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Top Events Of 2014: Modi Win, Mars Mission And More
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From Narendra Modi's election victory to the BSE Sensex's outstanding performance, we covered many important stories in 2014. As we approach the New Year, here is our pick of key news events of the year.
BJP's Historic Poll Victory
Narendra Modi stormed to power at the Centre, giving the BJP its highest-ever tally in the Lok Sabha elections in May. The Congress suffered its worst-ever defeat as India witnessed a seismic political shift that offered the 63-year-old BJP leader a mandate for sweeping economic reform. Consolidating its grip on power, the BJP won the state assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, and became a key player in Jammu and Kashmir.
Coal Block Allocations
The Supreme Court in September scrapped all but four of 218 coal blocks allocated by the government over the past two decades. The court described the allocations as "illegal and arbitrary." The ruling sent the share prices of major companies tumbling and paved the way for a possible haul-up of the sector coal.
Indian Science Creates History
India triumphed in its first mission to Mars. The country created history as the Mangalyaan space probe successfully entered the orbit around the Red Planet in September. With a price tag of $74 million, India achieved the mission spending just a fraction of the $671 million spent by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in its latest Mars project Maven.
Stock Markets Soar
India's stock markets hit new peaks in 2014 on the hope of pro-business reforms by the new government. The benchmark Sensex reached its all-time high of 28,822.37 points on 28 November and Nifty hit 8,626.95 on 4 December. Sensex is more than 30 per cent higher this year on foreign fund inflows.
Subrata Roy Arrested
Subrata Roy, aged 66, chairman of Sahara Group, was arrested in February after a Supreme Court order for failing to appear at a hearing in a dispute with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (EBI). Sahara has been accused of failing to comply with a 2012 court order to return funds to investors in a bond scheme that was ruled to be illegal.
Sharp Drop In Oil Prices
Global oil prices fell below $59 a barrel on 15 December for the first time since May 2009. International benchmark Brent crude has almost halved since reaching a 2014 high of $115 a barrel in June on ample supply and slowing demand, and a switch in strategy by exporter group OPEC to defending market share rather than prices. The Indian economy, which heavily relies on imported oil, benefits from lower crude prices.
Floods Cause Havoc in Kashmir
Heavy rains caused flash floods in Kashmir, resulting in dozens of deaths and massive destruction to property and infrastructure in September. The state's tourism sector and crops suffered extensive damage.
Kotak Mahindra Acquires ING Vysya
Kotak Mahindra Bank decided to acquire ING Vysya Bank in an all-stock transaction in November, representing India's biggest bank deal.
SpiceJet In Trouble
Cash-strapped budget carrier SpiceJet has sought urgent financial help from the government to continue its operations. It submitted a revival plan to the government on 26 December on the basis of a proposed investment of $200 million from founding promoter Ajay Singh and US-based JPMorgan Chase.
Nobel Peace Prize
Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Sixty-year-old Satyarthi runs an NGO in India that has been in the forefront of rescuing children from forced labour and trafficking. Malala, 17, was shot by the Taliban militants for advocating education for girls.