Modi talks energy with Harper
- Six major areas of bilateral cooperation received a strong boost from the ongoing visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Canada. Mr Modi has inked deals with his counterpart, Stephen Harper, on civil aviation, railways, education, space, social security and health, in addition to giving a major boost to negotiations on nuclear and broader economic cooperation.
- “I seek Canada’s cooperation and investment in every area of India’s national development priority — energy and infrastructure, manufacturing and skills, smart cities and agro-industry, and research and education,” Mr. Modi said during joint remarks delivered to thunderous applause in Ottawa on April 15.
- Reciprocating Mr. Modi’s warmth, Prime Minister Harper said: “The priorities of your government — growth and job creation, infrastructure investment and the development of a stable, predictable business environment, including lower taxes for job creators — mirrors our own priorities here in Canada.”
- Mr. Modi’s slogan of “minimum government, maximum governance,” was also echoed by Mr. Harper.
- In his speech before an 8,000-strong audience of mostly Indo-Canadians, Mr. Modi appeared focussed on India’s energy needs as he alluded on several occasions to the “saffron revolution,” indicating the thrust on nuclear, solar, wind, biomass and energy saving missions of his administration. “Saffron is a colour of energy. We have to have an energy revolution in India,” he said, adding that while “India always spoke of MegaWatts, for the first time we are talking about GigaWatts — 175 GigaWatts of renewable energy.”
- A $350-million Indo-Canadian nuclear agreement has emerged the hallmark achievement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s summit with his counterpart here, not only for its potential to meet India’s energy demands but also for the new era of “trust” between the two nations.
- Mr. Modi expressed confidence on Wednesday that the deal with the Saskatoon-based Cameco Corporation would help to supply reactors to India, with up to seven million pounds of uranium concentrate over five years.
- Defending his record on the Jan Dhan Yojana, he said 14 crore bank accounts had been opened within his first 100 days in office, and despite starting with a zero bank balance, the poor had saved Rs.14,000 crore.
- Mr. Modi received the loudest cheers from the audience when he announced that Canada would be included in the list of nations receiving a visa-on-arrival from India and that with the merger of the OCI and PIO cards, they would now have lifetime entry with OCI as well as Indian visas for 10 years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Candian
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Geelani, Alam put under house arrest
- Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Masarat Alam were put under house arrest on April 16 to prevent them from leading a rally on April 17 to Tral, where a 24-year-old civilian was shot dead by the Army on Monday.
- The police have registered a case against Mr. Geelani, Mr. Alam and Peer Saiffulah for hoisting the Pakistani flag at a rally on April 15.
- Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said such an act was unacceptable, echoing Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who asked him to take strict action.
India’s ‘Parrot Lady’ to fly back home
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives the prized 'Parrot Lady,' sandstone sculpture from his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper on April 16.
- India’s ‘Parrot Lady’ is to return home, after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday handed over to his counterpart, Narendra Modi, the 800-year-old Indian sandstone sculpture of a woman holding a parrot.
- The sculpture dates back to the 12th century.
- It was returned in accordance with the 1970 UNESCO Convention, tweeted External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
- “Canada returns Indian heritage piece —— “Parrot Lady” PM @narendramodi receives sandstone sculpture from Khajuraho,” he tweeted.
- The prized Indian statue was returned at the Library of Parliament in Ottawa.
- Mr. Modi in exchange presented Mr. Harper with a miniature painting of Guru Nanak Dev with his disciples.
- The painting is by Jaipur-based artist, Virendra Bannu.
- The three-foot high statue of ‘Parrot Lady’ turned up in Canada in 2011 in the possession of an individual who did not have proper documentation; it was seized under the Cultural Property Export and Import which controls antiquities and other cultural objects being imported from foreign states, reports The Globe and Mail .
- “The Parrot Lady is what is known as a naayika, or heroine. She is voluptuous(of, relating to, or characterized by luxury or sensual pleasure), scantily clad(Scantily clad - wearing a minimum of clothes), posed in a manner that is a tad(to a small extent; somewhat) saucy(saucy - rude and showing no respect, or referring to sex, especially in a humorous way), and has a parrot on her back. She is just one of many erotic stone ladies that were created to adorn the Khajuraho temples,” says the Canadian daily.
The sculpture of India's Parrot Lady
NASA probe captures colour image of Pluto
- NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has sent back its first colour image of the dwarf planet Pluto and its largest moon Charon, after more than nine years of travelling through the solar system.
- The new photo, taken on April 9 from a distance of about 115 million kilometres, is already providing insights about Pluto and Charon, as well as suggestions of the science to come when New Horizons flies by the Pluto system on July 14, NASA said.
- The image shows “tantalising glimpses of this system,” Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said. “You can immediately see a number of differences between Pluto and Charon,” he added.
- Charon is dimmer than Pluto. The contrast may be due to a difference in composition of the two bodies, or it could even be caused by a previously unseen atmosphere on Charon, Mr. Green said.
- The uncertainty should clear up this summer, when New Horizons gets history’s first good look at the two frigid, faraway objects.
- New Horizons is a NASA space probe launched to study the dwarf planet Pluto, its moons and one or two other Kuiper belt objects, depending on which are in position to be explored.
First coloured image of Pluto and its
largest moon, Charon
RBI allows differential interest rates for term deposits above Rs. 15 lakh
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed banks to offer differential interest rates, based on whether their term deposits are with or without a premature withdrawal facility.
- Liquidity or ease of withdrawal, touted as the biggest advantage of bank fixed deposits (FDs), might soon be restricted due to this move.
- In its sixth bi-monthly monetary policy review, in February, the central bank had decided to introduce the feature of early withdrawal facility in a term deposit as a distinguishing feature for offering differential rates of interest.
- RBI said all term deposits of individuals — held singly or jointly — of Rs.15 lakh and below should, necessarily, have premature withdrawal facility,” RBI said in a notification. “All term deposits above Rs.15 lakh, banks can offer deposits without the option of premature withdrawal as well,
- For most banks, the penalty for premature withdrawal of deposits is 0.5-1% below the contracted rate or the rate applicable for the period the deposit has remained with the bank. With withdrawal being made an option, it is possible that term deposits might become less liquid but offer higher returns.