Top news of the day: Centre for Policy Research’s FCRA licence suspended; U.K. Foreign Secretary raises tax searches at BBC India offices with Jaishankar, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

March 01, 2023 07:08 pm | Updated March 16, 2023 12:35 pm IST

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly during a meeting in New Delhi on March 1, 2023. Photo: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar via PTI

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly during a meeting in New Delhi on March 1, 2023. Photo: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar via PTI

FCRA licence of think-tank Centre for Policy Research suspended

The Ministry of Home Affairs has suspended the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) registration of the Centre for Policy Research, a Delhi-based think tank, for 180 days. A senior government official said the FCRA registration of the public policy research institution was suspended on February 27. “The registration was suspended as prime facie violation of FCRA provisions were found,” the official said. The CPR’s office was surveyed by the Income Tax department on September 7, 2022.

U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly raises issue of BBC tax searches with Jaishankar

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly raised the issue of Income Tax department searches on BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai in bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on March 1. “[The] U.K. Foreign Secretary brought up [the] BBC tax issue with [the] EAM today,” a government source told The Hindu. “He was firmly told that all entities operating in India must comply fully with relevant laws and regulations,” the source said.

Chhawla gangrape-murder case | Supreme Court to decide pleas seeking review of verdict acquitting 3 death row convicts

The Supreme Court is likely to consider on March 2 as many as five petitions seeking review of its verdict acquitting three death row convicts in the gangrape and murder case of a 19-year-old girl in Delhi’s Chhawla area in 2012. A bench comprising Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi will decide by circulation in chambers the fate of the five review petitions at 1.50 p.m. on March 2.

Kejriwal forwards names of AAP MLAs Atishi, Saurabh Bhardwaj to L-G for appointment to Delhi Cabinet

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has sent the names of AAP MLAs Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj to the L-G for appointing them as Cabinet Ministers. This comes a day after the arrested Ministers Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain resigned from the cabinet. Delhi L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena has recommended to the President of India that the resignations of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Minister Satyendar Jain may be accepted, officials at Raj Niwas said on March 1.

Bombay HC directs NIA to reply to the bail plea of four accused in Bhima Koregaon case

The Bombay High Court on March 1 issued notices to the National Investigation Agency in a plea filed by four accused in the Bhima Koregaon caste violence case seeking default bail. A Division Bench of Justices A.S. Gadkari and P.D. Naik was hearing a plea filed by Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson, all arrested on June 6, 2018. The court directed the Central agency to file its response in three weeks. The petitioners have challenged an order of the special court in Pune under the Act, rejecting their default bail applications of 2019.

Agitating employees withdraw strike after Karnataka government offers 17% hike in basic salary as interim relief

Employees of the Karnataka government who had started an indefinite strike on March 1 withdrew it hours after the government offered them an interim relief of 17% hike in basic salary. The announcement was made by the president of the Karnataka State Government Employees Association President C.S. Shadakshari who said the strike had been called off with immediate effect and urged his colleagues to report to work immediately.

Two Australian universities to set up campuses in Gujarat’s GIFT City: Dharmendra Pradhan

Two Australian universities — Wollongong and Deakin — will soon establish campuses in Gujarat’s ‘GIFT CITY’, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced on March 1. The two varsities will sign an agreement on setting up their campuses next week during Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s maiden visit to India. Mr. Pradhan made the announcement during an event at Delhi University’s Venkateshwara College, which hosted Australian Education Minister Jason Clare, who is on a four-day visit to the country.

Sergey Lavrov will raise suspected bombing of Nord Stream II at G20: Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who arrived in New Delhi early March 1 will try to corner the European Union and the NATO during the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting. A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry said he will raise the suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream II gas pipeline during the “regular Foreign Ministers’ meeting” and discuss trade in local currencies with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar.

Nepal PM Prachanda to reshuffle Cabinet, seek confidence vote deferred due to Presidential elections

With the crucial Presidential election in Nepal just nine days away, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda will seek a vote of confidence and reshuffle his Cabinet only after the polls, a media report on March 1 quoted officials as saying. Mr. Prachanda is preparing to reshuffle his Cabinet to fill as many as 16 Ministries, which fell vacant after three political parties pulled out of his government, as part of his efforts to keep the newly formed fragile coalition together.

China rips new U.S. House committee on countering Beijing

China lashed out on March 1 at a new U.S. House committee dedicated to countering Beijing, demanding its members “discard their ideological bias and zero-sum Cold War mentality.” The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party must “view China and China-U.S. relations in an objective and rational light,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a daily briefing. “We demand the relevant U.S. institutions and individuals discard their ideological bias and zero-sum Cold War mentality,” she said. They must “stop framing China as a threat by quoting disinformation, stop denigrating the Communist Party of China and stop trying to score political points at the expense of China-U.S. relations.”

Taiwan says 25 Chinese planes, three ships sent toward island

China sent 25 warplanes and three warships toward Taiwan on March 1, the island’s Defence Ministry said, as tensions remain high between Beijing and Taipei’s main backer Washington. The Ministry said 19 of those planes crossed into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone while the ships were continuing to operate in the Taiwan Strait. It said Taiwan responded by scrambling fighters, dispatching ships and activating coastal missile defense systems to “closely monitor and respond.”

GST revenues grow 12.4% in February 2023

India’s Goods and Services Tax revenues grew 12.4% in February 2023 to over ₹1.49 lakh crore, with tax receipts from goods imports rising 6% and domestic transactions along with services imports yielding 15% more, compared to a year ago. The ₹1,49,577 crore gross GST kitty collected in February marks the 12th successive month that monthly revenues have been over ₹1.4 lakh crore, although it was 5.06% lower than January’s ₹1,57, 554 crore receipts. However, the year-on-year growth in January was a tad lower than February at 11.75%.

Moody’s cuts India’s growth forecast to 6.8%

Global rating major Moody’s Investors Service has scaled down its GDP growth forecast for India’s economy to 6.8% for 2022-23, from an earlier projection of 7%. At the same time, it has raised the growth projection for 2023-24 to 5.5% from the 4.8% rate it had reckoned in November 2022. India is among several G20 economies, including the U.S., China, Russia and the Euro area, whose 2023 growth projections were raised by Moody’s in an update to its global macroeconomic outlook on late February 28. The firm attributed these revisions to strong data from the second half of 2022 that “created large carry-over effects for 2023”.

ICC player rankings | Ravichandran Ashwin replaces James Anderson to become top-ranked bowler in Tests

Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has risen to the top of the latest ICC Men’s Test bowling rankings as James Anderson’s stay at the summit comes to an end. Ashwin claimed the top spot among bowlers after taking six wickets in his most recent performance, in India’s emphatic victory over Australia in the second Test, with Anderson dropping to second place after England’s stunning loss to New Zealand in the Wellington Test. The 36-year-old Ashwin first claimed the honour of being the No. 1-ranked Test bowler in 2015 and returned to the top spot on several occasions since then.Ashwin bagged big wickets in India’s win in Dehli, removing Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith in the same over of the first innings before returning to pick up Alex Carey for a duck.

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