February 5, 2021 8:01:19 am
Making its first diplomatic intervention with New Delhi after assuming office, the Biden administration waded into the issue of farm laws. Although the remarks balanced the reforms and the protests, it was seen by New Delhi as an endorsement of the new laws. India responded by drawing parallels between the vandalism at Red Fort and what took place at Capitol Hill on January 6, and said how these were being “addressed as per our respective local laws”.
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Even as India’s overall merchandise exports have fallen 15.5% year-on-year during April-December, the same period has seen its farm exports register a 9.8% growth. This is thanks to agricultural production being relatively unaffected by the Covid-19-induced lockdown, and to a steep surge in global commodity prices.
Wary of the protracted farmers’ agitation in the capital and the January 26 violence, the Punjab government has stepped up efforts to reach out to the Centre to work towards an early resolution, sources told The Indian Express. Some top state officials have been camping in Delhi and are in constant touch with both the protesting farmers and the Centre.
Investigators in the Indian cricket board’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) have told the BCCI to crack down on unregulated mini-IPLs, or franchise-based T20 leagues being run in seven states now by the board’s associations. One solution that the board is considering is to strike out the roots of these leagues by ending private ownership of teams and hand them over to state associations. A final call will be taken soon, a senior official told The Indian Express.
An FIR on charges of “sedition”, “criminal conspiracy” and “promoting hatred” has been filed against the creators of a ‘toolkit’ on farmer protests, which was shared by climate activist Greta Thunberg, who deleted the original tweet but tweeted another on Wednesday night. The police said the sequence of events in the farmer protests, including the January 26 violence, was a “copycat” of the alleged action plan shared in the toolkit.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, who was set to take a call on release of Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict A G Perarivalan, has now left the decision on pardon of all the convicts in the case to President Ram Nath Kovind. On Thursday, the Centre conveyed the same to the Supreme Court in an affidavit, saying, “The proposal received by the Central government will be processed in accordance with the law.”
Asked about the challenge posed by CM Mamata Banerjee and the TMC in the upcoming state elections, West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh told the Indian Express: “She’s nervous, her organisation is crumbling and those who were there with her in building the party are now with us. Her striker and defender have come to my party. More are expected to come to BJP in February. Her party is going to be finished.”
Battle lines drawn, the Opposition, for the second day in Rajya Sabha, slammed the government for its handling of the farmer protests, with members warning that no lessons were being learnt from Punjab’s troubled past, that the Centre was failing federalism, and that the protesting farmers should not be punished for the Republic Day violence in Delhi by some “anti-social elements”.
One out of five Indians may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus until now, suggests the findings of a nationwide serological survey conducted between December 17, 2020 and January 8, 2021 – indicating that the bulk of the population continues to remain susceptible to Covid-19.
Fifteen MPs who were stopped from visiting Ghazipur border have written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla saying that the border looked like the one “between India and Pakistan”.
While the Lok Sabha was disrupted for the third straight day over the farm laws, there were voices within the Congress which felt the standoff was unnecessary.
Mamata Banerjee has urged people to listen to former Tripura CM Manik Sakar’s “warnings” that the poor in the state are now realising the “blunder they committed by voting BJP to power”.
A Kerala Health Department study says there was a 11.1 per cent reduction in the absolute number of deaths in the state in the pandemic year of 2020 compared to 2019.
Hit by higher provisions and slower net interest income growth, SBI reported a 6.93% year-on-year decline in standalone profit at Rs 5,196.22 crore for the quarter ended December 2020 from Rs 5,583.36 in the same period a year ago.
Test cricket is returning to India after almost a year-and-a-half, but the Indian team has truly become an all-weather (read, conditions) side. A historic series triumph in Australia further attested the team’s progression. The scenario ahead of the first Test against England, though, is a little different to what it was Down Under.
Delhi Confidential: During his speech in Rajya Sabha, BJP MP Jyotiraditya Scindia defended his party and PM Modi and called out the Congress’s “hypocrisy” on farm bills. Soon after he finished, Scindia’s former Congress colleague Digvijaya Singh was called to speak. Despite the awkwardness of the situation, Singh complimented Scindia for defending the past and present of the BJP as well as he used to do for the Congress.
In today’s episode of 3 Things, we look at the controversy that followed Rihanna and Greta Thunberg’s tweets on the farmer protests, the Bihar Police’s order which could be used to target protestors, and finally, the results of the latest national serosurvey.
Shreyasi Jha and Rahel Philipose
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