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Current Affairs - 16 December 2014

Lima climate deal results; India satisfied

  • The Lima climate talks finally produced an agreement, but only just. After protracted negotiations that continued into the morning of Sunday, almost 36 hours after its scheduled close on Friday, the over 190 countries at the conference grudgingly agreed on a minimalist text that some climate advocacy groups described as “disastrously weak”.
    Most of what Lima was supposed to deliver on has been put off for the time being with the hope that they would get decided in the run-up to and during the next climate change conference, in Paris in 2015.
    India said it was satisfied with the final outcome as most of its interests had been protected.
    “The final text addresses almost all our concerns. We got what we wanted,” environment minister Prakash Javadekar said.
    “This is not the best text that we could have had. But it is certainly the best that we could have secured in the circumstances. Of course, we have to act aggressively on climate change within our own country and the Narendra Modi government is doing exactly that,” Javadekar said.

IOC is India's biggest company: Fortune 500 list

  • NEW DELHI: State-run Indian Oil Corporation is the country's largest company in terms of revenue, followed by Reliance Industries and Bharat Petroleum in the second and third place respectively, according to the Fortune 500 list of Indian companies for 2014. 
    Indian Oil Corp (IOC) tops the chart with an annual revenue of Rs 5,00,973 crore, while Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd's (RIL) full-year revenue is Rs 4,44,021 crore. 
    Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) is at the third spot with a revenue of Rs 2,67,718 crore. Hindustan Petroleum's (HPCL) Rs 2,36,797 crore revenue earned the fourth place in the Fortune 500 list. 
    IOC, RIL, BPCL and HPCL have retained their last year's respective ranks, Fortune India said. 
    This year's list, compiled by global business magazine Fortune's Indian edition, said there has been a 9.5 per cent annual growth in total revenues, while in terms of profit it is 4.5 per cent. The government-owned companies, which account for 38 per cent of the total revenue, have seen a 6.6 per cent growth, while private companies with 56.7 per cent share have seen revenue growing by 10.2 per cent. 
    Foreign-owned companies with 5.3 per cent share have posted a 25.5 per cent revenue growth, Fortune India said. Others in the top 10 list include Tata Motors (5th in the ranking, with a revenue of Rs 2,36,502 crore. State Bank of India (Rs 2,26,944 crore), ONGC (Rs 1,82,084 crore), Tata Steel (Rs 1,49,663 crore), Essar Oil (Rs 99,473 crore) and Hindalco Industries (Rs 89,175 crore) figure in the list in that order. 
    A look at this year's Fortune India 500 through 'Make in India' lens revealed that manufacturing with 298 companies has a 67 per cent share of the total revenue, marginally lower than 68.7 per cent in 2013. The revenue share of services companies (143 firms) has increased to 27.7 per cent from 26.3 per cent in 2013. Profits also show a similar trend, while manufacturing share has fallen to 55.1 per cent from 56.6 per cent, that of services has gone up to 44.1 per cent from 40.9 per cent. 
    "Manufacturing then, definitely needs a helping hand and 'Make in India' could just be the ticket," the magazine said adding that "the specific pain points that need to be addressed include the issue of retrospective taxation, labour and foreign direct investment".

India free to determine climate contributions

  • The Lima Call for Climate Action accommodates India’s several concerns and brings back the concept of “common but differentiated responsibility” that will lie at the core of the next emission reduction treaty to be adopted in Paris in 2015.
    The summit document dropped any reference to a contentious clause on “ex ante” review of the intended nationally determined contribution, which means upfront review of the emission cut plans by a third party. “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) are to be nationally determined. We do not see any role for any ex-ante review in this process,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said at the summit.
    The principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities would have to be reflected in the Paris agreement, says the Lima document. This basically means rich nations that played a historical role in warming up the planet because of their industrialisation, must also lead from the front when it comes to cleaning up.

5 thoughts on Indian economy

  • Transient production shock, stable disinflationary trends. The IIP growth shock is transitory and should be seen as lull post the festive demand in September. We expect November to pick up both partly on production and mostly on positive base effects. The good news comes from a stabilizing disinflationary trend in CPI inflation. December data release will be keenly watched to gauge the deviation from RBI’s estimated outturn of ~5.5%. We maintain our call for 50-75 bps cut in CY2015 with the first cut likely after the Union Budget.
    November CPI inflation expectedly has positive base effects through food…. November CPI inflation at 4.38% was helped by vegetable prices expectedly falling further by 1.5% sequentially, pulling the yoy inflation down to (-)10.9%. However, December onwards base effect on food articles will be significantly minimized and the typical seasonality seen due to kharif produce in December and January may be muted this year given (1) correction over the past three months and (2) impact of lower kharif production.

