Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 1st October 2023

National News

1. September rainfall washes off India’s monsoon deficit

  • Despite being the driest August in a century, India has dodged a drought this year, thanks to unexpectedly heavy rainfall in September. 
  • As of September 30-officially the last day that counts for monsoon rainfall-India received 94% of the expected rain from June to September. This is below the forecast of 96%, but still within the error margin of the forecast models of the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Rainfall, which reaches 96% to 104% of the long-term average, is considered "normal". 
  • On Saturday, the IMD also forecast a "normal" north-east monsoon from October to December, and "normal to above-normal rainfall" over large parts of north-west India and the southern peninsula.
  • Wild variations The near normal southwest monsoon rainfall conceals variations over both time and geographies, with northwest India getting its expected quota of 58.7 cm, while the northeast and eastern parts of India posted an 18% deficit. Southern India saw an 8% deficit, while central India got close to its expected quota.
  • Overall, about 9% of the country received .excess rainfall, with 18% seeing ‘deficient’ rainfall. The monsoon was normal in the rest of the country.
  • The four monsoon months also reported wild swings, with June getting 9% less than its normal rainfall, July getting 13% more than normal, August reporting a 36% deficit, and September a 13% surplus. July and August contribute 60% of the total monsoon rainfall of 89 cm. This meant that until September 1, India was staring at a 10% deficit, an indicator of drought-like conditions.

2. Common school syllabus and Board not in child’s interest, CBSE tells SC 

  • The Central Board of Se has objected to a plea in the Supreme Court for a uniform Board and school curriculum, saving such a move does not take into account local context, cub pure, and language, besides the power of individual states to frame their own syllabus, curriculum and conduct examinations for their schools, 
  • The Board said the emphasis should be on “flexibility for the emphasis of local resources, culture, and ethos”. “A child can better relate to a curriculum that is more closely related to his/her life outside the school. Therefore, the multiplicity of curricula and other educational resources is desirable in addition to a core common element,” the CBSE underscored in its reply • The Board said education was a subject on the Concurrent List of the Constitution. 
  • A majority of schools are under the jurisdiction of the State governments. It is for the respective State/Union Territory governments to frame syllabi, curriculum and conduct examinations for their schools, the counter-affidavit said. 
  • The National Curriculum Framework (NCF), developed by the NCERT as per the mandate of the National Policy on Education, sets the guidelines and direction for the developing Constitution. Mentored syllabi and textbooks at all stages in schools. As a follow-up to the NCE, curriculum, syllabi, textbooks, and other supplementary materials are developed by the NCERT The State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTS) and State Education Boards either adopt or adapt NCERT’s model syllabi and textbooks or develop their own based on the NCF, the affidavit explained. 
  • “NCERT prepares model syllabus and textbooks for school education… States and UTs have the freedom to either adopt or adapt NCERT textbooks,”
  • The Board was responding to a written petition filed by advocate A.K. Upadhyay, who argued that a different syllabus and curriculum by the CBSE, ISSE, and State Boards was arbitrary and contrary to the Constitution.
  • It has sought direction from the Centre to implement a uniform system (common syllabus and common curriculum in the mother tongue) up to Class 12.

International News

3. Indian envoy blocked near U.K. gurdwara

  • India has taken up the requirement for additional security for the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. The matter was raised with the authorities in London after High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami, who is touring Scotland, was stopped from entering the gurdwara on Albert Drive in Glasgow by two men. 
  • "The High Commissioner went to the gurdwara as he was invited by the gurdwara committee but there were two gentlemen. who came and stopped him from stepping out. We have taken up the matter with the U.K. authorities and asked them to arrange security for our envoy on the ground," said a person with knowledge of the incident.
  • In a separate statement, the High Commission of India in London said the event at the Gurdwara in Glasgow was organized by "senior community leaders, ladies and committee members, and members of the Scottish Parliament." "The High Commission of India has reported this disgraceful incident to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development office and the Metropolitan Police. Multiple community organizations, including the organizers, have formally regretted the incident and have urged the authorities to take action against the culprits," the statement said. 
  • Mr. Doraiswami is on a tour of Scotland and has been holding several meetings with the Indian diaspora there.
  • The Hindu was told that India does not want the shadow of the ongoing spat with Canada to fall on India's relationship with the U.K., and is willing to regard the latest incident as an aberration. "The High Commissioner has been visiting other gurdwaras in the U.K. without any incident and there has been no protest against his entry into those premises. This latest incident indicates it was aimed at generating some propaganda points and that is why he avoided a confrontation. The gurdwara committee's invitation still stands," The Hindu was told. 

