Current Affairs Current Affairs - 07 September 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 07 September 2017

General Affairs 

Army Chief Says 'Salami Slicing' By China Could Lead To War With Pak Too
  • A week after India and China ended their worst military confrontation in decades, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that the possibility of a two-front war against China on the North and Pakistan to the West cannot be ruled out.
    "As far as the Northern adversary is concerned, flexing of muscles has started. Salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits or threshold is something we have to be wary about. Remain prepared for situations that are emerging gradually into conflict," he said about China.

    He warned that a war with China could easily end up involving its long-term ally, Pakistan. "Whether these conflicts will be limited and confined in space and time, or whether these can expand into an all-out war along the entire front with the Western adversary (Pakistan) taking advantage of the situation developing on the Northern border is very much likely."

    This isn't the first time the Army Chief has spoken about the possibility of a two-front war, but the timing of his remarks indicate how sensitive the Army remains to the situation with China. The remarks come just a day after Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Xinping met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Xiamen in China. Both leaders spoke of the need to "do more" to prevent border aggression. President Xi stressed to PM Modi that it's important for relations between the two countries to get on "the right track."

    In mid-June, Indian soldiers crossed the border at Sikkim to stop China from constructing a new road on the remote Dokalm Plateau that Beijing considers its own, though India backs Bhutan's claim to the region. Enraged, China accused India of "illegally transgressing" into its terrain.

    India said it had warned that the new road would be treated as a serious threat to the security of its northeastern states. Soldiers from both sides than stood eyeball-to-eyeball for more than 70 days, till both sides agreed, through diplomatic talks and despite daily shrill rhetoric from China, to withdraw their troops. China has not clearly indicated whether it has abandoned its plans for the new road. Indian sources say Beijing has removed its bulldozers and other road-making equipment.

    While yesterday's discussions between PM Modi and President Xi have been described as being positive, India has decided to expand the scope of its military relationship with Japan which has a testy equation with China.

    In a move likely to irk China, India and Japan today significantly stepped up defence ties during the visit of Arun Jaitley to Tokyo on his last trip as India's Defence Minister before Nirmala Sitharaman replaces him tomorrow.

    The Indian and Japanese Armies plan on holding joint anti-terrorism exercises for the first time next year. Japan, which participated in the Malabar Naval Exercise with the US and India in the Bay of Bengal in July, wants to step up its level of engagement in these war games by sending across its state of the art P-1 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, the most sophisticated aircraft of its class presently operated by its navy.

    The navies of both countries will also train together in anti-submarine warfare and anti-mine warfare exercises which could see the Indian Navy deploy its US-built P-8-I anti-submarine jets to Japanese naval bases for the very first time.

India Shares Myanmar's Concerns Over 'Extremist Violence' In Rakhine State: PM Modi
  • India said today that it shares Myanmar's concerns over "extremist violence" in the Rakhine state from where 125,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging all stakeholders to find a solution that respects the country's unity.

    Prime Minister Modi, who held wide-ranging talks with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, asserted that it was important to maintain the security and stability of the land and maritime boundaries of the two countries.

    The two leaders also vowed to combat terror and boost security cooperation.

    PM Modi's first bilateral visit to Myanmar comes at a time when the Myanmarese government led by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi is facing international pressure over the 125,000 Rohingya Muslims that have poured into Bangladesh in just two weeks after Myanmar's military launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state.

    PM Modi, in his joint press statement with Ms Suu Kyi after the talks, said India understands the problems being faced by Myanmar. He said India shares Myanmar's concerns over "extremist violence" in the Rakhine state, especially the loss of innocent lives of the people and the security personnel.

    "When it comes to a big peace process or finding a solution to a special issue, we hope that all stakeholders can work together towards finding a solution which while respecting the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar ensures peace, justice and dignity for all," PM Modi said.

    His remarks came a day after Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said Rohingyas are illegal immigrants and will be deported from India. Mr Rijiju had asserted that nobody should preach India on the issue as the country has absorbed the maximum number of refugees in the world.

    After talks between PM Modi and Ms Suu Kyi, 11 agreements were signed between the two sides in areas like maritime security, strengthening democratic institutions in Myanmar, health and information technology.

