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Current Affairs - 10 August 2017

General Affairs 

Congress Expels 8 Gujarat Lawmakers For Cross-Vote Against Ahmed Patel
  • A day after securing a Rajya Sabha seat for Ahmed Patel, the political advisor to Sonia Gandhi, in a cliff-hanger election, the Congress today cracked down on eight legislators who voted against him. Following the lead of strongman Shankersinh Vaghela, the legislators had defied the whip, or formal orders from the party, to vote for Mr Patel.

    Among the expelled legislators are Mr Vaghela - who exited the party last month -- and his son Mahendrasinh Vaghela. Miffed at not being projected as the party's Chief Ministerial candidate, Mr Vaghela had quit on his birthday last month. Six others left with him and three of them had promptly joined the BJP -- one of them Balwantsinh Rajput, the candidate BJP fielded against Ahmed Patel.  

    "We have expelled them for six years as they defied the party whip and cross-voted. We will take action against them under the anti-defection law also," Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.

    Ms Patel had won the election - barely - after a prolonged, bitter, late-night drama that ended in disqualification of the votes of two Congress lawmakers in the early hours of Wednesday.  The disqualification had brought down the number of first preference votes a candidate needed to win from 45 to 44. Mr Patel had polled exactly 44 votes.

    Ms Patel was counting on the 44 of the party's 51 lawmakers, whom the Congress had whisked off to Bengaluru ahead of the elections; 43 of the votes came from the Congress. It is not yet known who cast the crucial 44th vote.  But the Congress had also said they were expecting the votes of two legislators from Sharad Pawar's NCP, one legislator from JD(U) and Shankersinh Vaghela.

    After the voting yesterday, Mr Vaghela had announced that he had not voted for Mr Patel. "He doesn't stand a chance, won't even cross 40... Even legislators currently with Congress will not vote for him," he had told reporters.

Medha Patkar Arrested On Her Way To Dhar, Sent To Jail
  • Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar was arrested today when she was on her way to Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh to meet the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) oustees, the police said.

    "We have arrested her as she insisted on going back to meet the oustees. We have told her that it is not possible to allow her to go to Dhar as section 144, CrPc has been imposed in the area," Ajay Sharma, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Indore range, said.

    The police stopped Ms Patkar and informed her that she could not proceed to Dhar, but as she refused to relent, she was placed under arrest at the border of Indore and Dhar districts, and subsequently, taken to Dhar, he added.

    "We will ask her to furnish a bond stating that section 144 will not be violated. If she furnishes it, we will release her," the ADGP said.

    Subsequently, Ms Patkar was produced before a sub-divisional judicial magistrate at Dhar who sent her to jail.

    Medha Patkar (62) and 11 others were forcibly removed from Chikhalda in Dhar on August 7, where they were staging an indefinite fast demanding a proper rehabilitation of the oustees, and were admitted in different hospitals.

    Earlier in the day, Ms Patkar was discharged from a private hospital in Indore after her condition improved.

    After she was discharged from the Bombay Hospital, Ms Patkar said her indefinite fast would continue.

    Ms Patkar (62) and the other activists have been fasting for 14 days.

    "Medicines were administered through drips to the fasting agitators in various hospitals but none of us has eaten food so far. We demand the oustees be allowed to stay in their original dwellings till proper arrangements are made for their rehabilitation," Ms Patkar, who came out of the hospital on a wheelchair, told reporters.

    She claimed that the process of rehabilitation of the displaced people in the Narmada valley was yet to be completed.

    "At many places, even drinking water is not available. But the state government is insisting the people to go to these places. This situation is not acceptable to the oustees and therefore, they continue to stay put at their original dwellings," she added.

    Ms Patkar said a special leave petition (SLP) came up before the Supreme Court yesterday, but it was dismissed as a related case was pending before the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

    "The hearing in the case is scheduled tomorrow in the high court. On behalf of the dam oustees, we appeal to the judiciary to deliver justice in the matter," she added.

