India Newsletter

FRONT PAGE NEWS
11 August 2020

'DE-ESCALATION MAY TAKE LONGER, ARMY PREPARED'

 

Top brass of the Indian military including Chief of Defence Staff general

Bipin Rawat informed a committee of lawmakers on Monday that the

de-escalation in Ladakh, where Chinese troops transgressed in June, forcing

India to deploy heavily along the Line of Actual Control, may be a

long-drawn process but that the Indian armed forces is prepared for it and

has made all arrangements for troop deployment in the harsh winter.

The top general and three-star Generals who attended the meeting also

emphasised that the Indian armed forces is prepared to face any onslaught

but at the same time efforts are also on to bridge the trust deficit with

China, whose transgression resulted in a bloody conflict in Galwan valley on

June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers including a colonel, and an unspecified

number of Chinese soldiers dead.

 

 

SACHIN PILOT SOFTENS AS RAHUL, PIYANKA PAVE WAY FOR HIS RETURN

 

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has decided to set up a three-member

committee to address issues that rebel leader Sachin Pilot has raised---a

development that comes after Pilot met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi to hold parleys

at a time when turbulence threatens to tear apart Rajasthan's Congress unit.

Pilot also meet general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. The meeting between Pilot

and the Gandhis appeared to have course to what looks like some resolution

to the crisis that is threatening to rip the party apart for over a month

now.

After meeting Congress leaders, Sachin Pilot said, "We raised issues of

principles before Congress leadership and welcome their assurance of

time-bound redressal of our grievances." "I don't crave for any post, party

has given position and can take it back," he added. "Some personal remarks

have been made against me. I feel there is no place for such mudslinging in

politics," the former Deputy CM added.

The Congress said in a statement issued on Monday evening that Pilot's

meeting with Rahul Gandhi was "frank, open and conclusive".

Sachin Pilot has "committed to working in the interest" of Congress party

and its government in Rajasthan, the party's statement said.

Pilot and 18 rebel MLAs have been at daggers drawn with Rajasthan Chief

Minister Ashok Gehlot for almosta month.

For any redressal, however, Pilot and rebels will be asked to vote for the

Gehlot Government should the Chief Minister seek trust of the house in the

upcoming Assembly session from August 14.

Even though the Congress recently sacked Pilot as Deputy Chief Minister and

state unit chief they kept asking him to return to party fold and talk.

Pilot, who ran out of options after Gehlot managed to secure his flock of

102 MLAs with six former BSP MLAs also merging in the Congress, yesterday

decided to come to the talking table and negotiate his return.

It remains to be seen if the Congress leadership will restore Pilot as

Deputy CM and state chief in return for his peace-making effort.

That said, the Congress is now secure in the Rajasthan Assembly after

Pilot's rebel move misfired.

 

 

PM INAUGURATES FIRST-EVER OPTICAL FIBRE CABLE PROJECT FOR ANDAMAN AND

NICOBAR ISLANDS

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the first-ever undersea

optical fibre project for Andaman and Nicobar Islands which will provide

high-speed broadband connections in the Union Territory at par with services

in the mainland.

On December 30, 2018, the Prime Minister had laid the foundation for the

2,312-Kilometers long submarine optical fibre cable project connecting

Chennai - Andaman and Nicobar Islands (CANI).

The project has been implemented at a cost of Rs 1,224 crore.

Besides, Port Blair, it will connect other islands namely Swaraj Dweep

(Havlock), Long Island, Rangat, Little Andaman, Kamorta, Car Nicobar and

Greater Nicobar.

All telecom operators in the country will be able to provide their mobile

and broadband services using the CANI optical fibre link.

According to official data, internet with a speed of 400 Gb per second will

be provided at Port Blair and for other islands, it will be 200 Gb per

second.

 

 

DESPITE HARDSHIPS, RURAL INDIA BACKS MODI GOVT IN COVID WAR: STUDY

 

Seventy-four per cent of rural Indians are satisfied with the steps taken by

the Modi government to fight Covid-19 pandemic and about 78 per cent

respondents said they were also satisfied with the steps taken by their

state government, a "nationwide" survey of rural India by media platform

Gaon Connection along with the Lokniti-CSDS found.

A total of 25,371 respondents were interviewed between May 30 and July 16,

2020 during the exercise and all of them were main earners of their

households, and thus primarily men, the Gaon Connection said.

About one-third (32 per cent) said they faced extremely high difficulty in

accessing/getting food items during the lockdown and another one-third (36

per cent) said they faced high difficulty in doing so. A little over

one-fifth (22 per cent) claimed to have had some difficulty in accessing

food.

"Thus overall around nine of every ten households face some level of

difficulty in getting food to eat," the survey said.

Overall around 35 percent of the households went without eating the whole

day either many times or sometimes, 38 percent skipped an entire meal in a

day several times or sometimes and 46 percent cut 1-2 items from their meal

often or sometimes.

