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Current Affairs - 24 August 2016

General Affairs 

'Artificial' Love For Goa Won't Save Arvind Kejriwal: Goa Congress
  • NEW DELHI:  Stung by Arvind Kejriwal's comment that it won't win even a single seat in Goa in elections next year, the Congress today mocked what it called the Delhi chief minister's "artificial love" for the state.

    "All this artificial love which he (Kejriwal) is professing for Goans is buried in his ambitious plan of looting and eradicating the identity of Goans," Congress spokesman Trojano D'Mello said. He also alleged that Mr Kejriwal was eying Goa's land resources, as an "agent of the Delhiites."

    On Sunday, Mr Kejriwal had said that only the Aam Aadmi Party , and the BJP were serious contenders in the forthcoming elections in Goa. Targeting the Congress, Mr Kejriwal had jibed "they (Congress) will be completely wiped out from Goa and will not win even a single seat."

    Mr Kejriwal had also alleged that the BJP wants to win Goa just "to make money" and that in the elections due next year "people of Goa will vote for the honest party" and not "corrupt" BJP.

    "As far as the BJP is concerned, people rallied behind the party during the 2012 state elections. Voters who would not have voted for the BJP even in their dreams supported the party because they felt that Manohar Parrikar would make a difference. But in the last 5 years the BJP has cheated the people. The party has turned out to be worse that the Congress."


    In 2012, the BJP took power in the state after winning 21 of 40 seats defeating the Congress which could only win 9. Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party will be contesting elections in Goa for the first time next year.

Charge Sheet In Disproportionate Assets Case Against Virbhadra Singh Ready, CBI Tells High Court
  • NEW DELHI:  The CBI today sought the Delhi High Court's permission to submit a charge sheet in a disproportionate assets case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others, saying it was ready to do so.

    However, Justice AK Pathak said he will not hear the matter and transferred it to another bench. He did not give any reason for doing so.

    The court said the matter would be listed before the other bench on August 30.

    The lawyer for Mr Singh sought two weeks time before the matter was heard, but CBI lawyer Sanjeev Bhandari wanted an earlier date as the agency was ready with its charge sheet.

    The Himachal Pradesh High Court in an interim order of October 1, 2015, had restrained the agency from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Mr Singh in the case without the court's permission.

    The matter was later transferred by Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, but the interim order has not yet been vacated or stayed.

    The Delhi High Court on April 6 this year had directed CBI not to arrest Mr Singh while asking him to join the probe.


    The direction had come when the court was disposing of CBI's application seeking vacation of the Himachal Pradesh High Court's order which, the agency claimed, had "seriously held up" its investigation in the case.

    On November 5 last year, the top court had transferred Mr Singh's plea from Himachal Pradesh High Court to Delhi High Court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case but "simply" transferring the petition "in interest of justice and to save the institution(judiciary) from any embarrassment".

    The CBI had moved the top court seeking transfer of the case from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to Delhi High Court and setting aside of the interim order granting protection from arrest and other relief to Mr Singh.

    Mr Singh had filed a petition in the Himachal Pradesh High Court pleading that searches on his private residence and other premises were conducted with "malafide intentions and political vendetta" by the central investigating agency.

    Mr Singh had sought directions from the high court to quash CBI's FIR registered in Delhi against him and others under Sections 13 (2) and 13(1)(e) of Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 109 (punishment for abetment)of IPC and court had dismissed their plea.

Some Officers Creating Hurdles In Government Schemes, Says Akhilesh Yadav
  • LUCKNOW:  In a statement which might not go well with the bureaucracy, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today said some officers have allegiance to other political parties in the state and they were creating hurdles in implementation of government schemes.

    "As far as dial 100 scheme is concerned, we want to bring it. We have got some good and some bad officers. I know that some of our officers have allegiance to other parties and they do not want this scheme to get functional," he said at an infrastructure meet in Lucknow.

    "If dial 100 number becomes functional, then police will reach the spot within 10 minutes and it will become an example before the entire country. These officers are creating a hurdle in this but we have found out a way," he said.

