Morning Digest: Centre brings into force stringent law to curb irregularities in exam; ECI begins work on Assembly polls in four States, and more

Here is a select list of stories to start the day

Published - June 22, 2024 06:49 am IST

The Election Commission has kicked off preparations for holding Assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. File.

The Election Commission has kicked off preparations for holding Assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. File. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Act that punishes organised cheating in government exams comes into effect

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024 that has provision for up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to ₹1 crore for malpractices and organised cheating in government recruitment exams was notified by the Union government to come into effect from June 21.

Election Commission begins work on polls in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir

The Election Commission has kicked off preparations for holding Assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir by updating electoral rolls in these States. The terms of the existing legislative Assemblies will end on November 3 (Haryana), November 26 (Maharashtra) and January 5, 2025 (Jharkhand) and polls are required to be conducted before the completion of their terms.

Kallakurichi hooch tragedy: Death toll mounts to 50

The death toll in the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy in Tamil Nadu rose to 50 with 13 more persons losing their lives after consuming spurious liquor at Karunapuram. The victims included five women and a transperson. The Crime Branch-CID has taken over the probe into the hooch tragedy deaths in Karunapuram in Kallakurichi town. Police sources said documents and case diary files were handed over by the Kallakurichi town police to the CB-CID team.

Patent filings credit Bharat Biotech as ‘inventor’ of Covaxin, omit ICMR

India’s first indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin, was a joint collaboration between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) with intellectual property (IP) rights jointly shared between the two organisations. That is what the public record states. However, filings by the BBIL at patent offices in India, the United States and Europe suggest that only its scientists and personnel are credited as ‘inventors’ of the vaccine with no mention of ICMR scientists.

Delhi court says ED is acting with bias against Arvind Kejriwal in excise policy case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) was acting with bias against Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) founder Arvind Kejriwal, who was booked in the excise policy case, the Delhi court observed on June 20 while granting him bail. The court’s order was then put on hold by the Delhi High Court on June 21.

Government imposes stock limits on tur, chana dal to curb hoardings

The government on June 21 imposed stock limits on tur and chana dals till September this year to check hoardings and control prices. The Centre has issued an order imposing stock limits, which will be applicable to wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers, millers and importers, an official statement said.

NTA postpones Joint CSIR-UGC-NET over ‘unavoidable circumstances, logistical issues’

Amid multiple controversies that the National Testing Agency (NTA) is currently embroiled in, the agency on June 21 issued a notification postponing the Joint CSIR-UGC-NET due to “unavoidable circumstances and logistical issues”. This comes days after the Union Education Ministry cancelled UGC-NET following inputs from the Union Home Ministry suggesting that the integrity of the examination had been compromised. Over the past few days, students across the country have been questioning the testing agency over the irregularities in NEET-UG, and now about the cancellation of UGC-NET.

Congress gears up to raise NEET issue in Parliament

The Congress is likely to demand the cancellation of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2024, a senior leader said as the principal Opposition party is all set to raise the issue in the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha that begins on June 24. As a separate discussion on the subject may not be possible in the short session of Parliament that will conclude on July 3, the party is likely to work out a joint strategy with INDIA partners

Nikhil Gupta hasn’t requested consular access, says MEA

Nikhil Gupta, the businessman accused in the U.S. for an assassination plot against Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, has not asked for consular help, said the Ministry of External Affairs. Mr. Gupta was produced in a New York court on Monday after battling his extradition from the Czech Republic for nearly a year. He pleaded “not guilty” to charges that he hired a hitman at the behest of a senior Indian security official to kill Mr. Pannun, in return for having cases against him dropped in India. 

