India's Row With Canada Deepens Further; Only BJP Itself can Allay Doubts About its Commitment to Women’s Bill
Indian pharmas must audit suppliers, women’s participation in workforce rises due to distress, Health Ministry drops NEET bar to 0, Parliament security sheds awful uniform, Amir Khusrau’s food history
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Snapshot of the day
September 21, 2023
The standoff between India and Canada has escalated further with the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday demanding a reduction in the number of Canadian diplomats stationed in India and also suspending visa services at its high commission and consulates in Canada. A notice from the Indian mission in Canada on the website of visa provider BLS International said that for “operational reasons”, services will be off “until further notice”. Later in the day, the MEA spokesperson this step had been taken for security reasons. On its part, Canada says it will “adjust” its staff presence in India after diplomats received social media threats.
The National Investigation Agency has released pictures of 10 accused in the March 2023 attack on the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, and has confidentially sought information about them from the public.
Canada has added nearly half a million Indians to its population since 2011. Between the census of 2011 and 2021, the population of Indian origin in Canada rose 1% to reach 5%, indicating the heft of the community, which is growing faster than the rest of the population. However, remittances from Canada are low, reports Business Standard, less than 1% of the total.
Can relations with Canada sink any lower? “Canada, like Pakistan, cannot allow its soil to be used to destabilise India,” says Pankaj Saran in an oped today. Saran was till 2021 India’s deputy national security adviser. The world may not accept this lazy equivalence. If Justin Trudeau does have compelling evidence ― which the Five Eyes leaders would have access to ― the UK, US and Australia would be forced to put India, which has just stepped onto the world stage with the G20 summit in a pit along with countries like Russia, says The Guardian.
US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has said that PM Modi has invited US President Joe Biden to be chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. Does going public mean Biden has agreed? We don’t known yet.
India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has made it mandatory for pharma companies to audit raw materials suppliers at least once a year, reports Reuters. Such audits are usually done only after product recalls. The brand value of India, which wants to project itself as the “world’s pharmacy”, has been hit badly by the discovery of lethally contaminated products overseas.
In the House of Commons, a British MP called the violence in Manipur a “silent attack on churches” and wanted to know if PM Rishi Sunak had discussed Manipur with Modi. He had not. “There are big issues in India, and if our prime minister does not ask those questions when he is in India, something is wrong,” he said.
After being in jail for 1,930 days – or a little over five years – tribal rights activist Mahesh Raut has been granted bail by the Bombay High Court. A two-judge division bench found that many sections of the UAPA applied against Raut, who is one of the accused in the Elgar Parishad case, were prima facie inapplicable. But the court’s bail order was stayed for a week after the NIA sought time to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The bill reserving one third of seats in legislatures for women was passed yesterday in the Lok Sabha with only two MPs voting against it and will be passed today by Rajya Sabha. After that, it will go into to cold storage till the next national census and delimitation exercise. Many Opposition MPs demanded that reservation be implemented immediately, without waiting for those additional steps. Many also demanded separate reservation for OBC and minority women. The chart below encapsulates the problem they see:
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