Morning Brief: Modi Mantra For Global Transformation; Crackdown on Shell Companies; End Of American Dream?

Morning
Brief: Modi Mantra For Global Transformation; Crackdown on Shell Companies; End
Of American Dream?Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech during the BRICS Summit in Xiamen. (KENZABURO FUKUHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

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

Modi’s 10 Commitments For Global Transformation: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suggested that the BRICS nations make 10 commitments to play a more effective role in global transformation. He was speaking at the Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries as part of the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen. He said that India's development agenda was based on the notion of sabka saath sabka vikaas (collective effort, inclusive growth). He said that BRICS, which represents almost half of the humanity, can achieve global transformation with a proactive approach, policies and action based on 10 "noble commitments". The commitments include creating a safer world, creating a greener world, creating an enabled world, creating an inclusive world, creating a digital world, creating a skilled world, creating a healthier world, creating an equitable world, creating a connected world and creating a harmonious world.

New Crackdown On Shell Companies: The Union government said on Tuesday that names of more than 2.09 lakh firms have been struck off from register of companies for failing to comply with regulatory requirements, and action has been initiated to restrict operations of their bank accounts. Continuing its crackdown on shell companies, which are allegedly used as conduits for illicit fund flows and tax evasion, the government said the directors of deregistered firms would not be able to operate the bank accounts till these entities are legally restored. The companies have been removed from the records of the Registrar of Companies (RoC) under section 248 of the Companies Act. The Department of Financial Services has, through the Indian Banks Association, advised all banks that they should take immediate steps to put restrictions on bank accounts of such struck-off companies.

Xi Jinping Wants India Ties On 'Right Track': China wants to put its relationship with India on the “right track”, President Xi Jinping told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, as the two countries sought to mend ties damaged by recent tense Doklam border standoff. “China is willing to work with India ... to increase political trust, advance mutually beneficial cooperation and promote the further development of China-India relations along the correct path,” Jinping said. According to ANI, Xi also told Modi that Beijing is prepared to work with Delhi "to seek guidance from Panchsheel", or the five principles of co-existence. In this first bilateral meet between Modi and Jinping since the uneasy resolution of the 73-day Doklam standoff, the Chinese President’s statements appeared to be conciliatory. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the ongoing BRICS meeting in Xiamen, China.

New NITI Aayog Strategy For National Nutrition Mission: The government’s premier policy think-tank NITI Aayog on Tuesday came out with the national nutrition strategy, seeking to put nutrition at the forefront of the narrative of the national development agenda. It aims at ensuring every child, adolescent girl and woman attains optimal nutritional status by 2022. According to the strategy document, the Integrated Child Development Services Mission would be expanded to form a national nutrition mission along the lines of National Health Mission under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The document lays the roadmap for targeted action to address India’s nutritional needs, and the Aayog has been tasked with monitoring the governance of the strategy, which envisages a framework that will focus on improvement in health, food, drinking water, sanitation, income and livelihoods.

Agricultural Exports Policy On Way: The Union government will soon bring out a policy to facilitate Indian farm products access to global markets. Suresh Prabhu, who took charge as the Commerce and Industry Minister on Monday, said that his ministry will work on developing the global supply chain for the agriculture sector. “If the farmers produce something, they should get an access to global market so that they are exposed to better prices. To set that agenda into motion, we will put a good policy framework in place very soon,” he said. Addressing an agriculture summit, the minister said, “We have the right to have access to global markets for our farm produce by removing all trade restrictive practices.” The Narendra Modi-led government aims to double farmers' income by the year 2022.

Aviation Watchdog May Ground 130 Air India Pilots, 430 Crew Members: More than 130 pilots and 430 crew members of debt-ridden state-run carrier Air India may be grounded by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA for allegedly skipping the mandatory pre- and post-flight alcohol test. As part of the DGCA’s safety regulations, all pilots and cabin crew must undergo breath analyser test before and after flights. According to sources, aviation regulator DGCA has already served an ultimatum to the Air India management over the alleged safety violations by the airline’s crew members ahead of its enforcement action. Since the grounding of such a large number of crew members could cripple the airline’s narrow body operations, the DGCA is likely to enforce its action in a phased manner, said sources.

Singh-Adityanath Flag Off Lucknow Metro: People in Lucknow will finally be able to ride the metro from today (Wednesday) after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath jointly flagged off its commercial run on Tuesday. The 8.5 kilometre priority corridor from Transport Nagar to Charbagh will be operational from 6 am to 10 pm daily. Dedicating the project to former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Rajnath Singh, who represents Lucknow in Lok Sabha, said the metro rail has opened the doors to infrastructure development in the city. Adityanath announced that instead of setting up separate metro rail corporations to execute projects in different parts of the state, the government has decided to set up a UP Metro Rail Corporation. The Chief Minister also invited ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan to work with the corporation as principal adviser. Sreedharan is currently principal adviser to Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation.

End Of American Dream For 8,000 Indian-Americans? More than 8,000 Indian Americans are among an approximately 800,000 people facing deportation after the Donald Trump administration announced on Tuesday it was rescinding a Barack Obama administration regulation that allowed them a renewable two-year permit to study and work in America. Killing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a programme launched by president Obama, was a Trump campaign pledge. But under pressure from US corporations, Trump made a minor concession in lobbing the ball to Congress, asking it to legislate the matter while deferring action for six months. The Department of Homeland Security said in a separate announcement it would no longer accept new applications under DACA, which has provided two-year renewable work permits to Dreamers.

MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS

Testing Times For Public Sector Banks’ Leadership: The government organised a couple of ‘Gyan Sangams’ in 2015 and 2016 to brainstorm various issues with the top leadership of public sector banks. Their business is undergoing fundamental changes – and that means a slew of new challenges to add to existing ones.

Why Is The Economy Slowing Down? The severe cuts in financing of agricultural programmes, rural development, education, nutrition and health also meant that the rural economy continued to suffer from lack of demand and neglect from the government.

Drones To The Rescue: India’s drone regulations need an overhaul as the current policy seems to have been specifically designed to stifle the use of this technology.

The Future Of The Indian Economy: One Bull And Three Bear Scenarios: Government policies, such as the GST, are admirable but have the potential to slow down the Economy for a few years until businesses are forced to learn the new rules of the game. Will the Indian Economy weather the setbacks due to GST and demonetisation or low GDP growth rates be the new normal?

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

Raghuram Rajan Did What He Did, And The Modi Govt Did What It Had To: No central bank governor, anywhere in the world, talks in a way that politically embarrasses the government that appoints him or her. Given Rajan’s politically insensitive references, the Modi government was right to let him go.

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

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