Thursday March 21, 2019
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VK Singh clarifies that he was misunderstood

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New Delhi: Union minister VK Singh on Thursday triggered a huge row when he spoke of a dog’s stoning while commenting on the burning of two Dalit children. As opposition parties demanded his sacking, the former army chief clarified that he had been misunderstood.

Asked about the gory killings of the children in a Haryana village, the former army chief said: “If someone throws stones at a dog, the government is not responsible. It was a feud between two families, the matter in under inquiry.

“Failure of the administration should not be put on the government’s head,” he added.

The opposition immediately pounced on the Bharatiya Janata Party MP.

The Congress sought his removal from the Narendra Modi ministry, adding he should be booked under the law.

“What VK Singh said was shocking, inhuman and unacceptable… I do not understand what is happening to Modi’s ministers,” spokesman Randeep Surjewala told the media.

He said a case should be filed against the minister under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also called for VK Singh’s sacking and a police case against him.

“VK Singh’s statement is shameful and prosecutable,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader tweeted.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also slammed him: “Aghast at the senseless comment made by some BJP leaders… on the tragic Dalit killings in Haryana.”

Amid the volley of criticism, the Minister clarified that his statement wasn’t intended to draw an analogy.

“My men and I put our lives on the line for the nation irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

“I standby to serve India with the same spirit, right now and always. Our nation, its success and its people motivate me daily,” he said in a series of tweets.

He, however, said that “localized issues” should not be blown up.

V.K. Singh’s comments follow the torching of a Dalit family’s house in a village in Faridabad district bordering Delhi in Haryana that left two children dead and their mother in critical condition.

The gory killings have triggered widespread condemnation and large scale street protests.

The minister told CNN-IBN that if “anyone feels if I called Dalit dogs, they are out of their minds”.

Talking to reporters later, the minister sought to blame the media for mixing up his analogy of a dog’s killing with the burning of two Dalit children.

“If the journalist mixes the two (issues), the person should leave journalism and go to the mental asylum in Agra,” he said.

That comment too drew flak even as the BJP tried to defend him.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said: “The minister has given a clarification (that) he was misquoted…. Let us not blow it out of proportion.

“A trend has started to politicize all issues on caste and communal lines. Let us not make everything a caste and communal issue,” said Patra.

(IANS)

(Photo: Indian Express)

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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)