The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday produced evidence to prove
that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) deployed F-16 fighters to target Indian
military installations, and one of which was downed. The armed forces, in a
rare tri-service press conference, reiterated that they were fully prepared
putting the onus of further escalation on Pakistan.
On Wednesday, several PAF jets targeted Indian military positions,
which Pakistan said was to show their ability to hit back following India’s
strikes on Balakot. However, Pakistan has said no F-16s were used in the
operation and no Pakistani jet was downed.
Later, AVM Kapoor displayed parts of an AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced
Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) fired by an F-16, which fell in Indian
territory. A senior defence source said the AMRAAM was supplied to Pakistan
by the U.S. under strict conditions that it could not be used in an
As for the Army’s role, Maj.Gen. Surindra Singh Mahal said the PAF
“attempted” to target military establishments, including a Brigade
Headquarters (HQ), a Battalion HQ, forward defences and a logistics
He said the ground-based air defence systems had been put on alert
along the border and mechanised formations had been on the standby. Despite
the present turn of events, the Army was “committed to maintaining peace and
stability in the region” and would “continue to act against agencies” that
harboured inimical designs against India.
Cabinet approves ordinance for voluntary use of Aadhar as identity proof
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister NarendraModi, on
Thursday approved the promulgation of an Ordinance to allow voluntary
submission of Aadhaar as identity proof for use by private entities such as
banks, telcos and fintech firms.
The Ordinance also gives a child an option to exit from the
Aadhaar on attaining 18 years of age.
The amendment also provides for civil penalties for violations of
Aadhaar Act and provisions by entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem. “It permits
the entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the
standards of privacy and security specified by the Authority,” it said.
“Subsequent to this amendment, no individual shall be compelled to
provide proof of possession of Aadhaar number of undergo authentication for
the purpose of establishing his identity unless it is so provided by a law
made by Parliament,” the government said, adding that the amendments will
enable UIDAI to restrain the misuse of Aadhaar.
The amendment “provide for 12-digit Aadhaar number and its
alternate virtual identity to conceal the actual Aadhaar number.”
The move follows, a Supreme Court judgement dated September 26,
2018 which struck down section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that allowed sharing of
aadhaar data with private entities.
Centre cuts down growth estimate to 7%
GDP growth slowed for the third consecutive quarter in the
October-December 2018 period, according to data released on Thursday. Growth
fell to 6.6% in the third quarter, the lowest in the last six quarters.
The slowdown was led by agriculture, which is estimated to grow at
2.7%, against the earlier estimate of 3.8%.
Data showed that the GDP growth slowed for the third consecutive
quarter in the quarter ended December 2018 to 6.6% — a six-quarter low from
7% in the second quarter and 8% in the first quarter of this financial year
The slowdown in 2018-19 is due to a lowering in the growth
estimate of the agriculture sector to 2.7% as per the latest data compared
with the 3.8% estimated earlier. The manufacturing sector, too, is estimated
to grow at a marginally lower 8.1% compared with the previously predicted
The two notable divergences between the second estimate and the
first are that private final consumption expenditure growth has been revised
upwards to 8.3% from 6.4% and investment growth was revised lower to 10%
from the earlier estimate of 12.2%.
The government revised downwards its estimate for GDP growth in
the 2018-19 financial year to 7% from the 7.2% estimated in the first
estimate for the year released in January
Economists point out that the size of the economy in terms of
nominal GDP is now estimated to be ₹190.54 lakh crore, up from the ₹188.41
lakh crore estimated earlier.
Cabinet clears software product policy
The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the National Policy on
Software Products 2019 that aims to help the industry grow at CAGR of 40% to
reach $70-80 billion by 2025, while creating employment opportunities for
3.5 million people.
“The policy aims to adopt a shift in strategy so that IT products
also contribute equitably and significantly to the industry along with IT
services,” Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
In a statement, the government said that initially an outlay of
₹1,500 crore is being planned for various schemes under in policy in the
next seven years.
Further, the policy proposes to create a ₹5,000-crore fund with
industry participation to promote emerging technology such as Internet of
Things, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Big Data and robotics. Of this,
government contribution will be ₹1,000 crore.
