In yet another first for BJP leader Sushma Swaraj (62), she has become the first woman External Affairs Minister of India. She is the country’s first woman to be appointed as a full-time Cabinet minister with the external affairs portfolio. Indira Gandhi too held the portfolio between September 1967 and February 1969 and again between July and October 1984, but it was among the portfolios she retained with her as Prime Minister.
Sushma Swaraj has several other first to her name:
In its first major step after assuming charge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has ordered the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate black money, mostly hoarded abroad.
Composition of SIT
The SIT will be headed by retired Supreme Court judge MB Shah. Its other members include Secretary revenue, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, director of the Intelligence Bureau, director of the Enforcement Directorate, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes and director of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
As per an estimate by the US-based think tank Global Financial Integrity, the illegal money outflow from India is around $462 billion.
The black money refers to the money that is earned and transferred illegally abroad in tax havens like Cayman Islands and Mauritius, generally to evade tax. Real estate is believed to account for nearly a third of black money transactions. Other major areas of black money transactions include manufacturing, gold and consumer goods purchases.
In a historic achievement, Malavath Purna (13) became the youngest female mountaineer to scale the Mount Everest. Purna was accompanied by Sadhanapalli Anand Kumar (16), a Class IX student from the Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. Anand and Purna are both students of Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Educational Society.
T.R. Zeliang, leader of Naga Peoples Front (NPF), was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Nagaland following the resignation of Neiphio Rio, who has been elected to Lok Sabha. The NDF-led ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN-III) government was formed in March 2013. Mr. Rio resigned from the office after serving Chief Minister of the state for over 11 years following his victory in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has begun drilling its first-ever well in the Palar basin at Chinnapuliyur village near Gummidipoondi, about 55 km from Chennai.
ONGC had already started exploration in six out of seven sedimentary basins in India. The Palar basin was the seventh.
The Palar basin, spanned over an area of 1,800 sq.km., lies between the two petroleum-bearing Krishna-Godavari and Cauvery basins. The ONGC hopes to discover significant columns of hydrocarbons in the basin.
The block called PR-ONN-2005/1, where Chinnapuliyur is located, was a joint venture with the ONGC and Tata Petrodyne Limited (TPL). TPL holds 20% stake in the joint venture.