    PM Modi, in his statement, stressed on scaling up security cooperation, saying that being neighbours, the two countries have similar security concerns.

    Taking a strong stance on terror, Ms Suu Kyi said, "Together we will ensure that terror is not allowed to take root on our soil or on the soil of neighbouring countries."

    Ms Suu Kyi also thanked India for taking a strong stand on the terror threat that Myanmar faced recently.

    Rohingya militants raided police posts in Myanmar's Rakhine state last month, killing 12 security personnel.

    The meeting between PM Modi and Ms Suu Kyi came on a day she was quoted as telling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that global outrage over Myanmar's treatment of its Rohingya Muslims was being fuelled by "a huge iceberg of misinformation".

    Sympathy for the Rohingya was being generated by "a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists", Ms Suu Kyi was quoted by an official statement as telling Mr Erdogan in a call.

    Ms Suu Kyi has come under fire in recent days for failing to speak out against violence targeting Rohingyas, particularly given her previous image as a champion of human rights.

    Hundreds have died since Rohingya militants raided police posts in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also called for the Muslims of Rakhine state to be given either nationality or legal status, and voiced concern about violence that has since late August forced nearly 125,000 people to flee and risk destabilising the region.

    PM Modi also asserted that India stands by Myanmar amid the challenges the country is facing. He said that India has decided to grant gratis (no-cost) visa to Myanmarese citizens who wish to visit the country.

    PM Modi highlighted the development initiatives India was undertaking in Mynamar especially in capacity building, which Ms Suu Kyi said her country needed the most.

    "I believe the democratic experience of India is relevant for Myanmar and that is why we are proud of our massive support in the capacity building of the executive, legislature, election commission and press council and other institutions in Myanmar," Prime Minister Modi said.

    Talking about India's assistance to Myanmar, he said the work on the Paletwa Inland Waterways Terminal and Sittwe port under the Kaladan project has been completed.

    PM Modi also noted that the high-speed diesel from India has started coming through trucks to meet the needs of Upper Myanmar.

    Under the development partnership, PM Modi highlighted India's assistance in the development of high quality education and healthcare and research facilities in Myanmar. He said in future also India would take up projects that will be according to the needs and priorities of Myanmar.

    "Today's agreements will strengthen our all-round bilateral cooperation," the prime minister said. He also lauded Ms Suu Kyi's leadership in Myanmar's peace process.

    Earlier, during the delegation-level talks, Prime Minister Modi said, "We would like to contribute to Myanmar's development efforts as part of our 'Sabka saath sabka vikaas' initiative."

    He said deepening the relationship with Myanmar was a priority for India, as a neighbour and also in the context of the 'Act East Policy'.

    Later in the day, PM Modi flew to Bagan and paid respects at the Ananda Temple there.

    PM Modi arrived in Myanmar on the second leg of his two-nation trip after he travelled to the southeastern Chinese city Xiamen where he attended the annual BRICS Summit.

    Yesterday, PM Modi called on Myanmarese President Htin Kyaw, describing it as a "wonderful meeting". They had discussed steps to deepen the "historical relationship" between the two neighbours.

    This is PM Modi's first bilateral visit to Myanmar. He had visited the country in 2014 to attend the ASEAN-India Summit.

    The Myanmarese president and Ms Suu Kyi had visited India last year.

    Myanmar is one of India's strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states.

India Wants To Extend Its Ties With Russia's Far East: Sushma Swaraj
  • India is keen to expand its economic ties with Russia's resource-rich Far East, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said as she sought the Russian government's assistance in facilitating Indian investors in the region.

    Ms Swaraj said the leadership of the two countries had identified trade and economic relations as a top priority in their overall partnership and both the nations made "very significant" investments in each other's countries last year.

    "India invested $5.5 billion in the oil sector in Russia. The largest Russian investment in India of $12.9 billion, which is also India's largest FDI, was concluded last month in the oil sector between Rosneft and Essar," she said at the India-Russia Business Dialogue at the Eastern Economic Forum held in Russia.

    "Politically, India has the best of relations with Russia. We have been partners for seven decades, and our friendship has expanded to almost all sectors of human activity," Ms Swaraj said.

