JD(U)-BJP Alliance in Bihar Breaks; Key Cases Hang Fire With 10 Days to Go Till CJI Retires
Chinese ships raise tensions in Indian Ocean, only 0.3% Parliament questions about climate change, Bajrang Dal does commando training, India wins 61 CWG medals and in MP, the bulldozer does litcrit
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Snapshot of the day
August 9, 2022
Following a meeting with his party MLAs this morning, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has sought a meeting with Governor Phagu Chauhan, and the JD(U)-BJP alliance is clearly over. Lalu Prasad’s RJD is game for a fresh tie-up, and as always in Bihar, it’s set to music.
Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha, who is with the BJP, has turned from Covid positive to Covid negative in just one day. Sinha, on his official Twitter handle, had on Sunday posted that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and was going into isolation. On Monday, he again tweeted that he had turned corona negative “with the blessings of God”. Sinha’s role would be crucial if Nitish Kumar exited the NDA and formed the government with the help of the Mahagathbandhan.
Sri Lanka has granted permission to the Chinese built-Pakistani guided missile frigate PNS Taimur to make a port call at Colombo, on its way to join the Pakistan Navy in Karachi. Built by Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai, the warship is on its maiden voyage to Pakistan, with exercises en route with the Cambodian and Malaysian navies. Hindustan Times reports that the ship was denied permission to visit Chittagong port, Bangladesh, by the Sheikh Hasina government.
China has described as “senseless” India’s opposition to the docking of a Chinese ship at a Sri Lankan port. China’s Yuan Wang 5, a space and satellite tracking vessel, was allowed by Colombo last month to dock at the southern Sri Lankan port of Hambantota between August 11 and 17, raising security concerns in New Delhi. “China urges relevant parties to see China’s scientific explorations in a reasonable and sensible way and stop disturbing the normal exchange between China and Sri Lanka,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin.
Meanwhile, backchannel contacts between Pakistan and India, which had picked up pace in April, are at a dead end as they failed to agree on the path to gradual improvement in relations. The Express Tribune reports that despite “intense” backchannel diplomacy, the two sides were not willing to give an inch. Pakistan is putting Kashmir first, while New Delhi wants Islamabad to first resume bilateral trade.
In Dhubri, Assam, near the Bangladesh border, 240 young men assembled for a commando training course organised by the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal which stopped just short of live ammunition drills. An activist of the organisation who attended the sessions said that the aim was to “prepare for the dangers from the rapidly increasing population of Bengal-origin Muslims and to thwart their plan of capturing political power in Assam”.
The states’ share in central taxes is down to 29-32%, while 41% is recommended. In the previous five years, except for 2019-20, the states’ share was 34.5-37%, though the recommendation was to give them a 42%. The share of cesses and surcharges in central taxes has risen from just around 6% in the first year of the Modi government (2014-15) to over 20% now.
The BJP is trying to disown Shrikant Tyagi, the foul-mouthed party leader booked by the UP Police for assaulting a woman following an argument with her inside Noida’s posh Grand Omaxe society in Sector-93B. Earlier, locals had protested against Tyagi. Contrary to BJP’s claims, Tyagi was “provided with security by the Ghaziabad administration between 2018-2020.” Out of favour thanks to the video of his boorishness going viral, Tyagi is being given the treatment reserved for the BJP’s opponents: he has been arrested and parts of his residence deemed “illegal” have been bulldozed.
On Saturday, DMK mouthpiece Murasoli criticised Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her “your Tamil Nadu” comment in Parliament. Replying to a Lok Sabha debate on price rise on 1 August, Sitharaman said that although the Congress has repeatedly accused the BJP government of favouring Ambani and Adani, “unga naatla, Tamil naatla (in your state Tamil Nadu), 59 MoUs have been signed for Rs 35,000 crore with Adani for setting up data centres”. In an editorial in Murasoli, the DMK said Sitharaman had “lost her temper to the extent of saying ‘your Tamil Nadu’.” Not all those who speak Tamil are Tamilians, the editorial said. “Why are you so agitated by ‘our’ Tamil Nadu?” the editorial said, asking Sitharaman to maintain “composure” to understand the “truth about the country’s finances”.
Parliament was suddenly adjourned sine die yesterday, four days ahead of schedule. What does the government want to avoid, or doesn’t it have enough business? The record of the number of days Parliament convenes has been woefully low ― and not only because of the pandemic.
Across 45 central universities, there’s only one vice-chancellor from the Scheduled Castes and one from a Scheduled Tribe, Parliament has learned. Government data shows that of 1,005 professors in central universities, 69 are SC, 15 ST and 41 OBC. This is 6.68% of SC reservation, 1.4% of the ST reservation, and 4.07% of OBC reservation. The constitutionally mandated reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs is 15%, 7.5% and 27%.
The Delhi government did not table the reports on its functioning by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the state assembly for the fourth year in a row, reports The New Indian Express.
Under the Modi government’s flagship UDAY scheme in 2015, states were supposed to reduce the cost of power generation and distribution and increase revenues from end consumers after a one-time debt settlement. The scheme failed miserably, piling up debts and losses over seven years. RBI data shows that Indian discoms now owe power generation firms over Rs 4.5 lakh crore. It also estimates that 18 Indian states will have to shell out at least 2.3% of their GDP to bail their discoms out.
The Union government has restricted the export of maida, semolina and all variants of wheat flour (atta) from August 14, a month after it restricted exports of plain atta due to a wheat shortage. The move is part of a series of measures to prevent the sharp rise in domestic wheat prices which have spiked since March on account of low production and a sharp drop in procurement. On May 13, it had banned wheat exports.
Jailed Jharkhand journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh’s wife Ipsa Satakshi has spoken about the pitiful conditions he is being kept in. This includes being “kept in isolation and being given substandard food.”
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The government is not considering setting up the 8th Pay Commission for central government employees, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary informed Lok Sabha on Monday. He had been asked if the government proposes to ensure timely constitution of the Pay Commission for central government staff so that it could be implemented on January 1, 2026.
Indian athletes won 61 medals across 12 sports in the Commonwealth Games that concluded yesterday. The list includes a historic gold medal in lawn bowls while wrestlers once again had a 100% strike rate. But India’s best performance remains that of 2010, when it won 101 medals. This is India’s sixth best performance at the Commonwealth Games.
FIFA has reminded India’s football association that it risks losing the upcoming Under-17 Women’s World Cup and faces a ban because of “deviations” from an agreed road map for sorting out governance issues. India’s highest court disbanded the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in May and appointed a three-member committee to govern the sport, amend the AIFF’s constitution and conduct elections pending for 18 months.
And in educational material distributed across India, that bald guy who makes crystal meth in Breaking Bad is represented as Werner Heisenberg. The quanta of uncertainty are unquantifiable.
CJI’s tenure ends in 10 days
With just 10 days left in office, Chief Justice NV Ramana’s decision is awaited on several key matters ― the political scenario in Maharashtra, the Pegasus panel report, PM’s security lapse in Punjab, the attempt by the
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