Major News and Events of 22 May 2015
What Happened on 22 May 2015
Indian improves Position from 10th to 6th in Publishing Total Number of Scientific Research Papers
President Pranab Mukherjee Calls Scholars Agents of Change
Home Ministry backs Lt Governor of Delhi on Posting and Transfer of Officers
Incomplete Passport Application restricts Foreign Ministry from Issuing Passport to Separatist Leader Syed Ali Geelani
US Ambassador to India Expects India-US Bilateral Trade to Increase Five Folds
PM headed Cabinet Committee Liberalise FDI Norms for NRIs, OCIs, and PIOs
RBI Relaxes Rules to Help Indian Companies working Offshore to Raise Funds in Rupees
SEBI Sets up N R Narayana Murthy-led Panel to recommend on Further Development of Start-ups
Defence Minister Vouches for "Targeted Kill" of Terrorists in J&K as Cross-Border Ceasefire Violations drop 30 Per Cent
Opposition Finds Advani by their Side on Net Neutrality
Tamil Nadu Governor invites AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa as Panneerselvam Resigns from CM's Position
India’s test cricket captain Virat Kohli has been named by SportsPro, a renowned British sports business magazine, among the top 10 most marketable sportspersons in the world. His rank is 6th in the list. This places 26-year old Virat in the same league as other world-renowned athletes including sprinter Usain Bolt and football sensations Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar. Another Indian who made it to the top 50 most marketable person list is Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal. She secured 44th rank. The only cricketer who made it to this list is Australia’s Steven Smith, whose rank is 45th, one behind Saina. Factors on which the athletes’ marketability are judged include charisma, home market, age, crossover appeal, and willingness to be marketed.
Science and Technology
Ashutosh Sharma, Department of Science and Technology Secretary, said that India’s rank (regarding publication of total number of scientific research papers in various journals) has improved from 10th to 6th position, a jump of four spots. Sharma made this statement while addressing an audience at a function organised by Research Council UK. While acknowledging the efforts made by Indian scientists in the recent past, Sharma also acknowledged the fact that India still lags behind China by miles. Available data shows that with respect to 1 million people there are just 160 scientists in India, which is abnormally low when compared to China’s 1000 scientists per million population. He went on to say that India has to improve quality and in this quest international collaborations will play an important role.
Science and Technology
While bidding adieu to the nineteen NIT scholars, who stayed at Rashtrapati Bhavan from 16 May to 22 May as per 'In Residence' programme, President Pranab Mukherjee referred to technology as power and went on to say that scholars and researchers are the agents of change. While addressing scholars, the President said that NIT students are the assets of India and that’s why he has great expectations from them. However, he also reminded them that the scholars should also know, appreciate, and understand their responsibilities.
The Home Ministry has issued a gazette notification that favours Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s moves done in the last few days and said that the constitutional post has primacy in both transferring and posting officers. While specifying jurisdiction of Delhi L-G on multiple areas including police, public order, services, and land, the notifications also detailed Jung’s powers as well as roles. Central government also said that it is not mandatory for L-G to consult input of CM while appointing key bureaucrats. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal hit back at centre and accused them of betraying people of Delhi by favouring Jung. Kejriwal also accused Union Government of trying to control Delhi Assembly by proxy through Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, in spite of the fact that they have just three BJP MLAs.
The External Affairs Ministry has said that in the current submitted form the passport application of the separatist leader cannot be processed. Vikas Swarup (spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs) told media that the passport application of Syed Ali Geelani was incomplete. The separatist leader submitted the passport application without photographs, biometric details, and fees. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, meanwhile, said that Geelani will be issued passport by the Indian Government only when he writes “Indian” in the passport application’s nationality column. Ministry of Home Affairs has made it clear that they have no problem in issuing passport to Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Geelani and they will judge the case on merit. However, they also pointed out that the Hurriyat leader has to complete all the formalities related to passport application, just like any other citizen of the country.
