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Major News and Events of 24 June 2015

What Happened on 24 June 2015


Australia gives Maximum Priority to Concluding Trade Pact with India by 2015

Andrew Robb, Australia’s trade and investment minister, said that his country’s top most trade priority is to conclude Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with India by end of 2015. Andrew Robb met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Commerce Minister Nirmal Sitharaman, and many others yesterday. At the sidelines of India-Australia CEO's forum, Robb said that the deadline for concluding Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement was earlier decided by Australian Prime Minister Abbot and Indian PM Modi and there are no issues that suggest non-conclusion of the agreement by this year. He went on to add that he as well as his negotiation team is willing to visit India as many times as possible to finalise CECA.

Education Ministry seeks Detailed Report on Sexual Harassment Case from St. Stephen's College

HRD Ministry has sent a notice to Delhi’s prestigious St. Stephen's College, seeking report from the management on alleged sexual harassment charges leveled by a student against a professor named Satish Kumar. The student was working under Professor Satish Kumar on her doctorate thesis in chemistry for the last two years. 40-year old Prof. Kumar applied for anticipatory bail before a local court, which was turned down. After this, Prof. Satish resigned from the college’s second most important post after that of Principal Valson Thampu’s, position of Bursar. Principal has denied all charges leveled against him of being lenient to Prof. Kumar and is trying to protect him. The student, in a 7-page complaint, claimed that Kumar sexually assaulted her back in October, 2013 but she shied away from pressing charges fearing for her career.

ISRO Confirms Roping in Pakistani Collaboration for Launching SAARC Satellite by 2016

SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) countries have decided to build their own regional satellite, an idea mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is likely to be launched by 2016. Officials of ISRO told media that they have been successful in getting nod of all 8 SAARC countries including that of Pakistan. A nine-member Pakistani delegation asked many questions on the project but ultimately gave its nod for collaborating in the first-of-its-kind project. Reports say that this SAARC regional satellite will help all the constituent countries in terms of communication, health, and education. Pakistan High Commission’s spokesperson Manzoor Memon said that their delegation gave multiple constructive proposals for the coveted project as they have extensive expertise and vast experience “in peaceful uses of space with elaborate infrastructure”.

Japan to lend helping hand to India in Improving Maths and Science Education

Japan has agreed to help Indian experts in improving quality of mathematics and science education in India, reports say. In these two subjects, the primary school teachers, experts from schools boards, and HRD ministry bureaucrats will be trained by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The trainings will take place in Japan and is expected to help the participants in formulating training plans that stimulate learning of students contributing to improvement of science and mathematics education quality. The training will be imparted as per Official Development Assistance of the Government of Japan, in accordance with the bilateral agreement signed between the two countries. While 20 July is last day of application submission, duration of the training will be from 30 September 2015 to 4 November 2015. The training will be imparted under JICA Knowledge Co-Creation Programme.      

Indian Hockey Team Humiliates Poland at Hockey World League Semis by Winning 3-0

Indian Hockey team played a good game against Poland to secure a comfortable 3-0 win in the semi final match of Hockey World League. The three goals were scored by Yuvraj Walmiki at 23rd minute, captain Sardar Singh at 41st minute, and Devinder Walmiki at 52nd minute of the game at KHC Dragons Stadium in Belgium’s Antwerp. Yesterday India played a far better game than the last one on opening day against France, where India won the match 3-2. It is interesting to note that just before Yuvraj’s opened for India on 23rd minute, Poland received the first penalty corner at 22nd minute but failed to convert it to a goal, thanks to a great save by Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. With penalty corner specialist Rupinder Singh missing the game, India failed to convert them too.        

Fund Raising Listing Norms Eased by SEBI at New Exchange for Start-ups

In a major boost up for start-ups, UL Sinha (Chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India) has said that they have decided to set up a new trading platform solely for internet start-ups. The announcement was done during a press brief by SEBI chairman, after chairing quarterly board meeting of the securities watchdog. During the announcement, Sinha said that the rules and regulations for listing with this platform have been relaxed for encouraging these start-ups to list themselves at home. UL Sinha said that two major requirement relaxations done for companies to list with this new trading platform are six months lock-in period in place of three-years for floating regular IPOs, dilution of disclosure norms, fast-tracking fund-raising process by halving it to six days for IPOs, and expansion of ASBA facility for IPOs. Ecommerce firms such as Snapdeal and others welcomed the move.

