Saturday, February 26, 2011



  • Saturday, February 26, 2011
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    RBI’s Mid-Term Policy ReviewOn January 25, 2011, the Reserve Bank of India raised its policy interest rates by a quarter percentage point, squeezing money supply again in the economy in its battle to control price rise. It also upped its inflation forecast, underlining a grim posture.

    The RBI raised the repo rate, at which it lends to banks, by 25 basis points to 6.5%, while the reverse repo, at which it takes bank funds, rose by the same measure to 5.5%. Such squeezes are aimed at making loans costlier to control demand, and thus, inflation. The RBI kept options open for a further squeeze on rates, even as it maintained that GDP growth would be a strong 8.5% in 2010-11, although it might ease the following year.

    It revised up the benchmark inflation estimate based on wholesale prices to 7.0% at end-March from 5.5%.

    “Inflation stemming from structural demand-supply mismatches in several non-cereal food items such as pulses, oil-seeds, eggs, fish, meat and milk is likely to persist till supply response kicks in," said the RBI.

    Rural job Plan turns five but a lot needs to be done
    The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, UPA’s flagship aam admi scheme, turned five on February 2, 2011. However, more than 30% of the rural India working under the right-to-work act continue to receive wages below the guaranteed minimum as per the minimum wages act.

    On January 14, the Ministry of Rural Development issued a notification revising the wage rates under the MNREGA from Rs 100 per day to between Rs 117 and Rs 181 (17-30 % hike) in different States. The revision under Section 6(1) of the 2005 Act, coming in wake of inflationary pressures on the poor, adjusts the wages by indexing it to the Consumer Price Index of Agricultural Laborers (CPIAL).

    Though the Ministry claims the revision takes NREGA wages above the minimum wages in 26 States and Union Territories, analysis shows the other eight States that continue getting less than minimum wages constitute 1.3 crore households or 31% of the total 4.1 crore households provided work till January 31, 2011.

    The eight include smaller States such as Goa and Mizoram, which have less number of workers under the scheme.

    But, the States also include the two showpieces under MNREGA—Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan—that brought in reforms like social audit, post office-bank payments into the mother of all schemes with a budget allocation of Rs 40,100 in 2010-11.

    Though numerous villages, like Saru in Udaipur district of Rajasthan, have benefited from MNREGA, the average they receive is under Rs 100 a day, forcing many to go in search of work as far as Ahmedabad, Surat where they Rs 200 to Rs 250 per day.

    Srikrishna panel report
    The Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee report was made public on January 6, 2011. It has strongly advocated maintaining united Andhra Pradesh along with creation of statutory Telangana Regional Council to address the core socio-economic concerns of the backward region.

    “This is the most workable option in the given circumstances and in the best interest of the social and economic welfare of people of all the three regions in the state,” the committee said in its 500-page report.

    The five-member panel was set up in February 2010 to examine the competing demands for carving out a separate Telangana State and maintaining the status quo.

    After an elaborate exercise involving interactions with various groups, field visits and examining over 2.50 lakh petitions, the committee presented a set of six options and discussed their pros and cons in great detail.

    The stress on maintaining unity formed a common thread that ran through the report.

    On bifurcation, which has been the single point agenda of Telangana protagonists, the Committee said it was the “second best option” but could be recommended “only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably among all three regions.”

    However, the committee warned that division of the State would have repercussions in other regions. “If earlier agitations are anything to go by, this decision will give rise to serious and violent agitations in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions where backlash will be immediate, the key issues being Hyderabad and sharing of water and irrigation resources,” the report said.

    Elaborating further on consequences of splitting the State, the Committee said: “The division will also have serious implications outside AP. It will give fillip to other similar demands. The matter should also be seen in the larger context of whether a region can be allowed to decide for itself what its political status should be, as that would only create a demand for a great number of smaller States resulting in problems of coordination and management.”

    The panel said: “We are convinced that the development aspect is of utmost importance for the welfare of all the three regions and could best be addressed through a model that includes deeper and more extensive economic and political de-centralisation.”