4. McCarthy mulling a 45-day plan to avoid Government shutdown 

  • On the brink of a federal government shutdown, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced a dramatic pivot on Saturday, trying to push a 45-day funding Bill through the House with Democratic help a move that could keep the government open but most certainly risks his job.
  • Republican lawmakers met behind closed doors early in the morning with hours to go before the mid-night deadline needed to fund government operations or face a disruptive federal closure. The new approach would leave behind aid to Ukraine that a growing number of Republicans oppose 
  • The house was preparing for a quick vote on Saturday on the plan. 
  • “Our options are slipping away every minute,” said Republican Rep. Mario Diaz Balart of Florida, as he left the private session at the Capitol. 
  • With no deal in place before Sunday, federal workers will face furloughs, more than 2 million active-duty and reserve military troops will work without pay, and programs and serving for a quick vote on Sa vices that Americans rely on from coast to coast will begin to face shutdown disruptions, 
  • The sudden House action would fund the government at current 2023 levels for 45 days and provide money for U.S. disaster relief. 
  • Mr. McCarthy, R-Calif., will be forced to rely on Democrats for passage be- cause the Speaker’s hard-right flank has said it will oppose any short-term measure. Mr. McCarthy was setting up a process for voting that would require a two-thirds supermajority, about 290 votes in the 435-member House for passage. Republicans hold a 221-212 majority, with two vacancies.
  • Relying on Democratic votes and leaving his right flank behind is something that the hard-right lawmakers have warned will risk Mr. McCarthy’s job as Speaker. They are almost certain to quickly file a motion to try to remove Mr. McCarthy from that office, though it is not at all certain there would be enough votes to topple the Speaker.
  • “If somebody wants to be removed because I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try,” Mr. McCarthy said of the threat to oust him. “But I think this country is important.” Is too 
  • The quick pivot comes after the collapse Friday of Mr. McCarthy’s earlier plan to pass a Republican-only Bill with steep spending cuts of up to 30% to most government agencies that the White House and Democrats rejected as too extreme.

5. From beyond seas, to revel in the joy of puja 

  • In an initiative that spans continents, two artists from the Netherlands are collaborating with their Indian counterparts in the installation of a Durga Puja pandal at Behala Natun 1 Dal in south Kolkata. Martyna Maria Pekala and Benjamin Van Hoelj Schilthouwer Pompe started working on the idea in August this year, and in September they arrived in Kolkata to take the work forward.
  • Describing the Durga Puja in Kolkata as a “spectacle”, the artists 0 said they were amazed at the community participation in the festival. “This is very different from festivals in 19 Europe where public spaces are rather vacant during Christmas,” Ms. Pekala said. Mr. Pompe said that while there is a lot of planning for any installation in Europe, Durga Puja in Kolkata involved a lot of improvisation. 
  • The European artists are working on creating an animated video installation, which will be played at the pandal. They are bringing together their idea of the city through various social and cultural aspects including puchka, the popular street food.
  • Ayan Saha, the Indian artist who is part of the collaboration, said that an animated video installation is new to the city’s cultural sphere, and added that the coming together of Indian and Dutch artists is an attempt to create artistic expressions that transcend borders. 
  • Behala Natun Dal is among the 24 community pujas that have been shortlisted for a Durga Puja Preview Art festival in Kolkata this year. Over five days, between October 11 and 15, 2023, the audience will be exposed to the best of temporary art installations that come up across the city during this season. The art show, which is in its second year, will be curated to meet the expectations of art aficionados from across the globe. 
  • “This year the art festival will be bigger and better. We have opened the preview much before the festival starts, so visitors can see these pandals in advance,” said Dhrubajyoti Bose Suvo, from massArt, an organization involved in organizing and curating the exhibition.

