Major News and Events of 23 June 2015
What Happened on 23 June 2015
Intelligence Report warns about Possible Targeting of Jewish Establishments and Israeli Embassy in India by LeT
Successor of Mother Teresa at Missionaries of Charity, Sister Nirmala, dies at 81
Delhi Police SIT conducts Lie Detector Test on Shashi Tharoor's Aides in Sunanda Pushkar Murder Case
PM Modi reviews Sarva Siksha Abhiyan's Progress; Asks Schools to Achieve Target by 2022
India starts Talks with other SAARC Members to make Exclusive SAARC Satellite a Reality
Science and Technology Cooperation Pact Renewed by India and South Africa
Team India's Zimbabwe Tour Cancelled
Karnataka Government moves SC against Jayalalitha's Acquittal in Disproportionate Assets Case
Government Proposes Tax Sop for Credit and Debit Card Payments
SoftBank Ties Up with Bharati Enterprises and Foxconn to Invest $20 Billion for Solar Projects in India
RSS has cautioned BJP against removing Vasundhara Raje from Chief Minister’s chair on concerns of destabilising the state government. Truce between central leadership of BJP and Vasundhara Raje was brokered by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. In fact, Gadkari also met Vasundhara yesterday in Jaipur and went on to say that the entire BJP is behind her. Though Gadkari said that Raje did nothing wrong legally or ethically, more skeletons kept on tumbling out of the closet. Former IPL boss Lalit Modi took dig at BCCI members including Arun Jaitley, Rajiv Shukla, and Anurag Thakur by saying that they took cash (TA/DA) from Indian cricket board. Mumbai Police Commissioner, Rakesh Maria, issued statement that he met Lalit Modi abroad on the insistence of LaMo’s lawyer. Today Arun Jaitley said that the probe on Rajasthan CM’s son Dushyant Singh’s deals and Lalit Modi will continue.
Intelligence inputs warned of possible terror attack by terrorist outfits such as Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) on Jewish establishments, Israeli Embassy, and Consulates, located in India. As per media reports, Union Home Ministry has sent advisory to multiple states (Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka) warning them about the possible threat perception, as communicated to the ministry by central security agencies. Reports say that security around Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, and Consulate General in Bangalore and Mumbai have been asked to increase. It is learnt that security checks are marked around Jewish outreach centres, Chabad houses, and synagogues. Sources say that LeT terrorists may use inputs from reconnaissance tapes of David Headley, Pakistan-born American terrorist, for targeting Jewish establishments. Israeli nationals, mostly backpackers staying at Chabad Houses, can be the targets of the terror groups and that’s why tight vigil is recommended.
Immediate successor of Noble laureate Late Mother Teresa as the head of Missionaries of Charity, Sister Nirmala, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 81. Officials at Missionaries of Charity said that Sister Nirmala was not well for the last few days. Her funeral will take place tomorrow at 4pm IST. Currently, her body is at rest in Sealdah’s St. John's Church and will be shifted to Kolkata’s Mother House tomorrow before the funeral. Leaders across party lines condoled Sister Nirmala’s death. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his sadness by her sudden demise and remembered her as a devoted soul who took care of “poor & underprivileged”. Rahul Gandhi, Congress VP, also expressed his grief and said that “she carried forward Mother Teresa's work with quiet dedication & dignity”. Sister Mary Prema will succeed Sister Nirmala.
Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Delhi Police, which is currently investigating Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife, Sunanda Pushkar’s mysterious murder case, has carried out lie detector test (technically known as Polygraph test) on six persons. Delhi’s Police Commissioner, B.S. Bassi, said that all these six persons are closely associated with Tharoor. Reports say that the close aides of Tharoor who have undergone Polygraph test yesterday include Tharoor's friend Sanjay Dewan, driver Bajrangi, and domestic help Narayan Singh. On 20 May, during in-camera proceedings metropolitan magistrate Sunil Kumar Sharma allowed Delhi Police’s SIT to carry on polygraph test on these three persons after getting their consent. The other three who went through lie detector test are Sunil Takru, Vikas Ahlawat, and S.K. Sharma. Bassi told reporters that the probe is still on and further tests may be conducted if required for investigation.
During a high-level meeting with Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and other senior officials, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of progress at Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and urged every school to make plans for several years and achieve that target by 2022. A PMO release said that there is a requirement of best teaching practices identification, coupled with creation of a repository so that it can be disseminated to a wider audience. It said basic data (mobile numbers, email IDs, and Aadhaar numbers) of all school teachers are required to be maintained in a database. PM Modi tweeted that the meeting was called for identification coupled with embracing of education’s key best practices for benefiting youngsters. PM also called for the need of students’ aptitude test as well as greater synergy between Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’s related programmes and Digital India initiative.
