July 26th – National News Round-Up

Kovind Presidency

Kovind’s aides were allegedly all appointed by the PMO. I’m not sure if this is without precedent and I don’t want to make the mistake of saying that the office has gone to the dogs. We’re going to have to wait and see how this turns out. The article also points out that Pranab Mukherjee was also a long serving politician and was able to talk to MPs through the stranger parts of politics.

NEET Scam

The NEET exam that was conducted for post-graduate admissions in August of 2016 was compromised. Apparently, the National Board of Examinations (NBE) hired Prometric (an American company that conducts a lot of the standardized tests that are taken in India) without floating a tender and inviting offers from other companies. This is either complacency or corruption. I doubt anybody can tell which it is. Yet.

DD is getting a facelift

DD is looking for a new logo and is organizing a design contest. The last date for submission is August 13th. I think that centralized broadcasting networks can do a lot for creating a general awareness among people. In India, a lot of the outreach that the government does is still over radio, but I think eventually DD will have to come up with more robust offerings on their channel, one television reaches the more remote parts of the country. I mean, I assume It will eventually. Right?

Doordasrshan (Image Source: DD India)
Doordasrshan (Image Source: DD India)

Our President?

Modi claims another victory. This one is about the fact that Kovind is the first BJP affiliated president that the country has ever had. Kalam was president during their last tenure, but he was decidedly apolitical.

Aadhar and Privacy

The AG and a 9-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court are going at it over the issue of Aadhar. After initially declaring that the right to privacy was a fundamental right, the bench has seemingly backtracked a little bit. The article goes into the details of the argument and they are pretty interesting. Something that is mentioned in the article is the debate on whether this idea of privacy is an “elitist” construct.

Yechury: a third term?

Yechury might not stay a third time in the upper house. The Bengal unit of the CPI(M) wants him, and the Congress is willing to support him, but apparently the Kerala unit of his party might not be willing to send him for a third term.

July 25th – National News Round-Up

14th President

Kovind is now the 14th President of the country. In his maiden address to the country, he referenced national pride as being important to women and also spoke of the role that women played in the country.

Fairly lukewarm speech, but that was expected.

He won about 65% of the votes, beating Meira Kumar.

An Independent President

Interesting article on the Rajendra Prasad and the arguments he used against Nehru to allow himself the space to be the head of state. The article suggests that Kovind is not constitutionally bound to be a non-sequitur in the political space of the country. Though times are different. Kovind is a long-serving RSS member. I doubt this will play out in a similar manner.

Rajendra Prasad (Image Source: Wiki Commons - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dd/Rajendra_Prasad_%28Indian_President%29%2C_signed_image_for_Walter_Nash_%28NZ_Prime_Minister%29%2C_1958_%2816017609534%29.jpg/842px-Rajendra_Prasad_%28Indian_President%29%2C_signed_image_for_Walter_Nash_%28NZ_Prime_Minister%29%2C_1958_%2816017609534%29.jpg)
Rajendra Prasad (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Reliance JIO

Reliance Jio is free. Mukesh Ambani publically stated that data is the new natural resource. Ensuring free access allows him to tap into enormous fields of data which one would assume that he can sell to companies that need to map entertainment consumption patterns. Article also touches on the enormously disruptive influence Jio has had on the smartphone data market. Other companies just didn’t have the money to offer something like this. Prices dropped.

GM Mustard Injunction

The SC has asked for there to be further investigation into GM Mustard. The bench also said that there would be an injunction order passed if there was any funny business going on.

Kashmiri Pundits

A group called Roots in Kashmir have approached the SC seeking an investigation in to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits during the insurgency of the late 1980s and the early 1990s. The SC rejected their request since they had waited 27 years to approach the court.

Economic and Political Weekly

On July 18th, Guha Thakurta resigned from his position as Editor of EPW after the board asked him to take down two articles on the Adani Power Limited. Romila Thapar is one of the board members of the EPW.

“The signatories have also cautioned that India is currently living through a dark period in which there are real concerns about freedom and independence of intellectual expression, both for academics and journalists, with significant corporate takeover of major media houses and increasing instances of overt and covert intimidation of independent thinking and debate.”

Kashmir

The NIA arrested 7 J&K separatist leaders. Mr. Geelani and Yasin Malik called for a shutdown in response to these arrests, calling the this a drama that is being enacted by the government that is under renewed pressure to resolve the conflict in Kashmir and to address the human rights violations.