Get Wired 1/7: Mohalla Assi, Visas for Iran, a Crowd-Sourced Bridge, and More

Court puts Mohalla Assi release on hold 

assi-story_647_063015061726Facing accusations of hurting religious sentiments, the Hindi film Mohalla Assi featuring Sunny Deol has been “restrained from release” all over India by a Delhi Court on Tuesday. The movie which was scheduled to be released on July 3 will now have to wait till further orders, the court maintained. Responding to a plea by a petitioner objecting to the use of vulgar language in the film, the court observed that “…a character dressed as Lord Shiva is shown using filthy language…it may (hurt) religious sentiments.” The movie is set in Varanasi, a language know for its spiritualism and religiosity, but also its earthy and sometimes vulgar argot.

India to soften visa policy with Iran

The Indian government is considering whether to liberalise its visa policy for Iran by removing the country from the prior referral category (PRC) under which visa applications are screened in Delhi before being issued by the local embassy. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited Iran in February this year. He observed the need to widen cooperation with Tehran in order to combat terrorism. Besides, several development programmes were also agreed upon by the two nations to strengthen ties.

Munde lands in fresh trouble

After the ‘chikki’ scam allegations, Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde stands freshly accused of interfering wit the  government’s legal process of granting tenders for water conversation in Parbhani district. It is alleged that Munde’s inference led to a bidder, whose application was earlier rejected on technical grounds, being awarded the contracts. The projects, worth Rs 1.40 crore, were awarded to a company led by Ratnakar Gutte, who is a BJP politician.

Haryana villagers ‘crowd source’ funds for bridge

Nine villages of Haryana’s Sirsa district joined hands, after being ignored by the officials, to build a bridge over the Ghaggar River. The bridge which is 250-feet-long and 12 feet wide connects Aleeka and Panihari villages with Sirsa. The connectivity will help farmers transport their farm produce across the river. Villagers were left disappointed when their request for a bridge was ignored by politicians and bureaucrats over the years. This led the villagers to fund the Rs 1 crore bridge – which is a lifeline for 1.25 lakh people – themselves. Its construction started in April last year. Now ignoring all local politicians politicians, the 25-member committee of villagers which supervised the construction,has requested a local saint to perform the inauguration ceremony.

New security clause in FDI

Foreign companies intending to invest in the defence and telecom sectors will now have a ‘security’ clause in their contract. The new policy regarding security clearances is part of the “post-investment safeguards for FDI coming through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.” The national security clause if invoked by the Indian government would lead to a termination notice to the investing foreign entity if it is found to be involved in ‘anti-national activities’, including links with terror outfits or foreign intelligence agencies, money laundering, and espionage. In addition, Pakistan has been put in the “country of concern” list from which investment is to be discouraged.

India’s short-term debt down

India’s short-term debt to total external debt ratio has fallen significantly to 17.8 per cent in 2014-15. It stood at 20.5 per cent in the period 2013-14. The fall in the ratio has improved India’s external economic profile. Short-term debt is considered riskier because it has to be repaid from foreign currency reserves in a short duration of time. However, total external borrowings jumped up to $181.9 billion in 2014-15 from $149.5 billion a year ago.

RSS ideologue accuses Modi govt to be ‘power-centric’

RSS ideologue and former BJP general secretary K.N. Govindacharya has accused the ruling party of running a “power-centric, not people-centric government in which issues and values have been given a goodbye”. In an interview,  Govindacharya said that Narendra Modi government’s support to ministers are accused in Lalit Modi case “speaks of political dishonesty of the establishment.” He said that the RSS’s confidence in the BJP has come down after the party’s performance in its first year of governance.

Third phase of FM auctioning delayed

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has delayed the third phase of FM auctioning to seek further consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs on security clearances for the Sun TV network. In the first phase of auction, 135 stations were put up for sale in 69 cities. The I&B ministry, which has already granted technical clearances, is waiting for the Sun matter to be resolved. A top home ministry official had said that the channel being a business entity cannot take recourse to Article 19 (1) of the constitution that protects freedom of speech and expression. The matter is now waiting to be resolved in a meeting between Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh, which is likely to happen soon.

Categories: Culture, Economy, Politics