Newsletter July 30 2018





With the Opposition often accusing his government of being a “suit-boot ki sarkaar” and being biased towards industrialists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that he was not afraid of being seen next to “udyogpati” as they played as crucial a role in nation development as a labourer, a farmer or an artisan. It was wrong to call them “chor-lutere (thieves)”, he added.

Modi was in Lucknow for a mega event where he laid the foundation stone for 81 projects, worth overall Rs 60,000 crore.

Eighty industrialists, including major firms such as Birla, Reliance, and Adani attended the ceremony alongside Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Sunday’s event was attended by industry bigwigs such as Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla group; Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani group; Subhash Chandra, chairman of the Essel group and a Rajya Sabha MP; and Sanjeev Puri, MD, ITC. Top executives of business houses like Walmart were also present.

The PM drew a parallel with Mahatma Gandhi, talking about his association with the Birlas, and saying that even a man as “pure” as him was not hesitant about this as his intentions were clear. On the other hand, he added, there were people who went out of their way to not be seen with industrialists, “but there would be no industrialist who wouldn’t have gone to their house and bowed down before them”.


A day ahead of the publication of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday again assured that no one would be sent to detention camps nor treated as a foreigner if his or her name does not appear in the draft. He said that they would get ample time to get this rectified as “adequate opportunity will be given for filing claims and objections”.

Sonowal also said that there should not be any insecurity or fear among people because “the entire NRC is being carried out in an impartial, transparent and meticulous manner, and would continue to remain the same”.

The CM, who has held a series of meetings with officials and police top brass in the last few days, said his government has taken all possible steps to ensure that law and order is maintained after the publication of the NRC draft, including guarding against fake news and messages over social media. Sonowal said the state government had put in a place a system for legal action against those who spread such rumours.

However, he refused to answer whether his earlier statement that the government would not give any constitutional rights to people who failed to make it to the final NRC list, once that is ready, would stand. Reiterating that the priority was to “identify foreigners”, he said, “What steps the government takes will come next.”

Sonowal denied the accusation that the NRC draft fits in well with the BJP’s communal politics, and that the ruling party may use it to target even legal Muslim citizens. The entire process was being monitored by the Supreme Court, he said. “The final NRC has come up through a legal process under the supervision of the apex court and will definitely provide a tool to make a distinction between a bona fide Indian and a foreigner.”


In an act of defiance, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said “no mandatory permission” should be required from police to install CCTV cameras, as he tore apart a report of a panel set up by Lt Governor Anil Baijal on working out the guidelines for installation and monitoring of surveillance cameras.

The L-G office in a statement issued later, however, said, the rules were only at a “draft stage” and had been put out in public domain for suggestions and clarifications.

Addressing a huge gathering of representatives of RWAs, market associations and NGOs at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kejriwal claimed that crime in Delhi would be “reduced by half” once surveillance cameras were set up across the city.

“For last three years, we have been trying to get CCTVs installed in the city. We also initiated the files, but the L-G, other officers and BJP did not let us work,” he alleged.

During his speech, the chief minister waved the ‘report’ of the panel set up by Baijal in May to regulate the installation and monitoring of CCTV cameras in private and government buildings in the national capital. He read out portions from it before tearing it to pieces.

“The report says that every owner and data controller of CCTV system collecting any information from public space shall report to the appropriate authority. And, the appropriate authority and police shall visit and assess if CCTVs are needed or not,” Kejriwal said. “In democracy, it is people’s rule and not police rule, L-G sahab. So, I want to ask you all here, do we need to get any license for installation of CCTV camera? You all said ‘No’. So, what should we do with this report, should we tear it?” he asked.

“So, tomorrow, I am going to sign the files that no license be needed to install CCTV cameras,” Kejriwal said.







Imran Khan will be sworn in as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister before the country’s Independence Day on August 14, his party has announced as it is trying to reach out to smaller parties and independents to form the next government.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), led by 65-year-old Imran, has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly (NA) after the July 25 elections, but it is still short of numbers to form the government on its own.

PTI leader Naeenul Haq told media that consultations are on to complete the number game. “We have done our homework and he will take oath as Prime Minister before August 14,” Haq said.

As per the results announced by the Election Commission, the PTI has won 116 seats.

The PTI leaders who have won more than one seat will have to vacate additional seats as the law allows an individual to retain only one seat. This means that seat count of Imran’s PTI will be reduced to 110 from 116 adding to troubles of the former cricketer.

It was after these calculations that the PTI leadership has now decided to reach out to other smaller groups and independents since the party has already declared that it will not join hands with the PPP and the PML-N.



