Current Affairs: October 4, 2011

ADB extends $200 million loan to Assam for urban improvement

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) extends $200 million loan in order to develop water supply and other urban services in two key cities of Assam: Guwahati and Dibrugarh
  • Projects are to be finished by December 2017

“Poverty benchmark not final”- Clarifies Planning Commission

  • Tendulkar Committee’s criterion not be applied for distribution of subsidized food and other poverty mitigation programmes – clarifies the Planning Commission
  • It was further added that, Socio- Economic Caste Census which will be ready by January 2012, will offer the criterion for coverage of centrally sponsored schemes and that the Commission by no means had an outlook that the profits be limited to those living BPL only
  • Planning Commission previously presented an affidavit ahead of the Supreme Court, demarcating the gauge for the poverty line. It was put at Rs 32 per head for a family of five, living in urban areas and Rs 26 per head for people living in rural areas
  • Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia clarified that the Tendulkar Committee’s Criterion is in fact the benchmark of living of those at poverty line in 1973-74 and seems to be very little at the moment

MoU inked b/w INDIA and SWITZERLAND on financial dialogue

  • India and Switzerland inked MoU on financial dialogue
  • Objective: MoU will assist providing a useful forum for exchange of financial and micro-economic issues. It will be pave way for improved cooperation b/w both the nations’ tax authorities and thus will allow the unearthing of black money that is stashed in Swiss banks


US Senate votes to advance Bill to stop China undervalue Yuan

  • The US Senate voted to advance a Bill pressuring China to prevent undervaluing its currency
  • The Senate voted in favour of the proposed Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011
  • The Bill intended to give officials extra tools to use if countries are unable to take measures to eradicate currency misalignment

China opposes US Senate Bill

  • China criticized the move by the US Congress to pass a law intended to punish Beijing for suspected currency manipulation
  • The law allows the imposition of penalizing duties on Chinese imports to the US, if Beijing keeps its currency artificially cheap
  • Chinese Govt departments issued statements against the US proposed legislation
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry firmly opposed to the Bill

Rabindra Nath Tagore’s statue unveileded by President at Lausanne Varsity in Switzerland

  • President Ms Pratibha Devi Singh Patil unveiled the statue of Rabindra Nath Tagore in the historic University of Lausanne in Switzerland
  • An MoU was also signed b/w the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the University of Lausanne. It established the Rabindra Nath Tagore Chair on Indian studies here. 2011 marks the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev and the Chair established, commemorates the same


  • India and Afghanistan signed a SPA (Strategic Partnership Agreement) at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi
  • Objective: To reinforce security cooperation b/w the two countries. Indian to mentor the security forces as they gear up to deal with the drawdown of Foreign Forces in 2014. It also provides for cooperation in the areas of trade, culture, health, education, people-to-people contact and several other fields.
    SPA specifies trade and economic cooperation in a lot larger detail, addressing aspects ranging from supporting Afghanistan in developing trading routes to exploring for hydrocarbons and mineral ores the country is plentifully gifted with
  • Name of the Agreements Signed:
  1. Agreement on Strategic Partnership between India and Afghanistan
  2. MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Development of Hydrocarbons
  3. MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Mineral Resources Development
  • The proposal has been on the drawing board for six years since Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai first recommended it, but was not implemented as Pakistan was uncomfortable with the idea of India-trained forces on both its flanks.
  • India has started escalating its coverage to the security situation in Afghanistan by making operational an airbase in Tajikistan, which has since been used to strike at the top leadership of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. It has also sought after consent to reopen a hospital at Farkhor on the Afghan border
  • India and Afghanistan to also co-operate at the UN, with the objective being to assist India achieve a permanent seat in UNSC
  • SPA specifies trade and economic cooperation. Thus both countries will try to operationalise their trilateral MoU signed with Iran to end Afghanistan’s landlocked isolation and dependence on Pakistan to reach the sea. It lighten up India’s likelihood of pocketing a profitable mining contract for Hajigak, considered to be the region’s largest untapped reserve of iron ore, and offers a chance to trace for oil in northern Afghanistan. Two MoUs — one in the field of mineral exploration and the other for the development of hydrocarbons — reflected the concern of both sides in these areas.
  • India and Afghanistan also determined to build a positive trading and investment environment by simplifying customs and other procedures, starting air cargo operations and ameliorating credit and insurance facilities
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