Five-time Parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma were sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers. They were administered the oath to the office and secrecy by Governor Ram Naik at oath taking ceremony held in Kanshiram Smriti Upvan in Lucknow. Besides them, 47-member council of ministers also took oath.
Trivendra Singh Rawat was sworn in as ninth Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. He was administered oath to office and secrecy by Governor Krishan Kant Paul at oath taking ceremony held in parade Ground of Dehradun. Seven Cabinet Minister and two Ministers also took oath.
The Government is considering bringing back import duty on wheat to protect farmers' interest after a bumper harvest in the country. Responding to concerns expressed by the opposition in the Rajya Sabha on farmers being forced to sell wheat below the minimum price, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said, raining import duty is under consideration and the government will take a decision soon. Mr. Paswan said, the crop production this year has been at a record 96.64 million tonnes and 6.5 million tonnes of wheat is already in stock. The Minister said, in 2015, a customs duty of 25 percent was levied on wheat which was subsequently out to 10 percent and it was totally removed in December last year.
Union Cabinet has approved setting up of National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes as a constitutional body. In this regard, constitutional amendment bill for amending Constitution mainly by insertion of Article 338B will be soon introduced in the Parliament.
Parliament passed the Employees Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill amends the employee's Compensation Act, 1923. It ensures compensation up to Rs. 1 lakh to employee if an injured in an industrial accident and imposes hefty penalty in case of any violation by the employers.
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, NCST has approved the proposal for five additional seats for tribals in the Sikkim Assembly. In its full meeting held in New Delhi, the Commission gave its approval to the proposal of increasing reserve seats for Scheduled Tribes from 12 to 17 in Sikkim Assembly. At present, there are 32 members in the Sikkim Assembly and now it would be increased to 40. The Tribal Affairs Minister in a release said, out of the proposed additional eight seats, five seats would be reserved for Limbu and Tamang tribes.
Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel has said that injectible contraceptive Medroxy Progesterone Acetate (MPA) will be rolled out in the country in a phased manner. In the Lok Sabha, she said that the government has approved injectible contraceptive for introduction recently under the National Family Programme. It is being introduced first from the government medical hospitals and district hospitals. She said that there are no long term impacts and serious side effects of Injectible MPA. The government had set up a Technical Resource Group which discussed the safety concerns in detail and recommended its inclusion in the National Programme.
President Pranab Mukherjee has called upon all stakeholders to redouble their efforts for an early achievement of the goal of TB elimination. In his message on World Tuberculosis Day, Mr. Mukherjee said, TB continues to be one of the major health challenges of India. He said, India today is better prepared to fight TB than ever before and it is capable of effective intervention and possesses advanced technologies for diagnosis, treatment and care of TB. World Tuberculosis Day is observed on 24th March to commemorate the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch discovered the TB bacillus.
Rajya Sabha has passed HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014. The Bill seeks to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. It aims to prevent social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.
The Uttarakhand High Court has recognized the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers as living entities. It is for the first time any court in India has recognized a non-human as a living entity.
In London, a knife-wielding assailant driving a sport utility vehicle mowed down panicked pedestrians and stabbed a police officer outside Parliament in a deadly assault. At least four people including the assailant, were killed and at least 40 others injured in the swirl of violence.
India was ranked 131 in the 2016 Human Development Index (HDI) among the 188 countries. India scored 0.624 and was placed in medium human development category. Sri Lanka (73) and Maldives (105) were placed in 'high human development' category, followed by India (131), Bhutan (132), Bangladesh (139), Nepal (144), Pakistan (147) and Afghanistan (169). Norway, Australia and Switzerland are the top three countries in the ranking.
United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC, has granted Sri Lanka a two-year extension to fulfill obligation relating to reconciliation and accountability on war crimes during the civil war which ended in 2009. The resolution granting the extension was sponsored by forty countries including United States and United Kingdom and adopted without a vote. Deputy Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Dr. Harsha de Silva in his statement said the island nation is committed to the reconciliation agenda including truth, reparations, justice and non-recurrence with a victim-centered approach.
World Meteorological Day was observed on 23rd march. It marks the establishment of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on this day in 1950. The theme for this year was 'Understanding Clouds'. It seeks to highlight the enormous importance of clouds for weather climate and water.
World Water Day was observed on 22nd March to spread message of preservation and rational consumption of water. The day focuses attention on the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in developing countries. It also advocates for sustainable management of freshwater resources. The theme for this year was 'Why waste water?'
