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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Daily Briefing: Centre issues fresh call for farmers to end protest; UN lets Pak pay Lashkar’s Lakhvi Rs 1.5 lakh per month

From UP police halting a wedding and detaining a couple based on a 'love jihad' rumour, to the Centre's new proposed rules for the service sector to promote work flexibility and work from home; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 11, 2020 9:08:12 am
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Good Morning, 

The Big Story

“The Government has no ego… We are ready to discuss with an open mind,” Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said addressing a press conference. Farmers’ representatives have rejected the government’s offer to amend existing laws and have threatened to intensify their agitation. Hoping to resolve this stand-off, the Centre has issued a fresh call for talks. Which side will concede?

From the Front Page

In an unusual order that raises questions of propriety, the Principal Sessions Judge of Srinagar expressed his inability to hear a bail application last Monday saying he had received a call from the secretary of a J&K High Court judge, and had been instructed not to grant bail in the matter.

In a bid to placate agitating farmers, the Centre proposed several amendments that effectively water down key parts of its new law and restore certain powers of the states in regulating the agricultural market place. We take a look at the key clauses and their implications.

Understanding Astad Deboo’s trajectory over the years, is like watching a dancer evolve — he was constantly adding to his work, experimenting with mediums, styles, to the point when his stillness became as significant as his movement. We speak to those who worked closely with “the man who gave India a new language of dance”.

Only in the Express

A committee of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approved Pakistan’s request to pay a monthly sum of Pakistani Rs 1.5 lakh to 26/11 Mumbai attack planner Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the operations head of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. Lakhvi, who was listed as a terrorist under the same committee after the Mumbai terror attacks, has been out on bail since 2015. The move is likely to cause disquiet in New Delhi.

The Centre is planning to introduce new rules in the services sector which would allow work flexibility and work from home. The Labour Ministry, in a first, proposes to bring a model standing order for the industry, which would be available for public feedback. The proposal comes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced changes in the workplace.

Amitabh Kant, the CEO of Niti Aayog, writes in Express: “My view is that India is too much of a democracy to mirror a China model. How this has been misconstrued to mean we have “too much democracy” is both myopic and idiosyncratic. Mostly, it is a groundless twisting of a factual statement to make it palatable to partisan misinterpretation.” During an event earlier this week, Kant had said “tough reforms are very difficult in the Indian context, we are too much of a democracy…”

The IPO market is expected to witness some interesting names, including the mother of all IPOs, Life Insurance Corporation, and the NSE, in the coming months. With the stock markets, the primary market is back in the spotlight. We explain how recent IPOs have performed and what you should look out for in case you plan on investing.

Must read

A rumour of ‘love jihad’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar led the police to detain a couple just after their wedding ceremony on Tuesday. They were let go only the next day after the police realised they were both Muslims. The man alleged he was tortured for hours in lockdown.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students sitting for Jamia Millia Islamia’s highly contested online examinations this month will have to ensure “uninterrupted power and good internet connectivity” and will “be responsible for any lapses on this front”, the Controller of Examinations (COE) said in guidelines issued Thursday.

A recent study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) has found that over 75 per cent districts in India, home to more than 63.8 crore people, are hotspots of extreme climate events such as cyclones, floods, droughts, heat and cold waves.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, 20.6 per cent households of Gujarat’s most vulnerable communities sometimes skipped meals due to lack of food while 21.8 per cent said they sometimes slept without a single meal. These were the findings of the Anna Suraksha Adhikar Abhiyan’s ‘Hunger Watch’ survey.

ICYMI

Alluding to China at an ASEAN meeting, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flagged “threats to the rules-based order” as one of the main challenges that need to be addressed.

Eight BJP workers were admitted to hospital and two senior party leaders sustained minor injuries after the motorcade of BJP national President JP Nadda was attacked outside Kolkata. 

More than two dozen men forced their way inside the official residence of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday.

Reiterating that he was a “farmer first”, Haryana’s Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala broke his silence on the ongoing standoff between the Centre and farmer unions. 

An 18-year-old woman who left home for college was allegedly raped and thrown off the terrace of a four-storey apartment building in Surat.

And Finally…

After running for 107 years in south Gujarat, the Billimora-Waghai heritage train route may soon be chugging to a halt. The train was amongst 11 branch lines and narrow gauge sections of the Western Railways that were deemed “uneconomic” by the Railway Ministry, which ordered their permanent closure.

Delhi Confidential: As PM Modi laid the foundation stone for the new Parliament building, questions were raised on the absence of the President and the Vice-President, who is also Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, at the function.

In today’s podcast episode, the Indian Express’ Rural Affairs Editor Harish Damodaran explains why Punjab and Haryana are at the forefront of the farmer protests, and why this is the greatest farm movement that India has ever seen.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Murali and Rahel Philipose 

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

 

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