QBullet: Aadhaar Deadline Extended; Army Alleges Budget Shortage

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1. SC Indefinitely Extends Aadhaar Deadline for Mobile, Bank Accounts

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, 13 March, extended the 31 March deadline for linking Aadhaar to mobile phones, bank accounts, tatkal passports, etc, till it delivers its judgment on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.

The five-judge constitution bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said the government cannot insist on making Aadhaar mandatory for these services.

However, the SC clarified that for subsidies or direct benefit transfers, the deadline extension will not apply and would remain 31 March, under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act.

The five-judge constitution bench had on 7 March said it may not be possible to decide by 31 March the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act, reported PTI.

Read the full story on The Quint.

2. Sukma Attack: 9 CRPF Jawans Dead, President Kovind Condoles Deaths

Nine personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in an IED blast, when suspected Maoists blew up their mine-protected vehicle (MPV) in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district on Tuesday, 13 March, an official told PTI.

Officials said the incident took place around 12:30 pm along the 5-km under-construction Kistaram-Palodi road when the troops of the 212th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were out for an operation.

Officials said the Maoist cadre led by elusive commander Hidma and his PLGA (Peoples Liberation Guerrilla Army) battalion no. 1 could be behind the deadly attack.

Read the full story on The Quint.

3. Nirav Modi Fallout: RBI Discontinues LoUs

The Reserve Bank of India has decided to discontinue issuance of letters of undertaking (LoU) and letters of comfort (LoC) for trade credit for imports into India.

Authorised dealer-1 (AD-1) category banks will not be allowed to issue LoCs and LoUs for this line of business, the regulator said in a notification on its website. Most universal banks, domestic and foreign, come under this category, according to two bankers in the know.

Banks may continue to issue letters of credit and bank guarantees for trade credit for imports into India as per the current guidelines applicable, the notification added.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

4. 68 Percent of Equipment is Vintage: Army to Parliamentary Panel

The Army has said it was reeling under severe fund crunch and struggling to even make emergency procurements when there was a real possibility of a two-front war and both China as well as Pakistan were carrying out modernisation of their defence forces in "full swing".

The Army told a parliamentary panel that the funds allocated to it in the defence budget for the next fiscal is insufficient to deal with various security challenges facing the country including from a more assertive China along the northern border and from a hostile Pakistan on the western frontier.

The Army's frustrations over inadequate allocations of funds in the defence budget figured in a report of the Standing Committee on Defence which was tabled in Lok Sabha on Tuesday which added that 68 percent of the equipment is in 'vintage category'.

Read the full story on The Quint.

5. Sonia’s Dinner With 20 Parties – Step Towards 2019 Grand Alliance?

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi with opposition leaders before a dinner at her 10, Janpath residence.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi with opposition leaders before a dinner at her 10, Janpath residence.
(Photo: PTI)

Leaders of 20 opposition parties got together on 13 March at a dinner hosted by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi to explore the possibility of forging a broader unity among opposition parties ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, an event the Congress said was meant to promote "amity and friendship".

Leaders of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Left parties attended the dinner among others.

"The effort is on. This is a part of that effort," said expelled Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav said when asked if there will be a united front of opposition parties in 2019.

Read the full story on The Quint.

6. SC Shuts The Door on Foreign Law Firms

Keeping India’s legal market exclusively for Indians, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that foreign law firms or foreign lawyers cannot practise law in the country either on the litigation or non-litigation side.

This means overseas lawyers or firms cannot open offices in the country, appear in courts or before any authority or render other legal services, such as giving opinions or drafting documents.

Upholding similar verdicts of the Bombay and Madras High Courts, a Bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit, however, said there was no bar on foreign law firms or foreign lawyers visiting India for a temporary period on a “fly in and fly out” basis for giving legal advice to their clients on foreign law or their own system of law and on international legal issues.

(Source: The Hindu)

7. IndiGo, GoAir Ground 65 Flights, Solution to Engine Issue Not Likely Before June

File photo of an IndiGo aircraft. 
File photo of an IndiGo aircraft. 
(Photo: Reuters)

Two Indian carriers, IndiGo and GoAir, cancelled at least 65 daily flights on Tuesday, a day after the national aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), grounded 11 Airbus A320 Neo (New Engine Option) aircraft over engine glitches.

The country’s largest carrier, IndiGo, cancelled 47 of its 1,000-odd daily flights. The airline, operated by InterGlobe Aviation, operates a fleet of 155 Airbus aircraft out of which 11 are grounded – eight on Monday and three in February.

The Wadia group-run Go Air cancelled 18 flights originating from Bengaluru, Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Lucknow and Delhi.

Each Airbus A320 Neo carries around 180 passengers and it is estimated that around 13,000 passengers were affected by the cancellations. Both airlines said they were trying to accommodate passengers in other flights.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

8. Maldives Crisis an Internal Matter Like Kashmir, India Should Trust Us

File photo of Maldives President Abdulla Yameen addressing the nation in Male, Maldives.
File photo of Maldives President Abdulla Yameen addressing the nation in Male, Maldives.
(Photo: AP)

The political crisis in the Maldives, like the “Kashmir issue”, is an “internal” matter and India should trust the local government to solve the problem on its own, a senior minister of the island nation said Tuesday.

“Why haven’t we gone into the Kashmir issue… and asked to be an intermediary in the issue? Because they are internal matters,” said Mohamed Shainee, a senior minister and chairman of all-party talks to resolve the impasse.

Shainee said that India should trust the Maldives, which “may be a small country”, but is “independent and patriotic”.

Asked about the role the Maldives government expected India to play at this juncture, Shainee said that “a third party” has started negotiations to resolve the crisis. He refused to reveal the identity of the third party, but said it was neither India nor China.

(Source: The Indian Express)

9. Pakistan Approaches MEA, Alleges Intimidation of Diplomat's Children

Pakistan approached the external affairs ministry on Friday and accused the Indian officials of intimidating the children of a senior diplomat while they were on their way to school.

In a note verbale, the Pakistan high commission alleged that the children were harassed and blocked by Indian authorities while they were on their way to the British School.

While India did not respond to the official communication from the Pakistan mission, government sources here said they had already offered to get such charges made by Pakistani diplomats investigated. However, a source here said Indian diplomats in Islamabad were being regularly tailed and intimidated.

"It's a normal affair for an Indian diplomat to get blocked in the middle of the road," said a source here. In the new note verbale Pakistan issued on Tuesday, it said the counsellor's car with his children on board was hit from behind by another car occupied by Indian authorities.

(Source: The Times of India)

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