December 2, 2022
Good morning. Today’s newsletter will be a short one with no feature story as the team takes a breather. However, we do have the other sections. We look at the monument health card for protected monuments in Karnataka, among other news.
🕵️ BEYOND ECHO CHAMBERS
For the Right:
Castles in the air: Government’s projection of the PM’s importance on the world stage wasn’t quite shared by the US
For the Left:
India’s G20 agenda will be inclusive, decisive
🇮🇳 STATE OF THE STATES
Contentious bond policy (Haryana) – The state government announced modifications to its controversial bond policy. It reduced the mandatory period for MBBS graduates to serve the government to five years from seven and decreased the bond amount by 30% to ₹25 lakhs. A 10% relaxation has been proposed for women students. A spokesperson said this is an important decision to provide contractual government jobs to MBBS students within a year of graduating.
Why it matters: Protesting medical students rejected the changes. The bond policy is to utilise the services of doctors who have benefitted from subsidised medical education from government institutions. One representative of the protesting students said the bond amount should be reduced to ₹10 lakh and one year of service.
Monument health card (Karnataka) – The Bangalore Circle of the ASI is preparing a monument health card for the protected monuments in the state. It’ll create a database of all monuments within its jurisdiction. This year, the ASI will prepare a card for each monument containing detailed descriptions. It’ll include information like materials used, history, environment, and surroundings.
Why it matters: If the activity is done every year, it’ll help officials keep track of the yeat-to-year degradation of the monuments. Experts say documenting such information will help in restoring any damaged structures as they can redo the work using the same principles. The card will also help differentiate one monument from another and protect its integrity.
Maternal mortality rate (West Bengal) – West Bengal’s maternal mortality ratio is above 100 per 1 lakh births, compared to the national average of 97. Data from the Registrar General of India showed some improvement over time but still hasn’t reached the levels of the middle of the last decade. One health official said cesarean deliveries in the state are about 40% when it should be less than 20%.
Why it matters: Maternal mortality has been an issue for the state for some time now. Recently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised health officials for an increasing trend of referring patients, including pregnant women, to hospitals in Kolkata. She asked for a review of all referrals. Doctors said late referrals of critical cases are one reason, especially in rural areas.
Seizure of drugs and liquor (Gujarat) – In the run-up to the elections, there has been a fresh haul of drugs and liquor. It’s now 28 times that of what was seized in the 2017 elections. Officials raided a factory near Vadodara on Tuesday night and seized ₹478 crores worth of the recreational drug mephedrone. More than 4 lakh litres of liquor have also been seized. Since the model code of conduct came into force, the total amount of seizures is valued at more than ₹760 crores.
Why it matters: Last month, there was a meeting between the Election Commission and state DGPs, excise commissioners, and other senior officials of Gujarat and neighbouring states to review the law and order situation. Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar asked officials to check the cross-border movement of cash, liquor, and freebies.
New airport’s potential (Arunachal Pradesh) – The Doonyi Polo airport in the state could help boost its tourism sector. The airport was inaugurated in Itanagar on November 19. On social media, he stated it’ll facilitate more people to be able to visit the state and experience its hospitality. It has a 2,300-metre runway and is suitable for all-weather operations. It’ll soon have a solar power plant for future energy use.
Why it matters: It’s the first greenfield airport in the state built across 690 acres for more than ₹640 crores. It’ll help serve a population of 20 lakh, including those in the adjoining districts. There wasn’t an airport in the vicinity of Itanagar. The closest one is Lilabari which is 80 km away and in Assam and takes three hours by road.
🔢 KEY NUMBER
$100 billion – According to a World Bank report, India will maintain its lead as the top recipient of remittances from expat workers this year. It’s expected to rise 12% to $100 billion.