QBullet: US Dubs India Global Power; Campaigning Ends For RK Nagar
The RK Nagar seat has been vacant since the death of former TN CM Jayalalithaa in December 2015.
The RK Nagar seat has been vacant since the death of former TN CM Jayalalithaa in December 2015.(Photo: Smitha TK/The Quint)

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 2015, in Obama administration’s last NSS, India’s role was described as a “regional provider of security” and in 2010, India was termed one of “21st century centers of influence”. 

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:

We appreciate the strategic importance given to India-US relationship in the new National Security Strategy released by the US. As two responsible democracies, India and the US share common objectives, including combating terrorism and promoting peace and security throughout the world. 

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: India a Leading Global Power, Says New US Security Policy

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.

Amma and her party ruled this constituency for nearly two decades. But RK Nagar remains the worst constituency in Tamil Nadu… You are voting for N Maruthuganesh and that means you are electing me, too.

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.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: RK Nagar Bypoll: ‘Cash-for-Votes’ Back to Haunt Amma’s Seat Again

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.

Over 50 percent of licenses granted to manufacturers were issued on the basis of incomplete documents, which suggests they may not be fully complying with safety standards. From popular snacks to savouries, all foods found in stores possess the FSSAI’s licences.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: India’s Stand on Food Security Deserves Gratitude: Swaminathan

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.

Fencing a one-hectare (2.47 acres) square plot with four rounds requires around 1,600 metres of barbed wire, in addition to 100 angle rods fixed at a distance of four metres. 

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.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: ‘Holy Cow, Unholy Politics’: Cattle Owners Weigh In on Gau Raksha

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.

But the Army, Navy and IAF hardly got any funds to undertake any concrete modernization in the 2017-18 budget, with the Rs 2.74 lakh crore defence outlay working out to just 1.56 percent of the projected GDP, the lowest such figure since the 1962 war with China.

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”.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Military Asks Govt to End Cap on Educational Aid to Martyrs’ Kids

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.

The person who took charge of the train from the maintenance staff also did not check the brake and proceeded with the train up to the washing plant built on a ramp. While stopping at the ramp, since the brakes were not available, the train rolled back causing this incident.
DMRC

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.

(Source: The Times of India)

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.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Pak Spy Alleges Protection of ‘Terrorists’ by Seniors: Reports

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)

Also Read: Swachh Bharat to Namami Gange: Red Tape in Schemes Ruins the Cause

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.

Their job would be to engage students in the schools and colleges in the jobs that the ministry is engaged in, so as to give them a fair idea of how India engages with the world, what are its foreign policy priorities and how diplomacy is actually conducted. 

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.

A similar programme has had IAS officers also going back to the place of their first posting to assess its development and make recommendations.

(Source: The Times of India)

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