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2100 HRS.

15th December, 2017


  • Union Cabinet clears proposed bill to make instant triple talaq void and illegal; Approves continuation of National AYUSH Mission till March 2020; Also clears 2,600 crore rupees special package for leather and footwear sector.
  • Government to bear Merchant Discount Rate charges on digital transactions of up to 2,000 rupees for two years from 1st January, 2018.
  • Winter Session of Parliament begins on a stormy note; Rajya Sabha witnesses repeated adjournments; Lok Sabha adjourned after paying obituary references to its sitting and former members who passed away recently.
  • Delhi High Court refuses stay on former JD(U) President Sharad Yadav's disqualification as Rajya Sabha member.
  • Supreme Court extends deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes to 31st March.
  • the apex court rejects Congress' plea for counting of at least 20 per cent paper trail slips along with EVM votes in Gujarat.
  • Sensex surges 216 points at 33,463; Nifty gains 81 points, to close at 10,333.
  • In Badminton, PV Sindhu reaches the top of Group A  in Women's singles of Dubai Super Series Finals Tournament.


The Union Cabinet today approved the propsed Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 which seeks to make instant triple talaq void and illegal. Addressing media in New Delhi, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, the bill is designed to provide a shield for Muslim women.  The bill will be introduced in the current session of Parliament.

The Cabinet also gave its approval for continuation of centrally sponsored scheme of National AYUSH Mission from April 2017 to March 2020. The scheme is being implemented by the Central government to provide cost effective AYUSH services. The mission was launched in September 2014.

It cleared 2,600 crore rupees special package for leather and footwear sector. Briefing media in New Delhi, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, the package has potential to generate 3.24 lakh jobs in three years and assist in formalisation of two lakh jobs as cumulative impact in the sector. The scheme would lead to development of infrastructure for the leather sector, address environmental concerns and facilitate additional investments, job creation and production.

The government gave its nod for continuation of non-lapsable central pool of resources scheme for North-Eastern region till March 2020 with an outlay of 5,300 crore rupees.

It also cleared introduction of another initiative-North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme from 2017-18. The scheme is aimed at filling up the gaps in creation of infrastructure in specified sectors.


The government has decided to bear the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges on transactions of up to 2,000 rupees made through debit cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar-enabled payment systems. The decision was taken at a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narenda Modi.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said, MDR will be borne by the government for two years with effect from 1st of January, 2018 by reimbursing the same to the banks.  

It is estimated that the MDR to be reimbursed would be 1,050 crore rupees in 2018-19 and 1,462 crore rupees in 2019-20.


The Cabinet also approved National Medical Commission Bill, 2017. It will replace the Medical Council 1956 Act and enable a forward movement in medical education reform. It is a move towards outcome based regulation of medical education rather than process oriented. Opening up the medical education sector will lead to significant addition in the number of Undergraduate and Post-graduate seats and substantial new investment in this infrastructure sector.


The Winter Session of Parliament began today on stormy note in Rajya Sabha while the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after paying tributes to its sitting and former members who passed away recently.

Congress members in the Rajya Sabha forced repeated adjournments of the House on the allegations leveled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for conniving with the Pakistani delegation during Gujarat Assembly election. 

"The  Rajya Sabha witnessed three adjournments before adjourning finally for the day. When the House resumed at 2.30 PM to take up the Private members' legislative business, Anand Sharma of the Congress tried to raise the issue of Prime Minister's allegations, which was disallowed by Deputy Chairman Prof. P J Kurien. Immediately after that, Congress members trooped into the well of the House raising slogans against  Mr. Modi forcing the chair to adjourn the House for the day. In the pre-lunch session, Leader of Oppostion Ghulam Nabi Azad also raised the same issue  terming the allegations  as serious  and demanded suspension  of question hour to discuss the issue which was rejected by  Chairman M Venkaiah Nadiu. Earlier,  Mr. Azad and  Naresh Agarwal of Samajwadi Party also  raised the issue of disqualification of rebel JD(U) members Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar. It was objected to by the Chairman  saying that such issues are not for discussion in the House". With Sant Bahadur, Anand Kumar, AIR News Delhi.

The Lok Sabha paid tributes to its sitting members Sultan Ahmad, Chand Nath and Tasleemuddin and seven other former members who passed away recently. The newly elected Congress MP Sunil Jakhar took oath.

The Rajya Sabha also paid tributes to ten of its former members including Air Marshal Arjan Singh. It also paid tributes to the victims of recent Boiler explosion incident in an NTPC Unit in Rae Bareli and Cyclone Ockhi in the coastal areas of  Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep.

On the first day of the session today, Prime Minister introduced the newly inducted members in the Council of Ministers in both houses.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoped that winter session of Parliament will be productive. Speaking at the start of winter session, Mr Modi said, constructive debate and innovative solutions during the session will help in solving nation's problems. 

