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Major News and Events of 18 May 2015

What Happened on 18 May 2015


India and South Korea to Expand Cooperation in the Fields of Security and Defence

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India and South Korea have agreed to expand cooperation in the fields of security and defence. Modi also said that he has invited South Korean companies to invest heavily in the defence manufacturing sector in India to give impetus to “Make in India” initiative. For facilitating investment and operations of Korean companies in India, Modi has announced establishment of “Korea Plus” channel. After meeting President of South Korea Park Geun-hye, he said both the countries have agreed to uplift their bilateral relationship to Special Strategic Partnership. After South Korea offered $10 billion financial package (including $9 billion export credits and $1 billion economic development cooperation fund) to India for supporting latter’s ambitious projects such as smart cities and bullet trains, both sides inked seven agreements.

Delhi Government Removes Principal Secretary (Services) Anindo Majumdar

Delhi Government locked Principal Secretary (Services) Anindo Majumdar's office today as a sign of protest over clearing appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary, following the orders by Governor Najeeb Jung. The controversy over appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin took a bizarre turn when Arvind Kejriwal government removed Anindo Majumdar from Principal Secretary (Services) position. Lt Governor’s office termed removal order of Anindo Majumdar as “ab-initio void” in a press statement as the order was not passed through Jung’s office. Jitender Singh (MoS for PMO) defended the DoPT appointments by saying they were transparent and all possible norms were followed in the same. He went on to add that respecting civil servants are essential as every adverse action impacts the entire service.

Union Home Minister praises Rajasthan govt for including chapter on Maharana Pratap

After unveiling a statue of Maharana Pratap in Rajasthan’s Mewar region, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh praised Rajasthan government for including a chapter on the 16th century Rajput Mewar ruler in the state owned and sponsored school textbooks. While urging the HRD Minister for including such chapters in CBSE textbooks too, Rajnath Singh informed that his government has taken the decision of celebrating 475th birth anniversary of the Rajput king in a grand way and accordingly a committee has already being formed. He went on to add that the 16th century ruler must also be regarded as 'Maharana Pratap the Great' for his contribution to the motherland just as Akbar is called ‘Akbar the Great' for his contribution.

Pervez Musharraf boasts of Catching India by Throat during 1999 Kargil Conflict

General Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistan Army chief and erstwhile military dictator, today claimed that during 1999 Kargil war between India and Pakistan the latter’s army “caught India by throat” and it is not easy for India to forget the concerned ‘war’. He made this statement while speaking at the All Pakistan Muslim League’s ceremony. Musharraf, who masterminded the Kargil attack, went on to say that a second line force entered Kargil from four different points, without India even knowing about it. He also said that his political outfit will take part in Pakistan’s local body election, to be held in the coming days.

ZTE to Launch Nubia Line of Smartphone in India Exclusively on Amazon

ZTE is going to launch its first set of Nubia line-up of smartphones in India tomorrow. For launching the well awaited phones, media invites have already been sent. They will be exclusively available on Amazon India and the concerned Amazon page is already live. The concerned page asks visitors to get registered for availing more information. Some unconfirmed reports have claimed that ZTE is all set to launch Nubia Z9 mini or Nubia Z9 Max that was launched in China recently. The launch is timed a day after another Chinese brand Meizu is all set to launch M1 Note phablet in India today.

Union Sports Minister lends Support to Proposed Indo-Pak Series

Giving a major push to the proposed bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan, Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that for promoting friendship between the two neighbours, he is in favour of the series being played in UAE in December 2015. However, he acknowledged the fact that there are wide array of issues that need to be addressed before formally giving a go ahead. At the sidelines of a function, Sonowal also said that currently his ministry is concentrating on providing all kinds of support to the “possible medal prospective” players for increasing tally in the Rio Olympics.   

