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