News Feed 12-Aug ‘2016

Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda to soon send special envoys to India and China

  • Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda is willing to send special envoys to both India and China, the two foremost powers who persist to jockey for influence in the country grappling with matters related to political transition.
  • For this crucial work Prachanda has chosen his home minister Bimalendra Nidhi for his India outreach in what will also be the first high level engagement between the 2 countries since the new government in Kathmandu took over, Nepal’s finance minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara will travel to China as his special representative.
  • Both the ministers hold the rank of deputy prime minister.
  • Nidhi, a Nepali Congress leader has been seen locally as having played a vital role in forming the alliance between his party and Maoists which dislodged the KP Sharma Oli government. The Oli government was seen by India as undermining its influence in the country by acting overwhelmingly in favour of China and facilitating Beijing’s investments in Nepal. Nidhi is the senior most leader of Nepali Congress in the government.
  • Mahara’s visit to China though is probable to be even more important. Reports from Kathmandu have said Prachanda has already committed, in a meeting with the Chinese ambassador, to application of all the agreements which his forerunner Oli signed with China during his visit to China earlier this year.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Nepal later this year and Prachanda is likely to send a message to him saying that the new Nepal government is looking forward to hosting him. The president of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a significant Chinese think-tank, was quoted as having said in Kathmandu this week that there was no problem from Chinese government side regarding Xi’s visit and that it would depend on the situation in Nepal.

UPSC panel wants lower eligibility age

  • A government panel seeks for a reduction in the upper-age limit of candidates for India’s civil services examination, urging the NDA administration to ditch a decades-long practice of raising the ceiling under political compulsion.
  • The government has shown indication that it is likely to accept the proposal, with Union minister Jitendra Singh asking Lok Sabha to evolve a agreement on reducing the upper-age limit.
  • The panel headed by former education secretary BS Baswan submitted its report to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) that conducts the examination.
  • The current upper-limit for general, able-bodied candidates is 32. The committee recommended it be reduced to 27 over five years after a two-year freeze.
  • This suggestion was made because thousands of students who spend years preparing for the examination might find their careers jeopardized if suddenly declared ineligible.
  • The age limit is relaxed by five years for candidates from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes while those from other backward classes get a three-year relaxation. Disabled candidates get an additional 10-year cut.
  • A general category candidate is allowed six attempts (nine if disabled) and an OBC candidate nine. There is no cap on the number of attempts for SC & ST candidates.
  • Previously, several panels have advocated a reduction in the upper-age limit but consecutive governments have done the opposite and raised it, from 26 in the 1960s to 28 in the 1980s and now, 32.
  • In 2013, parliamentarians forced the then UPA government to remove an English essay paper of 100 marks and slip back to an earlier system where candidates had to score qualifying marks in the paper. But marks scored in the language paper were not counted for ranking successful candidates.
  • In 2014, the Modi government removed a 22-mark English section in the first of the three-stage examination process, a move demanded by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – the students’ wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.
  • And in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided that marks scored in the civil services aptitude test (CSAT) paper at the preliminary examination would not be used to shortlist candidates.

Azim Premji, Shiv Nadar In Forbes List Of 100 Richest Tech Tycoons

  • Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and HCL co-founder Shiv Nadar were the two billionaires from India to find their place in Forbes’ list of the world’s 100 richest people in technology, placed in the top 20 ahead of Google boss Eric Schmidt and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
  • The listing has been topped by Microsoft founder Bill Gates with an estimated fortune of USD 78 billion.
  • Premji ranks 13th on the list with a networth of USD 16 billion and Mr Nadar comes in on the 17th spot with USD 11.6 billion of net worth. Two Indian-American technology tycoons namely, Symphony Technology Group CEO Romesh Wadhwani and founders of IT consulting and outsourcing company Syntel Bharat Desai and his wife Neerja Sethi are also on the list.
  • Premji, who heads India’s third-largest outsourcer, Wipro has been on a buying spree in the past year to increase growth. His son Rishad, who heads strategy and sits on the board, also oversees Wipro’s USD 100 million venture capital fund.
  • Nadar co-founded HCL, which is reportedly mulling a US listing. He also owns HCL TalentCare, a skills-development firm that provides training to new graduates. His latest venture is a USD 500 million fund to invest in startups and US healthcare tech firms.
  • Wadhwani comes in on the 67th position with a USD 3 billion net worth. A beneficiary of the 2013 Forbes India Non-Resident Philanthropist Award, Mr Wadhwani announced in 2015 that he plans to commit up to USD 1 billion to finance entrepreneurship initiatives in
  • China has the second highest number of tech tycoons, with 19 people worth a combined USD 132.7 billion. The richest Chinese member is Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who is on the 8th spot and has an approximate net worth of USD 25.8 billion.
  • Canada has five tech billionaires and Germany has four.
  • The second richest person is tech Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is also the biggest gainer on the list this year and has an estimated USD 66.2 billion fortune, an increase of USD 18.4 billion since this list was released last year. That puts him ahead of Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, who comes in on the 4th spot.
  • Ellison was also beaten by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whoclimbed from fourth to third place thanks to a 30 percent jump in the value of Facebook’s stock; he is now also California’s richest person, another title that previously belonged to Ellison. Only five women rank among the world’s 100 richest in tech, including Zhou Qunfei on the 33rd spot. She became a billionaire in 2015 after Lens Technology’s IPO, and has a net worth of USD 6.4 billion.
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