India’s ban on Chinese applications – the legal and policy process that follow
A large part of the Indian population would access the service provided by the Chinese apps before the decision was made to block them and there have been some important consequences ever since. TikTok alone had over 100 million users active in India. Several reports showcased TikTok to have given a voice to small time individual entrepreneurs especially in rural India. We Chat app was used by Tibetan refugees in Delhi to not only contact and connect with their families but also as their source of news and information. The ban seems to cause more harm than good especially to the already marginalized communities in India and a constitutional challenge to the ban is said to be in motion.
In the recent case in Kerala, Faheema Shirin vs. State of Kerala recognized that meddling with one’s right to the access of the internet is a violation of their fundamental right to privacy. Under article 19 it is assumed that there does exist freedom of access to the internet, it becomes rather significant to examine the effect it might have on banning the Chinese apps. The right must be inclusive and should be made available to everyone in order for the freedom of speech and expression to be meaningful.
US troubled by India’s acquisition of Russian Jets, CAATSA may be invoked
In order to quickly meet the military requirements, India has purchased Russian material which may provoke the US to sanction India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). New Delhi recently had announced its procurement of 33 Russian combat aircrafts for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to which a senior US State Department official stated that India was not shielded from the sanctions under CAATSA.
The CAATSA was imposed back in January, 2017 in Washington against the Russian defence, gas and oil products and the security in an attempt to strike back at Moscow’s military involvement in Ukraine and its assumed intervention in the 2016 US presidential elections. An unnamed official stated to the British publication- “I can confirm that we urge all of our allies and partners to forego (defence) transactions with Russia that risk triggering sanctions under CAATSA,” and that Washington could not “prejudge whether a specific transaction would result in sanctions, it was important to note that CAATSA did not have any blanket or country specific waiver provision.” The procurement of F-21 in particular has been troublesome for Washington and could very well be the trigger that sets of the sanctions against India for opting to acquire the Russian fighter jets.
UP Gangster shot dead in a controversial police encounter
8 policemen were mercilessly gunned down when they were on their way to make the arrest of the prominent Uttar Pradesh gangster Vikas Dubey. It was only a week later that Vikas was killed in an encounter with the police officials near Kanpur. He had been arrested from the popular ‘Mahakal’ temple in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday (9th July, 2020) and was on his way to Kanpur by the Special Task Force (STF) of the UP police. Prashant Kumar, director general of police UP claimed that due to heavy rains, the SUV carrying him overturned and Vikas made an attempt to escape. Vikas had managed to snatch a policeman’s pistol and fired at the jawans as he tried to evade them. The STF jawans traveling close behind in another vehicle tried to stop him from fleeing to which Vikas opened fire. The policemen in self-defense fired back and there was a shootout wherein Vikas Dubey suffered bullet injuries. Four STF jawans were also injured in the process.
Dubey was rushed to the hospital where he was declared brought dead and according to the post mortem Dubey had 4 gun shot wounds to which he succumbed. However, earlier conflicting reports emerged of the gangster’s death. Some reports claimed that Dubey was seriously injured when the SUV skidded and overturned and it was due to these severe injuries that he died. Members of his family claimed that they were not given any news of the death of Vikas Dubey and they claim to have found out via the media outlets.
Critical human error led to the downing of Ukrainian jet crash, says Iran
Iran claimed that wrong alignment of an air defense’s radar system was the critical human error that resulted in the unfortunate crash of a Ukraine passenger plane back in January. The Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) said in a report that "a failure occurred due to a human error in following the procedure" which caused a “107 degree error” in the system. The Ukraine International Airlines plane, Flight 752, crashed almost immediately after takeoff from Tehran on 8th January after being hit by two missiles. US-Iran tensions have already been heightened off late.
Iran after several days acknowledged that it’s units shot down the plane accidentally, killing all the 176 people aboard. CAO stated that due to the misidentification of the target by the operator, which happened to be a commercial airliner, it was brought down. The report also mentioned that the defense unit operator had fired the first of the two missiles without having received any information from the Coordination center from which he receives his orders. The air defenses had already been on high alert at the given time due to the fear of US retaliating against the strike called upon the US troops positioned in Iraq by the Islamic republic
US Lawmakers urge Trump to revoke his decision barring foreign students
A group of 136 US Democratic congressmen and 30 senatores said the latest guidelines issued by the Trump administration seems to be motivated by "animus towards non-citizens and immigrants". It forces the universities and schools to reopen even as the cases due to the corona virus are constantly on the rise.
In the report, the lawmakers stated – “The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s announcement of their plans to force out or deport international students who remain at US colleges and universities and who are taking a full online course load is cruel and unconscionable. These students are already in the United States, are established members of educational communities, and have been determined through the visa screening process to pose no danger to the United States."
However supporters of the Trump administration argue that “American jobs” are taken away by the incoming foreign students. This argument has found a strong voice and has also gained the support of the administration. Students coming from overseas contribute around $45 billion to the American education industry and bring with them countless value to the US economy. The US Chamber of Commerce has requested the administration to rethink their decision.
CBI probe into the cop that tipped off Vikas Dubey moves to SC for security
2 police officials have been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police for tipping off Vikas Dubey which led to the death of 8 policemen. Sub-inspector KK Sharma is one of the two policemen arrested and moved the Supreme court claiming the chance of a police encounter against him and is seeking protection. A petition was filed by Sharma and his wife Vinita Sirohi that sought a CBI probe in the killings of Vikas Dubey and 5 of his accomplices. “Extra-judicial killings of other accused shows volumes about the conduct of Uttar Pradesh police department….It is clearly evident that the institutions tasked with the protection of law and order in the state have taken the law into their own hands and have been killing the accused as soon as arresting such people,” the petition said.
8 policemen were ambushed and killed by Vikas’ men on July 3rd, before their attempt of fleeing Kanpur. Exactly a week later, Vikas was killed in an encounter with the Uttar Pradesh police when he was being transported from his arrest site, Ujjain in MP to Kanpur. The SUV carrying Vikas Dubey skidded off the road and had overturned. Trying to make the most of the opportunity, Vikas tried to flee but was killed in an encounter with the police. “After being chased by the police team, he was asked to surrender but he did not and started firing with the intention of killing them. The police team fired back in self-defence after which Vikas Dubey was injured” Kanpur Police said in a statement.
Gehlot – Pilot crisis
The cracks in the ruling Congress party in Rajasthan seems to be widening as reports emerged that Sachin Pilot went to Delhi to talk about the party leadership. Simultaneously, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot called for an immediate meeting with party MLA on Sunday. Pilot had come under the scrutiny of the Rajasthan police for his alleged attempts at destabilizing the Rajasthan government. He said, “It is unacceptable that media is trying to give this matter a different spin.” Gehlot too was called by the Rajasthan police for questioning, according to reports. The police unit comes directly under the Rajasthan state government’s jurisdiction.
Previously, both Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot had accused the BJP government for its attempts at trying to destabilize the Rajasthan government just before the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections on June 19. At a press conference which was attended by Pilot and several other leaders from the Congress party, Gehlot said, “At this time, we have to decide who is distributing dard (pain) and who is distributing davaa (medicine)." These comments made were under the pretense that the BJP had summoned the Congress MLAs and other independent MLAs to a resort in Jaipur in an attempt to lure them over to switch sides.
HM Amit Shah: successful battling of Corona virus in India is being seen by the world
Home Minister Amit Shah complimented the efforts of the security forces in their battle against the Corona virus in the country. He claimed that the world is witnessing India’s successful battle against the pandemic. He stated “India is one of the most populous countries. Everyone thought how will a country like India battle Covid – 19, there were apprehensions but today the whole world is witnessing how one of the most successful battles against Covid – 19 has been fought here… In India’s battle against Covid – 19, all of our security forces are playing a huge role, nobody can deny it. Today, I salute these Corona warriors. They have proved that they not only know how to fight terrorism but also against Covid with the help of people.”
Several jawans have lost their lives in the battle against the pandemic and to those the Union Home Minister has paid his tributes. At a plantation drive he stated that along with the help of the Central Armed Police Forces, they planned on planting over 10 lakh tree saplings across the country in a single day. The saplings chosen were to be taken care till maturity by the jawans so that the nation could reap the benefits of their magnanimity.
Resolution to convert the Hagia Sophia Museum into Mosque condemned by Pope Francis
Turkey’s decision to convert Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque has been publicly condemned by Pope Francis. At a blessing in St. Peter’s Square he said "My thoughts go to Istanbul. I think of Santa Sophia and I am very pained.” Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President declared that the ancient structure was once again a mosque after following a court ruling that officially cancelled the Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum. The move to convert the museum has been criticized by many and the World Council of Churches has urged the Turkish President to reverse his decision. To which the President stated that Turkey is only exercising its sovereign rights while converting the 1,500 year old Hagia Sophia, which was once Christian cathedral, into a mosque. He claimed it would remain open to Muslims, Christians and foreigners and criticism of the move to convert the museum would be interpreted as an attack on its independence. Istanbul’s spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, Patriarch Bartholomew stated that the decision was rather disappointing. UNESCO stated that its World Heritage Committee would evaluate the status of the Hagia Sophia as Turkey’s decision has an impact that is not confined within the borders of Turkey, rather affecting people from all over the world and of different generations and communities.
Permits alcohol consumption, decriminalizes leaving Islam – Sudan
For the first time in decades Sudan is to permit the consumption of alcohol by non – Muslims and has done away with laws that made leaving Islam a punishable offence. Justice Minister, Nasredeen Abdulbari said in an interview on state television that Sudan now "allows non-Muslims to consume alcohol on the condition it doesn't disturb the peace and they don't do so in public." Although the Islamic traditionally prohibits their believers from the consumption of alcohol, Sudan has a notable Christian minority. Abdulbari is part of a transitional government that took control after Bashir’s dismissal. He said “No one has the right to accuse any person or group of being an infidel... this threatens the safety and security of society and leads to revenge killings."
Human rights groups constantly criticized Bashir’s treatment of non – muslims, the Christian minority especially. Official figures indicate that Christians represent only 3% of Sudan’s population but several other Christian leaders claim the real figure to be much higher. Back in 2014, a woman was given the death penalty for converting out of Islam and into Christianity and sparked a worldwide uproar.
Qualcom – will invest $97 million in India’s Jio Platforms
The latest high profile investor, Qualcomm Ventures, has said it will invest $97 million in Jio platforms to acquire a 0.15% equity stake. In the last 12 weeks, Jio has raised over $15.7 billion from many different investors. Qualcomm has claimed that it will help the platform with advanced 5G infrastructure and services for its Indian customers. Reliance Jio platforms have disrupted the Indian telecommunications market by offering voice and data plans far cheaper than competitors. It has gained over 400 million subscribers and has become the top carrier in the world’s second largest internet market in less than 4 years. The most recent addition to its many different features which include calling, data plans, streaming etc, has been its video conferencing service. Companies like – Facebook, Intel, General Atlantic and Silver Lake have invested in the Jio platform amidst the global pandemic. Jio has managed to sell 25.24% stake in the company during this period. Chief executive of Qualcomm stated that it believes Reliance Jio platforms will be able to set new standards of services and experiences to its Indian consumer in the coming years - “With unmatched speeds and emerging use cases, 5G is expected to transform every industry in the coming years. Jio Platforms has led the digital revolution in India through its extensive digital and technological capabilities. As an enabler and investor with a longstanding presence in India, we look forward to playing a role in Jio’s vision to further revolutionize India’s digital economy”
Newly constructed bridge washed away by floods in Bihar
The NDA government headed by Nitish Kumar was under severe criticism by the Opposition in Bihar regarding the newly – constructed Sattarghat bridge. The approach road that led to the bridge over River Gandak was washed away by the floods, exactly 29 days after its inauguration by the Chief Minister on the 16th of June. The bridge construction had started back on the 5th of April, 2012 and was long pending its completion. The Rs. 263.47 crore project as to reduce distance between districts by 45 km.
In a tweet, leader of Opposition, Tejashwi Yadav said , “The Sattarghat bridge of Gopalganj built at a cost of Rs 263.47 crore in 8 years, was inaugurated by Nitish Ji on June 16. Today, 29 days later the bridge collapsed. Beware! If someone terms it corruption by Nitish ji. Rs 263 crore is for just a glimpse. Even their rats consume alcohol worth this amount.” This tweet comes as a response to one of the Bihar government’s minister who had blamed rats for the heavy floods in 2017. Coming to the governements defence a BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said, “The bridge is completely safe only an approach road two kilometres ahead of bridge has been washed away. The minister of road construction department is an efficient minister who has brought revolution in road network.”
Congress MLA, P. Singh Lodhi from Madhya Pradesh joins BJP
Another Congress MLA has parted ways with former party and joined the ruling BJP on the 12th of July. This comes roughly about 4 months after the desertation of 22 Congress legislators and is a significant loss to the Opposition party just before the important by elections. P. Singh Lodhi turned in his resignation after criticizing the Congress government of neglecting the Bundelkhand region and rather diverting attention to Chhindwara. Lodhi was given a Cabinet Minister status and was announced as the Chairman of the Madhya Pradesh civil supplies corporation. V D Sharma, a BJP state president claimed that an angricultural college designed for Panna in the Bundelkhand region had been redirected to Chhindwara, the center for Kamal Nath. “The BJP has not offered him any allurement, he has joined us because he is driven by the urge to develop his constituency,” Sharma claimed. A Rs. 450 crore irrigation scheme has been sanctioned by Chouhan for the Bundelkhand region that would irrigate 1,700 hectares.
The Congress’s strength in the 230 - member House has now been brought down to 91. 22 Congress Members had resigned from their post in to join the BJP, reducing Congress’s strength from 114 to 92. This recent resignation is rather embarrassing for the Opposition party as it claimed that those who had to leave had already left all together at once, after its loss in power.
Hong Kong – over 600,000 people voice their concerns regarding new security law
Over 600,000 citizens in Hong Kong cast ballots over the weekend as a symbolic protest vote against the firm security laws put in motion by Beijing – claimed the opposition camp in Hong Kong. This unofficial poll is to decide the strongest pro-democracy contestants to stand for election in September to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. A young aspiring democrat, Sunny Cheung, 24 has been out lobbying and giving moving speeches, claimed "A high turnout will send a very strong signal to the international community, that we Hong Kongers never give up … "And that we still stand with the democratic camp, we still support democracy and freedom.”
Determined to see a change, young and old residents gathered around over 250 polling stations all over the city, guarded by thousands of volunteers. After standing in long queues and having their indetities verified, the people were able to vote via the mobile phones. After 2 full days, organizers claimed that 592,000 people had successfully voted online and an additional 21,000 had voted via paper ballots. Au Nok – hin, an organizer said, "You can see the courage of the Hong Kong people in this ... Hong Kongers have created another miracle.”
Russian citizen found guilty of hacking LinkedIn, Dropbox – US Court
One of the biggest data breaches in the history of the United States was witnessed back in 2012. A San Francisco jury has found the Russian citizen, Yevgeniy Nikulin guilty of the crime that resulted in the theft if 117 million usernames and passwords. He tried to sell that stolen information to other people and was found guilty of trafficking Formspring data. It was after this massive data breach that made Dropbox come out with the two – factor authentication and automated features to verify any suspicious activity. Yevgeniy Nikulin was charged with 9 felony counts when he was arrested in Czech Republic back in 2016 and was put in prison in many different jails.
The United States of America and Russia both put in requests to extradite him but the Czech Republic finally decided to extradite him to the US in 2018. Nikulin is looking at up to 10 years in prison for each count of selling the stolen usernames and passwords and installing malware. He is also looking at an additional 5 years for each count of hacking and conspiracy. His sentencing has been scheduled for the 29th of September.
Elon Musk, Obama and Bill Gates twitter account hacked in a crypto currency scam
The twitter accounts of Elon Musk and Bill Gates were hacked in a crypto – related scam. There were several other prominent figures who had their accounts hacked as well. Some of the other Twitter accounts hacked were of Barack Obama, Warren Buffet, Joe Biden, Kim Kardashian West, Jeff Bezos and more. The scam tweets posted through the accounts of Elon Musk and Bill Gates stated a Bitcoin wallet address link encouraging followers to send money to the wallet, promising to double the amount. The scam was conducted in two rounds after the first round of tweets were deleted.
