February, 2015

general budget

general budget 2015-16
Union Budget 2015-16 is being presented by Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley in the Parliament in 28th Feb.
Budget Highlights
•The objective of this Budget is to improve quality of life and to pass benefits to common man.
•Indian Govt has 3 major achievements: Jan Dhan Yojana, Coal Auction and Swacch Bharat programme
•Incremental change is not going to take us anywhere, will need to think in terms of quantum jump
•Under Swacch Bharat Yojana, 50 lakh toilet already built, 6 crore toilet targeted
•Government will encourage new start ups and entrepreneurship
•Government is still firm on achieving fiscal deficit target of 3 % of GDP eventually
•Real GDP expected to accelerate to 7.4%
•Current FOREX reserves $340 bn, Second best stock market in Asian economy
•Govt will utilize vast postal network for increasing access to institutional banking
•Roadmap to achieve Fiscal deficit of 3% of GDP in three years: Target is 3.9% in 2015-16, 3.5% in 2016-17, 3% in 2017-18.
•National Insurance scheme called PM Suraksha Bhima Yojana, offering coverage of 2 lakh rupees for just premium of ` 12 per year.
•5300 crore allocated for micro irrigation
•Target of ` 8.5 lakh crores credit to be given to farmers in 2015-16
•Target of ` 8.5 lakh crore of credit for agricultural sector
•Unclaimed deposits of ` 3,000 crore in PPF and ` 6000 crore in EPF; to create senior citizens welfare fund from this corpus
•Atal Pension Yojana to provide defined pension according to contribution ; 50% contribution to be from Govt.
•Increased Budgetary allocation to Roads & Railways
•5 Ultra Mega power projects, of 4000 MW announced
•Initial sum of ` 150 Cr to create world class IT hub to take advantage of our competitiveness
•Start-ups: mechanism for techno-financial incubation for start ups; govt sets aside ` 1000 crore
•National Infrastructure Fund will try to leverage Infrastructure companies ; Tax free bonds for Roads , Railways & irrigation
•Renewable energy target will be increased to 1,75,000 MW
•Highest ever allocation for MGNREGA, by increasing it this year by 5,000 crore rupees
•Ports in public sector will be encouraged to corporatize & become companies under companies act
•EPF & ESI has hostage rather than client ; ESI should be made optional to employees
•GST will be put in place state of art internationally indirect tax system by April 1st 2016: FM
•An addition of ` 1,000 crores for Nirbhaya Fund
•Govt proposes to increase visa-on-arrival to 150 countries to increase tourism
•Initial outlay of ` 75 crore for development of electric vehicles
•For better regulation a merger of FMC & SEBI is being currently worked out
•National Skill Mission to be launched through skill development and entrepreneurship ministry, to develop employability of youth, especially below 25 years of age
•Section 6 of FEMA to be amended
•Committee to be set up to plan the celebration of the 100th birth anniversary of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya
•Propose to set-up an IT based student financial aid system under PM Vidya Laxmi scheme
•The new Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Programme will ensure no student misses out on higher education opportunities due to lack

28 February observed as National Science Day

Every year February 28 is celebrated as the National Science Day i.e. Rashtriya Vigyan Diwas. In 2015, the theme of the day is “Science for Nation Building”. This year’s theme has been chosen for the purpose of raising public appreciation on scientific issues for the development of nation. This day marks the epoch-making discovery of Raman Effect by Indian physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (CV Raman) on February 28, 1928.In 1930, for this discovery he was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Farmers open to ‘Khet Heen Kisan’

There was positive response from the farming community to the proposed ‘Khet Heen Kisan’ initiative, with a majority of farmers stating that it would do wonders if implemented successfully. This scheme is for the financial assistance to those farmers who do not own their lands. Organising farmers into groups and extending financial assistance to them through NABARD to take up farming will yield good results provided the government backs every group till results are achieved.

Three-point action plan to realise ‘Make in India’ dream

The non-controversial response lies in improving the business environment by making regulations and taxes less onerous, building infrastructure, reforming labour laws, and enabling connectivity. The next response could be in the form of ‘industrial policy’. This could focus on promoting manufacturing by providing subsidies, lowering the cost of capital, and creating special economic zones (SEZs) for manufacturing activity. This could focus on promoting manufacturing by providing subsidies, lowering the cost of capital, and creating special economic zones (SEZs) for manufacturing activity.

Railway Budget 2015-16

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has, in his maiden budget, shunned populism and focused on fiscal consolidation to improve financial health of the country’s largest public transporter. He refrained from announcing new trains, stated to be a first by any rail minister in the past three decades, focused on bringing down operating ratio and increased freight rates to rake in more money. Passengers were spared from any fare hike and there was a 67 per cent jump for improving passenger amenities. The Railway Minister announced his market borrowing plan of Rs.17,655 crore for capital expenditure with the help of Indian Railways Finance Corporation and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited.
Takeaways for Tamil Nadu :
• Tambaram as coaching terminal with Rs. 10 crore • Thanjavur-Ponmalai doubling (46.96 km) with bypass line before Ponmalai (113 km), Rs. 72.3 crore • Madurai – Maniyachi – Tuticorin (80 km); Rs. 18.29 crore (Project cost : Rs. 800 crore) • Tiruchchirapalli – Nagore – Karaikal with extension of Nagapattinam – Velankanni – Tiruthuraipoondi : Rs. 20 crore • Chennai Beach – Korukkupet 3rd line (4.1 km) : Rs. 50 crore • Chennai Beach – Attipattu 4th line (22.1 km) : Rs. 50 crore • Chennai Central – Basin Bridge 5th and 6the line : Rs. 2 crore • No. of coaches increased on high-demand trains • Rs. 96,182 crore to expand capacity of 9,420 km rail lines • 6608 km of track to be electrified • 120 days window to book tickets ahead of journey, to curb tout menace • 0.8–10% increase in freight fares of 12 commodities, including cement, coal, steel, urea and foodgrains • 9 Railway Corridors to have speed increased from 110 to 160 kmph, 130 to 200 kmph to complete inter-metro journeys overnight.

