Morning Brief: Budget Session: Government Vows To Push Triple Talaq Bill; AFSPA Rethink Ruled Out; Ajmer-Alwar By-Polls Today
Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
Budget Session: Government Vows To Push Triple Talaq Bill: The Narendra Modi government on Sunday said it would "leave no stone unturned" to ensure the passage of the triple talaq bill during the Budget Session of Parliament beginning Monday. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, however, virtually ruled out referring the bill to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha as demanded by the opposition. Kumar's assertions came even as Modi, at an all-party meeting convened by the government, strongly favoured the standing committee system of Parliament describing it as the "role model" of participative democracy. The triple talaq bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, where the BJP enjoys brute majority, on 28 December. But the National Democratic Alliance floor managers failed to convince the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in minority, to change its stand to refer the bill to select committee of the Rajya Sabha for further scrutiny.
Army Chief Rules Out AFSPA Rethink: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that the time has not come for any rethink on Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) or making some of its provisions milder. He asserted that the Army has been taking adequate precautions in protecting human rights while operating in disturbed areas like Jammu and Kashmir. He remarks assume significance as they come against the backdrop of reports that several rounds of high-level discussions have taken place between the defence and home ministries on the “need to remove or dilute at least some provisions” of the AFSPA. “We have never been strong in applying the force the way it could be applied (under AFSPA). We are very concerned about human rights. We are absolutely concerned about collateral damage. So do not get too much concerned because we are taking adequate measures and precautions,” he said. The act gives the security forces special rights and immunity in carrying out various operations in disturbed areas. There has been a long-standing demand from various quarters in J&K and the Northeast to withdraw it.
Modi Seeks Support From Youngsters To Fight Corruption: Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought the cooperation of youths in his fight against corruption, saying none will be spared in his anti-graft exercise and noted that three former chief ministers are “rotting” in jail. Speaking at a National Cadet Corps rally, Modi also made a strong pitch for the use of Aadhaar, saying it has added great strength to India’s development by curbing leakages and helping government money reach its target beneficiaries. “Youths of India refuse to accept corruption. The fight against corruption and black money will not stop. This is a fight for the future of India’s youths,” he said. Getting rid of this “termite” of corruption will help the poor most. Former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra were recently convicted in a fodder scam case and sentenced. Former Haryana chief minister O P Chautala is also in jail in connection with a corruption case.
Stage Set For Lok Sabha By-Polls In Ajmer And Alwar: The stage is set for by-elections for two Lok Sabha seats in Ajmer and Alwar and the assembly seat in Mandalgarh on Monday, polling for which will start at 8 am and conclude at 6 pm, said state chief election officer Ashvini Bhagat. “Apart from central security forces, each polling booth will have a micro observer, he said, adding that the election commission has also made arrangements for videography, photography and webcasting at sensitive polling booths.” A total of 1,987 polling booths have been set up in the Alwar Lok Sabha constituency, 1,925 booths in Ajmer Lok Sabh constituency and 282 booths in Mandgarh assembly constituency. There are 18.27 lakh registered voters in Alwar, 18.42 lakh voters in Ajmer and 2.31 lakh voters in Mandalgarh. In Ajmer, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate is Ramswarup Lamba, a Jat and son of deceased M P Sanwar Lal Jat. The Congress has fielded Raghu Sharma, a Brahmin. In Alwar, there is a direct fight between BJP candidate Jaswant Singh Yadav (64) and Congress candidate Karan Singh Yadav (72).
Railways Committed To Bringing Back Charm Of Train Travel To India: Piyush Goyal: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said there is no alternative to pressing ahead with the modernisation of Indian railways. Goyal, who was in Switzerland to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting and took the first-hand experience of travelling in the famous mountain rail on his way back from Davos, said his aim remains to bring back the charm of train travel in India. With some opposition parties having raised question about the need for bullet trains in India, Goyal said it would be wrong to say that it becomes frustrating for him to hear political criticism about modernisation plans and bullet train like projects. “It is not frustrating at all. There may be some misconceptions some people may have and it is my duty to clear those misconceptions. I feel modern technologies have to be introduced and that is in the interest of the nation,” Goyal said and added that the government has got a mandate and it is working on structural changes that it needs to bring in. The nation has gone above politics and the focus is on improving the future of the people.
Modi To Visit Palestine In February: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a four-day state visit to Palestine, Oman and the UAE on 9 February. Modi’s visit to Palestine is his first since taking office in 2014. It is a standalone visit to Ramallah that comes after a similar visit to Israel last year— the first ever by an Indian prime minister in seven decades. The visit to Palestine also comes after Modi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a six-day visit to India between 14-19 January as the two countries marked the completion of 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations. The visits indicate that India’s Israel and Palestine policies will run independent of each other on separate tracks, say Indian foreign ministry officials and analysts. Besides Palestine, Modi will be attending the World Government Summit in the UAE where he has been accorded “guest of honour” status. On the last leg of his trip, Modi will visit Oman, a key country situated on the rim of the Indian Ocean region and a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative.
Kasganj Violence: Situation Heading Towards Normalcy, Says UP Police: Two days after clashes between two communities claimed one life, as many as 112 people were arrested and security personnel intensified vigil in strife-torn Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh where the situation remained tense but peaceful. The Yogi Adityanath-led government, meanwhile, stressed that the guilty would not be spared. “So far, 112 persons have been arrested. As many as 31 accused have been arrested, and 81 preventive arrests have been made,” UP Police said. “The situation is heading towards normalcy, and markets have opened. Three drone cameras have been deployed for aerial surveillance of the entire city as most of the incidents took place in the peripheral areas,” additional director general of police (law and order) Anand Kumar said. Meanwhile, the opposition Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) targeted the state government on the law and order front. “In UP, a jungle raj-like atmosphere is prevailing. The latest example is that of Kasganj,” BSP chief Mayawati said. SP spokesperson Sunil Singh Sajan alleged, “We simply want peace and normalcy to return to the place which is synonymous with the Ganga-Jamuni culture of the state”.
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We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!
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