The 2019 Election melodrama waxes and wanes full of sound and fury signifying for the most part an unceasing vulgarity, which now and again descends into music hall comedy. The third part of the seven phases of voting was duly completed on schedule, with an estimated 66 per cent turnout in Uttar Pradesh, 81 per cent in Assam, 79 per cent in Tripura and 81 per cent in West Bengal. A Whether these percentages bode well or ill for the incumbent State governments (BJP in the first three) only time will show. (Hindu, Times of India April 24, 29).
Another feature of the election campaign is the floor-crossing of disgruntled candidates: a disappointed individual denied a ticket by his party crosses over to its rival – BJP to Congress, Congress to BJP – commercial traffic, say the worldly wise.
Women matter more than ever before
Veteran psephologist, once a distinguished economist with an LSE and Delhi School of Economics pedigree, Prannoy Roy and colleague Dorab Sopariwala have authored a book, ‘The Verdict: Decoding India’s Elections’ Prannoy Roy interviewed by the Hindu newspaper April 17) surveyed a broad range of subjects relating to the country’s elections, his observation that, ‘women matter more than ever before,’ caught one’s eye for its long-term significance in bridging the gender gap. Another observation was equally arresting BJP at the hustings Roy remarks: ‘The BJP is extremely efficient in booth management and turnout management. Globally this is seen as the focussed way to win elections.’ It is a teasing thought.
Supreme Court seeks police help
The Supreme Court of India has sought the help of the police and intelligence agencies, following the charge of a woman court official Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had propositioned her; a lawyer subsequently revealed that the woman in question had been put up to make the false accusation in a bid to bring the court into disrepute by casting doubt on its integrity.. A bench of the Supreme Court, excluding the Chief Justice, will hear the lawyer’s evidence alleging conspiracy to defame the institution itself. (Times of India April 25).
Rs 50 lakh for Bilkis Bano
The Supreme Court has ordered the Gujarat government to pay Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) to Bilkis Yakoob Rasool for the harrowing ordeal she went through during the March 2002 communal rioting in the State. A mob ransacked her family home and killed seven of her kin. The Court ordered that the government offer her a job and government housing of her choice. The State government was given two weeks to make the payment.
The Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said nothing would bring back the dead or wipe out the memory of her terrible ordeal. The best that could be done now was to ensure measures to rehabilitate her life with financial compensation. When counsel for the Gujarat government attempted to intervene, she was administered a sharp rebuke by the Chief Justice, who told her that she was lucky there was no investigation of why the case had taken so long to come to court. Three culpable police officers, now retired, are to have their pension benefits withdrawn by order of the court.
Justice the aim
A day after the court judgment, Bilkis Bano, with a young daughter in her arms, addressed a press conference in New Delhi. She told reporters: ‘Justice and not revenge is my aim. Throughout I kept my faith in the Constitution, my rights as a citizen, and the Supreme Court has stood by me.’ She related the trauma of losing her daughter and many of her family, she had nothing to lose. It had given her courage to keep fighting. She said she would spend part of her compensation money to help other survivors of that devastating experience. She hoped her young daughter (presently in her arms) would grow up to be a lawyer and defend other victims of social injustice. (Hindu April 24, 25).
Pakistani Jihadis in Cross-border trade
Ten Pakistan-based terrorists have been involved in cross-border trade along the Line-of-Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, thus able funnelling weapons and fake currency into the Kashmir valley. Jihadi-fronting firms in the area were participants in this LoC cross-border trade. The 10 listed Pakistanis were based in Rawalpindi – the hub of their Kashmir operations (Hindu, Times of India April 25).
NIA on IS trail holds two suspects
Officers from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided four sites in Hyderabad and Wardha, arresting two suspects believed to be Islamic State operatives. The IS module was busted after three men were deported from Abu Dhabi to India in January 2016. In August 2018, NIA officers arrested two further suspects in Hyderabad where they are being interrogated.(Times of India April 21).
Reliance Jio passes Airtel
Two years and more after the launch of its mobile phone services, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio has passed rival Suni Mittal’s Bharti Airtel as India’s second largest telecom company with a customer base of 30..6 crore. Vodofone-Idea remains the country’s telecom leader, as of now, with 38.7 crore subscribers to Airtel’s 28.4 crore, each of these figures announced for December 2018 (Times of India, Hindu April 25).
Libor openings for Indian IT firms
The London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) transition opens up a vast array of business opportunities for large consulting firms such as PwC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte and also for global IT firms, including those from India with proven international reach. Individual banks, financial institutions and lending houses are expected to spend anything from $50 billion to upwards of $100 billion a year for the next two years until the migration is completed by the end of 2021. Analysts say IT will be 50 per cent of this opportunity (Hindu April 25).
Amazon sales surge
Amazon Business, B28[Business to Business] online marketplace, launched in India in September 2017 has recorded 200 per cent sales growth in January-December 2018. The B28 marketplace expanded its seller base to 240,000 from 34,00 at launch. ‘India was fifth country when Amazon Business was launched. Today, it offers a one-stop for businesses to buy from the single largest GST-enabled selection of 160 million products’, said Peter George, Director, Amazon Business – India (Business Line April 24).
Huawei, Infosys cooperation
China’s Huawei’s business arm, Huawei Cloud and Indian IT major Infosys have signed a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation on developing solutions around cloud computing services. The two companies will develop new cloud solutions leveraging Huawei Cloud and IIIInfosys products and services to help customers to adopt securely cloud-based systems for their workloads (Business Line April 24).
Leveraging new technologies
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning are bringing about epic transformation among businesses and society alike. While AI has a positive impact on businesses, it is perceived as a threat to jobs, while producing new jobs, said S.Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys and Chairman, Axilor Ventures. There is a demand at all levels in new technologies create tools to create robotic surgery, for example., in financial services credit rating, or loan processing, fraud detection etc (Business Line April 24).
Voltas, Shima Seiko to market product
Indian engineering major Voltas Ltd has reached a deal with Japanese textile machinery company Shima Seiki to market the latter’s products in India. They will focus on leveraging Shima’s experience in computerized flat knitting machines, ‘whole garment machines and total fashion systems will build on Voltas’s established sales and marketing network across the country, said C. Kamatchisundaram, Vice President, Voltas Textile Machinery Division. Flat knitting technology is still a nascent experience in India, where the concept has not caught on as yet (Business Line April 26).
Rich openings in rural sector
The evolving agri-business and food sector is creating profitable opportunities for management skills, the demand for which rises. This is of special relevance for students taking courses in agri-business and rural management in top business schools Business Line April 24).
Indian two-wheelers set scorching pace
The export drive of India’s two-wheeler industry has set a scorching pace in overseas markets, thanks to the deeper penetration of Indian companies in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. While motorcycle shipments during 2018-19 have grown by 15 per cent, scooter exports have risen by 19 per cent (Business Line April 23).
Jet crisis, IndiGo booms
As Jet Airways remains trapped in crisis, its rival IndiGo booms, with the airline’s market share rising to 47 per cent in March as against 44 per cent in February. IndiGo has been taking multiple steps to ensure it keeps growing during setbacks faced by its competitors. (Business Line April 24).
Axis Bank in black
Private lender Axis Banki is back on track with a net profit of Rs1,505 crore in the fourth quarter of 2018-19 ending March 31 (Business Line April 26).