    Terming the meeting as the start of a new and "promising" beginning in expanding India's economic ties with the Russian Far East, Ms Swaraj said the two countries should identify areas of common interest and encourage more interactions.

    "I see this as the start of a new and promising beginning in expanding India's economic ties with the Russian Far East...I am confident that the Russian Government will assist Indian investors in the region," Ms Swaraj said in a statement.

    She also sought investment from the Russian business community.

    "I would like to reiterate our invitation to regions and businesspersons of the Far East to visit India...Greater trade, commerce and investment with the Far East will help us in achieving the target of 30 billion US dollars that we have set for our bilateral trade by the year 2025," she said.

    "India is one of the most dynamic economies of the world. Based on the vibrant and progressive policies of our government, the Indian economy is firmly embarked on a strong growth trajectory. Ambitious policy measures such as the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax have made doing business in India easier," Ms Swaraj said.

    She said under the 'Make in India' and 'Start-up India' flagship programmes the government had made concerted efforts to attract technology, investments and best practices from across the world.

    "There has been no better time to engage with India. I can assure our Russian friends that in India, a warm welcome awaits them," Ms Swaraj said.

    She said the Russian Far East was one of the richest regions in the world and India is among the fastest growing large economies of the world. "There is lot that can be done together. When other markets are closing we need to find new ones and create virtuous cycles of investment. Investment is in the ultimate analysis (of) an act of faith," she said.

    "Today, the Russian Far East authorities are actively inviting Indian investments into their region. The areas identified as priority sectors such as machine industry, oil and gas, fisheries, agriculture, metals and mining, diamonds, timber, transport and logistics and tourism are all of interest to India," she added.

    Ms Swaraj also said that India will provide an annual grant of $10,000 to fund the study of Indology at the Centre of Regional and International Studies at Far East Federal University.

    "This will contribute to building greater awareness about India and more exchanges," she said.

United Nations Warns Of Catastrophe As Myanmar Rohingya Exodus Nears 150,000
  • Nearly 150,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh in less than two weeks, officials said on Wednesday after the United Nations chief warned there is a risk of ethnic cleansing in the former Burma that could destabilise the wider region.

    Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi blamed "terrorists" for "a huge iceberg of misinformation" on the violence in Rakhine state but she made no mention of the exodus of Rohingya since violence broke out there on Aug. 25.

    She has come under increasing pressure from countries with Muslim populations, including Indonesia, where thousands led by Islamist groups held a rally in Jakarta on Wednesday, to demand that diplomatic ties with Buddhist-majority Myanmar be cut.

    In a rare letter to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern that the violence in Rakhine could spiral into a "humanitarian catastrophe".

    Reuters reporters in the impoverished Cox's Bazar region of neighbouring Bangladesh have witnessed boatloads of exhausted Rohingya arriving near the border village of Shamlapur.

    According to the latest estimates issued by U.N. workers operating in Cox's Bazar, arrivals in just 12 days stood at 146,000. This brought to 233,000 the total number of Rohingya who have sought refuge in Bangladesh since last October.

    Newly arrived Rohingyas told authorities that three boats carrying between them more than 100 people capsized in the early hours of Wednesday. Coast guard Commander M.S. Kabir said six bodies, including three children, had since washed ashore.


    The surge of refugees - many sick or wounded - has strained the resources of aid agencies and communities already helping hundreds of thousands from previous spasms of violence in Myanmar. Many have no shelter, and aid agencies are racing to provide clean water, sanitation and food.

    "People have come with virtually nothing so there has to be food," a U.N. source working there said. "So this is now a huge concern - where is this food coming from for at least the elderly, the children, the women who have come over without their husbands?"

    Suu Kyi spoke by telephone on Tuesday with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who has pressed world leaders to do more to help a population of roughly 1.1 million he says are facing genocide.

    In a statement issued by her office on Facebook, Suu Kyi said the government had "already started defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible" and warned against misinformation that could mar relations with other countries.

    She referred to images on Twitter of killings posted by Turkey's deputy prime minister that he later deleted because they were not from Myanmar.

    "She said that kind of fake information which was inflicted on the deputy prime minister was simply the tip of a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different countries and with the aim of promoting the interests of the terrorists," her office said in the statement.