The message posted from Musk’s profile read - “You know I living giving back to my community. I’m doubling all BTC payments sent to my address. You send $1,000 and I will send #$2,000 back! Tell your family & friends! Only going on for 30 minutes.”Such scams occur quite often but what is troubling is the ease with which the hackers gained access to these high profile Twitter accounts. An official statement is yet to be released regarding the hacking, but the structure of tweets along with the claims read on the tweets seem to be the doing of the same person/group.
Beijing a tad bit reluctant to move out of the Finger region completely
It seems that China is a bit reluctant to completely evacuate the Finger region and still wants to have some presence in the region. Sources claim that in the military – level talks China has agreed to completely withdraw from the Galwan valley, Hot springs and Gogra region in the East region of Ladakh. China has begun to withdraw its forces from the Finger 4 region from Blacktop to Greentop, however are showing some resistance from the complete withdrawal from the Finger 8 region, sources claimed. After a 15 hour long meeting between the Corps commander – level officers including Lt. Gen Harinder Singh, India made it very clear that it would not accept anything short of the withdrawal of troops from both sides back to what was previously designated.
The withdrawal of troops is to be monitored closely by both sides for the next few days. The Chinese worry that post withdrawal India would have a strategic height advantage and may exploit it to gain control, in and around the Patrolling Point 17. China has gone back significantly from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the adjoining Patrol Points (14 and 15 respectively).
Asia’s largest solar power project – Rewa Solar inaugurated by PM Modi in Madhya Pradesh.
On the 10th of July, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the solar power project, the Rewa Solar Power Project in Madhya Pradesh, via video conferencing. The new 750 MW solar power project, set in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh is the largest in the continent. Claiming that India is one of the leading 5 nations in the world with regard to solar energy, PM Modi stated that harnessing solar energy is the method of energy moving forward in the 21st century.
The Solar Power project in Rewa comprises of three solar power generating units, each with the capacity of 250 MW and each of them located on a 500 hectare plot of land situated inside a Solar Park, claimed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited (RUMSL) has developed this enormous Solar Park over a total area of 1500 hectares.
A significant amount of Rs. 138 crore has been given by the Centre to the RUMSL for the construction and development of the Solar Park. Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Madhy Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (MPUVN) came together to form this joint venture, RUMSL. The Rewa Solar Power project, for its modernism and superiority, has received the World Bank Group President’s Award.
Plastic Waste used in the making of 1 lakh km of road – aims to double it, Govt.
Central Government has been implementing the use of plastic waste in the construction of roads in order to satisfactorily utilize plastic waste which otherwise would not have been recycled. One lakh kilometer of road has been built so far using the material. In order to build one kilometer of road, nine tonnes of bitumen and one tonne of plastic is required. Thereby saving one tonne of bitumen for every kilometer of the road constructed, saving approximately Rs. 30,000/km. Plastic roads comprise of 6 – 8% of recycled plastic, while 92 – 94 % is bitumen.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had introduced to the public about the usage of plastic waste in the construction of roads in 2016. Ever since then, plastic waste has been utilized in the construction of one lakh kilometer of road in 11 states. The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has made it mandatory to use plastic waste in its construction of arterial roads.
India produces at least 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste daily. According to the Union environment ministry, only about 60% gets recycled, while the rest gets dumped into landfills, oceans or burnt, causing all sorts of various pollutions and complications to the environment. A proper waste management system enables the dirty plastics to get recycled efficiently and less water intensive.
Fresh Investments may see a fall with new labour dilutions.
As stated by the 2014 World Bank Enterprise Surveys (ES), on examining of 9,281 firms across the nation, less than 5% of the firms recognized labour regulations as the chief obstacle to their operations. The number has stayed the same ever since the 2010 ES survey. Recent surveys conducted by NITI Aayog and the IDFC Institute claim a number of different problems are identified more by companies in India as their primary concern. This includes permissions for setting up a business, obtaining of land and construction permits among many others. The ES survey data highlights labour regulation is not even part of the top 3 concerns faced by firms in UP and MP and is only the second most concern in Gujarat, India’s industrial powerhouse.
Keeping foreign investors’ interest in India in mind, the inflexible labour laws are ranked 5th among the 5 least attractive factors in the overall ease of doing business. No reform on its own, including the labour law reform, is a solution for economic progress and job creation. Investors value certainty more than specific reforms. However the latest reforms pose several uncertainty and are just 3 year changes. This is not a long enough time to attract long term investments that enable job creation. The state government may need to pursue reforms that are much deeper and can tackle the immediate constraints in order to make the firms feel safe and secure to further their investments in the country.
3 Disputed areas with India redrawn by Nepal in its political map
Nepal has completed the process of updating the country’s political map by incorporating three areas with strategic importance by making amends to its constitution. This move by the Nepal’s government could gravely shake the bilateral relations with its neighbor, India. India has already claimed the area as “untenable” after Nepal’s lower house of Parliament unanimously accepted the new political map of the country showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura (areas which India claims, belongs to it). Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari authenticated the second constitution amendment bill which was passed by both houses of Nepal’s Parliament.
When asked about the recent developments in Nepal, in New Delhi, spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag Srivastava said that India has made its position on the matter clear: “This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues.”
Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said that the approval of the amendment bill was a milestone towards the reclaiming Nepal’s land. “Both the houses of parliament demonstrated un paralleled unity in endorsing the Bill. This is a historic achievement for Nepalis,” Oli was quoted as saying by reporters.
New Data Protection Law might act as a government surveillance tool
In the new age of digitization, safeguarding citizen’s privacy with respect to third party access has become of utmost importance. The Supreme Court of India, in regard to the K. S. Puttaswamy vs. UOI (2017), stated that a citizen’s right to privacy as a fundamental right protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. On 11th December, 2019, the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 was introduced in the parliament, is almost analogous to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. It is supposed to protect citizen’s data as well as cross border passage of data.
The bill however, has drawn a lot of criticism over the involvement of India’s central government and the exemptions given to it. Civil rights groups, focusing on clauses 12 and 35 of the bill raise concerns claiming that the central government is trying to prevent the protection of citizens’ data. Clause 12 of the bill supposedly gives the central government the ability to process individuals’ personal data without their consent. Several critics have raised their concerns about the subjectivity and broadness of the bill that can enable the government to manipulate the citizens’ data. Reasonable steps are required to get the consent of the individuals and their actions regarding the same are to be proportionate and rational.
Elon Musk’s stock surge, becomes the 7th richest man
Elon Musk has now surpassed Warren Buffett as Tesla Inc.’s chief executive officers fortunes rose by $6.1 billion on Friday with the carmaker’s stock increasing by 11%. Elon Musk has now become the seventh richest person in the world. The bulk of his fortune, $70.5 billion, is due to his 1/5th ownership in the Tesla’s outstanding stock. His majority ownership in SpaceX accounts for another $15 billion. Tesla’s increasing valuation enabled Musk to land a $595 million payday.
Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani surpassed Buffet as well. Overtaking Bufffett might be a personal victory for Elon Musk. In an interview back in May, to a comedian, Joe Rogan, he mentioned that he was not the “biggest fan” of his fellow billionaire and calling his work rather boring. Buffett was also found criticizing Musk wherein he mentioned Musk was a “remarkable guy” but he had “room for improvement” and should start acting more like a CEO. Buffet’s fortune decreased in July as he donated about $2.9 billion to charity. Since the year 2006, in total, the 89 year old billionaire has donated more than a total of $37 billion of Berkshire Hathaway shares. His company’s stock performance has also failed to impress off late.
US warns its citizens in China, could end up in jail
Due to the increased risk of arbitrary detention and exit bans preventing foreigners from leaving the country, the United States of America has warned its citizens in China to proceed with extreme caution. After Beijing passed a national security law for Hong Kong which affects people from different nations residing in China (including non-residents), the US had sent a warning in the form of an email to its citizens in China. Criticism of the Chinese government, even in personal private communications could be used against foreign citizens. “Security personnel may detain and/or deport United States citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government” was also mentioned in the email.
The email cautioned the US citizens might face detention “without access to US consular services or information about their alleged crime,” and with “prolonged interrogations and extended detention” for reasons that pertain to the security of the state. There has been tension developing between the two nations over things related to trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s management of Hong Kong and the treatment dealt to minorities and the huge network of internment camps. Recently China has been accused of hostage diplomacy when 2 Canadians were charged with espionage.
Mexican Crime could see the worst this year
A shocking 117 murders were reported in under 24 hours on the 7th of June, making it the country’s most violent and gruesome day of the year so far. The record was held at 114 homicides back on the 20th of April. If this pattern continues, 2020 could by far become the bloodiest year in the history of the country. However it is the sheer boldness with which these attacks have been carried out that stands out more than the numbers.
The gangs’ targets include low level cartel foot soldiers to high profile politicians and there have been mass killings and cautiously planned assassinations both alike. A group of men disguised as construction workers, shot the city’s chief, Omar Garcia Harfuch 3 times. Three people, one a woman on her way to work, were killed amidst the fierce gun battle. Miraculously Omar Garcia survived the attack on his life.
In the state of Guanajuato, gunmen open fired on the staff and patients of a rehabilitation center after making them lie down on the ground killing 26 people. Falko Ernst, a senior analyst at the Crisis Group stated, "They (the cartels) have been very aggressive from the outset and have gotten away with killing federal forces, including lots and lots of police in Guanajuato, and the shooting down of military helicopters."
BJP President lashes out at Kerala CM for alleged involvement in gold smuggling case
The President of BJP, Mr. JP Nadda hinted at the Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan’s involvement in the recent gold smuggling case. He claimed that the Chief Minister and his office too were involved and even questioned the ties between the CM’s non – transferred personal secretary with a key accused. During a virtual address to Keral BJP workers these comments were made by JP Nadda as they virtually inaugurated the party’s newly constructed office building in Kasargod. To his fellow party members he said, "The colour of gold is yellow everywhere but in Kerala, it is red, red and red. What is the relationship between that IT officer and the personal secretary of the Chief Minister?"
The CM’s personal secretary, M Sivasankar had been transferred from his designation as the case surfaced. This was due to his involvement in the hiring of Swapna Suresh, one of the 4 main perpetrators. Furthermore the BJP chief remarked, "We can see the heat in CM's office also. He wrote to Prime Minister saying no stone should remain unturned as far as the investigation is concerned. We have a saying 'chor ki daadi mein tinka', it means the office of CM is also involved somewhere"
Mukesh Ambani sees future in tech, lucrative deals made with Facebook, Google etc
Having inherited an oil refining and petrochemical estate from his father, Mukesh Ambani is now placing his bets on technology for the future in a pivotal move away from the family’s legacy business. Mukesh Ambani has been able to secure over $20 billion in the form of investments from tech giants of the likes of Google and Facebook. In his recent virtual conference, wherein 300,000 plus people had logged in from 41 different countries, his outlining plans for Jio Platforms were majorly tech related. "I believe that the time has come for a truly global digital product and services company to emerge from India, and to be counted among the best in the world."
Google has partnered up with Jio to create an Operating System that could power a cheap 4G/5G smartphone. Jio Glass has also been introduced by the platform in an attempt to bridge the learning gaps with 3D virtual rooms and holographic classes. Jio Platforms is the primary focus of Ambani’s goals as it is a one stop market for over 1 billion people. Towards the end of the speech Ambani briefly mentioned that the transaction with Saudi Arabian Oil Company hadn’t made any progress.
US President Donald Trump makes highly speculative accusations against Joe Biden
Former Vice – President Joe Biden was heavily criticized by the US President Donald Trump claiming him to be incompetent to guide the country and ‘mentally shot’. Amid the challenges of the growing pandemic, racial unrest and the falling economy, Donald Trump claimed that Biden would ‘tripple your taxes… defund the police.’ He stated that Religion will be no more, referring to Binden’s officials that banned large church services in order to curb the growing virus. In recent polling results, Joe Biden has seemed to garner a substantial amount of support as several doubt the Trump’s administrations’ handling of the Covid – 19.
Trump constantly questioned Joe Biden’s mental stability and on being asked directly if he though Biden was mentally acute he replied, “I don’t want to say that, I say he’s not competent to be president.” Defending his administration’s handling of the virus, Trump claimed that the world was envious of United States in terms of testing and hopes that the virus would someday just disappear. He opposed the idea of nationwide mandates for wearing a mask as he feels people should have a certain kind of freedom. He also feels the economy is ‘doing very well’ even as millions of Americans still continue to be jobless.
Assam’s Health Minister – preferential treatment to be given to plasma donors
The Assam state’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that preferential treatment for jobs and government facilities in the future may be given to those recovering Covid – 19 patients who donate plasma. Observations made in the US and in India revealed that there were no negative impacts of the plasma treatment and 90% of the patients recovered when given plasma in a moderate state of a patient’s sickness. Biswa Sarma told journalists, “The plasma donors will get a certificate. We will consider giving preferences to them in interviews, government schemes, etc in the future. Supposing two persons got equal marks in an interview. If one is a plasma donor, two extra marks will, probably, be added to his tally. Similarly, a plasma donor, who is a beneficiary of PMAY but his name is down there on the list, we will take his name upward.”
The Health Minister added, “We have taken a massive initiative for plasma. The Covid-19 recovered people can contact us and save humanity. Hospitals in several states are yet to have a plasma bank. The plasma of the Covid-19 recovered people there will go in waste. So, we will campaign beyond Assam and appeal to people to donate their plasma,”
Bill Gates – India’s pharma industry can produce vaccines for entire world
Philanthropist Bill Gates claimed that India’s pharmaceutical industry in the near future will be capable of producing Covid – 19 vaccines for not only the country but also for the whole world. The Microsoft co – founder believes that important things have been accomplished in the Indian pharmaceutical industry and they are contributing ‘to help make the coronavirus vaccine building on other great capacities that they have used for other diseases.” Bill Gates stated that India’s pharma industry has made significant progress in recent times and is doing all the right work in this pandemic. Due to the vastness of the country, extremely large population density in urban centers, he feels India is facing a major health crisis.
“India has a lot of capacity there -- with the drug and vaccine companies that are huge suppliers to the entire world. You know, more vaccines are made in India than anywhere-- starting with Serum Institute, that’s the largest. But (there are) also Bio E, Bharat (Biotech), many others. They are doing work to help make the coronavirus vaccine, building on other great capacities that they have used for other diseases.” said the co - chair and founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
US and India conduct joint naval exercise to send strong strategic message to China
A United State carrier strike group headed by aircraft carrier USS Nimitz carried out an exercise with the Indian warships near the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. This comes after the military confrontation in the Eastern parts of Ladakh between the Chinese and Indian forces. The enormous USS Nimitz along with her other warships entered the Indian Ocean by passing the Malacca Strait. The carriers deployed by the US have just finished an operational deployment and the ‘freedom of navigation’ mission as a show of support for US allies. India is carrying out several important naval exercises near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These Islands are part of the predominant sea trade routes used by China when passing though the Malacca Strait. Many of the Indian naval forces are to be a part of these exercise headed by eastern naval fleet commander Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan. Aircrafts and warships from Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) along with the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) are to be a part of this exercise. Indian and Japanese warships were also reported to have been carrying out excersies near the Malacca Strait since last month.
Tata Group Chief stresses the need for mass scale testing for Covid -19
The Tata Group Chief N Chandrasekaran has claimed that the spreading of the pandemic would not be curbed unless there can be tests conducted ‘at scale’. In a group newsletter, the Chairman of Tata Sons was quoted saying, "The past few months have been very challenging, but they have also been a great demonstration of the value of collaboration. I am proud of how we have worked together to battle this disease… Now, as we navigate the uncertain journey into the post-pandemic future, we will need to respond according to our principles of simplicity, synergy and scale and, above all, to foster the mindset of 'One Tata'. Collaboration has been our watchword, and the pandemic has shown the importance of living by our principles."
Chandrasekaran also shared many of the steps incorporated by the company to help in the fight against the pandemic. He claims that the Tata group is trying to find more economical ways for testing. He claims that so far the Tata group has added or is in the process of adding over 2,000 beds and have been able to produce and distribute over 9,000 PPE kits in order to meet the immediate demands.
Chinese company with links to PLA under scrutiny by Indian Govt
Security forces are trying to figure out Chinese companies which may have had or still continue to have ties with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that continue to function in India. Companies like Alibaba Group Holding Limited, Huawei Technologies Company Limited, Tencent Holding Limited, SAIC Motor Corporation Limited have been identified to have had links with the Chinese PLA. Reports claim that the companies with ties to the Chinese PLA would be assessed if their continued operation could pose risk to the security of the country. These actions undertaken by the government amidst the border tensions faced by the two countries.
