Daily Briefing: ‘Focus on test and trace,’ says PM; CJI collegium meet ends in deadlock

From the latest on the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, to the recent code of conduct for faculty at IIMC; here are today's top stories.

Good morning, 

The Second Wave 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during an online interaction with Chief Ministers, directed all states to focus on aggressive Covid testing and micro-containment zones. He also appealed states to achieve 100 per cent vaccination of the 45-plus population in high-focus districts. A “vaccination utsav” will be held to meet this target. 

# A day after  Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan singled out non-BJP ruled states for allegedly not doing enough to control the Covid spread, data shows that there is hardly any state that can claim to be in a comfortable situation.

# Against a demand of 40 lakh vaccine doses from Maharashtra, the Centre has increased the state’s allocation to 17.43 lakh doses. However, the worst-hit state is not even in the top five list of states receiving the extra doses. 

# Top government sources told The Indian Express that  US pharma giant Johnson & Johnson, the only manufacturer with a single-dose Covid-19 vaccine, will soon conduct the trials in India.

Only in the Express

Despite reservations by at least two of his colleagues, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde called a meeting of the Supreme Court collegium to discuss appointments to the top court. That meeting, however, ended in a deadlock with “no consensus” on the future course of action, sources told The Indian Express. Chief Justice of India-designate N V Ramana attended the collegium meeting although he did not attend court earlier that day.

From the Front Page 

Dismissing the pleas filed by the Maharashtra government and former state home minister Anil Deshmukh, the Supreme Court upheld the Bombay High Court’s order for a ” preliminary inquiry” by CBI into the corruption allegations levelled by ex-Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.

The Archaeological Survey of India was ordered by a Varansi fast track court to “get a comprehensive archaeological physical survey” done of the disputed Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex and  find out whether it was a “superimposition, alteration or addition or there is structural overlapping of any kind, with or over, any other religious structure”.

In what could perhaps have both political and economic implications, the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) has steeply raised prices of fertilisers. Farmers will now have to bear the additional burden after the spike in fuel prices. 

Five days after he was taken captive during the encounter at Bijapur-Sukma border, Maoists released the CRPF jawan to a group of journalists, local leaders and social activists. According to members of the delegation, Rakeshwar Singh Manhas recalled  suffering a shrapnel injury and running to avoid coming in the Naxal line of fire, before fainting. 

Must Read 

No criticising the institute or the government, no joining protest demonstrations that hurt “public order” or “decency,” curbs on going to the court or the press, no politics, no signing joint petitions for redressal — these are among the key provisions of a new code of conduct for faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.

India pledging net zero carbon emissions is not an “absolute requirement” and that was not his message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said. He added that Modi understood the challenge of climate change, and “that’s better than a lot of nations”.

Decision 2021 

Bauria and Dhulagarh are 15 km and a world apart. While Bauria is a model for religious amity, Dhulagarh, the site of a communal clash in 2016, still nurses deep scars. Voters from these two towns have very different expectations of the elections. In Bauria, there is a demand for basic facilities — clean drinking water, good high schools and a multispecialty hospital. In Dhulagarh, voters are seeking to cast their ballot for a party that can restore “peace more than anything else”. 

The political battlefield in West Bengal is a star-studded affair, with names from its film and television industries on both sides. Now the rift is also playing out in the home of Tollywood — the Tollyganj Assembly constituency in South Kolkata. The TMC counts Tollyganj as among its strongholds, having won the seat since 2001. However, in the BJP corner this time is a name with as much star power — popular singer and MP Babul Supriyo. 

And Finally 

Be it the realm of trolls or memes, sphere of movies or songs, platform of fiction or shows on YouTube, the IPL has not just barged into the common Indian’s psyche, it has blended into his sensibilities. Sandip G traces how the league has seamlessly seeped into popular culture. 

Delhi Confidential: Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga might be on his way to India later this month, as he is planning to travel to the US and Philippines as well. 

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at the shortage of vaccines in Maharashtra, Bengal’s declining jute industry, and the return of CRPF’s captive jawan.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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