* Front Page
Time running out to curb terror, Pak. told
New Delhi cites FATF move to blacklist Islamabad
Reminding Pakistan that it has less than three months to show progress on curbing terror financing, India said it expected its government to fully comply with the action plan set out by the global body Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by taking “credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable measures” against terrorist groups on its soil.
On Friday, the FATF plenary session in Orlando, U.S., issued a stern statement at the end of its outcome document, telling Pakistan that it could face blacklisting (the next step) at its next session in October, if it did not follow a 27-point check-list on bringing in stricter laws to curb the access of funds to terror groups inside the country, including the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad. The FATF put off the blacklist, reportedly due to support for Pakistan from China, Turkey and Malaysia, but the entire 38-member body stressed that Pakistan had missed two action plan deadlines.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India expected Pakistan “to take all necessary steps to effectively implement the FATF Action Plan fully within the remaining time frame, that is, by September 2019, in accordance with its political commitment to the FATF and take credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable measures to address global concerns related to terrorism and terrorist financing.”
The task force said Pakistan had failed to understand the “transnational” or cross-border terror financing risk it posed. It also listed 10 of the most important tasks, including the effective implementation of UN sanctions against designated entities and more robust prosecution of terror financiers. India was not a sponsor of the original move to put Pakistan on a compliance ‘grey list’ last June, but has supported the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France in efforts to make Pakistan accountable. Pakistan was put on the grey list in 2018, the second time it has been on it since 2012-2015.
Indian airlines told to skip Iran’s airspace
The civil aviation regulator on Saturday decided to ban Indian carriers from flying over the Iranian airspace, fearing an increase in hostilities between the U.S. and Iran and to ensure the safety of passengers, crew and aircraft flying the route.
The decision, which will impact Air India and IndiGo, comes a day after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned U.S. carriers from flying over the Iranian airspace, days after Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. spy drone. As a result, United Airlines has suspended its direct flight from Newark to Mumbai.
In a statement issued through its Twitter handle, the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said, “Indian operators, in consultation with the DGCA, have decided to avoid the affected part of Iranian airspace to ensure safe travel for passengers. They will reroute flights suitably.” It did not say whether flying was allowed over the rest of the Iranian airspace.
BJP slams U.S. for ‘bias’ against PM
Annual report had criticised the party
In a strong statement on Saturday that could spiral into a diplomatic spat, the ruling BJP accused the U.S. State Department of a “clear bias” against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party in an annual report on international religious freedom released on Friday.
The ‘2018 Report on International Religious Freedom’ had criticised BJP office-bearers for hate speech and the government for reportedly protecting cow vigilante groups.
“The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false,” BJP National Media head Anil Baluni said in the statement.
“On the contrary, in most of such cases, these instances are carried out as a result of local disputes and by criminal mindsets. Whenever needed, Mr. Modi and other BJP leaders have strongly deplored violence against minorities and weaker sections of society,” he added.
The report, which documents the situation in every country (except the United States), was released by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will arrive in Delhi on June 25 for talks with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
Rajasthan to implement Ayushman Bharat
It will be integrated with existing State health scheme
The Rajasthan government has given an official go-ahead to implement the Central government’s flagship health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. It will be integrated with the State’s existing Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana.
“We are very happy with the outcome and have assured all possible support to Rajasthan,” said Indu Bhushan, CEO, AB-PMJAY.
Rajasthan is currently providing benefits to 97 lakh families under the BSBY scheme, and many of the eligible families under AB-PMJAY are already covered under BSBY. All eligible families will be made eligible to avail health benefits up to ₹5 lakh per year under the scheme.
The Central scheme is also undergoing a price review of the over 1,000 medical packages being offered to patients.
The Indian Medical Association has long been demanding a “reasonable and fair package rate” under Ayushman Bharat while consultants such as PricewaterhouseCoopers had said the rates were not sustainable for quality health care.
“The government has set up committees to review the cost of nearly 1,300 medical packages,” said a senior Health Ministry official.