March, 2015

TAMIL NADU BUDGET 2015-16

TAMIL NADU BUDGET 2015-16
Despite a sluggish economy and falling State’s own tax revenue, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, also the Finance Minister, presented a budget free of fresh taxes ahead of the election year (Mar.25).
•Though devoid of any major announcements, the Chief Minister has kept the tradition of a welfare state alive by allocating 33 per cent for social sector spending that included subsidies.
• Value Added Tax (VAT) for cellular phones, LED lamps, air compressors and pump sets up to 10 HP and their parts was reduced from 14.5 per cent to five per cent. A range of fishing equipment were exempted from VAT benefitting the fishermen community.
• To boost the manufacturing sector bogged down by negative sentiments, he provided certain critical concessions like withdrawal of electricity tax on generating plants using biomass (excluding bagassee).
• He announced withdrawal of input tax credit reversal imposed at the rate of three per cent on the inter-State sale of goods to make manufacturing industries in Tamil Nadu more competitive with their counterparts in neighbouring States. Tax concessions, which will result in a loss of Rs. 650 crore to the exchequer per annum, were also announced.
• Roughly estimating that Tamil Nadu would lose about Rs 35,485 crore in the next five years due to changes in devolution of Central taxes and grants-in-aid by the Centre based on the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, he said the State government would be burdened with a heavy responsibility of implementing additional schemes from its own resources.
• The State has fixed a moderate growth rate of 12.02 per cent for the fiscal year. Admitting that the growth in the SOTR was a serious challenge to the State consecutively for the second year, he said the government was not increasing any taxes to mobilise more resources, but would rely more on tightening the collection system to realise revenue projections.
• The Chief Minister said revenue deficit was inevitable due to the increase in the allocation of subsidies and allocation to social sector despite slow tax growth.
• The revenue deficit for the 2015-16 has been projected at Rs 4,616.02 crore with revenue receipts of Rs 1,42,681.33 crore and revenue expenditure Rs 1,47,297.35 crore. The fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 31.829.19 crore.

11TH ICC WORLD CUP – 2015 : AUSTRALIA CHAMPION

11TH ICC WORLD CUP – 2015 : AUSTRALIA CHAMPION
From a distance, Australia and New Zealand’s flags appear similar. Closer look reveals there are six stars on one belonging to Kangaroos as against four on the Kieiws’ wave. On a day loyalty at Melbourne Cricket Ground
The 2015 Cricket World Cup was the 11th Cricket World Cup, jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March 2015. Fourteen teams played 49 matches in 14 venues, with Australia staging 26 games at grounds in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney while New Zealand hosted 23 games in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington. The hosting rights were awarded at the same time as those of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, which Australia and New Zealand had originally bid to host, and the 2019 Cricket World Cup, which was awarded to England. The 2011 tournament was awarded to the four Asian Test cricket playing countries, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (Pakistan later lost the co-hosting rights due to a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team). The International Cricket Council were sufficiently impressed with the trans-Tasman bid that it was decided to award the next World Cup to Australia and New Zealand. This was the second time the tournament was held in Australia and New Zealand, with the first being the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Sachin Tendulkar was named as the 2015 Cricket World Cup Ambassador by the ICC for the second time, after 2011 Cricket World Cup where he was the ambassador. India were the defending champions, having won the tournament in 2011. Tickets for the Pool B match between India and Pakistan, played on 15 February 2015, reportedly sold out within 12 minutes of going on sale. The final match of the tournament took place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between co-hosts New Zealand and Australia in front of a record crowd of 93,013 while the average attendance throughout the tournament was 21,071. Australia defeated New Zealand by 7 wickets to win their fifth ICC Cricket World Cup .
On 9 July 2013, as a result of a tied match against the Netherlands, Ireland became the first country to qualify for the 2015 World Cup. On 4 October 2013, Afghanistan qualified for their first Cricket World Cup after beating Kenya to finish in second place behind Ireland.
• New Zealand batsman Martin Guptil became the Highest score in the tournament with 547 runs • Highest wicket taker (22) – Trent Boult (New Zealand) and Mitchell Starc (Australia)
World Cup Champion :
Australia–5 (2015 (11TH), 2007 (9TH), 2003 (8TH), 1999 (7TH), 1987 (4TH))
West Indies–2 (1975 (1ST), 1979 (2ND)
India–2 (2011 (10TH), 1983 (3RD))
Pakistan–1 (1992 (5TH))
Sri Lanka–1 (1996 (6TH))

Vettori bids goodbye to cricket
Veteran left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, the most capped ODI player for New Zealand, bid adieu to the 50-over format. Vettori ended an illustrious 18 year career in which he created many records for New zealand. In his 113 Test appearances, Vettori took 362 wickets and his tally in Tests stands at 4531 runs. He is the most capped Kiwi player but also the team’s leading wicket—taker with 305 scalps at an average of 31.71 from 295 games.

Vajpayee conferred Bharat Ratna

President Pranab Mukherjee on 27th made a departure from protocol by visiting former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s residence to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award. The rare gesture showed that Vajpayee’s appeal and charisma was still intact despite being away from public life for several years.
Vajpayee’s foster daughter Namita and son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya received the dignitaries.

Katsushi Inoue appointed as President & CEO of Honda Cars India Ltd

Katsushi Inoue on 30 March 2015 was appointed as President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL). He will assume charge on 1 April 2015 and succeed Hironori Kanayama who is due to retire. Inoue was associated with Honda Motor Co for past 29 years. About Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL)
•HCIL is a subsidiary of the Japanese carmaker Honda dealing with the production, marketing and export of passenger cars in India.
•It has started its operations in 1995 and was formerly known as Honda Siel Cars India Ltd.
•It was joint venture between Honda and Usha International of Siddharth Shriram Group. Later Honda had completely bought out Usha International’s entire stake and was renamed Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL). At present it is 100% subsidiary of Honda.

Japan organised World’s first Otaku Expo

Japan organised the world’s first Otaku Expo from 28 March 2015 to 29 March 2015 at Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba Prefecture. The Expo was organized as a part of a special comic book fair held every five years, which attracts about half a million visitors. For the first time groups from outside Japan were invited to mark the event. About four dozen overseas Otaku groups attended the Expo. The visitors so-called Otaku, usually translated as geeks, from at least 18 countries and territories, many dressed as their favourite anime characters. The culture of Otaku has grown into a major industry in Japan. The term is commonly used in the country to refer to people obsessed with Japan’s unique take on comics and animation. While it once carried a negative connotation, many Otaku are now proudly displaying their love for two-dimensional heroes while the number of foreign fans is also soaring.

