2019, June, Newsletter

India Newsletter June 17, 2019

NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2019

FRONT PAGE NEWS

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DOCTORS STRIKE: STAGE SET FOR TALKS

Signaling a way forward to resolve their face-off with the West Bengal
government, the junior doctors on strike for the sixth day in the state
sought an “immediate end to this impasse” and said Sunday that they have
decided to leave the choice of venue for talks to Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee.

The doctors, however, demanded that the venue should accommodate
representatives from all medical college hospitals and the media. So far,
the doctors had insisted that Banerjee visit them at NRS Medical College and
Hospital for talks.

The latest offer by the doctors still leaves two major points of contention:
presence of media at the talks and the number of representatives that can be
allowed on behalf of the doctors.

The administration is not keen on allowing mediapersons to cover the
meeting. Secondly, while the junior doctors want five representatives from
each of the 13 medical college hospitals, the government wants one from
each.

The latest decision by the agitating doctors comes a day after they refused
to meet the Chief Minister at the state secretariat. The doctors had earlier
refused to attend meetings called by Banerjee on Friday and Saturday.

On Sunday, the doctors met for four hours at the NRS Medical College and
Hospital. “The last media interview of the Chief Minister (on Saturday
evening) had a lot of discrepancies and was full of false propaganda of our
protests. We want an immediate end to this impasse with discussions with the
honourable Chief Minister, which should maintain transparency and not behind
closed doors but in front of the media,” they said in a press release.

“We believe that the decision to choose the venue for the meeting with our
delegates should lie with the Chief Minister but it should accommodate
representatives from all medical colleges and media. We hope that our
honourable Chief Minister would be considerate and do something to help the
health care system,” it said.

PM HOLDS ALL-PARTY MEET, SEEKS HELP IN BUILDING ‘NEW INDIA’ BY 2022

At the all-party meeting on the eve of the Budget session of Parliament on
Sunday, PM Narendra Modi sought the help of leaders of all political parties
in realising the dream of building a New India by 2022, even asking them to
‘introspect’ how people’s representatives could win the hearts of the people
they represented by disrupting Parliament.

The Opposition demanded debates on unemployment, farm distress, and the
drought situation across several regions of the country during the Budget
session. Against the backdrop of the tense political situation in West
Bengal, the state’s ruling TMC leaders asked the Centre to respect the
spirit of federalism. “Deliberately targeting states is unacceptable,” the
TMC’s Lok Sabha leader, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, said.

For the NDA, Rajya Sabha remains a challenge, where it continues to be short
of a majority with 102 MPs currently. The first obstacle could be the
triple talaq Bill, which the Cabinet approved last week for tabling in
Parliament.

Later in the day, the BJP also held a meeting of its parliamentary party
executive committee. It has appointed new leaders for the RS, with Union
Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot its leader in the House and Piyush Goyal his
deputy. Modi remains the leader of the LS, while Rajnath Singh remains his
deputy. The Congress is yet to decide on its leader in the LS. Mallikarjun
Kharge was its leader in the previous LS, but lost the polls. While some in
the party want Congress President Rahul Gandhi to accept the job,
Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has expressed his keenness to take up
the job.

In his address, the PM asked leaders of all parties to work cohesively with
the Centre in running the House smoothly and collectively address issues
related to the welfare of people. He “urged all leaders to introspect
whether MPs are able to fulfil peoples’ aspirations as their
representatives.” “All parties must keep differences aside and commit
themselves to tirelessly work in the direction of nation’s progress,” said
Modi. He asked leaders to cooperate with the government to strive in the
direction of making a New India by 2022 and achieve the true meaning of
‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas’.

The LS will sit from June 17 to July 26.

CONGRESS NEEDS ‘MAJOR SURGERY’, SAYS VEERAPPA MOILY

Asserting that the Congress needs a “major surgery” in the wake of the Lok
Sabha polls debacle, senior leader M Veerappa Moily says Rahul Gandhi must
carry out a complete overhaul of the party by holding elections at every
level and quell internal bickering with an “iron hand”.

Emphasising that Gandhi alone can lead the party, he said it is the AICC
in-charges and chiefs of states, where the party has done badly, who should
be held accountable and not the Congress president.

