Inside the ADL’s Plans to Take on Gamergate, Hate in Gaming

The Anti-Defamation League is taking its fight against hate to the world of video games, starting with supporting and training game developers in hopes of eventually reaching the massive 2.6 billion person gaming audience.

“The ADL has worked in digital environments since 1985,” said Daniel Kelley, associate director of the center for technology and society at the ADL. “We’ve been on bulletin boards, websites, and social media. I feel like it’s a natural evolution for us starting to think through what does a digital environment mean. Games are a huge part of that. It’s not just Twitter and Facebook, ‘Fortnite’ is a platform. ‘League of Legends’ is a platform.”

The ADL’s center for technology and society was announced in 2015, but didn’t formally launch until last year. In October, the group was working with the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in California on a project when they were introduced to the idea of a game jam. Kelley said the ADL decided to run a game jam based on anti-bias education. The jam resulted in 33 games and so impressed the group that they started to look into using the approach on a broader scale. It also kicked off a more in-depth look into the world of gaming and game development.

Kelley said he started having informal discussions with groups like the International Game Developers Association, Playcrafting, Games for Change, and schools like NYU.

He said he found a group of people who had a “real hunger” for engagement from the ADL to “address some of the problems in games.”

“We did a listening tour of different folks, academics, practitioners, others,” he said. “We read a lot about Gamergate in the press and about the harassment, but we wanted to hear from the community about what the problems are that the ADL can help with.”

That led to a summit of sorts at GDC with special interest groups. The ADL found there were three prongs of gaming that they could address: the culture in which games are made, the culture of players, and the games themselves.

They decided that working with the culture in which games are made was the best way to move the needle on combating the larger issues.

The concept is that if the culture in which games are made can be improved, that could in turn lead to more responsible games and then perhaps impact the people who play them.

“The idea is that there is a multiplier effect for engaging a game developer,” Kelley said. “They have a tremendous reach across the game community and can have a broader impact.”

Kelley is quick to point out that the issues the ADL seeks to address in gaming — issues of bias, hate, and harassment — aren’t unique to gaming.

“A lot of these problems are part of systemic problems, not just part of the gaming community,” he said. “It’s not unique to the game community, but there is something unique to who the community speaks to and something unique to the reach the game community has.”

Games for Change
The ADL hasn’t yet solidified how it will address some of these issues inside game development studios and with publishers.

“We are experimenting, trying to see what that looks like, talking to game companies and other entities,” he said.

On Friday, Karen Schrier, the director of games at Marist College, will discuss one of those experiments during a Games for Change panel about fostering empathy and decision-making through games. The ADL is also in the process of putting together a framework for another game jam later this year. This time it will be partnering with the Global Game Jam.

“We are going to focus on the building blocks, starting with identity issues, and have folks talk about what identity means and how that can be expressed in a game,” Kelley said. “But it’s not one and done. It’s a lifelong process of becoming aware of ways in which bias is part of life.”

Bias is the largest, base level of what the ADL calls the pyramid of hate. The pyramid’s next level is acts of bias, then discrimination, bias-motivated violence, and finally genocide.

“The ADL works at every level,” Kelley said. “Education is proactive, starting at the base level of the pyramid.”

The approach the ADL plans to use in video games is similar to what it used in schools, where they trained principals and teachers who then passed on those lessons to students.

The group plans to work with the NYU Game Center to create a course this fall that will incorporate the ADL’s work on game-related media designed for impact. They’re also working with the IGDA to create new developer-focused programming to fight hate and bias in the game community.

Finally, Kelley said, it makes sure to be more proactive about being more vocal in its support of people working to make games better, and to call out those who misuse gaming platforms to proliferate hate and bigotry.

While this is the start of the ADL’s deeper dive into issues of hate and harassment in gaming, it’s not the first time the group addressed those issues.

In 2016, the ADL flew five national experts in online hate to Austin for SXSW’s first online harassment summit, an event created in the wake of Gamergate.

Gamergate, Kelley said, remains an issue still today, four years after it kicked off. GamerGate arose in 2014, ostensibly over concerns about ethics in game journalism, and quickly coalesced into a group of self-identified members whose concerns expanded to include the rise of what they labeled “PC culture” and “social justice warriors.” The more vocal of the group typically harass people, more often women and minorities, who question some of the status quo of game content in the video game industry. GamerGate harassment is most often sparked by the expansion of gaming content, settings, and characters to include more women, minorities, and the examination of modern social issues.

Earlier this year, Kelley wrote a post for the ADL’s blog about using video games to reduce bias and fight hate. In it he mentioned Gamergate once, the result was a wave of vitriolic responses, he said.

“Prior to posting it, I sent it to colleagues in the game community and they said you’re writing about Gamergate, look out, there’s going to be a pile on,” he said. “That speaks to the seriousness in which hate bias and harassment in games is impacting people.”

“From our discussions with people in the industry, Gamergate isn’t over, it remains a significant problem, part of a serious issue that needs to be taken seriously and the ADL takes it seriously,” he added. “It impacts people’s lives, impacts a person’s ability to do their job.”


Bank of England issues a letter warning finance firms over crypto risks

Amidst the growing popularity and concerns about cryptocurrencies, Bank of England deputy governor has issued a letter to the CEOs of financial institutions, warning them of the need for regulation when it comes to being exposed to crypto assets.

The letter written by Sam Woods, chief executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) – a financial services regulator in the UK says- “Banks, insurance companies, and investment firms should take steps to protect themselves against market volatility and potentially risky investments in the crypto space”.

The letter reminded financial institutions of their obligations to PRA rules. It demanded cooperation with regulators including acting in a prudent manner, having effective risk management systems and strategies.

