Free Press Bulletin
Free Press Bulletin

Here are the top 5 news updates of February 3, 2021:

1. 'Neither accurate nor responsible': MEA responds to tweets by Rihanna, Greta Thunberg on farmers' protest

India today slammed the remarks made by international pop icon Rihanna and other celebrities and activists on farmers' protest, saying the facts on the issue must be ascertained before rushing to comment on it, and asserted that the "temptation" of sensationalist social media hashtags and views is "neither accurate nor responsible". The strong reaction by the Ministry of External Affairs came after Rihanna, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, US Vice President Kamala Harris' niece Meena Harris and several other prominent people took to Twitter to lent their voices to the months-long farmers' protest against three newly enacted farm laws.

The MEA also said some "vested interest groups" are trying to enforce their agenda on the protests and that a very small section of farmers in parts of the country have some reservations about the farm reforms which were passed by the Parliament after a full debate and discussion.

2. Congress raises issue of FIR against Tharoor, journalists in Rajya Sabha

The Congress today raised the issue of sedition FIR against party's MP Shashi Tharoor, asking how a person who has represented India across the world as a Union Minister can be an anti-national. The FIRs have been filed against Tharoor and six journalists in five states over their alleged "misleading" tweets on the violence and death of a protester during the farmers' tractor parade in Delhi on Republic Day.

Raising the issue of farmers' protest and January 26 violence, Congress Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said, "Cases of sedition have been filed against some journalists and MP Shashi Tharoor. A person who was MoS, EAM and represented India across the world, how can he be anti-national? If he is anti-national, then we all are anti-national. How can we call an MP anti-national?" Azad also condemned the violence at Red Fort during the farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day, declaring that disrespect to the national flag cannot be tolerated.

3. BMC civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal presents budget of Rs 39,038.83 cr for FY 2021-22

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's budget estimate for the Financial Year 2021-22 is Rs 39,038.83 crores. It exceeds the budget estimate of the previous Financial Year 2020-21 of Rs 33,441.02 by 16.74%. The BMC has allocated Rs 822.72 crore for the health infrastructure. A budgetary provision of Rs 200 crores has been made for beautification of footpath, traffic island, space below flyovers, wall painting and Mumbai street food hub project.

A budgetary provisional of Rs 2,000 crore has been proposed for ongoing Coastal Road Project. The BMC has allotted Rs 5 crore for the Outpatient Department (OPD) on wheels which will provide medical assistance and personal health to the needy across the city. The civic body presented an Education budget of Rs 2945.78 crore. The BMC has also proposed to undertake the work of 12 bridges at an estimated cost of Rs 1,675 crore through MRIDCL.

4. Sharjeel Usmani booked for fanning 'communal hatred' at Elgar Parishad 2021

Amid a political uproar, the Maharashtra Police has booked students' leader Sharjeel Usmani for his controversial anti-Hindu and other comments and inciting communal passions, officials said today. The Swargate Police Station early this morning filed an FIR based on a complaint by a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha Secretary, Advocate Pradeep Gawade on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Elgar Parishad in Pune on January 30, Usmani, a former student leader of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) had made certain remarks which the complainant said hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu community. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar had demanded that Usmani should be booked under sedition charges for his statements.

5. Sensex climbs 458 points, ends above 50,000 for the first time; Nifty tops 14,750

Extending its Budget bull run for the third day, the Sensex rallied 458 points to end above the 50,000 mark for the first time ever today, led by broad-based gains amid positive cues from global markets. After touching a record intra-day high of 50,526.39, the 30-share index ended at 50,255.75, up 458.03 points or 0.92 per cent. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty surged 142.10 points or 0.97 per cent to its fresh closing record of 14,789.95. It touched an all-time high of 14,868.85 during the day.

IndusInd Bank was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, zooming around 8 per cent, followed by PowerGrid, Dr Reddy's, Sun Pharma, NTPC and Axis Bank. On the other hand, UltraTech Cement, Maruti, ITC, Kotak Bank and Asian Paints were among the losers.

(With input from agencies)

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