    "We have a very good chief secretary. He will see who is sitting on the file. If the CM is standing behind him, he will clear the file," Akhilesh Yadav said.

    Attacking the BJP which has been cornering the state government over the law and order issue, the chief minister said, "They (BJP) want a debate on law and order. But before that they should look in their own states. They look so weak on the borders."

    "I have attended army schools and many of my schoolmates are serving on the borders. The entire country knows what the situation on the borders is," he said.


    Referring to BJP's charge that many senior leaders were ruling the state by proxy, he said, "You might have read the allegation of five-and-a-half CMs in UP many times. I say you find out one (CM candidate), then it will be decided, who is leading and who is lagging behind. This will be decided by the people of the state."

    "I am a new chief minister but I have done a lot under training. Think what I will do in times to come. We will work with more transparency. We want to go among people on the basis of our work but other parties want to take the things in other direction," he said.

    Referring to BJP's ongoing 'tiranga' yatra, he said since Uttar Pradesh is poll-bound, the party was taking out 'yatras'.

    "We unfurled the national flag on August 15. I don't know till when BJP people will unfurl the flag. We are not against it but in which direction they want to take the country. What is the definition of 'achche din'," he said.

    On Congress projecting Sheila Dikshit as the chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Assembly polls, he said, "Congress said it wants to project an upper caste as CM candidate. Tell in which direction they want to take the country."

Senior Congress Leaders Among 400 Held During 'Janakrosh Rally' In Gujarat
  • GANDHINAGAR:  Nearly 400 Congress supporters, along with its senior leaders and legislators, were detained while they were marching towards the state Assembly as part of the party's 'Janakrosh rally' organised in Gandhinagar today, police said.

    They were stopped when they reached the main gate of the Assembly.

    Among those detained included Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela, state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki, senior leaders Shaktisinh Gohil, Siddharth Patel, Rajya Sabha lawmaker Madhusudan Mistry, Manish Doshi, and nearly 20 legislators.

    "We detained around 400-odd people as they tried to enter the state Assembly. Those detained included senior party leaders," Gandhinagar SP Virendra Yadav said.

    Thousands of Congress party supporters today gathered in Gandhinagar to hold a rally against the "oppressive" BJP government, and atrocities on Dalits, even as monsoon session of the Assembly was in progress on the second - and last day.

    As the protesters reached the Assembly entrance, police put up a barricade to stop them from entering the premises.

    When they tried to force their way, police used force and water canons to prevent them, and then detained them. All those detained were later let off.


    Emerging from police detention, Bharatsinh Solanki attacked the BJP government in the state for being "irresponsible and oppressive".

    "The BJP government has become irresponsible and oppressive towards the public. Corruption has grown and every section of people is fed up with the government. Even when the Dalits were being attacked, beaten up, the Prime Minister remained silent on the issue and instead expressed his solidarity for the people of Balochistan," Mr Solanki said.

    He said the government did little to prevent attacks on Dalits, Adivasis and OBC community members.

    Earlier, addressing the gathering at the rally, Mr Vaghela asked people to uproot the BJP government.

    "Unlike the BJP government, the Congress government worked in the interest of the public. When our PM (Narendra Modi) was chief minister here, in 2013, he criticised Congress-led UPA government over rising petrol, diesel price. The price continues to rise," he said.

    "The BJP stalled passage of GST Bill for four years. Now, it had trouble when Congress raised objection to it. BJP continues to chant that the PM is from Gujarat. They wanted to congratulate Urjit Patel for being appointed as RBI governor, for his being a Gujarati. I objected to it. All this is being done to mislead the public," Mr Vaghela said.

    Earlier, around 50 Congress legislators were evicted and suspended for a day from the Assembly when they protested in the House over the Una Dalit flogging incident.

Chandigarh 'Was, Is And Will' Remain Capital Of Punjab: Parkash Singh Badal
  • MUKTSAR, PUNJAB:  Asserting that Chandigarh "was, is and will" ever remain an "integral part" of the state, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said that any deviation from existing practice of appointing state Governor as the Administrator of Chandigarh was not at all acceptable.