RAILWAY BUDGET 2015-16 (` crore)

Interim Interim
Budget Budget Budget Budget
2013-14 2014-15 2014-15 2015-16

Income from Passenger train 36,532.25 11,645 43,002 50,175
Income from Goods train 93,905.63 1,05,770 1,06,927 1,21,423
Total Transportation income 1,39,558.18 1,60,165 1,59,248 1,83,578
Total Income 1,43,213.88 1,64,374.30 1,63,450.13 1,88,556.70
Total Expenses 1,60,320.76 1,48,049 1,45,970 1,62,210
Net Income 11,749.07 15,198.74 16,452.59 25,076,45

Clemson University honoured Ratan Tata with Doctorate of Automotive Engineering

Ratan Tata was honoured an honorary Doctorate of Automotive Engineering by the Clemson University at the South Carolina Automotive Summit. He was awarded for his contributions to the global automotive industry. Ratan Tata is the ex-chairman of the Tata Group. He was named Chairman of Tata Industries In 1981, where he was responsible for transforming it into a group strategy think tank and a promoter of new ventures in high technology businesses. Ratan Tata serves on the board of directors of Alcoa and Mondelez.

Kshatrapati Shivaji to be new CMD of SIDBI

Kshatrapati Shivaji, a 1986 batch IAS officer, has taken over as the Chairman and Managing Director of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). Shivaji has been appointed on deputation basis for a period of three years from the date of his taking over the charge, a Finance Ministry release said. Shivaji is currently Principal Secretary (Expenditure), Finance Department in Maharashtra government.

Economic Survey 2015: Highlights

The Economic Survey, prepared by the finance ministry’s chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian, was tabled in the Lok Sabha. India’s economic survey pegged growth at more than 8 per cent for the next fiscal and said inflation was now declining, while also setting the agenda for reforms needed to further drive the expansion, prune wasteful expenditure and promote productive investment.
Following are the highlights of the survey:
•Double digit economic growth trajectory now a possibility
•Government will adhere to fiscal deficit target of 4.1% of GDP in 2014-15
•Economic Survey says estimates current account deficit to fall to 1 pct of GDP in coming fiscal year
•Average WPI inflation declines to 3.4% in 2014-15 (April-December) against 6% previous year
•Need to improve productivity in the agricultural sector to ensure food security
•Post Office can be linked with AADHAR based benefits transfer architecture to allow linkage to AADHAR accounts

Apple Ordered to Pay $553 Million

US Tech giant Apple Inc has been fined $553 million for three patent infringements owned by patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC. This verdict was given by federal Jury in US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The Jury in its verdict found out that Apple Inc’s iTunes software has infringed three patents owned by Smartflash LLC. The federal jury in its verdict also held that Apple had not only used Smartflash’s patents without permission, but also used them willfully.

India bans ISIS under UAPA

Dreaded terror group ISIS and all its affiliate organisations, responsible for series of savage attacks and killings in Iraq and Syria, have been banned in India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Islamic State/Islamic State of Iraq and Levant/ Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Daish and all its manifestations have been declared as outlawed in India under UAPA.

Overdraft under Jan-Dhan is priority sector lending: RBI

RBI said bank overdrafts of up to Rs 5,000 in accounts opened under this financial inclusion mission will be treated as priority sector lending. Under PMJDY, the overdraft facility is permitted to Aadhaar-enabled accounts after “satisfactory operation” of accounts for six months. As on 31st January, more than 12.54 crore accounts were opened under the scheme.

Work permits for spouses of H-1B visa holders

The U.S. government has confirmed that effective May 26, 2015, some holders of the H-4 visa, who are spouses of high-skilled workers on the H-1B visa, will be eligible for work authorisation. A potential boon for approximately 179,600 individuals in the first year alone. The move has particular relevance to India, as 76 per cent of the 96,753 people who received an H-4 in 2013 were from South Asia, many from India. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Department said that finalising the H-4 employment eligibility was “an important element of the immigration executive actions President Obama announced in November 2014,”.

Government to give digital boost to MGNREG scheme

Government will roll out a pilot project to give a digital boost to the flagship rural job scheme MNREGA in gram panchayats to ensure its better implementation through mobile monitoring system. A total of 35,000 gram panchayats will be covered which would be given a mobile/tablet. An amount of Rs 35 crore have been sanctioned as each mobile/tablet would be costing Rs 10,000. If the the pilot project turns out to be a success, the scheme will be extended to all 2.65 lakh gram panchayats in the country, which will cost the Centre about Rs 265 crore.

Ranchi Rays wins Champions of Hero Hockey India League 2015

Ranchi Rays won the third edition of Champions of Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) 2015. In the final match they defeated Jaypee Punjab Warriors by score of 3-2 in the penalty shootout after 2-2 tie in regular time match. With this Jaypee Punjab Warriors took second position followed by Delhi Waveriders in third position.
Awards from the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) 2015:
•Hero Goal of the Day- Barry Middleton of Ranchi Rays.
•Man-of the-Match- Tyler Lovell of Ranchi Rays.
•Hero Most Valuable Player of the Tournament- Ashley Jackson of Ranchi Rays

Rajendra K Pachauri resigned as Chairperson of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Dr Rajendra Kumar Pachauri stepped down as Chairperson of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Pachauri in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that he was unable to provide strong leadership to the organisation. The organisation will now be led by acting chair Ismail El Gizouli until the election for a new chairperson is conducted. Pachauri had chaired the IPCC since April 2002 and his second term was due to end in October 2015. At present, Pachauri is serving as the Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.

AAP Government’s First Decisions: Cheaper Power, Free Water, Demolition Ban

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has jump-started its plan to slash electricity bills and provide free water. AAP Government announced a 50 per cent subsidy on power consumption up to 400 units on the existing Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) rates in Delhi. As per the Cabinet decision, no subsidy would be given to domestic consumers on power consumption above 400 units. The three-day-old government has also asked the Delhi Jal Board to work on distributing up to 20,000 litres free water a month to every home.