Balbir Singh Senior conferred with Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award of Hockey India

Hockey India on 28 March 2015 conferred Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award on legendary Balbir Singh Senior. As an award, he received a trophy and a cash prize of 30 lakh rupees. Balbir Singh Senior was a member of three Olympic gold medal winning Indian team, viz., London Olympics (1948), Helsinki Olympics (1952) and Melbourne Olympics (1956). He was the Vice Captain of the Indian Hockey team during Helsinki Olympics and Captain during Melbourne Olympics. His 1952 record of most goals (five) in an Olympic final still remains unbeaten and he also figures in the list of 16 iconic Olympians of all-time. He is often called Balbir Singh Senior to distinguish him from other Indian hockey players named Balbir Singh.

Earth Hour 2015 observed globally from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm local time

Earth Hour 2015 was observed globally on 28 March 2015 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time. The tagline for the global campaign was Change Climate Change. This was the ninth edition of the Earth Hour that started in 2007. Earth Hour 2015 was observed across 172 nations and territories and around 1400+ iconic landmarks of the world switched off the lights. Earth Hour is a global campaign with a simple message to switch off non-essential lights for one hour on the last Saturday of March between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. This is done as a commitment to the planet. Earth Hour is organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) since 2007 when it was first observed in Sydney, Australia.
Earth Hour in India
•India joined the Earth Hour campaign in 2009 and over the years has seen an exponential growth in participation across cities, towns and even far-flung villages of rural India.
•The brand ambassadors for Earth Hour in India are Arjun Kapoor (actor), Priya Mani (actress), Sania Mirza (Tennis player), June Maliah (actress), and Suresh Gopi (Malayalam actor).

Reliance Power’s Sasan UMPP fully operational

Anil Ambani controlled Reliance Power Ltd has announced the commissioning of the sixth and last 660 MW unit of the 3,960 MW Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP). The Sasan UMPP is the largest integrated power plant cum coal mining project at a single location involving investment of over Rs. 27,000 crore. Reliance Power’s generation capacity has increased to 5,945 MW which includes 5,760 MW of thermal and 185 MW of renewable energy based capacity.

Cricket World Cup 2015: Australia crush New Zealand in final

Australia overwhelmed New Zealand to win the World Cup for a fifth time at an ecstatic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Aussies defeated the Kiwis by seven wickets to complete the fiver. James Faulkner was adjudged the Man of the Match. Mitchell Starc was selected as the man of the tournament for his breath taking performance in the tournament. ICC team of World Cup 2015: Brendon McCullum (c), Sangakkara, Smith, De Villiers, Maxwell, Corey Anderson, Vettori, Starc, Boult, Morkel, Brendan Taylor (12th man)

Aditi Arya crowned FBB Femina Miss World 2015

Aditi Arya was declared fbb Femina Miss India World 2015 at a star-studded event at the Yash Raj Studios. Aafreen Rachel Vaz walked away with the fbb Femina Miss India 2015 first runner-up crown, while Vartika Singh was fbb Femina Miss India 2015 second runner-up. Gurgaon girl Aditi Arya, a research analyst, received the crown from Miss India 2014 Koyal Rana. Aditi will represent India at Miss World 2015 to be held later this year.

Madan Mohan Malaviya posthumously awarded Bharat Ratna

Freedom fighter and educationist, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya on 30 March 2015 was conferred the highest civilian award of the country Bharat Ratna (posthumous). His family members received the award from President Prabab Mukherjee at a function in the Ashoka hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The award was given to Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya or Mahamana Malaviya’s family for his outstanding work in the field of education and the country’s freedom struggle. Pandit Malaviya was born on 25 December 1861 in Allahabad. He studied at Calcutta University and became a school teacher. Later he also practiced as a lawyer and even a newspaper editor. He was the founder of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Hindu Mahasabha. Besides, President also presented Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards.

God’s Bankers authored by Gerald Posner released

Book titled God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican authored by Gerald Posner was released on 3 February 2015. Posner is an American investigative journalist and an author, through this book he has tried to present the secret side of the 200-year history of Vatican finances and the Vatican Bank, the Catholic Church’s completely independent financial institution. The book is about the church’s accumulation of wealth and its byzantine entanglements with financial markets across the world. It talks about the political intrigue and inner workings of the Catholic Church. It displays with extraordinary precision how the Vatican has evolved from a foundation of faith to a corporation of extreme wealth and power.

Saina Nehwal, K Srikanth win India Open titles

Saina Nehwal defeated third seeded Ratchanok Intanon of Thialand to win $275,000 India Open badminton championship. Saina blitzed past former World champion Ratchanok Intanon 21-16, 21-14 for her ninth BWF Superseries title and first National Open. In the men’s section Viktor Axelsen was defeated by the Indian star K Srikanth to script a brilliant 18-21, 21-13, 21-12 triumph.
Superb Saina scales historic World No.1 ranking
Saina Nehwal scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman shuttler to attain the number one spot in world rankings, reaffirming her status as the country’s most consistent performer in the international circuit. official rankings will be out only next week, Saina has been assured of her ascent to the top owing to the performances in the Indian open. Only Indian to be at numero uno was Prakash Padukone in the men’s circuit.

PM Narendra Modi launches PRAGATI platform for redressal of grievances

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 March 2015 launched Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation (PRAGATI) platform. PRAGATI is a multi-purpose and multi-modal platform aimed at addressing grievances of common man. It also aims at simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important Union government programmes and projects as well as projects flagged by State Governments. It is an innovative project in e-governance and good governance and accountability with real-time presence and information exchange among the key stakeholders.
Key features of PRAGATI
•Designed in-house by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) team with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC).
•Uniquely bundles three latest technologies including Digital data management, geo-spatial technology and video-conferencing.
•Three-tier system that brings PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States at one stage.
Thus, offers a unique combination in the direction of cooperative federalism. Prime Minister can directly discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground level situation. On a monthly basis, Prime Minister will interact with bureaucrats i.e. on fourth Wednesday of every month at 3.30 PM- called as PRAGATI Day. Issues to be flagged before the PM will be picked up from the available database regarding Public Grievances, pending Projects and on-going Programmes. These issues will uploaded seven days prior to the PRAGATI day.

Delhi Government launches India’s first E-ration card service

Delhi government has launched First E-ration card service in India. It was launched Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 27 March 2015. In this service, E-ration card will be linked with Aadhaar cards in order to curb corruption and increase transparency in the system. Along with the E-ration card service, Delhi government is also starting issuing temporary Fair Price Shop (FPS)-licences. These licenses will be issued to around 25,000 FPS in Delhi. FPS are operated by private players to provide subsided foodgrains.

