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Major News and Events of 15 July 2015

What Happened on 15 July 2015


Union Government to bring Bill on One-Rank, One-Pension for Judges during Monsoon Session

Union Government has taken decision of introducing a bill in the upcoming Monsoon session of the parliament for removing discrepancies in judges' pension. The decision of bringing the bill, which proposes one-rank, one-pension for judges, comes a year after a verdict given by CJI P Sathasivam headed Supreme Court bench. Sources say that the proposal of amending High Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1954 has been already put before the cabinet. Currently, pension of high court judges depend upon the number of years of working as a judge rather than the position held at the time of retirement.   

India Wraps up Zimbabwe ODI Series 3-0

Ajinkya Rahane-led Team India whitewashed ODI series against Zimbabwe 3-0. While batting first in the 3rd ODI, India piled up 276 runs in 50 overs at the loss of 5 wickets. Indian bowlers packed up the Zimbabwe batting lineup at just 193 runs in 42.4 overs. The 144 runs partnership between Kedar Jadhav (scoring 105) and Manish Pandey (scoring 71 runs) helped India reach 276 runs, which enabled India beat Zimbabwe by 83 runs. Though Zimbabwean batsmen started well, scoring 150 runs in 35 overs at the loss of 3 wickets, the batting lineup crumbled after that as they scored just 43 additional runs. Chamu Chibhabha is the only Zimbabwean batsman who scored a half-century (scored 82 runs). Highest wicket taker from India is Stuart Binny, who took 3 wickets. While Mohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, and Axar Patel took 2 wickets each, Murali Vijay took 1 wicket.

Government gives Security Clearance to Chinese firm Huawei Telecom to set up Manufacturing unit in Tamil Nadu

Home Ministry has ultimately given clearance to Chinese FDI in India by allowing Huawei Telecommunications’ long pending proposal of setting up electronics/telecom hardware manufacturing unit in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur at the cost of Rs 25 crore. Reports say that the FDI clearance to the project was pending since December 13, 2013. However, it is learnt that the go ahead has been given with certain conditions. Home Ministry has asked telecom department as well as DIPP for reserving important positions in the company such as chief security officer, officer in charge of technical operations, etc. for Indian nationals. Reports say that in case Huawei wants to appoint foreign nationals at positions such as CEO, CFO, MD, or Chairman, they have to get security clearance from the government.

Foxconn starts Production and Shipment of Xiaomi and InFocus Smartphones from Andhra Pradesh Plant

Foxconn has taken a step forward in PM Narendra Modi’s ambitious “Make in India” initiative by manufacturing and shipping smartphones for US brand InFocus and Chinese brand Xiaomi from its new Andhra Pradesh plant. Foxconn's phone manufacturing unit, FIH Mobile’s Chairman, Vincent WH Tong said that they are in the process of increasing plant’s production capacity to bring it at par with that of the manufacturing units located in other countries. As per certain reports, the Foxconn unit set up at Sri City unit SEZ, named Rising Star, was built at a cost of Rs 77 crore and will reportedly manufacture ten thousand phones per day. Terry Gou, Chairman of Foxconn Technology Group’s iPhone manufacturing unit, said that they are looking forward to set up 10 to 12 manufacturing units in India and create 1 million job opportunities by 2020.

PM Modi Launches National Skill Development Mission

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the ambitious Skill India mission, which aims to skill 40.2 crore people in India by 2022. Formal launch of National Skill Development Mission is coupled with unveiling of new National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 as well as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). Reports say that for imparting skills training to people, Skill cards will be provided under PMKVY. While launching the ambitious mission, PM Modi said that “Model Skill Loan Scheme has been simplified” for making the loan sanctioning process easier. He went on add that for reducing risk of banks on providing small loans, the loan scheme will be linked with credit guarantee fund. While the governing council of the mission will be chaired by PM himself, the mission will have a 3-tiered decision making structure.

Nine Congress CMs Skip PM Modi Convened Niti Aayog Meet on Land Bill

The Niti Aayog meeting, convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took place at PM’s 7, Race Course Road residence in New Delhi today. Chief Ministers from nine Congress ruled states gave the meeting a miss along with four more CMs – Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal CM), Akhilesh Yadav (UP CM), Naveen Pattnaik (Odisha CM), and J Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu CM). However, O Paneerselvam attended the meeting on behalf of Tamil Nadu CM. The meeting is believed to be the last ditch effort by Narendra Modi government to break the deadlock on Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment Bill, 2015) before the monsoon session. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has taken dig at the absentee CMs by saying that non attendance is against the spirit of co-operative federalism of India. He also said that development of states is stalled due to land concerns.

