|5 THINGS FIRST|
PM Modi to virtually inaugurate National Conference of Environment Ministers; India-Bhutan border to reopen after 2.5 years of closure due to Covid; SC to hear plea of BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain in alleged rape case; Lucknow court to hear bail plea of Siddique Kappan in PMLA case; 2nd T20I – India Vs Australia in Nagpur
|1. When the boss warned the next chief|
- Stern message: The day after Ashok Gehlot, the front-runner for the top Congress post, sought to stay as the Rajasthan CM even if he becomes the party president, Rahul Gandhi endorsed the “one person, one post” rule. He said, “We have made a commitment in Udaipur, I expect that the commitment will be maintained.”
- And a confirmation: On his return as the Congress president, Rahul said, “I stand by what I said in the last press conference.” This means he rules himself out of the presidential election.
- Ashok Gehlot was soon after reported to have conveyed that he was ready to fall in line, stepping down as the Rajasthan CM. This rule is something that other party president hopefuls like Digvijaya Singh had cited on Wednesday.
- Raj goes to Pilot? There is a strong buzz that along with his message to Gehlot, Rahul has also approved Sachin Pilot’s elevation as the Rajasthan CM. This comes after Pilot, the arch-rival of Gehlot, spent a day with Rahul in Kerala on his Bharat Jodo Yatra before heading to Jaipur.
- However, Gehlot said he would try to persuade Rahul Gandhi “one last time” to return as the party chief. He would file his papers on Monday only after that.
- The lengthening list: With Gandhis out of contention, the Congress may have a problem of plenty. Two names — Gehlot and Shashi Tharoor — look certain. But the names of Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath, Manish Tewari, Mallikarjun Kharge and Siddaramaiah are doing rounds as probable candidates.
- The election, if needed, will happen on October 17. Contenders can file papers till September 30.
- Boss’s advice to the next chief: Rahul said, “My advice would be whoever becomes Congress president should remember he represents a set of ideas, a belief system, the vision of India.” More here
|2. Tracking suspected terror supporters at 93 places|
- The raids: The National Investigation Agency on Thursday launched a massive nationwide search operation against the Popular Front of India (PFI), other groups and individuals allegedly supporting terrorists. The NIA said these raids were coordinated with the Enforcement Directorate and state police forces “across 93 locations in 15 states on top PFI leaders and members in 5 cases”.
- The arrests: A total of 106 PFI members were arrested in the joint operation. Of these, 22 were arrested from Kerala, 20 each from Maharashtra and Karnataka, 10 each from Tamil Nadu and Assam, eight from Uttar Pradesh, five from Andhra Pradesh, four from Madhya Pradesh, three each from Delhi and Puducherry and two from Rajasthan.
- The case: The raids flow from an investigation initiated by the Telangana police, which had arrested 27 PFI members including one Abdul Khader from Nizamabad. The case was later handed over to the NIA, whose FIR said that these suspects “recruited the members of PFI, organised camps for imparting training for committing terrorist acts…promoted enmity between different groups on the basis of religion and were involved in activities disrupting sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.”
- A meeting: Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a high-level meeting over the massive crackdown on the ‘radical’ Islamic organisation to assess the situation.
- A protest call: The PFI protested in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kerala on Friday. It said it would “never surrender” to a ‘totalitarian regime’.
- What’s PFI? Launched in Kerala in 2006 by merging three Muslim organisations that had been floated after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, it is an Islamic organisation. The PFI claims to have expanded its organisational presence in 22 states, prompting it to shift its headquarters from Kozhikode to Delhi. More here
|3. A new ‘rashtra pita’ and global ‘Hindu phobia’|
Taking forward his outreach to the Muslim community, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday visited a mosque and a madrassa in Delhi and held discussions with the chief of the All India Imam Organisation (AIIO). The RSS is the ideological fountainhead of the ruling BJP at the Centre.
- Bhagwat went to a mosque in central Delhi’s Kasturba Gandhi Marg and followed it up with a visit to the Madrasa Tajweedul Quran in Azadpur in north Delhi. This is the first time he has visited a madrassa, an RSS official accompanying him said.