ISRO won Gandhi Peace Prize 2014

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 27 March 2015 won Gandhi Peace Prize 2014. The award was selected by the jury under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Besides Prime Minister, other members of the Jury that selected the ISRO for the award were Justice H L Dattu, Chief Justice of India; Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the single largest Opposition Party in the Lok Sabha; LK Advani, Member of Parliament and Gopalkrishna Gandhi. The Indian space agency successfully launched Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and at a very cost effective price of 450 crore rupees.
About the Award
•The Gandhi Peace Prize for social, economic and political transformation through non-violence was instituted in the year 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
•It is given to individual or organisation for making social, economic and political transformation through non-violence means.
•The award comprises an amount of one crore rupees and a citation.

Nobel Laureate John Nash won Abel Prize 2015 for work on partial differential equations

Nobel Laureate John F Nash Jr. won the Abel Prize 2015 for his work on partial differential equations. The prize was announced on 25 March 2015 by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters. They will receive the Abel Prize from His Majesty King Harald at a ceremony in Oslo on 19 May 2015. He will share the Prize with Louis Nirenberg, Professor Emeritus at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. They both will share the prize money of 760000 US dollar.
About the Abel Prize
•The Abel Prize is an international prize presented annually by the King of Norway to one or more outstanding mathematicians. The prize was named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel.
•The award was established in 2001 by the Government of Norway and complements the Holberg Prize in the humanities.
•The Abel Prize has often been described as the mathematician’s Nobel Prize, competing in that respect with the much older Fields Medal. It comes with a monetary award of 6 million Norwegian Kroner (NOK).

CNN IBN announced Indian of the Year Award 2014

CNN-IBN announced the Indian of the Year Award 2014 on 18 March 2015. The award recognises the remarkable achievements and contributions of Indians who worked tirelessly towards strengthening India’s foundation in 2014. The CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award is presented annually to various Indians for their work in their respective fields. The awards are presented in various categories of Politics, Sports, Business, Entertainment, Public Service and Global Indian. List of the Winners of CNN-IBN Award 2014:
•Narendra Modi – Indian of the Year 2014
•Arun Jaitley – Indian of the Year 2014: Politics
•Jitu Rai – Indian of the Year 2014: Sports
•N Chandrasekaran – Indian of the Year 2014: Business
•Chetan Bhagat – Indian of the Year 2014: Entertainment
•Tongam Rina – Indian of the Year 2014: Public Service
•Satya Nadella – Indian of the Year 2014: Global Indian
•K Chandrasekhar Rao – Indian of the Year 2014: Popular Choice
•P Vijayan – Indian of the Year 2014: Popular Choice
•Kangana Ranaut – Indian of the Year 2014: Special Achievement
•Pankaj Advani – Indian of the Year 2014: Special Achievement
•Kailash Satyarthi – Indian of the Year 2014: Outstanding Achievement
•Azim Premji – Indian of the Year 2014: Outstanding Achievement
•The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) – Indian of the Year 2014: Lifetime Achievement

Ruth Porat appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Google

Ruth Porat has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of world’s largest search engine giant Google. She will succeed Patrick Pichette who had announced his retirement on 10 March 2015 and assume charge on 26 May 2015.
iii. As CFO of Google she will directly report to Larry Page, CEO and Co-Founder of Google.

Ministry of Railways constitutes Ajay Shankar Committee to review PPP Cell functioning

Union Ministry of Railways has constituted a Committee to review the existing Public Private Partnership (PPP) Cell in the Railway Board with former IAS officer Ajay Shankar as its head. The Committee will recommend measures needed to make the PPP Cell more customer friendly, effective and result oriented. The Infrastructure Directorate of Railway Board will be the Nodal Directorate for functioning of the Committee. While the Executive Director/Traffic (PPP) Railway Board will be the Secretary to the Committee.

KM Mani appointed as chairman of the Empowered Committee of State FM’S on GST

Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani was appointed as the Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the Union Finance Ministry on 24 March 2015. The post was vacant since the former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Finance Minister Abdul Rahim quit the position after the defeat of National Conference in the J&K Assembly elections held in December 2014. GST is intended to be implemented from 01 April 2016 as announced by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2015-16 budget speech. The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 has been pending in the Lok Sabha since December 2014.

Reliance Communications acquires spectrum in 11 circles

Reliance Communications, part of the Anil Ambani-led group, has acquired new and top-up 800/850 MHz spectrum in 11 circles. The company with this acquisition, has become India’s first and only operator with nationwide footprint of contiguous 800/850 MHz spectrum. The company bought 900 MHz spectrum in Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh and won 1800 MHz spectrum in Odisha and northeast. It has re-acquired spectrum in 900 and 1800 bands in four of the seven 2G spectrum expiry circles.

President confers Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been conferred with India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee at his residence. Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attended the ceremony. Vajpayee was the first non-Congress leader to serve India for a full five year term from 1999 to 2004.

India & Qatar ink six pact to boost trade and investment

India and Qatar have signed six pacts including agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) to increase commercial and economic exchanges between both nations. These pacts were signed after Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani had held extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
List of Agreements / signed between both nations
•Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons
•MoU for Cooperation in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
•MoU between Union Ministry of Earth sciences and Qatar Meteorological Department for Scientific and Technical cooperation
•MoU between Diplomatic Institute of Foreign Service Institute, MEA and MOFA, Qatar
•MoU for cooperation in the field of Television and Radio
•Agreement for Mutual Cooperation and Exchange of News

TCL partners with Indosat to make inroads into Indonesia

Tata Communications Ltd (formerly VSNL) has partnered with Indonesian firm Indosat to provide a wide range of technology and communication solutions for enterprises in Indonesia and to make inroads into that region. This partnership combines Indosat’s extensive regional coverage and expertise with Tata Communications’ global connectivity and managed service capabilities to design a comprehensive portfolio of services for the Indonesian market. The total Enterprise IT spending in the Indonesian market by 2018 is expected to reach $14.09 billion out of which telecom services will account for $4.96 billion.

Dolly Shivani Cherukuri became the youngest Archer to enter India Book of Records

Three-year-old archer Dolly Shivani Cherukuri of Andhra Pradesh on 24 March 2015 entered the India Book of Records. She entered the list of records by scoring 388 points in the recurve segment in two distances, seven and five meters, at the Volga Archery Academy in Vijayawada. At the time of entering the India Book of Records, she was nine days less than three years. She shot 36 arrows each from five metres and seven metres to score 388 points in presence of judges from the India Book of Records and the Archery Association of India (AAI). Shivani is the youngest sister of Cherukuri Lenin, former international archery champion and archery coach, who died in a road accident in 2010. She was trained at the Volga Archery Institute run by her father Cherukuri Satyanarayana.

