Allegations of Modi being dictatorial baseless, says Amit Shah
Home Minister Amit Shah has said in an interview that an illiterate person is a burden to the country and cannot be a good citizen. He made this observation while speaking to the government channel Sansad to mark 20 years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a public office. Mr. Shah, while speaking on Mr. Modi’s focus on increasing primary school enrolment while he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, said: You can understand what contribution this had on the development of the country and Gujarat. An illiterate person becomes a big burden on the country. Neither does he know his Constitutional rights, nor the duties asked of us by the Constitution. How can he be a good citizen? In the interview, he dismissed the charge that Mr. Modi’s decision-making process was dictatorial, and emphasised the public support for the PM. While Mr. Shah has been Mr. Modi’s right-hand man from before he became the Gujarat CM and has been a de-facto spokesperson for the PM, he is now first and foremost the Home Minister of India. In that light, his characterisation of an illiterate person as not being good enough to be citizen of India is problematic.
After protests over delay, Ashish Mishra arrested
Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, has been arrested and remanded to 14-day judicial custody over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. Mr. Mishra was arrested based on the FIR in a case which alleges that he was at the wheel of one of the cars that mowed down protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri in U.P. The chain of events left eight people dead. While both the Minister Mr. Mishra and his son deny that the latter was even at the location of the incident, the farmers allege that Ashish Mishra, in fact, shot one of the dead farmers. Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra is escorted out of the crime branch office in Lakhimpur Kheri late on October 9, 2021 to be produced before a magistrate. The arrest, which happened late on October 9, comes a week after the events of October 3. The delay in Ashish Mishra being detained had led to massive protests from farmers, and the U.P. government had come under pressure from the Supreme Court itself. While the arrest might lift some pressure on the Yogi Adityanath government in U.P., the political implications for the BJP in the poll bound State, as well as at the Centre, remain.
COVID-19 vaccine: Govt allows export of Russia’s Sputnik Light made in India
The government has permitted the export of Russia’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik Light domestically produced here as the jab has not yet been approved for emergency use in India, sources said on Sunday. Indian drug firm Hetero Biopharma Limited has been allowed to export 40 lakh doses of Sputnik Light to Russia, sources in the know of the developments told PTI. Sputnik Light is the same as component-1 of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V which is being used in India’s anti-COVID inoculation programme after getting emergency use authorisation from India’s Drug Regulator in April. The Russian ambassador had urged the Indian government to allow the export of Sputnik Light produced by Hetero Biopharma, one of the partners of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) in the production of the jab, to his country till the vaccine gets emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator. In a communication to the Centre, Russian Ambassador Nicholay Kudashev had stated that Hetero Biopharma Limited already has manufactured one million doses of Component 1 of the Sputnik V and two million doses of the Sputnik Light but the six-month shelf life of the vaccine may expire before its registration which will result in the wastage of vaccine doses, sources said. The government has permitted Indian drug firm Hetero Biopharma to export 40 lakh doses of Sputnik Light to Russia. The decision was taken this week following detailed deliberations, a source said. Over the past months, the RDIF has been working closely with Indian pharmaceutical companies to ramp up the production of Sputnik vaccine in India that could be used in the local and global markets, the ambassador had stated in his communication last month. At the moment RDIF together with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories is working with authorities concerned on the registration of the Sputnik Light in India. We would like to note that Indian manufacturers of the Russian vaccine are discouraged by the current ban that prevents the use of the produced Sputnik Light vaccine in India and its export to other countries, stated the communication from the ambassador to V K Paul, chair of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).
Centre rebuts fears of power blackouts
Terming any fear of disruption in power supply in the country due to coal shortages ‘misplaced’, the Government on Sunday said coal stocks at power plants would ‘gradually improve’ and were currently sufficient for 24 days. At a review meeting of the coal stocks at thermal power plants attended by Power Minister R.K. Singh and Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi, the Coal Ministry and Coal India assured that there is ample coal available to meet the demand of power plants. The Coal Ministry also said coal supplies were set to hit a ‘record high’ in 2021-22 and blamed extended monsoons for constraints in dispatches from mines. Coal India, the Ministry said, was supplying more than 2.5 lakh tonnes daily to non-power industries such as aluminium, steel and cement, which reflected the ‘comfortable coal position in the country’. The daily average coal requirement at power plants is about 18.5 lakh tonnes whereas the daily coal supply has been around 17.5 lakh tonnes per day. Citing the heavy rains in coal field areas, the Ministry said the CIL was now supplying over 14 lakh tonnes a day to power plants which would increase to over 16 lakh tonnes by the end of October as the rains recede. The Power Ministry said in a separate statement that domestic coal supply had sustained the power plant operations despite heavy rains in August and September, steep hike in power demand due to economic recovery and increase in imported coal prices. All out efforts are being made to ensure full power supply to the DISCOMs as per requirements, the Ministry added. Taking special note of concerns raised by Delhi about the prospect of power supply disruptions in the capital, Mr. Singh had directed that distribution companies of Delhi would get ‘as much as power as requisitioned by them as per their demand’. The Minister had directed the NTPC and the DVC to give full availability of power as per the needs of distribution companies, and advised GAIL India to provide gas from all sources to gas-based power plants in Delhi. If any DISCOM is found to resort to load-shedding despite being power available as per the PPA, action would be initiated against them, the Power Ministry warned.
13th edition of ground-level India-China talks
The 13th round of the Corps Commander level talks between India and China were held on Sunday at Moldo on the Chinese side. The aim of the meeting was to figure out disengagement at patrolling point 15 at Hot Springs in Eastern Ladakh, as part of the larger de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control in the region. There have been many engagements at various levels between the two sides since the standoff began in May last year, with Defence Ministers and Foreign Ministers from both sides meeting to reduce tensions. The Corp Commander level talks is the most consistent engagement between the two sides, ensuring cooperation at the ground level in an area filled with disputed areas and points of friction. While the talks may help in avoiding direct engagement, India’s concerns about Chinese build-up in the region remains.
Father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme dead
A.Q. Khan, known as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, has died at the age of 85. Khan was born in 1936 in Bhopal and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. Dr. Khan was put under house arrest in early 2004 after he admitted to running a clandestine nuclear proliferation ring. He later recanted that confession, saying it was made under pressure from the regime of the former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf.