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Supreme Court seeks Reply from Kejriwal Government on Union Government's Plea of Staying HC Order

Supreme Court today gave Kejriwal-led Delhi Government three weeks time to reply on Union Government’s plea of staying High Court judgment that termed the 21 May notification of Ministry of Home Affairs “suspect”. In the concerned notification, MHA said that in terms of public order and police, Lt Governor can take independent decision on transfer/posting of bureaucrats without consulting Delhi CM. The notification also restrained Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of Delhi government from acting against the officers in criminal offences. The vacation bench of Justices AK Sikri and UU Lalit observed that they will look into the matter after getting reply from the AAP government and for now they are not issuing stay of the Delhi High Court’s 25 May judgement. The bench also asked the Delhi government to reply within 6 weeks on Union Government’s appeal against judgement of High Court.

Ex-CM of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi meets PM Modi fuelling Tie-Up Speculation with BJP

Jitan Ram Manjhi, former Chief Minister of Bihar and bête noire of Nitish Kumar, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed about the possibilities of tie-up between Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Bharatiya Janata Party. However, when Manjhi was asked about the summary of the discussion, he avoided by saying he had some “political talks” with the PM. Sources say that Narendra Modi didn’t give any “solid assurance” to the HAM leader. BJP is learnt to be keen to come together with Jitan Ram’s party for tapping the “Mahadalit” vote bank in the caste-ridden Bihar politics. Reports say that Hindustani Awam Morcha asked for contesting 50 seats (instead of its earlier demand of 70 seats) during upcoming Bihar election. When asked about the talks, spokesperson of HAM (which is in the process of becoming a political party) termed the discussion “very positive”.    

West Bengal CM to accompany PM Narendra Modi during Bangladesh visit on 6 June

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has agreed to accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day Bangladesh visit, starting on 6 June, West Bengal CM’s confidante and Minister Partha Chatterjee told media. Reports say that Mamata assured Modi about her representing India to Bangladesh when they met on 10 May in Kolkata. This development is in sharp contrast to ex-PM Manmohan Singh’s Dhaka visit in 2012 because of her opposition to Teesta treaty. Analysts believe that India and Bangladesh are all set to sign the dotted lines on two important international treaties between the two neighbours, including Land Boundary Agreement and Teesta Water Treaty. However, when asked about proposed Teesta water sharing agreement, Chatterjee told media about his ignorance on the matter but added that Mamata will not object to it until and unless it comes in the way of Bengal’s interests.    

Morgan Stanley Report expects Domestic Investors to Pump in $300 Billion in 10 years

Morgan Stanley, globally renowned investment banking and research firm, has estimated that domestic investors in India will become major players in the capital market as they are expected to invest $300 billion in the coming one decade. The firm also said that in the last one decade investment made by the FIIs (Foreign Institutional Investors) were $135 billion, almost triple of investment done by the domestic investors (a paltry $50 billion). In the report titled “India's domestic liquidity supercycle” (which is co-authored by Sheela Rathi and Ridham Desai) Morgan Stanley has observed that the newer generation of investors are willing to make investment in the equity market, unlike the trend witnessed earlier. The report also said that people are parking their money more in equities because of decrease in number of risk-averse persons, more favourable demographic and regulatory framework for investors, and enhanced investors’ education.

Dun & Bradstreet ranks TCS, RIL, ITC as top 3 Companies in India

Dun & Bradstreet-compiled list of top 500 companies shows that, in terms of market capitalisation, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is the top most company in India. In the top 10 list, TCS is followed by Reliance Industries (RIL), ITC, ONGC, Coal India, Infosys, HDFC Bank, HDFC, Hindustan Unilever, and State Bank of India (SBI). While presenting the report, Kaushal Sampat (Dun & Bradstreet’s India President and Managing Director) said that in the last 12 to 18 months, there has been a significant rise in optimism not only on India but also on its economic prospects. However, he also observed that the pace of growth of top 500 companies has been a concern for D&B in spite of the ongoing recovery since 3rd quarter (April 2014-December 2014). Growth of these 500 companies slowed down from 11.7 per cent in FY13 to 8.7 per cent in FY14.  

