THE CURIOUS CASE OF SUSHMA SWARAJ’S VIRTUAL HARASSMENT

National News

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June 30th, 2018:

Union Minister for Ministry of External Affairs in India, Sushma Swaraj posted a poll on Twitter. Sushma is among a handful of female cabinet ministers in the PM Modi led cabinet and had been subject to online harassment. Her question was simple, ‘DO YOU APPROVE OF SUCH TWEETS?’

124,305 votes were cast, a vast majority said no, but sadly 53,451 said yes. They approved of the harassment.

But why was the union minister subject to vicious trolling?

Well, the drama began at an RPO office in Lucknow, where a woman named Tanvi Seth was supposed to be interviewed by Regional Passport Officer named Vikas Mishra.

The RPO in question noted two discrepancies in Tanvi’s application. Firstly the marriage document shown by her revealed that her name was Shadia Anas (a name mentioned in her nikahnama as she married a muslim man Mohammed Anas Siddiqui) and that her permanent address was different from the address mentioned in the application. Tanvi who is resident of Noida had applied for a passport from Lucknow. However during the interview, Vikas Mishra allegedly chided Tanvi for her inter-religious marriage. Tanvi then took to twitter to air her grievances and all hell broke loose after media channels picked up the story. The issue polarised the online community.

Subsequently the RPO was transferred and later Tanvi was issued a passport. This too however did not go down too well with many.

Soon they trained guns against the head of the external affairs minister: Sushma Swaraj. Sushma’s integrity was questioned. Her health issues were made fun of and not just that, her family was not spared too.

Soon MEA issued a clarification over this issue. MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “I will clarify these two points. On the marriage certificate, under the revised passport application rules, there is no requirement for submission of a marriage certificate at the time of application of passport. Therefore, the name in the marriage certificate is not relevant to the issue of passport. Second, on the address, Tanvi Seth had submitted her Adhaar Card and a joint bank account as a proof for her name and address which was the same as mentioned in the application form. Therefore, the issue of passport to Tanvi Seth was found in order based on the existing rules.”

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However in the midst of all this drama , what has really caught the attention of many is the ‘shrill pitch’ silence of PM Modi and his cabinet. PM and several top leaders from the cabinet refused to comment on the issue. Till date only Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ram Madhav and Ram Vilas Paswan have backed Sushma. PM and top BJP leaders have spoken in length of women empowerment and safety, however when their very own leader was in distress, they maintained a not so golden silence.

Many say it is unfair to drag in PM into this controversy as he had no role to play in it. But doesn’t the same logic apply to Sushma as well? As far as transferring Vikas Mishra was concerned, it was a decision by the Lucknow Passport Office, secondly the passport was only issued after necessary verification. Thirdly Sushma was not present in India when the episode took place.

Criticism is a part and parcel of public life and work space, however unfair and unjust criticism can only demotivate a person. We must learn to criticise in a constructive manner and not criticise only for the sake of criticism. Also let’s not forget the good work Sushma’s ministry has done in the past.

Secondly harassment of any kind, be it in workplace or public or private or on social media must be condemned. BJP must learn that silence by their leaders on such a vital issue, will only be in detrimental in the long run for the party.

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‘CON-STARS’ WHO CHEATED INDIA

National News

It was an oh-so-perfect plan, but like they say- you can run, but you can’t hide from law. When businessman Nirav Modi hatched a plan to loot the second largest public sector bank in India, the plan was simple- bypass the core banking system and exploit a loophole.

Duplicitous ‘Letters of Undertakings’ (type of guarantee issued for overseas import payments) were issued by two bank officials in favour of Nirav Modi’s firms such Diamond R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds. The employees also relayed SWIFT instructions to overseas branches of Indian Banks to raise Buyer Credit without making any formal entry.

Ni-Mo is on the run and only time will reveal if he evades law like Mallya. But, not just Nirav, there are several who conned Indians and here is list of these scamsters.

SURESH KALMADI, COMMONWEALTH GAMES SCAM

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When India was to host Commonwealth Games in 2010, there was a massive buzz around it, but this excitement soon gave way to embarrassment. Suresh Kalmadi, the organizing chairman of the games was accused of corruption. Bills of common items were inflated, the cost of the games overshot the mandated budget. If that wasn’t enough, 10000 volunteers walked out just one week of the games . All in all, the scam ruined India’s image around the world.

HARSHAD MEHTA-WOLF OF DALAL STREET

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In April 1992, there was blood bath on Dalal Street, courtesy the ‘Raging Bull’ Harshad Mehta who managed to con the banking system. Due to operational restrictions Indian Banks were prohibited from investing in equity market directly. But investment into Fixed Interest Bond was allowed up to a certain ratio. Harshad was aware of this loophole. He then tricked banks to invest their money into share market and promised banks higher returns. In the meantime, Harshad use the money invested by banks into his account to again buy shares. Creating an ‘inflation bubble’. He would then resell these shares and return the money to banks and the pocket the profit.

