Major News and Events of 26 June 2015
What Happened on 26 June 2015
Ex-ICC President Mustafa Kamal alleges N Srinivasan of 'Scripting' India's Win at 2015 World Cup Quarter-Final
India-US inks MoUs on Cancer Research, New Diagnostic Technology Application, and Infrastructure Development
Foxconn likely to tie-up with Adani Group in Setting up Four Manufacturing Facilities in India
President Pranab Mukherjee vouches for Massive Skill Development Programme
India says China's Stand on 26/11 Terror Mastermind in UN "at Variance" with increasing China-India Bilateral Relation
PM Modi to Launch Ambitious "Digital India" Programme on 1 July
RBI's Report says Rs 53,000-crore Exposure of Indian Banks to State Electricity Boards may turn NPAs by Sept'15
Australia wants to Finalise CECA to become part of "Make in India" and Unlock India-Australia Trade Potential
RBI Governor warns Resurgence of 1930s-like Economic Global Depression Problems
Labour Minister Proposes Biggest ever Labour Law Overhaul
Former IPL Chief Lalit Modi dropped a bombshell today morning as he tweeted “meeting the Gandhi family”, which helped BJP to divert the focus from Lalit-Raje controversy. However, Congress defended by saying that LaMo met Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra in a London restaurant. LaMo in his tweet claimed that he met “Robert and Priyanka separately” when they were with Timmy Sarna. BJP’s Sambit Patra lambasted Congress by questioning why Gandhi family was in touch with LaMo all these years. Meanwhile, BJP leadership has found Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje’s explanation on her son Dushyant Singh’s business deals with Lalit Modi plausible. BJP defended her by saying the document she signed in favour of Lalit was in her personal capacity and she sought UK officials’ confidentiality because she feared political backlash from the then state and central governments, both governed by Congress.
Mustafa Kamal, former President of ICC, has specifically raised finger against ICC Chairman N Srinivasan for ‘scripting’ win of India over Bangladesh in the quarter final match of International Cricket World Cup 2015, played during March. He also went on to narrate the way in which Srinivasan staged the proceedings on that day and said that it is only Srinivasan who is capable of doing this thing in Australia’s Melbourne, just like the way he has been doing in India. Mustafa Kamal, who had to resign from ICC President’s position after the controversy over Bangladesh’s loss in the WC quarters broke out, has categorically opined that the disrespected, disputed, and defamed N Srinivasan should not head International Cricket Council. Kamal also mentioned that Srini has defamed the game of cricket.
Science and Technology
India has signed a series of agreements with the USA on cancer research, infrastructure development, application of new diagnostic technologies, capacity building, and training. As per Health and Family Welfare Ministry, a MoU on Cancer Research as well as letter of intent on Anti-microbial Resistance Research has been signed by Richard Verma (US Ambassador to India), BP Sharma (Ministry of Science and Technology’ Secretary at Department of Biotechnology), and K Vijay Raghavan. An official privy to the signing said that the cancer research agreement was done among Department of Health and Human Services of USA, NCI (NIH), Department of Biotechnology, (MoST), ICMR (DHS), and NCRI (AIIMS). Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between ICMR (DHR) and CDC, DHHS (USA) on collaboration in environmental and occupational health and injury prevention and control. As per available information, focus will be given to the public health effects from indoor air pollution.
Science and Technology
Foxconn, the manufacturer of iPhone and many other high-end electronic brands that has announced opening of 10 to 12 facilities in India, is mulling the idea of forging partnership with Adani Group for setting up at least four manufacturing facilities in India. Reports say that representatives of Foxconn have already visited multiple sites in states such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka for selecting the right place for setting up their first few facilities that include both manufacturing units and data centres. A Karnataka government official said that Foxconn International Holdings is expected to make a $5-billion investment in Karnataka, where the state’s fiscal incentives along with talent pool will give them the additional mileage in the highly competitive electronics market. Reports say that FIH’s CEO Calvin Chih and Director of Investment and Chairman Vincent Tong Wen-Hsin visited Karnataka and had detailed talks with the government.
President Pranab Mukherjee during his speech at Golden Jubilee celebration of Bharati Vidyapeeth said that India should develop skills of 500 million people by the year 2030 with utmost seriousness as by 2025 2/3rd of the global working population will be living in India. He went on to add that India should nurture young minds to become international standard manpower so that they can help the country reach newer heights. President also vouched for newer models of imparting education such as open online courses that help in propagating education in a more efficient, scaled, and speedy manner. Mukherjee went on to stress upon the fact that there is not a single institution or university in India of international standard, in spite of having hundreds of educational institutes/universities. He also highlighted “vast disparity” of educational standard in different private Indian institutes.
