Current Affairs

Morning Brief: Soldiers Of Development; Uniform Civil Code Backed; New US Sanctions On Russia-China Firms

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (GettyImages)

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

Modi Tells Entrepreneurs To Become Soldiers Of Development: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called on entrepreneurs to become soldiers of development and help India cut dependence on imports, while ensuring that it becomes a ‘less-cash’ economy. Addressing more than 200 chief executives and start-ups managers during the ‘Champions of Change’ event, organised by NITI Aayog, he asked them to work towards increasing agricultural exports and promoting tourism. Calling the young CEOs as his team, Modi said India’s development must be made a mass movement. He stressed on the need to focus on export oriented agricultural products, saying that innovative ideas like cultivating timber on fringes of farmland would help achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income.

Indian Navy Set To Buy 234 Helicopters: With the Indian Navy experiencing a critical shortage of helicopters, the Defence Ministry has finally initiated a process to buy 234 naval choppers. The ministry on Tuesday issued a “request for information” to helicopter manufacturers from all over the world for buying 123 naval multi-role and 111 naval utility helicopters. They have time until 6 October to respond. The projects, together worth well over $5 billion, will be executed under the new "strategic partnership" (SP) policy under the "Make in India" framework. The SP policy is basically meant to boost the indigenous defence production sector, with Indian private sector companies producing cutting-edge weapon systems in collaboration with global armament majors through joint ventures and technology transfers.

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Uniform Civil Code Backed: The Supreme Court verdict against triple talaq would not usher in freedom for Muslim women until a uniform civil code based on equality was introduced, controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen has said. “The verdict of the Supreme Court on triple talaq may be a slap on the face of the Muslim Law Board, but it will definitely not bring in freedom for the Muslim women,” she said, adding that laws cannot be framed based purely on religion. “In a modern society there cannot exist religious laws. Laws must be framed based on equality and justice keeping in mind human rights,” she said. While countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh have abolished triple talaq a long time ago, the author of Lajja, wondered why such a retrograde practice was allowed in a democratic and secular country like India.

Boosting Safety: Railways Planning to Hire 200,000 Workers: Battling a poor safety record, Indian Railways is planning to hire close to 200,000 workers in the next few years. The recruitment drive is aimed at strengthening its safety and ground patrolling divisions. At present, almost 16 per cent of the safety posts in the railways, mostly at lower levels, are lying vacant, making patrolling and maintenance of its 64,000-km-long network of tracks difficult. “The national transporter will invest Rs 15,000 crore in the current fiscal to fix the snags on its network. This amount is separate from the money spent on modernisation. This will purely be spent on track renewal,” a top railway official said. The official said most of the hiring in the coming days will be to fill the posts in the safety and maintenance category. The Railways is also planning to procure more than 100 track inspection vehicles.

Dawood Ibrahim On UK Asset Freeze List: India's most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim remains the only "Indian national" on an updated list of financial sanctions released by the UK, which also listed 21 aliases for the underworld don. The mafia boss appears on the UK Treasury Department's 'Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK' updated yesterday, with three recorded addresses in Pakistan, where he is reportedly based. Ibrahim is the main accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case in Mumbai in which around 260 people were killed, and more than 700 suffered injuries. He fled the country post the bombings and is understood to be hiding in Pakistan, which has repeatedly denied his presence in the country.

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Palaniswami Government In Minority: After another day of hectic political activity, the six-month-old Edappadi K Palaniswami government in Tamil Nadu appears to have been reduced to a "minority" with 19 members of legislative assembly (MLAs) backing a group lead by T T V Dhinakaran, the 'ousted' AIADMK Amma deputy general secretary, withdrawing support. The dissident MLAs handed over individual letters to Governor Vidyasagar Rao, withdrawing their support to the government. This means that the government has the support of only 115 MLAs, against the working majority of 118 in the 235-member house. Opposition parties have, meanwhile, urged the governor to direct the chief minister to seek a vote of confidence by convening the Assembly immediately to prove his majority.

New US Sanctions On Russia-China: The Donald Trump administration has stepped up pressure on Moscow and Beijing to isolate North Korea by imposing sanctions on a number of Chinese and Russian companies and individuals it has accused of helping Pyongyang develop nuclear weapons. "Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, and isolating them from the American financial system," said Treasury Secretary Steven T Mnuchin. The measures come just weeks after the United Nations Security Council imposed tough new sanctions on North Korea in response to the country’s first two tests of a functioning intercontinental ballistic missile – moves backed by China and Russia.

MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS

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Privacy Is A Natural Right: It is true that India does not have a data protection law and lags behind several countries in this aspect. Privacy is not just the right to be left alone but is liberty and freedom in action, already guaranteed under Article 21 of our Constitution.

Strong Rupee Is Hurting Indian Industry: Ever since the rupee has started gaining strength, export growth is up barely 12 per cent cumulatively, whereas imports have grown at 30 per cent. It is essential that we bring back the rupee to a more sane and competitive level.

The Republic Of Statistical Scramble: Mismatch between data sets from within the government breeds scepticism regarding the statistical robustness of national accounting. Straightening out data inconsistencies should be a government priority.

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Creating Well-Paid Jobs For Indians: The refreshing focus on the power of exports is noteworthy, especially the rising fears about protectionism in our major trading partners. NITI Aayog’s plan for labour-intensive, export-oriented industrialisation needs more details on how India can enter global value chains.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

SC’s 3-2 Triple Talaq Verdict Deserves Two-And-A-Half Cheers, Not Three: The triple talaq vote was won by a whisker, and hence deserves only two-and-a-half cheers, and not three, despite three votes in its favour.

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