January 29th, 2021
Your 10 minute read!
LAW, POLICY & GOVERNANCE
1. High Court denies bail to comedian Faruqui
The Madhya Pradesh High Court refused bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui, who is accused of passing “indecent” remarks about Hindu deities during a show, and noted that to “promote harmony” is a constitutional duty.
Faruqui and four others were arrested on January 1 following a complaint by a BJP MLA’s son that objectionable remarks about Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were passed during a comedy show at a cafe in Indore on New Year’s day.
2. Stopping hate on television is essential to prevent riots: SC
The Supreme Court on Thursday said stopping hate on television was as essential for law and order as arming policemen with lathis and putting up barricades to prevent the spread of violence and riots.
“Control over certain kinds of news which agitate people to violence and riots is a law and order problem. Preventing it is as powerful as putting up barricades. Preventing instigation is as important as providing lathi is to policemen,” Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, heading a three judge Bench, addressed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre.
The CJI said the court, by government control, did not mean to curb free speech on TV. “People can take any tone on TV as long as they don’t incite violence, hatred, communal riots. We are interested only with people instigating and inciting violence and riots. These are situations which cause loss of lives and property. That is what we are worried about,” Chief Justice Bobde explained. The Chief Justice said the court had no problem with “fair and truthful reporting”.
The hearing was based on a batch of petitions, including one ﬁled by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, which alleged that certain sections of the media communalised the Tablighi Jamat congregation by linking it to a spike in the spread of COVID-19 infection.
3. Court rejects bail petition of Natasha Narwal in riots case
A Delhi court rejected the bail plea of JNU student and Pinjra Tod member Natasha Narwal, booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a north east Delhi riots case. “In a case of conspiracy of such a large scale, not having a video is not so vital as generally conspiracy, by its very nature, is hatched in secrecy”, the court observed.
The Crime Branch has lodged a separate FIR against both Ms. Narwal and Ms. Kalita in connection with the Delhi riots with charges of IPC Sections 147 (rioting), 353 (using criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 307 (attempt to murder), 302 (murder) among others. The FIR also named relevant sections of the Arms Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
4. Show us the provision which withdraws MSP, SC tells MP
- The Supreme Court challenged Congress MP from Kerala T.N. Prathapan to pick out the specific provision in the new agriculture laws which says farmers will not get Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their products. A three judge Bench, led by Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde, questioned the MP after the latter's lawyer submitted that “without MSP, farmers cannot survive”. “So you want the old regime to continue... Show us the provision which withdraws MSP,” Chief Justice Bobde asked the parliamentarian’s lawyer.
NATIONAL NEWS/ INTERVENTIONS
1. Farmers vacate stir site on Delhi-Agra highway
Hundreds of farmers, mostly from parts of Madhya Pradesh, vacated the sit-in site on Delhi-Agra highway at Palwal after the police served them notices with regard to the violence on the Republic Day. The Palwal Police had on Wednesday registered case against 2,000 odd unidentified people on charges of attempt to murder, among others, under the Indian Penal Code.
It is the second protest site to be vacated in Haryana over the past 24 hours. Earlier farmers holding a sit-in at Masani barrage in Rewari’s Dharuhera on Delhi-Jaipur Highway were forced to leave on Wednesday following opposition from the locals in the wake of the violence on the Republic Day in Delhi. Most of the agitating farmers went to the Shahjahanpur protest site at Haryana-Rajasthan border.
2. Vaccines are safe for those who are on blood thinners: ICMR
- Both COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in India – Covaxin and Covishield – are safe for people on blood thinners, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Balram Bhargav said on Thursday. At a Health Ministry press conference, he said manufacturers of both the vaccines had approached the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for revision of this contraindication on their fact sheets
3. Jaishankar suggests way forward for China ties
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said a recognition of “mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests” was key to repairing India-China relations, after what he called a year of “exceptional stress” in a relationship “profoundly disturbed” by the border crisis.
Twenty Indian soldiers, and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers, lost their lives in a clash on June 15 last year in the Galwan Valley, following tensions that erupted in early May triggered by transgressions by China across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), massing of troops, and what India has described as a unilateral attempt to redraw the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in several areas in eastern Ladakh.
