Morning Brief: Push For Cheaper Internet; Hate Video Sparks Fear; Trump Signs Revised Travel Ban Order

Indian consumers check their mobile telephones at a free Wi-Fi Internet zone in Mumbai. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/GettyImages)

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

New TRAI Push To Make Internet Cheaper: Indian’s telecom watchdog is planning to unshackle Wi-Fi deployment across the country. "We see mass-scale Wi-Fi deployment as a means to democratise the penetration of affordable good-speed internet across urban cities and rural areas," officials at the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have said. The plan is to provide internet for two paise per MB against the existing rates of around 10 paise in the mobile telecom market.

US Hate Video Sparks Fear Among Indians: A day after a Sikh man was shot at in an apparent hate crime, a video stalking Indian families relaxing in a park has escalated fear among the migrants. The video, shot at Columbus in Ohio, shows children playing in a park and elderly people taking stroll while the person behind the camera asks ‘what happened to all the American people who used to live there’. The video was reportedly posted with a document that was later taken down, calling India a “hell hole”.

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Second Unit Of Kudankulam Plant Set To Go Commercial: Nuclear Power Corporation of India is likely to commence commercial operations at the second unit of the 1,000 MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu from next month. The second unit with the reactor was synchronised with the southern grid on 29 August last year and has already reached 100 per cent operating capacity. The first unit of 1,000 MW achieved first criticality in mid-2013. It was connected to the grid in October 2013 and began commercial operation in December 2014.

Government Revamps Voluntary Retirement Rules: Under new service rules unveiled by the Centre, bureaucrats seeking voluntary retirement can now hope to see their requests acted upon within a set time frame. The new rules are applicable on three all-India services – Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service. The new rules also allow bureaucrats to take back their voluntary retirement request.

Naidu Pushes For Affordable Housing Tax Exemption: Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday called for exempting affordable housing from service tax under the goods and service tax (GST) regime so that prices for low-cost homes do not rise. He also asked states to waive stamp duty for affordable housing projects and rationalise it for others. Naidu said his ministry has also recommended that the property sector should be taxed at a rate “which is revenue neutral and not at a higher tax rate”.

Top International Award For Hyderabad Airport: Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has won the top position in the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) passenger survey in the 5-15 million passengers per annum category for 2016. The airport, operated by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited, has steadily improved its score in ASQ from 4.4 in 2009 to 4.9 in 2016 – measured on a scale of 1 to 5.

Pakistan-Based Terrorists A Threat To Region, Says Afghanistan: Pakistan-based terrorist groups are threatening Afghanistan and other countries in the region, National Security Advisor of Afghanistan Mohammad Hanif Atmar has claimed. Speaking at the 19th Asian Security Conference, Atmar said: “We share the region with Pakistan, which has the highest concentration of terrorists anywhere.” Asserting that Afghanistan considers Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed as enemies, Atmar said his country hopes that Pakistan will never allow safe havens to them.

Trump Signs New Executive Order On Travel Ban: US President Donald Trump signed a revised executive order, banning the entry of travellers from six Muslim-majority countries. The new version of his controversial travel ban, which will come into force on 16 March, will affect visitors from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya. The US president has also shut down the US refugee programme. However, the 90-day ban on people from the six countries does not apply to those who already have valid visas or people with US green cards.

MUST READ OP-EDS

Does The Market Exuberance Make Sense? Is the stock market correct in discounting a renewed surge in growth, incredible as it may sound?

Intuition, Intelligence And Information Technology: Having the ability to listen when the still small voice in your head is telling you that you are going in the wrong direction, is probably what is most needed in ivory towers.

India-China Border Dispute Is Here To Stay: Any solution to the India-China border dispute, which requires India trading away any part of Arunachal Pradesh, let alone Tawang, will not pass muster in New Delhi.

The Next Chapter In Internet Governance: Countries like India will not only have the obligation to speak for the second largest constituency of Internet users but also the largest population of unconnected citizens. To serve them, multistakeholderism, cradled by global ideals, must now be nurtured by local realities.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

Kannur Violence: Centre Needs To Send Stern Note To Kerala Chief Minister Under Article 355: If the activities of any random gau rakshak can be pinned on the BJP and Narendra Modi, surely the Kannur violence can be pinned on Vijayan’s willingness to turn a blind eye to it.

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

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