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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

'whimper'!"

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

assets.

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

was born."

"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

Army.

 

 

COVID-19 DASHBOARD - (Nos. IN INDIA / Nos. WORLDWIDE)

(Indian data from covid19india / and World Data from

worldometers.info/coronavirus/ )

 

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

Cases

 

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

/ N/A

11 Iran 3,26,712 / 18,427 /

2,84,371 / 23,914

12 UK 3,10,825 / 46,574 / N/A

/ 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 /

Deceased

 

Maharashtra 5,15,332 / 1,45,558 /

3,51,710 / 17,757

Tamil Nadu 2,96,901 / 53,336 / 2,38,638

/ 4,927

Andhra Pradesh 2,27,860 / 87,112 /

1,38,712 / 2,036

Karnataka 1,78,087 / 80,972 / 93,908

/ 3,198

Delhi 1,45,427 / 10,729 / 1,30,587

/ 4,111

Uttar Pradesh 1,22,609 / 47,890 / 72,650 /

2,069

West Bengal 95,554 / 26,375 / 67,120 /

2,059

Bihar 79,720 / 27,975 / 51,315 / 429

Telangana 79,495 / 22,869 / 55,999 /

627

Gujarat 71,064 / 14,174 / 54,238 / 2,652

Assam 58,838 / 16,364 / 42,326 / 145

Rajasthan 52,497 / 13,473 / 38,235 /

789

Odisha 45,927 / 13,821 / 31,785 / 321

Haryana 41,635 / 6,371 / 34,781 /

483

Madhya Pradesh 39,025 / 9,009 / 29,020 /

996

Kerala 34,331 / 12,347 / 21,832 / 109

Jammu and Kashmir 24,897 / 7,422 / 17,003 /

472

Punjab 23,903 / 7,998 / 15,319 / 586

 

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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

 

 

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.

 

 

THE REST

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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

future.

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

president.

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

different hospitals.

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

NATIONALITY

 

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

several days.

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

treat'.

"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

1930.

 

 

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,

analysts said.

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

them."

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

 

 

OFF TRACK

 

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

America.

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.

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