PM Modi releases Namibian cheetahs at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park

Published - September 17, 2022 09:32 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi after releasing cheetahs inside a special enclosure of the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on September 17, 2022. Photo: PMO via PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi after releasing cheetahs inside a special enclosure of the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on September 17, 2022. Photo: PMO via PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a coalition of cheetahs into the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday. Eight Cheetahs — five of which are female — were flown from Windhoek, Namibia, to Gwalior, followed by a helicopter ride to the grasslands of Kuno Palpur.

The cheetahs were brought in wooden crates and were released in a specially-designed enclosure where they will live for a month, and begin a lifetime of acclimatisation to Indian prey and forest conditions.

PM Modi, in a televised address, said it could be “months” before ordinary citizens could visit Kuno to spot the animals. “They have now come as guests and it will take some time before they can be used to living in India,” he said.

The introduction of the cheetah in India is being done under Project Cheetah which, according to the Environment Ministry, is the first time a large carnivorous species has been moved across continents for establishing a new population.

The process to bring cheetahs into India spans several decades including an ingenious proposal in 2005 by the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, to clone an Asiatic cheetah. This came to naught after Iran, where the species was extant but dwindling, refused to share an animal.

Meanwhile, PM Modi also criticised the previous governments, saying that no constructive efforts were made to reintroduce cheetahs in India after they became extinct from the country seven decades ago.

However, the Congress called the releasing of cheetahs a "tamasha" orchestrated by the PM as another diversion from pressing national issues and the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.

Bright growth prospects driving high imports, financing them a top priority: Finance Ministry

The Finance Ministry said that India’s growth has been robust and inflation in control even as the world’s major economies are afflicted by slowing growth and high inflation, reckoning that the economy will grow 7.2% this year driven by a revival in consumption, employment and investments.

Financing India’s imports, which have been over $60 billion for six straight months, will have to be accorded high priority, the Ministry noted, linking the ‘faster growth’ in imports to the country’s ‘bright’ growth prospects.

“The increase in price of imported commodities not only led to uptick in headline inflation but also widened the trade balance. However, with the easing of global supply-chain disruptions and decline in commodity prices, inflationary pressures are expected to soften and trade balance is anticipated to improve,” the Ministry said in its monthly economic review for August.

The monthly goods trade deficit hit a record $30 billion in July as exports growth slowed, and remained uncomfortably high at about $28 billion in August. Indian consumers have faced 6%-plus inflation since January this year, with four of the last five months clocking 7% or more.

The Ministry attributed the ‘inflation acceleration in 2022 compared to 2021’ to rising prices of imported commodities, global supply side disruptions and revival of demand in advanced economies with the waning of the pandemic.

“A relatively buoyant growth and a relatively stronger external sector is now set to converge with declining inflation to deliver for India a strengthened macroeconomic outlook for the balance period of the current year,” the Ministry said. “Downside risks to growth will persist insofar as India is integrated with the rest of the world. Nor is there room for complacency on the inflation front as lower crops-sowing for the Kharif season calls for deft management of stocks of agricultural commodities and market prices without unduly jeopardising farm exports,” it also said.

With the economy growing 13.5% in the first quarter of this year, India’s real GDP is now ‘nearly’ 4% over pre-COVID levels ‘marking a strong beginning to India’s growth revival in the post-pandemic phase’, the Ministry said.

In the next three quarters, the real GDP ‘needs to grow by (only) 5.4% on average every quarter’ to achieve the 7.2% growth in 2022-23 as projected by the Reserve Bank of India, it underlined, citing a positive outlook on consumption, investment and employment.

Policymakers, however, cannot remain satisfied and ‘sit back for long periods’, the Ministry cautioned, stressing that ‘eternal macroeconomic vigilance is the price for stability and sustained growth’ in these uncertain times.

“Watchful and prudent fiscal management and credible monetary policy will remain essential for India to fulfil its growth aspirations. Both these pillars of public policy will enable benchmark borrowing costs for the government and the private sector to decline, facilitating public and private sector capital formation,” the Ministry mooted.

China puts hold on proposal at U.N. to blacklist 26/11 LeT handler Sajid Mir

China has put a hold on a proposal moved at the United Nations by the U.S. and co-supported by India to designate Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Sajid Mir, one of India’s most wanted terrorists and the main handler of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks, as a global terrorist.

Beijing put a hold Thursday on the proposal moved by the U.S. and co-designated by India to blacklist Mir under the 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the U.N. Security Council as a global terrorist and subject him to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo. He is one of India's most wanted terrorists and has a bounty of $5 million placed on his head by the U.S. for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

In June this year, he was jailed for over 15 years in a terror-financing case by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan, which is struggling to exit the grey list of the FATF.

Pakistani authorities had in the past claimed he had died, but Western countries remained unconvinced and demanded proof of his death. This issue became a major sticking point in FATF's assessment of Pakistan's progress on the action plan late last year.

Mir is a senior member of the Pakistan-based LeT and is wanted for his involvement in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

The U.S. State Department had said that Mir has been a senior member of LeT since approximately 2001. From 2006 to 2011, Mir was in charge of LeT’s external operations and planned and directed various terrorist attacks on behalf of the group. Additionally, Mir allegedly conspired to commit a terrorist attack against a newspaper and its employees in Denmark between 2008 and 2009.

For his role in the Mumbai attacks, Mir was indicted in the United States in April 2011. In August 2012, the US Department of the Treasury designated Mir as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

As a result of this designation, among other consequences, all property and interests in property of Mir that are subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Mir.

“Mir is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List. He is believed to reside in Pakistan,” according to information on the State Department website.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi turns 72; leaders extend wishes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned 72 on Saturday, with politicians and dignitaries extending their best wishes to him. BJP is planning to mark the PM’s with all district level offices of the party being asked to organise a "Sewa Pakhwara" or service camp for the next 16 days.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi  during the launch of National Logistics Policy in New Delhi on September 17, 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the launch of National Logistics Policy in New Delhi on September 17, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Wishing PM Modi, President Droupadi Murmu said the work for nation-building under his incomparable hard work, dedication and creativity continue to advance. Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar also conveyed his wishes saying PM Modi’s transformative vision and inspirational leadership have elevated ‘Bharat’ to newer heights of glory.

Opposition leaders, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, also wished him.

PM Modi's ministerial colleagues paid fulsome tributes to his leadership and administrative acumen as they wished him on his birthday. Home Minister Amit Shah hailed him as the flag-bearer of Indian culture who has connected the country to its roots and led it forward in every field.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said his leadership has boosted progress and good governance like never before and taken India's prestige and self-respect to a new high.

A 15-day blood donation drive began on the occasion with Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya donating blood at a camp set up at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. The Minister urged citizens to register on the Aarogya Setu app or e-Raktkosh portal to donate blood as part of the 'Raktdaan Amrit Mahotsav', which will be held till October 1 — National Voluntary Blood Donation Day.

In Brief: 

The CBI moved a court in New Delhi seeking cancellation of the bail granted to Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav in the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) scam. Special Judge Geetanjali Goel issued a notice to Yadav on the application moved by the probe agency and sought his reply by September 28. The court in October 2018 granted bail to Yadav after he appeared before it in pursuance to summons issued against him in the matter related to alleged irregularities in granting operational contract of two IRCTC hotels to a private firm.

Evening Wrap will return tomorrow.

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