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Major News and Events of 13 July 2015

What Happened on 13 July 2015


RS's Select Committee on GST likely to bat for Local Bodies

Select Committee of Rajya Sabha on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill is all set to put forward some suggestions for protecting panchayats’ and other local bodies’ income in the new tax regime. In the panel’s meeting, Panchayati Raj Ministry has raised certain concerns over some proposals. Reports say that there has been a near unanimity among the members of the concerned committee that local bodies’ rights need to be protected and that’s why Constitutional Amendment Bill’s amendments to Clause 17 and Clause 19 have been suggested. Mumbai Municipal Corporation has demanded compensation for local bodies on fear of octroi income loss after GST implementation. With Monsoon Parliamentary session starting on 21 June, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress strongly supported Narendra Modi government’s proposed ambitious GST Bill. TMC called it good for the nation, centre, and state. Parliamentary Committee, scrutinising the GST bill currently will meet on 17 July.

J&K Separatist Leaders decide against calling Strike on 13 July Martyrs' Day for the First Time in 25 Years

Jammu and Kashmir separatists have decided against calling the yearly strike this year on 13 July Martyrs' Day, owing to the fasting month of Ramzan. It is the first time in last 25 years that the separatists are not calling bandh on this date, when 21 protestors were killed in 1931 by Dogra Army outside Srinagar Central Jail. Although it is an official holiday on 13 July, separatists have been calling general strike for commemorating sacrifices of demonstrators since 1990. Ayaz Akbar and Shahidul Islam, leaders of hardline and moderate Hurriyat Conference, told media that this is a joint decision. The separatist leaders have passed a resolution at Geelani’s iftar party for restating separatists' position on Kashmir issue. Increasing concerns of Indian administration, reports claimed that youths are dropping out of schools and colleges in J&K to join terror groups.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal hugs L-G Najeeb Jung at Iftaar Party

Doing away with all kinds of bitterness against each other, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hugged Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung during the Iftaar party hosted by the former. Delhi CM also said that the sour relationship between the two, witnessed in the last few months on the basis of power struggle, should go away. While posing for the shutterbugs at the Iftaar party, Kejriwal said that there has been “no hard feelings as such” and went on to add that the country will progress only when everyone works together. Some of the other eminent persons who visited Delhi CM’s Iftaar party included, Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi, ex-Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Vice President Hamid Ansari, TMC spokesperson Derek O'Brien, and Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit. While chatting with Derek O'Brien, Kejriwal said that he has invited leaders from all political parties, unlike other "VIP Iftars".

Finance Ministry Plans to pump in Rs. 12,000 Crore Additional Funds to help NPA laden PSU Banks

Reports say that as part of economic revival programme of Narendra Modi government, Union Finance ministry has planned pumping in an additional Rs. 12,000 crore fund into the public sector banks that are adversely suffering from the accumulated burden of Non Performing Assets (NPAs). As per reports, it is part of the government initiative of getting these NPA-burdened PSU banks out of their distressed situation and support them to resume lending. Reports also claim that most of this additional fund will be routed to those state owned banks that are currently in urgent need of capital. This additional fund has been allocated over and above the Rs 7,940 crore funds allocated during 2015-16 budget towards capitalisation. The PSU banks that are going to get first tranche of this additional Rs. 12,000 crore fund will be Allahabad bank, Central Bank of India, and Syndicate Bank.

Finance Minister says 8-10 Per Cent Growth Rate "imminently Achievable"

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expressed confidence on Indian economy achieving accelerated growth trajectory where 8-10 per cent growth is "imminently achievable". To support his enthusiasm, Finance Minister said that three main factors expected to boost the economy are ongoing reforms, improving macroeconomic fundamentals of the economy, and expected higher tax revenues during the current fiscal. Jaitley placed faith on the “rain gods”, their kindness on Indian economy, and thereby hoped for receiving enough rainfall for higher production of pulses and other products. He mentioned during his speech at Nabard Foundation Day function in Mumbai that June’15 received 25 per cent more rainfall than average and expected to have a better monsoon throughout the season. Finance Minister also said that Narendra Modi government has acknowledged farmers’ plight due to overdependence on vagaries of nature and that’s why his government has announced Rs. 50,000 crore national irrigation programme recently.

PM Modi Signs Four Agreements with Kyrgyzstan

India has signed four agreements with Kyrgyzstan that included cooperation in defence sector and also cooperation between election commissions of both the countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also had elaborate discussions with Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev. While briefing media at Bishkek, PM Modi said that his ongoing Central Asia tour demonstrates the importance India gives to the region and Kyrgyzstan-visit is part of that grand vision. He went on to say that resource-rich Central Asia is especially important to the future of India and both India and Kyrgyzstan seek secure and peaceful neighbourhood. Reports say that the signed defence ties between the two countries include conducting of joint military exercises, military education as well as training, security, defence, exchange of information and exchange, and exchange of military observers as well as instructors. PM Modi thanked Kyrgyzstan for supporting India's bid for permanent candidature at United Nations Security Council.    

