25 JULY 2020
A) Rajasthan political situation back in flux.
The Rajasthan High Court on 24 July ordered a status quo to be maintained on the disqualification notices issued by Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi to the former Congress leader Sachin Pilot and 18 supporting Congress MLAs. With this order, the court has effectively put the disqualification procedure on hold. No action will be taken against them till the Apex Court resume the hearing on the special leave petition of the speaker made on 27 July. Ashok Gehlot has said that he had requested the Governor of Rajasthan, Mr. Kalraj Mishra on July 23 to call a session of the Assembly. But there had been no response. He also claimed that the Governor was under pressure from the BJP central government not to call an assembly session.
B) Don’t be too risk-averse: RBI governor tells banks.
On 24 July, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said that the financial system of the country is sound but lenders should desist from extreme risk aversion during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. He told this in the biannual Financial Stability Report (FSR). He further said that the top priority right now for banks and financial intermediaries should be augmenting capital levels and improving resilience. The financial system in India is good, in the current environment. But the need for financial intermediaries to actively augment capital and improve their resilience has acquired top priority.
C) Covaxin human trials begin at AIIMS.
The phase-I human clinical trial of India’s first indigenously-developed vaccine against the novel coronavirus, Covaxin, began at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on 23 July. The first dose of the injection was given to a man who is 30 years old. Since 18 July, more than 3,500 volunteers have registered themselves for the trial. Out of these, 22 persons are currently being screened. The first volunteer who is a resident of Delhi was screened 2 days ago and his parameters of health were found within the normal range. He also does not have any co-morbid conditions. Few more participants will be given the vaccine on 25 July after their screening reports come in.
D) MMS calls Narasimha Rao “father of economic reforms.”
Former PM of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh said that Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao was a great son of the land. He can honestly be called the father of economic reforms in India since he had the vision as well as the courage to push the economy forward. While addressing the inaugural function of the year-long birth centenary celebrations of the late Prime Minister, which was organized by the Congress’s Telangana unit, Manmohan Singh said that he is particularly happy that the program date coincides with the first Budget of Rao’s government, which was presented by him in 1991. The 1991 Budget is hailed by many as the one that set the foundations of a modern India by laying the roadmap for economic reforms in the country.
E) COVID Watch: Numbers and Developments.
The number of coronavirus infections reported from India stood at 13,19,446 with the death toll at 31,038. The chief scientist of the WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, has warned that a situation where a large section of the population has developed antibodies against Covid-19, is still a long way off though it can speed up by a vaccine. In a social media live event, which was organized by the WHO from Geneva, the scientist said that more waves of the infection would be required to get to a stage of natural immunity.
F) SC gave time to lawyers in Prashant Bhushan’s Contempt case.
The Supreme Court on 24 July gave time to the lawyers till 4 August to research and prepare their defense for civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan and former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, Tarun Tejpal in an old contempt case which has come back into the spotlight these days. The case was registered in 2009 after the court took suo motu cognizance of an interview in Tehelka, in which Bhushan had remarked about the judiciary and the presence of former CJI S.H. Kapadia on the Forest Bench of the apex court. The Bench had decided the Niyamgiri mining lease case in Odisha in favor of Sterlite Industries.
A) With border talks set to continue, India imposes new economic curbs.
India and China have agreed to hold another round of high-level military talks so as to move forward the disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Meanwhile, in a move that is seen as primarily targeting Chinese businesses, India has slapped new trade curbs on companies from nations that share a land border with India. As per the new rules, companies from nations that share a land border with India are barred from bidding for government contracts for goods and services until they register with the industry department. This comes close on the heels of two earlier economic curbs the banning of 59 Chinese apps, and a rulemaking it mandatory for suppliers to mention the origin country on the e-Marketplace of the government while bidding for tenders.
B) No business as usual with China: Envoy
Indian envoy in Moscow Mr. D.B. Venkatesh Varma has said that India has made it clear to China that it will not do business with China until there is a complete disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India does not believe in a trade war with any country. However, The engagement of India with China on multilateral fora like Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS), Russia-India-China (RIC), and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was expected to continue. The statements come during the disengagement process at the LAC that appears to be stalled after an initial pullback by Chinese troops from some of the stand-off areas. Both countries were negotiating to resolve the situation. The ban on some Chinese apps is a step towards ensuring digital security.
C) India invites Israeli defense companies to strengthen ties.
On 24 July, India invited greater participation from Israeli defense companies under the new liberalized foreign direct investment (FDI) regime in defense manufacturing. This was conveyed during a telephonic conversation between Defense Minister of India, Mr. Rajnath Singh, and his Israeli counterpart Lieutenant General Benjamin Gantz. The conversation took place as the Indian Armed Forces are undertaking a series of emergency defense purchases, including from Israel, amid ongoing tensions with China on the border.
D) China asks the U.S. to shut Chengdu consulate
On 24 July, China has ordered the U.S. consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu to close its retaliation for one of its missions in the United States being shuttered. This was done during a furious week of Cold War-style diplomacy. In a statement given by the Foreign Ministry, it was said that ordering the Chengdu consulate to cease operation was a legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable measures which were taken by the United States. The U.S. is responsible for the current situation in China-U.S. relations.
E) Apple starts sales of India-made iPhone 11.
The contract manufacturer of Apple, Foxconn has started assembling the iPhone 11 in India. The flagship of the U.S. company device is being assembled at Foxconn’s Chennai plant. A small batch of iPhone 11 which are assembled-in-India had been dispatched to the retail market and was now on sale. Currently, iPhone XR and iPhone 11 are being assembled by Foxconn, which is situated in Chennai. The iPhone 7 is made by, Wistron, in Bengaluru, which is another partner.
A) IPL to be held in UAE.
The BCCI has finalized the rescheduled window for the IPL from September 19 to November 8 in the UAE, pending government approval. In consultation with various stakeholders, they have decided on the same window, considering the various aspects required. The governing council will be formally convened once they get a formal response from the government, which they hope will happen early next week. The BCCI office-bearers were involved in discussions with franchise management, the broadcasting partner, and the Emirates Cricket Board over the last couple of days.