QBullet: MoD Clears Arms Purchase; India Scripts History in SA
1. Defence Ministry Clears Mega-Purchase of Weapons for Armed Forces
The Defence Ministry on Tuesday gave initial approvals to several acquisition proposals, including the one for 7.4 lakh new assault rifles and 16,500 light machine guns, collectively worth an estimated Rs 15,935 crore, to bolster firepower of infantry soldiers a few days after the terror attack on the Sunjuwan Army camp in Jammu.
The defence acquisition council (DAC), chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, accorded acceptance of necessity (AON) to the proposals, for which formal tenders will now be floated to invite technical and commercial bids from armament companies. The entire process, including field trials, can take quite a few years before the contracts are actually inked and production begins.
2. Rohit Sharma, Wrist Spinners Help India Script History in South Africa
The most ODIs India had won in a bilateral series against South Africa was two. In both, India went on to lose the series – 3-2 and 5-2. Coming into the fifth ODI at Port Elizabeth, India had already managed to take that number to three, but a win is what they were after to avoid any drama later.
The dramatics didn’t subside, but India did ensure that they took that number of wins in the series to four and clinched their first-ever bilateral series win in South Africa. A 73-run win, at a venue where India had never won, and a convincing lead in the top ODI rank only made things sweeter.
3. Bengal Becomes First State to Opt Out of ‘Modicare’
Bengal became the first state to opt out of the National Health Protection Scheme unveiled in the Union Budget, with CM Mamata Banerjee announcing on Tuesday the state will not “waste” its hard-earned resources to contribute its share to the programme.
“The Centre has drawn up a health plan in which 40 percent of the fund has to come from states. But why should the state spend on another programme when it already has its own? A state will have its own scheme if it has the resources,” the CM said while addressing a public meeting in Krishnanagar.
4. Pakistan to Take Over Assets of Hafiz Saeed's JuD and FIF
The Pakistani government is all set to take over the infrastructure of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and its subsidiary Falah-i-Insaaniyat Foundation (FIF) following a Presidential decree on last Friday that eliminated a discrepancy to the list of UN declared terrorist organisations and those banned by authorities in the country, an Interior Ministry source confirmed on Tuesday.
Jamaatud Dawa and its charity wing FIF was banned by the United Nations but they got a reprieve from Lahore High Court. Hafiz Saeed was put behind bars for months before he was released late last year by the High Court after the government failed to file any charges. Hafiz Saeed and his organization was banned by the UN and the US following Mumbai attacks in India.
(Source: The Hindu)
5. In Poll Time, a Probe Twist: NIA Summons Nagaland CM TR Zeliang’s Staff
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has summoned Officer on Special Duty to Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang and two of his office staff for questioning in connection with a case of alleged terror funding. The case pertains to alleged extortion by groups such as NSCN (K), NSCN (IM) and Naga National Council from at least 14 government departments.
Coming days ahead of the elections in Nagaland, which Naga groups had asked political parties to boycott unless the peace accord is signed, this development has set off a political firestorm. Incidentally, Zeliang took over as CM from Neiphiu Rio when both were in the Nagaland People’s Front (NPF), after the latter went to the Lok Sabha as an MP from Nagaland in 2014. The BJP had been in alliance with the NPF for almost 15 years.
6. Govt May Allow Early Closure of PPF Accounts
The Union government said on Tuesday that it is retaining the basic elements of the popular public provident fund scheme – including tax exemptions and the interest rate policy – but is building in new facilities such as allowing investors to opt out of the scheme before the completion of five years.
The government has proposed several amendments to the laws governing small savings schemes such as PPF and National Savings Certificate, which have raised apprehensions about subscribers losing out on several benefits.
In a statement, the finance ministry said that in case of exigencies, such as medical emergencies or higher education needs, PPF accounts will now be allowed to close prematurely.
7. Demonetisation a Result of RSS Guiding Govt on Policies: Rahul Gandhi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of attempting to capture India’s public institutions on Tuesday, alleging that decisions such as demonetisation were the result of the RSS having a say in government policy.
Gandhi was interacting with professionals and businessmen on the last of his four-day tour as part of the Janashirvada Yatra in Karnataka.
“How many of you know that in every single central ministry there is an OSD (officer on special duty) from the RSS working with the minister? The minister is not operating on his own. He is being guided by the RSS on what to do and the approach is to capture institutions,” Gandhi said.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
8. Ministry of Youth Affairs Plans Ranking System for National Sports Federations
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is planning a ranking system for National Sports Federations (NSFs). Aimed at inculcating healthy competition between sports bodies, the rankings will be based on the federations’ administrative capability, transparency, talent-spotting ability, and medal count of athletes.
The implementation of the sports code – which, among other things, bars officials over 70 years old – will also be an important yardstick.
“This is the first time the sports ministry will attempt to put in place a system by which sports federations will be ranked or rated according to set parameters. The sports ministry will set up a committee for this purpose. The committee will comprise sports administrators, sportspersons and professionals from other fields, including chartered accountants and management experts,” said Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar.
9. Pakistan Developing New Types of Nuclear Weapons: US
Pakistan is developing new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical ones, that bring more risks to the region, America's intelligence chief warned on Tuesday.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats' remarks came days after a group of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorists struck the Sunjuwan Military Camp in Jammu, killing seven people including six soldiers.
Pakistan is developing new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, Coats told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on worldwide threats organised by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.