Current Affairs

Morning Brief: India-Japan To Launch Asia-Africa Growth Corridor; UCC Report On Way; Ram Rahim Rape Verdict Today

Swarajya StaffMonday, August 28, 2017 6:25 am IST
Modi and Abe set for crucial talks.  (MONEY SHARMA/AFP/GettyImages
Modi and Abe set for crucial talks. (MONEY SHARMA/AFP/GettyImages

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.

India-Japan To Launch Asia-Africa Growth Corridor: In a counter to the One-Belt-One-Road initiative of China, India and Japan will next month launch the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, a development cooperation initiative envisaged to link the two continents. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will outline the vision of the project during the annual India-Japan bilateral summit in New Delhi next month, said sources. “We would naturally like the initiative (Asia-Africa Growth Corridor) to be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said. Modi and Abe first conceived the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor during their last summit in Tokyo in November last year.

NITI Aayog Pushes For Simultaneous Lok Sabha-Assembly Polls: India’s premier think tank NITI Aayog has called for holding synchronised two-phase Lok Sabha and assembly elections from 2024 in "national interest". All elections in India should happen in a free, fair and synchronised manner to ensure minimum "campaign mode" disruption to governance, the think tank said. "This may include drafting appropriate Constitution and statutory amendments, agreeing on a workable framework to facilitate transition to simultaneous elections, developing a stakeholder communication plan and various operational details," it said. The recommendation of the Aayog assumes significance as former President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have pitched for simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls.

Law Commission’s Uniform Civil Code Report Months Away: The Law Commission of India, which is examining whether the time is ripe for bringing in a uniform civil code (UCC) in the country, is likely to submit its report to the government next year. The commission will also look at the Supreme Court verdict on instant triple talaq before drawing up its conclusions, official sources said. The Narendra Modi government had constituted the Commission in 2015 for a period of three years. Officials said the commission received as many as 40,000 recommendations from members of the public, NGOs, experts, religious groups and political parties after it sought suggestions last October. The uniform civil code has been a long-standing poll promise and ideological position of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Ram Rahim Rape Verdict Today: Major security arrangements have been put in place around a Rohtak jail, where today (Monday) a judge will hand out punishment to self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. On Friday he was found guilty of raping two women in a 15-year-old case. The special Central Bureau of Investigation court will at 2.30 pm begin hearing arguments on the quantum of punishment, which could range from seven years to life imprisonment, in the district jail at Sunaria where the flamboyant Dera Sacha Sauda chief is lodged. Rohtak deputy commissioner Atul Kumar said miscreants who try to spread violence will be dealt with strongly. “We requested for 18 columns of army. It is on stand-by and will arrive within one hour of our request,” he said.

Indian Army To Get Medium Range Missiles In Three Years: The Indian Army will finally get an advanced medium-range surface to air missile (MRSAM) system by 2020. It will have the capacity to shoot down ballistic missiles, fighter jets and attack helicopters from a range of around 70 km. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will develop the missile system in collaboration with the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a senior army official said. DRDO has signed a Rs 17,000 crore deal with the IAI for the ambitious project. The deal envisages 40 firing units and around 200 missiles. The Army thinks procurement of the MRSAM will mark a paradigm shift in its strike capability.

Bihar Floods Toll Hits 482: More than 42 deaths in flood-related incidents were reported from Bihar in the last 36 hours, taking the toll to 482, while five people lost their lives in Uttar Pradesh, pushing the flood toll in that state to 101. As many as 1.71 crore people in 19 districts of Bihar were still affected by the deluge. A total of 187 blocks and 2,371 panchayats were affected by the flood, the state disaster management department said, adding that the number of relief camps had come down to 222, where 1.44 lakh people had taken shelter. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited Bihar for an aerial survey of the floods, announced Rs 500 crore fund for relief work in the state. He also announced Rs 2 lakh ex gratia for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured in the floods from the PM Relief Fund.

Dhinakaran Removes Palaniswami From Key Party Post: Fighting to assert his supremacy in the wake of recent merger of two All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) factions, the party’s sidelined deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran on Sunday removed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami from the post of party’s Salem District Secretary. Palaniswami is the 20th senior AIADMK leader to be removed from the party by Dhinakaran, who still claims that he is the party’s deputy general secretary and has the authority to dismiss or appoint the office-bearers. Meanwhile, in another development, a delegation of opposition parties, led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, met Governor Vidyasagar Rao and urged him to direct the Palaniswami government to seek a confidence vote and prove majority.

Deadline To Link Aadhaar-PAN May Not Be Extended: A deadline for linking Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN) was set and it will remain. The Income Tax Department is unlikely to extend beyond 31 August the date for linking PAN and Aadhaar. Earlier this month, the department had extended the deadline till 31 August, but cautioned that returns would not be processed until the "linkage of Aadhaar with PAN is done". A senior tax official, when asked whether the date for linking PAN and Aadhaar would be extended, said "Not to the best of my knowledge". Earlier, Unique Identification Authority of India chief executive Ajay Bhushan Pandey, was quoted as saying that taxpayers will have to link PAN and Aadhaar by 31 August as the Supreme Court ruling is unlikely to have any impact on the process of linking the two databases as of now.


Calls to weaken rupee are misguided: The real story is thus of dollar weakness relative to a wide range of currencies, not rupee strength. Those batting for a lower policy rate and/or a weaker rupee are concerned primarily with the interests of domestic Indian industry, not consumers or the economy.

Can Nandan Nilekani Turn Things Around At Infosys? Infosys non-executive chairman Nandan Nilekani has already appointed Egon Zehnder to find the next Infosys CEO. If his past management style is any indication, he will be hands-on with everything, but once a CEO is appointed, he will step back.

India’s Rural Distress Puzzle: Agricultural reforms, such as in irrigation and warehousing infrastructure, can help increase farm productivity and therefore incomes. The panacea for rural distress can only be agricultural reforms that will raise farm productivity and incomes.

Is SoftBank The New Nuclear Warhead For Start-Ups? SoftBank’s investment in Flipkart bolsters the latter’s fight against Amazon. The Indian e-commerce cold war, then, has only just begun. For start-ups leading large categories, getting SoftBank as an investor may give them an opportunity to use their nuclear option.


Of Gurus, Cults And The Future: Why we must not allow the guru phenomenon to degenerate into a cult phenomenon.

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