A speeding car suddenly overturned near Linga on the #Chhindwara – #Nagpur highway passing through #MadhyaPradesh, causing minor injuries to the occupants. In the video it is seen that the car suddenly became uncontrollable due to rain water on the road & left the straight road. pic.twitter.com/pwHiC0OHBh
Serena Williams delayed her farewell to tennis on an electrifying opening night at the US Open on Monday as the sporting icon battled to victory in front of a star-studded crowd.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner – who earlier this month signalled she plans to retire from tennis after the tournament – drew on all of her experience to down lowly ranked Montenegrin opponent Danka Kovinic 6-3, 6-3.
A galaxy of celebrities ranging from Hollywood stars, fashion icons and former presidents were out in force at Flushing Meadows’ Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch could have been Williams final appearance in a Grand Slam singles match.
But the 40-year-old ensured that her legions of fans will have at least one more chance to savor her talents as she dug out victory despite an error-strewn display.
“I feel so comfortable on this court and in front of everyone here,” a jubilant Williams said after her victory.
“The crowd was crazy – they really helped pull me through. I was really pumped,” added Williams, who won the first of her Grand Slam titles in the same arena in 1999 as a 17-year-old prodigy.
Williams admitted that deciding to walk away from the sport after 27 years as a professional was “such a hard decision.”
“I think when you are passionate about something it is always hard to walk away,” she said. “I have been trying to decide what to do. I love this game.
“But I was just like ‘Alright, I think now’s the time’. I have a family, there’s other chapters in life. I call it evolution.”
Williams later refused to be definitive about her retirement however when asked if the US Open would be her last tournament, teasing the possibility that she may yet play on.
“I’ve been pretty vague about it, right?” she said. “I’m going to stay vague because you never know.”
A sell-out crowd of 23,500 had roared its appreciation for Williams as she strode into the arena wearing a striking sparkling bodice and black skirt comprised of six layers – one for every US Open title she has won.
The roll-call of A-listers on hand for the occasion included former US President Bill Clinton, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, tennis legend and Hollywood stars such as Hugh Jackman and Queen Latifah.
Williams acknowledged that leaving the spotlight – whenever that is – would be a wrench.
“The more tournaments I play, I feel like the more I can belong out there,” she said. “That’s a tough feeling to have, to leave knowing the more you do it, the more you can shine.”
In other women’s draw action on Monday, former world number one Simona Halep, seeded seventh, was the biggest casualty in the first round, crashing out 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 to Ukrainian qualifier Daria Snigur.
But there were no such problems for US teenager and 12th seed Coco Gauff, who cruised past France’s Leolia Jeanjean 6-2, 6-3.
Meanwhile the men’s draw got under way with a stunning upset for Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was bundled out by Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan 6-0, 6-1, 3-6, 7-5.
Earlier, Russia’s defending champion Daniil Medvedev routed Stefan Koslov of the United States in the top half of the draw.
The Russian comfortably dispatched world No.111 Kozlov 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in 2hrs 1min.
Medvedev, bidding to become the first man to defend the US crown since Roger Federer retained the title in 2008, faces France’s Arthur Rinderknech in the second round.
Britain’s Andy Murray, another veteran well into the twilight of his career, marked the 10th anniversary of his maiden Grand Slam win with a straight sets defeat of Argentinian 24th seed Francisco Cerundolo.
The 35-year-old Scot showed no signs of recent cramping problems in a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win, but admitted afterwards: “It felt like five sets.”
It was Murray’s first straight sets win at a Grand Slam event since 2017.
Elsewhere Monday, Wu Yibing claimed a piece of history in the men’s draw, becoming the first man from China to win a Grand Slam singles match since 1959.
But there was agony for China’s other player in the men’s draw, Zhang Zhizhen who squandered seven match points in a 3-6, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (11/9), 6-1, 6-4 defeat to Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal, chasing a fifth US Open crown and 23rd Grand Slam title overall, begins his campaign on Tuesday against Australia’s Rinky Hijikata.
US Open results on Monday (x denotes seed; players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries):
Men’s singles first round
Daniil Medvedev (x1) bt Stefan Kozlov (USA) 6-2, 6-4, 6-0
A Twitter whistleblower’s allegations that the Indian government forced the company to hire at least one individual who was a government agent and had access to user data should be taken seriously, warn experts in the technology and policy sectors.
