International relations: India, China step up engagement(The Hindu) India and China are seeking to step up the pace in improving ties, with two high-level ministerial meetings this month leading to a summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and a slew of engagements through the year, officials in Delhi and Beijing confirmed to The Hindu. China hikes military budget by 8.1%(The Hindu) China on Monday vowed to target a growth rate of around 6.5% in 2018 that would lift 10 million people out of poverty — in tune with establishing a strong military force. It’s time to reimagine South Asia(The Hindu Opinion) A few months ago, Anjum Altaf, former dean of the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), wrote an article in the Dawn newspaper, making a strong case for mutually beneficial economic cooperation between Pakistan and India. He also gave a revealing example of how this has become impossible because of “blind nationalism” in Pakistan. Indian Constitution and Polity: SC poser on building code violations(The Hindu) Seeks govt. response on need to strictly implement National Building Code A gathering storm(The Hindu Opinion) With the assault on freedoms intensifying, it is crucial to engage more with international human rights law. Cooperative Election Authority soon in Haryana(The Hindu) The Haryana government on Monday announced that a Cooperative Election Authority would be set up in the State for supervising the election process in cooperative bodies. Internal security: Threat of new malware looms over cyberspace(The Hindu) A new threat looms large on the horizon of cyberspace. After Mirai and Reaper, cybersecurity agencies have detected a new malware called Saposhi, which is capable of taking over electronic devices and turning them into ‘bots’, which can then be used for any purpose, including a Distributed Denial of Service attack which, with enough firepower, can cripple entire industries.
Economy: Opacity in the banking sector(The Hindu Opinion) The Nirav Modi case, of bank fraud, has once again brought into focus the deficiencies in procedures and supervisory and regulatory controls in the banking sector. However, an equally important aspect that warrants a closer look is the opacity around the functioning of our banks that keeps the public in the dark about the extent and details of wrongdoing. Rolling back free trade?(The Hindu Opinion) Contrary to his apparently conciliatory tone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, last Thursday’s announcement of steep metal tariffs leaves no one in doubt about the meaning of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America first” agenda. A 25% duty on steel and 10% on aluminium imports for an unspecified period comes close on the heels of the safeguard tariffs imposed in January on solar panels and washing machines. Odisha govt. launches ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Bikas’ rural programme(The Hindu) In a new initiative, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday launched the ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Bikas’ (Our village, Our development) programme from the State Secretariat to reach out to people in rural areas and involve them in the development process. RBI to inject extra liquidity of ₹1 lakh cr.(The Hindu) The Reserve Bank on Monday said it would inject additional liquidity of ₹1 lakh crore in banks through longer tenor instruments to enable flexibility towards meeting their fund needs. Go digital ‘hype’ pushing firms to become efficient, responsive(The Hindu) Companies are facing an “ever-increasing” pressure to be more open, responsive and efficient with more ‘hype’ and emphasis being placed on becoming digital, according to a report on digitalisation by India ’s second largest software exporter, Infosys. Environment: High noon(The Hindu Opinion) The India Meteorological Department’s forecast of above-normal maximum and minimum temperatures across the country during the pre-monsoon March-May period is a timely alert for State authorities to review their preparedness. Even a marginal rise above the normal will lead to enormous heat stress for millions of Indians, given the deprived conditions in which they live. Wells, rail tracks turn death traps for Gir lions(The Hindu) As many as 32 lions died due to “unnatural causes” like falling into wells or being run over by trains in 2016 and 2017 in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat.