Via Jails, UP Working Towards Panopticonic Surveillance; Recovery From Pandemic Requires Reversal Of Economic Policies
Stalin secedes from ‘Hindia’, trade deficit doubles, Russia rupee trade to begin, panellists pull out of JLF on account of Shazia Ilmi, FM scolds ‘Hanumans’, 21% of operational malls are ‘ghost malls’
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
September 15, 2022
Wholesale inflation was in double digits for 17 months running in August, with WPI-based inflation at 12.41%. It was 13.93% in July and worryingly, this is on the back of a high base of 11.64% inflation in August last year. Wholesale inflation in fuel and power was 33.67% in August, after 43.75% in July.
India’s trade deficit more than doubled to $27.98 billion in August, according to data released by the Commerce Ministry, as imports rose by 37.28% to $61.9 billion while exports rose marginally by 1.62% to $33.92 billion. The deficit widened to $124.52 billion in April-August, against $53.78 billion last year.
Stocks of wheat, rice and unmilled paddy with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) dropped 33.5% to 60.11 million tonnes (mt) on September 1, from 90.41 mt a year ago. This will weigh on the government’s decision to extend free rations under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) after September 30. Wheat stocks have dipped 52.1% to 24.82 mt and rice by 8.8% to 24.46 mt from year-ago levels. Unmilled paddy slipped 8.2% to 16.16 mt (or 10.83 mt in terms of rice). The government needs 47.83 mt of rice and wheat to run the PMGKAY for one year at current allocations, and 4.27 mt of wheat and 19.64 mt of rice for six months.
National highway construction slowed to 19 km per day in the first five months of the current financial year. It had touched a record of 37 km per day in 2020-21, but slowed to 28.64 km a day in 2021-22.
India may be forced to withdraw vacancies for Nepalese soldiers under its Agnipath scheme if Nepal doesn’t allow recruitment rallies in time, Army chief Gen Manoj Pande said yesterday at the United Service Institution of India. The move could have implications for the already delicate relationship with Nepal, where China has invested strategically. Nepal has put on hold recruitments under the Agnipath scheme, for which rallies were to commence there on August 25, in protest against the short tour of duty, and no pension or benefits.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has conveyed to the US government India’s displeasure with the US $450 million sustenance package to refit F-16 fighters currently in service in the Pakistan Air Force. “Look forward to continuing dialogue with [US Defence] Secretary [Lloyd] Austin to further consolidating India-US partnership,” he tweeted. The US Department of Defence also issued a press release after the phone conversation between Singh and Austin, but made no mention of India’s displeasure.
Days after Lancet Regional Health-Southeast Asia reported that over 47% of antibiotic formulations used in India’s private sector in 2019 were not approved by the central drug regulator, vice chairman of the Standing National Committee on Medicines (SNCM) YK Gupta said it was “misleading and inappropriate”. “Notwithstanding, Azithromycin was the most consumed antibiotic in 2019 but it was in NLEM and so I definitely agree that there is a need to create awareness and further promote antibiotic stewardship,” he said. The Azithromycin 500 mg tablet was followed in consumption by Cefixime 200 mg. Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid 500/125mg tablet was the most consumed FDC (fixed-dose combination), he stated.
Under flak for losing out on the Rs 1.54 lakh crore Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project to Gujarat, the Maharashtra government scrambled to convey that PM Modi has assured the state will get a similar project, or even better. The Opposition is gunning for the BJP-breakaway Sena government for frittering away the state’s interests. State Industries Minister Uday Samant said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde spoke to Modi after the Vedanta-Foxconn MOU was signed to set up a semiconductor and display manufacturing unit in the state. But Maharashtra has also lost out the proposed bulk drug park project, alleged former tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray. He asserted that Maharashtra is more qualified in terms of location and the availability of technical and skilled labour.
The much-hyped Byju’s losses have surged. It reported a consolidated loss of Rs 4,588 crore in FY21, compared to Rs 262 crore in the previous year. After a delay of almost 18 months, Byju’s parent Think and Learn finally disclosed its latest financial results yesterday.
In ridiculous comments, defector and ex-chief minister of Goa, Digambar Kamat told the media that he had consulted the gods before leaping into the BJP’s arms. Defecting MLAs had earlier visited temples, mosques and churches to pledge that they would not switch parties.
Jay Shah and Sourav Ganguly have got a reprieve from the Supreme Court. The top cricket body, once censured by the apex court for making its own rules, was yesterday allowed by the Supreme Court to amend its constitution and allow another term of three years to its office-bearers ― Jay Shah, son of Home Minister Amit Shah and cricketer Sourav Ganguly. The Supreme Court yesterday relaxed its own August 9, 2018, judgement and permitted the cricket administrators to have two consecutive terms of three years each at the level of State Cricketing Association, followed by two consecutive terms of three year each in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), before a cooling-off period of three years sets in.
The Tamil Nadu government has asked collectors to kick-start the breakfast scheme for schoolchildren in districts tomorrow, in the presence of ministers and elected representatives. Chief Minister MK Stalin inaugurated it in Madurai today. The state has been a leader in the midday meal scheme, which brought numerous benefits.
The average credit score of Indians stood at 715 in FY 2021-22, according to OneScore. In a study conducted among over 9 million users, about 63% respondents had a score of 300-747, as it was in FY 2020-21. Kerala ranked highest, with credit-conscious, self-monitoring millennials with an average credit score of 726.
Middle East Eye reports that panellists are pulling out of the Jaipur Literature Festival, believing that it is “normalising Hindutva in the US”. The event features BJP national spokesperson Shazia Ilmi.
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