Moily asserted that Gandhi continues to be the AICC president and he has not
stepped down. “He (Gandhi) said that owning moral responsibility, he will
step down. Working Committee (CWC) has been unanimous to say that he has to
continue. That holds good even today,” he told PTI in an interview.

J&K: BJP SEEKS FRESH DELIMITATION, DE-FREEZING OF ASSEMBLY SEATS

The BJP in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday sought fresh delimitation of Assembly
constituencies and de-freezing of at least eight of the 24 seats in the
Assembly reserved for areas in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). In the
111-member Assembly, elections are held in only 87 constituencies. As people
in the remaining 24 Assembly constituencies have never voted in view of
their areas falling across the LoC, their seats have been kept vacant.

A resolution was adopted by the party’s working committee, which expressed
concern over “gross injustice done to Ladakh and Jammu regions by previous
National Conference governments through inequitable delimitation of Assembly
constituencies favouring Kashmir region”.

“It has reinforced the party’s demand for fresh delimitation of Assembly
constituencies in the state, besides the demand for de-freezing of one-third
of 24 seats kept reserved for areas of PoJK (Pakistan occupied Jammu and
Kashmir),” the resolution said, adding that “these Assembly seats shall be
allotted to Jammu region where people displaced from PoJK have been living
since 1947-48”.

The party’s working committee also sought abolition of the practice of
Kashmiri Pandit migrants having to fill up ‘M Form’ for voting in the
Valley.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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SAUDI CROWN PRINCE WARNS COUNTRIES AGAINST ‘EXPLOITING’ KHASHOGGI MURDER

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has warned against “exploiting” the
murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for political gains, in what appeared
to be a veiled attack on Turkey.

Turkey’s ties with Saudi Arabia have come under strain since the brutal
murder last October of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish
officials were the first to report the murder and have continued to press
Saudi Arabia for information on the whereabouts of his dismembered body,
which has yet to be found. “The death of Jamal Khashoggi is a very painful
crime,” Prince Mohammed told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in an interview
published on Sunday. “Any party exploiting the case politically should stop
doing so, and present evidence to the (Saudi) court, which will contribute
in achieving justice,” he added, without directly naming Turkey. The Prince,
however, added that he wants strong relations with “all Islamic countries
including Turkey”. The CIA has reportedly said the murder was likely ordered
by Prince Mohammed.

DONALD TRUMP STIRS UP FEUD WITH MAYOR SADIQ KHAN OVER ATTACKS IN LONDON

U.S. President Donald Trump further stirred up his ongoing feud with London
Mayor Sadiq Khan by blaming him for a recent spate of stabbings and violence
in the U.K. capital.

Trump and Khan have repeatedly clashed ever since the Pakistani-origin Mayor
questioned the red carpet being rolled out for the U.S. President by
Britain, most recently for a state visit hosted by Queen Elizabeth II
earlier this month.

Khan has also likened Mr. Trump to “20th century fascists” for his divisive
views on immigration, with Trump hitting back with social media messages
about his “terrible job” as Mayor of London.

The U.S. President’s latest intervention on Twitter follows in the same
vein, demanding that Khan should be replaced. “London needs a new Mayor
ASAP. Khan is a disaster – will only get worse,”

he said, while retweeting a message that highlighted two stabbings and a
shooting in London in the last few days. “He is a national disgrace who is
destroying the city of London,” a follow-up message read.

Khan’s spokesperson said the London Mayor’s thoughts were with the victims’
families and he “is not going to waste his time responding to this sort of
tweet”.

THE REST

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INDIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION CALL: NO NON-ESSENTIAL SERVICES TODAY

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for a nationwide withdrawal
of non-essential medical services for 24 hours starting 6 am Monday to
protest the violence against doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital
in Kolkata. The association, headed by TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen, has
also demanded a national law against violence in hospitals.

“In view of the continued sufferings of medical professionals and health
workers as well as repeated occurrence of such incidents without redressal.
(the) Indian Medical Association hereby calls for an All India nation-wide
withdrawal of non-essential services in all health care institutions on
Monday, June 17, 2019. All non-essential services, including OPDs, will be
withdrawn for 24 hours from 6 am to 6 am next day. All emergency and
casualty services will continue to function,” the IMA said in a statement.

