Railway Board Pulls Chain on Delhi-Varanasi Bullet Train; Revdinomics Isn’t About the Economy, Stupid!
Release of Bilkis convicts opposed in SC, Assam tells incoming Muslim clerics to register with cops, mandates Aadaar-ration link, ED head's extension challenged, Karnataka Dalits warn cow vigilantes
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Snapshot of the day
August 23, 2022
The Railway Board has rejected the feasibility report on PM Modi’s vanity project, the Delhi-Varanasi high-speed railway corridor. Multiple curves on the route make it unsuitable for a bullet train running at 350 kmph. The report, presented by the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), proposed a corridor along National Highway 2, where land acquisition would be cheaper. While NHSRCL wants to begin work, the Railway Board has been wary, considering delays in the ongoing Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, whose cost has escalated to Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the plea of Congress leader Jaya Thakur challenging the extension of tenure granted to Enforcement Directorate Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra. A year ago, the top court had barred further extensions to him.
Subhashini Ali of the CPI(M), journalist and filmmaker Revati Laul and former philosophy teacher Roop Rekha Varma have moved the Supreme Court against the early release of 11 rapists and murderers in the Biklis Bano case. Another petition has been filed by Mohua Moitra of the TMC.
Reuters reports in a tweet that Fitch Ratings has said that the Adani Group is “severely overleveraged” and may be forced into “imprudent financial decisions” as competition with Reliance hots up.
Over four months after WHO suspended the supply of Covaxin to UN agencies, its manufacturer Bharat Biotech is still unable to meet manufacturing standards.
Farmers’ unions held their Mahapanchayat in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar yesterday to protest against unemployment and to demand the implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) as a legal guarantee. The unions, which were part of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha during the 2020-21 protests, broke police barricades. Several farmers were detained while protesting in Ghazipur on the Delhi-UP border.
An Islamic State terrorist from a Central Asian country, who is said to have been plotting a suicide attack against a member of India’s leadership elite for offensive comments made by BJP spokespersons about the Prophet, has been detained in Russia. According to its Federal Security Service, the foreign national was recruited as a suicide bomber by Islamic State sometime between April and June in Turkey. In Hyderabad, a BJP MLA in Telangana, Raja Singh, has been arrested for offensive remarks on the Prophet and the party has suspended him too.
New depths of sycophancy in the two-man party: BJP Telangana chief Bandi Sanjay was seen picking up Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s footwear and rushing to place them at his feet. On Sunday, after Shah and Bandi stepped out of the Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad, Sanjay was seen pacing ahead of Shah, picking up the latter’s footwear from the stand and placing it at the home minister’s feet. Shah was in Telangana to address a BJP rally in Munugodu, where a bye-election is awaited.
Bringing relief to 23,000 Indian students, the Chinese Embassy in India has announced plans to issue visas for stranded Indian students after over two years of Covid-19 restrictions. The embassy has updated the ‘Application Procedures and Material Requirements of China Visa’, which will be implemented from August 24. However, hurdles still remain: acquiring a ‘certificate of returning to campus’, which is required for visa applications. Some Chinese universities are not issuing them because of the epidemic situation in their provinces. Besides, direct flights are yet to resume while transit flights are hugely overpriced. Students from Sri Lanka and Pakistan recently travelled to China on chartered flights.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will travel to Tashkent today to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, which is likely to be attended by his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe. No bilateral meeting between them is officially scheduled, but at the last such meeting in Moscow in 2020, Singh had met Wei to discuss the Ladakh border crisis. There, too, there was no formal bilateral engagement.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN was unable to name China yesterday. She said that “sovereignty and territorial integrity of all Member States” should be “respected” … Any coercive or unilateral action that seeks to change the status quo by force is an affront to common security.” The statement could apply to Russia and Ukraine, but we were guided by a government-friendly journalist to consider it as being targeted at China.
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China remains India’s biggest source of auto components, accounting for 30% in FY22, the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) said in its annual report. India’s iron ore exports took a 85% hit in July, year on year, to about 0.50 million tonnes (mt), following lower buying from China and levy of export duty. Exports in July 2021 were 3.24 mt. For April-July FY23, iron ore exports fell over 60% YoY, to around 6.56 mt – the steepest for a four-month comparative period.
Setting the ambitious target of producing mobile phones worth $126 billion in India by FY26, half of it for export, the government has asked Chinese device makers to push exports from India and bolster their supply chain in India.
India’s first commercial space situational awareness observatory, designed to track objects as small as 10 cm in orbit, will be set up in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, by space sector startup Digantara. The SSA observatory will help India track activity in space, including that of space debris and military satellites hovering over the region. The high-quality observations, couple with those of a ground-based sensor network, would improve its ability to monitor events in space, especially in the geostationary, medium-Earth, and high-Earth orbits.
Imams from other states in Assam must inform the police and register on a government portal. It is not known if the same restrictions apply to Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Jewish or Zorashtrian priests. On Saturday, two Islamic clerics were arrested from Goalpara for alleged links with a terrorist outfit affiliated to Al-Qaeda.
Hundreds protested in Sakleshpur in Karnataka yesterday, demanding the arrest of a Bajrang Dal activist for assaulting a Dalit who was transporting cattle for rearing. The Dalit Sangharsha Samiti and other pro-Dalit organisations wanted the police to arrest the accused immediately and warn Bajrang Dal activists against cow vigilantism.
Over the weekend, the Madhya Pradesh Police booked three journalists on the charge of airing “misleading and false” information while reporting about a man who took his unwell father to hospital on a handcart because ambulances were allegedly unavailable. Anil Sharma from News18, Kunjbihari Kourav from Patrika, and NK Bhatele from Lalluram.com were charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code covering cheating and causing public mischief, and provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2008.
Despite rapid economic growth, declining fertility and an increase in women’s education over the past three decades, the female workforce participation rate in the country remains low and shows a precipitous and persistent decline. Read a detailed exposition by the Centre for the Advanced Study of India.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has advised state associations not to conduct elections till the Supreme Court rules on the abolition of cooling off clauses. The continuation of BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah will depend on it. The court has not heard the case fully and it is likely to be posted in the first week of September.
Restofoworld.com reports on how, despite frequent internet blackouts, content creators in Kashmir keep posting.
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