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Daily Briefing: Economy to grow at 9.2%, recoup Covid year losses; SC clears NEET counselling with current EWS & OBC quota

A group of students and faculty members from the Indian Institutes of Management in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad flagged hate speech and attacks on minorities in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his silence “emboldens” voices of hate.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 8, 2022 9:57:43 am
A look at the top news today, January 8, 2022.

Good morning,

Big Story

Supported by an uptick in the farm, mining and manufacturing sector outputs, India’s gross domestic product is projected to grow 9.2 per cent in the current financial year or 2021-22, according to the first advance estimates released by the National Statistical Office. In 2020-21, a national lockdown forced by the Covid-19 onslaught had left the economy battered with GDP contracting 7.3 per cent. The NSO estimate for the current financial year is a tad lower than the RBI’s GDP projection in its December 2021 policy review.

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Speaking on the decision of the Delhi University to hold separate entrance tests, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: “This decision seems to be only half thought through. Changing the admissions criteria a few months before next year’s admissions smacks of callous disregard for students, especially in an era of Covid disruptions. A momentous decision like this one needs to be announced at least a couple of years in advance.” 

From the Front Page 

A group of students and faculty members from the Indian Institutes of Management in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad flagged hate speech and attacks on minorities in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his silence “emboldens” voices of hate. “Your silence on the rising intolerance in our country, Honourable Prime Minister, is disheartening to all of us who value the multicultural fabric of our country. Your silence, Honourable Prime Minister, emboldens the hate-filled voices and threatens the unity and integrity of our country,” says the letter.  

The Supreme Court has asked the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court to “forthwith… secure and preserve the records” relating to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s January 5 visit to Punjab where a security breach left him stranded on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. With directions already issued for seizing the records, the court also instructed the Centre and Punjab to put their proceedings on hold till it hears the matter next on January 10. 

 Ending the stalemate over NEET-PG and NEET-UG admissions to medical colleges, the Supreme Court, in an interim order on Friday, directed that counselling may proceed on the basis of the July 29, 2021 government notification by which 10 per cent seats were reserved for Economically Weaker Section and 27 per cent for Other Backward Classes candidates. It also accepted the recommendation of the Ajay Bhushan Pandey Committee to stick to the prescribed Rs 8 lakh income limit for EWS quota for the current admission cycle.  

Must Read

India’s Covid toll could be six times the reported figure, with a study published in the Science journal on Thursday estimating it to be 3.2 million. A total of 483,178 Covid-19 deaths have been officially recorded so far since the pandemic began.

As Maharashtra finds itself in the throes of an aggressive third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, officials are particularly concerned about the situation in Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi. In an area that, at 66,000 people per sq km, is twice as densely populated as Mumbai, officials are wary about the fast-rising numbers. The fact that 85% of the cases are mild or asymptomatic has only further complicated the task — officials are finding it difficult to convince contacts to quarantine. 

Students at the government-aided Senior Basic School at Olassery village in Kerala have been instructed to address their teachers as ‘teacher’, instead of ‘sir’ or ‘madam’, in a bid to encourage gender neutrality in educational institutions. The school’s faculty was inspired by a campaign launched by Palakkad-based social activist Boban Mattumantha to do away with the practice of addressing government officials as ‘sir’. At Mathoor panchayat, located around 14 km from the school, the governing body had directed the public to address panchayat staff by their designation. 

Last week a revenue court in Ayodhya deemed “illegal” the transfer of about 21 bighas (52,000 sq m) of land from a Dalit to the Maharishi Ramayan Vidyapeeth Trust (MRVT) on August 22, 1996. Despite the court’s order, however, it is almost impossible for the land to return to Dalits of Ayodhya’s Barhata Manjha village, the original owners of the land. We explain what is likely to happen in this case. 

And Finally

A day after his son’s heroic match-winning unbeaten 96, a significant win not just in terms of the ongoing series but also for the game in South Africa, Dean Elgar’s father shares the emotions his family went through while watching the riveting Wanderer Test: “When we spoke briefly on Wednesday night, Dean told me, ‘Dad! I will be there till the end of the game tomorrow. If they want to get me out, they would have to break something in my body to drag me out of there.’”

Delhi Confidential: Among the BJP leaders performing rituals and praying for PM Modi’s long life after the security breach in Punjab was Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. He turned up at Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai on Friday to pray for the Prime Minister’s safety and long life. 

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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