The Hindu Morning Digest, March 05, 2024

Prime Minister Modi gesturing to the crowd during a public meeting at Nandanam in Chennai on March 4.
| Photo Credit: S.R. Raghunathan

Central government employees protest delays in promotion, threaten non-cooperation if demands not met

Central government employees have threatened a “non-cooperation movement” if an expedited decision is not taken regarding their promotions and the “government does not wake up from its deep slumber.” The officials said that many employees suffer stagnation in their careers and financial losses in pension as they retire without getting promoted.

Allow MPs, MLAs to speak in House without fear of harassment, says Supreme Court

A Constitution Bench on March 4 said the Parliament and State legislatures would lose their representative character in a democratic polity if MPs and MLAs are not able to attend the House and speak their minds in the exercise of their duties as members without fear of being harassed by the executive or any agencies.

Rajya Sabha polls should be free and fearless, to be given ‘utmost protection’, says SC

The Supreme Court on March 4 said the elections to the Rajya Sabha and Council of States required “utmost protection” and the right to vote should be carried out freely without fear or persecution.

No positive outcome in meeting with Amit Shah, say Ladakh bodies

Civil society leaders in Ladakh, who are protesting to demand Constitutional safeguards for the region, met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday but the “meeting did not result in any positive outcome”.

ED accuses Salman Khurshid’s wife Louise Khurshid and two others of money laundering

The Enforcement Directorate on March 4 alleged that the then Dr. Zakir Husain Memorial Trust’s project director, Louise Khurshid, the wife of senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, and two others allegedly laundered ₹71.50 lakh.

ADR says it will oppose SBI plea on electoral bonds

As the State Bank of India moved the Supreme Court seeking time till June 30 to comply with a direction to make public details of electoral bonds purchased since April 2019, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), chief petitioner in the electoral bonds case, said it was considering all legal options, including opposing the SBI plea in court.

Uttarakhand Cabinet nod for law to recover cost of damage to public property from rioters

Uttarakhand Cabinet on March 4 gave nod to the ordinance which aims to recover the damage of the public property done during riots and protests from the rioters and those involved in the act. The government has also formed a tribunal which will assess the loss for the recovery. The rioters will also have to pay a fine upto ₹8 lakhs apart from the recovery amount which will be used to pay for the expenses incurred on government staff and other work in riot control.

2024 General Election: Congress gets battle ready as manifesto committee discusses poll promises

The Congress held a series of important meetings on Monday as the party gears for the Lok Sabha elections. The Manifesto Committee, headed by former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, discussed the draft manifesto and separately, meetings of screening committees were held to shortlist candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.

DoT launches services to report, monitor spam and fraud calls

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on March 4 launched Chakshu, a platform for telecom users to report fraud or spam callers. The facility, available at sancharsaathi.gov.in/sfc, aims to allow citizens to “proactively report suspected fraud communication,” the DoT said in its announcement. 

Swedish SAAB begins work on new Carl-Gustaf manufacturing facility in India

Swedish defence major Saab on Monday started construction on its new manufacturing facility in India for its iconic Carl-Gustaf M4 weapons with a formal groundbreaking ceremony. The facility is being built in the State of Haryana at MET City at Jhajjar in Haryana. The State has a strong industrial base of good potential partners and skilled employees, the company said.

‘My country is my family’, dynasts incapable of thinking beyond own families, says Modi

Hitting out at the Opposition alliance after Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad mocked him as a person who did not have a family, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 4 said the country’s “140 crore people” were his family and he was working day and night for their development.

AUKUS will ensure safety, security, and peace in the Indo-Pacific: U.S. official

The AUKUS trilateral cooperation between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom will ensure safety, security and peace in the Indo-Pacific, said Bonnie Denise Jenkins, U.S. Undersecretary for arms control and international security. Ms. Jenkins stressed that AUKUS does not violate the non-proliferation treaty and that Australia will remain a non-nuclear state that does not acquire nuclear weapons.

