15 October 2020
A) Following Mehbooba’s release, Farooq Abdullah convenes Gupkar signatories meeting on October 15.
National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah on 14 October visited the residence of former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehooba Mufti, who was released on 13 October after 14 months in detention. After the meeting, she said that it was nice of Farooq sahib and Omar sahib to come home. It gave her courage listening to them. She is sure together they all can change things for the better. Omar Abdullah said that his father and he called on Mufti Sahiba this afternoon to enquire about her well-being after her release from detention. She has kindly accepted the invitation to join a meeting of the Gupkar Declaration signatories. All the signatories of the declaration are planning to meet on the afternoon of 15 October at the residence of Dr. Abdullah. They are expected to discuss the future course of action with regard to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, which was revoked by the Centre last year.
B) Miffed at Minister’s absence, farmer leaders walk out of meeting at Krishi Bhavan.
On 14 October, a delegation of farmer leaders from Punjab walked out of a meeting with Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal at Krishi Bhavan. The meeting was held to discuss the widespread protests in Punjab over the controversial agricultural marketing laws passed last month. The Secretary was trying to give them some gyaan about the supposed benefits of the new laws. The leaders stood up and said BJP leaders are roaming all over Punjab, spreading propaganda, but they do not have time to meet us here in Delhi. Jagjit Singh Dhaliwal, who is the state president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union-Ekta has said that the dialogue has failed as the Central government is not serious on the issue of farmer. Dallewal said that the Union Agriculture Minister should have talked to the representatives of all the farmers groups present in Chandigarh. Instead, a delegation of Union Ministers is engaged in efforts to mislead the farmers in Punjab.
C) Tanishq store in Gujarat puts up apology note over withdrawn ad.
A Tanishq jewellery outlet in Gandhidham in Kutch district of Gujarat has put up a note on its door apologising to the Hindu community in the district over the brand’s controversial TV ad that has since been withdrawn. The handwritten note in Gujarati also condemned the TV commercial, which sought to promote the brand’s new jewellery range, Ekatvam. It was written on the note that they apologise to the Hindu community of Kutch on the shameful advertisement of Tanishq which was aired in the media. It was pasted at the entrance of the outlet on October 12 and has since been removed. Photos of the apology note went viral on social media. The showroom manager and the local police has said that the news that the showroom was attacked by some people angry with the Tanishq advertisement was a fake news. On request from the Tanishq outlet manager, the police have provided security.
D) Loan borrowers’ Diwali is in your hands, Supreme Court tells Centre.
The Supreme Court has questioned the government’s need to wait a whole month, till November 15, to notify the implementation of a scheme for waiving the compound interest (interest on interest) accumulated during the moratorium against loans worth up to ₹2 crore. The Court said that the waiver scheme is meant to hand-hold small and vulnerable borrowers whose fortunes have dipped during the lockdown. Their Diwali is in the hands of the government. The waiver scheme has been proposed for eight different categories, including MSME, education, housing, consumer durables, credit card, auto, personal and consumption loans. Appearing for the Centre and the RBI, Justice Ashok Bhushan asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, that having taken the decision to waive their compound interest for the moratorium period, why do they require a month [till November 15] to bring this scheme into effect? Why do they delay issuing the circular?Justice M.R. Shah, on the Bench, said that the government has already helped him [with the waiver of compound interest]… Now he wants concrete results. When they have already taken a decision, why do they need 1 month just to issue a circular, he asked further.
The Union Cabinet today approved the STARS (Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States) project under the New Education Policy to support States in strengthening the school education system, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said. The centrally sponsored project will be implemented by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education. It will cover Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha, he said. The World Bank-supported project is estimated to cost ₹5,718 crore and aims to support the states in developing and improving school education outcomes, Javadekar said.
A) South African cricket in danger of ban as government intervenes.
South Africa is in danger of being banned from international cricket after its government said on 14 October that it intended to intervene in the affairs of the sport’s national body following revelations of serious misconduct by senior officials. The statement, from sports minister Nathi Mthethwa, said he had informed the International Cricket Council of the intended action. The ICC’s constitution forbids government interference and the punishment is normally a ban from international games for the country’s teams until the national cricket body is operating independently again. The tension between the South African government and Cricket South Africa (CSA) relates to a long-running investigation into the affairs of the cricket body, which resulted in the firing of CEO Thabang Moroe for serious misconduct in August.
B) India, Pakistan exchange barbs.
India and Pakistan sparred at a Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministerial meeting on 14 October, after Pakistan raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and accused India of targeting the religious minorities of India. For a state to hypocritically preach about religious minority groups elsewhere, while trampling upon the rights of its own indigenous minorities, was indeed most regrettable, and a blatant misuse of this august platform, said Secretary (West) at the Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup, in response to what he called a rant by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the Commonwealth meet, held via videoconference, although he didn’t name Pakistan directly. In his speech, Mr. Qureshi had also not named India directly but accused a state in South Asia of targeting religious minority groups. It has transgressed rights and freedoms of millions and fanned hyper-nationalism to engineer illegal demographic change in a disputed territory. He said this in an apparent reference to the government’s move to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir and dilute Article 370 in August 2019.