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Prakash Javadekar discusses major reforms unleashed in Aatmanirbhar package. Wikipedia

BY PRAKASH JAVADEKAR

Modiji has led this country successfully for the last six years. This is the first year of the Second term which has been completed. This year was eventful. Modis work can be seen as a three-pronged activities. First, some historical national initiatives. Second, fighting COVID19 and, third, laying foundation stone for the future of India through “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.


Abrogation of Article 370, creation of Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill and abolition of Triple Talaq, facilitation of Ram temple, can be grouped into national and historical political initiatives. Kashmir situation has improved thereafter. Now, even the internet has been restored. Our forces are keeping watch on Pakistan’s nefarious designs. A comprehensive agreement to end over 50 years of old Bodo crisis was done and all sections of the society are very happy. Likewise, Bru-Reang refugee crisis has been solved successfully with a tripartite agreement between Tripura, Government of India and Mizoram. Also, in one year, it ushered major social initiatives in the form of six months’ leave in pregnancy; Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 2020; Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020 and amended Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

In fighting COVID, we held the longest and very strict lockdown which ensured minimum damage for the country. We had no capacity in many areas. We had zero COVID hospitals. Now we have more than 800. We had only one lab for testing and now we have more than 300. PPE suit, Mask and even the Swab Stick was getting imported. We became ‘Aatmanirbhar’ and now it is a ‘Make in India’ story. Even ventilators are being produced in India. 165 distilleries and 962 manufacturers were given licence to produce hand sanitisers which resulted in production of 87 lakh litres of hand sanitisers. Government released Rs. 15,000 crore health package and Rs. 11,000 crores for State Disaster Relief Fund to enable the States to take up the challenge and fight it without borrowing. In COVID fight, 3000 trains have ferried nearly 45 lakhs migrant labours back to their homes. Thousands of Indian residents stranded in foreign countries were evacuated successfully.

Modiji cares for masses first. In his very first package, he had given Food Security cover to 80 crore families with 25 Kg. rice / wheat and 5 Kg of pulses free of cost (for five months). It continued with earlier schemes of providing 5 Kg a month rice / wheat at a highly subsidised rate of Rs. 2 – 3 per Kg. For nearly 5 crore non-ration card holders, Government gave 10 Kg free rice / wheat and 2 Kg of pulses for two months. 20 crore Jandhan accounts of women received Rs. 30,000 crores. Each one got Rs. 1,500 (500 x 3) in their bank accounts. 8 crore families got 3 gas cylinders worth Rs. 2,000. Nearly 9 crore farmers received Rs. 2,000 into their bank accounts. 50 lakh Redi-Patriwalas will get Rs. 10,000 each. Lakhs of construction workers got fund from the Construction Workers’ Fund. If somebody calculates, the 10% bottom of our society has received more than Rs. 10,000 in the family.


HRD minister Prakash Javadekar States, PM Modi has laid the foundation of India’s battle post-COVID. Pixabay

The third part of the development is, major reforms unleashed through “Aatmanirbhar” package. The five pillars of Aatmanirbhar Bharat are Economy, Infrastructure, Systems, Demography and Demand. It is a Rs. 20 lakh crore package which is 10% of the GDP. It cares for every section of the society. EPI contribution was reduced for both employers and employees to the tune of Rs.2760 crore. 2% interest subvention has been given on small and medium loans. 63 lakh self-help groups will receive collateral free lending upto Rs.20 lakh which was restricted earlier to Rs.10 lakh.

The definition of small and medium industries was changed to accommodate more companies to benefit. They have been provided with Rs.4,45,000 crores for small and medium industries and NBFCs put together. Rs. 1,00,000 crores for agri-infrastructure programmes, plus Rs. 20,000 crores for Fisheries Development and nearly Rs. 15,000 crores for vaccination and treatment of foot and mouth disease in the cattle population have been provided. There is credit link subsidy of Rs. 70,000 crores which is important.

Major reforms have been unleashed in this package. Self-reliance in Defence is a historical initiative. We were importing 100% weaponry, but were not allowing FDI in Defence. Modi ji brought the country out of this hypocrisy and allowed 74% of FDI into defence production and simultaneously banned import of defence spares and weapons which are made in India. 1,00,000 crore rupees for MNREGA is one of the best initiative as it provides jobs to the needy and, as migrant workers are returning, there will be more demand for jobs in the rural areas. UPA never crossed the expenditure on MNREGA by more than Rs. 37,000 crores. Our last five years’ record is an average of Rs. 55,000 crores. Now we have nearly doubled it to Rs. 1,00,000 crores. Modi Government cares for the poor. Many concessions are given to the revamp of industries and tax payers.

Also Read: Read PM Modi’s Letter To Indians amid COVID war

Lastly, the headline of this package is the historical reforms in agricultural sector. Farmers have been freed from APMCs. They can sell anywhere by their choice. They can engage with anybody for any period his farm product and its captive marketing and he has been given relief from many anti-farmer provisions of Essential Commodities Act. Now, there will be no restricts on farmers when market offers them more price. “Aatmanirbhar” package will decide the future of India. It is visionary, historical and prudent. (IANS)


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Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Char Dham Yatra resumed on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

As weather cleared up in Uttarakhand, Char Dham Yatra restored on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

According to sources, road leading to Badrinath has been repaired and helicopter service has also resumed.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited Dungi village and met families of people who were missing after the landslip incident, and consoled them.

Dhami assured them of all possible assistance. Two people from the village are still reported to be missing.

Pilgrims were seen leaving from Rishikesh Char Dham Bus terminal and Haridwar bus station for the pilgrimage since morning.