NBBL asked to start interoperable system for net banking in 2024

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), for quicker settlement of funds for merchants, has asked NPCI Bharat BillPay Ltd. (NBBL) to implement an interoperable system for Internet Banking which should be introduced during the current calendar year.

Trump wins Colorado ballot disqualification case at US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court handed Donald Trump a major victory on March 4 as he campaigns to regain the presidency, overturning a judicial decision that had excluded him from Colorado’s ballot under a constitutional provision involving insurrection for inciting and supporting the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

UN envoy says ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Hamas committed sexual violence on Oct. 7

The U.N. envoy focusing on sexual violence in conflict said in a new report Monday that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe Hamas committed rape, “sexualized torture,” and other cruel treatment of women during its surprise attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Joe Biden, Donald Trump set to win primary races on Super Tuesday; Biden faces dissatisfied Democratic voters

Presidential candidates crisscrossed the country in the run-up to Super Tuesday (March 5) this year, when 17 U.S. States and territories hold their primaries and caucuses to pick their contenders for November’s general election. The support of more than a third of each party’s delegates (i.e., representatives who vote in the parties’ conventions to select the candidate) is up for grabs on Tuesday.

France becomes the only country to explicitly guarantee abortion as a constitutional right

French lawmakers on March 4 overwhelmingly approved a bill to enshrine abortion rights in France’s constitution, making it the only country to explicitly guarantee a woman’s right to voluntarily terminate a pregnancy.

Former Twitter execs including ex-CEO Agarwal sue Musk for over $128 m in severance

Four former top Twitter executives, including former CEO Parag Agarwal, have sued Elon Musk for over $128 million in severance, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 4.

Ranji Trophy semifinal | Mumbai thrashes Tamil Nadu by an innings and 70 runs

The writing was on the wall after Mumbai’s lower-order onslaught on day two. It turned out to be a manic Monday for Tamil Nadu as the hosts completed a thumping innings and 70-run win against their familiar foe to book a berth in the Ranji Trophy final for the 48th time.

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Morning Digest: April 14, 2023

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge address the media after a meeting at the latter’s residence in New Delhi on April 13, 2023. Rahul Gandhi was also present.
| Photo Credit: PTI

Opposition poll plan takes shape; Rahul Gandhi meets Sharad Pawar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s two-day tour to Delhi during which he met Congress and Left parties is being seen as a first step towards constructing a cogent Opposition strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The conversations over the last two days underline two options for the Opposition — the 2004 United Progressive Alliance model with the Congress at the fulcrum and 1996 United Front model with the Congress kept outside.

FBI arrests man for ‘criminal’ U.S. intelligence leaks

The FBI on Thursday arrested an employee of the U.S. Air Force National Guard over the leaks of highly sensitive U.S. government documents online that embarrassed Washington with allies around the world. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the FBI arrested the man, Jack Teixeira, “in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorised removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information.”

G-20 Finance Ministers discuss debt distress, Ukraine and other challenges in Washington

G-20 countries discussed the debt distress of poor and middle-income countries, challenges to the global economy, including Ukraine, and a raft of issues from cryptocurrency risk to transparency in international taxation, as the group’s Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) met in Washington DC on April 12 and 13.

PM Modi raises security of High Commission with British counterpart Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 13, 2023 held a telephone conversation with his British counterpart Rishi Sunak and raised the issue of security of the Indian High Commission in London. An official statement said PM Modi also pressed Mr Sunak for the “return of economic offenders” and the two leaders also agreed to conclude a “mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement” between the two countries.

Goods exports grew 6%, imports 16.5% this fiscal

India’s goods exports declined for the second successive month in March, falling a sharp 13.9% to $38.38 billion while imports dipped 7.9% to $58.11 billion. Total goods exports in 2022-23 rose 6.03% to $447.46 billion, while the import bill surged by a steeper 16.5% to $714 billion.

