UPA INHERITED A HEALTHY ECONOMY, MADE IT NON-PERFORMING, SAYS GOVT'S WHITE PAPER
The Modi govt launched a scathing attack on the previous UPA govt’s “lost decade” of economic reforms by issuing a White Paper that lists a plethora of scams, double-digit inflation, an ailing banking sector and high policy uncertainty all of which marred India's business climate, dented its image and the people's confidence about their future.
The ‘White Paper’ said the Modi govt undertook a wide range of reforms which resulted in the transition of India from the league of 'Fragile Five' to the league of 'Top Five' in just about a decade. The Paper was tabled in both Houses of Parliament by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Divided into three sections, the first dwells on the mismanagement of the economy, the second, which is the shortest, lists the scams that took place during the UPA govt, and the third, which is the longest, narrates the measures taken by the Modi govt to set right the economy.
Answering the question why now, the Paper said, “Our govt refrained from bringing out a white paper on the poor state of affairs then. That would have given a negative narrative and shaken the confidence of all, including investors. The need of the hour was to give hope to the people, to attract investments, both domestic and global, and to build support for the much-needed reforms. The govt believed in 'nation-first' and not in scoring political points.’’
CONG BRINGS OUT A BLACK PAPER’ ON MODI GOVT’S ‘INJUSTICES’
Hours ahead of the NDA govt’s tabling of a white paper in Parliament on the “mismanagement” of the economy in the UPA era, the Congress released a “black paper” on the Narendra Modi govt’s tenure.
Titled ’10 Saal Anyay Kaal 2014-2024 (10 years of injustice)’, the black paper says the country’s economy has been “devastated”, unemployment “aggravated” and agriculture sector “destroyed” during the Modi regime, and that it has “abetted” crimes against women and “committed grave injustices” against minorities.
The Congress booklet showcases “the economic, social and political injustice” under the Modi govt over the past ten years and also the spread of social disharmony and the compromise of national security. The themes of the booklet are similar to Rahul Gandhi’s ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.
Releasing the booklet, Kharge took on the PM on several fronts, including his assertion that it was the NDA govt that had made persons from SC/ST communities President. “That is not important. Yeh toh bante rahte hain (they keep becoming)… We also made a person from the SC community the President (K R Narayanan).”
The Congress president alleged that the BJP raised funds through electoral bonds by harassing people through agencies.
“The BJP has made 411 MLAs switch sides and toppled govts over the past 10 years,” Kharge said and added that those who speak against them are threatened.
Terming Modi’s attacks on Rahul Gandhi in the Rajya Sabha as “lowering the standard (of a PM)”, Kharge said a Prime Minister must put forward a vision as a statesman instead of saying I will be in power for five more years and not talk about what he has done over the past 10 years.
In response to Modi’s North-South divide allegation, Kharge said Modi, as CM of Gujarat, had urged the UPA to give 50% of tax revenue to states. “He had said Gujarat gives Rs 48,600 crore but gets only 2.5% in return. When someone else says this, he becomes a “desh drohi (traitor)”.
In a jibe over the Congress’s move, Modi thanked Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for coming out with the “black paper” against his govt and referred to it as “kaala teeka” (to ward off the evil eye) in the midst of the good work being done by his govt.
RAHUL CLAIMS MODI IS NOT OBC BY BIRTH, AND LATER THANKS BJP FOR 'CONFIRMING' IT
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday thanked the BJP for 'confirming' that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not born in an OBC family, as he (Rahul) had claimed earlier in the day.
Gandhi, while making a brief speech in Jharsuguda on the third and concluding day of his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' in Odisha, said: "Modi ji has been misleading the people by saying that he is an OBC. He was born in a family of the 'Ghanchi' caste, which was included in the OBC list during the BJP govt's tenure in Gujarat in 2000. "He changed his caste to OBC after becoming the CM of Gujarat. Therefore, Modi ji is not an OBC by birth," the Congress MP asserted.
