Top news of the day: Siddique Kappan to walk out of jail; income tax relief, sops for women, scheme for artisans among major announcements in Budget 2023, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

February 01, 2023 07:27 pm | Updated 07:27 pm IST

A Sessions Court in Lucknow on February 1, signed orders to release Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan on bail.

A Sessions Court in Lucknow on February 1, signed orders to release Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan on bail. | Photo Credit: PTI

Siddique Kappan to walk out of jail; Lucknow Court signs bail order

A Sessions Court in Lucknow on February 1, signed orders to release Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan in connection with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate on bail. According to reports, the court has accepted his bail bonds and he is likely to be released soon. Earlier on December 23, 2022, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court granted bail to Kappan. The jailed journalist had moved the High Court after being denied bail by a Lucknow sessions court on October 31, 2022, in the PMLA case which led the journalist to remain in prison despite being granted bail by the Supreme Court in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act case in September 2022.

Budget 2023 | Income tax relief, sops for women, scheme for artisans, and more

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 raised the personal income tax rebate limit, doled out sops on small savings and announced one of the biggest hikes in capital spending in the past decade as she did a tight rope walk in the Budget between staying fiscally prudent and meeting public expectations in the year before general elections. Ms. Sitharaman’s fifth straight Budget comes at a time when the economy is slowing due to global headwinds and there is a need for increased spending on social sectors as well as ramping up incentives for local manufacturing.

Budget 2023 | BJP plans nationwide campaign on Union Budget to highlight pro-people measures

The BJP will start a 12-day nationwide campaign on February 1 to make people aware of the “pro-people” measures that are to be announced in the Union Budget, party leaders said. The campaign will be coordinated by senior BJP leader Sushil Modi and conclude on February 12, they said. BJP president J. P. Nadda has formed a task force comprising nine members, including party general secretary Sunil Bansal and heads of its farmer and youth wings, to organise discussions, press conferences or seminars on the Union Budget in all districts of the country, they said.

Delhi L-G approves convening of MCD House session to elect mayor on February 6

Delhi Lieutenant Governor V.K. Saxena on February 1 approved February 6 as the date to reconvene the House meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The meeting will see the election to the office of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and six members to the civic body’s standing committee. The MCD had proposed February 10 as the date to reconvene the meeting, while the AAP-led Delhi Government had suggested February 3, 4 and 6 as the three options.

Two Polish tourists die, 19 rescued after avalanche hits ski slopes in Gulmarg

Two Polish tourists were killed and 19 others were rescued when a major avalanche hit the ski slopes in north Kashmir’s famous tourist hotspot of Gulmarg on February 1. The avalanche, captured on mobile phones, was massive and engulfed everything that came in its path in the Hapath Khud area of Afarwat peaks in Gulmarg, situated at an altitude of 4,390 metres (14,403 feet) in the morning. Three teams, comprising 21 foreign nationals and two local guides, were skiing in the area on the Afarwat ski slopes when the avalanche struck around 12.30 p.m. and trapped all of them.

Privacy policy case | Supreme Court asks WhatsApp to publicise undertaking given to Centre in 2021

The Supreme Court on February 1 directed WhatsApp to publicise its undertaking given to the Centre in 2021 that it will not limit functionality for users not agreeing to its new privacy policy. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice K. M. Joseph asked the mobile messaging app to give advertisement in five newspapers to publicise its undertaking given to the government.

BJP should focus on retrieving land from China rather than on J&K’s locals: Mehbooba Mufti

Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti on February 1 asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take India’s land back from China rather than evicting poor locals of J&K from ‘State’ land. Referring to the ongoing anti-encroachment drive of the J&K Lieutenant Governor, Ms. Mufti said, ”China has occupied around 2,000 square kilometres of land in Ladakh. PM Modi should focus on that rather than on the locals of J&K.” “The drive is another weapon employed against the people of J&K. It is like the Public Safety Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) etc. that are being used to harass the people of J&K,” Ms. Mufti said.

Pakistani Taliban militants attack police station in Pakistan’s Punjab province

Heavily-armed Pakistani Taliban militants opened fire at a police station in Mianwali in Pakistan’s Punjab province, days after a member of the dreaded outfit blew himself up inside a mosque in Peshawar that killed over 100 people. District Police Officer Mianwali Muhammad Naveed said around 20 Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militants armed with automatic weapons attacked the Makerwal police station on Tuesday night but were repulsed by the law enforcement agency, according to Geo TV.

U.S. sanctions Myanmar groups ahead of coup anniversary

The U.S. said it was imposing sanctions on a group of people and organizations connected to Myanmar’s military regime as the two-year anniversary nears for the coup that removed the country’s civilian government. Six people and three organizations were designed for sanctions, including the country’s elections commission, several mining firms and their executives, and current and former military officials, according to the Treasury Department. The sanctions block access to money and resources under U.S. control.

Mukesh Ambani overtakes Gautam Adani to become richest Indian in the world

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has overtaken Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani to become the richest Indian in the world with a net worth of USD 84.3 billion, according to Forbes Real-time billionaire list for 2023. Mr. Ambani overtook Mr. Adani after the Reliance Industries chairman’s assets went up 0.19% with an increase of wealth by $164 million, while Gautam Adani’s assets went down by 4.62% with the industrialist’s wealth pegged at $84.1 billion, according to the real-time tracker of Forbes of 5 p.m. EST on January 31.

Visa delay forces Australian opener Usman Khawaja to miss his flight to India

Australian opener Usman Khawaja was forced to miss his flight to India on February 1 due to a visa delay. The Australia squad left for the high-profile four-Test series against India without Khawaja, who is now expected to depart on February 1. “Me waiting for my Indian Visa like... #stranded #dontleaveme #standard #anytimenow,” wrote Khawaja while posting a meme on social media. The Pakistan-born batter has played 56 Tests, 40 ODIs and nine T20s for Australia. The 36-year-old also featured in the IPL back in 2016.

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