Sunday February 18, 2018
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Singapore building agency keen to join India’s smart city project

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New Delhi: The state-run Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore on Thursday said it wants to associate with the Indian government’s Smart City project.

“We want to collaborate with the smart city project and make sustainable environment in India by 2025,” BCA group director Koh Lin Ji told reporters here on Thursday.

The seventh edition of the green building week conference will be held next month in Singapore.

“Over 30,000 participants from over 55 countries are expected at the seventh edition of the green building week which will run from August 31 to September 6 in Singapore,” said Prem C. Jain, chairman of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

imagesgVivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister for Environment and the Smart Nation Initiative, will deliver the opening address.

BCA is a platform for stakeholders from both public and private sectors in Singapore and Asia Pacific, Lin Ji said.

In February, Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam made his maiden visit to India also as part of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

President Tan met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, while their talks covered new focus areas which are part of India’s development process like the Smart Cities and urban rejuvenation initiatives, promoting skill development and measures to speed up connectivity and coastal and port development. (IANS)

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Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

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1300 applicants after the new rule came in. Wikimedia commons
1300 applicants after the new rule came in. Wikimedia commons

In India, earlier it was mandatory for Muslim women to travel with mahram if they wanted to go for Haj. However, now Muslim women aged above 45 will now be allowed to go for the pilgrimage without ‘mahram’ in a group of at least four.

“1300 Muslim women have applied to perform Haj without ‘mahram’ and women from different parts of the country from Kerala to north India, have expressed their wish to go for the Haj pilgrimage,” said PM Modi on Mann Ki Baat.

A five-member panel

Earlier too, Centre had recommended women above 45 years to embark on haj pilgrimage in a four-member group without a male relative.

A committee was formed by Union ministry of minority affairs to review the existing haj policy and suggest a framework for new rules for 2018-22. It listed several recommendations which included permitting women to go for the pilgrimage without a male relative.

1.4 lakh people from India participate in Haj every year. Pixabay
1.4 lakh people from India participate in Haj every year. Pixabay

Controversy

In his last Mann Ki Baat address of the year on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Muslim women, highlighting his government’s attempt at facilitating women’s travel for Haj pilgrimage without a male companion.

“For decades, injustice was being done to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it. Even in many Islamic countries, this practice does not exist,” the PM said.

“Our Ministry of Minority Affairs issued corrective measures and we eased this restriction by phasing out a tradition that had been in practice for the past 70 years,” Mr. Modi pointed out.

However, many claims that these rules are made by Saudi Arabia, not the Indian Government.

“It is the Saudi Haj authorities that have allowed any Muslim women above 45 years from any country without a Mehram to do Haj. It does not behoove the PM to take credit for what a foreign govt has done,” said AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

Saudi Arabia had updated the rules on haj back in 2015, as their embassy website shows.

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