‘India emerging as a frontline nation in scientific innovation’


‘India emerging as a frontline nation in scientific innovation’

Delivering the keynote address on the occasion of ‘National Science Day’ in the University of Jammu, Jitendra Singh said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the last few years, government has taken some revolutionary and programmatic decisions to give fillip to indigenous scientific innovations which will be a key to “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”.

Union minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said that India is fast emerging as a frontline nation in scientific innovations.

Delivering the keynote address on the occasion of ‘National Science Day’ in the University of Jammu, Jitendra Singh said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the last few years, government has taken some revolutionary and programmatic decisions to give fillip to indigenous scientific innovations which will be a key to “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”.

In this context, he made a special mention of the decision to “unlock” India’s Space Technology to private players for the first time after independence and the approval given by the union Cabinet to go ahead with joint ventures in the field of Atomic energy and nuclear energy in order to promote the setting up of new nuclear installations.

The theme ‘Future of Science Technology Innovations…’ chosen for this year’s ‘National Science Day’, said Dr. Jitendra Singh, is most appropriate considering the rapid strides being made in contemporary India and being followed by other countries of the world.

He cited the example of Covid vaccine which India is not only among the first countries to prepare indigenously but also to export to other countries.

Jitendra Singh said, it is a remarkable coincidence that on the morning of ‘National Science Day’ today ISRO achieved another glorious landmark by successfully launching the PSLVC51/Amazonia-1. While India began its Space journey much after several other countries, today we are in a position to provide inputs from Mangalyaan and Chandrayaan to the premier institutions of the world like the NASA of the USA, he added.

He said, it is to the credit of PM Modi that he promoted the extension of applications of space technology to different sectors and areas in order to bring ‘ease of living’. He said, whether it is railways or smart cities, agriculture or disaster management, highways or defence, space technology is contributing in a big way.

In his concluding remarks, Jitendra Singh said, this year’s ‘National Science Day’ is being observed at a time when India is on the verge of entering the 75th year of Independence and we would be planning for the next 25 years when India celebrates 100 years of Independence. This is the period when India will be a world superpower and the journey of ascent has already started, he said.




CPM: Rahul Gandhi speaking like BJP recruiting agent


CPM: Rahul Gandhi speaking like BJP recruiting agent

“Rahul merely echoed the voice of the BJP in attacking the Left just serves to expose the Congress’ meek surrender to communalism. It is just such an approach that has led to Congress MLAs shifting base to BJP in many states,” said the CPI-M on Wednesday in the statement.

The CPI-M on Tuesday came out against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his unprecedented attack on the Left and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the concluding rally of UDF’s ‘Aishwarya Kerala Yatra’ here, saying Rahul’s speech sounded like that of a BJP’s recruitment agent.

In a statement, the CPIM state secretariat said the Congress national leader didn’t even try to make a feeble criticism against BJP while he launched scathing attack on the CPI-M.

“Rahul merely echoed the voice of the BJP in attacking the Left just serves to expose the Congress’ meek surrender to communalism. It is just such an approach that has led to Congress MLAs shifting base to BJP in many states,” said the CPI-M on Wednesday in the statement.


 
Rahul should remember that he himself is a person released on bail in a financial fraud case, the statement said and added that “Rahul would have thought of his brother-in-law Robert Vadra who is currently facing charges of amassing disproportionate assets.”

Gandhi on Tuesday came down heavily on the Left government and chief minister Vijayan over the recent allegations and issues, including the sensational gold smuggling case and the alleged backdoor appointments in government services.

“If you hold the CPM flag, you can do gold smuggling by sitting even in the CMO. If you are with the LDF, you are guaranteed to get all the jobs. Or else, you will have to go on a hunger strike. But the chief minister will not budge to hold talks with the protesters even if they die,” Rahul told the party workers and supporters gathered at a rally here organised at the culmination of the Aishwarya Kerala Yatra led by Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.




