FRONT PAGE NEWS
10 August 2020
EMBARGO ON IMPORT OF 101 DEFENCE ITEMS, FOCUS ON SELF-RELIANCE: RAJNATH
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday announced a list of 101 items that
the Defence Ministry will stop importing. It essentially means that the
Armed Forces-Army, Navy and Air Force-will only procure all of these 101
items from domestic manufacturers. The manufacturers could be private sector
players or defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
By denying the possibility of importing the items on the negative list, the
domestic industry is given the opportunity to step up and manufacture them
for the needs of the forces. As per Stockholm International Peace Research
Institute, which tracks defence exports and imports globally, India has been
the second largest importer between 2014 and 2019 with US$ 16.75 billion
worth of imports during this period.
Announcing the policy, Singh said that the Defence Ministry is "now ready
for a big push to Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative" and the ministry will
introduce "import embargo on 101 items beyond given timeline to boost
indigenisation of defence production".
The government has been hoping that the defence manufacturing sector can
play a leading role in boosting the economy, not just for the domestic
market, but to become an exporter as well. However, Sunday's embargo list is
meant for the domestic market, largely. Singh called the negative import
list a "big step towards self-reliance in defence".
Congress leader P. Chidambaram took a dig at Rajnath Singh saying: "The
Defence Minister promised a 'bang' on a Sunday morning and ended with a
Chidambaram pointed out that the only importer of defence equipment in India
is the Defence Ministry. "Any import embargo is really an embargo on
oneself." "What the Defence Minister said in his historic Sunday
announcement deserved only an office order from the minister to his
secretaries!" he added.
GOVT RELEASES RS 17,000 CRORE TO 8.5 CRORE FARMERS, LAUNCHES 1 TRILLION FUND
In an effort o empower the farmers of the country, Prime Minister Narendra
Modi on Sunday launched a financing facility of Rs 1 trillion under the
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund for agri-entrepreneurs, startups, agri-tech
players and farmer groups for post-harvest management and nurturing farm
Under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, PM Modi transferred Rs 17,000 crores
into the bank accounts of 8.5 crore farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Modi said that no middlemen or commission was
needed as the amount went straight to farmers. He also expressed
satisfaction because the objective of the scheme was fulfilled.
Designed to help farmers, the Rs 1 trillion fund will catalyse the creation
of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets such
as cold storage, collection centres and processing units.
RAHUL GANDHI SLAMS DRAFT EIA AS DISGRACEFUL AND DANGEROUS
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the draft Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 notification, which has been placed by the
government for public feedback, is "disgraceful" and "dangerous" and has the
potential to undo hard-fought gains won over the years in the battle to
protect the environment.
"The EIA 2020 draft is a disaster. It seeks to silence the voice of
communities who will be directly impacted by the environmental degradation
it unleashes," Gandhi said. "Not only does it have the potential to reverse
many of the hard-fought gains that have been won over the years in the
battle to protect our environment, it could potentially unleash widespread
environmental destruction and mayhem across India," he said.
Jairam Ramesh, the head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science
and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change, continued his
criticism of the draft. Pointing out that the Environment Protection Act of
1986 came about after the Bhopal gas tragedy, he said that the draft EIA
will undo many key provisions of the EPA,1986. "Hence it's not only
dangerous but blatantly illegal. Subordinate legislation cannot rewrite the
mother law," he said.
MEA WALKS BACK ON JAISHANKAR'S 'BUDDHA-WAS-AN-INDIAN' REMARK
The Ministry of External Affairs quickly capped a potential controversy by
clarifying its Minister S Jaishankar's observations on the country where
Buddha was born.
"Who are the greatest Indians ever that you can remember," Jaishanker had
asked at a webinar on Friday. "I would say one is Gautam Buddha and the
other is Mahatma Gandhi," he answered his query himself.
The Minister's stray remark at a time of rocky India-Nepal ties trended on
social media, leading to the Nepal Foreign Office pointing out that even
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to Nepal's Parliament in 2014
had said, "Nepal is the country where apostle of peace in the world, Buddha
"EAM's remarks yesterday at the CII event referred to our shared Buddhist
heritage. There is no doubt that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, which is
in Nepal," said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava in a statement yesterday.
Jaishankar's remarks came weeks after Nepal PM K P Oli had courted
controversy by claiming that Lord Ram was born in Nepal and was a Nepali. On
that occasion, Oli was criticised for his remarks.
