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Rahul Gandhi Attacks Modi Government in Parliament

Vice President of Congress, Rahul Gandhi, yesterday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government in the first-ever parliamentary speech after his 57-day sabbatical by calling it 'Suit-Boot ki Sarkar'. During his 20-minute speech, a resurgent Rahul said that Modi’s “acche din government” has failed India and warned the government that they are making a grave mistake by hurting the farmers and poor people by bringing the land ordinance. It is learnt that Sonia Gandhi, Congress President and mother of Rahul Gandhi, was impressed by Rahul’s speech. In an interview, newly elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sitaram Yechury said that Modi government should be credited for uniting the fractured opposition.

Union Minister Giriraj Singh Apologises for his "Derogatory" Remarks on Sonia Gandhi

Union Minister Giriraj Singh expressed regret for his alleged derogatory comments on Congress President Sonia Gandhi at the floor of ongoing Lok Sabha’s second budget session, which reconvened today. Giriraj during a rally in Hajipur earlier questioned whether INC would have accepted leadership of Sonia Gandhi if she didn’t have white skin. As the budget session opened today with the demand of Giriraj’s resignation along with PM Modi’s apology by Congress MPs, Parliamentary Affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu accused opposition of dragging Narendra Modi’s name in everything, even where he has no connection. Naidu also disapproved comments made by Giriraj Singh.

CPIM Constitutes New Politburo and Central Committee; Sitaram Yechury becomes the New General Secretary

On the last day of the six-day party Congress in Vishakhapatnam, Communist Party of India (Marxist) elected Sitaram Yechury as its new General Secretary, media reports said. Politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai withdrew his candidature for the post at the last minute and outgoing GS Prakash Karat proposed Sitaram’s name, under the chairmanship of SR Pillai, as the next General Secretary. The decision on Yechury was unanimous. While Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Nirupam Sen were relieved from Politburo due to ill health, V S Achuthanandan was made a permanent invitee. Four new politburo members are Subhashini Ali, Mohammed Salim, Hanan Mollah, and G Ramakrishnan.

Sun Pharma Stocks witness Steep Fall after Japanese Drug Maker Daiichi's Complete Pullout

As news of Japanese drug manufacturer Daiichi Sankyo Company’s board of directors giving nod to selling “entire or part of its holding of Sun Pharmaceutical shares” (which it received after Ranbaxy’s merger with Sun Pharma) hit the market, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited plunged by 10.83 per cent today from previous close. The stock that closed yesterday at 1043.80 is now trading at 949.40, a fall of 94.40 points or 9.04 per cent, at 11.50 am IST. In Sun Pharma, Daiichi had 21.49 crore stocks. With the colossal 24.42 crore trading volume at NSE, it seems the Japanese drug manufacturer has completely pulled out from Sun Pharma.

Paytm to Enter Online Grocery Market

Payment platform Paytm, backed by Chinese eCommerce behemoth Alibaba, is all set to enter online grocery market. As per reports, the new business vertical would be headquartered in Bengaluru. With this online initiative, Paytm will be pitched in direct competition with grocery retailing initiatives of Flipkart. Paytm will use part of $575 million fund, infused by Alibaba through affiliate Ant Financial Services, to start the new grocery retailing. Founder and CEO of One97 Communications, which runs Paytm, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, said that his company is currently developing a separate application for grocery business. It is learnt that Paytm is going to launch the online grocery initiative with a team of 20 people.

CII Chief backs Government Claim of Rs. 40,000 crore MAT from FIIs and FPIs

Newly appointed President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has reiterated the opinion voiced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley a few days back that India is not a “tax haven”. He went on to stress on the fact that government has done the right thing in claiming Rs 40,000 crore from the FIIs (Foreign Institutional Investors) and FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors) as tax dues (claimed by Income Tax department towards MAT or towards Minimum Alternate Tax). He also added that government has pledged to end retrospective tax but that does not mean they will not collect the due tax.  

OnePlus One Available in Open-to-all Business Model

To commemorate its one-year of launch in India, OnePlus has decided to do away with the “invitation only” scheme on existing OnePlus One models - 16GB (Silk White) and 64GB (Sandstone Black) – and replace it with open to all buying model. A blog post of the company said that on 23 April, 2014, they had unveiled their flagship killer OnePlus One and to celebrate the success of its sales in the last one year the company has decided to adopt open-to-all business model. Flat 50 per cent discount till 23 April, 2015, has been introduced on select accessories with every purchase of OnePlus One . However, upcoming OnePlus 2 will be available in invitation-only business model only.

