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Current Affairs - 23 April 2016

General Affairs 

Pathankot Attack: Decision On NIA Team Visit To Pak At 'Appropriate Time', Says India
  • Pathankot Attack: Decision On NIA Team Visit To Pak At 'Appropriate Time', Says IndiaNEW DELHI:  India today said it will take a decision at "appropriate time" regarding a visit by an NIA team to Pakistan in connection with Pathankot terror strike even as it asserted that Indo-Pak dialogue has not been suspended.

    New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to take all necessary steps for ensuring safety, security and wellbeing of all Indians in Pakistani custody especially in light of the mysterious death of Indian prisoner Kripal Singh in a jail there.

    Asked about Pakistan Prime Minister's Adviser Sartaj Aziz's remarks that they may consider allowing a visit by the NIA team if India would make a formal request, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "The (Pakistan) JIT visit was held in a constructive and cooperative environment to investigate the Pathankot Air Base attack."

    "We welcome cooperation to combat all forms of terrorism... The investigations are ongoing. We will consider the next step at appropriate time."

    On the status of Indo-Pak dialogue, Mr Swarup said, "Multiple conversations have been held between India and Pakistan at multiple levels including at the level of the two Prime Ministers who spoke to each other quite recently."

    "Obviously, after the Pathankot terror attack, the focus of the conversations was on the investigation of that particular attack. However, other aspects of the relationships have also been discussed. I have made statements and so has my Pakistani counterpart. So this should give you clarity that the dialogue process has not been suspended," Mr Swarup said.

    Earlier this month, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit during an interaction with media here had said, "I think at present the peace process between India and Pakistan is suspended."

    Asked about safety and security of Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails and whether the issue has been raised with Pakistan in view of Kirpal Singh's death, Mr Swarup said, "Yes."

    "Through our High Commission in Pakistan, we have asked the government of Pakistan to take all necessary steps for ensuring safety, security and well being of all Indians in Pakistani custody. And, naturally this has been reiterated in light of what has happened with Kripal Singh," he said

Election Commission Issues Notification For Tamil Nadu Assembly Polls
  • Election Commission Issues Notification For Tamil Nadu Assembly Polls
    CHENNAI:  Election Commission today issued the notification for the May 16 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu signalling the start of filing of nominations in all the 234 constituencies.

    "The Governor of the state of Tamil Nadu has, by notification issued under sub-section (2) of Section 15 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and published in the official Gazette of the state on 22nd April 2016, has been pleaded to call upon all Assembly constituencies in the state, to elect members to the Legislative Assembly," an official release said.

    The last date to submit nomination papers is April 29 and it would be scrutinised the next day. May 2 will be the last day for withdrawal.

    Polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm and the counting of votes will be done on May 19.

    Around 5.6 crore people are eligible to cast their franchise in about 65,000 polling booths.

    Tamil Nadu is witnessing a multi-cornered contest with AIADMK and DMK facing off in the electoral battle with PWF-DMDK-TMC combine and PMK and the BJP-led alliance.

    Among the top leaders in the poll fray are AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, DMK President M Karunanidhi, his son M K Stalin, DMDK founder Vijayakant, MDMK's Vaiko and PMK's Chief Ministerial candidate Anbumani Ramadoss.

Subramanian Swamy, Navjot Singh Sidhu Among Others Nominated To Rajya Sabha
  • Subramanian Swamy, Navjot Singh Sidhu Among Others Nominated To Rajya SabhaNEW DELHI:  BJP leaders Subramanian Swamy and Navjot Singh Sidhu were today nominated by the Narendra Modi government to the Rajya Sabha.

    The list also includes Narendra Jadhav, member of erstwhile National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

    Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi, journalist Swapan Dasgupta and boxer Mary Kom were also nominated as the new Rajya Sabha members.

    President Pranab Mukherjee nominated the six personalities from different fields to the House of Elders following a recommendation of the Narendra Modi government, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

    He said a formal notification regarding their nomination to the Upper House would be issued shortly.

    The President recommends the names of the nominated members - drawn from fields such as literature, science, sports, art and social service - on the advice of the government.

Home Ministry Panel Asked To Complete Ishrat File Probe At Earliest
  • Home Ministry Panel Asked To Complete Ishrat File Probe At EarliestNEW DELHI:  A one-man inquiry panel of the Union Home Ministry, probing the missing files related to the case of alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, has been asked to expedite its work and finish the task at the earliest.

    Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi is believed to have told Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry BK Prasad to speed up the probe and file a report at the earliest as the government may have to face queries of lawmakers in the coming session of Parliament beginning Monday, official sources said.

    Top Home Ministry officials are of the opinion that the files were misplaced and could be found if a concerted effort is made.

