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Current Affairs - 17 October 2015

General Affairs

PDP-BJP Alliance is for Peace in Jammu and Kashmir: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
  • PDP-BJP Alliance is for Peace in Jammu and Kashmir: Mufti Mohammad SayeedJAMMU:  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said the PDP-BJP alliance is an alliance for peace, development and better tourism in the state.

    Laying the foundation stone of the 19-km road widening project from Lakhanpur to Thain, Mr Sayeed said the alliance between the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was formed for peace, development and better tourism in the state.

    He said Lakhanpur town in Kathua district was the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir and it has a huge tourism potential.

    "Lakhanpur can be the tourism gateway of Jammu and Kashmir as it has a huge tourism potential which we will develop," Mr Sayeed said while addressing a gathering at the function.

    State Health Minister Chowdhary Lal Singh, who belongs to the BJP, said the shortage of electric power was badly affecting every industrial activity in the state.

    Mr Sayeed told the minister that while the education department was progressing fast in developing model institutions in the state, the health department was yet to start its programme of building model health centres in Jammu.

    The road widening project is estimated to cost about Rs. 44 crores.

    Earlier, Mr Sayeed laid the foundation stone of a multi-layered parking area at the bus stand in Jammu. It is estimated to cost Rs. 201 crores.

      Supreme Court Order on Aadhaar a Positive Step Forward: Arun Jaitley
      • Supreme Court Order on Aadhaar a Positive Step Forward: Arun JaitleyNEW DELHI:  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the Supreme Court order on Aadhaar is a positive step forward and will encourage voluntary use of the identification number.
        The top court had yesterday permitted citizens to voluntarily use Aadhaar card for availing benefits under schemes like MGNREGA, Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana and all types of pension schemes and PF.
        "Supreme Court order permitting voluntary use of Aadhaar is a positive step forward," Mr Jaitley said in a tweet.
        Aadhaar, a unique identification number, is used by the government to transfer subsidy directly to the bank account of beneficiaries. The use of Aadhaar helps in checking pilferage.
        The Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan too had welcomed the ruling on use of Aadhaar yesterday, saying that it will help in financial inclusion drive and provide easy access to loans.
        "The Supreme Court ruling on Aadhaar card will be quite helpful, making us use it in banking services. It will make easier for financial inclusion," Mr Rajan had said.

      Plea Against PM Modi's 2012 Election Affidavit Dismissed by Top Court
      • Plea Against PM Modi's 2012 Election Affidavit Dismissed by Top CourtNEW DELHI:  The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea seeking legal action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly filing a defective affidavit relating to his marital status during the 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections.

        A bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar rejected the plea filed by an Ahmedabad resident who had challenged the Gujarat High Court order which refused to entertain his plea on the ground that it lacked merit.

        The complaint filed by Nishant Varma in April 2014 had sought a First Information Report (FIR) against PM Modi for hiding his marital status in the affidavit he had filed with his nomination for 2012 Assembly polls from Ahmedabad's Maninagar seat when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

        Mr Verma had further contended that when PM Modi contested the Lok Sabha election in 2014, he mentioned his wife's name in the affidavit for the first time, disclosing the earlier omission. Thus, in 2012, Mr Modi had committed an offence under section 125(A)(3) of Representation of People Act, he said.

        Section 125 A(3) deals with concealment of information while filing affidavit and provides for imprisonment upto six months.

        The High Court had on July 3 dismissed the petition demanding legal action against PM Modi and set aside the lower court's finding that the offence had been committed, but no action could be taken as the petition was filed after a delay of more than one year.

      Manmohan Singh Will Not Be Made An Accused, Says Court in Coal Scam Case
      • Manmohan Singh Will Not Be Made An Accused, Says Court in Coal Scam CaseNEW DELHI:  Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not be made an accused in a coal scam case, a Delhi court said today, while rejecting a petition to summon him as an accused.

        The Special CBI court was hearing a petition filed by former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda who is also an accused in the case related to alleged irregularities in the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand to Jindal Steel - owned by top industrialist and Congress leader Naveen Jindal - and Gagan Sponge.

        On September 28, the court had reserved the order on Mr Koda's plea after the agency had opposed it, saying that there was no evidence which even prima facie suggests that Mr Singh was part of any conspiracy in allocation of a coal block to Naveen Jindal Group firms.

        The central probe agency had argued in the court that the plea of Mr Koda was "devoid of any merits" and the records do not reflect that Mr Singh, who held the Coal Portfolio at that time, had any complicity with any accused.

