Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
Modi’s ‘New Quit’ India Call: Describing August as the ‘month of revolution’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given 'quit India' call for communalism, casteism, corruption, terrorism, poverty and filth. During his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' radio programme, he called on people to join him with “utmost strength” in expelling these problems from the country to make “a new India” by 2022. “We must make 2017 our 'year of resolve'. In this month of August, we have to come together and resolve: filth – quit India; poverty – quit India; corruption – quit India; terrorism – quit India; casteism – quit India; communalism – quit India,” said Modi. He appealed to the people to work with the similar resolve as the people of the country showed for five years from the roll out of Quit India Movement by Mahatma Gandhi.
Last Day To File Income Tax Returns: A senior tax official has said that the last date for filing of income tax returns (ITRs) for the financial year 2016-17 will not be extended beyond the 31 July. “There are no plans to extend this deadline. The department has already received over 2 crore returns filed electronically. The department requests taxpayers to file their return in time,” the official said. The linking of Aadhaar number with the PAN (Permanent Account Number) of a taxpayer has also been made mandatory for filing of an ITR, beginning 1 July. The ITRs to be filed by 31 July pertain to 2016-17 fiscal or assessment year 2017-18.
RBI Likely To Cut Key Interest Rate: With retail inflation hitting record low levels, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to cut the benchmark lending rate by at least 0.25 per cent in its third bi-monthly monetary policy review on Wednesday, say experts and bankers. At the previous review, the monetary policy committee had kept the repo rate unchanged at 6.25 per cent but lowered its inflation forecast to 2-3.5 per cent for the first half of 2017-18. However, since then, inflation has continued to cool. “The expectation is of rate cut of a minimum 25 basis points as inflation has eased and also as industrial growth continues to remain weak,” Bank of Maharashtra managing director R P Marathe said.
Situation In Kashmir Not Conducive For Return, Say Pandits: Kashmiri Pandits are losing hope of returning to the Valley after militancy has again reared its ugly head with rising violence. Their hopes were rekindled after the formation of Peoples Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party government in March 2015 as the two parties promised "protecting and fostering ethnic and religious diversity by ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits with dignity". General Secretary of All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference T K Bhat said the situation is not ideal right now for our return to the valley as even the policemen are unsafe. “They are being killed and their weapons looted. Those who don't know anything about Kashmir are being consulted while we, the real stakeholders, are being ignored," he said.
Is The Snapdeal-Flipkart Deal Falling Apart? If sources are to be believed, the proposed sale of Snapdeal to Flipkart has been put on hold and may be called off as the founders and shareholders of the struggling online marketplace have not yet agreed on the terms of the deal. The deal now appears to be falling apart after six months of hard negotiations. Over the weekend, Snapdeal (run by Jasper Infotech) and Flipkart cancelled a key meeting that had been scheduled for Monday to continue negotiations over the deal, sources said. A SoftBank Group spokeswoman said it was premature to comment on the Snapdeal sale and SoftBank’s investment in Flipkart.
Pragati Maidan To Get Rs 1,677 Crore Makeover: Pragati Maidan in New Delhi is going to have a Rs 1,677 crore makeover. It will be redeveloped into a world-class integrated exhibition-cum-convention centre. The Environment Ministry has given the green approval to the proposed project with some riders after taking into account the recommendations of its expert panel. A letter granting the environment clearance was issued yesterday to the implementing agency India Trade Promotion Organisation. The project is likely to generate 250-300 employment opportunities during the construction phase.
New Plan For World-Class ‘Busports’ In 2,000 Cities: The Union government has plans to set up world-class bus terminals across the country. The Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said that his ministry is ready to offer viability gap funding to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore to its state counterparts to set up these terminals in as many as 2,000 cities and towns. “We have a Rs 1,000-crore funding plan to assist states in setting up of world class busports (large bus terminals). What I have in mind is around 2,000 such terminals over the next few years in the BOT model or can be in private-public partnerships where there will more need for viability gap funding. The Central fund can be used for this,” Gadkari said.
Putin Asks 755 US Diplomats To Leave Russia: In response to tough new American sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said 755 US diplomats must leave his country. On Thursday, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to toughen sanctions on Russia for allegedly meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and for its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Putin said that an upturn in Russia’s relations with Washington could not be expected “any time soon”. “We have waited long enough, hoping that the situation would perhaps change for the better,” he said. “But it seems that even if the situation is changing, it’s not for any time soon.” Iran and North Korea are also targeted in the sanctions bill.
MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS
From Plate To Plough: Everybody Loves A Good Crop: It is time that the Prime Minister makes Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana farmer-centric with effective implementation. It can pay rich dividends. The states need to pull up their socks, make farmers stakeholders, to ensure success of the programme.
At The Half-Way Mark: Swachh Bharat Mission – turning a large and populous country like India around is not an easy task. However, in less than three years we see that India is already course correcting and with the momentum building, the pace of change going forward will be much faster.
It Is Now Time For An RBI Rate Cut: The caution displayed by the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy committee regarding inflation has come under a lot of criticism. The claims that lower interest rates will kick-start the investment cycle are less tenable.
For A Greater Global Role, Take SDGs Seriously: India presented its first voluntary national report on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at the UN on 19 July. India’s inability to link its SDG efforts with its global ambitions is telling, especially when compared to China.
One Guru, One School At A Time; The Story Of Ekal Vidyalayas: With more than 50,000 schools at present, Ekal is a massive and unique organisation working in the villages of India. But what is the story behind it? Read this article to know more.
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