    Mr Prasad, a Tamil Nadu cadre administrative officer, is retiring on May 31 and the government wants the task given to him to be completed as early as possible.

    Government does not want any delay in finding the files and wants a quick report and Mr Prasad has been told this in clear terms, the sources said.

    The panel, constituted on March 14 following an uproar in Parliament, was asked to inquire into the circumstances in which the files related to the case of Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004, went missing.

    The panel was asked to find out the person responsible for keeping the files and relevant issues.

    The papers which went missing from the Home Ministry include the copy of an affidavit vetted by the Attorney General and submitted in the Gujarat High Court in 2009 and the draft of the second affidavit vetted by the AG on which changes were made.

    Two letters written by the then Home Secretary G K Pillai to the then Attorney General late GE Vahanvati and the copy of the draft affidavit have so far been untraceable.

Barack Obama Tells Britons As 'A Friend': Don't Turn Your Back On The EU
  • Barack Obama Tells Britons As 'A Friend': Don't Turn Your Back On The EUWINDSOR, ENGLAND:  US President Barack Obama appealed directly to British voters on Friday to remain in the European Union, saying membership had magnified Britain's place in the world and made the bloc stronger and more outward looking.

    In an article in the conservative Daily Telegraph -- which the eurosceptic newspaper placed on page 20 -- Obama invoked the interlinked history of the United States and Britain and the tens of thousands of Americans lying in European war graves as his reason for speaking on a June 23 referendum.

    "The European Union doesn't moderate British influence - it magnifies it," he wrote under the headline: "As your friend, I tell you that the EU makes Britain even greater."

    Obama, who opinion polls show is popular in Britain, arrived in London on Thursday to applaud Britain's EU membership which he said had helped make the world freer, richer and better able to tackle everything from migration to terrorism.

    His remarks, which led television news broadcasts in Britain, undercut one of the most passionate arguments of the opponents of EU membership: that Britain could prosper on an equal basis with global powers such as the United States.

    Obama said Britain's closest ally wanted it to remain in the club it joined in 1973 to bolster trade and strengthen the 28-member bloc, which Washington views as a pillar of stability.

    "The United States sees how your powerful voice in Europe ensures that Europe takes a strong stance in the world, and keeps the EU open, outward looking, and closely linked to its allies on the other side of the Atlantic".

    A spokeswoman for Cameron welcomed Obama's intervention.
    "When you see allies and partners coming out around the world advocating the case for the UK remaining in the EU, talking about how that amplifies our influence in the world, we think those are important arguments to hear," a spokeswoman for Cameron said.


    Obama and his wife Michelle flew by helicopter on Friday to Windsor Castle, a royal residence that traces its history back over almost 1,000 years to William the Conqueror, for lunch with Queen Elizabeth, and her husband, Prince Philip.

    The queen celebrated her 90th birthday on Thursday.

    Obama will later hold talks with Prime Minister David Cameron, followed by a news conference.

    The president's comments on the EU drew scorn from opponents of Britain's EU membership.

    New York-born London Mayor Boris Johnson, who heads the "Out" campaign, said that he did not want to be lectured by Americans about EU membership and that the United States would never countenance such a transfer of sovereignty.

    "For the United States to tell us in the UK that we must surrender control of so much of our democracy -- it is a breathtaking example of the principle of do-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-do," Johnson wrote in the Sun newspaper.

    "It is incoherent. It is inconsistent, and yes it is downright hypocritical," Johnson said.

    Opinion polls indicate that British voters are leaning towards the "In" camp but many remain undecided. "In" campaigners are concerned that young voters may not turn out to vote.

    The U.S. government, and many US banks and companies, fear a Brexit would cause market turmoil, diminish the clout of its strongest European ally, hurt London's global financial hub status, cripple the EU and weaken Western security.

    "Now is a time for friends and allies to stick together," Obama said. "Together, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union have turned centuries of war in Europe into decades of peace, and worked as one to make this world a safer, better place."


    Ahead of a 2014 Scottish vote on independence, Obama said he hoped Britain "remains strong, robust and united", a comment that was welcomed by unionist politicians in London.

    Citing President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1939 toast to Washington's close alliance with Britain, Obama lauded Britain's contribution to the development of democracy, the rule of law and open markets.
    "The U.S. and the world need your outsized influence to continue -- including within Europe," Obama said.

    Opponents of the EU, many of whom laud the US alliance, have said that membership has shackled Britain to the corpse of a failed German-dominated experiment in European integration, and that Britain, if freed, could prosper as a sole trader.

    Such opponents caution that while many world leaders like Obama, banks such as Goldman Sachs and big companies such Ford may want Britain to remain in the EU, the British people do not appreciate being lectured about how to vote.