More than half the farmers managed to harvest their crops in time in the

lockdown, but only one fourth could sell them on time.

It also found that 71 per cent ration card-owning households said they

received wheat or rice from the government during the lockdown.

Of the 17 per cent citizens who do not own ration cards, only 27 per cent

said they received wheat or rice from the government.

Twenty-three per cent of the migrant workers returned home walking during

the lockdown and over 33 per cent migrant workers said they want to go back

to the cities to work, the survey showed.

The survey showed that only 20 per cent respondents said they got work under

MGNREGA in the lockdown.

 

 

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

(Indian data from covid19india / and World Data from

worldometers.info/coronavirus/ )

 

Total Cases 22,66,686 (+53,013) / 2,02,49,553 (+2,25,290)

 

Total Deaths 45,353 (+887) / 7,38,726 (+4,731)

 

Total Recovered 15,81,640 (+47,362) / 1,31,13,231 (+2,14,993)

 

Active Cases 6,39,693 (+4,764) / 63,97,596 (+5,566)

 

 

TOP IMPACTED NATIONS SO FAR: (AND SOME OF INDIA'S NEIGHBOURS)

Country, Total Cases / Total Deaths / Recovered Cases / Active

Cases

 

1 USA 52,51,446 / 1,66,192 /

27,15,934 / 23,69,320

2 Brazil 30,57,470 / 1,01,857 /

21,63,812 / 7,91,801

3 India 22,67,153 / 45,353 /

15,81,640 / 6,40,160

4 Russia 8,92,654 / 15,001 /

6,96,681 / 1,80,972

5 South Africa 5,63,598 / 10,621 /

4,17,200 / 1,35,777

6 Mexico 4,85,836 / 53,003 /

3,27,993 / 1,04,840

7 Peru 4,78,024 / 21,072 /

3,24,020 / 1,32,932

8 Colombia 3,97,623 / 13,154 /

2,21,485 / 1,62,984

9 Chile 3,75,044 / 10,139 /

3,47,342 / 17,563

10 Spain 3,70,060 / 28,576 / N/A

/ N/A

11 Iran 3,28,844 / 18,616 /

2,86,642 / 23,586

12 UK 3,11,641 / 46,526 / N/A

/ N/A

13 Saudi Arabia 2,89,947 / 3,199 /

2,53,478 / 33,270

14 Pakistan 2,84,660 / 6,097 /

2,60,764 / 17,799

15 Bangladesh 2,60,507 / 3,438 /

1,50,437 / 1,06,632

 

 

TOP IMPACTED INDIAN STATES SO FAR

State / Confirmed Cases / Active Case / Recovered /

Deceased

 

Maharashtra 5,24,513 / 1,47,735 /

3,58,421 / 18,050

Tamil Nadu 3,02,815 / 53,099 / 2,44,675

/ 5,041

Andhra Pradesh 2,35,525 / 87,773 /

1,45,636 / 2,116

Karnataka 1,82,354 / 79,907 / 99,126

/ 3,312

Delhi 1,46,134 / 10,346 / 1,31,657

/ 4,131

Uttar Pradesh 1,26,722 / 47,878 / 76,724 /

2,120

West Bengal 98,459 / 26,031 / 70,328 /

2,100

Bihar 82,741 / 28,151 / 54,139 / 450

Telangana 80,751 / 22,528 / 57,586 /

637

Gujarat 72,120 / 14,072 / 55,376 / 2,672

Assam 61,738 / 17,997 / 43,587 / 151

Rajasthan 53,670 / 13,810 / 39,060 /

800

Odisha 47,455 / 14,097 / 33,021 / 337

Haryana 42,429 / 6,448 / 35,492 /

489

Madhya Pradesh 39,891 / 9,202 / 29,674 /

1,015

Kerala 35,515 / 12,737 / 22,616 / 116

Jammu and Kashmir 25,367 / 7,514 / 17,375 /

478

Punjab 24,889 / 8,550 / 15,735 / 604

 

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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

 

 

LEBANON'S GOVERNMENT RESIGNS AS PUBLIC ANGER MOUNTS

 

Lebanon's government has resigned amid mounting anger over the explosion on

Tuesday that devastated parts of Beirut and left more than 200 people dead.

The announcement was made in a national TV address by Prime Minister Hassan

Diab on Monday evening.

Many people have accused the country's leaders of culpability through their

alleged negligence and corruption.

Protesters have taken to the streets and clashed with police for a third

straight day.

The massive blast was caused by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium

nitrate stored unsafely at the port for years.

 

 

TENSIONS FLARE AFTER CHINESE FIGHTERS FLY CLOSE TO TAIWAN

 

Chinese air force jets briefly crossed the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait on

Monday and were tracked by Taiwanese missiles, Taiwan's government said, as

US health secretary Alex Azar visited the island to offer President Donald

Trump's support.