As per the state government, various departments -- Devasthanam Board, police are assisting the pilgrims.

Police Chowki Yatra Bus Terminal, Rishikesh, was announcing passenger-information via loudspeaker.

Free RT-PCR tests of pilgrims were being conducted at Rishikesh bus terminal.

Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board's media in-charge Dr Harish Gaur said pilgrimage was on in Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, while for Kedarnath, helicopter service was also available.

Though the weather was cold in all dhams, thankfully there was no rain, he added.

Portals of the temple in Badrinath will close on November 20, Gangotri on November 5, while that of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on November 6.

Uttarakhand floods, triggered by a major downpour from October 17 to 19, have claimed 65 lives so far, 3,500 people have been rescued while 16,000 evacuated to safety.

Seventeen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), seven teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 15 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and 5,000 police personnel have been engaged in rescue and relief operations.

The state has already been provided with Rs 250 crore Disaster Fund which is being used for relief works.

To prevent spread of the diseases, the Central and state governments have decided to send medical teams to the affected areas.

Snapped power lines will be restored at the earliest, the government assured.

The state government said that as soon as alert for heavy rainfall was issued, the Incident Response System was activated at state and district levels, and pilgrims were halted at safer places. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Uttarakhand, India, Char Dham Yatra, PushkarDhami, Rishikesh.


Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The Centre has continued the Naga peace talks with the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) leaders, but negotiations face roadblocks as the Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The sources aware of these developments said that the Centre was hopeful that a successful solution of the six decades-long peace talks would arrive at a logical conclusion, but in the recent statements, Naga leaders have accused the Centre of offering post-solution options.

Sources quoting the stand of Naga leaders said that NSCN's stand was loud and clear that it would not follow the forbidden route to the Naga solution that was linked to foregoing the Naga national flag and Constitution, which is the face of the Naga political struggle and identity.

The Naga leaders have also said that the Centre has been using divisive policy and flattery in the name of finding the Naga political solution when the matters heated up.

When the Centre resumed the peace process in September this year and sent the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) A.K. Mishra as the Ministry of Home Affairs' emissary to the rebel outfit's chief negotiator and general secretary T. Muivah, he assured him (Muivah) that the peace talks would be initiated under the original framework signed in 2015, a source in the Naga rebel group said.

"Here we are talking about the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (Constitution), the two issues that are holding up the Naga solution under the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks in Delhi.

"The chequered history of the Indo-Naga political issue is clear enough before us, with accords and agreements that were never meant to be implemented in letter and spirit", an important office-bearer of the rebel outfit said while criticizing the governments' stand.

Accusing the Centre, he further accused the Centre of persuading the Naga people again to accept whatever is being offered to hurry up the Naga talks.

On the invitation of the Centre, the senior leaders of the NSCN-IM including T. Muivah arrived in the national capital on October 6 this year to hold another round of talks with the Centre.

Both, the Centre and the Naga leaders had indicated their keenness on resolving this long pending issue by the end of this year in an amicable manner.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who is also chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had been actively involved in the resumption of the peace talks and taking it forward to a logical conclusion.

Soon after the transfer of Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who was appointed as the Centre's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks on August 29, 2014, to Tamil Nadu, the peace talks resumed on September 20 in Kohima when the Centre representative met the Naga leaders and invited them to visit Delhi for further rounds of peace talks.

The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in 1997 and over 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre have been held in the past in successive governments. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Nagaland, India, Constitution, Politics, Flag.


Photo by Wikimedia Commons

India-England test series will now be played next year from July 1 at Edgbaston Stadium

The series decider for the Test series between England and India will now be played at Edgbaston from July 1 next year, said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday. India is currently leading the series 2-1 before the fifth Test at Old Trafford was cancelled hours before the start due to concerns over COVID-19 outbreak in the tourists' camp.

"The fifth match of the LV= Insurance Test Series between England Men and India Men has been rescheduled and will now take place in July 2022. The match, which was due to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of Covid-19 cases inside the camp," said an ECB statement.

"With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)," added the statement.

ECB also said that due to the rescheduled Test, the white-ball series between England and India will now start six days later than originally planned. The T20I series will begin on July 7 at Ageas Bowl with Edgbaston and Trent Bridge hosting the second and third matches respectively on July 9 and 10. It will be followed by the ODI series starting on July 12 at The Oval followed by Lord's and Old Trafford hosting the second and third ODI on July 14 and 17 respectively.

"Ticket holders do not have to take any action as all tickets will remain valid for the equivalent rearranged matchday at their host venue. Host venues will communicate the new fixture details to ticket purchasers and the options available to them, including the timeframe for requesting a refund if they are not able to attend the new match day," further said the statement.

"We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far. I'm very grateful to all the venues involved for the cooperation they've shown in allowing us to reschedule this match. I'd also like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding to allow these changes to be possible," said Tom Harrison, the CEO of the ECB.

"We would like to apologise again to fans for the disruption and disappointment of September events. We know it was a day that so many had planned long in advance. We recognise that accommodating this extra match means a tighter schedule for the white ball series. We will continue to manage our players' welfare and workloads through next year while we also continue to seek the optimum schedule for fans, players and our partners across the game."

"I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale. The BCCI recognizes and respects the traditional form of the game and is also mindful of its role and obligations towards fellow Board Members. In the last two months, both BCCI and the ECB have been engaged in discussions and our efforts were aimed at finding a suitable window. I thank the ECB for their understanding and patience in finding an amicable solution," said BCCI Secretary Jay Shah. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Britain, BCCI, Test Match, Cricket.