    Nigel Farage, a prominent opponent of membership as leader of Britain's UK Independence Party, called Obama the most anti-British American president to date.

Business Affairs 

Reliance Industries Q4 profit rises 16% to Rs 7,398 crore
  • Reliance Industries on Friday reported its highest quarterly net profit in over eight years as fall in oil prices boosted refining and petrochem margins, helping the company post a 16 per cent jump in earnings for the three-month period ended March 31.
    Consolidated net profit in January-March at Rs 7,398 crore or Rs 25.1 a share was 15.9 per cent higher than Rs 6,381 crore or Rs 21.7 per share profit a year ago.
    Standalone net profit was 17.25 per cent higher at Rs 7,320 crore.
    This is the highest quarterly net profit for RIL since it clocked Rs 8,079 crore net profit in the third quarter of 2007-08.
    RIL, operator of the world's biggest oil-refinery complex, earned USD 10.8 for turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel in the fourth quarter of 2015-16 compared with a gross refining margin of USD 10.1 per barrel a year ago. The GRM outperformed Singapore benchmark by USD 3.1 a barrel.
    Sales, however, dropped 12 per cent to Rs 64,569 crore in January-March.
    The company  posted a record annual net profit at Rs 27,630 crore or Rs 93.1 per share in 2015-16, up 17.2 per cent over Rs 23,566 crore, or Rs 80.1 a share.
    Turnover was, however, down 23.8 per cent to Rs 2,96,091 crore on lower oil prices.
    RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said the much-talked about 4G telecom and high-speed broadband services will be launched this year. But he did not give a specific date.
    "The commercial roll-out of Jio services this year will digitally enable a billion Indians and propel growth for India and Reliance," he said.
    The refining segment of oil-to-telecom conglomerate recorded the highest ever quarterly pre-tax profit (EBIT) of Rs 6,394 crore, up 30.4 per year-on-year. Petrochemical EBIT was up 35.4 per cent at Rs 2,713 crore.
    The two helped offset 84.4 per cent drop in EBIT from oil and gas business at Rs 14 crore. "The segment profitability was impacted by lower oil and gas price realisations and decrease in domestic upstream volume. US shale operations were impacted by low commodity prices despite marginally higher volumes," RIL said.  

    HDFC Bank reports 20% rise in net profit, bad loan ratio eases
    • HDFC Bank, country's second-biggest private sector lender by assets, said its quarterly net profit rose about a fifth, in line with analysts' estimates.
      Gross bad loans as a percentage of total loans fell to 0.94 per cent in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March, from 0.97 per cent in the previous three months.
      Net profit was Rs 3374 crore ($507 million) for the three months to March, compared with Rs 2807 crore a year earlier,HDFC Bank said in a statement on Friday.

      Analysts on average had expected a net profit of Rs 3,386 crore, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters. 

        Arundhati Bhattacharya, Urjit Patel among 4 names doing the rounds to replace Raghuram Rajan
        • As Raghuram Rajan's three-year term as RBI Governor draws to a close in September, analysts speculate that odds of him getting a second term have come down after his 'one-eyed king ' remark.
          Rajan, while speaking to a news website on April 17, had ruffled feathers when he said that India's economic growth stands out because of a sluggish global growth.
          "Well, I think we've still to get to a place where we feel satisfied. We have this saying, 'in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king'. We're a little bit that way," Rajan had told the website. His comments drew sharp criticism from Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
          A Mint report quoting brokerage firm Ambit Capital said the top contenders for this coveted job are Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman of State Bank of India; finance secretary Shaktikanta Das; U K Sinha, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India; and Urijit Patel, deputy governor of the central bank.
          We take a look at the top contenders who may replace Rajan.
          Arundhati Bhattacharya
          Bhattacharya was named first female chairperson of State Bank of India in 2013. Under her leadership, SBI started a two-year sabbatical policy for female employees taking maternity leave.
          Shaktikanta Das
          Shaktikanta Das, is a renowned bureaucrat who takes care of the budget division of the finance ministry. Das earlier held the assignment of Secretary, Department of Revenue in the same ministry.
          U K Sinha
          UK Sinha, a Bihar-cadre IAS officer, has been the second-longest serving chief in Sebi after he got an extension as Sebi chairman earlier this year. Sinha took over as Sebi chairman in 2011 with a three-year term. He was given a two-year extension, which was supposed to end on February 17.
          Urijit Patel

          Although his term as Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India was extended by three more years, Urjit Patel could be chosen for the top job for his role in keeping consumer inflation in control.