Chris Gayle hits first-ever World Cup double hundred

West Indies opener Chris Gayle became the first batsman to score a double century in a World Cup innings when he reached the landmark against Zimbabwe in a Pool B clash. It was also only the fifth double century in all ODI cricket and the first by a non-Indian, with Rohit Sharma (two), Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag the only other batsmen to achieve the feat. The West Indies coincidentally scored his double century exactly on the day when master blaster hammered first ever ODI double ton five years ago in 2010 against South Africa in Gwalior.
Records broken by Chris Gayle:
•First batsman to score a double hundred at World Cup.
•Fastest ODI double hundred off 138 balls. Virender Sehwag was the previous fastest off 140 balls.
•Fourth batsman to score ODI double hundred.
•Equals the record for most sixes an innings – Rohit Sharma and AB de Villiers’

Modi government accepts Finance Commission recommendations

The Modi government said that it has accepted the recommendation of Finance Commission to raise the share of states in central taxes to 42 per cent from current 32 per cent. As per the increased devolution suggested in the report of the 14th Finance Commission, the states will get Rs 3.48 lakh crore in 2014-15 and Rs 5.26 lakh crore in 2015-16. PM Modi said that while the Finance Commission was in favour of all state plans being met through the resources being devolved, the Centre will continue to support national priority projects like poverty elimination, MNREGA, education, health, rural development, agriculture and a few others.

Indian Army and State Bank of India inked MoU

The Indian Army and State Bank of India (SBI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Defence Salary Package. The MoU is tailor-made to suit the requirements of serving soldiers, pensioners and families. The signing ceremony was chaired by the Adjutant General, Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma.

The revised MoU has incorporated a number of additional facilities and basic features of the MoU include the following:
•Number of free/concessional services like free drafts, free cheque books, free funds transfers to any bank in India through RTGS / NEFT, free ATM cards and others
•The provision also includes the Nepal Express Remittance Scheme which enables instant fund transfers to Nepal for the benefit of the Nepali Domicile Gorkha Soldiers serving in the Indian Army.
•Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) was enhanced and was linked to the Savings account instead of the debit card.
•Exemption percentage of margin money for house and car loans was enhanced while the processing charges on the loans were waved off.

Land acquisition amendment bill introduced in LS

The government introduced the land acquisition amendment bill in the Lok Sabha amid uproar by the Opposition. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015 will replace an ordinance which had been promulgated by the NDA government on December 30 last year. Opposition parties walked out of the Lok Sabha after the government introduced the Land Acquisition Bill.

Salaries in PSU Banks increased by 15%

Employee unions of public sector banks withdrew their strike call following an agreement with the management on 15 per cent wage hike. The bank unions had threatened to go on 4-day nation-wide strike from February 25 demanding 19 per cent hike in wages. The wage hike was due from November 2012. The bank employees will now also get holidays on two Saturdays in a month. The banks, however, will work full-day on remaining Saturdays instead of the current practice of half-day. Agreement is to be finalised within 90 days .

Mohamed Nasheed arrested in Male under anti-terror law

Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed was arrested under anti-terrorism laws after a court said that he might flee the country to avoid hearings on terrorism charges. He is facing criminal charges over his order to arrest a Criminal Court judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012. Nasheed is a leader of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and was the first democratically elected President of Maldives. He stepped down as the President of Maldives in 2012.

Environmental loss in Sundarbans worth Rs. 1290 Crore: World Bank Report

As per World Bank’s recently released report Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans, environmental damage in the climate change-hit islands of Sundarbans is costing India Rs. 1,290 crore each year. This report was jointly prepared by World Bank in collaboration with the West Bengal government. Annually the cost of environmental damage associated with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss is about Rs. 670 crore. While, the cost of health effects due to poor environment is estimated at Rs. 620 crore. Sundarbans is an archipelago of 54 islands and is home to about 44 lakh people. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Himachal Pradesh to present India’s first paperless budget

Himachal Pradesh is set to become the country’s first state to present a ‘paperless’ budget on March 11. Since the state already has the country’s first green assembly, all documents related to budget estimates would be made available online and only around 10 budget copies would be printed for record. Running the proceedings on e-Vidhan would save the state exchequer Rs 15 crore annually.

Budget session of Parliament started

The budget session of Parliament began today with President Pranab Mukherjee’s addressing joint session of both houses. Here are the highlights of what the President said:
•My government has been of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’
•Within a span of 9 months my govt has embarked on a comprehensive strategy for unleashing the economy
•My govt has worked for the welfare of the poor, the marginalized & the vulnerable sections of the society
•Swachhta Abhiyan launched for a clean & open defecation free India by 2019
•My govt has attached highest impotrance to sustainable socio-economic growth of rural India

India signs loan agreement with ADB to boost power generation capacity in Assam

India has signed loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for 50 Million dollars to boost power generation capacity in Assam. The loan agreement was signed for the second Assam power sector investment programme. This programme aims to build up the capacity of power generation and distribution systems in state to meet the growing energy demand. This programme is expected to be completed by 31 December 2018.

Tapan Misra appointed as Chief of ISRO’s Space Application Centre

Eminent scientist Tapan Misra has been appointed the Chief of ISRO’s Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad Gujarat. He will succeed A S Kiran Kumar, who was appointed as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in January 2015. He was awarded Hari Om Ashram Prerit Vikram Sarabhai research Award (2004), ISRO Merit award (2008), Sir JC Bose National Talent Search (JBNSTS) Scholarship (1981).

State Bank of India to finance small tea growers in NE

State Bank of India(SBI) will provide finance totaling Rs 100 crore benefiting 3,000 small tea growers in the North East. Finance will be provided to tea growers who have proper basic documents of their existing garden as per Tea Board of India norms. The benefit is not only for Assam, but also for new tea garden growing states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya which will also be covered under a similar scheme .

In a first, women join Sarang team

For the first time, two women are part of the Sarang team of the Indian Air Force, a show-stopping helicopter-formation team that is performing at the Aero India show. In a major policy shift in 2010, the IAF allowed women pilots to fly twin-engine medium to heavy-lift helicopters. Deepika Misra is the Squadron Leader and Sandeep Singh an engineering officer, is the Flight Lieutenant.

RIL appoints ex-IAS officer from Gujarat to board

Former top IAS officer from Gujarat, Maheshwar Sahu has been appointed as an independent director on the board of Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). With this appointment, he joins RIL as one of the eight independent directors on its 14-member board. Sahu is popularly known as the man behind the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brainchild event- Vibrant Gujarat summit.

Telangana woos aerospace majors to invest in SEZ near Hyderabad

A day after Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu made a strong pitch for investment from aerospace and defence majors at Aero India. The Hyderabad Aerospace SEZ is the first exclusive park for aerospace companies in the country. Under the new policy all mega projects (with investment of Rs 200 crore) will get clearance in 15 days.

