Anger About Unemployment Boils Over In ‘Double Engine’ States; Why Aadhaar-Election Rolls Link is Ill-advised
Padma awards spurned by three, problem with LIC divestment, facial recognition faces suit, Ranchi Cong celebrates RPN Singh exit, and it took 15 years to figure that Richard Gere kissed Shilpa Shetty
A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
January 26, 2022
Republic Day on the Patna-Gaya rail tracks was marked by students singing the national anthem and waving the tricolour. Anger about unemployment is spilling over. The “double-engine” in UP and Bihar (both have the BJP in office) has not created jobs for the youth, who set fire to a real engine.
Bihar is in its third day of unrest and protests, including attempts to stop trains over concerns of non-transparency in Railway Recruitment Board-Non Technical Popular Categories examinations. Carriages of the Shramjeevi Express were torched today. The Modi government has been forced to backtrack, like with the farm laws, and the Railways have suspended examinations. A committee will be set up to look into grievances. State police face criticism for a lathi charge on students. Police fired in the air in Bihar’s Sitamarhi rail station, where protesters were injured.
The Railways threatened protesting aspirants with a life ban on employment. UP Police attacked hostellers preparing for examinations in Prayagraj in a bizarre drive to round up protesters. The Twitter account of journalist Piyush Rai, who was among the first to post videos of the UP Police raiding student hostels, has been suspended, but they have been picked up by other outlets and leaders. Reuters reports on Indian youth deeply frustrated by rampant and rising unemployment: “Off to Canada”, to work as whatever.
The California State University board of trustees has voted unanimously to ratify the California Faculty Association contract that includes caste as a protected category. The BJP-RSS-leaning Hindu American Foundation had opposed it.
Transparency International says in its latest report: “India is particularly worrying. While the country’s score has remained stagnant… mechanisms that could rein in corruption are weakening. There are concerns over the country’s democratic status, as fundamental freedoms and institutional checks and balances decay. Journalists and activists … have been victims of attacks by the police, political militants, criminal gangs and corrupt local officials. Civil society organisations that speak up against the government have been targeted…”
As India slides on multiple indices, the IMF has delivered yet another downgrade. In October, it had projected 9.5% GDP growth for India, but its World Economic Outlook has now reduced it to 9% for the current fiscal year and 7.1% into 2023.
After spending seven years and over Rs 20,000 crore for the Namami Gange project for cleaning the river and its tributaries, the government is looking to the European and US river rejuvenation model for future planning in the Ganga basin.
If India were to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, it would have to spend $600 billion annually for the next 30 years, which means as much as 11% of GDP, McKinsey said. This would be much higher than the global average of 7.5% of GDP.
India is set to boost sunflower oil imports from Argentina and Russia since shipments from Ukraine, the biggest supplier, would be disrupted if Russia invades. Ukraine and Russia account for almost 80% of the world’s sunflower oil. India bought 1.89 million tons of the crude variety in the year ended October, with Ukraine supplying almost 74% and Argentina and Russia accounting for about 12% each.
Meanwhile, the BBC discovers “why deadly cow attacks are an issue” in the UP elections.
Thirty-four personalities from Karnataka have written a joint open letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai expressing concern over “frequent violence against religious minorities” in the state. They include historians Ramachandra Guha and Prof Janaki Nair, scientists Prof Sharadchandra Lele, Prof Vinod Gaur and Prof Vidyanand Nanjundiah, sociologists AR Vasavi and Prof Satish Deshpande, Kannada writers Vivek Shanbhag, Purushottam Bilimale and KP Suresha, and activist Bezwada Wilson.
A lawsuit against facial recognition in Telangana could set a precedent for the rest of India. As the technology is deployed nationwide, digital rights activists warn about infringement of privacy.
Changes proposed in the All India Service (AIS) rules have been opposed by 11 of the 17 states that have responded, with most arguing that they would kill the federal compact. The opposing states are Rajasthan, Telangana, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Bihar and Karnataka. BJP-ruled Karnataka is expected to send a revised note next week.
Kerala martial arts practitioner and bodybuilder Abheesh’s videos, which are strikingly like Tovino’s superhero stunts in Minnal Murali, have gone viral after the release of the film. It has garnered 93 million views on the Guinness World Records Facebook page.
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