Category Archive : Maharashtra

Country wants concrete solutions to tackle Covid, not plain speeches on TV: Congress to PM | India News

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Tuesday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi come out with concrete solutions to control the Covid-19 pandemic and revive the economy, instead of giving “plain speeches”.
After the prime minister’s televised address this evening, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed that the Modi government has “failed” on both the fronts and India has become the “Corona capital” of the world with the “highest” number of daily cases and deaths.
“It is easy to give sermons. The country does not need plain speeches but concrete solutions,” he said in a tweet, quoting a phrase from saint Tulsidas.
With the onset of festival season, Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday made an impassioned appeal to people to follow Covid-19 guidelines, saying this is not the time to be careless as the virus is still around and even a little negligence can dampen the festive spirit.
Surjewala and Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera, in a joint statement, said, “The prime minister must answer for the failure of the leadership.”
“Kindly tell the country on how to control the volatile situation of the pandemic… . How will he revive the falling economy? Does he have a solution or will he blame it on God,” the two leaders asked in their statement.
“While the battle against Corona is on, the leader has turned invisible and is only seen giving sermons on TV,” they said
The Congress leader recalled how the prime minister said on March 24 that the battle of Mahabharat continued for 18 days and they will win the battle against coronavirus in 21 days.
“But, even after 210 days, the battle against coronavirus is on and people are dying. Instead of coming out with a solution, Modi ji is still giving plain speeches on television,” they said.
“India has become the corona capital of the world. As on October 19, India tops in the daily rise in cases of Covid-19 when, as per official data, the country reported 55,722 cases of the virus,” Surjewala said.
In his seventh televised address to the nation following the Covid-19 outbreak, Modi on Tuesday cited examples of the US and several European countries to note that the coronavirus cases there have seen a sudden and worrisome rise after witnessing a fall, as he cautioned citizens against any laxity until an effective cure is found.
He said pictures and videos have of late emerged showing that many people have either stopped following precautions like wearing masks or have become negligent.
“This is absolutely not right. Those who have become negligent and are moving around without masks are putting themselves and their families, including children and elderly, at risk,” he said.

Source link

Covid-19: In 7th address in 7 months, PM Modi’s message of hope & caution | India News

NEW DELHI: With the onset of festive season, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation on Tuesday, cautioned the people against being careless about Covid-19.
In his first address to the nation after the gradual lifting up of lockdown since June 8, PM Modi’s main focus was on spreading awareness about the need to take precautions and not to lower the guard in the nation’s fight against the deadly virus during the ongoing festive season.
This was Modi’s seventh address to the nation in seven months since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease pandemic in March. It was replete with cautions and precautions the people should take during the festive season and after the lifting up of lockdown.
PM Modi also greeted the people for the ongoing Navratri period and the forthcoming festivals such as Dussehra, Eid, Deepawali, Chhath Puja and Guru Nanak Jayanti.
He said the nation has come a long way since Janta Curfew was imposed on March 22. However, he said, “We should not forget that lockdown has gone but the virus has not been eliminated.”
The prime minister said India was in a better position than the other countries of the world and exhorted the people not to the situation deteriorate.
He said while the recovery rate was high, the fatality rate was low. The Covid-19 situation in the country was far better than the developed nations such as the US, Brazil and the European countries such as France and Germany.
“In comparison to the developed countries of the world, India has been successful in its fight against the pandemic,” he said.
PM Modi recounted that there were more than 90 lakh beds, 12,000 quarantine centres, 2,000 laboratories to test the coronavirus disease and the number of tests would shortly cross the 10-crore mark.
He said the large population proved to be a boon as the efforts of the people lent a great strength in providing selfless service by the doctors, nurses, health workers and others.
PM Modi turned to cautioning again by asking people not to be careless. “Do not think that coronavirus has gone or there was no risk. And then start taking lesser precautions. If you are careless, then you are not just putting yourself to risk but also your family, children and the elderly in your family,” he said.
The prime minister said the number of coronavirus patients in the US and Europe had started declining but they have started rising again.
“Till the vaccine is developed, we do not have to weaken our fight against coronavirus,” he said and informed that vaccine preparation was in an advanced stage.
He said the government was making plans about the manner in which the vaccine would be made available to everyone. “No carelessness till then,” he added.
PM Modi said mistakes and sins should not be taken lightly. “Jab tak dawaai nahin, tab tak dhilaai nahin (till there is no vaccine, there should not be any relaxations),” he said.
He said the festive season should be spent in cheer and even a little bit opf carelessness would dampen the spirits. “Therefore, maintaining social distance, frequent washing of hands and wearing masks are a must. I wish to see you all safe,” he said.
Narendra Modi had made his first speech on Covid-19 on March 19 in which he announced the observation of Janta Curfew on March 22 by beating of utensils, blowing of conches and clapping to commend the Corona Warriors.
He delivered his second address to the nation on March 24 in which he announced nationwide complete lockdown from March 25 for 21 days till April 14.
His third address to the address was made on April 3. In a video message, PM Modi asked the people to switch off lights at home and light a diya, a candle or mobile flashlight for nine minutes at 9 pm on April 5 as a mark of every Indian’s fight against Covid-19.
In his fourth address on April 14, he asked the people running businesses to be sensitive to the needs of their workers. He asked them not to retrench the workers and pay full salary to them.
In his fifth address on May 12, the prime minister announced a consolidated economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore to help make the nation self-reliant. He gave the mantras of “aatm-nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)” and “Vocal for local”.
PM Modi delivered his sixth address to the nation on May 28 in which he announced the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for giving free ration to 80 crore people till the end of November. He also announced relief measures for the migrant labourers.

