Passive euthanasia permissible: SC
The Supreme Court of India has rejected the petition for mercy killing of Aruna Shanbaug, who has been in a “persistent vegetative state” for the past 37 years. There is no law to allow it. However, the surprise is that the apex court has permitted passive euthanasia under certain, supervised by a High Court. The conditions require the High Court to seek the opinion of three eminent doctors as well as listen to the government and close relatives of the terminally ill patient. Under passive euthanasia the life support system of a terminally ill patient is withdrawn, while under active euthanasia the patient is given a lethal injection by a doctor.
During the arguments Attorney General G.E Vahanvati had contended that the withdrawal of food to the victim “will be a cruel, inhuman and intolerant approach unknown and contrary to Indian laws”.
Euthanasia, also called assisted suicide, has been debated worldwide. Only a small number of countries permit it: Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Switzerland in Europe, Thailand in Asia and the two US States of Washington and Oregon. Australia and the UK have toyed with the idea but dropped it due to opposition from the believers. Pope John Paul II dubbed it “a crime that no human law can claim to legitimize”. However, support for mercy killing is growing, especially in Europe. Polls in the UK and France have shown up to 80 per cent support for a law to shorten life if illness is terminal and causes intolerable suffering.
Cabinet nod for Banking Reform Bill
The Union Cabinet has given its nod to the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, which proposes to increase the voting rights of foreign investors in private sector banks. The Bill—which seeks to align the voting rights of foreign shareholders in banks in proportion to their equity holding—will make it easier for banks to raise capital.
Going forward, as we need capital in banking, this will make it easy for those who are standing on the sidelines to put more capital into banks as and when there are initial and follow-on public offers. It will strengthen the Indian banking system at a time the economy is going great guns.
The Bill, first introduced in the Lok Sabha in May 2005, had lapsed as the Lok Sabha was dissolved for general elections in 2009. The government could not move it ahead in its previous tenure due to stiff opposition from the Left parties, which were its allies.
The Bill also proposes to make it mandatory for a person who wants to acquire 5 per cent or more share capital of a bank to get approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It also proposes to give RBI more operational flexibility in the conduct of monetary policy and power to specify the statutory liquidity ratio without any floor or ceiling.
The restriction on bank lending to directors and companies in which the directors have an interest is leading to problems in appointing competent independent directors. The Bill says it is necessary to empower RBI to grant exemption from this rule in appropriate cases.
Law to deal with sexual offences against kids
A government study says that 53 per cent of children below 18 years of age have undergone some or the other form of sexual victimisation. What is even more worrisome is that more than half the abusers are known to the children.
The gravity of the situation has set the wheels rolling for a crucial Bill that will give the country, for the first time, a comprehensive law to deal with sexual offences against children, by providing for stringent punishment of up to 10 years in jail, which may even extend to life imprisonment.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011, will deal exclusively with sexual offences against children. It will protect children from sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provide for establishment of special courts for trial of such offences and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The legal tool also provides for treating sexual assault as “aggravated offence” where it is committed by a person in position of trust or authority over a child, including a member of the security forces, police officer, public servant, management or staff of a children’s home, hospital or educational institution.
It will be treated as an aggravated offence where the child victim is below the age of 12 or suffers from a mental or physical disability or the sexual offence causes grievous hurt or injury to the child with a long-term adverse effect on the child’s mind and body. The punishment for such an offence would be imprisonment of up to seven years with fine. The punishment for penetrative sexual assault has been proposed to be at least five years in jail and a minimum fine of Rs 50,000. Sexual assault also includes fondling the child in an inappropriate way, which will invite a penalty of minimum three years in jail.
Section 7 of the Bill provides for “no punishment” if the consent for sexual act has been obtained with a person aged between 16 and 18 years.
Pension Bill introduced in Parliament
Paving the way for setting up of a regulator for the insurance sector, the Union government, on March 24, 2011, introduced the long-awaited Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill in the Lok Sabha. The move aims at providing social security to millions of employees through efficient intermediation of long-term household savings.
The proposed legislation, however, steered clear of making any mention of a ceiling on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector. The government will separately notify the ceiling.
The Bill also allows for part investment in stock markets although Left leaders are against equity investment option given to pension scheme.
The Bill, which provides powers to sectoral regulator PFRDA to oversee multiple pension funds in the country, will largely follow the suggestions made by a Parliamentary standing committee in 2005.