In June 2018, a $46 million investment was made in a solar photo voltaic cell manufacturing factory in Andhra Pradesh by the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC). The United States of America had banned the exports from many of the CETC’s subsidiaries on the grounds of it being a threat to their national security. CETC has been involved in many cases of illegal exports by the US Department of Justice and some CETC workers have been declared guilty for military espionage in the United States. A case against CETC has been filed accusing the leading military electronics in China to have provided technology used for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Japan to give over $536 million to its companies to cut ties in China
The Japanese government is to sponsor a few companies to invest in factories in Japan and other South East Asian countries in order to reduce dependencies of manufacturing in China. Companies included in this $536 million grant include private companies like Iris Ohyama Inc. or Sharp Corp. A total of 57 companies are to be included in this exhaustive list. In addition, another 30 companies are to receive sponsorship to invest in countries like Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and several other South – East Asian countries. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had declared the need to bring production of goods back to the nation or spread it across the South East Asian nations in an attempt to reduce the need for only one country like China.
Sources say that the government is set to shell out a total of 70 billion yen this term. Amidst the rising US – China tensions, US has extended its belief that companies should move out of China and the Japanese government’s decision seems to be in tandem with it. Apart from Japan and Taiwan, no other company has made any solid decision to shift out of China.
Banerjee opts for major organizational changes amid growing BJP influence in North Bengal
The disastrous performance by the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the Lok Sabha Polls of 2019 has led to the growth of the BJP influence, especially in the Northern parts of Bengal and seems to be spreading. In recent times there have been several cracks that seem to have appeared due to internal reasons, which is probably why Mamta Banerjee has decided to undergo a major organizational rearrangement for the upcoming 2021 Assembly Polls. TMC’s future in the region of Bengal will be decided by winning the North 24 – Parganas and Jungalmahal in North Bengal as claimed by the expert in politics, Kapil Thakur.
He said, “You must have noticed how Banerjee has already started playing her community cards over Rajbonshi or Kamtapuri community. Sometimes she plays the card of Anukulchandra (a spiritual leader born in Bangladesh) and sometimes she plays her Matua card. This is nothing new in Bengal as most of the political parties try to woo Rajbonshi, which is a deciding factor in North Bengal in any polls.” Rajbonshi is another deciding factor in the polls with over 30% vote share, which is leaning towards the BJP and were the result of TMC’s disastrous Lok Sabha Polls.
SC initiates a suo motu contempt case against activist – lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s tweets
On Tuesday the Supreme Court of India had started a suo motu contempt proceedings against Prashant Bhushan’s tweets. The Supreme Court has not specified the tweets it found demeaning to the judiciary. Not only has the Court initiated contempt proceedings against the activist – lawyer, but also has initiated proceedings against Twitter India, the social media platform used by Prashant Bhushan to post his comments. Justice Arun Mishra is to head the bench to hear the scheduled matter on Wednesday. Several topics regarding the judiciary have been questioned by Prashant Bhushan and lately he had actively criticized the Supreme Court of handling matters related to the migrant workers during the Corona virus pandemic.
From matters like the 2G scam to Rafale, the Birla – Sahara diaries to the medical college scam, over the last decade, P. Bhushan has played a pivotal role in raising awareness in the corruption in high places. Sources claim that the tweet most likely to have caught the attention of the Supreme Court was the one wherein he condemned the Chief Justice of India, S.A. Bobde for riding a motor cycle without a mask or a helmet during the lockdown.
PM Modi, 50 other VIPs invited to attend ceremony in Ram Temple amid pandemic
The temple trust of Ram Temple, Ayodhya has claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and bunch of prominent VIPs are going to attend a ceremony on the 5th of August. During the ceremony, a 40 kg silver brick is to be installed as the foundation stone, inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi. The grand ‘bhoomi pujan’ is to be performed as the silver brick is placed at the sanctum sanctorum which is to be preceded by the 3 day long Vedic rituals. The ceremony had been delayed by over 2 months due to the ongoing pandemic and is to include all senior BJP leaders that were associated with the temple. Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister and the Chief Minister of Bihar, Mr. Nitish Kumar are some of the other prominent figures likely to attend the event.
The Supreme Court had ordered the contested site in Ayodhya to be given to the government – run trust in order to build a temple in November, 2019. The Muslims of the region were to be given a reasonable 5 acre plot of land somewhere else in the district as ruled by the apex court of India.
Turkish Presidential Spokesperson – Mosaics hidden by curtains in Hagia Sophia prayers
The Hagia Sophia Museum has recently been declared to be converted to a Mosque by the Turkish President. Several mosaics within the Hagia Sophia depict Christian figures are to be covered up by curtains or lasers for the first prayer meet, said a Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibhrahim Kalin. The conversion of the ancient historical monument into a mosque by the Turkish President, Tayyip Erdoganhad had been heavily criticized by people all over the world. According to the court that ruled the verdict in favour of the conversion stated that the conversion of the monument in 1934 was against the law. Since the 6th century the Hagia Sophia has been a church and a mosque before being converted to a museum.
Ibhrahim Kalin in an interview claimed that the mosaics of Mary and Gabriel are situated in the direction of the Qiblah, the direction faced by the Muslims during their prayers is to be covered. Other Christian figures and mosaics of Jesus do not come in the way of the prayers as they are located in different directions. However he did not mention if they would remain covered at all times. The hagia Sophia is said to be open for all visitors from the world, outside prayers.
Disappeared tycoon’s companies worth 100s of billions of dollars seized by China
Once a reliable financier to China’s elite, Xiao Jianhua, vanished 3 years ago after being picked up from a luxury hotel in Hong Kong and taken into Chinese custody. The tycoon’s domain is now being taken apart by the authorities in Beijing in and attempt to send a powerful message showcasing the end of the debt – fueled era. During the takeovers, the top leadership in China is also coming into light, showing cases in which richer executives used their political influence to build big companies. The dismantling of the tycoon’s business empire also poses as a threat to the wealthy people in China’s ruling class as Xiao Jianhua might know their dirty secrets.
The Tommorow Group for the first time established that Xiao was in the country and was working with the government. Xiao Jianhua’s estimated fortune was said to be around the $5.8 billion mark and the Tomorrow Group became large enough to decide the stability of China’s financial system. Notwithstanding the recent takeovers, Tomorrow Group made a statement claiming to be confident of its future. “After three years of bumpy roads, the faith is still there,” it said. “We also believe that all efforts will be rewarded, and Tomorrow Group will get a fair, just and promised outcome.”
‘General consent’ for CBI probe withdrawn by Rajasthan Government
The Rajasthan government led by Ashok Gehlot has called back its ‘general consent’ for the CBI to conduct investigations and raids in Rajasthan. This move comes during the political crisis faced by the Rajasthan state government. A notification was ordered by the state government requiring the CBI to take consent of the state government before investigating offences under the section 3 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946. The ‘general consent’ of the state government will not be valid in the offences under this law, claim officials. The consent will be taken on a case – by – case basis. “Its administrative provisions were already there, it was notified yesterday.” said Rohit Kumar Singh, the additional chief secretary Home.
In June, 1990 the Rajasthan government back then had refused to give the ‘general consent’ to the Centre. The Rajasthan’s state government’s move to withdraw the ‘general consent’ has caught the attention of the BJP, who claim that there is an ‘indirect emergency’ in the state. The current ruling Congress is under immense pressure as it faces resistance offered by party leader Sachin Pilot and 18 other MLAs against the CM Ashok Gehlot. The situation has gotten worse after the police investigated taped conversations of some members.
India wins over Bhutan with trade relations and better connectivity amid border tensions
The Indian government has identified more border trade points in order to further their plans for a railway link between the Bhutan and India. These plans come amid the looming threat of China trying to influence Bhutan away from India. Last week India inaugurated a new trade route and is on track to give Bhutan the thumbs up for another permanent land customs station (LCS) in order to allow more Bhutan exports to India and Bangladesh. Sources claim that India is looking forward to opening one more integrated check post (ICP). Bhutan is the only neighbouring country that is yet to join Beijing’s BRI initiative and establish formal diplomatic ties with China. Bhutan’s relation with China is under pressure as China recently made new territorial claims in Bhutan’s eastern part of the country, close to Arunachal Pradesh border.
“The Bhutanese exporters are finding it difficult to export these products through the nearest permanent LCS due to high transportation costs and restriction on load capacity of river bridges en route. The idea is to positively engage Bhutan and boost trade through enhanced connectivity. These efforts will further have a positive effect on the trade growth with the North East states.” said a source while calling Bhutan, India’s closest partner.
Pakistan embraced a ‘farcical approach’ handling Kulbhushan’s case – MEA spokesperson
India has stated that Pakistan allegedly prevented the Indian death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav from attaining any legal remedies. Anurag Srivastava, MEA spokesperson, claimed the approach to be farcical and added saying that India is looking into the matter and trying to come up with alternatives. He said, “In the absence of an unimpeded and unhindered consular access as well as of the relevant documents, as a last resort, India tried to file a petition on July 18. However our Pakistani lawyer informed that a review petition could not be filed in the absence of power of attorney and supporting documents related to the case of Jadhav.” The 20th of July was supposed to be the last date to file a review petition against the death sentence ruled out by the Pakistani Military court.
The 50 year old, former Indian Navy officer, was given the death sentence by the Pakistani military court on counts of espionage and terrorism in April, 2017. India went to the International Court of Justice claiming Pakistan for denying consular action to Jadhav and contesting the death sentence. The ICJ gave a verdict in July 2019, telling Pakistan to take an “effective review and reconsideration” of the sentence.
Haryana to pass new law to reserve 50% seats for women in Panchayats
The ruling BJP – JJP government in Haryana is all set to initiate a bill in the next Vidhan Sabha session to reserve 50% seats for women in the Panchayati Raj Institutions said Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala. He also claimed that the state government is trying all steps in order to maximize the participation of women in PRIs and other parts of society. He stated, “To give 50% reservation to women in Panchayats, we will bring in a Bill in the next Vidhan Sabha session… When the registration process is simpler, it will benefit the common people and that is why we are digitizing the entire process. Within 24 hours, they will get all details over their e-mail.” The Deputy Chief Minister also mentioned that a 100 women who have done exceptionally well in their villages will be rewarded a scooty; while the government looks to amend the law pertaining to the opening up of non – cultivable tracts of land which is spread over 500 acres at the disposal of the Gram Panchayat for industries to develop. Not only will the villages be able to generate an income but also the industries too would be able to succeed, generating more jobs for the village workers to be employed in.
Ratan Tata: a non - Tata person might one day lead the Tata Trust
In a recent proposal submitted, Ratan Tata, the head of the Trusts, has said that one day in the future, the chairman of the Tata trust could very well be a non – Tata. He said, “I happen to be the current chairman of these trusts. It could be somebody else, not necessarily with the surname ‘Tata’, in the future. An individual’s life is finite, whereas these organisations will continue.” No member of the Tata family has a ‘vested right’ to any position or even to the chairmanship of Tata Sons. These submissions were made during a time when Ratan Tata looks to evaluate plans to institutionalize the Tata Trusts management.
An official reported, “He (Ratan Tata) could seek to form a committee of high ranking individuals from various fields, especially (with a background) in philanthropy and humanities.” Tata Sons shares, owned by Cyrus Investments, has approached the Supreme Court’s help to get a ‘proportionate representation’ on the board of the company. Ratan Tata also mentioned that he and his family members have a less than 3% stake in the Tata Sons, highlighting the detachment between the two.
The delay in justice is a heavy price to pay
It took the court 35 years to give its verdict on the fake encounter case that resulted in the death of a member of former Rajasthan royalty who had rammed the helicopter of a sitting chief minister with his own vehicle, in a fit of rage. The very next day the unknowing ex – prince was shot dead by the police claiming it to be an encounter. After 35 years, the court has delivered a verdict guilty of murder. Over the course of these 3 and a half decades, the impunity with which police have functioned has grown exponentially.
The most infamous example is of that in Uttar Pradesh, where 122 people have shot dead in 6,237 encounters in the last 3 years. This is the result of crime going unpunished for so long in the country. People have lost faith in the judicial system and vigilantes and Robin Hood like figures rise and garner support of the locals. The democracy of the nation is being undermined and the rule of law has crumbled. India is in dire need of improving its criminal justice system and needs to cut down the time taken to rule out verdicts.
Rajasthan Assembly Speaker repeals his petition to the SC in the Sachin Pilot cases
CP Joshi, a Rajasthan Assembly Speaker, called back his petition to the Supreme Court on Monday on the Sachin Pilot case, challenging the High Court’s ruling decision preventing him from proceedings against the rebellious Congress MLAs headed by the ex – deputy CM, Sachin Pilot. Kapil Sibal, the senior advocate representing CP Joshi in the court, stated to the bench led by Justice Arun Mishra that the Rajasthan High Court had initiated a new status quo order and hence were considering their legal options. The Speaker was ordered by the Rajasthan High Court to maintain status quo on the disqualification notices to Pilot and his 18 other rebellious MLAs until the apex court could address the issue.
The appeal according to Sibal, had become ‘infructuous’ as the Supreme Court did not state the previous High Court’s directives on deferring disqualification proceedings. Another one of CP Joshi’s advocates representing him court stated, “The SLP (special leave petition) is withdrawn with the liberty to file a fresh SLP and keeping all grounds open.”
India to give 10 BG locomotives to Bangladesh in rail cooperation attempts.
10 broad gauge locomotives are to be given to Bangladesh by India as a part of its grant assistance to its eastern neighbor. Real cooperation with Bangladesh seems to be vital especially since China too looks to quickly expand its economic prevalence in the country. This not only promotes the trade and connectivity but also harbours economic relations between the two neighbouring countries. Both India and Bangladesh are working together to better the rail connectivity by building some important railway projects and by restoring some old links. An official source claimed, “A total of 17 railway sector projects have been included in LoC (Line of Credit) assistance extended by India to Bangladesh, with a commitment of USD $2.44 billion.” India has offered all LoCs to Bangladesh at 1% rate of interest per annum payable over the course of 20 years.
9 out of the 17 railway projects have been completed, including the supply of locomotives flat wagons, railway bridges and signaling equipment. An official claimed, “Three other projects at various stages of implementation pertain to double line track, a conversion of meter gauge line to dual gauge line and a new dual gauge rail line.”
PM Modi to initiate ‘high – throughput’ COVID – 19 testing facilities via video call
The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi is all set to launch the ‘high – throughput’ COVID – 19 testing facilities in 3 cities across the nation. These 3 cities are – Mumbai, Noida and Kolkata and will be initiated via a video conference call on Monday. These testing facilities will greatly increase the testing capacity in the nation and assist in strengthening the early detection and treatment, thereby helping in curbing the growing pandemic, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The PMO said in a report, “These 3 high throughput testing facilities have been set up strategically at ICMR – National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, Noida; ICMR - National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Mumbai and ICMR – National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata, and will be able to test over 10,000 samples in a day.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Union Health Minister and the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are to attend the event. There have been 705 new deaths due to the virus and now the cumulative death toll has crossed the 32,000 mark.
US claims to have closed its consulate in Chengdu, China.
The US consulate in China has been shut down, states the US. This comes as a retaliation to the US government directing the Chinese consulate to shut down, in Houston last week. Officials were seen vacating the Chengdu premises under the order of the Chinese government and the American flag was lowered at 6:18 a.m. on Monday. Police have shut down 2 out of the 3 block areas around the consulate in an attempt to cut off any view of the property. Several vehicles could be seen moving behind in the distance. The tit - for – tat shut down of consulates marked an important escalation in tensions between the 2 nations. Chengdu found itself in the spotlight of international politics just before the area was closed and had garnered quite a large on looking crowd.
Police had set up metal barricades and had shut the streets and sidewalks in order to prevent any further drama. The US claimed that Chinese spies resided in the Houston Consulate and they would try to steal data from facilities in Texas. China dismissed these allegations and claimed them to be ‘malicious slander’.
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s inputs crucial in WB assembly polls
Prashant Kishor, poll strategist and his team’s view point is supposed to be the ‘determining factor’ in TMC’s ticket distribution for the upcoming 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls. Inputs by the strategist and his team played a crucial role in influencing a prime party rearrangement last week. The popularity of the sitting MLAs or expected candidates, the individual’s last 5 years performance, inter party acceptance, capability to bridge the gaps between the local unit and clean image and others would be considered a determining factor.
