Daily Briefing: How Bihar’s tap water scheme was marked by political patronage; Foreign Secy says AUKUS won’t impact Quad

While it is considered a success on many counts, the implementation of the tap water scheme has also been marked by political patronage to a sweeping set of beneficiaries that corrodes Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s message of good governance.

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Only in the Express 

Bihar’s showpiece scheme to ensure drinking water for the poor through taps right at their homes is a success on many counts. But an investigation by The Indian Express has revealed the on-ground implementation of the scheme has also been marked by political patronage in the award of contracts. Top of the list are family members and aides of BJP legislature party leader and Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad who got projects worth over Rs 53 crore under the scheme.

From the Front Page 

In its first reaction to the Australia-UK-US (widely referred to as AUKUS) deal, India said the AUKUS is a “security alliance” and that it is not relevant since India is not a party to it. This comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit to attend the first in-person Quad leaders’ summit.  

A proposal by Pakistan to include a representative of the Taliban in the SAARC foreign ministers’ meeting was shot down by the remaining members, and a “lack of consensus” led to its cancellation. Pakistan was against the participation of representatives from the previous Ashraf Ghani regime. 

An operation to look for a group of militants who are believed to have infiltrated into Kashmir from across the border entered the third day in Uri on Tuesday. While some of the men are suspected to have turned back following exchange of gunfire, which left a soldier injured, a few could have got in.  The infiltration attempt, launched late on Saturday night, coincided with the fifth anniversary of a suicide attack on the Army’s brigade headquarters in Uri in north Kashmir. 

Radhey Shyam, the priest at a Delhi crematorium where a nine-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped and killed before being hurriedly cremated, had allegedly sexually assaulted her in the past, the police chargesheet filed in the case states. Shyam, 55, and three other employees — Kuldeep Singh, 63, Laxmi Narayan, 48, and Salim Ahmed, 49 — are under arrest in the case.

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“Our hands and legs are not tied…We are ensuring that there is space for women and their voices.” Despite being sacked as national vice-president of the Muslim Students Federation, (MSF) the student outfit of the IUML, for accusing the party’s leadership of trying to hush up allegations of sexual harassment, Fathima Thahiliya is determined to take the battle forward. Thahiliya was the face and voice of Haritha, the women’s wing of the MSF, which was disbanded last month. 

A 12-member National Steering Committee, headed by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan, was appointed by the government, to draft the document that will lay down broad guidelines for revising NCERT textbooks. The document, known as the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), was last prepared in 2005 under the UPA government, and before that, it was revised in 1975, 1988 and 2000.

At least 800 families, occupying about 4,500 bighas of land, in Assam’s Darrang district were evicted as part of the state government’s drive against “illegal encroachments”. Earlier, similar drives evicted 70 families in Hojai’s Lanka and 25 families in Sonitpur’s Jamugurihat in June. 

Retired soldier Talib Naik, a Sena Medal recipient, was amongst the Jammu and Kashmir residents whose premises were raided by the NIA in searches reportedly connected with the first-ever drone attack on a defence base earlier this year. The NIA is trying to find a link between a suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba plot to plant an IED in Jammu and the drone attack on the IAF station in the city a few hours later, on June 27.

And Finally 

Virat Kohli didn’t have the most promising start to the second phase of IPL 2021. During Royal Challengers Bengal’s opening game against Kolkata Knight Riders, he was dismissed for just five runs. We explain how Virat Kohli got out against KKR, and his long-standing lbw problem. 

Delhi Confidential: On Tuesday, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur met with Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, who is currently visiting India. According to government sources, the newly implemented Information Technology Rules were among the subjects that came up for discussion.

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we look at why the UK’s new travel rules are being viewed as discriminatory, the promises made by the new Punjab CM, and Kerala’s ‘narcotic jihad’ controversy.

Until tomorrow, 
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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