Morning Brief: Big Blow To Extremism In Northeast; IIT Entrance Tests To Go Online; AIADMK Merger Today?

Morning
Brief: Big Blow To Extremism In Northeast; IIT Entrance Tests To Go Online; AIADMK
Merger Today?Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. (NARINDER NANU/AFP/GettyImages)

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

Northeast Extremism Down By 75 Per Cent, Says Rajnath Singh: Extremism in the Northeast has reduced by 75 per cent and “naxalism” by around 40 per cent over the past three years, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday. Praising the National Investigation Agency (NIA), he said its name triggers fear among those involved in terror funding. “If sources of terror funding are finished, terrorism can be defeated,” he said while addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Lucknow office and residential complex of the agency. Singh said that since its inception in 2009, NIA has resolved 95 per cent of the 165 cases it investigated and secured a conviction in 94 per cent cases. The Home Minister underlined the need for better coordination among different intelligence and investigation agencies in the states and the centre for combating anti-national elements.

More Powers for BRO To Build Roads Along China Border: Alarmed over inordinate delays in the construction of strategic roads along the India-China border, the Defence Ministry has delegated more administrative and financial powers to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for the speedy completion of the projects. The ministry said a chief engineer in BRO can now accord administrative approval for contracts of up to Rs 50 crore, the additional director general can approve projects worth up to Rs 75 crore and the director general can take decisions on projects worth up to Rs 100 crore. The decision is expected to reduce the delay running into several months for administrative approval of BRO projects and contracts. The move comes after the Comptroller and Auditor General took strong objection to the long delays by the BRO in constructing 61 strategically important roads, with a total length of 3,409km, under the India-China Border Roads project.

IIT Entrance Exams To Go Online: The joint entrance examination (JEE) for admission to 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will be conducted completely online from next year. The Joint Admission Board (JAB) of the IITs at its meeting in Chennai on Sunday approved a proposal to do away with the option of taking the JEE-Advance in pen-and-paper mode from next year. “The introduction of a fully computer-based test would not only help in faster and fair evaluation, but also check the possibility of leakage. The test will become entirely paperless,” one of the JAB members said. To ensure students do not face any problem in taking the test online, provision for three-day training will be made where they will be allowed to take mock tests and operate the system.

Countering China: India-Japan To Develop SEZs In Africa: In an attempt to counter the expanding Chinese footprints in Africa, India and Japan have finalised a blueprint for developing Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the continent. This comes after China set up its new military base in Djibouti which raised concerns in many world capitals including New Delhi and Tokyo. The first SEZ in which Indian companies are going to be a part of, will come up around Mombasa port in Kenya, which is being developed with Japanese assistance. Indian officials said New Delhi has been partnering with Japan for the development of African continent based on what two countries can do together for “economic prosperity and capacity building and development of the countries in the continent.”

New Push To Double Metro Network: In a major boost to urban transport, the Union government is to double the metro rail network over the next 18 months, adding new cities to the metro map. The biggest gainers would be cities in Bharatiya Janata Pary-ruled states, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Nagpur. Lucknow Metro would be the first off the block as it has received safety clearance and would be inaugurated within this month. These are part of nine cities that are set to get additional 313 km on metro rail connectivity by March 2019. "To speed up metro expansion in view of growing traffic and pollution, the central government has increased budgetary provision for metro projects to Rs 42,696 crore during 2015-18, marking an increase of 258 per cent over that of Rs 16,565 crore during 2012-15 period," a senior Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry official said.

AIADMK Merger Today? The warring factions of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu are reported to be coming together to announce a merger on Monday. While Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is likely to head the government, rebel leader O Panneerselvam may get the party chief’s post after unification. In addition, the new AIADMK is also planning to sideline jailed V K Sasikala officially by convening an office-bearers meeting soon for passing the resolution. The merger would also see a reshuffle in the Cabinet as well as in the party’s structure with the Panneerselvam camp expected to get some ministerial berths, including the deputy chief minister’s portfolio.

Bihar Flood Situation Worsens, Toll Hits 253: The flash floods, which have hit 1.26 crore population in 20 districts of north Bihar, claimed 51 more lives in the last 24 hours taking the toll to 253 on Sunday. The worst hit districts are Araria, Katihar, West Champaran and Sitamarhi from where maximum number of casualties has been reported. So far, the deluge in Araria has claimed 57 lives followed by 31 deaths in Sitamarhi and 29 in West Champaran. A total of 4.21 lakh people have been shifted to 1,358 relief camps in different parts of the state, said the Disaster Management Department. Twenty-eight National Disaster Response Force teams comprising 1,152 personnel with 118 boats are involved in rescue and relief operations, the department said.

Plot To Kill Sheikh Hasina: 10 Sentenced To Death: A court in Bangladesh has sentenced 10 people to death over a plot to kill Sheikh Hasina in 2000. Nine terrorists of a banned outfit were jailed for 20 years in connection with the plot. The convicts had hatched the plot to kill Hasina by planting two 76-kg bombs at an open ground in southwestern Gopalganj where she was scheduled to address a public rally. Security officials, however, detected the bomb ahead of the rally. Outlawed Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami Bangladesh chief Mufti Hannan, who was executed earlier this year in another case involving attempted assassination of the then Bangladeshi-origin British High Commissioner, was found to be the mastermind of the plot.

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SWARAJYA SPECIAL

The Death Of Hindi – Part 3: Imposing English As The Exclusive Medium Of Higher Education: The Nehruvian state channelised vast resources for exclusive English medium higher education while keeping the primary education system consistently underfunded. The whole system is rigged for the minuscule minority of people who can afford a private English medium education and whose families are bilingual.

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

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