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Sunday, December 05, 2021

Daily Briefing: Shah sounds start of UP poll campaign; UP investigates fake degrees scam

Two serving VCs are among 19 individuals named in the probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into irregularities involving Varanasi-based Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 30, 2021 8:08:07 am
A look at the top news today, October 30, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story 

Kicking off the saffron party’s election campaign and scotching speculation over the BJP’s chief ministerial face in the coming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that if the people wanted Narendra Modi to return as Prime Minister in 2024, they should vote for Yogi Adityanath as CM in 2022. Adityanath and his team had fulfilled more than 90% of the promises made in the 2017 poll manifesto and would meet the remaining in the next two months, Shah said.

Only in the Express

In a decision ahead of Diwali, the Finance Ministry has approved 8.5 per cent rate of interest on provident funds for 2020-21, enabling the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation to credit interest in the accounts of beneficiaries. With the ministry’s approval on Friday, the labour ministry plans to notify the rate at the earliest, a senior government official said told The Indian Express. The EPFO has an active subscriber base of more than 6.7 crore and 6.9 lakh contributing establishments.

From the Front Page 

From handing over their passports to informing before leaving Mumbai, The Bombay High Court, while granting bail to Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha in the cruise ship drug bust case, laid down 14 conditions in its 5-page operative order passed on Friday. The three accused are directed to be released on bail on executing personal bond of Rs 1 lakh each with one or more sureties in the like amount. The High Court will make available the reasoned order separately in due course.

Of the 10 panch witnesses cited by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in its Cordelia ship raid case, for which Aryan Khan has been arrested, Adil Fazal Usmani has been used by NCB officials in at least five cases since 2020. Questions have been raised regarding two others — K P Gosavi, a wanted accused at the time who is now under arrest, and Manish Bhanushali, who has links to the BJP. Witness Prabhakar Sail had accused NCB Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede of making him sign blank pages.

In a curious policy flip-flop, the Ministry of Railways on Friday reversed a decision taken less than 24 hours earlier, in which it had asked Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to share with it half the revenues collected as convenience fee from users. IRCTC, a government-controlled company that provides ticketing, catering, and tourism services, had informed the stock exchanges after market hours that the ministry had written to it, asking to share the revenues from convenience fee in a 50-50 ratio.

 Must Read 

Two serving university vice-chancellors are under the scanner for an elaborate fake degrees scam that helped thousands to fraudulently grab posts of primary school teachers and other government jobs in UP. The two serving VCs are among 19 individuals named in the probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into irregularities involving Varanasi-based Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya.

After a group of over 300 “prospective parents” complained of “the increasing delay in the adoption process”, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has responded saying that their concerns will be looked into. “There are over 26,000 prospective parents who are waiting for referrals while the number of children legally free for adoption is very less,” the ministry told The Indian Express

The National Commission for Minorities has issued a notice to nine states — including Delhi, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal — that have failed to complete the compensation process for the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The union government had earlier introduced a rehabilitation package to provide relief to victims of the riots. The scheme had contained ex-gratia payment of Rs 3.5 lakhs for each death case and Rs 1.25 lakhs in case of injuries. 

The previous year saw a 10 per cent increase in suicides across the country — another cruel byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of suicides increased to 1.53 lakh in 2020 from 1.39 lakh a year ago, the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed. Suicides by students registered the highest increase of 21.20 per cent, followed by professional/salaried persons – 16.50 per cent and daily wage earners – 15.67 per cent.

And Finally

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will call on Pope Francis, head of the sovereign of the Vatican City State, for a 30-minute meeting — making him the fifth Indian PM to visit the head of the Roman Catholics. From Indira Gandhi to IK Gujral — we take a look at the previous prime ministers who have visited the Vatican, as well as the Popes that have come to India. 

Delhi Confidential: During his recent visit to the National Capital, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, often touted the ‘technocrat CM’, said he was one of the first chief ministers to emphasise on digitisation, which came as a great help during the pandemic.

Until tomorrow,
Rounak Bagchi and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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