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Major News and Events of 31 December 2014

What Happened on 31 December 2014


Launch Operation of Vistara may hit a Roadblock due to Delhi Weather

Vistara, Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines joint venture, is expected to face operational problems if the foggy weather of Delhi continues at the time of its launch on January 9. Reports say that prior to the launch, trial flights have already being conducted by Vistara. However, the airliner has not received Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s approval to fly off from Delhi in low light conditions that require CAT IIIB operation permit. Till now Vistara has CAT I operation permit, according to which 550m is the minimum visibility requirement.

Mufti Meets J&K Governor Today

Mehbooba Mufti, President of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, is all set to meet Governor of the state NN Vohra today. Sources reveal that President of the single largest party in the recently concluded J&K Assembly election is expected to discuss about the possible government formation in the state with Vohra. It needs special mention that Vohra-Mufti meeting comes a day after Jugal Kishore and Ram Madhav of BJP (second largest party in J&K assembly) met the governor.

Amit Shah gets Acquittal in Sohrabuddin Sheikh Fake Encounter Case

Amit Shah, National President of Bharatiya Janata Party, got acquittal from a Special Court of CBI on a fake encounter case that has been going on for a decade now. Per the allegation, in November 2005 Amit Shah issued extrajudicial killing order of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a gangster, and Kauser Bi, Sohrabuddin’s wife, to police. At the time of incident Amit Shah was Home Minister of Gujarat. Shah was arrested in this case during mid-2010 and consequently had to resign from the ministry at that time.

Shah to inaugurate BJP's Maha Sangram Rally in Odisha against State Government

After forming government in Haryana, Maharashtra, and Jharkhand; and making huge gains in Jammu and Kashmir, Bharatiya Janata Party has set its eye on Odisha. On January 6, National President of BJP, Amit Shah, is scheduled to address 1 Lakh-strong crowd in Odisha’s Bhubaneswar. Senior BJP leader Bijaya Mohapatra has said that their state unit will start a massive Maha Sangram rally against the BJD-run Odisha government, exposing its alleged involvement in scams in mining, chit fund, and land allotment. Amit Shah will kick-start the rally on Jan 6, 2014.

Jaitley comes clean on 'Costly Capital' Remark

Arun Jaitley had to come clean on his earlier comment on ‘costly capital’ after reports surfaced on media that Union Finance Minister is in disagreement with RBI Governor on policy rates. Jaitley made it clear through a Facebook posting that he is in no way putting pressure on apex bank  to cut policy rate by making ‘costly capital’ remark. Per Finance Minister he made the comment to emphasise on the need of lowering capital cost to reinvigorate manufacturing in India.

Defence Procurement Policy on a Rejig Mode

Manohar Parrikar, Union Defence Minister, has made it clear that Defence Procurement Policy is on a rejig mode currently as the centre prepares to clear deck for agents or middlemen to officially take part in negotiations of defence deals as the government feels it is not always possible for the representatives of the defence companies to participate in all meetings. Per Parrikar, middlemen of defence companies will be registered with the Government. However, the agents will not be allowed to get profit percentage or commission upon closing of deals. Centre also partially lifted ban on Tetra Trucks.

Kudankulam Nuclear Reactor Commercially Starts Generating Electricity

1000 Mega Watt Nuclear Reactor in Kudankulam, the largest in terms of capacity yet, has started functioning on a commercial basis. The  reactor, which was built with assistance from Russia at a total cost of more than Rs. 8000 crore, is expected to give relief to strained electricity situation in Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry, and Tamil Nadu. The second nuclear reactor facility in Kudankulam is all set to start operation in 2015.

India to Witness 2 Celestial Events in 2015

2015 is going to be a great year for the stargazers in India as Rajendra Prakash Gupta of Ujjain's Jiwaji Observatory has confirmed that two out of the total four celestial events, to be visible from earth, can be witnessed from India itself. Total Lunar Eclipses can be witnessed on 4 April 2015 and  28 September 2015 from some parts of India. The other two celestial events that will not be visible from India are Total Solar Eclipse on March 20 and Partial Solar Eclipse on September 13.

Dhoni Retires from International Test Cricket

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has announced his retirement from International Test Cricket, making way for youngster Virat Kohli to become the next Test Cricket Captain of India. Dhoni has till now played 90 test matches among which he was the skipper in 60 matches. In terms of total test match wins, ‘Mahi’ is the most successful test skipper till now with 27 wins under his belt, bettering over the earlier best of 21 matches under Saurav Ganguly. It is learnt that Dhoni has taken the decision to concentrate on T20 and ODI formats of international cricket.

Excise Duty on Consumer Durables and Automobiles ends Today

Union Government has decided against extending time period of extending curtailment in excise duty for consumer durables as well as automobiles. Excise duty cut ends today. Available estimates point out that ongoing excise duty curtailment has cost exchequer of the Union Government by Rs 2,500 crore per month. After assuming power, NDA government had extended the excise duty exemption from June 30, 2014 to December 31, 2014. Analysts believe that central government took this decision in an effort to meet its fiscal deficit target of 4.1 per cent of GDP.

GST Provision in GST Constitutional Amendment Bill give States 1 Year to Implement GST Provisions

Available reports point out that states will get one year's period for implementing GST (Goods and Services Tax) provisions from the date the new indirect tax regime comes into effect from April 2016. At a time when two Indian states – West Bengal and Tamil Nadu – still voicing their concern on the new tax regime, Union Government has introduced this extension clause in GST Constitutional Amendment Bill, reports indicate.

BHEL to build Submarines for Defence Ministry

Government owned BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.) has formed a consortium with two more government owned companies - Hindustan Shipyard and Mishra Dhatu Nigam – to build submarines for Indian defence sector. Ministry of Defence is all set to issue manufacturing tender for six submarines under proposed P-75 (I) project that will be built at Indian Shipyard. Though BHEL has a diversified portfolio of working in sectors such as industrial systems, transportation, and power generation & transmission, it is the first time they are moving in submarine design and production.