Richard Verma, US Ambassador to India, said that bilateral trade between the two big democratic countries – USA and India – will increase five folds from the current US $100 billion to US $500 billion. He stressed on the fact that there has been an improvement in relations between the two countries and both have agreed to pursue a “better agenda”, which he thinks is a significantly good aspect for entire Asia. Verma, while addressing an audience in Punjab as part of US’s outreach programme, said that America is currently in the process of implementing the deals signed by US President Barack Obama and Indian PM Narendra Modi. He went on to add that his country has issued business visas to 10 lakh persons, which accounts for 70 per cent of the total visas issued by all countries.
A Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given nod to liberalization of FDI norms for Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), NRIs, and PIOs. Reports say that this decision has been taken in order to increase flow of capital in India. As per statement of an official spokesperson, approved amendments to FDI policy will bring OCIs and PIOs at same level as NRIs when it comes to education and economy. The spokesperson also said that these amendments are made with the expectation that they will create inflow of greater extent of remittances and investment (construction development, railways, defence, insurance, and medical devices) from OCIs, NRIs, and PIOs.
The Reserve Bank of India has made it easier for Indian companies, with overseas operations, to raise funds from abroad in rupees denomination and not in any other currency by relaxing the related rules. Indian corporate entities having offshore operations had to earlier take loans in US Dollar denomination and then convert them to Indian currencies. However, this arrangement included exposure to foreign currency risks. Now, lender abroad will swap currency with banks abroad, which will provide fund in rupees through tapping of a bank present in India and extend money in Indian currency to the borrowing company. A senior foreign banker said that the foreign exchange risk involved in the earlier system will now to borne by the offshore lender.
Securities and Exchange Board of India has set up an 18-member panel called Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC) that will recommend the securities watchdog on formulating a new regulatory framework for start-ups and alternative investments. To head the panel SEBI has roped in Infosys founder and reputed industrialist N R Narayana Murthy. Reports say that AIPAC will recommend SEBI on any hurdle that may stall alternative investment industry development. SEBI will be advised on the coordination needed on issues for developing the start-up and alternative investment industry ecosystem. The panel consists of members from RBI, SEBI, Finance Ministry, start-up organisations, private equity firms, and industry. Some of the renowned names in the panel are Sanjay Nayar, Saurabh Srivastava, Ajay Piramal, Devinjit Singh, and others.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the dual approach of Indian army heavily guarding the LoC with Pakistan coupled with intelligence-backed "targeted kills" against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir has resulted in 30 per cent drop in infiltration bids and cross-border ceasefire violations. While emphasizing on the fact that the situation along the border areas are “pretty much under control”, Parrikar said that targeted kill approach has led to minimum collateral damage and maximum neutralisation of identified terrorists. Defence Minister said in an event that it is immaterial to use soldiers for neutralizing terrorists when it can be done by using other terrorists, thereby hinting at covert operations. Parrikar went on to say that monthly salaries in the range of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 are paid to the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the parliamentary standing committee meeting on net neutrality, BJP MP Anurag Thakur-led panel was forced to postpone the meeting within 50 minutes from its initiation when BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani found substance in the points raised by opposition leaders. Row began when committee members came to know that private internet service providers Vodafone, Airtel, and Idea will be present in the meeting to put their case. TMC’s Derek O'Brien and INC’s KVP Ramachandra Rao objected and demanded that invitation must be sent to over-the-top service providers and consumer forums first. TMC’s Prasun Banerjee said that it is impossible for him to finish the 120 page background note in just 3-4 hours. Anurag Thakur postponed the meeting after Advani weighed in favour of calling a meeting later.
AIADMK unanimously elected J Jayalalithaa as its legislature party leader today morning at her Poes Garden residence. The motion to elect her as the legislature party leader was moved by her loyal lieutenant O Panneerselvam, who is also the treasurer of AIADMK. Panneerselvam then resigned from Chief Minister’s position, clearing her way to become CM of Tamil Nadu. Soon after Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah asked 67-year old Jayalalithaa to form the government in TN. AIADMK supporters have already started festivities to mark the return of “Amma” as would be CM. Panneerselvam called her AIADMK’s “permanent General Secretary” and “gold refined in fire”. She will make her first public appearance after acquittal from Rs 66.66 crore disproportionate assets case in Chennai today and will also meet the governor to convey her message that she will form government tomorrow.