- The RSS chief interacted with children and heard them reciting the Quran. Children raised the slogans of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jai Hind’.
‘There’s only one Rashtra Pita’
- AIIO chief Umer Ahmed Ilyasi used the ‘rashtra pita’ descriptive for Bhagwat, but the latter intervened to say there is only one father of the nation, adding everyone is ‘Bharat ki santan’ (child of the nation), according to the RSS official.
- AIIO is the representative voice of the community of Indian imams and claims to be the largest imam organisation in the world.
- Meanwhile, a US think tank has said there is now a dangerous hybridisation of hate against the Hindu community, citing the increasing attacks on them in the US, the UK and other parts of the world. More details here
- Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar shared his concerns about the security and welfare of the Indian community in the UK with his British counterpart Cleverly and welcomed his assurances on the same, ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
|4. Dollar 20-year high, rupee all-time low|
- The 81-mark within a hop: The rupee plunged 90 paise to an all-time closing low of 80.86 against the US dollar further weighed on sentiment. The currency registered its biggest single-day fall in six months — since February 24. More here
- The trigger: Equity benchmarks retreated for the second session on the trot on Thursday. It was in lockstep with a bearish trend overseas after the US Federal Reserve increased interest rates by 75 basis points and projected more rate hikes to quell scorching inflation.
- The mood: The hawkish stance by the US Fed and anticipated rate increases by other global central banks sparked a sell-off across emerging markets, hitting equities, currencies and other asset classes.
- An American high: The US dollar climbed to a fresh two-decade high on safe-haven flows as the prospect of US interest rates rising further and faster than expected spooked investors.
- The dollar index — a gauge of the greenback’s performance against six other major currencies — increased 0.2% to a record 20-year high of 111.72 — already up 2% this week and roughly 17% this year.
- Currencies of geopolitics: Russia’s intent to intensify the ongoing conflict with Ukraine further and simmering tensions between China and Taiwan have hurt market sentiments, boosting safe-haven flows and a rout in global financial markets.
- A test: With investors fleeing, it is a testing time for the Reserve Bank of India for its resolve to defend the rupee from hitting the 81-mark for the first time ever. This precarious situation means more for policymakers now.
- Share markets too fell for the second straight day, tracking a broad sell-off in global markets that sent world stocks to near a two-year low. The BSE Sensex fell 337 points to end at about 59,120 and NSE Nifty-50 dropped 88 points to close at 17,630.
|6. Shivaji Park won’t host either of the Senas for Dussehra|
- Permission denied: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has denied a nod to both Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde factions for the Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. The BMC cited a police report — that allowing a rally would lead to a law and order situation — for denying permission.
- The police report referred to the September 9 firing in Dadar during Ganapati Visarjan leading to tension in the area, saying that if either faction was allowed to hold the Dussehra rally, a serious law and order situation could arise.
- Rejection letters were sent, the BMC said, to the Uddhav camp’s MP Anil Desai and the Shinde faction’s MLA Sada Sarvankar.
- The Uddhav-led Sena had sought the Bombay High Court’s direction to the BMC for granting permission for the annual Dussehra rally. It also met BMC officials on Tuesday as the municipal body was sitting on the applications of the two Sena factions for close to a month. The delegation was told that the BMC was awaiting the opinion of its law department.
- A policy: While the BMC was looking at the first-come-first-served policy to give permission to the Uddhav camp, another view was that permission should be given to the local MLA, who had successfully applied for permission for the Dussehra rally in the past, and that is rebel Sena MLA Sarvankar.
- Police’s rescue act amid politics: “Now that the police report has come citing that a law and order situation will arise if permission is given, there is no need for any law department opinion. We have rejected the applications of both factions based on the police report,” said the official. More here
|7. Look, who’s pushing for India’s UNSC bid!|
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has sought to know why countries like India, Japan, Brazil and his own nation are not permanent members of the UN Security Council and said “the day will come when this will be resolved”. His remark assumes significance as it comes at a time when the world is echoing PM Modi’s advice to Russian President Putin that this is not the time for war.