"2017 में प्रारंभ हो रहा ये विंटर सेशन जो 2018 तक चलेगा और कई महत्वपूर्ण सरकार के कामकाज भी जो दूरगामी प्रभाव पैदा करने वाले हैं इस सदन में आयेंगे। सकारात्मक बहस हो, इनोवेटिव सुझावों के साथ बहस हो तो संसद के समय का उपयोग देश के लिए अधिक कारगर होता है।"

The Prime Minister said, all political parties should cooperate in ensuring smooth functioning of the two Houses. Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan has also expressed hope that the winter session will be fruitful and will have good discussions.


The ruling NDA made it clear that it will take on the opposition over their attack on Prime Minister. Briefing reporters after the NDA parties meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar demanded that the Congress should apologise for the meeting between former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and Pakistani officials without informing the government.


The Delhi High Court has refused to pass an interim order on a plea seeking stay on former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav's disqualification as a Rajya Sabha member. The court, however, allowed Yadav to draw allowances, perks and retain his bungalow as an MP, but restrained him from attending the Winter Session of Parliament. The court also sought the response of the Rajya Sabha chairman besides the leader of the JD(U) in the Upper House, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh Sharad Yadav had filed a plea challenging the December 4 order of the Rajya Sabha Chairman disqualifying him as a Member of Parliament. The court has fixed the matter for hearing on 1st of March next year.


The Supreme Court has extended the deadline till March 31 next year for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes. In an interim order, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also modified its earlier order with regard to linking of Aadhaar with mobile services. The bench said, the deadline of February 6 next year for the purpose also stood extended till 31st March.

"The Supreme Court has said for opening new bank accounts, an applicant will not be required to provide Aadhaar number to the bank. However, the applicant will have to show the proof to the bank that the person has applied for the Aadhaar number. The apex court said, the Constitution Bench would itself commence final hearing from 17th January on the petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme. The government on Wednesday issued a notification to extend till March 31 the deadline for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN) for bank accounts and certain financial transactions. Swati Rakheja, News desk"


The Unique Identification Authority of India, UIDAI, has  asked banks to install fingerprint and iris scanners in 10 per cent of their branches to expedite Aadhaar enrollment for those people who are seeking to open new bank accounts. The CEO of UIDAI, Ajay Bhushan Pandey told this to news agency PTI  after Supreme Court's interim order today. He said, the move will enable people who do not have Aadhaar to get the Aadhaar enrollment facility in the bank itself, and link bank accounts by 31st of March next year. He said, so far over 3,000 enrollment centres have been set up in bank branches all over the country, and overall they have to set up enrollment facility in 14,000 bank branches.


The apex court today refused to entertain a plea of the Gujarat Congress seeking counting of at least 20 per cent of the paper trail slips manually along with votes cast in the EVMs in each constituency of the state. It said that the court cannot interfere unless the Election Commission of India's decision to restrict the EVM-VVPAT paper trail to one booth per constituency is proved arbitrary, illegal or malafide.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra granted liberty to the petitioner Mohammad Arif Rajput, a Gujarat Congress leader, to file a comprehensive petition later seeking election reforms. The apex court said that a debate on poll reforms can only take place after the election process in the state is over.


President Ramnath Kovind today called upon the students to discharge their responsibilities with honesty, authenticity and commitment in their fields after completing their education. Delivering the 14th convocation at Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology MNNIT Allahabad, the President said that sense of nation-building must be instilled in the youths.

तकनीकी संस्थानों में मुख् पाठ्यक्रम के साथ-साथ यदि नॉन टेक्निकल विषयों के अध्ययन का भी अवसर मिलता है तो मुझे लगता है वह और भी अधिक उपयोगी होगा। तकनीकी के ज्ञान के साथ-साथ उसमें कहीं कहीं नैतिकता और राष्ट्रीय बोध का एक ज्ञान देना थोड़ा बहुत आवश्यक है।


Exit poll predictions lifted the domestic stock markets, today, while the rupee strengthened handsomely against the dollar.

"Exit polls predicting a comfortable victory for the BJP in both the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections led to a  stock market rally. So the Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange climbed 216 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 33,463. The Nifty at the National Stock Exchange advanced 81 points, to 10,333. At the forex market, the rupee strengthened a solid 30 paise, to  a 3-month high of 64.04 against the dollar. Gold slipped 155 rupees, to 29,510 rupees per ten grams in Delhi. And Brent crude oil futures climbed 16 cents, to 63.47 dollars a barrel. Pradeep Kumar, AIR News".


In Badminton, India's P V Sindhu has reached the top of the knockout stage in group A  of Women's singles event at Dubai Super Series Finals Tournament.  She defeated Japan's A Yamaguchi 21-9, 21-13. Sindhu will now face players who cleared the knockout stage of Group B.


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