Morning Brief: 100 Per Cent Household Electrification In 15 States, Says Centre; GDP Growth Data For September Quarter To Be Released Today; And More

Morning Brief: 100 Per Cent Household Electrification In 15 States, Says Centre; GDP Growth Data For September Quarter To Be Released Today; And MoreVillagers are standing around a poll eagerly waiting for the flow of electricity in village Garanayarchhara (Indranil Bhoumik/Mint via Getty Images) 

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

15 States Have 100 Per Cent Household Electrification: Government

The Centre has claimed that Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Sikkim, Telangana and West Bengal have achieved 100 per cent household electrification under its Saubhagya scheme. Under this scheme, the Centre finances the cost of last-mile connectivity to willing households. Six other states - Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and Goa - had achieved 100 per cent household electrification earlier. This takes the number of states with 100 per cent household electrification to 15.

According to minister of state (independent charge) for power and renewable energy R K Singh, as many as 21 million connections have been made under the scheme so far. Under Saubhagya, launched in September 2017, the Centre had set a target to achieve universal household electrification by 31 March 2019.

GDP Growth Data For September Quarter To Be Released Today

The government will release the gross domestic product (GDP) growth data for the July-September quarter at 5:30pm today. According to reports, growth in the second quarter is likely to decelerate to 7.6 per cent from the 8.2 per cent rate achieved in the first quarter. Some estimates suggest that economic growth will slow to around 7 per cent due to state spending cuts and muted rural demand.

According to the Business Standard, the GDP data will give figures and indications for demand, investments and government expenditure. This development will come just days after the Modi government released back-series estimates for GDP which showed a lower rate of growth during the UPA years between 2005-06 and 2011-12. New data shows that the maximum growth rate in the UPA years was 8.5 per cent in 2010-11, significantly lower than the 10.3 per cent estimated earlier.

French Journalists, Camping In TN With Help From A Pastor, Trespass Into Nuclear Energy Department Restricted Area

The Tamil Nadu police have booked two French journalists for trespassing a restricted area belonging to Indian Rare Earths Limited, which comes under the Department of Atomic Energy. The two journalists, who reportedly shot videos and clicked pictures inside the restricted area, were campaigning in Kanyakumari with the help of local journalists and a Pastor. They managed to escape from India despite being booked by the police under IPC section 447 (criminal trespass), 14(A) (entry in restricted areas), 14(B) (penalty for using forged passport) and 14(C) (penalty for abetment) of the Foreigners Act 1946.

According to reports, the journalists reached Manavalakurichi on 26 November. Local journalists Anandkumar and Sriram, along with Manakudy parish priest Father Hildas, helped the two French nationals. Anandkumar, works as a freelancer for a Tamil satellite television channel, allegedly helped the French journalists escape to Thiruvananthapuram airport.

Air India To Be Spared Of Rs 29,000 Crore Of Debt Under Turnaround Plan

As part of a “turnaround” plan for Air India, which is being executed, the national carrier will be spared of Rs 29,000 crore of its debt, Mint has reported. Air India’s total debt currently stands at Rs 55,000 crore. The plan is linked to the sale of the carrier’s ground handling arm Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL). Proceeds from this strategic sale would be used to retire the debt. The sale would happen after transferring AIATSL to a Special Purpose Vehicle, which has already been incorporated, the official said.

AIATSL, which was incorporated in June 2003, provides ground handling services such as those related to passenger, ramp, security and cargo for Air India. In 2016-17, the arm had made a profit of Rs 61.66 crore. Government’s strategic sale offer, under which it had proposed to offload 76 per cent stake in the national carrier, had failed to attract any bidders earlier this year.

Prime Minister Modi Reaches Argentina For G-20 Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires late on Thursday to attend the 13th G-20 summit. He will be in Buenos Aires from 29 November to 1 December. Among his most important engagements are two trilateral meetings, one with US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the second with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two meetings are being seen as a balancing act.

Apart from these engagements, Modi will meet French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the event. He will also hold talks with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, along with the prime ministers of Spain, Jamaica, the Netherlands and the president of the European Union and the European Council. He has already met Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

From Swarajya

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Pilgrimage To Sabarimala Is Painful, And Hurting Too: What’s the experience now of visiting the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala? Swarajya’s Executive Editor went down there and saw for himself. A ground report.

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