A senior Trinamool Congress, while maintaining his anonymity said, “In 2016 we had an easy battle. So we had the luxury of doing various kinds of experiments while distributing tickets. But this time things are different and we cannot take chances. Proper criteria, in consultation with Kishor and his team from I – PAC, will be put in place to select candidates for the next election. Kishor and his team will provide us with ground – level inputs on the various criteria. A survey will also be conducted to find out about the acceptabilitu of candidates among the people as well as the party’s rank and file. The party leadership will then take a call after considering Kishor’s inputs and the party’s feedback while distributing tickets.”
Babri Mosque Case
On Tuesday, a special CBI court in Lucknow finished recording the statements of the person accused in 1992 for the demolition of the Babri Mosque. Former Shiv Sena MP Satish Pradhan, to S K Yadav, the CBI special judge, stated that he was being wrongly accused in the case due to political motives and claims that he is not guilty. Pradhan was the penultimate name on the list of 32 others accused in the case. The last accused Om Prakash Pandey was separated from this particular case by the judge. Om Prakash has not been traced and his family claims that he had left home 15 or 16 years ago to become a monk and has not returned ever since.
Pandey’s file was separated by the court in order for the legal proceedings to continue. The court had to end the trial by the 31st of August, 2020 and along with the advice from the Supreme Court, made its decision. The court has now decided that July 30 as the date to allow the accused to work on their defense, including the procurement of witnesses to support their claims.
Bengaluru Life Science Park project to be initiated by CM Yediyurappa
The Bengaluru Life Science Park based in Electronics City in Bengaluru is all set to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. This project is supposed to have more than Rs. 5,000 crore, and is being put in motion via a public – private partnership. The facility is said to be 9 million square feet spread over a 52 acre plot. The initial phase of the project is scheduled to be completed in December 2022 said the Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan. He said that Bengaluru was the home to about 60% of all premium biotechnology firms in the country. There are 380 companies and over 200 start ups in the city. 9% of the market share in Asia’s biotechnology sector is produced by Karnataka while India accounts for 35%.
Kiran Majumdar – Shaw claimed that Ashwath Narayan came up with the idea to merge IT and Life sciences technology. She said, “There’s a huge demand for this park which will attract major biotech players from across the globe. My endeavor is to put Karnataka and India on top of the innovation map of the world.” 60% of the area is to be dedicated only for industry cluster development of biotech in PPP mode.
Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair caught by customs in Kerala gold smuggling case
The two prime accused in the bizarre Kerala gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair were sent to a 5 day customs custody by a court. The chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Economic Offences considered the petitions by the customs department and granted custody of Suresh and Nair till the 1st of August. Swapna Suresh as per the directives was to be kept under the scrutiny of a lady customs officer above or belonging to the Superintendent rank during the custody period. The court also granted Swapna Suresh to be able to interact with her children by means of electronic devices under the supervision of an Investigation Officer.
On July 24, the pair was officially arrested by the Customs Commissionerate when they were brought before the Special NIA Court as their custody ended. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested Suresh and Nair in Bengaluru on the 11th of July. The Customs came to the conclusion that Faizal Fareed and Rabins were the ones who ran the smuggling operation and deemed it necessary for them to be arrested by the officials.
Australia – US strengthen relations amid rising tensions with China
Showcasing the strength of cooperation between allies, Australia is ready to start a US funded military fuel reserve in Darwin. Both countries have faced an increase in political tensions with China in recent times. Australia’s Northern Territory Chief Minister, whose capital is Darwin, stated that the plan was a part of a larger agreement between the two allies in an attempt to boost defensive ties after having high – level talks with Washington. A spokeswoman for the Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, said, “What I am allowed to say is it will be thumpingly large, but the US government will be spending the money to see it built. It (the agreement) recognizes the Territory as one of the nation’s most strategically important defense locations… and we stand ready to do more.”
Darwin is an isolated city with only 130,000 inhabitants. It is also closer to some Asian capitals than to the Australian capital of Canberra. The city has had over 1250 US marines since 2011, under the presidency of Barack Obama as China increases its presence in the region. In 2015 a directive was issued to give a 99 year long lease over the city’s port to China’s Landbridge Group Co which raised some questions in the US.
India presses Pakistan on further to know more details in the Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case
Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian origin man was given the death sentence by the Islamabad High Court. India claims to be committed to protecting the life of its citizens and a two member bench is set to hear a review petition in his case. Anurag Srivastava, external affairs ministry spokesperson, stated during an online media conference, “We stand committed to protect the life of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav… We reserve our position in the matter which includes the right to avail of further remedies.” Pakistan has been under scrutiny by India for not being able to provide unimpeded and unhindered consular access to Jadhav.
Anurag Srivastava claimed that Pakistan has cut off all possible chances for an effective solution available for India. Pakistan, in a unilateral move, filed the petition in Islamabad High Court, seeking appointment of “legal representative” for Jadhav. Main parties, like the government of India, were not asked before the filing of the petition by the Ministry of Law and Justice. Jadhav was sentenced to receive the death penalty on accounts for espionage and terrorism in April, 2017.
Government imposes restrictions on colour TV exports in an attempt to boost Make in India plans
China has been the largest exporter of coloured TV pieces in India. In an attempt to promote domestic manufacturing of products, the government on Thursday imposed restrictions on the import of coloured televisions from countries like China. Directorate General of Foreign Trade said, “Import policy of colour television is amended from free to restricted.” Items under the restricted section of the imports means that the importer would have to look for a licence from the commerce ministry’s DGFT for the imports. Screen sizes of televisions from up to 35 cm to over 105 cm are supposed to be included in the restricted section.
Manish Sharma, President and CEO of Panasonic India, while commenting on the buildup claimed that consumers could expect higher quality TV sets to be assembled from now on. He said, “It will definitely have a positive impact on domestic assembling which happens here. Leading brands already have manufacturing and assembling units in the country. So, it is not going to impact us.” India ad imported coloured TV sets worth over $781 million in 2019 – 2020. Imports coming in from China and Vietnam were $293 million and $428 million respectively last year.
Centre to make sure doctors are paid on time – Supreme Court of India
States like Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka and Tripura have yet to make sure that their doctors and other healthcare workers battling the COVID – 19 pandemic are paid on time. The Centre claimed to helpless in following the directives as issued by the Supreme Court. The court had earlier asked the Centre to put in motion the necessary directives in order to release the salaries of doctors and healthcare workers. Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah, a bench of Justices, prompted the Centre to further explain the treatment of the quarantine period of healthcare workers as leave and deducting their salaries for the same.
Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, on behalf of the Centre was told by the bench, “If the States are not complying with the directions and orders of the Central government, you are not helpless. You have to ensure that your order is implemented. You have got the power under the Disaster Management Act. You can take steps also.” Mehta claimed that after the apex court’s orders on the 17th of June, all the required actions were issued the very next day with regard to the payment of salaries to the doctors and healthcare workers.
India and Pakistan should resolve their differences via dialogue, uphold peace – China
In a recent report, China showcased its intentions and wished for India and Pakistan to peacefully resolve their differences, better their trade relations and together uphold the peace, stability and development of the two neighbouring nations. A Pakistani correspondent raised the question seeking answers for the one year completion of the special status that has been applicable in Jammu and Kashmir. He further questioned the splitting of the region into two union territories i.e. Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. To these question, Wang Wenbin, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman replied saying that it is in the best interest of both the nations and the international community to co-exist peacefully.
“China closely follows the situation in the Kashmir region. Our position is consistent and clear. This issue is a dispute left over the history between Pakistan and India. That is an objective fact established by UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India… Pakistan and India are neighbours that cannot be moved away…. China hopes that they can properly handle the differences through dialogue, improve relations and jointly safeguard peace, stability and development of both countries and the wider region.”
Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are undergoing a transformation for the better – External Affairs Minister
S Jiashankar, the External Affairs Minister, said on Wednesday that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are undergoing a transformation. This comes at a time when the region is completing its one year anniversary of the Centre’s decision to recall the special status. Using the social media platform, Twitter, S Jaishankar shed light on the implementation of progressive laws, social justice being provided in orderly and timely fashion, support and empowerment of the at risk communities. He also mentioned that the government has come up with various development plans in order to empower the people of the region in an attempt to transform the region.
The development of the education sector, creation of job opportunities within the region and progressive women’s rights are some other ways the government is trying to implement a change for the better he added. “A transformation is underway in Jammu and Kashmir and in Ladakh” he claimed. Ever since the decision of the Center to withdraw the special powers of J&K, Pakistan has been trying to garner international support for the issue, albeit, unsuccessfully. Tensions between the two countries rose as Pakistan reduced its diplomatic ties with India.
We have lost everything but our sacrifices will bear fruit – Sabramati Express victim kin
While the rest of the nation lit a million lamps in honour of the Bhumi Pujan for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, one old lady, Radhaben Vaghela, adds fuel to the lamp lit by her in her home over 18 years ago. Radhaben’s daughter, Bhagavatiben Thakore, said, “Ever since they brought my brother’s body home, on February 28, 2002, my mother has kept the lamp burning.” 59 people had been reported burnt alive in the Sabarmati Express in Godhra. Rakesh Vaghela, was unfortunately one of the victims burnt alive on that day. Rakesh’s father, Sardarji Vaghela, is bedridden and paralysed and Radhaben also suffers from health issues. Rakesh’s widowed wife was given a Rs. 5 lakh as compensation for her loss, provided by the state. However she refused to share the amount with her husband’s family.
Pravin, Rakesh’s elder brother said, “I will be praying when they carry out bhumi pujan tomorrow. All our sacrifices will finally bear fruit. But we have lost everything”. His sister Bhagavatiben said, “Nobody has cared to enquire about our welfare after my brother’s death. No one has visited us. We were never affluent and my sister in law received the compensation.”
Ratan Tata criticized Mistry Group’s claim in the Supreme Court
Cyrus Investments had filed an affidavit against the Tata Trust Chairman, Ratan Tata on accounts for oppression. Responding to it, Ratan Tata said that these claims were bogus as the shareholder’s value had increased by 2100 times and portrayed the irony of the case. In the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Ratan Tata filed his reply wherein the Tata Group challenged the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s order. He argues that the appellate tribunal was given relief grants that were not even asked for by the companies in to begin with.
In his response, Ratan Tata said, “…as compared to their total investment of Rs. 69 crore from 1965 – by their own account was Rs 1 lakh crore at the time this case was filed before the NCLT (in December 2016)… Assuming without admitting in any manner, these figure as true, in Mistry Family’s own assessment and the value of their shareholding in the Tata Sons has increased by 2100 times.” He also stated that the Tata foundations were laid on emotional and passionate grounds and not with the intention of earning short term profits and returns solely.
SC demands Maharashtra to report the inquiry of the policemen involved - Palghar lynching
On Thursday, the Maharashtra state government was questioned by the Supreme Court to know what punishment has been given to the police personnel involved in the alleged lynching of two sadhus along with their driver in the district of Palghar on the 16th of April. The state government has been directed to get on record the charge sheets filed in the case and the inquiry status against the police in connection to the alleged crime. Petitions have been filed to seek the assistance of the NIA or CBI in the investigation and questioning of the police role in the matter.
The bench, head by Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy, said, “Let the State bring the chargesheets on record … Let details of the inquiry, including the action taken against the police personnel as well as the inquiry report, be also brought on the record.” The case has been scheduled to have the matter for hearing after 3 weeks and the state government is supposed to submit their response by then. Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha who is appearing for one of the petitioners has sought a CBI probe into the matter and claims that there has been no action taken against the police personnel involved.
CM Amarinder Singh: Biggest tragedy in recent times – after 113 die in hooch tragedy
Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab, has asked the state police chief to try those people involved in the hooch tragedy for murder, as the consumption led to the death of 113 lives in the state. He termed this incident as the biggest tragedy of recent times and has promised justice for the victims. The chief minister voiced his thoughts on the subject and has said that he will not tolerate any interference in the case, political or otherwise. He extended his support for the victims of the case by urging the legal bodies to enhance the punishment for spurious or illicit liquor manufacturing and smuggling under the Excise Act. This would see to the fact that repeat offenders are behind bars and will not be able to indulge in the crime easily again.
A more severe law like the Punjab Control of Organised Crime Act (PCOCA), suggested by Advocate General Atul Nanda during a cabinet meeting saw the approval of many ministers in an attempt to curb the organized crime including the manufacturing and smuggling of illicit liquor. The chief minister in the directives issued to the police and district officials said, “Finish off this business, clean up the border areas. This has to stop.”
Bill Gates warns the world of the impending doom brought by climate change
Billionaire, philanthropist and Microsoft co – founder Bill Gates has promised to give $250,000 to stop the spread of the growing corona virus pandemic around the world via his foundation. Bill Gates has been an advocate for being prepared at the times of a pandemic for years. He has also given a TED talk back in 2015 cautioning the world of a potential pandemic that would be result in taking the lives of people unseen before.
Raising awareness and cautioning the people of the growing climate change he said, "As awful as this pandemic is, climate change could be worse. If you want to understand the kind of damage that climate change will inflict, look at COVID-19 and spread the pain out over a much longer period of time. The loss of life and economic misery caused by this pandemic are on par with what will happen regularly if we do not eliminate the world's carbon emissions." He also added, “Within the next 40 years, increases in global temperatures are projected to raise global mortality rates by the same amount — 14 deaths per 100,000. By the end of the century, if emissions growth stays high, climate change could be responsible for 73 extra deaths per 100,000 people. In a lower emissions scenario, the death rate drops to 10 per 100,000."
UP CM: will not attend the inauguration of Ayodhya Mosque “as a yogi”, if invited
If invited for the inauguration of the mosque in Ayodhya, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that he will not go on accounts of him being a “yogi” or a Hindu. He also expressed his firm belief that no one will invite him to the mosque set to be built as part of the Supreme Court;s directives one year ago. As a Chief Minister Yogi claimed to not have any problems with any religion. He further added that political leaders attending roza or iftaar, wearing skull caps are only posing to further their idea of secularism.
In an interview with a news channel on Wednesday, just hours after having attended the Ram Mandir’s Bhumi Pujan in Ayodhya, Yogi Aditynath said, “If you ask me as a CM, then I will not maintain a distance from any religion or group. But if asked (to attend) as a Yogi, then I will definitely not go. I will not go because I am a Yogi. As a Hindu, I have a right to live according to my method of worship.”
$9 million relief grant released by the UN to help Beirut hospitals
The United Nations has given the devastated city of Beirut a sum of $9 million to tackle the immediate needs that followed after the explosion that left the entire world shocked. The hospitals and medical facilities were already over worked due to the pandemic and this relief grant will strengthen the city’s hospitals. Farhan Haq, U.N. deputy spokesman, claimed that the UN is still assessing the damage and the needs of the people and hopes to hold a meeting to intimate the 193 UN member states with the results in order to launch an appeal to help Lebanon. “We’re trying to get the relevant figures ready as soon as we can” he said.
The money from the Lebanese Humanitarian Fund is to be followed by other additional funds from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Funds. The World Health Organization had reported the blast to have rendered 3 hospitals unusable and 2 other hospitals with significant damage. A total of over 500 hospital beds have been lost. Haq said the grant will look to expand and establish more intensive care units wherever required and provide trauma kits, medicines, medical supplies and ventilators.
Canada loses its last fully formed Arctic ice shelf
In just a matter of 2 days, the last fully intact ice shelf in Canada has lost over 40% of its area. At the end of July, the ice shelf collapsed. The Milne Ice Shelf is at the fringe of Ellesmere Island, in the sparsely populated northern Canadian territory of Nunavut. The Canadian Ice Service said via Twitter announcing the loss of the ice shelf, “Above normal air temperatures, offshore winds and open water in front of the ice shelf are all part of the recipe for ice shelf break up.”
A glaciologist at University of Ottawa, part of the team researching and studying the Milne Ice Shelf, Luke Copland said, "Entire cities are that size. These are big pieces of ice… This was the largest remaining intact ice shelf, and it's disintegrated, basically… The very small ones, we're losing them dramatically. You feel like you're on a sinking island chasing these features, and these are large features. It's not as if it's a little tiny patch of ice you find in your garden." The island of Manhattan in New York spreads across roughly 60 square kilometers. The area of the shelf that shrank was about 80 square kilometers.
