What is it? The cost of over 1.6 million voter verifiable paper audit trail machines, funds for which the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has asked the government to release urgently.
Why is it important? Amid clamour by opposition parties for reverting to paper ballot for transparency and tamper-proofing, the CEC has reiterated the urgency to order the paper trail machines to fortify the voting process. The machines let voters see a slip for seven seconds with the symbol of the party they just voted for on electronic voting machines, ratifying whether the correct vote has been recorded or not. The wait for funds had begun since June 2014, and over 11 reminders have been given to the government.
What is it? The number of major airports—Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad—put on high alert after an emailed tip-off on Saturday about imminent hijackings.
Why is it important? The security at these airports was increased overnight on Sunday through to Monday. Passengers have been going through double screenings and checks. Anti-hijacking briefings and an airport security committee meeting were held for stakeholders and staff at these airports. The level of security was raised to that of Independence Day.
Tell me more: Quick action teams, of the Central Industrial Security Force, which was overseeing the security, were also deployed. The email said the sender had overheard a group of men planning to hijack planes at these airports. Cyber police has been deployed to track the sender.
What is it? The investment South Korean Kia Motors is expected to make in Andhra Pradesh.
Why is it important? One of the largest FDIs, the investment is expected to be around Rs10,300 crore in two phases. The company, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motors, will also be a feather in Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s cap, competing for India’s FDI pie (one of the largest FDI recipients) with neighbouring Telangana and other states.
Tell me more: An official announcement is yet to come from Kia.
What is it? Reservation in educational institutions and government jobs in Telangana for those Muslims who are economically backward, according to a bill passed by the Telangana assembly on Sunday.
Why is it important? Chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao had promised to do so in his poll campaign. By increasing the reservation to 12% from the existing 4%, it has exceeded the Supreme Court’s 50% ceiling. 62% of the seats in education and government jobs are reserved for various categories. The only opposition to the bill came from five Bharatiya Janata Party members in the assembly who termed it unconstitutional. They were later suspended for disrupting the proceedings. Rao said it was reservation based on economic backwardness, and not religion.
Tell me more: The bill, the Telangana backward classes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes (reservation of seats in educational institutions and of appointments or posts in services under the state) bill, 2017, also increased reservation to scheduled tribes from 6% to 10% .
What is it? The number of cities in the US that held protests against president Donald Trump, demanding that he release his tax returns.
Why is it important? Breaking a long tradition, Trump declined to release his tax returns while running for presidency. He hasn’t done that after assuming his office. Besides, his business ties have raised questions about conflicts of interest and it remains a contentious issue.
Tell me more: The protests turned violent at Berkeley, California, leading to arrests of over 20 people, underlining the polarisation taking place in the US.
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