    He said that though as per States Reorganization Act every parent state has sole right over its capital city but grave injustice had been meted out to Punjab by denying Chandigarh to the state.

    Mr Badal said that Punjab has the sole right over its capital and it must be given to the state at every cost.

    He said that till Chandigarh was not given to the state, around four decades old practice of appointing Punjab Governor as the Administrator of Chandigarh should be continued.

    He alleged that Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal was a "chronic non performer" who had "totally failed" to fulfill even a single promise in Delhi.

    He said that it was a fact that Mr Kejriwal was suffering from "anti-Punjab syndrome" and his stand on Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal was contrary to the interests of the state.
    "Nothing good can be expected for the state from Kejriwal who has no sympathy with Punjab or its people," he added.

    Lashing out at the Congress and AAP, the chief minister alleged that both these parties were "conniving" to turn the state into desert by constructing SYL canal.


    He alleged that while the Congress had "planned and executed plan" to snatch water of the state, the AAP was now its toes to get SYL constructed at the earliest.

    Mr Badal further alleged that both these parties were enemies of the state and wanted to "ruin it".

Business Affairs 

Maggi regains top slot in noodles market within nine months of re-launch
  • Nestle India's instant noodle brand Maggi, whose sales were severally hit by FSSAI ban last year, has regained its leadership position capturing 57 per cent share of the market in June this year.
    Within nine months of its re-launch, Maggi noodles now accounts for 57.1 per cent market share of the instant noodles segment riding on its marketing /branding initiatives and new variants.
    In November, when the company relaunched Maggi after five-month ban, it had 10.9 per cent of the market share, which climbed to 35.2 per cent in December, according to a Nestle India presentation made to financial analysts and institutional investors.
    In March 2016, it had 51 per cent market share.
    Nestle has launched four variants of Maggi Cuppa Noodles and Maggi Hotheads each, the presentation said.
    Besides, it has also launched 'No Onion No Garlic" noodles.
    On August 18, its parent firm Nestle had said that it has regained leading market share after growth in India turned positive in June on good progress with relaunch of Maggi noodle.
    "Growth in India turned positive in June due to good progress with the Maggi noodle relaunch and favourable comparables. We regained a leading market share position.
    India kept gaining momentum one year after the start of the Maggi noodle withdrawal," Global food and nutrition giant Nestle had said in the statement.
    In June 2015, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) banned Maggi noodles in India following a Bombay High Court order, saying it was "unsafe and hazardous" for consumption after finding lead content beyond the permissible limit.
    After the five-month ban, in November last year, Nestle India relaunched Maggi noodles in the Indian market.
    Earlier this year, Nestle India launched up to 25 products across various categories in a day to fend off competition.

      Rupee rebounds from 1-month low, closes up 13 paise against dollar
      • The rupee on Tuesday recovered from one-month low level to close higher by 13 paise at 67.06 a dollar on the back of selling of the US currency by banks and exporters.
        Weakness in the dollar in overseas markets along with continued optimism over capital inflows predominantly boosted the rupee value, dealers said.
        Unwinding of long dollar positions by banks too aided the sentiment, they added.
        The domestic currency had closed at one-month low of 67.19 against US currency on Monday amid fears of rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.
        The domestic unit opened slightly higher at 67.14 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market. It maintained the strong recovery momentum throughout the trade and touched an intra-day high of 67.04 in late afternoon trade.
        The rupee finally ended at 67.06, showing a good gain of 13 paise, or 0.19 per cent.
        Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) withdrew Rs 1,326.95 crore from debt and equity markets on Monday, according to the provisional data.
        The Reserve Bank fixed the reference rate for the dollar at 67.0885 and euro at 76.0381.
        In cross-currency trades, the rupee weakened further against the pound sterling and finished at 88.42 as compared to 88.08 and drifted against the euro to end at 76.05 from 75.96 on Monday.
        It also fell against the Japanese yen and settled at 66.97 per 100 yens from 66.82 earlier.
        In the meantime, equities snapped a two-day decline and ended marginally higher on the back of renewed buying in IT counters as the BSE Sensex moved up 4.67 points to close at 27,990.21 while Nifty gained 3.45 points to 8,632.60.
        In the forward market, premium for dollar continued to trade sluggish owing to sustained receivings from exporters.
        The benchmark six-month premium for January eased to 175-177 paise from 176-178 paise and the forward July 2017 contract also edged lower to 374-376 paise from 375-377 paise on Monday.
        On the global front, US dollar slipped against the other major currencies as investors locked in profits from the greenback's recent rally despite positive remarks on interest rates by Federal Reserve officials.
        The US dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.24 per cent at 94.30 in early trade.

