Major News and Events of 12 February 2014
What Happened on 12 February 2014
Cross LoC trade between India and Pakistan to start soon
Government to decide upon the ban on opinion polls
Remittance of cash through ATMs to those who don't have bank accounts
Yuvraj sold for whopping Rs 14 crores to Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL auctions
Automatic SMS alert for waitlisted passengers
The interim rail budget was presented by the Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge for the next fiscal today. There was no change in fare prices or freight. As many as 72 trains will be announced and railway connectivity to two northeast states was announced. This was the last rail budget of the 15th Lok Sabha. Kharge also stated that a tariff-setting body will be setup and eastern and western freight corridors’ work was going on well. Among the 72 trains there will be 17 premium trains, 10 passenger trains, 4 suburban trains, 38 express trains and 3 diesel locomotive inter-city trains for medium distances. There were resource crunch but the targets were achieved for this fiscal as 2207 km of new lines were laid. Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya will be connected with railways. The freight traffic target has been proposed at 1,101 million tonnes that is an addition of 49.7 million tonnes in the present year’s revised target of about 1,052 million tonnes. Electrification of 4556 km of network instead of target of 4500 km was done and the target of doubling the gauge was met and crossed that is 2,227 km was done against 2,000 km. There will be train service for Vaishno Devi shrine now. Commissioning of three rail factories at Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal has been done. There will be specially designed coaches for extreme weather conditions in Kashmir Valley. There are no unmanned crossings in the country now, the minister informed the Lok Sabha. Induction based cooking was carried in the trains now to prevent fires.
The cross-LoC trade between India and Pakistan will resume again after a trade standoff and the detained vehicles of both sides are expected to cross over today evening. The standoff was sorted out at the high commissioners' level by the two countries. Following this the 27 drivers from India detained by Pakistan in Muzaffarabad at Chakote trade facilitation centre on January 18 will return. On the other hand 48 drivers from Pakistan and their vehicles will cross over at the Kaman Post today evening. The trade standoff was sorted out yesterday but as the Pakistani authorities were not prepared for the cross over yesterday, it will be done today. The standoff had occurred on January 17 when 114 packets of brown sugar were discovered by the Indian authorities hidden in almond bags from a truck that had come to Salamabad trade facilitation centre in Baramulla in North Kashmir with trade goods from Muzaffarabad. The driver and his vehicle was detained after the FIR was lodged and rest of the 48 drivers and the vehicles were asked to return to Pakistan but they were refused entry by Pakistan on the grounds that the driver who was detained should also be allowed to return. At the same time 27 Indian drivers were also detained in Pakistan.
The government will be taking the final call regarding ban on opinion polls after consultation with the "stakeholders". The matter will be further examined when the Law Commission will submit its detailed report on electoral reforms. The electoral reforms among other things specifies ban on opinion polls and ads in the print media on the day poll is held. The Law Minister stated in the Lok Sabha that all the aspects will be discussed and then decision will be taken on the matter. He further added that majority of the political parties are in favor of a ban on opinion polls. Report on electoral reforms will be submitted to the Law Ministry in April when the general elections may be going on. If the opinion polls have to be banned it would need amendment of the Representation of the People Act. The parties which asked for ban on opinion polls include Congress, CPI-M, AIADMK, DMK, SP, NCP, JD-U, BSP, Shiv Sena and SAD. BJP is opposed to the ban as according to it, the ban will intrude upon the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.
Those who do not have a a bank account will now be able to withdraw cash from ATMs deploying mobile technology. This was informed by the RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. Right now those who have accounts in banks can only withdraw money but with this technology a payment system will be in vogue. Therein funds will be transferred from those who have account to those who do not have via the ATMs. The recipient of the cash will get a code on his mobile through which he can withdraw money from the nearby ATM and the sender’s account will be debited of the amount. Required precautions regarding customer identification, authentication of transaction, velocity checks and the like will be taken. RBI has taken note of the fact that there is huge population which does not have bank accounts.
In the auction for the 7th edition of IPL Yuvraj Singh drew a price of Rs 14 crore and was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore, Dinesh Karthik was taken by Delhi Daredevils for a huge Rs.12.5 crore. They got the highest price of all the 16 marquee players. Daredevils also bought Murali Vijay for Rs.5 crore and they also bought Kevin Pietersen for Rs.9 crore. Mitchell Johnson of Australia got a price of Rs.6.50 crore by Kings XI Punjab and another Australian player, David Warner was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs.5.5 crore. Virender Sehwag was bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs.3.2 crore while Kolkata Knight Riders got Jacques Kallis for Rs.5.5 crore. They had used Right to March or RTM card to get Kallis from Super Kings just like Delhi Daredevils did for Kevin Pieterson to buy back from Sunrisers Hyderabad. For Yuvraj there was a close tussle between Knight Riders and Royal Challengers.
Science and Technology
In the interim Rail Budget 2014-15Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge announced a number of things which gives due emphasis to the inclusion of information technology in railway operation. Now online booking of meals in trains can be done and users and they will get SMS alerts for the same. The Railway Minister stated that information technology has brought a number of developments in the customer interface and that process will be carried on further. There will be more setup of Automatic Ticket Vending Machines and ticket booking on mobile phones in the unreserved segment. Another new thing will be that the passengers whose names are there in the waiting list will receive automatic PNR status update when their ticket confirmation was done. Schedule of the trains will be available on real time basis at railway stations. For freight customers railway receipts will be given electronically. Also claims settlement process will be computerized.