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BJP Top Brass discusses on Ramifications of Excluding Assam from Land Boundary Bill

A meeting was held at BJP National President Amit Shah’s residence yesterday to discuss matters related to Assam. Sources say that during the discussion, the contentious Land Boundary Agreement issue with Bangladesh was also discussed. Other than Amit Shah and leaders of Assam, the meeting was attended by heavyweights of the party including Rajnath Singh (Home Minister), M Venkaiah Naidu (Parliamentary Affairs Minister), Sushma Swaraj (External Affairs Minister), and RSS joint general secretary Krishna Gopal. Ramifications of delinking Assam from the proposed land boundary Bill, moved in the parliament this week, was criticised by the opposition as they want inclusion of Assam too in the bill along with Meghalaya, Tripura, and West Bengal.

John Kerry calls External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted that US Secretary of State John Kerry called External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj last night and discussed about the overall regional situation, emphasising on the relief operations in earthquake hit Nepal. Last week, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of US, Wendy Sherman, had a discussion with India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Indo-US partnership and the progress of the decisions undertaken during Obama-Modi summit back in January. USA and India are all set to hold strategic dialogue in the ongoing year. While talking to the media yesterday, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said that the National Disaster Response Force, which was deployed in Nepal on 25 April,  had accomplished its task.

Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung writes Letter to Delhi CM to Send all Files to Him

After Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s directives to ministers and government officials to avoid bothering Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung by sending files to him, the latter wrote a letter asking Kejriwal to send all the files to him. In the concerned letter Jung reminded Delhi CM about Delhi government Act as well as Indian Constitution, stressing on the fact that the final call on all the decisions taken by the Delhi government and all the laws rests with Lt Governor. Lt. Governor’s office has instructed that the directions issued by the Delhi Chief Minister to the officers be withdrawn.

Future Retail Merges with Bharti Retail

Kishore Biyani-led Future Group’s retail arm, Future Retail, has announced grand operations merger with Bharti Enterprise’s Bharti Retail, making it one of the biggest retail chains in India. After the merger, the entity will have 570 stores spread across 243 cities. This retail chain will now have 203 'Easyday' hypermarkets and Big Bazaar, 197 'Easyday' supermarkets and Food Bazaar, and 171 other retail stores including Foodhall, FBB, eZone, and Home Town. Kishore Biyani said that after the merger, combined turnover of the merged entity will be around Rs. 15,000 crore. He also said that Rs. 2,000 crore will be added by Bharti Retail to Future Retail’s business.

Moody's Gives 'Goodwill Impairment Charges' of Vedanta Resources Plc Negative Credit Rating

Moody’s, global rating agency, has regarded the Rs. 19,228-crore “goodwill impairment charges” to be credit negative for Vedanta Resources Plc. The Anil Agarwal-led company wrote off non-cash impairment charge to the tune of Rs. 19,180 crore from March quarter of 2014-15 FY for acquiring Cairn India’s goodwill after significant fall in crude oil prices. In its statement, Moody’s has observed that this move has been given negative credit rating (Ba1 negative) because it means longer payback period for acquiring majority stake (59.9 per cent in 2011) of Cairn India. The statement also said that the goodwill impairment charges have also increased repayment challenges of $4.4 billion, debt for acquisition, from operating cash flow of the company.

D&B Report Expects WPI Inflation to Average Out at 3.7 Per Cent in 2016FY from two Per Cent in 2015FY

According to Dun & Bradstreet report, the Wholesale Price Index inflation will increase from two per cent in 2015 to 3.7 per cent in 2016. The report also says that lower demand side pressures, along with fall in price of crude oil, will help easing of inflation along gliding path. However, the D&B report points out that there are certain risks that can increase the WPI inflation such as geo-political issues, weak agricultural production (dependent on vagaries of nature), and administered price corrections. 2015 fiscal was particularly good for inflation as WPI decreased to two per cent from six per cent in 2013-14 and 7.4 per cent in 2012-13.