A Palestinian teenager released by Israel on Sunday after completing a prison term for kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier urged continued struggle against Israeli occupation of the West Bank, a call echoed by the Palestinian president.

Ahed Tamimi, 17, became a heroine to Palestinians after the incident last December outside her home in Nabi Saleh, a village which has campaigned for years against land seizures by Israel, leading to confrontations with the Israeli military and Jewish settlers.

Israelis regarded the incident, which Tamimi’s mother relayed live on Facebook, as a staged provocation.

Tamimi, who was 16 at the time of her detention, faced 12 charges, including aggravated assault. In March, she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge sheet that included assault and was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, dating back to her arrest in December.

Wearing her trademark black-and-white chequered Arab scarf, Tamimi greeted dozens of well-wishers in brief remarks outside the home of a Nabi Saleh villager killed by Israeli forces. “From this martyr’s house, I say: resistance is continuing until the occupation is removed,” she said. “All the female prisoners in jail are strong, and I thank everyone who stood by me while I was in prison.”









Two days after DMK chief M Karunanidhi was transferred to Kauvery Hosiptal from his Chennai residence, the 94-year-old leaders’ health, according to hospital, had a “transient setback” late on Sunday evening. A health bulletin by the hospital stated that Mr Karunanidhi’s condition was improving and he will be closely monitored. Thousands of party supporters gathered outside the hospital where Mr Karunanidhi is being treated. MK Stalin also issued an advisory to the supporters appealing to stay clam and not create inconvenience to the public.

Mr Karunanidhi, a five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, was recovering from a long illness when he contracted the infection and developed a fever.

According to television reports, Chief Minister K Palaniswami has cancelled his events in Salem and have rushed back to the city. Family members of the DMK leaders also rushed to the hospital. Security has been increased both outside the hospital and DMK headquarters.




An all-out war erupted on Twitter after TRAI chairman RS Sharma on Saturday disclosed his Aadhaar number on the microblogging site and challenged everyone to show how mere knowledge of the unique number could be used to harm him, triggering a deluge of tweets that claimed to disclose his personal details from PAN to mobile number.

The challenge by Mr Sharma evoked an immediate response from the Twitterati, with some users claiming to have dug up his mobile number, photographs, residential address, date of birth and even chat threads.

But much of the information based that was dug out may already be in the public domain.

While many on Twitter claimed victory over ‘leaking’ Mr Sharma’s personal details post the challenge, the TRAI chief asserted through multiple tweets and replies that the challenge had never been about phone numbers and other information, but for causing harm using knowledge of his Aadhaar number.

“No I did not challenge them for phone number and other info. I challenged them for causing me harm! So far no success. Wish them luck,” Mr Sharma wrote on Twitter.

The UIDAI too contested the claims that the data was leaked with the help of his Aadhaar number. The UIDAI said that given the connected digital world, various search engines such as Google, can throw up personal data “without Aadhaar” and a profile can be made.

“It is reiterated that in this case … no data has been fetched using his Aadhaar number from UIDAI’s servers or Aadhaar database. One could have just googled his name (without Aadhaar number), visited a few other websites and got most of the details which are being shown on twitter,” UIDAI added.

The Aadhaar issuing body argued that people usually give PAN or mobile number at many places, and noted: “Someone can pick other personal data from different websites as he gets to know his PAN/mobile number”.

“Can anyone demand on this basis that PAN (permanent account number) number is unsafe and should be abolished? Or, can say that it is the online world and online search which help gather information from different sources and create a profile and therefore, online search should be prohibited? Of course, this is not the answer,” the statement said.





The Karnataka government’s proposal to have an English-medium section in 1,000 government schools as a pilot project to wean away parents from private schools has provoked protests from Kannada writers and intellectuals, who fear that English will swallow the native language.

Minister of Primary and Secondary Education N Mahesh has said the move is needed as students have moved away from government to private schools even in rural areas. Students in state government schools at present learn English from Class V.

Across the country, with student numbers in government schools dropping and English seen as the only way forward, states have been introducing English medium.

Punjab has started English-medium sections in government schools from this session. Initial plans were to have such sections in 1,886 schools, at the middle, high and senior secondary levels, but only 1,424 schools opted for it.

In Uttar Pradesh, 5,000 government primary schools have become English-medium from this academic session (April 2018).

Haryana has introduced English-medium Class 1 sections in 418 government schools from the current session (2018-19). This would be extended to higher classes later.

Uttarakhand: In 2017, the government announced introduction of Science books in English for Class 3 students across all the 15,000 government primary schools from this academic year. In the coming years there will be English textbooks for Science subjects up to Class 12, Virendra Rawat, Additional Director, Elementary Education, said.