    —Maintaining status quo but allow economic and political de-centralisation.
    —Bifurcation of the State into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory. The two States will develop their own capitals in due course of time.
    —Bifurcation into Rayala-Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala-Telangana.
    —Bifurcation into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory. This Union Territory will have geographical linkage and contiguity via Nalgonda district in the south-east to district Guntur in coastal Andhra and via Mahboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema.
    —Bifurcation into Telangana and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital.

    Historical Timeline
    —Andhra, Rayalaseema were part of Madras province.
    —Telangana was part of the Hyderabad State for 400 years.
    —In 1953, Andhra and Rayalaseema separated from Madras.
    —In 1956, Andhra merged with Telangana.
    —1969: Telangana Praja Samiti was formed.
    —1972: Jai Andhra movement in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra.
    —2000: TDP opposes creation of Telangana.
    —2001: K. Chandrashekhara Rao forms Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

    Visit of President of Indonesia
    History met geography when Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the salute as the Chief Guest at India’s 62nd Republic Day parade on January 26, 2011. President Soekarno, whose close friends Jawaharlal Nehru and Biju Patnaik helped defy the Dutch colonial embargoes of the late 1940s that enabled Indonesia gain independence, was the Chief Guest at the founding of the Indian republic, in 1950.

    President Yudhoyono came to Delhi with a large business delegation and witnessed the signature of a clutch of agreements, including between private enterprises. New investment commitments worth $12 billion were signed, with the Indians looking to put their money in infrastructure projects such as airports, railways and ports.

    Indian business interest in Indonesia is kindled not only by the fact of its large, 238 million population, and therefore, a large market, but also because it is the gateway to the ASEAN, a region of over 300 million people that spans 10 States from Myanmar to the Philippines.

    India and Indonesia signed nearly 30 agreements, including an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty, and pledged to achieve a bilateral trade target of $ 25 billion by 2015, from about $ 11 billion in 2009-10.

    The main accords signed by the two sides were: MOU for cooperation in the field of education; MOU on the establishment of biennial trade ministers’ forum; protocol for extension of the MOU on cooperation in marine and fisheries; MOU for the development of urea manufacturing plant in Indonesia; air services agreement; MOU on cooperation in oil and gas; MOU on cooperation in the field of micro, small and medium enterprises; MOU on cooperation in science and technology; and MOU between the Press Council of India and the Press Council of Indonesia.

    In a joint statement issued after the talks between the Prime Minister and the Indonesian President, the two countries unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stressed that there could be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.
    In the field of tourism, the two leaders recognized that a quantum leap in tourism between India and Indonesia was desirable to strengthen vibrant and long-standing people-to-people ties. As a step towards this objective, the Prime Minister announced a scheme of granting visa on arrival to the citizens of Indonesia.

    India, Italy to set-up joint trade panel
    On January 31, 2011, India and Italy decided to set up a Joint Business Council (JBC), a bilateral trade cooperation body, to work together in areas like ICT, infrastructure and manufacturing.
    The decision was taken during the meeting of India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Italian Minister for Economic Development Paolo Romani, in Rome.

    The JBC will be managed by FICCI from the Indian side and by CONFINDUSTRIA from the Italian side. It will meet once a year, coinciding with the bilateral ministerial meeting.

    The two ministers also discussed the importance of SMEs and it was agreed that soon industry chambers of both the countries would organise workshops and seminars. Seeking closer cooperation in infrastructure sector, Sharma informed Romani that India would soon come out with a manufacturing policy aimed at increasing the contribution of manufacturing to 24 per cent of the GDP, from 16 per cent now.

    Romani assured India that Italian entrepreneurs would take huge advantage of the investment opportunities in India.

    USA lifts export curbs on DRDO, ISRO
    The US has removed nine Indian space and defence related companies, including those from ISRO and DRDO, from its export control ‘Entity List’ in an attempt to expand high technology trade and strategic cooperation with India.

