Morning Brief: Interim Budget May Go Beyond Vote-On-Account, Hints Jaitley; Karnataka ‘Drama’ Not Over As Three Congress MLAs Still Elusive; And More

by Swarajya Staff - Jan 18, 2019 09:44 AM +05:30 IST
Morning Brief: Interim Budget May Go Beyond Vote-On-Account, Hints Jaitley; Karnataka ‘Drama’ Not Over As Three Congress MLAs Still Elusive; And MorePrime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance inister Arun Jaitley. (Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times via Getty Images) 

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

Interim Budget May Go Beyond Vote-On-Account, Hints Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has hinted that the 2019 interim budget, which is likely to be presented on 1st February, will not be limited to a vote-on-account. Addressing a gathering at an award function organised by a TV channel through video link, the finance minister, who is in the United States for treatment, said that the government may have to provide solutions for “some of the challenges”.

He hinted that the government may bring a relief package for the farm sector, Mint reported. According to recent media reports, the Modi government is considering three options for a relief package to help farmers at a cost of Rs 3 lakh crore. These include the option of direct transfer to bank accounts and providing compensation to those who sold produce below government prices.

Karnataka: Three Congress MLAs Still Elusive

The ongoing tussle for power in Karnataka is far from over as three Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from the Congress are still elusive, the Times of India has reported. The Congress is holding a legislature party meeting today to put up a show of strength. The seven-month-old H D Kumaraswamy government is likely to remain unstable if at least ten MLAs of the Congress fail to turn up.

Congress MLAs Ramesh Jarakiholi, Mahesh Kumatalli and Umesh Jadhav are reportedly camping in Mumbai. Two independents have quit the government. Two disgruntled Congress MLAs, Shivaram Hebbar and J N Ganesh, have returned. In the 224-member assembly, the Congress-JD(S) have the official support of 117 MLAs. The BJP has 104 MLAs. There are two Independents and a BSP MLA.

Also Read: Stability Of Karnataka Government Under Doubt: Another Day In Office For Kumaraswamy

Four Pakistani Soldiers Dead In Indian Retaliation To Border Attacks

At least four Pakistani soldiers were killed in the Indian Army’s retaliation to ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, Hindustan Times has reported. According to the daily’s report, this retaliation came just days after an Indian Army officer and a soldier patrolling the LoC were killed in targeted explosions, and a Border Security Force officer was killed by Pakistani snipers in Jammu.

According to another account, five Pakistani soldiers were killed in India’s retaliatory action along the LoC. Northern Army commander Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh did not confirm or deny when asked if the retaliation had led to deaths of Pakistani soldiers. He said the Indian forces were “giving a befitting reply to every single ceasefire violation by the neighbouring country”.

Government Orders Moving Of ITBP Command To Leh

The Modi government has ordered the shifting of a critical command centre of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) from its current base in Chandigarh to Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, the Times of India has reported. The command has been asked to move 'lock, stock, and barrel' by March-end and is likely to be operationalised at the new location from 1 April. The 14 Corps of the Indian Army is also based in Leh.

The ITBP, a 90,000-strong force, is responsible for guarding the 3,488-km long Sino-India border in peace times. The command’s relocation to Leh will allow better coordination with the Army. The Army has been demanding operational control over ITBP. The government has rejected this proposal.

Special Director Rakesh Asthana Moved Out Of CBI

Just days after the ouster of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma from his post by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led panel, special director Rakesh Asthana has also been moved out of the agency, The term of three other senior officers of the probe agency has also been curtailed.

The three-member panel led by the Prime Minister is likely to meet on 24 January to select a replacement for ousted chief Verma. The other two members of the panel are Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. According to reports, the government wanted to hold the meeting on 21 January and Kharge wanted it on 24 or 25 January.

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