Rs 50k-cr naval project gets Cabinet nod

The Cabinet Committee on Security sanctioned the country’s biggest naval project, the construction of seven stealth frigates for Rs 45,381 crore. Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Mumbai , will build four of these, while Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata (GRSE),. This project, dubbed Project 17A, follows on from the earlier Project 17, in which MDL built three 5,600-tonne frigates: INS Shivalik, Satpura and Sahyadri. The Project 17A frigates, while superficially similar to those build under Project 17, will pack significantly more punch with more advanced weaponry. The new vessels will be fitted with BrahMos cruise missile for land attack, and the new Indo-Israeli Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) that can shoot down incoming anti-ship missiles.

PM Modi launches Soil Health Card scheme targeting 14 crore farmers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a Soil Health Card scheme, under which the Centre plans to target over 14 crore farmers in the next three years to check the excess use of fertilisers. The card, to be issued after testing soil, would help farmers save up to Rs 50,000 in 3 acres of land. Niti Aayog and the states have been asked to constitute high-powered expert committees on agriculture to boost farm growth.

The cabinet meeting also took following decisions

•Hiked Member of Legislative Assembly Development Fund (MLADF) from the present Rs. 2 crore in a year to Rs. 3 crore from the next financial year.
•Proposal to pay 13 months salary in place of 12 months to policemen upto inspector rank.
•Hiked the daily wage of home guards to Rs. 400 from Rs. 300 at present.
•Enhance the payment of agricultural advisors to Rs. 7,000 per month from Rs. 6,000 per month at present.

Bihar announces 35% reservation for women in non-gazetted govt jobs

Bihar government has announced 35% reservation for women in non-gazetted government jobs in group C and D grade.•This decision was taken at state cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Bharti Airtel Ltd tied-up with UNICEF to provide education content in 17 African countries

Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel Limited on 18 February 2015 tied-up with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide health, education and youth-focused content to its customers in 17 African countries.•In this regard, Bharti Airtel limited and UNICEF signed a partnership agreement. Their partnership is aimed at improving African population’s access to health and education-related information from various innovative projects supported by UNICEF.The partnership extends across 17 countries in Africa including Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Chad, DRC, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Rashad Hussain appointed as US Special Envoy and Coordinator

Indian-American Rashad Hussain has been appointed as the Special Envoy and Coordinator for Strategic Counter-terrorism Communications. According to the state department of US, the appointment will expand the global engagement and partnerships of the US in order to counter violent extremism. Hussain is currently the US special envoy to Organization for Islamic Countries (OIC).

Kalyani Group announces joint venture with Rafael Defence System

The Kalyani Group has announced a joint venture with Rafael Advanced Defence System of Israel. This joint venture company will be based in India. The initiative is in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ policy and will enable the development and production of high-end technology in the country, said the company. The joint venture will be a 51:49 partnership, with Kalyani Group holding 51 per cent stake as per the new FDI norms. Recently, the government had raised the FDI cap in defence to 49 per cent. The Kalyani Group claimed the joint venture will be among the first such ventures under the new FDI limits.

Nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile test-fired

India successfully test-fired nuclear weapons capable, surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile for a shortened range of 250 km as against its full range of 350 km from Chandipur in Balasore district, Odisha. The indigenously-developed missile was launched by personnel of Strategic Forces Command (SFC) from a road mobile launcher at around 9.15 am. Carrying a dummy payload weighing 500 kg, the missile met all the mission objectives. The entire mission was carried out by SFC personnel as part of regular training. Prithvi-II is the first missile to have been developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) and has been inducted into the SFC in 2003.

Mashable partners India.com for local website

US news portal Mashable and India.com have partnered to launch Mashable India, which will have a local editorial team to generate original domestic content. Mashable claims to have 42 million unique visitors a month and 21 million social media followers. India.com is a joint venture of Penske Media Corp. (PMC) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.

China proposes triangular partnership with India, Sri Lanka

Beijing has proposed at triangular partnership with India and Sri Lanka, ahead of a month-end visit to Beijing of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera. China’s new strategic construct of inclusive ties with India and Sri Lanka follows its advocacy of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road (MSR), where India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan are visualized as partner countries in South Asia. India is connected to the MSR through the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor.

Snapdeal acquires Exclusively to create ‘India’s first online luxury mall’

Snapdeal.com today announced the acquisition of Exclusively.com (formerly Exclusively.in), the definitive online destination for premium and luxury fashion. Exclusively will complement Snapdeal’s existing ecosystem and will provide a consolidated offering for the luxury and lifestyle shopper, making it India’s first online luxury mall. Luxury products and services is a $14 bn market in India and it is growing at 30 per cent YoY, according to a recent KPMG-ASSOCHAM report.

Black money probe in Geneva

Geneva’s public prosecutor searched the premises of HSBC Holdings PLC in Geneva and opened a criminal inquiry into allegations of aggravated money laundering. Swiss private bank allegedly helped hundreds of clients dodge taxes. The disclosures have sparked a political row in Britain over practices at HSBC and whether tax authorities had done enough to pursue possible wrongdoers.

Union Government imposes Anti-dumping duty on graphite electrodes imports

Union Ministry of Finance has imposed an anti-dumping duty on imports of graphite electrodes used in steel plants for five years. The imposed duty ranges between $278.19 and $922.03 per tonne. The decision was taken following the recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty (DGAD).
Anti-Dumping Duty
•It is duty imposed by government on imported products which have prices less than their normal values or domestic price.
•Usually countries initiate anti-dumping probes to check if domestic industry has been hurt because of a surge in below-cost imports.
•Anti-Dumping Duty is imposed under the multilateral WTO regime and vary from product to product and from country to country.
•In India, anti-dumping duty is recommended by the Union Ministry of Commerce, while the Union Finance Ministry imposes it.

