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Friday, February 26, 2021

Daily Briefing: PM Modi clarifies stay on farm bills, appeals to give “reforms” a chance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comments on farm bills; Centre's new programme to track cyberspace and the reason behind Uttarakhand's disaster, take a look at the top news of the day.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 9, 2021 9:05:39 am
Daily briefing: Congress Puducherry govt falls, BJP, ADMK weigh options; Bombay High Court gives Varavara Rao bailA look at the top news today, February 23, 2021.

The Big Story

Emphasising that his government is not going to withdraw the three contentious farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked political parties and the protesting farmers to give “reforms” a chance. He urged the farmers to call off the agitation and come to the discussion table, assuring them that if there are any shortcomings and loose ends in the laws, these can be addressed.

Only in the Express 

The Ministry of Home Affairs started a new programme where citizens can register as a cybercrime volunteer to report anti-national activities. However, the Government does not yet have any clear legal framework on what constitutes anti-national content or activity. Sources told The Indian Express that the programme will be piloted on a trial basis in Jammu and Kashmir, and Tripura. 

A full 45 days before the Lok Sabha passed the three farm laws, an expert group commissioned by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had suggested marketing reforms and opening up of agriculture marketing beyond the APMCs.  However, the Chief Minister rejected these recommendations a few days after the report was submitted.

Satellite images of the terrain in Chamoli district show that an avalanche could be the reason for the flash flood in Uttarakhand. A large chunk of fresh snow from a mountain near Raini village had dropped off Sunday, possibly releasing 3-4 million cubic metres of water in the rivers.

From the Front Page

In variance with India’s official position on Line of Actual Control (LAC), Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Gen V K Singh (retd) said that “if China has transgressed 10 times, we must have done it at least 50 times, as per our perception.”  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin described the statement as “an unwitting confession by the Indian side.”

Former AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala received a rousing reception on her return to Tamil Nadu after serving a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case. Her convoy consisting dozens of vehicles left Bengaluru in the morning but hadn’t reached Chennai till late in the night, as huge gatherings at almost all major towns made her 340-km trip longer.

Must Read 

A Tamil film inspired by the mother of a two-year-old  walking 13 km to her parents home, in the middle of the night, after being beaten and thrown out of the house by her alcoholic husband, has won the Tiger Award at the prestigious Rotterdam film festival. 

The nomination of three candidates, including a BJP MLA’s son, was rejected for the upcoming civic polls in Gujarat as they have more than two living biological children. Section 10 of Gujarat Provisional Municipal Corporation Act lays down that any candidate who has more than two living biological children, must be disqualified from contesting polls.

Based on a complaint by the Congress, the State Intelligence Department of Maharashtra has been ordered to probe whether celebrities such as Akshay Kumar and Saina Nehwal were under pressure to tweet at the behest of the central government on the farmers’ protest. Congress also sought that “protection be provided to these celebrities from the BJP if the need arises”.

ICYMI

Over 24 hours since a flash flood struck Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, 26 bodies have been recovered and rescue operations continued well into the night  as personnel of the ITBP, NDRF and Army worked to locate around 170 people who are still reported missing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with US President Joe Biden, where they expressed commitment to a “rules-based international order” and looked forward to “consolidating strategic partnership” to further peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has sent a fresh list of nearly 1,200 accounts to Twitter, asking it to either suspend or block them in India on account of being “flagged by security agencies as accounts of Khalistan sympathizers or backed by Pakistan.” 

The Congress launched a nationwide campaign to recruit five lakh “social media warriors” to challenge the BJP in the digital space.

Women who protested at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act have moved the Supreme Court seeking a joint hearing of the review of the court’s October 2020 judgment on their protests alongside cases dealing with protests against the new farm laws.

And Finally

Tapping into the massive audience that tunes in to watch ‘Super Bowl Sunday’ in the US, members of the Sikh community in California aired a crowdfunded commercial to highlight the farmers’ protest in India.

Delhi confidential: The tussle in the Congress, which came to the fore after 23 senior party leaders wrote to Sonia Gandhi, came up for mention in Rajya Sabha. None less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a reference to “G-23” while taking a swipe at the Congress.

In this podcast episode, we talk about the damage caused by the Uttarakhand flash flood, the possible reasons why this might have happened, and what scientists are planning to do next.

 

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