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Current Affairs - 18 September 2016

General Affairs 

Uri terror attack: 3 jawans killed, 18 injured; fierce gunbattle underway
  • Militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the Army at Uri, 102 kms from here, in the wee hours today, with explosions and heavy gunfire heard at the spot.
    The attack began at around 0400 hours and the number of militants was believed to be three to four.
    Fierce gunbattle is on between security personals and the militants.
    • 4 terrorists eliminated by Army in Uri. Search operation is going on: Sources
    • Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has called a meeting in the evening to review the situation. Army chief and other top defence officials will attend the meeting.
    • Rajnath Singh speaks to Governor and CM of J-K regarding terror attack.
    • Rajnath Singh calls an emergency meeting of concerned officials over the ongoing encounter.
    • The injured army men have been rushed to Army base hospital in Srinagar.
    • 3 jawans killed, 18 injured in the attack.
    • Home Minister Rajnath Singh postpones visit to Russia and US due to situation in Kashmir.
    • Special forces of Army airdrop at Uri where encounter is on.
    • Loud explosions were heard in the area. 
    • Helicopters from the Army's 19 divisional headquarters in Baramulla have been pressed into service.
    • Some barracks caught fire in the encounter. 
    Immediately after the militants entered the camp, explosions and exchange of heavy fire were heard from inside, official sources said.
    Initially, the attack was understood to be at the 12 Brigade Headquarters but sources in the Army said it was at the rear formation of a battalion that was deployed at the Line of Control (LoC), reported PTI.
    The attack comes two years after militants had carried out a similar type of attack at Mohra in the same area. Ten security personnel were killed in the attack that took place on December 5, 2014.
    It is believed that the attack was the handiwork of a freshly infiltrated group of militants who could have entered along the Salamabad Nallah into the town.

SP power tussle: Akhilesh and Shivpal supporters clash, leaders forced to step in
  • The fortunes of Samajwadi Party swung wildly on Saturday. The day started with a show of unity by party workers, devolved into a clash between supporters of the two factions in the afternoon and ended with more claims of unity by the trio of Akhilesh, Mulayam and Shivpal Yadav.
    The day had started with a show of unity around the CM's official residence and Mulayam's house, but soon the cracks began to appear as supporters disbanded into groups based on their allegiances. Thousands of supporters of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh clashed with followers of his uncle Shivpal outside Mulayam's house in Lucknow as they demanded that the CM be reinstated as party chief.
    The presidents of the four youth wings of SP, along with hundreds of supporters gathered outside the SP head quarters shouting pro-Akhilesh slogans. The supporters also marched towards Mulayam's house, which is adjacent to SP headquarters, in an apparent bid to 'gherao' his house. At the same time, Shivpal along with his band of supporters reached Mulayam's house for a meeting. The two groups started shouting slogans for their leaders and with emotions running high, some supporters clashed among them.
    "How can you change our 'Senapati' in the middle of the battle? We are with Akhilesh and will do anything for our young leader", said Mohammad Abad, president of the MSY youth Brigade. However, the police and senior party leaders managed to control the tempers and avert any disaster. A disturbed Mulayam called Akhilesh (who was at his official residence nearby) 'ordering' him to tackle his supporters, according to sources.
    Akhilesh immediately appealed for calm and asked them to stop all agitations and respect the decisions of Netaji. "We all have to abide by Netaji's decision. We have to contest the elections together and form the government. All decisions of Netaji are for the interest of the party. No agitations, banners, posters please", Akhilesh said.
    Later in the day, Mulayam, while addressing the office bearers of the youth wings and party workers, scolded them for the protests against Shivpal's elevation to party chief. "Has Shivpal done anything less (than me) for the party? I have nurtured the party with my blood and will not tolerate any drama. Tum yehann tamasha kar rahe ho aur BJP booth majboot kar rahi hai. (You are creating drama here and BJP is getting strengthened," Mulayam said.

    Akhilesh also went to meet Shivpal at his house in the evening along with his wife and MP Dimple Yadav. "We (party and government) will extend all kind of help to him and we will work together to form the next government. There is little time left and it is time to unite," he said.

AAP to challenge decision asking party to reimburse money spent on ads, alleges BJP conspiracy
  • The Delhi government will challenge in the court the order of a Union government-appointed panel that indicted Arvind Kejriwal's dispensation for splurging exchequer's money on advertisements, as it questioned the committee's neutrality.
    The AAP alleged that it was a ploy to defame the Kejriwal government by the beneficiaries of Modi government and the BJP. "The Delhi government will challenge the very composition of the committee and its biased findings since the Centre is an interested party. It has done a number of flip-flops in the case," said a government spokesperson.
    AAP leader Ashutosh said the Committee's remarks were an apt example of Congress and BJP coming together as the panel gave its report on the complaint filed by DPCC President Ajay Maken against the Delhi government.
    The three-member committee, headed by former chief election commissioner B B Tandon, had been constituted by the I&B ministry on the directions of the Supreme Court to address issues related to content regulation in government advertising. The panel also comprised adman Piyush Pandey and journalist Rajat Sharma.
    "The committee required people of impeccable neutrality and those who could do their job without showing any bias or partiality. But two members of the panel are either linked to the BJP or are beneficiaries of Modi. So, how can one expect a fair report?" Ashutosh alleged, even as he refrained from attacking Tandon.

