Major News and Events of 20 July 2015
What Happened on 20 July 2015
Zimbabwe stuns India in Second T20 Match to level Tournament Score 1-1
ISRO planning "Deep Space Exploration" to Venus
CBI likely to Inform SC about its Requirement of 200 Officials to Probe Vyapam Scam
India Responds Strongly to Unprovoked Firing by Pakistan along LoC
Alleged Delhi Rapist-Killer Shows No Remorse
PM Modi meets NDA Constituents before Start of Monsoon Session
PM Modi meets Trade Unions before 46th Indian Labour Conference
Union Government sets up "Council for Trade Development and Promotion" to boost Export
Airtel Launching 4G Handset at Rs. 4,000
Amazon aims big in India, Readies $5 Billion Chest
Draft Report on GST prepared by Parliamentary Committee
After Somdev Devvarman’s spectacular performance against Marcus Daniell, 23-year-old Yuki Bhambri gave a fired up performance to snatch the Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup Tie against New Zealand 3-2 and consequently advance to the coveted World Group Playoffs. Yuki Bhambri drubbed his Kiwi opponent Michael Venus in straight sets 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. Bhambri was authoritative from the beginning of the match and didn’t give his opponent a single break chance of his serve. It was only in the third game of the match that Michael Venus was able to put up some resistance to Yuki Bhambri’s juggernaut when the former was on the verge of a break point in the 6th game. However, Bhambri pulled it off well and settled the third and final set 6-3.
After losing the ODI series and also the first match of the Twenty-20 tournament, host Zimbabwe bounced back to clinch a thriller from India and level the T20 series 1-1. Zimbabwean team defeated Team India by 10 runs in the second T20 international match, played at Harare Sports Club. Zimbabwe batted first to put on a score of 145 runs in 20 overs at the loss of 7 wickets. Chamu Chibhabha, one of the openers of Zimbabwe, was the highest scorer with 67 runs in just 51 balls. While chasing a score of 146 runs to win the match, India was at one point struggling at 69 for 5 in 9 overs. The only formidable score put on board by an Indian batsman was Robin Uthappa, who scored 42 runs in just 25 balls. Indians were able to score just 135 runs at the end of 20 overs.
Science and Technology
Reports say that Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch “deep space exploration” missions to Venus. In fact, it is also learnt that a second Mars mission can also be initiated along with a deep space exploration on an asteroid. Kiran Kumar, ISRO Chairman, has said that they need a full proof and proper roadmap on the missions before formulating the project. He went on to say that both the Venus and asteroid missions are challenging ones and that’s why a full proof plan needs to be chalked out. Sources also indicate that USA’s NASA may also be a part of the concerned space exploration programmes of ISRO.
Reports say that Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wants over two hundred officials to probe the multi-crore Vyapam scam and the related deaths, by keeping the enormity of the case in consideration. Sources say that CBI is all set to communicate this aspect to the Supreme Court during the upcoming hearing on 24 July. It is learnt that currently there are just 40 CBI officials in the case, all of whom are currently stationed in Bhopal. An officer related to the investigation said that there are over 2,000 people who need to be probed during the Vyapam scam investigation and that’s why anywhere from 150 to 200 officials are required in the case. Reports say that Special Task Force (SFT) is going to handover over 12 tonnes of documents to CBI for carrying forward the investigation.
After Pakistan yet again resorted to unprovoked firing along the LoC, Indian security personnel and army gave a strong response in Jammu’s Poonch sector. A defence spokesperson told media that Pakistani rangers resorted to unprovoked firing during midnight in the Shahpur sector, located along the LoC. He went on to say that the Pakistani Army personnel used automatic as well as small weapons for targeting security personnel along the international border. However, Indian troopers also effectively retaliated by firing back. Five Indian civilians were injured after Pakistan resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing along LoC on Saturday.
The alleged serial rapist and killer of around 15 children from Delhi, 24-year-old Ravindra Kumar, has reportedly shown no remorse while admitting his acts. Reports say that he blamed his alcoholism for committing such heinous acts. In an interview to a TV channel he said that he committed the crimes after consuming alcohol. Though he said that he felt guilty every time after doing such an act, he went on to claim that he committed the next crime after consuming alcohol again. Ironically, he also said that he would have sought strict punishment for such act if he was a parent. Ravindra Kumar was arrested by Delhi police on 15 July, while following the trails of a missing 6-year old girl, whose missing report was filed on 14 July.