India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine gears up

  • NEW DELHI: India's first indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant is now finally all set to make its maiden foray into the wide-open sea. The 6,000-tonne vessel, with an 83MW pressurized light-water reactor at its core for propulsion, is slated to begin its sea trials off Visakhapatnam within the next few days.
    INS Arihant, or the "annihilator of enemies'', and its two under-construction follow-on vessels are the critical missing link in the country's long-standing pursuit to have an operational nuclear weapons triad — the capability to fire nuclear warhead from land, air and sea.
    While the Agni ballistic missiles and fighter-bombers constitute the first two legs, the triad's missing underwater leg has for long troubled the country's strategic establishment. Nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles (SSBNs), after all, are considered the triad's most difficult-to-detect and effective leg. There is also growing concern over China stepping up its submarine activity in the Indian Ocean.

Belgium cut off from world by national strike

  • Brussels: Belgium ground to a halt in its biggest strike in years today as trade unions grounded flights, cut international rail links and shut sea ports to protest the new government’s austerity plans.
    In the climax to a month of industrial action against new Prime Minister Charles Michel’s policies, striking workers stopped all public transport while most schools, businesses and government offices shut down.
    Pickets also blocked traffic outside the Brussels headquarters of the European Union, a 28-nation bloc that has seen years of protests against austerity aimed at cutting debts that threatened the euro currency.
    The Belgian strike came days after a day of protest in Italy against Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s ambitious reform plans, while there have been similar demonstrations in Spain and Greece in recent months.
    “There has never been a strike this strong,” Marie Helene Ska, the head of the Christian CSC union, was quoted as saying by the Belga news agency.
    Belgian trade unions launched their movement last month with a march of more than 100,000 people in Brussels, which ended in violent protests that left dozens of police officers injured.
    Unions went ahead with Monday’s general strike after premier Michel’s right-of-centre government refused to budge on plans to save 11 billion euros (USD 13.7 billion) over five years.

Launch rehearsal of ISRO’s LVM 3 successful

  • Ahead of the country’s maiden experimental launch of latest generation vehicle GSLV Mk III, which would carry out the ‘Crew module Atmospheric Re- entry Experiment (CARE) on a suborbital mission on December 18, ISRO successfully carried out a rehearsal on Monday.
    “The nine hour 30 minutes launch rehearsal of ISRO LVM3 has just been successfully completed,” ISRO said in its social networking site.
    Confirming the success, a senior ISRO official said the countdown for the launch of GSLV Mk III/X CARE Mission (also known as LMV 3) would commence around 8.30 a.m., on December 17 at Sriharikota.
    Asked about the reason behind the lesser duration of countdown, he said it was a 24-hour countdown before the December 18 launch since the mission would carry only a dummy cryogenic stage.
    “The countdown would be for around 24 hours and would commence around 8.30 a.m., on December 17. The lift off of the launch has been scheduled at 9 a.m., on December 18,” he told PTI.
    The 630-tonne GSLV-Mk III would carry the 3.65 tonne crew module even as the national space agency is equipping itself for its ambition of sending astronauts into space eventually.
    However, the Indian government has not approved any human mission to space presently.
    Realisation of 42.4 metre tall GSLV Mk-III would help ISRO place heavier satellites into orbit.
    GSLV Mk III is conceived and designed to make ISRO fully self reliant in launching heavier communication satellites of INSAT-4 class, which weigh 4,500 to 5,000 kg.
    It would also enhance India’s capability to be a competitive player in the multi-million dollar commercial launch market.

Aadhaar not mandatory for LPG subsidy: govt

  • Government today made it clear that Aadhaar number was not mandatory for transfer of subsidy amount of LPG cylinder and the option of providing a bank account is also available under the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG (DBTL).
    Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed Lok Sabha that under the DBTL, the LPG consumers joining this scheme get all domestic LPG cylinders (subsidised as well as non- subsidised cylinder) at market price and subsidy amount as applicable for each domestic subsidised cylinder is transferred to their bank account.
    Pradhan said during Question Hour that a one-time advance in addition to the cash subsidy admissible is also provided to each LPG consumer joining the scheme. This is to fund the first cylinder purchased at market price.
    Subsidy is separately admissible on every cylinder, including the first cylinder.
    The Minister said consumers have two options for availing subsidy under the scheme. Wherever Aadhaar number is available, it will remain the medium of cash transfer. Thus, an LPG consumer who has an Aadhaar number has to link it to the bank account number and to the LPG consumer number.

