Major News and Events of 21 July 2015
What Happened on 21 July 2015
CEA says Government and RBI on same Page just Before RBI Governor's Pre-policy Meeting with Finance Minister
PM Modi inaugurates 46th ILC and Assures Modification of Labour Laws through Consensus with Labour Unions
SC asks MP's SIT and STF to File Chargesheet Against 245 Vyapam and Other Recruitment Scam Accused
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar says Interplay among India, US, and China will Determine Strategic Balance of Asia
NSA Ajit Doval visits Jammu and Kashmir to Assess Security Condition
CBI records Teesta Setalvad's Statement on violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act
ISRO Successfully Ground Tests High-Thrust Cryogenic Rocket Engine
Microsoft India shows Enthusiasm in "Make in India" and "Digital India"
BCCI forms 5-Member Committee to Study Justice Lodha Committee Report
Parliament's Monsoon Session Starts with PM Modi Hoping for Productivity
Rs. 751 Crore Bid of Government Bonds by FIIs
Infosys, second largest software company of India, has posted better than expected results in the first quarter of 2015-16. Available data shows that the company’s revenue during Q1 increased by 12.4 per cent on year-on-year basis to Rs. 14,354 crore and the net profit reached Rs.3030 crore. Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys, said that their journey of becoming the next-generation services company is in the early stage but the encouraging Q1 result will surely give Infosys the required momentum for the rest of 2015-16 fiscal. Sikka credited widespread adoption of innovation as well as redesign of clients’ interests as the two main reasons behind the better than expected Q1 result. Reports say that Infosys signed 6 big deals, amounting to of $688 million, with a TCV. Market responded joyfully as the Infosys stock closed at 1,116.35, an increase of 11.50 per cent or 115.10 points.
Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor, said that both Union Government and Reserve Bank of India are on the same page regarding monetary police frameworks. The comment comes just before the pre-policy meeting of the RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. CEA also said that both the apex bank and finance Ministry are committed towards lowering inflation and indicated convergence of both parties on important issues. Reports say that central government and RBI governor had serious differences over monetary policy framework’s contours, which includes monetary policy committee’s composition as well as apex bank’s control over monetary policy. It is learnt that Raghuram Rajan sought fixed 5 years duration as well as cabinet minister rank for RBI governor. Reports say that Rajan also wanted to head the committee for selecting monetary policy committee’s non-RBI members.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while inaugurating 46th Indian Labour Conference (ILC), assured different stakeholders that modifications in labour laws will be done only through consensus. He also stressed on the fact that the obsolete and archaic labour laws will be done away with so that the dual concept of his government - minimum government, maximum governance – can be followed. He also assured that the concerns of labour unions will be considered while going ahead with labour reforms. Analysts believe that PM Modi’s comment come just before the start of Parliament’s monsoon session, where Union Government is all set to table labour law amendments.
Supreme Court has asked both Special Investigation Team (SIT) and Special Task Force (STF) of Madhya Pradesh to not only file charge sheets but also oppose bails of accused persons (to the tune of 245) in cases related to various recruitment scams under Criminal Procedure Code. The order was given by Chief Justice H L Dattu-led bench (which consists of Justice Amitava Roy and Justice Arun Mishra) while hearing a petition filed by CBI, where the central sleuth agency asked the apex court to look into the automatic release of the numerous accused due to non-filing of charge-sheet within 90 days from FIR registration. CBI asked this because it will require over 4 weeks to takeover 105 cases of Vyapam scam and related issues.
S Jaishankar, Indian Foreign Secretary, has opined that the strategic balance in Asia will depend upon the interplay among India, China (the two emerging giants), and the USA. Jaishankar gave this opinion, laying out the basic foreign policy guidelines of Modi government, while delivering speeches in two back-to-back programmes. While speaking at Singapore’s IISS-Fullerton lecture, foreign secretary said that India’s current foreign policy transition involves expression of its self-confidence and also enhanced willingness of shouldering more responsibilities of the world. He went on to give examples of India’s increased participation in both Nepal and Yemen in terms of disaster relief operations as well as humanitarian assistance. Jaishankar highlighted India’s new approach of regional engagement, evident from PM Modi’s visit to Central Asia, Northeast Asia, and Indian Ocean. He also stressed upon the newer view of integrated foreign policy approach rather than "reactive diplomacy" or 'one-size-fits-all' strategy.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval today visited Jammu and Kashmir amid rising concerns on security condition in the state. The 2-day visit comes after reports surfaced that many young and educated people from the state are joining militant organisations in Kashmir. NSA is not only meeting Chief Minister of J&K Mufti Mohammad Sayeed but also governor NN Vohra as well as senior intelligence/security officers. Sources say that Doval, currently in Srinagar, is reviewing security situation and will also come up with mechanisms for dealing with the new challenges. BJP has however blamed ‘misgovernance’ of the erstwhile state government for such a situation. MHA has asked ED to give a detailed report on Hurriyat leader Firdaus Ahmad Shah’s, a member of Geelani faction, allegedly receiving money from Javed Iqbal (a Pakistani national). Reports say, if the need be, investigation may be carried out under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
CBI has recorded statement of renowned social activist Teesta Setalvad on her alleged connection with violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). CBI alleges in its 8 July case that NGO Sabrang Communication and Publishing Private Limited (SCPPL), led by Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, was involved in receiving around $1.8 crore foreign donations despite its non-registration under FCRA. The central probing agency has also contested Teesta’s claim that the money was received as consultancy fee (by showing an agreement with Ford Foundation that mentioned grants rather than consultancy) and reportedly went on to oppose her bail plea by questioning her motive in receiving the money. CBI sleuths allege that the funds received by SCPPL were intended to interfere with the “internal security and activities of India”. However, they also say that intention of SCPPL’s activities was to create “strong civil society voices” for endangering peace.
