Morning
Brief: India-US Vow To Fight Radical
Islamic Terror; Salahuddin
Declared Global Terrorist; Trump TriumphsUS President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands before delivering joint statements in the Rose Garden of the White House on 26 June in Washington. (Mark Wilson/GettyImages)

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.

Destroying Radical Islamic Terror Top Goal, Say Modi And Trump: India and the United States have vowed to defeat terrorism and those who provide safe havens to terrorists. This came after the leaders of the two countries met for the first time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said terrorism was among the “top priorities” for both him and President Donald Trump, stressing their countries will increase cooperation in combating the menace. “We are both determined to destroy terrorist organisations, and the radical ideology that drives them,” said Trump, adding, “We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism.” On trade, Trump said India should remove barriers to export of US goods, adding he would like to end the trade deficit in bilateral trade.

New Fiscal Year, New Budget Date: The next financial year (2018) in India could begin from January instead of April as the Union government appears set to make the historic transition to end the 150-year-old tradition. As a result of this move, the next budget could be presented by the Centre in November this year, top government sources have said. They said the government is working on aligning the financial year with the calendar year after Prime Minister Narendra Narendra Modi pitched for a change. The financial year from 1 April to 31 March, currently in vogue nationally, was adopted in 1867 principally to align the Indian financial year with that of the British government.

Rail Fare Hike On Cards: Rail fares are expected to go up in India, said a report in The Indian Express. This comes after the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) gave its sanction for an increase in Railway fares, which have remained suppressed for years. The increase in passenger fares may be implemented sometime later this year. “Implement creeping increase in passenger fares” was one of the actionable points for the transporter issued by the PMO, a copy of which is available with The Sunday Express. The timeline frozen for the move, and agreed to by the Railways, is September 2017.

New Workspace For Startups: In an initiative led by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, as part of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development scheme, India’s first government-owned co-working space for start-ups is set to come up in Mangaluru. It will be offering cutting-edge technology such as 3D printing and new-age digital infrastructure, such as high-speed Internet. A team of officials is consulting with some of the leading Delhi-based co-working space owners to finalise the design and functioning of the Mangaluru facility. Sitharaman’s office is also reaching out to other government departments and ministries to build synergies and meet the costs of getting the place up and running.

US Declares Salahuddin Global Terrorist: The United States designated Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist. “Under Salahuddin’s tenure as senior Hizbul Mujahideen leader, the group has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people,” the US state department said. India welcomed the designation, saying it “vindicated” its long-standing position that cross-border terrorism perpetrated from outfits based in Pakistan was behind disturbances in Kashmir.

$250 Million World Bank Aid For Skills India Mission: In a move that is seen as a boost to Skills India mission, the World Bank has cleared a $250 million loan for making Indian youth more employable through reskilling. Under the programme, adults between 15 and 59 years, underemployed or unemployed, will get the skill training. It will also include the 1.2 crore youngsters in the age group of 15-29 years who are entering the labour market every year. The multi-lateral lender is keen to support the Indian government in its efforts to better equip the young workforce with employable skills. It said the support will help the youth contribute to India’s economic growth and prosperity.

China Keen To Wait For India To Join Belt And Road Initiative: China on Monday said it was ready to wait some more time for India to shed its “misgivings” and join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping. “We can wait a little bit more time for the Indian side. The BRI is an important opportunity. The facts have proven that one will benefit more if one can participate in this initiative as early as possible,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. India skipped China’s high-profile Belt and Road Forum in May due to its sovereignty concerns over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Triumph For Trump: Court Revives Travel Ban: President Donald Trump was quick to claim victory after the US Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated his controversial travel ban targeting citizens from six predominantly Muslim countries. The court said it would examine the case in full in October but said that the ban could be enforced immediately for travellers from the targeted countries "who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the US. Trump called the high court's action "a clear victory for our national security”, saying the justices allowed the travel suspension to become largely effective. Trump's 6 March order called for a blanket 90-day ban on people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees while the government implemented stronger vetting procedures.

MUST READ OPINIONS/COLUMNS

Inflation Targeting In Democratic India: The government can help achieve price stability through reforms that improve the competitiveness of India’s product markets. There is a case to revisit the symmetric range around the 4 per cent inflation target for India.

NPA Resolution: Well Begun But Half Done: The RBI is doing its best, and even stepping into executive functions like scrutinising NPA accounts and issuing directives to banks. The initiation of the NPA resolution process has brought in a certain degree of rigour, but it still lacks the credibility to be called a bold initiative.

Setting Up The Defence Industrial Ecosystem: Outside of policy design, the biggest challenge to developing India’s defence industry is human resource and skill development. Much will depend on how the government’s ‘strategic partnership’ model plays out on the ground.

On-Shoring Offshore Funds To India: Of the $43 billion of FDI inflows which India received in FY17, $24 billion was invested via Mauritius and Singapore. The right regulatory changes would enable this, giving a boost to the domestic fund management industry.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

GST Is Modi’s Baby: It Couldn’t Have Happened Without Him; Both Credit And Blame Will Go To Him: It is a high-risk, high-reward initiative. Only time will tell if the decision was foolhardy or visionary. The miracle is that it is happening just at a time when Opposition-mistrust of the Centre is maximum.

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

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