Photo Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
1. There will be no subsidised cooking gas cylinders for consumers who earn more than Rs 10 lakh per year, the government announced on Monday.
2. The government is set to increase the prescribed maternity leave for women in private firms from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
3. A deadly storm system causing floods and tornadoes has killed at least 43 people in the United States with more extreme weather expected.
The Big Story: Hear no evil
On the 131st anniversary of the foundation of the Indian National Congress, it emerged that a journal attached to the party had published articles that were not very complimentary to the family that now considers the Congress a family heirloom. The December issue of Congress Darshan questioned former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s decisions on Kashmir, China and Tibet while another article called current Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s father an Italian fascist.
The latter is source of debate, but the former are opinions that are not so uncommon in India. Moreover, Congress spokespersons came out to somehow defend their party claiming that something called Congress Darshan, edited by the current Mumbai head of the party, was hardly a mouthpiece. Despite those efforts, the party also went ahead and obtained a public apology from Sanjay Nirupam, the Mumbai Congress chief, and fired a content editor at the journal.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had a field day, pointing out that the Congress was finally realising important truths about its past and reminding the party that Nirupam once used to write similar pieces when he was a member of the Shiv Sena. The most trenchant response however has been to pull out the word “intolerant”.
No matter how well the party might have worked to get that word to stick to the BJP government, incidents like this make it clear that the Congress isn’t exactly a bastion of free speech and plurality either. The only difference is the subject matter. The BJP has all sorts of sacred cows. The Congress has one: the Nehru-Gandhis.
The Big Scroll:
After sacking editor of party journal, Congress finds the shoe of intolerance on the other foot. And this isn’t the only party journal that has caused the Congress trouble in this month alone.
Politicking & Policying
1. Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who will chair an inquiry into irregularities at the Delhi & District Cricket Administration, has asked for proceedings to be broadcast live.
2. The Centre, however, looks likely to declare this DDCA probe panel invalid.
3. Bharatiya Janata Party ally Shiv Sena on Monday said the political fortunes of leaders who visit Pakistan never improve.
4. Delhi police chief and the Aam Aadmi Party have already begun sparring over the city’s odd-even formula, set to be put in place on January 1.
5. Information & Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley has admitted a need to revamp the censor board and make it controversy free.
6. Punjab may have no money but it has still mustered resources to spend Rs 5 crore on a cow memorial, the most expensive to any animal in the country.
1. Hartosh Singh Bal in the Caravan writes about the clout that Arun Jaitley wields in Delhi and how attacking it is in fact part of what Narendra Modi promised in his rise to power.
2. Nikhil Pahwa in the Times of India has a simple question about Facebook’s Free Basics: What is stopping the social networking behemoth from a genuinely open, network neutral scheme?
3. Ram Madhav in the Indian Express wants to clarify his Akhand Bharat comment. He meant it, but also he didn’t (at least not right now).
4. The Smart City initiative is truly representative of how new initiatives move in India, and no, that’s not a compliment, writes Anjuli Bhargava in the Business Standard.
Ayesha Minhaz writes about Telangana willfully breaking the law to build a power plant.
The chairman and managing director of the Telangana Power Generation Corporation, D Prabhakar Rao, claimed the construction was not directly related to the project. “Whatever is going on at the site is preparatory work like erection of boundary walls, which has been taken up to reduce the delay in the overall time,” he said. “We know that the work can’t be started without the Environmental Clearance. We will obtain it soon and start the work.”
But local residents and activists point out that the machines are at work deep inside the plot of land and not at its periphery. Once the boundary wall is complete, they say it would be impossible for anyone to keep track of the activities inside the project site.