Union ministers Prahlad Joshi and Dharmendra Pradhan alleged that Gandhi has been spreading lies on this issue.
'The truth: Modi's OBC status was recognised on Oct 27, 1999, two years before he became Gujarat's Chief Minister. @INCIndia insults the OBC community yet again, but OBCs will deliver a resounding lesson in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls,' Joshi, the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister, said in a post on X.
Soon after this, Rahul Gandhi also took to X and said: 'Modi ji is not by birth but a 'paper OBC'. He was not an OBC till five decades after his birth. Thanks to the BJP govt for confirming this truth of mine.'
The former Congress president during his brief speech in Odisha also alleged that the prime minister will never conduct a caste census in the country, without which social justice cannot be achieved. "Only the Congress party will conduct this caste census and ensure social justice in India," Gandhi said.
The Congress leader said whenever he talks about social justice and a caste census, Modi mentions the existence of only two castes in the country -- rich and poor. "If there are two castes, then which one do you belong to? You are not poor; you change clothes several times during a day... and then lie about belonging to the OBC category. The PM does not shake hands with OBCs, but hugs billionaires," Gandhi alleged.
WILL REPLACE STAFF IN MALDIVES WITH "COMPETENT TECHNICAL PERSONNEL": INDIA
Days after the second high-level meeting between India and the Maldives, New Delhi has confirmed that the current personnel in the island country will be replaced by "competent Indian technical personnel". The Ministry of External Affairs, however, refused to elaborate on what the term exactly means.
After conflicting reports on India's aid allocation for the Maldives in this year's Budget, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal also clarified on Thursday that the new figure could be revised and India remains "an important development partner" of the island nation.
India has around 80 personnel, including medical staff, to operate three aircraft in the archipelago nation's vast maritime territory.
After the meeting in New Delhi last week, the Maldives had issued a statement claiming that both sides had agreed that India would replace military personnel in one of the three aviation platforms by March 10 and the others by May 10.
India had, however, made no mention of withdrawing troops, stating, "During the meeting, both sides continued their discussions on wide-ranging issues related to bilateral cooperation towards identifying steps to enhance the partnership, including expediting the implementation of ongoing development cooperation projects."
DELAY IN ANNOUNCING PAK POLL RESULTS RAISES EYEBROWS
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced first results of the 2024 polls in the early hours of Friday, more than 10 hours after voting ended amid allegations of rigging, sporadic violence and a countrywide mobile phone shutdown.
The polls closed Thursday 5 pm and ballot counting began but there was no clear picture till about 3 am Friday from the ECP about which party was leading.
As political parties complained about the delay and questioned the poll authority, the ECP directed all the provincial election commissioners and returning officers to announce the results within half an hour or else face strict action.
Earlier, the Returning Officers had allegedly stopped issuing results to the media following an "apparent victory" of the PTI-backed-independents in most seats in Punjab and Kyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces.
PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Khan in a statement claimed his party has won over 150 national assembly seats and also is in a position to form govts in Punjab and KPK. He urged the ECP to announce all results without any further delay.
US SUPREME COURT LEANS AGAINST TRUMP DISQUALIFICATION
The US Supreme Court on Thursday appeared inclined to reject Colorado’s disqualification of Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential race on grounds of insurrection, implicitly warning that such a course would set up states against each other and sunder the country. Justices on both the liberal and conservative spectrum expressed worries about the “extraordinary” ramifications of letting states decide whether a candidate is an insurrectionist, even though decentralised poll rules and the federal structure of the nation allows states to make such a call.
Even liberal justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Jackson Brown voiced concern about states setting the agenda for national election. Conservative justices wondered what would happen if other states began disqualifying rival candidates on political grounds amid concerns that Republicans could retaliate against Trump’s disqualification by moving to strike President Biden off the ballot in states they governed.
