Major News and Events of 16 July 2015
What Happened on 16 July 2015
CBI files 5 FIRs in Vyapam Scam
India Lodges Strong Protest with Pakistan over Ceasefire Violation
Department of Telecom Panel upholds Core Principles of Net Neutrality
Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy says Indian Brains didn't make Earth Shaking Invention in 60 Years
IPL Governing Committee Meeting on 19 July for Discussing Justice Lodha Committee Report
India working with 27 Other Countries to Develop a System for Predicting Earthquakes
Anna Hazare announces Indefinite Hunger Strike on OROP and Land Acquisition Issues
Supreme Court calls Drug Pricing Policy "Unreasonable and Irrational", Asks Centre to Re-examine
Union Finance Minister says Manufacturing Sector Reviving in India
Indian Export falls in June'15, making it 7th Month Fall in a Row
Adani gets Approval of Kerala Government for Developing Rs 4,089-crore Vizhinjam Port Project
Indian bourses are going strong now as indices put up a robust performance for second consecutive day. While BSE Sensex surged 0.88 per cent or 247.83 points to close at 28446.12, NSE Nifty also jumped up 0.99 per cent or 84.25 points to close at 8608.05. Analysts believe that the best aspect today is both Sensex and Nifty consolidated yesterday’s gains and hold on the 28000 and 8500 levels respectively. At the end of the trading day, around 1552 stocks advanced, 1266 stocks declined, and 165 stocks remained unchanged. Top gainers today are Dr. Reddy’s Lab, Cipla, HDFC, VHEL, and Axis Bank. However, the net losers are TCS, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hero, Wipro, and Vedanta. Sensex today closed at highest level witnessed in last three months.
After filing 5 FIRs related to Vyapam scam case, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) moved Supreme Court today seeking direction for Special Task Force (STF) so that the central agency can keep filing chargesheets even in the cases where investigation are over. The apex court has agreed to hear the concerned plea of CBI on 20 July (Monday). Chief Justice HL Dattu headed three judge bench has also asked the central sleuth agency of serving application copies of the concerned parties. Maninder Singh, CBI’s Additional Solicitor General (ASG), told the Supreme Court that it will take them time in transferring over 185 cases from SIT to Central Bureau of Investigation and therefore the state investigating agency be allowed in filing charge sheets in cases where probe is already complete.
With repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistani Rangers at the international border in Jammu and Kashmir, India has lodged strong protest with Pakistani envoy (Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit) in New Delhi. The move comes after a civilian was killed and six injured (including two soldiers) along international border in Jammu which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit tomorrow. Pakistan has also summoned Indian envoy for lodging protest against alleged ‘spy drone’ of India in their territory, which Pakistan claims to have shot down. India has rejected the claims and said that they will respond through appropriate diplomatic channels. Intelligence sources claim that police may have shot down Pakistan’s own highway patrolling drone (Chinese made DJI Phantom 3) used in their Punjab province. Sources also say that ISI and Pakistani Army are reportedly putting pressure on Nawaz Sharif government for not going ahead with discussions with India.
Science and Technology
A panel of Department of Telecom (DoT) has recommended upholding of “the core principles of net neutrality”. The panel has made twenty four recommendations and added that the main objective is to make internet free and fair in India. While stressing upon the requirement of adhering to the international best practices on net neutrality, the panel stressed upon formulating an indigenous rational approach that suits specific needs of Indians, keeping in mind the exponential application as well as content growth on internet. DoT panel recommended simultaneous promotion of infrastructure and innovation; facilitating "Universal Broadband", "Quality Broadband", and Affordable Broadband" for Indians; ensuring users’ rights; need of separating "network layer" from "application layer"; legitimate traffic management practices; no regulatory oversight for OTT application services, and many more.
Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy has criticised Indian scientific and research community, along with the entire research set up in India, by saying that there has not been any significant “earth shaking” invention in the last 60 years in India that became a household name on a global scale. He went on say that in spite of having intellect as well as energy at par with the students studying in Western universities, the young researchers/scientists have not been able to do “much impactful research work”. The legendary industrialist said this while delivering his speech during Indian Institute of Science’s convocation at J.N. Tata Auditorium. He highlighted the inventions (Bionic Prostheses, Global Positioning System, Microchip, and others) achieved by the students of MIT and went on to say that they achieved these because of their ability to walk the “untrodden path”.
Rajeev Shukla, current Indian Premier League Chairman, has told media that governing committee meeting of the multi-crore cricket league will be held on 19 July 2015 for discussing as well as analysing the verdict given by Justice Lodha Committee. It is learnt that during the coveted meeting a decision may be taken whether to form a group for studying the report and at the same time the ways of implementing it. He also told media that he is currently consulting with the different office bearers on the report given by the concerned committee. Shukla went on to add that he is “in conversation with BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur” and also met BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya to discuss the issue. Reports say Dalmiya is in favour of protecting the cricket league and at the same time protect interests of BCCI as well as the players.