Given the enormous access technology giants like Twitter have to user data, a leak to a state or a rogue actor can undermine organisations that the government finds inconvenient. It can also endanger the personal safety of users, especially those viewed as political dissidents or those who belong to minority groups, say experts.
The claims about the Indian government were made by former Twitter security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, according to a leaked disclosure reported by The Washington Post on August 23.
Amidst a host of other allegations about lax security at Twitter, Zatko said that the platform’s transparency reports did not “disclose to users that it was believed by the executive team that the Indian government had succeeded in placing agents on the company payroll”.
The disclosure added: “By knowingly permitting an Indian government agent direct unsupervised access to the company’s systems and user data, Twitter executives violated the company’s articulated commitments to its users.”
Other countries that were able to pressure Twitter to hire local full-time employees are Nigeria, which banned the platform in 2021, and Russia, Zatko alleged.
Zatko was hired by co-founder and former chief executive officer of Twitter Jack Dorsey in late 2020. A well-known hacker, Zatko has worked with both the US government and with the industry. At Twitter, he was tasked with improving the company’s security and protecting its user data.
“I joined Twitter because it’s a critical resource to the world,” he told The Washington Post. “All news seems to be either from Twitter or goes to Twitter for the colouring and context, and as such, it not only paints public opinion, it can change governments.”
But, said Zatko, the company’s inadequate security measures have resulted in hacks. Twitter was unable to protect sensitive user data and gave into demands by foreign powers that affected the national security of the US, he claimed.
Saudi Arabia provides an example of how private data could be misused. Earlier this month, two former Twitter employees were charged and one found guilty of spying on behalf of the kingdom.
The men had been offered cash and luxury goods in return for sharing personal information like birth dates, email addresses, and phone numbers of Twitter users – including critics of the Saudi Arabian government.
One of the implicated Twitter employees, an associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was able to access information of a prominent dissident Omar Abdulaziz. Abdulaziz was close to journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was assassinated in 2018.
Reactions in India to Zatko’s complaint have ranged from outrage to indifference. But security researchers emphasise that it is important for users to take note of his disclosures because the private data of activists, protestors and minorities might be at risk.
Can user data be exploited?
Security researcher Anand Venkatanaryanan said it may never be possible to understand the true extent of data collected by digital platforms.
According to Twitter, it collects the following information about its users:
Age and birth date
Browser type and mobile devices used to access Twitter
Login history and locations from which a user has accessed Twitter
Account creation details
Apps connected to an account
Accounts a user has muted or blocked
Data on a user’s interests is based on what kind of content and people they engage with.
Tweets that a user has posted and private messages they have sent or received.
However, Venkatanaryanan said that even Twitter does not know what kind of data it collects. “They collect some parts of the data themselves,” he said. “Rest of it is gathered by their ad engine, which collects data from hundreds of sources.”
Venkatanaryanan said it will be unclear which data is primary or secondary or tertiary. Additionally, platform algorithms generate “data on data”, he said. “So, you have no idea what data is being held about a particular person and in which database inside the company.”
Simply put, data extraction is not just limited to what users knowingly share. This data is added to the information gathered from a user’s contacts, people they engage with and their interests. Anyone with access to all the data Twitter collects would be able to create a “relationship graph” and map their life – their likes, dislikes, interests, habits, location, friends, family and much more. This would help them even monitor a user’s actions and movements.
“If I know your relationship graph, I know everything about you,” Venkatanaryanan said. “They are exceptionally powerful.” Such data, he said, would allow the government to “know exactly who to target to crumble a movement”.
These relationship graphs can be even better understood, he said, if there is insider access.
Zatko said that half of the company’s 7,000 employees have access to Twitter’s internal software, which allows them to look at sensitive user data. However, only hundreds of employees have access to “god mode”, which enables them to tap into the company’s core systems.
In India, experts say, a common response to news about the infringement of individual privacy is: “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”
But, as Prateek Waghre, policy director at the Internet Freedom Foundation, said, “It is not just about protecting yourself. Your information can be used in various ways, including making you financially vulnerable.” Waghre said those from the minority or LGBTQ+ community are at even greater risk.
According to Waghre, there are different levels of risk. “People who see themselves as low risk do not account for the fact that others may be at a higher risk,” he said. “It shows a lack of empathy.”
