Morning Brief: Swaraj Dismisses Trump’s Paris Pact Claims; Gulf Crisis Widens; India Tops Ease Of Doing Business Index
Brief: Swaraj Dismisses Trump’s Paris Pact Claims; Gulf Crisis Widens; India
Tops Ease Of Doing Business IndexSushma Swaraj at the UN

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

Swaraj Dismisses Trump Claim: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday rubbished the allegations by President Donald Trump that India signed the Paris pact to get “billions and billions and billions” of dollars from developed nations. “This is completely not true,” said the minister adding “India signed the Paris agreement not because of any pressure or out of greed. We are committed to the environment and this commitment is 5,000 years old. We worship nature. It is in Indian ethos. I clearly dismiss the accusations.” She said the relationship between the two countries is progressing well. However, she admitted that the new H-1B visa rule is a matter of concern for India.

Gulf Crisis Widening: The Gulf region is staring at a major crisis as more countries joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism and opening up a rift among some of the most powerful Arab states that could have repercussions for the Indian economy and expatriates. Bahrain was the first to snap ties, followed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE , Egypt, Yemen, Libya and the Maldives. They accused Qatar of backing groups such as Al Qaeda, Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood and pushing policies that were destabilising the region.

Ensure Safety Of Indians In Gulf, Pinarayi Vijayan To Centre: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday sought the Centre's intervention to ensure the safety of Indians, including Keralites, residing in Qatar following developments in the Gulf. In letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Vijayan requested the Centre to come with the "most appropriate diplomatic and geo-political stance" and put in place a "robust mechanism" for addressing all the concerns. Qatar is home to an estimated 700,000 Indians – whose remittances in 2015 were worth $3.98 billion. Vijayan also wanted the Indian embassy in Doha to be "suitably empowered" to respond presciently to the concerns of the Indian community in the country.

Jihad Call Against Gau Rakshaks: A radical militant leader, known for his statements of beheading separatists in Kashmir, has come up with another one, this time calling on Indian Muslims to launch a jihad against cow protection vigilantes. In a four-minute audio clip, Zakir Musa called for a holy war on those who claim to be gau rakshaks. “We will take revenge for every atrocity. Muslims of India, there is still time to emerge. Form groups and do jihad against these kafirs (infidels). Show these gau rakshaks what it means being a Muslim. Learn from your history,” he said.

New Corruption Trial Deadline for Government Employees: Bringing about a significant change to a 50-year-old rule, the government has set a deadline of six months to complete probe in corruption cases involving its employees. The department of personnel and training has amended Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, and decided a timeline for critical stages of investigation and inquiry proceedings. The Inquiring Authority should conclude the inquiry and submit its report within a period of six months, says the amended rules. Earlier, there was no such time frame to complete an enquiry.

Express Justice: 33 Cases Disposed Of By A Single Judge In A Day: A single Supreme Court judge disposed of 33 cases on Monday for the first time in the top court's annals as a fellow judge was "unavailable". In the absence of Justice M Shantanagoudar, Justice Deepak Gupta conducted the proceedings alone. According to the apex court's rules, a quorum of two judges is required to hear cases, though such a norm is not mandatory in the high courts or trial courts. Sources said that Justice Shantanagoudar apparently reported unwell following which Chief Justice J S Khehar convinced Justice Gupta to hear the 33 cases listed. Besides handling the 33 cases, Justice Gupta also dealt with nearly a dozen "mentioning matters".

India Shines In Ease Of Doing Business Index: India has overtaken China to secure the top position among 30 developing countries on ease of doing business, declares a study by global management consulting firm A T Kearney. The 16th edition of GRDI – 2017 Global Retail Development Index – ranks the top 30 developing countries for retail investment worldwide and analyses 25 macroeconomic and retail-specific variables. India's rapidly expanding economy, easing of foreign direct investment rules and a consumption boom are the key drivers for India's top ranking in the Global Retail Development Index, said the study.

Security Forces Foil Attack, Kill Four Militants: Security forces killed four militants on Monday when they tried to attack a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp at Sumbal in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir. The heavily armed militants tried to storm the camp of 45 Battalion CRPF at around 4.10 am by opening fire at the sentry post, a police official said. He said the firing was retaliated by the guards even as police reinforcement was rushed to the scene of gun battle. Four assault rifles, grenades and other ammunition were recovered from the bodies of the slain attackers. Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the "the terrorists intended a prolonged siege and extensive damage".

Pakistan Senate Takes Up Kulbhushan Jadhav’s Case: Pakistan’s Senate said it will debate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order staying the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav after a senator of a hardline party tabled a motion saying the verdict suggested that Islamabad was not fully equipped to fight the case. The motion by Jamaat-I-Islami Senator Sirajul Haq was admitted for regular debate and notices were issued to the foreign ministry and the attorney general to brief the upper house of the parliament.


Indian GST: Unparalleled Tax Reform: The state assemblies of 21 states, Delhi and Puducherry have already passed state GST laws and the remaining states are in the process of doing so. The Indian GST reform will get etched in history, not only for the immense benefits that will accrue to all stakeholders, but also for its boldness and unique design.

Innovation And Connections For Energy Access: We need innovation in technology and business models for managing the utility-customer interface, the last kilometre of service delivery. With an enabling regulatory framework, India has the potential to achieve the same success in electricity access it has seen in financial services, leapfrogging into the future of inter-connected, renewable, “smart” energy.

GM Mustard Should Not Go The BT Brinjal Way: It would be a pity if the environment minister heeds the unreasonable voices opposing the GM Mustard technology and consigns it to the same fate as BT Brinjal.

A Wake-Up Call For Mumbai And Delhi: India’s GVA and GDP deflators had risen in tandem with the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) in 2016-17, compared with 2015-16, after the recent data revisions. The government must step out of the hologram and accept the reality of an unhealthy economy.


The Revolution That Never Was: 50 Years Later, Naxalbari Shrugs Off Its Gory Past: Fifty years after a failed revolution, Naxalbari has turned a new leaf and is ready to embrace the idea of a modern and progressive India.

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