    The US decision meets a long pending Indian demand and is the first step to implement the export control policy initiative announced by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 8, 2010, after their summit talks in New Delhi.

    The nine entities are Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), four remaining subsidiaries of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the US sanction list and another four of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

    The DRDO subsidiaries are Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Defence Research and Development Lab (DRDL), Missile Research and Development Complex and Solid State Physics Laboratory Liquid Propulsion Systems Center, Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB), Sriharikota Space Center (SHAR), and Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) are the four ISRO subsidiaries.

    Removal from the ‘Entity List’ eliminates a licence requirement specific to the companies, and results in the companies off the list being treated the same way as any other destination in India for export licensing purposes.

    “These changes reaffirm the US commitment to work with India on our mutual goal of strengthening the global non-proliferation framework,” said US Under-Secretary of Commerce Eric L. Hirschhorn.

    Justice Patil report on 2G Scam
    The one-man committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Shivraj V. Patil, who was appointed by the Telecom Ministry to look into the lapses in the allocation of the 2G Spectrum, has identified the guilty in the report which was submitted on January 31, 2011.

    After former Telecom Minister A. Raja resigned, the panel was set up on December 13 2010 to look into the Spectrum allocation procedures and policies from 2001 to 2009. The period also included the issuing of telecom licences during the NDA regime.

    During 2001-04, the BJP-led NDA Government was at the Centre and Raja had been saying that he only followed the policies of his predecessors.

    The panel has nailed A. Raja for procedural lapses. The report also named seven other officials in the Department of Telecom (DoT), including former DoT Secretary Siddharth Behura and R.K. Chandolia, a former lieutenant of Raja.

    Justice Patil clarified that procedural lapses of different types were found in different periods and that referred to not just the particular year in question but also before that. He said that procedural shortcomings were found in applications of telecom operators and that there were many shortcomings on the part of DoT officials in implementing procedures.

    The panel was also asked to examine if procedures were followed consistently and if these were followed in fair and transparent manner and report any deviation, shortcomings and lapses.

    Country’s top audit body Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had earlier alleged that several operators had suppressed information while applying in 2007 to bag licences and the 2G Spectrum from A Raja.

    Justice Patil said that in the report he had suggested remedial measure with regard to the licensing policies and procedures. Concerning the guilty identified in the report, Patil said he could not produce supporting documents as they were with the CBI.

    Prime Minister draws up 20-point agenda on Corruption
    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has outlined a comprehensive agenda to make transparency and ethics the core focus of governance at all levels.

    A 20-point agenda to bring about procedural improvements to achieve this goal is on the anvil. Adoption of Finland’s procedural model is also under consideration.

    Critical steps under active consideration by the government include instructions to clearly mention on files involving clearances by them whether the decision was a government one (taken by the Cabinet) or one by the official himself.

    Other steps being planned are: Proper scrutiny of officials before appointments, especially to critical posts, posting on websites the names of officials involved in corruption cases and permission to prosecute identified cases.


    Dilma Rousseff is Brazil’s first woman PresidentOn January 1, 2010, Dilma Rousseff became the Brazil's first female President. She has promised to build on an unprecedented run of economic success achieved by her popular predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Thousands of admirers braved a driving rain and cheered as Rousseff rode to her inauguration in a 1953 Rolls Royce flanked by an all-female security detail.

    The former Marxist guerrilla, who evolved over the years into a pragmatic civil servant with a professed obsession for reducing poverty, smiled broadly and clapped along with spectators as she was sworn in before the Congress.

    More than 20 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty during Lula's eight years in office, thanks largely to his social welfare policies and stable economic management that made Brazil a darling among Wall Street investors. The coming decade also looks bright, with massive, newly discovered offshore oil reserves due to be exploited and the World Cup and Olympics to be hosted here.

