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Current Affairs - 25 August 2016

General Affairs 

As Public Figure, Learn To Take Criticism: Supreme Court To Jayalalithaa
  • NEW DELHI: Accept that "You are a public figure and you have to face criticism," Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was told by the Supreme Court today, strongly reprimanding her for bringing defamation cases against opposition leaders in her home state of Tamil Nadu.    

    Judges said that "Tamil Nadu is the only state which misuses state machinery to fight defamation cases."

    The court was informed by the state government that more than 200 defamation cases have been filed by it in the last five years. 55 cases are against the media, 85 involve Ms Jayalalithaa's main rival, the DMK.

    Ms Jayalalithaa, 68, has been brought to court by opposition leader, Vijayakanth, a former actor who is known as "Captain."

    He has been named in 28 defamation cases for comments that were critical of Ms Jayalalithaa and her government. In addition to accusing her administration of corruption, he has said that the floods that wrecked Chennai in December were artificially caused and mishandled thoroughly by the government.

    Ms Jayalalithaa, serving her sixth term as Chief Minister is known to brook no dissent from within her party. Ministers lay down before her on stage when she was re-elected in May with a huge margin.   When she was jailed for corruption - she has since been acquitted- her replacement refused to use her office or the chair assigned to her in the legislature.

CBI Should Hunt For Missing Tiger Jai, Says Maharashtra
  • MUMBAI:  As the hunt for tiger Jai continued after it went missing from Umred Karhandla wildlife sanctuary near Nagpur, state Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Tuesday said he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a CBI probe into its disappearance.

    Rescuers, wildlife experts and volunteers have been scouring the forest, trying to locate the 250-kilogram tiger, who was last spotted on April 18.

    Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Mr Mungantiwar said, "I would soon write to Prime Minister demanding investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the missing big cat." Meanwhile, BJP Lok Sabha MP from Bhandara-Gondia, Nana Patole, also said that he would seek PM's intervention into the matter.

    Mr Patole expressed apprehension that Jai might have fallen prey to poachers as there has been no trace of it since the past four months.

    "Along with Jai, his grandfather Rashtrapati, his father Dendu and sibling Viru have also gone missing. Jai's disappearance has become such a hot topic of debate that even Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had in July said that he also felt that Jai was alive," the MP said.

    According to Mr Patole, Jai was radio-collared, but of late his radio collar had stopped working, giving rise to the worst fears.


    He added that two persons were arrested on suspicion of poaching, further fuelling the poaching theory.

    Meanwhile, sources in the Forest department said that a wide search for Jai is on covering the forest area between Bor in Wardha district, Bramhapuri in Chandrapur district and New Nagzira Navegaon Tiger Reserve (NNTR).

    Named after Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's character in the hit 1975 film "Sholay", Jai was in limelight three years ago after embarking on an epic hike through villages, rivers and perilously dangerous highways in successful pursuit of a mate.

    Jai has been a firm favourite with tourists and conservationists alike. Wildlife officials have launched a search operation for the royal feline. So far, there is no substantial clue about the whereabouts of the tiger, whose electronic collar stopped transmitting his location in April.

    The tiger population of Maharashtra, which was 169 in 2010, has gone up to 190 in 2015. Out of this 70-odd tigers are accounted for in Tadoba tiger reserve.

    The state government has offered a reward of Rs. 50,000 for information on Jai's location. Some people residing close to the Umred Karhandla sanctuary have also performed a pooja for his safety.

    Jai's disappearance since for over four months has come as a huge setback for the state. Recently, the state had roped in Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador for its tiger conservation initiative.

Scorpene Submarine Leak: French Contractor DCNS Hints At 'Economic War'
  • PARIS:  French naval contractor DCNS said on Wednesday that it could not rule out that leaked documents on submarines built for India were part of an "economic war" by competitors after the firm won a tender in Australia earlier this year.

    "For now we don't know if the information is correct," a DCNS spokeswoman said. "The competition is more and more hard and all means can be used in this context."

    "There is India, Australia and other prospects, and other countries could raise legitimate questions over DCNS. It's part of the tools in economic war," she said.

Didn't Blame RSS For Gandhiji's Killing: Rahul Gandhi To Supreme Court
  • NEW DELHI:  Rahul Gandhi today told the Supreme Court that he did not blame the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on the RSS or the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. Judges then indicated that they are likely to clear the Congress Vice-President of defamation charges next week on September 1.

