Get Wired 2/9: Millions Strike, Retrospective MAT, Less Nehru, and More

150 million workers on strike today

About 150 million workers are on a nationwide strike and essential services like banking and public transport have been hit in many places today. There is major impact in West Bengal and cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram. Labour unions are opposed to the government’s proposed labour reforms expected to diminish the influence of trade unions and make the labour market more flexible. Definition of a factory will be revised by doubling the minimum threshold of workers employed. Non-factory workers will be outside the purview of any labour protection. To avail any protection and benefits, an employee has to be deemed permanent while 80% labourers are not.

Death toll in Manipur reaches eight

Three persons were killed on Tuesday when police opened fire on a mob in Churachandpur district, taking the overall death toll to eight and the number of injured to 31. The fresh violence came as the indefinite curfew imposed on Monday night was extended. Student groups are protesting the passage of three bills — Protection of Manipur People’s Bill, 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015, and Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 — in the Assembly. Earlier, on Monday, five had been killed.

Kalburgi murder probe expands to Maharashtra

The probe into the murder of rationalist scholar M.M. Kalburgi has extended to Maharashtra as investigators are trying to search for links between his murder and the murder of other rationalist scholars such as Narendra Dabholkar, killed in Pune in 2013 and Govind Panasare, killed in Kolhapur this February.

Jaitley announces waiver for retrospective imposition of MAT

In a move aimed at settling the shaky nature of foreign investor confidence in recent months, the government has decided to waive the retrospective imposition of a minimum alternative tax (MAT) on foreign institutional investors. The announcement came at a press conference late Monday after the BSE dipped by 587 points to touch a 12-month low. In August, FIIs sold shares worth a record Rs.17,000 crore as the domestic markets faced heavy uncertainty on concerns over weakness in the Chinese economy. Jaitley said the government had endorsed the recommendations of a panel set up to examine the issue and that he would make the necessary legislative amendment in the winter session of Parliament. Accepting the report of the AP Shah committee, Jaitley stated MAT would not be levied retrospectively on capital gains of foreign institutional and portfolio investors prior to April 1, 2015.



Lahore-based Ajoka Theatre to stage four Pakistani productions in Delhi

In collaboration with a Delhi-based NGO, Routes2Roots, Ajoka will stage four plays — ‘Dara’, ‘Bulla’, Manto’s ‘Kaun Hai Ye Gustakh’ and ‘Lo Phir Basant Aayi’ — as a part of a theatre festival titled ‘Humsaya’. They have been handpicked for their social relevance and common heritage with India. The Ajoka Theatre group is known for its “theatre of defiance”. It was founded in Lahore in 1983, at the pinnacle of political tensions and censorship under the regime of General Zia-ul-Haq. Members of the group say that the productions depict track II diplomacy via cultural dialogue.

India cannot move ICJ for 1965 and 1971 POWs

The Government has told the SC that it cannot move the International Court of Justice for the release of 54 POWs captured during the 65 and 71 wars, because they had earlier prevented Pakistan from doing the same. Relatives of all 54 prisoners of war have been given service and pension benefits as per the Gujarat High Court order in December 2011. The government maintained that it cannot move the ICJ against Pakistan even in the case of inhumane treatment meted out to Captain Saurabh Kalia and four other soldiers of the 4 Jat Regiment in the 1999 Kargil war.  

BJP wants less Nehru in Nehru museum

The present government’s plan to make Nehru Museum more “contemporary” is being called “crazy” by senior Congress leaders. The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML), located at Teen Murti Bhavan, Jawaharlal Nehru’s residence in Delhi, will be recast as a museum of governance, showcasing contemporary India. PM Narendra Modi’s campaign for smart cities and Indian Space Research Organisation’s unmanned flight to Mars are likely to be some among the many inclusions. The recast museum will focus on the “evolution of Indian democracy”, according to Culture & Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma.


Users in Ahmedabad, Surat upset about restrictions on Internet and mobile access

On Monday, authorities lifted the ban on mobile Internet services across the state but not in Ahmedabad and Surat, two of the larger cities in the region with more than 10 million people as well as being economic and business hubs. The police fear that “some miscreants could circulate video clips of clashes between the police and the residents and foment trouble.” The ban has especially angered businessmen and students.