        It had also said there was no evidence to show that Mr Singh had acted in a "mechanical manner" in the entire process.

        Mr Koda had alleged that Central Bureau of Investigation was trying to show there was no involvement of the then Prime Minister in the entire process.

        The counsel of former Jharkhand chief minister had also said it cannot be said that Mr Singh was not aware of all the facts and if the file was said to be routed through then Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao, who is an accused, can it not be said that Mr Singh was one of the conspirators.

        Madhu Koda had also sought summoning of Anand Swaroop, then Secretary (Energy) and Jai Shankar Tiwari, then Secretary (Mines and Geology) as additional accused in the case.

        Regarding Mr Swaroop and Mr Tiwari, CBI had told the court that they are important prosecution witnesses in the case and "rather it was Koda who had tinkered with recommendations".

        Besides Mr Koda and Mr Rao, CBI had chargesheeted industrialist Naveen Jindal, former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and 11 others, including five firms, in the case.

        Out of these accused, only Mr Rao had supported the plea of Madhu Koda. The court had summoned the15 people as accused saying that prima facie offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating) of IPC read with sections 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act were made out against them.

      Angela Merkel Welcomes Barack Obama Plan to Slow Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal

      • Angela Merkel Welcomes Barack Obama Plan to Slow Afghanistan Troop WithdrawalBERLIN:  German Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly welcomes President Barack Obama's plans to prolong the US military engagement in Afghanistan, her spokesman said.

        Obama announced on Thursday that the United States would maintain a force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year, saying Afghan forces were not as strong as they needed to be to justify a faster pullout.

        "She strongly welcomes yesterday's announcement from President Obama on the future US engagement in Afghanistan," spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference today.

        "This announcement is an important signal to the international community, it is an important signal to the alliance partners of the United States but above all an important signal to the Afghan people."

      Business Affairs 

      Sensex ends 204 points up; Nifty above 8,200
      • Sensex ends 204 points up; Nifty above 8,200The domestic markets staged smart recovery in the late afternoon and ended the week in green terrain.
        The S&P BSE Sensex gained 204 points to reclaim its crucial psychological level of 27,000 mark, while broader CNX Nifty topped its key 8,200 level to close at 8,238.15, up 58.65 points.
        "We continue to expect the Nifty to remain within a small range of 8250 to 8050 whilst the 8250 mark is likely to act as a major hurdle for the bulls. It's advisable to stay light on positions and focus more on stock specific moves," said Angel Broking in a report.
        BSE Capital Goods was the top sectoral gainer and ended the day 1.95 per cent up. SBI and L&T were the top Sensex gainer, which closed the day 3 per cent higher each.
        The sentiment on the Street turned positive at the fag end of the trade with 20 of the 30 stocks ending the day in green.
        Market fell earlier in the day tracking merchandise exports, which dipped 24.33 per cent in September to $21.84 billion from a year ago, falling for a 10th straight month, data showed on Friday, while trade deficit during April-September 2015-16 narrowed to $67.99 billion as against $72.69 billion in the same period last fiscal year.
        Investors were disappointed with some of the big earnings this week, including Infosys, which on Monday beat net profit forecasts but lowered its dollar revenue guidance.
        How earnings shape up will likely determine the outlook for markets, analysts said. Next week, cement companies such as ACC and auto firms such as Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto are due to report results.
        "Market is sceptical as earnings are underway. Money is moving from some high valuation sectors to low valued stocks with good fundamentals" said Deven Choksey, managing director at KR Choksey Securities.
        "Nifty would remain in the broad range of 8,000-8,300 during the results season," he added.
        Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Composite ended the day 1.60 per cent up, Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed with an uptick of 0.78 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei settled 1.08 per cent higher.
        Overnight, US stocks logged solid gains, after the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell back to a 42-year low last week. That suggested the labour market remained strong even though recent jobs data has sent mixed signals.

      RIL Q2 net profit at Rs 6,560 crore; beats estimates
      • RIL Q2 net profit at Rs 6,560 crore; beats estimatesBeating analysts' expectations, oil and gas firm Reliance Industries posted standalone net profit at Rs 6,560 crore in the September quarter as compared to Rs 5,740 crore a year-ago.
        Mukesh Ambani-led RIL's consolidated sales came in at Rs 70,901 crore vs Rs 1.1 lakh crore year-on-year.
        The gross refining margin (GRM), which is the difference between the total value of petroleum products coming out of an oil refinery (output) and the price of the raw material (input), came in at $10.6 per barrel for the second quarter against $8.3 per barrel y-o-y.
        RIL posted consolidated EBITDA at Rs 10,704 crore, while consolidated petrochemical margin at 11.9 per cent in Q2 FY16.