NTPC to invest USD 10 bn for building renewable projects

Country’s largest power producer NTPC will invest close to USD 10 billion for executing green energy projects in the next five years as part of government’s plans to provide thrust to clean electricity generation. The public sector company has committed to set up renewable power projects of 10,000 MW capacity in the country over the next five years. NTPC signed a term loan agreement of Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 2,000 crore with state-run SBI and Bank of Baroda, respectively, for partially funding its capital expenditure.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan: Government builds 7.1 lakh toilets in January

Construction of toilets under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, has gained momentum with 7.1 lakh individual household toilets being built in January. According to data, a total of 31.83 lakh toilets have been built between April 2014 and January 2015, which is 25.4% of the target for 2014-15. The programme entails an investment of nearly Rs 2 lakh crore over the next five years to construct 12 crore toilets in India. In the 12th Five-Year Plan, an outlay of Rs 37,159 crore was set aside for rural sanitation under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, launched by the previous UPA government.

Government exempts oilseeds, raw cotton, 36 other products from CTT

The government has added 38 more products to the list of commodities exempt from commodity transaction tax (CTT). Twenty three commodities like oilseeds, raw cotton, spices, etc, were exempt from CTT, introduced in July 2013. The government has exempted 38 more commodities from the levy. Many of these, onion, seedlac, ginger, gram dal, gram husk, masur, methi, safflower, rice, paddy, sesamum, moth, small millets, etc.

293 firms commit to generate 266 GW renewable energy in 5 years

As many as 293 companies have committed to generate 266 GW of renewable energy in the next five years under the government’s ambitious RE-Invest programme unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Country’s largest power producer NTPC has also said it would generate 10,000 mw of power through green sources in the next five years. Renewable energy companies including Suzlon and Gamesa have committed to manufacture equipment to help generate 11,000 mw and 7,500 mw of power respectively to be used in the non conventional energy side. Among others are Welspun Energy with a target to generate 11,000 mw renewable energy, followed by ReNew Power 11,500 mw capacity, Reliance Power 6,000 mw, Hindustan Power projects 10,000 mw and Sun Edison 15,000 mw. Country’s biggest lender SBI has said it will finance 15,000 mw renewable energy over the next five years.

ED slaps Rs 425 crore FEMA notice on BCCI, IPL

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has slapped a Rs 425 crore show cause notice against BCCI, IPL, their officials and private multimedia firms for alleged contravention of forex laws in awarding a media rights contract in 2009. The notices have been issued to close to ten individuals and entities, which include former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief N. Srinivasan, the then-IPL Chairman Lalit Modi, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sunder Raman. The ED stepped in this case in 2009 and began a probe under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to investigate allegations that payment of Rs 425 crore facilitation fees by MSM Singapore to WSG Mauritius was made in an alleged unauthorised manner.

Modi, Sirisena hold joint press conference

With a promise for a “new beginning” in India-Sri Lanka ties, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in New Delhi. While investment will be a key theme, it is learnt that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which New Delhi has been pushing for, did not figure in the round of discussions.
Agreements between Both countries
•Agreement between Sri Lanka and India on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
•Programme of Cultural Cooperation between Sri Lanka and India for the years 2015 – 18.
•MoU on the Establishment of Nalanda University. The MoU would enable Sri Lanka to participate in the Nalanda University Project.
•Work-Plan 2014-2015 under the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Agriculture between India and Sri Lanka.

Chhetri is player of the year

National men’s team captain Sunil Chhetri was presented with All India Football Federation’s 2014 Player of the Year award. Chhetri was voted the winner by I-League coaches and this was the fourth time he received the award having earlier won it in 2007, 2011 and 2013. In the process he surpassed the legendary IM Vijayan who won the award thrice.

Arvind Kejriwal sworn in as Delhi Chief Minister

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal took oath as the eighth Chief Minister of Delhi, promising to make Delhi the first corruption-free state and act against communal elements. Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath of office and secrecy to Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and five other ministers at the historic Ramlila Ground. Asim Ahmed Khan, Sandeep Kumar, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai and Jitender Singh Tomar also took oath of office and secrecy at the ceremony. The AAP had won 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi decimating Congress and leaving only three seats for the BJP.

India ranks 136 in World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) 2015

In recently released World Press Freedom Index (WPFI), India was placed at 136th rank out of 180 nations surveyed worldwide in terms of press freedom in 2015. In WPFI 2015, India has shown improvement from its rank of 140 in 2014. However, India’s absolute score has declined from 40.34 to 40.49. Top 10 countries: Finland (1st), Norway (2nd), Denmark (3rd), Netherlands (4th), Sweden (5th), New Zealand (6th), Austria (7th), Canada (8th), Jamaica (9th), Estonia (10th).

World Radio Day observed on 13 February

World Radio Day was observed globally on 13 February 2015 with the theme Youth and Radio. The day is a global celebration of radio as a forum for entertainment and information, as a bridge of communication for remote communities and its role in empowering people. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) annually celebrate the World Radio Day by planning activities with broadcasters, organizations and communities around the world. UNESCO at its 36th General Assembly on 3 November 2011 proclaimed 13 February as World Radio Day. The first World Radio Day was officially celebrated in 2012.

India successfully test-fires BrahMos supersonic cruise missile

India successfully test-fired the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile from INS Kolkata, the navy’s most powerful and newest warship, in Arabian sea. The Indian Navy commissioned INS Kolkata on August 16, 2014. This is the first ship of this class, with two more in the pipeline. The Universal Vertical Launcher Module (UVLM) being used in these has a unique design, developed and patented by BrahMos Aerospace. The BrahMos has a range of 290km and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg. It has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the US subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.

Modi’s ‘Make in India’ gets GE boost

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated American multinational General Electric’s (GE) first manufacturing plant in India. The plant will manufacture a range of diversified products for sectors such as energy, aviation, oil & gas transportation. To support Mr. Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, GE Vice-Chairman John Rice announced the second phase expansion of this unit by saying that it was a testimony of GE’s commitment for the Indian market. In the first phase of the operation, the facility is focused on products and solutions for the power generation, oil & gas and transportation industries. In the phase II, the site will include manufacturing capability for new generation aviation engine components and sub assembly for the latest rail locomotives and diesel engines.

Fourth river festival begins in Madhya Pradesh

Fourth River festival has begun at Bandrabhan bank of Narmada River in Hoshangabad district in Madhya Pradesh. Three day festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Theme of this year’s river festival is “River, its catchment area, chemicals and crisis” In this year’s festival more than 100 participants will discuss topics like effects of chemicals used in agriculture on forests, wild life and human beings. Success stories on natural farming will also be part of discussion.

