Macron Government Clears Made in India Engine Deal; In Maharashtra, It’ll Be Open Season Until 2024 General Elections
Census after general election, paper leaks beset Gehlot, Anganwadi workers not on Digital India, piped water scheme misses deadline, Santiniketan scroll presumed lost a century ago on display again
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Snapshot of the day
July 3, 2023
The Congress will not go up against a hollow man created by the BJP, but will wait for the government to present a substantial bill for a universal civil code. It is clear that the party will not oppose progressive moves like changes to inheritance laws, but participants in the Congress’s Parliamentary Strategy Group believe that the BJP is talking up the UCC as a diversionary tactic to draw the voter’s attention away from failures in governance and national security in recent years. Even NDA allies in the Northeast have baulked at the UCC, fearing that it will curb the freedoms and rights of over 200 culturally diverse indigenous tribes in the region. Tribal bodies in Jharkhand will oppose the UCC, arguing that its enactment would dilute the provisions of the Fifth and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The Nationalist Congress Party has submitted a disqualification petition to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar against the nine MLAs of the Ajit Pawar faction who were sworn in as ministers in the Shinde-Fadnavis government on July 2. The party has also written to the Election Commission that they stand disqualified for anti-party activities. (See the Long Cable below) Many of the inductees have pending corruption cases, which are expected to go into abeyance.
The Shinde-Fadnavis government in Maharashtra is thin-skinned about online criticism. Since it took office last year, there have been 40 FIRs and nine arrests related to social media posts.
Following the GE-414 engine deal clinched in the US, as a curtain-raiser to PM Modi’s two-day visit to Paris, the Emmanuel Macron government has authorised the defence and aeronautics company Safran to jointly design, develop, test and manufacture a power plant for India’s Advanced Multi-role Combat Aircraft. The engine will be completely made in India, reports the Hindustan Times.
Three years after the Galwan clash, China is rushing to complete a bridge connecting the north and south banks of the Pangong Tso, while India is laying a blacktop on its side on the north bank of the lake.
To deal with an acute shortage of captains and majors, the Army will deploy officers of that level to units and not to headquarters.
Harassed by parents and VHP activists, two schools in Gujarat have had to apologise for organising Bakrid celebrations and “hurting the sentiments” of Hindus.
The Imphal Free Press reports that seven more people have been killed in fresh violence between Kuki militants and village volunteers in Bishnupur district of Manipur. So far, 52,000 people have been displaced and the death toll is well over 100. The Manipur Congress has ridiculed Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s attempt to resign, which he was prevented from doing by a mob which would not allow him to go to Raj Bhavan. It says that the inaction of the security forces as a mob gathered shows that it was just drama.
Scenes from Santiniketan, a 44-foot scroll painted by blind Santiniketan artist Benodebehari Mukherjee when he was just 20, has gone on display in Kolkata a century after it was presumed lost, reports Monideepa Banerjie. Mukherjee was a student of Nandalal Bose and taught artists of the order of KG Subramanyan, Somnath Hore and Satyajit Ray.
In 1972, Ray brought the rather reclusive artist international attention with a documentary, The Inner Eye. The scroll is believed to be influenced by Japanese scrolls brought back by Nandalal Bose and Rabindranath Tagore but equally, pat scrolls have been used in performances by traditional storytellers in the region of Santiniketan for centuries.
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In India’s troubled civil aviation industry, operators like Jet Airways, GoFirst and Spicejet have been shedding airline seats (technically, Available Seat Kilometres) faster than IndiGo and the relatively new Akasa Air have added them. Meanwhile, passenger traffic has recovered to pre-pandemic levels and the resulting seat scarcity is supporting high ticket prices.
We knew this already, but the decennial Census will not be carried out before the 2024 general elections. The date for freezing the boundaries of districts, tehsils and towns has been advanced to New Year’s Eve by the Registrar General of India. After the demarcation exercise, the government needs at least three months to identify and train enumerators for the Census, which is the world’s biggest administrative exercise. By the time this is done, the elections would be on, and the very same people would have been deployed for poll duty.
The Union government has spent Rs 50.6 crore on outdoor publicity of India’s G20 presidency. Contracts were given to 100 companies, including one linked to a BJP member, Newslaundry reports.
In an unprecedented move, the civilian National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar in exile has appointed a well-known Rohingya activist, U Aung Kyaw Moe, as its deputy human rights minister. The appointment has been “welcomed online as a significant move towards equality for religious minorities and the Rohingya in particular.”
Japan has announced new scholarships for Afghan students to study in Japan. In stark contrast, despite old ties including SAARC, India continues to disappoint Afghan students who were already studying on Indian government scholarships. No exception was made for them when India restricted visas to Afghan students after the Taliban takeover. The restrictions also sundered a huge number of couples who have married across borders.
In the Caravan, Dhirendra Jha sets the record straight on yet another lie the RSS is peddling – that it played a role in India’s freedom struggle. A riveting account of the RSS chief, his renegade protege and the eventual ascendance of Golwalkar.
Cricbuzz profiles the Indian players to look out for in the year’s Major League Cricket season in the US.
The Zoological Survey of India added 664 animal species to its faunal database in 2022. These comprise 467 newly identified species and 197 sightings of species for the first time in India. All but 81 are invertebrates. The most new discoveries were reported from Kerala, of which 82 species were new to science.