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The Year That Was:

From: Vartaa Editorial Team on Oct 11, 2015

Beef ban

More than a week after a heinous incident involving the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq by a Hindu mob on 28 September in Bisara, UP (tehsil Dadri) over the alleged slaughtering of a calf for beef, Prime Minister Modi finally broke his silence on the episode. He called for communal harmony and appealed to the people to focus on working together to further economic progress. Cow slaughter is banned in UP. Meat found at Aklaq's home was tested and turned out to be mutton. The incident highlights an increasingly worrisome trend towards intolerance in India. In a touching show of solidarity to protest the lynching at Dadri, the inaction around investigation of murder of progressive thinker and scholar MM Kalburgi in Karnataka, and the rising intolerance in general, several Sahitya Akademi Award winners (India's highest literary award) returned their awards and resigned as members of the Akademi.

RBI rate cut

Interest rates on home loans are slated to decrease by 25-30 basis points (0.25-0.30 %) largely due to the Reserve Bank of India's move to lower risk-weights on home loans where buyers have been willing to put in more money of their own thereby lowering the loan-to-value ratio. The development promises to slightly increase the average Indian's real income -to- perceived income ratio.

PM's gender equality initiative at work

The Indian Defense Ministry is considering assigning women to combat roles to align itself with Prime Minister Modi's gender equality initiative. Earlier, the Air Chief Marshal had announced that the Indian Air Force had moved a proposal to induct women as fighter pilots.

Plight of Indian migrant workers in Middle East

Following the horrific incident of an Indian maid's hand being chopped off by her Saudi employer, India is considering a ban on the flow of Indian workers to the kingdom. Earlier this summer, Indonesia banned house maid workers from working in 21 countries, most of them in the Middle East following egregious human rights violations and abuse of its citizens at the hands of dozens of household employers from the region. Given their limited diplomatic clout or unwillingness to pursue the matter aggressively with the countries involved, such bans appear to be an easy recourse despite although they will affect thousands of families who depend on remittances from the Middle East.