The PFRDA is yet to get statutory powers as the Bill pertaining to that effect lapsed in Parliament with the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha in 2009. The interim PFRDA is functioning since 2003 through an executive order.
Unlike other regulators such as the Reserve Bank of India, the PFRDA does not have statutory status or the quasi-judicial powers of other regulators. Hence, if one of the entities regulated by the PFRDA violates norms, it cannot impose penalties.
The New Pension System, introduced by the government in January 1, 2004, was opened to all citizens of India from May 1, 2009 on a voluntary basis.
Census 2011: Population pegged at 1.21 billion
India's most backward and populous States slowed down their rate of population growth, helping the country register its sharpest decline in population growth since Independence. India's population grew to 1.21 billion, according to provisional results of the decadal headcount declared by Census Commissioner C. Chandramouli on March 30, 2011.
The absolute addition of about 181 million people is slightly less than the population of Brazil—the world fifth most populous country—but the slower decadal growth rate of 17.64% has offered hope to policy makers. This is the first time since 1921 that the country has actually added lesser people in a decade compared to the previous decade.
Eight States, including India's most backward States—Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh—broke the jinx to reduce their percentage decadal growth to 20.9%. This is a significant achievement since the growth rates of these States had frozen at 24-25% since 1971.
The absolute number of children in the 0-6 age group also recorded decline, from 163 million in the 2001 census to 158 million in 2011, signalling a fall in fertility. But worryingly, this decline is sharper in case of females than males.
The figures broadly indicate a drop in fertility across the country except in Jammu & Kashmir, where the proportion of children has in fact increase to 16.01%, compared to 14.65 in 2001.
There are 57 more Indians for every square kilometer in addition to those already jostling for space in the country. Census 2011 shows that from 325 per square km in 2001, the average density of population has increased to 382 in 2011—up by 17.5%. While the cow-belt and West Bengal continues their dominance, the density spread is more in the urban areas, pointing to the pressure on the natural resources, infrastructure and government aid.
India accounts for a meager 2.4% of the world surface area of 135 million sq km and supports 17.5% of the world’s population. In contrast, the US accounts for 7.2% of the surface area with only 4.5% of the population.
At 11,297 people for every sq km, Delhi tops the list of States and Union Territories in terms of density. Chandigarh comes next, with 9,252 people.
Among States, however, the top slot goes to Bihar with 1,102 people/ sq km. West Bengal is the only other State to have a density in excess of 1,000. Uttar Pradesh, otherwise the most populous State, has a density of only 828.
Andaman and Nicobar and Arunachal Pradesh are the least densely populated territories, with 46 and 17 people, respectively, in every sq km.
Dibang valley of Arunachal has only one person in a sq km, while Samba in J&K has two.
Nagaland is the only State that has statistically demonstrated a negative growth rate and a marginal decline in density.
Women steal literacy lead over men: More Indian women gained literacy over the past decade than men, according to the 2011 census. A total of 110 million additional women have become literate since 2001, as opposed to 107 million men over the same period. Never before have women outdone men in numbers gaining literacy over any decade.
India’s overall literacy rate has risen from 64.8 % in 2001 to 74.04% — but the surge in women literates means the gap between male and female literacy has shrunk.
While male literacy has increased from 75.2% in 2001 to 82%, female literacy has jumped from 53.6% to 65.4% over the same period.
The literacy increase—overall and for women—follows a decade in which successive governments have focused on school education like never before since Independence.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan launched in 2001, along with the universalisation across government schools of the mid-day meal scheme, are credited by most experts as critical interventions that have helped India achieve near universal enrollment in primary education.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh—traditional laggards in education—have shown maximum improvement both in improving overall literacy and in their female literacy rate.
Bihar’s overall literacy has gone up from 47% in 2001 to 63.8% in 2011, while UP’s overall literacy has risen from 42.2% to 59.3% over the same period. The female literacy rate of Bihar has jumped a startling 20%—from 33.1% in 2001 to 53.3% now. UP has a seen a rise from 42.2% to 59.3% in female literacy.
Kerala remains at the top of the pile in overall, male and female literacy.
Direct Subsidy Payout Plan
The Union government has approved a three-step strategy to create a foolproof system for transferring fertilizer subsidy directly to farmers.
In the first step, the government plans to track the movement of fertilizers from factories to farmers via retailers. This is expected to be over by December. After this, based on the collected data, it would start paying retailers.
