Indian Politics Round-up: February 2019

Interim Budget for 2019 announced by Piyush Goyal

On February 1, Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal laid out the government’s budget plan for this year. The highlights of the Interim Budget were the elevation of income tax threshold from 2.5 lakhs per annum to 5 lakhs per annum, an income support scheme for small farmers, and a pension plan for private workers earning below ₹15, 000 per month.


Citizenship (Amendment) Bill lapses as Rajya Sabha is adjourned sine die

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, scheduled for Rajya Sabha on February 13, lapsed amid strong opposition. The upper house meeting was adjourned indefinitely before the contentious bill could be taken up. Now, as per convention, the bill would have to pass through Lok Sabha again to be presented in the next Rajya Sabha session.


Terrorist attack in Pulwama kills 40 CRPF soldiers

In another breach of peace in J&K, a terrorist, in his explosive-laden vehicle, crashed into an Army bus killing 40 CRPF men and himself in the process. According to sources, the attack was carried out by Adil Ahmad Dar alias Waqas Commando of Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group.


India withdraws MFN status from Pakistan in the wake of Pulwama Attack

In a move to express its disapproval of Pakistan’s collusion with terrorist groups, India has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation status given to Pakistan in 1996. The withdrawal of the MFN status means the tariff on goods imported from Pakistan will increase by 200%. It is also worth noting that although India gave the MFN status to Pakistan over two decades ago, the latter never reciprocated with an MFN of its own.


J&K Govt removes security for four separatist leaders

Jammu & Kashmir government has called back the security forces guarding separatist figures in the state. The move comes in the wake of Pulwama Attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred by a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber. Among those affected are Hurriyat’s Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, and Shabir Ahmad Shah. More names are likely to be added to this list.


India denies visa to Pakistani shooters, gets suspended by IOC

International Olympics Committee has suspended India from hosting international sporting events after it failed to provide visas for two Pakistani shooters who were supposed to partake in the ISSF World Cup, which is a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This incident gives a hint of how much the Indo-Pak relations have worsened after the Pulwama Attack.


PM Modi honoured with the Seoul Peace Prize for 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was given the Seoul Peace Prize by the namesake foundation on February 22 in Seoul, South Korea. This recognition was for his work towards international cooperation and global economic growth. By bagging this award, Modi has joined the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan who received the same in 2014 and 1998 respectively.


Indian Air Force carries out strikes in POK, destroys terrorist launchpads

In retaliation to the Pulwama attack on February 14, Indian Air Force (IAF) executed an aerial offence across the LOC, completely destroying Jaish-e-Mohammed camps in Balakot, Muzzaffarabad, and Chakothi in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on February 26. Reportedly, IAF’s Mirage 2000 jets were used to drop laser-guided explosives weighing 1000 kgs on terrorist hideouts, and the entire mission was completed in a swift 19 minutes.


NIA discovers Pakistan hotline at Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s residence

Anti-terror body, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), raided Hurriyat Conference Leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s house in Srinagar on February 26 and unraveled his communication link to Pakistan. The separatist leader had installed a “high-tech telephony system” at his residence and used it to communicate with his Pakistani contacts. The equipment under question would be analysed to unearth any important leads in this case. Apart from the communication equipment, various red-flag evidences like terrorist group letterheads were recovered from Farooq’s place.

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