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Friday, September 25, 2020

Daily briefing: Women’s share in NREGS dips to 8-year low; bulk of air traffic expected by Diwali, says Puri

From a delivery scheme scam in Bihar to the discovery of one of the earliest galaxies, read the top stories from print edition here.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | August 25, 2020 8:52:39 am
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Good morning readers,

For today, we have the inside story of what transpired at the crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC), a delivery scheme scam in Bihar, and the discovery of one of the earliest galaxies.

Big story

The Congress Working Committee meet wasn’t bereft of drama. Charges flew thick and fast, most of them aimed at the 23 dissenters, while former party president Rahul Gandhi questioned the timing of their letter, especially when his mother was in hospital. In short: the meeting turned into a vote of confidence on interim party president Sonia Gandhi’s leadership.

Even as the meeting became a roll call of Gandhi family loyalists lashing out at the dissidents, four CWC members who were also signatories of the letter calling for sweeping changes in the party stood their ground. They argued forcefully that the issues raised by them need discussion and redressal.

Front page

For the first time since talks began on resolving the military standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said India has “military options” available, but these will be used only if talks fail.

The Delhi Police sought to enlist the Election Commission (EC) to help them identify the accused in the Northeast Delhi riots earlier this year by matching video footage with photographs of voters. However, the EC denied them access to their digital database and offered physical inspection instead.

Domestic air passenger traffic could be restored to pre-Covid levels by Diwali, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said at an online Idea Exchange event of The Indian Express. Airlines are currently allowed to operate only up to 45% of their capacities. This cap was 35% when flights resumed on May 25.

The pandemic

Even as it has been believed that recovered Covid-19 patients have immunity against re-infection, researchers at the University of Hong Kong have reported the first documented instance in a man who was infected again four-and-a-half months after recovering. Researchers have confirmed that the virus strains were “clearly different” this time.

As part of Unlock-4 guidelines, expected in the coming days, the Delhi Metro service is likely to resume in September in a limited manner. As per an official, a plan to operate the service at 50 per cent capacity, with strict enforcement of social distancing is being considered. However, state governments are still not in favour of reopening schools and colleges.

Beyond Covid

In order to ensure equal opportunities for men and women in the Haryana Assembly, the state government is planning to bring a Bill to provide 50:50 reservation in panchayat polls for both sexes, and rotate the seats between male and female representatives after each term. 

In Chhoti Kothia village of Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, a money swindling case related to a scheme to encourage institutional deliveries has come to light. 65-year-old Leela Devi, who has six children, has been shown to have given birth to 13 children in the past 18 months. She is among the 18 women, who were enrolled as beneficiaries, and none of them were pregnant.

Amid the Covid outbreak, the share of women in total person-days of work generated under NREGS has dipped to an eight-year low of 52.46% during the first five months of this financial year, as per the official data. Sources have said the increased participation of men following the largescale return of migrants to their villages is the reason behind the dip.


And Finally…

In a major breakthrough, a global team led by scientists of the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) has discovered one of the earliest galaxies in extreme ultraviolet light through India’s AstroSat, a multi-wavelength satellite that has five unique X-ray and ultraviolet telescopes working in tandem.

Delhi Confidential: Uttarakhand BJP’s decision to re-induct controversial MLA Pranav Singh Champion seems to have triggered a spate of internal strife in the party. The MLA from Khanpur constituency was expelled from the party a year ago after a video showed him dancing with guns.

In today’s episode of the Three Things podcast, we look at how Pakistan ended up acknowledging the presence of Dawood Ibrahim in the country, Gujarat pushing the use of homeopathic remedies to fight COVID-19, and the controversy behind Bloomsbury’s Delhi riots book.

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G and Shreyasi Jha

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