Charge sheet filed against 2 minors in CID probe – Palghar Lynching Case
The Palghar mob lynching case is being probed by the Maharashtra CID. 2 minors have been incarcerated and a charge sheet has been filed against the 2 accused. On Friday in a juvenile court in Bhiwandi, Thane district, the charge sheets were filed. 2 charge sheets had been filed by the CID last month. One of the charge sheet spread across 4,955 pages and the other across 5,921 pages. The police have reported that in total 154 people have been taken into custody and another 11 juveniles detained in connection to the incident. A senior official of the state CID said, “The charge sheet against two minor accused was filed at the Bhiwandi juvenile court on Friday”
Officials reported that except for those two minors the remaining other 9 juveniles accused have been unnamed in the charge sheet filed. A car travelling to Surat on the 16th of April to attend a funeral amid the lockdown was halted. The occupants were 2 monks and their driver who were mercilessly lynched by a mob of villagers in the Gadchinchale village in Palghar. The lynching took place under the pretense that the people traveling were child abductors. Charges of murder, use of criminal force and armed rioting were slapped on to the people involved.
A casual approach towards crimes against women cannot be tolerated – Bombay HC
Caution needs to be exercised when dealing with crimes against women said the Bombay High Court on Friday in response to the plea asking to lower the life term sentence to a 6 year imprisonment for a Mumbai man who was guilty of trying to kill his girlfriend for not wanting to marry him, although they had been in a close relationship for two years. Rejecting the plea of the accused, Arumugum Arundatiyar who has spent the last 6 years in jail, the two member bench of the HC, consisting of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik, said “We are conscious that the social impact of the crime against women cannot be lost sight of and per se require exemplary treatment.”
The Mumbai sessions court earlier had sentenced Arundatiyar to a life imprisonment. Arundatiyar had been seeing the young woman, who worked as a baby sitter, for almost two years. When she rejected his proposal to get married, he assaulted her twice. He stabbed her in the neck with a knife publicly and threatened to assault anyone who tried to interfere. He fled from the crime scene only to be arrested soon after.
United Launch Alliance and SpaceX given $653 million contracts by Pentagon
Elon Musk’s SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) have been given $653 million in combined military launch contracts by the US Air Force under the Pentagon’s next generation, multibillion – dollar launch capability program. ULA is a joint venture between Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp and has been awarded a $337 million grant for launch service orders beginning in 2022. Similarly the SpaceX initiative has been granted $316 million for the first out of the 34 missions in total to be conducted by the end of 2027.
Will Roper, the Air Force’s acquisition chief reported that 60% of the launch service orders will be received by ULA which is supposed to use its next generation Vulcan rockets. Musk’s SpaceX is supposed to use its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets and will get about 40% of those launch service orders. The National Security Space Launch Phase 2 is a program to reduce US’ reliability on Russian made rocket engines and an attempt to transition to US made rockets that will be capable of launching Washington’s most sensitive information to space.
Bombay HC orders JJ Hospital to show medical records of Rakesh Wadhawan: PMC Bank Fraud
The state run JJ Hospital has been ordered to submit a copy of Rakesh Wadhawan’s medical records. Rakesh Wadhawan had been arrested in the multi crore Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) bank fraud case. A bench headed by Justices R D Dhanuka and V G Bisht on Friday has ordered a special court based under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to hear and give its verdict before the 19th of August on an application filed by Wadhawan seeking to be transferred to a private hospital for treatment. Wadhawan is currently placed in the in Arthur Road prison in central Mumbai and has filed a petition to be moved to private hospitals like Lilavati, Nanavati or Criticare. Amit Desai, Wadhawan’s counsel, informed the court that the accused suffered from hypertension, diabetes, insomnia, pulmonary disorder, chronic UTI and has breathing issues. The jail authorities have been referring Wadhawan to government run hospitals but they were not well suited.
"We are seeking for Wadhawan to be shifted to a private hospital so that his life can be saved," Desai claimed. To which the court replied, "We direct the J J Hospital to furnish all the medical records of the petitioner (Wadhawan) showing his health status, the treatment given so far to the petitioner without fail."
AAI to initiate corrective action after having received probe reports: Kozhikode plane crash.
‘Corrective action’ is to be taken by the authorities after receiving the reports of the probe on the Air India Express plane crash at the Kozhikode airport on Friday, said Arvind Singh who is the chairman of Airport Authority of India. The accident is being probed by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB). The Kozhikode crash has resulted in the death of at least 18 people on board, including the two pilots of the aircraft. The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) were recovered from the crashed aircraft. Arvind Singh said that the official reason for the crash would only be clear once the reports come from AAIB.
He said, "This report will tell us about all the issues... we are awaiting the inquiry report and then we will take corrective action." Singh denied any rumours against the safety issues that were brought to the notice of the AAI in recent times. There had been 70 departures and arrivals that took place at the Kozhikode airport on a regular basis prior to the COVID – 19 pandemic. The plane that crashed was functioning under the Vande Bharat Mission program from Dubai to Kozhikode.
Kerala govt: TN govt should release water from dam in stages to deal with heavy rainfall.
The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday was asked by the Kerala government to allow the water from Mullaperiyar via a tunnel to Vaigai Dam in a phased manner for times when the water level reaches 136 feet in lieu of the Idukki district receiving heavy rainfall this season. In a letter written by Vishwas Mehta, Kerala Chief Secretary, the Tamil Nadu government is to inform the Keral state government 24 hours prior to the shutters being opened. In his letter Mehta said, "The state is receiving heavy rains especially in the Idukki district. The water level in the catchment area of Mullaperiyar has been steadily rising. The water level, which was at 116.20 feet on August 3 is up to 131.25 feet by 2 pm on August 7… We know the extent of damage when 23,000 cusecs of water were released in 2018. Hence, necessary steps should be taken to release water in a phased manner."
The Met office has given a red alert for Saturday and Sunday to showcase the extreme rainfall expected in the region. The excess shutters of Tamil Nadu – moitored Periyar dam is able to release 1,22,000 cusecs of water, Mehta claimed as per reports.
Private hospital in Patna locked down over alleged overcharging COVID cases
A private hospital which had allegedly billed a corona virus patient for Rs. 6.34 lakh, Wednesday was sealed by the Bihar government on Wednesday. The Bihar government has also asked 28 other private hospitals in the state capital to put in their detailed reports on each Covid patient and the amounts they were billed. JDM Hospital in Kankerbagh, the private hospital, has been sealed. 5 of its functionaries which include the Managing Director and a doctor have been charges with wrongful restrain, cheating, criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy and also under sections of the Epidemic Disease Act. A fact finding team issued by the state government said that the hospital had handwritten the bill given to the 48 year old Patna resident patient.
The charges for the treatment of the virus was not displayed by the hospital at its location. A covid treatment rate is to be set by the district administration for private hospitals. In a report, Manoj Kumar, District Program Officer, Patna, said, “We found that the hospital had not displayed its ventilator, ICU, room and other charges… The hospital had offered a hand written bill without giving any clear break up of treatment and facilities provided. We also learnt that patients would be confined and tortured if bills were not paid.”
Food security at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic to be discussed by NHRC core committee
A heated debate has emerged lately, regarding the food security crisis during the ongoing corona virus pandemic. The National Human Rights to Commission (NHRC) is all ready to voice its opinions on the matter affecting the lives of millions of people across the nation. A meeting has been summoned by the NHRC to gather information from different ministries to understand the governmental measures taken to acknowledge the issue. The meeting sought is supposed to take place on the 25th of August. The Core Group on Right to Food and Nutrition is to issue an advisory to the centre and states on the topic at hand.
The NHRC in communication with the ministries said, “The prevalence of Covid-19 pandemic followed by the lockdown in the country has exposed the vulnerability and weaknesses of our already fragile food distribution systems and has driven the government to reduce social services, such as school nutrition programs, pregnant woman and infant protection programs (anganwadi services, PMMVY), that the most marginalized rely upon.” Furthermore the Commission has also expressed its concerns regarding the right to food which plays a vital role in the right to life under Article 21.
Tathagata Roy expresses his want to get back to his former role in Bengal BJP
Tathagata Roy, the former Meghalaya governor and BJP leader is looking forward to starting his career in politics from West Bengal for the second time. Roy is set to meet the BJP party leaders in Kolkata over the weekend to talk about his role in the new updated plan made by the party. Roy said,” I didn’t want to become governor. But the party decided and I had to follow that. Now, when it is over, I would like to get back to my slot… The politics of West Bengal is always so polarised that a third or fourth party practically has no chance… CPM has been tried out and rejected. The party will not get even 1% of the votes this time. Congress is a leaderless party and is extremely confused. So the fight is between Trinamool and the BJP. ”
The situation is polarized in favour of the BJP in the state of West Bengal, according to Roy. From the period 2002 – 2006 Roy was the West Bengal BJP president. He identifies himself as a right wing Hindu socio-political thinker, ideologue and writer on social media.
Kerala government: the shift to central digital platforms must not be forced
On being asked to move its local government accounts onto the Centre’s new digital platforms – eGramSwaraj and AuditOnline, the Kerala government has expressed it reservation. It claims to have a far better accounting and auditing system in order. Prime Minister Modi had launched the eGramSwaraj, created by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, to make sure the ‘complete digitization’ of panchayats was made possible. In its interim report, the 15th Finance Commission, had suggested an allocation of Rs. 60,570 crore in the year 2020 – 2021 for the 3 sections of the Panchayati Raj Institution (PRIs). The 3 tiers being the district panchayat, block panchayats and gram panchayats.
The Kerala government wrote to the 15th Finance Commission on the 17th of August indicating the already existing three forms of audit. The state government has also suggested the allowing viewership privileges or developing interfaces to allow sharing of information across platforms to be standardized and enforced. The State said, “The eGramSwaraj focuses on schemes and expenditures, particularly in the context of the Central Finance Commission grants, as fiscal devolution from state funds is generally extremely poor in states.” Furthermore it also showcased Kerala’s already existing Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) and said there is no need for a new template.
Mayawati: request to all UP legislators to rise above politics, raises issue in lieu of public health
The BSP chief Mayawati on Friday requested all legislators to rise above politics and raise issues of public health. In a session with the UP assembly she urged them to focus on the poor state of law and order in the state. In a tweet she wrote: “It is my strong appeal to MLAs, both of the ruling party and opposition in Uttar Pradesh, to rise above party politics and effectively raise the issues of punlic interest in the House and make the government and administration accountable. This demand is in the wider public interest… Though the isse of development is largely missing from the agenda of the government, but do raise your voice on oppression of women and killings of members of Dalit, Muslim and Brahmin samaj and other atrocities, meaning the dismal state of law and order in UP. This is the demand of time.”
On Thursday marked the opening of the three day monsoon session of the legislature. Strict COVID – 19 protocols were followed throughout the session. Staff and members of the Assembly and Council had to wear masks and were made to maintain social distance from one and another on the first day.
Russian Opposition leader brought to Germany to be treated for alleged poisoning
Russian national Alexei Navalny was flown to Berlin on early Saturday after an alleged poisoning that resulted in him being in a coma. He is to be treated by the German capital’s main hospital. He was brought to Berlin by a plane organized by his supporters and contained all the necessary advanced medical instruments. Navalny’s doctors in Omsk had claimed that he was very unstable and deemed him unfit for transportation. However on the arrival and inspection of Navalny by the German physician revealed that he was fit enough to be transported. Allegations of resisting the transfer of the Russian leader was denied by the Kremlin which claimed it to be solely for medical purposes.
Navalny’s doctor since 2013 has been Ashikhmin and he claimed that Navalny was always regular with health checkups, didn’t have any preexisting conditions and has been in good health. Alastair Hay, an emeritus professor and an expert in toxicology said, “It takes a while to rule things out. And particularly if something is highly toxic – it will be there in low concentratrions, and many screening tests would just not pick that substance up.”
Social media giant Facebook under fire for ignoring hate speech by BJP leaders
Facebook has received a lot of criticism recently by the Wall Street Journal that accused the social media giant of ignoring hate speech rules by posts made by the politicians of the ruling BJP. In response Facebook said that it was “open, transparent and non partisan”. Several interviews with anonymous Facebook employees were cited by the Wall Street Journal in its reports. Reports claimed that Facebook’s senior India policy executive Ankhi Das, prevented a ban on BJP’s Telangana lawmaker Raja Singh, by intervening the internal content review process. The Telangana lawmaker, Raja Signh’s posts were targeted to the Muslim community.
The report also claimed that Das asked his employees and staff members to let the violations by the BJP politicians go unnoticed as punishing these violations would lead to the decrease in popularity of the company in India. Ajit Mohan, Facebook India’s Vice President and Managing Director released a statement in response to these allegations. He said, “We want to make it clear that we denounce hate in any form. Our community standards, which outline what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook, have clear and very detailed policies against hate speech.”
Delhi Court: Tahir Hussain provoked the Muslims to start a riot in Delhi
A Delhi court on Friday claimed that the suspended AAP (Aam Admi Party) Councilor instigated the Muslims that became violent and pelted stones at the Hindu community. A charge sheet has also been filed against him for the murder of the IB official Ankit Sharma during a communal riot in Delhi back in February. The police officials have yet not received the order against Hussain and other co – conspirators and have informed the Delhi court of the same. Metropolitan Magistrate, Purushottam Pathak claimed the court was to take into account all previous offences made by the accused since there is no time limit for obtaining a sanction against Hussain.
The judge in his order said, “I am of the opinion that there is sufficient material on record to take cognizance of the offences alleged to have been committed by accused persons. IO (investigation officer) has informed that in the present case a letter has been sent to the competent authority on June 22 but it was not clear as to how much time it will take for obtaining sanction. In this scenario… I deem it fit to tale cognizance of all the offences”
Fire breaks out in an underground power plant, kills 9: Telangana
On a late Thursday a fire broke out in an underground hydel power generation station of Srisailam Left Bank Hydel Power Station (SLBHP) in Telangana. 9 people were reportedly trapped underground and were found dead due to the thick smoke and flames that ravaged the tunnel. 3 of them seem to have succumbed sever burn injuries while the others seem to have succumbed due to the inhalation of the thick smoke, claimed officials of the Telangana power ministry. Telangana State Power Generation Corporation (TSGenco) claimed that there were 17 people in the underground tunnel when an electric short circuit led to the mishap.
Dr. Prabhakar Rao, TSGenco chairman, overlooked the rescue operation and said, “Thick smoke engulfed inside the tunnel, making it difficult for the rescue teams to reach the place.” 1.2 km long tunnel leads to the power station that caught fire. Fire extinguishers were of little help to control the fire and the ambulances could only travel upto the half kilometer mark inside the tunnel. Rescue teams had made 3 unsuccessful attempts at getting into the tunnel. The NDRF and other rescue bodies managed to enter the power plant only by Friday afternoon.
Swapna Suresh’s bail plea rejected by Special court in Kochi: Gold Smuggling case
On Friday, in Kochi, a special court heard and rejected the bail plea made by Swapna Suresh, the prime suspect in the Kerala gold smuggling case. The Enforcement Directorate registered a case against her in connection to the money trail of the illegal gold smuggled. They prime suspect, Suresh, had admitted to the ED of being involved in the hatching of the conspiracy and smuggling of the product from overseas. The special PMLA court rejected her plea for bail on these grounds. The ED rejected her application to bail as she had revealed her association in the crime and also mentioned the names of others involved.
The ED claimed that it was worried about the chances of tampering with the evidence that might occur due to Suresh being out on bail. It also shed light on the previous allegations made about Swapna Suresh having connections with the Kerala Chief Minister. The ED said that the investigation needs to be carried out in orderly fashion and the people involved in the crime have to be interrogated, regardless of their political influence. Previously the NIA court and an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate had rejected her plea bails on separate occasions.
Chidambaram: JK parties should stand behind restoration of special status demand.
In a series of Tweets, the former Union Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said: “Salute the unity and courage of six mainstream Oppositon parties who came together yesterday (Saturday) to fight the repeal of Article 370… I appeal to them to stand resolutely behind their demand. Ignore the uninformed criticism of self-styled nationalists who do not read history but try to rewrite history. How will the government resolve the Naga issues if it is against making Special Provisions?” The National Conference along with 5 other political parties including its prime nemesis PDP, stated clearly that the center has no authority to make any constitutional change in the region of Jammu and Kashmir without factoring in the voices of the people of the region.
