Sitharaman Uses Fuzzy Logic to Claim Muslims in India Are Safe; New Study by Jean Dreze ‘Destroys’ Poverty Decline Chatter
ED casts its dragnet wide, IBC is Adani’s happy hunting ground, Arunachal tribe opposes tiger reserve, defamation turns into BJP weapon, AAP a ‘national’ party, Twitter's India censorship goes global
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia, Tanweer Alam and Pratik Kanjilal | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi | Editor: Vinay Pandey
Snapshot of the day
April 11, 2023
If there was violence against Muslims in India, would their population be growing? Only a person possessing a special gift for logical reasoning, like finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, can put forth such an argument. If you don’t understand the logic, we’re afraid, you are either anti-national or a foreign force conspiring against India. At a conference in Washington, asked by her interlocutor, the head of a US think-tank, about the impact of the “negative western perceptions” of India on investment into the country, she urged prospective investors to “come to have a look at what’s happening in India, rather than listen to perceptions being built by people who have not even visited on the ground and who produce reports.”
“India has the second-largest Muslim population in the world, and that population is only growing in numbers. If there is a perception, or if there’s a reality, that their lives are difficult or made difficult with the support of the state, which is what is implied in most of these write-ups, I would ask, will the Muslim population be growing than what it was in 1947?”
Talking of Sitharaman’s real job, Indian authorities have not released a poverty survey for over a decade, allowing some to claim that poverty in the countryy is declining. A biased private data source has made matters worse, says the economist Ashoka Mody – the author of India is Broken. He points to this new study by Jean Dreze and Anmol Somanchi that “destroys” these claims.
Here’s a thread summarising the Dreze-Somanchi findings:
TLDR? “Bottom line: Poverty estimation with Consumer Pyramid Household Survey data is highly problematic... Why not look at real wages instead? They have barely risen in the last 8 years…
Despite exporting more defence hardware to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Afrcia, India does not figure in the world’s top 25 arms exporters list brought out by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. While the Modi government continued to promote the concept of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the country’s volume of international arms transfers fell by 5.1% last year – not demonstrating a record of reliability, operational efficacy and after-sales service for the potential importers.
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While India has refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and continues to maintain close ties with the Kremlin, Ukraine has sent its first deputy foreign minister, Emine Dzhaparova, on a four-day charm offensive to New Delhi. She began her tour by calling India “Vishwaguru”. As the president of G20, India should engage Ukrainian officials in the meetings of G20 and in the September summit, Dzhaparova told the Hindustan Times. “President Zelenskyy might be invited and we actually consider and expect the invitation, probably online, because my president is very restricted in his ability to travel.” This piece in the same newspaper takes stock of India’s policy on the Ukraine war.
The Enforcement Directorate has cast its dragnet wide, reports The Wire, using the interpretation of a circular issued by itself in 2020 for this purpose. The circular was intended to define its role but it has a clause giving its director enormous discretionary powers. In the face of criticism, the ED maintains that it has a stellar track record, and has a conviction rate of 96%, But, the “conviction rate” is based on 24 out of 25 cases in which a trial under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act was completed! The vast majority of its cases are stuck at the investigations stage.
The Adani Group has put the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to good use to acquire stressed assets and consolidate its position in sectors like power and ports – two key areas of operations for the group. It has made three big-ticket acquisitions – where the realisation for lenders has been more than Rs 1,000 crore – through the corporate insolvency resolution process, reports the New Indian Express.
While China objected to Amit Shah’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh as a “violation” of China’s territorial integrity, the union home minister said at a rally in the northeastern state on Monday that “no one could take an inch of our land”. This report on The Wire and people on social media reminded him of what China has done to India in the past few years.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority’s recent announcement that it is going to notify a tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh’s Dibang valley has alarmed locals, most of whom belong to the indigenous Idu Mishmi tribe, reports Scroll. The community’s apex body, the Idu Mishmi Cultural Literary Society, has alleged it is a ploy to “dislodge” the locals from their homes.
India’s foreign policy under Narendra Modi is increasingly speaking on behalf of Hindus from around the world, despite them not being Indian citizens. The recent case of an Indian student at the London School of Economics who has been disqualified from the elections for the post of general secretary by the students union was just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. While a member of an LSE committee broke the silence, saying his Hindu identity never played a part in disqualifying the said student from the election, the student continued to peddle victimhood. Subsequently, even the Indian high commission in London issued notices. Scroll analyses how this approach is part of the Modi government’s plan to push Hindutva ideology into Indian foreign policy.
Taking a close look at the “excessive” defamation case against Rahul Gandhi and his subsequent expulsion from the Lok Sabha, the Guardian says: “ … for critics and legal experts the verdict against Gandhi has also fuelled a growing concern that India’s judiciary has increasingly come under the thumb of the government and is now being weaponised against opponents, with severe consequences for India’s democracy – which is already seen as threatened by an erosion of press freedom, oppression of minorities, particularly Muslims, and an unprecedented concentration of power under the executive.”
The Uttar Pradesh anti-conversion law specifies who can be the complainant in the case of a forceful or fraudulent conversion, but the Quint finds glaring loopholes that continue to defy the law they are based on.
Amid the raging controversy over the two dairy giants, Amul’s boss has clarified that Amul was not making a foray into Karnataka to compete with local dairy brand, Nandini. “The planned sale in Bengaluru is only through e-commerce platforms, and not via a distribution network.”
Why are Muslim women demanding equality in inheritance rights? Speaking to the NewsMinute, Muslim women who are victims of the gender bias in the Muslim personal law, speak about their sufferings and challenges.
The South Asian-origin London mayor Sadiq Khan, while speaking to the Financial Times, talks about how he attracts “unjustified criticism” – his team traces much online abuse to Trump fans in the US and Narendra Modi supporters in India.
The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, apologised on Monday after a video surfaced online showing him kissing a boy on the lips at a public event and then saying to the child, “suck my tongue”. In the video, which was taken in February in Dharamsala, the Buddhist leader, 87, speaks briefly to the boy in front of an audience before kissing him and then pulling him close to his outstretched tongue.
Michael Lipton, the British development economist, who worked on empirical research on Indian agriculture, passed away earlier this month. His work extensively focused on the developing world and he passionately argued for a focus on land redistribution and egalitarian agricultural development. Read a moving obituary here.
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