Morning
Brief: Appoint
Lokpal Call To Centre; UP Push To Protect Holy Sites; Karnataka Tops Most
Corrupt ListThe Supreme Court of India.

Good Morning, Swarajya Readers! Here's What You Need To Know Today.

Appoint Lokpal Without Delay, SC Tells Centre: The Supreme Court on Thursday told the government that the anti-corruption Lokpal should be set up without delay, and the lack of a leader of the opposition should not hold up the process anymore. This means, the government can select an ombudsman without taking the Congress, the main opposition group, on board. The apex court said appointment of Lokpal and its members by the selection panel, without including the leader of the opposition, would be perfectly valid under the existing law.

Captain Among Three Killed In Kupwara Terror Attack: In an audacious pre-dawn attack on an Army camp in Kupwara, a Captain and two soldiers were killed on Thursday. Seven other soldiers were injured in the fighting that erupted after the insurgents cut through the two-layered barbed wire of the firing range at the Panzgam army camp. Two militants were also killed while a third is suspected to have escaped under cover of darkness. A 75-year-old civilian was later killed as civilians clashed with security forces, demanding that the bodies of the militants be handed over for last rites.

Terror Threat To Holy Sites: Adityanath Orders Construction Of Boundary Walls: The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to erect boundary walls around important religious places following intelligence inputs that terrorists, dressed as sadhus could launch attacks on such places in the state. The directives were given by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at a meeting with the officials of the religious endowment department. Adityanath also directed the officials to construct four lane approach roads to all important religious places and provide better facilities to the pilgrims at these places.

India seeks ‘health certificate’ for Jadhav: India has asked Pakistan to produce a certificate on the health condition of Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court there. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said India was concerned about the well being and health condition of the former Indian Navy officer who has been in Pakistan's custody for more than a year on charges of espionage.

Paytm In Rs 10,000 Crore Financial Services Push: Financial technology company Paytm said on Thursday that it is planning to invest Rs 10,000 crore over the next three years to expand its banking and financial services business. “We hope to get the final approval for our payments bank operations soon, so that we can roll out services,” Paytm founder and chief executive Vishal Shekhar Sharma said. These will include Paytm Banks, wallet and financial services. He added that till now the company, which has the backing of Chinese major Alibaba, has invested more than Rs 3,200 crore for its operations.

Karnataka Most Corrupt State, Says Survey: A study conducted by a private think tank has ranked Karnataka India’s most corrupt state. The CMS-India Corruption Study said more than 33 per cent of households in the state believe the state government is “not at all committed” to reducing graft. Karnataka is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab. The survey which covered 20 states, found Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Chhattisgarh to be the least corrupt states.

Indian Woman ‘Sold’ In Saudi Arabia Rescued: Thanks to the timely intervention by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Salma Begum, a resident of Hyderabad who was reportedly 'sold and tortured' in Saudi Arabia, has been rescued. She will be returning to India soon, Swaraj said on Thursday. The Foreign Minister commended the Indian Embassy in the Saudi capital for ensuring Salma's expeditious repatriation since she'd raised the issue to them on 24 April.

India Seeks Immediate Action Against 26/11 Perpetrators: India on Thursday said it was a matter of concern that even after eight years of the 26/11 terror strike, the perpetrators continue to enjoy freedom in Pakistan. India’s demand for immediate action comes amid reports that Pakistan has rejected a re-investigation of the Mumbai attack case, and has again demanded “concrete” evidence against Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the strike. “It is the Pakistan government’s responsibility to bring to book the perpetrators and all those involved in conspiring, executing and mounting the 26/11 attack in which 166 people were killed,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.

UP Launches Helpline To Assist Youths Radicalised By Terror Outfits: A helpline number has been launched by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) for parents and families who suspect their children or people known to them are getting radicalised online by terror outfits like the Islamic State and others. “We have decided to lend support to such families as a part of our de-radicalisation programme launched after the arrest of four terror suspects on 20 April. These suspects had radicalised six youths from Shamli and were planning to use them for terror activities in Bijnore,” said ATS inspector general Asim Arun.

MUST READ OP-EDS

The Long Road To A High-Growth Future: Policymakers will need to constantly work on multiple levels in order to create enabling conditions that will allow the Indian economy to develop at a rapid pace and achieve long-term goals.

One Brand Too Many: Vodafone and Idea Cellular announced the merger of their India operations earlier this year, but the merged entity will continue to function under the two brands. Does it make sense to maintain a dual brand strategy?

For Sustainable Solar Shine, Integrated Energy Policy Is Key: Regulators need to quicken the process of adopting the National Tariff Policy provisions by moving towards separate peak and off-peak tariffs in a time-bound manner. The phasing and the timeline of the 100GW target need to be analysed in a holistic manner through an integrated energy policy.

Donald Trump’s Tax Proposals Sketchy, Lack Detail But Are Bold: While the tax proposals laid out by the Trump administration are sketchy and lacking in detail, they are, without doubt, bold. The jury is still out as to whether these will be able to find their way through the US House of Representatives and the Senate.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

The Men Who Deserted The Murderous Maoists: There are hundreds of men who, disillusioned by the bloodthirsty and exploitative nature of Maoist leaders, have broken ranks with the terror outfit. Two of them spoke with Swarajya recently. One was asked to shoot at his own brother to prove his loyalty, the other was sick of the exploitative nature of senior Maoist leaders.

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

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