Ashton Carter confirmed as new US defence secretary

Ashton Carter, a close confidant of President Barack Obama and a strong proponent of Indo-US strategic ties, has been confirmed by the Senate as the next American defence secretary. He was confirmed to the top Pentagon post with an overwhelming 93 to five votes. Mr. Carter will be the 25th U.S. Secretary of Defence, replacing Chuck Hagel who quit from the post in November last amid reports of differences with Mr. Obama.

CSK Ltd. to be owned by one lakh shareholders

The Board of India Cements Ltd. (ICL) has cleared the decks for transfer of IPL franchise rights of Chennai Super Kings to its wholly owned subsidiary, Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd. For the first time in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a cricket franchise will be owned by the shareholders of a company. The move will help shareholders of India Cements exercise their choice — to own only the cement business or the cricket franchise or both.

Apple Inc. becomes first company worth over $700 bn in global corporate history

US technology giant Apple Inc. became the first company to reach a market value of $700 billion. Earlier in January 2015, Apple Inc had recorded highest quarterly profit of 18 billion US dollar in corporate history worldwide after the company sold 74.5 million iPhones in quarter ending December 2014. With its $710 billion market value Apple is far ahead from the number two company, oil giant Exxon Mobil, which is worth around $382 billion in terms of market value.

Aditya Birla Chemicals to merge with Grasim Industries

The Board of Directors of Grasim Industries Limited on 11 February 2015 approved the proposed merger of Aditya Birla Chemicals (India) Limited (ABCIL) with Grasim. The proposed scheme is subject to approval of the high court and regulatory authorities.
•Grasim is a leading manufacturer of caustic soda in India, with an installed capacity of 452500 tonnes per annum. Its plants are located at Nagda in Madhya Pradesh and at Vilayat in Gujarat.
•Aditya Birla Chemicals (India) Limited (ABCIL) is a leading manufacturer of bulk and specialty chemicals and viscose filament yarn. The business is spread across multiple manufacturing locations in four countries namely India, Thailand, Germany and China.

Himachal Pradesh Government launched Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System Project

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on 11 February 2015 launched the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) project in the state. This 19 crore rupees project will be completely funded by the Union Government. It will help in connecting 177 sites and 114 police stations in the state besides 13 district headquarters, 26 sub-divisional police officers and three police ranges along with state crime records bureau. It will also connect CID crime branch, 14 control rooms, finger print bureau, forensic science laboratory and 16 CCTNS training centers in the state.

ICC World Cup 2015 launched with quirky opening ceremony

The 11th edition of the ICC World Cup was officially declared open after a two-act opening ceremony in Christchurch and Melbourne. The event was a wonderful mix of culture and traditions of the host nations Australia and New Zealand. The first match of the tournament will take place at the Hagley Oval between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on February 14. International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson unveiled the Cricket World Cup trophy, saying it was a symbol of the ICC’s values of excellence, integrity and inclusion.

ICICI Bank launches ‘Pockets’, India’s first digital bank on a mobile phone

ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, has announced the launch of ‘Pockets’, India’s first digital bank for the youth. Anyone, including those who are not customers of ICICI Bank, can download the e-wallet from Google Playstore, fund it from any bank account in the country and start transacting immediately. This wallet uses a virtual VISA card which enables the users to transact on any website or mobile application in India.

NABARD announces Rs 1,14,927 crore credit plan for Rajasthan

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) today announced Rs 1,14,927 crore credit plan for agriculture in Rajasthan for fiscal 2015-16, encompassing all 33 districts in the state. The credit projections will grow by 39 per cent from Rs 82,534 crore in the ongoing fiscal (2014-15) to Rs 1,14,927 crore in 2015-16 for Rajasthan’s agriculture and allied sectors. NABARD has identified infrastructure gaps in the state with 155 projects worth Rs 3,020 crore, which could be financed under RIDF and other channels available with NABARD.

Israel offers expertise to clean up Ganga

In an effort to deepen economic cooperation, Israel has offered its expertise and technological capabilities to India in its ambitious drive to clean up the Ganga. A preliminary offer on this was made by Amit Lang, Director-General of the Ministry of Economy, Israel led delegation to continue talks on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which both countries had initiated in 2007, as well as expand cooperation in the field of water management, waste water treatment. Israel has made significant technological advancement in desalination and drip irrigation with the world’s largest desalination plants and recycles 90 per cent of water for agricultural needs.

National Games mascot in Limca Book of Records

National Games mascot Ammu, the Great Hornbill, has immortalised itself by finding a mention in the Limca Book of Records. The mascot found a place in the record books owing to a play, Kalikkunna Kuttikalkkayi Bharatham Kathirikkunnu (India Awaits Children Who Play) in which Ammu is featured. According to the Limca Book’s 2015 Special Literature Edition, it is a play about a mascot which had been staged in most number of schools. The Great Indian Hornbill, had been staged in 147 schools.

Amartya Sen wins John Maynard Keynes Prize

Economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has won the newly instituted Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. In the spirit of John Maynard Keynes’ work, life and legacy, this new global prize recognises Professor Sen’s outstanding contribution to society. Currently a Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University, he has been a Professor at the London School of Economics and until 2004 was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages.

India presses for automatic exchange of tax information at G20 meet

India has called for expeditious implementation of the automatic exchange of tax information saying it would help in tracking illegal money stashed in foreign banks. Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha advocated “full and fast implementation” of Automatic Exchange of Information within the agreed time-frame. India called for strengthening the IMF through implementing the 2010 quota and governance reforms and creating an environment for multilateral swaps to overcome such negative impact. The quota reform, if implemented, will increase India’s voting share in IMF from the current 2.44 per cent to 2.75 per cent, following which the country will become the eighth largest quota holder at the IMF, up from the 11th position.

India pegs 2014-15 GDP growth at 7.4 per cent

Economy is likely to grow at a faster pace of 7.4 per cent in the current fiscal as against 6.9 per cent in 2013-14. The data further said economy grew by 7.5 per cent in the September-December quarter of the current fiscal after a growth rate of 8.2 per cent in the preceding quarter. The government had recently updated the base year to calculate Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 2011-12 from 2004-05. The sectors which registered a growth rate of over 7 per cent are financial, real estate and professional service; trade, hotels, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting; public administration, defence and other services; and electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services.