6. Tried to provide accurate picture of Canada's issues to the U.S.: Jaishankar

  • The government is having to inform U.S. officials’ perceptions of Canada’s relationship to separatism, based on External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s description of his meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. 
  • The Minister had characterized Canada as having a “permissiveness” with regard to terrorism and violence, a view that “astonished” many in the States, he said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had alleged on September 18 that the government was involved in the June killing of a Canadian Khalistani leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia. New Delhi has denied any involvement.
  • “In a way, a lot of what I said at the meetings, I think was new to the Americans,” Mr. Jaishankar told journalists at a press conference on Friday afternoon at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC.
  • It was important for the government to talk things through with the U.S. government because they were “good friends” and also “close” to Canada, and it was important for them to have an “accurate picture”, Mr. Jaishankar said. Beyond the government, not in general, “a lot of Ameripositions. Cans” were astonished to hear the government’s perception of Canada, he said.
  • More generally, Mr. Jaishankar linked the row over the death of Nijjar to the larger issue of Canada permitting expressions of separatist sentiment on freedom of expression grounds, including in the context of a potential resolution of the current discord.
  • Mr. Jaishankar drew attention to the larger context. 
  • “No incident is isolated,” he said, adding, however, that he did not want to prejudge issues and was taking an absolutist
  • The Minister said India’s CIL, an industry body. Missions in Canada had been attacked and its diplomats threatened. 
  • “We are a democracy, we don’t need to learn from other people what freedom of speech is about,” Mr Jaishankar said. “But we can tell people this: we don’t think freedom of speech extends to incitement to violence?
  • If this had happened to any other country, how would they react? He said, pointing to the fact that this was happening in a G7 and Commonwealth country.
  • “Let’s not normalize what’s happening in Canada,” he added. 
  • While time was spent talking to his American interlocutors about Canada, Mr. Jaishankar said it was just one part of a larger discussion as the U.S.-India relationship was multidimensional. His meetings on Friday included bilateral discussions with U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo as well as a roundtable with defense companies at the U.S. India Business Council, an industry baby.
  • On Friday evening, Mr. Jaishankar attended a cultural event on the National Mall, the World Culture Festival, organized by the Art of Living and its leader, Sri Sri Ravishankar. Significantly, the MCs used “India, Bharat when introducing Mr. Jaishankar. 

7. Kazan meet makes no headway on equal rights in Afghanistan

  • Amid uncertainty over whether the Afghanistan Embassy in Delhi would shut down in the coming week, India took part in the nine-nation “Moscow Format” meeting, which included the Taliban’s Acting Foreign Minister as an invitee, in the Russian city of Kazan on Saturday. Special envoys from Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran, and Central Asian states also took part in the meeting. 
  • The regional grouping repeated its previous demands that the Taliban form a “truly inclusive government” and accord equal rights and freedoms to all Afghans, including women. However, it failed to make headway on the issue or extract any promise from the Taliban representatives on a timeline for government formation or on restarting girl’s education.
  • “[The participants] regretfully stated that there had been no progress in forming a truly inclusive government in Afghanistan, reflecting the interests of all ethno-political groups of the country,” said the ‘Kazan Declaration’, issued at the end of the meeting.
  • “The participants spoke out for respect of fundamental rights and freedoms in Afghanistan, including equal rights to work, education and justice, without distinction as to gender, ethnicity or religion, and stressed upon their concern about imposed restrictions on women’s employment and girls’ education,” it added.
  • The participants also “gave assurances to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan”, and emphasized the need to “strengthen bilateral and multilateral economic ties”, the declaration said.
  • Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, whose regime had called for more economic support and for a move towards political recognition of the Taliban, formerly an UN-designated terrorist organization, said the administration in Kabul was ready to engage with the world on the basis of “common legitimate interests”. 
  • In the last 45 years, no foreign prescriptions have solved the problems of Afghanistan,” Mr. Muttaqi said at the meeting, according to the social media posts by the Taliban spokesperson.
  • No country recognizes the Taliban regime as a legitimate government, but all the Moscow Format countries and representatives from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye, and Qatar who attended as observers, maintain missions in Kabul. 
  • While India closed its embassy when the Taliban took over in August 2021, it reopened it as a “technical mission” in June 2022, with officials regularly meeting Taliban Ministers to discuss humanitarian assistance and infrastructure projects in Afghanistan 
  • At the Moscow Format, India was represented by the Ambassador to Russia, Pavan Kapoor, as the special envoy who normally attends the format, Joint Secretary for Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran JP. Singh, is in the US, accompanying External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
  • As The Hindu has reported over the past week, the Modi government is grappling with controversy as the Afghan Embassy in Delhi, still manned by diplomats loyal to the pre-The liban democratic government, announced that it was shutting down.
  • The External Affairs Minister declined to comment on whether Mr. Kapoor met Mr. Muttaqi on the sidelines of the Moscow Format, and whether there were any discussions over the staffing of the embassy According to Tallban’s social media, Mr. Muttaqi Met the special representatives of China and Pakistan, Ye Xiang and Asif Durmani, together, and discussed the security situation and border tensions with Pakistan. He also met delegations from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other countries 
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took aim at the United States, which has refused invitations to join the Moscow Format since it was first held in 2017, and discussed the need to release frozen funds belonging to Afghanistan’s previous government for assistance to the country 

