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Current Affairs Chronicle: Feb 2011

February 10, 2011: ULFA, Government initiates the Assam peace talks.
Leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) met Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Feb 10 to signify the start of the much long-awaited peace talks aimed at ending 30 long years of insurgency in Assam. History was created when the eight member ULFA team headed by Arabinda Rajkhowa met Chidambaram at his North Block office for a first round of peace talks. The ULFA delegation is being led by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa. Along with him, vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi, foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury, finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Barua, publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary, cultural secretary Pranati Deka and Ulfa ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain will be present.


This is a highly significant development considering ULFA has been trying since 1979 to carve out an independent homeland of Assam. While ULFA has not put up any demands or finalised any agenda for talks, the beginning of talks itself is being seen as a very positive step to restoring peace in the state.

Most of them have been recently released from jail in Guwahati part of a deal with New Delhi which has now culminated in the peace talks. Many of them including Rajkhowa was arrested and handed over by Bangladesh to India.

February 11, 2011: President Mubarak resigns, Egypt celebrates.
The people of Egypt went wild with celebrations after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military on 11th February. For eighteen days thousands of people had taken to the streets all over Egypt demanding the ouster of their autocratic President who had been in power for the past thirty years. One of the key reasons for such public outrage has been widespread poverty, inflation and rampant corruption in the government for many years. Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the anti-government protests burst with joy when the announcement was made. This has been a hard fought struggle for the people of Egypt after many episodes of violence having been reported between the public and Mubaraks forces.

February 15, 2011: China overtakes Japan as world's second-largest economy

February 15, 2011: Govt to release Rs. 150 coin soon
With the Income Tax Department celebrating 150 years (1860 to 2010) of taxation in the country the government will issue coins of Rs. 150 in denomination. The special coins which also includes Rs 5 denomination would be released by the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee ahead of his budget speech. Following are the specifications of the coins.
Denominations
of the coins
Shape and
Outside Diameter
No. of SerrationMetal Composition
One Hundred
Fifty Rupees
Circular
44 millimeters
200Quaternary Alloy
Silver- 50%
Copper- 40%
Nickel- 5%
Zinc- 5%
Five RupeesCircular
23 millimeters
100Nickel Brass
Copper- 75%
Zinc- 20%
Nickel- 5%

Design of 150 and 5 rupee coins:
Obverse:
The face of the coin shall bear the Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar, in the center with the legend “सत्यमेव जयते” inscribed below, floated on the left upper periphery with the word “भारत” in Hindi and the right upper periphery flanked with the word “INDIA” in English. It shall also bear the denominational value of “150 (5 in case of five rupee coin)” in International Numerals below the Lion Capital, flanked on the left lower periphery with the word “रुपये” in Hindi and right lower periphery with the word “Rupee” in English.
Reverse:
The face of the coin shall bear the portrait of “CHANAKYA” and “LOTUS and HONEY BEE” in the center, and just below the portrait of Chanakya the word “चाणक्य” in Hindi and word “CHANAKYA” in English flanked on the left periphery with the word and numbers “आयकर - भारत निर्माण के १५० वर्ष ” in Hindi, on the right periphery flanked with the words and number “Income Tax – 150 years of Building India” in English, also in the lower periphery the year “1860 – 2010” written in International numeral.


February 18, 2011: U. K. Sinha assumes office as SEBI chief
Upendra Kumar Sinha on Friday took charge as the Securities and Exchange Board of India's Chairman from the outgoing chief, C. B. Bhave, who is said to have considerably raised the bar of the institution during his three-year tenure.

As the eighth Chairman of the market watchdog, UK, as he is known among his friends, has a tough task cut out for him, since his predecessor had placed the institution highly above suspicion and had also shown the real powers of SEBI to one and all, especially the mighty. Before being selected to head SEBI, Mr. Sinha was the CMD of UTI Mutual Fund.

Before taking over at UTIAMC, Sinha held key positions in the Government of India, notably in the Ministry of Finance, where he was the Joint Secretary, looking after Capital Markets, External Commercial Borrowings, Banking and Currency and Coins. During his tenure at the Ministry of Finance, he spearheaded several initiatives, such as the Banking Sector reforms, and the Capital Market reforms.


February 28, 2011: Fin. Min. presents the budget. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday presents the federal budget in Lok Sabha for the ensuing fiscal and his sixth such exercise in a long political career.
1. Budget-2011 at a Glance
2. Key features of the Budget 2011.

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