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Kushinagar to get international airport status: Yogi Adityanath



Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that the elevation of the Kushinagar airport to the status of an international airport would open new avenues for development of the Purvanchal region.

The chief minister thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sanctioning international airport status to the Kushinagar airport at a Union Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

He said that the Jewar international airport would ensure air connectivity to west UP and the Kushinagar airport to the eastern part of the state.

He said that the Kushinagar airport getting international status would also help in developing the Buddhist circuit which includes Kushinagar, Sarnath, Shravasti, Kapilavastu, Kaushmabhi, Sankisa, Lumbini and Bodhgaya.

The chief minister said that this would also give a major boost to international tourism.

“Air travel to and from Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and other countries would be made easier,” he said.

The chief minister further said that this would generate employment opportunities in the state and give a boost to economic activities in the region.

The airport project is spread across 590 acres of land and about 95 per cent of the work on the project has been completed.

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Farm laws: Narendra Singh Tomar accuses Cong of U-turn on LS poll manifesto



Narendra Singh Tomar. (File Photo: IANS)

In the wake of protests by farmers and different political parties against three new agriculture-related laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday accused the Congress of a U-turn on its own manifesto in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

“During the release of the 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had mentioned the abolition of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) system and promotion of contract farming. The Congress and other opposition parties are now instigating the farmers to oppose the laws,” Tomar said while addressing a virtual meeting of the Bihar BJP leaders in Patna.

Meanwhile, Bihar Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar told IANS: “We are giving clarifications on the new farm laws just because the opposition parties are misleading farmers to agitate.”

About the Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) opposition to the new legislations, he said: “The SAD leaders are also involved in misleading farmers. The laws are meant to break the monopoly of middlemen in the agriculture sector. Unfortunately, they (SAD leaders) are on the side of middlemen. They are just doing politics and don’t care for the interests of farmers. They are not presenting positive points of the legislations before the farmers.”

Kumar claimed that the opposition by farmers would not impact the Bihar Assembly elections as the APMC Act was abolished in the state in 2006.

Bihar’s 89 per cent population lives in the rural areas, whereas 76 per cent is directly or indirectly dependent on the agriculture sector for livelihood.

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Rajnath Singh launches startup challenge to promote self-reliance in defence sector




Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday launched a startup challenge to achieve self-reliance in the military sector under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign.

Singh launched the Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC 4) featuring initiatives aimed at expanding the horizons of the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) ecosystem.

“The iDEX4Fauji initiative and the Product Management Approach (PMA) guidelines were also launched by the Defence Minister during the event. Each of these initiatives is expected to facilitate iDEX-DIO to scale up the programme qualitatively and quantitatively,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

It is a first of its kind initiative launched to support the innovations identified by the members of the Indian armed forces and will bolster frugal innovation ideas from the soldiers.

There are more than 13 lakh service personnel working in the fields and on the borders, handling extreme conditions and equipment and would be having many ideas to improve such equipment.

“iDEX4Fauji would open this window and allow our soldiers to become part of the innovation process and get recognised and rewarded. Services headquarters will provide support to the soldiers and field formations all over the country to ensure maximum participation,” the ministry said.

Singh said that for the first time, an atmosphere has been created in the country where different stakeholders have been brought together to push for innovations in the defence sector.

“In order to further strengthen our defence system and make it self-reliant, the participation of the private sector is crucial. For this we have taken certain steps like partnerships with the private sector, technology transfer, 74 per cent FDI through automatic route and the recently released negative list of 101 items for import ban after a stipulated period,” the Defence Minister said.

Singh also said that on Monday, the government launched the defence acquisition procedure which seeks to encourage the private industry to participate in the defence sector.

He also urged the armed forces to make full use of the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) platform to meet their technological requirements.

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Task cut out for Kamal Nath & Cong in MP, Gujarat bypolls




Political stakes are high for former Chief Minister Kamal Nath in the bypolls for 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh and for the Congress in neighbouring Gujarat, where eight seats are vacant.

All these seats were in Congress’ kitty after the Assembly elections, but slipped out of its hands after the party MLAs resigned — in Madhya Pradesh, they opted to support Jyotiraditya Scindia in March 2020 and walk into the camp of a waiting BJP to ensure the fall of the then government led by Kamal Nath; and in Gujarat, they resigned to ensure the defeat of the Congress nominee in the contest for the second Rajya Sabha seat in June 2020.

The Congress will need to bag all the 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh to again get a majority in the Assembly, which is a tough task. The party has already announced 24 candidates.

On the other hand, the ruling BJP needs only nine seats to reach the magic figures of 116. In case the Congress wins less than 28 seats but manages around 24, it will still be in the game. Otherwise, it will have to depend on Independents, two MLAs of Bahujan Samaj Party and the lone Samajwadi Party MLA.

In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the BJP has 107 MLAs, Congress 88, BSP 2, SP 1 while 4 are Independents.

“The Congress will come back to power again. We will defeat the BJP on these seats. The people will give a befitting reply to those who dishonoured the public mandate and murdered democratic values,” Kamal Nath said.

Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh are visiting each of the 28 Assembly segments to ensure their party’s victory, though it remains to be seen what they can do since most vacant seats are in the Gwalior-Chambal belt — considered a Scindia stronghold.

However, the Congress is banking on the fact that the belt has a sizeable population of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The party is also hopeful of reaping the public goodwill due to waiver of farm loans announced by then Chief Minister Kamal Nath and the ongoing agitation by the farmers over the new farm laws.

In Gujarat, the Congress MLAs had resigned, which led to the defeat of Congress leader Bharat Singh Solanki on one Rajya Sabha seat. Had all these MLAs remained in the Congress, it could have won the second RS seat in Gujarat as well.

Congress leader Rajeev Satav, who is in-charge of Gujarat party affairs, said, “I will meet leaders of various frontal organisations, cells and departments and district presidents of the Congress. Looking forward to having substantial discussions with the party leaders and workers.”

Apart from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, seven Assembly seats are also vacant in Uttar Pradesh, two each in Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Nagaland and Odisha, and one each in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Telangana.

Besides, one parliamentary seat in Bihar and two Assembly seats in Manipur will also go for bypolls on November 7. The counting of votes will be take place on November 10.

The EC has decided not to hold by-elections in seven constituencies in four states. Polling for these seats will be held early next year.

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