India has made it clear to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that the latter’s recent stance of blocking UN’s move against Pakistan in releasing 26/11 Mumbai Terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is not being taken lightly. The move comes days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself took the matter with highest echelon of Chinese political hierarchy and conveyed India’s disappointment on the matter. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reportedly conveyed the Chinese counterpart, during India-China meeting on the sidelines of Kathmandu’s International Donors’ Conference, that China’s stand on Lakhvi at UN is “at variance” with enhancing bilateral relationship between India and China. She said that Lakhvi is no ordinary terrorist as he planned terror strike in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, which led to the death of 166 people. Wang has assured India to look into the matter and conveyed that they oppose all kinds of terrorism.
PM Narendra Modi is all set to launch his ambitious pet project “Digital India” programme on 1 July. As per reports, the programme expects to bring advantages of digital services to every Indian. Reports say that the leading Indian business magnets such as Mukesh Ambani (MD and Chairman of RIL), Azim Premji (Wipro Chairman), Cyrus Mistry (Chairman of Tata Group), and Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft) will be present at the programme. They will also give brief messages along with presentation on revolutionalising Indian digital space. Mukesh has made his foray into the digital world as Reliance Jio Infocomm is going to make nationwide launch of its coveted 4G services coming December. “Digital India” launch programme will be attended by other corporate leaders such as Sunil Mittal (Chairman of Bharti Group) and Gautam Adani (Chairman of Adani Group). However, confirmations from invitees are yet to be received.
Financial Stability Report of Reserve Bank of India said that there is “very high probability” of Indian banks’ exposure, amounting to Rs. 53,000 crore, to 7 State Electricity Boards (SEBs) becoming Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in July-September 2015 quarter. The report also mentioned that in 2012 these loans were restructured with a moratorium for the principal loan amount, which is Rs. 43,000 crore. The 90-days moratorium period is coming to an end on June 30 and if the concerned SEBs don’t pay-up principal amount and/or interest, the pending exposure of the banks will become NPA. The report highlighted that it is unlikely for the government to pay up the “overdue principal/installments in time” due to its inadequate fiscal space. Meanwhile, MoS Finance, Jayant Sinha, said during Edelweiss-Wells Fargo organised conference, that government has to find out a solution for distressing the already burdened power and distribution companies.
Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Steven Ciobo, said at a meeting in Hyderabad that Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) is very important to them because after its finalisation they want to make inroads in the Indian manufacturing sector in a big way through active participation in “Make in India” initiative. He also said that CECA encompasses investment, goods, and services and will be a game changer in the India-Australia trade potential. The aggressive targets set by Australian PM Tony Abbott and Indian PM Modi in the proposed CECA will improve two way investment scenarios (including FDI) and also help global supply chains. During the programme, organised by CII Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Steven Ciobo went on to compare the trade figures of India-Australia (presently at $15 billion) with that of China-Australia to highlight the potential India has of increasing trade with Australia.
RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has said during London Business School (LBS) conference that the global economy may slip into another 1930s like Great Depression if the central banks globally don’t define “new rules of the game”. The comments of Rajan are significant because it is he who famously predicted 2008 Financial Crisis during an annual conference of prominent economists back in 2005, when he was working as economic counselor at IMF. However, during his speech, RBI Governor also said that in India the situation is different because India’s apex bank is not in the competitive monetary policy easing race yet. RBI has enough option to bring the rate down for spurring investment, per prevailing economic condition in India. He also stressed upon starting a debate on the matter so that a consensus is reached over time of changing rule of the game for a better solution.
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said that in an effort to provide ease of business environment and attract more investment, Narendra Modi government has decided to go forward with the biggest ever overhaul of labour laws in India. The proposed Labour reform bill, drafted by the Labour Ministry, has integrated Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, Industrial Disputes Act, and Trade Unions Act under a single industrial relations code. Dattatreya said that after adoption of the proposed labour reform bill, it will become tougher for workers in union formation, relaxation of stricter hire-and-fire rules, and three times severance package to labours for employee interest protection. Union Labour Minister said that the law has to be changed for increasing employability of labours and bring harmony in industry-worker relations. He also said that EPFO will start investing 1 per cent of its funds in equity from July.