        Cyient shares end 6% down as Q4 net profit tumbles
        • Cyient shares plunge 7% as Q4 net profit tumblesShares of IT firm Cyient plunged nearly 7 per cent on Friday after the company reported a 30 per cent drop in net profit for the March quarter.
          The stock tumbled 6.46 per cent to Rs 451 on BSE and settled the day 5.75 per cent lower.
          IT firm Cyient, formerly known as Infotech Enterprises, on Thursday reported a 29.7 per cent drop in net profit at Rs 65.9 crore for the March quarter, weighed down by a one-time payment of Rs 84.3 crore.
          The Hyderabad-based company had posted a net profit of Rs 93.8 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago.
          Excluding the one-off item, net profit was 10.1 per cent lower at Rs 84.3 crore in the reported quarter.
          Cyient's revenue stood at Rs 815.8 crore in the said quarter as against Rs 730 crore in the year-ago period, up 11.8 per cent.
          In dollar terms, net profit dropped 35.2 per cent to $10 million while revenue grew 3 per cent to $121 million in the quarter under review a year earlier.

          For 2015-16, net profit was down 7.6 per cent at Rs 326.2 crore while revenue grew 13.1 per cent to Rs 3,095.6 crore compared with the previous fiscal.

            Trade unions ask government to stop talks for free trade pacts
            • Raising concerns over trade negotiations with regional blocs like RCEP, trade unions have asked the government to stop all talks for free trade pacts while asserting that such pacts are hurting the country's economy.
              In a letter to Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman , an anti-FTA committee of trade unions, including CITU and BMS, said that it was "alarmed to know that India is seriously engaging with RCEP like trade agreements, instead of first assessing its impact on our economy".
              "We have learnt that the RCEP negotiations include issues that affect every aspect of the Indian economy and lives of our people...every year we are reducing the customs duty according to the trade agreements. This is creating big revenue deficit and this is one of the reasons for inflation," it said.
              The panel said that these FTAs , with reduced policy space and increasing current account deficit, have the potential to cause a major crisis in Indian economy.
              "The mammoth trade balance with RCEP partners raise significant alarm over rationale of RCEP's benefit to India and its people," it said.
              The deeper liberalisation attempted through RCEP has the potential to irreparably damage both the agriculture and manufacturing sector for decades to come, the letter said.
              "We call upon the government to immediately halt India's engagement in all current FTA discussions including RCEP. Make public the review of India's existing FTAs and their benefits to the development of Indian economy and its people," it said.
              Government should also immediately terminate all existing FTAs which have harmed India's interest and it should conduct a socio-economic and human rights impact assessment of the proposed RCEP agreement," it said.
              Copy of the letter was also marked to the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Agriculture Minister.
              People who have signed the letter include Amitava Guha (CITU), Virjesh Upadhyay (BMS) and K V Biju (Swadeshi Andolan).

              India has so far implemented several FTAs inclduing with Asean, Singapore, Japan and Korea. It is also negotiating a meagra deal RCEP involving 16 countries and with the European Union.

            General Awareness

            India’s ranks first in FDI Destination which replaces China in 2015

              • In 2015, India gained the first rank in the World for Foreign Direct Investment overtaking the US and China
                Foreign Direct Investment:
                Investment made by a company or entity based in one country, into a comapany or entity based in another country.
                • India attracts $63 billion value FDI projects from other countries in 2015
                Companies Agreed to invest in projects
                • Foxconn – Multinational electronics contract manufacturing company headquartered in New Taipei, Taiwan worth $5 billion
                • SunEdison – Global renewable energy company headquartered in the U.S worth $4billion
                • Capital Investment followed by year of high Value Project majorly in Coal, Oil andNatural Gas and renewable energy sectors.
                • In Twitter, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha expressed his happiness and stated that India emerges on top rank in bringing FDIIndia emerged as top FDI
                India Claims five places
                • No 1. Gujarat attracted $12.4 billion
                • No. 2 Maharashtra brought $8.3 billion
                Reasons for investing more in India and China
                • Companies identify domestic market growth and potential
                • Proximity to markets
                FDI Report
                • To attract high volumes, locations need to generate conditions for progress in economic growth and development
                • Make in India Campaign resulted in major increase in job creation from 1.16 lakh new jobs in 2013 to 2.25 lakh in 2015
                • 98% FDI into India comes through automatic route which are not under the control of FIPB
                • India is a emerging destination for renewable energy due to wider government policies, infrastructure and programmes designed to attract investment.
                India ranks no.1 with USD 11.8 billion
                Renewable Energy’s plan to invest USD 3 billion to design, install and manage more than 3 GW of solar power

                • China declined a 23% in Capital investment and 16 % drop in FDI projects
                • FDI inflow in India and China was followed by Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil

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