Major News and Events of 19 June 2015
What Happened on 19 June 2015
"Lalitgate" forces PM Narendra Modi to take up the Issue with BJP President Amit Shah; Government calls it "Congress Conspiracy"
Foxconn's rival Quanta Computer also looking to set up Manufacturing Base in India
Micromax Launches World's Slimmest and Lightest Smartphone with 4G LTE Connectivity
Bangladesh Tigers humiliate Team India by Winning First ODI by 79 Runs
AAP Accepts Mistake by Not Verifying Jitender Singh Tomar's degree
Supreme Court Refuses Bail to Sahara Chief until he pays Rs. 10,000 Crore
PM Modi stresses on Expanding Aadhar Platform and Accelerating Direct Benefit Transfer
Jaitley says Excessive Judicial Interference Not Good for Investors
CII vouches for Increasing India-Russia Cooperation in Defence, Pharma, and Nuclear Energy Manufacturing
Cisco commits to Invest $2 billion in India in 2015 as part of its "Make in India" Plan
As Enforcement Directorate and Ministry of External Affairs got involved in blame game over Lalit Modi controversy on Delhi High Court’s restoration of Lalit’s passport, Congress upped the ante against Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and demanded her resignation, citing her quid pro quo relationship with Lalit Modi’s money laundering. Congress leader CP Joshi asked BJP President Amit Shah to take immediate action against Raje and claimed that there was no “humanitarian ground” in the law for External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to help Lalit. He also took pot shot at PM Narendra Modi on his “deafening silence” on the matter. Congress leader Sachin Pilot rejected Rajasthan CM’s defence and called it a "thick skinned act". Meanwhile, Lalit Modi in a 46-page statement to UK authorities claimed that President Pranab Mukherjee ordered ED probe against him when Mukherjee was finance minister.
Lalitgate has forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the contentious issue with National President of BJP, Amit Shah. Sources say that the duo discussed on the measures that can be undertaken for damage control as the situation is fast getting out of control with newer revelations everyday along with mounting opposition pressure. Reports say that the PM Modi-Shah meeting took place after the two met UP farmers’ delegation last evening at PM’s residence. Meanwhile, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje has cancelled her visit to Punjab citing ill health to avoid coming face to face with Amit Shah, after reports claimed that the latter was not convinced by the former’s reasons on her involvement in the Lalitgate row. Union government today claimed that Lalit Modi controversy is a conspiracy of Congress to destabilise government.
Science and Technology
Quanta Computer Inc. of Taiwan, world’s top contract PC manufacturer and Foxconn’s rival in making laptops and assembling watches for Apple, has announced that it is seriously considering setting up a manufacturing base in India. After annual investor conference, C.C. Leung (Vice Chairman of Quanta) told media that they are looking into this aspect and gathering information required to decide upon setting up a development unit in India. The move comes just days after Foxxcon announced setting up its facilities in India. Government officials said that Foxconn has initiated discussion with Apple on the prospect of setting up 10-12 facilities in India by 2020. VC of Quanta said that they don’t have a specific plan yet but are gathering information on business facilities in India such as availability of entire tech supply chain together, access to ports, transportation convenience, et al.
Science and Technology
Micromax has launched its new smartphone Canvas Silver 5, which they claim is the slimmest as well as lightest mobile handset in the world. It will cost a customer Rs.17,999 and will be available in the Indian market from month end. One of the most important features of this smartphone is the 4G LTE connectivity. In a tweet from the official handle, Micromax Mobile said that this new Micromax Canvas Silver 5 comes with a razor thin body, which is just 5.1mm wide. While launching the device, Vineet Taneja (CEO of Micromax Informatics) said that the internal R&D team has worked on to meet the evolving needs of customers and designed a smartphone having “unmatched design, style and performance”. It comes with a 7-day doorstep service policy and noted features include Android Lollipop OS, 8MP rear and 5MP front camera, and others.
Team India was humiliated yesterday by Bangladesh Cricket team in the first one day international match during Indian cricket team’s ongoing tour of Bangladesh. In the match played yesterday at Dhaka’s Sher’e Bangla National Stadium, Bangladesh batted first and put up a score of 307 runs on board with brilliant batting from Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, and Tamim Iqbal. Chasing a target of 308 runs to win the match, India crumbled to 228 runs all out with 4 overs to spare. Mustafizur Rahman’s 5-wicket haul surprised Indian batsmen. Though Indian openers started well, bringing up 50 runs partnership in just 7.4 overs, they couldn’t continue the momentum for long. Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rohit, and Ajinkya Rahane were bundled out in quick succession and the 95/0 quickly became 115/4. Though Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja tried to consolidate partnership but couldn’t continue the momentum.
