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Major News and Events of 19 March 2013

What Happened on 19 March 2013

Lok Sabha debated anti-rape bill

Lok Sabha had a debate on the anti-rape bill and emphasized on the importance of doing away with the misuse of the provisions of the anti-rape bill introduced in the house by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. There were varying opinions on the proposal to keep the age of consent at 18. The government succumbed to political pressure, retained the age of consent for sex at 18 years in the bill, which got approval by the cabinet on Monday. It had though earlier decided to lower it to 16 under the proposed Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013.Congress member Sandeep Dikshit expressed doubts over the provision of setting 18 as age of consent and he asked if a girl and boy aged between 16 and 18 had physical relations, will they be named criminals. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Sumitra Mahajan supported the decision to keep the age of consent at 18, but stated that measures should be taken to prevent misuse of the bill provisions. Marital rape’s inclusion in the bill was viewed as something which would weaken the institution of family, considering the fact that India had a joint family system and the elders act as a support system and offer counseling in case of marital problems. Samajwadi Party member Shailendra Kumar too felt there was need to take special care to prevent misuse of the bill’s provisions though he defended government’s decision. Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav on the other hand had the opinion that the provisions of the bill could make it difficult for women to find employment. He also said that this would lead to jails being filled and as it was, courts were already burdened with cases. Mulayam Singh Yadav said that if he had spoken he would have explained there was no need of the bill. 

DMK quits UPA, government assures it is stable

The DMK on Tuesday withdrew from the UPA and its government expressing dismay over India's stand over Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, but Finance Minister P. Chidambaram assured there was no threat to the government. DMK chief M. Karunanidhi declared that his party was not going to accept New Delhi's efforts to bail out Sri Lanka which has charges of committing human rights abuses on the Tamil community. He stated that if the party continued with the government then it would mean injustice to the Sri Lankan Tamils. The DMK includes 18 members in the Lok Sabha and five in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's council of ministers and as per Karunanidhi they would submit their resignations on Tuesday or Wednesday.He said there was no possibility of extending outside legislative support to the UPA. DMK had the largest number after the Congress. In New Delhi, Chidambaram specified  the Congress-led UPA government was stable and enjoys majority support in parliament even though the DMK has left. A crisis meeting of Congress core group, including president Sonia Gandhi was hosted soon after the DMK pullout.

India's central bank slashes key rates, says little scope for more

With inflation being a major concern, India's central bank on Tuesday slashed its short-term lending and borrowing rates by merely 25 basis points though the reserve ratios that also has hold on the money available for auto, home or commercial loans remained static. The decision, which was coupled with a guidance that there was limited possibility for further relaxation of interest rates, was that of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D. Subbarao. This happened during a mid-quarter review of the monetary policy for the current financial year. The repurchase rate, or the interest on short-term borrowings by commercial banks, has been reduced from 7.75 percent to 7.5 percent and the reverse repurchase rate, or interest on short-term lending also was lowered to 6.5 percent against 6.75 percent. But the inflation rate is still not in the comfort zone so the cash reserve ratio, or the money commercial banks have to keep in the form of liquid assets in proportion to their deposits, has been kept static at 4 percent.Experts view this token cut in interest rates with a warning of limited room for more as something very less to cheer for the commercial banks so that they can lower the interest rates on auto, home and commercial loans.

Anti-Sri Lanka mood to affect IPL-6?

The anti-Sri Lanka mood in Tamil Nadu over the alleged human rights violations against Tamils in Sri Lanka seems to affect the upcoming sixth season of Indian Premier League (IPL-6). Sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) stated on Tuesday that the Lankan players will not play matches scheduled in Chennai. The BCCI is constantly interacting with the IPL franchises and has asked them to not to host matches of Lankan players away in Chennai as that might trigger protests. Though it was quite early to predict whether the Sri Lankan players will play at other venues.The IPL commissioner Rajiv Shukla though specified that no request was received from the Sri Lankan cricket board regarding the matter of extra security for its players. He further added that the host cities would ensure whatever security was required to the players. Chennai will be hosting as many as 10 matches of IPL-6. 12 Lankan players are in various IPL teams including Nuwan Kulasekara, who is part of Chennai Super Kings.

Title song of "Heartless" worth Rs.1 crore

Shekhar Suman is preparing in a big way for his directorial debut, "Heartless" to make it a success. The actor turned filmmaker dished out Rs.1 crore for the movie's title track that has been sung by Sonu Nigam.The romantic thriller has Adhyayan Suman, Deepti Naval and Om Puri in the cast. Shekhar stated that the song had symphony and the need for shooting it in the proper way was there so spending that much money was required. He also stated that he was confident the song will be a mega hit once it is completed. The song had to be shot in surreal world with elements like earth, fire, sky, snow, wind and mountains. He further said about the song, "The metaphor is that the hero's life is crashing down. The VFX for the song will be completed in 20 days." The choreography is by Adil Sheikh and music composition by Gaurav Dagaonkar. The movie is produced under Shekhar Suman's banner Windmill Entertainment, and will release this year.

Free Wi-Fi HotSpots in India

India will finally have something to speak of regarding the state of internet when there will be a city that provides free Wi-Fi hotspots. Bangalore will get the coveted role to offer free Wi-Fi hotspot to people at M.G Road and Brigade road. This is the vision of Mohandas Pai, a former executive at Infosys. Pai has an idea that India is going through a major IT revolution,but the essential component, the internet is still less than strong. The service will start from next month and will be on testing phase. The pilot phase will be for 6 months after which the Pai team will think of upgrades and expansions to other areas. The service will be analyzed by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) panel which will then submit its opinions to the government. It has already been decided last year that free Wi-Fi will be provided though the move to implement it came in March.The service provider D-VoiS will provide the internet free of cost for the pilot model. Once the project is completed, other service providers will be called and a revenue sharing model will be considered.

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