Daily briefing: Govt bans wheat exports after new low output estimate; The hand of the Rajapaksas

The Big Story

A day after announcing that trade delegations were being sent to nine countries “for exploring possibilities of boosting wheat exports from India”, the government Saturday banned all shipments of the cereal with immediate effect. Export of all wheat, including high-protein durum and normal soft bread varieties, have been moved from “free” to the “prohibited” category.

We explain why the ban on wheat exports is a knee-jerk reactionhits farmers and dents policy credibility

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Leela Bai Chhagan Lal, 60, had worked as a laborer at a government farm and as a domestic help to feed her family after her husband died 16 years ago. Lal says she built her house in four attempts — “first, we had a plastic roof, then we had wood (kelu), then we had tiles, finally a pucca roof”. A PMAY-U beneficiary, she received Rs 2.5 lakh during 2017-18 towards the construction of her house. She has now put the single-storey house for sale after a mob vandalised and damaged it in the violence that erupted during the Ram Navami procession in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone.

From the Front Page

The CBI booked seven people in two separate FIRs after conducting searches at seven locations across Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Jodhpur in a suspected case of betting and match-fixing in the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). According to the CBI, at least one module of the betting syndicate was in touch with a person from Pakistan, identified as Waqas Malik.

In a move that took everyone by surprise, the BJP got Biplab Kumar Deb to resign as Chief Minister of Tripura where elections are due early next year. Hours later, the legislature party elected state party president Manik Saha, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, as the new Leader of the House. Video clips showed a minister attempting to hurl a chair at one of the BJP leaders from Delhi who had come as observers for the legislature party meeting. At least one MLA who was upset over the turn of events said more MLAs will speak out against the party’s decision in the coming days.

Must Read

The day after Rahul Bhat was fatally shot by militants in J&K’s Budgam districts, none of the residents of a Kashmiri Pandit colony in Sheikhpora went to work. Neither did their children attend school, other than those who had exams. Their anger is palpable. “We have reached the end of our tether,” one resident, a government school teacher, said. The demand is unanimously: “If the government cannot provide us a safe environment, it should move us to where we feel safe.” For most, that location is Jammu.

Former Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s dream run has finally come to an ignominious end, that too, a week ahead of the 13th anniversary of the military defeat of the LTTE, the well-spring of his popular appeal for over a decade. But is this the end of the Rajapaksa political dynasty? The question is still wide open. But for now, amid widespread protests against the government which quickly turned into arson and killings, the political establishment was jolted into action to fill a vacuum that had existed since mid-March. Now President Gotabaya remains the only Rajapaksa in office, while Ranil Wickremesinghe has replaced his brother as PM.

P Chidambaram writes on the findings of the National Family Health Survey-5 and why they matter: “The big, breaking, bad news is that a little more than one-half of India’s population did not complete 10 years of school education — 59 per cent of women and 49. 8 per cent of men. This means that, after 75 years of Independence, one-half of the population cannot be engaged in jobs and businesses of the 21st century that require higher education, advanced technology and superior skills.”

And finally

The history of Hindustani music is replete with instances of experimentation that have shaped its course. It has evolved due to the creative impulse of numerous path-breakers. Santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharmaa recipient of several awards including the Padma Vibhushan, was one such path-breaker who encountered challenges in his efforts at establishing the santoor as an instrument for solo recitals at a time when the sitter and the sarod reigned supreme.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G and Rachel Philipose