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Tussle between Union Government backed Lt. Governor and Delhi Government escalates as Kejriwal calls Emergency Assembly Session

Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has up its ante against the Lieutenant Governor and Union Government as it called a 2-days emergency session of Delhi assembly on May 26 and May 27. Arvind Kejriwal called this emergency session to discuss on the issue of Home Ministry giving absolute powers of appointing bureaucrats to Lt. General with the option of consulting Chief Minister of Delhi on issues such as public order and police on Najeeb Jung’s discretion. Though Assembly session was originally scheduled to start in June for passing state budget, a cabinet meeting chaired by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal yesterday took the decision of calling the emergency session. When Union Minister Kiren Rijiju was asked about his response, he said that Kejriwal always resorts to “drama” but his government at the centre believes in governance.     

Congress Launches Multi-Pronged Attack on Narendra Modi Government on Eve of its 1st Year Anniversary

Indian National Congress has opened multiple fronts against Narendra Modi government on the eve of the latter’s one year completion in office. Congress called the Union Government as "a one-man government" and referred Modi as “Murder of Democratic India". While presenting Congress’s report card on the works done by the current NDA government at the centre, senior INC leader Jairam Ramesh attacked PM Modi by calling him "Super Gagan Vihari", thereby taking a dig at PM’s frequent foreign visits. National Spokesperson of INC, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, accused the current government of compromising national security by reducing defense sector spending significantly. Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan told media that the decision to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets deal is a non-transparent one as it bypassed defence procurement procedure, especially when inter-governmental agreement with France is absent.

Arun Jaitley holds Press Conference to Mark One Year of Modi Government

During a press conference in Delhi commemorating Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s one year in office, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that his government’s achievements during this period is satisfactory. He went on to add that good governance must be blended with clever politics. Jaitley stressed upon Modi government’s success in delivering transparent and corruption-free governance along with passage of all bills except GST and Land Acquisition bills. He assured to tax corporate profits at competitive rates and implement new national sales tax in future. Jaitley put his faith on judicial procedure for resolving FII’s complaints on unresolved MAT issues. He weighed in favour of simplifying ITR forms. The Minister regarded inflation containment as important positive achievement of Modi government. When asked about Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi's remark on beef, Jaitley said that these kinds of comments will not affect his government’s policies.    

Finance Minister Claims Success in Containing Inflation in Last 1 Year; Kapil Sibal Negates Him as Vegetable Prices Soar

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, during second press conference highlighting success of Narendra Modi government’s one year in office, said that they are successful in bringing inflation within control “to a great extent” in last one year. In comparison to last one decade, overall inflation is at a better situation now, he added. Jaitley emphasized that the factors that led to bringing down WPI and CPI from their peak of 11 per cent include fall in international crude oil and commodity prices, coupled with adequate government measures in the last 1 year to control food inflation. Congress’s Kapil Sibal hit back at Arun Jaitley by claiming that he is naïve of the ground realities on food inflation and questioned whether he has at all visited the market. Sibal claimed that expense of necessary food items including pulses, vegetables, and fruits have soared.

Coal and Power Minister woos Investors at U.S. India Business Council Investment Round-Table

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, chaired USIBC (US India Business Council) investment round-table conference in Washington DC. While addressing the business persons and dignitaries, Goyal said that Narendra Modi led government is not only striving to keep the country corruption free but also creating foundation for ease of doing business. While stressing on the importance given by his government on energy sector and the self imposed target of increasing renewable energy production by five times to 175 GW in coming seven years, he invited businesspersons to participate in the $250 billion power sector opportunity in India. In the conference, he had a telephonic conversation with Ambassador Michael Froman (US Trade Representative) and also met Penny Pritzker (US Commerce Secretary) and Dr Ernest Moniz (US Energy Secretary).

PM headed Cabinet Committee Liberalise FDI Norms for NRIs, OCIs, and PIOs

A Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given nod to liberalization of FDI norms for Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), NRIs, and PIOs. Reports say that this decision has been taken in order to increase flow of capital in India. As per statement of an official spokesperson, approved amendments to FDI policy will bring OCIs and PIOs at same level as NRIs when it comes to education and economy. The spokesperson also said that these amendments are made with the expectation that they will create inflow of greater extent of remittances and investment (construction development, railways, defence, insurance, and medical devices) from OCIs, NRIs, and PIOs.

ISRO all set to Test Aeroplane-shaped Small Reusable Launch Vehicle coming July

Satish Dhawan Space Centre’s Director M.Y.S.Prasad from Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota told media that India is all set to launch its aeroplane-shaped small reusable launch vehicle, Indian Space Research Organisation’s important engineering experiment, during second half of July. ISRO officials have said that the plane-shaped launch vehicle will be mounted on a 9 tonnes fuel-loaded PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket’s strap-on solid booster. It will be separated from the rocket at 70km altitude and will glide back to earth at a descending speed of around 2 km per second. Fins on the machine will be used for controlling descent speed. The official also said that necessary protective tiles have been attached so that it doesn’t catch fire while descending. Official at Thiruvananthapuram’s ISRO unit vouched for the need of modern techniques for detecting faults even before a system failure takes place.

