Times Top10: Today’s Top News Headlines and Latest News from India & across the World


PM Modi to visit bridge collapse site in Gujarat’s Morbi; EAM Jaishankar to participate in virtual SCO meeting; Data release – PMI Manufacturing, Balance of Trade and GST for October; President Murmu to inaugurate 7th India Water Week at Expo Centre in Greater Noida; In SC: pleas of students who returned from Ukraine seeking permission to continue their medical education

1. A case of ‘callousness’ that cost 134 lives
1. A case of ‘callousness’ that cost 134 lives
More deaths

  • The death toll from a suspension bridge collapse in Gujarat’s Morbi town mounted to 134 on Monday, senior government officials said.
  • A day after the bridge packed with visitors came crashing down sending people tumbling into the river below, rescue operations continued as authorities looked for survivors in the Machchhu river. Watch the video here.


  • The police have so far arrested nine persons in connection with the incident.
  • The arrested persons include two managers working with the company entrusted with maintenance and management of the bridge, two ticket clerks, two contractors, associated with recent repair of the bridge, and three security guards, who allegedly failed to regulate crowds before the bridge crumpled, police officials told news agency ANI.

The probe

  • ‘Callous approach’: The first information report (FIR), according to news agency PTI, stated that persons concerned or agencies did not pay attention to the quality of maintenance as well as repair work of the bridge. It said that the bridge was opened for tourists by the agency despite knowing that their “callous approach” in the maintenance and management of the bridge could lead to human deaths.
  • Culpable homicide: The police are learnt to have pressed charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and attempt to commit culpable homicide against agencies given the task of maintenance and operation of the bridge.

Under scanner

  • Oreva group, which is under scanner, was awarded the contract to maintain and manage the bridge by the Morbi municipality in March this year.
  • According to PTI, there is still lack of clarity on how a business group that specialises in making CFL bulbs, wall clocks and e-bikes, got the contract for maintaining a British-era structure, originally built in 1877.
  • The suspension bridge was closed seven months ago for repairs and reopened on Gujarati New Year’s Day on October 26.
  • It is being alleged that the bridge was reopened without a fitness certificate.

Political fight

  • While Congress demanded for a judicial probe into the incident alleging that prima facie it seems to be a case of “criminal negligence” and “gross misgovernance”, other opposition parties, such as AAP, CPI, CPI(M), TMC and NCP, trained guns at the BJP, which is the ruling party in Gujarat, holding the state government responsible for the mishap.
  • PM Modi, while speaking at an event at the Statue of Unity in Gujarat’s Kevadia, offered his condolences to the families of those killed. Watch the video here.
  • The incident comes at a time when Gujarat is preparing for assembly elections. Among those dead are 12 relatives of BJP’s Lok Sabha MP from Rajkot Mohan Kundariya. More details here.
2. ‘This practice is an affront to women’s dignity’
2. ‘This practice is an affront to women's dignity’
The Supreme Court on Monday said it is unfortunate that the practice of the “two-finger test” to examine rape survivors is still prevalent in society, and asked the Centre and the states to ensure it is not conducted.

The case

  • A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli overturned a decision of the Jharkhand High Court acquitting a rape and murder convict, and upheld a decision of a trial court holding him guilty.

SC directive

  • “The procedure which tests vaginal laxity is an affront to women’s dignity. It cannot be said that a sexually active woman cannot be raped,” the court said.
  • It issued a slew of directives to the Centre and state government authorities and asked the police chiefs and health secretaries of the states to ensure that the practice is stopped. The top court said that any individual conducting the two-finger test will be held guilty of misconduct.

What is a two-finger test?

  • Also known as the PV (Per Vaginal), this test refers to an intrusive physical examination of a woman’s vagina to figure out the laxity of vaginal muscles and whether the hymen is distensible or not.
  • In this, the doctor puts two fingers inside the woman’s vagina and the ease with which the fingers penetrate her are assumed to be in direct proportion to her sexual experience.

Why is it unscientific?

