PM MODI UNVEILS NETAJI'S HOLOGRAM STATUE AT INDIA GATE
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday unveiled a hologram statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate on the 125th birth anniversary of the iconic freedom fighter.
A grand statue, which will be made of granite, will replace the hologram statue once it is completed. The size of the hologram statue is 28 feet in height and 6 feet in width.
Modi said unfortunately attempts were made to erase the contribution of several great people after Independence. “India’s freedom struggle involved the sacrifices of lakhs of people, but attempts were made to limit their contribution. But today, decades after Independence, the country is correcting those mistakes,” he said. “We are now honouring our national heroes… have built the Statue of Unity in memory of Sardar Patel, are celebrating Bhagwan Birsa Munda’s birth anniversary as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas and have identified and restored places connected with Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. We are drawing inspiration from our great leaders,” the PM said.
He said no power in the world could prevent the country from achieving its goal of building a “new India” before the hundredth year of Independence in 2047.
The PM exhorted people to take inspiration from Netaji’s “can do” spirit. “Netaji used to say never lose faith in the dream of independent India, there is no power in the world that can shake India. We have to seek inspiration from Netaji’s ‘can do, will do’ spirit.”
The PM also conferred the Subhas Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar for the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 in the investiture ceremony. A total of seven awards were presented. The government has instituted the annual award to recognise the contribution of individuals and organisations in the field of disaster management.
INDIA’S IMPORTS FROM CHINA SOAR TO ALMOST $100 BN
Imports to India from China reached nearly $100 billion for the first time in calendar year 2021, as the import of electrical and electronic goods, particularly smartphones, as well as machinery, fertilisers and specialty chemicals, including active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), witnessed a massive surge.
According to the latest figures published by China’s General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC), exports to India reached $97.52 billion in 2021, while total two-way bilateral trade touched $125.66 billion.
According to the GACC, the biggest jump has been witnessed in the shipment of electric and electronic goods, including smartphones and storage units; a wide range of industrial goods, including telecom equipment, auto components, and machine tools; and specialty chemicals, including APIs and fertilisers such as urea, ammonia sulphate and other varieties.
A report in the Chinese state-run Global Times said: “An increase in China-India trade in 2021, which reached a record high, surpassing $125 billion, amid bilateral tensions, is just another piece of proof that New Delhi is unable to reduce its dependence on the Chinese market.”
CHANGE IN IAS DEPUTATION RULES WILL INDUCE FEAR PSYCHOSIS AMONG OFFICERS: KERALA CM TO PM
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the Centre to drop the proposed amendments to the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954.
Earlier, at least three Opposition-ruled states – West Bengal, Rajasthan and Jharkhand – had opposed the proposed amendment, and had written to the Prime Minister, urging him to roll back the decision, claiming that the change in rules for central deputation of IAS officers will affect states’ administration.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, the Kerala Chief Minister wrote, “The proposed amendments in the Deputation Rules of All India Services will definitely induce a fear psychosis and an attitude of hesitancy among All India Service Officers to implement policies of a state government, which are formed by party/parties politically opposed by the ruling party at the Centre.”
The present deputation rules are heavily loaded in favour of the Centre and bringing in further stringency would further weaken the very root of co-operative federalism. The Kerala government is of the opinion that the proposed amendments be dropped, Vijayan wrote.
He said in the federal set-up, the state governments are on par with the Centre as both of them are elected by the people, although the division of authority in the Constitution gives the Union jurisdiction over a wide range of subjects.
“We need to recognise that in a vibrant democratic and federal policy, states and the Centre can be ruled by political formations with different ideologies and political views. But these governments function within the framework of the Constitution,” Vijayan wrote in his letter.
OMICRON IN COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION STAGE; THIRD WAVE MAY PEAK IN FORTNIGHT
Even as the Omicron-induced third Covid wave peaks in metros, including New Delhi and Mumbai, India’s apex body of genome sequencing labs has warned against laxity saying the threat perception from the ‘variant of concern’ remained unchanged.