    Ms Patkar termed as "incorrect" Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's "claims" that different decisions of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal on the issue of rehabilitation were being followed by his government.

    "The state government is just making announcements, statements and giving out figures, but is doing nothing on the issue," she alleged.

    Asked about her future course of action, the activist said a plan to stage a "big agitation" would be finalised soon.

    Ms Patkar alleged that after her removal from the site of the fast, she was kept in an "illegal" custody in the hospital.

    "I was allowed to meet only two-three persons. They also did not allow me to use my mobile phone," she claimed.

    However, Indore Divisional Commissioner Sanjay Dube dismissed Ms Patkar's charge.

    "Every hospital has its own rules. In view of the health condition of the patient, the management did not allow every visitor to go to the ICU (where Patkar was admitted). Still, some were allowed to meet her," he said.

    Mr Dube said Ms Patkar was admitted in the hospital on a written advice of doctors that her life was in danger due to the fast.

    Thousands of families, living along the banks of the Narmada river in Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone districts of Madhya Pradesh, are at the risk of getting displaced with the closing of the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam in neighbouring Gujarat and the resultant rise in the water level in its catchment area.

Mega Silent March In Mumbai By Maratha Groups Over Quota
  • Mumbai is facing a near shut down today with the Maratha Kranti Morcha holding a massive rally in the city. Lakhs of the politically powerful community prepared for their first, biggest and final mammoth 'mook morcha' (silent procession) to demand reservations in jobs and education in Mumbai today.

    Started since August 9, 2016, with processions in 57 different cities, the Maratha Kranti Morcha made its maiden entry in the state capital and ended the year-long campaign through processions by submitting a memo to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

    The state government, police, BMC and other agencies were fully geared since the past 24 hours as participants in the mega-morcha started trickling in from different parts of the state since Monday night.

    While the authorities anticipate participation of between 500,000-800,000 Marathas from across the state, the organisers are optimistic it will be the jewel in the crown of all morchas so far with the figure crossing three million.

    Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane told mediapersons that the procession will start marching from Byculla, south Mumbai in a peaceful and orderly manner, silently, without political speeches and terminate at the historic Azad Maidan some four km away at 5 pm.

    "Thereafter, a delegation of Maratha leaders will meet the Chief Minister and submit a memorandum listing the various demands. Though there are many demands, the stress will be on education and job reservations for the Maratha community members," said Mr Rane, a former Chief Minister and a prominent Maratha leader himself.

    He had headed a special committee appointed by the previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party regime to study the socio-economic conditions of the Maratha community.

    Today's procession has bagged the support of all the political parties with even the NDA constituents Shiv Sena and Republican Party of India(A) announcing their backing late on Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, the Maratha brigade which trooped into Mumbai from the five entry points, besides the railways, resulted in huge traffic jams in Mumbai and adjacent districts of Thane, Raigad and Palghar.

    They have been reaching the state capital by trains, private vehicles, trucks, tempos and even two-wheelers waving Maratha flags and sporting bright orange turbans, entering through railway stations and the entry points.

    The Mumbai Police have geared up with over 7,000 personnel, including commandos, armed police, cops in plainclothes, assigned for providing security duties during the procession.

    The police plan to make big use of the social media like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, FM radios and other media to provide updates on traffic to the millions of office-goers in the morning and evening peak hours.

    All schools and colleges in south Mumbai were ordered shut by Education Minister Vinod Tawde on the day to ensure students were not inconvenienced during the procession.

India Learnt From 1962 War, Says Arun Jaitley Amid Sikkim Standoff
  • Amid the border standoff with China, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today said that the Indian armed forces are strong enough to meet any challenge to the country's security as he underlined that lessons have been learnt from the 1962 war.

    He also said in the Rajya Sabha that the people of the country have a predominant wish of retrieving the parts of Jammu and Kashmir that are occupied by Pakistan since 1948.

