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Major News and Events of 04 December 2013

What Happened on 04 December 2013

66% voters' turnout in Delhi, highest till now

It was a record turnout of 66% voters who exercised their voters rights in Delhi Assembly elections which saw the Congress, BJP and Aam Admi Party in a tussle. As many as 1.2 crore voters went to vote today. This was the highest in Delhi till now as in 1993 there was 61.75% turnout and in 2008 it was 57.58%. In the morning though the turnout was low and it had crossed 40% at 3pm. But there was brisk polling in the last hours. The polling was peaceful and no reports of any untoward incidents were there. Those who voted early included Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sheil Dikshit, Priyanka Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and Harsh Vardhan. While Dikshit has stated that her fingers are crossed regarding the outcome of today’s poll, Sonia Gandhi has expressed her confidence that Congress will win. The party has been in power for the last 15 years.During the polling some electronic voting machines (EVM) malfunctioned. This issue was though resolved and 112 EVM were replaced. In some places the voters name were struck off the electoral roll and they were not able to vote. Polling started at 8 am at 11,753 polling booths. Among these 630 were termed as critical and hyper critical. 1.19 crore voters were to decide the fate of 810 candidates for 70 assembly seats. Security was heightened with 32,801 personnel of Delhi Police and 10,700 central paramilitary force personnel on duty. Congress and AAP have fielded for 70 seats and BJP for 66 while BSP is contesting for 69 seats. There are 224 independents. 

Complaint of sexual harassment against former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly


The former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly is embroiled in a controversy where a law intern has charged him of sexual harassing her and FIR has been lodged in a Kolkata police statio after a NGO Bharat Bachao Sangathan complained. This happened when the Kolkata police did not agree to suo motu action against Justice Ganguly. There were demonstrations outside the West Bengal Human Rights Commission office in Kolkata asking for Justice Ganguly to step down from the post of chairman in the organization. The statutory body has asked for the intervention of Bengal Governor MK Narayanan in this matter. On the other hand the Trinamool Congress Wednesday has also requested the retired judge to resign. The judge though refuted the allegations and termed them baseless.

More flexibility in investment of pension funds


A portion of employee pensions worth $80 billion will be invested in debt inclusive of short-term bills so that returns get a boost and domestic bond markets is strengthened. As per rules from the Labour Ministry the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation fund managers will be having more scope of investment in the corporate bonds. The investment rules were enhanced for the first time in a decade. Though this rule was already there but it got the publicity when the news about the change was widely circulated. The EPFO manages fund of 85 million public and private sector employees. Earlier the fund managers were able to invest only in government bonds and corporate debt which had a higher rating. Now investment of up to 5% of total pension funds can be done in money markets, that includes treasury bills. Also 55% of pension funds will be invested in debt that are issued by banks, companies and state-run financial firms, earlier it was only 30% and that too in public companies.

BCCI asks for more share in ICC revenues


It was a known fact the BCCI has a clout in the cricket world and it has become evident when the Board of Control for Cricket in India has come out openly asking for a major share of revenue of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Moreover BCCI thinks this to be a just demand which has been made after carefully analyzing data. These things were discussed on the sidelines of the IPL meeting. BCCI is hopeful their demand will be met which they think has never been earlier made by any board in the history of ICC. BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel denied there was any arm twisting but this was putting forth what was required. India is a full member nation like Sri Lanka, Australia, Pakistan, England, West Indies, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe. 75% of the profit is divided among the full members and 25% among the associate members.

Reliance Communications increases the 3G rates


The 5th largest telecom operator in India, Reliance Communications (RCom) has increased the 3G rates by 26% and benefits on internet package have been slashed by 60%. Now 1 GB of 3G internet will cost Rs 156 instead of Rs 123. And 3G pack of Rs 123 will have only 400 MB of download limit. Similarly for Rs 246 now only 1.5 GB data can be enjoyed instead of 2 GB and Rs 492 will have 3GB instead 4GB of data limit. Reliance 3G packs are still 40% cheaper than those by other service providers. In fact Reliance offers 3G packs in what the other service providers are providing 2G packs. Interestingly Idea has slashed the international roaming rates in 40 countries by 95% for data and 80% for voice. In July RCom had brought the rates of 3G at par with 2G by slashing the rates by 50%. RCom has 9 million 3G subscribers in 13 circles spanning over 333 towns. There are in all 116 million mobile subscriber base as per data in September 2013.

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