Waghre said such users underestimate the risk to themselves. “You never realise you can be scammed until you are scammed. It is a difficult mindset to get over.”
Mishi Choudhary, legal director at the Software Freedom Law Center, said that the more someone knows about a user, the more power they have over them. “Personal data is used to make a variety of decisions in and about our lives: jobs, government benefits, relationships, and insurance are just a few of them,” she said. “Personal data can be used to affect our reputations and shape our behavior.”
Twitter in India
On the face of it, a lot has changed in the relationship between Twitter India and the Bharatiya Janata Party government. In 2016, Twitter India published a blog applauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “transforming India” through its platform and “pioneering a new wave in digital governance”. But in July, Twitter sued the Indian government in the Karnataka High Court, challenging content takedown orders.
In its complaint, the platform alleged that between February 2021-’22, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asked it to take down 175 tweets and more than 1,400 accounts.
The notices and blocking orders under contention were sent under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, which allows the government to block public access to content in the interest of national security. But Twitter alleged that these orders do not fall under the ambit of this section of the legislation.
“Several of the URLs contain political and journalistic content,” the petition said. “Blocking of such information is a gross violation of the freedom of speech guaranteed to citizens – users of the platform.”
In February 2021, the Indian government asked Twitter to remove hundreds of accounts that had criticised its handling of the farmer protests against three new agriculture laws. When the company refused to act on its request, the government threatened prison time for some employees in India. Twitter later complied with the request.
Two months later, in April 2021, Twitter was asked to pull down accounts criticising the Indian government’s mismanagement of the deadly second wave of Covid-19. In May, after Twitter flagged some tweets by BJP leaders as “manipulated media”, indicating that they had been “deceptively altered or fabricated”, the Delhi police raided the company’s offices in Delhi and Gurgaon.
The latest Twitter transparency report (July and December 2021) reveals that:
India made the maximum number of demands of any country to remove tweets by verified handles of journalists and news outlets.
India accounted for 114 of the 326 legal demands Twitter received from across the world.
India made a total of 3,992 legal demands to remove content, putting it among the top 5 countries in the world to do so.
With 19% of the total, India came second in the number of government information requests during this reporting period. The US made the most.
On July 5, 2021, the government filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court arguing that Twitter had lost the immunity from legal action provided to online platforms because it had failed to comply with portions of the new IT rules, which were passed that year.
Alok Prasanna, co-founder of the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, said that Twitter’s case against the Indian government “is unlikely to have a good outcome” unless the Supreme Court looks at the Shreya Singhal case again.
In its judgement in the Shreya Singhal case in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that online intermediaries such as Twitter would only be obligated to remove content if they received an order from a court or government authority.
Choudhary of the Software Freedom Law Center, accused Twitter of playing all sides. “By filing a lawsuit in Karnataka, it can appease its users, ‘look here, we are fighting for your rights’.”
However, she added that she was certain that the platform “works very closely with the government as all companies do to accommodate their requests”. This cooperation should not be viewed just as business as usual. “Data is everything and is much more powerful than many other traditional businesses that the human race has seen thus far,” she said.
Can users protect themselves?
Waghre said that since Zatko’s disclosure showed that any potential leak or unauthorised access was internal, there is not much users can do to protect themselves. Prasanna, on the other hand, suggested that the best protection from such breaches of privacy is for users to delete their Twitter account.
Independent researcher Srinivas Kodali points out that many demands have been made in India and the US for Dorsey to encrypt Twitter direct messages.
Facebook was criticised for sharing with the Nebraska police private messages exchanged by a mother and daughter discussing how to obtain abortion pills in June, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision later that month overturning the right to abortion. The mother and daughter are now facing criminal charges.
Choudhary emphasised that data protection and security are two separate matters. “Users can do enough to be secure in their usage but what power does a citizen have against powerful tools like Pegasus or where our government insists on its agents being employed by private parties?” she asked.
Choudhary said there should be a demand for a strong law that can be implemented swiftly and effectively. “Without the right to privacy, there is no possibility of exercising any other rights,” she said.
On August 4, the government withdrew the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which had been discussed for nearly five years with multiple consultations, reviews and revisions. The Bill proposed restrictions on the use of the personal information of Indian citizens by companies such as Google, Meta (formerly Facebook) and Twitter without their explicit consent.
Requests for interviews to Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology of India, and Samiran Gupta, Twitter Head, Public Policy and Philanthropy, India and South Asia, went unanswered.
National Testing Agency (NTA) has started the online application correction window for the All India Ayush Post Graduate Entrance Examination (AIAPGET) 2022. Candidates can apply for the vacancies on the official website aiapget.nta.nic.in till August 31 upto 11.50 PM.
Corrections in the particulars in the Online Application Forms shall be accepted and submission of additional fee (depending on the changes made in the form) upto 11:50 pm. The candidates are requested to undertake the correction(s) very carefully as no further chance of correction will be provided to the candidates, reads the notification.
AIAPGET 2022 is held for admission to Postgraduate AYUSH Courses for the academic session 2022-23. The examination will be conducted by NTA in Computer Based Test (CBT) mode on behalf of Ministry of AYUSH with the approval of the Ministry of Education.
The exam will be held for 2 hours in two shifts — from 10.00 AM to 12.00 Noon (Ayurveda) and from 3.00 PM to 5.00 PM (Homeopathy, Siddha, Unani).
The stars in the sky are on the move, declares the title of Pa Ranjith’s latest film. So is the 39-year-old Tamil director, as is evident from Natchathiram Nagargiradhu.
Ranjith’s sixth feature expands on themes he has been exploring since his debut Attakathi as well as ventures into uncharted territory – the adventurous, limitless, but also fraught realm where political theory meets practical application.
Natchathiram Nagargiradhu is being released in theatres on August 31. Form is in lockstep with narrative concerns in a film that boldly sets out to reshape the orthodoxies of the love story. Ranjith’s resonant new movie focuses on a theatre troupe assembling to mount a play about so-called honour killings. At the heart of the film is a dialectical discourse on the challenges of love – for people, art, books, music and intellectual debate.
“I had been feeling the need to go inner for a while,” Ranjith told Scroll.in during a recent visit to Mumbai. “I have been exploring, as per my own understanding, politics through commercial cinema for a long time. But the new film is different. It is an experiment in bringing together dialogue, which is very prominent in my films, and craft.”
The film’s main traveller is Rene, a feisty young Dalit woman who has broken up with her boyfriend Iniyan after he uses a casteist slur during an argument. Rene (Dushara Vijayan) and Iniyan (Kalidas Jayaram) are members of the theatre group that is preparing for a new stage production in Pondicherry. This rainbow coalition of maverick dreamers, which includes a gay couple and a trans woman, is a microcosm of the shrinking island that is liberal India.
Rene and Iniyan are not alone in their struggle to keep their professional and personal lives apart. Arjun (Kalaiyarasan) brings to the rehearsals his prejudices about people most completely unlike him. He eventually transformed by his interactions with the other actors, particularly Rene.
Natchathiram Nagargiradhu maps the distance Ranjith has travelled in the decade since Attakathi, which followed a young man’s emotional entanglements. Since Attakathi, Ranjith has directed Madras, Kabali, Kaala and Sarpatta Parambarai – films that highlight the Dalit experience in ways that have arguably transformed Tamil cinema’s broader engagement with caste.
Ranjith’s interest in protest art has carried over to the films produced by his banner Neelam Productions, which include Pariyerum Perumal, Kuthiraivaal, Seththumaan and Writer. These films, as well as the band The Casteless Collective (formed by Ranjith and musician Tenma), openly dissect Indian social inequalities rather than couching them in coded language or vague formulations.
Even by Ranjith’s standards, Natchathiram Nagargiradhu is at a remove from his previous films. Although Ranjith had been involved with theatre as a student of fine arts in Chennai, his films have dealt with actual urban spaces – Mumbai’s Dharavi slum in Kaala, north Chennai in Sarpatta Parambarai – rather than the plastic zone of the stage, where art is created from scratch and recast afresh with every rehearsal.
Natchathiram Nagargiradhu was filmed at Pondicherry’s Indianostrum theatre. The character of Subier (Regin Rose), the director of the play in Natchathiram Nagargiradhu, was inspired by Indianostrum’s leading light Koumarane Valavane, Ranjith said. Valavane also played the lead role in Arun Karthick’s Tamil film Nasir, about communal tensions in Coimbatore.
