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Daily Briefing: EPFO interest rate down to 8.1%, lowest in four decades; Pakistan seeks joint probe after India misfires missile

From the Congress Working Committee's meeting later today, to Sikkim's plans to provide free sanitary pads to all adolescent girls at government schools — here are today's big stories. 

Top news on March 13, 2022

Big Story 

The Central Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, the country’s largest retirement fund, has recommended a return of 8.10 per cent for its over 6 crore active subscribers for financial year 2021-22. This is the lowest interest rate in at least four decades but remains higher than that of other small-savings instruments. The EPFO, which has an active subscriber base of more than 6.7 crore and 6.9 lakh contributing establishments, will be left with an estimated surplus of Rs 450 crore after disbursing the interest rate of 8.1 per cent. 

Only in the Express 

P Chidambaram writes on the recently-concluded Assembly polls in five states: “I believe that in all the five states, even as the core Hindutva vote base is growing, the majority of voters desired a change of government. The majority may have voted for change but they did not vote with a single mind or for a single party, except in Punjab.”

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From the Front Page 

A day after India acknowledged that a “technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile” which landed in Pakistan, Islamabad demanded a joint probe to accurately establish the facts surrounding the incident. The Ministry of Defence had also expressed “relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident” and said a Court of Inquiry had been ordered.  

The RSS, in an annual report released on Saturday, said that there is “growing religious fanaticism” in the country in the guise of “Constitution and religious freedom” and “elaborate plans by a particular community to enter the government machinery”. It has called for “all-out efforts with organized strength” to “defeat this menace”. The RSS report comes at a time when Karnataka continues to see protests by Muslim girl students over their right to wear hijab in schools and colleges.  

Till around two weeks back, Natalia Kalyniuk took classes on forensic medicine and medical law at the Ternopil Medical National University in western Ukraine. Now, the 37-year-old associate professor makes camouflage nets for the Ukrainian Army and helps arrange medical supplies and food for civilians and troops in the war zone. With the Russian invasion forcing the return of thousands of Indian students, their teachers in Ukraine, including those in relatively less affected western cities such as Ternopil and Lviv, have plunged into the war effort. 

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm, was arrested and released on bail by Delhi Police last month after being booked under IPC Section 279 (rash or negligent driving). According to an FIR filed in connection with the case, a Jaguar Land Rover, allegedly being driven by him, had hit the vehicle of DCP (South district) outside The Mother’s International School on Aurobindo Marg.  


After its resounding defeat in the Assembly elections held recently in five states, the Congress Working Committee is set to meet on Sunday to figure out next steps. But the party has denied a report that suggested that Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could potentially resign from their posts today. Some senior leaders have, however, said that the elections for the post of AICC president may take place earlier than anticipated. 

Must Read 

In a first, under Sikkim’s new ‘Bahini’ scheme, vending machines will be installed to provide free sanitary pads in all 210 secondary and senior secondary government schools across the state. It aims to curb dropout of girls from schools and raise awareness about menstrual hygiene. “We had provided sanitary pads through vending machines in some schools, but that was ad hoc. And due to lack of budgetary support, some machines have fallen into disrepair, or stocks of pads have not been acquired. But this time, with the scheme being a part of the Budget, this will not be a problem,” said Additional Chief Secretary (Education) G P Upadhyay.

Perhaps the biggest victors of the recently-held assembly polls are AAP leader Bhagwant Mann, who will soon be sworn in as Chief Minister of Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. A year apart in age, both leaders are as as different as they get, belonging to parties that are now the fiercest rivals on the political spectrum. But one thing connects them — in the villages from where they rose, power seems a distant dream. First we visit Yogi’s paternal home in Panchur village of Pauri Garhwal, where once the celebration died down, where villagers are proud of his achievements, but are disappointed about not benefiting enough from it. 


Meanwhile, the residents of Sangrur, too, couldn’t be happier that their ‘Pind da munda (village boy)’ is now ‘Mann Saab (Sir)’. Here, they hope Mann’s ascent to power will bring change. 

And Finally 

While the Indian start-up story is far from new, a new breed of food entrepreneurs are redefining how we look at health food, plebeainising and bringing it straight to your homes and in the process are birthing a new culture of “conscientious eating.” Growing up in a world ravaged by disparities and mounting environmental concerns has taught them to worry about a resource-starved and climate-scarred future. And so, they commit to creating a more equitable future where quality of life becomes the most luxurious asset. From dairy-free to plant based — in today’s Sunday Eye, we speak to some of these entrepreneurs about how they are pushing the boundaries of health eating. 





First published on: 13-03-2022 at 08:06:40 am
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