2019, June, Newsletter

India Newsletter June 18, 2019

NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2019

FRONT PAGE NEWS

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WB DOCS CALL OFF STRIKE AFTER MEETING WITH CM MAMATA BANERJEE

Doctors in West Bengal who have been protesting for safer working conditions
decided to call off their almost week-long strike on Monday after they were
promised action from the state government. A spokesperson of the joint
forum of doctors told reporters that the doctors will return to work as they
want to give the state government some time to implement the promises.

The decision to end their protest comes within hours of a meeting with Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The meeting was covered by two regional news channels after doctors demanded
live coverage for “transparency”.

Doctors across the country soon joined their West Bengal colleagues and went
on a nationwide strike to demand better working conditions. Thousands of
doctors protested outside hospitals across the country, holding placards and
wearing black arm bands and bloodied mock bandages. The Indian Medical
Association (IMA), that represents more than 300,000 doctors and
half-a-million junior doctors, medical students and other staff, said almost
all of its members, apart from those providing emergency services, have
joined the protests.

“Practically, the entire medical fraternity is on strike,” Dr RV Asokan, the
IMA’s honorary general secretary said yesterday. “Everybody is on the
street.”

17TH LOK SABHA: OATH TAKING BEGINS

The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha commenced yesterday and Prime
Minister Narendra Modi along with other lawmakers and ministers, including
Lok Sabha debutant Amit Shah, took oath as MPs. PM Modi while advising the
opposition parties to “not dwell too much on the numbers” in the Lok Sabha
said that views of the Opposition are necessary for the effective
functioning of a democracy. The Prime Minister, speaking before the start of
the budget session, said that he hoped for a “fruitful budget session”
during which the government will present the Union Budget and will introduce
certain key bills.

Before the session began, BJP’s Virendra Kumar was sworn-in as the Pro Tem
speaker. The elections will be conducted for the Speaker of Lok Sabha on
Wednesday.

PM Modi was the first member to take oath. The second MP to take oath after
the PM was Congress’s seniormost legislator K Suresh from Kerala. Suresh
received applause from the treasury benches for choosing to take oath in
Hindi.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was the first MP to take oath in Sanskrit.

All ministers led by the PM walked across the aisle to greet opposition
leaders after they took oath. UPA chief and leader of Congress Parliamentary
Party Sonia Gandhi wore a cold look as ministers took rounds to pay
courtesies to the opposition leaders.

Narendra Modi, in his address ahead of the budget session commencement said,
“In Parliament, we should forget ‘Paksh’, ‘Vipaksh’ and think about issues
with ‘nishpaksh spirit’ (unbiased spirit) and work in the larger interest of
the nation”.

Union Minister Smriti Irani received the longest applause when she took
oath.

BJP SWITCHES INTO TRANSITION MODE, APPOINTS JP NADDA AS WORKING PRESIDENT

BJP has elected Himachal strongman JP Nadda working president of the
party-ending months of speculations over who could follow current national
president Amit Shah to the highest seat within the party.

Nadda, the former health minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s previous
Cabinet, was made working president of the party at the BJP’s Parliamentary
Board meeting on Monday. Parliamentary Board is the BJP’s highest
decision-making body.

Shah, whose term as BJP president ended earlier this year but was given an
extension because of general elections, will continue until his successor is
elected in organisational elections.

Veteran party leader Rajnath Singh, the defence minister in Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s current Cabinet who has been a BJP president himself, made
the announcement saying Shah had taken the party to newer heights in his
tenure. In tweets that followed the announcement, Singh said Shah felt the
need to hand over “responsibility of the party to someone else” after he was
made home minister.

JUNIOR MINISTERS SET TO GET BIGGER ROLE, FILES TO BE ROUTED THROUGH THEM

In an effort to involve Union Ministers of State (MoS) in the
decision-making process, the Cabinet Secretariat has directed all ministries
to ensure that files are routed to the Cabinet ministers through the MoS
concerned.

The departments have been warned to ensure that “no deviation on the ground
of urgency is made”.

While such work allocation orders were usually forwarded to every ministry
after governments were formed, this year the new paragraph has been added –
it states that all files, including starred questions of Parliament and
calling attention motions, will have to be routed to ministers through the
MoS.

