Pakistan on Wednesday expelled the Indian High Commissioner
and suspended bilateral trade in response to New Delhi’s decision to end the
special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The decisions were taken at a National Security Committee (NSC)
meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan at his office in Islamabad. Foreign
Minister Shah MehmoodQureshi read out the NSC decisions, while addressing a
joint session of Parliament.
On Tuesday, while addressing Parliament, Mr. Khan had warned
that India’s decision could trigger more violent incidents in Kashmir. He had
also said Pakistan decided not to pursue talks with India after having realised
that it was not interested in them.
Political analyst MosharrafZaidi says the NSC decisions
represent Pakistan’s effort to express its rejection of India’s altering of the
status of Kashmir.
“Unlike India, it shows that Pakistan remains committed to
bilateral and regional peace. But the patience of Pakistan’s leaders does not
mean Pakistanis will fall in line. India’s leaders need to take actions to
de-escalate tensions and ensure that there is no further brutality in Kashmir,”
The Environment Ministry has unveiled a draft plan that will
dictate how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast
ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance.
The draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF)
is part of a World Bank-funded project.The document lays down guidelines for
coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal
Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) has to be a continuous
process rather than a “one-off” investment action, the report said.
So far three coastal States, namely Gujarat, Odisha and West
Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from
the World Bank.Such plans would be prepared for the selected coastal stretches
in other States/UT, the project notes.
The key activities proposed for coastal zone development that
consist of investments by States include: mangrove afforestation/shelter beds,
habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows,
eco-restoration of sacred groves, development of hatcheries, rearing/rescue
centres for turtles and other marine animals, creation of infrastructure for
tourism, restoration and recharge of water bodies, beach cleaning and
development, and other small infrastructure facilities.
The Rupee witnessed high volatility and slipped towards 71
level after the Reserve Bank of India on August 7 cut key interest rate by
35 basis points to boost the slowing economy.
The Rupee had opened on a weak note at 70.92 at the interbank
Forex market, then fell further to 70.99 against the U.S. Dollar. The domestic
currency was trading at 70.91 at 1215 hrs, down 10 paise over its last close.
Following the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision,
the local currency witnessed heavy volatility. It fell to a low of 70.99 and a
high of 70.88 within minutes of RBI policy decision.
The RBI also revised real GDP growth for 2019-20 downwards to
6.9% from 7 % in the June policy. Meanwhile, brent crude futures, the global oil
benchmark, fell 0.29% to $58.77 per barrel, as U.S.-China trade dispute rattled
Meanwhile, on the global front investors fretted as dispute
between two of the world’s largest economies intensified over tariffs and
China has meanwhile reported to have said that it is halting new
purchases of U.S. agricultural products after President Trump vowed last week to
impose new tariffs on Chinese goods starting in September.
The Reserve Bank of India today announced that the National
Electronic Funds Transfer(NEFT) facility will be available round-the-clock
for the customers.
Speaking at a press conference after the release of the third
bi-monthly policy statement, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the RBI will make
available the NEFT system on a 24x7 basis from December 2019.
Currently, NEFT payment system operated by the Reserve Bank as a
retail payment system is available for customers from 8 AM to 7 PM on all
working days of the week except 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.
Addressing the media, the RBI Governor said that the RBI has
also decided to create a central payments fraud information registry system to
deal banking frauds adding that the details of the same will be shared later.
The RBI Governor further said in order to leverage the
advantages of the Bharat Bill Payment System and harness its full potential, it
has been decided to permit all categories of billers (except prepaid recharges)
who provide for recurring bill payments to participate in BBPS on a voluntary
The BBPS, an inter operable platform for repetitive bill
payments, currently covers five segments that are direct-to-home, electricity,
gas, telecom and water bills.
India on Wednesday signed a key UN convention on
international settlement agreements, even as experts called for local laws
to support the treaty’s implementation in business contracts.
The United Nations Convention on International Settlement
Agreements (UNISA) was signed by India’s High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed
Ashraf, representing the Government of India. 46 countries signed the treaty
named Singapore Convention on Mediation.
Singapore Minister of Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam
appreciated the strong support shown by the 70 countries represented at the
He highlighted the participation by the world’s three largest
economies the USA, China and India.
“On the ease of doing business, as for the legal front, we are
up by 50 per cent just by signing this convention and it is a dramatic jump,”
said Mr.Panchu, a member of the National Legal Service Authority, India.
A number of UN member countries, both the convention signatories
and the ones yet to sign, will need domestic laws supporting the mediation
agreements within their respective jurisdictions, he said.
So as to expedite the implementation of the treaty in each
signatory country, the convention has a model law that can be adopted, according
to experts at the convention.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday his
administration is in talks with South Korea to pay “substantially more” for
protection against North Korea, with tensions rising on the Korean
“Over the past many decades, the U.S. has been paid very little
by South Korea, but last year, at the request of President Trump, South Korea
paid $990,000,000,” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter.
“Talks have begun to further increase payments to the U.S. South
Korea is a very wealthy nation that now feels an obligation to contribute to the
military defence provided by the U.S. The relationship between the two countries
is a very good one!”
The two countries have been in a security alliance since the
1950-53 Korean war, which ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty —
with more than 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in the South to guard against
threats from Pyongyang.
But Mr. Trump has repeatedly complained about the expense of
keeping U.S. forces on the peninsula.Seoul said in February it had agreed to
hike its payment for maintaining American troops on its soil from $850 million
to $924 million in 2019 — 8.2 percent more than what it offered under a previous
five-year pact which expired at the end of last year.
Meanwhile the US government has approved the sale of 12
multi-mission Seahawk helicopters to South Korea worth 800 million US dollar.
The helicopters bolster anti-surface and anti-submarine missions
and can handle secondary missions like replenishment, search and rescue and