8. Muizzu wins Maldives presidential run-off poll

  • Front runner and Opposition candidate Mohamed Muizzu was elected President of the Maldives on Saturday, as he beat the India-friendly incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in a closely fought contest. The result signals a likely shift in both domestic governance and foreign policy of the island nation.
  • Mr. Muizzu garnered about 54% of the vote, while Mr. Solih secured nearly 46%, according to the provisional results published by Male-based media. Saturday’s presidential election run-off saw a higher voter turnout of 86%, compared to the 79.85% recorded in the first round, the lowest seen in a Maldivian presidential election that proved inconclusive. 
  • The vote for change in the Maldives comes after a strong anti-incumbency sentiment against the Solih administration, and a concerted campaign. Opposition 
  • It was led by his rival, former President and jailed leader Abdulla Yameen, demanding ‘India out’ of the country. President Solih came under sharp attack from the Opposition for his stated ‘India first’ policy. 

State News

9. Kozhikode train arson case a jihadi act: NIA chargesheet 

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a chargesheet in an NIA special court in Kochi against the sole accused in the Kozhikode train arson case.
  • Sharukh Saifi, 27, has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Railways Act, and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act.
  • Three passengers, including a child, were killed and nine others were injured after the accused allegedly poured some inflammable liquid on passengers on the D1 coach of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express when the train crossed the Elathur station in Kozhikode and set the train on fire on the night of April 2, 2023.
  • The investigation revealed that Saifi chose Kerala for the act as he wanted to commit his jihadi act in a location where he would not be recognized. He intended to return to normal life after the commission of the act, aimed at creating terror in the minds of the general public. 
  • The chargesheet stated that the accused was self-radicalized through various online propaganda materials available on social media in favor of violent extremism and jihad as propagated by radical Islamic preachers of Indian and foreign nationalities.
  • He followed radical and hardline Islamic preachers, including those based in Pakistan, on social media platforms.
  • A resident of Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi, Saifi boarded the train, committed the terror act and continued to travel in the same train till Kannur, before escaping to Ratnagiri from where he was eventually arrested. The accused purchased petrol from a fuel outlet at Shoranur. NIA arrests one from Manipur for ‘waging war against India’
  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday arrested one Seiminlun Gangte, 51, from the hill district of Churachandpur in a case related to a transnational conspiracy by terror outfits based in Myanmar and Bangladesh to “wage war” against the Government of India by exploiting the current ethnic unrest in Manipur.
  • The case was registered suo motu by the NIA in New Delhi on July 19. 
  • His wife Mangshi Seiminlun told The Hindu that her husband was arrested from the Phuoljang area. “Before the unrest, he used to teach English at a private school in Kwakta. After the violence began in May, he was working at a godown in Churachandpur and used to ferry goods for the proprietor Kamaluddin, who lives in Kwakta,” she said.
  • The Manipur Police said he is one of the prime suspects in the Kwakta bomb blast case. The NIA said its investigation has revealed that militant groups based in Myanmar and Bangladesh have entered into a 25 conspiracy with a section of militant leaders in India E to indulge in violence with 92 an intention to drive availed between different ethnic groups and to wage war against India. 
  • The accused was brought to Delhi after his arrest and will be produced before the court. 

