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Current Affairs - 2 June 2015

Anti-minority remarks uncalled for: PM Modi's message to Sangh parivar
  • Anti-minority remarks uncalled for: PM Modi's message to Sangh parivarNEW DELHI: Describing as 'uncalled for' some anti-minority comments made by Sangh Parivaar leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asserted that he would not tolerate any discrimination or violence against any community. 

    In a tough message to the Sangh parivar, Prime Minister Modi in an interview to news agency UNI said, "Our Constitution guarantees religious freedom to every citizen and that is not negotiable." 

    The Prime Minister also made it clear comments against any minority were uncalled for.

    Modi said that his government had succeeded in ushering in "acche din" for the country during its one year in office while taking a jibe at those who were ridiculing the achievements of the NDA regime. 

    "Acche din aak chuke hain. Lekin kuch log hamare kaamon ko dhumil karne mein lage hain (good days have arrived but some people are trying to belittle the work done by us," Modi said.

Bail granted, but fear keeps Aseemanand in jail?
  • CHANDIGARH: Is fear stopping main accused in Samjhauta blast case Swami Aseemanand from walking out of the Ambala jail even after procuring bail from the high court? Highly possible. 

    Bail granted, but fear keeps Aseemanand in jail?Otherwise, why is Aseemanand not furnishing the bail bonds even after nine months of getting the release orders? Sources told TOI that the radical Hindu activist and a functionary of right wing organization Abhinav Bharat has deliberately not furnished bail bonds as he fears threat to his life outside the jail. Confined to Ambala jail for over four years, Aseemanad, along with other accused, is facing trial in the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) special court at Panchkula. 

    His fears may not be unfounded as even the security agencies had informed the special court about the threat to his life. 

    In the event of his release from Ambala, he would have been shifted to Hyderabad or Ajmer, as he is facing trial before the NIA special court in Rajasthan in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast and in Hyderabad Mecca Masjid explosion. 

    As per the bail conditions set by the Punjab and Haryana high court on August 28, 2014, Aseemanand had to furnish personal bond and two sureties to the satisfaction of the Panchkula special court. The other condition was to give his mobile number, which he was told to keep operational all the time and attend to calls of the NIA authorities. 

    According to experts, fulfilling these conditions was not a difficult task for Aseemanand, who had fielded a team of top lawyers for securing bail from the high court. Senior BJP leader and eminent lawyer Satya Pal Jain had represented him before high court for his bail plea. 

    On August 28, 2014, the high court had granted him bail after considering his old age, prolonged incarceration and delay in trial. 

    On June 20, 2011, the NIA had filed a chargesheet against Aseemanand accusing him of plotting the blasts and instigating others to carry out the terrorist act. After the death of Sunil Joshi, a chief conspirator and executor of the blasts, Aseemanand is the main accused in the case now. Joshi was shot in Dewas in MP on December 29, 2007. According to NIA, Aseemanand's telephone number was found in a personal diary of Sunil Joshi under the "emergency numbers" category, indicating their close links. 

    The blasts on Delhi-Attari Express on February 18, 2007 were seen as an attempt by Hindu fundamentalist organizations to destroy any attempt to build peace between India and Pakistan. As many as 68 people were killed in the attack, a large number of whom were Pakistanis returning home by the train.

Derecognition of student group at IIT-M: 250 protesters detained in Chennai
  • Derecognition of student group at IIT-M: 250 protesters detained in ChennaiCHENNAI: The Kotturpuram police on Monday detained over 250 members of DMK student's wing and cadres of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and BSP when they staged separate demonstrations near IIT Madras to protest against the derecognition of a student group on the campus. 

    The protesters raised slogans against the management and condemned derecognition of the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC). IIT-M derecognized the APSC in the wake of an anonymous complaint that it was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

    The protesters demanded that IIT-M withdraw derecognition of the APSC. 

    The DMK student wing's demonstration was led by its secretary Ela Pugazhenthi while VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan led his party's protest programme. 

    The protesters, including Pugazhenthi and Thirumavalavan, were detained for unlawful assembly, a police officer said. He said they had also detained around 25 protesting BSP members. 

Karnataka govt to appeal against Jayalalithaa's acquittal in SC
  • BENGALURU: The Karnataka government on Monday decided to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and three others, acquitted by the state high court in the disproportionate assets case. 

    The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting following Special Public Prosecutor (SSP) BV Acharya and Karnataka advocate-general Ravivarma Kumar recommendation to the government that "it is a fit case" to file an appeal, as Karnataka is the sole prosecuting agency in the case after it was transferred by the Supreme Court for a fair trial. 

    AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa was acquitted last month of all corruption charges in the 19-year-old Rs 66.65-crore disproportionate assets case.

    Justice C R Kumaraswamy had overturned the September 27, 2014 verdict of a special court in Bengaluru. The judge had also acquitted her associates - Sasikala Natarajan, her niece Ilavarasi, her nephew and the chief minister's disowned foster son Sudhakaran.

