Major News and Events of 20 May 2015
What Happened on 20 May 2015
Minister Maneka Gandhi asks Niti Aayog to Defer Funding Pattern Restructuring on Social Sector Schemes to Next Fiscal
Congress Accuses Modi of being more concerned about NRIs than Indian Citizens
Apple Launches 15-inch MacBook Pro in India
IPC gives Permission to India's Para Athletes to Participate in International Competitions inspite of Ban on National Body
BCCI Secretary says Final Decision on Fate of Proposed Indo-Pak Series to be taken after June 15
Standoff between Delhi Government and Lt. Governor Escalates
Arun Jaitley claims 'Corruption' booted out of India's Political Dictionary
Rahul Gandhi writes to Home Minister asking to Revive Mega Food Park Project in Amethi
Crisil says Expectations from Narendra Modi Government Taper Off
RIL becomes First Indian Issuer to Sell Bonds in Taiwan to raise $200 Million
UN Report says Economic Growth of India to Overtake China
Prakash Javadekar, Environment Minister of India, while speaking in Berlin’s Petersberg Climate Dialogue reiterated India’s stand that they will work closely with international community and also undertake responsible, proactive, and constructive role in finding equitable, pragmatic, and practical solutions to climate change problem. However, he questioned the seriousness of commitment made by the developed countries in creating US$100 billion per year global climate fund by 2020 as he noted that the developed countries are nowhere near the agreed upon goal. Javedkar also warned that a formula must be reached which makes the polluters pay up rather than make poor countries pay the price. He also asked the developed nations of making available the climate-friendly technologies at affordable cost to the developing countries.
Maneka Gandhi, Women and Child Development Minister, cited lack of clarity on some issues and therefore asked Niti Aayog to defer their decision of funding pattern restructuring on social sector schemes to next financial year. For smooth implementation, she urged Niti Aayog to work out the scheme details during the ongoing financial year. The minister raised these issues in a letter she sent to Shivraj Singh Chauhan, head of Niti Ayog Task Force. She also said that slashed budgetary allocation to her ministry will adversely affect the programmes meant for tackling child welfare, women issues, and malnutrition. Maneka Gandhi had also written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after her ministry’s budget was halved during this year’s annual budget.
Kapil Sibal, senior Congress leader, took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying that he is more concerned about Non-Resident Indians than Indian Citizens. Modi, while giving a speech in South Korea, said that many Indians left India to settle abroad as they thought it was a misfortune to be born in India. He made the comment to highlight the lack of business environment and infrastructure in India, leading to brain drain. Sibal highlighted the “misfortune” remark of PM, made abroad, and said that no one before Modi made such a statement in the history of Independent India. Sushmita Dev, spokesperson of INC, said that PM’s speech content is going downhill in spite of the fact that he is perceived by some as a good orator.
Science and Technology
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro has been launched in India by Apple and the starting price of this series is Rs. 1,59,000. This bigger version of MacBook Pro comes with the new Force Touch trackpad, which comes with force sensors. This device is powered by 2.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor having Turbo Boost that increases processor speed up to 3.7 GHz. Some of the other important features of the 15-inch MacBook Pro are Intel Iris Pro graphics, 256GB flash storage, and 16GB memory. Another variant costing Rs 1,99,900 comes with AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics, 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost increasing processor speed to 3.7 GHz, 512GB flash storage, and 16GB memory.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has lifted the morale of Indian para-athletes as it allowed them to participate at international competitions under IPC flag licensed through Sport Data Management System. This permission comes as a relief for the para-athletes because their national body, the Paralympic Committee of India, was suspended on 17 April due to internal feud. In fact, government also derecognised the body for treating para-athletes shabbily during Ghaziabad’s National Para-Athletics Championships, held in March. IPC has also appreciated suggestion of the Sports Ministry where the latter asked the former of setting up ad-hoc committee for running paralympic affairs in India. IPC also asked the government for details of persons to be included in this ad hoc committee.