PM Narendra Modi called a meeting of all NDA constituents yesterday at his official residence for chalking out the probable steps for taking on the offensive of Congress-led united opposition during the Monsoon parliamentary session, to start tomorrow. The first meeting took place in the morning yesterday at Amit Shah’s residence that was attended by Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh (who is facing opposition’s wrath on Vyapam scam and related mysterious death issues), Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan CM and one of the main accused in Lalit Modi controversy), and Sushma Swaraj (External Affairs Minister and another accused in Lalit Modi case). The second meeting at PM Modi’s residence was attended by senior BJP leaders such as Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, and others. Reports say that BJP has agreed to take on opposition ire in the parliament by highlighting UPA government’s “history of scams”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday met a delegation of trade union leaders, belonging to 12 trade unions, a day before he inaugurates 46th Indian Labour Conference (ILC) today. Reports say that the invitation was forwarded to the trade union leaders by the PM for hearing their views over a cup of tea. Despite the discussion, the trade unions are steadfast in going ahead with their 2 September nationwide strike as they say PM Modi only listened to them and gave no assurances. While CITU leader and Rajya Sabha MP Tapan Sen called the meeting inconclusive, AITUC leader Gurudas Dasgupta opposed disinvestment of PSUs and opined that the Union government is drafting new labour laws without consulting trade unions. Sanjeeva Reddy of INTUC pointed out that in sharp contrast to western countries, especially those in Europe, there is no minimum wage in India.
With rising concern of continuous falling trend in export scenario of India, Union Government has decided to set up a council named “Council for Trade Development and Promotion (CTDP)” for promoting export sector abroad. Reports say that Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge), will be the chairperson of this export promotion council. It is learnt that trade and commerce ministers of states and union territories will also be members of this council. Secretaries from 14 central government departments will also be part of CTDP, sources say. Union government has reportedly set up this council so that the states as well as UTs can formulate export strategies, in sync with the national one, for achieving the ambitious export target of US$ 900 billion by 2019-20.
Telecom giant Bharti Airtel has also jumped into the 4G bandwagon as it has reportedly planned to launch its own branded smartphones by October-November 2015. Reports say to take on the cost effective 4G effort of Reliance Jio, announced by Mukesh Ambani sometimes back, Airtel is going to introduce 4G enabled handsets at an affordable cost of Rs. 4,000. However, there will be other branded handsets launched too, whose upper cap will be Rs. 12,000. Sources say that Bharti Airtel has already initiated discussions with contract manufacturer Foxconn and multiple Chinese vendors for manufacturing these proposed affordable 4G-handsets in India as part of “Make in India” effort. Sources also say that the launch of affordable Airtel handsets is expected to take place during Indian festive season of Diwali and is likely to support FDD as well as TDD LTE networks.
Sources say largest online retailer of the world, Amazon, is in the process of readying $5 billion war chest for Indian market, which is going to be the largest effort of the company outside USA. Amazon India is going to launch Amazon Prime in the later part of 2015 for its high-end customers. This effort will be a subscription-based ecommerce service. It is also learnt that the eCommerce behemoth is also going to add instant video service (Amazon Instant Video) too, which is also slated to be launched during 2015-end. For sourcing its content, the company has already hired a former executive of Sony Entertainment - Nitesh Kripalani. To be more competitive, Amazon India has undertaken major plans of expanding wide network of data centres and warehouses in the country and for this the company has decided to invest an additional sum of Rs. 31,700 crore.
The parliamentary committee that examined the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill has prepared a detailed draft report. Reports say that Rajya Sabha’s Select Committee will consider this draft report on 24 July, three days after the Monsoon session of the parliament starts on 21 July. It is learnt that the Union Government has agreed to one of the major demands of the states of compensating them for 5 years with the revenue loss they will experience in the period due to implementation of GST. Sources say that in an attempt to overhaul tax structure of India, an official amendment to GST Bill will be moved by the government. Reports say that the amendment will be done to GST Bill’s Clause 19 for incorporating the 5-year compensation to states in the bill.