    Mr Jaitley, while initiating a special debate to mark the 75th anniversary of the 'Quit India' Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942, said India had faced many challenges over these decades but "we can proudly say the country became stronger with each challenge".

    He said India had "learnt a lesson" from the 1962 war with China and that "the armed forces have been made fully capable...because even today the nation faces challenges from our neighbouring countries."

    Compared to 1962, the armed forces were made stronger in the 1965 and 1971 wars, Mr Jaitley said. In 1962, India had to face a war imposed by China and suffer severe reverses. However, in the wars of 1965 and 1971 thrust by Pakistan, India had emerged victorious. "I agree that some challenges are still there. Some people are targeting our country's sovereignty and integrity. But I am fully confident that our brave soldiers have the capabilty to keep our country secure, may it be challenges on the eastern border or the western border," he said.

    "The armed forces can give any kind of sacrifice for the security of the nation," the defence minister asserted.

    Defence Minister Jaitley's message assumes significance as it comes amid a two-month-long border standoff with China in Doklam even though he did not specifically mention it. He also referred to the occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan soon after Independence.

    "Initially (after Independence), we faced a crisis. Our neighbour had an eye on Kashmir. Even today, we cannot forget that a part of the country has got separated. It is a wish of every Indian today as to how to retrieve that part (of our country)," the minister said.

    Mr Jaitley, who is Leader of the Rajya Sabha, said today was the day to commit to make India a strong, just and economically-progressive country. He underlined the need for freeing the country from all kinds of violence, be it in the name terrorism, politics or religion.

    Mr Jaitley said that the country is facing a bigger challenge from terrorism and Left-wing extremism.

    In a clear reference to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Mr Jaitley said "a prime minister and a former prime minister had to lose their lives to terrorism."

    Mr Jaitley said that people from across the border and also some people within the country who have taken to arms, are trying to spread terrorism especially in the northern region of the country. He said that the security forces, including the Army, CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir police have contributed immensely in the fight against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, though some incidents still take place.

    Mr Jaitley stressed that the House and the whole nation needed to commit in one voice to fight the menace of terrorism. He also emphasised on probity in public life and reduction of money use in politics.

    Emphasising that different religions and castes are an integral part of the country, Mr Jaitley said it is important to manitain harmony in the country. The minister said that there should be no place in the country for violence in the name of politics, religion and terrorism. "The country should be freed from such violence," he said and added that on this historic day there is a need to take pledge to make India strong, just and economically progressive.

China Media And Official Both Issue Strong Warnings On War With India
  • The countdown to a military conflict between India and China has begun, a Chinese daily claimed today, while a senior government official in Beijing baited India by suggesting Delhi's actions could be matched by Chinese soldiers entering Uttarakhand or Kashmir.

    In Parliament, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley underscored that the armed forces are strong enough to meet any challenge to the country's security and underlined that lessons have been learnt from the 1962 war with China. "I agree that some challenges are still there. Some people are targeting our country's sovereignty and integrity. But I am fully confident that our brave soldiers have capability to keep our country secure, may it be challenges on the eastern border or the western border," he said.

    His comments came on a day when a senior official in China made aggressive remarks about the possibility of the escalation of the dispute at Sikkim which began in the middle of June.

    Beijing refers to the area that is simmering with tension as Donglang and claims it is Chinese territory.  Bhutan and India say the region is part of the tiny Himalayan kingdom and that Indian soldiers moved to prevent the Chinese army from constructing a road there because it violates the status quo on the highly sensitive area which is located at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan.

    India has proposed that both countries call back their soldiers, but Beijing has refused, stating that India has "illegally transgressed" the border at Sikkim and is therefore he only party obliged to withdraw its troops.