10. Govt. on track to clear garbage mountains 

  • Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that his government is on track to free the city of “garbage mountains’’ at its three landfill sites, a statement contested by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which claimed a tardy pace of work at the Ghazipur landfill.
  • There are three landfill sites in the city located at Okhla, Bhalswa, and Ghazipur.
  • The Chief Minister on Saturday inspected the Bhalswa site and said ded. About 45 lakh tonnes of waste from it is expected to be processed and reduced by May next year, exceeding the target set by them. 
  • Till September, 18 lakh tonnes of garbage has already to be removed from the site, surpassing the target of 14 lakh tonnes, he added.
  • “We had promised the people of Delhi that we would remove the mountains of garbage present in the national capital. We are engaged in this work day and night. Today, I visited the Bhalswa landfill site and I am happy to report that the work is progress- ing at a fast pace,” the Chief Minister said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
  • Reacting to it, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said the CM should apologize to people for selling “false dreams” as he had promised to clean all three landfill sites by January 2024.
  • Mr. Sachdeva also visited the Ghazipur landfill site and claimed that more waste is being added to the site than being processed by the authorities daily.
  • “Less than 1,000 metric tonnes of garbage is being disposed of daily from the Ghazipur site while 2,500 metric tonnes is being added every day,” he said. 

Defence News

11. 2 infiltrators killed near LoC in J&K's Kupwara 

  • Two infiltrators were killed along the Line of Control (LOC) in north Kashmir's Kupwara on Saturday. 
  • "Based on an Intelligence input by the police, a joint operation was carried out by the Army and the police in the Kumkumadi area of Machil sector. Two terrorists have been killed," the police said. Their identity is not yet known. Two AK rifles, four magazines, 90 rounds, a pistol and Pakistani currency were recovered from the site.

12. Army's Project Udbhav to rediscover the Indic heritage of statecraft' from ancient texts

  • The Indian Army has started an initiative, named Project Udbhav, to rediscover the "profound Indic heritage of statecraft and strategic thought" derived from ancient Indian texts of "statecraft, warcraft, diplomacy, and grand strategy" in collaboration with the United Service Institution of India (USI), a defense think-tank. 
  • In connection with this, USI will conduct a Military Heritage Festival on October 21 and 22, to acquaint "future thought leaders
  • Project Udbhav stands testimony to the Army's recognition of India's age-old wisdom in statecraft, a statement said. PIB with the dynamics of comprehensive national security with special emphasis on India's strategic culture, military heritage, education, modernization of security forces and Atmanirbhar Bharat," according to an Army statement.
  • "The project endeavors to explore India's rich historical narratives in the realms of statecraft and strategic thoughts. It focuses on a broad spectrum including indigenous military systems, historical texts, regional texts and kingdoms, thematic studies, and intricate Kautilya Studies," the statement said. 
  • As part of this process, a panel on Friday discussed the "evolution of Indian military systems, warfighting and strategic thought", exploring both current research in the field and the way forward 
  • The initiative stands testimony to the Army's recognition of India's age-old wisdom in statecraft, strategy, diplomacy, and warfare, the statement said, adding that Project Udbhav seeks to bridge the historical and the contemporary.
  • The aim of Project Udbhav is not limited to just rediscovering these narratives, but also to develop an "indigenous strategic vocabulary", which is deeply rooted in India's "multifaceted philosophical and cultural tapestry". The overall aim is to integrate age-old wisdom with modern military pedagogy, it stated. 

13. India bids adieu to doyen of farming 

  • Renowned agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan was cremated here on Saturday with police honors accorded by the Tamil Na du government as a mark of respect for his phenomenal contribution in several fields.
  • The body was kept on the campus of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), an institute he founded, where people from all walks of life paid tribute to the late scientist. On Saturday, the body was taken in a special vehicle, accompanied by the staff of the MSSRF and others, to the Besant Nagar crematorium for the final rites. 
  • A team from the Armed Reserve Unit of the Greater Chennai City Police observed silence for two minutes and gave a gun salute.