  • Science has debunked the myth of an intact hymen being proof of a woman’s virginity. There are also artificial hymens; prosthetics used to fake virginity, that are easily available online. More details here
3. A supreme test for voter ID-Aadhaar link
3. A supreme test for voter ID-Aadhaar link
  • The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a plea challenging the Centre’s decision that enables linking electoral roll data with the Aadhaar ecosystem. A bench of Justices SK Kaul and Abhay S Oka tagged the petition filed by former Major General SG Vombatkere with a similar pending matter.
  • Petitioner’s counsel Shyam Divan told the court that right to vote is one of the most sacred rights and it should not be denied if an individual lacks Aadhaar.
  • The Centre had earlier amended the Registration of Electors Rules to allow linking Aadhaar details with a voters list to weed out duplicate entries and make election law gender neutral for service voters.
  • In July this year, the SC had declined to hear a plea on the matter, directing petitioner Randeep Surjewala, the Congress spokesperson, to approach a high court with his grievances.
  • The law — passed in December 2021 — authorises the government to ask individuals for their Aadhaar number before they are added to the electoral rolls, and to confirm the identity of voters who are already on the rolls. This law has been challenged on multiple grounds.
  • This is not the first time that the Centre’s attempt to link electoral rolls to Aadhaar has been questioned. In 2015, the Election Commission of India launched a pilot project to study the linking of Aadhaar with electoral rolls.
  • But the Supreme Court halted voter ID-Aadhaar linking through an interim order in August 2017 in a case that held the Right to Privacy was a fundamental right, guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
4. Can a truth commission fix the madness of 1984?
4. Can a truth commission fix the madness of 1984?
  • November 1 marks 38 years of the beginning of the anti-Sikh riots that broke out in Delhi after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Now, demands are being made to fix responsibility for the communal riots.
  • Truth commission: HS Phoolka, senior advocate, politician and human rights activist, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that he should appoint a “Truth Commission” to unravel past truths of the “Sikh Genocide” that have been concealed from the citizens.
  • ‘Withdraw Bharat Ratna’: Phoolka alleged that the attack on Sikhs was pre-planned saying that if the Truth Commission establishes that then-PM Indira Gandhi had “indeed planned the killing of the Sikhs herself during her lifetime”, then all the honours, decorations and awards given to her including Bharat Ratna should be withdrawn.
  • ‘Red culprits’: BJP spokesperson RP Singh too demanded a “Truth Commission” in his letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah to ‘expose’ the conspiracy behind the 1984 Sikh pogrom so that cognizance could be taken against the “real culprits”.
  • ‘Declassify documents’: RP Singh has also demanded that all the documents pertaining to the period leading up to Operation Blue Star and the Sikh pogrom later that year be declassified.
  • Why now? RP Singh argued that over the last 38 years, four enquiry commissions, nine committees and two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) were formed but they still failed to dig deeper and reveal the real conspiracy.
  • Sajjan Kumar, the former Congress MP, is among more than 440 persons convicted for their involvement in the anti-sikh riots. He has been lodged in jail after he was convicted by the Delhi High Court in 2018 in another riots-related case. The high court awarded him a life jail sentence. Earlier, he had been acquitted by the Karkardooma court.
6. Cases lodged after religious conversion row
6. Cases lodged after religious conversion row
The BJP-led Assam government has written to the Centre urging it to blacklist 10 German and Swedish nationals as well as their organisations for allegedly flouting visa rules. These foreigners who came to Assam on tourist visas were deported last week after they were found attending religious congregations, according to the police.

Police say…

  • “Activities related to religious conversion are explicitly banned for all types of visas, including missionary visas. So, this is something that is catching our attention,” Assam’s Special DGP GP Singh said.

Cases lodged

  • Singh said two cases were registered in Dibrugarh and Golaghat districts following the deportation of the foreign nationals. “The basic purpose of the investigation is to find what was the association of the Indian nationals in the whole episode and what was the actual purpose of the visit of these people. We have evidence of them (foreigners) participating in religious meetings but we want to find out whether their aim was only religious preaching or something else,” Singh added.

A crackdown

  • Assam ordered a crackdown on clandestine religious conversion activities in the state after rounding up and deporting 27 foreigners —17 Bangladeshis, three Swedish nationals and seven Germans — in less than six weeks after they were found to be preaching religion by flouting visa rules.
7. Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
7. Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre and Election Commission of India on a plea challenging Section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act which deprives prisoners their right to vote.


  • A PIL filed by Aditya Prasanna Bhattacharya pointed out that the wording of Section 62(5) uses ‘confinement’ as the yardstick, thereby creating several anomalies.
  • The petitioner has argued that the section did not specify if an undertrial, a detained person or a person out on bail can exercise their universal adult franchise.
  • The provision operates as a blanket ban, as it lacks any kind of reasonable classification based on the nature of the crime committed or the duration of the sentence imposed, the petition stated.