According to DoF, there are around 230,000 retailers who will be paid based on the quantity of fertilizer they receive from companies or through the wholesale route. In the third stage, the government would gradually start paying farmers directly.
Fertilizer companies said the strategy might cause delays and the deadline of March 2012 for directly transferring kerosene, LPG and fertilizer subsidies to consumers could be missed.
In order to account for all subsidy liabilities and lower the outgo, the government has set up a task force under Nandan Nilekani, the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India. It has been given a deadline of March 2012.
The revised estimates put the subsidy bill—food, kerosene and fertilizers—at Rs 1,64,153 crore for 2010-11. The subsidy bill for food, petroleum and fertilizers is estimated at Rs 1,34,210 crore for 2011-12.
Direct subsidy transfer is positive for the industry, as it removes the working capital issues which arise from delayed payments and under-recoveries.
FDI policy liberalised
Relaxing the rules for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country, the Union government, on March 31, 2011, decided to permit the issuance of equity to overseas firms against imported capital goods and machinery. Furthermore, the norms for overseas investment in production and developments of seeds have been liberalised.
The measure which liberalises the conditions for conversion of non-cash items into equity, is expected to significantly boost the prospects for foreign companies doing business in India.
In the agriculture sector, FDI will now be permitted in the development and production of seeds and planting material without the stipulation of having to do so under 'controlled conditions'.
The government has further decided to abolish the condition of prior approval in case of existing joint ventures and technical collaborations in the 'same field'. It is expected that this measure will promote the competitiveness of India as an investment destination and be instrumental in attracting higher levels of FDI and technology inflows into the country.
Further, companies have now been classified into only two categories—'companies owned or controlled by foreign investors' and 'companies owned and controlled by Indian residents'.
The earlier categorisation of 'investing companies', 'operating companies' and 'investing-cum-operating companies' has been done away with.
Cricket diplomacy—Pakistan’s PM invited to watch cricket World Cup semi-final at Mohali
Much against the opinion of his own Cabinet, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited Pakistani leaders—both Prime Minister and President—to witness the cricket World Cup semi-final match at Mohali, played between the teams of the two nations on April 29, 2011. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani accepted the invitation to take forward the peace initiative taken by the Indian Prime Minister.
At the dinner table in the stadium itself, Mr Manmohan Singh was quick to remind Mr Gilani that there was a need to create an atmosphere free of violence and terrorism for truly realising the goal of normal ties. Prime Minister Gilani full shared the views expressed by Mr Singh.
Before leaving for Islamabad, Mr Gilani said the two countries had the will and ability to resolve their problems and stressed the need to give this ‘positive message’ to the world. Prime Minister Singh termed the meeting as a ‘very good beginning’.
SC strikes down CVC appointment
On March 3, 2011, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the appointment of P.J. Thomas “was in contravention of the provisions” of the CVC Act, 2003, and hence “it is declared” that the September 3, 2010, recommendations of the HPC “is non-est in law” and consequently his appointment “is quashed”. The verdict was given by a three-member Bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia.
The Bench, which included Justices KSP Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, ruled that the HPC neither considered the “personal integrity” of Thomas nor the need for maintaining the institutional integrity and competence of the Central Vigilance Commission, a statutory body set up to fight corruption by guiding the CBI.
The HPC, which included Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, failed to consider the 2003 corruption case relating to the import of palm oil in 1992 by Kerala, where Thomas was Food Secretary, and the four departmental recommendations between June 2000 and November 2004 for initiating “penalty proceedings” against Thomas in the light of the allegations against him in the case.
The SC and the Kerala High Court had also rejected the pleas for quashing the FIR filed in the corruption case and that fact was also not brought before the HPC. The explanation that the HPC could not consider these details as these were not included in the file put up before the committee by the Department of Personnel was immaterial, the Bench ruled.
“The fact remains that the HPC, for whatsoever reason, has failed to consider the relevant material keeping in mind the purpose and policy of the 2003 CVC Act,” the apex court pointed out in its judgment while disposing of two PILs challenging the appointment of Thomas.
The HPC should take into consideration whether the candidate would or would not be able to function as a CVC. “Whether the institutional competency would be adversely affected by pending proceedings and if by that touchstone the candidate stands disqualified, it shall be the duty of the HPC not to recommend such a candidate,” the apex court ruled.
The verdict was “strictly confined” to the legality of the September 3, 2010, recommendation of the HPC, the Apex Court clarified.
