CJI, Chandrachud Bat for Indian Judges Abroad, Face Googlies Too; Modi Hopes Murmu Will Help Him Win More Than Just One Election
Bihar seethes but Nitish mum on Agnipath stir, 51 killed in Assam encounters under BJP, for India food stocks are no luxury, inflation making gig work unsustainable, health warnings in Sanskrit now
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
June 22, 2022
India’s presidential election is a month away – the electoral college will vote on July 18 – but Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to have scored big with his nomination of Droupadi Murmu as the BJP-NDA candidate. She will take on Yashwant Sinha of the combined opposition. Murmu is a Santhali politician from Odisha, a former BJP MLA in the state and an ex-governor of Jharkhand. She will be the first adivasi President of India and only the second woman to hold the post. Her nomination is expected to cement the BJP’s hold on the adivasi vote, which is especially significant in Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra – all states ruled by opposition parties. The Biju Janata Dal has already declared its backing for Murmu and all non-BJP MLAs and MPs will find it difficult not to support her.
Political uncertainty continues to prevail in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde now claims the support of 40 MLAs, many of whom the BJP has helped whisk away to distant Assam. One option the MVA coalition government of the Sena, Congress and NCP face is to dissolve the assembly and go in for fresh elections. But the governor has to agree to play ball. Here’s the backstory.
Addressing the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce on ‘Arbitration in a Globalised World – The Indian Experience’ in Dortmund, Germany, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana has said that the Indian judiciary is recognised for valuing the rule of law and can be trusted “for its absolute independence and its inherent constitutional strength to treat all parties equally and equitably”. His colleague Justice DY Chandrachud is touring the UK and faced uncomfortable questions at a seminar on ‘Protecting human rights and preserving civil liberties: The role of courts in a democracy’, held at King’s College in London yesterday evening. He was asked about the ‘justice’ which the apex court has given Muslim minorities ― the arbitrary demolition of homes and businesses, the fake hijab controversy, the Babri Masjid decision, and even the revocation of Article 370, which stripped J&K of its special status. Justice Chandrachud said he could not comment on cases which were mostly in court, and his status as a judge also imposed some restrictions. He judge spoke the court’s ruling on permanent commissions for women officers in the military – he was part of that bench – but ducked a question on the Babri ruling, saying that he would be unable to comment as he was part of the bench.
In an open letter, the Constitutional Conduct Group of former civil servants has requested the Chief Justice of India to take urgent cognizance of gross violations of the rule of law in UP and other parts of the country, where arbitrary executive action is being taken against protesters legitimately criticising the government.
Isaac Chotiner has interviewed controversial filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri in the New Yorker. The introduction notes: “The Kashmir Files is not subtle. Numerous scenes show angry and bloodthirsty Muslims leering at Hindu women, and inflicting torture and humiliations upon Hindu families. Though Hindus make up four-fifths of India’s population, the film presents Kashmir as a cautionary tale — that a large group of Muslims could at any moment turn against Hindus. To see it as anything other than a glorified exercise in stigmatisation and fear-mongering would be a mistake. And it was released in India at an especially perilous time. Communal violence directed at India’s Muslim minority has risen steeply in recent years.” Don’t miss the hilarious Q&A.
Yesterday, the rupee again breached the 78 mark against the dollar, driven down by inflationary concerns, to hit a fresh low of 78.0825. The previous record low (closing) was 78.0700 on June 17.
Despite US pressure and tightening European sanctions, India is buying cheap Russian crude oil, joining rival China and frustrating Western pressure on Russian president Vladimir Putin. Initially wary, private refiners Reliance Industries and Russian Rosneft-controlled Nayara Energy have developed an appetite for discounted Urals, making Russia India’s second biggest oil supplier last month, overtaking Saudi Arabia.
On the back of rising crude oil purchases, India’s imports from sanctions-hit Russia jumped 3.5 times within a year in April to $2.3 billion, according to Commerce Ministry data. In April, crude imports from Russia were at $1.3 billion, 57% of total imports from the country, which included coal, soybean and sunflower oil, fertilisers, and non-industrial diamonds. That month, Russia was also the fourth-largest crude supplier to India, after Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the (UAE). Overall, Russia was the sixth largest exporter to India. In April 2021, Russia was the seventh biggest source of crude oil for India and overall, it ranked 21st among India’s import partners.
Vice reports on the UPSC exams, from “inside the cutthroat culture of one of the world’s toughest exams” where it finds “an endless cycle of debt and systemic biases discriminating against minorities.”
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Apparently depressed about the Agnipath recruitment scheme, which has triggered widespread protests, a 19-year-old ended his life yesterday in Jhunjhunu. The victim’s uncle told police that Ankit, who was preparing for a competitive exam, hanged himself at his rented accommodation in Chidwawa.
The Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP) has said the Agnipath scheme would reduce the armed forces to pension-less irregular forces, compromising national security. “The problem of insurgency assumes alarming proportions in the Northeast. This year alone, more than 250 youth joined the banned insurgent group United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). We fear some Agniveers will join militant outfits if they don’t get employment at the end of their four-year service,” AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.
At least 44 people have died in floods and landslides in Assam since June 14. The National Disaster Response Force was rushed to Cachar in the Barak Valley as the flood situation in Assam remained critical yesterday with the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers and their tributaries in spate, affecting nearly 48 lakh people. Floods following continuous rain over a week has inundated 32 of 36 districts and 11 were reported missing in the last 24 hours. Scroll reports from the worst-hit district, where the state government’s neglect is visible, and food and drinking water are running out. Marooned residents of Barpeta have been left to their own devices, they say.
Rs 10.7 trillion, nearly 6% of the Gross Value Added (GVA) of Indian businesses, is locked up annually as delayed payments from buyers to MSME suppliers, said the first comprehensive report on the subject by the Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME) and Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) India.
Rising food and fuel costs are “making gig work unsustainable and workers in India, Argentina, and South Africa say that they are struggling to make ends meet.”
The sports industry in India ― media rights, apparel, nutrition, equipment etc ― is likely to grow five-fold to $100 billion by 2027, from $27 billion in 2020, finds a new report by brokerage firm Anand Rathi Investment Banking. IPL, which has scaled to over nine million viewers, will provide the push. The sports media market, worth $1 billion in 2020, is estimated to grow to over $13.4 bn by 2027.
Senior diplomat Ruchira Kamboj has been appointed India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, and will succeed TS Tirumurti. The 1987-batch Indian Foreign Service officer is now India’s envoy to Bhutan.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike spent Rs 24 crore on Varanasi MP and PM Modi’s visit to the city, tarring roads, fixing potholes, covering drains and painting road markings. That is the price of the perfection that Modi craves for his pictures, and perfect choreography.
Srinivas BV @srinivasiycWhat is Modi ji trying to do? https://t.co/uIBI65t1R4
Pushback against China at BRICS
India is expected to push back against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anticipated attempt to use the BRICS summit to highlight