The law

  • Section 62(5) of the RP Act deprives prisoners of their right to vote. But this restriction does not apply to a person subjected to any kind of preventive detention.
  • Currently, there are over 5.54 lakh prisoners in Indian jails as of December 31, 2021, 4.27 were undertrials, 1.22 lakh convicts, 3,470 detenues and 547 ‘others’, according to NCRB report.
  • Under the existing law, politicians are banned from contesting elections for six year only if they are convicted of a crime.

Other countries

  • In most countries around the world, “convicts” are not allowed to vote while those undergoing trial and detainees are eligible.
8. China-Pak collusion in the Indian Ocean Region!
8. China-Pak collusion in the Indian Ocean Region!
  • Focus on IOR: Top Navy commanders on Monday kicked off a comprehensive review of India’s maritime security and operational preparedness, especially in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) where there is expanding China-Pakistan collusion, while also focusing on measures to enhance synergy with the Army and Indian Air Force.
  • What: The four-day naval commanders’ conference will dwell upon “the dynamics of the geo-strategic situation” in the IOR and the larger Indo-Pacific, and the Navy’s readiness to deal with the same”, among other matters.
  • Why: The conference comes in the backdrop of Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar’s recent statement that “China remains a formidable challenge and has increased its presence, not only along our land borders, but also in the maritime domain by leveraging anti-piracy operations to normalise its naval presence” in the IOR.
  • China-Pak collusion: With the world’s largest Navy with 355 warships and submarines, China has steadily expanded its naval presence in the IOR in recent years. Then, after fighters, missiles and other military hardware and software, China now is also supplying Pakistan with four advanced frigates and eight Yuan-class diesel-electric submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP) for greater underwater endurance.
  • The Indian Navy is focused on being “a combat ready, credible and cohesive force with a future-ready outlook” and has witnessed significant growth in its operational tasking over the years.
  • A detailed roadmap to enhance indigenization through ‘Make in India’ with the aim of achieving ‘Aatma-Nirbharta’ by 2047 will also be undertaken by the commanders,” Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said. Defence minister Rajnath Singh will address and interact with the naval commanders on matters pertaining to national security.
9. Dragon inches closer to its space dream
9. Dragon inches closer to its space dream
  • What: China on Monday launched the last of the three modules that will comprise its space station, according to a report in the Associated Press.
  • A leap: With that, China takes a leap towards realising its decade-long effort to maintain a constant crewed presence in orbit, at a time when its competition with the US grows increasingly fierce.
  • ‘Celestial Palace’: The Chinese-built “Celestial Palace” – as the space station is known at home – is set to be the second permanently inhabited outpost in low-earth orbit after the NASA-led International Space Station, which is likely to cease being operational by the end of this decade.
  • A dream in the making: The uncrewed Mengtian, or “Dreaming of the Heavens”, module was launched atop China’s most powerful rocket, the Long March 5B, from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre in the southern island province of Hainan on Monday, according to news agency Reuters.

A mega plan

  • In April 2021, China got into the final phase of construction of its space station with the launch of the Tianhe module, the main living quarters for astronauts.
  • In July this year, it launched Wentian, or “Quest for the Heavens”, a laboratory module where scientific experiments will be performed.
  • The third module, the 23-tonne Mengtian, also a laboratory module, which was launched on Monday, is expected to dock with an axial port at one end of Tianhe eventually.

Politics of space

  • The space station is likely to be an emblem of China’s growing clout and self-sufficiency in its space endeavours and as a challenger to the USA in the space domain.
  • The space station project also caps President Xi Jinping’s 10 years as leader of China’s ruling Communist Party.
  • During the station’s lifetime, expected to be at least 10 years, China is planning more than 1,000 scientific experiments – from studying how plants adapt in space to how fluids behave in microgravity.
The Rupee. India’s first Digital Rupee pilot project will commence today. The government had announced the launch of the Digital Rupee in this year’s Union Budget in February. In a recent concept note on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the RBI said CBDC is aimed to complement, rather than replace, current forms of money and is envisaged to provide an additional payment avenue to users, not to replace the existing payment systems. More than 60 central banks have expressed interest in CBDCs across the globe. The use case for this pilot is settlement of secondary market transactions in government securities. Use of e₹-W is expected to make the inter-bank market more efficient. More here
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta, Abhishek Dey
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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