2019, May, Newsletter

India Newsletter May 30, 2019

NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2019

FRONT PAGE NEWS

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ARUN JAITLEY OPTS OUT, SAYS HE NEEDS TIME FOR HEALTH, TREATMENT

Former finance minister Arun Jaitley has opted out of the government to be
sworn in today, citing serious health challenges. Jaitley made the request
in a letter to Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi a day before the NDA govt
is sworn in for its second consecutive term.

In the letter, released by him on his Twitter handle, Jaitley said: “I am
writing to you to formally request you that I should be allowed a reasonable
time for myself, my treatment, and my health, and therefore, not be a part
of any responsibility, for the present, in the new government. I would
obviously have a lot of time at my disposal to undertake any work informally
to support the government or the party,” he said.

The former finance minister said it was a great honour and a learning
experience to have been part of the government headed by Modi. “Even
earlier, the party had blessed me with responsibilities in the first NDA
government, in the party organization, and also while we were in the
opposition. I could not have asked for more,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley’s absence could trigger a generational shift in the government. With
senior leaders like M. Venkaiah Naidu, the vice-president, and Kalraj Mishra
no longer part of the government, Jaitley was among the senior most leaders
of the party.

Jaitley is the second most senior member of the cabinet to opt out. Former
external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told the party before the Lok Sabha
polls that she no longer wanted to contest elections.

‘I AM SORRY, MODI JI’: MAMATA BANERJEE WON’T ATTEND SWEARING-IN

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided not to attend the
oath-taking ceremony of the new Council of Ministers today. Mamata had
earlier agreed to attend, but backed out after being irked by BJP claims
that its workers have been murdered in political violence in the Bengal.

“It was my plan to accept the ‘Constitutional Invitation’ and attend the
oath-taking ceremony. However in the last one hour, I am seeing media
reports that the BJP are claiming 54 people have been murdered in political
violence in Bengal. This is completely untrue. There have been no political
murders in Bengal,” Mamata wrote in a tweet directed at Prime Minister
Narendra Modi.

Mamata said that the alleged political murders might have happened “due to
personal enmity, family quarrels and other disputes; nothing related to
politics”.

“So, I am sorry, Narendra Modi Ji, this has compelled me not to attend the
ceremony. The ceremony is an august occasion to celebrate democracy, not one
that should be devalued by any political party which uses it as an
opportunity to score political points. Please excuse me,” Mamata wrote in
her tweet.

The family members of over 40 BJP workers, who were killed in political
violence in West Bengal in the last one year, have been invited for the
swearing-in ceremony. The party has booked their train tickets and informed
them personally, BJP leader Mukul Roy said. “It is a gesture of showing
respect to our martyrs who died while working for the party during the
violence unleashed by Trinamool Congress (TMC) goons,” he said.

The BJP claimed that Mamata Banerjee was not in a position to accuse the
party of devaluing the Prime Minister’s swearing-in ceremony by inviting kin
of poll violence victims in her state. Because she did something similar in
2011. Mamata Banerjee’s first oath-taking ceremony on May 20, 2011, was
attended by the families of “victims of political violence in Nandigram and
Singur”. She had accused the Left Front of letting loose a reign of terror
and causing the death of TMC workers.

AMID SUSPENSE OVER RAHUL, CPP TO MEET ON JUNE 1

Amid continuing impasse over the status of its president, the Congress
Parliamentary Party (CPP) will meet here on June 1 to elect its leader in
Parliament.

A day prior to that, the Congress will coordinate a meeting of 21 anti-BJP
parties to firm up a floor strategy for the first session of the 17th Lok
Sabha.

The decision on the schedule of the CPP meeting came after daylong suspense
over whether Rahul would budge from his position of stepping down as AICC
president.

Rahul did not meet any leader for the fourth day in a row after he put in
his papers before the Congress Working Committee, which rejected the
resignation.

PATNAIK TAKES OATH AS CM OF ODISHA FOR RECORD 5TH TERM

Naveen Patnaik, who led his Biju Janata Dal to a landslide victory in the
Assembly elections, took oath as the Chief Minister of Odisha for a record
fifth consecutive term today.

Twenty newly elected BJD MLAs also took oath as ministers, including 11 of
Cabinet rank, at the swearing-in ceremony. Patnaik later distributed
portfolios to new ministers.