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), set up in 1964, is India’s top corruption watchdog, which is empowered to conduct inquiries in departmental actions against public servants. It is the designated agency to receive written complaints and recommend action in cases of graft or misuse of office by officials. The jurisdiction of the CVC extends to all central government departments, central government companies, including nationalised banks, and central government organisations. It is not an investigating agency. CVC gets the investigations done either by the CBI or through chief vigilance officers in government offices.
Canadian Parliament Dissolved
On March 26, 2011, Canada's Governor-General dissolved the Parliament after a vote of no-confidence in Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, setting up a May 2 election, the fourth in seven years.
From the steps of the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II's representative in Canada, Harper announced the official launch of the campaign, contrasting his Conservatives' economic recovery plan with the prospects of opposition parties forming a leftist coalition.
The snap poll was forced following the passage of the no-confidence vote against the minority government engineered by the opposition Liberal Party and backed by two other opposition parties, on the heels of a historic contempt of Parliament charge.
Junta rule ends in Myanmar
On March 30, 2011, Myanmar’s military handed power to a nominally civilian government after almost half a century of army rule, as the junta was disbanded and a new President appointed.
But the army hierarchy retains a firm grip on power in the resource-rich Southeast Asian country, and many analysts believe Senior General Than Shwe will attempt to retain some sort of control behind the scenes.
The handover came after controversial elections in November 2010, the country’s first in 20 years, which were marred by the absence of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and claims of cheating and intimidation.
Former PM Thein Sein, a key Than Shwe ally, was sworn in as President. He is among a slew of generals who shed their army uniforms to contest the elections and are now civilian members of Parliament, which also has a quarter of its seats kept aside for the military.
Dalai Lama announces his retirement as political head
On March 10, 2011, the Dalai Lama announced his retirement plan on the 52nd anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day. Announcing that he would step down as political head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, the Dalai Lama in his speech said he would hand over his “formal authority” to a “freely-elected” leader.
“As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power. Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect,” the 75-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate, who has been at the forefront of a six-decade-long struggle for freedom of Tibetans, said.
The Dalai Lama further said he was committed to playing his part for the "just cause" of Tibet. “The decision to devolve authority has not been taken because I feel disheartened. It is to benefit the Tibetans in the longer run. I feel gradually people will come to understand my intention and will support my decision and let it take effect,” said the spiritual leader.
He has formally proposed to the Tibetan Parliament in-exile to make necessary amendments to the Charter for Tibetans-in-Exile reflecting his decision to devolve his authority. As per the Tibetan Charter, according to which the Tibetan government-in-exile runs, the Dalai Lama is the head of state and also the political and administrative head of Tibetans.
By devolving his powers, the Dalai Lama hopes to give the Prime Minister greater clout as the region seeks autonomy from China.
The aging Dalai is concerned about the future of Tibetan struggle after him. He wants that a Tibetan leadership should evolve during his lifetime that has the acceptance of all members of the community and can take the freedom struggle further after him. However, most Tibetans, especially those living in Tibet, are still spiritual and believe in the institutions of lamas. There is also an apprehension that the political leadership elected by around 80,000 Tibetans living in exile might not have legitimacy of the people in Tibet in the absence of the Dalai Lama. They believe only a spiritual leader could take place of Dalai Lama rather than the political leadership.
Japan faces its worst disaster since World War II
After a cataclysm so powerful that it moved the Earth 10 inches off its axis, Japan woke to find itself a country that had, literally, been shunted two meters from where it was on March 11, 2011 morning.
Neighbourhood after neighbourhood was submerged under a grotesque soup of water and debris. Homes were flattened. Tens of thousands of once orderly acres became a jumble of broken homes, cars, boats, and concrete, with shipping containers cluttering the landscape.
Only 300 km from Tokyo, radiation leak from a nuclear plant crippled by an explosion threatens to convert into a major nuclear disaster. Officials were swift to assert that any meltdown, if it came, would not be on anything like the scale or severity of Chernobyl.
The 8.9 Richter scale earthquake was the most monstrous that Japan, the world's most tremor-prone country, has ever recorded. This was strong enough to leave a 300 km rupture on the ocean floor. The subsequent tsunami—sending 30ft-high waves lashing into Japan's north-east coast—turned a disaster into a cataclysm. The wall of water, moving at an estimated 50 kmph, swallowed boats, homes, cars, trees and even small planes, and used these as battering rams as it charged up to 15 kms inland, demolishing all that stood in its way.