Science and Technology
While addressing a summit in Kolkata on “Combating Earthquake Disasters”, Shailesh Nayak (Secretary of Ministry of Earth Sciences) said that seismologists, geophysicists, and scientists of India are working on an ambitious project along with the likes of 27 other countries for developing an early-warning system for predicting occurrence of earthquakes. He also said that India is currently planning launch of a satellite by 2019 for tracking the changes that occur on surface of earth, up to the accuracy of few centimeters, before earthquakes. Shailesh Nayak also said that the total number of human casualties can be decreased substantially if a model can be developed successfully through this collaborative approach of 27 countries. He went on to add that deep bore-wells will be dug in seismically-active regions of India and filled with sensors for advanced experiments. Speakers stressed on adherence to “Building Structure Codes” for making buildings quake resistant.
Renowned social activist, Anna Hazare, has announced his plan of launching an indefinite hunger strike on Gandhi Jayanti (2 October 2015) to protest against two main issues. While one of the protest issues will be the new land acquisition bill (which Narendra Modi government is planning to implement), the other is delay in implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen. Reports say that he will stage his hunger strike programme at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan. The septuagenarian activist had also written to PM Modi earlier, urging him not to pass new ordinance on land acquisition. Hazare also met ex-servicemen at his residence in Maharashtra’s Ralegan Siddhi village and reportedly discussed about the ways of taking up the OROP issue with the central government. Hazare’s announcement is likely to give impetus to the ongoing protest of ex-servicemen, who are on relay hunger strike since 15 June.
Supreme Court has found the Union Government’s Drug Pricing Policy for essential medicines "unreasonable and irrational" and asked the central government to re-examine the concerned policy. Justice TS Thakur headed Supreme Court bench has observed that prices of some medicines are significantly higher (sometimes to the extent of 4,000 per cent) than the prices fixed by certain state governments. SC has categorically asked chemicals and fertilisers ministry to analyse and at the same time explain the reasons why essential medicines’ controlled prices have been fixed at higher levels, depriving poor people from accessing essential drugs at affordable prices. Ministry has been asked by SC for passing a reasoned order in coming six months. The SC bench has also asked the NGO - All India Drug Action Network - which filed petition against Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), for making representation to the government.
Arun Jaitley, Union Finance minister, has said that available figures show that manufacturing sector, compared to that of 2014, is reviving currently. He also said that the manufacturing sector will witness higher revival signs in the coming days, owing to the incessant campaign of “Make in India” initiative. Jaitley also pointed out that Indian service sector is growing at double digit figure and vouched for converting surplus manpower into resource. He went on to regard Indian economy as a “bright spot” among global economies in the ongoing modest global growth environment. Finance minister also vouched for the cost advantage India has over other countries, especially the other competitive economies including China where wage rates have more than doubled in the recent past due to shift in their national policy from export led economic growth to consumer goods driven domestic demand growth.
Merchandise export figures of June 2015 show 15.82 per cent contraction when compared with the same period a year back. During June 2014-15, merchandise export (accounting for around 1/5th of $2 trillion Indian economy) was $22.29 billion. National Institute of Public Finance and Policy’s economist N.R. Bhanumurthy has regarded 15.82 per cent export contraction, on a year on year basis, as a “sharp decline” and went on to say that continuation of this trend may lead to lower GDP growth rate. June 2015’s export figure is the seventh month in a row for export to fall. In spite of import figure falling 13.4 percent in June’15 in comparison to June’14, trade deficit widened from $10.41 billion in May’15 to $10.83 billion in June’15. PM Modi’s expectation of reaching 8 per cent this fiscal may witness uphill task if the current sluggish export trend continues, analysts believe.
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) has said that they have received approval ("Letter of Award") from Kerala Government to develop multi-crore Vizhinjam International Deepwater Seaport project. Reports say that Kerala Government has earmarked the project cost to be Rs 4,089 crore. Gautam Adani-led APSEZ, which has the experience of operating busiest port of the country in Gujarat’s Mundra, is expected to commission the project in four years. Adani Group Chairman has said that due to strategic placement of the concerned Kerala port along with closeness to international route, Vizhinjam International Deepwater Seaport has the potential of becoming region’s biggest trans-shipment hub. Reports say that currently around 1 million TEUs of Indian cargo are trans-shipped from foreign ports and development of the deepwater seaport in Kerala will help Indian trade by bringing down the cost of shipment significantly.