Anurag Thakur, newly elected BCCI Secretary, has said that the final call on the proposed cricket series between India and Pakistan, to be played in Dubai in the coming December, will be taken after June 15. He went on to add that some necessary issues between Pakistan Cricket Board and BCCI need to be looked into before taking the final decision. It is believed that both the boards are talking on the neutral Dubai venue to hold the series. The reaction comes after Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal put his weight behind the series for improving relation between the two countries. Anurag Thakur also said that Union government will take the final call after BCCI gives its nod.
Both Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt. Governor of Delhi called on President of India Pranab Mukherjee yesterday evening, complaining against each other regarding constitutional overreach and crisis. Kejriwal complained about overreach of Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, when the latter appointed IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary unilaterally without consulting the CM. Najeeb Jung also complained about a brewing constitutional crisis and reiterated his stand to the President about the recent appointments. Jung also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and expressed his concern about constitutional machinery’s complete breakdown. Meanwhile, AAP government has appointed Arvind Ray as General Administration department’s Principal Secretary, bypassing Lt Governor.
Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister, has said that within one year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed central power, the word “corruption” has been booted out of Indian political dictionary. He went on to add that renewed thrust has been given by the government to liberalisation and reforms, devoid of harassments and crony capitalism. While lauding Modi government’s achievements in the last one year, Jaitley said that they are strengthening institution building and social security measures, all at the same time. He also accused erstwhile UPA government of destroying institutions and resorting to crony capitalism. Jaitley made these observations in a Facebook post having the title “The Fall of UPA's Crony Capitalism - A Year of Reform”.
While rejecting Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur’s contention that lack of gas availability was coming in the way of the Mega Food Park project, to be implemented in Amethi constituency, Rahul Gandhi has written a formal letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh asking him to revive the concerned project. It is reported that in the letter, Rahul has sought protection of the farmers of Uttar Pradesh through revival of the project. Congress VP went on to say that he found the reasons as well as chronology, provided by Kaur in her letter, unexpected and distressing. Food Processing ministry scrapped the Mega Food Park project’s approval on 30 June 2014, within a month of NDA assuming power at the centre.
Rating agency Crisil in its report “Modified Expectations”, evaluating Modi government’s performance on economic front in the last one year, said that expectation from the Narendra Modi government has tapered down from extremely high-level to moderate one. Dharmakirti Joshi, Chief Economist of Crisil, has said that disappointment is there in the economy on two counts. While the first disappointment is regarding the expectation of quick turn-around of the economy and the second is regarding slower pace of reform than expected. Joshi went on to add that Modi government was unable to adequately use both monetary and fiscal instruments largely due to the legacy issues it inherited.
Reliance Industries Ltd. has become the first Indian issuer to raise $200 million in Asia’s most happening bond market, Taiwan, by selling Formosa bonds. RIL said in a statement that Taiwanese life insurance companies have mainly bought the US dollar denominated notes that provide 5 per cent fixed rate of interest to the investors and the payment is done half yearly. This debt instrument has been proposed to be listed at Taipei Exchange. While the structuring agent of selling the bonds was Morgan Stanley, the joint book-runners were HSBC Holdings Plc and Deutsche Bank AG. The unsecured senior notes are due on 2035, the longest tenor of Formosa Bond issued by any Asian corporate. Annual call option on bonds will also be available, starting on June 5, 2020.
The UN World Economic Situation and Prospects report has projected a 7.6 per cent growth rate in 2015, followed by 7.7 per cent growth in 2016 for the Indian economy. The same report predicts that Chinese economy will grow at 7 per cent this year followed by 6.8 in 2016. Growth rate of India will overtake that of China this year itself. The concerned UN report went on add that the robust economic growth in India will help entire South Asia’s economic growth to accelerate. South Asian region is expected to grow at 6.7 per cent rate this year, followed by 6.9 per cent in the coming year. The report termed region’s economic outlook as “largely favourable”, the reasons behind it include increase in exports and stronger domestic consumption as well as investment.