On Sunday, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra handed over 10
ventilators to Nepal Army chief Purna Chnadra Thapa during a ceremony at
Nepali Army Headquarters. The gift was handed over on behalf of the Indian
COVID-19 DASHBOARD - (Nos. IN INDIA / Nos. WORLDWIDE)
(Indian data from covid19india / and World Data from
Total Cases 22,13,673 (+62,088) / 2,00,24,263 (+2,19,855)
Total Deaths 44,466 (+1,013) / 7,33,995 (+4,409)
Total Recovered 15,34,278 (+54,474) / 1,28,98,238 (+1,77,052)
Active Cases 6,34,929 (+6,601) / 63,92,030 (+38,394)
TOP IMPACTED NATIONS SO FAR: (AND SOME OF INDIA'S NEIGHBOURS)
Country, Total Cases / Total Deaths / Recovered Cases / Active
1 USA 51,99,444 / 1,65,617 /
26,64,701 / 23,69,126
2 Brazil 30,35,582 / 1,01,136 /
21,18,460 / 8,15,986
3 India 22,14,137 / 44,466 /
15,34,278 / 6,35,393
4 Russia 8,87,536 / 14,931 /
6,93,422 / 1,79,183
5 South Africa 5,59,859 / 10,408 /
4,11,474 / 1,37,977
6 Mexico 4,80,278 / 52,298 /
3,22,465 / 1,05,515
7 Peru 4,78,024 / 21,072 /
3,24,020 / 1,32,932
8 Colombia 3,87,481 / 12,842 /
2,12,688 / 1,61,951
9 Chile 3,73,056 / 10,077 /
3,45,826 / 17,153
10 Spain 3,61,442 / 28,503 / N/A
11 Iran 3,26,712 / 18,427 /
2,84,371 / 23,914
12 UK 3,10,825 / 46,574 / N/A
13 Saudi Arabia 2,88,690 / 3,167 /
2,52,039 / 33,484
14 Pakistan 2,84,121 / 6,082 /
2,60,248 / 17,791
15 Bangladesh 2,57,600 / 3,399 /
1,48,370 / 1,05,831
TOP IMPACTED INDIAN STATES SO FAR
State / Confirmed Cases / Active Case / Recovered /
Maharashtra 5,15,332 / 1,45,558 /
3,51,710 / 17,757
Tamil Nadu 2,96,901 / 53,336 / 2,38,638
Andhra Pradesh 2,27,860 / 87,112 /
1,38,712 / 2,036
Karnataka 1,78,087 / 80,972 / 93,908
Delhi 1,45,427 / 10,729 / 1,30,587
Uttar Pradesh 1,22,609 / 47,890 / 72,650 /
West Bengal 95,554 / 26,375 / 67,120 /
Bihar 79,720 / 27,975 / 51,315 / 429
Telangana 79,495 / 22,869 / 55,999 /
Gujarat 71,064 / 14,174 / 54,238 / 2,652
Assam 58,838 / 16,364 / 42,326 / 145
Rajasthan 52,497 / 13,473 / 38,235 /
Odisha 45,927 / 13,821 / 31,785 / 321
Haryana 41,635 / 6,371 / 34,781 /
Madhya Pradesh 39,025 / 9,009 / 29,020 /
Kerala 34,331 / 12,347 / 21,832 / 109
Jammu and Kashmir 24,897 / 7,422 / 17,003 /
Punjab 23,903 / 7,998 / 15,319 / 586
MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA TAKES OATH AS SRI LANKAN PRIME MINISTER
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday took the oath of office as
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, following the ruling party's landslide victory
in the August 5 general election. Mr. Rajapaksa, 74, polled a
record-breaking share of preferential votes - over five lakh - this
election, reflecting his popularity in the electorate 50 years after he
first entered Parliament.
The emphatic two-thirds majority to the ruling party in the recent poll,
after Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa's big win in November, allows the Rajapaksa
brothers to amend the Constitution. As part of their poll campaign, the
brothers vowed to repeal a 2015 legislation capping presidency at two-terms
and trimming the President's executive powers.
The ninth Parliament of Sri Lanka will not only see the siblings helm the
country's two most powerful offices, but will have among its members, their
third and elder brother Chamal Rajapaksa, a former Speaker, his son
Shasheendra Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa, son of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and
a popular former MP from the southern Hambantota district.
6 GULF ARAB COUNTRIES BACK EXTENDING UN ARMS EMBARGO ON IRAN
The Gulf Cooperation Council said it sent a letter to the UN Security
Council backing an extension of an arms embargo that's kept Iran from
purchasing foreign-made weapons like fighter jets, tanks and warships.
