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Nari Shakti Awards on the Occasion of International Women’s Day

President Pranab Mukherjee says there's no place for gender bias in modern India

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Nari Shakti Awards
President Pranab Mukherjee, Wikimedia

New Delhi, March 8, 2017: While addressing at the ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan to present the Nari Shakti Awards on the occasion of International Women’s Day, President Pranab Mukherjee said that in modern India with its emphasis on inclusive development, has no place for gender biases. He had also lamented at the rising incidences of crimes against women in India, according to PTI.

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Amongst the 31 awardees, were 3 women scientists from ISRO- Subha Varier, B Codananyaguy and Anatta Sonney who have participated in historic space missions  of ISRO like the Chandrayaan mission, Mangalyaan mission and the most recent launch of 104 satellites in one go.

The first all-women kathakali troupe- Tripunithura Kathakali Kendram Ladies Troupe from Kerala was also awarded. They have ventured into performing a type of art which has been the exclusive preserve of men. The group has delivered over 1,500 performances in India and abroad since it’s formation in 1975.

Amruta Patil, another awardee is the first female graphic novelist of India, who has authored the novel ‘Adi Parva’, based on the Mahabharata, Purans and tradition of oral storytellers which was selected as one of the best graphic novels of 2012.

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Among other awardees were survivors of acid attack and trafficking, environment and animal activists.

Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself

 

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House Democrat Issues Subpoenas for U.S. President Donald Trump Tax Returns

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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., who is demanding President Donald Trump's tax returns for six years, is joined at right by Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., at a hearing on taxpayer noncompliance on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 9, 2019. VOA

A top House Democrat on Friday issued subpoenas for six years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, giving Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig a deadline of next Friday to deliver them.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., issued the subpoenas days after Mnuchin refused to comply with demands to turn over Trump’s returns. Mnuchin told the panel he wouldn’t provide Trump’s tax records because the panel’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose,” as Supreme Court precedent requires.

Neal reminded the two Trump appointees in a Friday letter that federal law states that the Internal Revenue Service “shall furnish” the tax returns of any individual upon the request of the chairmen of Congress’ tax-writing committees and that Ways and Means “has never been denied” a request.

Donald Trump
Neal originally demanded access to Trump’s tax returns in early April. VOA

Refusals to comply

The White House and the Democratic-controlled House are waging a multifront battle over investigations into Trump, and the administration has been refusing to comply across the board — refusing to comply with subpoenas for the unredacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller and documents related to the testimony by former White House counsel Donald McGahn.

Neal originally demanded access to Trump’s tax returns in early April. He maintains that the committee is looking into the effectiveness of IRS mandatory audits of tax returns of all sitting presidents, a way to justify his claim that the panel has a potential legislative purpose. Democrats are confident in their legal justification and say Trump is stalling in an attempt to punt the issue past the 2020 election.

FILE - Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee, April 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee, April 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

In rejecting the request earlier, Mnuchin said he relied on the advice of the Justice Department. He concluded that the Treasury Department is “not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information.” Mnuchin has also said that Neal’s request would potentially weaponize private tax returns for political purposes.

“While I do not take this step lightly, I believe this action gives us the best opportunity to succeed and obtain the requested material,” Neal said in a statement.

President won’t budge

Trump has privately made clear he has no intention of turning over the records. He is the first president since Watergate scandal of Richard Nixon’s presidency to decline to make his tax returns public, often claiming that he would release them if he were not under audit.

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“What’s unprecedented is this secretary refusing to comply with our lawful … request. What’s unprecedented is a Justice Department that again sees its role as being bodyguard to the executive and not the rule of law,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. “What’s unprecedented is an entire federal government working in concert to shield a corrupt president from legal accountability.”

But the president has told those close to him that the attempt to get his returns was an invasion of his privacy and a further example of what he calls the Democrat-led “witch hunt” — like Mueller’s Russia probe — meant to damage him. (VOA)