Major News and Events of 13 May 2015
What Happened on 13 May 2015
Narendra Modi Government Seeks to Approve 11 Bills on Last Day of Budget Session
India Registers Formal Protest with China on Building Economic Corridor through POK
New SC Guidelines on restricted Use of Images of Political Leaders on Govt Ads
IIP Data shows Major Fall in April '15
Narendra Modi Government shies away from Increasing FDI Limit in Multi-Brand Retail
Narendra Modi Hopes for Further Growth in Indo-China relations
Union Government Appoints four New Governors and Transfers Two
Shankaracharya of Dwarkapeeth vouches for Constructing Ram Temple in Ayodhya without Political Assistance
ED Summons Bollywood Superstar Shah Rukh Khan for Allegedly Violating Money Transaction Rules
Micromax's Yu Televentures Launches Yu Yuphoria at Rs. 6,999
India-Pak Series Faces Hurdles
Union Cabinet, in order to keep a check on bludgeoning fiscal deficit, has given nod to disinvestment of 10 per cent stake in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and five per cent stake in NTPC. At current market price, this will earn the government more than Rs. 13,000 crore, reports say. While government will earn Rs. 7,932 crore from IOC stake sale, Rs. 5,565 crore will be earned from NTPC stake sale. While the government stake in IOC is 68.57 per cent that in NTPC is 74.96 per cent. Union government has planned to raise Rs. 41,000 crore by selling PSU stakes in 2015-16 financial year. Through strategic stake sales, the government is likely to raise Rs. 28,500 crore.
With both houses of the parliament - Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha - witnessing repeated adjournments in the last few days on various issues, Union Government is left with just one day of the ongoing budget session to approve 11 crucial bills. Fate of these bills seem uncertain as noisy united opposition has already forced the government to send the crucial and contentious Land Acquisition Bill and Goods and Services Tax Bill to select parliamentary committees for thorough examination. In fact, today too lower house of the parliament was adjourned for a short period of time when Congress MPs continued their protest of alleged scrapping of food park project in Amethi, the constituency of INC Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
India has formally registered strong protest against China’s decision of investing $46 billion in setting up an economic corridor that runs through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). The proposed economic corridor will have pipeline links along with railways and road network that will link Arabian Sea with west of China. The issue came to the fore before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic three-day visit to China from May 12-14, 2015. Analysts say that registration of protest on this matter got necessitated as Chinese President Xi Jingping dismissed India’s concerns of routing the corridor through POK by saying it is purely a commercial venture and nothing political in it. Beijing has accused Modi of playing hot and cold on border disputes and security issues for keeping pressure on China.
The Supreme Court has today issued fresh guidelines to restrict indiscriminate use of pictures of political leaders, bureaucrats, and ministers in the government issued advertisements. The apex court has said that pictures of only incumbent President, Prime Minister, and Chief Justice can be used in the government advertisements. SC has also said that images of departed leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and others can be used on the government adverts. Supreme Court has observed that special audits of government ads are not needed. Apex court’s new guideline comes after two PILs alleged that tax-payer’s money is being used wastefully by spending them on hoardings.
Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for the month of March 2015 fell to 2.1 per cent from previous month’s 4.8 per cent. In fact, this is the slowest growth of the industrial production in the last five months. Data also shows that the slow industrial production took place in spite of improvement in off-take of capital goods and manufacturing activity in April’15. Central Statistics Office’s data show that industrial production for 2014-15 increased at 2.8 per cent rate in comparison to 0.1 per cent contraction in 2013-14. Manufacturing sector increased by 2.3 per cent during 2014-15 fiscal, in sharp contrast to 2013-14’s 0.8 per cent contraction. CPI also fell from March’s 5.25 per cent to April’s 4.87 per cent.