The Centre has promised a solution to the growing Non Performing Assets problem in the next few days. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has aid, the resolution, being worked out with the RBI, will put enough pressure on borrowers to settle dues. Speaking at a function in New Delhi, he said, the problem of big NPA is confined essentially to 30-40 companies and accounts of these will have to be fixed to solve the issue.
India has been ranked 87th among the surveyed 127 countries on a Global Energy Architecture Performance Index released as part of report of Geneva-based World Economic Forum. EAPI is a composite index developed by WEF in collaboration with Accenture Strategy. It focuses on tracking specific indicators to measure the energy system performance of the countries.
Lok Sabha has approved amendments to 'The Finance Bill, 2017' to wind up eight tribunals. These eight tribunals currently exclusively deal with disputes pertaining to Airports economic regulation, Competition law, Copyrights, Employees' Provident Fund (EFP), Forex, IT law, National Highways and Railways. The amendments in the Finance Bill of 2017 also has proposed changes in the norms for tribunals, appellate tribunals and other boards associated with the administration of 17 central laws.
Amendments to the Customs and Excise Acts related to abolition of cesses and surcharges on various goods and services have been approved by the Union Cabinet to facilitate implementation of GST Regime. It has approved the following proposals: Amendment to Central Excise Act, 1944; Amendments to Customs Tariff Act, 1962; amendments to Customs Tariff Act, 1975; Repeal of Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 and Amendment/repeal of the provisions relating to Acts under which cesses are levied.
The Centre has approved North East Road Network Connectivity Project Phase I for development of 403 km of National Highways in Meghalaya and Mizoram. Out of total 403 km, approximately 351 km will be in developed in Mizoram and 52 km in Meghalaya. The project will be executed in Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Mode.
Telecommunications major Idea Cellular has agreed to merge with the Vodafone India, Indian unit of the UK headquartered Vodafone Pic. The blockbuster merger will create world's second largest and India's largest telecom company by overtaking Bharti Airtel Ltd.
The third test between India and Australia ended in a draw. Australia became the first team since 2010-11 to save a Test match in India after trailing in the first innings against India. Peter Handscomb played 200 balls for his unbeaten 72 and Shaun Marsh played 197 for his half-century to help draw the match. The series remained tied at 1-1.
Tamil Nadu has won the Vijay Hazare Trophy of cricket for record fifth time defeating Bengal. In the final match played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi, they defeated Bengal by 37 runs. It was Tamil Nadu's third victory over Bengal in the final of this competition.
25 – 31 March 2017
Accolades poured in from world leaders for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the splendid win of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the assembly polls. Foreign media across the globe hailed the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Washington Post said India's ruling party won landslide victories in results from key state legislative elections that are seen as a referendum on the performance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nearly 3-year-old government. Reuters wrote, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party has declared a landslide victory in crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, in a result that is expected to boost his claim to a second term. It said the month-long, fiercely fought vote in Uttar Pradesh and four other states have been seen as a referendum on PM Modi's nearly three-year-old rule, especially after his controversial ban last year on high-value notes. Al-Jazeera wrote the triumph vindicates PM Modi's decision to turn the campaign into a referendum on his own performance after his shock decision last November to abolish high-denomination banknotes, a move he framed as a fight for the poor against the corrupt rich. BBC said in its report that, PM Narendra Modi's party has won a landslide victory in one of India's key states, a boost for the prime minister – India's most populous – with the biggest majority there since 1980.
BJP Legislature Party leader N. Biren Singh was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of Manipur on 15th March 2017. Governor Najma Heptulla administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Singh at Raj Bhavan in Imphal. Eight other MLAs including four from the NPP, one each from BJP, LJP, NPF and one who defected from Congress also took oath as Cabinet Ministers. Y. Joykumar of the National People's party (NPP) was sworn-in as the Deputy Chief Minister. BJP is supported by NPP and NPF with four seats each, one legislature each of Lok Janshakti Party, Trinamool Congress and Congress. BJP had bagged 21 seats in the 11th state assembly elections while Congress won 28 in the 60-member House.
Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar won the vote of confidence during specially convened Goa Assembly by 22-16 votes. This was announced by pro tem speaker Siddharth Kunkolienkar after the vote of confidence on the floor. Vishwajeet Rane of Congress skipped floor test. Churchill Alemao of NCP supported in favour of BJP-led Government. In the newly elected Goa Assembly, BJP has strength of 13 MLAs and Congress has 17 members. Three members of MGP and three members of Goa Forward party and three independents along with 1 NCP member supported the BJP coalition government led by Mr. Parikkar. The Supreme Court had earlier cleared the decks for the oath taking of Mr. Parikkar as CM by refusing Congress' plea to stay the ceremony. It had ordered holding of the floor test. Manohar Parikkar and 9 ministers were administered oath of office and secrecy by Governor Mridula Sinha.
Senior Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh, has taken over as Chief Minister of Punjab and was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor V.P. Singh Badnore at Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh. Those sworn in as cabinet ministers were Navjot Singh Sidhu, Braham Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, Sadhu Singh Dharamkot, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Rana Gurjit Singh Sodhi and Charanjit Singh Channi. Two women MLAs Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana were sworn in as Ministers of State (Independent Charge). Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Amarinder Singh on taking over as Punjab CM and wished him the best in working for the state's development.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved release of an additional installment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners from 01.01.2017. It has increased by 2% over the existing rate of 2% of the Basic Pay/Pension., to compensate for price rise. Indian Institute of Information Technology Public Private Partnership (IIIT-PPP) Bill, 2017 was also passed to 'grant statutory status to 15 IIITs set up under the PPP mode and declare them as Institutions of National Importance, to enable them to grant degrees to the students in the academic courses conducted by them'. It also approved proposal for opening of 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) under Civil/Defence Sector in the country keeping in view the high demand for these schools for their quality of education and excellent results. It also gave its approval for development of the six-laning of Handia-Varanasi section of NH-2 in Uttar Pradesh. This work will be under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. The total length of the road will be approximately 73 km.
Government has approved the National Health Policy which proposes to provide assured health services to all. The policy was approved at the meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Under the new policy, there will be an increase in the ambit of sectors covered in the Primary Health Centre, PHC level and it envisages a comprehensive approach. Sources said, there will be a bigger focus on upgradation of district hospitals while for the first time, there will be an implementation framework in place. It also addresses the issues of universal health coverage, reducing material and infant mortality rate, as well as making drugs and diagnostics available free at least in the public healthcare system of the country. The proposed Policy, which has been pending for the past two years, aims to provide assured health services to people as an entitlement.
In Jammu and Kashmir, students appearing in Class 10 examinations will be provisionally admitted to 11th immediately after conclusion of the board examinations. This is as per the new guidelines issued by the State School Education Department. The Department has restructured the existing examination system and the new one will help to increase class workdays and save academic year of the students. As per an order, the students, who are declared unsuccessful in the results, shall be permitted to continue their studies in Class 11th till the results of the bi-annual examination are declared. Provisional admission will be cancelled for those candidates who fail to pass the bi-annual examination.
The Enforcement Directorate, ED has summoned separatist leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik in connection with its probe against them in two separate Foreign Exchange Management Act, FENA cases. While Malik has been asked to appear before the agency in Srinagar on 28th of March, Geelani has been summoned on 2nd April. Sources said, Geelani will be questioned by the agency officials with regard to a 2002 case when the Income Tax Department had recovered 10 thousand dollars from a house in Hyderpora area of Srinagar belonging to Geelani. The FEMA case pertaining to Malik is based on a 2001 FIR of local police where they seized one lakh dollars from a person identified as M.A. Dar and his wife.
India has taken up with Pakistan the matter of head priest of Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah and his nephew going missing in that country. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said both Syed Asif Nizami and his nephew Nazim Nizami went missing after they landed at Karachi airport and Pakistan government has been requested for an update on both the Indian nationals. 80-year-old Syed Asif Nizami is the head priest (Sajjadanashin) of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah. 'Indian nationals Syed Asif Nizami aged 80 years and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami had gone to Pakistan on 8 March 2017', Swaraj said. The two had gone to visit the famous Daata Darbar shrine in Lahore and were to catch a flight from there to Karachi. The clerics had gone to Karachi to meet their relatives on March 8 before travelling to Lahore to visit the shrine.
