Have written to Kerala's Law Minister P.Rajeeve to consider enacting an anti-discrimination law, as promised in both our parties' manifestoes, that could be a model for the country: thehindu.com/news/national/…
India is one of the few democracies without a robust anti-discrimination law. I had introduced the Anti-Discrimination & Equality Bill, 2016, in the LS. Regrettably it was not considered by the GoI. It is clear that a State should take the first step in enacting such a law.
This can re-ignite the discourse on the need for a national legislation against discrimination, while also setting up strong frameworks in the states. A central Bill cannot, at any rate, cover subjects that are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the state government.
1. W/reference to allegations circulated publicly recently by a member of the ParliamentaryCommittee on IT relating to the #ManipulatedMedia issue, this is to clarify that, given theCmt's inability to meet in current circumstances, it communicates w/Ministries in writing as reqd.
2. On the subject of the Ministry of IT's contacts with @Twitter on #ManipulatedMedia, the Committee Secretariat wrote to MEITY by email on 4 & 25 May & received a detailed & comprehensive reply dated 26 May, which is being circulated to all Members for their information.
@Twitter 3. The Committee are already examining the subject 'Safeguarding citizens' rights& prevention of misuse of social/online media platforms" which relates to this issue. It is therefore well within the Cmt's mandate to seek a clarification on this matter from the Ministry concerned.
I am sure many friends have donated to various organisations& charitable bodies to help people cope with this #covidcrisis. But it’s been particularly satisfying to contribute to #sosiyc whose efficiency has been matched by their courage & initiative. 👏their work. #IStandWithIYC
Had an excellent, lengthy& detailed discussion from my sickbed with @collectortvpm@navjotk28 on the situation in Thiruvananthapuram, based on the reports i receive daily from my constituency. #Covid is still at peak levels of 4000 cases a day & over 40,000 active, 3x last year.
@collectortvpm@navjotk28 With a strict lockdown proving more effective this week, she is hopeful that cases will come down in 10-12 days. We discussed the vaccination situation & the shortage of oxygen concentrators in our local hospitals. The need to build up capacity for the long term is also evident.
@collectortvpm@navjotk28 Took the opportunity to raise concerns about severe sea inundation& coastal erosion affecting the fishing villages of Valiyathura, Pozhiyoor&Paruthiyoor. Granite boulders are urgently needed to prevent strong waves washing away the homes of poor fisherfolk. Was assured of action.
1. There's understandable anger in India over the US Seventh Fleet sailing near Lakshadweep in waters that are part of our exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However, there is nothing in UNCLOS (the Law of the Sea) that supports India’s stand on freedom of navigation through the EEZ.
2. So the Americans are essentially doing near Lakshadweep exactly what they are insisting on doing in & through the South China Sea under the same Freedom of Navigation principle (FoNoPs). The US can be accused of not respecting our sensibilities but not of breaking int'nl law.
3. Some ask why the US has done to India what it hasn't done to Canada/UK/Australia etc by exercising FoNoPs through their EEZs. Since those are treaty allies, they have consultation agreements already in place with the US. India not, & is unlikely to ever be, an ally.
1. I have got hold of an advance copy of @BarackObama's #APromisedLand & though i haven't read every page, I did read every bit on India flagged in the Index. Big news: There isn't much. Bigger news: in 902 pages, @narendramodi is not mentioned by name at all.
2. Huge praise for Dr ManMohan Singh who is warmly described as "wise, thoughtful, &scrupulously honest", "a man of uncommon wisdom& decency" with whom he enjoyed "a warm & productive relationship" though MMS was "cautious in foreign policy". His regard & respect shine through.
3. "More than anything, though, my fascination with India had to do with Mahatma Gandhi. Along with Lincoln, King, &Mandela, Gandhi had profoundly influenced my thinking."
But he worries about "impulses of violence, greed, corruption, nationalism, racism,& religious intolerance".
Should such reputable companies be financing hate through ads on RepulsiveTV?: Raymonds, MuthootGroup, Jio, MaxBupa, Kent, AirIndia, Star Health Insurance, Nissan, Dabur, Mahindra, Amazon, Samsung, Sony, Maruti, Nerolac, Toyota. Can they find the moral courage to be like Parle?
