In Northeast, Army Pivots From Counter-Insurgency To LAC; Data Protection Bill Should Follow EU Model, Prioritise Trust-Based Data Flows Across Borders
Over 300 attacks on Christians recorded, Centre plays cat and mouse with Yogi over babu, tech & telcos oppose net shutdowns, antibiotic overuse continues, bogus ‘therapies’ still used on queer people
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Snapshot of the day
September 8, 2022
“India’s military readiness is set to further deteriorate just as it faces greater risks from Pakistan and China,” reports Bloomberg, pointing out that a weaker air force must be offset by more troops at the LAC. The Modi government’s focus on domestic procurement is problematic because India “doesn’t yet produce complex platforms like diesel-electric submarines and twin-engine fighters”. Indigenous single-engine fighters are also in short supply.
The Indian Army, which has focused on counter-insurgency in the Northeast for decades, has reoriented its forces to refocus on the Line of Actual Control in the eastern sector. The shift towards conventional combat began around two years ago, and has been completed, with only one army formation ― the 73 Mountain Brigade headquartered in Laipuli ― deployed for counter-insurgency.
Digital news media collective Digipub has condemned income tax raids yesterday on organisations including Oxfam India and the Centre for Policy Research, dressed up as ‘surveys’.
On September 12, a Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice of India will hear petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, whose fallout has been felt across the nation after it came into effect in 2020.
An industry group for tech and telco giants in India has urged the Union government to reduce internet shutdowns, according to Reuters. In 2019 the Union government had put emergency internet shutdowns in the hands of the states, in the interest of law and order. The current system “causes significant inconvenience to the local public at large,” the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which represents Google, Twitter, Facebook and Reliance among others, wrote to the government. The letter says only the central government should act as the governing authority and states must follow a procedure laid out by it. India has led the world in internet shutdowns in the past four years, accounting for 58% of the 182 recorded globally last year, according to Access Now.
Intel Corp has no plans to establish a manufacturing facility in India, the company has stated. Earlier yesterday, India’s transport minister had said that the chipmaker would set up a semiconductor plant in the country.
The Modi government proposes to bail out 14 political parties who owe huge sums for land allotted for their offices, by changing the land use category. The BJP is the biggest defaulter, owing Rs 70 crore to the Union Housing and Urban Affairs ministry for over 4 acres on Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, on which its party office stands. The Congress owes almost Rs 20 crore for 2 acres on Kotla Road. A dozen other parties together owe Rs 60 crore.
The Mumbai Traffic Police yesterday dismissed the allegation that an ambulance was held up for Union Home Minister Amit Shah's convoy to pass. The police said the ambulance was not carrying any emergency patient and that its siren kept wailing due to a technical defect, after videos emerged showing the ambulance stuck in traffic at Andheri while the convoy passed by. However, the ambulance could have been on its way to pick up a patient.
The Union government told the Delhi High Court that guidelines for deplatforming or permanently banning users from social media platforms would come “at some point of time in the future”, and would be prospective. The oral submission was made by Central Government Standing Counsel (CGSC) Kirtiman Singh before Justice Yashwant Varma. Justice Varma wanted to know whether such guidelines were contemplated, since it would have a bearing on the cases it is hearing concerning the suspension of social media accounts, including petitions filed by Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde and satirical accounts like Wokeflix. If the Centre does not take a stand clear by the next hearing on December 9, the court would decide the issue.
After the Allahabad High Court quashed two orders of the UP government notifying 17 sub-castes of Other Backward Classes (OBC) as Scheduled Castes (SC), the state BJP government plans to ask the Centre to pass a law to include them in the Scheduled Castes list. UP has 66 castes on the list. While quashing the two government notifications – by the Samajwadi Party government in 2016 and the BJP government in 2019 – the High Court had said that only Parliament has the power to add new castes to the list.
Until the last moment, no one was sure if UP additional chief secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi would get an extension. Radio silence from the state and the Centre kept rumours swirling. Finally, Awasthi was allowed to retire, and senior IAS officer Sanjay Prasad has been given additional charge of the home department. The Adityanath government has also transferred 16 senior IAS officers, including controversial additional chief secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad. The Awasthi episode has again highlighted the uneasy Centre-UP equation. Awasthi is a confidante of Chief minister Adityanath, but it seems the Centre kept his file pending until it was too late. The cracks are now visible.
The Indian government has asked Amazon to stop selling devices designed to disable car seat belt alarms, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari told Reuters. Such devices and road safety issues are under closer scrutiny after Cyrus Mistry’s death in a car crash.
News that 1 kg of apples sold for Rs 491 in a Delhi mall has rubbed salt in the wounds of apple growers, who are caught in a slump and have been selling even premium qualities for Rs 60 per kg. Growers are now suspicious about the wholesale market crash.
About 70% of organisations in India have suffered a ransomware attack in the last three years while a whopping 81% of organisations fear that fate, a new report showed. Nearly 66% have seen their supply chain subsidiaries fall to attacks. Cybersecurity leader Trend Micro reports that organisations are increasingly compromised via their extensive supply chains. In India, 66% of organisations have cyber insurance while 98% regularly apply security patches.
What’s Love Got To Do With It, a feature film written by Jemima Khan, directed by Shekhar Kapur and featuring Shabana Azmi has been in the making for years. Its trailer dropped yesterday.
India is out of the cricket Asia Cup in UAE. Projected as a war for Asia, the games saw needless bad blood. Pakistan’s victory over Afghanistan last night ensured India’s exit.
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