Visakhapatnam, Dec 29, 2016: The fourth International Hindi Conference will be held from January 6 to 8, 2017, in the port city of Visakhapatnam. The main motive of the conference is to bridge the gap between experts of the language in India and abroad. It will be inaugurated by Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan. Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar will also be present at the conference.
It is jointly arranged by the Hindi Sangam Foundation, (New Jersey and New Delhi) and Lok Nayak Foundation of Visakhapatnam. This is the first time the conference is taking place outside the USA.
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According to PTI reports, former MP and organising committee chairman Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad said that around 200 Hindi scholars and professionals from around the world are expected to join the conference. Many leading Hindi scholars from US universities, including New York University, Columbia, Duke, City University of New York, Pace and Pennsylvania State University, would attend the conference along with academicians from all over India.
The theme of the conference hosted by Gitam University on its campus at Rishikonda is “Teaching Hindi to Other Language Speakers: Pedagogical Perspectives, Language Planning and Program Development.”
Famous Hindi scholar and author, Prasad said, “The conference will be a unique forum for dialogue among Hindi scholars and administrators and will allow for partnerships and project collaborations with the goal to expand, enrich and further promote Hindi education.”
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The Padma Bhushan awardee also mentioned, “This conference is the result of a new initiative introduced in the field of Hindi education that aims to create a bridge between the pedagogical experts of the language in India and the pedagogical experts and instructors in the US and the rest of the world, where Hindi is taught as a heritage language as well as a foreign language.”
This conference is surely an interesting initiative in the field of Hindi language. It will not only help the language reach a bigger global acceptance but also help India connect with the rest of the world through the appeal of a rich language like Hindi. This conference also successfully brings the most respected faces in the field of the language under one roof.
– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang
Modiji has led this country successfully for the last six years. This is the first year of the Second term which has been completed. This year was eventful. Modis work can be seen as a three-pronged activities. First, some historical national initiatives. Second, fighting COVID19 and, third, laying foundation stone for the future of India through “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.
Abrogation of Article 370, creation of Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill and abolition of Triple Talaq, facilitation of Ram temple, can be grouped into national and historical political initiatives. Kashmir situation has improved thereafter. Now, even the internet has been restored. Our forces are keeping watch on Pakistan’s nefarious designs. A comprehensive agreement to end over 50 years of old Bodo crisis was done and all sections of the society are very happy. Likewise, Bru-Reang refugee crisis has been solved successfully with a tripartite agreement between Tripura, Government of India and Mizoram. Also, in one year, it ushered major social initiatives in the form of six months’ leave in pregnancy; Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 2020; Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020 and amended Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
In fighting COVID, we held the longest and very strict lockdown which ensured minimum damage for the country. We had no capacity in many areas. We had zero COVID hospitals. Now we have more than 800. We had only one lab for testing and now we have more than 300. PPE suit, Mask and even the Swab Stick was getting imported. We became ‘Aatmanirbhar’ and now it is a ‘Make in India’ story. Even ventilators are being produced in India. 165 distilleries and 962 manufacturers were given licence to produce hand sanitisers which resulted in production of 87 lakh litres of hand sanitisers. Government released Rs. 15,000 crore health package and Rs. 11,000 crores for State Disaster Relief Fund to enable the States to take up the challenge and fight it without borrowing. In COVID fight, 3000 trains have ferried nearly 45 lakhs migrant labours back to their homes. Thousands of Indian residents stranded in foreign countries were evacuated successfully.
Modiji cares for masses first. In his very first package, he had given Food Security cover to 80 crore families with 25 Kg. rice / wheat and 5 Kg of pulses free of cost (for five months). It continued with earlier schemes of providing 5 Kg a month rice / wheat at a highly subsidised rate of Rs. 2 – 3 per Kg. For nearly 5 crore non-ration card holders, Government gave 10 Kg free rice / wheat and 2 Kg of pulses for two months. 20 crore Jandhan accounts of women received Rs. 30,000 crores. Each one got Rs. 1,500 (500 x 3) in their bank accounts. 8 crore families got 3 gas cylinders worth Rs. 2,000. Nearly 9 crore farmers received Rs. 2,000 into their bank accounts. 50 lakh Redi-Patriwalas will get Rs. 10,000 each. Lakhs of construction workers got fund from the Construction Workers’ Fund. If somebody calculates, the 10% bottom of our society has received more than Rs. 10,000 in the family.
The third part of the development is, major reforms unleashed through “Aatmanirbhar” package. The five pillars of Aatmanirbhar Bharat are Economy, Infrastructure, Systems, Demography and Demand. It is a Rs. 20 lakh crore package which is 10% of the GDP. It cares for every section of the society. EPI contribution was reduced for both employers and employees to the tune of Rs.2760 crore. 2% interest subvention has been given on small and medium loans. 63 lakh self-help groups will receive collateral free lending upto Rs.20 lakh which was restricted earlier to Rs.10 lakh.