Science and Technology
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully ground tested its high-thrust cryogenic rocket engine yesterday. Testing took place at Tamil Nadu’s Mahendragiri complex. In a statement, the Indian space agency has said that the high thrust cryogenic rocket engine (indigenously designed as well as developed) was tested for checking out endurance for 800 seconds that is around 25 per cent more than the duration of engine burn in flight. Reports say that this high-thrust cryogenic rocket engine (utilising liquid oxygen as well as liquid hydrogen – both low temperature propellants) will be used for launching GSLV Mk-III vehicle, weighing around 4 tonnes, heaviest rocket in India under development. Reports also point out that 12.5 ton propellant powered smaller cryogenic engine was used on January 5, 2014, for successfully flight testing GSLV Mk-II vehicle. However, this time a bigger cryogenic engine has been tested that comes with 27 tonne fuel capacity.
Science and Technology
Microsoft India’s General Manager of Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners segment, Meetul Patel, said while speaking to the media on the sidelines of Microsoft Worldwide Conference, organised in Orlando, that Government of India is undertaking many exciting initiatives. He went on to say that his company recognises India as a growth opportunity, mainly because of the government’s push for initiatives based on technology. He also pointed out that the company is excited about the flagship “Make in India” and “Digital India” initiatives. In an interview, he also applauded Union Government’s efforts of “building excitement around India”. Interestingly, Meetul Patel said that India is on the verge of a technological explosion, where technology is getting converged with political environment. Patel went on to exude confidence in India by calling it “biggest white space” “in terms of opportunity”.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has set up a 5-member committee for studying the Justice RM Lodha report on cleaning Indian Premiere League betting and other related mess. Reports say that the concerned working group will have six months time to study the report, consult with all the stakeholders, and give its recommendation. The constituent committee members of the working group will be Chairman of IPL Sanjeev Shukla, IPL Governing Council’s member and ex-Skipper of Team India Sourav Ganguly, BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur, BCCI Treasurer Anirudh Chaudhury, and BCCI Legal Advisor UN Banerjee. While briefing the media, Rajeev Shukla said that they don’t want any legal complications on the recommendations given by the committee and that’s why the working group will also consult legal experts before recommending.
Parliament’s Monsoon session started on a stormy note today after opposition political parties disrupted normal functioning of Rajya Sabha by raking up Madhya Pradesh’s Vyapam scam and Lalit Modi controversy issues. Opposition parties went on to demand resignation of Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. However, reports say government ruled out any resignation during yesterday’s all party meeting. With the opposition demand of discussion on ex-IPL chief Lalit Modi controversy and Swaraj’s alleged involvement in it, Union Government agreed to it. Rajya Sabha chair then gave permission to take up the debate on Lalit Modi controversy by suspending business of the house. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the beginning of Monsoon session, hoped for a fruitful session where “good decisions” will be taken. PM Modi went on to highlight the cordial all party meeting yesterday and hoped to pass important bills.
Auction report at BSE's ebidXchange platform shows that as against Rs. 403 crore government bond debt securities offered, Foreign Institutional Investors’ (FIIs) bid went up to Rs. 751 crore. Till yesterday evening’s two hours of auction, there were 18 successful declared bids. FIIs had exhausted the entire 90 per cent limit allowed to foreign investors in investing at government debt. Reports point out that foreign investment in government bonds through auctioning is restricted to $25 billion or Rs. 1,24,432 crore currently. However, Reserve Bank of India is currently discussing with the central government for resetting investment limit of Foreign Institutional Investors, in terms of rupee. Figures show that FIIs are more interested to invest in government bonds rather than in corporate bonds. In an auction last month at NSE, FII bids worth of Rs. 4,986 crore were placed while the debt securities offered were only worth Rs. 2,451 crore.