Wednesday March 20, 2019
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Sonia Gandhi meets President over ‘growing intolerance’

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New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday called on President Pranab Mukherjee at his residence in the national capital to discuss what her party calls ‘growing intolerance’ in the country, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi taunted the former over 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The meeting between the Congress chief and the President last for over 40 minutes. In addition to this, the Congress plans to hold a protest march led by Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Tuesday over the pressing issue.

This comes hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and said the Congress has no right to talk about tolerance.

“Today on November 2, Sikhs were massacred… Sikhs were murdered in Delhi, across India… There were serious allegations against Congress leaders… and on the same November 2, Congress is giving a lecture on tolerance,” Modi said at an election rally in this Bihar district.

“This does not suit them… The tears of the families of those Sikhs have not yet been wiped,” he said.

Modi was speaking ahead of the fifth and final phase of staggered Bihar assembly elections. The last phase of voting takes place on November 5 and the votes will be counted on November 8.

Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday she was “saddened” at the level of intolerance in the country and asked people to “act for unity”.

She expressed support for President Pranab Mukherjee’s views on unity in diversity.

“Saddened that there is so much intolerance today. Why so much divide and rule? Let us speak for unity, stand for unity. Let us act for unity,” Banerjee tweeted.

“Respectfully & completely agree with the sentiments expressed by Rashtrapati ji today (Saturday) on unity in diversity and tolerance @RashtrapatiBhvn,” Banerjee said.

Speaking at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Delhi High Court at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital, President Mukherjee said India prospered due to its power to assimilate and tolerate.

“Our country has thrived due to its power of assimilation and tolerance. Our pluralistic character has stood the test of time,” he said.

Referring to the ancient civilisations having accommodated diversities, the president said: “Multiplicity is our collective strength, which must be preserved at all costs. It finds reflection in the various provisions of our Constitution.”

The Trinamool Congress supremo paid tribute to former prime minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary and remembered ‘Iron Man’ Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary on Saturday.

“Remembering the ‘Iron Man of India’, Sardar Patel ji, on his birth anniversary. May his vision of united India be fulfilled,” she said.

On Friday, a section of intellectuals and non-governmental organisation hit the streets against rising intolerance in the country, by organising an open beef party.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

Also Read: Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)