Major News and Events of 20 February 2015
What Happened on 20 February 2015
Noble Laureate Amartya Sen Excludes Himself from Chancellorship of Nalanda University after Government Apathy
Five Indian Workers Get $14 million as Compensation from US-based Employer
Expectation on Teesta Water Deal Soar as Mamata Banerjee Starts her 3-day Bangladesh Visit
Delhi Government Asks Administration to Stop Removing Hawkers and Street Vendors
Affordable Canvas Pep Launched by Micromax at Rs. 5,999
Supreme Court Shields Arrest of Teesta Setalvad as Custodial Interrogation is not Imperative
SpiceJet Stock Soar with CCI Approving Ajay Singh's Majority Stake Acquisition Proposal
Domestic and International Cues Dampen Market Sentiment
7 Arrested on Allegations of Corporate Espionage; Market Sentiment Negative
Jitan Ram Manjhi Resigns as CM Just Before Bihar Assembly Floor Test
Sachin and Sourav Analyse India's Chances in WC 2015
Moshe Ya’alon, Defence Minister of Israel, met Indian PM Narendra Modi to vouch for greater cooperation between the two countries. Official sources reveal that defence deals to the tune of $2 billion are expected to be signed in the coming few years. It is learnt that Israel wants to increase strategic partnership not only in defence sector but also in other sectors including environment, water management, and agriculture. Narendra Modi has reportedly expressed satisfaction in terms of cooperation between the two countries. While addressing an audience at an event, Moshe Ya’alon said that his country is interested to become a part of ‘Make in India’ initiative and share its latest defence technologies.
Even after Governing Board unanimously recommending Noble Laureate Amartya Sen’s name for continuation as Chancellorship of Nalanda University for the second term, delay on part of the Union Government to clear his name made Sen write a letter to the board in ‘heavy heart’ and reportedly excluding himself from the coveted position for the second term. In a shocking revelation, the Noble Laureate said in his letter that President Pranab Mukherjee was unable to give nod to recommendation of the Governing Board because of absence of approval by the Union government.
The US Court in New Orleans awarded five Indian persons $14 million as compensation for being forced to work in inhuman conditions in United States by a US-based company. Ruling by the US district court came after four-weeks of trial where the jury found Signal International, an Alabama based company, guilty on multiple issues including fraud, trafficking, discrimination, and racketeering. The jury ordered the company to pay the workers $12 million as compensation. New Orleans court also found the company’s recruiter in India and co-defendants guilty and each party is asked to pay the workers an additional amount of US$915,000 each.
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, reached Dhaka yesterday and started her three-day Bangladesh tour amid soaring hopes of major breakthrough regarding Land Boundary Agreement, Teesta water-sharing deal, and improving ties between the two neighbouring countries. Mamata and her 38-member delegation received a warm welcome from Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Pankaj Saran, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka. Bangladesh government is reportedly pinning hope of resolving pending bilateral issues during Mamata’s three-day trip. Mamata told reporters that her tour is intended to promote business and strengthen ties between the two neighbours.
The Delhi government has asked the administration not to remove hawkers and street vendors who have been doing business for many years now. Sources reveal that this government decision comes just few days after some street vendors complained during ‘Janta Darbar' of CM Arvind Kejriwal that the police is dislocating them inspite of the fact that they are carrying on their businesses in those locations for many years now. Delhi government stressed upon the Supreme Court order that allowed street vendors to operate from their existing place till vending or hawking zone is created and registration completed.
Science and Technology
Micromax, in order to increase its clout in the budget segment of Indian smartphone market, has introduced Canvas Pep at a price of Rs. 5,999. This new smartphone runs on Android KitKat 4.4.2 OS and is powered by a Quad Core processor clocked at a speed of 1.3 GHz. Micromax Canvas Pep comes with dual camera feature (primary and secondary camera with 5 MP sensor) and RAM of 1GB. Reports point out that this new economy phone with multiple connectivity options (Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and 3G) can be purchased from both offline and online stores.
The Supreme Court shielded noted social activist Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, her husband, from arrest by Gujarat Police on alleged misappropriation of funds of Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace, meant for building housing for victims of 2002 Gujarat Riots. While extending interim relief from arrest till further order, the Supreme Court bench observed that custodial interrogation doesn’t seem imperative here as interrogation on alleged misappropriation of funds can be pursued without curtailing liberty of a civilian. Justices Adarsh K Goel and Dipak Misra also said that the alleged ‘mismanagement of fund’ can’t be regarded as ‘serious and big scam’, a basic premise for custodial interrogation.
Market reports say that majority stake acquisition proposal of SpiceJet by Ajay Singh has been approved by Competition Commission of India. Market reacted with enthusiasm on this news and the stock price soared by more than 19 per cent till afternoon. SpiceJet stock today opened at 22.80 at BSE Sensex after closing at 19.95 yesterday. Reports point out the first slew of investment to the tune of Rs. 400 crore will be brought in by Ajay Singh-led investors on February 23. At 2:55 pm IST, the stock was trading at 23.75, increase of 19.05 per cent over previous close.
BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty today witnessed downward pull of the market as heavyweight stocks (Reliance Industries, Infosys, and ICICI Bank performed poorly. The market could have witnessed bloodbath if some heavyweight stocks including Tata Motors, ITC, IndusInd Bank, Zee India Ltd., and BHEL didn’t make significant gains. At 3.07 pm IST, BSE Sensex was trading at 29,283.92 points (fall of 179.79 points) and CNX NIFTY at 8,846.95 points (fall of 48.35 points). Analysts believe reports of corporate espionage, cautious trading before Union Budget, and Germany’s rejection of Greece’s loan agreement extension request dampened market mood.
With corporate espionage reports surfacing in media, followed by arrest of seven persons (who allegedly leaked confidential information to corporate behemoths from petroleum and natural gas ministry), overall market remained subdued today with marked fall witnessed in Reliance Industries Limited stock price. Among the seven arrested, one is an ex-journalist Santanu Saikia, a RIL employee, and the third, an energy consultant, Prayas Jain. Others arrested are government employees. Reports claim ‘internal probe’ has been initiated by RIL. RIL stock plunged 3.24 per cent till 3.30pm IST and S&P BSE SENSEX fell by 230.86 points till 3:35pm IST.
Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned from Chief Ministerial position just before Bihar Assembly prepared to go on trust vote. Analysts believe that Manjhi took the last minute decision of stepping down as ground realities of required numbers for saving his government went against him. Just after putting down his papers to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathy, Manjhi held a press conference where he claimed that he could have got support of 140 MLAs if there was a secret ballot. He also vouched for fresh polls. Nitish Kumar thanked MLAs who stood beside him and called it a historic win.
Former Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar told media that ‘mental fatigue’ of players due to playing too many games by the Indian cricket team before the World Cup may play spoilsport in achieving the best during World Cup 2015. Saurav Ganguly, one of the most successful skippers of India, told media that India has more than one match winners and is optimistic about India’s performance during the World Cup.