Expert Committee seeks Overhaul of Bharat Broadband Network Limited to make Digital India a Success

The expert committee on National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN), in an attempt to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India, has recommended revamping Bharat Broadband Network Limited. BharatNet/NOFN is pivotal to the success of making broadband facility available to 600 million people in India by 2020. The recommendations include appointment of a chairman with credible background from private sector, a direct connection between the organisation and the Prime Minister, hiring professionals from outside government system, and establishment of a new framework for easing right of way. The expert committee, which consists of Kiran Karnik and Som Mittal (ex-Nasscom Presidents), has said that success of BharatNet's implementation depends upon Bharat Broadband Network Limited’s complete overhaul.

DoT extends MNP deadline by two months

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) extended the mobile number portability (MNP) deadline by another two months. An extension requested by the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) has given a relief to telecom companies. Now these service providers have enough time to make technical adjustments in their networks. The announcement on MNP was made in July 2014 Communications and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad stating that India could expect full countrywide MNP by March 2015.

Airtel India launches My Airtel applicable for prepaid customers

Airtel India will use the My Airtel application for launching new value-for-money promotions targeting prepaid customers. As per news reports, the application is available only for Android and iOS based devices. The app will deliver many deals including cashback offers, talk time benefits and also more internet data. Customer will now be able to manage all the services from one point. The tool fulfills all the security needs with PCIDSS certification.

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.

Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals

Mumbai Indians won the IPL match against Rajasthan Royals by 8 wickets. Ambati Rayudu batted exceptionally well. He helped the team to make a massive score of 187 runs. Mitchell McClenaghan's bowling did the same magic for Mumbai Indians. He took three wickets. Rayudu was awarded the man of the match.

Wrestler Sushil Kumar Lauds Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme of Union Government

Ace Indian wrestler and Olympics medal winner Sushil Kumar said that medal tally of India can only increase when more facilities are provided to the players. He applauded the recent sports ministry’s initiative of providing targeted facilities to selected medal hopefuls during 2016 Rio Olympics through Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme. Sushil Kumar also said that this scheme will help India increase its medal tally in the coming Olympics tournament. He also expressed his anguish by saying that the Indian players winning just four or five medals is not good for a country as a big as India.

Al Qaeda Releases Video mentioning Indian PM Narendra Modi

In a May 2 video, circulated through As-Sahab productions, Al Qaeda has mentioned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name for the first time ever. In the video titled “From France to Bangladesh: The Dust Will Never Settle Down”, Al Qaeda claimed that Muslims are being targeted world over by utterances of Indian PM Narendra Modi, official sermons issued by muftis, UN charter, writings of Charlie Hebdo, drone attacks, and policies of IMF and World Bank. Al Qaeda has also claimed responsibility of killing four progressive bloggers including Bangladesh-born American writer-blogger Avijit Roy, and Bangladeshi bloggers Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, AKM Shafiul Islam, and Rajib Haider. Indian intelligence is reportedly analysing the video.

Teenage Moga Bus Victim Cremated

The 13-year old girl who was first molested and then pushed from a bus, belonging to Punjab’s ruling Badal family, was cremated yesterday at her native Lande Ke village after her father agreed to a post mortem of her body followed by cremation. The braveheart’s father also accepted a job offer along with compensation, offered by the Punjab government. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh had also met the family of the victim and spent half an hour with them a few days back. He also called the incident painful and intolerable. The braveheart’s father also called for ending the public protest and claimed that no government officer ever threatened him or his family.     

France's Defence Major Dassault Aviation likely to Enter into JV Arrangement with Indian Firm

Sources say that Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of Rafale fighter jets, is all set to enter into a joint venture with either any credible private entity or government run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and consequently set up a base in India to augment its existing production line. It is believed that such a move will also decrease their production cost of the 36 Rafale jets significantly, which they are expected to deliver to India. Defence sources say that if Dassault Aviation goes for such an arrangement, it will be a major push for ‘Make in India’ initiative. Ministry sources say that the French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is likely to discuss this issue during his visit to India on 6 May.