    "Even if there is only one Indian soldier, even for a day it is still a violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity," claimed Wang Wenli, a top official with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Ms Wang was briefing an Indian media delegation.  "It is impossible to have a dialogue with India at this time. Our people will think our government is incompetent," she said.   

    "We think it is not doable for the Indian side to use tri-junction as an excuse," she alleged."The Indian side has many tri-junctions. What if we use the same excuse and enter the Kalapani region between China, India and Nepal, or even into the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan?" she dared.

    Asked whether China was getting ready for a war with India, Ms Wang said, "I can only say that for the PLA (People's Liberation Army) and for the Chinese government, we have the determination. So, if the Indian side decides to go down the wrong path or still have illusions about this incident, then we have the right to use any act that is in line with the international law to protect our rights."

    Both India and China have said that diplomatic channels are being used to resolve the conflict.

    An editorial in the state-run China Daily today warned India that the "clock is ticking away" and "India will only have itself to blame" if it does not withdraw its soldiers from the Doklam plateau which has hosted a military confrontation between the two countries since the middle of June. "As the standoff ... enters its seventh week, the window for a peaceful solution is closing," said the China daily.

Business Affairs

Suspected shell firms: BSE imposes trade curbs on remaining five shell companies
  • Leading stock exchange BSE today imposed maximum trading curbs on five remaining firms from SEBI 's list of '331 suspected shell companies', expanding the restrictions to a total of 167 stocks trading on its platforms.
    These five companies are Inter Globe Finance Ltd, Green Fire Agri Commodities Ltd, NovaGold Petro Resources Ltd, Triton Corp Ltd and Bhagyashree Leasing & Finance Ltd.
    Out of the entire list, trading in 164 companies had already been suspended for various penal reasons or as part of surveillance measures, before SEBI issued directions to the stock exchanges seeking actions against 331 firms, alleged to have indulged in tax-related violations and other discrepancies.
    Out of the 167 actively traded companies, BSE announced maximum trading restrictions -- Stage VI of Graded Surveillance Measures (GSM) -- on the same day of SEBI's August 7 directive by imposing the directed curbs with effect from August 8.
    In a circular issued today in furtherance to the Monday circular, the BSE said the remaining five securities will also be moved to GSM Stage VI under the same directions with effect from August 10 and all provisions stated in the SEBI directions shall be applicable to these companies.
    Earlier on Monday, the 162 companies on which these curbs were imposed included ATN International, Adhunik Industries, Anshu's Clothing, Assam Company, Birla Cotsyn, Cals Refineries, Filmcity Media, GV Films, JKumar Infraprojects, Kwality Credit and Leasing, Lotus Eye Hospital, MVL Ltd, Nicco Corp, Nimbus Foods, NU TEK India, Parsvnath Developers, REI Ago, REI Six Ten Retail, Sanguine Media and Zenith Birla.
    Some of these firms today approached Securities and Appellate Tribunal (SAT) against SEBI and the BSE for being tagged as shell companies.
    In a regulatory filing, Inter Globe Finance today said it has made representations to SEBI and the BSE on the matter.
    The company said it is a "surprise" to note that its name has been mentioned in SEBI's list of 331 firms.
    "At the outset we would like to inform you that we are not a "shell company" as alleged. We are not a company which can by any stretch of imagination be termed as such and we are a healthy profit making company having an annual turnover of over Rs 77.50 crore and profit of Rs 2.45 crore during the Financial Year 2016-17," the company said.
    It further added, "We also have over 13,900 plus shareholders and paid dividends regularly to our shareholders since 2011. Our scrip is actively traded in BSE and we have also complied with all the regulations and at no time the authorities had issued any notices to us in this regard."
    It also mentioned the company has no investor complaints which are pending and there is no income tax department matter which was pending and therefore keeping it under shell company is "totally unwarranted and uncalled for".
    The company also asserted that there has never been any occasion when it has been indulged in any kind of malpractices in stock market and asked the regulator and the exchange to withdraw their directions and allow normal trading in its stock.

