Major News and Events of 14 April 2015
What Happened on 14 April 2015
Flipkart Walks Out of Discussion with Airtel Zero
Netaji's Grandnephew Meets Indian PM in Berlin
India Tops the List in Remittances
PM Vouches for India's Secularism in Berlin
Arvind Panagariya Expects India to Grow by 8-10 Per Cent in coming 15 Years
SEBI Unveils New Tendering-Settlement Mechanism of Stocks
Fitch gives IOC 'BBB-' rating and "Stable" Outlook
World Bank Predicts India's GDP will reach 8% by 2017
IB Issues Generic 26/11 Styled Threat Alert to All States of India
Indian Scientists develop Unoque Laser-based Portable Surveillance Device for Locating Optical Threats
Sports Authority of India Launches 24x7 Athletes Personalised Contact System
Three of Aam Aadmi Party's founding members - Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, and Yogendra Yadav – presided over a "Swaraj Samvad" event in Gurgaon where they urged the participants to share concerns about functioning of the two-year old party and also about its current leadership openly. Though AAP leadership warned party members that it would take action against the attendees, Delhi’s AAP lawmaker Pankaj Pushkar turned up at the event. While Shanti Bhushan called for the AAP leadership not to end common man’s dream, Vinod MS from Mysore vouched for Yogendra Yadav taking on the AAP’s Convenor’s position.
In the wake of increasing protest against violation of net neutrality in India, especially platforms like Airtel Zero launched last week, Flipkart has said that they are putting an end to their ongoing discussion with Airtel Zero. Flipkart statement also reads that they are doing so for their commitment towards “larger cause of net neutrality in India”. The Flipkart decision comes within 24 hours after Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad emphasized upon looking into the concerns of entrepreneurs and startups. Airtel Zero provides free access of apps to consumers but charge the app developing companies on data usage, thereby violating equal access of net to all.
Grandnephew of freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and President of Indo-German Association in Hamburg, Surya Kumar Bose, met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event in Berlin on Monday organised by Vijay Gokhale, Indian Ambassador to Germany. Reports say that Surya Kumar Bose asked Modi about declassification of all secret files related to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose during the meeting. Netaji’s grandnephew also said that Subhash Ch. Bose didn’t only belong to the family but also to the entire country and that’s why it is duty of entire nation to raise the issue of declassifying secret files on Netaji.
A World Bank report has noted that India still holds the number one position in terms of remittances (to the tune of sent $70 billion) sent by the migrant workforce working in different foreign countries worldwide in 2014. The top five recipient countries of remittances are India, China, Philippines, Mexico and Nigeria. The report also notes that the top five destinations of migrant workers are the USA, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Russia and UAE. Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of World Bank, Kaushik Basu, said that India and Israel have shown how diaspora communities’ wealth can be effectively used for managing macro liquidity crises.
While addressing the Indian community in Berlin on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi vouched for a strong base for secularism in India. While speaking about Sanskrit language, Narendra Modi reminded the audience about a news bulletin in Sanskrit on German radio decades ago, when there was none in India. He went on to say that one should have self confidence and reminded the audience that just a language cannot shake India’s strong secularism. Analysts believe that Indian PM made the statement in Berlin because of Germany’s disapproval of Modi government’s last year’s decision of replacing German language in more than 500 schools with Sanskrit.
Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, while delivering a lecture at an energy conference said that India is expected to witness a growth rate from 8 per cent to 10 per cent in the coming fifteen years. When calculated in terms of dollar, the expansion will be much higher, anything from 11 per cent to 12 per cent, he expected. Panagariya expects the Indian economy to grow from existing $2 trillion to a massive $8 trillion. He also noted that with India becoming richer, demand for energy, oil, and coal will increase by “leaps and bounds”.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has put into place a new mechanism that will make takeover offers, buyback, and delisting easier and will be effective from 1 July 2015. As per the new mechanism, tendering as well as settlement of company stocks can be done through stock exchanges. SEBI has said that the acquirer of a company will have to place an order for buying certain number of stocks through a registered stock broker at the beginning of tendering period. Eligible sellers will, in turn, place order for selling stocks through recognised brokers during normal trading hours that will be transferred to clearing corporation’s special account. Cumulative tendered quantity will be available online throughout the trading session during tendering period. In case of impending offers, existing mechanism can be followed.
Fitch, a global rating agency, has given Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) 'BBB-' rating and also maintained “stable” outlook on IOC with respect to unsecured debt and long-term foreign currency rating. Fitch observed that Indian Oil Corporation’s ratings and outlook comes at a time when under-recoveries of the company are declining fast along with strong operational/strategic linkages with government and overall improvement in credit metrics. The global rating agency noted that implementation of direct benefit transfer scheme for LPG will further help IOC reduce its total under-recoveries as the company will now be able to sell LPG at market prices.
A semi-annual report published by the World Bank predicted commendable performance by India in the coming two years as the emerging giant is pegged to grow at a rate of 8 per cent by the year 2017. The report also predicted that sustained favourable oil prices along with strong expansion of India will accelerate economic growth in South Asia. World Bank report said that the expected rate of GDP growth in India will be 7.5 per cent in 2015-16 fiscal and 12 per cent during 2016-18. The report observed that India is trying to shift its focus from consumption-led growth to investment-led growth.
Intelligence agencies have issued alerts to every Indian state of possible 26/11-styled terror attacks by Lashkar-e-Taiba in the coming few months. The first tip-off came from Mumbai railway police during early April 2015, warning about 26/11 style of attack in railway stations and hotels anywhere in India in the coming 2-3 months time. Mumbai Railway’s letter warned that about 8-10 terrorists may try to enter Mumbai through Arabian Sea and carry out mayhem. Top intelligence sources have said that till now no specific targets have been mentioned in the IB warning and only a generic alert has been issued.
Science and Technology
Indian defence scientists at Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have developed a unique device known as Optical Target Locater (OTL) for identifying snipers. This will provide a boost to security agencies. Sources in the department say that this new device will help identify any optical threat (riflescope, telescopic sights, binoculars, etc.) and is going to be highly effective in providing VIP security. Defence scientists have produced it mainly for the armed forces at LASTEC (Laser Science and Technology Centre). As per reports, Delhi police will be the first Indian official agency to use Optical Target Locater. This new device uses laser technology, especially cat's eye effect, for identifying optical threats.
Indian sports ministry is taking Rio Olympics seriously as Sports Authority of India has launched a 24x7 personalised support system for reaching out to the athletes and 200 medal hopefuls. As per the initiative, the medal hopefuls can contact senior SAI officials directly under Athletes Personalised Contact System (APCS) for needs related to equipments and training along with conveying personal grievances. This 24x7 facility comes days after the launch of TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme), meant for helping athletes prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Recently launched Athletes Personalised Contact System is the brainchild of Injeti Srinivas, the new Director General of SAI.