These are no better since they pay for news on TimesNow: Cadbury, Toyota, Hyundai, Nerolac, Birla Group, Amul, Skoda, Mercedes, Ceat, Samsung, Bluestar, HDFC, Sony, TCS. They "fund the toxicity, the hatred and bigotry, which our news channels spew 24x7": avayshukla.blogspot.com/2020/10/trps-c…
Shouldn't corporates have the "same moral & social duties as individuals, to condemn immoral ideology, to abjure hate &communalism, to not incite one community against another, to distinguish between the truth & falsehood?" asks AvayShukla: avayshukla.blogspot.com/2020/10/trps-c…
ShriRam is not the property of BJP. He is the ideal man whose image is deeply etched in the hearts&minds of millions. Gandhiji always sang his hymns& died w/"Hei Ram" on his lips. He talked about a RamRajya where all would live in peace&prosperity. Can't let His name be hijacked!
The universal appeal of Ram & SanatanDharma cannot be commandeered by those who chant either hymns or slogans. He belongs to all humanity. For Hindutva, Ram is a God to be worshipped; for Gandhiji Ram represented ideal qualities that every person should practise &seek to emulate.
Let's be clear: @INCIndia was NEVER opposed to the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, but to the criminal demolition of the BabriMasjid. In 1989, Rajiv Gandhiji allowed VHP to do shilanyas on non-disputed land nearby as an alternate site: online.wsj.com/public/resourc…
There is much to welcome in what we have seen of the #NewEducationPolicy2020 announced by @DrRPNishank. A number of suggestions made by some of us seem to have been taken into account. However,the question remains why this was not brought before Parliament first for discussion.
I've advocated revision of the 1986 National Education Policy since my days in MHRD, to bring it into the 21st century. I am glad the Modi Govt has finally grasped the nettle, even if it took them six years to do so. Challenge is to ensure aspiration is matched by implementation.
For instance, the goal of 6% of GDP to be spent on education was first articulated in 1948! Every Govt articulates this target& then comes up against its own Finance Ministry. In the last 6 years, ModiGovt expenditure in education has declined in real terms. How will it reach 6%?
1/3 Shocked to learn that Thiruvananthapuram MedicalCollege Police have registered a case against students for crowding at the entrance of StMary'sSchool, Pattom,on the day of #KEAM exam, alleging violation of #Covid19 protocols. They have demanded names& addresses. I'm outraged.
2/3 The student community &political leaders, including myself, had requested the Govt of Kerala to postpone this exam in the wake of the pandemic gripping the state. They unwisely went ahead,& several students who appeared for the exam have tested positive in the last 48 hours.
3/3 I condemn Govt's move to file police cases against those who were forced by Govt to appear for an avoidable exam, without allocating enough centres to prevent overcrowding. Govt is acting against the citizenry to cover up its own incompetence. I demand the cases be withdrawn.
This thread deals w/the unfortunate developments in & around Poonthura, a lovely fishing village that has become the centre of a #Covid19 controversy in Thiruvananthapuram district that erupted in a most unfortunate manner yesterday & earlier today.
I condemn the unpleasant incident that occurred yesterday at Poonthura against our selfless health workers,who are risking their own lives to save others. It is our responsibility as a society to protect them&provide them a safe working environment. What happened was regrettable.
It is equally wrong to discriminate against or isolate our fellow citizens in Poonthura, mostly fisherfolk who braved their lives to save many during the 2018 Kerala floods. We need to support them in order to help them cope with the stress& pressure of the current situation.
1/8 A scurrilous tweet by a BJP MOS, @VMBJP , accusing me of “lying” about donating 1 cr to the Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute for Medical Sciences in Thiruvananthapuram, prompts this detailed clarification. The grant was authorised on 30 March before GOI suspended MPLADS funds.
2/8: Given the institution's strong history of path-breaking innovation and the calibre of its scientists,I was confident that this would be successful & allocated this amount to the institute as the attachment shows.
3/8: Tweet3: Subsequently District admin (nodal agency for MPLAD distribution) &Institute admin requested me2give the same amount as funding against purchase. Why? Govt's own revised MPLAD guidelines did not allow support of development&so only purchase could be authorised.
Had a good conversation w/ @CMOKerala@vijayanPinarayi about a large number of complaints streaming in from students: university students being obliged to take exams despite major challenges,&schoolchildren asked to study online or byTV when many don't have basic facilities2do so
I have urged him to relax both sets of requirements during this unnatural #COVID19Pandemic period. Postponing exams & reducing the burden on schoolkids are essential even if it means truncating the following academic year. He has agreed to consider the issue sympathetically.
Also discussed w/CM the obstacles impeding repatriation flights of Keralites from Gulf countries. e.g.Requirement of Covid-free certificates from passengers is a problem for travellers from those countries which do not test asymptomatic people. Our Embassies are not equipped2test
GOI's draft Environment Impact Assessment notification makes it easier for businesses to obtain environmental clearances. It legitimises some actions that are currently categorised as violations, eg in construction. Streamlining regulation is OK, but damaging environment is not.