Economic diplomacy, connectivity, energy and Myanmar crisis expected to feature during PM Hasina’s India visit

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh arrived in New Delhi for a two-day visit that is being watched keenly as it is the first state visit by a foreign head of government just 10 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in for a third term in office. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar was the first to call on Ms. Hasina soon after she reached Delhi. Ms. Hasina will be welcomed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 22 morning which will be followed by delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House with Mr. Modi and meetings with Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar and President Droupadi Murmu

Hinduja family members get jail term for exploiting staff

A Swiss court handed jail sentences to four members of Britain's richest family for exploiting Indian staff at their Geneva mansion. The Hindujas — who were not present in court — were acquitted of human trafficking, but convicted on other charges in a stunning verdict for the family whose fortune is estimated at 37 billion pounds ($47 billion).

After major accidents, confusion prevails over operation of trains during signal failures 

With frequent train accidents causing multiple deaths, confusion prevails in the railways on the operation of trains during signal failures, especially in the automatic signaling territory. With increasing fatal accidents, Zonal Railways are confused over the Standard Operating Procedures. The Eastern Railway on Friday issued an order banning TA-912, a travel authority issued during signal failures by Station Masters to loco pilots authorising them to cross the signal in red. 

Porsche car crash: Minor accused’s father gets bail in a case pertaining to Juvenile Justice Act

A court in Pune on June 21 granted bail to the father of the juvenile accused in one of the cases pertaining to the Porsche car crash in which two software professionals were killed in the city last month. The court also granted bail to five other accused, including the owner and managers of two bars who were arrested for allegedly serving liquor to the underage patrons.

Manipur situation will be resolved in 2-3 months: CM Biren Singh

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh on Thursday said peace would return to his State in two-three months because of the priority given to resolving the 14-month-long violence by the new National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre. He also claimed Manipur has been slowly returning to normal with businesses opening up.

Delhi water crisis: Atishi begins fast for more water from Haryana

Delhi Water Minister Atishi on June 21 began her indefinite hunger strike in south Delhi's Bhogal to press on her demand for more water from Haryana. Sunita Kejriwal read out a message from the Chief Minister, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail, in which he expressed hope that Atishi's 'tapasya' would be successful.

Mamata Banerjee writes to PM Modi, seeks deferment of 3 criminal laws implementation

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defer the implementation of the three criminal laws, which are set to be rolled out on July 1. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ms. Banerjee said the deferment would enable a renewed Parliamentary review of the criminal laws

Sikh extremists on Canada's no-fly list lose appeal, court sees 'reasonable grounds' for terror concern

A Canadian court has thrown out a bid by two Sikh extremists to get off the country's no-fly list, saying there are "reasonable grounds" to suspect they will threaten transportation security or travel by air to commit a terrorism offence. The Federal Court of Appeal in its ruling this week dismissed an appeal by Bhagat Singh Brar and Parvkar Singh Dulai after they lost a constitutional challenge of their no-fly designations under Canada's Secure Air Travel Act, The Canadian Press news agency reported from Vancouver on Thursday.

U.K. Labour tipped for historic election win in polls; Sunak predicted to lose seat

Two polls have found the UK’s Labour party was set to win a record-breaking number of seats and the incumbent Conservatives due for a historic drubbing in July’s general election.With voters heading to the polls in just over two weeks time, the latest pair of nationwide surveys by YouGov and Savanta/Electoral Calculus, showed Labour set to win either 425 or 516 out of 650 seats.

U.S. and China held in March first informal nuclear talks in five years, delegates reveal

The United States and China resumed semi-official nuclear arms talks in March for the first time in five years, with Beijing's representatives telling U.S. counterparts that they would not resort to atomic threats over Taiwan, according to two American delegates who attended. The Chinese representatives offered reassurances after their U.S. interlocutors raised concerns that China might use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons if it faced defeat in a conflict over Taiwan.

New York moves to limit ’addictive’ social media feeds for kids

New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday signed a bill that would allow parents to block their children from getting social media posts suggested by a platform's algorithm, a move to limit feeds critics argue are addictive. Under the legislation, feeds on apps like TikTok and Instagram would be limited for people under age 18 to posts from accounts they follow, rather than content suggested by an automated algorithm. It would also block platforms from sending minors notifications on suggested posts between midnight and 6 a.m.

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