    Suu Kyi on Wednesday met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said he shared Myanmar's concern about "extremist violence" in Rakhine state. Modi's government has taken a strong stance on an influx into India of some 40,000 Rohingya from Myanmar over the years, vowing last month to deport them all.


    The latest violence in Rakhine state began when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an army base. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive killed at least 400 people and triggered the exodus of villagers to Bangladesh.

    Suu Kyi has been accused by Western critics of not speaking out for the minority that has long complained of persecution, and some have called for the Nobel Peace Prize she won in 1991 as a champion of democracy to be revoked.

    Myanmar says its security forces are fighting a legitimate campaign against "terrorists" responsible for a string of attacks on police posts and the army since last October.

    Myanmar officials blame Rohingya militants for the burning of homes and civilian deaths. But rights monitors and Rohingya fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh say the Myanmar army is trying to force them out with a campaign of arson and killings.

    Officials in Bangladesh said the government would press ahead with plans to develop an isolated, flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal to temporarily house tens of thousands of Rohingya.

    The plan to develop the island and use it to house refugees was criticised by humanitarian workers when it was proposed in 2015 and revived last year. Bangladesh insists it alone has the right to decide where to shelter the refugees.

    The U.N. source said Bangladesh may have revived the island plan to keep pressure on the international community, and not be left to handle the crisis on its own.

    "Bangladesh is getting desperate in wanting to get some political traction on this Rohingya issue. They feel incredibly isolated," said the source, who declined to be identified.

    Myanmar has been laying landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh for the past three days, two government sources in Dhaka said, adding that the purpose may have been to prevent the return of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence.

    Bangladesh will formally lodge a protest on Wednesday against the laying of land mines so close to the border, said the sources who had direct knowledge of the situation but asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

    A Myanmar military source said landmines were laid along the border in the 1990s to prevent trespassing and the military had since tried to remove them, but none had been planted recently.

Uninhabited Lakshadweep Island Vanishes, Says Study
  • One of the biodiversity-rich uninhabited islands part of Lakshadweep has vanished due to coastal erosion and another four such territories in the sea are shrinking fast, claims a new study.

    Parali I island, part of Bangaram atoll, which was 0.032 km2 in 1968 has been eroded to an extent of 100 per cent, resulting in its inundation, says R M Hidayathulla in his research work.

    Mr Hidayathulla, who is from Androth in Lakshadweep, was awarded PhD in July this year by Calicut University in Kerala for his work "Studies on Coastal Erosion in Selected Uninhabited Islands of Lakshadweep Archipelago with Special Reference to Biodiversity Conservation."

    He conducted studies on assessment of the biodiversity confining to five uninhabited islands -- Bangaram, Thinnakara, Parali I, II and III, of which Parali I has been inundated--of Bangaram atoll in Lakshadweep, an archipelago of 36 islands in the Lakshadweep sea.

    The study said the complete erosion and inundation of Parali I was pointing to the gravity of issues associated with coastal erosion within the atoll.

    On an overall assessment of the changes in the aerial extent of islands using RS/GIS, it has been noticed that all the five islets of Bangaram atoll had undergone coastal erosion, it said.

    "The results are indicative of the urgent measures to be implemented on each islet of the atoll to check further erosion.. It is also recommended to check the feasibility of a bio protection strategy using mangroves, in addition to the conventional physical protection measures," Mr Hidayathulla told PTI.

    His guide on the environmental studies, C C Harilal, said submergence of Parali I was noticed when he visited the Bangram atoll in 2011.

    The data obtained were processed using Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) softwares, Harilal said.

    "One island has submerged.. We can say Lakshadweep now is not an archipelago of 36 islands," he told PTI.

    Mr Hidayathulla said the assessment of the extent of geo-morphological changes associated with each island for a period of 45 years was carried out using geospatial techniques.

    "Since the absence of this island (Parli I) is noticed in both observations carried out in 2003 and 2007, it is assumed that the island has been subjected to complete erosion during 1968-2003 periods and an assessment of the exact year of its inundation requires data analysis for a span of 35 years extending from 1968," said the study.

    Mr Hidayathulla, in his study, said a general trend in erosion has been noticed in almost all islands he studied.