Govt notifies timeline for filing of tax returns under GST. Here are the filing dates
  • The Central Board of Excise and Customs has notified the timeline for furnishing final tax returns under the new tax regime. The CBEC has issued a notification saying outward supplies in Form GSTR-1 for the month of July will have to be filed between September 1-5 and for August, it is to be filed between September 16-20. The original date for filing GSTR-1 was 10th of the next month.
    Earlier in June, the GST Council had allowed businesses extended timeline for filing final GST returns in forms GSTR-1, GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 for July and August. In the interim period, businesses have to file GSTR-3B which is a summary of self-assessed tax liabilities with consolidated details of outward supplies and input credit.
    Details of inward supplies in Form GSTR-2 for July will have to be filed between September 6-10. For August, the date is September 21-25. The original date for filing of GSTR-2 was 15th of the next month. Form GSTR-3 for July will now have to be filed between September 11-15 and for August the date is September 26-30.
    The original date for filing GSTR-3, which is the monthly return on the basis of finalisation of details of outward supplies and inward supplies along with the payment of amount of tax, was 20th of the next month.
    As regards GSTR-3B, the GST Network portal has started the facility for filing of July returns from August 5. The last date for filing the GSTR-3B for July 2017 is August 20, while the same for the month of August 2017 is September 20. Over 71.30 lakh excise, service tax and VAT payers have migrated to the GSTN portal and over 15 lakh new assessees have registered on the platform.

Sintex Plastics stock falls after strong debut on BSE, NSE
  • Sintex Plastics Technology, a subsidiary of Sintex Industries, listed on the BSE and NSE today.
    The stock briefly hit the upper circuit of 136.5 level between 10:00 am and 10:30 am and subsequently fell to intra day and 52-week low of 123.60 on the BSE.
    At 1228 hours, the stock was trading 3 percent or 4 points lower at 126.05 level.
    Around 47.05 crore Sintex Plastics shares were traded on the BSE till 12:30 pm.
    Sintex Plastics makes prefabricated structures, custom moulding and storage tanks.
    On September 29, the Sintex Indsutries board cleared the scheme of demerger of custom moulding and Prefab business into Sintex-BAPL and Sintex Infra Projects, respectively.
    Meanwhile, the Sensex and Nifty were trading 176 and 52 points lower at 32,097 and 10,004 levels, respectively. 

Bank of India swings into black in Q1 on lower NPAs
  • State-owned Bank of India (BOI) swung into black by registering a standalone net profit of Rs 87.71 crore for the first quarter ended June as bad loans were brought down year-on-year.
    The bank had reported a net loss of Rs 741.36 crore in the April-June quarter of previous fiscal due to bad assets and higher provisioning to cover it.
    Compared sequentially also, the performance has been good as there was a net loss of Rs 1,045.54 crore on banks balance sheet during March quarter of previous fiscal, the bank said in a regulatory filing. While for the full year 2016-17, there was a net loss of Rs 1,558.34 crore on its books.
    Earnings-wise, banks total income during April-June quarter of 2017-18 increased to Rs 11,106.61 crore from Rs 10,664.36 crore in the same period a year earlier.
    The bank improved on its asset front with gross non- performing assets falling to 13.05 per cent of the gross advances as on June 30, 2017 from 13.38 per cent at the end- June 2016.
    Net NPAs or bad loans also fell to 6.70 per cent of the net advances by June end this year, as against 7.78 per cent a year ago.
    Thus, provisions to cover bad loans came down to Rs 2,245.28 crore for June quarter, compared to Rs 2,770.19 crore, which the bank had parked for the first quarter of 2016-17.
    "In terms of RBI circular,...the board of directors of the bank has approved standard assets provision of 0.10 per cent over and above the regulatory minimum in respect of banks advances pertaining to textiles, iron & steel and telecommunications sectors. Accordingly, an additional provision of Rs 13.23 crore has been made," the bank said.
    "As per RBI directions for initiating Insolvency Process-Provisioning Norms...the bank is required to make additional provisions estimated to Rs 915 crore in respect of accounts covered under provisions of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code to be proportionately spread over three quarters from second quarter, i.e. September 2017, so that the required provisions are fully in place by March 2018," the lender said.
    The lender said it has made a preferential allotment of 1.75 crore equity shares to the LIC of India for a total consideration of Rs 221.92 crore during the first quarter of current fiscal.
    Also, it received Rs 1,500 crore from the government as capital infusion money in lieu of preferential allotment of shares. Stock of the bank jumped 2.19 per cent up to Rs 156.05 on BSE post earnings announcement.