In its weekly analysis of the level of infection, the INSACOG (Indian Sars Cov 2 Genomics Sequencing Consortium) said Omicron was now in community transmission stage in the country and had become dominant in multiple metros, where new cases had been rising exponentially. Also, a new modelling by IIT-Madras on the current Omicron surge has concluded that the third wave could peak in a fortnight.
The death toll from Covid-19 in India nearly doubled during the week ending Sunday. India reported 2,680 deaths from the virus during the week (January 17-23), a 92% rise from last week's toll of 1,396. The previous week had seen a similar rise in mortalities even as in absolute numbers deaths remain low in the third wave so far as compared to the second.
COVID DASHBOARD – INDIA
As of 0800 IST /Jan 24
from mohfw.gov.in ,
New Cases on Sunday 3,06,064
Active Cases 22,49,335 (+62,130)
Total Deaths (Deaths Yesterday) 4,89,848 (400)
Total Vaccination: 162.26 Crores (+27,56,364)
UK: RUSSIA TRYING TO INSTALL PUPPET REGIME IN UKRAINE
Russia will face severe economic sanctions if it installs a puppet regime in Ukraine, a senior UK minister said on Sunday after Britain accused the Kremlin of seeking to install a pro-Russian leader there. Britain made the accusation late on Saturday, also saying Russian intelligence officers had been in contact with a number of former Ukrainian politicians as part of plans for an invasion. “There’ll be very serious consequences if Russia takes this move to try and invade but also install a puppet regime,” UK deputy PM Dominic Raab told Sky News on Sunday.
The Russian foreign ministry dismissed the comments as “disinformation”, accusing Britain and Nato of “escalating tensions” over Ukraine.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian adviser to the presidential office, said the allegations should be taken seriously.
The British accusations, first made in a statement late on Saturday by the foreign ministry, come at a time of high tensions between Russia and the West over Russia’s massing of troops near its border with Ukraine. The foreign ministry said it had information the Russian government was considering former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevhen Murayev as a potential candidate to head a pro-Russian leadership.
Murayev, 45, opposes Ukraine’s integration with the West. Murayev, however, dismissed the “conspiracy theory as unfounded”. He denied having any contact with Russian intelligence and dismissed the idea that he could be in league with the Kremlin as “stupid”, given he was placed under Russian sanctions in 2018. Also noting he was under sanctions, the Russian embassy in London mocked the “obvious deterioration” of British expertise on the region.
The British foreign ministry declined to provide evidence to back its accusations.
UK LAWMAKER: WAS FIRED FROM MINISTERIAL JOB FOR ‘MUSLIMNESS’
A British lawmaker has said she was fired from a ministerial job in PM Boris Johnson’s Conservative government partly because her Muslim faith was making colleagues uncomfortable, Sunday Times reported. The allegation added to the turmoil Johnson’s government is facing over parties held at his Downing Street office during Covid-19 lockdowns.
Nusrat Ghani, 49, who lost her job as a junior transport minister in February 2020, told the paper that she had been told by a “whip” that her “Muslimness” had been raised as an issue in her sacking. “I was told that at the reshuffle meeting in Downing Street that ‘Muslimness’ was raised as an ‘issue’, that my ‘Muslim women minister’ status was making colleagues uncomfortable,” the paper quoted Ghani as saying. “I will not pretend that this hasn’t shaken my faith in the party. . . ” She said she was told “there were concerns that I wasn’t loyal to the party as I didn’t do enough to defend the party against Islamophobia allegations. It was very clear to me that the whips and No 10 (Downing St. ) were holding me to a higher threshold of loyalty than others because of my background and faith,” Ghani said.
The government’s chief whip, Mark Spencer, said he was the person at the centre of Ghani’s allegations. “These accusations are completely false and I consider them to be defamatory,” he said on Twitter. “I have never used those words attributed to me. ”
MISSING BOY FROM ARUNACHAL FOUND, CHINA'S PLA INFORMS ARMY
The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Sunday informed the Indian Army that they have found a missing boy from Arunachal Pradesh and following due procedure for his release or return.
