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5 THINGS FIRST

Droupadi Murmu to take oath as India’s new President; Monsoon session of Parliament; Varanasi district court to hear Gyanvapi case; Delhi High Court to hear OP Chautala’s plea against conviction in disproportionate assets case; Mathura court to begin day-to-day hearing in Shahi Eidgah mosque case

1. 21 guns are waiting to salute Rashtrapati Murmu
  • The ceremony: President-elect Droupadi Murmu will take oath today as the Rashtrapati of India. Chief Justice of India NV Ramana will administer the oath to her at 10.15 am in the central hall of Parliament. This will be followed by a 21-gun salute. The ceremony will begin with the arrival of the outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind’s arrival in Parliament.
  • Sixth on July 25: Murmu will become the 10th successive president to assume office on July 25 since Neelam Sanjiva Reddy took oath in 1977.
  • Amrit Kaal: This is the first time that India will have a tribal — considered the most original inhabitants of the land but have been on the margins of socio-economic development — as the President. This is happening in the 75th year of Independence, which marks the beginning of the government’s celebration of Amrit Kaal.
  • First speech: Murmu will deliver her first address shortly after taking oath of the office of the President of India.
  • In attendance: Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Members of the Council of Ministers, Governors, Chief Ministers, heads of diplomatic missions, Members of Parliament and principal civil and military officers of the government will attend the ceremony.
  • At Raisina Hill: After the oath ceremony concludes, the President will leave for Rashtrapati Bhavan, where an inter-services guard of honour will be given to her in the forecourt and courtesies will be extended to the outgoing President.
  • Youngest resident: At 64, Murmu becomes the youngest person to be the President of India. She scripted history last week, defeating joint-opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, a former Union minister, in a one-sided contest. She polled 6,76,803 votes against Sinha’s 3,80,177 votes to become India’s 15th President.
2. The masala that will keep Parliament session hot
2. The masala that will keep Parliament session hot
  • Adjournment shower: First week of the monsoon session went to adjournments, with the Rajya Sabha functioning only 27% of its time and the Lok Sabha meagre 16%. The opposition was adamant on having immediate debate on issues such as Agnipath scheme, unemployment, GST and rising prices.
  • Goa bar: Besides the issues of the last week, the opposition has got another issue — an allegation that Union minister Smriti Irani’s daughter, Itishree, is running an illegal bar in Goa. The allegation was levelled by an activist and politically picked up by the Congress.
  • Smriti Irani, in response, has sent legal notices to three Congress leaders — Pawan Khera, Jairam Ramesh and Netta D’ Souza — and their party for alleging that her 18-year-old daughter was running an “illegal bar” in Goa. Irani has sought a written unconditional apology and withdrawal of allegations against her daughter with immediate effect from the Congress.
  • Unrelenting heat: The protesting opposition still looks adamant for a debate on GST on essential food, and high inflation. The government, too, is not ready to give in to the opposition’s demand.
  • More ammunition: Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to be questioned by the Enforcement Directorate today for the second time after Friday’s questioning for two hours. The ED arrested West Bengal minister, TMC’s Partha Chatterjee, in connection with the teacher recruitment scam on Saturday.
  • Government ready, too: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a strategy meeting to deal with opposition on Friday over continuous ruckus in both the Houses. Senior ministers including Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah were present in the meeting.
3. Monkeypox reaches Delhi, which means…
3. Monkeypox reaches Delhi, which means…
The latest

  • A 34-year-old man from the national capital with no history of foreign travel has tested positive for monkeypox virus, making it the fourth case of the disease being reported in India.
  • A resident of West Delhi, the man was isolated at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital in the capital four days ago after he showed symptoms of the disease. His samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune on Saturday which came out positive, Union Health Ministry officials said.
  • The man had recently attended a stag party in Manali in Himachal Pradesh, official sources told news agency PTI.

The others

  • Three cases of monkeypox had earlier been reported from Kerala. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had on Saturday declared monkeypox as a global public health emergency of international concern.
  • Globally, over 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported from 75 countries and there have been five deaths so far due to the outbreak. In the WHO South-East Asia Region, besides India, one case has been detected from Thailand.