US has said the premium processing of H-1B visas, which are popular among Indian IT firms and professionals, has been suspended temporarily to handle the huge rush of applications for the work visas in the first week of April. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) acting Director, Lori Scialabba, told members of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management efficiency that US will start accepting applications for H-1B work visas from April 3 for the fiscal 2018. Responding to questions from lawmakers, Scialabba said in the first week of April, USCIS receives 200,000 or more H-1B applications. She said, once the suspension is lifted, people are able to file for premium processing and their application will be processed within 15 days.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that the agricultural growth rate is expected to remain at 4.4 percent during this financial year. Replying to a discussion on the Demands for Grants of Agriculture Ministry for 2017-18, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said in the Lok Sabha that the NDA government has taken various steps for doubling of farmer's income by 2022. He said, apart from focusing on agriculture sector, the government has paid adequate attention to the growth of allied sectors like fisheries and others. He said, the government has provided 100 crore rupees for deep sea fishing activities. He said under it, the Centre will provide 40 lakh rupees as subsidy for purchase of vessels suitable for deep sea fishing.
State Bank of India has announced a one-time farm loan settlement scheme worth 6,000 crore rupees primarily for tractors. SBI in a tweet said, One Time Settlement is announced for Agriculture Loans and the Scheme is valid until 31st of this month. Nation's largest lender urged farmers to contact their branch for details and benefits. Managing Director of the bank Rajnish Kumar said the loans disbursed before 2011 and falling under doubtful or loss category accounts as of September 2016, will be considered under the scheme. The MD said other agri loans like kisan credit cards and other term-loans for tractors and farm loans may also be covered under the scheme. Mr. Kumar informed that SBI's total farm loan portfolio is 1.25 lakh crore rupees and tractor loan book is about 6,000 crore rupees.
India's most successful Badminton Doubles specialist Jwala Gutta has been appointed a member of the governing body of Sports Authority of India (SAI). Conveying the information about her appointment, SAI Secretary S.S. Chhabra said in his letter that he was sure Jwala would be able to spare her valuable time to attend Governing Body meetings as and when scheduled by the chairman. The 14-time national champion said she is looking forward to play her role in the development of sports in the country. Two-time Olympian Jwala won the bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships. She is also a 2020 Delhi Commonwealth Games champion and a silver medalist at the 2015 Glasgow Games in women's doubles.
The Indian duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja became the first set of spinners to be jointly ranked number one in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers. Jadeja has caught up with Ashwin in the rankings after the second Test against Australia in Bengaluru which India won by 75 runs on Day 4 on Tuesday. Jadeja's seven wickets in the match, which included a crucial six for 63 in the first innings, have helped him move to one rank to reach the top position for the first time in his career, the ICC said in a statement. The last time two bowlers shared the top spot was in April 2008 when Dale Steyn and Muttiah Muralidharan were at the top. Ashwin too played an important role in the Bengaluru match. His eight wickets took him past spin legend Bishan Bedi's tally of 266 wickets and made him the fifth-highest wicket-taker for India in Tests with 269 wickets.
18 – 24 March 2017
The Supreme Court has issued an arrest warrant against serving Calcutta High Court judge C.S. Karnan to ensure his presence before it on March 31 in a contempt case. A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar directed the West Bengal Director General of Police to personally execute the arrest warrant on Justice Karnan to ensure his presence before it on March 31, the next date of hearing. The bench refused to consider a communication, written to apex court registry on March 8, as his response to the notice issued against him earlier.
Parliament has passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 with the Lok Sabha approving it on 9th march. The Rajya Sabha has already cleared it. The bill seeks to enhance paid maternity leave for women engaged in organized sector from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children. It will be applicable to mines, factories and all establishments employing 10 or more people. In his reply to the debate on the Bill in the Lok Sabha, Minister of Labour and employment, Bandaru Dattatreya said the amendment has hob, wages and social security aspects as its integral parts. He said violation of the provisions of the amendment bill would attract 3 to 6 months of imprisonment and a penalty of upto Rs. 5000.
The second part of the Budget Session of began on 9th March. It will continue till the 12th of April. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed hope for a break-through regarding the implementation of GST. Talking to media outside Parliament before the commencement of second part of the Budget Session, Mr. Modi said positive response has been received from the States in this regard.
Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched the web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone clearances. The portal is a web-based system for obtaining clearances required from the Ministry under the Project proponents for ease of doing business.
The world's longest serving warship INS Viraat was decommissioned by the Indian Navy at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai. Maharashtra after nearly six decades of service. This marks the end of an era of Viraat being the flagship of the Indian Navy as it had provided utmost protection to the country during many tense situations.
