8. A discount on India’s oil bill?
8. A discount on India’s oil bill?
  • Saudi Arabia has cut the price for oil sales to Asia and the US for shipments to be made in October. That’s a sign that the world’s biggest exporter doesn’t see demand for oil increasing anytime soon.
  • The cut is likely to impact pricing decisions of other West Asian suppliers, including Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.
  • West Asian oil accounted for 71.5% of India’s oil imports in July, its highest share in over two years. India’s crude oil imports, however, fell for the fourth straight month in July to the lowest in over a decade as fuel demand slowed amid lockdowns.
  • India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, meets over 80% of its oil needs through imports.

President Kovind, PM Modi to address governors’ conference; Maharashtra, Kerala, Telangana assembly session to begin; Metro rail services to start in several cities; LJP meet to decide whether to contest against ally JD(U) in Bihar polls; Nirav Modi extradition trial to resume in UK court

1. Are India’s ‘developed states’ also the most literate?
  • Which state has a higher literacy rate — Andhra Pradesh or Bihar, Telangana or Assam, Karnataka or Uttarakhand? If you picked the southern state each time, you were wrong and by a considerable margin.
    chart (7)
  • Data from a report on education released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) reveals these counter-intuitive truths and shows that, at least when it comes to literacy, notions of “developed states” can be misleading. The data is for 2017-18 and is for all aged 7 or more.
  • Not all preconceptions are wrong though. Kerala remains by some distance the best among the major states with a literacy rate of 96.2%.
  • Read about the gender skew in literacy and more here
2. Waiting for refund of lockdown flight tickets?
2. Waiting for refund of lockdown flight tickets?
  • India’s aviation regulator has told the Supreme Court that airlines and travel agents should immediately refund passengers their monies if they had booked tickets during the lockdown (March 25-April 14) for travel between March 25 and May 3. For tickets booked after April 14, the airlines and travel agents will get a 15-day window to refund
  • However, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also said that “if on account of financial distress, the airlines are not able to do so, then they shall provide a credit shell equal to the amount of fare collected. This credit shell shall be issued in the name of the passenger who has booked the ticket.”
  • The credit shells will be valid for travel till March 31, 2021 on any route of the passenger’s choice. Passengers can transfer the credit shell to others too. The DGCA said the ticket amount in the credit shell shall grow by 0.5% till June 30 and thereafter by 0.75% per month till the passenger utilises it.
  • Refund issues made for 87% of passenger complaints the aviation regulator received in July, up from 17% in May. More details here
3. India sees deadliest Covid week as fresh cases cross 94,000
3. India sees deadliest Covid week as fresh cases cross 94,000
  • With 94,107 fresh infections recorded on Sunday, India achieved another grim record of daily new cases, capping the deadliest week of the pandemic. There were 5.8 lakh fresh cases in the week gone by (Aug 31-Sep 6), which was a 13% rise in new infections, as compared to the week before (Aug 24-30).
  • With this, India is now the second worst affected Covid-19 country after the US, having overtaken Brazil, with the total number of cases at almost 42 lakh — with Brazil adding between 30,000-40,000 new cases on an average, on a daily basis.
  • This was the second consecutive week of a 13% increase in weekly new cases after the first two weeks of August saw the weekly new cases increase by 4%-6% only. No other country has seen this kind of surge in weekly fresh cases, which, incidentally, coincides with a sharp rise in testing, with over 10 lakh samples being tested daily.
  • Deaths across the country in the past week crossed the 7,000-mark for the first time, to 7,050 — on an average, the virus claimed over 1,000 lives every day. However, deaths rose by just 1.7% over the previous week, as opposed to nearly 4% growth last week.
4. IPL schedule announced
4. IPL schedule announced
  • The 13th and the longest edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) — spread over 53 days — will kickstart with the opening match between defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on September 19 in Abu Dhabi, according to the schedule announced on Sunday.
  • This is the third time the two-month long cricketing extravaganza is being held outside India — the first time was in 2009, when it was held in South Africa and then in 2014, when it was partly held in India and partly in the UAE.
  • While on both the previous occasions, the reason was the Lok Sabha elections, this time, it’s the Covid-19 pandemic which has also led to it being held so late in the year. In fact, 13 members of the CSK squad had tested positive for the novel coronavirus which also led to two of its team members — Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh — withdrawing from the tournament.
  • There will be 56 matches in the league stages, played in Dubai (24 matches), Abu Dhabi (20 matches) and Sharjah (12 matches). The dates and the venues for the playoffs and the final will be announced later — though reports suggest it will be on a weekday, which will be a first.
  • The entire tournament will be held in a bio-secure bubble, which will not only entail limiting who the players interact with on a daily basis, but also defining the physical perimeter for each franchise, protocols for movement from hotel to stadium and vice versa plus adhering to all Covid-19 related compliances.

