18/02/2015 9:27 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

The Morning Wrap: Modi To Auction-Off Namo Suit; Swachh Bharat Cess Likely

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 8: Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani participating in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan organized by ABVP & DUSU at Sanjay Basti, Timarpur on January 8, 2015 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Morning Wrap in HuffPost India's selection of interesting news and opinion from the day's newspapers.

It is perhaps braggadocio or frayed communications, but a Deputy Inspector General of the Coast Guard said it was he who ordered the suspicious Pakistani boat to be blown up on Dec 31. This contradicts the Defence Ministry's position that the boat's occupants themselves triggered their boat's explosion.

Finally, two political personalities and an organisation have sent out long-overdue, reassuring and pleasantly-progressive messages. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Tuesday that every individual had an "undeniable right to retain or adopt" any faith, significant in the light of recent attacks on churches and the debate on proposed anti-conversion laws. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has disowned BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj's remark of 'every Hindu women having four children,' saying that India's mothers "weren't factories," and finally Aditya Thackeray, son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, claimed the Maharashtra CM's approval for his proposal for 24x7 nightlife-spots in Mumbai.

In a rather bizarre defence of its decision to deplane Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai, the Ministry of Home Affairs has said that the activist's testimony could leave India open to a "sanctions regime" by Western countries that could harm India just as it affected "growth rates, well-being and happiness of the citizens of Iran, Russia and North Korea."

The government doesn't seem too amused with censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani's enthusiasm to ban cuss words from films.

The Business Standard reports that PM Modi's pet Swachh Bharat programme may entail a cess of 0.05 per cent on all items covered under the service tax, including phone bills, restaurant bills, information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services bills. This however is unlikely to bring in more than Rs 150 crore, the newspaper adds.

Off The Front Page

Slapstick met swayamvara at a Bareilly wedding after a bride chose to marry a guest rather than the groom, who had an epileptic fit and had to be hospitalized. Miffed that she wasn't aware of her fiancée's medical condition, she asked a by-stander--also her sister's brother-in-law--if he would marry her and he readily agreed. This outraged relatives of the former groom but finally the wedding went ahead on the woman's wishes.

In perhaps propitiation for an ahankaar that may have cost the BJP the Delhi election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Rs 10-lakh, monogrammed suit, which he wore during US President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi in January, will be auctioned off in diamond-merchant-rich Surat and the funds will be used for cleaning the Ganga.

Intriguing big data analysis of CCTV footage from Indian airport terminals, by the CISF, shows that since 2012, India's rich and educated are increasingly pilfering laptops, Ipads and smartphones.

Karmic retribution may have caught up with the BJP as The Indian Express reports that the Aam Aadmi Party may take control of Savli panchayat in Vadodara, the Lok Sabha constituency that elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi before he chose to keep Varanasi for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The enigma over Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose may never be officially resolved as the Prime Minister's Office has clarified that the PM had no discretionary powers to declassify records.

After mountain climbing and luging, the next, hot adventure sport may be Dahi Handi. The Maharashtra state government has set up a 11-member committee to study and present recommendations to classify Dahi Handi, a traditional Janmashtami contest, as an adventure sport. The larger aim is to however rule on the participation of minors in view of the risk of injury the activity entails.


Suba Chandran in The Hinduanalyses a range of reasons why the ongoing sectarian wars in Pakistan are different from its earlier avatars and thus, more difficult to combat.

Pushkar expresses concerns in The Indian Express that government's GIAN-programme, a scheme to encourage foreign faculty to part-teach in India, isn't adequately structured.