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Daily Briefing: India sends medical aid to Afghanistan; Farmers return home after 15-month protest

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, while speaking at the Indian Express e-Adda, said the state did not face any security threat and such a narrative was “a creation” of his predecessor Amarinder Singh, who was “in cahoots with the Bharatiya Janata Party”.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
December 12, 2021 8:15:08 am
A look at the top news today, December 12, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story 

For the first time since Kabul fell to the Taliban last August, India has sent humanitarian aid to Afghanistan: a 1.6-tonne consignment of emergency life-saving medicines for a children’s hospital. These supplies were sent on a return flight that had brought 10 Indians and 94 Afghans to Delhi from Kabul. The Indian government, by sending the first consignment of medicines to Afghanistan, has made its intent clear: it wishes to open a window to the new Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and put its foot in the diplomatic door. 

Only in the Express

With the government confident that the economy has turned around, P Chidambaram explains what the numbers cited by the Centre actually means: “The numbers that have brought a smile on the face of the government are what are called ‘high frequency indicators’ such as tax collection, UPI volume, e-way bills (volume), railway freight traffic, electricity consumption, etc. They are numbers, not people, and certainly not people dependent upon the informal sector of which we have no data or people lower down in the economic pyramid.” 

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, while speaking at the Indian Express e-Adda, said the state did not face any security threat and such a narrative was “a creation” of his predecessor Amarinder Singh, who was “in cahoots with the Bharatiya Janata Party”. The CM added that it was also BJP’s way to start “raising national security (issues) whenever it wanted to divide people to gain in elections”.  

From the Front Page 

It’s been over a year that the farmers at Singhu border left their homes in a rage to protest against the Centre’s now-repealed farm laws. However, they returned home on Saturday with a feeling of victory. Govinder Singh, a former ASI posted in the BSF, stands awestruck. “I think they will remember this parade for years to come,” he says. In this parade, the farmers are marching to giant drums, adding to the sense of carnival on the journey home to Punjab.     

Must Read 

In August, the Mizoram government — which has welcomed the refugees fleeing a military coup in Myanmar, defying a directive by the Centre — announced that schools across the state would enrol refugee children on “humanitarian grounds”. For many young refugees from Myanmar, for whom normalcy has been rare of late, these schools offer just that. “It is nice to wear the uniform and attend class,” one such student says. 

Meanwhile, around a 100 primary school students gathered in Jharkhand’s Latehar district to demand that their schools be reopened. As part of the ‘school kholo’ protests, students and parents walked from Manika block headquarters, covering about a kilometre, and ending the march at Manika High School in protest against the government’s alleged delay in opening schools, which they said is ‘hampering their growth’. For many of these children, online education has not only been inaccessible, but has also drastically impacted retention. 

Private sector power distribution companies (discoms) improved efficiency levels faster than state-owned counterparts under the Centre’s Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme between FY16 and FY20, despite already being more efficient at the beginning of the period, according to government data. The Centre had launched UDAY in FY16 to improve the financial stability and operational performance of discoms, which have traditionally been the weak link in India’s power sector.

A 37-year-old resident of Assam’s Sivasagar was arrested after police recovered a stolen watch from here early on Saturday. But this was no ordinary watch. It was a limited edition heritage Hublot belonging to legendary footballer Diego Maradona. The watch was allegedly stolen in Dubai, where the accused worked as a security guard at a premise Maradona used to visit when was alive. 

Sunday Eye 

Fifty years ago, in the aftermath of a difficult war in which India played a crucial role, a new nation — Bangladesh — was born on December 16, 1971. In this special issue, we look back at the country’s precarious beginning and celebrate its resurgent present. First, poet Daud Haider remembers the day when freedom came to his people. Then we look at how the country managed to outperform neighbours India and Pakistan in the economic arena. We also speak to Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas (retd) about the role played by the Indian Navy in the 1971 war. 

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

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