Azar, the highest-level US official to visit in four decades, arrived in

Taiwan on Sunday. China condemned the visit which comes at a period of

sharply deteriorating relations between China and the US.

Beijing, meanwhile, sanctioned 11 US lawmakers and individuals in a

tit-for-tat move against a US move to sanction 11 Chinese and Hong Kong

officials over the passing of the security law. A foreign ministry

spokesperson said the US should stop official interactions and the upgrading

of substantive relations with Taiwan.

 

 

MAURITIUS RACES TO HALT OIL SPILL FROM SHIP

 

Urgent efforts increased in Mauritius on Monday to empty a stranded Japanese

ship of an estimated 2,500 tonnes of oil before it breaks up and increases

the contamination of the island's Indian Ocean coastline.

High winds and waves are pounding the MV Wakashio, which was showing signs

of splitting apart and dumping its remaining cargo oil into the waters

surrounding Mauritius. The bulk carrier had run aground on a coral reef on

July 25. and later started to leak oil.

Already more than 1,000 tonnes of fuel has washed up on the eastern coast of

Mauritius, polluting its coral reefs, protected lagoons and shoreline.

Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little." Efforts were also

underway to get other ships to pump oil out of the MV Wakashio.

 

 

THE REST

========

 

 

BJP-LED GOVT WINS TRUST VOTE IN MANIPUR

 

The BJP-led N Biren Singh government in Manipur on Monday won the trust vote

28-16 in the state assembly. The confidence motion, moved by Singh, was put

to vote after a marathon debate during the one-day special session, and he

emerged victorious.

Eight Congress MLAs skipped the proceedings, defying a party whip.

The Congress has 24 MLAs in the House of 60, whose effective strength is 53.

The Congress had on July 28 moved a no-confidence motion against the BJP-led

government in the state.

 

 

PRANAB MUKHERJEE TESTS COVID POSITIVE, HAS SURGERY FOR CLOT

 

Former President Pranab Mukherjee was put on ventilator support on Monday

after he underwent surgery to remove a clot in his brain. Hours before the

surgery, Mukherjee, 84, said he had also tested positive for the novel

coronavirus.

"On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive

for COVID 19 today. I request the people who came in contact with me in the

last week, to please self isolate and get tested for COVID-19," Mukherjee

said in a tweet.

 

 

SC ASKS PUNJAB, HARYANA, DELHI, UP TO SPELL OUT STEPS TAKEN TO STOP STUBBLE

BURNING

 

The Supreme Court on Monday asked Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh

to spell out steps taken to stop stubble burning that virtually turns the

entire NCR into a gas chamber during October-November.

A Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra asked the chief secretary of

Punjab-who attended the hearing through video-conferencing-about the steps

taken to providing machines and equipment to small and marginal farmers so

as to dissuade them from burning stubble.

It asked all the parties to file affidavits detailing the steps taken to

dealing with pollution hotspots in the region. "What steps have been taken?

We want affidavit on all issues...not just stubble burning... We want

involvement of Centre on formulation of rules/laws to prevent and confiscate

vehicles running on kerosene," it asked.

 

 

SHAH FAESAL QUITS POLITICS

 

Former IAS officer turned-politician, Shah Faesal has stepped down as

president of Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement. Faesal, who had topped the

2010 civil services exam, had formed the JKPM in 2019.

Faesal said that Kashmir faced a new political reality, and he did not want

to show "quixotic dreams" to people when he had no power to change it.

"In the last one year due to some of my problematic utterances, a perception

was built that I am an anti-national. due to some of my statements, I let

down a lot of people who had immense goodwill for me. I want to undo that,"

he said.

Faesal said that his detention (following abrogation of Article 370 last

August) proved to be an "immense learning phase". "I realised that at the

end of the day you are all alone. It's your family that suffers the most

while ironically those for whom you seem to be standing up are drawing a

sadistic pleasure out of your misery. Detention gave me the clarity of mind

that I belong somewhere else. That I can't destroy my life for those who

won't even cry for me," he said.

 

 

RED FLAGS OVER CHECKS & BALANCES: EIA DRAFT FEEDBACK CLOSES TODAY

 

Greater discretion for the government to decide on strategic projects,

allowing promoters to declare violations themselves, and a substantive

increase in number of projects that will escape scrutiny - These are among

the controversial clauses in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) draft

2020 for which the deadline to file objections and suggestions by the public

ends today.

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Monday that the objections

will be discussed before the Ministry takes a call on the final draft.

Since the notification was issued in March, environmentalists and civil

society groups have accused the Centre of trying to dilute existing norms to

facilitate "ease of doing business".

