Budget Session begins today
The government is expected to make a host of populist announcements in the Budget Session of Parliament starting Thursday, during which the Opposition is likely to corner it on a range of issues, including the contentious Rafale fighter jet deal and the agrarian distress.
The session, which will end on 13 February and will be last one of the present government, will begin with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind to a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The government will make efforts to pass contentious bills on the citizenship and triple talaq, even as stiff opposition to these proposed legislation has denied them parliamentary approval, so far. Some BJP allies, including the JD(U), have also expressed their reservations to these bills.
The government is keen to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to grant persecuted minorities, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians, from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh Indian citizenship.
Counting of votes in Jind, Ramgarh by-elections today
The results of the Jind by-election in Haryana and Ramgarh by-election in Rajasthan will be declared on Thursday, as counting of the votes is underway. Both bypolls had a high voter turnout of over 70 percent on Monday.
The ruling BJP, Congress, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) contested the Jind bypoll. Congress national spokesperson RS Surjewala was among the candidates in the fray.
The Ramgarh by-election was held on Monday as it could not be held along with the polls in the other constituencies in Rajasthan on 7 December due to the death of the BSP candidate. As many as 20 candidates contested the Ramgarh by-election.
No Economic Survey for 2018-19
This Budget Session, there will be no Economic Survey detailing the state of the country's economy. The Economic Survey is usually presented on the first day of the session but is not published in an election year as the task of framing the document is given to the government elected to power after the elections.
This year, the new government is expected to present a full Budget in July along with the Economic Survey.
Usually, the Economic Survey is released a day before the Budget. It summarises the annual economic development in the country, including the performance of major development programmes, and highlights the policy initiatives of the government and the short and medium-term prospects of the economy. It facilitates a better appreciation of the mobilisation of resources and their allocation in the Budget.
On 1 February, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal will present the Centre's sixth and final Budget. The Budget, which will be an interim one, will seek Parliament approval for spending for the four months till a new government is sworn-in.
Official sources said the documents will contain revenue and expenditure projections for the entire 2019-20 fiscal year beginning 1 April, but a 'Vote on Account' will seek Parliament nod for the expenditure side. It is widely expected that the Interim Budget may contain tax sops and a certain package for the farm sector.
Adityanath to participate in VHP Dharma Sansad, meet RSS chief
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is slated to visit the Maha Kumbh on Thursday to meet RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, in the backdrop of the grand two-day Dharma Sansad being organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). He will also meet major saints, including the Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Nishchalanand.
Speaking to ANI, Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati said the Dharma Sansad, after a three-day meeting in Prayagraj, decided that the foundation stone of the temple will be laid on 21 February. He also said the saints and those mobilised for the effort would not be deterred by arrests or any other kind of obstacles.
The decision came a day after the government approached the Supreme Court for permission to restore the "excess" land surrounding the disputed portion in Ayodhya to the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas.
The government, in a petition, sought direction for releasing to the Nyas 67-odd acres, which it had acquired in 1993, leaving 0.313 acres of the disputed plot untouched.
New Zealand opt to bowl in 4th ODI against India at Hamilton
India and New Zealand face off in the fourth match of the ongoing ODI series at Hamilton. The Black Caps opted to bowl first after winning the toss. Rohit Sharma is leading the 'Men in Blue' in Virat Kohli's absence, with debutant Shubman Gill taking the No 3 spot in the lineup.
India currently leads the series 3-0, having clinched the tournament with a seven-wicket win at Mount Maunganui.
Facebook is shutting down the iOS version of its controversial Research app
Facebook is shutting down the iOS version of its controversial VPN Research app that paid users between 13 and 35 years up to $20 every month for access to their data. However, the app is expected to continue to be available for Android users.
The social media giant previously collected similar data using Onavo Protect, a VPN service that it acquired in 2013. The app was later shut down after Apple stated that it violated the App Store's guidelines on data collection.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro says Trump ordered Colombia to murder him
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro accused Donald Trump of ordering neighbouring Colombia's government to kill him, but said he was open to the possibility of talks with the US president and his own domestic foes.
In an interview with Russia's RIA agency, Maduro rejected calls for an early election, said an order to arrest his rival Juan Guaido had not yet been issues and promised that Caracas would honour debts to Russia and China.
Facing the biggest challenge of his six-year rule, the 56-year-old socialist leader also said his armed forces remained loyal and Russian president Vladimir Putin was firmly behind him.
Despite their increasingly militant opposition to Maduro, whom they regard as a dictator, both US and Colombia have repeatedly denied accusations of plots to kill him.
Ashton Kutcher posts his phone number on Twitter
Actor Ashton Kutcher posted his phone number on social media, tweeting that he "misses having a real connection with real people". The 40-year-old deleted the tweet soon after.
"I miss having a real connection with real people. My community. From now on, you can just text me. I won't be able to respond to everyone, but at least we can be real with each other, and I can share the unedited latest and greatest in my world," he posted.
Kutcher added his phone number and said, "Yes this is my#.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Jan 31, 2019 08:53:00 IST