City Buzz: Guidelines for physical schooling | Budget allows digital rupee…and more

In this weekly update: Education Ministry’s new guidelines for physical schooling; Haryana's job reservation law; Union Budget highlights

Guidelines for school reopening

The Ministry of Education on February 3rd released guidelines for the reopening of schools across India. “We share these guidelines, which are advisory in nature, and states are free to make their own guidelines accordingly. These guidelines contain all SoPs for attending classes. Students can opt for online education,” said the Education Ministry.

Currently, 98.85% of teaching staff and 99.07% of non-teaching staff in central institutions have all been vaccinated. Social distancing and sanitation measures have been mandated to ensure safe physical schooling.

Source: India Today

Union Budget 2022-23: Key highlights

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1st presented the Union Budget 2022-23. The focus of this year’s budget is on poverty, middle class and youth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted India’s need to become self-reliant.

Owing to COVID-19 conditions across India, taxes have not been increased. The Finance Minister has projected India’s fiscal growth at 9.27 per cent in the coming year.

The effective capital expenditure for the government is estimated at Rs 10.96 lakh crore 2022-23, making up about 4.1% of the GDP.

Digital rupee will be issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) using blockchain technology. Income from the transfer of any virtual asset will be taxed at 30%.

Most other direct and indirect tax rates remain unchanged.

Source: The Indian Express

Read more: Opinion: Rising economic burden on the urban working class widens rich-poor

North India can expect above normal rain in February

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has projected above normal rain of around 121% of the Long Period Average (LPA) to hit North India in February. Rainfall in January was 129% excess with 133% excess in northwest India.

Below normal temperatures are expected in most parts of the country. Delhi recently registered its coldest day in February in the past 16 years.

Source: Hindustan Times

Government for stricter rules on social media

On February 4th, the Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the government is open to imposing stricter rules on social media.

This came days after senior officials of the ministries of Information and Broadcasting, as well as IT, met senior executives from Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to understand flagging, demoting and takedown of controversial content.

“I personally believe that for the protection of our citizens, we must make the rules stricter,” said Vaishnav. “At this point of time, we are working within the constitutional framework. The role of the state and the Centre, both have to be seen in perspective. We have to come forward as a society and create much more accountability for social media”.

Source: Indian Express

closeup of woman holding a phone
Regulation of social media content, especially on OTT platforms, has been debated for a while now | Photo: Nenad Stojkovic, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Haryana private sector law on hold

On February 3rd, the Haryana government’s law to reserve 75% private sector jobs that paid less than Rs 30,000 a month was put on hold by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court failed to find merit in the state’s arguments on treating the legislation prime facie valid in the interests of the unemployed youth in the state.

“The legislation has to be considered prima facie valid and constitutional. Also, this is not a retrospective law and nobody who is employed is going to be affected. The legislation will have a prospective operation,” argued solicitor general (SG). The high court disagreed.

The state government has appealed in the Supreme Court against the stay.

Source: Hindustan Times

Compiled by Saachi D’Souza

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