This resolution was termed as the Gupkar Declaration II and was passed around in the media. Farooq Abdullah the National Conference president, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone, State CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami, JK Congress chief G A Mir and JK Awami National Conference senior vice president Muzaffar Shah. It has been over a year since the political parties made a combined statement.
Gandhi family leadership challenge opposed by Punjab CM
Recently the Congress party members had challenged the Gandhi family leadership, claiming it to be ineffective. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has opposed this motion claiming that it was not the right time to raise such an issue. Singh associated the success of the NDA party in the region to the lack of a strong and united opposition. He said, “The move by these Congress leaders to demand a re haul of the party at this critical juncture would be detrimental to its interests and the interests of the Nation. What the Congress needs is a leadership that is acceptable not just to a few but to the entire party, through its rank and file, and the nation at large.”
The veteran Congress leader stated that the Gandhis were the right fit to lead the Congress. He also expressed his opinion of Rahul Gandhi taking over once Sonia Gandhi retires. He added, “Sonia Gandhi should continue to helm the Congress as long as she wants.” Prominent Congress leaders have demanded a total structural reorganization of the party from Sonia Gandhi and was sent via a letter written about a few weeks ago.
Chinese solar equipment prices soar high for the first time since 2017
Indian producers are weary of the returns on their projects as the prices of Chines solar gear have risen for the first time in 3 years. Indian developers import approximately 85% of their equipment from China. A couple of unexpected events have led to the recent rise in prices. An explosion followed by damage to the production line at GCL Poly, a Chinese company that is responsible for about 30% of the entire world’s poly-silicon production. Floods broke in the southeast region of China, forcing a temporary shut down of another Chinese giant producing poly silicon, Tongwei. Due to these two recent unfortunate incidents the global solar equipment supply chain was disrupted.
A developer said, “This (increased) pricing is likely to remain the same for the next 16 to 18 months. Solar developers will see a significant drop in their returns.” An industry executive also added, “The problem is that the expectation over the past several years has been that of solar module prices progressively going down. It is going up or down relative to expectation.” He claimed that like every other commodity, the price of solar modules was also bound to increase over the years.
China shows no intent of backing down from Line of Actual Control
There seems to be no indication that China is showing signs of backing down from the region in the eastern parts of Ladakh. The Chinese have continued to build roads, helipads, bridges and other military infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control to support its troops at the frontline. A senior military official on Saturday said, “China is indulging in Ping-Pong tactics by shuttling the ball between diplomatic and military talks, without any serious attempt at conflict resolution. There is no change in the ground situation. China seems hell bent on its strategy to push the LAC westwards in Ladakh. It’s carrying out military infrastructure development at an exponential pace since its troops intruded into Indian territory at multiple points in the high altitude region in early May.”
As a measure of security, Indian has counter deployed in order to match the increasing build up of Chinese troops. There have been extensive diplomatic rounds that have been carried out by officials on both ends but to no probable solution. A deadlock still stalls between the two nation’s troops in the Pangong and Gogra region as well.
Bloomsbury India refuses to publish book on Delhi riots
During an unauthorized virtual pre-publication launch, Bloomsbury India received heavy backlash online for the book titled Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story. The authors of the book are Sonali Chitalkar, Monica Arora and Prerma Malhotra. Several allegations have been made to point out the inflammatory speeches made by BJP leaders that targeted anti citizenship law protesters that led to the violence on 23rd February. Bloomsbury India has issued a statement withdrawing itself from publishing the book. The statement read:
“Bloomsbury India had planned to release Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story in September, a book purportedly giving a factual report on the riots in Delhi in February 2020, based on investigations and interviews conducted by the authors. However, in view of very recent events including a virtual pre -publication launch organized without our knowledge by the authors, with participation by parties of whom the publishers would not have approved, we have decided to withdraw publication of the book. Bloomsbury India strongly supports freedom of speech but also has a deep sense of responsibility towards society”
Over 100 flights to be introduced in domestic network by 5th September: GoAir
The airline company, GoAir has laid the foundation of introducing over a 100 new flights in its regular domestic network. Flights from Mumbai, its base of operation, Chennai, Bengaluru and Delhi are to be included. GoAir said that by the 21st of September, it aims to reach the capacity of 45% of what they used to operate at before the Covid – 19 pandemic struck. A 60% capacity level (prior to the pandemic) is to be reached by the 15th of October. The aviation sector in the domestic region is beginning to see a gradual increase in demand, claimed the GoAir Chief Executive Officer Kaushik Khona.
The domestic flight paths include operations to and from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Lucknow, Nagpur, Varanasi, Jaipur, Ranchi, Patna, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Jammu and Leh. A service from Leh to Delhi is also to be provided by the airlines. Khona added, “As the various states start withdrawing travel restricitions, demand will continues to grow and GoAir has always been responsive to market conditions and provided enhanced travel options to our guests.”
To reduce imported raw materials, Jindal Stainless looks to domestic suppliers
In order to reduce its dependency on imported raw materials, Jindal Stainless looks to sourcing their raw materials from domestic suppliers. The nation’s top private stainless steel manufacturers aim to reduce imported raw material consumption to 35% by the end of 2021. The current dependency on imported raw materials stands at 45%. 3 years ago the company’s raw material imports were at 65%. The use of nickel, stainless steel scrap, nickel – based alloys, ferroalloys and ferrous scrap has been implemented to manufacture stainless steel domestically.
Jagmohan Sood, director of sourcing and manufacturing at Jindal Stainless claimed, “As a company, we have been long committed to creating opportunities for domestic suppliers. However, absence or lesser availability of most of these materials makes the Indian stainless – steel sector reliant on imports.” He further added, “High import dependence not only impacts cost adversely, but also exposes manufacturers to various market price fluctuations and forex risks. Imported sourcing also calls for higher working capital requirements to fund additional inventories required to keep the supply chain live.” Jindal Stainless aims to achieve 70% of MS Scrap from domestic markets by the end of 2020.
PM Modi: Kinder side of police came to light amid Covid – 19 pandemic
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested women police officers to interact with the women in Jammu and Kashmir. He believes that by engaging them, the women can prevent the youth from taking the road to terrorism. At an early stage if the youth are guided by these women (their mothers), then the region is bound to see an increased rate of growth and progress. During a video conference addressing the IPS probationers at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad, PM Narendra Modi claimed to have witnessed the ‘humane’ side of the police personnel in the country amid the ongoing pandemic.
Replying to the question raised by a woman probationer regarding what he felt about the people of the region of J&K, PM Modi heaped praises for the people in the region, saying that they were very nice, warm and welcoming people. He said, “I am very connected to these people. They treat you with so much love… we have to stop those who take the wrong path. Women can do that. Our women personnel can use mothers (in Jammu and Kashmir)… if we do that in the initial stages itself, it will be very useful.”
GST dubbed “Gabbar Singh Tax” is an attack on unorganized economy: R Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader on Sunday claimed that the NDA’s decision to levy the GST (Goods and Service) has been a disaster. He believes that the tax system is an “attack” on the poor people of India and also a direct attack on the small to medium businesses. “This GST is an absolute failure. Not only is it unsuccessful, it is an attack on the poor and on the small and medium businesses…GST is not a tax system, it is an attack on India's poor. It is an attack on small shopkeepers, small and medium businesses, farmers and labourers. We have to recognise this attack and stand against it together.”
Rahul Gandhi dubbed the GST to be “Gabbar Singh Tax” and claimed it to be the second important attack on the Indian economy which he deemed unorganized. He further alleged,”NDA's GST is completely different. Four different tax slabs, up to 28 percent, complicated and difficult to understand. Why are there four different rates? This is because the government wants those who have the means to be able to easily change GST, and those who don't have means, cannot do anything about GST.”
Senior advocate appointment: plea to implement verdict to be heard by SC
On Friday, the Supreme Court of India agreed to hear the appeal that sought direction for the implementation of assigning senior level advocates immediately. In October, 2017, the Supreme Court had given a verdict and issued guidelines that included setting up a permanent committee to be headed by the Chief Justice of India. R F Nariman headed the bench which issued notice to the apex court’s secretary general regarding an application submitted by senior advocate Indira Jaising. In the application it was mentioned that the guidelines laid out must be followed and conducted via online methods
It read: “Since August 2018, as per 2018 guidelines, the Supreme Court registry ought to have initiated the process of designation in January 2019, July 2019, January 2020 and July 2020. However, no such applications inviting applications for designations have been issued by this court in the last four windows and that the process of inviting applications for designation of senior advocates has come to standstill after August 6, 2018… Designation of senior advocates is in public interest and enables litigants to have a wide variety of talent. Each senior advocate brings to the table a unique set of expertise, experience and talent thereby assisting the court in multiple ways such as complex pro bono matters.”
Explosion in a fireworks unit in Chennai kills seven women
An explosion that occurred in a firework’s factory in the district of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu ended up taking the lives of 7 female workers and left two other injured. An officer of the Special Branch office in Cuddalore reported, “The incident took place around 11-11:30am near Kattumannarkoil… Seven women were killed while two women are unconscious and undergoing treatment at the Raja Muthiah Medical College Hospital. An investigation will be carried out into what led to the accident but as of now, we do not know what led to it." The factory was a licensed unit, confirmed the official. However the cause for the explosion is yet to be determined and hence he can only comment on the same once the results of the investigation are in.
Soon after the news was brought to notice, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi, has pledged to give Rs. 2 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of the victims. The state government had recently allowed industries to function at a 100% workforce capacity in an attempt to boost the economy that has seen a steep decline ever since the onset of the pandemic.
Latest Lancet Study deems Russian vaccine to be safe as per limited human trial outcomes
The Russian approved Covid – 19 vaccine, Sputnik V, seems to elicit antibody respone in small human trials without any major unwanted side effects, claimed the initial reports published by The Lancet journal on Friday.The results drawn from the initial phase of vaccine trials showed positive results after being monitored for over 42 days and these vaccines tend to induce antibody response within 21 days in all participants. A T cell response has also been noted to be produced by the vaccine in its secondary outcome claimed the researchers. The common cold virus, Adenoviruses, have been weakened such that they are not able to replicate in humans and hence are rendered harmless.
"When adenovirus vaccines enter people's cells, they deliver the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein genetic code, which causes cells to produce the spike protein," said study lead author Denis Logunov, from Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology, Russia. “This helps teach the immune system to recognise and attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To form a powerful immune response against SARS-CoV-2, it is important that a booster vaccination is provided. For our vaccine, we use two different adenovirus vectors in a bid to avoid the immune system becoming immune to the vector.”
Regional peace dependent on factors of trust and non-aggression claims Rajnath in SCO meet
In a subtle message to China, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on Friday, said that an environment of trust and empathy towards the interests of each other and following a non-aggressive approach are important to ensure peace in the regions. Border tension between India and China still continue to be high even after a number of diplomatic talks. International norms are to be respected at all times and the need for a peaceful resolution has been emphasized by Singh when addressing the minsters of defence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Moscow. He said, “Peaceful, stable and secure region of SCO member states – which is home to over 40 per cent of global population, demands a climate of trust and cooperation, non-aggression, respect for international rules and norms, sensitivity to each other’s interest and peaceful resolution of differences.”
The Defense Minister also addressed issues dealing with the growing threats faced in the region, mainly the increase in violence and terrorism. He said, “We need institutional capacity to deal with both traditional and non-traditional threats – above all, terrorism, drug-trafficking and transnational crime….The adoption of anti-terror measures by the SCO Council to counter extremist propaganda and de-radicalisation is a significant decision.”
Anti-dumping duty for Chinese float glass extended by 3 months by India
Anti-dumping duty on float glass imports from China have been extended for an additional 3 months, till the 7th of December, as per reports. The decision seems to be aimed at reducing dependency of imported goods from China and also simultaneously protecting the domestic industry from cheap imports coming from China. The Department of Revenue said in a notification, ”The anti-dumping duty imposed under this notification shall remain in force up to and inclusive of the 7th December, 2020, unless revoked, superseded or amended earlier… The provisional anti-dumping duty imposed under this notification shall be effective for a period of six months (unless revoked, amended or superseded earlier)."
When molten glass is floated over a bed of molten metal, float glass is produced. Float glass is used in a variety of sectors like construction. On the 8th of September, 2015, a duty of $218 per tonne of float glass was imposed for a time period of 5 years. On the recommendation of the comer ministry’s investigation wing, Directorate General of Trade (DGTR) it was extended. A probe conducted by the DGTR into the alleged dumping from China led to the recommendation of the anti dumping duty.
Governors’ Conference, NEP 2020 to be addressed by PM Modi and President Kovind
The inaugural session of the Governors’ Conference regarding the National Education Policy is to be addressed (via video call) by both, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind. The Ministry of Education is hosting and planning the conference titled ‘Role of NEP 2020 in Transforming Higher Education.’ All Ministers of Education of all states are supposed to attend the Governors’ Conference along with the vice chancellors of state universities and other senior officials.
The previous National Policy regarding Education was announced in 1986. This education policy set in the 21st century is the first in 34 years of history. The NEP 2020 looks towards making serious changes in school and higher education levels both. In a statement, it read, “The new National Education Policy strives for making India into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society. It envisions an India-centred education system that contributes directly to transforming India into a global superpower.” Many different meetings (webinars, virtual conferences and conclaves are being organized throughout the nation to discuss matters regarding the National Education Policy 2020. A ‘Conclave on Transformational Reforms in Higher Education Policy – 2020’ was organized by the Ministry of Education and University Grants Commission and was addressed by PM Modi.
Tata Steel functioning at full capacity claims CEO and MD, T V Narendran
Tata Steel witnesses a gradual revival in demand domestically in the given quarter as the production level has now come back to the original status, before the onset of the corona virus pandemic, stated its CEO and Managing Director, T V Narendran. The onset of the pandemic and the lockdown that followed has been extremely detrimental for the steel industry. Not only did it ruin the supply chain, but also had an adverse impact on the production and demand in the country.
Narendran said, “Production is running at 100 per cent and we are now less dependent on exports than we were in Q1 (April – June)… We are seeing a revival in demand in Q2 led by good monsoon and the rural economy. While the auto recovery has been led by the demand for tractors and motorcycles, we are now seeing the passenger car business pick up as well. It has also been a strong quarter for appliances. Hence, over the last few years, we have grown organically and inorganically in India. Given our long value chain from mining to downstream and the growth opportunities in India, we expect the India business to be one of the most profitable in the steel industry globally.”
Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot inspects Delhi Metro a day before resumption
The Rajiv Chowk Metro Station was inspected by the Transport Minister of Delhi, Kailash Gahlot on Sunday, a day before the metro train services are resumed. The metro station was visited by Gahlot to assess the level of preparations made by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and the Delhi Transport department in order to resume the metro services. Senior DMRC and transport department officials also accompanied the Transport Minister. After inspecting the Rajiv Chowk metro station, Gahlot said, “I am glad that metro services are finally resuming the city tomorrow. I inspected the station and am satisfied with the arrangements in place.”
The Delhi Metro services have been suspended for over 5 months due to the Covid – 19 pandemic. A 3 stage process is to be followed for the resumption of these rail services and the stations in containment zones are to remain shut. He further added, “I appeal to all Delhi Metro users to follow social distancing at the stations and inside the coaches. I am assured that if both the management and Delhiitesresponsibly follow the protocols in place, we will be able to set another benchmark of the Delhi model of fighting Covid – 19.”
Non legible disclaimers to be treated as misleading ads – new govt draft
A new detailed set of draft guidelines regarding advertising has been issued by the government of India. The new draft suggests that ‘disclaimers’ which are not easy to notice, understand and read are to be treated as misleading or false advertisements under the Consumer Protection Act. The newly established Central Consumer Protection Authority is to take action against the violation of these rules laid out by government. The Consumer Affairs Ministry has asked the public to send in their feedback regarding the issue by the 18th of September latest.
The draft guidelines are supposed to be applicable to both, advertisement agencies and companies that advertise their products or services. Disclaimers are to be made clear, prominent and legible according to the draft. Disclaimers are also supposed to be in the same language as the claims made in the advertisement and same font as well. These disclaimers are to be placed in ‘prominent and visible places.’ The draft guidelines stated - “It should be clearly visible to a normally sighted person reading the marketing communication once, from a reasonable distance and at a reasonable speed.”