The BJD, which won 112 seats in the 147-member Assembly, has been in power
in Odisha since 2000. It is for the first time that the 72-year-old Patnaik,
who won from his home turf Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in western
Odisha, has taken oath in an open public ground. In 2000, 2004, 2009 and
2014, the swearing-in ceremony was held at the Raj Bhavan.

KHANDU ASSUMES OFFICE IN ARUNACHAL

Senior BJP leader Pema Khandu took oath as the 10th Chief Minister of
Arunachal Pradesh yesterday. State Governor Brig (Retd) BD Mishra
administered the oath of office and secrecy to Khandu at a function
organised at the Dorjee Khandu Convention Centre in Itanagar.

Eleven Cabinet ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, were
also administered oath along with Khandu.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K
Sangma, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, his deputy Y Patton, Tripura
Chief Minister Biplab Deb and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh along
with BJP general secretary Ram Madhav were among others who attended the
swearing-in ceremony.

The BJP led by Khandu won 41 seats in the 60-member House, in the Assembly
polls held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha election on April 11 in the
state. While the opposition Congress could win only four seats, the Janata
Dal United in its maiden entry in the state’s political scene won seven
seats.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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IRAN BEHIND ATTACKS ON SHIPS: BOLTON

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday that naval
mines “almost certainly from Iran” were used to attack oil tankers off the
coast of the United Arab Emirates on May 12, and warned Tehran against new
operations.

Mr. Bolton said the “prudent and responsible” approach taken by the United
States, which has beefed up its military presence in the region, had made it
clear to Iran and its proxies that such actions risked a “very strong” U.S.
response.

“I think it is clear these (tanker attacks) were naval mines almost
certainly from Iran,” Bolton said. “There is no doubt in anybody’s mind in
Washington who is responsible for this and I think it’s important that the
leadership in Iran know that we know.”

Iran has termed Bolton’s assertions as laughable.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signalled on Wednesday that
talks with the United States might be possible if Washington lifted
sanctions, days after US President Donald Trump said a deal with Tehran on
its nuclear programme was conceivable.

UK PM CANDIDATE JOHNSON TO FACE COURT OVER BREXIT CLAIMS

Boris Johnson, the favourite to replace Theresa May as British Prime
Minister, must appear in court over allegations he lied about Brexit by
stating Britain would be £350 million a week better off outside the EU, a
judge ruled on Wednesday.

The figure, famously emblazoned on a campaign bus, was a central and
controversial part of the Leave campaign’s successful “take back control”
message ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Opponents argued that it was deliberately misleading and it became symbolic
of the divisions caused by the referendum, which saw Britons vote by 52%-48%
to leave the European Union.

Johnson’s lawyers have argued that the case was no more than a stunt by
those opposed to Brexit and an attempt to use criminal law to regulate the
content of political debate for the first time in English legal history.

THE REST

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TRIBUNAL ALLOWS KARAMBIR SINGH TO TAKE CHARGE AS NEW NAVY CHIEF ON FRIDAY

A military tribunal on Wednesday allowed Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh to take
charge as the new Navy Chief on Friday as it deferred hearing on a petition
challenging his appointment by nearly seven weeks.

Commander-in-Chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command Vice-Admiral Bimal Verma
had approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) challenging the appointment
of Singh as the next Navy Chief, overlooking his seniority.

“The AFT posted the matter for hearing on July 17 as government sought more
time for placing records relating to Vice Admiral Singh’s appointment before
the tribunal,” Verma’s lawyer Ankur Chhibber said. He said the AFT allowed
Singh to take charge as the new Navy Chief from incumbent Admiral Sunil
Lanba on May 31 and that his continuation will depend on the final outcome
of the case.

Verma is the senior-most naval commander.

US TAKES INDIA OFF CURRENCY WATCHLIST

The US government Wednesday removed India from its list of major trading
partners to be closely monitored for potentially questionable foreign
exchange policies with the move coming amid escalating trade tensions
between the two countries.

The US includes major trading partners in its monitoring list if they meet
at least two of three criteria – if it has either a significant bilateral
trade surplus with the US, if it has a material current account surplus or
if it is engaged in “persistent one-sided intervention” in the foreign
exchange market.

