India revokes MFN status given to Pakistan, condemns attack
India on Friday revoked the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status of
Pakistan and warned of more measures in response to its support for
terrorist groups targeting India.
While Prime Minister NarendraModi asserted that those responsible
for Thursday’s terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir would be given a
“befitting reply,” the Opposition rallied behind the government in a show of
There is “incontrovertible evidence” of Pakistan’s “direct”
involvement in the attack, Finance Minister ArunJaitley said after a meeting
of the Cabinet Committee on Security that deliberated on India’s response.
India has asked its High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria to
return to New Delhi for consultations. “Those who committed this heinous act
or supported it will be made to pay a heavy cost,” Mr.Jaitley said after the
The U.S., Russia, Australia, France, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and
Bangladesh are among the countries that condemned the attack. “I would like
to reiterate the readiness for further strengthening counter-terrorist
cooperation with Indian partners,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in
The government said it would take measures to diplomatically
isolate Pakistan, which is at the centre of several international
initiatives to bring an end to the conflict in Afghanistan.
Supreme court questions government over appointment of information
The Central Information Commission (CIC) and State Information
Commissions, the country’s apex bodies entrusted to uphold the citizen’s
fundamental right to information, have been bastions of government employees
and their retired counterparts.
The apex court found that “official bias” in favour of bureaucrats
and government employees was evident from the very beginning of the process
for appointment of Chief Information Commissioners and Information
Commissioners. In fact, the selection committee, which shortlists candidates
for appointment, is itself composed of government employees.
The 2005 law was enacted to ensure accountability in governance.
The Commissions are meant to be the law’s eyes and hands to provide
information to ordinary people.
The apex court directed the government to look beyond bureaucrats
and appoint professionals from “all walks of life,” including eminent
persons with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology,
social service, management, journalism as Information Commissioners.
The Supreme Court concluded that the entire RTI mechanism has been
choked by rising pendency and growing number of vacancies of Information
Now, the Supreme Court has, for the first time, put the government
on a deadline as far as filling vacancies in the Commissions. The court
directed that the process of appointment should commence at least one or two
months before the retirement is due.
National Conference on “Sustainable and Environment-friendly Industrial
Under Indo-German Development Cooperation, Ministry of
Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC) organized Second National
Conference today at Hyatt Hotel, New Delhi on Sustainable and
Environment-friendly Industrial Production (SEIP).
The project concludes in two weeks and Ministry organized this
conference for dissemination of results, successful models and experiences
so as to enable replication and plan further actions with state agencies on
The project worked directly with companies and advised them on
environment friendly production and wastewater management in 5 industrial
areas in three states (Delhi, Uttarakhand and Gujarat).
Shri A. K. Jain, Additional Secretary, MoEFCC inaugurated the
conference and stressed thatRegional Replication Workshops shall be carried
out at various locations involving state local bodies, in the next phase of
SEIP, for further dissemination of results.
Some major interventions from this project which were discussed
over the day included topics as Resource efficiency and cleaner production
in industries (as there have been over 100 success stories from this
action), voluntary action by industries and industrial associations, skills
development, sustainability standards for industrial areas, etc.
Government e -Marketplace signs MoU with GS1
GS1 India, a standards organization set up by the Ministry of
Commerce & Industry, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with
Government e-Marketplace (GeM).
This will enable GeM’s buyers and vendors toaccess rich, accurate
and standardized information on attributes of thousands of products across
categories, empowering them to make more informed decisions.
The agreement was signed by Additional CEO, GeM,K Suresh Kumarand
CEO, GS1 India, Ravi Mathur. CEO, GeM, RadhaChauhan, and senior officials
from GeM and GS1 India were present on this occasion
GeM will access product data from GS1 India’s DataKart, the
National repository of information on attributes of millions of retail
products in the country.