Indian-American author Akhil Sharma won The Folio Prize 2015 for novel Family Life

He was presented with the winner trophy by Jean-Marc Rathe of The Folio Society and a cheque of 40000 pound at the awards ceremony held in London. His novel Family Life was one among the eight books shortlisted from 80 works of fiction and was chosen as the best fiction published in the UK in 2014 by the 235 writers and critics who constitute the Folio Academy. Family Life is an autobiographical story of an immigrant family floundering in America. The book tells the story of Ajay Mishra who moves from Delhi to the United States as a child in the late 1970s. When Ajay’s brother has a life-changing accident, it shatters his family’s new life.
About The Folio Prize
•The Folio Prize was instituted in 2014. The prize recognizes the best English-language fiction from around the world, published in the United Kingdom (UK) during a given year, regardless of form, genre or the author’s country of origin.
•It is the first major English-language book prize open to writers from all over the world.
•In 2014, American short story writer George Saunders became the first winner of The Folio Prize. He won for his collection of short stories Tenth of December.

Web Ratna Awards to honour eGovernance initiatives

National Informatics Centre (NIC), under the ambit of India Portal (http://india.gov.in) organised the third edition of Web Ratna Awards. For Innovative Use of Technology, Kisan-Government of India Portal for Farmer Centric Services won the Platinum Award. In the Citizen Centric Service Category Platinum Award was bagged by Passport Seva Project. Web Ratna Awards through its unique initiative has contributed to the overall increase in quality and quantity of web presence of various government departments across the country.

Vikas Swarup to be new spokes-person of External Affairs Ministry

Senior Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer and noted novelist Vikas Swarup of Slumdog Millionaire-fame will be the new spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. The Hollywood movie Slumdog Millionaire which won eight Oscar’s was based on Mr. Swarup’s successful debut novel “Q&A”. The third edition of the summit is scheduled to take place in India on October 29.

2 mega food parks each for Punjab, Haryana; among 17 approved

Union Government has approved 17 mega food parks for food processing across the country. It was announced by Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Out of these 17 food parks, 7 parks have been allotted to state agencies whereas 10 to private players in 11 states. These food parks will attract more investment in the concerned states and generate employment opportunities. It will also benefit five lakh farmers who are suffering due to lack of storage and proper transport system.

Man Booker International prize 2015 shortlist announced

Indian author Amitav Ghosh was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. He is the only Indian among the 10 finalists shortlisted for the prize. Kolkata born, 58-year-old Mr. Ghosh had narrowly missed out on the Booker Prize back in 2008 when he was shortlisted for his work Sea of Poppies. The international version of the popular literary prize, to be held in London on May 19, is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

India Railways launches RuPay pre-paid debit card service

Railway passengers can now book their tickets, do shopping and pay service bills using RuPay pre-paid cards, as the IRCTC launched the debit card service here today. The service was launched by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) in collaboration with the Union Bank of India and the National Payment Corporation of India. RuPay is India’s own card payment gateway network like Visa and Master Card, and provides an alternative system for banks to provide a debit card service.

Govt launches Digital India initiative with Twitter Samvad

The Union government launched a new platform, in association with Twitter, for direct communication among leaders, government agencies and citizens through tweets and text messages, helping boost e-governance plans. Through Twitter Samvad, a set of curated Tweets will be delivered every day from the accounts of the government and the leaders to mobile-phone users across the country as text messages. The service can come in handy during emergencies as government agencies can share live updates, even time-sensitive information on law and order or rescue.

Mangalyaan mission extended by six months

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Mars Orbiter Mission was extended for another six months to further explore the Red Planet and its atmosphere. “As the 1,340 kg Mars Orbiter has sufficient fuel (37 kg) to last longer than it was intended earlier. The historic mission has completed six months of orbiting the Red Planet. India also became the first country to have entered the Mars Sphere of Influence in its maiden attempt.

62nd National film Awards 2014-15 announced

The awards will be given by President Pranab Mukherjee on 3rd of May in New Delhi
The awardees are – Category
Winner
Best Actor Sanchari Vijay (Nanu Avanalla Avalu)
Best Actress Kangana ranaut (Queen)
Best Director Srijith Mukerjee (Chotushkone)
Entertainment Film Mary Kom
Environment Film Ottal (Malayalam)
Music Director Vishal Bhardwaj
Singer ( Male) Sukvinder Singh
Singer (Female ) Utara Unnikrishnan

World Tuberculosis Day observed

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee gave message to the nation on the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day, which is observed every year on March 24. In India National Tuberculosis Control Programme has been able to test 86 million persons, treat 19 million patients and save 3.4 million lives since its inception in 1993. TB is a major health problem which afflicts mainly the young and working population of our country. It is unfortunate that in India even today one person dies every two minutes due to this menacing disease.

Shashi Kapoor gets Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Charming Shashi Kapoor, whose nuanced acts in memorable films like “Deewar”, “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”, “Trishul” and “Kabhi Kabhie” captivated Hindi film buffs, will be conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2014. The veteran actor-producer, 77, is the 46th winner of the honour, conferred by the government for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema. In 1978, Shashi set up his production house Film Valas, which produced critically acclaimed films such as “Junoon” (1978), “Kalyug” (1981), “36 Chowringhee Lane” (1981), “Vijeta” (1982) and “Utsav” (1984).

Section 66 A of IT Act unconstitutional, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court struck down Section 66 A of the Information and Technology Act, which allows police to arrest people for posting ‘offensive content’ on the internet. The bench said the public’s right to know is directly affected by Section 66 A and the Section clearly affects the right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined under the Constitution of India. A bench of justices J. Chelameswar and R.F. Nariman had on 26 February reserved its judgement on one of the most controversial issues regarding the freedom of expression that the court has had to deal with in recent times. The government said it did not want to curtail the freedom of speech and expression but contended that the cyber space could not be allowed to remain unregulated.

India becomes 3rd biggest steel producer overtakes US

India has become the third-largest steel producer in the world by overtaking United States (US) in first two months of year 2015. It was revealed in the Data compiled by World Steel Association (WSA). India’s production in first two months i.e. January- February of 2015 was 14.56 million tonnes (MT). China tops in steel production and accounts for nearly half of the global steel production. During this period China has produced 65 MT steel.v. Japan is the second-largest steel producer and has reported a total production of 17.4 MT.

Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew dead

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister and architect of the tiny Southeast Asian city-state’s rapid rise from British tropical outpost to global trade and financial centre, rested in peace.He was aged 91. Mr. Lee co-founded the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled Singapore since 1959 and led the newly born country when it was separated from Malaysia in 1965. He stepped down as prime minister in 1990, handing power to Goh Chok Tong, but remained influential as senior minister in Goh’s cabinet.

Infosys, Accenture in last lap for Rs 900-crore deal

Infosys and Accenture have entered the final lap to clinch a Rs 900-crore ($150 million) IT outsourcing contract from Australia-based financial services provider Macquarie Group. Macquarie provides banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services. It employs more than 13,900 people in 28 countries. HCL, Cognizant and Genpact-Headstrong are some of Macquarie’s incumbent IT service providers.

SEBI bars three companies from mobilising public money

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred three companies from raising funds from the public, with immediate effect. SEBI said these companies collectively garnered over Rs. 29 crore from close to 12,000 investors through issuance of securities and prima facie violated various provisions of the Companies Act. The firms — Everlight Realcon Infrastructure Ltd, Tresty Securities Ltd and Real Vision International Ltd —— issued securities to over 50 persons each, which under the rules made it a public issue.

World Water Day 2015 observed with the theme Water and Sustainable Development

World Water Day (WWD) 2015 was globally observed on 22 March 2015 with the theme Water and Sustainable Development. The theme for the WWD 2015 talks about how water links to all areas we need to consider creating the future we want. WWD is celebrated every year to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues. It’s a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future. Facts about the water crisis
•Roughly 75% of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production.
•There are 658 million people living without access to water in Africa.
•By 2035, the global energy demand is projected to grow by more than one-third.
•Diarrhoea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation and hand hygiene kills an estimated 8,42,000 people every year globally, which is 2,300 people per day.

Nation observes Martyrs Day

March 23 is marked as the Martyr’s Day to honour the sacrifice of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev who were hanged to death on this very day in 1931. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after his arrival in Amritsar headed straight for Hussainiwala by a helicopter where he paid his respects to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. It was in Hussainiwala that the three martyrs were unceremoniously cremated by the British after their hanging in Lahore on March 23, 1931.

World Sparrow Day observed

The World Sparrow Day was observed globally on 20 March 2015 with the theme “I Love Sparrows”. The theme has been inspired by the hope that more and more of us will celebrate the relationship between People and Sparrows. The day is designated to raise awareness of the house sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations.

Pakistani cricketers Misbah-ul-Haq, Shaid Afridi retired from ODI cricket

Pakistani cricketers, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shaid Afridi retired from the One Day International (ODI) format of cricket. They retired after the World Cup quarter-final match against Australia played at Adelaide, Australia. In the quarter-final, they lost to Australia by six-wickets. Though Misbah will continue to play in the Test matches but Afridi will feature only in T20 format of the cricket.

Amitabh Bachchan roped in as Brand Ambassador for Campaign against Hepatitis B

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan is roped in as the brand ambassador for Union Government’s campaign against Hepatitis B, a critical public problem in India. Bachchan was roped in as the brand ambassador for India’s fight against Hepatitis B after his successful stint as UNICEF’s goodwill brand ambassador of pulse polio campaign in India. The campaign against Hepatitis B will be launched in April 2015. The campaign is a part of the Union Government’s ambitious child immunization programme named Mission Indradhanush, against seven vaccine-preventable diseases.

33% Cops in Delhi, Union Territories to be women: Government

The Union Cabinet has cleared 33 per cent reservation for woman in the lower levels of police units of the seven Union Territories (UTs), including Delhi. The move aims at increasing representation of women in police and to make the force gender sensitive. This reservation for women will be applicable in each category (SC/ST/OBC and others) through direct recruitment in non-gazetted posts — from constables to sub-inspectors.

Union Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana

The Union Cabinet has approved the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) to provide skills training to youth across the country. Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The PMKVY Scheme will be implemented by the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The target for skilling under the scheme will be associated with Union Government’s flagship programmes such as Make in India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and National Solar Mission.

Maharashtra Government announced to rename Girgaum Chowpatty as Swaraj Bhoomi

Maharashtra Government announced to rename Girgaum Chowpatty as Swaraj Bhoomi to honour veteran freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The demand was raised by the Lokmanya Tilak Gaurav Samiti. They demanded that the spot at Chowpatty where Lokmanya Tilak was cremated, and where a garden stands now, should be called Swaraj Bhoomi. Girgaum Chowpatty is the oldest and most famous beach of Mumbai, Maharashtra. The Girgaum beach was called Chau-pati because of four channels of water that existed there.

Meira Kumar’s book released

Former Lok Sabha Meira Kumar’s book entitled “Indian Parliamentary Diplomacy – Speaker’s Perspective” was released. The book was released by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and its first copy was presented to the President Pranab Mukherjee at a function held in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. The book features an account of the parliamentary diplomacy and its role in furthering foreign policy and strengthening international relations.

Union Government launches BIRAC AcE Fund to accelerate growth of entrepreneurs in Biotechnology

Union Government launched Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) AcE Fund to accelerate growth of entrepreneurs in Biotechnology. It was announced by Minister of State (MoS) for Science and Technology (S&T) and Earth Sciences Y.S. Chowdary on the occasion of the third foundation day of BIRAC in New Delhi. The BIRAC AcE Fund aims to address the pressing needs of accelerating the growth of entrepreneurs, in the field of Biotechnology. This equity fund will be operated by BIRAC a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the aegis Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of Union Ministry of Science and Technology.

Kerala to host its first global conference on gender equality

The Gender Park, an institution under the state department of Social Justice, is organising the three-day International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE -I) here with the support of UN Women from November 12-14. It is envisaged to be the country’s first such large-scale exercise in creating a space to share knowledge and global experiences in reducing gender inequalities. “Gender, Governance and Inclusion” is the core theme of the conference that will discuss issues ranging from citizenship, globalisation, work, governance, health and education to masculinities, disability and the role of media

Sangakkara, Jayawardene bid adieu to ODI cricket

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara might not have got a fairytale ending to their final ODI match of their glorious careers. The duo had already called time on their respective ODI careers before the 50-over showpiece event and it all ended on a bitterly disappointing note as Sri Lanka bowed out with a nine-wicket loss to South Africa in the quarterfinal. The 37-year-old Sangakkara, scored 14,234 runs in 404 ODIs. Jayawardene, who had already quit the longest format, now bows out of the international scene after a career that started in 1997. He leaves with 17,838 first-class runs to his name, 11,814 of them in 149 Test matches. He played 448 ODIs, accumulating 12,650 runs.