PNB raises Rs. 1,000 crore via private placement

State-owned Punjab National Bank has raised Rs. 1,000 crore through bonds to fund business growth and meet global capital adequacy norms. The bank has raised Rs. 1,000 crore long term bonds at an annual coupon of 8.23 per cent on Private Placement basis. The government has decided to provide Rs. 870 crore to the bank as part of capital infusion plan. Public sector banks require equity capital of Rs. 2.4 lakh crore by 2018 to meet the global, Basel III norms on capital adequacy. For the current fiscal, the government has allocated Rs. 11,200 crore for bank capitalisation.

Delhi Elections — AAP deflates BJP

The AAP stunned everyone with an overwhelming victory in the Delhi assembly polls, setting up a second stint for Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister. The AAP bagged as many as 67 seats of the 70-member House, going far beyond the most optimistic exit polls. The BJP was left bruised in a distant second place with wins projected for it in just three seats. The Congress drew a blank. BJP’s CM candidate, Kiran Bedi, lost the elections. AAP got 54.3% of the total polled votes, while BJP came a distant second with 32.2% of the votes polled.

Singapore President’s visit to India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is presently in the national capital to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Indian envoys focussed today on interface of Digital communications and Diplomacy. India-Singapore discussed an agenda of development. Skill development, connectivity in North East India primary focus. Singapore is one of India’s major trade and investment partners, with bilateral trade for the financial year 2013-14 standing at $19.27 billion.

Facebook rings Reliance Communi-cations for free data access

Anil Ambani led Reliance Communi-cations Ltd (RCOM) has partnered with Facebook to offer free data access to select popular websites for all its customers, existing and new ones. Thirty three popular websites can be accessed free of cost through internet.org and all the subscriber needs to have is an internet enabled hand set. In the first phase this service has gone live in seven circles of RCOM which include Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chennai and Kerala.

Vodafone India appoints Naveen Chopra as Chief Operating Officer

Vodafone India announced the appointment of Naveen Chopra as Chief Operating Officer (COO) with effect from April 1, 2015.

Bengaluru, Chennai, Surat among ‘100 Resilient Cities’

In its centenary year in 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation announced the 100 Resilient Cities project with a $100 million commitment to build urban resilience worldwide. The idea behind choosing is that cities have complex ecosystems and have a hard time organising themselves around what their key challenges are and the second is that too often the cities don’t access the resources or best practices efficiently enough. The project consists hiring of a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) in each city, or a senior person to work in municipal government usually with mayors, or in the Indian context, probably more with the commissioners with the breadth and gravitas to work across the sectors and silos and engage with private sector and civil society.

CarDekho.com gets Ratan Tata fund

In a first-of-its kind partnership in the Indian auto space, CarDekho.com announced an investment in the company by Ratan Tata. Tata has for the first time ever joined hands with an auto portal by investing in his personal capacity. GirnarSoft, the parent company of CarDekho.com, now valued at USD 300 million, recently concluded its series B funding with a raise of $50 million.

Grammies announced, BAFTA announced

Grammies announced
The winners are –
•Record of the Year – “Stay with Me,” Sam Smith
•Song of the Year – “Stay with Me” (Darkchild Version)
•Album of the Year – Morning Phase, Beck
•Best Country Album – Platinum, Miranda Lambert
•Best R&B Performance – “Drunk in Love,” Beyoncé
•Best Rock Album – Morning Phase, Beck
•Best Pop Vocal Album – In the Lonely Hour, Sam Smith
•Best Pop Solo Performance – “Happy,” Pharrell Williams
•Best New Artist – Sam Smith
•Best Rap/Sung Collaboration – “Monster,” by Rihanna and Eminem
•Best Rap Album – The Marshall Mathers LP2, Eminem
•Best R&B Song – “Drunk in Love,” Beyonce
•Pop duo/group performance – “Say Something”, A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera
•Best Rock performance – Lazaretto, Jack White
•Best Children’s Album – I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education And Changed The World (Malala Yousafzai)
•Best Musical Theater Album – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,
•Jessie Mueller, principal soloist; Jason Howland, Steve Sidwell & Billy Jay Stein, producers (Carole King, composer & lyricist) (Original Broadway Cast)
BAFTA announced
The Lunchbox loses to Polish film at BAFTA
The awards went to –
•BEST FILM: Boyhood
•BEST BRITISH FILM: The Theory of Everything
•BEST DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
•BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson
•BEST LEAD ACTOR: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything
•BEST LEAD ACTRESS: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
•BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
•BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
•BEST ANIMATED FILM: The Lego Movie, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
•BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat

Govt announces capital infusion of Rs6,990 crore

The government announced a capital infusion of Rs.6990 crore in nine state run banks, including State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB), but based on new efficiency parameters such as return on assets and return on equity. The government had budgeted to infuse more than Rs.11,000 crore as capital in the current financial year. While State Bank of India will get Rs.2,970 crore as capital in the current fiscal, Bank of Baroda will get Rs.1,260 crore, Punjab National Bank Rs.870 crore, Canara Bank Rs.570 crore, Syndicate Bank Rs.460 crore, Allahabad Bank Rs.320 crore, Indian Bank Rs.280 crore, Dena Bank Rs.140 crore and Andhra Bank Rs.120 crore.

Project Sunrise for prevention of AIDS

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mr. J.P. Nadda launches Project Sunrise for prevention of AIDS, specially among people injecting drugs in the North-Eastern States.

No change in nuclear liability law: MEA

In a press release, the Ministry has answered 19 frequently asked questions (FAQs) that make it clear that the government is not making changes to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act (CLND) 2010. MEA will read the Act to mean that supplier’s liability is not a mandatory part of the contracts to be signed. The Ministry of External Affairs makes it clear that immediate liability for any incident would be channelled only to the operator, in this case PSU Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL).

Ajaypal Singh Banga appointed as member of US Advisory Committee for Trade Policy

Indian-American Ajaypal Singh Banga is appointed as the Member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), a key administration position in the United States (US). His appointment was announced by the US President Barack Obama. Presently, Banga is President and CEO of MasterCard since 2009.

CSIR-NCL signed MoU with Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd

CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd (SPMCIL). The MoU is aimed at fostering collaboration on research and exchange of technical expertise in areas of material sciences and testing capabilities for bank notes, security documents and coins. The MoU was signed by Sourav Pal, Director of CSIR-NCL and Rakesh Kumar, Additional General Manager of SPMCIL.

