353

More Rebels Approach Apex Court, As Karnataka Battle Turns Topsy Turvy

New Delhi: The apex court on Friday directed Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh to not take any decision on the disqualification or resignation of the 10 rebel Congress-JD(S) leaders until July 16. Five more rebel Karnataka Congress MLAs approached the Supreme Court Saturday, saying that the Speaker was not accepting their resignations. The MLAs also alleged that they "are being forced to support the government on the threat of disqualification". The development comes a day after the apex court directed Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar not to take any decision on the disqualification or resignation of 10 rebel Congress-JD(S) coalition MLAs until July 16.

352

Floods Create Havoc In Assam; Eight Lakh People Affected

New Delhi: More than eight lakh people have been affected in Assam as monsoon floods have inundated at least 21 of the 33 districts in the state. The Brahmaputra river, one of the largest in the world that cuts through the state's biggest city Guwahati, and five others are flowing above the danger mark, officials have said. Six people have died so far due to floods in Assam. Officials say over 27,000 hectares of farmland is under floodwater and more than 7,000 people have been evacuated to 68 relief camps across Assam.

With more rain predicted over the weekend, ferry services across the state have been stopped since Friday. Dhemaji and Lakhimpur in the tea-rich Upper Assam, and Bongaigaon and Barpeta in Lower Assam are the worst hit. Officials said floodwaters from the higher areas will flow towards the valleys, worsening the situation in Lower Assam areas. Barpeta is the worst-affected with over 85,000 people seeking shelter, said the Assam State Disaster Management Authority.

330

Nirmala Sitharaman Says Revenue Targets Realistic And India Will Become A $5 Trillion Economy In Five Years

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in the Rajya Sabha that all revenue targets in the budget is realistic and India will become a $5 trillion economy in the next five years. She was giving point-by-point rebuttal to senior Congress leader and former finance P Chidambaram.

In her reply on Budget in the Upper House, she said that Chidambaram had not made like-to-like comparison over income tax and custom duty collections and had therefore perhaps arrived at wrong conclusions.

In a jibe to Chidambaram on his remarks on making India $5 trillion economy, the Minister said that the target was not without a plan. She listed out various measures to spur investment, raise household savings and achieve the mid-term goal of India becoming a $5 trillion economy.

329

RSS Identifies Dalits Women And Minorities As Three Constituencies BJP Needs Sharpen Its Focus On

New Delhi: The ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has identified Dalits, women and minorities as the three constituencies the party should sharpen its focus on as the BJP-led government settles down for its second term in office at the Centre.

Both RSS and BJP credit the Narendra Modi government’s “pro-people” policies — taken up between 2014 and 2019 — for disrupting the caste-based voting pattern that is seen as a major factor behind the party’s landslide victory in the general elections.

The party claimed it received support from socially disadvantaged groups such as the OBCs, SC and ST even in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan where caste calculus is central to electioneering.

328

US To Include India In List Of Fast-Track Mechanism Of Defence Deal Making NATO+5 Into NATO+6

New Delhi: The US House of Representatives is scheduled to pass on Friday a defence budget legislation without a provision that would have put major defence purchases intended for India on the same fast-track mechanism that is now used for clearing arms deals for America’s NATO allies and a handful of other countries.

This will effectively end efforts to catapult India into that category in 2020, as the US Senate’s defence bill for the coming fiscal, passed late June, also did not contain that clause.

Multiple people involved in the framing and movement of the legislative provision through US Congress attributed the collapse of these efforts, in background interviews, to opposition from the state department and some to the Congress for India’s planned purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.