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India, Bangladesh witness another Freedom at Midnight after 68 Years

At midnight, India and Bangladesh swapped 164 enclaves, amounting to 24,270.65 acres of land (17,160.63 acres in 111 enclaves going to Bangladesh and 7,110.02 acres in 51 enclaves to India). During the historic exchange programme, 51,000 jubilant residents lit 68 candles and cracked fire crackers to mark freedom from the misery of statelessness after 68 years of independence. While 51 Bangladeshi enclaves have been included in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district, 111 Indian enclaves included in Bangladesh are located in Nilphamari, Kurigram, Panchagarh, and Lalmonirhat districts. Reports say process of shifting people to both sides of the border will be completed by November 30.

Rajnath Singh attacks Congress for coining the word "Hindu Terror"

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh locked horns with Congress by accusing the latter of weakening India’s fight against terror by coining the term “Hindu Terrorism” during previous UPA government’s tenure. He also urged all parties to remain united on the terrorism issue. Rajnath made these statements in Lok Sabha, a day after his speech on Gurdaspur attack issue was shouted down by the opposition parties in Rajya Sabha. Home Minister also accused Congress of using “Hindu terrorism” for shifting direction of investigation. Rajnath also referred to coinage of the concerned words by ex-home minister Sushilkumar Shinde in the parliament in 2013, which was congratulated by the LeT founder Hafiz Saeed.

Government calls All-Party Meeting to break Parliamentary Logjam

Union Government told opposition parties in the parliament that no one will resign at this point of time because of some sweeping allegation. After this statement, parliamentary logjam hardly seems to be over. Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on Lalit Modi controversy and Vyapam scam issues. Though there was a scheduled all party meeting to be held today morning for breaking the Parliamentary logjam, Congress RSVPed saying they will not be able to attend because of their own meeting. While Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till Monday, Lok Sabha has been adjourned finally after incessant disruptions.   

Finance Minister seeks Plan Approval for Providing Rs. 70,000 Crore to Debt-Ridden PSU Banks

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday placed a plan in the parliament for approval of Rs. 70,000 crore to be given to the public sector banks, which are suffering from insurmountable debt due to stacking up of Non Performing Assets (NPAs). A Finance Ministry statement said that according to the plan Rs 25,000 crore will be provided to debt-laden public banks during 2015-16 and 2016-17 each. In fact, a fund of Rs. 20,000 crore will be provided during following fiscal years – 2017-18 and 2018-19. Reports say that the banks that will get Rs. 10,262 crore of the funds include SBI, Bank of Baroda, PNB, BoI, IDBI, and Canara Bank.

Moody's Analytics criticises FSLRC's Draft Proposal of Curbing RBI's Independence to determine Interest Rates

Analytical unit of Moody's Corporation, Moody's Analytics, has strongly criticised Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Council’s revised draft proposal where the latter proposed doing away of veto power of the RBI Governor on interest rate determination (determined by a 7-member committee) and many other controversial ones. As per Moody’s these moves are equivalent to undermining the apex court’s independence of setting key rates. The rating agency’s analytical wing has also backed RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s efforts of restricting inflation within a certain level.  The report says that during Rajan’s on-going tenure inflation has come down from 2-digit figure, followed by improvement in external accounts.

Report says Uber Technologies Inc. Planning to Invest US$ 1 Billion in India

President of Uber India, Amit Jain, said that the company “has grown exponentially in India” and is currently mulling the idea of investing around US$ 1 Billion in the Indian market, especially because of its bullish outlook on India. He also said that India is soon going to become the largest market for Uber, outside the USA. While giving details, Jain said $1 Billion will be invested for expanding their operation in newer cities, improve their operation, and also develop new payment solutions/new products. Uber’s additional investment announcement comes after a Delhi court revoked ban on the company’s operations.   

Road Transport Ministry Introduces draft notification for mass emission standards for vehicles

India moves one step closer to 100 per cent bio-diesel after road transport ministry yesterday introduced a draft notification for mass emission standards for vehicles that will be known by the name "B100" vehicles such as BS-III or BS-IV. Government is mulling the idea of introducing bio-diesel vehicles because they are not only less polluting but also renewable. Reports say with the introduction of bio-diesel, government is trying to reduce its dependence on crude oil import. Test requirement standards for newly manufactured vehicles, having compression ignition engine for using 100 per cent bio-diesel or mixture of it, is also included in the draft notification.  