Source link

UN rights chief expresses concern over restrictions on NGOs, arrest of activists in India | India News

GENEVA: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday expressed concern over the restrictions on foreign funding for the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in India and the arrest of activists in the country.
She appealed to the Indian government to “safeguard the rights of human rights defenders and NGOs, and their ability to carry out their crucial work” on behalf of the many groups they represent.
“India has long had a strong civil society, which has been at the forefront of groundbreaking human rights advocacy within the country and globally,” she said in a statement. “But I am concerned that vaguely defined laws are increasingly being used to stifle these voices.”
Bachelet specifically cited as “worrying” the use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which prohibits the receipt of foreign funds “for any activities prejudicial to the public interest.”
She said the Act, which was adopted in 2010 and was amended last month, has been invoked over the years to “justify an array of highly intrusive measures, ranging from official raids on NGO offices and freezing of bank accounts, to suspension or cancellation of registration, including of civil society organizations that have engaged with UN human rights bodies.”
“I am concerned that such actions based on the grounds of vaguely defined ‘public interest’ leave this law open to abuse, and that it is indeed actually being used to deter or punish NGOs for human rights reporting and advocacy that the authorities perceive as critical in nature,” she said.
As per the amended FCRA law, furnishing of Aadhaar numbers by office-bearers of NGOs has become mandatory for registration. The Act also provides for reduction in administrative expenses of any NGO receiving foreign funding, from 50 per cent to 20 per cent of annual funds to ensure spending on their main objectives.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had said in Parliament that the legislation was not against any NGO and was an effort to maintain transparency.
This amendment is in the interest of good NGOs which want to do good work in the country, he had said.
“NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are expected to adhere to all our laws including in respect of foreign funding just as they presumably would in other countries including the US and in the European Union,” Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said last month.
Bachelet said activists and human rights defenders have also “come under mounting pressure in recent months, particularly because of their engagement in mass protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act that took place across the country earlier this year.”
India maintains that the CAA was its “internal matter” and that “no foreign party has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India’s sovereignty”.
“More than 1,500 people have reportedly been arrested in relation to the protests, with many charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act – a law which has also been widely criticized for its lack of conformity with international human rights standards,” she said, adding that charges have also been filed under this law against a number of individuals, including 83-year-old Catholic priest Stan Swamy.
“I urge the Government to ensure that no one else is detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly – and to do its utmost, in law and policy, to protect India’s robust civil society,” she added.

Source link

Test your limits, marathon swimmer tells Bennett University students | India News

NEW DELHI: It was an afternoon of learning and inspiration for students as Bennett University continued its Welcome Week for the second consecutive day. On Tuesday, international marathon swimmer Meenakshi Pahuja shared her secret sauce for success: endurance, hard work and passion.
“You are beginning your first step towards unveiling your future by entering this University… At this stage, it’s just important to remember that there is no substitute for hard work,” said Pahuja, who was awarded the 2018 Nari Shakti Award by President Ram Nath Kovind.
Pahuja, 42, compressed her decades of learning into a virtual session, but a single advice stood out: Test your limits. “There should be a hunger and passion to do things. Obstacles will keep coming your way, but it’s important to continue chasing your dreams,” she said.
Pahuja, who also works as a Physical Training lecturer at Lady Shri Ram College, rose above financial constraints, beat emotional lows and fought stereotypes, to follow her dreams. “I wanted to swim the oceans, while living in a landlocked place, but that did not stop me from pursuing my passion. I always tell people that we can be like water. When water flows, it carves out a path for itself, no matter how difficult the terrain… You can be gentle, but determination can take you a long way,” she said.
When Pahuja started her career as an open water swimmer, the infrastructure supporting sportswomen was minimal, a phenomenon that’s changing now, she said. Drawing from her life, she advised Bennett students to never let lack of opportunities stop them. She wished them luck, and left only after making a promise to visit the BU campus once the coronavirus outbreak is over.
“This is a young university, but it has already made a lasting impact,” said Pahuja, whose name also features in the Limca Book of Records for being the first Indian swimmer to successfully swim Lake Constance, a 63km-long central European lake that borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Source link

