Get Wired 17/6: Lalit Modi Scandal Deepens, the Ultra-Rich 928, Funds for J&K and More

No details on Sujatha ouster

Sujatha Singh. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Sujatha Singh. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Following an RTI application that was filed requesting details of the sacking of then foreign secretary Sujatha Singh, the Cabinet Secretary has refused to divulge the information on the grounds that it is exempted from the RTI Act as the papers being demanded are ‘Cabinet papers’. The application had sought details regarding the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) meeting that had taken the decision to replace Singh with S Jaishankar, but the reply has refused to divulge even the names of those who attended the meeting. The secretary has refused to reveal the ‘file notings’ in this regard claiming the information cannot be given as the matter is in court.


Rajasthan signed MoU with Lalit Modi’s wife’s Lisbon hospital

Narendra Modi and Vasundhara Raje. Credit: PTI Photo

Narendra Modi and Vasundhara Raje. Credit: PTI Photo

The Rajasthan government had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lisbon hospital that was treating Lalit Modi’s wife, just two months after her treatment there had taken place. The MoU was to set up a state-of-the-art cancer institute in Jaipur. The state government has said that they were unaware of the connection at the time of the signing of the MoU. Lalit Modi however, has said that Vasundhara Raje, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, had accompanied his wife to the hospital in 2012 and 2013 when he himself could not.



Reliance to cautiously re-open fuel outlets

Reliance industries is planning to steadily re-open the fuel retail outlets that it had made investments in, but had to close down in 2008 due to rising losses. Reliance had invested in close to 1,400 outlets, of which only 400 are functioning right now. The outlets had closed after rising crude prices around 2008 resulted in huge losses for the company, as it could not compete with PSU oil marketers. The government’s deregulation of oil prices last October, and the decline in global crude prices means the company is now looking to re-open the outlets, but will tread cautiously this time.

ILO opposes government’s labour reforms

The International Labour Organization has criticized some of the decisions taken by the government regarding labour laws in the country, saying that the reform in labour laws is removing a large number of workers from the protection of basic law. The opposition is to the government’s move to relax laws to make hiring and firing easier in India, and the ILO said that the changes are simply not helping labour. The organization has called the leaders of various labour unions to New Delhi for a conference, and is preparing a position paper on the issue.

928 households have 20 per cent wealth

cashAccording to the annual report released by the Boston Consulting Group, just 928 households hold a fifth of India’s private financial wealth. These 928 households comprise the ‘ultra high net worth households’ (UHNW) in India, and their share of India’s wealth is expected to go up to 24 per cent from the 20 per cent that it is now. India ranks fourth globally in the number of UHNW households, behind the United States, China, and the UK. The report said that millionaire households now hold 41 per cent of global private wealth, up from 40 per cent in 2013.

Special flood package for J&K floods cleared

The Centre has announced a Rs. 2,437 crore relief package for the flood ravaged state of Jammu and Kashmir. The flood package was an assembly election pledge made by Prime Minister Modi, but is expected to strengthen the hands of Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed in state affairs. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that more funds could be released for the state following a fresh survey. A team has been made to review the damage caused by last year’s floods, and a long-term rehabilitation package will be worked out based on the recommendations of the team.

Mobile data may reveal that you’re unemployed

A cell phone tower. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It’s listening. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A study co-authored by researchers at the University of Massachusetts has revealed that people’s communication patters change when they are unemployed. The research shows that it is possible for phone data to reveal that a person is unemployed, and data can also be used to observe mass layoffs. The study shows that new data can be used to bridge the gap between micro and macroeconomics, and hence make it easier to track important economic indicators.