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BJP President Amit Shah Clears Air on Contentious Article 370, Uniform Civil Code, and Ram Temple

National President of BJP, Amit Shah, told media during a press conference at party headquarters in New Delhi that Narendra Modi-led government does not have enough numbers in the parliament to address BJP’s core issues. He added that BJP can introduce uniform civil code in India, abrogate Article 370 (giving special powers to Jammu and Kashmir) of the constitution, and build Ram Temple in Ayodhya only when BJP wins more than 370 seats in the Lok Sabha. Amit Shah’s reaction comes on a day when leadership of Viswa Hindu Parishad passed a resolution urging Union Government to enact legislation for clearing way to build Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Amit Shah also said that Narendra Modi government has been successful in restoring PMO’s dignity, getting acknowledgement of the world for India, get government out of policy paralysis, and bring people’s trust back on the government.

PM Launches DD Kisan and bats for More use of Technology in Farming

Prime Minister Narendra Modi after launching DD Kisan, a 24x7 channel on agriculture, vouched for increasing farm productivity through intensive use of technologies along with scientific advancements. Modi also called for making the agricultural sector vibrant as well as dynamic once again as this sector currently remains neglected. PM specifically mentioned that the indigenous satellites launched by India will help make accurate weather forecasts, helping farmers in timing their crops. He also stressed on the need of crop diversification, multi-cropping, and innovative farming. Modi claimed that the expected increase in popularity of DD Kisan will force other broadcasters to show dedicated programmes on farming. He urged farmers to boost output of lentils and oilseeds so that India becomes self-sufficient in its production in the coming one decade, which will help India save around US$ 12 billion in importing lentils and edible oils.

PM Modi's Open Letter to the Nation on Successes Achieved by his Government in the Last One Year

On the first anniversary of his government Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an open letter to the nation said that the biggest achievements of his government in the last one year include infusion of new enthusiasm within the system, striding forward to “fast path of development”, and improved image of the country on the international front. He also stressed on the fact that the country has already started its journey towards providing welfare to the marginalised sections of the society and poor. In the letter he also narrated the tough situation in which his government took office at centre as the country was plagued with high-level of corruption, high rate of inflation, helplessness of general masses, and waning confidence in the India story. At the end of the letter, PM Modi said that his government’s objective is to provide better quality of life, services, and infrastructure.     

Justice A P Shah Committee on MAT seeks Stakeholders' Suggestions by 22 June

Justice A P Shah committee has asked for representations as well as suggestions from all the stakeholders including industry bodies by 22 June. This high-level committee was formed for resolving the retrospective Minimum Alternate Tax disputed with the Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs).  Resistance from 68 foreign investors started when tax department sent 18.5 per cent MAT demand (totaling Rs. 602.83 crore) on their trading income. A finance ministry statement said that the first meeting of the Shah committee took place on 25 May 2015 and decided to seek suggestions from stakeholders as a prerequisite for resolving the MAT issues of foreign investors prior to 1 April 2015. Other important members of the concerned committee include chartered accountant Girish Ahuja and ex chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri.

Union Finance Minister vouches for Implementing GST from 1 January 2016

Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister of India, said while addressing an audience at Ahmedabad’s Tagore Hall on the occasion of Modi government’s first anniversary, that his government is undertaking all possible steps for implementing Goods and Service Tax (GST) from 1 January 2016. While stressing on the importance of GST, Jaitley said that it is a uniform tax system and its implementation will help in easy transfer of goods and services. He also said that in 2015-16, his government is expecting the income tax collection to increase by 14-15 per cent. As Jaitley is vouching for additional one per cent tax in GST for two years after implementation (expected to help manufacturing states), Chief Economic Advisor of Modi government, Arvind Subramanian, reportedly said that the additional tax is not in tandem with principles of GST and will ultimately undermine PM Narendra Modi’s ambitious “Make in India” campaign.  

Modi Government gets Pat on the Back from FICCI

Jyotsna Suri, President of industry body FICCI, said in a press conference that the Narendra Modi government in the last one year has been successful in establishing India as a brand, restored confidence of the investors, and most importantly infused a positive sentiment in the economy. While appreciating improvement of macro economic indicators in the last one year in comparison to earlier government, Jyotsna Suri went on to appreciate extensive international tour of the PM in bringing positive global focus on India. She also observed that in the last one year, there has been an influx of foreign investment in India, current account and fiscal deficits are in control, inflation is low, and there has been an improvement in GDP growth too. R V Kanoria (former President of FICCI) said that it will take another 18-24 months time for the actions taken to be visible on ground.

Foxcon to build 10 to 12 Facilities in India by 2020 as Costs Soar in China

With rising wages in China and cost of production, Terry Gou, Chairman of Foxconn (largest contract electronics manufacturer of the world) announced his company’s plans to open 10 to 12 facilities in India by the year 2020. These facilities will include both data centers and factories. Gou also announced during an interview on the outskirts of Guiyang, located in southern Guizhou province of China, that Foxconn will be investing few billion dollars in these proposed units as its customers, including the ones in China, want Foxconn to manufacture TVs, tablets, and phones in India. The announcement comes within months after Foxconn announced in January 2015 of shedding its huge workforce in the facilities located in China due to falling revenue growth. Reports say that in peak seasons, this contract electronics manufacturer provides employment to around 1.3 million people.       

