India Newsletter

FRONT PAGE NEWS
29 Sept 2020

PM MODI MEETS DANISH PM, VIRTUALLY

 

India and Denmark on Monday discussed the extradition of Purulia arms drop

accused Kim Davy and global supply chain diversification and agreed to

cooperate on technology to deal with stubble-burning among other issues, in

a virtual meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi held with his Danish

counterpart Mette Frederiksen.

At the beginning of the meeting, Prime Minister Modi said, "Covid-19 has

shown that it is risky for global supply chains to be highly dependent on

any single source. We are working together with Japan and Australia for

supply-chain diversification and resilience. Other like-minded countries can

also join this effort." His comments come at a time when more and more

countries are moving away from their dependence on China.

After the meeting, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, in

charge of Central Europe, Neeta Bhushan said the two leaders also discussed

the issue of Kim Davy's extradition. She also said Danish companies have

technologies to deal with the issue of stubble burning and are willing to

share them with Indian partners. Stubble-burning at this time of the year

leads to air pollution, especially in northern India.

The two sides also elevated the partnership to "Green Strategic

Partnership," according to a joint statement.

They also agreed to strengthen existing city-to-city cooperation between

Udaipur and Aarhus and Tumakuru and Aalborg.

 

 

GOVT'S NEW DEFENCE ACQUISITION POLICY DROPS OFFSETS IN 3 TYPES OF CONTRACTS

 

The government has decided not to have an offset clause in procurement of

defence equipment if the deal is done through inter-government agreement

(IGA), government-to-government or an ab initio single vendor. The offset

clause requires a foreign vendor to invest a part of the contract value in

India.

The decision, part of the government's new policy for defence acquisitions,

was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council Monday.

Director General (Acquisitions) Apurva Chandra said the offset clause policy

had not brought any critical technology to India yet, and had only resulted

in foreign vendors loading extra costs in contracts in single-vendor or

government-to-government deals.

Chandra said changes to the defence procurement policy will not be

retrospective and ongoing deals will not be impacted.

 

 

NEGATE FARM BILLS WITH YOUR OWN LAWS: SONIA TO CONG-RULED STATES

 

A day after President Ram Nath Kovind granted his assent to the

controversial farm Bills, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday asked

states ruled by her party to negate the agriculture-related Central laws by

passing their own legislations.

"Congress president has advised the Congress-ruled states to explore the

possibilities to pass laws in their respective states under Article 254(2)

of the constitution which allows the state legislatures to pass a law to

negate the Anti-Agriculture Central laws encroaching upon State's

jurisdiction under the Constitution," AICC general secretary organisation KC

Venugopal said.

Sonia Gandhi has told the states ruled by Congress that enacting their own

legislations would enable bypassing the unacceptable anti-farmers'

provisions in the three "draconian agricultural laws", including the

abolition of MSP and disruption of APMCs in Congress-ruled states.

She said this would also alleviate the farmers from the grave injustice done

by the NDA government and the BJP.

Describing the logic behind the move Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, "As

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley got states to resort to Article 254(2) of the

Constitution to override the provisions of the 2013 Land Acquisition law, a

law he had fully supported as Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha. So States

should now follow the same advice to undo the damage caused by the farm

bills that have become Acts."

Ramesh quoted the relevant provision of the Constitution under which the

late FM asked states to override the provisions of the 2013 land acquisition

bill.

The Congress feels it has solid legal ground to go against farm bills as

agriculture, marketing and pricing are listed as state subjects in the

seventh schedule of the Constitution which deals exclusively with state

rights.

 

 

BJP PLANS FARM OUTREACH TO COUNTER OPPN'S DRIVE

 

To counter the opposition's campaign against farm laws enacted by the

central government, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning an

outreach to farmers that will include door-to-door Atmanirbhar Kisan

(Self-Reliance Farmers) campaigns in rural India, public rallies, press

conferences and social media broadcasts.

The initiative is aimed at what the BJP thinks is opposition propaganda

based on "false and absurd" notions of the Narendra Modi government's

agricultural reforms, which it says will liberalise farm trade, enable

farmers to earn more remunerative prices by selling their produce anywhere

and benefit consumers by excluding middlemen.

