2019, May, Newsletter

India Newsletter May 31, 2019

NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – FRIDAY, MAY 31, 2019

FRONT PAGE NEWS

=================

PM MODI AND 57 MINSTERS TAKE OATH OF OFFICE AND SECRECY

Narendra Modi took over as the country’s Prime Minister for a second term on
Thursday after he was sworn in along with Union ministers, including BJP
president Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and former foreign
secretary S Jaishankar, a surprise pick.

Modi, 68, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram
Nath Kovind at a glittering ceremony at the forecourt of majestic
Rashtraparti Bhavan.

Sushma Swaraj, Manoj Sinha, Mahesh Sharma, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Arun
Jaitley, KJ Alphons, Hansraj Ahir, Maneka Gandhi, Radha Mohan Singh, Suresh
Prabhu, Anant Geete, Uma Bharti and Jayant Sinha, who were part of the first
Modi government, will not feature in the Union cabinet anymore.

BJP leader JP Nadda has emerged as the likely replacement for Amit Shah as
the party president after he was left out of the Union Council of Ministers.

Top opposition leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh,
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, corporate
honchos, film stars, chief ministers and a galaxy of leaders from BIMSTEC
countries were part of the nearly 8,000 guests at the ceremony.

Modi’s new council of ministers are 58 in all-24 ministers of Cabinet rank,
nine ministers of state with independent charge, and 24 ministers of state.

24 members who took oath of office as cabinet ministers are- Amit Shah,
Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, S Jaishankar, DV Sadananda Gowda, Nirmala
Sitharaman Ram Vilas Paswan, Narendra Singh Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad,
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Thanwar Chand Gehlot, Ramesh Pokhriyal, Arjun Munda,
Smriti Irani, Harsh Vardhan, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra
Pradhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Prahlad Joshi, Mahendra nath pandey, Arvind
Sawant, Giriraj Singh and Gajendra Shekhawat.

9 members who took oath as minister of state with independent charge
are-Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Rao Inderjit Singh, Shripad Yesso Naik, Jitendra
Singh, Kiren Rijiju, Prahalad Singh Patel, Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Singh
Puri, Mansukh L Mandaviya.

The 24 minister of state are-Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ashwini Kumar Choubey,
Arjun Ram Meghwal, V K Singh, Krishan Pal, Danve Raosaheb Dadarao, G Kishan
Reddy, Parshottam Rupala, Ramdas Athawale, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Babul
Supriyo, Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Dhotre Sanjay Shamrao, Anurag Singh Thakur,
Angadi Suresh Channabasappa, Nityanand Rai, Rattan Lal Kataria, V
Muraleedharan, Renuka Singh Saruta, Som Parkash, Rameswar Teli, Pratap
Chandra Sarangi, Kailash Choudhary, Debasree Chaudhuri.

Leaders of BIMSTEC countries including President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid,
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma
Oli, President of Myanmar U Win Myint and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay
Tshering also attended the gala event.

From Thailand, its Special Envoy Grisada Boonrach represented the country.

Kyrgyz President and current chair of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, and Mauritius PM Pravind Kumar
Jugnauth also attended the event.

JAISHANKAR: THE SURPRISE PICK IN MODI CABINET

Former foreign secretary S Jaishankar, a surprise pick in Narendra Modi’s
council of ministers, is a seasoned diplomat who was the Indian government’s
pointsman for China and the US.

Jaishankar, son of late K Subrahmanyam, one of India’s leading strategic
analysts, was a key member of the Indian team which negotiated the landmark
Indo-US nuclear deal.

The deal, initiated in 2005, took several years to craft, and was signed by
the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh in 2007.

The 64-year-old had earlier served as India’s Ambassador to the US and
before that to China.

A 1977-batch IFS officer, Jaishankar played a key role in resolving the
crisis following the incursion in Ladakh’s Depsang and the Doklam stand-off,
handling the tough negotiations with Beijing.

JD-U STAYS OUT OF MODI GOVT

BJP ally Janata Dal (United) refused to join the new Narendra Modi
government on Thursday in what appears to be a sign of differences with the
saffron party over the number of ministerial berths offered to it.

The BJP was offering one cabinet berth to the JD (U), which sources said did
not go well with the party. Besides, the party was said to be unhappy with
the portfolio on offer.

