Morning Digest: Over 60% OBC, SC positions vacant in IIMs; key road in Ladakh being constructed, says Centre, and more

More than half of the faculty positions reserved for OBCs in central institutions of higher education are vacant, while about 40% of those reserved for Scheduled Castes and Tribes also remain unfilled, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told Lok Sabha on Monday in a written response to a question from three Congress MPs.

The Centre has informed a parliamentary panel that a “standalone project” to build a critical road along the border with China in Ladakh is going on.

Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Monday told the Lok Sabha that the Centre and the States should work together towards reducing taxes on petrol and diesel and asserted that the Centre was ready to discuss the issue of bringing petroleum products under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday that prioritising COVID-19 vaccination on the basis of profession will amount to “discrimination” and is against larger national interests. It was responding to a PIL to include judges, lawyers and court staff in the “prioritised group of population who will get the COVID-19 vaccine first”.

Also read: PM Modi to meet Chief Ministers on March 17 to discuss COVID-19 measures

The CBI on Monday conducted searches at 30 locations across 13 cities in connection with a case against 23 people, including five Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors and others, for their alleged involvement in a recruitment scam in the Army.

With Tamil Nadu poised for a five-cornered Assembly election, AIADMK co-coordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, DMK president and Leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin, other prominent leaders and several Ministers filed their nomination papers before the Returning Officers of their respective constituencies on Monday.

Also read: Tamil Nadu Assembly elections: AIADMK’s stand on CAA has exposed the party, says K. S. Alagiri

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday resumed her campaign in districts with a strong message that she will uproot those who are conspiring against her. “My leg will heal in the next few years. I will see whether your legs can move freely on Bengal’s soil,” Ms. Banerjee said at Jhalda rally in Purulia.

External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar on Monday told the Rajya Sabha that the government wanted to expand the “air bubble” arrangement with more countries and the priority would be Saudi Arabia, Kuwait in the west and Japan, China and Singapore in the east.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved a bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday where it proposed that “government” in the national capital territory of Delhi means the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. The Bill gives discretionary powers to the L-G of Delhi even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.

Arms imports decreased by 33% between 2011–15 and 2016–20 while India continues to remain the second largest arms importer after Saudi Arabia, according to a report from Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze moved the Bombay High Court on Tuesday challenging his arrest by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the recovery of an explosives-laden car near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence on February 25.

In a strong reaction to Friday’s first leaders’ summit of the Quad — India, the United States, Japan and Australia — and the upcoming visits this week of the U.S. Secretary of Defence to Japan, South Korea and India, China’s Foreign Ministry hit out at countries “forming enclosed small cliques”, describing it as “the sure way to destroy the international order”.

In the wake of sudden spurt in COVID-19 cases in Ahmedabad, Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) has decided to organise remaining T20 International Matches between India and England at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad behind closed doors without audiences.

In September last year, Mumbai Indians (MI) was staring down the barrel in an IPL fixture against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Chasing a mammoth 202, MI needed a miracle at 39 for three. Out of nowhere, Ishan Kishan played saviour, with a breathtaking 58-ball 99, studded with two fours and nine sixes.

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