20/04/2016 9:51 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

The Morning Wrap: 33 Crore Indians Affected By Drought; 63-Year-Old Woman Offers E-Rickshaw Services In UP

SAM PANTHAKY via Getty Images
An Indian man holds an umbrella as he walks on the dry reservoir bed next to Gunda Dam by Gunda village in Botad district, some 150 km from Ahmedabad in India's western Gujarat state, on April 1, 2016. Vast regions of western India have been facing acute water shortages due to drought conditions. / AFP / SAM PANTHAKY (Photo credit should read SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

Essential HuffPost

Reacting to news reports that the government has put the process of signing up Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador of Incredible India on hold after the his name figured in the Panama Papers, the actor said on Tuesday that he was not 'formally approached’ for the position. Bachchan was said to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first choice as brand ambassador of the mega publicity campaign.

A 22-year-old woman in Kolkata was allegedly harassed for wearing half pants and smoking openly. The harassers allegedly included 37-year-old Shouvik Ganguly and his 70-year-old father Kamal Ganguly. Both are known Trinamul Congress activists in the area.

Anurag Kashyap's Raman Raghav 2.0, a psychological-thriller staring Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the notorious serial-killer Raghav Raman, will premiere at the prestigious Director's Fortnight segment of this year's Cannes film festival. The festival is slated to take place from 11 May to 22 May.

A six-year-old girl and a minor boy were allegedly married off by their families in Rajasthan's Chittorgarh, as part of a mass wedding organised in the state. The video shared by a national news channel showcases the kids' families sitting together and encouraging the alliance. Child marriage is illegal in India under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006.

Main News

A bipartisan group of four American lawmakers have asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan to invite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a joint meeting of the congress. According to sources, Modi is set to visit the US on 7-8 June.

The government on Tuesday lifted the restrictions on Provident Fund (PF) withdrawal with immediate effect after 62 people, including 24 policemen, were injured in Bengaluru. Police had opened fire after a protest by garment workers against the government norms turned violent and spread across the city. The government had put the tighter rules for withdrawal of PF money on hold till July-end, initially. In February, the government had said PF subscribers would not be allowed to withdraw their fund after attaining the age of 54 years, but will have to wait till they are 58 years old.

33 crore people, or more than a 25 per cent of the India's population, are in the grip of drought and consequently face drinking water shortage and agricultural distress, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday. As per figures placed before the court, 254 out of total 678 districts in the country are under the spell of drought — the worst hit state being Uttar Pradesh where 9.88 crore people are affected due to rain deficit in 50 districts.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump notched a resounding victory in his home state of New York on Tuesday. Trump needed to win more than 50 per cent of the statewide vote, as well as more than half of the vote in each of the state’s congressional districts, in order to win all 95 of New York’s delegates.

Off The Front Page

Body of Indian prisoner Kirpal Singh, who died under suspicious circumstances in a Lahore jail last week, was brought back to India on Tuesday. A post mortem examination revealed that his vital organs like heart and liver were missing. While Pakistani authorities have attributed Kirpal's death to heart attack, his family members allege torture and foul play.

The Catholic Church has decided to reinstate a priest in Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu, who was suspended after his conviction in a case of sexual abuse in the US. The decision has now prompted one of his alleged victims to file a federal lawsuit charging the Church with 'creating public nuisance'. The Ootacamund Diocese, an administration located in Ootacamund, TN, also is a defendant in the case, which was scheduled to be filed on Tuesday.

While temperatures have peaked up to 45 degrees celsius in Uttar Pradesh, it hasn't stopped a 63-year-old woman from Allahabad from doing her job. Driving a green e-rickshaw, the elderly woman grabbed eyeballs on social media when she refused to let the heat deter her from helping passengers and giving them rides. Reportedly, her entire family is dependent on her work.


Across India, States are marching towards total prohibition, says an editorial in The Hindu. "The creep of the nanny state to guard citizens from their worst selves, or at least their lack of self-discipline, is worrying. It is perhaps the overhang of the Gandhian spirit of the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution that inhibits politicians and civil society from shedding hypocrisy and initiating public advocacy of moderation," it says.

Whatever may eventually transpire on the emotional issue of the return of the famous Kohinoor diamond to India by Britain, the Government's 'U-turn' on its statement from 'it was given as a gift', to saying the government would make every effort to bring back the diamond is a welcome change, says an editorial in Deccan Chronicle. "The Modi government appears to have lost sight of the fact that the return of the Kohinoor is linked in people’s mind to national pride, as is the case with the return of the sword of Tipu Sultan or Shivaji. This is surprising for a government whose functionaries have lately taken to sharpening social cleavages by invoking false notions of nationalism," it says.

The unwillingness of the system to devolve responsibility and funding to the city level is a major failure. Alongside Amrut and the Smart Cities Mission, we need to urgently spell out the expansion of institutional reform, says Isher Judge Ahluwalia, in The Indian Express. "The government of India has explicitly admitted that a significant part of the funding for these missions will have to come from the state governments and the private sector. This makes reform indispensable. The sooner we spell out the dimensions of institutional reform alongside the high-tech infrastructure plans, the closer we will be to delivering a better quality of life in our cities and a better investment climate for investors," she writes

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