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In face-off with Centre, Twitter moves Karnataka HC

Ashish Sinha

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Twitter Inc. on Tuesday moved a petition in the Karnataka High Court challenging Centre’s orders directing the social media platform to take down content critical of government policies. The social media giant’s move came after the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in June 2021 issued a last notice warning Twitter of penal action if the company failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code that the Ministry had issued in February last year.

The guidelines mandated all social media platforms, with more than 50 lakh users in the country, to appoint a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer and a nodal contact person. The ministry had given all social media platforms 90 days to comply with the guidelines. In the event of failure in compliance, protections provided to them under Section 79 of the IT Act would stand withdrawn, the ministry had warned. However, Twitter did not comply with the Centre’s notice.

The ministry had in January last year asked the U.S. micro-blogging site to block around 250 tweets and Twitter accounts that were making allegedly “fake, intimidatory and provocative tweets” against the government during farmers’ protest in Delhi, setting off a confrontation with blogging platform, even though the social media platform suspended over 500 accounts in February 2021. Twitter also took down accounts belonging to some BJP ministers and RSS leaders, which were restored following an uproar.

In its petition to the High Court seeking a judicial review of government order, Twitter has argued that in several cases, there were demands for entire accounts to be blocked, which were arbitrary. According to Twitter, several accounts might carry content posted by official handles of political parties and blocking of such information was a violation of the freedom of speech guaranteed to citizens using the platform. Reacting to Twitter moving the High Court challenging the Centre’s guidelines to tame social media, Union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Tuesday said, “Be it any company, in any sector, they should abide the laws of India. This is the responsibility of everyone to abide by the laws passed by the Parliament.” The minister said that the government will make social media accountable for its content. “Social media accountability has become a valid question globally. It is important to hold it accountable, which will first start with self-regulation, then industry regulation, followed by government regulation,” Vaishnaw added.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Tuesday the Union government has issued notification for the amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. Also on the card is setting up of a Grievances Appellate Committee for the resolution of grievances against officials. According to the draft proposals, the committee shall have to dispose of complaints within 30 days.

The Centre is gearing up to finalize the proposed amendments to the social media rules by July end, said government sources. According to Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the government is planning to put in place a mechanism for self-regulation to better address complaints with regard to social media use.

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Independence Day: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee joins dance and folk artistes

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Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hoisted the national flag in Kolkata on Monday. On the occasion of Independence Day, Banerjee also joined artistes during their performances.

Meanwhile, artistes across the eastern state were seen performing at the event where CM was seen first cheering and lauding the performances. Earlier, Banerjee also extended her wishes on the 76th Independence Day.

“On the completion of 75 years of Independence, India must awaken to the real essence of Independence. We must stay true to the vision of our forefathers and keep the aspirations of our future generations at heart. My heartfelt greetings to all my fellow citizens. Jai Hind!,” CM Banerjee tweeted.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign. He called upon the people of the country to join it. PM Modi said that the tricolor not only has three colors, but it is also a reflection of our commitment to the present, our past glory, and our dreams for the future.

However, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the government to celebrate 75 years of Independence. The national flag will be hoisted in every house of the country till 15th August.

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UK approved Modern vaccine targeting Omicron

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Omicron

The updated Moderna vaccine against COVID-19, which targets both the original form and the Omicron variant, was approved by the UK on Monday, making it the first nation to do so. The bivalent vaccination produced by US pharmaceutical company Moderna as a booster for adults has received approval from the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) authorised the vaccine for adult booster doses “after it was found to meet the UK regulator’s standards of safety, quality and efficacy” and to elicit a “strong immune response” against both strains, according to a statement.

Clinical study data that indicated the booster elicited “a significant immune response” against both Omicron (BA.1) and the original 2020 virus, according to the MHRA, were the basis for the agency’s approval.

