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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Daily Briefing: Tata Sons wins bid for acquiring Air India; Indian, Chinese patrols face-off in Tawang

The Reserve Bank of India has kept key interest rates unchanged for the eighth time in a row, slashed the inflation target for 2021-22 to 5.3 per cent, and indicated the unwinding of the accommodative policy as the economy shows signs of emerging from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
October 9, 2021 7:56:15 am
A look at the top news today, October 9, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story 

Tata Sons will regain control of Air India as it takes over 100 per cent of the government’s stake in the national carrier, marking the end of a protracted struggle to sell the airline and the first step in the Centre’s mega privatisation push. The Mumbai-based conglomerate placed a winning bid of Rs 18,000 crore, of which Rs 2,700 crore will be paid in cash and the remaining Rs 15,300 crore will be the absorbed from the over Rs 60,000 crore debt the airline had as of August 31, 2021.

The privatisation of Air India is a message from the Government to the markets and global investors that it has the political will to bite the reform bullet. Its demonstrative effect gets amplified because Air India was always a hard sell given its colossal losses and debt despite continuous infusion of funds. The process was a labour of nine months for officers in the Union Finance Ministry who encountered multiple obstacles, and had to shed the “over-conservatism” that is typical of bureaucracy, said an official involved in the process.

Only in the Express

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha and MP from Berhampore in West Bengal, speaks with The Indian Express as to how the Trinamool Congress has been playing second fiddle by subverting the convergence of Opposition parties. “Mamata Banerjee is trying to turn Congress to Congress (M) by inducing and alluring Congress leaders from various parts of India. She is driving a wedge in the opposition coalition,” he said.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, while explaining what the recent attacks on minorities in Kashmir mean, writes: The targeted terror attacks against minorities in Kashmir mark a dangerous but not entirely unanticipated turn. It is important to be clear that these are targeted killings. Sikhs and Hindus were identified and shot for being who they are. The weight of the horrendous cumulative violence in Kashmir by the Indian state, or the presence of Muslim casualties, cannot be an excuse for soft peddling this fact. The purpose was pure terror to drive out and deter minorities, and exploit the communal fissures developing in India.

From the Front Page 

The Reserve Bank of India has kept key interest rates unchanged for the eighth time in a row, slashed the inflation target for 2021-22 to 5.3 per cent, and indicated the unwinding of the accommodative policy as the economy shows signs of emerging from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Interest rates in the banking system are expected to remain steady as the Monetary Policy Committee kept the repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent, reverse repo rate at 3.35 per cent, and the marginal standing facility rate and bank rate at 4.25 per cent in the bi-monthly monetary policy review.

Ahead of the next round of Corps Commander level talks between India and China, which are supposed to take place in eastern Ladakh, there was a minor altercation between Indian and Chinese troops in the eastern sector of the India-China boundary. Sources mentioned that patrol parties of both the countries came face-to-face in Arunachal Pradesh, which led to some jostling before they disengaged. The incident took place last week near Yangtse in the Tawang sector. Sources in the defence establishment said the Chinese had come in “sizeable” strength, and came face-to-face with an Indian patrolling unit.

Must Read 

Days after school principal Supinder Kaur and teacher Deepak Chand were shot by suspected militants, their grieving families are still struggling to grapple with their death. “I still can’t believe this has happened…She was an educator and cared for all of our children, helped with tutors and encouraged them,” said Kasaur, a neighbour. A relative of Chand said, “His only fault was that he had gone there [Kashmir] to impart education to the children of local Kashmiris.”

Unlike his namesake, Rivaldo the elephant is neither Brazilian, nor a football star. But the 35-year-old elephant, known for his unusual camaraderie with humans, enjoys similar popularity and support, with a legion of conservationists, and forest officials joining hands to block a move to return him to captivity. The Madras High Court has already rejected such a move but the legal tussle is still on and will be heard next on December 7.

“All my son did was love a girl from another community. Is that a crime in this country.” This is what Najeema Shaikh had to say after she learnt that her son’s killers had been caught and arrested. For Shaikh, the arrests came as a small consolation. Among those caught were the parents of her son’s Hindu girlfriend, and Sri Rama Sene Hindustan leader Pundalika Maharaj, who was hired to kill him.  

Amidst a surge in human-animal conflict in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, 14-year-old Darshan Dravid was attacked by a leopard. While the young boy survived the attack, he was left with claw injuries on his neck, jaw and head. This is the eighth case of a leopard attacking a resident of the area in a month. 

And Finally 

In an age marked by authoritarian regimes around the world, misinformation and hate speech, the Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to two journalists who have been running independent news organisations in their countries, often under the threat of detention and even death. Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia received the Prize “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression”.

Delhi Confidential: Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s unique style of work has earned him the reputation of being a hard taskmaster. Apart from calling meetings even over weekends, he doesn’t prepare elaborate lists of “items” to chase on so-called dashboards. Instead, he keeps a diary where he notes down his instructions and holds officials to account in subsequent meetings.

Until tomorrow,
Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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