PMO intervenes in MHA Notification on Keeping Ford Foundation on Watch List

After Ford Foundation submitted a representation where it asked taking it off the 'prior permission' list, placed by Ministry of Home Affairs, Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has reportedly intervened to put an end to the controversy. In this end, Nripendra Mishra (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Principal Secretary) had a meeting with L.C. Goyal (Home Secretary) as well as B.K. Prasad (Additional Secretary at Ministry of Home Affairs) recently. A top MHA official has also acknowledged that Union Government has indeed received such a request from Ford Foundation and a meeting to that effect has indeed taken place in the PMO. Reports say that the concerned meeting took place after Richard Rahul Verma, US Ambassador to India, took up funding and watch list issues, during his India visit, with both PMO and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishanker. MHA sources say nothing has yet been decided on providing relief to Ford Foundation.      

Pakistan makes U-turn after Bilateral Talks with India in Russia on Lakhvi Issue

Pakistan has made yet another U-turn from its promise (agreed during India-Pakistan joint statement on the sidelines of SCO and BRICS meets at Russia’s Ufa) by refusing to file a fresh petition in Pakistan court seeking voice samples of 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. The response of Pakistan comes within hours of the refusal of Lakhvi’s Pakistani lawyer in providing voice samples of his client to the authorities. Chaudhry Azhar, chief of prosecution in Lakhvi’s case in Pakistan, told media that a petition seeking voice sample of the alleged 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind was rejected by a trial court back in 2011. He went on to add that Pakistan “government will not file a fresh petition in the trial court” for obtaining the same as the earlier petition was rejected on the ground that “no such law exists that allows obtaining of voice sample of an accused”. 

US-based Smartphone Brand InFocus Plans to be a Part of "Make in India"

US-based smartphone brand, InFocus, is reportedly planning to be a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Digital India” and “Make in India” programmes by setting up manufacturing hub for its devices in India to take advantage of low cost manufacturing. Reports also say that InFocus will launch its new smartphones in the Indian market by partnering with one retail platform Amazon. InFocus Mobiles’ India head Sachin Thapar has said that his company wants to become part of PM Modi’s two pet projects by introducing internet-enabled devices in Indian market at multiple price points so that mobile governance vision of PM gets realised. He also said that this initiative by InFocus will help common people throughout the country, including those living in “farthest corner of India”, get access to government services right from their palm tops. Sachin Thapar also said that the project work will start in coming September.     

Leander Paes wins 16th Grand Slam with Martina Hingis by his Side at Wimbledon Mixed Doubles

India’s ace tennis player, 42-years-old Leander Paes bagged his 16th Grand Slam title by winning Wimbledon Mixed Doubles final by partnering with Martina Hingis. The Indo-Swiss duo made it a no match as they defeated Austrian-Hungarian pair Alexander Peya and Timea Babos in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 in just 40 minutes. After the win, Paes said that this victory is dedicated to India. When inquired about his age and fitness, Leander Paes said that "Winning and getting old go together". With Leander Paes and Sania Mirza making India proud by winning two Wimbledon titles by pairing up with Martina Hingis separately, another Indian 17-year-old Sumit Nagal silently created history by winning boys doubles trophy at Wimbledon, becoming the 6th Indian to win a junior title at Grand Slam.

Ajinkya Rahane-led Team India wins Zimbabwe ODI Series 2-0

Team India’s new stopgap skipper for Zimbabwe tour, Ajinkya Rahane, has maneuvered the Indian cricket team to a successful 2-0 ODI series win over hosts Zimbabwe. At Harare Sports Club yesterday, India defeated Zimbabwe by 62 runs. Batting first, India piled up 271 runs in 50 overs at the fall of 8 wickets. The openers, skipper Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay played sensible cricket and scored 63 and 72 runs respectively. The opening run partnership was 112 runs. Most successful bowler of Zimbabwe was Neville Madziva, who picked up 4 wickets by bowling 10 overs and giving a moderate 49 runs. Zimbabwe started hesitantly and the first 3 wickets fell at quick succession. The only Zimbabwe batsman who scored a half-century was Chamu Chibhabha, who scored 72 runs. The Zimbabwe team was all out for 209 in just 49 overs.

Sensex rallies 299.79 Points and Nifty Closes above Psychologically Important 8,450 Points on Positive Global Cues

With Greece striking a deal with its creditors, Indian bourses have rallied with blue chip stocks making considerable gains. While BSE Sensex surged 299.79 points (1.08 per cent) to close at 27961.19, NSE Nifty has increased by 99.10 points (1.19 per cent) to close at 8459.65 points today. Intraday highs at Sensex and Nifty are 28,005.17 and 8,471.65 respectively. Nifty closed above 150 days Simple Moving Average of 8,458.46 points. Market sentiment got shot in the arm by noon when Greece struck a bailout deal with the “troika” creditors (IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank), which ensured that Grexit (exit of Greece) from Eurozone will not take place. Broad based gains were witnessed at BSE 100, BSE 200 and BSE 500, where each of the indices jumped by 1.2 per cent. BSE IT index witnessed significant gain today, increasing by 1.7 per cent today.