The MHRA also highlighted a preliminary analysis in which it was discovered that the shot produced a strong immunological reaction against the two currently predominant Omicron offspring, BA.4 and BA.5.

MHRA chief executive June Raine said in a statement, “The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives.”

“What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armoury to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve.”

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Srinagar encounter update: Police Constable Sarfaraz Ahmad killed in J&K’s Srinagar

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Kashmir

Police Constable Sarfaraz Ahmad who succumbed to injuries during the encounter died on Monday. The encounter broke out in the Nowhatta area of Srinagar on Sunday.

Taking to Twitter Jammu and Kashmir police said, “Police personnel namely Ct Sarfaraz Ahmad R/O Batote Ramban who was injured yesterday during an anti-terrorist operation, succumbed to his injuries & attained #martyrdom. We pay rich #tributes to the #martyr for his supreme #sacrifice made in the line of duty. @JmuKmrPolice”

Earlier, the police officials seized the vehicle (scooter) used by two LeT terrorists and one AK-74 rifle, and two grenades.

“Vehicle (scooter) used by two #terrorists of #terror outfit LeT seized from the incident site. Besides, one Ak-74 rifle and two grenades have been recovered. Search still going on,” the Jammu and Kashmir police.

Meanwhile, the officials informed about Ahmad’s injuries during the combat. “In the ongoing encounter, one police personnel namely Constable Sarfaraz Ahmad, resident of Batote Rambon got injured. He was evacuated to the hospital for treatment. One terrorist also got injured. Search still going on. Further details shall follow,” the Jammu and Kashmir said.

However, further details are awaited.

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Children rejecting foreign toys reflect “AatmaNirbhar Bharat”

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Narendra Modi

On the 75th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech from the Red Fort’s ramparts, saying that even a 5-year-old child would not play with foreign toys, reflecting the spirit of independent India in him and the fact that “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” runs through his blood.

He said, “I want to salute the little children between 5 and 7 years of age. The nation’s consciousness has been awakened. I have heard from countless families that 5-7-year-old children tell their parents that they do not want to play with foreign toys. When a 5-year-old child makes such a resolution, it reflects the spirit of self-reliant India in him and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ runs through his veins.”

The PM also praised the Indian toy business in his monthly “Mann ki Baat” radio show in July, stating that exports had increased to Rs 2,600 crore from Rs 300-400 crore.

Last year, the prime minister urged people to be “vocal for local toys,” noting that India imports roughly 80% of toys, with millions of rupees flowing to foreign countries. He stressed the importance of changing this situation.

Modi had made a pitch for boosting the nation’s position in what he called the “Toyconomy,” or the economic aspects of the toys and gaming industry, noting that India’s share of the global toy market, which is estimated to be 100 billion dollars (over 7.5 lakh crore), is only about 1.5 billion dollars (over 11,000 crore).

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Celebrating India’s achievements at 75

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Statue of Unity

As India celebrates 75 years of Independence, India has channeled her civilizational strengths and cultural diversity into a brand new shared future, and opportunities for achievement, progress, and prosperity for its billion-plus citizens. Here is a list of what we have achieved since 15 August 1947.

Indian Premier League (IPL)

Indian Premier League (IPL) is an Indian professional T20 cricket league established in 2008. Lalit Modi proposed the idea of IPL and superheaded the IPL effort. It was founded by the Board of Control of Cricket in India in 2007. It is usually held between March and May of every year. In a high-profile ceremony in New Delhi, the first season was slated in 2008. The first season of IPL was won by Rajasthan Royals, captained by Shane Warne. To date, there have been fifteen seasons of the IPL tournament. Moreover, there are 10 teams they are; Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Gujarat Titans, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lucknow Super Giants, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Sunrisers Hyderabad. The teams representing different Indian cities compete against each other. IPL is the most-attended cricket league in the world which revolutionized the game.