Full schedule here

6. A stabbing spree in UK
6. A stabbing spree in UK
  • One person was killed and seven injured — two of them seriously — in what has been described as a “major incident” by the police in UK’s Birmingham after multiple stabbings early on Sunday morning. According to the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson, “it was almost inevitable” that violence should have occurred as people had “a lot of the pent-up feelings” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • According to eye-witnesses, there were “multiple people having fist fights”. However, the police added that stabbing victims “appear to have been chosen at random” and that there was “absolutely no suggestion at all” that the incident was indicative of either terrorism, a hate crime or gang violence. Police said they are looking for a male suspect in connection with the stabbings that occurred over a two hour period from 12:30 and to 2:30 am local time.
  • In the last one year, stabbings have increased in Britain, with knife crime in England and Wales seeing a 6% increase in the year ended March 31, as per the UK’s Office for National Statistics. The latest round of stabbings comes close on the heels of a similar incident in Glasgow on June 26, which left six people, including a cop, injured.
7. Seer whose case created legal history is no more
7. Seer whose case created legal history is no more
  • Kesavananda Bharati, on whose petition the Supreme Court delivered the landmark judgement on the celebrated doctrine of basic structure of the Constitution, died in Kerala on Sunday.
  • The case in which Bharati had challenged Kerala Land Reform laws (after some parcels of land of the Edaneer Mutt were acquired under it) nearly four decades ago set the principle that the Supreme Court is the guardian of the basic structure of the Constitution. The verdict involved 13 judges, the largest bench ever to sit in the apex court.
  • While the seer did not get the relief he wanted, the case became significant for its landmark judgment which clipped the widest power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and simultaneously gave judiciary the authority to review any amendment. More details here
9. How Trump plans to solve his US history problem
9. How Trump plans to solve his US history problem
  • US President Donald Trump warned on Sunday that the US federal government will investigate and could defund states that taught history that his support base has issues with, after a supporter brought to his attention that California has implemented the 1619 project into the public schools, and “soon you won’t recognise America.”
  • The 1619 Project is a Pulitzer Prize-winning multi-media project developed by The New York Times Magazine to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies, with the goal of reframing American history around slavery.
  • Trump has signalled his intention to sanitise American history, getting rid of critical elements in the national chronicles and education syllabus that acknowledge issues such as slavery, racism and white privilege which he and his supporters say denigrates and undermines the country.
  • Last week, the US administration instructed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity training that addresses such topics, calling them “divisive, anti-American propaganda.”
  • Trump followed it up by retweeting a report from the right-wing Breitbart News celebrating the President’s “purge” of the critical race theory from federal agencies. More details here
10. Before the official investigation…
10. Before the official investigation...
  • The media came in for criticism on Sunday for the mobbing of actor Rhea Chakraborty. The actor was seen being heckled and pushed by the media as she made her way to the Narcotics Control Bureau office in Mumbai, escorted by Mumbai Police.
  • “In the name of justice these people have lynched a human being off her right to live even before proven guilty,” said actor Taapsee Pannu. Swara Bhasker said this was the “lowest” the country had stooped to. Dia Mirza called the media’s behaviour “reprehensible”.
  • In Bihar, the BJP has started a poster campaign seeking “justice” for Sushant Singh Rajput. Almost every political party in the poll-bound state had joined the chorus for a CBI probe as Sushant belonged to the dominant Rajput caste. “The Rajputs have influence in about 40 constituencies and there are 19 legislators from the caste in the present assembly,” a Congress leader told Times of India.
Uddhav Thackeray. The Maharashtra Chief Minister received end of two phone calls made by a man claiming to be an aide of terror-accused Dawood Ibrahim, which were made to his residence ‘Matoshree’, following which security was stepped up. Thackeray, who has never contested any election, is the second chief of Shiv Sena, founded in 1966 by his father Bal Thackeray with the family’s surname being modified from Thakre to Thackeray after William Makepeace Thackeray, the noted novelist born in Kolkata.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Sumil Sudhakaran, Tejeesh N.S. Behl; Research: Rajesh Sharma