What action will Congress take against Nath on his remark? asks Shivraj Chouhan | India News

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday asked the Congress leadership what action they will take against senior party leader Kamal Nath for his “item” jibe against state minister Imarti Devi.
After facing flak over his remark, Kamal Nath on Monday night expressed regret over it and asserted that he did not say anything disrespectful.
On Tuesday, when some reporters in Bhopal asked Nath if he would apologise to Imarti Devi, the state Congress chief said, “Why should I apologise? I have already said that it was not my aim. If still someone feels that he/she is disrespected, then I have already regretted it yesterday.”
Reacting to Nath’s comments, Chouhan told reporters at Joura in Morena district that (Congress leader) Rahul Gandhi has “admitted that Nath has committed a mistake”.
“If he (Nath) has done wrong, then what action the party will take against him?” he asked.
Chouhan was in Joura to address a rally ahead of the November 3 bypolls to 28 assembly seats in the state.
Asked about Nath refusing to apologise to Imarti Devi over his remark, Chouhan said, “Despite committing a wrong, Nath is putting up a brave face. His party leaders are saying he has committed a mistake, but as he is a man of ego and full of arrogance, he is breaking all limits of shamelessness.”
“He (Nath) is saying he will not apologise. What kind of a leader is he? I am surprised why the Congress has not removed him from the post of the state party president so far,” the chief minister said.
Addressing a poll meeting on Sunday Gwalior‘s Dabra town, where the BJP has fielded Imarti Devi, Nath said the Congress candidate was a “simple person” unlike his opponent who was an “item”.
Several BJP leaders, led by Chouhan, staged protests against Nath’s remarks in the state on Monday.
Chouhan also wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, asking her to condemn Nath’s remarks and remove the former chief minister from all party posts.
The National Commission for Women also sought an explanation from the Congress leader for his remark.

