Daily Briefing: NFHS findings show drop in fertility rate; Ex-CM Sangma among 12 Congress MLAs set to join TMC in Meghalaya

This comes less than a week after former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma met the AICC leadership in Delhi.

Good morning,

Big Story 

In a sign that the country’s population is stabilising, the Total Fertility Rate at all-India level fell to 2.0 from 2.22 reported in 2015-16, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS). This indicates that a generation is not producing enough children to replace itself, eventually leading to an outright reduction in population.  

The fifth round of the NFHS also showed that anaemia among children and women is a cause of concern. Data indicates that 57 per cent of all women of reproductive age are anaemic — up from 53.1 per cent in 2015-16. Obesity, on the other hand, too has risen among men and women. The percentage of women who are obese, according to NFHS-5 data, increased to 24 per cent from 20.6 per cent. Among men, obesity has risen to 22.9 per cent from 18.9 per cent.

Only in the Express 

In a big boost for the Trinamool Congress in the Northeast, at least 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya, including former chief minister Mukul Sangma, are set to join the party today. The Congress’s Meghalaya unit has been in turmoil since Vincent H Pala was appointed state unit president in August, with Sangma claiming that the appointment was carried out without his consent.

From the Front Page

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repeal of the three contentious farm laws, the Cabinet cleared the Farm Laws Repeal Bill and will be taken up on “priority” basis in the Winter Session of Parliament, beginning next week, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said. He did not answer questions on if the government will bring a law to guarantee the Minimum Support Price, which has been another major demand of the protesting farmers.

The CBI has sought the prosecution of two men who it claims knocked down Dhanbad Additional Sessions Judge Uttam Anand with an autorickshaw while he was on a morning walk in July this year. In a chargesheet filed last month, the agency claimed that one of the two accused is a “professional thief” and that he had been “looking for a chance to execute the plan” along with his alleged accomplice. But it is silent on “the plan”. Nor does it spell out any motive for the crime. 

Must Read 

Just over 13 months after she gave birth to him, Anupama S Chandran finally walked out of a family court in Thiruvananthapuram holding her son close. Chandran’s parents, both CPM leaders, are alleged to have given up the baby for adoption without her consent soon after he was born. A DNA test confirmed that the baby was the child of Chandran and her partner, Ajith Kumar, thus ending the 23-year-old mother’s long search for him — against resistance put up by her own parents, police and the ruling CPM.

A series of decisions by the BJP central leadership over the last few days has left former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis looking weakened in a party that once projected him as Maharashtra’s savvy, Gen Next Hindutva leader, with potential for elevation to the national stage. The promotion of Vinod Tawde as BJP General Secretary and the nomination of Chandrashekhar Bawankule for the Maharashtra Legislative Council polls, are being seen as sure signs that the central leadership is clipping the wings of its former poster boy. 

The Centre has withdrawn Chhattisgarh from the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin, after the state failed to provide its share due to coronavirus-related expenditure. This will mean Chhattisgarh will lose on development work worth more than Rs 11,000 crore annually. The state government is now in the process of writing to the Centre to undo the decision. 

Earlier this year, when Delhi University released its first cutoff list, a majority of seats in courses with a 100% cut-off had been filled by students from the Kerala state Board. This raised the question of a possible regional skew in the university’s admissions process. To address this issue, DU has set up a nine-member committee to examine the Board-wise distribution of students admitted this year and excess admissions against the sanctioned intake of programmes.

And Finally 

At Kanpur’s Green Park stadium, it’s common practice to expose the ground to sunshine on the eve of a match to suck moisture out of it. Once prepared, the pitch is covered up in the days leading up to the match. The image of Kanpur as a diabolical dustbowl is a misnomer though. Apart from the stinker against South Africa in 2008, most of the other decks it had subsequently produced were not rank turners.

Delhi Confidential: After his recent visit to Shimla for the All India Presiding Officers’ meeting, Kerala Assembly Speaker M B Rajesh was photographed with Union minister Anurag Singh Thakur, who addressed the conference on the last day. The image, shared on Rajesh’s Facebook with a note on friendship beyond party lines, later became the target of some heavy trolling. 

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we take a look at the factors that have contributed to the surge of cases in Europe, and the lessons India can learn from it.

Until tomorrow,
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose


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