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Union Minister Uma Bharti Expresses Fear on Rising Death Toll in Vyapam Case

After Union Minister Uma Bharati expressed her fear about the mounting death toll of persons related to or investigating Madhya Pradesh’s Vyapam scam, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has agreed for CBI inquiry in the issue. Chauhan has said that he will request HC to recommend CBI investigation in the matter. Uma Bharati yesterday said that a panic kind of situation is prevailing in MP due to increasing death toll and went on to add that she is scared for people related to her, even after being a minister. She had yesterday told media of talking to Chouhan and conveying her fear on the matter. Supreme Court has agreed to hear 4 petitions filed by Congress leader Digvijay Singh, whistleblower Anand Rai, and others that sought CBI probe on Vyapam scam. Hearing will take place on July 9.

PM Modi signs Three Pacts with Uzbekistan to Boost Cooperation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his first stopover – Uzbekistan – discussed the current Afghanistan situation with Uzbek President Islam Karimov. PM Modi also discussed major bilateral issues with Karimov and signed three important pacts including enhanced cooperation in tourism, culture, and foreign offices. Reports say that the two leaders also discussed about enhancing energy, economic, and strategic partnership between the two countries. While meeting Indologists at an event in Tashkent, PM Modi said that importance of Hindi language is going to increase with rapid increase in the economic prosperity of India. He also released first Uzbek-Hindi dictionary in the event. Indian PM referred to his Uzbekistan visit as “memorable”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Kazakhstan today and held discussion with his counterpart Karim Massimov. Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of external affairs ministry, said that both the leaders of India and Kazakhstan exchanged views on the bilateral relationship.

BJP President Amit Shah Restructures Party Set Up with Key Roles Assigned to Confidants

A major restructuring has been done by National President of BJP, Amit Shah, in the party and important roles have been assigned by him to his confidants such as M J Akbar, Kailash Vijayvargiya, and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe. 18 new departments have been set up by BJP so that the party can better handle media relations, improve coordination with different states on central and state governments, and enhance good governance. Shah had diluted different organisation cells a few months back. Some of the important names who figured in these departments include BJP vice President Sahasrabuddhe, Raj Shekhar, Mahesh Giri, and Sidharth Nath Singh. However, analysts say that BJP President has decided to constitute new departments for toning up media presence of the party in order to counter the incessant volleys of attacks by the opposition political parties. Election Management department will be seen by General Secretary of BJP, Bhupendra Yadav.

Government to Launch "Perspective Transmission Plan for 20 Years"

Narendra Modi government is all set to shift its focus to power transmission by launching a 20 years long power transmission programme named “Perspective Transmission Plan for 20 Years” soon. Currently, the plan has been circulated to all stake holders as well as states for their feedback. In the Thirteenth Plan, the total investment envisaged is Rs. 2.6 lakh crore, out of which Rs. 1 lakh crore is expected to be invested by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) and the rest Rs. 1.6 lakh crore investment by states. In a programme, Piyush Goyal (Minister for Coal, Power and Renewable Energy) said that through tariff-based competitive bidding (TBCB) Rs. 1 lakh crore worth transmission projects will be outbid in the next 6 months. Reports say that the current status of the transmission network is 37,140 Ckm but is expected to be increased to 3,60,000 circuit kilometres by 2017.

Finance Minister takes jibe at Economists and Commentators on Impact of Greece's Fallout on Indian Stock Market

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took jibe at economists and commentators for wrongly predicting bloodbath in the Indian bourses on Monday following an overwhelming “No” vote by the Greeks that increased Greece’s prospect of leaving the Eurozone. Though the panic was witnessed in the Indian markets in the first half, Indian bourses pulled up effectively to close in the green. Jairley also said once the panic in the market was gone the market bounced back and the analysis of the commentators also changed dramatically. Jaitley took pot shot at the economists by saying that they have been predicting price of crude oil in the international market for quite sometime now. He said in a lighter vein that "astrology is getting credibility" even. Finance Minister made these comments while inaugurating Meghnad Desai’s book named “Hubris - Why Economists Failed to Predict the Crisis and How to Avoid the Next One”.

