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China Proposes Discussion with India on Differences on Zaki-Ur Rehman Lakhvi Issue

China has given specific proposal to India for discussing the difference both the countries have on the release of Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi by Pakistan during joint mechanism on counter-terrorism meeting, expected to take place in second half of 2015. Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General of the Asian Affairs Department, Huang Xilian, said that both countries are victims of terrorism, both oppose all forms of terrorism, and the work is going well in field of countering terrorism. In the matter of specific issues in multilateral institutions, Huang said that it requires further discussion so that both the countries “can have better understanding and can work closely on it”. China’s comment comes days after Asoke Mukherjee, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, wrote to Jim McLay (Chair of the UN Sanctions Committee) on violation of 1267 UN resolution by China on Lakhvi's release by a Pakistan court.  

PMO seeks Report on VIP Movements Delaying Air India Flights

Prime Minister’s Office has sought detailed reports on delays caused by VIP movement. As per media reports, Union Minister of Civil Aviation Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju apologised to passengers for facing such inconvenience and also said that this kind of incident will not happen again. Action of PMO comes after multiple incidents involving Kiren Rijiju (Minister of State for Home), Nirmal Singh (Deputy CM of J&K), and Devendra Fadnavis (Maharashtra CM) created furore in public. Union Minister Kiren Rijiju apologised on behalf of Air India and went on to add that no one was offloaded to make way for him and his PA. Maharashtra CM has said that he has no personal involvement in delay of the flight. Deputy CM of J&K has accused pilot of the flight for creating a “dramatic situation”.      

Socio-Economic and Caste Census Released by Union Government

A new Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) has been released by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today, which the government started compiling in 2011. He claimed that the document will be of immense importance for policy making at both central and state levels. Jaitley claimed that information in report will help policy makers locate the target groups and offer them support. This is the first time since 1931, a document has been compiled taking caste into account. 24.39 crore households in different income groups have been covered on a national scale. 1 in 3 household in rural India live in one-room ‘kutcha’ houses and also have uncertain flow of income. Report shows that out of the total households in rural India, just 4.6 per cent pay income tax. Just 3.49 per cent Scheduled Caste and 3.34 per cent Scheduled Tribe households in rural India pay income tax.

Sony to Contract-Manufacture via Foxconn under "Make in India" Initiative

Giving huge boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project “Make in India” initiative, Japanese electronics behemoth Sony is learnt to be entering into a contract-manufacture deal with Taiwanese electronics part manufacturer Foxconn for manufacturing their products in India itself. Sources say that this decision has been taken as various incentives provided by Government of India to foreign investors in setting up their manufacturing base here led Foxconn to set up multiple facilities in India. However, confirmed reports say that Sony is not starting its manufacturing unit in India as of now. Kenichiro Hibi, Managing Director of Sony India, has said that they haven’t taken a final decision yet but considering various ways of making in India and one of the major possibilities is surely contract manufacturing. Reports say that Foxconn has chosen Andhra Pradesh’s Sri City to set up facility for manufacturing Sony’s products.

RBI Governor assures Greece Default will have Limited Impact on Indian Economy

Raghuram Rajan, RBI Governor, said during a board meeting that due to little exposure of Indian economy to European countries, effect of Greece crisis in India will be limited. He went on to add that in terms of trade and finance, India’s exposure to Greece is “very, very limited”. He specifically mentioned that initially after confronting adverse effects, if any, volatility can be witnessed but after sometime the investors will start to differentiate and will find out that the India story is actually strong. Rajan went on to say that growth prospects are healthy and macro economic policies are good as well. However, he acknowledged that there can be some effect of Greek crisis on exchange rate, depending upon effect of the crisis on Euro. RBI governor vouched for strong Indian story by claiming that the buffers including the foreign exchange one are quite reasonable.

