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PM Modi starts his Eight-day Foreign Tour, To meet Pakistan PM in Russia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for a 5-nation tour today to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as well as BRICS summit in Russia. His itinerary from 6 July to 13 July starts from Uzbekistan, followed by visit to Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Reports say that during this foreign tour, PM Modi will try to deepen strategic footprints as well as energy cooperation. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is also scheduled to visit Russia on a 4-day tour for participating in the inaugural meetings of New Development Bank of BRICS. Reports say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Russia’s Ufa city on 10 July on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation organisation summit.         

Left Parties decides against allying with Janata Parivar during Bihar Assembly Election

Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist), has said after a meeting with other left parties that they will contest election as a “united independent bloc" and will not enter into any alliance with Janata Parivar because they failed to leave Congress. Sitaram also said that the decision has been taken at central leadership level of the left parties. CPI General Secretary, S Sudhakar Reddy, told media that besides their own decision, there has been no formal offer from Janata Parivar on any kind of alliance except for some televised fillers. In the upcoming Bihar assembly election, to be held during September-October 2015, the united independent left bloc include CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML)-Liberation, RSP, All India Forward Bloc, SUCI(C), and SUCI. When asked about the actual mechanics of seat sharing, Yechury said that actual mechanics will be formalised by the state units of respective parties.    

BJP says they are Ready for CBI Investigation in Vyapam Scam but the decision will Overstep Court's Jurisdiction

With rising death toll related to multi-crore Vyapam scam, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao has said that his party is ready for CBI investigation. However, he added that such a step will be overstepping on court’s jurisdiction as the court is currently supervising Vyapam scam investigation. Congress upped ante by demanding resignation from Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan and also asked Chauhan to take responsibility of every death related to Vyapam scam. In a new development, Supreme Court has agreed hearing a petition that sought removal of MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav for ensuring fair enquiry as the governor’s son (found dead by SIT) was an accused in the case. Opposition parties have questioned silence of PM Modi on Vyapam scam. Arun Jaitley, while condoling death of the scribe reporting on the scam, said that a proper investigation in Vyapam scam will clear all kinds of doubts.      

Indian Bourses Close in Green inspite of Sharp Fall during Morning Trade on Initial panic of Greece Voting "No" to Austerity Measures

Indian bourses today made a superb comeback after sharp fall during morning trade on panic reaction over Greece voting “No” to troika prescribed austerity measures. While Sensex today went up by 115.97 points (or 0.41 per cent) to close at 28208.76, Nifty rose 37.25 points (or 0.44 per cent) to close at 8522.15 points. During morning trade, Sensex fell by 300 points as market panicked on the consequences of Greece exiting Eurozone as Greeks voted an overwhelming “No” to austerity measures. However, as panic subsided, both the benchmark bourses made significant gains and closed in green. Today Nifty nosedived below the psychologically important 8400 mark support (as it opened at today’s low of 8,386.15) but by day end closed above 8500 mark. While today’s top gainers are Cipla and Dr Reddy (both increasing by 4 per cent), the top loser is Vedanta (that shed 5 per cent point).

PM Modi Assures Absolute Support during Digital Dialogue to Make India Innovation Hub

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an audience at “Digital Dialogue” event that his government will provide every possible help and at the same time “absolute support” for making India an innovation hub. He went on to say that the world is changing faster than ever before and to sustain in the cut throat competition, the only way to sustain is innovate and produce cutting edge products. In absence of any kind of innovation, the economy will enter stagnation, PM Modi warned. While responding to numerous suggestions, received through a specialised social media platform throughout the day, Prime Minister said that in the last 14 months they have covered substantial ground in making innovation and enterprise easier and they are still doing everything to make them easier further. PM Modi encouraged start-ups by calling them “engines of exponential growth” that manifest power of innovation.  

To Give Investment Climate a Boost Finance Minister Pitches hard for Passing GST and Land Bill

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that Modi government wants to improve investment conditions in India by unblocking stalled projects, ease costs of doing business, reform land law, and implement Goods & Services Tax and thereby create a common market. Report says opposition parties are planning to stall parliament during monsoon session on Lalitgate controversy. Congress is pressing SS Ahluwalia-headed Joint Parliamentary Committee for inclusion of provisions such as social impact assessment and consent clause in the Land Amendment bill owing to “majority” opinion of the panel. Congress has said that they will register dissent note if their views are not reflected in the draft. Sources say that Government may go for a compromise formula by dropping 1 per cent additional tax, per Congress’s demand, to reach a consensus on GST. Parliamentary committee on GST is likely to submit its report on 17 July.

Department of Telecommunications' R&D Institute C-DOT Launches 4 Broadband Products

C-DOT, department of telecommunications’ R&D institute, has launched 4 broadband products that are expected to fast forward Digital India initiative. IT and Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched 4 broadband services, as Digital India week’s part, today that includes C-DOT’s Next Generation Network (NGN) in MTNL network, 100 Gbps optical fibre cable (OFC) link, solar-powered Wi-Fi system, and long distance Wi-Fi system. During launch, Prasad exhorted C-DOT for bringing out more Innovative Savvy Products so that they can be used by more persons including private sector entities. Telecom minister has also directed the concerned R&D institute for ensuring Digital literacy in respective local languages. Prasad also said that his government has the commitment of bringing all 2.5 lakh villages in India under broadband services so that they can increase internet penetration in India by 200 million (from 300 million to 500 million) in coming two and half years.

