1. Odisha, Bihar least developed states; Goa and Kerala top chart
i. The Raghuram Rajan panel report has made a case for ending the 'special category' criteria for providing additional assistance to poorer states, as it ranked Goa and Kerala as the most advanced state and Odisha and Bihar the least.
ii. The committee, headed by the then Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan (now RBI governor) which was set up by the government amid demand for "special category" status by Bihar, suggested a new methodology for devolving funds on states based on a 'Multi Dimensional Index (MDI)'.
iii. Giving details of the report Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said the committee has suggested that the 28 states be split into three categories -- least developed, less developed and relatively developed -- depending upon their MDI scores.
iv. As regards the allocation of funds, the report suggested that each state should get a basic fixed allocation and an additional allocation depending on its development needs and development performance.
v. The demand for funds and special attention of different States, Chidambaram said, "would be more than adequately met by the twin recommendations of the basic allocation of 0.3 per cent of overall funds to each State and the categorisation of States that scores 0.6 and above as least developed States."
vi. According to the Committee, these two recommendations, along with the allocation methodology, will effectively subsume what is now "Special Category" status.
vii. Bihar along with some other states have been demanding "special category" status to get more funds from the centre.
viii. Based on the MDI scores, the 10 least developed states are Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
ix. The 7 most developed status are Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttrakhand and Haryana.
x. According to the report, the 11 less developed states are Manipur, West Bengal, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Gujarat, Tripura, Karnataka, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh.
xi. The report was likely to be implemented from the next financial year, Chidambaram said, adding "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed that the recommendations of the committee may be examined and necessary action in this behalf may be taken".
Note: i. The Rajan Committee was asked to suggest methods for identifying backwardness of states using a variety of criteria and also to recommend how the criteria may be reflected in future planning and devolution of funds from the central government to the states.
ii. As per the report, the states with score of 0.6 and above on the Index have been classified as 'Least Developed'; states with score below 0.6 and above 0.4 'Less Developed'; and states with score of below 0.4 'relatively developed'.
2. Olympic torch to be carried on spacewalk by Soyuz cosmonauts
i. A Russian Soyuz rocket with two Russians and an American on board has docked at the International Space Station after blasting off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhastan.
ii. During one of the space walks, the two Russians will take the Olympic torch into open space as part of torch's relay, ahead of the winter games in Sochi in February. But, for safety concerns, the torch would not be lit.
3. 8 scientists selected for 2013 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize
i. Eight eminent scientists have been selected for this year's Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, the country's top most award for excellence in Science and Technology.
ii. The winners are Dr Sathees Chukkurumbal Raghavan, Dr Bikramjit Basu, Dr Vijay Balakrishna Shenoy of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Dr Eknath Prabhakar Ghate and Dr Amol Dighe of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Colaba.
iii. Other winners are Dr Yamuna Krishnan of National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, Dr Suman Chakraborty, IIT, Kharagpur and Dr Pushkar Sharma, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi.
Note: The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize is named after the founder-Director General of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and carries a cash component of five lakh rupees. It is given annually to young scientists below the age of 45 who have made outstanding contributions in any field of science and technology.
4. Mumbai named world's 2nd most honest city: Reader's Digest survey
i. India's financial capital Mumbai has been named the world's second-most honest city, according to a survey of 16 cities worldwide.
ii. Finland capital Helsinki bagged the top spot for the world's most honest city in the survey, while Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, proved to be the least honest.
iii. The survey put hundreds of people to test in four continents to find out just how honest they were by dropping wallets and seeing how many would be returned.
iv. In the study, 192 wallets were dropped in cities in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Each wallet contained a cell phone number, a family photo, coupons, business cards and the equivalent of 50 dollars in cash.
v. The wallets were left in parks, near shopping malls and on sidewalks, and researchers watched to see what would happen.
vi. Of the 192 wallets dropped, 90 - or 47 per cent - were returned, according to the survey by Reader's Digest magazine.
vii. In Helsinki, 11 out of 12 wallets were returned.
viii. In Mumbai, nine out of 12 wallets were returned.
ix. Vaishali Mhaskar, a mother of two, and a stamp vendor, returned a wallet that was left in Mumbai's General Post Office.
5. International Children's Film Festival will be held in Hyderabad
i. The 18th International Children's Film Festival (ICFFI), popularly known as 'The Golden Elephant', will be held in Hyderabad from November 14-20.
ii. The festival will present four competitive sections and the best film would bag the Golden Elephant trophy and Rs 2 lakhs in cash.
iii. The second best feature will bag the Golden Elephant Plaque with Rs 1 lakh in cash.
iv. Filmmaker Amole Gupte, who is the Chairman of the Children's Film Society, said, "We have received an overwhelming response this year and we aim to make the festival bigger and better than ever before.
v. The seven-day event will also focus on "Children with Special Needs" through its Open Forum, where filmmakers will interact with activists, educators and parents.
