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Indian Railways fully prepared to resume train services in Punjab




The Indian Railways on Thursday said that it has got the assurance from Punjab government that the rail blockade will be removed in the state by Friday morning and the national transporter is fully prepared to resume the train services.

Addressing a virtual press conference here, Railway Board Chairman and CEO V. K. Yadav said, “We have got assurance from the Punjab Chief Secretary that the rail blockade will be removed by Friday morning. And Indian Railways is fully ready to start the passenger and goods trains.”

Yadav said that earlier in the day, the blockade at over 15 places have been removed.

He said that RPF Director General Arun Kumar is in touch with the Punjab DGP and is monitoring the situation very closely to ensure safety of the people and railway employees.

The farmers in Punjab have blocked the train movement at over 32 places in several parts of Punjab, Haryana over the passage of three controversial Agriculture Bills.

The farmers have been agitating against the Centre since September 26.


Maharashtra budget 2021-22 focuses on ‘Nari-Shakti’




With a strong focus on ‘women-power’, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government gifted a slew of benefits and schemes for girls and women coinciding with the International Women’s Day being celebrated globally, in the state Budget 2021-2022, here on Monday.

Presenting the budget, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar announced an outlay of Rs 2,247 crore for executing various schemes through the Women & Child Development Department.

The Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress MVA government has given a concession of 1 percent in Stamp Duty over the prevailing rates exclusively for women, provided the transfer of house/property or registration of sale deed is in the name of a woman/women only.

“The scheme will be known as ‘Rajmata Jijau Griha-Swamini Yojana’ The woman gives meaning to the house and it is not wrong for her to expect ownership in the property. It’s part of the women’s empowerment process,” said Pawar, tabling the budget.

However, this would entail a revenue loss of around Rs 1,000 crore to the state exchequer which he balanced by slapping additional VAT and State Excise Duty on different types of liquors.

Pawar said Maharashtra has always led in policy-making for women and has taken many progressive steps for girls education, making it free till Class 12.

He announced a new scheme for free travel for girls in rural areas, from their village homes to schools/colleges via Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses.

The scheme is launched as ‘Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule’ and the state will also provide 1,500 eco-friendly CNG and Hybrid buses to the MSRTC on priority, Pawar said.

Another scheme, ‘Tejasvini Yojana’ will provide special buses for women in urban/metro centres for safe and easy commute.

Under the ‘Nav-Tejaswini Maharashtra Gramin Mahila Udyam Vikas’ a 6-year project funded by International Funds for Agriculture Development to the tune of Rs 523 crore, women and self-help groups will get opportunities to improve livelihood and result in value additions to their enterprises.

To empower women and children, the state has already reserved 3 percent from the District Annual Plans through which around Rs 300 crore would be available each year, said Pawar.

He announced the formation of the India’s first women’s battalion of the State Reserve Police Force in the country which is expected to come up soon.

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NIA to probe explosives recovery case near Mukesh Ambani’s house




The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday started an investigation into the case related to explosives recovered in an abandoned car found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in Mumbai.

The agency took over the probe following orders received from the Ministry of Home Affairs. The case was registered at Gamdevi police station in Mumbai on February 25 after a Mahindra Scorpio was found parked on Carmichael Road near ‘Antilia’, Ambani’s residence. A Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) team reached the spot immediately.

“NIA has received orders from MHA for investigation of the case being probed by Mumbai Police. This case relates to the recovery of explosives from a Mahindra Scorpio parked at Carmichael Road, Mumbai,” the NIA said.

The anti-terror agency said it is in the process of re-registering the case.

The Scorpio with gelatin, an explosive material, was found parked near Ambani’s house in South Mumbai on February 25 evening. A letter was also found inside the vehicle. The vehicle was seized by police then. The Crime Branch of Mumbai Police was conducting the probe.

As per reports, the Mumbai Police team had recovered 21 gelatin sticks, each weighing about 125 grams, from the abandoned vehicle. The police then said that the total weight of the explosive was 2.60 kg, which is enough to explode the entire car if gelatin sticks are attached to other explosive components.

The vehicle had a fake number plate. The registration number on the vehicle’s number plate was the same as that of an SUV in Ambani’s security detail.

Earlier on Monday, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said that the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) had registered a murder case and launched investigations into the mystery of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiren’s body being recovered from the Thane Creek wetlands on March 5.

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Equity indices open in green, Nifty above 15,000




The stock market opened in the green on Monday with the Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) reclaiming the 15,000 mark.

The BSE Sensex too surged over 300 points during the initial trade.

Healthy buying activity was witnessed in metal and oil and gas stocks.

Around 9.25 a.m., Sensex was trading at 50,732.29, higher by 326.97 points or 0.65 per cent from its previous close of 50,405.32.

It opened at 50,654.02 and has so far touched an intraday high of 50,767.18 and a low of 50,575.16 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was at 15,045.60, higher by 107.50 points or 0.72 per cent from its previous close.

The top gainers on the Sensex so far were ONGC, Reliance Industries and Axis Bank, while the major losers were Bajaj Auto, Ultratech Cement and Nestle India.

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