Science and Technology
Indian officials today met other SAARC countries’ representatives and discussed about the final modalities related to setting up of a regional satellite, which will serve the purpose of SAARC nations only. The final stage of discussion comes around one year after the announcement made by PM Modi on SAARC satellite. The meeting was attended not only by top officials of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) but also Ministry of External Affairs. Joint-Secretary (SAARC) in External Affairs Ministry, Ajay Gondane, vouched for 100 per cent participation and went on to add that all SAARC members attended the deliberation including an eight-member Pakistani delegation. A participating ISRO official called the deliberation fruitful and said that all the participants shared what each of them can offer. Participants have also taken decision of applying for ITU registration, which is an essential step before launch of a satellite.
Science and Technology
India and South Africa, two important nations of BRICS, have renewed a bilateral agreement for the coming three years for extending science and technology cooperation in the fields of indigenous knowledge systems, biotechnology, agriculture, astronomy, and social innovation. Senior officials from both South Africa and India during Joint Committee meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation signed 4th Programme of Cooperation. While stressing on strengthening ties between the two nations Daan du Toit, Deputy Director General of International Cooperation and Resources (South Africa), regarded India as a prominent entity of Asia-Pacific region and went on to highlight India’s important role played in South-South cooperation, evident through 2008 India-Africa Partnership. Dr. Arabinda Mitra, Department of Science and Technology’s Head of International Bilateral Cooperation, said both countries will benefit from science and technology cooperation as it will contribute to economic growth of countries and also address societal changes.
BCCI has decided to call off Team India’s proposed Zimbabwe tour, which was scheduled to start from 10 July. Zimbabwe series was cancelled because of unresolved issues between the Indian board and Ten Sports. A press release by Zimbabwe Cricket said that their broadcasting partner has threatened “the forthcoming India tour to Zimbabwe” and the series may be pushed to next year if it takes too long to resolve the issues. Reports say that BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya has serious issues with Subhash Chandra, the owner of Zee Telefilms and Ten Sports. Sources say that the fallout between the two was due to Chandra’s effort of launching a breakaway cricket league. Problem erupted between Chandra and BCCI back in 2004 when the latter cancelled bidding process where Chandra’s Zee Telefilms was the highest bidder for broadcasting cricket matches that were played during 2004-2008.
Karnataka government moved the Supreme Court today against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jailalitha’s acquittal in disproportionate assets case. The move comes almost one month after Karnataka HC acquitted Jayalalitha in the concerned case. However, just after the HC verdict (delivered by Justice C R Kumaraswamy), special prosecutor not only questioned the judgement but also called it a great mathematical error in terms of calculating loss. Appeal against the HC verdict has been filed by Karnataka government by citing mathematical errors in loss calculation. The SC appeal has come as a huge setback for J Jayalalitha, especially at a time when she is seeking to get into the assembly by contesting assembly bypoll from Chennai’s Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency. Byelection is going to be held just five days from now and her win will secure her provisional appointment to Tamil Nadu CM’s position.
Union government, in an effort to move towards cashless economy and reduction in tax avoidance, has proposed income tax benefits for individuals who make payments through their debit or credit cards. Government has also proposed removal of transaction charges for purchase of railway tickets, gas, and petrol with credit/debit cards. Tax sops have been proposed in a draft paper in terms of tax rebated for consumers who make a certain percentage of their expenditure electronically. Comments on the proposals have been invited on online platform mygov.in on the issue till 29 June. The draft also proposes incentive scheme for shopkeepers, according to which merchants can get appropriate tax rebate if 50 per cent of their total transactions are done electronically. The draft also puts forward an alternative proposal for merchants, according to which VAT reduction of 1 to 2 per cent has been mooted on all electronic transactions.
SoftBank, Japan’s internet and telecom giant led by Masayoshi Son, has tied up with Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Enterprises and Asian manufacturing giant Foxconn to invest a whooping $20 billion in solar energy projects in India. Announcement of this big deal is not only a shot in the arm for PM Modi’s Make in India initiative but also comes at a time when Narendra Modi sought increasing contribution of renewable energy in total energy production of India. SoftBank has officially said that they are optimistic about the project because of high-level availability of sunlight and lower solar zone construction cost. SoftBank’s CEO went on to say that his company has four times efficiency in setting up solar plants in India than in Japan because of half the construction cost and twice availability of sunlight. Details of investment decision and exact equity structure are yet to be revealed.