    The magnitude of such events was higher in Parali group, evidenced by the complete erosion and inundation of the island Parali I, the study said.

    Noted climate expert Chandra Bhushan hailed the work and said this is one of the very studies done in India to establish the erosion and complete inundation of an island.

    "It is now widely recognised that islands and coastal areas are going to get eroded and inundated due to rising sea levels because of increasing global temperature.

    India's coasts and islands, which are densely populated, are highly vulnerable," said Mr Bhushan, who is also deputy director general of New Delhi-based advocacy group Centre for Science Environment (CSE).

    "With the sea levels predicted to rise further, we should start preparing for building defenses to protect our coastlines and islands," he told PTI.

    The magnitude of net erosion was higher in Parali I island (100 per cent), which resulted in its inundation.

    Apart from Parali I, net erosion was higher in Parali II (80 per cent), followed by Thinnakara (14.38 per cent), Parali III (11.42 per cent) and Bangaram (9.968 per cent), the study said.

Business Affairs

Shell company directors siphoning off funds from bank accounts will serve 10 year in jail
  • The government today said directors or authorised signatories of deregistered companies who try to siphon off money from the firms' bank accounts can face up to 10 years imprisonment.
    Besides, the directors of shell companies that have not filed their returns for three or more years would be disqualified from holding such position in any other firm.
    The government has also identified chartered accountants, company secretaries and cost accountants associated with shell firms in certain cases.
    Continuing its crackdown on the black money menace, the government said identification of more shell companies is in progress and efforts are on to find the "actual beneficiaries and persons" behind such entities.
    The Corporate Affairs Ministry has struck off the names of more than 2.09 lakh companies from the records as they have not been carrying out business activities for long and banks have been directed to freeze their bank accounts.
    "In case the director or authorised signatory of any 'struck off' company tries to unauthorisedly siphon-off money from its bank account, he/she may attract punishment of imprisonment of not less than six months extendable to 10 years," an official release said.
    The government also said that if the fraud involves public interest, the punishment would not be less than three years of imprisonment and the quantum of penalty would be three times the amount involved.
    Already, the directors or the authorised signatories of such companies have been restricted from operating the firms' bank accounts.
    "However, even prior to such action, if they have siphoned off any money, strict action would still be taken against them," the release said.
    During a review meeting chaired by Minister of State for Corporate Affairs P P Chaudhary here today, it was also decided that directors of such shell companies which have not filed returns for three or more years, would be disqualified from being appointed in any other company in that position.
    Further, such persons would be barred from being reappointed as directors in any of the companies where they had been directors, "thereby compelling them to vacate office".
    "It is expected that as a result of this exercise, at least two to three lakh of such disqualified directors shall get debarred," the release said.
    Noting that all efforts are also being made to identify the actual beneficiaries and persons behind shell companies, the government said the profiles of directors are being gathered by the agencies.
    Details such as background, antecedents and their role in the operations/functioning of shell companies are being compiled in collaboration with enforcement agencies.
    "The professionals, chartered accountants/ company secretaries/ cost accountants associated with such shell companies and involved in illegal activities have been identified in certain cases," the release said.
    Action being taken by the apex institutes concerned against such individuals is also being being monitored by the ministry.
    The exercise of weeding out of shell companies would not only help in checking the menace of black money but also promote an ecosystem of ease of doing business and enhancing investors' confidence, Chaudhary said.
    Further, the minister said that financial status of the companies would be reflected in a true and fair manner which would minimise the possibility of frauds and tax evasion.

Raghuram Rajan questions Centre's plan to merge PSU banks
  • Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Wednesday questioned Centre's move to consolidate public sector banks, saying the government should be clear on what purpose would PSU banks merger solve.
    In an interview to The Economic Times, Rajan said bank mergers would be a complex process. "Consolidation itself requires a whole lot of time and effort by bank CEOs and bank managers throughout the system. You have to merge IT systems, you have to merge cultures, you have to merge HR systems etc that involves a tremendous amount of work."
    Stating that the merger of banks that are already under stress due to mounting NPAs would be problematic, Rajan said, "You have explain how it is going to be easy to do that. Why this is going to be helpful and not just another distraction which weakens the entire entity."
    Last month, the Union Cabinet approved the framework for merging state-owned banks. The mergers are expected be to bring the number of public sector banks from 21 down to somewhere between 10 and 15.
    "The decision regarding creating strong and competitive banks will be solely based on commercial considerations. Our experience of consolidation has been positive. It increases the entity's commercial strength, the ability to absorb market shocks," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said.
    State Bank of India merged with five of its other associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank to form the 45th largest bank in the world. State Bank of India chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya had earlier called for more consolidation among the public sector banks, saying this could reduce their dependence on government for capital.

