Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for strengthening democracy at the grassroots level saying gramsabhas are as important as Parliament. He asked the gram panchayats to play active role in developmental activities, taking advantage of the immense resources and schemes of the government. Addressing a function on the culmination of 10-day 'Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday' campaign at Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Mr. Modi said, the country's progress depends hugely on the development of villages. He emphasized the need for bridging the gulf between cities and rural areas by ensuring that all modern day facilities reach even the far off places.
The Union Cabinet has decided to allow States to impose and enforce stock limits on sugar to check the price rise of sweetener in the market. The decision was taken following spurt in prices of sugar. In spite of sufficient availability of sugar stocks with the Sugar Mills. The decision will empower State and Central agencies to impose stock limits and regulate supply, distribution, storage and trade of sugar to bring down sugar prices at reasonable level by curbing unscrupulous trading. The Cabinet also gave its nod to enhance investment by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, BPCL in Bharat Oman Refineries Limited, BORL. The investment amount could be enhanced upto 3000 crore rupees in the BORL by way of subion of convertible warrants and other instruments.
The government has raised the interest rates on Employees Provident Fund contributions to 8.8 percent for 2015-16 against 8.7 percent approved by the Finance Ministry last week. Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya announced the decision to raise the interest rates.
The Parliament has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill-2016 with the Lok Sabha approving it. The Bill provides for amendment in some provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925. It will disentitle Sahjdhari Sikhs, who trim or shave their beard or hair, from casting their votes in elections to the Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has propelled India into the Global Positioning system (GPS) club. With the successful launch of IRNSS-1G into pre-determined orbit, ISRO has completed its landmark mission for a Regional Navigation System, which Prime Minister Modi named NAVIK. India's 7th navigation satellite IRNSS-1G of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) was launched into a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO) on-board of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-33 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. IRNSS-1G satellite is the last space segment satellites of the IRNSS system. With this, India joins the elite group of selected nations that have their own GPS or navigation system.
The Supreme Court cleared the decks for holding the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), a single common entrance test, for admission to the MBBS and BDS courses for academic year 2016-17. The apex court approved the schedule put before it by the Centre, the CBSE and the Medical Council of India for treating the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) fixed for 1st May as NEET-1. A two-judge bench said that those who have not applied for AIPMT will be given opportunity to appear in NEET-II, which will be held on 24th July. The order implies that all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges are covered under the NEET. Those examinations that have already taken place or are slated to be conducted separately, stand scrapped. The apex court also rejected objections raised by other States the Association of Karnataka Medical Colleges and minority institutions which had contended that NEET cannot be imposed on them.
The Bombay High Court has ordered the demolition of scam-tainted Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society building located in south Mumbai. The High Court also ordered an inquiry against politicians, Ministers and officers who were involved in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. The high court also gave 12-week time to Maharashtra government to appeal in Supreme Court against the order. The Bombay High Court had in December last year reserved its order on a bunch of petitions in connection with the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society case.
The Supreme Court has asked the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bengaluru, to complete the hearing on loan recovery suit against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya within next two months. Hearing on a petition filed by the consortium of banks led by SBI, the apex court directed Mallya to furnish the details of his and his family's assets in India and abroad to the banks in a sealed cover. The court found untenable the objections raised by the liquor baron, that the assets of his NRI wife and kids cannot be disclosed to the banks.
The Supreme Court has asked Sahara company to file its detailed assets in a sealed cover by 11th May. The top Court was hearing a case regarding Sahara's failure to return money to its investors. The market regulator SEBI through its lawyer informed the court that it had engaged two agencies to start the sale of Sahara's properties. SEBI also told the top court that the process is likely to be completed within four months.
A Special Mumbai Court has discharged all 8 accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case. The nine men were arrested in 2006 by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad for the Malegaon blasts that killed 37 and injured over 100. In November 2011, they were granted bail. One died during trial.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University, JNU has rusticated Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya in connection with an event organized in the campus to mark the death anniversary of Afzal Guru. JNU Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar who was also charged with sedition and arrested in connection with the incident has been fined ten thousand rupees. Umar has been rusticated for one semester, Anirban Bhattacharya till 15th of July and Mujeeb Gattoo for two semesters. The hostel facilities have been withdrawn for Ashutosh Kumar for a year and Komal Mohite for three months.
India has written to the UK High Commission in Delhi requesting deportation of Vijay Mallya to secure his presence for investigations against him. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup informed that the Indian High Commission in the UK will also be issuing a similar note verbale to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The Government has said it will leave no stone unturned to bring to justice the corrupt and wrong doers in the AgustaWestland Chopper deal. In a clarification, the Defence Ministry said in New Delhi that corruption is the core issue in the case and the corrupt will be brought to book. It said CBI and Enforcement Directorate are vigorously pursuing all aspects of the investigation, including the arrest and extradition of three foreign nationals, Carlo Gerosa, Guido Haschke Ralph and Christian Michel James. The deal is related to purchase of 12 helicopters worth 3,600 crore rupees for VVIPs from Italian manufacturer, Finmeccanica during the UPA regime.
India have stressed on the need for early progress on Pathankot terror attack investigation as well as 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case trial in Pakistan. Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar also brought up the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar in UN Sanctions Committee in his meeting with Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in New Delhi. India also pressed for immediate consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, former Naval officer abducted and taken to Pakistan.
Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has described the Paris agreement a historical achievement for mankind. He said that the countries should implement it in letter and spirit. Addressing the Major Economies Forum in New York, Javadekar said with signing of the historic agreement, developed world needs to immediately ratify the Kyoto Protocol 2nd commitment period and should present enhanced pre-2020 actions.
India has reaffirmed its commitment to peace and stability of Afghanistan and said the war-ravaged country can emerge as a hub of trade and energy arteries. Addressing the Senior officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process in New Delhi, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said a collective approach is required to help Afghanistan deal with challenge of violence and instability. He said prosperous and democratic Afghanistan will be a bridge of connectivity between East and West, and Central and South Asia.
The Maharashtra Government has decided to pay interest of Rs. 1,272 crore on the crop loan taken by farmers of drought-hit areas during the 2015-16 Kharif season. State Cabinet also decided to restructure crop loans amounting to Rs. 10,942 crore for last few years to make farmers eligible to avail fresh loan.
An early hour massive blaze engulfed the FICCI building in New Delhi destroying National Museum of Natural History and leaving two firemen inured. Police said, the fire erupted at the top floor of the building and soon spread down to other floors. About 40 fire tenders were rushed to douse the blaze, which was controlled after about four hours. No loss of life has been reported.
Union Sports Ministry has decided to provide Rs. 1 lakh per month, as out of pocket allowance to the sports persons under the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme. It is for their preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics Games at Rio de Janeiro. 77 Indian athletes in eight disciplines have qualified for the Olympics till date and many more are likely to qualify in the next two months. Target Olympic Podium scheme is a sports ministry initiative, under which Olympic medal prospects are funded by the government for top class training as part of their preparations for the Games.
Indian Archer Deepika Kumari has equaled the world record in Women's Recurve event at the qualifying stage of Archery World Cup being held in Shanghai. Padma Sri recipient, Deepika recorded a score of 686 out of 720 to finish 1st in qualifiers and equal the world record set by South Korea's Ki Boe Bae last year. Deepika has won silver in 2011, 12 and 13 editions.