The categories get populated directly by manufacturers and brand
owners. Every data will undergo validity checks based on globally accepted
GS1 standards prior to being published for access by buyers
The United States has reacted strongly to the terrorist attack on
the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama district of Jammu
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the heinous
terrorist attack by a Pakistan-based terrorist group that killed over 40
Indian paramilitary forces and wounded at least 44 others. We express our
deep condolences to the victims’ families, the Indian government, and the
Indian people for the loss of life in this brutal attack,” a statement from
the White House said.
“The UN-designated Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed
has claimed responsibility for this heinous act. We call on all countries to
uphold their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to
deny safe haven and support for terrorists,” the statement said.
In New York, the United Nations Secretary-General’s office has
also strongly condemned the attack and offered condolences. “We call for
those behind the attack to be brought to justice,” a UN Spokesperson for
Secretary- General AntónioGuterres said.
Indian-American Members of Congress also conveyed their
condolences with Democratic Congresswoman PramilaJayapal calling the attack
“heartbreaking” and her colleague, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi saying,
“We must all stand united against terrorism.”
Centre to expand strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia
A High-level delegation, led by NITI Aayog CEO Shri Amitabh Kant,
will be visiting Saudi Arabia from 16th to 17th February 2019 to participate
in extensive discussions with the Saudi Centre for International Strategic
Partnerships (SCISP) in Riyadh.
The visit will serve as aprecursor to the forthcoming visit of HRH
Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Vice President
of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi
The delegationwill comprise of senior officials from the
Ministries of Housing and Urban Affairs, Electronics and Information
Technology, Tourism, and Commerce and Industry. It will also include CEOs of
leading Indian companies.
The discussionswith the Saudi Arabian leadership will showcase the
economic opportunities that Indiapresentsfor investment and explore pathways
to further strengthen the economic pillar of the India – Saudi Arabia
India – Saudi Arabia bilateral trade during April to November 2018
reached USD 23.24 billion, and is poised to reach greater heights post the
visit of the Crown Prince between 19-20th February, which follows the highly
successful visit of Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi to Saudi Arabia in April
During his forthcoming visit, HRH the Crown Prince of Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia will call on the President and Vice President, and also
participate in bilateral talks on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Antibiotic resistant NDM-1 gene found in arctic
The recent detection of the antibiotic resistant (AR) gene NDM-1,
first isolated in India, in the Arctic region is a further indication of the
globalisation of antimicrobial resistance, said a study.
The research was conducted in the High Arctic zone (Kongsfjorden
region of Svalbard) and scientists were surprised to find a rather robust
presence of NDM-1, according to Clare McCann, principal author of the study.
Answering questions from The Hindu over email, Dr. McCann said:
“It was not a shock to find AR in the High Arctic. In essence, AR is a
natural phenomenon. Most antibiotics are produced by soil microorganisms and
over time they have evolved to become resistant to the compounds which they
excrete to survive. However, finding NDM-1 in 2013 was a surprise.”
“Our findings show that the NDM-1 gene is present in highest
concentrations near fresh water sources where wildlife tend to congregate.
Additionally, we discovered levels of mobile genetic elements (MGEs), the
mechanism by which bacteria ‘trade’ AR, to mirror NDM-1.
MGEs are noteworthy here because they are often associated with
‘acquired’ resistance and are found at higher levels in human, or animal
waste-impacted environments,” she said.
The findings point towards the involvement of migratory birds, who
could carry the resistance in the gut and transfer it to the Arctic soil
through faecal matter.
“However, it is also possible that it may have migrated with
humans and spread via local wildlife, or it may be a combination of
factors,” the scientist explained.
Spain to take on Croatia in Davis cup finals
Rafael Nadal’s Spain will host defending champion Croatia in the
Davis Cup finals with the 17-time major winner set to be the only member of
the sport’s big four taking part in the controversially rebooted tournament.
Nadal, who has played in four Davis Cup-winning campaigns, has
said he intends to take part in the new-look week-long event on home ground
in Madrid from November 18-24.
However, long-time rivals Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy
Murray will be missing.
Federer’s Switzerland didn’t qualify, Britain’s Murray has
virtually retired while World No. 1 Djokovic has said he intends to focus on
the ATP World Team Cup to be staged in Australia in January.