            Boeing considers assembling helicopters in India
            • Boeing considers assembling helicopters in IndiaGlobal aircraft manufacturing company Boeing said on Friday said it is looking at setting up a chopper assembly line in India.
              According to a top official of the company, the assembly line will either be for the Apache combat helicopter or the Chinook heavy-lift chopper.
              Recently, Boeing closed a deal to sell 22 Apache combat helicopters and 15 Chinook CH-47F heavy-lift copters to India.
              Boeing Chairman James McNerney said at an event in New Delhi that the aircraft manufacturer was evaluating assembling one of these two helicopters in India.
              Currently, the beams, or the spine, of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft are being made in a Nagpur facility.
              The company said it was willing to take part in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make-in-India' initiative .
              "We can play at the centre of 'Make-in-India' keeping in line with Boeing's global product strategy. We want design and make in India for India and the world. India is now better poised to make investments for us after the new government has come in," McNerney said.
              "Boeing sees a lot of opportunity and capability in India and wants to help it scale up its economy. India will give us business and we in turn will provide technology and 'know-how' by collaborating with the partners in the country including the government," McNerney said.
              The chairman said the reason for doing more business in India was because the country was a natural ally.
              "India is a big market and after the civil nuclear deal, governments of both countries can now decide more levels of cooperation in the fields of defence and aerospace technology," McNerney said.
              He also praised Modi's vision in this regard.
              "Under the new leadership, the country is moving towards the manufacturing dream. The efforts of changing tax regime and working towards speedy dispute resolution are some of the things that this government is working on and it is an encouraging feeling," McNerney said.
              To a question on aerospace manufacturing, McNerney said the company was looking at developing skills in India by participating in the Skills India mission.
              "Manufacturing is a closer reality in India than most people think. We will be soon evaluating making aircraft parts like wings and fuselage here," he said.
              He added that the country will buy nearly 1,800 civil aircraft over the next 20 years which will call for a huge investment.
              "Boeing sees this market as a civil aviation opportunity as conversion of only one percent of people travelling in trains to aviation can double the market size here. We are also looking at producing more fuel-efficient, green and longer-flying-capable planes to bring down the cost of flying to attract more customers," McNerney said.
              McNerney revealed that the company has closed more defence deals with India than the whole of the US defence industry combined in the last fifty years.
              "Yes indeed! Boeing has closed more defence deals with India than whole of the US combined in the last fifty years," McNerney said.
              Asked about closing several deals with the government, McNerney said the trick was to have a team in India. "The probable reason of our success is that we anticipated these deals will come and set up a team here rather than bringing the aircraft here first and the team later."
              "Also, the Indian military is organised, capable and they know what equipment they want... hence it is easier to work with them. The series of defence deals also shows the country's commitment to keeping its borders safe especially in wake of shaky neighbours," McNerney said.
              The chairman also said that the company had stopped production of the heavy lift transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster.
              The announcement comes at a time when the Indian government required three more Globemaster planes. The Boeing C-17 Globemaster is a large military transport aircraft.
              "We have only one C-17 with us. Of course, there are buying opportunities in the used market and the model will stay in the market for another 20 to 30 years," the chairman said.
              The Indian government and Boeing had entered into a purchase agreement for 10 C-17 Globemaster aircraft with an option for buying six more. The deal was estimated at $4.1 billion.
              Currently, the Indian Air Force's (IAF) Globemaster fleet is based out of Hindon Air Force Station near the national capital. The fleet is operated by the 'Skylords' squadron for strategic airlift assignments.
              United States has the largest fleet of Globemaster aircraft (over 220) followed by India which has only 10 C-17s.

