Current Affairs

Morning Brief: Mumbai Trans Harbour Link To Be Ready By 2022; IT Raids On Hospitals Run By Yogendra Yadav’s Kin; SC On The Verge Of Decriminalising Homosexuality

French President Nicolas Sarkozys convoy pass through Bandra-Worli Sea Link. (Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

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

Mumbai Trans Harbour Link To Be Ready By 2022

The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) will be ready by 2022, Ryoji Noda, Consul-General of Japan in Mumbai, has said. Work on the project, a 22-km-long sea-link connecting Mumbai with its satellite city Navi Mumbai, got off to a start on 25 April with the contractor conducting soil testing in the Nhava Sheva creek. The sea-link, on the drawing board since the 1970s, includes a 16.5 km long six-lane bridge over the creek and viaducts totaling 5.5 km on either side.

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The link will provide direct access to Navi Mumbai, Nhava Sheva Port, Mumbai-Goa Highway, Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the Navi Mumbai International Airport. The project’s cost has jumped from Rs 4,500 crore in 2005 to Rs 9,360 crore in 2013 and Rs 11,000 crore in 2014 estimates. Now, it is pegged at Rs 17, 800 crore. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency is financing 85 per cent of the project. India is the largest beneficiary of Japan’s foreign assistance.

IT Raids On Hospitals Run By Yogendra Yadav’s Kin

The Income Tax (I-T) department on Wednesday said it has conducted raids at “three premises” in Haryana’s Rewari belonging to the family of Swaraj India founder Yogendra Yadavand and found Rs 20 lakh in “unaccounted cash”. The department, reports said, also found evidence of purchase of jewellery from Punjab National Bank scam accused Nirav Modi, payments for which were allegedly made partly in cash. Two hospitals, run by his sisters, were also searched.

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In a series of tweets just minutes after the raid, Yadav said this was an attempt at intimidating him and his family. He claimed that he was being targeted by the “Modi regime” for launching an agitation for farmers. However, one of his sisters said that the I-T department was merely doing its job.

SC On The Verge Of Decriminalising Homosexuality

After the Modi government decided not to defend Section 377 and left the decision on the 150-year-old law on the “wisdom of the court”, the Supreme Court indicated that it may soon decriminalise homosexuality. According to reports, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said that the court intends to take the view that “two consenting adults even if involved in ‘unnatural sex’ will not be liable for criminal action or prosecution”. The apex court is hearing petitions challenging its earlier decision on the issue and demanding decriminalisation.

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The apex court had in 2013 restored the criminality of the sexual relationship between persons of the same sex. It was decriminalised by the Delhi High Court in 2009. In 2016, a bench led by then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur indicated that the question required a possible back-to-roots, in-depth hearing. Petitions challenging Section 377 got a big boost when the Supreme Court upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right intrinsic to life and liberty.

India Deports Former Bangladesh PM's Legal Consultant

India has deported the Legal Consultant of three-time Bangladesh Prime Minister and leader of Bangladesh National Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia over inappropriate visa, Times of India has reported. Alex Carlile, a British national, had arrived in New Delhi on 11 July. According to reports in Bangladeshi media, he had plans to hold a press conference over Zia’s jail sentence and Zia Orphanage corruption case along with members of BNP at Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia in Delhi. Carlile, a member of British House of Lords, was denied entry in Bangladesh.

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Zia was jailed for five years in February after being found guilty in the corruption case. Zia’s son, Tarique Rahman, was also awarded a ten-year-sentence. Earlier, the BNP had accused India of playing a role in a ‘false case’ against Zia.

Indian Railways To Launch Shri Ramayana Express

To retrace Lord Rama’s epic journey, the Indian Railways is set to launch a special tourist train which will visit places associated with Hindu epic Ramayana. The Ramayana Express, likely to be launched this November, will start from New Delhi and travel to Ayodhya and Rameshwaram. It will depart from Safdarjung Railway station in New Delhi on 14 November and take 16 days to complete its journey. It will stop in Ayodhya, Nandigram, Sitamarhi, Janakpur, Varanasi, Prayag, Shringaverpur, Chitrakoot, Hampi, Nasik and Rameshwaram.

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The train will have 800 seats and the entire trip, being managed by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, will cost Rs 15,120 per person. Apart from providing meals and accommodation, the Indian Railways will also make sight-seeing arrangements. The tour will also include destinations in Sri Lanka, for which the tourists will have to board a flight from Chennai.

Telecom Commission Approves Net Neutrality

On Wednesday, the Telecom Commission, the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecommunications, approved net neutrality. With this move, the internet will remain open to everybody in the country. With net neutrality rules in place, service providers will have to treat all data on the Internet equally, and will not be able to charge differently by user, content, site, platform, or application. The recommendations approved on Wednesday were made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India around eight months ago.

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Apart from net neutrality rules, the commission also approved the new telecom policy. The new policy is reportedly aimed at promoting investments, ease of doing business, and emerging technologies like 5G.

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SWARAJYA SPECIAL

Time For Government To Do LIC A Favour; It Can List The Company, Without Disinvesting: Government must list LIC, but not disinvest for now. It should allow LIC to raise the capital it needs to remain competitive, profitable.

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