Wipro, HCL in race for Sebi’s fraud detection system upgrade

Tata Consultancy Services, HP, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and five other companies have evinced interest in assisting the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in upgradation of its fraud detection systems. The markets watchdog is planning to expand the capacity of its Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence System (DWBIS) installed at data centres in Mumbai and Chennai. DWIBS is used for speedy analysis of trade data to identify possible violations such as insider trading, share price manipulation, front running and pump-and-dump scams.

Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan named as President of Britain’s Royal Society

Nobel Laureate Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has been confirmed as President Elect of the Royal Society. His appointment was confirmed by the society’s council meet and will assume the charge on 1 December 2015. He will succeed eminent geneticist Sir Paul Nurse who had taken on the role in 2010 and will step down after the customary 5-year term.

Former Australian PM dies

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has died aged 84. Mr Fraser, who led the nation between 1975 and 1983, died after a short illness.

EVMs to carry photos of candidates from May 1, 2015: EC

Election Commission has announced that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and ballot papers will carry photographs of candidates from 1 May 2015. This move of EC seeks to avoid voters being misled by several namesakes in the election fray. In this regard EC has issued an order to all political parties and State Chief Electoral Officers for implementation.

India to host seventh Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

India will host the seventh Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in 2016. This was announced by Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan. The conference in 2016 will be held in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

Railways rope in Ratan Tata to lead Kaya Kalp panel

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu has roped in noted industrialist Ratan Tata to head a new innovation council called “Kaya Kalp” he proposes to set up to turn around the ailing state-run rail network. Former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai is likely to be a member of the innovation council, which will also include the general secretaries of the two major railway unions.

China-backed AIIB to be joined by France, Germany, Italy

Three nations from European Union (EU) France, Germany and Italy have agreed to join the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) after the United Kingdom (UK) decided to join the bank. If these western nations join the bank, the total number of the bank’s member states including India will go up to 30. It should be noted that UK was the first Western country to join the bank and also first nation to disregard the reservations expressed by the United States (US) which had raised concerns over banks transparency.
Note: AIIB is an international financial institution proposed by China which seeks to provide support to infrastructure projects in Asia. It is expected to be operational by the end 2015 and its headquarters will be located at Beijing.

Israeli prime minister Netanyahu defies the polls to seal election win

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party scored a resounding victory in the country’s election, a stunning turnaround after a tight race that had put his lengthy rule in jeopardy. The election was widely seen as a referendum on Netanyahu, who has governed the country for the past six years. Netanyahu focused his campaign on security issues, while his opponents instead pledged to address the country’s high cost of living and accused the leader of being out of touch with everyday people.

Sohail Aman new Pakistan Air Force chief

Air Marshal Sohail Aman, an accomplished fighter pilot, was appointed as the chief of Pakistan Air Force. The Pakistan Air Force announced that the new air chief will take over after his predecessor Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt retires. Air Marshal Sohail Aman was commissioned in the GD (P) Branch of Pakistan Air Force in November, 1980.

WEF names Smriti Irani as Young Global Leader from India

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani was today named Young Global Leader from India by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Others who have been named Young Global Leader (YGL) in the past include British Prime Minister David Cameron, Alibaba Group chief Jack Ma, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Google chief Larry Page, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. In the list of 187 YGLs for 2015 from across the world, Irani is accompanied by 10 other Indians, including Gaurav Gogoi, an MP and son of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Mirach to file $400 million defamation suit against Sahara

US-based Mirach Capital today said it is initiating a $400 million defamation lawsuit against the Sahara group. The crisis-hit group had alleged that Mirach and its CEO Saransh Sharma’s criminal conduct and lack of financial capabilities to honour such huge commitments led to the breaking down of the deal, Mirach accused Sahara’s representatives of making unfounded allegations against it while the group scrambled for more time for its jailed CEO.

Hitachi India, Siemens sign MoU with CII for smart cities

Hitachi India Ltd and Siemens Ltd signed an MoU with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to form a consortium that would create pilots and replicate them throughout the country for setting up 100 smart cities. The MoU aims to establish a national mission for such cities as a platform comprising industry leaders and experts and provide policy advocacy and thought leadership to Government and other stakeholders. It would also manage a knowledge repository to provide inputs to the Ministry of Urban Development on best practices.

Centre includes compensation in GST Constitution Amendment Bill

The Centre has included in the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill the compensation which will be paid to states for revenue loss on account of rolling out the new indirect tax regime. As part of the proposed GST regime, the CST is being phased out and its rate has been reduced to two percent from four percent. The Centre collects CST and distributes it among states. The Centre has agreed to compensate states for losses they have incurred due to CST phase out.

Supreme Court sets aside Jat quota

The Supreme Court set aside the notification issued by the erstwhile UPA government to include Jats in the Central list of Other Backward Classes (OBC) for according benefits of reservation to them. A bench of Justice Tarun Gogoi and Justice R.F. Nariman found fault with the Centre’s decision to overlook the findings of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) stating that Jats do not deserve to be included in the Central list of OBC as they don’t form socio-economic backward class. The Narendra Modi government had supported UPA regime’s decision to include the Jat community in the central OBC list for providing reservation.

Srikanth wins Swiss Grand Prix Gold championship

Young Indian shuttler K. Srikanth clinched the Swiss Grand Prix Gold championship title after overcoming a strong challenge from Viktor Axelson in a hard-fought men’s singles final. World No. 4 Srikanth showed nerves of steel to prevail over his Danish opponent, ranked sixth in the world, 21-15, 12-21, 21-14 in the thrilling summit clash of the $120,000 event. Srikanth previously created a major upset in the final of the 2014 China Open Super Series Premier by beating five-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan.

Services win fourth Santosh Trophy title

Services lifted the Santosh Trophy after edging out hosts Punjab 5-4 via tie-breaker in a nail-biting summit clash at Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana. During the tie–breaker all the five players including captain Anthony, Vibin, Francis Zonuntulnga, Arun Tudu and Rakesh Singh scored goal for the winners. Services have won the title for the fourth time besides finishing runners up on five occasions.

IMF supports tight stance of Reserve Bank

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), chief Christine Lagarde’s has supported the tight monetary stance of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and says 5-per cent inflation in the country was still high. Lagarde is on a two-day India visit that began from today. Ms. Lagarde’s itinerary during her two-day visit includes meetings Prime Minister Narendra Modi and key leaders including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. IMF has previously expected a 6 percent growth for India.