Establishment of Science Cities

  • National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), an autonomous organization under the Union Ministry of Culture is engaged in establishment of Science Centres throughout the country. NCSM is developing a Science City at Guwahati, Assam which will subsequently be handed over to the Govt. of Assam for future operation and maintenance. Proposals from various state governments have also been received for setting up of Science Cities. The Science Centres/Cities projects are taken up by NCSM in a phased manner depending upon the availability of resources, project handling capacity of NCSM and the existing level of science centre activities in that particular State. 
    The following proposals have also been received by NCSM for establishment of Science Cities:- 
    1) Science City, Sampla, Govt. of Haryana
    2) Science City, Bengaluru, Govt. of Karnataka
    3) Science City, Navi Mumbai, Govt. of Maharashtra
    4) Science City, Hyderabad, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh (before bifurcation into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh). 
    5) Science City, Patna, Govt. of Bihar
    6) Science City, Nagpur, Govt. of Maharashtra
    7) Science City, Bhubaneswar, Govt. of Odishab
    8) Science City, Kumhari, Govt. of Chhattisgarh
    Science Park is now an integral component of all Science Centres and Science Cities and hence is not set up as an independent facility. NCSM has not received any proposal from Govt. of Telangana for setting up of Science Centre/City after its creation.

Philae comet landing named physics breakthrough of the year

  • The first ever landing of a man-made probe onto a comet by ESA’s Philae spacecraft has been named Physics World Breakthrough of the Year for 2014.
    Nuclear fusion with lasers and a tractor beam are also among the 10 physics breakthroughs of the year, as chosen by a leading science magazine.
    The historic achievement by scientists working on the Rosetta mission was singled out by the Physics World magazine for its significance and fundamental importance to space science.
    The landing of the Philae probe, which captivated not only the physics community but millions of people worldwide, was the culmination of 10 years’ work by scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA), who successfully guided the Rosetta spacecraft through the inner solar system to finally meet up with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August.
    On November 12, a signal was received in the ESA control room confirming that the Philae lander had completed its seven-hour descent and had landed safely on the surface of Comet 67P.
    While the landing was not as smooth as mission scientists would have liked, the Philae lander still managed to collect a large amount of data before entering hibernation mode.

The 'big bang' of bird evolution

  • The first findings of the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium are being reported nearly simultaneously in 29 papers -- eight papers in a Dec. 12 special issue of Science and 21 more in Genome Biology, GigaScience and other journals.
    Scientists already knew that the birds who survived the mass extinction experienced a rapid burst of evolution. But the family tree of modern birds has confused biologists for centuries and the molecular details of how birds arrived at the spectacular biodiversity of more than 10,000 species is barely known.
    To resolve these fundamental questions, a consortium led by Guojie Zhang of the National Genebank at BGI in China and the University of Copenhagen, Erich D. Jarvis of Duke University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and M. Thomas P. Gilbert of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, has sequenced, assembled and compared full genomes of 48 bird species. The species include the crow, duck, falcon, parakeet, crane, ibis, woodpecker, eagle and others, representing all major branches of modern birds.
    "BGI's strong support and four years of hard work by the entire community have enabled us to answer numerous fundamental questions to an unprecedented scale," said Guojie Zhang. "This is the largest whole genomic study across a single vertebrate class to date. The success of this project can only be achieved with the excellent collaboration of all the consortium members."

Currencies and Capitals of All Countries

  • Important (69)

    Country NameCapitalCurrency
    ArgentinaBuenos AiresPeso
    AustraliaCanberraAustralia dollar
    CambodiaPhnom PenhRiel
    CanadaOttawaCanadian dollar
    ChileSantiagoChilean Peso
    ColombiaBogotaColombian Peso
    CubaHavanaCuban Peso
    Czech RepublicPragueKoruna
    EgyptCairoEgyptian pound
    Saudi ArabiaRiyadhRiyal
    SingaporeSingaporeSingapore dollar
    South AfricaPretoria (administrative); Cape Town (legislative); Bloemfontein (judiciary)Rand
    IcelandReykjavikIcelandic króna
    IndiaNew DelhiRupee
    IraqBaghdadIraq Dinar
    JordanAmmanJordanian dinar
    KenyaNairobiKenya shilling
    North KoreaPyongyangWon
    South KoreaSeoulWon
    KuwaitKuwait CityKuwaiti dinar
    LebanonBeirutLebanese pound
    LiberiaMonroviaLiberian dollar
    MalaysiaKuala LumpurRinggit
    MexicoMexico CityMexican peso
    Myanmar (Burma)Rangoon (Yangon); Naypyidaw or Nay Pyi Taw (administrative)Kyat
    NepalKathmanduNepalese rupee
    New ZealandWellingtonNew Zealand dollar
    NorwayOsloNorwegian krone
    OmanMuscatOmani rial
    PakistanIslamabadPakistani rupee
    Sri LankaColomboSri Lanka rupee
    SwitzerlandBernSwiss franc
    SyriaDamascusSyrian pound
    TaiwanTaipeiTaiwan dollar
    TurkeyAnkaraTurkish lira (YTL)
    United Arab EmiratesAbu DhabiU.A.E. dirham
    United KingdomLondonPound sterling
    United States of AmericaWashington D.C.Dollar
    Vatican CityHanoiDong
    ZimbabweHarareZimbabwean dollar

