Today's Big Stories
‘Voices of Dissent Cannot be Shut Down’: Pilot Scores SC Win in Disqualification Row, HC Order at 10.30am
In relief for the Sachin Pilot camp, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to restrain the Rajasthan High Court from passing an order on a plea of sacked deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs challenging the disqualification notice against them and said it would be subject to the outcome of petition before the apex court. The top court observed that the "voice of dissent" in a democracy cannot be shut down. The high court will pass its order at 10.30am today. Meanwhile, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said an assembly session will be called soon and his government will prove its majority.
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India Toughens Import Rules for Bidders from Bordering Nations over National Security Concerns
Amid the border row with China, the government on Thursday imposed restrictions on public procurement from China and other countries with common border. It amended the General Financial Rules 2017 to enable imposition of restrictions on bidders from countries which share a land border with India on grounds of defence of India, or matters of national security. The Department of Expenditure has, under the said Rules, issued a detailed order as per which any bidder from such countries will be eligible to bid in any procurement whether of goods, services or works only if registered with the Competent Authority.
In Other News
Trading charges: The opposition Congress in Karnataka has claimed that the BJP-led government allegedly misappropriated funds to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore while procuring equipment to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, the government has described the allegations as “baseless”, saying Rs 500 crore has been spent so far.
COVID-19 in Delhi: Delhi recorded its lowest single-day COVID-19 count in 50 days for the first time since June 1 when the city had registered 990 cases. Number of cases dipped from a daily high of 3,947 cases on the June 23 to just 954 cases on July 20.
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Consular Access to Jadhav: India accused Pakistan of blocking all legal remedies to Kulbhushan Jadhav, saying it had requested for consular access 12 times and that Islamabad had not provided "unhindered and unimpeded access". The MEA also said Pakistan adopted a "farcical approach" in handling the case.
New acquisitions: Amid row with China, the Indian Air Force is looking at integrating the first fleet of Rafale jets with new generation medium-range modular air-to-ground weapon system Hammer, using the emergency financial powers provided by the government to the armed forces for faster acquisition of key weapons and platforms.
On Our Specials
House watch: Even as there is no clarity as to when the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament will convene, top government sources have told CNN-News18 the government is very keen on a full session and not a curtailed one. Several key legislation have been listed including 11 Ordinances, which if not passed will expire soon. Payal Mehta enlists them here
Resetting: India-US ties that were dominated by trade friction in 2018 and 2019 appear to be getting a China-related reset this year. Maha Siddiqui writes that while differences over trade are being ironed out, they do not seem to be in prominent focus of the public discourse any more from the American side as it shifts its attention to countering China.