Economy News

14. China’s economy stabilizes, factory activity rebounds

  • China’s factory activity expanded for the first time in months in September, an official survey showed on Saturday, adding to a run of indicators suggesting the world’s second-largest economy has begun to bottom out.
  • The purchasing managers’ index (PMI), based on a survey of major manufacturers, rose to 50.2 in September from 49.7, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, edging above the 50-point level demarcating contraction in activity from expansion. 
  • The PMI, the first official statistics for September, adds to signs of stabilization in the economy, which had sagged after an initial burst of momentum early in the year when China’s ultrarestrictive COVID-19 policies were lifted. 
  • Preliminary signs of improvement had emerged in August, with factory output and retail sales growth accelerating while declines in exports and imports narrowed and deflationary pressures eased. Industrial profits jumped by a surprise 17.2% in August, reversing July’s 6.7% decline. 
  • “The manufacturing PMI, plus the good industrial profit figures, suggest that the economy is gradually bottoming out,” said Zhou Hao, chief economist at Guotai Junan International. 
  • China’s non-manufacturing PMI, which includes sub-indexes for the services sector and construction, also rose, coming in at 51.7 versus August’s 51.0. the 
  • The composite PMI, including manufacturing and non-manufacturing activity, climbed to 52.0 in September, from 51.3. 
  • Near-term data on the radar of economists include consumer spending for the longest public holiday straight month. he dayy this year. “Golden Week” kicked off on Friday with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which will be followed by the National Day break through Oct. 6 
  • Passenger travel by rail on Friday reached 20 miles “illegal crimes’’. Lion trips, a single-day record, state media reported, in a bullish start to what authorities forecast will be “the most popular Golden Week in history”. 
  • More stable economic indicators will be welcomed by policymakers as they grapple with a property sector debt crisis. Authorities have announced measures to shore up the market, including cutting mortgage rates, although the sector is far from being out of the woods.
  • New home prices fell the most in 10 months in August and property investment declined for an 18th straight month.
  • China Evergrande Group, the world’s most indebted developer with more than $300 billion in liabilities, said on Thursday its founder was being investigated over suspected “illegal crimes”. The ADB last week trimmed its 2023 growth forecast for China to 4.9%, from 5.0%, due to the property sector weakness. 

Banking News

15. Oct. 7 deadline to exchange R2,000 notes

  • With about 14,000 lakh crore worth of 22,000 notes still not having found their way back into the banking system as of September 29, a day before the stipulated deadline for the general public to exchange or deposit the notes at bank branches, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to extend the deadline to October 7.
  • On Saturday, the RBI issued fresh instructions to banks not to receive any 2,000 currency notes from October 8 onwards. Members of the public have been advised to deposit or exchange their notes without any further delay.
  • However, the central bank reiterated that ₹2,000 banknotes will continue to be legal tender. 
  • It had announced the withdrawal of these notes from circulation on May 19 this year. 

Miscellaneous News

16. More awareness now on the link between crime and separatist violence 

  • In discussing whether a diplomatic falling out between New Delhi and Ottawa, following the killing of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in crime. British Columbia in June this year, would have a global impact, including the U.K., External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar focused on what he called a heightened awareness of the nexus between separatism and organized crime. His remarks were made, presumably hours after Indian diplomats were reportedly prevented from entering a gurdwara in Scotland on Friday, but before the news spread.
  • New Delhi does not want the situation with Canada to complicate ties with the U.K., where Khalistani activity has been a concern, The Hindu reported.
  • Asked by The Hindu about the impact of the killing of Nijjar (Ottawa has accused New Delhi of masterminding this) as well as the diplomatic difficulties between India and Canada on other centers of heightened Khalistand activity, the Minister did not draw a clear linkage beyond pointing to an increased awareness of the nexus between separatism and organized 
  • “Your first question has a subtle or not-so-subtle assumption with which I disagree,” Mr. Jaishankar told The Hindu on Friday during a press conference at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC.
  • “So, for me, there have been acts of violence in Canada,” Mr. Jaishankar said, adding that the consequence of violent acts was to heighten the awareness about the nexus today between separatists, those trafficking in people, and organized crime. 
  • “So if you’re asking me, are there other centers of crime in other countries? Well, I don’t know. The workings of terrorists, extremists, and organized crime is something which… I’m not quite sure whether they go by replicating examples,” Mr. Jaishankar said. 

Indian Polity

17. Modi attacks Congress, says party is against OBCS 

  • In an attempt to counter the Congress's recent pitch to Other to Backward Classes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the Opposition party of being against the community, citing its repeated attacks on him. 
  • Addressing an election rally in Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, a State dominated by tribal people and OBCS, Mr. Modi said the Congress "hated" the poor, Dalits, tribal people, and OBCS. For the BJP, on the other hand, social justice was a way to ensure everyone's participation and lay the foundation of a developed India, he said
  • This hatred of Congress towards Modi is because they are troubled as to how this person coming from a backward section of society became the Prime Minister. They had reservations on the PM's chair. That's why they are not stopping from abusing the entire backward society in the name of Modi. Congress leaders think that even if they abuse this society, nothing will happen," Mr. Modi said.
  • Without naming Rahul Gandhi, he brought up the issue of the former Congress president's conviction in a 2019 defamation case, calling it another example of the Congress's hatred for the OBCS. "Court punishes them for OBCs, yet they are not ready to change. This is an example of how much hatred there is for OBCs, the Prime Minister said.
  • Mr. Modi also cited the examples of the presidential candidates fielded by Congress the BJP during its two Gandini terms: Ramnath Kovind, that M who hails from a Scheduled Caste (SC) communication." ty, and the current PresiShajar dent, Draupadi Murmu, a poil tribal woman. In Ms. Murphy's case, he said, the candidate fielded by the Coo gress was the former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha which showed that its opposition "tribal daughter" was not ideological, he said at the Parivartan Maha-Sankalp rally in Bilaspur, which marked the concise Lok of the BJP's two Parivartan Yatras (tours for a change), Mr. Modi said Chhattisgarh was ready for change. He attacked the Bhupesh Baghel government in the State over issues such as corruption, tardy implementation of Central schemes, and malnutrition. 

18. Trinamool's Long March to national capital signals act: N a new politics of protest

  • Over 50 buses carrying thousands of beneficiaries of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana left for New Delhi from Kolkata on Saturday to protest against the Centre's 'denial of funds' to key welfare schemes in West Bengal.
  • On October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Trinamool Congress MPs and State Ministers will stage a peaceful sit-in protest at Rajghat. The beneficiaries will go to Jantar Mantar at 11 a.m. on October 3 and hold protests there.
  • Beneficiaries in groups of 10-12 had started trickling in Kolkata from remote parts of the State as early as September 28, hoping that they would take a train from Kolkata. But late on September 29, Eastern Railway denied the Trinamool request for a special train; the people had little option but to travel by bus. Fighting for rights
  • "I am a little scared, but we will have to go to Delhi for our rights. The 100 days' work is essential for our survival," Bullet Mahato from Ranibandh panchayat said. Mr. Mahato, along with a group of 11 others, had come to Netaji Indoor Stadium in the early hours of September 21.
  • All the beneficiaries from Holudkanai village in Ranibandh, worked under MGNREGS in December 2021 and have not received any money for their work
  • Another group of beneficiaries who arrived at the stadium from Goalpokhar north Bengal said more people have become more dependent on agricultural labor after the freezing of MGNREGS funds.
  • On Saturday, Archie Banerjee issued a video statement emphasizing on the amount of funds withheld by the Centre. "Since December 2021, stopped our rightful dues, wherein they owe us nearly 37,000 crore under MGNREGA and 8,200 crore under Awas Yojana. Under this, nearly 3,000 crores meant solely for the wages of our MGNREGA laborers have been withheld," he said.
  • Political observer Biswanath Chakraborty said that the protest in Delhi high- lights the "relentless effort" on the part of the Trinamool to build a narrative before the people of West Bengal that schemes like MGNREGS have come to a halt because of the BJP government at the Centre. "This will help the Trinamool mobilize voters ahead of the Lok Sabha polls," said Prof. Chakraborty, who teaches political science at Rabindra Bharati University. 

Agreement News

19. Argentina, and India sign social security agreement

  • India and Argentina on Friday signed an agreement to ensure the legal rights of professionals in each other’s domain that will assist in risk-free international mobility. The Embassy of India in a statement said that the ‘Social Security Agreement is aimed at ensuring rights of the growing number of Indian nationals employed in various Indian and international concerns in Argentina as well as for Argentine nationals seeking employment in India.
  • The Social Security Agreement (SSA) between India and Argentina has created a legal framework that will enable professionals on both sides to claim old age and survivor’s pensions. That apart, it also safeguards “permanent and total disability pension for employed persons as well as to legislations in Argentina concerning contributory benefits of the Social Security System”. It also takes care of factors like “rent, subsidy, and lump sum payments” as per the national laws of both countries. India-Argentina trade ties have been expanding in recent years.

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