Earlier, most junior ministers handled relatively low-key subjects. Several
ministers of state were not happy about the lack of sufficient work assigned
to them in previous governments. Work allocated to most junior ministers
earlier involved matters related to assurances, special mentions, laying of
annual reports/rules/regulations, etc, authentication of papers; official
language, VIP references addressed to MoS, or any other matter which the
minister may like to delegate.

In the absence of delegation of sufficient work to ministers, their role in
decision-making was seen as minimal, as hardly any Cabinet minister wanted
his/her junior to share power.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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GERMANY, U.K. WARN IRAN AGAINST RENEGING ON DEAL

Germany and Britain on Monday warned Tehran not to breach uranium stockpile
limits set by the 2015 nuclear deal, as the EU’s diplomatic chief dismissed
Iranian threats as “political dialectics”.

Iran set a 10-day countdown on Monday to exceed the 300-kg limit set on its
enriched uranium stocks, dealing another blow to the crumbling nuclear
accord signed by Tehran and six international powers.

The EU has battled to save the agreement since U.S. President Donald Trump
withdrew and reimposed sanctions, but Iran said it would step back from
exceeding the 300-kg limit on June 27 only if “other parties live up to
their commitments”.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas rejected the Iranian ultimatum and
insisted Tehran must stick to its commitments under the deal. “We have
already said in the past that we will not accept less for less. It is up to
Iran to stick to its obligations,” Mr. Maas said after talks with EU Foreign
Ministers in Luxembourg.

A spokesman for the British government echoed the call, saying the E3 – the
European signatories to the deal – has “consistently made clear that there
can be no reduction in compliance”.

The EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc would not act on
the basis of Iranian rhetoric but wait for reports by the UN’s nuclear
watchdog, the IAEA.

INDIA TO BE WORLD’S MOST POPULOUS COUNTRY, OVERTAKE CHINA IN NEXT 8 YEARS

The world’s population will increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, going up by 2
bn from the earlier 7.7 bn, shows a new United Nations report launched on
Monday. The global population could reach its peak around the end of the
current century, with an estimated population of 11 bn.

India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country in
next 8 years, according to the report.

Nine countries will make up more than half of the projected growth of the
global population between now and 2050: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania,
Indonesia, Egypt and the United States of America.

The population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double by 2050, up 99%.
Regions that may experience lower rates of population growth between 2019
and 2050 include Oceania excluding Australia/New Zealand (56%), Northern
Africa and Western Asia (46%), Australia/New Zealand (28%), Central and
Southern Asia (25%), Latin America and the Caribbean (18%), Eastern and
South Eastern Asia (3%), and Europe and Northern America (2%).

“Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where
population growth brings additional challenges in the effort to eradicate
poverty, achieve greater equality, combat hunger and malnutrition and
strengthen the coverage and quality of health and education systems to
ensure that no one is left behind,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

THE REST

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OPERATION TO RETRIEVE BODIES FROM AN 32 CRASH SITE REMAINS SUSPENDED DUE TO
BAD WEATHER

The operation to retrieve bodies of the 13 air warriors onboard the
ill-fated AN-32 aircraft that crashed in Arunachal Pradesh remained
suspended for the third consecutive day due to bad weather, Air Force
officials said on Monday.

Due to heavy rains and low clouds no helicopter could take off on Monday, an
official said.

A rescue team had recovered the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data
recorder (FDR) of the Russian-origin aircraft at the crash site on Friday.

Bad weather is hampering helicopters from performing winching operations
which are mandatory for all the rescue operations and recovery of mortal
remains, the official said.

NINE INJURED IN IED ATTACK ON ARMY PATROL PARTY IN PULWAMA

An improvised explosive device (IED) blast on an army patrol party in Jammu
and Kashmir’s Pulwama injured nine security personnel on Monday.

The attack aimed at a multi-vehicle patrol part of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles
on the Arihal-Pulwama road. The injured, who were travelling in the
bullet-and-mine-proof Casper vehicle, were rushed to the hospital and are
reportedly in a stable condition.