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks to fight US extradition order in a UK court
After a decade of legal battles, the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange is ready to counter the bid for his extradition to the US on charges of spying and publication of sensitive US Military secrets on the website. The extradition hearing was delayed before this due to the onset of the Corona virus pandemic. The Australian’s lawyers claim that the prosecution is motivated politically and is abusing their power to cover up the freedom of press and is putting journalists at risk. The American prosecutors in retaliation said that Assange is a criminal and not a hero of free speech.
“Journalists and whistle blowers who reveal illegal activity by companies or governments and war crimes – such as the publications of Julian has been charged for – should be protected from prosecution” said the legal representative of Julian Assange. The 49 year old Australian has been charged with 18 counts of espionage and the misuse of computer charges which total up to a maximum sentence of 175 years in jail. US prosecutors also claim that Assange had conspired with Chelsea Manning, a US Army Intelligence analyst, to hack the Pentagon computers, releasing thousands of top secret files.
Umar Khalid activist arrested, IIMB students and faculty condemn the move
Over 40 students, faculty and staff of IIM Bangalore raised the voices, condemning the arrest of activists and academics who took part in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. They expressed their solidarity to the arrested individuals and groups of people. In their statement, IIMB said: “Peaceful non - violent protest is not only a fundamental right, but also a fundamental duty in a democracy. We stand in solidarity with Umar Khalid and others who have been targets of a deceitful ‘investigation’ that has let the true perpetrators of the horrific North East Delhi violence roam free.” A former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader, Umar Khalid was arrested by the Delhi Police on Sunday in connection with his alleged role in the riots that took place in the North – East Delhi region in the month of February.
Khalid was sent to a 10 day police custody by a court in Delhi. The letter further added, “We also call upon fellow academics around the country to speak up, and resist this unconstitutional use of force to crush legitimate dissent that is an important fount of our democracy. A climate of fear and repression is an existential threat to any university’s core academic mission.”
“Final notice” issued to Facebook after representative doesn’t show up for proceedings
While probing the hate speech issue which has been linked to the social media giant, Facebook, and the Delhi riots on Tuesday, the Delhi Assembly’s Committee on Peace and Harmony is to issue new summons to Facebook and the Indian MD Ajit Mohan under the cause of natural justice. This comes in response to the Facebook representatives who failed to appear for the proceedings before the committee as requested before. The committee is headed by the AAP MLA, Raghave Chadha. He said, “It shows Facebook has something to hide and allegations on Facebook linked to Delhi riots are probably not pointless. Refusal to appear before the committee is contempt of the Delhi legislative assembly. Delhi’s voters choose those who sit the assembly. It is also contempt of the 2 crore citizens of Delhi.”
Furthermore, he added, “We will give one last chance to Facebook’s India MD Ajit Mohan under principles of natural justice to appear before the committee. Facebook has been advised very wrongly on this. If a matter is being probed by the parliamentary committee, it doesn’t mean that the Delhi legislative assembly cannot discuss it. State legislature functions independently of the parliament.”
Bill Gates: India to play a vital role in production of Covid -19 vaccines to curb pandemic
In a recent interview, Bill Gates claimed that fighting the pandemic is of utmost importance. The billionaire said that the world is looking at India in their goal of producing vaccines at a large scale. The Microsoft co-founder said, “Obviously, all of us want to get a vaccine out in India as fast as we can, once we know that it’s very effective and very safe, and so the plans are coming focus that sometime next year, it’s very likely that roll out will take place and take place in fairly big volume… The world is looking to India for some of that capacity to be available to other developing countries. Exactly what that allocation formula looks like will have to be figured out.”
The pandemic has already taken the lives of over 900,000 people and has infected an additional 24 million. Taking note of these figures, Bill Gates further added, “This is not like a world war, but it’s the next biggest thing after that we have ever had. India’s willingness to play a big role in the manufacturing and to allow some of those vaccines to go to other developing countries will be an absolutely critical part of that.”
Customers begin to gradually increase in pubs and hotels in Bengaluru
Restaurants, hotels and pubs are beginning to see a gradual increase in customers after the resumption of public transport services including the metro. In an attempt to revive the struggling economy, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has allowed the opening up of all sectors in Bangalore. BMTC utility managing director, C Shikha said, “It has been 4 months since the BMTC resumed its services and the ridership has steadily increased.” A Namma Metro official added, “It took weeks for the BMTC to increase its ridership, and the metro is no different. It is a matter of time before people feel confident and safe about the metro ride.”
Pravesh Pandey, part owner of Byg Brewski Brewing Co. said, “Though response has been quite encouraging, although not anywhere close to pre – covid times. We are seeing an incremental footfall and if it continues for the next few weeks, the business may reach 60% of pre covid levels by November.” The co – founder of Toit Brewery, Sibi Venkataraju, on the other hand is skeptical of the future. He said, “The pub was almost full on the weekend, but it is too early to say if the footfall will remain consistent.”
Yogi Govt to offer cows to families with malnourished children
The Center has launched a ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ (Nutrition Month) for the month of September. As part of the initiative, the Yogi Adityanath government decided to give cows to the families with malnourished children. In an order issued by the State government, it was written: “The cows will be given to the families who are willing to keep them and also have available space for them. If the family wishes so, it will also be given an opportunity to choose a cow at the cow shelter. As far as possible, the cow would be handed over to the family in the presence of a public representative.” The aim of the Poshan Abhiyan initiative announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, is to reduce the level of malnutrition in the country.
The Yogi government is of the firm belief that giving cows to the families of the malnourished children will be helpful as “cow milk will be extremely useful” in eradicating malnutrition from the nation. The Department of Women and Child Development in the state has been asked by the Yogi government to prepare a list of families willing to take a cow home.
7 urban projects in Bihar - inaugurated and foundation laid by PM Modi
Seven urban infrastructure projects, totaling upto Rs 541 cr have been inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also laid the foundation stone in a poll bound Bihar. Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar’s government’s efforts were praised by the Prime Minister via a video conference. Issues like girl child education, representation of deprives sects of society in local bodies and development were touched upon during the video address. The Prime Minister also pointed fingers at the previous governments in Bihar, without naming anyone in specific, claiming that Bihar had visionary leaders but with time, the focus had changed. In the last 15 years, the ruling parties have had selfish interests which changed the focus and suppressed the system.
In order to boost the state’s infrastructure and development works, Narendra Modi said the center has been working over time coordinating with the State government. Modi also acknowledged the fact that there were over 20 towns in Bihar situated near the Ganga. Over Rs. 6000 crore has been approved for more than 50 projects in the state to ensure the holy river is kept clean.
Atlantic Council – Indian Americans a potential target for Republican camps
Atlantic Council, a leading US think tank conducted a recent study on the pattern of voting of Indian Americans and has found that the Republic camp may end up getting more support from the Indian American community than what it did before. The position taken by the Democrats on the Kashmi issue and the budding relation between Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi could sway the votes towards the Republican camp. The study, The Indian American Voter in 2020” claimed that the preference of some Indian Americans is shifting gradually.
According to the Atlantic council, “In the lead up to the 2016 presidential elections, Indian Americans raised over $10 million towards the Democratic ticket, enthusiastically endorsing a bid for a Clinton presidency. However, as one of the most powerful and influential fundraising demographics for any given campaign in US politics, some Indian American donors have slowly leaned towards President Donal J. Trump. From serving as Indain Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s opener during his September 2019 visit to Houston to a showy state visit to Modi’s hometown in Gujarat in February, President Trump has made unprecedented efforts to connect and reach the Indian American community.”
Shiv Sena claims that Maharashtra is being defamed on social media
Social media outlets are being used ‘systematically to defame Mumbai and Maharashtra’ claimed the Shiv Sena on Tuesday. In an editorial in party speech ‘Saamana’, they claimed that in the last 5-6 years derogatory comments have been made on social media platform in lieu of gossip, however these comments are usually false and they spread unchecked all over, shaping the minds and outlook of individuals reading these comments. “Social media is being used systematically to defame Mumbai and Maharashtra. But if anyone retorts to such gossiping in their own style, the concerns are raised about one’s (the users) freedom of speech.” – said the Marathi daily.
N V Ramanas, a Supreme Court judge recently said, “Judges are now becoming victims of juicy gossip and slanderous social media postings as they restrain themselves from speaking in their own defence.” Supporting this statement, the Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena claimed these to be facts, applicable to almost all aspects at different levels. Recently the Shiv Sena has come under heavy criticism of the public media as the party was involved in a fierce war or words with Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut who had previously compared Mumbai to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Twitter.
Congress questions the ruling govt’s handling of pandemic as tally tops 50 lakhs
Randeep Surjewala, Congress Chief Spokesperson, compared the fight against the pandemic to the Mahabharata. The party also asked questions regarding the mismanagement of officials and poor handling of the Covid – 19 pandemic and asked the BJP government whether they would ‘blame god’ in order to not take accountability of the 50 lakh corona virus cases in the country. While questioning the government, Surjewala in a series of tweets said, “Facts about COVID – 19, will the PM answer:- 1. In corona virus infections per day – India at number 1 in the world (90,123 infections). 2. Corona virus mortality rate per day – India ranks first in the world (1,290 deaths). 3. Corona virus infection rate doubling – India at number 1 in the world (double in 31 days). 4. In total corona virus cases – India ranks 2nd in the world.”
Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman had previously stated that the economy had been severely impacted by the onset of the pandemic which she labelled is an “Act of God.” Questioning the government Surjewala, asked how the government would control the pandemic “or will the government blame god to evade accountability?”
BJP reassures with transparency as Congress blames govt of monopolizing airports
The Congress has recently requested a probe in the privatization of 6 airports which supposedly violate the rules and is an example of corruption within the government. The ruling BJP party denied all allegations and claimed that there is absolute transparency in the Modi regime. K C Venugopal inititated the debate regarding ‘The Aircraft Amendment Bill 2020’ and stated that the government is guilty of promoting crony capitalism schemes by privatizing airports while claiming to develop them.
He said, “There is a move to monopolize the Indian airports. In future, all Indian airports will be owned by onle one company. How can you allow this… there is a clear violation of norms and regulations in giving airports to a single private entity. This is a clear scam of public money. I am asking for an inquiry into all this. This is a clear case of corruption.” In response to the allegations made, BJP member, GVL Narasimha Rao said, “The real crony capitalism was during the previous regime. There is a transparent regime and a credible and transparent method is being adopted to develop airports in the country.”
Amendments in banking laws to improve governance in banks – Nirmala Sitharaman
Changes made to the banking regulation laws are aimed at improving the governance and also simultaneously protecting the depositor’s money. The Banking Regulation Amendment Bill, 2020 was moved to the Lok Sabha by Sitharaman. She claimed the government was forced to come up with a law specially for the state during the lockdown as the condition of cooperative banking was dire. 47 cooperative banks had a negative net worth by the end of March 2019 and furthermore over a 100 banks were not able to meet the minimum capital requirments.
She said, “Due to the pandemic, the stress in cooperative banks increased and the gross NPA ratio increased from 7.27 per cent in March 2019 to over 10 per cent in March 2020. Therefore it was felt that to protect depositors' interest we should have the ordinance brought in.” She further added, “We are not doing anything to touch state cooperatives, we are not doing anything to primary agricultural credit societies, we are not doing anything to touch cooperative societies whose primary object and business is providing long-term finance for agricultural development.”
Creation of jobs and entrepreneurs are the goals of the NEP claims Union Minister Pokhriyal
Addressing the 22nd IIT-Guwahati Convocation, the Union Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal lauded the New Education Policy 2020 via a video confrence saying, “There was no change in the education policy for almost 3 decades. Everyone has welcomed it and the new policy has received an overwhelming response from all segments of the society. Before finalizing, we has consulted teachers, students, parents and other sections.” Furthermore he added, “As former President APJ Abdul Kalam had stated during an IIT – Guwahati convocation programme here that education should create jobs and entrepreneurs, the NEP is aimed at doing the same thing. It will help create jobs and entrepreneurs in our society.”
The last National Policy of Education was made in 1986, making this the first new educational policy in almost 34 year. The NEP 2020 looks to make transformational reforms in the education system followed in the country. Pokhriyal also applauded the efforts made by the institute, saying, “The IIT – Guwahati has played an important role in innocation during COVID-19 times. It invented many products. Even the campus is being used as a COVID – 19 Care Centre, which is a contribution towards the fight against novel coronavirus.”
From the 25th of September, series of initiatives starting with ‘Chakka Jam’ – Shiromani Akali Dal
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has recently received heavy criticism for trying to stay in the Cabinet until their agriculture bills are passed by the parliament. A series of initiatives were announced by the SAD, like the ‘chakka jam’ (blockades), to be followed from the 25th of September. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jhakhar stated that an ‘unprecedented unity’ had been witnessed in the state. He said, “It is amusing that the Badals want to join the protests now after being a part of this diabolical conspiracy against the farmers. Farmers should block the entry of the Badals in Punjab and gherao their leaders at their homes in Punjab. Why do they not quit the NDA first and stop being agents of the BJP?”
Senior SAD leader, Daljit Singh said, “On September 25, we will hold a three-hour chakka jam in all parts of Punjab. Sukhbir Badal will tour the entire state from September 26 to September 29 to engage with farmers and inform them of the ills of the new bills. On October 1, our cadre will assemble in a big gathering at the Dusshera ground in Mohali and our leadership will petition the Governor and the President to scrap the new laws.”
DMRC subject to major loss, 5.12L loss for DTC charge sheets filed – Delhi Riots
Communal violence broke out in the North East parts of Delhi, DMRC reported heavy ‘unspecified’ loss in revenue in the month of February. Police also reported in the charge sheets filed that DTC had lost Rs. 5.12 lakhs following the communal violence that broke out. The report said, “The DMRC had incurred unspecified huge revenue loss due to closure of metro stations and disruption in services. On February 25, 174 round trips and two down trips were cancelled between Maujpur-Shiv Vihar, 362 partial round trips were cancelled between Maujpur-Welcome station, 23 round trips were cancelled between Shiv Vihar-Welcome sections.”
A letter drafted to the DTC sought to gain information regarding the loss in revenue and damages incurred by DTC with respect to the anti CAA and anti NRC protests that were rampant, along with the communal violence that led to the riots from the 5th of December, 2020 to 28th of February, 2020. It claimed, “The report showed that during the protests, five DTC buses were damaged, DTC staff was injured, loss of Rs 2,65,112.6 was incurred to DTC due to the damage of the buses. Details of the bus route which got affected incurred a loss of Rs 2,47,883.”
Letter Rogatory issued by special CBI court to the USA regarding Mallya case
IDBI bank in 2016 had filed an FIR against the Kingfisher Airlines and its owner Vijya Mallya for defrauding them of Rs. 900 crores. SBI bank also filed an FIR against the same, claiming his actions caused them a loss of Rs. 6027 crores. According to the CBI’s plea made in a special court in Mumbai, “…a LR is required for conducting foreign investigation in USA to ascertain the utilization of the funds received in the account held with First Commerce Bank (now Pacific Premier Bank) during the period December, 2007 to March, 2009, collection of evidence pertaining to the amount of $20 million remitted by Airbus SAS, France in June 2008 and collection of evidence with regard to remittance of $5,381,945.93 on June 27, 2012 from State Bank of Mauritius to the nostro account held by the beneficiary”
Furthermore, the application filed also claimed, “There are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds transferred to the account of KAL with First Commerce Bank, the amount of $20 millions transferred by Airbus SAS France to the accounts of KAL in USA and an amount of $5,381,945.93 remitted from the account of Veling Narain Ltd and another to a nostro account may have been diverted by the accused persons.”
Union Minister R S Prasad: Govt can reconsider suspension of MPs if they apologize
8 members of the opposition parties, in the Rajya Sabha were suspended for their unruly behaviour in the Upper House. A Congress led walkout of a number of Opposition parties led to the Union Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad to comment about the event. The Congress members demanded that the suspended members be called back. Congress was the initial party to walkout of the House, followed by members of the AAP, TMC and Left Parties.Ravi Shankar Prasad told the reporters waiting outside the Parliament, “We will consider withdrawal of suspension only after suspended members apologise for their behaviour in Rajya Sabha. We expected the Congress would oppose such unruly behaviour by Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha.”
