Tussle between aircraft safety versus security
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has raised a
few objections to the Home Ministry’s bid to frame a new law to regulate
unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), loosely referred to as drones.
The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has
told the Home Ministry that licensing and safety of all aircraft manned or
unmanned was their domain.
Recently, the Home Ministry circulated a draft law
to regulate the low-flying objects for inter-ministerial consultations. The
regulations were circulated more than a year after the DGCA put out draft
guidelines for obtaining unique identification numbers for citizens to use
drones in the public domain.
Operations at the IGI airport in Delhi were held up
for two hours after an Air Asia pilot spotted a low-flying object while landing.
Civil aviation officials informed the Home Ministry
that as per International Civil Aviation Organisation guidelines, aircraft,
whether manned or unmanned, does not affect its status as an aircraft and the
safety oversight is the responsibility of the DGCA.
A senior Home Ministry official said the need for a
new law arose after it received representations from a couple of industrial
houses who wanted to use UAVs to monitor oil pipelines and coalfields.
The DGCA has the capacity to detect aircraft of a
particular size and [which] fly at a certain altitude. It has radars to detect
their presence. The unmanned objects, if they fly low, cannot be detected by any
radar. It has security and privacy issues.
All is set for Maha Pushkaram in the Cauvery
when thousands of devotees are expected to congregate at the focal point of
Thula Kattam at Mayiladuthurai in Nagapattinam district.
J&K’s special status will be respected by Centre
As both Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National
Conference (NC) raised the issue of J&K’s special status during meetings with
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the latter said the Centre will not go
against the sentiments of the people on Article 35A, which grants special rights
to locals on property and jobs.
Article 35A has been challenged through three
petitions in the Supreme Court, which is again hearing them in November.
The National Investigation Agency, which detained a
number of separatist leaders since June, was acting according to the law of the
land.This should not deter those who want to talk to the government.
Referring to a “permanent solution of Kashmir,” Mr.
Singh said 5 Cs — compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence-building,
and consistency — would be its basis.
Minors must be dealt with under the juvenile
justice system and not be put in jails. They must be properly counselled.
Paying tributes to Swami Vivekananda on the
anniversary of his speech at the World Congress of Religions in Chicago,
Prime Minister Narendra Modi juxtaposed it with the 9/11 terror attack in
the U.S., saying the World
Trade Center tragedy would not have taken place had
the message of love and brotherhood of the speech been understood.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a function
attended by student groups in Vigyan Bhavan to mark the anniversary of
Vivekananda’s speech in Chicago in 1893.
“Before 2001, the world did not know the
significance of 9/11. It is our fault that we forgot the significance of ‘our
9/11’. Had we remembered it, there would have been no 9/11 in 2001,” he said.
Swami Vivekananda never tired of showcasing India’s
culture, talents and qualities. More than being in search of a guru, Swami
Vivekananda was in search of the truth.”
Referring to Vivekananda’s teachings, the Prime
Minister highlighted the fact that the saint was never afraid to speak his mind
and prioritised public service over ritualism.
Mr. Modi spoke of his government’s sanitation
drive, Swachh Bharat, as an example of ways in which public service and
patriotism could be demonstrated.
“We have to build shauchalaya [toilets] before
devalaya[temples],” he added.
Mr. Modi said that Vivekananda was all for
innovation and experimentation, and university campuses were the best sites for
“There is no life without creativity. Let our
creativity also strengthen our nation and fulfil the aspirations of our people,”
the Prime Minister added.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has written
to the Chief Justices of the High Courts to explore the possibility of
constituting special Benches on Saturdays to hear criminal and jail appeals
in which legal aid has been provided.
This will go a long way in ensuring speedy disposal
of criminal appeals/jail appeals.
He pointed out that some of the Chief Justices of
the High Courts had already agreed to go ahead with the project from September
9. The High Courts of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Jharkhand and Karnataka had
constituted special Benches to hear these appeals on Saturdays
Delay in disposal of these appeals raises questions
about the efficacy of the administration of justice as a whole and the criminal
justice system in particular.
The top judiciary had taken several steps to
fast-track the justice justice delivery system, including judges working during
“May I therefore impress upon you to explore the
possibility of hearing such criminal appeals/jail appeals, in which legal aid
counsel has been provided on Saturdays by specially constituted Bench after
obtaining the consent of the legal aid counsel and State counsel concerned,”
Chief Justice Misra said.