Srinagar-based defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the attack, which
took place in Pulwama’s Arihal region, was a “failed attempt” and the troops
are safe. The area was cordoned off and a search operation for the militants
was launched.

The attack comes less than a week after militants opened fire on and hurled
grenades on a CRPF patrol party at Anantnag’s KP Road, a part of the
Amaranth Yatra route. Five security personnel died in the attack.

The location of yesterday’s blast is 27 kilometres away from the area along
the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway where an attack on a CRPF convoy on 14
February killed 40 paramilitary personnel.

IN BIHAR, BRAIN FEVER DEATH TOLL STANDS AT 103

Six more children’s deaths from suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)
has caused death toll to rise to 103, prompting a worried state government
under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to announce measures to tackle the
situation.

While doctors put down the deaths to encephalitis, state officials claimed
that most of the victims, all below the age of 10, died due to
hypoglycemia-a condition caused by low level of blood sugar, electrolyte
imbalance due to high temperature and extreme humidity.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the situation at a high-level
meeting in New Delhi, which was attended by senior officers of the Health
Ministry, Indian Council of Medical Research and the AIIMS.

Vardhan directed another high-level team to immediately visit the district
and undertake necessary groundwork for the setting up of a state-of-the-art
multidisciplinary research centre, according to a statement.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sent notices to the Union Health
Ministry and the Bihar government over the deaths. It observed that despite
reported measures taken by the government agencies, deaths of children in
such large number indicated a possible flaw in the implementation of
vaccination and awareness programmes.

Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar said there was no clear cause of deaths, and
even implied that one cause could be the lack of rain.

DELHI TEMPO DRIVER ASSAULTED; 3 COPS SUSPENDED

After videos of police brutally beating up a Sikh tempo driver went viral on
social media, cases have been registered against both the police as well as
the tempo driver.

The Delhi Police has registered cross cases in regard to a Sunday evening
incident that took place in the area of PS Mukherjee Nagar.

While a case for assault by the use of sword was filed against the tempo
driver based on the statement of the policeman who sustained injuries while
on duty, another case has been registered on the complaint of the auto
driver Sarbjeet Singh for alleged excesses committed by the police.

For independent investigation, the cases have been transferred to the Crime
Branch.

Videos of the altercation were shared widely on social media.

After a preliminary investigation into the case, three policemen, including
2 ASIs have already been placed under suspension for their unprofessional
conduct in handling the situation.

The incident soon became a political matter with several leaders commenting
on it.

FINALLY, JET AIRWAYS LANDS IN NCLT AS BANKS GIVE UP REVIVAL BID

Harried bankers on Monday decided against an outright sale of Jet Airways to
the lone bidder, instead voted to send it for bankruptcy to recover their Rs
8,000 crore dues.

The once largest private sector airline, started over 25 years ago by
airline-ticketing-agent-turned-entrepreneur Naresh Goyal, stopped flying on
April 17 after it ran out of cash and the unpaid lessors took away most of
its 100-odd operational airplanes.

The nascent bankruptcy process has been fraught with inordinate delays with
only a fraction of the cases have been resolved within the timeline, while
the asset in on the books of the once the largest airliner are just fraction
of its dues which run into over Rs 36,000 crore.

After a meeting of the 26 lenders here Monday, SBI in a statement said,
“after due deliberations, the lenders have decided to seek resolution for
Jet Airways under the bankruptcy code since only a conditional bid was
received”.

The statement further said the move was necessitated as the prospective
investor wants some Sebi exemptions for a possible deal which can be worked
out better under the bankruptcy laws.

INDIA INC’S ADVANCE TAX MOP-UP SURGES 171% IN Q1

India Inc’s advance tax figures grew exponentially by 171 per cent during
the first quarter of 2019-20, prompting the tax authorities to say that the
economy may be back on track after witnessing lacklustre growth in earlier
quarters.

In overall direct tax collection, Mumbai has registered 133 per cent growth,
collecting Rs 17,174 crore of advance taxes against Rs 7,356 crore in the
same period last year, according to the data compiled by the tax department.

The tax authorities believe that such a staggering growth rate is a positive
sign for the economy. “These are stupendous figures, which are unusual but
encouraging at this point in time,” said an income-tax official. The economy
grew by a 20-quarter low of 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY19,
pulling down the overall growth to a year-low of 6.8 per cent for FY19.