Mutual funds' equity interest hits record high in July: Report
  • Total equity inflows into domestic mutual funds rose to all time high of Rs 18,200 crore in July, indicating the 'financialisation' of savings cycle in India, says a Deutsche Bank report. According to the global financial services major, July was a historic month for Indian equities, with total equity inflows (equity plus equity-linked savings schemes plus equity component of balanced funds) into domestic mutual funds rising to an all-time high of Rs 18,200 crore or USD 2.8 billion.
    "The accelerating momentum of inflows into the equity schemes of mutual funds indicates that the financialisation of the domestic savings cycle in India-which began in earnest in 2014-is becoming deeply entrenched," Deutsche Bank said in a research note.
    The report further said the rising component of Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) in total monthly inflows underscores how significantly the profile of Indian savings is shifting towards equity investments.
    Moreover, domestic mutual funds' ownership of BSE 500 companies rose from a low of 3 per cent in March 2014 to 6 per cent as of June 2017.
    "We view this as a constructive development, as it incrementally reduces the vulnerability of Indian equities to external developments and also reduces the cost of capital for domestic companies," the report noted.
    It added, however, that at 11 per cent, the absolute holding of domestic mutual funds and domestic insurance companies remains significantly lower than that of Foreign Institutional Investors at 21 per cent.
    It further noted that mutual funds have strong preference for domestic cyclical sectors, like financials, industrials and consumer discretionary which account for almost 60 per cent of mutual funds' ownership value in BSE 500 firms, as of June 30, 2017. "Sectors where we see relatively lower ownership include real estate, telecom and utilities," it added. 

General Awareness

Justice Dipak Misra appointed as 45th Cheif Justice of India

  • On August 8, 2018, Union Government appointed Justice Dipak Misra as the 45th Chief Justice of India (CJI) with effect from August 28, 2017. He will be replacing incumbent Justice J S Khehar, who is set to retire on August 27, 2017.
    Highlights of Justice Dipak Misra’s Career:
    Born on October 3, 1953, Justice Dipak Misra is the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after Justice Khehar.He is the nephew of Ranganath Misrawho too was CJI from Sept 1990 – November 1991.
    • Justice Misra will have tenure of about 14 months till October 2, 2018.
    • He enrolled as an advocate on February 14, 1977 and was appointed an Additional Judge of the Orissa High Court in 1996.
    • After a stint in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, he became a Permanent Judge in December 1997 before assuming charge as the Chief Justice of Patna High Court in 2009 and, later on, served as Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.
    • Justice Misra was elevated to the Supreme Court on October 10, 2011.
    • He is presently hearing a slew of important cases which include the BCCI case for transparency in Indian cricket administration and the SEBI-Sahara spat.
    • In May 2017, Justice Misra authored the landmark judgementconfirming the death penalty of four convicts in the brutal Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case.
    • He was also part of the Bench of the Supreme Court’s seven senior most judges who convicted then Calcutta High Court judge Justice C.S. Karnan, of contempt of court and sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment.
    It is to be noted that Justice Misra will be the third person from Odisha to be appointed the Chief Justice of India, after Justices Ranganath Misra and G B Pattanaik.

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