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The Morning Wrap: Shock Over New Army Chief; ₹12 Crore Seized From Tea Seller-Turned-Moneylender

Our selection of interesting news and opinion from the day's newspapers.

19/12/2016 7:02 AM IST | Updated 19/12/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Indian paramilitary soldiers in Bijbehara near Srinagar in Kashmir.

The Morning Wrap is HuffPost India's selection of interesting news and opinion from the day's newspapers. Subscribe here to receive it in your inbox each weekday morning.

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Serving officers and veteran, as well as a section of the public, are shocked and disappointed as two of the most senior generals of the Indian Army — Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander Lieutenant General PM Hariz — were passed over by the Modi government, which chose Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat, currently the Vice Chief of Army Staff, as the 27th Chief of Indian Army. Apart from political influence, this decision seems to have been made by a need to reorganise the military.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat is proving to be a headache to the Mamata Banerjee government in the state ahead of his visit in January 2017, while a three-day RSS conference during Christmas has only added to the administration's woes. In April 2015, the Bengal government had banned the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief Praveen Togadia from entering the state after he addressed a rally in Birbhum, where, in a "suddhikaran" ceremony held by the VHP, some Christians and Muslims were allegedly "re-converted" to Hinduism. No wonder, the government has to keep its ears to the ground for the next few weeks.

As the country gears itself up for the coming new year and Christmas celebrations, some restaurants have decided to keep their doors shut to "gay couples". Their decision is not only discriminatory and illegal but also does not square with Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which, on paper, bans intercourse "against the order of nature", which can be take place between people of both genders too.

Main News

General Bipin Rawat, who will take over as the army chief from 31 December, was a brigadier in 2008, when he was sent to Congo to control the Indian army's largest deployment on foreign soil. The locals were suspicious of UN peacekeepers, especially about the difference they made in their lives and accused the mission of doing little to protect them. Angry crowds would hurled stones at UN vehicles on the streets of Goma, the capital of North Kivu, where the Indian brigade is based. General Rawat showed commendable organisation skill under adversity and won accolades for his team's handling of the internal conflict brewing in the country.

An analysis of the Census 2011 data reveals 27% of unmarried Indian women have joined the workforce, while 41% of married women are part of it. Those among the latter are likely to have fewer children and their preference is for the male child, deepening the patriarchal values already entrenched in society. A similar bias for the male child is also noted among non-working married mothers too. Marginal workers — women who have irregular or casual jobs for less than six months in a year — show the tense equation between a desire to limit children and son preference.

India's junior hockey team lifted the World Cup for the second time in the history of the championship, as they beat Belgium 2-1 in the final in Lucknow on Sunday. This was India's first title in 15 years after they had their maiden victory in 2001.

Off The Front Page

A curfew was imposed in East Manipur after violence erupted when anti-economic block protestors set 20 Urkhul-bound vehicles to fire. The state Cabinet has decided to shutdown internet services on mobile phones in an attempt to control the volatile situation. The administration believes such a measure will help put an end to the spread of malicious misinformation and instigation to disrupt public life spread through social media platforms.

Income Tax officials in Surat have seized alleged unaccounted assets worth ₹12 crore from a tea seller-turned-moneylender after searching his house on Saturday as part of the nationwide crackdown on black money. The officials acted on a tip-off on his operations and recovered ₹1.45 crore in cash, including ₹1.05 crore in new banknotes.

Faculty and scholars from some of India's leading science and engineering institutions have published academic papers in so-called "predatory journals" -- online publications that accept poor-quality work without adequate peer review. The analysis of 3,300 academic papers from India in predatory journals has found that while government and private colleges made up 51% of the papers, national institutions contributed 11%.

Opinion

With the aftershock of demonetisation still keenly felt every day and the failure to rollout the Goods and Services Tax bill in the deadline set for it, what would be the highlights of the 2017 budget? R Sukumar, editor of Mint, looks into the tea leaves to see the economic future of the country in the year ahead. A "rash of people-friendly announcements" in the budget to appease the public mood are likely to be seen, just as there will be a bevy of cashless incentives to go with the current drive to move India to an online economy.

Is streaming serial fictions on a screen the new form of reading a gripping book in an all-nighter? Mukul Kesavan looks at the implications of Netflix on the future of reading, especially on a generation that has grown up surrounded by a myriad screens.

The Income Tax department rightly wants ordinary people to report those suspected of stashing away black money, for which it has created an email ID. But this move can also be easily misused, an editorial in the Hindustan Times points out. Turning common people into whistle-blowers "against acquaintances, colleagues or neighbours can set an unhealthy precedent", it says, adding that "It might not be as drastic as George Orwell's infamous Big Brother with listening devices and cameras in a totalitarian society in his iconic novel 1984, but the decision reeks of post-WW II era, when neighbour turns on neighbour; old friends become deadly enemies."

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