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Friday, October 22, 2021

Daily Briefing: Govt gives 4-year moratorium on AGR dues; NEET skewed results in favour of well-off urban kids, TN panel finds

The panel’s findings formed the basis of the Tamil Nadu government’s move to scrap NEET for admission to MBBS programmes in the state.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
September 16, 2021 7:57:33 am
A look at the top news today, October 3, 2021.

Good morning, 

Big Story 

The Union Cabinet approved several measures for the beleaguered telecom sector, including a four-year moratorium on payment of all dues arising due to the Supreme Court’s judgment on adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and payment of spectrum purchased in past auctions, barring the auction of 2021. The telecom sector will also be able to receive 100 per cent foreign direct investment through the automatic route, up from the 49 per cent permitted right now.

Only in the Express 

A seemingly unusual jump in tractor sales in Punjab and Haryana during November 2020-January 2021 has been cited by the Delhi Police as proof of a “well-orchestrated conspiracy” behind the protests against the Centre’s three farm laws. But data from the Tractor and Mechanisation Association (TMA), whose figures the Delhi Police has cited, also show a similar high year-on-year sales growth trend across India. 

A Tamil Nadu government-appointed committee has found that the proportion of students from rural areas, economically weaker backgrounds, Tamil-medium schools, and state board affiliated schools in Tamil Nadu’s medical colleges has fallen by over 10 per cent after NEET was introduced in 2017-18. At the same time, the share of English-medium school students in medical colleges has increased from 85.12 to 98.01 per cent.

Must Read 

Ever wondered what politicians would be like as talk show hosts? Well, we will soon find out as newly launched Sansad TV has roped in Congress’ Shashi Tharoor and Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi to host two TV shows, which will steer clear of politics. At least for now. While Tharoor has been asked to host ‘To The Point’, a series of interviews with eminent personalities, Chaturvedi will interview women parliamentarians in her show ‘Meri Kahaani’. 

The tides may soon be turning for the Congress, with CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar meeting with Rahul Gandhi recently, ostensibly to prepare the ground for his entry into the Congress, which has suffered desertion by many young leaders in the past two years. Sources said Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani too is in touch with the Congress leadership. 

While 2020 — a year marked by months of a national lockdown due to the pandemic — saw fewer “traditional crimes”, it witnessed a big spike in civil conflicts. According to the latest data on ‘Crime in India’ released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), communal riots registered an increase of 96% in 2020 over the previous year. Similarly, caste riots saw an increase of close to 50%, agrarian riots 38% and riots during ‘andolan/morcha’ increased by 33%.

Water contamination and unhygienic conditions are the probable causes of a mysterious outbreak in Haryana’s Chilli village, which has killed seven children in the last three weeks, a preliminary investigation into the deaths has indicated. Most of the children had shown similar symptoms — high fever, rash, vomiting, low platelet count – and died within three-four days of reporting a fever.

And Finally 

Shardul Thakur has been in good form, continuing his run in Australia and ending the England tour with two half-centuries in the fourth Test win at The Oval. In a chat with The Indian Express, the 29-year-old pacer talks about his rapid improvement with the bat, the Indian team and the atmosphere in the camp when a support staff member tested positive for Covid-19.

Delhi Confidential: While filming a promotional video for his upcoming interview show, ‘To The Point’ on the newly launched Sansad TV, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was mobbed by tourists who asked for selfies and autographs. The shoot was taking place around Vijay Chowk and Raj Path. 

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at how the BJP has changed its caste calculations, the Hathras case after one year, and why Neeraj Chopra’s coach was fired.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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