Morning
Brief: Energy Giant In The Making; HSBC Under Scanner; Mumbai Named Richest Indian
CityONGC plant.

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

Energy Giant In The Making: As part of the government’s plan to create an integrated public sector oil entity comparable with big global oil companies like Shell, BP and Exxon, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will take control of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL), top government officials have said. The move will stop short of a complete merger, which may take longer, but the purpose will be served with this step, they said.

Railways To Build Its Own Trainsets: Trainsets that can run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph will be manufactured by Indian Railways after a global bid did not attract a positive response. The first trainset will be ready by March 2018 and is likely to be pressed into Delhi-Chandigarh or the Delhi-Lucknow sector. These trainsets will have automatic plug type doors that will open and close at stations and wide windows for panoramic views.

Kerala Youth, Who Joined IS, Killed In Afghan Attack: A youth from Kerala, believed to have joined the Islamic State, has been killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan. The message was sent by distant relative of Kasaragod-based Hafesudheen Theke Koleth, who was from the missing 21-member group who left the nation. Khadeeja Hakeem, Hafesudheen’s mother, received a message that her son had “attained martyrdom”.

Army Recruitment Paper Leaked, 18 Arrested: The Indian Army countermanded examinations in six centres in western India for some lower-level posts following an alleged leak of question papers. The examination papers of Army Recruitment Board were allegedly leaked following which the Thane Police’s Crime Branch conducted raids and arrested 18 persons from Maharashtra and Goa. A retired army officer and a senior paramilitary officer were among those arrested.

HSBC Under The Scanner For Abetting Tax Evasion: Global banking giant HSBC has disclosed being probed by tax authorities in India and several other countries, including against its Swiss and Dubai units, for allegedly abetting tax evasion of four Indians and their families. Disclosing the "tax-related investigations", HSBC said it has set aside over Rs 5,000 crore as a provision for various tax- and money-laundering related issues.

Public Sector Banks Plan Strike: Unions under the aegis of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) have threatened to go on strike on Tuesday to press for various demands including accountability of top executives in view of mounting bad loans in the banking sector. The strike is likely to affect operations at public sector banks. Private banks will function normally but may have slight delay in cheque clearances.

Airtel Set To Abolish Domestic Roaming Charges: In a bid to match Jio offer, Bharti Airtel is set to abolish domestic roaming charges on its network for both voice and data services, said a source. The company is also planning to simplify activation and billing for consumers who travel overseas in a bid to encourage subscribers to use its international roaming packs.

RSS Unit Plans Rally Against “Murderous Violence” In Kerala: Lokadhikar Manch, a Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) outfit, will launch a nationwide protest rally on 1 March against the “murderous violence” of the Left government in Kerala. “The Marxist goons have unleashed unprecedented violence in the eight months after coming to power in Kerala, killing 18 political adversaries belonging to different organisations, 12 of them from the RSS and Sangh Parivar,” All-India RSS Sahprachar Pramukh J Nandkumar said.

Mumbai Declared Richest Indian City: With 46,000 millionaires and 28 billionaires, Mumbai was declared the richest Indian city with total wealth of $820 billion. According to New World Wealth, Mumbai is followed by Delhi and Bengaluru in the second and third place respectively. Delhi is home to 23,000 millionaires and 18 billionaires with a total wealth of $450 billion, while Bengaluru with a total wealth of $320 billion houses 7,700 millionaires and eight billionaires.

MUST READ OP-EDS

From Plate To Plough: It’s Not About Loan Waivers: If a loan waiver was the solution to the problems of the peasantry, there should not have been any farm distress after 2008-09. Instead of giving free power, the state can reward the peasantry for saving power through cash incentives.

Why Isn’t Water An Election Issue? Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken about interlinking of rivers in 2014 during the elections but no effective steps have been taken in that direction.

A Paper Tiger Called Banks Board Bureau: The Banks Board Bureau, headed by Vinod Rai, could be an ideal vehicle to drive the government’s public sector banking reform agenda. Clearly, the BBB can recommend names, but when it comes to the postings of top executives, it doesn’t have the final say.

Time To Consolidate Inflation Indices: It is time for consolidation and a move over to CPIs Rural and Urban. The necessary adjustments, if any, could be made in the new CPI series to ensure that population-specific requirements are also met.

Why Has Maharashtra Turned 50 Shades Of Saffron? Of the 10 corporations that were part of Maharashtra civic polls, the two saffron parties, BJP and Shiv Sena, accounted for nearly 70 per cent of the 1,268 seats that were contested.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

J&K: Why The Army Is Seemingly Facing Reverses And How It Should Handle Stone-Pelters: There are some basics in Jammu and Kashmir which cannot be tampered with. The people of the conflict zone must remain the supreme concern even as operations are important for domination and elimination of terrorists is essential.

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

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