Facebook acquires The Find e-commerce search engine

Facebook has acquired The Find, a nine-year-old company with a search engine that indexes products across thousands of e-commerce sites. That probably means the ads Facebook users see will be more relevant to products they’ve been browsing and buying online, perhaps highlighting local retailers. One of The Find’s features is that it attempts to mix online and local stores and says its results are based on “your social profile.”

Wipro appoints Abid Neemuchwala as COO

India’s third largest IT services exporter Wipro Ltd. announced the appointment of appointment of former TCS top executive Mr. Abid Ali Neemuchwala as the Group President and Chief Operating Officer of the company. Mr Neemuchwala was heading the Business Process Services globally.

Harvard University retains top position in Times’ World Reputation Rankings 2015

Harvard University of United States (US) has again topped in World Reputation Rankings 2015 published by Times Higher Education. Times Higher Education in the rankings revealed the top 100 universities across the world. The top ten universities are all located in the US and United Kingdom (UK). US alone has 8 universities in the top ten rankings. While, UK has 2 universities in the top 10 ranking. 2015 reputation rankings shows that US alone has 43 higher education institutions in the top 100. While, United has 12 universities in the top 100.
Top 3 Universities in World Reputation Rankings 2015 are:
•Harvard University (US).
•University of Cambridge (UK).
•University of Oxford (UK).

Former Maldives President Nasheed jailed for 13 years

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison after a quick and disputed trial for allegedly ordering a senior judge arrested while in office. Nasheed has denied ordering the arrest. His supporters said the charges are aimed at eliminating him as a challenger against incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom in the 2018 presidential election. Nasheed was the country’s first democratically elected President.

Karnataka clinch eighth Ranji Trophy title

Karnataka scored a resounding victory — by an innings and 217 runs — over Tamil Nadu to retain the Ranji Trophy. K.L. Rahul, Karun Nair and R. Vinay Kumar showed their batting prowess and Karnataka made a statement that it was the best team in two years, undefeated in the last 28 matches. BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur gave away the trophy. KSCA will receive Rs. 2 crore, while TNCA will get Rs. 1 crore.

Government cuts import tariff on gold and silver

The government has slashed import tariff value on gold to $375 per 10 grams and silver to $512 per kg following weak global price trends. The tariff value on imported gold was fixed at $393 per 10 grams and on silver at $549 per kg. Gold is the second-largest import item for India after petroleum. Higher gold import bill adversely affects the country’s current account deficit (CAD). The government has been repeatedly asking people to desist from buying gold and instead invest in other saving instruments.

India’s GDP growth will be 7.5 percent this year

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said that this year the GDP growth rate will be 7.5 percent. Arun Jaitley was in London for Launching the Union Bank of India (UK), a subsidiary of the Union Bank of India.

Cairn India gets Rs. 20,495-crore tax notice

The Income Tax Department has slapped a Rs. 20,495-crore tax demand on Cairn India for failing to deduct withholding tax on alleged capital gains made by its erstwhile promoter, Cairn Energy. I-T Department had slapped a Rs. 10,247-crore tax demand on Cairn Energy for an alleged Rs. 24,500 crore worth capital gains it made in 2006 while transferring all its India assets to a new company, Cairn India. A demand of approx Rs. 20,495 crore (comprising tax of approx Rs. 10,248 crore and interest of approx Rs. 10,247 crore) is alleged to be payable. The company is the latest to join a slew of multinational firms, including Vodafone Group and Royal Dutch Shell, to face tax demand owing to a retrospective tax law.

Electric power transmitted wirelessly in Japan

In a breakthrough, Japanese researchers have successfully transmitted electric power wirelessly to a pinpoint target using microwaves, an advance that brings space-based solar power closer to reality. According to Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or Jaxa, the researchers were able to transform 1.8 kilowatts of electric power into microwaves and transmit it with accuracy into a receiver located 55 metres away. In space-based solar power generation, sunlight is gathered in geostationary orbit and transmitted to a receiver on Earth. If implemented, microwave-transmitting solar satellites would be set up approximately 35,000 kilometres from Earth.

Rs.3,168 crore for compensation in new capital of A.P.

The Andhra Pradesh Budget for 2015-16 has set aside Rs.3,168 crore towards the compensation for taking the consent of farmers, to part with their land for the new capital project. As per the plan, 50 per cent of the total land is to be used for common infrastructure for the capital city. About 25 per cent of the land is to be returned to the land owners in the form of developed reconstituted plots. This would leave about 7,000 acres with the State for constructing the capital complex as well as bringing investments to provide sustainable jobs for the residents of the capital city.

EPFO trustees okay raising age limit under pension scheme to 60

Retirement fund body EPFO ‘s trustees decided to raise the age limit from 58 to 60 years for vesting of pension. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s apex decision making body, the Central Board of Trustees (CBT), which is headed by the Labour Minister, took the decisions. After the amendment to the pension scheme, a formal sector worker can choose to contribute towards it till 60 years of age. This will provide him a benefit of 4 per cent enhanced pension per year. The CBT also decided to appoint SBI as it new fund manager for a three year term beginning April 1.

Govt asks PSU banks increase lending to minorities

The Union government has advised PSU banks to step up lending to minorities with a view to ensuring that they get loans in proportion to their population. It was decided to increase the percentage share of lending to each minority community in proportion to their respective share in minority population. In term of population, Muslims constitute the largest community, followed by Christians. Third largest minority group is that of the Sikhs. As per the RBI directive, banks have set up a special cell to ensure smooth flow of credit to minority communities.

New city ‘NAINA’ to come up over 600 square km near Navi Mumbai airport

Maharashtra government would be developing a new city – ‘NAINA’ – over an area of 600 sq km around the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport. As a part of the smart city mission of the Centre, the state government will develop 30 towns, focusing on “themes” such as education, medical, entertainment, industry, etc. The State also announced that for the prohibition of slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks, the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995 had been passed by the state legislature, and with the President’s recent assent, it had now come into force.

Karnataka clinch eighth Ranji Trophy title

Karnataka scored a resounding victory — by an innings and 217 runs — over Tamil Nadu to retain the Ranji Trophy. K.L. Rahul, Karun Nair and R. Vinay Kumar showed their batting prowess and Karnataka made a statement that it was the best team in two years, undefeated in the last 28 matches. BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur gave away the trophy. KSCA will receive Rs. 2 crore, while TNCA will get Rs. 1 crore.