Source link

What is Malabar military drill and why it concerns China | India News

NEW DELHI: Australia will take part in a large-scale military drill – Malabar exercise- off the coast of India next month that will bring together a quartet of countries concerned by rising Chinese influence.
It is for the first time that all the ‘Quad‘ countries – an informal security forum comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia – will be part of Malabar, a move that will likely spark Chinese protest.
Here is all you need to know:
What is the Malabal drill?
The Malabar naval exercise began in 1992 as a training event between the United States and India. Japan joined it in 2015, but Australia has not participated since 2007.
The exercise was conducted off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea in 2018 and off the coast of Japan in 2019.
This year’s drills are likely to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf, defence ministry has said. Dates have not yet been confirmed yet.
Significance of the exercise
It will be the first time that the United States, India, Japan and Australia – the informal grouping known as the Quad – have participated in a joint military exercise of this size.
The decision to include Australia in the drills — the first time all members of the regional grouping known as the Quad will be engaged at a military level — comes as Beijing and New Delhi are caught up in their worst border tensions in four decades.
“The timing of India potentially letting Australia into Malabar would be especially significant at this juncture,” said Derek Grossman, researcher at the Washington-based RAND Corporation who worked in the US intelligence community for more than a decade.
“It would send a significant message to China that the Quad — US, Australia, Japan, and India — are de facto conducting joint naval exercises, even if not technically conducted under the auspices of a Quad event,” he added.
The so-called “quad” has been touted as a means of countering Chinese influence — including an enormous decades-long investment in modernising the People’s Liberation Army-Navy.
But the grouping has often faltered amid disagreements about how much to confront, contain or engage Beijing.
A renewed push to develop the “quad” into a formal counterbalance to China has included talks between foreign ministers in Tokyo earlier this month.
With Washington indicating its willingness to back the region through an increased force deployment in Asia, the Malabar exercises may take on more importance.
However, China has denounced the Quad as an attempt to contain its development.
China takes note
China on Tuesday said it has “taken note” of India’s announcement that Australia will join the annual Malabar naval exercises along with the US and Japan, underlining that military cooperation should be “conducive” to regional peace and stability.
Commenting on the announcement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that China has “taken note of this development.”
“We always believe that military cooperation between countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability,” he said in a brief reaction.
Resentment about the drill
China has been uncomfortable with the informal coalition of four democracies, which was first formed in 2004.
China had strongly objected to the India-US Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal in 2007 when it was expanded to include Japan, Australia and Singapore as well, firm in its belief that a multilateral naval construct was emerging to “counter and contain” it in the region.
China had objected to Japan’s inclusion in the US-India annual Malabar event in 2015 also with the then foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei warning “relevant countries” to not “provoke confrontation and create tension” in the region.
This had led India to restrict Malabar to a bilateral one with the US for several years – Japan was included only when the exercise was held in the north-western Pacific in 2009 and 2014 – before finally agreeing to make Japan a regular participant from 2015 onwards.
With Australia’s inclusion, it will be a breakaway from the self-imposed restraint. India, of course, is bilaterally expanding its military ties with Australia.
Beijing’s claim on South China Sea
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square-mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region which, in parts, is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Beijing has impeded commercial activity like fishing and mineral exploration by neighbouring nations in recent years, saying the ownership of the resource-rich maritime territory belongs to China for hundreds of years.
Australia joining the drill
India’s inclusion of Australia this year follows a defense agreement and upgrading ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The Mutual Logistics support agreement announced in May by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison allows access to each other’s bases and ports.
India has a similar agreement with the US.
In a joint statement with Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the announcement was another important step in Australia’s deepening relationship with India.
Australia’s diplomatic relations with China also worsened this year, after Canberra led calls for an international inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing imposed trade sanctions on Australian beef and barley.
Australia last participated in Malabar exercise in 2007.
What ships will participate in the drill?
India, which last year sent two smaller warships, was likely to send a larger carrier this time as smaller distances are involved.
The United States already has the supercarriers Nimitz in the Gulf and Ronald Reagan in the Bay of Bengal, both possible participants in the drill.
Japan’s navy is likely to send one of its two ‘Izumo-class’ helicopter carriers, Sharma said, the largest in its fleet and which have been part of the exercise for several years.
Australia could send one of its newest ships, such as the destroyer Hobart, he added.
(With inputs from agencies)

Source link

BJP living up to expectations of people in Amethi-Raeberali: Smriti Irani | India News

RAEBARELI: Union minister and Amethi MP Smriti Irani on Tuesday said she is happy that the BJP is living up to the expectations of the people of her constituency through its work.
“It is true that the family of the head of a political party had been doing its politics in Amethi-Raebareli for years, but it is a matter of satisfaction for me that we are living up to the expectations of people through our work,” she said.
Irani, who chaired a meeting of the Salon tehsil of her parliamentary constituency that falls in Raebareli district, said 12 anganwadi centres have come up here and it is an indication that this government is playing its role in completing pending projects.
The Union minister for women and child development said this is the change for which people have voted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power.
Earlier, on arrival, Irani paid obeisance at the Abhay data temple in the tehsil campus, where the meeting took place.
She said district magistrate (DM) Vaibhav Srivastava has assured her that all major development works and those related to social welfare would be completed up to the village level on time.
Irani also praised the DM for digital payments to farmers.

Source link

‘It’s unfortunate’: Rahul Gandhi on Kamal Nath’s ‘item’ remark | India News

NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that he does not approve of the ‘item’ remark made by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath against minister Imarti Devi.
Saying that the remarks made by the senior Congress leader were “unfortunate”, Rahul’s comment came in the backdrop of intense criticism faced by the party.
Nath was on Sunday addressing an election meeting in the Dabra constituency in Gwalior district, which is headed for a bypoll, where he made the remark while comparing the virtues of Congress candidate Suresh Raje with those of the rival candidate from the BJP, Imarti Devi.