The Union Government has launched the first ever across-the-river survey in River Ganga to determine the population of aquatic life, including that of the endangered Gangetic dolphin. The survey will create a baseline scientific data for the government to take suitable measures to improve quality of the Ganga's water.
Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail was selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2016 for his novel Hawthan. His novel was shortlisted out of 22 books written in as many languages. He will receive cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh and a citation.
The newly constructed Tezu airport will be the first civilian airport of Arunachal Pradesh. Tezu will smoothen transport to several high-altitude districts near the India-China border. Tezu is the nearest town to Walong, where a legendary battle between Indian and Chinese soldiers took place in October 1962.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders' Summit was held from March 5 to 7, 2017 in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia. The theme of the summit was 'Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean. It was attended by leaders from 21 member states of IORA Vice President Hamid Ansari attended the two-day summit.
The Donald Trump administration has issued a new executive order, temporarily banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries to the U.S., after an earlier order ran foul of the country's judiciary. The new executive order bans travel from six countries – Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, leaving out Iraq that was also in the list of barred countries in the January order.
White House says Trump administration wants to build a deeper relationship with India. At his daily news conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer expressed confidence that the two countries will continue to grow their ties. He said Trump Administration always favoured establishing a deeper relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stronger US-India business tier. Spicer also condemned the killing of a 32-year old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla and another injured in an alleged hate crime in Kansas. Spicer urged Americans to stand up for the principles that unite them while asking all to be outraged and disgusted by such incidents.
Pakistan National Assembly has passed the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016, after amendments made by the Senate, to regulate marriages of Hindus in Pakistan. Minister of Human Rights, Kamran Michael said there was no law to regulate the registration of Hindu marriages and ancillary matters in Pakistan. The Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 prohibits the marriage of minors and prescribes a minimum age of 18-years for contracting marriage in addition to protecting the customs and customary rites of the Hindu community. The bill also provides a mechanism for registration of marriage, separation and remarriage. The bill will help Hindu women get documentary proof of their marriage. The bill will need the signature of President Mamnoon Hussain in order to become a law.
European Space Agency successfully launched Sentinel-2B satellite, fifth of its Sentinel Earth observation satellites part of its multi-billion-euro Copernicus observation program.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard has successfully tested a ballistic missile. Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the Guard's aerospace division, said the missile destroyed a target from a distance of 250 kilometers. It said the sea-launched ballistic missile dubbed Hormuz 2 was tested last week. The Hormuz 2 is capable of hitting floating targets with high accuracy within a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles), Fars news agency said. It provided no additional details.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has expressed hope, the targets on direct and indirect taxes would be exceeded this fiscal. Responding to queries in the Lok Sabha during question hour, he said in last December alone, over one lakh forty thousand crore rupees has been collected as the direct taxes. He stressed that there are buoyant growth in tax collections for the past three years. He said the recent demonetization move by the Centre has brought all the high value currencies into the banking system rather than from lying unaccounted. Mr. Jaitley added, by 24th February this year, over 11.64 lakh crore rupees has been re-monetized, which could have exceeded 12 lakh crore rupees by now. When asked if new currency printing presses would be established, he replied in the negative saying one of the main aims of the demonetization move has been to reduce dependency on paper currencies.
The GST Council meeting headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has approved the final draft of Central GST (CGST) and Inter-State GST (IGST) laws. The approval of CGST and IGST laws is considered as significant step towards meeting the July 1, 2017 deadline for rolling out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
India is expected to replicate the record Rabi crop production following record Kharif crop production output following a good monsoon in 2016. This was stated in a study conducted by economic think-tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). As per the NCAER report on the short-term agricultural outlook for the 2017 Rabi season, Gross Value Added (GVA) in agriculture and allied sector registered a significant 3.3 percent year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2016-17 as compared to 1.8 percent growth in the previous quarter. Overall growth of 4.1 percent is estimated for the agriculture sector in 2016-17 as against the previous year's drought-impacted growth rate of 1.2 percent.
India beat Australia by 75 runs in the second Test and leveled the series 1-1. Captain Virat Kohli remained unchanged at third to be the best-placed Indian batsman in the latest ICC ODI rankings issued in Dubai. Rohit Sharma (12th) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (13th) follow Kohli. Both of them also remained static on their previous positions. Opener Shikhar Dhawan, however, dropped a rung to be 15th. Among the bowlers, Akshar Patel was the best-placed Indian at the 11th position.