- “There was a lot of talking about reforming the UN. How did it all end? No result,” Zelenskyy said in his first-ever address to the world leaders at the UN General Assembly’s General Debate since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
- India had abstained from voting against Russia, one of its close defence partners, at the UN multiple times in recent months. This trend, however, changed in late August when New Delhi went against Moscow’s stance, and joined 12 other members of the UNSC to vote for inviting Zelenskyy to speak via a remote video link.
Push for reforms
- India has been at the forefront of efforts at the UN to push for urgent long-pending reform of the Security Council, emphasising that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member.
- At present, the UNSC comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries which are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
- The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States and these countries can veto any substantive resolution. There has been growing demand to increase the number of permanent members to reflect the contemporary global reality.
|8. Moonlighting is the new pink slip|
- Pink slips: Wipro boss Rishad Premji has said that his soap-to-tech business group has fired 300 employees for “moonlighting” in recent times. He expressed his anguish calling it “cheating, plain and simple”. He said playing in a band over the weekend is different from secretly working for rivals.
- What is moonlighting? It originally referred to taking up a nighttime job by employees who worked in a regular 9-to-5 daytime job. So, moonlighting is taking up a secondary job beyond a full-time employee’s usual job.
- Who all are talking about it? Some of the big tech companies including IBM and Infosys have joined the chorus calling moonlighting “an unethical practice”.
- How this debate began: Swiggy, which delivers your favourite food, came up with an “industry-first” Moonlighting Policy, allowing employees to take up external projects “based on internal approvals”. Moonlighting included “volunteering with an NGO, working as a dance instructor, or content creation for social media”. This Swiggy idea has not gone down well with other companies.
- The furore: Wipro’s Rishad Premji said, “There is no space for someone to work for Wipro and competitor XYZ and they would feel exactly the same way if they were to discover the same situation.”
- Earlier, Infosys warned its employees against moonlighting in an email, citing clauses in the offer letters that say “no double lives”, “no two timing” and “no moonlighting”.
- Conflict of interest? A full-time employee usually signs a contract that bars her from working for the employer’s competition. Any conflict of interest is taken seriously by the employers.
- But there are voices, such as former Infosys director Mohandas Pai, arguing that employment is a contract of pay-for-work for ‘n’ number of hours-a-day, and that the employees are free to do whatever they wish in their free time.
|9. A conservation success story|
The population of the greater one-horned rhino, which is found only in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, has for the first time crossed the 4,000-mark by registering a 167% rise in the past 42 years, scripting a wonderful conservation success story. Of them, 80 percent are in India with the majority of them (2,613) at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
- The growth is “largely due to the governments of India and Nepal creating habitats for rhinos”, according to the ‘State of Rhino’ report released by the International Rhino Foundation on the eve of World Rhino Day observed on September 22.
- “Poaching remains a threat, but authorities in India have had great success in significantly reducing poaching through intense security and strict enforcement of wildlife crime laws. In 2021, there was only one recorded poaching incident. There has been only one recorded incident in the first half of 2022 as well,” the report said, quoting the Asian Rhino Specialist Group (AsRSG).
- There are five primary rhino species— greater one-horned rhino, Sumatran rhino, Javan rhino, black rhino, and white rhino.
- The world’s last remaining population of Javan rhinos remained stable but faced threats, including human encroachment and insufficient habitat, while experts estimated a 13% decline for Sumatran rhinos.
- On the other hand, Africa’s white rhino population continued to decline under pressure from poaching. However, the count of black rhinos is growing across Africa.
|Answer to NEWS IN CLUES|
Cambodia: An international court convened in Cambodia to judge the brutalities of a communist regime, popularly known as Khmer Rouge or Red Khmers, ended its work on Thursday. In what was set to be its final session, the tribunal rejected an appeal by Khieu Samphan, the last surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge government that ruled the Southeast Asian nation from 1975-79. He was convicted in 2018 of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and given life in prison, a sentence reaffirmed on Thursday.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Tejeesh Nippun Singh, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta
Research: Rajesh Sharma