1. According to unreleased data from the first urban Socio Economic Caste Census, 35% of the urban poor fall below the poverty line.
2. The Central Bureau of Investigation has urged the special task force in the Vyapam case to file charge sheets for all cases where the probe has been completed.
3. Net neutrality may have been upheld by a high level government committee but some of its recommendations have consumers worried. Domestic calls through application like Viber, WhatsApp and Skype may no longer be free.
The Big Story: Please keep droning on
Temperatures on the Line of Control are running high after the Pakistan military claimed it had shot down an Indian "spy drone" on Wednesday. The incident crowned days of ceasefire violations on the LoC and the International Border in Jammu, in which both sides suffered casualties. In Pakistan, the Indian envoy was summoned to hear a "strong protest over airspace violation". In India, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said the drone appeared to be of Chinese make, the kind that was available "off the shelf". He also said that India was committed to peace but warned of an "effective and forceful" response to continued ceasefire violations and cross border terrorism. Just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Pakistan counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, at Ufa, the tenuous detente seems endangered.
The Ufa detente was particularly important because it follows a tense year in bilateral ties. Things started well, with Sharif attending Modi's swearing in last May, but took a turn for the worse when bilateral talks were called off because the Pakistan high commissioner in Delhi met Kashmiri separatist leaders just ahead of the engagement. The low intensity sparring continued as Pakistan Army Chief Raheel Sharif called Kashmir the "unfinished agenda of Partition" and India denounced Pakistan's "occupation" of Gilgit-Baltistan. But at Ufa, the two leaders seemed to tackle the elephants in the room. They agreed to restart the peace process, find a framework to resolve the Kashmir and cooperate on the 26/11 trials.
This process must continue. The ceasefire agreement on the LoC, which complete 12 years this November, has seen a number of violations over the past decade. Despite the flaring of tensions on the LoC, the civilian leaderships of India and Pakistan have managed to keep up an engagement, however strained at times. Bilateral ties in trade and travel were deepened, which might have acted as a shock absorber for reverses on the frontier. The engagement did not break completely in 2013, when the killing and mutilation of Indian soldiers on the LoC triggered some cringe-worthy jingoism and baying for blood. It cannot be allowed to break now.
The Big Scroll: Scroll.in on the day's biggest story
"Pakistan border controversy shines spotlight on India's expanding drone programme"
Politicking and Policying
1. The Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs has given the go by for the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, a six-lane highway to take the pressure of Delhi's roads.
2. In 1946, Rajab Ali Lakhani and Vasant Rao Hegishte became icons of communal harmony in Gujarat as they gave up their lives fighting off rioters during the annual rath yatra. But Lakhani's family, targeted in later riots, turned Hindu and left for the US.
3. The Enforcement Directorate has charged a man who belongs to Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Hurriyat Conference with terror funding.
1. P Vaidyanathan Iyer in the Indian Express writes about how special packages from the Centre to states, like the one announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Jammu and Kashmir, undermine the idea of cooperative federalism.
2. As the US pardons a large number of prisoners, there are lessons that India could take away from it, writes RK Raghavan in the Hindu.
3. In the Business Standard, Jaimini Bhagwati takes stock of the effects of "excessive and prolonged" reservations in India.
Dhirendra K. Jha on Amit Shah, the master tactician of the BJP:
"The collapse of the internal decision-making institutions is altogether new to the BJP. No previous party president, not even the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which wields great control over the party, had ever tried to tamper with the institutional structures."
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