Telangana introduced English medium in a limited number of government primary schools this academic year.

Andhra Pradesh: Starting this academic session, the state has introduced English medium in 90 per cent of its 9,356 elementary schools.





Barely 35,600 metric tonne (MT) or a quarter of the 1.43 lakh MT of garbage generated daily in Indian cities gets processed. The remaining three-quarters, about 1.1 lakh MT, are dumped in the open. Only eight of 35 states process more than half the daily garbage generated in their cities, and not one has achieved 100% processing.

Civic bodies in Maharashtra generate the maximum garbage—22,570 MT daily— followed by Tamil Nadu (15,437 MT), UP (15,288 MT), Delhi (10,500 MT), Gujarat (10,145 MT) and Karnataka (10,000 MT).

Municipal bodies are dumping waste on to landfill sites beyond the site’s capacity, with the overflowing garbage polluting surrounding land, groundwater and air.

According to the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), cities are now running out of land to dump their waste, and have begun throwing it in the ‘backyards’ of smaller towns, suburbs and villages, leading to conflicts. Looking for or creating more landfills as a solution to the waste problem, thus, is no longer an option, states a CSE document on solid waste management.




Immigration and border security officials across several countries are keeping an eye on your social media trail and looking up your online profiles. This helps throw up inconsistencies in information submitted to immigration authorities, connections to extremist organisations—if any, and even posts that could be considered hate speech under the host country’s laws.

In addition, officials in some countries such as the US have the authority to search your electronic devices—be it your cell phone or laptop.

Under current US law, warrantless border searches are only allowed for data stored on the device itself. The border officials are not authorized to search information stored on the cloud through a traveller’s mobile device.

In addition to physical searches of digital equipment, several countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, UK and US are tracking social media footprints.





Former India cricket player Mohammad Kaif has slammed a report by a media outlet which carries analysis by a study which questions the number of SC/ST’s to have played for India since attainting Test status. In the report by The Wire, it says that since India started playing Test cricket, there have been only four capped players from SC/ST out of the 290 players who have played for India.

In reply to the tweet sharing the story, Kaif queried, “How many prime time journalists are SC or ST or for that matter how many senior editors in your organisation are SC or ST. Sports is perhaps one field which has successfully broken barriers of caste, players play with inclusiveness but then we have such journalism to spread hatred.”

The article also mentions how players coming from Dalit and Muslim communities have contributed as bowlers. “Three of the four Dalit Indian Test cricketers have been pace bowling all-rounders; five of the eight Muslims to have debuted for India in Tests in this millennium were pace bowlers,” the study mentions.

The article also draws comparisons with South African cricket. They introduced a quota system where a minimum of six black cricketers must be included in South Africa’s national team to counter the under-representation of minority players across all levels of the game.





The beleaguered Indian women’s hockey team produced a spirited performance to come back from a goal down and hold higher-ranked USA to a 1-1 draw in their last Pool B match and progress to the knockout stages of the World Cup in London yesterday.

As per the rules of the tournament, the top teams from each the four pools progress directly to the quarterfinals while the second and third placed teams will feature in the cross overs to decide the remaining four spots of the last-eight round.

India will next play against Italy on Tuesday.





Success in the last four years has driven Virat Kohli to a different level “mentally” and the Indian skipper would like to show the British public in the upcoming Test series why he is eulogised as the best player in the world, says head coach Ravi Shastri. Kohli averaged a horrendous 13.50 in his 10 innings during the 2014 England tour. Shastri believes that all this is a thing of the past.

“Yes, he might have had an ordinary series when he came here four years ago. But four years down the line he is the best player in the world. And he would like to get out there and show the British public why he is the best player in the world.”

Shastri said he believes in playing an aggressive brand of cricket, which is a prerequisite to coming out on top in a tough tour like England. “Fearless cricket. Trust your instincts. Play your natural game. Results will happen. We will have some fun. We are aggressive. We play to win. Even this series we are playing to win,” he said.  “We are not here to draw games or fill in the numbers. We play every game to win and take the game forward. And if in trying to win we lose a game, tough luck. As long as we win more than we lose, we are happy.”

“We believe we have the potential to be one of the best travelling teams. At the moment, there is no side in the world that travels well. You can see what is happening to South Africa in Sri Lanka. We know our scorelines in England before this tour. We want to do much better than that,” said Shastri.




The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean that if you are happy you will be good. – Bertrand Russell


I called my friend thrice and he didn’t pick up the phone.

Then I sent him a text message saying: “Call me urgently. She wants to meet you.”

Now he’s called me 8 times and I’m not taking his call!!

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