Current Affairs: Top Headlines September 6, 2013

Iran to set free Indian tanker after 24 days of detention

Iran ordered release of an Indian tanker detained by it for the past 24 days at its Bandar Abbas port after being seized in Persian Gulf while carrying crude from Basrah in Iraq. The move comes after hectic negotiations between the two nations with India showing strong objections to the detention, saying it was a “colourable” exercise in violation of UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) and warning of serious consequences. The tanker belonging to India’s largest ocean liner SCI was impounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on August 12, 2013 citing environmental and pollution concerns.

Government will not breach 4.8% fiscal deficit: Finance Minister

Finance minister P Chidambaram on Thursday reiterated that the fiscal deficit of 4.8% budgeted for the year 2013-14 will not be breached even as he accepted that the economy was going through a challenging period and that continuous decline in the rupee was a concern.

National Tobacco control program to be expanded to cover all districts

The National Tobacco control program which is currently operational in 42 districts of the country will soon be extended to all districts of the country during the 12th plan. The health ministry is pursuing with the finance ministry on developing a taxation policy on all tobacco products. The government started the National Tobacco control program  in 2007 during the 11th plan period . The programme has taken several initiatives to curb tobacco use in the country. These include establishing a National Regulatory Authority, State and district level Tobacco Control cells, Anti Tobacco Public Awareness Campaigns, establishment of tobacco testing labs, research, training, monitoring and evaluation to check the use of Tobacco in the country

Zubin Mehta conferred with Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony

Renowned western classical music maestro Zubin Mehta was conferred with the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for year 2013. The award was presented by President Pranab Mukherjee at a lively function at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mehta is second person after late sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar to receive Tagore Award for cultural harmony.

BRICS to contribute $100 bn to Forex fund

The BRICS group of nations will commit $100 billion to a fighting fund to stabilize currency markets destabilised by an expectations of tapering of U.S. monetary stimulus. The major portion of the currency pool will come from China which holds world’s largest foreign exchange reserves.

Deepak Sandhu: First woman Chief Information Commissioner of India

Deepak Sandhu, former Indian Information Service officer of 1971 batch, became the first woman Chief Information Commissioner of the country. She was administered the oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

IOC not ready to compromise on chargesheet clause, delays India’s return to Olympic

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has clarified that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has to adopt the chargesheet clause in its constitution which bars charge-sheeted persons from contesting elections for key posts of the sports body. The stand taken by IOC has further delayed India’s return to Olympic group. IOA had proposed a compromise formula according to which the sanction will apply only to those officials who are convicted and sentenced to a jail term of more than two years.

Crisis risks are high in Pakistan: IMF

IMF suggested Pakistan to bring in comprehensive economic reforms to tackle the ‘serious economic challenges’ its faces amid subpar growth and unsustainable fiscal and balance of payments positions. The International Monetary Fund suggested it after approving financial assistance of $6.7 billion to Pakistan to save it from economic crisis.

Banks agree to be lenient towards mining dependent loan defaulters

In a meeting of RBI and other banks in Goa, banks agreed to be soft towards mining dependent loan defaulters. They resolved “not to be harsh on the defaulters till March next year“. Banks took into account the fact that mining business in the state is in a state of impasse.  As per government data, the loan liability of people dependent on mining activity is around Rs 1,734 crore, of which Rs 570 crore is NPAs through various banks, including cooperative and urban banks. The state government has also decided to exempt road tax for mining related trucks.

Sub-debt ratings of 11 Indian banks downgraded by Moody’s

The subordinated debt ratings of 11 Indian banks including SBI, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank have been downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service. The other banks affected are Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Canara Bank, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Syndicate Bank and Union Bank of India. The downgrade has been keeping in mind the increasing international trend of imposing losses on holders of subdebt securities as a pre-condition for distressed banks to receive government support. As a result, Moody’s assumes that Indian government support is less likely to be approaching for the holders of such securities.

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