    The RSS is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP. It sued Mr Gandhi for defamation over a speech he gave in 2014 while campaigning in Maharashtra for the general election that his party lost abysmally.

    Mr Gandhi, 46, was reported as saying that the RSS had assassinated Gandhiji. Today, his lawyer, former union minister Kapil Sibal, told judges that Mr Gandhi had not blamed the RSS as in institution for the killing of the Father of the Nation, but "people associated with it."

    Mr Gandhi said his remark had been misinterpreted by the RSS worker who filed the initial complaint against him. He had last month refused to apologise and settle the case.

    "I hope wisdom will prevail upon him and others not to make such offensive remarks against a nationalist organisation," said union minister and BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu.

    The Supreme Court has asked the RSS complainant to offer his response next week. "We understand the accused never blamed RSS as the killer of Gandhi but a person associated with the RSS," the court said.  

    Last month, the top court warned Mr Gandhi that he was wrong if he had collectively blamed the RSS for the killing of Gandhiji in 1948 by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse. After the assassination at Delhi's Birla House, the RSS was banned till it was exonerated. Godse was hanged.

States Must Be Held Accountable In Fight Against Terror, Says India
  • WASHINGTON:  In an apparent reference to Pakistan, India today asserted in the United Nations Security Council that in combating terror the international community must focus on states, as well as non-state actors.

    Addressing world leaders at the United Nations Security Council, India's deputy permanent representative Tanmay Lal urged the international community to pay more attention to role of states promoting terror.

    "Focus on non-state actors should in no way diminish state accountability in combating terrorism and dismantling its support infrastructure and its linkages with weapons of mass destruction," Mr Lal said while underscoring India's belief that the primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rests with states who must ensure that their territory is not used to spread terror.

    Underlining the dangers of nuclear proliferation, Mr Lal said it's the responsibility to national governments to ensure that non-state actors don't gain access to such weapons.

    "Clandestine proliferation networks must be rolled back. The global community must join hands in eliminating risks related to sensitive materials and technologies falling into hands of terrorist."

    Mr Lal reiterated that as a responsible nuclear power, India's nuclear doctrine continues to stress a policy of credible minimum deterrence with a posture of no-first use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon states.

    "We remain committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. We believe that increasing the restraints on the use of nuclear weapons is not only an essential first step, but is also necessary in the current complex international environment in enhancing strategic trust globally," he said.

Business Affairs 

A year after Black Monday, India a preferred pick among investors
  • One year is a long time on Dalal Street. Last year, this day i.e. August 24, 2015, Sensex had crashed 1100 points taking lead from a global market rout after a currency war triggered by China led to a panic selloff across globe. The domestic index has, however, recovered all its losses to claw back 8 per cent until now, but it still trails behind other emerging markets (EMs) such as Brazil, Russia and Taiwan which jumped up to 27 per cent till date.
    Nonetheless, the numbers sometimes do not say it all. Indian market added gains in single digit only because its price/earnings ratio was already ruling higher.
    Experts believe the recent underperformance of domestic markets via-a-vis peers has largely been due to a sharp rebound in those markets, mainly commodity-exporters, from beaten down levels. India did manage to restrict losses in 2015 and is in fact trading at valuations, some analysts believe are stretched. That said, hopes of a rebound in earnings cycle back home have maintained India's attractiveness among foreign and domestic funds alike.
    "As far as valuations go, we have seen Nifty50's valuations stretching to 23 odd levels after falling to 18-odd levels in 2015. It means the valuations have jumped over 25 per cent since then," said Mustafa Nadeem, CEO, Epic Research.
    Explaining the out-performance of Brazil and Russia, VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas said, "the commodity crash had led to a massive selling in commodity exporting countries like Russia and Brazil, which made their stocks extremely cheap with PE ratios touching single digits. Such low valuations led to bargain buying when the markets turned tide."
    The upturn in the domestic market, on the other hand, has been solid as index heavyweights such as IT and pharma stocks have yet to turn green, still Sensex could stage a good 8 per cent recovery since Black Monday of 2015.
    "Taiwan, of course, is a different category. Higher growth and earnings prospects are attracting funds to Taiwan," Vijayakumar added.
    Abnish  Kumar Sudhanshu, Director & Research Head, Amrapali Aadya Trading & Investments, in fact, believes Russian and Brazilian economies are on a declining path and market outperformance there is based on nothing but bottom buying opportunities.
    "Russia has been going through geopolitical tension hence showing low base effects, so even a little uptick shows a noteworthy bound, while Brazil is still slogging through its worst downturn," said Sudhansu.
    Consequently, it is difficult for these countries to attract foreign investment to spur growth as national treasury is on an explosive trajectory, unlike India where gains have been contributed by the grass root level, even though index heavyweight underperformed, said expert.
    India appears to be in sweet spot and is well-placed to offer healthy return going forward given earnings growth can be expected to look up in the second half of this year.
    "The robust economic policies and their implementation are the reasons for recovery in the market. The results of companies have started to reflect such trend but still the improvement in earnings have a long way to go and are expected to be much better going forward which will keep India as one of the top FPI destination in the world," said Jimeet Modi, CEO, SAMCO Securities.

