After Ousting BJP in Bihar, Nitish Raises 2024 Poser for Modi; Centre Arbitrarily Squeezing States’ Fiscal Freedom To Borrow
India importing more pearls than world produces, international flights to share PAX details, Kashyap finds no producers for political films, BJP washes turncoat netas whitest, no tiranga = no food.
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Snapshot of the day
August 10, 2022
The Supreme Court has granted regular, i.e. permanent bail to the poet Varavara Rao on medical ground. The 81-year-old poet is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
This afternoon, Nitish Kumar took the oath as chief minister of Bihar for the eighth term. "He won in 2014, but will he in 2024?", Nitish asked about PM Narendra Modi’s future national prospects. With the JDU walking out of the BJP-led NDA alliance, the third, long-standing partner of the BJP to do so in 18 months, after the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, all eyes are now on JD(U) MP and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chair Harivansh Narayan Singh ― will he resign? In September 2020, as the ruling NDA’s candidate, Singh was re-elected deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
In North India, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Delhi, Punjab and now Bihar do not have a BJP chief minister. Only Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, MP and UP have a BJP CM. Sankarshan Thakur, biographer of both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, has an insightful reading on the many implications of this political shift in Bihar.
The BBC reports that thousands of cattle owners in Gujarat and at least three other states ― Rajasthan, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh ― are reeling from a severe outbreak of lumpy skin disease. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) describes it as “a vector-borne pox… characterised by the appearance of skin nodules.”
The Coin Yatra, undertaken by over 350 Dalits with two truckloads of Rs 1 coin worth Rs 20 lakh and a 1,000 kg brass coin bearing the faces of Bhim Rao Ambedkar and Gautam Buddha, was stopped in its tracks at the Rajasthan-Haryana border near Shahjahanpur by the police on Sunday night. The activists were shown a letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs, stating that the Coin Yatra must be halted, said Dalit activist Martin Macwan, who helped organise the Yatra. The Yatra wanted to donate the money towards the construction of the new Parliament complex so that their concerns about the continuation of untouchability are noted in the very foundations of the new building.
As noted yesterday, Shrikant Tyagi, the BJP politician who erected unauthorised structures in Noida and misbehaved with and assaulted a woman who objected, has been arrested. But the reluctance of most media to call him a BJP politician is astounding, even by 2022 standards. Alt News’ Mohammed Zubair did a fact check. Ajay Gudavarthy notes that the politics of the current regime harnesses deception or benefits from it. It is a condition, not merely a cunning strategy.
Kapil Sibal isn’t alone: senior members of the Bar are hitting out at the Supreme Court for ensuring the prosecution and jailing of activists. In an explosive interview senior advocate Dushyant Dave took on the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Zakia Jafri case, the PMLA case, issues concerning the Master of the Roster system, and opaqueness of listing of cases by the Supreme Court registry. He says the Supreme Court has crossed all lines of propriety in ordering the prosecution of activists. Mansvani Ranganathan writes that the judiciary cannot become a hollow hope, as in Just Mercy and Jai Bhim.
Airlines must share all information on international passengers with the central government 24 hours before departure. The details to be shared for both inbound and outbound international flights include the name of the passenger, billing/payment information (credit card number), date of issue of ticket as well as intended travel, names of other travellers on the same PNR and their itinerary, contact details like email, mobile number, details of travel agency, baggage information and code share information. The data sought goes well beyond what India, along with governments, already collects under the APIS requirements.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has detected an anomaly in the trade in pearls ― in 2010-20, India imported much more than the global output. With high-value transactions in foreign exchange, due to the high volume of diamond and gold imports, the gems and jewellery sector is susceptible to money laundering and round-tripping, the CAG said. Earlier, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had raised similar concerns, and said that inflating trade volumes increases business status and finance options.
India’s trade gap with the UAE ballooned four-fold in the May-June period, the first two months since the India-UAE free trade agreement came into effect, driven by a jump in oil and gold imports. The country’s trade deficit with the UAE widened to $3.92 billion in the two-month period from $980 million the year earlier.
Nepal has stopped the entry of Covid-positive people from India after four Indian tourists tested positive for the virus and were sent back. They had entered Nepal via the Jhulaghat border point in western Nepal. Covid-19 cases are shooting up in Nepal, with 1,090 new infections recorded on Tuesday.
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Soon, you will be able to take Biological E’s Corbevax as the third dose, after double vaccination with Covishield or Covaxin. Mint reports that the Union Health Ministry is likely to approve Corbevax for the purpose for people above 18. This would be India’s first instance of combining vaccines.
Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, aircraft in India faced 478 technical snags. Air India faced 184 glitches, the highest among Indian airlines, and Indigo followed with 98 glitches. Spicejet faced 77.
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has upheld a 2017 Competition Commission of India order dismissing a complaint of predatory pricing against WhatsApp, filed by the NGO Fight for Transparency Society. The NCLAT said WhatsApp has not abused its dominance.
Religious leaders and mourners in Kashmir accuse the administration of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha of employing “double standards” in facilitating the ongoing Amarnath pilgrimage by providing unprecedented security cover while “restricting our freedom to practice our faith” by invoking public order for Muharram processions. Kamran Yousuf has a photo-essay of Muharram from Srinagar.
The Union government’s budgetary allocation to states under the Khelo India scheme reveals a blatant bias against non-BJP states. Telangana got Rs 24.11 crore and Andhra Pradesh Rs 33.80 crore, while Gujarat got Rs 608.37 crore, UP Rs 503.02 crore, Arunachal Pradesh Rs 183.72 crore and Karnataka got Rs 128.52 crore. Besides, the notion that investment in sport under Modi has brought in a record Commonwealth Games performance is wrong. India’s best performance was in 2010, when it came second.
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap says that producers are no longer ready to back his films which are even remotely socio-political or religious, fearing the projects may invite a boycott. Kashyap, whose films have earned India global recognition, cannot think of attempting his acclaimed Black Friday, which chronicled the 1993 Mumbai blasts, or Gangs of Wasseypur — his two part epic marrying crime, revenge and politics — in the current climate. “Today… I have written a lot of scripts but there are no takers. There are no takers for a lot of films which are remotely about politics or religion,” said Kashyap.
Lord Mountbatten’s Partition was a disaster in which a million died. Using newly colourised archive footage, a new Channel 4 documentary explores those brutal events.
Nationalism is on sale ― by force, to the poorest, so that it can’t be called a freebie. See what happened to the poor in Karnal, Haryana:
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