New Pollution Norms Due in April Will Retire 27 Auto Models; Bollywood Makes a Modest But Welcome Intervention
Census postponed sine die, Covid curbs on Bharat Jodo Yatra, Chhattisgarh Christian Adivasis seek protection, Nepal bans 16 Indian pharmas, IAS trainees’ bar was ‘mercilessly’ erased for Modi’s visit
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Snapshot of the day
December 21, 2022
The Opposition in the Rajya Sabha accused the government of misusing the National Human Rights Commission in probing the Bihar liquor tragedy, and issued a joint statement. Later, speaking to the media, RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha, who had given a notice of Suspension of Business to discuss the matter, said: “The NHRC is being used as a political tool in the Bihar hooch tragedy issue.” He added that “PM Narendra Modi’s own state, Gujarat, faces a hooch tragedy every third month but the NHRC never visited there.”
The decadal Census scheduled for last year, has been postponed until further orders, the government said in a bland response in the Lok Sabha. While it was ‘legitimately’ deferred last year due to the pandemic, no specific reason is now offered. Junior Home Minister Nityanand Rai on Tuesday said, “Due to outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the Census 2021 and the related field activities have been postponed until further orders.” He had said exactly the same thing in Parliament last July.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has clamped Covid curbs on the Bharat Jodo Yatra, including masks. Only the vaccinated may join it. If curbs cannot be implemented, he has sought a postponement of the march in the interest of public health. Perhaps that is not the only interest.
The Adani group’s ability to swing rules and regulations, especially under this Union government, has been under scrutiny and reported widely this month. The Guardian now looks at the Hasdeo mines in detail and asks: “Adani has razed trees – and homes – to dig more coal. How does this kind of destruction get the go-ahead?”
As the debate on moonlighting continues, Parliament has been told that under existing law, workers shall not take any type of work against the interest of their employer, in addition to their job. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Rameshwar Teli also said that the government has not undertaken any study on moonlighting. The issue has been widely discussed lately, especially in the IT industry, where many employees have reportedly taken up moonlighting assignments since the Covid-19 pandemic.
India’s imports from Russia zoomed 413% in April-October 2022 to $25.12 billion, compared to the same period last fiscal. However, exports to Russia increased only 2.12% to $1.65 billion, creating a glaring trade deﬁcit. But the rupee trade mechanism is yet to take off smoothly as many Indian banks were hesitating to issue Bank Realisation Certificates (BRCs) to the exporters, without which they could not claim export incentives and benefits.
RBI’s outstanding net forward position in US dollars drastically dropped to $241 million at the end of October 2022. The decline from September is $10.182 billion. Notably, RBI’s net forward book has nosedived by $65.55 billion from March 2022 levels, which can be attributed to RBI taking delivery of its maturing forward positions and shoring up its spot dollar reserves.
India is ambitiously entering the advanced semiconductors market as it looks to establish itself as a high-end tech manufacturing alternative to China. But setting up chip plants takes a lot of time and money, says Wall Street Journal South Asia correspondent Philip Wen in WSJ Tech Briefing.
The Gambia’s parliamentary committee on health has found an Indian company, Maiden Pharmaceuticals, culpable for the acute kidney infections that are linked to the death of 70 kids earlier this year. The company did not cooperate with the Gambian inquiry and the Indian drug regulator insists the company’s cough syrups – blamed for the tragedy – are fine.
A special PMLA court in Nagaland has issued notices to a close aide of top NSCN-IM leader T Muivah and others to appear before it after the Enforcement Directorate filed a charge sheet against them. The accused include Rayilung Nsarangbe alias Pela Nsa Zeme, treasurer of the NSCN-IM, and his wife Ruth Chawang in a case linked to a “well organised extortion racket run by the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah faction or the (NSCN-IM),” the federal agency said on Monday. The body is currently engaged in peace talks with the central government. The money laundering case was filed by the ED after studying an FIR registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in July 2020.
Earlier this month, a court-appointed committee led by a senior retired judge provided statistical confirmation for the first time of an open secret in Meghalaya: illegal rat-hole coal mining continues to thrive despite a blanket ban since 2014. Activists and observers have said that successive court orders extending the deadline for the transportation of coal, mined before the ban came into force, had made fresh mining possible. An inventory compiled by a committee led by retired Gauhati High Court judge Brojendra Prasad Katakey found that the state authorities had overstated the quantity of coal extracted before the ban by over 70%, or 13 lakh metric tons.
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The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) got an injured Indian Army officer taken captive during the Galwan River clashes to make an alleged confession, a video obtained by The Print appears to show. The video was circulated on social media groups linked to the PLA on Thursday, hours after 20 Indian Army soldiers were killed, 70 others injured and more than 150 captured after a clash along the Line of Actual Control in 2020. Major DS Chauhan of the 3 Punjab Regiment is seen saying that he was ordered to cross the Line of Actual Control and remove tents put up by the Chinese inside their own territory. Following a brief interrogation, in which he appears to be recording a statement on paper, he makes a brief statement thanking the PLA for the treatment of his men. The officer is believed to be one of the 10 Indian soldiers, including four officers, taken captive by China after the Galwan clash on June 15, 2020, who were released three days later. The PLA propaganda video was released hours after pro-government social media handles in India posted a video from a 2021 clash in Yangtse, in Arunachal Pradesh, showing a small unit of the Sikh Light Infantry defending their position against far larger numbers of PLA troops.
The UN yesterday appealed to South Asian countries to help rescue a boat carrying at least 160 Rohingya refugees, stranded in the Andaman Sea for weeks without food. It is now in Indian waters. Rohingya refugees continue to undertake the perilous journey from Bangladesh, where they have lived for years in shanties after fleeing their homes in Myanmar after a massacre conducted by the military.
The death of a 25-year-old Dalit man, Uday Kiran, has spelt trouble for Kolar, Karnataka. There is anger and resistance in the birthplace of the Dalit movement in the state. What are Dalits in villages saying about discrimination? Why did young Uday die? Watch this Newsminute report.
On Sunday, hundreds of Christian Adivasis protested outside the district collectorate in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh, to demand protection. In a police complaint, they alleged they had been beaten up and forced to leave their villages because of their faith. The complaint listed 20 villages where this allegedly happened on Sunday, December 18. There were another 39 incidents in the past three months. Alleging that they were instigated by local Hindutva leaders, the complaint said that the attackers “have been entering our homes and beating us up. Women and girls are being subjected to indecent acts. Even children are being beaten up.”
Shah Rukh Khan has added another feather to his cap; he has become the only Indian actor to feature in the prestigious Empire List of 50 Greatest Actors of All Time.
Biryani continued to set new records with 2.28 orders per second in 2022. It was the most ordered dish. Swiggy revealed its supremacy in its annual trends report.
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