The GCC - comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates - alleged Iran had "not ceased or desisted from armed
interventions in neighbouring countries, directly and through organisations
and movements armed and trained by Iran."
A Saudi-led coalition continues to battle Yemen's Houthi rebels, whom the
UN, the U.S. and armament experts have accused of receiving arms from Iran.
Tehran denies arming the Houthis, even as Iranian armaments and components
have repeatedly turned up in Yemen.
ONE YEAR ON AS INTERIM, SONIA TO REMAIN CONGRESS CHIEF
Ahead of the completion of one year of Sonia Gandhi as interim Congress
president, party leader Abhishek Singhvi on Sunday said she would continue
in the post till a proper procedure was followed, which would be in the near
Singhvi said the fact that Sonia Gandhi's one-year tenure as interim party
president ends on Monday did not mean that the position would fall vacant.
Sonia Gandhi had been nominated as interim party chief by the Congress
Working Committee (CWC) last year after her son, Rahul Gandhi, vacated the
post taking moral responsibility for the Congress rout in the 2019 Lok Sabha
elections. Even after a CWC consultation wanted him to return, Rahul Gandhi
declined, saying at the time that a non-Gandhi should come in as the party
Since no consensus emerged on a non-Gandhi and the exercise to find one
remained a non-starter, the CWC fell back on Sonia Gandhi to lead the
Congress once again.
Rahul Gandhi is said to be unwilling to lead the party even though he
remains its de facto chief, with party insiders saying he is the one still
calling the shots.
KOZHIKODE PLANE CRASH: CONDITION OF 14 PASSENGERS CRITICAL
Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishnan on Sunday said the condition
of at least 14 passengers of the ill-fated Air India Express flight remains
critical. "Till now, 49 people have been discharged from various hospitals
in Malappuram and Kozhikode. The condition of 14 people remains critical,"
said Gopalakrishnan. The remaining 109 people are under treatment at
Eighteen people, including the pilot and co-pilot of the AIE flight from
Dubai lost their lives, when it overshot the tabletop runway at the airport
while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke
into two portions on Friday night. Preliminary probe into the Air India
Express plane crash in Kozhikode indicate poor weather conditions and a
possible late touchdown as possible factors that led to the mishap. Early
inputs from the airport and air traffic control officials indicate the
aircraft touched down way beyond where it should have on the runway.
IDUKKI LANDSLIDE DEATH TOLL TOUCHES 43
Even as Kerala grapples with a bout of heavy rainfall, the death toll in the
landslide that took place in Idukki district n Friday rose to 43 after
rescue officials retrieved 17 more bodies from the debris on Sunday. Efforts
are underway to trace the missing others-estimated to be nearly 20- amid
inclement weather conditions.
The rain-triggered landslide occurred in the early hours of Friday when a
hillock at a tea plantation at Rajamala near Munnar came down, burying a row
of quarters of estate workers - 78 people living in 30 rooms. The workers
and their families were sleeping and most of them could not escape.
Information about the landslide only went out after daybreak as a bridge and
roads leading to Rajamala from Munnar were washed away in the downpour and
communication networks snapped.
CISF ORDERS PROBE AFTER KANIMOZHI SAYS AIRPORT OFFICIAL QUESTIONED HER
DMK MP Kanimozhi Sunday said a CISF officer asked her if she was an Indian
when she requested the woman official to speak in Tamil or English. The
incident is understood to have taken place when Kanimozhi was at the Chennai
airport to take a flight to Delhi.
Narrating the incident on Twitter, Kanimozhi said, "Today at the airport a
CISF officer asked me if 'I am an Indian' when I asked her to speak to me in
Tamil or English as I did not know Hindi." "I would like to know from when
being Indian is equal to knowing Hindi. #hindiimposition," Kanimozhi, who is
also the DMK's women's wing secretary, said on her twitter handle.
The CISF sought details from her soon after and said it had "ordered an
enquiry into the matter". "Warm greetings from @CISFHQrs. We sincerely
acknowledge your unpleasant experience. Kindly DM journey details; name of
airport, location, date, and time of the incident for appropriate action in
the matter," the CISF tweeted. "It is not the policy of CISF to insist upon
any particular language," it tweeted.
RECORD 7 LAKH COVID-19 TESTS CONDUCTED IN A DAY
Scaling up the testing capacity, over seven lakh samples had been examined
for COVID-19 in a day, taking the cumulative tests conducted so far to
2,41,06,535, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday.