Source link

‘I am not afraid of resigning’: Punjab CM Amarinder slams Centre, moves resolution against farm laws | India News

CHANDIGARH: Saying that he is not afraid of dismissal of his government, chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday moved three bills in the Punjab assembly to counter the Centre’s farm laws, which have triggered protests by farmers and opposition parties in different parts of the country including Punjab.
“I am not afraid of resigning. I am not afraid if my government is dismissed. But I will not let the farmers suffer or be ruined,” the Punjab CM said while introducing these resolutions.
The resolution also rejected the Centre’s proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Singh appealed to all parties to rise above their political interests to save Punjab.
Cautioning the Centre against allowing the situation to get out of hand, Amarinder Singh said: “If the farm laws are not revoked, angry youths can come out on the streets to join the farmers, leading to chaos. The way things are going on, the situation has the potential to disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the state.”
He said that this is what had happened in the 80s and 90s when Sikh militancy had gripped Punjab.
“Both China and Pakistan will collude and try to take advantage of any disruption in the state’s peace, which will pose a serious threat to national security,” he added.
The resolution expressed the state assembly’s “deep regret” over the “callous and inconsiderate attitude of the Government of India in attending to the concerns of the farming community on recent farm legislation enacted by them”.
“The assembly is constrained to unanimously reject the three legislations and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020,” stated the resolution, which was read out by the Speaker.
The three bills introduced by Singh to counter the Centre’s laws are — the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment Bill 2020, the Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Special Provisions and Punjab Amendment) Bill 2020.
The chief minister said these bills would form the basis of the state’s legal battle ahead.
The Centre has been saying that the three farm laws will raise farmers’ income, free them from the clutches of the middleman and usher in new technology in farming.
The opposition and some farmers’ organisations have, however, been agitating against the laws alleging they will destroy the minimum support price mechanism, end Agricultural Produce Market Committees and allow corporates to arm-twist farmers.
(With inputs from agencies)

Source link

Time has come to stop blanket extension of bails, paroles for Covid-19 reason: HC | India News

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday observed that its blanket order extending interim bails and paroles granted to prisoners in view of the Covid-19 pandemic should come to an end as the number of infected persons in jails here was only three.
According to the director general (prisons), over 6,700 prisoners are out on bail or parole and continue to remain outside in view of the blanket order passed and extended from time-to-time by a full bench of the high court.
The DG Prisons also told the high court that the three jails – Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli – in the national capital together have a capacity of around 10,000, but presently there were 15,900 prisoners lodged in them.
The full bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel on Tuesday said, “Let us bring to an end the Covid-19 chapter. Let these people surrender or go back to jail. We passed the order in view of the pandemic. Our order has nothing to do with overcrowding of the jails. We are not concerned by the nature of the crimes.”
“The Covid chapter is over. The other reasons for grant or extension of bail and parole can continue. We will go back to the situation that prevailed in January-February this year,” he added.
The bench also observed that the prison was taking care of the issue and those who had tested positive for Covid-19 in jails have been hospitalised.
The Chief Justice said the judges of the full bench, also including Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh, will sit together and take a decision on whether to extend the blanket or not.
The observations by the bench came while hearing an application, moved by one of the prosecutors dealing with the northeast Delhi riots cases in the trial courts, seeking modification of the high court’s July 13 and July 24 orders by which it had clarified that its orders extending interim bails/paroles would be applicable to everyone granted the relief before or after March 16.
The application has alleged that the two orders were being misused by the accused in the riots cases by seeking bail on grounds of family illness or some such other reasons, instead of seeking regular bail, and then getting the same extended on the basis of the high court’s direction.
The lawyer told the bench during the hearing around 20 accused in the riots cases were out on interim bail on some pretext and are now enjoying the benefits of the high court’s blanket order.
He also said that the prosecution opposes grant of bail in such cases as the accused do not surrender after the bail expires in view of the high court order.
Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra, appearing for the DG Prisons, told the bench that removing the blanket order would go against the spirit of the Supreme Court’s order to decongest jails during the pandemic as COVID-19 cases have not gone down in the national capital.
He further said that the decongestion of the prisons has not led to any increase in crimes or anarchy in the city.
The high court on September 28 had said it will not permit misuse of its orders and it will recall its extension order if it was being misused.
The bench said, “If they (prisoners) are misusing it, we will stop it and then let them suffer.”
The high court on August 24 had extended till October 31 all the interim orders which were to expire on or after August 31 in cases that are before it as also the district courts in view of the persisting Covid-19 pandemic.
It had also extended the relief in cases related to those who were enlarged on interim bail or parole and may carry Covid-19 infection.
If interim bail of anyone is ending, they are required to surrender to the already congested and over-crowded jails, which may not be in a position to strictly maintain physical distancing amongst inmates, it may pose a risk of unchecked spread of the virus, the court had said.
On March 25, the high court had extended till May 15 the interim orders in all matters pending before it and subordinate courts in view of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. Thereafter, the relief was extended from time-to-time.

Source link