SIX WOMEN MINISTERS IN MODI’S NEW GOVT

Amethi MP Smriti Irani was among the six women ministers to take oath in the
newly-formed government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

The number of women ministers in this government is lower than the last
time, even though the number of women elected in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is
the highest ever. There were eight women ministers in the last government.

Shiromani Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Nirmala Sitharaman also took
oath as Cabinet Ministers, besides Irani.

Fatehpur MP Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (52) took oath as minister of state, along
with new entrants Renuka Singh Saruta (55), the MP from Chhattisgarh’s
Sarguja, and Debashree Chaudhuri (48), the MP from Raiganj in West Bengal.

Among the women ministers in the previous government, Sushma Swaraj
(external affairs), Uma Bharti (drinking water and sanitation), Maneka
Gandhi (women and child development) and Anupriya Patel (MoS, health and
family welfare) are not part of the new council of ministers.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

======================

TRUMP ANNOUNCES TARIFFS ON ALL MEXICO GOODS

US President Donald Trump has announced tariffs on all goods coming from
Mexico in a bid to curb illegal immigration.

In a tweet, Mr Trump said that from 10 June a 5% tariff would be imposed and
would slowly rise “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied”.

Jesus Seade, Mexico’s top diplomat for North America, said the the tariffs
would be “disastrous”.

“If this is put in place, we must respond vigorously,” he told reporters.

The White House said on Thursday that the president would use the
International Emergency Economic Powers Act to implement the new tariffs on
Mexico.

FRESH CALLS FOR TRUMP IMPEACHMENT AFTER MUELLER’S STATEMENT

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s first – and possibly last – public
statement on the Russia investigation is fueling fresh calls on Capitol Hill
to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, a step that
Democratic leaders have so far resisted.

Surprising Washington with brief remarks on Wednesday, Mueller indicated
it’s up to Congress to decide what to do with his findings. The special
counsel reiterated that, bound by Justice Department policy, charging a
sitting President with a crime was “not an option.”

But he also stressed he could not exonerate Trump. Instead, he cited that
same policy to say, “The Constitution requires a process other than the
criminal justice system.” With Mueller closing his office and not expected
to comment further, it all amounted, for some, to an open invitation for
Congress to launch impeachment proceedings.

“He’s asking us to do what he wasn’t allowed to – hold the President
accountable,” said Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a member of the House Judiciary
Committee, the panel with impeachment power.

But top Democrats, with almost no support from Republicans, are hesitant to
go it alone on an impeachment inquiry that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has
warned would be divisive for the nation.

THE REST

========

RAHUL GANDHI MEETS SHARAD PAWAR AMID TALK OF CONGRESS, NCP MERGER

After avoiding most of his party leaders over the last four days, Congress
president Rahul Gandhi Thursday drove to NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence
in the Capital and spent nearly an hour,

“Congress President Mr. @RahulGandhi met up with me today at my residence in
Delhi. We discussed matters pertaining to the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha
Elections and the drought situation in Maharashtra,” Pawar posted on
Twitter.

There have been speculations that a merger of the two parties is being
considered.

Rahul also met Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and discussed the
crisis that has hit the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state.

A LOOK AT STATE-WISE DISTRIBUTION OF UNION MINISTERS

Uttar Pradesh, which sent the highest number of 64 MPs from the ruling
alliance to the 17th Lok Sabha, on Thursday got the biggest representation
in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers. Nine of the 58
ministers are from the state, including the PM who represents Varanasi,
followed by eight from Maharashtra and five from Bihar.

Among bigger states, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala could not get any
ministerial berth.. The other states that could not get ministerial
representation are from the north-east – Sikkim, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland,
Tripura and Meghalaya.

Karnataka has four ministers while Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat have three
each. Punjab, Jharkhand and West Bengal get two each.

Four out of nine ministers, including the PM, from Uttar Pradesh are of
Cabinet rank – Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani, and Mahendra Nath Pandey being
the others.

Maharashtra too got four ministers of Cabinet rank – Nitin Gadkari, Prakash
Javadekar, Piyush Goyal and Arvind Ganpat Sawant (MP from south Mumbai).
Javadekar and Goyal are Rajya Sabha MPs. Other than Sawant, three of the
four were Cabinet ministers during Modi’s first term.

Bihar has two Cabinet ministers – Ravi Shankar Prasad and Giriraj Singh –
besides Ramvilas Paswan (LJP), who is not an MP.

Harsh Vardhan, MP from Chandni Chowk in Delhi, is the lone minister from the
Capital.