    Semi-Important (49)

    Country NameCapitalCurrency
    AngolaLuandaNew Kwanza
    BahamasNassauBahamian dollar
    BelarusMinskBelorussian ruble
    BoliviaLa Paz (administrative); Sucre (judicial)Boliviano
    BruneiBandar Seri BegawanBrunei dollar
    Central African RepublicBanguiCFA Franc
    Republic of the CongoBrazzavilleCFA Franc
    Democratic Republic of the CongoKinshasaCongolese franc
    Costa RicaSan JoseColón
    CyprusNicosiaCyprus pound
    EcuadorQuitoU.S. dollar
    EthiopiaAddis AbabaBirr
    FijiSuvaFiji dollar
    JamaicaKingstonJamaican dollar
    LebanonBeirutLebanese pound
    LiberiaMonroviaLiberian dollar
    MaliBamakoCFA Franc
    MauritiusPort LouisMauritian rupee
    NamibiaWindhoekNamibian dollar
    QatarDohaQatari riyal
    SenegalDakarCFA Franc
    SerbiaBelgradeYugoslav new dinar
    Sierra LeoneFreetownLeone
    SomaliaMogadishuSomali shilling
    South SudanJubaSudanese Pound
    TanzaniaDar es SalaamTanzanian shilling
    TunisiaTunisTunisian dinar
    UgandaKampalaUgandan new shilling
    UruguayMontevideoUruguay peso
    UzbekistanTashkentUzbekistani sum

    Regular (84)

    Country NameCapitalCurrency
    San MarinoSan Marino
    LaosVientianeNew Kip
    LiechtensteinVaduzSwiss franc
    MadagascarAntananarivoMalagasy franc
    MaltaVallettaMaltese lira
    Marshall IslandsMajuroU.S. Dollar
    MauritiusPort LouisMauritian rupee
    MicronesiaPalikirU.S. Dollar
    Antigua and BarbudaSaint John'sEast Caribbean dollar
    BahrainManamaBahrain dinar
    BarbadosBridgetownBarbados dollar
    BelizeBelmopanBelize dollar
    BeninPorto-NovoCFA Franc
    Bosnia and HerzegovinaSarajevoMarka
    Burkina FasoOuagadougouCFA Franc
    BurundiBujumburaBurundi franc
    CameroonYaoundeCFA Franc
    Cape VerdePraiaCape Verdean escudo
    ChadN'DjamenaCFA Franc
    Cote d'IvoireYamoussoukroCFA Franc
    DjiboutiDjiboutiDjibouti franc
    DominicaRoseauEast Caribbean dollar
    Dominican RepublicSanto DomingoDominican Peso
    East Timor (Timor-Leste)DiliU.S. dollar
    El SalvadorSan SalvadorColón; U.S. dollar
    Equatorial GuineaMalaboCFA Franc
    GabonLibrevilleCFA Franc
    The GambiaBanjulDalasi
    GrenadaSaint George'sEast Caribbean dollar
    GuatemalaGuatemala CityQuetzal
    GuineaConakryGuinean franc
    Guinea-BissauBissauCFA Franc
    GuyanaGeorgetownGuyanese dollar
    KiribatiTarawa AtollAustralian dollar
    Nauruno official capital; government offices in Yaren DistrictAustralian dollar
    NicaraguaManaguaGold cordoba
    NigerNiameyCFA Franc
    PalauMelekeokU.S. dollar
    PanamaPanama Citybalboa; U.S. dollar
    Papua New GuineaPort MoresbyKina
    PeruLimaNuevo sol
    RwandaKigaliRwanda franc
    Saint Kitts and NevisBasseterreEast Caribbean dollar
    Saint LuciaCastriesEast Caribbean dollar
    Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesKingstownEast Caribbean dollar
    Sao Tome and PrincipeSao TomeDobra
    SenegalDakarCFA Franc
    SeychellesVictoriaSeychelles rupee
    Sierra LeoneFreetownLeone
    SloveniaLjubljanaSlovenian tolar; euro (as of 1/1/07)
    Solomon IslandsHoniaraSolomon Islands dollar
    SurinameParamariboSurinamese dollar
    TanzaniaDar es SalaamTanzanian shilling
    TogoLomeCFA Franc
    Trinidad and TobagoPort-of-SpainTrinidad and Tobago dollar
    TuvaluVaiaku village, Funafuti provinceAustralian dollar

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