India was included in the list over a year ago because, in 2017, its foreign
exchange purchases over the first three quarters of the year pushed net
purchases of forex above 2 per cent of GDP. It also had a trade surplus of
over $20 billion.

Once on the list, the country remains there for at least two consecutive
reports, which span at least a year, “to help ensure that any improvement in
performance versus the criteria is durable and is not due to temporary
factors,” stated the report.

Countries in the current list include China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy,
Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

AFTER DIVIDER-IN-CHIEF COMMENT, TIME NOW SAYS ‘MODI HAS UNITED INDIA’

Time magazine, which published a cover story before the Indian election
calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “Divider in Chief”, has in a quick
about-face run a report with the headline, ‘Modi Has United India Like No
Prime Minister in Decades’.

The article with that headline published on its website on Tuesday, asked,
“How has this supposedly divisive figure not only managed to keep power, but
increase his levels of support?” and answered: “A key factor is that Modi
has managed to transcend India’s greatest fault line: the class divide.”

The writer, Manoj Ladwa, credited Modi’s emergence as a unifier to his
origins in a backward caste–a factor missed or deliberately omitted by the
Western media obsessed with what they call upper caste domination.

“Narendra Modi was born into one of India’s most disadvantaged social
groups,” he explained. “In reaching the very top, he personifies the
aspirational working classes and can self-identify with his country’s
poorest citizens in a way that the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, who have
led India for most of the 72 years since Independence, simply cannot.”

The pre-election cover story by Aatish Taseer was turned into campaign
fodder in India and acclaimed by Modi’s critics as an indictment of him as a
“divider” by a global media powerhouse.

Ladwa writes: “Through socially progressive policies, he has brought many
Indians, both Hindus and religious minorities, out of poverty at a faster
rate than in any previous generation.”

ASSAM: HOW CAN THEY CALL EX-SOLDIER FOREIGNER, ARREST HIM, ASKS SON

Stating that they are proud Indians, the teenage son of retired Army subedar
Md Sanaullah, who was taken away to a detention centre in Assam for
allegedly being a “declared foreigner”, on Wednesday asked how the
authorities could declare a former Armyman, who had served in insurgency-hit
areas, a foreigner and treat him in such humiliating manner.

Breaking down after his father was led away to detention centre, Shahid
Akhtar, 18, a college student in Guwahati, asked, “How can someone who has
served the country for so long be treated as a ‘foreigner’, and taken to a
detention centre like this?”

In 2017, Sanaullah’s cousin Ajmal Haque was served a notice by FT, which
Assam Police later clarified as a case of mistaken identity. Since then,
Haque has been campaigning for ex-servicemen. He said, “A soldier returns
home after long years of serving his country. If this is the treatment meted
out to him, then it is equivalent to murdering him by physically and
emotionally torturing him.

NATIONAL HERALD: ED GETS NOD TO SEIZE A PLOT

In a setback to the Congress, the Adjudicating Authority under the
Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has given the green signal for the
Enforcement Directorate (ED) to take possession of a plot in Haryana
belonging to Associate Journals Limited (AJL), publisher of National Herald,
a newspaper promoted by the party.

The authority endorsed the ED’s move last year to attach the property — Plot
No C-17, Sector 6, Panchkula. AJL can challenge this order in a higher
court.

The ED had provisionally attached the property on December 1, 2018, while
citing investigations to claim that it had been “illegally allotted to AJL
by the then Chief Minister of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda”. The Congress
leader is an accused in the money laundering case registered by the agency.

RAJASTHAN HC TELLS STATE GOVT TO WITHDRAW LICENCES OF ILLITERATE DRIVERS

In an order dated May 24, a single-judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash
Sharma observed that “the Motor Vehicle Rules are required to be framed not
only for the benefit of persons who seek licence but also taking into
consideration the public who are using the roads”.

Observing that “illiterate” drivers are “virtually a menace” for
pedestrians, the Rajasthan High Court has directed the state government to
withdraw driving licences issued to those “unable to read and write”.

In an order dated May 24, a single-judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash
Sharma observed that “the Motor Vehicle Rules are required to be framed not
only for the benefit of persons who seek licence but also taking into
consideration the public who are using the roads”. The court said that
illiterate people “would not be in a position to understand road signs and
notices of caution written on boards for human safety on the highways as
well as on the roads in the cities”.