The Ministers of Parliament were left baffled after a tweet made by Rahul Gandhi led to this fiasco. Rahul Gandhi is currently abroad, assisting his mother, Sonia Gandhi with her medical check ups. The Union Minister further added, “We have never seen a Congress MP dancing on the Rajya Sabha table and tear papers.” Furthermore he also pointed out that the government has a majority in the Rajya Sabha in order to pass the farm Bills.
‘Completely unacceptable’ remarks made by Turkish President regarding Kashmir crisis: India
Remarks made by Recep Tayyiip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, during his United Nations General Assembly regarding the Kahmir were deemed ‘completely unacceptable’ and was directly an act of ‘gross interference’. T S Tirumurti, India’s permanent UN representative at the UN meet said, “We have seen remarks by the President of Turkey on Indian UT (union territory) of Jammu & Kashmir. They constitute gross interference in India’s internal affairs and are completely unacceptable. Turkey should learn to respect the sovereignty of other nations and reflect on its own policies more deeply.”
This comes in response to the comments made by the Turkish president on day two of the UNGA meet who claimed, “The Kashmir conflict, which is also key to the stability and peace of South Asia, is still a burning issue. We are in favour of solving this issue through dialogue within the framework of the United Nations resolutions, especially in line with the expectations of the people of Kashmir.” The Turkish President in the last year has made public his intentions to emerge as the leader of the Islamic world and has raised the Kashmir issue on several other platforms.
4 company owners properties to be confiscated as SC declares them FEOs
A local court in New Delhi has given the green light for the confiscation of properties of 4 people accused in the multi crore Sterling Biotech bank fraud case, deeming them to be Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO). Company owners Nitin Sandesara, Dipti Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara and Hitesh Patel are the 4 main accused and declared as fugitive Economic Offenders. Under the FEO act, a court in Delhi allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to “reapproach the court for initiation of confiscation proceedings”. While passing the orders, the Judge believed “the conduct of the Respondents, unambiguously, establishes on record that they have left India to avoid criminal prosecution and they are deliberately avoiding to return back to India to face the instant prosecution. Thus, I have no hesitation to observe that the Respondents deserve to be declared fugitive economic offenders.”
The Judge further deemed the act to be a non bailable offence and claimed it was meritless. The Supreme Court in March said, “It is made clear that the interim order July 2, 2019 passed by this Court is not intended to stay the proceedings pending before the Additional Sessions Judge.”
Cases in Bengaluru continue to increase, no definite sign of decrease in case
Over the last few months, the city’s Covid-19 graph has passed all expectations for the worse. An unnamed senior state official said, “It seems like all our predictions about Bengaluru have gone wrong. We assumed the city would see a downward trend by September-end, but that is not happening. But nobody seems to know when the cases will reduce.” Karnataka’s expert committee chairperson, Dr CN Manjunath claimed, “Many epidemiologists are now predicting the cases to rise in October because of people’s exposure to crowded places during festivities. One of the reasons for higher reporting of cases is the increased testing.”
He further added, “Disease burden in Bengaluru is definitely much higher than what is captured in testing. The sero survey results that will be released next week will throw some light on the extent of spread in Bengaluru.” The head of life course epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India, Dr. R Giridhar Babu said, “We cannot have an inverted V shape in Covid. The pattern of the virus changes across zones based on human behaviour. Cases were fewer when strict norms were in place. The human behaviour has been altered with the easing of regulations and so has the behaviour of the virus.”
AAP government questioned by Delhi HC due to lack of ICU beds for non covid patients
The Delhi government led by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party was questioned by the Delhi High Court to check whether the government has made provisions to supply ICU beds for non covid patients and also asked its methodology to compensate private hospitals which have done so. While stating the direction, the single judge, had said that the Delhi government’s decision “appears to be arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of fundamental rights of citizen” which have been assured to the citizens under the Constitution.
He further added, “Do other patients have a right to life or not or is it now that the state says only COVID-19 patients have a right to life. This is making my blood boil. The patient is not going there for a holiday, he is going there in an emergency. Why do you (Delhi government) discriminate between the two (COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients)? Why do you have to keep an ICU bed vacant for COVID-19 patient and the other one in need can die? A person has got a heart attack and you are saying he should die on the road?”
UPSC requests the SC to conduct Civil Services exams at the soonest
The Union Public Service Commission has put in their plea before the Supreme Court claiming that it was impossible to further defer the civil service exams. Naresh Kaushik, who is appearing for the exams, submitted a plea before the Supreme Court saying, “The matter was considered and deferment was done, but it was realised that deferment would completely hurt the process of the exam. It was supposed to be held on September 30. Thereafter, it was deferred to October 4. Deferment would nullify the objective of conducting the exam for four arms of government.”
The plea also added, “The revised calendar for UPSC exams suffers from class-based discrimination and violates Article 14 of the Constitution, inasmuch as students belonging to the middle class and/or lower middle class will not be able to afford transport, accommodation, or other expenses to take the examination amid a pandemic. Quash the Revised Calendar, 2020, issued by the UPSC, whereby it has been decided to conduct the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2020, on October 4, despite alarming spurt of COVID-19 pandemic and natural calamities in our country, for being violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.”
West Bengal turned into a Police State by the TMC claims the Governor
The TMC government according to the Governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar, has turned West Bengal into a police state. He also said that he would be forced to point out Article 154 of the Constitution, since his office has been neglected for far too long by the ruling government. Article 154 of the Constitution states that the states executive powers are vested in the Governor and the governor can exercise these powers either directly or through subordinate officers. Police are working as “cadres” for the ruling TMC government according to Dhankhar. He also criticized DGP Virendra for being irresponsible and callous.
In a press meet, Dhankhar said, “If the Constitution is not protected, I have to act. The office of the governor has been ignored for long. I will be forced to look at Article 154 of the Constitution.” He also said that he has been forced to make Whatsapp voice calls due to the “electronic surveillance by the TMC government”. He further added, “West Bengal has been turned into a police state...Police state and democracy cannot go hand in hand. Law and order has collapsed in the state. Maoist insurgency is raising its head. Terror modules are also operating from this state.”
Clarification on Farms Bills passed given by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman.
2 agriculture bills were passed on 20th September in the Upper House of the Parliament. Deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Harivansh, has issued a clarification regarding the same. He said, “I hold a constitutional position and therefore, cannot issue a formal rebuttal. I am bringing these facts to your notice and leave it to your conscience for your judgment.” In his statement, Harivansh further added, “It is true that Tiruchi Shiva demanded a division on his amendment for reference of his bill to select committee from his seat at 1.10 p.m. You will see from the same video that around 1.09 p.m, one member was tearing the rule book and throwing on me. Besides I was surrounded by some hostile members, who were trying to snatch papers from me.”
He also said, “You will appreciate that as per rules and practice, in order to have a division, two things are essential. Firstly there should be a demand for division and equally important that there should be order in the house.” Simultaneously, President Ram Nath Kovind, gave his approval for the 3 farm bills that were passed in the Parliament. The bills were passed by Parliament amid protests by the Opposition parties.
For the first time, the World Trade Organization is to be headed by a woman
A Harvard graduated, former Nigerian finance minister and the trade minister of South Korea have been shortlisted as the final 2 candidates to become the next director general, announced the World Trade Orgainzation. The final two candidates ensure that the next director general is a woman for the first times. Yoo Myung – hee from South Korea and Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala of Nigeria have shortlisted by a selection committee which hopes to see the end to this race in the coming few weeks. Keith Rockwel, a WTO spokesman, told reporters, “Both of the women that are in the final round are remarkably well qualified. This is something on which everyone has agreed… We've been impressed with them from the very beginning.”
WTO’s previous director general, Roberto Azevedo from Brazil surprised everyone with his decision to leave his post a year earlier than expected due to a “personal decision”. During his 7 year period as director general, Azevedo received extensive criticism from the U.S. President Donald Trump, who alleged that the WTO had treated the U.S. unfairly which resulted in the start of a trade war with China in protest of the WTO rules.
UK: Cannot extradite Vijay Mallya to India until resolution of secret legal issues
The Ministry of External Affairs claimed that the UK has said that Vijay Mallya, the Indian fugitive cannot be extradited until a resolution has been made on certain “secret legal” matters. In May, Mallya had lost his appeals in the British Supreme Court after which India has been pressing the UK officials to extradite him back to India to face charges for fraud and money laundering. Anurag Srivastava, the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson, at a media briefing said, “Now, we have been told that there is a secret legal matter and that his extradition cannot take place without its resolution... We are in touch with the UK government."
The UK government has been in touch with New Delhi officials after Mallya used up all his legal resources against his extradition appeal. The apex court in the UK gave a major set back to the fugitive businessman when he lost his appeal in the high court in April against an order to extradite him back to India. India had also requested the UK government not provide asylum to Vijay Mallya back in June. This request was backed with the argument that there seemed to be no reason for his persecution in the country.
India sees a steep decline in Sulphur Dioxide emissions for the first time in 4 years
India was the largest emitter of sulphur dioxide which contributed to the air pollution in the world. A recent report has recorded a steep decline of about 6% in 2019 when compared to the previous year, making it the most in 4 years. India continues to hold the top position for the 5th time in a row claimed the report. Emission of sulphur dioxide is extremely dangerous as the air pollutant can increase the risk of heart diseases, lung cancer, premature death and strokes. India recorded an emission percentage of 21% in 2019, which was almost double that of Russia which holds the second position in the global emission ranking.
The report also added, “China occupies the third position. The annual report ranks the world's biggest emitters of sulphur dioxide While credit needs to be given to India for making ambitious strides in renewable energy, contrarily concern arises from the consistent support given to coal-based energy generation. Renewable energy capacity has been increasing in India's power sector, delivering more than two-thirds of the subcontinent's new capacity additions during the FY 2019 – 20. However, these efforts are overshadowed by the fact that most of the power plants in India lack flue-gas desulfurization(FGD) units.”
Supreme Court claims freedom of speech abused the most off late: Tablighi case
Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde claimed that the news channels in recent times have whole heartedly abused their right to free speech and has asked if the Centre has taken any measures to ensure it does not happen again. The Centre filed an affidavit in response to the petition of a few Muslim groups which claimed that their community was targeted unfairly during the Covid -19 pandemic ever since the cluster of covid victims were found at the Tablighi Markaz which was held in Delhi. The CJI in reaction to this petition said, “Freedom of speech is one of the most abused rights in recent times. You cannot treat this court like this… This affidavit is extremely offensive and brazen. We find it highly offensive. It has brazenly it pointed out any incident of bad reporting. The officer must tell us about the incidents pointed out and not make nonsensical averments. If you have the power you must exercise it.” Previously the government had been asked to be on the look out for anyone who might instigate law and order amid the pandemic by the court.
Top peace negotiator of Afghanistan meets Prime Minister Modi
Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the peace initiative in motion in order to bring some form of stability in the war torn country. After the meeting, Abdullah tweeted that PM Modi reassured him of India’s continued assistance for their goal of peace in Afghanistan. Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry said that Modi reaffirmed India;s commitment to strengthen ties with Afghanistan. Abdullah came to India on a five day visit in an attempt to build regional support and consensus for the Afghan peace process.
Abdullah on Twitter said, “Pleased to meet HE Narendra Modi @narendramodi, the Prime Minister of Republic of #India. In our friendly discussion we took stock of the latest developments on the #AfghanPeaceProcess, the talks in Doha, & India’s support for the peace efforts. The PM assured me of India’s continued support for the peace process, & Afghanistan. I thanked him & the people of India for the invitation, & generous hospitality. I also thanked India for its principled position on the #AfghanPeaceProcess.” The influential Afghan leader came to visit during talks of peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha.
“Intelligence tradecraft” being taught to Indian Revenue Service officers by RAW & IB
Revenue service officers coming from the Income Tax, Serious Fraud Investigation Office, Enforcement Directorate, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and CBI are being coached by leading agencies, including the likes of India’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau in “intelligence tradecraft”. 9 course modules have been developed for these officers to gain knowledge and expertise in matters of intelligence gathering and handling of forensic and digital evidence. Only group A officers of the Indian Revenue Service are to undertake the courses at RAW’s training academy in Gurgaon and IB’s National Intelligence agency based in Delhi. Other modules have been or are being developed for officers starting from the superintendent level up to principal commissioners. The finance ministry’s Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) is undertaking the training programmes and coordinating it.
These other courses include investigation of economic crimes in securities market, which is to be conducted at the National Institute of Securities Market, based in Navi Mumbai. Legal aspects and matters are to be held at National Law University in Delhi and trade based money laundering from the State Bank Institute of Consumer Banking in Hyderabad.
Drug traffickers from Myanmar beginning to favour routes via Mizoram for smuggling
Mizoram has emerged as one the major drug trafficking routes beginning from Myanmar in the last few years. Mizoram, the north east state of India shares the border with Myanmar that stretches over 500 kilometers. Synthetic drugs such as the Yaba tablets are smuggled into the country via routes from Myanmar and then distributed to neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Bangaladesh and others. Rebel groups based out of Myanmar are the ones who are allegedly benefiting from this system. A key item on the agenda was to talk about the security partnership during the Foreign Secretary & Army Chief’s visit to Myanmar. Drug seizures worth around $137,000 have been made earlier this year along the Myanmar border claimed a non government organization based in Mizoram.
These NGOs demand a strong fencing along the border policy to be initiated and upheld. A report claimed “that towards the end of the last century, drug cartels in the Golden Triangle switched to the production of methamphetamine or meth, turning it into a more lucrative trade than heroin. The popularity of meth soared in Thailand, where it is known as ‘yaba’ or ‘crazy drug’.”
LJP gives refuge to over a dozen ex BJP and JD(U) candidates for the Bihar elections
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) after being discarded by the NDA, has now emerged as a platform for aspirants to showcase themselves in the upcoming elections. Several discarded BJP members who were contending for the party tickets were benched due to the party’s alliance with JD(U). These members were wholeheartedly welcomed by Chirag Paswan, the Chief of LJP party. 2 of the former and sitting MLAs are allegedly part of the 10 members leaving the BJP and likely to join the LJP. In addition, 2 sitting JD(U) MLAs, who had been dropped, were welcomed by the LJP and are likely to take on nominees of Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar.
All 12 member are supposed to be part of the initial list of 70 seats to challenge the JD(U) candidates. More names are to be announced with time, claimed reports. Usha Vidyarathi, a former BJP MLA from Paliganj, became a part of the LJP after a meeting with Chirag Paswan in Delhi. Sources from within the LJP claim that these candidates are part of the plan to trouble the JD(U). Rebel party leaders have been warned that they would be expelled immediately by the Bihar BJP.
Supreme Court hears plea regarding “bribes” taken by/on behalf of judges
An urgent plea relating to alleged bribes being offered to and taken by judges was agreed to be heard by the Supreme Court. Justices S Abdul Nazeer and J Chelameswar are leading the bench to hear the plea and agreed to list the matter upon itself after a request was made by former Supreme Court Bar Association President and senior advocate Dushyanth Dave. Dave claimed the matter was of utmost importance and said, “This petition should be listed before a bench of Jusitce Chelameswar as it involves protection of the integrity of the institution”. He also mentioned that there were concerns regarding the same after investigating.
He added, “This matter relates to an FIR lodged by CBI into the alleged bribe taken in the name of judges. Things are very disturbing and nobody can be a judge in his own case.” Dave claimed that there was nothing personal in this matter and in fact is seeking the assistance of the Supreme Court to uphold the integrity of the institution. In response, the bench stated that there were civil liberties and fundamental rights every citizen can exercise but must do so judiciously.
Paris Agreement: India on the right path to accomplish the targets set
Under the Paris Agreement, nations set targets to address climate change and India is among just a handful of major polluters that is on the right path to achieve the national targets. Companies have come a long way in terms of actual reduction of total carbon dioxide pollution caused and the effect of renewable energy usage. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) India’s director Damandeep Singh is optimistic about the future given the recent progress, however warns that there’s a long way to go.
Several companies have adopted techniques to reduce carbon emission and use renewable energy. Singh added, “Half of these companies are supplying to Wal-Mart, the tech companies are part of Microsoft and Dell supply chain, so the impetus for change comes from there.” Managing Director for ERM India, Masood Mallick, has partnered up with CDP India for the 2017 report Policy signals are criticial to make sure the industry stays committed to the national goal. He stated, “The government needs to start communicating the national climate plans to India Inc and initiate discussions on mechanisms to allocate and track emission reduction goals across the economy.”