Morning
Brief: Go-Ahead
For Railways Watchdog; All Eyes On RBI Policy Review; Dalai Lama Defends IndiaIndian Railways must privatise to survive.

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

Go-Ahead For Railways Watchdog: The Union government on Wednesday approved the setting up of an independent rail regulatory authority to determine tariff and ensuring fair play and a level playing field for private players keen on investment in the railways. Considered to be the biggest and first-of-its-kind reform in the rail sector, it is targeted at improving the services offered to passengers, provide comfort to investors and enhance transparency and accountability.

All Eyes On RBI Policy Review As Markets Post Record Gains: Bluechips Reliance Industries Limited and Maruti led the Indian markets to record highs on Wednesday, with the sensex ending just below the 30,000-mark and the Nifty finishing at 9,265.15. Investors are in a wait-and-watch mode ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's first bi-monthly policy review for 2017-18 due on Thursday. The central bank is widely expected to hold rates, but there are hopes of more steps being announced to address growing non-performing assets and excess liquidity, traders said.

Shunglu Panel Highlights 'Gross Abuse Of Power' By AAP Government: In a damning indictment, a report by the three-member Shunglu committee, formed by former Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, has pointed out "gross abuse of power" by the Arvind Kejriwal government. The panel has flagged decisions including the allotment of land to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for its office, appointment of Minister Satyendra Jain's daughter as "mission director" of Delhi State Health Mission and a number of purported AAP functionaries as "advisers".

Keep Off PoK And Gilgit-Baltistan, India Tells Pakistan: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reiterated India’s claim over Jammu and Kashmir territories under Pakistani occupation amid reports that Islamabad was planning to declare Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan as new provinces. She asserted in the Lok Sabha that the government was bound by a resolution in Parliament on the issue. She also said that her BJP’s inspiration stemmed from party ideologue and Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee's sacrifice for the cause, to establish Kashmir as an integral part of the country.

Railways In Green Energy Push: The Indian Railways is planning to use renewable energy in a major way. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday that it is looking to add 1,000 MW of solar and 200 MW of wind energy. A study released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water and funded by United Nations Development Programme said the Railways would need an investment of $3.6 billion to meet the 5 GW target. Prabhu along with Power Minister Piyush Goyal launched a new report, which said the Railways can draw up to 25 per cent of its electric power needs from renewables and achieve the target of 5 GW of solar power by 2025.

Maharashtra Denotifies Key Highways: In a bid to get around the Supreme Court order on liquor ban, the Maharashtra government has approved proposals from three municipal corporations seeking to change the status of the highways passing through their respective areas to city roads. Public Works Department Minister Chandrakant Patil said the government has approved the proposals put forward by Jalgaon, Latur and Yavatmal municipal corporations seeking denotification of the highways.

Government Moves Bill To Boost NABARD Capital: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced a bill in Lok Sabha to enable exit of Reserve Bank of India from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (NABARD) and increase authorised capital of the development institution six times to Rs 30,000 crore. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill also seeks to amend certain clauses in the light of reference of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 and the Companies Act, 2013 in the proposed legislation.

Abdullah Speaking The Language Of Separatists, Says Jitendra Singh: The Union government has come down heavily on National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah for his spirited defence of stone-pelters in Kashmir. Union Minister Jitendra Singh dubbed as “worrisome” Abdullah’s defence of stone-pelters, accusing him of getting tempted to speak the “language of separatists” for electoral gains. This comes after Abdullah said that the stone-pelting youth from the valley were giving their lives for resolution of Kashmir dispute and not for tourism.

India Never Used Me Against China, Says The Dalai Lama: Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on Wednesday said India has never used him against China. “I am a messenger of the ancient Indian thought and I talk about ahimsa, peace, harmony and secular ethics wherever I go,” he said. Lodging an angry protest, the Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned the Indian ambassador to seek an explanation on the Dalai Lama's ongoing tour of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

MUST READ OP-EDS

Narendra Modi Is A Different Nationalist Than Putin Or Trump: Narendra Modi certainly doesn’t believe in ‘submission’. He isn’t interested in a past in which the West dominated the world. He wants to build a future in which Asia does.

A Compelling Case For Easing By RBI: Why should RBI ease interest rates? Higher rates and demonetisation would likely push recovery to the second half of the year. RBI rate cuts should support the rupee by attracting FPI equity flows, although global uncertainty is often cited as a reason for RBI to pause.

India’s Untapped Content Producers: About 70 per cent of India lives in rural areas. They constitute a large population of potential consumers of information online. Unless we treat this large unconnected population as a pool of content producers, we will not be able to achieve the results we dream in a Digital India.

Naxalbari: India’s Greatest War With Itself: Several thousand have followed in India’s greatest war with itself: innocents, rebels, and those tasked to combat them. They die every other day, statistics over solutions.

Why The CCI Is Cautious About Tech Intervention: While no one argues that the tech sector should be immune from competition regulation, proponents of aggressive intervention potentially ignore how technology markets differ from more traditional markets.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

Ram Navami Triggers A Saffron Surge In Bengal: The clock, it seems, has turned a full circle in Bengal. And Ram Navami has, once again, become the lighting rod for oppressed Hindus in Bengal to rally and not only assert their religious identity, but also to fight for a dignified existence as equal citizens in the state.

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