Tuesday 28th March 2017 12:25 EDT

Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on March 19 in Lucknow, with Prime Minister Modi and BJP Secretary Amit Shah were present for the occasion. Akhilesh Yadav, head of the beaten Samajwadi Dal, and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, were also present at the ceremony, pictured with Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in jovial mood. That is as it should be in a mature democracy. The verdict of the people demand respect, and the people of their choice should be congratulated for their victory.

This lesson in good manners eludes the Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, who refused the invitation and stayed away from the function. To lack brains and etiquette reinforces growing pleas for him to quit. It is the one great service to party and country that is still in his gift. Congress was crucified in the State Assembly elections, with a mere seven seats out of a total of 403. Congress was pole-axed because it bore the heavy cross of this unelectable upstart. (Times of India, Hindu, Telegraph, March 20).

Merger makes Telecom giant

UK’s Vodofone and India’s Idea Cellular, of the Aditya Birla Group in what has been described as a ‘merger of equals, have created a telecom giant. They have agreed to merge their India operations in $23. 2 billion deal, creating the India’s biggest telecom provider with a 396 million customer base. and a 40 per cent share of the revenue in the world’s largest mobile telephony market after China. The merger was prompted by a consolidation wave across the telecom industry following Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio sparked a price war with its offer of free services till March 2018,under a membership scheme of a nominal Rs 99.

Aditya Birla and Vodofone CEO Vittorio Colao. Colao said India was Vodofone’s jewel (Telegraph, Times of India, Business Line, M int March 21).

Cabinet clears GST Bills

The GST rollout scheduled for July took a significant step forward with the clearance of four crucial bills by the Cabinet, ushering in the biggest indirect tax reform in India’s modern history. (Business Line March 21).

Doing business in India to jump

The government is targeting a jump of 40 places on the scale of doing business India, from the present 130 to 90 by 2017-18 and to 30 by 2020. The table is compiled by the World Bank. Better rank by in ease of doing business and greater awareness about opportunities in India ‘s manufacturing sector (Mint March 21).

India’s longest tunnel ready

India’s longest road tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway is set to open on the completion of current trial run. Work on the 9.2 km project commenced in May, 2011., and is part of the overall 286-km four-lane linking the two cities. The tunnel, which is situated at an elevation of 1,200 metres, will be India’s first such venture to be equipped with an integrated with a world class tunnel control system, fire control, communication and electrical systems, all subject to automatic leverage. This will reduce travel time by between Jammu and Srinagar two-and-a-half hours. (Hindu March 19).

IIT’s cutting edge BHIM drone

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur, has designed the country’s first superpower drone, naming after the second of the Pandavas of the Mahabharata. For those searching for context, Bhim, like Hercules, was noted for his exceptional physique and the phenomenal strength which came with it. An IIT research, this machine is under a metre in length with an unmanned state-of-the-art aerial device protection shield, superior imagery, hitherto unexplored capabilities.


BHIM can create a Wi-Fi zone within a kilometre radius when it flies over conflict zones. It has a battery back-up that can keep in flight for seven hours. It can fly into a conflict or disaster zone, create a seamless communication network for security forces rescue teams. It can para-drop supplies. BHIM has an actual vision-based guidance built-in intelligence that enables it to identify a crowded area, in which case it would land elsewhere that is safer to do so. The controlling and guiding algorithms in the drone were developed in-house in the IIT lab. (Times of India March 20).

Jaishankar resets Moscow button

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar visited Moscow to firm up Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming trip to the St Petersburg Economic Summit of June 1 and 2. Mr Jaishankar held talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers Igor Morgulov and Sergey Ryabkov in Moscow. ‘They discussed the complete range of bilateral relations between India and Russia, including the forthcoming 18th India-Russia Annual Summit, participation of Prime Minister as the Chief Guest at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on 1-2 June 2017 and plans to celebrate the 70 th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between India and Russia,’ said the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement in New Delhi on March 18.

Mr Jaishankar also held talks with President Putin’s principal foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, and with Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Federation Council. (Hindu March 19).

Long-Term support for Sukhois, MiGs,T90 tanks

As Mr Jaishankar was pressing the buttons in Moscow, two long-term pacts were signed in new Delhi by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and the United Aircraft Corporation and the Engine Corporation for maintenance of the life cycle for the Sukhoi 30MKI-30 aircraft, the mainstay of the Indian Air Force, Similar pacts were signed for MI-17, helicopters, MIG 29K aircraft and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The pacts provide for an upgraded schedule for delivery of spares, formerly acquired from Russia, can hereon be manufactured in India. (Business Line March 18).

Juvenile hysteria

Shashank Joshi of the Royal United Services Institute in London, was targeting India, when he fired a broadside at Russia, as no great power, but ‘full of sound and fury and not much clout.’ A Rand Corporation-Pentagon war game estimated that it would take Russia a maximum 60 hours to blow away the Nato-led coalition in the Baltic. The sound and fury emanates from the British security establishment and the hysterical British media. Messrs Modi and Jaishankar need no advice from a whippersnapper preening himself on the edit-page of the Hindu newspaper (March 21).

China rages at India over Tibet

China’s Foreign Ministry issued a warning to India over the Dalai Lama’s participation in a conference on Buddhism at Nalanda, one of the great seats of Buddhist culture and learning two millennia ago.

A hectoring Chinese statement warned India to clearly recognize the anti-Chinese separatist nature of the Dalai clique….[and] respect China’s core interests ,’ charging that ‘Recently, India ignored China’s solemn representations and opposition and insisted on inviting the 14 th Dalai Lama to attend an international Buddhist conference organizes by the Indian government.’ (Times of India, Hindu, Business Line, Telegraph March 21).

Solemn absurdity best describes the ‘representation.’ Its minatory tone tells of an autistic political culture, and of ‘pride beyond human understanding,’ as the Proconsul Lord Curzon memorably remarked more than a century ago.

Arunachal teenager’s goggles for the blind

A high school student in Arunachal Pradesh has invented a unique pair of goggles for the blind through the use of ultrasound and infrared sensors enabling the visually impaired to detect obstacles on on their path. The State government has assured him of financial support to develop his gadget to the next level.

Anang Tadar, a class XI student of New Galaxy Academy, Nirjuli, was awarded the Dinanath Pandey Smart Idea Innovation Award. Impressed by his innovation and keen to launch it on the market, the National Innovation Foundation setup of the Department of Science and Technology, has asked Anang to make a few prototypes for tests (Hindu M arch 18).

Yamaha India R&D global venture

Japanese motorcycle manufacturer, Yamaha shuns the label ‘cheap,’ preferring instead to emphasize style, performance and safety. Its ‘Indra’ project in India is to ramp up India-based Research and Development and hit markets running. India is the third-largest market for motorcycles in the world; Indonesia being the first and Vietnam second.. But market projections appear to suggest that by 2020, India will displace Indonesia in top slot. There at present 80 people devoted to research and development, but this number is expected to rise to 200. Yamaha Managing Director Yasuo Ishihara says the company plans to make India its principal hub for international markets (Business Line March 17).

Banker Parekh at LSE

Deepak Parekh is arguably India’s most successful and reputable banker, having taken Housing Development Finance Corporation to the heights. In a talk at the London School of Economics, he spoke with nostalgia of his days as a student there, describing his time there as the happiest years of his life. His principal regret today was that he had too few years left to experience the full import of the rapid transformative change taking place in India. Now was the time to return to the country and take advantage of its unfolding opportunities. (Telegraph March 20).

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