Government Dodges Covaxin RTI Query But WHO Response Nails It; Maharashtra BJP Chief Speaks of Heartburn About Shinde as CM
Congress sexism lets BJP off the hook, MP suspensions up 170% under Modi, first Census delay since 1881, India silent on Myanmar hangings, railway concessions may return, Shastri sees IPL expansion
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
July 28, 2022
This passed relatively unnoticed, but on Tuesday, the government told Parliament that the Census due in 2021 has been deferred till further orders. This is the first time since 1881 that a census has officially been postponed. Covid-19 is the proffered reason but it doesn’t wash. No census means no data for planning.
Meanwhile, a sexist reference to President Droupadi Murmu as ‘rashtrapatni’ by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury helped the BJP train its guns on the opposition and ensure that parliament, for yet another day, avoided a discussion on issues the government is keen to duck. Sonia Gandhi said Chowdhury had apologised and the matter should end there but minister Smriti Irani – battling demons of her own – insisted on upping the ante.
Kanwar pilgrims from Haryana, feted in BJP-ruled states, attacked and killed an Indian Army soldier, a Jat Regiment jawan with sticks and sharp weapons in Haridwar on Tuesday. He was a fellow pilgrim from UP. A case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder has been registered against 20 pilgrims.
Since August 2019, nine civilian government employees, including a Kashmiri Pandit, have lost their lives in terror-related incidents in J&K, the government told the Rajya Sabha. It also claimed that no Kashmiri Pandit left the Valley this year. But Kashmiri Pandit leaders say nearly 4% of the 1,200 employees stationed at different transit camps across Kashmir left the Valley and “almost all employees” living in private accommodations migrated to Jammu after the targeted attacks.
Three tribal sisters have been found hanging from a tree in Khandwa. A probe has been ordered ‘from all angles’ into the death of the girls, who were living with their mother in the village and had lost their father four years ago.
Violence erupted in Bellare town of the communally sensitive Dakshina Kannada district yesterday as the ruling BJP faced the ire of Hindutva extremists after a Yuva Morcha member was hacked to death on Tuesday night. Police countered stone-pelting with a lathi-charge when the body of Praveen Nettaru was taken out in a procession from the Puttur government hospital to Bellare, where he was killed. BJP cadres turned against their own government, accusing leaders of failing to keep Hindus safe. Activists heckled and almost attacked BJP leaders who came to offer condolences to the grieving family. The car of BJP state president and local MP Nalin Kumar Kateel was punctured and almost toppled. He escaped with the help of the police. The crowd shouted slogans against RSS leader Kalladka Prabhar Bhat, calling him a cheat. The crowd told minister V Sunil Kumar, who is in charge of Dakshina Kannada, Fisheries Minister S Angara and Puttur MLA Sanjeev Matandoor to go back.
Madhya Pradesh will remove chapters on Mughals and Tipu Sultan from school textbooks and instead teach the “honoured history and traditions of India”, School Education Minister Inder Singh Parmar has said.
After stonewalling demands to restore fare concessions to senior citizens and sportspersons axed during the pandemic, the Railways could back off ― by August 15 or ahead of year-end Assembly elections. Senior citizens travelling for medical reasons or on pilgrimage may get concessions first, and sportspersons on an ad hoc basis. Though Opposition parties had protested against the withdrawal of concessions in 2020, Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told the Rajya Sabha that they burden the exchequer.
With the Samajwadi Party-Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) alliance at an end in UP, two other former SP allies – Keshav Dev Maurya’s Mahan Dal and Sanjay Chauhan’s Janwadi Party (Socialist) – have hinted at re-entering the coalition. They had parted ways with the SP-led alliance after the Assembly polls. Maurya was miffed at not being given a seat by the SP and Chauhan was disenchanted with Akhilesh Yadav’s approach to the Rampur and Azamgarh Lok Sabha by-elections.
There is a 170% increase in the suspension of MPs under the Modi government. Suspensions have zoomed in the Lok Sabha since 2014 and in the Rajya Sabha since the Modi government’s second term began in 2019, according to official data.
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Paytm allegedly suffered a massive data breach on August 30, 2020, affecting over 3.4 million users, according to cyber-security company Firefox Monitor. Passwords were not stolen, but personal details were.
Aviation regulator DGCA yesterday ordered SpiceJet to operate only 50% of its flights for eight weeks. This was done “in view of findings of various spot checks, inspections and the reply to the show cause notice submitted by SpiceJet, for continued sustenance of safe and reliable air transport service”. During these eight weeks, the airline would be subjected to “enhanced surveillance” by the DGCA.
Google yesterday launched its ‘Street View’ feature in India. Twice before in a decade, it had faltered because government agencies raised security concerns over data collection. As per the National Geospatial Policy, 2021, local companies can collect such data and licence it to foreign firms. Google has partnered with Indian mapping solutions provider Genesys International and Tech Mahindra.
Ravi Shastri predicts that the IPL will expand to two seasons per year, with the second a shorter knockout tournament replicating the World Cup. Former India head coach Shastri told Telegraph Sport’s Vaughany and Tuffers CC podcast that TV demand for more IPL content could also be met by expanding the number of teams.
HCL Technologies’ chairperson Roshni Nadar Malhotra remains India’s richest woman with a 54% jump in her net worth to Rs 84,330 crore in 2021. Falguni Nayar, who quit her investment banking career to start the beauty-focused brand Nykaa a decade ago, is the richest self-made woman with Rs 57,520 crore, as per the Kotak Private Banking-Hurun list.
The 44th Chess Olympiad is underway today in Chennai. Russia and China are out of it, lowering the quality of competition.
The future of the film restoration business looks good and OTT players are interested in reviving old films.