ISF wants AIMIM in alliance; Left, Congress refuse


ISF wants AIMIM in alliance; Left, Congress refuse

Asaduddin Owaisi had expressed his desire to contest in the upcoming West Bengal State Assembly Election. He had said that AIMIM would tie-up with ISF.

The seat-sharing talks between the Left Front, Congress and Indian Secular Front seem to have hit another hurdle with the latter asking for Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM to be a part of it.

Owaisi had expressed his desire to contest in the upcoming West Bengal State Assembly Election. He had said that AIMIM would tie-up with Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui’s ISF.

Both the Left Front and Congress had shown no interest in having AIMIM. And with Congress’ staunch attacks on Owaisi’s party after the Bihar polls last year, it became apparent that the Hyderabad-headquartered party would find no place in the alliance.

But Siddiqui has argued in favour of AIMIM, saying that without them Congress’ fate in West Bengal could be similar to what happened in Bihar. It is believed that AIMIM had cut minority votes to deter Congress and RJD’s chance.

The Pirzada’s proposal further sent the seat-sharing discussion with the Left Front and Congress down into muddy waters. He had given an ultimatum on Tuesday that if a solution was not found sooner, ISF would go alone in the polls.

While the Left has been accommodative, Congress has taken a strong arm approach in front of the ISF in terms of sharing seats for the grand alliance in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly Election.

The Left parties are believed to have compromised 27 seats to the ISF. CPIM alone have spared 20. Congress has so far agreed to sacrifice eight seats to the the ISF.

“We don’t have cut money but we have manpower. That’s why we can create problems anywhere! If everything is sorted by February 28, we’ll bring a sea of people. But without me no one will be there,” Siddiqui said.

At a rally against the new farm laws in Kolkata’s Dharmatala on Tuesday, he further added, “If you accept my friendship I’ll keep you in my heart. But if you stab me then what?”

It was reported earlier Siddiqui’s ISF had demanded a minimum of 45 seats after starting negotiations from 72, asking Congress to sacrifice some of its winning seats in Murshidabad, Malda and South 24 Parganas.

The West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury then served a stern ultimatum that their won’t be any compromise from its end for seats in Murshidabad and Malda region. They also disagreed to spare seats in South 24 Parganas that they had won in 2016.

Reportedly this hardcore stance from Chowdhury has not gone down well with Congress and Bengal’s main opposition leader Abdul Mannan. The latter has let his disenchantment known in a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

The party supremo had directed the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) to complete seat-sharing deal by January 31. But with Mannan and Chowdhury failing to reach a consensus, the All India Congres Committee (AICC) may take matters in its own hand now.




Cop, 3 militants killed in Kashmir gunfights


Cop, 3 militants killed in Kashmir gunfights

As the security forces zeroed in on the spot where terrorists were hiding they came under a heavy volume of fire that triggered the encounter.

Three unidentified terrorists were killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday, while in a separate gun battle still underway a policeman was killed and a second injured in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, officials said.

The Shopian encounter started between terrorists and security forces in Badigam on Thursday night. It took place after security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation on the basis of specific information about militant presence.

As the security forces zeroed in on the spot where terrorists were hiding they came under a heavy volume of fire that triggered the encounter.

The gunfight has stopped, the security forces are searching the area. Arms and ammunition has been recovered from the encounter spot.

“Three unidentified terrorists have been killed in the Shopian encounter. Incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition recovered. Search is going on,” the police said.

In a second encounter underway at Beerwah in Budgam district “Special Police Officer (SPO) Mohammad Altaf was martyred and SgCt Manzoor Ahmad injured,” police said.




Lawyer couple murder: Telangana HC takes suo moto cognizance


Lawyer couple murder: Telangana HC takes suo moto cognizance

The lawyer couple Gattu Vaman Rao and P V Nagamani were waylaid and hacked to death by unidentified assailants on a road in broad daylight. The incident took place on Wednesday in Kalvacherla in Peddapalli district. The lawyer couple was returning to Hyderabad after attending a hearing in a local court in Mathani.