BJP-led NDA government shied away from increasing Foreign Direct Investment limit above the existing 51 per cent in multi-brand retail sector. The 119 page Annual FDI document released yesterday not only specifies FDI policy decisions of multi-brand retail but also of other sectors including railways, defence, and insurance, which came into effect in the last one year. Yesterday Amitabh Kant, Secretary of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said that India is now “most open economy in the world” as the government has opened up in almost every sector (medical devices, construction, defence, and insurance sectors) excluding multi-brand retail.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said through his Weibo (most popular social blogging site in China) account that he had a wonderful interactive session with Chinese media where several issues have been discussed. Modi also said that he highlighted immense opportunities lying before the two emerging nations that can be achieved through stronger ties between Indian and China. He stressed on the fact that the two neighbours should pool their strengths for moving ahead as well as eradicating poverty. Indian PM said that he feels honoured as Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to receive him personally at Xi'an. Modi’s two-day China visit started on 12 May and will continue till 14 May.
Narendra Modi government appointed four new governors yesterday and transferred two governors, who were appointed by erstwhile UPA2 government. 56-year old Draupadi Murmu, senior BJP leader from Odisha, has been appointed as the Governor of Jharkhand. She has replaced Syed Ahmed, who was appointed by UPA2 government in September 2011. Syed Ahmed has been shifted to Manipur for his remaining tenure which will end in September, 2016. 68-year old Tathagata Roy, senior BJP leader from West Bengal as well as BJP’s National Executive member, has been appointed as Governor of Tripura. JP Rakkhowa, 1968-batch IAS officer and ex-Chief Secretary of Assam, has been appointed as Governor of Arunachal Pradesh. V Shanmuganthan, noted Sangh Parivar leader, has been appointed by Modi government as Governor of Meghalaya. Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, Lt General (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma, has been transferred to Mizoram.
Swaroopananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Dwarkapeeth, told BJP leaders while addressing Hindu Dharma Sansad at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan not to talk about construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya as the Hindu religious leaders don’t need political assistance for constructing Ram Temple at the site of his birthplace in Ayodhya. However, he added that the religious leaders will do so if Supreme Court verdict goes in their favour. Political analysts believe that by saying so Shankaracharya actually took a dig at BJP-led central government as its Home Minister Rajnath Singh said a couple of days back in Rajya Sabha that his government is incapable of bringing a law for constructing Ram Temple because of their shortage of numbers in RS.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to superstar and IPL’s Kolkata Knight Riders team owner Shah Rukh Khan on his alleged involvement in irregularities related to Indian Premier League (IPL). The 49-year old superstar has been asked by ED to appear before it by May-end. It is alleged that Shah Rukh Khan violated many money transaction rules including that of Forex. The Bollywood star was also questioned four years back in Mumbai on money illegally flowing from foreign tax havens to IPL tournament. ED sources reveal that the actor has been asked to submit documents to ED that are related to purchase of players, share holding pattern of KKR, revenue, and advertising.
Science and Technology
Micromax subsidiary, Yu Televentures, yesterday launched Yu Yuphoria smartphone, the second phone of the series. Priced at Rs 6,999, it will be initially available solely through Amazon India. Though the pre-booking started yesterday at 5pm IST, the first flash sale of Yu Yuphoria will take place on 28 May. This device will be available to the customers in two colours - Champagne Gold and Buffed Steel. While launching the new smartphone, Founder of Yu, Rahul Sharma, said that this is the first smartphone that has been designed as well as assembled in India. He also said that with this launch they are breaking the myth associated with flagship phones.
The resumption of cricket diplomacy between India and Pakistan seems to be in rough weather as Zee Entertainment Enterprises’ owned TEN Sports (host broadcaster of Pakistan Cricket Board) is found to have an uneasy relation with BCCI. The trouble between Zee and BCCI started eight years back on non-payment of Rs. 145 crore. The problem has accentuated now as Zee is planning to organise a worldwide cricket event, directly challenging ICC organised cricket. PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan is all set to take up the matter with Finance Minister of India and cricket enthusiast Arun Jaitley today in Delhi. Jaitley’s opinion will be decisive as he has enough clout in the BCCI management. Broadcasting problem is the second glitch the series is facing after BJP MP, RK Singh, questioned the move in Lok Sabha.