Current Affairs

Morning Brief: Gujarat Poll Campaign Hots Up; India Rises On Entrepreneurship Index; New Twist In Kerala Jove Jihad Case

Swarajya Staff

Nov 30, 2017, 06:15 AM | Updated 06:15 AM IST

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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

Gujarat Election Campaign Hots Up: The election campaign in Gujarat hots up as both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi held several meetings. Modi unleashed a campaign blitz across Gujarat on Wednesday, attacking the Congress for everything from its “dynastic politics” and neglect of the state to its alleged opposition to an ancient Shiva temple repeatedly destroyed by Muslim invaders. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi too held several meetings, stepping up the offensive against Modi over a multi-million dollar fighter jets deal and the ruling BJP’s treatment of the influential Patidar community. The contest in Gujarat, Modi’s home state where his party has been in power for 22 years, will be keenly watched for signs of voter reaction to some of his radical economic policies that the opposition Congress is trying to leverage to regain political ground.

India To Soon Regain Growth Momentum, Says Arvind Subramanian: India's Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian today said demonetisation and rollout of goods and services may have "reinforced" the growth deceleration that had already set in, but exuded confidence that "we will soon come out from these two policy experiments" and regain growth. "I think that deceleration in growth, if you look at numbers, actually preceded before these two actions. I think that not just growth, but investment, credit, exports, industrial production, they all started decelerating sometime in the second quarter last year," he said. "GDP would bounce back with better credit growth, investment growth and growth in exports, as Indian economy has the potential to grow at 8 to 10 per cent. As GST is also stabilising, it will also help in that," he said. On bringing petrol and diesel under the GST, he said ideally everything should come under the new tax regime.

India Moves Up On Entrepreneurship Index: India has moved up one place to spot 68 on the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) of 2018. The US topped the index this year also, Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) president Jonathan Ortmans said on Wednesday. “India is in 68th position in the Global Entrepreneurship Index. The US is in first position in 2018. The list was prepared for 137 countries in the world. Each country is ranked according to its GEI score to indicate overall entrepreneurship attitude and potential,” Ortmans said at a session at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Last year, India enjoyed the largest jump in the rankings, moving up 29 spots to 69th position. India was strong in product innovation while weak in the area of technology absorption, last year’s report had said. GEN is a platform of programmes and initiatives to help new firms start and scale while working to create a global entrepreneurial ecosystem.

BCCI Fined Rs 52 Crore For Anti-Competitive Conduct: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday was fined Rs 52.24 crore by the country's competition watchdog for anti-competitive practices with respect to Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights. In its order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said the penalty of Rs 52.24 crore comes to nearly 4.48 per cent of the average of the BCCI's relevant turnover during the last three financial years. "The assessment of the Commission clearly brings out that the impugned clause in the IPL media rights agreement has been pursued by BCCI consciously to protect the commercial interest of the bidders of broadcasting rights as well as the economic interest of BCCI," it said. In addition to the fine, the commission said the BCCI must not place any "blanket restriction" on the organisation of professional leagues to rival the IPL. In February 2013, the watchdog had slapped a fine of Rs 52.24 crore on the BCCI.

Indian Railways Unveils New-Look Rajdhani Coaches: The Indian Railways unveiled on Wednesday the new ‘Swarna’ coaches of the Rajdhani Express with facilities such as 'auto janitor' system in toilets and LED lighting at the New Delhi Railway Station. The features include complete painting of the interiors to an aesthetic international colour scheme and LED lighting to improve illumination. These coaches also have 'auto janitor' system in toilets, faucets, stainless steel washbasins, improved soap dispensers, better quality dustbins and carefully chosen locations for ergonomic convenience. These “premium trains" are part of railways' effort to overhaul old and damaged coaches of all trains. These coaches have initially been provided in the Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani. They were upgraded at a cost of about Rs 35 lakh, the railways said.

India-Bangladesh Border: UAVs And Smart Fence To Check Infiltration, Says BSF: The Border Security Force (BSF) will deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and put up a smart fence to check smuggling and infiltration along the India-Bangladesh border by next year. BSF Director General K K Sharma said the Union Home Ministry has recently approved a proposal of the force to deploy an indigenously developed smart fence at the 48.12-km-long riverine Dhubri border area along the Brahmaputra river in Assam. The smart fence, a senior officer said, will detect illegal human or cattle movement with the help of infra-red rays. The control room will get alerted by satellite-based signals in case of a breach followed by a response by a quick reaction armed team of the force, he said. The BSF has also urged the ministry to sanction the raising of five more battalions (about 5,000 personnel) and their deployment along this border region to check crimes like smuggling of cattle, fake Indian currency notes, arms, ammunition and narcotics in some of the “most vulnerable and notorious areas, he said.

