There is some good news for those waiting for months to buy cars. The supply of semiconductor chips has improved. Chips’ shortage led to a delay of months in the factory output of the car manufacturers.
Industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said on Friday passenger car wholesales went up 23% at 1,33,477 units in August against 1,08,508 units in the year-ago period. The surge in car sales is also linked to India’s festive demand after a good monsoon.
Passenger vehicle (PV) dispatches to dealers stood at 2,81,210 units last month, against 2,32,224 units in August 2021.
Utility vehicle dispatches were higher by 20% at 1,35,497 units in August, as compared to 1,12,863 units in the same month a year ago.
Similarly, total two-wheeler wholesales increased by 16% in August compared to the year-ago period. Motorcycle wholesales grew by 23%. Scooter sales were higher by 10%.
Total three-wheeler sales rose 63 %. Sales across segments rose by 18%. “While a good monsoon and the upcoming festive season is likely to increase demand, SIAM is keeping a close watch on the dynamic supply-side challenges,” SIAM director general Rajesh Menon said.
But, the high CNG price is a big challenge for the industry, which is waiting for interventions and support from the government.
Today: PM Modi to inaugurate State Science and Technology Ministers’ conclave in Ahmedabad; King Charles to be officially proclaimed new monarch; EAM Jaishankar on two-day visit to Saudi Arabia to review bilateral ties; RSS to hold annual coordination meet in Chhattisgarh; Tomorrow: Cricket Asia Cup final in Dubai
India and China will complete the disengagement process in the Gogra-Hotsprings area in eastern Ladakh by September 12, the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday, a day after the armies of the two neighbouring countries announced the pull-out of troops, ending over two years of standoff in the Patrolling Point 15 area. The Chinese side refers to PP-15 as the Jianan Daban area.
But in Arunachal…
More helipads: The Indian Army has stepped up deployment in the Arunachal sector of the Line of Actual Control, the de facto India-China border. Almost all forward posts will have at least one large helipad, each for swift mobilisation of troops and military equipment using multi-role Chinook helicopters, senior military officials told PTI.
Drones: All the forward posts and Army units are also being linked with an optical fibre network and all of them will have separate satellite terminals for bolstering overall surveillance of Chinese activities across the LAC. The Army has already deployed a large number of indigenously-built Switch drones.
Ultra-light howitzers: A significant number of easily transportable M-777 ultra-light howitzers were also deployed in mountainous regions along the border. The M-777 can be transported quickly in Chinook helicopters. More details here
Will they meet?
The disengagement at PP-15 came around a week ahead of the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Uzbekistan, expected to be attended by Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, among other leaders of the grouping.
In Beijing, when asked by reporters about the possibility of a Modi-Xi meeting in Samarkand, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said she has “no information to offer at this moment”. More details here
Siddique Kappan, the Kerala-based journalist who was arrested on his way to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras in October 2020, got bail from the Supreme Court on Friday.
Case for bail: The top court bench of CJI UU Lalit said, “Every person has a right to free expression…he is trying to show that the victim needs justice…Will this be a crime in the eyes of law?”
Why was he arrested: UP government’s counsel Mahesh Jethmalani told SC that Kappan and others were going to Hathras to incite riots after a meeting on October 5, 2020.
Hathras case: A Dalit woman had been gang-raped in her village on September 14, 2020, and fatally assaulted. She later died in a Delhi hospital. The incident drew immense attention. Kappan, working with a Kerala publication, was reportedly on his way to do a ground report.
Terror link? UP government, opposing Kappan’s bail plea, told the apex court earlier that its investigation showed that he was part of a PFI/CFI delegation to meet the family of the Hathras victim and foment discord and spread terror. Kappan was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the alleged Hathras conspiracy case.
‘SIMI connection’: UP government further claimed that the documents recovered from Kappan’s laptop and from his rented house in Delhi established that the current PFI leadership comprised of banned terror outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) members. More here
Rice interrupted: India has banned the export of broken rice with immediate effect. The export policy stands revised from “free” to “prohibited”. The Centre has imposed a 20% export duty – from Friday — on non-Basmati rice, except for parboiled rice, to boost domestic supplies.
In May, India restricted wheat exports and later wheat flour exports and related products drawing criticism from world leaders, who blamed it for worsening a global food crisis, triggered by the Ukraine war.
Why ban now? India’s rice production may slump by 12 million tonnes this year due to a variety of factors. Indian rice crops have been struck by a mystery “stunting” disease caused by a virus first observed in China in 2001. The area under paddy cultivation is around 6% lower than the previous season, primarily due to slow and erratic progress of the monsoon in June and July.
A global worry: India is a giant consumer of wheat but not a big exporter. With rice, India is the second-largest producer but biggest exporter, commanding a 40% share in the global supply of the staple. The last time India blocked grain exports, in 2007 and 2008, the decision precipitated a years-long food-security crisis.