    The AAP leader alleged that of the two panel members, one is linked to BJP since his college days while the other chalked out a campaign for Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He also said the Delhi government will explain its stand before the Supreme Court. In its report, the committee came down heavily on the AAP government asking the ruling party to reimburse.

    BJP tries to woo voters by including four UP cities in Smart City Mission
    • It's raining infrastructure projects in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh! After getting multiple highway projects last week, four cities of the state might be gifted with smart cities next week. The Ministry of Urban Development is set to announce the next set of 27 cities under the Modi-government's flagship Smart City Mission.
      Sources said that four cities out of Agra, Aligarh, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad and Jhansi might feature in the list. UP is set to witness the political battle early next year and the BJP is looking to unseat Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, who has already started campaigning on the development plank. However, the BJP does not want to be left behind in the race.
      Sources said that so far, only Lucknow has been selected in the first set of smart cities. In July last year, a total of 14 names were given to the Centre by the UP government to be developed as smart cities and only Lucknow could fulfill the criteria.
      Of the rest, Agra, Kanpur and Aligarh stood at 35th, 41st and 52nd position in the list of 100 cities.
      PM Narendra Modi's constituency of Varanasi was at the bottom at the 97th position. Sources said that this time, the administration of these cities have sent fresh plans for development to the Centre, so that they could be included in the next set of smart cities. Interestingly, Rai Bareli and Meerut had the same ranking and their names were sent back to the state.
      The state administration was told to send only one name out of the two. An official said that due to delay from the state government, a decision could not be arrived at. Officials said that the cities are selected only if they meet certain parameters and there is no political motive in their selection. "There are tough parameters and the state administration and municipal bodies have to come up with detailed plans of development," said an official.
      "Finally, they are evaluated by a committee involving a panel of national and international experts, organisations and institutions. Cities from other states including Maharashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand will also be part of the next set of cities," the official added. So far, 33 cities (20 in the first and 13 in the supplementary round) have been selected by the Centre for development as smart cities.
      The government has to choose 100 cities for the first phase which has to be completed by 2019-20. An outlay of Rs 48,000 crore has been kept aside for the flagship programme over a period of five years.

    Second warship 'Mormugao' of Visakhapatnam class launched in Mumbai
    • An indigenously built warship equipped with a range of high-tech missiles was launched today with Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba saying the stealth destroyer can be compared with the best vessels in the world.
      Christened 'Mormugao', the vessel has been built by government-run Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) and belongs to Visakhapatnam class of ships being constructed under Project 15B.
      Admiral Lanba's wife Reena launched the bedecked ship at a function at MDL here at 11.58 am and it was released into the Arabian Sea for the first time. The vessel will undergo certain testings required by Indian Navy and would be subsequently known as INS Mormugao.
      Four more such destroyers would be built and delivered by MDL during 2020-2024, the PSU said in a statement.
      The first ship of the Visakhapatnam class was launched on April 20, 2015.
      Mormugao has a displacement of 7,300 tonne with maximum speed of over 30 knots. The warship is equipped with surface- to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles and anti- submarine rocket launchers. It is also capable of carrying two anti-submarine warfare helicopters.
      Addressing the function before the launch, Admiral Lanba said, "This ship serves the Make in India drive of the country as it is indigenously built."
      "It secures the sea in a better way. Contract for this ship was signed on January 2011. It can be compared with best ships in the world and has been developed by our own designers at DRDO as well as other government agencies and private companies," he said.
      There is a pressing need to build more such ships and reduce the construction period of future vessels, the Navy chief said.
      Admiral Lanba said since 1960 Indian Navy and MDL are building ships together.
      MDL is the only dock in the country that has capability to build submarines.

    Business Affairs 

    'India now seen as destination for innovation, digital transformation'
    • India is now increasingly seen as a destination for innovation and digital transformation mainly due to some of its recently launched initiatives like 'Startup India' and 'Digital India', American entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from the Mid-West have said.
      "India is now being viewed increasingly as a destination for innovation and digital transformation," said Bala Palamadai, president of TiE Midwest and founder-CEO of Bizofit during a meeting of TiE Midwest Chapter on Thursday.
      The Consul General of India in Chicago, Dr Ausaf Sayeed, said the ambitious 'Startup India' programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to fill gaps in the economy for the growth and development of startups and to boost digital entrepreneurship at the grassroots.
      "'Startup India' has brought lots of positivity among the entrepreneurs in India and as of now India has the third largest number of startups globally," he said.
      Neeru Arora, chief information officer and chief knowledge officer, Aon Corporation, elaborated the role of her organisation in promoting entrepreneurship.

      Narendra Kale, who has contributed in formulation of policies pertaining to startups and innovation in India, narrated his own journey of becoming business person by following a disciplined approach and taking risks while promoting entrepreneurship in his life.