India GDP growth to re-accelerate as GST impact fades: Morgan Stanley
  • Economic activity in the country lost some pace amid GST related disruptions but underlying growth momentum remains strong and the country may clock 6.7 per cent growth this fiscal, says a Morgan Stanley report.
    India's economic growth slipped to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent in April-June, underscoring the disruptions caused by uncertainty related to the GST rollout amid slowdown in manufacturing activities.
    Commenting on the GDP numbers, Morgan Stanley said, "We are inclined not to read this as a sign of general slowdown in aggregate demand".
    "Indeed, we remain skeptical that the GDP statistics are fully reflecting the underlying growth trends in the economy," Morgan Stanley said in a research note.
    It further said that a number of high frequency growth indicators are indicating that end demand is holding up well and is running counter to the slowdown exhibited in the national accounts.
    However, on account of the weak GDP print in June 2017 quarter, Morgan Stanley has made some mark-to-market adjustments to its full year GDP growth estimates.
    "We believe that June 2017 likely marked the trough in growth in this cycle and we expect GDP growth to accelerate by almost 200 bps to 7.5 per cent year-on-year in March 2018 quarter," it said.
    On a calendar year basis, Morgan Stanley now project growth of 6.4 per cent and 7.4 per cent in 2017 and 2018, respectively, as against 7.6 per cent and 8.0 per cent previously.
    The revised new financial 2018 and fiscal 2019 growth estimates are at 6.7 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively.
    According to Morgan Stanley, currency replacement programme and GST had led to a deceleration in growth momentum.
    "However, considering that these events are already in the rear view mirror, we expect the underlying economic growth momentum to reassert themselves, leading to a re-acceleration in growth," it said.
    "In our view, India is moving on to the next phase of the business cycle of productive growth a phase marked by further improvement in growth while macro stability remains in check. This will also set the stage for a sustained growth cycle," it added.

Just Dial stock rises over 4% after HDFC Mutual Fund buys 32.06 lakh shares
  • Local search engine Just Dial rose on BSE on Wednesday after HDFC Mutual Fund bought 32.06 lakh shares or 4.6 percent stake at Rs 375 per share from private equity major Sequoia on Tuesday.
    At 12:24 pm, the Just Dial stock was trading 4.12 percent or 15.85 points higher at 400.60 level on BSE.
    Private equity major Sequoia on Tuesday sold nearly 36 lakh shares of local search engine Just Dial for a little over Rs 135 crore through open market transactions.
    According to bulk deal data of the NSE, the private equity major offloaded 35.98 lakh shares, or 5.17 per cent stake, in Just Dial.
    While Sequoia Capital India Growth Investment Holdings I sold 14.94 lakh shares, SCI Growth Investments II and Sequoia Capital India Investments III disposed of 13.93 lakh and 7.11 lakh, respectively.
    The shares were offloaded in the range of Rs 375.27-375.55 per piece, valuing the transaction at Rs 135.09 crore, according to the data. Among the buyers was HDFC Mutual Fund, which purchased 32.06 lakh such scrips.
    Since the beginning of this year, the stock is up 17.65 percent or 60 points on the BSE. On an year-on-year basis, the stock is down almost 20 percent.
    In morning trade, the stock hit an intra day high of 403 level on the BSE. 