    Yet, Rousseff also faces a long list of daunting challenges that Lula failed to tackle, including an overvalued currency that is hurting industry, rampant public spending that is fueling inflation, and notorious bureaucracy that stifles investment and discourages innovation. Perhaps the biggest task will be living up to the example set by Lula, a former metalworkers' union leader who leaves office with an approval rating of 87 per cent and near folk-hero status, especially among the poor.

    New PM appointed in Jordan following protests
    On January 31, 2011, Marouf Bakhit was appointed as the Prime Minister of Jordan by King Abdullah. The move came following protests inspired by mass demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, but the opposition dismissed the move as insufficient. The earlier Prime Minister Samir Rifal was criticized for following a pro-Western reforms agenda. His opponents sought to reverse free market reforms they say have cut State support for East Bank Jordinians, the original inhabitants of the country who depend on government support more than Jordinains of Palestinian origins.

    UN ends Peace Mission in Nepal
    On January 15, 2011, the UN ended its peace mission as the government and the main Opposition Maoists inked a crucial eleventh-hour deal to monitor fragile peace process. The UN mission was tasked to supervise the arms and the army of the former rebels and the military.

    The UNMIN closure, however, makes the fate of the 19,000 Maoist combatants confined in the cantonments uncertain, as there is no clear road-map regarding the future monitoring, integration and rehabilitation of the former combatants.

    The government said a special committee comprising representatives from the main political parties would monitor the ex-guerrillas, which the Maoists do not agree to.

    Governor of Punjab province of Pakistan assassinated for supporting a woman convicted under blasphemy law
    The assassination of former Governor of Punjab province of Pakistan, Salmaan Taseer, on January 4, 2011, once again drew attention to Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws, which have been at the center of debate of late. Religious parties have been able to force Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to step back from the government's earlier stance of changing these laws

    Taseer's killing due to his support for a woman convicted under the blasphemy law is yet another addition to the list of those killed as a direct or indirect consequence of this legislation.

    Threats were made, and protests held against Taseer after he visited Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman awarded the death sentence for committing blasphemy, and expressed his support for her.

    According to data compiled by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, a local NGO, extra-judicial killings of those accused under the country's blasphemy laws started in 1990, but the laws were in place since 1980, instituted by military strongman General Zia Ul Haq.

    South Sudan says “Yes” to secession
    South Sudan has overwhelmingly voted to split from the north in a referendum intended to end decades of civil war, as per the result declared on January 30, 2011.

    Thousands cheered, danced and ululated after officials said 99.57 per cent of voters from the south’s 10 States chose to secede.

    The vote was promised in a 2005 peace-deal which ended decades of north-south conflict, Africa’s longest civil war which cost an estimated 2 million lives.

    Kiir, the head of the former southern rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), praised his former civil war foe, Sudan’s overall president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for agreeing to the 2005 accord.

    According to the terms of the accord, south Sudan will be able to declare independence on July 9, 2011, pending any legal challenges to the results.

    Leaders from the SPLM and Bashir’s northern National Congress Party (NCP) still have to agree on a list of politically sensitive issues, including the position of their shared border, how they would split oil revenues after secession and the ownership of the disputed Abyei region.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised north and south Sudan for the peaceful vote but said he was concerned about the unresolved issues.

    Visit of Chinese President to USA
    President Hu Jintao of China visited USA in second week of January 2011 to narrow rifts between the world’s top two economies. This was the first visit of a Chinese President to USA in 13 years.

    The State-run Chinese media recorded the visit as a successful summit of equals. However, the pomp and rhetoric did little to resolve acrimony between the two countries over ‘US interference’ in South China Sea, US policies on Taiwan, the Dalai Lama, currency and trade differences.

    During the joint press conference President Jintao admitted that his country needed to do a lot more on human rights. The human rights were clearly the top concern of USA despite the economic ties between the two countries.

    President Jintao warned USA to keep away from Tibet or else bilateral ties will be greatly effected, a day after President Obama asked him to talk to representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve the issue.