The definition of small and medium industries was changed to accommodate more companies to benefit. They have been provided with Rs.4,45,000 crores for small and medium industries and NBFCs put together. Rs. 1,00,000 crores for agri-infrastructure programmes, plus Rs. 20,000 crores for Fisheries Development and nearly Rs. 15,000 crores for vaccination and treatment of foot and mouth disease in the cattle population have been provided. There is credit link subsidy of Rs. 70,000 crores which is important.
Major reforms have been unleashed in this package. Self-reliance in Defence is a historical initiative. We were importing 100% weaponry, but were not allowing FDI in Defence. Modi ji brought the country out of this hypocrisy and allowed 74% of FDI into defence production and simultaneously banned import of defence spares and weapons which are made in India. 1,00,000 crore rupees for MNREGA is one of the best initiative as it provides jobs to the needy and, as migrant workers are returning, there will be more demand for jobs in the rural areas. UPA never crossed the expenditure on MNREGA by more than Rs. 37,000 crores. Our last five years’ record is an average of Rs. 55,000 crores. Now we have nearly doubled it to Rs. 1,00,000 crores. Modi Government cares for the poor. Many concessions are given to the revamp of industries and tax payers.
Lastly, the headline of this package is the historical reforms in agricultural sector. Farmers have been freed from APMCs. They can sell anywhere by their choice. They can engage with anybody for any period his farm product and its captive marketing and he has been given relief from many anti-farmer provisions of Essential Commodities Act. Now, there will be no restricts on farmers when market offers them more price. “Aatmanirbhar” package will decide the future of India. It is visionary, historical and prudent. (IANS)
From January next year, sanitary pad manufacturers will have to mandatorily provide packets for disposal of each pad, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Sunday.
Speaking here, Javadekar said that it has been observed that production and usage of sanitary napkins and diapers has greatly increased in the country, but, they are still being discarded in a way which is harmful to waste-pickers.
“We will implement the rule that January 2021 onwards all sanitary pad manufacturers will have to compulsorily give degradable bags for disposal of each sanitary napkin. This rule is already in existence but is not being followed by the manufacturers,” he said.
He also announced that all habitations with more than 3,000 population will have to make provision for waste management.
“We should address the waste pickers as ‘Swachhta Sevika’ from this International Women’s day as they are doing a great service to the nation”, the Minister said while interacting with female workers of SWaCH Pune, a wholly-owned workers’ cooperative.
He emphasized on the decentralised model wherein garbage by educational institutes and housing societies should be disposed at the premises itself.
“There is a rule for compulsory picking of garbage and disposal for municipal towns… this rule will be made compulsory for all the habitations with more than 3000 population,” he added.
“I celebrate my Diwali with waste-pickers to understand their work and problems, we all city dwellers want garbage shed for us, but not too close from our home. This mindset should change. I have decided to give funds from Member of Parliament Local Area Development Fund for construction of 50 big and 50 small garbage sheds which are designed by SWaCH,” he said. (IANS)
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a man of moderation in a fraternity of jingoistic nationalists; a peace visionary in a region riven by religious animosity; and a man who believed in India’s destiny and was ready to fight for it.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93), who died on Thursday, will go down in history as a person who tried to end years of hostility with Pakistan and put development on the front burner of the country’s political agenda. He was also the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full five-year term.
Even though he lived the last 13 years of his life in virtual isolation, dogged by debilitating illnesses and bedridden, he has left an enduring legacy for the nation and the region where he was much loved and respected across the political spectrum and national boundaries, including in Pakistan.
In the tumultuous period he presided over the destiny of the world’s largest democracy, Vajpayee stunned the world by making India a declared nuclear state and then almost went to war with Pakistan before making peace with it in the most dramatic fashion.
In the process, his popularity came to match that of Indira Gandhi, a woman he admired for her guts even as he hated her politics.
He also became the best-known national leader after Indira Gandhi and her father Jawaharlal Nehru.
After despairing for years that he would never become Prime Minister and was destined to remain an opposition leader all his life, he achieved his goal, but only for 13 days, from May 16-28, 1996, after his deputy, L.K. Advani, chose not to contest elections that year.
His second term came on March 19, 1998, and lasted 13 months, a period during which India stunned the world by undertaking a series of nuclear tests that invited global reproach.
Although his tenure again proved short-lived, his and his government’s enhanced stature following the world-defying blasts enabled him to return as Prime Minister for the third time on October 13, 1999, a tenure that lasted a full five-year term.
When finally he stepped down in May 2004, after an election that he was given to believe he would win, it marked the end of a long and eventful political career spanning six decades.
Vajpayee had gone into these elections riding a personality cult that projected him as a man who had brought glory to the nation in unprecedented ways. The BJP’s election strategy rested on seeking a renewed mandate over three broad pillars of achievement that the government claimed — political stability in spite of the pulls and pressures of running a multi-party coalition; a “shining” economy that saw a dizzying 10.4 percent growth in the last quarter of the previous year; and peace with Pakistan that changed the way the two countries looked at each other for over 50 years.