KETAN PAREKH -THE BUTCHER OF BSE

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Another Dalal Street slayer, Ketan Parekh perfected the art of con. His methodology?Simple: Parekh would purchase large stakes in small market capitalization companies and would inflate their prices by trading with larger companies or traders (called circular trading). These shares were traded in a set of 10s and was colloquially knowsn as K10. Later it was learnt that several businessmen would pay Parekh to ensure the prices were inflated. This scam was busted only after Govt set up an inquiry to find out why markets tumbled in March 2001.

HIGHLIGHTS OF INDIAN BUDGET 2018

National News

WITH LESS THAN AN YEAR TO GO TO THE GENERAL ELECTIONS, FINANCE MINISTER ARUN JAITLEY PRESENTED HIS LAST FULL BUDGET IN THE LOWER HOUSE ON FEB 1ST. THE BUDGET WAS WIDELY SEEN AS A POPULIST ONE. FINANCE MINISTER PREDICTED 7.2% – 7.5% GROWTH RATE FOR SECOND HALF OF 2017-18. THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE SPEECH WAS THE INTRODUCTION OF NATIONAL HEALTH PROTECTION SCHEME AND THE RE-INTRODUCTION OF LONG TERM CAPITAL GAIN TAX, HERE ARE THE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE FINANCE MINISTER’S SPEECH:

AGRICULTURE SECTOR

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  • MINIMUM SUPPORT PRICE INCREASED TO 1.5 TIMES PRODUCTION COST
  • 470 APMCs CONNECTED TO eNAM NETWORK
  • Rs 2000 Cr CORPUS FOR AGRI-MARKET DEVELOPMENT FUND
  • CLUSTER-MODEL APPROACH FOR HORTICULTURAL PRODUCE
  • Rs 500 Cr FUNDING FOR OPERATION GREEN
  • NATIONAL BAMBOO MISSION RESTRUCTURED
  • Rs 10,000 CR FOR FISHERY AND AQUACULTURE INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT FUND & ANIMAL HUSBANDRY INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
  • INSTITUTIONAL CREDIT FOR AGRICULTURE TO RS 11 LAKH CRORE FOR 2018-19
  • ALLOCATION FOR FOOD PROCESSING UNITS: Rs 1400 Cr
  • 42 MEGA FOOD PARKS TO BE SET UP

ELECTRICITY SECTOR

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  • 8 CRORE FREE GAS CONNECTIONS TO WOMEN UNDER UJJWALA SCHEME
  • 4 CRORE ELECTRICITY CONNECTIONS TO THE POOR UNDER SAUBHAGYA YOJANA

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

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  • RS 14.34 LAKH CR FOR RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE:
  • RISE – REVITALIZING INFRASTRUCTURE IN SCHOOL EDUCATION ALLOCATION OF 1 LAKH CRORE RUPEES
  • GOVT PLANS TO CONSTRUCT 2 CRORE MORE TOILETS

SOCIAL JUSTICE

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  • EKLAVYA SCHOOLS FOR SCHEDULED TRIBE POPULATION
  • ‘EKALAVYA’ SCHOOL TO BE AT PAR WITH NAVODAYA VIDYALAS
  • ALLOCATION FOR SC WELFARE – RS. 56,619 CR
  • ALLOCATION FOR ST WELFARE- RS. 39,135 CR
  • NATIONAL LIVELIHOOD MISSION ALLOCATED RS. 5,750 CR

PROVIDENT FUND

  • GOVT. TO CONTRIBUTE 12% OF EPF CONTRIBUTION FOR NEW EMPLOYEES IN ALL SECTORS

HEALTHCARE SECTOR

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  • Rs 1200 CR ALLOCATED TO HEALTH WELLNESS CENTRE
  • 600 cr FOR NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT OF TB PATIENTS
  • 24 NEW HOSPITALS TO BE SET UP
  • 1 MEDICAL COLLEGE PER 3 PARL CONSTITUENCIES
  • NATIONAL HEALTH PROTECTION SCHEME:
  1. WORLD’S LARGEST GOVT. FUNDED HEALTH PROGRAMME
  2. ANNUAL COVER OF RS. 5 LAKH
  3. TO COVER: 10 CRORE POOR FAMILIES

RAILWAYS

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  • CAPITAL EXPENDITURE: ₹1,48,528 crore
  • TRAINS TO HAVE WiFI, CCTV
  • 4267 UNMANNED RAILWAY CROSSING TO BE ELIMINATED
  • REDEVELOPMENT OF 600 MAJOR RAILWAY STATIONS
  • MUMBAI TRANSPORT SYSTEM TO EXPAND
  • SUBURBAN NETWORK FOR BENGALURU