As per the list of guidelines provided in the letter “steps should be taken by financial institutions to minimise any possible risk caused by trading in crypto assets”. The other guidelines state that the crypto assets should have a PRA-approved Senior (Insurance) Management Function auditor review.

It also highlighted that institutions should also authorise risk assessment frameworks for dealing with the new class. Firms must avoid taking excessive risks. They should conduct extensive due diligence prior to taking on any crypto-exposure. The institutions must maintain appropriate safeguards against all the related risks.

According to Woods, crypto-asset market products in their short history have grown quickly. The products have exhibited high price volatility and relative illiquidity. This in turn generated below mentioned concerns to the firms involved with them:

    • Vulnerability to fraud
    • Use in money laundering
    • Manipulation
    • Reputational risks
    • Terrorism financing

With the intention to improve the efficiency of the traditional financial system in the future, “significant potential” of distributed ledger technologies, like blockchain has also been noted by Woods.


This week in games: Alan Wake is back on sale after a 17 month absence, Layers of Fear 2 announced

Alan Wake

Everyone I know is playing Red Dead Redemption II right now, and I’m…well, not. It’s the worst time of the year to be a PC gamer.

But my loss is your gain, as I had time to put together the usual news round-up. Alan Wake is back on sale at long last, the ill-named Bloober Team is working on Layers of Fear 2, co-founder Brendan Iribe exited Oculus, and Devil May Cry 5 is getting an $8,000 collector’s edition (complete with replica leather jacket).

This is gaming news for October 22 to 26.

He’s baaaaaack

Alan Wake disappeared from Steam and other retailers all the way back in May of 2017, reportedly because the licenses on various music pieces had lapsed. If you already owned a copy you could, of course, download it. But for all intents and purposes, one of last generation’s best games was inaccessible for 17 months straight.

Everyone’s favorite gloomy writer returned to Steam and this week though, and at a whopping 80 percent discount. Best of all, Microsoft renegotiated the rights to the original music instead of (as is common) swapping it out for soundalikes. Now please, publishers, I beg of you: License your music in perpetuity so we don’t have any more of these scares.

Just in time for Halloween

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Bloober Team’s next project, as a fan of both Layers of Fear and Observer. Turns out it’s a direct sequel: Layers of Fear 2. Teased as “Project Méliès” earlier this year, there’s now an official reveal trailer—and as you might expect from the name, it deals with film instead of painting. Also, Tony Todd is in the trailer, so that’s great.


I’ve honestly lost track how many Stellaris expansions we’ve seen, but this week Paradox announced another, Megacorp. As the title implies, this one focuses on the economy. From the press release, “Players can now play as a huge corporation with a host of new civics and establish Branch Offices on planets within empires they have trade agreements with, adding a portion of the planet’s Trade Value to their own network (and more).” That et cetera there at the end includes megacities, caravan fleets, more megastructures, and uh…slave labor. Grim.


Lots of industry movement this week, some willing and some very much not. It sure has been a bloody fall this year, as both Trion Worlds and Dreadnought developer Six Foot suffered layoffs this week. Gamasutra reports that Trion slashed about 150 employees after being bought by Gamigo, and Six Foot (via Game Informer) laid off another 45 or so after the game released on Steam.

Less depressing but still noteworthy: Jade Raymond has left EA Motive, the studio she helped found in 2015. Motive helped out on Star Wars Battlefront II but hasn’t actually released a game of its own yet, and who knows? Maybe it never will.

Rift, too?

And then there’s Brendan Iribe, a departure noteworthy enough I’m going to break it out into its own category. CEO and co-founder of Oculus, Iribe was the face of the company for years, both to the press and at public-facing events like Oculus Connect. After Palmer Luckey’s exit, Iribe got shuffled out of the CEO position and was heading up the PC division of Oculus.

Now he’s left. TechCrunch initially reported that he departed because Oculus/Facebook canceled the second-generation Rift, but Oculus disputes that claim. In any case, that Facebook buyout is looking less and less cozy these days—though Nate Mitchell, John Carmack, and Michael Abrash are still on-board for the time being.

Another Room

The Room is a series best-suited for phones perhaps, but I’ve quite enjoyed the first two games on PC. Poking and prodding with the mouse isn’t too different from using a finger, and the reworked visuals always look fantastic. Count me excited, as developer Fireproof Games revealed The Room 3 will finally hit Steam on November 13. It’s looking pretty damn good, too.

Trine, back from the dead

I honestly didn’t think we’d see another Trine. The previous iteration, Trine 3, released in 2015 to some controversy, with Frozenbyte VP Joel Kinnunen saying at the time that, “We tried to make something too ambitious, and it ended up financially impossible.” The result was a pretty mediocre game, one some fans even argued was “unfinished.” For a lot of indie devs, that’d be the final nail in the coffin.

But uh, Frozenbyte announced Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince this week—or at least teased it, with the website saying “Official announcement coming soon.” That’s about all the details we have. Best of luck, Frozenbyte.


Blizzard’s put a lot of effort into broadcasting Overwatch as an esport, but I still find it pretty impossible to follow—lots of quick cuts, half-missed plays, and so on. I’d rather have control myself, and Blizzard’s finally built the tools to do that. Rolling out in beta for the Overwatch World Cup, you’ll be able to follow matches in the client itself, with full camera control. Provided the test is successful, Jeff Kaplan also hints the feature might allow you to watch your own matches the same way in the future.

