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SC gives Rahul Gandhi Breather in Defamation Case till 8 July Hearing

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi got interim relief from Supreme Court today in a criminal defamation case, filed in a Maharashtra trial court, for allegedly blaming Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for assassinating Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Apex court today not only stayed all trial court proceedings against Gandhi scion but also exempted him from appearing before Bhiwandi’s magisterial court in Maharashtra’s Thane district in this case till next SC hearing on 8 July. While hearing Rahul Gandhi’s petition challenging IPC Sections 499 and 500 (seeking decriminalisation of defamation case), SC tagged two similar petitions, filed by Subramanian Swamy (BJP leader) and Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi CM), and wanted to hear them at length in the future.   

Left Front Sweeps Tripura Tribal Council Elections

The Left Front performed magnificently yet again in its last citadel, Tripura, as it won all the 28 seats in the 30-member Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council or TTAADC. While CPIM won 25 seats, the three other seats were won by its allies including CPI, RSP, and Forward Bloc. It is the third consecutive time that Left Front has won the Tripura ADC polls. One significant development is the rise of BJP in the state as the saffron party came second in four seats and the loosening grip of the Congress as it came second in just three seats. IPFT or Indigenous People's Front of Tripura, which calls for the formation of a separate state, came second in 17 seats.    

Modi Government Passes GST Bill in Lower House of Parliament

Narendra Modi government has been successful in passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the Lok Sabha after ruling BJP gave whip to all its MPs to be present in the parliament today and vote in favour of the bill. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told lower house of the parliament that Goods and Services Tax will be beneficial in the long run as it will lead to reduction of prices. While vouching for the bill, Jaitley said that GST will lead to economic growth. Union Finance Minister also said that the panel suggested revenue-neutral GST rate of 27 per cent is considerably high but in practice the figure will be diluted.

United Spirits Refuses to Make Internal Probe Report Public

The ongoing boardroom battle between Diageo-controlled United Spirits Limited and its non-executive chairman Vijay Mallya took a new turn when USL rejected the National Stock Exchange’s request of making public the probe report, which alleges Mallya of fund diversion between 2010 and 2013, citing ‘confidentiality’ issue. NSE had earlier asked USL to provide details on its findings on the contentious issue for “public dissemination purpose”. While rejecting the request of making the internal report available to NSE, USL said that they already disclosed the key findings of the probe along with the undertaken steps in a transparent manner on 27 April. USL went on to add that making internal report public may lead to misuse of evidence and interfere with probing done by the concerned authorities.

IMF Expects India to become one of the Fastest Growing Economies in the World

As per the latest economic health check of International Monetary Fund, India is expected to become one of the fastest growing economies of the world. IMF is expecting India to grow at the rate of 7.5 per cent this and the next year. Regional Economic Outlook for Asia and the Pacific report of IMF says that China’s economy is slowing down to a more sustainable level and will grow at 6.8 per cent and 6.3 per cent in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Some of the positive factors that will help Asia and the Pacific countries to outpace rest of the world include low rates of interest, healthy labour markets, increasing domestic demand, and recent fall in crude oil price.

India's Rank Slides from 9th to 10th Position in Global Market Cap Ranking

With the ongoing slide in the Indian browses, total market capitalization of the Indian companies has not dropped significantly, thereby adversely affecting Global M-cap ranking of India with respect to last year. In the concerned list, India slipped from 2014’s ninth position to 10th position, sliding even below market cap of Switzerland (9th rank) listed companies. European countries are the biggest gainers as strengthening Euro has increased their market capitalization. Analysts believe that some of the factors that have triggered negative sentiment in the Indian indices include comparative slow pace in reform (especially GST and Land Acquisition bills), retrospective tax issues and Minimum Alternate Tax imbroglio for FIIs and FPIs, and increase in crude oil prices as well as bond yields.

Infosys to Invest Heavily in Indian Start-ups under its $500 Million "Innovate in India Fund"

IT giant Infosys is in the process of evaluating early stage start-ups in India for investing $10-25 million per startup that are developing disruptive technologies. Infosys has also announced $250 million investment plan in April under “Innovate in India Fund” for investing in promising start-ups. Head of Infosys’s startup fund, Yusuf Bashir, in an attempt to evaluate the best possible ways of tapping into software product ecosystem of India met M&A team of iSpirt, whose M&A connect programme helps in connecting large companies with their curated list of 100 early stage software firms. Infosys has recently increased its start-up fund to $500 million.  

