Connect with us
Breaking News

National News

President lauds Govt’s welfare schemes, vaccination drive



President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday lauded the government’s performance in the last three years, specially during the corona pandemic.

Addressing the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament at the start of the Budget session, the President said: “We are in the third year of the pandemic caused by coronavirus. In these years, the people have displayed profound faith in the democratic values, discipline and sense of responsibility.”

Hailing the government’s efforts during the pandemic, he said that the example of India’s capability in the fight against Covid-19 is evident in the ongoing Covid vaccination programme. India has surpassed the record of administering more than 150 crore vaccine doses in less than a year.

While more than 90 per cent adult citizens of the country have received the first dose of the vaccine, more than 70 per cent have been administered both the doses, President Kovind said. The government is also reaching out to the rest of the population through the “Har Ghar Dastak” campaign. Adolescents in the age group of 15 to 18 years have also been included in the vaccination programme from this month.

Highlighting the government’s efforts for the poor during the pandemic, President Kovind said that the government is providing free ration to every poor household every month under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.” This is the world’s largest food distribution programme with an outlay of Rs two lakh sixty thousand crore reaching out to 80 crore beneficiaries for 19 months and now this scheme has been extended till March 2022.

More than two crore pucca houses have been provided to the poor under the “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana” as a result of the efforts made in the last few years. Under the “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin,” 1 crore 17 lakh houses have been approved at a cost of about Rupees one and a half lakh crore in the last three years.

Launched with the aim of “Har Ghar Jal”, the Jal Jeevan Mission has brought about a huge difference in the lives of the people and nearly six crore rural households have been provided tap water connections despite the constraints imposed by the pandemic, he said on empowering the poor and enhancing their dignity.

To empower the farmers and the rural economy of the country, despite the pandemic, the government made record procurement to match the record production. The farmers produced more than 30 crore tonnes of foodgrains and 33 crore tonnes of horticulture produce in 2020-21.

It procured 433 lakh metric tonnes of wheat during the Rabi season benefitting about 50 lakh farmers. A record quantity of about 900 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was procured during the Kharif season, benefiting 1 crore 30 lakh farmers.

The government has endeavoured to open new avenues of prosperity for the farmers by launching “Kisan Rail Seva,” the President said. During the Corona period, Indian Railways operated over 1,900 Kisan Rails on more than 150 routes to transport perishable food items like vegetables, fruits and milk, thereby transporting about 6 lakh metric tonnes of agricultural produce. Under the “PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi,” Rupees 1 lakh 80 thousand crore have been provided to more than 11 crore farmer families.

Giving an impetus to the rural economy, the banks have extended financial help to the tune of Rs 65,000 crore to more than 28 lakh Self-Help Groups in 2021-22. This is four times the amount extended in 2014-15. The government has also provided training to thousands of members of the women self-help groups and made them partners as “Banking Sakhi”.

“A provision has also been made for the Gender Inclusion Fund in the National Education Policy to promote learning capability among our daughters. It is a matter of happiness that all the existing 33 Sainik Schools have started admitting girl students,” Kovind said, adding that the government has also approved the admission of women cadets in the National Defence Academy.

The first batch of women cadets will enter the NDA in June 2022. With the policy decisions and encouragement of my government, the number of women personnel in various police forces has more than doubled as compared to 2014.

On implementation of a new National Education Policy across the country, Kovind said it was part of the government’ endeavour to give shape to the resolve and potential of “Atmanirbhar Bharat.” Local languages are also being promoted through the National Education Policy.

Emphasis is being laid on conducting important entrance examinations for undergraduate courses in Indian languages as well. This year, 19 engineering colleges in 10 states will start teaching in six Indian languages, he added.

“We saw the capability of India’s youth power in the Tokyo Olympics. Giving its best-ever performance, India won seven medals. In Tokyo Paralympics too, India won 19 medals and set a record.”

With a firm belief in global brotherhood, India extended a helping hand when people in neighbouring Afghanistan were in distress due to political instability and launched ‘Operation Devi Shakti’ to airlift the Indian citizens in Afghanistan and minorities there in danger, including Afghan Hindus, Sikhs and others.

Even in such situations, “our government respected the religious emotions of our Sikh community” and successfully brought back the two copies of holy Guru Granth Sahib. Now India has been supplying corona vaccines, life saving drugs and grains to Afghanistan on a humanitarian basis, the President stated.

Noting that India has again emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, he said that the GST collection has consistently remained above Rupees one lakh crore during the last several months. Inflow of 48 billion dollars in the first seven months of the current financial year is a testimony to the belief the global investor community has in India’s growth story. India’s foreign exchange reserves today exceed 630 billion dollars. During April to December 2021, goods exports stood at 300 billion dollars or more than Rupees 22 lakh crore, which is one-and-a-half times more than the corresponding period of 2020.

In order to protect MSMEs from crisis and ensure adequate availability of credit during the Corona period, the government started a scheme for guaranteed Collateral Free Loans of Rupees 3 lakh crore. It is evident from the recent studies that this scheme has given a fresh lease of life to 13 lakh 50 thousand MSME units and also secured 1 crore 50 lakh jobs.

In June 2021, the government enhanced credit guarantee from Rs 3 lakh crore to Rs 4.5 lakh crore, Kovind stated.

As against 90,000 kilometres of national highways in March 2014, today India have more than 1 lakh 40 thousand kilometres of national highways. Under the Bharatmala Project, construction of more than 20,000 kilometres of highways is in progress with an outlay of about Rs 6 lakh crore, including 23 green expressways and green-field corridors.

The government is committed to sustainable development of all the states of the North East – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. In these states, basic amenities and economic opportunities are being developed at every level. Rail and air connectivity are no longer a dream for the people of the North East, they are now able to experience them in reality.

A new airport is being set up at Hollongi, Itanagar. A modern new terminal has recently been opened at the Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport in Tripura. This development of North East will prove to be a golden chapter in India’s growth story. Efforts of the government to establish peace in the North East have attained historic success. Just a few months ago, a settlement was reached between the Central Government, the state government of Assam and the Karbi groups to end the decades-old conflict in Karbi Anglong.


Pawar meets LS Speaker to revoke disqualification of Lakshadweep MP




 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.

Continue Reading

National News

BJP govt in MP begins administrative surgery ahead of Assembly polls




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.

Continue Reading

National News

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




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.

Continue Reading