The Hindu Morning Digest, March 20, 2024


Lokpal orders CBI probe into charges against Mahua Moitra

The Lokpal has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to further probe the allegations made against former Lok Sabha member Mahua Moitra and submit a report on its findings within six months. “After careful evaluation and consideration of the entire material on record, there remains no doubt regarding the fact that the allegations levelled against the RPS (Respondent Public Servant), most of which are supported by cogent evidence, are extremely serious in nature, especially in view of the position held by her,” said the Lokpal’s judgment.

PM Modi, BJP slam Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on ‘Shakti’ as evidence that the Congress is anti-Hindu and anti-women

For the second successive day, the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Congress party and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi over his remarks on ‘Shakti’, making the issue an important theme in the party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha election. In Salem, the Prime Minister alleged at a public rally that the Congress and its allies, including Tamil Nadu’s ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), were out to “destroy Shakti”, but asserted that “they will get destroyed” instead.

Lok Sabha election | Congress plans to reach every household with 25 guarantees and ‘paanch nyay

Asserting that the BJP’s guarantees for 2024 Lok Sabha polls would be another “India shining” moment, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on March 19 urged its office-bearers to ensure that the party’s 25 guarantees and five pillars of justice or paanch nyay reached every household in India. After a three-hour discussion, the CWC approved the manifesto that will also include a section on electoral bonds. Former party chief Rahul Gandhi told the closed door CWC meeting that the electoral bond scheme had “exposed the BJP’s corruption and extortion tactics”.

SC directs States and Union Territories to give ration cards to 8 crore migrant workers

The Supreme Court on March 19 took exception to the delays in the implementation of its April 2023 order to provide ration cards to about eight crore migrant workers registered in the eShram portal but not covered under the National Food Security Act. The portal has 28.6 crore registrants. Of this, 20.63 crore find place in ration card data. A Bench led by Justice Hima Kohli directed States and Union Territories to provide ration cards to the remaining eight crore migrant and unorganised sector workers registered on the eShram portal in two months.

Schoolchildren at PM Modi’s Coimbatore road show | FIR registered, action to be taken against headmaster, report called for

The Sai Baba Colony Police registered a First Information Report (FIR) on Tuesday, against the management of a government-aided school for bringing schoolchildren to participate in a roadshow led by BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Coimbatore on March 18.

Congress poll panel clears Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Kharge’s son-in-law as Lok Sabha candidates

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress leader and member from Baharampur in the outgoing Lok Sabha, is among the candidates whose names were cleared by the party’s central election committee (CEC). The CEC also cleared the name of Radhakrishnan D., the Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s son-in-law, as the party’s candidate for Gulbarga. Mr. Kharge had represented the seat in 2009 and 2014, but lost it in 2019.

Regulator snubs revenue projections at Adani-controlled Thiruvananthapuram Airport

The Adani-controlled Thiruvananthapuram Airport’s projection of revenue from non-aeronautical services such as the sale of food and beverages — used to subsidise costs levied on airlines and passengers — is just a “miniscule” 12% of the norm, according to the country’s airport tariff regulator. In fact, it is only a third of what the airport earned before privatisation.

Activist calls for border march in Ladakh to mark land lost to China

Around 10,000 people from Ladakh will march to the border along China this month to showcase how much land has been lost to the neighbouring country, climate activist and education reformer Sonam Wangchuk said on Tuesday. Mr. Wangchuk has been protesting in open in sub-zero temperature in Leh, surviving only on salt and water for the past 14 days, to demand constitutional safeguards for the Union Territory.

Railways earned ₹1,230 crore from cancelled waiting list tickets in span of 3 years

The Indian Railways clocked earnings of ₹1,229.85 crore from cancelled waiting list tickets between 2021 and 2024 (till January), a reponse to a query under the Right to Information Act has revealed. The Railway Ministry response to the RTI application filed by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Vivek Pandey also showed that earnings from this source have increased year on year.

