The new year is a month-and-two-days old. Ever wondered at what point the new year becomes old year? Like toddlers become children, who can be in their tweens and teens, before they become adults and go through mid-life crises, after which they are declared old. Why compare human life with years? JLT.
We thought about the new year because we were thinking about the old year. The year 2020. We thought about the old year because Oxford Languages named aatmanirbharta as the Hindi word of the year 2020. Talking of Hindi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee got on to proving how well she knows the language and while she was at it, she also tried to prove how well she knew Gujarati and Punjabi. Banerjee also danced during a mass wedding ceremony because how can an Indian wedding happen without naach-gaana?
What about khana? Speaking at a rally, Banerjee also informed the audience that she asked for halwa at gurdwaras. She got it and ate it. What should you do with that information? Make halwa out of it.
The Delhi Police is making boundaries out of barricades. To firm up the boundary walls at Delhi’s borders, concertina wires and concrete are being used too to ensure protesting farmers do not enter the capital. The Opposition, meanwhile, walked out of Rajya Sabha. Having walked out, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut met farmer leader Rakesh Tikait at the Ghaziabad border.
Why was Raut not in Rajya Sabha? Opposition parties said they want a discussion on the farmers' protest before a discussion on anything else. Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu said Lok Sabha is discussing the President’s speech after which the Rajya Sabha will discuss it after which the protests can be discussed. So, the opposition said, we are walking out.
Is coronavirus on its way out too? In the 24 hours ending today morning, only 8,635 Covid-19 cases were registered from across the country. This is said to be the lowest single-day rise in eight months. If you are planning to let the guard down, look at UAE. After nearly beating the virus, people in the region are getting increasingly beaten at the hands of the virus. Restrictions that had been lifted have been reimposed. Moral of the story: It is not over till it is over. So keep the mask on and soap and sanitiser handy.
Talking of the sanitiser, did you hear about the negligence from Maharashtra’s Yavatmal? As many as 12 children there were given sanitisers instead of polio drops mistakenly. All 12 were admitted to hospital and are stable. The incident happened at a village 700 kms from Mumbai.
Eight years ago, 114 children landed in hospital after being given do boond of Hepatitis B vaccines instead of pulse polio drops. Hepatitis B vaccine is given through injections, the polio vaccine as drops. So, someone thought the Hepatitis B vaccine was actually polio vaccine and gave children the drops that took them to hospital. The incident happened at a village in Hooghly district in West Bengal. The children were all discharged eventually but six health officials were suspended for negligence.
Health, we told you yesterday, got a whooping Rs 2.34 lakh crore outlay in the Union Budget 2021-22 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. What we did not tell you yesterday (we will tell you today) was that Sitharaman has introduced a new cess on petrol, diesel and gold. Budget 2021 has proposed an Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess of Rs 2.5 per litre on petrol and Rs 4 per litre on diesel. Now, we all know that prices of petrol and diesel could hit Rs 100 soon. We also know Rs 100 is just a psychological barrier. The prices and consumer patience have already broken several barriers. The agriculture cess, however, may not add to the price of petrol and diesel. As in, it will get added but its effect will be met by a similar reduction on the Basic Excise Duty and Special Additional Excise Duty. If you pass on all the burden to the consumer, the consumer can pass on her vote to someone else. When that happens you can’t blame the consumer but the consumer can blame you.
Loss of vote can’t be made up for by the acquired blame even though reduction in basic excise and additional excise can make up for addition in agricultural cess. What is cess? The Word Of The Day. Also, cess is tax. It is a tax charged over and above the base tax liability of a taxpayer. A cess is usually imposed additionally when a government wants to raise funds for specific purposes like agriculture cess aims to promote technological innovations in agriculture.
To ensure gender parity and end to racial discrimination, Google will be paying USD 3 million - that's Rs 21,90,00,000. Google had to loosen its purse strings after it came to light that female employees in software engineering positions at its facilities in Mountain View, and in Seattle and Kirkland, Washington, were being paid less than their male counterparts. The pay disparity extended to Asians. Disparities always exist and so do the efforts to overcome the disparities.
We went to the US to talk about Google paying up the money because we face similar disparities in India too. What else happened in India? An attack on the vehicle of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal in Punjab’s Jalalabad. Badal was not injured, but SAD claimed that SAD workers received bullet injuries. Even though the party is not SAD about the incident, it is angry and has blamed Congress for the attack. Badal’s vehicle was attacked while he was accompanying party candidates on their way to file their nomination for the February 14 municipal corporation elections.
The attack on Badal could be political, but who wanted to avenge Iqbal and what for? People in Pakistan are asking the question after a statute of Iqbal, which doesn’t resemble Iqbal, came up.
Let’s leave Pakistan to Pakistan and Iqbal to his statue. Let’s talk food. Are you still indulging in winter delicacies or has guilt hit you? All the best if your indulgence is on but if you are guilt-struck, we want to suggest you go for salads. You can totally begin with Apple Walnut Salad because you got to begin somewhere.
We want to end here because what begins also needs to end.
We will begin again tomorrow.
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