A day after a lawyer couple was brutally murdered in broad daylight, the Telangana High Court took suo moto cognizance of the incident. Chief Justice Hima Kohli described the killing as “most unfortunate” and called for severe action against the culprits.The High Court has issued notices to the state government for a thorough probe into the killing.

The lawyer couple Gattu Vaman Rao and P V Nagamani were waylaid and hacked to death by unidentified assailants on a road in broad daylight. The incident took place on Wednesday in Kalvacherla in Peddapalli district. The lawyer couple was returning to Hyderabad after attending a hearing in a local court in Mathani.

During his last moments, Vaman Rao reportedly named a local leader of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) as being responsible for the attack. Vaman Rao’s family members had also alleged that a local TRS leader was behind the attack.

The FIR has named Vaman Vasantha Rao , Kunta Srinivas and Akkapaka Kumar.

According to the complaint filed by the father of Gattu Vaman Rao the killing was carried out because of the grudge over construction of Pedamma Temple and illegal house construction by TRS leader Kunta Srinivas. Following the arrest of the accused, the TRS has suspended its mandal president Kunta Srinivas.

Congress state unit president N Uttam Kumar Reddy has demanded a CBI inquiry into the murder of the lawyer couple alleging that the top TRS leadership was behind the murder.

He also added that the Congress party would meet the chief justice of Telangana High Court and write to Chief Justice of India.

Reddy suspected the TRS backed sand mafia was behind the murder and criticised chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for his silence. Blaming the state government for the double murder BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar demanded a comprehensive inquiry by the sitting judge of the high court following his visit to the Peddapalli district hospital where the bodies were kept.




‘After Covid, fuel issue another jolt’’


‘After Covid, fuel issue another jolt’’

CPM says oil price hike will increase prices of all essential items

The relentless increase in the prices of petrol and diesel is adding to the problems of people already burdened by the pandemic woes of joblessness and loss of incomes, the CPI (M) said today.

In an editorial in its official journal People’s Democracy, the party said the daily increase in the retail prices had led to the petrol price breaching the Rs 90 per litre mark in various cities. At this rate, the Rs 100 mark will be reached very soon.The government and the oil companies justified this increase citing the rising global prices of crude oil. This was, however, a “specious” claim. “The single biggest reason for the crushing burden is the exorbitant Central taxes on petroleum products,” the party said.

At present, in Delhi, 63 per cent of the retail price of petrol per litre comprises of taxes, of which the Central component is 40 per cent while the State VAT is 23 per cent.


 
Between 2014-15 and 2021- 21, prices of the Indian basket of crude oil (the mix of crude oils that India buys) went up by 17.6 per cent. In the same period, the average retail selling price in India went up by 55.3 per cent for petrol and 72.5 per cent for diesel. It is clear the retail prices had increased far more than the global price levels, the party said.

The backbreaking prices have been caused by the constant increase in excise duties and cesses levied by the Central government. Even in the year of the pandemic last year, the Modi government on 14th March hiked the excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 3 per litre each, the editorial said. This was followed by a savage hike in the excise duties on 6th May ~ Rs 10 per litre increase on petrol and Rs 13 per litre on diesel.

Between 2014-15 and 2019-20, the excise duty collections by the Central government increased by 125 per cent, while the states tax revenue from the petroleum products increased by 37.5 per cent.

Instead of reducing its taxes, Centre has proposed in the recent Budget a new agriculture and infrastructure development cess of Rs 2.5 per litre of petrol and Rs 4 on a litre of diesel. CPI (M) politburo statement said the hikes in prices of petroleum products will result in higher transportation costs which will increase the prices of all essential commodities.




India Af sign accord to build Shahtoot Dam to meet Kabul’s drinking needs


India Af sign accord to build Shahtoot Dam to meet Kabul’s drinking needs

The accord was signed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Afghan counterpart Hanif Atmar after a virtual summit between PM Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Reinforcing its commitment to help Afghanistan stand on its own feet, India today signed a landmark agreement with the war-torn nation for the construction of the nearly $300 Shahtoot (Lalandar) Dam that would meet the safe drinking needs of the Kabul city and provide irrigation water to neighbouring areas.