Chandala, an Indianostrum production that interweaves honour killings with William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, was the subject of Pankaj Rishi Kumar’s award-winning documentary Janani and Juliet (2019). The cast of Natchathiram Nagargiradhu includes members of Indianostrum, Ranjith added.
Theatre, which sets store by the power of the spoken word, is an apt setting for Natchathiram Nagargiradhu, in which dazzling montages share the screen with polemical exchanges. Liberated by community spirit, the film’s characters furiously debate, discuss and agree to disagree, transforming themselves and others in the process.
The film is equally laden with metaphors and symbols, from Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting The Kiss to the writings of BR Ambedkar. At one level, Natchathiram Nagargiradhu can be seen as an allegory about the ongoing Indian experiment with democracy, where fierce resistance meets the attempt to move beyond the rigidity of socially prescribed identities. As Rene and Arjun realise, this tension is deeply personal, affecting the way we think, interact and pursue relationships.
Natchathiram Nagargiradhu also sets out to reclaim the music of legendary music composer Ilaiyaraaja, who has been co-opted by Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in its quest to create an alternate universe of celebrities. Tamil filmmakers routinely pay tribute to Ilaiyaraaja’s music from previous decades. Ranjith’s film converts Ilaiyaraaja nostalgia into a political act.
Ranjith has been nurturing the idea of making a love story that bucked convention since Kabali, released in 2016. He had been following news reports of inter-caste relationships, which were being pejoratively described by some political groups as “naataga kaadal”, or fake love, he said. Although Ranjith set aside his original script to complete Kabali and other projects, his thoughts kept returning to the changing contours of relationships.
By the time Ranjith revisited the script, other ideas had crept in, such as LGBTQI relationships. The device of using a play within a film presented Ranjith with the opportunity to create a “democratic, participatory space” in which people with differing views on love, art and politics could justifiably be herded together into the same room, he observed.
After completing Sarpatta Parambarai, which memorably revisits the boxing sub-culture of North Chennai, Ranjith contributed a chapter to the anthology film Victim – Who is Next? (released onSonyLIV in early August). “Because of that story, I got the confidence to further explore my visual sense,” Ranjith said. The film provides a succinct snapshot of exploitation and assertion, represented by a young Dalit girl who plays an important role in defusing an act of caste brutality.
Natchathiram Nagargiradhu too has a woman at the core of a loosely structured narrative. Dushara Vijayan turns out a brilliant performance as Rene, whose acute awareness of her Dalit identity encourages her to challenge her love for Iniyan and her feelings towards Arjun. Outspoken, sensitive and unapologetic about her divided self, Rene is easily among the most radical heroines on the screen in decades.
Kalaiyarasan, who has appeared in a few of Ranjith’s films and in his co-production Kuthiraivaal (directed by Manoj Leonel Jahson and Shyam Sunder), is equally compelling as Arjun. Kalaiyarasan’s transformation from reactionary to rebel is in keeping with the film’s romantic view of progressive politics.
While Natchathiram Nagargiradhu provides a sobering account of the challenges to artistic freedom – represented by a malevolent heckler – it’s also hopeful that wherever there is a willingness to think, question and debate, a more equitable world is possible.
“I want to give out positive energy – I believe in channelling my anger, polishing it and converting it into art,” Ranjith explained. Rather than stick to your corner of the room, it’s vital to come up with ways to meet in the middle, he said.
Some of the 173-minute film’s symbolic moments prove to be heavy-handed, just as some of the verbal run on for longer than they should.
“Symbols govern and design our lives,” Ranjith argued. “There are entire stories behind a person’s name, what he wears and what he eats. This is how we understand people. For instance, I could have decided against showing Rene reading a book on the Buddha. But this is a very important book that needs to be read. Will people seek out the book after the film? That’s the hope.”
When he began making films 10 years ago, this kind of explicit expression of political leanings and caste identity simply was not possible, he said.
“When I started out, there was hardly any platform or model for movies to talk about Dalit lives in the mainstream,” Ranjith said. “When I made Attakathi, there was a scene about Ambedkar that I couldn’t include because people would not have accepted it.”
Tamil cinema set in rural India, particularly films that looked at inter-caste couplings, ignored the granular experience of Dalit lives, he said. “At best, Dalits were characters or sub-characters, but not in leading roles.”