Xiaomi Mi 4i to Go on Sale without Registration Requirement

The Chinese smartphone behemoth Xiaomi has announced that their latest flagship sensation Mi 4i will be available to the customers on Flipkart without having the requirement of registration from 25 May to 26 May. Most importantly, Xiaomi Mi4i will be available to the customers at a price that is Rs. 2000 less than the official price of Rs 12,999. Currently, Xiaomi is offering open sales for Redmi 2 and Redmi Note 4G handsets only. XiaomiMi4i will be their third phone to be sold without registration requirement. This new handset comes with five inch HD display, 441ppi pixel density, 64-bit 2nd Gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal memory, 13MP rear camera, Android Lollipop-based MIUI 6, dual micro-SIM, multiple connectivity options (Wi-Fi Direct, GPS/GLONASS, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, & USB), 3120mAh battery, and other features.

Indian improves Position from 10th to 6th in Publishing Total Number of Scientific Research Papers

Ashutosh Sharma, Department of Science and Technology Secretary, said that India’s rank (regarding publication of total number of scientific research papers in various journals) has improved from 10th to 6th position, a jump of four spots. Sharma made this statement while addressing an audience at a function organised by Research Council UK. While acknowledging the efforts made by Indian scientists in the recent past, Sharma also acknowledged the fact that India still lags behind China by miles. Available data shows that with respect to 1 million people there are just 160 scientists in India, which is abnormally low when compared to China’s 1000 scientists per million population. He went on to say that India has to improve quality and in this quest international collaborations will play an important role.     

Indian Boxers had a Great Day at Doha International Tournament and AIBA Women's Junior World Championships

Indian boxers had a gala day as Indian men boxers at Doha International Tournament bagged 7 medals (4 golds, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals) and junior women boxers bagged 5 medals (3 golds and 2 silvers) on the final day of AIBA Women's Junior World Championships. Gold medals at Doha International Tournament were won by Manoj Kumar, Manish Kaushik, Shiva Thapa, and Devendro Singh in the 64kg, 60kg, 56kg, and 49kg men’s boxing categories respectively. While Gaurav Bidhuri won the silver medal at 52kg category, Mandeep Jangra and Vikas Krishan won bronze medals in the 69kg and 75kg men’s categories. In the AIBA Women's Junior World Championships, the three golds were won by Sakshi, Mandeep Sandhu, and Savita in the 54kg, 52kg, and 50kg respectively. Silver medals were won by Niharika Gonella in 70kg category and Soniya in the 48kg category.

Sports Ministry Requests IPC to Allow Para-Athletes Compete under National Flag despite Ban on National Body

After IPC (International Paralympic Committee) gave permission in Sports Data Management System to Indian para-athletes for participating in the competitions under IPC flag, Sports Ministry has requested IPC to allow the players participate under their own national flag. The Ministry told media that the letter sent from them to IPC CEO Xavier Gonzalez thanked him for his support provided to the para-sports as well as para-athletes despite the fact that the national body of the games in India is banned. The letter also mentions that the para-athletes will be demotivated if they are not allowed to participate in the upcoming games without their national flag. The letter went on to say that in such a case, it will be a huge setback for the Union Government in its quest to promote para-sports in India.   

British Sports Business Magazine names Virat Kohli as 6th Most Marketable Athlete of the World

India’s test cricket captain Virat Kohli has been named by SportsPro, a renowned British sports business magazine, among the top 10 most marketable sportspersons in the world. His rank is 6th in the list. This places 26-year old Virat in the same league as other world-renowned athletes including sprinter Usain Bolt and football sensations Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar. Another Indian who made it to the top 50 most marketable person list is Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal. She secured 44th rank.  The only cricketer who made it to this list is Australia’s Steven Smith, whose rank is 45th, one behind Saina. Factors on which the athletes’ marketability are judged include charisma, home market, age, crossover appeal, and willingness to be marketed.

NSA Ajit Doval calls Bangladesh Most Important Neighbour of India before PM's Visit to the Country Next Month

Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser, told audience at Sixth India Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue’s concluding session that India and Bangladesh must exploit full potential of bilateral cooperation and went on to regard Bangladesh as most important neighbor of India. The statement comes days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Bangladesh in coming June. He also credited Modi for ratifying long pending Land Boundary Agreement between the two countries recently. Doval expressed satisfaction in the fact that the two countries now have a clearly demarcated border, both in terms of land and maritime. NSA went on to say that India is proud to have a neighbour like Bangladesh that is fully responsive to the security sensitivities (both counterfeit currency and insurgency) of India.  

PM chaired Panel Meeting fails to Appoint CVC and CIC; Final Decision on Meeting in June

The selection committees, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, met today at PM’s residence to appoint the heads of the Chief Vigilance Commission and Chief Information Commission, the key positions that are currently lying vacant for last several months. The decision to fill up the important posts comes after INC President Sonia Gandhi accused Modi government of keeping the CIC post vacant to weaken RTI Act and thereby compromise on containing corruption. The selection committee panel includes Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, MoS PMO Jitendra Singh, and others. Reports say that 12 people have been shortlisted from 530 applications. However, the selection committees failed to select chiefs for the important positions. Sources say that the final decision will be taken in a meeting to be held in first week of June.    

Home Ministry backs Lt Governor of Delhi on Posting and Transfer of Officers

The Home Ministry has issued a gazette notification that favours Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s moves done in the last few days and said that the constitutional post has primacy in both transferring and posting officers. While specifying jurisdiction of Delhi L-G on multiple areas including police, public order, services, and land, the notifications also detailed Jung’s powers as well as roles. Central government also said that it is not mandatory for L-G to consult input of CM while appointing key bureaucrats. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal hit back at centre and accused them of betraying people of Delhi by favouring Jung. Kejriwal also accused Union Government of trying to control Delhi Assembly by proxy through Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, in spite of the fact that they have just three BJP MLAs.