Cool jacket, I guess

I’m a sucker for stories about dumb collector’s editions, and Eurogamer had one hell of a story this week: The “Ultra Limited Edition” of Devil May Cry 5 costs 900,000 Yen, or about $8,000. What do you get? A copy of the game, and a leather jacket. No seriously, that’s it. Okay, it’s a reproduction of Dante’s leather jacket, but still.

Devil May Cry 5 Collector’s Edition

IDG / Hayden Dingman

Crunch cowboys

Lastly, let’s close out the week with the latest Rockstar developments. After last week’s 100 hour work week comments, Kotaku followed up this week with an in-depth article based on over 80 interviews. The picture it paints is not pretty, to say the least. I suggest reading the whole article, though the most damning quote describes the lead-up to Max Payne 3 as a “death march.” Another describes a period of mandatory 80-hour weeks in the lead-up to Grand Theft Auto V.

Something to think about, perhaps as you slip into Red Dead Redemption II this weekend. And for those who do work in the industry, maybe it’s time for some labor protections.


This tax on social media can’t prevent Ugandans taunting their leaders

Protesters in Kampala on 11 July, led by MP and musician Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine. Police used teargas to to disperse them.

On the morning of 1 July, Ugandans woke to find they could not read their WhatsApp messages, scroll through the chitchat on Facebook and Twitter, or post a picture of their Sunday lunch on Snapchat.

The east African country’s new social-media tax had taken effect. To access any of the more than 60 online platforms listed as “Over The Top (OTT)” – chosen by the government because they offer voice and messaging services – they were expected to pay a tax of 200 Uganda shillings (4p) a day. This translates to about £1.20 a month, or £14.60 a year, in a country where nearly a quarter of the population lives on less than £1 a day.

President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda for the last 32 years, says the tax is needed to generate revenue to turn the impoverished country into a middle-income one by 2020. He reasons that social media is simply a place for idle gossip. What he really means is that the millions of people who use social media in Uganda – many of them young, unemployed and discontented with a government that offers no real prospects for their future – are making it hard for him to display a show of democracy and progress to the international world.

After all, African children are supposed to listen to their elders and no decent African can allow children – especially not the errant millennials who seem to have a mind of their own – to disgrace them in public. The 73-year-old Museveni, like many other African presidents, has decided that it is better to silence his critics than to address their issues. From Tanzania (where it now costs £700 to blog, higher than the average annual income of £660) and Kenya to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon (where the internet has been shut down during elections), many governments on the continent are struggling to control the network.

In Uganda, too, the government shut down the internet during the 2016 elections amid allegations of vote rigging. The government has also closed down critical media and had a university professor arrested for calling the president “a pair of buttocks” because of his failure to fulfil a campaign promise to provide free sanitary pads to schoolgirls. Museveni and his ilk are so engrossed in attempts to muzzle criticism that they ignore the ubiquitous nature of the internet and the fact that trying to shut up people can instead make them louder.

Most Ugandans have vowed not to pay the tax and installed virtual private network (VPN) software on their smartphones, allowing them to return to Twitter and Facebook and taunt the government – from Canada, the UK, Croatia or wherever the VPN is based – with hashtags such as #ThisTaxMustGo and #NoToSocialMediaTax.\

Activists have also sued the government for imposing a tax that they say violates their right to freedom of expression and access to information.

Panicked, Uganda’s parliament has returned early from its recess to discuss the tax, alongside another tax on mobile money users that has also drawn ire. The police, who only a week earlier had allowed a march against the killings of womenin the outskirts of the capital, Kampala, used teargas to disperse people who took to the streets to protest against the social-media tax.

Museveni’s relentless pursuit of development and his unabashed sneer at human rights and democracy are a worrying echo of China’s approach of putting development before human rights. People are thrown off their land without compensation to make way for government projects and government-backed private investors in preparation for Uganda’s much-awaited oil boom. Big companies, including those from China, are given tax holidays and exemptions while small local ones are taxed out of business. The World Bank says Uganda should be collecting double what it currently does in taxes and the Uganda Tax Justice Alliance estimates that between 1970 and 2010 the country lost £6.4bn in illegal capital flight.

Ugandans are angry because they feel that their taxes are already too high and have not translated into a better life. How else would they feel when they go to hospital and are turned away because there are no mattresses or medicine? Or when public education is of questionable quality and parents are forced to pay for private schools with their already meagre income. Or when the road is full of potholes, fuel is too expensive, and the public transport system non-existent. Or when having an education is not a guarantee that you will get employment. And now they must pay even to vent anger about their woes online.

African states that are trying to shut down the internet are also some of the most corrupt. In many of these countries, it is risky to speak out against the government. In Uganda five or more people can gather only with police permission. The internet remains the only safe space for expressing dissent and demanding accountability – a thing many African leaders are not used to giving their citizens.

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The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.


Week in Fashion: Lady Gaga Is Back in Black

Lady Gaga is seeming more . . . Lady Gaga as of late. The singer, who’s been spotted frequently around New York City, opted for not one, but two, opulent leather looks that have people wondering if a return to her more outré roots is underway.

Parliament updates live | All help to Andhra but no special status, says Rajnath Singh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh speaks in Rajya Sabha.

Rajya Sabha witnessed adjournment in the first half of the day over Finance Minister’s remarks during a question on Indian money in Swiss banks. Lok Sabha witnessed ruckus over mob violence as Opposition insisted on taking up the issue even though Home Minister made a statement on the previous day.

Lok Sabha passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018. Rajya Sabha had a short duration discussion on implementation of Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act, 2014.

The Lok Sabha is likely to take up Bill to set up the National Commission for Backward Classes.

Here are the live updates:


In Lok Sabha, MoS Jithendra Singh responds to members’ query on Prevention of Corruption Amendments.