RBI in Talks with Government for Resetting Investment Limit of FIIs in Government Bonds in Rupee Terms

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that they are currently discussing with the union government of resetting investment limit of foreign institutional investors in government bonds in terms of rupee. H R Khan, Deputy Governor of the apex bank, said that this kind of discussion is nothing unusual and is a continuous process between them and the government. Khan made the comment while replying to a media question whether RBI is mulling the idea to set investment limit in gilts in rupee terms. Reports say that the current investment limit of FIIs is $30 billion, out of which $5 billion is meant solely for the long term investors. Rajiv Mehrishi, Finance Secretary, has said that ideally FII investment limit must be done in rupee terms but the final decision taking responsibility rests with the apex bank. Calculation in rupee term is expected to increase foreign currency inflow.   

Science and Technology Minister urges Scientific Community to Re-Focus on meeting National Goals

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Science, while inaugurating 2-days Conclave of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) in Hyderabad, asked scientific community to refocus their scientific pursuit to achieve the three main dreams of Digital India, clean India, and healthy India. He went on to say that this enclave will help the scientific community to introspect how their efforts can be channelised for the betterment of human society by converting knowledge to solutions. Some of the organisations and important persons who are participating in this Government of India sponsored event include DST’s National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation and Programme Divisions, Secretary of DST, Directors/Heads of Statutory Bodies, twenty one autonomous institutions, and many more. The minister also asked the institutions and dignitaries present in the conclave to give their valuable vision and inputs for application of S&T based interventions.     

Huawei Honor 6 Price Reduced by Rs. 3,000

Huawei has slashed price of its Honor 6 smartphone by Rs. 3,000, right from Rs. 19,999 to Rs. 16,999. This smartphone can be bought exclusively from Flipkart, exclusive online retail partner of Huawei. Though Honor 6 was launched globally in June 2014, in India it was launched in September 2014. Even after 10 months of launch, Huawei is selling this Honor brand smartphone through online-only sales model. This is the only handset of the company that runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system and also comes with Huawei’s Emotion UI 2.3. This smartphone comes with 5-inch JDI full-HD in-cell screen where the resolution is 1080 x 1920 pixels and 445ppi pixel density. Some of the essential hardware specifications of this mobile are octa-core Hi Silicon Kirin 920 processor, 3GB RAM, and Mali T628 GPU. Huawei Honor 6 comes with 13MP rear and 5MP front facing camera.

Department of Telecommunications' R&D Institute C-DOT Launches 4 Broadband Products

C-DOT, department of telecommunications’ R&D institute, has launched 4 broadband products that are expected to fast forward Digital India initiative. IT and Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched 4 broadband services, as Digital India week’s part, today that includes C-DOT’s Next Generation Network (NGN) in MTNL network, 100 Gbps optical fibre cable (OFC) link, solar-powered Wi-Fi system, and long distance Wi-Fi system. During launch, Prasad exhorted C-DOT for bringing out more Innovative Savvy Products so that they can be used by more persons including private sector entities. Telecom minister has also directed the concerned R&D institute for ensuring Digital literacy in respective local languages. Prasad also said that his government has the commitment of bringing all 2.5 lakh villages in India under broadband services so that they can increase internet penetration in India by 200 million (from 300 million to 500 million) in coming two and half years.

Sania-Hingis Duo March ahead to Quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2015

The Indo-Swiss tennis pair Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis reached women's doubles quarterfinals of Wimbledon by defeating Spanish duo Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja (16th seeds) in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 in the third round tie. The match was played at All-England Club’s Court 6 grass court. It took the World No.1 Sania-Hingis combine 1 hour and 7 minutes to win the game. In the men’s doubles match, India's Rohan Bopanna and his Romanian partner Florin Mergea had to play a 3 hours and 20 minutes match to secure win over the Belarusian-Polish pair Max Mirnyi and Lukasz Kubot. The final result in favour of the Indo-Romanian pair was 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (75), 7-6 (10-8). However, Leander Paes and his Canadian partner Daniel Nestor lost to Alexander Peya-Bruno Soares pair 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6.        

