Major News and Events of 01 May 2015
What Happened on 01 May 2015
Political Storm in Punjab after Minor Girl Molested in Bus Belonging to Badal Family
Wrestler Sushil Kumar Lauds Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme of Union Government
India to Launch six more Satellites in 2015-16
Micromax Canvas LapTab to be Available through Amazon India at Rs. 14,999 from 6 May
NTI gives India Poor Rating on Nuclear Security
Top three Indian IT Giants on a Hiring Spree in 2014-15
Decline of Cumulative Core Sector Growth Rate in March 2015 Raises Fear of Disappointing IIP March Figure
USA's Special 301 Report names India as one of the 13 Trade Partners who Failed to Protect IPR Issues
Indian Government rejects US Report on Religious Freedom
PM to Launch Three Social Security Schemes
Finance Bill 2015 Passed in Lok Sabha
On International Labour Day today, Vice President of Congress Rahul Gandhi paid tribute to the workers and peasants by saying that India was built by “hard work, sweat and tears” of millions of workers. While vouching for inclusive growth, Gandhi scion said that a nation can never prosper if the toiling mass is not made a part of a country’s “prosperity and success”. A resurgent Rahul went on to vouch for decent quality of life and dignity of labour for all the workers who work in the fields, construction sites, mines, factories and other parts of India. Rahul Gandhi concluded the speech by saying that every citizen of India should be able to work with “dignity and honour”.
Four persons, including the helper, conductor, and driver of a bus have been arrested by Punjab Police, a day after a 13-year old girl was first molested and then thrown out of a moving bus on Moga-Kotkapura road, leading to her death. The incident kicked off a political storm as the bus belonged to Orbit Aviation Pvt Ltd, which is co-owned by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. Questioning of the owners on the alleged incident has been ruled out by Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini. Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, assured that law will take its own course and called the incident “very unfortunate and sad”.
Ace Indian wrestler and Olympics medal winner Sushil Kumar said that medal tally of India can only increase when more facilities are provided to the players. He applauded the recent sports ministry’s initiative of providing targeted facilities to selected medal hopefuls during 2016 Rio Olympics through Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme. Sushil Kumar also said that this scheme will help India increase its medal tally in the coming Olympics tournament. He also expressed his anguish by saying that the Indian players winning just four or five medals is not good for a country as a big as India.
Science and Technology
Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh told upper house of the parliament in a written reply that during the ongoing financial year, India is going to launch six more satellites - 1 ASTROSAT space science satellite, two communication satellites (GSAT-15 and GSAT-6), and three navigation satellites (IRNSS-1G, IRNSS-1F, and IRNSS-1E). The written reply also states that Indian Space Research Organisation is all set to launch thirteen satellites belonging to four other countries by using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) of India. Jitendra Singh also said that 74 satellites have been launched by ISRO till April 2015.
Science and Technology
Indigenous gadget sensation Micromax has entered the PC segment by unveiling its Windows-based Personal Computer that converts into a laptop by simply attaching a keyboard dock. The device is called Micromax Canvas LapTab and is priced at Rs 14,999. It will be available to customers in India solely through Amazon India from 6 May 2015. Reports say that this device is powered by Intel Atom Z3735F processor with adequate support from RAM of 2GB. Canvas LapTab runs on Windows 8.1 (with guaranteed upgrade to Windows 10) and comes with a WXGA IPS display of 10.1 inches. It has a battery life of 10 hours.
A Washington-based non-profit organisation named Nuclear Threat Initiative has given poor rating to the Indian nuclear installations’ security implementations, just ahead of the start of the crucial Nuclear Suppliers Group’s annual plenary session where India is expecting discussions on its membership in NSG. The NTI report claims that security aspects of India’s nuclear installations are "poor and not up to the mark". However, India has questioned the concerned report and claimed that field reports by Indian government officials in nuclear facilities located in France, Japan, and UK confirm that best security practices are followed in the nuclear facilities in India.
With improving economic condition of the United States of America, leading IT companies have again started to add jobs, recent reports show. In comparison to 2013-14 fiscal, top 3 IT companies (Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and Wipro) have added 67 per cent new jobs. The cumulative total jobs added by these three IT behemoths in FY 2014-15 is 47,138 in comparison to 2013-14’s 28,226 jobs. During last financial year, the new jobs added by TCS, Infosys, and Wipro are 19,192, 15,782, and 12,164 jobs respectively. Though TCS added most number of jobs in the last fiscal, the net addition of employees by the firm in 2014-15 in last three years is the slowest.
Official data published yesterday showed that output of eight core sectors declined by 0.1 per cent in the month of March 2015. This decline is a matter of concern as it is the first ever decrease in 17 months period. Worst performer among the core sectors is the output of cement, which dipped by 4.2 per cent in March. Cumulative production growth in 8 core industries including steel, electricity, fertilisers, natural gas, refinery products, crude oil, coal, electricity, and cement declined from 2013-14’s 4.2 per cent to 3.5 per cent in 2014-15. Another grave concern for the policy makers is the consistent fall in monthly core sector growth rate in December 2014 (2.4 per cent), January 2015 (1.8 per cent), and February 2015 (1.4 per cent).
United States of America has put India along with many of its other trading partners including China in its Priority Watch List as US feels these countries are failing to protect IPR or Intellectual Property Right issues, which in turn is hurting the economy. US Trade Representative from Commerce Department in its annual Special 301 Report said that their Priority Watch List now contains 13 countries in comparison to 10 trading partners in the last report and the three new countries are Kuwait, Ukraine, and Ecuador. The report also said that it is not announcing another Out of Cycle Review for India but in the coming months they are going to monitor progress.
US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2015 annual report observed that people belonging to minority communities are subjected to forced conversions and violent attacks, especially after NDA government assumed power at the centre in India. The report also urged US President Barack Obama administration to press Indian administration to take proper steps in boosting standard of religious freedom in India. However, India didn’t take these criticisms lightly. Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of External Affairs, said that they have taken note of the judgement passed by USCIRF on religious freedom in India and went on to say that they take “no cognisance of the report” as the same is prepared from limited understanding of Indian society, constitution, and overall India.
A Finance Ministry statement reveals that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch three crucial social security schemes (Atal Pension Yojana (APY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)) in Kolkata on 9 May 2015. APY will address the income security needs of old age people (fixed minimum per month pension of Rs 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 or Rs 5000). All savings bank account holders in the 18-50 years age bracket can avail one year accidental death-cum-disability cover of Rs two lakh by paying premium of Rs 12 per annum under PMSBY. By paying Rs 330 per annum premium, a savings bank account holder can get Rs two lakh life cover under PMJJBY.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Finance Bill 2015 in the lower house of the parliament yesterday. It was latter passed with a voice vote. This bill is important for the Narendra Modi government because it consists of tax recommendations of the government for the 2015-16 fiscal. While speaking on the bill, Jaitley clarified some of the contentious issues such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) levied on FIIs, revised Income Tax Return (ITR) forms, and growth projection of the country. Finance Minister also said that foreign investors will not get relief for past liabilities but exempt from Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on capital gains will be provided.