Morning
Brief: Smart Fencing Along India-Pakistan
Border; Made In India iPhones; IT Bosses To
Lobby Against US Visa CurbsBSF soldiers guarding LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. (AUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)

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

Smart Fencing Along India-Pakistan Border: India is erecting ‘smart fence’ along the Pakistan border. With the testing process already in final phases, the government expressed hope that work on installing the fence along 3,323-km-long the India-Pakistan border will begin soon. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the new fencing is likely to have a multi-tier security ring comprising an alarm to security force personnel in case of any infiltration bid or attempts to cut the fence.

Apple To Make iPhones In Bengaluru Facility: US technology major Apple will soon have 'Made in India' iPhones, and they will come out of a factory in Bengaluru. Karnataka IT Minister Priyank Kharge said Apple's intentions to manufacture in Bengaluru "will foster cutting edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development in the state, which are critical for India to compete globally." Though it did not provide a timeline, production is expected to begin in June.

New Push To Curb Unaccounted Cash: The government is calling on businesses and professionals to pay salaries of Rs 10,000 or more to their employees by cheque or bank transfer if they want to claim tax credit. The move is part of the Centre's drive to limit the use of cash in the economy and curb unaccounted funds for which it has resorted to proposing that the threshold for non-cash payments in a day be halved from the current level of Rs 20,000.

Jat Quota Protests Reach Delhi: The Jat quota agitation, which had been limited to Haryana so far, will be extended to Delhi from Friday. “The demonstration in the capital will see participation of members of the Jat community who live in Delhi and want to express solidarity with Jats in Haryana, who have been protesting for the last one week,” said All India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti president Yashpal Malik. Protests will continue through February.

Rs 94 Crore Media Blitz On Promoting Digital Economy: The Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday that the government has spent nearly Rs 94 crore for spreading awareness about digital payments and popularising less-cash economy post demonetisation. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also said that till date, the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity has paid over Rs 14.95 crore for advertisements released between 9 November and 25 January.

CBSE’s New Focus On Physical Education: After reintroducing board exams for Class X, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued new guidelines in which it said yoga, martial arts and NCC and sports will be a compulsory part of the curriculum – subjects in which students will be graded, but it won't be part of their overall assessment. "Indigenous sports, yoga and NCC must be encouraged in the schools creating a sense of physical fitness, discipline, sportsmanship, patriotism, self-sacrifice and health care," said the notification.

Time To Explain Suspicious Deposits: In a new crackdown, emails and text messages have been sent to the majority of 18 lakh people identified for making suspicious and large cash deposits after note ban. Tax officials on Thursday said that messages have been sent to 13 lakh people who are being scrutinised for possible tax evasion in the government's crackdown on black money. The others will receive their "please explain" notice tomorrow, said Central Board of Direct Taxes head Sushil Chandra.

Indian IT Bosses To Argue Against US Visa Curbs: Indian IT bosses will be in US later this month to argue against proposed tightening of visa rules. They would meet officials and lawmakers on 20 February to try and dissuade US President Donald Trump from raising requirements under the H-1B visa programme, said NASSCOM chief R Chandrashekhar.

UK Seeks Closer Ties With EU After Brexit: In the most detailed account yet of its exit plans from the European Union (EU), the British government said on Thursday that the country is leaving the single market but wants a "frictionless" new trade relationship with the bloc. The government published a White Paper outlining "strategic aims" in divorce talks it plans to trigger within weeks.

MUST READ OP-EDS

Towards Openness: Transparency in political financing will happen when the political establishment realises that the only way to get out of the shackles of big and black money is to become open.

Taking The Measure: Statistical offices should incorporate questions to capture people’s life evaluations, hedonic experiences and priorities in their own survey. GDP has shortcomings but finding an alternative indicator is a challenge.

Budget 2017: As The World Looks On, India Moves Slowly Towards A Cleaner Economy: Increased clarity on political funding and the focus on digital payments will increase transparency in Digital India. The government’s continuing thrust against corruption and its emphasis on regulatory compliance in the budget is welcome.

Rescuing India’s Defence Spending From Oblivion: Defence sector reforms need not happen with the budget. But with the second budget in a row that faces deeper fiscal constraints than ever before, one can hope that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar introduces new policies over the coming year.

The Silver Lining In Immigration Reform: If IT firms use the H1B visa reform issue as an opportunity to transform, they will be perceived not as ‘Indian’ or ‘body shops,’ but as global technology giants that don’t need visas to succeed.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

From UC Berkeley To JNU: Leftists Create Roadblocks For Free Speech: As the one-year anniversary of JNU's fiasco nears, it serves us well to know how the legacy of democratic values celebrated by both India and the US is getting eroded by students with a debauched sense of liberty.

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

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