21 lakh SIM cards in use have fake proof: DoT

At least 21 lakh SIM cards have been activated using fake proof of identity or proof of address documents, according to analysis carried out by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). In an alert sent to Bharti Airtel, MTNL, BSNL, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea, the DoT provided a list of suspicious subscribers and called for an urgent re-verification of their documents, and disconnection of those found to be bogus.

Army repurposes 21 Signal Group to research futuristic communications tech

The Army has transformed the 21 Signals Group into the Signals Technology Evaluation and Adaptation Group (STEAG). It will function as an elite technology Unit which will research and evaluate futuristic communication technologies like AI, 5G, 6G, machine learning and quantum technologies for defence applications. 

To solve for dietary preference of 100% vegetarians, Zomato introduces a ‘pure veg’ fleet

Food delivery platform Zomato on March 19 launched a “pure veg” delivery fleet that would deliver orders from restaurants that do not serve meat, fish or egg-based dishes. The fleet’s personnel are shown in promotional images wearing green uniforms and with green boxes on their bikes, and the company will not assign “pure veg” delivery partners to any orders from restaurants where food is not exclusively vegetarian.

Former Mumbai police officer gets life imprisonment in fake encounter case

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday awarded a life sentence to former Mumbai police officer Pradeep Sharma in the case related to the fake encounter killing of an alleged member of convicted gangster Chhota Rajan in 2006. The court also upheld the life sentence to 13 others, 12 of whom are police personnel (Dilip Palande, Nitin Sartape, Ganesh Harpude, Anand Patade, Prakash Kadam, Devidas Sakpal, Pandurang Kokam, Ratnakar Kamble, Sandeep Sardar, Tanaji Desai, Pradeep Suryavanshi and Vinayak Shinde) and one a civilian (Hitesh Solanki).

Police shoot dead man accused of murdering two minors in Uttar Pradesh

Police shot dead a man accused of murdering two boys aged 12 and 6 in Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday. A mob set ablaze a shop belonging to the accused man. Tension gripped Badaun district as news of the murder spread. The accused man, Mohd. Sajid, is said to have slit the throats of the minors who were brothers and also injured a third brother, aged 8, who managed to escape and share the horror with his parents. 

UN chief ‘alarmed’ by reports civilians killed in Myanmar air strikes

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has said he is “alarmed” by reports of ongoing Myanmar military air strikes on villages in Rakhine state, where locals told AFP more than 20 people were killed on March 18. Clashes have rocked Myanmar’s western Rakhine state since the Arakan Army (AA) attacked security forces in November, ending a ceasefire that had largely held since the military’s 2021 coup.

Trump says Jews who vote for Democrats ‘hate Israel’ and their religion

Former President Donald Trump on Monday charged that Jews who vote for Democrats “hate Israel” and hate “their religion,” igniting a firestorm of criticism from the White House and Jewish leaders. Mr. Trump, in an interview, had been asked about Democrats’ growing criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his handling of the war in Gaza as the civilian death toll continues to mount.

World Meteorological Organisation confirms 2023 as ‘hottest year’

In line with a host of observations by climate agencies in the preceding three months, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has officially confirmed 2023 to be the hottest year on record. The State of Global Climate Report, published Tuesday, stated that the global average near-surface temperature was 1.45 degrees Celsius (with a margin of uncertainty of ± 0.12 degrees Celsius) above the pre-industrial baseline. It was the warmest ten-year period on record.

Israel may be using starvation as ‘weapon of war’: U.N.

The U.N. said on March 19 that Israel’s severe restrictions on aid into war-ravaged Gaza coupled with its military offensive could amount to using starvation as a “weapon of war”, which would be a “war crime”. United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk denounced the rampant hunger and looming famine in Gaza.

IPL | I would like to see Dhoni smash the ball the way he loves to, says Vijay

Sameer Rizvi made the headlines in December 2023 when he became the most expensive uncapped player at the IPL auction. He was bought by Chennai Super Kings for a whopping 8.40 cr. The promising youngster from Uttar Pradesh is known for his power-hitting abilities in the middle-order, making him the ideal player to fill the role that Ambati Rayudu played for the five-time champion.

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