The IMA also called for a law that would provide a minimum of seven years
imprisonment for those indulging in violence at hospitals. It said to ensure
that cases are registered, culprits arrested and conviction assured,
mandatory provisions as provided in the POCSO Act should be instituted.

Hospitals should be declared safe zones and provision of appropriate
security should be the responsibility of the state, the IMA said.

‘SHIV SAINIKS TO HELP IN RAM TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION’

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday that he was confident that a
grand Ram temple will be built soon and, if needed, Shiv Sainiks would help
in the temple construction.

“We all want the temple. It is time for all to Hindus to remain united so
the temple is built soon. The Modi government is a ‘mazboot’ government and
can take decisions. The Shiv Sena is with the government and we are hopeful
that the temple will come up soon,” he said in a brief press conference
after visiting the Ram Janambhoomi make-shift temple in Ayodhya.

Thackeray, his family and all 18 Members of Parliament of the party were in
Ayodhya to offer prayers at the Ram Janambhoomi temple.

BIHAR: HEATWAVE CLAIMS 45 LIVES WITHIN 24 HOURS

Severe heatwave left at least 45 people dead and more than 100 hospitalised
in the past 24 hours in Bihar, officials said on Sunday. Deaths due to the
heatwave were reported from Aurangabad, Gaya and Nawada districts.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the deaths and
announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the victims.

The government has also issued a heat alert in the wake of the rising death
toll and advised people to take care while going outside during day time.

WATER CRISIS IN CHENNAI

With few signs of rains across the state and reservoirs running dry,
Chennai’s IT firms and restaurants have cut down operations, residents
struggle to book tankers and the state government has begun disconnecting
water connections to houses for illegally drawing water.

And the crisis is not limited to Chennai. As frustration and anger built
over long hours without water and longer queues outside government tankers,
police confirmed that a 33-year-old social activist Anand Babu was beaten to
death by his neighbours for objecting to their attempt to store a large
quantity of water.

As the crisis deepens, Opposition leader and DMK chief M K Stalin demanded
the resignation of Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani and urged
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to dismiss him from the Cabinet if he
refused to quit. The Madras High Court, too, has sought a report from the
government on the looming water crisis.

Meanwhile, the AIADMK government has issued an order to take up a
traditional water body restoration scheme worth around Rs 500 crore in the
current financial year. The government claims that implementing this scheme
in 29 districts will improve the groundwater table.

T N Hariharan, managing director of Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage
Board, however says that the situation is not as alarming as being
projected. He said the regular supply of water from Chennai metro water was
830 million litres a day (MLD). “It has come down to 525 MLD now.”

INDIA VS PAKISTAN: EVERY INDIVIDUAL HAS RIGHT TO CHEER FOR TEAM THEY BELIEVE
IN, SAYS MEHBOOBA MUFTI

On a day when India were to take on Pakistan in Manchester, former chief
minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday opined that people
had the right to cheer whichever team they wanted to. “May the best team win
in today’s India vs Pakistan cricket match. Every individual has the right
to cheer for whichever team they believe in. So let’s be civil about it,”
she tweeted.

In 2014, 67 Kashmiri students were suspended by a university in Meerut and
were escorted from the campus after they celebrated Pakistan’s win over
India in an Asia Cup match. The vice-chancellor of the varsity had termed
the behaviour of the students “unacceptable”. They were accused of
disturbing communal harmony and sedition charges were slapped which were
later dropped after outrage.

NITI AAYOG CEO AMITABH KANT TO MEET AUTO CEOS ON E-VEHICLE ROAD MAP

NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant (pictured) is likely to meet
the heads of all two- and three-wheeler companies in New Delhi on June 21 to
discuss the road map for the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

The move comes in the wake of criticism from top auto companies and industry
bodies such as the CII and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers
(Siam) that the government is rushing into the adoption of EVs without
thinking the policy through.