Mr. Singh says the cause of delay for appointing Lokpal was Congress. Had the Congress managed to win enough seats, they would have had Leader of Opposition post. So we had to amend the Bill to include Leader of largest Opposition party.

The Whistleblower Protection Bill is also in the annvil. We also wanted to protect an honest performing government servant is not intimidated. We have introduced 45 amendments. The bribe giver clause is new. This will make the bribe giver should also explain why he had to give bribes, he says.

While framing rules, we’ll ensure cohesive bribery is tackled. All bribe-related cases will have to be disposed of in two years ordinarily, he says. Commercial organisation will also come under the ambit of this law.

On the one hand we have strict provisions against corruption, on the other hand officers will be given a free hand to honestly discharge his duties, he says.

He claims the Bill is historic and appeals members to pass the Bill.

H.C. Muniyappa says electoral reforms and full funding of election campaign will end corruption.

The Bill goes for voting.  The Bill is passed.

House is adjouned.


Ghulam Nabi Azad wants the government to answer if the they would grant the status or not.

Jairam Ramesh says the government decides the Special Category Status and not the Finance Commission.

Mr. Azad asks point blank: Will the category be granted or not?

Rajnath Singh wonders why the debate is around a word, when are ready to provide more.

House is adjourned.


Home Minister Rajnath Singh gives his reply.  He says the government is committed to implement all commitments made by the former and present Prime Minister. As a government, we are for development for every State irrespective of who is in power. Our politics is for the development of the State and not mere power, he says.

Andhra Pradesh is being given incentives additional to the Act. Over 90 per cent of the commitments in the Act have been implemented. Work is underway for Ten out of 11 institutes promised. A panel has been constituted to check the feasibility of Cudappah Steel plant and Dugarajapatnam Port. Even though the feasibility report is not in favour, we have asked for reexamination.

We are committed to Polavaram project.  We will finish in record time, he says. Finance Commission recommended a revenue deficit grant. We provided a special incentive instead of special category. It was agreed between the State and Centre that the Centrally sponsored schemes will be spent on 90:10 ratio, just like in SCS States. The Centre also agreed to repay the loans.

We have already provided funds for industrial development in both the Telugu States.  We asked the State to create a special purpose vehicle, but they haven’t come back yet, he says.


Prakash Banda (TRS) says the Act also makes several promises to Telangana as well and they haven’t been met yet. Telangana is facing acute water crisis. We are implementing two projects, but funds have not been released, he says.

More members want to speak. The Chair says he is unable to grant more time. As I am in the Chair, I cannot talk much. I know what is the truth, and untruth, he says.


C.M. Ramesh (TDP) speaks in Telugu. He says the present government cannot take credit for the institutes in Andhra Pradesh. It was part of the Act brought by the previous government. The land and funds were mobilised by the State. The institutes still lack infrastructure, he says.

I am willing to resign if you show a line in 14th Finance Commission order that says SCS cannot be granted to Andhra Pradesh, he declares.  He claims the Prime Minister has visited Andhra Pradesh only once but has gone to USA five times.


Dr. Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister speaks.  He says he made the commitment of SCS keeping in view that the revenue generated by Hyderabad will go to Telangana. I made the commitment after consultation with the then Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley. I request the government to honour the commitment made in the august House, he says.

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal says the government is committed to implement the Act in toto. The former Prime Minister had spoken of central assistance. The 14th Finance Commission increased the State share to 42%. Based on the existing formula they provided additional funds, and Andhra Pradesh received the revenue deficit gap. Suppose we consider a SCS, we may have to reassess the revenue deficit gap and this gap would come down substantially. Mr. Goyal elaborates that Andhra Pradesh would not have got any additional funds with the SCS tag.

The State is expecting Centre to foot the bills of pension scheme, FRCB bonds, farm loan waiver, Mr. Goyal says.


Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar intervenes. He says IIT Tirupati, IIM-Vizag, ICER-Tirupati, IIIT-Kurnool are all up and running.

Central University in Anantpur will be inaugurated soon. The Tribal University have also been approved.

Anubhav Mohanty (BJD) says he needs clarity on new railway zone in Visakhapatnam. Territorial integrity of Odisha must be protected, he says. Mr. Mohanty speaks in Odiya.


Tiruchi Siva (DMK) speaks in Tamil. He says the government cannot simply blame the previous governments for the misdeed. He cities how the UPA implemented Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s golden quadrilateral scheme. The government should respect the demands of States, he says.

Manoj kumar Jha (RJD) says he could understand the problems of Andhra Pradesh since Bihar too faced the brunt of bifurcation. The cooperative federalism must be respected. When the NITI Aayog Chairman says Bihar is dragging down the country’s growth, shouldn’t we get affirmative action, he asks.

Sanjay Singh (AAP) says Narendra Modi makes many promises but doesn’t keep them. He says people of Delhi are with the people of Andhra Pradesh.


KVP Ramachandra Rao (Congress) speaks in Telugu.  He quotes the Prime Minister’s no-confidence motion response that Andhra pradesh was interested in fight while Telangana worked. He accuses the TDP of washing out the previous parliamentary session for selfish reasons.

Naresh Goyal (SAD) says united Andhra was a dynamic state. Hyderabad was contributing 35 per cent of State GDP. Now Telangana has revenue surplus, and Andhra Pradesh has deficit. We went through the same situation in Punjab, Mr. Goyal says. As a party we oppose the SCS, but Andhra Pradesh should get what was committed in the Parliament.

D. Raja (CPI) says he shares the agony and anguish of people of Andhra Pradesh. We wanted both the States to prosper, but we are at a critical point. Is the Finance Commission above the Parliament, he asks.