The first estimates of the total insured loss caused by the quake and tsunami were put at USD 12 billion—an unwelcome burden on an economy that had just starting to show signs of revival.
US and European planes hit Libya
Starting March 19, 2011, Western forces launched a series of air and missile strikes against forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to force him to stop war on opposition forces in Libya.
Earlier, on March 18, a UNSC resolution had imposed a no-fly zone over Libya. India stayed away from voting. India, along with four other countries, wanted the UNSC to wait for the report of the special envoy of the Secretary-General. India also made it clear that it was very important to fully respect sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Libya.
Away from principles of democracy, the need to secure oil supplies and tackle a history of appeasement toward Muammar Gaddafi are some of the less-publicised reasons for Europe taking on a leadership role in prodding the world to act over Libya, analysts say. Days into the enforcement of a no-fly zone and with the US continuing to take a backseat, there is much speculation over the surprising swiftness with which France and Britain have galvanised European military action on Libya.
While the UN resolution authorizing the enforcement of a no fly zone is aimed at protecting civilians and backed by the Arabs, it is also pushed by a mix of unstated personal and political factors rooted in Europe. In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron defended committing British forces by declaring the action "necessary, legal and right".
Even more than Cameron, it is French President Nicolas Sarkozy who has led calls for military intervention. His reasons could be far more personal than Cameron's: in 2007, Sarkozy became the first western leader in decades to welcome Gaddafi on an official State visit. With his approval ratings sinking to record lows and a presidential election due in summer 2012, Sarkozy has strong domestic political reasons to be seen to be acting swiftly and decisively.
Italy has more reasons to be wary of events in Libya than Britain or France. Libya's most important European economic partner, Italy sources some 25 percent of its oil imports and 10 percent of its gas from Libya and billions of Euros are tied up in infrastructure and security projects in the country.
Some strategic analysts, however, disagree that domestic political reasons characterize European action. "This is a European, American and Canadian action supported by a UN resolution aimed at protecting civilians—they will deny that it is about Gaddafi," said Christian Le Miere of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
AT&T Inc has decided to but T-Mobile USA for $ 39 billion. The deal will give AT&T additional capacity to expand and meet ever-increasing demands for videos and data from devices such as Apple Inc’s iPhone.
Berkshire Hathaway, owned by Warren Buffet, one of the world’s most successful investors, will distribute general insurance products in India through its online portal and tele-marketing arm. It has become a “corporate agent” of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.
HDFC Ltd is the only Indian company on a list of 110 world’s most ethical companies, according to an annual survey by US think-tank Ethisphere Institute. The list does not give ranks and has 42 companies from outside USA—six from Japan. No Chinese firm could make the cut.
Japanese insurance firm Nippon Life Insurance Company has decided to acquire 26% share in Reliance Life Insurance for Rs 3,062 crore.
Manchester United Cafe, the franchise model bar and restaurant of the English Premier League football team, has planned to invest Rs 100 crore in India as part of its expansion. The cafe had entered the Indian market in 2010 and currently has presence in three metros.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd rolled out its 10 millionth car from its facility in Gurgaon on March 15, 2011, to become the first Indian automobile manufacturer to attain this milestone.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) has entered into a code share agreement with Kingfisher Airlines.
Pratip Chaudhuri has been appointed as the new Chairman of State Bank of India.
Software giant Microsoft has appointed Bhaskar Pramanik as chairman for its India operations.
Subway has surpassed McDonalds to become the largest restaurant chain in the world.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has launched iON—a fully integrated information technology solution for small and medium businesses (SMBs).
Tata Motors have become the first Indian company to produce one lakh commercial vehicles in a financial year.
The International Council for Small Business (ICSB) has decided to launch its operations in India through the Indian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. ICSB is a global membership organisation for those interested in theory and practice of entrepreneurship and the development of small and medium enterprises.
US firm Sara Lee Corp has terminated the licence of Godrej Household Products Ltd to sell Kiwi shoe care and Kiwi Kleen brands in India and Sri Lanka.
US-based paper and packaging firm International Paper Co. Has picked-up 53.3% share in Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills for around $257 million.
DO YOU KNOW
Child sex ratio of India, as per Census 2011, is 914 females against 1000 males. This is lowest since independence. The overall sex ratio has risen by 7 points to 940 females per 1000 males.
