Morning briefing: Hearing in SC on Arunachal Pradesh begins today

GN Bureau | February 1, 2016



The Supreme Court will today hear the Congress' arguments against the imposition of President's rule in the Arunachal Pradesh. The Congress has accused Arunachal governor JP Rajkhowa of being biased and working on the directions of the central government to dislodge the Congress government in the state. Calling the crisis in the state "too serious", the Supreme Court last week had issued notices to the central government and Rajkhowa on the plea by former chief minister Nabam Tuki. The top court had asked to see the state governor's report citing a "Constitutional breakdown" and had also asked the centre to reply to its notice by January 29. Both the centre and governor had submitted their replies and the court will take up the matter today. President Pranab Mukherjee last week had given assent to the centre's decision. Cow slaughter, threats and an episode with Chief Minister Tuki's council of minister that almost resulted in physical assault were some of the reasons cited by Rajkhowa while detailing why president's Rule was essential in the state.

J&K governor wants answers on govt formation by tomorrow
Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra has told the People's Democratic Party and the BJP that they must clarify by tomorrow evening whether they will form government in the state again. The 10-month-old alliance between the two parties has been brought to an edge by the seeming reluctance of PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti to renew it. Mehbooba Mufti is expected to succeed as chief minister, her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who died early last month. Mehbooba Mufti has hinted on Sunday that she would prefer fresh elections in Jammu and Kashmir. "I will stand by the core ideology of PDP even if I'm all alone. I will go back to the people," sources quoted her as saying at a party meeting. A PDP communique said she spelled out her condition for government formation - that the BJP, which is in power at the Cemtre, must deliver on promises made in a common agenda of governance they agreed upon. Meanwhile, top BJP leaders in the state will meet today and later travel to Delhi to hold discussions with the party's central leadership.The party is confident of forming government in the state again with the PDP, but will also not be inordinately malleable.

Punjab chief minister unhapply over absence of Sikh regiment in R-Day
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday regretted the absence of a Sikh regiment contingent in this year's Republic Day parade even as opposition Congress termed it as a "grave omission". Describing the absence of the Sikh regiment from the Republic Day parade as "sad and regrettable", Mr Badal has urged the central government to issue necessary instructions and guidelines to ensure that the regiment is never kept out of the parades in future. In a letter to prime minister Narendra Modi, Badal said, "A widespread feeling of hurt and resentment has been caused by the non-inclusion of the Sikh Regiment in the Republic Day parade where French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest."  Badal said the parade was always regarded as a great occasion to showcase India's multi-cultural and multi-religious identity, highlighting its secular ethos. "As a vibrant and fiercely patriotic minority community in the country, the Sikhs are always seen as the most powerful symbol of this multi-dimensional identity and secular character of the country," he wrote. State Congress president Amarinder Singh dubbed it as a "grave omission" particularly when president of France, where turban is banned in public places, was the chief guest. "There could not have been a better occasion to convey the importance of the turban to him," the Congress leader said.

New lokayukta takes charge in UP
After a delay of nearly two years, Uttar Pradesh got a Lok Ayukta on Sunday with governor Ram Naik swearing in justice Sanjay Mishra as the new ombudsman. The swearing in took place at the Raj Bhawan in the presence of the chief minister, ministers and bureaucrats. Though the name of the former Allahabad High Court judge figured on the shortlist of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, he was never seen as the front-runner, even as the state government clashed with the constitutional offices of the governor and the high court chief justice over the selection of candidates for the post. A petition in the SC questioning the delay in the appointment led to the court on December 14 ordering that a new Lok Ayukta be appointed in two days. The appointment panel again failed to strike a consensus. This led the court to ask for the shortlisted names and appoint Justice Virendra Singh as the Lok Ayukta, using the rarely used Article 142 of the Constitution. Later Justice Chandrachud objected to the way Virendra Singh was included on the list, as he had earlier objected to the name.The court stayed the appointment and on January 28 chose Justice Mishra as the Lok Ayukta.

Crude oil price fall good in the short term
Falling crude price is a huge positive for several companies, but a stable crude is even better in the short term. Companies that use crude by-products as raw material may gain once the prices stabilise at the low levels and moves up marginally, reports Economic Times. Crude has risen 15% in the last five trading sessions. One direct benefit is that the companies start benefitting from the inventory gains which reflects in the company's net profit. Amid sliding crude prices, higher inventory losses lower the net profit. Another benefit of a small increase in prices after a sharp fall is that consumers or stockists tend to fill in their future inventories faster to avoid higher product prices in case oil prices rise further.

Three in contention for Sebi chief's post
The shortlist for the post of Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman has been whittled down to three, according to people aware of the matter. They are State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, former Forward Markets Commission chairman Ramesh Abhishek and former capital markets joint secretary Thomas Mathew. The selection panel led by cabinet secretary PK Sinha has submitted the three recommendations to the government. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pick the chairman after the contenders are cleared by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).The announcement is expected early this month as current chairman UK Sinha's term comes to an end on February 17

Indian companies join Obama's computer science for all initiative
India's top software exporters, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys,  have joined the likes of Google and Salesforce to support US president Barack Obama's just announced $4-billion 'Computer Science for All' initiative that aims to dramatically increase the number of children with access to computer science training in the US and build a more technologically advanced nation. TCS and Infosys have made investments as part of a public private partnership through a National Science Foundation (NSF), which will put in $120 million to support and train computer science teachers in schools, a statement from the White House has said.

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