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Major News and Events of 18 March 2015

What Happened on 18 March 2015


Row over IAS Officer DK Ravi's Death Continues

IAS Officer DK Ravi’s Death made the Karnataka Chief Minister make statement on the issue in the Assembly. JD(S) and BJP demanded CBI probe. While K J George (Home Minister of the state) said that the prima facie evidence point to suicide due to personal reasons, CM Siddaramaiah denied CBI inquiry and assured speedy inquiry by CID. RTI activist Ganesh has claimed that sudden death of the brave IAS officer schocked him as ravi was readying to raid some heavyweight real estate developers. DK Ravi's father said that it seems he was under tremendous pressure from several developers but ruled out suicide theory.

Indian Market Treads Cautiously Before US Fed comes Out with Policy Statement

Market is treading cautiously as United States Federal Reserve is expected to come out with its policy statement by day-end after two days Fed meeting ends today. Though both the Indian bourses opened marginally above previous close, it quickly went into the red. At 9:50am IST, NSE Nifty was down 33 points and BSE Sensex was down by 108 points. At 11.03am IST, CNX Nifty was trading at 8695.50 (down by 27.80 points) and Sensex was trading at 28644.52 (down by 91.86 points). The top 5 gainers at NSE at 11.03am IST were Jindal Steel, Zee Limited, Sesa Sterlite Limited, IndusInd Bank, and IDFC.

IMF Chief's Crucial Observations Before Announcement of US Fed Policy Statement During India Visit

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, was all praise for RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan yesterday. She acknowledged that not listening to his 2008 credit crisis prediction was a big mistake. Before becoming RBI governor, Rajan was IMF’s Research Director and Chief Economist from 2003 to 2006 and correctly predicted impending global financial crisis back in 2005. Lagarde also observed that the Indian companies that have high foreign currency debt are at higher level of risk with increase in strength of US Dollar. IMF chief’s warning comes a day ahead of US Fed all set to announce its policy statement and expected Fed rate hike.

Indigo Airlines to Raise Rs. 2,500 Crore Through IPO

Report says that Indigo Airlines is all set to raise Rs. 2,500 crore through public listing during first quarter of 2015-16 financial year. Indigo Airlines currently holds the largest market share in Indian Airlines industry and is a consistent profit earner for quite some time now. It is expected to earn profit during the current fiscal too. Indigo Airlines has been preparing to launch its IPO since 2014. To become eligible for attracting Foreign Direct Investment, the airlines had restructured its shareholding too last year. Per TripAdvisor, Indigo Airlines emerged as the most favoured domestic airliner for 3rd time in a row last December.

ISMA Report shows Increase in Sugar Production this Season Till March 15

Statement published by Indian Sugar Mills Association shows that production of sugar by the Indian mills has increased to 221.8 lakh tonne up to March 15. While comparing the data with that of corresponding period last year, there has been an increase in production by 28-lakh tone. Sugar production was 193.8 lakh tonne last season. Abinash Verma, Director General of ISMA, has said that by 15 March 2015 the number of operational sugar mills has increased from 409 mills last season to 476 mills. Union government has also revised estimates of sugar production from 250 to 265 lakh tonne.

Jaitley clears Air on Allocation to State and Centrally Sponsored Schemes

While answering questions put forward by opposition during Appropriation Bill debate in Lok Sabha, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that after implementation of the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission, allocation to states would go up by an additional Rs 1.35 lakh crore in 2015-16 wrt 2014-15. Jaitley told Lok Sabha that Union Government has ignored 14th Commission’s suggestion of delinking almost all Centrally Sponsored Schemes to the states and instead kept 23 of them under its ambit. He went on to say that just 8 CSSs have been totally delinked to states and thirteen partially funded.

United Opposition Marches to Rashtrapati Bhavan and Submits Memorandum to Stall Land Acquisition Bill

Almost the entire opposition in the Parliament (except AIADMK, BSP, and Biju Janata Dal), led by INC President Sonia Gandhi, marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan and submitted a memorandum to the President of India Pranab Mukherjee, asking him not to sign Land Acquisition Bill, which they called “anti-farmer legislation”. Sonia Gandhi, through a press statement, requested Mukherjee to intervene in the matter and ask Union Government of not going ahead with the bill in parliament’s upper house. During yesterday’s march, Sonia Gandhi was accompanied by Sitaram Yechury (CPI(M)), Swagato Roy (TMC), ex-PM Manmohan Singh (INC), Sharad Yadav (JD(U)), and others.  

AAP to Expand in Other States; Signals of Rapprochement Between Warring AAP Factions

Sources say that Political Affairs Committee of Aam Aadmi Party has decided to expand AAP in other parts of the country, especially where it has considerable organisational strength. This crucial decision was taken during a PAC meeting at Arvind Kejriwal’s Ghaziabad residence yesterday evening. Reports say that AK was earlier averse to participating elections in other parts of India. Rebel AAP leader Yogendra Yadav has welcomed the decision. It is learnt that a team of AAP leaders including Ashutosh, Ashish Khetan, Kumar Vishwas, and Sanjay Singh met Yadav and had long hours of discussion, which Yadav later said as “positive”.

SC Bench Calls Inclusion of Jat Community in OBC Category Unconstitutional

Supreme Court Bench in a watershed judgement has termed reservation for jat community by including them in the Other Backward Classes category in 9 regions (including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan’s Dholpur and Bharatpur districts, National Capital Territory of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, and Bihar) as unconstitutional.  The observation was made both from the perspectives of constitution’s Article 15(4) and Article 16(4). The SC bench of Justice R F Nariman and Justice Ranjan Gogoi has also observed that jat community is a politically organised class and their inclusion in the category will adversely affect the welfare of OBCs.

J&K Budget Session Starts Today; House Sitting to Continue Till April 9

Budget Session of Jammu and Kashmir government is all set to start today and the house sitting will continue till April 9. While the twenty-three day session will start today, actual budget will be presented on March 22. On March 23 and March 24, general discussion on the budget will take place. While on March 30 and March 31, Private Members Bills will be taken up, on April 1 the Private Members Resolutions will be taken up. This budget session is expected to be stormy as contentious issues like Article 370, Afzal Guru, and AFSPA are likely to be lofted.

Sony Xperia E4 Dual Launched in India at Rs. 12,190

Sony launched Xperia E4 Dual, its new budget smartphone, at a price of Rs. 12,190 yesterday in India. It took the Japanese tech giant one month to launch the device in India after its global release. This budget mobile is reported to run for two days at a stretch on normal use, as Sony has packed it with 2300mAh battery. Reports say that Ultra Stamina mode helps core functions of Sony Xperia E4 Dual to run for 1 week. This device runs on Android 4.4 KitKat operating system and is powered by 1.3 GHz quad core processor. 

Pakistan High Commissioner to India Announces Re-establishment of Bilateral Cricket Ties Between India and Pakistan

Abdul Basit, Pakistan High Commissioner to India, told media that bilateral cricketing ties between the arch rivals India and Pakistan will be re-established from December 2015. While speaking in an event, Basit said that both the countries’ cricket boards are working hard to organise a bilateral series between the two countries by this year-end. Though the venue has not been finalised yet, it will be either UAE or India. Pakistan High Commissioner to India made the public announcement just a week after Shaharyar Khan, PCB Chief, met Anurag Thakur, BCCI secretary, on March 10.