The High Court was hearing a petition filed by Deepak Singh. His counsel D D
Khandelwal said, “Deepak is unlettered and already has a Light Motor Vehicle
licence since 2006. There is no minimum education criterion for obtaining an
LMV licence. However, he also wanted a licence to drive transport vehicles.”

ADANI SUBMITS NON-BINDING BID FOR JAYPEE INFRATECH

Business conglomerate Adani Group has made an unsolicited and non-binding
bid to acquire Jaypee Infratech and is ready to infuse up to Rs 1,700 crore
to expedite the construction of stuck housing projects of the debt-laden
realty firm and deliver flats to home buyers, sources said.

Adani has promised to infuse another Rs 1,000 crore in two equal tranches of
Rs 500 crore each to settle claims of workmen as well as secured and
unsecured financial creditors, besides meeting cost for insolvency
proceedings. It will also transfer 1,000-acre land to bankers to swap debt
with assets.

If the Supreme Court and National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) permit, the
amount of Rs 750 crore deposited by Jaiprakash Associates Ltd for protection
of home buyers could also be utilised for payment of balance
penalties/interest, Adani said in its offer.

VIRAT KOHLI, MALALA YOUSAFZAI SHOW STEALERS IN ICC WORLD CUP OPENING PARTY

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 got officially underway with a cracking opening
ceremony at the iconic Mall in London on Wednesday. An array of stars,
including the captains of the 10 teams, former players and celebrities light
up the “Opening Party” which had the picturesque Buckingham Palace in the
background.

With Kevin Pietersen, Shibani Dandekar and Paddy McGuinness hosting the
party, the curtain raiser to World Cup 2019 was short, crisp and
entertaining. English singer John Newman got the ceremony going with his
“Feel the Love”.

The 10 captains were invited to the stage at the Mall as the party got
underway. Captain of the host nation, Eoin Morgan, India captain and crowd
favourite, Virat Kohli and South Africa skipper, Faf du Plessis shared their
thoughts amid a rousing reception from cricket fans at the iconic road in
central London.

“Hopefully, we will be great hosts and hopefully we will do everybody
proud,” Morgan said.

Kohli, who received the loudest cheer as he walked on to the stage, said
India are looking to use the incredible crowd support in the UK to their
advantage in the upcoming tournament.

Among the ones that stole the show on Wednesday was Nobel laureate Malala
Yousafzai from Pakistan. Yousafzai, who has been an advocate of women’s
cricket, stressed the importance of women taking up sports.

While England host South Africa in the World Cup opener today, India take on
South Africa in their first match of the quadrennial tournament on June 5.

INDICATORS

Sensex 39,502 (-248), Nifty 11,861 (-68), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores)
31,572

Nasdaq 7547 (-60) Dow 25,126 (-221), S&P 2783 (-19)

US$-Rs. 69.74 GBP-Rs. 88.15, Euro-Rs. 77.75, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.98, Can$-Rs.
51.63, Aus$- Rs. 48.25

GBP 0.79 /US$, Euro 0.89 /US$, Jap.Yen 109.37 /US$, Aus$ 1.44 /US$, Sing
1.38 /US$, Bang Taka 83.03 /US$, Can$ 1.35 /US$, Mal Ring 4.19 /US$,

Pak Re 150.69 /US$, Phil Peso 52.29 /US$, Russian Rouble 64.94 /US$, NZ$
1.53 /US$, Thai Baht 31.79 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.28 /US$, Norway NOK 8.74
/US$

Bitcoin – USD 8,647

Dollar Index 98.02 Brent Crude 69.58 BDI 1082

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,278 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3208 / 3030,
Silver (Rs. Per KG) 39,100

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep
moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. – Conrad Hilton

OFF TRACK

A little girl was sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he read her a bedtime
story.

From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to
touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then
his again.

Finally she spoke up, “Grandpa, did God make you?”

“Yes, sweetheart,” he answered. `God made me a long time ago.”

“Oh,” she paused. “Grandpa, did God make me too?”

“Yes, indeed, honey,” he said. “God made you just a little while ago.”

Feeling their respective faces again, the little girl observed, “God’s
getting better at it, isn’t He?”

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