Event Diary – 23rd June, 2012, Saturday

Airbus to set up its innovation cell in Bangalore

Global aircraft manufacturer Airbus has announced the setting up of its innovation cell in Bangalore, which will be operational by the end of the year. Airbus aims to source $1 billion worth of equipment and services from its Indian entities by 2020, said Kiran Rao, Executive Vice-President, Sales and Marketing and Customer Affairs, Airbus, on Friday. The company already sources software and engineering services from its facility in Bangalore.

Dr. Rao said “This will not be an engineering centre, but will work with other Airbus units to develop new designs and concepts”. “With the aviation market moving from the Western Hemisphere to the East, concepts of aircraft design should be coming from the East,” he said. “We have decided that our think tank for determining how aeroplanes should be, and how they should interact with airports and passengers and how pilots should interact with the craft would be headquartered in Bangalore and be headed by an Indian,” he said.

Also, the Airbus’ pilot training centre in Noida would be operational by 2013 with facility to train 5,000 pilots annually.

Dr. Rao said 200 Airbus aircraft were already flying in India; 400 more were due for delivery, most of them by 2020. About 90 per cent of these would be A-320s, Dr. Rao added. Deliveries of four A-330s for Jet Airways, which were deployed on long-haul flights, would commence in October, he said.

According to Dr.Rao India is the company’s fourth most important market, after China, the U.S. and the U.K. Indian commercial airliners were likely to purchase 1,043 aircraft over the next 20 years, he added. “Last year, we sold more than 270 aircraft to Indian airline companies, about 50 per cent of all aircraft sold by us worldwide.”

Dr. Rao also added “Delhi is, perhaps, the second most expensive airport in the world for airline companies”.

Calcutta High Court declares the Singur Act as ‘unconstitutional and void’

In a major setback to the Mamata Banerjee government, a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court including Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Mrinal Kanti Chaudhuri, on Friday declared the ‘Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011’, as “unconstitutional and void” setting aside the order of single judge I. P. Mukerji who had ruled that the Act was “constitutional and valid.”

The Singur law was meant to return a portion of the land acquired for the Tata Motors’ small car factory at Singur to “unwilling farmers” which is to fulfill a key poll promise.

The State would appeal against the order in the Supreme Court, Trinamool Congress MP and one of the lawyers for the government, Kalyan Banerjee said .

The Bench said the Act “is a law relating to acquisition,” a subject mentioned on the Concurrent List of the Constitution. It held that some sections of the Act were in conflict with the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. “…The Singur Land Rehabilitation & Development Act, 2011 is held to be unconstitutional and void, since it is without having assent from the President of India,” it said.

However, the court granted a two-month stay on the order. The government “should not part with the possession of the land” during this period and might go in appeal.

Raja Parvez Ashraf elected Pakistan Prime Minister

On Friday evening, Pakistan got its new Prime Minister in Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) loyalist Raja Parvez Ashraf, after three days of uncertainty, who has a nickname ‘Raja Rental’, due to a corruption case in Supreme Court.

Mr. Ashraf was elected premier with 211 votes in the National Assembly, well above the halfway mark of 172. It was a straight fight between the PPP and the PML(N).

The biggest problem confronting Mr. Ashraf is the acute power crisis, as a result of which most parts of the country are getting barely a few hours of electricity every day. This led to large-scale rioting across Punjab earlier this week, and Mr. Ashraf has promised to deal with this issue on a priority basis.

Centre’s Steps to halt the rupee fall

In the backdrop of rupee getting down to an all-time record low of 57.37 against the U.S. dollar in intra-day market, the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee assured the nation that the government, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), would take steps to contain the free fall of the currency.

Worried over the rupee posting this year’s sharpest single-day slide of 85 paise on Friday, Mr. Mukherjee had asked the DEA [Department of Economic Affairs] Secretary R.Gopalan to discuss [the] rupee situation with RBI Deputy Governor.

Among other steps, the RBI has directed the oil marketing companies to pick up 50 per cent of their foreign exchange (dollar) requirements for oil imports from the State Bank of India.

In the event, while the Indian currency has already slipped by more than 20 per cent over the past one year, traders are anticipating a further depreciation and expect the rupee to breach the 58 mark in the days ahead.

In recent weeks, while the RBI took a slew of measures to encourage exporters to bring back a portion of their foreign exchange earnings and freed banks to offer a higher rate of interest on NRI (non-resident Indian) deposits, the government has also put in place specific supportive steps to attract foreign exchange inflows. One such is the relaxation in portfolio investment norms.

Defence Ministry’s nod for equipment purchase worth Rs.20,000 cr

The Defence Ministry after facing a lot of criticism, on Friday has finally cleared proposals worth over Rs. 20,000 crore for procuring air defence missile systems for the Army and other equipment.

New CEO of Tata Global : Harish Bhatt

Harish Bhat has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Tata Global Beverages and Cyrus P. Mistry, Deputy Chairman, Tata Sons, has been inducted as a director on board.

He will take over from Percy Siganporia, who retires on June 30, 2012.



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