He cited as examples China’s issuing of stapled visas to Indian citizens from Jammu and Kashmir in 2010, a reluctance from China to deal with some of India’s military commands (Beijing had that same year refused to host the Northern Army Commander), China’s opposition to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the UN Security Council as a permanent member, the blocking of UN listings of Pakistani terrorists, and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, violating India’s sovereignty in J&K.
Over the years, he said, there was no significant progress of arriving at a common understanding of the alignment of the LAC, while there was “increasing construction of border infrastructure, especially on the Chinese side.” Agreements already reached must be adhered to in their entirety, both in letter and spirit. Both sides also needed to strictly observe and respect the LAC, and any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo was completely unacceptable.
4. Core values being subverted : Hamid Ansari
Former Vice President Hamid Ansari has said a subversion of core values is underway and the word secularism has “almost disappeared” from the government’s oﬃcial vocabulary. Mr. Ansari wrote in his autobiography, By Many A Happy Accident, that this subversion was “compounded by the abdication or failure of other social and political forces to comprehend its true nature and the urgency to counter it”.
According to him, constitutional values such as a composite culture, fraternity and scientiﬁc temper had also seemingly disappeared from the political discourse and replaced by “promotion of beliefs and practices of the contrary”. He further added that that the commitment to the rule of law appeared to be under serious threat.
5. Uttar Pradesh wins best tableau award
- Uttar Pradesh was adjudged the best tableau among the 32 tableaux, 17 from States and Union Territories (UTs), nine from various Ministries, departments and paramilitary forces and six from Defence Ministry, that participated in the Republic Day parade, the Defence Ministry said. The tableau of Uttar Pradesh was based on the theme Ayodhya: Cultural Heritage of Uttar Pradesh.
6. 18 Opposition parties to boycott President’s address
As many as 18 Opposition parties, led by the Congress, announced their decision to boycott President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament on Friday at the start of the Budget session, in solidarity with the farmers protesting against the three farm laws.
They said they were shocked at the government’s “insensitivity and undemocratic attitude” towards the protesting farmers. The Opposition leaders also said the farm laws were an assault on the State governments and violated the spirit of the Constitution.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS/EVENTS/ PERSONALITIES
1. Remembering the Holocaust
Every year on January 27, the United Nations honours the victims of the Holocaust by reaffirming its unwavering commitment to counter anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance. The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops in 1945 and calls for a sombre reflection on the real dangers of extreme forms of hatred.
Currently, the anonymity of the Internet and increased screen time during the pandemic have intensified hate speech. Greater exposure to hateful discourses online has allowed anti-Semitism and other variants of racism to fester in our societies. For this reason, understanding the significance of the Holocaust carries great importance today. The Holocaust was a watershed moment in history as it illuminates the many manifestations of hate and its impact. Therefore, whilst urging member states to strengthen the resilience of people against hateful ideologies, the UN emphasises the use of education as a potent tool to inculcate a culture of peace.
UNESCO’s recently launched campaign called #ProtectTheFacts, developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the UN, and the European Commission, provides a unique opportunity this year to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust by promoting sound policies and practices that raise awareness about Holocaust denial and distortion.
2. ‘U.S. will rejoin deal if Iran is compliant’
- On his first full day on the job, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the administration’s position that if Iran were to become compliant with the terms of the now defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or the “Iran deal”), the U.S. would re-enter it too. The Trump administration had pulled out of the deal in 2018. Iran dismissed on Thursday a call by the U.S. for it to return to full compliance of a nuclear deal first, insisting that it had only taken “remedial measures” since America’s withdrawal.
3. ‘India’s UNSC seat a matter of discussion’
In response to a question on whether India, Germany and Japan should become permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), U.S. President Joe Biden’s pick for UN Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield said discussions on the subject were under way. She noted that there were arguments for and opinions against these countries becoming permanent members.