LOUDEST CHEERS FOR PRATAP CHANDRA SARANGI

His was the 56th name of 58 called to take the oath of secrecy but when a
64-year-old man, frail with unkempt hair and a beard walked on stage, the
applause from the 8,000-strong crowd in Rashtrapati Bhavan Thursday was
thunderous.

Pratap Chandra Sarangi, a first-time MP from Balasore in Odisha, was
sworn-in as Minister of State in the second Modi government.

It was the second time Sarangi trended on social media, just days after
images of him packing a simple bag in his modest thatched house before
leaving for Delhi surfaced on Twitter.

But in Odisha, Sarangi is known as an austere political activist, maverick
and plain spoken.

Well known in coastal Odisha’s politics, Sarangi campaigning on a bicycle
triumphed over two of the richest candidates in Odisha. While Navajyoti
Patnaik, the son of state Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik, has assets in
excess of Rs 104 crore, incumbent BJD MP Rabindra Jena’s assets were around
Rs 72 crore.

In his election affidavit, Sarangi declared moveable assets of Rs 1.5 lakh
and immovable assets of Rs 15 lakh.

CONGRESS DECIDES NOT TO SEND SPOKESPERSONS TO TV DEBATES FOR A MONTH

A decision by the Congress on Thursday not to send its spokespersons on
television debates for a month has triggered a major debate on the rationale
behind the move.

Congress media chairman Randeep Surjewala announced the decision in a tweet
asking television channels not to place party spokespersons on their
debates.

Congress sources said the decision was taken in the wake of uncertainty
around the status of Congress president Rahul Gandhi whose resignation from
the post hadn’t been accepted by the party’s working committee on Saturday.
Congress media department feels the natural question at this time would
relate to the party chief for which no one seems to have any answers.

ENSURE FAIRNESS, SC TELLS ASSAM NRC COORDINATOR

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Assam state coordinator for National
Register of Citizens to ensure that fair procedure is adopted in dealing
with claims and objections of persons against exclusion or inclusion of
citizens in the draft NRC.

“Your job is to ensure that hearing on claims and objections are done in a
fair and proper manner. There is a deadline (July 31, 2019) and a time
frame. Just because there is a time frame that does not mean that your
officers will cut short the process to complete it,” a Vacation Bench headed
by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela.

Referring to “disturbing” media reports regarding the procedure to deal with
claims and objections, the Bench said although the media is not always
correct, sometimes it is right as well. “Ask your officers to follow the
proper procedure in dealing with the claims and objections”, and give proper
hearing to people on claims and objections, it told Hajela.

The Bench told him that if he faces any difficulty or pressure from anybody,
he can approach the secretary general of the court and the matter would be
taken up for hearing by the court.

HC GRANTS EX-KOL TOP COP MONTH-LONG ARREST SHIELD

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday granted protection from arrest and any
coercive action till July 10 to Bengal CID Additional Director General
Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha chit fund scam case. The vacation bench of the
court granted him a month’s protection from June 10, when the court will
reopen after summer break, and directed Kumar to deposit his passport within
24 hours of the passing of the order. The former Kolkata police chief has
been asked to cooperate with the CBI investigation into the multicrore chit
fund case, while recording his attendance with an officer of the probe
agency every day at 4 pm.

RERA TIGHTENS NOOSE AROUND UNSCRUPULOUS DEVELOPERS

With Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in Gurugram and Uttar Pradesh
tightening noose around unscrupulous developers by issuing them notices to
open separate RERA bank account for a project to limit diversion of funds,
experts opine the authority should start empanelling engineers, architects
and chartered accountants as it will help in imposing an additional check on
the utilisation of funds for the project. At present, RERA allows any
practising engineer, architect and chartered accountant to provide required
certifications. This exposes the process to some amount of stakeholder
influence.

The separate designated account creates an additional check, with the
developer having to seek reimbursements from the account, based on certified
incremental cost incurred on the project.

Under the RERA regime, 70% of the amount realised from buyers is to be
deposited in a separate RERA-designated bank account to cover the cost of
land and construction for the given project. Withdrawals from this account
are permitted in line with the percentage of completion of the project, as
certified by an engineer, an architect and a chartered accountant.

J&J FAULTY IMPLANTS CASE: 67 PEOPLE TO GET RS 25 LAKH EACH

Pharma major Johnson and Johnson (J&J) on Thursday informed the Delhi High
Court that it will pay Rs 25 lakh each to 67 patients who had undergone
revision surgeries after receiving faulty hip implants from the company.

