In the season of appointments of Governors, the Narendra Modi government is likely to spring a surprise in Goa. If speculations may be given credence, Prasar Bharati Chairman, A. Surya Prakash, is likely to be sent to Goa as Governor.
The incumbent Governor, Mridula Sinha’s, term ends in August.
Surya Prakash has been a veteran journalist, with stints in both print media and television. He has worked with The Indian Express, The Pioneer and Zee News in various capacities. He specialises in Constitutional practices, and has written extensively on the Parliament and against dynastic politics.
Were Surya Prakash’s elevation to fructify, Umesh Upadhyay could be the next chairman of Prasar Bharati. Upadhyay now works with Reliance Industries and has played a major role in the restructuring of the TV 18 news group. Upadhyay had been associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in his student days. His brother Satish Upadhyay, is a leader of the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In a related development, Press Secretary to the President, Ashok Malik, is slated to move out shortly.
— Team BW
Some Gun Mettle
The Indian Army’s quest for a ‘shoot to kill’ bulk rifle may be over, now that Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, has begun to take stock of the newly dedicated joint venture, the Indo Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh. The IRRPL is a joint venture between the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Russia’s Kalashnikov that will produce the AK 203 assault rifles that meet the Army’s specifications. The OFB has a controlling stake of 50.5 per cent in the venture.
The AK 203 is the outcome of a spate of aborted ventures. Way back in 2009, the Defence Acquisition Council had given in-principle approval for procuring 1, 87,825 assault rifles in the Buy and Make category with provision for licensed production by the OFB. Then in 2011 the Indian Army issued a Request for Proposal (RPF) for procuring the dual calibre assault rifle. No vendor succeeded in meeting the stringent technical specifications however, and the RPF was cancelled in 2015. The OFB was then tasked to develop a new rifle in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which too failed to meet the Army’s technical and operational parameters.
— Manish Kumar Jha
On A Fast Track
Over the next hundred days the Indian Railways will attempt to set in motion a massive action plan that may change the way we travel. It will attempt to reduce travel time on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes at a massive investment of over Rs13,500 crore. The plan is part of 11 such proposals prepared by the Railways in their 100-day plan which need to be set in motion before August 31.
Union minister for Railways, Piyush Goyal, is keen to increase train speed to 160 kmh on the very busy routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah over the next four years. The travel time between Delhi and Howrah (Kolkata) should come down to 12 hours from 17 hours now with the increased speed, at an investment of Rs 6,684 crore. Increasing the speed of the Delhi– Mumbai route should reduce time to 10 hours from 15.5 hours now and cost the Railways Rs 6,806 crore. God speed, we say!
– Ashish Sinha
IndiGo Under The Scanner
The public spat between Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, the two promoters of IndiGo, India’s largest airline by market share, has come under the scanner. Not just market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), but the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) too has now sought responses from IndiGo. The matter escalated and caught public attention recently after Gangwal wrote a 23-page letter to SEBI alleging serious corporate governance lapses at IndiGo.
The MCA wants IndiGo to respond to the issues raised by Gangwal. The SEBI wants the airline to submit the EY report on related-party transactions and the shareholder’s agreement. What does SEBI want from IndiGo? It wants to examine whether IndiGo had received shareholder approval for the unusual controlling rights that Bhatia enjoys over the airline, including the right to name its MD, CEO and President. The MCA, on its part is examining if the Companies Act was adhered to in the manner prescribed and the role of the directors on the board. Bhatia and his InterGlobe Enterprises Group own around 38 per cent of IndiGo, while Gangwal and his affiliates have a 36.68 per cent stake in the airline.—Ashish Sinha
Shared Distress In The Neighbourhood
The Himalayan state of Nepal has a geographical umbilical cord tied to India through the contiguous Indian province of Bihar. Sadly, the geographical proximity implies not only shared culture, but shared misery as well, every time flood waters wreak havoc in the region. In flood hit eastern India, the death toll in Bihar rose to 50 by July 15 and nearly 70 lakh lives were impacted by the deluge that followed incessant rains.
In the 2017 floods in Nepal and India, at least a thousand lost their lives, lakhs of people were displaced and crops and homes were destroyed. As part of India’s Neighbourhood First strategy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Nepal in May 2018 and discussed key issues with Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli, including the habitual inundation of the region during the rains. To deal with floods, India and Nepal have formed a Joint Commission on Water Resources that had a meeting in New Delhi in January. The discussion centred on a mechanism to deal with floods, inundation and embankment along the borders. But the fury of the floods persist – unabated. — Manish Kumar Jha
Maruti Gets Set For BS -VI
Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) had earlier announced that it would phase out diesel-driven versions of its select models from April 1, 2020 to comply with the fuel emission norms. It is now contemplating offering the Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) variant as an alternative to its existing engines, when the BS-VI emission norms come into force.
The GDI technology, though run on petrol, will be able to generate a higher power output without compromising on fuel efficiency, which is the primary reason why people tend to gravitate toward diesel-driven cars. ?
It is widely believed that the high cost of upgrading existing diesel engines to the BS-VI norms have induced the company to resort to the GDI technology. At present, the country’s largest car maker offers this technology only to its premium hatchback – the Baleno RS variant, which is equipped with a 1L DiTC engine.
— Avishek Banerjee