Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
2G Scam Verdict Today: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court is set to pronounce its verdict today in the multi-crore 2G spectrum allocations cases against former telecom minister A Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi and others. The trial of the case began after the CBI filed a charge sheet in the court against a total of nine people and three telecom companies on 2 April 2011, claiming that the irregularities in the allocations of the 2G spectrum caused a loss of Rs 1,76,000 crore to the public exchequer. According to the CBI, Raja "illegally" granted 2G spectrum licences to "ineligible" companies, including Unitech and Swan Telecom, for a bribe of over Rs 200 crore. The offences entail punishments ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.
Cabinet Clears Consumer Protection Bill: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new Consumer Protection Bill that seeks to give more teeth to the mechanism to safeguard consumer rights. The bill, expected to be tabled in the Lok Sabha during the winter session, also has provisions to deal with misleading advertisements and ban celebrities from endorsing such products. The new Bill seeks to enlarge the scope of the existing law and make it more effective and purposeful. It seeks to establish a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce consumer rights. It has provisions for post-litigation stage mediation as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. The Bill also provides for product liability action.
Rs 1,300 Crore Package For Skill Development And Capacity Building In Textile Sector: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Rs 1,300 crore package to the textile sector for skill development and capacity building. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for a new skill development scheme covering the entire value chain of the textile sector, excluding spinning and weaving in the organised sector, for a period of three years. The objectives of the scheme are to provide demand-driven, placement-oriented skilling programme to incentivise the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organised textile and related sectors. At least 10 lakh people are expected to be skilled and certified in various segments of the sector through the scheme, out of which 1 lakh will be in traditional sectors, a source who attended the meeting said.
Centre To Table Triple Talaq Bill In Lok Sabha On Friday: The Union government will introduce a bill that criminalises instant triple talaq in the Lok Sabha on Friday. The bill is aimed at "protecting the rights of married Muslim women and to prohibit divorce by pronouncing talaq by their husbands". The "List of Business" posted on the Lok Sabha website showed that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill will be introduced by Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad. The Cabinet had cleared the bill last week. Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday that Muslim organisations were not consulted before the government framed a draft bill to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government believed that the proposed bill would help ensure gender justice, gender equality and dignity of women.
Indian Air Force Planning To Buy 83 Indigenous Tejas Aircraft: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday asked the Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to submit a detailed proposal on the manufacturing of 83 advanced version of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) at a cost of more than Rs 50,000 crore. The decision sets in motion a process to acquire more of the indigenous fighter jets to make up for the IAF's depleting squadron strength. "IAF on Wednesday issued the request for proposal to the HAL for 83 more Tejas Mark-1A," said an official. HAL is to respond by March 2018, sources said. The IAF had earlier placed an order with the HAL for 40 Tejas aircraft. The sources said the final deal for the procurement is likely to be inked within the next five months. They said out of the 83 LCA, 10 will be used for training purposes.
Green Signal For India’s First Rail University: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Railways Ministry’s plan to set up the National Rail and Transport University in Vadodara to skill its human resources and build capability. This idea will be a catalyst for transformation of rail and transport sector towards a new India, said the government. A not-for-profit company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013, will be created by the ministry of railways which shall be the managing company of the proposed university, the ministry said. "Existing land and infrastructure at National Academy of Indian Railways at Vadodara will be utilised, and suitably modified and modernised for the purpose of the university. In its full enrolment, it is expected to have 3,000 full-time students. The funding of the new university/institute is to entirely come from the Ministry," said the government. The university plans to use latest pedagogy and technology applications such as satellite based tracking, radio frequency identification and artificial intelligence to improve on-the-job performance and productivity.
India Signs Deal To Rebuild Rakhine State: India on Wednesday signed a deal to partner Myanmar in rebuilding Rakhine state to facilitate the return of the Rohingyas who have taken refuge in thousands in Bangladesh to flee ethnic cleansing. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar’s Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung signed the Memorandum of Understanding. “This MoU is the first government to government agreement signed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar with a cooperation partner focussed on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in Rakhine State,” the External Affairs Ministry said. “This is intended to help the government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons,” it said.
Pakistan Army Chief Backs Hafiz Saeed On Kashmir: Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday backed Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and said that he can play an “active role in resolving the Kashmir issue” as every other citizen of Pakistan. “Like every other Pakistani, Saeed can also take up the Kashmir cause,” Bajwa said during his first briefing to lawmakers since taking charge. Bajwa’s statement came close on the heels of former president Pervez Musharraf declaring support for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) terror groups founded by Saeed. Bajwa, speaking at an ‘in-camera session’ of the Senate Committee of the Whole in Islamabad, also said he would resign if the military was found involved in the recent widespread protests by hardline religious groups which had paralysed the capital for weeks.
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