Morning Digest | ECI asks Supreme Court to return sealed electoral bonds documents; petrol, diesel price cut by ₹2, and more

Here is a select list of stories to start the day

March 15, 2024 06:47 am | Updated 06:47 am IST

A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court is scheduled on March 15 to hear an application filed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking the return of electoral bonds’ documents. File.

A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court is scheduled on March 15 to hear an application filed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking the return of electoral bonds’ documents. File. | Photo Credit: AP

Electoral bonds data | BJP received ₹6,060 crore, highest among all parties

The Bharatiya Janata Party encashed electoral bonds worth ₹6060.5 crore — the highest among all parties — between April 12, 2019 and January 24, 2024. In the period, BJP’s share in the total bonds encashed was over 47.5%. The All India Trinamool Congress received ₹1,609.50 crore (12.6%) via this route followed by the Congress ₹1,421.9 crore (11.1%), the second and third biggest parties in terms of encashment in the period.

Electoral bonds data | Future Gaming and Hotel Services purchased ₹1,368 crore worth electoral bonds, most among firms 

Future Gaming and Hotel Services PR whose managing director is the well known lottery magnate Santiago Martin, is the largest donor to political parties for the period April 12, 2019 to January 24, 2024, the electoral bonds data released by the Election Commission, on receipt from the State Bank of India, revealed.

B.S. Yediyurappa booked under POCSO Act

The Sadashivanagar police booked senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, 81, under a section of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) acting on a complaint by the mother of a 17-year-old of sexual assault.

ECI asks Supreme Court to return sealed electoral bonds documents

A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud is scheduled on March 15 to hear an application filed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking the return of electoral bonds’ documents handed over to the apex court in sealed cover/sealed boxes on two occasions. The application referred to a direction issued on March 11 by the Bench in its order that the “copies of the statements which were filed by the ECI before this court would be maintained in the office of the ECI”.

Petrol, diesel price cut by ₹2: Petroleum Minister

Oil companies have cut petrol and diesel prices by ₹2, effective from 6 a.m. on March 15, said Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. “Reduction in petrol and diesel prices will boost consumer spending and reduce operating costs for over 58 lakh heavy goods vehicles running on diesel, six crore cars and 27 crore two-wheelers,” Mr Puri said in a post on X.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee suffers injury after fall at residence

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was injured on her forehead after a fall at her Kalighat residence in Kolkata on. After a few tests, doctors found her stable to be discharged. She was then taken back home. There was widespread concern in the State after the incident. Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was seen at the health facility along with other Trinamool leaders.

Will find a way for people without documents to apply under CAA: Amit Shah

The Union government will soon find a way for people who do not have the required documents to apply for benefits under the Citizenship Amendment Act, (CAA), 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said. In an interview with news agency ANI, Mr. Shah said that according to government estimates, 85% of the people seeking to apply under CAA have the required documents, adding that the government would soon find an alternative for those who do not have the requisite papers.

As Canada doubles down on Nijjar allegations, New Zealand says its stand on investigation has not changed

Canada said that it continues to “actively” investigate the killing of Khalistani separatist Canadian Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The comment, that came in response to statements by New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters during his visit to Delhi, where he spoke about the case in Canada, and evidence shared thus far by Canadian authorities. Canada and New Zealand are part of the “five eyes” intelligence sharing network along with the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia, that regularly coordinate on security issues.

India seriously considering FTA with Eurasian Economic Union: Belarus Foreign Minister

India is “seriously considering” starting talks for a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Foreign Minister of Belarus Sergei Aleinik declared during his two day visit to India. The remarks from the Belarusian Minister acquires significance as Belarus has been closely aligned with Russia even as President Vladimir Putin continues to push ahead with the military operation against Ukraine since February 2022. 

Rahul Gandhi promises GST exemption, loan waiver for farmers; offer prayers at Trimbakeshwar

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for working only for ‘media attention’ through actions like performing undersea pooja, flying on aircraft and visiting Pakistan and China borders while neglecting the urgent issues faced by farmers, including loan waiver for agrarian and export and import policies. The grand old party’s ally Nationalist Congress Party (SP) supremo Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut joined the former Congress president in his yatra.

I&B Ministry blocks 18 OTT platforms and associated social media accounts for publishing vulgar content

The Information & Broadcasting Ministry has blocked 18 OTT platforms on the charge of publishing obscene and vulgar content. The 19 websites, 10 apps and 57 social media handles associated with these platforms have also been blocked nationwide. Among the blocked OTT platforms are Dreams Films, Voovi, Yessma, Uncut Adda, Tri Flicks, X Prime, Neon X VIP, Besharams, Hunters, Rabbit, Xtramood, Nuefliks, MoodX, Mojflix, Hot Shots VIP, Fugi, Chikooflix, and Prime Play. The Ministry said a significant portion of the content hosted on these platforms was found to be obscene, vulgar, and portrayed women in a demeaning manner.

Notification for granting pension to women issued in Himachal Pradesh

Facing criticism for not honouring a poll promise of giving ₹1,500 per month to women in the age bracket of 18 to 59 years, the Himachal Pradesh government issued a notification for granting pension under the Indira Gandhi Pyari Behna Sukh Samman Nidhi Yojana. On March 4, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu announced that the State government will give ₹1,500 per month to women and said a sum of ₹800 crore would be spent on the initiative, benefitting more than five lakh women annually.

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