

Shri Vajubhai Vala

Shri Justice (Retd.) Palaniswamy Sathasivam

Madhya Pradesh
Shri Ram Naresh Yadav

Indian Parliament - Basic Facts

Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India. 

The Indian Parliament comprises of the President and the two Houses - Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and Lok Sabha (House of the People). 

The President of India is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States and Union Territories

The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha.

The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. 

The first general elections under the new Constitution were held during the year 1951-52 and the first elected Parliament came into existence in April, 1952.

The Constitution provides that the maximum strength of the House (of the People) be 552 members.
530 members to represent the States, 
20 members to represent the Union Territories, 
and 2 members to be nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian Community. 

At present, the strength of the House is 545 members.

The origin of Rajya Sabha can be traced back to 1919, when in pursuance to the Government of India Act, 1919, a second chamber known as the Council of States was created.

The Rajya Sabha is to consist of not more than 250 members - 238 members representing the States and Union Territories, and 12 members nominated by the President.

Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution. However, one third of the members retire every second year, and are replaced by newly elected members. Each member is elected for a term of six years.

The Vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. 

Union Cabinet - III

List of Union Cabinet Ministers as on December 13, 2015

Food Processing Industries
Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Narendra Singh Tomar

Tribal Affairs
Jual Oram

Radha Mohan Singh

Social Justice & Empowerment
Thaawar Chand Gehlot

Smriti Irani

Union Cabinet - II

List of Union Cabinet Ministers as on December 13, 2015

Science and Technology
Earth Sciences
Dr Harsh Vardhan

Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
Ramvilas Paswan

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
Kalraj Mishra

Women and Child Development
Maneka Gandhi

Chemicals & Fertilizers
Ananth Kumar

Communications & Information Technology
Ravi Shankar Prasad

Health & Family Welfare
Jagat Prakash Nadda

Rural Development
Panchayati Raj
Drinking Water and Sanitation
Chaudhary Birender Singh

Civil Aviation 
Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati

Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises
Anant Geete

Union Cabinet - I

List of Union Cabinet Ministers as on December 13, 2015

Home Affairs
Raj Nath Singh

External Affairs
Overseas Indian Affairs
Sushma Swaraj

Manohar Parrikar

Suresh Prabhu

Corporate Affairs
Information & Broadcasting
Arun Jaitley

Urban Development
Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation
Parliamentary Affairs
Venkaiah Naidu

Road Transport & Highways
Nitin Gadkari

Law & Justice
DV Sadananda Gowda

Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation
Uma Bharati

Minority Affairs
Najma Heptulla