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Ceasefire violations breach 350 mark in Oct, highest in 2019

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Indian Army

New Delhi, Nov 11 : Ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir were the highest in October among the first ten months of the calendar year 2019, Army officials said here on Monday.

Officials also added that in the first 11 days of November, as many as 97 Pakistan-initiated ceasefire violations have already been reported.

As per data compiled by the Army, there were 351 Pakistan-initiated ceasefire violations along the LoC in various sectors of Jammu and Kashmir in October. The only other month in which ceasefire violations had crossed the 300-figure mark was August, the month in which Parliament withdrew special status to Jammu and Kashmir by reading down Article 370 of the Constitution. The number of incidents had been recorded at 307 in August.

“Ceasefire violations have gone up several folds after August 5 when Article 370 was abrogated. This is indicative of the fact that Pakistan has been trying to push in infiltrators through the LoC under covering fire. Several infiltration attempts have been thwarted though retaliatory firing by Indian troops,” an Army official told IANS.

On the intervening night of November 8 and 9, around half-a-dozen intruders opened fire at Army troops at a forward location in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir even as Pakistani troops resorted to firing of small arms and mortars. One Indian soldier was martyred in the firing by the infiltrators, who however, had to beat a hasty retreat owing to strong retaliatory measures by India.

On October 20, Indian troops destroyed four terror launch pads along the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in retaliatory artillery gun firing after a ceasefire violation in the Tangdhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir, which claimed the lives of two soldiers.

“The biggest challenge for Army troops in containing infiltration attempts would be around four months later than this date when snow hardens and attains the heights of the fences along LoC. This makes crossing over across the LoC easier for infiltrators,” added the official.

Till date, the total number of ceasefire violations has crossed the 2,500 mark this calendar year as compared to 1,629 incidents in the entire 12 months in the year 2018.

This year, number of ceasefire violations had been the lowest in the months of June and January during which 181 and 203 incidents, respectively, were recorded.

Pakistan has been violating ceasefire on an average of around 10 times per day since August 5, with the number of incidents recorded this year already at a five-year high. In the period between October 30 and 31, however, the number of ceasefire violations was 39, one of the highest recorded for any single day this calendar year.

More than 140 militants have been neutralized by Indian Army in the hinterland till November this year. In the year 2018, a total number of 254 militants were neutralised while the corresponding figure in 2017 stood at 213.

(Ayaskant Das can be contacted at [email protected])

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Rahul Gandhi returning to lead Congress again?

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scindia rahul gandhi priyanka gandhi

New Delhi/Wayanad (Kerala), Dec 6 : Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi is all set to return to lead the party and is likely to take over after the Delhi assembly polls early next year. A hint to this effect was dropped by Congress General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal who said that country wants his leadership more now.

Venugopal, who is accompanying Gandhi to his Kerala constituency Wayanad, told reporters: “The nation is going through a critical phase… The party needs his leadership and there is loud chorus from the workers to bring him again and we hope he will listen to them.”

A Congress session is scheduled in the next few months to ratify the appointment of interim President Sonia Gandhi. A source said that in the same meet, a chorus will grow to bring again Rahul Gandhi as planned by young leaders in the party.

Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the party organisation was first demanded at the AICC’s Hyderabad session in 2006 where workers from UP raised slogans in his favour and he was made party General Secretary in 2007. After that, the demand to make him Vice President was raised at the brainstorming session in Jaipur in 2013.

He was elected President unopposed in 2017 after demand from different quarters of the party, but during the 2019 General Elections, the party was routed under his leadership and he resigned in May taking the responsibility of poll debacle and did not budge to the party’s repeated requests to reconsider. In August, Sonia Gandhi was appointed interim party chief.

Though he may not be the party chief, but Rahul Gandhi’s decisions are evident within the party’s decisions as evinced by appointment of Nitin Raut as minister in the Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party coalition government in Maharashtra and of Nana Patole as the Assembly Speaker.