"The number of recoveries, too, has surged to 14,80,884 with 53,879
coronavirus patients having recuperated and discharged in the past 24 hours,
the highest in a day so far, pushing the recovery rate to 68.78 per cent.
The fatality rate has further dropped to 2.01 per cent," it said.
The Ministry said the number of single-day tests had been growing
exponentially and India had been testing over six lakh samples daily for
Such elevated level of testing would also lead to a high number of daily
positive cases, the Health Ministry said, adding that the states had been
advised to firmly focus on comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation and
effective treatment, following the Centre-led strategy of 'test, track and
"The widening gap between recovered and active cases, indicative of the
higher number of recoveries as compared to those either in hospitals or
under home isolation, is 8,52,137 at present," the Ministry said.
SPECTACLES BELIEVED TO BE WORN BY MAHATMA GANDHI EMERGE AT UK AUCTION
A pair of gold-plated spectacles believed to have been worn by Mahatma
Gandhi and presented as a gift in the 1900s have emerged on the UK auction
circuit, estimated to fetch between 10,000 pounds and 15,000 pounds.
The glasses, which have already attracted an online bid for 6,000 pounds,
are said to have been in the family of the unnamed elderly gentleman vendor
in England, who was told by his father that they were a gift to his uncle
when he was working for British Petroleum in South Africa between 1910 and
15-YEAR PLAN TO CONVERT RELIANCE INDUSTRIES INTO NEW ENERGY COMPANY
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd has a 15-year vision to
build itself as a new energy company that aims to recycle CO2, create value
from plastic waste and has an optimal mix of clean and affordable energy,
While the oil-to-chemical conglomerate has in recent times seen focus on
consumer business, RIL's core oil-to-chemical (O2C) business is well placed
to generate sustained free cash flow, BofA Securities said in a report.
"Until demand normalises, RIL is looking to maximise throughput, focus on
cost by leveraging deep petrochemical integration and continue to focus on
domestic fuel marketing," it said.
"RIL has a 15-year vision to build itself as one of the world's leading new
energy and new material companies. It also intends to be a net carbon zero
company by 2035. To achieve this, the company is open to work with global
financial investors, reputed technologypartners and start-ups working on
futuristic solutions," it said.
The brokerage said a key focus for RIL is renewable energy, and for that it
intends to build an optimal mix of clean and affordable energy with
hydrogen, wind, solar, fuel cells and battery.
KANGANA RANAUT NOW ATTACKS AYUSHMANN KHURRANA
Kangana Ranaut's war with Bollywood actors--star kids or otherwise-- is far
from over. The actor has now launched a mean attack at Ayushmann Khurrana,
calling him a 'chaploos outsider'.
Reacting to a tweet by former actor and self-proclaimed film critic Kamaal
Rashid Khan, Kangana said that 'chaploos outsiders' support the powerful in
Bollywood only because they are mediocre in talent. Kamaal's original tweet
read, "Ayushman Khurana is supporting #RheaChakraborty and nepo kids for 3
reasons! 1) He has to survive in the Bollywood. 2) He is the artist of #YRF.
3) Sushant Singh was his competitor! Don't worry khurana. Your films will
also come n public will give you perfect reply. All the best."
Replying to it, Kangana tweeted from her team's Twitter handle, "Chaploos
outsiders support mafia only for one reason and the reason is their
mediocrity, nobody is threatened by them and they take full advantage of
conflicts faced by few like Kangana and SSR by openly denying and mocking
Ayushmann recently came under the radar of some fans of late actor Sushant
Singh Rajput after he seemed to show support towards latter's girlfriend,
actor Rhea Chakraborty. Ayushmann had left a 'broken heart' emoji on Rhea's
post about Sushant, which irked the fans.
Ayushmann, who won the National Award for his performance in Andhadhun last
year, is only the latest addition to Kangana's running list of actors she
objects to. All through last year, she had attacked Alia Bhatt multiple
times, calling her mediocre. Then she called Taapsee Pannu and Swara Bhasker
'B-grade actresses' and bootlickers of Karan Johar.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government
from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of
them. - Thomas Jefferson
A nomad returned to the desert after a trip to America. As he unpacked his
treasures friends gathered around to ask what had most impressed him in
Tall buildings? No. The wealth? No. "Then what did impress you most?" his
friends asked in a chorus.
"The American salesman," declared the nomad, as he released an outboard
motor from its wrappings and looked sadly over the bone-dry desert.