Good Morning, Swarajya Readers! Here's What You Need To Know Today.
Eight Killed In Firing As Mobs Disrupt Polling In Srinagar: Eight people were killed in firing and scores, including security men, were injured in violent clashes on Sunday during the by-poll to the prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, which saw a voter turnout of only 7.14 per cent, a new low for the seat. Official estimates put the injured count at 300 – 200 civilians and 100 security personnel. Budgam district, where six youths died in firing by security personnel, was the worst affected. Most of those killed were teenagers, one of whom was a class VI student.
Election Commission Cancels R K Nagar By-Polls: A day after income tax officials claimed that they have unearthed evidence of bribery, the Election Commission on Sunday cancelled the upcoming by-elections in Chennai’s RK Nagar constituency. The seat, which fell vacant following the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, was scheduled to go to polls on 12 April. The EC said the electoral process has been "seriously vitiated" by parties through use of money power.
Speeding Up Railway Track Electrification: Electrification of rail lines will be fast-tracked and doubled in the next five years, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Sunday. Addressing a gathering after launching various infrastructure-related initiatives of Konkan Railway in Maharashtra and Karnataka, he said the railways reached a new record this year in terms of “electrification, laying of new lines, track-doubling work and fitting of bio toilets”. The minister said the number of trains running on Konkan Railway route would be doubled in the few years.
Bullet Train Project Clears Major Hurdle: The Indian Railways have crossed a major stumbling block in rolling out the ambitious bullet train project as the Maharashtra government has agreed to give land at the Bandra-Kurla complex (BKC). The starting point of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor at BKC was a sticking point between the railways and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority. The proposed bullet train will start underground from BKC and travel 21 km in a tunnel passing through the sea before emerging overground at Thane. Construction of the corridor is expected to start in 2018 and is estimated to be completed by 2023.
New Panel Set Up To Slash Pending Cases In High Courts: A panel of two senior advocates has been set up by the Supreme Court to reduce the mounting number of pending cases and cut short delays in their disposal by various high courts (HCs) across the country. The order appointing senior advocates Shyam Divan and C U Singh was passed by a bench of justices J Chelameswar, A M Sapre and A K Roy. At the end of June last year, 40.54 lakh cases were pending in the 24 HCs, which are grappling with 44 per cent shortage of judges.
Assam Unveils New Draft Population Policy: A draft population policy was announced by the Assam government on Sunday which suggested denial of government jobs to people with more than two children. It also aims at making education up to university level free for all girls in the state. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the proposed population policy will seek to debate on increasing the legal age of marriage from 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys. The policy will also seek stringent laws to prevent violence and sexual abuse of women, he added.
New NSG Hub In Gujarat: The elite National Security Guard (NSG) has a new hub – Gujarat. A crack team of counter-terror NSG commandos has been permanently based in Gandhinagar by the central government. This is the fifth hub of the NSG in the country after four such bases were operationalised in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai post the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Officials said the new hub has been tasked with securing the entire western flank of the country from Gujarat to Rajasthan.
Al Sisi declares Emergency in Egypt: President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency in Egypt following twin church bombings that killed dozens of people in two cities on Sunday. Sisi announced the “state of emergency for three months” in a defiant speech at the presidential palace after a meeting of the national defence council. The Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the church bombings in the Nile Delta cities of Alexandria and Tanta in which at least 44 people were killed.
MUST READ OP-EDS
Aadhaar: In The Eye Of The Privacy Storm: There is an urgent need to generate a larger conversation on privacy, which involves all stakeholders – including the consumer – and this has to be done soonest. Till then, let us desist from submitting to fear-mongering on Aadhaar.
There Are Hundreds Of Champarans In India Today: Farmers in India continue to be in a sorry state as and several thousands commit suicide in India every year, but a small relief has come in the form of farm loan waivers. It will be nice if politicians move to ensure the farmers need not get trapped in the quagmire of farm loans again.
Will The GST Increase Political Fragmentation? The GST is being rolled out in a political economy context characterized by skyrocketing economic disparity both between and within major states.
Indian Infrastructure Is Gathering Steam: Over the past two years, the government has been working on providing the much-needed groundwork that can see the sector take off in coming years. It has also been working on reducing the bottlenecks that impede growth in the infrastructure sector.
The Good, The Bad And The Worrisome Of The Draft RTI Rules: Everything you wanted to know about the proposed changes to the RTI rules but didn’t know where to ask.
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