6. AirAsia gets NOC from Aviation Ministry
i. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has given its no objection certification (NOC) to AirAsia India to start a low-cost carrier. The next step for AirAsia will be to get an Air Operating Permit and prepare to kick-start its operations in India.
ii. In a statement, the airline has confirmed the grant of NOC and said that it will begin the process of obtaining an Air Operating Permit, a pre-requisite for starting operations.
iii. Before the grant of NOC, the airline board members were cleared by the Home Ministry from a security point of view, a common practice for new airline.
iv. AirAsia, like any new airline, will need to get its various operations manual, including the airline operations manual and airport manual cleared by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation before the AOP is given.
v. The airline currently has a fleet of three Airbus A320 aircraft and over 200 staff.
Note: AirAsia India, is a three way joint venture between AirAsia, the Malaysia-based low-cost airline, Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace which was formed to start a new low-cost domestic airline.
7. AND launches first store in Vadodara
i. Contemporary western wear brand AND has unveiled its first exclusive boutique in Vadodara.
ii. It offers diverse collection of western wear like jumpsuits, jeggings, tunics, maxis, and more.
iii. "Store in Vadodara is the brand's 39th store in India. Vadodara is among the fastest growing retail markets in the country and our presence here forms an important part of our growth strategy over the next few years," Anita Dongre, creative director AND, said in a statement.
8. UP ADG Arun Kumar removed
i. The Uttar Pradesh government on thursday removed ADG (Law and Order) Arun Kumar, who oversaw security arrangements in Muzaffarnagar after communal riots erupted.
ii. Kumar had last week moved an application seeking permission from the state government to go on central deputation. He has been replaced by Additional Director General of Police (GRP), Mukul Goel, a home department spokesman said.
iii. Kumar has been attached with the DGP headquarters, the spokesman said.
iv. The ADG's move to seek permission for going on central deputation had come amid reports of alleged political interference in police functioning during the riots.
v. He had also gone on leave for a personal visit out of the station but had later joined earlier this week.
9. I&B Min seeks early start of Amritsar-Lal Kuan train via Chandigarh
i. Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari has sought the early start of the Amritsar-Lal Kuan (Uttrakhand) train via Chandigarh which has already been approved by the Railway Ministry. It was to start from July but has been delayed.
ii. Tewari said the train will provide a long awaited important rail link between people of Punjab and the Punjabis settled in the Terai region of Uttrakhand. Thanking the railway ministry for providing such an important link he also sought to include the stoppage of train at Bazpur railway station.
10. Asia Cup Hockey: India lose 2-1 to Korea in SF match
i. India's dreams of earning a World Cup hockey berth were shattered when they lost 2-1 in a semifinal match of the 8th women's Asia Cup championship in Kuala Lumpur today.
ii. The Koreans scored both their goals in the first half. Ritu Rani pulled one back for India soon after halftime, but the Koreans held on to their lead.
iii. The prolific Ritu Rani, who scored seven goals in India's first match against Hong Kong, scored in the 41st minute. She converted a penalty corner. But the Koreans held on to their slender lead to shut the door on the Indians.
iv. The Indian eves had advanced to the semi-finals, after they defeated hosts Malaysia, 2-0 in their third and final Pool-A fixture on Tuesday. Earlier, in the opener, India had brushed aside Hong Kong, 13-0, before losing to defending champions China, 0-1.
11. Sanjay Dutt set to enthrall audience with live theatre performance today
i. Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt will be seen in a new avatar on Thursday during his live theatre performance today when he steps onto the stage at the Balgandharva Rangmandir on Thursday.
ii. An indication of this came during the dress rehearsal at the Yerawada jail when his scene in a skit depicting the common man's suffering during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack received rave reviews.
iii. Dutt and several other inmates from the Yerawada jail will perform during the two-hour fund-raising programme organized by the state prisons department. The programme will have entertainment items, folk dances and a few skits.
iv. Dutt will perform in two skits—one featuring his famed Munnabhai act and the other on the common man's suffering during the Mumbai attack. He will also perform to dance numbers separately.
v. The Munnabhai skit will talk about the lack of civic sense in people and how some elements in society have no qualms about gambling or drinking near any statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
vi. At the end of the skit, Dutt replays his role from the film, 'Lagey Raho Munnabhai', and recites a few dialogues on Gandhi.
Note: The 53-year-old actor has been incarcerated at the Yerawada jail since May to serve the rest of his five-year prison term (of 42 months) under the Arms Act for possessing illegal weapons.