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Major News and Events of 16 February 2013

What Happened on 16 February 2013

Tripura creates electoral history with 93.57 percent polling

Tripura created an electoral history when a record 93.57 percent votes turned out to cast their votes for the 60-seat assembly elections. This was the highest turnout since the first elections in 1952 in the country. In the 2008 elections the turnout was 92 percent. 90.89 percent of the 11,98,970 male Boxanagar and minimum of 84.26 percent votes have been polled in Banamalipur assembly segments in western Tripura. Another interesting fact was that Tripura’s smallest polling station - the Malirai Royajapara Junior Basic School under the tribal reserved Raimavalley assembly constituency in northern Tripura, saw polling from 80 out of 86 voters. Counting will be done on Feb 28. 249 candidates, including 15 women and many independents stood for the elections.

Loans to MFIs not to be priority-sector if margin cap is removed

The RBI on Saturday stated that if it removed the cap on the margins of the micro-finance institutions (MFIs) then bank loans to the sector may not be regarded as a priority-sector lending. Reserve Bank of Indian (RBI) Deputy Governor K.C. Chakrabarty stated that if the MFIs have no issues with that then they can look into it. While the RBI had last year put a 10 percent margin cap for large MFIs and 12 percent for others, the micro-finance industry were asking for a removal of that cap.The bank had imposed the 10 percent margin for micro-finance institutions which have a portfolio of over Rs.100 crore and 12 percent limit for institutions with lower than Rs.100 crore portfolio. At present as per RBI all bank loans to micro-finance companies are priority-sector lending. The deputy governor also dismissed the sector's demand for removing the 26 percent cap on lending rate.The MFIs were also asked not to expand operations without knowing their 'limitations'.

There is appetite for good movies: Manoj Bajpayee

Actor Manoj Bajpayee's recent movie "Special 26" is getting rave reviews at the box office. Bajpayee stated that this clearly shows there is demand for good cinema and entertainment. He praised Neeraj Pandey and said that the way movie was made the small characters have also got popularity. He further added that people discuss about his scenes or the ones they liked whenever they meet him. He portrays the character of CBI officer Wasim Khan in the film.

Chopper probe: Defence official and CBI team going to Italy

The defence ministry informed that it will send senior Joint Secretary A.K. Bal to Italy to get details about the 12 AW101 VVIP helicopters deal which got entangled in allegations of kickbacks. This decision comes instantly after the CBI set up a two member team which will visit Italy to probe into the allegations of kickbacks in the deal paid by  Finmeccanica, the firm in Italy to grab the $750 million/Rs.3,600 crore deal for the 12 choppers. Bal would leave on Monday for Rome. The CBI acquired had received some documents related to the case from the defence ministry Friday but had not registered preliminary enquiry yet because it still needed to confirm the allegations of graft against Indian nationals and alleged kickbacks paid by the Italian firm.  It said it required some more groundwork and for that a visit to Italy was needed. The CBI had also asked for all the files pertaining to the case.

Funds for Portuguese commonwealth games go missing

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar informed that Rs.78 crore central government funds assigned for hosting the Portuguese Commonwealth Games in Goa this year have "disappeared”. This adds to the controversy already marring the Lusofonia Games 2013. In this game over a dozen countries formerly ruled by the Portuguese are participating. BJP had two years back put an allegation on the then sports minister Babu Azgaonkar of a Commonwealth Games-like scam. When BJP got into power they had the contention that the Lusofonia games were organized in those countries which were ruled by Portugese and Goa is not a country so there was no reason why the game was being held here. International organizers of the Lusofonia games, the Associacao dos Comites Olimpicos de Lingua Oficial Portuguesa (ACOLOP), are not too happy with the controversies and delays in building the infrastructure for the games. Parrikar has assured that the games would be held as scheduled.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 passes by Earth

The massive 2012 DA14 asteroid reached closest to the Earth at 23.25 on Friday at the distance of 27,700 km. It was closer than communication and weather satellites. It was a matter of 16 hours that the flyby took place after a meteorite shower injured 1,200 people in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk. Not visible through naked eye it had a brightness with an apparent magnitude of about 7.0. The asteroid was 50 metres in size and weighed about 130,000 metric tonnes. 

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