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In the run up to Budget day, came sensational reports that senior executives of some of India’s largest companies had connived in the leaks of confidential papers from key ministries, including some from the Ministry of Defence, were disturbing, to say the least. Important arrests have been made. An investigation had apparently begun some four months ago, initiated by Ajit Doval, the National Security Adviser to the government. Alarmed by possible breaches of security following classified subjects appearing on national television networks. Doval brought in the Research & Intelligence Wing (RAW), the agency dealing with external espionage to conduct the investigation. - Asian Voice 7th March 2015

Prithvi II missile tested The Strategic Forces Command made a random selection of the nuclear-capable missile, Prithvi II, from its inventory and fired it with a dummy warhead that splashed into the sea. Fired from a roadside mobile launcher, the duration of the flight took seven

Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work on aircraft engine upgrades. HAL has been forging alliances and establishing chairs at four other IITs, with Roorkee for aircraft subsystem research, and with IIT Bombay for the communications systems. It is also working with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, DRDO Laboratories and private sector companies on various research and development projects (Business Line February 21)

AMCA on track

Arun Jaitley on Budget

Executives from five energy companies - Shailesh Saxena, Manager, Corporate Affairs, Reliance Industries Ltd. Vijay Kumar Deputy General Manager, Essar; KK Naik, General Manager, Cairns India; Subhash Chandra, Senior Executive, Jubilant Energy; Rishi Anand, Deputy General Manager, ADAG Reliance, together with former newspaper reporter and Energy Consultant, Santanu Saikia, have been arrested. Also arrested is a messenger in the Ministry of Defence, Virender Singh, who is accused of passing on sensitive documents to outside associates. In all 14 arrests have been made so far in the ongoing inquiry. (Times of India, February 20, 21,25)

Madhya Pradesh Governor charged

Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav has been charged by the police for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore rupee Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board scam along with 101 others including former state technical education minister Laxmikant Sharma and mining baron Sudhir Sharma. Governor Yadav, the first governor ever to be charged in a criminal case, is accused of misusing his office by writing letters on his official letterhead recommending the selection of particular candidates. He has also been charged with corruption. Yadav was a Congress appointee to the post and was sworn in by President Pratibha Patil in 2011. (Times of India February 25)

Road to Devolution

The Union Government has decided to increase the states’ share of Central taxes rising from 32 per cent in the 13th Finance Commission to 42 per cent in the 14th, for the period April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020. The government’s decision is in line with the Finance

Commission’s recommendations. In a letter to Chief Ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi explained that the move was aimed at getting away from rigid centralized planning with its “one size fits all” approach. The disbursement of funds will be determined by the needs and capacities of State. Hindu, Times of India February 25)

India best bet

India is the best bet among world economies, said Jim Walker, founder and Chief Economist of the Hong Kong based Asianomics, a research and consulting firm. “India is one of our conviction global strategic calls……one of the key features is that we are long on India. it is not even relative to the rest of the region, it is relative to the rest of the world,” he said in an interview with a reporter (Mint February 25)

Green shoots visible

Arvind Panagriya, the newly appointed Vice Chairman (with Prime Minister Modi as Chairman)of NITI Aayog (the replacement of the Planning Commission), looking at the Indian economy, said: “The economy is without doubt on the path of recovery……the growth rate, however measured, is moving steadily in the upward direction. Add to this the sharp decline in and low level of inflation, low current account deficit, rising inflows of foreign investment, rapidly accumulating foreign exchange reserves and near 30 per cent savings and investment rates and you have the inescapable answer to your question: Yes, green shoots are visible……huge challenges remain. Nevertheless, I now feel hopeful that it is possible to climb the mountain in front of me step by step.” Dr Panagariya was Professor of Economics at Columbia University in the United States (Times of India February 24)

Prithvi II test-fired

minutes and was described as “copy book flight,” by the team of scientists and military personnel present. A hybrid GPS-INS (inertial navigation system) took the 500 kg warhead to within 20 metres of its target. The Prithvi missile was designed and developed by the Defence Research and Developed Organization (DRDO) (Hindu February 20)

Huge naval expansion

India is tripling its fleet of nuclear submarines in the costliest naval expansion in five years. A Cabinet Committee approved the plan to build six nuclearpowered submarines and seven stealth warships at a cost of Rs 1 trillion. This is in line with government’s goal to modernize the country’s armed forces. More submarines and frigates will help counter China’s heft in the Indian Ocean, apart from bolstering defence industry.

Production sites

Four of the planned frigates are to built at the Mazagaon Dock in Mumbai, with the rest to be manufactured at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd in Kolkata. The submarines will be built at Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam. Submarines and frigates will come into service from 2020-2030. Plans are afoot to strengthen the Indian Air Force with new fighter aircraft, with the Army to acquire 146 howitzer guns from BAe Systems. As of now, India has 136 warships of varying capabilities,two aircraft carriers, and 6,400 tanks and infantry combat vehicles. India and the US are to set up a joint working group to share aircraft carrier technology. (Mint February 19)

HAL-Madras IIT cooperation

India’s public sector defence company Hindustan

India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft is on track with Russian cooperating in a number of critical technologies, such as thrust vectoring, apart from stealth and super cruise, which is in India’s purview, said Dr K Tamilmani, Chief Controller, Defence Research and D e v e l o p m e n t Organization (DRDO in Bangalore recently. “The basic technology required for AMCA is already with us,” he said. The goal was to build on the experience acquired in the development of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft and in the manufacture of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aiurcraft being jointly developed with Russia. (Hindu February 20)

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu See comment page 3

Technology. Enjoying the status of a university, the Institute was founded in 2007 with the aim of keeping a steady bstream of available talent at the disposal of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which oversees the country’s space programme. (Hindu February 22)

Kumar back at Bihar’s helm

Nitish Kumar returned to power as Bihar Chief Minister a week or so ago. It was followed by his public acknowledgement of the support he had received from diverse quarters, from the Shiv Sena, Bahujan Samaj Party, and the Trinamool Congress. Jitan Ram Manjhi , the previous chief

India, Russia sort out FGFA differences

India and Russia have ironed out their work sharing differences in the research and development in the of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). A contract is being prepared and should be ready for signing sometime this year., said Yuli Slyusar, President and Chairman of the Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation at Aero India, Bangalore. FGFA is crucial for the Indian Air Force’s evolving force structure, as was stated recently by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha. The final announcement of the agreement could come during President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Russia on June 30 or on one of Prime Minister Narendra Modio’s two visits to the country this year (Hindu February 22)

Young hopefuls of India’s space science

In a simple, yet elegant convocation ceremony in Thiruvanthapuram (Kerala) 100 young men and women, who will carry forward their country’s hopes and aspirations in space, were awarded their degrees from the Indian Institute of Space Science and

Nitish Kumar

minister resigned after failing to command sufficient support on the floor of the State Assembly. Nitish apologized for his impulsive resignation following the poor performance of his Janata Dal in the general election in 2014 (Business Line February 21)

Keralan Jesuit released

Father Alexis Premkumar, a Jesuit priest from Kerala kidnapped by the Taliban from the school in Afghanistan, where he taught, was released after eight months in harrowing captivity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke the news of his release to his family with a telephone call from his office in New Delhi. Father Premkumar’s family thanked the Prime Minister and the government for their efforts to free him. The Afghan government also played a critical role (Hindu February 23).

Profile for Asian Business Publications Ltd

AV 7th March 2015  

Asian Voice weekly news paper (Issue 42)

AV 7th March 2015  

Asian Voice weekly news paper (Issue 42)

Profile for abpl