The virus

  • Monkeypox virus is transmitted from infected animals to humans via indirect or direct contact.
  • Human-to-human transmission can occur through direct contact with infectious skin or lesions, including face-to-face, skin-to-skin, and respiratory droplets.
  • Monkeypox typically presents with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. It is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting for two to four weeks.

More details here

X-PLAINED
4. Will Aadhaar be delinked from Voter ID?
4. Will Aadhaar be delinked from Voter ID?
  • The Supreme Court will hear today a petition filed by Congress leader Randeep Surjewala challenging the Centre’s June 19-notification linking Aadhaar to Voter ID. The petition challenges the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill passed last year.

Why now?

  • In June 2022 the law ministry, after consultation with the Election Commission, amended the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 and Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, to give effect to electoral reforms. The amended rules will take effect from August 1, 2022.
  • The EC launched a National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme in March 2015, with the goal of linking Aadhaar to voter IDs in order to remove duplicate names.
  • However, the EC issued necessary instructions for Aadhaar-Voter ID linking in April 2018, keeping it voluntary and optional, as directed by the Supreme Court…”.

But…

  • Surjewala contended that the Aadhaar-Voter ID linking “infringes upon the Fundamental Right of Privacy of citizens and therefore is unconstitutional”.
  • That it may result in the inadvertent or deliberate deletion of names on a big scale
  • That it may assist political parties in categorising voters as favourable or unfavourable.
  • Besides the Congress, the DMK, the NCP, the TMC, the Shiv Sena and the BSP have also opposed the move. TMC’s Derek O’Brien was, in fact, suspended for throwing the rule book at the Rajya Sabha Chair while protesting the bill.

Centre’s stand

  • The Centre has defended the move describing it critical to eliminating fake and redundant voter cards.

A bitter experience

  • In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in 2018, the State Resident Data Hub (SRDH) provided Aadhaar data to the EC for curating electoral rolls. Activists say the process was flawed and lakhs of voters were removed from Telangana’s voter rolls.
  • An RTI query revealed door-to-door verification activity was not conducted to validate the database.
6. Neeraj Chopra betters what Anju Bobby George did 19 years ago
6. Neeraj Chopra betters what Anju Bobby George did 19 years ago
  • Tokyo 2020 Olympics javelin throw champion Neeraj Chopra scripted yet another history, becoming only the second Indian to bag a podium finish to win a silver medal in the World Athletics Championships 2022.
  • He is the first male track and field Indian athlete to win a medal at the World Championships, ending 19-year-long wait for a medal at the worlds.
  • The legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George was the first Indian to win a medal — bronze — in the World Championships in the 2003 edition in Paris, France.
  • Chopra’s best effort of 88.13m in the final at the Hayward Field was short of Anderson Peters’ gold medal-winning mark of 90.54m. Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch won the bronze with 88.09m. The 24-year old athlete earlier made the cut for the final courtesy an 88.39m mark in the qualification.
  • Chopra started with a foul throw and then registered 82.39m with his second attempt. He improved with his third attempt, when he threw the javelin 86.37m. He was still not set for a medal, but he registered a throw of 88.13m with his fourth attempt to shoot up to second place from fourth. His fifth and sixth attempts were foul throws.
  • At the Tokyo Olympics last year, Chopra became only the second Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics after shooter Abhinav Bindra, who clinched the yellow metal in 2008 Beijing Games.
7. Even unwanted posters are fodder for politics
7. Even unwanted posters are fodder for politics
Who threw it?

  • What do you do with pictures or posters you don’t need? Throw them? Not if they are portraits or posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
  • The portraits of the two leaders were disposed of as junk by some employees of a power plant in UP. After the portraits were found in garbage, BJP’s Yuva Morcha sent a complaint to the state’s chief minister and energy minister.
  • “On inquiry, it was found that the sub-divisional engineer and a junior engineer posted there had kept those portraits in junk after getting the office cleaned. The portraits are wiped and hung on the wall again,” said the executive engineer in the power department who was asked to send a report to the government. The employees concerned are likely to face action, officials said.