      TCS settles Orange County lawsuit for $26 million
      • India's largest IT firm Tata Consultancy Services and its US affiliate have paid Orange County, Calfornia, $26 million to settle a lawsuit over what the latter termed as a "failed replacement" to the county's automated property tax system.
        "TCS and Orange County have agreed to settle an ongoing dispute regarding the joint development of a Property Tax Management System," a TCS spokesperson said.
        The spokesperson added that both parties had asserted claims against each other, "but neither admits any liability".
        "The settlement was reached after a mediation conducted by Magistrate Judge Jay C. Gandhi, representing a compromise between the two parties, versus the prospect of a lengthy trial in Orange County," the spokesperson said but declined to confirm or deny the lawsuit amount.
        According to a statement by the US county, "Tata Consultancy Services and its US affiliate have paid the County $26 million to settle litigation over a failed replacement to the County's automated property tax system that initially was to have been completed in 2010 but was never delivered."
        The county in the US state of California said that on August 19, 2016, it received notification that the $26 million settlement payment from Tata had been wired to the County Treasurer-Tax Collector.

        In exchange for this payment, the county will now dismiss its lawsuit against Tata, which in turn will dismiss its cross complaint, it added.

        Delhi Assembly ratifies 'big reform' GST bill
        • Delhi Assembly on Wednesday ratified Goods and Service Tax (GST) Constitution Amendment Bill, becoming the third non-BJP-ruled state and overall the eighth to clear the proposed tax regime, billed as single biggest tax reform in decades.
          The bill was endorsed by the House by a voice vote following a brief discussion during which Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia called GST a "big reform" which will be good for the country's economy and growth.
          The two BJP legislators were not present when the bill was ratified as they had staged a walkout over a separate issue, while another party MLA was serving suspension from the House for allegedly making derogatory remarks against an AAP legislator.
          Delhi's share in central taxes has been stagnant at Rs 325 crore for the last 17 year and rolling out of GST is expected to increase its share in central taxes significantly.
          "It's good for the entire country, not only for Delhi. It will be extremely helpful in terms of services. For the last 17 years, Delhi has been getting Rs 325 crore as its share of Central taxes despite contributing as much as Rs 1,37,000 crore to the country's GDP. GST is a big reform," said Sisodia.
          The AAP government has been supporting the Centre on the GST though both sides are locked in a bitter tussle over a range of issues for the last one-and-half years.
          Speaking during the brief discussion on GST, a number of AAP MLAs hailed the proposed tax regime.
          Later the Deputy Chief Minister, took a jibe at the Centre saying it has for the first time recognised the national capital as a "state".
          "GST bill for the first time recognises Delhi as a state under the new Constitutional amendment to Art 366 - step in right direction finally," he said in a tweet.
          The 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill has already been ratified by Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
          Delhi is the third non-NDA state after Bihar and Himachal to ratify the bill.
          The GST bill, seen as single biggest tax reform in a long time, needs to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before the President can notify the GST council which will decide the new tax rate and other issues.
          The Lok Sabha had passed the GST bill on August 9 while Rajya Sabha cleared it on August 4.
          In his remarks, Sisodia said there were some concerns over capping the annual turnover.
          "There is no clarity on certain issues. Like businessmen in the capital with a turnover of up to Rs 20 lakh do not have to pay taxes. It should not be brought down.
          "We are in favour of increasing the threshold to Rs 25 lakh. Businessmen with a turonover of up to Rs 1.5 crore should pay taxes directly to the state government," he said.

          Sisodia said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the GST issue on August 11.