INDIA’S DECISION TO FENCE BORDER WITH MYANMAR GOOD FOR REGION, SAYS BANGLADESH
Calling India’s decision to fence its borders with Myanmar a “good move”, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud on Thursday said India and Bangladesh were facing the same problem of insurgency and that they should work together.
During an interaction at Vivekananda International Foundation in Delhi, Mahmud said: “Fencing the India-Myanmar border would be good for India and the region as I think there is insurgency (flowing) from Myanmar. In recent weeks, hundreds of people fled from Myanmar to India and Bangladesh. That is why the Indian govt decided to go for it (fence the border).”
Mahmud said 1.2 million “forcibly displaced” Rohingya refugees was a “burden” on Bangladesh and sought India’s assistance for their repatriation to Myanmar. He said the refugees are creating environmental and security problems besides other difficulties for Bangladesh.
UDDHAV SENA LEADER SHOT DEAD DURING FACEBOOK LIVE; ATTACKER KILLS SELF
Shiv Sena-Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray leader Abhishek Ghosalkar was shot dead in Mumbai on Thursday evening during a 'Facebook Live' by a local 'social activist' who also ended his own life, police said.
A viral video of the incident, which took place at assailant Mauris Noronha's office in IC Colony in the northern suburb of Borivali (West), showed Ghosalkar being shot in the abdomen and shoulder.
The attack, which streamed live on Facebook, came days after Maharashtra witnessed CCVT footage of a BJP MLA opening fire inside a police station in neighbouring Thane district and raised questions about the law and order situation.
The video showed Ghosalkar being shot in the abdomen and shoulder as he was live on Facebook with Noronha, a local activist. Sounds of three more shots are also heard in the clip.
A senior police official told PTI that Ghosalkar was hit by four bullets. Noronha, who used an illegal pistol for the crime, then shot himself once, he added.
Ghosalkar and Noronha had 'personal enmity' but the Facebook live was arranged to clarify that they had come together ending their bitterness for the betterment of the IC Colony area, another police official said.
Chief Minister Shinde said a probe was being launched into the latest firing incident.
Shiv Sena-UBT MP Sanjay Raut alleged in a post on X that Shinde had met Noronha at the chief minister's official residence 'Varsha' in Mumbai four days ago, and had invited him to join the Shinde-led Shiv Sena.
Former minister Aaditya Thackeray, who said he had met Abhishek Ghosalkar earlier in the evening, claimed there was no longer any fear of law in Maharashtra.
HALDWANI: MADRASA RAZED, SHOOT AT SIGHT ORDER ISSUED AFTER 60 INJURED
A curfew was imposed in Haldwani on Thursday after local residents set vehicles and a police station on fire and hurled stones, killing 4 and injuring about 250 people, over the demolition of an 'illegally built' madrasa and an adjoining mosque, officials said.
Most of the people hospitalised after the violence at Malik ka Bagicha in in Haldwani's Banbhoolpura area were police personnel. The remaining were municipal workers involved in the demolition of the local madrasa and a mosque in its complex, they said.
The injured also included Haldwani SDM, they added.
In state capital Dehradun, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami held a meeting with senior officials, including Chief Secretary Radha Raturi and DGP Abhinav Kumar to review the situation in Haldwani, according to an official statement.
Besides imposition of curfew in entire Haldwani, shoot-at-sight orders against rioters were also issued in Haldwani, the statement said. The chief minister urged everyone to maintain calm and asked officials to deal sternly with 'anarchic elements', it added.
SSP Prahlad Meena said the madrasa and the mosque stood on an illegally encroached govt land and the demolitions were carried out in the heavy presence of police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel in compliance with a court order.
ALLEGATIONS OF INDIAN INTERFERENCE IN CANADA ELECTIONS BASELESS: MEA
India on Thursday strongly rejected as “baseless” allegations of its interference in Canada elections and said that the core issue has been Ottawa’s “meddling” in New Delhi’s internal affairs.
