Current Affairs

Morning Brief: Israel’s PM Netanyahu May Visit India Weeks Before Elections In Both Countries; After MP, Congress-Ruled Chhattisgarh Suspends Pension To Emergency Victims; And More

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Israel’s PM May Visit India Before Elections In Both Countries

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to visit India in February or March this year, Haaretz reported on Tuesday (29 January). This would be his second visit to the country. Netanyahu had visited India in January 2018 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Israel in 2017, becoming the first Indian head of government to tour the Jewish nation. The visit will come just weeks before both the leaders face crucial elections in their respective countries.

This development comes just days after Israel's National Security Adviser (NSA) Meir Ben-Shabbath visited New Delhi and met NSA Ajit Doval. Modi and Netanyahu spoke over the phone during his visit. Netanyahu “is trying to arrange another visit to India, scheduled for the second week of February.”

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After MP, Chhattisgarh Suspends Pension Of Victims Of Emergency

Taking a cue from the Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh, which had suspended the pension to the victims of emergency just weeks after taking over, the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in Chhattisgarh has issued a circular saying no MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) pensions will be issued before the beneficiaries are physically verified, The Indian Express has reported. The Indira Gandhi-led Congress government had used MISA between 1975 and 1977 to arrest those raising voice against her and the emergency.

In Madhya Pradesh, where the pension costs the government Rs 68 crore annually, critics say disbursement has been stoped out of malice. Interestingly, the Chief Minister of the state, Kamal Nath, was part of Sanjay Gandhi’s inner circle during thr emergency. The Madhya Pradesh High Court served a notice to the state government on 22 January on this issue.

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Indian Economy Likely To Grow At 7.4 Per Cent This Fiscal Year

India is likely to grow at 7.4 per cent in the current fiscal year, 7.6 per cent in 2019-20 and 7.4 per cent in 2020-21, United Nations' World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report said. Robust private consumption and a expansionary fiscal stance aided growth, it adds. The International Monetary Fund says India will grow at 7.5 per cent in 2019 and 7.7 per cent in 2020.

Director of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Nagesh Kumar, said while launching the report that a revival of private investment could help push India’s growth rate to 8 per cent. He added that political uncertainty, which will have an impact on the pace of reforms, may affect the country’s high growth momentum in the next few years.

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Pakistan Foreign Minister Calls Up Kashmiri Separatist Leader

All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is a separatist leader, received a call from Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday (29 December), reports said. The two discussed “the efforts of the government of Pakistan to highlight the gross rights violations” in what they referred to as “Indian occupied” Jammu and Kashmir.

This is the first time that the government of Imran Khan, who seized power in a rigged election, has reached out to the Kashmiri separatists. India has opposed meetings between Pakistani leaders and the Hurriyat and, in the past, cancelled scheduled talks at the level of Foreign Secretary and Foreign Minister with Islamabad over this issue. India has reacted strongly to the move, saying it reflects the “duplicity” of the Pakistani leadership.

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Government To SC: Return Undisputed Ayodhya Land To Original Owners

The Modi government has moved the Supreme Court seeking permission the return the undisputed land around the disputed site in Ayodhya, acquired in the past, to its original owners, the Times of India has reported. The land was owned by Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, the trust overseeing the Ram temple plan.

The land was acquired in January 1993 through the ‘Acquisition of Certain Areas at Ayodhya Ordinance’ brought by the then government. It was later replaced with an Act of the same nomenclature. "We want to give the land back to the Nyas, they want to build a temple there; that land has to be given back to them," said Human Resource Development minister Prakash Javadekar said.

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