        IKEA to continue doing business with Welspun India, awaits sales probe
        • Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA said it would continue doing business with Welspun India while it awaits the outcome of the Indian textile manufacturer's probe into its sales practices.
          Welspun's shares have plummeted this week after U.S. big-box retailer Target terminated business with the firm, saying it had passed off cheap sheets as premium Egyptian cotton.
          "To our knowledge and according to our continuous verifying processes, the supplier delivers according to our agreements," IKEA said in a statement issued on Wednesday in response to a Reuters inquiry.
          "However, we will follow their ongoing investigation carefully and await the outcome. Until then our business collaboration continues as usual."

          IKEA also said it did not buy products made from Egyptian cotton. It said that, from the end of its 2015 fiscal year, it only bought cotton from more sustainable sources whose standards were not met by Egyptian producers.

          GST rate on processed foods should be low or zero: CII
          • The rate of GST on processed foods should be kept low or at zero as the country cannot afford to have high taxes, with food inflation already over 6 per cent, industry body CII said on Wednesday.
            There should be a parity in taxes between processed and unprocessed food products, otherwise the very benefit of processed foods will not reach the consumers because of the price difference, it said.
            The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment Bill was passed by Parliament earlier this month and so far more than five states including, Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand, have ratified the bill. The Centre plans to roll out GST from April 1, 2017.
            Once implemented, GST will subsume excise, service tax and other local levies, will create one market for seamless transfer of goods and services across the country.
            "GST on processed food products should be kept either lower or at zero level. To ensure more processing happens, taxes should be kept low. Otherwise, food prices will go up," Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) National Committee on Food Processing Industries Co-Chairman Piruz Khambatta said.
            While the government is yet to decide on the GST rate, the CII has recommended the government to keep the rate on processed food items in three slabs keeping in mind consumers of different income-groups, he told reporters here.
            "Most of the countries in the world have lower tax on lot of foods, while their inflation is within 2 per cent. Thus India being country with inflation level of 6 per cent could not afford to have higher GST for food items which constitutes major portion of Consumer Price Index," said Khambatta, who is also Chairman and Managing Director of Rasna Pvt Ltd.
            According to CII, GST rate should be kept at a zero level on those processed food products which are essential for survival of 'poor man'.
            There should not be tax on all packaged food items bearing maximum retail price (MRP) up to Rs 10, on those processed foods which help to process perishable fruits, vegetables and dairy products and all all packaging materials which are inputs to the food processing.
            In the second category, the CII has suggested a GST rate of 8-10 per cent on processed foods consumed by 'common man' and on those packaged processed food products which are priced more than Rs 10 but less than 20.
            It also said the GST rate should be kept lower on processed food products which attract lower CENVAT and VAT.
            In the third category, Khambatta said the government should keep a standard GST rate of 20 per cent for high-end processed food products and all packaged food bearing MRP of more than Rs 20 but less than Rs 20.

            After the bill is ratified by the states, Parliament will have to pass two legislations -- CGST and IGST -- detailing the new tax code. This could happen in Winter Session of Parliament in November. Similar tax laws will also have to be passed by the states.

          General Awareness

          Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for P.V. Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and Jitu Rai

