SC Puts Campus ‘Cordiality’ Before Caste Discrimination at IIT; AAP Bests BJP in Delhi Mayor Race But Manish Sisodia Now in Firing Line
Seattle outlaws caste, C’garh villages used law to banish Christian tribals, Bengaluru to launch mass facial recognition programme, Indians spend almost $1 bn on foreign travel, Sania Mirza bows out
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
February 22, 2022
Tens of millions of dollars of Australian retirement savings have been exposed to the Adani Group, whose stock is in rout after allegations of fraud. Several major superannuation funds, including for government employees in Queensland and of the Commonwealth Bank, invested in the company. Australia’s $243 bn Future Fund, set up to strengthen the Commonwealth’s finances long-term, has lost out on investments in two Adani companies. Besides, there is discomfort because the funds of retirement scheme members was used to shore up the position of Adani’s Carmichael mine, which was opposed in Australia.
Seattle became the first US city to outlaw caste discrimination yesterday, after its local council voted to add caste to the city’s anti-discrimination laws, reports Reuters. Hindutva and other conservative forces tried hard to block the recognition and outlawing of caste discrimination outside India.
The Aam Aadmi Party’s Shelly Walia was elected mayor of Delhi, handily defeating the BJP candidate. But the BJP has now trained its guns on Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. The Union home ministry has sanctioned his prosecution on the charge of conducting illegal surveillance. The Modi government’s use of Pegasus, meanwhile, remains unprobed and unprosecuted.
The raid on the BBC’s India office was discussed in the British parliament yesterday. The minister said that these issues have been raised by the British government with the Modi administration.
In a letter petition to the Allahabad High Court, Citizens for Justice and Peace is asking for strict action against Mahant Bajrang Muni Das for making calls for mass genocide of Muslims.
Public sector Hindustan Petroleum is facing payment issues for its purchases of Russian crude oil due to a price cap imposed on crude exports from Moscow by Western nations. Its unwillingness to declare its buying price is making it difficult for the company to find Western banks willing to process payments. Previously, HPCL had paid for Russian crude in US dollars, UAE dirhams and Russian rubles. No payments have so far been processed in Indian rupees. HPCL is estimated to process 15 million tons of imported crude in the current financial year ending March 31, of which 2 million tons were purchased on a spot basis from Russia.
The government has invoked an emergency rule that will force some of the country’s biggest coal power plants to operate at full capacity, as the country prepares to meet surging electricity demand and avoid blackouts. Power stations operating on imported coal will be asked to run at full capacity for three months during the summer season to ease the burden on domestic coal supplies, according to a power ministry order of Monday. The government expects peak power demand to reach 229 gigawatts by April, compared with an all-time high of 215 gigawatts seen last summer.
The Supreme Court is continuing to hear former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s petition challenging the decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to allot the party name ‘Shiv Sena’ and symbol ‘bow and arrow’ to the Eknath Shinde faction.
The Haryana Police yesterday registered an FIR against 30-40 Rajasthan cops in connection with the killing of two Muslim men by alleged gau rakshaks in Bhiwani district of Haryana. The FIR registered in Nuh, Haryana, alleges that 30-40 people wearing Rajasthan Police uniform and civil attire stormed into the home of the complainant Dulari and assaulted the women in the house. The woman also alleged that the cops took away her two sons. She has claimed that her daughter-in-law suffered a miscarriage due to the alleged assault by Rajasthan Police personnel, and is in a serious condition in hospital.
France is in talks to convince India to shift its position on the Russian war in Ukraine and vote for a United Nations General Assembly resolution due to be tabled this week, calling for the cessation of hostilities. Thus far, New Delhi has refused to vote for resolutions critical of the war, either at the UNGA or the UNSC, where India was a member last year. At an emergency session beginning tomorrow, all eyes will be on how each of the 193 UNGA members votes on the resolution that calls for Russia-Ukraine talks and a “lasting peace”. In October 2022, 143 UNGA members had voted to condemn Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territories. Five countries including Russia voted against the resolution. India was among 35 abstainers.
The government will sell an additional 2 million tonnes of wheat from its dwindling stocks to bulk consumers like flour mills to lower prices, which jumped to a record high last month. The allocation, on top of 3 million tonnes announced last month, could cool prices, which are ruling above the government-fixed buying price of Rs 21,250 per tonne, hiking retail inflation in January. The government is trying to lower them to near the floor price to ensure it can lift ample quantities from farmers in the new season.
Bengaluru is about to embark on a video surveillance experiment with facial recognition, though activists and privacy experts warn that it could set a dangerous precedent and allow the police to profile citizens. RTI responses from the city police revealed that the surveillance system will be linked to a ‘blacklist library’, matching faces from CCTV feeds with images from a police database.
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Indian startup FreshToHome, which sells fresh fish and meat in South Asia and the Middle East, has a new backer: Amazon. Amazon, through its India-focused Smbhav Venture Fund, has led a $104 million financing round in the Bengaluru-headquartered startup.
The Survey of India, the country’s 250-year-old mapmaker, has lost its monopoly on high resolution maps, but it will remain the arbiter of maps showing state and national boundaries. It will also maintain reference stations vital for cartographers to prepare higher resolution maps.
Indians are spending nearly $1 billion every month on foreign travel, significantly more than pre-Covid levels, reveals RBI data on outward remittances. In April-December, 2022-23, outward remittances under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) for resident individuals towards travel was $9.95 billion. In 2021-22, it was $4.16 billion, and $5.4 billion in the pre-Covid year 2019-20. Outward remittances towards travel were $7 billion in all of FY 2021-22.
How the ACU team led by former cop Neeraj Kumar busted an attempt to fix an IPL game at Kanpur in 2017. An extract from Kumar’s book, A Cop in Cricket.
Sania Mirza yesterday ended her glorious international tennis career of 20 years with a defeat in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. She lost in straight sets along with American partner Madison Keys in women’s doubles.
Shah Rukh Khan starrer Pathaan has created history by becoming the first Hindi movie to cross the Rs 1,000 crore mark at the worldwide box office in phase one of its release, Yash Raj Films said yesterday. This includes an India gross of Rs 623 crore and overseas collection of Rs 377 crore.
In Pakistan, Javed Akhtar says that the attackers of 26/11 are still free. Akhtar said his Lahore audience clapped; but at least one Pakistani actor, Resham, who had earlier posted a photograph of herself with the Bombay-based poet, was quick to dissociate herself from his remarks.
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