QBullet: Free Voice Calls with Reliance Jio; Trade Union Strike

The Quint’s compilation of the stories making headlines in dailies across the country.

6 min read
Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL). (Photo: PTI)

1. Free Voice Calls, Cheap Data, Welcome Reliance Jio 4G

At a time when the Indian telecom sector is in stress, with the upcoming spectrum auction expected to add to the burden, the startling Reliance Jio announcement of zero tariff for domestic voice calls in perpetuity, with sharply lower data rates, has aroused questions about the revenue model and profitability of the new player.

Reliance Jio 4G will be officially launching from 5 September onwards. Jio will introduce 10 tariff plans starting Rs 149 a month and going up to Rs 4,999 per month. The scheme promises speeds up to 135 Mbps to its premium customers, something that was also announced by Airtel earlier this week.

As Chairman Mukesh Ambani offered freebies at the Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting, shares of the rival telecom companies went on a free-fall mode.

Read more on The Quint.

2. Trade Unions to Hold Nation Wide Strike: Essential Services to be Affected

Essential services are likely to be impacted on Friday with 10 central trade unions going ahead with a one-day nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws. The BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and National Front of Indian Trade Unions have pulled out.

Union leaders said the strike will affect the functioning of essential services like transport and supply of power, gas and oil, even as BMS claimed that power, oil and gas supplies will not be affected as a large number of public sector workers in these areas would not participate in the industrial action.

Read more on The Quint.

Source: PTI


3. Would Have Liked to Extend my Term as RBI Governor: Raghuram Rajan

Days before leaving RBI, outgoing Governor Raghuram Rajan on Thursday said he was willing to stay a bit longer but could not reach the “right kind of agreement” with the government on extension of his tenure.

Because of ... unfinished tasks, I was willing perhaps to stay provided we could reach the right kind of agreement, but we didn’t. We started the dialogue and we were going along that path but essentially we agreed at some point that it did not make sense to pursue the dialogue further. That’s where it ended.
Raghuram Rajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India

In an interview to noted journalist Karan Thapar on India Today channel, Rajan defended his controversial speech on perceived growing intolerance in the country, which had riled the government. Rejecting criticism that he spoke ‘out of turn’ on various occasions, Rajan said it was the “legitimate duty” and “moral responsibility” of public figures to tell young minds what good citizenship is about.

Read more on The Quint.

Source: PTI


4. Ready to Face Trial For Saying RSS Men Killed Gandhi: Rahul Gandhi

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi told the Supreme Court on Thursday that he is ready to be tried on charges of accusing Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) men of killing Mahatma Gandhi.

Rahul’s counsel Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court that he stands by his statement. Gandhi also withdrew his plea from the apex court for quashing of the case.

Sibal repeatedly referred to the Congress leader’s affidavit in which Rahul had said that he blamed a person associated with the RSS for the killing, but did not denounce the whole organisation, according to an Indian Express report.

RSS ideologue MG Vaidya reacted to Gandhi’s apparent volte face and said:

If he now says the RSS was not involved, but the people who were involved in Gandhi’s murder were RSS-affiliate, then he must come clean on his statement that in what sense they were associated with the RSS and what was their position and credential in the organisation.

Read more on The Quint.


5. MHA Suspends 4 Officials for Renewing Foreign Funds License of Zakir Naik’s NGOs

Four officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs were suspended on Thursday for helping an NGO run by televangelist and Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. The officials allegedly helped the NGO renew its license under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The Centre was in the process of gathering more evidence to support its case against the NGO. However, while the NGO was under scrutiny, its license was renewed in the third week of August under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), the law that governs foreign funding of NGOs, according to a Hindustan Times report.

When the matter came to light, the ministry suspended the four officials from its foreigners division that deals with FCRA matters. They included two under secretaries and one section officer, apart from Dwivedi. The joint secretary in-charge could not be reached for a comment.
Hindustan Times

Read more on The Quint.


6. G20: India to Oppose US on Subsidy Cutoff, China on Database of ‘Corrupt’

The G20 leaders summit, which will be hosted by China, is scheduled to take place in Hangzhou between 3-5 September. India will have two key proposals on its radar – one from the host China on setting up a research centre for information on corrupt persons and another from the United States on specifying a date for ending fossil fuel subsidies, according to an Indian Express report.

Indian negotiators said that the United States had actually floated a non-paper in 2016 that called upon all countries to agree to a ‘date certain’ on ending fuel subsidies. “We do not support it,” said a negotiator, who did not wish to be named, conceding there would be pressure even from China, given that it wants to also put a stamp by clinching this deal during its presidency. India is also unsure about the China proposal to set up a research centre that would create a database on “persons sought for corruption and asset recovery”.
The Indian Express

7. Air Force Under Utilised for Political Reasons: IAF Chief

Indian Air Force Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Thursday indicated that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) would have been India’s had the country gone for a military solution rather than taking a “moral high ground”. Raha also rued that air power had not been fully utilised by the Indian government till the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

India as a country was “reluctant” to use military power, especially air power, in deterring adversaries, in deterring a conflict and when involved in conflict the country has been drawn into several times in the past. [sic]
Arup Raha, Chief Marshal, Indian Air Force

Recalling India’s partition in 1947, Raha said that while the Pakistani “raiders” tried to overrun the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Army was not strong enough to hold ground and it was the “Indian Air Force’s transport wing which came to the help and retrieved the situation”.

Read more on The Quint.

Source: PTI, ANI


8. After 16 States Ratify GST, Bill Ready For Presidential Nod

With Odisha becoming the 16th state to ratify the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill on Thursday, the constitution amendment is now ready to be sent for the President’s go-ahead before being notified as law.

India’s indirect tax regime has received the mandatory support of more than half the states much earlier than the Centre’s target deadline. The Centre is keen to roll out the GST by the start of the next fiscal on 1 April 2017.

Meanwhile, at a meeting with the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST on Monday, India Inc pitched for an 18 percent standard rate. They said this rate would generate adequate tax buoyancy without fuelling inflation. The opposition Congress party had earlier demanded an 18 percent cap on the GST rate.

Read more on The Quint.

Source: IANS


9. Opinion: Pakistan is Neither Hell nor Heaven, It’s Simply Schizophrenic Towards India

At a time when mere mention of Pakistan can lead to a case of sedition being filed against you, senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai ‘tests the waters of sedition’ in a column for the Hindustan Times.

The comparisons between India and Pakistan are a favourite subject for polite dinner conversation in Pakistani homes, a country that is still manically obsessed with the “big brother” across the LoC. In the period before Pakistan itself became a “victim” of terror, there was an unwillingness to accept that any distinction between terrorists and freedom fighters was spurious and only ended up rationalising violence against innocents.Which is why the best way to deal with Pakistan is to neither romanticise nor demonise the country but to inject a pragmatic, business-like approach to diplomatic relations. We must accept that Pakistan is neither hell nor is it heaven, it is simply schizophrenic in its attitude towards India and Indians.
Rajdeep Sardesai in a column for Hindustan Times
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