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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik inaugurates World Skill Centre

Finally, the World Skill Centre will be nodal agency of the state for state chapter of world skills and will prepare Odisha’s youth for global glory.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday inaugurated the World Skill Centre (WSC), a premier advanced skill training institute, here.

It has been set up at a budget of nearly Rs 1,342.2 crore.

World Skill Centre is being modelled around leading TVET Institute, ITE (Institute of Technical Education) Singapore and seeks inspiration from World Skills, Russia and GIFTS (Global Institute for Transferring Skills), South Korea, said a statement.

WSC is established under the Odisha Skill Development Project assisted by the Asian Development Bank with ITE Education Services (ITEES), Singapore as knowledge partner.

Inaugurating the centre, the Chief Minister said, “Odisha has made rapid strides in skill development in the last five years. We have created new avenues for our youth to compete with their counterparts anywhere. Our aim is to meet their aspirations, to make them globally employable.”

He also said that the state government is intensely investing in the future of youth by creating infrastructure and mechanism for making them future ready.

“WSC will significantly accelerate this endeavour by providing advance skill training to our youth and prepare them for competing at global level,” he added.

Subroto Bagchi, Chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority (OSDA) highlighted the achievements of “Skilled-in-Odisha” during the last five years and emphasized the need to expand skill development efforts to the next level, reaching every village.

He emphasised the need for a holistic approach in providing better opportunities for skill development to make the children aware of career choices and youth globally employable.

He also said that the state will create Odisha Skill Vision 2030 and the same will guide future efforts of all implementing departments.

World Skill Centre would run long-term manufacturing and services programmes as a finishing school for the best among the ITI and Polytechnic students as well as serve as a centre for capacity building for ITI and Polytechnic teachers.

The World Skill Centre is going to be the nodal agency for preparing Odisha’s youth for the World Skills Competition. The other key role for WSC will be to act as centre for industry partnership and landing point for industries in Odisha for their employment needs.

Finally, the World Skill Centre will be nodal agency of the state for state chapter of world skills and will prepare Odisha’s youth for global glory.

Bengaluru, Shimla ‘most liveable’ cities

Delhi figures at 13th spot, Srinagar at bottom in Govt’s Ease of Living Index

Bengaluru was adjudged the most liveable among 111 cities in India in the government’s ‘Ease of Living Index’ on Thursday, followed by Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Surat, Navi Mumbai, Coimbatore, Vadodra, Indore and Greater Mumbai.

Of the 49 cities ranked on liveability index in the ‘million- plus population’ category, Delhi figures at the 13th spot and Srinagar at the bottom. According to the index released by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Shimla topped the category of cities with ‘population less than million’.

In this category, Bhubaneshwar was ranked second, Silvassa came third, and they were followed by Kakinada, Salem, Vellore, Gandhinagar, Gurgaon, Davangere and Tiruchirapalli. Muzaffarpur was at the bottom of the list of 62 cities that were ranked on liveability index in the ‘less than million population’ category.

Ghaziabad and Meerut figured at the 30th and the 36th spot in the ‘million-plus population’ category respectively, while Allahabad is at the 32nd position and is followed by Patna (33rd). Faridabad is ranked 40th in this category.

Performance of the cities have been measured on four broad parameters governance and social, physical and economic infrastructure. The government said the ‘Ease of Living Index’ is an assessment tool that evaluates the quality of life and the impact of various initiatives for urban development.

A total of 32.2 lakh people residing across 111 cities participated in a ‘Citizen Perception Survey’ holding a weightage of 30 per cent.

“These cities have emerged as models of development who will inspire others to perform better. Further, their peers will also benefit from emulating their best practices,” Puri said. In the 2018 ‘Ease of Living Index’, Pune was ranked the most liveable city in the country. Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai, which held the second and the third position in 2018, have slipped to the sixth and the 10th rank respectively in the 2020 edition of the East of Living Index.

Tirupati was at the fourth position, while Chandigarh had been ranked fifth in 2018, but in the 2020 ‘Ease of Living Index’, Tirupati and Chandigarh have slipped to the 46th and the 29th position respectively. Indore topped the ‘Municipal Performance Index’, involving 51 municipal corporations in the million-plus population category, while Guwahati figured at the bottom. In this category, Surat came second. New Delhi Municipal Council topped the ‘Municipal Performance Index 2020’ in the ‘less than million’ population category.

~With inputs from PTI~

BJP flip-flop over Metroman’s CM candidature

Rival parties mocked the BJP, which currently has a single MLA in the 140-member Kerala Assembly, over the announcement and the subsequent confusion.

‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan, who recently joined the BJP, will be the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the Kerala Assembly elections, party leaders from the state declared on Thursday, only to do an U-turn within hours to say that no such decision had been taken.

Rival parties mocked the BJP, which currently has a single MLA in the 140-member Kerala Assembly, over the announcement and the subsequent confusion.

Speaking at a reception accorded to his Vijaya Yatra at Thiruvalla, BJP Kerala chief K Surendran today declared that the party has made Sreedharan its chief ministerial candidate for the Assembly elections to be held on 6 April. He said a person like Sreedharan becoming chief minister could be good for the state.

“The Kochi metro and the timely completion of the Palativattam flyover are typical examples of Sreedharan’s brilliance. If the metroman is given a chance, we believe he will be able to execute the development plans mooted by PM Modi,” Mr Surendran said.

Later, Union minister V Muraleedharan tweeted: “BJP4Keralam will fight Kerala polls with E Sreedharan Ji as its Chief Ministerial Candidate. We will defeat both CPIMKerala & INCKerala to provide a corruption-free, development-oriented Governance for the people.”

Soon after, however, the Union minister of state for external affairs and parliamentary affairs clarified that the party has not made any such announcement. Muraleedharan said he had learnt through media reports that the party has announced Sreedharan as the chief ministerial candidate. But when he cross-checked with state party president K Surendran, he said he has not made any such announcements, he said.

Referring to Muraleedharan’s clarification tweets, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor took a dig at the BJP, saying the saffron party was “confused”.

“Hilarious! BJP4Kerala manages to be confused about who will occupy the top floor of a building that will never be built.There will be no BJP CM in Kerala,” Tharoor tweeted.

The development comes on a day the 88-year-old technocrat announced his decision to end his 24-year long career with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to enter electoral politics. Today, Sreedharan inspected the Palativattam flyover in Kochi, where he told media persons that he would soon submit his resignation as principal adviser of DMRC.

~With inputs from PTI~

India committed to connectivity with Afghanistan, Central Asia: Jaishankar

“The Chabahar Port has not only emerged as a commercial transit hub for the region but also facilitated the delivery of humanitarian assistance, especially during the pandemic. The port is part of our shared commitment towards peace, stability and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan,” external affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.

India today reaffirmed its strong commitment to work together with all regional stakeholders to enhance connectivity in the region and to provide unhindered access to the sea to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asian countries through the Chabahar Port, bypassing Pakistan.

“The Chabahar Port has not only emerged as a commercial transit hub for the region but also facilitated the delivery of humanitarian assistance, especially during the pandemic. The port is part of our shared commitment towards peace, stability and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan,” external affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.

He was addressing the ‘Chabahar Day’ celebration hosted by India on the margins of the ‘Maritime India Summit’ to showcase the business potential of the strategic port located in Iran. Senior ministers from Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan virtually participated in it.

Jaishankar noted that India had utilised the strategic port to ship 75,000 MT of wheat as humanitarian food assistance to Afghanistan in September 2020. India also assisted Iran to fight the worst-ever locust invasion in the last 25 years by supplying 25 Metric tonnes of Malathion in June 2020, again through the port. The second batch of 25 Metric tonnes has recently reached the port.

Besides the Indian exports of food products, the port has also handled several shipments and trans-shipments from Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Ukraine and the UAE, the minister said.

Jaishankar said the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) was an important trade corridor project, wherein India was partnering with twelve countries to establish an economic corridor for the benefit of the peoples. “We also welcome the interest of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to join the multilateral corridor project. Establishing an eastern corridor through Afghanistan would maximise its potential. India has also proposed the inclusion of Chabahar in the INSTC route,” he added.

Jaishankar said the port was intended to ensure the unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region and to create a safe, secure and reliable route to trade initially with Afghanistan, and thereafter with Central Asia as a whole.

He observed that in the modern age, the correlation between connectivity and economic growth has got more pronounced. Growth in trade, commerce, industrial development and technological advancement has gone hand in hand with the ease of connecting. “Maritime connectivity, in particular, has played a significant role in creating regional corridors for trade and economic linkages, as indeed for cultural and intellectual exchanges over the centuries,”he said.

Quitting active politics to fight DMK: Sasikala

Move aims at ensuring Jayalalithaa’s golden rule is established in Tamil Nadu

VK Sasikala aka Chinnamma’s sudden decision to exit politics surprised many in Tamil Nadu and national politics arena.

In a two-page statement to the media late night on Wednesday, Sasikala, closest aid of late J Jayalalithaa, said she was quitting active politics and urged all Amma followers to unite and fight against the one and only enemy DMK and bring hundred years of Amma rule in Tamil Nadu as Jayalalithaa wished.