    Global Innovation Report, 2010
    Innovation levels, as measured by patent volume, shifted across 12 major technology areas from 2009 to 2010, according to the second annual analysis of world patent activity published by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters.

    The 2010 Innovation Report: Twelve Key Technology Areas and Their States of Innovation tracks patent activity in key technology areas using the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPISM) database, the world's most trusted source of patent information.

    Key findings between 2009 and 2010 innovation data include:
    Aerospace technology area blasts into a new orbit: In addition to increasing overall activity by 25% year over year, the largest aerospace sub-sector increase from 2009 to 2010 occurred in the field of Space Vehicles and Satellite Technology, which jumped up 108%. The three companies in this area were Japanese manufacturer Sharp, followed by Korean manufacturers LG and Samsung.

    Semiconductor innovation short circuits: The Semiconductor technology area saw the largest drop in innovation activity across the 12 areas tracked, falling 9% last year. The drop was driven by sub-sector declines in Integrated Circuits; Discrete Devices; and Memories, Film & Hybrid Circuits. The one Semiconductor sub-sector showing growth in 2010 was Materials and Processes. The innovators with the most patent activity in this sub-sector were Korean manufacturers Samsung and Hynix Semiconductor, followed by Japan's Toshiba.

    Computers & Peripherals tops the list of the most innovative technology areas with the highest volume of patent activity for second consecutive year, despite an overall decline from 2009: The Computers & Peripherals technology area published 212,622 unique inventions in 2010, earning it the top slot among the 12 areas in the analysis. However, this is a 6% decline from the level seen in 2009.

    Muslim demographic peak over next 20 years
    The world's Muslim population will grow at double the rate of non-Muslims over the next 20 years, according to a broad new demographic analysis that is likely to spark controversy in the West.

    The Future of the Global Muslim Population may be the first to attempt to map the Muslim population of most of the world's countries. The analysis was conducted by two giant non-profit groups interested in religion: the Pew Research Center and the John Templeton Foundation. This is part of a larger project to map the population of all the world's religions.

    Among its other projections are:
    —Muslim populations in some parts of Europe will reach the double digits, with France and Belgium at 10.3 percent by 2030.
    —Pakistan will overtake Indonesia as the world's most populous Muslim nation.
     —Muslim population growth and fertility rates will continue to decline.
    —India will remain home to the world's third largest Muslim population.
    —The number of US Muslims will more than double, from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030.

    The analysis could fuel critics of Islam in Europe and the United States, who argue that the religion is at odds with Western values and worry that the number of Muslim extremists is on the rise. Or it could calm those fears by providing evidence that Muslim populations in the West will remain relatively tiny. The study—which uses a dizzying mix of public and private data sources—makes it clear that even rapid growth among Muslims will not produce dramatic demographic shifts in most parts of the world.

    Eighty-two percent of the world's Muslims live in Asia, West Asia and North Africa, and that number is projected to be around 79 percent in 2030.

    According to the study's projections, Muslims make up 23.4 percent of the world's population of 6.9 billion; in 2030, that percentage will be 26.4. Europe is home to 2.7 percent of the world's Muslims, a percentage that is predicted to remain stable.

    Business News

    The NASDAQ-listed iGate has sealed the deal to buy Patni Computers, India’s seventh largest IT services firm, to create a $1-billion entity

    Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee retailer, has entered into an agreement with Tata Coffee for a strategic alliance in India. Under the non-binding MoU between the two, Starbucks will set up stores in the Tata group’s retail outlets and hotels and source roast coffee beans from Tata Coffee’s Kodagu facility.

    Infrastructure, Leasing & Finance Services (IL&FS) will be the new promoter of Maytas Properties, the cash-strapped company owned by family members of disgraced Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju.

    Wipro Chairman Azim Premji has done away with the dual helmsman-ship model and appointed T.K. Kurien as Wipro’s new CEO.

    Google Inc co-founder Larry Page has taken over as CEO from Eric Schmidt. Page’s assumption of day-to-day operations marks a return to Google’s technological roots, 13 years after he and fellow Stanford University student Sergy Brin founded what has become the world’s number one internet search engine.

