Major News and Events of 14 May 2015
What Happened on 14 May 2015
SC Stays Implementation of Delhi Government Circular asking to File Defamation Suit against Media Houses
Congress MP from Arunachal Pradesh Urges Modi to Raise Indo-China Border and Visa Issues
India Likely to Sign 20 Business Agreements in Shanghai during Modi's China Visit
Nirmala Sitharaman meets Representatives of eCommerce Industry and Industry Bodies to Discuss FDI Issue
16 amendments on Companies Act 2013 Passed in RS
PM Narendra Modi Kick Starts his Crucial Three-day China Visit
SC Finds Ex-CBI Chief Ranjit Sinha's Meetings with 2G and Coal Scam Accused "Inappropriate"
RS Approves Bill to Bring Black Money Back
Android Lollipop-run Xolo Prime Launched in India
PCB Chief Invites BCCI Officials to Watch Pakistan-Zimbabwe Match in Pakistan
AITA Hearing Rescheduled
Military modernisation projects to the tune of more than Rs. 20,000 crore have been approved by Defence ministry yesterday, just a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for his three-day China visit. It is learnt that the approval is given keeping the “Make in India” initiative in focus. On Wednesday, Defence Acquisition Council, which was chaired by Manohar Parrikar (Defence Minister of India), cleared purchase of 145 M-777 howitzer artillery guns from USA that will be manufactured in India under licensed production. Clearance has also been given to 200 Kamov 228 choppers, 6 BrahMos missile system, and 2 Boeing 777-300 aircrafts. Sources say that Avro is likely to be replaced by Airbus-Tata consortium.
Supreme Court today stayed implementation of Delhi government’s contentious circular, dated 6 May, 2015, asking government employees and ministers to file defamation suit against business houses if they find any news or broadcast that tries to harm Delhi CM’s reputation. Bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant went on to seek reply from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal within six weeks for issuance of such circular by Directorate of Information. The matter will be heard on 8 July. When inquired, Delhi government said that they haven’t received the copy of the SC order yet and they will put a hold on the order till the matter is finalised in the apex court.
Ninong Ering, Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha from Arunachal Pradesh, today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the "border dispute and staple visa" issues with the Chinese government during his three-day visit to China. The Arunachal East constituency’s Congress MP went on to add that it will be unfortunate if the contentious border issues between the two neighbours are kept out of the discussion agenda of PM. While making the statement in Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, Ering stressed upon raising the staple visa issue with the Chinese. In a letter to PM yesterday, he claimed that Union government’s soft stance on the contentious border issue with China has let down the general populace of his state and went on to say that “Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India”.
Ashok K Kantha, India’s ambassador to China, told media that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day China visit will chalk out the pathway of taking bilateral economic engagement forward. During a media meet session, the Indian envoy said that India is expecting to sign twenty business agreements in Shanghai, during Indian PM’s visit to China. While giving specific input on the sectors, Kantha said that concrete progress in a "fairly comprehensive manner" will be witnessed in the fields of outer space, smart cities, disaster management, skill development, and cooperation between provinces and cities. He also hinted upon the requirement of synergy between the two countries in improving connectivity, especially in China's mega Silk Road projects.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister, told media that her government has met the major stakeholders of ecommerce industry including representatives today. In the first round of discussion, the government has heard the industry perspective as well as concerns on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy on e-commerce, especially on allowing FDI in B2C (Business To Commerce) category. Sitharaman also said that it needs several more rounds of talks between representatives of ecommerce industry and Government before “taking a position”. The representatives of Flipkart, Snapdeal, Nasscom, FICCI, CII, eBay, Ikea, H&M, and Decathlon attended the meeting. Though 100 per cent FDI is allowed for B2B section of ecommerce, FDI for B2C is not allowed yet.
After lower house of the parliament, Lok Sabha, approved the Companies Act 2013 bill in the last session, the Rajya Sabha approved the amendments of the concerned Act yesterday for helping companies and corporate entities do business in India easily. While replying on the query of amending the Act, Arun Jaitley said that an expert committee will review the law further before implementing it. Reports say that 16 amendments were approved yesterday that include rectification of provisions related to unclaimed dividends utilization, bail provisions, board resolutions, winding up of companies, and many more. While vouching for the amendments, Jaitley pointed out that they were necessitated after the companies pointed out the lacunae of the Companies Act, ever since it was passed back in 2013.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his three-day China tour today. He reached the hometown of Chinese President Xi Jinping, ancient city of Xian, early morning. Breaking the usual protocol, Xi will accompany Modi throughout his stay at Shaanxi province’s capital Xi'an. State-run China Daily referred this move as rare, referring to the importance given by Chinese President to Indian PM’s China visit. Currently Narendra Modi is having summit level discussions with Xi Jinping, after which Modi will visit Wild Goose Pagoda, built by Xuan Zang who visited India through Silk Route in 645 AD. Besides expected signing of billion dollar business deals, other developments in the tour include probable announcement of e-Visas for Chinese nationals. However, substantial development in the border issue is not expected.
The Supreme Court has found ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha’s meetings with the 2G and coal scam accused at the former’s house as inappropriate. In a crucial move, the apex court accepted that Ranjit Sinha was trying to subvert the inquiry against the accused. SC observed that Central Vigilance Commission should probe all aspects of the multiple meetings that took place between ex-CBI chief and the accused. SC gave the order after the issue was brought to the court by a Delhi-based NGO “Common Cause” and lawyer-cum-activist Prashant Bhushan. Though Ranjit Sinha always denied any wrongdoing, his residence’s logbook shows that executives belonging to Anil Ambani owned 2G scam accused company Reliance Telecom visited Sinha’s residence regularly.
Upper House of the Parliament yesterday approved the crucial Black Money Bill that mandates strict action (including up to a maximum of 10 years imprisonment) against individuals or companies who either indulge in tax evasion or conceal income and assets from tax department. After its approval by Rajya Sabha, it has now been sent for assent to President Pranab Mukherjee. The bill was first tabled in the Lok Sabha on 11 May by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and was approved the same day. Though opposition wanted the bill to be sent to a Parliamentary Committee for examination, Jaitley rejected the move by saying that it will delay the bill, which in turn will help offenders get time to shift their undisclosed income stashed abroad to unknown destinations.
Science and Technology
Xolo has launched yet another smartphone for the budget customers of India that runs on the latest Android Lollipop operating system. This new handset is named Xolo Prime and comes with a price tag of Rs. 5,699. Some of the important features that this budget phone offers include quad-core processor clocked at 1.3 GHz, RAM of 1GB, 4.5-inch IPS display having 218 ppi pixel density, and 8GB internal memory storage capacity. Users can also expand the storage capacity by using external expandable microSD card up to 32GB. Xolo has packed this affordable smartphone with 3G dual-SIM capability, 1800mAh battery, attractive glass finish back, 5MP rear camera having autofocus, and full HD mode video recording facility.
Shaharyar Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in an attempt to improve relation between the cricket boards of India and Pakistan, has invited key BCCI officials as well as some government functionaries to attend a match in the upcoming series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe. A source reportedly said that the PCB officials are expecting either Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley or BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur to be present in Lahore as special guest for witnessing one match in the upcoming Pakistan-Zimbabwe limited over series, to start on May 19. PCB chief had met Anurag Thakur as well as an important BJP leader in Delhi yesterday, for improving bonhomie between the two boards, before December 2015 Indo-Pak series.
The All India Tennis Association has been granted a different date of hearing by the Government of India on the issue related to its 2012 election. The concerned hearing was earlier scheduled to be held yesterday. However, the tennis association requested for changing the schedule from May 13 to anywhere between May 27 and 29, 2015. Sports ministry communicated to Bharat Oza, Secretary General of All India Tennis Association, that their request to reschedule hearing date “has been agreed to”. The meeting with Onkar Kedia - joint secretary (sports) – will take place on 27 May. The communiqué also mentioned that the sports ministry will not entertain any further extension of hearing schedule.