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Major News and Events of 31 December 2012

What Happened on 31 December 2012

Calls for special parliament amid continuing protests


A day has passed after the victim of Delhi gang rape case was cremated but vociferous protests have been going on the last day of 2012. The major issue has been increasing crimes against women. The opposition parties have also been asking for a special session of the parliament where the possibilities of making anti rape laws stronger can be discussed.

India has been united in its remorse over the animalistic rape and consequent death of the girl and this is reflected in the cancellation of or trimming down of New Year celebrations by residential societies, private clubs, and the armed forces. Pranab Mukherjee has opted to take a similar decision and not participate in any such celebrations or take gifts from people.

Similar sentiments have been echoed by Sonia Gandhi, the Congress supremo, who has conveyed her wishes to well-wishers and party members. She has also asked them to not send her any congratulatory messages.

The BJP has already attacked Congress for the manner in which her last rites were performed but the ruling party, through spokesperson Renuka Choudhary, has stated that it was done in accordance with the wishes of the family who have already been provided financial assistance. Sushma Swaraj and General VK Singh have demanded special sessions of parliament.

The CM of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit has pledged a compensation of INR 15 lakh and Akhilesh Yadav, CM of the neighboring state, Uttar Pradesh, has announced an amount of INR 20 lakh.

Dikshit has also promised to provide a job for one of the family members of the deceased who was the eldest child and supposed to get a job. Meanwhile protests have continued undeterred at Jantar Mantar and on December 31 too people have ignored the vagaries of nature and raised their voices and performed rituals for the peace of the departed soul.

Delhi Police has also lodged a criminal case against Mail Today, an English tabloid, for disclosing the deceased girl’s identity. As per sources, Sushilkumar Shinde, the home minister has asked political parties for their suggestions regarding making anti rape laws stronger.

Meanwhile the protesters, including activists Lokesh Batra and Subhashini Ali, have pledged to keep the pressure on the government to bring about stricter punishment for rape offenders. Social media has been abuzz too with this issue and is expected to make a major contribution to the entire movement.

Direct cash transmission facilities to be launched from January 1, 2013


The Indian government’s project of straight transfer of subsidies to beneficiaries’ bank accounts will start from the first day of 2013. This facility will, for the time being, be available only in 20 districts. P Chidambaram, the Union Finance Minister, has described it to be a groundbreaker for India.

Manish Tewari, the Information and Broadcasting minister, has informed the media that on February 1, the facility will be made available to 11 more districts. On March 1, 12 districts will be further added to the scheme.

Chidambaram has admitted the possibility of problems in implementation but is also confident of overcoming them and being able to make the facility available across India by 2013 end.

He has stated that 26 more plans are in the pipeline and transfer of cash benefits will happen as per scheduled dates of payment. The finance minister has also stated that the payment will be done through seven programs like stipends and scholarships for students from the disadvantaged sections of India.

Chidambaram has stated that the program will benefit 2 lakh people. Tewari has stated this plan will address concerns surrounding provision of government funds for the intended beneficiaries and do away with delays.

Cash benefits are also supposed to be provided to wages of rural programs and pensions as well as college accounts of students. The finance minister stated that credit will be transferred even if the beneficiary does not have an Aadhar (unique identification) number.

The program will be operated in partnership with the state governments and money can be taken out through ATMs and savings accounts.

Kingfisher's flight permit suspended


The aviation regulator of India has suspended the flying license of Kingfisher Airlines, which is already facing a whole lot of problems. Officers in DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) have also asked Kingfisher about its revival plans and related funding ideas for resumption of operations.

The license was supposed to be renewed on December 31 as per norms. The airline had also made an application for the renewal of the Scheduled Operator’s Permit (SoP). Its last flight was on October 31, 2012 after which operations had to be put on hold owing to workers’ strikes over remaining salaries.

The DGCA had originally suspended Kingfisher’s SoP back then but the airline was unable to come up with a believable plan to turn the tide. Now the airline will have to go through more time consuming processes to restart its operations.

Rules state it can come back with another appeal in a couple of years for renewing its license. It has reportedly been talking to Etihad Airways to sell shares and generate some of the INR 6.52 billion needed to satisfy working capital necessities, renovate the planes and pay overdue salaries.    

Fraud trading case: 4 individuals fined INR 7 lakh by SEBI


SEBI has imposed a fine ranging INR 7 lakh on four individuals for the role played by them in the deceitful trading methods in Empower Industries’ stocks. Prasad Tandel has been asked to pay INR 4 lakh and Shila Suryavanshi, Prakash D’Souza, and Vithalbhai Gajera have been fined INR 1 lakh each.

The fines are linked to a probe SEBI did in connection with this matter from February 16 to March 11, 2005. At that time the regulatory agency had seen the company’s shares’ value go up from INR 81 to INR 113 in 18 days of trading. At the same time a total of 2.17 lakh stocks were traded.

The four individuals named in the case were accompanied by Devang Master, a Promoter-Director and together they carried out the transactions that caused the company’s shares to go up in value and thus attract inexperienced investors.

IABF snubbed by world boxing body


The Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) has met with the disapproval of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which has stated that henceforward it will talk about affairs concerning Indian boxing only with the Union Sports Ministry.

PK Raja, the IABF Vice President, had recently written to the world body seeking to find an agreeable solution to the present impasse surrounding the national body so that the ban on it could be annulled at the shortest possible time. AIBA’s reply was also provided in a letter by its director of external relations, Patricia Steulet.

During December 2012 the international organization had suspended the Indian association suspecting foul play in its elections that were staged on September 23. They had described the procedure to be out of order and defective.

The Indian Sports Ministry had also suspended the IABF for disregarding the national sports code during its elections. 

FIR against Honey Singh for offensive song


Amitabh Thakur, a senior IPS (Indian Police Service) has lodged an FIR (first information report) against Honey Singh, a well known Punjabi rapper for his supposedly crass lyrics. The complainant has stated that he finds his songs to be very indecent and crude.

The FIR, numbered 606, was lodged at Gomtinagar Police Station in Lucknow. Thakur has singled out a song named “Main hun balatkaria” which translates to “I am a rapist” and stated that it has encouraged listeners in the wrong way by provoking crimes against ladies.

The FIR has been filed as per Indian Penal Code Sections 292, 294, and 293. These deal with obscene acts at public locations. 

Kerala IT company chosen for US project


MindHelix Technosol is the first ever IT based startup that has been chosen for Alchemist Accelerator Programme, a US based project for startups that deal in enterprise products. The chief mentor of Startup Village in Kochi and the head of Infosys, Kris Gopalakrishnan, has stated that it is a moment of pride for the local entrepreneurs.

He has further said that MindHelix’s success proves the overall quality of Indian startups and their capability to compete with the very best the US has to offer. He has also praised the role of platforms like Startup Village in helping such companies realize their global ambitions.

Alchemist Accelerator Programme is based at Menlo Park in San Francisco and goes on for 6 months and incubates 12 startups that operate as enterprises. This time MindHelix is the only company to have been selected from outside the US.

As part of this program, the companies will receive 30 thousand dollars and the chance to present their products to Fortune 100 organizations over there. MindHelix’s customer interaction application that works on cloud computing was chosen for the Accelerator program.

This program was first used by Delhi Police for its “Know Your Police Station” program. Its mobile application named TukTuk Meter became viral during 2011 and it started operating from 2010 onwards. 

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