Micromax Canvas Doodle 4 to be Available on Ebay India at Rs. 9,199

Canvas Doodle 4, the 4th variant from Micromax’s Canvas Doodle series, is now available for purchase from Ebay India at a price of Rs. 9,199, in spite of a Mumbai based retailer’s claim that MRP of the product is Rs. 9,999 and it will be available at Rs. 9,499. The announcements of its availability along with the specifications were made by an established retailer, based in Mumbai, yesterday. However, the concerned smartphone is yet to be listed on Micromax’s website.  Specifications of this new smartphone, as featured on Ebay, include features such as dual-SIM (both GSM), Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system, 6-inch IPS display having 540x960 pixels resolution, quad core MediaTek (MTK6582M) processor clocked at 1.3GHz speed, 1GB RAM, rear camera of 8MP with LED flash, 2MP front faced camera, internal storage of 8GB, and 3,000 mAh battery capacity.   

Nasscom and DSC form Task Force for Making India a Global Cyber-Security Hub

A task force has been set up by Data Security Council of India and NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies, the IT industry body) for transforming India into a cyber-security hub of the world. This task force will help develop a Research and Development plan on cyber security along with development of skilled workers and experts in the respective security domain. Reports say that the concerned task force will be headed by Rajendra Pawar (Chairman of NIIT) and the other members will be from IT industry, telecom companies, banks, academia, and government. Pawar said that cyber-security task force has been created to realise the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India a cyber-security expert nation. The four main endeavours of the task force are technology development, industry development, skill development, and policy enablement.

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.

Ajinkya Rahane is CEAT Indian Cricketer of the Year

Ajinkya Rahane, middle order batsman of India, has been awarded CEAT Indian Cricketer of the Year and Rohit Sharma has been conferred with a special award for making 264 record breaking score against Sri Lanka in a one-day match played in Kolkata. Rohit Sharma is the only cricketer to achieve such a score in the 50-overs limited one day game. CEAT Cricket Ratings for 2014-15 is awarded to cricketers on the basis of their overall performances in the concerned year in all formats of international cricket including Test matches, ODI, and T-20 match format. While ex-Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev was conferred with International Lifetime Achievement Award yesterday, former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara became International Cricketer of the Year.

Mumbai Indians wins IPL T-20 2015 Title by defeating Chennai Super Kings Convincingly

Mumbai Indians (MI) have won 2015’s Indian Premier League T-20 title by convincingly defeating the mighty Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 41 runs at Eden Gardens ground in Kolkata. CSK won the toss and asked Mumbai Indians to bat first. MI put on a score of 202 for five at the end of 20 overs. Lendl Simmons (68 runs) along with skipper Rohit Sharma (50 runs) put up a partnership of 116 runs in just 67 balls. Chasing a target of 203 runs to win, CSK was able to score just 161 runs at the loss of 8 wickets with Dwayne Smith as the highest scorer with 57 runs in 45 balls. While McClenaghan was the most successful bowler of MI (took 3 wickets for 25 runs), Dwayne Bravo had the best spell for CSK (took 2 wickets for 36 runs).

Top UN Official lauds India's Prompt Response and Relief Efforts after Nepal's Disastrous Earthquake

Magdy Martínez-Solimán (Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support and UN Development Programme Assistant Administrator) lauded India’s prompt first response in helping Nepal after an earthquake devastated the country. The top UN official also said that the timely effort has been lauded by Nepal government. The official also informed that both India and China are now actively involved in reconstructing the earthquake ravaged country. India deployed more than 700 trained personnel of National Disaster Reaction Force, 13 Indian army helicopters, 18 army engineering team, rapid action team of Air Force, and others during the rescue/relief op. Martínez-Solimán told media that official assessment of the damage is currently being carried out by the officials, which is expected to be prepared by coming July. Official UNDP report says that reconstruction of homes in Nepal will require US$175 million.

Finance Minister Expresses Delight as Swiss Banks Name Seven Indian Account Holders

Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister of India, expressed delight as Switzerland authorities started publishing names of the tax defaulters having accounts in Swiss banks. Till now names of seven Indian account holders (Yash Birla, Gurjit Singh Kochar, Ritika Sharma, Sayed Mohamed Masood, Chaud Kauser Mohamed Masood, Sneh Lata Sawhney and Sangita Sawhney) have surfaced in the list. Jaitley said that his government had been negotiating with the Swiss authorities in the last one year for publishing names of the tax evaders who have accounts in Swiss Banks. He also expressed delight in the timing of unraveling the names as it coincided with the first anniversary of Narendra Modi government. Finance Minister also said that the actions of Swiss Federal Tax Administration will now lift the “veil of secrecy” from Indian entities and persons having assets as well as monies stacked in foreign countries.  

11 Major Trade Unions Announce Nationwide Strike on 2 September

As Narendra Modi government is celebrating its first anniversary in office, 11 trade unions have announced to go on nationwide strike on 2 September, protesting against the proposed labour law changes and land acquisition bill by the NDA government. A senior labour union leader said that the proposed changes in the labour law will keep 67 per cent of the enterprises outside its ambit. All the unions have agreed on a 10-point charter of demands that include government actions on dealing with universal social security cover for workers, labour law violations, problems related to contractual workers, employment generation, disinvestment of PSUs, price rise, FDI in defence and railways, etc. Formally calling the strike today by the trade unions (including INTUC, CITU, AITUC, RSS-affiliated BMS, etc.) is a body blow to the Narendra Modi government’s initiative to address their issues through formation of an inter-ministerial committee.