    Mahindra & Mahindra, the market leader in utility vehicles, has launched a pick-up vehicle based on the Xylo model. The vehicle has been named Genio.

    The Aditya Birla group has bought the $1-billion revenue earning US firm Colombian Chemicals for $875 million, catapulting the group to become the world leader in carbon black, from its number four position that it held before the acquisition.

    Opening another chapter in aviation history, G.R. Gopinath, known as the pioneer of low-cost carriers in India, has had his Deccan Charters Ltd join hands with Taj Air, the executive charter service of Indian Hotels Company Ltd and with Business Jets India Pvt Ltd, to launch Powerfly, an alliance in the air charter industry.

    Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has entered into luxury sedan segment with launch of its carKizashi.

    ICICI Bank has entered into an agreement with Indian Army for extending modern banking products to the personnel in uniform.

    Per capita income of Indians grew by 14.5 per cent to Rs 46,492 in 2009-10, from Rs 40,605 in 2008-09. The new per capita income figure estimates on current market prices is over Rs 2,000 more than the previous estimate of Rs 44,345 calculated by the Central Statistical Organisation. Per capita income means earnings of each Indian if the national income is evenly divided among the country's population at 117 crore (1.17 billion). Per capita income (at 2004-05 prices) stood at Rs 33,731 in FY10 against Rs 31,801 in the previous year.

    The size of the economy at current prices rose to Rs 61,33,230 crore (Rs 61,332.30 billion) in 2009-10, up 16.1 per cent over Rs 52,82,086 crore (Rs 52,820.86 billion) in FY'09. Based on 2004-05 prices, the Indian economy expanded by 8 per cent during the fiscal ended March 2010. This is higher than 6.8 per cent growth in fiscal 2008-09.

    The gross domestic product (GDP), or gross domestic income (GDI), is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time. The idea of gross domestic product came into existence after the Great Depression and World War II. GDP was first developed by Simon Kuznets for a United States Congress report in 1934. His idea was to calculate all economic production by individuals, companies and the government in a single measure. According to him, GDP would rise in good times and fall during any crisis. In 1944, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund accepted GDP as a method to assess a nation's economy.

    The 98th Indian Science Congress was held at SRM University near Chennai.

    While 2010 was observed as the International Year of Biodiversity, from 2011 starts the Decade of Biodiversity. During the decade, a UN body, much like the IPCC for Climate Change, is expected to push for action on biodiversity front.

    The Qingdao Haiwan Bridge in China is the world’s longest sea bridge. It is 42.48 km long, 8.04 km further than the distance between Dover and Calais, as also longer than a marathon. The bridge links the main urban area of Qingdao city in east China’s Shandong province with Huangdao district.

    January 14, 2011 marked the 250th anniversary of the third battle of Panipat. The defeat of the Marathas by the army of Ahmad Shah Abdali prepared the ground for the gradual take-over of India by the East India company.

    Army Day is observed in India on January 15.

    The World Bank has offered to India a loan of $1.5 billion (about Rs 6,800 crore) for building 24,000km of all-weather roads in the rural seven economically poor and hilly areas States—Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Punjab and any other State which may join at alter date over the next five-year period.

    On January 17, 2011, Indian Navy commissioned a squadron of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), named INAS 343, at Porbander, Gujarat, to enhance coastal surveillance capabilities. The UAVs have been nick-named “Frontier Formidables”.

    The world’s highest restaurant is located on the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa. It is called At.mosphere. The restaurant is 92 meter taller than the world’s second highest eatery, the revolving 360 Restaurant in Toronto’s CN Tower.

    Rural roads account for about 61% of India’s road length. National Highways comprise less than 2 per cent of the road network, but carry 40 per cent of road-based traffic.

    RBI has decided to circulate Rs 5 coins to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President.

    Anti-Leprosy Day is observed in India on January 30.

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