DIGITAL INDIA

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  • 5 LAKH WIFI HOTSPOTS TO BE SET UP IN RURAL AREAS
  • NITI AYOG TO FORM NATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR #ArtificialIntelligence
  • GOVERNMENT TO ELIMINATE USE OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES

COMMERCE

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  • SINGLE ONLINE WINDOW TO LINK ALL STAKEHOLDERS UNDER NATIONAL
    LOGISTICS PORTAL

INSURANCE

  • GOVERNMENT INSURANCE COMPANIES TO BE MERGED INTO A SINGLE ENTITY

TAXES

  • TAXES
    12.6% GROWTH IN DIRECT TAXES IN 2017-18
  • 18.7% GROWTH IN INDIRECT TAXES IN 2017-18
  • REVISED FISCAL DEFICIT ESTIMATE FOR 2017-18 IS 3.5% OF GDP
  • FISCAL DEFICIT OF 3.3% EXPECTED FOR 2018-19
  • 100% TAX REBATE FOR FARMER PRODUCER COMPANIES HAVING A TURNOVER OF RS. 100 CR
  • COMPANIES WITH TURNOVER OF UPTO RS. 250 CR TO BE TAXED AT 25%
  • PERSONAL INCOME TAX RATES UNCHANGED
  • RS. 40K STANDARD DEDUCTION IN LIEU OF PRESENT EXEMPTION
  • LONG-TERM CAPITAL GAINS EXCEEDING RS. 1 LAKH TO BE TAXED AT THE RATE OF 10%
  • ALL SENIOR CITIZENS CAN CLAIM BENEFIT OF REDUCTION RS. 50,000/ YEAR
  • EDUCATION AND HEALTH CESS TO BE INCREASED FROM 3% TO 4%

What India Expects from Budget 2018

National News

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is all set to present his last full budget tommorow in Parliament.

Here is a list of what India expects

Taxation

Raise in upper limit of income tax ceiling

Tax relief for senior citizens

Further reduction of taxes in GST

Exemption of taxation on essential commodities like sanitary napkin, medicines and food

Reduction in corporate tax rates & Minimum Alternative Tax

Remove tax on angel investors

Remove tax on digital services

Agriculture

Encourage micro-credit for farmers

Reduce waivers on fertilizers & allied products

Investment in micro-irrigation projects

Waive off loans on farmers

Invest in ‘in-situ’ processing units to reduce dependency on transport

Invest in cold storage plants

Banks

Revive banks with non-performing assests

Simplify procedures for insolvency

Incentives for digital monetary transactions

Encourage long term investments

Infrastructure

Increase investment into infrastructure projects

Increase investment in waterways

Focus on Railway Infrastructure & safety

Auto sector

Reduce import tax on raw material

Lower GST rates on electric vehicles

Real estate sector

single-window clearance for all real estate projects

Reduce taxes on under-construction projects

Focus on sustainable, cheap housing projects

Energy sector

Focus on clean energy sector

Provide incentives for alternate & clean fuel

Incentives for solar projects

Reduce cess on oil and gas exploration and production

Metals and mining sector

Decrease customs duty on coking coal

Decrease in export duty on iron ore

Why Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad is just a PR exercise

National News

Beggars were removed. Walls were cleaned up. A city was spruced up. But have you wondered why India, Telangana and US were in an overdrive mode for Global Entrepreneurship Summit?

Telangana pips Andhra:

For Telangana, one of India’s youngest state, this summit was a victory in the battle of ego. KCR toiled hard to ensure the event was held in Hyderabad, ensuring a victory over rival/neighbouring/sister state of Andhra Pradesh.

Modi’s diplomatic charm offensive:

This summit will benefit Prime Minister Narendra Modi in many ways. Not only will this bolster his image across the globe as a World Leader but will also attract his most hardcore fans- the NRIs. PM Modi is pro-capitalist and what better way to attract entrepreneurs than a summit?

PR exercise for Ivanka?

At W20 summit earlier this year Ivanka was booed. A major embarrassment for the young lady who aims to be her father’s political inheritor. Global Entrepreneurship Summit is her first major solo venture as the Advisor to White House. Many believe that she could be the First Woman President America has been waiting for. The theme of this summit is woman empowerment : a clear alignment with her political strategy.

But can Ivanka really change the tide? Can this summit propel her image as a female crusader of change? Only history can be a better judge of that. But if Ivanka seeks a long-standing political career, she will have to outshine her eccentric father and her prodigal husband.

Image courtesy Twitter

Blog by Isheeta Bali