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Opposition Parties up Ante against PM Modi on Lalit Modi Fiasco

Opposition parties, including Congress, Left, Aam Aadmi Party, and others, have upped their ante against Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he skipped the Lalit Modi controversy issue completely from his AIR’s “Mann ki Baat” programme. Congress warned PM that evading the contentious issue of Sushma Swaraj’s and Vasundhara Raje’s involvement in Lalit Modi controversy will continue to haunt him. AAP leader Ashish Khetan said that the situation is becoming murkier with the silence of PM Modi on the issue. Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad took potshot at PM Modi by asking why he is silent on the matter when he criticised ex-PM Manmohan Singh for remaining silent. Meanwhile Left and Congress both criticised MEA, Sushma Swaraj’s office, for not furnishing answers on a RTI application on Lalit Modi. Govindacharya, RSS ideologue, opined that both Sushma and Vasundhara, should quit as common people consider them guilty.  

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha to Launch Chennai Rail Metro Today

Chennai Metro’s first phase was launched today by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa through video conferencing. Each metro will have four coaches, where maximum capacity of every coach will be 1276 passengers. The total stretch the metro will cover is 10 kms, right from South Chennai’s Alandur to North Chennai’s Koyabedu. It will take the metro 18 minutes to cover the entire stretch, which will include seven stations. Chennai Metro Rail’s Phase-1 will include two corridors, covering a stretch in Chennai of 45 kms, and it will cost the Tamil Nadu government Rs. 16,500 crore. Design of the two corridors will be half underground and the rest elevated. While corridor 1 will run from airport to Washermanpet , corridor 2 will be from St. Thomas Mount to Chennai Central. Reports say that the corridor 2 will be complete by year-end.               

Central Information Commission asks MHA to make Public Mahatma Gandhi's Assassination FIR and Chargesheet

Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to make the chargesheet as well as FIR, done by Delhi Police, on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination public. CIC passed the order after a person from Odhisa, Hemanta Panda, sought copy of the same. He also asked for other information such as post-mortem examination, if any, as required by the law in case of assassinations. After CIC’s directive, MHA has passed on Hemanta Panda’s application to National Archives of India, Darshan Samiti, and Gandhi Smriti. Reports say that both Darshan Samiti and Gandhi Smriti have told Panda that no post mortem was conducted on Mahatma Gandhi’s body after assassination on request from his family. Sharat Sabharwal, Information Commissioner, said that the RTI petitioner sought information from Home ministry directly and that’s why MHA’s CPIO has been asked to carry out another search for the FIR and chargesheet.    

Report says Rs. 13,500 worth Projects in Highway Sector Either Awarded or in Final Stage of Awarding in FY16

Reports say that Narendra Modi government has given utmost focus on highway development projects in 2016 financial year, which is evident from the extent (Rs. 13,500 crore) of projects awarded or in the final phase of awarding under Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. It has more than doubled from 2014-15’s Rs. 6,300 crore worth projects awarded and just two projects in 2013-14 fiscal. An official said that private developers shied away from PPP projects due to regulatory hurdles, ceiling to sectoral exposure by banks, equity crunch, and over-leveraged financials. The official also said that renewed focus of the government on PPP model in infrastructure/highway projects and continued efforts of boosting the sector has revived interest of private developers. He went on to add that government is currently trying to do away with NHAI’s lack of land acquisition and inadequate preparation for projects.

RBI Clears Air on Governor Raghuram Rajan's Comment on Great Depression-like Situation

Reserve Bank of India issued a statement saying that Governor Raghuram Rajan, while making a comment on Great Depression like situation didn’t mean that there is a prevailing risk of the world economy to slip into a Great Depression like situation. The apex bank said that the Great Depression of 1930s was caused by multiple factors and not by beggar-thy-neighbour policies only. However, there are many central banks across the world now following policies that is increasing their risk of slipping into a beggar-thy-neighbour like situation, which was witnessed during the 1930s. In the statement RBI categorically mentioned that global economy is currently in a steady recovery mode with uncertainties prevailing in Euro area, which may slip into a Great Depression like situation. In the statement, RBI also mentioned that the remarks made by Rajan at London Business School’s AQR conference on 25 June were mischaracterized by media.