Government and RBI in Discussion on Recapitalisation of State-Owned Banks

Reserve Bank of India’s Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan has said that Union Government is in talks with the RBI on recapitalisation of state-owned banks. He went on to welcome government’s initiative of providing more capital to the banks because he believes this will give the banks the required buffer. Rajan went on to say that the additional capital will help the banks utilize some in cleaning their balance sheet. RBI Governor went on to add that capital infusion becomes important for banks if they don’t have the capacity of cleaning the balance sheet. There are some banks that are currently in financial stress and this capital infusion, announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in addition to the already allocated capital during budget, will “hopefully” help them in their endeavour. He also called for government’s intervention in the stuck projects for dealing with the NPA problems of the banks.      

India Calls for Transparency and Accountability in Internet Security Surveillance in UN General Assembly

Director General of external affairs ministry, Santosh Jha, has told UN General Assembly that internet surveillance practices, done for security reasons, needs accountable and truly transparent framework so that a balance can be struck between national security and internationally recognised human rights standards. He stressed on the point for “better protection of all citizens in the online environment”. Jha said this during review of implementation of the recommendations done during World Summit on Information Society. MEA’s proposal to the UN comes at a time when the world is criticising US for carrying on mass surveillance not only on suspected criminals and terrorists but also on French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Interestingly, even as Jha was speaking at UN General Assembly, Wikileaks disclosure said that National Security Agency (NSA) of US carried out telephone surveillance on German officials.    

Ratan Tata Invests in Ola Taxi Services

Ratan Tata, industry icon and Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, has yet again made undisclosed investment in Ola Cabs, which is one of the fastest growing taxi hiring companies in India. Just like the other investments made earlier in start-up companies, investment here is also made by Ratan Tata in his personal capacity. Co-founder of Ola Cabs, Bhavish Aggarwal, said that it is their honour to have Ratan Tata among board of investors and added that they want to learn from the renowned octogenarian and industry behemoth for becoming “a world class organisation from India”. Reports say that Ratan Tata’s investment comes months after DST Global invested $400 million in Ola. In his personal capacity, Ratan Tata has till now invested in 10 companies. It all started with investment in Snapdeal (August 2014) and latest three investments being made in Xiaomi, Kaaryah, and Ola Cabs.

PM Modi Launches Digital India Today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the ambitious Digital India project, which aims at connecting more than 2.5 lakh Indian villages with broadband Internet services.  Besides the political heavyweights, industrial bigwigs such as RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Cyrus Mistry of Tata Group, Gautam Adani of Adani Group, Bharti Group’s Sunil Bharti Mittal, Kumaramangalam Birla of Aditya Birla Group, and others also attended the event. Reports say that ‘the Information for all scheme’ aims to provide internet services just like PCOs. This grand Digital India programme is expected to see around Rs. 1,13,000 crore investment. The programme was attended by around ten thousand dignitaries and the projects announced by the CM include e-health, e-education, and Digital Locker. While Mukesh Ambani announced investment to the tune of around Rs 2.5 lakh crore, Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry committed his group’s wholehearted participation.

Olympic-medallist Sushil Kumar opts out of World Championship due to Shoulder Injury

India wrestling fraternity received a huge blow yesterday when two times Olympic medallist and ace Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar opted out of the World Championship, to be played from September 7 to September 12 in Las Vegas, after he sustained shoulder injury. The most noteworthy point here is that the World Championship is going to be the first tournament of qualification for Rio Olympics of 2016. While talking to the media Sushil said that he sustained the injury during his practice session and he has been advised by the doctors of taking rest. He added that he is not aware of the time it will take to heal the injury completely but said that he is taking good care of it. Reports say that after the World Championship, there will be 6 more qualification tournaments to the Rio Olympics and they will start from March 2016.  

