Daily NEWS Summary | 25-07-2021; John Brittas, a member of Rajya Sabha, petitioned the Supreme Court for a court-supervised investigation into allegations of espionage by activists, politicians, journalists and constitutional officials using Israeli Pegasus spyware.
- The MP said that the government’s response in the House to the accusations was “elusive.” Brittas, a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), said the allegations pointed to a “critical invasion of privacy.” In reality, it was a “cyberattack” against citizens. He called Pegasus a “weapon” used to “hack” private smartphones in order to have a chilling effect on free speech.
- So far, the MP said the only response from the government was a statement from Electronics and Information Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to Rajya Sabha that “the processes tested in our country are well established to ensure that ‘no unauthorized follow-up occurs.”
- Brittas asked the court if the statement meant whether the surveillance was authorized by the government. If so, the deputy asked, were they following the procedures of the Indian Telegraph Act, the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, Article 92 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Telegraph Rules for the ” lawful interception “by the government?
- On the other hand, if Pegasus were an unauthorized espionage exercise mounted by a foreign power, it would amount to an act of external aggression. The deputy said the most confusing factor so far was the lack of a clear response from the government.
- The MP told the Supreme Court that Pegasus was a “slap on privacy”, declared by the court as a fundamental right inextricably linked to the right to life and dignity.
- The hacking of the telephones of the judiciary and of a Supreme Court staff member who accused a former Chief Justice of India of sexual harassment reportedly showed “strong interference in the administration of justice.” “It is unprecedented and shocking,” said the deputy.
- Wiretaps by a former member of the Electoral Commission show that “the foundations of democracy and free and fair elections are also shaking.” The accusation that several members of the opposition have been spied on undermines democracy. “The opposition is an inevitable part of democracy,” the petition said.
- The allegation that even “senior CBI officials” were observed through Pegasus showed that “either the government does not trust its own investigators or some external agencies gain access to the agency’s highly confidential data.” “The most important investigation”. It is a threat to the independence of the central investigative agencies … “
Daily NEWS Summary | 25-07-2021; The Center owes more than Rs 147 million to various print media in payment for government advertisements, according to a recent response to a Right to Information Survey (RTI) by law student Aniket Gaurav.
- In fact, there are more than 76,000 unpaid print campaign invoices pending with the Department of Publicity and Visual Advertising (DAVP), the oldest of which dates from 2004.
- For electronic media, the unpaid amount was 67 crore, while the unpaid bills for outdoor advertising amounted to almost 18 crore.
- Gaurav, a freshman law student at the University of Meerut, said he submitted the research because she was concerned about the number of newspapers closing.
- “As a reader, I think the main reason for closing a newspaper would be loss of revenue. Since government ads are a big chunk of revenue, I thought you should know if the government pays for its ads on time and which departments have unpaid bills, ”he said. “I was surprised to find that there are ads that have not been paid for for 17 years.”
- RTI’s response from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting provided data on unpaid bills owed by central ministries to DAVP, which in turn pays the media to run advertising campaigns. The top honors for the print media come from the Ministry of Defense, which has 12,271 unpaid bills worth more than Rs 16 million, followed by the Finance Ministry, with 6,668 unpaid bills worth Rs 13 million.
- The information is current as of June 21, 2021. “The date of the oldest pending payment / invoice linked to pending advertising campaigns with DAVP is 04/08/2004”, the ministry’s response specifies.
- Regarding electronic media, the ministry said that a full list of the number of overdue invoices was not available, nor were there any records regarding the date of invoices.
- However, the information available regarding outstanding payments to electronic media indicated that more than 67 million rupees have not yet been paid to television channels, with the Department of Road and Highway Transport being responsible for the unpaid bills plus big.
- For context, the total outstanding amount of 147,147 crore is higher than the 118 crore “commitment” made by the government to all newspapers in 2020-21, as well as the ₹ 65 crore actually paid as an “expense” for print advertisements campaigns during the same period, based on data available on the DAVP website.
Regional parties set to form national front for 2024 Lok Sabha elections: Sukhbir Singh Badal
Daily NEWS Summary | 25-07-2021; Regional parties are expected to unite and form a national front to face the BJP in the 2024 elections in Lok Sabha, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chairman Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Sunday, saying the story of his party with the saffron party was over.
- Stressing that farmers’ issues are at the heart of SAD’s ideology, Badal said his party can never engage in it and thus broke its decades-long alliance with the BJP and withdrew from the Central government. for the three controversial farmers. laws.
- In September last year, Badal’s wife Harsimrat Kaur resigned her post as Union Minister in protest against the laws.
- The protesting farmers claim that these laws will end the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big business.
- More than ten rounds of talks with the government, which has presented the laws as major agricultural reforms, have failed to break the deadlock between the two sides.
- Speaking about SAD’s new alliance with the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj (BSP) party, Badal said the alliance between the two parties is permanent and Akali Dal’s story with the BJP is over.
- Regarding the party’s future course of action, Badal said the SAD is talking to various regional parties so that they can all join a platform ahead of the 2024 general election.
Rahul Gandhi questions the pace of the Covid-19 vaccination
Daily NEWS Summary | 25-07-2021; On the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his monthly radio show, Mann Ki Baat, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi questioned the timing of the Covid-19 vaccination.
- The congressi leader also released a video highlighting the low vaccination rate and media reports of people unable to get vaccinated across the country.
- One chart pointed out that the required vaccination rate is 93 lakh per day, but the actual average number of vaccinations per day in the past seven days is 36 lakh per day, which is a daily deficit of 56 lakh per day.
- He also noted that the actual vaccinations in the 24 hours prior to July 24 were 23 lakh, a shortfall of nearly 70 lakh per day.
On Friday, the congress leader also posed a written question to Parliament on whether the government can vaccinate all adult Indians by December 2021.
The government responded that it hopes to vaccinate Indians over 18 by now. December, although there may not be a fixed schedule.
A day later, Gandhi tweeted: “People’s lives are at stake. GOI does not support a timeline. Classic case of # WhereAreVaccines column missing.”
Covid Updates: The number of reported coronavirus cases in India stood at 3,143,342 at the time of this report, with the death toll at 4,20,895.