Sensex tanks over 600 Points Today with Deepening Greece Crisis

With the looming risk of Greece default this week, Indian bourses are witnessing bloodbath today. 30-stock benchmark BSE Sensex today opened 450 points below previous close. At 11.45am IST, Sensex was trading at 27,276.26 (down by 535.58 points or 1.93 per cent) and hit a low of 27,209.19 (down by 602.65 points). CNX Nifty was also down by 163.85 points and was trading at 8217.25 points at 11.50am IST. In comparison to previous close, the low at around 11.50am was 8,195.65, which is 185.45 points lower. Lows of both Sensex and Nifty today were lower than their 30 days simple moving average, analysts point out. Reports say that Greece failed to reach a deal with IMF in settling its $1.8 billion debt and is expected to default by tomorrow day-end. A referendum has been called by Greece on 5 July for deciding on proposed cash-for-reforms terms by the creditors.

Delhi Government announces Free Wi-Fi in Delhi Colleges and 300 Villages by End of Year

Reports say that AAP-led Delhi Government has allocated Rs. 50 crore for providing free Wi-Fi facility to around three hundred villages as well as all colleges under Delhi University in the first phase, which ends by 2015-16. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia told media that he expects the first phase to be completed well before schedule. He added that the government portals can be accessed by public free of cost and all the time. Limited access will be given in case of certain web content. However, Sisodia was also quick to add that for browsing entertainment and personal content, they are contemplating the idea of limiting the access. Delhi government’s IT department is in the process of setting up several hotspots. Officials of the department say that the Delhi government wants to set up around 50,000 to 80,000 hotspots across Delhi by end of the project.  

Union Government expects "Billions of Dollars" of Investment Commitments during "Digital India Week"

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union IT and Telecom Minister, said that government is expecting billions of dollars of investment during Digital India Week, to start on July 1. While announcing the enormous scale of events to be held throughout India during launch of the coveted event by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that events will be held in 600 districts all across India, spread over 36 states and Union Territories (UTs). “Digital India” initiative hopes to deliver digital services to every Indian citizen and at the same time raise awareness about digital services, gadgets, and media. Reports say that the July 1 event will be attended by ten thousand guests. Prasad also said that by 2019, Digital India will ensure broadband connectivity to all Panchayats, Wi-Fi Hotspots in major public spaces including travel destinations, and Wi-Fi in schools as well as universities.

ISRO Chief says Launch Time of SAARC Satellite Finalised

Kiran Kumar, Chief of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told the media that the dedicated satellite for SAARC nations will be launched in December 2016. This satellite will weigh 2 tonnes and will come with 12 Ku band transponders. Each transponder is meant for the different constituent countries of SAARC region and will help in providing wide array of services including disaster monitoring, tele-medicine, education, communication, and other need based services. Reports say that ISRO will need 18 months time to build the coveted satellite, from the time Modi government approves the same. The spacecraft carrying SAARC satellite will be launched from Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota spaceport. ISRO chief also said that they have plan of creating SAARC space consortium on the lines of European space consortium for setting up space programmes to meet specific needs of the SAARC countries such as tele-connectivity and direct-to-home (DTH) link.

Ashwini Ponnappa-Jwala Gutta Pair wins Canada Open Women's Doubles Title

The ace Indian shuttler duo Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta won the Canada Open 2015 convincingly by defeating Eefge Muskens-Selena Piek pair from Netherlands in straight sets 21-19, 21-16. The first game started on a tensed mode as the pair from Netherlands kept on the fight till the end but lost the game as Ponnappa-Gutta pair were successful in keeping their nerves. In the second game the Indian shuttlers put up an early lead of 5-0 and increased it further to 15-6. However, Eefge Muskens-Selena Piek duo bounced back well and won 9 consecutive points to tie the game at 15-15. This is when the Indian duo got hold of the match and conceded just one point to win the game 21-16. Ashwini Ponnappa told media that this win is a great boost for them, especially before the world championship.