FSSAI testing more Maggi; brand ambassadors can be liable:Govt
  • FSSAI testing more Maggi; brand ambassadors can be liable:GovtNEW DELHI: Government on Monday said Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is testing more Maggi samples collected from different states in the wake of UP FSDA finding monosodium glutamate and lead in excess of the prescribed limit in the instant noodles. 

    While complete report of the tests are expected in the next two to three days, the government said Maggi brand ambassadors will also be liable for action if advertisements are found to be misleading. 

    "FSSAI has taken up the case, it will take action. We have already written to the FSSAI," Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters here. 

    He, however, said the consumer affairs department has not received any complaints from consumers on the Maggi issue so far. 

    Elaborating on the steps taken by the government on the issue, Consumer Affairs Additional Secretary G Gurucharan said: "FSSAI has taken samples from all states. Testings are being done. Some reports are expected today and within 2-3 days we will get complete reports." 

    All parameters are being tested, he added. If there is any violation, FSSAI will take action, he said, adding that the Consumer Affairs Ministry can also file class action suits. 

    When asked if action will be taken against Maggi brand ambassadors, Gurucharan said: "Yes, they would be liable for action if advertisements are found to be misleading." 

    Under FSSAI act, there are provisions to enforce corrective acts and impose penalty, he added. 

    Comments from Nestle India could not be obtained as e-mailed query to the company spokesperson remained unanswered. 

    Last week a case was lodged against Nestle India by UP food regulator FSDA in a local court at Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh over safety standards of its Maggi, while actors Amitabh Bachhan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta were also separately dragged to court for promoting the 'two-minute' noodles brand. 

100 Rahul Gandhis cannot match Modi: Sena
  • MUMBAI: Mocking at the 'suit-boot ki sarkar' jibe of the Congress vice president, Shiv Sena today said such a government is better then a "suitcase one" and stressed that even 100 Rahul Gandhis cannot match Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "mega wave".

    The Sena noted that Rahul had started moving and speaking after his sabbatical but said he cannot match Modi.

    "Rahul Gandhi has started moving and speaking after his 56-day sabbatical which has restored confidence among Congress workers. However, the question is how long this renewed energy will last before mega wave of Narendra Modi," the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said in an editorial.

    Referring to the 'Coalgate' and the 2G spectrum scams, the Sena alleged that suitcases filled with cash used to exchange hands during Congress rule.

    "Modi is absolutely right when he says that 'suited and booted government' is much better than a 'suitcase government,'" it said.

    Modi has now started attacking the Congress and its leaders. Even if 100 Rahul Gandhis come forward, they cannot match Modi's mega wave," the Sena mouthpiece said, and asked if the BJP would agree with the content and facts mentioned in its editorial.

    The editorial said suits are worn by people around the world and that a country's image does not improve by wearing scruffy clothes.

    "The country is witnessing a new spark in Narendra Modi's tenure. India's 'suit wearing people' (referring to business community) roam the world with confidence and pride which has been improving the country's financial condition," the Sena said.

Indian army kills four militants after sixteen-hour gun battle
  • SRINAGAR: The Indian army killed four militants during a sixteen-hour gun battle in the Kashmir region that ended late on Sunday, foiling an attack on a military base after the men crossed the heavily militarised border from Pakistan, police said. 

    The fighting erupted near the border town of Tangdhar after the men were spotted approaching the base and then took shelter in two homes, said a police officer, who asked not to be identified. 

    The army fired mortars and machine guns at the buildings and airlifted 40 soldiers from an elite commando unit to battle the men, the officer said. The army is searching for two militants who may have escaped, he said. 

    "There were multiple blasts in these two houses as the militants were carrying a large quantity of ammunition that went off in the army operation," the officer said. 

    Senior police official Garib Dass confirmed that the four had been killed in the clash. 

    This was the second major attack on the Indian army in the last week after three soldiers were shot dead by militants. 

    Militants in Kashmir also shot dead two men and threatened to kill employees working for mobile phone companies in the last week. 

    In May, a previously unknown militant group called Lashkar-e-Islam put up posters demanding phone companies shut down their operations amid concerns their cell towers were being used to locate and target fighters.

Malaysia Airlines 'technically bankrupt', new CEO says
  • Malaysia Airlines 'technically bankrupt', new CEO saysKUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines is "technically bankrupt", its new German CEO said Monday as he outlined plans to stabilize the failing flag carrier including 6,000 job cuts. 

    "We are technically bankrupt and that decline of performance started long before the tragic events of 2014," Christoph Mueller told reporters, referring to a pair of deadly disasters last year.

    Malaysia Airlines took its first major steps on Monday under Mueller, sending termination letters to all of its roughly 20,000 employees, followed by new contracts offered to 14,000 of them. 

    The exercise — which was expected — trims around 6,000 jobs. Mueller had previously initiated turnarounds at Ireland's Aer Lingus and Belgium's Sabena that earned him the nickname "The Terminator" for his job-slashing. 

    Under Mueller, 52, the carrier plans to "re-invent" itself beginning from September 1 with an unspecified new brand image and expected new livery as it seeks to shed the stigma of a disastrous 2014. 

    In March of last year, Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 passengers and crew aboard and remains missing. Four months later, Flight MH17 was blown out of the sky by a suspected ground-to-air missile over Ukraine and all 298 people on board were killed. 