The draft notification reduces the frequency of compliance reports required from project owners from once every six months to once every year. Again, that's fine only if environmental safety is assured. Have experts been asked?
National Board for WildLife (NBWL) approved clearances for projects in 11 states through a virtual meeting, incl Nagpur-Mumbai superhighway (32,000+ trees to be chopped), Goa highway passing thru Mollem WildlifeSanctuary, coal-mining in DehingPatkai ElephantReserve in Assam, etc.
Coronavirus: India gets 'faulty' testing kits from China Isn't it time we MPs ask -- Did the Govt take away our MPLADS funds to pay for faulty testing kits from China? Who is responsible for wasting public money & putting public health at risk?
1/9 Been reading the comments on this issue on social media. This thread responds, disregarding the usual whataboutery & lame refs to "70 years of @INCIndia rule" (though i didn't know Vajpayeeji had joined our party: posthumously, seeing what's happened to BJP, he well might!)
2/9 "What can Modi do about it? Many other countries also had the same experience."
Yes, that's exactly the point. How smart is a government if it does not learn from the mistakes of other govts? Isn't it foolishness to make the same mistake at the cost of public health& money?
Centre's decision to cut salaries &pensions of MPs is welcome. It's a good way for us to show solidarity w/people suffering across the country. But the Ordinance ending MPLADS funds for 2 years &pooling them into a Consolidated Fund run by the CentralGovt is problematic: [contd.]
MPLADS is the only means for an MP to direct development resources to his constituency. An order to earmark all MPLAD spending for #COVID19 related measures would have been OK; I used mine to get urgently-needed #rapidtestkits & PPE to Thiruvananthapuram's health workers.[contd.]
MPLADS preserved the sense of direct responsibility for the well-being of constituents that is a hallmark of an Indian MP's work. Now the money will be allocated by the Centre &will follow the priorities&preferences of NewDelhi, rather than reflect 543 sets of local needs.[cntd.]
A number of you have been asking me to recommend a list of books to read during #Lockdown, in more detail than my brief interview with @IndiaToday did earlier this week. One of you, @MihirMisra_, sent requests through a friend for ten books! So here is a thread listing ten books:
1.The Mahabharata transcreated by P. Lal
A wonderfully racy, contemporary translation of the timeless epic, melding poetry and prose and full of contemporary idiom, Prof. Lal’s is unarguably the best and most readable one-volume version of the Mahabharata.
2.The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
The brilliant mind of the great nationalist sparkles in this evocation of the cultural, political and civilizational heritage of our nation.
Thanks @drharshvardhan for a comprehensive briefing to the LokSabha on India's preparedness for the coronavirus & measures undertaken so far. Here are the questions i was raising my hand to ask, but did not have a chance to: [thread follows]
(1) Can you assure the country that we are not underestimating the level of infection in India because of the shortage of diagnostic facilities? The only institute equipped to test for coronavirus is the NationalInstitute of Virology,Pune. How many samples can they test in a day?
(2) Are our existing quarantine practices up to date? It is disturbing that we are placing evacuees from affected countries in an ITBP camp inManesar: they are isolated from society but not from each other, w/common facilities incl dining. So 1 infected person can infect the rest
Don’t know whether to be flattered or amused to hear my name four times in the Prime Minister’s mellifluous speech. But I was not amused that he continued to tilt at the windmills of history &reduce a solemn Constitutional occasion into an occasion for a petty political speech.
He asked why those who defend the Constitution supported Article 370. I got up to reply that was because Article 370 was in the Constitution& respect for it was part of our respect for the Constitution (&the democratic processes it provides for which were disregarded on Art.370.)
For Modiji to take credit for the Constitutional Amendment settling the border w/Bangladesh is breathtakingly disingenuous —the only reason that @incIndia initiative was not implemented was BJP obstruction & opposition to it. To imply Congress was the obstacle is sheer gall.
[Thread] 1. Ok, have read the views of various people who disagree w/ my pair of tweets yesterday urging that protestors should not give a communal coloration to the #CAA_NRCProtests. Many argue that the fight IS about Islam, that Muslims are fighting for their identity in India
2. I also understand the primordial place of the Kalima in the Islamic faith. "La ilaha ilallah" is unexceptionable in itself. It's the context that matters here; the phrase ‘tera mera rishta la ilaha illallah’ tends to isolate the community from others whose rishta is to India.
3. How are nonMuslims to understand that in a protest about CAA-NRC, “tera mera rishta” refers to the individual’s relationship w/God?God shouldn’t come into this. BJP are gleefully circulating such videos onWA, telling Hindus “see what this fight’s about; which side are you on?"