    Essar Oil ramps up Stanlow refinery capacity with $250 million capex
    • After the sale of Essar Oil's India assets to Russian giant Rosneft-led consortium, the Ruias plan to enhance the throughput of their Stanlow Refinery in the United Kingdom, investing $250 million. Essar Oil (UK), which owns and operates the refinery, looks to increase the annual throughput to 75 million barrels from 68 million. The company has invested over $550 million in the refinery since its acquisition from Shell in July 2011.
      The group recently completed sale of its Indian refinery at Vadinar in Gujarat and the associated assets like port and retail outlets across the country to the Russian company after one-year-long negotiations. The sale at $12.9 billion was eventually for reducing the debt burden of the group, which stood at Rs 1.38 lakh crore. The group is also fighting its case at NCLT for regaining control of the debt-ridden Essar Steel after the banks opened insolvency proceedings against it.
      Essar Group has signed a three-year non-compete agreement with Rosneft-led consortium while selling its refinery business. After the sale, the group is left with only a few exploration and production (E&P) assets in India's oil business. That is the reason why the Ruias are looking to enhance its operations in the UK. Also, the group targets to generate a revenue of $15 billion by 2018. They can achieve it only by enhancing the business in the UK business and regaining the control of steel business.
      Essar Oil (UK) has a net worth of $981 million. Prashant Ruia, chairman of Essar Oil (UK), said in a press release: "The major investment we have confirmed in Stanlow will materially increase throughput and further grow revenues, building on the tremendous progress we have made in turning around the business over the past six years. It also demonstrates Essar's commitment to remain invested in the oil and gas sector."
      Essar Oil (UK) generated a revenue of $4.9 billion in the last financial year ending March 2017, down by 1.3 per cent. The profit fell by 31 per cent to $168 million. The refinery has 16 per cent market share in the UK. "Although we saw a marked $2.1 a barrel decrease in the wider industry benchmark margin, our excellent operational reliability and ongoing margin booster projects saw our own margins reduce by less than half this amount..." said S. Thangapandian, CEO of the company. In FY15 Essar reconfigured and optimised Stanlow to a single train operation which increased the yield of high margin products such as gasoline and middle distillates, while the crude slate has been materially diversified with the introduction of 37 new grades. In the fourth quarter, the EBITDA has increased to $86 million, compared to $55 million in the same period last year.
      Essar is a major player in the wholesale supply of Jet A-1 to UK airports. In addition, it also supplies aviation fuel to major airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, and Oman Air. It has a retail network of 36 stations in the country. Essar Oil UK has established working capital facilities and no long-term debt, the company claimed.