Flipkart to Move to App-only Format

Indian eCommerce giant Flipkart is all set to close its website by 2015-end and will be available through application only. The online clothing and accessories phenomenon Myntra had earlier announced that it is going to shut its website from 1 May. A recent newspaper report quotes Flipkart’s Vice President of retail Michael Adnani saying that his company will go mobile-only from "next year or so”. Adnani went on to say that traffic from their mobile apps have increased ten times in less than one and a half year, showing the increasing importance of mobile phone in the business model.   

COAI calls for Meaningful Debate on Net Neutrality

Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has issued a statement in favour of net neutrality and urged all the stakeholders to have informed as well as comprehensive debate on the concerned matter, keeping in mind the requirements of both the country and its citizens. The industry body has opined that the matter should not be left to the opinions of a few. COAI also said that telecom revolution has enabled more than 950 million Indians get access to telecom facilities, which has been possible through provision of affordable services. The industry body also vouched for their commitment to the ambitious Digital India programme.

Three Indian Walkers make it to the 2016 Rio Olympics

After credible performance at the Rio Maior Race Walking International Grand Prix in Portugal, three Indian race walkers - Sandeep Kumar, Manish Rawat, and Khushbir Kaur - have qualified for 2016 Rio Olympics. In the men’s segment of 20km race walk, both Manish Rawat (1:22:50) and Sandeep Kumar (1:23:32) finished the race well within the qualification time of 1:24 for Rio Games. Men’s walkers who could not make it to the 2016 Rio Olympics are Devender Singh (1:24:57) and Ganpathy Krishnan (1:27:05). In the women’s segment of 20km race walk, national record holder Khushbir Kaur finished the race well within qualification time of 1:35, by clocking 1:33:58.             

Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare defeated Philippines in Fed Cup Group I

No. 1 Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare defeated Katharina Lehnert and Anna Clarice Patrimonio with 6-3, 6-3 in the Federation Cup at the SAAP Tennis Complex on Saturday. The duo were tailing in the beginning but then Sania took over and guided Prarthana. After the victory Sania said that it is great to help your country to go to Group I.

Delhi Daredevil won match against Sunrisers Hyderabad

Skipper JP Duminy's brilliant all-rounder performance helped Delhi Daredevils to win against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam. For Delhi Daredevils it is the second win of the season. Daredevils made 167 for four and Duminy scored 54 off 41 balls. Sunrisers started well but were restricted to 163 for eight.

Delhi Police Submits Chargesheet to Delhi Court on Corporate Espionage Case

Delhi Police, in the chargesheet regarding documents leak case submitted to a Delhi court, said that the arrested top executives of some energy companies used to pay “handsome monthly amount” to the Petroleum ministry staffs - Rakesh Kumar and Lalta Prasad – for stealing and leaking important documents from Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. These accused top executives are Reliance Industries Limited’s Shailesh Saxena, Essar’s Vinay Kumar, Cairns India’s KK Naik, Jubilant Energy’s Subhash Chandra, Reliance ADAG Rishi Anand, journalist Shantanu Saikia, and energy consultant Prayas Jain. Delhi Police claims that the monthly amount paid to these two ministry staffs was around Rs. 2.5 lakhs every month. Hearing on the chargesheet will take place on 18 May.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed calls India "Number 1 Enemy" during Chinese President Xi Jinping's Pakistan Visit

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed (mastermind of Mumbai 26/11 massacre and chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa) called India “Number 1 Enemy” while addressing a rally in Pakistan that was attended by members of Jamat-e-Islami, MPs  belonging to both Imran Khan's PTI and Nawaj Sharif’s PML(N). The anti-India call was made at a rally, which was called in support of Saudi Arabia’s fight in war ravaged Yemen against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. Analysts believe that the timing of such anti-India call from Hafiz, having base in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, is crucial as Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently on a two-day Pakistan visit and recently appreciated bilateral effort of connecting China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on Arabian Sea through POK.

Prashant Bhushan gives Stinging Response to AAP's Show Cause Notice

Aam Aadmi Party rebel Prashant Bhushan not only gave a stinging response to a show cause notice sent by AAP but also made serious allegations against present leaders of the party such as Ashish Khetan and Pankaj Gupta. While Bhushan accused Pankaj Gupta of taking Rs. 2 crore from shell companies, he accused Ashish Khetan of writing stories in Tehelka magazine in favour of Essar (a 2G accused). He went on to say that Essar paid Rs. three crore for Tehelka’s Thinkfest. In the response letter, Bhushan called National Council meeting of March 28 “illegal and unconstitutional" and also pointed out that National Council meeting’s official video was a “carefully edited version”.