Pew Survey finds Modi Up in India, His India Down in World’s Eyes; Is Indian Agriculture Following Two Policies ― One at WTO and Another at Home?
New forest law rattles NE, Manipur Assembly has 9 minute session, unemployment growing, gig workers poorer, e-comms take ad revenue from Google & Meta, startups taking over Goa, ISRO impersonator held
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia and Tanweer Alam | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi and Anirudh SK | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
August 30, 2023
By laser spectroscopy, the Indian moon rover has definitely found sulphur and also detected aluminium, iron, calcium, chromium, titanium, manganese, oxygen and silicon near the lunar south pole. It is searching for evidence of water, which would be useful for future manned missions, and spur the search for traces of life on the moon. The rover has also sent back a portrait of the lander it rode to the moon.
Back on earth, in the land of Ramar Pillai, the Surat police have arrested one Mitul Trivedi, who has been posing as “assistant chairman” of ISRO’s “Ancient Science Application Department” (he even has an appointment letter, says the New Indian Express). The police moved on him following complaints that he was giving interviews to the local press, in which he claimed to have designed Chandrayaan-3’s lander.
The Manipur Assembly’s one-day session yesterday failed to last for even one hour. The moon was discussed but not Manipur. Adjourned just 48 minutes after it began – and a 30-minute adjournment intervened – the House could do only nine minutes of actual business amid Opposition protest, the Imphal Free Press reports. The state’s 10 Kuki MLAs did not attend the session.
Elsewhere in the mother of democracy, Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha was set to give a lecture at a Delhi University refresener course for teachers but then found he was struck off the list. In Maharashtra, the author of a new Urdu book raising questions about the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake counter has been told by the police that he cannot hold a public meeting to discuss the book.
India has registered a “strong protest” with China against its new map showing all of Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin, and other parts of Indian territory within its borders. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has laughed off China’s “absurd claims”. China responded by saying the map was “a routine practice” and that New Delhi should “refrain from over-interpreting” it. The map was published just days after PM Modi met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in South Africa and discussed resolving the boundary situation. In the Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge says that the map issue should be raised at the G20 meet. Rahul Gandhi says that the PM should speak about territory lost to China, not only the map.
But check this out, from the Hindustan Times.
Jobs have fallen. The creation of jobs last month is down, in simple English, says fresh CMIE data. Salaried jobs are down by 6.2 million. Total employment too. Labour force participation? Also down.
The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) says that the real wages of gig workers fell 11% to Rs 11,963 per month in 2022 as compared to 2019, largely due to high fuel costs and consumer price inflation.
The Congress government in Karnataka launches the Gruha Lakshmi scheme today, which grants Rs 2,000 per month to 1.1 crore women who head families. The party stresses that it is doing this because it understands that inflation is a problem, not because a think tank proposed it strategically.
Alarmed by the visible effects of climate change, fourteen “major Indian companies led by industrial conglomerate and steelmaker JSW Group, manufacturer Godrej and Boyce and tech group Infosys have written to G20 leaders to push for an end to fossil fuels use without emissions captured, support for green vehicles and clean power,” reports the Financial Times.
While the transition to clean energy is on the G20 agenda, and the group had agreed in 2019 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, “G20 governments provided a record $1.4 trillion to subsidise climate-heating fossil fuels in 2022,” says Bhasker Tripathi in Context. This money should have gone into financing the transition.
After Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court yesterday that statehood will be restored to Jammu and Kashmir (a schedule may be made public tomorrow), Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP has responded that the question of statehood is secondary. The real issue is the withdrawal of special status under Article 370.
The Financial Times says that “India is unusual in that it openly requires telecom companies to install surveillance equipment at subsea cable landing stations and data centres that is approved by the government as a condition of operation.” An array of security companies are trying to sell surveillance products to the government, including “less well known Israeli groups like Cognyte or Septier.”
Violation of norms, financial inconsistencies and impossible targets: that’s how IAS officer Ashok Kumar Parmar has characterised the workings of Jammu and Kashmir’s Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). In a letter to the Union Home Ministry, he has alleged that J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Chief Secretary AK Mehta colluded to commit irregularities in the JJM. Parmar has also written to the National SC Commission, saying that Sinha and Mehta harassed him for pointing out the irregularities and for being a Dalit.
Speaking at the 25th DS Borker Memorial Lecture on ‘My Vision of India: 2047 AD’, Justice AP Shah, former chief justice of the Delhi High Court and chairman of the 20th Law Commission, warned that the “next stage of the Hindutva movement, the birthing of the Hindu Rashtra, is firmly in the works,” and made a plea for a return to Mahatma Gandhi’s vision. Incidentally, he revealed that his grandfather was president of the Hindu Mahasabha, and that the first literature he read when he was a schoolboy was the writings of VD Savarkar.
In 2020, the Indian government banned a number of Chinese apps. It was expected to directly hurt apps like TikTok and Shein. However, the ban also brought on the downfall of phone maker Xiaomi in India. Restofworld.org looks at how Xiaomi is trying to win back Indian consumers.
In New South Wales, Australia, the Greens have included casteism in their policies against discrimination. It is the first political party in Australia to do so.
A report by Jagori finds a form of apartheid at work in well-off Indian homes, where the domestic help is denied access to the resources of the family. A quarter of those surveyed said they are prohibited from using the same utensils as their employers, 18% have no access to food or water at their workplace and 13% don’t get leave when they fall sick. Many don’t even have a place to sit. Indian employers are endangering the health of their domestic help.
Ramalingam Murugan, a 37-year-old father manual worker from Tamil Nadu who suffered an injury while working in Singapore, has successfully sued for negligence. The case has rekindled debate about the work conditions of cheap foreign labour, which has contributed to the riches of the country, reports CNN.
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