Morning Brief: Modi Launches Major Immunisation Drive; IAF Ready For War At Short Notice: Dhanoa

Morning Brief: Modi Launches Major Immunisation Drive; IAF Ready For War At Short Notice: DhanoaPrime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech in Gandhinagar. (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images) 

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

Modi Launches Major Immunisation Drive: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) that aims to reach every child below two years of age and pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the government’s routine immunisation programme against preventable diseases. “The government has made immunisation a people’s and a social movement,” Modi said while launching IMI in Vadnagar, Gujarat. The special drive will focus on select districts and cities to ensure full immunisation to more than 90 per cent of children and pregnant women by December 2018. The target of at least 90 per cent coverage was to have been achieved by 2020. With a sharpened focus on high priority districts and urban areas, under IMI, four consecutive immunisation rounds will be conducted for seven days in 173 districts – 121 districts and 17 cities in 16 states and 52 districts in eight north eastern states – every month between October 2017 and January 2018.

President Kovind Launches Rs 100 Crore Clean Drinking Water Project: A Rs 100 crore project by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math was launched by President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday. It is aimed at providing clean drinking water to 10 million people in 5,000 villages across the country. Kovind inaugurated the Jivamritam filtration systems at the Math’s headquarters at Vallikkavu in Kollam district. According to the Math, each Jivamritam system is capable of addressing daily drinking-water needs of about 400 five-member families. It proposes to deploy all 5,000 filtration systems within a year. The President said such initiatives helped in building “a better society and a happier nation”.

Godhra Train Burning Case: Court May Pronounce Verdict Today: The 2002 Godhra train coach burning case is back in the limelight as the Gujarat High Court is likely to issue its verdict on a set of appeals challenging convictions and acquittals by a special SIT court. The special SIT court had on 1 March 2011 convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case. While 11 people were sentenced to death, 20 were given life in jail. Later, several appeals were filed in the court challenging the conviction, while the state government had questioned the acquittal of 63 people. Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express, in which 59 people, mostly kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya were travelling, was burnt on February 27, 2002 at the Godhra station, triggering riots in the state. The Nanavati Commission, appointed by the Gujarat government to probe the carnage, had concluded that the fire in the S-6 coach was not an accident, but it was set ablaze.

IAF Ready For War At Short Notice, Says Air Force Chief: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is prepared to fight a war at a short notice, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said on Sunday. Addressing IAF personnel on the Air Force Day, Dhanoa said the Air Force was fully geared up to face any security challenge to the country. He also said that the Air Force was acquiring multi-spectrum strategic capabilities and remained committed to building a “joint manship” with the Indian Army and the Navy. Dhanoa said security of all Air Force stations have been enhanced to combat any threat, including sub-conventional threats, after the terrorist attack on the IAF base station in Pathankot last year. Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed the air warriors and extended greetings on the occasion of 85th Air Force Day.

Simultaneous Polls: All Political Parties Need To Be On Board, Says ECI: Backing a move to conduct the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls simultaneously, the Election Commission of India (ECI) said that all the political parties have to agree with the proposal before such an exercise can be carried out. “The Election Commission has always been of the view that simultaneous elections will give enough time for incumbent government to formulate policies and implement programmes continuously for a longer time without interruptions caused by imposition of model code of conduct,” Election Commissioner O P Rawat said. He further said it would be logistically possible to hold the elections together if sufficient time is given to the Commission. The assembly elections for Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha are due in mid-2019, along with the next general polls.

Amit Shah’s Son To File Rs 100 Crore Suit Against The Wire: Soon after a story published by online news website The Wire alleged that a company run by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah’s son had allegedly posted a turnover which was 16,000 times that of previous year, Union Minister Piyush Goyal termed the allegations as “derogatory, defamatory, hollow and baseless”. Saying that there is “absolutely no substance whatsoever” in the story, Goyal claimed the online news portal was trying to damage the reputation of Amit Shah. “Mr Jay Shah, son of Amit shah, has decided to file criminal defamation suit against the author, editors and the owners of The Wire. They shall be prosecuted for criminal defamation and sued for an amount of Rs 100 crore in the Ahmedabad court,” he said. Opposition parties led by the Congress on Sunday demanded an investigation into the allegations.

Doklam Was Resolved Because India Is Now A Global Power: Rajnath Singh: Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Doklam standoff with China was resolved because India has become a global power in recent times. “India is no more a weak nation, but a strong country. You ought to know how India resolved the Doklam issue with China, especially when most people across the globe were anticipating an India-China conflict,” he said. “If India was a weak country, it could not have been in a position to resolve the Doklam issue with China.” The Indian Army and the China's People's Liberation Army had, on 28 August, decided to disengage their troops from Doklam plateau after months-long stand-off. Tensions rose between the two countries when China began constructing a road in the plateau at Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.

Saudi Aramco Seeks Higher Crude Sales In India: Saudi Aramco, the largest crude exporter of the world, is planning to expand its business in India and partner with local firms for this, the Oil Ministry said after the firm’s India office was inaugurated in Gurugram on Sunday. “Saudi Aramco through its subsidiary Aramco Asia India (AAI) established its formal business presence in India in 2016. AAI would now formally engage in crude oil and LPG marketing, engineering and technical services, and other business development activities,” the ministry said. Saudi Arabia is the second largest supplier of crude oil to India after Iraq and accounts for about 19 per cent of its crude oil imports and 29 per cent of LPG imports. India imported 39.5 million tonnes of crude oil from Saudi Arabia in 2016-17.

MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS

Indian Economy: From Policy Paralysis To Investment Paralysis: The attention to the state of the Indian economy is welcome, but reducing it to a political blame game is not. While one arose from inaction, the other is largely a fallout of not anticipating or reacting in time to address the disruptions arising from hitting the reset button on the economy.

No Need To Panic, No Time For Complacency: The Narendra Modi government has made admirable progress in fixing the plumbing of the Indian economy, even if it has had transitory impact on economic growth. It is true that GDP growth has been decelerating, but it is also true that the recent fluctuations are much smaller in amplitude than we have observed in earlier years.

Thinking Out Of The Box For Bank NPAs: In India, there is no active secondary market for NPAs enabling an exit from problem loans. Almost all PSBs require recapitalisation and the government cannot provide all the money. Sustainable solutions are needed.

India’s Great Leap Into Services: The emergence of e-commerce platforms is an example of how digital revolution can lower transaction costs, increase productivity as well as make it more inclusive. The digital revolution means it is possible for the services sector to deliver rapid growth and jobs more sustainably than the manufacturing sector.

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