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Delhi Government Softens Stand; To Seek Lt. Governor's Nod on Transfers/Postings of Senior Bureaucrats

Delhi Government has softened its stand and conveyed to Delhi High Court that they will send posting and transfer decisions of senior bureaucrats from central government cadre to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung for approval. They also conveyed that in case of disagreement the matter will be transferred to President. Political analysts believe that this stance conveyed to the Delhi HC is acknowledgement by Kejriwal government that the final call on bureaucratic posting and transfers rests with the Lt. Governor or Union government. While issuing notice to MHA, Justice Rajiv Shakdher said let the Lt. Governor have a look at the proposal, followed by referring it to council of ministers. If the need be, then the same will be sent to the President of India. HC didn’t issue stay order on the MHA notification that gave all the power of appointing senior bureaucrats in public order and police to L-G.

Prime Minister Assures Ex-Servicemen about Government's Commitment over "One-Rank-One-Pension"

After ex-servicemen threatened to go on “maha rally” on 14 June in New Delhi followed by marching to Red Fort on 15 August to protest against delay in implementation of “One Rank One Pension” (OROP) mechanism, PM Narendra Modi assured ex-servicemen that his government is committed to the OROP proposal. The reaction comes a day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that his government is still in the process of preparation in implementing the OROP proposal, which involved huge sum of money (Rs 22,000 crore, per reports). However, he also added that he is currently not able to give a particular date of implementation as there are multiple departments involved. Reports say that ex-servicemen feel let down by Narendra Modi government as Modi said during 2014 Lok Sabha election rallies that implementation of OROP would not have been delayed if Atal Bihari Vajpayee assumed power in 2004.    

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.

Finance Minister "Absolutely Sure" of India's Economic Recovery after Reports of 7.3 Per Cent Growth in 2014-15

Arun Jaitley, Union Finance minister, referred to the recently published official report by Central Statistics Office (CSO) and said that Indian economy is currently recovering. The concerned report showed that in the 2014-15 fiscal, India grew at a pace of 7.3 per cent. In 4th and last quarter of 2014-15, India grew at 7.5 per cent rate, thereby outpacing GDP growth rate of China (7 per cent) in the same quarter. Though the FY2014 GDP data missed the estimated rate of 7.4 per cent, it faired significantly well above 6.9 per cent of 2013-14. Arun Jaitley also rebut ex-PM Manmohan Singh’s claim that the Indian economy is in a fragile condition and said that the country which is growing at a faster rate than any other country in the world cannot be in a fragile state. He also referred to the manufacturing sector as the silver lining.    

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.  

India to Dedicate Super Computer "Bhaskara" to the Nation

Reports say that Union Minister for Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan will dedicate a super computer named “Bhaskara” to the nation on 2 June that is said to have high-resolution regional models for boosting weather forecasting of India. This super computer will help meteorologists to conduct R&D for correctly making weather forecasts including those on cloud burst events, heavy rainfall, and tropical cyclone. A statement of Ministry of Earth Sciences said that Earth System Science Organisation’s High Performance Computing (HPC) facility will have highest “computing power of 1.14 petaflops” after commissioning of “Bhaskara” supercomputer. The statement also said that ESSO-NCMRWF’s HPC facility fructified after acquiring IBM iDataPlex Supercomputer that has highest computing power of 350 teraflops having aggregate memory of 67 terabytes.

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.

Sania Mirza and Leander Paes Advance in French Open with their Respective Partners

Both Sania Mirza and Leander Paes advanced to third round of French Open doubles tournament in Paris. Top seeds in women’s double tournament, Sania Mirza and Switzerland’s Martina Hingis defeated Stephanie Foretz-Amandine Hesse duo in straight sets in the 2nd round match, played in Stade Roland Garros’s Court 3. In the men’s doubles match, Leander Paes and Canada’s Daniel Nestor defeated Andre Begemann-Julian Knowle pair in straight sets 7-6(3), 6-2 in the second round. Eighth seeded mixed partners Leander Paes and Martina Hingis progressed to the 2nd round by humiliating Juan Sebastian Cabal-Alla Kudryavtseva duo 6-2, 6-3. Another Indian Rohan Bopanna progressed to the third round of men’s doubles with Romanian partner Florin Mergea by defeating A. Krajicek-D. Young in the second round match by 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. However, Rohan Bopanna- Yaroslava Shvedova pair crashed out of the mixed doubles in the first round itself.

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.

India Launches Virtual Memorial Wall to Honour Martyred Soldiers

A virtual Memorial Wall has been launched by India to honour soldiers who sacrificed their lives during UN peacekeeping operations. Asoke Mukerji, India's Ambassador to the United Nations, unveiled the virtual wall yesterday at a ceremony to mark International Day of UN Peacekeepers. The wall will have details of the 161 Indian peacekeeping soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the line of action while serving on behalf of 16 UN Peacekeeping Missions under the Blue Flag. Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations will have this virtual wall. Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations recommended construction of the permanent memorial wall, which Special Political and Decolonisation Committee is considering as a part of draft proposals. Reports say that launch of the virtual wall is precursor to the eventual construction of permanent Memorial Wall on UN headquarters’ premises.

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.