ICC Acknowledges Receiving Lalit Modi's mail on International Players who received Rs 60 crore Gifts

ICC (International Cricket Council) has confirmed that David Richardson, chief of ICC, received a letter back in June 2013 from ex-IPL chief Lalit Modi where the latter claimed that three international cricketers (among which two are Indians) received lavish gifts, amounting to Rs. 60 crore from a Mumbai-based builder. The response comes just days after Lalit Modi claimed through a Twitter post that Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, and Dwayne Bravo are in close contact with HDIL’s Baba Diwan, a real estate business tycoon. He went on say that his reliable sources have informed him that Diwan paid these three international cricketers Rs 20 crore each, either in terms of cash or kind (i.e. flats). ICC spokesperson told media that the confidential mail sent by LaMo in June 2013 has been forwarded to ACSU and they in turn handled it as per standard operating procedures.

BCCI Confirms Selection Committee Meeting Tomorrow to pick Indian Squad for Zimbabwe Tour

BCCI has given a clear hint that they are going to carry on their Zimbabwe tour, inspite of the previous cancellation announcement, by confirming that they are all set to hold on a crucial meeting tomorrow to pick-up the cricket squad for Zimbabwe tour. Reports say that BCCI’s All-India Senior Selection Committee meeting will take place at Delhi’s Hotel ITC Maurya on June 29 at 11am IST for cricket team selection. The Zimbabwe tour will start on July 10, 2015 and will have three ODIs followed by two T20 Internationals. During tomorrow’s meeting, the selection committee will also finalise India 'A' team for the tri-series (to be held in Chennai and Wayanad, starting from July 19) to be played against Australia 'A' and South Africa 'A'. Selected team will be announced by BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur and Sandeep Patil (Chairman of Selectors) after tomorrow’s meeting.  

Met Department Predicts less than Normal Rainfall during coming July and August

The meteorological department has said that it expects a below normal rainfall during July and August of 2015. Accordingly, agricultural ministry has been asked by the India Meteorological Department to ready its contingency plan. Director General of IMD, Laxman Singh Rathore, has said that rainfall for July’15 and August’15 will be 8 per cent and 10 per cent lesser than normal. Rathore has also said that India should not be complacent about having a good rainfall during ongoing month of June, which was 19 per cent in excess than normal till yesterday. Accuweather, a renowned weather website, has also observed that monsoon’s weak phase will continue till mid-July 2015 as El Nino effect takes hold. However, world renowned weather forecaster yet again forecasted a normal monsoon both in July’15 and August’15, with 104 per cent and 99 per cent rainfall respectively.

PFRDA says Atal Pension Scheme lacks Tax Treatment

Pension fund regulator of India, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), has said that there lacks clarity in the taxation issues related to Atal Pension Yojana (APY), announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When inquired, many subscribers also said that they don’t have any idea on the tax issue on this as the banks were not able to provide taxation details on the same. B S Bhandari, whole time member of PFRDA, said that the taxation aspects are not clear for APY but went on to add that he understands it to be in accordance with existing National Pension Scheme (NPS). NPS is expected to become an Exempt Exempt Tax (EET) product but currently tax is levied upon the amount of money during maturity. Currently, APY has got around 3 lakh subscribers, which government expects to swell to 2 crore subscribers.   

Advani talks about his Resignation after Hawala Scam Allegation to give BJP a Message to Maintain Probity in Public Life

BJP patriarch LK Advani said that politicians should maintain probity in public life and went on to give his own life’s example to stress on it. The saffron party veteran said that during infamous Hawala scam his name got entangled (due to Hawala broker SK Jain’s entires in the diary mentioning Advani’s name) and for maintaining probity in public life he resigned as MP in 1996. To stress upon advantages of transparent politics and corruption free image, Advani said that he got reelected as MP in 1998, once his name got cleared by CBI from any kind of involvement in the Hawala scam. The BJP patriarch went on to add that morality demands following of “rajdharma” by the politicians for commanding trust of people. The comment comes at a time when BJP is in a dilemma on Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje regarding Lalit Modi controversy.