India Retraining Nuclear Capabilities Towards China; Fractured Times Are Never Beyond Repair
Hindenburg accuses Adani of systematic loot of India, Justice Muralidhar in no man’s land, ‘abyss’ ahead, warns Nariman, OP Nayyar’s ‘invisible’ hits, Rajasthan movement giving Dalits a good name
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
January 30, 2022
Next week, the Supreme Court will consider pleas against the government order preventing viewers in India from seeing the BBC documentary on PM Modi’s role in the 2002 riots in Gujarat. Delhi lawyer ML Sharma filed a plea against the action, while Prashant Bhushan, N Ram and Mahua Moitra opposed the taking down of social media links. Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has said that the cases are a waste of the court’s time.
The Adani Group expanded out of Gujarat in 2014, the year former Gujarat CM Narendra Modi was elected PM. Both have used international resources to grow ever since. Adani relies on the international bond market to sustain its growth for a decade, says M Rajashekhar in The Wire ― which is precisely why the Hindenburg report is hurting.
Adani has tried to “calm investors”, says Bloomberg, with a 413-page rebuttal of the Hindenburg report, which it says is “calculated securities fraud”. Dramatically, Adani calls the report an “attack on India, Indian institutions and ambitions”. They’re channelling former ITC chairman KL Chugh, who had fought off a takeover bid by the company’s former parent British American Tobacco in 1991, by projecting it as a foreign devil corporation out to pillage an Indian jewel. Hindenburg has responded again in: “To be clear, we believe India is a vibrant democracy and an emerging superpower with an exciting future. We also believe India’s future is being held back by the Adani Group, which has draped itself in the Indian flag while systematically looting the nation.”
The President has given the Justice G Rohini-led commission for the sub-categorisation of OBCs yet another extension ― its 14th. Formed in October 2017, the commission was initially given 12 weeks to sub-categorise the nearly 3,000 castes within the OBC umbrella and recommend equitable division of the 27% OBC quota among them. First, the government sought more time to gather information and data, and then the pandemic intervened. The fresh six-month extension comes weeks after commission members told The Hindu in December that their report was “in the final stages” and would be submitted in January.
Foreign investors have pulled out a net of over Rs 17,000 crore this month so far due to the attractiveness of the Chinese markets and their cautious stance ahead of the Union Budget and US Federal Reserve meeting. FPIs had pulled out Rs 1.21 lakh crore from the Indian equity markets in 2022.
The high-level Japanese delegation that came calling to India last week was driven by concerns over delays in building the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail project launched in 2017. While the project was slated for completion in 2023, the Railways Ministry has submitted information indicating that vast swathes of the 508 km corridor remain unbuilt. Land acquisition delays over the last three years also led to cost overruns. The project was initially estimated to cost Rs 1.08 trillion. Japan prefers high technical specs, but the price tag has given pause to the Indian side.
Only 41% of the April-September FY23 target for rural road construction under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) could be completed. Performance is considered “poor” if the level of targets achieved is below 80%. During April- September 2016, it was 96%, followed by completion of only 52% of the works in the following year. During FY13 to FY15, the pro- gramme achieved above 100% target for the first half. The worst performance of the scheme was during the first half of FY19 when only 3,379 km of roads (13%) were constructed against a target of 26,246 km.
A strange case: an order uploaded to the website of the Madras High Court differed from the order pronounced. The Supreme Court has asked the High Court to take corrective measures. When the discrepancy was brought to notice in September, the Supreme Court had called for a report from the Madras High Court Registry on the “unusual” situation. The Registrar-General of the High Court submitted a report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover. On January 23, a bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela Trivedi recorded satisfaction with the justification provided. The bench did not record the details in the order and set it aside. It has asked the High Court to take a fresh decision, while maintaining an earlier status quo order.
Sonam Wangchuk, the Ladakhi Magsaysay Award recipient who was the inspiration for Aamir Khan’s character Phunsuk Wangdu in 3 Idiots, has been asked to sign a bond promising that for a month, he will not make any statements or participate in any public gatherings over recent happenings in Leh. Wangchuk is on a five-day fast to demand Ladakh’s inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, at a time when two major citizens’ bodies have refused to cooperate with a Union government panel to discuss job and land safeguards for the region. Their demands of statehood for Ladakh and constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule are not on the panel’s agenda. The Sixth Schedule provides for autonomous district councils in tribal areas that have some legislative, judicial and administrative autonomy. They can make rules governing land, forest, water, agriculture, health, sanitation, inheritance, marriage and divorce, mining and more.
A fresh application has been moved before the Supreme Court urging that matters related to alleged forcible religious conversions be taken up by a larger bench of five judges, since interpretation of the Constitution is involved. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud is scheduled to hear the batch of pleas on Monday against anti-conversion laws of several states and alleged forcible conversions. The fresh application has been filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who is among the petitioners.
The incredible 4,000 km Bharat Jodo Yatra has ended. Shemin Joy wrote on the journey from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. “For every individual, the yatra was different. Some were in it for the experience, others were onlookers and just wanted a glimpse of Rahul. Bharat Jodo Yatra was many personal yatras rolled into one.”
(Source: The Telegraph, Kolkata)
Land subsidence in Joshimath has reduced the prospects of holding the International Alpine Race — an International Ski Federation (FIS) graded tournament — in Auli, 7 km away, on February 6-7. Over 600 houses in Joshimath have been declared unsafe and residents have been evacuated, and local organisers have written to FIS seeking to cancel the event. Snow on the slopes is inadequate for a prestigious international tournament, the Joshimath-Auli ropeway has been shut due to damage caused by subsidence, and adverse incidents are possible.
UP Chief Minister Adityanath has declared that “Sanatan Dharma” is the national religion of India. He also said that campaigns to restore allegedly desecrated temples, on the lines of Ayodhya’s Ram Temple, must be launched.
Odisha’s health minister Naba Kishore Das has been shot dead by a policeman in full public view. The assailant has been under treatment for psychological problems.
The $5 billion Indian social media app Sharechat is going bust, reports Moneycontrol.
India has won the inaugural Under-19 Women’s T-20 tournament.
It is 75 years since the day the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was murdered. Ramachandra Guha lists 10 reasons why Gandhi is still relevant. (See Deep Dive below)