The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, UPA’s flagship aam admi scheme, turned five on February 2, 2011. On January 14, the Ministry of Rural Development issued a notification revising the wage rates under the MNREGA from Rs 100 per day to between Rs 117 and Rs 181 (17-30 % hike) in different States. The revision under Section 6(1) of the 2005 Act, coming in wake of inflationary pressures on the poor, adjusts the wages by indexing it to the Consumer Price Index of Agricultural Laborers (CPIAL).
The Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee report was made public on January 6, 2011. It strongly advocated maintaining united Andhra Pradesh along with creation of statutory Telangana Regional Council to address the core socio-economic concerns of the backward region. On bifurcation, which has been the single point agenda of Telangana protagonists, the Committee said it was the “second best option” but could be recommended “only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably among all three regions.”
History met geography when Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the salute as the Chief Guest at India’s 62nd Republic Day parade on January 26, 2011. President Soekarno, whose close friends Jawaharlal Nehru and Biju Patnaik helped defy the Dutch colonial embargoes of the late 1940s that enabled Indonesia gain independence, was the Chief Guest at the founding of the Indian republic, in 1950. India and Indonesia signed nearly 30 agreements, including an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty, and pledged to achieve a bilateral trade target of $ 25 billion by 2015, from about $ 11 billion in 2009-10.
In January 2011, the US removed nine Indian space and defence related companies, including those from ISRO and DRDO, from its export control ‘Entity List’ in an attempt to expand high technology trade and strategic cooperation with India. The US decision meets a long pending Indian demand and is the first step to implement the export control policy initiative announced by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 8, 2010, after their summit talks in New Delhi. The nine entities are Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), four remaining subsidiaries of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the US sanction list and another four of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The one-man committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Shivraj V. Patil, who was appointed by the Telecom Ministry to look into the lapses in the allocation of the 2G Spectrum, submitted its report on January 31, 2011. After former Telecom Minister A. Raja resigned, the panel was set up on December 13 2010 to look into the Spectrum allocation procedures and policies from 2001 to 2009. The period also included the issuing of telecom licences during the NDA regime. The panel nailed A. Raja for procedural lapses. The report also named seven other officials in the Department of Telecom (DoT), including former DoT Secretary Siddharth Behura and R.K. Chandolia, a former lieutenant of Raja.
On January 1, 2011, Dilma Rousseff became the Brazil's first female President. The former Marxist guerrilla, has evolved over the years into a pragmatic civil servant with a professed obsession for reducing poverty.
On January 31, 2011, Marouf Bakhit was appointed as the Prime Minister of Jordan by King Abdullah. The move came following protests inspired by mass demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, but the opposition dismissed the move as insufficient.
On January 15, 2011, the UN ended its peace mission in Nepal as the government and the main Opposition Maoists inked a crucial eleventh-hour deal to monitor fragile peace process. The UN mission was tasked to supervise the arms and the army of the former rebels and the military.
The assassination of former Governor of Punjab province of Pakistan, Salmaan...