Chinese President Hu Jintao has been named the most powerful person in the world by Forbes, ahead of US President Barack Obama, who is ranked second among 68 people "who matter", a list that also includes Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Sonia ranks 9th on the Forbes 2010 list of the "world's most powerful people". Singh comes in at number 18. India's business tycoons Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata and head of ArcelorMittal Lakshmi Mittal also make the list.
Cricket is known as “ban qiu” in Chinese.
Denmark is ranked first in the list of world’s happiest countries, followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden. India is ranked 115 and shares the spot with Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Pakistan is ranked 58, while China is ranked 125.
Facebook Credits is a virtual currency which enables the users of Facebook to watch films on the site or buy various applications. Beam, a mobile-commerce company has applied to the RBI for permission to make Facebook Credits available in India.
Five most populated States of India are (as per 2011 Census): Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Five least populated States/UTs are: Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Andaman & Nicobar and Sikkim.
In its credit policy review, on March 17, 2011, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised key policy rates by 25 basis points (100 basis points equals 1 per cent) for the eighth time since March 2010 to cool down inflation. It raised short-term lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates to 6.75 per cent and 5.75 per cent, respectively. The move will make loans costlier.
India now accounts for 17.5% of the world’s population. China accounts for 19.4%.
India Post has launched online portal ‘e-post office’ to provide postal transactions and tracking service online. This portal will provide electronic money order (eMO), instant money order (iMO), sale of philatelic stamps, postal information, tracking of express and international shipments, PIN code search and registration of feedback and complaints online. Through this portal, DoP will also sell products, handicrafts and other products made by small-scale industries. The content of the portal is in English. The next version of the portal is expected to be launched in Bangla and Kannada language.
India’s per capita income, often used to measure a country's standard of living, increased by 14.5 per cent during 2009-10 to Rs 46,492. The per capita income at factor cost is estimated as Rs 46,492 at current prices. As per the base year 2004-05, the per capita income in rural areas was Rs 16,327, while in the urban areas it stood at Rs 44,223.
India’s total population, as per the 2011 Census is 12102.2 million. Out of this 586.5 are females and 623.7 are males.
Literacy rate of India, as per Census 2011 has gone up to 74.04% from 64.83% a decade ago. 82.4% is male literacy and 65.46 is female literacy.
NLU-Delhi, NALSAR-Hyderabad, NLSIU-Bangalore, NUJS-Kolkata and RGSOIPL-IIT Kharagpur have come together to set up the Legal Information Institute of India. The online portal provides for 300,000 decisions from 37 courts and tribunals, 800 bilateral treaties, 500 law journal articles and much more.
Over 4,000 cities, including New Delhi and Mumbai, from 131 countries turned off their lights during the global Earth Hour observed on March 26, 2011
Seismic zones are divided into zones from 1 to 5 with 1 being least active to 5 being highest. Indian N-plants at Kakrapar, Gujarat, Tarapur, Maharashtra and Kaiga, Karnataka are in zone 3. Narora in Uttar Pradesh lies in zone 4. Kalpakkam, TN, Kudankulam, TN and Rawatbhata, Rajasthan lie in zone 2.
Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has overtaken Mukesh Ambani to become the wealthiest Indian, according to the annual Forbes list of World Billionaires for 2011. With a net worth of $31.1 billion (Rs 1.4 lakh crore), Mittal is ranked sixth richest in the world. Globally, Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecom baron stayed the richest, increasing his worth by $ 20.5 billion. India, with its 55 billionaires, has the third largest pool of billionaires, after the US and China.
The 11th Info-Poverty World Conference was held in March 2011 at the United Nations.
The 2011 BRICS summit was hosted by China at Sanya.
The biennial Wind Power India conference was held in Chennai.
The Constitution (115 Amendment) Bill, 2011, proposes to give powers to both the Centre and the States to make laws with respect of Goods and Services Tax (GST). The amendment is required as currently the Centre cannot impose excise duty beyond the manufacturing stage and the States cannot levy a tax on services.
The decadal growth rate of population in 2001-11 was 17.64%. It was 21.54% in the previous decade.
The density of population of India (as per Census 2011) is 382 persons per sq km. Delhi (11,297) is the densest State, followed by Chandigarh (9,252). Arunachal Pradesh is the least dense State with a density of 17.
The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSRLC) has been set up by the Union government to re-write and clean-up financial laws of India. It is headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna
The three-day world Sufi music festival was held on March 11-13, 2011 in New Delhi.
World House Sparrow day is observed on March 20.
World Water Day is observed on March 22.