Major News and Events of 02 April 2015
What Happened on 02 April 2015
Whatsapp Launches App-to-App Voice Call Facility; Indian Telecom Companies Feel the Heat
NIA Interrogation of 46 NDFB(S) Terrorists Reveal Weapon Source and Route of Transfer to India
Ashok Khemka Transferred for the 45th Time
358 Indians Rescued from War-Torn Yemen Brought Back to India
Sri Lanka says China wants Trilateral Cooperation among India, Sri Lanka and China
Modi stresses on the Need of Overtaking China in Steel Production
Foreign Trade Policy Announced; Targets Doubling Exports to $900 Billion by 2019-2020
ONGC gets Process Patent for Producing Hydrogen from Water to Commercially Produce Clean Energy
Vehicle Sales Growth Improve from Last Financial Year but still Remain Moderate
Aircel-Maxis case: ED attaches Maran's Assets worth Rs 742 crore
Andhra Pradesh chooses 'Amaravati' as the new capital
Sources say that India is all set to bid for hosting Olympics 2024. Media reports say that Thomas Bach, President of International Olympic Committee, is going to officially meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to India in May 2015. Sources say that India has already chalked out a detailed formal plan for hosting the game in Ahmedabad. The main issue of discussion between Bach and Modi during the meet will revolve around hosting Olympic games in India in the year 2024. Reports say that Ajit Mohan Sharan, sports secretary, visited Switzerland’s Lausanne a few days back and held talks with important IOC officials.
Science and Technology
Indian users of WhatsApp now can make voice calls to contacts and friends from upgraded WhatsApp installed in their smartphone, media reports said. The launch of this app-to-app voice call facility has given jitters to the telecom companies as they fear data revenue loss from the Whatsapp voice call facility and other over-the-top (OTT) service providers including Hike, Line, and WeChat. Voice calling feature of Whatsapp has been released in the Indian market at a time when TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is asking for comments on ‘Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services’ consultation paper. As per reports, the last date of submitting comments on the paper is 8 May 2015.
Reports say that successful interrogation of terrorists belonging to National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songibjit) by National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths has revealed their weapon source. It is learnt that Chinese-made weapons are smuggled in South Myanmar by Kachin rebels from China border and then passed on to NSCN(IM) rebels, who then again handover the weapon consignment to NDFB(S) terrorists in Manipur. The weapons thus transferred are used by the NDFB militants to create mayhem in Bodoland area of Assam. Till now, 46 terrorists belonging to NDFB(S) have been arrested for killing 62 civilians in four places of Assam.
Ashok Khemka, whistleblower IAS officer, has been transferred by the newly elected BJP government of Haryana to an inconsequential posting. It is for the 45th time that Khemka has been transferred in his 24 years of service. Ashok Khemka will now be Director General of Archaeology and Museums and Secretary, Archaeology and Museums Department. Khemka blew the lid off Robert Vadra’s controversial multi-million rupee land deals. After assuming power, Manohar Lal Khattar government appointed him Secretary of Transport Department. Ashok Khemka tweeted that he tried to reform some aspects of transport department and make it corruption free. He called the moment painful.
Indian authorities have evacuated 358 Indians from war ravaged Yemen and brought them back to India. Media reports said that while the first batch of 190 rescued Indians landed in Mumbai, 168 people landed in Kochi. With the fast deteriorating situation in Yemen, Indian government has stepped up its rescue mission. Over 3000 Indian nationals are believed to be still stranded there. Indian nationals were first evacuated from Aden to Africa’s Djibouti and then flew back to India. KC Joseph, Rural Development Minister of Kerala, said the rescue of 358 Indians was possible due to the talks between Indian PM Narendra Modi and King of Saudi Arabia Salman as the Yemeni airspace is controlled by Saudi Arabia.
Sri Lanka reiterated Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal of trilateral cooperation among the three countries in addressing the problems of security in the Indian Ocean region. The statement comes at a time when China is progressively increasing participation of China in building mega projects in Sri Lanka. Rauff Hakeem, cabinet minister of Sri Lanka who accompanied President Maithripapa Sirisena on a four-day China visit, said that Chinese President showed interest in solving problems in the Indian Ocean region through trilateral dialogue. Beijing’s trilateral cooperation proposal comes after the fall of Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka, which was accused by India as being soft on China.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after dedicating to the nation the new and modernised Rourkela Steel Plant, said that India still lags behind China even after overtaking USA in terms of steel production. He said that India can’t lag behind any other country when it comes to ‘Make in India’. While addressing a crowd of one lakh people, Narendra Modi said that the Eastern States must grow rapidly just like their Western counterparts. The markets reacted positively to Modi’s speech emphasising on the need of increasing steel production. SAIL price increased by 4 per cent yesterday.
A five-year Foreign Trade Policy was announced by Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The policy intends to double India's exports (goods as well as services) to a whooping $900 billion by 2019-2020, media reports said. The minister said that the policy has been created by aligning it to two core Union Government programmes - Digital India and Make in India - for boosting manufacturing sector, improving business environment, and creating jobs. New incentive schemes (Services Exports from India Scheme and Merchandise Exports from India Scheme) for high potential and labour intensive sectors were also announced to create pathway for reaching the export target of $900 billion by 2019-2020.
ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation), the state owned ‘Navaratna’, announced that the company has received US patent on a process of hydrogen generation. Analysts believe this will open a new vertical for the company where it can generate eco-friendly energy commercially from water. As per ONGC’s statement, the patent was given on ‘Hydrogen Production Method by Multi-step Copper-Chlorine Thermochemical Cycle' to Institute of Chemical Technology (Mumbai) and ONGC Energy Centre. The patented process is an indigenously built closed loop operation for generating hydrogen from water to produce clean source energy. Patent on the process will help ONGC generate energy for commercial purposes.
Data released shows that in the financial year 2014-15 growth of vehicle sales was a moderate 7 per cent, up from 6 per cent a year before. The sales growth of vehicles was 2.15 per cent and 4 per cent respectively during 2012-13 and 2011-12 respectively. Data shows that automobile industry in India in slowly but surely coming back on track. Report say comparatively higher excise duty, tepid consumer sentiment, and low rural sales have dented the overall demand of vehicles. However, sales growth rate remained moderate mainly due to the impetus from new launches.
The Enforcement Directorate has attached Rs. 742.58 crore assets of Dayanidhi Maran (ex-Telecom Minister), Kalanithi Maran (businessman and brother of Dayanidhi Maran), and Kaveri Kalanithi (wife of Kalanithi Maran) during the investigations related to money laundering allegations in Aircel-Maxis deal. The ED order said that the attachments were done following Dayanidhi Maran’s receiving of illegal gratification of Rs. 742.58 crore. Investigation is currently going on under Prevention of Money Laundering Act’s Section 3. Some of the individual assets attached by ED include Dayanidhi Maran’s Fixed Deposits amounting to Rs. 100 crore and Rs. 7.47 crore and Rs. 2.78 crore Mutual Funds held by Kalanithi Maran.
Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, announced yesterday after a cabinet meeting, that the new Andhra Pradesh capital will be named Amaravati. It is named after the historical capital of Satavahana dynasty, which ruled in 2nd century A.D. While making the announcement, the Chief Minister said that the new capital of AP will be created anywhere between Guntur and Vijayawada. He also said that the name ‘Amaravati’ was selected because of the historical significance of the prosperous city. Reports say that the final draft of the new capital, created by experts from Singapore, is going to be submitted in the coming two to three weeks.