Jettisoned By Lloyd’s, Indian ‘Shadow Fleet’ Ships Being Reflagged; Top 20% Driving GDP Growth, the Rest Are Travelling Steerage
Change of guard in Manipur Police, judge to probe violence as ‘Kashmirisation’ proceeds, Kumbh boosts Hindutva vote share, Modi govt spends Rs 71 lakh a days on print ads, brief history of printmaking
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Snapshot of the day
June 1, 2023
In what looks like the ‘Kashmirisation of India’, internet services ― both broadband and mobile ― will remain suspended in Manipur until June 5. Yesterday morning, several were injured in firing by persons unknown near Tangjeng village along the Bishnupur-Churachandpur districts of Manipur, while Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Meitei and Kuki leaders. Deccan Herald reports that “houses were set on fire in villages under Thouban Dam police station in Imphal East district and in the Island subdivision of Kuki-dominated Kangpokpi district on Tuesday night”. Shah visited Moreh and Kangpokpi districts on Wednesday morning and met officers of the Army and security agencies in Moreh. Tripura cadre IPS officer Rajiv Singh has replaced P Doungel as director general of police in Manipur. Doungel is now OSD (Home). Amit Shah, who concluded his four-day visit to the state today, said that a panel led by a retired High Court judge would probe the violence.
The Manipur Tribals’ Forum, Delhi (MTFD) ― which had taken the lead in approaching the Supreme Court after violence began in Manipur ― has blamed the extremist group Meitei Leepun, allegedly linked to BJP Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba, and Arambai Tenggol, which supports the state government. The forum has also called upon the Union government to investigate the role of Chief Minister N Biren Singh in fuelling the ethnic clashes which began in Manipur on May 3 between the dominant Meiteis and the Kuki-Zomis. Scroll investigates the crisis of Christian Meiteis caught in the crossfire. The Quint finds that in a war of perceptions on Wikipedia, linguistic superiority has given the Meiteis control of the narrative.
On April 6, shipping registrar Lloyd’s had reported that 15 of 50 tankers owned by Gatik Ship Management, Mumbai, had vanished from the database of insurers American Club, perhaps because their cargoes exceeded G7 price caps. A New York Times investigation says they may have been part of a ‘shadow fleet’ which has been transporting Russian oil while spoofing ship positions. This traffic would cause loss of cover provided by Western insurers, who must observe sanctions. On May 26, Lloyd’s Register withdrew the certification of 21 more vessels, and 36 more lost their St Kitts & Nevis flag. Gatik ships were reflagged to Mongolia (which is landlocked!) and Gabon, whose registry offers little regulation, and an Indian firm offered safety certification, reports Reuters. Gatik, operating from two Mumbai malls, appeared in the market from nowhere precisely when the Russia-India oil trade started, and lived up to its name. “Gatik Ship Management owned just two chemical tankers in 2021. By April, it had acquired a fleet of 58 vessels with an estimated combined value of $1.6bn, according to shipping experts VesselsValue,” the Financial Times reported in May.
After persuading India’s protesting wrestlers not to throw their medals in the Ganga, farmers’ union leader Rakesh Tikait has been holding meetings with farmers’ bodies to firm up their strategy of mounting pressure on the Modi government to deliver justice to the victims of sexual harassment.
To catch the late train to Vishwagurugram, the government wants to make India the electronics repair capital of the world, shouldering aside entrenched industry leaders China and Malaysia. The Ministry of Information and Technology has launched a pilot project called Electronics Repair Services Outsourcing (ERSO) in Bengaluru in which Flex, Lenovo, CTDI, R-Logic and Aforeserve are likely to participate. After promising jobs for votes and delivering pakodanomics instead, the BJP aims to create “millions of jobs over the next five years through outsourced repair services carried out by the participating companies.” It will use the lure of cut-price services, which earlier powered the BPO and call centre boom.
But finding employment remains a difficult choice between low-paid casual work and precarious self-employment. Women’s participation in the workforce remains abysmally low. “Unemployment is only the tip of the iceberg. What remains hidden beneath is the serious crisis of underemployment and disguised unemployment,” ICRIER fellow Radhicka Kapoor told Reuters.
While urban unemployment was 6.8% in the January-March quarter, the fraction of urban workers with full-time jobs fell to 48.9% in December 2022, from an already low 50.5% shortly before the pandemic began, according to official statistics. The Indian economy’s growth slowed to 7.2% in FY2022-23, after rising 9.1% in the previous fiscal year. GDP grew 6.1% in the fourth quarter of 2022-23, pulling up the annual rate.
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A Gujarat pharma company is being probed after possibly infected ophthalmic drops produced complications for over 30 patients at Sri Lanka’s leading tertiary care hospital.
Sebi is seeking more stringent reporting norms for high-risk overseas funds invested in Indian markets. They will apply to firms with over $3 billion in Indian equities, and those with over half their portfolios invested in a single Indian group. The move follows the controversy about the Adani Group raised by Hindenburg Research. I told you so, says the Congress’s Jairam Ramesh:
“The SEBI Consultation Paper put out yesterday proposes to tighten the very rules it was forced to dilute in 2018 to allow foreign portfolio investors to invest in Indian companies without having to reveal their FULL ownership details. This was done to benefit Modani.”
In almost a decade in power, the Modi government has spent more than Rs 2,300 crore, or over Rs 71 lakh every day, on advertisements in print media. Apart from prominent dailies, several small papers ― which are barely known in their home districts and allegedly do not qualify for government ads ― are among top beneficiaries. According to government statistics, while only 10 outlets bagged more than half of the total ad spend, or roughly Rs 1,300 crore, there were hundreds of tiny publications among the 5,169 beneficiaries, reports Newslaundry.
Why is India dropping evolution and the periodic table from school science, asks an editorial in Nature. The journal takes a dim view of India’s curriculum-setters, who must explain the deletion of foundational topics from school textbooks.
India’s organ transplant system remains skewed against the poor. While government hospitals struggle to find donors, private hospitals demand exorbitant fees for transplants. One percent of the 8 million Indians who die every year, or 80,000 cases, are brain dead and can provide a substantial number of organs. However, Scroll.in reports that across three decades, the number of deceased organ donors in India has never exceeded 1,000 per year.
According to a recent study by Sidharta Baral, Gareth Nellis and Michael Weaver, “The Kumbh Mela boosts Hindu nationalists’ vote share. Mechanism tests suggest it does so by increasing religious orthodoxy — seen in the adoption of Brahminical dietary practices — and by strengthening Hindu nationalist party infrastructure. Communal violence is unaffected, but the events are electorally polarising; they cause India’s main secular-leaning party to perform better in regions with denser concentrations of religious minorities.”
On May 28, a mural in the new Parliament building representing the impact of ancient Indian ideas on the neighbourhood made a splash on social media, with many seeing in it the resolve for Akhand Bharat, a “cultural concept” espoused by the RSS. The mural highlights major kingdoms and towns from the past, including Taxila, Pakistan. “Akhand Bharat in New Parliament. It represents our powerful & self-reliant India,” Manoj Kotak, Lok Sabha member from Mumbai North-East, tweeted. Significantly, the Akhand Bharat mural does not include Aksai Chin.
Smriti Irani seems to be confident of defeating Rahul Gandhi again in Amethi, but she is happy to scotch the rumour that she will also face him in Wayanad.
The Telangana High Court has granted anticipatory bail to YSRCP MP YS Avinash Reddy, protecting him from arrest in the case concerning the murder of his uncle, former MP YS Vivekananda Reddy.
India’s food delivery riders are taking the brunt of climate change, working outdoors on deadline through a brutally hot summer punctuated by unpredictable rains.
Pakistan’s previously compliant judiciary is standing up to the army, and it’s being noticed overseas.
Kandasamy Senapathi, former chief priest of the Mariamman Temple of Singapore, the oldest in the city, has been convicted of siphoning off 2.3 million Singapore dollars in an implacably closely held ponzi scheme in which he was both the sole promoter and the sole subscriber. He cyclically pawned and redeemed the ceremonial jewellery of the gods, timing it so that their absence was not discovered during events and audits. More than half of the money was sent to India, reports Channel News Asia.