Major News and Events of 15 April 2015
What Happened on 15 April 2015
CBI Lawyer Accuses A Raja of Misleading Former PM Manmohan Singh
Government to Auction 69 ONGC Oilfields
Union Finance Minister Wants Far Lower Interest Rate
PM Reaches Canada in last leg of Three-Nation Tour
Modi hopes for Stronger Ties between Germany and India
AAP to Take Strong Action against Dissidents
IMF expects India to Surpass China by 2015-16 in Terms of Economic Growth Rate
Maharashtra bypolls: Shiv Sena retains Bandra (East) constituency
NRI Industrialist Lord Swaraj Paul backs Modi's Make in India Campaign
HTC One M9+ Launched in India
Draw in Kuala Lampur Places Indian Football Team against Asian Behemoths in 2nd Phase of 2018 FIFA World Cup
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, has come down heavily on the Indian Army for killing a youth named Khalid Wani in a recent encounter in Tral. The Army tried to corner Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan but ended up killing his brother Khalid Wani. While terming the incident unfortunate, Mufti said that the Army should have been more cautious in dealing with the situation. As relatives of the slain accuse Army of carrying out fake encounter in Tral, J&K CM assured of looking into the matter seriously, as looked upon in the earlier Budgam incident case.
Anand Grover, Special Public Prosecutor, while arguing before a special court on behalf of Central Bureau of Investigation said that A Raja, former Telecom Minister, misled Manmohan Singh (the then Indian PM) on policy matters regarding 2G spectrum allocation. He pointed out that Raja conspired with other accused in advancing cut-off date in 2G licences allocation. Former Telecom Minister had also granted allocation of spectrum to "ineligible" firms like Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd. and Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd (STPL). Grover said that Raja scrapped the then Law Minister’s proposal of referring some issues to Empowered Group of Ministers.
The Union Government has planned to auction sixty nine oilfields, mainly small and marginal ones, to private players on a newly formulated revenue sharing model. All these 69 oilfields belong to state-owned ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation). Government sources reveal that this decision has been taken as government’s subsidy sharing mechanism has led the state-owned companies to regard these oilfields uneconomical, and as such are surrendering them. It is also learnt that to auction these oilfields, the Union Petroleum Ministry has sent a note to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that he expects the interest rates to come down to a lower level than existing ones. However, he also stressed on the fact that this statement should not be taken as yet another erupting difference between the apex bank of India and finance ministry. While pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself praised RBI governor Raghuram Rajan during the eightieth anniversary function of RBI earlier this month, Jaitley said that RBI not curtailing interest rate this time did not make him unhappy. He also added that RBI is a little bit conservative about interest rate cut as it has to balance growth with inflation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Ottawa yesterday night, his last destination during his on-going three-nation tour. His visit to Canada, which has a sizable Indian diaspora, is significant as he becomes the first Indian PM to visit the country in more than 42 years. Sources reveal that Modi will be meeting the vast Indian community in Canada during his three-day Canada tour and will also try to seal a deal on importing uranium. It is learnt that the PM will vouch to improve visa facilities for Indo-Canadians. Modi is scheduled to meet officials of Canada's Pension Fund, which has $200 million corpus, and will try to convince them to invest in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while thanking German Chancellor Angela Merkel for Germany’s hospitality, said that his main aim of visiting Germany was not only to invite the industrialists to India but also to assure them amiable business environment, ease of doing business, stable and open governance, and full support to investors in India. He also hoped for a strong partnership between “king of the skies” Eagle (which figures on Germany's coat of arms) and “king of the earth” Lion (logo of “Modi’s ambitious “Make in India” campaign). Modi also said that the two countries will extend cooperation in the fields of defence manufacturing, advanced technology, education, and science.
While pledging to work towards alternative transparent politics, Aam Aadmi Party rebel duo Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, announced yesterday from Gurgaon’s Swaraj Samvad convention about forming “Swaraj Abhiyan”, a separate group. In yesterday’s convention, the AAP-rebels also stressed upon "lack of inner party democracy and transparency" in AAP. Aam Aadmi Party’s Political Affairs Committee will be held today where fate of the two rebel leaders will be sealed. Sources indicate that the PAC may take strong action against Yadav-Bhushan duo along with Ajit Jha and Anand Kumar, by referring their case to the disciplinary committee.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that India will to grow at 7.5 per cent rate in 2015-16 to become the fastest growing emerging economy, comfortably surpassing China. IMF expects Indian economic growth rate to improve from 7.2 per cent during 2014-15 financial year to 7.5 per cent during 2015-16 FY. As Per the World Economic Outlook of IMF, China’s economic growth rate to fall from 2014’s 7.4 per cent, 2015’s 6.8 per cent, to 2016’s 6.3 per cent. Some of the positive factors to play a role in India’s economic recovery include continued lower oil prices, recently implemented policy reforms, and increase in investments.
In a major faceoff between Shiv Sena and the Congress in the assembly by-election at Mumbai’s Bandra (East) constituency, ex-Chief Minister of Maharashtra Narayan Rane was defeated by Sena’s Trupti Sawant by a margin of 19,000 votes. The bypoll was necessitated because of sudden death of the sitting Shiv Sena MLA Prakash (Bala) Sawant. In the bypoll, Shiv Sena fielded widow of late MLA Prakash Sawant to garner sympathy votes and the strategy worked well. Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) came a distant third in this election.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a pat on the back from Lord Swaraj Paul, leading NRI industrialist and Caparo Group’s Chairman, for his effort to improve the image of India as a preferred business destination of the world. While delivering his speech at an event at the University of Wolverhampton, Lord Swaraj Paul emphasised on the fact that the concerned university, of which he has been the chancellor since 1999, is perfectly suited to participate in the ambitious ‘Make in India’ project. He also said that concerned constituents of the British university must explore its expertise to check how it can help India in the grand dream of becoming a manufacturing hub.
Science and Technology
HTC has launched its flagship smartphone One M9+ in India that will be available from coming May 2015 at a price of Rs. 52,500. Launch of HTC E9+ is also announced but details about its availability and pricing have not yet been revealed. HTC One M9+ comes with a 2000p resolution 5-inch display, 20MP primary rear camera, HTC UltraPixel front-faced camera, 3GB RAM, MediaTek Helio X10 core processor, and a metallic body. Some of the other notable specs of HTC One M9+ are Android Lollipop OS, incorporation of HTC's Sense 7 technology, fingerprint sensor, HTC BoomSound with Dolby Audio surround sound, and battery capacity of 2840mAh.
In the second phase of qualifying for 2018 FIFA World Cup, Indian football team has been placed in a tough group where it has to play against the top football playing nations in Asia such as Guam, Turkmenistan, Oman, and Iran. The draw for group placement took place in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. India, having a world ranking of 147, will have to take on World No. 97 Oman (first qualifier on June 11) and World No. 44 Iran (per FIFA charts) in Group D match. Qualifying competition for the Asian countries will start on June 11, 2015 and will continue till March 29, 2016.