Who Will Blink First, Modi and Shah or the Chandrachud Court?; Indian Army’s New Warbirds: Falcons and Black Eagles
India in low growth trap, DMK tells SC CAA is arbitrary and unconstitutional, Kerala bill to kick governor off campus, Amazon’s India fatigue, we’re inhaling mobile data: growth 100 times in six years
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Snapshot of the day
December 1, 2022
Gujarat is voting today in 89 out of 182 seats.
The DMK has told the Supreme Court that it is discriminatory to exclude Tamil refugees from the purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and prayed that the legislation be declared null and void as it is unconstitutional and “destroys the basic fabric of secularism”. The party says it is ultra vires of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution and said the Act is “arbitrary” as it relates to only three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and covers only Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, and expressly excludes Muslims.
Meanwhile, the fact that Muslims in India protested the CAA has been cited by the Patna-based Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA) as proof of the fact that minorities in India face no discrimination by the government in a new ‘Global Minority Report’ gave India an improbable 100/100 and first place in a ranking of over a hundred countries. The report was released by former Vice President m. Venkaiah Naidu.
The RBI is test-flying the digital rupee today. For small value transactions, it is supposed to be as anonymous as cash.
The reputed International IDEA report on democracies is not good news for India. The number of democracies with the most severe democratic erosion ― “backsliding” countries ― has increased from six to seven in 2022 with the inclusion of El Salvador. India features among the other five, with Brazil, Hungary, Mauritius and Poland.
The next Quad summit is expected to be held in Sydney in late May or early June, after the G7 summit in Japan. The capital, Canberra, was ruled out for want of accommodation for the foreign leaders’ sizable entourages.
India’s unemployment rate rose to 8% in November, the highest in three months, from 7.77% in October, data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) shows. The urban unemployment rate rose to 8.96% in November from 7.21% in the previous month, while the rural unemployment rate slipped to 7.55% from 8.04%.
Amazon has India fatigue, reports the Wall Street Journal. It is shutting non-core ventures in India after an aggressive push for several years. “India might simply be collateral damage in Amazon’s general belt-tightening” — the firm has announced layoffs. Amazon Distribution’s high burn rate amidst competition could have called for downsizing. “According to AB Bernstein estimates, Amazon’s India margin on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation is still about minus 5-10%, despite more than $6.5 billion of investment. But the Indian government’s growing hostility toward Amazon and other American tech companies — and rising competition from politically connected homegrown champions — presumably doesn’t help.”
The Adani Group is among the most likely contenders to acquire state-owned Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd and formerly bankrupt ESL Steel (earlier known as Electrosteel Steels Ltd) bought by the Vedanta group in 2018. The disinvestment of Visakhapatnam-based RINL, due for a decade, finally started last week, with the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management conducting roadshows.
From 2030, 160 million to 200 million people will be exposed to lethal heat waves in India every year, and nearly 34 million will lose jobs due to declining productivity under heat stress. By 2037, demand for cooling will multiply eight times, the World Bank says. Alternative and innovative energy efficient technologies for keeping spaces cool are needed. Climate change is already crushing India’s farmers.
Remittance flows to India will rise by 12% to reach $100 bn this year, as per a World Bank report. Inflows from the world’s largest diaspora are a key source of cash for India, which lost almost $100 billion of forex reserves in the past year, and FDI is estimated to be $75 bn. Remittances of nearly 3% of GDP fill fiscal gaps, exacerbated by a high trade deficit.
Two large Chinese investors seek to reduce or withdraw investments in Indian companies. The Fosun Group was reported to be considering the sale of its controlling stake in Hyderabad-based drugmaker Gland Pharma, while two subsidiaries of Alibaba are looking to thin investments in Zomato through open market sales (a block deal for over 3% of shares took place on Wednesday). Even Xiaomi may be exiting its investments in the Indian startup ecosystem. “Against the backdrop of the problems that Chinese businesses have been having in India, there is a good chance [of] an alarming trend of exits all around,” says The Morning Context. It was action against Chinese apps in 2020 but now, agencies like the Enforcement Directorate are stepping up action against companies like Xiaomi and Vivo. “These actions have seen much of the fresh Chinese investments in the country dry up, and now threaten the exit of existing investments as well.”
Hit by low occupancy, Indian Railways plans to cut Bharat Gaurav train fares, introduced to promote religious tourism. Until last year, pilgrims used to travel in Bharat Darshan trains, discontinued in April, whose fares were half that of Bharat Gaurav. The railways had to cancel two planned Bharat Gaurav services for the Jagannath Yatra and the Ramayana Circuit due to poor occupancy.
Having lost over Rs 25,000 crore by selling fuel below market rates under political diktat, state-run oil companies are reluctant to slash auto fuel rates though they would gain Rs 3 a litre on petrol, for fear of losing Rs 10 per litre loss on diesel, since petrol sales are half that of diesel. Although fuel retail is officially deregulated, the government tacitly controls prices of politically sensitive petrol and diesel.
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AIIMS is still struggling to restore services seven days after hackers crippled its computer systems with ransomware. What is the government’s cyber security team doing? Nothing is CERT-IN.
A massive protest outside the Sangrur home of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who was on the campaign trail in Gujarat ahead of assembly elections, saw farm workers and trade unionists being lathi-charged by state police. The protesters demand a hike in their minimum daily wage to Rs 700 under MGNREGA and implement the five marla land scheme.
In poll-bound Tripura, a 65-year-old worker of the Opposition CPI(M) died and at least 10 were injured when BJP workers allegedly attacked them at Charilam Assembly constituency, the state finance minister’s seat. According to CPI(M) state general secretary Jitendra Choudhury, it happened when CPI(M) workers gathered to reopen their office, which has been shut following an attack by BJP workers soon after the BJP came to power in 2018.
The Kerala government will introduce a Bill in the Assembly to divest the governor of his role as chancellor of universities. The Assembly session begins next week. The Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court alleging that Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi is not entitled to continue in office as he holds an office of profit as chairman of Auroville Foundation.
Hindutva groups have evicted a Muslim trader from Kodagu temple. The exclusion of Muslim traders in Kodagu is part of an aggressive campaign by Hindutva groups in Karnataka to boycott Muslim businesses at temples, reports The Newsminute.
Ravish Kumar has
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