QBullet: China Warns Intruders; Cong Accuses BJP of Rs 15 Cr Offer
Top stories of the day.
1. Xi’s Warning Amid Doklam Standoff: PLA Can Beat
In a rare appearance in military uniform as the chairman of the Central Military Commission, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a large gathering of troops that the People’s Liberation Army was capable of defeating any intruder.
“I firmly believe that our heroic PLA has the confidence and capability to defeat any intruder,” Xi said, without mentioning China’s ongoing threats that include the border standoff with India at the Doklam plateau and the latest missile launch by its neighbour, North Korea.
“The world is far from tranquil and peace needs to be safeguarded,“ Xi said ahead of the 90th anniversary of the PLA, at Zhurihe training base in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Sunday.
Today, we are closer than ever to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. And more than any time in history, we need to build strong armed forces of the people.Xi Jinping
“Our heroic PLA has the confidence and capability to safeguard the nation's sovereignty, security and development interests,” he asserted.
2. BJP Offering Rs 15 Cr to Each Gujarat MLA: Cong
With numbers becoming the deciding force, 42 Gujarat Congress MLAs, holed up at a luxury resort 25 km from Bengaluru, put up a show of unity on Sunday, extending support to the party’s Rajya Sabha candidate Ahmed Patel. His nomination has created a storm in the party unit.
National spokesperson of Congress and Gujarat MLA Shaktisinh Gohil claimed that BJP came up with an “irresistible offer” – Rs 15 crore to each MLA, a party ticket in Gujarat polls and funds to contest.
“The BJP has resorted to low-level politics and is using money , muscle and state machinery to win polls,“ he said.
Gohil said, “We’ve unanimously decided to stand by the party, and not allow the BJP to murder democracy.” The party had, on 28 July, flown 44 of its MLAs into Bengaluru to stop them from switching over to the BJP.
3. Smooth Transition to GST Regime a Case Study for World, PM Modi Says
Almost a month after the rollout of GST, PM Narendra Modi said on Sunday that the “smooth transition” to such a huge measure in a vast country involving crores of people was historic and could be a case study for universities around the world.
I feel very happy and satisfied when a poor person writes to say how, because of GST... prices of various items have come down.PM on ‘Mann ki Baat’
“I call GST, good and simple tax. Indeed, it has produced a big positive effect on our economy in a very short time span,” he said, emphasising that the GST was a fine example of the collective strength of Indians. Describing the rollout as an example of cooperative federalism, the PM said all states were partners in it.
He noted how highways had become snarl-free after GST rollout. “Pollution levels have come down with the increased speed of trucks. Goods are also being transported much faster,” Modi said.
4. Nitish Embraces BJP: ‘Deeply Pained’ Sharad Yadav Likely to Speak out Soon
Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, upset with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to snap ties with the Opposition Grand Alliance and form a government with the BJP, is set to voice his dissent in a day or two.
Yadav’s anger could have a bearing on the JD(U)’s position in Rajya Sabha, where the party has 10 members, led by Yadav.
Two of these members, Ali Anwar Ansari and MP Veerendra Kumar, have already hit out at Nitish. Sources said that Yadav, who was replaced by Nitish as JD(U) president last October, is “totally against” the decision to align with the BJP.
Yadav is yet to publicly speak on the developments in Bihar. But he has been meeting many Opposition leaders, as well as JD(U) leaders from states like Kerala, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. He is learnt to have conveyed to these leaders that he is “deeply pained” at Nitish’s decision at a time when Opposition unity was needed the most.
5. 1,500 Kg Heroin Seized in Record Haul
The Coast Guard seized 1,500 kg of heroin from a merchant ship off the Gujarat shoreline on Saturday, which could be the biggest single haul of narcotics in India.
The contraband is estimated to be worth around Rs 4,500 crore in the international market.
The vessel was spotted around 380 km off Dwarka through surveillance mounted by the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), a government intelligence-gathering agency.
