India refuses to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative in SCO summit statement: India was the only country Sunday to not endorse President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at the end of the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao, report Hindustan Times and other major dailies. In his address at the summit, PM Narendra Modi, in an oblique reference to the BRI, said any mega connectivity project must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries involved.
A key segment of the BRI passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. However, the move is not expected to hurt bilateral ties between India and China.
India rebalancing ties with Pakistan to open path to Eurasia: The Hindu reports that India could possibly be looking at exploring the possibility of connectivity to central Asia through the Pakistan-Afghanistan corridor, under the SCO framework. This news comes from the Qingdao summit, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain shook hands and exchanged pleasantries after a press conference, following months of tense standoffs at the border between the two countries.
Government invites lateral entry at joint secretary-level posts for ‘talented’ professionals: The government has invited applications for 10 joint secretary posts in different ministries as it looks to appoint private-sector professionals to key mid-level slots in the bureaucracy, Amrita Nayak Dutta reports for ThePrint.
UP hospital deaths accused Dr Kafeel Khan’s brother ‘shot at’ near Gorakhnath temple: The younger brother of Kafeel Khan, one of the accused in last year’s Gorakhpur hospital tragedy, was shot at by unidentified assailants late Sunday, Sanya Dhingra reports for ThePrint. Khan has alleged that the medical authorities are under pressure to not let the family leave the hospital easily.
Akhilesh Yadav is ready to play second fiddle: The former UP chief minister and Samajwadi Party president said his party was willing to play second fiddle to the BSP in order to ensure the BJP’s defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, reports The Times Of India.
‘Fear of child abductors’ may have provoked Assam lynchings: According to Assam police, the lynching of two men Friday took place at the end of a week of persistent rumours that child abductors were roaming freely, reports The Indian Express. Travelling in a black SUV, the two victims were stopped around 7.30 pm Friday, minutes after rumours spread that two men had kidnapped a child and fled in a black car. Locals said the mob continued to assault the men even after they found no abducted child in the car.
The problems of ICICI Bank and its CEO Chanda Kochhar have gone global. Both are under the scanner of the US market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the company is listed in the North American nation too, reports Business Standard.
Six more public sector banks may join the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework of the RBI to ensure better recovery of their NPAs, reports The Economic Times. Eleven are already on the list. PCA involves strict restrictions on the functioning of banks.
News it’s just kinda cool to know
In Kashmir’s remote villages, WhatsApp is saving lives: Patients in the far-flung villages of Kashmir are being saved through WhatsApp prescriptions sent by doctors from the cities, The Indian Express reports. Doctors and cardiologists from tertiary centres are connected to colleagues in remote postings through WhatsApp groups, which helps the latter receive crucial consultation round the clock.
Hindu family displays rare collection of Islamic manuscripts in Kashmir: The showcase of a Hindu family’s collection of rare Quranic manuscripts, elegant calligraphic works, and art masterpieces in Srinagar is drawing hordes of people, reports Hindustan Times. The collection was reportedly sourced from the court of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler.
Point of View
India’s banking system needs an overhaul. But what is the way forward? The Indian Express, in its editorial, writes that consolidation is not the solution to the problems banks are going through. “The reality is that transforming India’s state-owned banks will mean carrying out radical changes in the current governance and ownership structures, much more than creating size.”
There is evidence of a looming water crisis in Indian cities. The Times Of India, in its editorial, writes that the time is now to use innovative methods to overcome this challenge. “India must move towards efficient irrigation practices in agriculture like drip irrigation… With cities becoming engines of growth, tough and urgent measures are needed.”
Remember what PM Modi said about data in Davos, that whoever controls data would be the king? Yes Bank CEO Rana Kapoor, in his column in The Hindu writes that open government data is one asset that remains hugely underutilised in India. “Unfortunately, the potential of this national asset is being grossly underutilised,” he says.
Startup is the new buzzword. But it requires an ecosystem to flourish. Harvard professor Tarun Khanna and principal scientific adviser VijayRaghavan, in their column in The Economic Times, discuss what still needs to be done. They write, “India has made rudimentary, but important, strides in linking science to startups…Triggering bottom-up scientific creativity through these efforts can pay major dividends over the next decades.”
None other than the union agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh, himself tried to belittle the recent farmers’ protest. Agriculture economist Ashok Gulati and senior ICRIER consultant Shweta Saini, in their column in The Indian Express, conduct a reality check on his statement that farmers protested for media attention.”
Pranab’s decision yet to be forgotten
India Today TV, Sunday, conducted a one-on-one debate between the Congress’ Manish Tewari and the BJP’s Gaurav Bhatia on former President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech at the RSS headquarters, three days after it happened.
Tewari said it would be interesting to find out what was going on in the mind of a person who addressed an RSS’training session “after 45 years of having a very different opinion about the Sangh”.
“The same goes for the Congress. It used to say 27 years UP ‘behaal’ and now is an ally with the Samajwadi Party,” countered Bhatia.
Asked by host Rahul Kanwal whether the BJP believed in RSS founder Hedgewar’s idea that India was only for Hindus, Bhatia replied that India welcomed all religions and cultures.
A larger debate
During a discussion on the former President’s RSS address, Arnab Goswami’s prime-time show on Republic TV sought to focus on the larger issue of Hedgewar’s ideology and Hindutva. Political analyst Rajeev Panday clarified that the word Hindu included people of all religions, so a ‘Hindu rashtra’ was for everyone. “It’s only when Muslims come with a jihadi mindset that we have a problem,” Panday said.
Political analyst Sudheendra Kulkarni applauded Mukherjee for being a “bridge-builder”, and said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s speech should be studied by the entire nation, including the critics of the RSS, with an open mind. To this, Goswami responded, “Agreed… Correct.”