In another step-up for Defence Minister Nirmala
Sitharaman, who was elevated in the recent Cabinet restructuring exercise,
the government has not only included her in the high-profile Cabinet
Committee on Security but also made her a full-time member of the Cabinet
Committees on Economic and Political Affairs.
Ms. Sitharaman, who held Independent charge of the
Ministry of Commerce and Industry with a Minister of State rank, was earlier
only a special invitee to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan have also been
upgraded from special invitees to full-time members of the CCEA. Mr. Goyal, who
now heads the Railway and Coal Ministries, has been inducted into the Cabinet
Committee on Political Affairs, along with Ms. Sitharaman.
Among the newly inducted Ministers, Hardeep Singh
Puri is the only one to have made the cut as a special invitee to the Cabinet
Committee on Accommodation.
One notable change in the Cabinet Committees is the
inclusion of Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot in the
Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. S.S. Ahluwalia and Mukhtar Abbas
Naqvi, earlier Ministers of State for Parliamentary Affairs, have been
substituted by their replacements, Vijay Goel and Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese
counterpart, Shinzo Abe, will lay the groundwork for the next level of
collaboration during the annual summit meeting to be held in Gandhinagar.
The Ministry said the high point of the visit was
likely to be the joint inauguration of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail
project and bilateral security dialogue.
The two leaders will review the recent progress in
the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of
their ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ and will set its future
Mr. Abe begins a two-day visit on September 13
during which he and Mr. Modi will hold wide-ranging bilateral discussions
covering bilateral and global issues. This will be the fourth annual summit
The leaders would jointly participate in the
ground-breaking ceremony for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project using
Japanese Shinkansen technology — also known as the bullet train project — in
Through a video-link, they will participate in the
ground-breaking ceremony of the High Speed Railway Training Institute to be set
up in Vadodara.
Mr. Abe will visit the memorial dedicated to
Mahatma Gandhi at Dandi Kutir. However the focus of Mr.Abe’s visit is likely to
be the bilateral discussion on security issues, especially on North Korea and
India-Japan ties are at a crucial phase in a range
of areas, including defence and security.
In their annual defence dialogue last week, the two
countries had resolved to collaborate closely in defence production, including
on dual-use technologies.
Two Congress representatives, Rajya Sabha
member Vivek Tankha and former Union Minister Mukul Wasnik, argued that
“majority aspirations” and the “actual will of the people” is not getting
reflected in election results.
Mr. Tankha told the committee that the
first-past-the-post system had worked well in the beginning because there was
one-party domination (the Congress winning a plurality of the seats by securing
close to a majority of the votes).
The voting percentage was also very high. But now
because of a division of votes, a party with even a 20% share does not get a
single seat, while a party with a 28% share an get a disproportionately large
number of seats.
Whoever gets elected does not truly represent the
majority aspirations. And a true democracy cannot exit without reflection of the
Mr. Tankha also suggested a dual system where
separate votes for a candidate and a party could be considered. This system is
followed by various European countries.
From the CPI(M), Polit Bureau member S.
Ramachandran Pillai pointed out that in the 2009 elections, the BJP had 18.1%
votes but 116 seats in the Lok Sabha. While, in the previous elections, the
Congress got 19.35% votes but only 44 seats. Parties together polling almost 50%
of the votes were totally excluded. This fact has been repeatedly flagged by
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
The recommendations of the Law Commission’s 170th
and 255th report should be implemented. A mix of both first-past-the-post and
proportional representation should be tried. Both the reports had suggested that
25% or 136 more seats should be added to the Lok Sabha and be filled by
India agreed to enhance existing assistance to
Afghan security forces, including in capacity building and training of
Afghan soldiers in India, during a Partnership Council meeting, even as
Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister suggested a larger role for India in regional
Afghanistan hope also that India, as a good friend
of other countries in the region like Russia and Iran, can convince those
countries to work with the Afghan government to support the peace process in
At the conclusion of the Partnership Council
meeting, the second such meeting since the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA)
was signed in 2011, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the strategic
relationship is an “article of faith”.
The meeting was the first high-level engagement
between India and Afghanistan since the announcement of a new ‘South Asia policy
for Afghanistan’ by U.S. President Donald Trump, where he vowed to take tough
action against Pakistan if it fails to crackdown on terror groups, a policy that
was welcomed in both Kabul and New Delhi.
The UN Security Council was scheduled to vote
on a draft resolution imposing new sanctions on North Korea after the U.S.
toned down its demands in a bid to win support from Russia and China.