According to the officials, the teenager is a native of Zido village in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. He was allegedly abducted by the PLA on earlier this week. The district authorities said that Taron, along with a few others, was hunting in the bordering region between two countries when the incident took place.
The Army contacted the PLA as soon as it received the information about the missing boy.
The issue has triggered a political storm, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi targeting PM Narendra Modi for his “silence” on Taron’s “abduction by China”. Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee president and former chief minister Nabam Tuki on Sunday also fired a salvo at the Centre and the ministry of defence (MoD) for not being able to come out with a clear statement on Taron. “He is an innocent boy and went to his own territory in Arunachal Pradesh. Why is the Union government taking so long to get the boy released from China?” said Tuki.
CENTRE MISUSING ED TO DERAIL AAP’S POLL CAMPAIGN: ARVIND KEJRIWAL
In an escalation of tussle between the AAP and BJP ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab, Delhi Chief Minister alleged the Centre was colluding with the Enforcement Directorate and the latter was preparing to arrest Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain.
“The Narendra Modi government is misusing Central agencies to peg back the AAP’s electoral campaign in Punjab. I have reports that ED is preparing to arrest Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain before the elections,” Kejriwal said in a recorded video message.
Kejriwal said the AAP would not be deterred by tactics of the Centre. Jain is at present campaigning for the AAP in Punjab.
Meanwhile, the BJP hit back at Kejriwal, alleging he was trying to put pressure on the agency and gain public sympathy with his statement though he was aware of the “concrete evidence” against Jain. Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta alleged that Kejriwal “masters the art of media manipulation” and his statement showed that he was aware of being in the wrong.
BJP PLAYS UP KAIRANA EXODUS
In June, 2016, then BJP MP, Hukum Singh, released a list of 346 people who were forced to migrate from Kairana, a Muslim-majority town in western UP, because of “threats and extortion by criminal elements from a particular community”. Later, Singh retracted his statement, saying migration from the town was “a law and order issue”, but the “exodus” narrative caught up with the communally sensitive region. BJP, headed by Amit Shah, sniffed an opportunity to corner the SP government then headed by Akhilesh Yadav,with assembly polls a few months away.
Cut to January, 2022. Shah is back in his elements. He hit the alleyways of Kairana to carry out a door-todoor campaign, in a throwback to the 2017 BJP strategy to turn west UP into the epicentre of a saffron wave.
Samajwadi Party termed it as a BJP ploy to turn UP elections communal. “They have nothing to show. Which is why they are raking up Kairana again,” said SP spokesperson Abdul Hafiz.
CORBEVAX, A NEW PATENT-FREE COVID VACCINE, IS AN IMPORTANT STEP TO END PANDEMIC
The world now has a new COVID-19 vaccine in its arsenal, and at a fraction of the cost per dose.
All Covid-19 vaccines teach the immune system how to recognize the virus and prepare the body to mount an attack. The CORBEVAX vaccine is a protein subunit vaccine. It uses a harmless piece of the spike protein from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 to stimulate and prepare the immune system for future encounters with the virus.
This vaccine can be produced at a much larger scale because appropriate manufacturing facilities are already available. Also key to global access is that CORBEVAX can be stored in a regular refrigerator. Therefore, it is possible to produce millions of doses rapidly and distribute them relatively easily.
COBREVAX is currently licensed patent-free to Biological E. Limited (BioE), India’s largest vaccine maker, which plans to manufacture at least 100 million doses per month starting in February 2022.
INCOME OF POOREST FIFTH PLUNGED 53% IN 5 YRS; THOSE AT TOP SURGED
In a trend unprecedented since economic liberalisation, the annual income of the poorest 20% of Indian households, constantly rising since 1995, plunged 53% in the pandemic year 2020-21 from their levels in 2015-16. In the same five-year period, the richest 20% saw their annual household income grow 39% reflecting the sharp contrast Covid’s economic impact has had on the bottom of the pyramid and the top.
