Morning briefing: Decision on special session of parliament today

GN Bureau | August 13, 2015



The government  is holding a meeting this morning (Thursday) to decide whether to extend the ongoing session of parliament briefly or convene a special session after an interval to try and pass the goods and services tax bill. The monsoon session is scheduled to end on Thursday without a single major bill passed, as the opposition stalled proceedings to press for the resignations of Sushma Swaraj, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje and the government remained firm that no one would quit.

Grenade blast near mosque in J-K's Shopian injures 10 people
A grenade explosion in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district injured 10 people on Thursday morning, sending a panic wave across the area in the wake of a spate of militant attacks. The explosion occured after the morning prayer outside a mosque in Trenz, a village 60km south of Srinagar. According to a police spokesperson, the explosive was placed under a container outside the Jama Masjid.

Govt hikes import duty on steel, aluminum steel to protect domestic players
Government has hiked import duty on base metals, including iron and steel, by 2.5% in a move that may help domestic players battling cheap Chinese imports which may further increase after the currency devaluation by China. Faced with sluggish economic growth and dwindling exports, Chinese central bank on Tuesday decided to devalue its currency, following which yuan has fallen almost 4% in two days. This is the second hike in duty within two months.

Bihar polls: NCP pulls out of anti-BJP alliance, may go alone
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) indicated on Wednesday night that it may pull out of the so-called secular alliance in Bihar, just hours after NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a meeting of regional parties, including Nitish Kumar's JD(U), at his Delhi residence.  The bonhomie of a ‘chai pe charcha’ among the NCP, Samajwadi Party and the JD(U) turned sour since the Pawar-led party was offered just three seats for the Bihar assembly elections slated for mid-October. Of the total 243 seats, the ruling JD-U and the RJD will contest in 100 seats, and the Congress will fight for 40.

Security wants PM Modi to stay behind bulletproof shield on I-Day
Prime minister Narendra Modi had delivered his first Independence Day speech from the Red Fort without the bulletproof glass encloser. This year, however, the security establishment is insisting that the PM will stay within the bulletproof shield. The glass enclosure has been a constant fixture since it was first used for Rajiv Gandhi at the 1985 Republic Day parade. Last year, the enclosure was removed hours before the speech on Modi’s request so that he could “directly connect” with his audience.

Indian govt forced Nestle to burn 29,000 tonnes of Maggi
After being slapped with a law suit, Nestle chairman Peter Brabeck on Wednesday dismissed all allegations made by India as unfounded and said the government had forced the company to burn 29,000 tonnes worth of food after Maggi health scare. "Laboratories in the United States, Britain, Australia and Singapore did not find anything harmful in the noodles. Our products are safe for consumers," he was quoted as saying by Swiss paper Handelszeitung. The government has filed a lawsuit against Nestle's Indian unit, seeking 6.4 billion rupees in damages on behalf of consumers after the country's worst packaged food scare in a decade.

China lets yuan fall further, fuels fears of ‘currency war’
China’s currency fell to a four-year low on Wednesday, slumping for a second day, after a central bank devaluation on Tuesday, and government sources believe the yuan may be allowed to slide even further to help the country’s exporters. The yuan traded in China hit a low of 6.4510 per U.S. dollar, its lowest since August 2011, and the currency fared worse in international trade, touching 6.59 to the dollar .

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