Major News and Events of 22 July 2015
What Happened on 22 July 2015
Congress Postpones "Silent Dharna" in Parliament after Failing to Build Consensus
SC Rejects 1993 Bombay Blast Convict Yakub Memon's Curative Plea
Home Ministry says Pakistan Continues Supporting Separatists by Helping Eight Separatist Groups Consolidate
Government Proposes Bond Guarantee Corporation of India
Bank of India gets Shareholders' Nod to Raise Rs. 6,000 Crore Funds through Tier-I & II Capital Bonds
Delhi L-G annuls Swati Maliwal's Appointment as Chief of Delhi Commission for Women
Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Sexual Harassment Accused Dr. R.K. Pachauri joins back as TERI Director General
Government issues Passport to Veteran Separatist Leader Geelani
India among 11 Countries abstaining from Voting on UN Resolution to Grant Special Consultative Status to American NGO
Environment Minister says India to Pursue Energy Efficiency Path Aggressively to Reduce Carbon Emission Intensity
Lodha Committee seeks Time from Supreme Court to Complete its 2nd Report
Day 2 of the parliament was marked by protests from the opposition on claims of action against External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje. This was followed by adjournment of both houses (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) till lunch and speaker Sumitra Mahajan warning action on INC and TRS MPs over their “unruly” behavior. While protest was led by Congress and Left MPs through storming of Well, raising slogans, and carrying placards, RJD and NCP MPs were also seen supporting the demand of the opposition. TRS also joined the bandwagon by demanding separate High Court for newly formed Telangana state.
After Congress failed to build consensus among opposition political parties regarding preparation of a strategy for taking on the Union government, the party in a meeting (attended by both INC President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi) decided to postpone the “silent dharna” in the parliament. Sources say that the decision was taken by Congress after they understood that many opposition parties (including many in Congress itself) are not in favour of demanding resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. It is learnt that INC is waiting for Sushma’s statement in the parliament on the issue before taking any decision.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, has dismissed curative plea of 1993 Bombay serial blasts convict Yakub Abdul Razak Memon. This was the last legal remedy available to the brother of Tiger Memon, one of the main accused in the 1993 Bombay blast case, from avoiding death sentence execution. Yakub Memon, a chartered accountant by profession, has been regarded by SC as the “driving spirit” behind the 12 coordinated blasts in erstwhile “Bombay” and also went on to call it worst terror strike in Mumbai. 1993 serial blast left 257 persons dead and more than 700 injured.
Ministry of Home Affairs, in a note, has stated that Pakistan is continuing its support to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir by helping them regroup and consolidate. Reports say that the neighbouring country engineered consolidation of eight separatist groups in J&K and induct them with the Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s hardline faction Hurriyat Conference. The MHA note called the "Pakistan-sponsored induction" an “important development”. Reports say the groups that joined Geelani faction are separatist leader Hakeem Abdul Rasheed, Pairvan-i-Villayat, Muslim Khawateen Markaz, Gojer Phari Forum, Islamic Political Party, Tehreek-e-Mazahamat, Kashmir Freedom Front, and Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement.
Reports say that the government has planned setting up of a guarantor for corporate bonds to boost market of such debt instrument. Accordingly, a proposal of setting up Bond Guarantee Corporation of India (BGCI), having net worth of around Rs. 5,000 crore, has been mooted by the Union Government. Reports say that the proposed corporate guarantor will be regarded as non-government entity, where private sector will have 51 per cent stake. The proposed BGCI will be mandated to underwrite both private sector and public sector bonds, in lieu of fee, for enhancing ratings of these debt securities, thereby attracting investment.
Bank of India (BOI), a prominent public sector bank, has planned to raise capital to the tune of Rs. 6,000 crore through issuance of Tier-I and Tier-II bonds. As per reports, BOI has also planned to float equity to shore up capital adequacy so that it can support its own business growth prospects. In the annual general meeting of the PSU bank, held in Mumbai, its shareholders gave approval to the proposal of raising capital, both through equity and capital bond issuance. CEO and MD of BoI, B P Sharma, said they will raise the required capital by considering market conditions and their requirements.
Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, has yet again kicked off a political storm by annulling appointment of Swati Maliwal as Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). L-G’s office has told media that Swati Maliwal’s appointment has been called “ultra vires” in a letter written by Jung to the Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal. L-G has pointed out that Delhi Government didn’t take required approval from his office while appointing Maliwal, wife of AAP leader Naveen Jaihind. However, Maliwal denied receiving any communiqué regarding annulment of her appointment and went on to hope that the “minor” issue will get resolved.
Dr. R K Pachauri, Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2007, who is currently undergoing police investigation on alleged sexual harassment charges, has assumed post of Director General of TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute). Decision of his reinstatement comes just after he secured a local court order that allowed him to attend TERI offices, except for two - the head office and Gurgaon office, physically. Pachauri’s lawyer, Ashish Dixit, said that his reinstatement as DG of the organisation doesn’t arise because he was on leave during the period, from the time when a TERI employee accused him of sexual harassment.
Union Government has issued a passport to veteran Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, around a month after he completed all the travel document related formalities. Firdous Iqbal, a regional passport officer, has reportedly informed media that the issued passport to veteran Geelani will remain valid for 1 and ½ months. Issuance of the passport became a political issue when the Kashmiri separatist leader left nationality column of the passport application blank, creating procedural problems for the central government as well as passport office. However, one month back he mentioned “Indian” in the nationality column and also completed biometrics formalities.
India along with ten other countries abstained from voting on a UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution that sought granting of special consultative status to Freedom Now group, a USA based non-governmental organisation. Freedom Now group is well-known for working and financing for freeing political prisoners. The organisation, in a statement, said that granting of the status was important as it gave their imprisoned clients and their families the opportunity to address UN’s General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council. Reports say 29 members out of 54 ECOSOC members present voted in favour of the resolution, leading to its adoption.
Science and Technology
Prakash Javedkar, Union Minister of Environment, said during informal ministerial consultations at Paris that India is working overtime and has taken up the climate action issue with “conviction”. The minister assured during the consultation that Indian government will aggressively pursue the energy efficiency path for reducing carbon emission intensity. However, he also asked the developed countries to pursue the same path “vigorously”. He reminded that India’s first target is eradication of poverty but the country’s contribution to Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will indicate its seriousness towards environment. Javedkar reminded that “differentiation” is cardinal to UNFCCC mandate and no attempts should be made to dilute it.
The three-member Lodha Committee, appointed by Supreme Court, has asked SC to grant them five months time for completing second part of the report. Accordingly, the committee has submitted application with the apex court, which is expected to be heard during later part of the week. Reports say that in its second report, Lodha Committee is going to recommend changes in BCCI’s constitution as well the way of functioning. Analysts say that the Indian cricket board can continue its affairs in accordance with the current rule book till end of the year until Lodha committee suggests amendments to streamline BCCI’s working and prevent frauds.