A DoT Panel on Net Neutrality Opposes Facebook's Internet.Org but Suggests Allowing Airtel Zero

A Department of Telecom (DoT) panel on net neutrality has opposed Facebook's Internet.Org that vouches to offer customers site access to certain websites without mobile data charges. However, in a surprising move, the same panel gave go ahead to similar plans including Airtel Zero for prior clearance from TRAI. Reports say that this panel was formed after Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked DoT for forming a panel to look into the net neutrality issue and provide recommendations accordingly, after opposition parties raised pitch against the government in the parliament on net neutrality issue. It needs special mention that the panel suggested active discouragement of gate-keeping role by any entity enabled by “collaborations between telecom operators and content providers”. Reports say that zero-rating platforms such as Airtel Zero has been allowed by the panel but with a rider that prior permission must be taken from TRAI for launching it.    

Cellular Operators' Association of India says Pan-India Mobile Number Portability will Increase Customer Satisfaction

Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) has issued statement that implementing pan-India mobile number portability (MNP) was one of the most important aspects of National Telecom Policy 2012 and the industry has been successful in accomplishing the same. COAI represents most telecom equipment manufacturers, communication service providers, and 7 biggest mobile service operators. The statement also said that MNP implementation has ensured enhanced competition among the telecom operators within India and at the same time will lead to greater customer satisfaction. Pan-mobile MNP throughout India was implemented on July 3, 2015. COAI director general Rajan S. Mathews called it a “proud moment for Indian telecom industry”. At a FICCI CEOs Roundtable, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that importance must be given to the issue of call drops so that consumers don’t confront it. He also asked the operators to walk the extra mile to make it happen.

Indian Men's Hockey Team finishes Fourth after losing 1-5 to Great Britain

Locking horns with Great Britain at semi final match of World Hockey League, Indian men’s hockey team crumbled and had to settle with 4th position. India was humiliated by Great Britain by 1-5 score. It is the biggest win of Great Britain over India in any international match. With repeated counter attack by the British hockey team, Indian defence was in disarray, faltering on penalty corners twice. The players who netted the ball for Great Britain are Alastair Brogdon (at 11th minute), Chris Griffiths (at 27th minute), Ashley Jackson (at 37th minute), Adam Dixon (at 42nd minute), and skipper Barry Middleton (at 44th minute). India was able to score their single goal at 59th minute of the game when Rupinder Pal Singh converted a penalty corner into a goal. In spite of the loss India qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics.    

Indian Women's Hockey Team finishes 5th in Hockey World League, Keeps Alive Rio Olympics 2016 Hope

Indian Women's Hockey team beat Japan 1-0 and finished 5th in the Hockey World League 2015. With this win India keeps alive the chances of getting selected to Rio Olympics. The only goal in the match was scored by Rani Rampal at 13th minute of the game, played at Brasschaat Municipal Park at Belgium’s Antwerp. Indian goalkeeper Savita saved 4 penalty corners of Japan, providing India a 1-0 win. Reports say that FIH, governing body of World hockey, conducts two semi final matches that secure berth for three teams to Rio Olympics 2016. Winners of 5 continental games (2015 Oceania Cup, 2015 African Qualifying Tournament, 2015 EuroHockey Nations Championship, 2015 Pan American Games, and 2014 Asian Games) will also secure their berths at Rio. The teams, those are likely to get qualified for Rio, include 6 teams of HWL 2015, 5 continental champions, and most probably hosts Brazil.

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.  

Nepal's Maoist Chief Prachanda to Visit India Next Week on invitation of Indian Government

At the invitation of Government of India, Chairman of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal (popularly known as 'Prachanda') is all set to visit India next week, from 14 July to 18 July. The visit is scheduled at a time when Nepal is approaching finalisation of a constitution that has the prospect to end years of political bickering between Maoists and other mainstream political parties. Prachanda’s India visit is seen by political analysts as a huge stride towards Indo-Nepal bonhomie because of softening approach of Prachanda towards India. Maoist supremo earlier accused India of interfering with their domestic matters as well as dictate terms to Nepal’s leadership. As per available reports, four main political parties of Nepal - CPN-UML, Nepali Congress, UCPN-Maoist, and Madhesi Peoples Forum Democratic – have reached a 16 point deal for settling contentious issues towards drafting of constitution.  

India-Bangladesh all set to Grow Business through Ports and Waterways

India and Bangladesh are all set to advance their bilateral relationship by growing business, trade, and connectivity. Tripura Public Works Department’s Chief Engineer Sunil Bhowmik said that India has kick started preliminary work (by making Detailed Project Report) of building bridge over Tripura’s Feni River for accessing Bangladeshi ports to carry heavy machinery and goods for northeast region. He went on to add that DPR will be prepared within 2 months time and will be submitted to nodal department for the project, industries and commerce department of Tripura. The foundation stone of the bridge on Feni River was laid by both PM Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Haseena on 6 June. For improving internet connectivity, India has started commissioning submarine cable connectivity through Bangladesh’s Cox Bazar port, making Tripura India’s third internet gateway after Mumbai and Chennai. Formal announcement of the project will be made by telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.   

St. Stephen's Principal seeks CBI Probe amid Protest on Sexual Harassment Case

With growing intensity of protest at Delhi University’s prestigious St. Stephen's college over a PhD student’s sexual harassment allegations, principal of the college Revd. Valson Thampu sought CBI investigation into the matter. The concerned student has alleged that St. Stephen College’s principal had asked her to drop the case against the professor because he was only bothered about the college’s reputation. Thampu hit back at the allegations by saying that vested interests are using the victim to malign the reputation of the college. Union HRD Ministry has stepped in over the weekend asking UGC to probe why no action has been taken by administration of the college, especially by the complaint panel. St. Stephen's principal said that a full-fledged investigation should be done either by CBI or a judicial inquiry under retired or sitting Supreme Court judge to cover “all aspects of the alleged sexual harassment matter”.