The results of the elections could not have come as a greater shock to a man who was hailed for his achievements and who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 influential men of the decade.
Success didn’t come easily to the charismatic politician, who was born on Christmas Day in 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, into a family of moderate means. His father was a school teacher and Vajpayee would later recall his early brush with poverty.
He did his Masters in Political Science, studying at the Victoria College in Gwalior and at the DAV College in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he first contested, and lost, elections. He began his professional career as a journalist, working with Rashtradharma, a Hindi monthly, Panchjanya, a Hindi weekly, and two Hindi dailies, Swadesh and Veer Arjun. By then he had firmly embraced the ideals of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
But even as he struggled to win electoral battles, his command over Hindi, the lingua franca of the North Indian masses, his conciliatory politics and his riveting oratory brought him into public limelight.
His first entry into Parliament was in 1962 through the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. It was only in 1971 that he won a Lok Sabha election. He was elected to the lower house seven times and to the Rajya Sabha twice.
Vajpayee spent months in prison when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency rule in June 1975 and put her political opponents in jail. When the Janata Party took office in 1977, dethroning the Congress for the first time, he became the foreign minister.
The lowest point in his career came when he lost the 1984 Lok Sabha polls, that too from his birthplace Gwalior, after Rajiv Gandhi won an overwhelming majority following his mother Indira Gandhi’s assassination. And the BJP he led ended up with just two seats in
the 545-member Lok Sabha, in what looked like the end of the road for the right-wing party.
In no time, Vajpayee was replaced and “eclipsed” by his long-time friend L.K. Advani.
Although they were the best of friends publicly, Vajpayee never fully agreed with Advani’s and the assorted Hindu nationalist groups’ strident advocacy of Hindutva, an ideology ranged against the idea of secular India.
Often described as the right man in the wrong party, there were also those who belittled him as a moderate “mask” to a hardline Hindu nationalist ideology. Often he found his convictions and value systems at odds with the party, but the bachelor-politician never went against it.
It was precisely this persona of Vajpayee — one merged in Hindutva ideology yet seemingly not wholly willing to bow to it — that won him admirers cutting across the political spectrum. It was this trait that made him the Prime Minister when the BJP’s allies concluded they needed a moderate to steer a hardliner, pro-Hindu party.
He brought into governance measures that created for India a distinct international status on the diplomatic and economic fronts. In his third prime ministerial stint, Vajpayee launched a widely acclaimed diplomatic initiative by starting a bus service between New Delhi and Pakistan’s Lahore city.
Its inaugural run in February 1999 carried Vajpayee and was welcomed on the border by his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. It was suspended only after the 2001 terror attack on the Indian Parliament that nearly led to a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
The freeze between the two countries, including an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation on the border for nearly a year, was finally cracked in the spring of 2003 when Vajpayee, while in Kashmir, extended a “hand of friendship” to Pakistan. That led to the historic summit in January 2004 with then President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad — a remarkable U-turn after the failed summit in Agra of 2001. Despite the two men being so far apart in every way, Musharraf developed a strong liking for the Indian leader.
His unfinished task, one that he would probably rue, would be the peace process with Pakistan that he had vowed to pursue to its logical conclusion and a resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
He was not known as “Atal-Ji”, a name that translates into firmness, for nothing. He could go against the grain of his party if he saw it deviate from its path. When Hindu hardliners celebrated the destruction of the 16th century Babri Mosque at Ayodhya, he was full of personal remorse for the apocalyptic action and called it — in a landmark interview to IANS — the “worst miscalculation” and a “misadventure”. He even despaired that “moderates have no place — who is going to listen to the voice of sanity?”
In his full five-year term, he successively carried forward India’s economic reforms programme with initiatives to improve infrastructure, including flagging off a massive national highway project that has become associated with his vision, went for massive privatisation of unviable state undertakings despite opposition from even within his own party.
While his personal image remained unsullied despite his long innings in the murky politics of this country, his judgment was found wanting when his government was rocked by an arms bribery scandal that sought to expose alleged payoffs to some senior members of his cabinet. His failure to speak up when members of his party and its sister organisations, who are accused of killing more than 1,000 Muslims in Gujarat, was questioned by the liberal fraternity who wondered aloud about his secular proclamations. He wanted then Chief Minister — now Prime Minister, Narendra Modi — to take responsibility for the riots and quit but was prevailed upon by others not to press his decision.
A day before his party lost power, Vajpayee was quoted as saying in a television interview that if and when he stepped down he would like to devote his time to writing and poetry. But fate ruled otherwise. The man who once rued that “I have waited too long to be Prime Minister” found his last days in a world far removed from the adulation and attention — though across the nation people prayed for his well-being — surrounded only by care-givers and close family whom he even failed to recognize. (IANS)