December, 2011

Supreme Court insulated 2G case from interference

The year 2011 was a watershed for the Supreme Court, and its judges, led by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, left their mark on all walks of life, especially in exposing corruption in high places ensuring filing of three charge sheets in the 2G spectrum allocation case. After ordering a CBI probe in December last into the 2G spectrum case, the Supreme Court started monitoring the investigation to ensure that there was no interference, either political or otherwise, from any quarter. The supreme court enlarged on bail Ramalinga Raju and other accused in the Satyam accounting fraud case only after they spent more than two years in jail.

Jobs don’t come pouring from the heavens

The fromer West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, has expressed doubts over the ability of the Mamata Banerjee govt. to create job opportunities, saying “Jobs don’t come pouring down from heavens, you know Agriculture has collapsed, there is hardly any new industry …. where will the jobs come from?”. His comments came on a day when Ms. Banerjee announced  her cabinets decision to raise the minimum age bar for applying for a govt. job, while mentioning that 2.75 lakh govt. jobs and many more private sector jobs had been created in the seven months of her coming to office. Over the next one year 4-5 lakh jobs would be created.

Russia hands over nuclear submarine to India

Nuclear-powered attack submarine Nerpa that was handed over to India on a 10-year lease, is an Akula-II class vessel that had recently finished sea trials. “The signing ceremony happened at the Bolshi Kaman ship building facility in the (Far East) Primarye region, where the Nerpa is now based”, ITAR-TASS news agency quoted a senior Russian navy official as saying. The deal for the submarine, which is being transferred on a 10-year lease, was worth $920 million. All of the Naval tests and performance checks have been completed”, the Russian navy official said.

India to restart hospital in Tajikistan

In keeping with the govt. decision to open afresh a military hospital in Tajikistan, the Army Medical Corps (AMC) is ready to send a team of 70 personnel, include’s 10 officers, within an hour of getting orders. India closed down a hospital run by it there a decade ago. Tajikistan shares border with Afghanistan and the decision to re-open the hospital comes ahead of the proposed drawdown by the U.S. troys for Afghanistan by 2014. The AMC now operates four medical camps in Afghanistan, in Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Herat.

‘Thane’ came from Myanmar

‘Thane’ is an every one’s lips in the city for the past few days. The very severe cyclonic storm, which is likely to bring heavy rainfall over Chennai, was Christaned as per the naming convention of the Indian Meterological Department. ‘Thane’ was suggested by Myanmar. Officials said that the practice of naming tropical cyclones over the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea started in September 2004. The department received a list of names from eight countries – Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Thailand and Sri Lanka which are world Meterological Organisation Panel members.

No drawback benefit for non-mega power projects

The govt. to prevent misuse of benefits, has abolished the deemed export drawback benefit avoidable for mega power projects of the capacity of 1,000 MW or more. Deemed exports refer to those transaction in which goods supplied do not leave the country and payment for such supplies is received either in Indian rupee or in free foreign exchange. Under the deemed export drawback, an importer gets refund of customs duty paid on imported equipment. “The decision will increase the cost of non-mega power projects, though the withdrawal of the benefit was aimed at preventing misuse of the provision by unscrupulous elements”. Some non-mega power project owners used to claim the drawback benefit in an unscrupulous way, an industry expert said.

AI lenders to set preference shares

A proposal to issue prefessional shares worth  7,500 crore to Air India’s lenders was approved by its board, as the national carrier saw a significant rise in its yield and passenger revenue. The board at its meeting “approved the rearrangment of authorised share capital by the issue of preference shares worth   7,500 crore, which are proposed to be allotted to the landers of the working capital as pact of the Financial Restructuring Plan (FRP).

Notices for 187 amendments in Rajya Sabha

 Notices had been given for as many as 187 amendments to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 including from the Trinamool Congress for deletion of the entire part III of the Bill regarding establishment of the Lokayuktas. The Biju Janata Dal and the Shironmani Akali Dal too had given similar notices.

AV Birla group to invest $500 m in Turkey

The $35 billion Aditya Birla group plans to set up a viscose staple fibre (USF) plant in the Adana Organised Industrial Zone in Turkey. The group, the world’s leading USF manufacturer, plans to invest $500 million in the next five years to set up a 1.80 lakh tonne fully integrated USF plant, with a captive power plant, CS2 plant and sulphuric acid plant. The VSF plant will come up in two phases.

Pakistan lists out reasons for tense ties with U.S.

Pakistan listed Raymond Davis case, American unilateral raid to bill Osama Bin Laden and the recent NATO strike as some of the reasons for the “tense” relations with U.S. this year which Islamabad says it is trying to put back on track. Pakistan Foreign office spokesperson Abdul Basit admitted that its relations with the U.S. remained tense and experienced ups and down during the current year due to some incidents, including the American military’s unilateral raid to kill Osama bin Laden and the last month’s U.S. – led NATO attacks on border posts that killed 24 soldiers.