1. Govt opens FDI door wider by allowing partly-paid shares
The Centre has further eased foreign direct investment (FDI) norms by allowing partly-paid shares and warrants as eligible capital instruments. This means an Indian company looking to bring in funds can now issue such instruments without any approval.
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said it has amended the ‘Consolidated FDI Policy circular of 2015’ issued this May.
With this, an Indian company can issue warrants and partly-paid shares to non-residents so long as conditions specified by the Reserve Bank of India are met. Prior to this, the Consolidated FDI policy had stipulated that these instruments can be issued to a non-resident only after approval through the government route.
The Centre’s move comes more than a year after the RBI had said that partly-paid shares and warrants issued by an Indian company would qualify as eligible instruments for FDI/Foreign Portfolio Investment.
The central bank had, however, stipulated that the company issuing paid-up shares/warrants needs to ensure that sectoral caps are not breached even after the shares get fully paid-up or warrants get converted into fully paid equity shares.
In July last year, the RBI stipulated that an Indian company whose activity/sector falls under the government route will require prior approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for issuing partly-paid shares/warrants.
2. Indian-Origin Lawmakers Seema Malhotra, Lisa Nandy appointed to Shadow Cabinet in UK
Indian-origin British Members of Parliament (MPs), Seema Malhotra and Lisa Nandy, were appointed as to the shadow cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn, the newly-elected leader of Labour Party in the United Kingdom (UK) in third week of September 2015.
Malhotra was appointed as the shadow chief secretary for Treasury, while Nandy was appointed as shadow secretary for energy and climate change.
Seema Malhotra, 43-year-old, became MP for the London seat of Feltham and Heston in 2011 in a by-election following the death of Alan Keen (Conservative). In August 2014, she was given the newly created role of shadow minister for preventing violence against women and girls by the then Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Lisa Nandy, 36 year-old, is a British Labour Party politician. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Wigan constituency, in Greater Manchester, since the 2010 general election. Elected to Parliament on 7 May 2010, she became the constituency's first female MP and one of the first six Asian female MPs elected to Parliament.
3. Pentagon established first-ever country special cell IRRC to speed up defence ties with India
The abbreviation IRRC was in news in September 2015. IRRC stands for India Rapid Reaction Cell and was established in January 2015 by Pentagon to exclusively focus on advancing Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI).
IRRC is Pentagon’s first-ever country special cell and is headed by Keith Webster, Director of International Cooperation Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
The cell was established as part of Joint Statement issued during the visit of the US President Barack Obama to India as chief guest of the Republic Day 2015 parade. Obama is the first US president to become the chief guest of the RD parade.
The cell since its establishment has been instrumental in accelerating projects under DTII. DTII came into being in 2012 after the then US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta directed then Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to undertake an initiative to provide increased US senior level oversight and engagement to get beyond these obstacles.
DTII seeks to co-develop and co-produce military equipment in six pathfinder projects. These include among others
• Next-generation Raven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
• Roll-on, roll-off intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance modules for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.
• Mobile electric hybrid power sources
• Uniform integrated protection ensemble increment-2 (chemical, biological warfare protection gear for soldiers).
4. Ashok-Alexander Sridharan became first PIO to be elected as mayor of Bonn in Germany
Ashok-Alexander Sridharan on 14 September 2015 became the first Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to be elected as the mayor of Bonn in Germany.
He will officially take charge on 21 October 2015.
Sridharan also became the city’s first mayor from an immigrant background. He was born in Bonn in 1965 to an Indian Diplomat and German mother.
He belongs to the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party, to which the German Chancellor Angela Merkel also belongs to.
It was for the first time in 21 years that a candidate from the CDU won the Bonn mayoral election leaving the Social Democratic Party (SPD) out in the cold.
Bonn is the 18th most populated city in Germany and the provisional capital of erstwhile West Germany.
5. MP government constituted one-member commission to probe Petlawad explosion incident
Madhya Pradesh government on 15 September 2015 constituted a one-member commission to probe the Petlawad explosion incident in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh. Retired High Court judge Justice Aryendra Kumar Saxena is the chairman of the Commission.
The commission’s headquarters will be at Indore and will to submit its report in 3 months.
The Commission will find out, among other things, the circumstances under which the explosion took place. It will also find that who was responsible for the incident and whether the landlord or the tenant had the license to store or use explosives.
6. North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility resumes operation
North Korea’s main nuclear facility at the Yongbyon complex has resumed normal operations after it was shut down in 2007. With this development it appears that North Korea is intensifying nuclear and ballistic missile development efforts in quality and quantity. Yongbyon’s reactor was shut down in 2007 under a six-nation aid-for-disarmament accord. But the dictatorial Kim Jong Un regime vowed to restart it again in 2013, following its third nuclear test and amid high regional tensions. The reactor at this nuclear facility has been the source of plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. If it is re-started, the reactor could potentially enrich plutonium to make one nuclear bomb per year. Presently, North Korea is under United Nations economic sanctions for its strategic nuclear weapons programme and it was further tightened after its 2013 test.
7. Indian-origin author Sunjeev Sahota shortlisted for 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction
Indian-origin author Sunjeev Sahota has been short-listed for the prestigious 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Sunjeev Sahota’s novel The Year of the Runaways has been shortlisted which deals with the life experience of illegal immigrants from the Indian subcontinent in Britain. He is among the 6 authors who have been short-listed for this edition of prize by judges’ panel chaired by Michael Wood. Other short-listed authors are: Tom McCarthy (Britain), Anne Tyler (US), Marlon James (Jamaica), Hanya Yanagihara (US) and Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria). Sunjeev Sahota was born in 1981 and is a third-generation British-Indian. His debut novel Ours Are the Streets was published in 2011. The Year of the Runaways is his second novel which was published in June 2015.
8. Indian-American Swetha Prabakaran selected for Champions of Change award in US
A 15-year-old Indian-American girl Swetha Prabakaran has been selected by the White House for the prestigious Champions of Change award. She was chosen for the award in recognition of her efforts for empowering the community by imparting education of Internet coding through her non-profit Organisation. She is among eleven young women selected by the White House as Champions of Change. Swetha was born in Indianapolis to Indian parents who had immigrated from Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli in 1998. She is the founder and CEO of Everybody Code Now, a non-profit body working to empower the next generation of youth to become scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.