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PM Modi takes dig at Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Calls him "Arrogant"

Prime Minister Narendra Modi started campaigning yesterday in favour of BJP candidates in the upcoming Bihar Assembly election, slated to start on October 12. During his speech in Bihar’s Banka district, PM Modi attacked his bête noire Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar by calling him “too arrogant” for proper governance. He also questioned the doubts raised by the Grand Alliance (JDU-RJD-Congress) on the Rs. 1.65 lakh crore Bihar package announced by the Modi government recently. He also doubted whether the announced central funds will at all reach the people of Bihar. Narendra Modi said that Nitish Kumar can’t be trusted especially after what he did to his the then confidante Jitan Ram Manjhi. While stressing upon the need for Bihar’s development, PM Modi asked his audience to vote for “vikasvaad” (development).

India pays Tribute to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 146th Birth Anniversary

President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari paid their respective tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat memorial on the occasion of Bapu’s 146th birth anniversary. October 2 is observed as International Day of Non-Violence. PM Narendra Modi, after paying tribute to Gandhi, said that India should strive to realize Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a clean India. PM Modi also remembered ex-PM Lal Bahadur Shashtri, who shares his birthday with M.K Gandhi, and remembered his legacy of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan”. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani, and others paid their tributes to Father of the Nation. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi hoped that India keeps on following the path of harmony, tolerance, and compassion, as envisioned by Mahatma.

Sushma hits back at Pakistan after Nawaz's rant at UNGA

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj hits back at Pakistan in her speech at UN General Assembly. While rebuffing Pak PM Nawaz Sharif’s 4-point peace suggestion, Sushma said that there is no requirement for such suggestion and instead asked Pakistan to stop supporting terrorism in its lands and exporting it. She pointed out that the 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi is roaming free in Pakistan and asked Pakistan to either prosecute him or extradite. She urged Pakistan to give up terrorism first and then sit down with India for talks. PM Narendra Modi praised Sushma Swaraj for her “excellent speech” at UNGA. Meanwhile, Pakistan submitted alleged ‘evidence’ to UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon on India’s involvement in supporting terrorism (especially in FATA) and destabilizing Pakistan. Reports say that human rights’ violation evidences, surfacing recently, by Pakistan at PoK, bolstered India’s stand internationally.

Finance Minister talks tough on High Profile Tax Evaders

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley upped his ante against the willful high profile tax defaulters, who failed to declare their unaccounted wealth, stashed abroad. Jaitley said that the defaulters, who failed to come clean even after the central government offered a special black money compliance scheme for asset declaration (which ended on September 30), would face action. However, he also assured that the 638 high net individuals or companies that disclosed black money, to the tune of Rs. 3,770 crore in aggregate, need not worry. Finance Minister went on to say that the persons/companies that didn’t disclose unaccounted money stashed abroad wrongly underestimated information exchange power and “will regret”.               

Advance Corporate Tax Payment record suggests Robust Economy

Available data shows that advance tax collection for September 2015 in relation to September 2014 increased by 7 per cent, from Rs. 1.32 lakh crore to Rs. 1.41 lakh crore. Advance tax collection has been better in September quarter when compared with that of June quarter (Rs. 43,400 crore). Advance tax collection gives a pretty good picture on corporate performance as it is believed that 45 per cent of payment is done by September and 75 per cent by December. Experts believe that government expenditure is likely to go up with increased advance tax collection, thereby signaling robust economic growth.

India-Germany may announce Joint Defence Production Plan during Merkel's October 4-6 Visit

India is hoping to expand strategic partnership with Europe’s economic powerhouse Germany by entering into a joint defence production to boost Make in India initiative. The announcement will be done during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to India from October 4 to 6. Reports say Merkel is all set to raise the issue of resuming Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between India and Germany with PM Modi during the visit. MEA statement said many issues including deepening bilateral engagement on high technology manufacturing, renewable energy, defence, skill development, education, security, urban development, railways, water-waste management, and agriculture will be discussed.

Report warns India that it is becoming Strategic Target of Cyber Criminals

A report having the title “1H 2015 Regional Advanced Threat” for Asia Pacific (published by security solutions firm FireEye) suggests that India is fast becoming prime strategic targets of the cyber criminals. Bryce Boland, Chief Technology Officer of FireEye, said that cyber attackers are exploiting loopholes in critical networks for compromising the same at a time when India is embracing ambitious technology projects – Digital India. He also pointed out the risk of falling prey to cyber attackers is manifold high in case of India than global average. During Jan-June’15 period 38 per cent of the Indian companies faced advanced persistent attacks.

Facebook's Indian partner for Internet.Org RCom said they provided Internet Access to 1 Million People

Reliance Communications (RCom), Indian partner of Facebook for programme, defended the ambitious project by saying that the same helped around 1 million people to access internet. Gurdeep Singh, consumer business CEO of RCOM, said that to help people avail internet they have worked hard for the last 6 months across 7 circles to achieve this initial success. RCOM partnered with Facebook’s celebrated, which has been rechristened as Free Basics, back in February 2015. Analysts believe Reliance Communications had to bat for the programme because of the accusations that violates the spirit of net neutrality.

