G7 Caps Price of Russian Oil, India Likely to Bypass It; Instead of Withdrawing Food Security, Minimum Income Guarantee Needed
India tightens belt after festive season, Ivy League campus recognises caste discrimination, environment minister denies link between air pollution and health, 1,000 crocodiles headed Ambani’s way
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
December 5, 2022
While Hindu extremists today see Indian Muslims as aliens, South Asia’s first mosque bears witness to over a millennium of communal diversity and harmony. Seema Chishti on the tale of two mosques, one demolished in Ayodhya by Hindutva goons on December 6, 1992, and the other standing ― indeed, restored ― in Kerala, South Asia’s first.
The banality of horror: a vegetable vendor in Kanpur, lost both his legs on Friday after being hit by a train. He was collecting his weighing scale and other belongings thrown on the railway tracks by a police team during an anti-encroachment drive. The UP Police have suspended a head constable for negligence.
The jury is out ― in the open. “It saddens us greatly to see the festival platform being used for politics and subsequent personal attacks on Nadav,” IFFI jury members Jinko Gotoh, Pascale Chavance and Javier Angulo Barturen said in a joint statement against the demonisation of the jury chair for calling out The Kashmir Files. The Israeli ambassador revealed that pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic hate messages were in his inbox. The episode has exposed India’s ingrained majoritarian intolerance.
Brown is the first Ivy League campus to recognise caste discrimination, adding “a new provision to its nondiscrimination policy that explicitly prohibits caste oppression.” Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Sylvia Carey-Butler, who developed the policy change, said that as the South Asian population in the US increases, caste discrimination is a growing issue on campus.
The families of the eight ex-naval officers in custody in Qatar were told yesterday by officials of the company where they worked that their custody has been increased by one more month at a court hearing. The former Indian Navy officers have been in solitary confinement since August 30, and there is no public information of the charges against them. Their families have been urging New Delhi to secure their release.
The Taliban’s Head of Political Office Suhail Shaheen has said that a Taliban delegation met with the head of mission of the Indian Embassy in Kabul and invited its teams to help build and sustain infrastructure in the country. The relationship between the Taliban administration and India remains undefined and India, which has not recognised it, is hesitant to acknowledge contact. An Indian technical team was sent to reopen the embassy a few months back. Engaging the Taliban is good statecraft, but it’s “all tactical, and in the absence of strategic engagement, they raise serious questions about India’s long-term goals”, writes Sushant Singh in The Morning Context.
Polling will end in Gujarat today, with 93 Assembly constituencies across 14 districts of north and central Gujarat voting. Ajoy Ashirwad looks at how important the ‘communal question’ still is in the state. Important by-elections in UP, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha are also on today. Narendra Modi turned the casting of his own vote into a televised spectacle lasting nearly two-and-a-half hours, prompting complaints from the Congress about the blatant violation of elections laws which prohibit campaigning and advertising on polling day.
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State Bank of India economic research report Ecowrap finds that the rising cost of living since September 2021 in India matches that of the US, but is lower than European countries affected directly by the Ukraine War. In rupee terms, if the household budget/cost of living was Rs 100 in September 2021 across all countries, it has now increased by Rs 12 in the US and India, but by Rs 20 in Germany and Rs 23 in the UK.
CAG data reveals that the pension bill has exceeded salary and spending on wages for the Centre and three states, including Gujarat.
An Oxfam India report titled ‘India Inequality Report 2022: Digital Divide’ finds that while 61% of men owned mobile phones in 2021, only 31% women had access. Digital technologies remain limited to urban, upper-caste and upper-class men. While 8% of the ‘general’ caste have access to a computer or a laptop, less than 1% of the Scheduled Tribes and 2% of the Scheduled Castes can afford it.
The government has controversially opened yet another week-long window for electoral bond sales starting today, less than a month after it amended the Electoral Bond Scheme to enable an additional fortnight of sales in years when states and Union Territories with legislatures have polls. The 29th tranche will be sold till December 12.
Planned regulation of online gaming in India will apply to all games involving real money, after the PMO overruled a proposal to only regulate games of skill, not chance. A Modi adviser in a meeting stated that “online gaming may be considered as one activity/service”, reports Reuters.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started from Kanyakumari on September 7, will conclude on January 26 in Kashmir, after covering 3,500 km. Earlier, Rahul Gandhi was to end the yatra by hoisting the tricolour in Srinagar on February 20, but the event has been pulled back to Republic Day. Mallikarjun Kharge will be approved as Congress president in a plenary session before February 7, and the new Congress Working Committee will be formed. Long-overdue organisational changes will be carried out.
The Telegraph reports on a campaign in BJP-governed Uttarakhand for over two months “in pursuit of an uncommon demand: make public the names of the VIP clients of a prostitution racket” that allegedly led to the murder of a teenaged receptionist at a resort owned by the son of a BJP leader. On Saturday, 500 people marched to Raj Bhavan in Dehradun and were lathicharged.
Singapore’s amendment to its Constitution to “protect” the heterosexual definition of marriage and shield the constitutionality of this definition from legal challenge has partly been justified by the government “citing the increasingly liberal stance the Supreme Court of India has taken on issues of marriage and familial structure since it decriminalised homosexuality in 2018.”
Unregistered (and unscrupulous) financial advisors (Finfluencers) have become so successful that “Sebi’s onerous regulations for registered advisors look hopelessly ineffective, and those who follow them feel like losers.”
The Bhopal gas disaster anniversary just went by. The flight of specialists from the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre, set up to treat victims of the tragedy 38 years ago on the night of December 2, 1984, is an indicator of the state of healthcare in Madhya Pradesh. Over 60% of posts in faculties and for Specialist Grade doctors are vacant ― 41 out of 68. Of the 18 departments, five (medical gastroenterology, surgical gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology and endocrinology) have been closed for long due to the failure to recruit personnel. In November, the High Court had directed the Indian Council of Medical Research to fill vacant posts within 14 days.
Environment minister Ashwini Choubey said in Parliament that there is no conclusive data to establish a direct correlation between air pollution and health. Factchecker.in finds that “his own ministry’s peer-reviewed research contradicts the claim.”
Did an RTI reveal that Rs 30 crore were spent on Modi’s visit to Morbi? Evidently not, as per a fact-check. Like many others, we at the Cable were taken in by the fake news, and we apologise.
India tightens belt after festive season
Rural demand for FMCGs in November dropped after the festive season. Urban demand is also affected,
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