In a letter to party MPs and top leaders, BJP's national general secretary

Arun Singh said the historic farm laws passed by Parliament had freed

farmers from the clutches of middlemen. Singh said that these reforms, along

with earlier measures like soil health cards, crop insurance and increases

in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) would all help in doubling the income of

farmers. "The opposition parties are spreading false and absurd rumours

about it in their ulterior political motive," Singh said in the letter.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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

 

 

CHINA HOLDS SIMULTANEOUS DRILLS IN FOUR SEAS

 

China began five military exercises simultaneously along different parts of

its coast on Monday, the second time in two months it will have such

concurrent drills against a backdrop of rising regional tension.

Two of the exercises are being held near the Paracel Islands in the disputed

South China Sea, one in the East China Sea, and one in further north in the

Bohai Sea, the Maritime Safety Administration said in notices on its

website.

In the southern part of the Yellow Sea, drills including live-fire exercises

will be held from Monday to Wednesday. All ships are prohibited from

entering the area, it said. In a bid to train a combat-ready military force,

China holds drills periodically, but rarely do multiple exercises happen at

the same time. The US sent spy planes into a no-fly zone over Chinese

livefire drills last month. In response, China lodged "stern

representations" with the US.

 

 

PAK OPPN LEADER HELD IN LAUNDERING CASE

 

Pakistan's anticorruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau

(NAB), arrested PML-N president and leader of the opposition in the National

Assembly Shahbaz Sharif from the Lahore HC premises on Monday in a

moneylaundering case.

The arrest came days after the Pakistan army had counselled the opposition

not to drag its General Headquarters (GHQ) into their fight with PM Imran

Khan. Sharif had appeared before the court to secure an extension to his

pre-arrest bail when his plea was rejected. Within minutes of bail denial,

the anti-graft body took him into custody. Sharif 's supporters chanted

slogans against the NAB and PM Imran Khan after the arrest.

The case against Sharif is related to NAB's 2019 reference under which it

had frozen 23 properties owned by Sharif and his sons over claims that they

had acquired assets beyond their known sources of income. PML-N denies the

allegations.

 

 

THE REST

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TRACTOR SET ON FIRE AT INDIA GATE; POLICE DETAIN 5 PEOPLE

 

Amid raging protests against the newly enacted farm laws, around 15-20

people assembled on Monday morning near India Gate and set a tractor on

fire, police said.

The police, in a statement, said, "Today around 7.15 am, some (15-20)

persons carrying a tractor in a Tata 407 vehicle came at Rajpath-Man Singh

crossing. They offloaded the tractor and tried to set ablaze." Five persons

have been detained till now and one vehicle impounded, it added.

Noting that the persons involved in the incident claimed to be members of

Youth Congress, Punjab unit and all from Mohali, Deputy Commissioner of

Police (New Delhi) Eish Singhal said, "Legal action is being taken in the

matter. Identity of the persons involved is being ascertained."

 

 

ASSAM: 19 HELD FOR PAPER LEAK; COPS SAY ACCUSED EX-DIG, BJP LEADER ON THE

RUN

 

Nineteen people have so far been arrested in connection with the leak of

question paper of an examination to recruit sub-inspectors in the force,

even as two key accused - a former top cop and a BJP leader - remain

absconding, Assam Police said on Monday.

Assam DGP Bhakarjyoti Mahanta told the media: "We have announced an award

for information on both prime accused who are absconding. We request the

public to help us to locate them."

The exam for 597 posts of sub-inspectors - for which over 66,000 candidates

were to appear on September 20 - was cancelled following preliminary reports

that the question paper was leaked and circulated on WhatsApp.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal subsequently directed the State-Level

Police Recruitment Board (SLPRB) to re-conduct the examination within a

month.

According to initial investigation, the police have identified P K Dutta, a

former Assam Police DIG, as the prime accused. The other accused, Diban

Deka, had unsuccessfully contested the 2011 Assembly elections on a BJP

ticket from Barkhetry constituency. The party has said that any BJP leader

found guilty should be arrested.

 

 

BABRI MASJID CONSPIRACY CASE: ADVANI, JOSHI, BHARATI AWAIT VERDICT

 

On 30 September, former Deputy Prime Minister and BJP President LK Advani,

former Education Minister and BJP President Murali Manohar Joshi and former

Madhya Pradesh chief minister and religious preacher Uma Bharati will have

to present themselves before a Special CBI court judge in Lucknow for a

verdict on whether they are guilty of entering a criminal conspiracy that

led to the demolition of the Babri mosque in December 1992.

