Major News and Events of 31 July 2015
What Happened on 31 July 2015
Moody's Analytics criticises FSLRC's Draft Proposal of Curbing RBI's Independence to determine Interest Rates
Report says Uber Technologies Inc. Planning to Invest US$ 1 Billion in India
Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC, and ADB commit Rs 1,280 crore to Shapoorji Pallonji for Affordable Housing
India-Bangladesh to Start Implementing Land Boundary Agreement from Midnight
Government Notifies Changes in FDI Policies to Simplify FDI Norms
Rajat Chauhan in World Archer Championship's Final
DRDO planning to Invest Rs. 400 Crore in IIT Bombay and IIT Madras for Aerospace Defence Technology Development
Water Resources Minister says Current Initiative of River Ganga cleaning likely to be completed by 2020
Dawood aide Chhota Shakeel warns of Consequences of Hanging Yakub Memon
ISIS kidnaps 4 Indians in Libya
World Gold Council says Export of Indian Gold Jewellery has the Potential to Increase by 400 Per Cent in 5 Years
Union Government told opposition parties in the parliament that no one will resign at this point of time because of some sweeping allegation. After this statement, parliamentary logjam hardly seems to be over. Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on Lalit Modi controversy and Vyapam scam issues. Though there was a scheduled all party meeting to be held today morning for breaking the Parliamentary logjam, Congress RSVPed saying they will not be able to attend because of their own meeting. While Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till Monday, Lok Sabha has been adjourned finally after incessant disruptions.
Analytical unit of Moody's Corporation, Moody's Analytics, has strongly criticised Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Council’s revised draft proposal where the latter proposed doing away of veto power of the RBI Governor on interest rate determination (determined by a 7-member committee) and many other controversial ones. As per Moody’s these moves are equivalent to undermining the apex court’s independence of setting key rates. The rating agency’s analytical wing has also backed RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s efforts of restricting inflation within a certain level. The report says that during Rajan’s on-going tenure inflation has come down from 2-digit figure, followed by improvement in external accounts.
President of Uber India, Amit Jain, said that the company “has grown exponentially in India” and is currently mulling the idea of investing around US$ 1 Billion in the Indian market, especially because of its bullish outlook on India. He also said that India is soon going to become the largest market for Uber, outside the USA. While giving details, Jain said $1 Billion will be invested for expanding their operation in newer cities, improve their operation, and also develop new payment solutions/new products. Uber’s additional investment announcement comes after a Delhi court revoked ban on the company’s operations.
Mumbai-based conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji Group (SPG) has entered into an joint venture for developing affordable housing, where it attracted fund commitments of US$ 200 (equivalent to Rs. 1,280 crore) from Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC (a member of World Bank), and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Reports say that $50 million (equivalent to Rs. 320 crore) fund will be provided by the multilateral funding agencies. The concerned SPG-led joint venture will develop affordable housing in coming eight years in many cities including Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, and NCR. The total area on which they will develop the housing is around 20 million sq ft.
India and Bangladesh are on the threshold of a historic moment when both the neighbours start exchanging 162 adversely-held enclaves from tonight, starting implementation of the historic Land Boundary Agreement. Initiation of this process will end almost 70 year long boundary dispute between the two countries that left around 50,000 residents stateless (14,000 people living in Bangladeshi enclaves in India and 37,000 people living in Indian enclaves of Bangladesh). A resident living in the Indian enclave of Bangladesh’s Kurigram district said they will light up 68 candles today midnight for marking end of the 68 years of agonies and pain they faced due to their life in no-man’s land.
Changes in the foreign investment policy have been notified by the Union Government for simplifying FDI norms. Besides defence and banking, all other sectors will have composite cap on overseas investment (both FDI and FPI). Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion’s Press Note says from now on sub-limits in all kinds of foreign investments are done away with in case of infrastructure companies in power exchanges and securities market, credit information companies, and commodity exchanges. In defence sector, the sub-limit will be 24 per cent under the automatic route. For private sector banking, 49 per cent sub-limit on FPI within 74 per cent overall foreign investment limit will be there.
Rajat Chauhan reached World Championships of Archery men’s final after defeating Colombia’s Camilo Andres Cardona in the semi-finals with the final score 143-138. In the final match Rajat will face-off with Stephan Hansen of Denmark. Deepika Kumari lost to her Chinese opponent in the 3rd round. Laxmirani Majhi, in the women's individual recurve, defeated China’s Jiaxin Wu and Mexico’s Valencia Alejandra in the pre-quarter and quarter-final matches respectively but lost to Shih-Chia Lin of Chinese Taipei. Laxmirani will now play against South Korea’s Misun Choi for the bronze medal. Mangal Singh Champia secured his individual berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics after entering recurve quarterfinals.
Science and Technology
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has planned to pump in Rs. 400 crore funds in IIT Madras as well as IIT Bombay for starting research and development of advanced defence-related aerospace. Reports say unique tripartite MoU signed by the two IITs and DRDO, just a few days back, is currently awaiting approval from Defence Ministry. Ministry is expected to approve the agreement in couple of months. While Rs. 180 crore will be given to IIT Madras and IIT Bombay each for research, Rs. 50 crore to Rs. 60 crore is expected to be given by DRDO to IIT Bombay for development of infrastructure.
Science and Technology
Uma Bharti, Union Water Resources Minister, while replying to a Rajya Sabha question said that most of the proposed or initiated projects for Ganga cleaning will be completed by the year 2020. Uma Bharati went on to add that the desired results will be visible after that timeframe. She told that sanctioning of 93 water treatment projects across 55 towns have been already done at a cost of Rs. 7350.38 crore for creating 762 MLD treatment capacities. Bharti added that during 1985-2009, 902 water cleaning projects have been completed and 966 projects. National Ganga River Basin Authority was launched with a renewed vision in 2009.
One of the main culprits of 1993 Mumbai serial blast Dawood Ibrahim’s chief henchman, Chhota Shakeel, in an exclusive interview with a national news channel, warned of serious consequences due to the “legal murder” of “innocent” Yakub Memon and said that the D-company condemns it. He also pointed out “betrayal” of the Indian government on the “promises of leniency” made for luring Yakub back to India. Chhota Shakeel also said that the fate of Dawood would have been same as Yakub if the former too came back to India at that time. He also questioned the message that “Indian government sent across” to all who were contemplating surrender.
Reports say four Indian teachers, teaching in a university for the last one year, have been reportedly abducted by ISIS militants in Libya. They were kidnapped from Sirte town near Tripoli. Ministry of External Affairs is currently trying to gather more information. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already been briefed by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on the issue. The kidnapping of Indians took place within hours after publication of a report (32 page document of ISIS, written in Urdu) by US media (accessed by American Media Institute) that ISIS is planning a deadly attack on India for drawing US into it through provocation.
World Gold Council (WGC) report said that export of Indian gold jewellery can increase by around 400 per cent in the coming five years, if standard of hallmarking in India improves. While pointing out the Under-caratage problem in Indian gold jewellery, the report says a consumer, on an average, gets Rs. 8,500-Rs. 9,000 worth of gold in jewellery (in actuality) while purchasing Rs. 10,000 worth of assured gold content. WCG report went on to say that if the gold hallmarking standard in India improves, Indian gold export can jump from 2013’s US$ 8 billion to US$ 40 billion by 2020, thereby creating up to 2.5 million jobs.