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Current Affairs for 19 April 2016
April 19, 2016

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Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday as a hostile and corruption-tainted congress voted to impeach her.

In a rowdy session of the lower house presided over by the president’s nemesis, house speaker Eduardo Cunha, voting ended late on Sunday evening with 367 of the 513 deputies backing impeachment – comfortably beyond the two-thirds majority of 342 needed to advance the case to the upper house.

As the outcome became clear, Jose Guimarães, the leader of the Workers party in the lower house, conceded defeat with more than 80 votes still to be counted. “The fight is now in the courts, the street and the senate,” he said.

As the crucial 342nd vote was cast for impeachment, the chamber erupted into cheers and Eu sou Brasileiro, the football chant that has become the anthem of the anti-government protest. Opposition cries of “coup, coup,coup” were drowned out. In the midst of the raucous scenes the most impassive figure in the chamber was the architect of the political demolition, Cunha.



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Dulal Karmakar spent a few sleepless nights having taken — what he thought — was a deeply uncomfortable decision: that he would keep his younger daughter Dipa in a Bengali medium school.

His eldest, Puja, four years older, studied at an English medium in their Agartala neighbourhood. He would ask the 7-year-old many times over, if she was alright going to the school she was enrolled into, and not learning English like ‘didi.’ But the girl was stubborn. She used the only English she’d managed to learn, to tell her father — ‘English means no gymnastics practice.’

Having started out on gymnastics just a year ago, the Class 3 girl had concluded that the only way she could devote all her time to the sport she was beginning to like, was by sticking to the Bangla school, which had very few hangups about attendance and which allowed her to spend maximum time at the gymnastics hall where she was quickly learning the basics.

“As parents, we were not sure if we were doing the right thing by keeping her away from English, but she was adamant,” Dulal remembers. Dipa insisted on staying put, and that according to her father was the biggest sacrifice his daughter made in pursuit of Artistic Gymnastics.

English, in the end, would matter very little, as two names — Aleksandr Nikolaevich Dityatin and Yelena Produnova — and other such Russian tongue twisters that enthralled the gymnastics world would get added to her vocabulary oftener than the more common language of upward mobility in the small capital.



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The ‘Make in India’ initiative has not yet materialised into FDI inflows.

Although India received an all-time high annual foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2015, the surge is led by the inflows into the services sector rather than manufacturing or infrastructure. The ‘Make in India’ initiative has not yet materialised into FDI inflows.

More than half of total FDI inflows in 2015 came into the services sector, comprising software, financial services, trading, hospital and tourism, according to an analysis of the official data by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and Citi Research. In 2014, the sector accounted for about a third of the gross inflows. FDI into the sector in 2015 was 111 per cent higher than in 2014.

Gross inflows are up more than 30 per cent to about $40 billion. Breakdown of the official data shows that the inflows into the manufacturing sector are up 6 per cent in 2015 after the 19 per cent fall in 2014. FDI into infrastructure in 2015 was marginally lower than in 2014.

While inflows rose significantly into some sectors the BJP-led NDA government opened up, including insurance, construction, broadcasting and tourism, the impact of the FDI liberalisation measures in defence, railways and retail is not visible.




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Many projects had been held up for want of Centre’s nod

There’s some good news, peppered with bad, on the investment front for the NDA government that is about to complete two years in office. Since March 2015, it has successfully removed roadblocks facing 170 stalled investment projects worth over Rs 6,00,000 crore, paving the way for their quicker implementation.

Yet, the task of unravelling red tape from such long-delayed projects that are driving up non-performing assets in the banking sector, is proving to be virtually Sisyphean. Over the same period, 260 more held up projects worth almost Rs 7 lakh crore were added to the waiting list of projects seeking government’s intervention to uproot obstacles thwarting them.

As a consequence, 395 stalled investment plans worth Rs 19.7 lakh crore now await an intervention from the project monitoring group in the cabinet secretariat that was set up to facilitate clearances, licences and other policy hurdles holding up large investment projects. The corresponding numbers in March 2015 stood at 305 projects worth Rs 18.84 lakh crore.