M.O.Garg appointed as Director General of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research

MO Garg was appointed as the Director General of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). Prior to his present posting, he was Director in CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun.

Tata Communications signs $20 mn deal with KION Group

Tata Communications has signed a $20 million multi-year deal with Germany-based KION Group to provide global wide area network (WAN) services to the group’s 330 sites across 30 countries. As part of the deal, Tata Communications will replace the KION Group’s existing stable of multiple WAN providers with a single global network. The KION Group is the second largest global manufacturer of forklift trucks and warehouse technology.

Alibaba acquired 25% stake in Paytm

Alibaba had signed a deal to buy a 25% stake in Indian mobile payments and ecommerce platform Paytm owner One97 Communications. Paytm is India’s largest mobile commerce platform with nearly 25 million orders a month and more than 23 million mobile wallet users.

Government to Decide on Roongta panel report on CPSEs

The government is expected to take a decision within a month on Roongta committee recommendations on bringing reforms in central public sector enterprises (CPSEs). The committee had given as many as 40 suggestions which include better corporate governance, more autonomy to Boards of PSUs, better utilisation of resources and transparency. It had also suggested fixing tenures of the Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of state-owned companies.

15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit

Environmentalists and policy makers met at the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit to set agendas for the 2015 climate change summit in Paris as India plays an influential role in U.N climate talks. The latest report from the IPCC stressed the risks of global warming and tried to make a stronger case for governments to adopt policy on adaptation and cut greenhouse gas emissions. India, along with other developing countries, committed to fulfill the eight Millennium Development Goals by the set deadline of 31 December 2015.

MahaMobile app launched by Bank for Maharashtra

With the perspective to make the bank more efficient and simpler for the customers, Bank of Maharashtra has rolled out a new mobile application Maha Mobile app for its customers. The customers using debit card of the bank and having their mobile number registered with the bank can easily avail this facility without the need of visiting the bank branch.

India at the bottom of GIPC index

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), released its third annual International IP Index, ‘UP: Unlimited Potential’, which found that 20 of the 30 economies examined in the Index improved their scores from last year. Thailand, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Argentina, Nigeria, Brazil and Ukraine were described as low-tier performers. The index is based on 30 measurable criteria critical to innovation, including, patent, copyright and trademark protections, enforcement, and engagement in international treaties. India was ranked 11 with a score of 7.23 out of 30 against 6.95 per cent in the last edition. India’s patentability requirements remained outside established international best practices. Also, there is a lack of specific IP rights for the life sciences sector.

Bihar to provide free education

The Bihar government decided to provide free education to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and girl students till Post Graduation (PG) level in the state. The government would reimburse the financial loss to such universities/colleges after gathering the actual information about it. According to latest government data, there were 4.05 lakh SC, ST and girl students studying undergraduate courses in the state, but the figure declines sharply to just 10,870 students belonging to these categories at the PG level.

HDFC Bank raises close to Rs 10,000 crore

HDFC Bank raised Rs 9,880 crore in the largest share sale in the secondary market by a private entity to overseas and domestic investors through a mix of qualified institutional placement and American depository shares. This is the largest share sale by a private sector entity and the second largest fund raising through by selling share in the secondary market after the bumper Rs 22,500 crore Coal India issue by the government. Parent HDFC holds 22.47 per cent in the bank, FIIs 33.75 per cent, ADRs/GDRs 16.84 per cent and the rest is held by others.

Poverty removal, child care should be on post-2015 agenda: India

India has told the UN that poverty eradication and special attention to children’s needs should be the central goal for the post-2015 development agenda to ensure that youngsters get a protective and nurturing environment. 568 million children globally are still living in extreme poverty and persisting challenge of inadequate investment for their well-being is often exacerbated by economic crises, natural disasters and armed conflict. This has to be accompanied by focused cross-cutting strategies, including capacity development, partnerships, social inclusion and knowledge management aligned with national policies and priorities.

Vijay Kumar shines in National Games

The Army shooter struck gold with a total of 583 points through the two rounds of competition — precision and duel. Vijay had a score of 291 in precision before he returned to post 292 in the duelling round and to finish with a clear seven-point lead over second-placed Samresh Jung (Himachal Pradesh). Pemba Tamang (Services) was involved in a shoot-off with team-mate Gurpreet Singh before winning bronze. Chain Singh won a second gold medal for Services as he finished on top with a total of 205.8.

Govt panel to suggest ways to monitor Corporate Social Responsibility works

The government has set up a high level panel to suggest a framework to assess CSR activities done by corporates under the companies law. Certain class of profitable companies are required to shell out at least 2 per cent of their three-year average annual net profit towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. The panel, headed by former Home Secretary Anil Baijal, would have members from industry and academia, among others.

China overtakes US as top investment destination

China has overtaken the United States as the top destination for foreign direct investment for the first time since 2003. According to the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development, foreign firms invested 128 billion dollars in China and 86 billion in the US last year. The growth in China’s foreign investment benefited the services sector as manufacturing slowed.

RBI extends range of collateral for interbank transactions

The Reserve Bank of India extended the range of collateral that can be used for repo transactions on the country’s interbank market to include bonds issued by multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Currently, such collateral is limited to commercial papers, certificate of deposits, non-convertible debentures, and listed corporate debt securities of more than one year maturity and rated AA or above. The move will help develop the corporate debt market.

France win record fifth world handball title

France has became the first team in handball history to win five World Championships. In the finals, they defeated hosts and surprised finalists Qatar. The win means France’s are now world, European and Olympic champions.

Madhya Pradesh gets national award for excellent work in MGNREGA

Madhya Pradesh has been awarded the 10th national award for excellent work in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act-MGNREGA. Union Rural Development Minister Virendra Singh presented the award to state’s Panchayats and Rural Develop-ment Minister Gopal Bhargava at the MGNREGA summit held in New Delhi. 74 percent construction of permanent assets has been done through MGNREGA in the state.

Modi govt to bring new scheme to replace JNNURM

The existing programme to modernize urban infra-structure will be discontinued and a new plan will be introduced by the Narendra Modi government. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was introduced by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2005 to improve civic infrastructure and services. It will focus on spatial planning, liquid and solid waste management and public transport