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Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says Madrasas are a Reality in India

While attending an Iftar party organised by Ramdas Athavale, chief of Republican Party of India, at Mumbai’s Haj House Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that madrasas "are a reality of India" and went on to add that on behalf of the union government he has assured the madrasas that they are in favour of education for all and there will be no dearth of funds. Naqvi also said that it was erstwhile Congress government that excluded Madrasas from the ambit of formal school category and also assured that his government at the centre will consider including these educational centres under Right to Education Act’s mainstream educational system. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s comment come at a time when confusion surfaced after Maharashtra government decided to classify madrasa students who were not taught mainstream subjects and but only Islamic scriptures as “out-of-school”.     

India Abstains from Voting on Israel's Gaza Operation at UNHRC

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution that condemned Israel on the basis of the UN Inquiry Commission report in the Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. 41 countries voted in favour of the resolution, US voted against it, and 5 countries (India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Macedonia, and Paraguay) abstained from voting. Though Israeli media marked India’s abstention from voting as their “unprecedented achievement”, Ministry of External Affairs issued statement that India still maintains its “long standing position on support to the Palestinian cause”. Israeli PM Netanyahu criticized UNHRC by saying they are not interested in facts or human rights as he alleges the resolution condemned targeting of innocents by Israel but completely ignored rocket fire by Hamas. Indian officials say reference to International Criminal Court, not recognised by India, made it abstain from voting. PM Modi is all set to visit Israel in late 2015 or early 2016.     

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.  

Doha Bank all set to Double Business in India in 2-3 years to $5-6 Billion

A Qatar-based leading lender, Doha Bank, has said that in keeping up with the projected high growth story of Indian economy, they are aiming to enhance their Indian exposure in the coming 2 to 3 years from the current $2.4 billion to $ 5-6 billion. Reports say that Doha Bank has decided to focus on multiple sectors including infrastructure finance, funding to big corporate to fulfill their working capital needs, contract finance, real estate, trade and services. CEO of Doha Bank, R Seetharaman, said the Indian economy is currently on a revival path and the measures announced by government are expected to push the economic growth way above the projected 7-7.6 per cent growth rate. Doha Bank, which also finances Indian companies for investing in Gulf projects, is planning to open two more Indian offices, in addition to the existing two in Mumbai and one in Kochi.

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.

State-run BSNL Launches Pre-Paid Card Linked Mobile Wallet Service

BSNL has come of age with the changing times. The company launched pre-paid card linked mobile wallet service named Speed Pay that will help customers make payment for services, transfer money, and withdraw cash up to Rs. 1 lakh. Reports say a person can use this wallet for loading money even if he/she does not possess a bank account. The loaded money can be withdrawn from either a BSNL outlet or bank branch and can be transferred to a bank account. While inaugurating the service, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that PM Modi once asked him whether people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar working in Tamil Nadu and Kerala can transfer money to their families back home. Prasad added that this wallet service is a significant step towards that direction. Speed Pay has been launched by BSNL by partnering with IT company Pyro.    

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.

India Humiliated by Belgium in Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final Match

Indian men’s hockey team was ousted from Hockey World League by the hosting country Belgium in the semi-final match played at Antwerp’s Brasschaat Municipal Park. Belgium humiliated India 4-0. Three goal scored by Belgium’s Florent Van Aubel made the game a no-match. The second goal on behalf of Belgium was scored by Tanguy Cosyns. The hosts played smart and put pressure on India at the very beginning of the game by scoring their first goal at 2nd minute of first quarter of the match. India’s Satbir Singh got a golden opportunity to level the score but a brilliant save by stopper Vincent Vanasch denied the equaliser. It was Tanguy Cosyns who scored the second goal to help Belgium lead by 2-0 at 8th minute of the game. In the 41st and 53rd minute of the game Van Aubel scored the third and fourth goals.  

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.

BJP Lawmaker 'Dreamgirl' Hema Malini Discharged from Hospital, Criticised for not Reaching out to Accident Victims

BJP lawmaker and yesteryear actor, 66-year old ‘Dreamgirl’ Hema Malini, whose chauffeur-driven Mercedes rammed on a Maruti Suzuki Alto killing a 4-year old girl child, has been discharged from hospital after undergoing a surgery of wounds and treatment for minor nose fracture. Fortis Hospital’s spokesperson said that the actress was discharged at 9.30am IST today on the request of her family. Prima facie police report says that Hema’s car was over-speeding at the time of accident on Jaipur-Agra national highway near Dausa. Mahesh Chand Thakur, driving Hema Malini’s car, was arrested by Rajasthan police and was kept at Dausa’s Kotwali Thana. FIR was filed and produced before Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Pallavi Sharma before being released on bail.

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.