Curbs on rice exports from India will push its global prices, and trigger a rally in wheat and corn, deepening food inflation concerns. Biggest rice importers China and the Philippines will take an immediate hit.
Impact on India: The export ban is unlikely to change the domestic prices. The government already had 28 million tonnes of rice in stock against the mandated buffer of 11 million tonnes in August.
But the Indian farmers may miss the high prices overseas. More here
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Gujarat government to file in two weeks all records pertaining to the grant of remission of sentence to 11 convicts, who had served more than 15 years in the Bilkis Bano case related to the murders of 14 persons and gangraping of several women during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
What else did SC want
The court also directed the released convicts to file their responses to a PIL filed by politician-activist Subhasini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and social activist Roop Rekha Verma challenging their remission. This was after the released convicts, who have been directed to file a counter affidavit within two weeks, asked to be impleaded in the case.
Separately, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra too has filed a PIL challenging the grant of remission to the lifers. Saying that “the release completely fails to bolster either social or human justice”, the petition added that since the case was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Gujarat government had no authority to grant remission.
Third party intervention?
Interestingly, another bench of the Supreme Court on Friday said “it is a settled principle of law in criminal jurisprudence that intervention application filed by a third party should not ordinarily be allowed in criminal cases.”
Noting that “the applicant is neither a complainant in any of the cases of which transfer is being sought, nor he has any direct involvement or ground for his joining in public interest”, the court ruled that “the intervenor has no locus to intervene in the present petition.”
The Supreme Court on Friday sought to know whether there exists any “protocol” on internet blackouts and asked the Centre to respond to a plea alleging arbitrary blackouts in Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
Why Centre: The top court said instead of issuing notices to the four states, which have been made parties to the petition, it would rather issue notice to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
The PIL, filed by Software Freedom Law Center, alleged that internet services have been shut down even for preventing cheating in some competitive examinations. Lawyer Vrinda Grover argued that a parliamentary committee had said such a measure should not be taken to prevent cheating in examinations.
And SC said, “Why can’t you move the High Courts? You have already done so,” adding the high courts can be urged to follow the apex court judgment in the Anuradha Bhasin case.
Anuradha Bhasin case: In the Anuradha Bhasin Vs Union of India case, the apex court had ruled that an undefined restriction of internet services is illegal and orders for internet shutdown must satisfy the tests of necessity and proportionality.
President Droupadi Murmu on Friday urged citizens to work collectively towards the elimination of tuberculosis from the country by 2025 on a war footing, as she virtually launched the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan.
There are about 13.5 lakh TB patients in India, which is more than 25 per cent of the total cases in the world. Of all the infectious diseases, the maximum number of people die in India due to tuberculosis.
What’s India’s plan?
The government has taken initiatives to provide community support to TB patients through the ‘Ni-kshay 2.0’ portal, under which such patients can be adopted and cared for by an individual, elected representatives or institutions.
The President also launched the ‘Ni-kshay Mitra’ initiative to ensure additional diagnostic, nutritional, and vocational support to those on TB treatment, and encouraged elected representatives, corporates, NGOs, and individuals to come forward as donors to help the patients complete their journey towards recovery.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that out of 13.5 lakh TB patients registered on the Ni-kshay portal, 8.9 lakh active patients have given their consent for adoption.
He also highlighted supportive schemes such as the Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana, which provides Rs 500 through direct benefit transfer (DBT) to those on TB treatment as nutritional support.
Directing the Centre to file a reply within two weeks, the Supreme Court (SC) agreed to hear a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991, listing the matter for next month, to be heard on October 11
What’s the Act?
The act “declared that the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day” and prohibits “conversion of any place of worship.”
Since the act was passed during the peak of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement it made an exception to the Ram Janmabhoomi site, saying that “nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the place of worship commonly known as Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid situated in Ayodhya in the State of Uttar Pradesh and to any suit, appeal or other proceeding relating to the said place or place of worship.”
This exception was the basis for the SC to deliver the judgement in the Ram Janmabhoomi case in 2019, awarding the custody of the site to the Hindu parties to build a temple there.
Why the challenge
Following the Ayodhya verdict in 2019, several petitions have been filed seeking similar exemptions for Varanasi and Mathura, where too, the petitioners allege, mosques have been built over what were originally Hindu temples.
In the Gyanvapi mosque case for instance, a group of Hindu women have sought the right to offer prayers inside the mosque’s premises, alleging that there was a Hindu shrine situated inside. The case is currently being heard in a court in Varanasi.
King Charles III. The new British monarch, earlier known as Prince Charles, addressed the nation for the first time after assuming the mantle in the wake of the demise of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. While paying tribute to his mother, Charles named his eldest son William as Prince of Wales — a title Charles held earlier. At 73 years, Charles will be the oldest person to be crowned King of the UK, though the date for his coronation hasn’t been fixed yet. He was also the first heir apparent to go to a regular school instead of beimg home tutored.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Tejeesh Nippun Singh, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta Research: Rajesh Sharma