Backed By State Initiative, Spurious ‘Racial Purity’ Mania Reborn In India; Jay Shah Wants Asia Cup On ‘Neutral Ground’, Upset Pakistan May Pull Out Of World Cup In India
Kharge beats Tharoor, Jaya probe indicts Sasikala, health minister, Dhanwantari puja prescribed along with Hindi medical textbooks, India’s language mashup: Malayalam-Portuguese creole, Dakhni hip hop
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
October 19, 2022
Mitesh Chimanlal Bhatt, one of the convicts released early in the Bilkis Bano case of 2002, is accused of outraging a woman’s modesty (Sec 354, IPC) while out on parole in June 2020. The trial for that is pending, as per an annexure in the Gujarat government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court. Ten of the 11 convicts released controversially also got parole for over 1,000 days each. The Supreme Court yesterday remarked that the Gujarat government’s reply to pleas challenging their early remission is very bulky, wherein a series of judgments have been quoted but the facts are missing. “Where is the factual statement?” a bench headed by Justice Ajay Rastogi asked.
Mallikarjun Kharge has been elected the first Congress party president since Sitaram Kesri (term 1996-98) who is not a Gandhi. He is a family loyalist, though. He polled about seven times the votes of his opponent, Shashi Tharoor. Rahul Gandhi has said that he will report to Kharge.
A decade after India’s first Hindi university ― Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University (ABVHV) ― failed to promulgate technical, medical and engineering courses in Hindi, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is congratulating it for introducing three transliterated Hindi textbooks for first year MBBS students. The government has claimed that Madhya Pradesh has become the first state to fulfil PM Modi’s vision to start medical and technical education in Hindi, as suggested in the new National Education Policy (NEP). Ironically, the Hindi University, which was set up with lofty objectives in 2011 by the Chouhan government to provide 134 courses in Hindi, is now on the verge of closure.
In the current session, there were only 290 applications for 2,000 seats in 74 courses of 28 departments. In 2017-18, the BJP government had launched three much-hyped engineering courses in Hindi, including Bachelor of Engineering with 180 seats. But these were discontinued within two years for the lack of admissions, study material and qualified Hindi faculty.
Madhya Pradesh Medical Education minister Visvas Sarang yesterday asked all government medical colleges to perform Dhanwantari puja on Dhanteras for public health. Two days ago, instruction in Hindi was introduced in an MBBS course at a government medical college. There is a precedent: in 2004, Gujarat health minister IK Jadeja had put out a circular recommending this puja for “character-building” of medical students.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought another three-month extension to frame rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (2019), without which it can’t be implemented. The Act expedites citizenship for undocumented non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. This is the sixth extension sought.
Real rural wage growth stagnated or shrank in the first five months of the current fiscal, despite growth in economic activities. Nominal growth remained steady but high inflation cut into it. Labour bureau data shows that real wage growth of general agriculture labourers (male) was under 1% since April 2022 and contracted in the first two months of the fiscal. Hence the continuing demand for MGNREGS work in rural areas.
“Even as the government strikes frequent notes of optimism, there are signs that even consumption could ebb. Inflation is humming along, accelerating to a five-month high of 7.4% in September, and industrial activity contracted for the first time in 18 months.” And pent-up demand is running its course, says Mint about the dark clouds over India’s economic growth. “FDI inflows have remained healthy but there has been a sharp volatility in foreign institutional flows — almost Rs 16,000 crore has been withdrawn since September after Rs 51,024 crore of inflows in August.” The US Fed’s fight with inflation will temper global capital flows. NRI deposits too have fallen by $6.84 billion to $134.68 billion as of August 2022 from $141.52 billion a year ago.
According to Crunchbase, Indian startups have raised only $7 billion in the current financial year, less than half of the $15.8 billion raised in the same period last year.
It is almost four months since the last GST meeting was held and the next is not scheduled, though the rules stipulate a meeting every three months. The delay will impact reform measures and new initiatives under GST.
The Centre has fixed the MSP of rabi wheat from April 1 at Rs 2,125/quintal, 5.5% higher than last year but lower than the current average market price of Rs 2,313 per quintal in October 1-17. Even prices in UP and Madhya Pradesh, where most grains are stocked, are higher than MSP. Of the targeted 44.4 million tonnes (mt), the Centre could purchase 18.79 mt of wheat from the 2021-22 crop, though it maintained that production fell only 2.75 mt. Lower purchase led to continuous price rise despite an export ban.
Pakistan yesterday threatened to pull out of next year’s World Cup in India, reacting strongly to BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s statement that India would prefer to play the Asia Cup at a “neutral venue”, after the BCCI AGM in Mumbai on Tuesday. Pakistan is scheduled to host the Asia Cup next year, according to the executive board of the Asian Cricket Council (Shah is its president).
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that it is not easy to establish “modus vivendi” with China after the 2020 border clash and New Delhi should prepare to compete with Beijing “more effectively” in the region. Addressing a conference on ‘China’s Foreign Policy and International Relations in the New Era’ by the Centre for Contemporary China Studies (CCCS), Jaishankar also said that while peace on the border has been the basis for normal bilateral ties, this has been “mischievously conflated” by Beijing with the resolution of the boundary question. “We must prepare to compete more effectively, especially in our immediate periphery,” he said.
The people of Ladakh are still cut up about the Centre’s “imposition” of a logo on the Union Territory that does not reflect the region’s culture and identity. The logo has three mountain-shaped triangles followed by ‘LaDAKH’ and the slogan ‘DISCOVER yourself’. It is dull and disconnected from the region and the people.
The Centre has told the Delhi High Court there is no legal infirmity in the Agnipath scheme for short-term contractual recruitment in the armed forces. It was responding to a consolidated counter-affidavit filed in response to several petitions against the Agnipath scheme and pleas concerning recruitment under previous advertisements.
India’s atmanirbhar plans in defence have triggered the Adani group. Adani Defence Systems & Technologies Ltd (ADSTL) yesterday said it will acquire maintenance, repair and overhaul operator Air Works for Rs 400 crore. Air Works has a presence across 27 cities with six maintenance bays.
In the middle of the festival season, the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre has detected the highly infectious Omicron variant BF.7 or ‘Omicron spawn’, said to be behind the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in China, the US and Europe.
In an interview that reveals how unsafe and ineffective Indian drugs, including generics, can be, authors Dinesh Thakur and Prashant Reddy T, who recently published The Truth Pill: The Myth of Drug Regulation in India, say PM Modi’s advice to doctors to prescribe generics is unwise and dangerous.
Reuters reports from Maharashtra on job losses from climate shocks, which are affecting farm women disproportionately.