Veer Singh (BSP) says even the Supreme Court wanted to know the status of implementation of the Act. The government should come clean on the status of implementation, he says.

V. Vijaysai Reddy (YSRCP) says only his party has been fighting continuously for the Special Category Status. While TDP thought special finance package would do, we alongwith Janasena anf the Left wanted the SCS, he says.

If Accused No. 1 is the SCS, then Accused No. 2 is TDP, and Accused No. 3 is Congress, he says.

He accuses the BJP of wrongly quoting the Finance Commission and NITI Ayog.

He wants to talk more but his speech is cut short.


T.K. Rangarajan (CPI-M) says Communists raised the ‘Visala Andhra’ slogan that led to the Andhra Pradesh. A substantial Telugu population stay in Chennai. We know and respect Telugu pride, he says. The BJP used TDP from four years but ditched them, he says.

“This is not the politics of Andhra alone. This is also the politics of India,” he says.


We have been affected too, says Keshav Rao

K. Keshav Rao speaks during a discussion on implementation of AP reorganisation Act.

K. Keshav Rao speaks during a discussion on implementation of AP reorganisation Act.   | Photo Credit: RSTV

Keshav Rao (TRS) says he stands by the emotions of the TDP members. He observes that Telangana was also born out of the same reorganisation Act and his State suffers too. Every time I ask about Telangana High Court, the Law Minister only smiles, he says.

We have been made several promises, but most haven’t been implemented. The matter is also sub-judice as a Congress member has approached the Supreme Court, he says. Mr. Rao replies to Ram Gopal Yadav’s speech against bifurcation.

People of Telangana struggled to get a new State due to the treatment meted out by the people of Andhra. Mr. Rao also notes how seven mandals were transferred to Andhra Pradesh to implement Polavaram. We are suffering more in sharing of Krishna and Godavari waters. When Andhra Pradesh doesn’t give us powers, we bought it from Chhattisgarh. Today we are a surplus State, says Mr. Rao.

We have fought for 60 years. Many were killed over 1200 people hanged themselves. Don’t underestimate it, he says.

JD(U) member Ramchandra Prasad Singh from Bihar says the State was also reorganised four times like Andhra Pradesh. We have also been fight for a Special Category Status, he says.

Bihar’s per capita income is way too less than the national average.


We need SCS too, Odisha member

Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are neighbours and we can understand their problems since we are also facing step-motherly attitude of the Centre, says Prasanna Acharya of BJD.

This is the temple of Indian democracy and two prime ministers committed in this very temple that SCS would be granted. Both haven’t fulfiled, he says.

Mr. Acharya says the government is going against federalism. He recalls how Odisha too is fighting for a Special Category Status.


‘Learn from Mamata’

Derek O’Brien (Trinamool Congress) says NDA ally Shiv Sena is against the way implementation of AP reorganisation Act. The BJP must retrospect, he says.

Your largest and second-largest allies are against you, Mr. O’Brien says. Taking potshot on GVL Narasimha Rao, he says the Telugu Bidda has been elected from Uttar Pradesh, has an Aadhaar card from Delhi.

Mr. O’Brien lists out the pending plans promised to West Bengal.  Bhubaneshwar Kalita is in the Chair. He reminds the debate is on Andhra Pradesh.

The BJP is good at marketing but bad in implementing, he says. Mr. O’Brien asks the BJP to learn from Mamata Banerjee who has tripled farmers income.


In a debate on Andhra Pradesh, focus on Tamil Nadu

A Navneethakrishnan (AIADMK) says Andhra Pradesh “had a special place in Amma’s heart.” He also lauds Rajya Sabha’s translation efforts.

The Centre must listen patiently to the demands of States, he stays and lines up the demands of Tamil Nadu. The Chair reminds him Andhra Pradesh is being discussed.

Mr. Navneethakrishnan says the 15th Finance Commission is also rendering injustice to southern States, including Tamil Nadu.


Bifurcation has only created newer problems, says Ram Gopal Yadav

Ramgopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party) says we must learn from history. We have seen the sufferings of Partition. Even today Punjab and Haryana are fighting for Sutlej waters, he notes. He says his party was against the bifurcation and warns the Telugu states would fight for Krishna and Godavari.

Recalling his recent visit to Uttarakhand, Mr. Yadav says the State doesn’t have a single trauma centre and they were in Uttar Pradesh.  He refutes the claim that smaller states would be better for governance. Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have become hot beds of naxalism after bifurcation, he says.

Bifurcation has only created newer problems, he says.  Mr. Yadav says Andhra Pradesh needs help.

Recalling Narendra Modi’s earlier speeches, Mr. Yadav says the Prime Minister has made lofty promises to the State and he must fulfil it.


Anand Sharma (Congress) says he wouldn’t intervene had the member not taken his name. Special Category Status in northeast have transport, incentive and financial subsidy. Three states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir were given excise incentives with a sunset clause of five years.

The UPA gave National Manufacturing Policy and the industrial corridor reference regarding SCS is wrong, Mr. Sharma says.


‘Rao accuses AP govt. of not doing much’

BJP member GVL Narasimha Rao makes his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha.

BJP member GVL Narasimha Rao makes his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha.   | Photo Credit: RSTV

GVL Narsimha Rao (BJP) continues his speech. He claims the backward districts of Andhra Pradesh have been granted income tax sops and excise exemption, a feature not given to other States that were previously bifurcated.

Mr. Rao points out at a speech of former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. Mr. Sharma objects to it and wants to clarify. Let him complete first, says the Chair.

