QBullet: US Dubs India Global Power; Campaigning Ends For RK Nagar
1. India a Leading Global Power, Pakistan Needs to Show It Can Be Responsible for Its Nukes: US
Almost a year in office and after two bilateral meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump, the US government on Tuesday marked out India’s emergence as a “global power” in its first National Security Strategy – a significant upgrade in Washington’s assessment of India in the last 15 years.
In 2006, during George W Bush administration’s NSS, it had called India as one of “regional and global engines of growth” and in 2002, it was viewed as a “potential great democratic power of 21st century”.
Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said:
2. Home India R K Nagar Bypoll: In Chennai, as Campaign Ends in Amma's Seat, Her Party Flounders
Inching his way through the narrow lanes of Chennai’s RK Nagar, DMK leader MK Stalin stood up in his open jeep and addressed residents leaning out of their balconies in this multi-storey housing cluster for the poor.
Then, he slipped in the line that has drawn cheers at every stop during this bypoll campaign, which wound up Tuesday. “Naan, adiyan (I am your servant).”
As J Jayalalithaa’s constituency votes on 21 December — to elect a new MLA after her death last year — her own AIADMK is nowhere in the frame in the final days of the campaign.
The only other leader who has been welcomed here with pomp this time is T T V Dinakaran, ousted AIADMK leader V K Sasikala’s nephew and a rebel candidate.
3. Slack Food Safety Could Be Risking Public Health: CAG
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), India’s constitutionally mandated federal auditor, has cited serious lapses in enforcing food-safety norms in the country, which, it said, could be putting public health at risk.
A majority of the country’s food-testing laboratories were poorly managed, the report said. It found that 65 of the 72 state-wide food laboratories were not accredited to the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), as required.
“Consequently, the quality of testing by these laboratories cannot be assured,” the CAG report said. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the national regulator, relies on these laboratories to confirm safety of food items.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
4. In Parched Bundelkhand, a New Burden for Farmers: Build Fences to Keep Cattle Out
With Rs 1.5 lakh, a farmer can buy three Holstein Friesian crossbred cows, each giving 4,000 litres or more of milk annually. But Rs 1.5 lakh is roughly what Bhupendra Patel has spent on fencing his 10-acre farm at Dhawari village in Jhansi district’s Tahrauli tehsil. The seven-feet-high barbed-wire enclosure is only to prevent “anna pashu” (stray cattle) from entering and eating up the standing rabi pulses crop in his field
“There are about 400 of them in my village alone. I cannot be standing guard all day and even staying awake at night to stop these animals that nobody wants to keep,” complains the 37-year-old who grows chana (chickpea) and masur (lentil).
Farmers like Patel and Pushpendra Singh from the neighbouring village of Barwar have built fences with 4-5 rounds of barbed wire strung on iron angle poles.
Taking a weight of 1 kg for six metres of barbed wire and 6 kg per pole, it translates into 267 kg of the former and 600 kg of the latter.
5. Government Draws Parliamentary Panel Fire on Military Modernisation
A parliamentary committee has slammed the government for simply not doing enough to ensure military modernisation despite India being confronted with a clear and present "collusive threat" from China and Pakistan.
Indian armed forces continue to grapple with critical operational deficiencies on several fronts, ranging from submarines, fighter jets, howitzers and helicopters to even basic gear like new-generation assault rifles, machine guns, bullet-proof jackets and helmets.
Overall, the Army, Navy and IAF just got only 60 percent, 67 percent and 54 percent of the funds they had sought for modernisation this fiscal. The committee expressed concern over the "adverse and cascading effect”.
6. Driverless Delhi Metro's Magenta Line Train Rams Into Wall During Trial Run
A driverless Delhi Metro train, running on the Magenta line, on Tuesday rammed into a wall at Kalindi Kunj depot when it rolled back on a ramp when being taken for washing.
According to the norms, when a train enters a workshop or depot, its brakes are decommissioned, to ensure thorough and detailed check, reported PTI.
Once the train is re-commissioned, the brakes are tested by the maintenance staff in the depot before the train leaves the shed. The train movement inside the workshop area is done manually and not by the signalling system.
7. Mistaken Identity, Claims 'Pak Spy'
Days after a bench of Uttarakhand high court recommended action against a judge and then Haridwar SSP for letting an alleged Pakistan spy walk free in 2013, the man, named Asad Ali, who was quickly arrested from his house in Roorkee and released on bail, said he was innocent and a victim of mistaken identity.
Ali told TOI that he was picked up by police in 2010 because his father's name and the real spy the police were looking for shared the same name. “ My name is Asad Ali and not Abid Ali as mentioned in police records.I was picked up by the police in 2010 because my father’s name matched with the man police were looking for. I originally belong to Gurdaspur in Punjab and had to move to Yamunanagar of Haryana state during the Punjab unrest after I was separated from my family. I moved to Meerut in 1998 and settled in Roorkee in 2008,” he said.
A source in the state intelligence confirmed to TOI that it could be a case of mistaken identity.
8. Almost 2500 Cr Funds Allocated for Ganga Clean up Lie Unused: CAG Report
Almost Rs 2500 crore of the funds that were allocated to the Namami Gange programme lay unused with various agencies as of 31 March this year, according to a Comptroller and auditor general (CAG) report tabled in Parliament Tuesday.
The performance audit of the Namami Gange program looked at availability and utilisation of funds in 87 projects with an outlay of Rs 7,992.34 crore of which, 50 projects were sanctioned after 1 April 2014.
“Funds amounting to Rs 2,133.76 crore, Rs 422.13 crore and Rs 59.28 crore were lying unutilised with the National Mission for Clean Ganga, various state programme management groups and executing agencies/ central public sector undertakings respectively as on 31 March 2017”.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
9. MEA Launches SAMEEP to Take Indian Foreign Policy to Students Across the Country
The foreign office is on an "outreach" mission as a new programme, SAMEEP, aims to take Indian foreign policy and its global engagements to students across the country.
The ministry of external affairs has asked all its officers on leave to travel to their hometowns and particularly their alma mater.
The programme is voluntary and gives officials the option of going back to their alma mater or to any school or college in their hometown.
The ministry would give them a standardized presentation and officials would be free to improvise and add their personal experiences. The idea is not only to get the ordinary student to take an interest in India's place in the world and its global ambitions, but also to look at diplomacy as a career option.