Major News and Events of 26 March 2015
What Happened on 26 March 2015
Shanghvi Announces Closure of Sun Pharma-Ranbaxy Merger Deal
Sensex and Nifty Plunges by Over 300 and 80 Points by Afternoon Today
ED Arrests Chairman of Rose Valley Group of Companies
Proposal Enabling Central Government of Sharing Grain Movement Cost with State Approved
Key Components and Approach of National e-Governance Plan gets Government Nod
Cabinet Gave 'in-principle' Approval to Sagarmala Project
National Supercomputing Mission Approved by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs; To Cost Rs. 4,500 crore
Modi to Meet 5 CMs to Discuss on Cleaning Ganga
CAG Report 2013-14 Accuses Bhupinder Singh Hooda Government of Approving Shady Deals
Spectrum Auction Ends; Raises Whooping Rs. 109,874.91 crore
Arvind Kejriwal, maverick Chief Minister of Delhi, has asked Delhi Jal Board to cut water supply of VIPs too along with that of common people, in case there is any shortage of water. While making the announcement in the Delhi assembly yesterday, AK said that the list of VIPs include central and state ministers including him. However, he asked DJB to keep President, Prime Minister, embassies, hospitals, and emergency services out of water-supply cut. While making his point Kejriwal put blame of the water shortage on neighboring Haryana as it denied cooperating with Delhi in terms of water sharing.
Dilip Shanghvi (Managing Director of largest drug maker of India, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries) told media about completion of Sun Pharma’s merger with Ranbaxy Laboratories. While making the announcement of deal completion, Shanghvi said that integration with Ranbaxi will deliver synergies worth Rs. 1,500 crore or $250 million in the coming 3 years. Closure of the deal has led to creation of an entity whose market value is Rs.2.5 trillion and combined annual revenue of around Rs.30,000 crore. The deal closure announcement was done after it received approvals from multiple authorities and financial watchdogs in both India and the USA.
Downward movement of Indian bourses continued for the seventh day today as Sensex and Nifty plunged by more than 300 points and 80 points respectively till afternoon. At 12.38pm IST, BSE Sensex was down by 327.22 points (trading at 27784.61) and NSE CNX Nifty was down by 82.30 points (trading at 8448.50). Both are moving towards their 150 days Simple Moving Averages (27,750.53 at Sensex and 8,341.53 at Nifty). Sensex and Nifty opened (27,937.62 and 8,474.95 respectively) below previous close (28,111.83 and 8,530.80 respectively). Top losers at Sensex are HDFC, Infosys, Sesa Sterlite, Coal India, and others.
Enforcement Directorate yesterday arrested Gautam Kundu, Chairman of Rose Valley Group of Companies, on allegedly duping people throughout India of around Rs. 15,484 crore, six times higher than that of Saradha Group ponzi scam. Kundu, one of the few owners of Rolls-Royce cars in India, was arrested by ED while he was summoned for questioning on his firm’s involvement in ponzi scam. Rose Valley group’s 2,631 bank accounts having Rs 295 crore were earlier attached by ED under stringent PMLA provisions. Available reports say that Gautam Kundu had floated twenty seven companies for operating chit funds, among which only six are active.
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a proposal for enabling Union Government of sharing half of the total expenditure on ration shop owners’ margins and interstate movement of grain with states. This proposal has been approved to expedite the rollout process of NFSA (National Food Security Act). After its approval, benchmark margin for owners of ration shops in Union Territories/ Special Category states will become Rs. 160 per quintal and in normal states Rs. 87 per quintal. Till now the rate per quintal varied from Rs. 20 to Rs. 100 and was entirely paid by states, thereby increasing retail price of grains.
A government statement said that approach as well as key components of e-Kranti: National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) 2.0, has been approved by the government yesterday. While calling e-Kranti an important part of Narendra Modi’s pet project, Digital India programme, the statement added that the initiative is aimed to provide reliable, transparent, and efficient government services to the citizen at affordable cost by utilising multiple modes of interoperable and integrated systems. Management structure of e-Kranti will include Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Monitoring Committee on Digital India, Digital India Advisory Group, Apex Committee, Expenditure Finance Committee and Committee on Non Plan Expenditure.
The Cabinet yesterday gave ‘in-principle’ approval to development of a string of ports across India under Sagarmala Project. Available reports say that the estimated fund requirement for the concerned project during 2015-16 is pegged at Rs. 692 crore. After Detailed Master Plan for Coastal Economic Zones is completed, fund requirement of furthering the project will then be decided upon. Narendra Modi government has revived the ambitious Sagarmala Project, which was initiated during the first NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. National Perspective Plan is scheduled to be prepared within 6 months time for identification of Coastal Economic Zones, on basis of strategic geographical positioning.
Science and Technology
National Supercomputing Mission has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs that is chaired by the Prime Minister. The mission is intended to connect national academic as well as Research and Development institutions with 73 high performance computing facilities. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs. 4,500 crore. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Communications and IT Minister, said that out of the total cost of Rs. 4,500 crore, Ministry of Science and Technology will provide Rs. 2,800 crore and IT Department will invest the rest Rs 1,700 crore.
After Supreme Court reprimanded Narendra Modi government on going slow in cleaning holy river Ganga, Prime Minister has decided to meet five chief ministers in his residence for taking stock of the ambitious initiative. Per available information, Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh will have to brief the process they are following in cleaning Ganga from untreated sewage and industrial effluent. Sources say that the PM is all set to ask the five CMs to submit detailed reports on the same. Per Uma Bharati’s (Water Resources Minister) report, most of the drains discharging sewage in Ganga are present in UP and WB.
Comptroller and Auditor General has accused erstwhile Congress-run Haryana Government of providing undue favour to certain builders including Robert Vadra’s, son-in-law of INC President Sonia Gandhi, Skylight Hospitality. Town and Country Planning Department has been criticised by the official auditor in the 2013-14 report, submitted in Haryana assembly yesterday. The report became a political theme and BJP accused erstwhile Bhupinder Singh Hooda government of corruption. The report mentions Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality and accused it of selling a 3.5 acre Manesar land for Rs. 58 crore in 2008 to DLF. The deal was termed illegal by IAS officer Ashok Khemka and scrapped the deal.
19-day long telecom spectrum auction came to an end yesterday with Union Government raising a whopping Rs. 109,874.91 crore from the biggest ever spectrum auction. The process witnessed fierce bidding by 8 operators, including the existing behemoths (Vodafone, Idea, and Airtel) and new players such as Reliance Jio. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Telecommunication minister, said that Rs 1,09,874 crore raised from the auction does not include payment from BSNL/MTNL. He went on to add that out of Rs. 1,06,000 crore funds raised in 2010 included Rs. 30,000 crore payment from BSNL and MTNL.