 

 

UGC QUESTIONS DECISION OF MAHARASHTRA, DELHI TO CANCEL FINAL-YEAR EXAMS

 

The University Grants Commission on Monday questioned before the Supreme

Court the decisions taken by governments of Maharashtra and Delhi to cancel

final-year examinations of state universities in view of COVID-19, saying

they went against rules.

Not holding examinations will not be in students' interest as their degrees

may not be recognised if the states would act unilaterally and cancel

final-year examinations in violation of UGC norms, Solicitor General Tushar

Mehta, representing UGC, told a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan.

As Mehta said UGC would like to respond to the affidavits filed by Delhi and

Maharashtra, the Bench posted the petitions challenging the UGCs directive

to conduct university examinations by September 30 for further hearing on

August 14.

 

 

LUFTHANSA SET TO COMMENCE FLIGHT SERVICES TO DELHI, MUMBAI, BENGALURU

 

German carrier Lufthansa on Monday announced the commencement of its flight

services to Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru from Frankfurt from August 13, under

a "bilateral agreement" between the governments.

The company will also run flight services on the Munich-Delhi route.

The European carrier is already operating flights out of India to its two

hubs-Frankfurt and Munich-for the past several months, according to a

release. "Following a bilateral agreement between India and Germany, inbound

passenger flights to India will be reinstated from August 13," Lufthansa

said in the release.

 

 

HEROIN WORTH RS 1,000 CRORE CAMOUFLAGED AS 'AYURVEDIC' MEDICINE SEIZED IN

MUMBAI

 

In one of the biggest narcotics haul in Mumbai, the Mumbai Customs and

Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have seized 191 kg of heroin worth

around Rs 1,000 crore from a cargo container at Nhava Sheva Port Trust,

officials said here on Monday.

The seizure of the drugs, being declared as 'ayurvedic medicine'-believed to

have originated from Afghanistan-was made late on Saturday.

The narcotic, stated to be of high-grade quality, was concealed in plastic

pipes painted in bamboo colour and sought to be passed off as a traditional

common medicine, said the officials.

Further probe is underway into the source of the supply, the modus operandi

and whether the same has been tried before to evade the various enforcement

agencies.

 

 

RHEA CHAKRABORTY CITES BIHAR POLLS, SAYS BEING MADE 'POLITICAL SCAPEGOAT'

 

Actor Rhea Chakraborty submitted before the Supreme Court on Monday that

Bihar Police has no jurisdiction in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, and

had usurped it "under political pressure". She also called Bihar Police's

move to seek a CBI probe in the matter "illegal and bad in law".

She stated that Rajput came from Bihar, and his death is being used ahead of

the elections in the state.

Urging the court to protect her from being made a "scapegoat of political

agendas", she said, Chakraborty also accused media channels of "convicting"

her before it was even established that there was foul play in his death.

 

 

INDICATORS

 

Sensex 38,182 (+141), Nifty 11,275 (+61), Trading Value NSE ,(Rs.crores)

60,727

Nasdaq 10,968 (-43) Dow 27,791 (+358), S&P 3,360 (+9)

US$-Rs. 74.72 GBP-Rs. 97.64, Euro-Rs. 87.91, UAE Dhm-Rs.20.34, Can$-Rs.

55.89, Aus$- Rs. 53.47

GBP 0.76 /US$, Euro 0.84 /US$, Jap.Yen 105.90 /US$, Aus$ 1.39 /US$, Sing

1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 83.31 /US$, Can$ 1.33 /US$, Mal Ring 4.19 /US$,

Pak Re 168.01 /US$, Phil Peso 49.03 /US$, Russian Rouble 73.52 /US$, NZ$

1.51 /US$, Thai Baht 31.10 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.47 /US$, Norway NOK 9.03

/US$

Bitcoin - USD 11,865

Dollar Index 93.57 Brent Crude 45.19 BDI 1,501

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 2,016 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 5,538 / 5,438

Silver (Rs. Per KG) 74,220

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Focused action beats brilliance. - Mark Sanborn

 

 

OFF TRACK

 

A group of bikers were riding out when they saw a girl about to jump off

bridge. So they stopped.

George, their leader, gets off his Harley, walks through a group of gawkers,

past the Policeman who was trying to talk her down off the railing, and

says, "Hey Baby..... whatcha doin' up there on that railin'?"

She says tearfully, "I'm going to commit suicide!!"

"Well, before you jump, Honey-Babe... why don't you give ole George here

your best last kiss?"

So, with no hesitation at all, she leaned back over the railing and did just

that.

After they breathlessly finished, George gets a big thumbs-up approval from

his biker-buddies, the onlookers, and even the Policeman, and then says,

"Wow! That was the best kiss I have ever had, Honey! That's a real talent

you're wasting, Sugar Shorts. You could be famous if you rode with me. Why

are you committing suicide?"

"My parents don't like me dressing up like a girl."

It's still unclear whether she jumped or was pushed.

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