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Daily Briefing: Economy grows at 8.4% in second quarter; Govt studying how to handle crypto ads

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Aided by increased vaccination and an uptick in agriculture, the country’s economy clocked a healthy growth rate of 8.4 per cent in July-September, the second quarter of financial year 2021-22. The GDP was 0.33 per cent higher than the pre-pandemic levels of Q2, 2019-20, indicating the economy has recovered the ground lost due to Covid-19. Barring construction, all industry segments posted a higher output level than Q2, 2019-20.

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The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), spearheading the protest by farmers, will meet today to decide the names of the five representatives for inclusion in a committee proposed by the Prime Minister to discuss issues like promotion of zero-budgeting farming and making MSP more “effective and transparent”. Meanwhile, two farm leaders said discussions should begin on “lifting the dharnas from the borders”.

From the Front Page 

With Opposition-ruled governments questioning the extension of the BSF jurisdiction to 50 km inside the international border, the Director General of the paramilitary force, Pankaj Kumar Singh, said the probable reason for the Centre’s decision was that “the demographic balance has been upset in border states like West Bengal and Assam over a period of time”. He said a survey done by the BSF pointed to “a definite demographic change”.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government will not provide free treatment to Covid-19 patients who have not been vaccinated. He added that government employees and teachers who have not been vaccinated, excluding those with a doctor’s certificate, will need to undergo an RT-PCR test every week, for which they have to bear the expenses on their own. 

With Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu refusing to revoke the suspension of 12 of their MPs, Opposition parties led by the Congress said they would continue their protests, and their members would not apologise or express any regret. However, a proposal to boycott the Parliament session was shelved as there was no unanimity on it. The suspended MPs will begin a sit-in in front of Gandhi statue in Parliament from today. 

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During the question hour in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, several members asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about the upcoming Bill on cryptocurrencies and the proliferation of ads for digital money and related trading. Sitharaman assured the House that the government is studying the existing regulatory framework for advertisements to look at how to handle them.

To make educational content for students “free of biases”, a Parliamentary committee on education called for a review of the manner in which Indian freedom fighters are portrayed in school history textbooks and recommended that “ancient wisdom and knowledge” from the Vedas should be incorporated in the school curriculum. The Indian History Congress strongly opposed the recommendations, stating that review of such content must involve “recognised scholars from all over the country and with adequate attention to the academic content.”

Tightening its genome sequencing measures to ensure early detection of new variants, the Union Health Ministry has asked states to send “100 per cent samples” from Covid hotspots, starting with two recent clusters in Karnataka’s Dharwad and Maharashtra’s Thane. In a high-level review meeting, states were advised to send “all positive samples” for genome sequencing to designated INSACOG labs “in a prompt manner”.

According to RBI statistics, a rural worker in Kerala earned an average of Rs 677.6 daily for 2020-21 — way more than their counterparts in more developed states like Gujarat and Maharashtra and over double the national average. While the national average is Rs 315.3, in Maharashtra, considered as the most industrialised state and a leading producer of farm products, a rural worker earns just Rs 262.3, while rural wages in Gujarat this year stood at  Rs 239.3.

And Finally 

It was only by chance that India’s prodigious talent, Vivek Sagar Prasad, got introduced to hockey. It all started at a ground near his house in Itarsi. Prasad reached the ground one evening to play cricket, but a local hockey team was falling short of one player. The rest, as they say, is history. Since then, he has led India to a Youth Olympics silver, won a bronze medal at the Olympics, and has been named as International Hockey Federation’s rising star twice. On Wednesday, he will have to help India’s U-21 team navigate past a very tough Belgium side in the quarterfinals of the Junior World Cup.

Delhi confidential: Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, who was in charge of several key states as party general secretary, has co-authored a book — ‘The Rise of the BJP: The Making of the World’s Largest Political Party’ — with economist Ila Patnaik. The book tracks the BJP’s birth, its journey as a successor of the Jana Sangh, and how it pursued the idea of cultural nationalism.

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we discuss why 12 Rajya Sabha MPs have been suspended, how the government is refusing to answer a question regarding farmers’ protests, and Twitter’s new CEO.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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