1. A dramatic meltdown on China’s stock markets had an impact on India as well, with the Sensex slumping by 500 points after the Chinese indices fell by 7% to a three-month low.
2. More recent deaths and even the overall 40 or so figure of alleged casualties in Madhya Pradesh’s Vyapam scam has prompted questioning about paranoia, but it is clear that the death of 19-year-old medical student Namrata Damor, whom the Aaj Tak journalist was looking into, was indeed mysterious.
3. The Delhi High Court has paved the way for international ride-sharing app Uber to become legal in the capital.
The Big Story: The Great Game
On the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a chance to raise India’s unhappiness with Beijing over a specific bit of international maneuvering. According to several External Affairs Ministry reporters, Modi told Chinese President Xi Jinping that India was disappointed, that the Indian people were angry and that it was “unacceptable” that Beijing blocked an attempt by New Delhi to question Pakistan’s release of Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi at the United Nations.
China had at the time claimed India hadn’t provided enough information and so put a technical hold on India’s attempt to question Islamabad. The move was seen in the light of the strong relationship between China and Pakistan, with the former country frequently stepping up to defend the latter at international fora. But Modi’s decision to bring it up is also significant, considering Beijing has ramped up its engagement with India especially at multilateral organisations like Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, of which India is in the process of becoming a full member.
Beijing would like India to be aligned with China on various international matters, primarily its decision to push an Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank which many see as a Chinese attempt to build an Eastern World Bank. India’s involvement here is crucial to give the bank credence and, coupled with Modi’s insistence on giving India a larger profile on the world stage, means China is more prepared to give New Delhi a global voice. Whether that means any resolution on the Pakistan issue or the India-China border dispute, however, is a whole other matter.
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Politicking & Policying
1. After the move in neighbouring Kerala, it looks like prohibition is the latest bandwagon cause to find support in Tamil Nadu as well with a number of parties advocating banning alcohol.
2. Unnamed sources tell the Times of India that the Centre is likely to oppose petitions by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal calling for criminal defamation to be struck from the books.
3. To counter the very vocal political campaign of the Janata Dal (United), the BJP is planning to pull out 160 raths (chariots) to allow its leaders to cover every assembly constituency in the state.
4. Food Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has slammed India’s food regulator, saying its recent steps are stopping innovation and creating an “environment of fear”.
1. Never mind changes to it, the arms of the state are already chipping away at the Land Acquisition law in its execution, write Deepa A Panwar and Ram Singh in the Hindu.
2. The idea that New Delhi lost a great opportunity in 2009 to settle the separatist concerns in Kashmir is too pat and convenient, writes Praveen Swami in the Indian Express, saying the reality is much more complex.
3. Shankar Acharya in the Business Standard lists out the top 10 legacy policy problems inherited from previous governments that Modi has yet to address.
Gangadhar S Patil reports that three out of four companies that have been found adultering or mislabeling food go unpunished.
Officials blame the low conviction rates on a shortage of food analysts. Last year, as thisTimes Of India report said, Rajasthan closed seven public-health laboratories because it could not find such analysts.
“There are only about 200 food analysts in the country, so it becomes really difficult to prove charges in the court,” an official with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India told IndiaSpend. He spoke on condition of anonymity, since he is not authorised to speak to the media.