            Maggi clears Bombay High Court mandated lab tests, says Nestle India
            • In June, the FSSAI had banned Maggi noodles saying it was unsafe and hazardous for consumption after finding lead levels beyond permissible limits.Nestle India today said all samples of Maggi have cleared tests conducted by three laboratories, as mandated by Bombay High Court, paving the way for the instant noodles brand to be back in the market after it was banned over the presence of excess lead. 
              The company said it will now commence manufacturing and will sell only after the newly manufactured products are also cleared by the designated three laboratories.
              "We have received test results from all three laboratories mandated by the Hon'ble Bombay High Court to test Maggi Noodles samples. All the 90 samples, covering six variants, tested by these laboratories are clear with lead much below the permissible limits," Nestle India said in a statement.
              The company, which had earlier said it was planning to bring back the Maggi noodles in the market by this year end, further said that it is committed to reintroducing Maggi noodles at the earliest.
              "In compliance with the orders of the Hon'ble Bombay High Court, we will now commence manufacturing and will start selling only after the newly manufactured products are also cleared by the designated three laboratories," the company added.
              Stressing that Maggi noodles are safe, Nestle India said it has conducted over 3,500 tests representing over 200 million packs in both national as well as international accredited laboratories and all reports are clear.
              In addition to these, various countries including USA, UK, Singapore, Australia and others have found Maggi Noodles manufactured in India safe for consumption, it added.
              Nestle will continue to collaborate with the FSSAI, the apex food regulator and other stakeholders, the company said.
              In June, the FSSAI had banned Maggi noodles saying it was unsafe and hazardous for consumption after finding lead levels beyond permissible limits. The company had withdrawn the instant noodles from the market.
              Nestle India had challenged the ban by FSSAI in the Bombay High Court. In August, the court lifted the nation-wide ban imposed by the food regulator on Maggi noodles but ordered afresh test of samples of the product in three independent labs across the country.
              A division bench comprising Justices V M Kanade and B P Colabawalla also set aside the June 5 order of the Central government's Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
              It also quashed the order of Maharashtra's Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) banning production and sale of Maggi noodles in India and the state.
              The judges ordered Nestle India to send five samples of each variant to three accredited labs in Punjab, Hyderabad and Jaipur and asked the labs to give their reports within six weeks. The samples would be drawn from 750 crates of samples lying with the company.
              Nestle India, which took a hit of Rs 450 crore, including destroying over 30,000 tonnes of the instant noodles since June when it was banned because of alleged excessive lead content, had stated that it would continue with the existing formula of the product and not change the ingredients.
              The Consumer Affairs Ministry had also filed a class action suit against Nestle India seeking about Rs 640 crore in damages for alleged unfair trade practices, false labelling and misleading advertisements.
              It was for the first time that the ministry had dragged a company to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) using a provision in the nearly three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act.

                    Bharti Airtel deal to sell over 3,500 towers in Africa collapses
                    • Bharti Airtel deal to sell over 3,500 towers in Africa collapsesBharti Airtel on Friday said the deal to sell over 3,500 telecom towers in Africa to Eaton Towers has lapsed and stands terminated.
                      "The agreements for sale of tower assets in Africa between Bharti Airtel Malawi Holdings B.V. & ors. and Eaton Towers (Lilongwe) Ltd & ors. has lapsed and therefore stands terminated," Bharti Airtel said in a regulatory filing.
                      Last year in September, Airtel announced that it has sold over 3,500 telecom towers in Africa to Eaton Towers.
                      As part of the deal, Airtel was to sell and lease back over 3,500 towers to Eaton in 6 countries across its African operations under a 10-year contract.
                      The company had said the agreement would allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, enable it to deleverage through debt reduction, and would significantly reduce its ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure.
                      Shares of Bharti Airtel fell 2.98 per cent in intrad-day trade on Friday. It however, recoverd to close 0.46 per cent down at Rs 349.85 as compared to Thursday's close of Rs 351.45.

                        General Awareness

                        A tribute to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam (15 October 1931 – 27 July 2015)

