Major News and Events of 04 February 2015
What Happened on 04 February 2015
January's Services PMI Improves to 52.4
PM NaMo Meets FIIs
Vodafone Group CEO Shares Big Plans for India
Air Arabia Views India as Opportune Investment Destination
Micromax Becomes Largest Smartphone Company of India during Oct-Dec Quarter
Political Potpourri from Delhi Assembly Election
Delhi Poll Pitch Increases with Soaring AAP-BJP Tussle
Nitish Likely To Become Bihar CM Again
White House Sees India as Economic Growth and Stability Provider in the Region
Haj Agreement 2015 Signed Between India and Saudi Arabia
Aib Organisers Remove Controversial Videos after Inquiry Warning Of Maharashtra Government
World Cup match between arch rivals India and Pakistan, to be played in Australia’s Adelaide on February 15, is going to be spiced up by commentary from Padma Bhushan awardee and veteran legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan. Per available information, the initiative is a part of the promotional activity of R Balki-directed film Shamitabh. While commenting on the flash sale (within 20 minutes) of the coveted Pool B India-Pak match, controversial former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar said that match between the arch rivals is more than winning the World Cup.
HSBC Services Purchasing Managers’ Index has increased in the month of January 2015 to 52.4 from December 2014’s 51.1. PMI above 50 denotes growth and services PMI is witnessing growth since May 2014. Another parameter measuring economic demand, business sub-index, has also increased from 51.8 in December 2014 to 52.4 in January 2015. HSBC’s Chief India economist, Pranjul Bhandari, told press that business sentiment has improved markedly in January as it increased to a 7-month high level. PMI data of services show that cost of input has indeed increased in January 2015 at a faster rate but the firms transferred the burden of increased cost to the customers by raising price.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met foreign institutional investors (including representatives of Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, and KKR) in a meeting organised by BlackRock, a day after meeting CEOs of various MNCs. In this meeting, Jaitley sought suggestions of FIIs before placing his Union Budget 2015-16 within few days. FIIs univocally pressed for their demand of deferring proposed GAAR or General Anti Avoidance Rules roll out in April. Other issues discussed include boosting 'ease of doing business', clarity on royalty payments for IT firms, and others. SEBI Chairman U K Sinha and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan also participated in the meeting.
Vodafone India, Indian arm of UK-based Telecom major, said that the company has planned to build an inclusive business model for making easy mobile payment. They have also applied for license of payment bank. After meeting Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union IT and Communications minister, Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said that his company is all set to list Vodafone India but is waiting for the opportune time. He informed media that Vodafone is currently increasing its broadband penetration in India and also improving their network. Vittorio also hinted about launching IPO in the future.
Adel Ali, group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia group, has reportedly said that his company sees India as a preferable destination for huge business prospect and is therefore open to make significant investment in India. While debunking rumours about his company’s unconfirmed talks with many Indian companies, Adel Ali said that prospect of expansion of his profitable airlines in India is meeting roadblocks due to traffic right constraints of India. Air Arabia group’s CEO Adel Ali has also said that his company asked permission for additional seats but the request was rejected by Civil Aviation Ministry.
Science and Technology
Micromax, has become the new leader in the Indian smartphone market during the quarter from October to December 2014. Recent report published by Canalys shows that during the last quarter of 2014, Micromax controlled 22 per cent market share of India’s total smartphone market. It has dethroned long time leader Samsung from the first place. The South Korean giant now occupies 20 per cent market share. The report also pointed out that most popular smartphone segment (41 per cent) is the device in Rs 6,000-12,000 range, followed by the affordable device section (below Rs 6,000).
BJP’s Vision Document 2015 started with a major faux pas as it referred Northeast Indians living in Delhi as ‘immigrants’. Though Delhi BJP called it a printing mistake, Congress spared no time in launching scathed attack. Anand Sharma, Congress spokesperson, told media that Narendra Modi has ‘unhealthy mindset’ as he is trying to project himself as the sole person responsible for putting India in a leading position on the world map. The statement comes at a time when BJP is trying to gain ground before Delhi Assembly poll by projecting NaMo.
Campaign heat for February 7 Assembly election soared to new high with funding controversy of Aam Aadmi Party followed by AAP donations to the tune of Rs 62.5 lakh till 10pm yesterday. Per website of AAP, donation amount increased from Rs 36.3 lakh to a whooping Rs 62.5 lakh, a jump of more than 70 per cent, after donation allegations of AAP Volunteer Action Manch. However, while replying to media on Arvind Kejriwal’s calling BJP’s CM nominee as ‘nice lady’, former super cop Kiran Bedi today called AK a manipulative person.
Sources in Bihar’s power circles point out that Nitish Kumar may again become the Chief Minister of the state, especially before the state goes to poll this year. Possibility of Nitish replacing current Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi brightened after RJD Supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav favoured return of Nitish to the coveted post. It is reported that Lalu was earlier against the replacement of Manjhi, keeping the cast factor in mind. Sources in JDU say that most party MLAs believe that Jitan Ram Manjhi will be unable to convey achievements of the party before upcoming 2015 Assembly election.
White House in its recent statement referred India as the major factor of providing economic growth as well as stability in the region. The statement comes a day after Asia Pacific got new thrust in the annual budget placed by the US President Barack Obama. National Security Council’s South Asia Affairs’ senior Director, Phil Reiner, hinted about the America’s rebalance in the Asia Pacific region. This statement of Reiner is believed to have strategic importance as both India and USA had agreed last month, during Obama’s India visit, to pursue strategic vision by developing a bilateral roadmap.
General (retired) V.K. Singh, MoS of External Affairs, visited Saudi Arabia and discussed arrangement issues of Haj 2015 with Saudi Minister of Haj in Jeddah, H.E Dr. Bandar Ibn Muhammad Hajjar. Annual Haj Agreement for Haj 2015 has been signed by the two countries after the discussion. During the discussion V.K. Singh condoled passing away of King Abdullah and offered best wishes to the newly crowned King Salman bin Abdul Aziz. While Haj Committee of India will send 1,00,020 pilgrims, 36,000 pilgrims can visit Haz through private tour operators.
Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra CM, yesterday told media, after receiving numerous complaints against the explicit-laden controversial videos of AIB, that action will be taken against the AIB Roast organizers if the program was found vulgar after adequate inquiry. Video-series of the program, where Director Karan Johar grilled Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, that went viral online has now being pulled down by the AIB organisers following raging controversy and possible government inquiry.