India Global Leader in Dubious Category – Internet Shutdowns – Fourth Year Running; Amit Shah's ‘Jumla’ Riles HC Judge When Used By Umar Khalid
Adani formally enters media, Reliance allies with Murdoch & Uday Shankar for streaming giant, Ambani bids for Boots, German soccer star tweets on plight of Indian Muslims, spike in ransomware attacks
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
April 28, 2022
In Roorkee, women and children have been hiding in fields and forests far from their homes for almost a fortnight, without food or water in a heat wave, ever since a dharam sansad was scheduled there, Nikita Jain and Sumedha Pal report for The Wire. Muslim residents say that their cattle were attacked to destroy their livelihood. The authorities eventually banned the event when the Supreme Court took the state government it would be held responsible, but apparently a little too late.
One of the world’s most popular soccer players, Mesut Ozil, has said he is praying for the safety and well-being of Muslims in India. Of Turkish origin, Ozil is from Germany. MEA reporters are on standby for any expression of official churlishness that might come their way.
Union Power Minister RK Singh has told states to step up coal imports for the next three years. The statement by Singh follows up on a major policy reversal suggested this month, when the Centre asked utilities run by state governments to step up coal imports. That move itself was contrary to the long-standing national objective to import less coal. The new development is inconsistent and ad hoc, and betrays serious lack of planning. Remember CoP26, where India’s announcements were treated with surprise and scepticism?
Some foreign investors have concerns about the LIC IPO, said LIC Chairman MR Kumar, the day after the insurance giant filed its initial public offering (IPO) papers which revealed that India expects to raise up to $2.74 billion, just a third of its original target, from selling a 3.5% stake.
It’s a myth that an IIT degree guarantees a lucrative job. Careers360 looked at data and filed RTIs with all IITs. Thirteen responded and the research shows that “the median salary, highest salary, placement percentage etc. of all IITs are largely influenced by the top-paying jobs in select branches (computer science, IT etc.). If you were to remove them, the average salary and placements would fall dramatically.”
“We cannot compare Bhagavad Gita with other religious books like the Quran and Bible. You can teach about Jesus’ life just like Swami Vivekananda and others but should not impose religious text on students,” said Karnataka Education Minister BC Nagesh. The day earlier, Bengaluru Archbishop Peter Machado had asked, “If children are requested to buy the Bhagavad Gita or books of other religions, can it be considered as forcing them to be influenced or inducing them to be converted to these particular religions?”
An effort by railway authorities to have a temple shifted from an Agra platform for passenger safety has prompted its saffron-robed priest to threaten “a law-and-order issue”. District officials say the administration also opposes the shrine’s removal. Coinciding with the standoff, Agra also witnessed a sadhu and Hindutva activists creating a ruckus outside the Taj Mahal on consecutive days after he was prevented from entering with the declared intention of visiting the “Shiva temple” that he claimed underlay the Mughal mausoleum.
Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) is venturing into media with the incorporation of wholly-owned subsidiary AMG Media Networks “…to carry on the business of media-related activities, including… publishing, advertising, broadcasting, distributing etc. of content over different types of media networks,” AEL said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Reliance and Viacom18 have announced a strategic partnership with Bodhi Tree Systems, a platform of James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar, to form one of the largest TV and digital streaming companies in India.
Mukesh Ambani and US buyout firm Apollo Global Management are planning a joint bid for UK high street pharmacy chain Boots, according to the Financial Times. The buyout group is working with Ambani’s Reliance Industries on a bid that, if successful, would see one of Britain’s best-known retailers expanding its presence into Southeast Asia, the Middle East and India, where the ‘drugstore’ market has so far been the preserve of family-run shops with chains making only a small dent so far.
Indians are devoid of scepticism about artificial intelligence and believe it will solve their problems. A study finds that “84% globally and 96% in India believe businesses would make more progress towards sustainability and social goals with the help of AI. Globally, 61% and 83% in India even believe bots will succeed where humans have failed.”
“Prashant Kishor was responsible for the TMC’s humiliating defeat in the Goa polls. He was in Goa to blackmail the Congress and eventually ended up helping the BJP to form the government again,” said Goa Trinamool Congress chief Kiran Kandolkar as he resigned yesterday. Digvijay Singh, who was part of the eight-member strategy group on Kishor, said it is ultimately the party that has to put its house in order. “Consultant or no consultant, I have a strong hunch that the ‘Chintan Shivir’ would lead to bringing in a New Congress which is the need of the hour,” he tweeted.
The Centre yesterday told the Supreme Court that all transfers and postings of public officials in Delhi should be under its control since the national capital is the “face of the nation.” Delhi cannot be left to the “small mercies and smaller resources” of a state legislature, it reasoned. The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, was hearing petitions by the Delhi government against the Centre’s control of civil services. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said, “Since Delhi is the national capital, it is necessary that the Centre has powers over appointments and transfers of public servants. Delhi is the face of the nation. The world views India through Delhi.” As if on cue, another Delhi landfill erupted in a giant blaze.
Picking wild morel mushrooms brought big money to mountain villages in the Indian Himalayas. But higher spring temperatures and low rainfall may end this lucrative harvest, reports The Third Pole.
In Gujarat, the ‘mad babul’ tree is taking over the habitat of the Indian desert fox. Government agencies are aware of the spread of the invasive species, but they are not doing what they should.
Sammy Manoj Kotwani, a Moscow-based Indian tailor who specialises in suits, is not worried about the war. The owner of The Imperial Tailoring Company claims that his business is up 32% since the conflict began.
Private Eye’s ‘Letter from New Delhi’ column speaks of India’s dependence on Russian armaments and maintains: “Thus right-wing Modi supporters and liberal and secular anti-establishment advocates alike all argue that Ukraine is not India’s war, that they do not want to take sides and that India must fend for itself in a selfish world”, despite the “Rambo-like threat” of US Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh.