Brief: India Seeks RCN Against Naik; Go-Ahead For GM Mustard; Rating Agencies
RappedControversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. (maapu/Wikimedia Commons)

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

India Seeks RCN Against Zakir Naik: After a 10-month long investigation, India has approached Interpol for issuing a red corner notice (RCN) against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. He is being probed for terror and money laundering charges. The Interpol RCN against Naik would mean that he will be declared an international fugitive and could be arrested by any agency around the world. According to India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), Naik is said to be hiding either in the UAE or Saudi Arabia and keeps moving between Malaysia and Indonesia.

Go-Ahead For Commercial Use Of GM Mustard: In a historic development, India’s regulator for transgenic products, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), has approved commercial production of genetically modified (GM) mustard. The GEAC recommended the commercial release after day-long deliberations on the safety aspects of the crop, government sources said. The GM mustard seeds were developed by Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants. Effectively, India is a step away from allowing GM food crops. The recommendation will now have to be approved by Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave.

Justice Karnan Moves Top Court For Recall Of Jail Order: Calcutta High Court judge C S Karnan moved the Supreme Court for stay and recall of the 9 May order sentencing him to six months in jail for contempt of court. The court agreed on Thursday to consider hearing amid continuing confusion over his whereabouts. His counsel Mathews Nedumpara told the top court that Karnan was in Chennai. But a five-member police team has been unable to trace him in the Tamil Nadu capital for two days now. Karnan was convicted of contempt by the top court on Tuesday.

Government Woos Private Investment For Blue Revolution: India is taking major steps to woo private investments in deep sea fishing to realise the full potential of the sector. The industry, which contributes Rs 65,000 crore annually to the economy and supports an estimated four million fishermen and their families, will take foreign technological support as it seeks to grow. Billed as the roadmap for a 'Blue Revolution', the new national policy on marine fisheries lays emphasis on bringing sustainable utilisation of the fisheries' wealth from marine and other aquatic resources.

Rail Connectivity For Char Dham Pilgrims Soon: To connect the ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage centres, the Indian Railways is all set to begin the final location survey for a single broad gauge line rail connectivity. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, a public sector enterprise under the Railway Ministry has been entrusted to undertake the final location survey for rail connectivity to Char Dham (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath) in Uttarakhand at an estimated cost of over Rs 40,000 crore. The Indian Railways is also pursuing its ambitious project of constructing a rail line between Rishikesh and Karanprayag and efforts are underway to fast-track the project.

Poor Standards Of Rating Agencies Slammed: Coming down heavily on global credit rating agencies for not upgrading India despite clear improvement in its economic fundamentals, chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian on Thursday said they are following “inconsistent” standards while rating India and China. Subramanian said they have "Poor Standards" playing on the name of ratings agency Standard & Poor's. The government's 'Economic Survey 2017' had also slammed the agencies, saying it was a "poor" reflection of rating agencies' credibility.

Decks Cleared For Snapdeal's Acquisition By Flipkart: Softbank-backed Snapdeal has finally agreed to sign a non-binding letter of intent for a merger with Flipkart. This follows SoftBank securing the nod from its co-investor firm, Nexus Venture Partners. Snapdeal was valued at $6.5 billion in its last funding round in February 2016. However, the valuation has shrunk since then and the potential deal could be valued around $1 billion. The transaction, if successful, will redefine India's online retail industry, and sharpen the battle lines between the home-grown contender and global rivals – America's Amazon and China's Alibaba.

Pakistan Army And ISI Pushing Sindh Towards Civil War, Says Hussain: Pakistan’s fourth largest party Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has said that the army and spy agency ISI are pushing Sindh province towards a civil war, seeking the intervention of the United Nations and the international community. In an audio message, Hussain alleged that Pakistan Army and ISI have “virtually taken control” of all Pakistan including Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and all of Balochistan. “They have killed hundreds and thousands of innocent Mohajir Balochs and Pashtoons who raised their voice against Punjabi army,” London-based Hussain said.

US Blames Pakistan For Worsening Ties With India: The Donald Trump administration on Thursday held Pakistan responsible for aggravating relations with India and warned that the ties might drop to a new low if there is another "high-profile" terrorist attack from across the border this year. "Islamabad's failure to curb support to anti-India militants and New Delhi's growing intolerance of this policy, coupled with a perceived lack of progress in Pakistan's investigations into the January 2016 Pathankot cross-border attack, set the stage for a deterioration of bilateral relations in 2016," Daniel Coats, director of National Intelligence, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.


Relooking At Company Boards In The Digital Era: The most significant challenge here is the traditional (lack of) status of HR leaders and teams in India. Board-level representation of HR experts is rare, and the presence of a CHRO on a company’s board is an even rarer occurrence.

The Future Of Electric Vehicles In India: Markets matter, but there is also a need for government and policy inputs. Unless we understand Indian-use cases, limitations and opportunities, we risk ambitious targets that remain aspirational.

Climate Change: Time For Businesses To Bring Innovation To Meet Environmental Sustainability Norms: Corporate boards may have to start by making the management accountable through a proper and regular environmental audit of the business turnover. There is enough headroom available for business in this exercise. Businesses grow by innovation. This appears to be the latest field of innovation.

The Decline And Fall Of The Centre-Left In Europe: During the past quarter-century, the importance of ideology diminished for parties across the ideological spectrum. In the mid-2000s, just over a decade ago, socialist, social democratic, or centre-left parties ruled most countries in Europe; in 2017, the situation is the polar opposite.


JNU Manufactures Outrage Over Madhu Kishwar’s Appointment To Academic Council; So What’s New? As a vocal and fearless critic of the Left, Kishwar seems to have sent shivers down the Left’s spine. They are happier critiquing non-intellectuals and party flunkies, whereas with Kishwar they have a fight on their hands. She gives as good as she gets.

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

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