Didn’t they know?

  • A few days ago, a sanitation worker lost his job after photos of Modi and Adityanath were found in his garbage cart. He was reinstated after much hue and cry on social media.
  • Earlier this month, five people were arrested in UP’s Prayagraj for putting up a hoarding with the title #ByeByeModi.

Who put it up?

  • Meanwhile, in Delhi, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party alleged that the Centre tried to hijack an event of the Arvind Kejriwal government by putting up banners carrying pictures of PM Modi at the venue.
  • “Last night, the Delhi Police reached the venue of the event and took control of the area. They forcibly put up banners carrying pictures of PM Modi… The banners belonging to the AAP government were torn off,” Environment Minister Gopal Rai said. The Delhi Police warned people not to touch banners carrying pictures of PM Modi, he claimed.

More on the topic: Why leaders must learn to face criticism

8. Early signs of achche din again in Indian markets
8. Early signs of achche din again in Indian markets
  • What: Indian shares have just seen the best week since February 2021 on foreign buying and boost from banks. Foreign funds are showing signs of a return to Indian equities. This is prompted by recent softening of oil prices and the dollar. India’s trend is in sync with major emerging markets.
  • How much: Foreign investors bought a net over $1 billion of local stocks this week, according to the latest available exchange data compiled by Bloomberg. This is the first weekly net purchase since April.
  • How it happened: Nine of the ten most valued firms added Rs 2.98 lakh crore to their market valuation last week. Foreign investors purchased over $832 billion worth of Indian equities.
  • Why it matters: Foreign investors have dumped shares worth about $30 billion this year. A return of foreign funds augurs well for Indian stocks, which anyway have been resilient compared to other emerging markets, some of which have suffered the worst first-half performance in 24 years.
  • Indian shares ended Friday on a seven-week high and recorded their best week in over 18 months, led by a surge in banks. NSE Nifty 50 index closed at 16,719 and BSE Sensex at 56,072 — both hitting their highest since June 3, with a gain of over 4% this week. No wonder Sensex jumped over 2,300 points this week or over 4.25%.
  • Achche Din? The US Fed may ease its policy tightening spree this week. The dollar index has also softened from its multi-year high. The fears of a major recession in the US have begun to subside.
  • But the rupee may further depreciate to 82 to a dollar in the near term, economists believe. Last week, the rupee depreciated to a life-time low of 80.06 a dollar.
9. China’s second step to be the first to own a space station
9. China's second step to be the first to own a space station
The flight

  • China launched on Sunday the second of three modules needed to complete its new space station.
  • The uncrewed craft, named Wentian, was launched from the Wenchang launch centre on China’s tropical island of Hainan.

The space station

  • Beijing launched the central module of its space station Tiangong – which means “heavenly palace” – in April 2021.
  • Almost 18 metres long and weighing 22 tons, the new module has three sleeping areas and space for scientific experiments. It will dock with the existing module in space.
  • The third and final module is scheduled to dock in October, and Tiangong – which should have a lifespan of at least 10 years – is expected to become fully operational by the end of the year.

A first

  • This will make China the only country to own a space station. The International Space Station (ISS) of Russia is a collaborative project of several countries.
  • China has been excluded from the ISS since 2011, when the United States banned Nasa from engaging with the country.
  • In addition to a space station, Beijing is also planning to build a base on the Moon and send humans there by 2030.

More details here

Answer to NEWS IN CLUES
Answer to NEWS IN CLUES

Sharda Peeth. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made a fresh pitch on Sunday for integrating Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir with the rest of India, referring to Sharda Peeth, situated in PoK. Singh said, “A resolution was passed in Parliament on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. PoK is a part of Indian territory and will continue to do so. How is it possible that Baba Amarnath [Lord Shiva’s form] is in India and Maa Sharda Shakti is across the Line of Control?” There have been demands to build a Kartarpur-like pilgrimage corridor to Sharda Peeth.

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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Tejeesh Nippun Singh, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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