Major News and Events of 31 May 2015
What Happened on 31 May 2015
PM Modi talks about "One Rank One Pension", 1st International Day of Yoga, and Sweltering Heat at "Mann Ki Baat"
President Pranab Mukherjee gives go ahead to Land Ordinance for 3rd Time after Cabinet Cleared Land Ordinance Yesterday
Government Successfully Contains Fiscal Deficit at 3.99 Per Cent of GDP in 2014-15; Lower than 4.1 Per Cent Revised Estimate
India Crashes out of ITTF World Tour Philippines Open Table Tennis Championship
Ministers Arun Jaitley and Ram Vilas Paswan bats for Strengthening Consumer Protection Act for eCommerce Sites
Union government has cleared Rs 4,318.28 crore for construction of roads and basic amenities under Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Narendra Modi led cabinet committee cleared first phase constructions of Maharashtra’s Shendra Bidkin Industrial Area (SBIA) as well as trunk infrastructure components (including sewage and common effluent treatment plant, rail over bridges, road and utility services, SBIA’s district administrative building, and solid waste management) of Gujarat’s Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR). Available report says that SBIA’s and DSIR’s trunk infrastructure development will commence on financial year 2015-16 and will be completed by 2018-19. An official release said that the total costs of DSIR and SBIA projects are Rs 2,784.83 crore and Rs. 1,533.45 crore respectively. Respective state government’s equity contribution in these projects, spread over the two regions, will be the lands brought by them for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project.
During today’s “Mann Ki Baat” programme on All India Radio (AIR), Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his view on multiple issues including One Rank One Pension, first International Day of Yoga, government’s social security initiatives, Kisan TV, sweltering heat, etc. This was 8th edition of the programme that started on October 3, 2014 by the Union government to reach maximum number of people. He started the programme by congratulating students, who passed their board exams successfully, and requested people to take proper precaution in this sweltering heat (world’s 5th and India’s 2nd deadliest heatwaves of all time). He urged people to travel and share their photographs by tagging #IncredibleIndia. Modi also promised ex-servicemen that his government "will implement One Rank, One Pension, without fail" but sought time for implementing it due to complexity involved. PM urged citizens to celebrate International Yoga Day on June 21.
Union cabinet approved re-promulgation of land acquisition ordinance yesterday, followed by approval from President Pranab Mukherjee today. PM Narendra Modi said that re-promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance is important because it will help to maintain continuity and provision of a framework for compensating people whose lands are acquired. He yesterday expressed his disgust over opposition of the proposed bill in the parliament by the opposition parties but went on to show his willingness of an open dialogue on the issue for considering their suggestion. However, after the cabinet approval to land ordinance for the third time, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi accused PM of being in hurry for grabbing land of poor farmers. In an interview, Modi claimed that amendments to 2013 Act will help poor people in terms of social/physical infrastructure, electrification, housing, and irrigation and also help the country in long run.
Union Government performed better in containing fiscal deficit during 2014-15 in comparison to revised estimate of 4.1 per cent of GDP as put forward during first full Budget, placed in February. Recently published Central Statistics Office’s data shows that fiscal deficit as percentage of GDP in FY2014-15 was only 3.99 per cent. In real terms, the fiscal deficit was just Rs. 5,01,880 crore in the last fiscal, 98 per cent of the revised estimate. CSO data also shows that India’s GDP estimate at current prices during 2014-15 was Rs. 125.41 lakh crore. A Finance Ministry release said that they have been successful in containing fiscal deficit even below revised estimate because of their commitment towards fiscal consolidation and adoption of prudent policies. Union government has set a more challenging fiscal deficit target of Rs. 5,55,649 lakh crore (or 3.9 per cent of GDP) in 2015-16.
Indian players crashed out of ITTF World Tour Philippines Open Table Tennis championship in the men's individual categories in the second round. India’s campaign in the championship ended after both ace Indian players Harmeet Desai and Soumyajit Ghosh lost in the second round matches. Soumyajit Ghosh gave a good fight to Japan’s Koriyama Hokuto but lost the 2nd round match by 7-11, 2-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 12-14. In the pre-quarterfinal match, Harmeet Desai went down to Chinese Taipei’s Wn Chih Chi by 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 4-11, 10-12. In the men's doubles match, Soumyajit-Harmeet pair proceeded to the semi-finals but lost to Koriyoma Hokuto-Kenta Tozoe pair by 11-7, 6-11, 12-14, 8-12. In the quarter-final match, Harmeet and Soumyajit duo defeated Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi and Ng pak Nam pair.
Science and Technology
At a time when consumer complaints against services and products delivered by eCommerce sites are increasing in India, two cabinet ministers of Narendra Modi government have vouched for revamping Consumer Protection Act (CPA) for protecting rights of consumers, who suffered from the actions of the errant online and offline new-age companies including e-commerce, multi-level marketing (MLM), direct selling, and tele-shopping companies. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that with paradigm shift in the dynamically transforming marketplace, the time has come for giving more teeth to the provisions in CPA so that consumers can file lawsuit against sellers, especially from eCommerce domain, who dupe their buyers. Ram Vilas Paswan, Consumer affairs minister, said that the volume of businesses through online portals will only increase and this is where the proposed amendments in the Consumer Protection Act will help ecommerce consumers to get justice.