JODHPUR COURT DISMISSES PETITIONS AGAINST SALMAN KHAN IN ‘FALSE AFFIDAVIT’
CASE

In a big relief to Bollywood actor Salman Khan, the chief judicial
magistrate of Jodhpur on Monday dismissed the state government’s petitions
on a 13-year-old ‘false affidavit’ case in absence of valid evidence or
proof against him.

In a judgment after hearing the arguments and examining the facts and
evidences, CJM Ankit Raman dismissed the applications filed by the state
government to prosecute Salman Khan for the offense of forgery under Section
193 of the IPC on the ground that there was no evidence or proof that Salman
filed the false affidavit intentionally.

“If this petition was not dismissed, Salman would have to contest the case,
and the punishment for violating the Section 340 of IPC would have been
seven years imprisonment, which is equal to the Arms Act and poaching
verdicts,” the defence lawyer stated.

WORLD CUP: BANGLADESH CHASE 322, WITH PLENTY TO SPARE

Bangladesh powered to the second highest run chase in World Cup history as
Shakib Al Hasan’s brilliant century clinched a remarkable seven-wicket win
over the West Indies on Monday.

Shakib blasted 124 from 99 balls and Liton Das hit a superb 94 from 69
deliveries to lead Bangladesh to 322-3 with 8.3 overs to spare at Taunton.

Bangladesh’s highest one-day international run chase put them behind only
Ireland’s 329-7 against England in 2011 in the history of successful World
Cup chases.

Mashrafe Mortaza’s side remain in with a chance of reaching the semi-finals
after their second win in five matches.

It was a brutal day for the West Indies, who were shambolic in the field and
bowled far too loosely. A third defeat from their five games means a
semi-final berth is extremely unlikely as the optimism from the thrashing of
Pakistan in their opener fades away.

The highest chase in the current World Cup prior to the masterclass from
Mashrafe’s men was New Zealand’s 248 against Bangladesh.

But the Tigers had already posted 330 in the first innings of their win over
South Africa earlier in the competition and they were never intimidated by
their task against the Windies.

Shakib is now the highest run scorer at this year’s World Cup so far and the
West Indies were helpless as he and Das demolished their wayward bowling to
romp home.

Adding to the epic nature of the success, the unbroken stand of 189 between
Shakib and Das was the second highest for the fourth wicket in World Cup
history.

SRI LANKA WARNED AFTER MEDIA NO-SHOW

Sri Lanka have been warned against a repeat of their no-show in the
customary post-match news conference following their World Cup loss to
Australia, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said on Monday.

The 1996 champions did not send a representative after their defeat on
Saturday in a breach of protocol, an official of the governing International
Cricket Council told Reuters.

The governing body lodged a complaint with SLC, which has instructed the
team to comply with their media obligations.

“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce that, contrary to various media
reports, there won’t be any sanctions imposed on the Sri Lanka team by the
ICC…” SLC said in a statement.

INDICATORS

Sensex 38,961 (-491), Nifty 11,672 (-151), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores)
28,491

Nasdaq 7,845 (+48) Dow 26,113 (+23), S&P 2,890 (+3)

US$-Rs. 69.78 GBP-Rs. 87.93, Euro-Rs. 78.30, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.99, Can$-Rs.
52.03, Aus$- Rs. 47.91

GBP 0.79 /US$, Euro 0.89 /US$, Jap.Yen 108.59 /US$, Aus$ 1.45 /US$, Sing
1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 83.17 /US$, Can$ 1.34 /US$, Mal Ring 4.17 /US$,

Pak Re 156.58 /US$, Phil Peso 51.16 /US$, Russian Rouble 64.27 /US$, NZ$
1.53 /US$, Thai Baht 31.26 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.28 /US$, Norway NOK 8.71
/US$

Bitcoin – USD 9,223

Dollar Index 96.96 Brent Crude 60.84 BDI 1093

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,341 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3275 / 3097,
Silver (Rs. Per KG) 40,100

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose –
Lyndon B. Johnson

OFF TRACK

I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling
like the passengers in his car.

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