Morning Brief: Indian Firm Takes Over Operations Of Iran’s Chabahar Port; Modi To Inaugurate India’s Longest Rail-Road Bridge Today; And More

by Swarajya Staff - Dec 25, 2018 04:20 AM
Morning Brief: Indian Firm Takes Over Operations Of Iran’s Chabahar Port; Modi To Inaugurate India’s Longest Rail-Road Bridge Today; And MoreThe Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar (Islamic Republic News Agency)

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

Indian Firm Takes Over Operations Of Chabahar Port In Iran

On Monday, India Ports Global took over the operations of the Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar on the southeastern coast of Iran, being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan, the Ministry of External Affairs has said. The company opened its office at the site following a trilateral meeting between the three countries during which they agreed on the routes for trade and transit corridors. New Delhi, Tehran and Kabul have also agreed to finalise a protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs, and consular matters.

This development comes some 15 years after India and Iran first formally agreed to develop the port in 2003, during the visit by then Iranian president Mohammed Khatami to New Delhi. The port is likely to become the most important transit route for India to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Also Read: What Is The Future Of India’s Chabahar Venture?

Prime Minister Modi To Inaugurate India's Longest Rail-Road Bridge

Nearly 16 years after its construction began under the National Democratic Alliance government led by late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the longest rail-road bridge in India is set to be thrown open to traffic by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. The 4.94 km rail-road bridge, built at a cost of around Rs 6,000 crore by the Indian Railways, will reduce the road distance from Dibrugarh to Itanagar by 150 km and the railway travel distance between these two points will shorten by 705 km. It has two railway lines on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the upper deck.

The bridge was a part of the 1985 Assam Accord and was sanctioned in 1997-98. While the work on the had started in 2002, its foundation had been laid by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gouda in 1997. The inauguration ceremony of the bridge coincides with the 94th birth anniversary of Vajpayee, who passed away in August this year.

Bombay HC Says Bhima Koregaon Violence A Deep-Rooted Conspiracy

In an observation which has come as a relief for the Pune Police, the Bombay High Court on Monday said that the Bhima Koregaon violence, in which multiple ‘urban naxals’ are being investigated, was a "deep-rooted" conspiracy which had "extremely serious repercussions", India Today has reported. According to reports, it made this observation while dismissing a petition filed by one of the ‘activists’ accused in the case, seeking to quash an FIR against him.

Reports said the Bombay HC bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice S V Kotwal welcomed the fact that material evidence was produced by the police in a sealed envelope. “We are of the opinion that this is not a case where there is no incriminating material against the Petitioner. It is also not possible to record a finding that implicating the Petitioner as one of accused is a malafide exercise of powers on the part of Investigating Agency,” the court said.

Looking At Single Standard Rate Between 12 And 18 Per Cent: Jaitley:

When Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue increases significantly and stabilises, India will move towards a single standard rate at a mid-point of the two standard rates of 12 per cent and 18 per cent, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday in a note on Facebook titled ‘Eighteen Months of GST’. He said future reforms of the GST will also include the complete rationalisation of the topmost 28 per cent slab such that it will include only luxury and sin goods. The country should eventually have a GST which will have only slabs of zero per cent, 5 per cent and standard rate with luxury and sin goods as an exception,” the minister explained.

At present, of the total 1,216 commodities under GST, around 183 are taxed at zero per cent, 308 at 5 per cent, 178 at 12 per cent and 517 at 18 per cent. The next priority, the Finance Minister said, will be to lower the tax rate on cement which is currently taxed at the peak 28 per cent.

Oil Prices Plunge To 18 Months Low

Due fears of a global economic slowdown amid the ongoing trade war between the US and China, oil prices plunged to an 18 month low on Monday, The Wall Street Journal has reported. Reports said the price of oil has already fallen by more than 30 per cent so far this quarter and is at its lowest since the third quarter of 2017. On Monday, US crude settled at $42.53 a barrel, down $3.06, or 6.7 per cent. Brent crude plunged $3.35, or 6.2 per cent, at $50.47 a barrel ahead of the Christmas holiday.

OPEC, Russia and nine more oil producers had agreed to reduce their combined oil output by 1.2 million barrels daily, with OPEC’s share at 800,000 barrel per day. The output cut is likely to be extended, reports suggest.

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

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