Indians See US as Second Biggest Military Threat: Poll; Minister Confirms BJP MP Tejasvi Surya Opened Emergency Exit on Plane
Ill Elgar Parishad accused neglected yet again, government expects recession after June, 55,000 websites blocked since 2015, Delhi finally Covid zero, Manipur may deny rations to illicit poppy growers
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 18, 2023
The Election Commission has set February 16 as the date for the Tripura assembly election and February 27 for Meghalaya and Nagaland. The BJP is in power in Tripura and is a coalition partner in the National Democratic Progressive Party -led government in Nagaland.
The Supreme Court has said the issue of revisiting the minority status of citizens based on their population in states cannot be postponed further. It asked the Centre to conclude its countrywide consultation with states and Union territories before March 21. Six states and UTs are yet to respond. The court wondered why even those ruled by the BJP were silent, and suggested it should be read as ‘nothing to say’. A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, “We cannot be postponing the matter like this,” referring to the several occasions when the issue was shelved because the Centre didn’t have the time to complete its national consultation.
Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Narayan Rane told reporters in Pune on Monday that if India faces an economic recession, it’ll be after June, but the Centre is making all efforts to avoid it. He said developed countries already face an economic downturn. “As I am in the Cabinet, some information is available to us and whatever advice we get from PM Modiji, on that basis, we can say that there is an economic recession in big countries. It is a reality. [The government will] ensure that India is not impacted or stop [the economic slowdown], which is expected to come after June,” he told reporters after inaugurating the G20’s first Infrastructure Working Group.
“We don’t believe in unnecessarily putting people behind bars. Bail matters should not go on and on and should not be dealt with in this manner,” said the Supreme Court yesterday, while hearing applications filed by the Delhi Police against a Delhi High Court order granting bail to student activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha in the Delhi Riots ‘Larger Conspiracy’ case. The three activists were released from Tihar Jail after 13 months of imprisonment on June 17, 2021. The Supreme Court had in June 2021 also passed a direction that the Delhi High Court judgement would not apply as precedent until the matter was finally decided. Thus, some of the co-accused in the case have, according to LiveLaw, also filed impleadment applications pertaining to the other cases.
India’s merchandise trade crossed the $1 trillion mark in the calendar year 2022 with the share of exports at $450 billion and imports at $723 billion. Outbound shipments grew 13.7% year-on-year (YoY) in 2022, while imports rose by 21%, according to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Of the total merchandise imports of $723 billion in 2022, two-thirds comprised five items — crude oil ($270 billion), coal ($80 billion), gold and diamond ($80 billion), electronics ($72 billion) and machinery ($55 billion). On the other hand, exports have been dominated by engineering goods, gems and jewellery, drugs and pharmaceuticals as well as electronic goods.
A Constitution Bench yesterday questioned the utility of executing an advanced medical directive in India when a person is anyway free to refuse invasive treatment and accept death. A five-judge Bench led by Justice KM Joseph also asked when such a directive should be implemented. There were cases when the mind had overridden the limitations of the body and comatose persons have returned to normalcy. There were also people who have beaten the boundaries of their disease and lived long and fruitful years. The court pointed to the case of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who despite the daunting diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, lived to the age of 76. Formula One race car driver Michael Schumacher, who is reportedly in a coma for years after a skiing accident, may again wake up, the court said. “Does a coma always precede a full stop [death]? Does a comatose condition always lead to death?” Justice Joseph asked senior advocate Arvind Datar. The Bench is considering a plea to modify a March 2018 judgment which had upheld passive euthanasia and advanced directives, but made the process of implementing it cumbersome.
Online platforms in India must remove content flagged as fake or false by the Union government’s fact-checking mechanisms, according to revised draft amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released the revised draft IT Rules days after introducing amendments related to online gaming companies. The ministry has invited feedback on the draft amendments by January 25. Social media platforms follow their own fact-checking procedures to remove misinformation.
The India Cable is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Delhi reported zero new Covid cases on January 16 – for the first time in 1,027 days – according to the city health department. This is the first time Delhi has reported zero COVID cases in 24 hours since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. There are currently 10 known active cases in the city, reports The Quint. Kerala, usually quicker to detect cases, has reported 1,300 cases in the last 24 hours – the highest in the country and has made masks mandatory in public spaces.
Relations between the Gandhi cousins, Rahul/Priyanka and Varun, has been dominating chatter. On the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi added sharp ideological clarity to the discussion and said that Varun supports the RSS, which he cannot bring himself to do. On the RSS, Rahul Gandhi leaves nothing to the imagination.
BJP president JP Nadda’s term has been extended to June 2024, and the party will face the next general elections in his charge. It scotches all speculation about him being moved into government and the party being rejigged dramatically. Not yet. What about internal party elections? The Times of India helpfully reported Shah explaining why the party president was not chosen through an election process. He said that the membership campaign could not be held due to Covid-19 restrictions, so polls for party president are deferred. Therefore, Nadda’s tenure was extended.
Several draft national security strategies have been presented to the government, but none have been approved, reports Scroll. “This is because the strongman image will go for a six if the political leadership is unable to direct an effective military response, as defined in the national security strategy, in the event of violations along the border.”
Over 55,000 websites have been blocked since January 2015, mostly to “protect the Indian State”, a report finds. SFLC.in says that there should be more transparency in the process, under Section 69A of the IT Act.
In the hours after Nepal’s deadliest plane crash in 30 years, a video went viral in India - it showed one of the victims, Sonu Jaiswal, live streaming from the plane seconds before the crash. BBC reports that he was part of a group of four friends from Ghazipur visiting Nepal. In the phone footage, Pokhara airport’s surroundings are visible from the doomed plane as it comes into land, those on board unaware they are just moments from death. None of the 72 on board are believed to have survived the crash. The video shows the plane gliding gently over the honeycombs of buildings dotting brown-green fields, before the man filming it turns the camera around and smiles. He then turns it around again to show other passengers in the aircraft.
“Someone asked me if this [talk cancellation] was a repercussion of my tweet on the controversy over the ‘Besharam’ song from Pathaan. I don’t like the song, but I will speak up for something that is wrong. I don’t see my colleagues commenting. I have had a few people inboxing me, and I am like, your love in the inbox means nothing, if you cannot come out and stand by me out in the open.” Filmmaker Onir, who broke new ground in LGBTQ representation with his directorial debut My brother Nikhil, after his talk at the Bhopal literary fest was cancelled at the last minute by Hindutva groups, rued the lack of support from his industry colleagues.
Tamil Nadu governor RN Ravi is attempting to dial back on the ‘Tamizhagam’ controversy. He issued a statement today denying he wants the state’s name changed.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial