QBullet: Govt Admits Aadhaar Data Leak, AAP Keeps Vishwas and More
The Quint brings you a collection of important news stories from the previous day.
1. Govt Admits Aadhaar Data Leak, Critics Cite ‘Civil Liberties’
The Centre on Wednesday acknowledged in the Supreme Court that personal data of Aadhaar card holders had been leaked. Meanwhile, critics of the government’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for obtaining PAN cards cautioned that the move would “dilute civil liberties and dominate the citizens”.
The Centre’s acknowledgment came a day after Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, while defending the move to make Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards, told the apex court that “one cannot have an absolute right over his or her body”.
“The leaks are not from UIDAI database. There is not a single leak from the UIDAI database,’’ said Arghya Sengupta, who was appearing for the Centre. “Aadhaar is currently the most foolproof method that has evolved. But technology is not foolproof. Technology is evolving and I cannot say what will happen after 20 years, whether it will still be safe. But as of now, biometrics is the safest.’’
2. Blood Trail Crossing LoC Nails Pakistan’s Hand in Mutilation: India
With India telling Pakistan that blood samples of beheaded Indian soldiers and a blood trail near the Line of Control (LoC) establish its complicity, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley asked citizens to trust the capability of the Indian Army to respond to the outrage.
Speaking after a meeting of the Cabinet as well as the Cabinet Committee on Security , Jaitley said, “Aap apni fauj par bharosa rakhiye (Have faith in your Army).” This was in response to media queries on possible options in dealing with a Pakistan army unit killing and mutilating the bodies of two Indian soldiers.
Rejecting Pakistan's denials, Jaitley said, “The denial itself carries no credibility, the entire gambit of circumstances where the killing and then mutilation was carried out near a heavily guarded border shows the active participation of the (Pakistan) army.”
3. Cabinet Okays Ordinance on Amending Laws to Tackle Bad Loans in Banks
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act to speed up recovery of bad loans.
The move comes after clarion calls from lenders who have been jostling with stressed assets mounting to about Rs 10 lakh crore, or close to 7 percent of India’s GDP, as of December-end.
Of the total stressed assets in the banking system, public sector banks are saddled with non-performing assets of Rs 6 lakh crore. The rest of the bad loans have been restructured by lenders.
The amendment in the banking law will enable the setting up of a committee to oversee companies that have been the biggest defaulters of loans.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said an important decision had been taken related to the banking sector, but details could be made public only after the President’s approval of the proposal.
4. AAP Keeps Kumar Vishwas, Suspends MLA Amanatullah Khan
Aam Aadmi Party managed to pacify a vocal and defiant Kumar Vishwas on Wednesday by suspending Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan – whose public attack on the former had precipitated the crisis – and appointing Vishwas in charge of Rajasthan. The MLA had earlier been forced to resign from AAP's political affairs committee to placate Vishwas.
It is to be seen whether this uneasy truce holds in the long run as the party tries to put a string of electoral defeats behind it. The patch-up came a day after Vishwas had threatened to “take a decision“, indicating that he may quit the AAP. After hectic midnight consultations which resumed after daybreak with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal taking the initiative, the decisions were announced by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia with Vishwas by his side.
5. Wear Short Sleeves, Slippers & Small Buttons to Med Exams: CBSE
For the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test on 7 May, the Central Board of Secondary Education is not leaving anything to chance. Apprehensive about the examinees resorting to unfair means, the board has issued a number of dos and don'ts, among which, strangely for an exam, is a ban on entering the test centre with pens and pencils.
Among other things, candidates also have to adhere to a dress code designed to prevent any item of clothing being used as an illegal aid to the examinee. Male students are disallowed from wearing kurta-pyjama or shoes and allowed only light-coloured jeans, trousers and half-sleeved shirts with sandals or slippers. For female candidates, big buttons, brooches and high-heeled shoes are similarly proscribed.
The candidates will not be allowed to carry writing implements or erasers into the exam hall. According to CBSE officials, pens will be provided to the candidates by the board once he or she enters the test centre.
6. Delhi Identifies Five Corridors for Decongestion
Remember getting stuck for hours at the Ashram Chowk during the Odd-Even phase II in January 2016 when no other place in the Capital faced any traffic snarl? Yhe nightmare of drivers and motorists of passing through the choked stretches of Delhi is set to end.
The Delhi government is going to attempt clearing traffic bottlenecks at five major corridors to start with.
The plan includes decongesting stretches such as Aurobindo Chowk to Andheria More, Neela Gumbad to Badarpur Flyover, 11 Murti to Dhaula Kuan, Chirag Delhi Crossing to Savitri Flyover, Dhaula Kuan flyover to Gurgaon flyover Sanjay T-point.
Apart from this, the area surrounding the Nizamuddin dargah is also going to be cleared. On Wednesday, Delhi chief secretary MM Kutty convened a high-level meeting of the six task-forces formed to implement the plan.
7. Kashmir Militants in Cash Hunt, Loot 2 Bank Branches in One Afternoon
Suspected militants on Wednesday targeted two banks in south Kashmir's Pulwama district within a span of two hours and decamped with several lakh rupees.
In the first case, four armed militants entered the Wahibugh branch of Elaquai Dehati Bank around 1:50 pm and looted around Rs 3-4 lakh at gunpoint before fleeing, a police official said.
A police team rushed to the scene after the bank employees informed them of the incident. A hunt was launched to arrest the robbers and recover the money, the official said.
The second robbery took place at the Nehama branch of the Jammu & Kashmir Bank in Pulwama around 3:20 pm, the official said.
A police team has rushed to the spot and the exact amount of cash looted by the armed militants is being ascertained.
(Source: The Telegraph)
8. Essar Group MD, Top Income Tax Official Among Six Held
An Income Tax commissioner in Mumbai and the managing director of Essar Group were among six arrested by the CBI Wednesday in an alleged bribery case.
BB Rajendra Prasad, Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals), was arrested for allegedly taking a bribe to give, what the CBI called, a “favourable order” in a case pertaining to Balaji Trust in which Essar Investments Ltd is a trustee.
Others arrested by the CBI were Pradeep Mittal, managing director of Essar Group, Vipin Bajpai, accounts officer in Essar Group, Suresh Kumar Jain, a real estate trade agent, his relative Manish Jain, and Shreyas Parikh, a chartered accountant with GK Choksi & Co.
Prasad and Suresh Kumar Jain were arrested in Visakhapatnam and the rest in Mumbai. The CBI has booked the six under sections 7 and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
9. Indo-Pak Tensions: From Wrestling to Hockey, Sporting Ties Freeze Over
The mounting tension between India and Pakistan, following the beheading of two Indian soldiers by a Pakistani border team on the LoC, has cast a shadow over sporting ties between the two countries.
And this time, it’s not confined to high-profile cricket matches. On Tuesday, Pakistan alleged that their wrestlers were not granted visas for next week’s 22-nation Asian Championship in Delhi.
On Wednesday, Pakistan Hockey Federation secretary Shahbaz Ahmed claimed that they were excluded from the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia because of India’s pressure. According to Sports Minister Vijay Goel, the Indian government has decided to halt sporting relations between the two countries. “Terrorism and sports can’t go along together. The sporting relations between India and Pakistan can be cordial only after Pakistan stops sponsoring cross-border terrorism. India takes these things very seriously,” Goel said.
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