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What else would make the Prime Minister exclaim, "Oh, my God"?

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In Berlin Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently exclaimed, ‘Oh, my God!’ after Indian media persons complained they were kept out of an event he had attended.

What else could make the PM exclaim, Oh, my God? Here is a random list of recent reports which might induce the exclamation from him:

• Union Home Minister Amit Shah prefers to drink water that cost Rs.850 a bottle, claimed Goa’s Agriculture Minister Ravi Naik. Shah, he revealed, asked for a ‘Himalaya’ bottle of water which had to be brought from Mapusa, 15 kilometres away. Oh, my God?

• In April wheat, atta, edible oils, including groundnut oil, soya oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, vanaspati, milk and salt were retailing at highest prices since 2012

• There has been a 75% drop in CAG reports in the last 5 years. From 55 reports in 2015, it was down to 14 in 2020. There were zero defence audits last year and just three railway audits despite having the PM’s favourite Gujarat cadre IAS officer G.C. Murmu as the CAG.

• Adani Power’s profit margin rose from Rs 13.3 crore to Rs 4,500 crore in one year ― growing 3,400%.

• Union minister Raosaheb Danve said at a public event that he wishes to see a Brahmin chief minister of Maharashtra. He made the comment in Jalna, which he represents as BJP MP, while addressing a rally organised by Brahmin organisations on Parshuram Jayanti.

• RTI replies revealed that more than 90 lakh beneficiaries of the Ujjwala scheme had not refilled their cylinders even once in the past financial year and 1.08 crore had refilled it only once. With prices of LPG having gone up again, even those who managed to refill once will have to forget about it now !

• Bihar BJP MLA Haribhushan Thakur Bachaul has said that Muslims should be set ablaze like Ravana effigies are on Dussehra. In February, he had also said that Indian Muslims should be stripped of voting rights and treated as second class citizens.

• The Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi contradicted the National Crime Records Bureau when he said there was no major communal violence since 2014. While the minister’s definition of a major violence remains unknown, as many as 52 people had lost their lives in the rioting in Delhi in 2020. NCRB has recorded 5415 communal riots since 2014.

• Tesla has abandoned its plan to manufacture electric cars in India and has redesignated staff to other markets ― the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

• Retail automobile sales in April 2022 were still over 6% lower than in April, 2019. According to dealers’ body FADA, 16,27,975 units were sold in April 2022 as against 17,39,124 units in April 2019. Two-wheelers, three-wheelers and commercial vehicles were down 11%, 13% and 0.5% respectively.

• Despite Reserve Bank of India’s sudden raising of the repo rate partly to defend the rupee, it fell to Rs 77.46 to the dollar – an all-time low – and is expected to fall further.

• WHO estimates suggest that India experienced 4.7 million excess deaths in 2020 and 2021, as compared to the country’s official Covid-19 toll of 481,000 for the period. India has rejected the findings, the only one among WHO’s 194 member states to do so.

• Nearly one in five households in India practise open defecation, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2019-21, more than two years after the Centre claimed the count was “negligible”.

• Bangladesh is India’s largest source country for foreign tourists. These are foreign nationals who visit India on valid visas issued by the Government of India. 75% for tourism, 18% medical and 5% Business/Professional.

• An assistant professor at Noida’s Sharda University was suspended on Friday for posing an “objectionable” question in a mid-term political science paper for undergraduate students.

Of eight questions in the paper worth 50 marks, the sixth, worth seven marks, was: “Do you find any similarities between Fascism/ Nazism and Hindu right wing (Hindutva)? Elaborate with arguments.” The teacher was suspended after some students complained, and the university formed a three-member investigation committee.

Really, oh, my God!

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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