Union Government Issues Notification of Simplified Income Tax Return Forms for Assessment Year 2015-16

Narendra Modi government has issued notification of the new set of Income Tax Return forms, which includes three-page simplified form, for 2015-16 assessment year for the taxpayers. Doing away with all concerns regarding the earlier circulated information that taxpayers have to mention foreign trip details as well as money incurred during the foreign trip, the new simplified tax form will require taxpayers to fill in their passport numbers only. As per the gazette published by Finance Ministry, taxpayers can now file their IT return by 31 August 2015. Extension of last date for ITR submission has been done because of the introduction of new simplified forms. Taxpayers have to declare only dormant bank accounts (savings or current) that they held during previous year. Dormant accounts don’t have to be mentioned. Option has been given in the simplified form to mention in which bank account they want the reimbursement.

June Rate Cut Boosted Indian Business Sentiment, Deutsche Boerse's study finds out

MNI India Business Sentiment Indicator, a study report by Deutsche Boerse, said that current sentiment of Indian companies improved markedly after the interest cut by Reserve Bank of India in early June 2015. The study on business sentiment was done by Deutsche Boerse on all companies listed in BSE and found out that the indicator improved from 62.3 in May’15 to 67.1 in June’15. Philip Uglow, Chief Economist of MNI Indicators, said that this encouraging Indian business sentiment can be reflective of the bottoming out of the downward trend of business sentiment, which reached its peak during September 2014. He went on to say that the rate cut by apex bank seems to have boosted business confidence of the companies. Philip Uglow also said that depreciation in rupee has led to pent up export demand, thereby increasing export orders.    

PM Modi takes up Lakhvi Issue with China at Highest Level

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed serious concern on recent Chinese move of blocking United Nations to undertake action against Pakistan for freeing the notorious terrorist, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, who masterminded and operated the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack from Pakistan. PM Modi took up the issue with Zhang Dejiang, National People's Congress’s Chairman of Standing Committee as well as senior Chinese leaders, and expressed grave concern on the issue. Reports say that UN Sanctions Committee was ready to seek Pakistan’s clarification on the release of Lakhvi earlier this month during a meeting, held in New York. However, China objected to it by saying that India didn’t provide enough information regarding the same. Asoke Mukherjee, India's permanent representative to the United Nations, earlier wrote to UN's Sanctions' Committee on Lakhvi’s release from Pakistan jail and termed it violation of UN resolution on terrorist organisations/groups.

Defence Ministry will Disburse Rs. 51,000 Crore Pension directly to Ex-Servicemen's Accounts

Union Government has decided to disburse pension of ex-servicemen, amounting to a total of Rs. 51,000 crore, directly to the beneficiaries rather than involving commercial banks (28 public sector banks and four private commercial banks) for disbursement. Reports say that almost all the complaints (around 95 per cent) of ex-servicemen are related to uneven distribution and wrong calculation of their pension amount. As per the new policy, approved by Ministry of Defence (MoD), Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) process will be followed for disbursement of funds. CGDA indicated that adoption of this process will help the government to save around Rs. 180 crore per annum. MoD believes that this centralised system will do away with most ex-servicemen’s grievances related to pension disbursement. As per the centralised PDA system, MoD will disburse pension through NEFT/RTGS directly to the respective bank accounts of ex-servicemen.    

BJP Strikes up another Controversy by dragging Sonia-Tharoor's name in Lalit Modi Controversy

BJP spokesperson, GVL Narasimha Rao, stirred a new controversy on Lalitgate by saying that there are strong possibilities of link-ups of ex-IPL chief Lalit Modi with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her family, and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. Rao went on to say that LaMo was victimised by erstwhile UPA government (on behest of Sonia Gandhi) because he made the then Union Minister Tharoor resign. He also called for a thorough investigation in Sunanda Pushkar’s death and its possible links with IPL’s “murky dealings”. Meanwhile, Rajasthan CM has cancelled her official trip to London, in midst of raging Lalit Modi controversy. SIT on Black Money has sought detailed information on LaMo’s alleged financial irregularities in IPL tournaments from multiple investigating agencies. BJP-ally Shiv Sena has asked BJP why they are not backing dynamic Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria as they did in Sushma and Vasundhara’s cases.

Biggest Wheat Import Deal Signed by India

Reports say that on the basis of concerns over wheat output in India on poor monsoon forecasts, global trading companies (Glencore, Louis Dreyfus, and Cargill) as well as flour millers have placed importing contract of 5,00,000 tonnes of Australian wheat since March 2015 at a price range of $255 to $275 per tonne. Sources say that half of the import consignment has already reached India and the rest is scheduled to be delivered by July 2015. Another source, on anonymity, said that he is expecting Russian and French wheat of highest quality to make inroads in India, as the prices are attractive. Reports say that millers and global traders are going to import another 5,00,000 tonnes of high-protein wheat from Russia and France.