The leaders have been asked to be present personally. Bharati will likely

not be able to make it - she has been diagnosed Covid-19 positive and is

quarantined in a hospital near Rishikesh. The other two leaders are

extremely vulnerable to the infection on account of their advanced age:

Advani is 92 years old and Joshi is 86.

 

 

NOT POSSIBLE TO DEFER EXAMS, UPSC TELLS SUPREME COURT

 

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which conducts the civil

services examinations for selection of IAS, IPS, IFS and allied central

services, on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was not possible to defer

the examinations any further.

"It's not possible to defer civil services exams," the counsel for the UPSC

told a Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar.

The commission's advocate sought to highlight the fact that the civil

services exams had already been delayed by several months and the

preliminary examination was scheduled to be held on October 4.

Asking the UPSC to file an affidavit, the top court posted the matter for

further hearing on Wednesday.

Amid the growing number of Covid-19 cases, a group of 20 students had moved

the Supreme Court last week seeking postponement of civil services

examinations by two-three months.

 

 

GOVT FAILURE TO APPOINT MPC MEMBERS INJECTS MORE UNCERTAINTY IN THE ECONOMY

 

India's government injected more uncertainty into the economy this week,

failing to act in time to appoint members to the central bank's panel that

decides interest rates.

The RBI deferred its three-day interest-rate meeting due to start Tuesday,

without giving any reasons or a new date for its policy decision. The

six-person Monetary Policy Committee is currently without three external

members after their terms expired last month. Rules require at least four

MPC members to be present at a meeting.

The government failed to make use of the ample time it had to appoint new

MPC members, sowing more confusion into financial markets. The RBI has been

doing most of the heavy lifting in providing stimulus to the economy this

year, given limited fiscal room available to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's

government.

 

 

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS TO INCREASE GRADUALLY FROM OCT 1

 

The Delhi airport will resume domestic operations from terminal-2 (T2) in

phases from October 1, its operator DIAL said today.

The airport has been operating flights only from the T3 terminal since March

23 when flight operations in the country were curtailed drastically due to

the Covid pandemic. However, medical evacuation flights and special flights

permitted by the aviation regulator DGCA were allowed.

"The resumption of operations at T2 will be with 96 air traffic movements

(48 departures and as many arrivals) per day and increase progressively up

to 180 by October-end," said DIAL (Delhi International Airport Limited) in a

statement.

From October 1, IndiGo and GoAir will operate all their flights from T2, it

said, adding 27 counters - 16 for IndiGo and 11 for GoAir - had been

created.

 

 

NO CONCLUSION REACHED IN SSR DEATH CASE: CBI

 

Amid reports of it going slow in probing actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death

case, the CBI yesterday said, "No conclusion has yet been reached in the

matter under probe and all aspects of it are under investigation."

Last week, Singh's lawyer Vikas Singh had expressed "helplessness" over the

slow pace of the CBI probe in the Rajput's death case.

 

 

'SOMETHING FISHY' GOING ON IN BMC OVER DEMOLITIONS, SAYS BOMBAY HC

 

The Bombay High Court on Monday said there was "something fishy" going on in

the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) when it came to the demolition

of alleged illegal constructions. The court was hearing a writ petition

filed by actor Kangana Ranaut.

A bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and RI Chagla said in Ranaut's case, the

civic body did not follow its own practice of attaching photos of alleged

illegal constructions with its stop-work notices and waiting for some days

before carrying out demolitions.

The HC made the remarks while hearing the writ petition filed by Ranaut

challenging the demolition of a part of her bungalow in Pali Hill in

suburban Bandra by the BMC on September 9.

The judges were questioning the BMC's H Ward officer, Bhagyawant Late, a

respondent in the writ petition under whose jurisdiction Ranaut's property

falls. During the questioning, the bench noted that in cases of similar

illegalities in buildings close to Ranaut's, the BMC had waited for several

days to carry out the demolition.

The bench also asked why the BMC had taken a huge police force along on

September 9 to demolish Ranaut's bungalow. To this Late said Ranaut's case

was a "critical" one.

 

 

HAVE PLAYED NEARLY 500 GAMES FOR INDIA, CAN SPEAK TO ANY PLAYER: GANGULY

 

Before Delhi Capitals' first game of this season, skipper Shreyas Iyer gave

an interview to Star Sports where he spoke about contributions from head

coach Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly (who was mentor at DC in 2019) in

helping him evolve as a successful player and captain.

