Prime Minister NarendraModi dedicated to the nation the National
War Memorial near India Gate in New Delhi on Monday evening. He lighted the
eternal flame at the central obelisk in the war memorial complex.
The National War Memorial commemorates the soldiers who
participated and made the supreme sacrifice in Peace Keeping Missions and
Counter Insurgency Operations.
The Prime Minister, in his address to the war veterans ahead of
the dedication of the memorial to the nation, said the Indian armed forces
is one of the bravest armies in the world.
Mr Modi said, the country's soldiers have always accepted
challenges and have responded efficiently. The Prime Minister said, his
government has fulfilled the long-standing demand for the National War
The Prime Minister said, his government is working tirelessly to
make Indian Armed forces self-reliant. He alleged that armed forces and
national security suffered due to the negligence of the previous
governments. In a veiled attack at the Congress, Mr Modi accused the party
of creating hurdles in the procurement of Rafale fighter jets.
The Prime Minister also announced setting up of three super
speciality hospitals for the armed forces. He also paid tributes to the
martyrs of Pulwama terror attack.
Speaking on the occasion, Defence Minister NirmalaSitharaman said,
with the inauguration of National War Memorial, Indians now have one more
pilgrimage centre to pay tributes to fallen soldiers.
Survey claims drought to be less severe this year
There’s unlikely to be a drought in 2019 as the El Nino a climate
phenomenon linked to poor monsoon in India is likely to peter out by the
beginning of the season, according to a forecast on Monday by private
weather forecaster Skymet.
“The El Nino conditions were on the rise in the Pacific Ocean till
December last. The temperatures are now declining, and the probability of El
Nino is also falling. This will reduce to about 50% by the time monsoon
arrives with a gradual decline thereafter as well. This means it is going to
be a devolving El Nino year,” said Jatin Singh, managing director, Skymet
An El Nino refers to a half-to-one-degree rise in temperatures in
the Central equatorial Pacific and is linked to a reduction in rains over
key monsoon belts.
Earlier this month, the U.S. National Climate Centre issued a
forecast that an El Nino had formed, was likely to persist until spring but
there was only a 50% chance that it would persist beyond spring
“Because forecasts through the spring tend to be more uncertain
and/or less accurate, the predicted chance that El Nino will persist beyond
spring is 50% or less” the climate centre’s statement noted.
Mr. Singh said that while the chances of a normal monsoon were the
highest, about 50%, the next highest odds were those of ‘below normal’
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) too concurred that a
strong El Nino is unlikely but said it’s too early to rule out a drought.
“The way we compute,we need weather conditions until March 30 to input into
our models and only then we get a sense of the monsoon.
PM rejects opposition claim on joblessness
Prime Minister NarendraModi has dismissed the opposition
allegation of joblessness in the country saying that nearly 1.2 crore jobs
have been created annually in different sectors including tourism, aviation
and infrastructure development.
Mr Modi wondered how it is possible that jobs are not being
created when FDI is at an all-time high, a large number of commercial
vehicles have been sold, road, rail and housing construction and other
infrastructure development works are on full swing and India is among the
fastest growing economy.
Prime Minister was speaking at the Rising India Summit in New
Delhi last night. Mr Modi also wondered how it is possible without
employment when several International reports have mentioned that poverty is
declining at a faster pace in India.
Prime Minister however said, he is not satisfied with the current
job scenario in the country as there is a need to do a lot in this
Prime Minister said the inflation rate is now in the range of 2 to
4 per cent. Mr Modi said it is the NDA government which has provided tax
relief to the middle class on the income up to 5 lakh rupees. The Prime
Minister said, India was one of the Fragile five nations in 2013 and now it
has become the fastest growing large economy in the world.
Mr Modi attacked opposition for corruption and delay in completion
of various development projects. Prime Minister said, now the scenario has
changed and if one wants to indulge in scams, they cannot do so as the NDA
regime has blocked all means of looting public money.'
Commercial banks to take RBI repo rate as benchmark lending rate
Most commercial banks in India are likely to select RBI’s repo
rate as the external benchmark to decide their lending rates, from April 1.
The repo rate is the key policy rate of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The banking regulator had asked the banks to move to an external
benchmark for loan pricing from April 1, a move expected to improve monetary
transmission as lenders had, in the past, been found reluctant to reduce
The marginal cost of fund based lending rate (MCLR) is currently
the benchmark for all loan rates. Banks typically add a spread to the MCLR
while pricing loans for homes and automobiles.
