Major News and Events of 30 April 2015
What Happened on 30 April 2015
BJP's Membership Touches 10 Crore
Five-Point Bilateral Agreement Signed Between India and Japan on Trade and Investment
Vedanta Reports Loss of 19,228-crore during Q4 2014-15
Anirban Lahiri to play Ryan Palmer at World Golf Championships
Study Reveals India Continues Neglecting R&D compared to Other Leading World Economies
TRAI Proposal for Telecom Operators on Data Usage
Power Minister says India is looking for Clean Coal Production Technology
Nationwide Strike against New Road Transport Bill
US asks India to Go Slow on Increasing Bilateral Ties with Iran
Rahul Gandhi on 15 km padyatra in Distressed Vidarbha region of Maharashtra
Nawaz Sharif Calls Modi and Appreciates India's Rescue Mission in Earthquake-hit Nepal
After concerns raised by the Reserve Bank of India, Union Government today withdrew the proposal of establishing an independent Public Debt Management Agency. While moving the crucial Finance Bill 2015, Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley moved amendments and thereby deleted the provision this year to set up Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA). Jaitley also said in the parliament that his government will consult with apex bank of India and prepare a detailed roadmap to separate market infrastructure and debt management function, handled by RBI. It is learnt that the apex bank had objected to government’s proposal of shifting money market regulation from RBI to SEBI.
National President of BJP, Amit Shah, today announced in a press conference that his party has become the largest political party of the world with 10 crore members during its first phase of nationwide membership collection drive, which ends by midnight today. He also said that in the second phase, 15 lakh workers of BJP will go to the respective members with a designated form to confirm the memberships. When asked about complaints regarding ‘false membership’ during call back to missed calls, Amit Shah said that every system has margin of error. BJP’s membership has crossed Communist Party of China’s more than 8.6 crore members.
India and Japan today signed a bilateral agreement in trade and investment, which has a five-point action agenda and is expected to boost PM Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative. The five-point agenda will further cooperation and development in IT sector, promote infrastructure development and investment, develop select Indian townships on the basis of Japanese industrial township models, enhance economic integration of Asia Pacific region, and also enhance cooperation in strategic sectors. Terming the agreement as "absolutely indispensable", Yoichi Miyazawa (Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan) said that this will help in achieving Modi’s Make in India dream.
India witnessed one of the biggest write downs in the India’s corporate history as Anil Agarwal led Vedanta, earlier known as Sesa Sterlite, booked $3 billion (almost equivalent to Rs 20,000 crore) as “goodwill impairment charges” for the loss it incurred in its oil and gas business subsidiary Cairn India due to unprecedented fall in crude oil prices. This has caused Vedanta a consolidated loss of Rs. 19,228-crore during fourth quarter of 2014-15 fiscal in sharp comparison to Rs. 1,222 crore profit reported during Q4 2013-14. In fact, the company reported a net sales figure of 17,732 crore during Q4 2014-15, which is a drop of 15 per cent. However, the company has announced a dividend of Rs. 2.35 per share.
World No. 35 Anirban Lahiri is all set to take on Ryan Palmer, World No. 23, in World Golf Championships Cadillac Matchplay’s opening match. The match will be played in San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park. The other players in the group in which Lahiri is playing include World No. 60 Marc Leishman and Justin Rose, winner of New Orleans’s Zurich Classic and runner-up at Masters. On PGA Tour, Anirban Lahiri has missed three cuts in seven starts. Changes has been done in the matchplay format, where 16 groups of four (every group is headed by a top-16 player) replaced straight knockout format for ensuring top players remain in the tournament till weekend at least.
Science and Technology
UNESCO data shows that India lags behind most developed and emerging economies when it comes to R&D. While Iceland, Germany, China, and Brazil have 10,073, 6,995, 2,358, and 1,366 R&D persons per million population, India has just 366 R&D professionals per million population. The finding also shows that spending on research activities with respect to GDP is significantly low (0.9 per cent in 2014 and 0.85 per cent in 2013) in India when compared to the global spending average of 1.8 per cent. Experts believe that India’s quest to achieve higher growth trajectory in the medium to long run will fall flat if India keeps on ignoring R&D.
Science and Technology
TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has proposed the need for telecom operators to take explicit consumer consent for activating data services through toll free number 1925. The proposal comes after TRAI received numerous complaints on data usage by telecom operators and the move is expected to address the issue. The telecom authority is currently in the process of seeking public comments on the Telecom Consumers Protection (Eighth Amendment) Regulations, 2015' draft, whose last date is 12 May. As per TRAI, telecom operators are required to inform their mobile subscribers about the extent of data usage (50, 90, or 100 per cent) either through USSD or SMS.
During CII organized Indo-Japan Energy Forum yesterday, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that for addressing the concerns of the environment, Union government is seriously looking at technologies for producing clean coal, which will be one of the main dry fuels in the energy mix of India. During the event, he also vouched for stronger relations between the two countries in building smart cities and enhanced cooperation in energy production. During the same event, Yoichi Miyazawa, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, emphasised on the importance of coal in energy production in the present and foreseeable future because of its availability throughout the world. He also said that India's need for energy consumption will double as the country is expected to become the 3rd largest economy of the world by 2035.
Trade unions representing public transport including auto rickshaws have called a nationwide strike today to protest against new proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015. Organisations of transport workers affiliated to CITU, AITUC, INTUC, BMS, HMS, LPF, and AICCTU, are holding nationwide transport strike throughout India. Workers’ unions of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation as well as Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation have supported the strike call. While Left Front has supported transport strike call, both CPIM and BJP are holding bandh today in West Bengal alleging massive rigging by ruling TMC government in the state.
India and other countries, which want to increase their bilateral ties with Iran in the wake of ‘historic’ nuclear deal between USA and Iran, have been asked by USA’s Under Secretary Wendy Sherman to going slow as they have not yet reached a final agreement on the contentious nuclear deal with Tehran. Though an agreement was signed by USA and Iran on 4 April, which gave relief to Iran from international sanctions, the former said that no guarantee can be provided on sealing the deal within the June 30 deadline as tough negotiations are going on to fill up lacunae of 2 April framework agreement. Reports claim that Iran’s alleged involvement in backing Yemeni rebels causing Yemen crisis, has made US air this caution to India and other countries.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is currently on a 15 km padyatra through five villages in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region. He will meet distressed farmers, who lost their crops due to unseasonal rains, and assess their poor condition from ground zero. The 44-year old Gandhi scion started his “padyatra” from Gunji village early morning today followed by large numbers of Congress workers carrying party flags. However, BJP called Rahul’s recent stance to stand by the farmers’ cause as nothing but “political stunts”, “photo opportunities”, and “rent a cause”. Aam Aadmi Party’s Kumar Vishwas also took dig at Rahul by saying that Congress government had 15 years to help the farmers but they failed miserably.
Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, today called his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to express his condolences on lives lost due to earthquake in India. Information about the call was first made public by Narendra Modi through a tweet. Indian PM said that Nawaz Sharif also lauded India’s ongoing efforts in Nepal rescue operations. While appreciating Sharif’s kind words, Narendra Modi said that he suggested to his Pakistani counterpart that “joint exercises on disaster relief and rescue” by SAARC nations should be conducted on an annual basis for minimizing loss during natural calamities. Reports say that the two leaders of the neighbouring countries discussed about occurrence of unseasonal rains and their adverse effect on crops.