SC Allows House Arrest For Gautam Navlakha; What the US Midterm Polls Mean For India
PM skips CJI’s swearing in, cybersecurity costs to rise, falling FMCG sales reveal inflation, preoccupations of Indian science fiction, crackdown on surrogate liquor ads while elephants guzzle mahua
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Snapshot of the day
November 10, 2022
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut walked out of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail yesterday evening, hours after a special court granted him bail in a money laundering case concerning a housing project in Goregaon. He was arrested on August 1 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Special Judge MG Deshpande tore into the ED’s case against Raut, saying he was “basically arrested illegally for no reason.” After his release, his party said: “Tiger is back.”
Despite tough resistance from the prosecution, the Supreme Court has allowed a plea by Bhima Koregaon accused Gautam Navlakha for house arrest instead of jail. A bench led by Justice KM Joseph permitted house arrest for a month subject to conditions. Navlakha’s health has been a serious concern. Trials against the Bhima Koregaon accused are yet to begin.
Yesterday, Attorney-General R Venkataramani sought more time to file a comprehensive affidavit in response to the batch of petitions against demonetisation in 2016. The Bench said the request for adjournment – never usually made by counsel in a constitutional bench hearing – was “embarrassing”. The matter will be heard on November 24.
At least 10 people were killed and several others injured earlier today when a fire swept through cramped lodgings of foreign workers in the Maldives capital Male. Nine of the ten dead are Indians.
It will now be mandatory for TV channels to show ‘content, in national interest’ that the government may specify from “time to time”. Channels have also been told that they must air content of national importance and social relevance for 30 minutes every day, according to the Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022, cleared by the Union cabinet yesterday. They replace two sets of guidelines, according to the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Channels no longer have to take prior permission for live telecasts, but would need prior registration of events for live telecast.
FMCG sales have fallen for the fifth consecutive quarter. Volumes dipped again in July-September. Due to inflation, rural consumption is down 0.2% year on year.
For the first time in three years, Central spending in this fiscal year could be less than budgeted for, amidst a push to meet a fiscal deficit target of 6.4% of GDP. Total expenditure for the 2022-23 fiscal year could be Rs 70,000-80,000 crore below the budgeted Rs 39.45 lakh crore. Reuters reports that it is unclear which sectors are likely to be affected by expenditure cuts because discussions over revised budget estimates will continue until the end of December.
CNN says that layoffs could weaken Twitter in its biggest global growth markets, including India. There are concerns about trust and safety teams being cut back. Like in the US, in India, “social media activity is expected to ramp up as the country prepares for major state elections in the coming months.” The analysis notes that “content moderation is particularly tricky in India, where over 22 languages and hundreds more dialects are spoken. Digital rights groups had been demanding an increase in investment for years.” Twitter chaos continued as even in India, briefly, ‘Official’ was added to several handles, including the PM’s and some media’s, and then just as abruptly removed.
India, the US, Japan and Australia yesterday kicked off the Malabar naval exercises with top officials of the four navies attending the opening ceremony hosted by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force at Yokosuka, even as China seeks greater influence at sea and its warships foray into the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
South China Morning Post reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged China’s military to be ready for war in uncertain and unstable times. He said that the PLA must be prepared to “resolutely defend national sovereignty, security and development interests”. He said this while on a visit to the headquarters of the armed forces’ operational command centre.
Air India has leased six Airbus A320 Neo aircraft from CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing, for delivery in the latter half of 2023. CDB Aviation announced it on the sidelines of Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Asia Pacific 2022. It is among the first aircraft leasing companies to secure an order for Air India’s additional A320 Neo fleet following its purchase by the Tata group.
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The Election Commission can “handle” simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls, but it is up to legislatures to take a final decision on the issue, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar has said. Gentle reminder: The EC did not announce HImachal Pradesh and Gujarat elections simultaneously, despite polling eventually being set days apart. Also, there’s been a vacancy in the EC for the past five months.
A resolution demanding constitutional safeguards for Ladakh was passed yesterday in the BJP-ruled Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, during a special session. Held under the chairmanship of Chief Executive Councillor Tashi Gyalson, the session was attended by BJP councillors besides Leader of the Opposition Tsering Namgyal and other Congress members in the House with a strength of 30.
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has filed an appeal in the Rampur District and Sessions Court challenging his conviction in a hate speech case, which led to his disqualification as an MLA. The Supreme Court yesterday questioned the haste with which the Election Commission had declared his seat vacant and begun the process for holding a fresh election.
As large-scale layoffs begin at Meta, Indian employees on work visas such as H-1Bs face uncertainty about their immigration status.
India’s groundwater was recharged by 437.6 billion cubic metres, while 239.16 bcm was extracted, says the 2022 assessment report of the Ministry of Water Resources. Groundwater extraction saw an 18-year decline, according to the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB). The entire report has not been made public by the ministry.
The Srinagar-Leh highway as well as the Mughal Road remained closed due to snow at Zojila Pass and Peer-ki-Gali, respectively. Snow and rain was forecast at several places. The Jammu-Srinagar highway too remained closed for three hours due to vehicle breakdowns.
The India Meteorological Department’s way of assessing and reporting on India’s overall monsoon conditions as drought, surplus and normal at the end of the season often ignores variations over time. A new study questions the methodology of estimating Indian summer monsoon conditions.
Rajni Kumar, born Nancie Joyce Margaret Jones in the UK, was an educationist honoured with the Padmashree award, who married and moved to India in 1941. Founder of Springdales School and chairperson of Lady Irwin College, she has died aged 99.
PTI reports that villagers who went into the jungle in Keonjhar to make mahua liquor found that wild elephants had beaten them to it, and were sleeping off the booze.
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