This stark K-shaped recovery emerges in the latest round of ICE360 Survey 2021, conducted by People’s Research on India’s Consumer Economy (PRICE), a Mumbai- based think-tank.
The survey, between April and October 2021, covered 200,000 households in the first round and 42,000 households in the second round. It was spread over 120 towns and 800 villages across 100 districts.
The survey shows that the pandemic hit the urban poor most and eroded their household income.
Splitting the population across five categories based on income, the survey shows that while the poorest 20% (first quintile) witnessed the biggest erosion of 53%, the second lowest quintile (lower middle category), too, witnessed a decline in their household income of 32% in the same period. While the quantum of erosion reduced to 9% for those in the middle income category, the top two quintiles — upper middle (20%) and richest (20%)— saw their household income rise by 7% and 39% respectively.
How disruptive this distress has been for those at the bottom of the pyramid is reinforced by the fact that in the previous 11-year period between 2005 and 2016, while the household income of the richest 20% grew by 34%, the poorest 20% saw their household income surge by 183% at an average annual growth rate of 9.9%.
IN INDIA, NETFLIX STRUGGLES AGAINST ITS RIVAL
Five years after its entry, Netflix India stands at an estimated 5 million paying subscribers, against 46 million for Disney+ Hotstar and 19 million for Amazon Prime Video, reveals the Media Partners Asia data. These figures are for December 2021 - a year when 102 million Indians subscribed to streaming video services. It has got to a point where every time the $67-billion Disney has an earnings call, the pressure on Netflix’s India performance goes up.
Disney’s Hotstar launched in 2015, just a year before both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video came in. Netflix has invested huge sums of money — over $400 million — in shows and films. It has also invested hugely in technology and market development. This includes doing workshops and supporting the creative ecosystem. However, it still lags on volumes in the fast-growing Rs 14,000-crore market for streaming video in India.
In India, Netflix is not merely a video streaming platform; it's a marker of privilege. If you have a Netflix subscription, you're considered to be a part of top 5 per cent of the country's earning population. This is certainly not good news for a company betting on India for its next 100 million subscribers. In a recent earnings call Netflix cofounder Reed Hastings' said, "In every single other major market, we've got the flywheel spinning. The thing that frustrates us is why haven't we been as successful in India. But we're definitely leaning in there."
S AFRICA MAKE A CLEAN SWEEP; INDIA LOSE ODI SERIES 0-3
India failed to avoid a series whitewash against a South African team in transition despite Deepak Chahar's scintillating 34-ball 54 after losing the third One-day International by four runs, in Cape Town, on Sunday.
The defeat ended a disastrous tour of the 'Rainbow Nation'.
Asked to take first strike, South Africa were all out for 287 after Quinton de Kock's attacking hundred and Rassie van der Dussen's fluent half-century.
In reply, India were all out for 283 in 49.2 overs, completely messing up a chase that should have been completed smoothly.
Deepak Chahar's gallant 54 off 35 balls, which included 5 fours and 2 sixes, was in vain.
All in all, the limited-overs series turned out to be one of the most disappointing outings for India in recent years, especially after having blanked the Proteas in their backyard in 2018.
They began the tour on a rousing note, winning the opening Test by 113 runs but lost the plot thereafter, failing miserably to challenge the South Africans.
Looking to restore some pride in their last match of the tour, India overhauled their playing eleven by making as many as four changes, bringing in Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Deepak Chahar and Prasidh Krishna.
The ones to miss out were Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Venkatesh Iyer and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Kohli scored 65 off 84 balls, while opener Shikhar Dhawan struck a 73-ball 61, both scoring their second fifties of the three-match series. It should have been India's game as it seemed for a good part but the side simply bungled it.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Boredom is a vital problem of the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it. - Bertrand Russell
"My brakes are not working well," my friend Venkat’s wife called him on the phone and said. "Can you come to get me?"
"Where are you?" Venkat asked.
"I'm in the chemist’s shop on the main road," his wife responded.
"And where's the car?" Venkat asked.
His wife replied, "It's in here with me."