Success of Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has become the best-performing real-time ecosystem in the world with nearly 6 billion transactions a month. According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, India’s digital economy could create $1 trillion in economic value in 2025. Earlier on 11 April 2016, NPCI conducted a pilot launch with 21 member banks by Dr. Raghuram G Rajan, Governor, RBI at Mumbai. On 25 August 2016 onwards Banks started to upload their UPI-enabled Apps on the Google Play store. These are the top seven UPI apps used in India; Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm, BHIM App, Amazon Pay, BHIMSBI Pay, and MobiKwik. Meanwhile, from 21 banks in April 2016, the total number of banks linked to the UPI platform as of Feb 2022 is 304.

Vaccination Drive of India

The ongoing COVID-19 vaccine drive in India rolled out the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive. The COVID-19 vaccination drive in India was started on 16 January 2021 across 3006 vaccine centers in all its states and union territories. The vaccination drive in India has been initiated with two types of vaccines: Covishield and Covaxin, being manufactured by Serum Institute of India Ltd. and Bharat Biotech International Ltd. On the first day itself, 1,65,714 people were vaccinated and were administered to a sanitation worker at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. As of now, 2,08,25,13,831 vaccines have been administrated to the people. Earlier, on 30 January 2020, India reported its first case of COVID-19 in Kerala.

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. The Mangalyaan was launched from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (Sriharikota Range SHAR), Andhra Pradesh. For the launch Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25 was used. Mangalyaan was the world’s cheapest mission to the red planet which cost just Rs 447.39 crore. “Unlike the Mars mission, which was a one-time project when cleared, the GSAT program envisages launching several more satellites. Therefore, the money saved from its launch is with Isro to be used for future satellites,” a senior official said. The spacecraft instruments which were used are Mars Color Camera, Lyman Alpha Photometer, Thermal Imaging Spectrometer, Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer, and Methane Sensors for Mars.

Statue of Unity

The Statue of Unity is the World’s Tallest Monument and is the most prolific creator in recent times. The Statue of Unity is dedicated to one of India’s founding fathers, and the country’s first Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with a height of 182 meters. It has been created as a tribute to the ‘Iron Man of India’. The Statue of Unity is divided into 5 zones out of which 3 are accessible to the general public. It can accommodate 200 visitors at a time and location at a height of 153 meters. It is located at Sardar Sarovar Dam, in Kevadia, Gujarat.

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Har Ghar Tiranga: 44 million Tiranga Selfies uploaded so far

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Har ghar tiranga

On the Har Ghar Tiranga website, nearly 44 million people have posted selfies with the Indian flag, and the government has changed the caller tunes on phones to urge more people to follow suit.

Culture ministry official stated, “Our aim is to run it throughout the day to promote the Har Ghar Tiranga movement and encourage people to upload selfies with the flag.”

The website reports so as of 11:59am, 44963700million selfies have been submitted, and the number is increasing every second, the official stated.

Additionally, the website has been pinned with more than 50 million digital flags.

Amit Shah, the home minister, as well as the cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma and the actors Amitabh Bachchan, Rajnikanth, and Anupam Kher have also posted selfies.

The union government has contracted with roughly 200 manufacturers, including small and medium-sized businesses and self-help organisations, to produce the flags in order to have them displayed in 200 million homes between August 13 and August 15 in honour of 75 years of independence.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially commenced the government’s 75-week countdown to the 75th anniversary of Independence from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 2021.

These events, which are spread over 28 States, 8 UTs, and more than 150 countries, are centred on 5 major themes that guide our commemorative and festive endeavours. (Freedom struggle, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]).

The movement, a ministry of culture initiative to commemorate “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations for India’s 75th year of independence, will help “deepen our bond with the national flag,” PM Modi said in a tweet

Taking to Twitter he wrote, “This year, when we are marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, let us strengthen the Har Ghar Tiranga Movement. Hoist the Tricolour or display it in your homes between 13th and 15th August. This movement will deepen our connect with the national flag,

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