Ivanka Trump Seeks Better Capital Access To Women Entrepreneurs: US President Donald Trump’s daughter and his adviser Ivanka Trump on Wednesday called for providing women better access to capital and ensuring better representation in high-value industries. Speaking at a session on the second day of Global Entrepreneurship Summit, she underlined the need for more progressive policies to address the stagnation which set in a decade ago in closing the gender gap. Describing technology as a greater driver of entrepreneurship, she said it was reducing barriers to start business and creating flexibility. She also noted that women dominate those sectors of the economy which are undervalued financially. The White House adviser listed out the steps being taken by the Trump administration to help close the gender gap in fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Another initiative encourages successful entrepreneurs to mentor young men and women.

New Twist In Kerala Jove Jihad Case: There is a new twist in Kerala's love jihad case. Hadiya Jehan’s father K M Ashokan on Wednesday said he will move a contempt plea in the Supreme Court against Sivaraj Homeopathy Medical College in Salem where his daughter is studying for its decision to allow her husband Shefin Jehan to meet her at the college. This comes after Hadiya said in the press meet that she spoke to her husband over phone after a gap of eight months and college authorities have allowed her to meet him in a couple of days. “The highest court of the country has sent her to the college to complete her education in a safe environment. If Jehan who has got an extremist link meets her it will compromise my daughter’s safety,” he said. “I don’t want my daughter to revive her relations with Jehan who has got good connections with extremist elements like Islamic State. My whole fight is to block an extremist’s entry into my family,” he said. G Kannan, dean of the college had said if her husband approaches the college through proper channel, the college will allow him to meet her.

Cooperative Societies Warned Not To Use Word 'Bank' In Names: Co-operative societies are being warned by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) against using the word 'bank' in their names as it violates the Banking Regulation Act. "It has come to the notice of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that some co-operative Societies are using the word "bank" in their names. This is a violation of Section 7 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949...," the central bank said. It further said that such societies have neither been issued any licence under the Act nor are they authorised by the RBI for doing banking business. The central bank said that it has also "come to the notice" that some co-operative societies are accepting deposits from public which tantamount to conducting banking business in violation of the provisions of the act.

US Aid To Pakistan Plunges To New Low Of $526 Million: Reflecting the strain in ties between the US and Pakistan, Washington’s civilian and military assistance for Islamabad has plummeted from an average of more than $2.2 billion a year during the period immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks to $526 million in 2017. Despite a sharp dip in relations following the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in 2011, US assistance increased over the next two years to a little more than $2.6 billion a year before falling rapidly. The US aid to Pakistan is set to fall further next year. According to figures collated by the Congressional Research Service, the total assistance in 2018 is expected to be $345 million, including $134 million in security-related assistance and $211 million in economic aid.


Modi’s India Has A Quiet Confidence That Is Markedly Different From Lofty Nehruvian Rhetoric: The real difference between Modi’s India and Nehru’s India lies in India acquiring domestic capacity and achieving a measure of economic growth that many countries find enviable. Today, the Indian economy is vibrant and relatively more open than at any time since Independence.

International Labour Organisation’s Omissions: Its report talks about ‘forced marriages’. Its methodology fails to delineate the concept, yielding questionable data. It is such reports one should read, not the one brought out by the ILO.

Overtaken By Terror: Another 26/11 anniversary has come and gone. We need to think about why terrorists appear to be out-thinking counter-terrorism machineries. The most worrying aspect of global terrorism is that individuals who are already on the CT machinery radar are seen committing carnage.

Telecom On The Rocks With A Twist Of IUC: The choice of the legacy telecom operators can be thought of as an “assurance game” in which either no one migrates or everyone does after a tipping point is reached. The episode of the reduction of interconnection charges indicates that Reliance Jio, the new kid on the block, continues to be very much in the driver’s seat.


So It Was Okay To Postpone Union Budget For UP Polls But Postponing Winter Session For Gujarat Is Unacceptable? An 11-member delegation of opposition parties had pleaded to the Election Commission in January that the Union budget be postponed until voting for elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, are over. How was delaying a session of the Parliament acceptable then, but is not so now?

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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Future of Indian politics and economy is closely linked to the politics and economy of Uttar Pradesh