Rape Survivor Aruna Shanbaug dies after 42 years in Coma

Aruna Shanbaug, the 68 year old rape survivor who was in coma for 42 years, died at King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital in Mumbai. Reports say that she was suffering from pneumonia for the past one week and was on the ventilator for the last few days. The brave heart was brutally raped by the cleaner of state run KEM Hospital, where Aruna was a nurse, on November 27, 1973 when she was just 26 years of age. Sohanlal raped and brutally assaulted Shanbaug to teach her a lesson as she scolded him for stealing food meant for the stray animals adopted by KEM Hospital. She was found in the basement by hospital staffs 11 hours after the attack. This brutal attack left her cortically blind and paralysed.  

Finance Ministry Joins the Interest Rate Cut Bandwagon

Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, has told media that he expects lower rate of interest in the economy, lending support to the increasing demand by India Inc as well as business analysts of a rate cut. He made this observation when asked about his expectation on upcoming monetary policy review of RBI, scheduled on 2 June. With the raging debate on interest rate cut, RBI wants Union Government to allow for increased capital transaction convertibility for better integration with the global financial system. Executive Director of RBI, G Padmanabhan, said during a speech delivered at an educational institute that keeping existing limits on capital account transactions is not tenable and vouched for full capital account convertibility, as he thinks further resistance to liberalisation is counterproductive.

Assocham in favour of Including Sonepat and Panipat in Union Government's "100 Smart Cities Project"

Assocham (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India), in a paper “Sonepat & Panipat: Strong case for inclusion in Smart Cities Project” today claimed that inclusion of both Sonepat and Panipat in the '100 Smart Cities project' will help the region attract investment to the tune of Rs. 200-300 crore. The paper also claimed that 2-2.5 lakh direct and indirect jobs can be created in the region in 2 to 3 years if investment comes in multiple sectors including BPO, automobile, textile, petrochemicals, biotechnology, food processing, education, IT, hospitality, healthcare, sports goods, and others. Assocham observed that some of the factors that can increase growth of the region include fast development of Kundli-Palwal-Manesar (KMP) Expressway, proximity to Delhi, establishment of Rajiv Gandhi Education City, and others.   

Rahul Gandhi starts his Three-day Amethi Tour

Vice President of Congress Rahul Gandhi started his three-day Amethi visit today. He kick started his constituency visit by making scathed attack on PM Narendra Modi. He accused Modi of visiting foreign countries but not the families of farmers who committed suicide. While traveling to Amethi, in Barabanki, Rahul again raised the food park cancellation issue and accused Modi government of vindictive politics by neglecting farmers and poor of Amethi by cancelling the food park, which he claims to have changed the face of the district. He went on to say that he along with people of Amethi will fight to get the coveted food park back.

PM Narendra Modi Reaches South Korea and Addresses Indian Community in Seoul

Narendra Modi has reached South Korea, his last destination during the on-going three-nation tour, this morning. While addressing Indian community in Seoul, the Prime Minister said that during last one year global perception about India has changed. He emphasised on the fact that people living abroad are returning to India for better opportunities as the sense of development is attracting them back to India. While describing development, he said that he wants to better quality of life of the people in addition to constructing good roads, and big buildings. PM is expected to hold talks on various global, bilateral, and trade issues with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Multiple agreements including highways, transport, Double Taxation Avoidance Convention, audiovisual co-production, shipping/logistics cooperation, and development of electric power in new energy industries are expected to be signed.

SBI Report Predicts Deflationary Trend in WPI to Continue in May Too

A research report published by State Bank of India says that the continuing deflationary trend witnessed in the last six months will continue in May 2015 too. In April’15, WPI inflation dropped to a new low of (-)2.65 per cent. In May’15, the WPI inflation will decrease to (-)3 per cent. The SBI research note has observed that they have not found any substance in the notion that MSP increase, rupee depreciation, increasing crude oil prices, rainfall shortage, and unseasonal rains will affect on-going inflation trajectory. The note specifically points out that excess buffer stock will help shield the probable adverse impact of shortage in foodgrains, caused due to expected weak monsoon. CPI is also projected to come down to around 4.5 per cent.