Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
Unorganised Sector Wage Bill Tabled: The Union government on Thursday introduced The Code on Wages Bill in Lok Sabha which seeks to set a “universal minimum wage”. More than 40 crore unorganised sector workers are expected to benefit. The bill to consolidate and amend the laws relating to wages and bonus was introduced in the house by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. “It is for simplification, rationalisation and making it less cumbersome. No way workers’ right is being infringed… It is going to bring in a historical change in the wages for workers and universal minimum wages will be implemented for the first time in India,” Dattatreya said.
National Sports University On Way: A bill to set up a national sports university in Manipur was introduced by the government in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The National Sports University Bill, 2017, aims to establish and incorporate a National Sports University in Thoubal district to promote sports education and science, sports technology and coaching. The specialised university will be the first-of-its-kind in the country and adopt best international practices. The two Australian universities will help India develop curriculum, research faculties, laboratories and other facilities at the proposed university.
Pollution Control Certificate Must For Renewal Of Vehicle Insurance: In an effort to cut pollution, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed that no annual insurance renewal would be allowed without a valid pollution under control (PUC) certificate for all types of automobiles. A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta ordered the insurance companies to refuse renewal requests for vehicles without pollution certificates. The court accepted the recommendations of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority to ensure mandatory linking of PUC certificate with the issuance of annual vehicle insurance. Centre for Science and Environment director general Sunita Narain said this is a development with far-reaching consequences for the battle to stop air pollution in the country.
CBSE Pulled Up Over NEET Question Papers: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) was reprimanded by the Supreme Court for setting different question papers for students taking the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) in regional languages. The top court said there should be a common paper for all aspirants. A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra also asked the education board to set out steps in its affidavit to carry out the NEET – common entrance test for admission into medical and dental courses – in the future while ensuring that the difficulty level in the questions is maintained. “The main paper can be in English and questions can be translated into regional languages,” the bench told the CBSE lawyer and additional solicitor general, Maninder Singh.
Is Congress Finally Waking Up To Reality? Senior Congress leaders are finally waking up to the reality. After Jairam Ramesh took a stand that the Congress was in an “existential crisis”, Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Thursday the grand old party has faced "serious setbacks" and it needs to look at that reality. "Congressmen should look at the reality. We have only 44 MPs and faced serious setbacks. What’s more important is the expression Jairam Ramesh used. He said Congress needs new ideas new thoughts, new methods of working, new ways," Aiyar said. Aiyar added that Ramesh's statement cannot be ignored since he is a “true Congressman”.
SoftBank Fund Invests In Flipkart, Reserves Hit $4 billion: In a major boost to its investment portfolio, e-commerce giant Flipkart on Thursday said it has received investment from SoftBank Vision Fund becoming one of the largest shareholders in the company. With the fresh round of funding Flipkart now has cash reserves of more than $4 billion in its battle against arch-rival Amazon India. "The investment is part of the previously announced financing round, where Flipkart had raised capital from three of the world's premier technology companies – Tencent, eBay and Microsoft," Flipkart said. The deal comes 10 days after SoftBank's attempts to forge a deal between Flipkart and its smaller rival Snapdeal fell apart following months of negotiations.
Taj Mahal Or Tejo Mahalaya? Is Taj Mahal a mausoleum built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan or a Shiva temple gifted to him by a Rajput king? That is a question on which the Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked for some clarity from Union Culture Ministry. CIC Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said that the ministry should put an end to the controversy, and quash all doubts concerning the Taj Mahal. The CIC entered the debate after an applicant, B K S R Ayyangar, approached the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) through a right to information application asking whether the monument was the Taj Mahal or “Tejo Mahalaya”. “Many people stating that Taj Mahal is not Taj Mahal and it is Tejo Mahalaya: that this was not constructed by Shahjahan, but was gifted by Raja Maan Singh; hence give the facts as per ASI reports-details with evidences,” he asked.
Allow Live-In Couples And Widows Surrogacy: Parliamentary Panel: A parliament committee has recommended to the government that live-in couples and widows should be allowed to avail surrogacy service in addition to legally married Indian couples. It also pitched for providing “adequate and reasonable” monetary compensation to surrogate mothers. The committee also found “no point” in restricting non-resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), Overseas Citizen of India (OCIs) card holders from availing surrogacy services in India and recommended that while foreign nationals should be kept out of the ambit of the bill, PIOs, OCIs and NRIs should be permitted to avail the services in the country. The cabinet had given its nod to introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, in Parliament, seeking a bar on unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and homosexuals.
MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS
Taking Stock: 25 Years Of Economic Reforms: It was only under former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao that the full package of stabilisation plus structural reforms was put back on the rails in 1991. A new book offers a holistic view of the ripple effects of liberalisation – and points to its unfinished business.
The Decline Of Congress And Its Global Peers: The India National Congress has neither the vision nor the leadership to initiate a revival. Will it be able to turn the tide without replacing its incumbent leadership?
How To Build Agriculture Infrastructure And Make Double-Digit Economic Growth The New Normal: India needs over $1.5 trillion in the next decade to build infrastructure, and has thus far been looking abroad. With some creative policy thinking, a part of the solution might be found at home, especially for areas like crop storage and irrigation where several regions still lag behind.
Stock Outcasts Deserve Less Primitive Justice In India: SEBI says it was acting upon a list drawn up by the ministry of corporate affairs, with inputs from the tax department and the serious fraud office. India’s markets need to get used to a new regime of policies and regulation that are proving to be a curious mix of modern motives and medieval methods.
Sonia’s New, Narrow Patriotism Hinges On Participation In 1942 Movement: If Sonia Gandhi thinks that participation in the Quit India movement of 1942 is the only proof of patriotism, then a lot of nation-builders, including Dr Ambedkar, would become ‘unpatriotic’.
We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!
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