She did not give any reason for her sudden reversal of her earlier decision to participate in active politics, which she took just after her release from Bengaluru Jail, where she served four years’ conviction in a disproportionate asset case.

If the unexpected exit of Rajinikanth from politics due to health reason was an early blow to BJP in the state, Sasikala’s exit makes sense for them, as political observers point out, because the BJP was trying hard to make a truce among warring factions of AIADMK led by EPS-OPS duo and Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran.

Though they could not bring the unity among these two factions formed after Jayalalithaa’s death due to an adamant attitude of chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswam that Sasikala could not be inducted into AIADMK again, they are now delighted in Tamil Nadu because they think Sasikala’s exit will immensely benefit the AIADMK front in the Assembly elections by avoiding the split of votes.

While Sasikala announced her decision to step aside from politics in a statement released last night, in which she merely stated that she has never had any post or power and encouraged her followers to support Jayalalithaa’s vision and ensure the defeat of DMK, her brother Dhivakaran alleged that her sudden announcement is a result of conniving by AMMK founder and siblings’ nephew TTV Dhinakaran.

Dhivarakan alleges the claims made by Dhinakaran that he will be the chief minister candidate even if AMMK joins an alliance with AIADMK, indirectly puts pressure on Sasikala. But Dhinakaran told media that he tried to persuade her but her decision was final.

BJP hails decision

BJP on Thursday hailed the decision of expelled AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala to quit politics and said her exit will help fulfil late chief minister J Jayalalaithaa’s dream of a progressive and prosperous Tamil Nadu, adds PTI.

Pointing out that it was entirely Sasikala’s decision to relinquish politics, BJP national secretary in-charge of Tamil Nadu C T Ravi said “our party welcomes her decision.Her decision will fulfil Amma’s dreams”. “The BJP’s aim is to strengthen the NDA in Tamil Nadu and strive for victory in all the 234 constituencies” he added.

‘Porn content on OTT platforms’

The SC bench said there should be prior screening of content on web platforms while hearing a plea filed by Amazon Prime India’s head regarding the FIRs against her over web series Tandav

The Supreme Court on Thursday objected to streaming of films on web platforms without any prior screening of the content and also cited some films having pornographic content.

The observation by the top court came during the hearing of a plea by Amazon Prime Video India head Aparna Purohit against an Allahabad High Court order, which declined to entertain her anticipatory bail in connection with the FIRs lodged against her over the web series Tandav.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said: “There should be some screening (of content on web platforms). There is pornography in some films.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, said some programmes feature filthy abuse.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Purohit, contended this was “a matter of free speech” and cited that his client is not the producer of the show, instead an employee of the company which is streaming the web series Tandav.

The top court indicated that there should be a censor board-like body which screens the films. It scheduled the matter for further hearing on Friday.

In January, the top court refused to grant interim protection to the Tandav crew from any coercive action and had asked them to move the concerned courts to seek bail in the matter.

Purohit has been accused of inappropriate depiction of Hindu deities, UP Police personnel and for adverse portrayal of a character in the role of prime minister in the web series.

On 25 February, Allahabad High Court declined to grant her anticipatory bail in the matter.

Ayesha is not made for battles’: 23-year-old records heart wrenching video before suicide

Ahmedabad: “I don’t want to do it anymore. Ayesha is not made for battles,” said 23-year-old Ayesha Khan, in a video she recorded before died by jumping into Sabarmati River. The video, which was sent to her estranged husband and father, is now going viral across social media platforms.

Her body was recovered from the Riverfront west side by a team of police and fire safety department officials Thursday evening.

In the two-minute video, Ayesha recorded in Hindi, she says: “Whatever I am going to do is my decision and nobody has pressured me for this. Just understand that the life given by Allah was only this long and I found this short life very peaceful.”

No description available.

Throughout the video, Ayesha has a big smile on her face.

She continues: “Dad, how long will you fight? Withdraw the case. Ayesha is not made for battles. I love Arif, so why will we bother him? If he wants freedom, then he should be free. I am happy that I will meet Allah. I will ask him where did I make a mistake?”

In the video, she further says that her parents and friends are very good and that she might be unlucky for lacking something. “I want pass on peacefully. I pray to Allah to not show me the faces of humans ever again,” Ayesha said.

Ayesha goes emotional and says, “But I have learnt one thing. If you want to love, it should be two sided. There’s nothing in one-sided love. Some love stories remain incomplete even after Nikah (marriage).”

In her last words, Ayesha shows the Sabarmati River and says: “Yeh pyari si nadi… Pray karte hai ki yeh mujhe apne aap main sama le. (This lovely river, I pray that it takes me in it.)

