Adani Group Changes Its Mind, Acknowledges Big Brother Vinod; Most MSMEs Are Not Even in the Policy Net
Another govt survey debunks 100% ODF claim, Gujarat tops in custodial deaths, foreign law firms get entry, Delhi Police stop discussion on Kashmir media blackout, Patrick French is no more
A newsletter from The Wire | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
March 16, 2022
The United States will finally send an ambassador to India, after over two years of doing without one. The US Senate yesterday confirmed the candidacy of Eric Garcetti, more than a year and a half after President Biden nominated the former Los Angeles mayor to the key diplomatic post. The Senate voted 52-42, a simple majority to confirm Garcetti as US ambassador to India. ‘Interesting times’ may not be a Chinese curse after all, but an Indian condition. China doesn’t have a full-time ambassador in Delhi. India and Pakistan withdrew their high commissioners in 2019.
Eight retired navy officers in solitary confinement for eight months in Qatar remain in limbo. They were detained in Doha on August 30, 2022. Employed by a private company, Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services in Doha, the ex-Navy men were involved in training the Qatari Navy. “Today… their bail plea has been rejected for the eighth time in a row. Detention has been extended for 30 days. Families can appeal against this on Sunday (March 19) but our hopes have crashed,” said Dr Meetu Bhargava, whose brother, a decorated former naval officer, is among the detainees. Astonishingly, despite many video conferences involving the families and Indian Embassy staffers in Qatar, the reason for arrest is not known.
The embattled Adani Group has responded to the report that entities owned by Vinod Adani in Mauritius acquired ACC and Ambuja Cements: Endeavour Trade and Investment, controlled by Vinod Adani, is in the Adani Group. This is in complete contradiction to its earlier claim that Vinod Adani has no management control and is not a related party to the Adani group. The Hindenburg report’s main allegations was that Vinod Adani manipulated Adani stock prices through Mauritius-based entities investing in it.
The BSE and NSE have frozen the shareholding of Ramdev’s Patanjali Foods’ promoters and promoter group for not meeting public float rules. The company had failed to meet the deadline to raise its public shareholding to the required 25%, as mandated by market regulator SEBI. It is now 19.18%.
Farmers marched from Nashik to Mumbai’s Azad Maidan after onion prices crashed. Ministers met them for talks, fearing another movement like the Long March in 2018. BBC has a ground report and explains why onions reduce Indian politicians to tears.
Governors cannot precipitate the fall of elected governments, the Supreme Court said yesterday in the Maharashtra case. “People may ditch their government, but the trouble starts when governors become willing allies by calling for a trust vote… This is a very sad spectacle in democracy.”
The Assam Rifles yesterday denied allegations that a patrol entered a border village in Myanmar, in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township. They said that soldiers were engaged in “routine border point verification” within Indian territory. The spot is “within walking distance” from the border in southern Mizoram. Photographs released on March 13 on the Facebook page of The Mindat Post, a Myanmarese news agency, showed Indian personnel allegedly in a village near Kyauk Tai, or the boundary stone along the India-Myanmar border in Mizoram. It was also alleged that shots were fired as the troops retreated.
British architect David Chipperfield was given the coveted contract to design and build the Mughal Museum – a landmark construction across the Yamuna from the Taj Mahal – in 2015 but the project is now languishing thanks to the Adityanath government’s lack of interest. Despite being renamed ‘Chhatrapapti Shivaji Museum’ by the UP CM in 2020, the buildings remain unfinished. Pity, as Chipperfield has just won the Pritzker Prize for 2023.
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The writer and historian Patrick French died in the UK on Thursday. He was only 57 years old.
Exports fell 8.8% in February, but the trade deficit also shrank over 7%. Gold imports have surged post-Budget, but the lower import bill could signal a slump in domestic demand. The Commerce Secretary bravely attributed it to efforts to lower inessential imports. The consolidated goods and services exports target in its new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), to be released this month, could be $2 trillion by 2030.
The mother of ironies: Delhi Police have blacked out discussion on ‘Media Blackout in Kashmir’, fearing a law and order problem. Days earlier, the Delhi High Court reversed a similar order to cancel a seminar on the theme ‘Understanding Fascism in India’.
There is trouble brewing in the Karnataka BJP. BJP leader CT Ravi hit out at Yediyurappa: “Party decisions aren’t taken in the kitchen!” Last July, former CM Yediyurappa had hinted that his son Vijayendra would be contesting from the Shikaripura Assembly seat.
Scroll analyses how unchecked social media forwards bearing false information build distrust and affects public behaviour.
The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (MSU) yesterday cancelled a seminar after members of the ABVP objected to participation by a professor from Jamia Millia Islamia. Zubair Meenai is “a communist and known for making anti-India comments,” claimed an ABVP leader. MSU’s Faculty of Social Work had organised the seminar on ‘Respecting Diversity Through Joint Social Action’ on its campus yesterday, but had to cancel when ABVP members reached the spot and started shouting the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. In a video, ABVP members are seen confronting the Dean of the Faculty of Social Work, Dr Bhavna Mehta.
Undeterred by the controversy created by Hindutva groups over his remarks that texts like the Ramcharitmanas are divisive and promote casteism, Bihar Education Minister Chandra Shekhar has said that the 16th century epic by Bhakti poet Tulsidas identifies “certain castes that deserve to be beaten up”. “I have the original Ramcharitmanas published by the Gita Press when it cost just Rs 8.50. It names certain castes and says they deserved to be beaten up. It also dubs certain castes as paapi (sinners),” Chandra Shekhar said, insisting that none of his statements can be construed as wrong or “anti-Hindu”. “I don’t know what the fuss is about. I have maintained that distortions in the Hindu religion have been because of our ancestors. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has gone a step ahead and said that the distortions were caused by the pandits (priests).”
Another government survey has debunked Swachh Bharat’s 100% Open Defecation Free claim, reports The Hindu. Over 21% of rural households do not have access to a toilet, according to a government survey.
A controversy erupted when an artiste was named best playback singer in the Assam state film awards, for a song she had not sung. Cultural Affairs Minister Bimal Borah yesterday said the right singer was honoured, but for the wrong song.
Dhanya Rajendran, co-founder and the Editor-in-Chief of The News Minute, is the recipient of the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Women Mediapersons 2022. The jury said that her work showed a blend of meticulous reportage and data reflecting not only individual merit, but the pursuit of committed journalism.