Citizens' Issues
Assam terror attack leaves 62 dead

Rajnath Singh has rushed to Assam following a simultaneous attack by suspected Bodo militants in multiple locations 

 

Suspected Bodo militants killed 62 people in Assam in multiple locations yesterday evening. The militants struck at around 5 p.m. at Maitalubasti killing 23 people, followed by more killings in Pakhriguri village, Ultapani village Phulbari and Batasipur. 
 
These locations fall under the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts. The National Democratic Front of Bodoland or NDFB, a terrorist group, has been active since 1968 and had warned earlier on Monday that if the government did not stop its operations against the NDFB that it would retaliate with terror strikes.
 
The NDFB was formed with the purported objective of securing a ‘sovereign Bodoland’ in the areas north of the river Brahmaputra. It has become more active in its attacks as a result of its complaints against migrants coming into the Bodo territory. 
 
"I'm upset, despite our appeal, this incident took place and innocent people have lost their lives, it's totally unacceptable," MoS Home Kiren Rijiju said.
 
The Prime Minister tweeted about the horrific attacks and termed the attacks cowardly. The Cabinet offered condolences and paid tribute to the victims of the attacks.
 
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be heading to Assam, while the state was under an indefinite curfew after incidents of retaliation by tribals against Bodo communities.
 

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malviya to be conferred Bharat Ratnas

At 90, Ex-PM Vajpayee and the late freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya will be conferred the Bharat Ratna

 

The President's secretariat said today that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former freedom fighter and educationist Madan Mohan Malviya would be conferred the prestigious Bharat ratna, India's highest civilian honour. 
 
The announcement comes a day before both awardees shared birthdays on 25 December. 
Atal Bihari Vajpayee being conferred the award gained support and praise from all quarters for his role in leading the nation and making an indelible mark on the India polity.
 
Vajpayee served 9 terms in the Lok Sabha and two in the Rajya Sabha, He was one of the founding members of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, some members of which went on to set up the Bharatiya Janata Party. He served as the External Affairs Minister in the Morarji Desai Cabinet and held two terms as Prime Minister, first in 1996 and again from 1998 to 2004, which included the time of the Kargil war.
 
The late Madan Mohan Malviya was an important figure in the freedom struggle and a noted educationist with great influence on Indian cultural life. 
 
Malviya held the office of the President of the Indian National Congress for two terms. He was one of the early leaders of the Hindu Mahasabha and set up one of the largest educational institutes in India, the Banaras Hindu University.
 

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Foreigners dump emerging market debt but buy Indian debt

Bond yields of emerging markets have jumped by 150 basis points on the back of a huge sell-off from foreign investors. But they continue to pour money into Indian debt

 

The last few weeks have witnessed one of the worst sell-offs in emerging market debt since the financial crisis of 2008, foreigners dumped emerging market debt for a variety of reasons. But in an interesting case of decoupling, foreigners continued to pour money into the Indian debt market. 
 
As oil prices tumbled, debt of emerging market countries, whose economies and finances are most dependent on oil exports, began underperforming. Crude oil dropped 48% since June, to about $55 a barrel, squeezing exporters from Venezuela to Russia and Nigeria. Venezuelan sovereign US dollar debt fell by more than 10% in November, pushing yields to over 20%. Russia’s U.S. dollar debt was down 2.6%. Ukraine’s government bonds slid 10% in November. However, there has been no impact on Indian debt and foreign investors were net buyers. In fact, thank to rapidly declining inflation, yields too have dropped significantly from the highs seen last year.
 
To control attract inflow and stem the outflows, the Central Bank of Brazil raised the benchmark interest rate by half a point to 11.75% on December 3 amid high inflation, low economic growth and a falling currency. Central Bank of Russia hiked its benchmark one-week repo rate from 10.5% to 17%, effective December 16.
 
In fact, the yield spread between high grade emerging markets and US AAA-rated corporate debt has jumped, almost doubling in less than three weeks to the highest level since mid-2012. A few analysts suspect some signs of trouble in certain emerging markets.
 
The EM bond market has also been under selling pressure based on the stand taken by the US Federal Reserve, that they may increase rates sooner than expected, even though they stressed patience. The Fed is possibly laying the ground for its first interest rate increase since 2006, threatening to reverse the capital inflows into developing nations.
 

Foreigners had panicked about a rate hike and its impact on emerging markets in the middle of 2013, when over two months they had sold off Rs44,000 crore of Indian debt. But once the government appointed Raghuram Rajan as the RBI governor and the rupee stabilised, they have been net buyers all through.

 

India seems to be immune from such worries of a rate hike this time. In fact, with easing inflation, the Reserve Bank is expected to cut interest rates from the prevailing 8%. Foreign investors purchased nearly Rs1.53 lakh crore of Indian debt over the past one year. Indian mutual funds, over the same period have purchased Rs6.21 lakh crore of Indian debt.
 
The Indian 10-year benchmark yield which was trading above 9% in April 2014, is now trading a little over a 100 basis point lower at around 7.93%.

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