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Video courtesy Headlines Today
By Ishan Kukreti
Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal and its Lt. Governor, Najeeb Jung are at daggers drawn over the issue of statehood for Delhi. The issue is as dear to Kejriwal as center’s reluctance over the same.
The two sides stand firm on their stand and there is reason enough, both overt and covert, for them to be so. The need to address the question of statehood for Delhi, given its size, population and governance, is inevitable. However, the ramifications of the same are mind-boggling.
According to the Constitution
Article 239 of the Constitution of India states –
“The President may appoint the Governor of a State as the administrator of an adjoining Union territory, and where a Governor is so appointed, he shall exercise his functions as such administrator independently of his Council of Ministers.”
Delhi being a Union Territory comes under the same Article. The Lt. Governor is the main administrator of Delhi. However, the 1991 Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCT) Act by the Parliament gave Delhi a quasi-state status with a Legislative Assembly.
Lt. Governor remains the main authority nonetheless, with the CM with the council of minister acting as an advisory body.
Legislative Assembly of Delhi has the power to legislate over 26 state and 47 concurrent list subjects, barring issues relating to
1. Public Order
Arvind Kejriwal’s demand
The demand for Delhi’s recognition as a full-fledged state by Aam Aadmi Party holds water as the present status of National Capital makes it neither center’s nor state’s.
As law and order are not under the state government, maintaining public order becomes a nuisance. In fact, during 1984 riots the Delhi government was unable to control the violence as the headless central machinery had fallen to disarray.
At the end of the day, Delhi has to be run by the state government which without an accountable police force lacks a prominent tenet of a modern state and the means to execute its will. When push comes to shove, the government can only resort to a dharna. However the practicality of that move too is doubtful. Kejriwal’s Northern Block dharna as Delhi’s CM demanding the suspension of four police officers, on charges of non performance of duty, being the case in point.
Apart from Law and Order, land is another important issue. Development work in Delhi is carried out by Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which, again, is under the center. This means, to fulfill his promise to slum dwellers of permanent houses, Arvind Kejriwal will have to go through DDA and the central government, increasing red tape and even chances of corruption.
Similar fate will await AAP as and when it tries to build towers for free WiFi.
Central government’s reluctance to make Delhi a state, like any other, is mainly because Delhi is the national capital of India. The city-state houses the national Parliament, Supreme Court, central government offices among others. Making Delhi a state would bring the center under the state government, which is an absurd situation, to say the least.
Delhi is not just the seat of the national government, but also the center of international diplomacy which houses embassies and is frequented by international envoys. This puts the proposition of granting statehood to Delhi in the soup.
Moreover, Delhi with an annual budget allotment of 40,000 crores, out of which only two thirds is raised by it, survives on the finances of nation as a whole. This makes all states have an equal claim over it.
A simple fact that is missed amidst the deafening political clamor and passion for a state specific sort of patriotism for ‘Statehood for Delhi’ is the practicality and profitability of the move for the people of Delhi.
Being the national capital, Delhi gets major financial inputs from the center right now apart from subsidies. Absence of this financial support would increase the burden on the state government and subsequently on the people. Delhi Metro, many stadiums and public places are being run by the central government right now. Bearing the complete burden of theses will prove difficult for the state government.
Chintan Raghuvanshi, Assistant Commissioner, IRS says, “One of the benefits to the people once Delhi becomes a state will be through Delhi’s ability to ask for better deals from the center and a larger share of centrally collected taxes. However with Delhi being a major economic center, the new state government will also be in a position to levy new taxes on top of the already existent ones.”
A full-fledged statehood for Delhi would mean bifurcating the state in two; Delhi, the national capital and Delhi, the state. It would entail division of the total governmental apparatus, including the police, government offices etc. Plus, Delhi as a state, would lose its special status that it enjoys as the national capital right now.
Considering the pros and cons of the issue, readjusting Delhi’s status should include a smaller national capital region and a state region of Delhi, somewhat along the lines of Vatican City or City of London.
Police should be under the state government to facilitate its functioning, while a centralized force can serve the national capitol. Similar changes should be made to the functioning of DDA.
Given the current situation, statehood for Delhi, for all practical and political reasons, is a distant dream. However, recent developments have unleashed forces that can turn this dream into a waking reality requiring an objective and practicality driven discourse on the issue unspoiled petty politics.
Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.
According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: crypto wallets, BadgerDAO, decentralised finance, Blockchain, 120 million, crypto tokens, Hackers)
A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."
Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.
Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Rajasthan, December 9, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, film stars, celebrities, Bollywood, Katrina-Vicky)
The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)