The Big Story
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPI(M)’s Buddhadeb Bhattacharya were among those picked by the government for the Padma Bhushan award this year. While Azad thanked the government for recognizing his sacrifices, Bhattacharya said he “refused” to accept it. Also on the award list were the country’s Covid vaccine makers, leaders of US tech giants Google and Microsoft, and the late General Bipin Rawat.
The award for Azad comes at a time as speculation brews over his future in the party. The J&K leader was dropped from the Congress disciplinary action committee after he along with 22 other leaders wrote to Sonia Gandhi demanding sweeping changes in the party structure. But he was named as one of its star campaigners for Uttar Pradesh.
Only in the Express
Amid the government’s push towards an “Atmanirbhar Bharat” and escalating tensions along the Line of Actual Control, bilateral trade between India and China grew 43.4 per cent in 2021, according to Chinese government data. India’s total trade with China in 2021 was worth $125.7 billion — imports from China rose to $97.5 billion and export also grew to a record high of $28.1 billion
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam writes in today’s Express: “Constitution has served us well. Its spirit is undermined by hypocritical values, selective silence of watchdogs.”
From the Front Page
Joining the growing list of Congress’s ‘Generation Next’ leaders who left the party to join the BJP is senior Congress leader and former Union minister R P N Singh, who quit on Tuesday saying it was no longer the party it used to be. The exit of the CWC member and AICC office-bearer appeared to have come as a shock for the Congress, which just Monday featured Singh’s name in its list of star campaigners for UP. BJP sources said that while not big in terms of electoral prospects, Singh’s entry boosted the party’s “optics and narrative” in the state.
Late last year, the MHA refused to renew the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of a number of NGOs — including Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity — based on “adverse inputs” and for alleged violation of the Act. This week, the Supreme Court asked 6,000-odd NGOs to go back to the government for redressal of their grievances. We explain the Act, how it is granted, and on what basis approval is canceled.
The proportion of students in classes II, III, and VI in Chhattisgarh who are unable to recognise letters have doubled since 2018, coupled with a sharp drop in their basic mathematical skills, according to the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), which captures Covid-related learning losses in one of the most backward states of the country. Numbers show that until 2018, learning abilities were rising among children of all age groups, but the pandemic reversed the trend, particularly in backward districts.
The district of Rampur is set to witness a showdown in the upcoming UP assembly between the Samajwadi Party’s Azad Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan and their traditional rival, the family of the erstwhile Nawabs of Rampur. The descendant of the erstwhile Rampur royal family, Kazim Ali Khan (alias Naved Miyan) will take on Azam in the Rampur seat on the Congress ticket, while in the Suar constituency, BJP’s ally Apna Dal (S) has fielded Kazim’s 30-year-old son Haider Ali Khan (alias Hamza Miyan) against Abdullah.
With Punjab heading into a crucial election, Sikh bodies and activists have been submitting memorandums to AAP candidates, asking questions on their long-pending demand for the permanent release of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a death convict in the 1993 Delhi bomb blasts case. We explain the case and how Bhullar went from being a political ‘untouchable’ to a rallying point.
In 2020, Ravinder Dandiwal held a fake cricket league to pull a fast one on online punters. It was an elaborate con as unknown players wearing Covid-19 masks posed as international cricketers. Shockingly, he got away with it. Just 10 days after he was arrested he was released on bail. Over the years, several other Indians have figured in cases of cricket corruption, as alleged bookies and match-fixers aimed to corrupt players, but none have received exemplary punishment.
Delhi Confidential: It is not everyday that Justice D Y Chandrachud of the Supreme Court loses his calm. But on Tuesday, the judge appeared to be at his wit’s end as a lawyer, who had filed an intervention application in two matters concerning Covid-19 vaccination, kept questioning as to why his submissions were not being recorded by the bench.
In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we talk about the Republic Day tableaux and the beating retreat ceremony. We also go over the President’s speech on R-day eve.
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose