Get Wired 7/9: OROP in Writing, FMCG Sales Double, Lesbian Comics, and More

Rathore says India could neutralise cross border targets

On Sunday, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that India would explore all possible steps, and even carry out a special or covert operation to neutralise Pakistan-based terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim and Hafeez Sayeed if need be. On Aaj Tak, Rathore was asked about why an operation similar to that conducted in Myanmar couldn’t be conducted to find Dawood or Sayeed. He stated that a covert or special operation could be carried out, but no mention of it would be made prior to it being conducted. He further went on to say that any questions the public may have about such an operation would only be addressed after such an operation. “A covert operation may never be discussed, while a special operation can only be discussed after completion,” he said.

Veterans demand OROP in writing

Narendra Modi’s announcement that premature retirees (PMRs) would be included in the OROP came as positive news, but veterans believe that the earlier exclusion was ‘last minute mischief’ on the part of the government. Veterans have decided to continue their strike till confirmation of the implementation of OROP is received in writing. The government, however, justified the exclusion by suggesting that the measure was taken to prevent a large exodus of soldiers that could have taken place after the implementation. Veterans have said that 46% of ex-servicemen are PMRs and their exclusion would have implied a 50% cut in the budget for OROP. The estimated cut is Rs.4,000 crore from an estimated Rs.8,000-10,000 crore budget.

Sunni group presses for ban of ‘Muhammed: Messenger of God’

A Mumbai-based Sunni group has asked for the ban on the film Muhammed: Messenger of God, directed by Majid Majiddi. A memorandum sent to the Union Home Ministry and the Maharashtra CM by the Raza Academy asks for legal action to be taken against A.R. Rahman (the film’s music director) for hurting the feelings of Indian Muslims. The memorandum also demands action against the filmmaker for portraying Prophet Muhammed in the film, which the group says is blasphemy.  

Indian Muslims constitute only 3% of India, Inc.

An analysis by the Economic Times reveals that Muslims constitute a mere 2.67% of directors and executives i.e. 62 out of 2, 324 executives in BSE 500 companies. The Muslim minority doesn’t yet figure on the radar of corporate India. Even the affirmative action framework, which the private sector was prompted to adopt and implement in the last decade, is largely focused on the Dalits, leaving the Muslims as the most underrepresented minority in the Indian jobs market. The employment figures for Muslims in BSE 100 companies is mildly better with 27 out of 587 at directorial and senior executive positions.

I&B Ministry starts study of foreign press coverage for Indian visits

A never-before attempted exercise is being conducted as the I&B Ministry aims to study how foreign media perceives the PM on his overseas visits. The study has so far revealed that 27,639 words were written in 31 articles about Modi’s visit to the US in September. Less than one-third of this amount was written when Manmohan Singh visited the US in 2009, with 7,596 words written in eight articles.

FMCG sales in rural areas doubled in the first half of 2015

The volume of household consumption of FMCG products in rural areas this year grew 5.5% more than the same period a year ago. The rate of growth in urban India was 2.6%, shows data sourced from market research agency IMRB that tracks household consumption across 79,400 homes in both urban and rural India. Analysts say that this hike is due to stress in the rural economy. The reason for this according to Vinay Khamkar of the IMRB is that rural India has reacted faster to deflationary trends seen in prices, so the pickup in consumption this year has been sharp in those areas. “Rural incomes typically are unstable, and react quickly to external stimuli. When inflationary trends persist, an effect is visible in rural consumption. Similarly, deflationary trends also have an equal impact on consumption in rural areas”, he said.

CPCB for changing norms in critically polluted areas

The central pollution watchdog is suggesting a do away with the consideration of factors such as the impact on people and eco-geological features while deciding whether an industrial cluster is critically polluted or not. This move is likely to be welcomed by industries that have been seeking clearances in these areas. The Central Pollution Control Board has cited lack of qualitative data as its reason for doing so. No final decision has been taken yet on the proposals.

Villagers corrected a river’s course in five years

Five years of collective work between villagers across 50 villages in Pratapgarh and Allahabad districts has lead to the Bakulahi river being brought back to its original course. The irrigation department had altered the river’s course to check annual flooding in the area. However, this triggered a water crisis in the region. The villagers’ work was kicked off without any government support. They dug up 15.5 km out of the 18 km route of the river when the Pratapgarh administration chipped in to help out in the remaining part through NREGA.

Dalits lash out against ban on their women entering a temple in Karnataka

A Scheduled Castes community at Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk is furious after the ‘upper caste’ people of the village imposed a penalty on four Dalit women for entering a temple. The women have refused to pay the penalty saying it’s a violation of basic human rights. Sigaranahalli is about 2 km away from Haradanahalli, the native place of the former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda. A few years ago, the Hassan Zilla Panchayat had built a community hall here. The community hall was recently converted into Vokkaliga Bhavan and restricted the entry of Dalits.

8,000 granted asylum in Germany

Around 8,000 Arab and Asian asylum seekers arrived in Austria and Germany yesterday, following the latest erratic policy turn by Hungary’s government. Travellers predominantly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, who had been told for days that they could not leave Hungary, were sent on overnight buses that were headed for Austria and Germany. The latest arrivals add to the tens of thousands of migrants who have been coming into Germany each month, the EU’s most populous nation with 81 million residents. The influx has strained emergency accommodation and local bureaucracy, triggered sporadic violence by neo-Nazi extremists, and inspired empathy from many more Germans.

Bangladesh gets first lesbian comic strip

The Boys of Bangladesh, the largest gay rights group in the country, launched the country’s first comic strip about a young lesbian discovering her sexuality. The name of the strip is “Dhee”, which is the Bengali word for intellect and wisdom. Several hundred people attended the launch at the British Council in Dhaka, although entry was carefully scrutinised in case of protests by conservative hardliners. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by a life sentence in Bangladesh.

Spices Board to open signature outlets in foreign markets

In an attempt at broadening its brand-building exercise beyond the nation’s boundaries, Spices Board is opening premium retail outlets in key countries to sell the choicest spices and value-added products under brand names “Spices India” and “Flavourit”. The products will be sold through signature stalls set up in overseas markets in partnership with private investors, Spices Board Chairman A. Jayathilak said. The Board’s first signature stall was opened in Kochi in 2013. More stalls were opened in Delhi in June this year.