QBullet: K’taka Crisis Worsens as MLAs Resign; Aadhaar Gets RS Nod

1. Karnataka Coalition Hangs by Thread, 2 More MLAs Exit

The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in Karnataka tottered on the brink of collapse on Monday, 8 July, after two independent legislators withdrew their support to the coalition and a suspended lawmaker confirmed that he would be quitting his position, adding to the woes of the ruling alliance stung by the resignation of 12 MLAs two days ago.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and top coalition leaders scrambled to save the government with multiple meetings through the day and announced that all 32 ministers had resigned in a bid to make room for some of the disgruntled leaders.

But the strategy appeared to have floundered with several rebel leaders, who shifted to a resort in Goa from Mumbai late on Monday evening, reiterating their commitment to quit the coalition.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Karnataka Crisis Worsens, Another Independent Resigns as Minister

2. Bill Allowing Voluntary Use of Aadhaar Gets Parliament Nod

Photo used for representation.

The Rajya Sabha on Monday, 8 July, passed the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which allows for voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity for consumers to open bank accounts and get mobile phone connections. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 4 July.

The bill also provide for a Rs 1 crore penalty and jail term for private entities violating provisions on Aadhaar data.

The amendments to the Aadhaar Act essentially re-allow private firms to use the biometric platforms for purposes of identity verification or “know-your-customer” requirements.

The Supreme Court, in its 2018 verdict, upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar with conditions. It struck down a part of Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that allowed private firms to use Aadhaar by way of a contract.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill Passed in Rajya Sabha

3. 29 Killed After Bus Falls off Yamuna Expressway into Drain; UP CM Orders Probe

Twenty-nine people died and 17 were injured after a bus fell into a drain on Yamuna Expressway in Agra on early Monday morning, 8 July.

The bus was travelling from Lucknow to Delhi and was registered to Awadh depot. While the cause of the accident is unknown, it is alleged that the driver fell asleep on the wheel causing the bus to steer away from the highway.

The accident occurred at around 4.15 am near Etmadpur in Agra. It is alleged that the bus drifted from the road, crossed a barricade and fell into the drain approximately 40 feet below.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: 29 Killed as Bus Falls Into Gorge off Yamuna Expressway in Agra

4. India Brands UN Rights Body’s J&K Report ‘False’

MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

India on Monday, 8 July, slammed the recent report issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) for its critical assessment of the situation in Jammu & Kashmir and called it “false and motivated”.

In a strongly worded statement, the ministry for external affairs said the report ignored the “core issue of cross-border terror” and went to the extent of labelling terror leaders like Masood Azhar and others as mere “armed groups”.

Making an official protest, India questioned the credibility of the UN body, which New Delhi said was “at variance with UNSC positions”. “India has registered a strong protest regarding the update with the OHCHR. The release has not only called into question the seriousness of OHCHR but also its alignment with the larger approach of the UN,” the MEA said.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: ‘False Narrative’: India Slams UN Rights Office Report on J&K

5. Govt’s Facial Recognition Plan Sparks Privacy Fears

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to procure Automated Facial Recognition Systems.

The National Crime Records Bureau has initiated the process of installing an automated facial recognition system (AFRS) that will help identify persons by matching digital images, photos and video feeds with an existing database, in a move that raises concerns over privacy.

According to the request for proposal document seeking open bids for an AFRS solution, the benefits include a robust system for identifying criminals, missing kids and persons, unidentified bodies and unknown persons.

However, the use of AFRS does raise issues of privacy and security and questions about how many agencies will access the system and what sort of safeguards are proposed.

The concern about potential misuse of the system for purposes other than criminal investigation and the legal framework governing its use has been highlighted by privacy and transparency activists.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Govt Planning Facial Recognition System; Raises Privacy Concerns

6. Pragya’s Motorcycle, Used in Malegaon Blast, Brought to Trial Court

BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur.

The LML Freedom motorcycle, allegedly used to plant explosives for a blast in Malegaon that killed six persons and injured 101 on 29 September 2008, made its first appearance before the trial court on Monday, 8 July.

Registered in the name of accused Pragya Singh Thakur, who is out on bail and has since been elected BJP MP from Bhopal, the motorcycle was found in a damaged condition at the blast site.

The witness, who had conducted the spot panchnama, identified two motorcycles — an LML Freedom and a Honda Unicorn — and five bicycles shown to him Monday as the same that he had seen at the blast site in 2008.

Part of the muddemal or articles which form evidence in a trial, the two motorcycles and five bicycles, seized from the blast site at Bhiku chowk in Malegaon, were examined by the Forensic Science Laboratory and later sent to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) which had investigated the case earlier.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Malegaon Case: NIA Court Rejects Pragya Thakur’s Exemption Plea 

7. Canada Permanent Residency for Indians up 51% in 2 Years

Photo used for representation.

Interest among the Indian diaspora, including those based in the US, to acquire permanent residency in Canada continues unabated. During 2018, almost 39,700 Indians obtained permanent residency in Canada under the Express Entry system, constituting 43 percent of the total figure.

Permanent residency is akin to a green card in the US.

Recently released statistics reveal that Canada had admitted more than 92,000 new permanent entry residents through its EE system last year, a 41 percent rise over 2017 when it had admitted nearly 65,500. In 2017, 40 percent, or over 26,300 people, were from India. The number of Indian citizens to be awarded permanent residency has increased by 51% over two years.

China slipped to No. 3 behind Nigeria with only about 5,800 people obtaining permanent residency.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Citizenship Bill: I Am an Indian Bengali from Assam & I Am Scared

8. Budget Blues Lead Markets to Worst Drop in Single Day This Year

File photo of Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai.

The stock markets took a heavy beating on Monday, 8 July, with the benchmark BSE Sensex plummeting 793 points, or two percent, its biggest single-day loss in 2019 so far, as a combination of Union Budget proposals and a global selloff triggered a selling spree.

While the fall in benchmark indices was broadly in line with other Asian peers, which slid on strong US jobs data, the central government’s move to tax share buybacks, raise tax on the super rich and hike minimum public shareholding in listed companies further disappointed domestic investors.

The Sensex plunged 907 points in the intra-day trade before closing at 38,720.57 points with a loss of 792.82 points, taking the total loss to 1,188 points after the Budget presentation. The broader Nifty of the NSE tanked 252.55 points, or 2.14 per cent, to close at 11,558.60 points.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Sensex Plummets 793 Points, Nifty Slumps Below 11,600 Mark

9. SC Help Sought to End Metro Phase-4 Logjam

File photo of Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. 

The Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (Epca) has sought the apex court’s “urgent” intervention to break the stalemate between the Centre and the Delhi government to resume work on the 104-kilometre Phase 4 of the Delhi Metro.

The Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Delhi government to come prepared with their responses by 12 July, when the matter will be heard next. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said it would pass an order in the matter as the “project cannot wait”.

The proposal was first submitted in 2014 and work was to begin by 2016. But there has been a longcontinuing stalemate in the discussions between the Union government and the Delhi governments on financial aspects of the project.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Don't delay Metro Phase IV any longer, Centre tells Delhi

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