His own films are less interested in classic tales of discrimination and more in the negotiations between the layers of socially sanctioned hierarchies, he added. Natchathiram Nagargiradhu is imbued with this give-and-take, whether it’s in the trajectories of characters or Ranjith’s crafting of freewheeling sequences with unpredictable outcomes.
“I have come to the place where I can apply my language and express a certain kind of Dalit politics in the mainstream,” Ranjith said. “Films like Pariyerum Perumal were hits, proving that an audience has been created for such films. I now have the opportunity to work with big names.”
These names include Vikram, who will headline one of Ranjith’s upcoming films. Also in the pipeline is a web series spin-off from Sarpatta Parambarai and a biopic of Adivasi revolutionary Birsa Munda.
Framing a viewpoint: How ‘Sarpatta Parambarai’ created its ground-up view of heroism and assertion
The number of deaths due to suicides in India reached an all-time high in 2021, the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed.
Last year, 1.64 lakh persons died by suicide, an increase of 7.2% from 2020 when 1.53 lakh persons had killed themselves. In 2019, this figure was around 1.39 lakh, according to the data on accidental deaths and suicides released by the National Crime Records Bureau on Monday.
In 2021, the rate of suicide – the number of death due to suicides per one lakh population – stood at 12. This is the highest rate of deaths from suicides since 1967, the earliest year for which data is available, according to the Hindustan Times. Till now, the highest rate of suicide – 11.3 – was reported in the country was in 2010.
The highest number of suicides were reported in Maharashtra where 22,207 persons killed themselves in 2021. This was followed by Tamil Nadu at 18,925 suicide cases, Madhya Pradesh at 14,965, West Bengal at 13,500 and Karnataka at 13,056.
These five states together accounted for 50.4% of the total deaths by suicides in the country, according to the report.
Domestic problems and illnesses were reported as the major cause of death by suicide in the country last year. They accounted for 33.2% and 18.6% of total suicide cases.
In terms of profession, daily wage earners remained the largest group among suicide victims for the second successive year. At over 42,000 cases, one in four of the recorded 1,64,033 suicide victims in 2021 was a daily wage earner.
In 2020, too, daily wage earners accounted for the highest share of deaths by suicide – 37,666 out of 153,052. The data is significant as thousands of daily wage earners lost their livelihoods during the two pandemic years.
A total of 10,881 persons involved in the farming sector, including 5,563 agricultural labourers, also died due to suicides in 2021, according to the report.
“Housewives accounted for 51.5% of the total female victims [23,179 out of 45,026] and constitute nearly 14.1% of total victims who committed suicides [23,179 out of 1,64,033] during 2021,” the report noted.
In-form Ramji Kashyap’s all-round show and P Narsayya’s brilliant attack helped Chennai Quick Guns qualify for the playoffs with a 58-42 win over Mumbai Khiladis. Earlier, Avdhut Patil recorded the longest defence time of 6:08 minutes to help the Telugu Yoddhas to a 88-21 win over Gujarat Giants in inaugural Ultimate Kho Kho season at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune on Monday.
The Amit Patil-led Chennai Quick Guns became the third team to secure a playoff berth and the win also helped Telugu Yoddhas progress into the knockouts by ending Mumbai Khiladis’ hopes of a Last-4 place.
Odisha Juggernauts and Gujarat Giants have already entered the playoffs.
League’s top attacker and defender, Kashyap defended for over six minutes and also scored 11 points in the attack while he was supported by Narsayya who added 14 points for the winning team with his five dismissals, four of those coming on through dives.
For Mumbai Khiladis, Gajanan Shengal scored 11 points.
In the second match of the day, Telugu Yoddhas registered the biggest win of season with the score of 88-21, thanks to Patil’s impressive defence of six minutes and eight seconds. He, along with skipper Pratik Waikar, first scored eight points together and then alone added eight more bonus to the team’s tally. Telugu Yoddhas ended the first innings with a lead of 45 points at 53-8 score.
Having confirmed their spot in the playoffs already, Telugu Yoddhas continued to play aggressively as they eventually ended the match with a record margin of 67 points.
Prajwal KH scored 15 points in attack for the winning team.
On Tuesday, Mumbai Khiladis will face a challenge from Odisha Juggernauts, who are on a six-match unbeaten run. Chennai Quick Guns will take on Rajasthan in the second encounter of the day.
Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) has commenced the online registrations for Project Manager Main (Written) Competitive Examination 2020 today, August 30. Candidates who have been declared qualified in the Preliminary examination can apply for the Main exam on the official website bpsc.bih.nic.in till September 15, 2022.
The last date to send the application form alongwith all the required documents to the Commission’s office is September 21, 2022. Earlier, the main application window was scheduled to open on June 24 which was suspended due to server maintenance.
Since July 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s criticism of “revdi culture” – the distribution of sweets – has sparked a heated debate about the merits of good welfare measures and the drag to the economy caused by bad “freebies”.
The discussion has become even more intense with the Supreme Court hearing a public interest litigation against political parties promising social welfare benefits during election campaigns.
Opposition leaders and some economists have pushed back against the notion that welfare schemes are “freebies”. Many welfare schemes, they maintain, are essential for the public good despite the contention that such measures are fiscally irresponsible.
Some states, heavily burdened with high fiscal deficit and debt levels, have actually performed better on developmental outcomes and in ensuring better access equality to essential services for their populations.
States like Kerala, West Bengal have ensured efficient welfare-enhancing schemes that compliment centrally-sponsored schemes. This has helped their populations also do well and ensured high productivity for the nation as well.
Article 293 (3) (4) of the Constitution allows state governments to manage their debt and fiscal policies the way they want while being consistent with the recommendations of the Finance Commission. Despite this, a battle is brewing between the Centre and many states centered on the fiscal autonomy allowed to state governments under the Constitution.
Since health is listed as a state matter in the Indian Constitution, states are expected to incur a higher proportion of healthcare costs. Through the pandemic, most state budgets have been stretched thin. While the Centre did provide support for the direct procurement of vaccines, a lot of that help was too little too late.
During lockdown, when migrant workers and other vulnerable sections were grappling with a loss of income, states were offered liquidity support with the opportunity to borrow through the Reserve Bank of India or the Central government.
States such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Telangana – mainly those not ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party – have been sceptical of the Centre’s actions and have tried to avoid borrowing excessively to meet their increased expenses. (Read more on this from the recent exchange of letters between Kerala state finance minister and Union finance minister.)
The issue of state-accrued public debt needs to be seen in the context of each state’s fiscal situation and spending needs.
Limited revenue sources
In the chart below, the 10 selected states account for around half of the total revenue collected by all states and Union territories. For Haryana, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, tax revenues constitute about half of their total revenue collections. The major source of revenue for other states is Central transfers.
Within their own tax revenue, major sources are the state goods and services tax, state excise duties and sales tax. It also shows how most states are dependent on the Central government for funds.
According to the Reserve Bank of India, the own tax revenue of some of these 10 states – Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Kerala – has been declining over time, making them fiscally more vulnerable to debt exposure and risk.
For most of these states, non-tax revenue from sources such as returns on assets such as profits and rents, fees and fines has remained volatile, dropping significantly in recent years, as seen in the two charts below.
Declining own tax revenue and non-tax revenue hurts the states’ expenditure planning and increases their dependence on market borrowing.
Some states such as Rajasthan, West Bengal, Punjab, and Kerala spend around 90% of the revenue they collect. The Reserve Bank of India emphasises the need for these states to enhance capital spending or investment expenditure on areas such as infrastructure and power where the return on investment may allow states to accrue more revenues, while complementing this with other welfare-enhancing spending allocations.
But welfare-enhancing fiscal measures on areas such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee and human capital development spending on education and healthcare have their own multiplier effect in improving developmental outcomes.
For instance, improved healthcare – reducing maternal mortality, infant mortality or improving child nutritional performance – directly influence labour productivity in a state. Such enhancement in labour productivity help further the state’s Gross State Domestic Product Growth.
It also goes without saying that states do need to control their fiscal autonomy – as safeguarded by the Constitution – and spend money as they deem fit while being aware of their macroeconomic debt position, risk exposure, and other socio-economic realities.
How has this played out under the assertive Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Central government?
Pinaki Chakraborty of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, wrote in the Economic and Political Weekly in March that the fiscal challenges for the Union-states have eased but have not disappeared. There are many reasons for this.
The impact of the Ukraine conflict has been significant, as oil prices have shot up around the world.