The 14th Finance Commission has granted more than double of its existing allocation to Andhra Pradesh, he says. Andhra Pradesh is the only State to get revenue deficit grant among the general category State, he claims.

By SCS, the State would have 16,000 crores but now Andhra Pradesh has been given more than double, Mr. Rao claims. TDP members object to it. The Chair asks them to bring privilege motion if they feel Mr. Rao is factually wrong.

Two out of four industrial corridors announced pass through Andhra Pradesh. Krishnapatnam would be developed as industrial city but the State government is yet to acquire land. Mr. Rao claims one crore ten lakh jobs will be created through the Chennai-Vizag industrial corridor, he says.

Industrial manufacturing zones would come up in Prakasam and Chittor but the State hasn’t done much, he says.  He claims Polavaram is Modi’s gift to the State.

He lists the State-specific centrally-sponsored initiatives that have benefited the State.

The Chair asks him to end the speech citing paucity of time. He continues to speak but the microphone is cut. BJP members thump the desk as he sits.


Lok Sabha continues its discussion on amendments proposed to Prevention of Corruption Act. MoS Jitendra Singh moved the Bill, while Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury spoke against the Bill.

He cast apprehension of misuse of the clause that allows punitive action against the bribe giver. He also points out the Lokpal and Whistleblower protection are yet to be enacted.

Pralhad Joshi of BJP supports the Bill.


GVL Narsimha Rao (BJP) says as a Telugu Bidda I am a grieved at the mass scale propaganda against the Union government. This is the first speech of Mr. Rao in Rajya Sabha. He says the Union government has given special focus to the State. He accuses the UPA government of bringing the Bill in a hurried manner. He says the Vice President, the then Opposition leader M. Venkaiah Naidu as the champion of the State.

In Lok Sabha, Prevention of Corruption amendments are being discussed.

Mr. Rao says the Opposition is provoking people to go to streets. While the UPA promised a central finance assistance in the House, the NDA has implemented it, he says. He says the Centre has already extended the loan repayment mechanism granted to SCS states to Andhra Pradesh as well. He is quoting Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandra Babu Naidu thanking the Union Government on the floor of State Legislative Council. Telugu Desam members raise objections. You may bring a motion if you want, says the Chair.

Mr. Rao goes on to quote previous speeches of Mr. Chandrababu Naidu. He claims until recently the Chief Minister was on the same page with the Centre and he has changed the stance now.

Mr. Rao speaks in Telugu. Members want translation, he translates and continues in English.

Mr. Rao says when the Centre has provided all incentives, why are they insisting on the Special Category Status?


‘People of Andhra have suffered a lot’

Leader of Opposition Ghlam Nabi Azad speaks during special discussion on Andhra Pradesh.

Leader of Opposition Ghlam Nabi Azad speaks during special discussion on Andhra Pradesh.   | Photo Credit: RSTV

Leader of Opposition Ghlam Nabi Azad speaks. He briefly recalls the history of the two Telugu States.

Mr. Azad recalls how the Seemandhra was with Madras Presidency and the present Telangana was part of Hyderabad State. After the first State reorganisation, a unified Andhra Pradesh for Telugu population was created on October 1, 1956. 2014 was the fourth time the region faced reorganisation. The people of Seemandhra need sympathy. They weren’t given reasonable time to settle. The demand of Andhra is as just as people of Telangana, Mr. Azad says. We have to ensure both the States progress. Telangana has the advantage of having a Capital, which AP doesn’t have. The Government of India must support the new-born State, he says.

By bifurcating the State, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised a SCS for a period of five years. The then Opposition had demanded 10 years SCS. Today the same political party is not initiating. The promise is unfulfilled, he says. In lieu of SCS, this government promised a special package. Of the 16,447 crores promised only 400 crores have been disbursed, he says. The government has alloted peanuts for development of backward districts. How can a world class capital city be developed with Rs.1,500 crores, he asks. There should be a privilege against this government. It has deceived the people and the parliament, he says.

The promises must be fulfilled forthwith, he says ending the speech.


‘Not seeking charity, demanding our dues’

TDP member Y.S. Chowdary during a short duration discussion on Andhra Pradesh in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

TDP member Y.S. Chowdary during a short duration discussion on Andhra Pradesh in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Y.S. Chowdary accuses the BJP of indulging in the politics of power. We are not seeking charity. We are demanding what is due to the State in accordance with the Act, he says.

He accuses the BJP of bringing back colonialism. When the State wanted Rs.1.5 lakh crores, but we have received only Rs. 13,500 crores. At this rate, it will take 44 years to implement the Act, Mr. Chowdary says.

When Bundelhand received over Rs. 4000 per head, the backward districts of AP got only Rs. 428 per head. I don’t mind others getting more funds. But we should also get the same amount, he says.

Chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu asks him to cut short his speech.

He says the TDP has no other go to cut ties with the NDA since they failed to implement even the special package announced by their own Finance Minister. He accuses the BJP of ignoring the TDP since they are now moving closer to YSRCP.

There was once Quit India, now it’s Split India, he alleges.

He ends the speech emphasising a special category status to Andhra Pradesh.


‘Modi  failed to keep up his promise’

Y.S. Chowdary (TDP) initiates the debate. He begins by thanking the five crore people of Andhra Pradesh. He accuses “blatant violation of reorganisation Act” by the Union government. He says the promise of Manmohan Singh wasn’t honoured. He accuses BJP ‘s political agenda is “all for power.” He also accuses the Union government of violating federal structure of Constitution.

A centrally-sponsored lynching is going on in Andhra Pradesh. The people are made to plead for central help, he says. “I know I am using harsh language, I don’t have a choice,” he adds.