Prime Accused of 1993 Mumbai Serial Blast Yakub Menon to be Hanged on 30 July

Maharashtra Government has decided to hang the main accused of 1993 Mumbai serial bombs blasts, Yakub Menon, on 30 July 2015. The decision has been taken by the Maha government after 53-year-old Yakub’s mercy petition was rejected recently by President Pranab Mukherjee. Yakub Menon, brother of Tiger Menon, was given death sentence in 2007 by a Special TADA Court in Mumbai on charges of arranging finances for carrying out 13 blasts on 12 March 1993 that led to 257 deaths with over 700 injured. NCP leader Majid Memon has questioned haste of Maha government in announcing the execution as Yakub‘s curative petition filed against his death sentence is going to be heard in SC on 21 July. Apex court had upheld Yakub Menon’s death sentence earlier on 21 March 2013. Congress leader PC Chacko has said that fate of Yakub will be decided by SC’s ruling.   

Lifting Sanctions on Iran likely to Strengthen India-Iran Ties

India has welcomed the signing of historic nuclear deal between world powers through peaceful and diplomatic means, leading to lifting of multiple sanctions imposed on Iran. India was pressurised by the world powers to cut oil imports from Iran. MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup, while welcoming the development, said that India has to “see the text of the agreement reached between Iran and the EU 3+3 in Vienna”. FICCI President Jyotsna Suri said that lifting of sanctions will lead to increase in India-Iran trade and likely revive long-pending gas pipeline projects. Indian oil firms (Oil India and ONGC) will make significant gains as renewed supply of crude oil from Iran will lower the international crude prices further. Intraday benchmark Brent prices reached $56.78 per barrel, a fall of $1.07 a barrel. Experts believe international crude oil prices may come down by another $3-4 per barrel when Iran starts supplying oil.

Rs 30,000 crore worth Defence Deals Sanctioned by Defence Ministry

Pending defence projects to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore (equivalent to $4.74 billion) have been approved by the defence minister Manohar Parrikar chaired Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC). The projects sanctioned by the defence ministry include warship combat management systems, multi-spectrum camouflage nets, artillery bimodular charge systems, microlights for NCC cadets, artillery bimodular charge systems, P-8I aircraft, air defence guns, and many more. Reports say that Rs 4,380 crore has been sanctioned for acquiring P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft for Navy from Boeing Co. After Defence Acquisition Council’s meeting, the spokesperson said that the largest order approved by the ministry is the Rs. 16,900 crore worth air defence guns (428 L-70 and ZU23). Reports say that approval of these old projects is part of Union Government’s military modernisation programme over the coming 10 years worth around $250 billion.  

Sensex Opens above 28000 and Jumps over 200 Points, Nifty Reclaims 8500 Level

Benchmark BSE Sensex today not only opened above 28000 level but also remained firm throughout the day to close at 28198.29, 265.39 points or 0.95 per cent higher than previous close. NSE Nifty also reclaimed the psychologically important 8500 level today as it close at 8523.80 points, 69.70 points or 0.82 per cent above previous close. Indian bourses witnessed renewed buying interests in pharmaceuticals, automobile, and technology sectors. Analysts believe the major sentiment booster was the signing of the historic Iran Nuclear deal with six leading nations, lifting sanctions on Iran. Lifting of sanctions will lead to increase in crude oil supply by Iran. This would lead to a further fall in international crude price and would enhance trade prospects with India.

Ford Foundation Freezes $4 Billion Funds Meant for Poor in India

Officials say that Ford Foundation, US-based global charity organisation and a vocal critique of Narendra Modi, has frozen funds to India that amount to $4 billion. The move comes after Modi government started clamping down on the organisation by keeping its funds under priority watch list on charges of meddling in domestic politics through funding of different NGOs. Sources say that drying up of funds from Ford Foundation has hit many developmental projects, meant for the poor, dealing with fighting child marriages, feeding pregnant women, providing clean water in slums, and many more. Home Ministry put $12.5 billion Ford Foundation on watch list after it funded social activist Teesta Setalvad back in 2009.