        'Domestic airfares to decline at lower rate in Q2'
        • Domestic airfares may not decline much during the second quarter of the current fiscal triggered by strong traffic growth and positive momentum in economy, says a report by ICICI Securities.
          "We believe the sequential decline in domestic fares in the second quarter (July-September) 2016-17 will be significantly lower than the usual 15 per cent which we have seen in the past," the brokerage firm said.
          According to the report, airfares in domestic circuit "has been unusually stronger than expected with a recovery seen during July/August" and "the decline in airfare is likely be much lower for July-September quarter 2016-17".
          ICICI Securities noted that while the strong traffic growth and positive momentum in economy were demand side triggers, limited available slots in key airports provide supply side construct for an uptick in domestic airfares.
          The brokerage has tracked domestic fares across 14 routes among 6 metros in the country and recorded fares for the next day, next week and next month to catch the temporal distribution of the fares.
          As per its findings from July-end to mid-August, fares have actually increased 13.5 per cent on average for the fares next day, while the fares have declined by 6 per cent and 5 per cent on average for fares on next week and next month respectively.
          Further, the report noted that advance booking fares are also significantly higher during the third quarter (October/November) on comparison with September fares, which is in line with a seasonally strong festive season.
          With the largest committed order book, IndiGo remains to benefit the most from the strong domestic demand, while its cost structure remain most efficient.
          "The current market price factors cumulative fare decline of 10 per cent for FY'17/18 estimates, which we believe is very pessimistic considering we already had two consecutive years of fare decline of 5 per cent and 15 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively," the report said.
          ICICI noted that the supply market "has improved with the slower pace of capacity addition than expected earlier".
          Additionally, it said that delay in induction in neo aircraft of IndiGo, higher realisations of international sector particularly for Jet, Air India and SpiceJet, incremental international offerings by Go Air and troubles for TrueJet and Air Costa would "serve to strengthen the domestic airfares incrementally".

        Freebies for ministers should go to reduce train fares, say railway commuters
        • A recent feedback drive by Indian Railways, which sought public opinion on how to bring down the expenses of the public enterprise, has drawn suggestions that may not go down well with the ministry babus.
          The majority of respondents to the drive have called for doing away with concessions to railway employees on train journeys particularly after a significant hike in their salary and perks as recommended by the 7th Pay Commission.
          Officials handling the public feedback told Mail Today that the majority of suggestions felt these "freebies" were the main cause of loss to the exchequer. This assumes significance as railways have been urging beneficiaries like senior citizens to give up their concession even though it allowing free travel to M Ps, MLAs and its own employees.
          Railways passengers enjoy about 43 per cent subsidy on their journeys. For the year 2015-16, the railways incurred an expenditure of Rs 34,000 crore on 'social service obligation', according to their own figures. Out of this, Rs 1,600 crore was spent on various concessions, in addition to the free journeys permitted to certain sections.
          According to the sources, the respondents emphasised on timely execution of railway projects. For, they reasoned that delay in completion of projects amounted to cost escalation and additional financial burden on the railways. According to estimates, over 400 rail projects have been stuck for the last several years resulting in cost overrun of nearly Rs one lakh crore.
          A number of respondents said the poor financial health of the railways on the slack attitude of its staff.
          They suggested replacing 'lazy staff' with young energetic ones to speed up the functioning of the public behemoth. Delay in train operation was another major concern of commuters which was also attributed to the lax attitude of railway staff.
          Railway's bid to redevelop its railway stations in partnership with private companies has, however, found appreciation from the respondents.
          They said revamped railway stations would not only change the face of the carrier but also attract tourists who otherwise find air travel a more viable option. Railways have already decided to redevelop 400 stations as world class stations that will have shopping malls, star hotels, multiplexes and office space.
          There were also suggestions to commercially exploit its station buildings and the unused land.
          Indian Railways has approximately 43,000 hectares of vacant land. Zonal railways have been asked to identify such land and hand over the same to Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) for commercial development.
          Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu has also formed a separate directorate of non-fare revenue to explore ways to generate revenue without increasing rail fares.