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi  promised a special category status thrice in Andhra Pradesh. He said he would provide 10 years SCS, he recalls. But the PMO drastically reduce the funds allocated to the State, Mr. Chowdhry claims.

He also refutes Centre’s claim that the 15th Finance Commission disallows special category status to any State.


Rajya Sabha takes up short duration discussion on implementation of State Reorganisation Act that led to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

TDP member Ramesh points out the Home Minister is absent in the House. Jairam Ramesh asks who will respond on behalf of the government.

Rajnath Singh will be replying, Mr. Naidu says.


Premachandran raises the issue of raising pension paid by the EPFO. Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar assures him the process would be expediated.

M.B. Rajesh (CPI-M) says abolishment of UGC will increase political control of higher education, academia and free thought. The academia is unhappy with government’s decision. This is not in sync with federal principles as well as against higher education, he says.

Shivaji Adhalrao Patil (Shiv Sena) speaks in Marathi. He says while Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have enacted laws to allow bull taming sports, the Maharashtra government hasn’t taken any step to conduct the traditional sport in his State.

Arvind Savant (Shiv Sena) talks about pollution in rivers. Adhir Ranjan Choudhury of Congress raises local polls-related violence in West Bengal. Trinamool members object.

Ram Chandra Hansdah (BJD) says currency notes must be printed in all languages mentioned in the 22nd Schedule.

Members are quickly placing matters of urgent importance. Lok Sabha proceeding is extended till 1:30 pm. Some prominent issues are reservation for Marathas, development of birthplace of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, floods in Bhubaneswar, package to revive Arani silks, development of Konark temple, and increasing MSP to maize.

House adjourned till 2:30 pm

LOK SABHA | 12:50 PM

Bishnu Panda Ray, BJP member from Andaman & Nicobar says Indian-origin Sri Lankan Tamils were settled in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. They were promised land 42 years ago, but haven’t been given so far.

Deependra Singh Hooda (Congress) says Assam Rifles comes under both Home and Defence Ministries. This is causing problems to personnel in terms of payment-related grievences. He also says the NPS is not beneficiary for paramilitary personnel. Paramilitary personnel should be treated on par with military personnel, he says.

Janardhan Singh Sigiriwal (BJP) lauds government for hiking the MSP. He says government must invest on storage and cooling chain. He also wants a programme dedicated for cold-storage.

Alwar MP Karan Singh Yadav says Rs.800 crore was spent to set up a hospital in his constituency. The hospital is ready but it is not operational yet.

LOK SABHA | 12:40 PM

Zero Hour continues in Lok Sabha

Vincent Pala, Shillong MP, seeks removal of ban on coal extraction since it is a key source of revenue in Meghalaya.

Manshankar Ninama (BJP) seeks speedy disposal of fertilizer subsidy.

Udit Raj (BJP) says the gender and caste discrimination are affecting the economy. As many as 10 people were killed on April 2 during Bharat Bandh. The bullets were not fired by police but by caste Hindus, he claims. He also seeks immediate release of Bhim Army Chandra Shekar.

In Tripura MP Jithendra Choudhury accusses the BJP government in Tripura of being a threat to democracy in the State.

S.R. Vijayakumar (AIADMK) wants the government to do away with frequent hike of LPG cylinder prices.

P. Karunakaran (CPI-M) says the depreciating rupee is due to withdrawal of FDI. He seeks government intervention.

P.Kumar, Tiruchi MP, speaks in Tamil. He speaks on road expansion in his constituency.


In Rajya Sabha, members are asking Finance Ministry the details of money stashed in Swiss banks. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal says the money in Swiss banks have come down by 80%. The Swiss authority has clarified that the media reports on figures published by Swiss National Banks are many times misleading and misinterpreted. All money in Swiss banks need not be black money, he says.

Mr. Goyal says since 2014 Swiss authority have shared more than 10,000 details on Indians. From 2018, any transactions made by Indians in Switzerland is automatically shared with India.

Sukhendu Shekar Ray has how much money has actually been recovered and how many have been persecuted. The government has got 4823 specific information and they are being pursued, he says.

Opposition members protest. House is adjourned till 2 pm.

Mob violence

In Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandhipadhyay (Trinamool Congress) raises the rising incidents of mob violence. We are for a united India. We cannot tolerate such form of violence, he says. More members want to talk about the issue.

Speaker says Union Home Minister has made a statement in the House on Monday. I cannot allow the same issue to be taken up everyday, she says.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also raises the recent mob lynching incident in Alwar. She disallows Mr. Kharge to take names. Instead of GoM and high-level committee, a Supreme Court judge should investigate, he says.

Mohammad Salim (CPI-M) says the mob violence in the name of cow protection or child-lifting rumours should be despised. This is dangerous and it is the hate crimes are spreading throughout the country. He compares the lynching with attack on blacks in USA in the name of White Supremacy.

M. Thambidurai says States want the support of Centre to modernise police system. He says such rumours have affected Tamil Nadu too. Intelligence must be strengthened to check spread of such rumours. Law and Order must be the first priority. Centre must aide states to provide technological support, he says.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh responds. Government is also concerned about such attacks. He says such violence is not new and the biggest mob lynching happened in 1984 during anti-Sikh riots. Congress members object.

He repeats yesterday’s statement on high-level committee and Group of Ministers to look into such incidents. We are ready to take stringent steps to curb such form of violence, he says.

Now Rajya Sabha takes up Question Hour and Lok Sabha takes up Zero Hour.

Narayan Rane wants to know if Ratnagiri temples will be included in Central list of religious places. Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma says the Archeological Survey of India maintains the list. The Ratnagiri temple was constructed in the medieval period and has been periodically renovated, hence cannot be added to the list, he says.

