Morning briefing: Trade, terror and NRIs on top of PM Modi's agenda in UAE today

GN Bureau | August 17, 2015



Prime minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold talks with UAE leaders and address Indian diaspora today (Monday). On day two of his UAE visit Modi will travel to Dubai and meet UAE vice president and prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Modi will seek to enhance cooperation in energy and trade. Later in the day, the PM will reach out to the non-resident Indians. He will address more than 40,000 Indian community members in Dubai cricket stadium.

Home minister holds emergency meeting as Pak continues border firing
Home minsiter Rajnath Singh has called for a meeting to be attended by home secretary LC Goyal at 11 am today as the Pakistan Army continues to violate the ceasefire by resorting to unprovoked shelling and firing along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu. "Pakistan firing started at 8 p.m. on Sunday and continued till 1 a.m. Intermittent firing is still on (even on Monday)," a defence official said. The firing and shelling is going on almost on a daily basis, since last month, violating the border ceasefire which came into operation in November 2003. Pakistani troops target Indian posts and civilian areas with 120 mm mortar bombs.

Congress asks whether NSA-level talks will serve any purpose
Ahead of the NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan, Congress on Sunday questioned whether it would serve any purpose as cases of ceasefire violations have increased since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa. Congress spokesperson R P N Singh, however, said that it was a prerogative of the government to have the NSA-level talks. The National Security Advisors (NSA) of India and Pakistan will hold talks on terrorism-related issues for the first time on August 23 in New Delhi.

Monsoon's crucial period  rainfall deficit touches 10%
The rainfall deficit is now as much as 10% and monsoon may remain subdued even this week over most parts of the country, raising concerns over output from summer-sown crops such as cotton, oilseeds, paddy and pulses. The deficit may mean first drought in six years. The June-September monsoon rains determine India's agri economy as more than half of farm land depend on the rainfall.

Ex-servicemen to launch indefinite hunger strike on pension from August 24
Disappointed by prime minister Narendra Modi's assurance that the government has accepted "in principle" their demand for 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP), ex-servicemen on Sunday announced intensification of their stir by deciding to launch an indefinite hunger strike from August 24. The protestors have been on a relay hunger strike so far. Ex-servicemen are holding a protest at Jantar Mantar and in other parts of the country for two months demanding early implementation of OROP.  

New policy on domestic helps seeks Rs 9,000 minimum pay, social security, leaves
To make labour reforms truly inclusive, the government is putting into shape National Policy for Domestic Workers, that proposes a minimum salary of Rs 9,000 per month for the skilled full-time household helps, along with social security cover and mandatory leaves (paid and maternity. It will have provisions against sexual harassment, a right to pursue education, a safe working environment and a grievance redressal mechanism.

CBDT constitutes committee to fine tune transfer policy
In view of largescale cadre restructuring being effected in the Income Tax department recently, the CBDT has constituted a committee to review the existing transfer and posting policy in the organisation. The restructuring has brought about largescale changes in the jurisdiction of I-T officers and also changes in the assessment ranges for a number of taxpayers. The seven-member committee, constituted recently and headed by a Delhi-based Principal DG rank officer, has been tasked to submit its report by this month end.

Vyapam scam-hit BJP sweeps Madhya Pradesh urban body polls
Depite under attack, the Bharatiya Janata Party swept the Madhya Pradesh urban body polls by winning eight out of 10 chairpersons’ posts. The Vyapam scam-hit party now controls all the 16 municipal corporations in the state. The voting to the 10 urban bodies was held on August 12 and the results were declared by the state election commission on Sunday. The Congress has won the lone chairperson's post in Sarangpur municipality of Rajgarh district and the remaining one has been bagged by an independent candidate in Ghuwara nagar parishad of Chatarpur district. The BJP has won the Mayoral posts in Ujjain and Morena, chairperson’s posts in Vidisha and Harda municipalities and Kotar, Chaakghat, Bhainsdehi and Suvasara nagar parishads.

Initial response to black money window lukewarm
Prime minister Narendra Modi claimed in his independence day speech that the government is firm on unearthing black money, there has been little response to the three-month long compliance window being offered by the government to come clean on unaccounted money in foreign shores.  “A few applications have come but the number is small as of now and the financial implications minor. But we expect a surge in the coming days,” justice (retd) MB Shah, who is heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has told Hindustan Times. The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, came into effect on July 1 and the compliance window period comes an end on September 30.

Voting underway for Rajasthan civic polls, over 10,000 in fray
Voting for 129 bodies in 31 out of 33 districts of Rajasthan began amid unprecedented security early on Monday. The polling began around 7 am amidst tight security arrangements.Altogether 10,582 candidates, including the ruling BJP and Opposition Congress, are in the fray for today's polls, while 45 candidates -- 23 BJP, 13 INC and 9 Independent candidates-- have already been elected unopposed after withdrawal of nominations.

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