Sudha Bharadwaj Granted Bail; India Vulnerable To Global Inflation
Covid containment extended, all J&K magisterial inquiries duds, PLA digs in for winter, Reliance denies designs on BT, Delhi air at seven-year low, Bajrang Dal stormtroopers routed by Karnataka women
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
December 1, 2021
Sudha Bharadwaj has been granted default bail by the Bombay High Court. The lawyer and trade union activist, in jail for over three years, cannot be released before December 8, and the NIA has sought a stay of two weeks. Eight other accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, including the poet Varavara Rao, were denied bail. The trial has not begun.
The Indian economy has grown 0.33% in two years, an annual average of about 0.16%. The urban unemployment rate for all ages rose to 9.3% in January-March 2021 from 9.1% a year ago, as per a periodic labour force survey by the National Statistical Office.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported on a bruised economy, with its middle class anxious and hesitant to spend, even as the wealthy prosper. “India on paper reported a big jump in growth, of 8.4%, in the July-to-September period compared with a contraction of 7.4% for the same period a year earlier. But that heady number conceals lingering damage from Covid-19 to an economy that needs to generate a steady number of jobs to keep its young, vast population content.”
Since 2017, more than six lakh Indians relinquished citizenship, and 1.11 lakh this year up to September 30, the Home Ministry revealed in the Lok Sabha.
A non-agricultural male rural worker in Kerala earned Rs 677.6 daily in 2020-21, on average, according to RBI statistics. Kerala was followed by Jammu & Kashmir with Rs 483 and Tamil Nadu with Rs 449.5. The national average is Rs 315.3. In Maharashtra, a rural worker earns just Rs 262.3, and in Gujarat, Rs 239.3. In UP, the figure is Rs 286.8, and in Bihar, it’s Rs 289.3.
The Centre has extended nationwide Covid-19 containment measures till December 31 on account of the Omicron variant surfacing in some countries. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has asked states and UTs to strictly adhere to the November 25 advisory, which recommends rigorous screening and testing of all international arrivals. But the fundamentals remain weak. In court, the Modi government had set the target of December 31 to vaccinate all adults, but only 31.3% of the population has been covered.
Union Minister and leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal has an uncanny ability to make his government look arrogant. He’s had a go at inconvenient captains of industry and members of the press earlier, and now he’s taken on fellow parliamentarians. Yesterday, he said that if the 12 MPs suspended from the Rajya Sabha in an unprecedented manner were to apologise, they could return to the House. The statement has only made things more difficult for his government.
Questions listed by the suspended MPs have been ‘cancelled’ from the list. This happened in the last session, and again yesterday, when 17 questions were cancelled. The rules of the House don’t provide for this.
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said in the Lok Sabha that there is no question of financial aid for the families of farmers who died or had cases filed against them during their agitation, because the government has no data on their numbers.
The Personal Data Protection Bill could be delayed again. BJP MP PP Chaudhary, chairperson of the Joint Parliamentary Committee set up in 2019 to review it, is set to seek an extension till the last week of the Winter Session.
Nischal Shetty, who sold WazirX to Binance in 2019, tells restofworld.org that the crypto asset sector will generate almost 50,000 jobs in India by 2030. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday said the government is working on a new Bill on cryptocurrency for the ongoing session of Parliament. Singapore-based exchange Coinstore has begun operations in India, launched its app and plans branches in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai. It claims that a quarter of its active users are from India.
Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar has said that a state cabinet minister was sexually harassing a woman and that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was using the state police to destroy evidence, including WhatsApp chats. Chodankar wants action within 15 days but the BJP has denied his charges.
Reliance Industries has denied plans to bid for BT after Economic Times reported it was interested in the UK telecom group. Mukesh Ambani called the article “speculative and baseless” after BT shares rose 9%. Financial Times writes that “Reliance’s sprawling conglomerate includes Jio, which used aggressively low pricing to expand to more than 420m users and has harboured ambitions for overseas expansion.”
After the armed forces, is a paramilitary chief bringing out the political baggage? BSF DG Pankaj Singh said that the controversial decision to extend the jurisdiction of BSF up to 50 kms within border states “could be” due to demographic change in Assam and West Bengal. “We have the district-wise composition of how demography has changed in these areas,” he also said. “Voting pattern has also changed.”
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