Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
The Big Question: Privacy A Fundamental Right Or Not? The Supreme Court on Tuesday placed before a nine-member bench the question of whether the right to privacy is guaranteed under the Constitution. “We want to decide if it is a right or fundamental right or not,” a five-member bench headed by chief justice J S Khehar said, after Attorney General K K Venugopal argued the nation’s founding fathers had “consciously” decided not to include the right in the Constitution. The question, which forms the basis of petitions that challenge Aadhaar for violating privacy, will be answered by the bench. The apex court said that the bench will also examine the correctness of the position taken by an eight-judge bench in 1954, and subsequently by a six-judge bench in 1962.
One Nation, One Flag: The Union government on Tuesday made it clear there is no provision in the Constitution for a separate flag for any state and the tricolour is the only flag for India. This comes after the Karnataka government initiated a move for a separate flag for the state with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah defending the step after it came under attack from rival parties. Bharatiya Janata Party has called the move as “anti-national”. Meanwhile, the Congress high command wants to know in what context Siddaramaiah has constituted a committee to examine whether the state can have a flag. “The Congress does not have a policy for a state having a separate flag. I have asked the government to clarify,” a top Congress official said.
Nagaland Chief Minister Faces Floor Test Today: Nagaland Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu, who is facing a rebellion from the lawmakers, will face a floor test today. Governor P B Acharya ordered the floor test after the Guwahati High Court turned down an appeal by the Chief Minister to put a freeze on it. On Tuesday, the court refused to support the Chief Minister's plea against Governor Acharya's decision to ask him to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the House. Dismissing Liezietsu's petition, the court said, "the matter is left to the wisdom of the governor to take a decision on the same after proper application of mind."
Corporate Culture Key To Better Deal, Air India Chief Tells Staff: With privatisation on the horizon, Air India (AI) chairman Ashwani Lohani told employees to be ready for a complete change in work culture and that merit will get a "better deal". “These are changing times and any change, despite being inevitable, is always hard to accept. The complexities of working in a PSU environment would get replaced by a corporate culture, a culture in which merit would get a better deal,” Lohani said. He also tried to allay employees' fears sparked by government move to privatise AI by telling them that their "genuine and valid" interests would be safeguarded.
Startup Registrations Made Easy: NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant has said that the government has scrapped around 1,200 complex laws and procedures for easy registration of startups to encourage entrepreneurs in the country. He was speaking at the entrepreneur India 2017 conference, where business investors, startups, small and medium enterprises and professionals met for networking and to discuss possible business ideas. He further said the government has created fund of funds so that young entrepreneurs can have access to money from a vast number of venture funds.
Indian Railways Makeover: World Bank To Help Draw Up Blueprint: Indian Railways, which is investing Rs 5 lakh crore to transform itself, has drafted in the World Bank to help draw up a makeover blueprint. The multilateral lending agency would help the state transporter with investment and planning, digitisation and technology development, besides establishing a railway university and the rail tariff authority. The bank will also provide advisory services and programme management consultancy for this transformation exercise for two to three years. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has drawn up an ambitious plan to transform Railways with an investment of Rs 5 lakh crore in the next four years. For this year, the Railways would spend Rs 1.31 lakh crore to augment capacity.
Zakir Naik Is Now A Stateless Person: The passport of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, wanted in connection with alleged terror funding cases, was on Tuesday revoked at the request of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The officials of the probe agency said the travel document was revoked by the Regional Passport Office of Mumbai after 51-year-old Naik failed to respond to a show cause notice issued to him for personal appearance by 13 July. The revocation of the passport makes Naik a stateless person. The controversial preacher is accused of spreading hatred by his provocative speeches, funding terrorists and laundering several crores of rupees over the years.
UN Treaty Boycott: India Committed To Nuclear Disarmament: After India stayed away from a 7 July voting at the United Nations to permanently ban nuclear weapons, New Delhi said on Tuesday that it continues to remain committed to universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament but “cannot be a party to the treaty” and would “not be bound by any of the obligations that may arise from it”. India also said that it believes that the 7 July treaty, which was participated in by 122 countries, “in no way constitutes or contributes to the development of any customary international law”. India and other nuclear-armed nations – the US, Russia, Britain, China, France, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel, did not participate in the negotiations.
MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS
The Evolving Monetary Policy Committee Culture: The RBI should come out with a working paper to communicate what the MPC is trying to do under the inflation-targeting framework. The challenges before the monetary policy committee are in communications, empirical research and voting patterns.
Needed: A ‘FactRank’ Algorithm To Flag Fake News: Behavioural economics suggests that the reason we fall for fake news is because these stories are designed to simultaneously play to our susceptibility to implicit bias as well as confirmation bias. Fake news plays to our implicit and confirmation biases, so that we accept the news itself as unquestioningly true.
Saving Capitalism From Capitalists? Try Harder, RBI: The Gujarat high court’s judgment in Essar Steel versus the RBI is so unflattering to the banking regulator that Governor Urjit Patel might wonder if the victory is worth celebrating. RBI may find it hard to explain why it’s pushing banks to shove only some accounts into bankruptcy while letting others renegotiate under its debt restructuring norms.
G-20 Leaders Fail To Generate ‘International Economic Cooperation’: Due to the continued US opposition to multilateral trade initiatives, the Hamburg declaration failed to suggest the outcomes that WTO members must accomplish at the 11th ministerial meeting in December.
DGP Senkumar Was Right About The Changing Demography Of Kerala; Here’s The Data: The share of Muslims in the child (0-6 years) population of Kerala and their share in the live births are much higher than their share in the total population of the state. Here are the facts.
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