    General Awareness

    Union council of ministers and Portfolios after reshuffle

    • On 3rd September 2017, the list of new Union Ministers after the reshuffle was announced by Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The promoted ministers are Mr.Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Mr.Dharmendra Pradhan, Mr.Piyush Goyal and Ms.Nirmala Sitharaman. Ms.Nirmala Sitharaman has become the second woman defence minister of Indiaafter Ms.Indira Gandhi.
      The revised portfolios of ministers are as follows:
      Cabinet Ministers:
      1. Mr.Rajnath Singh: Minister of Home Affairs.
      2. Ms.Sushma Swaraj: Minister of External Affairs.
      3. Mr.Arun Jaitley: Minister of Finance; Minister of Corporate Affairs.
      4. Mr.Nitin Jairam Gadkari: Minister of Road Transport and Highways; Minister of Shipping; Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
      5. Mr.Suresh Prabhu: Minister of Commerce and Industry.
      6. Mr.D.V.Sadananda Gowda: Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
      7. Ms.Uma Bharati: Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
      8. Mr.Ramvilas Paswan: Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
      9. Ms.Maneka Sanjay Gandhi: Minister of Women and Child Development.
      10. Mr.Ananthkumar: Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers; Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.
      11. Mr.Ravi Shankar Prasad: Minister of Law and Justice; Minister of Electronics and Information Technology.
      12. Mr.Jagat Prakash Nadda: Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
      13. Mr.Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati: Minister of Civil Aviation.
      14. Mr.Anant Geete: Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
      15. Ms.Harsimrat Kaur Badal: Minister of Food Processing Industries.
      16. Mr.Narendra Singh Tomar: Minister of Rural Development; Minister of Panchayati Raj; Minister of Mines.
      17. Mr.Chaudhary Birender Singh: Minister of Steel.
      18. Mr.Jual Oram: Minister of Tribal Affairs.
      19. Mr.Radha Mohan Singh: Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
      20. Mr.Thaawar Chand Gehlot: Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.
      21. Ms.Smriti Zubin Irani: Minister of Textiles; Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
      22. Mr.Harsh Vardhan: Minister of Science and Technology; Minister of Earth Sciences; Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
      23. Mr.Prakash Javadekar: Minister of Human Resource Development.
      24. Mr.Dharmendra Pradhan: Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas; Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
      25. Mr.Piyush Goyal: Minister of Railways; Minister of Coal.
      26. Ms.Nirmala Sitharaman: Minister of Defence.
      27. Mr.Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi: Minister of Minority Affairs.
      Ministers of State (Independent Charge)
      1. Mr.Rao Inderjit Singh: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Planning; Minister of State in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
      2. Mr.Santosh Kumar Gangwar: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
      3. Mr.Shripad Yesso Naik: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
      4. Mr.Jitendra Singh: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region; Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office; Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Minister of State in the Department of Atomic Energy; Minister of State in the Department of Space.
      5. Mr.Mahesh Sharma: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Culture; Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
      6. Mr.Giriraj Singh: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
      7. Mr.Manoj Sinha: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Communications; Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways.
      8. Mr.Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports; Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
      9. Mr.Raj Kumar Singh: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Power; Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
      10. Mr.Hardeep Singh Puri: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
      11. Mr.Alphons Kannanthanam: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Tourism; Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
      Ministers of State
      1. Mr.Vijay Goel: Minister of State in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs; Minister of State in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
      2. Mr.Radhakrishnan P: Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance; Minister of State in the Ministry of Shipping.
      3. Mr.S.S.Ahluwalia: Minister of State in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
      4. Mr.Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi: Minister of State in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
      5. Mr.Ramdas Athawale: Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
      6. Mr.Vishnu Deo Sai: Minister of State in the Ministry of Steel.
      7. Mr.Ram Kripal Yadav: Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development.
      8. Mr.Hansraj Gangaram Ahir: Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
      9. Mr.Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary: Minister of State in the Ministry of Mines; Minister of State in the Ministry of Coal.
      10. Mr.Rajen Gohain: Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways.
      11. Mr.V.K.Singh: Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs.
      12. Mr.Parshottam Rupala: Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; Minister of State in the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
      13. Mr.Krishan Pal: Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
      14. Mr.Jaswantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor: Minister of State in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
      15. Mr.Shiv Pratap Shukla: Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance.
      16. Mr.Ashwini Kumar Choubey: Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
      17. Mr.Sudarshan Bhagat: Minister of State in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
      18. Mr.Upendra Kushwaha: Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
      19. Mr.Kiren Rijiju: Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
      20. Mr.Virendra Kumar: Minister of State in the Ministry of Women and Child Development; Minister of State in the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
      21. Mr.Anantkumar Hegde: Minister of State in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
      22. Mr.M.J.Akbar: Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs.
      23. Mr.Niranjan Jyoti: Minister of State in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
      24. Mr.Y.S.Chowdary: Minister of State in the Ministry of Science and Technology; Minister of State in the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
      25. Mr.Jayant Sinha: Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
      26. Mr.Babul Supriyo: Minister of State in the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
      27. Mr.Vijay Sampla: Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
      28. Mr.Arjun Ram Meghwal: Minister of State in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs; Minister of State in the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
      29. Mr.Ajay Tamta: Minister of State in the Ministry of Textiles.
      30. Mr.Krishna Raj: Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
      31. Mr.Mansukh L Mandaviya: Minister of State in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways; Minister of State in the Ministry of Shipping; Minister of State in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
      32. Ms.Anupriya Patel: Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
      33. Mr.C.R.Chaudhary: Minister of State in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution; Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
      34. Mr.P.P.Chaudhary: Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and Justice; Minister of State in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
      35. Mr.Subhash Ramrao Bhamre: Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence.
      36. Mr.Gajendra Singh Shekhawat: Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
      37. Mr.Satya Pal Singh: Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Resource Development; Minister of State in the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
      Other Static Information:
      1. The first woman defence minister of India was Ms.Indira Gandhi.
      2. The second woman defence minister of India is Ms.Nirmala Sitharaman.
      3. Mr.Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is thefirst sports person to become the Sports Ministerin India.

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