            • The Sports Ministry announced that Rio Olympics medalists shuttler P.V. Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik will receive the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award along with gymnast Dipa Karmakar and shooter Jitu Rai.
              List of 2016 National awards are
              Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ranta 2016
              Name of the awardeeDiscipline
              Ms. P.V. SindhuBadminton
              Ms. Dipa KarmakarGymnastics
              Shri Jitu RaiShooting
              Ms. Sakshi MalikWrestling
              Dronacharya Awards 2016
              Shri Nagapuri RameshAthletics
              Shri Sagar Mal DhayalBoxing
              Shri Raj Kumar SharmaCricket
              Shri Bishweshwar NandiGymnastics
              Shri S. Pradeep KumarSwimming (Lifetime)
              Shri Mahabir SinghWrestling (Lifetime)
              Arjuna Awards 2016
              Shri Rajat ChauhanArchery
              Ms. Lalita BabarAthletics
              Shri Sourav KothariBilliards & Snooker
              Shri Shiva ThapaBoxing
              Shri Ajinkya RahaneCricket
              Shri Subrata PaulFootball
              Ms. RaniHockey
              Shri Raghunath V.R.Hockey
              Shri Gurpreet SinghShooting
              Ms. Apurvi ChandelaShooting
              Shri Soumyajit GhoshTable Tennis
              Ms. VineshWrestling
              Shri Amit KumarWrestling
              Shri Sandeep Singh MannPara-Athletics
              Shri Virender SinghWrestling (Deaf)
              Dhyan Chand Award 2015
              Ms. Satti GeethaAthletics
              Shri Sylvanus Dung DungHockey
              Shri Rajendra Pralhad ShelkeRowing
              Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2015-16 Punjabi University, Patiala
              Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna :-
              The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, officially known as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games, is the highest sporting honour of the Republic of India.
              • The award is named after Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India who served the office from 1984 to 1989. It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
              • The recipients are selected by a committee constituted by the Ministry and is honoured for their “spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years” at international level. As of 2016, the award comprises amedallion, a certificate, and a cash prize of ₹7.5 lakh (US$11,000).
              • Instituted in 1991–92, the award was given for the performance by a sportsperson in a year. Based on the suggestions provided by 2014 award selection committee, the Ministry revised the criteria in February 2015 to consider the performance over a period of four years.
              • The nominations for a given year are accepted till 30 April or last working day of April with not more than two sportspersons nominated for each sports discipline. A twelve-member committee evaluates the performances of a sportsperson at various International events likeOlympic Games, Paralympic Games, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games.
              • The committee later submits their recommendations to theUnion Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports for further approval.
              • The first recipient of the award wasChess Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, who was honoured for the performance in the year 1991–92.
              • In 2001,sport shooter Abhinav Bindra, then aged 18, became the youngest recipient of the award. Usually conferred upon only one sportsperson in a year, a few exceptions have been made (1993–94, 2002, 2009, 2012, and 2016) when multiple recipients were awarded in a year
              P.V. Sindhu :-
              Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is an Indian professional badminton  At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal.
              • Sindhu came to international attention when she broke into the top 20 of theBWF World Ranking in September 2012 at the age of 17.
              • In 2013, she became the first ever Indian women’s singles player to win a medal at theBadminton World Championships. In March 2015, she became the youngest recipient of India’s fourth highest civilian honor, the Padma Shri.
              • Her silver medal win in the women’s singles event of the 2016 Summer Olympics made her the first Indian shuttler to reach the final of an Olympics badminton event and the youngest Indian to make a podium finish in an individual event at the Olympics.
              Sakshi Malik:- 
              • Sakshi Malik is an Indian freestyle wrestler. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won the bronze medal in the 58 kg category, becoming the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics and the fourth female Olympic medalist from the country.
              • She is a part of the JSW Sports Excellence Program, along with fellow female wrestersVinesh Phogat, Babita Kumari and Geeta Phogat.
              • Malik had previously won the silver medal at the2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and the bronze medal at the 2015 Asian Wrestling Championships in Doha.
              Dipa Karmakar :-
              • Dipa Karmakar is anartistic gymnast who represented India at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She is the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics, and the first Indian gymnast to do so in 52 years. She attained 4th position in Women’s Vault Gymnastics event of Rio Olympics 2016 with an overall score of 15.066.
              • She first gained attention when she won a bronze medal at the2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgowbecoming the first Indian female gymnast to do so in the history of the Games. She is sponsored by the GoSports Foundation.
              • Karmakar is one of only five women who have successfully landed theProdunova, the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics. She also won a bronze medal at the Asian Gymnastics Championships and finished fifth at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, both firsts for her country.
              Jitu Rai:-
              Jitu Rai(born 26 August 1987) is an Indian shooter of Nepalese origin who competes in the 10 metre air pistol and 50 metre pistol Government of India announced Khel Ratna Award for him in 2016.
              • In 2014, at theISSF World Cup in Munich, he won the silver medal in the 10 metre air pistol event. Following this, in Maribor, Rai won two medals; a silver in the 50 metre pistol event, and a gold in the 10 metre air pistol event.
              • At the2014 Commonwealth Games, Rai created the Games record in the qualification round of the 50 metre pistol event, having scored 562 points. He went on to win the gold medal in the event, scoring 194.1 points in the final, thus creating another Games record.
              • In the2014 Asian Games held at Incheon in South Korea, Jitu won the gold medal in the 50 m pistol category. He also won a bronze in the men’s 10 m air pistol team event.
              • In 2016, he won a silver medal at the ISSF World Cup held in Baku, Azerbaijan in the 10m Air Pistol event.
              • Jitu Rai had had a bad outing earlier in the 10m pistol event.
              • During the 2016 Olympics in the 10 M air pistol event, Jitu Rai made a remarkable comeback to sneak into the final, but failed to replicate his form as he finished last in the final of the 10 M air pistol event.

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