Statistics on attacks on Christian community wrong: Centre to Supreme Court

The Centre on April 13, 2023, said petitions filed in the Supreme Court alleging increasing incidents of attacks on Christians are devised to keep the “pot boiling” and give an “exaggerated” and wrong impression. Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre, said statistics given by the petitioners to prove their case of attacks on the religious community was wrong.

Donal Trump answers questions for seven hours in New York fraud lawsuit

Former President Donald Trump answered questions for nearly seven hours Thursday during his second deposition in a legal battle with New York’s attorney general over his company’s business practices, reversing an earlier decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and remain silent.

India more casteist than ever before, says Anand Teltumbde

Today’s India is more casteist than ever before, scholar and civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde said on the eve of Ambedkar Jayanti. Grandson-in-law of the architect of the Constitution, the 73-year-old said B.R. Ambedkar is being used by political parties to get Dalit votes. “Panchteerth [five places associated with Ambedkar’s life] has been created in his name and there are ‘I am here due to Ambedkar’ claims made, but they (political parties) are trampling his teachings at every moment,” he said.

PM Modi harks back to ancient Tamil inscription on democracy, says rules for disqualification existed then too

Greeting Tamilians on the occasion of Puthandu, the Tamil New Year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi harked back to ancient Tamil culture and the various references to democratic politics in it, stating that an over 1,100 year old inscription from Tamil Nadu talks about rules for a local body, including provisions for disqualifying a member.

Ram Navami violence | The teens who held aloft swords and iron rods

On the afternoon of March 31, a day after Ram Navami, a crowd of over 2,000 people gathered at the Shram Kalyan Maidan in Nalanda’s Biharsharif. “In our area and culture we do the Shobha Yatra (religious procession) a day after,” says Sameer Jaiswal (name changed to protect identity), a resident, who has lived in the Muslim-majority town with a population of about 4 lakh people, all his life. His voice is steady when he gives out matter-of-fact details of the yearly festival to celebrate Ram’s birth as the   avatar of the Hindu deity Vishnu. This year, the procession that comprised 12   raths (chariots) was brought together by the far-right grassroots organisation, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and the Bajrang Dal, its youth-led militant wing.

Doordarshan to broadcast two-part documentary on cultural achievements of Modi government

Doordarshan National will broadcast  Dharohar Bharat Ki – Punruthaan ki Kahaani (Heritage of India: a tale of revival), a two-part documentary on the achievements of the Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The series, to be aired at 8 p.m. on April 14 and 15, traces Mr. Modi’s vision and its execution to build new national iconic sites. It will narrate the story of the revival of our spirit of cultural unity and pride, said a government release.

India signs MoU with World Food Programme for sending wheat to Afghanistan

India on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Food Programme (WFP) paving the way for sending 10,000 metric tonnes of wheat for the people of Afghanistan. The signing ceremony between officials of the Ministry of External Affairs and the United Nations WFP was held in Mumbai where the WFP assured that it had the required infrastructure on the ground to ensure speedy delivery of wheat to the most vulnerable sections of the Afghan population. 

Natural to host G20 meetings in J&K & Ladakh: India on Pakistan’s objection to venue

India on April 13 dismissed Pakistan’s objection to the hosting of G20 meetings in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and said these conferences are being organised across the country and it is “natural” to hold them in the two Union Territories too as they are its “integral and inalienable” part. India is hosting a meeting of the G20 Tourism Working Group in Srinagar in May while a youth engagement group meeting is scheduled to take place in Leh later this month.

Opposition parties slam deletion of Maulana Azad’s name from NCERT textbook

Opposition parties have condemned the deletion of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s name from a revised political science textbook published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). As  The Hindu had reported on April 13, the reference to Maulana Azad, in the context of committee heads in the Constituent Assembly, had been dropped from a Class 11 NCERT textbook titled  Indian Constitution at Work.

IPL 2023 | Mohit Sharma, Shubman Gill shine as GT beats PBKS by six wickets

Gujarat Titans roared back to winning ways with a six-wicket victory over Punjab Kings after Mohit Sharma’s excellent return to the IPL and Shubman Gill’s 49-ball 67 on Thursday.

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