Moody's Expects Improvement in Tata Steel's Results in FY16

Moody's Investors Service said that the huge loss Tata Steel incurred in the 2014-15 fiscal was mainly due to iron ore supply disruption in India. Kaustubh Chaubal, Vice President and senior analyst of Moody’s, said that the ratings of the company will remain same in spite of the “below expectation” performance. The rating agency feels that in the 2015-16 fiscal, the losses will "fade away". Available data shows that in comparison to net profit of Rs. 3,594.89 crore during 2013-14, consolidated net loss during 2014-15 was reported to be Rs 3,925.52 crore.  Moody’s expects the incurred loss of Tata Steel in the last fiscal to be ironed out in the ongoing fiscal as the company starts mining its own iron ore, uses imported iron ore stock, and starts getting new shipments from its plant in Kalinganagar.

Micromax Launches New Budget Unite 3 Smartphone at Rs. 6,999

Largest indigenous smartphone manufacturer Micromax has launched yet another budget device in the Unite series of phones – Micromax Unite 3. This will be available in the market at a price of Rs. 6,999 and has a unique feature of translating text with just a swipe. Micromax has pre-loaded this Unite 3 smartphone with ten regional languages and you can transliterate text in any of the languages with a swipe by using Unite Messaging Service. With the help of this smartphone you can change phone’s menu, chat, or type in the preferred language (out of the pre-loaded ones). Reports say that Micromax Unite 3 comes with 4.7-inch WVGA screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 cover on display, quad-core processor clocked at 1.3 GHz speed, Android 5.0 Lollipop OS, dual camera (8MP primary and 2MP secondary), multiple connectivity options (Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS, and Bluetooth), and others.

Union Government Prepares to Launch "Digital India Week" coming July

While celebrating one year in office Narendra Modi government has decided to step on the gas regarding the coveted “Digital India” programme by making a big ticket launch of “Digital India Week” in coming July. The main aim of this week-long programme will be to take technology to block levels and villages by promoting various initiatives including hackathons, distribution of merchandise, organising games, etc. Reports say that Department of Electronics and Information Technology’s National e-Governance Division (NeGD) is working closely with Prime Minister's Office since February for a big-ticket launch of Digital India Week programme. Sources say that NeGD has already given specific responsibilities to different agencies for printing and merchandising, gamification, messaging campaign, rural outreach advertising, formulation of creatives, and social media campaign. It is learnt that Digital India Week programme will be the flagship programme of Modi government’s second year in office.

Microsoft joins hands with VCCI to Open First Digital Experience Centre of India in Vadodara

Microsoft has collaborated with Vadodara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to open India’s first Digital Experience Centre in Vadodara. Microsoft India’s Business Development Director, Manohar Hotchandani, announced that the concerned centre (to be managed by Ingram Micro, distributor of Microsoft) will help business entities, individuals, partners, and institutions get first-hand experience of Microsoft software run modern devices Office 365.Microsoft and Windows applications. Reports say that the first such digital experience centre in India will help entrepreneurs as well as SMEs to learn about recent Microsoft products such as cloud technology and then get business leverage by using them through enhanced skills. It is also learnt that the joint initiative of Microsoft and VCCI will help educational institutions in adopting technologies for preparing future generations for cloud-first as well as mobile-first world.       

Abhinav Bindra becomes 4th Indian Shooter to Secure Quota Slot in Rio 2016 summer Olympic Games

Abhinav Bindra, ace shooter and India’s only Olympic gold medallist in individual capacity, became the fourth shooter to secure quota slot in the upcoming Rio 2016 summer Olympic Games. The feat was already accomplished by Apurvi Chandela, Gagan Narang (by winning bronze medal in Fort Benning World Cup’s men's 50m prone event), and Jitu Rai (by winning silver in the 50m Free Pistol event during World Championships in Spain’s Granada) in earlier World Cups. Bindra got the quota slot after finishing 6th in the International Shooting Sport Federation’s final of 10m Air Rifle event. As per a release, Abhinav got selected for the final when he achieved a score of 627.5 during the qualification round, organised earlier in the day. Abhinav Bindra secured quota along with Russia’s Stevan Pletikosic (finished 7th) and Ukraine’s Oleh Tsarkov (finished 3rd).