                          • “Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life.”
                            Dynamic “Missile Man” by work and Simple “People’s President” by heart Sir Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Ramanathapuram District of Tamil Nadu in a family of a boat owner. The voyage of contributing in family’s income by selling newspaper to the contribution in Nation by developing Nation’s ballistic missiles is applausive and inspiring.
                            A tribute to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam (15 October 1931 – 27 July 2015)
                            Physics and Mathematics as his favorite subject Dr. Kalam has done aerospace engineering from Madras Institute of Technology and after its completion he joined DRDO as a scientist and then transferred to ISRO. From here his journey to missile man started.
                            KALAM SIR AS MISSILE MAN
                            • 1969 – Project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III)
                            • 1970 – Project Devil and Project Valiant top secret liquid-fueled missile projects developed by India under the directorship of Dr. Kalam. These projects become the base for ballistic Prithvi  missile.
                            • 1980 – SLV-III project that successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit.
                            • 1992 – 1999 – Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted in which kalam played technical and political role as he was serving as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and this established him as a “ Missile Man” to Nation.
                            2002 – 2007 DR. APJ Abdul Kalam chaired as the 11th President of India favoured by both BJP and ING. His presidency was preceded by K. R. Narayanan and succeeded by Pratibha Patil. From here his second journey of People’s president was started.
                            KALAM SIR AS PEOPLE’s PRESIDENT
                            • He was the first scientist and the first bachelor to hold Rashtrapati Bhawan
                            • He stressed on the importance of working hard and being punctual
                            • Kalam Sir addressed 400 students without electricity at a school function
                            • Dr. Kalam took great care of his colleagues
                            • As a chief guest in IIT (BHU) Varanasi President Kalam refused special seat as the chair was bigger in the size and was meant to give Kalam special honour.
                            • Kalam Sir used to read both Kuran and Bhagvad Gita
                            • He was expert in playing Saraswati and Veena
                            • He took only 2 holidays in his life both for deaths, of his father and mother.
                            After his Presidency Dr. Kalam sartred visiting Institutes as a Professor and Honourary fellow. In 2012 he launched a youth programme called “What Can I Give Movement” aimed to curb corruption.
                            BOOKS WRITTEN BY HIM
                            Dr. Kalam was fond of writing and he wrote many books, songs and poetry. Some important books are
                            • 2015 – Transcendence My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji
                            • 2015 – Reignited: Scientific Pathways to a Brighter Future
                            • 2014 – Forge your Future: Candid, Forthright, Inspiring
                            • 2013 – My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions
                            • 2007 – Inspiring Thoughts, 2007
                            • 1999 – Wings of Fire: An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam
                            • 1998- India 2020: A vision for the New Millennium
                            AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
                            Kalam Sir was the third President of India to have been honored with a Bharat Ratna before being elected to the office of President.
                            • Since 2008 “Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE awards” was given annually by National Innovation Foundation, a body of the Department of Science and Technology which celebrates Children’s Creativity and Innovation Day
                            • In 2010 UN honoured Kalam Sir on his 79th birthday and declared October 15 as“ World Student Day”
                            • Kalam Sir received honorary doctorates from 40 universities.
                            • Switzerland commemorate Kalam’s visit on May 26 to their country asScience day.
                            • In 2011 an inspirational film was release named “I Am Kalam” which portrayed Kalam Sir as a positive influence to a poor boy.
                            2013Von Braun Award
                            1997Bharat Ratna
                            1990Padma Vibhushan
                            1981Padma Bhushan
                            On 27th July 2015 he was delivering lecture on “Creating a Livable Planet Earth” at the IIM Shillong and it’s the time when he passed away due to sudden cardiac arrest.
                            POST DEATH COMMENDATIONS
                            As a mark of respect GOI declared 7 days mourning period and Bhutan’s flags flown at half-staff to mourn Kalam’s death and lit 1000 butter lamps in homage.
                            • Bihar Govt renamed its agricultural college at Kishanganj as “Dr. Kalam Agricultural College, Kishanganj”
                            • Uttar Pradesh Govt renamed Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU) as“A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University”
                            • Tamil Nadu Govt instituted Award in the name of APJ Abdul Kalam and it first conferred on ISRO scientist N. Valarmathi. Award consists of Rs 5 lakh, certificate of appreciation and an 8gm gold medal.
                            • TN Govt also announced Oct 15 as “Youth Awakening Day”
                            • In Travancore a new Research institute for digestive diseases research will be named after him.
                            • Puducherry government inaugurated science centre-cum-planetarium that would be named after Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
                            • Mahatma Gandhi University in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala will named its upcoming academia complex after Sir A P J Abdul Kalam
                            • Delhi’s Aurangzeb Road renamed after APJ Abdul Kalam
                            • Wheeler Island in Odisha named after Dr. Kalam
                            • Assam would also set up a centre for innovation named after late A P J Abdul Kalam
                            • Marking the 84th birth anniversary of Dr. Kalam, PM Modi announced memorial in his honour that to be built at his birthplace Rameswaram and will bedeveloped as an AMRUT city.
                            • PM Modi also unveiled the bust of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at the DRDO complexin New Delhi on his 84th birth anniversary.
                            • Commemorating Kalam sir’s birth anniversary Defence minister Manohar Parrikarrenamed the DRDO missile complex in Hyderabad as “Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex”
                            • Indian Institute of Management-Shillong also announced the launch of acentre for policy research to honour Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
                            A tribute to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam 15 October 1931 – 27 July 2015
                            Will always miss Legendary Kalam Sir

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