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February 11, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. `Unrealistic` circular debt management plan revised
• The power division conceded on February 10, 2022 its earlier path to circular debt reduction was unrealistic, as the previous projection for the ongoing fiscal year was underestimated by Rs450 billion and required higher tariff increases than anticipated.
• Based on revised estimates, the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) approved a revised circular debt management plan (CDMP) that would need about Rs2.17 per unit increase in base uniform national electricity tariff in July 2022.
• This will be in addition to about 65 paisa per unit increase in base tariff by the end of current month for which the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority has already completed a public hearing
2. Pakistan qualifies for more MSCI indices
• Pakistan is now eligible for MSCI`s Frontier Market (FM) 100 and FM 15 per cent country capped indices, the global investment index provider said on February 10, 2022.
• As a result, companies from Pakistan are now qualified to become part of the two indices in MSCI`s May 2022 Semi-Annual Index Review.
• `This can attract limited foreign inflows. However, the market will continue to be driven by local investors,` said Fahad Rauf of Ismail Iqbal Securities.
• Indices by MSCI help passive investors allocate their funds in a variety of equity markets around the world
3. Most Pakistanis have developed short-term immunity against Covid: expert
• While a large number of Pakistanis have developed short-term immunity against Covid-19, `Stealth Omicron (BA.2)`, a sub-variant of Omicron, is rapidly spreading in Scandinavian countries and will reach Pakistan, sooner or later.
• During the past 24 hours, another 3,914 people were infected and 47 succumbed to the coronavirus. The national positivity was recorded at 7.1 per cent with 1,716 patients in critical condition.
• Omicron, the most transmissible variant of Covid-19, was first reported in Pakistan in December last year, after which cases started increasing rapidly. The country reported that 8,183 people were infected on January 27, the highest number of cases in a single day since beginning of the pandemic
4. Bill seeking end to charlatanism approved by Senate body
• The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) on February 10, 2022 approved a bill which suggests putting an end to charlatanism in the medical field on the condition that five points in it be amended.
• The bill has been moved as allegations against a number of health practitioners have emerged with people saying that they falsely presented themselves as specialists besides prescribing unregistered medicines.
• Title of the bill has also been changed. It will now be called `Allied and Health Professional Council Bill`.
• The bill was moved on behalf of Zaheer ud din Babar Awan, adviser to the prime minister on parliamentary affairs, in the Senate on Jan 24,2022.
5. Rs273bn cleared for Karachi Circular Railway
• The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) on February 10, 2022 cleared a total of three development projects with a cumulative estimated cost of about Rs280 billion, including the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).
• The meeting presided over by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Jahanzeb Khan finalised at Rs273.071bn the cost of KCR as a modern urban railway project and requested the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) to approve its implementation in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode on a build-operate-transfer basis.
• A meeting of the board of Public-Private Partnership Authority (P3A) presided over by Planning Minister Asad Umar on Jan 25 had asked the Railways Division and the Planning Commission to finalise the cost estimates and submit them to the CDWP for scrutiny and subsequent approval by the Ecnec.