Manish Sisodia, senior Aam Aadmi Party leader and Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, admitted that it was a mistake on their part of not verifying former Delhi Law Minister Jitendra Singh Tomar’s degree. He went on to say that AAP asked Tomar regarding the fake degree issue once it came to the light for the first time. However, to this he not only showed his degrees but also a RTI document as well as affidavit. He also acknowledged that fact that it is a great deal of job to check certificates of all 67 MLAs. The only work left for AAP was to visit the universities individually to cross check the truth of the degrees. Though Sisodia stressed that all the 67 MLAs should be punished in case they have done any wrong but questioned the timing and manner in which Jitendra Singh Tomar was arrested.
Supreme Court today said that Subrata Roy, Sahara group chief, can be granted bail only if he pays Rs. 10,000 crore, divided equally between cash and bank guarantees. SC also observed that Sahara chief has to repay Rs. 36, 000 crore to his depositors within a period of 18 months, after he is released on bail upon Rs. 10,000 crore payment. However, counsel of Subroto Roy and senior advocate Kapil Sibal told Justice T.S. Thakur led three-judge Bench that bank guarantee is not available at present because the banks backed out after learning about the proceedings from media reports. Kapil Sibal also asked the bench to release Roy as a goodwill gesture, give him six weeks time for submitting a repayment scheme, and put him in jail again if he doesn’t abide by. However, SC rejected it too by saying there will be no guarantee of money recovery, if released.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting and reviewed the progress of Aadhaar (UID) platform as well as Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to the customers. In a statement, Prime Minister's Office said that Narendra Modi has asked to expand Aadhaar (UID) platform applications, on one hand, and accelerate delivery of benefits, on the other. Reports say that the high-level meeting was not only attended by the senior officers of different ministries but also by Arvind Panagariya (Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog), Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Jayant Sinha (Minister of State, Finance), and Haribhai Chaudhary (Minister of State, Home Ministry). The officials were reportedly asked by the PM to identify applications through which concrete results can be achieved in the coming two months. Sources say that PM Modi has been informed by the officials about saving around 14 to 15 per cent in LPG subsidy alone.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, during a discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations, that excessive judicial interference in commercial arbitration is not a good aspect for the investors because it increases their cost of operation. He went on to say that this is the reason why government is contemplating the idea of changing the concerned laws for adequately dealing with it. During the discussion with former Treasury Secretary of US and President of Warburg Pincus (an investment firm) Jaitley said that the reforms planned by Narendra Modi government will help India go past 7-7.5 per cent GDP growth rate easily, once they are implemented. He assured the investors that the problem areas have been located and his government is fixing them one after another. He also stressed upon his government’s effort of improving relationships with neighbours and highlighted excellent relationship of PM Modi with Chinese President Xi Jingping.
Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has said that India and Russia should increase cooperation in multiple sectors including defence manufacturing, nuclear energy, oil and gas, renewable energy, and pharmaceuticals. The Indian industry body has not only organised India-Russia Business Roundtable meeting in Russia but also taken a business delegation, led by its President Sumit Mazumder, there. In a statement, CII has said that Indian companies can consider Russia as their base of production and in turn the Russian companies can utilise the vast research and development prowess of India. For boosting bilateral trade between the two countries, Sumit Mazumder stressed upon the need to start a free trade agreement between India and Russia. The statement also mentions the need to address the issue related to long-term business visas and went on to add that the Russian companies are showing interest in doing business with India.
Cisco has decided to increase its outlay for India by an additional Rs. 378 crore or $60 million in the existing projects. Chuck Robbins, CEO-designate of Cisco, said that this additional investment is up and above the $1.7 billion investment (including $250 million on Research and Development in India) the company makes every year in India. $60 million will be utilised for facility expansion and training. A company spokesperson said that $40 million investments will be done for facility expansion (whose work is already going on) and the rest $20 million will be spent over a period of coming five years in training. John T Chambers, CEO and Cisco Systems Chairman, said that they are committing big investment in India in manufacturing and have planned “to train additional 1,20,000 students by 2020” by investing up to $20 million directly and indirectly.