SC gives ex-­royals right to manage deity’s property

  • The Supreme Court on Monday held that the erstwhile Travancore royal family is the “human ministrant” or the shebait (manager) of the properties belonging to Sree Padmanabha, chief deity of the famed and fabulously rich Sree Padmanabhaswa­ my temple in Kerala.
  • The 26th Constitutional Amendment, which put an end to privy purses enjoyed by erstwhile rulers, would nudge the temple and properties into the hands of the State. In fact, the Kerala High Court, in 2011, directed the State to take over the temple and exhibit its treasures for public viewing in a museum.


Iran drops India from Chabahar rail project, cites funding delay

  • Four years after India and Iran signed an agreement to construct a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan, the Iranian government has decided to proceed with the construction on its own, citing delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project.
  • The development comes as China finalises a massive 25 ­year, $400 billion strategic partnership deal with Iran, which could cloud India’s plans.
  • Iranian Railways and the state­ owned Indian Railways Construction Ltd (IRCON), was meant to be part of India’s commitment to the trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan to build an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.


Will invest $10 billion in India, says Google chief

  • Technology giant Google will invest $10 billion (₹75,000 crore) in India over the next five to seven years with a focus on digitising the economy and building India ­first products and services, its CEO Sundar Pichai said on Monday
  • Investments will focus on four areas key to digitisation — enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language, building products and services that are deeply relevant to India’s unique needs, empowering businesses on their digital transformation journey, and leveraging technology and AI for social good in areas such as health, education and agriculture.