Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
Modi-Trump Meeting Set For 26 June: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump will meet for the first time on 26 June during the Indian leader’s two-day visit to the US, with their discussions expected to set the agenda for strengthening the bilateral strategic partnership. According to officials and experts, terrorism is expected to figure significantly on the agenda of both countries. The issue of America’s H-1B visas for highly skilled foreigners could be next for India, and trade for the US.
Farm Loan Waivers: Centre Refuses To Lend A Helping Hand: The central government will not help states with money for farm loan waivers, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday underscoring a major economic challenge for Maharashtra, which promised to write off loans equal to nearly 80 per cent of its fiscal deficit, and for at least four other states facing similar demands. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab have witnessed growing resentment in the agriculture sector where inflation and stagnated incomes have left millions with piling debt. The crisis has triggered violent protests recently, with a debt write-off a central demand among all of them.
India-Israel Sign ‘White Shipping’ Deal: Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and Chief of the General Staff of Israeli Defence Force Lt Gen Gadi Eisenkot signed a landmark “white shipping” agreement to improve data sharing on non-classified merchant navy ships or cargo ships. This comes after they explored ways to further deepen bilateral defence and security ties. They deliberated on overall security situation in the region and various aspects of defence cooperation between the two countries. The Indian Navy Chief’s trip to Israel comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to the country next month.
Roadmap For $1 Trillion Digital Economy: In a move spearheaded by the IT Ministry, top industry leaders are coming together to expedite the formulation of a roadmap to make India a $1 trillion digital economy, besides planning the next phase of growth. The ministry has received confirmation from about 20 leaders from leading technology companies to draw up the growth blueprint. “We are looking for ideas from thought leaders to make India a $1 trillion digital economy as soon as we can by empowering people at the bottom of the pyramid. And $1 trillion is not the limit but a milestone,” Ministry of Electronics and IT Additional Secretary Ajay Kumar said. The meeting will be chaired by Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
RBI Policy Shift On Cards: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to come under increasing pressure to make a policy shift as retail inflation in May cooled to a new record low of 2.18 per cent from 2.99 per cent in April, driven by falling food prices, government data showed on Monday. Data released by the Central Statistics Office also showed the index of industrial production slowed marginally to 3.1 per cent in April from 3.8 per cent a month ago as mining production and electricity generation eased. Slower industrial output growth and lower inflation may put pressure on the RBI to change its interest rate policy stance to accommodative from neutral. Last week, RBI kept policy rates unchanged in its latest monetary policy review, citing an uncertain inflation outlook.
Gadkari Vows Ganga Steamer Service For Kumbh Pilgrims: Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said pilgrims will be able to reach Allahabad by steamers through the Ganga waterway from Varanasi for the 2019 Kumbh Mela. He also promised to upgrade and augment the 76 km of road servicing the Kumbh in 2019. “The Allahabad to Varanasi stretch will be developed as a national waterway, which will service steamers for transportation of pilgrims,” Gadkari said. “We will press into service some steamers and I will urge the state government to tie up with private players to operate steamers in the route in 2019,” the minister said.
Justice Karnan Retires While Being On The Run: Calcutta High Court’s justice C S Karnan on Monday became the first judge to retire while being on the run. Justice Karnan has been on the run since 9 May after a seven-judge Supreme Court bench passed an unprecedented arrest order against him. The order was issued after his embarrassing spat with senior judges of the top court in the course of which he even ordered the arrest of the Chief Justice of India. Calcutta High Court, in another first, did not host the customary farewell dinner for the retiring judge, who is also facing a six-month jail sentence. Karnan has alleged that he is being targeted because he is a Dalit.
War On Terror: Trump Vows To Starve The Beast: US President Donald Trump pledged to take the fight against terrorism to the very end as he chaired the first meeting of his full cabinet on Monday, saying "we are going to starve the beast" by stopping its funding. "It's not an easy fight, but that's a fight we're going to win. You have to starve the beast. And we're going to starve the beast, believe me," Trump said, without naming the countries which would stop the funding. He said the deals he signed in Saudi Arabia will bring "many thousands of jobs" to the US and help Riyadh take a greater role in providing stability and security in that region.
MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS
Monetary Policy Committee: More Questions Than Answers: India is nowhere close to ensuring CPI inflation of 4 per cent, especially when the growth accelerates and pricing power returns. The MPC should appreciate that credibility is earned, never regimented. It is also not enhanced by succumbing to bullying.
Better Times Ahead For India’s Venture Capital Market: The early-stage investment slowdown will most likely last a few more quarters before venture capital investors return to the market. But, clearly, while the downturn plays out, preparations are already underway for the next phase.
Why India Needs To Work On Financial Literacy Now More Than Ever: Financial literacy and financial stability are two key aspects of an efficient economy. All stakeholders including consumers must work in conjunction for financial literacy through a combination of innovative strategies.
Start-up India Action Plan Falling Short: The government’s initiative has had an impact on only a small section of start-ups. The government needs to review policy, remove impediments and give a stronger impetus to start-ups.
NDTV Should Fight Its Battles Legally, Not By Using Figleaf Of Media Freedom: NDTV should focus on proving its case in the legal domain. It will be vindicated, and gain credibility, by doing this. It will lose credibility by using the figleaf of media freedom.
We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!
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