Your Daily Wrap: India’s retail inflation spikes to 8-year high, HC rebukes Taj Mahal petitioner; and more

◾ The country’s retail inflation soared to an eight-year high of 7.79 per cent in April, largely driven by rising food prices. It was 6.95 per cent in March. Separately, India’s factory output, measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP), witnessed a growth of 1.9 per cent in March, government data shows. This is the fourth consecutive month that the Consumer Price Index data has breached the RBI’s upper margin of 6 per cent.

◾ A court in Varanasi hearing a petition seeking right to worship without any hindrance at the Kashi-Vishwanath- Gyanvapi mosque complex Thursday ordered the survey will continue at the disputed site. The court also asked the commission to submit its report on inspection by May 17. At the heart of the tension are five women petitioners, one Delhi-based, four living in Varanasi. Apart from love for ‘Goddess Maa Shringar Gauri’, what connects most of them is a chance satsang meeting, while at least two have some links to Hindu outfits.

◾ Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court pulled up a petitioner seeking opening of 20 rooms in the Taj Mahal, and asked him not to make “a mockery of the PIL system”. The court told him: “Go and research. Do M.A. Do PhD… Then choose such a topic and if any institute disallows you to research on such a topic.”

◾ The Tata Group has appointed Campbell Wilson as CEO & MD of Air India. Wilson is currently CEO of Singapore Airline’s low-cost subsidiary Scoot. Wilson has 26 years of aviation industry expertise across both full service and low-cost airlines.

◾ With Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa defying calls to resign, pledging instead to form a new government after violent clashes this week left eight people, and the opposition declining his offer of a unity government, here’s what could happen next.

Political Pulse

◾ The Jharkhand government Thursday suspended Pooja Singhal who was arrested the day before by the Enforcement Directorate over the alleged diversion of MGNREGA funds. In bureaucratic circles, she was known as “the person who would get things done” in any department. Be it as the agriculture secretary in the Raghubar Das government or the tourism, industries and mining secretary in the Hemant Soren administration, people close to Pooja Singhal said she was “liked by both sides”.

◾ There are few places that the Congress can call home now. Rajasthan is certainly one of them. The party has headed to Rajasthan every time it needs some away time. And it is Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who, in the three years of his present tenure, has proved an eager host at party events. So strong is the hold of Gehlot over the state that when there was a revolt against him, led by Sachin Pilot, he kept his loyalists within the state.

Express Explained

◾ The government has made requirement of a Permanent Account Number (PAN) or Aadhaar number for depositing or withdrawing Rs 20 lakh or more in a financial year or for opening a current account mandatory. The move is expected to help the income tax department monitor high-value cash transactions. What are the new rules? How will they help the tax department? Read here.

◾ North Korea on Thursday reported its first Covid case, calling it the “gravest national emergency” and ordering a national lockdown. State media said the country’s leader Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting where “coping with the epidemic prevention crisis state prevailing in the country” was discussed. Why has the regime decided to acknowledge an outbreak at this stage, and what happens here onward? We explain.

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