The accord was signed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Afghan counterpart Hanif Atmar after a virtual summit between PM Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The project is a part of the ‘New Development Partnership’ between India and Afghanistan. The proposed dam on a tributary of the Kabul river would also rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage network, aid in flood protection and management efforts in the area, and also provide electricity to the region.

This is the second major dam being built by India in Afghanistan, after the India- Afghanistan Friendship Dam [Salma Dam], which was inaugurated in June 2016.

“Signing of the MoU on Lalandar (Shahtoot) Dam is a reflection of India’s strong and long-term commitment towards the socio-economic development of Afghanistan and the enduring partnership between our two countries. As a part of our development cooperation with Afghanistan, India has completed more than 400 projects covering all 34 provinces of Afghanistan,” the MEA said.

In his remarks at the summit with the Afghan President, Modi highlighted the civilisational relationship between India and Afghanistan and gave an assurance of India’s continued support for a peaceful, united, stable, prosperous and inclusive Afghanistan.

The PM expressed concern over the increasing violence in Afghanistan, saying both India and Afghanistan wanted to see an end to terrorism and extremism in the region. ”Peace and violence cannot go hand in hand. We support an immediate ceasefire (in Afghanistan),” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, President Ghani said India’s development assistance was iconically marked on the Afghan landscape. “With Shahtoot Dam, Kabul’s snow and rain will be harnessed to quench the thirst of two million citizens of Kabul,” he said.




One more wanted in Red Fort case arrested from Punjab


One more wanted in Red Fort case arrested from Punjab

Punjabi actor-cum-activist Deep Sidhu was arrested from Karnal in Haryana. Another co-accused Sukhdev Singh was earlier arrested from Chandigarh.

Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested Ikbal Singh, a wanted in the Red Fort Republic Day case, from Hoshiarpur in Punjab.

Singh carrying a bounty of Rs 50,000 on his head, was arrest on Tuesday night. It comes a day after key accused Deep Sidhu’s arrest, who has been sent on a seven-day police custody.

Foty-five-year-old Singh hails from Ludhiana. He along with sidhu and others were part of the R-Day tractor rally that breached course and created ruckus in the national capital. His videos went viral on social media where he was purportedly heard threatening cops on duty and inciting protesters to go on a rampage.

Following the rampage, the Delhi Police announced cash reward of Rs 1 lakh each on Deep Sidhu, Jugraj Singh, Gurjot Singh and Gurjant Singh; and Rs 50,000 each on Jajbir Singh, Buta Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Iqbal Singh for their alleged involvement in the violence that saw at least one person die and several injured, including policemen.

Police will now probe where Ikbal Singh got after January 26 and who all provided it. Those who provided shelter to him and others could also face legal action.

Punjabi actor-cum-activist Deep Sidhu was arrested from Karnal in Haryana. Another co-accused Sukhdev Singh was earlier arrested from Chandigarh.




Congress challenges Kerala CM, CPM to come clean on Sabarimala


Congress challenges Kerala CM, CPM to come clean on Sabarimala

Speaking to media persons in Malappuram, Chennithala said CM Vijayan and CPI-M should end their hide and seek stance on Sabarimala women entry issue and should clarify whether they are with the devotees or not.

Ahead of the upcoming Assembly polls, Opposition Congress led UDF on Sunday challenged chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPI(M) to come clean on the Sabarimala women’s entry issue.

Speaking to media persons in Malappuram, Chennithala said CM Vijayan and CPI-M should end their hide and seek stance on Sabarimala women entry issue and should clarify whether they are with the devotees or not.

“Stripping of his fake mask and apparels of a renaissance leader, CM Vijayan should clarify his stance on women entry in Sabarimala temple,” he said. He urged the state to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court which is favourable to the Ayyappa devotees.

