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Sachin Tendulkar asks second ever question in Parliament, govt responds

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New Delhi: Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar has played long and bold innings on numerous occasions on the cricket pitch but seems to be making his moves only gingerly on the political one.

The former ace cricketer on Monday elicited a response from a union minister in the Rajya Sabha to his written query – only the second so far, more than three years since he became a member of the upper house of parliament – about “changes in provisions for issuance of driving licences”.

The government said there was a proposal to replace Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 with a new law to facilitate technological intervention and information technology-based systems to ensure efficient and safe transport network in the country.

“Whether under the proposed new Motor Vehicles Act, the government proposes to make driving licence procedure more transparent and stringent in order to curb fake licences; whether it is also proposed to implement strict guidelines to test and train the driving licence applicants; and what steps are being taken in the new Act to safeguard the rights of pedestrians, drivers, physically challenged persons and to curb the incidents of road rage?” the cricket legend asked.

In reply, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways P Radhakrishnan said the ministry was working on a proposal to replace the Motor Vehicles Act with ‘The Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015’.

“The bill proposes to have a ‘unified driving licencing system’ that envisages simplified application and issuance procedures for driver licencing system, adopting technology for driving testing facilities. A unified biometric system is proposed to be adopted to avoid duplication of licences,” the minister said.

“The Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015, inter alia, proposes to include regulation for pedestrians, non-motorised transport and motor vehicles. It includes sensitising and educating drivers and other road users. It also provides special consideration to vulnerable road users such as women, children, senior citizens and differently-abled persons,” the minister said.

“Combination of penalties and fines to enforce traffic rules, strict enforcement for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, rash driving, electronic detection and centralised offences information to identify repeat offenders have also been proposed,” Radhakrishnan said.

Tendulkar became a nominated Rajya Sabha member in April 2012. He has only seven percent attendance in the house, as per PRS Legislative Research, against a national average of 78 percent.

He has so far not participated in any debate, nor has brought forth any private member’s bill in the house.

His attendance in the current session of parliament so far is 17 percent, as per PRS Legislative Research website.

Tendulkar’s maiden involvement in the house proceedings came on Friday through a written question to the railway ministry, to which he received a written answer from Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha.

(IANS)

(Image courtesy: Firstpost)

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Ukraine’s New Leader Gets Sworn In, Immediately Dissolves Parliament

The 41-year-old Zelenskiy had upended the traditions of Ukrainian politics

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Ukraine's New Leader, Parliament
Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy greets supporters before inauguration ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 20, 2019. VOA

Ukrainian TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn in as the country’s new president on Monday, promised to stop the war in the country’s east against Russian-backed separatists and immediately disbanded parliament, which he has branded as a group only interested in self-enrichment.

Even before he disbanded the Supreme Rada, which had been one of his campaign promises, the 41-year-old Zelenskiy had upended the traditions of Ukrainian politics.

He ditched the idea of a traditional motorcade to his inauguration, walking to the parliament through a park packed with people. Flanked by four bodyguards, he was giving high-fives to some spectators and even stopped to take a selfie with one of them.

Before he made the announcement, Zelenskiy asked the Supreme Rada to adopt a bill against illegal enrichment and support his motions to fire the country’s defense minister, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General. All of them are allies of former President Petro Poroshenko, who lost the presidential election in a landslide to the comedian with no previous political experience.

Ukraine's New Leader, Parliament
Ukrainian TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn in as the country’s new president on Monday. Flickr

In a feisty speech after his inauguration, Zelenskiy told the Rada that his main goal for the presidency is to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been fighting Russia-backed separatists for five years.

“I’m ready to do everything so that our heroes don’t die there,” he said. “I’m ready to lose my popularity and, if necessary, I’m ready to lose my post so that we have peace.”

Zelenskiy garnered 73% of the vote at the presidential election last month in a victory that reflected Ukrainians’ exhaustion with politics-as-usual. For years, he has played the Ukrainian president in a popular television show.

The new president wrapped up his speech at parliament by referring to his career as a comedian.

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“Throughout all of my life, I tried to do everything to make Ukrainians laugh,” he said with a smile. “In the next five years I will do everything so that Ukrainians don’t cry.” (VOA)