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QBullet: Rs 25K Cr to Revive Housing; SC Raps States for Pollution

Catch all the top headlines of the day here.

Published
India
6 min read
The government on 6 November approved setting up of a Rs 25,000 crore bailout fund to finance 1,600 stalled housing projects.
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1. Rs 25,000 Cr Fund to Revive 1,600 Projects With 4.6 Lakh Houses

The government on Wednesday, 6 November, cleared a fund with an initial corpus of Rs 25,000 crore to revive up to 4.6 lakh housing units in 1,600 projects with “positive net worth”, including those that have been classified by banks as non-performing assets or are facing insolvency resolution action.

While announcing the move, which was approved by the Union Cabinet, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman indicated there may be some relief for those who have defaulted on repayment of their home loan EMIs in the stalled projects across the country. The Reserve Bank of India is expected to announce the details for regularisation of accounts through a clarificatory circular, providing relief to several loan defaulters who had booked houses in projects that can now be taken up for revival.

(Source: The Times of India)

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2. Refrain in Ayodhya: No Celebrations, No Matter Which Way Verdict Goes

A view of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in October 1990.
A view of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in October 1990.
(Photo: PTI)

With the Supreme Court verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case expected any day now, Ayodhya is a sea of khaki. There are policemen every few steps on the road leading to the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site and the Hanuman Garhi temple — at the corner kirana store, outside the crumbling temple in the Ramkot area, in buses and cars, on motorcycles.

But people walk past the policemen and groups of personnel of the Rapid Action Force in their camouflage blue, largely unmindful of their presence.

(Source: The Indian Express)

3. You’re Letting People Die: SC to States on Pollution

The deteriorating air quality in Delhi. 
The deteriorating air quality in Delhi. 
(Photo: AP)

The Supreme Court took the Union government and the administrations of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to task on Wednesday, 6 November, for failing to stop the problem of farm fires, ordering officials to immediately offer cash incentives as well as foot the cost of hiring machines that can take care of crop residue for farmers with small and medium landholding.

The judges were hearing a suo motu matter – an issue they themselves took up -- three days after one of the worst spells of smog choked the capital with near-record levels of pollution. Most of it was due to smoke from farm fires, exacerbated by weather conditions.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

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4. Court Denies Bail to 6 Elgar Case Activists

(L-R) Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson
(L-R) Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson
(Photo: File/Altered by The Quint)

The bail petitions of six of the nine activists arrested in the Elgar Parishad case were rejected on Wednesday, 6 November, with special UAPA judge SR Navandar holding that the material brought on record by the prosecution showed that they were not passive but active members of a banned organisation and we're working towards achieving the objectives of the outfit.

“This is against democracy,” the judge said, rejecting the pleas of Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, P Varavara Rao, Mahesh Raut and Shoma Sen.

Nine activists have been arrested for their alleged links to the CPI (Maoist) which, Pune police claim, supported and funded the Elgar Parishad in the city on 31 December 2017. Police claim alleged inflammatory speeches at the Parishad had contributed to the 1 January 2018 caste clashes at Koregaon Bhima.

(Source: The Times of India)

5. To Curb Stubble Burning, SC for Cash Incentive to Farmers

A farmer burns his the stubble left behind after harvesting crops.
A farmer burns his the stubble left behind after harvesting crops.
(Photo: Reuters)

Lashing out at the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and UP for not doing enough to prevent stubble burning, which has contributed to Delhi’s pollution crisis, the Supreme Court on Wednesday, 6 November, asked the three states to pay Rs 100 per quintal of crop, within seven days, as incentive to paddy farmers who have not burnt stubble on their fields.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta also asked the states to provide machines that help deal with crop residue to “small and marginal” farmers free of cost, for now.

When Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh submitted that state was under “great fiscal stress” and unable to incentivise farmers, Justice Mishra said: “Then you have to vacate. If you can’t provide funds, you have no right to rule.”

(Source: The Indian Express)

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6. Black Coats Strike Back, City Courts in Lockdown

Lawyers in the six Delhi district courts boycotted work for the third day in a row on Wednesday, 6 November, prevented litigants from entering some of the premises, and staged demonstrations, including two ostensible suicide attempts, as members of the police force returned to work a day after staging an unprecedented protest outside their own headquarters.

The Bar Council of India (BCI) came down hard on the police, saying the protest on Tuesday seemed to be “politically motivated”, termed it the “darkest day in the history of independence”, and demanded the arrest of police officers involved in Saturday’s Tis Hazari clash within a week.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

7. Day 14: BJP to Call on Guv, Uddhav to Meet Sena MLAs

With the term of the previous state assembly set to end on Saturday, 9 November, the yet unreconciled allies BJP and Shiv Sena have announced independent moves for Thursday. While Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has summoned his party’s newly elected 56 MLAs for talks at his residence, Matoshree, in Bandra, senior BJP ministers Chandrakant Patil and Sudhir Mungantiwar will meet Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and stake the party’s claim to form the government.

The BJP’s plan to go ahead with the swearing-in of Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister and his council of ministers, minus the Sena, will expedite political developments in the state in the next few days, observers said.

(Source: The Times of India)

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8. Justice Srikrishna Warns: We May Slide Into Orwellian State, Big Brother Snooping

Justice BN Srikrishna.
Justice BN Srikrishna.
(Photo: The Quint)

In first remarks on the alleged surveillance of phones of Indian rights activists and journalists by operators using Israeli spyware Pegasus via WhatsApp, Justice (retd) BN Srikrishna, who chaired the committee of experts on data protection, said: “I am extremely alarmed. If the reports are true, we may be sliding into an Orwellian State with Big Brother snooping on us, as depicted in the novel 1984.”

Asked what the system should do to ensure that such surveillance does not happen illegally, Justice Srikrishna told The Indian Express: “Generate strong public opinion against what you see as a clear onslaught on democratic and Constitutional rights of citizens.”

(Source: The Indian Express)

9. In a First, Centre May Allow Machines for NREGS Work

Labourers work on a dried lake it under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act on the outskirts of Hyderabad. 
Labourers work on a dried lake it under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act on the outskirts of Hyderabad. 
(Photo: Reuters)

The Union government may allow the use of machines in work done under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS); a move that would mark the first relaxation of rules in the flagship job creation programme. According to two senior officials familiar with the matter, a proposal in this regard by three states, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, is under “active consideration”.

The officials, who asked not to be named, added that even if machines were allowed for selective use in certain work under the scheme, which guarantees 100 days of unskilled manual work a year to at least one member of every rural household, the wages of the workers would not be affected.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

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