Major News and Events of 31 March 2015
What Happened on 31 March 2015
President Pranab Mukherjee Honours Sports Personalities with Padma Awards
DIPP Secretary Projects $250 Billion Worth Defence Sector Opportunties for Private Companies
Indian Bourses Bounce Back for Second Consecutive Day After Week-long Gloom
GVK Power and Infrastructure to Raise Rs. 1,550 Crore Funds
Contentious Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015 Tabled in Gujarat Assembly
Rahul Gandhi to End Sabbatical and Address a Rally Against Land Acquisition on April 19
SBI to Decrease Stake at SBI General Insurance to 51 Percent from Existing 74 Per Cent
Rebel AAP Leaders call April 14 Meeting; Rumors of Possible AAP-Split Increases
PMO Comes Hard on Railway Ministry Regarding Non-Punctuality of Trains
SC Issues Notice to 21 BJP-VHP Leaders as well as CBI Regarding Babri Masjid Demolition Case
PM Met 13 MoS with Independent Charge Today
Science and Technology
Jack Ma, founder of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, has said that both Flipkart and Amazon follow B2C model, which is predominantly American in nature. However, he stressed on the fact that for both India and China the best suited model is B2B. The statement comes after Jack Ma met Indian PM Narendra Modi and indicated of expanding his India presence by helping small businesses. Jack Ma’s renewed interest in the Indian market can be gauged from the recently published Asia Pacific Tech Market Outlook report by Forrester Research, forecasting over 10 per cent growth in its tech purchases during 2015-16, the fastest in the region.
President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday honoured noted sports personalities with Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards at a civil investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan. While Satpal (ex-wrestling Gold medalist at Asian games and renowned coach of Olympic Gold Medallist Sushil Kumar) was presented with Padma Bhushan award, Arunima Sinha (first amputee woman to climb Mount Everest) and PV Sindhu (twice Bronze medalist at World Badminton Championship) were honiured with Padma Shri awards. However, Press Information Bureau’s official list didn’t have names of two other sports personalities Mithali Raj (Indian woman cricket captain) and Saba Anjum (ex- women's hockey skipper).
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion’s Secretary Amitabh Kant has said during an Assocham event that defence sector is likely to offer $250 billion worth manufacturing opportunities to private companies over coming 7 years to encourage private sector investments in the defence sector. Kant went on to say that defence sector will open up huge opportunities in the future as government is stressing on this industry to make ‘Make in India’ campaign a success. He also regarded India as one of the most open economies globally as it has opened up medical devices, insurance, railways, and defence sectors (except multi-brand retail).
After a weeklong streak of poor performance, Indian bourses are doing well with BSE Sensex increasing by 131.25 points and NSE Nifty increasing by 38.3 points today. Pharma, metal, and capital goods sectors are giving good support to the surging bourses today for the second consecutive day. Analysts believe strong global cues including over one per cent rally of US stocks followed by good performance by Asian stocks are helping Indian bourses perform well. At 10.52am IST, Sensex was trading at 28092.45 points (up by 116.59 points) and Nifty was trading at 8527.85 points (up by 35.55 points), comfortably above the psychologically significant 8500 mark.
Available reports claim that GVK Power and Infrastructure is all set to file a draft prospectus for IPO of its airport unit GVK Airport Developers for raising funds to the tune of Rs. 1,550 crore. Analysts believe floating of the IPO will help the company unlock value for stakeholders and monetise its assets. JM Financial Services, Axis Capital, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup will manage Initial Public Offer of GVK Airport Developers. With this information trickling in, stock price of GVK Power & Infrastructure has increased to 9.35, an increase of 15.43 per cent from previous close, at 11.15am IST at NSE Nifty.
Anandiben Patel-led Gujarat government has introduced Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015, which has been termed “need of the hour” by Minister of State (Home Affairs) Rajni Patel for tackling terrorism and organised crime, in the assembly today. The current bill has been sent back by two earlier Presidents thrice for reconsideration. 2015 bill is the modified version of 2003 Gujarat Control of Organised Crime, which didn’t get clearance from the last three Union governments (including first NDA government). Critics point out that even after amending the 2003 bill the current one still vests too much power to the police.
Digvijay Singh, senior leader of Congress, told media that Vice President of the party, Rahul Gandhi, is ending his sabbatical and all set to address a rally on April 19 against Narendra Modi government’s proposed land acquisition reforms. Political analysts believe Congress is gearing up to project Gandhi scion as the pro-people face by giving him centre-stage at the rally against proposed land reforms. With the land ordinance, issued in December 2014, lapsing on April 5, Union Rural Development Ministry is all set to issue a new decree that will give Modi government 6 more months to pass the contentious Land Acquisition Bill.
State Bank of India has received approval from its Executive Committee of Central Board to divest up to 10 per cent stake of SBI Life Insurance. SBI currently holds a majority stake of 74 per cent in SBI Life Insurance while Insurance Australia Group holds the rest 26 per cent. BSE has been notified by State Bank of India that it wants to decrease its stake holding at SBI General Insurance to 51 per cent from 74 per cent. This move comes after both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha passed Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act 2015, increasing foreign investment limit from 26 to 49 per cent.
With rift among the warring factions of Aam Aadmi Party reaching penultimate climax, Yogendra Yadav-Prashant Bhushan duo have called a meeting on April 14 of all their supporters and people outside AAP at New Delhi’s Constitution Club. Political analysts believe that the rebel duo is going to judge their support base through this meeting before floating their new political outfit. When asked about forming a new party, Yogendra Yadav said that they will only consider that option if they are expelled from AAP. During an interview, Yadav also took pot shot at Arvind Kejriwal by referring him dictatorial, echoing Prashant Bhushan’s “Stalinist purge” statement.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has faced heat from Prime Minister’s Office as passenger complaints about non-punctuality of trains piled up with the PMO. Sources reveal that PMO has been regularly forwarding complaints to Railway Ministry for last few days before coming hard on the minister on his ministry’s failure to implement train punctuality. While reacting to the news of intervention by PMO, Ajay Shukla (Railway Board Member Traffic), said that timing of trains have become better than they were 10 days back. While reassuring that the onus of train punctuality rests on him, Shukla added that the matter shouldn’t be tagged with PMO order.
Supreme Court has stirred up hornet’s nest today as it issued notices to 21 senior Bharatiya Janata Party and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders including LK Advani, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Kalyan Singh asking them to respond to conspiracy charges leveled against them regarding Babri mosque demolition charges. The notices were send by the apex court on the basis of petition filed by a Ayodhya lawsuit defendant Mehboob Ahmed after Allahabad High Court dropped charges against the accused in 1992 Babri Mosque demolition case. SC has also sent notice to CBI asking them why they moved against the Allahabad High Court order.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met some of his ministers and asked 13 Ministers of State with Independent Charge to get feedback of their work done from general mass. Besides the ministers, National President of BJP, Amit Shah, attended the meeting that went on for two hours this morning. Sources say that the PM asked the concerned ministers to stay in touch with him and also inquired whether they are facing any problem in delivering works or within the department. Modi asked them to formulate policies keeping public interest in mind and work in a transparent manner.