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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

From Today's Papers - 21 Jun 2016

China snubs, Foreign Secy Seoul-bound
Simran Sodhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 20
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar may soon fly to Seoul ahead of the crucial Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting scheduled for June 24 where India’s membership is likely to come up for discussion. However, China today said India’s membership was not on the agenda of the plenary meet of the NSG.

The statement was in sharp contrast to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s ‘optimism’ yesterday that India was hopeful of convincing China and becoming an NSG member by the year-end.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying today said: “The inclusion of non-NPT members has never been a topic on the agenda of NSG meetings. In Seoul this year, there is no such topic.”

It was also made clear that India might be looking for a credential-based as opposed to a criterion-based approach. China insisted that “NSG should discuss the entry issue of non-NPT countries as a whole instead of specific non-NPT countries joining”.

Jaishankar’s hush-hush visit to China last week coupled with PM Narendra Modi’s scheduled meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tashkent later this week highlights the importance being attached to the NSG berth.
More delay in OROP, panel gets extension
New Delhi, June 20
The tenure of the committee formed on implementation of the “one rank, one pension” (OROP) scheme has been extended by six months up to the middle of December.

The government recently amended the gazette notification issued last year under which the committee headed by former Chief Justice of Patna High Court Justice (Retd) L Narasimha Reddy was scheduled to submit its report by June 14. With the extension, the implementation of OROP may take more time as the panel can submit its report by December 14, official sources said.

The government had announced implementation of OROP on November 7, 2015 to benefit over 25 lakh ex-servicemen and war widows. The OROP mandates payment of uniform pension to the armed forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of their date of retirement, which implies that bridging the gap between the rate of pension of current and past pensioners at periodic intervals. The other Terms of Reference of the Committee will continue which include measures for the removal of anomalies that may arise in the implementation of the OROP as notified by the government.

The panel is also looking into the measures for the removal of anomalies that may arise out of inter-services issues of the three forces due to implementation of OROP besides implications on service matters. The committee is examining all other matter referred to it by the central government on implementation of the OROP or related issues. In making its recommendations, the committee will take into account the financial impact of its recommendations, as per its Terms of Reference. — PTI
Pak-Afghan officials meet to defuse border tension
Islamabad, June 20
After deadly clashes over the construction of a border gate, Pakistan and Afghanistan today agreed to find an amicable solution to create a mechanism for consulting each other on border issues to avoid such incidents.

A six-member Afghan delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai visited Islamabad to hold discussions with Pakistani officials on the recent clashes over the construction of a security gate by Pakistan at Torkham border crossing and other matters pertaining to border management.

The Pakistan delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry. “Talks between the two delegations were held in a cordial atmosphere marked by a mutual desire to amicably resolve border related issues,” the foreign office said in a statement.

Both sides decided to work in the “spirit of good neighbourly relations and friendly cooperation”. — PTI
Indian Army hands over first concrete bomb shelter to villagers in J&K's Poonch
"As part of civic activities under Sadbhavana (Goodwill) initiative, the Army at Saujiyan constructed an underground concrete bomb shelter at Gali Maidan near the LoC in Poonch district," army spokseman, Lt.Col. Manish Mehta told IANS here, adding that the inauguration and handing over of the shelter ceremony was held today in presence of a large number of villagers and the local army commander.
"The need for this bomb shelter was felt after numerous casualties of villagers took place in the frequent unprovoked firing across the LoC in which the Pakistan Army targeted Indian posts and locals.

"The concrete shelter will provide protection not only to the villagers, but it will also be useful to the Bakarwals (nomadic goatherds) passing through the village," he said, adding that the underground shelter cost approximately Rs 8 lakh and has the provision of attached toilet and solar lighting.
Changes in FDI Policy: Government Relaxes Norms, Allows 100% FDI in Defence and Aviation
The key reform decisions makes India the most open economy in the world for foreign direct investment.
New Delhi: The government on June 20 made changes to the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is the second biggest reform in FDI since those announced in November 2015.

According to the amendments are meant to liberalise and simplify FDI policy to provide ease of doing business in the country, leading to larger FDI inflows that will contribute to growth of investment, incomes and employment.
The government has allowed 100% FDI in the aviation sector for scheduled carriers. Under the automatic route, 49% FDI has been permitted.

FDI in defence has also been hiked to 100%. The present FDI regime permits 49% FDI participation in the equity of a company under the automatic route. FDI above 49% is permitted through government approval on a case-to-case basis. However, for foreign airlines investing in scheduled airlines, the limit stays at 49%. The decision to relax FDI norms in the aviation sector had led to a sharp rally in listed carriers such as SpiceJet, Jet Airways and InterGlobe Aviation.

Under the new norms, 74% FDI would be allowed in the pharmaceutical sector under the automatic route, which means that foreign investors will not need government approval to invest up in existing domestic companies. Currently, FDI up to 100% is permitted in new projects in the pharma sector.

FDI limits have been hiked to 100% in teleports (uplinking hubs), DTH and cable networks, with government approval required beyond 49%.

The clause of controlled conditions for 100% FDI under the automatic route for animal husbandry has been done away with under the new policy.

The government also decided to relax local sourcing norms up to three years and a relaxed sourcing regime for another five years for entities undertaking of products having ‘state-of-art’ and ‘cutting edge’ technology.

For NRIs, 100% FDI will continue to be allowed under the automatic route.

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