Future Prospects Of Agniveers: BJP Office Security Guards; Bomb blast at Kabul Gurdwara Exposes Modi’s CAA Charade
Livelihood crisis in the hinterland, GST Council meet moved from Srinagar to Chandigarh, multinationals declining to Make in India, and following Punjab, Andaman cops declare war on carbs and fats
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 20, 2022
Amid escalating protests against the Agnipath military recruitment scheme, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday held a meeting with the three service chiefs ― the second in 48 hours ― to find ways to pacify protesters angry about the discriminatory and exploitative scheme announced last Tuesday. In a press conference held by the additional secretary, Department of Military Affairs, the government insisted that it would not roll back the scheme.
BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said that Agniveers under the Agnipath scheme would be recruited as security guards for party offices on priority. His colleague, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, said that the armed forces would be a training ground for skilled labour roles, like drivers and electricians. Coincidentally, one doesn’t hear much about the ‘skilling India’ initiative anymore.
In The Hindu, Sushant Singh (a contributor to The India Cable) explains the economic motivations and the security, social and political implications of the short-term contractual recruitment scheme. In Deccan Herald, he explains the political and economic reasons behind violent protests, government propaganda about the scheme, the reluctance of the armed forces, and invokes Orwell’s politics of language to explain this ‘reform’. AVM Manmohan Bahadur (retd) argues that such a fundamental change should have been implemented in stages through pilot projects, like short service commissions and the entry of women were introduced. Lt Gen Bhopinder Singh (retd) wonders whether the military leadership briefed the BJP government about this fearlessly and professionally, or were they party to the political agenda?
The government has granted e-visas to 111 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, the day after a deadly attack by the Islamic State on a gurdwara in Kabul. Their applications were pending since September 2021 (see The Long Cable below). The Hindu reports that the attack may have prompted a rethink in India on reopening the embassy there. The attack could be a “message” from Islamabad, as India seeks re-entry into Afghanistan.
The Sri Lanka Sunday Times reports that the Adani Group intends to expand further through Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL), which has secured wind and solar plants of 500 MW capacity in Mannar and Pooneryn. This is bound to intensify protests against Adani in Lanka.
At the 12th WTO ministerial meet, India’s gains are limited, as there is no sign of a permanent solution for public stockholding. Although India had negotiated a peace clause in case MSP subsidies breach the cap of 10% of produce, its conditionalities are daunting. Its demand for protection of ﬁshers has been extended globally and does not spell a special advantage. On TRIPS, the limited waiver on vaccines is only a small gain for India, which has a compulsory licence regime. Moreover, therapeutics and diagnostics have been excluded. Waivers on trade secrets and copyrights were also not extended. India agreed to exempt World food Programme purchases from export restrictions but its demand of allowing G2G exports for humanitarian purposes from public stocks was blocked.
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The Union government has recommended disciplinary action against 400 chartered accountants and company secretaries for their alleged role in incorporating Chinese shell companies in metropolises by flouting norms and rules, reports The Hindu. Though Chinese FDI growth has fallen to nothing in the past two years due to regulatory measures, bilateral trade hit a record $125 billion last year.
NCERT has scrubbed school textbooks of content relating to the Gujarat riots of 2002 and a lot of material on caste discrimination. So, what exactly has been removed and added in recent years? Here is a checklist.
The Madhya Pradesh Culture Department’s push for pomp and excess has damaged the arts, finds M Rajshekhar.
School of Planning and Architecture graduate Nairita Chakraborty will be Commissioner of Historic England, the public body promoting the UK’s heritage. Chakraborty has over 16 years of experience in heritage, townscape and design. She is a member of Historic England’s advisory committee and will take charge as commissioner from July 1 for four years.
Factchecker.in finds that the Centre’s Union government’s claims about hand-washing facilities and girls’ toilets in schools don’t add up. The BJP government, through its nodal media agency, the Press Information Bureau, claimed on June 12, 2022 that 97% of schools in India have these facilities. Not true.
In Andaman and Nicobar, which a government health survey found is the weightiest place in India, the police have declared creamy curries, oily paneer and carb-rich dosas Public Enemy No 1, and have embraced diet discipline and physical fitness. In Punjab, a court has barred overweight cops from raids on bootleggers and drug peddlers because they’re too slow. But the effort in the islands is unique in its scale, reports the New York Times.
In his blog, Narendra Modi said his mother turns 100 this year. He also said that his mother’s mother died of the Spanish flu pandemic, which is generally dated to have ended by 1920. Somehow, that doesn’t add up. A video ANI posted of Modi visiting his mum had folks commenting on how he only emerged from his car once the photographers were in place.
Also, Modi introduced Bal Abbas from his childhood, causing a flutter on social media. Some suggested it is time to make Modi, Abbas, Anthony. One analyst said the memory of Abbas is back thanks to Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia.
A Muslim groom in Shravasti, UP, rode a bulldozer instead a car to the wedding. He did a circuit of the area on the bulldozer, with the locals raising the slogan: “Bulldozer Baba ki jai.”