Washington has led the international drive to
punish Pyongyang after it detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear device
earlier this month.
The U.S. had originally pushed for a strict oil
embargo, as well as a freeze on the assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
A new draft text circulated maintains an embargo on
gas but would limit sales of oil to 5,00,000 barrels for three months from
October 1 and 2 million barrels from January 1 for a period of 12 months
Mr. Kim would be spared from a UN blacklist that
would have hit him with an assets freeze and a travel ban.
The proposed resolution, however, would slap a ban
on textile exports from North Korea, but drop demands for a halt to payments of
Among other concessions the new text also softens
the inspection by force of ships suspected of carrying cargo prohibited by the
UN and drops a proposed assets freeze on the state-owned Air Koryo airline.
Moscow opened a brand new park to the public
just steps from the Kremlin, boasting wonders such as an ice labyrinth,
despite criticism over its huge price-tag.
Zaryadye Park has replaced a gigantic Soviet-era
hotel on the banks of the Moscow river, which was demolished in 2006 leaving a
lot that stood empty for many years as investors and City Hall clashed over the
space, valued at more than $1 billion.
The park consists of a landscape with different
geobotanical “zones” including one resembling a tundra, as well as attractions
like a philharmonic hall concealed under a hill with a “glass crust” roof and an
ice cave with a labyrinth.
Park director Pavel Trekhleb pointed out that
climate control for the park’s southern plants will be provided with infrared
lanterns, while fish will be supplied into the pond on a weekly basis.
Zaryadye Park is one element of the current Mayor’s
push to remake Moscow which has turned the city of some 12 million into a vast
construction site over the past few years.
The park cost $244 million (Rs. 1,560 crore) to
develop. Critics have called its pricey elements frivolous at a time when the
country is trying to recover from recession.
No money in the budget to pay salaries to doctors,
pensions in the provinces are miniscule, while Moscow is behaving like a fat cat
Faisal E. Kottikollon , 53, founder and
chairman of the Dubai-based KEF Holdings, ranks 41 in the Forbes’
Middle-East’s ‘Top 100 Indian Business Owners in the Arab World 2017’.
KEF Holdings’ subsidiary, KEF Infra, opened a Rs.
440-crore offsite prefabrication construction factory at Krishnagiri in Tamil
Nadu, which he claims is the first in India and ‘one of the most advanced in the
Prefab construction, driven by cutting-edge
technology, could help solve the housing shortage in the country.
There is a huge opportunity for prefab construction
industry right now in the country. In his view, India will need a thousand more
plants soon. The central Urban Ministry is likely to give a big push for the
prefab industry shortly for promoting affordable housing
It is believed prefab is the way to go to solve the
housing shortage in the country. It’s cheap and fast. For instance, we can build
a house in just two hours, with our plug-and-play products. And we can build a
school in 30 to 60 days. Meitra Hospital is the first fully prefabricated
hospital in India. This is going to be the norm in the future.
101 Indira Canteens were built in Karnataka in 45
days. Now, they are building the Rs. 650-crore, 2-million-sq.ft. Lulu Mall in
Lucknow. It would be completed in 21 months. The prefab contract is for about Rs.
Post-demonetisation, India has become one of
the fastest growing markets for digital currencies like bitcoin, according
to Nicolas Cary, co-founder and president of Blockchain, the largest
software provider for crypto-currencies in the world.
Blockchain announced a partnership with Unocoin one
of the largest crypto-currency platforms in India to enter the Indian market.
While in India, Unocoin processes transactions
worth more than Rs. 600 million every month for its over four lakh customers,
Blockchain’s global platform has upwards of 16.5 million users.
According to a recent report, 2,500 Indians are
investing in bitcoin daily, which makes India one of the top contenders for
becoming the largest market for cryptocurrency.
Half of the users we have in India are using the
platform to make remittance payments, which are cross-border international
transactions,” Mr. Cary said. “It’s so inconvenient today to use legacy
transaction networks and legacy banks to do some basic things like send money
from London to India. So, we are seeing a lot of adoption for that kind of thing
“One of the things we are seeing happening in India
that we are supportive of is an industry body that has been formed, where
technology companies have come together to create a dialogue with the Finance
Ministry,” Mr. Cary said.
“It’s called the Digital Assets and Blockchain
Foundation India. It’s establishing best practices for consumer protection and
regulation in general,” he said.