After Dramatic Suspense, Xi Won’t Attend G20; Whether Polls are Held Sooner or Later, INDIA must Face Basic Questions
Editors’ Guild finds Manipur media polarised, gets FIR, Canada pauses trade talks, documentaries made against all odds, two airlines erased, Ambanis irk UK golfers, what’s the Sanskrit for ‘hobbit’?
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia and Tanweer Alam | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi and Anirudh SK | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
September 4, 2023
Though China takes the annual G20 summit very seriously, for the first time, President Xi Jinping will not attend. Premier Li Qiang will stand in. ‘Xi’s absence deepens India-China chill, puts question mark on G20 consensus’, read the headline of Indian Express. The leaders of Russia and Mexico are also represented by ministers.
INDIA’s floor leaders will meet tomorrow at the home of Mallikarjun Kharge to hammer out a strategy for the special session of Parliament on September 18-22, whose agenda is a state secret but is believed to be the introduction of various Bills. A draft law on the PM’s “one nation, one election” may not be presented until the committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind at least goes through the motions. The Congress strenuously opposes electoral unitarianism, and will have no truck with the committee.
G20 Sherpas and Sous Sherpas have bunkered down in a resort hotel near Manesar, Haryana ― near the area from which Muslims fled during the Nuh violence ― for final deliberations about the statements to be issued at the forthcoming summit. Amitabh Kant, who is leading the talks for India, is confident of achieving consensus on growth and development issues, though this has eluded the ministerial meetings, reports The Hindu.
“With his belief in personalised diplomacy, Modi has wasted the past nine years not building India’s strength to take on China,” writes Sushant Singh on the current state of India’s ties with China and the limitations of its current strategy.
Canada and India have been discussing a comprehensive economic partnership since 2010. Talks gained impetus last year, but just three months after a commitment to close an initial round this year, and a week before Justin Trudeau lands in Delhi for the G20 summit, Canada has hit the pause button “to take stock of where we are”.
Narendra Modi gave an interview to PTI on G20-related issues. There was nothing dramatic or new in his answers. Nor was he asked anything dramatic or challenged on anything he said.
Sri Lanka wants to turn the 500 MW Adani wind power project agreement into a “government-to-government” agreement to step around a legal loophole: it has awarded it to a private company without any tendering. Sri Lankan legislators want to know if Adani Green Energy Limited (India) has been accepted as the representative of the Indian government.
“The recent successes of India’s space program parallel the nation’s economic and geopolitical rise, and officials cite them as a manifestation of its strong traditions in science and technology,” says the New York Times, following the successful launch of the nation’s first solar mission.
The Vikram lander has executed a rocket-powered ‘hop’ on the moon, anticipating missions to bring back lunar samples, in which the lander will have to rise vertically from the surface.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says that with a dry August, his state faces drought-like conditions and a power crisis. The government has failed to purchase much power because the other states are also in a bad way. State elections are due this year. Dr Chouhan recommends prayer, and has himself prayed to Mahakal in Ujjain.
NCERT is now a deemed university. Established under the Societies Act in 1961 to advise the government on school education and curricula, it can now offer its own college courses and award degrees.
Kotak Mahindra Bank founder Uday Kotak has stepped down as CMD ahead of the end of his term this year (without a nudge from SEBI, the bank says). Company directors KVS Manian or Shanti Ekambaram may succeed him.
“Each nationalist leader is unique, and it is hard to tell which ones believe their own rhetoric. Either way, paranoid nationalism gives them tools to gain power, consolidate it and disguise their abuse of it,” says The Economist, looking at how leaders across the world, including in India, are “whipping up nationalism to win and abuse power.”
Nothing moves in the BCCI without Jay Shah’s approval. “You’re waiting months to get things cleared,” an employee tells Sharda Urga ― maybe the umpire’s hat-band sponsors, or the 2023 World Cup schedule. Drunk on wealth generated over a decade and a half, with the new muscle of its proximity to the BJP regime, the BCCI pays no attention to the acid in its groundwater.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said the INDIA parties “hate Hinduism” and other BJP leaders accused them of giving a ‘genocidal call against Hindus’, citing DMK leader Udhayanaidhi Stalin’s comments against Sanatan Dharma – the caste-system laden belief system that reformers in India have fought against for centuries. An FIR has also now been filed against Udhayanidhi, who is the son of Tamilnadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.
Russia’s share in India’s crude import basket fell to 34% in August from 24% in July, reports the Economic Times, as public sector refiners switched to other sources, mainly Saudi Arabia.
Karnataka has transferred schoolteacher Manjula Devi after she told two Muslim students in Class 5 to “go to Pakistan”. Just days ago, a UP schoolteacher had urged her students to serially slap a Muslim child.
In its cover story, Outlook Business looks at the exclusion of eligible beneficiaries from the government’s welfare safety net owing to data gaps. As per the report, more than 14 crore citizens have been omitted from the food security net because the government has failed to conduct the census on schedule.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has withdrawn the airline codes G8 and 9W of Go First, which has been grounded since May, and Jet Airways, whose founder Naresh Goyal has been arrested.
Another strike for Tamil Nadu’s traditional emphasis on inclusive growth is its free breakfast scheme for primary school students. Families have responded warmly, attendance and enrolment are up, but a few kinks must be ironed out. In a long article, The Hindu identifies what more could be done.
Members of Parliament take their oath of office on the Constitution but one of them is now being asked by the Supreme Court to submit an affidavit that he abides by the Constitution. Why? Because an NGO told the court that National Conference MP Mohd Akbar Lone – a petitioner in the Article 370 case – had once shouted the slogan ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has reversed the suspension of a lecturer whom it had earlier penalised for arguing against the scrapping of Article 370 in the ongoing matter before the Supreme Court. The court had taken a dim view of the suspension but has not as yet asked anyone from the government side to submit an affidavit stating that they owe to allegiance to the Constitution.
Every West Bengal election, even for local bodies, is a hand-to-hand battle between the TMC and the BJP but in panchayat boards, they have ganged up to keep a rival faction out, or the BJP and the Left have closed ranks to muscle out the TMC, reports Indian Express.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation plans to demolish the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) Stadium, Ahmedabad Mirror reports. “Instead of spending crores on repairs, construction of a new one is a better idea which would last for another 50-60 years,” the leader said. A brand new stadium would be part of Ahmedabad’s anticipated bid for the 2036 Summer Olympics. Designed in the 1960s by the architect Charles Correa and the engineer Mahendra Raj, the SVP stadium is a modernist classic built to host international cricket matches. It began to host domestic ones after what is today the Narendra Modi Stadium was built in 1982.
Rural England doesn’t like ‘townies’ in search of the bucolic ideal moving in and taking over. Mukesh Ambani took over the 300 acre Stoke Park estate in Buckinghamshire for £57 million in 2021 and closed down the prestigious golf and country club and chucked out the members. Two years later, the property is still closed for renovation and there is continuing friction over whether the Ambanis are trying to convert the 1,000-year-old heritage property into a private home. “I hope he has nothing but bad luck with it,” an offended golfer told the Financial Times.
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