For a religious place of worship to be considered in the Central list it must be over hundred years old and the original architecture should not have been altered, the minister says.

Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) asks if Pandharpur will be added to pilgrimage circuit. Dr. Sharma says the annual Pandhapur yatra is significant and the ministry will consider the proposal if State government sends one.

Lallu Singh (BJP) asks if the government proposes to increase basic facilities in urban slums. Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS Housing and Urban Affairs, says flagship schemes such as Swacch Bharat, Awas Yojana and Amrut take care of basic amenities. Community toilets are being constructed, he says.

Mr. Singh asks if government plans to contain expansion of slums. The responsibility is primarily with the State governments, he says attributing demographic shift for slum expansion. We are willing to supplement State’s initiatives, he says.

In Lok Sabha, Agriculture Minister is answering questions pertaining to National Dairy Plan, Fertilizer allotment and MSP hike.

The Minister gives elaborate answers. Speaker asks him to trim it down citing paucity of time.

Gourav Gogoi (Congress) says when the government wants increase milk productivity, dairy farmers ought to be protected, highlighting the recent incidents of mob violence.


When DMK, AIADMK are on the same page

Manoj Jha of RJD raises the issue of government shelter in Bihar where reports of sexual abuse of children were reported. This was raised by Pappu Yadav in Lok Sabha on Monday.

Tiruchi Siva (DMK) says many students depend on education loan for higher education. The banks are charging interest for interim period between completion of education and employment. The interest should commence only from date of repayment. The students are brought under CIBIL and this has adverse effect, he says. Surprisingly AIADMK members associate with the issue and Chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu notes it down with chuckles.

P.L. Punia (Congress) wants to indict housing developers for substandard construction that led to building collapses.

Elamaram Kareem (CPI-M) raises the issue of Kerala flloods. He asks for a substantial financial allocation for the State.

C.K. Gohel (BJP) speaks in Gujarati. Mr. Naidu says he hasn’t given notice earlier, so translation couldn’t be arranged. Mr. Gohel continues his talk in Hindi. Mr. Gohel speaks about an Indian passing away in Pakistan jail. Please don’t play politics over bodies, he says.

Deependra Singh Hooda claims the government is damaging the name of M.S. Swaminathan by giving menial hike in the minimum support price in the name of his panel. When will the Swaminathan panel recommendations will be wholly implemented, he asks.

Radha Mohan Singh, Agriculture Minister, passes the blame to successive UPA governments. Congress members object.

TDP members continue with their protest seeking Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh. They show placards, which the Speaker objects.


DMK member Kanimozhi raises the issue of Thhothukudi police firing. She says she was part a delegation that was supposed to pursue an independent inquiry into the incident. Police stopped the leaders and even a former judge, she claims. AIADMK members object to her speech.

Harivansh (JD-U) talks about bad loans and arrests of bankers over alleged irregularities. He requests a detailed probe into the banking crisis.


Next set of questions pertain to minimum support price. Gajendra Siingh Shekawat, MoS Agriculture, says the government is working on a long term solution in the form of robust mechanism to make agriculture profitable.

A member wants a special package for Bundelkhand farmers. Mr. Shekawat says NITI Aayog decides on allocation of funds.


Zero hour

In Rajya Sabha’s Zero Hour Shanta Chettri of Trinamool Congress raises the mob violence in the name of cow protection. Many member associate.

AAP’s Sanjay Singh highlights the satyagraha of Sadhus seeking to clean Ganga. Swami Sanand also known as Professor G.D. Agrawal is on hunger strike for the past two weeks. Mr. Singh wants the government to initiate dialogue with him.


Generic medicines

Krit Solanki (BJP) asks if the number of generic medical stores will be increased. Mansukh Mandaviya, Chemical Minister, says the government is working towards popularising generic medicines. OVer a lakh people have moved to below poverty line due to unaffordable healthcare.

Mr. Solanki asks if government plans to bring out law to curb unaffordable medicines. The Minister says fears on the quality of generic medicines are unwarranted as they are tested by NABL. Government-run Jan Aushadhi stores provide quality pharma products. He doesn’t say anything on legal measures.

Tathagatha Satpathy says Jan Aushadhi centres are not adequately equipped with manpower or medicines. Does the government carry out an awareness campaign to make people aware the benefits of generic medicines, he asks. Minister Mandaviya says the penetration of generic medicines have raised to seven per cent. We are encouraging doctors to write generic names in the prescription.

Lok Sabha begins with obituary reference.

In Rajya Sabha, MoS Home Kiren Rijiju tables a statement on the situation arising out of floods in various parts of country.


Samsung will dual source Galaxy S10’s ultrasonic fingerprint reader

Industry insiders are confirming earlier reports that GIS and O-film will both be producing ultrasonic in-display fingerprint readers for the Galaxy S10. The two are partnering with Qualcomm to develop the sensors.

Both firms are expected to start cranking out readers for the S10 in January, preceding the flagship’s unveiling in February and its launch not long after that. Taiwan’s GIS has higher yield rates, O-film has a high capacity and asks a lower price.

That’s what the high-end versions of the Galaxy S10 have to look forward to, the base S10 (with a flat screen) is expected to have a side-mounted reader. The two firms are vying to also get the orders for the next Galaxy Note coming half a year after the S10 (potentially, the A-series will join in).

GIS and competitor TPK are supplying touch panels for Apple’s iPads and iPad Pros, they were joined by O-film in 2017. Analysts predict GIS will take on the lion’s share of the production, making 50% of the panels.