Indian Men's Hockey Team finishes Fourth after losing 1-5 to Great Britain

Locking horns with Great Britain at semi final match of World Hockey League, Indian men’s hockey team crumbled and had to settle with 4th position. India was humiliated by Great Britain by 1-5 score. It is the biggest win of Great Britain over India in any international match. With repeated counter attack by the British hockey team, Indian defence was in disarray, faltering on penalty corners twice. The players who netted the ball for Great Britain are Alastair Brogdon (at 11th minute), Chris Griffiths (at 27th minute), Ashley Jackson (at 37th minute), Adam Dixon (at 42nd minute), and skipper Barry Middleton (at 44th minute). India was able to score their single goal at 59th minute of the game when Rupinder Pal Singh converted a penalty corner into a goal. In spite of the loss India qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics.    

Indian Women's Hockey Team finishes 5th in Hockey World League, Keeps Alive Rio Olympics 2016 Hope

Indian Women's Hockey team beat Japan 1-0 and finished 5th in the Hockey World League 2015. With this win India keeps alive the chances of getting selected to Rio Olympics. The only goal in the match was scored by Rani Rampal at 13th minute of the game, played at Brasschaat Municipal Park at Belgium’s Antwerp. Indian goalkeeper Savita saved 4 penalty corners of Japan, providing India a 1-0 win. Reports say that FIH, governing body of World hockey, conducts two semi final matches that secure berth for three teams to Rio Olympics 2016. Winners of 5 continental games (2015 Oceania Cup, 2015 African Qualifying Tournament, 2015 EuroHockey Nations Championship, 2015 Pan American Games, and 2014 Asian Games) will also secure their berths at Rio. The teams, those are likely to get qualified for Rio, include 6 teams of HWL 2015, 5 continental champions, and most probably hosts Brazil.

Amartya Sen questions Modi government's Interference in Academia

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said that he has been ousted by the Narendra Modi government from Chancellor’s position of Nalanda University. He also said his removal is not an isolated event but one of the incidents in a bigger plan, by which the Union Government is trying to get direct control of national academia. He also called government interference in academia as “extraordinarily large”. Sen, while talking to media, said that the economic performance of the country is bad and he is quite worried about the composition of the budget because allocation for education and health has been slashed. He went on to remind the government that a country having “uneducated and unhealthy labour force” can never achieve the goal of becoming an industrial giant. The noble laureate pointed out that NBR and ICCR appointed people either close to the government or those who believe in RSS ideology.

ED Summons Lalit Modi for Questioning on Money Laundering Accusations

Lalit Modi, former chief of IPL, has been asked by the Enforcement Directorate to appear within three weeks for questioning on the allegations leveled against him in connection to money laundering. Reports say that Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) empowers concerned authorities to issue an international arrest warrant (popularly called “red corner notice”) against Lalit Modi. Sources say that Enforcement Directorate is mulling the idea of issuing such a notice against LaMo and the process has already started, which is expected to be completed in the coming two weeks time. When Lalit Modi was contacted, he denied receiving any summons from ED. In a tweet LaMo claimed that he doesn’t care if any notices are issued against him and went on to say that he is happy exposing.  Lalit Modi went on to add that to get any response ED has to issue summon to him in London.

Nepal's Maoist Chief Prachanda to Visit India Next Week on invitation of Indian Government

At the invitation of Government of India, Chairman of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal (popularly known as 'Prachanda') is all set to visit India next week, from 14 July to 18 July. The visit is scheduled at a time when Nepal is approaching finalisation of a constitution that has the prospect to end years of political bickering between Maoists and other mainstream political parties. Prachanda’s India visit is seen by political analysts as a huge stride towards Indo-Nepal bonhomie because of softening approach of Prachanda towards India. Maoist supremo earlier accused India of interfering with their domestic matters as well as dictate terms to Nepal’s leadership. As per available reports, four main political parties of Nepal - CPN-UML, Nepali Congress, UCPN-Maoist, and Madhesi Peoples Forum Democratic – have reached a 16 point deal for settling contentious issues towards drafting of constitution.