Daily Bulletin: Parliament likely to be disrupted over Rafale issue; Modi to inaugurate key infra projects in Maharashtra; day's top stories

Rafale issue to echo in Parliament today

The controversy over induction of 36 Rafale jets refuses to die down. With the Winter Session in progress, the Opposition disrupted proceedings in both Houses of Parliament, but BJP members weren't far behind. Members of the ruling party raised slogans in Lok Sabha demanding Rahul Gandhi's apology. The Congress party will move an adjournment motion for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the deal. Meanwhile, Left parties will seek a reply from the government on the questions raised against the Supreme Court verdict. Monday too saw a stormy session in Parliament as the Lower House was adjourned for three times over Opposition protests relating to the Rafale issue. The Congress had also moved a privilege motion in the Lok Sabha against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue on Monday. The party had given a notice of breach of privilege in the Rajya Sabha as well, demanding an explanation from the government on why it provided the Supreme Court "wrong" information on the Rafale deal. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will take a decision on this today.

File image of Parliament. PTI

File photo of the Parliament of India. PTI

Farm loan politics on rise as MP, Chhattisgarh CM announce waivers within moments of taking office

As three Congress chief ministers took over reigns of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the focus is back on the politics of farm loan waivers. Almost immediately after taking the oath of office and secrecy, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath Monday signed an order to waive farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh of famers, while he also lodged an attack on immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel too followed suit and announced that his government will announce loan waiver for agrarians within ten days. Newly sworn-in Rajasthan chief minister also came up with a similar promise, vowing to take up the issue of farm loan waivers within 10 days. The Congress party manifesto had promised immediate relief to farmers as soon as the party forms government in the state. Not only Congress, in the face of acute agrarian crisis, farm loan waivers have become the key poll issues in the run up to state elections. At least three other states that went to polls in 2017-18 came to power on the promise of waiving farm loans. However, the effectiveness of the quick fix move remains debatable amid experts.

Fire in Mumbai hospital kills eight

The death toll in the massive fire that swept through a government hospital in Mumbai's suburban Andheri has risen to eight. The blaze reported on Monday evening also left 141 patients and visitors injured, officials said. A total of 147 people, including patients and visitors, were rescued after the fire broke out at the ESIC Kamgar Hospital at Marol in suburban Andheri, said an official of the Disaster Management Cell of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).  According to another civic official, over 160 patients were admitted in the hospital at the time of the blaze.  The 325-bed hospital was constructed in 1970s, the officials said, adding police and hospital authorities have vacated the building till further notice. Fire brigade personnel had to break the glasses of the building's facade to evacuate stranded patients, they said. Additional Commissioner of Police Manoj Sharma said an inquiry will be launched in association with the fire brigade department to ascertain the cause of the fire. A fire brigade official said the blaze at the hospital was reported at 4.03 pm and it was extinguished at 7.35 pm.  "The building is a ground plus five-floor structure and the blaze erupted on the fourth floor," the official said.

Narendra Modi to visit Maharashtra today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Maharashtra today. The prime minister will launch infrastructure and housing projects worth around Rs 41,000 crore in the state. Modi will also lay the foundation stone for Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Metro phase 5 and Dahisar-Mira Bhayander Metro phase 9 in Kalyan and the neighbouring Thane district. At a function in Raj Bhavan, the Prime Minister will release a book, titled Timeless Laxman, based on the famous cartoonist, RK Laxman. He will address the ‘Republic’ Summit, organized by Republic TV, in Mumbai. He will launch the 90,000 units' EWS (Economically Weaker Section) and LIG (Low Income Group) Housing scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. The prime minister will then proceed to Pune. He will lay the foundation stone of Pune Metro Phase-3. He will also address a public gathering there.

Fuel gets costlier

The oil marketing companies hiked petrol and diesel prices on Monday following the recent depreciation of rupee against the US dollar. Petrol became costlier by 19-20 paise per litre, third time since 13 December. Diesel prices also rose by 9-10 paise per litre across the major cities, according to the data on Indian Oil Corporation website. OPEC and its allies have agreed to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January, in a move to be reviewed at a meeting in April.

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Perth, Day 5

The fifth and final day of Perth Test will resume with India at 112/5, needing 175 more to win but the only specialist batsmen surviving are Hanuma Vihari and Rishbah Pant. In such a scenario, Australian are heavy favourites to secure a win on a pitch which has become more and more favourable for the bowlers as the game progressed. India currently lead the four-Test series 1-0 after their 31-run win at Adelaide.

Jason Momoa won't be part of special Game of Thrones episode

Before opening the final chapter, the makers of Game of Thrones will be treating fans to a reunion episode. But actor Jason Momoa says he won't be a part of the special episode.
HBO confirmed the news of the special episode, but it won't air on the network. It will only be available as part of the complete series home video box set, which will package all eight seasons together. Asked if he will make an appearance in the reunion episode, Momoa told IANS: "I don't think so."

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 to start selling on Flipkart today

In a bid to dethrone Xiaomi when it comes to budget offerings, Asus recently launched the Zenfone Max M2 and the Max Pro M2 in India. The more premium of the two, the Zenfone Max Pro M2, is going on sale today and will be available on Flipkart in three variants — 3 GB of RAM with 32 GB of internal storage variant which is priced at Rs 12,999, a second with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage which is priced at Rs 14,999, and a third with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage, priced at Rs 16,999.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2018 08:01:02 IST

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