Good Morning, Swarajya Readers! Here's What You Need To Know Today.
Budget Session Makes History: Union Minister Ananth Kumar said on Wednesday that the Budget Session of Parliament has been one of the most productive sessions in its history. As many as 18 bills were passed by both the houses during the session, he said. The productivity of Lok Sabha during the session was 114 per cent while that of Rajya Sabha was 92 per cent. A total of 23 bills were passed in the Lower House and 14 legislations in the Upper House, the minister said. “I think this was one of the most productive budget sessions and it will go down as the golden chapter in the Parliament’s history,” Kumar said.
Fuel Prices To Change Every Day: In just over two weeks, petrol and diesel prices will change every day in sync with international rates, much like what happens in most advanced markets. State-owned fuel retailers Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, which own over 95 per cent of nearly 58,000 petrol pumps in the country, will launch a pilot for daily price revision in five select cities from 1 May and gradually extend it to all over the country.
UK Offering Weapons Technology To India: In a bid to jointly fight terrorism, Britain is planning to strengthen its cooperation with India. It is also offering cutting-edge military technology for co-production of weapon systems to jointly become "world beaters" in arms exports. "No country is immune from terrorism. India and the UK need to work even harder, and more closely, to combat it," said British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon, who had earlier held that his country had made it "very clear" to Pakistan that there cannot be any excuse or justification for terrorism.
India Studying Prisoner Swap Option To Save Kulbhushan Jadhav: India is exploring various legal and diplomatic options, including a high-value prisoner swap, in an all-out bid to save Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been awarded the death sentence by a military court in Pakistan on charges of spying, sources said on Wednesday. The first option is to exercise the legal route and file an “appeal” against the decision of the military court. Another move would be to identify a “high-value” Pakistani prisoner in India’s custody and negotiate a trade-off.
Operation Durga Launched In Haryana: Seventy-people were arrested on Wednesday after Haryana government launched ‘Operation Durga’, on the lines of the anti-romeo squad in Uttar Pardesh. A spokesman confirmed that 24 teams formed by Chief Minister’s flying squad arrested these people from all the districts for allegedly indulging in crimes against women. The teams comprise woman personnel, including nine Sub-Inspectors, 14 Assistant Sub-Inspectors, six Head Constables and 13 constables, besides other police officers from each district.
Hack EVMs Challenge: The Election Commission of India has thrown an open challenge to political parties and experts to hack the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and show that they can be tampered with. While the commission is yet to decide on the exact date, it said the challenge would be held in the first week of May and could continue for 10 days. The last time such an event had taken place was in 2009 when 100 machines from different parts of the country were kept at Vigyan Bhawan. No one, EC claimed, could hack the electronic voting machines.
Somalia Rescues Indian Sailors From Pirates: Somalia’s military has rescued 10 Indian crew members who had been held hostage by pirates. The sailors of a ship hijacked last week were rescued after regional forces surrounded their pirate captors in a small village outside Hobyo town. Four pirates were arrested during the operation, officials said. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj thanked Somalia.
Bounty Over Bounty: A leading Muslim cleric made a counter-offer of Rs 22 lakh for the Bharatiya Janata Party youth wing leader’s head, who announced a reward of Rs 11 lakh for beheading West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Yogesh Varshney announced the price on Banerjee’s head following state police action on a saffron rally. A case has been filed against him. “Mamata Banerjee is our respected leader and I consider her as my sister. I will pay Rs 22 lakh to anyone who brings me the head of the BJP leader,” Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque imam Nur-ur Rehman Barkati said.
New Push To Penalise Ganga Polluters: Stricter penalties for polluting Ganga and its tributaries are on the cards. A committee of experts submitted its draft model law to the government suggesting strict action against those polluting the river and its tributaries like Yamuna. This comes days after the Uttarakhand High Court granted the status of living entity to Ganga. If the committee's suggestions are accepted and the relevant bill gets Parliament's nod, all those who contaminate the river will face imprisonment of up to seven years.
MUST READ OP-EDS
Markets Cannot Deliver Healthcare, Education: Markets, driven by the profit motive, cannot deliver good healthcare services. Good healthcare needs other social institutions and structures such as public trust, enforceable professional ethical codes, public delivery systems and tight regulations.
A Brief History Of Time: The rapid global spread of the Industrial Revolution that is leading to anthropogenic climate change through an explosion in growth, exploitation of natural resources, and population, would likely be reversed by increasing use of Artificial Intelligence and demographic transition to below replacement birth rates.
Rich Keralite, Poor Kerala Conundrum: Kerala clocks one of the highest sales of luxury cars in the country and is the biggest consumer of gold. Despite an inflow of Rs 1 trillion, Kerala is one of the least industrialised states in India and has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Why?
The Insecurity Of Inequality: As US senator Bernie Sanders recently pointed out, the Walton family, which owns Walmart, now owns more wealth than the bottom 42 per cent of the US population. In our globalised world, inequality cannot be left to markets and local communities to solve any more than climate change can.
Why We Don’t Need The Uniform Civil Code: The solution lies in setting up efficiently functioning Family Courts in every city and town of India so that aggrieved individuals can get speedy redressal in a time bound manner without needing to hire lawyers who can fleece you to death while dragging on the case for years and decades on end.
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