Current Affairs

Morning Brief: NDA May Introduce Women’s Reservation Bill; Kalvari Delivered To Navy; Zardari Involved In Bhutto Killing: Musharraf

The Indian Parliament.

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

NDA May Introduce Women’s Reservation Bill: The Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is likely to introduce the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha which seeks to reserve one-third of seats in the lower house and state assemblies for women. A senior BJP leader said the government is brainstorming over the bill and the top echelons of the government are discussing if the bill will be brought-in in its original form or if there should be some changes. When asked if the bill will be introduced in the Winter Session, the leader said, “It may be introduced. But a final call has not been taken yet.” The bill was first introduced by the United Front government in 1996 and eventually was passed in the Upper House by the United Progressive Alliance government in 2010. Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Modi, urging him to pass the bill in the Lok Sabha by taking advantage of his party’s majority in the House.

India To Take Up 116 High-Impact Afghan Projects: Weeks after US President Donald Trump sought India’s help in the economic development of Afghanistan, India has announced taking up 116 “high impact community developmental projects” in 31 provinces of the war-torn country. “India and Afghanistan agreed to take up 116 high impact community development projects to be implemented in 31 provinces of Afghanistan,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said after a decision in this regard was taken during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. “Over and above these high impact projects, India has also offered assistance for six new projects under granting aid assistance from India. One of them is low-cost housing for returning Afghan refugees, road connectivity, national park and economic development,” he said.

First Scorpene Submarine INS Kalvari Delivered To Indian Navy: In a big boost for the Make-in-India programme, first of the six Scorpene-class submarines, being built in India as part of technology transfer from France, was delivered to the Indian Navy on Thursday. Named after the dreaded deep sea predator Tiger Shark, the INS Kalvari is the first indigenously built submarine in 22 years. A stealth boat, it will act as a force multiplier for the Navy by launching massive attacks through precision guided weapons. It has a range of 12,000 km, allowing for a wide area of operation. The submarine will soon be commissioned into the Indian Navy. Similarly, other Scorpene class submarines Khanderi and Karanj are undergoing trials and development.

Speeding Up Railways Electrification Drive: Union Minister Piyush Goyal has said that the Indian Railways is looking at ways to speed up the electrification process. “We are giving a relook to the ways of speeding up the electrification process of rail lines across the country,” he said. The move would help in cutting down the diesel expenses for Indian Railways, which is about Rs 16,000 crore and improving the operating ratio of Indian Railways, the minister said. “We can do lot of savings in that,” he said, adding that the cost on account of power is quite less. On a question that in terms of investments, lot of fund was tied up from Life Insurance Corporation he said: “You will see large drawdowns in the next few days”. Goyal, who also holds the coal portfolio, said that there is a continuous progress in the sector. “Soon we want to start commercial mining,” he said.

India-Russia To Hold Bilateral Tri-Service Exercise: In a first, India and Russia will hold their first bilateral tri-service exercise in October this year. The exercise called Indra is India’s way of balancing strategic relations with Russia and the US to send a message to China. It will focus on counter-terrorism tactics with the involvement of mechanised forces such as tanks and infantry combat vehicles, artillery guns, Indian Air Force transport planes and naval anti-submarine ships and special force personnel. The very decision to have Russia as a partner for the first ever trilateral exercise reflects confidence in defence partnership evolved over five decades, said an expert. A joint task force staff will be set up and consist of officers from the Indian and Russian parties for command and control of the troops during tactical manoeuvres.

Dawood Ibrahim In Pakistan, Confirms Brother Iqbal Kaskar: Underworld don-turned-global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim is living in Pakistan, his brother, Iqbal Kaskar, has told Thane police. Iqbal even provided his interrogators four addresses of the fugitive in Karachi, police sources close to the case said. Kaskar, who is on an eight-day police custody, told the police that Dawood has changed his residence four times in Pakistan since Narendra Modi government came into power. Kaskar, 60, the only one of Dawood's brothers to be based in Mumbai now, and two of his aides were arrested on 18 September by the Thane police's anti-extortion cell, which is investigating an extortion racket that allegedly runs in nexus with some local politicians. Pakistan consistently denies that the global terrorist is holed up there. Kaskar's claim backs up the dossier India has handed to Pakistan, listing over nine addresses of Dawood in Karachi and other cities.

Zardari Involved In Assassination Of Benazir Bhutto, Claims Musharraf: Three weeks after an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan declared former president Pervez Musharraf a fugitive in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, the ex-dictator accused Pakistan People’s Party leader Asif Ali Zardari of being involved in the assassination of both his wife Benazir Bhutto and her brother Murtaza Bhutto. “The one responsible for all miseries of the Bhutto family as well as the assassination of Benazir and Murtaza Bhutto is Zardari,” Musharraf said, addressing the three Bhutto-Zardari children in the video message. “Zardari did nothing to investigate the murders of Benazir and Murtaza Bhutto as he enjoyed his stay in the presidency for five years.” He added: “Why would Zardari investigate Bhutto’s murder when he himself carried out the assassination?”

New US Sanctions On North Korea: US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he had signed an executive order that would allow the United States to ramp up sanctions on North Korean firms. “Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind,” he said and added that the new executive order gives more powers to authorities to target individual companies, financial institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea. Tensions have risen as Pyongyang has resisted international pressure and the rhetoric between Trump and Kim Jong Un has also escalated. The US president on Tuesday called him a ‘rocket man’ on a suicide mission and Kim described Trump as “mentally deranged”. Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the US in response to Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” the North in his first speech to the United Nations on Tuesday.

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

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