Loans Written Off Could Have Covered 61% Of Deficit; India’s Coal-Fired Power Growing Fastest In Asia Pacific
New election commissioner bound to be CEC, Nagaon SP stars in potboiler as himself, quick delivery dark stores blinking out, BCCI sacks selectors and Gautam Navlakha at home in communist library
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
November 21, 2022
Banks have written off non-performing assets (NPAs), or defaulted loans, of Rs 10,09,510 crore ($123.86 billion) in the last five years, according to the RBI, and could recover only Rs 1,32,036 crore. This huge write-off would have been enough to wipe out 61% of India’s estimated gross fiscal deficit of Rs 16.61 lakh crore for 2022-23. The identity of defaulters was never revealed.
While the White House appreciated India’s role in negotiating the G20 Summit’s declaration in Bali, the US State Department explained the immunity granted to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concerning the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by pointing out that PM Narendra Modi was given the same kind of protection from prosecution in the US in 2014 over his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, which had invited a visa ban. President Aristide of Haiti in 1993, President Mugabe of Zimbabwe in 2001, PM Modi of India in 2014 and President Kabila of the DRC in 2018 were accorded similar protection. “This is a consistent practice that we have afforded to heads of state, heads of government and foreign ministers,” the State Department said.
Sushant Singh writes that the G20 summit in New Delhi as a simulacrum of a global rajasuya yagna — the consecration of a king — for Modi will only widen the fault line between domestic perception and external reality. Dangers lie ahead.
Kept out of the US-led Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), India is trying to strike out on its own and is engaging consultants to identify assets and companies in Australia and Argentina. India is keen on joining the MSP but it does not bring adequate expertise to the table. The government will send geologists to Argentina to evaluate lithium varieties.
Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar is representing India at the inauguration of the FIFA World Cup, while the families of eight retired Indian naval officers imprisoned in Qatar asked the government to intervene for their release. In custody for over 80 days, they have had some contact with their families and a Ministry of External Affairs official travelled to Doha for consular access in October. The MEA and the Vice President’s office did not say if Dhankhar would speak for them.
For the first time since joining the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) in 1976, India did not vote against a proposal seeking to re-open ivory trade from Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It was defeated 83-15 at the 19th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP19) in Panama City Friday evening. The Modi government’s abstention — a break from its past stand — was sought by Namibia when it agreed to transfer cheetahs to India.
The number of farmers who received the 11th instalment of funds from the PM’s Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) has fallen by 67%, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s response to a Right to Information query from activist Kanhaiya Kumar. The central scheme was launched in 2019 to pay eligible farmer families Rs 6,000 a year in three instalments. Agriculture Ministry records show that only 3.87 crore farmers received the 11th instalment of Rs 2,000 in May-June 2022, down sharply from the 11.84 crore who received the first instalment in February 2019, just before the Lok Sabha election. The fall started from the sixth instalment, which was received by 9.87 crore farmers. The seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th instalments were received by 9.30 crore, 8.59 crore, 7.66 crore and 6.34 crore people, respectively.
Germany-headquartered Merck Life Sciences played a crucial consulting role in India’s Covid-19 vaccines. Covaxin, Covishield, Corbevax or GemCovac19 vaccine ― almost every Indian vaccine maker sought assistance from this Bengaluru-based German company.
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Today, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud will meet Gujarat High Court advocates protesting against the proposed transfer of Justice Nikhil S Kariel to the Patna High Court.
With the Supreme Court collegium’s decision to transfer three high court judges sparking protests from lawyers in the states concerned, CJI Chandrachud on Saturday underscored that the collegium takes administrative decisions keeping in view the “national perspective” and said that advocates’ strikes make “consumers of justice suffer”. The CJI has also pointed out that the higher judiciary is flooded with bail applications because of the reluctance of lower courts to grant bail.
India’s coal-fired power generation has grown fastest in the Asia Pacific since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, underscoring the challenges the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter faces in weaning its economy off carbon. Coal fuels almost three quarters of power of India, which presented its decarbonisation strategy at the UN’s COP27 climate summit this week — the last of the world’s five largest economies to do so.
Last Monday, the Allahabad High Court imposed a Rs 5 lakh cost on the office of the District Magistrate, Gorakhpur for initiating ‘malicious’ proceedings under the UP Goondas Act against a man to coerce him to vacate his property in favour of the district administration. Justice Suneet Kumar and Justice Syed Waiz Mian also directed the UP government to launch a disciplinary inquiry against former district magistrate, Gorakhpur, K Vijayendra Pandian.
Special teams of the Jammu and Kashmir police on Saturday raided a dozen locations, including the homes of at least half a dozen journalists, a lawyer and alleged militants and separatist activists, in connection with investigations into the recent online threat to 21 Valley-based journalists. Premises searched include those of Gowhar Geelani, Khalid Gul, Qazi Shibli, Waseem Khalid, Rashid Maqbool, Sajjad Kralyari, Muhammad Rafi, Adil Pandit, Momin Gulzar and Basit Dar. Most are journalists, two are alleged militants and Pandit is a lawyer.
Arun Goel, a 1985 batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre who took voluntary retirement from Friday, has been appointed an Election Commissioner. He was to retire on December 31, 2022, at age 60. Goel is now in line to be the next chief election commissioner after incumbent Rajiv Kumar demits office in February 2025. He will join CEC Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey on the poll panel. Until recently, he was heavy industries secretary and his voluntary retirement came into effect on November 18. A person can hold the office of an EC or CEC for six years or till turning 65. Goel will be in office till December 2027.
In the fourth round of hike in milk prices in 2022 by Mother Dairy, one of the leading milk suppliers in Delhi-NCR with volumes of over 30 lakh litres per day, the price of full cream milk was raised by Rs 1 per litre and of token milk by Rs 2 per litre.
The Winter Session of Parliament is set for December 7-29, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said on Friday.
Watch the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the evolution of Rahul Gandhi, with Samdish Bhatia.
Deccan Herald reports that “the direct attack on Savarkar just before the yatra entered Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday, signalled the intent of Rahul to up the ante in the north.” He intends to turn the heat on the BJP.
“Whenever the name of the Sangh comes up, you take Modiji’s name. Yes, Modiji was a Sangh swayamsevak and also a pracharak. The VHP, too, is run by our swayamsevaks. But they work independently. We can only offer consultations and advice, but can never control them,” said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Jabalpur, MP. Do read Dhirendra Jha’s profile of Bhagwat in The Caravan which starts with Arun Shourie recounting in stunning detail how shabbily Modi has treated the RSS chief for over a decade.
The Personal Data Protection draft Bill among other things, has proposed an amendment to the RTI Act, where it would become easier to deny information, on the plea that it affects personal data. Activists and former information commissioners like Shailesh Gandhi say, “Most information relates to a person and hence the law would become a Right to Deny for PIOs who do not wish to give information.”
The BCCI on Friday sacked the four-member senior national selection committee led by Chetan Sharma days after the Indian team failed to reach the final of the T20 World Cup in Australia. During Sharma’s tenure, India also failed to reach the knockout stage in the 2021 T20 World Cup and lost the ICC World Test Championships final.
Tabassum, who played a big role in documenting the lives and times of Hindi film stars, passed away in Mumbai on Friday night after a brief illness. The 78-year-old started her career as a child artiste and went on to host the pioneering talk show Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan on Doordarshan for two decades.
India to join IPEF negotiations on three pillars
The Indian government is likely to
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