Morning Brief: SC Refuses To Stay Yeddyurappa Swearing-In; Congress Cries Foul; Indore-Bhopal Named Cleanest Cities

BJP’s B S Yeddyurappa is set to take oath as the next chief minister of Karnataka today. (Hemant Mishra/Mint via GettyImages) 

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

Supreme Court Refuses To Stay Yeddyurappa Swearing-In

The Supreme Court of India has refused to stay the swearing-in of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP's) B S Yeddyurappa as the next Chief Minister of Karnataka, saying it cannot intervene in the Governor’s decision. The swearing-in has been scheduled for 9 am today. The court also added that it has not dismissed the petition by Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) but will take up the matter at 10.30 am on Friday. The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the elections, has been given 15 days time to prove its majority on the floor of the house. The BJP has won 104 seats in the elections. The governor’s move will be a setback for the JD(S)-Congress alliance that has approached the governor with the signature of over 115 MLAs.

Congress Cries Foul

The Congress on Wednesday slammed Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala after he invited BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa to form the government in the state. The Congress also accused him of acting like a "BJP puppet" by allowing it to "manufacture" a majority in 15 days. Congress leader P Chidambaram alleged that the Governor has given Yeddyurappa 15 days time to "convert" the number of 104 legislators to 111. Party general secretary Ashok Gehlot said that the decision was a "murder of democracy" and has been taken "under pressure from the BJP leadership". Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also hit out at Vala, accusing him of denigrating the governor's office, trampling upon Constitution and abusing law and acting like a "BJP puppet".

Indore And Bhopal Named Cleanest Cities

Indore has yet again emerged as the cleanest city in India, followed by Bhopal and Chandigarh in the government’s cleanliness survey. Indore was the cleanest city last year as well but that survey was conducted only for around 430 cities. This time it was conducted for around 4,200 cities. The results of Swachh Survekshan 2018, which aims to estimate levels of cleanliness across cities in the country, were announced today by Minister of State for Housing Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday. Compared to the previous surveys, this year’s exercise allocated substantial weightage to the feedback from citizens based on their daily experience. Jharkhand was adjudged the best performing state in the survey followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

Government Clears National Biofuel Policy

In a bid to cut oil import costs, the Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the National Biofuels Policy that will also help India’s efforts to cut carbon emissions. This comes in the backdrop of the central government’s plan to double farmer incomes by 2022. The policy will also help improve farmer income and has expanded the scope of raw material for ethanol production to include sugarcane juice, sugar beet, sweet sorghum and starch containing materials such as corn, cassava, and damaged grains. According to the government, there will be reduced import dependency, given that 10 million litres of E10 (which contains 10 per cent ethanol) saves Rs 28 crore of foreign exchange at current rates. The government aims to develop a Rs1 trillion biofuel economy.

Green Light For Extension Of Noida City Centre Metro Line To Sector 62

The Union cabinet on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the extension of metro rail network from Noida City Centre to Sector-62. “Under Delhi Metro corridor, metro line will be extended from Noida City Centre to Sector 62, Noida… Rs 1,967 crore would be spent on the expansion,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. The new line will be an extension of the Dwarka-Noida City Centre line of Delhi Metro and is proposed to have six stations. Prasad said the total stretch for the extension is 6.675 km long and it will provide transport facilities to a large number of people living in Noida, besides catering to residents of close-by areas of Ghaziabad. The project will be implemented by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited, the existing special purpose vehicle of the Central and Delhi governments.

Karnataka's Plea Against Finalisation Of Cauvery Scheme Rejected

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Karnataka's plea that the finalisation of the draft Cauvery management scheme should be put on hold as the process of formation of a new government in the state is underway. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also asked the Centre, represented by Attorney General K K Venugopal, to “rectify” and “modify” certain provision of the draft scheme that authorises the Centre to issue directions “from time to time” on Cauvery water distribution between the four southern riparian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked Attorney General K K Venugopal to fix the matter for today (17 May) to consider the modified draft scheme, which will ensure compliance of the 16 February apex court judgment relating to Cauvery water distribution among four states.

UK Immigration Cap Blow To Indian Doctors And Engineers

Indians are likely to be the hardest hit by UK's annual visa cap. According to data released on Wednesday, Indian doctors, teachers, engineers and IT professionals were among 6,080 skilled workers holding a UK job offer who were denied visas to the country since December 2017. Latest UK Office of National Statistics figures record Indians as the largest chunk of skilled work visas granted (57 per cent) to nationals from outside the EU, indicating that Indians are likely to be the hardest hit by the visa cap. “Science, engineering and technology has long benefited from mobility of talent and collaboration across borders – including between India and the UK. The figures we’ve obtained show that currently our immigration system is hampering this ambition,” said Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) deputy director Naomi Weir. Last month, it had emerged that at least 100 Indian doctors were denied visas after being recruited by the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) due to the Tier 2 monthly quota being over-subscribed.

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