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QBullet: India Enters Missile Tech Control Circle; Support for GST

Catch the top stories of the day here.

Updated
India
5 min read


President Barack Obama listens as Indian Prime Minister India Narendra Modi speaks to members of the media during their meeting in the Oval Office. (Photo: AP)

1. India Enters Missile Tech Control Circle, A Step Closer to NSG

India has cleared all hurdles to become a member of the 34-member Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a non-proliferation regime, the core of which also constitutes the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Monday was the deadline for any member to object to a new entrant, and none did to India’s inclusion.

With this, as The Times of India notes, the message to Beijing is clear: New Delhi has the backing of the majority of the NSG members, and that China’s plan to block India’s membership in order to get Pakistan – a known proliferator – into the club won’t come to fruition.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India and US firm Westinghouse have agreed to begin engineering and site design work immediately for six nuclear power plant reactors in India and conclude contractual arrangements by June 2017.

Also read: PM Modi In US Live: Westinghouse and NPCL Contract Confirmed

2. GST Inching Towards 2/3rd Backing in RS

GST, the long-pending landmark tax reform, now has more than two-thirds support needed for its passage in Rajya Sabha, if the parties supporting the current bill and those that are slowly inching towards support of the bill are taken together, says a report in The Times of India.

With 163 MPs in support in a House with an effective strength of 229, the GST currently has the backing of 71 percent of members.

Though Congress has the numerical strength to preventing passage of the legislation, support from AIADMK – that is said to be abstaining from a vote at the moment – could ease its approval.

Also read: Opposition’s Clout in the Upper House Will Decide GST’s Fate

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3. Lok Sabha, State Polls Can Go Together: EC

There could now be simultaneous elections to the Parliament and State Assemblies, as the Election Commission has supported the idea in a letter to the Law Ministry, according to The Indian Express.

This is the first time the election watchdog has formally expressed its go-ahead to conduct Lok Sabha and state polls together.

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4. In Punjab, Peddlers Are Spared, and Addicts are Punished

An investigative report by The Indian Express presents an astonishing finding: In Punjab, most of the arrests related to drug crimes have been of small-time peddlers and addicts, and no big drug lord has been put behind bars.

These arrests are mostly meant to fill up numbers.

At least 2,555 out of the 6,028 arrests – or 42.4 percent – were for possession of 5 gms or less of heroin, 100 gms or less of intoxicant powder, 50 gms or less of opium, 1 kg or less of poppy husk and 100 or less capsules or tablets.
The crackdown was absolutely flawed and done to make up the numbers. It took place without any foresight and planning. Addiction is a sickness like any other disease and there is no point in putting addicts behind bars.
Shashi Kant, former DGP (Prisons) to The Indian Express

Perhaps these largely ineffectual arrests hinder Punjab in its war on drugs, much like the censorship of the movie Udta Punjab does.

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5. What’ll the Akhilesh Govt Do Next on Dadri?

While there is growing clamour in Dadri for members of Akhlaq’s family to be arrested on charges of cow slaughter, the Akhilesh Yadav government, as per an Indian Express report that quotes government sources, will either question the authenticity of the report that confirmed that the meat found outside Akhlaq’s house was of a cow or its progeny, or at most file an FIR against unidentified persons for cow slaughter.

The state government, that had given Akhlaq’s family relief of up to Rs 45 lakh – and had promised to provide Akhlaq’s family with a house in NOIDA – finds itself in a tricky situation with the latest developments surrounding the politics around the Dadri lynching.

Also read:
Exclusive: Akhlaq’s Family Pressurised to Drop Dadri Lynching Case

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6. RBI Leaves Key Policy Rates Unchanged; Rajan Won’t Be ‘Cruel’ to Media

Reserve Bank India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan. (Photo: Reuters)
Reserve Bank India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan. (Photo: Reuters)

The Reserve Bank of India left its policy rates unchanged in its second bi-monthly monetary policy review for this financial year, concerned over the slight rise in inflation and some domestic and global upside risks that have sprung up since April. In the first bi-monthly policy review on 5 April, RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had cut the repurchase rate by 25 basis points, for commercial banks on loans taken from the Reserve Bank – to 6.5 percent from 6.75 per cent. The reverse repurchase rate for short-term borrowings was raised to 6 percent from 5.75 percent.

Also read: RBI Leaves Key Policy Rates Unchanged, Cautions Against Inflation

Meanwhile, Rajan clearly doesn’t want the suspense over his extension as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor to die out anytime soon. On Tuesday, Rajan said he won’t be “cruel” enough to spoil “the fun” the media seems to be having, speculation over his second term – which will be decided after consultation between the government and the incumbent.

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7. Trying Times for Congress With Spate in Departures

Congress leader Gurudas Kamat. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://twitter.com/KamatGurudas">Twitter.com/@KamatGurudas</a>)
Congress leader Gurudas Kamat. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter.com/@KamatGurudas)

Are the spate of departures affecting Congress? A day after former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi formed his own outfit, and senior Maharashtra leader Gurudas Kamat announced his “retirement” from politics, six Congress MLAs in Tripura crossed over to the Trinamool Congress.

This comes within months of a rebellion in Arunachal Pradesh resulting in the loss of the Congress government there.Then former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and nine MLAs chose to align themselves with the BJP in Uttarakhand, leading to a spell of President’s Rule in that State. But as this report in The Hindu says, though the departure of party members indicate that these are trying times for the Congress, they will never weaken it.

Also read: Six Congress MLAs from Tripura Resign, Join Trinamool Congress

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8. Split in Jat Leadership Weakening Protests

According to a report in Live Mint, the lukewarm response being seen in the first two days of the Jat protests in Delhi and Haryana are because senior leaders of the BJP in Haryana and central leaders have been asking Khap (community-wise) panchayats not to support the agitation called by the Jat Sangharsh Samiti (JSS).

Although the party is trying its level best to not let the protests go out of control, party leaders in fact, are supporting the reservation demand made by the Jat community.

Also read: Jat Agitation: More Than 100 Check Posts Set Up Around Haryana

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9. Delhi Kidney Racket Kingpin Arrested

The alleged kingpin of the kidney racket busted at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital was arrested from Kolkata on Tuesday, according to The Hindustan Times. The mastermind, T Rajkumar Rao, 39, was held in a joint operation of Kolkata Police and Delhi Police and is likely to be brought to the Capital by Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

A woman from Siliguri in West Bengal and a married couple from UP were also nabbed on Tuesday, taking the total number of arrests in the case to nine.

Also read: Delhi Kidney Racket: Kingpin T Rajkumar Rao Arrested In Kolkata

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