Ms. Thomas Greenfield was presumably referring to the opposition that the Uniting for Consensus (UFC) group – Pakistan, South Korea, Italy and Argentina – has to the G4 (Brazil, Germany, Japan and Italy) becoming permanent members. In addition, China opposes permanent membership for India and Japan. The U.S. has for some years supported India’s permanent membership to the Council – with former President Barack Obama declaring his country’s support in his address to Parliament in 2010
4. New Zealand tops COVID-19 performance ranking
New Zealand and Vietnam were ranked the best performing countries in their response to the pandemic, according to a COVID-19 “performance index” put together by the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, which sought to assess the impact of geography, political systems and economic development in assessing outcomes.
The index, which was based on six different indicators, including confirmed cases and deaths per million people and the scale of testing, sought “to gauge the relative performance of countries”, assessing 98 countries in the 36 weeks that followed their hundredth case.
India ranked 86 out of 98 countries, while the U.S. stood at 94 and Brazil at the bottom of the index. Taiwan, Thailand and Cyprus were in the top five. Sri Lanka was the best faring nation in South Asia, ranking 10, while the Maldives was at 25, Pakistan at 69, Nepal at 70, and Bangladesh at 84. The think tank said China was not included “due to a lack of publicly available data on testing”.
5. Biden warns Beijing over ‘expansionism’
A week into the job, U.S. President Joe Biden has sent a clear warning to Beijing against any expansionist intentions in East and Southeast Asia. In multiple calls and statements, he and his top security officials have underscored support for allies Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, signalling Washington’s rejection of China’s disputed territorial claims in those areas.
On Wednesday, Mr. Biden told Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that his administration is committed to defending Japan, including the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed both by Japan and China, which calls them the Diaoyu Islands.
That stance was echoed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who told Japanese counterpart Nobuo Kishi on Saturday that the contested islands were covered by the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.
Meanwhile, three days into the Biden administration, State Department spokesman Ned Price warned China about menacing Taiwan after it repeatedly sent more than a dozen military fighters and bombers through the island’s air defence zone.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that a mutual defence treaty obliging the U.S. to defend the Philippines against attack in the Pacific also applied to the disputed South China Sea – something the Obama administration did not specify.
ECONOMICS & FINANCE
1. Plugging gaps in GST to raise fiscal support
India should propose a credible privatisation plan for public sector ﬁrms, plug gaps in GST collections and cut wasteful expenditure from the Budget in order to contain borrowing costs while enhancing ﬁscal support for the economy, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief economist Gita Gopinath said.
Stressing that there is a risk of a sharp rise in inequality, with millions entering extreme poverty, Ms. Gopinath said India must continue to provide support to the weaker sections and increase outlays for the national employment guarantee scheme this year as well.
On the IMF’s forecast for India’s economy to grow by 11.5% in 2021-22, Ms. Gopinath said most of the expansion would be ‘mechanical’ as “you are coming oﬀ an 8% estimated collapse in the previous year”. Responding to concerns about high government debt, Ms. Gopinath said any tightening of ﬁscal policies in the middle of the pandemic while people are still being asked to stay home, would be ‘damaging’.
2. Telecom Minister proposes Indian 5G core network
- Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said 5G core network should be Indian and the country should move faster on the next-generation technology with indigenously made telecom gear. The Minister said that the test bed was ready for 5G and that the government would soon grant a permit for trials. “We lagged in 2G, 3G and 4G but in 5G India should move at a speed faster than the world with made in India 5G,” Mr. Prasad said.
3. India's gold demand fell to 25 year low in 2020
- Gold demand in India hit a 25-year low at 446.4 tonnes in 2020, compared with 690.4 tonnes in 2019 due to the COVID-19 induced lock down and on account of record high prices, the India oﬃce of the World Gold Council said.
1. Global antitrust and the challenge of BigTech https://rb.gy/e6rd3u
3. POCSO act and penalizing adolescents or teenagers https://rb.gy/lkuzvu
4. Munnawar Faruqi case https://rb.gy/df1n9k
5. The Gamestop story https://rb.gy/necwtt
Download Page : https://e-clat.com/dailynewspage
Sources referred to : The Hindu, The Indian Express, Live Law, Bar & Bench