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MGNERGA served as lifeline for workers who lost jobs during Covid pandemic: Kharge

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Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday said that Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(MGNERGA)served as a lifeline for workers who lost their jobs during Covid pandemic.

Speaking on the ‘Motion of Thanks’ to the President’s address in the Upper House, he said that traditionally the President’s speech is a policy document, but unfortunately it had neither policy nor vision.

Slamming the BJP leaders, he said: “You say nothing happened in the past 70 years, if nothing had happened you would not have been alive today and anyone who speaks against the government is an anti-national,” he stated.

Whenever the Opposition raises its voice, the government says that religion is under danger. “In 2014, you had promised two crore jobs every year and going by that, by now you should have provided 15 crore jobs. Yesterday’s budget speech announced to create 60 lakh jobs in the next five years but over two crore people are unemployed today.”

In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the youth have taken to the street demanding employment, whereas the Central government has nine lakh vacancies, including 15 per cent in Railways, 12 per cent in the union Home Ministry, 40 per cent in Defence sector, he added.

Noting that 60 per cent Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME) units are now closed down, Kharge further said that we brought MGNREGA which, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to term a live example of “our unsuccessful policies”.

“During Covid, this MGNREGA served as a lifeline for workers who lost jobs and around Rs 1.80 lakh crore should have been allotted to MGNREGA, but you have kept only Rs 73,000 crore for the scheme. You only gave 20 days’ jobs to only seven crore unemployed people, against the 150 days promised during the pandemic,” he alleged.

Price rise during these days is at 12-year-high, he added.

Referring to the Chinese encroachment on Indian territory, the Congress leader said that “the hostile neighbour has been snatching our land, building houses, why are you not showing your red eyes to them now? When we were in power, we were asked by the then Opposition to show red eyes to China.

“You do not talk about China at all. Why are you are silent now?” Kharge questioned while PM Modi was present in the House.

On the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) which is a profitable venture, he said that the government is going to disinvest it.

He also slammed the government for not paying any compensation to the farmers who lost their lives during the year-long agitation against the three farm laws, saying: “You called them mawaali (hooligans), aatankawadi(Terrorists), a minister’s son killed four farmers and he was not sacked because of political interest, you should sack the home minister (MoS Home Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni), as he could influence the probe.”

The Congress leader also made a reference to harassment of minorities and how the Mother Teresa’s organisation Mission of Charity was targetted.

National News

Punjab to soon be front-running industrial hub: Mann

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Bhagwant Mann

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday said the current political stability and quick decision-making mechanism, along with out-of-box ideas, will soon make Punjab a front running industrial state in the country.

Amritsar, Feb 7 : Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday said the current political stability and quick decision-making mechanism, along with out-of-box ideas, will soon make Punjab a front running industrial state in the country.

Interacting with industrialists here during the run-up for progressive Punjab Investment Summit scheduled to be held on February 23-24 in Mohali, he said Punjabis are born to be number one as they have traits of hard work and dedication in their blood.

Mann said due to this spirit, the Punjabis have always excelled in every sphere, adding the entrepreneurs from the state have carved a niche for themselves across the globe.

The day is not far when Punjab will be on the high growth trajectory of industrial growth, he added.

Announcing a major boost to the tourism industry across the state by harnessing the immense potential of this sector, the Chief Minister said the state is blessed with several natural resources which can be developed into international tourist points.

The government is coming up with a concrete proposal for developing Ranjit Sagar Dam, Chohal Dam, Nurpur Bedi, and others into tourist destinations. Mann said these tourist spots have huge potential to put the state on the roadmap of international tourism.

The Chief Minister said the holy city of Amritsar will be further developed into a hub of religious and patriotic tourism. No stone will be left for this noble cause and every effort will be made for the promotion of the tourism sector.

He assured the local industrialists that while promoting the tourism sector, preference will be given to the local industry. Rather than inviting the big players from within the country and abroad, priority will be given to the local industrialists for developing these tourism spots, he said.

Mann said this will allow the local industrialists to flex their muscles in the sector and emerge Punjab as a hub of tourism. The Chief Minister also said the government is also planning to boost the agro-industry in a big way. He said Punjab produces 80 per cent of the total Basmati produced in the country, adding this production will be further enhanced in the coming days.

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Rajnath Singh to host defence ministers’ conclave at Aero India 2023

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rajnath singh

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will host a Defence Ministers’ Conclave on the sidelines of the 14th edition of Aero India being held at Bengaluru, India. The February 14 conclave will comprise defence ministers of friendly countries who would also be attending Aero India 2023.

Bengaluru, Feb 7 : Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will host a Defence Ministers’ Conclave on the sidelines of the 14th edition of Aero India being held at Bengaluru, India. The February 14 conclave will comprise defence ministers of friendly countries who would also be attending Aero India 2023.

The conclave would address aspects related to deepening cooperation for capacity building (through investments, R&D, joint venture, co-development, co-production and provisioning of defence equipment), training, space, AI and maritime security to grow together with the broad theme ‘Shared Prosperity through Enhanced Engagements in Defence (SPEED), a defence department release stated Tuesday.

The conclave is an opportunity for defence ministers of all foreign friendly countries and India to engage with each other to carry forward the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ for a secure and prosperous future for generations to come.

The conclave acquires significance in light of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi push for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India), in defence sector which is aimed towards increasing indigenous defence manufacturing and production capability to develop a self-sufficient defence ecosystem.

It also envisages involving like-minded nations in developing a reliable supply chain free of exploitation and disruptions by certain players; and provide affordable and robust defence equipment to friendly countries, the release noted.

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Former servicemen said idea of Agniveer came from RSS: Rahul

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at the Modi government over Agnipath scheme and said that it was imposed on Army by the RSS and Home Ministry.

New Delhi, Feb 7 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at the Modi government over Agnipath scheme and said that it was imposed on Army by the RSS and Home Ministry.

“During the Bharat Jodo Yatra, retired officers of Indian Army told us that idea about Agniveer came from RSS and was thrust on the Army. They said we are training 1000s in weapons and then soon after, they will become civilians amid high unemployment. The officers told me that Ajit Doval is the man behind this idea,” Rahul Gandhi said in the Motion of Thanks on President’s address.

“How is it that the Agniveer Yojana was mentioned only once in the President’s speech? There was no word on unemployment and inflation in the address. So all the issues that people told me about during the yatra, we didn’t hear in the President’s address,” he added amid uproar.

“During ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, we heard people’s voices while we also kept our voices. We talked to children, women, and the elderly during the yatra. We asked the youth about their jobs… Many said they are unemployed or drive Uber. Farmers talked about not getting money under PM-BIMA Yojana and their land being snatched away, while tribals talked about Tribal Bill.”

“When we first started walking (referring to Bharat Jodo Yatra), we wanted to play the opposition and tell people about issues facing the country. However, as we progressed, after 500-600 kms, there was a major change. Instead of us telling the people the source of their problems, they themselves started speaking to us,” he said.

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