Morning Brief: India To Power Up All Households Before Republic Day; On The Back Foot In AgustaWestland Case, Congress Agrees To Debate Rafale Deal; And More

by Swarajya Staff - Jan 1, 2019 10:41 AM +05:30 IST
Morning Brief: India To Power Up All Households Before Republic Day; On The Back Foot In AgustaWestland Case, Congress Agrees To Debate Rafale Deal; And MoreVillagers are standing around a poll eagerly waiting for the flow of electricity in village Garanayarchhara (Indranil Bhoumik/Mint via Getty Images) 

Happy New Year, dear reader! Here’s your morning news brief for today.

India To Power Up All Households Before 26 January

India is likely to achieve the target of providing power connection to every household before the Republic Day, the Times of India has reported. Only 10.48 lakh households are left to be electrified in four states, namely Assam, Rajasthan, Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh. The Narendra Modi government has provided connections to over 23.9 million households across 25 states.

After missing the target of achieving complete household electrification by 31 December 2018, which had earlier been moved up by three months, the government has extended the deadline to 26 January. After achieving this, the Centre will focus on reliable uninterrupted supply by 31 March.

Congress Agrees To Debate Rafale Deal In Lok Sabha

Changing its stand, the Congress has agreed to debate the Rafale deal in Lok Sabha, The Indian Express has reported. The government was pushing for a debate on the deal after the Supreme Court gave it a clean chit. The Congress, which had refused to accept the court’s judgement, was demanding the a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the Rafale deal.

The change in Congress’ stand comes at a point when the party is under attack in the AgustaWestland scam case. This adds to the impression that Congress has been caught on the back foot. On 29 December, the Enforcement Directorate told a court in Delhi that Michel has taken the name of “Mrs Gandhi” and referred to “the son of Italian lady” who is going to be the “next Prime Minister of India” during interrogation, which might refer to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Government Expands National Security Advisory Board

The government has decided to induct three new members to the National Security Advisory Board, The Print has reported. According to the portal, former Intelligence Bureau chief Asif Ibrahim and former diplomat Amar Sinha will be the new members of the body, which may also induct a former Research and Analysis Wing officer. India’s former ambassador to Russia P S Raghavan, who is currently the convener of the body, will be appointed as its chairman.

New members bring special expertise. Sinha, a former Indian Foreign Service officer, is an expert on Afghanistan, where he served as envoy. Ibrahim is an expert on the Middle East, the region he engaged with as Prime Minister’s special envoy on ‘Countering Terrorism and Extremism’.

Core Sectors’ Output Growth At 16-Month Low In November

Eight core industries —coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity— grew at 3.5 per cent in November, their slowest pace in 16 months, official data released yesterday has revealed. In November last year, the eight core sectors grew at 6.9 per cent. The Index of Industrial Production number may be affected as these segments account for about 41 per cent to the total factory output.

Growth in natural gas, refinery products, steel, and cement sectors slowed to 0.5 per cent, 2.3 per cent, 6 per cent, and 8.8 per cent in November, respectively. Coal and electricity output, however, grew by 3.7 per cent and 5.4 per cent.

Government Infuses Rs 10,882 Crore Capital In Four PSU Banks

The Centre has infused Rs 10,882 crore in four public sector banks, namely UCO Bank, Syndicate Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and the Central Bank of India. WhileUCO Bank received Rs 3,074 crore, Bank of Maharashtra got Rs 4,498 crore, Syndicate Bank Rs 1,632 crore and Central Bank of India Rs 1,678 crore. This move is a part of Rs 28,615 crore capital infusion to be done in about half a dozen public sector lenders.

Earlier, the government had announced the infusion of Rs 10,086 crore in Bank of India, Rs 5,500 crore in Oriental Bank of Commerce and Rs 2,159 in United Bank of India. Rs 28,615 crore into were pumped into seven public sector banks through recapitalisation bonds.

From Swarajya

Thought For 2019: Ideology Is A Trap, Whether You’re Left, Right Or Centre: Whether you think you are Left, Right or Centre on any issue, in 2019 you should learn to think beyond ideology. Ideology is a trap.

The Best Of Swarajya From 2018: 12 of our articles spanning across politics, policy and culture, which you should read again.

Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu Scheme: A ‘Quick-Fix’ Economic Model That Is Here To Stay: Rythu Bandhu, contrary to popular belief, may destroy agriculture efficiency. It is a  quick-fix measure, implemented in haste and marketed well.

Modi’s Rejection Of Farm Loan Waivers Should Be The Start Of A New Realism: Most reformist ideas are won or lost not in the way they are conceived by the bureaucracy, but in the way politicians explain the rationale to the voters. Reform by stealth is no longer a viable proposition in India.

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

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