DRDO planning to Invest Rs. 400 Crore in IIT Bombay and IIT Madras for Aerospace Defence Technology Development

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has planned to pump in Rs. 400 crore funds in IIT Madras as well as IIT Bombay for starting research and development of advanced defence-related aerospace. Reports say unique tripartite MoU signed by the two IITs and DRDO, just a few days back, is currently awaiting approval from Defence Ministry. Ministry is expected to approve the agreement in couple of months. While Rs. 180 crore will be given to IIT Madras and IIT Bombay each for research, Rs. 50 crore to Rs. 60 crore is expected to be given by DRDO to IIT Bombay for development of infrastructure.

Water Resources Minister says Current Initiative of River Ganga cleaning likely to be completed by 2020

Uma Bharti, Union Water Resources Minister, while replying to a Rajya Sabha question said that most of the proposed or initiated projects for Ganga cleaning will be completed by the year 2020. Uma Bharati went on to add that the desired results will be visible after that timeframe. She told that sanctioning of 93 water treatment projects across 55 towns have been already done at a cost of Rs. 7350.38 crore for creating 762 MLD treatment capacities. Bharti added that during 1985-2009, 902 water cleaning projects have been completed and 966 projects. National Ganga River Basin Authority was launched with a renewed vision in 2009.

Golfer Ranveer Saini becomes First Indian to Win Gold at Special Olympics World Games

14-year old autistic Indian golfer Ranveer Singh Saini achieved a historic feat yesterday as he won the first ever gold by any Indian in the Special Olympics World Games. Ranveer won gold in the GF Golf-Level 2 Alternate Shot Team Play event. He achieved the top slot by playing in a world tournament, participated by 21 countries. The Gurgaon-based golfer was diagnosed with autism, a neurological disorder, at the age of two. However, he started playing golf at the age of nine. In fact, Ranveer Singh Saini won two gold medals two years back at Asia Pacific World Games.

Rajat Chauhan in World Archer Championship's Final

Rajat Chauhan reached World Championships of Archery men’s final after defeating Colombia’s Camilo Andres Cardona in the semi-finals with the final score 143-138. In the final match Rajat will face-off with Stephan Hansen of Denmark. Deepika Kumari lost to her Chinese opponent in the 3rd round. Laxmirani Majhi, in the women's individual recurve, defeated China’s Jiaxin Wu and Mexico’s Valencia Alejandra in the pre-quarter and quarter-final matches respectively but lost to Shih-Chia Lin of Chinese Taipei. Laxmirani will now play against South Korea’s Misun Choi for the bronze medal. Mangal Singh Champia secured his individual berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics after entering recurve quarterfinals.     

India to Host Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie against Czech Republic from September 18-20

All India Tennis Association (AITA) has decided to select Delhi as the venue for face-off between India and Czech Republic (top seeds) for Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie. It is learned that the matches will take place from September 18 to 20. Sources say that due to popular demand from the Indian tennis players, AITA has finalised Delhi instead of another shortlisted venue – Pune. It is learnt that the likes of Rohan Bopanna, Yuki Bhambri, and Somdev Devvarman were not willing to play in Pune because of the high altitude factor. The players specifically preferred to play at RK Khanna Tennis stadium of Delhi.

MEA says 2 out of 4 Indians kidnapped by ISIS in Libya Freed

Ministry of External Affairs has said that two (Karnataka’s Vijay Kumar and Laxmikant) out of the four Indians abducted by ISIS militants from Libya’s Sirte town have been released. Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of MEA, said the two released Indian teachers have been brought back to the University of Sirte and MEA is trying for release of Hyderabad’s Gopikrishnan and Balaram. Indian government has not yet called the abduction a hostage situation as no ransom call has been made yet. With US media reports revealing possible attack on India by Islamic State militants, a high-level Union Home Ministry meeting is underway. Multiple state DGPs and home secretaries are attending the meeting.

Dawood aide Chhota Shakeel warns of Consequences of Hanging Yakub Memon

One of the main culprits of 1993 Mumbai serial blast Dawood Ibrahim’s chief henchman, Chhota Shakeel, in an exclusive interview with a national news channel, warned of serious consequences due to the “legal murder” of “innocent” Yakub Memon and said that the D-company condemns it. He also pointed out “betrayal” of the Indian government on the “promises of leniency” made for luring Yakub back to India. Chhota Shakeel also said that the fate of Dawood would have been same as Yakub if the former too came back to India at that time. He also questioned the message that “Indian government sent across” to all who were contemplating surrender.       

ISIS kidnaps 4 Indians in Libya

Reports say four Indian teachers, teaching in a university for the last one year, have been reportedly abducted by ISIS militants in Libya. They were kidnapped from Sirte town near Tripoli. Ministry of External Affairs is currently trying to gather more information. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already been briefed by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on the issue. The kidnapping of Indians took place within hours after publication of a report (32 page document of ISIS, written in Urdu) by US media (accessed by American Media Institute) that ISIS is planning a deadly attack on India for drawing US into it through provocation.