    Gujarat is India's growth engine: USIBC
    • Gearing up to participate in the next years Vibrant Gujarat Summit as a partner country, the US India Business Council has termed Gujarat as India's "growth engine".
      "The state of Gujarat is one of the leading states in India for industries and is recognised as India's growth engine," USIBC president Mukesh Aghi yesterday said in an interaction with a delegation of senior official and business leaders from Gujarat.
      "Vibrant Gujarat Summit is one of the most notable efforts in India's attempts to place itself as the topmost investment destination," he said, adding that USIBC is delighted to partner with the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
      Aghi said the summit is also timely as it will be held during a critical phase of the GST roll-out.
      Led by Bharat Lal, Resident Commissioner of Gujarat, the Gujarat delegation concluded its multi-city roadshow in the US.
      The multi-city industry roundtables aim to provide an opportunity for the delegation to present Gujarat as the leading investment destination in India.
      USIBC organised industry receptions and roundtables in Houston, Chicago, New York, Washington DC and Menlo Park, providing an opportunity for the delegation to meet over 100 top US companies across industries, including healthcare, food and agriculture, defence, logistics and infrastructure.
      Some of the companies in attendance during the roadshow included MasterCard, UST Global, JP Morgan, Thompson Reuter, Abbott, Aemetis, Lockheed Martin, Cisco and Welspun.
      As part of the roadshow, the Council also hosted a roundtable with Ajay Pandey, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT).
      GIFT is being developed as a global financial and IT services hub, a first of its kind in India, designed to be at or above par with globally benchmarked financial centers.

      Pandey discussed the International Financial Services Centre in GIFT and the benefits to the entities setting up operations in these cities that include the Minimum Alternative Tax, reduced from 18.5 per cent to nine per cent, the Security Transaction Tax (STT), Commodity Transaction Tax (CTT) and Long Term Capital Gains (LTCG) waived off, a media release said.

    ICICI Prudential Life IPO to raise $244 million from anchor investors
    • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co Ltd, which is due to launch on Monday India's biggest initial public offering of shares in six years, is raising 16.35 billion rupees ($243.7 million) by selling shares to 38 anchor investors as part of the IPO.
      The IPO, which will see the insurer's parent ICICI Bank selling an about 12.63 percent stake, aims to raise as much as 60.57 billion rupees. The sale opens for public subscription on Monday and will continue until Wednesday.
      The anchor investors led by the government of Singapore and Nomura India Investment Fund Mother fund and the Monetary Authority of Singapore are buying about 48.96 million shares at 334 rupees apiece, according to a regulatory filing late on Friday.

      ICICI Bank is selling a total of up to 181.34 million shares in the insurance arm's IPO. It has set a price range of 300 rupees to 334 rupees for the sale.

    Mumbai ponzi case: Enforcement Directorate attaches Rs 91 crore in Singapore bank account
    • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached over Rs 91 crore kept in a Singapore bank in connection with a money laundering probe in a Mumbai-based ponzi scam case.
      The amount, which was attached under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), pertains to the City Limousine chitfund case and a probe is underway against the Chairman of chitfund, Sayed M Masood, for floating illegal ponzi schemes by promising extraordinary returns.
      Officials said the agency carried out the action with the help of their Singaporean counterparts and attached "Rs 91.3 crore in foreign currency in Singapore bank accounts". The total seizure of assets in this case now totals to Rs 385 crore.
      The agency had attached Rs 166 crore in Singapore last year and Rs 6 crore funds lying in a Swiss bank account in 2012 apart from few other such attachments in the past in this case.
      The central probe agency considers these funds to be the "proceeds of crime" .
      The agency is investigating the case as it suspects that "by floating ponzi schemes offering astronomically high returns, Ms City Limousines (India) Limited and Ms City Realcom Limited, its Chairman and other directors of the companies have cheated thousands of investors across the country of funds to the tune of hundreds of crores."

      An attachment, under PMLA, is aimed to deprive an accussed from taking benefits of their ill-gotten assets and such an order can be challenged by the accused at the adjudicating authority of the said Act within a period of 180 days.

    Sebi to auction Tower Infotech's properties next month
    • To collect funds for repayment to investors, market regulator Sebi will next month conduct an auction of three properties of West Bengal-based Tower Infotech, which had garnered money through illegal pooling schemes.
      The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has initiated the process for sale of assets of Tower Infotech, as per an order from Calcutta High Court, under which the auction would be conducted for sale of the company's assets.
      In a notice, the capital markets watchdog said that the sale of Tower Infotech's three properties will be conducted on October 4, before the High Court.
      The sale would be conducted through physical auction and the properties would not be sold below the reserve price fixed.
      The properties listed for sale includes storied buildings and a land parcel in Calcutta with a reserve price of totalling Rs 5.2 crore.
      Prospective buyers have been asked to send applications along with a payment for an amount equivalent to 10 per cent of the reserve price as earnest money by October 3.

      These properties can be inspected during September 26-27. Last year, Sebi had conducted an auction for a land parcel of Tower Infotech. In 2014, the regulator had auctioned the company's four properties. 

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