07 November 2020
A) Chief of Defence Staff Gen Rawat flags possibility of larger conflict with China.
India will not accept any shifting of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and unprovoked tactical military actions spiraling into a larger conflict cannot be ruled out, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said on 6 November as the eighth round of talks between the military commanders of India and China got underway at Chushul to resolve the ongoing standoff. Their posturing is unambiguous. They will not accept any shifting of the LAC. In the overall security calculus, border confrontations, transgressions, and unprovoked tactical military actions spiraling into a larger conflict therefore cannot be discounted, Gen. Rawat said, while addressing a webinar by the National Defence College as part of its diamond jubilee celebrations. Speaking of the situation in eastern Ladakh, Gen. Rawat said tensions were high and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was facing unanticipated consequences of its misadventure in Ladakh because of the Indian defence forces’ firm and strong response. With no progress in the talks so far, both sides have made preparations to maintain thousands of troops and equipment in the extreme conditions of high altitude winter.
B) GST shortfall for States could be ₹5-7 lakh crore by 2022, says 15th Finance Commission, moots unique ‘fiscal glide path’ for each State.
The gap between GST cess collections and the revenue shortfall faced by States for implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) could snowball to anywhere between ₹5 lakh crore to ₹7 lakh crore by June 2022, from the ₹2.35 lakh crore estimated for this year, the Fifteenth Finance Commission is learnt to have projected in its report. The Commission, which finalized its report proposing a framework for sharing revenues between the Centre and the States for the next five years on October 30, is learnt to have recommended a unique fiscal glide path for each State for the period 2020-21 to 2025-26, in a separate volume dedicated to States. Given the uncertainty created by the pandemic and the slowdown in the economy that pre-dated the Covid-19 virus, the panel, whose report will be submitted to President Ramnath Kovind on Monday, has had to rely on variable growth projections for each of the five years rather than assuming a steady growth trend.
C) Stubble burning: panel has begun work, Centre tells SC.
The Union government informed the Supreme Court on 6 November that the new Commission to check stubble-burning by farmers in the adjoining States of Delhi would start functioning this day. The Commission will start functioning from 6 November itself, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde. The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance of 2020 was promulgated by the Centre recently. It is meant to both prevent and monitor stubble-burning by the farmers of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The air pollution caused by the indiscriminate burning of fields is choking Delhi. Former Delhi Chief Secretary M.M. Kutty was appointed chairperson of this Commission. Its other members include Mukesh Khare of IIT-Delhi, Ramesh K.J., Ex-Director General, India Meteorological Department; and A.K. Nautiyal, a joint secretary in the Ministry. Ajay Mathur, Director General, The Energy Resources Institute, and Ashish Dhawan of the Air Pollution Action Group have been appointed as representatives of NGOs.
D) No bail yet for Arnab Goswami, hearing in High Court to continue tomorrow.
There was no immediate relief for Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami arrested on Wednesday in a 2018 abetment to suicide case as the hearing today on his interim bail plea before the Bombay High Court remained incomplete. The court on Saturday will continue to hear his petition seeking interim bail and challenging his arrest. Today a division bench of Justices S. S. Shinde and M. S. Karnik heard arguments by his lawyers Harish Salve and Aabad Ponda but said the hearing will continue on Saturday for paucity of time. They will assemble for this matter tomorrow at noon. Since regular court work will not be there tomorrow, we can hear this matter at length, the HC said. The High Court does not normally assemble on Saturdays. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu cognisance and issued a contempt notice against the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Secretary for browbeating Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, who had approached the apex court against a privilege notice issued against him. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde asked the Secretary to show-cause why he should not be punished for contempt for threatening Goswami with a penalty just because the journalist had approached the apex court in connection with a privilege motion.
E) Payments on WhatsApp go live in India.
Following the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) nod to WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, to roll out its payments service in India, Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, said on Friday that payments were available now in 10 Indian regional language versions of the platform. Zuckerberg, in his video message, added that with UPI on which WhatsApp payments is built. India had created something truly special and was opening up a world of opportunities for micro and small businesses that were the backbone of the Indian economy. In a blogpost, WhatsApp explained that to send money in India, it was necessary to have a bank account and debit card.In a blogpost, WhatsApp explained that to send money in India, it was necessary to have a bank account and debit card. Now everyone can send money to their friends and family through WhatsApp as easily as sending a message. There’s no fee, and it’s supported by more than 140 banks. And because it’s WhatsApp, it’s secure and private too, he said. In a blogpost, WhatsApp explained that to send money in India, it was necessary to have a bank account and debit card. WhatsApp would send instructions to banks, also known as payment service providers, that initiated the transfer of money via UPI between sender and receiver bank accounts.
A) Greta Thunberg recycles Donald Trump’s jibe as he tries to ‘stop’ vote counting.
Swedish teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg on 6 November has mocked Donald Trump in his own words, and urged him to chill after the U.S. president, trailing behind his Democratic rival Joe Biden in the election, demanded that the counting of votes must stop. When she was named as Time magazine’s Person of the Year in December 2019, Trump had told Thunberg to work on her anger management problem and go to an old fashioned movie with a friend. Chill Greta, chill! Trump said in his tweet on December 12, in which he described her Time award as so ridiculous. Trump was raging on Twitter on Thursday and posted a number of tweets alleging unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud .The 17-year-old used the president’s own words to mock him after he tweeted, STOP THE COUNT. So ridiculous, Thunberg tweeted in reply to Trump’s post. Donald must work on his Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Donald, Chill! she wrote, in a perfect riposte, which has received some 1.2 million likes.
B) Biden almost home as he takes lead in two battleground States.
On 6 November, days after counting began for the race to the White House, Democratic nominee Joe Biden secured leads in key battleground States of Georgia and Pennsylvania, according to US media. Biden had been trailing Republican Donald Trump in both States earlier. He also took a narrow lead over President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Georgia for the first time early on Friday, putting the White House within his reach. Georgia, along with five other undecided states — Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona and Alaska — continue to count ballots. Biden currently has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to most media outlets. Should he clinch Pennsylvania, it would take his electoral vote count to 273, a jump of 20, if Arizona is not included. Arizona continues to be incredibly close though it was earlier called in favour of Biden by Associated Press and Fox News, among others. A narrow win for Biden in Georgia would most likely be challenged to a recount by the Trump campaign. A clearer path would appear to be Pennsylvania. This is also the state where there is ample room for him to overtake Trump by a large margin as mail-in ballots continue to be counted.
C) US media outlets cut off Trump as he peddles false claims in press conference.
In his first appearance since late on Election Night, President Donald Trump, speaking from the briefing room in the White House on the evening of 5 November, claimed that the election results so far were part of a broad conspiracy by Democrats to deprive him of a second term. According to The New York Times, the three big broadcast networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — all cut away from President Trump’s appearance as the president’s false claims about the integrity of the election mounted. Trump said that he wanted a halt in the counting of votes that came in late. They have already decisively won many critical states, including massive victories, he added. It’s amazing how those mail-in ballots are so one-sided. The president also expressed his outrage in all-caps declarations on Twitter. STOP THE COUNT! he proclaimed. However, the president has no authority over election counting. ANY VOTE THAT CAME IN AFTER ELECTION DAY WILL NOT BE COUNTED! he later wrote. STOP THE FRAUD, said another. All his tweets were flagged by Twitter as potentially misleading.