Brief: Interest Rate Cut On Cards? Infrastructure Projects Overdrive; Deuba Elected
Nepal PM The Reserve Bank of India head office in Mumbai. (PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

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

Interest Rate Cuts On Cards? The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel, began its two-day meeting on Tuesday amid experts saying that the central bank is likely to hold key rates even as the government is making a case for a lower interest regime citing low inflation. India Inc is also pitching for a rate cut to boost gross domestic product growth that fell to 7.1 per cent in 2016-17 from 8 per cent in the previous fiscal. Looking for a rate cut, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said inflation has been under control for long and is likely to remain so on the back of good monsoon and unlikely spike in oil prices.

Run Up To 2019 Polls: Government Targets One Project A Day: As the mega battle draws closer, the Narendra Modi government has earmarked 'a project a day' to mark the run-up for the 2019 parliamentary polls. The ministries of Highways and Shipping have already prepared a list of nearly 500 projects, which will be either inaugurated or for which foundation stones will be laid. "We will be in a position to roll out more than one project every day,” Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said. Sources said there is greater monitoring of some of the projects scheduled for completion in February to April 2019 to expedite their completion.

Farmers Protest: Five Killed In Shooting: Authorities were quick to enforce a curfew on Tuesday after five people were killed and two injured in violence that broke out during a farmers’ rally in the Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh. Eyewitnesses said the victims suffered bullet wounds, but district authorities denied that there was any firing by the police on the protesters who torched vehicles and threw stones. Farmers in western Madhya Pradesh are protesting since 1 June, demanding higher minimum support prices among other things.

Sonia Gandhi May Step Down: Congress President Sonia Gandhi is expected to step down from her post before 15 October to make way for her son Rahul Gandhi. The party finalised the schedule for its internal elections which will be completed by 15 October during the Congress Working Committee meeting on Tuesday. The internal polls, deferred by two years, have set a month-long schedule for the election of Congress president, state presidents and state bodies, from 16 September to 15 October. Sonia Gandhi has asked the party to conduct the polls with “speed and sincerity”. “We must strengthen our organisation,” she said.

Highway Liquor Ban: High Court Snubs Kerala Government: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday thwarted an attempt by the state government to reopen bars closed in the wake of a Supreme Court order banning liquor outlets along national highways. The court pulled up the government for trying to reopen liquor outlets by citing an earlier order delivered under a different context. It ordered the government to refrain from opening any bars until all the petitions in this regard are disposed of.

Double-Decker Train For Business Travellers: Indian Railways will soon launch an overnight double-decker train service equipped with modern facilities to attract business travellers. The public transporter is looking to connect metropolitan centres through the new service, Uday Express, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said at the 'Smart Railway Conclave' in New Delhi. The train will not have sleeper berths, but only comfortable reclining chairs. Each coach will seat 120 people and will have hot food and beverage vending machines, said an official from the ministry.

Deuba Elected Nepal’s Prime Minister: Sher Bahadur Deuba was on Tuesday elected Nepal’s Prime Minister for the fourth time with the support of nearly two-thirds of the members of the 593-strong Parliament. He received 388 votes while 170 votes were cast against his candidacy. A total of 558 were cast and Deuba needed 297 votes to prove his majority. Deuba said his priorities would be holding elections to local government bodies and implementing the new Constitution. On the foreign policy front, he said he would maintain good relations with India and China. Deuba is expected to form a small Cabinet on Wednesday and some Madhesi parties are likely to join the coalition.

Gulf Crisis: Trump says his Middle East trip Is 'Paying Off': US President Donald Trump on Tuesday supported the actions by Arab countries to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, saying his visit to the Middle East is "paying off" to end the "horror of terrorism". "So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding, extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar," he said. "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" Trump said.


Of US, Trump And India’s Inconsistent Stands: In short, New Delhi must carefully weigh the pros and cons of embracing Uncle Sam on all fronts at a time when Washington claims that “the world is not a global community – but an area where nations, non-governmental organisations, and businesses compete for an advantage”.

The Government Must Exit The Airlines Business Immediately: Government of India must realise that Air India is not India, and that the larger interests of the country are more important than one airline’s interests. It must exit the airline business immediately.

Everyone’s A Winner (Almost) In India Stocks This Year: Indian equities have attracted $7.8 billion in foreign money so far in 2017, already exceeding last year’s peak. Among offshore funds that primarily invest in India, the top 30 have produced average returns of almost 25 per cent so far in 2017, matching the surge in the Nifty 50 index.

Thinking Strategically About Privatisation: It is no secret that public sector undertakings, such as Air India, has been a drain on national resources rather than a source of profits for future investment. Air India privatisation is paramount, but the central challenge for the Modi government will be to rapidly reduce its control over the banking system.


Not Black Or White: How To Separate The Rights And Wrongs In NDTV Case: Media houses that claim the right to investigate the high and mighty must equally be subject to the same scrutiny that they think powerful people ought to subject themselves to.

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

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