The policy, which aims to increase share of Indian software
products in global market by tenfold, pitches for nurturing of 10,000
technology start-ups in software product industry, including 1,000 such
start-ups in tier-II and tier-III towns.
It also proposes up-skilling of 10 lakh IT professionals as well
specialise 10,000 professionals to “provide leadership.”
The policy also proposes a programme to encourage innovation to solving
societal challenges. “The objective of the programme will be to promote IP
driven software product entrepreneurship.
The programme with a budgetary outlay of ₹500 crore will provide
financial support to MSMEs and will have matching contribution from the
government and the industry,” it said.
United Nations investigators said on Thursday Israeli security
forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing
189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at weekly protests in Gaza
The independent panel said it had confidential information about
those it believes to be responsible for the killings, including snipers and
Protests have been held at the frontier between Israel and the
Gaza Strip since last year, calling for the easing of an Israeli blockade of
the territory and recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees there to
return to homes in Israel.
Israel has said its forces opened fire to protect the frontier
from incursions and attacks by armed militants.
The latest report, covering the period from March 30-December 31
2018, to the U.N. Human Rights Council was based on hundreds of interviews
with victims and witnesses, as well as medical records, video and drone
footage, and photographs.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet should
share the findings with the International Criminal Court (ICC), it said. The
Hague-based court opened a preliminary investigation into allegations of
Israeli human rights abuses on Palestinian territory in 2015.
The Gaza Strip is home to 2 million Palestinians, the majority of
them stateless descendants of people who fled or were driven out of Israel
on its founding in 1948.
No agreements finalised in Trump - Kim meeting
The nuclear summit between United States President Donald Trump
and Kim Jong-un in Hanoi ended without an agreement on Thursday, the White
House said after the two leaders cut short their discussions.
They had “very good and constructive meetings” and “discussed
various ways to advance denuclearisation and economic driven concepts”,
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
In the event, both men left the summit venue without a public
signing ceremony and Mr. Trump moved up his news conference by two hours,
sparking doubts about the progress made at the summit.
The Hanoi summit was supposed to build on their initial historic
meeting at Singapore that critics said was more style over substance.
In Hanoi, the smiles and bonhomie remained as Mr. Trump touted the
“special relationship” between the two but concrete statements were vague.
From the outset, Mr. Trump had appeared to downplay expectations
of an immediate breakthrough in nuclear talks, saying he was in “no rush” to
clinch a rapid deal and was content if a pause in missile testing continued.
There were also hopes Mr. Kim could pledge to destroy North
Korea’s decades-old Yongbyon nuclear complex, which has long been at the
heart of Pyongyang’s atomic development but remains shrouded in secrecy and
North Korea has promised to mothball it twice before.
A patent distraction from the summit was a scandal back home in
Washington with Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen
calling him a “racist” and a “conman” during a congressional hearing.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Asian wildlife experts suggests expansion of boundaries for Rhinos
International boundaries will not come in the way of conservation
of rhinos, said representatives of Asian countries where the one-horned
The New Delhi Declaration adopted at the second meeting of the
Asian rhino range countries that ended on Thursday underscored
trans-boundary collaboration among India, Nepal, and Bhutan for the
conservation and protection of the greater one-horned rhino.
There are no rhinos in Bhutan, but some from the Manas National
Park in adjoining Assam or Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal are known to
cross over occasionally.
Emphasis was also laid on expanding rhino domains within a country
or between rhino range countries. Indonesia and Malaysia are the other Asian
countries where the last of the rhinos live.
The current global population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros
is 3,584. Assam’s Kaziranga National Park has the bulk of 2,938 rhinos in
India while Nepal 646.
Among the other decisions taken at the New Delhi meeting of the
Asian rhino range countries was “making the best use of all available
individuals and technologies” to accelerate natural and conservation
breeding of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino.
Deepak singh wins gold in Makran Cup
National champion Deepak Singh was the lone Indian boxer to notch
up a gold while five others claimed silver medals in theMakran Cup in
Deepak (49-kilogram) defeated JaafarNaseriin the finals held last
night. However, none of the other five Indian finalists could win their
Finishing second on the podium were P Lalitha Prasad (52kg),
Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (60kg), Duryodhan Singh
Negi (69kg), Sanjeet (91kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Satish