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Major News and Events of 23 September 2014

What Happened on 23 September 2014


India-China Standoff at Chumar in Eastern Ladakh Escalates

Standoff between China and India escalated as PLA of China added 7 tents within Chumar, the territory claimed by India. Chinese President Xi Jinping asked PLA to get ready for a regional war. Analysts believe this combat ready order is directed to gain strategic advantage over India in Chumar. Indian Army Chief cancelled his Bhutan tour after the standoff entered 12th day and Indian forces made tactical retreat at one of the eight stand-off places in Chumar. Digvijay Singh, General Secretary of Congress, questioned the Narendra Modi government’s claim of Xi’s successful India visit.

While Shiv Sena-BJP break the ice, Congress-NCP Tussle Continues

Shiva Sena and BJP top leaders are working hard to save their 25-year-old alliance in Maharashtra. Though the Chief Minister issue remains to be solved, Shiv Sena  has kept 151 seats for itself and gave its ally 130 seats. Sena said that the CM candidate of the alliance will be their chief Uddhav Thackeray.

on the other hand, NCP refused to budge on seat sharing, senior INC leader and Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan hinted at going it all alone if the two parties fail to reach a consensus.

Grain Supply increased by 40 per cent under Food Security Law

Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has announced the government’s decision to increase the supply of subsidised food grains under the food security law from 5kg to 7kg per person, an increase of 40 per cent. With 5 kg per person entitlement, the projected food subsidy bill was expected to be Rs 1.15 lakh crore. Analysts believe that the cost will increase by 15 per cent now.

Power of Drug Pricing Authority withdrawn on Non-Essential Drugs

Price caps were implemented for 100 non-essential drugs through a guideline issued by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, which is under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, on May 29. This decision received strong resistance from the pharmaceutical industry.  However, the guidelines have been withdrawn and from now on National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) will not be able to impose drug prices not in the list of essential medicines.

Ministry of Tribal Affairs Locks Horn with Environment Ministry

The Forest Rights Act has become the point of contention between Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Environment Ministry. It is believed that the former is set to move the PMO directly as the latter is believed to be spearheading the motion of doing away with the consent of tribals for diverting forest lands to industrial projects. Though Forest Rights Act of 2009 requires consent of Tribal Gram Sabhas, the Modi government is trying to revert to the system that bypassed consent of tribal community.

SC Lays down new Rules for Police on Encounters

In an unprecedented move to prevent extra-judicial killings by policemen, the Supreme Court has laid down guidelines needed to be followed by the police officers. The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha specifically said that the police officers will be required to keep electronic or written record of the intelligence inputs about terrorists before going on operation. Police complaint or FIR must be filed by the police immediately if the encounter leads to death. A magistrate enquiry will be done in case of killing and confidentiality of the source needs to be preserved.

Saurav Ghoshal wins Silver and Abhinav Bindra Bronze in team event

India secured its maiden silver medal as Saurav Ghosal settled for the second position in men's singles event of Squash. Top seeded Saurav was shocked by Kuwait’s Abdullah Al Muzayen. Abhinav Bindra, the 2008 Olympic shooting champion, hung the boot from professional shooting after securing bronze medal in men's team event in 10 meter air rifle.  

Mangalyaan so far Cheapest Inter-Planetary Mission

As Mangalyaan aircraft cruises towards Mars orbit, it is going to become the cheapest Mars mission ever. The total cost of the mission is just Rs 450 crore, which is equivalent to Rs 4 per individuals residing in India. The Indian Space Research Organisation put together the aircraft in a record time of just 15 months. MAVEN aircraft of NASA costs 10 times more than Mangalyaan.

CBI Arrests Former Odisha Advocate General in connection with Ponzi Scam

Ashok Mohanty, former Odisha Advocate General, has been arrested by CBI for investigation into his involvement in the multi-crore Ponzi scam in the state. Though Ashok Mohanty resigned from Advocate General’s position during May, the government accepted his resignation only recently. The CBI is also investigating 40 politicians who are alleged to have connection with the scam. The investigating agency is also looking into 43 firms that are accused of chit fund schemes in Odisha.

Rs 51,000 crore to be spent in 5 Years in Clean Ganga Project

The Government of India informed the Supreme Court that it has planned to spend Rs 51,000 crore over coming five years to stop discharge of waste and untreated sewer inGangawater from 118 towns. Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director of National Mission for Clean Ganga, informed that the short term, mid-term, and long term goals will be reached in 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years, respectively.

India Second Country in User Data Requests from Google

The 10th Transparency Report of Google shows that India ranks among the top 5 countries that seek private information of internet users. Precisely, India ranks second on the list, coming only after the US. From January to June 2014, the Indian government made 2,794 requests for 5,002 user accounts. The US leads the race with 12,539 information requests on 21,576 users. The total number of data requests during the period was 32,000, which is 15 per cent more than corresponding period of 2013.

SC will hear Plea Against CBI Chief without knowing Whistleblower's name

After Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan refused to disclose identity of whistleblower, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the plea without disclosure of whistleblower’s name. The apex court has appointed Anand Grover, special public prosecutor, to examine the entire issue and report SC back on October 10, 2014. The court has observed that the issue has enormous ramifications on 2G case as well as future public interest cases.

Central Government not Increasing Food Grain Allocation under NFSA

Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan clarified his stand that the central government is in no way going to increase subsidised food grain allocation from 5kgs to 7kgs per eligible person a month under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).  He also said that foodgrain requirement under Public Distribution System is around 61 million tonnes, whereas the overall wheat and rice output is around 200 million tonnes, and the storage capacity of the government is 75.8 million tonnes.