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Saturday Morning News Brief, April 7

Apr 7, 2018
Saturday morning brief Apr 7 2018
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
In the budget session which concluded yesterday, the Lok Sabha spent just 1% of its allotted time on legislative business even as the Rajya Sabha spent 6%. The actual hours that the Houses sat as against those available was 21% for the Lok Sabha and 27% for the Upper House. In all, 250 hours were wasted while issues like the PNB scam and alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act couldn’t come up for discussion. According to PRS legislative research, this was the least productive budget session since 2000. The Upper House spent only three minutes on government bills while it was 14 minutes for the Lower House.
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India has kicked off a process to procure 110 fighter jets for IAF under the $20 billion ‘mother of all defence deals’. Under the project, global aviation majors will be re-invited to compete for producing fighter jets in India under the government’s “strategic partnership” policy. IAF yesterday issued a preliminary global tender or RFI (request for information) to acquire 110 fighter jets, of which 85% are to be built in India with a domestic strategic partner or production agency. The aviation majors have to submit their responses to the RFI by July 3.
Government owned refiners in India plan to almost double oil imports from Iran in 2018-19, drawn by incentives offered by Tehran. Tehran recently deepened freight discount to firms in India, its second-biggest oil client after China, in return for higher volumes. In the current fiscal year to March 2019, state refiners Indian Oil Corporation, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum plan to import 396,000 barrels per day (bpd) Iranian oil, according to two sources familiar with the plans who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
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A jeweller and his son were arrested yesterday by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence for attempting to illegally carry gold jewellery worth over Rs 16 crore. The arrests came two days after the two were detained at Kolkata airport following the dramatic recall of an IndiGo flight from the runway as it was about to take off for Hyderabad. A preliminary questioning of the accused jeweller, Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, has revealed that he had smuggled what were meant to be “export” consignments of about 1,100 kg of pure gold jewellery worth over Rs 300 crore to domestic markets in the last one year alone, a source said.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it has reached the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019. The USCIS would conduct a lottery to decide successful applicants for the work visa popular among Indian IT professionals. The fiscal year begins October 1, 2018. The USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 Visa cap for advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, a statement said. Read more
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