Morning Brief: India-Israel Sign Missile Deal; Singh Supports GST; Soldiers Missing After Ladakh Avalanches

Morning
Brief: India-Israel
Sign Missile Deal; Singh Supports GST; Soldiers Missing After Ladakh AvalanchesIndia and Israel sign $2 billion missile deal.

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

India-Israel Sign $2 Billion Defence Deal: Just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Tel Aviv, India and Israel inked mega defence deals worth more than $2 billion for advanced surface-to-air missile systems, which are designed to destroy hostile aircraft, missiles and drones at a range of 70 km. Defence sources said the major deal was for the joint project between the Defence Research and Development Organisation and Israel Aerospace. Meanwhile, Israel has announced that it will offer five-year multiple entry visa for Indian businessmen to increase the bilateral trade.

Manmohan Singh Backs GST Bills: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh lent his strong backing to the goods and services tax (GST) bills, which were passed by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Singh termed the move a game changer. "It could be a game changer but can't assume there will be no difficulties on the way," he said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: "When it came to the larger interest of the nation, all political parties have spoken in one voice."

NIA Arrests IS Sympathiser Deported From Saudi Arabia: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested an Islamic State (IS) sympathiser, in connection with its probe into activities of the terror group and its affiliates in India. Amzad Khan, who operated online with a number of aliases, was arrested after his deportation from Saudi Arabia on 4 April. Khan, a resident of Rajasthan, had emerged as a major suspect in the case against unknown and unidentified persons involved in IS-related activities in countries at peace with India.

TRAI Forces Jio To Withdraw Summer Surprise Offer: Telecom operator Jio has agreed to withdraw its Jio Summer Surprise offer – just six days after it was announced – after sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India issued an order for its cancellation. With Jio Summer Surprise offer, the country's youngest telecom operator was providing free 4G data, SMSs, app subscription free for three months. But with the offer now withdrawn, Jio customers – at least some of them –will have to start paying.

Farm Loan Waivers A Bad Idea, Says Urjit Patel: Amid growing calls for writing off farm loans, Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel on Thursday cautioned about the moral consequences of loan waivers and called it a bad idea. He said such “waivers engender moral hazard.” Reacting to a question after Thursday’s monetary policy announcement, Patel said waivers undermine an honest credit culture... It leads to crowding-out of private borrowers as high government borrowing tend to (impose) an increasing cost of borrowing for others.

UP Seeks To Regulate Private School Fees Through Ordinance: The Uttar Pradesh government is planning to opt the ordinance route to regulate admissions and fees in private schools. Secondary Education Principal Secretary Jitendra Kumar said suggestions have also been invited from the public in this regard. “A committee of the department will also study the similar drafts of different states including Punjab and Gujarat,” he said. The state government has also decided to come up with guidelines to curtail exorbitant school fees charged by private schools and colleges.

Google Aid To Indian School Children: Lending a helping hand to school children in India, Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org on Thursday announced grants of $8.4 million to four Indian non-governmental organisations over the next two years. These grants are part of a global $50 million commitment that aims to help non-profits apply tech-based learning solutions. The recipients of the grants include Learning Equality, Million Sparks Foundation, Pratham Books StoryWeaver and Pratham Education Foundation.

Maharashtra Passes Law To Restart Bullock Cart Race: Close on the heels of Tamil Nadu recently enacting a law to regularise its rural sport jallikattu, the Maharashtra assembly on Thursday passed a legislation for resumption of bullock cart races across the state. The bill was passed unanimously with support of all parties. Animal Husbandry Minister Mahadev Jankar said the amendment was being made to the central act in view of the vital role of the bullock cart race in preserving and promoting tradition and culture.

Three Soldiers Missing After Avalanches Hit Ladakh: At least five soldiers were trapped when a series of avalanches hit Batalik sector in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir burying an army post. The unexpected snowfall in April caused multiple avalanches in the region. Two of the soldiers buried in the army post have been rescued, while the search for the rest three is still on.

MUST READ OP-EDS

Working Out The True Impact: It is best to stay with the sectoral constituents of value addition at least in the initial estimates, and wait for the final estimates before trying to get a handle on consumption and investment.

Why This Is Urjit Patel’s Smartest Policy: Patel has also played his other cards smartly. While the stance of the policy remains neutral, there is no indication of going back to an accommodative stance or a rate cut in the near future.

RBI Constrained By Surplus Liquidity, Weak Monetary Policy Transmission: To maintain liquidity neutrality, various measures such as variable rate repo operations, open market operations, issuing cash management bills and market stabilisation bonds were indicated in the report.

Despite A Slowdown, Early Signs That Global Investment Growth May Be Accelerating: Three key risks to the continued recovery in investment growth need to be monitored: one, policy uncertainty; two, protectionism and its impact on business confidence; three, a major slowdown in China’s economic growth and drop in commodity prices.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

To Put Gau Rakshaks In Their Place, BJP Needs A Sensible Policy For The Cow’s Lifecycle: The BJP and its state governments must clearly rein in the gau rakshaks even while evolving a more coherent policy on cow protection and enforcing the anti-slaughter legislation. At best gau rakshaks can serve as police informers; the job of enforcement must be left to the forensic labs and the police.

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

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