Tribals Need Aadhaar, Health Check to Protest; Kashmir Prisoner of Conscience in TIME Power List
Why India is on back foot in Ladakh, Punjab AAP govt sacks, arrests minister for corruption, NFHS data deflates canards about Muslims, India spent $22 billion on forex reserves, growth slowed to 3.5%
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
May 24, 2022
Backed by the latest satellite imagery from Ladakh, The Drive reports: “China-India border crisis has quietly resulted in victory for Beijing”. It says that the “intensity of China’s military buildup in and around Aksai Chin, which has continued effortlessly after the limited withdrawals in 2020, effectively puts it in a position where its ability to project military power into the disputed region is relatively uncontestable. Negotiations have not led to any breakthroughs for India… time has been on China’s side and India now faces a (quite literal) uphill battle to restore even a semblance of control… while it simultaneously faces similar challenges at other locations of its shared border farther east.”
In a first for a state government in recent times, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of the Aam Aadmi Party has sacked and arrested a minister for corruption. Vijay Singla was allegedly taking a commission on all tenders floated by the Health and Family Welfare department, which he headed. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal claimed he had tears in his eyes when he heard the news.
Is the freedom of assembly and movement no longer a fundamental right in India? In Chhattisgarh, the high court has directed the organisers of a ‘padayatra’ in Silger – site of a year long struggle against the siting of a CRPF camp on village land – to submit the names, Aadhar cards and health status of all those going on the protest to the district collector who will then decide whether and when to allow the march.
Khurram Pervez, chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, has been in jail in Kashmir under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since November 22, 2021, despite petitions and public appeals by leading institutions and individuals in India and abroad, including groups and individuals linked with the UN. But he’s on TIME magazine’s list of 100 Most Powerful Persons. His work, reputation, integrity – and incarceration – illustrate the Indian government’s approach to Kashmir, freedom and human rights.
From India, richest Asian Gautam Adani, whose wealth has grown multifold during the pandemic and lawyer Karuna Nundy find themselves on the same list. Nundy and Parvez are in the Leaders category along with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukraine counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Adani is filed under tycoons.
The share of entry-level cars in the passenger vehicle market dropped to the lowest level in seven years at the end of FY22. Sales of the Alto, Wagon R, Santro and i10 as a percentage of overall sales dropped to the lowest in seven years to 17.9% at the end of FY22 from 27.3% in FY15.
A plan to increase GST rates on some items to boost revenue collection may be delayed because of slowing economic growth and surging inflation. A ministerial panel led by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai looking into GST rate rationalisation will weigh the evolving economic conditions.
RBML ― the joint venture of Reliance Industries Ltd and supermajor BP ― has told the Modi government that fuel retailing has become unsustainable for the private sector because market-controlling public sector firms frequently froze fuel prices way below cost at the behest of the government. There was a freeze for a record 137 days from early November 2021, when five states including UP went to the polls, and last month again went into a hiatus that is now 47 days old. While RBML is scaling down its retail operations to cut some of the Rs 700 crore loss it is incurring every month, Nayara Energy, backed by Russia’s Rosneft, has raised prices by up to Rs 3 a litre over PSU rates, to cover for some losses. IOC, BPCL and HPCL own 74,647 out of India’s 83,027 petrol pumps in the country.
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India is unlikely to back exemptions from export restrictions on food for humanitarian purposes by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) at a key WTO meet next month. A group of 80 developed countries including Japan, the US, the EU and Singapore do not want export restrictions on WFP purchases. India may not agree as it would restrict elbow room for addressing domestic food security concerns.
India Inc, which has shot off to Davos’s World Economic Forum, is of the view that controlling inflation is crucial for boosting domestic demand.
Dogged by land acquisition issues, the Railways may scrap three newly proposed Dedicated Freight Corridors — East Coast, East-West and North-South — and increase capacities of the two current ones. The ministry is thinking of adding track to its existing Eastern and Western DFCs, which have been delayed and overshot budgets.
A survey of 1,976 farm households in eastern India (Bihar, eastern UP, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal) to estimate the impact of public procurement on the price of harvested paddy reveals that farmers gain by selling to public agencies. But they are unable to receive the minimum support price.
The News Minute reports that cops who ‘counsel’ domestic violence survivors dissuade them from filing complaints, and focus on compromise and counselling.
Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of the ghastly killing of 72 Muslims by the UP Provincial Armed Constabulary in the village of Maliyana, Meerut district, Uttar Pradesh. There has been no justice even after three decades and more than 800 dates in a Meerut court, reminds Qurban Ali.
PTI has a horrific story from Kashmir. A newborn girl declared dead in hospital in J&K’s Banihal was found alive when the family was forced to disinter her hours after she was buried. Locals had objected to her burial in ‘their’ graveyard.
Vinai Kumar Saxena is the new Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. Not from the civil services, he worked with the JK Group as assistant manager for 11 years before being appointed general manager of the proposed Port Project in Gujarat. He was appointed chairman of the Khadi Village Industries Commission in October 2015.
Defending champions India conceded a late goal allowing arch-rivals Pakistan to walk away with a 1-1 draw in their opening Pool A match of the Asia Cup men’s hockey tournament. India will play Japan next Tuesday.
Devla Murphy, the adventurous travel writer of Ireland, has died at 90. Murphy’s solo cycle ride to India in 1963 launched the Irish travel writer’s career as a chronicler of far-off lands.