Those expected to attend the high-level, closed-door meeting include Pawan
Munjal, chairman, Hero MotoCorp; Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Auto;
Venu Srinivisan, chairman, TVS Motor; and Pawan Goenka, managing director,
Mahindra & Mahindra.

All of them have voiced their disapproval of the government’s proposal that
three-wheelers and two-wheelers below 150cc would need to transition to EVs
by 2023 and 2025, respectively.

Most automakers agree in principle with the government’s push for the use of
clean technologies and are willing to make investments to realise that goal.
However, they insist on a gradual, phase-wise implementation of the plan in
order to ensure that the transition is seamless and does not cause undue
disruption in the auto industry.

In a statement last week, Rajan Wadhera, president, Siam, said, “The plan
needs to be put in place with a practical approach and without needlessly
disrupting the automotive industry.”

Stakeholders worry that a hasty transition to EVs in the two- and
three-wheeler segments would throw the auto component industry into
disarray. The $55-billion industry, which relies heavily on the production
of powertrain-related parts (close to 60 per cent), is dominated by small
and medium enterprises, and provides employment to more than 3 million
people.

5G RESERVE PRICE IS JUST TOO HIGH FOR TELECOM COMPANIES, SAY EXPERTS

As India readies for its ambitious 5G spectrum auctions, at the current base
price, (which the industry finds overly expensive), analysts point out that
the internal rate of return (IRR) on incremental investment will be as low
as 7 per cent for the telcos.

Last week, the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) sought a review of
the telecom regulator’s recommendations on the upcoming spectrum auctions,
especially on the reserve prices. This has been done to ensure competition
during the spectrum auctions as well as to avoid having unsold spectrum, as
in the previous auctions when only 40 per cent of the spectrum on offer was
sold.

The debt-ridden telcos have not shown much interest in the auctions: Bharti
Airtel called the prices exorbitant while Vodafone Idea wants the auctions
take place in 2020.

Moreover, 5G’s clarion call is fiberisation. Hetal Gandhi, research
director, CRISIL, said that fiberisation is expensive and it comes on top of
spectrum costs that are sky-high at current prices.

WORLD CUP: ROHIT, KULDEEP ENSURE INDIA BEAT PAK COMFORTABLY

Rohit Sharma produced an elegant hundred before Kuldeep Yadav flummoxed the
Pakistani batsmen as India inflicted a humiliating 89-run defeat on their
arch-rivals in a much-hyped World Cup match, which eventually turned to be a
lop-sided affair.

Chasing a stiff 337-run target, Pakistan were already down and out when rain
stopped play after 35 overs. They had managed just 166 runs for loss of six
wickets , nowhere near the DLS par-score of 252.

When play resumed, the match was reduced to 40 overs with a revised target
of 302, which meant that Pakistan required 136 runs from five overs. Imad
Wasim (46) and Shadab Khan (20) remained unbeaten to end at 212/6, handing
India a comprehensive victory via Duckworth Lewis method.

If Rohit pummelled a pedestrian Pakistan attack with a brilliant 140 off 113
balls in India’s 336/5, Chinaman Yadav (2/32) broke the rival batting spine
by removing set batsmen Fakhar Zaman (62) and Babar Azam (48) in successive
overs.

KL Rahul (57) played the perfect second fiddle to Rohit Sharma in an opening
partnership of 137 runs.

Skipper Virat Kohli switched gears effortlessly during his 77 off 65 balls
and also became the quickest to 11,000 ODI runs, eclipsing a 17-year record
held by iconic Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin had taken 276 innings to get there
while Kohli took just 222 innings to join the elite list of players.

This is India’s seventh win over Pakistan in World Cup and like the previous
six times, the quality of the contest did not live up to the hype created.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

When a man is penalized for honesty he learns to lie. – Criss Jam

OFF TRACK

A man went to heaven and found St. Peter at the door. “We have a very long
list and we are choosing. Have you done some good deed recently?” asked St.
Peter.

“Oh yes. Some time ago I was coming back from work at night and I saw some
guys attacking a poor old woman. They were about ten. I stopped my car, and
I went to save her. I approached the one who seemed their leader and gave
him a punch straight in his face.

St. Peter was impressed: “Well done, when did that happen?”

“Five minutes ago.”

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