“I am like the winds, I want to flow…And just want to keep flowing,” she ends the video, with an alvida.

Ayesha Banu Makrani, a resident of Almina Park in Vatva of Ahmedabad, had married Arif Khan Gafurji from Jalore in Rajasthan in July 2018 and was recently estranged from him and was staying with her parents. She is known to have committed suicide allegedly due to harassment by her husband and in-laws.

Police lodged a case under IPC section 306 for abetment to suicide against Arif at Sabarmati Riverfront West police station.


Dalit Labour activist Shiv Kumar granted bail in all three cases




Labour activist Shiv Kumar, who is an associate of Dalit Labour Activist Nodeep Kaur has got bail from a Local Court in Sonepat District (Haryana) in all three cases registered against him.

While in two cases, he was granted Bail on Wednesday (03rd March), in the third case, he has been granted Bail today.

Shiv Kumar is the president of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, and he was arrested on 16th January, days after the arrest of Nodeep Kaur.

Both Shiv Kumar and Nodeep kaur were arrested after their protest against the alleged harassment of factory workers in the Kundli Industrial Area in Sonepat turned violent on 12 January.

The Police has named both of them in three FIRs filed in connection with the January 12th incident, which includes charges of attempt to murder, theft and extortion.

Advocate Jatinder Kumar appeared on behalf of Kumar who filed his Bail Plea in all the three cases, once Nodeep Kaur was granted on bail in all three cases.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had granted Bail To Dalit Labour Activist Nodeep Kaur in the third FIR Registered against her on February 26.

The Bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan granted her bail while hearing her Bail Plea and a Suo Moto registered in connection with her matter (both matters heard together). However, with regard to allegations of her illegal detention, the matter will continue to be heard by the Court.

Significantly, the Bench observed,

“It would be appropriate to say that the right to peaceful protest is circumscribed by a thin line. The crossing of line may change the colour of protest. It would be subject matter of trial as to whether the line for the peaceful protest was crossed in the alleged incident or not.“

Source: Live Law

Amit Shah, JP Nadda meet West Bengal leaders to shortlist candidates

Initial discussion to shortlist names of the party candidates for the upcoming West Bengal Assembly polls started at BJP chief J.P. Nadda’ residence on Thursday.

Senior leaders from the state, party in-charge and co-in-charge for West Bengal were attending the meeting. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also reached Nadda’s residence.

BJP national vice president Mukul Roy, national general secretary and state in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya, co-in-charge Arvind Menon, state unit president Dilip Ghosh, and former close aide of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and former minister Suvendu Adhikari were present in the meeting.

BJP sources said that on wednesday core committee of the West Bengal party unit shortlisted the names of the probable candidates recommended by district units.

“In the meeting going at Nadda’s residence, list of probable names will further shorten before being submitted in the BJP’s Central Election Committee (CEC) which will select the candidates for the West Bengal polls,” he said.

The BJP’s CEC meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.

Sources said that in the party CEC meeting the first list of the BJP candidates for 60 Assembly constituencies will be finalised. Polling in these seats will be held in the first two phases on March 27 and April 1.

Left, Congress, ISF finalise seat-sharing deal for Bengal polls

The Left Front, Congress and Indian Secular Front on Thursday have finally reached a solution over their seat-sharing deal for the upcoming West Bengal state assembly elections.

Following marathon talks, spanning over a month, the three stakeholders finalised the number of seats each would contest. With 165 seats, the Left parties have taken the largest chunk, followed by Congress with 92 and ISF with 37. However, the seat-wise distribution is yet to be revealed.

Among the Left Front, CPIM would alone give candidates in 130 constitutencies. Forward Block will field 15 and RSP 11 candidates. CPI will contest in 9 seats.

After the seat-sharing deal between the Left Front and Congress was finalised, talks between the Left and ISF were also sealed soon.

The problem remained over the seat-sharing between the Congress and the ISF, as the negotiations between two parties were still underway and Congress didn’t want to concede seats that it had won in the last election.

The Congress last time had contested 92 seats and won 44 in which about 20 MLAs crossed to the ruling TMC. The Congress is the second-largest party in the outgoing Assembly holding the Leader of Opposition post.

The Congress-Left-ISF alliance wants to make the Assembly polls a triangular contest and not only between TMC and BJP. The saffron party has also placed itself as the main Opposition after winning 18 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

The TMC is eyeing a third term in West Bengal, however, many leaders including close aides of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have switched sides to the BJP, even as the saffron party is upbeat about the polls and central leaders of the party are visiting the state frequently.