But mainly, he notes, resources flow to the states in the form of Centrally sponsored schemes such as the rural employment guarantee scheme – under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act – the National Social Assistance Programme, Umbrella Programmes on the Development of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Minorities are still substantial.
The aggregate allocation under Centrally sponsored and Central sector schemes as per the 2022-’23 budget allocation is Rs 3.83 lakh crore. This is contributing to the Union government’s high revenue deficit. Since it binds states to make matching contributions, it also increases state-level deficits.
Welfare performance of states
The Access (In)Equality Index by the OP Jindal Global University’s Centre for New Economics Studies, with which I work, observed in 2021 how states like Delhi, despite its unique multi-party governance architecture, West Bengal, Kerala and even Goa and Sikkim, perform better than states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh in providing access to basic social and economic services.
Every state has different fiscal capabilities to meet the social and economic needs of its population. But the overall development priorities set by any state government – BJP or non-BJP-ruled – must be closely linked to welfare enhancing measures.
Based on the range of 0.67-0.23, states are grouped into three categories – Aspirants (below 0.33), Achievers (0.42-0.33) and Front Runners (above 0.42). Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh fall under aspirants, requiring sustained efforts to improve access to basic socio-economic opportunities across all identified pillars.
Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Tripura, West Bengal, Manipur and Meghalaya are categorised as Achievers. These states must sustain their efforts to advance to the next category.
Lastly, states such as Goa, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab,Mizoram and Karnataka are listed as Front Runners.
It is worth reiterating the link between state-debt levels and their Access InEquality Index performance for welfare-based comparison.
States like Kerala, Punjab and Telangana, despite their high public debt, have ensured better access to basic social and economic services and have done well consistently across most of the categories that were measured.
At the same time, states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, and Jharkhand – four of the five are BJP-ruled states – perform the lowest across most of the index pillars and are ranked the lowest in most access-measuring indicators.
In managing the swelling fiscal deficit and public debt levels, including of fiscally weak states, fiscal priorities and the composition of public expenditure must be more clearly understood. This is especially so due to the different constitutional assignment of functions for the Union and state governments. Most redistributive expenditures – critical for welfare outcomes – are in the domain of states.
Any contraction of such expenditure at the state level, due to the coercive actions of the Union government or due to high state-accrued public debt, can have adverse consequences, with a regression that can already be observed in state-level performance on access to basic services.
Welfare-driven expenditure needs are not part of “revdi politics” but about securing a government’s basic responsibility to its people and the larger citizenry.
State governments, irrespective of their party affiliation, need all the support they can get at this point to either borrow more freely under a mutually agreed fiscal roadmap for their development needs or be supported to manage their finances on their own, or borrow financed support offered by the Centre.
Fiscal cooperation and transparent functioning are vital for protecting a state’s fiscal space and enhancing macroeconomic stability. There is no room for arbitrary decision-making mechanisms nor partisan constitutional interpretations, which might trigger more direct confrontations between state governments and the Union Ministry of Finance.
Deepanshu Mohan is an Associate Professor of Economics and Director at the Centre for New Economics Studies, Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, OP Jindal Global University.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur will commence the online application process for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE 2023) today, August 30. Eligible candidates will be able to apply for the exam on the official website gate.iitkgp.ac.in till September 30th.
Applicants will be able to make changes to their application forms from November 4 to 11.
GATE 2023 is scheduled to be conducted on February 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th and the admit card will be made available to download from January 3 onwards. The exam will be conducted by IISc Bangalore and seven IITs (IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, IIT Roorkee), on behalf of the National Coordination Board – GATE, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education (MoE), Government of India (GoI).
The answer key will be available from February 21. Candidates will be able to submit suggestions from February 22 to 25. The result is likely to be released on March 16, 2023.
Regular Period (30th Aug to 30th Sept 2022)
During the Extended Period (1st Oct to 7th Oct 2022)
Female candidates (per paper)
SC / ST / PwD* category candidates (per paper)
All other candidates including foreign nationals (per paper)
Once registered, fill up the form, and pay the fee
Submit the form and take a printout
Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a national-level exam that primarily tests the comprehensive understanding of various undergraduate subjects in Engineering/ Technology/ Architecture/ Science/ Commerce/ Arts. GATE 2023 will be a computer-based test (CBT) which is being organized by the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.
For more details, candidates are advised to visit the official website here.