The party is finalising a venue for the AICC session, which could be held in the Congress-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan in January and February, a source said.

By: BY SAIYED MOZIZ IMAM

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RBI holding repo rate bodes well for savings: Economists

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Reserve Bank of India RBI

New Delhi, Dec 6 : Even as many see the RBI’s pause on repo rate as a setback for the growth, some economists argue that any further cut could have affected households savings which have already seen a decline in recent times.

“Reduction in interest rate will work negatively. The interest rate is like a double-edged sword. It will have an impact on savings and it will have an impact on investments. We know very clearly that it does not have much impact on investments. Now, what is it doing? It is basically hampering the savings,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP).

He also said that monetary policy is not just about interest rates.

“There are many things which monetary policy does. It can ensure that credit flow is better and the banking sector is in good shape. They can create money supply. So, it can do many things. They have to now see how savings could be improved,” the NIPFP professor said.

M. Govinda Rao, Chief Economic Advisor, Brickwork Ratings, said that transmission of the reduction in the policy (repo rate) requires the lending rates to fall. Further, that would also require the deposit rates to fall, which could result in reduced saving by households.

“When the inflation rate is perking up, if the banks also reduce the deposit rates, the rate of return on savings will decline which could not only reduce the incentive to save but also can hurt the elderly who maintain themselves from the interest income,” he said.

As per Economic Survey of FY19, gross savings fell nearly 60 basis points as a share of GDP in two years to 30.5 per cent in 2017-18. Household savings led the decline as its share contracted from as high as 23.6 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 to 17.2 per cent of GDP in 2017-18.

“The household sector savings declined from 23.6 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 to 17.2 per cent in 2017-18 and its net financial savings and a ratio of GDP declined from 7.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent during the same period. Thus, besides inflationary expectations, ensuring adequate real rate of return on the savings could be an objective of keeping the repo rate constant,” Govinda Rao said.

As against market expectations of a rate cut, the RBI on Thursday maintained the policy repo rate at 5.15 per cent. With this, the reverse repo rate also stands unchanged at 4.9 per cent. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was unanimous in its decision to maintain status quo on both rates and ‘accommodative’ stance.

(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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Immediately probe the encounter: Legal experts

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Hyderabad Murder Encounter

New Delhi, Dec 6 : Legal experts say as per the law a probe should be immediately set up into the mysterious encounter of the four accused in the rape and murder of a Hyderabad-based veterinarian.

“The rule of law should prevail in the country, there should be an immediate inquiry into the encounter of the accused,” said senior advocate Vikas Singh, former President of Supreme Court Bar Association.

A week after the brutal gang rape and murder of the young veterinarian in Hyderabad, police shot dead all the four accused in an alleged ‘encounter’ near Shadnagar town.

The accused were killed in the early hours of Friday when they allegedly snatched weapons from the police and tried to escape from Chatanpally near Shadnagar, about 50 kms from Hyderabad.

Singh emphasised that there should be balance between justice delivery system and human rights of the citizens. “The authorities should immediately begin an inquiry into this encounter, and this probe should be completed as soon as possible. The authorities should ascertain whether it was a genuine encounter or it was stage managed by the police,” added Singh.

The four accused killed in the encounter were identified as lorry drivers Mohammed Arif (26) and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu (20), and lorry cleaners Jollu Shiva (20) and Jollu Naveen (20). All hailed from the Narayanpet district of Telangana.

Senior advocate Puneet Mittal said that there should immediately be a judicial probe into the matter to unearth the real picture behind this mysterious encounter. “The probe should be on the factors that were behind this encounter. The families of the accused could also move the court seeking inquiry into the matter,” added Mittal.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parekh said according to the law the encounter should be looked into as killings. “As per law, a case should be registered against the police officials involved in the alleged encounter followed by a probe,” said Parekh.

He also insisted that usually the action of the police officials claiming self defence comes into the picture at the stage of the trial, but at this stage of the case there should be a probe immediately to verify the encounter.

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