Major News and Events of 27 February 2015
What Happened on 27 February 2015
Pakistan Army Chief makes Jingoistic Rants to Derail Re-emerging Bonhomie between India and Pakistan
MoU Signed on India-Japan Joint Survey of Gas Hydrates
Chief Coach of Team India to Miss India-UAE Match Tomorrow
Auction of Telecom Spectrum to start on March 4 after Go Ahead from Supreme Court
National Intelligence Director Expects NaMo to work closely with USA Inspite of India's Independent Foreign Policy
Corporate Espionage Scandal gets Murkier with Arrests of Key Government Officials
Economic Survey 2014-15 Placed in Lok Sabha
Japan's Ambassador to India Complains about Series of Problems for its Companies Operating in India
Standard & Poor's Revises GDP of India Upwards to 7.9 Percent for 2015-16
Prabhu's 'Depoliticised' Railway Budget Attracts Mixed Response
PM Addressesd Lok Sabha during Budget Session; Stressed upon "India First", Jan Dhan, Continuation of MNREGA
Rajendra Pachauri, the former chief of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was granted interim bail till March 27. Therefore, he can’t be arrested on the alleged charges of sexual harassment till the concerned date. However, he has been barred by the court from either making communication with Delhi-based TERI (The Energy Resources Institute) or leaving country except for special permission. Prashant Mehndiratta, lawyer of the victim, claimed that Pachauri has been given protection by Delhi court illegally as neither the victim’s side nor the investigating officer were given any notice or information before granting anticipatory bail.
Army Chief of Pakistan, General Raheel Sharif, tried a last minute effort to derail upcoming India-Pakistan foreign secretary-level discussion, just before Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar visits Pakistan on March 3, by warning India of giving befitting reply if provocations are made along LoC. Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, spokesperson of the military, told media that General Raheel made the statement while visiting areas near Sialkot that are allegedly affected by LoC violations of India. Foreign analysts believe that jingoistic statements are fodder of Pakistan army to keep relevant in Pakistan politics as power dynamics within Pakistan gradually shifts against Army and political environment of South Asia moves towards a sense of cooperation and development.
Science and Technology
Available reports say that Japan Agency for Marine-Earth and Science Technology (JAMSTECH) and National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) of India are all set to start a joint survey of gas hydrates in the Indian Ocean by using a specialized Japanese drilling ship named Chikyu. The MoU of this joint expedition between India and Japan was signed yesterday, whose announcement was done during India-Japan Science Summit. Director of NIO, S.W.A. Naqvi, told media that this exploration survey is a part of National Gas Hydrate Programme and the gas hydrates can be found through geophysical surveys.
Duncan Fletcher, Indian Cricket Team’s chief coach, is going to miss India-UAE World Cup game to be played tomorrow as he has to fly back to his home in Cape Town, South Africa, for attending funeral of his father-in-law. Dr RN Baba, media manager of Team India, said that Fletcher will join the team before Match 6, the day India takes on West Indies. Reports say that training sessions will be handled by three assistant coaches - Sanjay Bangar, R Sridhar, and Bharath Arun – and overall tactical parts will be overseen by Ravi Shastri in absence of Fletcher.
Apex court of India has allowed telecommunication spectrum allocation auction from March 4 but added a rider that says outcome of the auction can’t be finalised without permission of the court. Government has estimated to raise funds to the tune of Rs 80,000-1,00,000 crore by selling telecom spectrum. It is learnt that the telecom operators bidding for spectrum are required to pay 25 per cent upfront in the ongoing fiscal itself. Supreme Court Bench observed that they are not going to stay the bidding process in spite of the fact that government’s stand has many inconsistencies.
During a Congressional hearing, Director of National Intelligence, James R Clapper, has told US lawmakers while placing his testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee that decisive leadership style of Indian PM Narendra Modi, backed by absolute majority of BJP in Lok Sabha, will provide India undertake decisive decision making capability in terms of domestic and foreign policy fronts. He went on to say that NaMo will work closely with the United States of America, in spite of independent foreign policy, on various counts including economic issues, terrorism, and security.
Police told Satish Kumar Arora, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, that they have arrested personal assistant of forest and environment ministry’s joint secretary, Jitender Nagpal, and personal assistant of a UPSC member, Vipan Kumar, on alleged charges of classified documents to an energy consultant (working with Infraline) named Lokesh Sharma, who was arrested last week. Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police, told media that Vipan Kumar earlier worked at petroleum and natural gas ministry and used his sources there to siphon off documents. With these two arrests, total number of people arrested has reached 16.
Today Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister, presented pre-budget Economic Survey 2014-15 in Lok Sabha. The survey urged upon simplification of taxes and streamlining of regulations to improve business environment so that growth rate can be improved to 8.1-8.5 per cent during 2015-16 and to double-digit during 2016-17. It has stressed upon making ‘Make in india’ a success and strike balance between “Skilling India” and making India a leading manufacturing hub. The report acknowledged that IT-BPM industry has contributed US$119 billion in current fiscal, an increase of 12 per cent, and has therefore being included among 25 focus sectors in ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Takeshi Yagi, Japan’s Ambassador to India, while addressing at International Engineering and Technology Fair 2015, organised by CII, has said that Japanese companies are facing series of multiple problems (related to taxation, customs, and infrastructure) in India. He said that both India and Japan agree on the fact that the bilateral investment trade must increase but acknowledged that the current scenario of both is not satisfactory and is actually stagnant currently. During his speech Takeshi Yagi added that many Japanese investors are waiting for friendlier business environment in India for making investments.
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has called India a “bright spot in Asia” and has revised upwards its forecast estimation of India’s GDP to 7.9 per cent for 2015-16 financial year. One of the most important aspects of S&P’s forecast is that it has lowered Asia Pacific region’s real GDP growth rate. S&P’s Chief Economist of Asia-Pacific region, Paul Gruenwald, said that the GDP growth has been revised from 6.2 per cent to 7.9 per cent for 2015-16 and 6.6 per cent to 8.2 per cent for 2016-17 on the basis of methodological improvements.
While Indian PM called Union Railway Budget 2015 ‘passenger centric’ and ‘futuristic’, many other parties slammed it by calling it with attributes like ‘nothing new’ (by INC), ‘disappointing (by TMC), ‘lack of clarity’ in terms of garnering resource (by Shiv Sena) and others. India Inc. welcomed Railway Budget for creating bigger role for private sector participation. CPIM’s Sitaram Yechury said that this budget created inroads for privatisation of Railways, which is against people’s rights and will make it expensive beyond access of common people. Though many welcomed plan of increasing investment to Rs. 8.5 lakh crore over five years, apprehension surfaced regarding availability of resources.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Parliament today, his first speech during ongoing budget session. Narendra Modi said that his government will never dismantle rural job guarantee scheme MNREGA and called the scheme a failure of the erstwhile Congress government. He also said that his government is currently plugging loopholes of the scheme and will further add to the existing scheme for welfare of poor people. Modi stressed upon his government’s inclusive policy through ‘Jan Dhan Yojna’. Modi also assured the parliament that if there is anything in the Land Acquisition Bill that goes against the farmers, his government is “ready to change it”. Most importantly, PM stressed upon the fact that only religion of his government is “India First”.