In Brief

The 100th Constitutional (Amendment) Act 2015 ratified the land boundary agreement between the India and Bangladesh. The Act envisaged a notional transfer of 111 Indian enclaves to Bangladesh in return of 51 enclaves to India. It also helped to secure the long stranded boundary and, in turn, curb illegal migration, smuggling and criminal acts across the borde, as also helped the Stateless citizens get citizenship from their respective countries.

The Charminar in Hyderabad has become India’s first digital-enabled tourist attraction. The visitors to the Charminar can now access the internet over a high-speed Wi-Fi service.

Indian banks that decide to recast a company’s debt under the so-called “strategic debt restructuring” (SDR) scheme must hold 51 percent or more of the equity after the debt-for-share conversion, as per new guidelines set by Reserve Bank of India. Other measures announced include allowing lenders to convert debt to equity within 30 days of the review of the company’s account. In addition, lenders who acquire shares of a listed company under a restructuring will be exempted from making an open offer, as per rules from capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The U.S. National Space Society has presented the Space Pioneer Award for 2015, in the Science and Engineering category, to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in recognition of it’s efforts in accomplishing the Mars Mission in its very first attempt.

CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) is located in Hyderabad.

First Solar Inc., a US-based photovoltaic cell maker, has started commercial operation of its first Indian project in Telangana. The 20MW photovoltaic project at Marikal village in Mahbubnagar district of Telangana is part of the solar module manufacturer’s plans to build 200 MW project portfolio in India. India has emerged as a hot destination for solar energy companies with the Union government revising plans to generate 100GW solar energy by 2022, a five-fold increase over an earlier target.

Reliance Capital Asset Management Company (RCAM) and ICICI Securities Primary Dealership have been selected to manage ₹60,000 crore provident fund corpus of coal industry workers.

State-run BSNL, with the Army’s assistance, has operationalised a mobile tower at an altitude of 16,000 feet in Eastern Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. This is the highest mobile tower in the world, which provides vital communication link to one of the remotest locations of Eastern Ladakh at Chongtash.

India’s acclaimed director Satyajit Ray was among 16 global thinkers and artistes whose portraits were displayed at the UN headquarters, in ‘The Transformative Power of Art’ exhibition that honours them for their contribution to the common good of humanity. The others were: Pakistani rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, renowned musician from Gabon Pierre-Claver Akendengulegendary, American author Maya Angelou, American folk singer Joan Baez, British actress Audrey Hepburn, influential Russian painter Vassily Kandinsky, Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum, Chinese actress Gong Li, Grammy Award-winning South African singer and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba, French philosopher Edgar Morin, Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Ugandan poet Okot p’Bitek, Brazilian social documentary photographer Sebasti Salgado, Nigerian playwright and poet Wole Soyinka and Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.

On 29 June 2015, representatives from 50 founding countries, including India, signed an agreement that provided the legal framework for the China-led USD 100 billion multilateral Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)—seen as a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank. India has been allocated 9-10% of the shares and will be expected to contribute $1.6 billion over a period of five years. China will hold 25-30% of the shares being the bank’s promoter and largest stakeholder. One reason why India got a high share allocation was the absence of Japan. If Tokyo decides to change its mind, it might take India’s place as the second biggest shareholder because it has a bigger size of gross domestic product.

Mumbai has been ranked as the fifth most budget-friendly city among 40 key tourist countries of the world, according to the annual TripAdvisor cost comparison study. Mumbai comes after Hanoi (Vietnam), Warsaw (Poland), Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) and Bangkok (Thailand). The most expensive destination in the world is Cancun, Mexico; Zurich in Switzerland was ranked at the second spot, followed by New York City (USA), London (UK) and Punta Cana (Caribbean).

According to a research published by the World Economic Forum, the US Department of Defence is the world’s biggest employer which claims over 3.2 million employees on its roster. Second is People’s Liberation Army (the Chinese military) with 2.3 million, and in third place is the US supermarket giant Walmart with 2.1 million workers. Two Indian organisations—Army (ranked 9th) and Railways (ranked 8th)—are among the world’s biggest employers, together employing a whopping 2.7 million people.

India ranks a lowly 143rd on a Global Peace Index, lagging way behind the likes of Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with Iceland emerging as the most peaceful nation in the world. Denmark and Austria were at second and third spots.

June 21 was celebrated as International Yoga Day. AYUSH Ministry was awarded two Guinness World Record titles for “Largest Yoga lesson” and “Most nationalities in Yoga lesson”. The earlier record for the largest number of participants at a yoga session was set in 2005, when 29,973 students from 362 schools performed yogic kriyas in Gwalior. At least 50 nationalities needed to have joined in at Rajpath on Sunday to qualify for the second record. 47 Islamic nations were among the 177 countries who passed the UN General Assembly resolution to establish June 21 as International Yoga Day.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) increased the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy by ₹50 to ₹1,410 per quintal for the 2015-16 kharif season.

The Solar Impulse, which took off from Japan on 29 June 2015, on the seventh leg of its journey, shattered the solo-flight record threshold of 76 hours while crossing the Pacific. The aircraft, piloted alternatively by Swiss explorers Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, had set off on its 35,000km journey around the world from Abu Dhabi on 9 March 2015. Solar Impulse 2 is the first aircraft to fly day and night without any fuel, solely using the sun’s energy. The solo record was previously set in 2006 by American adventurer Steve Fossett, who flew the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer for 76 hours non-stop.

Information technology major Infosys has appointment R. Seshasayee as the non-executive Chairman of the Board.

In move to cut debt at Anil Agarwal group, India’s largest private miner Vedanta Ltd decided to absorb oil firm Cairn India in a USD 2.3 billion all-share deal to create India’s largest diversified natural resources company. The merger will help Cairn spread its risk from volatile oil business to other metals and commodities.

On 3 June 2015, India and five other nations joined a multilateral agreement for automatic exchange of financial information, a move that will help it combat tax evasion and deal with the problem of black money. Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Indonesia and New Zealand are the other five nations. The total number of countries which have agreed to share financial information has now gone up to 60, including Switzerland. Once fully implemented, the agreement will help the government to curb tax evasion and deal with the problem of black money. The automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) based on common reporting standards (CRS), “would enable India to receive information from almost every country in the world including offshore financial centres and would be the key to prevent international tax evasion and avoidance. (It) would be instrumental in getting information about assets of Indians held abroad including through entities in which Indians are beneficial owners.” India had already undertaken necessary legislative steps in Finance Act, 2014, to comply with the global norms for automatic exchange of information.

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