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Government clarifies PM Modi signed memento, not national flag

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Photo: www.india.com

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

credit: www.images.indianexpress.com
credit: www.images.indianexpress.com

New York/New Delhi: After sharp criticism from the Congress over PM Narendra Modi putting his autograph on what appeared to be an Indian flag, the Union government has clarified that it was only a memento.

The controversy erupted after super chef Vikas Khanna, who had dished up the fare for the prime minister’s dinner with Fortune 500 CEOs on Thursday, approached Modi with the flag crafted by children of Smile India Foundation to be gifted to President Barack Obama. When Khanna told him that he wanted to present it to Obama, Modi autographed it.

Modi also praised Khanna, a four-time Michelin-starred chef, for the dinner held at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.

The story broke after Khanna displayed the autographed flag to the media.

According to the rules governing the national flag, putting any inscription on the flag is considered disrespect.

Twitter was abuzz on Friday under the hashtag #ModiDisrespectsTricolor after the incident, which evoked a sharp reaction from the Congress.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in New Delhi: “We are not petty like BJP. We respect the office of the prime minister… However high you may be, the national flag is above you, you should understand this.”

Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted:

However, Press Information Bureau director general (media and communication) Frank Noronha clarified that the “memento signed by PM Modi did not have the Ashok Chakra on it or the ‘white’ color band on it”. He tweeted:

The BJP accused the Congress of “raking up a controversy where none exists” and making “irrelevant and unwarranted” comments against Modi.

In New York, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, when asked by IANS, said: “It was not a flag.”

Swarup said Khanna wanted to present the artwork to President Obama and he wanted Modi’s autograph on it as he thought it would be a nice gesture.

Swarup said that the child’s drawing was being erroneously portrayed as the national flag.

Asked if the artwork was taken back, Swarup said that it was only taken for a review.

Khanna tweeted that it was not a flag, under his handle @TheVikasKhanna.

“Dear all, It is not the National Flag. A differently abled girl from my Foundation who I treat like my daughter had attempted an artistic hand impression on a light brown piece of cloth. It didn’t have the three colors of the national flag represented. Was more like the insignia of the Make In India. Unnecessary controversy is being created deliberately,” he said.

Khanna had presented a cuisine that included sandalwood saffron sherbet, paneer ravioli, saffron sheermal and mango-ginger soup. Many of the dishes were from his coffee table book on festival cuisine in India.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Build Bridge between Artificial Intelligence, Human Intentions: PM Modi Urges Technocrats

Observing that there is a conspiracy to present technology as a challenge for India's demographic dividen

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Modi, Human, AI
He said the emphasis should be on ways to upgrade skills as per the demand. "Let AI be just another aid, which is little more sophisticated," he said. Pixabay

Stressing integration and right balance between human and artificial intelligence (AI), Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Sunday said the debate on AI should focus on bridging the gap between human intentions and AI, and not its likely negative impact.

Speaking at the launch of book ‘Bridgital Nation’, written by N. Chandrasekaran and Roopa Purushottam, Modi said, “The debate should not be on what are the dangers from AI, but how to bridge the gap between artificial intelligence and human intentions.”

He said the emphasis should be on ways to upgrade skills as per the demand. “Let AI be just another aid, which is little more sophisticated,” he said.

Observing that there is a conspiracy to present technology as a challenge for India’s demographic dividend, he said, “Human intentions and right intentions” were important for AI’s operations. Technology and talent were force multipliers, rather than a threat, he said. Technology was a bridge between aspirations and achievements, he added.

Modi, Human, AI
Speaking at the launch of book ‘Bridgital Nation’, written by N. Chandrasekaran and Roopa Purushottam, Modi said, “The debate should not be on what are the dangers from AI, but how to bridge the gap between artificial intelligence and human intentions.” Pixabay

The Prime Minister narrated how technology had been a key component of government schemes to reform, transform and perform. He mentioned about the use of data intelligence, digital mapping and real time monitoring in Ujjwala Yojana, which has transformed the lives of millions of women. He also talked about how technology had helped in empowering people through schemes, like Jan Dhan Yojana and Ayushman Bharat.

Modi said his government had used technology to remove silos among departments and build a bridge between supply and demand through innovative ideas, like the Government e-market Place (GeM). He explained how technology was used to create a robust startup system in the country, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities, which helped in development of a new ecosystem of startups.

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On the need to convert challenges posed by technology into opportunities, Modi cited the example of creation of India Post Payment Bank. The disruption caused by technology to the entire postal organisation had converted it into a tech-intensive banking system, benefiting millions through postal bank, he added. (IANS)