    The tragedies were the final straw for an airline that analysts say had been poorly managed for years, slipping further into the red. 

    A state investment fund took it over in a rescue bid late last year, tapping Mueller to take the helm. 

    Mueller said he planned to "stop the bleeding" in 2015, stabilise the business next year, and seek to start growing again by 2017. 

    Mueller, in an email to staff last month, had warned that a major overhaul was necessary as the airline was weighed down by "uncompetitive cost levels" 20 percent higher than its rivals. 

    Besides cutting staff, Malaysia Airlines is expected to trim unprofitable long-haul routes, but Mueller said those plans could not yet be divulged for competitive reasons. 

Changing Role of Banks in India
  • Banks in India today have become more customer - focused and service-oriented than they were before 1991. The banks in India now give a lot of importance to their rural customers.
    ★ The following points briefly highlight the changing role of banks in India
    1. Better customer service
    2. Mobile banking facility
    3. Bank on wheels scheme
    4. Portfolio management
    5. Issue of electro-magnetic cards
    6. Universal banking
    7. Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
    8. Internet Banking
    9. Encouragement to bank amalgamation
    10. Encouragement to personal loans
    11. Marketing of mutual funds
    12. Social banking, etc.
    ★ The above - mentioned points indicate the role of banks in India is changing. Now let's discuss how banking in India is getting much better day after day.
    Better Customer Service:
    Before 1991, the overall service of banks in India was very poor. There were very long queues to receive payment for cheques and to deposit Cash. The banks were restricted to provide the better customer service in those days. Banks in India have now become very customer and service focus. Their service has become quick, efficient and customer - friendly. This positive change is mostly due to rising competition from new private banks and initiation of Ombudsman Scheme by RBI.
    Mobile Banking:
    Under mobile banking service, customers can easily carry out major banking transactions by simply using their cell phones or mobiles. Using secret credentials and registered phone, customer can now comfortably and securely, find his bank balance, transfer money from his account to another, ask for a cheque book, stop payment of a cheque, etc.
    ★ Today, almost all banks in India provide a mobile-banking service.
    Bank on Wheels:
    The 'Bank on Wheels' scheme was first introduced in the North - East Region of India. Under this scheme, banking services are made accessible to people staying in the remote areas of India. This scheme is a generous attempt to serve banking needs of rural India.
    ★ Portfolio Management: In this portfolio management, banks do all the investments work of their clients.
    ★ Banks invest their clients' money in shares, debentures, fixed deposits, etc. They first enter a contract with their clients and charge them a fee for this service. Then they have the full power to invest or disinvest their clients' money. However, they have to give safety and profit to their clients. Issue of Electro - Magnetic Cards Banks in India have already started issuing Electro - Magnetic Cards to their customers. These cards help to carry out cash - less transactions, make an online purchase, avail ATM facility, book a railway ticket, do shopping online etc. Banks issue many types of electromagnetic cards like Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Charge Cards, Kisan Credit Cards etc.
    Universal Banking:
    In India, the concept of universal banking has gained recognition after year 2000. The customers can get all banking and non-banking services under one roof. Universal bank is like a super store. It offers a wide range of services, including banking and other financial services like insurance, merchant banking, etc.
    Automated Teller Machine (ATM):
    There are many advantages of ATM. As a result, many banks have opened up ATM centres to offer convenience to their customers. Now banks are operating ATM centres not only in their branches (on site ATM) but also at public places like airports, railway stations, hotels, bazaars (off site ATM). Some banks have joined together and agreed upon to set up common ATM centres all over India.
    Internet Banking
    Internet banking is also called as an E - banking or net banking. Customer can do banking transactions through the medium of the internet or world wide web (WWW). The customer need not visit the bank's branch. Through this facility, the customer can easily inquiry about bank balance, transfer funds, request for a cheque book, etc. Most large banks offer this service to their tech-savvy customers.
    Encouragement to Bank Amalgamation:
    Failure of banks is well-protected with the facility of amalgamation. So depositors need not worry about their deposits. When weaker banks are absorbed by stronger banks, it is called amalgamation of banks. Encouragement to Personal Loans:
    Today, the purchasing power of Indian consumers has increased dramatically because banks give them easy personal loans. Generally, interest charged by the banks on such loans is very high. Interest is calculated on reducing balance. The documentation is less and processing is fast in these loans.
    Marketing of Mutual Funds:
    A mutual fund collects money from many investors and invests the money in shares, bonds, short-term money market instruments, gold assets; etc. Mutual funds earn income by interest and dividend or both from its investments. It pays a dividend to subscribers. These funds are not insured like other bank deposits. There are different types of funds such as open-ended funds, closed-ended funds, growth funds, balanced funds, income funds, etc.
    Social Banking:
    The government uses the banking system to alleviate poverty and unemployment. Many
    social development programmes are initiated by the banks from time to time. The success of these programmes depends on financial support provided by the banks. Banks supply a lot of finance to farmers, artisans, scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) families, unemployed youth and people living below the poverty line (BPL) under social banking.

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