However, his critics insinuated that Ganguly as BCCI president is helping a

franchise captain where he was a mentor, which is a case of Conflict of

Interest, something he vehemently denied.

While Iyer had clarified that he was referring to 2019 season, Ganguly put

forth what he thought about the unnecessary controversy. "I had helped him

(Iyer) last year. I may be the Board president, but don't forget that I've

played 500 matches (424 matches) for India, so I can speak to a young player

and help him, be it Shreyas Iyer or Virat Kohli. If they want help, I can,"

Ganguly said during a promotional event.

An irate Iyer on his part had tweeted his clarification. "As a young

captain, I am thankful to Ricky and Dada for being a part of my journey as a

cricketer and captain last season. My comment ...... was to emphasise my

gratitude towards the role they both have played in my personal growth as a

captain," the DC captain had said.

 

 

IPL: TIED AT 201, RCB BEAT MI IN SUPER OVER

 

Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians in a Super Over thriller in

the IPL in Dubai yesterday. Needing eight to win, AB de Villiers scored a

crucial boundary before skipper Virat Kohli scored the winning runs.

Earlier, Ishan Kishan scored a 58-ball 99 to help MI reach 201/5 and take

the game into the Super Over. Bangalore had scored 201/3.

RCB 201/3 (de Villiers 55*, Padikkal 54, Finch 52; Boult 2/34);

MI 201/5 (Kishan 99, Pollard 60; Udana 2/45);

Super Over: MI 7/1; RCB: 11/0.

 

 

FRENCH OPEN: SERENA WILLIAMS DIGS DEEP

 

Sixth seed Serena Williams battled sluggish conditions to defeat fellow

American Kristie Ahn 7-6(2) 6-0 to open her campaign at the French Open

today. Playing against an opponent she defeated at the same stage at the US

Open less than a month ago, Williams found herself trailing twice in the

opening set but rallied each time to force a tiebreaker. The 39-year-old,

who has won three French Open titles, raised her level in the tiebreaker and

did not look back from there, handing the 102nd-ranked Ahn a bagel in the

second set.

Claycourt master Rafael Nadal started his quest for a record-extending 13th

French Open title with a straightforward 6-4 6-4 6-2 first-round win against

Belarusian Egor Gerasimov.

The first match after a major career breakthrough is always a potential

banana skin but Dominic Thiem avoided any slip-up with an impressive defeat

of Marin Cilic. It was perhaps closer than the 6-4 6-3 6-3 scoreline

suggested but Austrian third seed Thiem sent out a clear message that having

won the US Open he is hungry for more.

 

 

INDICATORS

 

Sensex 37,982 (+593), Nifty 11,228 (+177), Trading Value NSE ,(Rs.crores)

47,093.71

Nasdaq 11,118 (+204) Dow 27,584 (+410), S&P 3,352 (+53)

US$-Rs. 73.65 GBP-Rs. 94.46, Euro-Rs. 85.81, UAE Dhm-Rs.20.05, Can$-Rs.

55.04, Aus$- Rs. 51.99

GBP 0.77 /US$, Euro 0.85 /US$, Jap.Yen 105.44 /US$, Aus$ 1.41 /US$, Sing

1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 83.32 /US$, Can$ 1.33 /US$, Mal Ring 4.16 /US$,

Pak Re 165.56 /US$, Phil Peso 48.44 /US$, Russian Rouble 78.71 /US$, NZ$

1.52 /US$, Thai Baht 31.62 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 28.15 /US$, Norway NOK 9.51

/US$

Bitcoin - USD 10,680

Dollar Index 94.28 Brent Crude 42.15 BDI 1,667

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,884 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 4,925/ 4,825

Silver (Rs. Per KG) 59,000

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him,

and to let him know that you trust him. - Booker T. Washington

 

 

OFF TRACK

 

There was a middle-aged couple that had two stunningly beautiful teen-aged

daughters. They decided to try one last time for the son they always wanted.

After months of trying, the wife became pregnant and sure enough, nine

months later delivered a healthy baby boy. The joyful father rushed to the

nursery to see his new son. He took one look and was horrified to see the

ugliest child he had ever seen.

He went to his wife and said that there was no way that he could be the

father of that child. "Look at the two beautiful daughters I fathered."

Then he gave her a stern look and asked, "Have you been fooling around on

me?"

The wife smiled sweetly and said, "Not this time".

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