Get Wired 28/6: Ambani’s Defence Contract, Bihar’s RTPS, Bose’s Secrets, and More

Russia selects Reliance Defence & Aerospace to build helicopters

The Russian government has selected a company owned by Anil Ambani, Reliance Defence and Aerospace, for a joint venture to manufacture 200 units of Kamov 226T helicopters. The order for the helicopters is valued at around $1 billion. According to sources, RDA will have a majority 51% stake in the JV while the Russian government will hold the remaining 49%.

Give all citizens reservations or abolish system completely: Hardik Patel

Standing at the vanguard of the movement in Gujarat for quotas for the Patel community, Hardik patel told the Hindustan Times that he wants to bring about change to the system through “dabanghai” or aggression. Mob violence in Gujarat as a result of his demands, have left 10 people dead. Patel further went on to state that the only contemporary politician he respects is Raj Thackeray.  The Patels account for 12-15% of Gujarat’s population and have warned the ruling BJP of adverse electoral consequences if their demand for OBC status isn’t met. V. Hanumantha Rao, Congress Rajya Sabha member and convener of the parliamentary forum for OBCs since 2002 expressed his concerns, alleging it was a conspiracy to “finish off OBC reservations in this country”.  

An inter-religious relationship gets students suspended

In keeping with the worrying hike in communal tensions in Mangaluru, two students from a college in Sullia-60 km from Mangalore- were suspended for being in a relationship despite being from different communities this Thursday. Students of the college had submitted a petition and demanded that action be taken a few days ago, following which protests began which led to police intervention. The Principal of the college defended his actions saying, “We had to do this to bring the situation under-control. The protesting students had disrupted the functioning of the college for the past few days”. The suspension of the students comes a week after the incident where a muslim boy was tied to a pole and beaten.

Law Commission says death penalty should be kept for terror only

India is one of 59 countries where the death penalty is still awarded by courts. The Law Commission has reversed its earlier stance in a 272-page report that calls for the speedy removal of the death penalty except in cases concerning terrorism. The report is reportedly going to be submitted to the Supreme Court and the Government either this weekend or on Monday the 31st of August.  The commission has observed that, “the penalty has no demonstrated utility in deterring crime or incapacitating offenders, any more than its alternative, imprisonment for life”. The report further states that, “there exists no principled method to remove such arbitrariness from capital sentencing” and that not only is its arbitrary and uncertain, it is “applied disparately and disproportionately against socially and economically marginalised groups, reflecting systemic biases and structural disadvantages”. The commission in its 35th report in 1962 had recommended the retention of the death penalty.

Arvind Kejriwal says Delhi Government wants to emulate Bihar’s RTPS

As Bihar inches closer to Assembly polls, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal travelled to Patna on Thursday and lent his support to Nitish Kumar, calling him a good administrator during a state government function.  Kejriwal also called out Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his recent “DNA test” jibe and suggested that he was trying to “buy out” the people of Bihar with his special package. Kejriwal attended a government function to celebrate the implementation of the Right to Public Services (RTPS) Act, and stated the Delhi government planned to emulate Bihar’s successful RTPS model that had benefitted about 11 crore people. At the function he also accused the BJP of deliberately hampering the functioning of the Delhi government.

BJP functionaries on National Commission for Women panel

Despite the unresolved controversy around appointments at the Film and Television Institute of India, the government has appointed two BJP functionaries as members of the National Commission for Women. Rekha Sharma was a district secretary and media in-charge in Haryana when PM Narendra Modi was in charge of the state, and Sushma Sahu till recently was BJP’s Mahila Morcha chief in Bihar.

India eliminates maternal and neonatal tetanus

Cases of neonatal tetanus have been reduced to less than one case per 1000 live births across the country. The World Health Organisation (WHO)  validated these figures this Thursday and added India to the list of countries that have successfully battled the disease. “This is a huge achievement for India which until a few decades ago reported 150,000 to 200,000 neonatal tetanus cases annually,” said Poonam Khetrapal, WHO regional director for South-East Asia Singh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the achievement by stating that the validation came much before the desired target of December 2015.

Senior ministers and top RSS officials to meet next week

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh brass will meet with representatives from over three dozen of its affiliates, including the BJP, in Delhi next week for “coordination and exchange of notes.” Sources indicated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might also be present in one of the sessions. RSS affiliates suggested that discussions on education, security, economy and culture may be held and concerned ministers may be required to be present and exchange notes with the delegates.

PMO refuses to declassify files on Subhash Chandra Bose

Testifying before the Central Information Commission this Wednesday, the Prime Ministers Office said that while it held the files related to Netaji it would not declassify them, citing Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act that allows the government to withhold information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect relations with foreign states, it would not release the files. The PM had earlier in April this year, met grandnephew Surya Bose in Berlin and promised to examine the request for declassification of all files concerning the death or disappearance of Netaji on August 18, 1945. The CIC has has however, reserved its order.

Army and police capture another terrorist alive in J&K

According to an army official the terrorist was captured alive in an encounter in Rafiabad on August 26. Sajjad Ahmed, the arrested terrorist, was identified as a 22-year-old from Muzaffargarh in southwest Pakistan. In two successive encounters this Wednesday and Thursday, 4 terrorists and 1 soldier were killed. The capture comes just three weeks after some civilians nabbed Naved, a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist from Pakistan, after he and his associate attacked a BSF convoy on August 5th in the Chenani area of Udhampur district.