Telecom Minister Assures House of Providing Internet Connectivity Access in Non-Discriminatory Manner

With all MPs from upper house of the Indian Parliament objecting to the consultation paper issued by Telecom Authority of India, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union IT and Telecom Minister, said that his government is committed to provide internet facility in India to all netizens in a non-discriminating manner, based on the ideals of net neutrality. He assured Rajya Sabha that internet connectivity will be available in an unhindered manner to all, keeping the aspects of national outlook in mind. While addressing the house, IT and Telecom Minister said that the issue of net neutrality is not only ideology neutral but also party neutral. Unlike other issues, the entire house was unanimous on the issue.

Internet.org Opened by Facebook to Outside Applications after Uproar

Facebook has opened Internet.org that now provides connectivity to people in developing countries to outside applications. The move comes after news organisations in India pulled out of the concerned programme sighting net neutrality violation issue. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said that this will work as a free platform that will enable anybody to build free basic services. He went on to add that he wants to provide people with more free access to services over a period of time. Facebook in a statement said that any developer can use the free internet.org service free of cost.  

India beats Japan in Second Match of Hockey Test Series

India managed to beat Japan by 2-0 during the second match of the four match hockey test series. India scored their first goal at the 27th minute of play. The goal, which was scored by SK Uthappa was followed by a 48th minute goal by Dharamvir Singh. The game started in an interesting manner as both the teams started playing fast paced attacking game. The first quarter of the game was goalless and the first half ended with India leading by one goal to nil, despite the fact that India lost a couple of goal-making opportunities. With strong defence in place Indian hockey team intensified its attack with Pradeep Mor making multiple scoring attempts in the second half, with second and final success coming at 48th minute.     

ATP Rankings: Yuki Bhambri improves; Somdev drops four positions

Rankings released by ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) shows that Somdev Devvarman has dropped four positions and his current ranking is 173. However, another ace Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri’s ATP ranking has improved by thirty positions, helping him enter the top 200 ranking. His current ATP rank is 186. Bhambri’s current jump in position was possible because for his good performance in the Taipei Challenger, where he entered the semi-final. In the women’s doubles ATP ranking, Sania Mirza held her World No. 1 ranking. In the men’s doubles ATP ranking list, Leander Paes is ranked 23rd followed by Rohan Bopanna at 24th spot.    

President of Boxing India Voted Out by General Body Members

Sandeep Jajodia, President of Boxing India, has been voted out by the general body members during a No Confidence Motion yesterday at a Special General Meeting. Out of the total 64 general body members, 57 turned out for voting. While 55 votes went against him, two went in his favour. However, incumbent President Sandeep Jajodia termed it illegal. Asit Banerjee, representative from West Bengal, said that there has been a turmoil going on in the organisation from the last few months and it took an ugly turn with the resignation of BI Secretary General Jay Kowli. It is learnt that Vice-President Miren Paul is going to be the interim head of the federation.

Relaunched Anti-Corruption 1031 Helpline of Delhi Government Received 1.25 Lakh Calls in one Month

A senior official working at the anti-corruption helpline of Delhi Government said that in a months time since the launch of 1031 helpline, a whooping 1,25,065 calls have been received and most number of complaints are against Jal Board, transport, police and civic body officials. This helpline was re-launched by Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, on 5 April 2015, after introducing it for the first time during AAP’s 49-day stint in the Delhi government after 2013 assembly election. The official also said that 1,10,380 calls have been answered by the helpline executives, out of which 510 complaints were handled by authorised  and trained facilitators. 252 complaints have so far been referred to Anti-Corruption Branch.  

Sitaraman tells RS that India is working with WTO on Food Subsidy Issue for finding a Permanent Solution

Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister, today told upper house of the parliament that Indian officials are working closely with WTO members for ensuring a permanent solution to the contentious issue of food security at the earliest. In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, the minister said that the General Council decision, where WTO acceded to Indian demand back in November 2014 of removing constraints on the issue of the food stockpiling, includes firm commitment of engaging in negotiations through intensified programme of work to reach a permanent solution. She also said that India had proposed allowing of either food security scheme outside subsidy cap purview or amend formula for calculating food subsidy cap of 10 per cent.

Salman Khan Found Guilty in 2002 Hit-and-Run Case

Bollywood actor Salman Khan has been convicted by a sessions court in Mumbai for killing a homeless man and injuring four others, sleeping on a pavement in Bandra outside a bakery, on 28 September 2002, while driving his Toyota Land Cruiser SUV under the influence of alcohol. Sessions judge, DW Deshpande, while pronouncing the judgement said that all charges against Salman have been proved and consequently he has been charged with culpable homicide. While the sentencing can vary from 10 years to life imprisonment, defence lawyers are arguing by sighting SC judgement that the maximum number of years of jail term given by the apex court is three years.