The LDF government had erected a 620 km “renaissance” wall on 1 January, 2019, in which lakhs of women from the northern end of Kasaragod to the southern tip here, had participated as part of a state sponsored initiative top hold gender equality. The ‘Women’s wall’ was conceived in the backdrop of frenzied protests witnessed in the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala after the LDF government decided to implement the Supreme Court verdict, allowing all women to pray.

Chennithala also wanted Vijayan to clarify if there was a change in the stand of the party and left front on the issue.

“Is he prepared to state that they would stand with devotees?Do not hurt their sentiments further,” he told.

Oommen Chandy said that the UDF had never thought of making Sabarimala a political agenda.




House discusses farm laws, not financial policy, economy


House discusses farm laws, not financial policy, economy

The farm laws were passed hurriedly in the monsoon session of last year. The Opposition had maintained its voice was not heard when the laws were rushed through. The farmers complained the laws threatened their livelihood, and they were ready to suffer any pain to get them repealed.

Coming after two months of farmers’ protest sit-in on Delhi’s borders, the Budget Session of Parliament began on 29th January, focusing afresh on the three controversial farm laws, rather than discussing financial policy or the state of the economy.

The farm laws were passed hurriedly in the monsoon session of last year. The Opposition had maintained its voice was not heard when the laws were rushed through. The farmers complained the laws threatened their livelihood, and they were ready to suffer any pain to get them repealed. The pressures were high. Nearly the entire Opposition boycotted President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to Parliament, expressing disappointment and anger the way the Government had responded to the farmers. Monday had some peace when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman read out her Budget speech in the Lok Sabha.

The members were busy figuring out the budgetary proposals, and what they meant for the economy or individuals. From the second day, the two Houses could not forget the farmers’ issues. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu could work out peace fast by integrating 10 hours of the debate on the President’s Address with five hours on the farmers’ agitation.

The Lok Sabha had also attempted to work out a similar solution but remained in turmoil throughout the last week. It was difficult to keep track of adjournments and the hours when the Lower House transacted business. The members kept shouting slogans even as the government tried to push through some business. This was despite Speaker Om Birla giving repeated assurances that he would allow the Opposition ample opportunity to speak on whatever issue the members had in their mind.

Locket Chatterjee (BJP) moved the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address on Tuesday evening, but could not conclude due to disruptions. The Rajya Sabha Opposition took up the business, satisfied as the Elders were that they could devote sufficient time to the farmers, while referring to other issues. As it turned out, almost all the talking was in favour or opposed to the farmers’ unprecedented protest.

Across the parties, the Opposition delivered good speeches on the farmers’ plight, while the ruling benches attacked the Congress mainly. On behalf of the Government, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar made an effective intervention at the near-end of the three-day debate on Friday.

The debate showed that while the ruling benches concentrated on technicalities of the laws, and narrated the Modi government’s achievements in several fields, the Opposition members from across the country articulated the farmers’ fears, and expressed shock the way the police had dug up trenches and planted iron nails on roads around the sites where the farmers sat on dharna.

How disturbed the Rajya Sabha Opposition was on the farmers’ agitation, and wanted a discussion first on the farmers’ demands, was clear when there was a complete wash out of the proceedings on Tuesday after repeated adjournments. Order came the next day when Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that there was a consensus on the combined 15-hour debate.

The Question Hour and the Zero Hour, as also the private members’ business on Friday were cancelled. The debate began on Wednesday after the Chairman, under Rule 255 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business directed three Aam Aadmi Party (AAM) members Sanjay Singh, Sushil Kumar Gupta and Narain Dass Gupta to withdraw immediately from the House for the day for shouting slogans. Bhubaneswar Kalita (BJP) initiated the debate and moved the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, praising the Government’s handling of Covid-19. He said the farm laws had already benefited 10 crore farmers.

With PM Narendra Modi listening from his seat, Vijaypal Singh Tomar (BJP) seconded the Motion, and said the laws would eliminate middlemen from farm trade. Notices were given for 118 amendments but many of them could not be moved due to the absence of members.

In his speech, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad gave historical perspective on the farmers’ struggles and how they were successfully led by Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and other freedom fighters.




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