Cairn India gets Rs. 20,495-crore tax notice

The Income Tax Department has slapped a Rs. 20,495-crore tax demand on Cairn India for failing to deduct withholding tax on alleged capital gains made by its erstwhile promoter, Cairn Energy. I-T Department had slapped a Rs. 10,247-crore tax demand on Cairn Energy for an alleged Rs. 24,500 crore worth capital gains it made in 2006 while transferring all its India assets to a new company, Cairn India. A demand of approx Rs. 20,495 crore (comprising tax of approx Rs. 10,248 crore and interest of approx Rs. 10,247 crore) is alleged to be payable. The company is the latest to join a slew of multinational firms, including Vodafone Group and Royal Dutch Shell, to face tax demand owing to a retrospective tax law.

Electric power transmitted wirelessly in Japan

In a breakthrough, Japanese researchers have successfully transmitted electric power wirelessly to a pinpoint target using microwaves, an advance that brings space-based solar power closer to reality. According to Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or Jaxa, the researchers were able to transform 1.8 kilowatts of electric power into microwaves and transmit it with accuracy into a receiver located 55 metres away. In space-based solar power generation, sunlight is gathered in geostationary orbit and transmitted to a receiver on Earth. If implemented, microwave-transmitting solar satellites would be set up approximately 35,000 kilometres from Earth.

Rs.3,168 crore for compensation in new capital of A.P.

The Andhra Pradesh Budget for 2015-16 has set aside Rs.3,168 crore towards the compensation for taking the consent of farmers, to part with their land for the new capital project. As per the plan, 50 per cent of the total land is to be used for common infrastructure for the capital city. About 25 per cent of the land is to be returned to the land owners in the form of developed reconstituted plots. This would leave about 7,000 acres with the State for constructing the capital complex as well as bringing investments to provide sustainable jobs for the residents of the capital city.

EPFO trustees okay raising age limit under pension scheme to 60

Retirement fund body EPFO ‘s trustees decided to raise the age limit from 58 to 60 years for vesting of pension. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s apex decision making body, the Central Board of Trustees (CBT), which is headed by the Labour Minister, took the decisions. After the amendment to the pension scheme, a formal sector worker can choose to contribute towards it till 60 years of age. This will provide him a benefit of 4 per cent enhanced pension per year. The CBT also decided to appoint SBI as it new fund manager for a three year term beginning April 1.

Govt asks PSU banks increase lending to minorities

The Union government has advised PSU banks to step up lending to minorities with a view to ensuring that they get loans in proportion to their population. It was decided to increase the percentage share of lending to each minority community in proportion to their respective share in minority population. In term of population, Muslims constitute the largest community, followed by Christians. Third largest minority group is that of the Sikhs. As per the RBI directive, banks have set up a special cell to ensure smooth flow of credit to minority communities.

New city ‘NAINA’ to come up over 600 square km near Navi Mumbai airport

Maharashtra government would be developing a new city – ‘NAINA’ – over an area of 600 sq km around the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport. As a part of the smart city mission of the Centre, the state government will develop 30 towns, focusing on “themes” such as education, medical, entertainment, industry, etc. The State also announced that for the prohibition of slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks, the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995 had been passed by the state legislature, and with the President’s recent assent, it had now come into force.

India, Mauritius to work to avoid ‘abuse’ of DTAT

India and Mauritius will work together to avoid the “abuse” of double taxation avoidance convention. The two countries agreed to push negotiations for a long pending revision of the treaty. Modi is on a two day visit to the island nation of Mauritius addressed the National assembly of Mauritius. Often corporates have been accused of laundering money through the “Mauritius route” for channelling FDI in India and the two governments have been in negotiations to curb this practice. This is why Prime Minister Modi and Sir Anerood Jugnauth agreed to push forward their negotiations for a long pending revision of Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty (DTAT).

First Kisan Call Centre of North-East opened in Agartala, Tripura

First Kisan Call Centre (KCC) of North-East was opened in Agartala, Tripura. The KCC was launched by the Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. KCC was financed by the Tripura government. It will be run by a private enterprise with experts of agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry. The Kisan Call Centre will give immediate solution and real time advisory to farmers if they need expert consultation regarding seed procurement, agro-metric, fertilizer, soil health, pesticides usage and marketing of the produces.

SBI sells 4% stake in Cibil to IIFL for around Rs 72 crore

State Bank of India has sold 4 per cent stake in the largest credit information company Credit Information Bureau India Ltd (Cibil) for an estimated Rs 72 crore. Cibil is the largest and the oldest credit bureau in the country having entered the market in 2000. It claims to enjoy almost 90 per cent of the credit information market in India which has three other players – Experian, Equifax and HighMark.

Manmohan summoned in coal scam case

A Delhi court summoned former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh and industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and others as accused in a coal block allocation scam case. The CBI had sought closure of the case, in which Mr. Birla, former Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh and others were named as accused. Dr. Singh held the charge of the Coal Ministry for almost five years from the time the United Progressive Alliance came to power in 2004.

Obama names David Hale as ambassador to Pak

U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated veteran diplomat David Hale as the next ambassador to Pakistan. Mr. Hale previously served as the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from 2011 to 2013, and as Deputy Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from 2009 to 2011.

LIC to invest Rs 1.5-L cr in Indian Railways over next 5 years

State-run insurance major LIC committed Rs 1.5 lakh crore to the Indian Railways for development of various commercially viable projects. The investment would be done in bonds issued by various railway entities such Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC), beginning next fiscal. Indian Railways are one of the largest railway networks in the world.

DLF Ties Up With Snapdeal to Sell Flats Online

Realty major DLF has tied-up with online market place Snapdeal to sell its apartments and would offer 1 per cent discount to potential home buyers. DLF will offer on Snapdeal about 50 flats in eight housing projects across the country in a price range of Rs. 34 lakh to Rs. 3 crore. The offer is likely to start this week. These flats are in projects located at New Chandigarh, Panchkula, Lucknow, Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi and Kolkata.

Jharkhand CM announces Rs 1 lakh for alcohol-free villages

The Jharkhand government will grant Rs one lakh to villages which will become alcohol-free. Chief Minister Raghubar Das said those villages becoming alcohol-free would be given the grant and women groups would take the initiative. Chief Minister proposed to open 57 more Kasturba Gandhi Girl Schools in the state.

Infosys opens new 250-seater BPO in Puerto Rico

Country’s second largest software services firm Infosys has set up a 250-seater BPO arm centre at Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, aimed at serving the aviation sector. The 12,000-square feet centre, developed in collaboration with the Commonwealth administration and state-owned PRIDCO, will initially deliver order-to-cash business processes for clients in the aviation sector.