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QBullet: Inflation Nearly 6-Year High; HRD Minister Backs JNU VC

1. Inflation Surges to 7.35%, Vegetables 60% Dearer

Image used for representational purposes only.

Retail inflation rose by 7.35% in December, the most since July 2014, driven largely by higher vegetable prices, and to some extent by an increase in phone tariffs, posing a political and economic challenge to the Narendra Modi government.

Analysts fear that the number, in excess of the upper band of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s comfort level of 4% plus-or-minus 2 percentage points, will prevent the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) from cutting interest rates to boost economic growth.

The Indian economy expanded by 4.5% in the three months ended September 2019, the lowest since March 2013. RBI expects the economy to grow at 5% in 2019-2020. First advance estimates of GDP growth released by the CSO have also pegged the GDP growth at 5%.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Retail Inflation Jumps to 7.3% in Dec, Crosses RBI’s Comfort Level

2. JNU VC Doing Good Work, Why Act Against Him: HRD Minister

Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar.

The government on Monday, 13 January, came out in strong defence of Jawaharlal Nehru University vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar – who has been under fire for his alleged failure to reach out to students and restore normalcy on the campus – with Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal lauding the VC’s “good work” in an exclusive interview with TOI.

“The VC is doing a good job and people criticise those who do good work. Why should action be taken against him? What for? Tell me?” Pokhriyal said.

The minister dismissed the allegation of the JNU Students’ Union that the VC had allowed the 5 January violence to take place, saying, “The violence in the university is between two student groups, one that wants to study and the other which doesn’t.”

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: JNU VC Continues to Keep IIT Residence, Pays Nominal Rent: Report

3. All CMs Opposed to NRC Must Stop NPR Too: 20 Oppn Parties

Interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi at a meeting of Opposition parties on Monday, convened by her to deliberate on the widespread protests against the amended Citizenship Act.

Demanding the withdrawal of the new citizenship law, twenty Opposition parties led by the Congress on Monday, 13 January, called upon all chief ministers “who have announced that they will not implement NRC” in their states to consider suspending the NPR enumeration “as this is a prelude to NRC”.

The meeting of the Opposition parties, convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi against the backdrop of continuing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens, made a conscious attempt to link the protests to economic distress.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Oppn Call for Repealing CAA & Stopping NRC, 6 Parties Skip Meet

4. Davinder Link Wouldn’t Have Affected Verdict, Says Judge in Afzal Guru Trial

Davinder Singh has served the Jammu and Kashmir Police as inspector and deputy superintendent for over 25 years.

An alleged link between arrested counter-insurgency officer Davinder Singh and 2001 Parliament Attack convict Afzal Guru would have made no difference to the trial in the terror case, the judge who found the 44-year-old Kashmiri man guilty said on Monday, 13 January.

Singh, a decorated officer with the Jammu & Kashmir Police, was arrested on Saturday for alleged ties with militants in Kashmir. Police intercepted a car on the national highway and arrested deputy superintendent Singh with two militants and an alleged aide.

The arrest, and Singh’s treatment as a terrorist by police, put the spotlight on an allegation made by Guru in a letter to his lawyers in 2004.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: J&K Cop Davinder Singh’s ‘Afzal Link’ & Other Unanswered Questions

5. SC to Examine Faith vs Rights, Not Just Sabari

Image used for representational purpose.

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Monday, 13 January, said it would only examine the larger issue of faith-based customs violating fundamental rights of women and lay down guidelines for judicial scrutiny of petitions raising issues relating to clash of faith with fundamental rights.

The clarification means the bench will not pronounce on petitions seeking a review of the SC’s order overturning the Sabarimala shrine’s tradition of not permitting the entry of female worshippers in the 10-50 years (menstruating age) group that had led to widespread protests in Kerala.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: 3 Weeks to Frame Issues on Sabarimala, Other Religious Matters: SC

6. Sad, Would Love to See Bangla Immigrant Head Infy: Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has spoken out against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, saying that “what is happening is sad…just bad,” according to BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith.

Smith posted on his Twitter account: “Asked Microsoft CEO @satyanadella about India’s new Citizenship Act. “I think what is happening is sad… It’s just bad…. I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India or becomes the next CEO of Infosys.”

Smith said in another tweet that Nadella’s remarks came during an interaction with editors at a Microsoft event in Manhattan on Monday, 13 January.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: ‘What’s Happening is Sad’: Microsoft CEO Nadella Weighs in on CAA

7. Protesters Shot Like Dogs in BJP States: Bengal Party Head

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh’s comment on Sunday, 12 January, said that “anti-CAA protesters were shot like dogs in BJP-ruled states” has kicked up a major controversy and put his party at unease.

At a public meeting in Nadia district, Ghosh slammed CM Mamata Banerjee “for not opening fire and ordering lathi-charge” on those destroying public property during anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests across the state in December.

“Didi’s police didn’t take action against those who destroyed public property as they are her voters. Our governments in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka shot these people like dogs,” he said.

The comment drew strong criticism from his party colleagues and political rivals.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Despite Babul Snub, Dilip Ghosh Sticks To ‘Shoot Like Dogs’ Remark

8. UP Okays Police Commissioners for Lucknow, Noida

What will be the impact on crime rates? And wait, didn’t Noida already have a Commissioner of Police?

Indian Police Service officers Sujit Pandey and Alok Singh were on Monday, 13 January, named as Lucknow and Noida’s police commissioners after the Uttar Pradesh cabinet approved implementation of the commissioner system of policing for the two cities that will give magisterial powers to their top police officers.

Pandey and Singh’s names were announced shortly after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told reporters post chairing the cabinet meeting that Noida and Lucknow will now have additional director general-level officers as police commissioners.

Delhi is among the cities where the commissioner system is in place to give top police officers more powers.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Noida & Lucknow To Get a Police Commissioner: All You Need to Know

9. 2/3 Donations for Top Parties From Electoral Bonds: Data

In just a year of their introduction in early 2018, electoral bonds edged out all other routes of political funding for as many as seven prominent political parties, including the BJP and the Congress, accounting for almost two-third of their total donations in 2018-19.

An analysis of annual audit reports of two national and five state political parties – BJP, Congress, TMC, BJD, JD(S), TRS and YSRCP – by Venkatesh Naik of the Common Wealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) shows that they received a total of Rs 3,696 crore from different sources including corporations, individuals, electoral trusts and electoral bonds.

However, 65.51 per cent of these donations are from electoral bonds alone.

(Source: The Indian Express)

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