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Daily briefing: Decoupling trade tries to hurt both, says China envoy; UGC rules on exams binding on states, says HRD official

From questions related to the alleged Vikas Dubey encounter to the HRD Ministry's refusal to withdraw its guidelines on the final year college exams, read the top stories from our print edition today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 11, 2020 8:43:47 am
top news briefing today, top news today, india latest news today, india china border news, india coronavirus latest updates, bjp leader shot dead in J&K, IIT exams, kulbhushan jadhav July 11, 2020: A look at the top news today.

Dear Reader,

The Big Story

Gangster Vikas Dubey’s alleged encounter raises questions about the circumstances in which he was killed, and the UP Police’s version of the events.  

  • Traffic was stopped on the highway by police for about 15 minutes before the alleged encounter. 
  • The police account of the alleged encounter was curiously similar to the one in which his associate was killed the previous day. 
  • Pictures of Dubey’s clean clothes flies in the face of the police claim that he ran on khucha ground and fell after being shot. 

Dubey is the 119th accused to have been killed in what police called cross-firing since the Yogi Adityanath government took charge in March 2017. They will hold an inquiry into the killing but the outcome is anybody’s guess. Magisterial inquiries have been completed in 74 encounter cases where deaths occurred and the police have got a clean chit in all.

Dubey’s death meant that questions about his alleged links with some in the police department, as well as politicians across parties, will remain unanswered. In a purported video circulated on social media, Dubey is heard naming two BJP MLAs, and saying that he has links with them and some other local party leaders. Photographs of Dubey with a senior Congress leader also surfaced on social media.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes on Dubey’s alleged encounter: “While the killing of Vikas Dubey has parallels elsewhere, there is also a specific ideological context here. Dubey comes across as the kind of gangster who epitomises both the banality and horror of UP politics. He allegedly killed eight policemen with impunity, and was accused in several heinous crimes. But he was also part of a social and political power structure whose needs he served.”

The Pandemic

Till June 19, the ICMR validated 56 rapid antibody test kits, 11 of which are Indian. But the test does not even figure in its June 23 advisory on ‘Strategies for Covid-19 testing’. As a result, many companies are waiting for ICMR validation for over a month. Those already validated have stopped or cut production. 

Officials and scientists who briefed the members of the Parliament Standing Committee on Science and Technology on the government’s preparedness for Covid-19 said that a vaccine will be available commercially in India only in early 2021. It could be a vaccine developed and manufactured domestically or developed elsewhere and manufactured in India.

The insurance claims of as many as 63 families out of 82 health care workers who died fighting the Covid-19 pandemic are yet to be processed for want of necessary paperwork. All health care workers — estimated at 22.12 lakh — were provided a cover of Rs 50 lakh under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. “States have been asked to send the paperwork for these 63 health care workers by July 14 for early processing of insurance claims,” a source in the Health Ministry said.

Beyond Covid-19

In his first remarks on the “unfair” boycott of Chinese products, Beijing’s envoy to New Delhi said that “the so-called ‘decoupling’ of China-India economic and trade relations” will “only harm others without benefit to oneself, and it will eventually hurt oneself as well”. He also maintained that China is “neither a warlike state nor an assertive country”, saying, “why should we fight against each other” when it “will only hurt those close to us and gladden the foes”.

With a few states seeking cancellation of the final year college exams, a senior official of the HRD Ministry told The Indian Express that the UGC guidelines on final year examinations are binding in nature and it is unlikely to be withdrawn. “Without examination, the degrees will not hold any value and will affect the employability of this batch,” the senior official said.

The shutting down of schools due to Covid-19 is affecting not only children, now unable to access cooked nutritional food under the Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme, but also farmers for whom it provided an assured market. “We have clearly lost a market of 4 lakh kg per day (LKPD) of cow milk, even as our procurement itself has increased by 4 LKPD,” an official in Karnataka said.

ICYMI

  • The next round of military talks between India and China at the level of the Corps Commander will focus on disengagement by both sides at Pangong Tso and Depsang along the LAC. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday made a pitch for self-sufficiency in the solar sector and called upon domestic manufacturers to ramp up production of solar cells and modules.
  • Tocilizumab and Remdesivir, two drugs that are still undergoing trials as possible treatment for Covid-19, are in huge demand even as scientific evidence on their efficacy is awaited.
  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered an FIR under the UAPA Act against four people in connection with Kerala gold smuggling case.
  • The agency has also filed chargesheet against a suspected Islamic State operative and five others in connection with the murder of a policeman in Tamil Nadu.

And finally

On July 6, The Indian Express had reported on the plight of children of Badbilla village in Bhagalpur after the mid-day meal scheme came to a standstill as schools were closed due to the pandemic. Taking note of this, the Bihar government has issued a statewide order stipulating that ration, as well as money through Direct Benefit Transfer, be provided to school children for 80 working days from May to July. The Patna High Court and NHRC also took suo motu cognizance of the report.

🎥 A seven-year-old boy from Kerala is driving a fully functional mini jeep built by his father. The mini vehicle has caught the attention of many, including Anand Mahindra.

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