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PM Narendra Modi Defends Currency Spike in an Emotional Speech, says it was done for the Benefit of People

The Prime Minister said that demonetisation decision is just a "beginning of government's crusade against black money and corruption"

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Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.(Representational image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 22, 2016: In an emotional speech to parliament members from his ruling BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday vehemently defended the demonetisation move, saying it was done for the benefit of the people.

Addressing the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting here, Modi urged the members to counter what he called was “misinformation” being spread by the opposition parties on the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

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“We came to power for the poor, not for our own sake,” the Prime Minister said in his speech, according to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.

“The poor, the lower middle class and middle class have been suffering since the last 70 years due to corruption and black money.”

“This decision is in favour of the people and against black money, corruption and counterfeit currency. Our target is fight a long battle against all these,” said Modi, according to Ananth Kumar.

According to sources, the Prime Minister said that demonetisation decision is just a “beginning of government’s crusade against black money and corruption”, and such type of actions will be continued.

Sources also said that Prime Minister asked party leaders not to use the word “surgical strike” for demonetisation.

“Don’t call it a surgical strike. Only a soldier can do that,” a source quoted Modi as saying at the meeting.

Incidentally, BJP President Amit Shah, in his first reaction after demonetisation scheme was announced, had dubbed the move as surgical strike on black money and corruption.

The BJP Parliamentary Party also passed a resolution backing the government’s decision to spike the high value currencies. The resolution was moved by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

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Ananth Kumar told the media: “The Parliamentary Party unanimously passed a resolution on the historical demonetisation decision of November 8.”

“The Parliamentary Party unanimously welcomes the historic announcement made by PM withdrawing the legal tender value of currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 and compliments the Prime Minister, the government and the Reserve Bank Of India,” the resolution said.

“The parliamentary party is supremely confidant that this bold initiative will achieve the intended objectives cutting off financial support to terrorists and extremists organisations, address the problem of counterfeit currency besides checkmating unaccounted money in the system and serving as a serious warning to those indulging in corruption,” it added.

It also acknowledged the initiative as a national project of cleansing the system and of great significance that will usher in behavioural and attitudinal changes encouraging honesty in personal and public life, particularly political life.

“This will benefit the poor and the common man in several ways. Over the last 70 years, common man has resigned to grudgingly accept the foul ways of these in power and close to power, to exploit the system and make ill-gotten wealth,” it said.

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The resolution condemned “malicious efforts” of some political parties which are “desperate to provoke violence and chaos” having been rattled by the widespread support of the people to the government’s initiative and bent upon disrupting the proceedings of Parliament on one pretext of the other”.

The BJP Parliamentary Party also hailed the common man for patience despite facing hardships.

“They are queuing for a better India,” the resolution said. (IANS)

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The World Looks Up To India and Modi’s response to Covid-19, commends C’wealth Secy-Gen

The world is looking towards India how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government and the people have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic

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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland appreciates India and PM Modi's way of dealing with the Pandemic. IANS

The world is looking towards India how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government and the people have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, controlled it and minimised it, said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland. She said she was impressed with the way Prime Minister Modi pulled together members of the SAARC, including Pakistan.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, the Secretary-General said India — a home to half of the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion citizens — is a valued member of the Commonwealth family, with its government, people and institutions contributing in practical ways to collaborate across the 54 member countries, particularly through innovative programmes such as the UN India Fund and Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility.

On the pandemic, she said the whole Commonwealth has been affected by the virus. India reported its first case in January just like the US, Italy and Russia and has made an immense effort to keep the spread of the virus under control and safeguard its citizens. As of May 20, it has over 106,000 cases and 42,298 recoveries — considering the size of its population, India has done well, Scotland said.

“That is why, people are looking to India for how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government and people of India have responded to the pandemic, controlled it and minimised it because it could have been so much worse,” she said. “We know that we have never needed multilateralism more than we do today. I was very impressed with how PM Modi pulled together members of SAARC, including Pakistan — everyone came — in which the need for ‘coming together, not growing apart’ was underlined.

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The way Prime Minister Modi pulled together members of the SAARC, including Pakistan is commendable. Pixabay

“I commend India for providing various medical supplies — testing kits and sanitisers among other items — to SAARC members, including Commonwealth member states Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka,” she said. “India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally and can, therefore, draw on its growing pharma industry to provide medical supplies to many small Commonwealth states and we’ve been very interested in how India’s made this contribution.” Thanking to India’s Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan for participating in the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ meeting this month, she said he highlighted India’s response to COVID-19, under the highest level of political commitment and guidance of Prime Minister Modi, who has been pro-active.

“The Commonwealth looks forward to working more closely with representatives of government and other agencies to share solutions and advice in fighting this pandemic,” she added. Commonwealth Health Ministers, including Vardhan, at the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ meeting have agreed to coordinate their response in tackling the pandemic. The ministers have endorsed removing fees for the coronavirus tests and treatment, especially for migrants and refugees, as appropriate within national contexts, and creating a voluntary mechanism to share and distribute extra medical supplies, including ventilators and testing kits.