          COAI acting as mouthpiece of dominant players: Reliance Jio
          • In a no holds barred attack, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio today lashed out at mobile phone operators body COAI, of which it is a member, for acting "maliciously" as "mouthpiece" of certain dominant incumbent operators having vested interests against the company.
            Hours after the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) wrote to Prime Minister's Office (PMO) alleging free data and voice being offered by Reliance Jio under beta test was generating huge traffic using spectrum allocated for commercial use but no revenue came to government, the company shot of a letter to the association with copies marked to all the addresses the COAI letter had gone to.
            Reliance, which is a member of the COAI, alleged that it received an email from COAI at 1505 hours today stating it would be sending a letter to the government on Jio's test service but the letter was actually submitted to the government officials "as early as 1250 hrs."
            "Your email therefore is a blatant lie and a fraudulent act," it said. "Prior to your email, Reliance Jio was not contacted in any manner whatsoever, as regards the intent or the contents of your attached letters to receive its views or comments."
            Reliance Jio being a core member of COAI ought to have been consulted and its comments and views duly considered as part of any representation that the association intends to set to any government official, it said.
            COAI, it said, cannot unilaterally decide on sending out any such representations without following due process.
            "COAI's act of sending the subject letters is yet another instance of abuse of process, which apart from being unethical also tantamount to breach of trust and gross violation of COAI's stated process in this regard."
            Reliance Jio alleged that COAI was "deliberately and maliciously acting at the behest of and as a mouthpiece of certain specific incumbent dominant operators, having vested interest against Reliance Jio."
            COAI, it alleged, is "openly promoting cartelisation in the guise of promoting the cause of the industry while acting perpetrating anti competition practices and misguiding and misinforming the government, statutory authorities and the consumers."
            Reliance Jio said the incumbent dominant operators are "wilfully and deliberately in violation of the licence conditions restricting interconnection augmentation (and) MNP."
            In yet another letter to the PMO on Monday, existing operators under the aegis of COAI said the data traffic generated by such "so called beta tests" is rivalling the combined traffic of the rest of the operators who have been in operation for 15-20 years.
            Reliance Jio said the contents of the COAI letter are "devoid of any merits and contains deliberate misstatements constituting misrepresentation of actual facts and are defamatory in nature."
            It warned COAI to refrain from continuing the perpetration of "misdeeds forthwith".

          General Awareness

          India ranks 7th among the Wealthiest Nations in the World

            • The W20: The 20 Wealthiest Countries in the World – report by Johannesburg-based The New World Wealth, India is ranked 7th among the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of private wealth held by individuals.
              • The New World Wealth is a research consultancy that tracks the global wealth sector. The value of total individual wealth in India – which includes property, cash, equities and business interests – is pegged at $3,492 billion in 2015.
              The Wealthy List:-
              RankCountryWealth in Billion
              1US48, 900
              2China17, 400
              3Japan15, 100
              4UK9, 200
              5Germany9, 100
              6France6, 600
              7India5, 600
              8Canada4, 700
              9Australia4, 500
              10Italy4, 400
              India’s Wealth :-
              Wealth refers to net assets of a person. It includes all their assets less any liabilities.
              • The ranking of India as one of the top 10 wealthiest countries in the world is largely because of its large population.
              • Over the past 5 years, China was the fastest growing wealthiest country in terms of dollar wealth growth.
              • The study ranked the wealthiest countries in the world as of June 2016 in terms of total individual wealth held.
              • India figures among the top five countries on per capita wealth growth between 2000 and 2015. India’s per capita wealth grew from $900 in 2000 to $2,800 in 2015, a jump of 211 per cent.

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