The NTRO shared the intelligence about the suspect vessel on 27 July and the Coast Guard was notified. Intelligence suggested the crew was negotiating the mode of payment for the contraband and its intended destination.Official
They finally decided the hawala channel for payment, the official added.
The NTRO sent out updates and the Coast Guard pressed its ships and aircraft to observe and prevent the vessel from escaping.
6. Authorities Foil Geelani’s Press Conference on NIA’s ‘Propaganda’
A press conference called by senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Sunday was not allowed to be held by the authorities, said a spokesman of his Hurriyat faction.
The press conference had been called to counter “the false and baseless propaganda by NIA (National Investigation Agency) and Indian media against Geelani, his family and party leaders,” said the spokesman.
He added that that Geelani is exploring ways and means to take legal action against the NIA and the media for maligning his image and that of his family members and party leaders.
Read the full story on The Quint
6. Kerala Tense as BJP Calls Bandh Against RSS Worker’s Killing, Rajnath Takes Stock
A 12-hour shutdown call by the BJP on Sunday to protest the killing of a Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) worker a day earlier derailed normal life in several parts of Kerala.
E Rajesh, 34, was stabbed 40 times and his left hand was chopped off by a group of men on Saturday. He died during treatment at a city hospital.
Eight people were detained in connection with the incident on Sunday, police said.
The BJP alleged that Rajesh was murdered by CPI(M) workers. BJP state chief Kummanam Rajasekharan sought immediate intervention of the Centre, where the party is in power, but the ruling CPI (M) denied the involvement of its cadre in the murder.
“The ruling CPI(M) can’t get away with these killings. It is nothing but state-sponsored terrorism,” said Rajasekharan.
7. Drug Regulator to Centre: Put Heart Valves, Lenses on Essential Medicines List
Five months after the Centre capped the prices of coronary stents, the central drug regulator has asked the government to consider including “heart valves, orthopaedic implants and intra ocular (eye) lenses” in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) – such a move could bring these products under the purview of price caps.
In a letter to the Union Health Ministry earlier this month, GN Singh, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), said:
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) may constitute a separate committee for inclusion of heart valves, orthopaedic implants and intra ocular (eye) lenses in NLEM.
As the DCGI, Singh also heads the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), which comes under the Health Ministry. The subject of Singh’s letter was: “Request for reducing the prices of surgical implants…”
8. Digitisation Push Has Raised Cyber Crime Risks: IIT Study
Demonetisation and the subsequent push for digitisation has escalated risks relating to cyber crime and India needs to urgently upgrade its defences by setting up a cyber security commission on the lines of the Atomic Energy and Space Commissions, according to an IIT Kanpur study shared with Parliament’s committee on finance.
Noting that the government has initiated a number of programmes to enhance the participation of citizens in the fully digitalised economy, the study said cyber security centres set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would be insufficient.
While RBI centres often come to IITs such as IIT-Kanpur for expert opinion, IITs do not engage in relevant research on cyber security.IIT Kanpur study
Incidents of cyber crime in India are rising sharply, recording an increase of over 100 percent in 2015 from 2014. The number grew from 71,780 in 2013 to 1.49 lakh in 2014 to 3 lakh in 2015.
9. Stage Set for RBI Policy Panel to Go for Cut in
The sustained fall in retail inflation – especially the 1.2 percent in food prices last month – may pave the way for a rate cut by at least 25 basis points when the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) meets on 2 August.
However, the MPC decision is unlikely to be unanimous and the tone of the policy document may not signal that further cuts would be forthcoming, analysts and bankers said. Paving the way for a rate cut, Consumer Price Index inflation eased below the 2 percent floor of the target band in June, which is a reasonably favourable progression of the monsoon and kharif-sowing so far and limited evidence of a sharp spike in prices following the introduction of Goods and Services Tax.
“There is a strong likelihood that the MPC would vote to reduce the repo rate by 25 bps in August first week. The industry and government are anticipating a rate cut this time,” said the top official of a nationalised bank.
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