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India will chair the next meeting of the Commonwealth Health Ministers in May 2021. As on May 21, 5,000,038 coronavirus cases have been reported globally. Half a million of these are in the Commonwealth countries. Seven member states are among the 12 nations worldwide that have not reported any cases. (IANS)

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National Capital Delhi Makes a Gradual Comeback

The city of Delhi has slowly and gradually reopened

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Shutters are lifted and shops spruced up as Delhi's markets open after two months as lockdown restrictions are eased. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Signs are being spruced up and prayers performed as shops in the Indian capital open their shutters after two months with the gradual easing of a stringent lockdown.

Markets were allowed to reopen recently after the government signaled economic activity must resume, even as the fight against the COVID -19 pandemic continues. Traffic is humming on once-deserted streets as buses and auto rickshaws have been given the go-ahead to operate.

However, people in the city of nearly 20 million — one of the worst-hit in the country — remain hesitant about venturing out as cases of coronavirus touched record highs in recent days.

Shop owners, hoping to slowly emerge from the economic pain imposed by a weekslong shutdown, have instituted new rules to cope with the pandemic.

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Though markets are open, they are seeing few customers as people remain wary amid the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“We’ve restricted it to three people at a time for browsing, and then we have new checks and measures in place where we first check the person’s temperature, we give them hand sanitizer and we have started giving everyone a pair of gloves as well,” said Rajni Malhotra, owner of Bahrisons Booksellers, a 65-year-old landmark in one of the city’s most iconic markets.

The city is only partially open — shopping malls, restaurants, schools and colleges still remain closed and offices can only have limited staff.  Even in markets that have opened, only half the shops open every day to avoid crowding. Delhi accounts for about 10% of India’s infections.

“We have a twofold challenge — to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the country two weeks ago. “Coronavirus is going to be part of our lives for a long time. But we can’t let our lives revolve around it,” he said.

Shop owners even sanitize customers’ purchases to reassure people still wary of entering markets. Among those that sold some goods is a store that sells kitchen equipment — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking have been therapy for some of those confined indoors.

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A customer turns up to buy baking tins — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking has been a therapy for people confined indoors. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

However, a sense of unease remains as once-buzzing markets see only a sprinkling of customers, who mostly visit shops selling groceries and other essentials.

“There is this feeling that complete your work fast and then return home,” said Aparajita Pant, a city resident who had come to buy food for her pets.

“Earlier one would like to linger around, there are so many interesting shops here but as of now, there is that cautious approach, at least in me,” she said.

That is not good news for some shop owners. Not a single person had walked into Leena Mehra’s shop selling handicrafts and silver jewelry during the first two days.

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Most customers head to shops selling essentials like groceries and medicines. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“It’s depressing. We have to open the shop, we don’t have any choice,” she said.

“We know it is difficult for us to sell this product to the consumer because right now the mindset of the people is not at all in this direction, but we will try,” she said.

The pandemic has left its mark on a city whose love for shopping and being well turned out made it a retailers’ paradise.

“One would take more efforts to get maybe a little better dressed, but now you come here, avoid jewelry, avoid wearing even a watch, I am not even wearing my earrings,” Pant said ruefully.

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Shops display signs asking people to wear masks and take precautions as new rules are put in place to cope with the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Even budget accessories and clothes being sold from small stalls tucked in the market’s narrow lanes have few takers. That is disappointing for low-income workers who say they desperately need to start earning again.

“Everybody needs money. If customers don’t come and this atmosphere persists, it will not be easy to face the problem created by this pandemic,” said a despondent Lucky Arya, as he helped set up a stall to sell summer clothes.

The wait for customers is also long for auto rickshaw drivers waiting on sidewalks.

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Auto rickshaw drivers don’t see too many customers as most people still hesitate to venture outside. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
 A once-familiar sight as they skillfully negotiated their way through Delhi’s often chaotic traffic, they too have been scarred by the pandemic because of new rules allowing only one passenger instead of the customary two to ensure social distancing.

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Mohammad Parvez Khan decided to brave the city’s sizzling summer temperatures to ply his auto rickshaw even during Ramadan because his savings were running out.

“Only we know how we passed these last two months,” he said.

“Every day, when I fasted, I prayed that let the coronavirus go quickly, and may everything come back to how it used to be,” he said. (VOA)

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Sanitization to Fight Coronavius Begins in UP

Massive sanitization drive begins in UP

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sanitization
A massive sanitization drive began in major cities in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. (Representation Image). Pixabay

A massive sanitization drive began in major cities in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. This is the latest news in India.

Rajkumar Vishwakarma, DG, fire services, told reporters that sanitization was being done with sodium hypochlorite and fire personnel had been instructed to take care and not to spray the disinfectant on human beings and animals.

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The sanitization will be done using sodium hypochlorite. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Spraying will also not be done inside any building due to electrical connections.

Fire personnel have been asked to take photographs and post it on WhatsApp media groups. They have been asked to avoid calling the media personnel to the sanitisation sites to avoid risks.

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Earlier this week, about 50 migrant workers who were at a bus station in Bareilly, were sprayed with sodium hypochlorite by the sanitisation staff. Those who were sprayed, including children, complained of itching in the eyes and rashes on the body.

Also Read- UNHRC Chief Michele Bachelet: India’s Lockdown Has Implementation Challenges

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had expressed his concern over the incident and assured action against the guilty.

District magistrate Bareilly, Nitish Kumar said that the incident happened due to ‘over-zealous’ workers. (IANS)