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Nobody remained hungry during pandemic induced lockdown: Prez

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New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind presents the National Service Scheme (NSS) Awards for 2018-2019 via video conferencing, in New Delhi on Sep 24, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Recalling the multiple beneficial schemes that the government initiated during the last year or two, President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said nobody was left hungry during the pandemic induced lockdown as the government ensured free distribution of ration to 80 crore people for 19 months.

“During the corona pandemic, several countries faced food shortage but my sensitive government ensured that no poor was left hungry. The Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana provided free rations to 80 crore poor Indians for 19 months,” Kovind said in his Presidential speech on the first day of the Budget Session 2022.

“This is the largest free food distribution programme in the world, we have extended till March 2022. We spent Rs 2.60 lakh crore for the same,” he said.

The President also congratulated the farmers, especially the 80 crore small land holding farmers who helped grow over 30 crore tonnes of food grains and over 33 crore tonnes of horticulture despite the pandemic. He also said, his government continued to help the farmers with minimum support price (MSP) buying Kharif and Rabi crops.

“Soch nayi ho to purane sansadhano se bhi naye raste banaye jaa sakte hai (If we think in an innovative manner, we can work wonders even with old resources,” he said.

The President also lauded the combined efforts put in by the administration, doctors, scientists, health workers and even citizens to fight the Covid pandemic that, he said, exemplified the united power of the democracy.

He recounted the steps taken by the government vis-a-vis health sector including vaccination, and said, “Today, 90 per cent or more adults have taken at least one dose of vaccination.”

The President recounted the achievements in the field of agriculture, infrastructure, education, Digital India, MSME, and also women’s empowerment.

Towards the end, he reminded the Parliamentarians that “next 25 years would be spent on shaping up India that we want to see in 2047 when we celebrate 100 years of Independence.”

Maharashtra

Pawar meets LS Speaker to revoke disqualification of Lakshadweep MP

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 Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar on Monday met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and urged him to revoke the disqualification of party’s Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal whose conviction has been suspended by the Kerala High Court.

Pawar said, “As the Kerala High Court suspended the conviction and sentence of the former Lakshadweep MP and hence we appealed to the honourable speaker to consider the matter of suspension.”

He said that he met with the Lok Sabha speaker and requested him to revoke the disqualification of the NCP’s MP.

The Election Commission (EC) on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it will consider the Kerala High Court order, which suspended the conviction of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal in an attempt to murder case, and take action in accordance with the law.

Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Faizal, submitted before a bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph that the by-election cannot go on as the high court has suspended the conviction of his client.

Faizal’s conviction had resulted in his disqualification from the Lok Sabha. The bypoll was announced by the EC after Faizal was disqualified following his conviction in the case.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the EC, contended before the bench, also comprising B.V. Nagarathna, that the action will be taken in accordance with law against the backdrop of the high court order.

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National News

BJP govt in MP begins administrative surgery ahead of Assembly polls

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With around eight months left to the state legislative elections, the BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government has started an administrative surgery.

In a notification issued by Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains late on Sunday, as many as 11 IAS officers, of them seven district collectors, have been transferred.

The transfer list issued two days before the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is scheduled to chair a high-level meeting with IAS and IPS officers in the state.

Gwalior collector Kaushlendra Singh has been shifted to Bhopal after being appointed as Additional Chief Secretary of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Akshya Kumar Singh, 2010 batch IAS, who was serving as district collector of Shivpuri, has been appointed as new district collector of Gwalior.

Ravindra Kumar Choudhary (2011 batch IAS) will be the new district collector of Shivpuri, while Khargone collector Kumar Purusottam (2012) will be new collector of Ujjain. Notably, Kumar Purusottam was appointed Khargone collector following a communal riot in April last year. Shivraj Singh Verma (2012 batch IAS) district collector of Barwani will be replacing Kumar Purusottam.

Dr. Phatting Rahul Haridas (2012), who has been serving as collector of Shivni district, will replace Shivraj Singh Verma. Similarly, Sonia Meena, collector of Anuppur has been shifted to Bhopal and has been appointed as Additional Chief Secretary in Madhya Pradesh government.

Jabalpur Municipal Commissioner Ashish Vashishtha (2014 batch IAS) will be new collector of Anuppur district, while Kshit Singhal (2014 batch IAS), who has been serving as the CEO in Sagar Zila Panchayat, has been appointed as the new district collector of Shivni.

Sources told IANS that a major reshuffle of IPS officers, including Police Commissioner Bhopal and Indore, is likely to be announced soon. The names of SP to IG rank officers are also likely to be included in the upcoming transfer list.

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National News

SC agrees to examine plea against ban on BBC documentary on Gujarat riots

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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine on February 6, a plea challenging the Centre’s ban on the BBC documentary in connection with the 2002 Gujarat Riots.

Advocate M.L. Sharma mentioned the plea for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. The top court agreed to hear on February 6.

The top court will also hear next Monday, a separate petition filed by journalist N. Ram and advocate Prashant Bhushan on taking down their tweets with links of the documentary.

The plea filed by Sharma contended that the BBC Documentary on Gujarat riots recorded and was released for public view, however due to fear of truth the documentary has been banned from viewership in India by any means under rule 16 of IT Act 2021.

Sharma’s plea sought a direction for quashing of the January 21 order under the IT Act being illegal, malafide and arbitrary, unconstitutional and void ab-initio and ultra vires to the Constitution of India.

The documentary titled ‘India: The Modi Question’ has been banned on social media and online channels, but some students have screened it on campuses of various universities across the country.

Sharma’s plea contended that the BBC documentary has reflected true facts with original recording of the victims of riot 2002 as well as other concerned persons involved in the scenario of riot, and it can be used for judicial justice.

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