Get Wired 26/8: Monetary Policy, IS Picks Indians, BSF Talks, and More

Government claims to be open to amendments on important bills

On Tuesday the government claimed to have an open mind regarding amendments to important bills such as the GST Bill. Parliamentary Affairs Minister met leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Malikarjun Kharge and later said that the government is willing to consider amendments to reforms the measures. The BJP had formerly opposed the bill during the reign of UPA II and has met with the Congress’ continued opposition once it came to power. The Congress has stated that it will stick to its stance and demand removal of one per cent additional tax, an authority to resolve disputes, capping of the GST rate at 18 per cent and compensation to local bodies.

Government moves to create monetary policy committee

The government has moved a cabinet note on the creation of a monetary policy committee (MPC) in an attempt to reset the framework to adhere to international best practices. It is said that the committee will have three government nominees and four from the RBI. The government is keen to introduce legislation to amend the RBI Act in the winter session of the Parliament. This will enable the committee’s creation with powers to decide on the monetary policy in line with the inflation target of 4% announced by the Arun Jaitley when he was delivering this year’s budget speech.

Islamic State recruits more Indians

The Ministry of Home Affairs called a meeting of the Directors General of Police and Home Secretaries from 12 states earlier this month to discuss cases of young Indians who are suspected to have either joined the Islamic State or are headed to its strongholds. List accessed by The Indian Express show 17 Indians are now missing, reported by Indian and foreign intelligence services to be active with the Islamic State or rival organisations like Jabhat al-Nusra. In addition a dozen cadre of the Indian Mujahideen have reportedly joined the Islamic State.

Nawaz Sharif says separatists are not third parties

Nawaz Sharif has stated that the dialogue between India and Pakistan would be futile if it excludes Kashmir. His comments came just days after Pakistan called off the National Security Advisers-level talks because India asked for a commitment that it would not meet Kashmiri separatist leaders.

Agenda exchanged for Indo-Pak BSF talks

Shortly after the cancellation of the NSA level talks, India and Pakistan have discussed the agenda for the Director General level talks at Wagah-Attari border on Tuesday. Sources said that while the agenda was shared, the details were not disclosed.

BJP under pressure from Bihar state partners

The BJP is under pressure from its NDA partners — the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) (HAM-S) — to finalise the seat sharing arrangement for the forthcoming state election. The LJP has demanded 75 seats and the RLSP 66. Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi has reportedly put forth a demand of 40 seats. Despite the pressure the BJP continues to state that it will contest 170-180 seats, which would leave only 88-93 seats for its allies in Bihar.

Ten people cannot impose a constitution, Modi tells Koirala

Expressing grief at the loss of life in Nepal due to violence on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Nepali counterpart that that five or ten people could not sit in a room and impose a constitution. Violence had broken out on Monday in the Kailai district of Nepal when Tharu protestors, demanding a federal state, turned aggressive. Six police officials were killed. The country has been witnessing protests over the shape of the federal map with excluded social groups, Madhesis and Tharus, in the plains bordering India, demanding greater rights. The country is in the process of finalising its constitution.

CEA says that deflation and not inflation are India’s problems

Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has said that in the aftermath of the slowdown in China, India’s relative advantages would shine. He said this while suggesting that the RBI cut interest rates. He also stated that India had enough policy levers to ensure that losses concerning India’s export competitiveness could be counteracted.