The company told Justice Vibhu Bakhru that though the Central government has
given a list of 93 people affected, J&J authorities were able to verify
documents of only 67 claimants. It added that the payment must not be
construed as an admission of liability on its part.

To this, the court replied that it had not examined the controversy raised
in the writ petition. “This is only an ad-hoc sum. If they (J&J) need to pay
Rs one crore, they will have to do that.”

Making it clear that the payment was being made “without prejudice to the
rights and contention of the parties” in the matter, the judge stipulated
that payments must be disbursed before the next date of hearing.

ICC WORLD CUP OPENER: ENGLAND BEAT SOUTH AFRICA BY 104 RUNS

England made a confident start to their Cricket World Cup campaign as they
crushed South Africa by 104 runs in the opening match of the tournament at
The Oval on Thursday.

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock hit 68 and Rassie van der Dussen 50, but
England took wickets at regular intervals to ensure the required run rate
kept climbing.

Stokes pulled off a spectacular leaping one-handed catch on the boundary to
dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo and Jofra Archer claimed three wickets as South
Africa were bowled out for 207 with more than 10 overs to spare.

Earlier, South Africa restricted England to 311 for eight. Ben Stokes
top-scored with 89, while England captain Eoin Morgan (57), Jason Roy (54)
and Joe Root (51) all made fifties.

South Africa’s Imran Tahir on Thursday became the first spinner to bowl the
first over in a World Cup match. In the 1992 World Cup, New Zealand
off-spinner Dipak Patel had bowled the second over during a match against
Australia.

FRENCH OPEN: NAOMI OSAKA STAGES A SECOND ESCAPE TO ENTER LAST 32

Naomi Osaka staged a second successive Roland Garros great escape on
Thursday as fellow top seed Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams strolled into
the last 32.

World number one Osaka, bidding to add the French Open to her US and
Australian Open titles, came back from a set and 2-4 down to defeat former
world number one Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Her win came on the back of being just two points from defeat in her
tournament opener against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

Djokovic cruised into the last 32 for the 14th successive year, admitting it
had been an emotional day playing for the first time in front of his
four-year-old son. Djokovic, bidding to become just the second man to hold
all four Slams at the same time twice, cruised to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 win over
Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen.

Three-time French Open champion Serena Williams thrashed Japanese qualifier
Kurumi Nara to step up her bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.
The 37-year-old cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 victory and next faces fellow American
Sofia Kenin.

Fourth seed Dominic Thiem overcame an entertaining challenge from
Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik to reach the third round for the fourth
straight year. The Austrian fourth seed was facing a fifth set when trailing
5-2 in the fourth, but reeled off five straight games to win 6-3, 6-7 (6/8),
6-3, 7-5.

INDICATORS

Sensex 39,832 (+330), Nifty 11,946 (+85), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores)
37,269

Nasdaq 7568 (+20) Dow 25,170 (+43), S&P 2789 (+6)

***US$-Rs. 69.68 GBP-Rs. 87.94, Euro-Rs. 77.59, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.96, Can$-Rs.
51.60, Aus$- Rs. 48.22

GBP 0.79 /US$, Euro 0.89 /US$, Jap.Yen 109.65 /US$, Aus$ 1.44 /US$, Sing
1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 82.94 /US$, Can$ 1.35 /US$, Mal Ring 4.18 /US$,

Pak Re 150.18 /US$, Phil Peso 52.15 /US$, Russian Rouble 65.01 /US$, NZ$
1.53 /US$, Thai Baht 31.74 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.58 /US$, Norway NOK 8.75
/US$

Bitcoin – USD 8,632

Dollar Index 98.03 Brent Crude 66.14 BDI 1107

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,291 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3208 / 3030,
Silver (Rs. Per KG) 39,100

Note – ***The currency rates quoted above are only indicative. At best these
can give trends of currency movements. The banks’ buy/sell rates can be
different from these.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have
helped you. – John Southard

OFF TRACK

A man who is a manager in a 5-star hotel calls his wife.

Husband: Aaj khaane mein kya pakaya hai?

Wife: Steamed fine long grain white rice, hand-picked in the emerald green
lap of the Vindhyas, accompanied by a golden lentil soup that was gently
simmered over the smouldering kisses of angels and served with dollops of
fragrant clarified butter.

Husband: Aaj phir Daal-Chawal!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar