Modi Cult is Mind-Numbing, But Not For All Time; Nitish Kumar Comes to Delhi, Opposition Unity the Agenda
Quad drops billion vaccine push, bajra developer wins Borlaug Award, behind the Gauri Lankesh murder, Netaji’s daughter can’t attend statue unveiling, Assam CM running international school, says Cong
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
September 6, 2022
The Finance Ministry admits that India’s external debt grew 8.2% from March 2021, when it was $573.7 billion, to $620.7 billion at the end of March 2022.
Floods in Bengaluru have changed the face of Silicon City and some of the most posh localities, home to thousands of IT professionals and techies, are worried about their water supply. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is being trolled for going on about building statues instead of attending to town planning and facing the crisis. Rs 225 crore is estimated to have been lost in the first day of flooding.
The Railways have for the first time invited bids from private entities to run 150 pairs of passenger trains through the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, to bring in Rs 30,000 crore. Private entities can set passenger fares on these trains, which can run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph. These trains with a minimum length of 16 coaches will be part of 12 clusters. The Railways shall provide fixed infrastructure ― rakes, stations, train control systems, watering and cleaning lines. Private operators will have to pay fixed haulage charges, energy charges and a revenue share.
India and Bangladesh are expected to sign at least seven agreements today covering a wide spectrum, from water sharing to connectivity and trade.
The number of people in custody or detained by the end of 2021 was the highest since 2017. Preventive detentions rose over 23.7% and over 1.1 lakh people were behind bars, according to the latest crime statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau. Of these, 483 were detentions under the National Security Act, of which 241 were either in custody or still detained at the end of 2021.
After securing interim bail, rights crusader and journalist Teesta Setalvad, in her first interview, spoke of the “institutionalised barbarism” that jail sentences mean for undertrials and convicts. Describing her police custody as “strange”, Setalvad also pointed out in an interview to NDTV that she was called for questioning only once, for just three hours, during her entire police remand period of six days.
There is ample material against activist Gautam Navlakha in the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case and prima facie he is connected with the alleged offence, a special court has said while denying him bail. The offence is “very serious” in nature, special NIA court judge Rajesh J Katariya said on Monday while rejecting Navlakha’s bail plea. The order details were made available on Tuesday. In cases tried under the anti-terror law, prosecution claims do not need to be scrutinised or tested at the stage of bail. The fact that the state says it has material to justify prosecuting someone is enough for the judge to deny bail.
The Assam Congress has petitioned the CBI with seven charges against Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and others and demanded an immediate inquiry. The Congress said that at the inauguration of his wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma’s international school on the outskirts of Guwahati, she had publicly announced he is its founder. “How can a CM run an international school?” the Congress asked. The party alleged a company, RBS Realtors (now Vasistha Realtors), had transferred unaccounted money from Kolkata to many firms belonging to the Assam CM’s family. “In RBS Realtors, Ashok Dhanuka is all-time director and he is also involved in the Jharkhand MLA horse-trading case. Money transactions done by RBS Realtors from Kolkata should be investigated by the CBI,” the Congress demanded.
India produced 58.33 million tonnes of coal in August, missing its target of 67.94 MT for the month, according to government data.
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India’s diesel exports in July 2022 fell to its lowest in 14 months, since May 2021, to 2.18 million tonnes (mt), largely on account of the windfall proﬁt tax on outbound shipments of high speed diesel (HSD). According to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, exports in July were down 11% month on month and 4% annually. In April 2021, diesel exports hit a record low of 1.88 mt due to the pandemic. A year ago during the same month, exports were the highest at 3.40 mt.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi yesterday made a host of promises including free electricity, farm loan waiver, compensation to Covid-hit families, 10 lakh new jobs and 3,000 new English medium schools for the people of Gujarat, if the Congress is voted to power in the state.
Netaji Subhas Bose’s daughter, Anita Bose Pfaff will not attend the unveiling of her father’s statue at India Gate on Thursday. She said she had received an invitation but the short notice made it impossible for her to travel from Germany, where she lives. She urges the Indian government to bring back Bose’s ashes from the Renkoji shrine in Japan.
Around 56% of respondents in 339 districts said that they are facing severe call drop and call connection problems, online platform LocalCircles reported. Some 82% have been making data calls to overcome network problems. Speaking of the last three months, 37% of respondents said that 20-50% of their calls were poor.
Goa-origin Suella Braverman is likely to be the only British politician of Indian heritage in the new Cabinet of Liz Truss. She will replace Home Secretary Priti Patel. Rishi Sunak lost to Truss after Boris Johnson was forced to resign from Number 10 after the revelation of a series of improprieties.
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