The Supreme Court on Thursday nodded in favour of
considering a petition for a life-time ban from contesting elections for
politicians convicted in criminal cases.The court is hearing a PIL petition
filed by advocate AshwiniUpadhyay who has proposed the ban as a measure to
rid politics of criminality and corruption.
The Centre had in March this year informed the Supreme
Court that 1,765 Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies have criminal
cases against them.
Of the total 3,816 cases against them, 3,045 criminal
cases are still pending. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 248 legislators with
criminal cases against them, Tamil Nadu comes second with 178 and then Bihar
In November 2017, the court had directed the setting up of
Special Courts to exclusively try legislators within a deadline of one year.The
Centre had undertaken to set up 12 Special Courts for this purpose.
The affidavit informed that of the total Rs. 780 lakh
allocated for setting up the courts in 11 States, it has already released a
total of Rs. 65.04 lakh in 2017. The balance of Rs. 714.96 lakh will be released
during the financial year 2018-19. Tamil Nadu has been allotted Rs. 65 lakh for
a year for the purpose of establishing the court in the State.
India on Thursday reiterated its opposition to a
proposed luxury bus service between Pakistan and China that would pass
through parts of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan territory
that India claims terming it “a violation of India’s sovereignty”, a day
after it had summoned a Chinese diplomat to South Block to lodge a strong
protest against the initiative.
A Director in the MEA had delivered a note verbale to a
Counselor in the Chinese Embassy on Wednesday, urging the cancellation of the
bus service that is due to start on November 3, said an official, who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
While China asserted that the bus service from Lahore to
Tashkurgan in Xinjiang timed to begin when Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
will be visiting Beijing did not alter the country’s stance on the Kashmir
issue, Pakistan dismissed India’s objections as “frivolous”.
Reacting to India’s statement, the spokesperson for
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “India’s repeated regurgitation of
claims over Indian Occupied Kashmir can neither change the facts of history nor
the legality of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.”
India has consistently opposed the 1963 “China-Pakistan
Boundary Agreement” that recognises PoK as under “actual Pakistani control”
without prejudicing a final dispute resolution with India, and India has
protested the Karakoram Highway on which traffic has been plying regularly, as
well as subsequent infrastructure projects built by China in the disputed area.
Non-resident Indian (NRI) deposits jumped to $5.7
billion in the first five months of this fiscal compared to $0.5 billion in
the same period last year. The rise is attributed to the sliding rupee,
which makes deposits in the currency attractive for NRIs, and to higher oil
prices which have prompted inflows from NRIs in the Middle-east to increase.
According to data published by RBI, during the
April-August period of 2018-19, NRI deposit inflow was $5.7 billion.
Non-Resident (External) Rupee Account was the main contributor at $4.1 billion
compared to $1.7 billion during the same period of the previous year. These
deposits are freely repatriable and tax free.
“It is but natural for NRE deposits to accelerate when the
currency depreciates as the value of deposits in rupee terms grows significantly
during such episodes,” said RupaRegeNitsure, chief economist, L&T Finance
Holdings. Rupee has depreciated about 12% against the dollar this financial
The UAE is the top source of inward remittances into
India, with Kerala receiving the maximum funds sent from abroad, according to
the RBI’s survey of inward remittances for 2016-17.
“The government and RBI have taken measures in the past to
attract a higher quantum of NRI deposits. However, any sharp upsurge in such
deposits over a short period may not be necessarily favourable over the longer
term as these deposits are repatriable and can therefore lead to sudden currency
outflows in future periods,” Acuité Ratings & research said.
India’s gold demand was up 10% at 183.2 tonnes in the
third quarter of 2018 compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017 as a dip
in the price in the early part of the quarter — the lowest level since
January 2018 — spurred demand, according to a report by the World Gold
Further, while the jewellery demand was up 10%, the
investment demand for coins and bars increased by 11% compared to the third
quarter of last year.The July to September period saw jewellery demand pegged at
148.8 tonnes while coins and bars saw a collective demand of 34.4 tonnes.
Incidentally, the growth in demand needs to be seen in the
context of a low base following the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST)
in the third quarter of 2017.
According to Somasundaram P.R., managing director, India,
World Gold Council, while a dip in the gold price in the early part of the
quarter lifted demand, factors such as rupee depreciation and floods in Kerala
affected the demand negatively.
With about 72 hours to go for the United States
deadline on sanctions on oil trade with Iran as well as dealing with ports
and shipping, Indian officials were cautiously optimistic they will receive
a waiver from Washington.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said
India has been in talks with the U.S. as well as with Iran to ensure
uninterrupted energy supply.
“The U.S. is well aware of our requirement for oil
domestically, which is critical for sustaining our economic growth. We have
taken note of the U.S. position that the intention of imposing sanctions on Iran
is not to hurt India. We will continue to engage with the U.S. and other
stakeholders so that our energy security is not compromised,” said MEA
spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
The U.S. had called for all countries to “zero out” their
oil purchases from Iran, which India has not done. However, U.S. officials are
compiling a list of those countries that have significantly reduced their oil
imports from Tehran, who would qualify for waivers, and India expects to be on
The waivers “look likely but not yet formally decided”, a
government official told The Hindu , indicating that the final word rests with
U.S. President Donald Trump who must sign them before November 4.
Ahead of the December climate talks in Katowice,
Poland, India is hosting two key meetings in New Delhi with a group of
countries called the LMDC, the ‘Like Minded Developing Countries’ (India,
China, Venezuela and Iran) and BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China),
which are networks that have been formed to lend weight to the concerns of
the developing countries.
The Conference of Parties (COP), a league of at least 190
countries signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCC), meets annually to discuss ways to address issues related to climate
These meetings are important, said Union Environment
Secretary C.K. Mishra, for countries to craft a common front to ensure that the
rules, which will govern how the 2015 Paris climate pact that will come into
force from 2020, are implemented fairly.
India is having discussions with at least 40 countries,
including China, to forge alliances and compel developed countries to make good
on promises, made over the years, to provide enough finance and technology to
stem global warming.
Last month, Mr. Mishra chaired a session at a ‘Pre-COP’
meeting in Poland. “Ahead of the talks next month, we are aiming for
transparency and in ensuring that matters related to finance and technology are
all discussed together, instead of separating them under various heads, as
seemed to happen previously,” Mr. Mishra told.