For the new benchmark, the central bank has mandated that the
spread over the benchmark rate to be decided by banks at the inception of
the loan should remain unchanged through the life of the loan, unless the
borrower’s credit assessment undergoes a substantial change and as agreed
upon in the loan contract.
If the lending rates are linked to the repo rate, any change in
the repo rate will immediately impact the home and auto loan rates, since
RBI has mandated the spread to remain fixed over the life of the loan
Many banks have opposed the move to shift to a new external
benchmark for loan pricing on grounds that their cost of funds are not
linked to these benchmarks and that without a fall in the costs, it would
not be possible to change the rates.
Afghanistan begins export to India via Chabahar port
Afghanistan has begun exports to India through Iran’s Chabahar
port, as the landlocked country turns to overseas markets to improve its
At the inauguration of the new export route on Sunday in Zaranj
city in western Nimroz province, President Ashraf Ghani said Chabahar port
is the result of healthy cooperation between India, Iran and Afghanistan.
He said, with the opening of the Chabahar route, Afghanistan’s
exports will increase to two billion dollar from the current one billion
dollar in the next year.
Speaking at the ceremony, Indian ambassador Vinay Kumar said
Afghanistan’s exports to India have increased by 40 percent after the launch
of air corridor between Kabul and New Delhi.
Officials said 23 trucks carrying 57 tonnes of dried fruits,
textiles, carpets and mineral products were dispatched from Zaranj to
Chabahar port to be shipped to Mumbai.
The Iranian port provides easy access to the sea to Afghanistan
and India has helped developed this route to allow both countries to engage
in trade bypassing Pakistan.
Cuba votes for new constitution
In Cuba, voters took part in a referendum on a new constitution
that expands recognition of private property. The referendum contained only
two options: yes or no to the new constitution.
Voters were expected to overwhelmingly approve the draft of a new
constitution that preserves the single-party socialist system and centrally
planned economy while making some updates.
The new constitution, replacing the 1976 version, recognises a
limited role for the free market and private investment, but only under the
control of the Communist Party.
The new constitution recognises private and cooperative businesses
alongside state ones, creates the posts of prime minister and provincial
governor, and introduces the presumption of innocence and habeas corpus to
the justice system.
It enshrines socialism as the country's only ideology. Cuba's
banned opposition, which normally calls for abstention at elections or
spoiling ballot sheets, this time campaigned for a no vote.
The largest block of "no" votes could come from the growing ranks
of evangelical Christians in Cuba, who object to language that eliminates a
requirement for marriage to be only between a man and woman, paving the way
for a future legalisation of gay marriage.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Study reveals increased GHG’s may break up marine clouds
Marine clouds that protect us from hothouse Earth conditions by
reflecting sunlight back into space could break up and vanish if CO2 in the
atmosphere triples, researchers warned on Monday.
So-called stratocumulus clouds cover about 20% of subtropical
oceans, mostly near western seaboards such as the coasts of California,
Mexico and Peru.
“When they disappear, Earth warms dramatically, by about eight
degrees Celsius in addition to the global warming that comes from enhanced
greenhouse concentrations alone,” according to the study.
A temperature increase of that magnitude would melt polar ice and
lift sea levels tens of metres.The last time the planet was that hot, some
50 million years ago during the Eocene Epoch, crocodiles roamed the Arctic.
Even half that much warming would overwhelm humanity's capacity to
adapt, scientists say.A barely one-degree increase since the mid-19th
century mostly in the last 50 years has been enough to worsen heatwaves,
droughts, and flooding, along with cyclones engorged by rising seas.
Using an innovative approach to modelling the behaviour of the
stratus clouds, Mr. Schneider and his colleagues calculated that protective
cloud cover could break up if CO2 levels reached 1200 ppm, though the
“tipping point” might be somewhat higher. Passing that threshold may not be
as far-fetched as it seems, scientists caution.
Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta wins Cannes international trophy
In Chess, Indian Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta lifted the Cannes
International Open trophy yesterday. He took an easy draw with Pier Luigi
Basso of Italy in the ninth and final round.
Abhijeet won the tournament with 7.5 points. He started well in
the tournament winning the first four rounds. Then two more wins and three
draws happened on the way to his first solo International tournament