According to Canadian media reports, the country’s federal commission of inquiry into foreign interference is looking to examine allegations of “meddling by India” in the last two general elections.
The official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Randhir Jaiswal, said on Thursday, “We have seen media reports about the Canadian commission enquiring into… We strongly reject all such baseless allegations of Indian interference in Canadian elections.”
The Canadian federal commission’s terms of reference is primarily to examine the possible interference by China, Russia and other foreign states or non-state actors in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, the CTV News reported. “It is not the govt of India’s policy to interfere in democratic processes of other countries. In fact, quite on the reverse, it is Canada which has been interfering in our internal affairs,” Jaiswal said.
“We have been raising this issue regularly with them. We continue to call on Canada to take effective measures to address our core concerns,” he said.
REGULATORY ACTION ON PAYTM PAYMENTS BANK, NOT APP, CLARIFIES RBI
The RBI's directive issued last month concerns Paytm Payments Bank, not the Paytm app, the banking regulator clarified in a press conference on Thursday.
The banking regulator had last month barred Paytm Payments Bank from conducting most of its operations, including deposit-taking and fund transfers, with effect from March 1, over several instances of non-compliance and continued material supervisory concerns.
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The RBI said it would next week come out with a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Paytm Payments Bank issue. “This particular action is against the payments bank, not the app. We will clarify it through FAQs. The app is not impacted by the action,” said RBI Deputy Governor Swaminathan J.
Earlier, in March 2022, the RBI had directed Paytm Payments Bank to stop onboarding new customers — due to know your customer (KYC) violations — and to appoint an audit firm.
Large-scale KYC violations, leading to money-laundering concerns, had prompted the RBI to clamp down on the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led firm. There were other concerns too, such as not maintaining an arm’s length with the promoter group (One97 Communications), not disclosing payments to promoters, false submissions of compliance, and an overall sense of complete disregard for compliance and transparency.
AIRBUS AWARDS ORDER FOR A220 DOORS TO BENGALURU-BASED FIRM
European aerospace firm Airbus, which aims to double sourcing of parts from India to $1.5 billion in the coming years, said Thursday that it has awarded a contract for the manufacture and assembly of doors for its A220 family of aircraft to Bengaluru-based Dynamatic Technologies. The company termed it one of the largest aerospace export contracts to India.
Under the agreement, Dynamatic will manufacture and assemble cargo, passenger and service doors along with the over-wing emergency exit doors for the A220 aircraft (eight doors per aircraft). The doors contract includes the manufacture of detailed parts components, which will create downstream opportunities for other Indian suppliers.
U-19 WORLD CUP: HEARTBREAK FOR PAK AS AUSTRALIA SEAL FINAL DATE WITH INDIA
An unbeaten tenth-wicket stand of 17 between Raf MacMillan and Callum Vidler took Australia past Pakistan in a topsy-turvy second semi-final in Benoni to seal a date against India in Sunday's final for the 2024 Men's Under-19 World Cup title.
Chasing only 180 after Tom Straker's 6 for 24 wrecked Pakistan in the first innings, Australia nearly threw away their advantage with the bat after a few clumsy top-order dismissals brought some parity into the contest. Fifteen-year-old Ali Raza (4-34) struck thrice late in the day, but the young pair of MacMillan (19*) and Vidler (3*) staved off the challenge posed by the inspired Pakistan bowling attack in the death overs to just about take Australia over the line. The winning runs in the final over were scored off an inside edge that very nearly crashed into the stumps but instead trickled behind for four.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Sometimes, you need a door slammed in your face before you can hear opportunity knock. - James Geary
"Mary," asked Dawn thoughtfully one day, "what would you do if you caught your husband with another woman?"
"Another woman with MY husband?" Mary thought it over.
"Let's see; I'd break her cane, shoot her guide dog, and call a cab to take her back to the institution she escaped from."