TRAI to come up with Proposal for Compensating Consumers for Call Drop by October 15

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is mulling idea of coming out with a recommendation by October 15 on the issue of compensating consumers for call drops. An open house discussion in New Delhi was also conducted by TRAI with all its stakeholders, including consumer groups and telecom operators. R S Sharma, Chairman of TRAI, said that all the stakeholders are free to submit their written views by October 5, so that the regulator can come up with recommendations by October 15 to compensate consumers for call drop. TRAI is working on a document to zero-down the reasons of call drop.

Sania-Hingis duo wins Wuhan Open Doubles Title

Ace Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza along with her Swiss partner Martina Hingis is continuing their dream run as they won the Wuhan Open women's doubles title against Monica Niculescu- Irina-Camelia Begu duo (unseeded) today in straight sets (6-2, 6-3). This is their 7th title win for the Indo-Swiss pair this year after winning Indian Wells, Miami, Charleston, Wimbledon, the US Open, Guangzhou Open titles. In the semi-final match, Sania-Hingis duo crashed their Chinese Taipei opponent Yung-Jan Chan and Hao-Ching Chan in straight sets (6-2, 6-1) in just 53 minutes. Most importantly, Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis duo has not lost the last 13 matches.

Dhoni's Team India loses 1st T20 Match against SA in Gandhi-Mandela Series

Team India started the celebrated Mahatma Gandhi–Nelson Mandela series with a loss to the South African cricket team. In the first T20 match of the series, played yesterday, India batted first and scored 199 runs at the loss of 5 wickets in 20 overs. Opener Rohit Sharma scored 106 runs in 66 balls, followed by Virat Kohli’s 43 runs knock in 27 balls. Proteas scored 200 runs in 19.4 overs at the loss of just 3 wickets. JP Duminy was the highest scorer with 68 runs (in 34 balls), followed by AB de Villiers’s 51 runs and Hashim Amla’s 36 runs.

Hockey India starts 6 Test Campaign in New Zealand with a Winner

Hockey India today started their New Zealand campaign with a decisive win (3-1) against New Zealand A. The three scorer for India are Nikkin Thimmiah, Ramandeep Singh, and Akashdeep Singh. The first goal was netted by Akashdeep Singh, who comfortably slotted the ball to its destiny after Ramandeep dribbled the ball past two New Zealand A players and passed it to Akashdeep. The second goal was scored by Ramandeep himself at 20th minute of the match. The final goal was scored by Nikkin Thimmiah, after getting pass from Gurjinder Singh. New Zealand A scored their only goal at 36th minute.

A.R. Rahman creates signature tune for 17th Mumbai film fest

Oscar-winning composer and music maestro A.R. Rahman has lent his support for the 17th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival by composing a bespoke signature tune for the festival.This is the first time that the film festival has a signature tune. “The 17th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is about creating, celebrating and nurturing cinema. I am very pleased to support the festival. I hope the people of Mumbai and India come and partake in this incredible movie feast,” Rahman said in a statement. Source: IANS

PM releases digital audio CDs of Ramcharitmanas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released a digital version of epic Ramcharitmanas, a set of digital audio compact discs produced by All India Radio. "The strength of Akashvani is immense and I fully understand it. I remember learning about the Pokhran (nuclear) tests of 1998 through a tea seller in Himachal Pradesh, who heard it on the radio. He told me very happily that Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji has tested the bomb," Modi said. Source: IANS

India to host 2018 Theatre Olympics

India will host the 2018 edition of the Theatre Olympics, an official announced on 24 August 2015. "India has been given the right to host the 2018 edition," said National School of Drama (NSD) director Waman Kendre during the inauguration of a five-day festival of northeastern plays, "Poorvotta Rashtriya Rang Manch". NSD chairman Ratan Thiyam returned to India on Sunday after attending a meeting in the Netherlands where the decision was taken. Source: IANS

Delhi Jal Board to set up 280 additional Water ATMs in Unauthorized Colonies

Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has decided to set up 280 additional water ATMs for easing water supply in different unauthorized colonies. Reports say that for providing water to these water ATMs, decision of building 29 decentralized reverse osmosis plants have been taken. For setting these plants up, the model of design, build, finance, operate and transfer will be followed. A senior official of DJB said that till now only one company has placed its bid, has met the set criteria, and has agreed to provide water at 20 paise per litre.

Union Government working on Airport Revival Plan

Aviation Ministry is mulling the idea of capping air fares at Rs. 2,500 so that more and more middle class populace can avail air flight. To make it competitive, the ministry is trying to match air fare with that of railways. Junior minister of aviation, Mahesh Sharma, has said that they are targeting “300-million-strong middle class population”, living in small cities. He also said that these facilities will be provided for 31 selected airports, which were either abandoned or from where flights never took off. The project is likely to be implemented from April 2016, if the proposal is approved.

SC to Hear Petition Seeking Pollution Compensatory Charge Imposition on Commercial Vehicles

Supreme Court will hear a plea for levying pollution compensatory charges, in addition to the usual municipal taxes, on all kinds of commercial vehicles (light as well as heavy) that are entering Delhi and are therefore worsening air pollution condition of the national capital. Bench of Chief Justices H.L. Dattu and Amitava Roy agreed to hear the concerned petition, moved by senior counsel Harish Salve, on coming Monday. The petition seeks imposition of Rs. 600 on all light and medium trucks/vehicles and not less than Rs.1,200 on 3-axle and above (heavy) vehicles as “pollution compensatory charges”.