SAI to Coach and Select Para-Athletes for International Tournaments

Reports say that Sports Authority of India (SAI) has decided to take charge of Indian Paralympic athletes, almost one month after their national body, Paralympic Committee of India, was indefinitely suspended by Sports ministry for mistreating and making poor arrangements for differently-abled athletes during 15th National Paralympic Championships. A statement from Sports ministry earlier said that the ministry requested International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to allow SAI to send entries of the Indian para athletes to international competitions in addition to other related requests. It is also learnt that SAI will coach and select para-athletes for the international tournaments. The decision comes after IPC allowed differently-abled athletes of India to participate in international tournaments under IPC flag through Sport Data Management System (SDMA) license, following request from Sports Ministry.

Former Aussie Bowler Brett Lee bats in Favour of Sourav Ganguly as New Head Coach

Brett Lee, former pacer of Australia, put his weight behind former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly as BCCI grapples to select the new head coach of India. Lee said that Sourav will do a “great job” in case he is selected as head coach. Reports say that the Indian Cricket Board is all set to select a revamped support staff along with a new head coach before Team India leaves for the Bangladesh tour on 7 June. Cricket Australia quoted Bret Lee as saying that Ganguly has treasure-trove of knowledge as he played and led the team in the domestic and international sphere in all forms of cricketing formats including tests, one-dayers, and T20. However, the former Aussie pacer also said that Sourav needs to pass on the wealth of knowledge to the players and maintain the perfect balance if selected as the head coach.

Ex-Servicemen to go on Nationwide Protest on 14 June against Delay in Announcement of One Rank, One Pension Scheme

Ex-servicemen are going on a nationwide agitation on 14 June against Union Government’s alleged slow stance on announcing One Rank, One Pension (OROP) mechanism. The demand took momentum after Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t announce the coveted scheme during Mathura rally, marking first anniversary of Modi government, after much hyped anticipation. 25 lakh-strong ex-servicemen’s community has decided to hold “maha rally” in New Delhi on 14 June. Admiral RK Dhowan has asked ex-servicemen to be patient as he claimed that much progress has taken place on the OROP issue but quickly added that the government has to take a decision soon. Dhowan also hoped for an earlier announcement. Political analysts believe that the agitation may take a political turn if announcement on OROP is not done soon as Rahul Gandhi already met ex-servicemen some days back and listened to their demands.      

Indian Navy chief says India is Monitoring Chinese Navy Activities Closely

Indian Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan told media after Naval Commander's conference that they are monitoring naval activities of the Chinese Navy closely. He went on to add that the Chinese Navy ships along with some submarines are present in the Indian Ocean since 2008. For maintaining security along the coastline and protect Indian Ocean, aircraft carriers and ships of Indian Navy are always placed on alert. Though there has been speculation of rising Chinese prowess in the Indian Ocean region after the information of Chinese Navy’s white paper on defence (saying gradual shift of focus from land defence to naval activities, giving Chinese Navy more prowess) became known, Dhowan downplayed the concerns. He said that every Navy formulates its own plans.

Tripura Government takes decision of lifting Controversial AFSPA in Disturbed Areas

Tripura’s Council of Ministers in a cabinet meeting has taken the decision to lift Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) after carefully and thoroughly assessing the ground situation in the disturbed areas of the state. Manik Sarkar (Chief Minister and Home Minister of Tripura) made the announcement and also said that the official notification will be issued soon. He went on to say that the situation was not only monitored in the disturbed areas for the last six months but also discussed with the security agencies, working in Tripura, and state police. AFSPA was imposed in Tripura 18 years back (precisely on February 16, 1997) after increase in violence by the ultras. Manik Sarkar added that security forces suggested in favour of lifting AFSPA as the problem of insurgency is largely contained in Tripura.