Indian Hockey Team keeps Olympics qualification Hopes Alive by Beating Italy in Hockey World League

World No. 13 Indian Woman Hockey Team kept alive hopes of qualifying for the Olympic by defeating World No. 16 Italy at KHC Dragons Stadium in Antwerp at semi-final match of Women's Hockey World League. The final score in favour of the Indian hockey eves is 5-4.  India is currently fighting to secure a place in the 5th to 8th position. In the regulation 1 hour game, India tied with Italy. It was followed by shoot-out but it also ended in a 4-4 tie out of the 5 shots both the teams received. India emerged as the winner only in the ensuing sudden-death when Italy’s Giuliana Ruggieri failed to net the ball and India’s Rani Rampal put the ball right where it needed to be. India will now play for 5th or 6th position on Saturday with the winner of Belgium and Japan.

India Clinches a Thriller at Hockey World League to Enter Semi Final Match

Indian men’s hockey team won a spectacular game against Malaysia in the quarter final match of Hockey World League (HWL). They beat Malaysia 3-2 as Jasjit Singh Kular of India was successful in netting two goals in the last quarter of the match. First goal of the match was scored by Satbir Singh at 15th minute of the game. But the equalizer from World No. 12 Malaysia came almost immediately from captain Razie Rahim. Malaysia went past India by 2-1 as Shahril Saabah scored at twenty third minute of the game. However, the nail biting match became that more interesting when Jasjit Singh Kular scored twice in quick successions at penultimate time of the match – at 49th minute and 56th minute. In the semi final match, World No. 9 India will play against Belgium, who beat France in the quarters.

PM Modi to start his Tour of Central Asian Countries Next Week

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go on a 5-nation visit in Central Asia next week. The countries he is scheduled to visit are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The tour will concentrate on securing counter terrorism cooperation and strengthen relation between the countries, on the other. PM Modi also seeks to revive the close relation India has with Central Asia since 3rd millennium B.C. Archaeological evidences point out that trade contacts were there between people of Indus civilization and those living in Central Asia during Bronze Age. Author Amiya Chandra says that the three major objectives of India to establish relation with Central Asian countries are to ensure energy security, prevent terrorism, and maintain stability and peace. NSA Ajit Doval already visited Iran in February 2015 and held talks. Asif Ibrahim, ex-IB Director, was sent as special envoy to the Central Asian countries recently.

ED Attaches 1,280 acres US Property for First Time Ever in relation to Rs 2,200 crore Bank Loan Fraud Case

Enforcement Directorate Ahmedabad, for the first time ever, attached US properties in California, which is around 1,280 acres, in order to recover money in relation to bank loan fraud. Reports say that the property attachment was done to recover Rs. 2,200 crore funds that Zoom Developers along with the now absconding promoter Vijay Chaudhary took from banks to carry out multiple projects in European nations. The concerned company siphoned off the entire money and didn’t invest in any of the projects mentioned. Sharad Kabra, one of the Directors of Zoom Developers, has been arrested in May 2015 and is in judicial custody currently. Reports say that this is the biggest ever bank fraud ever and the ED officials say that involvement of bank officials in the fraud can’t be denied. It is learnt that the market value of the attached US properties is worth Rs. 1,000 crore.

Ex-RAW Chief admits Crisis Management Group Goofed Up during the Kandahar Hijack

A S Dulat, former RAW chief, acknowledged that the Crisis Management Group “goofed up” during operation of the 1999 Kandahar IC-814 Plane Hijack. Though he didn’t divulge details of his referred goof-up on 24 December 1999 when the plane was stationed in Amritsar for five long hours, he did say that no one in Punjab or Delhi wanted to take onus of the operation. With this delay in decision making, the plane flew away and everyone started shifting the blame on each other. Dulat made this comment just ahead of the release of his book “Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years”. He claimed that Vajpayee referred to the 2002 Gujarat Riot as their mistake. He also said the then J&K CM Farooq Abdullah considered Union Government’s decision to release three hardcore terrorists in exchange for the hijacked plane’s passenger was a mistake and shouted on RAW chief for hours together.